The Porter and the Three Ladies of Baghdad
Three wealthy and beautiful sisters invite, over the course of an evening, a porter, three one-eyed Kalandars, and three merchants—who turn out to be the Caliph and his companions in disguise—into their home for shelter, food, and drink. Upon entering each guest must take the following oath: ‘‘Whoso speaketh of what concerneth him not shall hear what pleaseth him not!’’
The eldest lady interrupts the festivities to attend to her duty. Two black bitches (female dogs) are brought out to her; she proceeds to beat them with a whip; then, tearfully kissing them both, she sends them away.
The cateress then sings a sad song, causing the portress to penitently rend her garments, revealing to the guests the marks of a terrible beating.
The men, unable to contain their curiosity, break their oaths and demand an explanation of the women. The eldest lady grows angry at their presumption and commands her slaves to bind them. The lady demands each of their stories in exchange for their lives.
The First Kalandar’s Tale
The first Kalandar reveals that he is actually a Prince. His adventure begins with a visit to his cousin, who is also a Prince of another kingdom: sworn to an oath of secrecy, he agrees to conceal his cousin in an underground dwelling with his cousin’s lover. He then returns to his father’s kingdom, where he discovers that the...
(The entire section is 1316 words.)
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