While some declared that it sufficed for a slave to be beautiful, others, and Khacan was among the number, maintained that beauty alone was not enough, but that it must be accompanied by wit, wisdom, modesty, and, if possible, knowledge.
At length, early one morning, while Khacan was on his way to the king's palace, a dealer, throwing himself in his way, announced eagerly that a Persian merchant, arrived late the previous evening, had a slave to sell whose wit and wisdom were equal to her incomparable beauty.
Being a man of great wisdom and learning, he perceived in the short conversation he had with her that he would seek in vain another slave to surpass her in any of the qualities required by the king, and therefore asked the dealer what price the merchant put upon her.
Now it was not the custom to show a slave to a private bidder, but as no one dared to disobey the vizir his request was granted.
I will interest him at the same time in your behalf, and this will be worth much more to you than what extra money you might obtain from the merchants." "Bad old man," he exclaimed, "rather than sell my slave to you I would give her to a Jew." "But, Noureddin," I remonstrated, "you do not consider that in speaking thus you wrong the king, to whom your father owed everything." This remonstrance only irritated him the more.
He ordered the captain of the guard to take with him forty men, to pillage Noureddin's house, to rase it to the ground, and to bring Noureddin and the slave to him.
"What irks me, you know this, is that I am and forever shall be a slave to
that which brought (said: 'brung') me here." In an apparent afterthought, the "brought" and the "said" had been hastily crossed out with a red pen, the logic of the phrase rerouted through an act of self-editing.
According to his biographer Ellen Tarry, author of The Other Toussaint, he was fortunate as a slave to
know his mother and father and to be instructed in the Catholic faith and receive baptism and the other sacraments of the Church.