ABU HASSAN AL-ZIYADI AND THE KHORASAN.


Quoth Abú Hassán al-Ziyádi [FN#417]: "I was once in straitened case and so needy that the grocer, the baker and other tradesmen dunned and importuned me; and my misery became extreme, for I knew of no resource nor what to do. Things being on this wise there came to me one day certain of my servants and said to me, 'At the door is a pilgrim wight, who seeketh admission to thee.' Quoth I, 'Admit him.' So he came in and behold, he was a Khorasání. We exchanged salutations and he said to me, 'Tell me, art thou Abu Hassan al-Ziyadi?'; and I replied, 'Yes, what is thy wish?' Quoth he, 'I am a stranger and am minded to make the pilgrimage; but I have with me a great sum of money, which is burdensome to bear: so I wish to deposit these ten thousand dirhams with thee whilst I make my pilgrimage and return. If the caravan march back and thou see me not, then know that I am dead, in which case the money is a gift from me to thee; but if I come back, it shall be mine.' I answered, 'Be it as thou wilt, an thus please Allah Almighty.' So he brought out a leather bag and I said to the servant, 'Fetch the scales;' and when he brought them the man weighed out the money and handed it to me, after which he went his way. Then I called the purveyors and paid them my liabilities"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Fiftieth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that quoth Abu Hassan al-Ziyadi: "I called the purveyors and paid them my liabilities and spent freely and amply, saying to myself, 'By the time he returns, Allah will have relieved me with one or other of the bounties He hath by Him.' However, on the very next day, the servant came in to me and said, 'Thy friend the Khorasan man is at the door.' 'Admit him,' answered I. So he came in and said to me, 'I had purposed to make the pilgrimage; but news hath reached me of the decease of my father, and I have resolved to return; so give me the monies I deposited with thee yesterday.' When I heard this, I was troubled and perplexed beyond measure of perplexity known to man and wotted not what reply to make him; for, if I denied it, he would put me on my oath, and I should be disgraced in the world to come; whilst, if I told him that I had spent the money, he would make an outcry and dishonour me before men. So I said to him, 'Allah give thee health! This my house is no stronghold nor site of safe custody for this money. When I received thy leather bag, I sent it to one with whom it now is; so do thou return to us to-morrow and take thy money, Inshallah!' [FN#418] So he went away and I passed the night in great concern, because of his return to me; sleep visited me not nor could I close my eyes; so I rose and bade the boy saddle me the she-mule. Answered he, 'O my lord, it is yet but the first third of the night and indeed we have hardly had time to rest.' I returned to my bed, but sleep was forbidden to me and I ceased not to awaken the boy, and he to put me off, till break of day, when he saddled me the mule, and I mounted and rode out, not knowing whither to go. I threw the reins on the mule's shoulders and gave myself up to regrets and melancholy thoughts, whilst she fared on with me to the eastward of Baghdad. Presently, as I went along, behold, I saw a number of people approaching me and turned aside into another path to avoid them; but seeing that I wore a turband in preacher-fashion, [FN#419] they followed me and hastening up to me, said, 'Knowest thou the lodging of Abu Hassan al-Ziyadi?' 'I am he,' answered I; and they rejoined, 'Obey the summons of the Commander of the Faithful.' Then they carried me before Al-Maamun, who said to me, 'Who art thou?' Quoth I, 'An associate of the Kazi Abu Yúsuf and a doctor of the law and traditions.' Asked the Caliph, 'By what surname art thou known?' [FN#420] and I answered, 'Abu Hassan al-Ziyadi;' whereupon quoth he, 'Expound to me thy case.' So I recounted to him my case and he wept sore and said to me, 'Out on thee! The Apostle of Allah (whom Allah bless and assain!) would not let me sleep this night, because of thee; for in early darkness [FN#421] he appeared to me and said, 'Succour Abu Hassan al-Ziyadi.' Whereupon I awoke and, knowing thee not, went to sleep again; but he came to me a second time and said to me, 'Woe to thee! Succour Abu Hassan al-Ziyadi.' I awoke a second time, but knowing thee not I went to sleep again; and he came to me a third time and still I knew thee not and went to sleep again. Then he came to me once more and said, 'Out on thee! Succour Abu Hassan al-Ziyadi!' After that I dared not sleep any more, but watched the rest of the night and aroused my people and sent them on all sides in quest of thee.' Then he gave me one myriad of dirhams, saying, 'This is for the Khorasani,' and other ten thousand, saying, 'Spend freely of this and amend thy case therewith, and set thine affairs in order.' Moreover, he presented me with thirty thousand dirhams, saying, 'Furnish thyself with this, and when the Procession-day [FN#422] is being kept, come thou to me, that I may invest thee with some office.' So I went forth from him with the money and returned home, where I prayed the dawn-prayer; and behold, presently came the Khorasani, so I carried him into the house and brought out to him one myriad of dirhams, saying, 'Here is thy money.' Quoth he, 'It is not my very money; how cometh this?' So I told him the whole story, and he wept and said, 'By Allah, haddest thou told me the fact at first, I had not pressed thee!; and now, by Allah, I will not accept aught of this money'"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Fifty-first Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that quoth the Khorasani to Al-Ziyadi, "'By Allah, haddest thou told me the fact at first, I had not pressed thee!; and now, by Allah, I will not accept aught of this money and thou art lawfully quit of it.' So saying, he went away and I set my affairs in order and repaired on the Procession-day to Al-Maamun's Gate, where I found him seated. When he saw me present myself he called me to him and, bringing forth to me a paper from under his prayer-carpet, said to me, 'This is a patent, conferring on thee the office of Kazi of the western division of Al-Medinah, the Holy City, from the Bab al-Salám [FN#423] to the furthest limit of the township; and I appoint thee such and such monthly allowances. So fear Allah (to whom be honour and glory!) end be mindful of the solicitude of His Apostle (whom may He bless and keep!) on thine account.' Then the folk marvelled at the Caliph's words and asked me their meaning; whereupon I told them the story from beginning to end and it spread abroad amongst the people." "And" (quoth he who telleth the tale) "Abu Hassan al-Ziyadi ceased not to be Kazi of Al-Medinah, the Holy City, till he died in the days of Al-Maamun the mercy of Allah be on him!" And among the tales men tell is one of