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Come hear my tales of journeys to faraway lands...
The Jewish Doctor
Sunday. 12.14.03 7:03 pm
"Agitated though he was, the doctor did not forget to shut the house door, lest some passers-by might chance to see what had happened. He then took up the corpse and carried it into his wife's room, nearly driving her crazy with fright.

'It is all over with us!' she wailed, 'if we cannot find some means of getting the body out of the house. Once let the sun rise and we can hide it no longer! How were you driven to commit such a terrible crime?'

'Never mind that,' returned the doctor, 'the thing to do is to find a way out of it.'

For a long while the doctor and his wife continued to turn over in their minds a way of escape, but could not find any that seemed good enough. At last the doctor gave it up altogether and resigned himself to bear the penalty of his misfortune.
But his wife, who had twice his brains, suddenly exclaimed, 'I have thought of something! Let us carry the body on the roof of the house and lower it down the chimney of our neighbour the Mussulman.' Now this Mussulman was employed by the Sultan, and furnished his table with oil and butter. Part of his house was occupied by a great storeroom, where rats and mice held high revel.

The doctor jumped at his wife's plan, and they took up the hunchback, and passing cords under his armpits they let him down into the purveyor's bed-room so gently that he really seemed to be leaning against the wall. When they felt he was touching the ground they drew up the cords and left him.

Scarcely had they got back to their own house when the purveyor entered his room. He had spent the evening at a wedding feast, and had a lantern in his hand. In the dim light it cast he was astonished to see a man standing in his chimney, but being naturally courageous he seized a stick and made straight for the supposed thief. 'Ah!' he cried, 'so it is you, and not the rats and mice, who steal my butter. I'll take care that you don't want to come back!'
So saying he struck him several hard blows. The corpse fell on the floor, but the man only redoubled his blows, till at length it occurred to him it was odd that the thief should lie so still and make no resistance. Then, finding he was quite dead, a cold fear took possession of him. 'Wretch that I am,' said he, 'I have murdered a man. Ah, my revenge has gone too far. Without tho help of Allah I am undone! Cursed be the goods which have led me to my ruin.' And already he felt the rope round his neck."

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Saturday. 12.13.03 1:44 pm
"Alas, my good wife liked her plan so much that she secretly dragged the corpse of the hunchback to the Jewish doctor's. Under the cover of darkness, she transformed into a phoenix and picked up the hunchback by his head, carrying him to the doctor's house. Upon resuming her natural form, she knocked at the door, which opened straight on to a steep staircase. A diminutive servant soon appeared, feeling her way down the bleak staircase and inquired what my wife wanted.

'Inform your master,' said my wife, 'that I request his expertise and have brought a very sick man; and,' she added, holding out a bag of gold coins, 'offer him this in advance, so that he may not feel he is wasting his time.'

The servant remounted the stairs to give the message to the doctor, and the moment she was out of sight my wife carried the body swiftly after her, propped it up at the top of the staircase, and ran home as fast as her legs could carry her.

Now the Jewish doctor was so delighted at the news of a patient (for he was young, and had not many of them), that he was transported with joy.

'Fetch a light,' he ordered his servant, 'and follow me as fast as you can!' and running out of his room he rushed towards the staircase. There he nearly fell over the body of the hunchback, and without knowing what it was gave it such a kick that it rolled right to the bottom, and very nearly dragged the doctor after it. 'A light! a light!' he cried again, and when it was brought and he saw what he had done he was almost beside himself with terror.

'Holy Moses!' he exclaimed, 'why did I not wait for the light? I have killed the sick man whom they brought me; and if the sacred Ass of Esdras does not come to my aid I am lost! It will not be long before I am led to jail as a murderer.' "

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The Son of a Genius
Tuesday, 6/24/03 - 3:55 pm
"...One day, several months ago, when I was hard at work, a little hunchback came and sat at the entrance of my shop, and began to sing and play his tambourine. I was amused with the antics of the fellow, and thought it best to invite him home for supper. The hunchback having agreed to my proposal, waited until I closed my shop, and we set off together.

When we reached my house we found that my wife had already prepared the table for supper. In a very few minutes all three of us were sitting before a beautiful fish which my wife had cooked with her own hands. But unluckily, the hunchback happened to swallow a large bone, and, in spite of all my wife and I could do to help him, he died of suffocation in an instant. Besides being very sorry for the poor man, my wife and I were very much frightened on our own account, for if the police came to hear of it, we of course would run the risk of being thrown into prison for wilful murder. In order to prevent this dreadful calamity we both set about inventing some plan. My ingenious wife first thought of a way to throw suspicion on a Jewish doctor who lived close by. However, I quickly persuaded her that we should dump the body in the desert instead.

Upon reaching the desert, I dragged the hunchbacked corpse off my camel's hump and into the sand. However, on closer examination, I came to realize that this hunchback must be no other than the son of a genius! With this realization, my anxiety grew several fold and in heated panic, I wasted no time hurrying back all the way home. The deed done, I breathed a sigh of relief, and all was well until I met the genius... "

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The Fourth Day...
Monday, 6/23/03 - 1:31 pm
"On the fourth day of my journey, the heat of the sun being very great, I turned out of my road to rest under some trees. I found, at the foot of a large walnut-tree, a fountain of clear and running water. So I dismounted, fastened my horse to a branch of the tree, and sat by the fountain after having taken from my wallet some of my dates and biscuits. When I had finished this frugal meal I washed my face and hands in the fountain. While I was thus employed, I saw an enormous genius, white with rage, coming towards me, with a scimitar in his hand!

'I shall kill you,' repeated the genius, 'as you have killed my son!'

'Ah, sir, forgive me!' I cried.

'I will have no mercy on you,' answered the genius.

'But I killed your son quite unintentionally, so I implore you to spare my life.'

'No,' said the genius, 'I shall kill you as you killed my son,' and so saying, he seized me by the arm, threw me on the ground, and lifted his sabre to cut off my head.

Protesting my innocence, I bewailed my wife and children, and tried pitifully to avert my fate. The genius, with his raised scimitar, waited till I had finished, but was not in the least touched. But then I thought of a new idea. 'I ask you for a year's grace,' I begged. 'I promise you that to-morrow twelvemonth, I shall be waiting under these trees to give myself up to you.'

On this the genius left me near the fountain and disappeared."

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First Excerpt
Sunday, 6/22/03 - 4:45 pm
"After two months' sailing we arrived at a seaport, where we disembarked and did a great trade. Then we bought the merchandise of the country, and were just going to sail once more, when I was stopped on the shore by a beautiful though poorly dressed woman. She came up to me, kissed my hand, and implored me to marry her, and take her on board. At first I refused, but she begged so hard and promised to be such a good wife to me, that at last I consented. I got her some beautiful dresses, and after having married her, we embarked and set sail. During the voyage, I discovered so many good qualities in my wife that I began to love her more and more. But my brothers began to be jealous of my prosperity, and set to work to plot against my life. One night when we were sleeping they threw my wife and myself into the sea. My wife, however, was a fairy, and so she did not let me drown, but transported me to an island..."

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From the Tales of 1001 Arabian Nights, of course.
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