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.
When I heard these words of the old woman, the anguish which I had suffered ceased; my heart was set at rest, and I gave her the suit of clothes which I was then wearing, and she departed, saying to me, Cheer up thy heart. I replied, I have no longer any pain. The people of my house, and my friends, communicated, one to another, the good news of my restoration to health, and I remained thus until the Friday, when the old woman came in to me, and asked me respecting my state; so I informed her that I was happy and well. I then dressed and perfumed myself, and sat waiting for the people to go to prayers, that I might repair to the damsel; but the old woman said to me, Thou hast yet more than ample time, and if thou go to the bath and shave, especially for the sake of obliterating the traces of thy disorder, it will be more becoming.-It is a judicious * piece of advice, replied I; but I will shave my head first, and then go into the bath.
So I sent for a barber to shave my head, saying to the boy, Go to the market, and bring me a barber, one who is a man of sense, little inclined to impertinence, that he may not make my head ache by his chattering. And the boy went, and brought this sheykh, who, on entering, saluted me; and when I returned his salutation, he said to me, May God dispel thy grief and thine anxiety, and misfortunes and sorrows! I responded, May God accept thy prayer! He then said, Be cheerful, O my master; for health hath returned to thee. Dost thou desire to be shaved or to be n One of the most learned of the companions of his cousin Mohammad, bled?-for it hath been handed down, on the authority of Ibn-'Abbas" that the Prophet said, Whoso shorteneth his hair on Friday, God will avert from him seventy diseases;- and it hath been handed down also, on the same authority, that the Prophet said, Whoso is cupped on Friday will not be secure from the loss of sight and from frequent disease. -Abstain, said I, from this useless discourse, and come immediately, shave my head for I am weak. And he arose, and, stretching forth his hand, took out a handkerchief, and opened it; and lo, there was in it an astrolabe, consisting of seven plates; and he took it, and went into the middle of the court, where he raised his head towards the sun, and looked for a considerable time; after which he said to me, Know that there have passed, of this our day,-which is Friday, and which is the tenth of Safar, of the year 263 of the Flight of the Prophet,-upon whom be the most eiccellent of blessings and peace!-and the ascendant star of which, according to the required rules of the science of computation, is the planet Mars,-seven degrees and six minutes; and it happeneth that Mercury hath come in conjunction with that planet; and this indicateth that the shaving of hair is now a most excellent operation: and it hath indicated to me, also, that thou desirest to confer a benefit upon a person: and fortunate is he!-but after that, there is an announcement that presenteth itself to me respecting a matter which I will not mention to thee.
*ad one of the most celebrated of the relators of his ssytnjts and actions.
By Allah, I exclaimed, thou hast wearied me, and dissipated my mind, and augured against me, when I required thee only to shave my head: arise, then, and shave it; and prolong not thy discourse to me. But he replied, By Allah, if thou knewest the truth of the case, thou wouldst demand of me a further explication; and I counsel thee to do this day as I direct thee, according to the calculations deduced from the stars: it is thy duty to praise God, and not to oppose me; for I am one who giveth thee good advice, and who regardeth thee with compassion: I would that I were in thy service for a whole year, that thou mightest do me justice; and I desire not any pay from thee for so doing.
When I heard this, I said to him, Verily thou art killing me this day, and there is no escape for me.-O my master, he replied, I am he whom the people call Es-Samit, ["the Silent,"] on account of the paucity of my speech, by which I am distinguished above my brothers: for my eldest brother is named El-Bakbuk; and the second, El-Heddar; and the third, Bakbak"; and the fourth is named El-Kuz el-Aswani; and the fifth, El-Feshshar; and the sixth is named Shakalik; and the seventh brother is named Es-Samit; and he is myself.
Now when this barber thus overwhelmed me with his talk, I felt as if my gall-bladder had burst, and said to the boy, Give him a quarter of a piece of gold and let him depart from me for the sake of Allah: for I have no need to shave my head. But the barber on hearing what I said to the boy, exclaimed, What is this that thou hast said, O my lord? By Allah, I will accept from thee no pay unless I serve thee; and serve thee I must; for to do so is incumbent on me, and to perform what thou requirest; and I care not if I receive from thee no money. If thou knowest not my worth, I know thine; and thy father-may Allah have mercy upon him!-treated us with beneficence; for he was a man of generosity. By Allah, thy father sent for me one day, like this blessed day, and when I went to him, he had a number of his friends with him, and he said to me, Take some blood from me. So I took the astrolabe, and observed the altitude for him, and found the ascendant of the hour to be of evil omen, and that the letting of blood would be attended with trouble: I therefore acquainted him with this, and he conformed to my wish, and waited until the arrival of the approved hour, when I took the blood from him. He did not oppose me; but, on the contrary, thanked me; and in like manner all the many present thanked me; and thy father gave me a hundred pieces of gold for services similar to the letting of blood.-May God, said I, shew no mercy to my father for knowing such a man as thou!-and the barber laughed, and exclaimed, There is no deity but God! Mohammad is God's Apostle! Extolled be the perfection of Him who changeth others, but is not changed! I did not imagine thee to be otherwise than a man of sense; but thou hast talked nonsense in consequence of thine illness. God hath mentioned, in his Excellent Book, those who restrain their anger, and who forgive men:-but thou art excused in every case. I am unacquainted, however, with the cause of thy haste; and thou knowest that thy father used to do nothing without consulting me; and it hath been said, that the person to whom one applies for advice should be trusted: now thou wilt find no one better acquainted with the affairs of the world than myself, and I am standing on my feet to serve thee. I am not displeased with thee, and how then art thou displeased with me? But I will have patience with thee on account of the favours which I have received from thy father.-By Allah, said I, thou hast wearied me with thy discourse, and overcome me with thy speech! I desire that thou shave my head and depart from me.
13 All three names signify " Chatterer".