Tales from the Arabic — Complete eBook

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

The Fourteenth Night of the Month.

When the vizier returned to the king, the latter sought of him the story of the man whose caution slew him and be said, “Know, O august king, that

STORY OF THE MAN WHOSE CAUTION WAS THE CAUSE OF HIS DEATH.

There was once a man who was exceeding cautious over himself, and he set out one day on a journey to a land abounding in wild beasts.  The caravan wherein he was came by night to the gate of a city; but the warders refused to open to them; so they passed the night without the city, and there were lions there.  The man aforesaid, of the excess of his caution, could not fix upon a place wherein he should pass the night, for fear of the wild beasts and reptiles; so he went about seeking an empty place wherein he might lie.

Now there was a ruined building hard by and he climbed up on to a high wall and gave not over clambering hither and thither, of the excess of his carefulness, till his feet betrayed him and he slipped [and fell] to the bottom and died, whilst his companions arose in the morning in health [and weal].  Now, if he had overmastered his corrupt[FN#259] judgment and submitted himself to fate and fortune fore-ordained, it had been safer and better [for him]; but he made light of the folk and belittled their wit and was not content to take example by them; for his soul whispered him that he was a man of understanding and he imagined that, if he abode with them, he would perish; so his folly cast him into perdition.  Nor,” added the vizier, “is this more extraordinary than the story of the man who was lavish of his house and his victual to one whom he knew not”

When the king heard this, he said, “I will not isolate myself from the folk and slay my vizier.”  And he bade him depart to his dwelling.

The Fifteenth Night of the Month.

When the evening evened, the king let fetch the vizier and required of him the [promised] story.  So he said, “Know, O king, that

Story of the man who was lavish of his
house and his victual to one whom he
knew not.

There was once an Arab of [high] rank and [goodly] presence, a man of exalted generosity and magnanimity, and he had brethren, with whom he consorted and caroused, and they were wont to assemble by turns in each other’s houses.  When it came to his turn, he made ready in his house all manner goodly and pleasant meats and dainty drinks and exceeding lovely flowers and excellent fruits, and made provision of all kinds of instruments of music and store of rare apothegms and marvellous stories and goodly instances and histories and witty anedotes and verses and what not else, for there was none among those with whom he was used to company but enjoyed this on every goodly wise, and in the entertainment he had provided was all whereof each had need.  Then he sallied forth and went round about the city, in quest of his friends, so he might assemble them; but found none of them in his house.

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Tales from the Arabic — Complete from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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