Shishu Sansaar | Arabian Nights Stories-5

Arabian Nights Stories-5

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Story No 89-2-1, 3/21

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89-2-1 - The Story of the Hunchback (3 of 21) :
The Story Told by the Christian Broker

So the Christian started his story - "O King, I came to this country with merchandise and by my Destiny I stayed here with your people. I was born in Cairo and I am one of its Copts (member of the Coptic Church). My father was a broker, and when I had grown up, he died. One day when I was just sitting when a man came to me, saluted me and presented me a handkerchief containing some sesame and asked me - "What is the value of an Ardabb (in Cairo, it is five bushels - a Winchester bushel = 35.24 Liters; and an Imperial Bushel = 36.38 Liters) of this material?" I answered him - "A 100 pieces of silver." And he said to me - "Get the carriers and the measures and send them to the Khaan of Al-Javaalee in the district of Baab an-Nasr. You will find me there." And he left me and went his way after giving me the handkerchief containing the sample of the sesame.

So I went about to buy the sesame seeds, the price of each Ardabb amounted to a 120 silver pieces. I loaded it on four carriers and went to the said address. As he said to me I found him at the place he told me. As he saw me he rose from his seat, and we measured the whole amount to 50 Ardabbs. The young man said - "You will have 10 pieces of silver for each Ardabb as the brokerage and you will have its price, keep it with you. The whole sum will be 5,000 pieces of silver and your share is 500, so there will still remain 4,500. When I have finished the sale of my goods contained in my store room, I will come to you and take my money." I said - "As you wish." I kissed his hand and left him. Thus this transaction gave me 1,000 pieces of silver as my profit besides my brokerage.

He appeared after a month and said to me - "Where is the money?" I said - "Here it is." And he said - "Keep it, until I come to you to take it," and went away. He again came after a month and asked me "Where is the money?" I saluted him and asked him if he would like to eat something with me. He declined and said - "Keep the money until I have gone and returned to receive it from you." He again left and I prepared the money for him and sat waiting for his coming back. He again came back after one month and said - "After this day I will get that money from you." And he again went away. Again I sat waiting for him.

He again appeared after a month, but this time clad in rich attire like a moon. I kissed his hand and blessed him. I asked him - "Will you not take your money?" "Have patience with me until I have finished my all affairs." And he again went away. This time I thought, "This time when he comes, I will entertain him as my guest because I have earned so much profit from his money." 

This time he came at the close of the year, clad in a dress richer than before, and I swore to him that I would treat him as my guest. He said - "I can accept it on the condition that you will spend nothing of my money which is in your possession." "Sure." Then I brought some requisite dishes and placed before him and we started eating. He put forth his left hand and ate with that hand. I was surprised at seeing this. When we had finished eating, he washed his hand, and I gave him a napkin to wipe his hand. Then we talked for a while.

I said to him - "Please, if you don't mind, dispel a trouble from my mind. I want to know why did you eat with your left hand? Does something pain your right hand?" Hearing this, he stretched out his arm from his sleeve. It was maimed - without a hand. He said - "Do not be surprised, nor think that I ate with you with my left hand intentionally. In fact there is a cause of the cutting of my this hand." "And what is the cause?" I asked. 

He said - "I am from Bagadaad. When I grew up I heard the wanderers and travelers talking about Egypt and I kept thinking about it till my father died. After his death, I took a large sum of money, some merchandise from Bagadaad and al-Mosul, and some precious goods and started for Cairo. God saved me till I came here. After coming here, I kept my stuff with the Khaan of Masaroor, unpacked my stuff and asked a servant to buy some food for us. After eating I slept a little and when I got up I went to Bain al-Kasarain. 

I came back, passed the night and next morning I opened up a bale of stuff and took it to the market, where the brokers came to me, and cried for its sale, but its price was not coming up to the mark. So the Sheikh of the brokers came to me and said to me - "I can tell you a way by which you can get some good profit. That is, you do as other merchants. Sell your merchandise on credit for a certain period, employing a buyer, a witness and a moneychanger, and receive a portion of the profit every Thursday and Monday. Thus you will make two silvers for one." His advice was good, so I agreed to it.

I did so for one month until after I became entitled to the receipts of the profits, when I seated every Thursday and Monday at the shops of the merchants and the moneychanger brought me the money.

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