Then said she to the villager’s son, ’Know that I am the woman whom thy father delivered from harm and stress and whom there betided from thee of false accusation and frowardness that which thou hast named.’ And she craved pardon for him and he was made whole of his sickness. [Then said she to the thief, ’I am she against whom thou liedst, avouching that I was thy mistress, who had been stoned on thine account, and that I was of accord with thee concerning the robbing of the villager’s house and had opened the doors to thee.’ And she prayed for him and he was made whole of his sickness.] Then said she to [the townsman], him of the tribute, ’I am she who gave thee the [thousand] dirhems and thou didst with me what thou didst.’ And she craved pardon for him and prayed for him and he was made whole; whereupon the folk marvelled at her oppressors, who had been afflicted alike, so God (extolled be His perfection and exalted be He!) might show forth her innocence before witnesses.
Then she turned to the old man who had delivered her from the pit and prayed for him and gave him presents galore and among them a myriad of money;[FN#9] and they all departed from her, except her husband. When she was alone with him, she made him draw near unto her and rejoiced in his coming and gave him the choice of abiding with her. Moreover, she assembled the people of the city and set out to them his virtue and worth and counselled them to invest him with the charge of their governance and besought them to make him king over them. They fell in with her of this and he became king and took up his abode amongst them, whilst she gave herself up to her religious exercises and abode with her husband on such wise as she was with him aforetime.[FN#10] Nor,” added the vizier, “is this story, O king of the time, more extraordinary or more delightful than that of the journeyman and the girl whose belly he slit and fled.”
When King Shah Bekht heard this, he said, “Most like all they say of the vizier is leasing and his innocence will appear, even as that of the pious woman appeared.” Then he comforted the vizier’s heart and bade him go to his house.
The Nineteenth Night of the Month.
When the evening evened, the king bade fetch the vizier and required of him the story of the journeyman and the girl. So he said, “Hearkening and obedience. Know, O august king, that
STORY OF THE JOURNEYMAN AND THE GIRL.
There was once, of old time, in one of the tribes of the Arabs, a woman great with child by her husband, and they had a hired servant, a man of excellent understanding. When the woman came to [the time of her] delivery, she gave birth to a maid-child in the night and they sought fire of the neighbours. So the journeyman went in quest of fire.