The Pacha of Many Tales eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 505 pages of information about The Pacha of Many Tales.

“I have sent for you, Huckaback, to inquire the meaning of the words you made use of last night:  and to know what was the promise made to you in your seventh and last voyage; but I will thank you to begin at the first, as I wish to hear the history of all your voyages.”

“May it please you highness, as I live but to obey you, all that has occurred in my eventful life shall, if you command it, be submitted to your ear.  It will, however, be necessary that I should revert to my early days to enable your highness more fully to comprehend the whole.”

“Aferin! well said,” replied the pacha; “I don’t care how long a story it is, provided that it is a good one:”  and Selim, having obeyed a sign from his highness, intimating that he might sit down, commenced as follows.


I am a native of Marseilles, your highness, where I was brought up to the profession of my father; a profession (continued the wily renegade), which, I have no hesitation to assert, has produced more men of general information, and more men of talent, than any other—­I mean that of a barber.

* * * * *

“Wallah Thaib; well said, by Allah!” observed Mustapha.

The pacha nodded his approbation, and the renegade proceeded with his story.

* * * * *

I was gifted by nature with a ready invention, and some trouble and expense were bestowed upon my education.  To the profession of a barber, my father added that of bleeding and tooth-drawing.  At ten years old I could cut hair pretty well.  People did say, that those upon whom I had operated, looked as if their heads had been gnawed by the rats; but it was the remark of envy, and as my father observed, “there must be a beginning to every thing.”

At fifteen, I entered upon the rudiments of shaving; and after having nearly ruined my father’s credit, from the pounds of flesh which I removed with the hair of my customers (who were again consoled by his observing that “there must be a beginning to every thing"), I became quite expert.  I was subsequently initiated into the higher branches of tooth-drawing and bleeding.  In the former, at first I gave great dissatisfaction, either from breaking the decayed tooth short off, and leaving the stump in the socket, or from mistaking the one pointed out, and drawing a sound engine of mastication in its stead.  In the latter, I made more serious mistakes, having more than once cut so deep as to open the artery, while I missed the vein; in consequence of which I was never afterwards employed, except by a husband to relieve a scolding wife, or by nephews who were anxious about the health of an everlasting uncle.  But, as my father wisely observed, “there must be a beginning to everything;” and, as I could only practise upon living subjects, “individuals must suffer for the good of the community at large.”  At the age of twenty I was an accomplished barber.

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The Pacha of Many Tales from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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