[graphic][graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors]

merchant Marouf's baggage cometh not How long will he take people's monies and give them tc the poor?' And one of them said, 'Methinks we should do well to speak to his countryman Ali.' So they went to the latter and said to him, 'O Ali, the merchant Marouf's baggage cometh not' 'Have patience,' answered he; '.t cannot fail to come soon.'

Then he took Marouf aside and said to him, 'O Marouf, what fashion is this? Did I bid thee toast the bread or burn it?1 The merchants clamour for their money and tell me that thou owest them threescore thousand dinars, which thou hast borrowed and given away to the poor. How wilt thou satisfy the folk, seeing that thou neither buyest nor sellest?' 'What matters it?' answered Marouf. 'And what are threescore thousand dinars? When my baggage comes, I will pay them in stuffs or in gold and silver, as they will.' 'God is most great!' replied Ali. 'Hast thou then any baggage?' And he said, 'Abundance.' 'God and the saints requite thee thine impudence!' cried AIL 'Did I teach thee this saying, that thou shouldst repeat it to me? But I will acquaint the folk with thee.' 'Begone and prate not,' answered Marouf. 'Am I a poor man? I have abundance in my baggage and as soon as it comes, they shall have their money's worth, two for one; I have no need of them.'

At this Ali waxed wroth and said, 'Unmannerly churl that thou art, I will teach thee to lie to me and be not ashamed!' 'Do thy worst,' rejoined Marouf. 'They must wait till my baggage comes, when they shall have their due and more.' So Ali left him and went away, saying in himself, 'I praised him before and if I blame him now, I make myself out a liar and become of those of whom it is said, "He who praises and [then] blames lies twice."'1 And he knew not what to da Presently. * A proverbial expression.

« PreviousContinue »