Story of the Woman and the Rice-Seller.*

A MAN one day gave his wife a dirham* to buy rice, and she went to the shop of the rice-seller, and said to him: “Give me rice for this dirham.” When he saw that she was possessed of beauty and an elegant form, he began cajoling her, and said to her: “Rice is not good unless with sugar; come within, and I will give thee some.” The woman consented, and the dealer ordered his slave to measure a quantity of rice and sugar, but accompanied the order with a private sign, which the youth understood; and while his master was engaged with the woman, he filled her towel with earth and stones. After this the woman took the towel, and went off, thinking that it contained sugar and rice; and when she arrived at her house she placed it before her husband, and went to fetch the caldron. In the meantime her husband opened the towel, and dis­covered the earth and the stones, and when she came back he said to her: “Did I tell thee that we had a house to build, that thou hast brought earth and stones?” She then perceived that the dealer had tricked her, and said: “O my husband, see what I have done in my confusion: I went for the sieve, and have brought the caldron! For the dirham you gave me dropped from my hand in the market-place,* and I was ashamed before the people to look around for it; so I brought back earth and stones, that you might sift them.” The husband then arose, and took the sieve, and he sat down sifting the earth until his face and his beard were covered with dust; and the poor man knew not what had happened to him.]

On the fourth night the Damsel entered to the sultan, kissed the ground before him, and said: “My lord, you have rejected my cause, delayed my claims, and will not do me justice upon thy son. But God will assist me, as he assisted the son of a certain sultan against his father's vazīr.” The sultan inquired in what manner that happened, and she related the