Page:The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night - Volume 4.djvu/55

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I went to one of the traders and borrowed of him a thousand dinars, wherewith I bought stuffs and carrying them to Damascus, sold them there at a profit of two for one. Then I bought Syrian stuffs and carrying them to Aleppo, made a similar gain of them; after which I bought stuffs of Aleppo and repaired with them to Baghdad, where I sold them with like result, two for one; nor did I cease trading upon my capital till I was worth nigh ten thousand ducats." Then each of the others told his friend some such tale, till it came to Ala al-Din's turn to speak, when they said to him, "And thou, O my lord Ala al-Din?" Quoth he, "I was brought up in a chamber underground and came forth from it only this week; and I do but go to the shop and return home from the shop." They remarked, "Thou art used to wone at home and wottest not the joys of travel, for travel is for men only." He replied, "I reck not of voyaging and wayfaring cloth not tempt me." Whereupon quoth one to the other, "This one is like the fish: when he leaveth the water he dieth." Then they said to him, "O Ala al Din, the glory of the sons of the merchants is not but in travel for the sake of gain." Their talk angered him; so he left them weeping-eyed and heavy-hearted and mounting his mule returned home. Now his mother saw him in tears and in bad temper and asked him, "What hath made thee weep, O my son?"; and he answered, "Of a truth, all the sons of the merchants put me to shame and said, 'Naught is more glorious for a merchant's son than travel for gain and to get him gold.'"—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Fifty-third Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Ala al-Din said to his mother, "Of a truth all the sons of the merchants put me to shame and said, 'Naught is more honourable for a merchant's son than travel for gain.'" "O my son, hast thou a mind to travel?" "Even so!" "And whither wilt thou go?" "To the city of Baghdad; for there folk make double the cost price on their goods." "O my son, thy father is a very rich man and, if he provide thee not with merchandise, I will supply it out of my own monies." "The best favour is that which is soonest bestowed;