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Afreet, he said to the Afreet: “Pardon me, and kill me not, and so may Allah pardon thee. Destroy me not, lest Allah give power over thee to one who will destroy thee. The Afreet answered, 'I must posi5 tively kill thee; therefore choose by what manner of death thou wilt die.' The fisherman then felt assured of his death; but he again implored the Afreet, saying, “Pardon me by way of gratitude for my liberat
ing thee.' 'Why,' answered the Afreet, 'I am to 10 kill thee for that very reason, because thou hast liberated me.'
“Then said the fisherman within himself: "This is an Afreet, and I am a man; and Allah hath given me
sound reason. Therefore, I will now plot his destruc15 tion.' So he said to the Afreet, 'Hast thou deter
mined to kill me?' He answered, “Yes.' Then said he, ‘By the Most Great Name, engraved upon the seal of Solomon, I will ask thee one question; and wilt
thou answer it to me truly ?' On hearing the mention 20 of the Most Great Name, the Afreet trembled, and
replied, “Yes; ask, and be brief.' The fisherman then said: "How wast thou in this bottle? It will not contain thy hand or thy foot; how then can it
contain thy whole body?' 'Dost thou not believe 25 that I was in it?' said the Afreet. The fisherman
answered, 'I will never believe thee until I see thee in it. Upon this, the Afreet shook himself, and became converted again into smoke, which rose to the sky, and then entered the bottle little by little, until it was all inclosed.
“Thereupon the fisherman hastily snatched the sealed leaden stopper, and having replaced it in the 5 mouth of the bottle, called out to the Afreet, and said: Choose in what manner thou wilt die. I will assu
ssuredly throw thee here into the sea, and build me a house on this spot; and whosoever shall come here, I will prevent his fishing in this place, and will say to him, “Here 10 is an Afreet, who, to any person who liberates him, will propose various kinds of death, and then give him his choice of one."
“On hearing these words of the fisherman, the Afreet endeavored to escape; but could not, finding 15 himself restrained by the impression of the seal of Solomon. The fisherman then took the bottle to the brink of the sea. The Afreet exclaimed, ‘Nay! nay!' — to which the fisherman answered, 'Yea, without fail! yea, without fail!' The Afreet then, addressing 20 him with a soft voice and humble manner, said, 'What dost thou intend to do with me, O fisherman?' He answered, 'I will throw thee into the sea; and as thou hast been there a thousand and eight hundred years, I will make thee to remain there until the hour of 25 judgment.
“At this the Afreet roared and cried: 'For the love
of Allah, O fisherman, do not do that! Spare me and do not bear me malice for what I did, for we Afreets are stupid folk. Let me out, and I will swear to bring thee great riches.'
“The fisherman accepted his offer and unsealed the bottle. Then the smoke ascended as before, and gathered itself together, and became an Afreet, who gave the bottle a kick, and sent it in the sea. When
the fisherman saw this, he gave himself up for lost. 10 But the Afreet laughed, and started off inland, saying
to the fisherman, 'Follow me.' So he followed him, trembling. And he led him to a plain, and in the midst of this lay a lake surrounded by four little hills.
He led the fisherman into the lake and bade him throw 15 his net. The fisherman looked into the water, and
was astonished to see fish of four colors, white and red and blue and yellow. Then he took his net and cast it, and when he drew it in, he found in it four fish,
one of each color. And the Afreet said, 'Carry these 20 to the Sultan and he will reward thee richly.' And
so indeed it came to pass.”
But when Shahrazad had concluded this story, the king determined to hear still another, and so Shahrazad
continued for a thousand and one nights, by which 25 time the king had lost his suspicions of womankind, and they lived happily forever after.
Adapted from the translation by E. W. LANE.
HELPS TO STUDY
At one time the Arabs were a rich people, interested in learning and skilled in architecture. Their religion is called Mohammedanism from Mohammed, who, as they think, was sent by God to teach religion to them. Their name for God is Allah. They also believe in David, Solomon, and other great Hebrew leaders. Saracen means nearly the same as Mohammedan. Where have you seen that word before ?
1. Tell the story of the fisherman and the Afreet in your own words. 2. What is an Afreet? 3. How does the Afreet in the story show his stupidity? 4. Who is meant by Allah? 5. Who is Shahrazad? 6. How does she keep up the interest of the King ? 7. What country did The Arabian Nights come from? 8. What is another name for the book ? 9. What else do you know about the Arabs ?
For Study with the Glossary: Shahrazad, concluded, Allah, extracted, Afreet, dome, disheveled, forcibly, bonds, exhorted, assured, impression.
Phrases: the end of time, embrace the faith, the Most Great Name.
Now we come to a little island of poetry surrounded by a sea of prose. It is very different from the poetry in the first half of the Reader, which tells us about heroes and knights, war and magic. The first four of these poems have no story, but they will give you something beautiful to see, something musical to hear, and something wise to remember. The last two tell stories that for years have made people smile. Since we understand poetry better when we read it over and over again, perhaps you will read some of these poems when they are not assigned as lessons. You will enjoy them most if you read them aloud.
A PSALM OF LIFE
Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
“Life is but an empty dream!” For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.
Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Was not spoken of the soul.
Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way,
Find us farther than to-day.
Art is long, and Time is fleeting;
And our hearts, though strong and brave, Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.
In the world's broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of life,
Be a hero in the strife!