He said, ‘They have related that there was a merchant who was rich, but very bad-tempered and ill-favored, and withal old and infirm, and stingy and morose.

A hellish demon he in ugliness;
And, like a jackdaw,* senseless in his prate.
His heart was stony, steeled; and, with distress
Like loss of friends, all hearts did macerate.

And this man of repulsive appearance had a wife of pure manners and pleasing form, such that the moon of the fourteenth night, by the help of borrowing the glow of her cheek, could make the dark night brighter than the shining day; and the world-illuminating lamp of the sun, which is the candle before the portico of the sky, could not have competed with the radiance of the taper of her heart-delighting countenance. The tongue of the age, in praise of that life of the world, warbled these words,

Fair is the moon, but yet more fair the beauty of thy face;
Graceful the cypress, but thy form displays a loftier grace.

And the jewel-scattering pen was inscribing on the pages of description a particle of her fascinations in this manner,

Fancy might try, in vain, to paint upon the page of thought
Thy image; for thy winning form with lovelier grace is fraught.
Each charm, which from our ken was hid, in unseen worlds concealed,
Here, gathered in thy lovely self, is to our eyes revealed.

Her husband, with a hundred thousand efforts,* sought her favor, and she was flying from his approaches to a hundred thousand removes, and was not to be won by his coaxings, nor deceived by his cajolings. And, at every fresh instance of her cruelty, the man felt his attachment renewed, and every moment he evinced an accession of love in return for her dislike.

Thy spite is needed to renew my love.

The hand of his desire did not reach the lasso of her locks without sore fatigue, nor did the flower of his wish bloom in the rose-garden of her beauty without the thorn-prickings of trouble.

I am that beauty’s slave, which they refuse to let me see;
Those ringlets craze my sense whose touch they ne’er vouchsafe to me.

One night a thief came to the house. It happened that the merchant was asleep, and the wife being awake, observed the entrance of the thief. Alarmed at this, she clasped her husband tightly to her breast; and the merchant, awaking from his slumbers, found his treasure in his arms, and, from excessive joy, uttered a shout, saying,

‘Surely my fortune smiles, that thus before my waking eye,
That face I see, that e’en in sleep I hoped not to espy.

What compassion is this which has been shewn me from the unseen world? and by what service have I deserved this boon?

Whence has this love, thou knew’st not, sprung?’

On looking well about him he perceived the thief, and exclaimed, ‘O my brave fellow of auspicious footstep! take what thou wilt of my goods, and carry it away; for, through the blessing of thy arrival, this cruel, faithless one has become kind and tender to me.’

And the moral of this fable is, that there are some emergencies, the sight of which renders nought proper save forgiveness and kindness to our enemy; and the condition of this crow is of the number.

Have pity when thou see’st my state, for pity is deserved there.’

The King asked the third vazír, saying, ‘What does thy judgment pronounce in this case?’ He replied, ‘It is best that the king should not strip him of the garment of existence, but rather invest him with the robe of security, and not withhold from him the tokens of encouragement and bene-volence, that he, too, in return may look upon the king’s service as a rich prize, and open the gates of sincere counsel and loyalty. Moreover, the wise have always labored to detach a party from their enemies; and having thrown the stone of discord among them, by every artifice they can think of, separate them into two bodies; since the disputing of enemies is a cause of encouragement to friends, and of assisting their operations. So the falling out of the Thief and the Demon proved the source of tranquillity to the recluse.’ The king asked him, ‘How was that?’