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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 652 pages of information about Tales from the Arabic Complete.

When the damsel[FN#215] saw me in this plight, she said to me, “O man, tell me thy story, for, by Allah, an I may avail to thy deliverance, I will assuredly further thee thereto.”  I gave ear to her speech and put faith in her loyalty and told her the story of the damsel whom I had seen [at the lattice] and how I had fallen in love with her; whereupon quoth she, “If the girl belong to me, that which I possess is thine, and if she belong to my father, I will demand her of him and deliver her to thee.”  Then she fell to calling slave-girl after slave-girl and showing them to me, till I saw the damsel whom I loved and said, “This is she.”  Quoth my wife, “Let not thy heart be troubled, for this is my slave-girl.  My father gave her to me and I give her to thee.  So comfort thyself and be of good heart and cheerful eye.”

Then, when it was night, she brought her to me, after she had adorned her and perfumed her, and said to her, “Gainsay not this thy lord in aught that he shall seek of thee.”  When she came to bed with me, I said in myself, “Verily, this damsel[FN#216] is more generous than I!” Then I sent away the slave-girl and drew not nigh unto her, but arose forthright and betaking myself to my wife, lay with her and did away her maidenhead.  She straightway conceived by me and accomplishing the time of her pregnancy, gave birth to this dear little daughter; in whom I rejoiced, for that she was lovely to the utterest, and she hath inherited her mother’s wit and her father’s comeliness.

Indeed, many of the notables of the people have sought her of me in marriage, but I would not marry her to any, for that, one night, I saw, in a dream, the balance aforesaid set up and men and women being weighed, one against the other, therein, and meseemed I saw thee [and her] and it was said to me, “This is such a man,[FN#217] the allotted portion of such a woman."[FN#218] Wherefore I knew that God the Most High had allotted unto her none other than thyself, and I choose rather to marry thee to her in my lifetime than that thou shouldst marry her after my death.’

When the poor man heard the merchant’s story, he became desirous of marrying his daughter.  So he took her to wife and was vouchsafed of her exceeding love.  Nor,” added the vizier, “is this story more extraordinary than that of the rich man and his wasteful heir.”

When the king heard his vizier’s story, he was assured that he would not slay him and said, “I will have patience with him, so I may get of him the story of the rich man and his wasteful heir.”  And he bade him depart to his own house.

The Fifth Night of the Month

When the evening evened, the king sat in his privy closet and summoning the vizier, required of him the promised story.  So Er Rehwan said, “Know, O king, that

STORY OF THE RICH MAN AND HIS WASTEFUL SON.

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