Shishu Sansaar | Arabian Nights Stories-3

Arabian Nights Stories-3

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Story No 66-1/2

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66-1 - Alee the Cairene and the Haunted House in Bagadaad (1 of 2)

Once there lived a merchant, in the city of Cairo. He had lots of merchandise - money, bullion, gems, jewels, land, houses etc. His name was Hasan the Jeweler, the Bagadaad man. He had a handsome son also who he named Alee of Cairo. He had taught him Quraan and science and polite education till he be came proficient in all kinds of knowledge. One day Hasan fell sick and when he knew that he wouldn't survive, he called his son Alee - "My son, Everybody has to go, and I am also at the point of my death, but before I die, I want to tell you something. If you observe it, Allaah will abide you safety and prosperity; but if you will not you might have to suffer."

Alee said - "How can I go against you words. I am bound to you by the law of faith to obey you." His father said - "I am leaving you many lands, houses and much wealth past count. Even if you spend 500 Deenaars each day, you will not miss it. But you must follow Allaah, as what He has bidden and what he has forbidden in His traditional law. You should always give some alms, do good to others, and be with pious and good people. Make sure that you look after poor and needy and stop avarice and meanness. Be kind to your servants and family and also upon your wife because she is the daughters of the Great and is the mother of your child. Hopefully she will be blessed by a virtuous issue." At this his son wept considering these words as his father's last words. His father said - "Yes, I will be gong soon, but keep in my mind what I have said to you." And he departed.

Alee got very grieved. He performed his last ceremony very splendidly. He prayed for him for 40 days as was their custom. But he grieved for his father for more than normal period, so his friends asked him - "For how long you will be mourning him like this and neglecting your business? This is the law of this world, the one who comes, has to go. So be calm now and get busy in you work."

Now when they came to him to console, Iblis the Genie was with them and he prompted them to ask him to go to Bazaar, and tempted Alee to say "Yes". So he left the house, mounted on his she-mule and followed his friends to a garden where they said that he would be happy there. A slave also went with him. One of them cooked the morning meal there and brought it to them to eat. So they all ate and talked till evening and then went back to their houses where they slept. Next day his friends took him again to some other garden. There also, one one of them cooked morning meal and brought it to all with wine to eat. Alee seeing the wine he asked them "What is this?" They said - "It dispels grief and gives happiness." They persuaded him till he drank it. Again they enjoyed there till evening and then came back home to sleep.

Alee felt giddy after drinking wine. So when he went to his wife, his wife asked - "Why are you changed today?" He told her that his friends made him drink wine that is why he was feeling giddy. She requested him not to forget his father's words. He replied - "They are merchants' sons, do not suspect them." And he continued to lead the life with his friends, day after day, going from places to places, feasting with them and drinking, till they said - "Our turn is over, now it is your turn." So next day he took all the things necessary for enjoyment - cooks, tents, coffee-makers, etc, to Al-Razaa and the Neelometer where they lived for the whole month.

At the end of the month, Alee found that he had already spent a lot of money, but Iblis the Genie misled him such that even if he spent 500 Deenaars everyday then also he wouldn't miss it. So he took no account of his money and continued his life thus for three years. His wife had been reminding him of his father's advice, but he did not hear her words at all. He had sold his all properties, and then came to sell his jewels and spending money from it until it was all gone. Then he sold his houses, gardens, fields, farms etc one after the other till they all were gone except the house in which he lived. Then he started selling out the marble and woodwork tearing out from his own house and spending all money from their proceeds till his house was also sold.

When the man who bought the house, came to take charge of it, he came out of the house with his wife and a son and a daughter, hired a large room in one of the low people's locality and lived there. Now he longed for one day's bread. His wife said - "I told you before but you did not listen to me about your father's advice. Now what will our children eat? Go to you friends, the sons of merchants, and they will give you something so that we can eat today." He went to his friends but none gave him anything.

Then she went to her neighbor. She asked - "What has happened to you?" Then she told her neighbor everything about what had happened to her husband. The neighbor said - "You can take whatever you need without price." She blessed her with prosperity and she gave her the provision which could last for one full month. When her husband saw her, he wept and asked - "When did you have it?" She replied - "I got it from the neighbor. She did not fail me and gave this and asked even to take more if I needed." Alee said - "I have a place in mind, where I will go and hopefully it will bring us relief."

So he took leave of her, kissed his children and went out not knowing where to go. He walked till he came to Bulaq where he saw a ship about to sail for Dameettaa. Here he met a man who was a friend of his father, he asked him - "Where to?" Alee said - "To Dameettaa. I have friends there, I will visit them and come back." The man took him home, gave him tips for voyage and some gold pieces also. When Alee reached Dameettaa, he just wandered around on its streets. One merchant saw him, took pity on him and took him to his house. He stayed there for a few days then he thought - "For how long I will be staying like this?"

So he left the merchant's home and went to the port again where he found a ship ready to sail to Syria. That merchant gave him some provision for the way and he embarked on the ship till he reached Damascus. As he walked through the streets, a kind man saw him and took him to his house where he stayed for some time till one day he saw a caravan about to leave for Bagadaad, so he took leave from his host and set out for Bagadaad. On his way, a merchant took him along and Alee ate and drank with him. On the way, just one day before reaching Bagadaad, highway robbers attacked the caravan and took all they had; but a few merchants escaped.

This event compelled them to go separately, but Alee went to Bagadaad and reached there in the evening. The gatekeepers let him in, shut the doors and asked him where he wanted to go. He said - "I am from Cairo. I had mules with merchandise and slaves and servants. I went forward to look for a place to live and keep my goods; but as I rode a team of bandits fell upon me, took my mule, and only I escaped." So they treated him with honor, took him to their home saying that they would look for a place for him in the morning.

Then he gave a Deenaar (from Bulaq) to them and asked to arrange food for all. The man brought the food and all ate it. Next morning, one of them took him to a merchant and told him the same story Alee told him. He believed him, so he took him to his shop, gave him a bath and his own suit to wear. Alee said - "Then he took me to his house where he gave me morning meal. Then he said to one of his black slaves and said to him - "Hey Masood, Take my guest, show him the two houses and give him the key of whichever he likes and come back." He took me and came to a street where stood three houses side by side, newly built and yet locked. He opened the first one, I looked at it; then he opened the second one and asked me - "Which one do you like?"

I pointed out the third house and asked him - "To whom this big house belong to?" "To us." "Open it, so that I can see it." "You have no business there." "Why?" "Because it is haunted and none can pass even a night here, whoever does is dead in the morning. We don't even open the door to remove the corpse, but go to the terrace of one of the other two houses and take a look from there. That is why my master has abandoned this house and said - "I will never give this house to anyone." I said - "Open it." I thought that I will pass the night here, I will die here and will be at peace. He opened it and I found it splendid. I asked him to give the key of that house.

He said - "I cannot give the key of this house to you unless I ask my master." "Then go and ask him." He went to the merchant and told him that the Cairo trader wanted this house only. He said to Alee - "You will not have this house." "But I will live in this house only, because I don't care what people say." The merchant asked to write an agreement that - "If something happens to you here, I am not responsible." Alee said - "Fine." He gave this  agreement to Qaazee and handed over the key of that house and a bed to sleep there and walked away."

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Created by Sushma Gupta on January 15, 2002
Modified on 07/12/14