Shishu Sansaar | Arabian Nights Stories-5

Arabian Nights Stories-5

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Story No 89-6, 13/21

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89-6 - The Story of the Hunchback (13 0f 21) :
The Barber's Story of Himself

On the 31st Night contd ...

So the Barber started his own story - "I was living in Bagadaad when Al-Muntazir Billaah* was reigning. It so happened one day, that he was angry with 10 highway robbers, so he ordered his Chief Magistrate to bring them in a boat. I saw them embarking the boat and said to myself, "They have been assembled for nothing but an entertainment and will pass their day in this boat eating and drinking and none will be their companion than myself." So I also embarked that boat and got mixed with them. When it landed on the opposite bank, the guards of the Valee came with chains and put them in their necks. They put the chain in my neck also. Is this not the proof of my scantiness of speech? For I determined not to speak.

* According to Lane, Al-Muntazir was the son of Al-Zaahir Billaah and the grandson of the Caliph Haaroon al-Rasheed.

They took us before the Caliph, where he ordered the executioner to strike off the heads of the ten and I remained. He asked the executioner - "Why didn't you strike the heads of all the ten?" He answered - "I have beheaded everyone of the ten." "I don't think so. Then who is this before me?" He said - "I have beheaded everyone of the ten, you may count them." The caliph counted them and they were ten. The Caliph asked me - "Why were you silent and how you were included among the men of blood (to be killed)? You are an old man and look weak in speech."

I said to him - "O Caliph, I am the Sheikh as-Samit (the Silent). I possess a science, a large stock; and as to the gravity of my understanding, the quickness of my apprehension and the scarcity of my speech - all are unbounded. I am a barber by trade and yesterday, early morning, I saw these ten men proceeding to the boat, so I mixed myself with them thinking that they had embarked the boat to entertain themselves. But soon I came to know that they were the criminals. When the guards took them away, I kept silence, my speech was not heard at that time because of my excessive generosity. I remained before the executioner and acquainted you not with my case. Was not this great generosity which compelled me to accompany them to slaughter? But throughout my life I have acted in this manner."

When the Caliph heard my words and knew that I was of a very generous character, and of few words, and not of this type as this young man, whom I have delivered from horrors, he laughed so heartily that he fell on his back, and asked me - "Do you have any brothers?" I said - "Yes, six." "And are all your six brothers like you?" "No, They are not. You have degraded me by comparing myself to my brothers. Because of the abundance of their speech, deficiency of courtesy and gravity and the smallness of their generous qualities, each of them has a defect - the first is hunchback, the second is deprived of many of his teeth, the third is blind, the fourth is one-eyed, the fifth is cropped of his ears and nose, and the sixth has his both lips cut off. Do not think that I am a man of many words. Wait, I have to prove you this that I am a more generous character than them. Each of them met with a particular adventure by which they have this defect.

I will tell you their stories ....

Contd on 14th Page



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