Supplemental Nights to the Thousand Nights and a Night With Notes Anthropological and Explanatory-Volume 1

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Author: Unknown

The Tale of the Hireling and the Girl.

There was once, of old time, in one of the tribes of the Arabs, a
woman pregnant by her husband, and they had a hired servant, a
man of insight and understanding. When the woman came to her
delivery-time, she gave birth to a girl-child in the night and
they sought fire of the neighbours. [FN#426] So the Hireling went
in quest of fire. Now there was in the camp a Divineress, [FN#427]
and she questioned him of the new-born child, an it was male or
female. Quoth he, "’Tis a girl;" and quoth she, "That girl will
whore with an hundred men and a hireling shall wed her and a
spider shall slay her." When the hired man heard this, he
returned upon his steps and going in to the woman, took the child
from her by wily management and slit its maw: then he fled forth
into the wold at hap-hazard and abode in strangerhood while Allah
so willed. [FN#428] He gained much money; and, returning to his
own land, after twenty years’ absence, alighted in the
neighbourhood of an old woman, whom he wheedled and treated with
liberality, requiring of her a young person whom he might enjoy
without marriage. Said she, "I know none but a certain fair
woman, who is renowned for this industry." Then she described her
charms to him and made him lust after her, and he said, "Hasten
to her this minute and lavish upon her whatso she asketh." So the
crone betook herself to the girl and discovered his wishes to her
and invited her to him; but she answered, "’Tis true that I was
in the habit of whoredom, but now I have repented to Almighty
Allah and have no more longing to this: nay, I desire lawful
wedlock; so, if he be content with that which is legal, I am
between his hands." [FN#429] The old woman returned to the man and
told him what the damsel said; and he lusted after her, because
of her beauty and her penitence; so he took her to wife, and when
he went in to her, he loved her and after like fashion she loved
him. Thus they abode a great while, till one day he questioned
her of the cause of a scar [FN#430] he espied on her body, and she
said, "I wot naught thereof save that my mother told me a
marvellous thing concerning it." Asked he, "What was that?" and
she answered, "My mother declared that she gave birth to me one
night of the wintry nights and despatched a hired man, who was
with us, in quest of fire for her. He was absent a little while
and presently returning, took me and slit my maw and fled. When
my mother saw this, chagrin seized her and compassion possessed
her; so she sewed up my stomach and nursed me till the wound
healed by the ordinance of Allah (to whom belong Might and
Majesty)." When her husband heard this, he said to her, "What is
thy name and what may be the name of thy mother and who may be
thy father?" She told him their names and her own, whereby he
knew that it was she whose maw he had slit and said to her, "And
where are thy father and mother?" "They are both dead." "I am
that Hireling who slit thy stomach." "Why didst thou that?"
"Because of a saying I heard from the wise woman." "What was it?"
"She declared thou wouldst play the whore with an hundred men and
that I after that should wed thee." "Ay, I have whored with an
hundred men, no more and no less, and behold, thou hast married
me." "The Divineress also foresaid that thou shouldst die, at the
last of thy life, of the bite of a spider. Indeed, her saying
hath been verified of the fornication and the marriage, and I
fear lest her word come true no less in the death." Then they
betook themselves to a place without the city, where he builded
him a mansion of solid stone and white stucco and stopped its
inner walls and plastered them; leaving not therein or cranny or
crevice, and he set in it two slavegirls whose services were
sweeping and wiping, for fear of spiders. Here he abode with his
wife a great while, till one day the man espied a spider on the
ceiling and beat it down. When his wife saw it, she said, "This
is that which the wise woman foresaid would slay me; so, by thy
life, suffer me to kill it with mine own hand." Her husband
forbade her from this, but she conjured him to let her destroy
the spider; then, of her fearfulness and her eagerness, she took
a piece of wood and smote it. The wood brake of the force of the
blow, and a splinter from it entered her hand and wrought upon
it, so that it swelled. Then her fore-arm also swelled and the
swelling spread to her side and thence grew till it reached her
heart and she died. "Nor" (continued the Wazir), "is this
stranger or more wondrous than the story of the Weaver who became
a Leach by commandment of his wife." When the King heard this,
his admiration redoubled and he said, "In very truth, Destiny is
written to all creatures, and I will not accept aught that is
said against my Minister the loyal counsellor." And he bade him
hie to his home.

The Twentieth Night of the Month.

When the evening evened, the King bade summon his Minister and he
presented himself before him, whereupon he required of him the
hearing of the story. So the Wazir said, "Hearkening and
obedience. Give ear, O King, to

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Chicago: Unknown, "The Tale of the Hireling and the Girl.," Supplemental Nights to the Thousand Nights and a Night With Notes Anthropological and Explanatory-Volume 1, trans. Burton, Richard Francis, Sir, 1821-1890 in Supplemental Nights to the Thousand Nights and a Night With Notes Anthropological and Explanatory-Volume 1 (Benares: Kamashastra Society, 1885), Original Sources, accessed September 30, 2022, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=KPTGJECRPPDAWWS.

MLA: Unknown. "The Tale of the Hireling and the Girl." Supplemental Nights to the Thousand Nights and a Night With Notes Anthropological and Explanatory-Volume 1, translted by Burton, Richard Francis, Sir, 1821-1890, in Supplemental Nights to the Thousand Nights and a Night With Notes Anthropological and Explanatory-Volume 1, Benares, Kamashastra Society, 1885, Original Sources. 30 Sep. 2022. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=KPTGJECRPPDAWWS.

Harvard: Unknown, 'The Tale of the Hireling and the Girl.' in Supplemental Nights to the Thousand Nights and a Night With Notes Anthropological and Explanatory-Volume 1, trans. . cited in 1885, Supplemental Nights to the Thousand Nights and a Night With Notes Anthropological and Explanatory-Volume 1, Kamashastra Society, Benares. Original Sources, retrieved 30 September 2022, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=KPTGJECRPPDAWWS.