AL-AMIN SON OF AL-RASHID AND HIS UNCLE IBRAHIM BIN AL-MAHDI.



Al-Amin, [FN#224] brother of al-Maamun, once entered the house of his uncle Ibrahim bin al-Mahdi, where he saw a slave girl playing upon the lute; and, she being one of the fairest of women, his heart inclined to her. Ibrahim, seeing how it was with him, sent the girl to him, with rich raiment and precious ornaments. When he saw her, he thought that his uncle had lain with her; so he was loath to have to do with her, because of that, and accepting what came with her sent her back to Ibrahim. His uncle learnt the cause of this from one of al-Amin's eunuchs; so he took a shift of watered silk and worked upon its skirt, in letters of gold, these two couplets,

    "No! I declare by Him to whom all bow, *
         Of nothing 'neath her petticoat I trow:
    Nor meddle with her mouth; nor aught did I *
         But see and hear her, and it was enow!"

Then he clad her in the shift and, giving her a lute, sent her back again to his nephew. When she came into al-Amin's presence, she kissed ground before him and tuning the lute, sang thereto these two couplets,

    "Thy breast thou baredst sending back the gift; *
         Showing unlove for me withouten shift:
    An thou bear spite of Past, the Past forgive, *
         And for the Caliphate cast the Past adrift."

When she had made an end of her verse, Al-Amin looked at her and, seeing what was upon her skirt, could no longer control him self, And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Four Hundred and Nineteenth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Al-Amin looked at the damsel and saw what was upon her skirt, he could no longer control himself, but drew near unto her and kissed her and appointed her a separate lodging in his palace. Moreover, he thanked his uncle for this and bestowed on him the government of Rayy. And a tale is told of



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