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Arabian Nights Stories-5

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Story No 89-7, 14/21

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89-7 - The Story of the Hunchback (14 of 21) :
The Story of the Barber's First Brother

On the 31st Night contd ...

So the Barber started the story of his first brother - "My first brother's name is Al-Bakbak, the Prattler, and he is hunchback. He was a tailor in Bagadaad. He hired a shop of a man who was very rich in Bagadaad and lived over the shop. He had a flour-mill also in the lower part of his house. One day as my brother was sitting in his shop, sewing, he raised his head and saw a beautiful woman at a window of a house. She was just looking at passing by people. As he saw her, he fell in love with her. He could not do his work the whole day. As often he started his stitching he looked at the window to have a glance of that woman. Next day also he looked at the window the whole day.

On the third day, he again sat to sew and he again looked at the window, and he saw her. This time she also saw him. She felt that he has fallen in love with her, she smiled looking at him and he also smiled looking at her. She then disappeared from there and sent her slave girl to him carrying a red flower silk piece. She said to him - "My mistress has sent this cloth to you to make a beautiful shirt for her. He got very happy to hear this and he stitched her shirt on the same day.

Next day the slave girl came again and aid - "My mistress has asked - "How did you pass last night? Because she could not sleep the whole night in your love." Then she gave him a large piece of yellow satin and asked him to make two trousers for her the same day. He replied - "I will. Greet her from me and say to her "She can give me whatever she wants to make," and he got busy in making trousers for her. Once he looked at the window and found her looking at him. Both smiled at each other. He passed that night turning and tossing in his bed.

Next day the girl came again and told him that her master wanted to see him. He got scared, but the girl assured him that "nothing to worry", her mistress wanted to introduce him to her master. He got happy to hear this and went to her house with her. There she introduced him to the master of the house, her husband. He gave him some linen and asked him to make some shirts for him. He cut not less than 20 shirts for him by the evening. He could not even have food on that day. He finished them by supper time without eating and drinking. When he had finished, he went to give them to him. The master asked him the money, he said - "20 Dirhams." The master asked to bring 20 Dirhams, but the lady said - "Do not take anything from him." My brother said - "By Allaah, I will not take anything from your hand." And he came back.

Now the young woman told her husband about the state of the mind of my brother, but he did not know this. She planned to take work from my brother without giving him any money, and amuse themselves by just smiling at each other. Thus he continued to work for him without taking anything. He felt five things together - love, beggary, hunger, nakedness and hard labor. When he finished all the work, according to their plot, they married him to their slave girl. On the same night when he was to go his wife, he was asked to pass that night in the mill and the next day he would enjoy happiness.

My brother thought it was for his good, so he passed the night in the mill alone. Meanwhile the husband of the woman went to the miller and instigated him to turn on the mill. The miller went in exclaiming - "Certainly, this bull is lazy, while there is a great quantity of wheat and the owners of the wheat are demanding it, I will therefore yoke him in the mill so that he can finish grinding the flour till morning." And so saying he yoked my brother. Thus he was forced to grind the wheat till morning. He cried but nobody heard him.

In the morning the owner of the house came and saw him yoked in the mill, he whipped him, left him and went away. After this the slave girl to whom he was married to, came there, unbound him from the mill and said to him - "Both my mistress and I have been distressed by this and we are a part of your sorrow." He came back to his house half dead and the Sheikh who performed his marriage saluted him and said - "May God prolong your life, may God bless your marriage. Tell me your story." And my brother told me what happened to him. The Sheikh said - "Your stars do not agree with hers, but if you desire I can change the mode of the contract to another better plan." "Whatever you have in your mind."

My brother went back to his shop in the hope that somebody else will give him some work so that he can get some food. The slave girl came to him. She said - "My mistress wants to speak with you." "Go away, my good girl. There will be no more dealings between your lady and me." She went back to her mistress and told her his message. At the same time her mistress said from the window - "Why do you cut our company like this? I have nothing to do with this. I am innocent." But he did not reply this. Then she swore that whatever happened with him in the mill was not with her consent. My brother accepted her excuse and rejoiced at the sight of her. Then he saluted her and talked to her.

After that the slave girl came and said to him - "My mistress has said - "My husband will pass the night in the house of one of his intimate friends so you could come there and pass the night with her." Now the husband asked his wife - "How should we plan that when he comes here we can take him to Valee?" She said - "Let me play him a trick and involve in a disgrace for which he will be paraded throughout the city." And my brother did not know anything about al this plan.

In the evening that slave girl came and took him by hand to her house. There her mistress welcomed him and said - "Come soon, I have been longing to see you." He said - "Then make hurry, but first give me a kiss." At the same moment the woman's husband returned and without listening to him he took him to the house of Valee. There he whipped him, mounted upon a camel and asked to give him a round of the city. Seeing this insult, he fell down from the camel and broke his leg and so became lame. The Valee then banished him from the city, but although I was also angry with him, I brought him back to home; and since then I have been providing him food, shelter and clothes to him till today."

The Caliph laughed at my story and said - "You said it well," and asked to give me some present, but I said - "I will not accept this honor until you listen to what happened to my rest of the brothers." The Caliph said - "All right, Tell me what happened to the rest of your brothers." So the Barber told the story of his second brother ....

Contd on 15th Page



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