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Arabian Nights Stories-3

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Story No 68

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68 - The Secret Message

"O Suspicious King, This story relates that one of the oldest kings, once thought to go on a ride in his state with his courtiers to show his richness. Once he ordered his servants to make preparation for this ride and asked one to give him the costliest suit to wear, the finest horse to ride, and the costliest of his jewelry to wear. He then rode on the horse glorying in his pride.

And Iblis the Genie came to him, laid his hand upon his nose, blew into his nostrils and he magnified and glorified himself more than ever and said to himself - "Who among men is like me?" And he wouldn't look at any man. Presently a man stood in front of him clad in torn clothes. He saluted him, but the man did not reply, so he held his horse's bridle. The King cried - "Keep off your hand from my horse. Do you know whose rein it is you are holding?" He said - "I need you." The King said - "Wait till I come back, then I will attend to you." The man said - "It is a secret message and I will tell you only in your ear." So the King bowed his head to hear him, he said - "I am the Angel of Death and I have come to take your soul."

The King replied - "Just be patient while I return to my house and take leave of my people and children and neighbors and wife." The Angel said - "By no means. You will never return to, nor you will look at them again, because your life term is over." So saying he took the soul of the King and departed. The King fell from his horse dead.

Then the Angel of Death went to a devotee and saluted him. He returned his salute. The Angel said - "I have a need of you which must be kept secret." The devotee said - "Welcome. I was waiting for your arrival, because long has been your absence from me who has longed for you." The Angel said - "If you have any business, you may complete it." The devotee answered - "There cannot be anything more important than meeting with my Lord." The Angel asked - "How would you like me to take your soul. I am asked to take it as you wish and choose." He replied - "Let me make the Wazoo ablution and pray, and I prostrate myself, then take my soul while my body is on the ground."

So the devote prayed and the Angel took his soul while he was in the position of prostration and transported it to the place of mercy and forgiveness.

And there is another tale of a certain King who had a heap of gold coins beyond count and gathered all other precious things. He had a magnificent palace also in which there were strong doors, and windows and appointed many guards and soldiers and doorkeepers, and servants to look after it.

One day he got ready in his very good suit to eat very good food and sat to eat it. He had invited his household companions and relations also to eat that food. He thought - "You have gathered to eat such delicious food and people, now you enjoy it in your leisure." A man clad in torn clothes knocked with the door-ring so loud and terrible that the whole palace shook as if it had shaken with earthquake.

The servants rushed to the door and found a beggar type man on the door. They asked him - "What unmannerly fashion is this? Wait till the King gives you of what is left." The beggar said - "Ask your King to come out and speak with me, for I have a pressing need and a matter to be listened to." The servants asked - "Who are you who is ordering our King like this?" But he said - "Just tell this."

So they went in and told his message to the King. The King asked them - "Didn't you threaten him?" That another knock came on the door, louder than the first one. So the servants rushed at him to slay him, but he said - "Be in your limit, because I am the Angel of the Death. The King asked them to tell that man that he should seek his substitute and leave him from this case.

But the Angel answered - "I will take no substitute, and I have come out only because of you to cause separation from your goods you have gathered together and the riches you have heaped around." As the King heard this he wept and groaned saying - "Allaah, Curse the treasure which has deluded me and diverted me from the service of my Lord. See, today I go empty-handed and leave it to my enemies." At this Allaah caused the Treasure to speak and it said - "Why do you curse me? Curse yourself, because Allaah created you and me both from the dust and gave me in your hand. You gave alms with me to poor and needy and sick."

Then the Angel took the King's soul as he sat on his throne, before he ate the food and he fell down dead. Allaah says - "While they were rejoicing for that which has been given to them, we suddenly hold them, and they are caught in despair."

And they tell another tale of a King from the King of the Bau Israel, who sat one day upon his throne, that he saw a man of forbidding look coming to him through the main door of the hall. His look terrified him, he sprang from his throne and asked him - "Who are you, and who permitted you to come into my house, and who has invited you to enter my house?" The stranger said - "The Lord of the House has sent me to you. No doorkeeper can stop me coming in, because I am not the servant of any Sultaan. I am He from whom no King is at rest, nor can anyone escape from my grasp. I am the Destroyer of the Delights." When the King heard this a shiver ran into his body, and he fell into a swoon. As he came to himself, he asked - "Are you the Angel of Death?" "Yes."

The King said - "I beg you to give me one single day that I may pray pardon of my sins and ask His forgiveness and restore my treasure to their rightful owners so that I am not burdened with the misery of punishment for it." Replied the Angel - "Well, Well, This may be in no way. How can I give you another day when the days of your life are counted, your breaths are counted and your moments are fixed and written."

The King asked - "OK, Give me an hour." But the Angel of Death said - "The hour was in the account and has sped up and fled and you have not thought about it, now your breaths are complete, and now remains only one breath." The King asked - "Who will be with me in my tomb?" The Angel said - "Nobody will be with you but your works, good or evil." The King said - "I have no works." Said the Angel - "Then doubtlessly, your long home will be in the Hell-fire and your Destiny will be the wrath of the Almighty."

Then he seized the soul of the King and the King fell off his throne and dropped on the earth dead. And everybody started weeping and crying."

End of Story No 68



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