in it. I replaced the stones, and dressing myself took
all my money and went forth. I paid the owner of the
house a year's rent. Then I closed the house, and
journeyed to Egypt.
I resided in Cairo for three years, eating, drinking
and squandering my money until scarcely any was left
me. Meanwhile I sent every year the rent of my house
to the owner in Damascus. At last little money re-
mained except enough for one year's rent. I therefore
journeyed back to Damascus, and alighted at my house.
I entered, and, as I was removing a cushion, found be-
neath it the necklace of jewels that the murdered damsel
had worn. I examined it, wept a while, then taking
the necklace went forth into the jewel-market. I
placed it with a broker who coveting it, caused me to
be seized, and dragged me before the judge saying:
28 Story of the Hunchback
"This necklace was stolen from me and I have found
it on this thief."
The judge then ordered his people to strip me, and
they did so and whipped me with whips, and cut off
my right hand, scalding the stump of my arm with
boiling oil. They then gave me a cup of wine to revive
me, and taking my amputated hand I returned to my
abode. But the owner of the house met me and said:
"Since this disgrace hath come upon thee leave my
place and find other lodgings." "O my master," said
I, "give me two or three days in which to find a home."
He assented to this and departed, while I remained
sitting alone weeping, and saying: "How can I return
to my family, now that my hand hath been cut off!
Surely since I am innocent of theft or murder Allah
will help me!"
Even as I spoke the owner of the house returned ac-
companied by some officers of the law, who seized me
and bound my arms behind my back, and put a chain
around my neck. "Why do ye treat me thus?" I
asked. They answered: "Because the necklace thou
stolest belongeth to the Governor of the city, and it
hath been missing together with his daughter for three
years." Hearing these words I trembled and prepared
When we arrived at the Governor's abode I was
placed before him, and when he looked on me he said:
"Is this he who stole the necklace? Verily ye have cut
off his hand wrongfully." Then he said to the broker:
" Give this young man sufficient money to recompense
him for the loss of his hand, or else I will hang thee and
seize all thy property." And he gave orders, and his
attendants took the broker and dragged him away.
The Necklace of Jewels 29
I was now left alone with the Governor, and he
approached and loosed the chain from my neck and
unbound my arms, saying: "Tell me, O my son, how
did this necklace come into thy possession; fear not
and speak the truth." "O my lord," I replied, "I will
tell thee all the truth," and I proceeded to relate the
history of the two damsels. On hearing this the Gov-
ernor covered his face and wept, then looking toward
me said: "Know, O my son, that the elder damsel was
my daughter. One day she went out and took her
younger sister with her, to whom she was much at-
tached. When she returned she was alone. I ques-
tioned her concerning her sister but she made no reply,
and sat weeping and saying: 'Verily I will weep for
her until I die!' At length she confessed the murder
she had committed to her mother, who privately re-
lated the affair to me. As for my eldest daughter she
sat weeping and lamenting until she sickened and died
of sorrow and grief. See then, O my son, what hath
happened! Now will I recompense thee for the loss of
thy hand, and for thy many sufferings. I desire to wed
thee to my youngest daughter, and with her I will give
thee a rich allowance, and thou shalt be to me as my
own son." I replied: "Let it be as thou desirest, O my
The Governor immediately sent for the Cadi and
witnesses and married me to the damsel, whom I found
to be beautiful and good. My father having died dur-
ing my absence messengers were sent to bring my prop-
erty to Damascus, and I am now living in happiness
"I wondered at all this," continued the Jewish physi-
cian, "and after a few days the young man was com-
30 Story of the Hunchback
pletely recovered, and gave me a large sum of money.
Using this I journeyed to your city, where last night
I met the Hunchback."
The King when he heard this said: "Thy story is
not more wonderful than that of the Hunchback,
therefore ye must be hanged all of you, especially this
tailor who hath caused all this mischief." Then turn-
ing to the tailor he said: "O tailor, if thou wilt relate
a story more wonderful than that of the Hunchback
I will forgive thee all thine offences." So the tailor
advanced and said :
STORY TOLD BY THE TAILOR THE
YOUNG MAN AND THE BARBER
[NOW, O King of the age, that what hath hap-
pened to me is more wonderful than what hath
happened to the others. Night before^last I
was at ar^nt^tainment jiven to carpenters,
tailors, linen drapers, and othertradesmen.
Toward morning a rej>ast was set before us,
and, lo, the master ^f the house entered the room ac-
^ajioung man _who though handsome
He salutedLus, and perceiving a certain barber in
our company, refused to sit down and desired to depart
ingtantly. The Master of the house prevented him,
and urged him to seat himself. "Verily, O my master,"
said the young man, "allow me to go at once, for I
cannot remain in the same room with this barber; for
know, O company, a surprising adventure happened to
me with him in Bagdad, and he was the cause of my
The Young Man and the Barber 3 1
lameness. I have sworn that I will not sit in the room
where he is, nor dwell in the town in which he resides."
Upon this we said: "We entreat thee to relate thy
adventure to us." At this the countenance of the
barber turned pale, but tli/> yoking
Know, O good people, that my father was onejpf the
chieLmsrchants of Bagdad, and Allah, whose name be
exalted! blessed him with no_son except myself. When
I had attained the age of manhood, my father died
leaving me great wealth. I began immediately to
dress in handsome and costly garments, and to feed
upon the most delicious meats. One day as I was walk-
ing through the streets of Bagdad, I_hecame weary ,
and seatedjnyself upon a bench opposite ja window of
a certain house. Soon the window opesed^and there
looked out a damsel as beautiful as the full moon.
She watered some flowers beneath the window, looked
right and left, then shut the window and disappeared.
Love for her took immediate possession oLjny_heajpt,
and I continued sitting there until sunset in a state of
distraction, when, lo, the Cadi of the, dty_c.ame^ riding
along with slaves before him and slaves behind him.
He alighted and entered the house from which the
damsel had looked forth. ThenJ[ knew_that. he. must
be her father.
I returned home sorrowful, and lay down in despair
upon my couch, but sleep visited me not. The next
morning an old woman came to me, and seating her-
self at my head.a33resse3 me as follows: "Know, O
my son, that I am acquainted with the cause of thy
grief. The damsel who looked out at-the window is
the daughter of the Cadi of Bagdad. She is kept in
close confinement, ancT tEe room in which thou sawest
32 Story of the Hunchback
her is her apartment. Her father occupieth the saloon
below hers, and leaveth her alone. Often do I visit her,
and T will gain for thee an interview."
On hearing this I arose restored, and the old woman
departed. The next day she returned and said to me:
"The damselJWpLeth me say that she saw thee beneath
lier window, and would like to make thine acquaint-
ance. She desireth that thou shouldst visit her at the
hour of prayer on Friday next, for her father will then
be at the mosque."
Wfipp T hpflrj t.T\jp Tnpsfipffp my hftP- 1 * - wjVwl- Fri-
day arriving I dressed in magnificent garments, per-
fumed myself and sent for a barber to shave my head,
saying to the boy: "Fetcli,mejjba<rber who is not im-
pertinent and who talketh little."
The boy went and brought Jthis~sheikh. He entered
my apartment, saluted me and said: "May Allah
dispel thy grief and anxiety, and misfortune and sor-
rows!" I answered: "May Allah accept thy prayer."
He then said: "Be cheerful, O my master, dost thou
wish to be shaved or bled?" and he. continued for some
time to discourse in this wise. "Stop," said I, "this
senseless chatter, and shave my head immediately."
But the barber arose and drawing forth a handker-
chief unfoldad-it- and took-faom it an astrolabe. He
went to the door and after looking for some time at the
sun, said: "Know that on this day, which is the tenth
of the month Safar of the year 263 of the flight of the
Prophet, the ascendant star of which, according to
the rules of astrology, is the planet Mars, it happeneth
that the planet Mercury hath come in conjunction
with that other planet, and this indicateth that it is
now a fortunate time to shave the head."
"I AM HE WHOM PEOPLE CALL EL SAMIT THE SILENT!
The Young Man and the Barber 33
"Verily," exclaimed I, "thou weariest me with thy
chatter. The time passeth rapidly, therefore arise and
shave my head at once." "If thou but knew the truth
of the case," he answered, "thou wouldst praise, not
blame me; for know, O my master, I am he whom people
call ^j_Samit The SileirL because of the fewness of my
words," and he continued talking in this wise for some
time, until my patience became exhausted and I said to
the boy: "GiveJiiisJiarbeoLSQNy^^
and bicLhim begone."
"What is this thou sayest?" exclaimed the barber,
"know, O my jord, that I will accept no pay._imless I
serve thee. Know also that thy father sent for me one
blessed day, and when I went to him, he was surrounded
by many friends, and he said: * Bleed me'; so I took
the astrolabe, and " at this I gave vent to my rage
and would have thrust the barber out; but he wetted my
head, and said: "I will not be angry with thee, for thy
brain is weak and thou art young. A short time ago
I used to carry thee upon my shoulder to school."
Hearing this and knowing^that but a short period
remained until the hour of prayer, I rent my clothes,
and fell inta_a great rage. The barber, seeing this,
sharpened his razor and shaved a snialLppjrtion j)f
my head, then he paused and began to recite some
verses. "Hasten! Hasten!" I cried. He then threw
his razor down, and taking the astrolabe went_again
to observe the sun. After some time he returned to
my side and said: "There is much time remaining be-
fore the hour of prayer." "For pity's sake be silent,"
I cried, "and shave me."
He took the razor and sharpened it again^and shaved,
another portion of my head. Then stqpjdng he said:
34 Story of the Hunchback
"I am worried because I do not know the cause of thy
haste. Confide in me, for know thy father never did
anything without my advice." This impertinence being
more than I could bear, and seeing that I could not get
rid of him by commands, I said: "Be quick. Cease this
silly chatter, and finish shaving me. Then I will-
present thee jvithjive dishes of mpats anH t^n cooked
fowls and a^roasted lamb." "Let them be brought
here," he answered, "so thajt I may see them." Where-
upon I gave orders and they were_brought in. "How
generous is thy soul?" he exclaimed, "but the incense
and perfumes are lacking!" So I caused my slaves to
bring him a box pnnt.ftjm'ng pprfmnpg, aloes-wood,
ambergris, and musk, worth fifty pieces of gold.
"Take all this," I said, "and shave my whole head."
He replied not, but opening the box examined its con-
tents, turning over the perfumes and incense and aloes-
wood, until my soul almost quitted my body. Then
advancing he took the razor and shaved me saying:
"For thy father's sake there should be no false delicacy
between us. Verily I will not leave thee to go alone
on this thine errand." "The place to which I am go-
ing," I replied, "no one can enter except myself."
"Alas," answered he, "I judge then that_thou art
ahmit to yjsit. spme Damsel. This is a dangerous errand
and I will go with thee and assist thee to attain thy
desires. Know, too, that if thou be arrested, the Cadi
of tKe city hath a terrible sharp sword."
"Wo to thee, wicked old man!" I cried, "How darest
thou address me thus!" and after this the barber kept
silent for some time. When he had finished shaving
me, I said: "Take this food and enjoy it with thy
friends." "Verily," said he, "I will take it to them
The Young Man and the Barber 35
and return immediately tn flppnmpany thp.& - nn thin ft
errand," and he departed. I then arose and went
foiih_alQne, and walked until I arrived at the house
where I had seen the damsel, and, Io 3 the barber was
behind me and I knewJuLnot.
I found the door open and went into the saloon, but
immediately the Cadi, the father of the damsel, re-
tumedJfconL_pJcayers, and entering the saloon, closed
the door. I haying secreted imyafilf beb^H a.
Now it happened that a slaYe girl belonging to the
Cadi had committed some offence, so that-her maste*
began beating her jpsdth a whip, and she cried aloud.
The 'EarBeiTwho stood outside in the street heard Jher
cries, and thoiightJt was I whom the Ca/K was heat-
ing.. He therefore rent his clothes, threw dust upon
his head, and shrieked. Soon he was surroundeoT by a
crowd of people, and he called out: "My master hath
been killed in the house of the Cadi ! O my poor master !"
AnoTKef continued to shriek__and Jthe people shouted,
so that the Cadi,Jiearing the disturbance, came to the
door, and was ^rmfn^nrM at seeing Rf> jjrgaL a- crowd.
"O people," he said, "what is it? " "Thou hast beaten
my master with whips," answered the barber, "and I
heard his cries." "What hath he done that I should
beaLJiim?" asked the Cadi, "and whence came he,
and whither hathi_gon.e?"
"Thou malevolent old man," exclaimed the barber,
"I know all about it! Thyjjaughter is in love with
him, and he with her: and thou hast discovered that
he hath entered thy house^and hast ordered thy young
men to beat him. Verily none shall decide this matter
but the Caliph himself! Haste therefore and bring
36 Story of the Hunchback
forth my master, or I will enter and take him from thee
by force." The Cadi hearing this was embarrassed
before all the people, so he said: " If_thoii_peakesLihe
As the barber came into the house I sought somejdoor
of escape, but finding_none^ I opened a chest4hat stood
in the saloon, and getting-into it shut down the lid.
Immediately after the barber enteredjhe_apartment,
and came directly to the^chest. He lifted the lid, and
seeingjne, closed Jtjigain, and picking up-fehe~chest be-
gan to carry it away. And I, fearing_lest_hfi should
carry me_th"gb the streets in this ridiculous fashion,
opnedjjihest and threw mysslf-ottHipoirthe ground.
My leg was broken by the fall, but I rose_up_and going
to the door found the crowd of people waiting for me.
I scattered gold among them, to divert their atten-
tion, and then went as best I could, through the
streets, the barber following me and crying: "Praise
be to Allah, who hath aided me in rescuing my master!
Without my assistance he would have been killed!"
"Art thou not satisfied," I exclaimed, "at what thou
hast done to me, but that thou must run through the
streets after me!" And having said thus, I rushed in
despair into a shop^ andjbeggedjhe owner to protect me
from this barber. He did so and drove the wretch away.
"XjTsoon as possible I returnexLJLo my house, sold all
my goodsHStrtr-my business in order, and journeyed to
thy^cjty. I thus escaped this evil man, and have lived
here in peace for a considerable time. Now I find this
vile barber in your company, seated among you, and
my heart can no longer be at ease, nor any company
pleasant in which he is who hath wrought all this mis-
fortune and been the cause of my lameness.
The Beheaded Ten 37
The young man refused to stay any longer with us,
and on hearing his tale we said to the barber: "Is this
true?" "Verily," he answered, "I acted most gener-
ously toward this young man, and had I not done so he
would have perished. It was through the goodness of
Allah that he broke his leg instead of losing his life.
Were I a person of many words I had not done this for
him, but know that I am he whom the people call
El Samit The Silent." And now I will relate to you an
event which happened to me so you may know that I
do not talk much, and that I am less impertinent than
is this young man who hath abused me. The event was
STORY TOLD BY THE BARBER THE BE-
WAS living in Bagdad in the reign of the Prince of
the Faithful, Mountasir Billah, who loved the poor
and needy, and encouraged the wise and virtuous.
It happened one day that he was wroth with ten
citizens of Bagdad, and he commanded the Cadi
to bring them to the palace in a boat. I saw them
embark, and thinking that they were a company on a
pleasure excursion, I also embarked with them, no one
asking me any questions.
When we landed on the opposite bank the guards
came and put chains around the necks of the ten, and
put one on me. Now as I was a man of few words, I
decided not to mention the matter, so I said nothing
and the guards took us before the Caliph who instantly
gave orders to strike off the heads of the ten.
38 Story of the Hunchback
The executioner therefore struck off ten heads, and
I remained. "What!" said the Caliph, beholding me
with surprise, "Hast thou not executed ten!" The
executioner replied: "Yea, verily I have struck off the
heads of ten." "Then," said the Caliph, "why doth
this man remain?" And turning to me he said: "Who
art thou? And why didst thou not tell us that thou
didst not belong to these ten? Answer! how earnest
thou among these men of blood?"
"O Prince of the Faithful," I replied. "Know that I
am the sheikh called El Samit The Silent, and being a
man of few words it behooved me not to speak of this
matter. I am very learned, I am of grave understand-
ing, and quick of comprehension, and of great scarcity
of speech. My trade is that of a barber, and when I
saw these ten men proceeding to embark, I joined them
thinking they were on a pleasure excursion. But soon
it appeared that they were criminals, and the guards
came and put chains upon us; and from the excess of
my wisdom I spoke not. And when thou gavest the
order to strike of the heads of ten, I remained silent
before the executioner because of my scarcity of
speech. Throughout my life I have acted in this wise
When the Caliph heard my story, and knew what a
wise and silent man I was, and that I was not imperti-
nent as is this young man whom I rescued from horrors,
he said to me: "Hast thou any brothers like thyself,
distinguished for silence?" "O Prince of the Faithful,"
I replied, "it is not proper that thou shouldst com-
pare me with my brothers, for they are great talkers
and are exceedingly foolish, and each of them hath a
defect. The first is lame; the second, deaf; the third,
The Tray of Glass 39
blind; the fourth, one-eyed; the fifth hath cropped ears;
and the sixth hath both lips cut off. Think not, O
Prince of the Faithful, that I am like my brothers!
Nay, to prove it to thee, I will now relate an adventure
of my fifth brother. It was this:
STORY TOLD BY THE BARBER THE TRAY
<g?9fe Y brother Alraschar was cropped of his ears, O
Prince of the Faithful. He was a pauper, who
i 1 begged alms by night and lived on what he
I ^ I thus acquired by day. Our father was a very
old man, and he fell sick and died, leaving to
W r us seven hundred pieces of silver. Now my
brother Alraschar, when he had received his share, went
out and bought all kinds of glass-ware which he hoped
to sell with profit. He placed the glass on a tray, and
going into the market-street, sat down on some steps
and displayed the tray before him. He leaned his back
against a wall, and lost himself in meditation.
"Verily," thought he, "my whole stock doth consist
of this glass. I will sell it for two-hundred pieces of
silver. I will then buy other glass and sell that for
four-hundred pieces of silver. Thus I will continue
buying and selling with profit, until I have amassed a
large fortune. Then I will purchase all kinds of fine
merchandise, and essences and perfumes, and ornaments
of gold and jewels, and sell these and acquire much
"After that I will build me a house, furnish it mag-
nificently, buy slaves and horses and gilded sad-
4-O Story of the Hunchback
dies, and I will live eating the choicest viands. I will
purchase the apparel of Kings and Sultans, and cause
to be made for me a saddle of red gold set with jewels.
After which I will ride through the streets every day
with slaves behind and before me, and the people will
salute me. Then I will pay a visit to the Grand Vizier,
with memlooks behind and before me, and when he
seeth me he will rise in humility and seat me in his own
place. Then I will demand in marriage his daughter;
for I have heard that she is endowed with perfect beauty
and surprising loveliness. I will give as her dowry a
thousand pieces of gold. My servant will present the
gold, and when the Grand Vizier speaketh to me, I will
not answer, but treat him with contempt and coldness.
When he presenteth me with a gift, I will return it to
" On my marriage night I will attire myself magnifi-
cently, and sit upon a silken couch. When my bride is
brought in to me clad in her marriage robes, I will com-
mand her to stand before me. She will do so with head
hanging down, timid and abject, and I will not look at
her. Then the tire- women will say: 'O our master,
this is thy wife, or rather thy handmaiden, awaiting
thy kind regard. Graciously bestow upon her one
glance.' Then I will raise my head, and give her one
glance and turn away. Her mother will come to me
and kiss my hands, and say: 'O my master, my daugh-
ter is young, and if thou scorn her, it will break her
heart. Incline toward her, speak sweetly and ease her
"Then I will look at my wife out of the corner of my
eye, and command her to remain standing, so that she
may be properly humiliated. Her mother will order
The Tray of Glass 41
her to fill a cup of wine and hold it to my lips. She
will fill the cup, and say: *O my lord, I beg and entreat
of thee that thou reject not this cup, for verily I am
thy slave.' But I will make her no reply. Then she
will put the cup to my lips, and I will shake my hand
in her face and spurn her with my foot, like this "
So saying my brother Alraschar, kicked the tray of
glass that stood before him, and it fell from the steps
and all the glass was broken. Then my brother cried
aloud: "O woe! O woe! this is the result of my pride,"
and he tore his garments and slapped his face; while
the passers-by looked at him in wonder.
Just then a damsel approached him, on her way to
Friday prayers. She was of great loveliness, and the
odour of musk diffused from her. She rode on a mule
having a saddle of gold-embroidered silk, and with her
were a number of servants. When she saw the sad state
of my brother, and his tears, she called to one of her
slaves, saying: " Give this purse to the poor man." The
slave did so, and when my brother opened the purse he
found it to contain five hundred pieces of gold; where-
upon he almost died from excessive joy, and offered up
prayers for his benefactress. So she departed, and my
brother returned to his house a rich man.
And such, O Prince of the Faithful, was the history
of my brother whose ears were cropped. I will now
relate to you an adventure of my sixth brother. It
42 Story of the Hunchback
STORY TOLD BY THE BARBER THE BAR-
<^Vfe Y brother Shacabac had his lips cut off, O Prince
of the Faithful. He was extremely poor, pos-
sessing nothing. He went forth one day to beg
111 for food, and on his way beheld a handsome
house with a wide and lofty porch. At the
W w> door stood many servants, and my brother in-
quired the name of the owner of the house. A servant
answered: "He is a son of the Barmecides." On this
my brother drew nearer and asked the doorkeeper for
some food. "Enter here," replied the doorkeeper,
"my master will give thee all thou desirest."
So my brother entered and, passing through the
house, which was spacious and magnificently furnished,
he came at last to a garden. It was full of flowers of
all kinds, and was paved with coloured marbles. At
the upper end of the garden he saw a man with a long