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    4- Old Man and the Two Black Dogs

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    Chapter 5
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    Great prince of genies, you must know that we are three brothers,
    the two black dogs and myself. Our father, when he died, left
    each of us one thousand sequins. With that sum, we all became
    merchants. A little time after we had opened shop, my eldest
    brother, one of these two dogs, resolved to travel and trade in
    foreign countries. With this view, he sold his estate, and bought
    goods suited to the trade intended to follow.

    He went away, and was absent a whole year. At the expiration of
    this time, a poor man, who I thought had come to ask alms,
    presented himself before me in my shop. I said to him, "God help
    you." He returned my salutation, and continued, "Is it possible
    you do not know me?" Upon this I looked at him narrowly, and
    recognised him: "Ah, brother," cried I, embracing him, "how could
    I know you in this condition?" I made him come into my house, and
    asked him concerning his health and the success of his travels.
    "Do not ask me that question," said he; "when you see me, you see
    all: it would only renew my grief, to relate to you the
    particulars of the misfortunes I have experienced since I left
    you, which have reduced me to my present condition."

    I immediately shut up my shop, and taking him to a bath, gave him
    the best clothes I had. Finding on examining my books, that I had
    doubled my stock, that is to say, that I was worth two thousand
    sequins, I gave him one half; "With that," said I, "brother, you
    may make up your loss." He joyfully accepted the present, and
    having repaired his fortunes, we lived together, as before.

    Some time after, my second brother, who is the other of these two
    dogs, would also sell his estate. His elder brother and myself
    did all we could to divert him from his purpose, but without
    effect. He disposed of it, and with the money bought such goods
    as were suitable to the trade which he designed to follow. He
    joined a caravan, and departed. At the end of the year he
    returned in the same condition as my other brother. Having myself
    by this time gained another thousand sequins, I made him a
    present of them. With this sum he furnished his shop, and
    continued his trade.

    Some time after, one of my brothers came to me to propose that I
    should join them in a trading voyage; I immediately declined.
    "You have travelled," said I, "and what have you gained by it?
    Who can assure me, that I shall be more successful than you have
    been?" It was in vain that they urged open me all the
    considerations they thought likely to gain me over to their
    design, for I constantly refused; but after having resisted their
    solicitations five whole years, they importuned me so much, that
    at last they overcame my resolution. When, however, the time
    arrived that we were to make preparations for our voyage, to buy
    the goods necessary to the undertaking, I found they had spent
    all, and had not one dirrim left of the thousand sequins I had
    given to each of them. I did not, on this account, upbraid them.
    On the contrary, my stock being still six thousand sequins, I
    shared the half of it with them, telling them, "My brothers, we
    must venture these three thousand sequins, and hide the rest in
    some secure place: that in case our voyage be not more successful
    than yours was formerly, we may have wherewith to assist us, and
    to enable us to follow our ancient way of living." I gave each of
    them a thousand sequins, and keeping as much for myself, I buried
    the other three thousand in a corner of my house. We purchased
    goods, and having embarked them on board a vessel, which we
    freighted betwixt us, we put to sea with a favourable wind.

    After two months sail, we arrived happily at port, where we
    landed, and had a very good market for our goods. I, especially,
    sold mine so well, that I gained ten to one. With the produce we
    bought commodities of that country, to carry back with us for
    sale.

    When we were ready to embark on our return, I met on the sea-
    shore a lady, handsome enough, but poorly clad. She walked up to
    me gracefully, kissed my hand, besought me with the greatest
    earnestness imaginable to marry her, and take her along with me.
    I made some difficulty to agree to this proposal; but she urged
    so many things to persuade me that I ought not to object to her
    on account of her poverty, and that I should have all the reason
    in the world to be satisfied with her conduct, that at last I
    yielded. I ordered proper apparel to be made for her; and after
    having married her, according to form, I took her on board, and
    we set sail. I found my wife possessed so many good qualities,
    that my love to her every day increased. In the mean time my two
    brothers, who had not managed their affairs as successfully as I
    had mine, envied my prosperity; and suffered their feelings to
    carry them so far, that they conspired against my life; and one
    night, when my wife and I were asleep, threw us both into the
    sea.

    My wife proved to be a fairy, and, by consequence, a genie, so
    that she could not be drowned; but for me, it is certain I must
    have perished, without her help. I had scarcely fallen into the
    water, when she took me up, and carried me to an island. When day
    appeared, she said to me, "You see, husband, that by saving your
    life, I have not rewarded you ill for your kindness to me. You
    must know, that I am a fairy, and being upon the sea-shore, when
    you were going to embark, I felt a strong desire to have you for
    my husband; I had a mind to try your goodness, and presented
    myself before you in disguise. You have dealt generously by me,
    and I am glad of an opportunity of returning my acknowledgment.
    But I am incensed against your brothers, and nothing will satisfy
    me but their lives."

    I listened to this discourse with admiration; I thanked the fairy
    the best way I could, for the great kindness she had done me;
    "But, Madam," said I, "as for my brothers, I beg you to pardon
    them; whatever cause of resentment they have given me, I am not
    cruel enough to desire their death." I then informed her what I
    had done for them, but this increased her indignation; and she
    exclaimed, "I must immediately pursue those ungrateful traitors,
    and take speedy vengeance on them. I will destroy their vessel,
    and sink them into the bottom of the sea." "My good lady,"
    replied I, "for heaven's sake forbear; moderate your anger,
    consider that they are my brothers, and that we ought to return
    good for evil."

    I pacified her by these words; and as soon as I had concluded,
    she transported me in a moment from the island to the roof of my
    own house, which was terraced, and instantly disappeared. I
    descended, opened the doors, and dug up the three thousand
    sequins I had formerly secreted. I went afterwards to my shop,
    which I also opened; and was complimented by the merchants, my
    neighbours, upon my return. When I went back to my house, I
    perceived there two black dogs, which came up to me in a very
    submissive manner: I could not divine the meaning of this
    circumstance, which greatly astonished me. But the fairy, who
    immediately appeared, said, "Husband, be not surprised to see
    these dogs, they are your brothers." I was troubled at this
    declaration, and asked her by what power they were so
    transformed. "I did it," said she, "or at least authorised one of
    my sisters to do it, who at the same time sunk their ship. You
    have lost the goods you had on board, but I will compensate you
    another way. As to your two brothers, I have condemned them to
    remain five years in that shape. Their perfidiousness too well
    deserves such a penance." Having thus spoken and told me where I
    might hear of her, she disappeared.

    The five years being now nearly expired, I am travelling in quest
    of her; and as I passed this way, I met this merchant, and the
    good old man who led the hind, and sat down by them. This is my
    history, O prince of genies! do not you think it very
    extraordinary?" "I own it is," replied the genie, "and on that
    account I remit the merchant the second third of the crime which
    he has committed against me."

    As soon as the second old man had finished, the third began his
    story, after repeating the request of the two former, that the
    genie would pardon the merchant the other third of his crime,
    provided what he should relate surpassed in singularity of
    incidents the narratives he had already heard. The genie made him
    the same promise as he had given the others.

    The third old man related his story to the genie; and it exceeded
    the two former stories so much, in the variety of wonderful
    adventures, that the genie was astonished; and no sooner heard
    the conclusion, than he said to the old man, "I remit the other
    third of the merchant's crime on account of your story. He is
    greatly obliged to all of you, for having delivered him out of
    his danger by what you have related, for to this he owes his
    life." Having spoken thus he disappeared, to the great
    contentment of the company.

    The merchant failed not to make due acknowledgment to his
    deliverers. They rejoiced to see him out of danger; and bidding
    him adieu, each of them proceeded on his way. The merchant
    returned to his wife and children, and passed the rest of his
    days with them in peace.
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