THE KING AND THE VIRTUOUS WIFE.



A certain King once went forth in disguise, to look into the affairs of his lieges. Presently, he came to a great village which he entered unattended and being athirst, stopped at the door of a house and asked for water. There came out to him a fair woman with a gugglet, which she gave him, and he drank. When he looked at her, he was ravished with her and besought her favours. Now she knew him; so she led him into the house and, making him sit down, brought out a book and said to him, "Look therein whilst I order my affair and return to thee." So he looked into the book, and behold, it treated of the Divine prohibition against advoutry and of the punishments which Allah hath prepared for those who commit adulterous sin. When he read this, his flesh quaked and his hair bristled and he repented to Almighty Allah: then he called the woman and, giving her the book, went away. Now her husband was absent and when he returned, she told him what had passed, whereat he was confounded and said in himself, "I fear lest the King's desire have fallen upon her." And he dared not have to do with her and know her carnally after this. When some time had past, the wife told her kinsfolk of her husband's conduct, and they complained of him to the King, saying, "Allah advance the King! This man hired of us a piece of land for tillage, and tilled it awhile; then left it fallow and neither tilled it nor forsook it, that we might let it to one who would till it. Indeed, harm is come to the field, and we fear its corruption, for such land as that if it be not sown, spoileth." Quoth the King to the man, "What hindereth thee from sowing thy land?" Answered he, "Allah advance the King! It reached me that the lion entered the field wherefore I stood in awe of him and dared not draw near it, since knowing that I cannot cope with the lion, I stand in fear of him." The King understood the parable and rejoined, saying, "O man, the lion trod and trampled not thy land, and it is good for seed so do thou till it and Allah prosper thee in it, for the lion hath done it no hurt." Then he bade give the man and his wife a handsome present and sent them away. [FN#175] And amongst the stories is that of



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