Story of the Poisoned Food.

I HAVE heard of a certain merchant to whom there came unexpectedly a visitor; upon which he sent a female domestic to buy laban* in the market. As she was returning with it upon her head in an uncovered vessel, she passed under a tree, on which was a serpent, from whose mouth fell some drops of venom into the laban. Her master and his guest ate of it, and both died. [19]

“Whose, then, was the fault?” asked the prince: “the girl's, who left the vessel uncovered? or her master's, who gave the laban to his guest?”

Some said it was the master's fault, because he did not examine the laban first. The prince replied: “No one was in fault; their time was come and their resi­dence in this world at an end. Had my death taken place, no one would have been guilty but my father's concubine.”