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

There came one day an old woman to the stuff-bazar, with a casket of mighty fine workmanship, containing trinkets, and she was accompanied by a young baggage big with child. The crone sat down at the shop of a draper and giving him to know that the girl was pregnant by the Prefect[FN#74] of Police of the city, took of him, on credit, stuffs to the value of a thousand diners and deposited with him the casket as security. She opened the casket and showed him that which was therein and he found it full of trinkets of price; so he trusted her with the goods and she farewelled him and carrying the stuffs to the girl who was with her, went her way. Then the old woman was absent from him a great while, and when her absence was prolonged, the draper despaired of her; so he went up to the Prefect"s house and asked anent the woman of his household who had taken his stuffs on credit; but could obtain no tidings of her nor happen on any trace of her. Then he brought out the casket of jewellery and showed it to experts, who told him that the trinkets were gilt and that their worth was but an hundred dirhams. When he heard this, he was sore concerned thereat and presenting himself before the Deputy of the Sultan made his complaint to him; whereupon the official knew that a sleight had been served upon him and that the sons of Adam[FN#75] had cozened him and conquered him and cribbed his stuffs. Now the magistrate in question was a man of experience and judgment, well versed in affairs; so he said to the draper, "Remove somewhat from thy shop, including the  casket, and to- morrow morning break the lock and cry out and come to me and complain that they have plundered all thy shop.[FN#76] Also mind thou call upon Allah for aid and wail aloud and acquaint the people, so that a world of folk may flock to thee and sight the breach of the lock and that which is missing from thy shop: and on this wise display it to every one who presenteth himself that the news may be noised abroad, and tell them that thy chief concern is for a casket of great value, deposited with thee by a great man of the town and that thou standest in fear of him. But be thou not afraid and still say ever and anon in thy saying, "My casket was the casket of Such-an-one, and I fear him and dare not bespeak him; but you, O company and all ye who are present, I call you to witness of this for me." And if there be with thee more than this saying, say it; and the old woman will assuredly come to thee." The draper answered with "To hear is to obey" and going forth from the Deputy"s presence, betook himself to his shop and brought out thence the casket and a somewhat making a great display, which he removed to his house. At break of day he arose and going to his shop, broke the lock and shouted and shrieked and called on Allah for aid, till each and every of the folk assembled about him and all who were in the city were present, whereupon he cried out to them, saying even as the Prefect had bidden him; and this was bruited abroad. Then he made for the Prefecture and presenting himself before the Chief of Police, cried out and complained and made a show of distraction. After three days, the old woman came to him and bringing him the thousand diners, the price of the stuffs, de mended the casket.[FN#77] When he saw her, he seized her and carried her to the Prefect of the city; and when she came before the Kazi, he said to her, "Woe to thee O Sataness; did not thy first deed suffice thee, but thou must come a second time?" She replied, "I am of those who seek their salvation[FN#78] in the cities, and we foregather every month: and, yesterday we foregathered." He asked her, "Canst thou cause me to catch them?" and she answered, "Yes; but, an thou wait till to-morrow, they will have dispersed; so I will deliver them to thee to-night." The Emir said to her, "Go;" and said she, "Send with me one who shall go with me to them and obey me in whatso I shall say to him, and all that I bid him he shall not gainsay and therein conform to my way." Accordingly, he gave her a company of men and she took them and bringing them to a certain door, said to them, "Stand ye here, at this door, and whoso cometh out to you seize him; and I will come out to you last of all." "Hearing and obeying," answered they and stood at the door, whilst the crone went in. They waited a whole hour, even as the Sultan"s deputy had bidden them, but none came out to them and their standing waxed longsome, and when they were weary of waiting, they went up to the door and smote upon it a heavy blow and a violent, so that they came nigh to break the wooden bolt. Then one of them entered and was absent a long while, but found naught; so he returned to his comrades and said to them, "This is the door of a dark passage, leading to such a thoroughfare; and indeed she laughed at you and left you and went away.""[FN#79] When they heard his words, they returned to the Emir and acquainted him with the case, whereby he knew that the old woman was a cunning craft-mistress and that she had mocked at them and cozened them and put a cheat on them, to save herself. Witness, then, the wiles of this woman and that which she contrived of guile, for all her lack of foresight in presenting herself a second time to the draper and not suspecting that his conduct was but a sleight; yet, when she found herself hard upon calamity, she straightway devised a device for her deliverance. When the company heard the seventh constable"s story, they were moved to mirth galore, than which naught could be more; and Al-Malik al Zahir Bيbars rejoiced in that which he heard and said, "Verily, there betide things in this world wherefrom kings are shut out, by reason of their exalted degree!" Then came forward another person from amongst the company and said, "There hath reached me through one of my friends a similar story bearing on the malice of women and their wiles, and it is more wondrous and marvellous, more diverting and more delectable than all that hath been told to you." Quoth the company there present, "Tell us thy tale and expound it unto us, so we may see that which it hath of extraordinary." And he began to relate