Page:The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night - Volume 4.djvu/38

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said his sister, "O my brother, by the King of the heavens and the earth, I conjure thee, bid Naomi sing and hearken to that she shall sing!" So he said "O Naomi, sing to me;" whereupon she played a lively measure and sang these couplets,

"Beguiled us Fortune who her guile displays, * Smiting the heart,
     bequeathing thoughts that craze
And parting lovers whom she made to meet, * Till tears in torrent
     either cheek displays:
They were and I was and my life was glad, * While Fortune often
     joyed to join our ways;
I will pour tear flood, will rain gouts of blood, * Thy loss
     bemoaning through the nights and days!"

Now when the Commander of the Faithful heard this verse, he was moved to great delight and his sister said to him, "O my brother, whoso decideth in aught against himself, him it behoveth to abide by it and do according to his word; and thou hast judged against thyself by this judgement." Then said she, "O Ni'amah, stand up and do thou likewise up stand, O Naomi!" So they stood up and she continued, "O Prince of True Believers, she who standeth before thee is Naomi the stolen, whom Al-Hajjaj bin Yusuf al-Sakafi kidnapped and sent to thee, falsely pretending in his letter to thee that he had bought her for ten thousand gold pieces. And this other who standeth before thee is her lord, Ni'amah, son of Al-Rabi'a; and I beseech thee, by the honour of thy pious forebears and by Hamzah and Ukayl and Abbas,[1] to pardon them both and overlook their offence and bestow them one on the other, that thou mayst win rich reward in the next world of thy just dealing with them; for they are under thy hand and verily they have eaten of thy meat and drunken of thy drink; and behold, I make intercession for them and beg of thee the boon of their blood." Thereupon quoth the Caliph, "Thou speakest sooth: I did indeed give judgement as thou sayst, and I am not one to pass sentence and to revoke it." Then said he, "O Naomi, say, be this thy lord?" And she answered "Even so, O Commander of the Faithful." Then quoth he, "No harm shall befall you, I give you each to other;" adding to the young

  1. Hamzah and Abbás were the famous uncles of Mohammed often noticed: Ukayl is not known; possibly it may be Akíl, a son of the fourth Caliph, Ali.