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.
He ceased not to give entertainments to his companions from the commencement of day, one after another, until he had passed in this manner a whole year; after which, as he was sitting with them, he heard the slave-girl recite these two verses:
Thou thoughtest well of the days when they went well with thee, and fearedst not the evil that destiny was bringing.
Thy nights were peaceful, and thou wast deceived by them: in the midst of their brightness there cometh gloom.
And immediately after, a person knocked at the door; so Nur-ed-Din rose, and one of his companions followed him without his knowledge; and when he opened the door, he beheld his steward, and said to him, What is the news?- O my master, answered the steward, that which I feared on thy account hath happened to thee.-How is that? asked Nur-ed-Din. The steward answered, Know that there re-maineth not of thy property in my hands, anything equivalent to a piece of silver, or less than a piece of silver; and these are die accounts of thy expenses, and of thy original property, When 'Ali Nur-ed-Din heard these words, he hung down his head towards the ground, and exclaimed, There is no strength nor power but in God! And the man who had followed him secretly to pry into his case, as soon as he heard what the steward told him, returned to his companions, and said to them, See what ye will do; for 'Ali Nur-ed-Din hath become a bankrupt. So when Nur-ed-Din returned to them, grief appeared to them in his countenance, and immediately one of them rose, and, looking towards him, said to him, O my master, I desire that thou wouldst permit me to depart.- Why thus depart to-day? said Nur-ed-Din. His guest answered, My wife is to give birth to a child this night, and it is impossible for me to be absent from her: I desire, therefore, to go and see her. And he gave him leave. Then another rose, and said to him, O my master Nur-ed-Din, I desire to-day to visit my brother; for he celebrateth the circumcision of his son. Thus each of them asked leave of him deceitfully, and went his way, until all had departed.
So 'Ali Nur-ed-Din remained alone; and he called his slave-girl, and said to her, O Enis-el-Jelis, seest thou not what hath befallen me? And he related to her what the steward had told him. She replied, O my master, for some nights past, I have been anxious to speak to thee of this affair; but I heard thee reciting these two verses:
When fortune is liberal to thee, be thou liberal to all others before she escape from thee: For liberality will not annihilate thy wealth when she is favourable; nor avarice preserve it when she deserteth thee.
And when I heard thee repeat these words, I was silent, and would not make any remark to thee.-O Enis-el-Jelis, fie rejoined, thou knowest that I have not expended my wealth but on my companions; and I do not think that they will abandon me without relief.-By Allah, said she, they will be of no use to thee. But he said, I will immediately arise and go to them, and knock at their doors; perhaps I shall obtain from them something which I will employ as a capital wherewith to trade, and I will cease from diversion and sport. So he arose instantly, and proceeded without stopping until he arrived at the by-street in which his ten companions resided; for they all lived in that same street: and he advanced to the first door, and knocked; and there came forth to him a slave-girl, who said to him, Who art thou? He answered, Say to thy master,-'AH Nur-ed-Din is standing at the door, and saith to thee, Thy slave kisseth thy hands, looking for a favour from thee.-And the girl entered and acquainted her master; but he called out to her, saying, Return, and tell him, He is not here.-The girl, therefore, returned to Nur-ed-Din, and said to him, My master, Sir, is not here. And he went on, saying within himself, If this is a knave, and hath denied himself, another is not. He then advanced to the next door, and said as he had before; and the second also denied himself; and Nur-ed-Din exclaimed:
They are gone, who, if thou stoodest at their door, would bestow upon thee the bounty thou desirest.
By Allah, he added, I must try all of them: perchance one of them may stand me in the place of all the others. And he went round to all the ten; but found not that one of them would open the door, or shew himself, or even order him a cake or bread; and he recited the following verses:
A man in prosperity resembleth a tree, around whioh people flock as long as it hath fruit; But as soon as it hath dropped all that it bore, they disperse from beneath it, and seek another. Perdition to all the people of this age! for I find not one man of integrity among ten.
He then returned to his slave: his anxiety had increased, and she said to him, O my master, said I not unto thee that they would not profit thee?-By Allah, he replied, not one of them shewed me his face.--O my master, rejoined she, sell of the movables of the house a little at a time, and expend the produce. And he did so until he had sold all that was in the house, and there remained nothing in his possession; and upon this he looked towards Enis-el-Jelis, and said to her, What shall we do now?-It is my advice, O my master, she answered, that thou arise immediately, and take me to the market, and sell me; for thou knowest that thy father purchased me for ten thousand pieces of gold, and perhaps God may open to thee a way to obtain a part of this price; and if God have decreed our reunion, we shall meet again. But he replied, O Enis-el-Jelis, it is not easy for me to endure thy separation for one hour.-Nor is the like easy to me, said she: but necessity is imperious. And upon this, he took Enis-el-Jelis, his tears flowing down his cheeks, and went and delivered her to the broker, saying to him, Know the value of that which thou art to cry for sale.-O my master Nur-ed-Din, replied the broker, noble qualities are held in remembrance. Is she not Enis-el-Jelis, whom thy father purchased of me for ten thousand pieces of gold?-He answered, Yes. And the broker thereupon went to the merchants; but he found that they had not all yet assembled; so he waited until the rest had come; and the market was filled with all varieties of female slaves, Turkish and Greek and Circassian and Georgian and Abyssinian; and when he beheld its crowded state, he arose and exclaimed, O merchants! O possessors of wealth! everything that is round is not a nut; nor is everything long, a banana; nor is everything that is red, meat; nor is everything white, fat; nor is everything that is ruddy, wine; nor is everything tawny, a date! O merchants! this precious pearl, whose value no money can equal, with what sum will ye open the bidding for her?-And one of the merchants answered, With four thousand and five hundred pieces of gold.