1001 Arabian Nights - Volume 2 by Sir Richard Francis Burton (Translator)

By Sir Richard Francis Burton (Translator)

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They abode in this state a long time, and fear kept Ghanim aloof from her. So far concerning these two; but as regards the Lady Zubaydah, when, in the Caliph's absence she had done this deed by Kut al-Kulub she became perplexed, saying to herself, "What shall I tell my cousin when he comes back and asks for her? " "O my lady," quoth the old crone, "the time of the Caliph's return is near; so do thou send for a carpenter and bid him make thee a figure of wood in the form of a corpse. [FN#117]; and, for the high esteem in which she was held of our mistress, she hath buried her in her own palace.

But he interrupted her crying, "I seek refuge with Allah! This thing may never be. How shall the dog sit in the lion's stead? " So he with-drew from her, and sat down on a corner of the mat. Her passion for him increased with his forbearance; so she seated herself by his side and caroused and played with him, till the two were flushed with wine, and she was mad for her own dishonour. Then she sang these verses, "The lover's heart is like to break in twain: * Till when these coy denials ah! till when?

He opened his eyes and wept but returned no answer; whereupon one of them, who saw that he was starving, brought him a saucer of honey and two barley scones. He ate a little and they sat with him till sun rise, when they went to their work. [FN#127] Meanwhile behold, two beggar women, who were none other than Ghanim's mother and sister,[FN#128] came into the mosque and, when he saw them, he gave them the bread that was at his head; and they slept by his side that night but he knew them not. "[FN#129] "To hear is to comply," said the man.

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