Shishu Sansaar | Arabian Nights Stories-5

Arabian Nights Stories-5

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Story No 89-3-2, 7/21

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89-3-2 - The Story of the Hunchback (7 of 13) :
The Story Told by the Sultaan's Steward-2

On the 27th Night contd ...

Thus I passed the night in the mosque. In the morning I saw two eunuchs approaching me in a small boat carrying some small chests. One of them departed and the other one remained. He was the one who came with that lady. In a little while the lady also came to us. She talked to me for a while and then she kept me in a chest and locked it. The eunuch brought some other stuff which he kept in other chests and they took me to the Lady Zubaidaa's palace. I repented again for what I had done.

We arrived at the door of the palace and the guard cried out to the girl, "The chests must be opened." and he put his hand on the chest in which I was hidden. I was almost died, but the girl said - "These chests are for the Lady Zubaidaa and if you will open them, she will be very angry with you. These chests contain nothing except the colorful clothes, except this chest on which you put your hand. In this chest are some bottles filled with the water of Zamzam; and if any of the water run upon the clothes, it will spoil their colors. I have advised you, now it is up to you what do you decide." When he heard his he let the chests pass on. And the eunuchs immediately took them up to the palace.

But at the same instance I heard a person crying out - "Caliph, Caliph." I almost died again. The Caliph cried out to the girl - "What are these chests?" The girl said - "O my Lord, These chests contain some clothes for my mistress Zubaidaa." The Caliph said - "Open them, so that I may see the clothes." Now I was sure of my death.

On the 28th Night

The girl could not disobey his command, still she took a chance - "O Caliph, There is nothing in these chests except the clothes of the Lady Zubaidaa, and she has commanded me not to open them to anyone." But the Caliph did not agree to this and he ordered the eunuchs to bring them to him.

So they took the chests to the Caliph and he examined all the chests one by one. When it was my turn and the eunuchs were about to open that chest, the girl said - "O Caliph, Certainly in this chest are things related to women, and it is not proper to open this chest before men." So the Caliph ordered to take all the chests in. The girl took all the chests in but took my chest in the Lady Zubaidaa's inner apartments. All the people went away, then the girl opened the chest, and signed me to come out and to go to a closet. When I had entered the closet, she said - "You need not to worry now."

She took me to the Lady Zubaidaa where I saw 20 other female slaves. I advanced to her and kissed the ground before her. She talked to me for a while showing her satisfaction. She said to me - "This girl is like our daughter and she is committed to your care." She commanded me to stay there for 10 days, but during this period I didn't see the girl. Then the Lady Zubaidaa asked the Caliph's permission to marry her girl to me, and he ordered her to marry her to me and give her 10,000 pieces of gold.

The Lady Zubaidaa called the Qaazee for the marriage, and prepared exquisite dishes and sweets for the marriage. This celebration continued for 10 days. Then they brought me a dish of Zeerbaajaah sweetened with sugar. By Allaah, I instantly commended upon this dish and ate to my satisfaction. I wiped my hands but did not wash them. I sat there till dark, till the girls lighted the candles, the bride was displayed, the singing started, and the presents were given to the bride. After that they left her with me and left us alone. And as soon as I was left alone with her, I threw my arms around her neck; and as I did so, she smelled Zeerbaajaah from my hand and immediately uttered a loud cry. So the female slaves ran to her.

I did not know what had happened to her. She said to them - "Take me away from him. I thought he was a civilized man but ..." Then she asked me - "You ate Zeerbaajaah and did not wash your hands? By Allaah, I will not accept you for this indecent behavior." She took out a whip and beat me. Then she asked her girls to take me to the Magistrate so that he can cut my hands. I cried - "You will cut my hands just because I ate Zeerbaajaah and did not wash my hands?" Her maids also tried to calm her, but she replied, "I must cut off something from his xtremities." She said to me - "How did you dare to eat Zeerbaajaah and not wash your hands?"

Then she ordered her maids to tie my hands at my back. She herself took a sharp razor and cut my two thumbs and the two big toes. I fainted. She sprinkled some powder on my wounds, and I said - "I will never eat Zeerbaajaah till I live unless I wash my hands 40 times with potash, and 40 times with galangale and 40 times with soap." Therefore whenever this Zeerbaajaah dish was brought to me, my color changed, I remembered that this was the reason of cutting my thumbs and big toes and when you compelled me to eat, I said, that I must fulfill my oath."

Then people present there asked the Sultaan's steward Reeve - "What happened to you then?" He said - "As I took oath, she got pleased with me and we lived together happily for a considerable time. Then one day she said to me - "The people of the Caliph do not know that you are living with me." She gave me 50,000 gold pieces and asked me to buy a spacious house. So I purchased a handsome spacious house and moved all that she had to that house. So this was the cause of my amputation of extremities."

The Steward continued - "Then we ate and departed. As I reached home, this humpback incident happened. This is all my story." The Caliph said - "This is not more pleasant than the story of the hunchback; no, the story of the hunchback is more pleasant than this; so you all must be crucified." At this the Jewish physician said - "O King, I will tell you a story more wonderful than that of the hunchback, if you permit me." The King said - "You are permitted." So the Jew started his story like this ......

Contd on 8th Page



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