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


It is told of a thieving person, one of the braves, that he used to rob and cut the way by himself upon caravans, and whenever the Chief of Police and the Governors sought him, he would flee from them and fortify himself in the mountains. Now it came to pass that a certain man journeyed along the road wherein was that robber, and this man was single-handed and knew not the sore perils besetting his way. So the highwayman came out upon him and said to him, "Bring out that which is with thee, for I mean to kill thee and no mistake. " Quoth the traveller, "Kill me not, but annex these saddle-bags and divide that which is in them and take to thee the fourth part." And the thief answered, "I will not take aught but the whole."[FN#126] Rejoined the traveller, "Take half, and let me go;" but the robber replied, "I will have naught but the whole, and eke I will kill thee." So the wayfarer said, "Take it." Accordingly the highwayman took the saddle-bags and offered to slay the traveller, who said, "What is this? Thou hast against me no blood-feud that should make my slaughter incumbent." Quoth the other, "Needs must I kill thee;" whereupon the traveller dismounted from his horse and grovelled before him, beseeching the thief and bespeaking him fair. The man hearkened not to his prayers, but cast him to the ground; whereupon the traveller raised his eyes and seeing a francolin dying over him, said, in his agony, "O Francolin,[FN#127] bear testimony that this man slayeth me unjustly and wickedly; for indeed I have given him all that was with me and entreated him to let me go, for my children"s sake; yet would he not consent. But be thou witness against him, for Allah is not unmindful of deeds which the oppressors do." The highwayman paid no heed to what he heard, but smote him and cut off his head. After this, the rulers compounded with the highwayman for his submission, and when he came before them, they enriched him and he became in such favour with the lieutenant of the Sultan that he used to eat and drink with him and there befel between them familiar converse which lasted a long while till in fine there chanced a curious chance. The lieutenant of the Sultan one day of the days made a banquet, and therein was a roasted francolin, which when the robber saw, he laughed a loud laugh. The lieutenant was angered against him and said to him, "What is the meaning of thy laughter? Seest thou any fault or dost thou mock at us, of thy lack of good manners?" Answered the highwayman, "Not so, by Allah, O my lord; but I saw yonder  francolin, which brought to my mind an extraordinary thing; and "twas on this wise. In the days of my youth, I used to cut the way, and one day I waylaid a man, who had with him a pair of saddle-bags and money therein. So I said to him, "Leave these saddle-bags, for I mean to slay thee." Quoth he, "Take the fourth part of that which is in them and leave me the rest;" and quoth I, "Needs must I take the whole and kill thee without mistake." Then said he, "Take the saddle bags and let me wend my way;" but I answered, "There is no help but that I slay thee." As we were in this contention, behold, he saw a francolin and turning to it, said, "Bear testimony against him, O Francolin, that he slayeth me unjustly and letteth me not go to my children, for all he hath taken my money." However, I had no pity on him neither hearkened to that which he said, but smote him and slew him and concerned not myself with the evidence of the francolin." His story troubled the lieutenant of the Sultan and he was enraged against him with sore rage; so he drew his sword and smiting him, cut off his head while he sat at table; whereupon a voice recited these couplets-- "An wouldst not be injured, injure not; * But do good and from Allah win goodly lot, For what happeth by Allah is doomed to be * Yet shine acts are the root I would love thee wot."[FN#128] Now this voice was the francolin which bore witness against him. The company present marvelled at this tale and all cried, "Woe to the oppressor!" Then came forward the sixteenth constable and said, "And I for another will tell you a marvellous story which is on this wise."