(Scheherazade) A long time ago, there was a very rich merchant. He used to go too far places from time to time to do his business. Once he set out for his journey putting a few eatables in his pocket. When he was coming back after finishing his business, on the 4th day of his journey, he felt the heat scorching, so he branched from his road and came to a walnut tree where a fountain of clear water was running. He took some food, drank water, and took some rest there. As he was taking some rest, he saw a huge Genie (Jinn) coming angrily towards him.
Genie: (Cried in Terrible Voice) “Arise, and let me kill you as you have killed my son!”
Merchant: “Sir, May I know what have I done to you so that you have to come to kill me?”
Genie: “I shall kill you, as you have killed my son.”
Merchant: “But, how can I have killed your son? I do not know him, and I have never even seen him.”
Genie: “When you arrived here did you not sit down on the ground? and did you not take some dates from your wallet, and whilst eating them did not you throw the stones about?”
Merchant: “Yes, I certainly did so.”
Genie: “Then I tell you, you have killed my son, for whilst you were throwing about the stones, my son passed by, and one of them struck him in the eye and killed him. So I shall kill you.”
Merchant: “Ah, sir, forgive me!”
Genie: “I will have no mercy on you,”
Merchant: “But I killed your son quite unintentionally, so I beg you to spare my life.”
Genie: ” I shall kill you as you have killed my son,”
Merchant: “One word more, I entreat you. Grant me a little delay; just a short time to go home sir and bid my wife and children farewell, and to make my will. When I have done this I will come back here, and you shall kill me.”
Genie: “But, if I grant you the delay you ask, I am afraid you will not come back here.”
Merchant: “I give you my word of honor, that I will come back without fail.”
Genie: “How long do you require?”
Merchant: “I ask you for a year’s grace, I promise you that tomorrow after twelve months, I shall be waiting under these trees to give myself up to you.”
(Scheherazade) On this, the genie left him near the fountain and disappeared. The merchant, having recovered from his fright, mounted his horse and went on his road. When the merchant arrived home his wife and children received him with the greatest joy. But instead of embracing them, he began to weep so bitterly.
Merchant’s Wife: “Tell us, I’ll pray for you, what has happened?.”
Merchant: “Alas! I have only a year to live.” Then he told them what had passed between him and the genie, and how he had given his word to return at the end of a year to be killed. When they heard this sad news they were in despair and wept much.
(Scheherazade) The next day the merchant began to settle his affairs, and first of all to pay his debts. He gave presents to his friends and large alms to the poor. The year soon passed away, and he was obliged to depart. At length, he reached the place where he had first seen the genie, on the very day that he had appointed. He dismounted and sat down at the edge of the fountain, where he awaited the genie in terrible suspense. Whilst he was thus waiting an old man leading a gazelle came towards him.
First Old Man: “May I ask you brother, what brought you to this desert place, where there are so many evil genies about?”
Merchant: “Oh Sir, such is my fate.”
Then he told him what had passed between him and the genie and how he has given his word to return at the end of the year to be killed.
First Old Man: “This is a most marvelous affair. I should like to be a witness to your interview with the genie.”
(Scheherazade) In the meantime, another old man came there with his two black dogs. He also asked them what were they doing there. He also got curious to know the fate of the merchant, so he also sat down there with them. In the meantime, the third man with a she‐mule also came there and he also sat down there with them in curiosity. They soon saw in the distance a thick smoke, like a cloud of dust. This smoke came nearer and nearer, and then, all at once, it vanished, and they saw the genie, who approached the merchant.
Genie: “Get up and let me kill you as you killed my son.”
First Old Man: “O King of the Genie, I beg of you to stay your fury and to listen to me. I am going to tell you my story and that of the Gazelle I have with me, and if you find it more marvelous than that of the merchant whom you are about to kill, I hope that you will do away with the third part of his punishment?”
**** In the Palace ****
Scheherazade, at this point, seeing that it was day, and knowing that the Sultan always rose very early to attend the council, stopped speaking.
Dinarzade: “Wow sister, it is a wonderful story.”
Scheherazade: “The rest is still more wonderful, and you would say so if the sultan would allow me to live another day.”
Shahriyar:(to himself) “I Won’t slay her until I hear some more of her wondrous tales.”
All this time the grand vizier was in a terrible state of anxiety. But he was much delighted when he saw the Sultan enter the council-chamber without giving the terrible command that he was expecting.