since thou hast employed us in the way of business." He replied, "Every time hath its fortune and its men, and Allah have truth on him who said,
'And the old man crept o'er the worldly ways * So bowed, his
beard o'er his knees down flow'th:
Quoth I, 'What gars thee so doubled go?' * Quoth he (as to me his
hands he show'th)
'My youth is lost, in the dust it lieth; * And see, I bend me to
find my youth.'"
Now when he had ended his verses, he said, "O chief of the caravan, it is not I who am minded to travel, but this my son." Quoth the cameleer, "Allah save him for thee." Then the Consul made a contract between Ala al-Din and the man, appointing that the youth should be to him as a son, and gave him into his charge, saying, "Take these hundred gold pieces for thy people." More-over he bought his son threescore mules and a lamp and a tomb-covering for the Sayyid Abd al-Kadir of Gílán and said to him, "O my son, while I am absent, this is thy sire in my stead: whatsoever he biddeth thee, do thou obey him." So saying, he returned home with the mules and servants and that night they made a Khitmah or perfection of the Koran and held a festival—in honour of the Shaykh Abd al-Kadir al-Jiláni. And when the morrow dawned, the Consul gave his son ten thousand dinars, saying, "O my son, when thou comest to Baghdad, if thou find stuffs easy of sale, sell them; but if they be dull, spend of these dinars." Then they loaded the mules and, taking leave of one another, all the wayfarers setting out on their journey, marched forth from the city. Now Mahmud of Balkh had made ready his own venture for Baghdad and had moved his bales and set up his tents without the walls, saying to himself, "Thou shalt not enjoy this youth but in the desert, where there is neither spy nor marplot to trouble thee." It chanced that he had in hand a thousand dinars
- i.e. I am old and can no longer travel.
- Taken from Al-Asma'i, the "Romance of Antar," and the episode of the Asafir Camels.
- A Mystic of the twelfth century A.D. who founded the Kádirí order (the oldest and chiefest of the four universally recognised), to which I have the honour to belong, teste my diploma (Pilgrimage, Appendix i.). Visitation is still made to his tomb at Baghdad. The Arabs (who have no hard g-letter) alter to "Jílán" the name of his birth-place "Gilan," a tract between the Caspian and the Black Seas.