Sunday, March 14, 2010

Thousand and One Nights - 16

The Merchant and the Genie

In this situation we remained for some time, till one day, my brothers came to me and would have me go on a voyage with them; but I refused and said to them, "What did your travels profit you, that I should look to profit by the same venture?" And I would not listen to them; so we abode in our shops, buying and selling, and every year they pressed me to travel, and I declined, until six years had elapsed. At last I yielded to their wishes and said to them, "O my brothers, I will make a voyage with you, but first let me see what you are worth." So I looked into their affairs and found they had nothing left, having wasted all their substance in eating and drinking and merrymaking. However, I said not a word of reproach to them, but sold my stock and got in all I had and found I was worth six thousand dinars. So I rejoiced and divided the sum into two equal parts and said to my brothers, "These three thousand dinars are for you and me to trade with." The other three thousand I buried, in case what befell them should befall me also, so that we might still have, on our return, wherewithal to open our shops again. They were content and I gave them each a thousand dinars and kept the like myself. Then we provided ourselves with the necessary merchandise and equipped ourselves for travel and chartered a ship, which we freighted with our goods.

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.

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