In the time of Haroun-al Rashid a merchant in Baghdad died leaving his son the sole heir to his vast wealth. Abou Hassan divided up his wealth and one portion he hid away and the second portion for his needs.
Abou inherited besides wealth, gift of the gab. He had so many friends who dropped in at all hours and the young man entertained them all. His playmates who had grown up found it was much more pleasant to keep him company. They ate and drank and what fun they all had! Abou the wag didn’t mind nor did they.
Having exhausted his wealth Abou Hassan found he had lost his company as well. No one thought his gift of the gab was worth wasting time for.
Poor Abou! He was stunned. He vowed he would never more have a friend but entertain strangers and that too only for one night. He dug up the second lot for this purpose.
Days passed by and Abou entertained strangers strictly for one night.
One night the Caliph of Baghdad going round the city in disguise followed by guards found himself in front of his house. Abou Hassan as the custom was invited the strangers into the house. The Prince of the Faithful was pleased with his hospitality and his gift of the gab. “Who are you, young man” asked the stranger. He told his story and the caliph laughed hard and they whiled away till late into the night. He asked if he had any wish list. Abou Hassan said, ‘If it were within my power to do I would beat the hell out of the local Imam and the four sheikhs who always complain that my house is rocking with laughter and therefore, a house of sin.” He asked the stranger if it seemed so to him. He said the Imam and the sheikhs were wrong. When the cups were passed around next the caliph’s companion caught his eye and slipped a ball of bang into it. Abou drinking it fell unconscious.
Upon the caliph’s orders the heavily drugged Abou Hassan was set upon a mule and taken to the palace.Next morning Abou Hassan woke up and he was perplexed to see slave girls attending on him and addressing as though he were the Prince of the Faithful. He called his guards and they also confirmed it.He dismissed them.
More confounded he called for his vizier who prostrated himself and saluted him as he would to the Prince of the Faithful. He sent him away not still convinced. “I must be what others say I am. ” he mused and called for his vizier who came instantly. He ordered a gift of hundred pieces of gold to one living in such and street. ” Give the woman, she is the mother of Abou Hassan the wag , this gift with my salutations. ” Before dismissing he ordered him also to record the names of the Imam and four sheikhs living in the vicinity and write out an order for thousand leashes to each. Heordered the vizier to enter reason for punishment as ‘frivolous complaints’. The vizier said,’to hear is to obey’ and left.
Having discharged the day’s business he called the slave girl named Willow- waist to bring his slippers and asked the slave girl named Camel’s snout to prepare his bath. They instantly obeyed him. The slave who served him supper as instructed by Haroun al Rashid slipped a piece of bhang in his wine cup. Having drunk he fell asleep.
Next morning he woke up in his own house and looked at his mother. He felt his bile rising, “Where is Willow waist, you dog-faced hag!” His mother was frightened and came to him and asked what was wrong with him. He got angry and cursed her, “How dare you enter into the palace without permission?” His mother began wailing and beating her chest. “Oh son you are bewitched. Some Genii got in you.” In reply he became enraged and pushed her out of the house. He bawled out for his vizier. No one heard him.
He was certain the world had overnight changed.
Abou Hassan is still with us. He is among those rebels fighting in Syria. He is among Jihadist elements, he talks of establishing Grand Caliphate. He talks of sending anyone who is gullible enough to believe in him to be ‘martyr’. He is awakened but still his mind is befuddled with sleep. No good shall come out of such wags.