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Arabian Nights Stories-4

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Story No 84-3/4

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84-3 - The Caliph's Night Adventure (3 of 4) :
The History of Siddee Noomaan

On the 612th Night

So Siddee started his story - "My parent had lots of wealth to give to their son so that he can spend it for his lifelong, until one day I decided to marry a woman but Allaah's will was not there. Destiny wedded me to grief and misery. I married a maid who was very beautiful from outside, but had no mind at all. And this started from the very next day of my wedding. You know that in Muslims, the bride and bridegroom do not see each other's face before marriage; nor after the wedding one can complain about one another. He should live happily taking it as his fate, fair or unfair.

When I saw my wife's face for the first time, she was beautiful and I thanked Allaah for this but next day when the noon meal was served, I had to send for her. She came late. It so happened that among the many fine dishes which were served for us, there was a dish of rice (pilaf) which, according to our custom, I began to eat with a spoon; but she took out a ear-pick from her pocket and started eating it with that picking it grain by grain.

Seeing this conduct, I was sore amazed, but I said sweetly - "Ameenaa, What is this way of eating rice? Have you learnt this way of eating rice from your people? You have eaten only 10-20 grains by this time, eat as I am eating it." I thought that she will thank me and will start eating like me, but she did not listen to and continued to eat like before. And not only this she used to pause for a long time between picking each grain. When the cake came, she only ate a very tiny piece from it. I thought maybe she is not accustomed to eat with men. So I said nothing and went out in open air. Now whenever we ate, she ate in the same fashion and I thought how she was able to keep herself alive with this little food.

One night when I had slept, although I was not slept, she arose from the bed. I thought why she should leave me like this in the night, so I watched her. She dressed herself and left the room. Seeing this I sprang up from my bed and took my sword and looked out of my window to see where did she go. She crossed the courtyard, opened the street door and went out. I also followed her. She came to a cemetery which was near our home.

On the 613th Night

I saw her sitting with a Gul (ghost). You know that Gul are of the race of devils - unclean spirits. They trouble travelers, and may eat them sometimes too. Well, I was amazed as well as terrified to see all this. Then both dug a corpse, which was newly buried, from a grave and started eating it with interest. They were talking also. I was standing at a distance that is why I could not hear what they talked. I trembled seeing all this. They had finished eating, they buried the bones and heaped up the earth as before. I could not tolerate this and I came back home. I left the door open as my wife had left it while going out. Ameenaa came back, changed her dress and lay beside me. She did not know that I was awake, or I followed her, or I have seen her what she did.

Next morning I got up, did my daily chores and went to stroll in the garden. I made up my mind that I will have to stop her from all this. I came back by noon and we both had our lunch. She ate like before. I said to her politely - "Ameenaa, If you do  not like this dish, see, there are some other dishes also; eat whichever pleases you the most. Everyday we have different dishes, if you don't like these ones, you may order for whichever one you like. Still I would like to ask you one question, "Is there no meat here as rich and toothsome as man's flesh, that you refuse to eat every dish?"

As I finished my sentence, my wife knew that I had known about her last night's incident. Hearing me she became exceedingly angry and she made such a horrible face that I got frightened. In her anger she took some water from a jug, which was kept beside her, muttered some words over it, and threw it over me saying - "O cursed one, You become a dog." At once I turned into a dog. She took a stick and beat me mercilessly, then I ran from room to room and she followed me till she was tired. Then she opened the street door and I went out of the house. She closed the door but unfortunately my tip of the tail got squeezed between the door. Still I managed to run away from there. Many dogs came to me barking and biting.

On the 614th Night

I came to a shop where the shopkeeper kept goats and sheep's heads, and he hid me there. I spent my night there. Next day morning, the butcher went to buy meat. When he brought it inside the shop a whole pack of dogs gathered there to eat it. I also joined them. Seeing me eating greedily, the shopkeeper thought that I had not eaten for some time, so he threw a large size of meat towards me but I did not eat it and went away from there. Then I came to a baker's shop and the baker threw me a few pieces of bread which I ate slowly. Then I sat by the door. He got pleased with my manners. he caressed me and kept me to guard his shop. He loved me very much, if he did not find me around, he used to cry for me in the street - "Bakht, Bakht." And as soon as he called me, I came rushing there.

Thus some time passed living there with him, till one day, it so happened that a woman came to the bakery, bought the bread and gave him several Dirhams among which one coin was bad. The baker checked all the coins and returned the bad one so that woman to change it, but the woman would not take it. Then the baker said to her - "See, Even my dog can tell you that this coin is bad." And he scattered all coins on the floor. I put my paw on the bad one leaving others aside. Not only the baker but that woman also was surprised to see this. The woman changed the coin and went away.

After the woman had gone, my master related this incident to others also. They also tested me and when they found that the baker was telling the truth, they spread this news in the whole city. The baker now honored me more and did not allow me to leave his side. My fame brought him many customers from far and near places.

On the 615th Night

One day again a woman came to buy some bread and gave the baker 6 Dirhams among which one coin was bad. The baker passed them to me and I picked the bad one immediately. The woman accepted that that coin was bad and signed me to follow her while she went out of the shop. First I ignored her but the when she signed at me several times, I followed her in the hope that maybe she knew my case and she would bring me back to human being.

She took me to her house, and in a room where a beautiful woman was sitting wearing an embroidered dress. It seemed to me that maybe she was her daughter. She said to her - "O Daughter, He is that dog which recognizes the bad coins from among the good coins. So see that whether he is really a dog or he has been transformed from man to dog." The young lady said - "O Mother, You are right and I can prove it forthright." She took some water from a basin, read some words over it and threw on me saying - "If you were born as a dog then stay as a dog, and if not, then by virtue of this water turn into the man." Immediately I was changed into a man.

I fell at the feet of the young woman, kissed the ground before her and cried - "O gracious lady, You have been very kind to a stranger, how can I thank you for this. From today I am your slave." Then I told her all my case and about Ameenaa's wickedness. She said - "Please do not give me so many thanks, I am just happy that I could bring you back as a human being. I know your wife for a long time before you married her. I know that she knew witchcraft and she knows about me too, because we both learnt this from the same mistress. I met her a few times at baths, but since she was ill-mannered, I did not talk to her much. I will punish her for her wrong doing she has done to you. You just wait here."

She went into another room and I sat there talking to her mother praising her kindness to me. She came back and said - "Presently she is not at her home. She has pretended that you had some urgent work that is why you have left the house. Take this pot of water, go home and wait for her coming. When she will come back, she will be surprised to see you there. Maybe she tries to escape from you, but before that you sprinkle some water from this pot over her reciting these spells which I will teach you." She taught me the spell and I went home and I did as she had said to me. She turned into a mare whom you saw yesterday. I liked the sight of her changing into an animal.

On the 616th Night

I procured her, and beat her till my arm was tired. Then I decided that I would ride her at full speed round the square each day and beat her to punish her."

After telling his story, Siddee got silent, but he again spoke - "I hope that you are not displeased with my punishment, maybe you would give her greater punishment than this," and he sat down. Hearing his story the Caliph said - "Your story is very pitiable. Your wife has no excuse for her behavior and you are also treating her right; but still I ask you one thing, "How long will you be beating her, and how long she will be in the form of mare? You better ask the same lady to transform her into human shape. Yet I fear that after coming into human form, she might, who knows, treat you worse than before, and you may not be able to escape from that situation."

Then the Caliph urged the third man to tell his story, He said - "As I was walking at such odd time, I was surprised to see your mansion, so great and so grand. When I asked about it, people told me that it belonged to (you) Khwaajaa Hasan. They said that they had seen you before also when you were a poor man but now you help poor. You are so rich but you have not forgotten your former state and you do not waste your money. Now I want to hear your story from you that how did you earn so much wealth. Do not fear at all and I am interested only in your story,  not in your money. You may enjoy it to your heart what Allaah has given to you."

Khwaajaa Hasan kissed the ground before the Caliph and said - "I will tell you the whole story that my wealth is by the favor of Allaah only, and he started telling his story ....

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