Shishu Sansaar | Arabian Nights Stories-3

Arabian Nights Stories-3

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Story No 65-1/4

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65-1 - Three Sharpers, Two Sultaans, and a Lunatic (1 of 4)

Shaharzaad said - "There lived three Sharpers who used to go every morning to prey outside the city. There each would find a silver bit of five Parahs or its equivalent, after which the three will gather to buy food for supper. They will also spend two Nasfs on Bhaang (an intoxicated material) and waxen paper with the other silver bit. They had hired a cell in the flank of a Caravan Saraaya without the walls. They would sit there at ease, eat their Hasheesh after lighting the candle and enjoy their intoxications till midnight. Then they would sleep and wake up again at day dawn, go to ransack the heaps where at times they would hit upon a silver of five Dirhams and at other times a piece of four which they would spend together for the dark hours, and they would spend everything they found on that day.

Once they could not find anything, they got worried at this and went away to their cell and slept there without eating and drinking. Next day they again went to some places but didn't find anything again. They were hungry and did not know where to find food for supper. It happened for three days continuously. They were very hungry. So they said to one another - "Let us go to Sultaan and serve him. We will claim that each of us is the master of some craft. Hopefully he will employ us and we will be able to fulfill our needs."

So they went to the Sultaan who was sitting in his palace garden. They asked to get in but the guard didn't allow them to go in, so they just stood afar unable to approach him. One of them said - "It is better if we fall down and hit hard his comrade and cry aloud, and as soon as he will hear us, he might summon to us." So they fought with one another and made loud cries at the same time. Hearing the cries, the Sultaan said - "Bring me these people here." So his people took them to the Sultaan.

The Sultaan asked - "Why were you fighting with each other?" They answered - "We are masters of craft; each of us skilled in a special craft." The Sultaan asked - "What are your crafts?" One of the three said - "I am a jeweler by trade." The King exclaimed - "Strange, A sharper and a jeweler. And what is your craft?" The second one answered - "I am a genealogist of horses." "And what about you?" "O King, My craft is more wondrous than these two people's. I can discover the right direction to or know the first of it from the last of it. My craft is the genealogy of the human beings."

The King said - "I will keep them until I can test them, then if they will prove themselves good men and trustworthy of word, I will employ them otherwise I will kill them." He assigned them separate apartments and rationed them with three cakes of bread and a dish of roast meat and appointed guards over them lest they run away.

After a while there came a man to the Sultaan from the land of Ajam with a present of rarities, among which were two gems, among which one was of clear water and the other was clouded of color. The Sultaan took them in his hands and looked at them for an hour or so; then he thought something and called the first Sharper, the self-styled jeweler. So his men went and brought the jeweler to the King. The King handed over him the clear water stone and asked him - "What may be the price of this gem?" The Sharper took the gem, turned it rightwards and leftwards, looked into inside and outside and spoke - "O Lord, This gem contains a worm within it."

As the King heard these words he got angry and commanded his man to cut his head saying - "This jewel is clear of color and free of flaw or any fault, still you are saying that there is worm inside it." Then he summoned the Linkman who had tied the man to cut his head and was about to cut his head, that the Vazeer entered the court and seeing the King on high seat and the Sharper under the sword asked him what he was doing. The King told him what had happened. The Vazeer said - "Do not act like this. Before ordering to cut his neck, first break the gem, and if you find a worm you should know that this man spoke the truth, and if not, then you can order to cut his neck." The King said - "You are right." Then he broke that gem and found a worm inside it. Then he asked the man - "How did you know that there was worm in it?" The Sharper said - "By the sharpness of my eye." The Sultaan pardoned him, sent him back to his home, and decreased his ration with a dish of roasted meat and two cakes of bread.

After some time there came a tribute to the King from Ajam land - a young horse who showed one color in the Sun and another color in the shade. When the animal was shown to the Sultaan, he fell in love with the animal. He sang his praise and he gazed at it at all the time. Then he remembered the second Sharper who claimed to be the genealogist of horses. So he sent for him. He came and the horse was shown to him. The King said - "If you speak lie, I will cut your neck." "Yes Sir." "Tell me this horse's genealogy."

He checked the horse by taking him a few steps right, a few steps left, a few steps forward and a few steps backward. Then he said to the King - "This horse is of pure and noble blood on the side of the father, his action is excellent and his all qualities are praiseworthy, save one." "And what is that?" The Sharper said - "His father was noble, but his mother was of some other family. She brought a blemish on him; and if you allow me I can notify it to you." "Yes, You should do it." "His mother is a buffalo-cow." Again the King got very angry at this and asked his men to cut his neck.

He asked - "How can a buffalo-cow bear a horse?" The Sharper replied - "The Linkman is in the presence, but send for the man who brought this horse to you and make an inquiry. If my words prove true, my skill shall be established, otherwise I will pay my head for my tongue. Here stands the Linkman and here stand I between your hands." The King sent for his owner and breeder of the horse. The King asked him to tell the truth about him. "Did you buy him or breed him?" He said - "By Allaah, I will not speak that which will not sooth you. Indeed this horse has the strangest story. I had a horse of purest blood whose father was the horse of the sea. He was very carefully brought up. But one day its caretaker took it out in open, that a buffalo-cow came in and seeing her he broke his ropes and rushed at her and covered her. She conceived by him and gave birth to this horse. What you have seen and heard is correct." He added - "If his mother has been a mare, there would have not been any horse equal to him."

The King said to the Sharper - "You were right, but I want to know how did you prove that his mother was a buffalo-cow?" The Sharper said - "My proof is clear, the horse's hoof is round while the hooves of buffaloes are elongated and duck-shaped and therefore, I can say that this horse was a child of a bull and a mare." The Sultaan was very pleased to hear this and he asked his people to take him home and ration him with a plate of roast meat and two cakes of bread.

Now for a long time the third Sharper was forgotten till one day when the Sultaan thought that he needed a man to explain the genealogy of man. So he sent for him and when he came, he asked him - "You say that you know the descent of a man or a woman?" "Yes, Sir." The he asked his people to take him to his wife and tell him her genealogy. He said to him - "I see that the Queen is adorned with loveliness and beauty and perfect grace, modesty and fine manners; in fact all desirable attributes are in her. But O King, There is a curious point that dishonors her."

When the Sultaan heard this from the Sharper's mouth he sprang on his feet, clapped his hands and asked his man to slay him. But his ministers and eunuchs prevented him saying that he should not behave like this without proper investigations. So the Sultaan asked him - "What do you see in her?" "Sir, Everything is finer than fine, but her mother is a dancing girl." Now the King's anger increased and he sent for his father-in-law - "Unless you speak the truth about your daughter and her mother I ..." He said - "By Allaah, Her mother indeed was a Gaziyaa. In past time, a party of the tribe was passing by my home when a young maid strayed from her fellows and was lost, so I lodged her and bred her till she grew up to be a fine woman. My heart did not allow her to go to any other man, so I wedded her and she bore me this daughter who is your spouse."

The King got calm and he wondered at the intelligence of that Sharper, so he asked him - "How did you know about this?" He answered - "O King, The Gaziyaa race has eyeballs intensely black and bushy eyebrows, where the other women have the reverse of this." The King ordered him for the ration of a dish of roasted meat and two cakes of the bread."

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Created by Sushma Gupta on January 15, 2002
Modified on 12/15/13