Kalílah said, ‘They have related that a king bestowed splendid apparel and a costly robe on a Devotee. A thief having got intelligence of the circum­stanc, coveted it, and going to the Devotee pretended a wish to become his disciple, and voluntarily entered his service, and displayed diligence in learning the manners of that religious persuasion, until in this way he was admitted into the confidence [of the Devotee], and one night, having found an opportunity, he carried away the dress and made off. The next day the recluse did not see the dress, and finding that that new disciple was missing, he knew that he had purloined it. He started in pursuit of him, in the direction of the city, and on the road observed two he-goats* who were fighting with one another and wounding each other’s heads; and during the time that these two fierce* adversaries, like savage lions, were engaged in battle with one another and the blood was dripping from their limbs and members, a fox had come up and was devouring their blood. All at once in the midst of their encounter, the fox happened to get between them, and on each side their heads came with violence against his ribs, and he was overtaken with the noose of death. The recluse, having gained from these circumstances another piece of experience, passed on, and at night, when he reached the city, the gate was closed. He walked about in all directions and was seeking for a place to halt in. It happened that a woman was looking from the terrace of her house into the street, and understood by the perplexity of the devotee, that he was a stranger. She invited him to her house, and the holy man, accepting her invitation, untied his sandals in her lodgings, and occupied himslf in a corner of the hut with his devotions. Now that woman was notorious for vice and profligacy, and kept several damsels ready for purposes of debauchery, and one of them—the winning glance of whose beauty might have taught blandishment to the brides of Paradise, and at the glow of whose cheeks, the sun, which warms the world, was consumed with the fire of jealousy; whose languishing eye, with the arrow of its glance, pierced the target of the bosom, and whose life-giving lips, with the sugar of her mouth, bestowed sweetness on the soul like a package of sugar,

She, moon-like, moves, or like the cypress tall.
Two twisting curls in musky mazes fall
Down her white neck; her chin so silvery fair
Supports a chain of dimples fastened there.*

had become attached to a youth—of beautiful countenance and musky ringlets, witty, and of graceful stature like the cypress, whose face resembled the moon, sweet-voiced and slender-waisted so that the proud beauties of Cathay*from the curl of his locks—were, like the hyacinth, writhing with envy,* and the honey-lipped fair ones of Samarḳand,* from the desire of his mischief-exciting sweetness, were panged like the hearts of lovers:

His face! Ah! what a face! a sun-like face was it.
His locks! What locks! each curl with troublous transports knit.

and ever together, like sun and moon, they lived conjoined in one mansion, and like Venus and Mercury were united in one sign of the zodiac, and this youth from the jealousy of love would positively never allow that his other rivals should taste a draught from the cup of union with that damsel, or that those athirst in the desert of pursuit, should, after a thousand toils, arrive at that limpid fountain.

My jealousy of thee is such that, could it granted be,
I’d choose that none beside should, e’en in fancy, think of thee.

The profligate woman being embarrassed by the behaviour of the damsel, and impatient at the loss of income, could not put up with a girl who had cast aside the veil of decorum, and had given up her whole soul to the affection for her lover.* She was driven to aim at the destruction of that youth. On the night that the recluse came to her house she had prepared a plan and not neglected an opportunity for the deed, and, having measured out copious* draughts of wine to the lover and beloved one, as soon as the people of the house had gone to rest, she pounded a little deadly poison, and having placed it in a pipe and brought it before the fair youth, took one end of the tube in her mouth, and placed the other end in his nostrils, and was about to give a puff and convey the influence of the poison to the brain of the youth, when suddenly he sneezed, and from the force of the vapour which issued from his brain all the poison entered the throat and neck of that woman, and she fell lifeless on the spot.

Thyself in compassing thy thought shalt fall.

When the recluse beheld that circumstance, and had with a hundred anxieties passed through that night—which in length equalled the day of resurrection—until the time when the devotee of the dawn, having obtained release from the cell of the darkness of night, spread the prayer-carpet of worship before the altar of the horizon, and the purport of this text of sublime meaning ‘And shall lead them out of darkness into light* was manifest unto men;

The mirror-vaulted heavens brightness gain,
And China’s glass was cleansed from rust and stain.*

The recluse having extricated himself from the dark abode of debauchery and crime of that band, went in search of another lodging. A shoemaker, who reckoned himself among his disciples, took the holy man to his house, by way of obtaining a blessing [for that good act] and enjoined his family to wait upon him, and he himself went to an entertainment given by some of his friends. Now his lady had a friend of an agreeable temper, of handsome face, and curling locks,

Facetious and gallant, whose merry eyes in mischief roll,
Handsome—so that such as he bring mischief to the soul.

The messenger between them was the wife of a barber, who, by her witchery, could blend together fire and water, and by her oily tongue could make the hard stone melt like wax.

A mischief-maker, who some fraudful verse reciting,
Could the mosquito with the Símurgh wed;
With crystal rosary, men’s trust in her inviting,
The string was made of unbelievers’ thread.*
Her lip in prayer—her prayer all spells and guile;
In simple guise without—within all wile.

The shoemaker’s wife, when she found the house empty, sent some one to the go-between saying, ‘Inform my beloved that to-night there is honey without the buzzing of the bee, and intercourse without the hue-and-cry of the superintendent of police and the patrol.’

Arise! and come hither, as I know and thou.

Her lover having come to the house by night, was expecting ‘the opening of the door,’ when, all of a sudden, the shoemaker, like a sudden calamity, arrived and saw this man at the door of his house. Now the fact was, that before this he had had a little suspicion, and some doubt had arisen:—when he found him in his house the side of conviction prevailed. He entered the house, and, in most violent wrath, began to beat his wife, and after he had chastised her thoroughly, he bound her fast to a post, and then placed his own head on the couch of repose. The recluse was thinking thus, ‘To beat this woman without any apparent reason and clear offence, was far from the course of kind and manly feeling. I ought to have interceded for her, and not to have acquiesced in this folly;’ when suddenly the barber’s wife came in and said, ‘O sister! why dost thou keep this young man so long waiting? quickly come forth and look upon the opportunity for love as a blessing.’

Does the loved one, then, think of asking for the lover sick of pain?
Say, in peace come! for the breathings of existence yet remain.

The shoemaker’s wife, with a melancholy voice, called to her and said,

How canst thou, O tranquil-hearted! the sad heart’s affliction know?
The pangs of lovers, grief-devouring, all their sufferings and woe?
Spread thy pinions, dove! and soaring, o’er the lofty cypress go:
How canst thou the heart’s affliction of the prisoned warblers know?

O kind friend! listen* to my piteous complaint, and learn my wretched condition. This cruel and merciless husband had seen, perhaps, my lover at the door, for he entered this house like a madman, and after he had beaten me much, tied me, with the utmost violence, to this pillar. If thou hast any compassionate feeling towards me, and art disposed* to pity my lover, release me with all despatch, and give me leave* to bind thee to this pillar in place of myself, and I, having quickly made my apology to my friend, will return and release thee, and by this act thou wilt both place me under an obligation to thee, and wilt also oblige my friend.’ The barber’s wife, from exceeding kindness, having consented to the other’s release and the binding of herself, sent her out. The recluse, by hearing this dialogue, was put in possession of the clue to the quarrel of the husband and wife; and meanwhile the shoemaker awoke and called to his wife. The barber’s wife, in terror lest he should* recognise her voice and so become aware of what was going on, had not courage to answer. However much the shoemaker shouted, not a breath issued from the barber’s wife. The fire of his wrath blazed up, and he seized a cobbler’s knife, and came before the pillar, and cutting off the nose of the barber’s wife, placed it in her hand, saying, ‘Lo! a present that thou mayest send to thy lover.’ The barber’s wife, from fear, uttered not a sigh, but mentally ejaculated,

‘One takes the pleasure and another bears the pain.’

When the shoemaker’s wife returned and beheld her adopted sister with her nose cut off, she was excessively grieved, and, repeatedly begging her pardon, released her and fastened herself to the pillar, and the barber’s wife set off homeward, nose in hand.

Anon she laughed, bewildered—and anon she wailed.

The recluse beheld and heard all these proceedings, and surprise was added to surprise at these strange incidents which manifested themselves from the curtain of the unknown future. However the shoemaker’s wife kept quiet for a little, and then spreading the hand of cunning and deceit in prayer, she said, ‘O Lord and King! Thou knowest that my husband has inflicted cruel injustice upon me, and has bound on my neck, by false and slanderous accusa­tion, a crime which I have not committed. Of thine own goodness shew mercy to me and give back to me my nose—the ornament of the page of beauty!’ The husband was awake while the wife was thus praying, and heard that hypocritical complaint and perfidious prayer of hers. He shouted out, ‘O wicked and corrupt woman! what prayer is this that thou dost make? and what supplication is this that thou employest? The prayer of the unchaste is not regarded in this court, and the requirement of the vicious obtains not the quality of currency on this road.

Hopest thou the unseen world will succour thee?
Then pure thy tongue and pure thy heart must be.’

All at once the wife cried out, ‘O tyrant! tormentor! get up that thou mayest behold the power and infinite goodness of God, that, as my garment was pure from the stain of this false charge, God Most High has restored to me my nose that was mutilated, and has saved me from reproach and disgrace amongst men.’ The simple-minded man arose, and having lighted a lamp, came up to her, and beheld his wife safe, and her nose in its right place, and he nowhere perceived any trace of the wound or injury. Instantly he con­fessed his fault, and betook himself to entreaties for forgiveness, and with the utmost tenderness asking pardon for his offence,* he removed the bonds from her hands and feet, and made a vow not to proceed to similar lengths before the display of positive proof, and the manifestation of a good cause, nor at the suggestion of every mischievous tale-bearer to torment his chaste wife and virtuous spouse; and that for the rest of his life he would be guided by this woman, veiled in purity of conduct, whose prayers were assuredly free from any interposing curtain.

On the other side, the barber’s wife carrying her severed nose in her hand came home, and was overcome with bewilderment as to what artifice she should think of, and in what manner she could disclose what had happened to her husband, and what excuse she should make to her friends and neighbours on the subject, and how reply to the questions of her kinsfolk and acquaintances? In this interval the barber awoke from sleep, and called to his wife, saying, ‘Give me my tools,* for I am going to such a gentleman’s house.’ His wife was very long in answering, and dawdled in giving the instruments too, and at last put the razor alone into the barber’s hand, The latter in a passion flung the razor in the darkness of the night towards his wife, and began to utter abusive words. His wife threw herself down, and screamed out, ‘My nose! my nose!’ The barber was amazed, and their friends and neighbours, coming in, saw the woman with her dress stained with blood, and her nose cut off. Hereupon they began to loose the tongue of reproval against the barber, and that unfortunate fellow remained astonished, neither having the face to confess, nor the tongue to deny it. However, when the world-illuminating dawn removed the curtain of darkness, and the universe-displaying mirror of the sun began to shine like the goblet of Jamshíd,*

The leader of the Eastern host upreared his flag on high,
The Western king sank down amid a sea of sanguine dye:

the relations of the wife assembled and carried the barber before the Ḳáẓí. By chance the recluse too, having come forth from the house of the shoemaker, by reason of a bond of friendship which existed between him and the Ḳáẓí, was present at the tribunal. After they had gone through the customary interrogatories, and the friends of the barber’s wife had stated their case the Ḳází demanded, ‘Master barber! without any apparent crime, and without legal cause, why didst thou think fit to mutilate this woman?’ The barber, being bewildered, was unable to state any reason, and the Ḳáẓí, according to the clear mandate, ‘Wounds shall be punished by retaliation,’* gave command­ment that retaliation should be exacted, and that he should be tortured. Then the recluse rose up and said, ‘O Ḳáẓí! in this matter there is need of deliberation, and the eye of sagacity must be opened, because the Thief did not carry off my dress, and the Goats did not kill the Fox, nor did the poison destroy the profligate woman, nor did the Shoemaker cut off the nose of the Barber’s Wife, but we have all drawn upon ourselves these calamities.’ The Ḳází let the barber go, and turning to the recluse, said, ‘Please to favor us with an interpretation of this compendium, and an explanation of the import of this!’ The recluse recited from beginning to end what he had heard and seen, and said, ‘If I had not had a desire to take a pupil, and had not been fascinated by the pleasant talk of the thief, that deceitful impostor could not have found an opportunity, and would not have carried off my dress; and if the Fox had not displayed excessive greediness and gluttony, and had abstained from blood-thirstiness, the fatal concussion of the he-goats would not have reached him; and if the profligate woman had not schemed the destruction of the young man, she would not have given to the winds her dear life; and if the Barber’s Wife had not rendered assistance in that unlawful act, she would not have been mutilated nor disgraced. Whoever does evil must not look for good, and he who requires sugar-cane must not sow colocynth.

Thus spake the sage—by long experience tried—
‘Do not thou ill, lest ill should thee betide.’

And I have adduced this story that thou mayst know that thou hast shewn this troublous way to thyself, and hast opened upon thyself this gate of pain and difficulty.’

Of whom complain then, since our woe ’s self-made!

Damnah said, ‘Thou speakest truly, and I have done this deed, yet, neverthe­less, what plan dost thou advise for my escape, and of what contrivance dost thou think for untying this knot?’ Kalílah said, ‘From the commencement I disagreed with thee as to this business, and did not coincide with thee in consenting to undertake this matter, and now too I find myself [justified in keeping] aloof in this affair, and see no reason for meddling with it. But perhaps thou wilt thyself excogitate somewhat for thyself, for they have said:

‘Each one best knows what is for his own good.’

Damnah said, ’I have been thinking that I will set about this business with the most delicate finesse, and will exert myself in every possible way, until I overthrow the Ox from this position, nay, until I drive him out of this country, for I cannot admit of procrastination and neglect in the duty of self-preservation, and should I choose to be remiss, I should not be excusable in the opinion of men of prudence and spirit. Nor do I seek any new dignity, nor claim more than belongs to my office: and the wise have said, ‘Men of sense are justified in laboring for five things:—First, in pursuit of the rank and station, which they have held before. Secondly, in avoiding harm of which they have already had experience. Thirdly, in protecting advantages which they possess. Fourthly, in extricating themselves from the whirlpool of calamity which may have come upon them. Fifthly, in watching the attainment of advantage and the averting of evil in time to come. And I exert myself for this that I may get back to my own office, and that the lustre of my condition may be renewed. And the method is as follows,—to pursue the Ox with artifices until he bid farewell to earth’s surface,* or pack up his chattels from this place; and I am not inferior to that weak Sparrow who obtained his revenge on the Falcon.’ Kalílah inquired, ‘How was that.’