Story of the Washerman and his Son, who were
Drowned in the Nile

I HAVE heard from an Ethiop washerwoman, who learned it from her husband, that there once lived in Egypt, on the banks of the Nile, a washerman, by name Noah, who was—like an atom—all day in the sun, and—like a fish—all the year round in the water: who would have washed with his soap the blackness from an Ethiop. This man had a darling son, who was headstrong, good-for-nothing, and foolish; and who, as soon as he saw his father in the water, would seat himself on his father's ass, and drive it into the river. The father was in constant terror lest the boy should fall into the water and be drowned, or lest a crocodile should seize him. One day, the boy, as usual, mounted the ass, and rode with such fury into the river, that at once the water reached his head. At one moment he was—like an oyster—under water; the next—like a bubble—on its surface. As soon as the father learned that his son was drowning, he rushed into the water, in the hope of saving him, and caught him by the hand. The lad grasped at his father, and seized him by the hair. Both sank, and were drowned together. [5]

The king, reflecting upon this tale, changes his pur­pose, and orders the executioner to do his duty.

The Second Vazīr now sends a message to the executioner, desiring him to delay the execution for a short time; he then hastens into the presence of the king, and, after obeisance made, breaks out into invectives against women, and concludes by saying: “If your Majesty listens to the wiles of women, you will repent it, as the partridge did of killing his mate.” The king desired to hear the tale, and the vazīr said: