Faisal was a rich young man of Baghdad. He lived in a large house with many servants. But he didn't have a wife. He wasn't interested in love.
One day Faisal went for a walk in the streets of the city. He saw a lot of young girls in front of him. He didn't want to meet them, so he turned into a small street. He looked up and saw a beautiful young girl at a window. From that minute, Faisal was in love. Then a man on a horse came into the street. He had many servants with him. He stopped outside the girl's house and went inside.
' Is that her father?' Faisal thought.
He went home, but he couldn't eat or sleep. He thought about the girl. Who was she? He had to know.
An old woman worked in Faisal's house. She asked,' What's Wrong with you, sir ? Are you ill ?'
' No,' answered Faisal.' But I'm in love.' He told the old woman about the girl at the window.
' I know that girl,' said the old woman.' She's the daughter of a judge. Her father is a very important man.'
' How can I meet her ?' asked Faisal.
' Listen,' said the old woman.' I know the people in the girl's house. I'll speak to the girl about you. She'll listen to me.'
The old woman went to the house and spoke to the girl about Faisal. The girl listened. She was very interested.
' I would like to meet this young man,' she said.' On Fridays my father always goes out in the morning. Tell the young man. He can come and see me then. I'll speak to him.'
When Friday came, Faisal was very excited. First he went to the baths.Then
he sent a servant into the town for a barber. Faisal wanted the barber to cut his hair. But the barber was very slow and talked about stupid things.
' Be quick!' said Faisal.' I have to visit friends.'
' Friends!' said the barber.' Oh, no! Now I remember. Some friends are visiting me
today, but I forgot to buy food for them. What will they think of me?'
' Listen,' said Faisal,' I have a lot of food in my house, but I'm going out. I don't want it, so you can take it. But finish your work and GO!'
' Thank you, thank you,' said the barber. 'But now what can I do for you ? I know! I can come with you to your friends' house.'
' No, you can't,' said Faisal.
' Oh,' said the barber. Then he got very excited.' Perhaps your friend is a woman?Yes! Perhaps things will be difficult for you? But, really, I can help you. I helped a lot of my friends in this way. Please let me come with you.'
Faisal didn't want to listen to the barber. ' Oh, all right,' he said. 'Take the food home to your friends. I'll wait for you here. Then you can come with me to my friends' house.' But Faisal didn't wait for the barber. He didn't want the barber to come with him. When the barber left, he went to the girl's house. He was very late because of the barber. The old woman opened the door and took him upstairs to a fine room. There he sat and waited for the girl. But the barber didn't go home. He paid a man, and the man took the food back to his house. Then he followed Faisal to the girl's house. When Faisal went into the house, the barber waited outside in the street. Suddenly, he saw the judge, the girl's father. The judge came down the street and went into the house. Inside, the judge found a servant. The servant had the judge's money in his hand, so the judge began to hit the man hard.
Outside in the street, the barber heard the man's cries.' It's my friend, Faisal,' he
thought.' The judge is killing him.' He ran to the door and began to shout.' Help! Help!' he cried.' The judge is killing my friend!'
Many people heard the barber and came out of their houses. They stood round the
judge's door and began to cry, ' Help! Help! The judge is killing this man's friend!'
From inside the house, the judge heard the noise and opened the door. When he saw the angry people, he was surprised and a little afraid.
Then the barber said to him,'Where's my friend?'
'Yes, where s his friend?' asked the people. They were very excited.
'I don't understand,' said the judge. 'Who is this man's friend? Why is he in my house ?'
'You bad old man!' shouted the barber. 'My friend loves your daughter, and
she loves him! You know that very well. So you killed him.'
' Good people,' said the judge,' my house is open to everybody. But I'm telling you, this man's friend isn't inside. Come and look.'
The barber ran into the house and the people followed him. Faisal heard the noise and was very afraid. He found a large box and climbed into it.Then the barber came in.
'There you are, my friend!' he said. 'You'll be all right now. I m here and I'm going to help you.'
He closed the box and began to carry it downstairs. There were many people on the
stairs and he pushed them out of his way. But Faisal was very angry with the barber.
' Go away, you stupid man!' he shouted. ' I don't want your help.' He began to kick the box hard from the inside. The barber fell down the stairs and the box fell out of his arms onto the floor. Faisal climbed out. His arm hurt and his face was black and blue. He pushed his way through the people and ran home quickly. He had to get away from the barber. But the barber followed him and shouted,' Wait for me, my friend! I only want to help you!'
Shahriar laughed and laughed. In the next room, the vizir stopped his work and
listened. He was very surprised. 'Why is the sultan laughing?' he thought. 'And what is Sheherezade doing ? Why isn't she dead ?'
The next night, Sheherezade began a new story.
The Boy Judge
Ali had a cake shop in the city of Baghdad. He wasn't rich but he was a good man. He worked hard.
Ali had a jar under the floor of his shop. Every week he put a small piece of gold into this jar. This money was for him when he was old and ill. When Ali was fifty years old, he took out the jar. There were more than ~ thousand gold pieces inside:
' I have a lot of money now,' he thought.' I would like to see the world before I die.'
So Ali sold his shop. But there was one problem — the jar of gold. He couldn't take it with him on the journey. Then he had an idea. He bought some olives and put them in the jar on top of the gold. Then Ali closed the jar and took it to his friend, Husein. Husein also had a shop.
'Please can I leave this jar of olives with you?' he asked. -' Of course, my friend,' said Husein. ' Leave the jar of olives with me. Put it here in my shop.'
Ali was away for a long time. He went to Egypt and then Syria.
One day, when Ali was in Syria, Husein s wife wanted some olives. But the shop in their street was shut.
' There are some olives in my shop,' said Husein. ' Do you remember? Ali left a jar of olives with me, but he never came back. Perhaps he's dead. So we can eat his olives.'
Husein went to his shop and opened the jar of olives. But the olives at the top were very old and dry. He put his hand down into the jar and pulled out — not an olive, but a piece of gold. Then he pulled out more pieces of gold.
Husein was very surprised. He thought for a long time. In the end he took the olives out of the jar and threw them away. Then he took the gold out of the jar and put it under the floor of his shop. To his wife, he said only, 'We can't use those olives. They were too old and dry.'
Next, he bought new olives. He put them in the jar and closed it.
' Perhaps Ali will come back,' he thought.' He gave me ajar of olives. So I'll give him back a jar of olives.'
Some weeks later, Ali came back to Baghdad after seven years. He went to Husein and asked for his jar of olives.
' Olives ?' said Husein.' What olives ?'
' I left ajar of olives with you. You put it in your shop.'
' Oh, yes,' said Husein. 'I'm sorry, I forgot. Seven years is a long time. Let's go to my shop and I'll give it to you.'
When Ali saw the jar of olives, he felt very happy.
' Thank you, my friend,' said Ali. ' Now I want to give you something.'
Ali put his hand in the jar and pulled out — not gold pieces, but olives. He did this
again and again. In the end he said, 'Where's my gold?What happened to my gold?'
' Gold? What gold?' asked Husein.
' I had some gold in this jar.'
'My friend, you left ajar of olives with me. You said nothing about ajar of gold.'
' There was gold in the jar under the olives,' said Ali.' Please give it back to me.'
' I know nothing about any gold,' answered Husein.
They talked about this for some time.Then Ali said, 'Let's go to the judge. He'll help me, you'll see.'
Ali and Husein went to the judge.
The judge asked Ali,' Did anybody see the gold in the jar?'
' No,' answered Ali.
' Did you tell anybody about the gold in the jar ?'
'What did you say to HuseinPWhat was in the jar?'
'Ali,' said the judge. 'You're an old man. You don't remember things very well. Nobody saw the gold.You told nobody about it. So perhaps there was no gold in the jar.'
Ali was very angry with the judge, so he wrote a letter to the sultan. The sultan was
very interested in Ali's story. Now everybody in Baghdad knew about the jar of olives. But who was right - Ali or Husein ?
The sultan said to his vizir,' Let's walk in the streets tonight ,md listen to people. What are they saying about Ali and Husein ?'
That night, the sultan and his vizir saw some children in the street. The children spoke the names of Ali and Husein.
' Those children are playing a game,' said the vizir.' One boy is Ali and one is Husein. Another boy is playing the judge.'
The sultan listened to the boy judge and said,' That boy is very clever. He asks very
good questions. Bring him to me tomorrow morning. Bring Ali and Husein, the judge, the jar of olives and two olive sellers too.'
The next day, these people came to the sultan.
'Come, boy' the sultan said. 'Sit by me.Yesterday you judged Ali and Husein in play. Now you will really do it. And you,' he said to the judge, 'listen to this boy and learn from him. He knows about right and wrong, good men and thieves.'
The boy was very afraid, but he said, 'Bring me the jar of olives. Now,' he said to Ali,' did you give this jar to Husein ?'
'Yes,' answered Ali.
'Did Ali give this jar to you?' he asked Husein.
'Yes,' answered Husein.
The boy pulled out some olives from the jar and ate them. Then he said to Husein,'
These olives are good. Did you eat any ?'
' No,' said Husein. ' I didn't open the jar when Ali was away from Baghdad.'
The boy gave some olives to the two olive sellers.' Try these olives,' he said.' They're seven years old but they're very good.'
' Seven years old!' cried the olive sellers. 'These olives aren't seven years old. No olive is good after three years. It loses its colour. These olives are this year's olives.'
'But Husein says these olives were in the jar for seven years,' said the boy judge.
Everybody looked at Husein. Husein's face turned white.
' I took the gold,' he said.' I'm sorry, Ali.'
So Husein lost his good name. Ali had his gold again, but lost a friend. And the boy stayed with the sultan and later was a famous judge.
'There aren't many good judges,' said Shahriar.
'I know another story about a judge,' said Sheherezade. 'A judge and a dwarf. It's very funny. But there's no time.' 'Yes, there's time. I'll give you another night.' So the next night, Sheherezade started a new story.
The Dwarf of Basra
A man lived in the city of Basra and sold fish. One night, the fish seller met a dwarf in the street. The fish seller liked funny stories and the dwarf knew a lot of good stories. So the fish seller invited him to his house for dinner.
' My wife is cooking a big fish tonight,' he said.' Come and eat it with us.'
The dwarf was hungry and the fish was good. The fish seller's wife gave him more and more food.
'You're only a little man,' she said. 'You have to eat a lot of food. Then you'll be big.'
Her husband laughed and hit the dwarf on the back. He did this in a friendly way, but the dwarf had a lot of food in his mouth. A large piece of fish went down the wrong way inside him. The dwarf felt very ill. He couldn't speak and his face turned first red, then blue. He fell onto the floor and didn't move. The fish seller was afraid.
' The dwarf is dead,' he thought.' I don't want a dead man in my house. It was an
accident, but there will be questions. The people will take me to the judge. What will the judge say? What will happen to me ?'
'Let's get the dwarf out of our house,' said his wife.
The fish seller thought. Then he carried the dwarf outside. A doctor lived across the road on the first floor. The fish seller climbed the doctor's stairs and sat the dwarf down outside his door. Then he made a loud noise and ran away.
The doctor opened his door quickly. But when he did this, the door hit the dwarf hard. The dwarf fell down to the bottom of the stairs. The doctor ran downstairs after him, but the dwarf didn't move.
' This little man is dead!' he said.' It was an accident, but what will everybody say?"
He's a doctor but he kills people." Nobody will come to me again. What am I going to do ?'
Then he had an idea. He looked up and down the street. It was late, and nobody was outside. An old bird seller lived in the next house.
'I know,' thought the doctor. 'I'll throw the dwarf over the wall into the old bird seller's garden. Then the dwarf will be his problem, not mine.'
The dwarf went over the wall easily and came down near the birds. The birds started to make a loud noise. From inside the house, the old bird seller heard the noise.
' Somebody is hurting my birds,' he thought. He ran outside and saw the dwarf on the ground near the birds. He started to hit him hard on the head.' Thief!
What are you doing with my birds ?' he shouted.' Tell me!'
But the dwarf didn't speak. He didn't move. Then the old bird seller was afraid and
looked at the dwarf again.
'This little man is dead,' he thought. 'I hit him, but I didn't want to kill him. What will the judge say?'
Then he had an idea. He looked out of his garden. Nobody was outside. He carried the dwarf down the street to a big house. A very rich man lived in that house. He put the dwarf in front of the rich man's door. Then he ran home.
The rich man was out for the evening with friends. When he came home, he found the dwarf in front of his door.
' Wake up !' he shouted angrily. 'You can't sleep here!'
He began to kick the dwarf hard. The dwarf didn't wake up, but other people in the
street heard him. One man came out of his house, and said,' Stop ! Stop! You'll kill that little man!'
The rich man stopped and looked down at the dwarf. But the dwarf didn't move.
'You see ?' said the other man.' Now he's dead.'
People looked out of their windows and shouted,' He killed the dwarf! Let's take him to the judge!'
They took the rich man and the dwarf to the judge. It was the middle of the night and the judge was asleep. But he woke up and came outside. He looked at the dwarf and listened to the people.
The judge said to the rich man, 'You killed him. So now you have to die.'
The bird seller heard the judge's words. 'Please, sir', he said. This man didn't kill the dwarf. I did it. I hit him on the head. I didn't want to kill him, but he died. I left him by this man's door.'
'All right,' said the judge.' So you have to die.'
When he heard this, the doctor thought,' I don't like this old bird seller. But he can't die. I did it — not him.'
' Wait!' said the doctor. The old man didn't kill the dwarf. I killed him. I opened my
door too quickly and pushed the dwarf down the stairs. Then I threw him into the old bird seller's garden.'
'When will we get to the end of this?' asked the judge. 'So you have to die.'
' No, no,' said the fish seller. ' I killed the dwarf. It was an accident but I was afraid. I put him in front of the doctor's door. Some food went down the wrong way inside him and I hit him. I'll show you.'
The fish seller hit the dwarf on the back. But when he did this, a large piece of fish
jumped out of the dwarf's mouth. The dwarf opened his eyes. He wasn't dead!
' What happened ?' he said.' Where am I ?'
Then the judge spoke for the last time.
' The dwarf isn't dead,' he said,' so nobody has to die. But you kicked and hit this little man. Each man will pay him fifty gold pieces. Now go home, and be kinder in future.'
Sheherezade's next story was long and she told it for two nights. The sultan couldn't kill her. He had to hear the end of the story first.
Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves
Kasim and Ali Baba were brothers. Kasim was rich with a shop, a fine house and a
lovely garden. Ali Baba had very little money. He was a woodcutter with only two
donkeys and a very small house. So the two brothers didn't often meet.
One day, Ali Baba wanted to cut wood. He took his two donkeys and walked a long way. He came to a mountain. There were a lot of good trees at the bottom of the mountain. But suddenly he heard the sound of horses. To Ali Baba the sound meant only one thing — thieves! Quickly, he pushed his donkeys away and climbed a tree.
Ali Baba was right. They were thieves -forty thieves. They stopped near Ali Baba's tree and got down from their horses. Ali Baba was very afraid, but the thieves didn't see him. The first thief went to the mountain. He stood in front of it and said very quietly, ' Open, Sesame!' Then the wall of the mountain opened and there was a large cave. The thieves carried bags into the cave and the mountain closed behind them. Then they came out again and got on their horses.They went away through the trees. Ali Baba was very surprised. When everything was quiet, he came down from his tree. He went to the mountain. He stood in front of it and said,' Open, Sesame!' The wall of the mountain opened and Ali Baba went into the cave. It was very dark inside. He couldn't see anything for a short time. Then he saw a lot of gold and other beautiful things.
Ali Baba found his donkeys. He put the gold in two bags and put firewood on the top. Then he went home.
It was very late when Ali Baba arrived home. He carried the bags into his house and showed the gold to his wife. She was very surprised and happy.
The next day, Ali Baba's wife met Kasim's wife in the town. Kasim's wife liked to know everything.
' Why are you happy today ?' she asked.
' Something happened to Ali Baba yesterday' answered his wife. ' It's very exciting.
Now we're going to be rich.'
Kasim's wife went home and told her husband about Ali Baba. Kasim went to Ali
'Brother, my wife says you're going to be rich,' he said.'Please tell me. How
did it happen ?'
Ali Baba said nothing, but Kasim asked again and again. In the end,Ali Baba told his brother about the cave in the mountain. Next morning, Kasim left home early and took twenty donkeys with him. He found the mountain and opened the cave. Then he went inside and the mountain closed behind him. Kasim could think only of gold. He carried twenty bags of gold to the mouth of the cave. He wanted to open the cave again, but he couldn't remember the right words. ' Open, mountain!' he said. Then, ' Open, cave!' He tried a hundred ways. But the mountain didn't move. Suddenly the forty thieves came back and saw the donkeys outside the cave. They opened the cave and ran inside. They found Kasim inside and they killed him with their knives.
' Let's cut this dead man into pieces,' they said.' Perhaps other people know about this place too. When they see the pieces, they'll be afraid.'
They cut Kasim into four pieces and left the pieces inside the cave. Then they took his twenty donkeys and went away.
Night came, but Kasim didn't come home. His wife went to Ali Baba.' Please, go and look for my husband,' she said.
So Ali Baba took his two donkeys and walked all night. In the morning he came to the mountain.' Open, Sesame!' he said, and the cave opened. He saw the four pieces of his brother on the ground.
'The forty thieves did this,' he thought.' Where are they now? Perhaps they'll come back. I have to be quick.' He put the four pieces of Kasim into a bag and went home. Ali Baba didn't want people to ask questions about Kasim: ' Why is Kasim dead ?'' Who killed him ?" Where ? " How ?' He didn't want everybody to know about the cave. Kasim had a very clever servant girl, Marjana. Marjana always knew the answer to a problem. She went to a doctor in the town. ' Please, sir,' she said to the doctor.' Kasim is very ill. Please give me something for him.'
In this way, the story quickly went round the town: Kasim was very ill. The next day, Marjana went to the doctor again. Later that day, Kasim's wife and Marjana began to cry loudly. People in the houses near Kasim's house heard them.
'Listen,' people said. 'Kasim's wife and servant are crying. Kasim was very ill and now he's dead.'
' Now everybody knows Kasim is dead,' said Ali Baba.' But he's in four pieces. We can't put him into the ground. People will see him and ask questions: "Why is Kasim in four pieces?" "Who cut him into pieces ? " " Where ? "'
Again, Marjana had an idea. In the town there was an old shoemaker. His
eyes were very bad and he couldn't see anything. But he was very good at his work.
Marjana went to his house and gave the old man some gold. 'Come with me, and I'll give you more gold,' she said. 'I have four pieces of something. I want you to make the four pieces into one piece.'
She gave him the four pieces of Kasim. The old man worked hard all night. In the
morning, Kasim was in one piece again, and they put him into the ground.
Ali Baba and his wife and children moved into Kasim's house with Kasim's wife and Marjana.They lived happily for a time. But the story didn't end there. Other people weren't very happy - the forty thieves.