13. Ali the Persian

Caliph Harun al-Rashid can’t sleep one night and his Wazir brings him Ali the Persian who tells him a story. He went to a city were his wallet was stolen by a Kurd. They went to the Kazi and they both told the him the most extraordinary things were in the bag, from items, to people to buildings. The Kazi told them he was aware that they wanted to make a sport of Kazis and asked to open the bag. In it were bread, a lemon, cheese and olives, upon which Ali threw down the bag to the Kurd. The Caliph is enjoyed both the story.

One night Caliph Harun al-Rashid couldn’t sleep and calls for his Wazir and asks for amusement. The Wazir brings Ali the Persian who has a lot of tales and pleasant stories.

When Ali comes he tells him a story he once saw himself. He went to a certain city where he was buying and selling things when a Kurd fell on him and seized his wallet claiming it was his. The folk around them brought them to the Kazi to hear his judgment. The Kurd claimed ridiculous things to be in the bag from silver to cushions, to saddles, to lambs, to lions to two saloons. Then Ali said there was none of that in his wallet but a ruined tenement and another without a door, a fishing-net, two blood-steeds, an hermaphrodite, a blind man and Christian ecclesiastic and two deacons and more. Then the Kurd continued his list of items and people including three Hindi maidens and four damsels of Al-Medinah, many-columned Iram and a thousand rogues, and mosques, and a thousand sharp razors to shave off the Kazi’s beard.

The Kazi replied that he saw that the two were making  a sport of Kazis nd magistrates and stand not in fear of reproach, but never did tongue tell nor ear hear more extraordinary than which they prentended. The Kazi asked to open the bag to see what was in it and there was bread and a lemon and a cheese and olives and Ali threw the bag down before the Kurd.

The Caliph enjoys the story and gives Ali a handsome present.

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

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