1.2 THE FIRST OLD MAN AND THE HIND

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The hind, whom you, Lord Genie, see here, is my wife. I married her when she was twelve years old, and we lived together thirty years, without having any children. At the end of that time I adopted into my family a son, whom a slave had borne. This act of mine excited against the mother and her child the hatred and jealousy of my wife. During my absence on a journey she availed herself of her knowledge of magic to change the slave and my adopted son into a cow and a calf, and sent them to my farm to be fed and taken care of by the steward.
Immediately on my return I inquired after my child and his mother.
“Your slave is dead,” said she, “and it is now more than two months since I have beheld your son; nor do I know what has become of him.”
I was sensibly affected at the death of the slave; but as my son had only disappeared, I flattered myself that he would soon be found. Eight months, however, passed, and he did not return; nor could I learn any[29] tidings of him. In order to celebrate the festival of the great Bairam,[8] which was approaching, I ordered my bailiff to bring me the fattest cow I possessed, for a sacrifice. He obeyed my commands. Having bound the cow, I was about to make the sacrifice, when at the very instant she lowed most sorrowfully, and the tears even fell from her eyes. This seemed to me so extraordinary that I could not but feel compassion for her, and was unable to give the fatal blow. I therefore ordered her to be taken away, and another brought.
My wife, who was present, seemed very angry at my compassion, and opposed my order.
I then said to my steward, “Make the sacrifice yourself; the lamentations and tears of the animal have overcome me.”
The steward was less compassionate, and sacrificed her. On taking off the skin we found hardly anything but bones, though she appeared very fat.
“Take her away,” said I to the steward, truly chagrined, “and if you have a very fat calf, bring it in her place.”
He returned with a remarkably fine calf, who, as soon as he perceived me, made so great an effort to come to me that he broke his cord. He lay down at my feet, with his head on the ground, as if he endeavored to excite my compassion, and to entreat me not to have the cruelty to take away his life.
“Wife,” said I, “I will not sacrifice this calf, I wish [30]to favor him. Do not you, therefore, oppose it.”
She, however, did not agree to my proposal; and continued to demand his sacrifice so obstinately that I was compelled to yield. I bound the calf, and took the fatal knife to bury it in his throat, when he turned his eyes, filled with tears, so persuasively upon me, that I had no power to execute my intention. The knife fell from my hand, and I told my wife I was determined to have another calf. She tried every means to induce me to alter my mind; I continued firm, however, in my resolution, in spite of all she could say; promising, for the sake of appeasing her, to sacrifice this calf at the feast of Bairam on the following year.
The next morning my steward desired to speak with me in private. He informed me that his daughter, who had some knowledge of magic, wished to speak with me. On being admitted to my presence, she informed me that during my absence my wife had turned the slave and my son into a cow and calf, that I had already sacrificed the cow, but that she could restore my son to life if I would give him to her for her husband, and allow her to visit my wife with the punishment her cruelty had deserved. To these proposals I gave my consent.
The damsel then took a vessel full of water, and pronouncing over it some words I did not understand, she threw the water over the calf, and he instantly regained his own form.
“My son! My son!” I exclaimed, and embraced him with transport. “This damsel has destroyed the horrible charm with which you were surrounded. I am sure your gratitude will induce you to marry her, as I have already promised for you.”[31]
He joyfully consented; but before they were united the damsel changed my wife into this hind, which you see here.
Since this, my son has become a widower, and is now traveling. Many years have passed since I have heard anything of him. I have, therefore, now set out with a view to gain some information; and as I did not like to trust my wife to the care of any one during my search, I thought proper to carry her along with me. This is the history of myself and this hind. Can anything be more wonderful?
“I agree with you,” said the genie, “and in consequence, I grant to you a half of the blood of this merchant.”
As soon as the first old man had finished, the second, who led the two black dogs, made the same request to the genie for a half of the merchant’s blood, on the condition that his tale exceeded in interest the one that had just been related. On the genie signifying his assent, the old man began.
***

The hind, whom you, Lord Genie, see here, is my wife. I married her when she was twelve years old, and we lived together thirty years, without having any children. At the end of that time I adopted into my family a son, whom a slave had borne. This act of mine excited against the mother and her child the hatred and jealousy of my wife. During my absence on a journey she availed herself of her knowledge of magic to change the slave and my adopted son into a cow and a calf, and sent them to my farm to be fed and taken care of by the steward.
Immediately on my return I inquired after my child and his mother.
“Your slave is dead,” said she, “and it is now more than two months since I have beheld your son; nor do I know what has become of him.”
I was sensibly affected at the death of the slave; but as my son had only disappeared, I flattered myself that he would soon be found. Eight months, however, passed, and he did not return; nor could I learn any[29] tidings of him. In order to celebrate the festival of the great Bairam,[8] which was approaching, I ordered my bailiff to bring me the fattest cow I possessed, for a sacrifice. He obeyed my commands. Having bound the cow, I was about to make the sacrifice, when at the very instant she lowed most sorrowfully, and the tears even fell from her eyes. This seemed to me so extraordinary that I could not but feel compassion for her, and was unable to give the fatal blow. I therefore ordered her to be taken away, and another brought.
My wife, who was present, seemed very angry at my compassion, and opposed my order.
I then said to my steward, “Make the sacrifice yourself; the lamentations and tears of the animal have overcome me.”
The steward was less compassionate, and sacrificed her. On taking off the skin we found hardly anything but bones, though she appeared very fat.
“Take her away,” said I to the steward, truly chagrined, “and if you have a very fat calf, bring it in her place.”
He returned with a remarkably fine calf, who, as soon as he perceived me, made so great an effort to come to me that he broke his cord. He lay down at my feet, with his head on the ground, as if he endeavored to excite my compassion, and to entreat me not to have the cruelty to take away his life.
“Wife,” said I, “I will not sacrifice this calf, I wish [30]to favor him. Do not you, therefore, oppose it.”
She, however, did not agree to my proposal; and continued to demand his sacrifice so obstinately that I was compelled to yield. I bound the calf, and took the fatal knife to bury it in his throat, when he turned his eyes, filled with tears, so persuasively upon me, that I had no power to execute my intention. The knife fell from my hand, and I told my wife I was determined to have another calf. She tried every means to induce me to alter my mind; I continued firm, however, in my resolution, in spite of all she could say; promising, for the sake of appeasing her, to sacrifice this calf at the feast of Bairam on the following year.
The next morning my steward desired to speak with me in private. He informed me that his daughter, who had some knowledge of magic, wished to speak with me. On being admitted to my presence, she informed me that during my absence my wife had turned the slave and my son into a cow and calf, that I had already sacrificed the cow, but that she could restore my son to life if I would give him to her for her husband, and allow her to visit my wife with the punishment her cruelty had deserved. To these proposals I gave my consent.
The damsel then took a vessel full of water, and pronouncing over it some words I did not understand, she threw the water over the calf, and he instantly regained his own form.
“My son! My son!” I exclaimed, and embraced him with transport. “This damsel has destroyed the horrible charm with which you were surrounded. I am sure your gratitude will induce you to marry her, as I have already promised for you.”[31]
He joyfully consented; but before they were united the damsel changed my wife into this hind, which you see here.
Since this, my son has become a widower, and is now traveling. Many years have passed since I have heard anything of him. I have, therefore, now set out with a view to gain some information; and as I did not like to trust my wife to the care of any one during my search, I thought proper to carry her along with me. This is the history of myself and this hind. Can anything be more wonderful?
“I agree with you,” said the genie, “and in consequence, I grant to you a half of the blood of this merchant.”
As soon as the first old man had finished, the second, who led the two black dogs, made the same request to the genie for a half of the merchant’s blood, on the condition that his tale exceeded in interest the one that had just been related. On the genie signifying his assent, the old man began.
***

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