The spymaster pointed at Maqrur and whispered to the chief of
the night watchmen, "We have caught him red-handed in the act of
prostration to other gods than ours. Why do we not kill him now and be relieved
from him once and for all? Was it not the command of our great master in the
banquet? He ordered us to murder him in a deplorable accident, didn't he?"
The chief of the night watchmen said in a low voice,
"Our great master has changed his mind. He summoned me this morning and
ordered that we should bring Maqrur to meet him."
The spymaster said, "Do you think that he does not
trust us? Does he want to kill Maqrur himself?"
The chief of the night watchmen said, "You always
doubt others, why do you think so?"
The spymaster said, "It is my job. What do you
The chief of the night watchmen answered, "I think our
master wants to amuse himself first before killing him. Have you never seen a
cat eating a mouse?! Does the cat eat it immediately or first play with it for
sometime before swallowing it up?"
The spymaster said, "Then, he wants to play with him!
I do think that there is a great danger behind all of this. He is now prostrating,
completely helpless and powerless, what a good
chance if we kill him now, everything will be over."
The chief of the night watchmen said earnestly in a low voice,
"The commands are to catch and bring him alive to our master, not to kill
him. Are you going to arrest him or will you leave the mission for me?"
The spymaster said, "No! It is your job. I have only
to discover the truth. I will not interfere in your job and you should not too.
Leave him to me, I have got various means of torture that make even the stone
Masrur was sitting in his mansion to judge among people, when
the watchman came to announce the arrival of the accused, Maqrur,
Masrur ordered everybody except the grand vizier, the chief
judge and the lasher to leave. After a while, the spymaster and the chief of
the night watchmen entered holding Maqrur, who was tightly bound with iron
Masrur sat quietly looking at Maqrur, He was wearing a shabby
piece of cloth that left parts of his body uncovered. His feet were bare and
dusty; his face was pale but peaceful. Great surprise was clearly reflected
from his two pure and shining eyes. When he looked at the walls that were made
of Sandalwood and sculptured with gold, he was even more surprised.