f us, at this resting-place, could relate something for the amusement of the rest: this, certainly, would serve to pass the time."
"Selim Baruch, thou hast well spoken," said Achmet, the oldest of the merchants; "let us accept the proposal."
"I am rejoiced that it pleases you," answered Selim; "and, in order that you may see that I desire nothing unreasonable, I will myself begin." The five merchants, overjoyed, drew nearer together, and placed the stranger in their midst. The slaves replenished their cups, filled the pipes of their masters afresh, and brought glowing coals for a light. Selim cleared his voice with a hearty draught of sherbet, smoothed back the long beard from his mouth, and said, "Listen then to THE HISTORY OF CALIPH STORK."
Once upon a time, on a fine afternoon, the Caliph Chasid was seated on his sofa in Bagdad: he had slept a li