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Now it used to be the custom to throw murderers and other
criminals to the lions in a huge circus, so that while the criminals
were punished the public could enjoy the spectacle of a combat between
them and the wild beasts. So Androcles was condemned to be thrown to
the lions, and on the appointed day he was led forth into the Arena
and left there alone with only a spear to protect him from the lion.
The Emperor was in the royal box that day and gave the signal for the
lion to come out and attack Androcles. But when it came out of its
cage and got near Androcles, what do you think it did? Instead of
jumping upon him it fawned upon him and stroked him with its paw and
made no attempt to do him any harm. It was of course the lion which
Androcles had met in the forest. The Emperor, surprised at seeing such
a strange behaviour in so cruel a beast, summoned Androcles to him and
asked him how it happened that this particular lion had lost all its
cruelty of disposition. So Androcles told the Emperor all that had
happened to him and how the lion was showing its gratitude for his
having relieved it of the thorn. Thereupon the Emperor pardoned
Androcles and ordered his master to set him free, while the lion was
taken back into the forest and let loose to enjoy liberty once more.




[Illustration: Day-Dreaming]

DAY-DREAMING


Now there was once a man at Bagdad who had seven sons, and when he
died he left to each of them one hundred dirhems; and his fifth son,
called Alnaschar the Babbler, invested all this money in some
glassware, and, putting it in a big tray, from which to show and sell
it, he sat down on a raised bench, at the foot of a wall, against
which he leant back, placing the tray on the ground in front of him.
As he sat he began day-dreaming and said to himself: "I have laid out
a hundred dirhems on this glass. Now I will surely sell it for two
hundred, and with it I will buy more glass and sell that for four
hundred; nor will I cease to buy and sell till I become master of
much wealth. With this I will buy all kinds of merchandise and jewels
and perfumes and gain great profit on them till, God willing, I will
make my capital a hundred thousand dinars or two million dirhems. Then
I will buy a handsome house, together with slaves and horses and
trappings of gold, and eat and drink, nor will there be a singing girl
in the city but I will have her to sing to me." This he said looking
at the tray before him with glassware worth a hundred dirhems. Then he
continued: "When I have amassed a hundred thousand dinars I will send
out marriage-brokers to demand for me in marriage the hand of the
Vizier's daughter, for I hear that she is perfect in beauty and of
surpassing grace. I will give her a dowry of a thousand dinars, and if
her father consent, 'tis well; if not, I will take her by force, in
spite of him. When I return home, I will buy ten little slaves and
clothes for myself such as are worn by kings and sultans and get a
saddle of gold, set thick with precious jewels. Then I will mount and
parade the city, with slaves before and behind me, while the people
will salute me and call down blessings upon me: after which I will go
to the Vizier, the girl's father, with slaves behind and before me, as
well as on either hand. When the Vizier sees me, he will rise and
seating me in his own place, sit down below me, because I am his
son-in-law. Now I will have with me two slaves with purses, in each a
thousand dinars, and I will give him the thousand dinars of the dowry
and make him a present of another thousand dinars so that he may
recognize my nobility and generosity and greatness of mind and the
littleness of the world in my eyes; and for every ten words he will
say to me, I will answer him only two. Then I will return to my house,
and if any one come to me on the bride's part, I will make him a
present of money and clothe him in a robe of honour; but if he bring
me a present I will return it to him and will not accept it so that
they may know how great of soul I am." After a while Alnaschar
continued: "Then I will command them to bring the Vizier's daughter to
me in state and will get ready my house in fine condition to receive
her. When the time of the unveiling of the bride is come, I will put
on my richest clothes and sit down on a couch of brocaded silk,
leaning on a cushion and turning my eyes neither to the right nor to
the left, to show the haughtiness of my mind and the seriousness of my
character. My bride shall stand before me like the full moon, in her
robes and ornaments, and I, out of my pride and my disdain, will not
look at her, till all who are present shall say to me: 'O my lord, thy
wife and thy handmaid stands before thee; deign to look upon her, for
standing is irksome to her.' And they will kiss the earth before me
many times, whereupon I will lift my eyes and give one glance at her,
then bend down my head again. Then they will carry her to the
bride-chamber, and meanwhile I will rise and change my clothes for a
richer suit. When they bring in the bride for the second time, I will
not look at her till they have implored me several times, when I will
glance at her and bow down my head; nor will I cease doing thus, till
they have made an end of parading and displaying her. Then I will
order one of my slaves to fetch a purse, and, giving it to the
tire-women, command them to lead her to the bride-chamber. When they
leave me alone with the bride, I will not look at her or speak to her,
but will sit by her with averted face, that she may say I am high of
soul. Presently her mother will come to me and kiss my head and hands
and say to me: 'O my lord, look on thy handmaid, for she longs for thy
favour, and heal her spirit,' But I will give her no answer; and when
she sees this, she will come and kiss my feet and say, 'O my lord,
verily my daughter is a beautiful girl, who has never seen man; and if
thou show her this aversion, her heart will break; so do thou be
gracious to her and speak to her.' Then she will rise and fetch a cup
of wine, and her daughter will take it and come to me; but I will
leave her standing before me, while I recline upon a cushion of cloth
of gold, and will not look at her to show the haughtiness of my heart,
so that she will think me to be a Sultan of exceeding dignity and will
say to me: 'O my lord, for God's sake, do not refuse to take the cup
from thy servant's hand, for indeed I am thy handmaid.' But I will not
speak to her, and she will press me, saying: 'Needs must thou drink
it,' and put it to my lips. Then I will shake my fist in her face and
spurn her with my foot thus." So saying, he gave a kick with his foot
and knocked over the tray of glass, which fell over to the ground, and
all that was in it was broken.




KEEP COOL


There was once a man and he had three sons, and when he died they all
had to go out to seek a living. So the eldest went out first, leaving
his two brothers at home, and went to a neighbouring farmer to try and
get work from him.

"Well, well, my man," said the farmer, "I can give you work but on
only one condition."

"What is that?"

"I cannot abear any high talk on my farm. You must keep cool and not
lose your temper."

"Oh, never bother about that," said the youngster, "I never lose my
temper, or scarcely ever."

"Ah, but if you do," said the farmer, "I make it a condition that I
shall tear a strip of your skin from your nape to your waist; that
will make a pretty ribbon to tie around the throat of my dog there."

"That doesn't suit me," was the reply. "So fare thee well, master, I
must try another place."

"Keep cool, keep cool," said the farmer. "I am a just man; what's good
for the man I consider good for the master. So if I should lose my
temper I am quite willing that you should take the ribbon of flesh
from my back."

"Oh, if that's so," said the youngster, "I'll agree to stay. But we
must have it in black and white."

So they sent for the notary and wrote it all down that if either lost
his temper he should also lose a strip of skin from his back. But the
eldest son had not been in the house a week when the master gave him
so hard a task that he lost his temper and had to give up a strip of
skin from his back. So he went home and told his brothers about it.

Well, the brothers were savage at hearing what he had suffered. And
the second son went to the same man in the hope of getting revenge for
his brother. But the same thing happened to him, and he had to come
with a strip of skin from his back like his elder brother.

Now the third son, whose name was Jack, made up his mind he wouldn't
be done like the other two. And he went to the man and he engaged
himself to serve him for the same wage but on the same conditions that
his two brothers had done.

The very first morning that Jack had to go out to work his master gave
him a piece of dry bread and told him to mind the sheep.

"Is this all I'm to get to eat?" said Jack.

"Why, yes," said the master; "there'll be supper when you come home."

Jack was going to complain when his master called out to him, "Keep
cool, Jack, keep cool," and pointed to his back.

So Jack swallowed his rage and went out into the field. But on his way
he met a man, to whom he sold one of the sheep for five shillings, and
went and bought enough to eat and drink for a whole week.

When he got home that evening his master began to count the sheep, and
when he found one was missing, he said to Jack:

"You've let one of the sheep run away."

"No, no, sir," said Jack, "I sold him to a man passing along."

"You shouldn't have done that without my telling you; but where's the
money?"

"Oh, with the money," said Jack, "I went and bought me some eats." And
he showed him what he had bought.

The master was going to fly in a rage, but Jack said to him: "Keep
cool, master, keep cool," and pointed to his back. So he remembered
and said nothing more.

The next day Jack was ordered to take the pigs to market to sell them,
and after he had cut off all their tails he sold them and pocketed the
money; and then he went to a marsh near the farm and planted all the
tails in the marsh.

When he got home the master asked him if he had sold the pigs.

He said: "No, they all rushed into the marsh at the foot of the
valley."

"I don't believe you," said the master, and was going to get into a
rage when Jack said to him:

"Keep cool, master, keep cool."

So he went with Jack to the marsh, and when he saw the pigs' tails all
peeping out the marsh he went and plucked one of them out of the
ground, and Jack said:

"There, you've torn the tail from the poor pig's back."

Then the master was going to get into a rage again but Jack said:
"Keep cool, master, keep cool," and pointed to his back.

Next day the master didn't like sending Jack out with the animals or
else he might sell them to get some dinner.



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