The Arabian Nights Entertainments
The Story of the Second Old Man,
and of the Two Black Dogs
Great prince of the genii, you must know that we are three brothers-- these two
black dogs and myself. Our father died, leaving us each a thousand sequins.
With this sum we all three took up the same profession, and became merchants.
A short time after we had opened our shops, my eldest brother, one of these two
dogs, resolved to travel in foreign countries for the sake of merchandise. With
this intention he sold all he had and bought merchandise suitable to the voyages
he was about to make. He set out, and was away a whole year. At the end of this
time a beggar came to my shop. "Good-day," I said. "Good-day," he answered;
"is it possible that you do not recognise me?" Then I looked at him closely and
saw he was my brother. I made him come into my house, and asked him how he
had fared in his enterprise.
"Do not question me," he replied, "see me, you see all I have. It would but renew
my trouble to tell of all the misfortunes that have befallen me in a year, and have
brought me to this state."
I shut up my shop, paid him every attention, taking him to the bath, giving him my
most beautiful robes. I examined my accounts, and found that I had doubled my
capital--that is, that I now possessed two thousand sequins. I gave my brother
half, saying: "Now, brother, you can forget your losses." He accepted them with
joy, and we lived together as we had before.
Some time afterwards my second brother wished also to sell his business and
travel. My eldest brother and I did all we could to dissuade him, but it was of no
use. He joined a caravan and set out. He came back at the end of a year in the
same state as his elder brother. I took care of him, and as I had a thousand
sequins to spare I gave them to him, and he re-opened his shop.
One day, my two brothers came to me to propose that we should make a journey
and trade. At first I refused to go. "You travelled," I said, "and what did you gain?"
But they came to me repeatedly, and after having held out for five years I at last
gave way. But when they had made their preparation, and they began to buy the