And when I heard the address of the Prince of the Faithful, I said to him, Asl knowledge poster. Know, O Prince of the Faithful, that I am the sheykh Eṣ-Ṣámit (the silent): I possess, of science, a large stock; and as to the gravity of my understanding, and the quickness of my apprehension, and the paucity of my speech, they are unbounded: my trade is that of a barber; and yesterday, early in the morning, I saw these ten men proceeding to the boat; whereupon I mixed myself with them, and embarked with them, thinking that they had met together for an entertainment; but soon it appeared that they were criminals.
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And the guards came to them, and put chains upon their necks, and upon my neck also they put a chain; and from the excess of my generosity I was silent, and spoke not: my speech was not heard on that occasion, on account of the excess of my generosity; and they proceeded with us until they stationed us before thee, and thou gavest the order to strike off the heads of the ten, and I remained before the executioner, and acquainted you not with my case. Was not this great generosity which compelled me to accompany them to slaughter? But throughout my life I have acted in this excellent manner. When the Khaleefeh heard my words, and knew that I was of a very generous character, and of few words, and not inclined to impertinence as this young man, whom I delivered from horrors, asserteth, he said, Hast thou brothers? I answered, Yes: six.—And are thy six brothers, said he, like thyself, distinguished by science and knowledge, and paucity of speech? I answered, They lived not so as to be like me: thou hast disparaged me by thy supposition.
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O Prince of the Faithful, and it is not proper that thou shouldst compare my brothers to me; for through the abundance of their speech, and the smallness of their generous qualities, each of them experienced a defect: the first was lame; the second, deprived of many of his teeth; the third, blind; the fourth, one-eyed; the fifth, cropped of his ears; and the sixth had both his lips cut off:72 and think not, O Prince of the Faithful, that I am a man of many words: nay, I must prove to thee that I am of a more generous character than they; and each of them met with a particular adventure, in consequence of which he experienced a defect: if thou please, I will relate their stories to thee. Know, O Prince of the Faithful, that the first (who was named El-Baḳbooḳ) was the lame one.
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