The Barmecide Feast
THERE was once a rich old man who was called the
In the same land there was a poor man whose name was
The servant at the door said, "Come in and talk with our master. He will not send you away hungry."
Schacabac went in, and passed through many beautiful rooms, looking for the Barmecide. At last he came to a grand hall where there were soft carpets on the floor, and fine pictures on the walls, and pleasant couches to lie down upon.
At the upper end of the room he saw a noble man with a long white beard. It was the Barmecide; and poor Schacabac bowed low before him, as was the custom in that country.
The Barmecide spoke very kindly, and asked what was wanted.
Schacabac told him about all his troubles, and said that it was now two days since he had tasted bread.
"Is it possible?" said the Barmecide. "You must be almost dead with hunger; and here I have plenty and to spare!"
Then he turned and called, "Ho, boy! Bring in the water to wash our hands, and then order the cook to hurry the supper."
Schacabac had not expected to be treated so kindly. He began to thank the rich man.
"Say not a word," said the Barmecide, "but let us get ready for the feast."
Then the rich man began to rub his hands as though some one was pouring water on them. "Come and wash with me," he said.
Schacabac saw no boy, nor basin, nor water. But he thought that he ought to do as he was bidden; and so, like the Barmecide, he made a pretense of washing.
"Come now," said the Barmecide, "let us have supper."
He sat down, as if to a table, and
Schacabac thought that he
"Boy," said the old man, "bring on the roast goose.—Now, my good friend, try this choice piece front the breast. And here are sweet sauce, honey, raisins, green peas, and dry figs. Help yourself, and remember that other good things are coming."
Schacabac was almost dead with hunger, but he was too polite not to do as he was bidden.
"Come," said the Barmecide, "have another piece of the
roast lamb. Did you ever eat anything so
"Never in my life," said Schacabac. "Your table is full of good things."
"Then eat heartily," said the Barmecide. "You cannot please me better."
After this came the
"Now is there anything else that you would like?" asked the host.
"Ah, no!" said poor Schacabac. "I have indeed had great plenty."
"Let us drink, then," said the Barmecide. "Boy, bring on the wine!"
"Excuse me, my lord," said Schacabac, "I will drink no
wine, for it is
The Barmecide seized him by the hand. "I have long wished to find a man like you," he said. "But come, now we will sup in earnest."
He clapped his hands. Servants came, and he ordered supper.
Soon they sat down to a table loaded with the very dishes
of which they had
Poor Schacabac had never had so good a meal in all his
life. When they had
"I have found you to be a man of good
And so Schacabac lived with the Barmecide many years, and never again knew what it was to be hungry.