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Payne Volume VI

Payne Volume VI

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Published by ak331

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Published by: ak331 on Nov 11, 2010
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Now First Completely Done Into English
Prose and Verse, From The Original Arabic,
By John Payne
(Author of "The Masque of Shadows," "Intaglios: Sonnets," "Songs of Life and Dea
"Lautrec," "The Poems of Master Francis Villon of Paris," "New Poems," Etc, Etc.
In Nine Volumes:
Printed For Subscribers Only
Delhi Edition
There was once a merchant named Omar and he had three sons, the eldest of whom w
as called Salim, the second Selim and the third Jouder. He reared them all till
they came to man's estate, but the youngest he loved more than his brothers, who
, seeing this, waxed jealous of Jouder and hated him. Now their father was a man
stricken in years, and when he saw that his two eldest sons hated their brother
, he feared lest trouble should befall him from them after his death. So he asse
mbled a company of his kinsfolk, together with divers men of learning and assess
ors of the Cadi's court, and letting bring all his money and stuff, said to them
, 'O folk, divide ye this money and stuff into four parts, according to the law.
' They did so, and he gave one part to each of his sons and kept the fourth hims
elf, saying, "This was my good and I have divided it among them; and now they ha
ve no farther claim upon me nor upon each other; so, when I die, no difference s
hall arise between them, seeing that I have parted the inheritance among them in
my lifetime; and this that I have kept shall be for my wife, their mother, wher
ewithal to provide for her subsistence [after my death].'
A little while after this he died, and neither of the two elder brothers was con
tent with his share, but sought more of Jouder, saying, 'Our father's good is in
thy hands.' So he appealed to the judges and those who had been present at the
partition came and bore witness of that which they knew, wherefore the judge for
bade them from each other; but Jouder and his brothers spent much money in bribe
s to him. After this, they left him awhile, but presently they began again to to
rment him and he again appealed to the magistrate, [who again gave judgment in h
is favour;] but all three once more lost much money in bribes. Nevertheless Sali
m and Selim forbore not to seek his hurt [and to carry the case] from court to c
ourt, losing, he and they, till they had given all their good for food to the op
pressors (1) and they became poor, all three. Then the two elder brothers went t
o their mother and took her money and beat her and laughed at her and drove her
away. So she betook herself to her son Jouder and told him how his brothers had
dealt with her and fell to cursing them. 'O my mother,' said he, 'do not curse t
hem, for God will requite each of them his deed. See, I am become poor, and so a
re my brethren, for contention begetteth loss of good, and we have contended ama
in, I and they, before the judges, and it hath profited us nothing: nay, we have
wasted all our father left us and are disgraced among the folk by reason of our
testimony, [one against the other]. Shall I then contend with them anew on thin
e account and shall we appeal to the judges? This may not be; rather do thou tak
e up thine abode with me, and the cake of bread I eat I will share with thee. Do
thou pray for me and God will give me the means of thy support. Leave them to r
eceive of Him the recompense of their deed, and console thyself with the saying
of the poet:
€€€€€ If a lewd fellow should transgress against thee, let him be, And wait till God shall
punish him who doth iniquity;
€€€€€ Neither oppress, for if a mount another should oppress, The evil-doer would be crush
ed therefore, assuredly.
And he comforted her till she consented and took up her dwelling with him. Then
he got him a net and went a-fishing every day in the river or the lakes or some
other place in which there was water; and one day he would earn ten paras, anoth
er twenty and another thirty, which he spent upon his mother and himself, and th
ey ate and drank well. But, as for his brothers, they plied no craft and sold no
t neither bought; misery and ruin and overwhelming calamity overtook them and th
ey wasted that which they had taken from their mother and became wretched naked
beggars. Bytimes they would come to their mother, humbling themselves to her exc
eedingly and complaining of hunger; and she, a mother's heart being pitiful, wou
ld give them some mouldy bread; or, if there were any cooked meat of the day bef
ore, she would say to them, 'Eat it quickly and go, before your brother comes; f
or it would be grievous to him and he would harden his heart against me, and ye
would disgrace me with him.' So they would eat in haste and go.
One day they came in to their mother, and she set cooked meat and bread before t
hem. As they were eating, in came their brother Jouder, at whose sight their mot
her hung her head in shame and confusion, fearing lest he should be wroth with h
er. But he smiled in their faces, saying, 'Welcome, O my brothers! This is indee
d a blessed day. How comes it that ye visit me this blessed day?' Then he embrac
ed them and entreated them lovingly, saying to them, 'I thought not that ye woul
d have deserted me nor that ye would have forborne to visit me and your mother.'
'By Allah, O my brother,' said they, 'we longed sore for thee and nought withhe
ld us but shamefastness because of what befell between us and thee; but indeed w
e have repented amain. It was Satan's doing, the curse of God the Most High be u
pon him! And now we have no blessing but thee and our mother.' 'And I,' rejoined
Jouder, 'I have no blessing but you twain.' And his mother exclaimed, 'God whit
en thy face, O my son, and increase thy prosperity, for thou art the best of us
all!' Then he said to his brothers, 'Welcome to you both! Abide with me; for God
is bountiful and good aboundeth with me.' So he made peace with them and they a
te the evening meal and passed the night with him.
Next morning, after they had broken their fast, Jouder shouldered his net and we
nt out, trusting in [God] the Opener [of the gates of sustenance,] whilst the tw
o others also went forth and were absent till noon, when they returned and their
mother set the midday meal before them. At nightfall, Jouder came home, bearing
meat and vegetables, and they abode thus a month's space, Jouder catching fish
and spending their price on his mother and his brothers, and the latter eating a
nd amusing themselves, till, one day, he went down to the river-bank and casting
his net, brought it up empty. He cast it a second time, but again it came up em
pty and he said to himself, 'There are no fish in this place.' So he removed to
another place and cast the net there, but with no better success. And he ceased
not to remove from place to place till nightfall, but caught not a single gudgeo
n and said to himself, 'Strange! Is the river drained of fish or what?' Then he
shouldered the net and made for home, chagrined and concerned for his mother and
brothers and knowing not how he should feed them that night.
Presently he came to a baker's oven and saw the folk crowding for bread, with mo
ney in their hands, whilst the baker took no note of them. So he stood there, si
ghing, and the baker said to him, 'Welcome, O Jouder! Dost thou want bread?' But
he was silent and the baker continued, 'If thou hast no money, take thy suffici
ency and thou shalt have credit.' So Jouder said, 'Give me ten paras' worth of b
read and take this net in pledge.' 'Nay, good fellow,' rejoined the baker, 'the
net is thy means of earning thy livelihood, and if I take it of thee, I shall cl
ose up against thee the door of thy subsistence. Take ten paras' worth of bread
and take these other ten paras, and to-morrow bring me fish for the twenty.' 'On
my head and eyes be it,' answered Jouder and took the bread and money, saying,
'To-morrow God will provide me the means of acquittance.' Then he bought meat an
d vegetables and carried them home to his mother, who cooked them, and they supp
ed and went to bed.
Next morning he arose at daybreak and took the net, and his mother said to him,
'Sit down and break thy fast.' But he said, 'Do thou and my brothers breakfast,'
and went down to the river, where he ceased not to cast and shift about all day
, without aught falling to him, till the hour of afternoon-prayer, when he shoul
dered his net and went away, sore dejected. His way led him perforce by the shop
of the baker, who, when he saw him, counted out to him the loaves and the money
, saying, 'Come, take it and go; if it be not for to-day, it will be for to-morr
ow.' Jouder would have excused himself, but the baker said to him, 'There needs
no excuse; if thou hadst caught aught, it would be with thee; so, when I saw the
e empty-handed, I knew thou hadst gotten nought; and if to-morrow thou have no b
etter luck, come and take bread and be not ashamed, for I will give thee credit.
' So Jouder took the bread and money and went home. Next day he sallied forth an
d fished from lake to lake until the time of afternoon-prayer, but caught nothin
g; so he went to the baker and took the bread and silver as usual.
Thus he did seven days running, till he became disheartened and said in himself,
'To-day I will go to Lake Caroun.' So he went thither and was about to cast his
net, when there came up to him unawares a Moor clad in a splendid habit and rid
ing a mule with trappings embroidered with gold and on her back a pair of saddle
-bags of the same stuff. The Moor alighted and said to him, 'Peace be upon thee,
O Jouder, son of Omar!' 'And on thee, O my lord the pilgrim!' (2) replied the f
isherman. Quoth the Moor, 'O Jouder, I have need of thee and if thou obey me, th
ou shalt get great good and shalt be my companion and do my occasions for me.' '
O my lord,' replied Jouder, 'Tell me what is in thy mind and I will obey thee, w
ithout demur.' Quoth the Moor, 'Repeat the First Chapter of the Koran.' (3) So h
e recited it with him and the Moor, bringing out a silken cord, said to Jouder,
'Bind my hands fast behind me with this cord and cast me into the lake; then wai
t awhile and if thou see my hands appear above the water, cast thy net over me a
nd draw me out in haste; but if I come up, feet foremost, then know that I am de
ad; in which case do thou leave me and take the mule and saddle-bags and carry t
hem to the merchants' bazaar, where thou wilt find a Jew, by name Shemaiah. Deli
ver him the mule and he will give thee a hundred dinars, which do thou take and
go thy ways and keep the matter secret.' So Jouder bound his hands behind his ba
ck and he kept saying, 'Tighter.' Then said he, 'Push me into the lake.' So he p
ushed him in and he sank.
Jouder stood waiting some time, till, at last, the Moor's feet appeared above th
e water, whereupon he knew that he was dead. So he left him and drove the mule t
o the bazaar, where he found the Jew seated on a stool at the door of his storeh
ouse. When the latter saw the mule, he said, 'The man hath perished and nought u
ndid him but covetise.' Then he took the mule from Jouder and gave him a hundred
dinars, charging him keep the matter secret. So Jouder went to the baker and gi
ving him a dinar, took what bread he needed. The baker reckoned up what was due
to him and said, 'I still owe thee two days' bread.' 'Good,' answered Jouder and
went on to the butcher, to whom he gave a dinar and took meat, saying, 'Keep th
e rest of the dinar on account.' Then he bought vegetables and going home, found
his brothers importuning their mother for food, whilst she said, 'Have patience
till your brother comes home, for I have nothing.' So he went in to them and sa
id, 'Take and eat;' and they fell on the victual like ghouls. Then he gave his m
other the rest of the dinars, bidding her, if his brothers came to her, give the
m wherewithal to buy food and eat in his absence.
Next morning he took his net and going down to Lake Caroun, was about to cast hi
s net, when there came up to him a second Moor, riding on a mule, more handsomel
y accoutred than he of the day before and having with him a pair of saddle-bags,
in each pocket of which was a casket. 'Peace be on thee, O Jouder!' said the Mo
or. 'And on thee be peace, O my lord the pilgrim!' replied Jouder. Quoth the Moo
r, 'Did there come to thee yesterday a Moor riding on a mule like this of mine?'
At this Jouder was alarmed and replied, 'I saw none,' fearing lest the other sh
ould say, 'Whither went he?' and if he answered, 'He was drowned in the lake,' t
hat he should charge him with having drowned him; wherefore he could not but den
y. 'Harkye, good fellow,' rejoined the Moor, 'this was my brother, who is gone b
efore me.' Quoth Jouder, 'I know nothing of him.' Then said the Moor, 'Didst tho
u not bind his hands behind him and throw him into the lake, and did he not say
to thee, "If my hands appear above the water first, cast thy net over me and pul
l me out in haste; but, if my feet appear first, know that I am dead and carry t
he mule to the Jew Shemaiah, who will give thee a hundred dinars?" And did not h
is feet appear first and didst thou not carry the mule to the Jew and take of hi

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