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Arabian Nights Stories-5

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Story No 89-5-1, 10/21

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89-5-1 - The Story of the Hunchback (10 of 21) :
The Story Told by the Tailor-1

On the 29th Night contd ...

So the Tailor started his story thus - "O King, What has happened to me is more wonderful than the events which have happened to all others. Before I met the hunchback, I happened to be, early in the morning, at an entertainment given to certain tradesmen whom I knew. Among them were tailors, linen drapers and carpenters also. When the Sun had risen, and the food was brought for us to eat, the master of the house came in accompanied by a strange young handsome man. He had rich clothes on his body. He was very handsome except that he was lame.

As soon as he entered he greeted us, and when he was about to sit, he observed a barber amongst us, and so he refused to sit with us and desired to depart. We and the master of the house requested him to sit down asking "What is the reason of your entering this place and then going back immediately?" He said - "By Allaah, Do not try to stop me, because the reason of my going is this barber who is sitting with you." When the host heard this, he was very surprised, he asked him why the barber was a cause of the displeasure to him. The young man said - "A surprising adventure has happened to me with this barber in Bagadaad, my city; and he is the cause of my lameness. Since then I have taken vow that I will not sit with him, nor even I will live in that town in which he lives. That is why I quit Bagadaad and came to this city. And I will not pass the next night here in any case." At this we said to him - "We request you to tell us your adventure with him." The barber's face went pale, when he heard this request.

The young man said - "My father was the chief merchant of Bagadaad and God blessed him with a son like me. When I had grown up, my father died leaving me wealth, servants and other dependants. I started living in a rich fashion. I hated women and so I continued, until one day, when I was walking through the streets of Bagadaad, when a party stopped my way. I fled from them, entered a by-street and reclined upon a Mastabaa (a fixed stone bench) to save myself. I was seated there only for a while that a window opposite me opened suddenly and I saw a girl whose face was like a full moon. She was watering some flowers beneath the window. She looked around and then shut the window and disappeared. My hatred towards women changed into love and I continued to sit there until the evening.

Then I saw a Qaazee came riding along, with slaves before him, and servants behind him. He dismounted and entered the same house, so I thought that he should be her father. I came back home sorrowful and fell on my bed. My female servants came to me to know about me, but I did not tell them anything about myself, nor I answered their questions. The neighbors also came to me to cheer me up; and among them was an old woman, who as soon as saw me, knew my state of affair.

She sat at my head and spoke to me in a soft voice - "Tell me, O my son, what has happened to you?" I told her the whole story. She said - "You are right, she is the daughter of the Qaazee of Bagadaad and she is kept in close confinement. The place you saw her, is her apartment, and her father lives in a large house below her apartment leaving her alone. I often visit her. You can meet her only through me, so be patient." Her words gave me a lot of consolation and I rose from the bed. The old woman went away.

One day she came back with changed expressions and said - "O my son, Do not ask me what she did when I told her of your case. For she said - "If you did not stop, O ill-woman, I will treat you as you deserve." Still I will go to her second time." I again became restless. After a few days she came again and said - "I desire good rewards from you. When I went to her yesterday and she saw me broken-hearted, she asked me - "O my aunt, Why are you so sad?" I wept and said - "O my child, I came to you the other day from visiting a youth who loves you very much, and he is at the point of death because of you."

Her heart moved with kindness and she asked me - "Who is this youth about whom you speak to me?" I replied - "He is my son and the child dear to my soul. He saw you in the window some days ago while you were watering flowers, and he got love-stricken. I told him about the conversation we had last time, hearing that his condition got worse and he is bed-ridden now. He is now dying." Upon this she became pale and said - "Is this only because of me?" "By Allaah, Yes. Then what do you want me to do?" She said to me - "Go to him, and say that "My love is more than yours," and ask him to come here next Friday, before the congregational prayer. I will order you to open the door to him and and you let him come to me and then I will arrange a short interview with him and he will go back before my father comes back from his prayers."

When I heard this from her, I was at ease, and I gave her the set of clothes which I was wearing at that time. The people in my house, my neighbors, my friends, all got happy to see me better. So next Friday, I dressed myself, perfumed myself and anxiously waited for the people to go to prayer. The old woman said to me - "You have plenty of time, you may take bath and shave to look more comely." I said - "Good idea, but I will shave my head first then I will go to bath." So I sent for a barber to shave my head. The boy went and brought this Sheikh. He greeted me and said - "You are so thin." I said - "I was ailing, but now I am all right." He expressed his happiness that I was well. Then he asked - "Do you desire to be shaved or to be bled? Because it has been said by Ibn Abbaas, that the Prophet said "Whoso shortens his hair on Friday, Allaah will dispel from him 70 diseases. And it has been handed down also, on the same authority, that the Prophet said "Cupping on Friday will secure from the loss of sight and frequent disease." 

I said - "Stop all this nonsense and come immediately and shave my head for I am weak." He arose, took out a handkerchief and opened it. There was an astrological instrument in it to know about the positions of stars. He went into the middle of the court, looked towards the Sun for a considerable time and then said to me - "Today which is Friday, the 10th of Safar, of the year 263 of the Flight of the Prophet, the ascendant star of which is the planet Mars, 7 degrees, and 6 minutes; and it happens that Mercury has come in conjunction with Mars; this indicates that the shaving of hair is now a most excellent operation, and it has been indicated to me also that you desire to confer a benefit upon a person, he is fortunate; but after that there is an announcement which I will not tell you."

I cried - "By Allaah, You are wearing me down, while I asked you to just shave my head. Get up and shave." But he said - "By Allaah, If you knew the truth of the case, you would have asked me to further explain it; and I counseled you to do this day according to the calculations deduced from the position of stars. It is your duty to praise God and not to oppose me, for I am the one who can give you good advice. I have been serving you for the one full year, you should do justice with me and I am not asking you to pay me anything for this."

On the 30th Night

When I heard this, I said to him - "You are killing me and there is no escape for me." He said - "O my Master, I am the one whom people call Al-Shamit (the Silent) because of my speech, and for the same I am distinguished from my brothers - the eldest one Al-Bakbook, the prattler; the second Al-Haddaar, the babbler; the third al-Faqeer, the gabbler; the fourth Al-Kooz al-Aswaanee, the long-necked Gugglet from his eternal chattering; the fifth Al-Nashshaar, the tattler and tale teller and the sixth Shakaashik or many clamors; and the seventh brother is me Al-Shamit, the Silent Man." 

When I heard this barber I asked the boy to give him a quarter piece of gold and let him go for I had no need to shave my head. Hearing this the barber exclaimed - "What is this you said to the boy, O Lord? I cannot accept anything from you unless I have done something for you; and I must do something for you which you require, whether you give me anything or not. If you do not know my worth, I know yours and your father treated me with so nicely.

One day your father sent for me and he had a lots of friends on that day with him. He said to me - "Take some blood from me." So I took my astrological instrument and observed the altitude for him and found the ascendant of the hour an evil omen for him and that the letting of the blood would create a trouble for him. So I told him that and he conformed to my wish. We waited till the good hour came and then I took the blood from him. He did not oppose me, but on the contrary he thanked me and gave me 103 pieces of gold and a robe of honor."

Contd on 11th Page



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