There lived in the time of Harun al-Rashid a man named Ahmad  al-Danaf and another Hasan Shúmán [FN#180] hight, the twain past-masters in fraud and feints, who had done rare things in their day;  wherefore the Caliph invested them with caftans of honour and  made them Captains of the Watch for Baghdad (Ahmad of the  right hand and Hasan of the left hand); and appointed to each of  them a stipend of a thousand dinars a month and forty stalwart  men to be at their bidding. Moreover to Calamity Ahmad was  committed the watch of the district outside the walls. So Ahmad  and Hasan went forth in company of the Emir Khalid, the Wali  or Chief of Police, attended each by his forty followers on horse-back, and preceded by the Crier, crying aloud and saying, "By  command of the Caliph! None is captain of the watch of  the right hand but Ahmad al-Danaf and none is captain of the  watch of the left hand but Hasan Shuman, and both are to  be obeyed when they bid and are to be held in all honour and  worship." Now there was in the city an old woman called Dalílah  the Wily, who had a daughter by name Zaynab the Coney-catcher.  They heard the proclamation made and Zaynab said to Dalilah,  "See, O my mother, this fellow, Ahmad al-Danaf! He came  hither from Cairo, a fugitive, and played the double-dealer in  Baghdad, till he got into the Caliph's company and is now become  captain of the right hand, whilst that mangy chap Hasan Shuman  is captain of the left hand, and each hath a table spread morning  and evening and a monthly wage of a thousand dinars; whereas  we abide unemployed and neglected in this house, without estate  and without honour, and have none to ask of us." Now Dalilah's  husband had been town-captain of Baghdad with a monthly wage  of one thousand dinars; but he died leaving two daughters, one  married and with a son by name Ahmad al-Lakít [FN#181] or Ahmad the  Abortion; and the other called Zaynab, a spinster. And this  Dalilah was a past mistress in all manner of craft and trickery and  double dealing; she could wile the very dragon out of his den  and Iblis himself might have learnt deceit of her. Her father [FN#182]  had also been governor of the carrier-pigeons to the Caliph with a  solde of one thousand dinars a month. He used to rear the birds  to carry letters and messages, wherefore in time of need each was  dearer to the Caliph than one of his own sons. So Zaynab said  to her mother, "Up and play off some feint and fraud that may  haply make us notorious"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn  of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Six Hundred and Ninety-ninth Night,

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Zaynab  thus addressed her dam, "Up and play off some feint and fraud  which may haply make us notorious in Baghdad, so perchance we  shall win our father's stipend for ourselves." Replied the old  trot, "As thy head liveth, O my daughter, I will play off higher-class rogueries in Baghdad than ever played Calamity Ahmad or  Hasan the Pestilent." So saying, she rose and threw over her  face the Lisam-veil and donned clothes such as the poorer Sufis  wear, petticoat-trousers falling over her heels, and a gown of  white wool with a broad girdle. She also took a pitcher [FN#183] and  filled it with water to the neck; after which she set three dinars in  the mouth and stopped it up with a plug of palm-fibre. Then she  threw round her shoulder, baldrick-wise, a rosary as big as a load  of firewood, and taking in her hand a flag, made of parti-coloured  rags, red and yellow and green, went out, crying, "Allah! Allah!"  with tongue celebrating the praises of the Lord, whilst her heart  galloped in the Devil's race-course, seeking how she might play  some sharping trick upon town. She walked from street to street,  till she came to an alley swept and watered and marble-paved,  where she saw a vaulted gateway, with a threshold of alabaster,  and a Moorish porter standing at the door, which was of sandalwood  plated with brass and furnished with a ring of silver for  knocker. Now this house belonged to the Chief of the Caliph's  Serjeant-ushers, a man of great wealth in fields, houses and allowances,  called the Emir Hasan Sharr al-Tarík, or Evil of the Way,  and therefor called because his blow forewent his word. He was  married to a fair damsel, Khátún [FN#184] hight, whom he loved and who  had made him swear, on the night of his going in unto her, that  he would take none other to wife over her nor lie abroad for a  single night. And so things went on till one day, he went to the  Divan and saw that each Emir had with him a son or two. Then  he entered the Hammam-bath and looking at his face in the  mirror, noted that the white hairs in his beard overlay its black,  and he said in himself, "Will not He who took thy sire bless thee  with a son?" So he went in to his wife, in angry mood, and she  said to him, "Good evening to thee"; but he replied, "Get thee  out of my sight: from the day I saw thee I have seen naught of  good." "How so?" quoth she. Quoth he, "On the night of my  going in unto thee, thou madest me swear to take no other wife  over thee, and this very day I have seen each Emir with a son  and some with two. So I minded me of death [FN#185]; and also that to  me hath been vouchsafed neither son nor daughter and that  whoso leaveth no male hath no memory. This, then, is the  reason of my anger, for thou art barren; and knowing thee is like  planing a rock." Cried she, "Allah's name upon thee. Indeed,  I have worn out the mortars with beating wool and pounding  drugs, [FN#186] and I am not to blame; the barrenness is with thee, for  that thou art a snub-nosed mule and thy sperm is weak and  watery and impregnateth not neither getteth children." Said he,  "When I return from my journey, I will take another wife;" and  she, "My luck is with Allah!" Then he went out from her and  both repented of the sharp words spoken each to other. Now as  the Emir's wife looked forth of her lattice, as she were a Bride of  the Hoards [FN#187] for the jewellery upon her, behold, there stood  Dalilah espying her and seeing her clad in costly clothes and  ornaments, said to herself, "'Twould be a rare trick, O Dalilah, to  entice yonder young lady from her husband's house and strip her  of all her jewels and clothes and make off with the whole lot."  So she took up her stand under the windows of the Emir's house,  and fell to calling aloud upon Allah's name and saying, "Be  present, O ye Walis, ye friends of the Lord!" Whereupon every  woman in the street looked from her lattice and, seeing a matron  clad, after Sufi fashion, in clothes of white wool, as she were a  pavilion of light, said, "Allah bring us a blessing by the aidance  of this pious old person, from whose face issueth light!" And  Khatun, the wife of the Emir Hasan, burst into tears and said to  her handmaid, "Get thee down, O Makbúlah, and kiss the hand of  Shaykh Abú Alí, the porter, and say to him, 'Let yonder  Religious enter to my lady, so haply she may get a blessing of  her.'" So she went down to the porter and kissing his hand, said  to him, "My mistress telleth thee, 'Let yonder pious old woman  come in to me, so may I get a blessing of her'; and belike her  benediction may extend to us likewise."--And Shahrazad  perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Seven Hundredth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the  handmaid went down and said to the porter, "Suffer yonder  Religious enter to my lady so haply she may get a blessing of  her, and we too may be blessed, one and all," the gate-keeper  went up to Dalilah and kissed her hand, but she forbade him,  saying, "Away from me, lest my ablution be made null and  void. [FN#188] Thou, also, art of the attracted God-wards and kindly  looked upon by Allah's Saints and under His especial guardianship.  May He deliver thee from this servitude, O Abu Ali!"  Now the Emir owed three months' wage to the porter who was  straitened thereby, but knew not how to recover his due from his  lord; so he said to the old woman, "O my mother, give me to  drink from thy pitcher, so I may win a blessing through thee."  She took the ewer from her shoulder and whirled it about in air,  so that the plug flew out of its mouth and the three dinars fell to  the ground. The porter saw them and picked them up, saying in  his mind, "Glory to God! This old woman is one of the Saints that  have hoards at their command! It hath been revealed to her of  me that I am in want of money for daily expenses; so she hath  conjured me these three dinars out of the air." Then said he to  her, "Take, O my aunt, these three dinars which fell from thy  pitcher;" and she replied, "Away with them from me! I am of  the folk who occupy not themselves with the things of the world,  no never! Take them and use them for thine own benefit, in  lieu of those the Emir oweth thee." Quoth he, "Thanks to Allah  for succour! This is of the chapter of revelation!" Thereupon  the maid accosted her and kissing her hand, carried her up to her  mistress. She found the lady as she were a treasure, whose  guardian talisman had been loosed; and Khatun bade her  welcome and kissed her hand. Quoth she, "O my daughter, I  come not to thee save for thy weal and by Allah's will." Then  Khatun set food before her; but she said, "O my daughter, I eat  naught except of the food of Paradise and I keep continual fast  breaking it but five days in the year. But, O my child, I see thee  chagrined and desire that thou tell me the cause of thy concern."  "O my mother," replied Khatun, "I made my husband swear, on  my wedding-night, that he would wive none but me, and he saw  others with children and longed for them and said to me, 'Thou art  a barren thing!' I answered, 'Thou art a mule which begetteth  not'; so he left me in anger, saying, 'When I come back from my  journey, I will take another wife,' for he hath villages and lands  and large allowances, and if he begat children by another, they  will possess the money and take the estates from me." Said  Dalilah, "O my daughter, knowest thou not of my master, the  Shaykh Abú al-Hamlát, [FN#189] whom if any debtor visit, Allah  quitteth him his debt, and if a barren woman, she conceiveth?"  Khatun replied, "O my mother, since the day of my wedding I  have not gone forth the house, no, not even to pay visits of  condolence or congratulation." The old woman rejoined, "O my  child, I will carry thee to him and do thou cast thy burden on  him and make a vow to him: haply when thy husband shall  return from his journey and lie with thee thou shalt conceive by  him and bear a girl or a boy: but, be it female or male, it shall  be a dervish of the Shaykh Abu al-Hamlat." Thereupon Khatun  rose and arrayed herself in her richest raiment, and donning all  her jewellery said, "Keep thou an eye on the house," to her  maid, who replied, "I hear and obey, O my lady." Then she  went down and the porter Abu Ali met her and asked her,  "Whither away, O my lady?" "I go to visit the Shaykh Abu  al-Hamlat;" answered she; and he, "Be a year's fast incumbent  on me! Verily yon Religious is of Allah's saints and full of  holiness, O my lady, and she hath hidden treasure at her  command, for she gave me three dinars of red gold and divined  my case, without my asking her, and knew that I was in want."  Then the old woman went out with the young lady Khatun,  saying to her, "Inshallah, O my daughter, when thou hast visited  the Shaykh Abu al-Hamlat, there shall betide thee solace of soul  and by leave of Almighty Allah thou shalt conceive, and thy  husband the Emir shall love thee by the blessing of the Shaykh  and shall never again let thee hear a despiteful word." Quoth  Khatun, "I will go with thee to visit him, O my mother!" But  Dalilah said to herself, "Where shall I strip her and take her  clothes and jewellery, with the folk coming and going?" Then  she said to her, "O my daughter, walk thou behind me, within  sight of me, for this thy mother is a woman sorely burdened;  everyone who hath a burden casteth it on me and all who have  pious offerings [FN#190] to make give them to me and kiss my hand."  So the young lady followed her at a distance, whilst her anklets  tinkled and her hair-coins [FN#191] clinked as she went, till they reached  the bazar of the merchants. Presently, they came to the shop of a  young merchant, by name Sídí Hasan who was very handsome [FN#192]  and had no hair on his face. He saw the lady approaching and  fell to casting stolen glances at her, which when the old woman  saw, she beckoned to her and said, "Sit down in this shop,  till I return to thee." Khatun obeyed her and sat down in the  shop-front of the young merchant, who cast at her one glance of  eyes that cost him a thousand sighs. Then the old woman  accosted him and saluted him, saying, "Tell me, is not thy  name Sidi Hasan, son of the merchant Mohsin?" He replied,  "Yes, who told thee my name?" Quoth she, "Folk of good  repute direct me to thee. Know that this young lady is my  daughter and her father was a merchant who died and left her  much money. She is come of marriageable age and the wise  say, 'Offer thy daughter in marriage and not thy son'; and all  her life she hath not come forth the house till this day. Now a  divine warning and a command given in secret bid me wed her  to thee; so, if thou art poor, I will give thee capital and will  open for thee instead of one shop two shops." Thereupon quoth  the young merchant to himself, "I asked Allah for a bride, and  He hath given me three things, to wit, coin, clothing, and coynte."  Then he continued to the old trot, "O my mother, that where-to thou directest me is well; but this long while my mother  saith to me, 'I wish to marry thee,' but I object replying, 'I will  not marry except on the sight of my own eyes.'" Said Dalilah,  "Rise and follow my steps, and I will show her to thee, naked." [FN#193]  So he rose and took a thousand dinars, saying in himself,  "Haply we may need to buy somewhat"--And Shahrazad  perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Seven Hundred and First Night,

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the  old woman said to Hasan, son of Mohsin the merchant, "Rise  up and follow me, and I will show her naked to thee." So he  rose and took with him a thousand dinars, saying in himself,  "Haply we may need to buy somewhat or pay the fees for  drawing up the marriage contract." The old woman bade him  walk behind the young lady at a distance but within shot of sight  and said to herself, "Where wilt thou carry the young lady and  the merchant that thou mayest strip them both whilst his shop  is still shut?" Then she walked on and Khatun after her,  followed by the young merchant, till she came to a dyery, kept  by a master dyer, by name Hajj Mohammed, a man of ill-repute;  like the colocasia [FN#194] seller's knife cutting male and female, and  loving to eat both figs and pomegranates. [FN#195] He heard the tinkle of  the ankle rings and, raising his head, saw the lady and the young  man. Presently the old woman came up to him and, after  salaming to him and sitting down opposite him, asked him, "Art  thou not Hajj Mohammed the dyer?" He answered, "Yes, I am  he: what dost thou want?" Quoth she, "Verily, folks of fair  repute have directed me to thee. Look at yonder handsome girl,  my daughter, and that comely beardless youth, my son; I brought  them both up and spent much money on both of them. Now,  thou must know that I have a big old ruinous house which I have  shored up with wood, and the builder saith to me, 'Go and  live in some other place, lest belike it fall upon thee; and when  this is repaired return hither.' So I went forth to seek me a  lodging, and people of worth directed me to thee, and I wish to  lodge my son and daughter with thee." Quoth the dyer in his  mind, "Verily, here is fresh butter upon cake come to thee." But  he said to the old woman, "'Tis true I have a house and saloon  and upper floor; but I cannot spare any part thereof, for I want it  all for guests and for the indigo-growers my clients." She replied,  "O my son, 'twill be only for a month or two at the most, till our  house be repaired, and we are strange folk. Let the guest-chamber  be shared between us and thee, and by thy life, O my son, an thou  desire that thy guests be ours, we will welcome them and eat with  them and sleep with them." Then he gave her the keys, one big  and one small and one crooked, saying to her "The big key is  that of the house, the crooked one that of the saloon and the little  one that of the upper floor." So Dalilah took the keys and fared  on, followed by the lady who forwent the young merchant, till  she came to the lane wherein was the house. She opened the  door and entered, introducing the damsel to whom said she, "O  my daughter, this (pointing to the saloon) is the lodging of the  Shaykh Abu al-Hamlat; but go thou into the upper floor and  loose thy outer veil and wait till I come to thee." So she went  up and sat down. Presently appeared the young merchant, whom  Dalilah carried into the saloon, saying, "Sit down, whilst I fetch  my daughter and show her to thee." So he sat down and the old  trot went up to Khatun who said to her, "I wish to visit the  Shaykh, before the folk come." Replied the beldame, "O my  daughter, we fear for thee." Asked Khatun, "Why so?" and  Dalilah answered, "Because here is a son of mine, a natural who  knoweth not summer from winter, but goeth ever naked. He is  the Shaykh's deputy and, if he saw a girl like thee come to visit  his chief, he would snatch her earrings and tear her ears and rend  her silken robes. [FN#196] So do thou doff thy jewellery and clothes and  I will keep them for thee, till thou hast made thy pious visitation."  Accordingly the damsel did off her outer dress and jewels and  gave them to the old woman, who said, "I will lay them for thee  on the Shaykh's curtain, that a blessing may betide thee." Then  she went out, leaving the lady in her shift and petticoat-trousers,  and hid the clothes and jewels in a place on the staircase; after  which she betook herself to the young merchant, whom she found  impatiently awaiting the girl, and he cried, "Where is thy  daughter, that I may see her?" But she smote palm on breast  and he said "What aileth thee?" Quoth she, "Would there  were no such thing as the ill neighbour and the envious! They  saw thee enter the house with me and asked me of thee; and I  said, 'This is a bridegroom I have found for my daughter.' So  they envied me on thine account and said to my girl, 'Is thy mother  tired of keeping thee, that she marrieth thee to a leper?' There-upon I swore to her that she should not see thee save naked."  Quoth he, "I take refuge with Allah from the envious," and baring  his fore-arm, showed her that it was like silver. Said she, "Have  no fear; thou shalt see her naked, even as she shall see thee  naked;" and he said, "Let her come and look at me. Then he  put off his pelisse and sables and his girdle and dagger and the  rest of his raiment, except his shirt and bag-trousers, and would  have laid the purse of a thousand dinars with them, but Dalilah  cried, 'Give them to me, that I may take care of them." So she  took them and fetching the girl's clothes and jewellery shouldered  the whole and locking the door upon them went her ways.--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her  permitted say.

When it was the Seven Hundred and Second Night,

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when  the old woman had taken the property of the young merchant and  the damsel and wended her ways, having locked the door upon  them, she deposited her spoils with a druggist of her acquaintance  and returned to the dyer, whom she found sitting, awaiting her.  Quoth he, "Inshallah, the house pleaseth thee?"; and quoth she,  "There is a blessing in it; and I go now to fetch porters to carry  hither our goods and furniture. But my children would have me  bring them a panade with meat; so do thou take this dinar and  buy the dish and go and eat the morning meal with them." Asked  the dyer, "Who shall guard the dyery meanwhile and the people's  goods that be therein?"; and the old woman answered, "Thy  lad!" "So be it," rejoined he, and taking a dish and cover, went  out to do her bidding. So far concerning the dyer who will again  be mentioned in the tale; but as regards the old woman, she  fetched the clothes and jewels she had left with the druggist and  going back to the dyery, said to the lad, "Run after thy master,  and I will not stir hence till you both return." "To hear is to  obey," answered he and went away, while she began to collect all  the customers' goods. Presently, there came up an ass-driver, a  scavenger, who had been out of work for a week and who was an  Hashish-eater to boot; and she called him, saying, "Hither, O  donkey-boy!" So he came to her and she asked, "Knowest thou  my son the dyer?"; whereto he answered, "Yes, I know him."  Then she said, "The poor fellow is insolvent and loaded with  debts, and as often as he is put in prison, I set him free. Now  we wish to see him declared bankrupt and I am going to return  the goods to their owners; so do thou lend me thine ass to carry  the load and receive this dinar to its hire. When I am gone, take  the handsaw and empty out the vats and jars and break them, so  that if there come an officer from the Kází's court, he may find  nothing in the dyery." Quoth he, "I owe the Hajj a kindness  and will do something for Allah's love." So she laid the things  on the ass and, the Protector protecting her, made for her own  house; so that she arrived there in safety and went in to her  daughter Zaynab, who said to her, "O my mother, my heart bath  been with thee! What hast thou done by way of roguery?"  Dalilah replied, "I have played off four tricks on four wights; the  wife of the Serjeant-usher, a young merchant, a dyer and an ass-driver, and have brought thee all their spoil on the donkey-boy's  beast." Cried Zaynab, "O my mother, thou wilt never more be  able to go about the town, for fear of the Serjeant-usher, whose  wife's raiment and jewellery thou hast taken, and the merchant  whom thou hast stripped naked, and the dyer whose customers'  goods thou hast stolen and the owner of the ass." Rejoined the  old woman, "Pooh, my girl! I reck not of them, save the donkey-boy, who knoweth me." Meanwhile the dyer bought the meat-panade and set out for the house, followed by his servant with the  food on head. On his way thither, he passed his shop, where he  found the donkey-boy breaking the vats and jars and saw that  there was neither stuff nor liquor left in them and that the dyery  was in ruins. So he said to him, "Hold thy hand, O ass-driver;"  and the donkey-boy desisted and cried, "Praised be Allah for thy  safety, O master! Verily my heart was with thee." "Why so?"  "Thou art become bankrupt and they have filed a docket of thine  insolvency." "Who told thee this?" "Thy mother told me, and  bade me break the jars and empty the vats, that the Kazi's officers  might find nothing in the shop, if they should come." "Allah  confound the far One!" [FN#197] cried the dyer; "My mother died long  ago." And he beat his breast, exclaiming, "Alas, for the loss of  my goods and those of the folk!" The donkey-boy also wept  and ejaculated, "Alas, for the loss of my ass!"; and he said to  the dyer, "Give me back my beast which thy mother stole from  me." The dyer laid hold of him by the throat and fell to buffeting  him, saying, "Bring me the old woman;" whilst the other buffeted  him in return saying, "Give me back my beast." So they beat  and cursed each other, till the folk collected around them--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her  permitted say.

When it was the Seven Hundred and Third Night,

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the  dyer caught hold of the donkey-boy and the donkey-boy caught  hold of the dyer and they beat and cursed each other till the folk  collected round them and one of them asked, "What is the matter,  O Master Mohammed?" The ass-driver answered, "I will tell  thee the tale," and related to them his story, saying, "I deemed I  was doing the dyer a good turn; but, when he saw me he beat his  breast and said, 'My mother is dead.' And now, I for one require  my ass of him, it being he who hath put this trick on me, that he  might make me lose my beast." Then said the folk to the dyer,  "O Master Mohammed, dost thou know this matron, that thou  didst entrust her with the dyery and all therein?" And he  replied, "I know her not; but she took lodgings with me to-day,  she and her son and daughter." Quoth one, "In my judgment,  the dyer is bound to indemnify the ass-driver." Quoth another,  "Why so?" "Because," replied the first, "he trusted not the old  Woman nor gave her his ass save only because he saw that the  dyer had entrusted her with the dyery and its contents." And a  third said, "O master, since thou hast lodged her with thee, it  behoveth thee to get the man back his ass." Then they made for  the house, and the tale will come round to them again. Mean-while, the young merchant remained awaiting the old woman's  coming with her daughter, but she came not nor did her daughter;  whilst the young lady in like manner sat expecting her return  with leave from her son, the God-attended one, the Shaykh's  deputy, to go in to the holy presence. So weary of waiting, she  rose to visit the Shaykh by herself and went down into the saloon,  where she found the young merchant, who said to her, "Come  hither! where is thy mother, who brought me to marry thee?"  She replied, "My mother is dead, art thou the old woman's son,  the ecstatic, the deputy of the Shaykh Abu al-Hamlat?" Quoth  he, "The swindling old trot is no mother of mine; she hath  cheated me and taken my clothes and a thousand dinars." Quoth  Khatun, "And me also hath she swindled for she brought me to  see the Shaykh Abu al-Hamlat and in lieu of so doing she hath  stripped me." Thereupon he, "I look to thee to make good my  clothes and my thousand dinars;" and she, "I look to thee to  make good my clothes and jewellery." And, behold, at this  moment in came the dyer and seeing them both stripped of their  raiment, said to them, "Tell me where your mother is." So the  young lady related all that had befallen her and the young  merchant related all that had betided him, and the Master-dyer  exclaimed, "Alas, for the loss of my goods and those of the folk!";  and the ass-driver ejaculated, "Alas, for my ass! Give me, O  dyer, my ass!" Then said the dyer, "This old woman is a  sharper. Come forth, that I may lock the door." Quoth the  young merchant, "'Twere a disgrace to thee that we should enter  thy house dressed and go forth from it undressed." So the dyer  clad him and the damsel and sent her back to her house where we  shall find her after the return of her husband. Then he shut the  dyery and said to the young merchant, "Come, let us go and  search for the old woman and hand her over to the Wali, [FN#198] the  Chief of Police." So they and the ass-man repaired to the house  of the master of police and made their complaint to him. Quoth  he, "O folk, what want ye?" and when they told him he rejoined,  "How many old women are there not in the town! Go ye and  seek for her and lay hands on her and bring her to me, and I will  torture her for you and make her confess." So they sought for  her all round the town; and an account of them will presently be  given. [FN#199] As for old Dalilah the Wily, she said, "I have a mind to  play off another trick," to her daughter who answered, "O my  mother, I fear for thee;" but the beldam cried, "I am like the bean  husks which fall, proof against fire and water." So she rose, and  donning a slave-girl's dress of such as serve people of condition,  went out to look for some one to defraud. Presently she came to  a by-street, spread with carpets and lighted with hanging lamps,  and heard a noise of singing-women and drumming of tambourines.  Here she saw a handmaid bearing on her shoulder a boy, clad in  trousers laced with silver and a little Abá-cloak of velvet, with a  pearl embroidered Tarbush-cap on his head, and about his neck a  collar of gold set with jewels. Now the house belonged to the  Provost of the Merchants of Baghdad, and the boy was his son.  He had a virgin daughter, to boot, who was promised in marriage,  and it was her betrothal they were celebrating that day. There  was with her mother a company of noble dames and singing-women, and whenever she went upstairs or down, the boy clung  to her. So she called the slave-girl and said to her, "Take thy  young master and play with him, till the company break up."  Seeing this, Dalilah asked the handmaid, "What festivities are  these in your mistress's house;" and was answered "She celebrates  her daughter's betrothal this day, and she hath singing-women  with her." Quoth the old woman to herself, "O Dalilah, the  thing to do is to spirit away this boy from the maid,"--And  Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her  permitted say.

When it was the Seven Hundred and Fourth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the  old trot said to herself, "O Dalilah, the thing to do is to spirit  away this boy from the maid!" she began crying out, "O  disgrace! O ill luck!" Then pulling out a brass token, resembling  a dinar, she said to the maid, who was a simpleton, "Take  this ducat and go in to thy mistress and say to her, 'Umm  al-Khayr rejoiceth with thee and is beholden to thee for thy  favours, and on the day of assembly she and her daughters will  visit thee and handsel the tiring-women with the usual gifts.'"  Said the girl, "O my mother, my young master here catcheth hold  of his mamma, whenever he seeth her;" and she replied "Give  him to me, whilst thou goest in and comest back." So she gave  her the child and taking the token, went in; whereupon Dalilah  made off with the boy to a by-lane, where she stripped him of his  clothes and jewels, saying to herself, "O Dalilah, 'twould indeed  be the finest of tricks, even as thou hast cheated the maid and  taken the boy from her, so now to carry on the game and pawn  him for a thousand dinars." So she repaired to the jewel-bazar,  where she saw a Jew goldsmith seated with a cage full of jewellery  before him, and said to herself, "'Twould be a rare trick to  chouse this Jew fellow and get a thousand gold pieces worth of  jewellery from him and leave the boy in pledge for it." Presently  the Jew looked at them and seeing the boy with the old woman,  knew him for the son of the Provost of the Merchants. Now the  Israelite was a man of great wealth, but would envy his neighbour  if he sold and himself did not sell; so espying Dalilah, he said to  her, "What seekest thou, O my mistress?" She asked, "Art  thou Master Azariah [FN#200] the Jew?" having first enquired his name  of others; and he answered, "Yes." Quoth she, "This boy's  sister, daughter of the Shahbandar of the Merchants, is a promised  bride, and to-day they celebrate her betrothal; and she hath need  of jewellery. So give me two pair of gold ankle-rings, a brace of  gold bracelets, and pearl ear-drops, with a girdle, a poignard and  a seal-ring." He brought them out and she took of him a thousand  dinars' worth of jewellery, saying, "I will take these ornaments on  approval; and whatso pleaseth them, they will keep and I will  bring thee the price and leave this boy with thee till then." He  said, "Be it as thou wilt!" So she took the jewellery and made  off to her own house, where her daughter asked her how the trick  had sped. She told her how she had taken and stripped the  Shahbandar's boy, and Zaynab said, "Thou wilt never be able to  walk abroad again in the town." Meanwhile, the maid went in  to her mistress and said to her, "O my lady, Umm al-Khayr  saluteth thee and rejoiceth with thee and on assembly-day she  will come, she and her daughters, and give the customary  presents." Quoth her mistress, "Where is thy young master?"  Quoth the slave-girl, "I left him with her lest he cling to thee,  and she gave me this, as largesse for the singing-women." So  the lady said to the chief of the singers, "Take thy money;" and  she took it and found it a brass counter; whereupon the lady cried  to the maid, "Get thee down, O whore, and look to thy young  master." Accordingly, she went down and finding neither boy  nor old woman, shrieked aloud and fell on her face. Their joy was  changed into annoy, and behold, the Provost came in, when his  wife told him all that had befallen and he went out in quest of the  child, whilst the other merchants also fared forth and each sought  his own road. Presently, the Shahbandar, who had looked every-where, espied his son seated, naked, in the Jew's shop and said to  tile owner, "This is my son." "'Tis well," answered the Jew. So  he took him up, without asking for his clothes, of the excess of his  joy at finding him; but the Jew laid hold of him, saying, "Allah  succour the Caliph against thee!" [FN#201] The Provost asked, "What  aileth thee, O Jew?"; and he answered, "Verily the old woman  took of me a thousand dinars' worth of jewellery for thy daughter,  and left this lad in pledge for the price; and I had not trusted  her, but that she offered to leave the child whom I knew for thy  Son." Said the Provost, "My daughter needeth no jewellery, give  me the boy's clothes." Thereupon the Jew shrieked out, "Come  to my aid, O Moslems!" but at that moment up came the dyer  and the ass-man and the young merchant, who were going about,  seeking the old woman, and enquired the cause of their jangle.  So they told them the case and they said, "This old woman is a  cheat, who hath cheated us before you." Then they recounted to  them how she had dealt with them, and the Provost said, "Since  I have found my son, be his clothes his ransom! If I come upon  the old woman, I will require them of her." And he carried the  child home to his mother, who rejoiced in his safety. Then the  Jew said to the three others "Whither go ye?"; and they  answered, "We go to look for her." Quoth the Jew, "Take me  with you," presently adding, "Is there any one of you knoweth  her?" The donkey-boy cried, "I know her;" and the Jew said,  "If we all go forth together, we shall never catch her; for she will  flee from us. Let each take a different road, and be our rendezvous  at the shop of Hajj Mas'úd, the Moorish barber." They  agreed to this and set off, each in a different direction. Presently,  Dalilah sallied forth again to play her tricks and the ass-driver  met her and knew her. So he caught hold of her and said to  her, "Woe to thee! Hast thou been long at this trade?" She  asked, "What aileth thee?"; and he answered, "Give me back  my ass." Quoth she, "Cover what Allah covereth, O my son!  Dost thou seek thine ass and the people's things?" Quoth he,  "I want my ass; that's all;" and quoth she, "I saw that thou  wast poor: so I deposited thine ass for thee with the Moorish  barber. Stand off, whilst I speak him fair, that he may give thee  the beast." So she went up to the Maghrabi and kissed his hand  and shed tears. He asked her what ailed her and she said, "O  my son, look at my boy who standeth yonder. He was ill and  exposed himself to the air, which injured his intellect. He used  to buy asses and now, if he stand he saith nothing but, My ass!  if he sit he crieth, My ass! and if he walk he crieth, My ass!  Now I have been told by a certain physician that his mind is  disordered and that nothing will cure him but drawing two of his  grinders and cauterising him twice on either temple. So do thou  take this dinar and call him to thee, saying, 'Thine ass is with  me.'" Said the barber, "May I fast for a year, if I do not give him  his ass in his fist!" Now he had with him two journeymen, so he  said to one of them "Go, heat the irons." Then the old woman  went her way and the barber called to the donkey-boy, [FN#202] saying,  "Thine ass is with me, good fellow! come and take him, and as  thou livest, I will give him into thy palm." So he came to him  and the barber carried him into a dark room, where he knocked  him down and the journeymen bound him hand and foot. Then  the Maghrabi arose and pulled out two of his grinders and fired  him on either temple; after which he let him go, and he rose and  said, "O Moor, why hast thou used me with this usage?" Quoth  the barber, "Thy mother told me that thou hadst taken cold whilst  ill, and hadst lost thy reason, so that, whether sitting or standing  or walking, thou wouldst say nothing but My ass! So here is  thine ass in thy fist." Said the other, "Allah requite thee for  pulling out my teeth." Then the barber told him all that the old  woman had related and he exclaimed, "Allah torment her!"; and  the twain left the shop and went out, disputing. When the barber  returned, he found his booth empty, for, whilst he was absent, the  old woman had taken all that was therein and made off with it to  her daughter, whom she acquainted with all that had befallen and  all she had done. The barber, seeing his place plundered, caught  hold of the donkey-boy and said to him, "Bring me thy mother"  But he answered, saying, "She is not my mother; she is a sharper  who hath cozened much people and stolen my ass." And lo! at  this moment up came the dyer and the Jew and the young  merchant, and seeing the Moorish barber holding on to the ass-driver who was fired on both temples, they said to him, "What  hath befallen thee, O donkey-boy?" So he told them all that  had betided him and the barber did the like; and the others in  turn related to the Moor the tricks the old woman had played  them. Then he shut up his shop and went with them to the  office of the Police-master to whom they said, "We look to  thee for our case and our coin." [FN#203] Quoth the Wali, "And how  many old women are there not in Baghdad! Say me, doth any  of you know her?" Quoth the ass-man, "I do; so give me ten  of thine officers." He gave them half a score archers and they  all five went out, followed by the sergeants, and patrolled the  city, till they met the old woman, when they laid hands on her  and carrying her to the house of the Chief of Police, stood waiting  under his office windows till he should come forth. Presently,  the warders fell asleep, for excess of watching with their chief,  and old Dalilah feigned to follow their example, till the ass-man  and his fellows slept likewise, when she stole away from them  and, going in to the Wali's Harim, kissed the hand of the mistress  of the house and asked her "Where is the Chief of Police?"  The lady answered, "He is asleep; what wouldst thou with  him?" Quoth Dalilah, "My husband is a merchant of chattels  and gave me five Mamelukes to sell, whilst he went on a journey.  The Master of Police met me and bought them of me for a  thousand dinars and two hundred for myself, saying, 'Bring  them to my house.' So I have brought them."--And  Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her  permitted say.

When it was the Seven Hundred and Fifth Night,

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the  old woman, entering the Harim of the Police-Master, said to his  wife, "Verily the Wali bought of me five slaves for one thousand  ducats and two hundred for myself, saying, 'Bring them to my  quarters.' So I have brought them." Hearing the old woman's  story she believed it and asked her, "Where are the slaves?"  Dalilah replied, "O my lady, they are asleep under the palace  window"; whereupon the dame looked out and seeing the Moorish  barber clad in a Mameluke habit and the young merchant as he  were a drunken Mameluke [FN#204] and the Jew and the dyer and the ass-driver as they were shaven Mamelukes, said in herself, "Each  of these white slaves is worth more than a thousand dinars." So  she opened her chest and gave the old woman the thousand ducats,  saying, "Fare thee forth now and come back anon; when my  husband waketh, I will get thee the other two hundred dinars from  him." Answered the old woman, "O my lady, an hundred of them  are thine, under the sherbert-gugglet whereof thou drinkest, [FN#205] and  the other hundred do thou keep for me against I come back,"  presently adding, "Now let me out by the private door." So she  let her out, and the Protector protected her and she made her way  home to her daughter, to whom she related how she had gotten a  thousand gold pieces and sold her five pursuers into slavery,  ending with, "O my daughter, the one who troubleth me most is  the ass-driver, for he knoweth me." Said Zaynab, "O my mother,  abide quiet awhile and let what thou hast done suffice thee, for the  crock shall not always escape the shock." When the Chief of  Police awoke, his wife said to him, "I give thee joy of the five  slaves thou hast bought of the old woman." Asked he, "What  slaves?" And she answered, "Why dost thou deny it to me?  Allah willing, they shall become like thee people of condition."  Quoth he, "As my head liveth, I have bought no slaves! Who  saith this?" Quoth she, "The old woman, the brokeress, from  whom thou boughtest them; and thou didst promise her a  thousand dinars for them and two hundred for herself." Cried  he, "Didst thou give her the money?" And she replied, "Yes;  for I saw the slaves with my own eyes, and on each is a suit of  clothes worth a thousand dinars; so I sent out to bid the sergeants  have an eye to them." The Wali went out and, seeing the five  plaintiffs, said to the officers, "Where are the five slaves we bought  for a thousand dinars of the old woman?" Said they, "There  are no slaves here; only these five men, who found the old woman,  and seized her and brought her hither. We fell asleep, whilst  waiting for thee, and she stole away and entered the Harim.  Presently out came a maid and asked us, 'Are the five with you  with whom the old woman came?'; and we answered, 'Yes.'"  Cried the Master of Police, "By Allah, this is the biggest of  swindles!"; and the five men said, "We look to thee for our  goods." Quoth the Wali, "The old woman, your mistress, sold  you to me for a thousand gold pieces." Quoth they, "That were  not allowed of Allah; we are free-born men and may not be  sold, and we appeal from thee to the Caliph." Rejoined the Master  of Police, "None showed her the way to the house save you, and I  will sell you to the galleys for two hundred dinars apiece." Just  then, behold, up came the Emir Hasan Sharr al-Tarik who, on his  return from his journey, had found his wife stripped of her clothes  and jewellery and heard from her all that had passed; whereupon  quoth he, "The Master of Police shall answer me this" and  repairing to him, said "Dost thou suffer old women to go round  about the town and cozen folk of their goods? This is thy duty  and I look to thee for my wife's property." Then said he to the  five men, "What is the case with you?" So they told him their  stories and he said, "Ye are wronged men," and turning to the  Master of Police, asked him, "Why dost thou arrest them?"  Answered he, "None brought the old wretch to my house save  these five, so that she took a thousand dinars of my money and  sold them to my women." Whereupon the five cried, "O Emir  Hasan, be thou our advocate in this cause." Then said the Master  of Police to the Emir, "Thy wife's goods are at my charge and I  will be surety for the old woman. But which of you knoweth  her?" They cried, "We all know her: send ten apparitors with  us, and we will take her." So he gave them ten men, and the ass-driver said to them, "Follow me, for I should know her with blue  eyes." [FN#206] Then they fared forth and lo! they meet old Dalilah  coming out of a by-street: so they at once laid hands on her and  brought her to the office of the Wali who asked her, "Where are  the people's goods?" But she answered, saying, "I have neither  gotten them nor seen them." Then he cried to the gaoler, "Take  her with thee and clap her in gaol till the morning;" but he replied,  "I will not take her nor will I imprison her lest she play a trick  on me and I be answerable for her." So the Master of Police  mounted and rode out with Dalilah and the rest to the bank of the  Tigris, where he bade the lamp-lighter crucify her by her hair.  He drew her up by the pulley and bound her on the cross; after  which the Master of Police set ten men to guard her and went  home. Presently, the night fell down and sleep overcame the  watchmen. Now a certain Badawi had heard one man say to a  friend, "Praise be to Allah for thy safe return! Where hast thou  been all this time?" Replied the other, "In Baghdad where I  broke my fast on honey-fritters." [FN#207] Quoth the Badawi to himself  "Needs must I go to Baghdad and eat honey-fritters therein"; for  in all his life he had never entered Baghdad nor seen fritters of the  sort. So he mounted his stallion and rode on towards Baghdad,  saying in his mind, "'Tis a fine thing to eat honey-fritters! On the  honour of an Arab, I will break my fast with honey-fritters and  naught else!"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and  ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Seven Hundred and Sixth Night,

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the wild  Arab mounted horse and made for Baghdad saying in his mind,  "'Tis a fine thing to eat honey-fritters! On the honour of an  Arab I will break my fast with honey-fritters and naught else;"  and he rode on till he came to the place where Dalilah was  crucified and she heard him utter these words. So he went up  to her and said to her, "What art thou?" Quoth she, "I throw  myself on thy protection, O Shaykh of the Arabs!" and quoth  lie, "Allah indeed protect thee! But what is the cause of thy  crucifixion?" Said she, "I have an enemy, an oilman, who frieth  fritters, and I stopped to buy some of him, when I chanced to spit  and my spittle fell on the fritters. So he complained of me to the  Governor who commanded to crucify me, saying, 'I adjudge  that ye take ten pounds of honey-fritters and feed her therewith  upon the cross. If she eat them, let her go, but if not, leave her  hanging.' And my stomach will not brook sweet things." Cried  the Badawi, "By the honour of the Arabs, I departed not the  camp but that I might taste of honey-fritters! I will eat them  for thee." Quoth she, "None may eat them, except he be hung  up in my place." So he fell into the trap and unbound her;  whereupon she bound him in her stead, after she had stripped him  of his clothes and turband and put them on; then covering herself  with his burnouse and mounting his horse, she rode to her house,  where Zaynab asked her, "What meaneth this plight?"; and she  answered, "They crucified me;" and told her all that had befallen  her with the Badawi. This is how it fared with her; but as regards  the watchmen, the first who woke roused his companions and they  saw that the day had broken. So one of them raised his eyes  and cried, "Dalilah." Replied the Badawi, "By Allah! I have  not eaten all night. Have ye brought the honey-fritters?" All  exclaimed, "This is a man and a Badawi, and one of them  asked him, "O Badawi, where is Dalilah and who loosed her?"  He answered, "'Twas I; she shall not eat the honey-fritters against  her will; for her soul abhorreth them." So they knew that the  Arab was ignorant of her case, whom she had cozened, and said  to one another, "Shall we flee or abide the accomplishment of that  which Allah hath written for us?" As they were talking, up came  the Chief of Police, with all the folk whom the old woman had  cheated, and said to the guards, "Arise, loose Dalilah." Quoth  the Badawi, "We have not eaten to-night. Hast thou brought the  honey-fritters?" Whereupon the Wali raised his eyes to the cross  and seeing the Badawi hung up in the stead of the old woman,  said to the watchmen, "What is this?" "Pardon, O our lord!"  "Tell me what hath happened" "We were weary with watching  with thee on guard and , 'Dalilah is crucified.' So we fell  asleep, and when we awoke, we found the Badawi hung up in her  room; and we are at thy mercy." "O folk, Allah's pardon be  upon you! She is indeed a clever cheat!" Then they unbound  the Badawi, who laid hold of the Master of Police, saying, "Allah  succour the Caliph against thee! I look to none but thee for my  horse and clothes!" So the Wali questioned him and he told  him what had passed between Dalilah and himself. The magistrate  marvelled and asked him, "Why didst thou release her?";  and the Badawi answered, "I knew not that she was a felon."  Then said the others, "O Chief of Police, we look to thee in the  matter of our goods; for we delivered the old woman into thy  hands and she was in thy guard; and we cite thee before the  Divan of the Caliph." Now the Emir Hasan had gone up to the  Divan, when in came the Wali with the Badawi and the five others,  saying, "Verily, we are wronged men!" "Who hath wronged  you?" asked the Caliph; so each came forward in turn and told  his story, after which said the Master of Police, "O Commander  of the Faithful, the old woman cheated me also and sold me these  five men as slaves for a thousand dinars, albeit they are free-born."  Quoth the Prince of True Believers, "I take upon myself all that  you have lost"; adding to the Master of Police, "I charge thee  with the old woman." But he shook his collar, saying, "O Commander  of the Faithful, I will not answer for her; for, after I had  hung her on the cross, she tricked this Badawi and, when he loosed  her, she tied him up in her room and made off with his clothes and  horse." Quoth the Caliph, "Whom but thee shall I charge with  her?"; and quoth the Wali, "Charge Ahmad al-Danaf, for he  hath a thousand dinars a month and one-and-forty followers, at a  monthly wage of an hundred dinars each." So the Caliph said,  "Harkye, Captain Ahmad!" "At thy service, O Commander of  the Faithful," said he; and the Caliph cried, "I charge thee to  bring the old woman before us." Replied Ahmad, "I will answer  for her." Then the Caliph kept the Badawi and the five with him, --And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying  her permitted say.

When it was the Seven Hundred and Seventh Night,

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when  the Caliph said to Calamity Ahmad, "I charge thee to bring the  old woman before us," he said, "I will answer for her O Commander  of the Faithful!" Then the Caliph kept the Badawi and  the five with him, whilst Ahmad and his men went down to their  hall, [FN#208] saying to one another, "How shall we lay hands on her,  seeing that there are many old women in the town?" And quoth  Ahmad to Hasan Shuman, "What counsellest thou?" Whereupon  quoth one of them, by name Ali Kitf al-Jamal, [FN#209] to Al-Danaf, "Of  what dost thou take counsel with Hasan Shuman? Is the Pestilent  one any great shakes?" Said Hasan, "O Ali, why dost thou  disparage me? By the Most Great Name, I will not company  with thee at this time!"; and he rose and went out in wrath.  Then said Ahmad, "O my braves, let every sergeant take ten men,  each to his own quarter and search for Dalilah." All did his  bidding, Ali included, and they said, "Ere we disperse let us agree  to rendezvous in the quarter Al-Kalkh." It was noised abroad  in the city that Calamity Ahmad had undertaken to lay hands on  Dalilah the Wily, and Zaynab said to her, "O my mother, an thou  be indeed a trickstress, do thou befool Ahmad al-Danaf and his  company." Answered Dalilah, "I fear none save Hasan Shuman;"  and Zaynab said, "By the life of my browlock, I will assuredly  get thee the clothes of all the one-and-forty." Then she dressed  and veiled herself and going to a certain druggist, who had a  saloon with two doors, salamed to him and gave him an ashrafi  and said to him, "Take this gold piece as a douceur for thy saloon  and let it to me till the end of the day." So he gave her the  keys and she fetched carpets and so forth on the stolen ass and  furnishing the place, set on each raised pavement a tray of meat  and wine. Then she went out and stood at the door, with her  face unveiled and behold, up came Ali Kitf al-Jamal and his  men. She kissed his hand; and he fell in love with her, seeing  her to be a handsome girl, and said to her, "What dost thou  want?" Quoth she, "Art thou Captain Ahmad al-Danaf?";  and quoth he, "No, but I am of his company and my name is  Ali Camel-shoulder." Asked she, "Whither fare you?"; and he  answered, "We go about in quest of a sharkish old woman, who  hath stolen folk's good, and we mean to lay hands on her. But  who art thou and what is thy business?" She replied, "My  father was a taverner at Mosul and he died and left me much  money. So I came hither, for fear of the Dignities, and asked  the people who would protect me, to which they replied, 'None  but Ahmad al-Danaf.'" Said the men, "From this day forth,  thou art under his protection"; and she replied, "Hearten me  by eating a bit and drinking a sup of water." [FN#210] They consented  and entering, ate and drank till they were drunken, when she  drugged them with Bhang and stripped them of their clothes and  arms; and on like wise she did with the three other companions.  Presently, Calamity Ahmad went out to look for Dalilah, but  found her not, neither set eyes on any of his followers, and went  on till he came to the door where Zaynab was standing. She  kissed his hand and he looked on her and fell in love with her.  Quoth she, "Art thou Captain Ahmad al-Danaf?"; and quoth he,  "Yes: who art thou?" She replied, "I am a stranger from  Mosul. My father was a vintner at that place and he died and  left me much money wherewith I came to this city, for fear of the  powers that be, and opened this tavern. The Master of Police  hath imposed a tax on me, but it is my desire to put myself under  thy protection and pay thee what the police would take of me, for  thou hast the better right to it." Quoth he, "Do not pay him  aught: thou shalt have my protection and welcome." Then quoth  she, "Please to heal my heart and eat of my victual," So he  entered and ate and drank wine, till he could not sit upright, when  she drugged him and took his clothes and arms. Then she loaded  her purchase on the Badawi's horse and the donkey-boy's ass and  made off with it, after she had aroused Ali Kitf al-Jamal. Camel-shoulder awoke and found himself naked and saw Ahmad and his  men drugged and stripped: so he revived them with the counter-drug and they awoke and found themselves naked. Quoth Calamity  Ahmad, "O lads, what is this? We were going to catch her,  and lo! this strumpet hath caught us! How Hasan Shuman will  rejoice over us! But we will wait till it is dark and then go away."  Meanwhile Pestilence Hasan said to the hall-keeper, "Where are  the men?"; and as he asked, up they came naked; and he recited  these two couplets [FN#211],

"Men in their purposes are much alike, * But in their issues difference comes to light:
Of men some wise are, others simple souls; * As of the stars some dull, some pearly bright.

Then he looked at them and asked, "Who hath played you this  trick and made you naked?"; and they answered, "We went in  quest of an old woman, and a pretty girl stripped us." Quoth  Hasan, "She hath done right well." They asked, "Dost thou  know her?"; and he answered, "Yes, I know her and the old trot  too." Quoth they, "What shall we say to the Caliph?"; and  quoth he, "O Danaf, do thou shake thy collar before him, and he  will say, 'Who is answerable for her'; and if he ask why thou  hast not caught her; say thou, 'We know her not; but charge  Hasan Shuman with her.' And if he give her into my charge, I  will lay hands on her." So they slept that night and on the  morrow they went up to the Caliph's Divan and kissed ground  before him. Quoth he, "Where is the old woman, O Captain  Ahmad?" But he shook his collar. The Caliph asked him why  he did so, and he answered, "I know her not; but do thou charge  Hasan Shuman to lay hands on her, for he knoweth her and her  daughter also." Then Hasan interceded for her with the Caliph,  saying, "Indeed, she hath not played off these tricks, because she  coveted the folk's stuff, but to show her cleverness and that of her  daughter, to the intent that thou shouldst continue her husband's  stipend to her and that of her father to her daughter. So an thou  wilt spare her life I will fetch her to thee." Cried the Caliph,  "By the life of my ancestors, if she restore the people's goods, I  will pardon her on thine intercession!" And said the Pestilence,  "Give me a pledge, O Prince of True Believers!" Whereupon  Al-Rashid gave him the kerchief of pardon. So Hasan repaired  to Dalilah's house and called to her. Her daughter Zaynab  answered him and he asked her, "Where is thy mother?"  "Upstairs," she answered; and he said, "Bid her take the people's  goods and come with me to the presence of the Caliph; for I  have brought her the kerchief of pardon, and if she will not come  with a good grace, let her blame only herself." So Dalilah came  down and tying the kerchief about her neck gave him the people's  goods on the donkey-boy's ass and the Badawi's horse. Quoth  he, "There remain the clothes of my Chief and his men"; and  quoth she, "By the Most Great Name, 'twas not I who stripped  them!" Rejoined Hasan, "Thou sayst sooth, it was thy daughter  Zaynab's doing, and this was a good turn she did thee." Then he  carried her to the Divan and laying the people's goods and stuff  before the Caliph, set the old trot in his presence. As soon as he  saw her, he bade throw her down on the carpet of blood, whereat  she cried, "I cast myself on thy protection, O Shuman."' So he  rose and kissing the Caliph's hands, said, "Pardon, O Commander  of the Faithful! Indeed, thou gavest me the kerchief of pardon."  Said the Prince of True Believers, "I pardon her for thy sake:  come hither, O old woman; what is thy name?" "My name is  Wily Dalilah," answered she, and the Caliph said "Thou art  indeed crafty and full of guile." Whence she was dubbed Dalilah  the Wily One. Then quoth he, "Why hast thou played all these  tricks on the folk and wearied our hearts?" and quoth she, "I did  it not of lust for their goods, but because I had heard of the  tricks which Ahmad al-Danaf and Hasan Shuman played in  Baghdad and said to myself, 'I too will do the like.' And now  I have returned the folk their goods." But the ass-driver rose  and said "I invoke Allah's law [FN#212] between me and her; for it  sufficed her not to take my ass, but she must needs egg on the  Moorish barber to tear out my eye-teeth and fire me on both  temples."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and  ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Seven Hundred and Eighth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the  donkey-boy rose and cried out, "I invoke Allah's law between me  and her; for it sufficed her not to take my ass, but she must needs  egg on the barber to tear out my eye-teeth and fire me on both  temples;" thereupon the Caliph bade give him an hundred  dinars and ordered the dyer the like, saying, "Go; set up thy  dyery again." So they called down blessings on his head and  went away. The Badawi also took his clothes and horse and  departed, saying, "'Tis henceforth unlawful and forbidden me to  enter Baghdad and eat honey-fritters." And the others took their  goods and went away. Then said the Caliph, "Ask a boon of  me, O Dalilah!"; and she said, "Verily, my father was governor  of the carrier-pigeons to thee and I know how to rear the birds;  and my husband was town-captain of Baghdad. Now I wish to  have the reversion of my husband and my daughter wisheth to  have that of her father." The Caliph granted both their requests  and she said, "I ask of thee that I may be portress of thy Khan."  Now he had built a Khan of three stories, for the merchants to  lodge in, and had assigned to its service forty slaves and also forty  dogs he had brought from the King of the Sulaymániyah, [FN#213] when  he deposed him; and there was in the Khan a cook-slave, who  cooked for the chattels and fed the hounds for which he let make  collars. Said the Caliph, "O Dalilah, I will write thee a patent  of guardianship of the Khan, and if aught be lost therefrom, thou  shalt be answerable for it. "'Tis well," replied she; "but do  thou lodge my daughter in the pavilion over the door of the Khan,  for it hath terraced roofs, and carrier-pigeons may not be reared to  advantage save in an open space." The Caliph granted her this  also and she and her daughter removed to the pavilion in question,  where Zaynab hung up the one-and-forty dresses of Calamity  Ahmad and his company. Moreover, they delivered to Dalilah  the forty pigeons which carried the royal messages, and the Caliph  appointed the Wily One mistress over the forty slaves and charged  them to obey her. She made the place of her sitting behind the  door of the Khan, and every day she used to go up to the Caliph's  Divan, lest he should need to send a message by pigeon-post and  stay there till eventide whilst the forty slaves stood on guard at  the Khan; and when darkness came on they loosed the forty  dogs that they might keep watch over the place by night. Such  were the doings of Dalilah the Wily One in Baghdad and much  like them were

 The Adventures of Mercury Ali of Cairo. [FN#214]

Now as regards the works of Mercury 'Alí; there lived once at  Cairo, [FN#215] in the days of Saláh the Egyptian, who was Chief of the  Cairo Police and had forty men under him, a sharper named Ali,  for whom the Master of Police used to set snares and think that  he had fallen therein; but, when they sought for him, they found  that he had fled like zaybak, or quicksilver, wherefore they dubbed  him Ali Zaybak or Mercury Ali of Cairo. Now one day, as he  sat with his men in his hall, his heart became heavy within him  and his breast was straitened. The hall-keeper saw him sitting  with frowning face and said to him, "What aileth thee, O my  Chief? If thy breast be straitened take a turn in the streets of  Cairo, for assuredly walking in her markets will do away with  thy irk." So he rose up and went out and threaded the streets  awhile, but only increased in cark and care. Presently, he came  to a wine-shop and said to himself, "I will go in and drink myself  drunken." So he entered and seeing seven rows of people in  the shop, said, "Harkye, taverner! I will not sit except by  myself." Accordingly, the vintner placed him in a chamber alone  and set strong pure wine before him whereof he drank till he lost  his senses. Then he sallied forth again and walked till he came  to the road called Red, whilst the people left the street clear  before him, out of fear of him. Presently, he turned and saw a  water-carrier trudging along, with his skin and gugglet, crying out  and saying, "O exchange! There is no drink but what raisins  make, there is no love-delight but what of the lover we take and  none sitteth in the place of honour save the sensible freke [FN#216]!" So  he said to him, "Here, give me to drink!" The water-carrier  looked at him and gave him the gugglet which he took and  gazing into it, shook it up and lastly poured it out on the ground.  Asked the water-carrier, "Why dost thou not drink?"; and he  answered, saying, "Give me to drink." So the man filled the cup  a second time and he took it and shook it and emptied it on the  ground; and thus he did a third time. Quoth the water-carrier,  "An thou wilt not drink, I will be off." And Ali said, "Give me  to drink." So he filled the cup a fourth time and gave it to him;  and he drank and gave the man a dinar. The water-carrier looked  at him with disdain and said, belittling him, "Good luck to thee!  Good luck to thee, my lad! Little folk are one thing and great  folk another!"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and  ceased saying her permitted say,

When it was the Seven Hundred and Ninth Night,

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the  water-carrier receiving the dinar, looked at the giver with disdain  and said "Good luck to thee! Good luck to thee! Little folk  are one thing and great folk another." Now when Mercury Ali  heard this, he caught hold of the man's gaberdine and drawing on  him a poignard of price, such an one as that whereof the poet  speaketh in these two couplets,

"Watered steel-blade, the world perfection calls, * Drunk with the viper poison foes appals,
Cuts lively, burns the blood whene'er it falls; * And picks up gems from pave of marble halls;" [FN#217]

cried to him, "O Shaykh, speak reasonably to me! Thy water-skin is worth if dear three dirhams, and the gugglets I emptied on  the ground held a pint or so of water." Replied the water-carrier  "'Tis well," and Ali rejoined, "I gave thee a golden ducat: why,  then dost thou belittle me? Say me, hast thou ever seen any  more valiant than I or more generous than I?" Answered the  water-carrier; "I have indeed, seen one more valiant than thou  and eke more generous than thou; for, never, since women bare  children, was there on earth's face a brave man who was not  generous." Quoth Ali, "And who is he thou deemest braver and  more generous than I?" Quoth the other, "Thou must know  that I have had a strange adventure. My father was a Shaykh  of the Water-carriers who give drink in Cairo and, when he died,  he left me five male camels, a he-mule, a shop and a house; but  the poor man is never satisfied; or, if he be satisfied he dieth.  So I said to myself, 'I will go up to Al-Hijaz'; and, taking a  string of camels, bought goods on tick, till I had run in debt for  five hundred ducats, all of which I lost in the pilgrimage. Then  I said in my mind, 'If I return to Cairo the folk will clap me in  jail for their goods.' So I fared with the pilgrims-caravan of  Damascus to Aleppo and thence I went on to Baghdad, where I  sought out the Shaykh of the Water-carriers of the city and  finding his house I went in and repeated the opening chapter of  the Koran to him. He questioned me of my case and I told  him all that had betided me, whereupon he assigned me a shop  and gave me a water-skin and gear. So I sallied forth a-morn  trusting in Allah to provide, and went round about the city. I  offered the gugglet to one, that he might drink; but he cried, 'I  have eaten naught whereon to drink; for a niggard invited me  this day and set two gugglets before me; so I said to him, 'O  son of the sordid, hast thou given me aught to eat that thou  offerest me drink after it?' Wherefore wend thy ways, O water-carrier, till I have eaten somewhat: then come and give me to  drink.' Thereupon I accosted another and he said, 'Allah  provide thee!' And so I went on till noon, without taking hansel,  and I said to myself, 'Would Heaven I had never come to  Baghdad!' Presently, I saw the folk running as fast as they could;  so I followed them and behold, a long file of men riding two and  two and clad in steel, with double neck-rings and felt bonnets and  burnouses and swords and bucklers. I asked one of the folk  whose suite this was, and he answered, 'That of Captain Ahmad  al-Danaf.' Quoth I, 'And what is he?' and quoth the other, 'He  is town-captain of Baghdad and her Divan, and to him is  committed the care of the suburbs. He getteth a thousand dinars a  month from the Caliph and Hasan Shuman hath the like. More-over, each of his men draweth an hundred dinars a month; and  they are now returning to their barrack from the Divan.' And lo!  Calamity Ahmad saw me and cried out, 'Come give me drink.' So  I filled the cup and gave it him, and he shook it and emptied it  out, like unto thee; and thus he did a second time. Then I filled  the cup a third time and he took a draught as thou diddest; after  which he asked me, 'O water-carrier, whence comest thou?' And  I answered, 'From Cairo,' and he, 'Allah keep Cairo and her  citizens! What may bring thee thither?' So I told him my story  and gave him to understand that I was a debtor fleeing from debt  and distress. He cried, 'Thou art welcome to Baghdad'; then he  gave me five dinars and said to his men, 'For the love of Allah be  generous to him.' So each of them gave me a dinar and Ahmad  said to me, 'O Shaykh, what while thou abidest in Baghdad thou  shalt have of us the like every time thou givest us to drink.'  Accordingly, I paid them frequent visits and good ceased not to  come to me from the folk till, one day, reckoning up the profit I  had made of them, I found it a thousand dinars and said to  myself, 'The best thing thou canst do is to return to Egypt.' So I  went to Ahmad's house and kissed his hand, and he said, 'What  seekest thou?' Quoth I, 'I have a mind to depart'; and I repeated  these two couplets,

'Sojourn of stranger, in whatever land, * Is like castle based upon the wind:
The breaths of breezes level all he raised. * And so on homeward-way's the stranger's mind.'

I added, 'The caravan is about to start for Cairo and I wish to  return to my people.' So he gave me a she-mule and an hundred  dinars and said to me, 'I desire to send somewhat by thee, O  Shaykh! Dost thou know the people of Cairo?' 'Yes,' answered  I";--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to  say her permitted say.

When it was the Seven Hundred and Tenth Night,

She pursued, It bath reached me, O auspicious King, that when  Ahmad al-Danaf had given the water-carrier a she-mule and an  hundred dinars and said to him, "I desire to send a trust by thee.  Dost thou know the people of Cairo?" "I answered (quoth the  water-carrier), 'Yes'; and he said, 'Take this letter and carry it to  Ali Zaybak of Cairo and say to him, 'Thy Captain saluteth thee  and he is now with the Caliph.' So I took the letter and journeyed  back to Cairo, where I paid my debts and plied my water-carrying  trade; but I have not delivered the letter, because I know  not the abode of Mercury Ali." Quoth Ali, "O elder, be of  good cheer and keep thine eyes cool and clear: I am that Ali,  the first of the lads of Captain Ahmad: here with the letter!"  So he gave him the missive and he opened it and read these two  couplets,

"O adornment of beauties to thee write I * On a paper that flies as the winds go by:
Could I fly, I had flown to their arms in desire, * But a bird with cut wings; how shall ever he fly?"

"But after salutation from Captain Ahmad al-Danaf to the  eldest of his sons, Mercury Ali of Cairo. Thou knowest that I  tormented Salah al-Din the Cairene and befooled him till I buried  him alive and reduced his lads to obey me, and amongst them  Ali Kitf al-Jamal; and I am now become town-captain of  Baghdad in the Divan of the Caliph who hath made me over-seer of the suburbs. An thou be still mindful of our covenant,  come to me; haply thou shalt play some trick in Baghdad which  may promote thee to the Caliph's service, so he may appoint thee  stipends and allowances and assign thee a lodging, which is what  thou wouldst see and so peace be on thee." When Ali read this  letter, he kissed it and laying it on his head, gave the water-carrier ten dinars; after which he returned to his barracks and  told his comrades and said to them, "I commend you one to  other." Then he changed all his clothes and, donning a travelling  cloak and a tarboosh, took a case, containing a spear of bamboo-cane, four-and-twenty cubits long, made in several pieces, to fit  into one another. Quoth his lieutenant, "Wilt thou go a journey  when the treasury is empty?"; and quoth Ali, "When I reach  Damascus I will send you what shall suffice you." Then he set  out and fared on, till he overtook a caravan about to start,  whereof were the Shah-bandar, or Provost of the Merchants, and  forty other traders. They had all loaded their beasts, except  the Provost, whose loads lay upon the ground, and Ali heard his  caravan-leader, who was a Syrian, say to the muleteers, "Bear a  hand, one of you!" But they reviled him and abused him.  Quoth Ali in himself, "None will suit me so well to travel  withal as this leader." Now Ali was beardless and well-favoured;  so he went up to and saluted the leader who welcomed him and  said, "What seekest thou?" Replied Ali, "O my uncle, I see  thee alone with forty mule-loads of goods; but why hast thou not  brought hands to help thee?" Rejoined the other, "O my son, I  hired two lads and clothed them and put in each one's pocket  two hundred dinars; and they helped me till we came to the  Dervishes' Convent, [FN#218] when they ran away." Quoth Ali, "Whither  are you bound?" and quoth the Syrian, "to Aleppo," when  Ali said, "I will lend thee a hand." Accordingly they loaded  the beasts and the Provost mounted his she-mule and they set out  he rejoicing in Ali; and presently he loved him and made  much of him and on this wise they fared on till nightfall, when  they dismounted and ate and drank. Then came the time of  sleep and Ali lay down on his side and made as if he slept;  whereupon the Syrian stretched himself near him and Ali rose  from his stead and sat down at the door of the merchant's  pavilion. Presently the Syrian turned over and would have  taken Ali in his arms, but found him not and said to himself,  "Haply he hath promised another and he hath taken him;  but I have the first right and another night I will keep him."  Now Ali continued sitting at the door of the tent till nigh upon  daybreak, when he returned and lay down near the Syrian, who  found him by his side, when he awoke, and said to himself, "If  I ask him where he hath been, he will leave me and go away."  So he dissembled with him and they went on till they came to  a forest, in which was a cave, where dwelt a rending lion. Now  whenever a caravan passed, they would draw lots among  themselves and him on whom the lot fell they would throw to  the beast. So they drew lots and the lot fell not save upon the  Provost of the Merchants. And lo! the lion cut off their way  awaiting his prey, wherefore the Provost was sore distressed  and said to the leader, "Allah disappoint the fortunes [FN#219] of the far  one and bring his journey to naught! I charge thee, after my  death, give my loads to my children." Quoth Ali the Clever  One, "What meaneth all this?" So they told him the case and  he said, "Why do ye run from the tom-cat of the desert? I  warrant you I will kill him." So the Syrian went to the Provost  and told him of this and he said, "If he slay him, I will give him  a thousand dinars," and said the other merchants, "We will  reward him likewise one and all." With this Ali put off  his mantle and there appeared upon him a suit of steel; then he  took a chopper of steel [FN#220] and opening it turned the screw; after  which he went forth alone and standing in the road before the  lion, cried out to him. The lion ran at him, but Ali of Cairo  smote him between the eyes with his chopper and cut him in  sunder, whilst the caravan-leader and the merchants looked on.  Then said he to the leader, "Have no fear, O nuncle!" and the  Syrian answered, saying, "O my son, I am thy servant for all  future time." Then the Provost embraced him and kissed him  between the eyes and gave him the thousand dinars, and each of  the other merchants gave him twenty dinars. He deposited all  the coin with the Provost and they slept that night till the morning,  when they set out again, intending for Baghdad, and fared on  till they came to the Lion's Clump and the Wady of Dogs, where  lay a villain Badawi, a brigand and his tribe, who sallied forth on  them. The folk fled from the highwaymen, and the Provost said,  "My monies are lost!"; when, lo! up came Ali in a buff coat  hung with bells, and bringing out his long lance, fitted the pieces  together. Then he seized one of the Arab's horses and mounting  it cried out to the Badawi Chief, saying, "Come out to fight me  with spears!" Moreover he shook his bells and the Arab's mare  took fright at the noise and Ali struck the Chief's spear and broke  it. Then he smote him on the neck and cut off his head. [FN#221] When the  Badawin saw their chief fall, they ran at Ali, but he cried out, saying,  "Allaho Akbar--God is Most Great!"--and, falling on them  broke them and put them to flight. Then he raised the Chief's head  on his spear-point and returned to the merchants, who rewarded  him liberally and continued their journey, till they reached  Baghdad. Thereupon Ali took his money from the Provost and  committed it to the Syrian caravan-leader, saying, "When thou  returnest to Cairo, ask for my barracks and give these monies to  my deputy." Then he slept that night and on the morrow he  entered the city and threading the streets enquired for Calamity  Ahmad's quarters; but none would direct him thereto. [FN#222] So he  walked on, till he came to the square Al-Nafz, where he saw  children at play, and amongst them a lad called Ahmad al-Lakít, [FN#223]  and said to himself, "O my Ali, thou shalt not get news of them  but from their little ones." Then he turned and seeing a sweet-meat-seller bought Halwá of him and called to the children; but  Ahmad al-Lakit drove the rest away and coming up to him, said,  "What seekest thou?" Quoth Ali, "I had a son and he died and  I saw him in a dream asking for sweetmeats: wherefore I have  bought them and wish to give each child a bit." So saying, he  gave Ahmad a slice, and he looked at it and seeing a dinar  sticking to it, said "Begone! I am no catamite: seek another  than I." Quoth Ali, "O my son, none but a sharp fellow taketh  the hire, even as he is a sharp one who giveth it. I have sought  all day for Ahmad al-Danaf's barrack, but none would direct me  thereto; so this dinar is thine an thou wilt guide me thither."  Quoth the lad, "I will run before thee and do thou keep up with  me, till I come to the place, when I will catch up a pebble with  my foot [FN#224] and kick it against the door; and so shalt thou know it."  Accordingly he ran on and Ali after him, till they came to the  place, when the boy caught up a pebble between his toes and  kicked it against the door so as to make the place known.--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her  permitted say.

When it was the Seven Hundred and Eleventh Night,

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when  Ahmad the Abortion had made known the place, Ali laid hold of  him and would have taken the dinar from him, but could not; so  he said to him, "Go: thou deservest largesse for thou art a sharp  fellow, whole of wit and stout of heart. Inshallah, if I become a  captain to the Caliph, I will make thee one of my lads." Then  the boy made off and Ali Zaybak went up to the door and knocked;  whereupon quoth Ahmad al-Danaf, "O doorkeeper, open the  door; that is the knock of Quicksilver Ali the Cairene." So he  opened the door and Ali entered and saluted with the salam  Ahmad who embraced him, and the Forty greeted him. Then  Calamity Ahmad gave him a suit of clothes, saying, "When the  Caliph made me captain, he clothed my lads and I kept this suit [FN#225]  for thee." Then they seated him in the place of honour and  setting on meat they ate well and drink they drank hard and  made merry till the morning, when Ahmad said to Ali, "Beware  thou walk not about the streets of Baghdad, but sit thee still in  this barrack." Asked Ali, "Why so? Have I come hither to be  shut up? No, I came to look about me and divert myself."  Replied Ahmad, "O my son, think not that Baghdad be like  Cairo. Baghdad is the seat of the Caliphate; sharpers abound  therein and rogueries spring therefrom as worts spring out of  earth." So Ali abode in the barrack three days when Ahmad  said to him, "I wish to present thee to the Caliph, that he  may assign thee an allowance." But he replied, "When the  time cometh." So he let him go his own way. One day, as  Ali sat in the barrack, his breast became straitened and his soul  troubled and he said in himself, "Come, let us up and thread the  ways of Baghdad and broaden my bosom." So he went out and  walked from street to street, till he came to the middle bazar,  where he entered a cook-shop and dined; [FN#226] after which he went out  to wash his hands. Presently he saw forty slaves, with felt  bonnets and steel cutlasses, come walking, two by two; and last of all  came Dalilah the Wily, mounted on a she-mule, with a gilded  helmet which bore a ball of polished steel, and clad in a coat of  mail, and such like. Now she was returning from the Divan to  the Khan of which she was portress; and when she espied Ali,  she looked at him fixedly and saw that he resembled Calamity  Ahmad in height and breadth. Moreover, he was clad in a striped  Abá-cloak and a burnous, with a steel cutlass by his side and  similar gear, while valour shone from his eyes, testifying in favour  of him and not in disfavour of him. So she returned to the Khan  and going in to her daughter, fetched a table of sand, and struck  a geomantic figure, whereby she discovered that the stranger's  name was Ali of Cairo and that his fortune overcame her fortune  and that of her daughter. Asked Zaynab, "O my mother, what  hath befallen thee that thou hast recourse to the sand-table?"  Answered Dalilah, "O my daughter, I have seen this day a young  man who resembleth Calamity Ahmad, and I fear lest he come to  hear how thou didst strip Ahmad and his men and enter the Khan  and play us a trick, in revenge for what we did with his chief and  the forty; for methinks he has taken up his lodging in Al-Danaf's  barrack." Zaynab rejoined, "What is this? Methinks thou hast  taken his measure." Then she donned her fine clothes and went  out into the streets. When the people saw her, they all made love  to her and she promised and sware and listened and coquetted and  passed from market to market, till she saw Ali the Cairene coming,  when she went up to him and rubbed her shoulder against him.  Then she turned and said "Allah give long life to folk of  discrimination!" Quoth he, "How goodly is thy form! To whom  dost thou belong?"; and quoth she, "To the gallant [FN#227] like thee;"  and he said, "Art thou wife or spinster?" "Married," said she.  Asked Ali, "Shall it be in my lodging or thine? [FN#228] and she  answered, "I am a merchant's daughter and a merchant's wife  and in all my life I have never been out of doors till to-day, and  my only reason was that when I made ready food and thought to  eat, I had no mind thereto without company. When I saw thee,  love of thee entered my heart: so wilt thou deign solace my soul  and eat a mouthful with me?" Quoth he, "Whoso is invited, let  him accept." Thereupon she went on and he followed her from  street to street, but presently he bethought himself and said,  "What wilt thou do and thou a stranger? Verily 'tis said,  'Whoso doth whoredom in his strangerhood, Allah will send him  back disappointed.' But I will put her off from thee with fair  words." So he said to her, "Take this dinar and appoint me a  day other than this;" and she said, "By the Mighty Name, it  may not be but thou shalt go home with me as my guest this very  day and I will take thee to fast friend." So he followed her till  she came to a house with a lofty porch and a wooden bolt on the  door and said to him, "Open this lock." [FN#229] Asked he "Where is  the key?"; and she answered, "'Tis lost." Quoth he, "Whoso  openeth a lock without a key is a knave whom it behoveth the ruler  to punish, and I know not how to open doors without keys?" [FN#230]  With this she raised her veil and showed him her face, whereat he  took one glance of eyes that cost him a thousand sighs. Then she  let fall her veil on the lock and repeating over it the names of the  mother of Moses, opened it without a key and entered. He  followed her and saw swords and steel-weapons hanging up; and she  put off her veil and sat down with him. Quoth he to himself,  "Accomplish what Allah bath decreed to thee," and bent over her,  to take a kiss of her cheek; but she caught the kiss upon her palm,  saying, "This beseemeth not but by night." Then she brought a  tray of food and wine, and they ate and drank; after which she  rose and drawing water from the well, poured it from the ewer over  his hands, whilst he washed them. Now whilst they were on this  wise, she cried out and beat upon her breast, saying, "My husband  had a signet-ring of ruby, which was pledged to him for five  hundred dinars, and I put it on; but 'twas too large for me, so I  straitened it with wax, and when I let down the bucket, [FN#231] that  ring must have dropped into the well. So turn thy face to the  door, the while I doff my dress and go down into the well and  fetch it." Quoth Ali, "'Twere shame on me that thou shouldst  go down there I being present; none shall do it save I." So he  put off his clothes and tied the rope about himself and she let him  down into the well. Now there was much water therein and she  said to him, "The rope is too short; loose thyself and drop down."  So he did himself loose from the rope and dropped into the  water, in which he sank fathoms deep without touching bottom;  whilst she donned her mantilla and taking his clothes, returned to  her mother--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and  ceased to say her permitted say.

When is was the Seven Hundred and Twelfth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Ali  of Cairo was in the well, Zaynab donned her mantilla and, taking  his clothes, returned to her mother and said, "I have stripped Ali  the Egyptian and cast him into the Emir Hasan's well, whence  alas for his chance of escaping!" [FN#232] Presently, the Emir Hasan,  the master of the house, who had been absent at the Divan, came  home and, finding the door open, said to his Syce, "Why didst  thou not draw the bolt?" "O my lord," replied the groom,  "indeed I locked it with my own hand." The Emir cried, "As  my head liveth, some robber hath entered my house!" Then he  went in and searched, but found none and said to the groom,  "Fill the ewer, that I may make the Wuzu-ablution." So the  man lowered the bucket into the well but, when he drew it up, he  found it heavy and looking down, saw something therein sitting;  whereupon he let it fall into the water and cried out, saying, "O  my lord, an Ifrit came up to me out of the well!" Replied the  Emir, "Go and fetch four doctors of the law, that they may read  the Koran over him, till he go away." So he fetched the doctors  and the Emir said to them, "Sit round this well and exorcise me  this Ifrit." They did as he bade them; after which the groom and  another servant lowered the bucket again and Ali clung to it and  hid himself under it patiently till he came near the top, when he  sprang out and landed among the doctors, who fell a-cuffing one  another and crying out, "Ifrit! Ifrit!" The Emir looked at Ali  and seeing him a young man, said to him, "Art thou a thief?"  "No," replied Ali; "Then what dost thou in the well?" asked  the Emir; and Ali answered, "I was asleep and dreamt a wet  dream; [FN#233] so I went down to the Tigris to wash myself and dived,  whereupon the current carried me under the earth and I came up  in this well." Quoth the other, "Tell the truth." [FN#234] So Ali told  him all that had befallen him, and the Emir gave him an old  gown and let him go. He returned to Calamity Ahmad's lodging  and related to him all that had passed. Quoth Ahmad, "Did I  not warn thee that Baghdad is full of women who play tricks upon  men?" And quoth Ali Kitf al-Jamal, "I conjure thee by the  Mighty Name, tell me how it is that thou art the chief of the lads  of Cairo and yet hast been stripped by a girl?" This was  grievous to Ali and he repented him of not having followed  Ahmad's advice. Then the Calamity gave him another suit of  clothes and Hasan Shuman said to him, "Dost thou know the  young person?" "No," replied Ali; and Hasan rejoined,  "'Twas Zaynab, the daughter of Dalilah the Wily, the portress of  the Caliph's Khan; and hast thou fallen into her toils, O Ali?"  Quoth he, "Yes," and quoth Hasan, "O Ali, 'twas she who took  thy Chief's clothes and those of all his men." "This is a disgrace  to you all!" "And what thinkest thou to do?" "I purpose to  marry her." "Put away that thought far from thee, and console thy  heart of her." "O Hasan, do thou counsel me how I shall do to  marry her." "With all my heart: if thou wilt drink from my  hand and march under my banner, I will bring thee to thy will of  her." "I will well." So Hasan made Ali put off his clothes;  and, taking a cauldron heated therein somewhat as it were pitch,  wherewith he anointed him and he became like unto a blackamoor  slave. Moreover, he smeared his lips and cheeks and pencilled  his eyes with red Kohl. [FN#235] Then he clad him in a slave's habit and  giving him a tray of kabobs and wine, said to him, "There is a  black cook in the Khan who requires from the bazar only meat;  and thou art now become his like; so go thou to him civilly and  accost him in friendly fashion and speak to him in the blacks'  lingo, and salute him, saying, ''Tis long since we met in the  beer-ken.' He will answer thee, 'I have been too busy: on my  hands be forty slaves, for whom I cook dinner and supper, besides  making ready a tray for Dalilah and the like for her daughter  Zaynab and the dogs' food.' And do thou say to him, 'Come, let  us eat kabobs and lush swipes.' [FN#236] Then go with him into the  saloon and make him drunken and question him of his service,  how many dishes and what dishes he hath to cook, and ask him of  the dogs' food and the keys of the kitchen and the larder; and he  will tell thee; for a man, when he is drunken, telleth all he would  conceal were he sober. When thou hast done this drug him and  don his clothes and sticking the two knives in thy girdle, take the  vegetable-basket and go to the market and buy meat and greens,  with which do thou return to the Khan and enter the kitchen and  the larder and cook the food. Dish it up and put Bhang in it, so  as to drug the dogs and the slaves and Dalilah and Zaynab and  lastly serve up. When all are asleep, hie thee to the upper  chamber and bring away every suit of clothes thou wilt find  hanging there. And if thou have a mind to marry Zaynab, bring  with thee also the forty carrier-pigeons." So Ali went to the  Khan and going in to the cook, saluted him and said, "'Tis long  since I have met thee in the beer-ken." The slave replied, "I  have been busy cooking for the slaves and the dogs." Then he  took him and making him drunken, questioned him of his work.  Quoth the kitchener, "Every day I cook five dishes for dinner  and the like for supper; and yesterday they sought of me a sixth  dish, [FN#237] yellow rice, [FN#238] and a seventh, a mess of cooked pomegranate  seed." Ali asked, "And what is the order of thy service?" and  the slave answered, "First I serve up Zaynab's tray, next Dalilah's;  then I feed the slaves and give the dogs their sufficiency of meat,  and the least that satisfies them is a pound each." But, as fate  would have it, he forgot to ask him of the keys. Then he drugged  him and donned his clothes; after which he took the basket and  went to the market. There he bought meat and greens.--And  Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her  permitted say.

When it was the Seven Hundred and Thirteenth Night,

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Ali of  Cairo, after drugging the cook-slave with Bhang, took the two  knives which he stuck in his belt and, carrying the vegetable-basket, went to the market where he bought meat and greens;  and, presently returning to the Khan, he saw Dalilah seated at the  gate, watching those who went in and came out, and the forty  slaves with her, armed. So he heartened his heart and entered;  but Dalilah knew him and said to him, "Back, O captain of  thieves! Wilt thou play a trick on me in the Khan?" Thereupon  he (dressed as a slave) turned and said to her, "What sayest thou,  O portress?" She asked, "What hast thou done with the slave,  our cook?; say me if thou hast killed or drugged him?" He  answered, "What cook? Is there here another slave-cook than  I?" She rejoined, "Thou liest, thou art Mercury Ali the Cairene."  And he said to her, in slaves' patois, "O portress, are the Cairenes  black or white? I will slave for you no longer." Then said the  slaves to him, "What is the matter with thee, O our cousin?"  Cried Dalilah, "This is none of your uncle's children, but Ali  Zaybak the Egyptian; and meseems he hath either drugged your  cousin or killed him." But they said, "Indeed this is our cousin  Sa'adu'llah the cook;" and she, "Not so, 'tis Mercury Ali, and  he hath dyed his skin." Quoth the sharper, "And who is Ali? I  am Sa'adu'llah." Then she fetched unguent of proof, with which  she anointed Ali's forearm and rubbed it; but the black did not  come off; whereupon quoth the slaves "Let him go and dress us  our dinner." Quoth Dalilah, "If he be indeed your cousin, he  knoweth what you sought of him yesternight [FN#239] and how many  dishes he cooketh every day." So they asked him of this and he  said, "Every day I cook you five dishes for the morning and the  like for the evening meal, lentils and rice and broth and stew [FN#240] and  sherbet of roses; and yesternight ye sought of me a sixth dish and  a seventh, to wit yellow rice and cooked pomegranate seed." And  the slaves said "Right!" Then quoth Dalilah, "In with him and  if he know the kitchen and the larder, he is indeed your cousin;  but, if not, kill him." Now the cook had a cat which he had  brought up, and whenever he entered the kitchen it would stand  at the door and spring to his back, as soon as he went in. So,  when Ali entered, the cat saw him and jumped on his shoulders;  but he threw it off and it ran before him to the door of the kitchen  and stopped there. He guessed that this was the kitchen door; so  he took the keys and seeing one with traces of feathers thereon,  knew it for the kitchen key and therewith opened the door. Then  he entered and setting down the greens, went out again, led by the  cat, which ran before him and stopped at another door. He guessed  that this was the larder and seeing one of the keys marked with  grease, knew it for the key and opened the door therewith; where-upon quoth the slaves, "O Dalilah, were he a stranger, he had not  known the kitchen and the larder, nor had he been able to distinguish  the keys thereof from the rest; verily, he is our cousin  Sa'adu'llah." Quoth she, "He learned the places from the cat and  distinguished the keys one from the other by the appearance: but  this cleverness imposeth not upon me." Then he returned to the  kitchen where he cooked the dinner and, carrying Zaynab's tray up  to her room, saw all the stolen clothes hanging up; after which he  went down and took Dalilah her tray and gave the slaves and the  dogs their rations. The like he did at sundown and drugged  Dalilah's food and that of Zaynab and the slaves. Now the doors  of the Khan were opened and shut with the sun. So Ali went  forth and cried out, saying, "O dwellers in the Khan, the watch  is set and we have loosed the dogs; whoso stirreth out after this  can blame none save himself." But he had delayed the dogs'  supper and put poison therein; consequently when he set it before  them, they ate of it and died while the slaves and Dalilah and  Zaynab still slept under Bhang. Then he went up and took all the  clothes and the carrier-pigeons and, opening the gate made off to  the barrack of the Forty, where he found Hasan Shuman the  Pestilence who said to him, "How hast thou fared?" Thereupon  he told him what had passed and he praised him. Then he  caused him to put off his clothes and boiled a decoction of herbs  wherewith he washed him, and his skin became white as it was;  after which he donned his own dress and going back to the Khan,  clad the cook in the habit he had taken from him and made him smell  to the counter-drug; upon which the slave awoke and going forth  to the greengrocer's, bought vegetables and returned to the Khan.  Such was the case with Al-Zaybak of Cairo; but as regards Dalilah  the Wily, when the day broke, one of the lodgers in the Khan came  out of his chamber and, seeing the gate open and the slaves drugged  and the dogs dead, he went in to her and found her lying drugged,  with a scroll on her neck and at her head a sponge steeped in the  counter-drug. He set the sponge to her nostrils and she awoke and  asked, "Where am I?" The merchant answered, "When I came  down from my chamber I saw the gate of the Khan open and the  dogs dead and found the slaves and thee drugged." So she took up  the paper and read therein these words, "None did this deed save  Ali the Egyptian." Then she awoke the slaves and Zaynab by  making them smell the counter-Bhang and said to them, "Did I not  tell you that this was Ali of Cairo?"; presently adding to the slaves,  "But do ye conceal the matter." Then she said to her daughter,  "How often have I warned thee that Ali would not forego his  revenge? He hath done this deed in requital of that which  thou diddest with him and he had it in his power to do with thee  other than this thing; but he refrained therefrom out of courtesy  and a desire that there should be love and friendship between us."  So saying, she doffed her man's gear and donned woman's attire [FN#241]  and, tying the kerchief of peace about her neck, repaired to Ahmad  al-Danaf's barrack. Now when Ali entered with the clothes and  the carrier-pigeons, Hasan Shuman gave the hall-keeper the price  of forty pigeons and he bought them and cooked them amongst  the men. Presently there came a knock at the door and Ahmad  said, "That is Dalilah's knock: rise and open to her, O hall-keeper." So he admitted her and--And Shahrazad perceived  the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Seven Hundred and Fourteenth Night,

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when  Dalilah was admitted, Hasan asked her, "What bringeth thee  hither, O ill-omened old woman? Verily, thou and thy brother  Zurayk the fishmonger are of a piece!"; and she answered, "O  captain I am in the wrong and this my neck is at thy mercy; but  tell me which of you it was that played me this trick?" Quoth  Calamity Ahmad, "'Twas the first of my lads." Rejoined Dalilah,  "For the sake of Allah intercede with him to give me back the  carrier-pigeons and what not, and thou wilt lay me under great  obligation." When Hasan heard this he said, "Allah requite thee,  O Ali! Why didst thou cook the pigeons?"; and Ali answered,  "I knew not that they were carrier-pigeons." Then said Ahmad,  "O hall-keeper bring us the cooked pigeons." So he brought them  and Dalilah took a piece and tasting it, said, "This is none of the  carrier-pigeons' flesh, for I fed them on grains of musk and their  meat is become even as musk." Quoth Shuman, "An thou desire  to have the carrier-pigeons, comply with Ali's will." Asked she  "What is that?" And Hasan answered, "He would have thee  marry him to thy daughter Zaynab." She said, "I have not  command over her except of affection"; and Hasan said to Ali the  Cairene "Give her the pigeons." So he gave them to her, and she  took them and rejoiced in them. Then quoth Hasan to her,  "There is no help but thou return us a sufficient reply"; and  Dalilah rejoined, "If it be indeed his wish to marry her, it availed  nothing to play this clever trick upon us: it behoveth him rather  to demand her in marriage of her mother's brother and her  guardian, Captain Zurayk, him who crieth out, saying, 'Ho! a  pound of fish for two farthings!' and who hangeth up in his shop  a purse containing two thousand dinars." When the Forty heard  this, they all rose and cried out, saying, "What manner of blather  is this, O harlot? Dost thou wish to bereave us of our brother  Ali of Cairo?" Then she returned to the Khan and said to her  daughter, "Ali the Egyptian seeketh thee in marriage." Whereat  Zaynab rejoiced, for she loved him because of his chaste forbearance  towards her, [FN#242] and asked her mother what had passed. So  she told her, adding, "I made it a condition that he should demand  thy hand of thine uncle, so I might make him fall into destruction."  Meanwhile Ali turned to his fellows and asked them,  "What manner of man is this Zurayk?"; and they answered, "He  was chief of the sharpers of Al-Irak land and could all but pierce  mountains and lay hold upon the stars. He would steal the Kohl  from the eye and, in brief, he had not his match for roguery; but  he hath repented his sins and foresworn his old way of life and  opened him a fishmonger's shop. And now he hath amassed two  thousand dinars by the sale of fish and laid them in a purse with  strings of silk, to which he hath tied bells and rings and rattles of  brass, hung on a peg within the doorway. Every time he openeth  his shop he suspendeth the said purse and crieth out, saying,  'Where are ye, O sharpers of Egypt, O prigs of Al-Irak, O  tricksters of Ajam-land? Behold, Zurayk the fishmonger hath  hung up a purse in front of his shop, and whoso pretendeth to  craft and cunning, and can take it by sleight, it is his.' So the long  fingered and greedy-minded come and try to take the purse, but  cannot; for, whilst he frieth his fish and tendeth the fire, he layeth  at his feet scone-like circles of lead; and whenever a thief thinketh  to take him unawares and maketh a snatch at the purse he casteth  at him a load of lead and slayeth him or doeth him a damage. So  O Ali, wert thou to tackle him, thou wouldst be as one who  jostleth a funeral cortége, unknowing who is dead; [FN#243] for thou art no  match for him, and we fear his mischief for thee. Indeed, thou  hast no call to marry Zaynab, and he who leaveth a thing alone  liveth without it." Cried Ali, "This were shame, O comrades;  needs must I take the purse: but bring me a young lady's habit."  So they brought him women's clothes and he clad himself therein  and stained his hands with Henna, and modestly hung down his  veil. Then he took a lamb and killing it, cut out the long  intestine [FN#244] which he cleaned and tied up below; moreover he filled  it with the blood and bound it between his thighs; after which he  donned petticoat-trousers and walking boots. He also made  himself a pair of false breasts with birds' crops and filled them  with thickened milk and tied round his hips and over his belly a  piece of linen, which he stuffed with cotton, girding himself over  all with a kerchief of silk well starched. Then he went out,  whilst all who saw him exclaimed, "What a fine pair of hind  cheeks!" Presently he saw an ass-driver coming, so he gave  him a dinar and mounting, rode till he came to Zurayk's shop,  where he saw the purse hung up and the gold glittering  through it. Now Zurayk was frying fish, and Ali said, "O  ass-man, what is that smell?" Replied he, "It's the smell  of Zurayk's fish." Quoth Ali, "I am a woman with child and  the smell harmeth me; go, fetch me a slice of the fish." So the  donkey-boy said to Zurayk, "What aileth thee to fry fish so early  and annoy pregnant women with the smell? I have here the wife  of the Emir Hasan Sharr al-Tarik, and she is with child; so give  her a bit of fish, for the babe stirreth in her womb. O Protector,  O my God, avert from us the mischief of this day!" Thereupon  Zurayk took a piece of fish and would have fried it, but the fire  had gone out and he went in to rekindle it. Meanwhile Ali  dismounted and sitting down, pressed upon the lamb's intestine till  it burst and the blood ran out from between his legs. Then he  cried aloud, saying, "O my back! O my side!" Whereupon the  driver turned and seeing the blood running, said, "What aileth  thee, O my lady?" Replied Ali, "I have miscarried"; where-upon Zurayk looked out and seeing the blood fled affrighted  into the inner shop. Quoth the donkey-driver, "Allah torment  thee, O Zurayk! The lady hath miscarried and thou art no  match for her husband. Why must thou make a stench so early  in the morning? I said to thee, 'Bring her a slice,' but thou  wouldst not." Thereupon, he took his ass and went his way and,  as Zurayk still did not appear, Ali put out his hand to the purse;  but no sooner had he touched it than the bells and rattles and  rings began to jingle and the gold to chink. Quoth Zurayk, who  returned at the sound, "Thy perfidy hath come to light, O gallows-bird! Wilt thou put a cheat on me and thou in a woman's habit?  Now take what cometh to thee!" And he threw a cake of lead  at him, but it went agley and lighted on another; whereupon the  people rose against Zurayk and said to him, "Art thou a trades-man or a swashbuckler? An thou be a tradesman, take down thy  purse and spare the folk thy mischief." He replied, "Bismillah,  in the name of Allah! On my head be it." As for Ali, he made  off to the barrack and told Hasan Shuman what had happened,  after which he put off his woman's gear and donning a groom's  habit which was brought to him by his chief took a dish and five  dirhams. Then he returned to Zurayk's shop and the fishmonger  said to him, "What dost thou want, O my master?" [FN#245] He showed  him the dirhams and Zurayk would have given him of the fish  in the tray, but he said, "I will have none save hot fish." So he  set fish in the earthen pan and finding the fire dead, went in to  relight it; whereupon Ali put out his hand to the purse and  caught hold of the end of it. The rattles and rings and bells  jingled and Zurayk said, "Thy trick hath not deceived me. I  knew thee for all thou art disguised as a groom by the grip of  thy hand on the dish and the dirhams."--And Shahrazad  perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Seven Hundred and Fifteenth Night,

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when  Ali of Egypt put out his hand to the purse, the bells and rings  jingled and Zurayk said, "Thy trick hath not deceived me for  all thou comest disguised as a groom I knew thee by the grip of  thy hand on the dish and the dirhams!" So saying, he threw the  lead at him, but he avoided it and it fell into the pan full of  hot fish and broke it and overturned it, fat and all, upon the  breast and shoulders of the Kazi, who was passing. The oil ran  down inside his clothes to his privy parts and he cried out, "O  my privities! What a sad pickle you are in! Alas, unhappy I!  Who hath played me this trick?" Answered the people, "O  our lord, it was some small boy that threw a stone into the  pan: but for Allah's word, it had been worse." Then they  turned and seeing the loaf of lead and that it was Zurayk who  had thrown it, rose against him and said to him, "O Zurayk,  this is not allowed of Allah! Take down the purse or it shall  go ill for thee." Answered he, "I will take it down, Inshallah!"  Meanwhile Ali returned to the barrack and told his comrades  who cried, "Where is the purse?", all that had passed and they  said, "Thou hast exhausted two-thirds of his cunning." Then  he changed his groom's dress for the garb of a merchant and  going out, met a snake-charmer, with a bag of serpents and a  wallet containing his kit to whom said he, "O charmer, come  and amuse my lads, and thou shalt have largesse." So he  accompanied him to the barrack, where he fed him and drugging him  with Bhang, doffed his clothes and put them on. Then he took  the bags and repairing to Zurayk's shop began to play the reed-pipe. Quoth Zurayk, "Allah provide thee!" But Ali pulled  out the serpents and cast them down before him; whereat the  fishseller, who was afraid of snakes, fled from them into the  inner shop. Thereupon Ali picked up the reptiles and, thrusting  them back into the bag, stretched out his hand and caught hold  of the end of the purse. The rings again rang and the bells and  rattles jangled, and Zurayk cried, "Wilt thou never cease to play  me tricks? Now thou feignest thyself a serpent-charmer!" So  saying, he took up a piece of lead, and hurled it at Ali; but it  missed him and fell on the head of a groom, who was passing  by, following his master, a trooper, and knocked him down.  Quoth the soldier, "Who felled him?"; and the folk said,  "'Twas a stone fell from the roof." So the soldier passed on  and the people, seeing the piece of lead, went up to Zurayk  and cried to him, "Take down the purse!"; and he said,  "Inshallah, I will take it down this very night!" Ali ceased  not to practice upon Zurayk till he had made seven different  attempts but without taking the purse. Then he returned the  snake-charmer his clothes and kit and gave him due benevolence;  after which he went back to Zurayk's shop and heard  him say, "If I leave the purse here to-night, he will dig through  the shop-wall and take it; I will carry it home with me." So  he arose and shut the shop; then he took down the purse and  putting it in his bosom set out home, till he came near his  house, when he saw a wedding in a neighbour's lodging and  said to himself, "I will hie me home and give my wife the purse  and don my fine clothes and return to the marriage." And Ali  followed him. Now Zurayk had married a black girl, one of the  freed women of the Wazir Ja'afar and she had borne him a son,  whom he named Abdallah, and he had promised her to spend the  money in the purse on the occasion of the boy's circumcision and  of his marriage-procession. So he went into his house and, as he  entered, his wife saw that his face was overcast and asked him,  "What hath caused thy sadness?" Quoth he, "Allah hath  afflicted me this day with a rascal who made seven attempts to get  the purse, but without avail;" and quoth she, "Give it to me, that  I may lay it up against the boy's festival-day." (Now Ali, who  had followed him lay hidden in a closet whence he could see and  hear all.) So he gave her the purse and changed his clothes, saying,  "Keep the purse safely, O Umm Abdallah, for I am going to  the wedding." But she said, "Take thy sleep awhile." So he lay  down and fell asleep. Presently, Ali rose and going on tiptoe to  the purse, took it and went to the house of the wedding and stood  there, looking on at the fun. Now meanwhile, Zurayk dreamt  that he saw a bird fly away with the purse and awaking in affright,  said to his wife, "Rise; look for the purse." So she looked and  finding it gone, buffeted her face and said, "Alas the blackness of  thy fortune, O Umm Abdallah! A sharker hath taken the purse."  Quoth Zurayk, "By Allah it can be none other than rascal Ali  who hath plagued me all day! He hath followed me home and  seized the purse; and there is no help but that I go and get it  back." Quoth she, "Except thou bring it, I will lock on thee  the door and leave thee to pass the night in the street." So  he went up to the house of the wedding, and seeing Ali looking  on, said to himself, "This is he who took the purse; but he lodgeth  with Ahmad al-Danaf." So he forewent him to the barrack and,  climbing up at the back, dropped down into the saloon, where he  found every one asleep. Presently there came a rap at the door  and Zurayk asked, "Who is there!" "Ali of Cairo," answered the  knocker; and Zurayk said, "Hast thou brought the purse?" So Ali thought it was Hasan Shuman and replied, "I have brought  it; [FN#246] open the door." Quoth Zurayk, "Impossible that I open to  thee till I see the purse; for thy chief and I have laid a wager  about it." Said Ali, "Put out thy hand." So he put out his hand  through the hole in the side-door and Ali laid the purse in it;  whereupon Zurayk took it and going forth, as he had come in,  returned to the wedding. Ali stood for a long while at the door,  but none opened to him; and at last he gave a thundering knock  that awoke all the men and they said, "That is Ali of Cairo's  peculiar rap." So the hall-keeper opened to him and Hasan  Shuman said to him, "Hast thou brought the purse?" Replied  Ali, "Enough of jesting, O Shuman: didst thou not swear that  thou wouldest not open to me till I showed thee the purse, and  did I not give it thee through the hole in the side door? And  didst thou not say to me, 'I am sworn never to open the door till  thou show me the purse?'" Quoth Hasan? "By Allah, 'twas not  I who took it, but Zurayk!" Quoth Ali, "Needs must I get it  again," and repaired to the house of the wedding, where he heard  the buffoon [FN#247] say, "Bravo, [FN#248] O Abu Abdallah! Good luck to thee  with thy son!" Said Ali, "My luck is in the ascendant," and  going to the fishmonger's lodging, climbed over the back wall of  the house and found his wife asleep. So he drugged her with  Bhang and clad himself in her clothes. Then he took the child in  his arms and went round, searching, till he found a palm-leaf  basket containing buns, [FN#249] which Zurayk of his niggardliness, had  kept from the Greater Feast. Presently, the fishmonger returned  and knocked at the door, whereupon Ali imitated his wife's voice  and asked, "Who is at the door?" "Abu Abdallah," answered  Zurayk and Ali said, "I swore that I would not open the door to  thee, except thou broughtest back the purse." Quoth the fish-monger, "I have brought it." Cried All, "Here with it into my  hand before I open the door;" and Zurayk answered, saying, "Let  down the basket and take it therein." So Sharper Ali let down  the basket and the other put the purse therein, whereupon Ali  took it and drugged the child. Then he aroused the woman and  making off by the back way as he had entered, returned with the  child and the purse and the basket of cakes to the barrack and  showed them all to the Forty, who praised his dexterity. There-upon he gave them cakes, which they ate, and made over the boy  to Hasan Shuman, saying, "This is Zurayk's child; hide it by  thee." So he hid it and fetching a lamb, gave it to the hall-keeper  who cooked it whole, wrapped in a cloth, and laid it out shrouded  as it were a dead body. Meanwhile Zurayk stood awhile, waiting  at the door, then gave a knock like thunder and his wife said to  him, "Hast thou brought the purse?" He replied, "Didst thou  not take it up in the basket thou diddest let down but now?"; and  she rejoined, "I let no basket down to thee, nor have I set eyes  on the purse." Quoth he, "By Allah the sharper hath been  beforehand with me and hath taken the purse again!" Then he  searched the house and found the basket of cakes gone and the  child missing and cried out, saying, "Alas, my child!" Where-upon the woman beat her breast and said, "I and thee to the  Wazir, for none hath killed my son save this sharper, and all  because of thee." Cried Zurayk, "I will answer for him." So he  tied the kerchief of truce about his neck and going to Ahmad  al-Danaf's lodging, knocked at the door. The hall-keeper admitted him and as he entered Hasan Shuman asked him, "What  bringeth thee here?" He answered, "Do ye intercede with Ali  the Cairene to restore me my child and I will yield to him the  purse of gold." Quoth Hasan, "Allah requite thee, O Ali! Why  didst thou not tell me it was his child?" "What hath befallen  him?" cried Zurayk, and Hasan replied, "We gave him raisins to  eat, and he choked and died and this is he." Quoth Zurayk  "Alas, my son! What shall I say to his mother?" Then he  rose and opening the shroud, saw it was a lamb barbecued and  said, "Thou makest sport of me, O Ali!" Then they gave him  the child and Calamity Ahmad said to him, "Thou didst hang up  the purse, proclaiming that it should be the property of any sharper  who should be able to take it, and Ali hath taken it; so 'tis the  very property of our Cairene." Zurayk answered "I make him  a present of it;" but Ali said to him, "Do thou accept it on  account of thy niece Zaynab." And Zurayk replied, "I accept it."  Then quoth the Forty, "We demand of thee Zaynab in marriage  for Ali of Cairo;" but quoth he, "I have no control over her save  of kindness." Hasan asked, "Dost thou grant our suit?"; and he  answered, "Yes, I will grant her in marriage to him who can avail  to her mahr or marriage-settlement." "And what is her dowry?"  enquired Hasan; and Zurayk replied, "She hath sworn that none  shall mount her breast save the man who bringeth her the robe of  Kamar, daughter of Azariah the Jew and the rest of her gear."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to  say her permitted say.

When it was the Seven Hundred and Sixteenth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when  Zurayk replied to Shuman, "She hath sworn that none shall  ride astraddle upon her breast save the man who bringeth her  the clothes of Kamar, daughter of Azariah the Jew and her  crown and girdle and pantoufle [FN#250] of gold," Ali cried, "If I do  not bring her the clothes this very night, I renounce my claim to  her." Rejoined Zurayk, "O Ali, thou art a dead man if thou play  any of thy pranks on Kamar." "Why so?" asked Ali and the  other answered, "Her father, Jew Azariah, is a skilful, wily,  perfidious magician who hath the Jinn at his service. He owneth  without the city a castle, whose walls are one brick of gold and  one of silver and which is visible to the folk only whilst he is  therein: when he goeth forth, it disappeareth. He brought his  daughter this dress I speak of from an enchanted treasure, and  every day he layeth it in a charger of gold and, opening the  windows of the palace, crieth out, 'Where are the sharpers of  Cairo, the prigs of Al-Irak, the master-thieves of Ajam-land?  Whoso prevaileth to take this dress, 'tis his.' So all the long-fingered ones essayed the adventure, but failed to take it, and he  turned them by his magic into apes and asses." But Ali said, "I  will assuredly take it, and Zaynab shall be displayed therein." [FN#251]  So he went to the shop of the Jew and found him a man of stern  and forbidding aspect, seated with scales and stone-weights and  gold and silver and nests of drawers and so forth before him, and  a she-mule tethered hard by. Presently he rose and shutting his  shop, laid the gold and silver in two purses, which he placed in a  pair of saddle-bags and set on the she-mule's back. Then he  mounted and rode till he reached the city-outskirts followed, with-out his knowledge, by Ali, when he took out some dust from a  pocket-purse and, muttering over it, sprinkled it upon the air. No  sooner had he done this than sharper Ali saw a castle which had  not its like, and the Jew mounted the steps upon his beast which  was a subject Jinni; after which he dismounted and taking the  saddle-bags off her back, dismissed the she-mule and she vanished.  Then he entered the castle and sat down. Presently, he arose and  opening the lattices, took a wand of gold, which he set up in the  open window and, hanging thereto a golden charger by chains of  the same metal, laid in it the dress, whilst Ali watched him from  behind the door, and presently he cried out, saying, "Where are  the sharpers of Cairo? Where are the prigs of Al-Irak, the  master-thieves of the Ajam-land? Whoso can take this dress by  his sleight, 'tis his!" Then he pronounced certain magical words  and a tray of food spread itself before him. He ate and conjured  a second time, whereupon the tray disappeared; and yet a third  time, when a table of wine was placed between his hands and he  drank. Quoth Ali, "I know not how I am to take the dress  except if he be drunken." Then he stole up behind the Jew  whinger in grip; but the other turned and conjured, saying to his  hand, "Hold with the sword;" whereupon Ali's right arm was held  and abode half-way in the air hending the hanger. He put out his  left hand to the weapon, but it also stood fixed in the air, and so  with his right foot, leaving him standing on one foot. Then the  Jew dispelled the charm from him and Ali became as before.  Presently Azariah struck a table of sand and found that the thief's  name was Mercury Ali of Cairo; so he turned to him and said,  "Come nearer! Who art thou and what dost thou here?" He  replied, "I am Ali of Cairo, of the band of Ahmad al-Danaf. I  sought the hand of Zaynab, daughter of Dalilah the Wily, and  she demanded thy daughter's dress to her dowry; so do thou give  it to me and become a Moslem, an thou wouldst save thy life."  Rejoined the Jew, "After thy death! Many have gone about to  steal the dress, but failed to take it from me; wherefore an thou  deign be advised, thou wilt begone and save thyself; for they only  seek the dress of thee, that thou mayst fall into destruction; and  indeed, had I not seen by geomancy that thy fortune overrideth  my fortunes I had smitten thy neck." Ali rejoiced to hear that  his luck overcame that of the Jew and said to him, "There is no  help for it but I must have the dress and thou must become a True  Believer." Asked the Jew, "Is this thy will and last word," and  Ali answered, "Yes." So the Jew took a cup and filling it with  water, conjured over it and said to Ali, "Come forth from this  shape of a man into the form of an ass." Then he sprinkled him  with the water and straightway he became a donkey, with hoofs  and long ears, and fell to braying after the manner of asinines.  The Jew drew round him a circle which became a wall over  against him, and drank on till the morning, when he said to Ali,  "I will ride thee to-day and give the she-mule a rest." So he  locked up the dress, the charger, the rod and the charms in a  cupboard [FN#252] and conjured over Ali, who followed him. Then he  set the saddle-bags on his back and mounting, fared forth of the  Castle, whereupon it disappeared from sight and he rode into  Baghdad, till he came to his shop, where he alighted and emptied  the bags of gold and silver into the trays before him. As for Ali,  he was tied up by the shop-door, where he stood in his asinine  form hearing and understanding all that passed, without being  able to speak. And behold, up came a young merchant with  whom fortune had played the tyrant and who could find no easier  Way of earning his livelihood than water-carrying. So he brought  his wife's bracelets to the Jew and said to him, "Give me the  price of these bracelets, that I may buy me an ass." Asked the  Jew, "What wilt thou do with him?"; and the other answered,  "O master, I mean to fetch water from the river on his back, and  earn my living thereby." Quoth the Jew, "Take this ass of mine."  So he sold him the bracelets and received the ass-shaped Ali of  Cairo in part payment and carried him home. Quoth Ali to himself,  "If the Ass-man clap the pannel on thee and load thee with  water-skins and go with thee half a score journeys a day he will  ruin thy health and thou wilt die." So, when the water-carrier's  wife came to bring him his fodder, he butted her with his head  and she fell on her back; whereupon he sprang on her and smiting  her brow with his mouth, put out and displayed that which his  begetter left him. She cried aloud and the neighbours came to  her assistance and beat him and raised him off her breast. When  her husband the intended water-carrier came home, she said to  him, "Now either divorce me or return the ass to his owner." He  asked, "What hath happened?"; and she answered, "This is a  devil in the guise of a donkey. He sprang upon me, and had not  the neighbours beaten him off my bosom he had done with me a  foul thing." So he carried the ass back to the Jew, who said  to him, "Wherefore hast thou brought him back?" and he  replied, "He did a foul thing with my wife." So the Jew gave  him his money again and he went away; and Azariah said to Ali,  "Hast thou recourse to knavery, unlucky wretch that thou art, in  order that"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and  ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Seven Hundred and Seventeenth Night,

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when  the water-carrier brought back the ass, its Jew owner returned to  him the monies and turning to Ali of Cairo said, "Hast thou  recourse to knavery, unlucky wretch that thou art, in order that  he may return thee to me? But since it pleaseth thee to be an  ass, I will make thee a spectacle and a laughing stock to great and  small." Then he mounted him and rode till he came without the  city, when he brought out the ashes in powder and conjuring over  it sprinkled it upon the air and immediately the Castle appeared.  He entered and taking the saddle-bags off the ass's back set up the rod and hung to it the charger wherein were the clothes  proclaiming aloud, "Where be the clever ones of all quarters who  may avail to take this dress?" Then he conjured as before and  meat was set before him and he ate and then wine when he drank;  after which he took a cup of water and muttering certain words  thereover, sprinkled it on the ass Ali, saying, "Quit this form and  return to thy former shape." Ali straightway became a man once  more and Azariah said to him, "O Ali, take good advice and be  content with my mischief. Thou hast no call to marry Zaynab  nor to take my daughter's dress, for 'tis no easy matter for thee:  so leave greed and 'twill be better for thee; else will I turn thee  into a bear or an ape or set on thee an Ifrit, who will cast thee  behind the Mountain Kaf." He replied, "I have engaged to take  the dress and needs must I have it and thou must Islamise or I  will slay thee." Rejoined the Jew, "O Ali, thou art like a walnut;  unless it be broken it cannot be eaten." Then he took a cup of  water and conjuring over it, sprinkled Ali with somewhat thereof,  saying, "Take thou shape of bear;" whereupon he instantly  became a bear and the Jew put a collar about his neck, muzzled him  and chained him to a picket of iron. Then he sat down and ate  and drank, now and then throwing him a morsel of his orts and  emptying the dregs of the cup over him, till the morning, when he  rose and laid by the tray and the dress and conjured over the  bear, which followed him to the shop. There the Jew sat down  and emptied the gold and silver into the trays before Ali, after  binding him by the chain; and the bear there abode seeing and  comprehending but not able to speak. Presently up came a man  and a merchant, who accosted the Jew and said to him, "O Master,  wilt thou sell me yonder bear? I have a wife who is my cousin  and is sick; and they have prescribed for her to eat bears' flesh  and anoint herself with bears' grease." At this the Jew rejoiced  and said to himself, "I will sell him to this merchant, so he may  slaughter him and we be at peace from him." And Ali also said in  his mind, "By Allah, this fellow meaneth to slaughter me; but  deliverance is with the Almighty." Then said the Jew, "He is a  present from me to thee." So the merchant took him and carried  him into the butcher, to whom he said, "Bring thy tools and  company me." The butcher took his knives and followed the merchant  to his house, where he bound the beast and fell to sharpening his  blade: but, when he went up to him to slaughter him, the bear  escaped from his hands and rising into the air, disappeared from sight between heaven and earth; nor did he cease flying till he  alighted at the Jew's castle. Now the reason thereof was on this  wise. When the Jew returned home, his daughter questioned him  of Ali and he told her what had happened; whereupon she said,  "Summon a Jinni and ask him of the youth, whether he be indeed  Mercury Ali or another who seeketh to put a cheat on thee." So  Azariah called a Jinni by conjurations and questioned him of Ali;  and he replied, "'Tis Ali of Cairo himself. The butcher hath  pinioned him and whetted his knife to slaughter him." Quoth the  Jew, "Go, snatch him up and bring him hither, ere the butcher cut  his throat." So the Jinni flew off and, snatching Ali out of the  butcher's hands, bore him to the palace and set him down before  the Jew, who took a cup of water and conjuring over it, sprinkled  him therewith, saying, "Return to thine own shape." And he  straightway became a man again as before. The Jew's daughter  Kamar, [FN#253] seeing him to be a handsome young man, fell in love with  him and he fell in love with her; and she said to him, "O unlucky  one, why dost thou go about to take my dress, enforcing my father  to deal thus with thee?" Quoth he, "I have engaged to get it for  Zaynab the Coney-catcher, that I may wed her therewith." And  she said, "Others than thou have played pranks with my father to  get my dress, but could not win to it," presently adding, "So put  away this thought from thee." But he answered, "Needs must I  have it, and thy father must become a Moslem, else I will slay  him." Then said the Jew, "See, O my daughter, how this  unlucky fellow seeketh his own destruction," adding, "Now I will  turn thee into a dog." So he took a cup graven with characters  and full of water and conjuring over it, sprinkled some of it upon  Ali, saying, "Take thou form of dog." Whereupon he straight-way became a dog, and the Jew and his daughter drank together  till the morning, when the father laid up the dress and charger  and mounted his mule. Then he conjured over the dog, which  followed him, as he rode towards the town, and all dogs barked at  Ali [FN#254] as he passed, till he came to the shop of a broker, a seller of  second-hand goods, who rose and drove away the dogs, and Ali  lay down before him. The Jew turned and looked for him, but finding him not, passed onwards. Presently, the broker shut up  his shop and went home, followed by the dog, which, when his  daughter saw enter the house, she veiled her face and said, "O my  papa, dost thou bring a strange man in to me?" He replied, "O  my daughter, this is a dog." Quoth she, "Not so, 'tis Ali the  Cairene, whom the Jew Azariah hath enchanted;" and she turned  to the dog and said to him, "Art not Ali of Cairo?" And he  signed to her with his head, "Yes." Then her father asked her,  "Why did the Jew enchant him?"; and she answered, "Because  of his daughter Kamar's dress; but I can release him." Said the  broker, "An thou canst indeed do him this good office, now is the  time," and she, "If he will marry me, I will release him." And  he signed to her with his head, "Yes."  So she took a cup of  water, graven with certain signs and conjuring over it, was about  to sprinkle Ali therewith, when lo and behold! she heard a great  cry and the cup fell from her hand. She turned and found that it  was her father's handmaid, who had cried out; and she said to  her, "O my mistress, is't thus thou keepest the covenant between  me and thee? None taught thee this art save I, and thou didst  agree with me that thou wouldst do naught without consulting  me and that whoso married thee should marry me also, and that  one night should be mine and one night thine." And the broker's  daughter said, "'Tis well." When the broker heard the maid's  words, he asked his daughter, "Who taught the maid?"; and  she answered, "O my papa, enquire of herself." So he put the  question and she replied, "Know, O my lord, that, when I was  with Azariah the Jew, I used to spy upon him and listen to him,  when he performed his gramarye; and when he went forth to his  shop in Baghdad, I opened his books and read in them, till I  became skilled in the Cabbala-science. One day, he was warm  with wine and would have me lie with him, but I objected, saying,  'I may not grant thee this except thou become a Moslem.' He  refused and I said to him, 'Now for the Sultan's market.' [FN#255] So he  sold me to thee and I taught my young mistress, making it a  condition with her that she should do naught without my counsel,  and that whoso might wed her should wed me also, one night  for me and one night for her." Then she took a cup of water and  conjuring over it, sprinkled the dog therewith; saying, "Return  thou to form of man." And he straightway was restored to his  former shape; whereupon the broker saluted him with the salam  and asked him the reason of his enchantment. So Ali told him  all that had passed--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day  and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Seven Hundred and Eighteenth Night,

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the  broker, having saluted Ali of Cairo with the salam, asked him the  reason of his enchantment and what had befallen him; and he  answered by telling him all that had passed, when the broker said  to him, "Will not my daughter and the handmaid suffice thee?"  but he answered, "Needs must I have Zaynab also."  Now  suddenly there came a rap at the door and the maid said, "Who  is at the door?"  The knocker replied, "Kamar, daughter of  Azariah the Jew; say me, is Ali of Cairo with you?" Replied  the broker's daughter, "O thou daughter of a dog! If he be  with us, what wilt thou with him? Go down, O maid, and open  to her."  So the maid let her in, and when she looked upon  Ali and he upon her, he said,  "What bringeth thee hither  O dog's daughter?"  Quoth she, "I testify that there is no  god but the God and I testify that Mohammed is the Apostle  of God." And, having thus Islamised, she asked him, "Do men  in the Faith of Al-Islam give marriage portions to women or  do women dower men?"  Quoth he, "Men endow women."  "Then," said she, "I come and dower myself for thee,  bringing thee, as my marriage-portion, my dress together with  the rod and charger and chains and the head of my father,  the enemy of thee and the foeman of Allah." And she threw  down the Jew's head before him.  Now the cause of her  slaying her sire was as follows.  On the night of his turning  Ali into a dog, she saw, in a dream, a speaker who said to her,  "Become a Moslemah." She did so; and as soon as she awoke  next morning she expounded Al-Islam to her father who  refused to embrace the Faith; so she drugged him with Bhang  and killed him. As for Ali, he took the gear and said to the  broker, "Meet we to-morrow at the Caliph's Divan, that I may  take thy daughter and the handmaid to wife." Then he set out  rejoicing, to return to the barrack of the Forty. On his way he  met a sweetmeat seller, who was beating hand upon hand and saying, "There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah,  the Glorious, the Great! Folk's labour hath waxed sinful and  man is active only in fraud!" Then said he to Ali, "I conjure  thee, by Allah, taste of this confection!"  So Ali took a piece  and ate it and fell down senseless, for there was Bhang therein;  whereupon the sweetmeat-seller seized the dress and the charger  and the rest of the gear and thrusting them into the box where  he kept his sweetmeats hoisted it up and made off. Presently he  met a Kazi, who called to him, saying, "Come hither, O sweet-meat seller!" So he went up to him and setting down his sack  laid the tray of sweetmeats upon it and asked, "What dost thou  want?" "Halwá and dragées, [FN#256]" answered the Kazi and, taking  some in his hand, said, "Both of these are adulterated." Then  he brought out sweetmeats from his breast-pocket [FN#257] and gave them  to the sweetmeat-seller, saying, "Look at this fashion; how  excellent it is! Eat of it and make the like of it." So he ate  and fell down senseless, for the sweetmeats were drugged with  Bhang, whereupon the Kazi bundled him into the sack and made  off with him, charger and chest and all, to the barrack of the  Forty. Now the Judge in question was Hasan Shuman and the  reason of this was as follows. When Ali had been gone some  days in quest of the dress and they heard no news of him,  Calamity Ahmad said to his men, "O lads, go and seek for your  brother Ali of Cairo." So they sallied forth in quest of him and  among the rest Hasan Shuman the Pestilence, disguised in a Kazi's  gear.  He came upon the sweetmeat-seller and, knowing him  for Ahmad al-Lakit [FN#258] suspected him of having played some trick  upon Ali; so he drugged him and did as we have seen. Mean-while, the other Forty fared about the streets and highways  making search in different directions, and amongst them Ali  Kitf al-Jamal, who espying a crowd, made towards the people  and found the Cairene Ali lying drugged and senseless in their  midst. So he revived him and he came to himself and seeing the  folk flocking around him asked, "Where am I?"  Answered  Ali Camel-shoulder and his comrades, "We found thee lying here  drugged but know not who drugged thee." Quoth Ali, "'Twas  a certain sweetmeat-seller who drugged me and took the gear  from me; but where is he gone?" Quoth his comrades, "We  have seen nothing of him; but come, rise and go home with  us." So they returned to the barrack, where they found Ahmad  al-Danaf, who greeted Ali and enquired if he had brought the  dress.  He replied, "I was coming hither with it and other  matters, including the Jew's head, when a sweetmeat-seller met  me and drugged me with Bhang and took them from me." Then  he told him the whole tale ending with, "If I come across that  man of goodies again, I will requite him."  Presently Hasan  Shuman came out of a closet and said to him, "Hast thou gotten  the gear, O Ali?" So he told him what had befallen him and  added, "If I know whither the rascal is gone and where to  find the knave, I would pay him out. Knowest thou whither  he went?" Answered Hasan, "I know where he is," and  opening the door of the closet, showed him the sweetmeat-seller  within, drugged and senseless.  Then he aroused  him and he opened his eyes and finding himself in presence of  Mercury Ali and Calamity Ahmad and the Forty, started up and  said, "Where am I and who hath laid hands on me?" Replied  Shuman, "'Twas I laid hands on thee;" and Ali cried, "O  perfidious wretch, wilt thou play thy pranks on me?" And he  would have slain him: but Hasan said to him, "Hold thy hand  for this fellow is become thy kinsman."  "How my kinsman?"  quoth Ali; and quoth Hasan, "This is Ahmad al-Lakit son of  Zaynab's sister." Then said Ali to the prisoner, "Why didst thou  thus, O Lakit?" and he replied, "My grandmother, Dalilah the  Wily, bade me do it; only because Zurayk the fishmonger fore-gathered with the old woman and said, 'Mercury Ali of Cairo is  a sharper and a past master in knavery, and he will certainly slay  the Jew and bring hither the dress.'  So she sent for me and  said to me, 'O Ahmad, dost thou know Ali of Cairo?' Answered  I, 'Indeed I do and 'twas I directed him to Ahmad al-Danaf's  lodging when he first came to Baghdad.' Quoth she, 'Go and set  thy nets for him, and if he have brought back the gear, put a  cheat on him and take it from him.' So I went round about the  highways of the city, till I met a sweetmeat-seller and buying his  clothes and stock-in-trade and gear for ten dinars, did what was  done." Thereupon quoth Ali, "Go back to thy grandmother and  Zurayk, and tell them that I have brought the gear and the Jew's  head and tell them to meet me to-morrow at the Caliph's Divan, there to receive Zaynab's dowry." And Calamity Ahmad  rejoiced in this and said, "We have not wasted our pains in  rearing thee, O Ali!"  Next morning Ali took the dress, the  charger, the rod and the chains of gold, together with the head of  Azariah the Jew mounted on a pike, and went up, accompanied  by Ahmad al-Danaf and the Forty, to the Divan, where they  kissed ground before the Caliph--And Shahrazad perceived  the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Seven Hundred and Nineteenth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Ali  the Cairene went up to the Caliph's Divan, accompanied by his  uncle Ahmad al-Danaf and his lads they kissed ground before the  Caliph who turned and seeing a youth of the most valiant aspect,  enquired of Calamity Ahmad concerning him and he replied, "O  Commander of the Faithful, this is Mercury Ali the Egyptian  captain of the brave boys of Cairo, and he is the first of my lads."  And the Caliph loved him for the valour that shone from between  his eyes, testifying for him and not against him. Then Ali rose;  and, casting the Jew's head down before him, said, "May thine  every enemy be like this one, O Prince of True Believers!"  Quoth Al-Rashid, "Whose head is this?"; and quoth Ali, "'Tis  the head of Azariah the Jew." "Who slew him?" asked the  Caliph. So Ali related to him all that had passed, from first to  last, and the Caliph said, "I had not thought thou wouldst kill  him, for that he was a sorcerer." Ali replied, "O Commander of  the Faithful, my Lord made me prevail to his slaughter." Then  the Caliph sent the Chief of Police to the Jew's palace, where he  found him lying headless; so he laid the body on a bier, [FN#259] and  carried it to Al-Rashid, who commanded to burn it. Whereat,  behold, up came Kamar and kissing the ground before the Caliph,  informed him that she was the daughter of Jew Azariah and that  she had become a Moslemah. Then she renewed her profession of Faith before the Commander of the Faithful and said to him  "Be thou my intercessor with Sharper Ali that he take me to  wife." She also appointed him her guardian to consent to her  marriage with the Cairene, to whom he gave the Jew's palace and  all its contents, saying, "Ask a boon of me." Quoth Ali, "I beg  of thee to let me stand on thy carpet and eat of thy table;" and  quoth the Caliph, "O Ali, hast thou any lads?" He replied, "I  have forty lads; but they are in Cairo." Rejoined the Caliph,  "Send to Cairo and fetch them hither," presently adding, "But,  O Ali, hast thou a barrack for them?" "No," answered Ali;  and Hasan Shuman said, "I make him a present of my barrack  with all that is therein, O Commander of the Faithful."  However, the Caliph retorted, saying, "Thy lodging is thine own, O  Hasan;" and he bade his treasurer give the court architect ten  thousand dinars, that he might build Ali a hall with four daises  and forty sleeping-closets for his lads. Then said he, "O Ali,  hast thou any further wish, that we may command its fulfilment?".  and said Ali, "O King of the age, be thou my intercessor with  Dalilah the Wily that she give me her daughter Zaynab to wife  and take the dress and gear of Azariah's girl in lieu of dower."  Dalilah accepted the Caliph's intercession and accepted the  charger and dress and what not, and they drew up the marriage  contracts between Ali and Zaynab and Kamar, the Jew's daughter  and the broker's daughter and the handmaid. Moreover, the  Caliph assigned him a solde with a table morning and evening,  and stipends and allowances for fodder; all of the most liberal.  Then Ali the Cairene fell to making ready for the wedding  festivities and, after thirty days, he sent a letter to his comrades in  Cairo, wherein he gave them to know of the favours and honours  which the Caliph had bestowed upon him and said, "I have  married four maidens and needs must ye come to the wedding."  So, after a reasonable time the forty lads arrived and they held  high festival; he homed them in his barrack and entreated them  with the utmost regard and presented them to the Caliph, who  bestowed on them robes of honour and largesse. Then the tiring-women displayed Zaynab before Ali in the dress of the Jew's  daughter, and he went in unto her and found her a pearl  unthridden and a filly by all save himself unridden. Then he  went in unto the three other maidens and found them accomplished  in beauty and loveliness. After this it befel that Ali of Cairo was  one night on guard by the Caliph who said to him, "I wish thee  O Ali, to tell me all that hath befallen thee from first to last with  Dalilah the Wily and Zaynab the Coney-catcher and Zurayk the  Fishmonger." So Ali related to him all his adventures and the  Commander of the Faithful bade record them and lay them up in  the royal muniment-rooms. So they wrote down all that had  befallen him and kept it in store with other histories for the  people of Mohammed the Best of Men. And Ali and his wives  and comrades abode in all solace of life, and its joyance, till there  came to them the Destroyer of Delights and Sunderer of Societies;  and Allah (be He extolled and exalted!) is All-knowing! [FN#260] And  also men relate the tale of