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THE THOUSAND AND ONE
HUMBUGS.

THE STORY OF SCARLI TAPA AND THE FORTY
THIEVES.

ACCOMPANIED by the Grand Vizier
Parmarstoon, and the black mute Mistaspeeka,
the chief of the Seraglio, Hansardadade again
repaired next day to the august presence,
and, after making the usual prostrations
before the Sultan, began thus:

Sire, there was once a poor relation
who lived in a town in the dominions of
the Sultan of the Indies, and whose name
was Scarli Tapa. He was the youngest son
of a Dowajahwhich, as your Majesty knows,
is a female spirit of voracious appetites, and
generally with a wig and a carmine
complexion, who prowls about old houses and
preys upon mankind. This Dowajah had
attained an immense age, in consequence of
having been put by an evil Genie on the
PENSHUNLIST, or talisman to secure long life;
but, at length she very reluctantly died
towards the close of a quarter, after making
the most affecting struggles to live into the
half-year.

Scarli Tapa had a rich elder brother named
CASHIM, who had married the daughter of a
prosperous merchant, and lived magnificently.
Scarli Tapa, on the other hand, could barely
support his wife and family by lounging
about the town and going out to dinner with
his utmost powers of perseverance, betting on
horse-races, playing at billiards, and running
into debt with everybody who would trust
himthe last being his principal means of
obtaining an honest livelihood.

One day, when Scarli Tapa had strolled
for some time along the banks of a great
river of liquid filth which ornamented that
agreeable country and rendered it salubrious,
he found himself in the neighbourhood of
the Woods and Forests. Lifting up his eyes,
he observed in the distance a great cloud of
dust. He was not surprised to see it, knowing
those parts to be famous for casting
prodigious quantities of dust into the eyes of the
Faithful; but, as it rapidly advanced towards
him, he climbed into a tree, the better to
observe it without being seen himself.

As the cloud of dust approached, Scarli
Tapa perceived it from his hiding-place to be
occasioned by forty mounted robbers, each
bestriding a severely-goaded and heavily-laden
Bull. The whole troop came to a halt
at the foot of the tree, and all the robbers
dismounted. Every robber then tethered
his hack to the most convenient shrub,
gave it a full meal of very bad chaff, and
hung over his arm the empty sack which had
contained the same. Then the Captain of the
Robbers, advancing to a door in an antediluvian
rock, which Scarli Tapa had not observed
before, and on which were the enchanted
letters O. F. F. I. C. E., said, Debrett's
Peerage. Open Sesame! As soon as the
Captain of the Robbers had uttered these
words, the door, obedient to the charm, flew
open, and all the robbers went in. The
captain went in last, and the door shut of itself.

The robbers stayed so long within the rock
that Scarli Tapa more than once felt tempted
to descend the tree and make off. Fearful,
however, that they might reappear and catch
him before he could escape, he remained
hidden by the leaves, as patiently as he could.
At last the door opened, and the forty
robbers came out. As the captain had gone
in last, he came out first, and stood to see
the whole troop pass him. When they had
all done so, he said, Debrett's Peerage.
Shut Sesame! The door immediately closed
again as before. Every robber then mounted
his Bull, adjusting before him his sack well
filled with gold, silver and jewels. When the
captain saw that they were all ready, he put
himself at their head, and they rode off by
the way they had come.

Scarli Tapa remained in the tree until the
receding cloud of dust occasioned by the
troop of robbers with their captain at their
head, was no longer visible, and then came
softly down and approached the door. Making
use of the words that he had heard
pronounced by the Captain of the Robbers, he said,
after first piously strengthening himself with
the remembrance of his deceased mother the
Dowajah, Debrett's Peerage. Open Sesame!
The door instantly flew wide open.

Scarli Tapa, who had expected to see a
dull place, was surprised to find himself in
an exceedingly agreeable vista of rooms, where
everything was as light as possible, and where
vast quantities of the finest wheaten loaves,
and the richest gold and silver fishes, and all

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