Story of the Officer and the Merchant's Wife.

THERE was an officer belonging to the body-guard of his prince, who admired a merchant's wife, and was passionately beloved by her. On a certain day he sent his slave to see whether her husband was at home or absent. When the slave came, not finding her husband, he would have returned; but the lady, on seeing him, would not let him go.

While they were conversing, the officer came up, and she took the slave and locked him in an inner chamber. And, while the officer was with her, sud­denly her husband knocked at the door. Upon this the lady said to the officer, who was much alarmed: “Draw thy scimitar, and go down to the entry, abuse me, and revile me, and say: ‘He certainly is with thee, and thou hast concealed him.’ When my husband enters, go out, and pursue thy way.”

Her husband, on coming in, saw the officer standing in the entry, with a drawn sword in his hand, exclaim­ing: “Thou wretch! thou hast hidden the lad near thee,” and he then hastened home. The merchant said to his wife: “What has been the matter?” She replied: “Thou hast this day saved an unfortunate Mussulman from being murdered.” He asked her how that was, and she replied: “I was sitting, thinking upon thee, when a young lad rushed in, and cried: ‘Save me from death, and God will save thee from the fire! An officer would murder me without a fault.’ Then I took him, and concealed him in my chamber; after which the officer entered, and began to abuse me, and would have killed me, saying, ‘He is with thee.’ God be praised that you came in, or I should have been a corpse.”—Her husband said: “God preserve thee from the fire, for what thou hast done—I doubt not but he will.”

Then she took the lad from the chamber, and he pretended to weep, and thanked her for her kind­ness; but the husband did not guess the least of the disgrace that had befallen his head from his wife's intrigues. [4]

“This, O sultan, is only one instance of the art of women; alas, that thou shouldst give credit to their accusations!”

When the third night was arrived, the Damsel entered, and kissing the ground, wept, and said: “Wilt thou not, my lord, do me justice upon thy son? And wilt thou not refrain from attending to the stories of thy vazīrs? They are full of wickedness. I have heard, O sultan, of a vazīr who would have murdered the son of his master.” He inquired: “In what manner?” She replied: