352 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS
Cogia's vase in his shop; but he denied having touched it, and swore that as to what it contained he only knew what Ali Cogia had told him, and called them all to witness the insult that had been put upon him.
' You have brought it on yourself,' said Ali Cogia, taking him by the arm, ' and as you appeal to the law, the law you shall have ! Let us see if you will dare to repeat your story before the Cadi.'
Now as a good Mussulman the merchant was forbidden to refuse this choice of a judge, so he accepted the test, and said to Ali Cogia, i Very well; I should like nothing better. We shall soon see which of us is in the right.'
So the two men presented themselves before the Cadi, and Ali Cogia again repeated his tale. The Cadi asked what witnesses he had. Ali Cogia replied that he had not taken this precaution, as he had considered the man his friend, and up to that time had always found him honest.
The merchant, on his side, stuck to his story, and offered to swear solemuly that not only had he never stolen the thousand gold pieces, but that he did not even know they were there. The Cadi allowed him to take the oath, and pronounced him innocent.
Ali Cogia, furious at having to suffer such a loss, protested against the verdict, declaring that he woulo appeal to the Caliph, Haroun-al-Raschid, himself. But the Cadi paid no attention to his threats, and was quite satisfied that he had done what was right.
Judgment being given the merchant returned home triumphant, and Ali Cogia went back to his inn to draw up a petition to the Caliph. The next morning he placed himself on the road along which the Caliph must pass after mid-day prayer, and stretched out his petition to the officer who walked before the Caliph, whose duty it was to collect such things, and on entering the palace to hand them to his master. There Haroun-al-Raschid studied them carefully.
Knowing this custom, Ali Cogia followed the Caliph