A whimsical story is told of a king, who denied to poets those rewards to which usage had almost given them a claim. I dont have ducks or row i have chickens shirt. This king, whose name is not recorded, had the faculty of retaining in his memory an ode after having only once heard it; and he had a memlook who could repeat an ode that he had twice heard, and a female slave who could repeat one that she had heard thrice.
I dont have ducks or row i have chickens shirt
Whenever a poet came to compliment him with a panegyrical ode, the King used to promise him that, I dont have ducks or row i have chickens shirt. if he found his verses to be his original composition, he would give him a sum of money equal in weight to what they were written upon. The poet, consenting, would recite his ode; and the King would say, “It is not new; for I have known it some years;” and would repeat it as he had heard it; after which he would add, “And this memlook also retains it in his memory;” and would order the memlook to repeat it; which, having heard it twice, from the poet and the king, he would do. The King would then say to the poet, “I have also a female slave who can repeat it;” and on his ordering her to do so, stationed behind the curtains, she would repeat what she had thus thrice heard: so the poet would go away empty-handed.
Have a nice shirt!
The famous poet El-Aṣma’ee, having heard of this proceeding, and guessing the trick, determined upon outwitting the King; and accordingly composed an ode made up of very difficult words; but this was not his only preparative measure; another will be presently explained; and a third was, to assume the dress of a Bedawee, that he might not be known, covering his face, the eyes only excepted, with a lithám (a piece of drapery) in accordance with a custom of Arabs of the desert. Thus disguised, he went to the palace, and, having asked permission, entered, and saluted the King, who said to him, “Whence art thou, O brother of the Arabs, and what dost thou desire?” The poet answered, “May God increase the power of the King! I am a poet of such a tribe, and have composed an ode in praise of our lord the Sulṭán.