The Arabian Nights Entertainments - online book

Children's Classic Fairy Tales From The East, Edited By Andrew Lang

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consult her sisters; and after having talked over the matter with them, she returned to tell him that he and his two friends would be welcome to join their company. They entered and bowed politely to the ladies and their guests. Then Zobeida, as the mistress, came forward and said gravely, ' You are welcome here, but I hope you will allow me to beg one thing of you— have as many eyes as you like, but no tongues; and ask no questions about anything you see, however strange it may appear to you.'
' Madam,' returned the vizir, ' you shall be obeyed. We have quite enough to please and interest us without troubling ourselves about that with which we have no concern.' Then they all sat down, and drank to the health of the new comers.
While the vizir, Giafar, was talking to the ladies the Caliph was occupied in wondering who they could be, and why the three Calenders had each lost his right eye. He was burning to inquire the reason of it all, but was. silenced by Zobeida's request, so he tried to rouse him­self and to take his part in the conversation, which was very lively, the subject of discussion being the many different sorts of pleasures that there were in the world. After some time the Calenders got up and performed some curious dances, which delighted the rest of the company.
When they had finished Zobeida rose from her seat, and, taking Amina by the hand, she said to her, ' My sister, our friends will excuse us if we seem to forget their presence and fulfil our nightly task.' Amina under­stood her sister's meaning, and collecting the dishes, glasses, and musical instruments, she carried them away, while Sadie swept the hall and put everything in order. Having done this she begged the Calenders to sit on a sofa on one side of the room, and the Caliph and his; rriends to place themselves opposite. As to the porter., she requested him to come and help her and her sister.
Shortly after Amina entered carrying a seat, which she
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