AL-FATH BIN KHAKAN AND THE CALIPH AL-MUTAWAKKIL.



Al-Mutawakkil [FN#225] was once taking medicine, and folk sent him by way of solace all sorts of presents and rarities and things costly and precious. Amongst others, al-Fath bin Khákán [FN#226] sent him a virgin slave, high breasted, of the fairest among women of her time, and with her a vase of crystal, containing ruddy wine, and a goblet of red gold, whereon were graven in black these couplets,

    "Since our Imam came forth from medicine, *
         Which made him health and heartiness rewin,
    There is no healing draught more sovereign *
         Than well boiled wine this golden goblet in:
    Then let him break the seal for him secured; *
         'Tis best prescription after medicine [FN#227]

Now when the damsel entered, the physician Yohanná [FN#228] was with the Caliph, and as he read the couplets, he smiled and said, "By Allah, O Commander of the Faithful, Fath is better versed than I in the art of healing: so let not the Prince of True Believers gainsay his prescription." Accordingly, the Caliph followed the recipe contained in the poetry and was made whole by the blessing of Allah and won his every wish. And among tales they tell is one of



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