**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!


Said’s Adventures
by [?]

Said begged piteously for mercy; he promised them a large ransom, but with a laugh they mounted their horses and galloped off. He listened for some moments to the receding steps of their horses, and then gave himself up for lost. He thought of his father and of the old man’s sorrow if his son should never more return; he thought on his own misery, doomed to die so young; for nothing was more certain than that he must suffer the torments of suffocation in the hot sands, or that he should be torn to pieces by jackals.

The sun rose ever higher, and its hot rays burnt into his forehead; with considerable difficulty he rolled over, but the change of position gave him but little relief. In making this exertion, the whistle fell from his bosom. He moved about until he could seize it in his mouth, then he attempted to blow it; but even in this terrible hour of need it refused to respond to his will. In utter despair, he let his head fall back, and before long the sun had robbed him of his senses.

After many hours, Said was awakened by sounds close by him, and immediately after was conscious that his shoulder had been seized. He uttered a cry of terror, for he could believe nothing else than that a jackal had attacked him. Now he was grasped by the legs also, and became sensible that it was not the claws of a beast of prey but the hands of a man who was trying to restore his senses, and who was speaking with two or three other men. “He lives,” whispered they, “but he believes that we are his foes.”

At last Said opened his eyes, and perceived above his own the face of a short, stout man, with small eyes and a long beard, who spoke kindly to him, helped him to get up, handed him food and drink, and while he was partaking of the refreshments told him that he was a merchant from Bagdad, named Kalum-Bek, and dealt in shawls and fine veils for ladies. He had made a business journey, and was now on his way home, and had seen Said lying half-dead in the sand. The splendor of the youth’s costume, and the sparkling stone in his dagger had attracted his attention; he had done all in his power to revive him, and his efforts had finally succeeded. The youth thanked him for his life, for he saw clearly that without the interposition of this man he would have perished miserably; and as he had neither the means of getting away, nor the desire to wander over the desert on foot and alone, he gratefully accepted the offer of a seat on one of the merchant’s heavily-laden camels, and decided to go to Bagdad with the merchant, with the chance of finding there a company bound for Balsora, which he could join.

On the journey, the merchant related to his travelling companion a great many stories about the excellent Ruler of the Faithful, Haroun-al-Raschid. He told anecdotes showing the caliph’s love of justice and his shrewdness, and how he was able to smooth out the knottiest questions of law in a simple and admirable way; and among others he related the story of the rope-maker, and the story of the jar of olives,–tales that every child now knows, but which astonished Said.

“Our master, the Ruler of the Faithful,” continued the merchant, “is a wonderful man. If you have an idea that he sleeps like the common people, you are very much mistaken. Two or three hours at day-break is all the sleep he takes. I am positive of that, for Messour, his head chamberlain, is my cousin; and although he is as silent as the grave concerning the secrets of his master, he will now and then let a hint drop, for kinship’s sake, if he sees that one is nearly out of his senses with curiosity. Instead, then, of sleeping like other people, the caliph steals through the streets of Bagdad at night; and seldom does a week pass that he does not chance upon an adventure; for you must know–as is made clear by the story of the jar of olives, which is as true as the word of the Prophet,–that he does not make his rounds with the watch, or on horseback in full costume, his way lighted by a hundred torch-bearers, as he might very well do if he chose, but he goes about disguised sometimes as a merchant, sometimes as a mariner, at other times as a soldier, and again as a mufti, and looks around to see if every thing is right and in order. And therefore it happens that in no other town is one so polite towards every fool upon whom he stumbles on the street at night, as in Bagdad; for it would be as likely to turn out the caliph as a dirty Arab from the desert, and there is wood enough growing round to give every person in and around Bagdad the bastinado.”