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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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 with me. And Alrashid replied, I hear and obey.

Continued drinking

So Abou Hassan took him to his abode, and put the food before him and his attendants, and they ate as much as satisfied them; and when they had finished eating, the servants placed before them the wine and exhilarating beverages, and they continued drinking and carousing until the wine rose into their heads.

Abou Hassan then said to the caliph, O my boon-companion, in truth I am perplexed respecting my case. It seemeth that I was Prince of the Faithful, and that I exercised authority, and gave and bestowed: and truly, O my brother, it was not a vision of sleep. But the caliph replied, This was the result of confused dreams.

And having said this, he put a piece of bhang into the cup, and said. By my life, drink this cup. Verily I will drink it from thy hand, replied Abou Hassan. So he took the cup, and when he had drank it his head fell before his feet.

The caliph then arose immediately, and ordered his young men to convey Abou Hassan to the palace, and to lay him upon his couch, and commanded the female slaves to stand around him; after which he concealed himself in a place where Abou Hassan could not see him, and ordered a slave girl to take her lute and strike its chords over Abou Hassan`s head, and desired the other slave girls to play upon their instruments.

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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 salutation; after which he called the judge, who approached him, and said, At thy service, O Prince of the Faithful!

And Abou Hassan said to him, Repair immediately to such a street, and give a hundred pieces of gold to the mother of Abou Hassan the Wag, with my salutation; then take the imam of the mosque, and the four sheiks, inflict upon each of them a thousand lashes; and when thou hast done that, write a bond against them, confirmed by oath, that they shall not reside in the street, after thou shalt have paraded them through the city, mounted on beasts, with their faces to the tails, and hast proclaimed before them,

This is the recompense of those who annoy their neighbors. And beware of neglecting that which I have commanded thee to do. So the judge did as he was ordered. And when Abou Hassan had exercised his authority until the close of the day, he looked toward the chamberlain and the rest of the attendants, and said to them, Depart.

He then called for a eunuch who was near at hand, and said to him, I am hungry, and desire something to eat. And he replied, I hear and obey; and led him by the hand into the eating chamber, where the attendants placed before him a table of rich viands; and ten slave girls, high-bosomed virgins, stood behind his head.

Abou Hassan, looking at one of these, said to her, What is thy name? She answered, Branch of Willow. And he said to her, O Branch of Willow, who am I ? Thou art the Prince of the Faithful, she answered. But he replied, Thou liest, by Allah, thou slut! Ye girls are laughing at me. So she said, Fear Allah, O Prince of the Faithful; this is thy palace, and the female slaves are thine. And upon this he said within himself, It is no great matter to be effected by God, to whom be ascribed might and glory!

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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 caliph was observing him from a place where Abou Hassan could not see him. And Abou Hassan looked toward the chief eunuch, and called to him. So he came, and kissed the ground before him, saying to him, Yes, O Prince of the Faithful. And Abou Hassan said to him, Who is the Prince of the Faithful? Thou, he answered. Abou Hassan replied, Thou liest. And addressing another eunuch, he said to him, O my chief, as thou hopest for Allah`s protection, tell me, am I the Prince of the Faithful? Yea, by Allah, answered the eunuch; thou art at this present time the Prince of the Faithful, and the caliph of the Lord of all creatures.

And Abou Hassan, perplexed at all that he beheld, said, In one night do I become Prince of the Faithful! Was I not yesterday Abou Hassan; and to-day am I Prince of the Faithful? He remained perplexed and confounded until the morning, when a eu-nuch advanced to him, and said to him, May Allah grant a happy mor-ning to the Prince of the Faithful! And he handed to him a pair of shoes of gold stuff, reticulated with precious stones and rubies; and Abou Hassan took them, and after examining them a long time, put them into his sleeve. So the eunuch said to him, These are shoes to walk in.

He therefore convinced himself

And Abou Hassan replied, Thou hast spoken truth. I put them not into my sleeve but in my fear lest they should be soiled. He therefore took them forth, and put them on his feet. And shortly after, the female slaves brought him a basin of gold and a ewer of silver, and poured the water upon his hands; and when he had performed the ablution, they spread for him a prayer carpet; and he prayed; but knew not how to do so.

He continued his inclinations and prostrations until he had performed twenty rekahs; meditating and saying within himself, By Allah, I am none other than the Prince of the Faithful, in truth; or else this is a dream, and all these things occur not in a dream. He therefore convinced himself, and determined in his mind that he was the Prince of the Faithful; and he pronounced the salutations, and finished his prayers. They then brought him a magnificent dress, and, looking at himself as he sat upon the couch, he retracted, and said, All this is an illusion, and a machination of the Genii.

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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 mule, and returned to the palace, Abou Hassan being intoxicated and insensible.

And when the caliph had rested himself in the palace, he called for his vizier Giafar, and Abdallah the son of Tahir, the Judge of Bagdad, and certain of his chief attendants, and said to them all, In the morning when ye see this young man (pointing to Abou Hassan) seated on the royal couch, pay obedience to him, and salute him as caliph, and whatsoever he comman- deth you, do it. Then going to his female slaves, he directed them to wait upon Abou Hassan, and to address him as Prince of the Faithful: after which he entered a private closet, and, having let down a curtain over the entrance, slept.

So when Abou Hassan awoke, he found himself upon the royal couch with the attendants standing around, and kissing the ground before him; and a maid said to him, O our lord, it is the time for morning prayer. Upon which he laughed, and, looking round about him, he beheld a pavilion whose walls were adorned with gold and ultramarine, and the roof bespotted with red gold, surrounded by chambers with curtains of embroidered silk hanging before their doors; and he saw vessels of gold, and chinaware, and crystal, and furniture, and carpets spread, and lighted lamps, and female slaves, and eunuchs, and other attendants; whereat he was perplexed in his mind, and said, By Allah, either I am dreaming, or this is Paradise, and the Abode of Peace. And he closed his eyes.

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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 sang. And when Alrashid heard her, he said, Thou has performed well. God bless thee! Her eloquence pleased him, and he wondered at Abou Hassan and his entertainment.

Abou Hassan smiled

He then said to Abou Hassan, O young man, who art thou? Acquaint me with thy history, that I may requite thee for thy kindness. But Abou Hassan smiled, and replied, O my master, far be it from me that what hath happened should recur, and that I should be in thy company again after this time, And why so? said the caliph; and why wilt thou not acquaint me with thy case?

So Abou Hassan told his story, and when the caliph heard it, he laughed violently, and said, By Allah, my brother, thou art excusable in this matter. Then a dish of roast goose was placed before him, and a cake of fine bread; and Abou Hassan sat, and cut off the meat, and put morsels into the mouth of the caliph, and they continued eating until they were satisfied; when the basin and ewer were brought, with the kali; and they washed their hands.

After this Abou Hassan lighted for his guests three candles and three lamps, spread the wine cloth, and brought clear, strained, old, perfumed wine, the odor of which was like fragrant musk, and, having filled the first cup, said, O my boon-companion, bashfulness is dismissed from us, with thy permission. Thy slave is by thee. May I never be afflicted by the loss of thee!

And he drank the cup, and filled the second, which he handed to the caliph, waiting upon him as a servant. And the caliph was pleased with his actions, and the politeness of his words, and said within himself, By Allah, I will certainly requite him for this! Abou Hassan then, after he had kissed the cup, handed it to the caliph, who accepted it from his hand, kissed it and drank it, and handed it back to him. Abou Hassan still continued serving him, saying, Drink, and may it be attended with health and vigor. And they drank and caroused until midnight.

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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 Alrashid, and he had a son named Abou Hassan the Wag. And this merchant died, leaving to his son his vast wealth; whereupon Abou Hassan divided his property into two equal portions, one of which he laid aside, and of the other he expended. He took as his familiar friends a number of the sons of the merchants, and others, and gave himself up to the delights of good drinking and good eating, until all the wealth that he had appropriated to this purpose was consumed.

And upon this he repaired to his associates, and relations, and boon- companions, and exposed to them his case, showing them how little property remained in his possession; but none of them paid any regard to him, or uttered a word in reply. So he returned 1o his mother with a broken heart, and told her of the treatment that he had experienced from his associates, that they would neither do him justice nor even reply to him. But she said, O Abou Hassan, thus are the sons of this age: as long as thou hast anything, they draw thee near to them; and when thou hast nothing, they cast thee off.. She was grieved for him, and he sighed and wept.

He then sprang up, and went to the place in which was deposited the other half of his wealth, and upon this he lived agreeably. He took an oath that he would not thenceforth associate with any one of those whom he knew, but only with the stranger, and that he would not associate with any person but for one night, and on the following morning would not recognize him. Accordingly, every night he went forth and seated himself on the bridge, and when a stranger passed by him, he invited him to an entertainment, and took him to his house, where he caroused with him that night, until the morning: he then dismissed him; and after that he would not salute him if he saw him.

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