1-h- Al-Malik Al-Zahir Rukn Al-Din Bibars Al-Bundukdari and the Sixteen Captains of Police - The Eighth Constable's History

Ye must know that a company, amongst whom was a friend of mine, once invited me to an entertainment; so I went with him, and when we came into his house and sat down on his couch, he said to me, "This is a blessed day and a day of gladness, and who is he that liveth to see the like of this day? I desire that thou practice with us and disapprove not our proceedings, for that thou hast been accustomed to fall in with those who offer this."[FN#80] I consented thereto and their talk happened upon the like of this subject.[FN#81] Presently, my friend, who had invited me, arose from among them and said to them, Listen to me and I will acquaint you with an adventure which happened to me. There was a certain person who used to visit me in my shop, and I knew him not nor he knew me, nor ever in his life had he seen me; but he was wont, whenever he wanted a dirham or two, by way of loan, to come to me and ask me, without acquaintance or introduction between me and him, and I would give him what he required. I told none of him, and matters abode thus between us a long while till he began a-borrowing at a time ten or twenty dirhams, more or less. One day, as I stood in my shop, behold, a woman suddenly came up to me and stopped before me; and she was a presence as she were the full moon rising from among the constellations, and the place was a-light by her light. When I saw her, I fixed my eyes on her and stared in her face; and she fell to bespeaking me with soft voice. When I heard her words and the sweetness of her speech, I lusted after her; and as soon as she saw that I longed for her, she did her errand and promising me an assignation, went away, leaving my thoughts occupied with her and fire a-flame in my heart. Accordingly I abode, perplexed and pondering my affair, the fire still burning in my heart, till the third day, when she came again and I could hardly credit her coming. When I saw her,
I talked with her and cajoled her and courted her and craved her favour with speech and invited her to my house; but, hearing all this, she only answered, "I will not go up into any one"s house." Quoth I, "I will go with thee" and quoth she, "Arise and come with me." So I rose and putting into my sleeve a kerchief, wherein was a fair sum of silver and a considerable, followed the woman, who forwent me and ceased not walking till she brought me to a lane and to a door, which she bade me unlock. I refused and she opened it and led me into the vestibule. As soon as I had entered, she bolted the entrance door from within and said to me, "Sit here till I go in to the slave-girls and cause them enter a place whence they shall not see me." ""Tis well," answered I and sat down: whereupon she entered and was absent from me an eye-twinkling, after which she returned to me, without a veil, and straightway said, "Arise and enter in the name of Allah." So
I arose and went in after her and we gave not over going till we reached a saloon. When I examined the place, I found it neither handsome nor pleasant, but desolate and dreadful without symmetry or cleanliness; indeed, it was loathsome to look upon and there was in it a foul smell. After this inspection I seated myself amiddlemost the saloon, misdoubting; and lo and behold! as I sat, there came down on me from the dais a body of seven naked men, without other clothing than leather belts about their waists. One of them walked up to me and took my turband, whilst another seized my kerchief that was in my sleeve, with my money, and a third stripped me of my clothes; after which a forth came and bound my hands behind my back with his belt. Then they all took me up, pinioned as I was, and casting me down, fell a-haling me towards a sink-hole that was there and were about to cut my throat, when suddenly there came a violent knocking at the door. As they heard the raps, they were afraid and their minds were diverted from me by affright; so the woman went out and presently returning, said to them, "Fear not; no harm shall betide you this day. "Tis only your comrade who hath brought you your dinner." With this the new-comer entered, bringing with him a roasted lamb; and when he came in to them, he asked, "What is to do with you, that ye have tucked up sleeves and bag-trousers?" Replied they, "This is a head of game we"ve caught." As he heard these words, he came up to me and peering in my face, cried out and said, "By Allah, this is my brother, the son of my mother and father! Allah! Allah!" Then he loosed me from my pinion-bonds and bussed my head, and behold it was my friend who used to borrow silver of me. When I kissed his head, he kissed mine and said, "O my brother, be not affrighted;" and he called for my clothes and coin and restored all to me nor was aught missing. Also, he brought me a porcelain bowl full of sherbet of sugar, with lemons therein, and gave me to drink; and the company came and seated me at a table. So I ate with them and he said to me, "O my lord and my brother, now have bread and salt passed between us and thou hast discovered our secret and our case; but secrets with the noble are safe." I replied, "As I am a lawfully-begotten child and a well-born, I will not name aught of this nor denounce you!" They assured themselves of me by an oath; then they brought me out and I went my way, very hardly crediting but that I was of the dead. I lay ill in my house a whole month; after which I went
to the Hammam and coming out, opened my shop and sat selling and buying as was my wont, but saw no more of that man or that woman till, one day, there stopped before my shop a young Turkoman,[FN#82] as he were the full moon; and he was a sheep-merchant and had with him a leathern bag, wherein was money, the price of sheep he had sold. He was followed by the woman, and when he stopped over against my shop, she stood by his side and cajoled him, and indeed he inclined to her with great inclination. As for me, I was dying of solicitude for him and began casting furtive glances at him and winked at him, till he chanced to look round and saw me signing to him; whereupon the woman gazed at me and made a signal with her hand and went away. The Turkoman followed her and I deemed him dead without a doubt; wherefore I feared with exceeding fear and shut my shop. Then I journeyed for a year"s space and returning, opened my shop; whereupon, behold, the woman as she walked by came up to me and said, "This is none other than a great absence." I replied, "I have been on a journey;" and she asked, "Why didst thou wink at the Turkoman?" I answered, "Allah forfend! I did not wink at him." Quoth she, "Beware lest thou thwart me;" and went away. Awhile after this a familiar of mine invited me to his house and when I came to him, we ate and drank and chatted. Then he asked me, "O my friend, hath there befallen thee aught of sore trouble
in the length of thy life?" Answered I, "Tell me first, hath there befallen thee aught?" He rejoined, "Know that one day I
espied a fair woman; so I followed her and sued her to come homewith me. Quoth she, "I will not enter any one"s house but  my own;so come thou to my home, an thou wilt, and be it on such a day." Accordingly, on the appointed day, her messenger[FN#83] came to me, proposing to carry me to her; and when he announced his purpose I arose and went with him, till we arrived at a goodly house and a great door. He opened the door and I entered, whereupon he bolted it behind me and would have gone in; but I feared with exceeding fear and foregoing him to the second door, whereby he would have had me enter, bolted it and cried out at him, saying, "By Allah, an thou open not to me, I will slay thee;[FN#84] for I am none of those whom thou canst readily cozen!" "What deemest thou of cozening?" "Verily, I am startled by the loneliness of the house and the lack of any keeper at its door; for I see none appear." "O my lord, this is a private door." "Private or public, open to me." So he opened to me and I went out and had gone but a little way from the door when I met a woman, who said to me, "A long life was fore-ordained to thee; else hadst thou never come forth of yonder house." I asked, "How so?" and she answered, "Enquire of thy friend Such-an-one," (naming thee), "and he will acquaint thee with strange things." So, Allah upon thee, O my  friend, tell me what befel thee of wondrous and marvellous, for I have told thee what befel me." "O my brother, I am bound by a solemn oath." "O my friend, false thine oath and tell me."[FN#85] "Indeed, I dread the issue of this." But he urged me till I told him all, whereat he marvelled. Then I went away from him and abode a long while, without further news. One day, I met another of my friends who said to me, "Aneighbour of mine hath invited me to hear singers" but I said:--"I will not foregather with any one." However, he prevailed upon me; so we repaired to the place and found there a person, who came to meet us and said, "Bismillah!"[FN#86] Then he pulled out a key and opened the door, whereupon we entered and he locked the door after us. Quoth I, "We are the first of the folk; but where be the singers" voices?" He replied, "They"re within the house: this is but a private door; so be not amazed at the absence of the folk." My friend said to me, "Behold, we are two, and what can they dare to do with us?" Then he brought us into the house, and when we entered the saloon, we found it desolate exceedingly and dreadful of aspect. Quoth my friend, "We are fallen into a trap; but there is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great!" And quoth I, "May Godnever requite thee for me with good!"[FN#87]  Then we sat down on the edge of the dais and suddenly I espied a closet beside me; so I peered into it and my friend asked me, "What seest thou?" I answered, "I see there wealth in store and corpses of murdered men galore. Look." So he looked and cried, "By Allah, we are down among the dead!" and we fell a-weeping, I and he. As we were thus, behold, four men came in upon us, by the door at which we had entered, and they were naked, wearing only leather belts about their waists, and made for my friend. He ran at them and dealing one of them a blow with his swordpommel, knocked him down, whereupon the other three rushed upon him. I seized the opportunity to escape while they were occupied with him, and
espying a door by my side, slipped into it and found myself in an underground room, without issue, even a window. So I made sure of death, and said, "There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great!" Then I looked at the top of the vault and saw in it a range of glazed and coloured lunettes;[FN#88] so I clambered up for dear life, till I reached the lunettes, and I out of my wits for fear. I made shift to remove the glass and scrambling out through the setting, found behind them a wall which I bestrode. Thence I saw folk walking in the street; so I cast myself down on the ground and Allah Almighty preserved me, and when I reached the face of earth, unhurt, the folk flocked round me and I acquainted them with my adventure. Now as Destiny decreed, the Chief of Police was passing through the market-street; so the people told him what was to do and he made for the door and bade raise it off its hinges. We entered with a rush and found the thieves, as they had thrown my friend down and cut his throat; for they occupied not themselves with me, but said, "Whither shall yonder fellow wend? Verily, he is in our grasp." So the Wali hent them with the hand[FN#89] and questioned them of their case, and they confessed against the woman and against their associates in Cairo. Then he took them and went forth, after he had locked up the house and sealed it; and I accompanied him till he came without the first house. He found the door bolted from within; so he bade raise it and we entered and found another door. This also he caused pull up, enjoining his men to silence till the doors should be lifted, and we entered and found the band occupied with new game,  whom the woman had just brought in and whose throat they were about to cut. The Chief released the man and gave him back whatso the thieves had taken from him; and he laid hands on the woman and the rest and took forth of the house a mint of money, with which they found the purse of the Turkoman sheep-merchant. They at once nailed up the thieves against the house-wall, whilst, as for the woman, they wrapped her in one of her mantillas and nailing her to a board, set her upon a camel and went round about the town with her. Thus Allah razed their dwelling-places and did away from me that which I feared from them. All this befel, whilst I looked on, and I saw not my friend who had saved me from them the first time, whereat I wondered to the utterest of wonderment. However, some days afterward, he came up to me, and indeed he had
renounced the world and donned a Fakir"s dress; and he saluted me and went away.[FN#90] Then he again began to pay me frequent visits and I entered into conversation with him and questioned him of the band and how he came to escape, he alone of them all. He replied "I left them from the day on which Allah the Most High delivered thee from them, for that they would not obey my say; so I sware I would no longer consort with them." Quoth I, "By Allah, I marvel at thee, for that assuredly thou wast the cause of my preservation!" Quoth he, "The world is full of this sort; and we beseech the Almighty to send us safety, for that these wretches practice upon men with every kind of malpractice." Then I said to him, "Tell me the rarest adventure of all that befel thee in this villainy thou wast wont to work." And he answered, "O my brother, I was not present when they did such deeds, for that my part with them was to concern myself with selling and buying and feeding
them; but it hath reached me that the rarest thing which befel them was on this wise."

The Thief"s Tale

The woman who acted decoy for them and trapped their game and used to inveigle damsels from marriage-banquets, once caught them a woman from a bride-feast, under pretence that she had a wedding in her own house, and fixed for her a day when she should come to her. As soon as the appointed time arrived, the woman presented herself and the other carried her into the house by a door, declaring that it was a private wicket. When she entered the saloon, she saw men and braves[FN#91] and knew that she had fallen into a snare; so she looked at them and said, "Harkye, my fine fellows![FN#92] I am a woman and in my slaughter there is no glory, nor have ye against me any feud of blood-wite wherefor ye should pursue me; and that which is upon me of raiment and ornaments ye are free to take as lawful loot." Quoth they, "We fear thy denunciation;" but quoth she, "I will abide with you, neither coming in nor going out." So they said, "We grant thee thy life." Then the Captain looked on her and she pleased him; so he took her for himself, and she abode with him a whole year doing her very best in their service, till they became familiar with her and felt assured of her faith. One night of the nights she plied them with drink and they drank till they became drunken; whereupon she arose and took her clothes and five hundred dinars from the Captain; after which she fetched a razor and shaved off all their beards. Then she took soot from the cooking-pots and blackening their faces[FN#93] opened the doors and fared forth; and when the thieves recovered from their drink, they abode confounded and knew that the woman had practiced upon them. All present marvelled at this his story and the ninth
constable came forward and said, "I will tell you a right pleasant tale I heard at a wedding."