By E. P. Mathers
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Extra resources for The Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night (Vol. 4)
The man would have kissed my hand, but I prevented him; for I remembered that all riches are a gift from God. Next morning the kadi called me into his presence, saying: ‘O O young man, Allah is the Master of all treasures and there is a quaint old law which lays down that a fifth shall be given to His poor. ’ ‘I am not very sure of our master’s meaning,’ I replied, ‘but for a long time I have meant to beg a favour at his hands. Might I venture to hand over a daily thousand dinars for the well-known justice of the kadi to distribute among the afflicted of Allah?
Abu al-Kasim promptly came down into the courtyard to receive his guest. After wishing him polite welcome, he took him by the hand and led him into a hall of strange beauty. When they were seated on a large couch of gold-embroidered silk, which ran round the four sides of the hall, twelve young white slaves came in, bearing cups of agate and rock crystal worked on the outside with rubies and filled inside with the deeper ruby of old wine. Then twelve girls like moons brought in porcelain basins of fruit and flowers and large golden goblets of sherbert prepared with snow.
Cried the King. ‘If what you say is true you are certainly the three wisest men of your time. I will keep you with me and, as occasion serves, make a test of the skill of each of you. ’ Then he turned to his grand-wazir and bade him give each of the three sages an apartment in the palace with a daily ration of meat and bread, and water at discretion. As the three companions were led away, they exchanged glances which signified: ‘A wise and generous King! ’ They were right. On the next day a neighbouring King sent rich presents to the Sultan, and among them was a clear white diamond of a water as pure as a bird’s eye.
The Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night (Vol. 4) by E. P. Mathers