10. The Tale of Ma’an Son of Zaidah and the Badawi

Emir Ma’an bin Zaidah meets a wild Arab who wants to sell cucumbers to the Emir. They discuss how he would haggle. Later the wild Arab meets Ma’an again (now as Emir) and the haggling proces repeats itself. The Arab now recognizes Ma’an, but he gives him the sum of all the money of every haggling step.

When Ma’an bin Zaidah goes hunting he meets a Badawi who says he has come to sell cucumbers to the Emir Ma’an bin Zaidah. Ma’an asks how much the man thinks he will get for his cucumbers and he says a thousand dinars. And the Emir says “what if it is too much?” He says “500 dinars.” “And then if he says, too much?” “Five hundred dinars.” And this goes to two hundred, one hundred, fifty and thirty, and if that is too much he will make his donkey set his four feet in his Honour’s home and return to his people, disappointed and empty handed.

Then Ma’an returns to his palace where he meets the man again. The man doesn’t recognise him and tells the Emir he comes to sell cucumbers. They negotiate the price as they did earlier on, going from a thousand to thirty dinars. Then the Emir laughs and is recognized. And the wild Arab says that the ass is tied ready at the door.

But Ma’an gives him the sum of a thousand to thirty dinars (two thousand one hundred and eighty dinars) and says to leave the ass tied up where he is.

From: The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night — Volume 04

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