Then they betook themselves to a place without the city, where he builded him a mansion of solid stone and white plaster and stopped its inner [walls] and stuccoed them; yea, he left not therein cranny nor crevice and set in it two serving-women to sweep and wipe, for fear of spiders. Here he abode with his wife a great while, till one day he espied a spider on the ceiling and beat it down. When his wife saw it, she said, ’This is that which the wise woman avouched would kill me; so, by thy life [I conjure thee], suffer me to slay it with mine own hand.’ Her husband forbade her from this, but she conjured him to let her kill the spider; then, of her fear and her eagerness, she took a piece of wood and smote it. The wood broke in sunder, of the force of the blow, and a splinter from it entered her hand and wrought upon it, so that it swelled. Then her arm swelled also and the swelling spread to her side and thence grew till it reached her heart and she died. Nor,” added the vizier, “is this more extraordinary or more wonderful than the story of the weaver who became a physician by his wife’s commandment.”
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.’