Shishu Sansaar | Arabian Nights Stories-5

Arabian Nights Stories-5

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Story No 89-1-1, 1/21

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89-1-1 - The Story of the Hunchback (1 of 21)

Nights 24-32

In ancient times, there lived a tailor in the city of Basaraa. He was very fond of fun and enjoyment. He had an ample income. He used to go with his wife also to enjoy strange scenes. One day they went forth in the afternoon and were returning in the evening that they met a hunchback man whose form was so interesting that even an angry person could laugh. So they approached him to enjoy the pleasure of gazing at him and invited him to their house to join them for a carousel that night.

He agreed to their proposal and went to their house with them. Then the tailor went to the market to buy something. He bought some fried fish, bread, limes and some sweets. After coming from the market, he kept the fried fish before the hunchback and all sat to eat it. The tailor's wife took a large piece of fish and crammed it in the humpback's mouth, and closing his mouth with her hand, said - "By Allaah, You will not chew it, but gulp it at once and I will not give you time to chew it." So he had to swallow it. Now it contained a large and sharp bone which stuck across in his throat, his Destiny was such, he died.

On the 25th Night

The Tailor exclaimed - "God is great, but he should not have died in this way in our house by our hands." Both said - "What should we do now?" The wife thought for a while and said - "Arise and take him embracing, keeping a silk napkin over his head. I will go outside first and you follow me, just now and saying - "This is my son and this is my mother. My son is sick and we are going to take him to the physician, so that he may give him some medicine."

The Tailor rose immediately, lifted the hunchback and embracing him took him outside. His wife went out first exclaiming - "O my child, Where is your pain? Allaah preserve you. Why has this smallpox attacked you?" So whoever saw them, said - "They are taking their child to the doctor." Thus they proceeded inquiring as they went to the place of the physician, and the people directed them to the house of the physician.

This physician was a Jew. So they knocked his door and a black slave girl opened the door. She saw a man carrying (as she imagined) a child and attended by his mother. She asked them - "What do you want?" The tailor's wife said - "We have a child here and we want the physician to see him. Take this quarter of a piece of gold and give it to your master. Let him come down and see my child." The girl went up and the tailor's wife entering the house of the physician, said to her husband - "Leave this hunchback here, and we should go." So they left the body there and went away.

Meanwhile the girl went up and told her master about the sick child and she gave him the quarter of the piece of gold as the fees to see the child. The physician got very happy to see the piece of gold, and came down rushing in the dark; and in doing so, his foot struck with the humpback's body, and he cried - "O Heavens, O Ezra, It seems that I have stumbled over this sick person and he has fallen down the stairs and died. Now how can I live with a dead person?" He then raised him, took him up from the court of the house to his wife and told her about the incident.

She said to him - "Then why are you sitting here so quiet, because if you will be sitting like this till morning, we will be dead. Let us take him to the terrace and throw him in our Muslim neighbor's house. He is the steward in the Sultaan's kitchen and cats often come to his house to eat the food that is there. And if he remains the whole night there, even the dogs will come there and will eat him entirely." So the Jew and his wife carried the hunchback up and let him down by his hands and feet to the pavement placing him against the wall.

As the hunchback was thrown there, the steward came back to his house. He opened his door, lighted a candle and went up. There he saw a man standing in the corner next to the kitchen. He cried seeing him - "Oh, So this is the man who has stolen our goods. Who takes whatever he finds, flesh or grease, even though I keep it hidden from the cats and dogs. And even if I kill all the cats and dogs, they will come from the terraces."

Saying this he picked up a hammer and hit him with it, and then coming close to him, he struck him again, so the man standing there fell down. Then he found that the man was dead. He grieved for him and cursed the flesh, the grease and the night in which that man's Destiny brought him to end. Looking at him he found that he was a hunchback, so he said - "It is not enough that you are a hunchback, you must be a robber also." He loaded him up on his shoulder, came down and took him forth from his house and placed him on the market street by the side of a shop and went away.

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