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Arabian Nights Stories-4

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Story No 84-1

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84-1 - The Caliph's Night Adventure

Once the caliph Haaroon al-Rasheed was wakeful and could not sleep the whole night so when he rose in the morning he was restless. Now the people around him were also restless seeing him restless. The Caliph asked his eunuch Masaroor to call his Vazeer Zaafar. Masaroor immediately went and came back with the Vazeer Zaafar. Zaafar found the Caliph in melancholy. He asked the reason of his state of mind. The Caliph said - "It is of very late, but it will not go until I hear some strange tales or verses. An if you do not have any pressing affair, you may gladden my heart." The Vazeer said - "Since I am your Vazeer, I will have to obey you, but I would like to remind you that today you will be going to see your environs. That might divert your mind." The caliph said - "It is good that you have reminded me for this, I had completely forgotten this. Go and change your guise and I also change my guise." So they both took the guise of merchants and came out from a secret door of the palace garden.

They came to the Euphrates River, crossed it by the first ferry they found, and passed over the bridge which divided the city of Bagadaad in two. At the foot of the bridge they found a blind man who was asking for alms. The Caliph put a Deenaar on his palm, whereupon the beggar caught hold his arm fast and said - "Whoever you are, please hit me on my ear because I deserve such a punishment or take back your alms." And after saying this he quitted his hand so that he can hit him, but the Caliph could not do this lest the passer by people hold him by his robe.

On the 606th Night

Shahrzaad continued her story - "The Caliph expressed his helplessness in granting his request, neither he could hit him nor he could take back his Deenaar; but the  beggar had held him tight repeating his request. So the caliph gave him light beating on his ear. The beggar thanked him. Both proceeded forward, but then the Caliph said to the Vazeer - "It seems that the beggar should have some genuine reason to behave like this which I failed to know. Go back to him and tell him who I am and tell him to appear at my palace at about mid-afternoon prayer time, so I can talk to him." The Vazeer immediately went back, gave one Deenaar more to him and a beating on his ear, delivered the message of the Caliph and came back.

After this they came to town and saw a handsome young man riding a mare at her fullest speed round the open space whipping her so cruelly that she was covered with sweat and blood. The Caliph asked the people standing around about it but they told him that he behaved in this manner daily at the same time. At this he asked his Vazeer to tell the young man to come to his palace at the same time when the beggar was supposed to come.

Now the Caliph proceeded towards his palace by passing from a street he had not passed for a long time, he saw a palace, which he had not seen before. He asked Zaafar about it, but he told that he did not know and he would ask about it. As he asked, he told that that palace belonged to Khwaajaa Hasan surnamed al-Habbaal. He had built it through his handicraft of rope making. In fact he himself had seen him in the days of his poverty. So he called that man also to his palace at the same time when the previous two persons were to come to him.

Next day Zafaar introduced all the three men to the Caliph - the blind man as Baabaa Abdullaa. The Caliph said to him - "You were asking the alms in such a strange manner that I could not have granted your request. Tell me how these thoughts entered your mind. Tell me the truth and the truth only."

On the 607th Night

Baabaa Abdullaa fell on the feet of the Caliph and said - "I acknowledge my offense. In fact I have committed an offense for which I am guilty, that is why I ask everybody to beat me on my ear, although it is not sufficient punishment for it. I tell you the story of my offense."

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