The Story of Abou Hassan the Wag or the Sleeper Awakened part 6

Then the slave girls led him by the hand to the drinking chamber, where he saw what astonished the mind; and he continued to say within himself, No doubt these are of the Genii, and this person who was my guest is one of the kings of the Genii, who saw no way of requiting and compensating me for my kindness to him but by ordering his slaves to address me as Prince of the Faithful.

All these are of the Genii. May Allah then deliver me from them happily! And while he was thus talking to himself, lo, one of the slave girls filled for him a cup of wine; and he took it from her hand and drank it; after which, the slave girls plied him with wine in abundance; and one of them threw into his cup a lozenge of bhang; and when it had settled in his stomach, he fell down senseless.

Abou Hassan said, On the condition that thou swear to me by the inscription on the seal of Solomon the son of David (on both of whom be peace!) that thou wilt not suffer thy Afrites to make sport

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The Story of Abou Hassan the Wag or the Sleeper Awakened part 5

And while he was in this state, lo, one of the mamlouks came in and said to him, O Prince of the Faithful, the chamberlain is at the door, requesting permission to enter. Let him enter, replied Abou Hassan. So he came in, and, having kissed the ground before him, said, Peace be on thee, O Prince of the Faithful!

And Abou Hassan rose, and descen-ded from the couch to the floor; whereupon the chamberlain exclaimed, Allah! Allah! O Prince of the Faithful! Knowest thou not that all men are thy servants, and under thy authority, and that is it not proper for the Prince of the Faithful to rise to anyone! Abou Hassan was then told that Giafar the Barmecide, and Abdallah the son of Tahir, and the chiefs of the mamlouks, begged permission to enter.

Mother of Abou Hassan the Wag

And he gave them permission. So they entered, and kissed the ground before him, each of them addressing him as Prince of the Faithful. And he was delighted at this, and returned their

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The Story of Abou Hassan the Wag or the Sleeper Awakened part 4

So a eunuch said to him, O my lord, this is not thy usual custom, O Prince of the Faithful. And he was perplexed at his case, and put his head into his bosom, and then began to open his eyes by little and little, laughing, and saying, What is this state in which I find myself? And he bit his finger; and when he found that the bite pained him, he cried, Ah! and was angry.

Then raising his head, he called one of the female slaves, who answered him, At thy service, O Prince of the Faithful! And he said to her, What is thy name? She answered, Cluster of Pearls. And he said, Knowest thou in what place I am, and who I am? Thou art the Prince of the Faithful, she answered, sitting in thy palace, upon the royal couch. He replied, I am perplexed at my case; my reason hath departed, and it seemeth that I am asleep: but what shall I say of my yesterday’s guest? I imagine nothing but that he is a devil, or an enchanter, who hath sported with my reason.

All this time the c

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The Story of Abou Hassan the Wag or the Sleeper Awakened part 3

After this the caliph said to his host, O Abou Hassan, is there any service that thou wouldst have performed, or any desire that thou wouldst have accomplished? And Abou Hassan answered, In our neighborhood is a mosque to which belong an imam and four sheiks, and whenever they hear music or any sport, they incite the judge against me, and impose fines upon me, and trouble my life, so that I suffer torment from them. If I had them in my power, therefore, I would give each of them a thousand lashes, that I might be relieved from their excessive annoyance.

Abou Hassan being intoxicated

Alrashid replied, May Allah grant thee the accomplishment of the wis’h! And without his being aware of it, he put into a cup a lozenge of bhang, and handed it to him; and as soon as it had settled in his stomach, he fell asleep immediately. Alrashid then arose and went to the door, where he found his young men waiting for him, and he ordered them to convey Abou Hassan upon a

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The Story of Abou Hassan the Wag or the Sleeper Awakened part 2

Thus he continued to do for a whole year; after which, as he was sitting one day upon the bridge as usual, to see who might come toward him, Alrashid and certain of his domestics passed by in disguise; for the caliph had experienced a contraction of the bosom and had come forth to amuse himself among the people. So Abou Hassan laid hold upon him, and said to him, O my master, hast thou any desire for a repast and beverage? And Alrashid complied with his request, saying to him, Conduct us.

And Abou Hassan knew not who was his guest. The caliph proceeded with him until they arrived at Abou Hassan’s house: and when Alrashid entered, he found in it a saloon, such that if thou beheldest it, and lookedst towards its walls, thou wouldst behold wonders; and if thou observedst its conduits of water, thou wouldst see a fountain incased with gold. And after he had seated himself there, Abou Hassan called for a slave girl, like the twig of the Oriental willow, who took a lute and sa

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The Story of Abou Hassan the Wag or the Sleeper Awakened part 1

Abou Hassan the Wag (Anonymous: ioth to 14th Century, A.D.)

The chief glory of Arabian prose literature is the celebrated collec-tion known to us as The Thousand and One Nights. Out of this volu-minous treasure store Abou Hassan the Wag has been chosen as an example of one of the numerous types of story to be found in it. This tale is rich in Oriental colour, furnishing as it does the humorous details of that craftiness which the Arab delights in—at least in the stories he tells and listens to. The story is among the best of the Nights.

The present version is translated by Edward William Lane, whose edition was first published in London in 1839. It is from the 271st to the 290th Night (Breslau ed.). The complete title is The Story of Abou Hassart the Wag, or The Sleeper Awakened.

The Story of Abou Hassan the Wag or the Sleeper Awakened (From the Thousand and One Nights)

There was a merchant of Bagdad in the reign of the Caliph Haroun Alr

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One Night part 4

A
night-watchman loomed up in front of me. “I come,” I said, “to get you to see
about a theft which has just been committed on my premises.”

The
man followed me, and the few words which he spoke dispelled my nightmare. At
that moment I was not aware what a comedy I was playing.

When
we reached the threshold of my lodging I would have dared to go into my room
and hunt in every nook and corner, and go to sleep at last in complete
tranquillity. The watchman searched the sitting- room, the bath-room, lighting
his flashlight, and made the rounds of the whole suite. In order to give weight
to my words—which lay very lightly upon me—I pretended that a jewel-case had
been lying on this taboret between the candlestick and the traveling bag, and
that the case had disappeared.

With
increasing zeal I vented my indignation on the sharpers who lounge around
hotels and prey on travelers, and inveighed against the authorities, who never
seem to be able to

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One Night part 3

Suddenly I saw, right before my eyes, the inn where we were staying. Trembling, I put the key in the lock. What awaited me behind the door? My friend had so completely vanished from my thoughts that I did not even ask myself whether he might have returned yet.

I searched all the crannies of our suite, one after the other; looked under the armchairs, sofas, and beds with a lighted candle, opened and quickly closed the cubbies, locked the door and carefully rearranged the furniture, and was frightened by my very eagerness to allay my fear. I loaded my revolver. In my bedroom I took the most elaborate precautions. To what end?

Somebody stopped on my floor

I certainly did not mean to try to go to sleep. I began to read, my eyes glued to the pages, but my attention really occupied with what might be lurking behind the door, outside the window. I could hear the, steps of a fellow-lodger coming up the stair, moving to the rhythm of my anx

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One Night part 2

The
darkness grew thicker and thicker. Unbroken chains of lights glowed along the
thoroughfares. One belfry after another awoke and great bells began to peal.

Not
far from me a church with yawning doors was engulfing the multitude. The
disappearance of the antlike creatures into this gigantic mouth assumed in my
eyes a disquieting significance. Had not my poor companion been carried along
by the crowd and thrust willy-nilly into this depth of the unknown, out of
which arose a ponderous gnashing and crunching of bronze upon bell-metal?

I
must have uttered a cry, because an old man who some time since had stopped on
the other side of the street to look at me, and who seemed to be seeking an
excuse to address me, said something unintel-ligible and then went away,
looking back reproachfully, enigmatically.

Our old-fashioned suite

I
was fairly twitching with anxiety. Our old-fashioned suite was many-cornered,
crammed with little

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One Night part 1

Emile Verhaeren (1855-1920)

Emile
Verhaeren was one of the most widely read poets of modern Belgium. Influenced
at first by the French Parnassiens and Natura-lists, he ultimately developed a
style and a philosophy of his own. He began work in the eighties. A large part
of his writings are poems, but in his plays and short stories, clearly the work
of a poet, he achieves effects of striking power.

One
Night is translated by Keene Wallis, and appears in the vol-ume, Five Tales by
Emile Verhaeren, Albert and Charles Boni, New York, 1924, by whose permission
it is here used.

One Night


Till be back directly,” the best friend I have in the world called to JL me as
he raced down the stairs of the great inn where we had just put up in the
outskirts of a decayed city of old Spain.

I
saw him disappear, then I heard his last “Be right back,” mingled with the
sound of his retreating footsteps. Left

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The Invisible Wound part 8

“Then she said that she had entrusted a bundle of letters to my late wife; she could not possibly keep them at her own house owing to their peculiar character, and asked whether I would be good enough to return them to her. I felt a chill down my spine as I listened to her. With assumed calm I asked her what those contained? She trembled at the question and said:

“ ‘Your wife was the most faithful and loyal woman I ever met. She did not ask what they contained; she even gave me her word never to look into them.”

“ ‘Where did she keep your letters?’

“ ‘She said she kept them under lock and key in the drawer of her sewing-table. They are tied with a pink ribbon. You will easily recognize them. Thirty letters in all.’

“I took her to the room where the sewing-table stood and opened the drawer. I took out the bundle and handed it to her.

“ ‘Are these the letters?’

“She reached out for them eagerly.

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The Invisible Wound part 7

“We chatted, had supper together and went to bed as usual, each in Our own room. I had by that time decided upon a course of action Which I would carry out with the stubbornness of a maniac. What a miserable deception on the part of nature to endow sin with such an open face, I said to myself as I entered her room at midnight and looked at her beautiful innocent face as she slept. The poison had taken effect in my soul and had eaten itself through every vein of my body. I placed my right hand silently on her neck and pressed it with all my might. For a moment she opened her eyes and looked at me astounded, then closed them again and died. She did not make a move in self- defense, but died as quietly as though she were in a dream.

Authority to investigate

She bore no grudge against me even for killing her. One drop of blood oozed through her lips and dropped on my hand—you know the spot. I only noticed it in the morning after it was already dried. We b

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The Invisible Wound part 6

“I can’t say what it was that brought me to the belief that this was but pretense. Man is foolish enough to seek misery in the midst of his greatest happiness.

“She had a small sewing-table, the drawer of which she always kept locked. This began to torture me. I often noticed that she never left the key in the drawer and she never left it unlocked. What could she have to conceal so carefully? I became mad with jealousy. I did not believe her innocent eyes, her kisses and loving embraces. Perhaps all this was but cunning deceit?

“One day the Countess came to fetch her and managed to persuade her to spend the day at the Castle. I promised that I should follow later in the afternoon.

“The carriage had scarcely pulled out of the yard when I began trying to open the drawer of the sewing-table. One of the many keys I tried at last opened it. Rummaging among the many feminine effects under a folder of silk, I discovered a bundle of letters. One could

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The Invisible Wound part 5

“I never experienced or heard anything like this before.”

There was nothing to be done but to repeat the operation. Everything passed off as it had the first time. The pain stopped, and though the patient experienced a great relief, this time he failed to smile, and when he thanked the doctor it was with a sad and depressed expression.

“You needn’t be surprised if I am back again in a month,” he said as he took leave.

“You mustn’t think of it.”

“It is as sure as there’s a God in heaven,” he said, with an air of finality. “Au revoir.”

The surgeon discussed the case with several of his colleagues, each of whom expressed a different opinion. Not one, however, could offer a satisfactory explanation.

A month passed and the patient did not appear. Another few weeks, and then, instead of the patient, came a letter from his place of residence. The surgeon opened it with pleasure, thinking that the pain had

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The Invisible Wound part 4

“Stop,” he shouted, afraid lest the sufferer should sever a vein. “Since you believe it must be done, very well, I’ll do it.”

He then prepared for the operation. When it came to the actual cutting the doctor advised his patient to turn his head away, for people are generally upset at the sight of their own blood.

“Quite unnecessary,” said the other. “I must direct your hand so that you may know how far to cut.”

The stranger took the operation stoically and was helpful with his directions. His hand never even trembled, and when the round spot had been carved out he sighed a sigh of happy relief, as if a load had been taken off his shoulders.

“You don’t feel any pain now?” asked the surgeon.

“Not the least,” he said with a smile. “It is as if the pain had been cut off and the slight irritation caused by the cutting seems like a cool breeze after a hot spell. Just let the blood run. It soothes me.”

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