2. The Porter and the Three Ladies of Baghdad

A porter is invited by a lady to help her carry things. They end at her home where he is invited on one condition: if you speak of that which does not concern you, you will hear something unpleasant. Three Kalandars and the Caliph and his Wazir (disguised) enter the house. They ask after strange affairs that are happening in the house and slaves appear to kill them. However, they are free to go if they tell an interesting story of how they got to the ladies’ house.

A porter is sitting on a crate at the harbour. A beautiful lady appears and says: “Take up your crate and follow me.” They walk through Baghdad and she buys all kinds of things and puts them in the crate. When they arrive at her home he is invited to enter the house. Two ladies are also in the house: the portress and the procuratrix. He is invited to stay for the night on one condition: “Whoso speaketh of what concerneth him not, shall hear what pleaseth him not!” Three Persian Kalandars arrive at the door. They enter the house and stay under the same condition. Later on Caliph Harun al-Rashid and Ja’afar his Wazir join the group in disguise.

The party celebrates but then one of the ladies orders two bitches to be brought and beats them. After that one of the ladies sings a song, faints and shows scars of the beating of a rod. When the portress hears a song of the procuratrix, she shrieks and tears her clothes. The men really want to know what is going on and let the porter ask. The ladies are offended and some slaves enter the room to kill the guests. Then one of ladies asks the guests to tell the story of how they got to their place and if it pleases them, they are free to go. The first Kalandar starts his tale.

From The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night — Volume 01

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