ABDALLAH BIN MA'AMAR WITH THE MAN OF BASSORAH AND HIS SLAVE-GIRL.



A certain man of Bassorah once bought a slave-girl and reared and educated her right well.  Moreover, he loved her very dearly and spent all his substance in pleasuring and merry-making with her, til he had naught left and extreme poverty was sore upon him.  So she said to him, "O my master, sell me; for thou needest my price and it maketh my heart ache to see thy sorry and want-full plight.  If thou vend me and make use of my value, 'twill be better for thee than keeping me by thee, and haply Almighty Allah will ample thee and amend thy fortune."  He agreed to this for the straitness of his case, and carried her to the bazar, where the broker offered her for sale to the Governor of Bassorah, by name Abdallah bin Ma'amar al-Taymi, and she pleased him.  So he bought her, for five hundred dinars and paid the sum to her master; but when he book the money and was about to go away, the girl burst into tears and repeated these two couplets,

    "May coins though gainest joy in heart instil; *
         For me remaineth naught save saddest ill:
    I say unto my soul which sorely grieves, *
         'Thy friend departeth an thou will nor nill.'"

And when her master heard this, he groaned and replied in these couplets,

    "Albeit this thy case lack all resource, *
         Nor findeth aught but death's doom, pardon still;
    Evening and morning, thoughts of thee will dole *
         Comfort to heart all woes and griefs full fill:
    Peace be upon thee! Meet we now no more *
         Nor pair except at Ibn Ma'amar's will."

Now when Abdullah bin Ma'amar heard these verses and saw their affection, he exclaimed, "By Allah, I will not assist fate in separating you; for it is evident to me that ye two indeed love each other.  So take the money and the damsel, O man, and Allah bless thee in both; for verily parting be grievous to lovers."  So they kissed his hand and going away, ceased not to dwell together, till death did them part; and glory be to Him whom death over-taketh not!  And amonst stories is that of



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