Richard F. Burton – Arabian Nights, Vol. 5 (Chap. 61)Follow
The Jewish Kazi And His Pious Wife.
Among the Children of Israel one of the Kazis had a wife of surpassing beauty, constant in fasting and abounding in patience and long-suffering; and he, being minded to make the pilgrimage to Jerusalem, appointed his own brother Kazi in his stead, during his absence, and commended his wife to his charge. Now this brother had heard of her beauty and loveliness and had taken a fancy to her. So no sooner was his brother gone than he went to her and sought her love-favours; but she denied him and held fast to her chastity. The more she repelled him, the more he pressed his suit upon her; till, despairing of her and fearing lest she should acquaint his brother with his misconduct whenas he should return, he suborned false witnesses to testify against her of adultery; and cited her and carried her before the King of the time who adjudged her to be stoned. So they dug a pit, and seating her therein stoned her, till she was covered with stones, and the man said, "Be this hole her grave!" But when it was dark a passer-by, making for a neighbouring hamlet, heard her groaning in sore pain; and, pulling her out of the pit, carried her home to his wife, whom he bade dress her wounds. The peasant woman tended her till she recovered and presently gave her her child to be nursed; and she used to lodge with the child in another house by night. Now a certain thief saw her and lusted after her. So he sent to her seeking her love-favours, but she denied herself to him; wherefore he resolved to slay her and, making his way into her lodging by night (and she sleeping), thought to strike at her with a knife; but it smote the little one and killed it. Now when he knew his misdeed, fear overtook him and he went forth the house and Allah preserved from him her chastity. But as she awoke in the morning, she found the child by her side with throat cut; and presently the mother came and seeing her boy dead, said to the nurse, "Twas thou didst murther him." Therewith she beat her a grievous beating and purposed to put her to death; but her husband interposed and delivered the woman, saying, "By Allah, thou shalt not do on this wise." So the woman, who had somewhat of money with her, fled forth for her life, knowing not whither she should wend. Presently, she came to a village, where she saw a crowd of people about a man crucified to a tree-stump, but still in the chains of life. "What hath he done?" she asked, and they answered, "He hath committed a crime, which nothing can expiate but death or the payment of such a fine by way of alms." So she said to them, "Take the money and let him go;" and, when they did so, he repented at her hands and vowed to serve her, for the love of Almighty Allah till death should release him. Then he built her a cell and lodged her therein; after which he betook himself to woodcutting and brought her daily her bread. As for her, she was constant in worship, so that there came no sick man or demoniac to her, but she prayed for him and he was straightway healed.—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Sixty-sixth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the woman's cell was visited by folk (and she constant in worship), it befel by decree of the Almighty that He sent down upon her husband's brother (the same who had caused her to be stoned), a cancer in the face, and smote the villager's wife (the same who had beaten her) with leprosy, and afflicted the thief (the same who had murthered the child) with palsy. Now when the Kazi returned from his pilgrimage, he asked his brother of his wife, and he told him that she was dead, whereat he mourned sore and accounted her with her Maker. After awhile, very many folk heard of the pious recluse and flocked to her cell from all parts of the length and breadth of the earth; whereupon said the Kazi to his brother, "O my brother, wilt thou not seek out yonder pious woman? Haply Allah shall decree thee healing at her hands!" and he replied, "O my brother, carry me to her" Moreover, the husband of the leprous woman heard of the pious devotee and carried his wife to her, as did also the people of the paralytic thief; and they all met at the door of the hermitage. Now she had a place wherefrom she could look out upon those who came to her, without their seeing her; and they waited till her servant came, when they begged admittance and obtained permission. Presently she saw them all and recognized them; so she veiled and cloaked face and body and went out and stood in the door, looking at her husband and his brother and the thief and the peasant-woman; but they could not recognize her. Then said she to them, "Ho folk, ye shall not be relieved of what is with you till ye confess your sins; for, when the creature confesseth his sins the Creator relenteth towards him and granteth him that wherefore he resorteth to him." Quoth the Kazi to his brother, "O my brother, repent to Allah and persist not in thy frowardness, for it will be more helpful to thy relief." And the tongue of the case spake this speech,
"This day oppressor and oppressed meet, * And Allah sheweth
secrets we secrete:
This is a place where sinners low are brought; * And Allah
raiseth saint to highest seat.
Our Lord and Master shows the truth right clear, * Though sinner
froward be or own defeat:
Alas[FN#465] for those who rouse the Lord to wrath, * As though
of Allah's wrath they nothing weet!
O whoso seekest honours, know they are * From Allah, and His fear
with love entreat."
(Saith the relator), Then quoth the brother, "Now I will tell the truth: I did thus and thus with thy wife;" and he confessed the whole matter, adding, "And this is my offence." Quoth the leprous woman, "As for me, I had a woman with me and imputed to her that of which I knew her to be guiltless, and beat her grievously; and this is my offence." And quoth the paralytic, "And I went in to a woman to kill her, after I had tempted her to commit adultery and she had refused; and I slew a child that lay by her side; and this is my offence." Then said the pious woman, "O my God, even as Thou hast made them feel the misery of revolt, so show them now the excellence of submission, for Thou over all things art Omnipotent!" And Allah (to whom belong Majesty and Might!) made them whole. Then the Kazi fell to looking on her and considering her straitly, till she asked him why he looked so hard and he said, "I had a wife and were she not dead, I had said thou art she." Hereupon, she made herself known to him and both began praising Allah (to whom belong Majesty and Might!) for that which He had vouchsafed them of the reunion of their loves; but the brother and the thief and the villager's wife joined in imploring her forgiveness. So she forgave them one and all, and they worshipped Allah in that place and rendered her due service, till Death parted them. And one of the Sayyids[FN#466] hath related this tale of
[FN#465] Arab. "Wayha," not so strong as "Woe to," etc. Al-Hariri often uses it as a formula of affectionate remonstrance.
[FN#466] As a rule (much disputed) the Sayyid is a descendant from Mohammed through his grandchild Hasan, and is a man of the pen; whereas the Sharif derives from Husayn and is a man of the sword. The Najíb al-taraf is the son of a common Moslemah by a Sayyid, as opposed to the "Najib al-tarafayn," when both parents are of Apostolic blood. The distinction is not noticed in Lane's "Modern Egyptians". The Sharif is a fanatic and often dangerous, as I have instanced in Pilgrimage iii. 132.
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