Shishu Sansaar | Arabian Nights Stories-4

Arabian Nights Stories-4

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Story No 75-1/2

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75-1 - Ghaanim bin-Ayyob, the Distraught: The Thrall of Love (1 of 2)

Long time ago, there lived a wealthy merchant in Damascus. He had a son with sweet speech named Ghaanim bin-Ayyoob - surnamed as the Distraught, the Thrall of Love. He had a beautiful daughter too whose name was Fitanaa.

On the 39th Night

Their father died and left them lots of wealth and hundreds of loads of silk and brocade, musk-pods, mother of pearls. On every bale it was written - "This is the package meant for Bagadaad." It seemed they were meant to go to Bagadaad, in the times of Haaroon al-Rasheed, along with their father.

So his son took all those bales, took farewell from his mother and set off for a journey to Bagadaad along with other merchants. In Bagadaad, he hired a house for himself, furnished it very well and stored his bales there. He rested for a while and people came to greet him. After this he took a bundle of 10 costly pieces of the stuff to Bazaar with the price written on them. He showed his stuff to the merchants there and sold them at a profit for two Deenaars on every Deenaar (three times the price). Thus he sold his stuff for one full year.

At the beginning of the next year, he went to exchange what he had, but found the gate shut. He asked the reason. He was told that one of the merchants was dead and others have followed his bier. "Why don't you also go with them?" He replied "Yes." And asked the address. So he also went there and followed the bier. They reached to the graveyard where they found that the deceased's kith and kin had pitched a tent over the tomb and had brought candles and lamps. Ghaanim also sat down there. He wanted to leave but could not leave. Sweets were distributed and after eating them and washing their hands they again sat there.

Ghaanim thought - "I am a stranger here and I have money; if I go in the night, the thieves may steal my money and things." So when he could no longer control his fear, he left the place having first asked the assembly that he had some urgent business to attend. Soon he came to the city gate, but it was closed as it was about mid-night at that time. There was nobody going or coming except the dogs and wolves were heard. He thought - "I came here with the fear of thieves, but I find myself here alone." He turned back and looked for a place to sleep. He found a Santon's tomb, a square of four walls with a date tree in it. Its doorway was wide open, so he entered the place and lay down to sleep, but the sleep would not come. He was feeling very lonely.

He rose and opened the door, he saw a light in the direction of the city gate. He went towards it and found that it was on the road through which he came to this tomb. He feared for his life, he quickly shut the door and climbed up the date tree. The light came nearer, till it came to the tomb. He saw three slaves - two carrying a box and the third one carrying the light, an axe and a basket containing some mortar. One of the two who were carrying the casket, said - "What is troubling you, O Sawaab?" The other said - "What is the matter of Kaafoor?" He said - "We are not here to eat supper, did we not leave the door open?" "Yes." "See, now it is shut." The third one whose name was Bukhaayat, said - "Your memory is weak. Don't you remember that the gardener used to come out from Bagadaad to tend them and shut the door with the fear of people like us who can catch them, roast them and eat them."

The other two said - "None of us has weaker memory than yours." Bukhaayat said - "If you do not believe me, let us enter the tomb and I will rouse the rat for you; because I doubt that when he saw the light and us coming here, he ran up the date tree and hid there." When Ghaanim heard this he said to himself - "Allaah save me, How can I save myself from these blackamoors?" Then the two asked the axe carrying man to open the gate because they were tired of carrying the box, and when he had opened the gate they would fry the rat.

But Bukhaayat was afraid of something and was not ready to open the gate, he said - "I am afraid of something, its better to throw this box over the gate for it is our treasure." Others said - "If we will throw it, it will break." Then they set down the box, and climbing the wall, dropped it inside, and opened the gate. Then they had locked the gate and sat down, they said - "We are tired, we cannot open the tomb now, it is midnight, let us take rest for a few hours, then we will start our job. In the meantime each of us will tell his tale how he became an eunuch." 

So Bukhaayat told his story first, then the second one, Kaafoor, (these two stories are not given here) but the third one said - "My story is very long so I will tell you my story when I will reach the palace." He climbed the wall and dropped down from the wall inside and opened the door. They entered, set down the lantern, dug a hole as long as the chest and of the same breadth. They buried the chest in that hole and threw back the earth over it. Then they shut the door and went away.

In the morning, Ghaanim came down the tree and scooped away the earth. He took out the box, opened it and found the most beautiful woman adorned in very rich clothes and jewelry. She was drugged with Bhaang and her rising and falling bosom showed that she was still alive. He took her out of the box and laid her outside on the ground. As she felt the cool breeze, she coughed, she choked and a small tablet came out of her mouth. She opened her eyes and said in her sweet voice - "Where is Zhaar al-Bostan?" But no one answered her, so she cried taking several names but still no one answered.

Then she asked - "Have they kept me in the tomb?" Then Ghaanim said - "O Lady, Here there is nothing like screened rooms, nor palace, nor Harem, but only tombs and here I am your slave, Ghaanim bin-Ayyoob, sent to you by Allaah to remove all your troubles." After saying this Ghaanim got silent and she cried - "I say that there is no god, but the God. Who brought me here?" Ghaanim said - "Three slave eunuchs came here bearing this chest." And told her the whole story, then he asked her who she was.

She said - "Praise to Allaah who has put me in the able hands of yours, but now you put me in the box, put it on the road, hire the first camel driver and take me to your home. After reaching there I will tell you my story." Ghaanim did the same. His heart was full of her love. She was a girl worth  of 10,000 gold pieces and her clothes and ornaments will fetch him lots of money.

On the 41st Night

After reaching home he took out the lady from the box. The lady looked around her and seeing that the place belonged to a wealthy person uncovered her face, and Lo, he was a fair youth, so she also loved him. She asked him to bring something to eat. He immediately went to Bazaar and bought a roasted lamb and some sweets with dry fruits and candles and wine, not forgetting perfumes. They both ate and drank and enjoyed each other's company. The night fell and Ghaanim lit the candles. They again talked and played and laughed, recited verses and then they slept till morning. Next morning Ghaanim again went to the market and brought food. They again ate, drank, played, talked till Ghaanim asked for her kiss. She told that let her be drunk then he can steal a kiss not letting her know that he had kissed her. He asked her several times to have her kiss but she said - "I know that I can not be yours." "Why?" 

"I tell you why? You may accept it as my excuse." Thus one month passed. They ate and drank, played and laughed but whenever Ghaanim asked her to be his, she put him off. One day she showed him the string of her trousers, on it was written, "I am yours, you are mine, O cousin of the Apostle." He asked her - "Who are you?" "I am the concubine of the Sultaan and my name is Koot al-Kuloob. I was brought up in his palace and when I grew up, he loved me and assigned me a separate apartment. He gave me 10 slave girls and all these ornaments you are seeing now on my body.

One day he went out for some work, that Lady Zubaidaa (his wife) came to one of my slave girls and said to her - "I want something from you." "What is it?" "When your mistress is asleep, put this Bhaang into her nostrils or drop it in her drink and you will have as much money as you will want." She had been Zubaidaa's maid so she was faithful to her. She put Bhaang in my drink, in a while I fell on the ground. She asked to put me in the casket, and take me here under the date tree where you saved me. This is my story. Now I don't know what has happened to the Caliph in my absence."

Knowing that Koot al-Kuloob was a concubine of the Caliph, Ghaanim sat aside and started weeping at his love emotions. Koot al-Kuloob rose, embraced him and kissed him, because she also loved him, and that is how she showed her love to him. But Ghaanim could not love her because of the fear of Caliph. Then he went to Bazaar, brought the things he needed, and came back home. Koot al-Kuloob was weeping. She stopped weeping seeing him coming and asked him to forget the past and have her as he wanted. But he said - "It can never be."

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Created by Sushma Gupta on January 15, 2002
Modified on 07/13/14