ADEAF man had a friend, the garden of whose health became withered by the autumnal breeze of sickness, and by it he was laid prostrate on the bed of infirmity, and once went on a visit of condolence to him. On the road he said to himself: “When I meet the sick man I shall ask him how he is. And he will certainly reply: ‘I feel a little better.’ Then I will say: ‘God be praised!’ After that I will inquire who his physician is, and he will give me the name of the doctor. Then I will say: ‘He is very skilful, and he will soon free you from your disease.’ After that I will ask what food and medicine he takes. He will tell me, and then I will say: ‘Both of them are very appropriate for your distemper;’ and having recited the Fátiha,* I shall depart.”

He exercised himself in these questions and answers till he reached the house of his sick friend, who hap­pened at the time to labour under great nausea and depression of spirits. The deaf man asked him: “How do you feel, my friend?” Said the sick man, in peevish tones: “Do not ask me—I am ready to give up the ghost.” The deaf man smiled and said: “God be praised! My prayer has been heard.” After that he asked: “Who is your physician, my friend?” Quoth the sick man: “The angel of death.” This puzzled the deaf man a little, but he answered: “That is well. I also had him in view, because he is so skilful, and cures every patient he treats.” Then he asked what his food and medicine were. The sick man replied: “Pain and distress.” Said the deaf man: “May they redound to your welfare; both are very proper for your disease.” Then he began to recite the Fátiha, and the sick man said: “May God forgive you,” and the deaf man took his leave.