This section is from the book "Stories From The Thousand And One Nights", by Edward William Lane and Stanley Lanepoole. Also available from Amazon: Stories From Thousand And One Nights: The Arabian Nights' Entertainments.
My sixth brother (Shakalik), O Prince of the Faithful, tad his lips cut off. He was in a state of extreme poverty, possessing nothing of the goods of this perishable world; and he went forth one day to seek for something with which to stay his departing spirit, and on his way he beheld a handsome house, with a wide and lofty vestibule, at the door of which were servants, commanding and forbidding; whereupon he inquired of one of the persons standing there, who answered, This house belongeth to a man of the sons of the Barmekis. My brother, therefore, advanced to the doorkeepers, and begged them to give him something; and they said, Enter the door of the house, and thou wilt obtain what thou desirest of its master. So he entered the vestibule, and proceeded through it a while until he arrived at a mansion of the utmost beauty and elegance, having a garden in the midst of it, unsurpassed in beauty by anything that had ever been seen: its floors were paved with marble, and its curtains were hanging around. He knew not in which direction to go; but advanced to the upper extremity; and there he beheld a man of handsome countenance and beard, who, on seeing my brother, rose to him, and welcomed him, inquiring respecting his circumstances. He accordingly informed him that he was in want; and when the master of the house heard his words, he manifested excessive grief, and, taking hold of his own clothes, rent them, and exclaimed, Am I in the city, and thou in it hungry? It is a thing that I cannot endure!-Then promising him every kind of happiness, he said, Thou must stay and partake of my salt. But my brother replied, O my master, I have not patience to wait; for I am in a state of extreme hunger.
Upon this, the master of the house called out, Boy, bring the basin and ewer!-and he said, O my guest, advance, and wash thy hand. He then performed the same motions as if he were washing his hand; and called to his attendants to bring the table; whereupon they began to come and go as though they were preparing it; after which the master of the house took my brother, and sat down with him at this imaginary table, and proceeded to move his hands and lips as if he were eating; saying to my brother, Eat, and be not ashamed, for thou art hungry, and I know how thou art suffering from the violence of thy hunger. My brother, therefore, made the same motions, as if he also were eating, while his host said to him, Eat, and observe this bread and its whiteness. To this, my brother at first made no reply; but observed in his own mind, Verily this is a man who loveth to jest with others:-so he said to him, O my master, in my life I have never seen bread more beautifully white than this, or any of sweeter taste:-on which the host rejoined, This was made by a female slave of mine whom I purchased for five hundred pieces of gold. He then called out, Boy, bring to us the sikbaj,M the like of which is not found among the dishes of Kings I-and, addressing my brother, he said, Eat, O my guest; for thou art hungry, vehemently so and in absolute want of food. So my brother began to twist about his mouth, and to chew, as in eating. The master of the house now proceeded to demand different kinds of viands, one after another; and, though nothing was brought, he continued ordering my brother to eat. Next he called out, Boy, place before us the chickens stuffed with pistachio-nuts:-and said to his guest, Eat that of which thou hast never tasted the like.-O my master, replied my brother, verily this dish hath not its equal in sweetness or flavour:-and the host, thereupon, began to put his hand to my brother's mouth as though he were feeding him with morsels; and proceeded to enumerate to him the various different kinds of viands, and to describe their several excellencies; while his hunger so increased that he longed for a cake of barley-bread. The master of the house then said to him, Hast thou tasted anything more delicious than the spices in these dishes ?-No, O my master, answered my brother.-Eat more then, resumed the host; and be not ashamed.-I have eaten enough of the meats, replied the guest. So the man of the house called to his attendants to bring the sweets; and they moved their hands about in the air as if they were bringing them; whereupon the host said to my brother, Eat of this dish; for it is excellent; and of these kataif," by my life! and take this one before the sirup runs from it.-May I never be deprived of thee, 0 my master! exclaimed my brother, proceeding to inquire of him respecting the abundance of musk in the kataif.-This, answered the host, is my usual custom in my house: they always put for me, in each of the kataif, a mithkal18 of musk, and half a mithkal of ambergris.-All this time my brother was moving his head and mouth, and rolling about his tongue between his cheeks, as if he were enjoying the sweets. After this, the master of the house called out to his attendants, Bring the dried fruits!-and again they moved about their hands in the air as though they were doing what he ordered; when he said to my brother, Eat of these almonds, and of these walnuts, and of these raisins;-and so on; enumerating the various kinds of dried fruits; and added again, Eat, and be not ashamed. -O my master, replied my brother, I have had enough, and have not power to eat anything more:-but the host rejoined, If thou desire, O my guest, to eat more, and to delight thyself with extraordinary dainties, by Allah! by Allah! remain not hungry.
MA dish composed of meat, wheat-flour, and vinegar.
My brother now reflected upon his situation, and upon the manner in which this man was jesting with him, and said within himself, By Allah, I will do to him a deed that shall make him repent before God of these actions! The man of the house next said to his attendants, Bring us the wine:- and, as before, they made the same motions with their hands in the air as if they were doing what he commanded; after which he pretended to hand to my brother a cup, saying, Take this cup, for it will delight thee:-and his guest replied, O my master, this is of thy bounty:-and he acted with his hand as though he were drinking it.-Hath it pleased thee? said the host.-O my master, answered my brother, I have never seen anything more delicious than this wine.-Drink then, rejoined the master of the house, and may it be attended with benefit and health:-and he himself pretended to drink, and to hand a second cup to my brother, who, after he had affected to drink it, feigned himself intoxicated, and, taking his host unawares, raised his hand until the whiteness of his arm-pit appeared, and struck him such a slap upon his neck that the chamber rang at the blow; and this he followed by a second blow; whereupon the mac exclaimed, What is this, thou vilest of the creation?-O my master, answered my brother, I am thy slave, whom thou hast graciously admitted into thine abode, and thou hast fed him with thy provisions, and treated him with old wine, and he hath become intoxicated, and committed an outrage upon thee; but thou art of too exalted dignity to be angry with him for his ignorance*