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.
The people were now repairing to perform the Friday-prayers; and some merely cast their eyes at him, while others noticed him not; but while he was in this state, deprived of his whole property, and weeping, without intermission, a female approached him, on her way to attend the Friday-prayers: she was of admirable loveliness; the odour of musk was diffused from her; under her was a mule with a stuffed saddle covered with gold-embroidered silk; and with her was a number of servants; and when she saw the broken glass, and my brother's state and his tears, she was moved with pity for him, and asked respecting his case. She was answered, He had a tray of glass, by the sale of which to obtain his subsistence, and it is broken, and he is afflicted as thou seest:-and upon this, she called to one of the servants, saying, Give what thou hast with thee to this poor man. So he gave him a purse, and he took it, and when he had opened it, he found in it five hundred pieces of gold, whereupon he almost died of excessive joy, and offered up prayers for his benefactress.
He returned to his house a rich man, and sat reflecting, and lo, a person knocked at the door: he rose, therefore, and opened it; and beheld an old woman whom he knew not, and she said to him, O my son, know that the time of prayer hath almost expired, and I am not prepared by ablution; wherefore I beg that thou wilt admit me into thy house, that I may perform it. He replied, I hear and obey; -and, retiring within, gave her permission to enter; his mind still wandering from joy on account of the gold; and when she had finished the ablution, she approached the spot where he was sitting, and there performed the prayers of two rekahs. She then offered up a supplication for my brother; and he thanked her, and doffed her two pieces of gold; but when she saw this, she exclaimed, Extolled be God's perfection! Verily I wonder at the person who fell in love with thee in thy beggarly condition! Take back thy money from me, and if thou want it not, return it to her who gave it thee when thy glass broke.-O my mother, said he, how can I contrive to obtain access to her? She answered, O my son, she hath an affection for thee; but she is the wife of an affluent man; take then with thee all thy money, and when thou art with her be not deficient in courteousness and agreeable words; so shalt thou obtain of her favours and her wealth whatever thou shalt desire. My brother, therefore, took all the gold, and arose and went with the old woman, hardly believing what she had told him; and she proceeded, and my brother behind her, until they arrived at a great door, at which she knocked; whereupon a Greek damsel came and opened the door, and the old woman entered, ordering my brother to do the same. He did so, and found himself in a large house, where he beheld a great furnished chamber, with curtains hung in it; and, seating himself there, he put down the gold before him, and placed his turban on his knees; and scarcely had he done so, when there came to him a damsel, the like of whom had never been seen, attired in most magnificent apparel. My brother stood up at her approach; and when she beheld him she laughed in his face, and rejoiced at his visit: then going to the door, she locked it; after which she returned to my brother, and took his hand, and both of them went together into a private chamber, carpeted with various kinds of silk, where my brother sat down, and she seated herself by his side, and toyed with him for a considerable time. She then rose, saying to him, Move not, from this place until I return to thee;-and was absent from him for a short period; and as my brother was waiting for her, there came in to him a black slave, of gigantic stature, with a drawn sword, the brightness of which dazzled the sight; and he exclaimed to my brother, Wo to thee! Who brought thee to this place ? Thou vilest of men! Thou misbegotten wretch, and nursling of impunity!-My brother was unable to make any reply; his tongue was instantly tied; and the slaves laid hold upon him, and stripped him, and struck him more than eighty blows with the flat of his sword, until he fell sprawling upon the floor; when he retired from him, concluding that he was dead, and uttered a great cry, so that the earth trembled, and the place resounded at his voice, saying, Where is El-Melihah?-upon which a girl came to him, holding a handsome tray containing salt; and wtth this she forthwith stuffed the flesh-wounds with which my brother's skin was gashed until they gaped open; but he moved not, fearing the slave would discover that he was alive, and kill him. The girl then went away, and the slave uttered another cry, like the first, whereupon the old woman came to my brother, and, dragging him by the feet to a deep and dark vault, threw him into it upon a heap of slain. In this place he remained for two whole days; and God (whose perfection he extolled!) made the salt to be the mean6 of preserving his life, by stanching the flow of blood from his veins; so, when he found that he had strength sufficient to move, he arose, and, opening a shutter in the wall, emerged from the place of the slain; and God (to whom be ascribed all might and glory!) granted him his protection. He therefore proceeded in the darkness, and concealed himself in the passage until the morning, when the old woman went forth to seek another victim, and my brother, going out after her, without her knowledge, returned to his house.
He now occupied himself with the treatment of his wounds until he was restored; and continued to watch for the old woman, and constantly saw her taking men, one after another, and conducting them to the same house. But he uttered not a word on the subject; and when his health returned, and his strength was completely renewed, he took a piece of rag, and made of it a purse, which he filled with pieces of glass: he then tied it to his waist, and disguised himself so that no one would know him, in the dress of a foreigner; and, taking a sword, placed it within his clothes; and as soon as he saw the old woman, he said to her, in the dialect of a foreigner, Old woman, hast thou a pair of scales fit for weighing nine hundred pieces of gold ? The old woman answered, I have a young son, a money-changer, and he hath all kinds qf scales; therefore accompany me to him before he go forth from his abode, that he may weigh for thee thy gold. So my brother said, Walk on before me:-and she went, and my brother followed her until she arrived at the door, and knocked; upon which the girl came out, and laughed in his face} and the old woman said to her, I have brought you today some fat meat The girl then took my brother's hand, and conducted him into the house (the same which he had entered before), and after she had sat with him a short time, she rose, saying to him, Quit not this place until I return to thee:-and she retired; and my brother had remained not long after when the slave came to him with the drawn sword, and said to him, Rise, thou unlucky! So my brother rose, and, as the slave walked before him, he put his hand to the sword which was concealed beneath his clothes, and struck the slave with it, and cut off his head; after which he dragged him by his feet to the vault, and called out, Where is El-Melihah? The slave-girl, therefore, came, having in her hand the tray containing the salt; but when she saw my brother with the sword in his hand, she turned back and fled: my brother, however, overtook her, and struck off her head. He then called out, Where is the old woman? -and she came; and he said to her, Dost thou know me, O malevolent hag? She answered, No, O my lord.-I am, said he, the man who had the pieces of gold, and in whose house thou performedst the ablution, and prayedst; after which, devising a stratagem against me, thou betrayedst me into this place.-The old woman exclaimed, Fear God in thy treatment of me!-but my brother, turning towards her, struck her with the sword, and clove her in twain. He then went in search for the chief damsel, and when she saw him, her reason fled, and she implored his pardon; whereupon he granted her his pardon, and said to her, What occasioned thy falling into the hands of this black? She answered, I was a slave to one of the merchants, and this old woman used to visit me; and one day she said to me, We are celebrating a festivity, the like of which no one hath seen, and I have a desire that thou shouldst witness it. I replied, I hear and obey.-and arose, and clad myself in the best of my attire, and, taking with me a purse containing a hundred pieces of gold, proceeded with her until she entered thltr house, when suddenly this black took me, and I have continued with him in this state three years, through the stratagem of the old witch.-My brother then said to her, Is there any property of his in the house?-Abundance, she answered; and if thou canst remove it, do so:-and upon this, he arose and went with her, when she opened to him chests filled with purses, at the sight of which he was confounded; and she said to him, Go now, and leave me here, and bring some person to remove the property. So he want out, and, having hired ten men, returned; but on his arrival at the door, he found it open, and saw neither the damsel nor the purses; he found, however, some little money remaining, and the stuffs. He discovered, therefore, that she had eluded him; and he took the money that remained, and, opening the closets, took all the stuffs which they contained, leaving nothing in the house.
He passed the next night full of happiness; but when the morning came, he found at the door twenty soldiers, and on his going forth to them, they laid hold upon him, saying, The Wali summoneth thee. So they took him, and conducted him to the Wali, who, when he saw him, said to him, Whence obtainedst thou these stuffs?-Grant me indemnity, said my brother:-and the Wali gave him the handkerchief of indemnity; and my brother related to him all that hcd befallen him with the old woman from first to last, and the flight of the damsel; adding,-and of that which I have taken, take thou what thou wilt; but leave me wherewith to procure my food. The Wali thereupon demanded the whole of the money and the stuffs; but fearing that the Sultan might become acquainted with the matter, he retained a portion only, and gave the rest to my brother, saying to him, Quit this city, or I will hang thee. My brother replied, I hear and obey:-and went forth to one of the surrounding cities. Some robbers, however, came upon him, and stripped and beat him, and cut off his ears; and I, having heard of his situation, went forth to him, taking to him some clothes; and brought him back privily into the city, and supplied him with daily food and drink.