Abu Nowas and His Wife

Abu Nowas and His Wife

Abu Nowas and His Wife

Abu Nowas and His Wife

Abu Nowas and His Wife

Abu Nowas and His Wife

Once upon a time, in a palace, there lived a man, whose name was Abu Nowas. He was a favourite to the Sultan of the country. The Sultan had a palace, and Abu Nowas lived there. One day, Abu Nowas came to meet the Sultan, and his eyes were full of tears. The Sultan looked at him with a worried face and asked him what the problem was. The man immediately responded, “Oh dear Sultan, my wife is dead.” And he broke down in tears.

The Sultan looked at him with tears in his eyes. “This is bad news,” he said. “I must get you another wife.” With that, the Sultan bade his Grand Vizir to send for Sultana.

When Sultana entered, he said, “this poor man has just lost his wife.”

“Then we must get him another one,” Sultana answered immediately. “I have a girl that will suit him,” she said, and with a smile, she clapped her hands joyfully. Afterward, she signalled to a man, and he went into a room and came out with a petite-looking woman.

”I have a husband for you,” Sultana said.

“Okay, who is this man?” the girl asked.

“He is standing right before you. He is none other than Abu Nowas, the jetter.

The young maiden turned and looked at the man and nodded her head. “I will take him,” she said. Abu Nowas did not object.

Soon the wedding preparations started. The Sultana gave the young maiden the best beautiful dress, and the Sultan gave the man the most wonderful wedding suit. He also added a thousand gold pieces and a soft carpet to help them start their married lives together.

After the wedding, Abu Nowas took his wife home, and they lived happily for a long time till one day, they noticed that their money was beginning to diminish, and they had no other source of income. The money the Sultan gave them was what they lived on since they got married, and none of them cared to think about what they would eat after the money finished. They didn’t even bother to work. But soon, the money ran out. So they started selling all their fine things one by one, but even that was not enough to keep them alive for so long.

Soon, they were left with just a cloak piece and one blanket to cover them. And like scales falling off a blind person’s eyes, they realized that they didn’t have anything left.

“We have run out of our fortune,” said Abu Nowas. “What are we going to do now? I am so afraid to go back to Sultan because I won’t be able to bear the shame. How will I tell him that all the riches he gave me have finished? I know for a fact that he will order his servants to throw me out of the door. But you, my dear wife, you shall return to your mistress. When you get there, you will throw yourself at her feet and weep, perhaps, she will consider and come to our aid.”

“No, I can’t do that. She will have my head as well. You had better go,” the maiden said.

“Well stay home if that is what you want. I shall go to the Sultan and tell him that my wife is dead. With my teary eyes and cries, I am sure he will agree to help me. I shall also tell him that I do not have anything to use and bury her. That should build up compassion in his heart, and he will agree to help me.”

“That is a very good idea, my dear. What are you waiting for? Go immediately,” the wife said, and Abu Nowas set out immediately.

The Sultan was sitting in the hall of justice when Abu Nowas entered. His eyes were red and pouring with tears because he had rubbed some pepper in them before his visit. The Sultan immediately got worried when he saw him with such a sober face that he was forced to ask.

“Abu Nowas, what is the matter?”

“Dear Sultan, my wife is dead.”

“Then we must all die,” the Sultan responded. But this was not the response that Abu Nowas wanted. So he spoke again.

“That is true O Sultan, but I have neither a shroud to wrap her in nor money to bury her with,” Abu Nowas said.

“Well then, give him a hundred pieces of gold,” the Sultan turned to the Grand Vizir and said. After the money was counted out, Abu Nowas bowed low and left the hall. His tears were still flowing, but this time, there was joy in his heart.

“Have you gotten anything?” his wife asked him immediately after Abu Nowas got back home.

“Yes, I got a hundred gold pieces,’ said Abu Nowas, and he threw down the bag. “But my dear wife, you know that this will not last us for a long time. You must go to the Sultana. When you get to her. Throw yourself at her feet and weep. Then you will tell her that your husband is dead and you have nothing to bury him with. When she asks you what happened to the properties and land that the Sultan gave to you when you got married, you will tell her that your husband sold all of it and wasted the money before he died.”

Abu Nowas’s wife did as she was told. She wrapped herself in sackcloth and went to Sultana’s palace. Because she was known as Sultana’s favourite, she was taken to the inner quarters immediately.

“What is the matter?” Sultana asked when she saw that the woman was dressed in sackcloth and had a sad look on her face.

“My dear Sultana, my husband is dead,” she exclaimed. “As I speak to you right now, he is lying down dead in our house, and I do not have anything to use and take care of his burial rites because he sold everything that the Sultan gave us.”

The Sultana took pity on her and said, “oh my dear. It is very sad what is happening to you. Your husband served us faithfully when he was still alive, and he must have a fine funeral.” With that, she gave her a hundred gold pieces. Abu Nowas’s wife took the money and kissed the feet of the Sultana. Then with joy, she hastened home.

Immediately she got home, Abu Nowas asked her, “did you get anything?”

“Yes, she gave me a hundred gold pieces.” After saying this, the couple rejoiced at their increased riches.

Later in the evening, they sat down to talk. “My dear wife, you know that the Sultan will meet with the Sultana this night, and they will converse about what we told them today. How will we deal with it when they come to us?”

Abu Nowas’s wife responded, “when the time comes, we will deal with that.”

That evening, the Sultan went to meet Sultana, and when they were in bed together, he said. “It’s so sad that Abu Nowas’s wife is dead.”

Sultana sprang up from her bed and said. “My dear Sultan, I believe you are wrong. It is not Abu Nowas’s wife that is dead but Abu Nowas himself.”

“What are you talking about?” The husband replied. “Abu Nowas came to me today and told me that his wife is no longer in the land of the living.”

“My Sultan, Abu Nowas’s wife came to me today and told me that her husband is dead.”

“This is a mystery to me,” the Sultan said, “and I need to figure it out today.” With that, he called one of his guards and said. “Go to Abu Nowas’s house and figure out who is truly dead in that household. Go immediately.”

The guard rushed to the house, and when he was approaching, Abu Nowas saw him coming and immediately told his wife.

“My wife, that is Sultan’s guard coming. Now, go and lie on the bed and pretend as if you are dead.” So Abu Nowas’s wife entered the house and covered a blanket up to her face just in time for the guard to see her lying as a dead person.

“What is happening here?” The guard asked.

“My wife is dead,” Abu Nowas responded.

“Oh, I am sorry for that.” He said and went back to the Sultan and reported what he saw.

“It’s a lie.” The Sultana replied. “He must just be saying that to please you. I will send my guard.”

So Sultana sent her guards to Abu Nowas’s house, and when Abu Nowas’s wife saw him approaching, she said. “That’s Sultana’s guard.”

“So it’s my time to play dead,” Abu Nowas said. “Now, come and cover me up while I lie stiff like a stick and pretend to be dead.” 

Abu Nowas rushed into his house and lay dead till Sultana’s guard came in and saw him and then left.

When she got back, she told the Sultan and Sultana all that she saw.

“No, this is impossible. Now I will go there personally to find out the truth.” So Sultan and Sultana headed to Abu Nowas’s house that evening, and when Abu Nowas saw him approaching, he said, “that is the Sultan and Sultana coming. Now, both of us will pretend to be dead.” So they went into the house and pretended to be dead. 

When Sultan entered, he saw both of them lying dead, and he said, “this is strange. To anyone that will explain this mystery, I will give them hundreds of thousands of gold pieces.”

Immediately, Abu Nowas stood up and said, “my dear Sultan, give me the money because no one else deserves it more than I do.”

The Sultan was so angry to discover that he was deceived, and he threw Abu Nowas and his wife out of his palace.


Moral lesson

Do not be selfish and do not bite the finger that fed you. 



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