Story of the Merchant and His Sons.
“There was once a man, a merchant, who had a wife and abundant wealth. He set out one day on a journey with merchandise, leaving his wife big with child, and said to her, ’If it be the will of God the Most High, I will return before the birth of the child.’ Then he took leave of her and setting out, journeyed from country to country till he came to the court of one of the kings and foregathered with him. Now this king was in need of one who should order his affairs and those of his kingdom and seeing the merchant well-bred and intelligent, he charged him abide with him and entreated him with honour and munificence. After awhile, he sought of the king leave to go to his own house, but the latter would not consent to this; whereupon he said to him, ’O king, suffer me go and see my children and come again.’ So he gave him leave for this and took surety of him for his return. Moreover, he gave him a purse, wherein were a thousand gold dinars, and the merchant embarked in a ship and set sail, intending for his own country.
Meanwhile, news came to his wife that her husband had taken service with King Such-an-one; so she arose and taking her two sons, (for she had given birth to twin boys in his absence,) set out for those parts. As fate would have it, they happened upon an island and her husband came thither that very night in the ship. [When the woman heard of the coming of the ship], she said to her children, ’This ship cometh from the country where your father is; so go ye to the sea-shore, that ye may enquire of him.’ So they repaired to the sea-shore and [going up into the ship], fell to playing about it and occupied themselves with their play till the evening.
Now the merchant their father lay asleep in the ship, and the crying of the boys troubled him; so he rose to call out to them [and silence them] and let the purse [with the thousand dinars therein] fall among the bales of merchandise. He sought for it and finding it not, buffeted his head and seized upon the boys, saying, ’None took the purse but you. Ye were playing about the bales, so ye might steal somewhat, and there was none here but you.’ Then he took a staff and laying hold of the children, fell to beating them and flogging them, whilst they wept, and the sailors came round about them and said, ’The boys of this island are all thieves and robbers.’ Then, of the greatness of the merchant’s wrath, he swore that, if they brought not out the purse, he would drown them in the sea; so when [by reason of their denial] his oath became binding upon him, he took the two boys and lashing them [each] to a bundle of reeds, cast them into the sea.