The Third Sheikh Tells His Tale
“O Jinn! This she-mule happens to be my wife. It so happened I had to be away for one whole year. When I returned home earlier than expected I found her in bed with a slave.
When she saw me she got up and hurriedly came at me with a jug of water. Reciting some spell she sprinkled me with water. She commanded, ‘You are a dog!’
Instantly I became a dog. She drove me out from my house.
I ran through the doorway and went on running till I came before a butcher’s shop. The butcher took pity on me and threw some pieces of meat. I ate to my fill and hung about him till sundown.
Closing shop he took me home. When his daughter saw me she covered her face with a veil saying,
‘Do you have to bring men home?’
Before the butcher could recover she said,
‘This dog is a man.’
She took some water from a jug and said some magic formula and sprinkled on me,
‘Assume your former shape!’
Thus I returned to my original shape. I kissed her hand and asked her to punish my wife for her crime. She gave me some water and cast a spell on it. Giving the jug she told me to sprinkle on my wife even as she did.
‘Whatever you wish in mind that shape she shall assume.’
I went home and found she was asleep and I sprinkled the water on her.
Instantly she became a she-mule.”
The Jinn puzzled a bit and asked, “Why a she mule?”
By then it was dawn and Shahrazad stopped her tale. King Shahryar wanted to know, ‘Why a she mule?’ But he had to attend to his royal office. ‘By Allah I shall not slay her till I heard the end of it.’
He went about his daily tasks and at night at the appointed time he commanded her to asked to continue the story.
He asked, “Why a she-mule?”
Shahrazad answered, “O King, even as you asked, the Jinn asked the third Sheik and he explained, ‘I am getting on in years and walking on foot tires me. Since nothing good ever happened to me after I married her I thought to myself a she-mule would at least be some gain.’
The Jinn laughed out loud, “Your tale was indeed marvelous! As promised I give the merchant to you.”