TALE OF MA'AN THE SON OF ZAIDAH. [FN#133]



It is told of Ma'an bin Záidah that, being out one day a-chasing and a-hunting, he became athirst but his men had no water with them; and while thus suffering behold, three damsels met him bearing three skins of water;--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Seventy-first Night, [FN#134]

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that three girls met him bearing three skins of water; so he begged drink of them, and they gave him to drink. Then he sought of his men somewhat to give the damsels but they had no money; so he presented to each girl ten golden piled arrows from his quiver. Whereupon quoth one of them to her friend, "Well-a-day! These fashions pertain to none but Ma'an bin Zaidah! so let each one of us say somewhat of verse in his praise." Then quoth the first,

"He heads his arrows with piles of gold, * And while shooting his foes is his bounty doled:
Affording the wounded a means of cure, * And a sheet for the bider beneath the mould!"

And quoth the second,

"A warrior showing such open hand, * His boons all friends and all foes enfold:
The piles of his arrows of or are made, * So that battle his bounty may not withhold!"

And quoth the third,

"From that liberal-hand on his foes he rains * Shafts aureate-headed and manifold:
Wherewith the hurt shall chirurgeon pay, * And for slain the shrouds round their corpses roll'd.'' [FN#135]

And there is also told a tale of