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    3- Old Man and the Hind

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    Chapter 4
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    I shall begin my story then; listen to me, I pray you, with
    attention. This hind you see is my cousin; nay, what is more, my
    wife. She was only twelve years of age when I married her, so
    that I may justly say, she ought to regard me equally as her
    father, her kinsman, and her husband.

    We lived together twenty years, without any children. Her
    barrenness did not effect any change in my love; I still treated
    her with much kindness and affection. My desire of having
    children only induced me to purchase a slave, by whom I had a
    son, who was extremely promising. My wife being jealous,
    cherished a hatred for both mother and child, but concealed her
    aversion so well, that I knew nothing of it till it was too late.

    Mean time my son grew up, and was ten years old, when I was
    obliged to undertake a long journey. Before I went, I recommended
    to my wife, of whom I had no mistrust, the slave and her son, and
    prayed her to take care of them during my absence, which was to
    be for a whole year. She however employed that time to satisfy
    her hatred. She applied herself to magic, and when she had learnt
    enough of that diabolical art to execute her horrible design, the
    wretch carried my son to a desolate place, where, by her
    enchantments, she changed him into a calf, and gave him to my
    farmer to fatten, pretending she had bought him. Her enmity did
    not stop at this abominable action, but she likewise changed the
    slave into a cow, and gave her also to my farmer.

    At my return, I enquired for the mother and child. "Your slave,"
    said she, "is dead; and as for your son, I know not what is
    become of him, I have not seen him this two months." I was
    afflicted at the death of the slave, but as she informed me my
    son had only disappeared, I was in hopes he would shortly return.
    However, eight months passed, and I heard nothing of him. When
    the festival of the great Bairam was to be celebrated, I sent to
    my farmer for one of the fattest cows to sacrifice. He
    accordingly sent me one, and the cow which was brought me proved
    to be my slave, the unfortunate mother of my son. I bound her,
    but as I was going to sacrifice her, she bellowed piteously, and
    I could perceive tears streaming from her eyes. This seemed to me
    very extraordinary, and finding myself moved with compassion, I
    could not find in my heart to give her a blow, but ordered my
    farmer to get me another.

    My wife, who was present, was enraged at my tenderness, and
    resisting an order which disappointed her malice, she cried out,
    "What are you doing, husband? Sacrifice that cow; your farmer has
    not a finer, nor one fitter for the festival." Out of deference
    to my wife, I came again to the cow, and combating my compassion,
    which suspended the sacrifice, was going to give her the fatal
    blow, when the victim redoubling her tears, and bellowing,
    disarmed me a second time. I then put the mallet into the
    farmer's hands, and desired him to take it and sacrifice her
    himself, for her tears and bellowing pierced my heart.

    The farmer, less compassionate than myself; sacrificed her; but
    when he flayed her, found her to be nothing except bones, though
    to she seemed very fat. "Take her yourself," said I to him,
    "dispose of her in alms, or any way you please: and if you have a
    very fat calf, bring it me in her stead." I did not enquire what
    he did with the cow, but soon after he had taken her away, he
    returned with a fat calf. Though I knew not the calf was my son,
    yet I could not forbear being moved at the sight of him. On his
    part, as soon as he beheld me, he made so great an effort to come
    near me, that he broke his cord, threw himself at my feet, with
    his head against the ground, as if he meant to excite my
    compassion, conjuring me not to be so cruel as to take his life;
    and did as much as was possible for him, to signify that he was
    my son.

    I was more surprised and affected with this action, than with the
    tears of the cow. I felt a tender pity, which interested me on
    his behalf, or rather, nature did its duty. "Go," said I to the
    farmer, "carry home that calf, take great care of him, and bring
    me another in his stead immediately."

    As soon as my wife heard me give this order, she exclaimed, "What
    are you about, husband? Take my advice, sacrifice no other calf
    but that." "Wife," I replied, "I will not sacrifice him, I will
    spare him, and pray do not you oppose me." The wicked woman had
    no regard to my wishes; she hated my son too much to consent that
    I should save him. I tied the poor creature, and taking up the
    fatal knife, was going to plunge it into my son's throat, when
    turning his eyes bathed with tears, in a languishing manner,
    towards me, he affected me so much that I had not strength to
    kill him. I let the knife fall, and told my wife positively that
    I would have another calf to sacrifice, and not that. She used
    all her endeavours to persuade me to change my resolution; but I
    continued firm, and pacified her a little, by promising that I
    would sacrifice him against the Bairam of the following year.

    The next morning my farmer desired to speak with me alone. "I
    come," said he, "to communicate to you a piece of intelligence,
    for which I hope you will return me thanks. I have a daughter
    that has some skill in magic. Yesterday, as I carried back the
    calf which you would not sacrifice, I perceived she laughed when
    she saw him, and in a moment after fell a weeping. I asked her
    why she acted two such opposite parts at one and the same time. ‘
    rather,' replied she, ‘ the calf you bring back is our landlord's
    son; I laughed for joy to see him still alive, and wept at the
    remembrance of the sacrifice that was made the other day of his
    mother, who was changed into a cow. These two metamorphoses were
    made by the enchantments of our master's wife, who hated both the
    mother and son.' This is what my daughter told me," said the
    farmer, "and I come to acquaint you with it."

    I leave you to judge how much I was surprised. I went immediately
    to my farmer, to speak to his daughter myself. As soon as I
    arrived, I went forthwith to the stall where my son was kept; he
    could not return my embraces, but received them in such a manner,
    as fully satisfied me he was my son.

    The farmer's daughter then came to us: "My good maid," said I,
    "can you restore my son to his former shape?" "Yes," she replied,
    "I can." "Ah!" said I, "if you do, I will make you mistress of
    all my fortune." She answered me, smiling, "You are our master,
    and I well know what I owe to you; but I cannot restore your son
    to his former shape, except on two conditions: the first is, that
    you give him to me for my husband; and the second, that you allow
    me to punish the person who changed him into a calf." "As to the
    first," I replied, "I agree with all my heart: nay, I promise you
    more, a considerable fortune for yourself, independently of what
    I design for my son: in a word, you shall see how I will reward
    the great service I expect from you. As to what relates to my
    wife, I also agree; a person who has been capable of committing
    such a criminal action, justly deserves to be punished. I leave
    her to your disposal, only I must pray you not to take her life."
    "I am going then," answered she, "to treat her as she treated
    your son." "To this I consent," said I, "provided you first of
    all restore to me my son."

    The damsel then took a vessel full of water, pronounced over it
    words that I did not understand, and addressing herself to the
    calf, "O calf, if thou west created by the almighty and sovereign
    master of the world such as thou appearest at this time, continue
    in that form; but if thou be a man, and art changed into a calf
    by enchantment, return to thy natural shape, by the permission of
    the sovereign Creator." As she spoke, she threw water upon him,
    and in an instant he recovered his natural form.

    "My son, my dear son," cried I, immediately embracing him with
    such a transport of joy that I knew not what I was doing, "it is
    heaven that hath sent us this young maid, to remove the horrible
    charm by which you were enchanted, and to avenge the injury done
    to you and your mother. I doubt not but in acknowledgment you
    will make your deliverer your wife, as I have promised." He
    joyfully consented; but before they married, she changed my wife
    into a hind; and this is she whom you see here. I desired she
    might have this shape, rather than another less agreeable, that
    we might see her in the family without horror.

    Since that time, my son is become a widower, and gone to travel.
    It being now several years since I heard of him, I am come abroad
    to inquire after him; and not being willing to trust anybody with
    my wife, till I should return home, I thought fit to take her
    everywhere with me.

    "This is the history of myself and this hind: is it not one of
    the most wonderful and surprising?" "I admit it is," said the
    genie, "and on that account forgive the merchant one third of his

    When the first old man had finished his story, the second, who
    led the two black dogs, addressed the genie, and said: "I am
    going to tell you what happened to me, and these two black dogs
    you see by me; and I am certain you will say, that my story is
    yet more surprising than that which you have just heard. But when
    I have done this, I hope you will be pleased to pardon the
    merchant another third of his offence." "I will," replied the
    genie, "provided your story surpass that of the hind." Then the
    second old man began in this manner--
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