THE POOR MAN AND HIS FRIEND IN NEED.



There was once a rich man who lost all he had and became destitute, whereupon his wife advised him to ask aid and assistance of one of his intimates. So he betook himself to a certain friend of his and acquainted him with his necessities; and he lent him five hundred dinars to trade withal. Now in early life he had been a jeweller; so he took the gold and went to the jewel-bazar, where he opened a shop to buy and sell. Presently, as he sat in his shop three men accosted him and asked for his father, and when he told them that he was deceased, they said, "Say, did he leave issue?" Quoth the jeweller, "He left the slave who is before you." They asked, "And who knoweth thee for his son?"; and he answered, "The people of the bazar whereupon they said, "Call them together, that they may testify to us that thou art his very son." So he called them and they bore witness of this; whereupon the three men delivered to him a pair of saddle-bags, containing thirty thousand dinars, besides jewels and bullion of high value, saying, "This was deposited with us in trust by thy father." Then they went away; and presently there came to him a woman, who sought of him certain of the jewels, worth five hundred dinars which she bought and paid him three thousand for them. Upon this he arose and took five hundred dinars and carrying them to his friend who had lent him the money, said to him, "Take the five hundred dinars I borrowed of thee; for Allah hath opened to me the gate of prosperity." Quoth the other, "Nay; I gave them to thee outright, for the love of Allah; so do thou keep them. And take this paper, but read it not till thou be at home, and do according to that which is therein." So he took the money and the paper and returned home, where he opened the scroll and found therein inscribed these couplets,

"Kinsmen of mine were those three men who came to thee; * My sire and uncles twain and Sálih bin Ali.
So what for cash thou coldest, to my mother 'twas * Thou soldest it, and coin and gems were sent by me.
Thus doing I desired not any harm to thee * But in my presence spare thee and thy modesty."

And they also recount the story of