The Eleventh Day.
Of the speedy relief of god.
When it was the eleventh day, the viziers betook them early in the morning to the king’s gate and said to him, “O king, the folk are assembled from the king’s gate to the gibbet, so they may see [the execution of] the king’s commandment on the youth.” So the king bade fetch the prisoner and they brought him; whereupon the viziers turned to him and said to him, “O vile of origin, doth any hope of life remain with thee and lookest thou still for deliverance after this day?” “O wicked viziers,” answered he, “shall a man of understanding renounce hope in God the Most High? Indeed, howsoever a man be oppressed, there cometh to him deliverance from the midst of stress and life from the midst of death, [as is shown by the case of] the prisoner and how God delivered him.” “What is his story?” asked the king; and the youth answered, saying, “O king, they tell that
There was once a king of the kings, who had a high palace, overlooking a prison of his, and he used to hear in the night one saying, ’O Ever-present Deliverer, O Thou whose relief is nigh, relieve Thou me!’ One day the king waxed wroth and said, “Yonder fool looketh for relief from [the consequences of] his crime. ’Then said he to his officers, ‘Who is in yonder prison?’ And they answered, ’Folk upon whom blood hath been found.’[FN#139] So the king bade bring the man in question before him and said to him, ’O fool, little of wit, how shall thou be delivered from this prison, seeing that thine offence is great?’ Then he committed him to a company of his guards and said to them, ’Take this fellow and crucify him without the city.’
Now it was the night-season. So the soldiers carried him without the city, thinking to crucify him, when, behold, there came out upon them thieves and fell in on them with swords and [other] weapons. Thereupon the guards left him whom they purposed to put to death [and took to flight], whilst the man who was going to slaughter fled forth at a venture and plunging into the desert, knew not whither he went before he found himself in a thicket and there came out upon him a lion of frightful aspect, which snatched him up and set him under him. Then he went up to a tree and tearing it up by the roots, covered the man therewith and made off into the thicket, in quest of the lioness.
As for the man, he committed his affair to God the Most High, relying upon Him for deliverance, and said in himself, ’What is this affair?’ Then he did away the leaves from himself and rising, saw great plenty of men’s bones there, of those whom the lion had devoured. He looked again and saw a heap of gold lying alongside a girdle;[FN#140] whereat he marvelled and gathering up the gold in his skirts, went forth of the thicket and fled in affright at hazard, turning neither to the right nor to the left, in his fear of the lion; till he came to a village and cast himself down, as he were dead. He lay there till the day appeared and he was rested from his fatigue, when he arose and burying the gold, entered the village. Thus God gave him relief and he came by the gold.”