Long, long ago there lived a very kind and generous man in Yemen. Yemen was a province in Arabia. The name of that man was Hatem Tai. He was not rich. But he was very hospitable. People loved him. They praised him more than their king. So the king wanted to have him removed from the world.
One day the king gave a dinner. The guests praised the king. So the king felt happy and proud. But the guests praised Hatem Tai also. This made the king very angry. He did not say anything then. But on the following day he sent one of his men to Hatem Tai. The king ordered the man to kill Hatem Tai and bring his head.
The man left. On the way he met a young man. The Youngman was very kind to him. He was invited to the Youngman’s house for the night. The following morning the stranger wanted to leave. But the Youngman requested him to stay at least one day more.
But he said, “I can’t stay any longer. The king has sent me to do a very important work.”
“Friend, tell me what your important work is. May be, I can also help you,” the Youngman requested.
“It is a secret. The king ordered me not to tell it to anybody. However, you have been a very good friend to me. So I shall tell you. You must keep it secret. I have been ordered to kill Hatem Tai and carry his head to the king,” replied the stranger.
The Youngman laughed and said, “You made a mistake. You should have told me last night. I am Hatem Tai. You can carry out the king’s order without any delay.”
The stranger was surprised. “You are Hatem Tai! No, friend, I can’t kill you. You are so noble! I must go back immediately and repot everything to the king,” replied the stranger. He took leave of Hatem Tai and left for the king’s palace.
The king heard everything. He was pleased. He praised the man for not carrying out the order. Then the king sent a messenger inviting Hatem Tai to his palace.
Hatem Tai gladly accepted the king’s invitation. He came to meet the king. The king gave a dinner in his honour. He praised Hatem Tai before his guests. He also showed him great honour.