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.
I then raised my head, and said, Yes, I took it. And when the Wali heard these words, he wondered, and called witnesses, who presented themselves, and gave their testimony to my confession.-All this took place at Bab Zuweyleh. The Wali then ordered the executioner to cut off my hand; and he cut of my right hand; but the heart of the trooper was moved with compassion for me, and he interceded for me that I should not be killed: so the Wali left me and departed. The people however continued around me, and gave me to drink a cup of wine; and the trooper gave me the purse, saying, Thou art a comely youth, and it is not fit that thou shouldst be a thief. And I took it from him, and addressed him with these verses:
By Allah! good sir, I was not a robber; nor was I a thief, O best of mankind!
But fortune's vicissitudes overthrew me suddenly, and anxiety and trouble and poverty overpowered me. I cast it not; but it was the Deity who cast an arrow that threw down the kingly diadem from my head.
The trooper then left me and departed, after having given me the purse, and I went my way; but first I wrapped my hand in a piece of rag, and put it in my bosom. My condition thus altered, and my countenance pallid in consequence of my sufferings, I walked to the Ka'ah, and, in a disordered state of mind, threw myself upon the bed. My wife, seeing my complexion thus changed, said to me, What hath pained thee, and wherefore do I see thee thus altered? I answered her, My head acheth, and I am not well. And on hearing this she was vexed, and became ill on my account, and said, Burn not my heart, O my master! Sit up, and raise thy head, and tell me what hath happened to thee this day; for I read a tale in thy face.-Abstain from speaking to me, I replied. And she wept, and said, it seemeth that thou art tired of us; for I see thee to be conducting thyself in a manner contrary to thy usual habit. Then she wept again, and continued addressing me, though I made her no reply, until the approach of night, when she placed some food before me; but I abstained from it, fearing that she should see me eat with my left hand, and said, I have no desire to eat at present. She then said again, Tell me what hath happened to thee this day, and wherefore I see thee anxious and broken-hearted. I answered, I will presently tell thee at my leisure. And she put the wine towards me, saying, Take it; for it will dispel thine anxiety; and thou must drink, and tell me thy story. I replied, therefore, If it must be so, give me to drink with thy hand. And she filled a cup and drank it; and then filled it again and handed it to me, and I took it from her with my left hand, and, while tears ran from my eyes, I repeated these verses:-*•
When God willeth an event to befall a man who is endowed with reason and hearing and sight, He deafeneth his ears, and blindeth his heart, and draweth his reason from him as a hair. Till, having fulfilled his purpose against him, He restoreth him his reason that he may be admonished.
Having thus said, I wept again; and when she saw me do so, she uttered a loud cry, and said, What is the reason of thy weeping ? Thou hast burned my heart! And wherefore didst thou take the cup with thy left hand ?-I answered her, I have a boil upon my right hand.-Then put it forth, said she, that I may open it for thee.-It is not yet, I replied, the proper time for opening it; and continue not to ask me; for I will not put it forth at present. I then drank the contents of the cup, and she continued to hand me the wine until intoxication overcame me, and I fell asleep in the place where I was sitting; upon which she discovered that my right arm was without a hand, and, searching me, saw the purse containing the gold.
Grief, such as none else experienceth, overcame her at the sight; and she suffered incessant torment on my account until the morning, when I awoke, and found that she had prepared for me a dish composed of four boiled fowls, which she placed before me. She then gave me to drink a cup of wine; and I ate and drank, and put down the purse, and was about to depart; but she said, Whither wouldst thou go ? I answered, To such a place, to dispel somewhat of the anxiety which oppresseth my heart.-Go not, said she; but rather sit down again. So I sat down, and she said to me, Hath thy love of me become so excessive that thou hast expended all thy wealth upon me, and lost thy hand ? I take thee, then, as witness against me, and God also is witness, that I will never desert thee; and thou shalt see the truth of my words.-Immediately, therefore, she sent for witnesses, who came; and she said to them, Write my contract of marriage to this young man, and bear witness that I have received the dowry. And they did as she desired them; after which she said, Bear witness that all my property which is in this chest, and all my memluks and female slaves, belong to this young man. Accordingly, they declared themselves witnesses of her declaration, and I accepted the property, and they departed after they had received their fees. She then took me by my hand, and, having led me to a closet, opened a large chest, and said to me, See what is containeth in this chest. I looked, therefore; and lo, it was full of handkerchiefs; and she said, This is thy property, which I have received from thee: for every time that thou gavest me a handkerchief containing fifty pieces of gold, I wrapped it up, and threw it into this chest: take, then, thy property; for God hath restored it to thee, and thou art now of high estate. Fate hath afflicted thee on my account so that thou hast lost thy right hand, and I am unable to compensate thee: if I should sacrifice my life, it would be but a small thing, and thy generosity would still have surpassed mine.-She then added, Now take possession of thy property. So I received it; and she transferred the contents of her chest to mine, adding her property to mine which I had given her. My heart rejoiced, my anxiety ceased, and I approached and kissed her, and made myself merry by drinking with her; after which she said again, Thou hast sacrificed all thy wealth and thy hand through love of me, and how can I compensate thee? By Allah, if I gave my life for love of thee, it were but a small thing, and I should not do justice to thy claims upon me.-She then wrote a deed of gift transferring to me all her apparel, and her ornaments of gold and jewels, and her houses and other possessions; and she passed that night in grief on my account, having heard my relation of the accident that had befallen me.