Page:The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night - Volume 4.djvu/29

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"If Naomi bless me with a single glance, * Let Su'adá sue and
     Juml joy to
They said, "Forget her: twenty such thou'lt find." * But none is
     like her—I will not forget!"

He pressed the paper into the box and, sealing it up, wrote upon the cover the following words in Cufic characters, "I am Ni'amah of al-Rabi'a of Cufa." Then he set it before the old woman who took it and bade them farewell and returned to the Caliph's palace, and when she went up with the drugs to the damsel she placed the little box of medicine at her feet, saying, "O my lady, know that there is lately come to our town a Persian physician, than whom I never saw a more skilful nor a better versed in matters of malady. I told him thy name, after showing him the water-bottle, and forthwith he knew thine ailment and prescribed a remedy. Then he bade his son make thee up this medicine; and there is not in Damascus a comelier or a seemlier youth than this lad of his, nor hath anyone a shop the like of his shop." So Naomi took the box and, seeing the names of her lord and his father written on the cover, changed colour and said to herself, "Doubtless, the owner of this shop is come in search of me." So she said to the old woman, "Describe to me this youth." Answered the old woman, "His name is Ni'amah, he hath a mole on his right eyebrow, is richly clad and is perfectly handsome." Cried Naomi, "Give me the medicine, whereon be the blessing and help of Almighty Allah!" So she drank off the potion (and she laughing) and said, "Indeed, it is a blessed medicine!" Then she sought in the box and, finding the paper, opened it, read it, understood it and knew that this was indeed her lord, whereas her heart was solaced and she rejoiced. Now when the old woman saw her laughing, she exclaimed, "This is indeed a blessed day!"; and Naomi said, "O nurse, I have a mind for something to eat and drink." The old woman said to the serving women, "Bring a tray of dainty viands for your mistress;" whereupon they set food before her and she sat down to eat. And behold in came the Caliph who, seeing her sitting at meat, rejoiced; and the old woman said to him, "O Commander of the Faithful, I give thee joy of thy hand maid Naomi's recovery! And the cause is that there is lately come to this our city a physician than whom I never saw a better versed in diseases and their remedies. I fetched her medicine from him and she hath drunken of it but once and is restored to health." Quoth he, "Take a thousand dinars and apply thyself to her treatment, till she be completely recovered." And he went away, rejoicing in the damsel's recovery, whilst the old woman betook herself to the Persian's house and delivered the thousand dinars, giving him to know that she was become the Caliph's slave and also handing