Stories From Arabian Nights - Two Deceived Twice

 Two Deceived Twice

"In pleasure lurks sorrow and in success lies failure," said the fellow who looked like mad, but spoke perfect sense. "What do you mean?" asked his listeners. "I say so from the experience of my life." Then he narrated the following story: He was a policeman guarding the city gate. It was a moonlit night. He sat leaning against the wall. He had dozed off when he felt someone's tender hand touching his. He woke up with a startle. A charming face greeted him with a charming smile. "Who are you? What are you doing here at this hour?" the policeman asked. The lady put some silver coins on his palm and smiled bewitchingly. "I do not accept bribe!" said the policeman. "This is no bribe. A bribe is what is given to get the wrong thing done. I am giving you a reward for your help which I expect to receive for a good cause," said the lady. "What is a good cause?"

"Is bringing two friends together not a good cause? The situation is like this. Kazi's daughter and I are great friends. But the Kazi does not allow us to meet. His daughter is longing to see me. You have to help me pass a night in his house so that we two friends can be together." "How to do that?" "It should not be difficult for you at all!" assured the lady. Then she advised the policeman how he should go about his work. The policeman knocked on the Kazi's door. The household servant opened the door. The policeman wished to see the Kazi. When the Kazi came out, he said, "Sir, this lady is from another town. She came to meet a relative here whose address she has lost. Bewildered, she was weeping on the pavement in front of your house when I saw her. I know her father. He is a respectable man. This lady has gold on her person. We cannot let her pass the night in the streets. The proper thing for you would be to grant her shelter for the night." The Kazi, being the guardian of the law, could not say 'no' to the proposal. The lady was let in. After his night's duty, the policeman had just come home when some constables banged his door. "What is the matter?" he asked, rather annoyed. "You are summoned by the chief magistrate," they said. The policeman had to accompany them. At the house of the chief, he saw the Kazi. "You rogue!" blurted out the Kazi. "Where is the lady burglar, your friend?" The policeman was taken aback. By and by he understood that the lady he had put in the Kazi's house had escaped with all the gold and cash the Kazi had accumulated. 

"You are to die!" shouted the Kazi. "Sir, it is the rule to allow three days to any accused to prove his innocence or undo the wrong he has done. I appeal to you to grant me that much time", prayed the policeman. His prayer was granted. He wandered in the streets looking at the face of every woman he saw. Some frowned upon him, some scolded him. Two days passed. He gave up all hope of living. Suddenly on the third day, his eyes fell on a face that peeped through a window. Indeed, it was that unforgettable face! As soon as the lady saw him, she smiled and beckoned him to come in. The policeman stormed in and cried out, "At last I have got you." "At last I have got you!" echoed the lady, displaying that bewitching smile with which the policeman was already familiar. "How much trouble you caused me!" said the policeman. "Have you caused me less trouble?" returned the lady. "How could have I troubled you?" demanded the policeman. "Why do you think I was gazing at the street? Is it not to locate you? I knew that some time or the other you must pass this way. I was pining for you!" replied the lady.

"Don't speak nonsense. You entered the Kazi's house through my help and burgled his house. What further business you have with me?" "I burgled his house and decamped with his ill-gotten money, true. But what for? So that you and I can marry and live happily hereafter. I have enough money for a luxurious living." The lady opened a wardrobe full of gold and other valuables. "But I am in trouble now. I am accused of conspiring with you to burgle the Kazi's house." "So what? In no time you can throw the burden on the Kazi himself!" said the lady and she told the policeman what he should do. Now both laughed. The policeman went to his chief's house and said, "Sir, I am afraid, the lady is still in the Kazi's house! I came to this conclusion after some secret investigation. Let us visit his house right now and let me see if I can trace her." The chief accompanied the policeman to the Kazi's house. The Kazi was surprised and disgusted to learn of their suspicion. But he let them search his house. "Will you please tell me what was the color of the lady's dress?" asked the policeman. "Yellow, if I remember correctly," said the Kazi. Suddenly, from beneath a box in a corner of a room, the policeman drew apparel that was yellow, and there was blood on it! The Kazi and the chief stood stunned. A long time passed. "Why did you murder the lady?" the chief asked the Kazi. 

"Murder? Do you mean to say that I did it?" The Kazi could not say a word more. He broke down. "Be calm, sir. Perhaps somebody else in your house has done it. Well, I should be considerate. I shall not bring any trouble with you. Let us think that nothing at all has happened," said the chief magistrate. Then looking at the policeman, he said, "Don't speak a word about it to anybody." "I shall obey you, sir!" said the policeman with great satisfaction. They dispersed. With great joy, the policeman ran to meet his lady. He marveled at her craftiness. Not only had she stolen everything from the Kazi's house, but also had planted the proof to suggest that she had been murdered in the Kazi's house. The policeman, on reaching his destination, found the house locked. He waited for a long time. Then he grew impatient and asked the neighbors where the lady of the house was. "Who is the lady of the house? The house has been lying deserted for years. Yes, a certain lady occupied it for the last three or four days. But we saw her leaving today," they said. Since then the policeman is roving half-mad. "I helped her to burgle a house. I damaged the reputation of the innocent Kazi! All for stupidity and greed. How can I behave like a normal man? Can anyone guilty of such deeds be ever in peace?" he asked again and again to everybody.

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