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Arabian Nights Stories-5

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Story No 89-10, 17/21

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89-10 - The Story of the Hunchback (17 of 21) :
The Story of the Barber's Fourth Brother

On the 32nd Night contd ...

So the Barber started the story of his fourth brother - "My fourth brother's name is Al-Kooz al-Aswaanee. He is one-eyed and was a butcher in Bagadaad. He sold both meat and reared lambs and very rich people used to buy from him, so he collected great wealth. Thus he prospered for a long time. One day an old man with a long beard came to his shop and gave him some silver coins and asked to give him the meat. So he took the money and gave him the meat. When the old man went away, he saw the coins he gave to him, that they had a brilliant whiteness, so he put them aside. My brother continued to sell him for a period of five months, and kept the money into a chest.

After a period, he decided to take it out for the purpose of buying some sheep, but on opening the chest he found that all that money was converted into white paper, clipped round like coins. He slapped his face and cried out. At this many people gathered around and he told them his story. Hearing it they also were astonished.

He then went again, as usual, to kill a ram. He killed it and hung it in his shop. He cut off some of the meat and hung it outside, thinking that perhaps that old man comes again and if he will, I will seize him. And very soon that old man came with his money. My brother arose and laying hold upon him he began to cry out - "Come and hear me, what this scoundrel has done to me?" When the old man heard this, he said to him - "Which is more agreeable to you, you stop insulting or should I insult you?" My brother said - "For what you will insult me?" The old man said - "For selling human flesh in place of mutton." "You are lying." The old man said - "You are lying, who has a man suspended in his shop." My brother said - "If it is, as you have said, my property and blood shall be lawful to you."

Immediately the old man said - "O people, This butcher slaughters human beings and sells their flesh for mutton, and if want to see it, go into his shop and see." So the people rushed into the shop and saw the ram converted into a man, hung up, so they rushed to my brother. The people who were his friends turned upon him and beat him. Then they took him to the Chief Magistrate of the police and complained that he was selling human flesh in place of mutton. So the Magistrate ordered for 500 blows to him and took all his property. He then banished him from the city.

My brother did not know what to do so he journeyed onwards until he arrived at a great city where he thought to settle down. So he opened a shop there and sat there for his income. As one day, he went on some business, he heard neighing of horses, so he inquired about the cause of it. He was told that the King was going to hunt, so he went forth to see the procession just to amuse himself, but the King was looking on one side, his eyes met that of my brother and immediately he hung down his head and exclaimed - "I seek refuge with God from the evil of this day." He then turned back and all his troops returned with him. After this he ordered his servants to run after my brother and to beat him and they did so. They beat him so much that he almost died and he did not know the cause.

He came back to his home in a miserable condition, then he went back to explain his condition to one of the King's attendants who laughed heartily, then said - "The King cannot tolerate a one-eyed person and especially when the defect is in the left eye. And in this case he never fails to put the person to death." When my brother heard this he left that city and came to a city where there was no King.

Here he remained for a long time. Once he was thinking about the incident of the former city, so he went out to amuse himself, and he again heard the neighing of horse behind him. So remembering the past incident, he ran away from there and wanted to hide but could not find one. So looking for one he came to door set up as a barricade, he pushed this gate and it fell down and entering the doorway, he saw a long passage and he entered that passage. Suddenly two men held him and said - "Thank God, we have got you. For these three nights we have not even slept." My brother asked - "What happened to you?" They said - "You keep a watch on us and desire to disgrace us and the master of the house. Is it not enough that you have made him poor. Produce your knife by which you threaten us every night."

And so saying they searched him and found a knife upon his waist with which he cut the shoe leather. "Fear God in your treatment to me. And my story is very wonderful." They asked - "What is your story?" So he told them his story in the hope that they would free him, but they did not believe him and they beat him and tore his clothes. Then they took him to the Valee and he ordered for 100 lashes upon him. After this they mounted him upon a camel and proclaimed that that was the man who broke into men's houses.

I brought him to Bagadaad secretly and allotted him the food and drink.

Contd on 18th Page



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Created by Sushma Gupta on January 15, 2002
Modified on 07/16/14