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Khalifah The Fisherman of Baghdad

When he heard her words, it was if he had been asleep and awoke, and Allah removed the veil from his judgment, because of his good luck, and he answered, "O my head and eyes!" Then said he to her, "Sleep, in the name of Allah." So she lay down and fell asleep (and he afar from her) till the morning, when she sought of him ink case and paper, and when they were brought, wrote to Ibn al-Kirnas, the Caliph’s friend, acquainting him with her case and how at the end of all that had befallen her she was with Khalifah the fisherman, who had bought her. Then she gave him the scroll, saying-"Take this and hie thee to the jewel market and ask for the shop of Ibn al-Kirnas the Jeweler and give him this paper, and speak not." "I hear and I obey," answered Khalifah, and going with the scroll to the market, inquired for the shop of Ibn al-Kirnas. They directed him thither, and on entering it he saluted the merchant, who returned his salaam with contempt and said to him, "What dost thou want?" Thereupon he gave him the letter and he took it, but read it not, thinking the fisherman a beggar who sought an alms of him, and said to one of his lads, "Give him half a dirham." Quoth Khalifah: "I want no alms. Read the paper."
So Ibn al-Kirnas took the letter and read it, and no sooner knew its import than he kissed it and laid it on his head. Then he arose and said to Khalifah, "O my brother, where is thy house?" Asked Khalifah: "What wantest thou with my house? Wilt thou go thither and steal my slave girl?" Then Ibn al-Kirnas answered: "Not so. On the contrary, I will buy thee somewhat whereof you may eat, thou and she." So he said, "My house is in such a quarter," and the merchant rejoined: "Thou hast done well. May Allah not give thee health, O unlucky one!" Then he called out to two of his slaves and said to them: "Carry this man to the shop of Mohsin the shroff and say to him, ’O Mohsin, give this man a thousand dinars of gold,’ then bring him back to me in haste."
So they carried him to the money-changer, who paid him the money, and returned with him to their master, whom they found mounted on a dapple she-mule worth a thousand dinars, with Mamelukes and pages about him, and by his side another mule like his own, saddled and bridled. Quoth the jeweler to Khalifah, "Bismillah, mount this mule." Replied he, "I won’t, for by Allah, I fear she throw me," and quoth Ibn al-Kirnas, "By God, needs must thou mount." So he came up, and mounting her, face to crupper, caught hold of her tail and cried out, whereupon she threw him on the ground and they laughed at him. But he rose and said, "Did I not tell thee I would not mount this great jenny-ass?" Thereupon Ibn al-Kirnas left him in the market, and repairing to the Caliph, told him of the damsel, after which he returned and removed her to his own house.
Meanwhile Khalifah went home to look after the handmaid and found the people of the quarter forgathering and saying: "Verily, Khalifah is today in a terrible pickle! Would we knew whence he can have gotten this damsel!" Quoth one of them: "He is a mad pimp. Haply he found her lying on the road drunken, and carried her to his own house, and his absence showeth that he knoweth his offense." As they were talking, behold, up came Khalifah, and they said to him: "What a plight is thine, O unhappy! Knowest thou not what is come to thee?" He replied, "No, by Allah!" and they said: "But just now there came Mamelukes and took away thy slave girl whom thou stolest, and sought for thee, but found thee not." Asked Khalifah, "And how came they to take my slave girl?" and quoth one, "Had he fallen in their way, they had slain him."
But he, so far from heeding them, returned running to the shop of Ibn al-Kirnas, whom he met riding, and said to him: "By Allah, ’twas not right of thee to wheedle me and meanwhile send thy Mamelukes to take my slave girl!" Replied the jeweler, "O idiot, come with me, and hold thy tongue." So he took him and carried him into a house handsomely builded, where he found the damsel seated on a couch of gold, with ten slave girls like moons round her. Sighting her, Ibn al-Kirnas kissed ground before her, and she said, "What hast thou done with my new master, who bought me with all he owned?" He replied, "O my lady, I gave him a thousand golden dinars,’ and related to her Khalifah’s history from first to last, whereat she laughed and said: "Blame him not, for he is but a common wight. These other thousand dinars are a gift from me to him, and Almighty Allah willing, he shall win of the Caliph what shall enrich him."
As they were talking, there came a eunuch from the Commander of the Faithful in quest of Kut al-Kulub, for when he knew that she was in the house of Ibn al-Kirnas, he could not endure, the severance, but bade bring her forthwith. So she repaired to the Palace, taking Khalifah with her, and going into the presence, kissed ground before the Caliph, who rose to her, saluting and welcoming her, and asked her how she had fared with him who had brought her. She replied: "He is a man, Khalifah the fisherman hight, and there he standeth at the door. He telleth me that he hath an account to settle with the Commander of the Faithful, by reason of a partnership between him and the Caliph in fishing." Asked Al-Rashid, "Is he at the door?" and she answered, "Yes." So the Caliph sent for him and he kissed ground before him and wished him endurance of glory and prosperity. The Caliph marveled at him and laughed at him, and said to him, "O Fisherman, wast thou in very deed my partner yesterday?" Khalifah took his meaning, and heartening his heart and summoning spirit, replied: "By Him who bestowed upon thee the succession to thy cousin, I know her not in anywise and have had no commerce with her save by way of sight and speech!"

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