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HARPENDORE


Many moons ago a great king sentenced his innocent wife to death, but every night she tells the king a story, leaving the tale unfinished until the next night so that the king would spare her life to hear the ending. This lasted for one thousand and one Arabian nights, until the king finally released her. This is just one of those tales ‌


Look out for more

The Adventures of Prince Camar and Princess Badoura Aladdin and his Wonderful Lamp Gulnare of the Sea Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves The Seven Voyages of Sinbad the Sailor The Enchanted Horse The Talking Bird, the Singing Tree and the Golden Water The Merchant and the Jinni The Tale of Zubaidah and the Three Qalandars The Adventures of Harun al-Rashid, Caliph of Baghdad The Three Princes, the Princess and the Jinni Pari Banou The Fisherman and the Jinni The King’s Jester


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HARPENDORE


Published in Great Britain in 2018 by Harpendore Publishing Ltd 34 Priory Road, Richmond TW9 3DF, United Kingdom The name Harpendore® is a registered trade mark of Harpendore Publishing Ltd Text by Kelley Townley copyright © Harpendore Publishing Ltd 2018 Illustrations and cover illustration by Anja Gram copyright © Harpendore Publishing Ltd 2018 Arabian Nights Adventures™, names, characters and related indicia are copyright and trademark Harpendore Publishing Ltd, 2018™ All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of Harpendore Publishing or as expressly permitted by law, or under terms agreed with the appropriate reprographics rights organisation. Enquiries concerning reproduction outside the scope of the above should be sent to Harpendore Publishing at the address above. You must not circulate this book in any other binding or cover and you must impose the same condition on any acquirer. A Catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

ISBN 978-1-911030-09-6 (paperback)

Designed by Anne-Lise Jacobsen www.behance.net/annelisejacobsen

www.harpendore.co.uk


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C The Adventures of Harun al-Rashid, Caliph of Baghdad

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The Story of Abdullah the Beggar

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The Story of Sidi Nouman

55

The Story of Ali Colia and his Olives

91

The Story of Noureddin and Fair Persian

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The Adventures of Harun al-Rashid, Caliph of Baghdad

I

n ancient times the great city of Baghdad was governed by the esteemed caliph Harun al-Rashid. Caliph Harun was a clever man with a curious mind. He had a full dark beard and often wore a turban embroidered with gold. During his reign he encouraged science, art and education and built a wonderful new library filled with many important books. He was married to the strong-willed lady Zubaidah and everyone in the land felt happy and safe. One day Harun was lounging in his

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The Adventures of Harun al-Rashid, Caliph of Baghdad

palace wondering if there was anything left in the world that could possibly distract him. He had done everything that needed doing and even Zubaidah had got bored of him pestering her. What he needed was an adventure! A knock at the door signalled the arrival of his Grand Vizier. Ja’far was a very old and trusted friend who acted as Harun’s advisor on all things. The old man cleared his throat ready to speak, and Harun sank into his chair thinking that Ja’far had come to bother him with something boring and bureaucratic. Now it is true that Ja’far did have something mundane to tell the caliph, but he could see his friend was in no mood for such news and so he thought of something else to say instead.

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The Adventures of Harun al-Rashid, Caliph of Baghdad

‘Why, my dear Harun,’ he said, ‘I think you must have forgotten.’ Harun looked over curiously. ‘Forgotten what?’ ‘What we had planned for today,’ said Ja’far. The caliph sat up. ‘What did we have planned? I remember nothing.’ ‘How could you forget such a good idea! You said why don’t we undertake a secret mission to enter the city in disguise and observe the people to make sure justice is being done and order is being kept.’ ‘You are quite right, my friend. I had forgotten all about it,’ said the caliph cheerfully, knowing full well the Grand Vizier had just made this up on the spot – but then that was why he was such an

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The Adventures of Harun al-Rashid, Caliph of Baghdad

excellent advisor. A little while later they were both disguised as merchants with colourful robes and attentive eyes. They left the palace through a secret door so that no one would know where they’d gone, and slipped out into the bustling city. Ja’far and Harun walked freely amongst the many people in the market place – something the beloved caliph would never be able to do dressed as himself as all the people would flock to him to give thanks and blessings. As they sauntered along they marvelled at the many strange and wonderful sights. All was a delight to the senses: the noisy banter and clinking coins changing hands; the silky touch of exquisite Chinese silks and soft fluffy

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The Adventures of Harun al-Rashid, Caliph of Baghdad

peaches; the heady scents of exotic spices like cinnamon and resins such as frankincense; and the stunning pandanus flowers which many women, including Zubaidah, liked to steep in water and wash with to perfume their hair. The world was teeming with activity yet all seemed at peace. There was no arguing or aggressive selling, no one was peddling anything they shouldn’t be, and everyone seemed content. All except one man. Standing on the street corner a blind man was begging for spare coins. He looked very poor and very underfed. Harun immediately went for his purse to give the man some money. He dropped a couple of coins into the

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man’s outstretched hand but instead of being grateful the blind beggar grabbed the caliph by the arm and held him fast. ‘Charitable person,’ he said, ‘whoever you may be, grant me another favour. Strike me, I beg of you. I have deserved it richly.’ Harun, much surprised by this request, replied gently. ‘My good man, I cannot hit you. How could I offer you love with one hand by giving you a coin and then violence with the other? What you ask is impossible.’ As he spoke he tried to loosen the grasp of the beggar but the man held tight. ‘Then take back your coins and your charity and give me only the violence,’ said the man. ‘For I have sworn a

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solemn oath that I will receive nothing without chastisement, and if you knew my story you would feel that even this is not a tenth of what I deserve.’ Harun did not want to deprive the poor man of his coins and so he relented and struck him lightly on the shoulder. Then he quickly continued on his way, followed by calls of blessings from the beggar. When they were out of earshot he turned to Ja’far. ‘There must be something very odd about that man to make him act like that and I should like to know what it is. Go back and tell him who I am, and then tell him to come to the palace tomorrow morning.’ So the Grand Vizier gave a short sigh and went back to the beggar to relay the message. After this they continued

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The Adventures of Harun al-Rashid, Caliph of Baghdad

on their walk where they came upon an open square where a crowd was gathered watching some event. ‘This looks interesting,’ said the caliph. ‘Alas, sire, we will never get close enough to see,’ said Ja’far, looking at the large crowd. The caliph frowned. As the ruler of this land he was used to getting his own way so he strode up to the crowd and attempted to get through, only to be brutishly pushed back. ‘Wait your turn,’ snarled a man, and the caliph slunk back to where Ja’far was laughing softly at him. ‘If you want to be one of the people, you have to be prepared to be treated like one of the people,’ he said, and Harun scowled even more.

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The Adventures of Harun al-Rashid, Caliph of Baghdad

‘But we’re missing whatever it is,’ he whined. ‘Don’t worry. He’s here every day. You can always come back tomorrow,’ said a young voice from above. The men looked up to see a little boy grinning down at them from the roof of a market stall. ‘Can you tell us what the show is?’ Ja’far asked the boy kindly. ‘I could,’ said the boy. ‘Or you could climb up here and see for yourself.’ Ja’far stayed where he was but the caliph nimbly climbed up beside the boy. He looked out over the heads of the crowd and saw a well-dressed young man riding a beautiful brown horse at full speed round the open space. Using his spurs and a whip he mercilessly

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forced the animal to perform until it panted and sweated with its muzzle covered with foam and blood. ‘Whatever is that man doing?’ asked Harun. ‘I cannot say,’ said the boy, ‘but he comes here every day and performs the same act.’ ‘It’s barbaric,’ frowned the caliph, and he could see that many in the audience agreed with him. He called down to Ja’far. ‘When the man has finished tell him to come to the palace tomorrow morning for I wish to speak to him.’ Ja’far sighed and nodded, while the little boy gave the caliph a curious look. Harun grinned. ‘And you never saw me or my friend,’ he said, handing the boy a gold coin.

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The Adventures of Harun al-Rashid, Caliph of Baghdad

‘No sir,’ said the boy, smiling from ear to ear before quickly running off. The next morning the caliph entered the grand hall of the palace and sat down in his raised chair to greet his guests. There was the blind beggar, the horse rider, and also a third man that he didn’t know. Ja’far was also present. ‘Your Highness,’ said Ja’far, ‘I present to you the men you asked me to invite to the palace yesterday.’ The three guests all bowed themselves low before the caliph who bade them then rise so that he might begin. ‘Thank you all for coming,’ he said. ‘I should like to ask you some questions if I may?’ The men all bowed again, eager to please their glorious leader.

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The Adventures of Harun al-Rashid, Caliph of Baghdad

‘First the blind man,’ he said. ‘Pray, tell me, what is your name?’ ‘Abdullah, Your Highness,’ said the beggar nervously; he felt very out of place in this grand echoey building in his smelly rags. ‘Dear Abdullah,’ said the caliph, ‘your way of asking alms yesterday caused me some concern. I am worried for your well-being and would ask of you the reason you think you need punishment with your charity?’ These words greatly troubled Abdullah who threw himself down at Harun’s feet. ‘O great and benevolent ruler,’ he said. ‘You should not concern yourself with such a wretch as me. Believe me when I say it is just atonement for a fearful sin

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I have committed.’ ‘Indeed I believe you think this true,’ said the caliph, ‘but if you will, I should like to hear the tale and decide for myself.’ Abdullah bowed low. ‘As you wish.’

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The Story of Abdullah the Beggar

I

was born in this city to a wealthy family but was left an orphan while I was yet a young man. My parents’ business became mine and I worked very hard to look after the many camels that were hired out to merchants to carry their precious cargoes around the world. Sometimes I would accompany the merchants and do a bit of buying and selling myself, often returning with large profits. It was a good life. One day I was coming back from Balsora where forty of my best camels had just taken a supply of good wine

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The Adventures of Harun al-Rashid, Caliph of Baghdad

intended for India. We stopped to rest in a delightful spot with shady trees for me and a spring of fresh water for my camels. The afternoon was hazy and I was nearly asleep when a dervish appeared. The respected wise man, who everyone knows has no need of worldly possessions and who travels the world in a thoughtful manner ready to help any they meet, sat down beside me. I had been quite comfortable on my own but it was only polite that I offered him food to share and soon he was chattering away as he drank my wine and ate my rice. ‘You would not believe the wondrous place that I have just come from,’ he said in between mouthfuls. ‘Why, if

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The Story of Abdullah the Beggar

you were to take all of your fine camels there now and load them all up with its treasure, the remaining treasures would not even look disturbed there is so much of it!’ At this news I must admit that I became almost beside myself with excitement and greed. I found it fascinating that a man could be astonished by such a place yet walk away empty-handed! I know a dervish has no desire for worldly things but that did not mean I understood it. Surely he would have need of some money if only to give away to others – or better yet pay me for the food I was sharing. ‘If you know of such a place why did you not take any of the treasure?’ ‘Oh, I did,’ he replied. ‘I took as much

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as I could carry.’ ‘Where is this treasure now?’ I asked eagerly. ‘Oh, a kind man shared his water with me so I gave it all to him.’ ‘All?’ I said, surprised. ‘For a drop of water?’ The dervish nodded happily, which made me think. ‘Good dervish,’ I said. ‘I have an idea. If you should lead me to this place of wonders we could gather more of its fine treasure and in return I would offer you one of my camels so you could take more than a just handful of treasure with you. Imagine how many sips of water that would get you!’ The dervish inclined his head and thought about it.

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The Story of Abdullah the Beggar

‘My brother,’ he answered quietly, ‘you know as well as I do that you are behaving unjustly. Just one of your camels? Without me you would get no treasure at all. Would it not be fairer to offer me half of your camels?’ I could not deny that what the dervish said was perfectly reasonable but, in spite of this, I felt cheated, as if I was being taken for granted. Without me and my camels the dervish could only take a tiny amount of treasure! Still, I did not want to upset him and lose the chance of such a bounty and so I reluctantly agreed to give him half of my camels, twenty animals in total. With the deal decided we collected the camels together and set out to find this magnificent treasure trove. After

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The Adventures of Harun al-Rashid, Caliph of Baghdad

walking for some time the landscape became rocky and the valley we walked through became so narrow that the camels had to pass through one by one. Either side of us there rose great clifffaces that not even a nimble mountain goat could climb. This narrow passage was quite oppressive and I was very glad when it finally opened into a wider space. ‘We must leave the camels here,’ said the dervish, ‘while we go inside for the treasure.’ My mouth watered and my heart hammered in my chest, I was so excited. What would it all look like? What would so much gold feel like as I held it in my hands? I settled the camels and rejoined the

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The Story of Abdullah the Beggar

dervish who was kindling a fire out of some dry wood. As soon as it was alight he threw on it a handful of incense and pronounced a few words that I did not understand. A thick column of smoke rose high into the air. He held out his hand to separate the smoke into two dense, dark grey pillars. They widened and solidified to become real pillars to an entrance that led into somewhere else. I peered in, amazed, at a splendid room: all white and gold, richly decorated marble walls and huge glass lanterns, all lit to a beautiful shine with sunlight from a sun that was different from the hazy one behind us. And beyond that, more rooms. The dervish rose to his feet and stepped through the pillars into what

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could only be an enchanted palace of some kind. He turned from within the magnificent room and beckoned me to follow. I swallowed deeply. I felt nothing as I moved from one place to the other but I was most assuredly somewhere new. The air was heavy with humidity and the flowery scent of jasmine and lily. The very ground seemed to vibrate with a deep purr of languid comfort. It was a joy just to be here but when the dervish led me to the first treasure room I admit my joy of tranquil beauty was eclipsed by greed. I fell upon the first pile of gold coins I saw and in a frenzied rush started to stuff them into my sack.

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The dervish was also putting things in his bag but I noticed that he was more selective, choosing precious stones and carved objects over the cheaper, heavier coins; and so, following his wise example, I too became more discerning. We continued like this for the entire day until our camels were so loaded with bounty they could barely carry it.


The Story of Abdullah the Beggar

The dervish was right – even though we had taken much away, the magnificent palace did not seem any less splendid. Our day’s work was hardly noticeable and nothing remained but to seal up the entrance and go our separate ways; with twenty camels for me and twenty camels for the dervish. ‘Do not feel you have to wait for me,’ said the dervish. ‘I will finish here.’ I nodded happily, eager to be on my way with all my glorious loot. However, there was a niggling doubt in my mind. Was the dervish hiding something from me? I decided to look back as my twenty camels plodded onwards and I saw him dash back inside the magic palace.

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Enraged, I jumped down and ran back to follow him. Through the entrance I leaped and, quiet as a cat, followed him to a garden room with trailing jasmine climbing the walls. There I saw him reach into a large vase made of beaten gold and decorated with bright blue lapis lazuli. From it he retrieved a scoop of milky white ointment and put it into a simple wooden box, which he then slipped back into his pocket. When he turned he saw me watching. ‘Oh, I thought you had gone,’ he said. ‘I realised in my haste that I had not said a proper thank you,’ I lied, eyeing his pocket suspiciously. ‘I wonder though, what you have there, friend?’ The dervish took out the simple wooden box.

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The Story of Abdullah the Beggar

‘You mean this?’ he said. ‘Why, it is just a special kind of salve that I find helpful.’ The box did seem incredibly unexciting compared to everything else in the palace and then I remembered all my precious loot was presently outside completely unguarded. We both left and I watched to make sure the dervish closed the entrance properly, with no more secret trips. We exchanged full thanks and blessings and then finally went our separate ways. I should have been happy and content but somehow darkness filled my mind and instead of thinking how lucky I was to have this amazing treasure, I could only think how unlucky I was not to have more.

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The Adventures of Harun al-Rashid, Caliph of Baghdad

‘What does a dervish want with riches like that anyway?’ I said to myself. ‘And how come he had to have half my camels when he alone has the secret to enter the palace? He can go back whenever he wants for more treasure. I should have some of my camels back!’ With this idea firmly rooted in my head I halted my camels by the roadside and ran back after him. Camels are slow plodders and it did not take me long to reach him. He stopped and looked down at me with a curious expression. ‘My brother,’ I panted as soon as I could speak, ‘almost at the moment of our leaving a reflection occurred to me, which is perhaps new to you. You are a dervish by profession, yes? And so you

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The Story of Abdullah the Beggar

live a very simple life with no need for material wealth so I figure you do not realise the burden that you lay upon yourself when you gather into your hands such great wealth. For example, where will you put it all – you have no house? And how will you protect it all from robbers and petty thieves? Also I am worried because you do not know these camels. If they should take a dislike to you they might sit down and refuse to move. Let me take away some of this burden from you. Fewer camels would be much easier for you to manage.’ ‘You are right,’ replied the dervish. ‘I confess I had not thought it through properly. Choose any five you like and leave me with the rest.’

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The Adventures of Harun al-Rashid, Caliph of Baghdad

I nodded and selected five of the best camels, each laden with the precious stones and gold, leaving the dervish with fifteen. With a wave goodbye to the dervish, I tapped them on the behind with my stick and they started down the road. At first I was pleased: I had got exactly what I wanted, but the dervish had been so easy to deal with that I rather regretted not having asked for five more camels. I looked back. He had only gone a few paces so I called out. ‘One moment!’ I said, running back. ‘I am still thinking that maybe fifteen camels is too much for you. The truth is camel-driving is really rather a refined art. In your own interest I feel I should offer to take five more, maybe even

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The Story of Abdullah the Beggar

ten; as I am a seasoned camel herder it makes no difference to me whether I have two or two hundred.’ As before, the dervish made no qualms about this and easily handed over ten more camels. I now drove fifteen newly reclaimed camels in triumph. I now had thirty-five camels and he only five, which anyone might imagine would make me very content indeed. Alas, I am sorry to say, this was not the case. Maybe you have heard the saying ‘the more you have, the more you want’ and so it was with me. I found I could not rest as long as one solitary camel remained with the dervish and, returning to him, I redoubled my efforts until the last five

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camels were in my hands. ‘Make good use of them, my friend,’ said the dervish. ‘Remember, riches sometimes have wings if we keep them for ourselves while the poor are at our gates.’ It is with sorrow that I admit my mind’s eye was so blinded by the gold and precious jewels that I paid no heed to his wise counsel and instead found myself thinking about the simple wooden box containing the ointment the dervish had taken. It was the sole remaining item from the magnificent palace he had and, once again, my darkened mind filled with suspicion. Who would ever give up so much treasure willingly, unless they knew they had a treasure beyond compare hidden

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The Story of Abdullah the Beggar

in their pocket, I thought. And so I said casually, ‘What about that little box of ointment? Such a small thing, it seems hardly worth taking with you; you might as well let me have it. And really, a dervish who has given up worldly possessions has no need of ointment.’ Oh, if only he had refused my request! But then, supposing he had, maybe I would have resorted to force, so great was the madness of greed that had taken hold of me. However, far from refusing me, the dervish at once held it out, saying gracefully, ‘Take it, my friend, and if there is anything else I can do to make you happy you must let me know.’ My eyes held the box with a final

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triumphant stare. ‘Pray, tell me, what are the virtues of this ointment?’ ‘They are most curious and interesting,’ replied the dervish. ‘And this is how I found the treasure in the first place. You see, if you apply just a tiny bit of it to your left eyelid you will be granted sight that can pierce the very bowels of the earth and lead you to many secret hoards of treasure.’ ‘And that is how you found this trove we have just plundered?’ I gasped. ‘How many more have you seen? I must try it too! Make trial on me, I implore you! You will know how to apply it better than I and I am burning with impatience to test its charms.’ The dervish opened the box to reveal the milky white salve inside. ‘Close your

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eyes and I will apply the ointment to your left eye.’ I did as was bid and shut both my eyes while the dervish gently touched my left eyelid with a fingertip of ointment. ‘Now, open just your left eye,’ he explained. When I opened it I truly saw with a guided eye many treasures buried deep within the earth. Looking behind me I could see the magnificent palace as plain as day waiting behind the rocks. A few feet away I could see someone had lost a bangle which was now buried under the sands. I was in awe. All this time, however, I had been obliged to keep my right eye closed, which now was starting to become tricky with fatigue.

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‘Apply the ointment to my right eye too,’ I said to the dervish. ‘So that I might see better with both eyes.’ ‘Alas, it only works on the left eye,’ answered the dervish. ‘To put it on both eyes would cause blindness.’ Looking back I must have been blind already, blind with greed, for in spite of my experiences of nothing but a pure and honest dervish my suspicious mind told me he must be lying, that he was keeping some even greater benefit away from me. ‘My friend,’ I replied, smiling, ‘I see that you do joke with me. It is not natural that the same ointment should have two such opposite effects.’ ‘It is true all the same,’ said the dervish. ‘And it would be well for you to

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believe my word.’ But I would not believe. The dervish gave so much, so easily, that my suspicious mind simply could not trust him. I could only think that his niceness hid some greater benefit to himself. ‘I hear your words, dear dervish,’ I said. ‘But I must implore you to do as I say. Pray you put some of the ointment on my other eye.’ ‘I am your friend,’ said the dervish, ‘and so I am loath to do this to you. Think what it would be like to be blind and do not force me to do what you will regret.’ He was a wise and kind man but his words were lost on me. ‘My brother,’ I said firmly, ‘pray, say no more, but do what I ask. You have

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most generously responded to all my requests so far; do not spoil my view of you now for such a thing of little consequence. Let whatever happens happen and be it upon my own head, with no reproach for you.’ The dervish sighed. ‘It would appear there is no way to dissuade you.’ And so saying he took up some more of the ointment and smeared it on my right eyelid. My body fizzed with joy; a little ointment had worked wonders – I could only imagine how great it must be to have more! I opened both my eyes … and saw nothing. The world had become black. I blinked and blinked but nothing changed. I was as blind as you see me now.

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The Story of Abdullah the Beggar

I sank to my knees then and howled. ‘You spoke the truth!’ ‘Of course I did,’ said the dervish. ‘O what have I done to myself?’ I wailed. ‘Only now that my real eyes are closed do I see the truth. But, good brother, you, who are so kind and charitable, do you know how I can regain my sight?’ ‘Oh my dear friend,’ said the dervish sadly, ‘you have learned the lesson too late. I cannot cure you but it is a suitable punishment. The blindness of your heart has brought forth the blindness of your body. You have proved yourself unworthy of the riches that were given to you and now they have all passed into my hands, from where I can assure you they will flow

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into the hands of others less greedy and ungrateful than yourself.’ The dervish said no more as I heard him collect up all the camels and proceed on his way, leaving me speechless with shame and confusion. I had been given so much and yet now I had nothing. I stumbled and felt my way back


The Story of Abdullah the Beggar

to Baghdad where I have ever since lived off the alms others have given me, but in penance for my behaviour I do not accept such charity lightly and require a punishment to go with it to remind me of how bad a person I am. And this, O great Caliph, is my story.


The Adventures of Harun al-Rashid, Caliph of Baghdad

‘Oh, dear, dear Abdullah,’ said Harun sadly. ‘Truly your sin is great but there is no benefit to be gained from such behaviour. It is enough that you have learned the lesson. Better you pass that message on to others who might benefit than continue to blame yourself, which brings no use to anyone.’ Abdullah fell to his knees. ‘Kind and wise Caliph, you are right! My own chastisement is still a symptom of my self-centred ego! I should not be thinking of myself, but others! Thank you, thank you, you have helped me find my way in the darkness.’ Tears began to fall from Abdullah’s eyes and he suddenly blinked in surprise and shock. ‘What is this? I do think … yes! I do

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The Story of Abdullah the Beggar

think I see a bit of light where there was always darkness before!’ The others gasped in surprise. ‘Go to it, good Abdullah,’ said the caliph in delight. ‘See if your good works cannot give you back what you have lost!’ Abdullah laid many thanks and blessings upon the caliph and was led out of the hall with new joy in his heart. ‘And now,’ said the caliph, turning to the second man, the one who had ridden the horse so barbarically yesterday. ‘You, sir, what is your name?’ The man trembled before the mighty caliph and barely above a whisper said, ‘My name is Sidi Nouman.’ ‘Well, Sidi Nouman,’ observed the caliph, ‘I have been around horses all

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my life and yet never had occasion to treat one as badly as I saw you treat yours yesterday. Everyone present was horrified and as for myself, I was so angry that I very nearly revealed myself there and then to put a stop to it at once. Still, you have not the air of a cruel man and I would like to think there is a reason for such behaviour. Will you tell me your tale?’ At these words Sidi Nouman did pale considerably and look to the floor in dread, his mouth opening and closing with difficulty as if he wished to speak but did not know what best to say. At this the caliph softened. ‘Sidi Nouman,’ he said, ‘do not think of me as the great and mighty ruler of this land who has the power to give you

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whatever punishment I see fit …’ Ja’far coughed meaningfully. ‘… by which I mean to imply,’ Harun corrected, ‘that rather than fear me, you should think of me merely as a friend who would like to hear your story. If there is anything in it that you think may offend me, take courage, for I pardon you beforehand. Speak then openly and without fear, as to one who knows and loves you.’ ‘Although it is true that I am by no means a perfect soul, I am certainly not naturally cruel, as you have wisely seen, My Lord. I admit that the treatment of my horse is calculated to look bad and to set an evil example to others; yet I have not chastised it without reason and at the end of my tale I have hopes

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that I shall be judged more worthy of pity than punishment.’ And so, with a nervous swallow, Sidi Nouman at length began his tale.

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The Story of Sidi Nouman

I

was born into an average life, neither poor nor rich, and lived comfortably enough, although without exuberance. Having therefore a settled fortune the only thing I now needed was a wife to share my life with. I met and married a lovely girl called Amina, who at first seemed perfect for me but on the very day after our marriage she changed completely. No longer did she look upon me with affection, in fact she barely acknowledged my existence at all! One night as I yet again dined alone

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The Arabian Nights tales are some of the most enduringly entertaining stories ever written. Compiled in Arabic during the Islamic Golden Age, numerous tales depict legends, sorcery and magic intermingled with real people, places and events. Some tales are framed within other tales while others are perfectly self-contained. The result is a superb collection of richly layered narratives; whether adventure, historical, tragic, comic or romantic, they have delighted audiences for centuries. Arabian Nights Adventures is a wonderful collection of children’s books that brings this rich heritage to life. Instead of a vast compendium of stories, each book in the series is devoted to a single tale from The Nights. The best tales have been selected. There are traditional favourites such as Aladdin and his Wonderful Lamp, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves and The Seven Voyages of Sinbad the Sailor, and less well-known gems such as Gulnare of the Sea, The Enchanted Horse, The Merchant and the Jinni and more. Kelley Townley provides masterful contemporary renderings of these ancient treasures while Anja Gram’s illustrations are full of the spice, wit and magic of the stories themselves. The series style is


fresh and vibrant and the print inside is clear and beautifully typeset. When placed on bookshelves the distinctive spines reveal a wonderful image that grows as new stories are added: a design made specially for one thousand and one nights’ tales! And with the highest of editorial standards and attention to detail, this series will delight readers everywhere and bring the Islamic Golden Age gloriously to life.

Kelley Townley trained as a teacher and gained her MA in creative writing with distinction from Bath Spa University. She may be found either writing children’s stories – happily losing herself in the dream world of the human imagination – or plotting new ways to engage readers, which are the same things really. Kelley lives near Bath with her family, the writer’s obligatory cats and an ever growing number of woodlice.

Anja Gram has illustrated numerous children’s books and magazines. Her highly distinctive style captivates and endears readers around the world. She lives and works in Copenhagen, Denmark.


1

The Adventures of Prince Camar and Princess Badoura

2

Aladdin and his Wonderful Lamp ISBN 978-1-911030-01-0

3

Gulnare of the Sea

ISBN 978-1-911030-02-7

4

Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves

ISBN 978-1-911030-03-4

5

The Seven Voyages of Sinbad the Sailor

ISBN 978-1-911030-04-1

6

The Enchanted Horse

ISBN 978-1-911030-05-8

7

The Talking Bird, the Singing Tree ISBN 978-1-911030-06-5 and the Golden Water

8

The Merchant and the Jinni

ISBN 978-1-911030-07-2

9

The Tale of Zubaidah and the Three Qalandars

ISBN 978-1-911030-08-9

Adventures of Harun 10 The al-Rashid, Caliph of Baghdad

ISBN 978-1-911030-09-6

Three Princes, the Princess 11 The and the Jinni Pari Banou

ISBN 978-1-911030-10-2

12 The Fisherman and the Jinni

ISBN 978-1-911030-11-9

13 The King’s Jester

ISBN 978-1-911030-12-6

ISBN 978-1-911030-00-3


The complete Arabian Nights Adventures series and individual titles are available from leading bookstores or may be ordered direct from the publisher: Harpendore Publishing Limited 34 Priory Road, Richmond TW9 3DF, United Kingdom Telephone: +44 (0)20 3667 3600 Email: enquiries@harpendore.co.uk Website: www.harpendore.co.uk TO ORDER: Please quote title, author and ISBN, your full name and the address where the order is to be sent. Contact us for the latest prices (including postage and packing) and availability information. Cheques and postal orders should be made payable to: ‘Harpendore Publishing Limited’ All our titles may also be purchased online via our website at www.harpendore.co.uk For a complete list of titles and the latest catalogue visit www.harpendore.co.uk


Four strangers attend the palace of the caliph – a blind beggar, a man who illtreats his horse, a merchant with a mystery regarding some olives and a youth with a beautiful falcon. Each has been the victim of folly or misfortune and comes in search of justice and redemption. Here are their stories. A collection of four amazing tales from The Arabian Nights.

Look out for more Arabian Nights Adventures www.harpendore.co.uk

ISBN 978-1-911030-09-6

HARPENDORE

9 781911

030096

The Adventures of Harun al-Rashid, Caliph of Baghdad (preview)  
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