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.
Soon after there came a Christian, the Sultan's broker, who, in a state of intoxication, had come forth to visit the bath; and he advanced staggering, until he drew near to the humpback, when he turned his eyes, and beheld one standing by him. Now, some persons had snatched off his turban early in the night, and when he saw the humpback standing there, he concluded that he intended to do the same; so he clenched his fist, and struck him on the neck. Down fell the humpback upon the ground, and the Christian called out to the watchman of the market, while, still in the excess of his intoxication, he continued beating the humpback, and attempting to throttle him. As he was thus employed, the watchman came, and, finding the Christian kneeling upon the Muslim and beating him, said, Arise, and quit him! He arose, therefore, and the watchman, approaching the humpback, saw that he was dead, and exclaimed, How is that the Christian dareth to kill the Muslim? Then seizing the Christian, he bound his hands behind him, and took him to the house of the Wali ;a the Christian saying within himself, O Heavens! O Virgin! how have I killed this man? and how quickly did he die from a blow of the hand!-Intoxication had departed, and reflection had come. The humpback and the Christian passed the remainder of the night in the house of the Wali, and the Wali ordered the executioner to proclaim the Christian's crime, and he set up a gallows, and stationed him beneath it. The executioner then came, and threw the rope round his neck, and was about to hang him, when the Sultan's steward pushed through the crowd, seeing the Christian standing beneath the gallows, and the people made way for him, and he said to the executioner, Do it not, for it was I who killed him.- Wherefore didst thou kill him ? said the Wali. He answered, I went into my house last night, and saw that he had descended from the terrace and stolen my goods; so I struck him with a mallet upon his chest, and he died, and I carried him out, and conveyed him to the market-street, where I set him up in such a place, at the entrance of such a lane. Is it not enough for me to have killed a Muslim, that a Christian should be killed on my account? Hang, then, none but me.-The Wali, therefore, when he heard these words, liberated the Christian broker, and said to the executioner, Hang this man, on the ground of his confession. And he took off the rope from the neck of the Christian, and put it round the neck of the steward, and having stationed him beneath the gallows, was about to hang him, when the Jewish physician pushed through the crowd, and called out to the executioner, saying to him, Do it not; for none killed him but I; and the case was this: he came to my house to be cured of a disease, and as I descended to him I struck against him with my foot, and he died: kill not the steward, therefore; but kill me. So the Wali gave orders to hang the Jewish physician; and the executioner took off the rope from the steward's neck, and put it round the neck of the Jew. But, lo, the tailor came, and, forcing his way among the people, said to the executioner, Do it not; for none killed him but I; and it happened thus: I was out amusing myself during the day, and as I was returning at the commencement of the night, I met this humpback in a state of intoxication, with a tambourine, and singing merrily; and I stopped to divert myself by looking at him, and took him to my house. I then bought some fish, and we sat down to eat, and my wife took a piece of fish and a morsel of bread, and crammed them into his mouth, and he was choked, and instantly died. Then I and my wife took him to the house of the Jew, and the girl came down and opened the door, and while she went up to her master, I set up the humpback by the stairs, and went away with my wife: so, when the Jew came down and stumbled against him, he thought that he had killed him.
"Chief police magistrate.
And he said to the Jew, Is this true? He answered, Yes. The tailor, then looking towards the Wali, said to him, Liberate the Jew, and hang me. And when the Wali heard this he was astonished at the case of the humpback, and said, Verily this is an event that should be recorded in books I And he said to the executioner, Liberate the Jew, and hang the tailor on account of his own confession. So the executioner had him forward, saying, Dost thou put forward this and take back that; and shall we not hang one? And he put the rope round the neck of the tailor.
Now the humpback was the Sultan's buffoon, and the Sultan could not bear him to be out of his sight; and when the humpback had got drunk, and been absent that night and the next day until noon, the King inquired respecting him of some of his attendants, and they answered him, O our lord, the Wali hath taken him forth dead, and gave orders to hang the person who killed him, and there came a second and a third person, each saying, None killed him but I:- and describing to the Wali the cause of his killing him. When the King, therefore, heard this, he called out to the Chamberlain, and said to him, Go down to the Wali, and bring them all hither before me. So the Chamberlain went down, and found that the executioner had almost put to death the tailor, and he called out to him, saying, Do it not:-and informed the Wali that the case had been reported to the King. And he took him, and the humpback borne with him, and the tailor and the Jew and the Christian and the steward, and went up with them all to the King; and when the Wali came into the presence of the King, he kissed the ground, and related to him all that had happened. And the King was astonished, and was moved with merriment, at hearing this tale; and he commanded that it should be written in letters of gold. He then said to those who were present, Have ye ever heard anything like the story of this humpback? And upon this the Christian advanced, and said, O King of the age, if thou permit me I will relate to thee an event that hath occurred to me more wonderful and strange and exciting than the story of the humpback.-Tell us then thy story, said the King. And the Christian related as follows: