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War with the Normans part 7

For he is not one of the common herd, but has been nurtured from childhood on wars and battles, he has travelled over the whole of the East and the West, and how many rebels he hunted down and brought back captive to the preceding emperors, you can learn yourself from many informants.

Therefore if you lose heart at all and do not march against him with firm resolve you will lose all that I personally have won by great effort, and you yourself will undoubtedly reap the fruits of your own laziness. And now I am leaving immediately to drive the King of Alamania out of our country and thus firmly establish my son Roger in the dominion I gave him.” After thus bidding his son farewell, Robert embarked on board a monoreme and reached the opposite coast of Lombardy, and from there hurried on to Salernum, which had formerly been appointed the residence for those who attained ducal rank.

Meanwhile the King of Alamania

He stayed there until he had collected a large force and as many mercenary troops from surrounding countries as possible. Meanwhile the King of Alamania in accordance with his promise to the Emperor, was already hastening to take possession of Lombardy. Robert on hearing this news hurried to Rome to join his army with the Pope’s and to deter the King of Alamania from carrying out his intention. As the Pope was not at all unwilling, they both set out against the King.

He for his part was on his way to invest Lombardy when he heard the whole story about the Emperor-namely, that he had suffered a heavy defeat, that part of his army had been butchered and the rest scattered abroad, that the Emperor himself after surviving many dangers had been seriously wounded in several parts of his body whilst fighting magnificently, but had made a marvellous escape owing to his boldness and courage.

On receipt of these tidings the King turned his horse and rode back to his native land, considering this a victory in that he had not exposed himself to danger uselessly. So this man took the homeward road; and Robert, when he had reached the King’s encampment, did not trouble to pursue him himself but separated a large detachment from his troops and sent it in pursuit of the King of Alamania. He himself gathered up all the booty and made his way to Rome with the Pope. After establishing the latter firmly on his throne and in return being nominated King by him, he returned to Salernum there to repose himself from the many fatigues of war.

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War with the Normans part 6

But he persisted and made them written promises of gifts and honours, but even so they did not return. Whilst the Emperor was engaged in these preparations for an advance against Robert, a messenger came to tell Robert that the King of Alamania had all but arrived in Lombardy. Then Robert was in a dilemma and deliberated what would be the best thing to do.

After much reflection, as he had left Roger to be ruler over his Kingdom when he crossed to Illyria, but had not yet assigned any territory to his younger son, Bohemund, he assembled all the Counts and picked men among the soldiers, and summoning also his son, Bohemund, nicknamed Saniscus, he made a public harangue and said, ” You know, Counts, that when I settled to cross to Illyria I appointed my beloved first-begotten son Roger, ruler of my country.

King of Alamania

For I could not have started from there and undertaken a task of great magnitude if I had left my own country without a leader, a ready prize at the mercy of the first comer. But now that the King of Alamania has entered it with hostile intent, it is my duty to defend it as far as in me lies. For certainly the man who attacks the possessions of others, must not in any way be careless of his own. Consequently it is necessary for me to leave you, in order to look after my own country, and engage in battle with the King of Alamania.

Therefore to Uds, my younger son, I hand over Dyrrachium, Valona and all the remaining towns and islands which I have won by my sword since my arrival. And I commend him to you and ask you to regard him as my substitute and to fight for him with all your heart and mind.” Then addressing himself to Bohemund, he said, ” And you, my very dear son, I enjoin you to treat the Counts with all honour and ask their advice on all occasions and not to ‘play the master’ by yourself, but to communicate everything to them.

Above all, take care not to neglect the continuance of the war against the Roman Emperor, but see that you do not relax at all now that he has suffered a severe defeat and all but fallen a victim to the sword, and the greater part of his army has been wiped out in the battle. (And truth to tell,”he continued, “he came near being captured alive and only escaped from our hands after being terribly wounded). Therefore take care lest by gaining a respite he should recover and resist you more bravely than before.

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War with the Normans part 5

By the advice of malicious persons of whom there were a number in the Government then, he grew still bolder towards the Emperors and egged on by his friends he even resorted to insults and untimely blasphemies. The Emperor besought him to change his opinion about the images and also to desist from the enmity towards him, he also promised to restore even finer vessels to the churches and to do all that was necessary to repair the loss. The Emperor himself was already acquitted of blame by the more liberal-minded of the senate whom the partisans of the Chalcedonian called “flatterers.” As a result of this behaviour, Leo was condemned to deposition from office.

As he did not knuckle under and did not keep quiet at all, but again disturbed the Church meeting, coming with a considerable crowd of followers, for he was absolutely irreconcilable and incorrigible, he was condemned by a unanimous vote after the lapse of some years and a sentenced exile was pronounced against him. The city of Sozopolis on the Black Sea received him and treated him with much care and consideration by order of the Emperor, none of which he accepted because of his grudge against the latter, I suppose.

This account of him must suffice.

III When it became known that the Emperor had escaped from the battle, recruits in large numbers flocked to him, and these he had carefully trained to ride very securely, to shoot very accurately, to fight in full armour and to lay ambuscades cleverly. He had also sent ambassadors again to the King of Alamania, of these Methymnes was the leader, and in his letter he urged him not to delay any longer, but to take the troops he had at hand, and occupy Lombardy with all haste, according to his promise.

In this way Robert would be fully occupied and he himself would gain a respite during which he could reassemble his army and collect foreign troops and by their help drive Robert out of Illyria. He assured the King of Alamania that he would be deeply indebted to him if he would do this, and promised him that he would fulfil the marriage-contract which he had proposed through his ambassadors.

After arranging these matters he left Pacurianus, the Great Domestic in those parts, and himself returned to the capital, for the purpose of collecting foreign troops from all sides, and to arrange other matters connected with the times and the actual circumstances. Now the Manichaeans, Xantas and Culeon, with the men under them who totalled about two thousand five hundred, went off home unceremoniously, and when invited several times by the Emperor to return, they did indeed promise to come, but kept postponing their coming.

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War with the Normans part 4

Thereupon he began reciting the Canons about ” superfluous Church vessels ” and after saying a good deal about them, he concluded with the words, ” I am compelled to compel those whom I do not wish to compel.” And by putting forward various bold arguments he seemed likely to win over the majority. But Metaxas opposed him, advanced some very specious counter-arguments and even jeered at Isaac himself. But in spite of him, Isaac’s proposal was carried. This decision became the subject of a very grave scandal to the Emperors (for I do not hesitate to call Isaac ” emperor ” even though he did not wear the purple), which lasted not only for the moment but for a considerable time.

The head of the church of Chalcedon at this time was a certain Leo, not one of the especially wise or intellectual, but of very virtuous life, though his manners were rough and disagreeable. This man tore off the silver and gold ornaments on the doors of the church in Chalcoprateia, and rushed into the assembly and spoke his mind freely without so much as a reference to the financial condition or the extant laws regarding Church property. Moreover he behaved very insolently, and in a most disorderly manner, to the Regent, and each time he visited the capital he abused the latter’s forbearance and kindness.

Successful encounters with the Franks

And indeed when Alexius left the city the first time to march against Robert, and the Sebastocrator Isaac, his own true brother, was collecting money from every possible source, but always with the consent of the people and in accordance with the laws and justice, Leo aroused Isaac’s wrath by his shameless behaviour. At last after many defeats and then after countless successful encounters with the Franks, the Emperor, by the sanction of Heaven, returned a crowned victor, and then he learnt that a fresh swarm of enemies, I mean the Scythians, were ready to descend upon him.

Consequently the raising of funds was hurried on for similar reasons as before, even while the Emperor was residing in the capital, and at that time Bishop Leo attacked the Emperor most impudently. About this time a great controversy arose about the holy images, and Leo laid down the principle that we should adore the sacred images, and not only give them relative honour. On some points he argued reasonably and in a manner befitting his station, but on others he laid down the law wrongly, whether this was to be attributed to the heat of contest and his hatred of the Emperor, or to ignorance, I cannot say. He was incapable of making a precise statement with conviction as he was absolutely untrained in the science of reasoning.

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War with the Normans part 3

As he did not wish to do anything unworthy of, or inconsistent with, his own military knowledge and bravery, he focussed his attention on these two points – the first was to collect allies from all sides, who would easily be allured by the promise of heavy largess, and the second, to request his mother and brother to procure money somehow from somewhere, and send it to him.

II These two could not discover any other means of procuring money, so to begin with they collected whatever silver and gold articles they possessed and sent them to the imperial mint ; but first of all the Empress, my mother, deposited the sum that remained to her of her parents’ patrimony, hoping thereby to instigate others to do the same ; for she was extremely anxious for the Emperor, seeing the straits into which his affairs had fallen. Secondly, they took from the persons who were well-affected towards the imperial family, and had voluntarily offered to advance money, as much gold and silver as each was ready to give, and sent it to be used partly for allies and partly for the Emperor himself.

But these monies were far from sufficient even for the immediate need (for some of the soldiers asked for rewards on the plea that they had fought on the Emperor’s side, and others who were mercenaries kept clamouring for higher pay); the Emperor urgently pressed for more, and thought that the goodwill of the Romans had vanished. His relatives were quite at a loss, and after discussing many schemes in public and in private, when they heard that Robert was again preparing for war, they turned in their despair to an examination of the ancient laws and canons dealing with the sale of Church property.

And amongst them they found that it was lawful to sell the sacred properties of the churches for the ransoming of prisoners of war (for it was well known that the Christians who remained under the domination of the barbarians in Asia, and had escaped massacre, became defiled by their intercourse with the infidels).

Excuse for sacrilege and impiety

Therefore to furnish pay for the allies and the soldiers, they considered turning into coin a few church properties which served no purpose and were amongst those which had long been lying idle and neglected, and only afforded the populace an excuse for sacrilege and impiety. When they had come to this conclusion, the Sebastocrator Isaac went up to the great House of God where he had convoked an assembly of all the clergy. The members of the Holy Synod who were f ellow-councillors with the Patriarch were astounded at seeing him and asked him what brought him there. He replied, ” I have come to speak to you of a matter which will be of service in this terrible crisis, and will be the means of maintaining the army.”

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War with the Normans part 2

Both these men were clever at foreseeing everything, and in grasping the essentials’ and there was no strategic trick unknown to them; they were conversant with every kind of siege, ambuscade and regular battles in the open field, swift and brave in actual fighting, and of all the leaders in the world they were the adversaries most alike in intellect and courage.

The Emperor Alexius had, however, a slight advantage over Robert in that while younger he was no whit inferior to the other who was already in his prime, and used to boast that he could almost make the earth quake and throw a whole army into a panic by one single shout!

But these details can be left for a different kind of writing, and are sure to be mentioned by encomiasts. The Emperor Alexius allowed himself a short rest in Achrida, and after regaining his physical strength, went to Diabolis. Here he sought as far as possible to reinvigorate the survivors from their sufferings in the battle, and he sent for his remaining followers from all parts and told them to assemble at Thessalonica.

Great negligence and cowardice

Now that he had made experience of Robert and the boldness of his large army, he condemned his own leaders for great negligence and cowardice (I will not add the soldiers for the majority of those who had been in the battle had had neither training nor military experience), and therefore he needed allies. But how was he to get them without money?

For there was none in the Imperial Treasury which had been depleted so thoroughly and for no useful purpose by his predecessor, Nicephorus Botaniates, that the gates of the treasure-house were not even locked now, but carelessly left open for anyone who liked to walk through them; for all its contents had been squandered. Hence the present embarrassment of the Roman state, which was oppressed simultaneously by weakness and poverty.

At such a moment then what was the young ruler to do who had only lately put his hand to the helm? He must either in sheer desperation throw everything overboard and resign his command, so that, being blameless, he might not be blamed for being an inexperienced and unskilful general, or else in this extremity he must gain as many allies as possible and collect from some quarter or other sufficient money to pay them; he must also recall the scattered remnants of his army by offering bribes which would raise their hopes and cause those who were with him to stand firmly by him, and those away to become more eager to return, and then they would be able to put up a braver resistance to the Frankish hordes.

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War with the Normans part 1

War with the Normans (1082-83) (i-vii) : Alexius’ First Battle with Heretics – John Italus (viii-ix)

I And meanwhile Robert, entirely freed from anxiety, collected all the booty and the Imperial tent, and, with these trophies and with much exultation, settled down again in the plain which he had occupied before when besieging Dyrrachium. After a short rest he began to consider whether he ought to make another attempt on that city’s walls, or postpone the siege to the following spring and for the present invest Glabinitza and Joanina, and winter there, while lodging all his troops in the sequestered vales that lie above the plain of Dyrrachium.

But the inhabitants of Dyrrachium (the majority of whom were colonists from Amalfi and Venice, as already stated), on hearing of the Emperor’s misfortune, and the terrible carnage, and the death of so many valiant men and the departure of the fleet and Robert’s intention of renewing the siege in the coming spring-on hearing all this they began individually to deliberate what action they had better take to ensure their safety and not incur such risks again. Consequently they called an assembly where they openly stated their private opinions and after discussing the vital points they thought they had found the only path, as it were, out of a pathless wood, which was to decide to listen to Robert and surrender the city to him.

One of the colonists from Amalfi still further incited them to this course, so they allowed themselves to be persuaded by his arguments, and threw open the gates and gave Robert entrance. After taking possession, he sent for the troops and dividing them according to race, enquired of each soldier individually whether he had been seriously wounded or had perhaps received a slight scratch from a sword; at the same time he found out how many and what class of men had fallen in the preceding battles. And, during the winter which was then close at hand, he intended to collect a second army of mercenaries and recruit foreign troops, and at the coming of spring to march against the Emperor with his whole army.

However, Robert was not alone in formulating such plans, although he congratulated himself on being the victor and winning the trophies, for the Emperor, worsted and badly wounded, was scared, so to say, and much depressed by this intolerable defeat and the loss of so many brave soldiers-but in spite of this as he never underestimated his own powers and had not slackened in his reasoning, his whole mind was intent on the problem of retrieving this defeat in the following spring.

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The Story of Abou Hassan the Wag or the Sleeper Awakened part 7

It was then the close of the night, and Abou Hassan, awaking, and hearing the sounds of the lutes, and tambourines, and flutes, and the singing of the slave girls, cried out, O my mother! Whereupon the slave girls answered, At thy service, O Prince of the Faithful! And when he heard this, he exclaimed, There is no strength nor power but in God, the High, the Great! Come to my help this night; for this night is more unlucky than the former!

He reflected upon all that had happened to him with his mother, and how he had beaten her, and how he had been taken into the madhouse, and he saw the marks of the beating that he had suffered there. Then looking at the scene that surrounded him, he said, These are all of them of the Genii, in the shapes of human beings! I commit my affairs unto Allah!

And looking toward a mamlouk by his side, he said to him, Bite my ear, that I may know if I be asleep or awake. The mamlouk said, How shall I bite thine ear, when thou art the Prince of the Faithful? But Abou Hassan answered, Do as I have commanded thee, or I will strike off’thy head. So he bit it until his teeth met together, and Abou Hassan uttered aloud shriek. Alrashid (who was behind a curtain in a closet), and all who were present, fell down with laughter, and they said to the mamlouk, Art thou mad, that thou bitcst the ear of the caliph? And Abou Hassan said to them, Is it not enough, O ye wretches of Genii, that hath befallen me?

Abou Hassan recognized

But ye are not in fault: the lault is your chief`s, who transformed you from the shapes of Genii into the shapes of human beings. I implore help against you this night by the Verse of the Throne, and the Chapter of Sincerity, and the two Preventives! Upon this Alrashid exclaimed from behind the curtain, Thou hast killed us, O Abou Hassan! And Abou Hassan recognized him, and kissed the ground before him, greeting him with a prayer for the increase of his glory and the prolongation of his life. Alrashid then clad him in a rich dress, gave him a thousand pieces of gold, and made him one of his chief boon-companions.

Abou Hassan, after this, became a greater favorite with the caliph than all the other boon-companions, so that he sat with the caliph and his wife the Lady Zobeide, the daughter of Kasim, and he married her female treasurer, whose name was Nouzatalfuad. With this wife he resided, eating, and drinking, and enjoying a delightful life, until all the money that they possessed had gone; whereupon he said to her, O Nouzatalfuad! And she answered, At thy service. I desire, said he, to practise a trick upon the caliph, and thou shalt practise a trick upon the Lady Zobeide, and we will obtain from them immediately two hundred pieces of gold, and two pieces of silk. Do what thou desirest, replied she: and what, she asked, is it?

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The Story of Abou Hassan the Wag or the Sleeper Awakened part 14

The caliph then seated himself at the heads of the two pretended corpses, and said, By the tomb of the Apostle of Allah (God favor and preserve him!), and by the tombs of my ancestors, if anyone would acquaint me which of them died before the other, I would give him a thousand pieces of gold. And when Abou Hassan heard these words of the caliph, he quickly rose and sprang up, and said, It was I who died first, O Prince of the Faithful. Give me the thousand pieces of gold, and so acquit thyself of the oath that thou hast sworn. Then Nouzatalfuad arose and sat up before the caliph and the Lady Zobeide, who rejoiced at their safety. But Zobeide chid her female slave.

The caliph and the Lady Zobeide congratulated them both on their safety, and knew this pretended death was a stratagem for the purpose of obtaining the gold: so the Lady Zobeide said to Nouzatalfuad, Thou shouldst have asked of me what thou desiredst without this proceeding, and not have tortured my heart on thine account. I was ashamed, O my mistress, replied Nouzatalfuad. But as to the caliph, he was almost senseless from laughing, and said, O Abou Hassan, thou hast not ceased to be a wag, and to do wonders and strange acts. Abou Hassan replied, O Prince of the Faithful, this stratagem I practised in consequence of the dissipation of the wealth that I received from thy hand; for I was ashamed to ask of thee a second time.

My possession was exhausted

When I was alone, I was not tenacious of wealth; but since thou hast married me to this female slave who is with me, if I possessed all thy wealth I should make an end of it. And when all that was in my possession was exhausted, I practised this stratagem, by means of which I obtained from thee these hundred pieces of gold and the piece of silk, all of which are an alms of our lord. And now make haste in giving me the thousand pieces of gold, and acquit thyself of thine oath.

At this the caliph and the Lady Zobeide both laughed; and after they had returned to the palace, the caliph gave to Abou Hassan the thousand pieces of gold, saying to him, Receive them as a gratuity on account of thy safety from death. In like manner,” also, the Lady Zo-beide gave to Nouzatalfuad a thousand pieces of gold, saying to her the same words. Then the caliph allotted to Abou Hassan an ample salary and ample supplies, and he ceased not to live with his wife in joy and happiness, until they were visited by the terminator of delights and the separator of companions, the devastator of palaces and houses, and the replenisher of the graves.

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The Story of Abou Hassan the Wag or the Sleeper Awakened part 13

They all four arose, laying wagers with each other, and went forth and walked from the gate of the palace until they entered the gate of the street in which dwelt Abou Hassan the Wag: when Abou Hassan saw them, and said to his wife Nouzatalfuad, In truth, everything that is slippery is not a pancake, and not every time the jar is struck doth it escape unbroken.

It seefheth that the old woman hath gone and related the story to her lady and acquainted her with our case, and that she hath contended with Mesrour the eunuch, and they have laid wagers respecting our death: so the caliph, and the eunuch, and the Lady Zobeide, and the old woman have all four come to us. And upon this Nouzatalfuad arose from her extended position, and said, What is to be done? Abou Hassan answered her, We will both feign ourselves dead, and lay ourselves out and hold in our breath. And she assented to his proposal.

Abou Hassan the Wag

They both stretched themselves along, bound their feet, closed their eyes, and held in their breath, lying with their heads in the direction of the kebla, and covered themselves with the veil. Then the caliph, and Zobeide, and Mesrour, and the old woman entered the house of Abou Hassan the Wag, and found him and his wife extended as if they were dead.

And when the Lady Zobeide saw them, she wept, and said, They continued to assert the death of my female slave until she actually died; but I imagine that the death of Abou Hassan so grieved her that she died after him in consequence of it. The caliph, however, said, Do not prevent me with thy talk and assertions; for she died before Abou Hassan, because Abou Hassan came to me with his clothes torn in pieces, and with his beard plucked, and striking his bosom with two clods and I gave him a hundred pieces of gold, with a piece of silk, and said to him, Go, prepare her body for burial, and I will give thee a concubine better than her, and she shall serve in her stead: and it appears that her loss was insupportable to him; so he died after her. I have therefore overcome thee, and gained thy stake. But the Lady Zobeide replied in many words, and a long dispute ensued between them.

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The Story of Abou Hassan the Wag or the Sleeper Awakened part 12

Then Abou Hassan laid himself along, and Nouzatalfuad covered him, and bound his eyes and his feet, and seated herself at his head, weeping. And the old woman came in to Nouzatalfuad, and saw her sitting at the head of Abou Hassan, weeping, and enumerating his merits; and when Nouzatalfuad saw the old woman, she shrieked, and said to her, See what hath befallen me! Abou Hassan hath died` and left me single and solitary! Then she shrieked again, and tore Tier clothes in pieces, and said to the old woman, O my mother, how good he was! The old woman replied, Truly thou art excusable; for thou hadst become habituated to him, and he had become habituated to thee.

And knowing howMesrour had acted to the caliph and the Lady Zobeide, she said to Nouzatalfuad, Mesrour is about to cause a quarrel between the caliph and the Lady Zobeide. And what is this cause of Quarrel, O my mother? said Nouzatalfuad. The old woman answered, O my daughter, Mesrour hath come to them and told them that thou wast dead, and that Abou Hassan was well. O my aunt, replied Nouza-talfuad, I was just now with my lady, and she gave me a hundred pieces of gold and a piece of silk; and see thou my condition, and what hath befallen me. I am perplexed; and what shall I do, single and solitary? Would that I had died, and that he had lived!

Afflicted for Abou Hassan

Then she wept, and the old woman wept with her, and advancing, and uncovering the face of Abou Hassan, saw his eyes bound, and swollen from the bandage. And she covered him, and said, Truly, O Nouzatalfuad, thou hast been afflicted for Abou Hassan. And she consoled her, and went forth from her running until she went on to the Lady Zobeide, when she related to her the story; on hearing which, the Lady Zobeide laughed and said, Tell it to the caliph who hath pronounced me of little sense, and caused this ill-omened, lying slave to behave arrogandy toward me. But Mesrour said, Verily this old woman lieth; for I saw Abou Hassan in good health, and it was Nouzatalfuad who was lying dead. The old woman replied, It is thou who liest, and thou desirest to excite a quarrel between the caliph and the Lady Zobeide.

Mesrour rejoined None heth but thou, O ill-omened old woman, and thy lady believeth thee for she is disordered in mind. And upon this the Lady Zobeide cried out at him, enraged at him and at his words; and she wept At length the caliph said to her, I lie, and my eunuch lieth, and thou liest, and thy female slave lieth. The right course, in my opinion, is this that we four go together to see who among us speaketh truth.

So Mes- rour said, Arise with us, that I may bring misfortunes upon this ill- omened old woman, and bastinade her for her lying. O thou imbecile m mind! exclaimed the old woman: is thy sense like mine? Nay thy sense is like that of the hen. And Mesrour was enraged at her words` and would have laid violent hands upon her; but the Lady Zobeide, having pushed him away from her, said to him, Immediately will her veracity be distinguished from thine, and her lying from thine.

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The Story of Abou Hassan the Wag or the Sleeper Awakened part 11

Accordingly, Nouzatalfuad extended herself, and Abou Hassan cov-ered her with her veil, and seated himself at her head, weeping. And lo Mesrour the eunuch came up into the house of Abou Hassan, and saluted him, and saw Nouzatalfuad stretched out; upon which he un-covered her face, and exclaimed, There is no deity but God! Our sister Nouzatalfuad is dead! How speedy was the stroke of fate! May Allah have mercy upon her, and acquit thee of responsibility! He then re-turned, and related what had happened before the caliph and the Lady Zobeide, laughing as he spoke. So the caliph said to him, O thou accursed, this is not a time for laughing.

Tell us which of them is dead. He therefore replied, By Allah, O my lord, verily Abou Hassan is well, and none is dead but Nouzatalfuad. And upon this the caliph said to Zobeide, Thou has lost thy pavilion in thy play. And he laughed at her, and said, O Mesrour, relate to her what thou sawest. So Mesrour said to her, In truth, O my mistress, I ran incessantly until I went in to Abou Hassan in his house; whereupon I found Nouzatalfuad lying dead, and Abou Hassan sitting at her head, weeping; and I saluted him and consoled him, and seated myself by his side; and, uncovering the face of Nouzatalfuad, I beheld her dead, with her face swollen:

I therefore said to him, Convey her forth presently to the grave, that we may pray over her. And he replied, Yes. And I came, leaving him to prepare her corpse for burial, in order to inform you. Upon this the caliph laughed, and said, Tell it again and again to thy mistress, the person of little sense. But when the Lady Zobeide heard the words of Mesrour, she was enraged, and said, None is deficient in sense but he who believeth a slave. And she abused Mesrour, while the caliph continued laughing; and Mesrour was displeased, and said to the caliph, He spoke truth who said that women are deficient in sense and religion.

Prince of the Faithful

The Lady Zobeide then said, O Prince of the Faithful, thou sportest and jestest with me, and this slave deceiveth me for the purpose of pleasing thee ; but I will send and see which of them is dead. The caliph replied, Do so. And she called to an old woman, a confidential slave, and said to her, Repair quickly to the house of Nouzatalfuad, and see who is dead, and delay not thy return.

And she threw money to her. So the old woman went forth running, the caliph and Mesrour laughing. The old woman ran without ceasing until she entered the street, when Abou Hassan saw her and knew her; and he said to his wife, O Nouzatalfuad, it seemeth that the Lady Zobeide hath sent to us to see who is dead, and hath not believed what Mesrour hath said respecting thy death: wherefore she hath sent the old woman to ascertain the truth of the matter. It is therefore more proper now for me to be dead, that the Lady Zobeide may believe thee.

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The Story of Abou Hassan the Wag or the Sleeper Awakened part 10

And the Lady Zobeide re- joined, In truth he was not with thee, nor, didst thou see him; and none was with me just now but Nouzatalfuad, who was mourning and weeping, with her clothes rent in pieces; and I exhorted her to have patience, and gave her a hundred pieces of gold, and a piece of silk; and I was waiting for thee, that I might console thee for the loss of thy boon- companion Abou Hassan the Wag; and I was going to send for thee.

On hearing this the caliph laughed, and said, None is dead but Nouzatalfuad. And the Lady Zobeide said, No, n6, O my lord; none is dead but Abou Hassan. But the caliph now became enraged; the vein between his eyes, which was remarkable in members of the family of Hashim, throbbed, and he called out to Mesrour the Executioner, saying to him, Go forth and repair to the house of Abou Hassan the Wag, and see which of the two is dead.

Mesrour, therefore, went forth running. And the caliph said to the Lady Zobeide, Wilt thou lay me a wager? She answered, Yes, I will, and I say that Abou Hassan is dead. And I, replied the caliph, lay a wager, and say that none is dead but Nouzatalfuad; and our wager shall be, that I stake the Garden of Delight against thy pavilion, the Pavilion of the Pictures. And they sat waiting for Mesrour to return with the information. Now as to Mesrour, he ran without ceasing until he entered the by-street in which was the house of Abou Hassan the Wag.

May God largely compensate

Abou Hassan was sitting reclining against the window, and, turning his eyes, he saw Mesrour running along the street. So he said to Nouzatal-fuad, It seemeth that the caliph, after I went forth from him, dismissed the court, and hath gone in to the Lady Zobeide to console her, and that she, on his arrival, hath arisen and consoled him, and said to him, May God largely compensate thee for the loss of Abou Hassan the Wag! whereupon the caliph hath said to her, None is dead but Nouzatalfuad. May thy head long survive her!

And she hath replied, None is dead but Abou Hassan the Wag, thy boon-companion. And he hath said again to her, None is dead but Nouzatalfuad. So they have become obstinate, and the caliph hath been enraged, and they have laid a wager, in consequence of which Mesrour the Executioner hath been sent to see who is dead. It is therefore the more proper that thou lay thyself down, that he may see thee, and go and inform the caliph, who will thereupon believe my assertion.

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The Story of Abou Hassan the Wag or the Sleeper Awakened part 9

He then extended Nouzatalfuad, and did with her as she had done with him; after which he tore his vest, and plucked his beard, and dis-ordered his turban, and ran without stopping until he went in to the caliph, who was in his hall of judgment; and in the condition above described, he beat his bosom. So the caliph said to him, What hath be-fallen thee, O Abou Hassan? and he wept, and said, Would that thy boon-companion had never been, nor his hour come to pass!

The caliph therefore said to him, Tell me. He replied, May thy head long survive, O my lord, Nouzatalfuad! And the caliph exclaimed, There is no deity but God! and struck his hands together. He then consoled Abou Hassan, and said to him, Mourn not: I will give thee a slave in her stead.

And he ordered his treasurer to give him a hundred pieces of gold, and a piece of silk. The treasurer therefore did as he was commanded, and the caliph said to Abou Hassan, Go, prepare her corpse for burial, and convey it forth, and make a handsome funeral for her. And he took what the caliph gave him, and went to his abode joyful, and going in to Nouzatalfuad, said to her, Arise; for our desire is accomplished. She therefore arose, and he put before her the hundred pieces of gold and the piece of silk. So she rejoiced; and they put these pieces of gold on the other pieces, and the piece of silk on the former one, and sat conversing and laughing at each other.

Lady Zobeide for the loss

But as to the caliph, when Abou Hassan parted from him, and went with the pretense of preparing the corpse of Nouzatalfuad for burial, he mourned for her, and, having dismissed the council, arose and went in, leaning upon Mesrour his executioner, to console the Lady Zobeide for the loss of her slave girl.

He found her, however, sitting weeping, and waiting for his arrival, that she might console him for the loss of Abou Hassan the Wag. The caliph said, May thy head long survive thy slave girl, Nouzatalfuad! But she replied, O my lord, Allah preserve my slave girl! Mayest thou long survive thy boon-companion Abou Hassan the Wag; for he is dead! And the caliph smiled, and said to his eunuch, O Mesrour, verily women are of little sense.

By Allah, was not Abou Hassan just now with me? Upon this the Lady Zobeide said, after uttering a laugh from an angry bosom, Wilt thou not give over thy jesting? Is not the death of Abou Hassan enough, but thou must make my slave girl to be dead, as though we had lost them both, and thou must pronounce me of little sense? The caliph replied, Verily Nouzatalfuad is the person who is dead.

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The Story of Abou Hassan the Wag or the Sleeper Awakened part 8

He answered, We will feign ourselves dead. I will die before thee, and lay myself out: then do thou spread over me a napkin of silk, and unfold my turban over me, and tie my toes, and put upon my stomach a knife and a little salt; after which, dishevel thy hair, and go to thy Lady Zobeide, and tear thy vest, and slap thy face, and shriek. So she will say to thee, What is the matter with thee?

And do thou answer her, May thy head long survive Abou Hassan the Wag; for he is dead! Whereupon she will mourn for me, and weep, and will order her female treasurer to give thee a hundred pieces of gold, and a piece of silk, and will say to thee, Go, prepare his corpse for burial, and convey it forth to the grave.

So thou shalt receive from her the hundred pieces of gold, and the piece of silk, and come hither. And when thou comest to me, I will rise, and thou shalt lay thyself down in my place, and I will go to the caliph, and say to him, May thy head long survive Nouzatalfuad!

And I will tear my vest and pluck my beard; upon which he will mourn for thee, and will say to his treasurer, Give to Abou Hassan a hundred pieces of gold, and a piece of silk: and he will say to me, Go, prepare her corpse for burial, and convey it forth to the grave. So I will come to thee. And Nouzatalfuad was delighted with this, and replied, Truly this is an excellent stratagem!

Lady Zobeide

She forthwith closed his eyes, and tied his feet, covered him with the napkin, and did all that her master told her; after which she tore her vest, uncovered her head, and disheveled her hair, and went in to the Lady Zobeide, shrieking and weeping. When the Lady Zobeide, therefore, beheld her in this condition, she said to her, What is this state in which I see thee, and what hath happened unto thee, and what hath caused thee to weep? And Nouzatalfuad wept and shrieked, and said, O my mistress, may thy head long survive Abou Hassan the Wag; for he is dead! And the Lady Zobeide mourned for him, and said, Poor Abou Hassan the Wag!

Then, after weeping for him a while, she ordered the female treasurer to give to Nouzatalfuad a hundred pieces of gold and a piece of silk, and said, O Nouzatalfuad, go, prepare his body for burial, and convey it forth. So she took the hundred pieces of gold and the piece of silk, and, returning to her abode full of joy, went in to Abou Hassan, and acquainted him with what had happened to her; upon which he arose and rejoiced, and girded his waist and danced, and took the hundred pieces of gold, with the piece of silk, and laid them up.

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