Page:The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night - Volume 3.djvu/33

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She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the Wazir took the shop keys, he went accompanied by Taj al-Muluk and Aziz to the Khan, and they bade the servants transport to the shop all their goods and stuffs and valuables of which they had great store worth treasures of money. And when all this was duly done, they went to the shop and ordered their stock in trade and slept there that night. As soon as morning morrowed the Wazir took the two young men to the Hammam bath where they washed them clean; and they donned rich dresses and scented themselves with essences and enjoyed themselves to the utmost. Now each of the youths was passing fair to look upon, and in the bath they were even as saith the poet,

"Luck to the Rubber, whose deft hand o'erdies * A frame begotten twixt the lymph and light: [1] He shows the thaumaturgy of his craft, * And gathers musk in form of camphor dight." [2]

After bathing they left; and, when the Overseer heard that they had gone to the Hammam, he sat down to await the twain, and presently they came up to him like two gazelles; their cheeks were reddened by the bath and their eyes were darker than ever; their faces shone and they were as two lustrous moons or two branches fruit laden. Now when he saw them he rose forthright and said to them, "O my sons, may your bath profit you always!" [3] Where upon Taj al-Muluk replied, with the sweetest of speech, "Allah be bountiful to thee, O my father; why didst thou not come with us and bathe in our company?" Then they both bent over his right hand and kissed it and walked before him to the shop, to entreat him honourably and show their respect for him, for that he was Chief of the Merchants and the market, and he had done them kindness in giving them the shop. When he saw their hips quivering

  1. i.e. begotten by man's seed in the light of salvation (Núr al-hudá).
  2. The rolls of white (camphor-like) scarf-skin and sordes which come off under the bathman's glove become by miracle of Beauty, as brown musk. The Rubber or Shampooer is called in Egypt "Mukayyis" (vulgarly "Mukayyisáti") or "bagman," from his "Kís," a bag-glove of coarse woollen stuff. To "Johnny Raws" he never fails to show the little rolls which come off the body and prove to them how unclean they are, but the material is mostly dead scarf-skin
  3. The normal phrase on such occasions (there is always a "dovetail" de rigueur) "Allah give thee profit!”