The Arabian Nights Entertainments
The Adventures of Haroun-al-
Raschid, Caliph of Bagdad
The Caliph Haroun-al-Raschid sat in his palace, wondering if there was anything
left in the world that could possibly give him a few hours' amusement, when
Giafar the grand-vizir, his old and tried friend, suddenly appeared before him.
Bowing low, he waited, as was his duty, till his master spoke, but Haroun-al-
Raschid merely turned his head and looked at him, and sank back into his former
Now Giafar had something of importance to say to the Caliph, and had no
intention of being put off by mere silence, so with another low bow in front of the
throne, he began to speak.
"Commander of the Faithful," said he, "I have taken on myself to remind your
Highness that you have undertaken secretly to observe for yourself the manner
in which justice is done and order is kept throughout the city. This is the day you
have set apart to devote to this object, and perhaps in fulfilling this duty you may
find some distraction from the melancholy to which, as I see to my sorrow, you
are a prey."
"You are right," returned the Caliph, "I had forgotten all about it. Go and change
your coat, and I will change mine."
A few moments later they both re-entered the hall, disguised as foreign
merchants, and passed through a secret door, out into the open country. Here
they turned towards the Euphrates, and crossing the river in a small boat, walked
through that part of the town which lay along the further bank, without seeing
anything to call for their interference. Much pleased with the peace and good
order of the city, the Caliph and his vizir made their way to a bridge, which led
straight back to the palace, and had already crossed it, when they were stopped
by an old and blind man, who begged for alms.