The Arabian Nights Entertainments - online book

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

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THE ENVIOUS MAN AND THE ENVIED 93
All the way along the streets I had been the object of curiosity to a vast crowd, which had filled every door­way and every window, and it was amidst their shouts and cheers that I was ushered into the presence of the Sultan.
I approached the throne on which he was seated and made him three low bows, then prostrated myself at his feet to the surprise of everyone, who could not under­stand how it was possible that a monkey should be able to distinguish a Sultan from other people, and to pay him the respect due to his rank. However, excepting the usual speech, I omitted none of the common forms attend­ing a royal audience.
When it was over the Sultan dismissed all the court, keeping with him only the chief of the eunuchs and a little slave. He then passed into another room and ordered food to be brought, making signs to me to sit at table with him and eat. I rose from my seat, kissed the ground, and took my place at the table, eating, as you may suppose, with care and in moderation.
Before the dishes were removed I made signs that writing materials, which stood in one corner of the room, should be laid in front of me. I then took a peach and wrote on it some verses in praise of the Sultan, who was speechless with astonishment; but when I did the same thing on a glass from which I had drunk he murmured to himself, ' Why, a man who could do as much would be cleverer than any other man, and this is only a monkey! '
Supper being over chessmen were brought, and the Sultan signed to me to know if I would play with him. I kissed the ground and laid my hand on my head to show that I was read}' to show myself worthy of the honour. He beat me the first game, but I won the second and third, and seeing that this did not quite please I dashed off a verse by way of consolation.
The Sultan was so enchanted with all the talents of which I had given proof that he wished me to exhibit
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