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Abu Nuwas and the Wily Young Man

Abu Nuwas loved to reminisce. “When I was still young,” he told us one day, “I fell head over heels for a youth of Basrah, and I was possessed with burning desire to make love to him. One time I ran into him on the Mirbad, where the philosophers were wont to gather. I begged him to look with favor on my passion.”

“If that is truly your wish,” said he, “then first find us one of those foxy songstresses who’s skilled at her trade, and get her to receive me.” Just then a shapely young woman passed by, and he exclaimed, “There! That one is precisely the condition of our meeting. Are you up for it?” I jumped up and could not help putting my hand on the woman's arm. Immediately she started to scream and call for help. Right away a crowd gathered, so that we were surrounded on all sides. Hands were raised to seize me. The youth in the mean time had edged away, and I could see him not far off, trying to hold in his laughter. I had to resort to all the treasures of my cunning to get out of that bind.

Retold after the French version of Ahmad al-Tifashi’s The Delights of Hearts, tr. Rene Khawam.

CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following form of citation:
Editorial Board, World History of Male Love, "Arabian Folktales", Abu Nuwas and the Wily Young Man, 2000 <>

Read a short biography of
Abu Nuwas, with links.

    Abu Nuwas, on Meeting an Old Friend
  Arabian Folk Tales

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