WAZIR OF AL-YAMAN AND HIS YOUNG BROTHER



It is said that Badr al-Din, Wazir of Al-Yaman, had a young brother of singular beauty and kept strait watch over him; so he applied himself to seek a tutor for him and, coming upon a Shaykh of dignified and reverend aspect, chaste and religious, lodged him in a house next his own.  This lasted a long time, and he used to come daily from his dwelling to that of Sáhib [FN#102] Badr al-Din and teach the young brother.  After a while, the old man’s heart was taken with love for the youth, and longing grew upon him and his vitals were troubled, till one day, he bemoaned his case to the boy, who said, “What can I do, seeing that I may not leave my brother night or day? and thou thyself seest how careful he is over me.”  Quoth the Shaykh, “My lodging adjoineth thine; so there will be no difficulty, when thy brother sleepeth, to rise and, entering the privy, feign thyself asleep.  Then come to the parapet [FN#103] of the terrace-roof and I will receive thee on the other side of the wall; so shalt thou sit with me an eye-twinkling and return without thy brother’s knowledge.”  “I hear and obey,” answered the lad; and the tutor began to prepare gifts suitable to his degree.  Now when a while of the night was past, he entered the water-closet and waited until his brother lay down on his bed and took patience till he was drowned in sleep, when he rose and going to the parapet of the terrace-roof, found standing there to await him the old man, who gave him his hand and carried him to the sitting-chamber, where he had made ready various dainties for his entertainment, and they sat down to carouse.  Now it was the night of the full moon and, as they sat with the wine-cup going round, her rays shone upon them, and the governor fell to singing.  But, whilst they were thus in joy and jollity and mirth and merriment, such as confoundeth the wit and the sight and defieth description, lo! the Wazir awoke and, missing his brother, arose in affright and found the door open.  So he went up to the roof and hearing a noise of talk, climbed over the parapet to the adjoining terrace and saw a light shining from the lodging.  He looked in from behind the wall, and espied his brother and his tutor sitting at carouse; but the Shaykh became aware of him and sang cup in hand, to a lively measure these couplets,

    “He made me drain his wine of honeyed lips, *
         Toasting with cheeks which rose and myrtle smother:
    Then nighted in embrace, cheek to my cheek, *
         A loveling midst mankind without another.
    When the full moon arose on us and shone *
         Pray she traduce us not to the big brother.”

And it proved the perfect politeness of the Wazir Badr al-Din that, when he heard this, he said, “By Allah, I will not betray you!”  And he went away and left them to their diversions.  They also tell a tale concerning



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