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.
But, lo, the Wezir El-Mo'in the son of Sawi was in the market, and, seeing 'Ali Nur-ed-Din standing there, he said within himself, What doth he want here, having nothing left wherewith to purchase female slaves? Then casting his eyes around, and hearing the broker as he stood crying in the market with the merchants around him, he said within himself, I do not imagine anything else than that he hath become a bankrupt, and come forth with the slave-girl to sell her; and if this be the case, how pleasant to my heart! He then called the crier, who approached him, and kissed the ground before him; and the Wezir said to him, I desire this female slave whom thou art crying for sale. The broker, therefore, being unable to oppose his wish, brought the slave and placed her before him; and when he beheld her, and considered her charms, her elegant figure and her soft speech, he was delighted with her, and said to the broker. To what has the bidding for her amounted ? The broker answered, Four thousand and five hundred pieces of gold. And as soon as the merchants heard this, not one of them could bid another piece of silver or of gold; but all of them drew back, knowing the tyrannical conduct of that Wezir. El-Mo'in the son of Sawi then looked towards the broker, and said to him, Why standest thou still? Take away the slave-girl for me at the price of four thousand and five hundred pieces of gold, and thou wilt have five hundred for thyself.-So the broker went to *Ali Nur-ed-Din, and said to him, O my master, the slave-girl is lost to thee without price.-How so ? said Nur-ed-Din. The broker answered, We opened the bidding for her at four thousand and five hundred pieces of gold; but this tyrant El-Mo'in the son of Sawi came into the market, and when he beheld the damsel she pleased him, and he said to me, Ask her owner if he will agree for four thousand pieces of gold, and five hundred for thee:-and I doubt not but he knoweth that the slave belongeth to thee; and if he give thee her price immediately, it will be through the goodness of God; but I know, from his injustice, that he will write thee an order upon some of his agents for the money, and then send to them and desire them to give thee nothing; and every time that thou shalt go to demand it of them, they will say to thee, To-morrow we will pay thee:-and they will not cease to promise thee, and to defer from day to day, notwithstanding thy pride; and when they are overcome by thy importunity they will say, Give us the written order:-and as soon as they have received the paper from thee they will tear it in pieces: so thou wilt lose the price of the slave. When Nur-ed-Din, therefore, heard these words of the broker, he said to him* What is to be done? The broker answered, I will give fhee a piece of advice, and if thou receive it from me, thou will have better fortune.-What is it ? Asked Nur-ed-Din.-That thou come to me immediately, answered the broker, while I am standing in the midst of the market, and take the slave-girl from me, and give her a blow with thy hand, and say to her, Wo to thee! I have expiated my oath that I swore, and brought thee to the market, because I swore to thee that thou shouldst be exposed in the market, and that the broker should cry thee for sale.-If thou do this, perhaps the trick will deceive him and the people, and they will believe that thou tookest her not to the market but to expiate the oath.-This, replied Nur-ed-Din, is the right counsel. So the broke/ returned into the midst of the market, and, taking hold of the hand of the slave-girl, made a sign to the Wezir El-Mo'in the son of Sawi, saying, O my lord, this is her owner who hath just come. Then 'Ali Nur-ed-Din advanced to the broker, and tore the damsel from him, and struck her with his hand, saying to her, Wo to thee!
I have brought thee to the market for the sake of expiating my oath. Go home, and disobey me not again. I want not thy price, that I should sell thee; and if I sold the furniture of the house and everything else of the kind over and over again, their produce would not amount to thy price.-But when El-Mo'in the son of Sawi, beheld Nur-ed-Din, he said to him, Wo to thee! Hast thou anything left to be sold or bought?-And he would have laid violent hands upon him. The merchants then looked towards Nur-ed-Din (and they all loved him), and he said to them, Here am I before you, and ye have all known his tyranny.-By Allah, exclaimed the Wezir, were it not for you, I had killed him! Then all of them made signs, one to another, with the eye, and said, Not one of us will interfere between thee and him. And upon this, 'Ali Nur-ed-Din went up to the Wezir, the son of Sawi (and Nur-ed-Din was a man of courage), and he dragged the Wezir from his saddle, and threw him upon the ground. There was at that spot a kneading-place for mud,1 and the Wezir fell into the midst of it, and Nur-ed-Din beat him with his fist, and a blow fell upon his teeth, by which his beard became dyed with his blood. Now there were with the Wezir ten memluks, and when they saw Nur-ed-Din treat their master in this manner, they put their hands upon the hilts of their swords, and would have fallen upon him and cut him in pieces; but the people said to them, This is a Wezir, and this is the son of a Wezir, and perhaps they may make peace with each other, and ye will incur the anger of both of them; or perhaps a blow may fall upon your master, and ye will all of you die the most ignominious of deaths: it is advisable, therefore, that ye interfere not between them.-And when *Ali Nur-ed-Din had ceased from beating the Wezir, he took his slave-girl and returned to his house.
1 By this is meant, a place where, mud was kneaded to be employed in building. The mortar generally used in the construction of Arab houses is composed of mud in the proportion of one-half, with a fourth part of lime, and the remaining part of the ashes of straw and rubbish.
The Wezir, the son of Sawi, then immediately arose, and his dress, which before was white, was now dyed with three colours, the colour of mud, and the colour of blood, and the colour of ashes; and when he beheld himself in this condition, he took a round mat, and hung it to his neck, and took in his hand two bundles of coarse grass, and went and stood beneath the palace of the Sultan, and cried out, O King of the age! I am oppressed!-So they brought him before the King, who looked at him attentively, and saw that he was his Wezir, El-Mo'in the son of Sawi. He said, therefore, Who hath done thus unto thee?-and the Wezir cried and moaned, and repeated these two verses: