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.
Hear from me two words, said Nur-ed-Din. The sheykh replied, Say what thou wilt So he said, If thou be neither the presser of the wine, nor its drinker, nor its carrier, will aught of the curse fall upon thee? The sheykh answered, No.-Then take this piece of gold, rejoined Nur-ed-Din, and these two pieces of silver, and mount the ass, and halt at a distance from the place, and whatsoever man thou findest to buy it, call to him, and say to him, take these two pieces of silver, and with this piece of gold buy some wine, and place it upon the ass:-so, in this case, thou wilt be neither the carrier nor the presser, nor the buyer; and nothing will befall thee of that which befalleth the rest.
The sheykh Ibrahim, after laughing at his words, replied, By Allah, I have never seen one more witty than thou, nor heard speech more sweet And Nur-ed-Din said to him, We have become dependent upon thee, and thou hast nothing to do but to comply with our wishes: bring us, therefore, all that we require.-O my son, said the sheykh, my buttery here is before thee (and it was the store-room furnished for the Prince of the Faithful) : enter it then, and take from it what thou wilt; for it containeth more than thou desirest So Nur-ed-Din entered the store-room, and beheld in it vessels of gold and silver and crystal, adorned with a variety of jewels; and he took out such of them as he desired, and poured the wine into the vessels of earthenware and bottles of glass; and he and the damsel begaa to drink, astonished at the beauty of the things which they beheld. The sheykh Ibrahim then brought to them sweet-scented flowers, and seated himself at a distance from them; and they continued drinking, in a state of the utmost delight, until the wine took effect upon them, and their cheeks reddened, and their eyes wantoned like those of the gazelle, and their hair hung down: whereupon the sheykh Ibrahim said, What aileth me that I am sitting at a distance from them? Why should I not s'it by them? And when shall I be in the company of such as these two, who are like two moons ?-He then advanced, and seated himself at the edge of the raised portion of the floor; and Nur-ed-Din said to him, O my master, by my life I conjure thee to approach and join us. So he went to them; and Nur-ed-Din filled a cup, and, looking at the sheykh, said to him, Drink, that thou mayest know how delicious is its flavour. But the sheykh Ibrahim exclaimed, I seek refuge with Allah! Verily, for thirteen years I have done nothing of that kind. -And Nur-ed-Din, feigning to pay no attention to him, drank the cup, and threw himself upon the ground, pretending that intoxication had overcome him.
Upon this, Enis-el-Jelis looked towards the sheykh, and said to him, O sheykh Ibrahim, see how this man hath treated me.-O my mistress, said he, what aileth him? She rejoined, Always doth he treat me thus: he drinketh a while, and then sleepeth, and I remain alone, and find no one to keep me company over my cup. If I drink, who will serve me? And if I sing, who will hear me?-The sheykh, moved with tenderness and affection for her by her words, replied, It is not proper that a cup-companion be thus. The damsel then filled a cup, and, looking at the sheykh Ibrahim, said to him, I conjure thee by my life that thou take it and drink it; reject it not, but accept it, and refresh my heart. So he stretched forth his hand, and took the cup, and drank it; and she filled for him a second time, and handed it to him, saying, O my master, this remaineth for thee. He replied, By Allah, I cannot drink it: that which I have drunk is enough for me. But she said, By Allah, it is indispensable:-and he took the cup, and drank it. She then gave him the third; and he took it, and was about to drink it, when lo, Nur-ed-Din, raised himself, and said to him, O sheykh Ibrahim, what is this?
Did I not conjure thee a while ago, and thou refusedst, and saidst, Verily, for thirteen years I have not done it?-The sheykh Ibrahim, touched with shame, replied, By Allah, I am not in fault; for she pressed me. And Nur-ed-Din laughed, and they resumed their carousal, and the damsel, turning her eyes towards her master, 'said to him, O my master, drink thou, and do not urge the sheykh Ibrahim; that I may divert thee with the sight of him. So she began to fill and to hand to her master, and her master filled and gave to her, and thus they continued to do, time after time; till at length the sheykh Ibrahim looked towards them and said, What meaneth this? And what sort of carousal is this? Wherefore do ye not give me to drink, since I have become your cup-companion?-At this they both laughed until they became almost senseless; and then drank, and gave him to drink; and they continued thus until the expiration of a third of the night, when the damsel said, O sheykh Ibrahim, with thy permission shall I rise and light one of the candles which are arranged here?-Rise, he answered; but light not more than one candle. But she sprang upon her feet, and, beginning with the first candle, proceeded until she had lighted eighty. She then sat down again; and presently Nur-ed-Din said, O sheykh Ibrahim, in what favour am I held with thee ? Wilt thou not allow me to light one of these lamps?-The sheykh answered, Arise, and' light one lamp, and be not thou also troublesome. So he arose, and, beginning with the first lamp, lighted all the eighty; and the saloon seemed to dance. And after this, the sheykh Ibrahim, overcome by intoxication, said to them, Ye are more frolicsome than I:-and he sprang upon his feet, and opened all the windows, and sat down again with them, and they continued carousing and reciting verses; and the place rang with their merriment.
Now God, the All-seeing and All-knowing, who hath appointed a cause to every event, had decreed that the Khalifeh should be sitting that night at one of the windows looking towards the Tigris, by moonlight; and he looked in that direction, and saw the light of lamps and candles reflected in the river, and, turning his eyes up towards the palace in the garden, he beheld it beaming with those candles and lamps, and exclaimed, Bring hither to me Ja'far El-Barmeki! In the twinkling of an eye, Ja'far stood before the Prince of the Faithful; and the Khalifeh said to him, O dog of Wezirs, dost thou serve me and not acquaint me with what hap-peneth in the city of Baghdad?-What, asked Ja'far, is the occasion of these words? The Khalifeh answered, If the city of Baghdad were not taken from me, the Palace of Diversion were not enlivened with the light of the lamps and candles, and its windows were not opened. Wo to thee! Who could do these things unless the office of Khalifeh were taken from me?-Who, said Ja'far (the muscles of his side quivering from fear), informed thee that the lamps and candles were lighted in the Palace of Diversion, and that its windows were opened? The Khalifeh replied, Advance hither to me, and look. So Ja'far approached the Khalifeh, and, looking towards the garden, beheld the palace as it were a flame of fire, its light surpassing that of the moon. He desired, therefore, to make an excuse for the sheykh Ibrahim, the superintendent, thinking, from what he beheld, that the event might have occurred through his permission: and accordingly he said, O Prince of the Faithful, the sheykh Ibrahim last week said to me, O my master Ja'far, I am desirous of entertaining my children during my life and the life of the Prince of the Faithful.-And what, said I, is thy design in saying this ? He answered, It is my wish that thou wouldst obtain for me permission from the Khalifeh that I may celebrate the circumcision of my sons in the palace. So I said, Do what thou wilt with respect to the entertainment of thy sons, and, if God will, I shall have an interview with the Khalifeh, and will acquaint him with it. And he left me thus; and I forgot to acquaint thee.-O Ja'far, said the Khalifeh, thou wast guilty of one offence against me, and then thine offence became two: for thou hast erred in two points: the first, thy not acquainting me with this affair; and the second, thy not accomplishing the desire of the sheykh Ibrahim; for he did not come to thee and address thee with these words but to hint a request for some money by the aid of which to effect his design, and thou neither gavest him anything nor acquaintedst me that I might give him.-O Prince of the Faithful, replied Ja'far, I forgot.