Shishu Sansaar | Arabian Nights Stories-4

Arabian Nights Stories-4

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Story No 82-1/3

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82-1 - The Sleeper and the Waker (1 of 3)

Once there was a merchant in the kingdom of Caliph Haaroon al-Rasheed in Bagadaad. He had a son named Aboo al-Hasan al-Khaaliyaa. When the merchant died, he left lots of wealth to his son. Aboo divided it in two parts, one part he saved and the other part he spent. He fell in the company of Persian merchants who used to eat and drink a lot, so he also started spending his money, tills all his money was finished. Then he approached his friends for help but nobody listened to him, they rather scolded him for not caring for his money.

Then he approached his mother and told her what had happened to him, his mother consoled him saying that people are like that. Then he got up and went to the place where his other half money was kept, took it and lived well with it. He swore that he would never see anybody with whom he was in company before; rather he will sit with strangers and only for a night, the next day he would forget them. So he sat on the bridge over the Tigris every evening, and if he saw any stranger, he brought him to his house where he conversed with him all night, till morning. Then he would dismiss him and would never salute him with Salaam, nor invite him again.

He did this for one full one year, till one day when he was waiting for a stranger, he saw Caliph and Masaroor coming in merchant's disguise. So Aboo rose and greeted them, as he did not know them, and said - "Would you like to come to my house to eat and drink?" The Caliph refused this, but Aboo pursued him - "Please come to my house, be my guest this night," till he consented. He brought them to his home, took them in his saloon. His saloon was richly decorated. The Caliph left Masaroor at the door and as soon as he was seated, Aboo brought something to eat and drink. Both ate and drank together. Then he removed the tray, washed their hand and sat down again. Aboo then called a slave girl and she started singing.

Aboo's hospitality pleased the Caliph, so he asked him - "Who are you? Tell me about yourself so that I may return your kindness." But Aboo said - "Far be it, alas. That what is past should again come to pass. This will not happen again, so there is no use to tell you my story." The Caliph asked - "Why don't you want to tell me about yourself?" Aboo said - "My story is strange and there is a cause behind it." "And what is that cause?" Aboo said - "The cause has a tail." The Caliph laughed at his words and Aboo al-Hasan said - "I will explain to you this saying by the tale of the Laarikin and the Cook, so hear it, My Lord."

The Laaarikin and the Cook

Aboo al-Hasan said - "One morning, one of the Never-do well found himself without anything and patience had failed him, so he lay down to sleep and slept till the Sun rose up next morning. When he rose in the morning, he had no money. He came to a shop of a Cook who was cooking food. His shop was very clean and a sweet fragrance of spices was spread all over. He said to the Cook - "Weigh me half a Dirham's worth of meat  and a quarter of Dirham's worth of bread and a quarter of Dirham's worth of boiled rice." So the Cook weighed it and gave it to him and the good-for-nothing entered the shop and sat there to eat it. When he had finished it, he did not know what to do with the price. He was looking around that he saw an earthen pot lying on its mouth (downward). He raised it and found a horse's tail under it. He knew that the tail was fresh cut and the Cook had mixed horse meat with the food. He got very happy to see this, so he got up, washed his hands and went out of the shop.

When the Cook saw him going out without paying his money, he cried out - "O Burglar, Stay back." So the Laarikin stopped - "Did you stop me with these words?" The Cook came down the shop and said to him - "Yes, You are going without giving my money for the food you ate?" Laarikin said - "You are lying." The Cook held his collar and cried - "He is my first customer, he ate my food and did not give any money for it." So the folks gathered and asked him to give the money to the Cook. He said - "I gave him a Dirham before I entered his shop." But the Cook denied it, and both started fighting.

When people saw them fighting, they asked them the cause of their fighting. Laarikin said - "There is a cause for it and the cause has a tail." Cried the Cook - "Yeah, Now you are reminding me of your Dirham. Yes, He gave me a Dirham, but a quarter of the coin is spent. Come back and take the rest of the price of your Dirham." Because he understood what he had to do at the mention of the tail.

And thus my story has a tail, O my brother, which I will tell you." The Caliph laughed at his speech and said - "By Allaah, This story is very interesting. Now you tell me your story and the cause.

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