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descend to; whereas the Little Agib added another piece of money to his sequin before the setting of the sun.
It happened that there lived at some distance from Abendali an old lady, who was bed-ridden, but very rich, and a relation of the former, though at some degrees removed. As she was thus lying in her chamber, she heard the door open, and Agib came in, but he was so little that he could not look upon the bed. The lady asking who it was, he answered, and said, "My name is Little Agib, and I am sent here by my father, your kinsman, who is called Abendali; for he desires to know how you are, and to wish you a thousand years.1"
The old lady wondered very much that Abendali was so much concerned for her, since they had not held any correspondence together for a long while; however, she was very well satisfied with his attention, and gave a small piece of money to Agib, desiring the slaves moreover to bring him as many sweetmeats as he liked. The brethren showing their purses at night to their father, the two eldest had only their sequin apiece, whereas little Agib had thus added already to his store.
On the following day, little Agib paid another visit to the sick lady, and was as well treated as before. He repeated the same compliments very many times afterwards, adding continually fresh monies in his purse; at last, Abendali, passing by chance in the same quarter of the city, took it into his head to inquire for his kinswoman; and when he entered her chamber, lo! there sat little Agib behind the door. As soon as he had delivered his compliments, which the lady received very graciously, she pointed to little Agib, and said she had taken it very kindly that the child had been sent so often to ask after her health.
"Madam,'" said Abendali, who laughed all the while; "the little liar has not told you one word of truth. I know well enough why he came here; which was on none of my errands."
The Little Agib prudently held his peace till his father was gone; whereupon the old lady asked him how he could be so wicked as to deceive her with such multiplied lies.
"Alas!" said Agib, pretending to whimper very much, "I hope God will not punish me with a sore tongue for such sinning. It is true, as my father says, that he never commanded me to come; but I was so scandalized at his shocking neglect, that I could not help calling upon you of my own accord, and making up those messages in his name."
The old lady hereupon was so much touched with the seeming piety and tenderness of Little Agib, that she bade him climb upon the bed and kiss her, which he performed; and because he had come so disinterestedly, and not, she believed, for the trifling pieces of money, she gave him a coin of more value, to make amends, as she said, for Abendali's injurious suspicion.
The same night, when he looked in Agib's purse, the old man saw that he had three pieces
VOL. II. L
more; at which he nodded, as if to say I know where these came from: whereupon Agib, being concerned for the honour of his ingenuity, spoke up to his father. "It is not,1' said he, "as you suppose; these two pieces I obtained elsewhere, than at the place you are thinking ofand with that he appealed to his brethren. ,
"It is truth,-" said the eldest, "what he speaks. Observing that he had every night a fresh piece of money, whereas we that are his elders could get nothing at all, myself and my brother besought of Little Agib to acquaint us with his secret for making gold and silver; but he would not part with it, unless we gave him our two pieces, and thus we have no money whatever."
With that the elder brothers turned both at once on Little Agib, calling him a liar and a cheat; for that, when they called on the old lady, instead of giving them a piece of money or two, as he had reported, she said that she knew what they came for, and withal bade them to be thrust forth from the chamber.
During this relation, Abendali could not help laughing secretly at the cunning of Little Agib, who had thus added his brother's money to his own; however, he quieted the two elder ones, by declaring that Agib had told them the truth.
About a month after this time, the Angel of Death called upon Abendali, and touching him on the right side, bade him prepare to die. Accordingly the old man sent for his sons to his bedside, and after embracing them tenderly one by one, spoke as follows:
"My dear children, you will find all the money that I have in the world in a great earthen pot, whjch stands in a hole of the wall, behind the head of my couch. As for its disposal my will is this, that it shall be equally divided between you two, who are the eldest. As for Little Agib, he has wit enough to provide for himself, and must shift as he can."