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The Thousand and One Nights

The Barber’s Story of Himself

I WAS living in Baghdad, in the reign of the Prince of the Faithful El-Muntasir bi-llah 1, who loved the poor and indigent, and associated with the learned and virtuous; and it happened, one, day, that he was incensed against ten persons, in consequence of which, he ordered the chief magistrate of Baghdad to bring them to him in a boat. I saw them, and I said within myself, These persons have assembled for nothing but an entertainment, and, I suppose, will pass their day in this boat eating and drinking; and none shall be their companion but myself:—so I embarked, and mixed myself among them; and when they had landed on the opposite bank, the guards of the Wali came with chains, and put them upon their necks, and put a chain upon my neck also.—Now this, O people, is it not a proof of my generosity, and of my paucity of speech? For I determined not to speak.—They took us, therefore, all together, in chains, and placed us before El-Muntasir bi-llah, the Prince of the Faithful; whereupon he gave orders to strike off the heads of the ten; and the executioner struck off the heads of the ten, and I remained.

Read the original article at: Bartleby

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