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

A certain singing-girl was fair of favour and bruited of repute, and it happened one day that she fared forth to a garden a-pleasuring. As she sat in the summer-house, behold, a man lopped of the hand stopped to beg of her, and suddenly entered in at the door. Then he touched her with his stump, saying, "An alms, for the love of Allah!"[FN#94] but she answered, "Allah open!" and insulted him. Many days after this, there came to her a messenger and gave her the hire of her going forth.[FN#95] So  he took with her a hand-maid and an accompanyist;[FN#96] and when she came to the place appointed, the messenger brought her into a long passage, at the end whereof was a saloon. "So" (quoth she) "we entered therein and found nobody, but we saw the room made ready for an entertainment with candles, dried fruits and wine, and in another place we saw food and in a third beds. Thereupon we sat down and I looked at him who had opened the door to us, and behold he was lopped of the hand. I misliked this, and when I sat a little longer, there entered a man, who filled the candelabra in the saloon and lit the waxen candles; and behold, he also was handlopped. Then flocked the folk and there entered none except he were lopped of the hand, and indeed the house was full of these companions.[FN#97] When the session was complete, the host came in and the company rose to him and seated him in the place of honour. Now he was none other than the man who had fetched me, and he was clad in sumptuous clothes, but his hands were in his sleeves, so that I knew not how it was with them. They brought him food and he ate, he and the company; after which they washed hands and the host began casting at me furtive glances. Then they drank till they were drunken, and when they had taken leave of their wits, the host turned to me and said, "Thou dealtest not in friendly fashion with him who sought an alms of thee, and thou saidst to him, "How loathsome art thou!""´ I considered him and behold, he was the lophand who had accosted me in my pleasance.[FN#98] So I asked, "O my lord, what is this thou sayest?" and he answered, "Wait; thou shalt remember it." So saying, he shook his head and stroked his beard, whilst I sat down for fear. Then he put out his hand to my mantilla and walking-boots and laying them by his side, cried to me, "Sing, O accursed!" Accordingly, I sang till I was tired out, what while they occupied themselves with their case and drank themselves drunk and the heat of their drink redoubled. Presently, the doorkeeper came to me and said, "O my lady, fear not; but when thou hast a mind to go, let me know." Quoth I, "Thinkest thou to delude me?" and quoth he, "Nay, by Allah! But I have ruth on thee for that our Captain and Chief purposeth thee no good and methinketh he will kill thee this night." Said I to him, "An thou be minded to do me a favour, now is its time;" and said he, "When our Chief riseth to his need and goeth to the Chapel of Ease, I will precede him with the light and  leave the door open; and do thou wend whithersoever thou wiliest." Then I sang and the Captain cried, ""Tis good." Replied I, "Nay, but thou"rt loathsome." He looked at me and rejoined, "By Allah, thou shalt never more scent the odour of the world!" But his comrades said to him, "Do it not," and gentled him, till he added, "An it must be so, and there be no help for it, she shall tarry here a whole year and not fare forth." My answer was, "I am content to submit to whatso pleaseth thee: if I have failed in respect to thee, thou art of the clement." He shook his head and drank, then arose and went out to do his need, whilst his comrades were occupied with what they were about of merry-making and drunkenness and sport. So I winked to my friends and we all slipped out into the corridor. We found the door open and fled forth, unveiled[FN#99] and unknowing whither we went; nor did we halt till we had fared afar from the house and happened on a Cook cooking, of whom I asked, "Hast thou a mind to quicken the dead?" He said, "Come up;" so we went up into the shop, and he whispered, "Lie down." Accordingly, we lay down and he covered us with the Halfah grass,[FN#100] wherewith he was used to kindle the fire under the food. Hardly had we settled ourselves in the place when we heard a noise of kicking at the door and people running right and left and questioning the Cook and asking, "Hath any one passed by thee?" Answered he, "None hath passed by me." But they ceased not to go round about the shop till the day broke, when they turned back, disappointed. Then the Cook removed the reeds and said to us, "Rise, for ye are delivered from death." So we arose, and we were uncovered, sans veil or mantilla; but the Cook carried us up into his house and we sent to our homes and fetched us veils; and we repented to Allah Almighty and renounced singing, for indeed this was a mighty narrow escape after stress."[FN#101] Those present marvelled at this, and the tenth constable came forward and said, "As for me, there befel me that which was yet rarer than all ye have yet heard." Quoth Al-Malik al-Zahir, "What was that?" And quoth he, "Deign give ear to me."