Page:The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night - Volume 4.djvu/46

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came in to her, she said, "Good evening," but he replied "I see no good." Then she called to the handmaid, "Spread the supper-tray;" and when this was done quoth she to her husband "Sup, O my lord." Quoth he, "I will eat nothing," and pushing the tray away with his foot, turned his back upon her. She asked, "Why dost thou thus? and what hath vexed thee?"; and he answered, "Thou art the cause of my vexation."—And Shahrazed perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say,

When it was the Two Hundred and Fiftieth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Shams al-Din said to his wife, "Thou art the cause of my vexation." She asked, "Wherefore?" and he answered, "When I opened my shop this morning, I saw that each and every of the merchants had with him a son or two sons or more, sitting in their shops like their fathers; and I said to myself:—He who took thy sire will not spare thee. Now the night I first visited thee,[1] thou madest me swear that I would never take a second wife over thee nor a concubine, Abyssinian or Greek or handmaid of other race; nor would lie a single night away from thee: and behold, thou art barren, and having thee is like boring into the rock." Rejoined she, "Allah is my witness that the fault lies with thee, for that thy seed is thin." He asked, "And what showeth the man whose semen is thin?" And she answered, "He cannot get women with child, nor beget children." Quoth he, "What thickeneth the seed? tell me and I will buy it: haply, it will thicken mine." Quoth she, "Enquire for it of the druggists." So he slept with her that night and arose on the morrow, repenting of having spoken angrily to her; and she also regretted her cross words. Then he went to the market and, finding a druggist, saluted him; and when his salutation was returned said to him, "Say, hast thou with thee a seed-thickener?" He replied, "I had it, but am out of it: enquire thou of my neighbour." Then Shams al-Din made the round till he had asked every one, but they all laughed at him, and presently he returned to his shop and sat down, sore troubled.

  1. Arab. "Dukhúl," the night of going in, of seeing the bride unveiled for the first time, etcaetera.