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Still wondering, he passed on, and for the moment had to content himself with
telling the vizir to command the horseman also to appear before him at the same
time as the blind man.
The next day, after evening prayer, the Caliph entered the hall, and was followed
by the vizir bringing with him the two men of whom we have spoken, and a third,
with whom we have nothing to do. They all bowed themselves low before the
throne and then the Caliph bade them rise, and ask the blind man his name.
"Baba-Abdalla, your Highness," said he.
"Baba-Abdalla," returned the Caliph, "your way of asking alms yesterday seemed
to me so strange, that I almost commanded you then and there to cease from
causing such a public scandal. But I have sent for you to inquire what was your
motive in making such a curious vow. When I know the reason I shall be able to
judge whether you can be permitted to continue to practise it, for I cannot help
thinking that it sets a very bad example to others. Tell me therefore the whole
truth, and conceal nothing."
These words troubled the heart of Baba-Abdalla, who prostrated himself at the
feet of the Caliph. Then rising, he answered: "Commander of the Faithful, I crave
your pardon humbly, for my persistence in beseeching your Highness to do an
action which appears on the face of it to be without any meaning. No doubt, in
the eyes of men, it has none; but I look on it as a slight expiation for a fearful sin
of which I have been guilty, and if your Highness will deign to listen to my tale,
you will see that no punishment could atone for the crime."
Story of the Blind Baba-Abdalla