When the king heard this, his admiration redoubled and he said, “Of a truth, destiny is forewritten to all creatures, and I will not accept[FN#14] aught that is said against my vizier the loyal counsellor.” And he bade him go to his house.
The Twentieth Night of the Month.
When the evening evened, the king let call his vizier and he presented himself before him, whereupon he required of him the hearing of the [promised] story. So he said, “Hearkening and obedience. Know, O king. that
There was once, in the land of Fars,[FN#15] a man who took to wife a woman higher than himself in rank and nobler of lineage, but she had no guardian to preserve her from want. It misliked her to marry one who was beneath her; nevertheless, she married him, because of need, and took of him a bond in writing to the effect that he would still be under her commandment and forbiddance and would nowise gainsay her in word or deed. Now the man was a weaver and he bound himself in writing to pay his wife ten thousand dirhems, [in case he should make default in the condition aforesaid].
On this wise they abode a long while till one day the wife went out in quest of water, whereof she had need, and espied a physician who had spread a carpet in the Thereon he had set out great store of drugs and implements of medicine and he was speaking and muttering [charms], whilst the folk flocked to him and compassed him about on every side. The weaver’s wife marvelled at the largeness of the physician’s fortune[FN#16] and said in herself, ’Were my husband thus, he would have an easy life of it and that wherein we are of straitness and misery would be enlarged unto him.’
Then she returned home, troubled and careful; and when her husband saw her on this wise, he questioned her of her case and she said to him, ’Verily, my breast is straitened by reason of thee and of the simpleness of thine intent. Straitness liketh me not and thou in thy [present] craft gaiuest nought; so either do thou seek out a craft other than this or pay me my due[FN#17] and let me go my way.’ Her husband chid her for this and admonished her;[FN#18] but she would not be turned from her intent and said to him, ’Go forth and watch yonder physician how he doth and leam from him what he saith.’ Quoth he, ’Let not thy heart be troubled: I will go every day to the physician’s assembly.’
So he fell to resorting daily to the physician and committing to memory his sayings and that which he spoke of jargon, till he had gotten a great matter by heart, and all this he studied throughly and digested it. Then he returned to his wife and said to her, ’I have committed the physician’s sayings to memory and have learned his fashion of muttering and prescribing and applying remedies[FN#19] and have gotten by heart the names of the remedies and of all