Sunday, December 6, 2009

Thousand and One Nights - 2

The Merchant and the Genie

Then he seized him and throwing him down, raised his sword to strike him: whereupon the merchant wept and said, 'I commit my affair to God!' and recited the following verses:

Fate has two days, untroubled one, the other lowering, And life
two parts, the one content, the other sorrowing.
Say unto him that taunteth us with fortune's perfidy, 'At whom
but those whose heads are high doth Fate its arrows fling?'
If that the hands of Time have made their plaything of our life,
Till for its long protracted kiss ill-hap upon us spring,
Dost thou not see the hurricane, what time the wild winds blow,
Smite down the stately trees alone and spare each lesser
Lo! in the skies are many stars, no one can tell their tale, But
to the sun and moon alone eclipse brings darkening.
The earth bears many a pleasant herb and many a plant and tree:
But none is stoned save only those to which the fair fruit
Look on the sea and how the waifs float up upon the foam, But in
its deepest depths of blue the pearls have sojourning.

'Cut short thy speech,' said the genie, 'for, by Allah, there is
no help for it but I must kill thee.'

Continued next week. Tomorrow's installment from The Illiad by Homer.

More About This Book

From the Arab world: these stories date back to the Middle Ages.

Picture: Queen Scheherazade tells her stories to King Shahryār.

More information here:
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