THE THIEF AND HIS MONKEY [FN#171]

A certain man had a monkey and that man was a thief, who never entered any of the street-markets of the city wherein he dwelt, but he made off with great profit.  Now it came to pass one day that he saw a man offering for sale worn clothes, and he went calling them in the market, but none bid for them and all to whom he showed them refused to buy of him.  Presently the thief who had the monkey saw the man with the ragged clothes set them in a wrapper and sit down to rest for weariness; so he made the ape sport before him to catch his eye and, whilst he was busy gazing at it, stole the parcel from him.  Then he took the ape and made off to a lonely place, where he opened the wrapper and, taking out the old clothes, folded them in a piece of costly stuff.  This he carried to another bazar and exposed for sale together with what was therein, making it a condition that it should not be opened, and tempting the folk with the lowness of the price he set on it.  A certain man saw the wrapper and its beauty pleased him; so he bought the parcel on these terms and carried it home, doubting not that he had done well.  When his wife saw it she asked, “What is this?” and he answered, “It is costly stuff, which I have bought at lowest price, meaning to sell it again and take the profit.”  Rejoined she, “O dupe, would this stuff be sold under its value, unless it had been stolen?  Dost thou not know that whoso buyeth aught without examining it, falleth into error and becometh like unto the weaver?”  Quoth he, “And what is the story of the weaver?”; and quoth she:--I have heard this take of

 The Foolish Weaver

There was once in a certain village a weaver who worked hard but could not earn his living save by overwork.  Now it chanced that one of the richards of the neighbourhood made a marriage feast and invited the folk thereto: the weaver also was present and found the guests, who wore rich gear, served with delicate viands and made much of by the house-master for what he saw of their fine clothes.  So he said in his mind, “If I change this my craft for another craft easier to compass and better considered and more highly paid, I shall amass great store of money and I shall buy splendid attire, so I may rise in rank and be exalted in men’s eyes and become even with these.”  Presently, he beheld one of the mountebanks, who was present at the feast, climbing up to the top of a high and towering wall and throwing himself down to the ground and alighting on his feet.  Whereupon the waver said to himself, “Needs must I do as this one hath done, for surely I shall not fail of it.”  So he arose and swarmed upon the wall and casting himself down, broke his neck against the ground and died forthright.  “Now I tell thee this that thou sayst get thy living by what way thou knowest and thoroughly understandest, lest peradventure greed enter into thee and thou lust after what is not of thy condition.”  Quoth the woman’s husband, “Not every wise man is saved by his wisdom, nor is every fool lost by his folly.  I have seen it happen to a skilful charmer, well versed in the ways of serpents, to be struck by the fangs of a snake [FN#172] and killed, and others prevail over serpents who had no skill in them and no knowledge of their ways.”  And he went contrary to his wife and persisted in buying stolen goods below their value till he fell under suspicion and perished therefor: even as perished the sparrow in the tale of



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