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Title: Eastern Tales by Many Story Tellers
Author: Valentine, L. (Laura), -1899 [Editor]
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Eastern Tales by Many Story Tellers" ***

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                      _THE "CHANDOS CLASSICS."_



                            EASTERN TALES



                                  BY

                          MANY STORY TELLERS



        COMPILED AND EDITED FROM ANCIENT AND MODERN AUTHORS BY

                            MRS. VALENTINE

       _Author of "Sea Fights and Land Battles," &c., &c., &c._



                     WITH  NUMEROUS ILLUSTRATIONS



                                LONDON

                        FREDERICK WARNE & CO.

                        BEDFORD STREET, STRAND

       *       *       *       *       *



PREFACE.

[Illustration]


In compiling this volume of Eastern Tales, the Editor has been careful
to select only those best suited to youthful readers. They have been
gathered from both ancient and modern, French, Italian, and English
sources, and therefore offer great variety of style and subject.

In the stories taken from the Tales of the Genii, an omission of a few
words has been made, to fit them for their place in this volume.

       *       *       *       *       *



CONTENTS

[Illustration]

                                                          PAGE

JALALADDEEN OF BAGDAD                                      1

THE STORY OF HASCHEM                                      40

THE PANTOFLES                                             73

STORY OF THE PRINCE AND THE LIONS                         78

THE CITY OF THE DEMONS                                    95

JUSSUF, THE MERCHANT OF BALSORA                          104

THE SEVEN SLEEPERS                                       169

THE ENCHANTERS; OR, MISNAR, THE SULTAN OF INDIA          200

SADIK BEG                                                306

HALECHALBE AND THE UNKNOWN LADY                          309

THE FOUR TALISMANS                                       341

THE STORY OF BOHETZAD; OR, THE LOST CHILD                366

URAD; OR, THE FAIR WANDERER                              499

ALISCHAR AND SMARAGDINE                                  524

       *       *       *       *       *



EASTERN TALES.

Jalaladdeen of Bagdad.

[Illustration]


Once upon a time there lived in the city of Bagdad a young man called
Jalaladdeen. It was not his native place; but, in his early days, his
father had taken up his abode there. He was, however, little
acquainted with the town, in which he had grown up a sturdy youth; for
his father inhabited a small house in one of the suburbs, and lived a
very retired and frugal life. They managed their household affairs,
and cultivated their small garden, without the aid of any domestics.

One day the father, feeling his end approaching, called for his son
once more to his bed-side before his death, and said to him,
"Jalaladdeen, my dearest son, thou seest that I have arrived at the
bourne of my earthly career: now I should joyously quit this life,
were it not for the thought that I must leave thee here alone. After
my death, thou wilt find that thou are not so poor as thou mayest have
conceived, and that too with good reason, from our hitherto contracted
habits of life. Nevertheless, guard against the impression that thou
art in possession of inexhaustible riches. Reflect that a year has
three hundred and sixty-five days, and that the smallest expenditure,
when it occurs daily, will in the end amount to no inconsiderable sum.
Pay careful heed, therefore, to these my instructions, and be
contented with the necessaries of life. Provide that which is
indispensable to thy subsistence; but beware of purchasing
superfluities. Man's wants increase daily, if he do not accustom
himself in his early days to practise self-denial. But shouldest thou
ever be so unhappy as to neglect these my sincere cautions, and
consequently fall into poverty, I have only this piece of advice left
for thee:--Take this rope, fasten it to the nail in yonder wall, and
pull stoutly three times."

After these words, with his latest strength he drew a new rope from
under the head of his bed, and presented it to Jalaladdeen: the next
moment he expired.

So remarkable was the last lesson of the dying father to Jalaladdeen,
that he carefully preserved the rope. The care of the funeral of the
deceased, and the grief for the loss of his parent, and his own
abandonment in the world, occupied Jalaladdeen's mind for the first
week; but soon the household matters demanded his attention, and he
speedily found his father's words verified. One day he discovered in a
chamber which his father had always kept locked, and which he himself
had never before entered, a great quantity of gold and jewels. He
still, however, persevered in his accustomed solitary and frugal life
in the same manner as before the death of his father. He fetched his
daily provisions for himself, worked in his garden, and dressed his
own food. One day it happened that as he went to fetch a piece of meat
from his butcher, he passed a house adjacent to his own, from an inner
room of which there sounded joyous voices, jokes, songs, and laughter.
He felt a desire to open the door a little and to peep in; and a
tastefully furnished chamber, hung with light blue silk draperies
ornamented with golden lace, presented itself to his view. Beneath a
canopy reclined five richly dressed young men at a table covered with
a costly cloth, on which stood dishes and plates. On a side-board
stood drinking-vessels and jugs; and five slaves were busily employed
in serving the company with viands and liquors. At sight of this
cheerful and joyous assemblage, Jalaladdeen felt discontented with his
lot.

"How happy are they!" said he to himself: "here they repose together,
and take their refreshments in common, savoured by sprightly
conversation and jokes. Alas! I, poor Jalaladdeen, must sit at home
alone, and take my solitary meal!"

While he was indulging in these reflections, one of the young men
observed him; and, as Jalaladdeen was withdrawing, he stepped forward
hastily and invited him in a most friendly manner to remain with them
during the day, and to pass it in a cheerful and convivial spirit.
Jalaladdeen endeavoured to excuse himself by pointing to his mean
garb, intimating his inability to mix in such society; but his
objections were of no avail. He was conducted to the table in a most
courteous manner, and seated with them. The slaves waited on him, and
placed before him viands with which he was at once pleased and
astonished.

As one of the slaves handed him a full goblet, he held it doubtfully
in his hand for some time, without tasting it. Upon this, one of the
young men, who appeared to be the host, said, "Why do you not drink?"

"I do not know," replied he, "what the liquor is: I am fearful it may
be wine, which our great Prophet has forbidden us."

Hereupon all the company raised a hearty laugh at him.

"Do you know," said one, "why the Prophet forbade his disciples to
drink wine?"

As Jalaladdeen replied in the negative, the other proceeded thus: "The
Prophet observed many of his disciples, when they had partaken freely
of the vine, brawling and quarrelsome; and therefore he forbade it.
The beverage, however, was very different in its effects: some of them
it rendered lazy and inactive; others, too, would defy the whole
world, when heated by its influence. But why should he order us to
shun it? He in fact allows us to use it, so long as we do not abuse
it; and as we are all good companions, and avoid brawls in every
possible way, there is no danger of neglecting the Prophet's command."

In consequence of this explanation, Jalaladdeen lifted the flagon to
his mouth, and emptied it with the greatest pleasure. "Sorry company
spoils good liquor." This maxim was readily adopted. In consequence of
his father's precepts, Jalaladdeen had always been in the habit of
treating all religious tenets with the greatest respect. But fearful
that, by remaining long with his new acquaintance, he should neglect
his father's words, he contrived at first to drink very sparingly. The
beverage, which he had hitherto never tasted, proved very agreeable to
his palate; and when the host called upon him to drain his cup, "Ah,"
thought he, "I have made one false step; I have erred from the right
path! Whether I drink little, or empty the goblet, is of no great
consequence; for I have broken the commandment of the Prophet."

He quaffed again and again, and had his cup filled so frequently, that
he gradually forgot all his good intentions, and felt a degree of
excitement which seemed to run through his veins in a manner he had
never before experienced. He had by this time lost all self-command;
and as he could neither call sense nor recollection to his aid, by
degrees he fashioned himself to the habits of his friends, and pleased
them more and more.

"Here, friend," said one of them at last, "your company is very
pleasant. I wish to have you always with us, that we may revel and
enjoy ourselves together."

The others also approved of the plan, and pressed him to become one of
them.

"I would willingly do so," said Jalaladdeen; "but I must first know
what your society is, and whether it would be proper for me to conform
to its customs. Some associations are dangerous."

"Have no fear on that account," said one: "our brotherhood is
perfectly harmless, and its aim innocent. See, we are five
unencumbered young men, each having some independent property. We have
linked ourselves together, and formed a confederacy to meet at one
another's residences, and to enjoy ourselves day after day in comfort
and pleasure. He to whose lot it has fallen to become host to-day
provides meat and drink, and if it should cost him something more than
usual, he makes up the loss by becoming on the next occasions the
guest of others. In this manner we pass a life devoid of care, and
feast, joke, and laugh with one another the livelong day."

The condition into which the wine and the luxuries of the table had
brought Jalaladdeen disposed him to be well pleased with the offer,
and he was easily induced to identify his lot with theirs. When
evening drew on, and he rose to take his departure, they showed him
the house of meeting for the morrow, and he returned to his own home
delighted with the events of the day, and, retiring to rest, was soon
locked in profound sleep, and lulled by happy dreams.

When he awoke the next morning, he reflected on the transactions of
the previous day, lamenting that he had so entirely disregarded his
father's last words, and had totally neglected the observance of the
Prophet's command. These thoughts, coupled with the admonition of his
dying father, occasioned great anguish to his heart; and the
recollection of the vast expense incurred by the feasting of the
former day, and the calculation of the sum he should require to
entertain his friends with similar hospitality, made him feel an
inclination to withdraw from the connection; but, as he had pledged
his word, he was reluctant to quit them at so early a stage.

He then calculated what he should require, and proceeded to the
chamber where his riches lay. But the sight of the treasures banished
all cares from his breast; "for," thought he to himself, "if I should
expend a sum similar to that of yesterday, I shall want but very
little of this gold." He then took a bag of gold with him, and went
out to purchase the necessaries for the banquet.

On arriving at the city he took a porter with him, and bought various
articles for the feast: a table for six, with a costly cover and
carpet. From thence he proceeded to a silversmith, and purchased jugs,
and flagons, and drinking-vessels, and other utensils for the table,
superior to those of his friends. Then he visited a china-shop, and
selected some of the handsomest porcelain china and Japan ware that
was to be found, and provided himself with elegant services of plates
and dishes. He continued in this manner furnishing himself with every
useful and ornamental article for one of his largest rooms.

While he was thus employed in collecting and dispatching to his house
these various utensils, the time for assembling at his friend's house
drew near. He accordingly bent his steps thither, and was most gladly
welcomed. They sat down to table, and when the first course was
served, "You should have brought a slave with you," said the host, "as
we do: that is one of our customs."

Jalaladdeen explained that he had not yet purchased a slave, but
undertook to procure one by the following morning.

The day passed, like the former one, in great glee and festivity. The
second supply of wine was ordered, and Jalaladdeen took his first
goblet with great hesitation; but this was soon dissipated by his
friends, and his cup was filled again and again, till he became
exactly in the same condition as on the previous occasion.

After three or four days, he was altogether accustomed to his new mode
of living; and he was at a loss to comprehend how he could have
remained so long in his old quiet habits, blaming his father in his
mind for keeping him in retirement so many years, and for depriving
him of the happiness of a convivial life.

He looked back with joy to the day upon which he had formed an
acquaintance with his new friends, and congratulated himself on the
prospect of a closer intimacy with them. He soon provided himself with
two slaves: to one he confided the duties of the kitchen; the office
of the other was to wait upon him and his friends.

When the young men met for the first time at his house, they were
astonished at its meanness and the want of accommodation, owing to the
small size of the rooms. Jalaladdeen apologized to them, saying it had
been his father's house, and that in consequence he did not wish to
part with it. Though his companions approved of this motive, still
they considered that he ought to provide a spacious dining-room for
their comfort, or to build an open pavilion in the garden, where they
might assemble more conveniently.

"In this small chamber," said one, "it is impossible to enjoy oneself
at ease: the room is so contracted and inconvenient."

"Yes, brother," said another; "you must do something: a pavilion must
be erected in the garden; and while you are about it, let it be both
handsome and commodious."

Then they suggested all kinds of plans for the building, each one
pointing out some novel feature or other which he particularly begged
might not be forgotten in its construction.

Jalaladdeen was soon thoroughly convinced of the necessity of
providing a large room for their comfort; and pledging himself now, as
he knew what was required, to follow the suggestion of his friends, he
promised to use his best endeavours to render the building conformable
to their several tastes.

He accordingly the next day sent for an architect, who well knew how
to enlarge upon what was necessary for the solidity of the pavilion,
what was requisite for its proper appearance, and what the cost of the
building would be, and desired him to erect it. Jalaladdeen yielded to
his opinion on every point, hoping to gain the praise and approbation
of his friends; and in order to carry this out more fully, he would
not suffer any one to enter the garden during the progress of the
work.

At length the pavilion was completed, and the friends were assembled
together there for the banquet. Everything was deemed praiseworthy,
and highly approved.

At last, however, one exclaimed, "It is much to be regretted, friend
Jalaladdeen, that your garden is so small. What a miserable prospect
you have! On this side nothing but poor vegetable-gardens; on the
other side that ugly old building obstructs the view. If I were in
your place, I would buy up the land around, pull down the barracks and
the little buildings adjacent, and thus make one vast pleasure-garden,
befitting such a splendid pavilion."

As the rest of the guests concurred, Jalaladdeen began to think
himself that to erect a large handsome pavilion on such small grounds
was indeed a mistake. He immediately, therefore, bought up all the
small gardens, for which he was obliged to pay a very heavy
price--firstly, because the owners did not wish to part with them; and
secondly, as the produce of the ground was necessary for their
subsistence.

As he had now got the requisite space on all sides, he employed a
skilful gardener to lay out the grounds tastefully; and in order to
cultivate this new garden, and keep it constantly in proper order, he
was compelled to enlarge his establishment by a head gardener and
several assistants. His house was too small to accommodate them. He
therefore built a dwelling-house for them on a suitable spot of the
garden. Thus one foolish expenditure always renders another outlay
necessary.

Soon, by degrees, their manner of living became more and more
expensive, as each endeavoured to excel the others in the splendour of
his hospitality, and to procure for the next meeting at his house
scarcer viands and more costly wines. In this manner they vied with
each other, increasing their expenses with savoury spices and the most
delicious perfumes.

This daily intercourse, however, was soon discontinued; and they
assembled every day at Jalaladdeen's pavilion. He took a delight in
being continual host, on account of the praise they lavished upon him,
and the assurance they gave him that his table produced the best fare,
and that the taste of his saloon was of the most superior order. By
this means, in a short time his treasures of gold were expended; still
he comforted himself with his precious stones, of which he possessed
an immense quantity. At last these gems were squandered away; and he
offered one costly article after another to a jeweller for sale, who
on each occasion named a less price than before. Soon his only
remaining valuable ring was sold for a small sum; and Jalaladdeen
entertained his friends for the last time.

In the course of the banquet, he took the opportunity of explaining
the state of his affairs, and begged some one of them to undertake the
office of host, as they had been in the habit of doing. But his
friends on this occasion received his announcement with great
surprise.

"Is it thus with you?" said one, in astonishment.

"Are you obliged to have recourse to such means?" said another. "You
have invited us here, and furnished your table most sumptuously; and
are matters thus with you? If it be so, you are rightly served. Your
profligate habits have led us into great expenses. 'T is good; you
have given us a proof of what such things lead to."

"What!" said a third, "do you wish us to take up the office of host in
order to come to the same end at which you have arrived?"

"I will give you some sound advice," said a fourth: "whenever you meet
with a fool who is inclined to lay out his money in the purchase of
such a poor tasteless garden as you have made, dispose of it to him,
and with the proceeds take a little shop, and support yourself by
trade."

"Look to yourself," said the fifth: "I am very sorry for you; but I
cannot help you."

They then left him, some upbraiding him, others shrugging their
Shoulders with pity.

"These are friends indeed!" said Jalaladdeen, bitterly, as they
deserted him. "Oh, why did I neglect my father's injunctions? Even on
the first day of our acquaintance, I should have taken warning by
their carelessness in disregarding the Prophet's commandment
concerning the abuse of wine. Ah me! I am justly punished."

He immediately began to retrench his household expenditure, and
shortly his handsome tapestries and costly goods were all sold off,
and he was reduced to the necessity of economizing most rigidly. But
deeply as he felt the loss of those comforts which he had so lately
enjoyed, his reflections bore still heavier upon him.

In his contemplations one day on his unhappy lot, he laid himself
down in the same chamber in which he had received his dying father's
commands. Here he experienced the most bitter anguish for the
past--looked forward with sorrow and amazement to the future, as he
had no one to advise and counsel him. Here his eye lighted upon the
nail in the wall; and the last words of his father rung again in his
ears--"Take this rope; you will see a nail in the wall; fasten it, and
pull three times."

Jalaladdeen immediately opened a drawer where the rope lay, fetched a
stool to the spot, made fast the end of the rope to the nail, and
pulled with all his might. At the third pull he found he had torn the
nail out of the wall, which had brought with it a square piece of
board, thus leaving a large opening: he observed, too, that this was
not the effect of chance, but of design. How great, then, was his
astonishment when, on fetching a ladder, and looking into the opening,
he discovered a much larger bag of gold, pearls, and other precious
stones, than that one he found on a previous occasion, and which he
had so thoughtlessly squandered. He now perceived that his father had
prevented his touching this treasure until he should have learnt by
misfortune how easily vast riches are dissipated, and should have been
convinced by experience of the truth of his fatherly instructions and
warning.

In order to avoid falling again into the hands of his profligate
friends, should they hear of his improved circumstances, and to rid
himself of their company for ever, he sold his house, and bought
another, moderately large, pleasantly situated in an open plain in the
neighbourhood of a mosque. He fitted it up conveniently; for his
wealth, though not limited, was still not superfluously large.

When he took possession of his new house, the person who had sold it
to him said, "I must leave something of my own here with you, as I
have not been able to remove it, though with the best intention." He
then conducted him into one of the apartments in which was standing a
large copper vessel of elaborate workmanship. The cover of the vessel
was sealed, and on the seal Jalaladdeen perceived the letters of a
strange language.

"Sir," said the former owner, "this chest has stood in this room from
time immemorial. My father forbade me to break the seal, and declared
that he who should lay his hand on it for such a purpose would suffer
severely for his foolhardiness. I have, I confess, in former times
felt a strong inclination to loosen the seal, but fear has hitherto
deterred me; but to-day as I had all my furniture removed from this
house, I had this chest also conveyed to my new dwelling; but scarcely
had the porter placed it down, when it disappeared. However, I found
it shortly afterwards in this room again, and ordered its removal a
second time; but it was soon standing here again in its old place.
Perhaps a tutelary genius, invisible to us, inhabits the house.
However, as it will not suffer itself to be removed, you may keep it
here in the name of the Prophet. But forget not my warning--leave the
seal unbroken."

Jalaladdeen felt half inclined to doubt these words; but nodding his
head, he said to the man, "Well, well, leave the chest here; and if at
any time I find it inconvenient, you will not, of course, object to
remove it."

Scarcely had the man quitted the house, when Jalaladdeen called a
slave, and desired him to place the vessel in a corner of the house.

"'T is an old chest," said he: "remove it; its old appearance does not
correspond with the decorations of this room, which I intend to use as
my sleeping-chamber. Now," said he to himself, "I shall see if the man
has told the truth."

The slave removed the chest without ceremony, and Jalaladdeen
contemplated, for some time, with great earnestness, the spot where it
had lately stood; and as it did not appear again, he fancied that he
had rid himself of it for ever. All at once, however, it was standing
on the same spot once more, without his having observed by what agency
it had been done. He had it then removed again and again, and on each
occasion it returned to the same chamber. Seeing at last all his
efforts fruitless, he permitted it to remain. The adventure, however,
was too remarkable to make no impression on his mind. He threw himself
down in his clothes on his couch; but sleep was denied to him. A train
of thought on the subject of the wondrous chest, and his fear on
account of the warning he had received, disturbed his mind, and
prevented him from taking any rest. There he lay awake till midnight,
and saw the chest glittering in the light of the moon, which fell
upon it as it streamed through the window.

Curiosity at once overcame his fear: he started up and procured an
iron tool with which he could break the seal of the cover, and took a
hammer and chisel with him. With the aid of these instruments he broke
through the leaden seal; but scarcely had it given way, when the lid
opened, and a blue curling smoke arose from it, and from the midst of
it issued a hideous old woman in a strange dress. She carried a crutch
under her left arm, and held another in her right hand. She limped
over the side of the vessel, and hobbling towards the astonished
Jalaladdeen, said,

"Fool, fool that thou art! is it befitting for thee, so young as thou
art, to stand there like an old idler? Go forth into the world, and
fetch the wonder-stone from Mount Massis, otherwise thou canst never
be my husband."

After these words she hobbled back on her crutch to the copper vessel,
gathered herself together, as it were, into a ball, tumbled hastily
in, and closed the cover on herself.

Overcome with fear and astonishment, Jalaladdeen threw himself upon
his couch; but the dawn of morning found him still awake. He
endeavoured to beguile the day in the arrangement of his house; but,
nevertheless, he could not chase from his memory the wonderful
spectacle which he had witnessed, and the portentous words that
attended it. He felt an uneasiness which he endeavoured in vain to
subdue, nor could he rest satisfied until he had investigated the
cause of his anxiety.

At length he was so exhausted by the business of the day, fatigue, and
want of rest, that he laid himself down early in the evenings and fell
asleep; but at the hour of midnight he awoke again. He saw the vessel
open, and the blue smoke arising from it, and from the midst of it the
ugly old woman hobbled towards him, and cried out, as she swung her
crutch to and fro in the air,

"Fool, fool, young idle fool! think of the stone of Mount Massis,
otherwise thou canst not be my husband."

After these words she limped back again, gathered herself up as
before, and the lid of the urn closed once more of itself.

This occurred every night; but after that Jalaladdeen had recovered
from the agitation caused by her first appearance, he slept as soundly
as ever: still the old woman woke him night after night by thrusts in
the ribs with her crutch, and on every occasion repeated the same or
similar words.

But she generally awoke him in the midst of a dream, in which he
always saw a very beautiful young lady, who rose from a kingly throne
near him, and touched him with her golden sceptre. To this succeeded
the reality of the hideous old woman; and instead of the sceptre, the
crutch was wielded against him.

He often endeavoured by day to get the vessel removed; and sometimes
even it was thrown into the river which flows by Bagdad; but still it
always found its way back to his chamber at night. He then caused his
couch to be removed to another room, but this was to no purpose, as
the vessel always followed it. Thus matters went on, till the nightly
disturbances, and still more the disturbed state of his mind, affected
him to such a degree, that his health was very much impaired. He
sought the advice of physicians, who prescribed all kinds of
stimulants and restoratives; but their combined skill could not
restore him to his lost rest. At length one of the physicians said to
him,

"My skill has done all it can, my medicines avail nothing: if your
illness were really that of the body, you would have been restored to
health long since; but if your indisposition has its source in the
mind, my prescriptions cannot aid you. Seek a magician--that is my
advice: he by his occult science may be enabled to discover the cause
of your bad health, and to effect a cure."

Jalaladdeen felt the truth of these words.

"It cannot be denied," said he, "that the cause of my illness is
seated in my mind, and till that be removed, my health cannot be
restored."

He then sought out one of the most skilful magicians of the day, and
disclosed to him the circumstances of his nightly disturbance,
assuring him, that before the first night on which the old woman had
made her odious appearance out of the vessel, his rest had never been
impaired. He ended by begging and entreating of him that he would use
all his skill to make the vision cease, and to rid his house of the
fatal urn.

The magician consulted for some time with himself, and then addressed
him thus:

"You tell me that this vessel was fastened down by a leaden seal; if
it be loose, let me see it."

Jalaladdeen immediately conducted the magician to his house, and
showed him the vessel, to which the seal was still attached. The
magician studied with great attention the inscription on the seal, and
then turning to Jalaladdeen, spoke thus:

"All my skill put together could not accomplish your wishes: know that
this is the seal of the great Solomon; and it is inevitable, that he
who breaks it must become an inmate of the vessel. To counteract this
fate is not in the power of the most mighty magician. You are in the
hands of this old woman, and no human power or wisdom can extricate
you from it."

This speech involved Jalaladdeen in the greatest perplexity; he threw
himself upon the ground, beat his breast, and sobbed and wept
violently.

"Whence," exclaimed he, "is the power of this hideous old woman? Shall
I, to the end of my days, remain in her trammels? Shall she, even when
I have recovered from my illness, and lie wrapped in sweet dreams,
approach my couch, and rouse me with her crutch to listen to her
croaking voice? Whither can I fly for comfort? I would rather die than
drag on a miserable existence in such trouble and anxiety. Take this
dagger, I pray you, and stab me, and thus put an end to my illness."

With this he handed a dagger to the magician, and prayed him with many
tears, as he bared his breast, to plunge it in, and rid him of his
sufferings.

"Heaven forbid that I should commit such an act," replied the
magician. "You are, without doubt, destined for great deeds, which
will be worthy of you, one of which is, that you should break the seal
of the great Solomon. You tell me that the old woman has desired you
to fetch the wonder-stone from Mount Massis; follow her advice,
journey to the mountain, and work out your good fortune. Perhaps your
fate may take another and a more prosperous turn."

He lengthened out his speech in the same tone and spirit, and spoke
seriously for some time, till at length he succeeded in quieting
Jalaladdeen; so that he embraced the hope of being restored one day to
perfect health.

"But," said he to the magician, "whither shall I bend my course? where
is Mount Massis? and even if I succeed in reaching it, how shall I
discover the wonder-stone?"

Hereupon the magician promised to consider all these points, and to
give him the necessary instructions on the morrow.

On the following night the ugly old woman appeared again out of the
vessel; but did not, as on former occasions, rouse him with her
crutch; but it seemed as though he woke of his own accord, and found
her standing by his bed-side.

"Now," said she to him, "will you at last be wise, and give up this
idleness? it will prove advantageous both to you and me."

She then addressed him in the most friendly terms, and left him in her
usual manner.

The next morning the magician made his appearance again, and gave him
the necessary information as to the course to be pursued. He told him
that the wonder-stone lay concealed in a stone castle about midway up
Mount Massis; but that the enterprise required great patience,
perseverance, and skill. With such words as these he brought his
speech to a close, and left Jalaladdeen to his own reflections.

"The mountain is difficult of ascent, and is guarded by vigilant
genii: he who cannot comply with their singular demands must certainly
sink under the dangers to be encountered, or at least withdraw from
the attempt without bringing it to completion."

Jalaladdeen assured the magician that he had sufficient patience to
carry him through any trial, and that he was ready and willing to
submit to any labour, if by that means he could rid himself of the
illness from which he was at that time suffering.

"Then," said he, "where is Mount Massis? which I have never before
heard of."

"You will know it, perhaps, by another name; it is also called Mount
Ararat. There was, at some time or other, a great flood upon the
earth, which destroyed every creature, man and beast, save one, who,
with his wife and family, was warned by Allah; and placed in a large
vessel, which floated upon the waters; then, as soon as the flood
subsided, the ship remained fixed on one of the two ridges of the
mountain; from this time the mount has been considered holy, and the
spot most devoutly worshipped."

"I have heard of it," replied Jalaladdeen; "but in which direction am
I to journey, in order to discover this wonder-stone?"

"You must follow the course of the Tigris," said he, "and then you
will be at no great distance from the place."

Jalaladdeen immediately set his house in order, hired some armed
attendants, took from his chest some gold and valuable jewels, and set
off on his journey, following the windings of the river. The road
appeared pleasant to him, and no danger or misfortune occurred to
annoy him; the weather was fine, and he feasted his eyes upon the
various features of the country, which were most beautiful and
enchanting, travelling cheerfully onward. He began to forget his old
sorrows and grievances, and to enjoy an unusual degree of happiness,
as he left behind him the vision of the ugly old woman; for she never
visited him again from the time he quitted his home.

At length he arrived with his suite on a high eminence, from which he
beheld a most beautiful expanse of country, and in the distance the
most charming scenery, from morning till night. In a corner of the
valley a single hill towered up to the sky; farther on rose a chain of
mountains; but the little hill was formed at the summit into two
peaks. A cloud floated over their tops, one of which shot up more
lofty than the other, and the sun cast a brilliant light upon them.
But it was remarkable, that the nearer one approached the hill, the
higher it appeared, and more majestic. At its base lay a very fruitful
plain, and on the other side stood at little city.

Jalaladdeen inquired the name of the city, and was told that it was
Semænum.

"What!" said he, "Semænum? How did it acquire this extraordinary
name?"

The people laughed at his simplicity, and inquired whether or not he
had heard of the great flood from which only one man and his wife, and
three sons with their wives also, escaped.

"These eight persons," added they, "on their descent from the
mountain, took up their abode here, and laid the foundation of the
city."

After this Jalaladdeen heard that the castle in which the wonder-stone
was concealed lay on the other side of the hill; but still no one knew
anything of the stone, nor had the inhabitants a satisfactory idea of
the castle. But he was informed that so many extraordinary and
gigantic masses of stone were standing in the various clefts of the
mount, that their appearance was certainly that of a castle, and that
the lofty crowning point in the distance resembled a tower.

"However," added the relaters, "yonder spot is not accessible, nor has
it ever been heard of, within the memory of man, that any one ever
dreamt of attempting its ascent. Everybody dreads the road on that
side of the hill, as it has been said that mighty genii carry on their
orgies there; and there is also a tradition, that a traveller once
undertook to attain the summit, but that he had never been known to
return."

As soon as Jalaladdeen had clearly ascertained from the inhabitants on
which side of the hill the so-called castle was situated, he felt a
strong inclination to journey on towards it at that minute, regardless
of the warnings of the neighbouring people and the entreaties of his
guide. He accordingly took some of his gold and jewels with him, and
set off on his journey, ordering his guide to remain behind. He gave
these last instructions to his servants:

"If I return not in three months, you may regard my property here as
your own; then go back each one to his home, or wherever his
inclination may lead him."

He soon lost his road, and arrived at unknown and intricate paths,
with which the foot of the mountain was surrounded. Gradually the
trees and all traces of vegetation disappeared, save here and there a
tuft of close underwood, which sprang up in the clefts of the rocks.
Round about him were piled blocks of stone of monstrous size, and his
farther progress was soon altogether stopped. There rose before him a
massive stone wall like a tower, which was so steep and smooth, that
it was impossible to pass it. He therefore made a wide circuit round,
and at last found himself in a broad chasm of the rock, which seemed
to extend far into the mountain.

Wild and unfrequented as this appeared, nevertheless he ventured to
descend. The way was very laborious; he was often obliged to mount
sharp-pointed masses of rock, often to wind along between crags and
briars, often again to descend into deep abysses, down which rapid
streams rushed violently, and then again to clamber up on the other
side. At times he hung suspended from one side, searching out in vain
a resting-place for his foot, to furnish him a support in his
progress.

At length, after long and incessant labour through a dangerous
pathway, he arrived at the steep summit, from which he discovered
massive walls and lofty towers, that appeared to be constructed of
rough unhewn stone. With the last exertion of his exhausted strength,
he ascended these heights, and found himself before an opening. He
knew not whether this was merely a cleft in the rock resembling a
doorway, or a doorway hewn in the rough rock like a natural chasm. It
was formed of upright blocks of stone, on which was cast another of
wonderful size; but there was no door. He laboured now more
assiduously than ever through the thorns and pointed stones, which lay
here and there over the little level space that extended in front of
the opening, till he stood before the dark entrance. The gloom
concealed the nature of the interior of the cavity from his view, and
he stood for a short time on the threshold, thinking on his past
trials and collecting his scattered senses. As he was about to enter,
a man stepped up to him, armed with a bow and bearing on his back a
quiver of arrows.

"Take the bow," said he to Jalaladdeen, "choose yourself an arrow, and
go do your duty."

So surprised and astonished was he, that he seized the bow, drew an
arrow from the quiver, and asked,

"What is my duty? What shall I do?"

"There," answered the man, pointing in the distance, "far beyond you
must go; there is a great sea, which you must compass to its southern
side, and then proceed through a wide expanse of plain until you
arrive at a large inland lake, called the Eagles' Lake. There, every
morning immediately after sunrise, you will see a swarm of black
eagles on the shore, and among them a single white one. This kill,
and, in proof of what you have done, bring back here the left wing."

This announcement came like a thunderbolt upon the miserable
Jalaladdeen, who had fancied that he had arrived very near the end of
his journey. But now he was ordered to proceed still farther through
an unknown tract of land. On looking back he saw that the sun had
already sunk in the heavens, and that dusky and humid clouds were
gathering over the sky; so, turning to the man, he said,

"The night is fast drawing on, and I am very weary; and if I were to
be exposed for so many hours in the abyss of this rocky ravine, I
should certainly perish. May I not be permitted to pass the night
here?"

The man nodded assent, and ordered Jalaladdeen to follow him. They
passed into a dark hall from the entrance, with a vaulted roof formed
of rough blocks of stone, from which hung a single iron lamp, that
spread a feeble and dim light around. His conductor left him here
alone, and two domestics soon appeared. They brought him an ottoman,
and made him understand by signs that he was to sit down. They then
placed a table before him with meat and drink, and stationed
themselves at a respectful distance from him, waiting to serve him. He
ate and drank and refreshed himself after the labours of the day,
while the attendants handed everything to him with the greatest
attention.

As soon as he had satisfied the craving of his appetite, they removed
the table with its appendages, and beckoned to him to follow them.
They conducted him through a side passage to a door, and when they had
drawn back the curtain which hung before it, Jalaladdeen stood mute
with astonishment.

The chamber was precisely like his sleeping-room at Bagdad: every
article of furniture was of the same size and colour as his, and
occupied exactly the same position.

"You are surprised at this chamber," said one of the attendants: "our
master wished to make it as comfortable for you as possible after your
long journey, and he thinks that a man never experiences more comforts
than in his own house."

With this they saluted him, and retired; but Jalaladdeen was too much
astonished to sink to rest immediately; he accordingly walked round
the room and inspected everything. It was his own chamber, with his
own cushions, tapestries, and carpet; the curtains which he had
purchased on entering his new house were there, and even the most
minute article of furniture was the same; and that nothing might be
wanting, there stood, on the precise spot, the fatal vessel which he
had not been able to remove from his room by any means. Disagreeable
as this last was, still he was so taken with surprise at the strange
resemblance to his own chamber, that it made no impression on his
mind; and at last he laid himself down on the couch, and Nature soon
asserting her rights, he slumbered. He slept soundly throughout the
night, and experienced the same happy dream which had so often visited
him when at home. He saw a beautiful young maiden in princely garb,
adorned with the most costly jewels, and at the moment that she raised
herself from her queenly throne, and bent towards him her golden
sceptre, he awoke, and the hideous old woman hobbled up to him.

"Commit no rash act of folly," said she, in a hoarse croaking voice;
"do not go without a dog: they _must_ give you one."

She then turned herself about, shook her crutch at him in a menacing
manner, and disappeared all at once into the vessel, as on every
former occasion.

"A dog!" said Jalaladdeen to himself: "what shall I do with such an
unclean animal? However, she seems to know of the journey in store for
me."

And revolving the matter in his mind, it appeared to him better to
follow her advice. In the midst of his thoughts he again fell fast
asleep; and when he awoke, he found, to his no small surprise, that
he had been slumbering in a chasm of the rock upon a bed of dried
mountain grass.

The sun shone in upon him, and before him stood the man who had given
him the bow and arrow, and who immediately reminded him of his
journey, and urged him to prepare speedily to do his duty. He arose at
once, and declared himself ready.

"But," said he, calling to mind the old woman's words, "could I not
have a dog to accompany me on the way?"

"Certainly," replied the man; and at his call a large dog with broad
paws made its appearance, and began to run round him in a friendly
manner, barking for joy. He then tore off a small piece of the hem of
his garment, and having shewn it to the dog, gave it to Jalaladdeen,
and said,

"So long as you bear this with you, the dog will follow you wherever
you go; be therefore careful of it. Now proceed, turn not back to the
town, but go straight on to the east."

The dog immediately bounded forward, and, on issuing from the hollow
of the rock, turned toward the east. Jalaladdeen followed, and found,
to his astonishment, a winding path, not altogether level, but still
not very inconvenient. Whenever a dangerous spot showed itself at
times, the dog discovered another path by which the danger might be
avoided. Jalaladdeen therefore allowed him to run on before, and
followed his steps.

They soon reached the plain, and arrived at a hilly district, where
the mountains rose higher and higher behind them in the distance. The
land on the other side declined gently; and, afar off, they beheld the
sea. Many days, however, passed before he was able to make the wide
circuit which led to the southern side. He then found himself in a
flat country, and, after a journey of fourteen days, arrived at the
shores of the Eagle Lake. Jalaladdeen threw himself down, in the
evening, upon a dry spot of the shore; for in the course of his long
journey he had habituated himself to rest on the earth under the broad
canopy of heaven.

In the morning, his dog awoke him by a low barking and lively
indications of restlessness. He had hardly risen from the ground, when
the dog sprang joyously up to him, looking to one side, as though to
direct his attention. On turning his eyes towards the spot, he
discovered a great multitude of black birds hovering over the trees,
and felt satisfied that they were the eagles. He then looked anxiously
for the white one, which he was to kill; but in vain. Whilst he was
engaged in the search, the dog made a circuit, and crept close to them
beneath some bushes; then, by a sudden loud bark, he dislodged them
from the spot, and they flew in the direction of Jalaladdeen, across
the lake. He, on a sudden, discovered the snow-white eagle among the
others, and bent his bow, and, although the bird was now at so great a
distance that no ordinary shot could have reached it, still the arrow
flew straight to its mark, and he saw the object of his aim fall far
from the shore into the blue waters of the lake.

"What avails my fortunate shot?" said he, looking with vexation on the
waves which bore it farther from the shore.

Immediately the dog plunged hastily into the water, and swimming with
extraordinary rapidity, seized the eagle in his mouth, and brought it
safely to his master. Jalaladdeen quickly drew out the arrow, which
had pierced it through the middle of the body, and cutting off the
left wing, secured it to his person. During this operation, he had
smeared his fingers with blood; and, as he was wiping it off on the
inside of his girdle, the little piece of the man's garment, which he
had hitherto kept safely, fell to the ground without his noticing it.
Hereupon the dog caught up the body of the eagle, which Jalaladdeen
had thrown away, and ran off with it at full speed.

Jalaladdeen called repeatedly to the dog, and coaxed him to return,
but in vain; so he proceeded home on his way alone. He certainly met
with nothing of material import to molest him in his journey;
nevertheless he had to encounter a thousand little obstacles, which
very much impeded his progress. He could not discover the path by
which he had originally come, but frequently arrived at places where
there was no road, or at thick forests, through which he was obliged
to hew a path with his sabre, and to pass the night upon the naked
earth beneath the open sky.

After a much longer journey than before, and many different detours,
he arrived at a spot from which he could see the two-pointed head of
Mount Massis. When, after some days, he came to the foot of the mount,
he was in hopes of finding the path by which he had descended in
company with the dog; but he looked for it in vain, and was obliged to
climb up by one of the dreadful rocky ravines, at the risk of his
life, as on a former occasion.

At length, weary and exhausted, he arrived at the opening, and was
about to enter, with the eagle's wing in his hand, when the man who
had given him the bow and arrow presented himself before him, and
said,

"Hast thou done thy duty?"

Jalaladdeen immediately placed the wing in his hands.

"Good," replied the other; "I will see if it be the right one."

He then called the dog by name, who immediately appeared from the
castle, carrying the eagle's body in his mouth.

As soon as the man had applied the wing to the place from which it had
been cut, and compared it with the other, he said to him, nodding
approvingly, "'T is well: I have that which I wanted. But stay here a
moment; my brother will come to you, and inform you what you must do
for him, if you wish to have your desire fulfilled." With these words,
he entered the hollow again, and the dog accompanied him.

Jalaladdeen followed him with his eyes; and then, sighing deeply,
said, "Another labour still! I fancied I had already discovered the
wonder-stone of Mount Massis, and now I must journey out into the
world again on anew adventure. God knows whither the brother will send
me."

His soliloquy was interrupted by the appearance of a man, who stepped
forward from the opening, and presented to him a lance with a
glittering steel head.

"Take it," said he, "and with it do thy duty."

Jalaladdeen took it, and intimated his readiness to undertake the
mission, at the same time asking, "What is my duty?"

The man answered, "On the way hence to Mount Lebanon, on the other
side of the Tigris and Euphrates, the traveller comes, after a journey
of some days, to a vast desert. There, in the middle of a large
barren and sandy plain, lies a fruitful oasis, watered by a little
stream, on whose brink grow tall palms, refreshing the wanderer with
their shade and fruit. But the neighbourhood of the palms is
frequented by a monstrous lion of a dark colour,--the only one that
has wandered into the district,--and his ferocity renders it dangerous
to rest beneath their shade. This you must kill--not only for the
safety of future travellers, but in order to accomplish your own
wishes. Then bring here to me the lion's tail; you will hereafter need
it."

Again it was evening; and Jalaladdeen begged permission to recruit his
strength and refresh himself by a night's rest. The man assented, and
made a sign that he should follow him. In the hall he was again
provided with meat and drink by the two attendants; and after his
repast, they conducted him to the same door, drew back the curtain
from before it, and he again, to his utter amazement, found himself in
his own sleeping-chamber at Bagdad. Once more he recognized every
article of furniture as his own, or exactly similar to his own, and
the copper vessel standing precisely on the same spot. He then threw
himself on his couch, and was soon locked in deep slumber. But at the
hour of midnight he was again roused from his dream by the hideous old
woman, who stood by his bed-side, flourishing her crutch in a
threatening attitude, and calling upon him in a hoarse, croaking
voice,

"See thou commit no rash act of folly," she cried. "Go not on foot to
the desert, otherwise the floating clouds of sand will bury thee for
ever before thou arrivest at the palms; or if thou shouldest attain
the spot, the lion will tear thee in pieces if he find no other booty.
They must give thee a camel: see that thou demand it." At these words
she shook her crutch at him, and disappeared into the vessel.

"A camel!" said Jalaladdeen to himself: "can they possibly have camels
in this unfrequented place? And even if they had, how could I descend
to the plain with such a beast, through the clefts in the rocks, from
this height?"

His weariness was so great that, amid a chain of thoughts that
attended the vision, he fell fast asleep again. The next morning he
was awoke by the man who gave him the lance, and he discovered himself
at the opening of the rock, as on a former occasion. The sun again
shone through the hollow, and the man said to him,

"'T is time that you should make ready to do your duty: take the bow
and arrow, together with my lance, and journey on to the desert."

At the moment he called to mind the injunction of the old woman, and
answered, "For my passage through the desert I shall require a camel."

"Then thou shalt have one," replied the man; and, on emerging a second
time from the opening, there stood a camel, ready furnished with many
necessaries for his comfort and convenience during the journey.

To his astonishment, after he had mounted the animal, it proceeded by
an easy pathway down the side of the mountain; and, although he could
see nothing but impassable spots, huge blocks of stone, and deep
abysses both before and behind, still the camel travelled on by a
level and gently declining track.

On this occasion, too, his journey was more prosperous and far more
speedy than at the first. He arrived at the desert without any mishap,
and in the evening reached the fruitful strip of land where the palms
stood. The camel immediately refreshed itself with water, while
Jalaladdeen's repast consisted of dates from the neighbouring trees.
He then allowed the camel to browse upon the brink of the stream,
while he resigned himself, without care, to rest beneath the shade. He
was soon, however, terrified by the roar of a lion, which sounded
close to him; accordingly he sprang up hastily, seized his arms, and
took up a position behind some large palms, which concealed him from
the sight of his approaching enemy. Soon the lion drew on with rapid
strides, and was about to rush upon the browsing camel, when
Jalaladdeen shot an arrow, which took effect in his right eye.
Scarcely had the dart reached the lion, when he sprang vengefully
forward on his foe, whom he had but that moment discovered.
Jalaladdeen, nothing daunted, stepped boldly forwards, and thrust at
him with the point of his lance; but the lion bounded on with such
force, that he could not withstand the attack: he fell, and the whole
bulk of the lion rolled over him. Jalaladdeen gave himself up for
lost: he lay senseless some time, and when he had recovered
sufficiently to comprehend his dreadful situation, the moon was high
in the heavens. He was very weak, and bruised all over the body, and
he felt some great weight upon him. By means of considerable exertion,
he released himself, and remarked for the first time that his clothes
were saturated with blood. He immediately fancied that he had been
wounded by the teeth or claws of the lion, and accordingly rolled over
to the water and washed himself; but, after a very careful examination
of his person, he could not discover a wound. The coolness of the
water refreshed his limbs, and eased the pain of the bruises in the
various parts of his body. After this he was soon enabled to stand up,
and he found that the weight which had been pressing upon him was the
lion, dead and stiff, and soaked in his blood. In its bound forward it
had pierced itself with the lance, and had fallen to the ground, in
consequence of the furious attack it was designing. The body of the
dead lion proved a soft pillow, and its bulk was so immense that
Jalaladdeen could recline at full length upon its back with great
ease. In this manner he slept on, and did not rise till broad
daylight, when he felt himself fully refreshed and well. He then cut
off the lion's tail, and remounted the camel, which had strayed to a
short distance from the spot.

The return to the castle on the mount was prosperous, and not marked
by any particular adventure. He soon left the desert behind, and found
himself at the foot of Mount Massis. But as evening was approaching,
he considered whether it would be better to rest till morning, and
then ascend the acclivity; the camel, however, perseveringly trotted
on with that zeal which animals generally show when approaching their
accustomed dwelling.

The last gleam of day had not disappeared in the western sky when he
found himself in the little chamber before the well-known entrance of
the castle. Although the distance from the foot of the hill thus far
up to the castle, notwithstanding the rapid steps of the beast, had
occupied the greater part of a whole day, yet it appeared that it
could now be accomplished in the short space of a single hour.
Jalaladdeen could not comprehend how he had reached it so rapidly; but
it occurred to him for the first time that he had never seen so
extraordinary a pathway, or one accompanied with so much difficulty
and danger. He contemplated with surprise the rapidity with which he
had completed this journey, and made a sign to the camel to kneel, to
give his rider an opportunity of descending and unloading him. He took
his arms and the lion's tail, and entered the gate of the castle.

On his entry he was met by a man, who took his lance from him and
said, "Hast thou done thy duty?"

And as Jalaladdeen presented to him the lion's tail, he said that he
had failed in nothing.

"Good," said he; "but still I will put it to the test, to prove
whether you are right."

He then called out aloud four names, upon which immediately appeared
four large dogs out of the chasm in the rock, dragging after them the
dead body of the dark lion. The man now applied the tail to the lion's
body, and on finding that it corresponded, "Good," said he; "I have
now what I desire. Wait, however, a short time, and my brother will
come and tell you what he requires you to do for him, if you are
inclined to see your wishes fulfilled." With these words he retired
into the castle, and the four dogs dragged in the lion after him.

"Alas!" said Jalaladdeen, "I have not yet accomplished my labours! Who
knows how many brothers may be dwelling here together? And if I
receive only a slight demand from each of them, a year may elapse ere
I obtain the wonder-stone."

He had scarcely uttered these words when the third brother advanced,
and handing to him a basket made of rushes, accompanied it with the
words, "Go and do thy duty."

He inquired what was his duty, and received this answer: "Go and fetch
water."

"What!" said he; "fetch water in a basket! It will run out between the
rushes!"

The man shrugged up his shoulders, and said, "That is for you to look
to: water you must bring in this basket, and without the aid of any
other vessel; for you will stand in need of the water."

"That is impossible," replied Jalaladdeen. "Set me to any other kind
of work--send me into a distant country on the other side of the
Caucasus, let me herd with wild beasts, and I will, without making any
objection, obey your injunctions, even at the risk of my life; but do
not require impossibilities of me."

"'T is not impossible," answered the man. "Reflect: I dare not say
anything more to you. You have till morning to consider what you will
do. Come in here and refresh yourself with food and rest."

Jalaladdeen followed him, and was conducted into a chamber, where he
was abundantly supplied with viands and liquors. The bed-room
appropriated to him was that in which he had formerly rested and known
as his own; and he laid himself down, exhausted and overcome with
grief on account of the new demand made upon him. He awoke again at
midnight, and the little old woman stood once more before him with her
uplifted crutch.

"Commit no rash act of folly," said she. "Seek not water out of the
deep: carry _that_ not in thy basket; the water which thou must bring
in it will not escape through it. Step out; above thou wilt find the
water I speak of; thence thou must fetch it. Dost thou hear? Be not
foolish: hast thou lost thine understanding?"

After she had disappeared, as on previous occasions, Jalaladdeen
rolled about for some time on his couch, sleepless and perplexed with
care. It appeared to him like an unsolvable riddle.

"What! shall I not fetch water from the depth, whence commonly springs
and streams flow? and yet shall I go upwards? and am I to carry it in
a simple wicker basket?"

At last, however, he fell asleep again, and was awoke in the morning,
with positive orders to make ready to do his duty. As he was
preparing, he said, "The way up the rock and the oft-frequented path
is dangerous; could I not get a travelling-staff to help me?"

"Here is one ready," answered the man, handing him a long pole, made
of a light tough wood, with a strong iron spike fixed to it. He then
shook him heartily by the hand, and let him out of the opening.

When he gained the exterior, he looked all around him. He hoped to
discover some track which would indicate in what direction he should
set out; but stones and ruins, the effects of a great convulsion of
nature, surrounded, in a wild and unnatural confusion, the small and
even spot before the entrance of the castle. But what most astonished
him was, that the road which had appeared formerly to be impassable
for his camel should now present an even and unencumbered path. At
last, after various attempts, by great good fortune, he found a part
where, by help of his travelling-staff, he was able to climb up the
projecting mass of rock. On the other side he found a spot by which he
could, without much danger, descend into a large plain. It seemed to
him like the same piece of rock on which he, in the first instance,
had got in proceeding from the castle. He was nearly, from this
circumstance, led to descend there; but he thought of the warning
given to him by the old woman in good time, who had advised him not to
fetch water from the bottom, but from the summit, and he accordingly
bent his steps upwards. But here the road lay through enormous
fragments of rock, choked up at intervals with briars and thorns. At
length, after frequently-repeated efforts, he succeeded in journeying
on a short distance by the help of his travelling-staff, when a spot
presented itself where there was a chasm in the rock, which it was
impossible for him to surmount. He was accordingly obliged to turn
sideways till he had passed it, in order to follow up his prescribed
route. He toiled on with intense exertion, endeavouring to reach the
summit of the rock, for more than an hour; but, from various
obstacles, had not made any great progress. At last, worn out with
fatigue, he sat himself down beneath the shade of an overhanging crag,
to recruit his strength, in order to renew the attempt with increased
vigour.

Up to this time, through all his wanderings, he had not found a stream
from whose source he was able to draw water. He had certainly seen in
deep hollows small rivulets issuing from the rock, which by their
fall covered the neighbouring plain with white flakes of foam. Still,
although he persevered assiduously, he could not discover one spot
which he could approach sufficiently near.

He was by this time suffering intensely from thirst; for,
notwithstanding the height at which he had arrived, where the cold was
more severe than in the hollows beneath, still his anxiety, and his
journey upwards beneath the midday sun, had parched his lips, and he
had not yet been able to reach a stream at which to moisten them.

"Fool, fool that I am!" exclaimed Jalaladdeen, bitterly; "why should I
thus exhaust my strength? If I attain the summit of the hill, I shall
meet with no water; or even if I were to find a spring at the top of
it, still I should not be able to carry its waters in a rush basket."

He then reasoned with himself whether or not it were better to return;
but then the thought flashed across his mind that the words of the old
woman had on two previous occasions been fully verified. He therefore
determined to follow her advice once more.

"Did she not assure me," said he, "that I should find water enough
above me? 'T is passing strange: the streams certainly flow thence, or
remain still in their channels."

With this he set forward again on his ascent, and it now appeared that
he had advanced much farther than he had been aware of, and in a
shorter space of time. He had not proceeded far when he arrived at a
spot hollowed out, and sheltered from behind by a large mass of rock.
In this cavity was a quantity of snow and ice, which the air at that
height could not melt, and to which the rays of the sun could not
penetrate through the surrounding masses.

Jalaladdeen laid himself down to rest at the edge of the snow, and
refreshed himself with its grateful coolness by taking a small
quantity in his hands, and by applying it to his lips. He first of all
moistened the exterior of his mouth, and then swallowed a little with
great pleasure. This at once solved the mystery of the problem.

"Here," said he, "is a large expanse of snow: the tops of the
mountains are covered with it. What is snow but water? and such water
I can easily carry in my rush basket; and even if some should melt in
the journey, it cannot all dissolve and escape."

He then began immediately to fill the basket with clean snow from the
middle of a heap, and to render it more firm, he pressed it together
with his hands. As soon as he had filled his basket, he set off
joyously on his return; but it seemed as though he must again have
taken a different route, as he did not meet in the course of his way
one of the thousand obstacles that had impeded his progress on his
journey in search of this water.

The last traces of sunlight were fast disappearing in the west when he
found himself at the entrance of the castle. Immediately the three
brothers advanced to meet him.

"See," said the third, who had imposed this last mission on him, "see,
thou hast brought us water in a rush basket."

With these words they ushered him into the interior, and gave him the
joyful intelligence that he had now accomplished everything that was
necessary to put him in possession of the wonder-stone.

"You must know," said they, "that the wonder-stone is concealed in an
iron chest; but the bolt, by lapse of time, is so thoroughly rusted
that no power has yet been discovered sufficient to force it back and
to disclose the contents. There is, however, a tradition that he who
shall be deemed worthy to possess this treasure, and who shall have
successfully performed all our commands, shall be endued with power to
draw back the bolt--a feat which has been deemed impossible for many
hundred years. But, as destiny often depends on circumstances which
mortals consider trivial and insignificant, so in this case a
combination of materials is requisite, by whose agency alone a sure
and happy success can crown our hitherto prosperous attempts. It
would, doubtless, be imagined that a rusty bolt might be moved by the
application of a little oil or grease, of whatever nature it might be;
but in this case nothing save that portion of marrow which is
contained in the lion's tail will be efficient, and this, too, must be
boiled in water fetched in a rush basket. Nor is this all: the marrow
must be applied with three feathers plucked from the left wing of a
white eagle, the king of eagles in Eagle Land."

After these words they conducted him into a chamber; in the middle of
it stood a large iron chest, whose cover was fastened down by seven
strong iron bolts.

"Behold the chest in which the wonder-stone is hid," said they. "Let
us proceed to work immediately."

Hereupon they brought in a cauldron, and filled it with snow from the
rush basket, and placed it on a fire in the kitchen. The lion's tail
was then cut into pieces and thrown into the water; the fat was soon
extracted, and floated at the top. Then the first of the three
brothers brought in the eagle's wing, and Jalaladdeen was ordered to
pluck out the three outside feathers, and with them to anoint the
bolts. While he was thus occupied, a drop of the fat fell upon his
hands, which he rubbed over them.

"Right, right!" said another brother, who had observed it with great
satisfaction; "it is very strengthening to the limbs."

And he accordingly rubbed both his hands and feet, and immediately
experienced a pleasurable sensation of new vigour.

Jalaladdeen had been exceedingly fatigued by the toils of the day;
nevertheless by this application he felt as recruited as he had on
other occasions in consequence of a prolonged and peaceful slumber.

"The marrow has done its work," said the second brother; "it has
already unclosed the bolt. Approach, then, and open the chest."

Jalaladdeen bowed, and with great apparent ease withdrew the bolts. As
soon as he had lifted up the lid he beheld a beautiful gem, which
appeared to be a rare specimen of the onyx. In the middle of it was a
golden hook, to which a chain was attached, by which it might be
suspended from the neck. Upon the stone was an engraving of an altar,
upon which a sacrificial fire was burning, and before it a suppliant
family bowed the knee; over this was thrown a white vestment archwise
in the form of a rainbow.

"Is this really the wonder-stone?" said Jalaladdeen, gazing on it with
rapture.

"It is," replied the brothers; and continuing, "Hail, thou happy
youth!" they exclaimed; "hail, prince! thou wilt shortly be seated on
the throne of thy fathers."

"A Prince!" cried Jalaladdeen, in astonishment; "a Prince! My father
died at Bagdad, a quiet, retired man, and never in the whole course of
my life did I hear him say that he had ever been a King."

"He was a King," exclaimed one of the brothers; "but his subjects made
war against him, and drove him into exile; they then elected another
Sultan, who sat upon the throne there many years. He is since dead,
and the people are not unanimous in raising his daughter to the
queenly station. They are divided into two factions, opposed to one
another with the most dreadful hatred and animosity. Go thither, and
give thy people peace."

"Whither shall I go?" asked Jalaladdeen, anxiously. "How shall I
procure myself to be recognized as their lawful monarch?"

"That will be easily accomplished," answered one of the brothers, "by
the agency of this wonder-stone. Place the chain round thy neck, and
support the gem on thy breast. Now come," said they, as soon as he had
complied with this direction; "thou hast no time to spare: refresh
thyself, as though for a long journey, with meat and drink, and then
set out."

They then conducted him into an adjoining room, and waited upon him
themselves; after his repast they handed to him a crystal goblet
filled with a liquor most agreeable to his palate, superior to any
drink he had formerly tasted.

"Now proceed onward," said they: "this is the first step towards your
happiness."

One of them then traced a small cross with his forefinger upon the
wall, and immediately there opened a small vaulted chamber.

"What!" said Jalaladdeen, "am I to enter that gloomy hole?" shuddering
and involuntarily drawing back, in consequence of the cold damp vapour
that issued from it.

"Hand him another goblet to refresh himself," said one of the
brothers, and at the same time filling one for him.

Then the third brother presented to him the eagle's wing and the tip
of the lion's tail, which had been reserved from the cauldron, and the
arrow and lance, too, with which he had killed them.

"Forward! On, in the name of the Prophet!" was the next command.

"I obey," answered Jalaladdeen; "but suffer me before my departure to
ask, Who are ye?"

"We are three genii," said they, "sent here by the King of Spirits, as
keepers of the mysteries of the holy Mount Massis. But proceed, in
order that thou mayest arrive in due time at thy destination." They
led him to the opening, and as he was stooping down to enter it,
"See," said they, "if thou shouldst return by this way, throw upon the
ground this wing of the eagle and the tail of the lion, and call out
in a loud voice our names, Arjeh, Neschar, and Mana-Guma. We shall
then know what thou requirest."

With these words the passage closed upon him, and he found himself in
such dense darkness that there was not a single glimmer of light
through the whole space. The ground as he advanced was even, and for
the first few steps he could walk upright, so that it did not seem
inconvenient. Suddenly, however, he came to a gradual declivity, and
after a few steps he felt the bottom sinking beneath his feet. He
could no longer remain upright, but sank upon his knees, and
eventually sat himself down; for it gave way more and more, and the
more he struggled the lower he sank. At last he bent forward with his
head laid upon his knee, as he was completely exhausted, in
consequence of the rapid though gradual fall of earth. How long he
might have been descending he could not tell, as his self-possession
had entirely deserted him; and when he recovered himself, he seemed to
be just awakening out of a sound sleep. This commotion was suspended
for a moment, and he felt the spot on which he was seated rising up
again; but it soon descended, and continued to ascend and descend with
unceasing force and rapidity. But at times he lost all consciousness,
and recovered his recollection again as the motion changed and
proceeded downwards. In this manner was he driven from sleeping to
waking, overcome with exhaustion and perplexed with the darksomeness
of his journey. How long he was in this gloomy passage he knew not: at
one time he thought that the journey had been one of several days; but
then this could not be so, as he had not even once experienced the
cravings of hunger or thirst: as he had not suffered in this
particular, he felt convinced that the time that had elapsed was much
less, and that it must have appeared so from his total abstinence.

At length he perceived a small gleam of light at the farther end of
this way, and by it he observed that he was in a narrow part of a
subterranean chamber, which seemed scarcely large enough to admit his
body. His movements, however, were so quick that he brought himself
nearer and nearer to the light at every step, till at last he
succeeded in extricating himself. He found himself standing upon a
mount on a spot hitherto unknown to him, which was illumined by the
sun from the opposite horizon. Here he remained, gazing joyously
around, and breathing now for the first time the pure fresh air.

On a sudden he heard a loud warlike sound at the foot of the hill;
and, on a closer inspection, he discovered several companies, ranged
in battle order half-way up the hill, and preparing for the attack.
Without allowing himself time for reflection, he threw the lion's tail
and eagle's wing to the ground, exclaiming at the same time in a loud
voice the names of the three genii of Mount Massis, "Arjeh, Neschar,
Mana-Guma!"

Scarcely had he uttered the last word, when he found himself mounted
upon a noble white steed with a black tail, the arrow in his left
hand, and the spear in his right; and without his taking hold of the
reins, which were ornamented with gold and precious stones, the
tractable steed flew along the hill rapidly, and bore him safely
between the two contending factions.

"What are you doing?" exclaimed Jalaladdeen in a tone of anger to both
parties, who immediately ceased their hostile contentions, through
their amazement at the sudden appearance of the stranger horseman.
"What is the cause of this deadly feud?"

At these words a joyous train of voices proceeded from the band upon
his right hand; and the combatants immediately threw down their
weapons, exclaiming,

"This, this is he who shall bring peace to our people! This is the
appointed Sultan! Lo! it was prophesied that he should appear upon a
white horse with a black tail, upon the longest day of the year. Hail,
Sultan! all hail!"

Upon this the commander of the company approached Jalaladdeen with
submission, bending before him with his arms crossed upon his breast;
and the troops threw themselves upon the earth, each one bowing low
with his forehead to the dust.

Hereupon the leader of the opposite faction sprang forward, crying
out, "Down with them! down with them!"

But Jalaladdeen's horse turned towards him instinctively, and bore him
to the band.

"Why would you prolong the strife and contest?" cried he. "What is
your complaint?"

"They carry arms for Gulnaschare," was the answer. "Dost thou not know
that a young maiden dares to rule over a people of warlike
customs--that she arrogates to herself a right to the throne, alleging
that thus it hath been decreed she should reign until the son of the
late banished Sultan shall appear, who is the appointed one to share
the sovereignty? Canst thou be such a stranger in the country as to be
ignorant of the prediction of the prophet and the astrologers? and how
she has led her subjects into grievous error, to the effect that the
Prince Jalaladdeen would appear in a wonderful manner in the country
on the longest day of the year, and fall upon his enemies with the
strength of a lion and the swiftness of an eagle?"

Upon this Jalaladdeen cried out aloud, "The people have not been led
into error, nor have they been deceived; they have heard the truth.
Behold, I am Jalaladdeen; and if ye do not all, to a man, cease from
your hostilities, ye shall be made to feel the strength of the lion
and the swiftness of the eagle."

But the leader of the party said, "What! hast thou suffered thyself to
be deceived, and to be made an advocate of the imposition? Now our
arms must decide it."

At these words they pressed upon him and drew near, when Jalaladdeen
wielded his lance with the swiftness of lightning, and with
extraordinary strength and courage beat them off, one after the
other. His steed gave a joyous neigh, and bounded forward among the
crowd; while the troops of Gulnaschare followed after him, seeing his
perilous position.

When the enemy saw their leader weltering in his blood, and the
courageous youth heading their antagonists, they fled in disorder;
some even threw their arms from them, and surrendered at discretion.

Jalaladdeen and his troops pursued the fugitives; but so fleet was his
steed, that he found himself alone in the midst of the flying, while
his band had not yet come up. As soon as the enemy perceived this,
they surrounded him and enclosed him in a large circle. In this
emergency the swiftness of the eagle and the strength of the lion
proved necessary to him; and his steed, as though endued with reason,
turned itself about continually, shooting quick glances like lightning
from its eyeballs, so that Jalaladdeen could perceive every man in the
circle who stood near him. In this manner he struck them to the
ground, or shot them through before they had determined upon their
method of attack, or could see through his manoeuvres. But, to his
astonishment, he found that he had a fresh arrow in his hand after
every shot from his bow. In a short time there was a large circle of
killed and wounded round him. At length his own army arrived; and the
enemy again took to flight. Jalaladdeen pursued after them again, to a
narrow pass, whence there was no escape. Here they threw themselves
upon their faces, and humbly sought for mercy. Jalaladdeen then
proceeded to the capital of the country, followed by his warriors, and
accompanied by a train of many thousand prisoners and captured foes.

The news of his appearance upon the hill, and the account of the
victory which he had subsequently gained, had already reached the
city; and the elders poured out to the gate to meet him. The prophets
and astrologers also flocked together to welcome him as the appointed
Sultan, and to escort him to the royal palace. The streets through
which they passed were magnificently decorated; and the joy of the
populace was such as greets an ancient and once loved lord on his
entry into his capital.

In the palace yard the upper officers of the household, the servants
of the Court, and the slaves, were drawn up to welcome him with
becoming respect. Here he dismounted from his horse, passed up the
steps, and proceeded through the colonnades and antechambers which led
to the throne-room, where Gulnaschare was seated, surrounded by a
splendid retinue.

The royal maiden rose from her throne at his entrance; but how amazed
and confused was Jalaladdeen! She was not altogether unknown to him;
for he now saw before him in reality the young maid who had been so
often present to him in his dreams, out of which he had been so
repeatedly roused by the old woman belabouring him with her crutch.
She gazed upon him with an affectionate smile; and as he drew near,
she descended the steps of her throne, extended to him the golden
sceptre, and touched him with the point of it.

"Hast thou the wonder-stone from Mount Massis?" said she.

Jalaladdeen was too confused to reply to her; but the gem suspended
from his neck assured her as to his identity.

"That is it," said she, in continuation. "The possession of that stone
proves thee destined to become my husband, and to reign over the vast
empire of the Moguls, from which thou, with thy father, wast banished
in thine early days."

She then took him by the hand, led him up the steps, and seated him
upon the throne, bent before him, and delivered the sceptre into his
hand.

"Behold," said she to the surrounding multitude, "behold your rightful
sovereign! It was written in the book of fate that Janghiz his father
should, in consequence of his covetousness, be driven into exile by my
father Khamar; then that the innocent son, after many severe proofs
and labours imposed by the King of Spirits, if deemed worthy, should
share the throne with me."

"He has been tried, and is found worthy!" exclaimed all the prophets
and astrologers.

"Hail to him! hail, Sultan!" immediately burst from the lips of all
present in the palace; and the multitudes in the streets and
approaches reiterated the shout.

Then Jalaladdeen, advancing from the throne, addressed the throng:

"Heartily do I thank Allah and the Prophet that my fate has taken so
wondrous and happy a turn; but, above all, I prize my good fortune in
becoming the husband of this amiable Princess."

Jalaladdeen thus concluded his address; and Gulnaschare said to him,

"Didst thou so often wish for me when I, in the guise of an old woman,
roused thee night after night from thy peaceful slumbers and happy
dreams with my crutch?"

"How!" exclaimed Jalaladdeen; "wast thou that hideous old woman?
impossible!"

"Passing strange, perchance, it may seem; but nevertheless it is so:
all things are possible to the King of Spirits, which mortal mind can
barely comprehend."

The marriage ceremony was now ordered to take place; and one festivity
followed another; happiness, and joy, and peace, reigned together.

Jalaladdeen ruled for many years over the kingdom of the Moguls, and
enlarged it by many prosperous conquests; he brought it to a state of
peace and tranquillity which it had never experienced in former years,
and which, after his death, it did not long enjoy.

[Illustration]



The Story of Haschem.

[Illustration]

CHAPTER I.

THE LOST SON.


More than a thousand years ago, there lived in the famous city of
Bagdad a man called Naima, who, although he was now grey with age, had
still the lusty strength of earlier days. The opening of his life was
devoted to trade; and in pursuit of it he made many journeys, by which
he not only gained great intellectual treasures and experiences, but
also acquired property, which afforded him, not certainly the means
for extravagant expenditure, but still sufficient to live in comfort.
He had the good sense and wisdom to be satisfied with such moderate
possessions, and to enjoy them in peaceful quiet--labouring meanwhile
for the improvement of his only son. Many of his acquaintance,
however, sought to amass greater wealth, forgetting, as it would seem,
that by such constant efforts, life itself, after its meridian, would
be but lost without some new and higher enjoyment. The city of Mossul
was his home in early days; but he quitted it, and took up his abode
in Bagdad, partly owing to the suggestions of a friend with whom he
had been on the most intimate and confidential terms from his
youth--partly, too, for the sake of the education of his son, as he
expected that a residence in that city would produce worthy and
lasting impressions on the mind of the young man.

Bagdad was, at this time, under the rule of the famed Caliph Haroun al
Raschid, and was the resort of strangers from all parts of the globe,
where artists and sages of that country mingled among those of the
neighbouring lands. Nor had Naima conceived a vain expectation. His
son Haschem was a young man gifted with good natural abilities, and
endowed with a pure unsullied heart. He used every opportunity which
chance threw in his way to extend his knowledge, cultivate his mind,
or to improve his disposition; nor was he deficient in bodily
exercises and warlike accomplishments; so that through good discipline
he became powerful in body and strong in mind. He was, therefore, as
was natural enough, not only the joy and pride of his father, but was
loved and esteemed by all who knew him, and was often pointed out by
the elders, to others of his own age, as an example worthy of
imitation. As the father saw his greatest treasure in the person of
his only son, so he, with all the fervour of a well-directed mind,
clung to his father.

Some years passed over them in this mutual love, heightened still more
by the companionship of their friend Saad, and their happiness was
full and uninterrupted. It chanced one day that Naima and Saad were
taking their accustomed walk in the princely gardens adjoining the
city in front of the gate. The heat of the summer's day had been
diminished by a gentle rain, and the two strolled on in happy
conversation, and extended their walk beyond its ordinary length. The
last gardens were already left behind them, and they wandered on over
green meadow-land; behind a little wood, at the entrance of which
stood high palms, whose shadows invited to repose. A fresh spring
gushed from a neighbouring rock, and meandered sparkling among the
verdant herbage and variegated flowers.

The two friends lay down in the shade, and conversed on the dangers to
which the most virtuous men are subject, and how easily one may,
through passion, be led into a false step, if he allow himself to
confide in his own firmness of purpose.

"I have known men," continued Saad, "who, although among the best and
noblest whom I have ever known in the course of my life, were led
unawares, by too great self-confidence, to an action which they might
easily have avoided by a little caution, but which has been the
beginning of a long chain of transgressions and vices, ending in their
complete ruin."

Naima maintained that a heart accustomed from early youth to virtue
would, on the contrary, not be easily led to commit a serious fault;
and even if it should happen so, that it would readily find its way
back from a slight error to the right road.

They talked still longer on these subjects, each endeavouring to
confirm his assertions by examples. Haschem, stretched beside them,
listened with attention to their instructive conversation; but
suddenly he sprang to his feet, and ran quickly up the woody hill, at
the foot of which they were reposing. Saad and his father looked after
him with astonishment, as they could not comprehend what had
occasioned his sudden departure. Then they saw that a little bird, as
white as snow, was flying before him, which he was trying to catch. He
was soon lost to their view among the bushes; they cried to him, and
begged him to come back--but in vain. They waited for a quarter of an
hour, and still Haschem did not return. Uneasy as to what had become
of him, they advanced in the direction in which he had disappeared;
but they could discover nothing. They called his name: the wood echoed
it. At last the sun set; then said Saad,

"Let us return home: your son is a robust and strong young man; he
will easily find his way back into the city. Perhaps he has gone home
some other way."

After long opposition, the father was at last persuaded to return
without his son; but he was still full of anxiety, which no arguments
could overcome. When they arrived at the city, his friend accompanied
him to his house. They entered hastily, and inquired for Haschem; but
he had not returned. Saad's hopes were of no more avail; Naima would
no longer listen to him, but weeping, threw himself on his couch. Saad
rebuked him for this weakness, and represented to him that it might
easily have happened that the young man had lost his way in the
pursuit of the bird, and could not recover the track.

"He has certainly found a shelter where he will remain till morning,"
continued he; "he will return here early to-morrow, and will laugh
heartily at your unmanly spirit and desponding grief."

When Saad was gone Naima gave free scope to his feelings. He wept
aloud, tore his beard, and threw himself upon the ground, like a
madman. The servants and slaves of the house stood around in
motionless astonishment, as they were not accustomed to see their
master exhibiting such passionate emotion; others sought to console
him, but fruitlessly; so they cried and bewailed with him for his dear
son, who was beloved by them all. After a sleepless night, the
afflicted father was not at all quieted. He wished early in the
morning to send messengers in all directions; but Saad, who had come
to hear if the lost one had returned home, explained to him how
foolish this step would be.

"Remember," said he, "that your Haschem has most probably found a
night's lodging, and slept better than you. If he had set out on his
way at daybreak, he could not be here now; and if you send these
messengers after him, he may perhaps come home by a shorter path,
while they will be searching for him in vain. Wait, at least, till
noon."

Naima yielded: he appointed the messengers to be ready at noon, and in
the meanwhile walked through the gardens and in the country round
about the city, where they had been on the preceding day. His friend
accompanied him, although he pointed out that Haschem might, in the
interval, have reached home while they were walking, and that he was
thus perhaps giving himself more grief than was necessary.

"I have given up to you in the rest," replied Naima; "let me at least
in this instance have my own will, that I may walk here."

They went together to the fountain in the rock near the palms; they
climbed the neighbouring heights; they called the name of the lost one
in all directions; but no sound was heard in reply. At noon they went
home, and asked all they met if they had not seen a young man, whom
they accurately described. Nobody could give them any information
about him. Naima now sent out his messengers in all directions; to
each he promised a rich reward, but tenfold to that one who should
lead the lost one back to his arms. They set out joyfully, each one
hoping to gain the tenfold sum, and they all intended to return home
in the evening; but these hopes were disappointed. Naima with earnest
desire expected them in the evening; none came. At last a few returned
on the third day. They had gone a day's journey in the appointed
direction, had sought everywhere, had described the wanderer to all
they had met, but none had seen him. The rest of the messengers also
returned, one by one, and none had discovered the least trace of him.
The hopes of the sorrowing father had almost disappeared: only one of
the dispatched messengers was not yet come back. Although it was
probable that this one might remain away without success, he still
clung to the hope that he at least might discover a trace of his son,
who had disappeared in so unaccountable a manner. But when this last
messenger returned on the tenth day, and reported that all his
researches had been without success, the parent's grief knew no
bounds. His friend Saad stood by him comforting him, and inquired,
together with all his friends, whether no tidings could be learned of
Haschem. He could not have been killed, for then his corpse would have
been found; he had no cause to conceal himself; he could not have been
attacked by enemies, as he had none: might he, in the pursuit of the
bird, have been led to the brink of the stream, and have thrown
himself in, and been carried away by the waves? Scarcely did the
possibility of this idea arise, when two messengers were dispatched to
each side of the river to make fresh search, from its junction with
the Euphrates above Balsora to the spot where it flows into the
Arabian Sea, to ascertain if the corpse of Haschem had been washed
ashore. But these messengers also returned to the anxious father, and
had not found what they sought. Now the father and his friend gave up
Haschem for lost; Naima's manly spirit was broken; grief for his lost
son shortened his life; he soon became old: all joy had by this time
fled from his mind; and his sorrow was only a little alleviated when
his faithful friend Saad sat by him in the evening, talked with him of
his son, relating the virtues by which he had been distinguished, and
told him how it had been his darling wish that this excellent young
man should marry his daughter Zoraine.


CHAPTER II.

THE SYMPATHIZING RULER.


In a few days the Caliph Haroun al Raschid went, as he was accustomed,
in disguise, with his Grand Vizier Giafar, and Mesrour his
Chamberlain, through the streets of Bagdad, to see with his own eyes
and to hear with his own ears how justice and order were maintained by
his servants, and whether his people were happy and prosperous. He
had, as usual, chosen the last hour of the evening for this walk,
because he thought that at this time he could look deeper into men's
joys and pleasures, as they had then ended their daily toils, and were
seeking comfort and repose in the bosom of their family. In his
progress he came to a street distinguished by peculiar silence and
quiet. As he approached a house, before the door of which two men were
standing whispering, Haroun al Raschid addressed them with these
words:

"Why do you whisper, as if you were concerting a crime? is not this
street lonely enough, that you cannot hold your discourse aloud? Can
you tell me why this street is so quiet, as though every inhabitant
were dead?"

"I can easily tell you, my lord," answered one of the whisperers:
"here, in the next house, lives the unfortunate Naima, and, as usual
at this hour, his friend Saad sits with him to console him. Now, all
the inhabitants of this street respect this man, and wish not to
remind him, by any outburst of joy, that happier men than himself live
in his neighbourhood."

Before the Caliph could answer him, he turned away and went into the
house, and the other followed him.

"Have you ever heard of this unfortunate Naima before?" asked Haroun
al Raschid of his Grand Vizier; and as he answered in the negative, he
said, "Let us rap at the door of the next house, where this Naima
dwells; perhaps we may discover the cause of his sorrow."

They drew near, and saw the light from the inner court shining through
a crevice. The Caliph placed his eye at this crevice, and after he had
watched for some time, he beckoned his followers to him, and said,
"Two grey-headed men are sitting in this court by a lamp, and one
seems to be comforting the other; but this latter continues to weep
more bitterly. Both seem of the same rank; and I am desirous to know
what sorrow oppresses the unfortunate Naima. Order him to appear at my
palace early to-morrow morning; perhaps it may be in my power to
lighten his calamity."

The next day the Grand Vizier executed his commission. Naima was
frightened when his presence was required at the palace. He was led
into the great hall where the divan usually assembled; but he was
quite alone there when the servants had left him. He reviewed the
whole of his past life, to see if he had sinned in any way so as to
bring on him the displeasure of the righteous Caliph; for he knew that
Haroun al Raschid often, in a mysterious manner, discovered the faults
of his subjects, and punished them accordingly. But he could not call
to mind any deed of which he, felt ashamed, nor any that deserved
punishment. Whilst he was thus meditating, a curtain was drawn back,
and the Caliph entered, followed by his Vizier and his Chamberlain.
Naima rose from the ground, and bowed with his head even to the carpet
on which the Caliph stood.

"Naima," said the Caliph, "a heavy weight of grief oppress you; and by
the anxiety which your neighbours manifest to show respect for the
sorrows of your soul, I must consider you as a man of great worth. I
wish to know the cause of your despondency: will you confess it before
these two witnesses, or would you rather confide to me alone the
reason of your tears?"

"Ruler of the Faithful," answered Naima, "sorrow is great and deep in
my soul; but still the cause of it is unworthy to distract for a
moment the attention of the Caliph from the cares of his kingdom."

But Haroun al Raschid answered, "That which fills the heart of the
meanest of my subjects with such grief that it consumes his life is
not unworthy of my care. When I am careful for my whole kingdom, this
care extends to each individual; if, then, I am careful for one, this
one is a member of the whole, and thus my care is not lost. But speak,
what is the cause of your sorrow and your tears?"

Then Naima recounted the mysterious disappearance of his son; how he
had sought for him everywhere, and how all trouble had been useless,
so that all his messengers had returned home without the least trace
of him. "I must therefore weep for him as one that is dead"--thus he
ended his relation; "and tears, perhaps, might appease my sorrow, if
at the same time a ray of hope did not dart through my heart that
possibly he is still alive; but where does he live, if indeed he be
still alive? This ray of hope keeps the wound in the father's heart
always open."

"You have real cause for grief," answered the Caliph, "and I
comprehend that the uncertainty of your son's fate must be as terrible
to bear as would be the mournful certainty of his death. You did wrong
in not applying to me before: my power extends not only over
believers, but also in foreign lands. Other kings and rulers I have as
my servants, whose eyes see for me, whose ears hear for me, and whose
hands perform what is necessary for my pleasure. That which was not
possible to yourself, your friends, and your servants to accomplish,
might perhaps have been easy to me. Now go home, and believe that you
shall obtain news of your son, if he lives on the earth, in any land
where my power can reach."

With these words he dismissed him, after he had first inquired the
marks by which his lost son might be recognized.

When Naima again sat with his friend Saad in the evening, he related
to him the gracious and comforting words of the Caliph. Saad perceived
that hope was again revived in his friend's heart, and that he
confidently trusted to find his son. He thought it therefore his duty
to damp this hope, and said,

"Beloved friend, I have once heard a speech, which by its truth sank
deeply in my memory: it is, 'Trust not in princes; they are but men.'
The moral of which is, that the mightiest on earth are subject to
fate. If the Caliph have influence in distant lands, it must be in a
confined and narrow limit. That which is but a span distant is under
the control of all-governing fate, even from the meanest slave to the
Ruler of the Faithful."

But if the power of Haroun al Raschid were bounded by the immensity of
fate, yet he did all he could to fulfil the hope he had raised in
Naima's heart. He gave a commission to all his servants in his
kingdom, high and low, and to his ambassadors in the neighbouring
kingdoms, and even sent into distant lands, with the princes of which
he was friendly, and on the same day dispatched messengers with the
charge to search for Haschem with all diligence, and gave them a
description how they might recognize him if they found him. But week
after week passed away, month after month, and even a whole year
elapsed, without intelligence being received either of the life or
death of the lost one. So all hope of finding him now deserted the
father for ever.


CHAPTER III.

THE CAPTIVE.


Haschem was not dead; he still lived, but in such retirement that it
was impossible to discover his abode. He followed the snow-white bird
till evening, without clearly knowing why: he was induced to think he
could catch the curious creature, particularly as it flew at such a
moderate height from the ground, and so slowly that he hoped quickly
to reach it. The tardiness of its flight made him conjecture that it
must have a defect in its wing: he often stretched out his hand to it,
and drew near it, but the bird again raised its wings, and flew a
little in advance. Haschem now felt himself tired, and would have
given up the pursuit, but the bird also seemed fatigued; he approached
it, but again the bird flew a little farther off. In this chase he
reached a hill, which he climbed; he was now in a narrow
meadow-valley, which he ran along; twilight came, but the snow-white
colour of the bird still lighted him on. At last the pursued bird
perched in a thicket; he hastened to it, but when he closed his hand
to take his prisoner, it flew away, leaving only one feather of its
tail behind, which he had tightly grasped; still he saw it through the
twilight flying before him, and he hastened after it. The bird seemed
now to quicken its pace; and as he followed and had once nearly caught
it, he continued the pursuit with more eagerness: he ran through the
high grass, and with his strained sight fixed on this glimmering white
object, he saw nothing else. Thus he came unexpectedly to a little dam
which lay across his path; he jumped in and tried to climb the other
side, but it was so steep that he fell in with some of the crumbling
earth: while the water rushed over his head he lost all consciousness.
When he came to himself, he lay on the turf, and a tall, grey-headed
man, of strange appearance, stood before him, clothed in a long black
robe, which reached to his ankles, and was fastened by a glittering
girdle of a fiery colour. Instead of a turban, he wore a high pointed
cap on his head, at the end of which was a tassel of the same hue as
the girdle.

"Has your life returned to you?" he asked: "you deserved to be
suffocated in the mud. Come, we must go farther before daylight quite
leaves us."

With these words he raised him from the ground, passed his left arm
round his body, and flew with him through the air as quickly as an
arrow. Haschem again momentarily lost recollection: it is not known
how long he remained in this condition. He awoke at last as from a
deep sleep; and as he looked around, the first thing he recognized was
a cage of gold wire, which hung from the ceiling by a long golden
chain, and within was the snow-white bird he had so long followed. He
found himself alone with this bird in a hall, the roof of which was
supported on pillars of white marble, and the walls were built of
smooth pale-green stones. The openings to the windows were skilfully
contrived with so many windings and narrow gratings, that even the
white bird could have found no space to pass through, even if it had
escaped from the cage. Beside one wall stood a crystal urn; and from
this fell a stream of clear water, which, passing over the curved brim
of the urn, dripped into a white basin beneath, from which it
disappeared unseen.

Whilst he observed this, and wondered what had happened to him, and
how he came there, he suddenly heard the old man in the black robe
enter from behind a curtain. He carried a small golden box in his
hand, and approached him with these words:

"You have now caught the white bird; you now have it in a cage: in
this box is food for it, and there is water; take diligent care of it,
and mind that it does not escape."

As he said this he disappeared. Haschem now arose and walked round the
hall: he looked through the windows, and ascertained that he must be
in a foreign land, as the forms of the mountains and trees were quite
different to any he had before seen. The hall seemed high, as if it
were the upper storey of a lofty tower. No other edifice was to be
seen, and from the windows he could not distinguish the trees and
plants which bloomed beneath. He drew the curtain aside, and
discovered an outlet; but there was a thick metal door which he could
not open. He was now very much embarrassed, for he began to feel
hungry, and could find nothing that would serve him for food. He
examined the walls, to see if he could discover any concealed outlet.
He tried to open the windows, that he might put his head out to see if
there was anybody in the building beneath, to whom he might cry out.
There was no door: he could not open the windows; and as far as he
could stretch his sight in every direction, he could see nobody. He
threw himself in despair on the pillow on which he recovered his
consciousness, and wrung his hands, and wept, and cried,

"I am, then, imprisoned--imprisoned in a dungeon where splendour and
riches are lavished around! Of what avail is it that these walls are
built of precious stones? that this lattice is of fine gold? that this
cage is of gold, and hangs on a golden chain? I am as much a prisoner
behind golden lattices as I should be behind iron."

As hunger pinched him still more, he cried out, "How much rather would
I be in the vilest prison, with the coarsest food, than be confined in
this splendid hall, where I must die of hunger!"

Then he again called out of the lattices, in hopes that his voice
might be heard, and aid brought; but nobody appeared, and no one
answered him. When he again threw himself, weeping, on his couch,
after such useless attempts, he observed that the white bird fluttered
restlessly in its prison, and pecked on the golden dish, where food
was placed, without finding any.

"Poor brother in misfortune!" said Haschem, "you shall not suffer
want; I will take care of you: come, I will bring you assistance."

He took the pans from the cage, and filled one with water from the
urn, the other with grain from the gold box which the old man had
given him. Scarcely had he hung the last on the cage, when, on turning
round, he saw a table behind him covered with costly viands. He was
astonished, and could not understand how all this had happened; but
still it was not long before he attacked the meats with the zest of a
young man who has fasted for several days. Although these viands were
altogether different from those he had been accustomed to taste in his
father's house, still they all appeared excellent. He ate till he was
fully satisfied, and then took a golden cup from the table, with which
he quenched his thirst with pure water from the urn. Afterwards he
threw himself on a couch and fell asleep.

When he awoke, he felt strong and well. He arose and walked round the
hall, and he then observed that the table with the meats had
disappeared. This did not please him, as he had thought to make a good
supper of the remainder. He did not allow this, however, to trouble
him much, as he was now sure that he was not to die of hunger. He had
now leisure enough to examine his prison more closely. He searched
all anew pillars, walls, and floor; but he could nowhere find a
crevice or a fissure: all was fast and whole. His view from the
windows did not allow him to make any discovery: he only saw that he
was very far from the earth, and in a spacious valley. Mountains were
to be seen in the distance, with curiously pointed summits: the
nearest offered no change of prospect, and the farthest was too
distant to raise his spirits by its contemplation: it was a high,
wearisome abode. As soon as he had completed this examination, and
found there was nothing to occupy him, he turned his attention to the
white bird in the cage. Here was still life; and if the cage was
narrow, yet the prisoner could hop about on the different perches.
Soon it remained still, and looked at him with its bright eyes; and it
seemed as if sense and speech lay in these eyes, only the
interpretation was wanting. Night put an end to these reflections.

On the next morning he observed that the bird again wanted food. He
filled its seed-box with grain from the golden box, and gave it fresh
water from the urn. Scarcely had he done this, when the table, covered
with meats, again stood in the same place as the day before. This day
passed like the former, and the following in the same manner. Haschem
wept and mourned, took care of the little bird, fed it, and was every
time rewarded in the same manner with the table covered with dishes,
as soon as he had filled the bird's seed-box. He could not perceive
who brought the table, nor how it disappeared. It always came when he
stood beside the cage with his back turned, and without any noise.

On the ninth day the old man suddenly appeared to him, and said,
"To-day is a day of repose for you: you have performed your duty
during the preceding days in giving the bird its food; now you may
amuse yourself in the garden till evening."

He led him through a door into a narrow passage, at the end of which
they descended twenty steps. Then he opened a small metal trap-door,
and Haschem again descended twenty steps more. They came to a similar
door; and after descending twenty more steps to another, and so on,
till after passing the ninth door, they found themselves in the open
air.

"Remain here till you are called," said the old man, who went back
into the building through the same doors, which he shut after him.

Haschem was very curious to examine more closely the building in which
he had been imprisoned: he therefore went round it, and narrowly
observed it. It was a tower of nine storeys, each about fifteen feet
in height. The tower had nine angles and nine flat walls; in each
storey were three windows, so contrived that for every two walls
without a window, the third had one. These windows were not directly
over one another in the storeys, but alternate; so that only three
appeared in each wall. This distribution of regularity and order
reigned throughout the whole building. The walls were made of large
pieces of gold, quite as smooth as glass, like large stones; and these
were so skilfully put together that, even when closely looked at, the
joints could not be discovered. The lattices of the windows were all
of gold, like those in the upper hall, and the lower doors through
which he had passed were of a yellow metal, inclining to green.

All these considerations were not calculated to lessen his conviction
that no man could possibly find him out in such a prison. Suddenly a
new hope awoke in him.

"I am no longer shut up in the tower," said he to himself; "here I am
in the open air, in a garden: I can clamber and jump like a monkey. I
may possibly find some outlet from this garden, by which I can
escape."

He immediately turned from the tower, and hastened through the
gardens, seeking freedom; but he soon discovered that this hope was
vain. With a few steps he reached the end of the garden, and stood
before a gate of lattice-work of strong smooth iron bars, so close
together that he could scarcely pass his arm through. He tried to
climb it by holding by the upper bars with his hands; but his feet
slipped on the smooth iron, and he hurt his knee so much that, in
consequence of not being able to bear the pain, he fell backwards on
the earth. He now examined the lattice closely to see if there were no
means of escape; but all was in vain--everywhere the bars were high,
thick, and like polished glass. Mournfully he wandered round the
garden: the sun's rays darting down scorched up the grass, and he
sought some shade where he might screen himself from their influence.
He lay down on a neighbouring mossy bank, and meditated anew on his
fate. Besides his own grief at his imprisonment, the thought of his
father's sorrow at his loss pained him. The exhaustion consequent on
his tears and loud lamentations, joined with the noontide heat, at
last caused him to fall into a deep sleep. When he awoke, the table
covered with meats was again before him: he ate, and wandered anew
mournfully through the garden, meditating whether he could not make a
ladder from the trees around him, to aid him in his escape over the
lattice. But there was something wanting for this work: he had not
even a dagger or a pocket-knife. During these thoughts the old man
appeared, and said,

"Evening is drawing on. Follow me in."

He led him again to the upper room of the tower, and locked the metal
door upon him.

There was no change observable in his prison--only the bird seemed
harassed and mournful: it sat quiet and still on the lowest perch; its
plumage was rough, and its eyes dull.

"Poor creature," said Haschem, "what is the matter? Are you ill?"

It seemed as if the bird was affected by these sympathizing questions;
but it soon sank again into its former dejection. He mused long upon
this.

The next day and the following ones passed like the former; but on the
ninth the old man again appeared, led him into the garden, and at
night conducted him back into the hall. He took care of the bird; and
as soon as he had given it food and water, he always found the table
covered with meats behind him. In the intervals he stood at the
lattice of one of the three windows looking on the plain below,
earnestly hoping to catch sight of some person to free him from his
captivity.

In such monotonous employment many months passed away. Every ninth day
the old man appeared, and gave him leave to walk in the garden; but he
did not derive much amusement from his strolls in this narrow
enclosure. In the meantime he asked the old man many times the reason
of his imprisonment, and how long it was to last. No answer was
vouchsafed but these words: "Every man has his own fate. This is
thine."


CHAPTER IV.

THE DELIVERANCE.


One day the old man appeared and led him into the garden; but he had
not been there more than a quarter of an hour, when he returned,
called him in, and then quickly retired with marks of disquietude.
Haschem also remarked that the white bird, which he loved more every
day, sat at the bottom of its cage, more mournful than usual after his
visit. He drew near, and observed a little door, which he had never
before seen. He examined it closely, and found a fine bolt which
passed into a ring of gold wire. These were made so skilfully, like
concealed ornaments, that nobody could have discovered them if his
attention had not been drawn to them by accident. Haschem pushed back
the bolt and opened the door; the bird moved as if some sudden joy had
seized it, hopped out, and as soon as it touched the floor, it was
transformed, and in its stead a young maiden stood before Haschem,
clothed in a white silk robe; beautiful dark locks streamed over her
neck and shoulders, and a thin fragrant veil fell over them, fastened
to a forehead-band set with precious stones; her finely-formed
countenance was as white as ivory, relieved by the softest shade of a
rose.

Surprised and astonished, Haschem started back and said, "By the beard
of the Prophet, I conjure you to tell me whether you are of human
race, or whether you belong to the genii?"

"I am a weak maiden," said she, "and implore you to deliver me from
the hands of this cruel magician. I will reward you handsomely for it.
Know, I am the only daughter of Kadga Singa, King of Selandia; and
this wicked enchanter has cunningly carried me off from my father's
palace, and shut me up in this cage. He has one son, as ugly as night,
whom he wishes me to take for my husband. Every ninth day he comes,
brings him with him, and praises his excellent qualities--presses me
for my consent, and threatens me with cruel tortures if I give it not
at the next new moon. On that day he will have kept me a year in
imprisonment, and longer than a year he says he will not wait, and
still give good words: then will the time of my punishment begin. I
conjure you, therefore, to help me!"

At these words she burst into a flood of tears.

"Noble royal maiden," answered Haschem, "how willingly would I help
you! but, alas, I am only a weak man, and cannot free myself. But tell
me--how is it possible? You say the enchanter brings his hateful son
with him: why, then, have I never seen him?"

"He always sends you away when he comes," answered the Princess.

"Well," pursued Haschem, "the son could not conceal himself from me on
the steps, or in the narrow passage."

"Well, well," she answered, "he carries him in his pocket."

Then Haschem cried out in his astonishment, "In his pocket! How can
that be?"

The Princess related to him that the young man was every time a white
bird, like herself; that the enchanter put him into the cage with her,
and that she felt such a dislike to him that she always fluttered
about the cage to avoid getting near him; but that he, with his
contrary friendly feeling, would follow her and settle confidingly
near her.

"Oh," she continued, "you must have remarked how tired and mournful I
always was when you returned on the ninth day."

Haschem, astonished at this explanation, assured her of his
willingness to help her, but bewailed his helplessness. But the
Princess would not give up hopes of their safety.

"It seems to me," said she, "a good omen that the enchanter has to-day
received a message which caused him to leave so early and in such
haste that he did not securely close the cage, and that you returned
so early to-day from the garden. This day is my birthday, the only day
that I can be delivered from the magician's power. On any other day I
should still have remained a dumb bird if you had freed me from my
cage; only on this day has my touching the floor restored me to my
natural form: the enchantment lies in the cage."

Haschem then seized the cage, and said, "If it be so, we will break
the enchantment." He threw the cage to the ground, stamped on it with
his feet till it was quite flat and its shape no longer
distinguishable, then he rolled it together, and threw it into a
corner of the hall.

At this moment a frightful noise resounded through the air like
violent thunder, a gale of wind seemed to shake the hall, and suddenly
the doors opened, the curtains were drawn aside, and the magician
stood before them with a countenance full of anger.

"Ah!" cried he, "weak worms, what have you presumed to do? How did you
learn to break my charm in this manner? Who bid you destroy the cage?"

Haschem, terrified, could answer nothing. Then the enchanter turned to
the Maiden, and cried,

"And you, you thought this miserable worm could defend you against my
power: I will show you how useless it is to oppose me."

He felt in the pocket of his black robe, and pulled out a thin box.
This he opened, and a white bird flew out and perched on the table.
Then he took a small box from his girdle and opened it: it was filled
with grains of millet. From these he took one, laid it before the
bird, who had scarcely eaten it before such a distorted man stood in
its place, that both Haschem and the Princess screamed aloud. His head
was large and thick, his eyes red and dark, his nose small and pressed
quite flat, his lips thick and bluish-red, his chin broad and
projecting, and on his head grew a few stiff white hairs; a hump grew
out of his breast, and a similar one from his back, and his shoulders
were quite drawn up: his head was so jammed between them that his ears
could not be seen. His head and upper part of his body were so
unshapely, and his legs so weak and thin, that it was wonderful how
they supported him: he tottered about incessantly, balancing himself
first on one leg, then on the other.

"Go in, my son," said the enchanter to this misformed creature:
"behold! there is your bride. She does not wish to wait till the new
moon, which I fixed upon for your betrothal: to-day she has effected
her change by the help of this friend. Go, my son, give your bride a
kiss, and then thank this young man."

The deformed creature approached the Princess with a horrible fiendish
laugh. She averted her face with disgust, and stretched out her arms,
motioning him away. And now courage returned to Haschem. Resolved to
venture all, he stepped before the Princess, and gave the deformity
such a blow that he reeled. He instantly assumed the form of a
terrible dragon; but Haschem, drawing a scimitar which he still wore,
cut him down. He fell with such violence on the corner of the pedestal
of one of the marble pillars that it was broken to pieces: a stream of
blood flowed from the wound, and, resuming his former shape, the
monster gave a hollow groan. Now Haschem thought of the father's rage
and revenge, and gave up his life for lost. But the enchanter stood
quite confounded as he observed his son's mortal wound; then, threw
himself down beside him, and examined it, and wrung his hands,
forgetting his revenge in his sorrow. Haschem quickly seized the hand
of the Princess, and led her through the door and down the steps. All
the doors were open, and they fortunately came into the garden. Soon
they stood before the lattice of the iron wicket, which was closed to
them.

"Of what use is our flight?" said Haschem; "we are still in the power
of the enchanter; and even if we were on the other side of the wicket,
and concealed ourselves in the deepest cavern, he would discover us by
his knowledge, and wreak his vengeance on us."

"I am of a different opinion," said the Princess. "I know there are
things of which men think little, but on which the superior power of
the magician depends. It appears to me that if we could get out of
this place, we should be safe."

They went farther, and came to a spot where many trees had been
uprooted by a hurricane. One of these lay overturned, with its crown
resting on the lattice, and its boughs and branches hanging far over
the other side. At this sight the young man rejoiced: he climbed
quickly up the trunk, pulled the Princess after him, and led her with
great care and tenderness into the crown of the tree. They then
clambered over the spiked top of the wicket, and let themselves down
on the other side by the overhanging branches. They did not quite
reach to the ground, but near enough for them to leap down: when they
let go their hands, they fell softly to the earth. They quickly jumped
up, and proceeded as rapidly as the strength of the Princess and the
unknown way would allow them through the thickets, underwood, and
plains studded with prickly plants, towards the distant mountains.

After the two fugitives had continued their flight for several
successive hours without looking back on the scene of their
imprisonment, the Princess felt her strength exhausted, and could go
no farther; she begged her companion to repose for a short time.
Haschem sought a place free from bushes, and clad with moss and long
grass. They seated themselves there, and Haschem entreated her to
relate her history. She was soon ready, and commenced thus:

"My early history is very simple and unimportant. I am called Handa,
the only daughter of the Sultan of the island Selandia. My mother was
brought from beyond Arabia and Mount Caucasus over the wide-stretching
sea, and was sold to him as a slave. Soon attracted by her excessive
beauty and pleasing manners, he raised her to the dignity of his
principal wife. My earliest youth was spent in pleasing sports under
my mother's eyes. She died before I had passed the age of childhood,
as the change from the mild climate of her land to the heat of my
father's shortened her days. After the loss of my mother, which did
not much affect me, as I was too young to feel it, I enjoyed many
happy days. My father loved me as his greatest treasure, and was wise
enough to confide me to a careful nurse. Every evening I passed
several hours with him, as soon as he was released from the cares of
government, and one whole day in each week he devoted to conversation
with me. We then went together in a light bark to a neighbouring
promontory, where he had a beautiful palace and gardens. The air
there blew cooler and more refreshing, the trees and shrubs were
clothed with fresher green than in the shut-up garden in the capital,
and we passed the whole day in the open air. In the meantime I had
outgrown childhood, and was beloved by a Prince, the son of a
neighbouring King, to whom I was betrothed, and who was to succeed my
father in his kingdom. This Prince, whose name was Mundian Oppu, also
often took part in these visits to the castle on the promontory.

"It happened one day, as we were sitting on a terrace by the sea, a
foreign ship anchored just below us. A foreigner caused himself to be
landed in a little boat, and asked us permission to appear before us,
as he had many costly wares to offer for sale. I was desirous to see
the stranger's wares, and begged my father to grant the desired
petition. The man laid many costly trinkets of gold and precious
stones before us, and my father bought some, with which I was much
pleased. I remarked that the merchant watched me closely, but he did
this with such evident pleasure that my vanity ascribed it to his
opinion of my pleasing expression, and found no harm in it. Whilst he
shewed his wares, he let fall some words which intimated that he had
left his most precious articles behind in the ship. He had there many
curious birds, particularly a snow-white bird, which was the most
beautiful of all creatures of this kind. He managed thus to raise my
desires so much that I begged my father to allow me to go with the
stranger to his ship to see these silken stuffs: my father was weak
enough to comply with this unreasonable wish. A suitable train should
have accompanied me, but the stranger prevented this. He said his boat
had only room in it for three people, and that he should not like to
show his wares if many people came into his ship. 'They are only
things for the royal Princess,' he said, 'and I dare not expose her to
danger. I can never forget that a powerful King has entrusted his only
daughter to my care; therefore your betrothed Prince Mundian Oppu may
accompany you as a watchful protector.' We went with the merchant to
the ship. There we found an immense number of extraordinary things and
unknown animals. In the place where in other ships the rowers sat
were great apes; on high on the mast sat an eagle; in the inner rooms
were many large and small cages of smooth ebony with thick gold bars,
behind which moved a confused multitude of animals.

"My desire was now directed to the snow-white bird, about which I made
inquiry. He showed it me high up in a box, and as I could not see it
distinctly, he took it out and put it on my hand. 'It is quite
singular,' said he, 'when the bird is here, it can only remain a few
days alive, but I have found the corn of life, which I give it each
week, and it is then refreshed for nine days.' We asked for the corn
of life, of which we had never heard, and he opened a little box and
took out three grains. He gave me one to give the bird, the other I
was to try, and the third Prince Mundian Oppu. When I offered the
grain to the bird, it refused to peck it; and when I pressed my hand
closer, the bird drew back, lost its balance, and fell down with
outspread wings. I hastened to it, picked it up perhaps somewhat
roughly, and as it tried to escape, I held some of its tail-feathers
fast, so that it lay fluttering in my hand. I was very much
frightened, and the merchant seemed so also. He soon laughed with
malicious joy, and said that I should swallow the corn, because it
would prevent the flight of the frightened prisoner. He said the same
to the Prince, and we swallowed the grains in the same moment. I felt
a wonderful transformation pass over me, and found that I was changed
into a snow-white bird; and when I looked towards the Prince, in his
stead I saw a black bird. Now the stranger, who was no other than the
enchanter, seized me, and shut me up in the golden cage which you have
trodden to pieces. The apes began to ply the oars, and the ship moved
with unusual swiftness over the sea. I still saw my father sitting on
the terrace, and the wonder of the servants as they saw the ship
depart: I believed that I heard their voices calling us back. But what
could I do in my cage? The black bird flew to the promontory; and from
that moment I have neither heard nor seen anything of Prince Mundian
Oppu.

"When my home was far in the distance, and even the summit of the
mountain could no longer be distinguished, the enchanter rose with my
cage high in the air, leaving his ship behind, and bore me into the
hall of the tower. How he brought the other white bird, I don't know:
I only know that he took it out of his pocket and put it into the
cage. 'Now you have a companion,' said he. As I took him for a real
bird, I considered myself, though unfortunate, superior to him, and
drew myself back into a corner. But the bird came nearer, and followed
me. At last I lost patience, and pecked his eyes. When the enchanter
saw this, he took out a little box, and took from it a grain, which he
laid before the bird, who picked it immediately. It was then changed
into a man, as ugly as you saw him in the tower. He desired me, as I
have already told you, to take that deformity for my husband, and
promised me that, on my consent, I should be immediately restored to
my proper form, and assured me that otherwise I should always remain
as a bird, except on my birthday. I have now no other wish than to
return to my father in Selandia, because I know he is living in great
affliction, if, indeed, sorrow at my loss have not already brought him
to the grave."


CHAPTER V.

THE FAITHFUL CONDUCTOR HOME.


At the conclusion of this relation, Haschem thought with compassion of
his father, and had his mournful countenance and bowed-down form
before his mind. He knew, from the great love he had always shown him,
that he must have pined for his loss.

"Princess," said he, "your desire cannot be greater than mine. Still,
I swear to you that I will not return to my father till I have safely
conducted you to your native land, or have given you over to safe
guides to bring you to your father; if I do not, may Heaven not grant
my father life to receive this joy!"

They journeyed on with renewed vigour. But evening was drawing near,
and they must find a resting-place for the night. Fortune was
favourable: they soon found a spot, shadowed, by a high bush.

Haschem broke away the boughs so as to form a hedge, which quite
concealed the Princess, and to which he only left a narrow entrance,
before which he lay down to watch. Night passed without danger.
However anxiously Haschem strove against sleep, to watch over his
companion, it at last weighed down his eyelids, and they both awoke
with the first rays of the sun. Their good star soon led them to a
spot where they found refreshing wood-berries, the names of which were
unknown to them, and they were anxious to discover if they were
poisonous; but hunger made them venture. They wandered the whole day,
resting alternately. At every step the journey became more hazardous.
The thickets became thicker and higher; they were often obliged to
creep between the boughs, and their clothes hung in rags. On the
fourth day they reached the foot of the mountain. There they found
cultivated land and human habitations. Haschem inquired where they
were, and asked for the sea. The people told them the name of the
country, which was unknown to Haschem and the Princess Handa. On the
other side of the high mountain lay a large flat land, whose coast was
washed by the sea. They received this information with great joy. They
descended the mountain, came to the flat land, and at last, after a
wearisome journey, during which they had seen the sun rise and set
seven times, they arrived at the sea-coast. A ship lay ready at
anchor, and when they inquired its destination, the steersman
answered, "We are going to Selandia to fetch a cargo of cinnamon." To
Haschem's question where they came from, and what this land where they
were was called, he received for answer, "that the ship belonged to a
merchant of Balsora, and that it had been cast on these unknown shores
by a violent storm."

When the Princess perceived that the ship was going towards her native
land, she was very much rejoiced. She took one of the precious stones
out of her forehead-band, and gave it as a reward for her and her
companion. The following morning they weighed anchor, and, after a
prosperous voyage, they reached the same place where the enchanter's
ship had formerly lain at anchor when he carried off the Princess.

They were landed in a small boat, and Handa led her deliverer into
the beautiful leafy walks of the imperial gardens. In this way they
came to a terrace, from which they could see the ship. Instead of
pressing quickly forwards, they concealed themselves behind a bush. A
very melancholy old man sat on this terrace, looking over the sea; and
while a flood of tears ran down his face,

"Ah!" cried he, "it was just so on the day that my sorrows began!
There lay the ship of the robber, there landed the boat which carried
away my beloved daughter and her betrothed. It was even at the same
hour of the day. I have sent messengers into all the neighbouring
lands; I have caused the opposite sea-coasts to be searched; but all
has been in vain! I must die, and never see my child again."

He pronounced these words aloud, and covered his face as he bowed
himself forward on his hands.

Princess Handa wished to hasten to him, but Haschem held her back, and
said, "Let me first prepare him for your arrival, else joy may kill
him." And he sprang forward, and bowed before the sorrowing old man,
making his forehead touch the ground.

The King then said, "Who are you? Are you a beggar, and do you need
any gift? It shall be given you: go to my palace."

Haschem stood up and answered, "In such circumstances you might well
take me for a beggar, O great King Kadga Singa. But know that under
these ragged clothes is concealed a magician, who is come to change
your tears into smiles, your sobs into transports of joy."

"Can any man on earth do this?" asked Kadga Singa.

"I have only to speak three words," he answered, "and it will happen.
Are you strong enough to support the highest joy that your heart can
conceive and feel?"

At these questions a ray of hope in the soul of the mourning father
beamed through his tearful eyes. "What is it? Who are you who can
promise this?" asked he.

And Haschem repeated his question, "Do you feel strong enough?"

"I think so," answered the King, regarding him with hopeful looks.

"Draw near, Princess Handa, your father is prepared," cried the youth;
and she sprang forwards into her father's open arms.

Then was Haschem's word fulfilled: his tears were changed into smiles,
his sobs into transports of joy. Their embrace continued long. At last
Kadga Singa raised himself, beckoned Haschem to approach, and said,
"You are a magician; such an one I have never before seen. By your
magic words you have changed the mournful course of my life into the
brightest sunshine. I will not now ask you who you are, and what I
have to thank you for; I will not now inquire what chance brought you
to my daughter; I shall only give myself up to joy at her return."

They went back to the capital in a kingly boat, and soon the joyful
news of the unexpected reappearance of the Princess spread everywhere.
Numbers assembled at the palace to ascertain if the news were true;
and Princess Handa went out to the gate and down the steps. Then arose
a shout of joy of a thousand voices, and loud wishes for her health
and happiness.


CHAPTER VI.

REWARD.


The next day, after the King had heard the history of her imprisonment
related by his daughter, and with what devotion Haschem had watched
over her, and when Haschem had narrated his history, Kadga Singa was
very thoughtful, and caused his council to assemble to deliberate how
they should reward him.

"If he were not so young," said some of them, "he might be made Grand
Vizier, the next in dignity to the King, or be appointed Governor of a
province. But his youth prevents his being raised over the people next
to the King."

After longer consultation, the eldest of the councillors rose, and
said, "Kadga Singa, my King and lord. The youth has certainly
performed a great service to you and the Princess Handa; therefore it
seems to me that his reward ought to come from you. It seems to me
that the King, having received from him good in his family, must
reward him from his family. Were I in such a case, I would appoint him
as Mundiana, and give him for a wife the daughter whom he has
restored."

The whole assembly were of the same opinion, and the King gave them to
understand that this was also his wish.

"I am old," he said, "and can easily perceive that the cares of this
land will soon need other hands to support them. I shall be much
pleased to see my daughter with a noble husband. Prince Mundian Oppu
has disappeared, whom I had before chosen; and this youth, although of
meaner origin, is of noble soul, and will soon, under my guidance,
acquire the necessary circumspection to promote justice and order in
my kingdom."

He did not delay, but immediately caused Haschem to be called. A
costly band of gold and silver was fastened round his forehead, and
the King then said, "I herewith appoint you Mundiana."

And the assembled councillors cried out, "We congratulate you, hail,
Mundiana!"

But Haschem laughed, and said, "Forgive my ignorance: what is
Mundiana?"

The eldest councillor stepped forward, and said, "This name points out
the highest step of honour which the King can bestow. You are found
worthy of this honour; and no other lives who bears this title,
because Prince Mundian Oppu has disappeared."

An elephant covered with costly trappings was now brought in by its
keeper, and upon it was a richly ornamented seat. On this the new
Mundiana was placed, and led through the streets. Heralds went before
him, and cried aloud, "Listen to what Kadga Singa makes known to all
people. This youth has restored to him his dearest jewel which he had
lost. In gratitude, the King has nominated him Mundiana, and has
appointed his daughter Handa for his wife. To-morrow will the
betrothal be celebrated; and everybody is requested to come into the
court of the palace to partake of the joy of the festival."

Haschem knew not how all this had come about. He received clothes and
rich arms as a present from the King; and the King so highly favoured
him that he was not only to be husband of the Princess Handa, but was
to succeed Kadga Singa on the throne, and to reign over that beautiful
and rich land. In this happiness he forgot his early life, his
father's sorrow, and even Zoraine his playfellow in youth, his
father's faithful friend Saad, and thought no more of his home or his
fatherland. The next day his betrothal with the Princess was
celebrated with great pomp.

The Princess had willingly yielded to her father's wish, without
manifesting any particular joy, or showing any affection for her
future husband; although she felt very friendly towards him, and
treated him with great respect and attention, as her grateful heart
did not forget in prosperity how much she had owed to him in
misfortune.

The first days and weeks passed in the delights of joy: then he was
introduced by the King into the council, and taught the business of
the State. The King and councillors had often reason to wonder at his
acuteness in judgment in difficult cases, and, above all, at his
perception of right and wrong. Soon no sentence was pronounced without
his opinion being first consulted; and it often happened that it was
contrary to that of the rest of the council; but the reasons for his
decision always prevailed. In all lands the justice and wisdom of the
King's future son-in-law were praised, and it was hoped that fortune
would permit him to rule over the land.

A whole year had now elapsed, and the day was fast approaching when he
was to marry the Princess and ascend the throne. One day, as usual, he
sought his betrothed, the Princess Handa, in her apartments. As he was
announced by a servant, he went in quickly, and saw the Princess
hastily wiping her eyes; and as he drew nearer, he found the traces of
her tears. Sympathizing with her, he asked the cause of her grief, and
she tried to avoid answering him; but as he continued to urge her, she
at last said, "I dare tell you why these tears flow, because you are
good and compassionate, and will not consider it a crime that I have a
feeling and sympathizing heart. You know that I was formerly beloved
by Prince Mundian Oppu, the son of the neighbouring King. I related
to you that this Prince was changed into a blackbird by the enchanter,
and flew from the ship to the promontory of the island where our
country seat was situated. Now, I must tell you that I grieve so much
the more about this Prince's fate, as from my own change I can
compassionate his mournful condition. I could not repress this desire,
and I have obtained certain news of his life and present condition by
the secret knowledge of a clever Tirinaxian. And in this manner I have
learned that he still lives in his new form, and that he has flown,
from fear of the snares of the hunter, whom we call Dodda Waddas, out
of the land into distant regions; and that it is ordained by fate that
he shall never regain his human form if I give my hand to another
husband. Sorrow at this mournful destiny has drawn these tears from my
eyes, the traces of which you observed."

This narrative made a deep impression on Haschem: he discovered also
that Handa had acceded to her father's wish only from gratitude and
filial obedience, whilst her affection was fixed on the absent Prince.
He saw that he must purchase the good fortune to be husband of the
noble Princess, and son-in-law of the great King Kadga Singa, and
after him to be King of Selandia, only by the misfortunes of Prince
Mundian Oppu. He asked himself if this were right, and was obliged to
confess that his reason and knowledge of justice and honour were
opposed to it. He saw that the intoxication of good fortune had
hitherto blinded him. Then the remembrance of his father came before
him, and he imagined him pining away at the uncertainty of his son's
fate. He bitterly reproached himself for his long forgetfulness, and
for not having sent an embassy to announce his safe arrival in
Selandia.

Scarcely had these thoughts and feelings arisen in his breast, than he
made up his mind. He took Handa's hand, and promised her that he would
do all he could to find her former lover, and restore him to her. Then
he went to the King, told him all, and begged him to let him go to
fulfil a son's duty to a father whom he had too long neglected. Kadga
Singa sighed deeply at these disclosures of his future son-in-law: he
proposed to send a ship to bring his father, so that he might end his
life in sharing his son's good fortune and companionship. But Haschem
declared to him, with determination, that he could never be his
son-in-law or successor to the throne.

"I cannot purchase such good fortune at another's expense," said he.
"It was otherwise before I knew the decision of fate; but now that I
know the Prince Mundian Oppu must, through my happiness, always remain
in his present condition, if I thus take away the possibility of his
ever returning to human form, I should be in the highest degree
culpable. Therefore I voluntarily give up my good fortune."

All the persuasions and urgings of Kadga Singa were useless. The
councillors also, and the Grand Vizier and the Governors of the
provinces, begged him to continue in the land, and to take still more
share in the government. He remained firm in his resolution. He
promised the Princess, who was astonished at his honourable spirit,
that as soon as he had seen and comforted his father, he would demand
information of Prince Mundian Oppu from all the sages and magicians of
his native land, and that he would try all means to restore him to his
former condition. As he was determined to set out, the King gave him
costly presents, besides many precious stones from his treasury, and
provided him with a ship, and all necessaries for the voyage. He took
leave, and the good wishes of all who knew him accompanied him.


CHAPTER VII.

THE RETURN TO HIS FATHER.


The heavens seemed to favour the resolution of the returning son: the
warmest weather and most favourable winds seconded his journey, and
the ship anchored in the harbour without accident. He took some
servants; bought some camels, which he loaded with the King's
presents, and so went through Balsora along the river to Bagdad.

One beautiful evening he came near the city to the place where he had
lain at the feet of his father and Saad, and listened to their
discourses: their last discourse there returned to his memory.

"Well," said he to himself, "it is true that it is easy for a man to
be seduced from virtue into one false step, if he is not watchful, but
relies on his own power: so it happened to me. I thought that my heart
was always right, and neglected to try if what I did was just. In this
manner have I so much forgotten my love for my father, and had nearly
committed a great wrong; whilst I, in the intoxication of good
fortune, was about to sacrifice to my vanity the happiness of the
Princess and her betrothed. And you, my dearest father, were also
right when you maintained that a heart accustomed to virtue from early
years would only for a short time wander from the right road. I have
myself experienced the truth of these words, and I therefore thank you
with tears that you always accustomed me to what was good."

Whilst he spoke, he lifted up his eyes, and saw a single hut where the
palm-trees used to stand. A venerable old man, much marked by sorrow,
appeared at the door: he stood still before the threshold, and watched
the youth with astonishment. The young man gazed earnestly at him. He
suddenly recognized the features of the old man, and threw himself on
his knees before him, seized his hand, and bowing his head on it,
bedewed it with his tears, and covered it with kisses.

"My father!" cried he: "is it so indeed? Have you so much altered in
the course of so few years?--that is my fault. Father, forgive your
easily offending son, who forgot you in the height of prosperity."

Naima stretched his other hand to him, blessed him, and said, "Rise
up, my son, rise: he who feels repentance is forgiven."

He rose and threw himself into his father's arms.

When he looked up, he saw a man approach, leading a maiden whose
features he recognized. It was Saad and his daughter Zoraine,
Haschem's playfellow. After welcoming him, they sat down, and Haschem
related to them all that had happened to him since that evening. He
related, truly and candidly, how he had forgotten his father, and
nearly fallen into greater crimes, because he had been blinded by
fortune, by empty greatness, and honour. Whilst they were sitting,
they observed three birds, who came from a distance, and seemed to
pursue one another. They soon perceived a black bird, which flew
anxiously, and seemed followed by a bird of prey. He would soon have
reached his prey, had he not been pursued by a larger bird; and to
avoid this, he was often compelled to go from side to side: at last
they came to close conflict. The pursued black bird flew into
Haschem's lap; the bird of prey, struck by his pursuer, fell to the
ground at their feet, and was, by his strong hooked bill and sharp
claws, soon killed and torn to pieces. Scarcely had the last
occurrence taken place, when the conqueror changed into a
venerable-looking sage. He turned to Haschem, who was quite
astonished, and said,

"Dip quickly your forefinger in the blood of this slain one, and
anoint with it the beak of the black bird."

Haschem obeyed immediately; and scarcely had he touched the black
bird's beak with the blood, than it changed, and a handsome youth in
kingly dress stood before them.

"Guess who this is," said the genius.

"Mundian Oppu?" asked Haschem.

And the genius answered, "It is he!" And as he stood looking at the
young man with astonishment, he said, "You do not perceive how and why
all this has happened. I could explain to you all these mysteries; but
to what purpose? It is not necessary for weak men to know the threads
by which their fates are linked together: suffice it to know that it
was necessary that you should perform all this, that you might be
tried. You are found worthy, and Heaven rewards you with Zoraine, the
early companion of your youth, now to be your wife."

Then Haschem turned towards Zoraine, and looked inquiringly at Saad,
her father. This latter said,

"With joy I listen to the will of fate: the highest wish of my heart
will now be fulfilled."

"Know," continued the genius, "that the slain bird was the enchanter
who had changed the Princess Handa and the Prince Mundian Oppu. They
were also to pass through trials: thus it was decreed by fate.
Because the enchanter only fulfilled the will of fate from selfish
motives, and carried his revenge beyond it, and contrary to it, the
King of the Genii commanded me to slay him."

With these words he disappeared from their sight. They returned now in
happy union to the city; and Naima, who had built his hut at the edge
of the wood, to be always near the place of his sorrow, dwelt again
with his children. Prince Mundian Oppu went back to Selandia in the
same ship that had brought Haschem. He was received there with
immeasurable joy, and was soon married to his early love. But
Haschem's name lived long in their memory, and in that of all the
inhabitants of that island.

When the Caliph Haroun al Raschid heard of Haschem's return, he had
him called before him, and made him relate his history. The Caliph was
so pleased with him, that he took him into his palace, and gave him an
important post in his Court. His history he caused to be inscribed in
the records of his kingdom. As Giafar, his old Vizier, wished to end
his life in quietness, the Caliph raised Haschem to be Grand Vizier;
and he continued long in this office, to the pleasure of his relatives
and the happiness of the people, by whom he was greatly beloved.

[Illustration]



The Pantofles.

[Illustration]


In Bagdad lived an old merchant, of the name of Abon Casem, who was
famous for his riches, but still more for his avarice. His coffers
were small to look at--if you could get a sight of them--and very
dirty; but they were crammed with jewels. His clothes were as scanty
as need be; but then, even in his clothes, there was _multum in
parvo_: to wit, much dirt, in little space. All the embroidery he wore
was of that kind which is of necessity attendant upon a ragged state
of drapery. It meandered over his bony form in all the beauty of
ill-sewn patches. His turban was of the finest kind of linen for
lasting: a kind of canvas, and so mixed with elementary substances
that its original colour, if it still existed, was invisible. But, of
all his habiliments, his slippers were most deserving the study of the
curious. They were the extreme cases, both of his body and his dirt.
The soles consisted chiefly of huge nails, and the upper leathers of
almost everything. The ship of the Argonauts was not a greater
miscellany. During the ten years of their performance in the character
of shoes, the most skilful cobblers had exercised their science and
ingenuity in keeping them together. The accumulation of materials had
been so great, and their weight was so heavy in proportion, that they
were promoted to honours of proverbialism; and Abon Casem's slippers
became a favourite comparison when a superfluity of weight was the
subject of discourse.

It happened one day, as this precious merchant was walking in the
market, that he had a great quantity of fine glass bottles offered him
for sale; and, as the proposed bargain was greatly on his side, and he
made it still more so, he bought them. The vendor informed him,
furthermore, that a perfumer having lately become bankrupt, had no
resource left but to sell, at a very low price, a large quantity of
rose-water; and Casem, greatly rejoicing at this news, and, hastening
to the poor man's shop, bought up all the rose-water at half its
value. He then carried it home, and comfortably put it in his bottles.
Delighted with these good bargains, and buoyant in his spirits, our
hero, instead of making a feast, according to the custom of his
fellows, thought it more advisable to go to the bath, where he had not
been for some time.

While employed in the intricate business of undressing, one of his
friends, or one whom he believed such--for your misers seldom have
any--observed that his pantofles had made him quite the bye-word of
the city, and that it was high time to buy a new pair.

"To say the truth," said Casem, "I have long thought of doing so; but
they are not yet so worn as to be unable to serve me a little longer."
And, having undressed himself, he went into the stove.

During the luxury he was there enjoying, the Cadi of Bagdad came in,
and, having undressed himself, he went into the stove likewise. Casem
soon after came out, and, having dressed himself, looked about for his
pantofles; but nowhere could he find them. In the place of his own, he
found a pair sufficiently different to be not only new, but splendid.
And, feeling convinced that they were a gift from his friend--not the
less so, perhaps, because he wished it--he triumphantly thrust his
toes in them, and issued forth into the air, radiant with joy and a
skin nearly clean.

On the other hand, when the Cadi had performed the necessary
purifications, and was dressed, his slaves looked for his lordship's
slippers in vain. Nowhere could they be found. Instead of the
embroidered pantofles of the Judge, they detected, in a corner, only
the phenomena left by Casem, which were too well known to leave a
doubt how their master's had disappeared. The slaves went immediately
for Casem, and brought him back to the indignant magistrate, who, deaf
to his attempts at defence, sent him to prison. Now, in the East, the
claws of justice open just as wide, and no wider than the purse of the
culprit; and it may be supposed that Abon Casem, who was known to be
as rich as he was miserly, did not get his freedom at the same rate as
his rose-water.

The miserable Casem returned home, tearing his beard--for beard is not
a dear stuff--and, being mightily enraged with the pantofles, he
seized upon them, and threw them out of his window into the Tigris.

It happened a few days after that some fishermen drew their nets under
the window, and the weight being greater than usual, they were
exulting in their success, when out came the pantofles. Furious
against Casem (for who did not know Casem's pantofles?), they threw
them in at the window, at the same time reviling him for the accident.
Unhappy Casem! The pantofles flew into his room, fell among his
bottles, which were ranged with great care along the shelf, and,
overthrowing them, covered the room with glass and rose-water.
Imagine, if you can, the miser's agony! With a loud voice, and tearing
his beard, according to custom, he roared out, "Accursed pantofles,
will you never cease persecuting the wretched Casem?"

So saying, he took a spade, and went into his garden to bury them.

It so happened that one of his neighbours was looking out of window at
the time, and seeing Casem poking about the earth in his garden, he
ran to the Cadi, and told him that his old friend had discovered a
treasure. Nothing more was requisite to excite the cupidity of the
Judge. He allowed the miser to aver, as loudly as he pleased, that he
was burying his slippers, and had found no treasure, but at the same
time demanded the treasure he had found. Casem talked to no purpose.
Wearied out at last with his own asseverations, he paid the money, and
departed, cursing the very souls of the pantofles.

Determined to get rid of these unhappy moveables, our hero walked to
some distance from the city, and threw them into a reservoir, hoping
he had now fairly seen the last of them; but the evil genii, not yet
tired of tormenting him, guided the pantofles precisely to the mouth
of the conduit. From this point they were carried along into the city,
and, sticking at the mouth of the aqueduct, they stopped it up, and
prevented the water from flowing into the basin. The overseers of the
city fountains, seeing that the water had stopped, immediately set
about repairing the damage, and at length dragged into the face of day
the old reprobate slippers, which they immediately took to the Cadi,
complaining loudly of the damage they had caused.

The unfortunate proprietor was now condemned to pay a fine still
heavier than before; but far was he from having the luck of seeing his
chattels detained. The Cadi, having delivered the sentence, said, like
a conscientious magistrate, that he had no power of retaining other
peoples' property, upon which the slippers, with much solemnity, were
faithfully returned to their distracted master. He carried them home
with him, meditating as he went--and as well as he was able to
meditate--how he should destroy them; at length he determined upon
committing them to the flames. He accordingly tried to do so, but
they were too wet; so he put them on a terrace to dry. But the evil
genii, as aforesaid, had reserved a still more cruel accident than any
before; for a dog, whose master lived hard by, seeing these strange
wild fowl of a pair of shoes, jumped from one terrace to the other,
till he came to the miser's, and began to play with one of them: in
his sport he dropped it over the balustrade, and it fell, heavy with
hobnails and the accumulated dirt of years, on the tender head of an
infant, and killed him on the spot. The parents went straight to the
Cadi, and complained that they had found their child dead, and Casem's
pantofle lying by it, upon which the Judge condemned him to pay a very
heavy fine.

Casem returned home, and taking the pantofles, went back to the Cadi,
crying out with an enthusiasm that convulsed everybody, "Behold!
behold! See here the fatal cause of all the sufferings of Casem! these
pantofles, which have at length brought ruin upon his head. My Lord
Cadi, be so merciful, I pray you, as to give an edict that may free me
from all imputation of accident which these slippers henceforth may
occasion, as they certainly will to anybody who ventures into their
accursed leather!"

The Cadi could not refuse this request, and the miser learned to his
cost the ill effects of not buying a new pair of shoes.

[Illustration]



Story of the Prince and the Lions.

[Illustration]


In a great city of the East lived Prince Azgid, who grew up to manhood
beloved by every one, for he was virtuous, intelligent, and
accomplished, though somewhat of a timorous disposition, and this was
indeed his chief fault. His father had died, and he had reached now
the proper age to mount the throne, a time having been already fixed
for the ceremony, to which the young man was looking forward with
great interest.

A few days previous to the event the old Vizier called upon the
Prince, and telling him he wished to take a walk with him, led him out
of the town to a mountain, on one side of which was a wide staircase
of white marble, with a handsome balustrade on each side. It had three
broad landings, and on these the Vizier and Prince rested as they
ascended the stairs, for it was of great height, and they were both
sorely tired before they reached the top. There was a small house on
the summit, out of which came a black slave, who made a profound
obeisance to the visitors, and, leading the way, took them a short
distance to a kind of arena dug in the ground, and faced also with
white marble. He then took out a key and opened a brazen door,
whereupon the Prince drew near, and, looking down, saw a red lion of
fierce aspect and tremendous size. He wondered what it all meant, and
gazed with a look of inquiry into the face of the Vizier, who, having
ordered the servant to retire, thus spoke:

"My son," said he, "the day is now very near on which you are to
ascend the throne; but before you can do so you must fulfil a custom
which has been established for many ages, and which your father and
all your ancestors submitted to; in short, you must descend into this
den with a dagger, and fight yonder lion. This will test your courage
and fortitude, and show whether you are really worthy of governing a
kingdom."

When the young man heard this, he turned pale, and almost fell to the
ground.

"This is a severe task," said he; "is there no alternative, nor any
method by which I may evade it?"

"None, whatever," answered the Vizier.

"Can I not have a few days granted me to think over the matter, and
prepare for the sore trial?" asked the youth.

"Oh, yes!" returned the other, "that you can have, of course."
Whereupon he beckoned to the slave to lock the door, and the visitors
descended the stairs and returned to the palace.

The joy of Azgid's life seemed now to have fled, and he was suddenly
immersed in deep despair. The horrid combat he was to engage in was
continually before him. He could neither eat nor drink, but wandered
about the palace like one distracted, or sat moping for hours, with
his head buried in his hands, speaking to no one. He was glad when
night came, that he might hide himself from observation, and retired
to his chamber in tears. But he found no comfort there. Sleep fled
from him, and he lay tossing upon his bed, anxiously awaiting the
return of day. During the tedious hours of darkness he had meditated
what course he had best pursue, and at length came to the resolution
that he would extricate himself from the dilemma he was in by bidding
farewell to his home, and seeking peace and safety in some far-distant
land.

Accordingly, as soon as it was daylight, he hastily dressed himself,
and going to the stables, mounted a fleet horse and rode off. Glad was
he when he got outside the town, and turning round to take a last
look, he thus exclaimed:

"Oh, cursed city! cursed home! what misery lies within you! May each
hour carry me farther from you! and may these eyes never behold you
again!"

With these words he put spurs to his horse, and was soon out of sight
of the detested spot. He journeyed forward with a light heart, and on
the third day came to a pleasant country overgrown with forest trees,
intermingled with lawns and romantic vales.

Proceeding a little farther on, he heard the sound of delicious music,
and soon overtook a handsome youth of ruddy countenance, somewhat
younger than himself, playing on a flute, and leading a few sheep.

The shepherd, on seeing the stranger, stopped playing, and saluted him
very courteously; but Azgid begged him to go on, telling him what an
admirer of music he was, and that he had never in his life heard such
enchanting strains.

The young man smiled at this compliment, and commenced playing some
fresh tunes; and, when he had finished, he informed the Prince that he
was slave to a rich shepherd named Oaxus, who lived near, and who
would be rejoiced to see him, and show him some hospitality.

In a few moments they reached the abode of Oaxus.

It was a low stone building of considerable size, with a porch
surrounding it, overgrown with vines and flowers. Around it was a
large yard, encircled with a high wall, in which were some flocks of
sheep, with a number of men tending them.

On entering, the old shepherd came forward and gave the stranger a
hearty welcome, leading him into a neat apartment, and setting before
him a handsome repast. After Azgid had finished eating, he thought it
his duty to give his kind host some information as to who he was, and
thus spoke:

"My friend," said he, "you no doubt wonder at seeing a stranger of my
appearance thus suddenly visiting you, and will naturally wish to
inquire who I am. This wish I can only in part gratify. Suffice it to
say that I am a Prince whom troubles at home have driven abroad; but
my name I cannot tell. That is a secret lodged in my own breast, to be
imparted to no one. If no inconvenience to you, it would please me
much to remain in this delightful spot. I have ample means at my
disposal, and will remunerate you for whatever trouble I may put you
to."

Oaxus replied to this speech in the kindest manner, begging the young
man to say nothing about remuneration, for that the company of one so
exalted and accomplished would more than repay him for any trouble he
might be put to in entertaining him, and that nothing would give him
more happiness than to have him remain there to the end of his days.

"But come, Asdril," said he, addressing the musician, "take the Prince
and show him what is most worthy to be seen in this neighbourhood.
Lead him to the waterfalls, the fountains, the rocks and vales, for I
perceive our guest is one able to appreciate nature's beauties."

The young shepherd did as requested, and, taking up his flute, led the
youth to all the pleasantest and most interesting spots.

They wandered about the sloping hills and deep valleys, and over
beautiful lawns, sprinkled with trees of immense size. At one time
they stood by the side of some gently murmuring stream, and now they
were startled with a romantic cascade, whose flashing waters tumbled
from mossy cliffs and echoed far and wide. They now entered a shady
vale, and, seating themselves on a rock, the shepherd commenced
playing his flute. The Prince listened with delight, for, as we said
before, he was passionately fond of music, and had never in his life
heard any one who pleased him so much. Indeed, he made up his mind
that, if ever he left the place, he would endeavour to purchase from
Oaxus the accomplished slave, and have him as his constant companion
as long as he lived.

Thus did Azgid enjoy himself amid these delicious scenes,
congratulating himself that he had escaped from all his troubles, and
had at last reached a spot where he might live in peace and
tranquillity for ever.

But his joy was not to last long; for young Asdril on a sudden rose
up, and, taking his companion by the hand, told him it was time for
them to be gone.

"Why so?" asked the Prince. "Why should we so soon leave these
enchanting scenes?"

"Alas!" answered the shepherd, "this place is infested with lions.
They come out at a certain hour every day, and we all have to retire
within the walls of our abode and close the gates. See here,"
continued he, rolling up his sleeve, and showing a great scar on his
arm, "this is what I received in an encounter with these fierce
beasts. I once lagged behind, and was with great difficulty saved from
destruction. So, let us lose no time, but make the best of our way
home."

On hearing these words, the Prince turned pale; but he said nothing,
and they silently returned to the house.

On reaching the gate, Azgid called for his horse, and, having mounted,
told his host that he was about to leave, and thanked him for his
kindness. "Farewell, Oaxus!" said he. "Farewell, young Asdril! I
thought I should have remained here forever; but fate decrees
otherwise. I must seek another abode, another home." And, so saying,
he put spurs to his horse and galloped away.

He journeyed on and on, and soon left the groves and green valleys.
The country became more barren, trees began to disappear, and, not
long after, scarcely any verdure was visible. He was soon in the midst
of the desert. Far as the eye could reach, the vast plain spread
before him. Not a shrub or blade of grass could be seen, and nothing
met the view but, now and then, some low sand-hills, piled up by the
wind like drifts of snow, among which, with much fatigue to his horse,
he pursued his way. The sun blazed on him with great power; and it
was with much satisfaction, on the third day, that he perceived in the
distance a number of black tents, which he knew to be an encampment of
Arabs.

As he drew near, a band of warriors, mounted on fine horses and
brandishing their spears, came forth to meet him. This was their usual
mode of welcoming a stranger.

They seemed struck with the appearance of Azgid, and showed him much
respect, forming a sort of guard around him, and leading him to the
tent of their chief.

The latter was a person of dignified aspect, somewhat past the prime
of life. His name was Sheik Hajaar. He sat smoking in front of his
tent; and, when the youth approached, he rose up and cordially saluted
him. He then took him inside the tent, and set before him a repast, of
which, when the young man had eaten, he thought it his duty to inform
his kind host who he was.

"My friend," said he, "you are no doubt surprised at seeing a stranger
of my appearance thus suddenly visiting you, and will naturally wish
to inquire who I am. This wish I can only in part gratify: suffice it,
then, to say that I am a Prince whom troubles at home have driven
abroad, but my name I cannot tell; that is a secret lodged within my
own breast, to be imparted to no one. If no inconvenience to you, it
would please me much to remain here. I have ample means at my command,
and will remunerate you for whatever trouble I may put you to."

The Sheik replied that the company of one so exalted and accomplished
was remuneration enough, and that he would be rejoiced to have him as
his guest for ever. He then introduced him to a number of his friends,
and leading him out, presented him with a beautiful horse of great
value. Azgid thought he had never in his life seen so fine an animal;
and when he mounted him he found him so gentle and docile as scarcely
to require any management, for the intelligent creature seemed to
anticipate all his wishes.

"But, come," said the Sheik, "it is time for us to be off: to-day we
hunt the antelope; you, Prince, will of course accompany us."

Azgid, with a smile, replied in the affirmative, and they started off
in pursuit of the game. They soon overtook a herd, and commenced
chasing them--spears flew, and the air resounded with cries. The
Prince was exhilarated with the sport, and enjoyed himself
exceedingly. "Ah!" thought he, "this is a happy life, and these
children of the desert are happy people: I am resolved never to quit
them." The hunt lasted nearly the whole day, and about sunset the
company returned with the spoil, which consisted of more than a dozen
antelopes. These sports were kept up nearly every day, and Azgid's
time passed most agreeably.

A week had now elapsed, and the youth had one night retired to rest,
congratulating himself on the happy life he led, when the Sheik Hajaar
quietly approached his couch, and thus spake:

"My son," said he, "I have come to tell you how much my people are
pleased with you, and especially with the spirit you evince in the
sports of the chase. But these sports do not comprise all our life: we
have frequent wars with hostile tribes, where great valour is
necessary. My men are all approved warriors, and, before they can have
perfect confidence in you as a trusty comrade, desire to see some
specimen of your prowess. Two leagues south of this is a range of
hills infested with lions; rise, then, early on the morrow, mount your
horse, take your sword and spear, and slay and bring us the skin of
one of these savage beasts: then will we be assured of your courage,
and have confidence in you in the day of battle."

Having thus spoke, the Sheik bid him good night, and retired. His
words disturbed Azgid extremely. "Ah!" thought he, "here are the lions
again! wherever I go I meet them. I thought I had found at last a
quiet home, but I am mistaken; this is not the place for me." He then
got out of bed, and, lifting up the covering of the tent, slipped out,
and went first to see the horse the Sheik had given him. He found him
tethered among the others, and, going up to him, threw his arms around
him and kissed him. "Farewell, kind creature," said he, "I grieve to
leave you!" The animal leaned his head on his shoulders, and seemed to
return his good feelings. The youth then sought his own steed, and,
having mounted him, started off.

He rode over the trackless sands, with the bright stars glittering
above him, a homeless wanderer, not knowing whither he was going. At
length morning began to appear, and soon the sun rose and beat upon
his head with its fierce rays; by the middle of the day he was
rejoiced to perceive that he was leaving the desert; and late in the
afternoon he reached a charming region of hill and dale, streams and
meadows.

He soon after came to one of the most beautiful palaces he had ever
seen. It was built of porphyry, and stood in the midst of an immense
garden, where every plant and flower grew that could delight the sight
or regale the senses. Trees loaded with all kinds of delicious fruits,
some trimmed and cut into the most curious shapes, were seen on all
sides. Statues of exquisite forms stood among them. From many of these
fountains spouted upwards to a vast height, whose waters fell
murmuring into large basins, where gold-fish, swans and other
water-fowl were seen swimming about. Peacocks and other gorgeous birds
strutted and flew around in every direction; and so many objects met
the young man's eye, as he slowly rode up the broad avenue, that he
stopped almost every moment to gaze and admire. At last lie reached
the portico, which was raised twenty steps, and adorned with twelve
columns of clear jasper.

The owner of the palace, who was an Emir of great wealth, was seated
on the portico, in company with his daughter, the golden-haired
Perizide.

On seeing a stranger of such dignified mien approaching, he rose up
and went to welcome him. He led him up the steps, and introduced him
to the young lady, who became at once interested with the looks and
demeanour of the handsome youth. The Emir then took his guest inside
the palace.

Azgid looked round with wonder. If the exterior of the building
delighted him, how much more was he pleased with its interior? The
hall was of vast size, with a noble staircase in the middle; the
apartments were spacious, and shone with gold; the walls and ceilings
were covered with the most exquisite paintings in fresco; and vases of
precious stones, statues, and all kinds of rare curiosities were
ranged around; the windows were of something that resembled pearl, and
were stained with different colours, so that, as the sun shone through
them, the tesselated floor received the rays, and glittered with all
the tints of the rainbow. Azgid gazed with astonishment. The Emir now
set before him a collation composed of the most delicate viands,
delicious fruits, and wines.

After he had finished eating, the Prince thought it his duty to inform
his kind host who he was.

"Sir," said he, "you no doubt wonder at one of my appearance thus
suddenly visiting you, and will naturally wish to inquire who I am.
This wish I can only in part gratify. Suffice it, then, to say that I
am a Prince whom troubles at home have driven abroad, but my name I
cannot tell: that is a secret lodged in my own breast, to be imparted
to no one. If no inconvenience to you, it would delight me much to
remain with you; and at some future day, if fortune should again smile
upon me, I will be happy to return the favour, and reciprocate your
hospitality."

The Emir replied to this speech in the kindest manner, telling the
youth that he did him a great honour in making him a visit, and that
he hoped he would remain to the end of his days. He further informed
him that he expected that night a number of his friends to favour him
with their company, and, wishing to look after the preparations for
the banquet, he begged his guest to excuse him for a short time.

When the Emir retired, Azgid was left alone with the fair Perizide,
and was struck more than ever with her ravishing beauty. In fact, he
fell deeply in love with her. She, on her part, seemed not insensible
to his merits, and exerted herself to amuse and entertain him. She led
him into the garden, showing him all the rare sights, and bidding him
observe the consummate art with which the shrubbery and trees were
arranged, and the charming green alleys and vistas which opened before
them as they walked along.

They explored the beauties of this fairy scene, seating themselves by
the side of the glittering fountains, and sometimes beneath the dark
shadows of the flowery arbours, through which the rays of a bright
full moon began now to penetrate.

They then returned to the palace, and, approaching, heard the strains
of festive music, and perceived the building illuminated from top to
bottom. They passed through the throngs on the portico, and entered
the house, which was lit up with hundreds of dazzling lustres, and
crowded with guests, all habited in splendid dresses. Perizide led the
youth into the grand saloon, and seated him on one of the purple
divans.

The attendants now served up a splendid supper, brought in on gold and
silver trays, and which consisted of every delicacy that could be
procured. It was made up of many courses, and lasted a considerable
time, and at its conclusion the room was partially cleared, and a
number of dancing girls, of elegant form and richly clad, entered the
apartment, and amused the guests with their graceful movements. Azgid,
observing a lute lying near him, took it up, and, telling the lady how
fond he was of music, begged her to favour him with an air. Perizide
complied with his request very graciously, and commenced playing. The
Prince listened with delight, and was drinking in the soft strains
with rapt attention, when he suddenly heard a loud and very unusual
sound.

"What noise is that?" asked the youth.

"I heard nothing," replied his companion; "nor do I think there was
any. It is your imagination only that fancies it."

Whereupon she went on playing; but she had only proceeded a few
minutes, when the Prince started a second time.

"There it is again!" said he. "Did you not hear it?"

"I heard nothing," answered Perizide, "but the sound of music and the
merry voices of hundreds of happy guests. It must be your imagination,
Prince, as I said before, and nothing else."

"Perhaps it is," returned the youth, striking his forehead. "You must
pardon me, fair lady: I have lately passed through many trying scenes,
and I fear my nerves are none of the strongest."

Perizide thereupon resumed her lute, but she had not proceeded very
long, when her guest again cried out,

"Oh!" said he, "tell me not that this is imagination! I heard it most
distinctly. Explain to me I pray, what it means."

"Oh," replied the young lady, laughing, "that is Boulak, our black
porter. He is a great pet and a privileged character; he gets drowsy
sometimes, and often yawns, and that was the sound you just heard."

"Good Heavens!" said Azgid, "what lungs he must have, to make such a
yawn as that!"

Perizide made no reply except a smile, but went on playing the lute,
when, having finished, the Prince complimented her highly for her
performance. It was by this time pretty late, and the guests gradually
retired; Perizide also went to her chamber, and the Prince and the
Emir were left alone.

They passed nearly an hour smoking and conversing very pleasantly,
till at length the host rose up, and telling his guest it was
bed-time, took him by the hand to lead him to his chamber. They
proceeded to the hall, and soon reached the great staircase, which was
of white marble, with a handsome balustrade on each side. When they
came to the foot of it, Azgid gazed for a moment admiring its beauty;
but what was his horror, when, on looking up, he spied a black lion of
immense size lying stretched on the topmost landing. He trembled and
turned pale.

"What is that?" said he, pointing with his finger.

"Oh," returned the Emir, "that is Boulak, our black porter. He is
tame, and will not hurt you if you are not afraid of him; but he can
tell when any one fears him, and then he becomes ferocious."

"I fear him," whispered the Prince, "and fear him greatly."

"You must cast aside your fear, my son," replied the other, "and then
there is not the slightest danger."

"That is easier said than done," answered the youth. "I try to cast it
aside, but do not succeed. No, I believe I will not go to my chamber,
but will sleep somewhere else, where there is no need of approaching
this terrible beast."

"Just as you like," replied the Emir. "You can return to the saloon,
and repose on one of those divans."

The Prince accordingly took up his lodgings in the saloon, and having
bid his friend "Good night," he carefully locked the door and windows,
making everything as secure as possible. He then lay down on the
cushions, listening eagerly if he might perchance hear any sound. But
all was silent; for every soul had retired, and the vast mansion
presented a striking contrast to the noisy merriment which a little
while before had reigned everywhere.

The young man now composed himself to rest, thinking that the lion was
most probably fast asleep and would not disturb him--but he was
mistaken; for in the course of an hour he heard most evidently a soft,
heavy tread coming down the stairs. The beast, on reaching the hall,
seemed for a moment to pause; then his steps were heard moving along
the vast corridor, till it could be no longer distinguished.

Azgid now breathed more freely, and was in hopes that his tormentor
had retired to some secluded part of the building, and had gone to
sleep; but he was doomed to be disappointed, for in a short time he
heard the faint steps approaching nearer and nearer, and perceived
that the beast stopped every now and then, snuffing with his nose, as
if in search of some one. At last he came to the door, putting his
nose at the lower part, and snuffing louder than ever; then he sprang
with his fore feet against it, giving it such a push as almost to
burst it open, and at the same time uttering a tremendous roar, which
echoed through the palace.

Azgid jumped from his couch in dismay, and retreated to the farthest
corner of the room; his hair stood on end, and the cold perspiration
rolled from his body. He believed for a certainty that the door would
fly open, and then the lion would rush in and devour him; but nothing
of the kind occurred, for in a few moments the beast again went
upstairs, and nothing more was heard of him.

The Prince then lay down on his couch--but not to sleep: he revolved
in his mind all that had happened to him since his departure from his
own city, and thinking that Providence would not afflict him in such a
manner for nought, but that there must be some design in it, he came
to the determination that he would instantly return home, and fulfil
the law and custom of his country by fighting the lion.

Early on the morrow, the Emir came to wake his guest, and bid him
"Good morning." He found the young man in tears, and putting his arm
round him, thus spoke:

"My son," said he, "your behaviour last night, when about to retire,
surprised me greatly, and my amazement is increased now at seeing you
in this unhappy state. What ails you, my son? Tell me all, and hide
nothing from me; and first let me know frankly who you are?"

"I am one," replied the youth, "who has fled from duty. I am Azgid,
son of the renowned King Almamoun. I fled from a work Providence
assigned to me to perform--but my sin followed me. I searched far and
wide for comfort, but in vain--trouble and disaster pursued me
wherever I went. But I have repented, and am now going back to
retrieve my error, and meet the trial from which I once endeavoured to
escape."

"I am rejoiced to hear you thus speak," said the Emir. "I was well
acquainted with your father, and think I know now from what duty it
was you tried to escape. Go back, then, to your home, my son, and may
Heaven grant you strength to perform your excellent resolution."

He then ordered his guest's horse to be brought, which when the youth
hath mounted, he asked his host to remember him to the beautiful
Perizide, and beg her to excuse him for leaving her in so strange and
abrupt a manner.

"I will do as you desire," replied the other, "and when my daughter
learns the cause of your departure, she will think more of you than
ever."

Thus with mutual good wishes the two friends separated, and Azgid rode
away. He pursued the same route he had travelled before, and on the
second day reached the desert and the encampment of the Arabs. He
found the Sheik Hajaar, sitting in his tent door, calmly smoking his
pipe: the Sheik was surprised at seeing him, and begged him to
dismount and refresh himself; but this the Prince refused to do,
saying that he had only come to explain his past strange behaviour in
leaving his hospitable abode so abruptly.

"I am Azgid," continued he, "son of the renowned King Almamoun. I was
sorely troubled in mind when I visited you, for I had fled from duty;
but I am now going back to retrieve my error and begin a new life. But
tell me, I pray, how is that beautiful animal I used to ride with so
much pleasure?"

"He is well," answered the other, "and it would please me much if you
could remain and ride him again; but I feel that it would be wrong to
interrupt you in such a pious journey as you now undertake. Go on,
then, my son: may Heaven prosper you in your good resolutions, and
peace be with you."

So saying, he bade the Prince farewell, and the latter, having
returned his salutation, rode off.

He pursued his course rapidly, and in a day or two arrived at the
abode of Oaxus, whom he found in the courtyard, busily engaged in
tending his sheep and goats. The old man was delighted to see him, and
begged him to dismount; but the Prince declined doing so, and went on
to explain who he was in the same words he had used to the Sheik
Hajaar. Oaxus was much astonished when he heard the account, and
congratulated the young man on the happy change that had come over
him.

"Go on, my friend," continued he: "may Heaven prosper you, and give
you strength to carry out your wise designs."

"Farewell," replied Azgid, "and tell young Asdril that if fortune
favours me, I hope one day to be back, and listen to his sweet music
again in spite of the lions."

With these words he rode away, and travelling on, in due time reached
his own city. He proceeded at once to the palace, and sought out the
old Vizier, to whom he related all that had happened to him, and all
that he intended to do, without concealing anything.

"And now," said he, "lead me at once to the lion, and let me fight him
and fulfil the law, as all my ancestors have done before me."

The old man heard this speech with great pleasure, and almost wept for
joy: he tenderly embraced his young friend, and, smiling, told him not
to run into extremes nor to be in too great a hurry; for that his
trial with the lion had better be put off for a week at least, and
that in the meantime he needed rest and refreshment. To this
suggestion Azgid acceded, and waited till the day his friend had fixed
upon.

It at length arrived, and very early in the morning the Prince arose
and prepared for the combat. He clad himself in a light garment, tying
a sash around it, in which he stuck a sharp dagger, took a spear in
his hand, and, accompanied by the Vizier, left the palace and
proceeded to the mountain. They climbed up the high steps and reached
the top, whereupon the slave met them, and, going before, unlocked the
gate. The young man looked down and saw the lion, sitting on his
haunches, at one end of the arena; he then shook hands with his
companions, and committing himself to the care of Heaven, sprang in.
The beast gave a loud roar when he saw him, and crouching down, drew
himself slowly toward his opponent, glaring fiercely on him all the
while. The Prince quailed not, but gazed steadily on the animal, and
advanced on him spear in hand; the lion now gave another loud roar,
and bounding forward, sprang over the youth's head. He then returned,
and commenced licking his hands and rubbing himself against his body.

The Vizier now called out joyfully to his young friend, telling him he
had conquered, and begging him to approach; and, with the assistance
of the slave, he lifted him out of the den, the lion following like a
dog.

"Yes, Azgid," continued the old man, embracing the Prince, "the beast
is tame and will injure no one; but, ignorant of this, you encountered
him, and the proof of your valour is complete. Come, then, and ascend
your throne, for you are worthy of it."

They then began to descend the stairs, and Azgid, observing a couple
of figures on the landing, asked the Vizier who they were.

"I know not," replied he; "I can see them, but the height is too great
for me to distinguish who they are."

In a little while they reached the platform, when the new-comers
proved to be Oaxus and Asdril.

"Azgid," said the old shepherd, "I have come to congratulate you on
your good fortune and happy deliverance; and here, too, is young
Asdril, whose music you so much admired, and whom I now present to you
as your own."

"Oaxus," replied the Prince, "I heartily thank you; and as for you,
Asdril, you are no longer a slave: from this moment you are free. You
shall be the companion of my leisure hours, and entertain me with your
delightful strains."

They now began to descend again; and Azgid, observing a group on the
second landing, asked the Vizier who they were.

"I know not," replied he; "I can see them, but the height is too great
for me to distinguish who they are."

In a little while they reached the platform, when the new-comers
proved to be the Sheik Hajaar, with a group of Arabs, leading the
beautiful horse with which the Prince had been so much pleased.

"Azgid," said the Sheik, "I have come to congratulate you on your good
fortune and happy deliverance. I have brought you as a present the
horse you used to ride when you honoured me with a visit: will your
Highness deign to accept of it as a slight testimonial of my loyal
regard?"

"Valiant Sheik," answered the young man, "I am rejoiced to see you
again, and receive with gratitude your noble gift; you could not have
given me anything more acceptable."

He then embraced the Sheik, and kissed the beautiful animal, who
seemed to recognize him.

They then began to descend; and the Prince, observing at the bottom of
the stairs quite a concourse of people, inquired of the Vizier who
they were.

"I know not," replied he; "I can see them, but the height is too great
for me to distinguish who they are."

In a little while they reached the end of the staircase, when the
new-comers proved to be the Emir, with a large retinue of his guards,
with music and banners.

"Azgid," said the Emir, "I am come to congratulate you on your good
fortune and happy deliverance. I have brought no present; that I
considered needless, since myself and all that I have are yours."

"Noble Emir," cried the youth, "I am rejoiced to see you--tell me, how
is Perizide? as soon as I have been crowned I intend to visit her with
the speed of lightning."

"There is no need of that," returned the other: "come with me;" and,
so saying, he led the young man to a splendid white steed, on which
sat a lady, covered with a long veil. The Emir lifted the veil, and
Azgid beheld the beautiful face of his beloved mistress.

Their meeting, as may be imagined, was most tender and affectionate;
and the Vizier, having ordered the music to strike up, the whole
procession moved toward the palace.

"How strange it seems!" said the Prince: "when I fled from my duty
everything went wrong with me; but now, after fulfilling it, good luck
meets me at every step."

Azgid was crowned the same day, and in the evening his nuptials with
the fair Perizide were celebrated; they lived long and happily; and
the Prince ordered the story of his life to be written in the annals
of the kingdom, and an inscription in gold letters to be placed over
the door of the palace, with these words: "_Never run from the
lion._"

[Illustration]



The City of the Demons

[Illustration]


In days of yore there lived in the flourishing city of Cairo a Hebrew
Rabbi, by name Jochonan, who was the most learned of his nation. His
fame went over the East, and the most distant people sent their young
men to imbibe wisdom from his lips. He was deeply skilled in the
traditions of the fathers, and his word on a disputed point was
decisive. He was pious, just, temperate, and strict; but he had one
vice: a love of gold had seized upon his heart, and he opened not his
hand to the poor. Yet he was wealthy above most: his wisdom being to
him the source of riches. The Hebrews of the city were grieved at
this blemish on the wisest of their people; but, though the elders of
the tribes continued to reverence him for his fame, the women and
children of Cairo called him by no other name than that of Rabbi
Jochonan the Miser.

None knew so well as he the ceremonies necessary for initiation into
the religion of Moses, and, consequently, the exercise of those solemn
offices was to him another source of gain. One day, as he walked in
the fields about Cairo, conversing with a youth on the interpretation
of the law, it so happened that the Angel of Death smote the young man
suddenly, and he fell dead before the feet of the Rabbi, even while he
was yet speaking. When the Rabbi found that the youth was dead, he
rent his garments, and glorified the Lord. But his heart was touched,
and the thoughts of death troubled him in the visions of the night. He
felt uneasy when he reflected on his hardness to the poor; and he
said,

"Blessed be the name of the Lord! The first good thing that I am asked
to do in that holy name will I perform." But he sighed, for he feared
that some one might ask of him a portion of his gold.

While yet he thought upon these things, there came a loud cry at his
gate.

"Awake, thou sleeper!" said the voice, "awake! A child is in danger of
death, and the mother hath sent me for thee, that thou mayest do thine
office."

"The night is dark and gloomy," said the Rabbi, coming to his
casement, "and mine age is great: are there not younger men than I in
Cairo?"

"For thee only, Rabbi Jochonan, whom some call the Wise, but whom
others call Rabbi Jochonan the Miser, was I sent. Here is gold," said
he, taking out a purse of sequins; "I want not thy labour for nothing.
I adjure thee to come, in the name of the living God."

So the Rabbi thought upon the vow he had just made, and he groaned in
spirit, for the purse sounded heavy.

"As thou hast adjured me by that name, I go with thee," said he to the
man; "but I hope the distance is not far. Put up thy gold."

"The place is at hand," said the stranger, who was a gallant youth, in
magnificent attire. "Be speedy, for time presses."

Jochonan arose, dressed himself, and accompanied the stranger, after
having carefully locked up all the doors of his house, and deposited
his keys in a secret place--at which the stranger smiled.

"I never remember," said the Rabbi, "so dark a night. Be thou to me as
a guide, for I can hardly see the way."

"I know it well," replied the stranger with a sigh. "It is a way much
frequented, and travelled hourly by many. Lean upon mine arm, and fear
not."

They journeyed on, and, though the darkness was great, yet the Rabbi
could see, when it occasionally brightened, that he was in a place
strange to him.

"I thought," said he, "I knew all the country for leagues about Cairo,
yet I know not where I am. I hope, young man," said he to his
companion, "that thou hast not missed the way." And his heart misgave
him.

"Fear not," returned the stranger; "your journey is even now done."
And, as he spoke, the feet of the Rabbi slipped from under him, and he
rolled down a great height. When he recovered, he found that his
companion had fallen also, and stood by his side.

"Nay, young man," said the Rabbi, "if thus thou sportest with the grey
hairs of age, thy days are numbered. Woe unto him who insults the
hoary head!"

The stranger made an excuse, and they journeyed on some little farther
in silence. The darkness grew less, and the astonished Rabbi, lifting
up his eyes, found that they had come to the gates of a city which he
had never before seen. Yet he knew all the cities of the land of
Egypt, and he had walked but half an hour from his dwelling in Cairo.
So he knew not what to think, but followed the man with trembling.

They soon entered the gates of the city, which was lighted up as if
there were a festival in every house. The streets were full of
revellers, and nothing but a sound of joy could be heard. But when
Jochonan looked upon their faces, they were the faces of men pained
within; and he saw, by the marks they bore, that they were
Mazikin.[1] He was terrified in his soul, and, by the light of the
torches, he looked also upon the face of his companion, and, behold!
he saw upon him too the mark that showed him to be a Demon. The Rabbi
feared excessively--almost to fainting; but he thought it better to be
silent, and sadly he followed his guide, who brought him to a splendid
house in the most magnificent quarter of the city.

[Footnote 1: Demons]

"Enter here," said the Demon to Jochonan, "for this house is mine. The
lady and the child are in the upper chamber." And accordingly the
sorrowful Rabbi ascended the stairs to find them.

The lady, whose dazzling beauty was shrouded by melancholy beyond
hope, lay in bed; the child, in rich raiment, slumbered on the lap of
the nurse, by her side.

"I have brought to thee, light of my eyes!" said the Demon, "Rebecca,
beloved of my soul! I have brought unto thee Rabbi Jochonan the Wise,
for whom thou didst desire. Let him, then, speedily begin his office;
I shall fetch all things necessary, for he is in haste to depart." He
smiled bitterly as he said these words, looking at the Rabbi, and left
the room, followed by the nurse.

When Jochonan and the lady were alone, she turned in the bed towards
him, and said,

"Unhappy man that thou art! knowest thou where thou hast been
brought?"

"I do," said he, with a heavy groan. "I know that I am in a city of
the Mazikin."

"Know then, further," said she, and the tears gushed from eyes
brighter than the diamond, "know then, further, that up one is ever
brought here unless he hath sinned before the Lord. What my sin hath
been imports not to thee--and I seek not to know thine. But here thou
remainest for ever--lost, even as I am lost." And she wept again.

The Rabbi dashed his turban on the ground, and, tearing his hair,
exclaimed, "Woe is me! Who art thou, woman, that speakest to me thus?"

"I am a Hebrew woman," said she, "the daughter of a Doctor of the
Laws, in the city of Bagdad; and being brought hither--it matters not
how--I am married to a Prince among the Mazikin, even him who was sent
for thee. And that child whom thou sawest is our first-born, and I
could not bear the thought that the soul of our innocent babe should
perish. I therefore besought my husband to try and bring hither a
priest, that the law of Moses (blessed be his memory!) should be done;
and thy fame, which has spread to Bagdad, and lands farther towards
the rising of the sun, made me think of thee. Now, my husband, though
great among the Mazikin, is more just than the other Demons; and he
loves me, whom he hath ruined, with a love of despair. So he said that
the name of Jochonan the Wise was familiar unto him, and that he knew
thou wouldst not be able to refuse. What thou hast done to give him
power over thee is known to thyself."

"I swear, before Heaven," said the Rabbi, "that I have ever diligently
kept the law, and walked steadfastly according to the traditions of
our fathers from the days of my youth upward. I have wronged no man in
word or deed, and I have daily worshipped the Lord, minutely
performing all the ceremonies thereto needful."

"Nay," said the lady, "all this thou mightest have done, and more, and
yet be in the power of the Demons. But time passes, for I hear the
foot of my husband mounting the stair. There is one chance of thine
escape."

"What is that, O lady of beauty?" said the agonized Rabbi.

"Eat not, drink not, nor take fee or reward while here, and as long as
thou canst do thus, the Mazikin have no power over thee, dead or
alive. Have courage and persevere."

As she ceased from speaking, her husband entered the room, followed by
the nurse, who bore all things requisite for the ministration of the
Rabbi. With a heavy heart he performed his duty, and the child was
numbered among the Faithful. But when, as usual, at the conclusion of
the ceremony, the wine was handed round to be tasted by the child, the
mother, and the Rabbi, he refused it when it came to him, saying,

"Spare me, my lord, for I have made a vow that I fast this day, and I
will eat not, neither will I drink."

"Be it as thou pleasest," said the Demon; "I will not that thou
shouldst break thy vow." And he laughed aloud.

So the poor Rabbi was taken into a chamber looking into a garden,
where he passed the remainder of the night and the day, weeping and
praying to the Lord that He would deliver him from the city of Demons.
But when the twelfth hour came, and the sun was set, the Prince of the
Mazikin came again unto him, and said,

"Eat now, I pray thee, for the day of thy vow is past." And he set
meat before him.

"Pardon again thy servant, my lord," said Jochonan, "in this thing. I
have another vow for this day also. I pray thee be not angry with thy
servant."

"I am not angry," said the Demon; "be it as thou pleasest: I respect
thy vow." And he laughed louder than before.

So the Rabbi sat another day in his chamber by the garden, weeping and
praying; and when the sun had gone behind the hills, the Prince of the
Mazikin again stood before him, and said,

"Eat now, for thou must be an hungered. It was a sore vow of thine."
And he offered him daintier meats.

And Jochonan felt a strong desire to eat, but he prayed inwardly to
the Lord, and the temptation passed, and he answered, "Excuse thy
servant yet a third time, my lord, that I eat not. I have renewed my
vow."

"Be it so, then," said the other: "arise, and follow me."

The Demon took a torch in his hand, and led the Rabbi, through winding
passages of his palace, to the door of a lofty chamber, which he
opened with a key that he took from a niche in the wall. On entering
the room, Jochonan saw that it was of solid silver--floor, ceiling,
walls, even to the threshold and the door-posts; and the curiously
carved roof and borders of the ceiling shone in the torchlight as if
they were the fanciful work of frost. In the midst were heaps of
silver money, piled up in immense urns of the same metal, even over
the brim.

"Thou hast done me a serviceable act, Rabbi," said the Demon: "take of
these what thou pleasest; ay, were it the whole."

"I cannot, my lord," said Jochonan. "I was adjured by thee to come
hither in the name of God, and in that name I came, not for fee or for
reward."

"Follow me," said the Prince of the Mazikin; and Jochonan did so into
an inner chamber.

It was of gold, as the other was of silver. Its golden roof was
supported by pillars and pilasters of gold, resting upon a golden
floor. The treasures of the kings of the earth would not purchase one
of the four and twenty vessels of golden coins, which were disposed in
six rows along the room. No wonder! for they were filled by the
constant labours of the Demons of the Mine. The heart of Jochonan was
moved by avarice when he saw them shining in yellow light, like the
autumnal sun, as they reflected the beams of the torch. But God
enabled him to persevere.

"These are thine," said the Demon: "one of the vessels which thou
beholdest would make thee richest of the sons of men, and I give thee
them all."

But Jochonan refused again, and the Prince of the Mazikin opened the
door of a third chamber, which was called the Hall of Diamonds. When
the Rabbi entered, he screamed aloud, and put his hands over his eyes,
for the lustre of the jewels dazzled him, as if he had looked upon the
noonday sun. In vases of agate were heaped diamonds beyond numeration,
the smallest of which was larger than a pigeon's egg. On alabaster
tables lay amethysts, topazes, rubies, beryls, and all other precious
stones, wrought by the hands of skilful artists, beyond power of
computation. The room was lighted by a carbuncle, which, from the end
of the hall, poured its ever-living light, brighter than the rays of
noontide, but cooler than the gentle radiance of the dewy moon. This
was a sore trial to the Rabbi; but he was strengthened from above, and
he refused again.

"Thou knowest me, then, I perceive, O Jochonan, son of Ben-David,"
said the Prince of the Mazikin. "I am a Demon who would tempt thee to
destruction. As thou hast withstood so far, I tempt thee no more.
Thou hast done a service which, though I value it not, is acceptable
in the sight of her whose love is dearer to me than the light of life.
Sad has been that love to thee, my Rebecca! Why should I do that which
would make thy cureless grief more grievous?--You have yet another
chamber to see," said he to Jochonan, who had closed his eyes, and was
praying fervently to the Lord, beating his breast.

Far different from the other chambers, the one into which the Rabbi
was next introduced was a mean and paltry apartment without furniture.
On its filthy walls hung innumerable bunches of rusty keys of all
sizes, disposed without order. Among them, to the astonishment of
Jochonan, hung the keys of his own house--those which he had put to
hide when he came on this miserable journey--and he gazed upon them
intently.

"What dost thou see," said the Demon, "that makes thee look so
eagerly? Can he who has refused silver and gold and diamonds be moved
by a paltry bunch of rusty iron?"

"They are mine own, my lord," said the Rabbi. "Them will I take, if
they be offered me."

"Take them, then," said the Demon, putting them into his hand: "thou
mayst depart. But, Rabbi, open not thy house only when thou returnest
to Cairo, but thy heart also. That thou didst not open it before was
that which gave me power over thee. It was well that thou didst one
act of charity in coming with me without reward, for it has been thy
salvation. Be no more Rabbi Jochonan the Miser."

The Rabbi bowed to the ground, and blessed the Lord for his escape.
"But how," said he, "am I to return, for I know not the way?"

"Close thine eyes," said the Demon.

He did so, and, in the space of a moment, heard the voice of the
Prince of the Mazikin ordering him to open them again. And behold,
when he opened them, he stood in the centre of his own chamber, in his
house at Cairo, with the keys in his hand.

When he recovered from his surprise, and had offered thanksgivings to
God, he opened his house, and his heart also. He gave alms to the
poor, he cheered the heart of the widow, and lightened the destitution
of the orphan. His hospitable board was open to the stranger, and his
purse was at the service of all who needed to share it. His life was a
perpetual act of benevolence, and the blessings showered upon him by
all were returned bountifully upon him by the hand of God.

But people wondered, and said, "Is not this the man who was called
Rabbi Jochonan the Miser? What hath made the change?"

And it became a saying in Cairo. When it came to the ears of the
Rabbi, he called his friends together, and he avowed his former love
of gold, and the danger to which it had exposed him, relating all
which has been above told, in the hall of the new palace that he built
by the side of the river, on the left hand, as thou goest down the
course of the great stream. And wise men, who were scribes, wrote it
down from his mouth for the benefit of mankind, that they might profit
thereby. And a venerable man, with a beard of snow, who had read it in
these books, and at whose feet I sat that I might learn the wisdom of
the old time, told it to me. And I write it in the tongue of England,
the merry and the free, on the tenth day of the month Nisan, in the
year, according to the lesser computation, five hundred ninety and
seven, that thou mayest learn good thereof. If not, the fault be upon
thee.

[Illustration]



Jussuf, the Merchant of Balsora.

[Illustration]


Many hundred years ago, when the renowned Caliph Haroun al Raschid
ruled in Bagdad, there lived in the town of Balsora a merchant of good
repute, who was called Jussuf. He had received a considerable property
by inheritance from his father; and his paternal house, which was
esteemed as the most splendid palace of the town, was situated on one
of the finest spots. He was obliged to keep a great number both of
male and female slaves, as well for the management of his household
affairs, as also to assist him in his commercial pursuits, for his
business was very extensive. The largest warehouse in the bazaar of
the city belonged to him, and it was always filled with the most
precious goods, which he caused to be collected from the remotest
parts of the globe--either in ships or on the backs of his camels.
There you might see all the rarest and choicest gifts of nature,
together with the finest and richest productions of art; the most
costly tissues and stuffs, the most valuable vessels and implements of
silver and gold; elegant jewellery and trinkets, adorned skilfully
with sparkling stones of considerable value, heaped up one on another.
But the agreeable manner and contrast in which all these were exposed
for sale gratified the eye more than even the costly articles
themselves. It was not, therefore, to be wondered at that the crowd in
his warehouse, in so great and rich a city, was very numerous.

It had already become a custom for people to apply to Jussuf if they
wished to buy anything which had come in fashion with the wealthy
citizen, either on account of its intrinsic value or of its skilful
workmanship. Could they find the required goods as fine or as
beautiful at another magazine, still they always preferred to go to
Jussuf, even if they paid him more dearly for them. They felt
confident that they should find everything more genuine, more
handsome, and more tasteful there than at any other merchant's. This,
however, may have been only a favourable prepossession; but it is
nevertheless certain, that in no other warehouse were so many objects,
alike useful and ornamental, collected together, as in that of Jussuf.

And as his business flourished more and more, so his riches increased
from day to day. At the same time his cares and exertions in watching
after the number of men whom he employed, his zeal in the equipment of
his ships, and in the forwarding and dispatching of his caravans,
increased in equal measure.

He had continued his business in this way for several years, and had
altogether neglected his health through his perseverance and
unflinching attention, when he felt at once that his usual strength
was declining, and that he should soon become exhausted unless he
permitted himself at times to take some recreation. He therefore very
willingly took the opportunity which offered itself accidentally about
this time of buying a fine estate. It was situated only a few miles
from the town, by the side of a stream, in a country as pleasant as it
was fruitful, combining means for hunting and for fishing; and the
price was so moderate that he resolved on the purchase without much
consideration. He purposed to detach himself for a few weeks from his
business, and to devote himself to pleasure and repose in the quiet
and calm of his country residence. He caused a new and elegant country
house to be built by a skilful architect on an eminence, instead of
the old one, surrounded by a large pleasant artificial garden. As all
was settled and prepared, he shut up his warehouse at the end of every
week early enough for him to ride over. There he would repose from the
troubles of the preceding days, and recreate himself with hunting and
fishing, and collect new strength in the peaceful serenity of his
country estate.

But custom is often stronger than our inclinations: he had become so
accustomed to an active life, that his thoughts always returned to his
wares in his warehouse, or to his ships that were transporting his
goods over distant seas. Hence it happened that he soon entertained a
hope of drawing large profits, as well as the restoration of his
health, from this country residence. He employed himself very
successfully in the chase and in fishing, or in raising choice flowers
in the beds before his house, or else with the care of rare foreign
birds, which he fed and kept in a large aviary. But these only charmed
him for a time: the chase of wild beasts appeared to him too soon to
be but a cruel sport; fishing was tedious; the cultivation of his
flowers, too, was monotonous; and, if he contemplated the imprisoned
foreign birds, he heartily pitied them because they were deprived of
freedom. One day he had tried everything to divert himself, but
without success; at last he seated himself, half discontented, in the
open colonnade which extended along the side of his country house,
and his eye glanced over the flower-beds before him into the extreme
distance: there his gaze could follow over a small tract the course of
the river Schat al Arab, which, rising at the mouths of the Euphrates
and Tigris, flows between shores clothed with verdure. Some large
merchant ships were sailing by; several fishing-boats were visible.

"Ah, thou magnificent stream!" exclaimed Jussuf, who had given himself
to reflection after he had viewed it for some time; "what a pity that
thou must fall into the sea so soon below the kingly town of Balsora!
There thou art, wasted and forgotten; the navigator on the great sea
never thinks that the streams of his native country flow mingled with
the waves through which the keel of his ship cuts. Now, then,"
continued he, after a short reflection, "it is all the better for me:
now I am still active in business; my ships set out at morning, noon,
and evening; my camels march to India through the deserts of Arabia,
and the plains of Tartary and Persia; thousands and thousands of men
call me still the rich and great merchant Jussuf, and praise me as the
most lucky of mortals; yet a little while, and my existence will be
lost as thine, in the sea of eternity."

Among such earnest considerations and soliloquies, he had hardly
observed that a large variegated butterfly, hovering over the
neighbouring flower-bed, moved slowly to and fro, just as if it were
undecided in choosing on which flower it would alight. He was very
attentive to its broad wings, which glittered with the most splendid
colours, while the insect, brilliantly variegated, settled on a
scarlet poppy, as though it wished to eclipse the magnificence of the
flower with the variety of its different hues.

"What splendid colours! What beautifully delineated wings!" exclaimed
Jussuf. "Oh that I might possess the rare insect! The dyers who stain
my silk stuffs, and the weavers, might take the liveliness of the
colours, the design, and the well-wrought combination of colours, for
a pattern."

When the butterfly settled itself quietly on the poppy, Jussuf
approached it carefully to catch it; but, as he had no other
convenient thing at his hand, he took off his turban, and covered the
butterfly and the flower. The butterfly had not flown away, therefore
it must be under the turban. Already he rejoiced at his lucky capture,
and was proceeding to raise the turban slowly a little on one side, in
order to seize the imprisoned insect securely, when he remarked that
the turban was raising itself, and that under it a human form was
growing up higher and higher out of the flower. Full of astonishment,
he drew back a step. As he kept his eyes fixed on the object, a maiden
of astonishing beauty appeared before him, such as he had never before
seen. Her face was veiled, and his turban was on her head: smilingly
she removed it, and extended it to him, saying, with a mischievous
look,

"There, friend Jussuf, take it again: this turban is accustomed to
ornament a brain in which rule very earnest and high thoughts; it
would, perhaps, feel very badly honoured were it to serve as a
covering for my frivolous caprices."

"Thou jestest, high daughter of a genius," exclaimed Jussuf, sinking
on his knees: "thy incomparable beauty testifies that thou art no
ordinary mortal, if even the wonderful manner in which thou hast
appeared had not fixed it beyond all doubt."

"It may be," replied the maiden, "that thou hast rightly guessed. But
that is no matter; I am come here to-day to help to banish your idle
thoughts: come, run a race with me."

Immediately she threw the poppy which he had covered with his turban
roughly in his face, and ran away. Jussuf remained irresolute, and
looked after her; then she stopped her pace, and called back to him,

"Art thou transformed into a statue? canst thou not run? run, and
catch me, if you can."

Her mischievous manner gave her an irresistible grace, which urged him
to begin the race, even although he did not wish to join in it. She
flew on, allowing him sometimes to approach her, and then turned
suddenly aside out of the way, and ran over the turf to avoid him: she
did not even spare the flower-beds; and when she wanted to escape from
him, she passed over them without caring for the finest plants. The
more she provoked him in different ways, the more he exerted all his
strength to catch her. At last she appeared exhausted, and threw
herself, breathing heavily, on a bank of turf. "Here is an asylum,"
exclaimed she.

Tired and breathless with the unusual exertion of running, he followed
her example, and sat down near her on the bank. While they were
resting, she plucked some flowers and branches of a flourishing shrub,
which had spread itself from the bank into a green roof over their
heads, and skilfully wove a garland.

"Come," said she to Jussuf, when the wreath was ready, "come, let us
throw up the garland."

She arose at these words and led him to the nearest open space; she
leaped around, dancing in a circle and holding the garland on high in
her right hand, and then threw it up high into the air. The garland of
flowers rose while she sang these words:

    "Rise, thou garland fresh and fair,
    Blend thy hues in liquid air:
    Downward sinking, may'st thou be
    A fairy coronal for me."

High above the shoots of the surrounding trees it seemed to remain
hovering in the sunshine which lighted the colours of the flowers,
inducing a very peculiar splendour. Then it sank down gradually in
soft vibrations, and settled on her head, as if she had placed it
there herself as a crown. She took it from her locks and handed it to
Jussuf.

"Now it is thy turn," said she; "throw it up, and see whether it will
fall on thy head."

Jussuf took it and threw it as high as he could; but it did not from
his hand attain the sunny height, and the garland fell quickly, and at
a great distance, to the ground before him. By the time he had
altogether recollected himself, she was at the spot, and had already
raised the garland, and was laughing heartily at his awkwardness. She
threw it up, dancing in the former manner, and sang the spell. This
time also the garland ascended high above the tops of the trees into
the sunshine, and sank down on her head as at first. Jussuf must needs
try again, but he succeeded no better than before. Thereupon she again
threw it up, and caught it once more. After she had thus shown him
several times, she cried out, laughing mischievously,

"Well, hast thou not yet observed why thou failest? Why dost thou not
sing my little song when thou throwest up the garland? Try once more,
and sing the spell; then it will succeed better."

Jussuf did so. He threw the garland and sang the verse; and, behold,
the garland hovered in the sunshine, and descended in soft vibrations
on his head, crowning his turban.

"Dost thou see?" said the maiden, laughingly: "the spell is of very
great avail." She threw up the wreath again several times, and then
she took it, and exclaimed, "Now it is enough; but the game will be
tedious." She threw it up high, and sang:

    "Flower-garland, raise thee high,
    Float in sunshine brilliantly;
    Lend thy varied hues, to shed
    Light on the darksome forest-head."

The garland floated far out over the open space towards the edge of
the park; there it melted suddenly in the air, and the blossoms rained
down as it were on a dark cypress, and clung to it, so that it was
adorned at once with a number of splendid flowers. Jussuf saw this
with astonishment.

"Well," exclaimed he, "thou conjurest. How is it possible that a
cypress-tree should bear such beautiful blossoms?"

But she answered, "What is there to be wondered at? Who would make
such a commotion about a merry game? Come," continued she, "let us
play at ball." And jumping up, she picked a ripe pomegranate from a
neighbouring tree, placed herself at a tolerable distance from him at
a shrub, and threw him the apple for a ball. Jussuf had been very fond
of playing at ball in his younger days, and still possessed some
skill, so that he caught it.

"Well, indeed, well done," exclaimed she, as she caught it from
Jussuf, who had not thrown it quite straight, with the same ease as if
it had fallen from the hand of the ablest thrower.

They threw it in this way several times to each other, till at last
Jussuf let it fall.

"Oh!" cried she, "well done! whoever lets it fall, to him the
punishment is due." And when she had caught the pomegranate again, she
winked at him, and exclaimed, "Now come back, I will give you a blow
on the face." But Jussuf remained where he was, watching for the
throw, that he might avoid it. "Come back," she said still; but he
remained stationary.

Then she breathed low some words over the pomegranate, and threw it
suddenly at Jussuf. He wished to avoid the blow, by bending down
quickly; but before he could succeed, he felt it on his forehead. The
pomegranate was so violently thrown that it burst in pieces. The
numerous grains lay scattered on the ground; but hardly had they
touched the earth than they changed into so many wasps, which flew
into the air and swarmed round his head. In the anguish of their
stings, he held his hands before his eyes and ran on; but the swarm of
wasps followed him, buzzing around him.

"Throw now thy turban on the ground," called the maiden at last to
him, who was standing in the distance, loudly laughing at his anguish.

He listened, and obeyed her call without thinking of it, and quickly
all the wasps crept under the turban. He stood in astonishment, and
looked at the turban. Then the maiden approached him with ceaseless
laughter, and said,

"What has happened to thee, friend Jussuf? Why dost thou gaze upon thy
turban with such anxious attention? It is a pity they are not bees,
the honey might be collected there. Take it up and put it on thy
head."

He stooped down and raised it with cautious slowness; but, to his
astonishment, all the wasps had disappeared; only a green lizard ran
to and fro, and was lost among the grass and the leaves near the
pathway.

"Where did that go?" asked Jussuf, reflectingly. "That was a
pomegranate and became wasps, and where are they now gone?"

"What!" rejoined the maiden; "where did it go? Who would ask such a
thing? How are wasps and pomegranates generally produced in this
world? Or can you tell me how it is that grass comes up and grows out
of a grain of seed? or how is it that a fig-tree can spring up from
each little seed of the fig? The case is just so; and if people would
ask questions about everything, there would be no end to such
inquiries. But man must not inquire too closely. Come," continued she,
quickly changing to a quieter and more mischievous manner, "Dost thou
see those figs hanging on the branch over the way? let us see if you
can jump high enough to reach and pick them."

He saw the figs, and sprang, but did not nearly reach the height at
which they hung. She encouraged him to jump again and again, and at
every awkward spring she laughed at his fruitless exertions. She then
took a short run with little steps, and, floating as easily in the air
as if she were borne on wings, plucked the figs, and then was wafted
down as softly on the other side.

"See," said she to him, holding out the figs, "here they are; now we
will eat them together. We have earned them with one spring."

Jussuf declined them. "They all belong to thee," said he; "for thou
alone didst pick them. I could not reach."

"Do you wish to make me angry?" said she. "Hast thou not tired thyself
more than I?--there, take and eat." She forced him, by her friendly
manner, to eat half the figs; while she pressed the other to her lips,
sucked a little of its juice, and then threw it away. "I did that,"
said she, clapping her hands, "that thou mightest not soon forget me:
now thou must think of me for some time."

Immediately she began a new game with him, and after a short time
another, and so on, continually changing the sport. The serious Jussuf
jumped, and hopped, and danced just as she wished, and tried to
perform all the tricks she invented, as if he were a boy. At last they
came to a fish-pond which was in the garden. She jumped into the boat,
which was standing all ready, and rowed with ease into the middle of
the little lake. Then she stopped and called to him,

"Come here, my true playfellow, come to me."

Jussuf stood on the bank, and would have willingly walked to her
through the water; but he knew that it was too deep, and he could not
swim.

"Art thou not coming?" said she; "art thou afraid of the water?"

"I cannot swim," answered he.

"Well, that is no consequence," she called out; "do as I do." And at
these words she sprang lightly out of the boat, and walked over the
surface of the waves as if on dry land; the water did not even moisten
the sole of her sandal.

"Oh that I could!" exclaimed Jussuf. "But I am too heavy; I should
sink at once."

The maiden had in the meantime sprung back into the boat, and called
out, "If thou wilt not come to me, I will never come again to thee;
nor will I now stay any longer with thee. Evening is drawing near. For
the future, then, thou mayest sit alone and grow ill tempered; and if
thou ever wishest to see thy playmate again, thou mayest seek her in
the native country of the variegated butterfly, which thou believedst
thou hadst caught to-day, but which has flown away. Recollect, and
come before I have counted three. One--two--three." As she said the
last number she disappeared.

Jussuf now saw the variegated butterfly flutter over the lake, and
lose itself among the flowers of the garden; the boat moved back
towards the bank where it had before been placed. The abandoned Jussuf
stood for some time, as if in a dream; but when the evening twilight
veiled the distant hills, he awoke to consciousness. Then the
occurrences of the day appeared like a wonderful vision to his soul.
In the silence of his chamber he soon threw himself on his bed, and
here everything recurred to his memory; and he now wondered less at
the wonderful appearance of the maiden than at himself--that he, a
serious man, who till now had lived in the activity and cares of
business, should have amused himself for several hours with childish
games, at which he had not before played since his earliest boyish
days. Gradually his thoughts passed into dreams.

He awoke late the next morning. The sun was already high in the
heavens, and his slaves had long been waiting at the threshold of the
door which led to his room, to receive his commands. He remembered
that he wished to return early in the morning to the town, because it
was his custom regularly to keep open his warehouse on this day of the
week. It proved, therefore, very agreeable to him, when he went out,
to find his horse was standing ready saddled before the house.

After he had dressed quickly, and taken his breakfast, he mounted his
splendid Arab steed, and rode towards Balsora, followed by several
slaves. When he arrived at the bazaar to open his warehouse, a number
of customers were already assembled, and the crowd increased at every
moment, so that he could hardly satisfy all--he had not hands enough.
When all was produced that was wished for, time was wanting to give
the inquirers the needful information about the worth and quality of
the goods; and if a purchaser wished to pay for his articles, he had
no time to count over the money, but he placed it uncounted in his
money-box, trusting to the honour of his customers. This press of
business so fully occupied his attention, that he soon forgot his last
night's adventure, though at first the form of his fair playmate was
present to his soul. So many days passed away in the bustle of his
vast employment.

One day, about the end of the week, when he was busy in his warehouse,
the public crier went by, offering for sale some small foreign insects
and butterflies; and holding the case in which they were in the air,
"Who will buy," he exclaimed--"who will buy fine bright silken
creatures, very cheap, very cheap?" Jussuf raised his eyes by chance,
while conversing with a customer about a necklace of jewels, and
perceived in the case the beautiful butterfly which he wanted to catch
himself a few days before, and out of which his comical playmate had
raised herself from the poppy.

Then his words died on his lips. He looked at the crier, dumb for a
minute, and then called him back quickly. "Let me see," said he; and
when he had convinced himself that he was not mistaken, he offered the
man at once a thousand sequins, without allowing him to ask anything.

The crier gave him the case quickly, as if he feared that Jussuf would
repent of his purchase, and smilingly received the purse of gold.

"I thank thee," said he. "It is well that I know thee to be an amateur
in such things. If I get any more, I will certainly bring them to thee
first. People say, indeed, that thou dost not sell cheaply. I have
convinced myself thou also payest well for what thou purchasest."
Overjoyed, and praising his good fortune, he went away.

Jussuf had scarcely received the case of insects, when he carefully
examined it in a division of his warehouse, whilst a red blush mantled
over his face, and his looks betokened the greatest pleasure. The
bystanders could not believe that he was such a lover of insects, and
such a connoisseur; and they conjectured that his eyes must have
discovered some extraordinary value in the purchased case. But from
this moment Jussuf paid little more attention to his business. This
absence of mind increased every moment, and often caused him to ask
quite a trifling sum for very precious goods, and an unconscionably
high one for those equally insignificant. He could scarcely conceal
his chagrin whenever new customers made their appearance; and all saw
with wonder, how--contrary to his usual custom--he hailed with joy the
time for closing his warehouse, and how joyously he departed with his
case of insects!

Immediately he wrapped the case in a cloth, and had it carried by some
slaves who accompanied him to his house. Till now he did not know why
he had so much value for the butterfly; he was only led to purchase it
by some impulse, and had not as yet given himself any reasons for it.
For the first time, as he lay quietly in bed, he asked himself this
question: "What shall I do with thee?" Then--"The other butterfly flew
away over the flowers of my garden some days ago; this is dry and
pierced, as if it had been dead for many years. What connection can it
have with my bright and waggish playmate, who is only fit to be a
daughter of the genii?"

He recalled to himself everything in the remarkable occurrence--even
the most trifling events that happened in their different games, from
the appearance of the maiden to her disappearance out of the boat,
returned to his mind. Then he thought over her last words. "What did
she say?" said he to himself. "Did she not say, 'If thou shouldst wish
to see me, thou must seek me in the fatherland of the variegated
butterflies?'"

Now a thought shot through his mind which made all perfectly clear to
him. He confessed to himself that he had been more happy with her fun
and play than he had been before since his boyhood, and that he had
then quite forgotten all the cares and troubles of business. He
earnestly longed to have always about him so merry a playfellow, to
afford him diversion with her childish mirth.

"This playmate of thine," continued he, speaking to himself, "if she
has entirely disappeared, and no track leads to her, has not a chance
fallen into thy hands by this butterfly? Still thou canst seek for her
in her native land. But what naturalist could name it from this
imperfect description, without having seen the butterfly?"

He then recalled to his memory many tales which he had heard in his
childhood, in which were instances of daughters of genii, who,
becoming the wives of mortals, blessed them in a wonderful manner,
and, after the death of their husbands, returned to the kingdom of the
genii.

Amid such thoughts as these he sank into slumber, and awoke the next
morning with the firm resolution of seeking the daughter of the genii,
and of choosing her for his wife. The first thing, then, was for him
to discover the native country of the butterflies; for it was there
that he was to find her. He took, therefore, the butterfly out of the
case from among the other insects, and set out for one of the suburbs
of Balsora.

There lived in one of the last houses a man who he was aware knew not
only the name of every beast, stone, and plant, but also the hidden
strength of nature and her mysterious operations. This man had once
been his master, and to his instruction Jussuf owed his intimate
knowledge of the manifold productions of nature out of which the
various goods were manufactured in different lands, and which afforded
him the means of always purchasing the best and most superior
articles, whereby he obtained such a crowd of customers. In order to
show his gratitude to his master for this instruction, he had given
him, out of the inheritance of his father, this large house, with the
surrounding vast garden, that he might live undisturbed in his secret
studies.

With this man he now took refuge, hoping certainly to receive from him
some information about the native land of his silken butterfly. Upon
his knocking at the door, an old servant, the only one in the house,
opened it, and led him into a chamber in which his old master was
sitting upon a cushion, before a large table covered with a black
cloth. Rolls of parchment with unknown characters, compasses, a
sextant, a triangle, and other instruments, lay scattered round in
disorder. He received Jussuf with friendly nods, without rising from
his cushion, motioning him to sit down opposite, and then said,

"Ah, ah! my Jussuf; this is a rare visit. Hast thou at last been able
to spare an hour from thy business to pay a visit to the old Modibjah?
I hear that thou art become the most popular merchant in all Balsora,
and that thou hast immense connections. I am glad of it; then all is
right and prosperous. What one has once chosen for his calling, for
that one must entirely live. What we do must be done well; and may
that one live who devotes his life to a useful activity!"

Jussuf was prevented by a certain shyness from mentioning his wish at
once to his grave master. He said how he had longed to see him once
more, to hear how he was; and reproached him tenderly for not coming
to see him. He added that he had certainly a great many curious things
in his warehouses, and that he had promised himself the pleasure of
showing them all to his wise master. Perhaps he might find among them
something that might be useful to him, and it would be a pleasure to
him to give it to him.

At these words Modibjah laughed, and answered, "I want none of thy
goods. What I wanted thou hast given me: while thou continuest to me
this house and garden as my property, I am contented, so that I remain
undisturbed. Here I can devote myself to my reflections and my
pursuits undistracted and unobserved by the curiosity of mankind. Then
I should have erred in visiting thee; for thy time is equally taken up
with the cares and business of thy profession; and I should but have
disturbed thee with my visits. But now speak," said he, ending his
discourse: "I see from thy looks that a particular request brings thee
to me."

Jussuf blushed that his master should have so seen through him, and
then related to him how the numerous cares and exertions of his
business had produced a prejudicial effect on his health, and how he
had been obliged to seek diversion; that he had then renewed a
partiality which he had in his boyish years, and had again begun to
collect butterflies and other insects. "But," continued he, "the
necessary knowledge is wanting to me. Some days ago I bought by chance
a collection of butterflies, of whose names and native country I know
nothing." He drew out the box at these words, and held it open before
the old man.

But hardly had he glanced at it when he shook his head silently; and,
considering, at last he said, "Poor Jussuf! Still thou wishest to
inquire about it as of secondary import, as if I did not know that
thou only comest to me for this reason. Art thou gone so far as to
play the hypocrite with thy old master?"

"Well, then, I am curious to learn the name and the country of this
butterfly," answered Jussuf, with a trembling voice.

Then the grey haired old man raised himself from his cushion, and
looked at Jussuf with such a searching and piercing glance, that he
was constrained through his shame to cast down his eyes.

"Still, I should do thee injustice were I to blame thee," continued
he: "I know that thou art still innocent. I can only lament that thou
shouldst have fallen into the snares of my implacable enemy. In order
to obtain the victory over me, she will seek to ruin thee." He laid
his hand on his forehead, and sank into profound reflection.

At last Jussuf broke silence, and said, "I do not understand thee.
What enemy dost thou mean? See, it is my fault for not having told
thee the whole openly. Now shalt thou know all." He then related to
him, without any reserve, the transactions of the previous days.

When he had finished, the old man answered, "Now thou hast been candid
with me, and hast a claim to equal sincerity on my side. But I know
that thou art not now capable of hearing the truth--that it is a
useless trouble to attempt to cure thee of thy delusion. If I were to
conceal the native land of the butterflies from thee, I know that thou
wouldst find ways and means of learning what thou now desirest to
discover. Thou wouldst fain find her who is thy enemy, although thou
deemest her to be thine innocent friend. I will show thee the way to
her. But I will think of ways and means to guard thee against her
wickedness. For that purpose I must know thy exact age. If thou hast
not quite forgotten thy former love for thy true master, tell me now
the day and hour of thy birth."

Jussuf willingly told him the day and the hour, for he was very glad
that Modibjah promised to tell him the native country of the
butterfly. What he said about the wickedness of an enemy he took for
the whims of an old man, and therefore it did not weigh at all with
him. In the meanwhile, Modibjah had gone into a side-chamber, and now
brought out a large, deep box, whilst he cleared away the parchments
and instruments spread about on the table. On the cover a great number
of cross lines were drawn through one another, and among them were
worked innumerable gold and silver stars. After he had carefully
traced all these, he produced a small box of ebony, skilfully inlaid
with streaks of mother-of-pearl.

"I have reckoned thine age," said he: "thou art now just thirty years,
nine months, and seven days, and eight hours old. All these years,
months, days, and hours form the figure of fifty-four. God be praised
and His great Prophet, it is not yet of the worst."

During this speech he sat down, and at a nod from him Jussuf seated
himself opposite. Then he pressed a hidden spring in the little black
box, the lid sprang up, and he shook the contents before Jussuf on the
table. They were a number of half-moons, little stars, triangles, and
other figures of ivory.

"Count out fifty-four of them," said he. And Jussuf did it.

After the old man had quickly collected the remainder together, and
placed them again in the box, he called to him to throw the figures
that he had counted out in the air in such a manner that they should
fall down on the table-cloth. Jussuf did as he was desired, and the
figures spread themselves in their fall over the whole table. The old
man considered them attentively for some time, and began to murmur,
half-singing, a form of words in a foreign language, and touched with
his finger quickly, as if he were counting one or other of them, now
and then taking away one and placing it with the others in the box. He
repeated his words twice, and counted and pointed with his finger,
taking away from the figures as at first, till at last there only
remained nine. Now he began another speech, which appeared to Jussuf
to be in a different language, and sang it three times, while he took
away more of the ivory figures, and pointed to some of the gold and
silver worked stars. At last he had collected all the three nearest
constellations.

"It is good," said the old man, with a joyful and tranquil
countenance. "I now know what I wanted; now I can tell you what you so
earnestly wish to know. If thou wishest to find thy vain, trifling
playmate, go towards the rising of the sun till thou comest to a town
of Persia, in the neighbourhood of which are situated the ruins of an
old royal city, now destroyed. There stay till the third day after the
new moon. Then go to the ruins in the evening. On the eastern edge, at
some distance from the heap of relics, thou wilt find a large
well-formed stone, which once served as the head; seat thyself on this
stone, and at the moment when the narrow illumined streak of the moon,
like a fiery ship, seems to swim over the mountains on the horizon,
call out the word 'Haschanascha,' and a sign-post will soon appear.
But then thou art still distant from the object of thy journey. But
may the exertions and vicissitudes of thy long travel so lessen thy
foolishly-ardent desire that thou mayest listen to the voice of a
prudent friend, who will certainly be near thee when thou hast need of
him."

Hardly had Jussuf heard where he was to go when he sprang out of his
seat, in order to take leave at once of Modibjah, and to commence his
journey. The wish which Modibjah had expressed was hardly heard by
him.

"Wait, wait," said the former; "who knows whether we shall ever see
each other again? This journey leads thee far away, and I am old.
Thou art also a mortal, who mayest be overwhelmed by the dangers thou
hast to encounter. Here, take this as a token of remembrance." At
these words he reached him a small leathern pouch.

"What is this?" asked Jussuf, after he had opened it, and saw in it a
rather opaque milk-white stone, at the bottom of which a red spark
seemed to shine. "That is certainly a talisman."

"It is a talisman," answered Modibjah: "esteem it for my sake. Use it
when thy strength and intellect are not sufficient for thee. As long
as thou perceivest the spark, thou wilt proceed in the right way, and
wilt not encounter any danger; but the contrary will happen when the
spark appears to be quite extinguished. Then breathe over it the name
'Haschanascha.' Do not allow it to be taken away from thee, either by
force or by stratagem; nor give it willingly as a present to any
stranger's hand. If thou shouldst wish to make an experiment, throw it
behind thee over thy head."

Jussuf thanked his master for the present, and hid the talisman in his
bosom; he then took leave of his master in an absent spirit and
hastened home. He immediately gave his slaves the necessary charges,
committed the care of his house to an old faithful servant, locked up
his warehouse in the bazaar, and proceeded in the evening of the same
day, with a train of twenty armed and well-mounted followers, and with
forty camels loaded with gold and precious things of all kinds, and
with all necessaries, out at the eastern gate of the city of Balsora.
Whoever perceived or heard, that Jussuf had set out on a distant
journey believed that he had gone to fetch some rare goods which he
could not entrust to his servants; and people were generally in
curious expectation to see what could be the interest in any jewels
that should induce the so greatly-altered merchant, who till now let
everything be managed by his servants, to go himself on the journey,
and with so small an escort.

Jussuf kept exactly to the rule of his old master, and proceeded
straight towards the rising of the sun. He reached, with his little
caravan, without any particular adventures, the plains which extend
between the mountains and the Persian Sea. But here the summer heat
was so oppressive that he turned more to the left towards the north,
that he might find in the neighbourhood of the mountains some shade
from the trees and, above all, springs of water, which, murmuring down
from the mountains, might serve for coolness and refreshment to them,
after they had wandered far in the plains through dry sand. He
proceeded for some days towards his destination without the occurrence
of anything unusual or remarkable. After some days, he reached a spot
where a small rivulet flowed between two mountains.

The opposite side of this mountain extended out a long way towards the
sea-coast, so that there was only a very narrow slip of the plain.
Uncertain whether he should go straight towards the sea, or turn off
to the left along the valley through which the rivulet wound, he
ordered his slaves to stop. He looked round to see if he could not
perceive in the surrounding country some track to indicate the
proximity of men, of whose advice he might avail himself; but there
was not a hut, nor a tent, nor a flock to be seen far or near.
Although fertile, the country appeared quite desolate. Some of his
slaves advised the direction along the sea-shore, because there were
imprinted the footsteps of camels and horses of earlier travellers;
others suggested, on the contrary, to advance along the river. But
Jussuf shook his head at these counsels.

"Why should we," said he, "enter in uncertainty on either of those
roads? If we proceed to the right by the sea-coast, it will lead us
too far south; if we follow the valley of the river, it will conduct
us straight to its entrance towards the north; but farther up it may
take another direction, whereby we might be enabled to continue our
route, even if it be a very winding way; or we may ascend the
mountains, which will probably be higher and steeper near the source
of the river. Our camels already throw a long shadow on the earth, and
in two hours we must select a place for repose. It is therefore more
prudent to stay here. Two roads evidently unite at this point, and
therefore it cannot be long before some one arrives from one side or
the other, who can give us the desired information. So make
preparations to pass the night here."

As he commanded, so they did. The slaves unpacked from the camels what
was necessary, and quickly erected a tent for their master of
variegated painted poles and thick silk stuffs. Then they kindled a
fire on a neighbouring spot, and made preparations for the meals of
all.

In the meantime, Jussuf wandered to the foremost height of the
mountains, towards the valley of the river, and rejoiced at the richly
blossoming flowers which seemed heaped on all the shrubs, and at the
magnificent country, and the refreshing air which floated up to him
out of the valley. As he walked carelessly along, his foot struck
against a ripe melon, which still hung fast to a withered branch.
"Well," thought he to himself, "a juicy melon is a refreshing fruit in
the heat of the day." He picked it and took it home to the encampment.
There he delivered it to a slave, and charged him to take care that it
was freed of its seeds, and brought up to his meal with the other
dishes. He then entered his tent, which had meanwhile been erected,
and stretched himself on his soft cushion, covered with costly cloths,
that he might rest awhile. He soon sank into slumber, exhausted with
the fatigue of the day; but he was shortly roused from his dream. Two
of his slaves stood at his couch, and exclaimed,

"Master! master! come out and see the wonder!"

"What is the matter?" said he, raising himself up.

"O master, the melon!" they called out at once.

"Well, what of the melon? Perhaps it is beginning to decay, or is it
not good for anything? if so, throw it away. Was it worth while to
wake me up about that?"

"Oh, no, master, do not be angry; but that is not it," said the
slaves.

"Perhaps one of you has eaten it, not knowing that I picked it for
myself?"

"No, master! no, master!" cried the slaves, as it were with one mouth.
"Who would do that? Come and see yourself."

"I see I must come myself if I wish to learn what has happened," said
Jussuf, half unwillingly; and rising from his couch, he followed them
out of the tent. They led him to the place where they had made
preparations for the meal. There he saw a melon, in form like the one
which he had found, but of such a gigantic size, that he had never
before seen one like it. "Whence, then, comes this monster of a
melon?" said he to the slaves, who were standing at a distance with
signs of astonishment and fear.

"Yes, master, that is the same melon that you brought here yourself,"
answered several voices at once.

"But that was so small, that I could conveniently span it with my
fingers, and carry it in my hand," returned he; "but three men could
scarcely surround this with their arms." They assured him that it was
the same melon which he had bought. "Then," continued he, "things
cannot go right if a ripe and gathered melon can grow to such a
monstrous size."

At these words, the slave to whom he had given the melon came to him
and said, "It may well be that things do not go right." He then
related to him that he had laid the melon down where the large one now
lay; that when he had come near it, at a later period, a great wasp
had settled on the melon and pierced it with its sting. Hardly had it
flown away, when a bee came buzzing, and lodged on it: after stinging
it, this one also flew away. From this moment the melon grew larger
and larger; and they should have called him to see the wonder long
ago, had not they all been fixed with curiosity and astonishment to
see what would happen.

Since the rising of the moon, which was how beaming above the horizon
in full splendour, had the melon ceased increasing. They asked Jussuf
what should now happen, and imagined that he would not ask them to cut
up and pare the melon.

"That we cannot do," said they, finishing their speech, "for it is
evident that magic is at play here. An ordinary melon cannot grow any
more after it is ripe and picked off the tree; and even if that were
possible, it could not in any case grow to such an immense size as
never has been seen before in the world. Who knows what is hidden in
it?"

"Oh, you silly cowards!" exclaimed Jussuf, provoked at the terror of
his servants,--"shame on you! You are in a foreign land, and do not
consider that everything here is not exactly as it is at home. What
can be concealed in it? Outside is the peel; under the peel is the
pulp; and in the middle is the texture of cells, with the seeds. Look
here," said he to those who stood next to him, as he took off his
short broad scimitar: "I will cut off a piece, that you may see that
it is as I say."

While he spoke, he made two vigorous cuts--one along and the other
across the melon, so as to loosen a four-angled piece of the peel. Now
he commanded one of his slaves to lift up the piece.

As the slave anxiously approached the melon, in order to obey the
command of his master, the piece sprang out of it with wonderful
strength over his head, so that he tumbled backwards on the ground
from terror.

"Mahomet, great Prophet, stand by us!" exclaimed the slaves, when they
saw this. But soon their astonishment changed to terror, and they all
ran away, when suddenly a human figure rose out of the aperture in the
melon, and, with one spring, stood before Jussuf. The latter drew
back, startled as much at the sudden and unexpected appearance of the
man as at his unusual figure. The top of his perfectly flat face was
disfigured by two monstrous eyes, and by long black eyebrows, which
extended over the greatest part of his face. On his short upper lip he
had a narrow but long, hairy, stiff substance, the ends of which
reached to the crown of his head, and there intermixed with his hair
in two tufts, which stood sideways in the air like antennæ. His dress
was marked with bright shining stripes of a black and brimstone
colour; and behind him a transparent head-covering hung in two
gauze-like wings nearly down to the ground. His clothes fitted tight
everywhere. He also wore a girdle round his body, which rendered his
leanness still more striking. Besides this, the nail of his middle
finger was very long, and bent over like a hoe. His whole figure had
the appearance of an immense wasp.

The man had hardly observed that Jussuf shrank before him, when he
seized the wings of his head-dress with both his hard hands, and gave
a leap, as if he were trying to fly.

Jussuf was too frightened to ask him who he was, and what he wanted.
But the man immediately uttered a guttural, grumbling sound, which was
probably intended for a song; and Jussuf heard these words:

    "I come, a slave at one's behest,
      Who knoweth more than thou canst tell;
    She warned thee, whiles of friends the best,
      Of bees that lurk in honied bell.
    Guide well thy course; nor seek, proud man,
      Whate'er thou deem'st a better way;
    She can each hidden secret scan--
      So follow thou without delay."

When his song was nearly ended, another voice hummed on the side where
the melon lay. On looking there, Jussuf saw a second human form, as
wonderful as the first, rise out of the aperture. This one had a dark
dress, inclining to olive-green, and his form was rather less slim
than that of the former; but he had the appearance of a bee in human
form. Leaping also nearer to Jussuf, it sang in a higher but equally
buzzing tone:

    "Mark me well: oh, what can be
    Direful wasps but plagues to thee?
    Thine is every vain desire;
    Yet the bees that never tire,
    They can serve and tend thee well--
    The busy storers of the cell.
    Keep me, then; thy path shall prove
    A path of hope that leads to love."

But the first one grumbled again, so that Jussuf could not understand
any more.

However terrified Jussuf might have been at this appearance, he yet
collected himself, and said, "Her dear servants seem to mean very
well, but----"

Before he had finished his speech, both of them were grumbling and
buzzing at him.

He understood still so much, that each of them wished to lessen the
reputation of his fellow, and to make him suspected in his eyes. Both
turned against each other again, and hummed and buzzed at one another
with unheard-of obstinacy. Their struggle became constantly more
vehement, and at last they seized each other in mad rage, and whirled
round, struggling and burring in a circle. Jussuf saw a kind of lance
and a long dagger shine, and both of them fell down pierced through
at his feet. In their dying moments they begged him to bury them in
their cradle. He nodded assuringly, and they lay dead in the moment.
Immediately Jussuf called his slaves to him, who were standing in the
distance in earnest expectation, and ordered them to carry the dead
bodies to the melon. But they refused, certainly with humble excuses,
but still with steadfast decision.

"In the name of all natural things," said they, "we will prove to thee
our certain obedience; but do not ask us to make ourselves unclean, or
to meddle with such unnatural appearances."

He represented to them quietly that he could not place both the dead
bodies in the hollow melon, and that one of them must help him--that
what he ventured they might also venture; but they denied
perseveringly, and no one appeared ready to lend a helping hand. Angry
at their obstinacy, Jussuf was on the point of chastising them with
the flat part of his sabre-blade, when one of the slaves called out,

"Hold, hold, dear master! the dead bodies are no longer there!"

They had certainly vanished; and when he looked on the ground where
they had lain, he discovered in the dust a dead wasp and a dead bee.

"See, see!" said he, in perfect astonishment; "would not any one
believe that all those things were only a delusion of the mind? If the
great melon did not lie there now, I should be inclined to think that
I had, in a mad fancy, taken the bees and wasps for large figures of
men."

At these words, he turned to the side where the melon had been, and,
lo! that had also disappeared. Approaching nearer, he found in its
place the little melon again, just as he had picked it during his
walk. In its side he discovered a small four-angled opening. Then he
went quickly back, fetched the two dead insects, and put them through
the aperture into the melon.

"It may now be as it may," said he to himself. "I promised them to
bury their dead bodies in the melon, and I fulfil this promise."

"Now, you will not wish to eat any of this enchanted melon?" inquired
one of the slaves; and as Jussuf shook his head in the negative, and
at once entered his tent, the slave gave the melon a kick with his
foot, so that it rolled all the way down the hill, and fell below into
the river that flowed there. The waves swept over it.

The night passed tranquilly. At first, Jussuf could not get any sleep,
for the events of wonder had so stirred up his soul. At last fatigue
conquered, and he slumbered till near morning.

In the commencement of his journey he had made an arrangement that
four of his slaves should watch every night alternately. In the
morning he asked with uncommon curiosity whether nothing had happened
in the night, or whether no traveller had passed by from whom they
might learn the direction. But no one had gone by.

Low-spirited at not having any sure direction for his journey, he
struck his bosom, and said, "So are we borne away and removed from
good fortune." He had with the blow hit the pouch containing the
talisman which he had received from his master Modibjah, and which
till now he had quite forgotten. He pulled it out, opened the pouch,
and said, "Thou hast disclosed thyself in a good hour. Come, tell me
whether I shall do well if I proceed through the valley along the
river-side."

After he had considered it, he exclaimed joyfully, "Yes, yes; the
resolution is good; the fiery spark still shines living in the stone."
He immediately gave orders for departure, and the procession, rode out
into the valley. His slaves wondered that he who had been so uncertain
about the direction should now be so secure, and take so confident a
resolution. The journey was much more pleasant in the valley than it
had before been. The air from the stream was cooled, for a mild breeze
was always breathing through the valley; and they soon reached an
inhabited place, and learned that they were in the direct road to a
small town, in whose neighbourhood were situated the ruins of the old
royal city. Pleased as Jussuf was at this news, still it was rather
disagreeable, to him: he remembered that on the evening of his
adventure with the melon the moon was in full splendour, and he could
now calculate that he would arrive several days too early for the
first object of his journey. And what should he set about in that
small town till, on the third day after the new moon, he should find
his sign-post? However, he continued on his way by small day journeys.
At last he came to the little town in whose neighbourhood the ruins
were situated, and stopped at a caravanserai. Whilst his people
unloaded the camels and settled everything, he wandered idly through
the town to see something of it. In the course of his walk a young man
presented himself to him, who was willing to show him in passing the
few curiosities of the place. While they were conversing together they
made themselves known to each other; and Jussuf learned that the young
man's name was Hassan Assad, a man of whom his people had often spoken
to him in terms of commendation, and who had been very useful to him
several times in commissions for goods in Persia. He heartily thanked
him, therefore, and assured him of his pleasure at being able to form
his personal acquaintance. Hassan also seemed very much pleased to
have seen the far-famed merchant from Balsora face to face, and
offered to be his guide and companion as long as he remained in those
parts.

"To-morrow," said he, "I have some necessary business to do in Shiraz,
which I cannot put off. But without doubt thou also art going there,
for thou wilt certainly have to give large orders to the ablest silver
and gold workers, and to the most skilful silk-weavers; and because
personal acquaintance with our correspondents is very useful, I will
join thee in thy journey. In this way it will not be necessary for us
to separate again on the first day of our acquaintance; nor can it be
disagreeable to thee to go with me, who am already known there, and
can lead thee to the dwellings of all those with whom I am connected
in commerce."

Jussuf's mind had been but little turned on trade, and now he could
not recollect the names of all the people with whom he transacted
business in Shiraz: besides, he had a certain aversion to disclose the
true reasons for his journey; so he let his friendly companion
entertain the idea that he had come to Persia for the purpose of
purchasing and giving commissions. And, because he must still wait
several days for the new moon, he willingly accepted Hassan's
proposal, and promised to accompany him the next morning to the great
and celebrated town of Shiraz, and to spend some days with him there.
The distance to Shiraz was not far, and Jussuf reached it with his new
friend the next day before the noonday heat. Hassan conducted him in
the afternoon to the house of a rich merchant, with whom he had long
had considerable dealings.

"Here," said he, "I bring you the far-famed merchant Jussuf from
Balsora, whose name cannot be strange to you, since you have long done
business with him. He has taken this journey to make new purchases,
and also to become personally acquainted with those who have hitherto
served him so satisfactorily."

The dealer was very glad to become acquainted with the renowned
Jussuf, and, as what Hassan had said appeared very natural to him, he
continued, "If I do not mistake, I furnished thee lately with a
considerable quantity of oil of roses. Thou wert, then, pleased with
it?"

Jussuf assured him of his perfect satisfaction with the supply.

"Ah," continued the dealer, "thou must now again give me a commission;
for I have at present a much better supply, and I can let thee have it
at a very moderate price, although it is of a superior quality."

Jussuf was ashamed to confess that he had entirely neglected his
magazine and warehouse, and could not think of his business. He
therefore left him in his error, and gave him a considerable order for
oil of roses. But, as he thought of travelling farther, and the time
of his return was not decided, he ordered him to wait for further
instructions for sending the oil. Still, he paid the amount
beforehand. In this manner he went to all his friends in trade in
Shiraz. Hassan conducted him, announcing that his appearance in Persia
was to give orders; and so he was seduced into fresh commissions and
fresh purchases. At the silk-weavers' he ordered many hundred pieces
of silk stuffs; at others, a quantity of gold and silver stuffs; at
the jewellers' costly trinkets, and gold and silver vessels, and
implements. His companion not only led him to such dealers and
workers as he was already acquainted with in business, but introduced
him to many others. They induced him, partly by the beauty of their
goods, partly by their moderate prices, to make extensive purchases,
and to take himself large orders for goods which he promised to send
them from Balsora. It could not fail that a merchant of such fame as
Jussuf, who gave so many orders in the same town, should attract
attention. They sought after him with a friendly spirit in every
place; they asked him to all the feasts which were given in those days
in the families where he was known. Now he was to appear at a banquet
in the town; then at a rural feast in one of the largest and most
splendid gardens in the suburbs. People exerted themselves on all
sides to show him honour and to give him pleasure.

The new moon had arrived in the meantime, and Jussuf had still so many
invitations that he would have been obliged to remain till after the
full moon to fulfil them all. But the third evening after the new moon
had been named to him as the decisive moment, and he would not neglect
it. Hassan persuaded him strongly to stay a few more days, and those
who had invited him pressed him very much; but he continued steadfast
against longer delay, and he set out early on the third day after the
new moon for the little town where he had left his slaves and camels.

On arriving there, he found everything in order. He rested till
evening, and then went out, without any companions, to the ruins of
the destroyed town. Before sunset he was on the eastern side of them,
and had soon also found, at some distance, the marked-out stone. He
seated himself on it; and the sun had hardly gone down when he
observed the moon riding like a golden ship through the blue of the
obscure sky. He waited with palpitating heart and anxious impatience
for the moment when it should seem to stand on the mountain-ridges on
the western horizon. Then he called out quickly and loudly,
"Haschanascha!" He expected that at this call a guide would
immediately appear to him; but nothing appeared. The moon was, in the
meantime, sunk behind the mountains; but the bright and sparkling
stars still lighted the dark blue sky. He stood by the stone on which
he had hitherto sat, and was going to return to his people in the
town, discouraged at his deluded expectations, when he heard his name
called by a well-known voice. He turned towards the place from whence
it came, and soon recognized, in the light of the stars, his friend
Hassan, whom he thought he had left that morning in Shiraz.

"Well, well," said he, as he drew nearer to Jussuf, "it seemed to me
that thou stopped behind the mountains. Whenever I wished to speak
with thee of thy journey, thou always soughtest to evade me, and
turned the conversation some other way. Now all is clear to me: with
me thou needest not have made any mystery of it; since I find thee
here to-day, the third day after the new moon, I already know
everything. I regret very much that I must serve thee in this case,
for I have already conducted many on this road, and none of them have
ever come back."

"How, Hassan Assad, thou the guide that I was to find here?" exclaimed
Jussuf. "Thou wilt lead me to the object of my desires?"

"No," answered Hassan, "I cannot myself conduct thee: I can only bring
thee on the right road; but come, now, and follow me."

He led him back near the extensive ruins of the destroyed city: they
soon found tolerably passable roads, the few unobstructed tracks of
the former principal streets of the large royal city; but they were
often obliged to scramble over the rubbish of overthrown buildings,
across pillars, and the remains of mighty columns. His guide turned
now right, now left, to seek the easiest road; then backwards, then
forwards. They might, perhaps, have spent an hour scrambling about in
this manner, when at last Hassan arrived at a passage, closed with a
small iron door, which was not covered with ruins: here he took a
little silver hammer, and knocked nine times on the head of a great
nail which was in the door: at each knock he stopped for some seconds,
and Jussuf heard the sound in singular tones inside the door, as if it
reached to a great distance. At the last stroke the door flew open,
and showed a row of steps leading down to a cellar-like vault.

"Here we must descend," said Hassan; "here thou wilt see many
wonderful things, and thou wilt have rich presents; but take care not
to refuse any presents, or to speak a word: only when thou art asked
if thou hast enough, always answer no, till they abuse thee as an
unreasonable person, and ask thee what thou still desirest, then say
the word 'Ketlafgat,'--it is the name of a talisman, without which
thou canst never attain the end of thy wishes."

Jussuf observed the word, and promised to obey his instructor. They
now descended the steps together; and the door closed behind them with
a great noise. As they proceeded in profound darkness, Jussuf thought
of the talisman which he had received from Modibjah: he wished to see
if he were walking in the right road, and drew it out of the pouch:
although it was very dark, he still discerned the bright red spark in
the stone. He now descended after his guide with more courage. They
might have left about fifty steps behind when they arrived at a large
room: over this was raised a vast round vault from the ground, in the
form of a regular hemisphere. From the middle of the vault hung a
great lamp, on which, out of twelve branches, burned twelve long
dazzling white flames. The whole vault played with thousands of lights
of this flame, as if it were faced with an innumerable number of small
mirrors. As Jussuf moved to one side, curious to see the cause of this
reflection, he perceived that the vault was covered with eight large
oriental pearls of the greatest clearness, and that the space between
four of them was filled up with a smaller. He tried to detach one of
the large pearls from the wall; but it was so fast cemented that it
was impossible to remove it. In the meantime his guide had reached a
concealed door, and had knocked three times with his little hammer on
one spot. The door sprang open, and they entered a spacious
four-cornered room, on the walls of which were very large friezes,
supported too by pillars of solid gold. But each of the panels of the
flat part of the wall stood on a transparent gay green smooth-polished
stone, which Jussuf could only consider to be most valuable
emeralds--however improbable it seemed. Hassan allowed him no time to
look about him: he had already opened a third room with the strokes of
his silver hammer. The form of this was octagonal: the pillars and
sockets were of silver; but the panels rested on a precious stone of a
bright blue colour.

In the same manner they reached a more splendid and larger room. They
had already passed through twelve without having found any living
creature. Thus, with all this splendour, there was an unpleasant air
of desertion, which oppressed Jussuf so much that he would willingly
have imparted his feeling to his companion; but he strode on with such
seriousness and caution, in his passage through the opened doors and
rooms, that he had not courage to say a word aloud. After they had
passed through the twelfth chamber, Hassan knocked three times with
his hammer on the ground, which consisted of clear large and small
quadrangles of the most magnificent polished stripes of jasper.
Immediately one of these quadrangles opened and fell back, as if it
were a trap-door: here were disclosed many steps of beautiful crystal,
which led down still deeper. They descended, and the trap-door shut
down behind them. Jussuf saw no lamp by which the long descent of
steps was lighted, nor any window through which the light of day could
enter; but still it was not dark around them, for at each footstep
shone a clear blue light. He observed that this proceeded from a small
ball which rolled down before him from step to step, and, every time
that it alighted on a step, a clear blue ray of light streamed out,
which spread out its rays till the ball had rolled to another. At last
the steps ceased, and before him extended a long passage, the opposite
end of which was lighted by a clear point: they approached it, and
soon discovered a folding-door with glass windows, through which shone
the bright daylight. They passed through it, and found themselves in a
splendid garden, full of rare flowers and shrubs, such as Jussuf had
never before seen. At the entrance, two slaves approached him, who
bowed to him respectfully, but silently, and beckoned to him to follow
them. They led him into a large summer-house: there sat some men whom
Jussuf took for dervishes; they stood up and greeted him.

"Thou comest to fetch the treasure of the poor," said one of them:
"thy desires shall be fulfilled." He immediately made a sign to the
others, and they all moved off through another door. "Men," continued
he, "certainly are complete fools; they fix their hearts on such
useless things; and the more they have the more insatiable they are."

He shook his head contemptuously. Before he had said anything more,
the remaining dervishes came back, one bringing a number of purses
filled with sequins; two others bringing precious boxes filled with
pearls; the third, two boxes with great diamonds of the finest fire; a
fourth, two boxes full of the finest emeralds; and so each one another
precious thing.

Jussuf took all the things, and hid the boxes and the purses about his
person.

"Are you satisfied?" asked the dervish who had first spoken.

And Jussuf answered, "No."

"I said so," grumbled the dervish. And, at a sign from him, the others
again went and brought, as at the first time, purses of gold and boxes
of jewels.

"Hast thou enough now?" asked the dervish.

And Jussuf, who could hardly dispose of all about him, answered, "No."

With still greater signs of displeasure, the dervish caused a fresh
burden of similar presents to be brought. And, as Jussuf could not
carry any more, he asked again, "Now hast thou not enough, at last?"

Remembering Hassan's instructions, he again answered, "No."

Then the dervish got up, and turned round on one foot angrily, and
exclaimed, "Thou shameful man, art thou insatiable? Thou canst not
take all with thee that thou hast already received, and thou must load
thy companion also with the trifles in order to convey them hence, and
yet thou hast not enough, thou glutton!"

Immediately the other dervishes surrounded him, and screamed out, as
from a cave, "Glutton! impudent creature! avaricious man!"

"And what dost thou want now?" asked the dervish.

Then Jussuf said the word that Hassan had taught him for this
occasion, "Ketlafgat."

He had hardly spoken it, when the other dervishes sat down, and he who
had asked the question went out of the summer-house. He soon came back
with a small box, which he gave to Jussuf: it was made of mean wood,
and without any ornament.

"Here is what thou desirest," said he. And, while he reached to him a
small golden key, he added, "Henceforward thou no longer needest a
guide. Go where thy inclination leads thee: thou wilt always be in the
right road if thou do not open this box with the key; but, if thou art
once in despair, and all hope has vanished of reaching the end of thy
journey, thou mayest then open it."

He made a sign with his hand, and immediately the two slaves were
ready to conduct him away. Hassan took the boxes and the purses, which
Jussuf could not carry, in his pockets, and bowed to go away.

Then the dervish called after him, "Many persons have already fetched
the Ketlafgat from us, and it has always come back to us: it will
return from thee also."

The slaves led them another way out of the garden into the entrance of
a cave in the rock, shut the door behind them, and left them in a dark
passage. They groped about with their hands, and soon felt a door.
Hassan knocked again nine times with his hammer, and, behold, the door
opened at the last blow, and they issued out at another end of the
ruins of the destroyed town into the open air.

"Now we dare speak again," said Hassan. "What dost thou think of
doing? morning is not very distant. Wilt thou not return to the town,
and unload thyself of thy treasures?"

But Jussuf shook his head thoughtfully, and said, "What shall I do?
What shall I say? I have lately witnessed such wonders that I am
almost unable to think. I am no longer the man that I was, who had a
decided will of his own. I appear to myself like a play-ball to beings
of a superhuman nature. Every man, however, plays this part to a
certain extent."

"Well, bethink thee. See, I have packed up the treasures for thee, and
would willingly be released soon from thee, for I must return to
Shiraz in good time to-day, as thou probably knowest. Let us hasten,
then, back to the little town: there thou canst consider with thy
people what thou shalt do."

Jussuf followed him in deep thought, and, soon arriving at the town,
they entered the caravanserai. The slaves received their master with
joy, for they had become suspicious at his going out without
attendants, and, not coming back at night, they feared lest some
misfortune should have happened to him.

After he had laid down the purses and the boxes with the jewels, he
turned to Hassan, and said, "Thou hast already performed so many
services for me, that I must trespass and require still further from
thee. I see that this train will be more troublesome than serviceable
to me in my long journey; but I cannot leave it behind. Do me the
pleasure of taking these slaves, camels, and all the treasures which
are contained in each bale of goods, and travel with them as if they
were thine own property. If I return happily, and thou art willing,
should I be in need, to let me have part back again, I will accept it
from thee as a free-will present; should I not return, I shall have no
more need of them."

After a short conversation, Hassan consented, and immediately ordered
his camels to be laden to return to Shiraz. Jussuf took some of the
boxes of precious stones, a good number of purses with sequins, and,
above all, the box with the talisman Ketlafgat, loaded his horse with
them, took leave of Hassan with heartfelt thankfulness, commanded his
slaves to obey their new master, mounted his horse, and rode at the
dawn of morning towards the rising of the sun.

Jussuf had proceeded ten days in this direction without anything
remarkable happening to him. On the evening of the eleventh day he
arrived at a high hill, which appeared fruitless, not a tree or a bush
to be seen. There was not a village, a hut, or a tent within his sight
all round. He was obliged to resolve to pass the night under the open
sky, and looked about to see to what he could fasten his horse; for,
although it was a tame, trusty animal, yet he was afraid that it might
run away in the night. At last, finding nothing, he unbuckled the
pack-saddle, and let his steed pasture on the half-withered grass,
which was the only thing there. Then he lay down on the ground, and
soon fell asleep; but he suddenly awoke again, and, looking for his
horse, found it had vanished; he looked towards the place where the
saddle was laid--that was not there either. It was clear to him that a
robber had taken his horse. He peered round in the deceptive
moonlight, but could perceive nothing. He was much grieved, and said
to himself, "It is quite just: I had a company of true servants, and
have sent them away in a frivolous manner; I had immense riches, and
have given them into the hands of a stranger without surety, who may
live happily in their possession whilst I must starve." But he soon
continued, with collected courage, "Yet of what use are all the goods
of the earth to me? What help would a whole army of the most faithful
and the boldest companions be to me? I seek a gift with which I shall
ever be on the right road, as the dervish said, and I always carry the
box and the golden key with me. Everything may go if the talisman
Ketlafgat remains to me, which will preserve me if despair should
seize me in the attainment of my wishes."

As he spoke thus to himself, he saw a number of riders appear in the
distance, and he soon perceived that they were riding straight to him.
He looked round for some place of shelter; but there was no place on
the level high plains where he could hide himself. The riders
approached nearer: he saw them divide and form a cross, and so they
advanced till they came quite near. Some of them alighted and went
with drawn sabres to him. He found that all defence was vain, and,
throwing away his sabre, he knelt down, bowing himself to the ground
like a humble slave.

"Seize him!" called out the leader of the horsemen, "and seat him on a
spare horse, and bring him with us; but, by your lives, stand by me,
and see that he does not escape."

Both the horsemen to whom he had spoken these words inclined full of
reverence to him, then seized Jussuf, bound his hands, and seated him
on a horse, and, taking him between them, rode, alternately seizing
the bridle of his horse, at a fast trot over the high plains. The
remaining riders followed at a little distance. With short
interruptions, which were necessary for the forage of the horses and
the rest of the men and animals, they continued riding for several
days. About the tenth day they reached a wide valley through which
flowed a great river. Jussuf saw cultivated fields, gardens, and men's
dwellings. They made him alight from his horse, and led him into the
little room of a house. There they gave him everything necessary to
make himself clean after so long a journey. For a man who had before
lived in the greatest affluence, he had felt very heavily in these
last days of his imprisonment his want of cleanliness: it seemed to
him, therefore, a most wonderful favour of fate that they now brought
him water with which to bathe himself, a comb, and some ointment for
his beard, and signified to him that he was to take a bath and anoint
himself. After he had bathed, combed his beard, and anointed himself,
he was conducted to the garden of the house; and here the owner of it
advanced towards him. After he had observed him with searching looks,
he said to his companions,

"Good! the man is quite right; keep him carefully and examine him for
nine days, then we will take him to his place, and sacrifice him to
the fire." He winked with his eye, and his servants took him back to
his chamber, which they carefully watched.

In his solitude Jussuf thought over his fate. He lamented again his
thoughtlessness in exposing himself alone to the dangers of a journey
in an unknown country; he bewailed his fate in falling into the hands
of fire-worshippers, and tried several times to open the box with the
golden key. Then said he to himself, "What hope can I now have of
attaining the end of my wishes? I am a captive, and well watched; and
if I am delivered from captivity, it will be to sacrifice me to the
flames." Often hope woke again. He still possessed the treasures that
he carried about his body, and they were not inconsiderable: he
concealed them carefully, for he hoped that they might be a means of
bribery to his companions on the road to sacrifice, and that he might
thus purchase his freedom. He received daily clean and good food, and
would have had nothing of which to complain, if he had not wanted
freedom, and had not the fear of death before his eyes.

On the morning of the ninth day he had a farther and faster passage
from the house where he was imprisoned. Eighty black slaves rode
forward on white horses. Then came as many white slaves on black
horses. After these came a number of riders, whom Jussuf could easily
discern to be those who had taken him prisoner. Behind these, and
surrounded by them, rode the master of the country, who had destined
him to be sacrificed. Then came twenty venerable grey-headed men, in
red and gold striped garments, each of whom bore a broad glittering
blade, and a bundle of dry bamboo-sticks. Behind them followed ten
youths, with coal-dishes full of glowing coals. And now Jussuf was
brought forth, and, with his hands fastened, and his feet chained to
the horse, he rode between his former companions. Behind him followed
a number of armed men, and then a crowd of people. In this order the
procession wound along the valley. Towards evening they chose a place
for encampment, and struck some tents. Jussuf was watched in a
distinct tent. As he observed that stillness reigned in the camp, he
approached the entrance of his tent, and called out, half aloud,

"I am very thirsty. Is no one here who could bring me a refreshing
drink?"

The watchman who guarded his tent answered him, "When my hour is up, I
will fetch you some water from the river. Till then remain quiet."

"Alas!" sighed Jussuf, "my lips thirst not for water; my soul thirsts
after liberty. I will prove myself very grateful if you will let me
escape."

The watchman answered, "I dare not; for my life is at stake."

This conversation continued for some time. Jussuf offered him six
purses of sequins, and a large diamond, which was worth ten times
their value. He had still a box of the finest and most costly
diamonds, which he had taken from Hassan. But the guard always urged
other objections. He did not deny that he would willingly win the
prize; but he dreaded the consequences. Jussuf proposed that he should
flee with him, and seek another home; but he would not listen to it.

"I cannot separate from my wife and children; I must return home. What
good would all the possessions of earth be to me if I were obliged to
live a fugitive in a strange country, and consume my life longing
after my kindred?"

Then a thought flashed through Jussuf's mind. "Let me stop your
mouth--let me bind and tie you, that they may perceive that you were
overcome. When they find you so, you can exculpate yourself, saying
that I was too strong for you--that I stopped your mouth, so that you
could not cry for help. I will give you what I have said, and you can
bury it in the sand, and dig it up at some fit season."

The bargain was soon struck. Jussuf gave him what he had promised. The
guard buried the purses in the sand, hid the diamond in a fold of his
garment, and then allowed Jussuf to tie his hands and feet, and to
stop his mouth. Then Jussuf passed as quietly through the camp as he
could, mounted one of the horses which stood ready saddled, and set
off at a full gallop.

Thus he escaped fortunately. He rode the whole night, and thereby won
a lengthened start. But still he feared that they might perceive the
track of the horse's hoofs, and follow him, and fetch him back; so he
killed his horse (whose strength was relaxing) with his dagger, and
fled into a neighbouring wood, where he hoped, by its thickness, to be
screened from the pursuit of riders. Here he refreshed himself by
drinking at a spring of water, and with fruits and berries, which grew
there in abundance. He then went on farther and farther. He observed,
in his flight, the traces of wild beasts, and was therefore afraid to
lie down on the ground. In the evening he climbed a high tree, bound
himself fast to a branch, and composed himself for the night. His seat
was very uncomfortable, and he always feared danger. Still his
resolution overcame his fear, and he slept quietly for some hours,
and, strengthened with new courage, he descended, and continued his
wanderings through the wood. He lived also this day on berries and
wild fruits, and again ascended a high tree in the evening, in which
he spent the night.

Thus he passed several days. At last he remarked that here the land
rose considerably. The wood soon became broken in parts with rocks;
the growth of the trees was not so considerable; the shrubs gradually
disappeared altogether; great masses of rock covered the ground.
Between them grew luxuriantly small bushes. At last only grass and
moss were to be seen. He went farther, and soon saw a bare high rock,
from which extended, far and wide, only great wooded mountains. In
the distance arose still higher cliffs over the woods, whose summits
shone white in the sunlight; and from some of them there arose a thick
smoke, as though there were a huge furnace underneath, the chimney
being the top of the mountain. The air blew here cold and cutting.
Jussuf thought he could not spend the night among the bare rocks, so
he wandered on with activity. Before night came on he had reached a
place where high trees were growing, and where he again found a safe,
but uncomfortable, sleeping-place. He wandered about for many days on
the wooded mountains, and again reached a high ridge, over which he
passed, until he arrived at a valley through which a brook ran, in a
serpentine direction, among verdant meadows. He traced the brook
through the valley, and reached a spot where it flowed into a river.
He now followed the course of the river, and as night came on before
he perceived any human habitations, he lay down on the bank among the
high grass, and resolved to sleep there, since he had not seen any
track of wild beasts in his passage through the valley. The hope of at
last reaching some inhabited spot, after so long and lonely a
wandering among deserted woods, had urged him on this day to a longer
journey, and he was thereby much exhausted. He had also only slept for
many days in a sitting and tiresome posture; he therefore found the
high grass very agreeable, and slept till dawn of morning. He would
probably have not even then awoke had he not been forced to do so.

When he came to himself, he saw some men on the ground, who were busy
fastening his hands and feet with fine but very strong string. He
wrestled with them, and threw them down. But all was in vain: he was
bound, and they laid him on a litter of bamboo-sticks, and carried him
off with rapid strides. They soon reached a place where the river
became deeper, and broader, so that it was navigable for boats. Here
lay a vessel on the bank, into which they carried him, and conveyed
him up the stream. After a journey of several hours, they reached a
great city. They passed by several gardens and country houses, and at
last arrived at the middle of the city, which was divided by the
river, but connected by several high bridges. They lay off the shore,
and carried Jussuf out of the ship into the court of a great palace,
where everybody collected at once from the neighbourhood, even the
casual passers-by. They observed him with curious looks, handled his
clothes, which were all cut and torn about by his wanderings in the
thicknesses of the woods, and laughed at him. At last the owner of the
palace appeared at the principal gate with a large retinue of
distinguished servants. From the respect of those around him, and the
awe with which all present withdrew to a distance, Jussuf concluded
that he must be the Sultan, or the Prince of the country. He looked at
the poor captive, and spoke to his servants in a language which Jussuf
did not understand. They immediately brought a large cage of strong
bamboo-poles. Jussuf was unbound, pushed in, and locked up. They then
brought out a tame elephant, put the cage on it, and so led him
through the streets of the town, whilst the crier called out some
taunting thing in every street, and pointed at him with his stick. The
boys threw stones at him, and even persons of more mature age derided
him in every possible manner. If he showed himself in pain from any of
the stones hitting him, and crouched up, or if he evaded any of the
stones by the bars of his prison, every one burst out into an
immoderate fit of laughter. Tired of their ill treatment, he cowered
on the ground, turning his face downwards, and putting his hands over
his head, to guard it against the blows of the stones. As soon as the
crier remarked this, he pushed him with his long stick, and gave him
such pokes in the ribs, that he was obliged to sit up. Jussuf was
enraged and in despair. He turned round as quickly as possible in his
narrow cage, seized a bar of the lattice-work, and, shaking it,
screamed out,

"Is there any man among you who understands my language? Do you take
me, then, for a strange outlandish animal, that you lead me about in a
cage as a sight?"

And, as no one answered him, he despaired anew, and upbraided his
tormentors. New laughter followed this. At last they accomplished the
circuit of the town. At the palace the cage was again taken down from
the elephant's back and placed on four posts, of the height of a
man's stature, which stood in the court before the entrance of the
garden of the palace. They brought him some food, consisting of
parboiled rice, which, in his displeasure, he allowed to remain
untouched. At first, several curious people had collected from among
the servants around him; but they soon dispersed, and left him alone
to despair and bitter reflection.

He thought on his situation, and how he was in a distant land where
nobody understood his language, nor could aid in delivering him from
his mournful imprisonment. At this moment death would have been
welcome. He seized his dagger, which he had carefully concealed in a
fold of his robe, intending to put an end to his life by its means. As
he drew it from the sheath, a ray of the sun fell on the blade, and
reflected back the fiery glance so as to dazzle his eyes like a glow
of fire. A spark lighted his talisman, and immediately he remembered
the words of his old preceptor Modibjah. He put the dagger back, and
took from his bosom the pouch containing the talisman; but, as he
looked at the stone, the spark disappeared. It was a milk-white stone,
like an ordinary fragment of white porcelain: then he breathed on it
with a deep sigh, and with his lips said, "Haschanascha!"

Scarcely had he pronounced this name, than a slave appeared, passed
before the cage, and said, "Oh, you poor knave, how I pity you!"

As Jussuf heard these words, he cried out joyfully, "That is my native
language! Oh, pity an unfortunate, and tell me why I am so
maltreated!"

"I dare not now," answered the slave: "wait till midnight, then I will
come and speak to you. I pity you exceedingly: at the first glance I
recognized you as a countryman, and wished extremely to lighten your
fate." With these words he disappeared through another door in the
palace.

The thought that he had found a man with whom he could converse on his
misfortune, and who felt a sympathy for him, consoled Jussuf: all idea
of killing himself was quite forgotten; on the contrary, he saw
himself again free to pursue his journey. In this disposition he felt
with renewed vigour the necessity of supporting life, and partook of
the meal spread before him. The strengthening of his body refreshed
his spirits. In gaining tranquillity of mind and body, his sorrows
passed away, and he fell asleep in his cage. He awoke at midnight: the
slave had come to speak to him.

"If you will promise with a holy oath," said he to Jussuf, "that you
will not place me in danger by your conduct, but will talk with me
quietly, for the time of our conversation, I will let you out of the
cage."

"By the beard of the Prophet!" swore Jussuf, "I will be very quiet,
and will not put you in any danger."

At this oath, the slave climbed up a small ladder and opened the cage,
which was fastened very cunningly without a lock, but so that nobody
could open it unless he knew the secret. He helped Jussuf down, and
went with him into the garden, the door of which stood open. There
they seated themselves, and Jussuf asked,

"Why am I imprisoned? What is the reason that I am held up in this
scandalous manner as a show, and shut up in a cage like a wild beast?"

To these questions the slave replied, "The King and the inhabitants of
this city are worshippers of a snake; their idol is a great serpent,
to whom they have erected a large and magnificent temple, where he is
attended by a great number of priests: the priests mislead the people,
and what they wish takes place. Now, the King has one Princess--the
daughter of his wife by a former marriage--she is black like a
negress; but she has learned from her mother to know and to venerate
the Prophet. The King loves this black Princess dearly as an only
daughter; but the priests have misled him, and persuaded him to send
her away from the Court and city, and to keep her confined in a palace
built under a stream; for they have a prophecy, according to which, at
the time when the white summit of that mountain, which lies to the
north-east from the tower of the palace and from the cupola of the
temple, can be seen to smoke, a man shall come to the kingdom who
shall marry the King's daughter, and put all the worshippers of the
serpent to fire and sword. Now," he continued, "the mountain has begun
to smoke: the King has therefore, by the advice of his priests, given
commandment to his servants to seize all the foreigners they meet,
that they may be sacrificed to their idol. So you were found, and are
now destined to be a victim. The priests know of your imprisonment,
and are making preparations for a very grand sacrifice, which is to
last seven days."

"What!" cried Jussuf, "shall I be offered to a snake--to a stupid,
superstitious fancy?" He wept, and begged and prayed the slave to let
him escape.

"How will you escape?" asked the slave. "It is not possible through
the palace--guards are at every entrance; and you would also fall into
the hands of the watchmen in the city. You cannot fly over the garden
wall, for on the other side is a deep ditch, full of mud and water. If
you jumped over, you would be embedded in the mud."

Jussuf exhausted himself in prayers and entreaties to persuade the
slave to help him in his flight.

"Only one means is possible," he replied. "To-morrow is the day on
which a messenger is usually sent to the Princess's palace, to
inquire, in the King's name, after her health and wishes. I have many
times had this commission, and will offer again. If I go, I am sure
she will have me brought before her, as she knows I belong to the
Faithful, and speak many languages which she learned from her mother.
I will relate to her your imprisonment, and ask her assistance or
counsel. She is as clever as good and innocent, and can give excellent
advice."

Although Jussuf placed little reliance on this plan, still there was
some hope of success, and the only hope that he could find. He
therefore agreed to it, and returned to his cage, in which the slave
fastened him, having told him that if he did not return at noon, he
was to take it as a sign that he was sent on the embassy to the
Princess.

On the morrow a slave brought him some food, and curious people came
with the King's servants to see him; but the day passed without Jussuf
being able to observe his countryman among the remaining slaves in the
court below. Full of hope, he watched the approach of night, when he
hoped to receive counsel and help. The slave came at midnight and
called him by his name.

"Now," said Jussuf, "what news do you bring?"

"Alas! my lord," answered the slave, "I know not what to think.
Although the Princess is a faithful follower of the Prophet, she was
very quiet when I related your history: I expected she would have
concerned herself about your being offered to a snake; but she heard
me tranquilly."

Jussuf asked if she had not sent him any counsel.

"No; she said no other word," answered the slave, "than, 'Tell your
countryman that everybody must be obedient, and resigned to the will
of Heaven. Heathenish prophecies are often the consequence of godly
truth and wisdom.'"

"What can I conclude from that?" said Jussuf. "In Allah's name, I must
give myself up as a sacrifice to a snake, because it is the will of
Heaven!"

He then broke out in desperate tears and cries.

"Listen," said the slave: "do not abandon all hope; I will give you
good counsel. She has charged me to tell the King that to-morrow she
wishes once more to visit her father in his palace. This is the first
time since she has dwelt in her own palace. The King has sent her
permission, as he thinks the prophecy cannot be now fulfilled, seeing
that he has you in his power. She will certainly go into the garden,
and pass through that farther door. When she passes, call her, and
relate your case, and beg her to deliver you. She understands your
language, and will certainly feel pity when she hears and sees you."
He now turned away as a glimmer of light fell on him from one of the
palace windows. "Farewell, I must away," whispered he; "it must not be
betrayed that I have given you advice. Do not forget to call to her:
only from her can you hope for anything. Call her Haschanascha: that
is her name." With these words he left the palace quickly.

"Haschanascha is her name! How? Is not that the name of her whom I was
to call in the ruins of the destroyed capital? Shall I not call her if
the spark in Modibjah's talisman no longer shines? Is not Haschanascha
the magic word which has led me here alone, away from all men who
understand my language and share my anxieties?"

So he spoke to himself, and determined to follow the counsel given him
by the slave.

After he had passed the night, partly in unquiet wakefulness, partly
in dozing, he observed in the early part of the morning a great
disturbance and unusual business in the courtyard. It was quiet in the
inner court, when the Princess at last came. At this moment all
pressed into the square before the palace. When Jussuf saw this, he
pulled the talisman out of his pocket, and thought, "I must see if the
stone preserves its spark. It seems a good sign of deliverance." And,
behold, as he drew it forth, the red spot shone more fiery than ever.
At noon he suddenly heard a trampling, as if the procession of slaves
of the Princess were going into the garden. He attentively watched the
appointed door, and he soon saw her pass, and her father, followed by
a long train.

At this moment Jussuf cried out, "Haschanascha! Haschanascha! pity an
unfortunate!"

On hearing the cry she looked up at Jussuf, and the King also gazed at
him full of astonishment. Meantime the Princess drew near, and he
followed her close. When he had said some words to her, she asked
Jussuf,

"My King and foster-father asks who taught you the name Haschanascha?"

Jussuf knew that he ought not to betray the faithful slave, and yet he
wished to confess the truth. He said, therefore,

"Before I knew that it was the name of a human being, my old teacher,
Modibjah, taught me, whatever difficulties and dangers befell me, to
pronounce the word Haschanascha. It has always been a defence to me
whenever I have pronounced it. May it this time also procure me
assistance!"

"You have named to me a very dear name," answered the Princess; "and
it is a sign that you are he whom I must release from being
sacrificed. But there is only one way--you must be my husband. This is
the command of a higher being whom you must obey. Examine, if you
will not thus purchase life and liberty at too dear a price. Without
the fulfilling of this condition, I cannot deliver you. I give you
time for consideration. When I return from the garden, let me know
your determination."

She pronounced these words in a loud, earnest tone, and then turned
with her father into the garden. The train of slaves accompanied them.
Jussuf gave himself up to deep thought.

"I had selected a different one for my future bride; I would not take
many wives, according to our customs, but only one companion for life,
who was my playfellow, whom I have sought for, and for whose sake I
have encountered these dangers. If I take this black Princess for my
wife, it will only be from love of life, that I may be freed from
prison. Then I must leave my old playfellow."

He thus meditated for some time, and at last resolved of the two evils
to choose the lesser. When the Princess returned from the garden, he
called her by name, and she approached with her father, and asked him,
with an earnest mien and firm tone, what resolution he had adopted.

"How could I remain a moment in doubt?" answered he. "You, dearest
Princess, will condescend to a poor unknown, and become my wife. You
are the sun of my life. Without you life is worth nothing."

At these words she broke out into a hearty laugh. When she had
finished laughing, she said, "Ah! I see you are like all men--a
hypocrite and a jester. Much truth is in your jesting words. I am the
sun of your life! Without me life would be worth nothing! Indeed,
without me, you would be sacrificed to a snake!" She seated herself,
and said, "Be not afraid: swear to me by the Prophet that you will
take me for your wife, and you shall to-day be delivered from your
prison."

Jussuf swore; and now she turned to her father, and spoke earnestly
with him in his language. But the faithful slave approached the cage,
and interpreted all that was said.

"It is not prudent to keep this man imprisoned without knowing whether
he is the right one to offer to the snake. You have seized the best,
and in the meanwhile justice is forgotten. Have the priests to the
snake called, that they may see him, and that I may speak with them."

The King answered that this would be easy, as two priests had arrived
from the snake's temple, before they had gone into the garden, to
demand an audience.

They were called, and there soon appeared the priests in long white
garments, with particoloured girdles.

"Is this the man pointed out by your god?" asked she, as they
approached Jussuf's cage.

"It is, it is!" they cried in the same voice, and bowed humbly before
the Princess.

"What have you for a sign?" she again asked.

"We have no sign," they answered; "but he it is."

"You have no sign! How, then, do you know he is the right one?" asked
she.

To which they answered, "The divine snake has discovered it."

Then she replied, with contempt, "Be silent to me about your snake!"
And she turned to the King, and said, "My King and father, will you
suffer yourself any longer to be deceived by these stupid and
obstinate men? They give out that they have divine knowledge, and yet
they are as ignorant as a maiden of sixteen! I beg you, have their
god, the snake, brought here, and I will prove that I speak truth; but
they, only deceit and falsehood."

At these words, the priests doubled their fists, and struck their
foreheads and breasts, and bowed themselves to the ground, and jumped
about as if seized by convulsions.

Then the King looked at the Princess with a frightened countenance,
and said, "Child, take heed what you do; revile not the gods."

All the servants who stood around were astonished, not rightly
comprehending what was passing. But the Princess earnestly coaxed the
King to cause the priests to bring the divine serpent there, that they
might test the truth of what she had spoken. The King gave the
command, and the priests left; at the Princess's request the King
remained. All stood around in anxious expectation.

They had not to wait long before a numerous train of priests appeared,
eight of whom bore, on four golden staves, a costly chest adorned with
gold, ebony, and precious stones, and placed it in the middle of the
court. Then they bowed before the King, and the high priest stepped
forward and said,

"The King has given us an unusual command, and we fear that a great
misfortune is about to happen. What is the reason that we are summoned
from the recesses of the temple, and must even bring the divine snake
in its chest with us?"

Then the Princess said, "I will explain all. It is doubted that you
really take charge of a divine snake; therefore let the chest be
opened, and show it to the people."

Then the priests answered, "Do the people doubt of our god? Let the
doubters approach and be convinced."

He opened the lid, and every one saw a great snake in the chest It lay
stupefied, as snakes usually do after a heavy repast.

The Princess approached the chest, and cried, "Behold, doubters! is
not this a snake?" Then she turned to the high priest, and asked, "Has
your god shown you no sign by which you may know the man that ought to
be sacrificed?" The high priest mused, but did not reply. Then she
said, "Now I will show you the truth. Man does not properly understand
heavenly things. I honour your prudence; but answer me another
question. Would your god know its enemies if there were any such here?
And would he revenge himself on them if they attempted his life?"

"Certainly, certainly!" vociferated the priest. "Fire would fall from
heaven and destroy them."

"Very well," she said; "I am the enemy, and your god dies by my hand."
And quickly, even before she had quite uttered these words, she drew
her poniard and with it pierced the head of the snake, so that the
weapon ran into its chest and transfixed it.

The priests gave a common cry, and the King seized the Princess by
both arms, and pulled her back.

"My child, my child!" he cried, "what have you done?"

"What you, my father, ought long since to have done," she replied.
"Will you all believe," she called aloud to the spectators, "that I
have done right in killing this snake, if I tell you what you will
find within it?"

After a short pause, the King answered, "Yes, certainly." And the
people cried, "Then is the snake rightly slain--it was no god."

The priests said to the King, "She shall tell us; but we will accuse
her of its death if she does not speak truth."

The Princess cried with a firm voice, "Let it be so; I promise them."

The King bowed consent.

Then she said, "There is a man among us whose wife sits at home
weeping and bewailing, for she had a beautiful little boy, eighteen
months old, who often ran about the streets. This child did not return
home yesterday: it was taken to the snake's temple, and the priests
know where it is. Let the man step forward and seek his child in the
snake's belly."

While she was speaking, a deep silence reigned around; but now a man
broke forth from the crowd, and said, "It is true; I am the man. My
beautiful boy, my Hamed, has not returned, and my wife sits at home
and weeps. I left her, for I could not bear to hear her lament."

Then arose a common shout of astonishment and compassion from all, and
he waited long for silence.

Then the Princess said to the man, "Draw your sword, cut open the
snake, and you will find your child. I do not know if life still
remain in him--the snake has only swallowed it an hour."

The man approached the chest, drew his sword with a trembling hand,
and opened the snake with an anxious face. When, behold, he pulled out
his child! He immediately ran with him from the palace, as he thought
he discovered some slight traces of life in him. Then the priests fell
on their knees before the King, and begged for pardon.

But the people, who were assembled in great crowds, cried, "Down with
them! down with them!" and laid hands on them, as the King commanded
them to be imprisoned.

The Princess now turned to the King, and said, "Let us release this
unfortunate man: he has come as a stranger into our land, to whom you
ought to have shown hospitality; instead of which you have imprisoned
him as a criminal; you have mocked and jeered him, whilst, by your
oath, you should have allowed him to quit your city free. Let what you
have said in mockery of him be now reversed to his honour; for a
King's word must not be blown away by the wind. This and no other
shall be my husband."

The King commanded, and the prisoner was immediately freed. He bowed
thankfully to the King and Princess. The King raised him, embraced
him, called him his son, and led him to the Princess, saying,

"Let him be your husband: the solemnities of marriage shall be
immediately prepared."

He caused his servants to proclaim through the city that the marriage
of Princess Haschanascha was to be celebrated the next day, and all
people were invited to assemble before the palace and to feast there.
In his palace he pointed out to Jussuf a wing, in the apartments of
which he for the future should dwell with his wife.

But the Princess said, "I will inhabit the apartments which I formerly
dwelt in in this palace; for I only consider myself as his betrothed,
till an imam of the religion which we both profess has pronounced over
us the marriage blessing."

The King did not oppose her, but said, "You may command all as it
pleases you. Since yesterday, I have discovered that you possess more
knowledge and wisdom than the rest of mankind."

The betrothal was celebrated with great splendour. The King, according
to his former oath, showed Jussuf all honour, carried him to his
different country seats, pointed out to him his gardens and lands,
prepared many feasts, and did all to make his residence in his Court
agreeable. The Princess accompanied them everywhere, and helped not a
little to render these short journeys pleasing and satisfactory. She
watched with great care for the convenience of her future husband, and
sought to fulfil even his smallest wish before he had spoken it; so
that Jussuf was often astonished, and said to himself, "She must read
my thoughts before they arise." He felt that he was happy in
everything except in her having a black complexion. One day they all
went together to a beautiful neighbouring hunting-seat, in the
environs of which a grand hunt was held. The Princess Haschanascha
took part in it. She rode on a tame elephant, over whose back was
thrown a cloth embroidered with gold. On the middle of its back a
couch was skilfully fastened, and over this a canopy was raised on
four slender pillars of gold. Jussuf remained generally near her
during the hunt. He rode on a beautiful horse of the most noble race,
which the King had sent him from his stable. Whenever he saw a curious
bird or a wild beast, he aimed so well that the animal always fell
pierced by his arrow. In the evening when they returned to the palace
from the wood, Jussuf wished to remain there some days away from the
bustle of the Court, and the King granted this wish. He left behind
some servants to wait on him, and returned with his daughter to the
capital.

At parting, Haschanascha appeared very sad, and Jussuf perceived tears
in her eyes.

"I know," said she, "this stay will be unfortunate for me; you will
forget me: even the talisman of your teacher Modibjah will fall into
other hands, and on it depends my life. Might it be that this
body--this hateful black veil of Haschanascha--should fall to pieces
if it might conduce to your happiness. You will soon awake from a
bright dream to longer and more bitter sorrows."

Jussuf consoled her, and represented that she troubled herself with
useless fears. He took an affectionate farewell of her, and saw the
procession depart not without emotion: he would willingly have
accompanied her, but an irresistible feeling held him back. He went,
as he was now quite alone, into the garden, which was adorned with
curious flowers.

"Why was it," said he anxiously to himself, "that Haschanascha was
to-day so mournful at parting? She is so prudent, and with her clear
eyes foresees the events of life. Why can she fear that I should ever
allow Modibjah's talisman to get into a stranger's hands when I always
wear it?" With these words he pulled the little bag out, and said,
"No, I will never separate from you unless you are taken by force. But
can robbers be sheltered in this land?"

Whilst he asked himself these questions, he thought that it would be
better not to carry it in his bosom, where it might easily be found if
he were searched. He therefore wrapped it up carefully in the folds of
his turban, and believed it to be quite safe.

Night had spread its veil over the garden, and he returned to the
palace. Wonderful dreams disturbed his sleep, and their impressions
accompanied him when he went into the garden the next morning. He had
dreamt a great deal about red poppy-flowers, and now he saw them
before him in the garden-beds. He found some alone in a bed, and while
he watched them he again saw in fancy the same butterfly that he had
before seen in his own garden upon similar flowers, and the memory of
the circumstances Of the last time were deeply graven in his soul.
Then he again dwelt upon the maiden to seek whom he had made this
journey. Thus, amid these reflections, he took hold of the wooden box
which he had received from the dervish in the subterraneous chambers
in the ruined city near Shiraz.

"Without thee," said he, "could I never have obtained the object of my
desires? And of what use have you been to me till to-day? You ought to
lead me straight to my mark, and I should always be in the right way
as long as I did not open the box with the golden key. You indeed have
led me through dangers and misery, and at the end to a betrothal with
a maiden as different from the one I sought as day from night. And
shall I open you only when I have lost all hope to attain my desire?
Well, let us see what it contains."

With these words he pulled out the golden key and unlocked the box;
but he let it fall to the earth with a joyous cry, for scarcely had he
opened it when the curious butterfly flew out, hovered in the sunshine
over the flowers, and soon settled on one of the poppies. He quickly
snatched off his turban, and covered with it the butterfly and the
flowers. When he raised it, a figure was underneath, and before him
stood his pleasant playfellow.

"Are you truly she? Do I really see you at last?" he cried,
astonished.

"I am truly she," she answered. "Have you quite forgotten me, that you
have allowed so long a time to elapse without asking after me? But
what have you done with your turban? Let us see."

She took it from his head, sought in the folds, and pulled out the
little bag with the talisman.

"Oh, oh!" cried she, returning his turban, "do you carry such things
about with you? You will not want it any more: I will keep it." And
she sprang forward.

He ran after her and caught her, begging her to return his pouch,
explaining that it contained a talisman which had hitherto preserved
him from every danger.

"Well," said she, when he paused, "and the only error is, that you
have met with me again to-day."

She assured him that she would never return the talisman, and began
many games with him as they had done in the garden at Balsora. At
dinner-time he asked her to go into the palace to take some
refreshment. She looked at him with a scornful laugh, and said, "I? Go
under a roof--sit to table with you to partake of meats prepared from
the flesh of animals and the flour of wheat? What can you mean? Do you
not recollect the fig that we ate together? It still nourishes me; but
I know that you need more."

She went to a neighbouring bush, plucked a white blossom, and offered
it to him. "There, drink honey," said she.

When he took the flower, it changed into a silver-gilt goblet filled
with delicious drink. He drank, and felt himself quite refreshed,
strengthened, and satisfied. They again played many childish games
together, and the maiden always invented new pastimes. The day passed
by, and Jussuf did not perceive how the hours flew away: the sun was
just sinking; then his playfellow sprang over a neighbouring bush, and
cried, "Good night."

As she passed over the flowers of the bush, she disappeared from
Jussuf's eyes, and he saw only the butterfly flying. When he returned
to the palace, his servants were much rejoiced. They had waited for
him since noon, and had searched for him in the gardens, as an embassy
had been sent from the capital to bring him news that the Princess had
suddenly fallen ill. He caused the messengers to be brought before
him, to learn from them all the attendant circumstances. He
discovered from them that she had retired to rest early the preceding
evening, and had risen quite well in the morning after a peaceful
slumber; but hardly had the sun shone half an hour, when she fell, and
was obliged to be carried to her apartments. She soon came to herself,
but felt very weak, and informed her sorrowing father that she must
die. Jussuf was very thoughtful, for he remembered her warning about
the talisman, and also recollected that it was exactly the same hour
in which the maiden had taken it from the folds of his turban. He
resolved early the next morning to desire the talisman from her
earnestly, and then to hasten to the city; and commanded the embassy
to return at sunrise the next day, to announce his arrival in the
evening. In the loneliness of night he felt angry with himself. But
the loss of the talisman, which exceedingly disquieted him, was not
the only reason: it was a mortifying feeling to him that he had passed
the whole day in childish sports, according to the caprice of his
playfellow. He thought over all the words they had spoken, and found
nothing in them but excessive frivolity.

He arose the next morning by daybreak, and at sunrise he again stood
in the garden. Scarcely had the sun's rays dried the dew, when the
beautiful butterfly hovered over the beds. Once more it settled on a
poppy. Jussuf covered it with his turban--the change was again
completed--the maiden once more stood before him. He immediately
demanded of her the little bag with the talisman.

She mocked him with a mischievous laugh, and said, "You shall not have
it to-day: perhaps to-morrow, if you are polite."

Then they again began their sports, and Jussuf soon forgot in their
amusements everything else, and played and sported with her. She gave
him, in the same manner as yesterday, honey to drink from a flower,
after she had sipped a little herself, and knew how to draw him round
the gardens in her sports, so that nobody met them. On this day also
his servants sought him in the garden, and could not find him; another
messenger had arrived from the city, wishing to speak to him in great
haste.

He did not return to the palace till she had flown away as a
butterfly. The messenger informed him that the Princess still
remained very unwell, and that her weakness had materially increased
when he did not arrive as he had promised. She had not said anything
about this delay; but the King was very unhappy, and requested that he
would come to the city the next day. He promised it, ordered the
messenger to return at daybreak, and went into his sleeping-apartment.
There he again reproached himself as on the previous day, and resolved
to set out on the morrow, as soon as his playmate should return the
talisman. When he met her the next day in the garden, he immediately
asked for it.

"How now, Jussuf?" said she. "What a tone! Is this the way to greet
your frolicking playmate? Is it worth while to make such a fuss about
a miserable fragment of stone?" She bowed to him, laughing, and ran
off.

Jussuf followed, and when he got near her, cried, "It concerns the
life of the Princess."

Then she stopped, and asked, "Is this the reason of your earnestness?
The Princess? The black negress? What binds you to her? Do you
consider her as a creature like yourself? And, even if it were so,
what can such a tiresome serious person be to you? Have you ever
played with her an hour so merrily as we have played the whole day?
And, believe me, my stock is not yet nearly exhausted. I have
novelties every day."

She again began a game, and, before Jussuf could recollect himself, he
had deeply entered into it; and he had soon forgotten the messenger,
his intentions, and his resolutions. He played with her till evening,
and returned to the palace when she had disappeared as usual. He had
been sought for as on the former days, but in vain. A fresh messenger
had brought still worse tidings of Haschanascha's health, and he made
the bitterest reproaches to himself for his neglect. He ordered his
horse to be saddled, and, as it was a moonlight night, he returned to
the city with the messenger. At his arrival, he saw the windows of the
apartment inhabited by his betrothed still illuminated. He immediately
went in and inquired after her health: people shrugged their
shoulders, and he hastened to go in to her. She lay, breathing
faintly, on her pillow, and beckoned to him to draw near: she then
motioned to the servants, who left the apartment. He threw himself on
his knees by the couch and wept, mourned her affliction, and regretted
that he had not paid more attention to her warnings.

"I know how it has happened," she said; "still, the worst has not
happened. You have been forced to leave the talisman in her hands:
take care that she does not keep it with your consent. I am now weak
and ill: I shall become still weaker; but so long as you possess the
earnest wish to recover the talisman, my life will be preserved.
Return, now, whence you came, and let not the King see you. He is
angry with you because he is sure you are the cause of my illness."

He obeyed her will, and returned to the hunting-seat by daybreak. He
would not lose the vivid recollection of Haschanascha's mournful
condition by going to sleep; but went immediately into the garden, and
when the sun had sufficient influence to dry the dew on the flowers,
he again saw the butterfly settle on a poppy. This time he kept his
turban on his head, and tried to catch the butterfly with his hand;
but it eluded him, and a wasp within the same flower stung his hand,
so that it swelled very much. The butterfly flew away, and did not
return to the garden. The hours passed very slowly, and would have
seemed longer if his mind had not been agitated by various plans to
recover the talisman. To do this, he must find its present possessor,
and he reproached himself with having allowed the butterfly to escape
by his awkwardness. At noon he returned to the palace, to the great
astonishment of his servants, who were now accustomed not to see him
all day. When he had eaten, he reposed a few hours on his couch, and,
on his awaking, a messenger had come from the city with the news that
the Princess was better since the morning. Thus the day concluded with
more inward peace than heretofore: only one fear made him sad, that
perhaps the butterfly had disappeared for ever from the garden, and
then he could never recover his talisman.

But the next morning, when he went into the garden, he found the
butterfly perched on a poppy in the sunshine. He threw his turban over
it, and again the maiden stood before him. He asked her why she had
not come the previous day, and she answered,

"Oh, there was a clumsy peasant in the garden who tried to catch me in
his hand, like an ugly fly! He would have rubbed the beautiful dust
off my wings; and then, what would have become of my beauty? I could
not allow it, for my clothing is beautiful." She laughed so
maliciously, that he well knew who she meant by the clumsy peasant.

Before he could reply, she had engaged him in a new game, and then in
another, and so on, that he could find no opportunity to demand the
talisman. Even so passed the next and some following days. Messengers
arrived daily from the city to bring news of the Princess's health.
But these news were not comforting: the invalid grew worse from day to
day, and the whole company of physicians knew no name for the disease,
nor could they apply a remedy. If the priests were to be believed,
this long and extraordinary sickness was a consequence of killing the
sacred snake, and a punishment from heaven. Scarcely had this
conclusion reached the King's ear, than it found credence in his weak
mind. He caused the still imprisoned high priest to be called before
him, and he advised that the priests should be immediately set at
liberty, and reinstated in their former rank. It was proclaimed
through the city that sacrifices and gifts should be offered, and that
all the people were to return to the worship of the snake. The priests
gave it out that they had found a similar snake, and Jussuf was again
destined for the principal sacrifice, as the Princess lay so near
death that she scarcely breathed or gave any sign of life. Jussuf had,
in the meanwhile, passed many days in play; and, although he daily
received tidings of the Princess, he was ignorant of everything else
that passed in the capital. On one of the last days, he proposed to
his playfellow that she should be his wife, and go home with him.

But she laughed, and said, "Are you not already betrothed to
Haschanascha? Did you think I did not know it? I also know that you
have dared this with many women. You have turned your house into a
seraglio, as birds are kept in a cage. How hateful must such a life
be! Shall I allow myself to be bound for life by the speaking of a
hoary imam? Heaven forbid it!" She began to jump and dance before
Jussuf, while she sang:

[Illustration]

    "A happy life, a roving wing,
    A sprightly dance, a voice to sing,
    To sport 'mid flowers and crowns of spring,
    Such, such be the life for me.
    No care to-day, no toil the morrow,
    Ever sunshine, never sorrow:
    I sip and quaff the honied wine
    With my rosy lips divine.
    Fearless I stray, whate'er my will,
    Seeking pleasure, pleasure still.
    Such, such be the life for me:
    Who aims at more, a fool is he."

When she had finished her song, she bowed before Jussuf in a mocking
mood, and said,

"How does that please you, Jussuf? Why, you are making a face as if
you had drunk poison. What thoughts are now passing through your
head?"

"I am thinking of the talisman," answered Jussuf. "Give it me to-day.
Haschanascha lies at the point of death."

"What of that?" asked she, jestingly: "if there be one such black
creature more or less in the world, what consequence is it to you?
Come, will you give me your talisman? It has served you well. Be
polite for once, and say that you give it me."

She approached him, patted his cheek with her left hand, and holding
out the talisman with her right, said smiling,

"Does it belong to me? Is it not true that you have given it me?"

Jussuf's first impulse was to say Yes; but when he looked into her
eyes, and, instead of human eyes, saw a great number of butterflies'
eyes, horror came over him. He snatched away the talisman, and threw
it quickly over his head, calling on Haschanascha's name.

At this moment Haschanascha's elephant appeared exactly as he had seen
it at the hunt. A brown slave, with a head-dress of beautiful feathers
and variegated jewels, acted as leader, with a short staff in his
hand. A maiden holding a drawn bow knelt on the elephant, and before
Jussuf perceived it, the arrow flew from the bow, and his playfellow
lay in his arms, pierced through with the arrow. Fright and
astonishment took possession of him. Before he recovered himself, the
elephant, with its guide, had disappeared, and also the deadly-struck
maiden lay no longer in his arms. He looked on the ground to find
traces of her blood, which he had seen gush out. There lay the
beautiful butterfly, transfixed with a needle shaped like an arrow, as
men keep such insects in a collection. He took it from the ground, and
perceived again the wooden box and golden key which he had formerly
opened and dropped. In doubt whether he were awake or asleep, he shut
the butterfly fast up in the box, and was going thoughtfully away.
Then the faithful slave came running to him, quite breathless, and
cried,

"Flee quickly through the garden! The servants of the priests have
already arrived in the palace-yard, and ask for you: you are again
destined for a sacrifice."

He asked after the Princess.

"She must be dead," answered the slave, and pressed him, half with
prayers and entreaties, and half with force, to take flight.

Jussuf hastened through the garden into the wood which joined it, and
ran like a startled roe urged forward by terror and dread of its
pursuers. The wood covered his flight. He came to the river below the
capital, and found a ship about to go down the stream. The man who
guided it yielded to his earnest request, took him in, and immediately
set sail. At the approach of night, Jussuf thought they would have
landed; but the man informed him, to his great joy, that the moon
would shine clearly, and favour their voyage. They let the ship float
down, and only guided it with a rudder now and then, when they saw a
rock or a dangerous place stand out of the water.

At midnight Jussuf made the man understand that he would guide the
rudder. He gave it up readily, and lay down to sleep. He sat alone in
the stillness of night at the helm, and thought over the events of the
last few days. All passed distinctly before his mind. He remembered
Haschanascha's sorrow at his resolution to remain alone at the
hunting-seat; her warning about the talisman; her illness when he no
longer possessed it; her life withering away, and her death. Then he
thought of the sorrow of her foster-father the King, and how he had
again fallen under the dominion of the crafty and deceitful
snake-priests. Also the image of his playful companion rose before
him, and the merry childish sports in which they had both joined, and
in which he had always forgotten all the care and sorrow of
Haschanascha.

He saw her, again, pierced by the arrow, sinking in his arms. He also
remembered Haschanascha's appearance as she knelt on the elephant, and
shot the deadly arrow at his companion. Could this only have been a
shade of the dead one? or was it she herself? No; she herself was
dead: the faithful slave had assured him so. All these reflections
brought no peace to his soul. Involuntarily Haschanascha's superiority
to his playfellow rose before him, and he felt with surprise that at
these thoughts his cheeks were wet with tears.

On the morrow they came near a city: he wished to recompense the
seaman, who had now reached his destination. Whilst he sought for a
piece of gold out of his purse, he remembered that he had left the box
of diamonds with the rest of his goods in the palace in his hasty
flight. The seaman would take nothing, but assured him that by having
taken charge of the vessel during the night he had quite earned his
passage-money.

Jussuf parted from him with many thanks. In the city he sold his
costly clothes, which he had bought new in the city of the
snake-worshippers, clothed himself in the mean dress of a dervish,
had his eyebrows scraped off, and set off on foot along the course of
the river. After a tedious wandering of some weeks, he happily reached
the place where, in his former journey, he had observed the river flow
by a city into the sea. He met there many who spoke his language, and
from them he learned that a ship lay in the harbour, which was to sail
the next day to Balsora. He immediately resolved to embark in it, and
return home.

The captain was very ready to take him, and when he asked about the
passage-money, he answered, "What! you want to pay passage-money? What
would my master say if I took anything from a poor devil like you? No,
no, the rich merchant Jussuf of Balsora, who has twenty such ships on
the sea, takes no passage-money from a poor dervish."

"How!" asked Jussuf, "does the merchant Jussuf still live?"

Then the captain laughed heartily, and said, "Indeed he lives. He is
now, certainly, on a distant journey, but his business still prospers.
Look at this proof. This box of diamonds is a treasure than which no
Sultan has any more precious in his treasury, and this has been given
me to-day by one of his servants to convey to Balsora."

Jussuf saw with astonishment the box which he had left behind in his
flight from the hunting-seat. He did not wish to be recognized in his
poor condition, and feared to be taken for an impostor if he claimed
the treasure. But he could not understand how the box could come into
the captain's hands. He therefore turned to him, and said,

"Forgive me, sir, my curiosity, and tell me if you knew Jussuf's
servant who brought the box?"

But the captain answered angrily, "Listen. I have certainly mistaken
you, as I thought you were a dervish; therefore I am displeased that
you speak so disrespectfully of the mighty merchant Jussuf, talking of
him as if he were your equal. When you next pronounce his name, give
him the honour due to him, and forget not the 'lord.' But as you asked
if I knew the servant, know that I had never seen him before; but I
did not doubt, when he gave it me in my lord's name. If he had given
me only the ten thousandth part in worth in his lord's name, there
would have been cause to doubt."

The next day a favourable south wind blew; they weighed anchor, and
the ship, under press of sail, left the harbour for the open sea.

The voyage was prosperous. No cloud overcast the heavens, the wind
continued favourable, and, in the shortest possible time, they landed
in the Port of Balsora. There lay many new ships at anchor, ready
prepared, and laden with various wares.

"See," said the active captain to Jussuf, in saying farewell; "these
new ships belong also to the same Lord Jussuf. Do not forget when you
go into the city to see his palace, and also his warehouse in the
bazaar."

Jussuf promised not to forget it; and, on his entrance into the city,
went straight to the bazaar. He passed through the row where his
warehouse used to stand, and was astonished to see a much larger one
in its place, adorned on the outside with precious metals and costly
stones; but in the interior was contained riches and a great heap of
jewels, such as he had seen in the subterranean chambers of the ruins
near Shiraz.

He pushed through the crowd, and saw that six young men were
unceasingly occupied in selling. He pressed forward, and stood
immediately before one of the traders.

"To whom does this warehouse belong?" asked he, when no buyer seemed
ready to occupy him.

"You must only have arrived here to-day, if you do not know that there
is only one merchant in Balsora who can display such riches. You must
have heard the name of the merchant Jussuf, the king of merchants!"

"Oh, yes! I have certainly heard that name," answered Jussuf; "but I
thought that he had shut up his warehouse, and gone on a far journey."

"That is very true," replied the young man; "but a few weeks ago he
sent his brother, Hassan Assad, who carries on the commerce, and has
taken account of the treasures which he sends here from his journeys.
This business is much increased; it is well seen that my Lord Jussuf
does not leave his affairs in strange hands without good reason."

"You named his brother, and I have heard that your lord had no
brother. What do you, then, mean?" asked Jussuf.

"Hassan Assad is not his brother, but his wife's brother," was the
answer.

"His wife?" asked Jussuf, with unfeigned astonishment.

"I know not how it seems to you," said the young man. "What is there
so much to be wondered at, and to stand with open mouth? Why should
not my Lord Jussuf have a wife? for he might have them by the dozen.
If all this interests you so much, go to his palace: there are idle
people enough there that can satisfy your curiosity. I have no time:
some buyers are waiting whom I have neglected by my conversation with
you."

He turned to the customers, apologized for his inattention, and
demanded their wishes.

Jussuf resolved to follow his advice and go to the palace. He no
longer recognized it: two small palaces which stood on each side had
been thrown down, and, in their places, two wings had been added to
his own. The principal door of the middle palace stood open, and many
male and female servants went in and out. He asked one of the porters
to whom the palace belonged, and received the same answer as at the
bazaar.

"But will your lord ever come again?" he asked. "He has been gone a
long while; no man knows where he is, and he has sent no messengers
back."

"What! sent no messenger?" cried both porters in a breath; "he has
sent his wife here a long time since, and has himself arrived to-day.
His brother Hassan Assad has always had sure news of him, and so he
knew of his arrival to-day, and has prepared everything for his
reception. His old teacher, who had not before been seen for years,
has come forth to-day from his solitude, and arrived here."

"What! Modibjah also here?" he asked.

"See, see!" answered both, "you know his name better than we. Yes,
yes, his name is Modibjah: I could not recollect."

"Let me go in, good people," said he, "that I may speak to him."

"No, no," said one of them, obstructing the way; "what business have
you in? The marriage ceremony is about to be performed in the hall,
after the manner of our religion; the imam is just now gone in;
therefore no strangers can be admitted."

"What!" cried Jussuf, "your lord already arrived? Where is the
impostor? Let me in, that I may confront him."

Both porters opposed him, because he tried to force his way in.

"Do you not know your lord," asked Jussuf, full of indignation, "that
you thus oppose him?"

They assured him that they had not been long in Assad's service, and
did not know Jussuf; but they had been told that he was arrived.

"Yes," cried Jussuf, "he is arrived, but not yet in his palace; he
will soon be in."

With these words he pushed the nearest on one side, threw him to the
ground, and then the other also. He pressed forward quickly into the
splendid hall, unopposed by the numerous servants, to whom he seemed
to come from the passage into the hall. He placed himself in the
midst, and cried with great earnestness,

"Who dares here to usurp Jussuf's place? Who dares here to pass for
Jussuf's wife? I am Jussuf, who was thought lost! Where is the
impostor? Let him come here, that he may receive the just reward of
his treachery."

Whilst he spoke a richly-dressed man, but unknown to him, approached,
and said,

"You speak of deceit! Nobody here passes for Jussuf but yourself. We
expected him, because we have sure knowledge that he has landed
to-day. You may be the expected one. Now for the proof: what word will
your lips breathe on this talisman?" He held to him Modibjah's
talisman. Jussuf looked astonished and surprised, for the spark had
disappeared.

"Haschanascha!" he cried, with a sigh. The spark shone out clear, and
a veiled lady walked forth from the circle of numerous assembled
guests, and asked, as she threw her veil back, "Do you remember
Haschanascha, your betrothed?" But he looked at her with marks of
astonished joy. There were indeed the beautiful features of her face,
the mild look of her soft eyes, the happy seriousness that reigned in
Haschanascha's forehead; but her dark complexion had disappeared, and
in its place played a soft blush, like the first breath of dawn, on
her cheeks.

"Haschanascha!" cried he, at last awaking from his astonishment, "are
you indeed she? I can no longer trust my senses, since I have been
lost in so many adventures and dreams, that I cannot distinguish
between reality and dreaming. Is it possible that you live? You were
dead through my guilt."

"Ask not after what is past," said Modibjah's voice. "The King of the
Genii has selected you to be his favourite on earth. Two daughters of
genii were destined to try to lead you different ways; human nature
nearly conquered, but you came out at last victorious from the fight.
You have chosen the nobler. May she adorn your life with greater joy,
as she helped you to conquer your selfishness, which bound you in
weakness to the form you carried in the box! This is Haschanascha, the
sister of your friend Hassan Assad, who has carried on your business
since you separated from him near Shiraz. I am uncle to both; and that
your wife may not enter your house as a beggar, here are the presents
destined for the wedding present, which you saw under the ruins of the
destroyed capital."

With these words he embraced Jussuf, who was again lost in
astonishment. The young man who had offered him the talisman stepped
forward, and Jussuf recognized in him his friend Hassan, and saluting
him with heartfelt joy, called him his dear brother. In the same hour
the imam pronounced over Jussuf and Haschanascha the blessing, and
performed the usual prayers and ceremonies. Then were splendid feasts
prepared that lasted many days, and such as never at any other time
were celebrated in Balsora; so that in after years people spoke of the
splendour with which the rich merchant Jussuf's wedding had been
consummated. He attained with Haschanascha a great and very happy old
age, and his latest descendants revere his memory.



The Seven Sleepers.

[Illustration]


[The "Seven Sleepers" is a Mahommedan as well as Christian legend. It
is alluded to in the Koran: and many of the circumstances of the
following Tale are related in the notes to Sale's translation of it.]

Historians relate that there was in ancient Persia a shepherd named
Dakianos, who for thirty years had attended his sheep without having
ever neglected the holy custom of making his daily prayers. All those
who knew him did justice to his probity; and nature had endowed him
with an eloquence capable of raising him to the highest employments,
had he lived in the great world.

One day, as he was at his usual prayers, his flock took fright and
were dispersed. Dakianos ran every way to reassemble them, and
perceiving that one of his sheep had got half of its body into the
hole of a rock, where it could not get out, he ran to it and delivered
it; but he was struck with a dazzling light which immediately shone
out of the opening. He examined what it was that produced it, and soon
found that it proceeded from a tablet or plate of gold, of no very
large extent: he opened the hole still farther, and found himself in
a vault, which was not above seven feet high, and about four or five
broad. He considered this tablet of gold with much attention, but
could not read it, neither could he comprehend what the four lines
signified which he saw written thereon. To inform himself, therefore,
of this mystery, he took it away with him, and, as soon as it was
night, he put it under his vest and repaired to the city. His first
care was to show it to those who, as he was informed, were the most
learned men; but, however versed they might be in the sciences, there
was not one of them who could explain this inscription.

However, one of the doctors said to him, "No person here can translate
these characters. Go into Egypt: you will find there a venerable man,
of three hundred years of age, who can read the most ancient writings,
and who knows all the sciences; he alone can satisfy your curiosity."

Dakianos delivered his flock to the person to whom it belonged, and
departed immediately for Egypt.

As soon as he arrived there, he inquired after the old man, who was so
celebrated that everybody was ready to show him his house. He went to
him there, told him the occasion of his journey, and presented to him
the tablet of gold. The old man received it with affability, and was
struck with astonishment at the sight of this wonder. He read the
characters with the greatest ease; but, after having reflected some
time, he cast his eyes upon Dakianos, and said to him,

"How did this tablet fall into your hands?"

Dakianos gave him an account of his adventure.

"These characters," resumed the old man, "promise to the person who
shall find them, events which it is not likely can happen to you. You
have," continued he, "a happy countenance, and this inscription speaks
of an infidel, whose end must be fatal and tragical. But since fortune
has given you this tablet, that which is written upon it doubtless
regards you."

Dakianos, surprised with this discourse, answered, "How can it be as
you say? I have said my prayers every day these thirty years. I have
never been an infidel; how can I then be a reprobate?"

"If it had been three hundred years," replied the old man, "you will
be no less the victim of darkness."

These last words pierced the heart of Dakianos. He groaned, he sighed,
he even wept, and he cried out, "Would that I had never found this
golden tablet! That I had never shown it you and that I had never
heard so terrible a sentence!"

"What use would it have been to you not to have brought it to me?"
said this learned man. "The predestination of Allah is from all
eternity; what is written in the Book of Life cannot be effaced. But I
may be mistaken: the knowledge of men is often doubtful, Allah alone
is infallible. I can, however, inform you that this golden tablet
indicates a most considerable treasure, and that an those riches
belong to him who shall be the possessor of the tablet."

This word _riches_ consoled Dakianos, and in the transport of his soul
he said to the old man, "Delay not a moment; let us go to seek the
treasure. We will share it like two brothers."

But the old man said to him, sighing, "You will no sooner be the
master of all these riches than you will abuse them. It is not an easy
talent to know how to be rich; and I shall perhaps be the first to
repent having done you this service."

"What a discourse you hold to me!" cried Dakianos. "What shall I owe
the obligation to you of procuring me such treasures, shall you make
my fortune, and do you think I shall be failing in my return? An
infidel would not be guilty of such ingratitude, and I cannot so much
as harbour a thought of it. I swear, then, to look upon you as my
father, and to share equally all the riches with you; or, rather, you
shall give me what share you please, and I shall always be content."

These protestations would not much have reassured the old man, but
avarice--the only passion which is felt at a certain age--overcame his
reflections, and he consented to their departure. They arrived at the
place where Dakianos had found the tablet of gold. The old man
commanded him to dig the ground about twenty feet round. They soon
discovered a gate of steel, and the old man told Dakianos to open it.
Dakianos obeyed with such eager haste that he broke the door open with
his foot, though the key was in the lock. They both of them entered
into a vault, without being discouraged by the great obscurity which
reigned there. After having gone some steps, a faint light enabled
them to distinguish objects. The farther they advanced, the more the
light increased. They found themselves at last before a large and
magnificent palace, the seven gates of which were closed, but the keys
were fastened by them. Dakianos took that of the first gate, and
opened it.

The first apartment enclosed ornaments and habits of the greatest
magnificence, and above all, girdles of solid gold, adorned with
jewels. They opened the second, which they found filled with sabres,
the hilts and sheaths of which were covered with the most precious
stones. The third was adorned with an infinite number of cuirasses,
coats of mail, and helmets of gold of different fashions, and all the
arms were enriched with the most magnificent jewels. The fourth
enclosed the most superb horse furniture, answerable to the
magnificence of the arms. The fifth offered to their sight piles of
gold and silver ingots. The sixth was full of gold coin; and it was
scarcely possible to enter into the seventh, it was so heaped with
sapphires, with amethysts, and diamonds.

These immense treasures dazzled Dakianos. From that moment he was
sorry that he had a witness of his good fortune.

"Do you consider," said he to the old man, "of what consequence
secrecy will be upon this occasion?"

"Doubtless," replied he.

"But," resumed Dakianos, "if the King has the least knowledge of this
treasure, his first act will be to confiscate it. Are you sure of
yourself? Do you fear nothing from your own indiscretion?"

"The desire of possessing the half of those riches," replied the old
man, "ought to be a pledge that will satisfy you."

"The half of these riches!" interrupted Dakianos, with an alteration
visible in his countenance, "but that half surpasses the treasures of
the greatest kings."

The old man perceived this alteration, and said to him, "If you think
the half too much for me, you may give me only a quarter of it."

"Most willingly," returned Dakianos. "But what precaution will you
take to remove them with safety? You will cause us to be discovered,
and be the occasion of our ruin."

"Well, then," replied the old man, "though you have promised me much
more, give me only one of the apartments--I shall be fully satisfied.
You do not answer my question."

"We will examine at leisure what you have proposed to me," returned
Dakianos. "I am glad, however, that you are more reasonable, and that
you begin to understand yourself."

Dakianos again examined these riches with more avidity, and his eyes
were still further dazzled by them. After having thoroughly considered
the magnificent apartment of the diamonds, in which they then were,
"You are sensible," said he to the old man, "that this is, without
contradiction, the most valuable, and that it is not natural I should
yield up to you the lawful right I have over it?"

"You have reason for what you say," returned the old man, "and I do
not demand it of you."

They passed afterwards into the apartment which was filled with gold
coin.

"This treasure," said Dakianos, after having looked upon it for some
time, "is certainly what would cause the least trouble, and be the
most easily disposed of; it may be useful also towards preserving all
the rest, either by establishing a guard or raising walls; therefore I
believe you too reasonable," continued he, "not to agree to the
necessity that obliges me to keep it."

"I agree to it," replied the old man; "let us pass on to another.
These piles of ingots of silver and gold are not all necessary to
you," said he, as he viewed the fifth apartment.

"No," returned Dakianos, "I might possibly do without some of these;
but I have too great obligations to you, to expose you, by giving them
to you: how could you convey them away? What a trouble it would be to
you to dispose of them!"

"That will be my business," replied the old man.

"No, no," added Dakianos, "I love you too well to consent to it;
besides, it would be the means to have me discovered; you would be
arrested, and you could not prevent yourself from accusing me. Let us
see the others."

They opened the fourth apartment. "This horse-furniture is absolutely
unsuitable to you; your age is an obstacle to the use of it."

He made use of the same difficulty to refuse him the cuirasses and the
armour which filled the third. When he had locked that up with the
same care as the rest, they found themselves in that which contained
the sabres; and the old man said to him, "These arms are easy to
carry, I will go and offer them to the Kings of the Indies; I will
sell them separately, and you will run no risk."

"You are right," returned Dakianos, "I may give you some of these."

As he said these words he examined them, both the weight of the gold
and the value of the diamonds. At length he drew one of them out of
the scabbard; then he compared all the riches of which he might be the
sole possessor, with the head of one man; and, unable to conceive how
he could have hesitated so long, "I distrust thee!" said he, springing
upon the old man.

The old man embraced his knees. "Be moved," said he to him, "with my
old age! The treasures no longer make any impression upon me, and I
pretend not to them."

"Truly I believe not," resumed Dakianos: "they are mine, the tablet of
gold gives them to me."

The old man recalled his promises to his memory. "But I will cancel
them," pursued he: "in return for the obligation you have to me I only
demand my life."

"I have offended thee too far," replied Dakianos: "thy life would be
my death, it would give me too much inquietude."

Then at one blow striking off the head of the old man, "Now," cried
he, "my secret is my own!"

The first care of Dakianos was immediately to make a grave and to
inter this unfortunate victim of his avarice. He feared not remorse,
though he dreaded a witness; his heart was wholly occupied with the
treasure that he possessed, and his mind with the methods of
preserving it. But after devouring it with his eyes, and enjoying that
cruel satisfaction, in what trouble did he not find himself when he
was obliged to leave it in order to seek for provision? How often did
he reproach himself with not having carried it with him? And if he
ever remembered the old man, it was only to accuse his memory, and to
persuade himself that he must have had some bad design, since he had
not advertised him of a thing which he might have foreseen without
being so learned as he really was. Not to die with hunger in this
subterranean vault, he was obliged to quit it. What succours could he
find in so barren a desert as that with which it was surrounded? He
was obliged, therefore, to go to a place at some distance; but how
could he resolve upon that, especially at a time when the ground
lately removed might attract the curiosity of a traveller? Dakianos
almost determined to let himself die rather than lose sight of his
treasure. All that he could do to calm his inquietudes was not to
depart till night, when he took some handfuls of the gold coin and
repaired to the city, where he bought a horse, which he loaded with
biscuit and with a small barrel of water, and returned before daybreak
to seek his treasure, which he found in the same condition he had left
it, with as much pleasure as he had felt chagrin at leaving it.

His first care was, with incredible fatigue, to make a very deep ditch
round the cavern. He contrived a passage to it underground, the
opening of which he covered with his clothes, that in a few days he
laid upon them, and afterwards raised a hut of earth to preserve
himself from the weather. All that he suffered during these immense
labours is not to be conceived, and no one could have imagined, who
had seen him thus wasted with labour and fatigue, that he was the
richest inhabitant of the earth.

When he had conducted his work so far as to be able to leave it
without fear, he repaired again to the city, but with the same
precaution--that is to say, he went only in the night. He employed it
wholly in purchasing some slaves, with whose assistance by degrees he
brought thither everything that was necessary for his safety and
convenience. Soon after, he gathered workmen, with whose aid he built
more solidly the works which he had begun. He surrounded the place
with three walls of stone, and lay always between the first and the
second. He took great care to spread abroad a report after this that
he carried on a large foreign commerce, and spoke much of the fortune
he had made in Egypt. Upon this pretext--for there must be one for
becoming so suddenly rich--he built a magnificent palace: that of the
thousand columns erected by Melik Jouna, the ancient King of the
Indies, was nothing in comparison to it. Such great magnificence soon
made him considered and respected by the world, and the pains he had
given himself to preserve his riches not only flattered his self-love,
but easily persuaded him that he had acquired them, and might enjoy
them without remorse, the old man being totally forgotten.

It was easy for him to bring out the treasures from his vault, the
secret of which was not trusted to any person. He sent caravans to all
parts of the Indies to authorize the expenses he bestowed in slaves,
in building, in women, and in horses, and fortune also favoured a
commerce which was of little consequence to him. His heart, fully
satisfied as to riches, was not long insensible to ambition. The Court
has strong attractions for the rich; they are received so graciously,
they are praised in so delicate and so insinuating a manner, that they
are generally seduced by it. And Dakianos, who now joined to his
opulence an immeasurable ambition, neglected nothing to introduce
himself at the Court of the King of Persia; but made presents to the
viziers to obtain their protection, and, by gaining it, rendered
himself their slave. His magnificence and his generosity, as he
foresaw and wished, soon reached the ears of the King, who desired to
see him.

Dakianos had an audience as soon as he appeared at Court, and to give
a favourable impression of himself, and to deserve the favour of the
King, he brought him presents which the greatest Kings upon earth
could not, perhaps, have collected together. It is generally by nines
that Eastern presents are given, when their magnificence is extended
to the last degree. He therefore caused himself to be preceded by nine
superb camels. The first was loaded with nine suits and ornaments of
gold, adorned with the most beautiful jewels, of which the girdles
were of the greatest lustre. The second bore nine sabres, the hilts
and scabbards of which were of gold adorned with diamonds. Upon the
third were seen nine suits of armour of equal magnificence. The fourth
had for its load nine suits of horse furniture, suitable to the other
presents. Nine cases full of sapphires were upon the fifth. Nine other
cases heaped with rubies loaded the sixth. The same weight of emeralds
was upon the seventh. The amethysts, in an equal number of cases, was
the load of the eighth. At last, there appeared upon the ninth camel
nine cases of diamonds. Nine young women of the greatest beauty, and
magnificently adorned, followed this caravan; and eight young slaves
immediately preceded Dakianos.

In the midst of the surprise which these presents gave to the King and
the whole Court, some of those who composed it, and who, according to
the customs of that place, endeavoured to criticise upon it, and who
wished to contradict those who applauded it, or to show the justness
of their own remarks, demanded where was the ninth slave. Dakianos,
who expected the question, pointed to himself. The King, pleased with
the turn of delicacy, which he joined to such magnificent presents,
received him with extreme distinction; and, his natural eloquence
increasing his favour, it was impossible for the Prince to be without
him. He seated Dakianos by himself, gave him the pleasure of his
music, sent him every day dishes from the royal table, and very often
the most exquisite wines; during which, on the other side, Dakianos
returned all this bounty by presents, the quantity of which was as
surprising as their magnificence. At length his continued liberality
and his eloquence procured him so great a power over the heart of the
King, that he created him his Vizier, that they might never part; yet
the confidence and the friendship he testified to him gave him still
more power than the charge with which he was provided.

Dakianos governed Persia with an absolute sway: he ought to have
enjoyed a happiness which might satisfy his vanity. But can ambition
ever be satisfied? The mountain of Kaf may set bounds to the world,
but never to the ideas and wishes of the ambitious. The King being
informed of the arrival of an ambassador from Greece, gave him
audience immediately. The ambassador, after having kissed the foot of
the throne, delivered him a letter, which he caused his secretary to
read aloud, it was conceived in these terms:

"I, Emperor and Sultan of seven climates, to you, King of Persia. As
soon as my royal letter shall be delivered to you, fail not to send to
me the tribute of seven years. If you make any difficulty to satisfy
me, know that I have an army in readiness to march against you."

This letter caused so much astonishment in the King, that he knew not
what answer to make to it. Dakianos, to deliver the King from the
perplexity he was in, rose from his place, touched the ground with his
head, and endeavoured to restore his spirits.

"The letter of the Emperor of Greece," said he, "ought not to afflict
you: it is easy to answer it, and to make him repent his menaces and
his insolence. Order your most faithful subjects to join with me, who
am the humblest of your slaves; I shall inform them what they have to
do."

These words consoled the King: he gave his orders in pursuance of
them, and Dakianos raised above a hundred thousand men for the King,
whilst on his side he assembled ten thousand more, whom he equipped at
his own expense. The King joined to this chosen troop two thousand of
the most valiant soldiers, whom he had always had near his own person,
and of whom he formed the guard of Dakianos, and declared him general
of this army of one hundred and twelve thousand men. The new general
took leave of the King, and put himself at the head of his troops,
which served as an escort to all his riches, which he took care to
convey along with him, and which ten thousand camels could scarce
carry. The King of Persia, who parted from his Vizier with regret,
accompanied him for three days, and quitted him with tears in his
eyes, giving him a thousand benedictions, and repeating to him a
thousand times that he was his strength, his support, and, what was
much more, the only friend of his heart. Dakianos chose out the most
warlike men in all the cities through which he passed, equipped them
at his own expense, and gave them whatever pay they demanded. The
report which was spread abroad of this magnificence drew together men
from all parts of the world, and his army was in a short time
increased to three hundred thousand soldiers.

The Emperor of Greece, upon the news he had of the Persian army,
immediately assembled his troops, and advanced to meet Dakianos with
seven hundred thousand men. As soon as he perceived the enemy, he
divided his army into two bodies, and gave the signal for battle. The
troops of Dakianos acted with so much valour, and their first onset
was so terrible, that the army of the Grecians had not time to recover
themselves, and they were almost as soon defeated as attacked.
Dakianos ordered the Grecian Emperor, whom he had taken prisoner, to
be beheaded, and without the least difficulty made himself master of
all his dominions, of which he caused himself to be acknowledged
sovereign. The first business of this new monarch was to write the
following letter to the King of Persia:

"I have defeated and overcome Cæsar,[2] I have conquered his
dominions, I have mounted his throne, and have been acknowledged the
sovereign of his whole empire. As soon as this letter is delivered to
you, defer not a moment to send me the tribute due for seven years: if
you make the least difficulty to pay it me, you must submit to the
same fate as Cæsar."

[Footnote 2: In the East they always give that name to the Emperors of
Greece.]

This letter, with great reason, provoked the King of Persia beyond all
the bounds of moderation. Without loss of time he assembled his
troops; but before he put himself at their head to march towards the
confines of Greece, he returned this answer to Dakianos:

"Can a man so despicable as thou art have possibly conquered Greece?
Thou hast betrayed me--I, who am thy King, and who am seated upon the
golden throne of my ancestors. Thou hast attacked me, notwithstanding
the gratitude and fidelity thou owest to me. I am upon my departure to
cause even the very memory of thee to perish, to restore Greece to her
former situation, and to deliver her to her lawful sovereign!"

This daring answer of the King of Persia threw Dakianos into the most
dreadful rage: he immediately formed a detachment of two hundred
thousand men from his army to advance and give battle to the King of
Persia. Those troops were not long without meeting him. The combat was
bloody and obstinate; but at length the King of Persia was defeated,
taken prisoner, and conducted to Dakianos.

When that Prince was in his presence, "Wretch!" said he to him, "how
canst thou bear my sight, thou most ungrateful of mankind?"

"I ungrateful?" replied Dakianos. "I have levied troops at my own
expense; I have spent the greater part of my immense treasures; I
have, therefore, bought this conquest. I have done more: I have
fought; I have revenged thy quarrel. What canst thou reproach me
with?"

"I have loved thee," returned the King.

It is hard for those in power to bear a well-founded reproach. The
only answer of Dakianos was to command his head to be struck off, and
immediately to send troops to seize on his dominions. He chose Ephesus
to fix his residence in; but, not thinking that city magnificent
enough, he caused it to be rebuilt with the utmost elegance, and gave
all his care to the erecting of a palace, which was unparalleled for
its solidity, its extent, and its magnificence. He erected in the
centre of it a kiosk, the walls of which were six hundred feet long,
and the cement and all the jointings of it were of silver. This kiosk
contained a thousand chambers, each of which enclosed a throne of
gold: he caused three hundred and sixty-five gates of crystal to be
made, which he placed in such a manner that every day throughout the
year the rising sun shone upon one of them. His palace had seven
hundred porters; sixty viziers were occupied in his affairs. There
were always in the hall of audience sixty thrones, on which were
seated those who had signalized themselves in war. He had seven
thousand astrologers, who assembled every day, and continually
declared to him the different influences of the stars. He was always
surrounded by ten thousand ichoglans, who wore girdles and crowns of
solid gold, and were most magnificently clad: they had no other
employment but that of being always ready to receive his orders. He
appointed sixty pashas, each of whom had under his command two
thousand well-made and valiant young men, who each in particular
commanded two thousand soldiers.

One day, when Dakianos was in the height of his splendour, an old man
arose from beneath the throne upon which he was seated. The King,
amazed, asked him who he was. He was an unbelieving genie, but, far
from confessing it,

"I am," he answered, "a prophet of God: I obey His orders by coming to
you. Know, therefore, that He has made me the god of the heavens, and
that He ordains that you should be the god of the earth."

Dakianos answered him, "Who will believe that I am so?"

And the genie immediately disappeared.

Some time after, Dakianos had again the same apparition, and the genie
repeated to him the same things; but he answered him,

"You deceive me. How can I be the god of the earth?"

"Your power, your great actions, and the care that Allah has taken of
you, ought to persuade you; but if you will not believe me," pursued
the old man, "do what I shall tell you, and you will soon be
convinced."

Dakianos, whose pride this flattered, and who had nothing more to
desire of human greatness, promised him to consent to everything.

"Let your throne be placed upon the shore of the sea," pursued the old
man.

What he desired was executed. And when Dakianos was placed there,
"Prince," said the genie to him, "there is at the bottom of the sea a
fish, the bigness of which is known only to Allah, and which every day
comes to land. It remains there till noon to adore the Almighty. No
person interrupts its prayers: when they are finished, it plunges
again to the bottom of the sea."

The fish appeared as usual, and the genie said to Dakianos, "Though
the fish will not believe your power, it has, however, declared to all
the fishes of the sea that you are the god of the earth. It fears
nothing, and comes now to inform itself. You will know the truth of
what I have declared to you," continued he, "if you will only
condescend to say to him, 'I am the god of the earth.' Your voice
will freeze him with terror--he cannot hear it without surprise, and
will certainly take flight."

This proposition pleased Dakianos, and he called the fish, and said to
it, "'I am the god of the earth.'"

These words of infidelity made the fish immediately plunge to the
bottom of the sea, in the fear he was under lest the Almighty Power
should dart His thunder to punish that impostor. Dakianos easily
persuaded himself that the fish was an infidel, and that his presence
had made him take flight. From that moment he believed all the
deluding words of the genie, and soon had no doubt left of his
divinity. Not only his subjects adored him, but people came from all
corners of the world to give him those marks of adoration which he
exacted; for he caused all those to be thrown into a burning furnace
who refused to adore him.

In the number of the ten thousand slaves who stood always before him
with their hands crossed upon their breasts, there were six Greeks who
possessed his confidence, and who approached the nearest to his
person. They were named Jemlikha, Mekchilinia, Mechlima, Merlima,
Debermouch, and Charnouch. They were generally placed in an equal
number upon his right and left hand. Jemlikha was one whom he most
favoured, nature having endowed him with all her charms: his words
were sweeter than the honey of Arabia, and his wit sparkling and
agreeable; in a word, this young man united in himself all
perfections. Their employments engaged both him and his companions to
pay that homage to Dakianos which was due to God alone.

One day, as Dakianos was at table, Jemlikha held a fan to drive away
the flies that might incommode him: there came one which settled
itself with so much obstinacy upon the dish he was eating that he was
obliged to give it up. Jemlikha, struck with this slight event,
thought it ridiculous that a man who could not drive away even a fly
that troubled him, should pretend to divinity. "Surely," continued he,
"I ought to have no regard for such a god."

Some time after, Dakianos entered into one of his apartments to repose
himself for some hours; and Jemlikha still waited by him with the
fan. Allah once more sent the same fly, and at this time it placed
itself upon the face of the monarch. Jemlikha would have driven it
away lest it should interrupt his lord's sleep; but his pains were in
vain: it awakened Dakianos, and threw him into the greatest
impatience. Jemlikha, already touched by his first reflections, said
within himself, "This man certainly is no more a god than I am: there
can be but one God, and it is He who has created the sun that gives us
light."

From that time Jemlikha used the custom of saying every night when he
lay down, "The true God is He who created the heavens, and fixed them
in the air without a pillar."

It is difficult to make a serious reflection and not to communicate it
to a friend. Jemlikha declared all his doubts to his companions. "A
man," says he, "who cannot disengage himself from a fly, can he have
power over the works of nature?" Then he related the adventure of the
fly.

"But if our King is not a god," said they to him, "whom then are we to
adore?"

Jemlikha told them what he thought, and they were so far persuaded of
it, that from that day they joined with him every night in prayer.
Their assembling themselves together in private places soon became the
subject of conversation. Dakianos being informed of it, sent for them
into his presence, and said to them,

"Do you adore another God beside me?"

They contented themselves with answering him, "We adore the Sovereign
Master of the world."

The King, who took that answer to mean himself, loaded them with
caresses, and bestowed upon each of them a robe of honour. They
retired, covered with the favours of their master, and their first
care was to adore and thank the High God for His bounty to them.
Jemlikha afterwards said to them,

"If there should be again such an information given to the King as has
now put us into such imminent danger, we can hope for no further mercy
from him. I imagine, therefore, the only resolution we can take is to
quit our country, and to seek another, where we may adore God without
constraint."

"But how can we take our flight?" replied his companions. "We know no
other country but this."

"Let us put our trust in God," resumed Jemlikha, "and make use of any
favourable circumstance. We are not to follow Dakianos when he goes on
his magnificent chase for six days at the head of his army: what
hinders us taking that time for our departure? We will demand
permission of the officers of the palace that guard us to play at
feheukian;[3] we will go out of the square, throw the ball to a great
distance, and take our flight upon those swift horses which are
usually given us for that exercise."

[Footnote 3: An exercise performed on horseback.]

They approved this project, and waited with impatience for the time of
its execution. At length Dakianos departed with his numerous army.

The day after the King's departure they put in execution what they had
projected. The eunuchs pursued them, and would have forced them to
return back to the palace; but they answered them,

"We are tired of our King: he endeavours to pass for the God of the
earth, and we adore Him alone who has created all that we behold."

The young men had already drawn their sabres, and in a moment they put
the eunuchs out of a condition of following them. Then Jemlikha said
to them, "My friends, we are ruined if we do not use all possible
expedition."

They immediately put their horses at full speed, which so much
fatigued them that their strength was soon exhausted. They were then
obliged to continue their journey on foot, but being tired, and faint
with thirst and hunger, they stopped on the side of the road, and,
with entire confidence in God, prayed to Him to relieve them. Some
faithful genii heard them, and, touched with their situation, they
inspired into Jemlikha the thought of ascending a mountain, at the
foot of which they were. It was not without pain that he arrived at
the summit; but at length he perceived a spring, the pure and clear
water of which was to him the water of life, and a shepherd sitting by
it, who sang whilst his flock was feeding.

Jemlikha called to his companions: the few words he could make them
hear augmented their strength, and gave them courage sufficient to
ascend the mountain.

The shepherd, whose name was Keschetiouch, gave them some provisions,
and they drank of the water of this delightful fountain. This
refreshment re-established their strength, and their first care was to
return their thanks to Heaven for it. Then Keschetiouch said to them,

"How have you found the way to a place where I never yet saw any
mortal? If I am not mistaken, you are fugitives. Trust me with your
misfortunes: I may perhaps be of some service to you."

Jemlikha related to him all that had happened to them, and his
discourse struck the light of faith into the heart of this shepherd,
God so enlightening his mind, that he soon learned and repeated with
them their prayers. Afterwards he told them he would never quit them.

"Ephesus," says he, "is so near to this place, that you will still be
in some danger. Doubt not but Dakianos will use his utmost efforts to
have you seized. I know a cavern not far from hence, which perhaps in
a forty years' search could not be found: I will conduct you there."

Immediately without delay they arose and followed him.

The shepherd had a little dog, which he called Catnier, that followed
them. They did not care to take him with them; and using all their
skill to drive him away, they at last threw a stone at him, which
broke his leg; but he still followed them limping. They threw a second
at him, which did not turn him back, though it broke his other fore
leg, so that he walked only upon his two hind feet, continuing his
march. The third stone having broke one more, he was no longer in a
condition to stand. But Allah gave the gift of speech to this little
dog, who said to them,

"Alas! you go to seek after Allah, and you have prevented me from all
hope of going with you! Am not I also the creature of Allah? Are you
alone obliged to acknowledge Him?"

They were so astonished at this wonderful miracle, and moved with the
condition to which they had reduced the dog, that they carried him in
turn, and went on begging the protection of Heaven. They were not long
before they arrived at the cavern to which the shepherd conducted
them, and finding themselves fatigued with their journey, they lay
down to sleep; but by the particular mission of Heaven, they slept
with their eyes open, in such a manner that no one could suspect they
tasted any real repose. The cavern was so gloomy, the heat of the sun
could not incommode them; a gentle, pleasing wind incessantly
refreshed them, and a long narrow opening gave an entrance to the rays
of the sun at his rising.

In the meantime those eunuchs who had escaped from the sabres of the
young slaves came directly to give an account of what had passed to
Dakianos. He was in despair at their flight, and as he was
recollecting in his mind the favours he had shown them, and accusing
them of the highest ingratitude, the same unfaithful genie who had so
often appeared to him presented himself before him, and said to him,

"Your slaves have quitted you only that they might worship another
God, in whom they place all their trust."

This discourse so heightened the anger of Dakianos that he conjured
the genie to let him know the place of their retreat.

"I alone can bring you to it," returned the genie. "All mankind would
search for it in vain, but I will conduct you to it at the head of
your army."

They immediately departed, and were not long before they arrived at
the mouth of the cavern. The genie then said to Dakianos,

"It is here they are retired."

Dakianos, who was wholly possessed with the spirit of revenge,
immediately would have entered it; but that moment there burst out
from the cave a dreadful vapour, which was followed by a furious wind,
and a darkness that spread over all that part of the world. The army
gave back with horror; but anger redoubling the courage of Dakianos,
he advanced to the entrance of the cavern, but it was with incredible
difficulty, and, in spite of all his efforts, it was absolutely
impossible for him to enter it, the air being so impenetrable. He
perceived Catnier, who slept with his head resting upon his paw, and
distinguished plainly the six young Greeks and the shepherd, who were
all in a profound sleep, though he was far from suspecting it, as
their eyes were open. Dakianos was not rash enough to renew his
efforts--a secret horror restrained him. The sight of this cavern and
all the prodigies of Heaven spread so great a terror in his mind that
he returned to his army, and said that he had discovered his slaves,
who had prostrated themselves before him without having the courage to
speak to him, and that he had left them prisoners in the cavern till
he fixed his resolution respecting their punishment. In effect, he
consulted his sixty viziers, and demanded of them what remarkable
vengeance he could exercise upon these young slaves; but no advice of
theirs could give him satisfaction. He had recourse, therefore, to his
genie, who advised him to command the architects, who always marched
along with him, to raise a very thick wall, which should entirely
close up the entrance of the cavern, and take away all hope of succour
from those who were enclosed in it.

"You must take care for your own glory to cause to be engraved upon
this wall the time, the year, and the reasons that obliged you to
erect it; that will be the means," said he, "of informing posterity
that you revenged yourself with a greatness of spirit."

Dakianos approved this counsel, and caused a wall to be erected as
thick and solid as those of Alexandria; but he had the precaution to
reserve one passage, of which he alone knew the entrance, in hopes of
being one day able to seize upon his slaves, and with a view of
examining the events at the cavern, which, in spite of himself,
continually took up his thoughts. He added to all these precautions
that of placing a guard of twenty thousand men, who encamped before
the wall. All his armies had orders to relieve this body of troops
every month, who were commanded to put to death all those who
endeavoured to approach a place which enclosed those whose revolt and
flight were the first misfortunes of his life; for till that moment
everything had succeeded happily to him. A desire of revenge joined
itself to the insult he had received from them, which appeared greater
to him, as nothing had ever before dared to resist him. To a man
intoxicated with his power, of which he had been himself the sole
cause, so positive an opposition to his will was a cruel situation.
Nothing could prevent him from repairing every day to the cavern in
order to make new efforts to enter it, or at least to feed his eyes
with the objects of his vengeance.

The calm which was enjoyed by those whom he still looked upon as his
slaves redoubled his fury. Their eyes, which were, as he imagined,
fixed upon him--their silence to all the reproaches and invectives
with which he loaded them--even their attitude--all were marks of the
greatest contempt of him. One day, when he had joined to his usual
speeches the blackest imprecations against Heaven, Allah permitted
Catnier, without any motion, to answer him:

"Wretch! darest thou blaspheme a God who has let thee live,
notwithstanding the crimes that thou hast been guilty of? Believest
thou that He has forgot to punish the fate of the learned Egyptian,
whom thy avarice put to death, contrary to the most sacred oaths?"

Dakianos, whose wrath was impotent there, went out, distracted and
provoked with the insulting reproaches that he received from the dog
of his slaves. What a subject of humility! But far from having
recourse to prayer, and imploring Allah's clemency, his pride
revolted, and by a sentiment natural to the wicked, who generally
render those who are subject to them answerable for everything that
wounds their vanity, at his return he caused to be executed, in the
public square, above two thousand men, who had refused to adore him.
These examples of severity spread abroad the fire of a rebellion,
which was lighted in all parts of his dominions; and, notwithstanding
the anxiety that these troubles gave him to stop the progress of them,
an inward emotion, which he could not resist, led him continually
towards the cavern.

"What is it I go there to seek?" said he within himself. "The
reproaches and contempt of one of the vilest animals, whilst I am
everywhere adored--whilst every word that comes from my sacred mouth
is revered. Yet, notwithstanding this, what am I in the eyes of an
animal whom God protects? A shadow of power--an object of impotence!
Ah! Dakianos, what shame! what confusion But, however, I have
concealed it, notwithstanding this God, who will torment me, and His
efforts will be in vain against my regulations. How happy I am to have
concealed from my subjects the knowledge of such a misfortune! How
prudent was I in erecting a wall which forbids all entrance to the
cavern, and in hindering all mankind from approaching it by the troops
which I have disposed before it! But in what manner can my slaves have
subsisted whilst I have kept them enclosed there? Doubtless they have
some communication into the country, and that communication is unknown
to me. To remedy this inconvenience, I must surround the mountain with
my troops." Accordingly he gave orders to six hundred thousand men to
form an encampment round it, and to let no person approach a place
that was so odious to him.

When he had taken these new precautions, he returned to the entrance
of the cavern, and said, with a fierce and haughty voice,

"Now you will be obliged to deliver yourselves up to my power!"

Catnier answered him again, "We fear thee not: God is our protector.
But believe me, and return to Ephesus: thy presence is become
necessary there."

Dakianos perceiving that he would give no further answer, returned to
the city, and found that several of the chief of the eunuchs of his
seraglio were murdered. Dakianos, distracted at this affront, could
not forbear returning to the cavern, and saying to Catnier (because he
was the only creature that answered him),

"If thy God could restore me the honour that has been taken from me, I
would endeavour----"

Catnier answered him, "Go, return to Ephesus; other misfortunes attend
thee there."

These words threw Dakianos into the utmost confusion. He returned
immediately, and found that the demon of hatred had seized upon his
three sons, that they had drawn their sabres against each other, and
that the angel of death was come to fetch them hence, which he did
before his eyes. What an affliction to a father! What a disappointment
to an ambitious mind, who depended upon giving each of them an empire
in different parts of the world!

In the midst of the sorrow with which he was surrounded, he could not
prevent himself from returning once more to the cavern. "Wretches!"
said he to them, "what torments ought I not to make you suffer when
you shall fall into my hands? However, restore me my children, and I
will forgive all that you have done against me."

Catnier, who always spoke, answered him thus:

"God will restore no children whom He has banished from the world to
punish the crimes of their father. Go, return to Ephesus. Thou
deservest to find new misfortunes there."

"It is too much," cried Dakianos, retiring; and immediately, with rage
and despair in his heart, he commanded all his troops, and all the
inhabitants of Ephesus, to bring each of them a faggot, and see his
orders executed. Then he caused this enormous quantity of wood to be
piled before the cavern, in hopes of stifling those whom it enclosed;
but the wind beat back the flames of this amazing fire against the
army (who took to flight), and against the city. No private house,
notwithstanding, was in the least incommoded by it; but the fire
seized upon the palace of Dakianos, which was wholly reduced to ashes,
and all the treasure which he had amassed with so much care vanished
in a moment, whilst the cavern did not undergo the least alteration.
This last prodigy engaged him to have recourse to the seven sleepers,
and to Catnier himself, begging them to intercede for him. The little
dog answered him thus:

"It is fear, and not piety, that seems to soften the hardness of thy
heart. Begone: thou canst not deceive Allah."

Dakianos retired, confounded with this last reproach, but still more
distracted at having humbled himself so far.

In the midst of all these misfortunes which succeeded each other to
oppress this enemy of God, the revolt, which was considerably
augmented, demanded an example to be made, and the heart of Dakianos
engaged him to render it of the greatest severity. To that effect he
caused to be erected in the public square, upon the ashes of his
palace, a throne of iron; he commanded all his Court and all his
troops to be clothed in red,[4] and to be covered with black turbans.
He took care to put on the same habit, with a design of murdering in
one moment five or six hundred thousand souls, whom he resolved to
sacrifice to the safety of his throne, to the manes of his children,
to his lost honour, and to what affected him still more, the incessant
remorse and horror that gnawed his heart. But before he performed this
cruel execution, he resolved once more to visit the cavern, in hopes
that his weapons, the usual confidence of the wicked, might intimidate
those whom by prayers or by menaces he could obtain nothing from. When
he arrived there, he redoubled his usual blasphemies.

[Footnote 4: This colour in the East is a mark of the vengeance of
princes.]

"Tremble, thou wretch!" said Catnier then to him, without any emotion
or so much as raising his head, which lay upon his paws.

"Shall I tremble?" returned Dakianos: "Allah Himself cannot make me
tremble."

"But He can punish thee," pursued Catnier; "thou drawest near thy last
moment."

Dakianos, at that word, listening only to his resentment, took his
arrows and his bow.

"We shall see," said he, "whether I am not redoubtable--to thee at
least."

He then shot an arrow at him with the utmost strength of his arm; but
a supernatural power made it fall at the feet of him who shot it, and
at the same instant there sprang out of the cavern a serpent, which
was above twenty feet in length, and whose dreadful and inflamed look
made him tremble. Dakianos would have taken his flight; but the
serpent soon overtook him, grasped him round the body, and dragged him
through the whole city, that all his subjects might be witnesses of
his terror and of his punishment. He then conveyed him to the iron
throne which he had prepared for the scene of his vengeance. It was
there that, being devoured by degrees, Dakianos by his dreadful
sufferings gave a terrible example of the punishment due to
ingratitude and impiety. The serpent afterwards returned to his cavern
without having done the least hurt to any person, and all the
inhabitants of Ephesus loaded it with benedictions at its departure.

Several Kings succeeded Dakianos, and filled his throne during the
time of one hundred and forty years; after which it fell into the
power of the ancient Greeks, who enjoyed it for the space of one
hundred and sixty-nine years longer. When the time of the repose of
the Seven Sleepers was accomplished, that which was written happened
unto them. One of the seven awakened at that instant; and the dawn
beginning to appear, he raised himself up, and said within himself, "I
seem to have slept at least twenty-four hours;" and by degrees the
others awakened, struck with the same idea.

Jemlikha, always more lively than the rest, leapt up immediately, and
was extremely surprised to find, at the opening of the cavern, a wall
erected of large square stones, which entirely enclosed it. He
returned to his companions and told them the occasion of his
astonishment. Notwithstanding this inconvenience, they agreed that
they must absolutely send one of their number to the city to buy
provisions; and casting their eyes upon the shepherd, Jemlikha gave
him money, telling him that he ran no hazard by going. The shepherd
rising to do them that service, at that moment Catnier[5] awakened,
perfectly cured of his broken legs, and ran to caress them. The
shepherd strove in vain to get out of the cavern, for the passage that
Dakianos had reserved to himself was fallen down; and examining the
wall carefully, he remarked the enormous bigness of the stones that
composed it; and through the chinks that time had made between them,
he saw with astonishment that part of the trees were dead, others were
fallen, and that the water of the springs was differently placed; in
one word, he was so confounded at the uncommon change that he
perceived, that he returned into the cavern to inform his companions
of this surprising event. They immediately arose and went to the
entrance to judge of it themselves; but every fresh object redoubled
their amazement.

[Footnote 5: There are ten animals which, according to Mahommedans,
must enter into Paradise: the whale that swallowed Jonas; the ant of
Solomon; the ram of Ismael; the cuckoo of Belkis; the camel of the
Prophet of God; the ass of Aazis, Queen of Saba; the calf of Abraham;
the camel of the Prophet Saleb; the ox of Moses; and the dog that
accompanied the Seven Sleepers.]

Jemlikha then said to the shepherd, "Give me thy habit; I will go
myself to the city and fetch what is necessary for us, and endeavour
to find out what we cannot now comprehend."

The shepherd gave him his habit, and took his in return. Jemlikha,
with much labour, made himself a passage through the ruins of this
thick wall, followed the road to the city, and remarked over the gate
a standard, upon which was written, "There is no other god but the
true God."

He was astonished to find that one night had produced so great a
change. "Is not this a vision?" said he. "Do I awake, or do I feel the
illusions of a dream?"

Whilst he made these embarrassing reflections, he saw a man come out
of the castle, whom he approached, and asked him if this city was not
called Ephesus. He told him that was its name.

"What is the name of him who governs it?" resumed Jemlikha
immediately.

"It belongs to Encouch: he is the King of it, and has his residence in
it," replied the man.

Jemlikha, still more astonished, pursued his questions.

"What do these words signify," cried he, "which are upon the
standard?"

He satisfied his curiosity by telling him that they represented the
holy name of God.

"But I apprehend," interrupted Jemlikha, with eagerness, "that
Dakianos is the King of this city, and that he makes himself be
worshipped here as a god."

"I have never heard of any King so named," returned the inhabitant of
the city.

"What an uncommon sleep I am in!" cried Jemlikha. "Awaken me, I
conjure you," said he to him.

The man, surprised in his turn, could not forbear saying to him,
"What! you have asked me reasonable and sensible questions, you have
understood my answers, and can you imagine that you are asleep?"

Jemlikha, ashamed of speaking to him so inadvertently, quitted him,
saying within himself, "Most high Allah, have you deprived me of
reason?"

With this confusion of ideas, he entered into the city, which he could
not in the least recollect: the houses, the temples, the seraglios,
appeared under a new form to him. At length he stopped before the door
of a baker, where he chose out several loaves, and presented his money
for them: the baker examined it, and looking upon Jemlikha with much
attention, he was alarmed at it, and said to him,

"Why dost thou look upon me? Give me thy bread, take my money, and
concern thyself no further."

The baker answered him with the most eager curiosity, "Where hast thou
found this money?"

"What is that to thee?" resumed Jemlikha.

"I don't know this money," replied the baker, "it is not the coin of
the King that now reigns. Let me share the treasure which thou hast
doubtless been so happy as to find, and I promise thee to be secret."

Jemlikha, almost out of patience, said to him, "This money is struck
with the image of Dakianos, the absolute lord of this country. What
can I tell thee more?"

But the baker, still prepossessed with the same idea, pursued thus:
"Thou comest from the country: believe me, thy occupation of a
shepherd has not rendered thee cunning enough to deceive me, nor to
impose upon me. God has favoured thee with the discovery of a
treasure: if thou dost not consent to share it with me, I will go this
moment and declare it to the King; he will soon have thee arrested,
thy riches will be seized upon, and perhaps thou mayest be put to
death for not having declared them."

Jemlikha, impatient at this discourse of the baker's, would have taken
his bread and left him; but the baker detained him, and, their dispute
growing hot, a mob gathered round them to listen to it. Jemlikha said
to the baker,

"I went out of the city but yesterday, I return to it this day. What
can make thee imagine that I have found a treasure?"

"Nothing is more true," returned the baker, "and I am resolved to have
a share of it."

A man belonging to the King running in at the noise, and in the
incertitude he was in of the event, went and fetched the guards, who
seized upon Jemlikha, and conducted him before the King, whom they
informed of the occasion of this dispute.

And the Prince said to him, "Where hast thou found those ancient coins
they speak of?"

"Sire," replied Jemlikha, "I carried them yesterday from this city;
but in one night Ephesus has taken so different a form that I no
longer know it: all whom I have met, all whom I see, are unknown to
me, and yet I was born in this city, and I cannot express the
confusion of my mind."

The King said to him, "Thou seemest to have sense; thy countenance is
agreeable, and thy manner composed: how can thy speech be so
unreasonable? Is it to abuse me that thou feignest this distraction? I
will absolutely know where thou hast concealed the treasure which thy
good fortune has made thee possessor of. The fifth part by law belongs
to me, and I consent to leave thee the remainder."

"Sire," replied Jemlikha, "I have not found a treasure, but certainly
I have lost my senses."

Jemlikha durst not speak too plainly, he still fearing lest this King,
who was unknown to him, should be one of the viziers of Dakianos, who
might order him to be conveyed to that Prince, who perhaps was absent.

Happily for him, Encouch had a Vizier of a penetrating genius, and who
had an extensive knowledge of the precepts of the law, and of ancient
history: that of Dakianos was not unknown to him, and by consequence
he had some knowledge of the Seven Sleepers, who were imagined to be
in a neighbouring cavern. The discourse of Jemlikha gave him
suspicions; and to enlighten them, he said in a whisper to the King,
"I am much deceived, or this young man attended upon Dakianos. God
enlightened his mind, he quitted him, and retired into a cavern with
five of his companions, a shepherd, and a little dog. Those seven
persons were to appear out of this cavern after having slept three
hundred and nine years: their awakening was to confirm the people in
their duty, and everything induces me to believe that this young man
is the former slave of Dakianos."

Encouch, with reason, reposed much confidence in his Vizier;
therefore, addressing himself to Jemlikha, "Relate thy adventure to us
without disguise," said he, "or I will have thee seized this moment."

Jemlikha, who knew the necessity his friends were under of his return,
obeyed him, notwithstanding the fear he was under of seeing Dakianos,
and finished his recital, which proved conformable to all that the
Vizier had read in history; but what still further convinced the King
was, that he added, "Your Majesty may be pleased to know that I have a
house, a son, and several relations in this city, that can bear
witness to the truth of what I have said."

"Consider," said the prudent Vizier to him, "that all thou hast
related to the King happened three hundred and nine years since."

"Thou must, then, give us some other proof," resumed the King.

"I make no answer out of respect," returned Jemlikha, "to all the
difficulties that are made; but to persuade you of what I have
advanced, there is a considerable treasure, concealed by me in the
house that belongs to me, which none but myself has the knowledge of."

The King and all his Court immediately rose to repair to this house.
But Jemlikha, who went first, in order to conduct them, looked all
round, and knew neither the street nor his own house.

He was in this confusion, when God permitted an Angel, under the form
of a young man, to come to his assistance, who said to him, "Servant
of the true God, you seem to be much astonished."

"How can I but be surprised?" replied Jemlikha; "this city is so
changed in one night, that I cannot find my house, nor even the street
in which it is situated."

"Follow me," said the Angel of God; "I will conduct you thither."

Jemlikha, still accompanied by the King, the Beys, and the Viziers,
followed the Angel of God, who after some time stopped before a door
and disappeared, saying to him, "Behold your house."

Jemlikha, through his confidence in God, entered into it, and saw an
old man, unknown to him, and who was surrounded by several young
people. He saluted them all very politely, and said very affably to
the old man, "This house, I believe, belongs to me; why do I find you
here? and what business have you to do in it?"

"I believe you are mistaken," replied the old man, with the same
affability. "This house has long been in our family. My grandfather
left it to my father, who is not yet dead, but who indeed has but one
breath of life left."

The young men would have answered, and were enraged at Jemlikha; but
the old man said to them, "Be not angry, my children; passion is never
necessary. He has perhaps some good reason to give us: let us hearken
to him."

He afterwards turned himself towards Jemlikha, and said to him, "How
can this house belong to you? By what right do you pretend to it? Who
are you?"

"Ah! venerable old man," returned Jemlikha, "how can I tell you of my
adventure? None of those to whom I have related it will give credit to
it; I cannot myself comprehend it: judge of the situation I am in!"

The old man, touched with his affliction, said to him, "Take courage,
my child: I interest myself in your fate; my heart was moved at the
sight of you."

Jemlikha, reassured by this discourse, related to the old man all that
had happened to him; and he had no sooner heard his story than he went
and brought out a picture to compare it with Jemlikha. When he had
examined him for some time, he sighed, and his trouble and concern
increased. He kissed the picture several times, and threw himself at
the feet of Jemlikha, prostrating his wrinkled countenance, and his
beard, whitened by age, upon the ground. At length he cried out,

"Oh, my dearest ancestor!"

The torrent of tears which ran from his eyes prevented him from
saying more. The King and his Viziers, whom this scene had rendered
very attentive to the conversation, said then to the old man,

"What! do you acknowledge him for your ancestor?"

"Yes, sire," replied he: "he is the great-great-father of my father."

He could not finish these words without bursting again into tears. He
afterwards took him by the hand, and conducted him through the house.
Jemlikha, perceiving a beam of cypress, said,

"It was I who caused that beam to be placed. Under the end of it will
be found a large stone of granite; it covers ten vases, equal to those
that are in the King's treasury. They are filled with gold pieces of
the coin of Dakianos, and each of those pieces weighs a hundred
drachmas."

Whilst they laboured to raise up the cypress beam, the old man
approached Jemlikha with the greatest respect, and said to him, "My
father is still alive, but he has very little strength left. It is he
who has formerly related to me some of the things that you have told
me. Come," continued he, "come and see my father, and your
descendant."

Jemlikha followed him into another apartment, and saw a very old man. They
made him swallow a drop of milk; he opened his eyes, and could not forbear
shedding a torrent of tears when he heard who Jemlikha was, and Jemlikha
could not restrain his. What an astonishment to all those who saw a young
man whose grandson's son was in that excess of decrepitude--an old man
oppressed with years, and the children of that old man resembling by their
tone and countenance their great-grandfather! The people at the sight of
this miracle could not forbear admiring the greatness of the power of God.
They examined the annals, and found that the three hundred and nine years
were accomplished that day.

When the beam of cypress was taken up, they found all that Jemlikha
had declared. He made a present of one part of the treasure to the
King, and gave the other to the children of his great-grandson.

The King after this said to Jemlikha, "We are now convinced of the
truth of thy history: let us go to thy companions in the cavern, and
give them assistance."

"It is the only wish I have to form," replied Jemlikha.

The Prince then, caused a great quantity of provisions to be carried
with him, and departed, accompanied with his army and all the people,
to repair to the cavern. It appeared so dreadful that no one had
courage to enter it. It is said, however, that the King resolved to do
it--that he saw the companions of Jemlikha--but that it was at the
very moment of his entering it that Jemlikha gave up the ghost, with
the six others and the little dog. He even heard them repeat their
acts of adoration to the Sovereign Master of the universe, and die as
they pronounced them. Encouch caused everything to be brought that was
necessary to pay them the last duty, and had them interred in the same
cavern where they had slept so long. When all the people were gone out
of it, by a particular permission of God, the entrance of the cavern
was closed, and since that time it has been impossible for any man to
enter it. The King commanded a column to be erected some paces from
it, upon which he caused to be engraved the history of the Seven
Sleepers, to make known the power of God, to inspire a horror for
ingratitude, and to show by this example the efficacy of prayer.

[Illustration]



The Enchanters.

[Illustration]


At the death of the mighty Dabulcombar, the Lord of the East, Misnar,
the first-born of the Sultan, ascended the throne of India; but,
though he had scarcely arrived at the age of manhood, yet neither the
splendour of his Court nor the flatteries of the East could steal from
the youthful Sultan the knowledge of himself.

His first royal command was to assemble together the wise men
throughout his extensive dominions, from Cabul and Attok in the west
to Kehoa and Thoanoa in the east. The learned and devout accordingly
came from every part of his dominions. On an appointed day the Sultan
ordered the illustrious assembly to meet in the divan, where, being
placed on the throne of his forefathers, he thus opened unto them the
desires of his heart:

"O ye sources of light and fountains of knowledge!" said Misnar,
"more precious are your counsels to me than the mines of Raalconda:
wisdom is the true support of honour, and the Sultan is established by
the counsel of his sages. Say, then, what course shall Misnar pursue
that may secure him on the throne of the mighty Dabulcombar?"

The sages in the divan were struck with astonishment at the
condescension of their young Sultan, and one and all fell prostrate
before his throne. "May wisdom," said they, "guide the footsteps of
the illustrious Misnar! may the mind of our Sultan be as the eye of
day!"

Then arose the prophet Zeuramaund, and said, "I perceive, O mighty
Sultan, the dark clouds of evil are gathering to disturb the hours of
futurity; the spirits of the wicked are preparing the storm and the
tempest against thee!"

The venerable sages looked aghast as Zeuramaund uttered these ominous
predictions; the whole council were dismayed at his words, and all
fell again prostrate on the earth.

Misnar alone appeared to be unconcerned at his predicted fate. "O my
friends," said the youthful Sultan, "the rose cannot blossom without
the thorn, nor life be unchequered by the frowns of fate. Grieve not,
then, that trials await me, since the spirit of prudence and virtue
blossoms fairest in a rugged soil."

The sages arose as their royal master spake, and beheld with wonder
the youthful countenance of their prudent Sultan.

Silence and amazement for a time prevailed, till one of the sages,
advancing before the rest, thus counselled the intrepid Prince:

"O light of the earth!" said the trembling sage, "whose virtue and
innocence have not been vexed by frauds, and deceit, whose pure mind
seeth not the foul devices of man's heart, trust not to the fickle
interpositions of chance, where thine own arm can work security, and
establish a permanent foundation to thy father's throne. Thou hast a
brother, O my Sultan, whose veins are filled with royal blood, and
whose heart is by descent above control. Ahubal, therefore, ere his
youth unfolds in the fulness of manhood, should be cut off."

"What!" said the young Sultan Misnar, "what do thy base suspicious
fears advise? Is there no way to build up the seat of justice and
mercy but in murder and fratricide? Never let him who was born to
execute judgment secure his honours by cruelty and oppression. The
righteous Allah planted me not here to spread a poisonous shade over
the offspring of His Prophet Mahomet: though fear and submission be a
subject's tribute, yet is mercy the attribute of Allah, and the most
pleasing endowment of the vicegerents of earth. But as thou, weak man,
hast dared to advise the extirpation of one of the race of the mighty
Dabulcombar, the vengeance of my injured brother's blood fasten upon
thy life!"

The guards of the divan, hearing the sentence of the Sultan,
approached with their drawn sabres towards the decrepit sage; but
Misnar, rising, cried out,

"Who of my subjects shall dare to violate with blood the sanctity of
this refuge for the oppressed? Let the divan of justice be sacred:
nevertheless, lead that author of malice from my sight, and let his
own blood make satisfaction for the cruelty of his desires."

As he spake thus, the guards attempted to seize the sage; but when
they advanced towards him, flames of fire burst from his mouth, and
his whole form appeared as that of a fiery dragon. The rest of the
sages fled from the dreadful monster; but Misnar, with an intrepid
countenance, stood before his throne, with his drawn sabre pointing
towards the dragon, when through the flames he perceived a hoary
magician on the back of the monster.

"Vain, O silly child of Mahomet!" said the enchanter, "were thy sabre
against the power of my art, did not a superior force uphold thee; but
tremble at thy doom: twice four of my race are determined against
thee, and the throne of Dabulcombar noddeth over thy head; fear hath
now preserved thee, and the weakness of thy heart, which the credulous
believers of Mahomet will call prudence and moderation; but the fiend
of darkness is let loose, and the powers of enchantment shall
prevail." As the old magician spake thus, his fiery dragon, with
tremendous hissings, arose, and, cleaving the dome of the divan,
disappeared from their sight.

"Thus," said the illustrious Misnar, "let the enemies of Mahomet be
dismayed! But inform me, O ye sages, under the semblance of which of
your brethren did that foul enchanter gain admittance here?"

"As I travelled on the mountains from Queda," answered Bahilu, the
hermit of the Faithful from Queda, "and saw neither the footsteps of
beasts nor the flights of birds, behold, I chanced to pass through a
cavern, in whose hollow sides I found this accursed sage, to whom I
unfolded the invitation of the Sultan of India, and we journeyed
together towards the divan; but ere we entered he said unto me, 'Put
thy hand forth, and pull me toward thee into the divan, calling on the
name of Mahomet; for the evil spirits are on me and vex me.'"

After the hermit Bahilu had spoken, Mangelo arose.

"May the power of the Sultan of the East be multiplied!" said he; "but
know, O Sultan, that neither evil genius nor enchanter can enter this
seat of justice unless he be invited in the name of Mahomet."

"If it be so," answered the Sultan Misnar, "then neither can they be
masked against the voice of justice; for Thou, O righteous Allah, wilt
uphold the tribunal which Thou has founded upon earth, and make the
visions of fraud to depart from him who seeketh truth. Therefore,"
continued the Sultan, "lest this assembly be still tainted with malice
and infidelity, I command the evil spirits to stand confessed before
me."

At his word, sulphurous smokes arose, and from the thronged assembly
seven hideous forms broke forth.

First, on a vulture's pinions, the fell enchanter Tasnar soared aloft,
whose skin was as the parched Indian's when he writhes impaled upon
the bloody stake.

Next, on the back of an enormous scorpion, whose tail dropped deadly
poison, Ahaback appeared, and with his eyes darted malignant flashes
on the youthful Sultan.

Happuck, a subtle magician, followed him, seated on the shoulders of a
tiger, whose mane was shagged with snakes, and whose tail was covered
with twining adders.

Hapacuson also, that decrepit hag, who personated the righteous
Sallasalsor, from Nechal, now stripped of the garments of hypocrisy,
filled the eyes of the sages with terror and amazement. Her lean
bones, wrapped round with yellow skin, appeared like the superstitious
mummies of western Egypt. She was mounted on a dreadful monster. Its
form was like the deadly spider, but in bulk like the elephant of the
woods; hairs, like cobwebs, covered its long bony legs, and from
behind, a bag of venom, of a whitish hue, spurted forth its malignant
influence.

She was followed by her malicious sister Ulin, squatting on the back
of a hideous toad.

Then, with a loud hiss, started forth, in many a fold, a black
serpent, in length and bulk like the cedars of the forest, bearing the
powerful enchantress Desra, whose wide-extended ears covered a head of
iniquity.

Last, with majestic horrors, the giant Kifri swelled into his full
proportion: the long alligator that bore him groaned with his load,
and opening all his mouths (for every scale appeared a mouth), vomited
forth streams of blood. In his hand the giant brandished a tall pine,
and, shaking it at the dauntless Misnar, said,

"Tremble, vile reptile, at a giant's wrath! tremble at the magic
powers of all my brethren, for thy doom is fixed!"

At these words, the infernal crew joined with Kifri, and all at once
pronounced in harsh discordant sounds, "Tremble, vile reptile, for thy
doom is fixed!"

The enchanters were then involved in a thick cloud of smoke, from
which issued flashes of lightning, which, ascending to the roof of the
divan, disappeared in a moment.

"There is neither wisdom nor prudence," said Misnar, as he prostrated
himself on the ground, after the enchantments were at an end, "but
what is derived from Allah. If Thou dost vouchsafe to direct my steps,
O Protector of Mussulmen, the fear of evil shall not come upon me."

"Happy," said Candusa, the imam of Lahor, "happy is the Prince whose
trust is in Allah, and whose wisdom cometh from the Heavens."

"Happy," said all the sages, humbling themselves before the Sultan
Misnar, "happy is our Sultan, the favourite of Allah!"

"That, O sages," replied Misnar, "is too much for even the Sultan of
the East to hear. But, may the all-righteous Allah approve of my
thoughts and actions; so shall the infernal powers destroy the
wretches that employ them, and the dark poisoned arrow recoil upon him
that blew it forth. But, O sages, though your numbers are reduced,
your integrity is more tried and approved; therefore let your Sultan
partake of the sweetness of your counsels, and learn from aged
experience the wisdom of the sons of earth. Say, then, what doth the
peace and security of my throne require from me concerning my brother
Ahubal, the issue of the mighty Dabulcombar?"

"Far be it from me," said the sage Carnakan, "to presume to utter my
words as oracles before the Prince; but may not the security of the
East require that the Prince thy brother be not enlarged, as my Sultan
is, to do whatsoever seemeth good in his heart? Should not the younger
be as servant to the first-born of his father, and are not all the
Princes the vassals of the Sultans of the East? Let, therefore, the
Prince Ahubal enjoy the pleasure of life; but let him be removed from
giving pain and uneasiness to my royal Sultan Misnar. At the sources
of the springs of Ava, on the craggy rocks of Aboulfaken, is a royal
castle built by the sage Illfakircki, to which there is no passage but
through a narrow vale, which may be ever guarded by the slaves of
Misnar. Hither let the Prince be sent; and let him live there, and
enjoy life, without having any power to molest the glories of thy
reign."

The counsel of Carnakan was agreeable to the Sultan and his sages; and
Misnar gave immediate orders, that the mutes of his seraglio should
attend the Prince to the royal castle at Aboulfaken; and then
dismissing, for the present, the assembled sages, he commanded them to
attend the divan every week.

In a few days, the mutes and guards who were sent with the Prince
Ahubal being admitted into the presence of their Sultan, fell on their
faces, and cried out,

"Oh, let not the displeasure of the Sultan visit his slaves, who, in
obedience to thy royal word, journeyed toward the castle of
Aboulfaken, and, as they passed along through the deserts, a party of
five thousand horse appeared, who, setting upon us, ordered us either
to deliver up the Prince Ahubal, or defend him with our lives. Thy
slaves would willingly have chosen the latter fate. Yet, alas! what
were four hundred guards and twenty mutes to the army that opposed us?
But our consultation was vain; for while we debated how to defend
ourselves, the Prince drew his sabre, and, killing three of our
number, cut his way through the guards to his friends. The horsemen
then would have set upon us and hewed us in pieces; but their chief
forbade them, saying, 'No, let them live, and be the messengers of the
Prince's escape. Go,' continued he, 'dastard slaves! and let your
Sultan know, that Ahubal has friends who will shortly punish him for
his designs on the Prince.'"

At these words of the guards Misnar gave a deep sigh, and said, "Human
prudence alone is far too weak to fight against the wiles of the
deceitful; but Allah is more powerful than man. I will therefore send
for the prophets, and inquire of them where I may seek for the
assistance of Mahomet."

The Sultan then commanded Zeuramaund and his tribe, and Mangelo the
prophet, from the hollow rocks of Caxol, to be brought before him; and
when they were come into his presence, he demanded of them, where he
might seek for the assistance of Mahomet, and the countenance of
Allah.

Then Zeuramaund answered the Sultan in these words:

"In the tomb of the Prophet of Mecca is the signet of Mahomet, which
no human power may remove; but if the Prophet will hear the prayer of
the Sultan, it may easily be taken thence."

"Yes," replied Mangelo, "the seal of Mahomet will indeed preserve the
Prince from enchantment; but it is also necessary that he put on the
girdle of Opakka, which is worn by the giant Kifri, the sworn enemy of
the Eastern throne. For although the signet of Mahomet will preserve
the Sultan from evil, yet will the girdle of Opakka only save him from
deceit."

The Sultan Misnar was moved at the discourse of his prophets, and
spent the night in thought and perplexity. He had little hope that the
signet of Mahomet, which had for ages remained immovable, should
yield to him; or that, with all his numerous armies, he should be able
to force the girdle of Opakka from the loins of an enchanter, who
could in a moment overwhelm his troops by the power of his art.
However, he determined the next morning to go with his Court on a
public pilgrimage to Mecca, and to offer up the most solemn petitions
to the Prophet of his faith.

Early in the morning the Sultan arose from his seraglio, and commanded
his courtiers to prepare the procession, as he intended immediately to
make a public pilgrimage to Mecca.

But as Misnar was making known his intentions, a messenger arrived in
haste at the entrance of the seraglio, who brought advice that one of
the southern kingdoms had revolted, and was led on by a skilful
heroine, who declared her intentions of placing Ahubal, the brother of
the Sultan, on the throne of India.

Misnar was conscious that this revolt was brought about through the
contrivances of the enchanters, and therefore despaired of conquering
them by means of his armies; but lest the other kingdoms, seeing no
troops were sent to repel the rebels, should also join the adverse
party, the Sultan commanded the signal of war to sound; and sending
for his Grand Vizier Horam in private, he ordered him to lead out the
armies of Delhi against the rebels, and to dispatch daily messengers
to the capital, to bring advice of his success.

The Vizier Horam received the Sultan's commission with reverence, and
said, "Let not my Sultan be angry at his slave. If my lord should
require ten thousand messengers, his slave Horam would dispatch them.
But if my lord will accept of this tablet, he shall know in a moment
the success of his servant, though numberless leagues distant."

"What!" said Misnar, taking the tablet from his Vizier. "By what means
is this tablet endued with these rare virtues?"

"My lord," answered Horam, "when my father, through the malice of his
enemies, was banished from the presence of the mighty Dabulcombar--whom
the houris of Paradise do serve--he called me to him, and said, 'O Horam,
the evil-minded have prevailed, and thy father has fallen a sacrifice to
the enemies of truth! No more, my son, shall I behold the children of my
strength, nor the splendour of my Sultan's Court. Whither I go, I know
not. But take this tablet, my son; and whatever befalleth thy parent shall
at times be made known to thee in the leaves of this book; and to
whomsoever thou givest it, that friend shall, after my death, read therein
whatever Horam my son shall wish to make known unto him.'"

"Faithful Horam," answered the Sultan, "your present is of such
exquisite value, that I shall, in confidence, honour you with the
first place in my esteem. Know, then, my faithful Vizier, that the
powers of enchantment are let loose against my throne, and the
prophets have said, 'Thou shalt not prevail but with the signet of
Mahomet and the girdle of Opakka;' therefore it is expedient that I
first go to Mecca to obtain this valuable gift of the Prophet. My
purpose this morning was to go surrounded by the nobles of my Court;
but while rebellion stalketh abroad, pageants are idle, and the parade
of a Sultan's pilgrimage will give my enemies time to increase in
their numbers and strength. No, Horam; I myself will in secret
approach the tomb of my Prophet, for Allah requireth the service of
the heart, and searcheth out the purity of his servants' intentions: I
shall go with greater humility as a peasant than as a prince. In the
meantime my royal tent shall be pitched, and Horam only shall be
suffered to approach it. So shall my slaves imagine their Sultan goeth
forth with them to the field, and their hearts shall be strengthened."

"Be the desires of the Sultan fulfilled," said Horam, with reverence;
"but will not my lord take with him a guard in his pilgrimage?--for
the dangers of the journey are great over the mountains and deserts,
and the voyage by the seas is perilous."

"No," answered the Sultan; "those who are my slaves _here_, may at a
distance become my masters, and sell me to my foes: where the trust is
great, great is the danger also. Shall I set guards over my person in
the heart of my kingdom amidst my faithful subjects, and trust my life
in a slave's hand where I am neither known nor respected?"

The Vizier Horam was struck with the prudence of his youthful Sultan,
and bowed in assent to his words.

In a few days the armies of India assembled; the royal tent was
pitched, and the Vizier was declared the leader of his Sultan's
forces. Misnar entered his tent in great state, and Horam alone
followed the Sultan into the retirements of the movable pavilion.

The Vizier had, according to the Sultan's instructions, prepared a
disguise for his master; and at midnight led him, like a peasant,
through the encampment into a wood, where, falling at his feet, he
besought him to consider well the dangers he was about to encounter.

"Horam," answered the Sultan, "I well know the goodness of thy heart,
and that thy fears arise from thy love. Sensible am I that the dangers
of my pilgrimage are great; but what resource have I left? More than
man is risen up against me, and more than man must assist me, or I
perish. To whom, then, can I fly, but to the Prophet of the Faithful?
For I am well assured that no enchantment shall prevail against me
while I journey toward Mecca, for such is the faith of all true
believers: though they may oppress and fatigue me, yet in the end
shall I triumph. Besides, Horam, there remains no other course for
me."

"True, my Sultan," answered the Vizier: "without Allah, vain is the
counsel of man; but is not Allah everywhere present to aid and defend
the sons of the Faithful?"

"Though Allah be all-powerful," answered Misnar, "yet is not the slave
of His hand to direct the Lord of all things. If we would gain the
help and assistance of Allah, we must obey His commands; and well are
we assured in the law of our Prophet, that at Mecca shall the prayer
of the Faithful be heard. Wherefore, O Horam, no longer my slave, but
my friend, lead forth my armies with confidence and trust, and doubt
not that He, who daily refresheth the sun with light, will shortly
restore Misnar to the throne of his forefathers."

As he spake thus the Sultan broke from his Vizier, Horam, who had
fallen at his feet weeping at his fixed resolves, and penetrated into
the gloomy recesses of the forest.

All was silence and darkness, save where, through broken fragments of
fleeting clouds, the moon sometimes threw a feeble light on the gloom
of the forest.

"This gloomy recess," said Misnar, as he passed on, "which hides me
from the world, makes me better known to myself. In the Court of my
forefathers I am called the 'light of the world,' the 'glory of the
East,' and the 'eye of day;' but in the wild forest of Tarapajan I am
a poor helpless creature. What, then, is the pride of man but deceit,
and the glories of the earth but shadows? Surely more had I to fear
from enchantment on the throne of Dabulcombar than in the bosom of
this forest. Here the wild beast will not flatter me, nor will the
lordly lion acknowledge me the Sultan of his wild domains."

With such thoughts Misnar passed on for many days; till one night, at
a distance, he perceived the skies looked red with light from various
fires, and, by the noise, found that some Indians were carousing in
the woods before him.

The disguised Sultan endeavoured to avoid them, striking into a path
which led round their fires; but some of the Indians observing him,
called to their brother peasant, and desired him to partake of their
mirth.

Misnar thought it would be vain to refuse the request, as they all
seemed disposed to insist on their demands, and therefore hastened to
the scene of their festivity.

Here he found ten or twelve fires, with a number of males and females,
some sitting, and some dancing around them to the sound of rustic
music.

Misnar inquired the cause of their mirth.

"What!" said an ancient female, "though you are a stranger in
Tarapajan, and know not that the Feast of Tigers is celebrated by
these nightly fires, yet must you now learn that no stranger comes but
to partake of our joy, nor departs till, the fires are extinct."

"And how long," said Misnar, "doth this feast last?"

"This," answered the old woman, "is the third night, and these fires
must blaze yet eleven nights and days more, during which time the axe
is not seen in the hand of the forester, nor doth the bow twang in the
woods of Tarapajan; neither may he which seeth these rites depart till
they be fulfilled."

Misnar was thunderstruck at this relation. And ere he could answer,
the crowd gathered round him.

"Come," said he that appeared to be the chief, "let us initiate this
stranger into our rites: bring hither the skin of the tiger, and the
paw of the lion, and the lance, and the bow that twangs not in the
woods of Tarapajan during these nightly festivals."

Then one brought the skin of a tiger, and threw it over the shoulders
of Misnar; another came with the paw of a lion, and hung it before
him; a third brought a lance, and put it in Misnar's right hand; and a
fourth slung a bow on his breast. Then all the crowd made a loud
howling, and danced round the astonished Sultan.

"Now," said the chief, when the dance was finished, "sound the hollow
instruments of brass, which give notice to the moon and to the stars
that this stranger is about to swear not to reveal our rites. Lay
thine hand on thy head," said the chief to the disguised Sultan, "and
put thy fingers on thy mouth, and say, 'As the starless night is dark,
as the cave of death is dark, so shall my thoughts and words continue
in darkness concerning the festival of tigers.'"

"And wherefore," said Misnar, "is this silence imposed? And what shall
befall him that sweareth not unto you? Is not the mind of man free?
And who shall offend him who seeketh not to offend others?"

"Whosoever," answered the chief, "travelleth, should become obedient
to the customs of those people among whom he tarrieth."

"Right," continued Misnar; "and I am willing, on two conditions, to
fulfil your will: first, you shall all swear that I be at liberty to
pursue my journey on the eleventh day; and, next, that I shall not be
bound to perform aught contrary to the law of Mahomet."

"Stranger," replied the chief, "when we are at liberty to depart, thou
shalt depart likewise; but during this festival, which is held in
honour of our noble ancestor, who remained fourteen days in this
forest till he had subdued a ravenous race of tigers, no man that has
entered here may stir hence till the fires be extinguished: for by
the fire did our ancestor drive away and destroy the tigers and beasts
of the forest, and by fire do we commemorate his mighty deeds.
Neither," continued the chief, "may we reveal these rites to any one
but those who by accident espy them; for such as are present with us
we are bound to receive into our society; wherefore we compel those
who come among us to keep in silence the knowledge of our rites."

"If such is your custom," answered Misnar, "I shall willingly comply,
and swear to you, that 'As the starless night is dark, as the cave of
death is dark, so shall my words and thoughts continue in darkness
concerning the festival of tigers.'"

As he uttered these words, the whole assembly again danced around him,
till the hollow brazen instruments were ordered to sound, and all the
inhabitants of the forest were commanded to receive the disguised
Sultan as their brother.

Then the men, one by one, passed by Misnar, each as he passed laying
the hand of the Sultan on his breast. After they were passed by, came
the females also, who embraced their new brother. These Misnar
suffered to pass on without much reflection, till, among the youngest,
who last approached, he beheld a beautiful virgin, with downcast
looks, drawing near him, and who seemed ashamed of that freedom the
custom of the place obliged her to use.

At sight of this lovely figure, Misnar at once forgot his purpose and
his crown, and was impatient till the ceremony brought her near to
him. The other females perceived his emotion; and the chief of the
festival approaching her, asked the lovely Noradin "whether she would
at length fix her choice? for in this place," continued the chief,
addressing himself to Misnar, "every sex hath freedom, and none are
compelled to take the hand they do not love. Noradin hath for these
three days been courted by all our tribe, but she has refused every
advance: if she refuse not you, our joy will be complete, and then
none of our company will be without his companion."

Misnar, forgetting the great designs of his heart, waited for the fair
one's answer, and felt more fear at her silence than at this dreadful
enchantments of his monstrous enemies. At length Noradin answered,
"May the joy of my comrades be complete!" Misnar, in raptures at the
fair Noradin's preference, took her by the hand, and led up the dance,
while the instruments of brass a third time sounded, to proclaim the
choice of Noradin.

At the appearance of day, each repaired to the cottages around, and
Misnar and Noradin were led by the chief to a spot, where shortly the
whole assembly built them a cottage of bamboo and the leaves of the
plantain.

As soon as they retired, Noradin, taking Misnar by the hand, asked him
whether she deserved his constant love for the choice she had made.
Misnar reflected upon the words of his fair companion, and his heart
recoiled at them.

"What!" said the Sultan to himself, "shall I, for the gratification of
my passion, give up the glories of my father's kingdom, and the
viceregency of Mahomet? Or shall I basely betray that love which is
proffered me, and embitter fair Noradin's future cup of life? No,"
said he aloud, turning to his amiable companion, "never let the man of
integrity deceive the heart that means to make him happy. Forgive me,
all-beauteous Noradin! but the volumes of my fate are open, and the
Prophet of the Faithful will not permit me to indulge here my secret
affections: though the soul of thy slave will be torn and divided, yet
must he depart with the expiring fires of your festival."

"Base, cold, and senseless wretch!" said the false Noradin (as the
beauteous vision vanished from the eyes of the Sultan, and he beheld
the enchantress Ulin before him), "call not thy frozen purpose virtue,
but the green fruits of unripened manhood. Though thou art escaped,
puny animal as thou art! from the power of my enchantments, yet shall
the southern kingdoms of India feel my scourge. Proceed, then,
superstitious reptile! on thy tame pilgrimage to Mecca, while Horam
feels the vengeance of my army in the sultry deserts of Ahajah."

As she spake thus, she stretched out her wand, and the fires and the
foresters, and the enchantress Ulin, disappeared from the sight of the
astonished Sultan.

The Sultan immediately prostrated himself on the ground, and gave
glory to God for his wonderful escape; and, pursuing his journey,
continued his course for two moons through the wide-extended forest of
Tarapajan.

During this time he daily examined the tablets which the Vizier Horam
had given him; but was very uneasy at finding the leaves always fair.
"Alas!" said he to himself, "I have trusted to a base man, who perhaps
has taken this advantage of my credulity, and intends to set the crown
of India on my brother's head! There needed not the powers of
enchantment to overthrow me, since I have betrayed at once my folly
and my cause."

Misnar, therefore, resolved to travel back to Delhi, and learn the
cause of Horam's silence; but as he neglected not to look on the
tablets every day, he at length found the following inscription
therein:

"Horam, the faithful slave of the Sultan of the East, to Misnar, the
lord of his heart.

"Some time after I left my royal Sultan in the forest, while my heart
was sad within me, came a hasty messenger from the outskirts of the
rebel army, and declared their approach, and that the southern
provinces had revolted, and were added to the opposers of the Sultan
of the East. When thy slave was certain of this intelligence from the
mouths of many, who hastened to the camp with these bad tidings, I
commanded the armies of India to be increased, and a more exact
discipline to be observed in my master's camp; and, perceiving that
the enemy hastened to meet the forces, I shortened the march of my
slaves, that the fatigues of the deserts might not prevail more
against them than the face and the sword of their enemies. Moreover, I
led thy troops through the most cultivated countries, that the
necessaries of life might with the greater ease be procured for the
multitudes that followed thy tent. But, alas! the presence of my lord
is not with his people, and the army murmur that they are led by a
Sultan who cheers not their labours by the light of his person; so
that the hearts of thy people are withdrawn from Horam thy slave, and
the captains of thousands demand admittance to thy tent, and accuse
thy Vizier of evil devices against thee, my lord the Sultan."

As the Sultan read this intelligence in the tablet of Horam, his heart
failed within him, and the sight of his eyes was as a mist before him.

"O Misnar! Misnar!" said he, falling to the ground, "the fiend of
darkness is let loose upon thee! and the powers of enchantment still
prevail!"

"Yes," said Ulin the enchantress, who immediately appeared, "the
powers of enchantment shall prevail! Misnar, the faithful servant of
Mahomet, hath at length yielded to my power, and Allah hath given to
my vengeance the wretch that doubts His protection. Crawl, therefore,"
continued she, "vile reptile, on the earth, and become a toad."

At the powerful voice of her enchantment, the Sultan shrank from his
natural form and became a reptile on the earth. His change of form did
not take from Misnar his memory or recollection: he was sensible of
his disgrace, and of the justness of his sentence; and though he could
not fly from himself, yet he hastened into the thicket, that he might
hide from the light of heaven. But the calls of nature soon drove him
from his recess, to seek his proper food in the desert. He crawled
forth, and was led on by a scent that pleased him: his spirits seemed
enlivened by the sweet odour, and his cold feeble limbs were endued
with brisker motion.

"Surely," said he, in his heart, "the bounteous Allah hath not left
the meanest of His creatures without comfort and joy. The smell is as
the smell of roses, and life and vigour are in these attractive
paths."

With these thoughts he crawled forwards into the thickest covert; and
though his body was drawn with a secret impulse, yet his mind was
filled with horror when he came in sight of a mangled and corrupted
body, which lay hid among the bushes. One of his own deformed kind sat
squatting beside it, and, like himself, seemed to desire and yet
detest the loathsome feast.

Misnar, at sight of one of his hideous kind, was filled with scorn and
rage; and, forgetting his transformation, was about to drive him from
the mangled body, when the reptile, opening his mouth, addressed him
in the language of Delhi.

"Whether thou art really what thy form bespeaks thee," said the
reptile, "or, like me, the victim of enchantment, answer."

The Sultan, surprised at this address, and perceiving that misery was
not his portion alone, desired to know by what means his
fellow-creature suffered such a wretched change.

"Since I perceive by your speech," said the reptile, "that one event
has happened to us both, I shall not be adverse to declare to you the
cause of my transformation; but I shall expect that my confidence will
not be misplaced, and that, after I have made you acquainted with my
history, you will not refuse to reveal your own."

"A similitude in our fates," replied Misnar, "has already made us
brethren, and I should be unreasonable to ask a favour I meant not to
return."

"Well, then," said he, "we will depart from this wretched sight into a
different thicket, where we may unmolested bewail our uncommon fates;
for although the enchantress Ulin, to disgrace our former natures, and
to make us the more sensible of our present deformity, obliges us to
meet daily before this horrid spectacle, yet our food is of the fruits
of the earth; for the wicked enchantress has not the power to make us,
even in this deformed habit, do that which is contrary to our human
nature."

While he was speaking another toad came up.

"Here," continued the first, "is another of our brethren, and another
will soon be here: we were three before you came among us.--Where, O
Princess, is the last victim of Ulin's rage?" said he to the second.

"He was basking," answered the second, "in the sand; but I aroused
him, and he is now on his way."

In a few minutes the third arrived. As soon as he had beheld the
mangled body, and, the attraction ceased, the first leading the way,
they departed into another thicket.

"Here," said the first, "O stranger, we may rest securely, and the
serpent cannot annoy us, for we are seated under the shade of the
fragrant cinnamon."

"We are obliged to you for your care of us," said Misnar; "but I am
eager to hear the cause of your transformation."


THE HISTORY OF MAHOUD.


I am (replied the toad) the son of a jeweller in Delhi, and my name is
Mahoud. My father, after a life of industry and parsimony, finding
himself declining, sent for me, and on his death-bed said, "O Mahoud,
my days have been the days of care, but success hath attended them. I
have toiled, that thou mayest reap; sown, that thou mayest gather; and
laboured, that my son may enjoy the fruits of my industry. My peace
and comfort have been sacrificed to thine; and now I die, assured that
my beloved Mahoud will not be pinched by poverty or oppressed by
penury and want."

Thus said my aged father, and expired, and my tears accompanied his
departing spirit; but these soon gave place to that ardent curiosity
which drove me to explore the riches he had left me.

I opened box after box with silent rapture, and was pleased to find
wealth sufficient to satisfy even the appetite of youth. Many diamonds
were among my father's wealth, besides large quantities of gold and
silver; so that, in my youthful judgment, there appeared no end to my
riches.

It was not wonderful that, being so suddenly put in possession of
these riches, I should seek every pleasure and diversion which wealth
could purchase. All who were the companions of my childhood, all who
would court an inexperienced heart, were admitted to my table; and the
strict laws of Mahomet were less regarded at my house than the rich
wines which sparkled at my feasts. Nor were the charms of the fair
forgotten; and while our goblets were filled with wine, we envied not
the deceased their rivers of milk.

Thus passed I my life among those who jest with religion, and make
their mock at the rules of prudence and sobriety. But the time soon
came when my hours of revelry were to be changed for those of sorrow,
and when I was first to learn that a father's prudence will not secure
a wicked son from the shafts of bitterness and grief.

My possessions, though ample, were nearly exhausted by ignorance and
extortion; my jewels were gone; unacquainted with their value, I had
flung them away rather than sold them; my silver and gold were become
the property of my friends, who, when I applied to them in return,
were much more assiduous, if possible, in keeping it from me than I
had been in squandering it on them. So that, in a little while, even
the merchants, who had been such gainers by me, came to demand some
trifling sums that I had borrowed from them, which being unable to
pay, they seized my furniture and stripped me of my clothes to satisfy
their demands.

In this situation I was turned out of my own doors by those whom I had
received a thousand times in my arms, and spurned at like a dog by
those whom I had pressed to my bosom.

Stung by reflecting on my former follies, and ignorant where to fly
for shelter, I covered myself with some few rags that had been cast to
me, and sat down before the house of a rich young man, who, like
myself, seemed to be squandering his wealth on the scum of the earth.

Bennaskar--for that was his name--soon came forth, with his minstrels
and singers at his heels, and, seeing a miserable figure before his
door, he asked what I wanted. I told him that once, like himself, I
gave life to the dance and mirth to my friends; but that want of
caution had been the cause of my ruin, and too much confidence in
those who least deserved my favour.

Several of his friends, hearing this, would have driven me from his
presence, saying it was unfit such a wretch should even enjoy the
blessings of the air; but Bennaskar would not suffer it, and asked me,
"Whether the insincerity of my friends had taught me to be sincere to
others?"

I answered that I had ever been sincere, even to those who were
undeserving, and that I would rather die than betray my friend.

"If what you say is true," said Bennaskar, "I will try you. Go in, and
my servants shall clothe you, and you shall live with me. I only ask
in return, that you never disclose to any one what you hear or see
transacted in my house."

"Sir," answered I, "your offer is gracious, and bespeaks your generous
intentions; but I do not choose to live on another's bounty unless I
can make myself useful."

"That," answered Bennaskar, "you may do if I find I can trust you. I
have long been in search of one I could trust. I want such an one, but
cannot find him."

The friends of Bennaskar then surrounded their lord, and each
confusedly offered their services to him.

"No," said the young man, "though I appear unthoughtful in your eyes,
O, servile race of flatterers! yet know, to your confusion, that I
have tried you all, and find you trifling and insincere. This man
alone refuses my proffered love unless he can return it, and this man
alone is worthy of my esteem."

The friends of Bennaskar were thunderstruck at his words, and renewed
their protestations; but he commanded his servants to drive them from
his house, and, taking me by the hand, he led me into an inner but
sumptuous apartment.

As soon as we entered, I prostrated myself at his feet, and said, "Let
not my lord be angry with his servant, but thou hast not told me what
service thou wilt expect from me."

"All that I require," answered Bennaskar, "is that you disclose not to
any one what you hear or see transacted in my house."

"My lord," answered I, "of what service can I be to you by such a
compliance? If I am silent thy slaves may speak, and I shall be blamed
for their insincerity. I pray thee, let me return to my rags, and set
me not in a place where thy vassals will be tempted to ruin me in thy
favour."

"Your answer," said Bennaskar, "is the answer of a prudent man. But
fear not: I cannot do without you, and I hope you will not refuse my
proffered love. What you will see, none will see besides you;
therefore none but yourself will be unfaithful to me."

On this assurance, I accepted the offer of Bennaskar. After which the
slaves led me to the bath, where I washed, and was perfumed, and
arrayed in a vestment of my lord's.

Bennaskar was impatient to see me; and, as I was led into his
presence, the young man hastened to meet me, and, folding me in his
arms, he said, "May I at length meet a friend I call trust?"

And I answered, "May Mahoud be the friend of thy bosom?"

Bennaskar then led me into another apartment, and meats were set
before us, and he ordered the females that danced to come and
entertain us.

Thus I spent my time with the agreeable Bennaskar: every day we varied
our enjoyments, and were mutually satisfied with each other.

I had now been with my friend eighteen days, and nothing had occurred
to interrupt our friendship, when, on the nineteenth morning,
Bennaskar appeared with a clouded visage.

"What," said I, "my lord, is the cause of your grief? Shall not Mahoud
share alike with you the smiles and the frowns of Allah?"

"Is it not," asked Bennaskar, "O Mahoud, the full of the moon?"

"It is," replied I, with a smile; "but doth Bennaskar intend to change
with that fluctuating planet?"

"O Mahoud," said Bennaskar, "the fate of thy friend is dependent on
the caprice of the stars. To-night must I put thy utmost friendship to
the trial. If Mahoud prove insincere, then is Bennaskar cursed among
men. If thy heart is not firm, now, while there is time, depart. But
why should I doubt thee? surely Mahoud is of the sons of the Faithful.
What must I say? Leave me, Mahoud, leave me; nay, if thou departest,
where shall I find thy fellow? and the presence of a friend is
necessary to my quiet."

"Then," answered I, "fear not, Bennaskar: Mahoud may be unhappy, but
he cannot be unjust. But what is this dreadful trial that obliges
Bennaskar to suspect his friend?"

"True," said Bennaskar, "Mahoud is undeserving of suspicion. Let us
wait till the sun sink from the skies, and the stars return with their
glimmering light."

Bennaskar then proceeded to the bath, and arrayed himself in a costly
robe, and desired me to do the same. I obeyed my friend, and we met in
the saloon together.

"Alas!" said Bennaskar, as we met, "how can I request my friend to
wear the image of deformity?"

"What image of deformity," said I, "must Mahoud wear? All appearances
are to Mahoud alike; and the severer the trial, the more shall I
commend thy friendship."

"Then," said Bennaskar, pulling out a pot of black ointment, "thou
must suffer me to disguise thy face with this ointment: to-night thou
must personate a black slave."

"Is such a trifle," said I, "the test of friendship? Give me the
ointment, and furnish me with the habit of a slave."

"The habit," answered Bennaskar, "is ready, and all is ready; but you
must not as yet disguise yourself, lest my slaves observe us. Come,
let us for the present enjoy ourselves, and, when night approaches,
Bennaskar will rely on the friendship of Mahoud."

The slaves then brought us the costly viands of Delhi; but Bennaskar
remained pensive, and seemed not to relish the dainties before him.

I endeavoured all I could to divert his melancholy; I smiled, I sang
before him; the dancers were introduced with music to dissipate his
gloom; but Bennaskar still remained mute. The music continued till
night, when Bennaskar commanded the slaves to withdraw, and, taking a
lamp in his hand, led me through several apartments.

"Mahoud," said he, as we went along, "has never yet seen the wonders
of my palace."

"I am happy, my lord," answered I, "to see your wealth; but I am not
inquisitive to explore, unbidden, the secrets of another."

We had now arrived at a small vaulted room, from the centre of which
hung a lamp, which Bennaskar trimmed, putting out the one he held in
his hand.

"Now," said he, "Mahoud, enter that closet which is opposite to us,
and put on the slave's dress which you will find there, and anoint thy
face and hands with this black ointment."

I immediately obeyed, and in a short time came forth arrayed as a
slave.

"Kind Mahoud," said Bennaskar, "thou art excellently disguised; now
obey with silence, and stand as a mute before his lord."

I folded my arms and nodded assent, at which he smiled.

"Take hold, Mahoud," said he, "of that iron ring which is fastened to
the middle of the floor, and pull."

I obeyed, and a little trap-door opened. On looking down, I perceived
a woman in rich vestments, half buried in the earth. I shuddered at
the sight, and was falling backward, when Bennaskar struck me with a
chabouc,[6] which he drew from his bosom, and said, "Villain, if thou
fail me, I shall use thee as my slave."

[Footnote 6: A large whip.]

Although enraged at the blow, yet I remembered my promise, and
returned to the trap-door.

"Slave," said Bennaskar, "dig that female out of the ground: the spade
and the mattock are hidden under the floor."

I immediately jumped down, found the tools, and began to work; but
neither my fear nor my labour could prevent me from fixing my eyes on
the lovely female, who seemed as one dead.

As soon as I had removed the earth from her, which I did with great
care, Bennaskar commanded me to lift the body into the apartment, gave
me a phial of clear blue liquor, and ordered me to pour it into her
mouth, while he retired to the closet.

I willingly obeyed, and hastened to administer the liquid, while
Bennaskar retired.

The liquor was no sooner swallowed than the lovely female began to
move, and in a short time opening her eyes, she cast them upon me, and
shrieked out, clapping her hands together and crying, "O Allah, defend
me!"

Bennaskar at the same time spoke to her from the closet where he was
concealed.

"Hemjunah," said he, "are you as yet disposed to yield yourself to the
will of Bennaskar, or must we still experience the evils of opposite
enchantment?"

"Wretch!" answered the fair stranger, "I fear not the powers of your
accursed magic, for Macoma has assured me that you shall not be able
to harm me except with my own consent; and Mahomet, though for a time
he permits this enchantment, will at length assuredly deliver me."

"Then," answered Bennaskar, "must the lash be inflicted. Here,"
continued he, "slave Mahoud, inflict fifty lashes on that obdurate
female."

I took the chabouc from Bennaskar, and began, with trembling, my cruel
office, lamenting my own blind compliance in promising to obey a
monster whom I had mistaken for a friend.

As the lash touched the beautiful Hemjunah, she made the vaulted roof
re-echo with her cries; nor did my heart feel less sensibly the
strokes which I gave than her own. The tears trickled down my cheeks,
and I prayed inwardly to be delivered from the hateful task.

"What," said Bennaskar from the closet, "what doth Hemjunah now say to
my desires?"

"The hard-hearted and the cruel," said Hemjunah, faintly, "are the
last to win the soft affections of a female heart: rather let me die
than be the property of the vile Bennaskar."

"If so," said he, coming from the closet, "die: for the present I
resign my power. Let Macoma hide thee again in the dust of the earth."

Bennaskar no sooner appeared than the beautiful Hemjunah again seemed
to die away, and immediately a hissing noise was heard, and an ugly
dwarf arose from the trap-door, and took the body of Hemjunah and
replaced it in the earth, and the trap-door was closed with a roaring
noise.

Bennaskar then beckoned me to follow him, and leading me to the bath,
bade me wash and return to the saloon in my proper vestments.

I was so surprised at these horrors that I hardly knew what I did.
However, in the bath I had time to recollect myself; but recollection
was of little service, for reflection rather increased than cleared my
confusion. One moment I resolved to apply to the Cadi, and declare
every circumstance of the terrible adventure. The next I was awed by
the thoughts of my rash and imprudent vows of secrecy.

"Bennaskar," said I, "has for a month appeared as an angel before me;
but one base action has deformed all his former purity. How can I
reconcile these inconsistencies? Can he, who is the tenderest, the
best of friends, be also the vilest and most cruel of mankind? I have
been accessory to the torture of a most beautiful female--one, too,
who called on the perfect Allah to deliver her. I have been the
instrument of a mean revenge on a helpless woman, and now I yet delay
to inform the Cadi of the villanies of this house of enchantment."

I resolved immediately to repair to the Cadi, and give him full
information of the sorceries of Bennaskar. I hastened out of the bath,
threw my vestments over me, and advanced to the door.

"But," said I, as I went along, "what am I about to do? I shall
forfeit my faith without serving the distressed. Bennaskar expects me
in the saloon, and when he finds that I am gone forth, he will, by the
power of his art, secrete the beautiful female from the eyes of the
Cadi. I have been the guest of Bennaskar a month, and never, till this
day, did I perceive the rooms through which I was led to that
detestable act of cruelty: nay, Bennaskar himself was obliged to wait:
he was impatient till the full of the moon, and oppressed with sorrow
and care when it arose. I will, therefore, for the present, return to
Bennaskar, and will put on the face of cheerfulness, and make my
countenance to shine before him."

Bennaskar met me on my return. "Whence cometh Mahoud?" said he.

"I am," answered I, "just risen from the bath, and I come to meet my
friend Bennaskar."

"Mahoud," answered Bennaskar, "art thou faithful, and wilt thou ever
remain faithful to thy friend?"

These words embarrassed me, and, not daring to answer otherwise, I
said, "Why doth my lord doubt the sincerity of my heart?"

"Mahoud, then," returned he, "is faithful?"

"He is," answered I, but with an unwilling heart.

"I doubt not," continued Bennaskar, "that my friend is amazed at the
scene he lately beheld. But ask no explanations: let thy mouth be ever
closed to seek or reveal."

"Then," answered I, "you doubt the faithfulness of Mahoud; else why
may not I know the meaning of the wonders I have seen?"

"The age of thy friendship," said Bennaskar, "is a month, and wouldst
thou be admitted in so short a time to all the secrets of my heart?
Forbear, rash youth. A well-tried friend is Bennaskar's joy; but woes
and death are in the paths of his enemies."

As he said this, he frowned and left me, and I retired to my
apartment, irresolute in mind. As I entered my chamber, I perceived a
small book open on a desk before the burning lamps. I went up to it,
and found it was the Koran of our holy law. Being little desirous of
sleep, I sat down; and as I read, methought I saw the name of Mahoud
in the book.

Startled at the vision, I looked again, and read distinctly these
words:

"Mahoud! Mahoud! Mahoud! there is much good in the world, but there is
more evil; the good is the gift of Allah, but the evil is the choice
of His creatures. Because of man's sin, and because of the darkness of
his heart, do the evil genii and the enchantments of wickedness
prevail. Even now is Mahoud in the house of a magician, to whom he is
imprudently bound by the ties of honour: to draw back is meanness; but
to persist is sin. When men act wrong, they subject themselves to the
power of a wicked race; and we who are the guardians of mortality
cannot interpose but in proportion to their remorse. Taken by the
crafty dissimulation of Bennaskar, thy easy soul gave in to his
snares, and thy prudence was decoyed by the voice of his mouth. Thou
hast promised, at all events, not to reveal the secrets of his house,
and thou hast, unknowingly, joined thyself in the fellowship of the
wicked. But can man, who is bound to the service of Allah by an
unalterable law, dispose of himself against the will of his Maker? or
can the worm of the earth, the property of Heaven, set up itself
against the hand that formed it? Had Mahoud engaged to conceal
everything but what the law of Mahomet obliged him to reveal, he had
behaved wisely; but he who walketh in darkness will undoubtedly fall
into the pit. Past errors cannot be recalled; and Mahoud must learn
the wisdom of experience. Under the resemblance of the Koran, behold,
the genius Macoma instructs thine heart. I perceive evil will attend
thee, if thou dost attempt the enlargement of the Princess of
Cassimir; and yet, without it, thou must still continue the servant of
cruelty and oppression. Choose, therefore, for yourself: if injured
innocence can move thee, boldly suffer in the cause of truth, and take
this book in thy bosom, which shall at all times admit thee to a sight
of the Princess; if not, be still the slave of the enemy of thy
Prophet."

After this, I looked again on the book, but found I could read no
more; however, I hesitated not to engage in the service of the
Princess; and therefore, taking the book in my bosom, and the lamp in
my hand, I went toward the saloon, supposing that Bennaskar was
asleep. I searched for the rooms through which I had passed before,
and soon perceived the vaulted apartment at the end of them.

I hastened to take up the trap-door, and touching the Princess
Hemjunah with the book, essayed to deliver her from her miserable
confinement. The Princess awoke at the touch of the book; but, at the
sight of me, shrieked aloud, and I feared her cries would awaken
Bennaskar. I assured her that I was sent by the genius Macoma to
effect her deliverance, and that I abhorred every kind of cruelty
which I had practised upon her.

"Alas!" said she, still shrieking at intervals, "your story betrays
your wickedness. I never before saw you, unless you are, as I suspect,
the magician Bennaskar under some feigned appearance; but rest
assured, vile man! that no deceit or cruelty shall ever make me the
creature of Bennaskar. I will ever persist in my hatred of you; and I
am assured that you cannot injure or destroy me."

"Most gracious Princess Hemjunah!" said I, prostrating myself before
her, "let me beseech you to hear me: I am not Bennaskar, nor a
creature of Bennaskar's, but the servant of the genius Macoma, who has
instructed me, by means of this holy book (which I then pulled out),
to attempt your rescue, and I am willing to lay down my life for your
safety. You have not indeed seen me in my present character, but this
very night was I brought hither by Bennaskar, under the similitude of
a slave, and forced, through a most accursed oath, to inflict the
severest tortures on the most delicate of her sex."

"Wretch!" said the Princess, "I am now convinced of thy perfidy,
allowing thine own account to be true; for what promise could bind
thee to a cruel action? and why not rather be thyself a sufferer than
make an innocent virgin the subject of thy cruelties? But if thou art
truly the servant of Macoma, and ashamed of thy late inhuman deeds,
quit the house of the vile Bennaskar, and inform the Cadi of his
cruelties and sorceries."

"Rather," said I, "let me dig around you, and release you from this
miserable confinement."

"That," said the Princess, "you cannot do, unless you are indeed, as I
suspect, the wretch Bennaskar; for by his command alone can I be
released. Oh, fool that I was," continued she, with tears, "to listen
for a moment to the falsehood of man!"

"If my information," said I, "O lovely Hemjunah, will avail, this
moment will I fly to the Cadi, and acquaint him with your distress."

I then hastened to go; but oh, imagine my terror and amazement when I
saw Bennaskar moving through the apartments which led to the vaulted
chamber!

As he advanced, Hemjunah shrieked, and I was ready to sink: though my
intentions were just and good, yet was I terrified by his appearance,
so much was I sunk by the rash promise which I had made; and I every
moment expected the dreadful effects of his powerful malice.

As Bennaskar entered the vaulted chamber, I shrank back with fear, and
dared not lift up my eyes; but my terror was soon quieted, when I saw
him fall prostrate at my feet. I then no longer doubted that the
genius Macoma supported me, and attributed his behaviour to her
supernatural power.

"O Mahoud," said Bennaskar, "the friend of my bosom, the partner of my
secrets; although the power of love has not the rule in thine heart,
yet pity those who are the slaves of its dominion; if the lovely
Princess of Cassimir did but know the purity of my heart, the----"

"Hear not the villain," said Hemjunah, "O servant of Macoma, unless he
release me from this detested place: me he hath already deceived; and
you will be subjected likewise to his power, unless the prudent spirit
of Macoma direct thee."

"Then," said Bennaskar, rising up, and laying bare his bosom, "here,
Mahoud, strike, and end my miseries, and the miseries of Hemjunah; but
never will Bennaskar consent to lose the treasure of his heart."

"I will not," answered I, "lift up my private arm against thy life,
but I shall deliver thee to the power of the Cadi, who is the deputy
of the great Allah's vicegerent."

"Give me, then," said the Princess of Cassimir, "the book of the
genius Macoma, that I may be defended from the insults and
contrivances of the base Bennaskar."

The request of the Princess appeared to be so reasonable, that I
obeyed her, and put the book into her hands.

Bennaskar, when I was leaving the vaulted chamber, besought me not to
destroy the friend who had supported me; but I told him that Allah was
to be obeyed rather than man.

I hastened to the Cadi; but as it was night, his officers told me I
could not be heard, till I informed them that I had in my power a
wicked magician, who, by sorceries, had stolen the Princess of
Cassimir. When they heard this, they acquainted the Cadi; and that
vigilant magistrate arose, and followed me to the house of Bennaskar
with his guard.

As I entered the house, I was amazed to see him standing in the
entrance with a lamp in his hand; but my astonishment increased when I
saw him fall down before the Cadi, and confess his guilt.

The Cadi commanded the guards to seize him, and then ordered him to
lead us to the place where he had concealed the Princess of Cassimir.
Bennaskar obeyed; but as he went through the apartments, he said to
me, "Mahoud, you are sensible that the Princess Hemjunah's body is
half buried in the earth, and uncovered; therefore prevail upon the
Cadi that he suffer us to go before and release her: for my part, my
sins oppress me, and I wish to restore to her dignity a much-injured
Princess."

"If," said I, "you will promise to release the Princess, I will
endeavour to prevail on the Cadi to permit what you propose; but,
otherwise, let the whole world be a witness of your wicked malice."

"O my friend," said Bennaskar, "accuse me not, my own heart persecutes
me sufficiently. Yes, Mahoud," continued he, "I will, as you require
me, release the Princess, and trust to the mercy of the Cadi; for the
service of the evil genii will neither bring me profit nor peace."

I was pleased at this repentance of Bennaskar, and besought the Cadi
that he would suffer us to enter the vaulted chamber first, and
recover the Princess from her enchantment. The Cadi acquiesced in my
proposal, but ordered the guards to surround the entrance, while
Bennaskar and myself entered the chamber.

As soon as we entered, Bennaskar seized me suddenly by the throat,
and, before I could speak or recollect myself, he dragged me into the
closet and shut the door after us.

"Now," said he, "villain! receive the just rewards of a perjured
heart." Saying this, he spat in my face, and threw me on the ground,
and then flew out of the closet, shutting the door forcibly after him.

I remained for some moments stupefied by my fall; but after a time
arose, and opening the closet, I was surprised to see neither the
Princess of Cassimir nor the magician Bennaskar.

While I was in this confusion, the Cadi and his guards, being
impatient at our stay, entered the chamber, and the Cadi commanded his
guards to seize me, saying, "Villain! where is the Princess of
Cassimir, and the man who revealed thy unrighteous actions?"

At this I began to answer, when I perceived that my voice was as the
voice of Bennaskar. I immediately looked on my clothes, and found them
changed. In short, I doubted not that my malicious foe had transformed
me into his own appearance.

I fell at the feet of the Cadi, and besought him for one moment to
hear me. I acquainted him with every circumstance of my adventures,
from my entrance into the house of Bennaskar to the present moment.
But he and his guards laughed at my tale, and commanded me to deliver
up my friend and the Princess of Cassimir. In vain did I call Allah to
witness the truth of my story; the Cadi was enraged at my persisting
in the tale, and ordered his guards to give me a hundred strokes with
the chabouc.

To add to my misfortune, Bennaskar appeared at one end of the room;
and when I cried out and pointed to him, the Cadi, who saw him not,
thinking that I meant to mock him, ordered me another hundred lashes
with the chabouc.

Vexed with myself, and subdued by the pain, I fell on the ground, and
my guards were ordered to carry me to the prison, where I was loaded
with chains, and thrown into a deep dungeon.

The next morning I was brought out again before the Cadi, and carried
into the hall of justice. The Cadi there passed sentence upon me, that
I should be burnt alive the next day unless I delivered up Mahoud and
the Princess of Cassimir.

Finding it vain to repeat my declarations that I was the real Mahoud,
and that I suffered through the vile enchantments of Bennaskar, I
remained silent; but this was construed into surliness, and I was
ordered five hundred bastinadoes to make me speak.

The Cadi then commanded me to be carried back to the dungeon, and
ordered a large pile of wood to be raised in the market-place, whereon
I was to be burnt the next morning, before all the people.

I spent the night in the utmost horror, and earnestly wished that the
sun might never more behold my sorrows. But the darkness passed away
as usual, and I beheld the dreadful morning dawn. A tumultuous crowd
had collected before the door of the dungeon to see me pass to
execution, and as I was dragged along, the common people nearly
overwhelmed me with stones.

As I advanced to the pile, I perceived the Cadi and his officers were
seated before it. He commanded me to be brought again before him ere I
was bound to the pile.

"Art thou," said he, "wretched magician, willing to bring forth the
Princess, or thy friend, who are concealed by thy wicked arts, or must
the sentence of our law be executed upon thee?"

"O judge," said I, "since my tale will not gain credit with thee, at
least let me know by whose accusation it is that I am brought before
thee, and who it is that accuses me of magic or sorcery. Am not I
Bennaskar, the wealthy merchant of Delhi? and where are my accusers?
Who dare say aught against my fame? You came into my house by night,
you seized my person, you inflicted on me the punishment of a slave;
you cast me into a dungeon, and condemned me to the flames; and all
this without the appearance of a single witness against me: wherefore,
O Cadi, I appeal unto the righteous Sultan of the East, and I hope my
fellow-citizens will not suffer me to be executed while no proofs of
guilt are brought against me."

"Young man," answered the Cadi, "your appeal is unnecessary, for I am
not desirous of destroying my fellow-creatures without a cause. Your
plea were just and proper, did not your own confession contradict your
present assertion. Yesterday you declared that you were not Bennaskar,
and to-day you say you are; wherefore out of your own lips I have
convicted you of falsehood; whereas, had you really been Bennaskar the
merchant, and not a magician, there had been no need of two different
accounts of yourself."

The people, hearing this distinction of the Cadi, applauded their
judge; and one and all cried out that I was a magician, and deserved
the flames.

The guards were then ordered to bind me on the pile, and I was led up
and fixed to a post by the chains which had been fastened on my body
the day before; and now, amidst the acclamations of the mob, was the
pile kindled, and the smoke and the flame surrounded the unfortunate
Mahoud.

In a moment the crowd and the heavens disappeared from my sight, and I
found myself in the body of a toad, at the bottom of the pile. I
hopped forward out of the flames, and with difficulty hid myself
beneath a stone in the street.

The crowd, having waited till the pile was consumed, carried the ashes
out of the city, and scattered them in the air. I remained till night
beneath the stone.

It was my intention, as soon as it was dark, to creep out of the city
into the woods; but sleep overtook me at the time when animals retire
to their rest, and when I awoke in the morning I found myself in this
forest, where I remained during the space of a moon alone, till I met
with these two miserable companions of my solitude.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Your adventures, O Mahoud," said the Sultan of India, "are wonderful,
and an excellent lesson of caution and prudence to us who are joined
in one common fate; and since I perceive both your misfortunes and my
own have been brought about by our want of trust and prudence, I
shall, with the utmost resignation, acknowledge that the all-perfect
Allah is ever willing to assist those who are not wanting to
themselves.

"But, O Mahoud, suffer me, ere I declare my own grief, to ask what has
become of the lovely Hemjunah, the Princess of Cassimir? and wonder
not at my solicitude, for the mention of her name brings to my memory
ideas of the past. How was it possible that lovely being should be
betrayed into the powers of those wicked enchanters? But why should I
be surprised at her weakness, who am myself the object of their
malice? Surely," continued the Sultan, "this our companion, whom you
called Princess, cannot be the daughter of Zebenezer, the Sultan of
Cassimir?"

"You are right, indeed, in your conjectures," answered Mahoud; "the
Princess of Cassimir is a fellow-sufferer with us, and he who is on my
right hand is Horam, the favourite of Misnar, the Lord of Delhi."

"What!" said Misnar, transported, and yet at the same time recoiling
with surprise, "is my faithful Horam also the unfortunate partner of
my griefs?"

Misnar then, turning to the Princess of Cassimir, said, "O Princess,
whom a severe enchantment has deprived of the most exquisite of
forms, to load thee with the most wretched, permit me to request an
account of your unfortunate labours since you left the Court of your
father Zebenezer; that at least I may indulge my wishes for your
recovery, though my arm is too weak to work either my own or your
deliverance."

"Most illustrious Sultan," answered the Princess, "I shall obey your
commands, although the remembrance of my misfortune is grievous, and
the confession of my indiscretion must fill me with shame."

"It is enough, O Princess," said the Sultan, "to confess our faults to
Heaven; and he is the weakest of the sons of earth who takes a
pleasure in hearing of the failings of others."

"O Sultan," replied Hemjunah, "your politeness cannot extenuate,
though it may gloss over, my imprudence; and by delaying to unfold my
little history to you, my crime may seem more black while hidden than
when it shall be revealed."

As the Princess uttered these words, a dervish, worn with age and
bowed down by infirmity, appeared among the thickets of the forest.

Horam immediately recollected the features of the good old saint, and
said, "My royal master, yonder is Shemshelnar, the most pious
worshipper of Allah among all the sons of Asia."

"I do not remember his features," answered Misnar: "came he not to the
council of our divan?"

"No, my royal lord," said Horam, "the infirmities of age were upon
him."

By this time Shemshelnar had reached the place where the transformed
company were seated; and, falling prostrate before Misnar, he said,
"Wonder not, O Prince of India, that Shemshelnar, thy slave, doth thus
acknowledge his Prince, though deformed by the enchantments of the
wicked. I knew the evils that surrounded thee; and although I was
unable to attend thy council, yet I prayed in secret to Him who
bestoweth at the noonday, that He would avert from my royal master the
misfortunes which threatened to overpower him. Allah heard my prayer
as I lay prostrate in my cell; and the genius Bahoudi appearing,
commanded me to seek thee in the forest of Tarapajan, whither thy
wayward fortune should lead thee. 'O genius,' replied I, 'how shall
age and infirmity comply with thy commands?'

"'Go,' said Bahoudi, touching me with his finger, 'for strength is
given thee from above. The enchantress Ulin hath transformed thy
Prince into the most hideous reptile of the earth. But wonder not at
the deformity of his appearance, nor at the malice of her who has
overpowered him; for such is the fate of those who are most exalted in
their virtues, that their enemies, whenever an opportunity is afforded
to them, will strive to render them most odious. Thy Prince, before
thou canst arrive in the forest, will be surrounded by three others in
equal affliction: it is permitted thee to rescue the Sultan of India;
but the rest must wear the chains of the enchantress till Ulin is no
more.'

"But ere I restore thee, O Sultan of my heart," continued Shemshelnar,
"such are the words which the genius hath commanded me to utter before
thee:

"Religion, O Misnar, is the first and the greatest duty of life, and
the service of Allah the sweetest offering of a grateful heart. But He
who appointed the ceremonies and services of piety and devotion hath
also given to all their respective stations in the warfare of life.
How, then, shall we pay honour to Allah, if we neglect and desert the
peculiar duties of that post wherein Allah hath placed us? The signet
of Mahomet, O Prince, of which Mangelo the prophet did prophesy, is it
not that seal which the Faithful bear on their frontlets, when they
obey the voice of reason and religion? and the girdle of Opakka, with
which Kifri, the enchanter, is endued, what is it but foresight and
prudence, the best allies of the Sultans of the earth? To save his
people my Prince has deserted them, and given away what he sought to
keep. When Allah placed thee on the throne of India, He thence
expected to hear thy petitions; but, as faults which proceed from
goodness, though uninstructed, are beheld with Heaven's piteous eye,
therefore arise, O Sultan," said Shemshelnar, and touched him, "rise
from the filth of the earth, and again assume the glories with which
Allah hath endued thee. And know, that such is His care over thee,
that He hath curbed the hands of thine enemies, and bids thee go
forth against them, assured of this, that they shall not be able by
their enchantments to foresee thy designs, nor to overpower thee by
the help of their magical deceits, unless thou yield to their snares.
Be prudent and vigilant, and fear them not. Only this is permitted
against thee,--if thou canst not overpower and destroy them unawares,
they may use their art to conceal their escape, and avoid thy arm;
therefore be bold and quick, and yet cautious and discerning, lest,
when force avails not, they employ fraud to destroy thee."

As Shemshelnar finished these words, Misnar arose in his natural form;
but, ere he spake to the holy dervish who had released him, he fell
prostrate, and adored the goodness of Allah, who had thus rescued him
from the power of Ulin. Then, rising, he took Shemshelnar by the hand,
and thanked him for his release and advice.

"Thou hast done right, O Misnar," said the dervish, "to give the
greatest honour to Allah, for to Him alone belongs all honour."

"And may I not hope," continued the Sultan, "that it will please Him
to release these my fellow-sufferers also?"

"Misnar alone can release them," answered the dervish. "Let Ulin
perish, and these unfortunate persons shall be restored to thee and
themselves; but in the meantime they must learn to bear their
misfortunes with patience, and offer their prayers for thy safety. The
road to Delhi is through this desert forest, and to the left is
situated the palace of Ulin. She is already aware of thy
re-transformation, and is studying to deceive thee a second time; but
beware, O Misnar! for if she prevail, death and destruction await
thee."

Misnar, having received the instructions of the dervish, took leave of
his companions, assuring them he was desirous of meeting the crafty
Ulin as soon as possible, that he might either give up all pretensions
to his kingdom, or deliver his subjects and his friends from the hands
of the enchantress.

The Sultan of the Indies, having left the dervish and his friends,
advanced into the forest, chewing some leaves which Shemshelnar had
given him to support him till he should arrive at his palace. He had
not advanced more than two days' journey in the forest before he heard
the violent shrieks of a distressed woman, and at a distance saw four
ruffians stripping a lady, and beating her inhumanly.

Misnar was enraged at what he saw, and, flying to the lady's
assistance, he bade the ruffians defend themselves. They chose not to
encounter the arm of Misnar, but, leaving the lady, fled; and the
Prince, stepping up to her, desired to know by what accident she had
fallen thus alone into the hands of the robbers.

"O noble sir!" said the lady in tears--"for I perceive by your mien I
speak to no common friend--it was my fate to be beloved by the
handsomest of the sons of the Faithful. I lived in Delhi, the daughter
of an Emir; and Hazar, the captain of a thousand in the army of
Misnar, the Sultan of the East, was my admirer; but, alas! his love
has proved my destruction. The second son of the great Dabulcombar,
assisted by Ulin the enchantress, aspired to his brother's throne; and
the soldiers, who loved the hazardous chance of war, deserted
frequently from Misnar our Sultan: among the rest Hazar, in spite of
my utmost endeavours, revolted with his thousand men."

"'There is no preferment,' said he, 'in the peaceful reign of Misnar;
I will follow the fortunes of his brother, whose throne must be gained
and supported by arms.' In vain I remonstrated, and urged both love
and duty. 'My love,' said Hazar, 'is still unalterable: thou wilt soon
see me return the favourite of the new monarch, and it will then be in
my power to raise thee to higher dignities than those which thy father
now possesses.'

"Hazar then left me by night, and soon I heard that he had joined the
rebel army; but, O generous stranger! what was my grief when I
understood that Ulin, the detestable enchantress, was stricken with
his appearance, and had deceived him! I set out without delay for the
camp, and, studying to avoid the army of Misnar, travelled through
this wood with four slaves.

"Being now arrived at the farther side, I struck into the thickest
part of the forest, and, losing sight of my attendants, I wandered
about for some time till morning, when on a sudden I heard several
voices among the trees. In an instant four ruffians surrounded me,
and, had not your powerful arm interposed, I should have suffered the
vilest of deaths."

Misnar endeavoured to comfort the afflicted stranger, and asked her
whether she thought it possible for any man to enter the palace of
Ulin undiscovered.

"O Sultan," said she, "let me prevail upon you to follow me, and I
will ensure your success."

Misnar besought her to walk before, and show him the path which led to
the palace.

"We will reach it by night," said the stranger, "when the darkness
shall protect thee."

The beautiful stranger then went forward, and Misnar followed after.
Ere they had proceeded twenty paces, Misnar said,

"It will be proper, O fair stranger, to draw my scimitar, lest we be
set upon suddenly by the robbers."

"You are right," answered the fair stranger, "and your precaution is
just."

The Sultan Misnar, having drawn his sabre, followed close behind the
beautiful stranger, and suddenly with a blow smote her on the
shoulders, and felled her to the ground.

She had no sooner fallen, than her countenance changed, and discovered
to Misnar the features of the malicious enchantress Ulin, who, though
nearly spent and exhausted by the blow, yet lived to utter the
following imprecations:

"May the curse of our sex light upon thee, thou traitor to manhood!
since neither the charms nor the afflictions of the fair have been
able to soften thine heart. Thou hast, indeed, avoided my snares, by
doing violence to the noblest of passions, and by trampling on the
most sacred laws of humanity and hospitality. Idiot that I was to
trust myself to thee, though guarded by the strongest appearances of
innocence and distress! The injured and the helpless can find no
protection in thy government, though thou boastest thyself the
delegate of Allah and the friend of the oppressed; and I, trusting to
thy specious virtues, have fallen a sacrifice to thy deceitful
heart."

Her iniquitous spirit then fled from the body of Ulin, and the Sultan
left her mangled and deformed corpse a prey to the beasts of the
forest.

He travelled for several days backward, hoping to find the former
companions of his misery, and at last came to the place which he had
left, but could see no signs of them; wherefore, concluding that their
enchantment was broken by the death of Ulin, the Sultan returned
towards Delhi, subsisting on the leaves which the dervish had given
him, and on the fruits of the earth, and in twelve days' time arrived
at a small town in his own dominions. Here he lodged at a poor
cottage, where he found an old woman and her son, and inquired whether
she could procure him any horses or mules to carry him the next
morning to Delhi.

"Alas!" answered the old woman, "we have no cattle with us; the army
has stripped us of all."

"What!" answered Misnar, "has the rebel army been foraging so near
Delhi?"

"Alack!" said the old woman, "I think all armies are rebels, for my
part. Indeed, the soldiers told us that they were the Sultan's army,
and that they were sent to guard us from the rebels; but in the
meantime they took our cattle and provision, and paid us nothing for
them; and still, every time they came, they called themselves our
guardians and friends. If this is all the friendship great men can
show us, we poor people should be best pleased to live as far from
them as we can."

Although Misnar smiled at the poor woman's speech, yet, lifting up his
eyes and hands secretly to heaven, as she went out for sticks to
kindle a fire to dress his provisions, he said, "O just and merciful
Allah, preserve me from the avarice of ambition! that, while the rich
and the proud advise me to delight in blood, I may ever remember the
severities which the poor must suffer; and that I may rather rejoice
to relieve one oppressed slave, than to enrich ten thousand flattering
Emirs of my Court!"

As soon as the old woman entered again into her house, the disguised
Sultan advised her and her neighbours to join in a petition, and
present it to the Sultan in his divan.

"A petition!" answered the old woman, "and for what?"

"To relieve your distresses," said Misnar.

"Alas! who is to relieve our distresses but Allah?" said the woman.

"Your Sultan, the servant of Allah, will relieve them," replied
Misnar.

"What!" answered the old woman; "can he restore to these arms my
dutiful first-born, who has been so long the joy of my aged heart, but
was lately torn from me to fill up the armies of the Sultan? Can he
call back the brave men he has caused to be destroyed, and give life
and spirits and joy again to the widows and orphans of India? If he
can, oh! let him hasten to relieve the afflicted hearts of his
subjects, and become as a god upon earth!"

The Sultan was astonished at the words and the gestures of the poor
old woman, and deeply stricken by her observations.

"How seldom," said he to himself, "do the rich feel the distresses of
the poor! and in the midst of conquest and acclamation, who regardeth
the tears and afflictions of those who have lost their friends in the
public service?"

The Sultan Misnar rested that night in the cottage of the old woman;
and the next morning he arose, and was conducted by her younger son to
a town half a day's journey farther. Here he supplied himself with
mules, and in one day more reached the city of Delhi.

The Sultan entered a caravanserai, where he found several merchants.
He asked them how they dared venture to trade, when the armies of the
rebels were spread over the face of India.

"As to that," answered the first merchant, "we have lived here some
time, in expectation that one party or the other would prevail. It
little matters to us which, provided trade be encouraged. As to the
Sultan's party, there was not, till within these few days, any hope of
their success. The young man himself had retired from his throne,
being fearful of encountering his enemies; and the captains of the
army had destroyed the Prime Vizier Horam."

"And what," interrupted Misnar, "is the cause of this change in favour
of the Sultan?"

"Ten days since," answered the merchant, "contrary to every one's
belief, as we all thought him dead, the Vizier Horam appeared at the
head of the army, and assured the officers that his lord Misnar was
living, and had destroyed the enchantress Ulin, who espoused the cause
of his brother Ahubal; that, in consequence of Ulin's death, Ahubal
had fled, and his army had been dispersed; and that he expected his
royal master would shortly appear among them."

The Sultan rejoiced at this news, and without delay hastened to the
palace of his Vizier.

The slaves of Horam, seeing the disguised Sultan, asked him his
business.

"I come," replied Misnar, "to communicate to thy lord tidings of our
Sultan."

At this word, the slaves of Horam conducted Misnar to their master's
presence; and Horam no sooner saw his master in the disguise with
which he had furnished him, than he fell at the Sultan's feet, and
congratulated him on his safe return.

"My faithful Horam," said Misnar, "arise. The day is not yet so far
spent but that my Court may be assembled. Give orders, Horam, that the
army be drawn up, and let thy slaves proceed to the palace, and bring
the imperial robes. My people require my presence, and Misnar yearns
to see the supporters of his throne."

Horam arose, and the Sultan, embracing him, said, "Horam, I am
desirous of hearing the particulars of thy fate; but public advantage
must not yield to private friendship."

The faithful Horam then hastened to call together the Princes and the
Viziers of the Court of Delhi, and gave orders that the army should be
drawn up in the royal square before the divan.

The Sultan Misnar, being arrayed in his imperial robes, delayed not to
show himself to his people; and no sooner did he appear, than his
subjects cried out, "Long live the Sultan of our hearts, who alone was
able to conquer the powers of enchantment!"

The Sultan was overjoyed to find that his people received him with
gladness, and commanded money to be thrown among the populace, and
double subsistence to be dealt out to his army. The viziers and
officers of justice being assembled in the divan, waited the arrival
of their Sultan; and Misnar, having ascended the throne, commanded
Horam to deliver to him a faithful account of his enemies.

Horam the Vizier then arose from his seat, and assured his Sultan that
the rebel army was dispersed, and that Ahubal had fled with a few
friends to the shores of the Indian Ocean.

The Sultan, on this report, commanded his army to be stationed at
suitable intervals, about a day's journey round the city of Delhi,
that their numbers should be reduced, and that peace should be
proclaimed the next day in the city.

No sooner were the Viziers dismissed from the divan, than Misnar,
retiring into his palace, sent for his faithful Vizier Horam, and
desired him to give him a true relation of what had happened to him
since his departure from the army.

"Royal sir," answered Horam, "you were no sooner departed than I began
to inspect the order and discipline of your troops; to look into the
methods of providing for the army; and to appoint proper officers, who
should take care that the soldiers had sufficient and wholesome
provision--that their tents were good--that the situations of the
different battalions were in healthy places, near springs and rivers,
but on dry soils, and as far as possible removed from swampy fens or
the stagnated air of the forests.

"During this time little occurred of which I could inform my lord, as
I meant not to trouble you with my own concerns, lest it should seem
that I was proud of the trifling dispositions which I had made in
favour of the army.

"The rebels in the meantime were quiet, and their distance only
prevented me from destroying them; but, on a sudden, a messenger
arrived with tidings that all the southern provinces had revolted;
that the enchantress Ulin was with them, and conducted their forces;
that Ahubal was declared Sultan of India by her; and that she was
determined to support his cause. Upon this I took such precautions as,
doubtless, my Sultan must have read in the tablets; but my precautions
seemed vain, for the next night we were on a sudden terrified with a
second alarm, that the rebels were within half a day's march of our
camp, which I thought, considering their former distance, must be the
effect of enchantment.

"This threw our officers into the greatest consternation, who,
collecting themselves in a body, came rushing towards the royal tent,
and demanded a sight of the Sultan, and declared their resolution of
revolting to the enemy unless you headed the troops.

"I was writing despatches in the royal tent when I heard their tumult,
and my heart fled as they approached; but as they stopped for some
time to fix upon one for their speaker, I had just time to slip on a
slave's habit, and cut my way through the hinder part of the tent.

"I ran as swiftly as my feet could carry me out of the encampment; and
being stopped by several sentinels, I told them I was dispatched by
the Vizier, and showed them my own signet.

"But I was no sooner clear of the army than I repented of my folly.
'What have I done?' said I to myself. 'I have deserted my post, and
ruined the interests of my lord: better had I died at the head of my
Sultan's troops, or fallen a sacrifice to their rage, than thus
ingloriously to perish! Besides, I may have been terrified without
just cause: the rebel army may not be so near. I ought to have stayed
in the tent, and endeavoured to pacify the officers of the army.'

"And now I was in doubt whether to return, or, as I had penetrated
thus far, whether it would not be most prudent to take a near survey
of the rebel army. I resolved upon the last, and cautiously travelled
towards the place where the spies said they were encamped.

"I arrived at the spot described, but saw neither sentinels nor
encampment. Amazed at this, I proceeded onwards during that and the
next day, but no army was to be seen, nor anything indicating their
approach.

"'Alas!' said I to myself, 'how little worthy wert thou of the
confidence of thy lord! And yet, better is this mistake than the
certainty of the rebels' approach, which could not have been effected
without the power of enchantment.'

"Ere it was too late, I resolved to return, hoping that I should
pacify the troops by assuring them that I had in person been a witness
to the untruth of the last alarm.

"But, alas! when I essayed to return, I found my feet fixed to the
ground: in a moment the earth trembled, and Ulin the enchantress arose
on the back of an enormous reptile.

"'Wise and gracious Vizier,' said she, in an insulting tone, 'I admire
your prudence and discretion! and although Mahomet and his faithful
crew of genii may not permit us to overpower you or your prudent
master while you resist our temptation, yet there is little to be
feared from their interposition while you become such easy dupes to
our artifices. The army which I led against thy wretched Sultan is not
less than forty days' march hence, and is embarrassed by the mountains
and the forests; and yet the credulous Vizier abandoned his charge on
the most improbable alarm, and fled into the arms of one who well
knows how to reward his prudence and address. Become, therefore, O
silly Vizier, a loathsome toad; and I shall in a moment transport thee
into the forest of Tarapajan, whither several of thy wise brethren are
gone before thee.'

"As she spake thus, the enchantress breathed on me with her
pestiferous breath, and, falling to the ground, I crawled like a toad
before her. Ulin then waved her hand, and sleep overpowered me. When I
awoke I found myself between the merchant of Delhi and the Princess of
Cassimir, who, like me, had felt the vengeance of Ulin the
enchantress.

"It was some consolation to us that our speech was not taken from us,
but that we were able to communicate to each other our misfortunes.

"Mahoud first inquired of me the adventures of my life, and I had just
finished them the day before you, O Sultan! appeared among us. While
Mahoud was relating his history, your voice struck my ears, and I
feared to ask whether my lord was in equal affliction with his slave."

"Did you not, then," said Misnar, "hear the adventures of Hemjunah,
the Princess of Cassimir?"

"I did not, my Sultan," answered Horam. "Hemjunah was about to relate
her adventures when you appeared; and after Shemshelnar, the dervish,
had released you, she desired to reserve them till such time as we
should meet hereafter in our natural forms.

"Two days after you left us with Shemshelnar, who endeavoured to
alleviate our afflictions, on a sudden we perceived a vivid flash of
lightning, which was succeeded by a violent clap of thunder, and while
we were all looking at each other, the wood instantly vanished, and I
found myself in my palace at Delhi. What became of Mahoud, or the
Princess of Cassimir, I know not; but I was sensible that my Prince
had conquered the enchantress, who had laid such hateful chains upon
us.

"I hastened to the divan of Viziers and Emirs, who were astonished at
my presence. They were met in order to appoint a Sultan, having just
heard from the army that both their Sultan and his Vizier had fled
from the encampments. A friend of Ahubal's had proposed that Prince to
succeed my royal master, and orders were given to proclaim him when I
arrived in the divan.

"Being acquainted with the resolutions of the Viziers and Emirs, I
proclaimed aloud that my royal master Misnar was alive, and that he
had destroyed the enchantress Ulin, who had espoused the cause of
Ahubal.

"At this declaration, the Viziers and Emirs prostrated themselves, and
gave thanks to Allah; and the trumpets and the cornets went through
the streets of Delhi, and proclaimed my arrival and the victory of
Misnar their Sultan over the enchantress Ulin.

"I dispatched orders, before the divan broke up, to the army, with
advice of your success, and commanded a part to march for the city of
Delhi, leaving only a sufficient number of troops to observe the
motions of the enemy if they should again unite; for I knew that
Ulin's destruction would cause a dispersion of their army.

"Having settled the affairs of my master, to complete my joy, tidings
were brought me of his approach, and Horam is again blessed with the
sight of his Sultan."

The Vizier Horam, having finished his relation, bowed himself before
the Sultan, and said, "Shall thy slave give orders that an ambassador
be sent to the Sultan of Cassimir to inquire after the fate of the
Princess Hemjunah?"

"Horam," answered the Sultan, "while war stalks thus boldly through
our dominions, it were vain to assume a state that we may in a moment
be deprived of. No, Horam, let us wait for more prosperous times."

Early in the morning several messengers arrived with the news of the
death of Ulin and the revolt of ten provinces from Ahubal, and soon
after the provinces sent deputies to excuse their rebellion, and to
beseech the Sultan to pardon their offences. Misnar yielded to their
prayers, but ordered some of the most faithful of his troops to march
into their borders and encamp among them.

The Sultan then redressed the grievances which his soldiers had
committed as far as he was able, and, by a just and equal law, obliged
every division to furnish such a number of troops; for, although no
clouds were then seen to interrupt his reign, yet Misnar was assured
that, through the wiles of his enemies the enchanters, he should
shortly be called upon to exercise his prudence.

Nor were his fears unjust. Ahubal, though deserted by the provinces,
was yet espoused by the magician Happuck, who, hearing of the defeat
of his sister Ulin, was resolved to revenge the cause of that detested
race.

It was not long before the Sultan heard that the magician Happuck was
encouraging the provinces who had followed Ulin to revolt again from
their Sultan; but the fear of Misnar's troops overawed them; so that
whatever might be their real inclinations, they refused the offers and
entreaties of Happuck.

The Sultan, more effectually to secure their obedience, increased the
number of his forces in the provinces, and preserved the chain of
communication from them quite through his extensive dominions.

The magician, finding the Sultan's forces so well disposed, and that
no encouragement could prevail on the southern provinces to revolt,
abandoned his design of succeeding by the force of arms, and flew to
the weapons of craft and dissimulation.

Though Happuck had now been employed nearly a year in raising
commotions among the subjects of India, two provinces only owned the
government of Ahubal: the rest continued firm in their loyalty to the
Sultan Misnar.

These provinces had raised a light army of about forty thousand men,
who, by forced marches, harassed the neighbouring provinces around
them.

Of these, three thousand horsemen parted suddenly from the rest, and,
by following unfrequented tracks over the mountains and through the
forests, arrived at length within two days' march of Delhi.

Here, pitching their tents, they sent several of their chief officers
to Delhi, to assure the Sultan that they were greatly afflicted at
their crimes, and were desirous of laying down their rebellious arms
at his feet.

Horam the Vizier received these suppliants, and representing their
contrition to the Sultan, he commanded them to join the main army; at
the same time sending dispatches to his general to dismount them from
their horses, and to encamp them in such a situation that they might
not be able either to escape or to annoy his army if they should be
disposed to revolt again.

The magician Happuck, who was among the officers that appeared at
Delhi, and who had contrived the revolt in order to get into the
presence of the Sultan, was greatly chagrined to find that the Vizier
Horam received him, and that he was not to be admitted into Misnar's
presence; but, concealing his disappointment, he, with the rest,
joined the three thousand horsemen, and marched to the grand army of
Misnar.

Once a year the whole army was reviewed by the Sultan in person, and
it happened that the disguised magician and his troops of horsemen
arrived at the army three days before this general review. The
magician rejoiced at this fortunate event.

"Ibrac," said he to the officer who commanded his troop, "fortune has
now given me an opportunity of revenging the death of my sister Ulin.
This disguise of an officer is not sufficient: I will descend to the
lowest station, where I shall be less suspected, and as the Sultan
Misnar passes between the ranks where I am situated, I will draw my
bow, and pierce him to the heart. Having done this, I shall render
myself invisible, and do you, in the general consternation, proclaim
Ahubal the Sultan of India."

"Most powerful magician," answered Ibrac, "what need is there of this
deceit? Since you are able to render yourself invisible, why cannot
you enter the Sultan's palace unseen, and stab him to the heart?"

"Faithful Ibrac," answered the magician, "you know not the powers
which support this boy-like urchin. The genius Bahoudi, at whose name
our race trembles, is his guardian, and prevents my approach; and it
is written in the volumes of fate that no enchantment shall prevail
against Misnar unless he first allow our crafty race to deceive him.
Otherwise, Ibrac, dost thou suppose that so many of my brethren,
before whom the mountains tremble and the ocean boils, should need to
league against a boy? No, Ibrac; Misnar were beneath our vengeance or
our art, did not Mahomet espouse him, and his mean vassals, the good
genii of mankind! The conquest of this boy, while thus supported,
would add strength to our cause."

Ibrac then furnished the magician with the clothing of one of the
common soldiers; and he was mustered with the rest of the troops.

Early in the morning on which Misnar was to review his men, the Sultan
arose, and bade his slaves, who waited in the pavilion, call his
Vizier Horam to him.

"Horam," said the Sultan, "I suspect the crafty magician Happuck: he
is doubtless here disguised in our camp, and if I expose myself
to-day, it may be in his power to destroy me, and set the crown of
India on my brother's head."

"Let my Sultan, then," said Horam, "proclaim a reward to him who
discovers the magician, even to the holding of the second place in
your empire."

"That contrivance would have little effect," said the Sultan. "Happuck
would elude our search, and, transforming himself into some reptile,
escape our vengeance, and then meditate some new device to deceive
us. No, Horam," continued Misnar, "if he be really with us, it were
folly to let him escape."

"But how will my lord discover him amidst three hundred thousand
troops?" answered the Vizier. "There is no officer in your army who
knows the fiftieth part of your soldiers; and where recruits are daily
coming in, to search for a particular person, without giving the alarm
so that Happuck might escape, would be impossible."

"In how many ranks," said the Sultan, "is the army to be disposed?"

"The plain," answered the Vizier, "on which they are to be reviewed
will contain three thousand in a row."

"Bring me, then, two hundred of the most expert archers in my army,"
said the Sultan, "and take them from those troops who are the farthest
from the deserters who lately joined the army."

The Vizier did as the Sultan commanded, and brought the archers before
the royal pavilion.

"Go now, Horam," said the Sultan, "and order all the troops to be
drawn out on the plain."

"They are almost assembled already," said Horam.

"Then," replied the Sultan, "take these archers, and place one at each
extremity of the ranks, an archer on the right of each rank; but,
before you station them thus, give them the following orders: 'Be
ready with your bows drawn, and your arrows fixed to the bow-string,
and, whenever the word of command is given for all the army to fall
prostrate, let your arrows fly at the man who is last to obey the word
of command.'"

The troops being all drawn forth in their ranks, and the archers
disposed according to the Sultan's orders, Misnar came forth, attended
by his eunuchs, Viziers, Emirs, and guards. The loud clarion sounded,
the notes of the trumpets were heard, and the brazen cymbals shook the
air.

The magician, who was impatient to perpetrate the malicious purposes
of his heart, was elated at the warlike sound, and beheld the Sultan's
retinue at a distance with such joy as the eagle views the flocks of
sheep on the plains of Homah.

The Sultan, having arrived at the front of his army, which he knew was
composed of his most faithful troops, commanded silence throughout the
plain.

"My brave soldiers," said he, "although neither care nor resolution
has been wanting on your parts to extirpate the rebellion of my
provinces, yet to Allah only belong the glory and the honour of your
arms; wherefore let immediate orders be issued forth among my troops,
that all do together fall prostrate on the ground before the
all-seeing Allah, the Governor of the world and the Disposer of
kingdoms and crowns."

As this order went forth through the ranks, the soldiers at once fell
prostrate before Allah, all but the magician Happuck, who was
surprised and astonished at the order, and irresolute what to do. But
little time was given him to think; for no sooner were his
fellow-soldiers fallen prostrate on each side of him, than the arrows
of the archers pierced his heart.

The magician, finding himself overpowered, and that the messengers of
death had seized him, raised his voice aloud, and, with what little
strength was left, cursed both Allah and His Prophet; but the stream
of life flowed swiftly from him, and his curses grew fainter and
fainter, till they were lost in death.

Those who were acquainted with the designs of Happuck, perceiving that
the magician was dead and their plot discovered, began to fly; and
first Ibrac essayed to head his discarded troops; but they, not being
used to march on foot, soon fell into confusion, and, the forces of
the Sultan surrounding them, they were quickly destroyed.

The Sultan Misnar saw, by the confusion of his army in the centre,
that the discovery was made, and sent Horam, with some chosen troops,
to inquire into the cause of their disorder.

The Vizier had no sooner arrived than he perceived several soldiers
bringing along the body of the magician Happuck, which appeared
undisguised after death.

"Bid the two archers," said the Vizier, "who destroyed the monster
come forward."

When the archers came, Horam applauded their skill and their
obedience, and advised them to take the body between them, and carry
it before the Sultan.

The archers obeyed, and, the ranks opening as they passed, they soon
arrived at the feet of Misnar.

The Sultan, seeing his enemy thus destroyed, ordered the two archers
ten purses, containing each one hundred pieces of gold; and to every
other archer one purse containing one hundred pieces of gold. To him
who brought the head of Ibrac also he gave five purses of like value;
and then again issued his commands that the whole army should fall
prostrate and adore the mercy of Allah, who had so soon delivered into
their hands the chief of their enemies.

In the meantime, two only of the troops of Ibrac and Happuck escaped;
and, returning to Ahubal, they acquainted him with their defeat.

Ahubal fled at the news, and hid himself in the mountains; for he
feared lest his soldiers should betray him, and deliver him up to his
brother.

But Ollomand, the enchanter, who first counselled the Sultan of India
to secure his throne by spilling the innocent blood of his brother,
now resolved to revenge the common cause. He therefore directed the
steps of Ahubal toward a cave in the mountains, where, fatigued with
flight and fearful of pursuit, the royal rebel arrived in the heat of
the day.

The cave was, for the most part, surrounded by steep mountains, at a
great distance from any track or path, and was situated at the
entrance of a long valley which led among the mountains.

Ahubal, having slept and refreshed himself in the cave, pursued his
journey through the valley, till he found his path stopped by
inaccessible rocks, on the top of which he perceived a magnificent
castle, whose walls reflected the rays of the sun like burnished gold.

The brother of Misnar fixed his eye for some time on that part of the
castle which was shaded by the rest, for the front was too dazzling to
behold, and, in a few moments, he perceived a small wicket open, and a
dwarf come forth.

Ahubal soon lost sight of the dwarf behind the rocks; but he resolved
to wait there to see whether he could find any passage into the
valley.

The dwarf, after being hid for some time, appeared again about the
middle of the rocks, and by his course appeared to descend in a spiral
path around the mountain.

When the dwarf had reached the bottom he advanced to Ahubal, and,
presenting him with a clue, he told him that, if he threw it before
him, and followed it, the clue would unravel itself, and discover to
him the path which led up the rocks to the castle of Ollomand, his
master.

Ahubal, having heard from Ulin and Happuck that Ollomand was his
friend, took the clue out of the hand of the dwarf, and threw it
before him.

As the clue rolled onward until it touched the rocks, Ahubal
discovered a regular ascent, which, winding round, brought him by
degrees to the castle on the summit of the mountain.

The enchanter Ollomand received Ahubal at the entrance of the castle,
which was guarded by four dragons, and led him through a large court
into a spacious hall, the walls of which were lined with human bones
that had been whitened in the sun.

"Favourite of the race of the powerful," said Ollomand, "see here the
bones of those who have lifted up their arms against thee; and I will
add to their number till this castle be filled."

"Alas," answered Ahubal, "Ulin is no more, and the vultures are
preying on the vitals of Happuck! Ten provinces have deserted my
cause, and the coffers of my army are exhausted!"

"Happuck," answered Ollomand, "despised the assistance of riches and
trusted to deceit, and therefore failed. The provinces dared not
revolt while the armies of Misnar overawed them; but I will replenish
thy coffers, and Ollomand will tempt the leaders of the Sultan's
troops to join the cause of Ahubal. In this castle are riches and arms
sufficient to equip all the inhabitants of Asia; and when these are
exhausted, we will apply to Pharesanen, Hapacuson, and all the
chieftains of our race: and fear not, Ahubal; for, by my art, I read
that Misnar the Sultan shall fly before the face of his enemies."

Ahubal was encouraged by the words of Ollomand; and the enchanter,
having opened his design to the Prince, invited him to behold the
riches of his castle.

Passing through the hall of bones, they descended into a square court,
much more spacious than the former, in the middle of which appeared a
deep and dark pit. This court contained four hundred massive gates of
brass, and each gate was supported by nine enormous hinges of the same
metal.

As Ollomand the enchanter entered this court, with the Prince Ahubal
in his hand, he lifted up his voice, which echoed like thunder amidst
the lofty turrets of the castle, and commanded his slaves to expose to
the sight of Ahubal the treasures of their master.

The Prince Ahubal, who had seen no creature but the dwarf and the
enchanter in the castle, wondered whence the slaves would come; but
his wonder was shortly turned into fear when he beheld a gigantic
black, with a club of ebony forty feet in length, arise out of the pit
which was in the centre of the court.

But his horrors were increased when he perceived a succession of the
same gigantic monsters following one another out of the pit, and
advancing to the four hundred brazen gates, till every gate had a
slave standing before it.

When Ollomand saw his slaves were all prepared before the gates, he
bade them strike with their clubs of ebony against them.

The black slaves, in obedience to the enchanter's orders, lifted up
their ponderous clubs of ebony, and struck against the four hundred
gates, which jarred so much with the blows of the slaves that Ahubal
was forced to stop his ears, and was ready to sink into the earth with
astonishment and dread.

As soon as the black slaves of Ollomand had struck the four hundred
gates of brass, the gates began to move, and the harsh creaking of the
hinges sent forth a noise which alone had chilled the hearts of all
the armies of Misnar, could they have heard them.

Ahubal then, lifting up his head, looked around the court, and saw the
four hundred gates were opened. In those to the right were millions of
wedges of gold and silver, piled beneath craggy arches of huge
unchiselled stone. Opposite to these he beheld a hundred vaulted
roofs, under which were sacks and bags of the gold and silver coin of
many nations.

Before him another hundred gates exposed to his view the arms and
warlike accoutrements of ten thousand nations, and all the instruments
of death which the inventive malice of man had ever devised.

Ahubal, who understood but little of these instruments, was amazed at
their construction, and asked for what purposes they were formed.

"These," said Ollomand, "are the arms of Europe, a part of the earth
filled with industrious robbers, whose minds are hourly on the stretch
to invent new plagues to torment each other. Of these mortals many are
settled on the sea-coasts of our southern provinces, whom I shall
persuade through the instigation of that god whom they worship, to
join the forces of Ahubal."

"Hast thou, then, mighty enchanter," answered the Prince Ahubal, "the
gods of Europe in thy power?"

"The Europeans," said Ollomand, "acknowledge one God, who, they
pretend, doth inhabit the heavens, but whom _we_ find buried in the
entrails of the earth: gold, O Prince, is their god, for whose sake
they will undertake the most daring enterprises, and forsake the best
of friends. To these shalt thou send presents, and future promises of
wealth; and, by their machinations, fear not but Misnar shall yield to
thy superior address."

"What need of the arms or the persons of Europeans," answered the
Prince Ahubal, "while my friend has an army of such gigantic slaves,
ten of whom are more than sufficient to destroy the puny armies of my
brother the Sultan?"

"Alas!" said Ollomand, "the slaves of enchantment cannot fight against
the sons of the Faithful. Though we deny Mahomet, and will not adore
him, yet we cannot control a power that must overrule us. As Misnar's
troops are in possession of the country, we will transport ourselves
to Orixa in the disguise of merchants, and there endeavour to forward
the destruction of Misnar, the tame Sultan of the East."

As Ollomand spake these words he stamped with his feet, and a
chariot, drawn by four dragons, arose from the pit in the centre of
the court, which Ahubal and the enchanter ascended, and were conveyed
in a dark cloud to the woods behind the city of Orixa.

When Ollomand's chariot alighted on the ground, he touched the dragons
with his wand, and they became four camels laden with merchandise, and
the chariot was converted into an elephant. Ahubal became like a
merchant, and the enchanter appeared as a black slave.

They entered the town in the evening, and the next morning exposed
their goods in the market-place.

The bales of Ahubal, the sham merchant, being opened, were found to
contain chiefly materials for clothing the officers of the army.

The troops of Misnar, hearing this, were his chief customers; and as
Ahubal sold his wares very cheap, he soon got acquainted with all the
officers at Orixa.

In all his conversations with them, the enchanter had directed Ahubal
to lament the small salaries which the army were allowed: this was a
subject all agreed in, and soon led to more lucrative offers, if they
would embrace the cause of Ahubal. The officers, who were, for the
most part, soldiers for the sake of pay and plunder, rather than duty
and honour, soon came into the sham merchant's proposal; and in ten
days Ahubal found himself in a condition to recover the province of
Orixa.

The young Prince, fired with his success, was about to discover
himself; but the enchanter checked his ardour, and besought him to
consider how many more provinces must be gained before he could make
head against his brother. The advice of Ollomand prevailed with the
Prince; and they sent some of those officers who were strongest in
their interest into the different provinces of the south to corrupt
the minds of the commanders.

As there was no want of money and bribery, so an easier conquest was
made over the loyalty of the troops than could have been made over
their prowess by the sword.

In a few moons all the southern provinces were ripe for a revolt, and
the troops who were sent to overawe them were most desirous of
opening the campaign against their Sultan. Two hundred French
engineers were also invited, by large rewards, to join the armies of
Ahubal; and the troops were supplied by the vigilance of the enchanter
Ollomand.

On a fixed day all the armies of the provinces were in motion, and all
unfurled the standard of Ahubal; the provinces were invited to rebel,
and thousands were daily added to the troops of the Prince. Tidings of
these alterations were sent to Delhi by the few friends of the Sultan
who remained in those parts, and Horam the Vizier laid before his
master the dreadful news of a general revolt both of his troops and
provinces in the south.

"The enemies of Misnar," said the Sultan, as the Vizier Horam ended
his report, "are many, and one only is his friend!"

Horam bowed low at his master's words.

"Faithful Horam," said the Sultan, "I honour and esteem thee; but
think not I prefer my Vizier to my God: no, Horam, Allah alone is the
friend of Misnar; a friend more mighty than the armies of Ahubal, or
the sorceries of the enchanters."

Misnar then assembled his troops; and putting himself at their head,
he marched by easy stages towards the southern frontiers of his
dominions.

The armies of Ahubal continued to increase, and Cambaya acknowledged
him for its Sultan. In a short time he arrived with his forces at
Narvar, and encamped within seven leagues of the army of Misnar the
Sultan.

Ollomand the enchanter, notwithstanding Ahubal had thrown off the
disguise of a merchant, still attended him as a black slave, being
always about his person, till the freedom which the Prince allowed him
was resented by the officers of his army. This the enchanter
perceived; and therefore he desired Ahubal would grant him five
thousand of his troops, and the European engineers, that he might
advance before the main army, and signalize himself by a blow which he
meditated to give the enemy.

The counsel of Ollomand was never opposed by Ahubal; the Prince
commanded the troops to attend Ollomand, and be subject unto him.

The enchanter then marched with his selected troops into a thick wood,
which the army of Misnar must pass through ere they could oppose their
enemies; and in this wood the engines of European war were placed, to
command every avenue which had been hewn out by the troops of the
Sultan.

Ollomand, marching by night, surprised all the advanced guards of the
Sultan, and possessed himself of the wood, where he placed the
European engineers, before the sun could penetrate through the
branches of the forest of Narvar.

This enterprise would have ruined all the hopes of the Sultan, who
proposed to march his army through the next day, if the Europeans had
continued faithful to Ahubal and his party; but one, favoured by the
darkness of the night, escaped, and betrayed the whole design to the
Sultan.

Misnar was no sooner apprised of the enchanter's contrivance than he
ordered certain of his troops to climb over the mountains to the right
of the wood, and if possible gain the opposite side, and there, in
several parts, set the wood on fire. This was so successfully executed
by the soldiers, that, as soon as Ollomand was possessed of the wood,
he perceived it was on fire, and had made a separation between him and
the army of Ahubal.

In this distress, the enchanter resolved to dispose of his troops and
engineers in the most advantageous manner, proposing in his mind to
secure his own retreat by the power of enchantment. But while the
subtle enchanter was directing his engineers in the rear to bring up
the fell engines of war, one of the cannon which was left in the wood
(the flames having obliged those who belonged to it to retreat), being
made hot by the raging fires among the trees, discharged its contents,
and a ball striking the enchanter, carried with it the head of
Ollomand toward the camp of the Sultan.

This occurrence threw the troops in the wood into the utmost
confusion, and many fled to the Sultan's camp, declaring the loss of
their leader, and the rest resolved rather to submit than perish by
fire or sword.

The flames of the wood, which rose between the armies of Misnar and
Ahubal, soon disturbed the peace of the rebel Prince. At first,
indeed, he hoped Ollomand had enclosed his brother's troops, and was
consuming them by his fires. But no dispatch arriving from his friend,
Ahubal was filled with just fears, which were greatly increased, as,
in a few days, the fire decreasing, and having opened a passage
through the wood, he was informed by his spies that the armies of
Misnar were approaching.

The Prince Ahubal, having lost his friend the enchanter, was fearful
of the event, and wished to fly; but his generals, being rebels, and
fearing their fate if they should be taken, resolved to conquer or
die; so that Ahubal was constrained against his will to put his army
in a state of defence.

The Sultan, supposing his brother's army would be disheartened at the
loss of the enchanter, was desirous of giving them battle before they
had recovered from their consternation, and therefore led on his
troops with great impetuosity toward the front of the rebel army,
while the Vizier Horam, covered by the main body of Misnar's forces,
used his utmost endeavours to gain the right flank of the enemy.

And now the adverse elephants made the sandy plains shake as they
advanced, and from the turrets on their backs ten thousand hostile
arrows were discharged. The loud hollow cymbals sounded the alarm. The
troops of the Sultan advanced with confidence, and the rebellious
supporters of Ahubal rushed forward with resolute despair. Innumerable
scimitars blazed fearfully over the heads of the warlike. The feet of
the elephants were stained with the blood of the slain. But the troops
of Misnar were flushed with hope, and fear and dismay were in the
paths of Ahubal. The Prince himself, in confusion, sounded the
retreat; and the backs of his troops were already exposed to the darts
of the Sultan, when the swarthy enchanter Tasnar appeared aloft,
seated on a rapacious vulture.

"Base cowards!" exclaimed he, as he hovered in the air, "turn again,
and fear not while Tasnar is your friend. The troops of the Sultan are
exhausted and fatigued, and you are flying from those who are destined
for your prey. Are, then, the riches of Delhi to be so easily
resigned, and your tedious marches over the deserts to be foiled by a
moment's fear? Even now is India offered as the reward of your toils,
and you prefer shame and ignominy to glory and honour!"

The troops of Ahubal hearing these words, and being encouraged by a
sight so wonderful, for a time stood still, irresolute what to do;
till Tasnar, alighting on the ground, and seizing a javelin, bade the
brave support and defend the avenger of their wrongs.

The Sultan's army, finding their enemies retreat, had followed them in
a tumultuous manner, and were therefore less able to resist the
enchanter Tasnar and those who supported him. And they would have
experienced the truth of the enchanter's assertion, had not the Vizier
Horam, perceiving their resistance, hastened with a few chosen troops
to the rescue of his friends.

The battle, though not so general as before, was yet much fiercer; and
Tasnar and Horam met face to face. The Vizier aimed in vain his
scimitar at the head of the enchanter, and Tasnar found a superior arm
withhold him when he attempted to demolish the faithful Vizier. But
this prevented not the general slaughter that ensued; till night,
which recruits the wasted strength of man, divided the armies of
Misnar and Ahubal.

After the retreat of the two contending armies, the Vizier Horam
attended the Sultan in the royal pavilion, and informed him of the
descent of the enchanter Tasnar, and his prowess in the field.

"Alas!" answered Misnar, "it is in vain, O Horam, that the sword is
uplifted against the power of enchantment, so long as these magicians
are prepared against our attacks: we must surprise them, or we cannot
prevail. Tasnar is joined to my faithless brother Ahubal; but there is
in my camp, doubtless, some trusty slave, who will penetrate into the
camp of Ahubal, and destroy this enchanter while he sleeps in
security; and Horam my Vizier must find that slave."

Horam bowed, and went out from the presence of the Sultan in great
distress of heart. "Where," said he to himself, "can the mighty find a
trusty friend? or what slave will be faithful to that master who has
robbed him of his liberty? Better had I perished by the hand of
Tasnar, than be betrayed through the wickedness of my servants!"

The Vizier, doubtful where to apply or whom to trust, returned to his
tent; where he found an old female slave, who waited to deliver a
message from his seraglio, which was kept in a tent adjoining to his
own.

Horam, not regarding her presence, threw himself on his sofa, and
there bemoaned his fate in being commanded to find a trusty slave.

The female slave, who saw her master's tears, cast herself at his
feet, and called Allah to witness that she had always served him
faithfully, and was ready to sacrifice her life for his pleasure.

Horam was rather more distressed than alleviated by her protestations.
"What art thou?" said he to her, sternly--"a poor decrepit woman! and
canst thou go forth and combat the enchantments of Tasnar, the enemy
of thy master's peace?"

"The locust and the worm," said the female slave, "are the instruments
of Allah's vengeance on the mighty ones of the earth; and Mahomet can
make even my weakness subservient to the cause of my lord."

"And how wilt thou prevail against Ahubal the Prince and Tasnar the
magician?" said Horam, careless of what he spoke.

"I will go," answered she, "into the camp of Ahubal, and engage to
poison my master the Vizier, and Misnar the lord of our lives, as I
stand before them to minister unto them the pleasing draught. And
while Tasnar is intently hearing my proposals, the steel of death
shall suddenly search out the vile enchanter's heart."

"But knowest thou not," said Horam, "that death will be the
consequence of this rash deed?"

"My lord," answered the slave, "I was, when young, bred up in the
caves of Denraddin, and was taught by a sage to know what should
happen to me in future times; and the sage read in the stars of
heaven, that by my means should the Sultan of India be delivered from
the enemy that oppressed him."

The Vizier rejoiced at the assurances of his female slave, and bade
her immediately prepare herself to appear before the Sultan.

The slave, having put on her veil, followed the Vizier Horam, and was
introduced to the tent of Misnar.

"What!" said the Sultan, as he saw his Vizier enter with the female
slave, "what new kind of warrior has Horam brought me?"

"Light of mine eyes!" answered the Vizier, "behold a woman who is
desirous of executing thy commands. This slave assures me that the
sages of the caves of Denraddin have read in the stars of heaven that
by her means the Sultan of India should be delivered from the enemy
that oppressed him."

"Then," said the Sultan, "let her go; and may the Prophet of the
Faithful guide her footsteps in safety and security! I am assured that
Horam would not consent to an enterprise that was foolish and weak;
and to his direction I leave the fate of this trusty female."

The slave then fell prostrate, and besought the Sultan to give her
some of his writings and mandates, that she might pretend she had
stolen them from his tent, with a design to carry and lay them at the
feet of Tasnar and Ahubal.

The Sultan approved of her scheme, and ordered several mandates to be
written and signed relative to the motions of his army the next day,
which were quite contrary to the real disposition he intended to give
out.

The female slave being furnished with these, and being conducted by
the Vizier to the outskirts of the Sultan's army, walked forward till
she was challenged by the sentinels of Ahubal, who seized upon and
carried her to their commander.

The commander, fearful of deceit, first satisfied himself that she was
really a female slave, and then asked her what brought her alone out
of the camp of the Sultan.

"Bring me," said she, "before your Prince; for I have things to
deliver up to him that will be of service to his army."

The commander then sent her with the guard to the pavilion of Ahubal,
where that Prince and the enchanter Tasnar were consulting in private
together.

As soon as the female slave had gained admittance, she fell prostrate
at the feet of Ahubal, which Tasnar observing, commanded the guards to
seize her.

"Let us see," said the enchanter, "what service this slave can do us,
before she is trusted so near our persons."

The female slave, being secured by the guards, was doubtful how to
behave.

"Have you, base slave," said the enchanter, "aught to reveal to us? or
are you sent as a spy to betray the counsels of the brave?"

"I have," said the female slave (somewhat recovered from her
surprise), "papers and mandates of great consequence, which I have
stolen from the tent of the Sultan; and I bring them to the Prince
Ahubal, the lord of all the hearts of the Indian empire."

She then produced her mandates, and the guards laid them at the feet
of Ahubal.

The Prince Ahubal, having read the papers, gave them to Tasnar,
saying, "These are indeed valuable acquisitions, and the female slave
that brought them is worthy of high honour and reward."

The slave, hearing this encomium, bowed down her head; for the guards
who held her prevented her falling prostrate.

"Mighty son of Dabulcombar," said the enchanter, "let the guards carry
her forth, till we consult what reward she shall receive."

As soon as the female slave was carried out, "My Prince," said Tasnar,
"it is indeed politic to give rewards to those who serve us; and
therefore it is sometimes necessary to do it, that the silly birds may
be the more surely entangled in the snares of State; but when we can
better serve our ends by their destruction than by their safety, it is
but just that we should do so. This slave has already risked her life
for our service, and therefore she will no doubt be ready to lay it
down if we require it."

As the enchanter said this, he called one of the guards, and commanded
him to bring in the female slave and the bow-string.

The slave approached, still held by the guards.

"Kind slave," said the enchanter, "you have already served us much;
there is one thing more that we require: let the slaves fit the
bow-string to thy neck, and let thy last breath be sent forth in
praise of thy lord Ahubal."

The slaves of Ahubal then put upon the wretched female the deadly
bow-string, and strangled her instantly; after which they retired,
leaving her dead body on the floor of the tent.

"What hast thou done, O Tasnar?" said Ahubal, astonished at the deed.

"I suspect," said the enchanter, "that this female was sent on a vile
errand; and see, here," continued he, searching her garments, "is the
weapon of death!"

So saying, he drew a dagger from her bosom, which she had concealed
with a design of stabbing the enchanter.

"Prudent Tasnar," said the Prince, "I admire thy foresight; but of
what use is this murdered slave now to us?"

"The disguise of this slave," answered the enchanter, "will introduce
me into the camp of the Sultan, and, I hope, will give me an
opportunity of reaching his heart with that steel which he designed
for mine. But no time must be lost: the morning will, ere long,
disclose its grey light in the east."

Thus it is that deceit often leads into danger, and recoils upon
itself.

The enchanter then put on the garments of the murdered female slave,
and stroking his face, it became like hers, so that Ahubal could
scarcely believe but the slave was revived. He also cut off the head
of the female slave, and, anointing it with a white ointment, it
resembled his own. Thus equipped, the commander of the advanced guard
conducted him to the foremost sentinels of the rebel army. The
disguised enchanter soon reached the camp of the Sultan; and the
sentinels, imagining it was the same female slave whom Horam had led
through their ranks in the former part of the night, suffered him to
pass unexamined.

In a short time he reached the royal pavilion, and demanded
admittance. The Vizier Horam, who was there in waiting, heard, as he
supposed, the voice of his female slave, and went out to bring her
before the Sultan.

"My slave," said Horam, as he saw the disguised enchanter, "hast thou
succeeded? and is Tasnar, the foe of the Faithful, dead?"

"Bring me before the Sultan," said the pretended slave, "that my lord
may first behold the head of his foe."

The Vizier then led the disguised enchanter into the pavilion, where
the Sultan Misnar, being warned of her coming, was seated on his
throne.

As the enchanter approached, he held a dagger in one hand, which was
covered by a long sleeve, and in the other he bore the fictitious
head. And now the pretended female was about to ascend the steps of
the throne, when the Vizier commanded her first to fall prostrate
before the Sultan.

The sham slave did as she was ordered; and the Vizier, seeing her
prostrate, fell upon her, and slew her with his sabre.

"What hast thou done, wretched Vizier?" said the Sultan. "Has envy
thus rashly stirred thee up against my faithful slave, that----"

The Sultan would probably have continued his invective against his
Vizier much longer, had he not beheld the corpse of the dead enchanter
change its appearance, and found that Horam, by the sudden destruction
of Tasnar, had but just preserved his own life.

At the sight of this transformation, Misnar descended from his throne,
and closely embraced his Vizier Horam.

"O Horam, forgive my impetuous temper!" said the Sultan: "how have I
blamed my friend for doing that which alone could have saved my life!
But by what means did my faithful Vizier become acquainted with the
disguise of this wicked enchanter, or how did he discover himself to
thy watchful eye?"

"Lord of my heart," answered Horam, "when I carried my poor female
slave through the camp (whose death we have unhappily caused by our
fraud), I bade her, when she returned and saw me, first repeat these
words in my ear: 'Allah is Lord of heaven, Mahomet is His Prophet, and
Misnar is His vicegerent upon earth.' And this precaution I took,
fearful less Tasnar, discovering our design, should invent this method
of revenge. Wherefore, when the pretended slave was brought before me,
and she repeated not the words that I had taught her, I was assured
that it was the enchanter in disguise, and waited till, by prostrating
himself before my lord, he gave me an opportunity of destroying the
life of the chief of thine enemies."

The Sultan of India again embraced his faithful Vizier; and as soon as
the eye of morn was opened in the east, the armies of Ahubal beheld
the enchanter Tasnar's head fixed on a pole in the front of the
Sultan's army.

The Prince Ahubal, rising with the earliest dawn of the morning, went
forward to the front of his troops, and there, at a small distance,
saw the hideous features of the enchanter Tasnar already blackening in
the sun. Fear immediately took possession of his soul; and he ran,
with tears in his eyes, and hid himself, till the sun went down, in
his pavilion.

The Vizier Horam, perceiving the approach of the sun, would have led
on the Sultan's troops to a second attack; but Misnar commanded him to
forbear, that his army might rest one day after their fatigues.

The great distress of the enchanters, and their unexpected deaths,
alarmed the rest of that wicked race; and Ahaback and Desra, seeing
that no one enchanter had succeeded against the Sultan, resolved to
join their forces; and while one led a powerful army to Ahubal's
assistance from the east, the other raised the storms of war and
rebellion on the western confines of the Sultan's empire.

In the meantime, the two armies of the Sultan and Ahubal continued
inactive, till an express arrived that Ahaback was leading the
strength of nine thousand squadrons against their Sultan, and that
Desra was travelling over the plains of Embracan, with three thousand
elephants and a hundred thousand troops from the western provinces.

The Sultan instantly resolved to attack Ahubal before these succours
could arrive; but the Vizier Horam fell at his feet, and besought him
not to hazard his army, but rather to recruit and strengthen it.

This advice, though quite contrary to the opinion of Misnar, was yet
so strongly urged by the Vizier, that the Sultan gave up his better
judgment to the opinion of Horam; and, when every one expected to be
called forth to action, the Vizier gave orders in the camp for
recruits to be sought after, and went himself to the north of Delhi to
raise a second army for his master's service.

The troops of Ahubal, finding themselves free from the attacks of the
Sultan's army, endeavoured to comfort their Prince, who was grieved
and dejected at the loss of his friends; and the provinces of the
south, to dissipate his gloom, besought him to permit them to raise a
pavilion worthy of his dignity, as heretofore he contented himself
with such as his generals made use of.

The Prince Ahubal, who by nature was not formed for war or contest,
but only stirred up by the enchanters to be their tool against the
Sultan his brother, was easily persuaded to accept of the offers of
his troops, and a hundred curious artisans were set to work to
contrive and erect a sumptuous pavilion for the use of the Prince.

To these workmen, all the provinces who acknowledged the authority of
Ahubal sent diamonds and jewels, and rich silks, and all the costly
materials of the world, to finish the splendid pavilion which they
purposed to raise for their Prince.

While the sumptuous tent was raising, the squadrons of Ahaback drew
nearer and nearer, and the elephants of Desra were within thirty days
of the camp of Ahubal.

The Vizier Horam, having returned with his reinforcements, waited on
the Sultan, and besought him to trust the management of his army to
him for forty days.

"Horam," said the Sultan, "I have such confidence in thy sense and
loyalty, that I grant thy request."

The Vizier, having obtained his end, sent a messenger to Ahubal, and
desired a forty-days' truce between the armies, to which the Prince
readily agreed. In a few hours the truce was proclaimed in the
Sultan's camp; and when Misnar hoped that his Vizier would have
attacked the rebel army with a force more than double their number, he
heard the trumpets sound a truce in the tents.

Such a behaviour, so contrary to reason, alarmed the Sultan, and he
sent for the Vizier Horam, and demanded his reasons for making a truce
with his enemies.

"My lord," answered Horam, "I have heard that the southern provinces
are erecting a pavilion for your rebel brother Ahubal, which in
splendour and magnificence is to surpass all the glories of thy palace
at Delhi; and being convinced that thy subjects are led more by show
and appearance than by duty and honour, I feared that Ahubal's
glorious pavilion might draw the neighbouring cities into his
encampment, and thereby strengthen his army, and weaken the resources
of my Prince. For this reason I besought my lord to give me the
command of his army for forty days, in which time I propose to build
thee such a pavilion as shall far outshine in splendour every glory
upon earth."

"Horam," answered the Sultan, "I have put all things into thine hands;
but let me beseech thee to be careful of thy master."

The Vizier Horam, leaving the Sultan, sent to Delhi for workmen and
artificers; and, ordering a large spot to be enclosed, that none might
behold his pavilion till it was completed, he proceeded with the work
with great care and assiduity.

While these works of peace, rather than of war, were carrying on in
the two armies of Misnar and Ahubal, the reinforcements of Ahaback and
Desra arrived; and the captains in the Sultan's army, hearing of the
great addition which was made to the rebel army, while the Vizier was
spending his time with his curious workmen, petitioned the Sultan that
one might be put over them who loved war rather than the amusements of
females and children.

The Sultan, who thought, with his captains, that Horam was rather
betraying than forwarding his cause, commanded the Vizier to be
brought before him, and, in the presence of the captains, asked him
why he delayed to lead his troops against the rebel army.

The Vizier Horam made no answer to the Sultan's question, but desired
his lord to bring the captains towards the pavilion which he had
erected.

As soon as the Sultan appeared before the enclosure, several slaves
behind were employed to remove it, so that in an instant Misnar and
his captains beheld the most magnificent spectacle that art could
achieve.

The sight of the pavilion was highly acceptable to the army of the
Sultan; but the captains justly condemned a performance which had,
without cause, wasted the greatest part of the coffers of India.

The pavilion was situated at one extremity of the Sultan's army, at a
small distance from a rocky mountain, and surrounded by a grove of
palm-trees, part of which had been cut down by the Vizier's order, to
admit the air and light among the rest. It was composed of crimson
velvet, embroidered round with flowers and festoons of silver and
gold; and in the body was worked, in golden tissue, the deaths of the
enchanters Ulin, Happuck, Ollomand, and Tasnar.

The pavilion stood upon a carpet or cloth of gold, and within was
supported by four massive pillars of burnished gold; the ceiling of
the canopy within was studded with jewels and diamonds, and under it
were placed two sofas of the richest workmanship.

The Sultan, though much averse to such pageantry, was yet persuaded by
his Vizier to sleep in his new pavilion; and the glorious appearance
which it made brought thousands to view the magnificent abode of their
Sultan.

The account of this splendid tent soon reached Ahubal's army, and
every one extolled the glorious pavilion: so that Ahubal's tent seemed
as nothing in comparison with the Sultan's.

Ahaback and Desra, who were in the Prince's pavilion, hearing the
account, resolved to go invisibly and examine it; and leaving the
Prince, and putting each a ring on his fingers, they passed the
sentinels and watches of both armies.

But if the sight of the pavilion filled them with malice and envy, the
histories of their brethren's deaths increased that malice, and urged
them to revenge. They returned hastily to Ahubal's pavilion, and
related to him what they had seen.

Ahubal's heart rankled at their account, and his visage fell, to hear
how much his brother had outdone him in magnificence.

"Get me a tent more splendid than the Sultan's," said he to the
enchanters, "or disband your armies, and leave me to my fate."

"My Prince," answered Ahaback, "let not such a trifle discompose you.
It is true, we could in a moment erect a pavilion more magnificent
than the Sultan's; but it will be more glorious to dispossess him of
that which he has built, and to set my Prince upon the throne of his
father: for which purpose let the trumpet sound on the morrow,--the
truce is at an end, and if it were not, we mean not to keep faith with
an usurper,--and ere the Sultan be prepared, let us fall upon him. Who
knows but we may sleep to-morrow night in this pavilion which now
causes uneasiness?"

The counsel of Ahaback pleased both Desra and Ahubal; and they gave
orders for the troops to march in the morning, and attack the army of
the Sultan.

The forces of Misnar were sleeping in their tents when the alarm was
spread that the enemy was upon them. The Vizier Horam arose in haste,
and put himself at the head of the army; but, instead of leading them
towards their enemies, he fled off to the right with the choicest of
the troops, and taking possession of a pass in the mountains behind
the pavilion, sent a messenger to inform the Sultan that he had
secured him a retreat, in case the armies of Ahubal should conquer.

The Sultan, being at the extremity of his army, knew not of the
confused attack till it was too late to redeem his lost opportunity.
He collected his scattered troops, and led them towards the enemy, at
the same time sending a message to Horam to leave the mountains and
support him.

The captains and officers that followed Misnar behaved with great
resolution and intrepidity, and the Sultan exposed himself frequently
to the darts and missile weapons of his enemies, till, overpowered by
numbers, and his own troops on all sides giving way, through the
confusion which prevailed, he was forced to make to the mountains,
where his Vizier still continued, though he had received the Sultan's
commands to the contrary.

The troops of Ahubal pursued the Sultan's scattered forces to the
mountains, where the Vizier's troops opened to receive their friends,
and then opposed the rebels, who were faint with the fatigues of the
day.

After a great slaughter, the rebels were forced to give over, and,
returning to the encampment of the Sultan, they loaded themselves with
the spoils of their enemies.

Ahaback and Desra were greatly elated at their success, and Ahubal in
one day found himself master of India, his brother defeated, and his
gaudy pavilion wrested from him.

Ahubal beheld with surprise the magnificence of the pavilion, and
seeing the invidious workmanship on the outside, where the deaths of
his former friends were displayed, "Ahaback and Desra," said the
Prince, "it is but just that you should revenge yourselves on my proud
brother. For my part, I never can inhabit a pavilion which was meant
as a triumph over my friends; but you may justly take up your abode
here, that the nations may at once learn, when they see you in this
pavilion, the former misfortunes of your brethren, and your present
well-deserved success: wherefore, to-night, my friends, take up your
residence here, as this place is most worthy to hold you, and
to-morrow I will order my workmen to remove the pavilion next my own."

The enchanters were pleased at the speech of Ahubal, and the banquet
was prepared for the conquerors in the gay pavilion of the unfortunate
Sultan, while he remained among the mountains, wanting even the
necessaries of life for himself and his army.

But the Sultan's misfortunes did not make him forget the cause of
them. He called a council of his captains, and commanded the Vizier
Horam to be brought before them. The Vizier was condemned by every
voice, and Misnar, with tears in his eyes, pronounced the sentence of
death against him.

"To-morrow," said the Sultan, "must the ill-fated Horam be numbered
with the dead."

Horam heard the sentence without emotion. "My life," said he, "is in
the hand of my lord, and he is welcome to the blood of his slave."

The Vizier was then ordered into the custody of a hundred men, and a
captain was appointed to guard him until morning.

The unfortunate Sultan then retired to rest in an obscure tent, or
rather not to rest, but to an irksome contemplation.

"My kingdom," said he, "is passed from me, and, worse than my kingdom,
my friend, my dearly beloved Horam, has proved a traitor to his
master."

As the Sultan was filled with these meditations, his guards gave him
notice that the captain who was set over the Vizier had brought Horam
to communicate an affair of moment to him.

"Is there deceit in Horam," said the Sultan, "that he cometh like a
thief in the night? If Horam is false, farewell my life. Let him that
destroyed my kingdom complete his ingratitude by finishing my fate."

The captain then entered the tent of his Sultan with Horam in chains.

"Life of my life, and master of my thoughts," said the Vizier, "ere I
die, I am constrained to show thee among these mountains far greater
riches than are in thy palace at Delhi, or in the tents of thine
enemies--riches that will restore thy affairs, and turn thy tears into
showers of joy."

"Are you not satisfied," said Misnar, "O ill-fated Horam, that you
come to deceive me with new illusions? Where is my kingdom? where my
royalty? where my army? By thy fatal counsels destroyed, overwhelmed,
confounded! Now, then, lead the way, and let me see these curious
treasures which are to recompense the loss of all my hopes."

The captain then led Horam out of the tent, and the Sultan followed.

The Vizier, being in chains, moved but slowly, and the captain of the
guard, dismissing his men, drew his sabre, and held it naked over the
head of the Vizier. The darkness of the night prevented the Sultan
from seeing whither he was carried by his Vizier.

They passed over various rocks, and were obliged to wade through some
small brooks or rivulets which fell from the tops of the mountains,
till at length they arrived at a spacious cavern, which was formed by
two pendent rocks.

Here the Vizier entered, and, lifting up his chains, knocked against a
small door at the extremity of the cavern. In a moment it opened, and
four slaves came forward with flambeaux in their hands.

The slaves, seeing their master and the Sultan, fell prostrate: and
Horam inquired whether all was safe.

"Yes, my lord," answered the slaves. "We have not been disturbed since
my lord first brought us to this gloomy cavern."

"Where is Camul?" said the Vizier.

"He watches," replied the slaves, "with the axe in his hand."

"What hour of the night is it?" said Horam to his slaves.

"The third watch of the night is past," answered the slaves.

"Then enter, my Sultan," said Horam, "and see thine enemies perish
from before thee."

"What enemies? and what mysterious place is this?" said the Sultan.
"Who is Camul? and what axe doth he bear in his hand? Lead me, Horam,
not into danger, and remember that the sabre of my captain hangeth
over thy head."

The Sultan then entered in at the little door, and followed the Vizier
and his guard, and the four slaves with flambeaux in their hands.

In this manner Misnar passed through a long passage hewn out of the
solid rock, till he beheld, at a distance, a man seated on a stone
with an axe in his hand, and nine lamps burning before him.

As they drew near, the man fell prostrate before them; and the Vizier,
also falling prostrate, desired Misnar to take the axe out of the hand
of Camul his slave.

"What wonderful axe is this," said the Sultan, "that is thus preserved
in the bowels of the earth?"

The Sultan took the axe, and Camul the slave removing the stone on
which he sat, there appeared a strong rope underneath, one end of
which passed through the rocks, and the other was fastened to an
enormous ring of iron.

"Strike, royal master," said Horam, "and sever that rope from the ring
of iron."

The Sultan did as Horam desired, and struck the rope with his axe, and
divided it from the ring.

The rope, being released, flew with great swiftness through the hole
in the rock, and Misnar waited some time to see what might be the
consequence of cutting it asunder; but nothing appearing, he said to
his Vizier,

"Where are the riches, Horam, which I left my bed to view? Is this
like the rest of your promises? and am I brought here to be again
deceived?"

"Royal master," answered Horam, "let me die the death of a rebel. I
have nothing more to discover: pardon my follies, and avenge thine own
losses by the sword of justice."

"What!" said the Sultan, enraged, "hast thou brought me through the
dangerous passes of the mountains by night only to cut a rope asunder?
And was I called forth to see only a passage made in the rocks, and
the slaves of Horam as ill employed as their master lately has been?
Lead me, villain!" continued he, "back to my tent, and expect with the
rising of the sun the fate you have so amply merited."

Thus saying, the Sultan returned, and the captain of the guard led
Horam back in chains to his place of confinement.

In the morning, the army of the Sultan Misnar, which had escaped to
the mountains, were all drawn out, the cymbals sounded, and a gibbet
forty feet high was erected in their front, to which the captain of
the guard led the unfortunate Vizier Horam.

At the sound of the cymbals the Sultan came from his tent, and gave
orders that Horam should be conducted to his fate.

The Vizier, unmoved at his doom, surrendered himself to the officer
who was to execute the Sultan's sentence; and the ignominious rope was
put about his neck, when a messenger, attended by several sentinels,
came running into the camp.

The messenger hastened to the Sultan, and thus delivered his message:
"Ahaback and Desra, the wicked enchanters who have upholden thy
rebellious brother, are dead; the army of Ahubal is in the utmost
consternation; and the friends of the Sultan wish to see thee hunting
thine enemies, as the lion hunts the wild asses in the forest."

This messenger was succeeded by several of the Sultan's spies, who
confirmed the account.

Misnar then put himself at the head of his troops, ordered Horam back
to his former confinement, and hastened to fall upon the forces of the
rebels.

Early the same morning, Ahubal was awakened by his guards, who, with
countenances of woe, declared to him the death of his friends Ahaback
and Desra.

"Are my friends dead?" said Ahubal, trembling: "by what misfortune am
I bereaved of them? What new device has Misnar practised against them?
Are not these wise and sage magicians, then, a match for a boy's
prudence? Alas! what can _I_ effect against them, when these fall away
before his victorious arm?"

"Prince," answered the guards, "we have too late discovered the wiles
of our enemies. Over the magnificent pavilion of the Sultan, which
Horam built for his master, the artful Vizier had concealed a
ponderous stone, which covered the whole pavilion. This, by some
secret means, he contrived in the night to release from its
confinement, while Ahaback and Desra were sleeping on the sofas
beneath it; and ere day began to rise, their guards were surprised by
the fall, and ran to release their masters from the stone; but, alas!
their bodies were crushed to atoms, and still remain buried under the
pavilion, as fifty of the strongest of thy troops were unable to
remove the stone from the ground."

At these words the countenance and the heart of Ahubal sank; and ere
he could recover, word was brought him that the Sultan's troops were
in the midst of his army, and that none dared stand against them
unless he approached to encourage them.

Ahubal was so overwhelmed with fear and grief, that, instead of
leading his troops, he prepared himself for flight; and Misnar,
pursuing his good fortune, was in a few hours in possession, not only
of his own tents, but also of those of the enemy.

Having gained a complete victory, and sent part of his troops after
those that were fled, the Sultan commanded his Vizier to be brought
before him, and, in the sight of his army, asked him what merit he
could challenge in the success of that day.

"The contrivances of thy slave had been useless," Horam replied, "if a
less than my Sultan had afterwards led his troops to the battle.
Therefore thine only be the glory and the honour of the day; but my
lord must know, that some time since we were informed that the
enchanters Ahaback and Desra were preparing to uphold thy rebellious
brother; and well I knew that prudence, and not force, must prevail
against them. I therefore besought my lord to grant me the chief
command for forty days, and neglected to take such advantages over
Ahubal's troops as the captains of thy armies advised.

"This I did, knowing that any victory would be vain and fruitless, if
the enchanters were not involved in the ruin; and that, while they
were safe, a second army would spring up as soon as the first was
destroyed. For these reasons, I endeavoured to strengthen my Sultan's
army, that when the reinforcements of Ahaback and Desra should arrive,
their numbers might not prevail against us.

"In the meantime, the sumptuous pavilion which was built for Ahubal
inspired me with a device, which I hoped would put the enchanters in
my power.

"Studious that no one might interrupt or betray my designs, I enclosed
a place near the mountains, surrounded with trees, where I began to
build a pavilion, which I gave out was erected in honour of my lord
the Sultan: within this pavilion I concealed a massy stone, which was
sawn out of the solid rock, and which, by the help of several engines,
was hung upon four pillars of gold, and covered the whole pavilion.
The rope which upheld this massy stone passed through one of the
golden pillars into the earth beneath, and, by a secret channel cut in
the rock, was carried onward through the side of the mountain, and was
fastened to a ring of iron in a cave hollowed out of the rock on the
opposite side.

"By the time the enchanters were arrived in the camp of Ahubal, the
pavilion was finished; and although I had secret advice that my
Sultan's troops were to be attacked on the morrow, yet I chose to
conceal that knowledge, and so to dispose of the army that the chief
part might fly with me behind the mountains which hung over the
pavilion, and that the rest, having no conductor, might be put to
flight with as little slaughter as possible. This I did, expecting
that Ahaback and Desra, puffed up with their good fortune, would take
possession of my Sultan's pavilion."

"Rise, faithful Horam," said the Sultan Misnar; "your plot is
sufficiently unravelled; but why did you hide your intentions from
your lord?"

"Lord of my life," answered the Vizier, "because I was resolved, in
case my plot did not succeed, to bear the burden myself, that my
Sultan's honour might not be lessened in the eyes of his troops."

This noble confession of the Vizier pleased the whole army, and they
waited with the utmost impatience to hear his pardon pronounced.

The Sultan then embraced his Vizier, and the shouts of the army
were,--"Long live Misnar the lord of our hearts, and Horam the first
and the most faithful of his slaves!"

The army of Ahubal still continued to fly after their Prince, whose
fear did not suffer him to direct those who came up to him.

And now, in a few days, the army would have been totally dispersed,
had not the giant Kifri, enraged at the death of his brethren, and
travelling in his fury, appeared before the eyes of the terrified
Prince and his troops, in a narrow pass among the rocks.

The presence of Kifri was not less terrifying than the noise of the
pursuers; and Ahubal, at the sight of the monster, fell with his face
to the ground.

"Who art thou," said Kifri, with the voice of thunder, "that fliest
like the roebuck, and tremblest like the heart-stricken antelope?"

"Prince of earth," said Ahubal, "I am the friend of Ulin, of Happuck,
of Ollomand, of Tasnar, of Ahaback, and of Desra. I am he who, through
the power of the enchanters, have contended for the throne of India."

"Wretched, then, are they that league with thee," answered the giant
Kifri, "thou son of fear, thou wretch unworthy of such support! Was it
for thee, base coward, that Ollomand poured forth his unnumbered
stores? that the plains of India were dyed with the blood of Desra,
the mistress of our race?"

As Kifri spake thus, his broad eyeballs glowed like the red orb of day
when covered with dark fleeting clouds, and from his nostrils issued
forth the tempest and the flame.

In an instant he seized on the fear-shaken Ahubal, as the eagle shuts
within her bloody talons the body of the affrighted trembling hare;
and, lifting him high in the air, he dashed the wretched Prince
against the rugged face of the mountains. The blood of Ahubal ran
down from the mountain's side, and his mangled limbs, crushed by the
fall, hung quivering on the pointed rocks.

The death of Ahubal lessened not the fury of Kifri; but all that
followed the unhappy Prince experienced his rage, till, glutted with
blood, and tired of his revenge, the monstrous giant sank to rest, and
stretched out his limbs upon the tops of the mountains.

But the sleep of Kifri was cumbrous as his body. In the visions of the
night came Ulin before him, and the ghost of the murdered Happuck was
in the eye of his fancy.

"Enemy of our race," said they, "where is he who was to redeem our
glory and to revenge our blood? Where is Ahubal, of whom the dark
saying went forth, that none but our race could overpower him? The
dark saying is now interpreted by thy shameful deed, and the powers of
enchantment are at an end!"

The giant, disturbed at his visions, started up: the moon rode high
above the mountains, and the trees of the forest looked broad with the
shades of night. He cast his black eyes to the south, and saw the
storm rolling forth in clouds: the tempest gathered around him, and
poured its fury against him.

The giant bent his body towards a huge rock, whereon he had slept, and
straining his tough sinews, tore up the mighty fragment from the
ground. The earth felt the shock, and its dark entrails trembled; but
Kifri, undismayed, threw the wild ruin to the clouds. The labouring
mountain returned quickly on the rebellious head of the giant,
crushing him beneath its ponderous mass, and finished, by its descent,
the life and the presumption of Kifri.

The intelligence of Kifri's death was brought to the Sultan by one of
the followers of Ahubal, who, at the first approach of the giant, had
run from his presence, and hid himself in a cave in the rocks.

"Horam," said the Sultan, "our enemies are no more; seven are
destroyed, and one weak woman alone remains. But since Kifri, the
terror of Asia, has fallen a sacrifice to the cause of Ahubal, and
since the rebel is himself destroyed, what has Misnar more to fear?
However, let our army be yet increased: let trusty nabobs be sent into
every province, and nothing omitted which may preserve the peace of
my empire: it is the part of prudence to watch most where there is the
least appearance of danger."

The Vizier Horam obeyed his master's command; and Misnar, having
regulated his army, returned in triumph to Delhi.

The Sultan, having restored peace to his kingdoms, began to administer
impartial justice to his subjects: and, although the faith of Horam
had often been tried, yet Misnar chose not to rely altogether on any
but himself.

"Vizier," said the Sultan, as Horam was standing before him, "are my
people happy?--it is for them I rule, and not for myself; and though I
delay not to punish the licentious and rebellious, yet shall I ever
study to gain the hearts of my obedient subjects. A father's frown may
restrain his children, but his smile can only bless them. Dost not
thou remember, Horam, the story of Mahoud, the son of the jeweller?
And how am I sure but even now private malice may be wreaking as great
cruelty upon some innocent person, as the Princess Hemjunah suffered
from the enchanter Bennaskar?"

"My Prince," answered the Vizier, "the toils and the dangers of the
war have never for a moment driven from my mind the memory of that
Princess, who, with Mahoud, underwent the most odious transformation
through the power of Ulin."

"Nor have I," answered the Sultan, "forgot their distress; but the
cares of my empire have hitherto prevented my search after them. As to
the Princess, she is possibly with her father in Cassimir; but Mahoud
is doubtless an inhabitant of Delhi, where he lived before his
transformation; therefore, O Vizier, give immediate orders that the
respective Cadis of each division of the city, who have the numbers
and the names of every inhabitant within their district, be questioned
concerning this jeweller's son; and let him to-morrow be brought
before me."

The Vizier Horam did as he was commanded, and sent for all the Cadis
of the city, and examined them concerning Mahoud; but no one could
give any account of him.

The next morning Horam attended the divan, and acquainted the Sultan
with his fruitless search.

The Sultan was much dissatisfied at the Vizier's report; and after he
had answered the petitioners and dismissed them, he sent again for his
favourite Vizier.

"Horam," said the Sultan, "my Cadis are remiss in their duty: Mahoud
is certainly hid in my city: all is not right, Horam; the poor son of
the jeweller would be proud to own that he was formerly the companion
of the Sultan of the Indies, though in his distress; he had long ere
this been at the foot of my throne, did not somewhat prevent him."

"Prince of my life," answered the Vizier, "if Mahoud is in this city,
he is doubtless disguised, and has reasons for concealing himself; and
how shall thy officers of justice discover, among many millions, one
obscure person, who is studious to hide himself?"

"In a well-regulated city," answered the Sultan, "every one is known,
and sound policy has always invented such distinctions as may prevent
the disguise of designing and wicked men. But, till my capital is
better regulated, I mean to take advantage myself of the confusion of
my city, and examine, in disguise, those private outrages which are
screened from the public eye of justice. Wherefore, Horam, procure two
disguises for yourself and me; and let the Emir Matserak be sent
ambassador to the Sultan of Cassimir, to inquire after the welfare of
the Princess Hemjunah."

The Vizier, in obedience to the Sultan's orders, sent the habits of
two fakeers into the palace; and at evening the Sultan, accompanied by
his Vizier, went forth in his disguise.

As they passed through the second street from the royal palace, one
habited like a fakeer, with his horn, saluted them, and asked them to
partake of the alms he had received.

The Sultan readily accepted his offer, lest the brother of his order
should be offended.

They immediately retired into a remote place, and, the strange fakeer
pulling out the provision he had received, they began their repast.

"Brother," said the fakeer to the disguised Sultan, "you are, I
perceive, but a novice in your profession; you have seen but little of
life, and you would be puzzled were you to encounter such wonders as
I experienced but last night in my approach to this city."

"What," answered the Sultan hastily, "were they? Perhaps, brother, you
mistake me: possibly, though not so communicative as yourself, I may
nevertheless be as brave and resolute."

"Alas!" answered the fakeer, "I begin to suspect that you are no true
brother: you know we are communicative among ourselves, but secret to
the world about us. By the faith which I profess, I will no longer
converse with you unless you give me some convincing proofs of the
genuineness of your profession!"

Here the Vizier, perceiving that the Sultan was hard pressed,
interrupted the fakeer, and said, "O holy fakeer, but stranger to our
tribe, whence comest thou that thou knowest not Elezren, the prince of
devotees in the city of Delhi, to whom the Emirs bow, and before whom
the populace lie prostrate as he passes? thou art indeed but newly
come to Delhi, since the fame of Elezren hath not been sounded in
thine ears."

"Brother," answered the fakeer, "the fame of Elezren is not confined
to Delhi alone, since all Asia receives him; but where are the silver
marks of wisdom on his cheeks, and the furrows of affliction, which
are deep-wrought in the aged front of Elezren?"

At these words the fakeer sprang from the ground, and, running into
the streets, he made the air echo with his complaints.

The mob, hearing that two young men had personated the appearance of
the caste, crowded to the place where the Sultan and his Vizier sat
trembling at their own temerity, and were just about to tear them to
pieces when the Vizier, stepping forward to meet them, cried aloud,

"Slaves, presume not to approach your Sultan! for know that Misnar,
the idol of his people, sits here disguised as a fakeer."

Luckily for the Prince, several of the foremost were well acquainted
with his features, or it is probable the mob would have looked upon
the Vizier's speech as only a device to prevent their fury. But when
the fakeer saw the foremost of the crowd acknowledge Misnar as their
Sultan, and fall down before him, he tried to escape.

"My friends," said the Sultan, "secure that wretch, and suffer him not
to escape. And, Horam," said he, turning to his Vizier, "let him be
confined in a dungeon this night, and to-morrow brought before me in
the divan of justice."

"The words of my lord," answered Horam, "are a law which cannot be
changed. But let me beseech my Prince to retire from the crowd."

Misnar willingly did as Horam advised; and the people made way for him
to the palace, crying out, "Long live Misnar, the pride of his
slaves!"

The Sultan being returned to his palace with his Vizier, "Horam," said
he, "each man has his part in life allotted to him; and the folly of
those who, leaving the right and regular path, strike into the mazes
of their own fancy, is sufficiently seen from our adventure this day:
wherefore I would have every man endeavour to fill his real character
and to shine in that, and not attempt what belongs to another, in
which he can gain no credit, and runs a great hazard of disgrace."

The Vizier went forth, and brought the fakeer bound in chains before
the Sultan.

The fakeer advanced to the presence of the Sultan, full of shame and
fear; and falling at his footstool, cried out, "I call Mahomet to
witness, I slew not the man in my wrath, but in mine own defence."

"What man?" said the Sultan, astonished at his words; "whom hast thou
slain, O wicked fakeer, that thine own fears should turn evidence
against thee?"

"Alas!" answered the fakeer, "hear me, most injured lord, for the
blood of my brother presseth me sore.

"As I journeyed yesterday, and was arrived within a league of the city
of Delhi, I turned me towards a place walled round, which I supposed
was a repository for the dead; and finding the gate open, I entered
into it, intending to shelter myself for a few minutes against the
scorching sun.

"As I entered I perceived at one end a stone sepulchre, whose mouth
was opened, and the stone rolled from it. Surprised at the sight, I
walked forward to the vault, and heard within the voices of several
persons. At this I was in doubt whether to proceed or retire,
supposing that some robbers had taken up their residence there.

"In the midst of my confusion, a young man with a turban hanging over
his face came out, and seeing me, drew his sabre and made toward me to
kill me. Whereupon I took up a large fragment of the wall which lay at
my feet, and as he came forward I threw it and felled him to the
ground; then running up, I snatched the sabre from his hand, and would
have destroyed him, but he cried out, saying, 'Take care what thou
doest, rash man; for it is not one but two lives that thou takest away
when thou destroyest me!'

"Amazed and wondering how it was possible for me to destroy two lives
by avenging myself on one wretch, who, without offence, had meditated
my death, I stayed my hand; which the young man seeing, he aimed to
pull the sabre out of my hand, whereupon I lifted up the sabre above
his head, and at one blow severed it from his body. Immediately,
seeing the blood start from his veins, I ran out of the enclosure,
fearing lest any one of his company should overtake me, and flew till
I reached the city of Delhi, where I subsisted that night and this day
on the alms of the Faithful, till I met my Sultan and his Vizier in
the habit of two fakeers."

"And what," said the Sultan, "has made thee thine own accuser, since
the life you took was in your own defence? If thy tale is true, his
blood rests on his own head, who was the aggressor; but the story is
so singular, that I shall detain thee till my Vizier and a party of
soldiers be sent to search the enclosure you have mentioned."

The Vizier then gave orders for the guard to mount their horses, and
the Sultan resolved to accompany the Vizier, the fakeer being carried
between two of the guards to point out the scene of the encounter.

The party having arrived at the iron gate of the enclosure, Horam,
with ten of the guards, went in on foot, and marched with the fakeer
to the tomb where he heard the voices, and whence the young man had
issued forth.

As they approached the tomb they beheld the body of the young man on
the ground, and his head at a distance.

The guards, entering the tomb, found no one within, but at the upper
end they saw a stone case supported by two blocks of black marble. The
stone case was covered with a flat marble, which the guards could not
remove from its place.

The Vizier, being acquainted with these particulars, returned to the
Sultan, and related to him what the guards had discovered. But Misnar,
recollecting the many devices which the enchanters had prepared to
ensnare him, was very doubtful what course to take.

On a sudden the moon, which shone exceeding bright, was overcast, and
the clouds appeared of a glowing red, like the fiery heat of a burning
furnace; hollow murmurs were heard at a distance, and a putrid and
suffocating smell arose; when, in the midst of the fiery clouds, the
black form of a haggard and hideously distorted female became visible,
furiously riding on an unwieldy monster with many legs.

In an instant the clouds to the east disappeared, and the heavens from
that quarter shone like the meridian sun, and discovered a lovely
graceful nymph, the brightness of whose features expressed the
liveliest marks of meekness, grace, and love.

"Hapacuson," said the fair one, addressing herself to the hag, "why
wilt thou vainly brandish thy rebellious arms against the powers of
Heaven? If the Sultan, though he be the favourite of Allah, do wrong,
the Mighty One, who delighteth in justice, will make thee the
instrument of His vengeance on the offending Prince. But know the
extent of thy power, vain woman! and presume not to war against the
will of Heaven, lest the battle of the faithful genii be set in array
against thee, and thou be joined to the number of those who are
already fallen."

"Proud vassal of light," answered the enchantress Hapacuson, "I fear
not thy threats, nor the bright pageants that surround thee: war,
tumult, chaos, and darkness, fear and dismay, are to me more welcome
than the idle splendours of thy Master."

"Abandoned wretch!" answered the bright being, "defile not thy
Maker's creations by thy blasphemous tongue; but learn at least to
fear that Mighty One thou art not worthy to honour."

Thus saying, she blew from her mouth a vivid flame, like a sharp two
edged-sword, which, entering into the clouds that surrounded
Hapacuson, the hag gave a horrible shriek, and the thick clouds
rolling around her, she flew away into the darkness.

The fair one then descending towards the Sultan, the brightness
disappeared, and Misnar, the Vizier, and the guards, fell prostrate
before her.

"Arise, Misnar," said she, "Heaven's favourite! and fear not to enter
the tomb, where the enchantments of Hapacuson are now at an end."

The Sultan was about to answer, but the fair one led the way to the
tomb, and commanded him to enter with her, and uncover the stone case
which stood at the upper end.

As the lid was removing, a sigh issued from its case, and a lovely
female arose as from a deep sleep.

"Inform me," said the Sultan, "whom it is my happy fate to release
from this wretched confinement?"

"Alas!" answered the beautiful maiden, "art thou the vile Bennaskar,
or the still more vile Mahoud? Oh, let me sleep till death, and never
more behold the wretchedness of life!"

"What!" said the Sultan, starting from his knees, "do I behold the
unfortunate Princess of Cassimir?"

"Illustrious Hemjunah," said the Vizier Horam, as the Princess stared
wildly about her, "Misnar, the Sultan of India, is before thee."

"Yes," interrupted the fair spirit, "doubt not, Hemjunah, the truth of
the Vizier Horam; for behold! Macoma, thy guardian genius, assures
thee of the reality of what thou beholdest."

"Helper of the afflicted," answered the Princess of Cassimir, "doubt
vanishes when you are present; but wonder not at my incredulity, since
my whole life has been a false illusion. O Allah, wherefore hast Thou
made the weakest the most subject to deceit?"

"To call in question the wisdom of Allah," answered the genius Macoma,
"is to act like the child of folly: go, then, thou mirror of justice
and understanding, and span with thy mighty arms the numberless
heavens of the Faithful; weigh in thy just balance the wisdom of thy
Maker, and the fitness of His creation; and, joined with the evil race
from whom I have preserved thee, rail at that goodness thou canst not
comprehend."

"Spare me, just genius," answered the Princess of Cassimir; "spare the
weakness of my disordered head. I confess my folly; but weak is the
offspring of weakness."

"True," replied the genius; "but although you are weak, ought you
therefore to be presumptuous? Knowest thou not that the Sultan Misnar
suffered with you because he despaired? And now would Hapacuson return
thee to thy former slumbers, did not Allah, who has beheld thy former
sufferings, in pity forgive the vain thoughts of mortality."

"Blessed is His goodness," answered the Princess, "and blessed are His
servants, who delight in succouring and instructing the weak and
distressed."

"To be sorry for our errors," said the genius, "is to bring down the
pardon of Heaven; and Hemjunah, though so long overpowered by the
malicious, is nevertheless one of the loveliest of her sex.

"Sultan of India," continued Macoma, turning to Misnar, "I leave the
Princess of Cassimir to your care, in full assurance that the delicacy
of her sentiments will not be offended by your royal and noble
treatment of her. But let an ambassador be immediately dispatched from
your Court to inform her aged and pious father of the safety of his
daughter."

"The dictates of Macoma," answered the Sultan, bowing before her, "are
the dictates of virtue and humanity, and her will shall be religiously
obeyed."

At these words the genius vanished, and the Sultan bade part of his
guards return to Delhi to the chief of his eunuchs, and order him to
prepare a palanquin and proper attendants to convey the Princess of
Cassimir to the royal palace.

While these preparations were making, the Sultan and his Vizier
endeavoured to soothe and entertain the Princess of Cassimir; and
though Horam was desirous of hearing her adventures, yet the Sultan
would not suffer him to request Hemjunah's relation, till she was
carried to the palace, and refreshed after her fatigues.

The chief of the eunuchs arrived in a short time, and the Princess was
conveyed, ere morning, to the palace of Misnar, where the female
apartments were prepared for her reception, and a number of the first
ladies of Delhi appointed to attend her.

The Sultan, in the meantime, having ordered the fakeer to be released
and sent out of the city, entered the divan with his Vizier, and,
having dispatched the complainants, retired to rest.

In the evening of the same day, the Princess, being recovered from her
fatigue, sent the chief of the eunuchs to the Sultan, and desired
leave to throw herself at his feet in gratitude for her escape.

The Sultan received the message with joy, and ordering Horam his
Vizier to be called, they both went into the apartments of the
females, where the Princess of Cassimir was seated on a throne of
ivory, and surrounded by the slaves of the seraglio.

The Princess descended from her throne at the approach of the Sultan,
and fell at his feet; but Misnar, taking her by the hand, said, "Rise,
Princess, and injure not your honour by thus abasing yourself before
your slave. The lovely Hemjunah has promised to relate her wonderful
adventures; and Horam, the faithful friend of my bosom, and our former
fellow-sufferer, is come to participate with me in the charming
relation."

"Prince," said Hemjunah, "I shall not conceal what you are so desirous
of knowing."

The Sultan then waved his hand, and the slaves withdrew.


THE HISTORY OF THE PRINCESS OF CASSIMIR.


Before I had attained my thirteenth year, my father proposed to marry
me to the Prince of Georgia. It was in vain that, when my mother
disclosed the fatal news to me, I urged my youth, and my entire
ignorance of the Prince or his qualities.

"My child," said Chederazade, "to make ourselves happy, we must be
useful to the world. The Prince of Georgia has done your father great
service in the wars, and you are destined to reward his toils: all
the subjects of Cassimir will look upon your choice as a compliment to
them, and they will rejoice to see their benefactor blessed with the
hand of their Princess."

"But, madam," answered I, "does the happiness of my father's subjects
require such a sacrifice in me? Must I live in a country to whose
language and manners I am a stranger? must I be for ever banished?"

"I have given sufficient reasons," replied my mother, "to engage your
compliance with your father's desire, and these will influence you, if
prudence and wisdom are the motives of your choice; and if you want
prudence, it is fit that those who are able to instruct you should
also guide and direct your actions."

At these words, Chederazade left me bathed in tears and trembling at
my fate.

My nurse Eloubrou was witness to the hard command my mother had
imposed upon me, and endeavoured to comfort me in my affliction; but
her words were as the wind on the surface of the rock; and to add to
my griefs, in a few minutes after, the chief of the eunuchs entered,
and bade me prepare to receive the Sultan my father.

The Sultan of Cassimir entering my apartment, I fell at his feet.

"Hemjunah," said he, "the Prince of Georgia is my friend, and I intend
to give my daughter to his arms."

Shocked at these successive declarations of my fate, which I had no
reason to suspect the day before, I fainted away, and when I
recovered, found myself on a sofa, with Eloubrou at my feet.

"My lovely Princess," said Eloubrou, "how little am I able to see you
thus! and yet I fear the news I have to impart to you may reduce you
to your former condition."

"Alas," said I, "nurse, what new evil has befallen me? What worse can
happen than my marriage with a stranger?"

"Princess," replied Eloubrou, "the Prince is to see you this night:
nay, the ceremonies are preparing, the changes of vestment, the
dessert, and the choral bands."

"Ah," said I, "cruel Eloubrou! what hast thou said? Am I to be
sacrificed this night to my father's policy? Am I to be given as a
fee to the plunderer of cities?--for such they are whose profession is
arms."

"No, Princess," said a young female slave who attended on Eloubrou;
"trust but to me, and the Prince of Georgia shall in vain seek the
honour of your alliance."

The faithful Eloubrou shrieked at the words of the female slave, and
endeavoured to clap her hands and bring the chief of the eunuchs to
her assistance; but the female slave waved her left hand, and Eloubrou
and the rest of the slaves stood motionless before her.

"Most lovely Princess," said she, "I am the friend of the distressed,
and love to prevent the severe and ill-natured authority of parents:
give me your hand, and I will deliver you from that monster, the
Prince of Georgia."

"What!" answered I, "shall I trust to a stranger, whom I know not, and
fly from my father's Court? No!"

"Well, then," said she, "I hear the cymbals playing before the Prince,
and the trumpets, and the kettledrums. Farewell, sweet mistress of the
fierce and unconquerable Prince of Georgia."

As she spoke, the warlike music sounded in my ears; and, not doubting
but that the Prince and my father were coming, I held out my hand to
the female slave, and said,

"Save me, oh, save me from my father's frown!"

The slave eagerly snatched my hand, and, blowing forth a small vapour
from her mouth, it filled the room, and we arose in a cloud.

The manner of my flight from my father's palace I know not, as I
immediately fainted; but when I recovered, I found myself in a
magnificent apartment, and a youth standing before me.

"Charming Hemjunah," said he, falling at my feet, "may I hope that the
service I have performed, in delivering you from the Prince of
Georgia, will merit your love?"

"Alas!" said I, "what service hast thou performed? Who art thou, bold
man, that durst stand before the Princess of Cassimir? Eloubrou,"
shouted I, "faithful Eloubrou! where art thou? Where is Picksag, the
chief of my eunuchs? Where are my slaves? Where are the guards of the
seraglio?"

"Princess," answered the young man, "fatigue not yourself with calling
after them, since they are in the kingdom of Cassimir, and you are in
the house of Bennaskar, the merchant of Delhi; but, not to keep you in
suspense, O Princess! know that I have for several years traded from
Cassimir to Delhi, and, although I never saw you till lately, yet the
fame of your opening beauties was so great that it fired the hearts of
all the young men in your father's kingdom. Every time I arrived at
Cassimir, the subject of all conversation was the adorable Princess
Hemjunah. Impelled by these encomiums, I resolved to see you or die."

He then recounted how he had obtained access to me through the art of
Ulin.

The wicked Bennaskar would have made me the victim of his passions,
when, in a gentle cloud, a venerable and majestic personage descended
into the apartment.

"Unhappy Princess of Cassimir!" said she, "how has thy imprudence
weakened my power, and destroyed thine own safety! If thou hadst not
yielded to the false female slave, the sorceress Ulin had not
triumphed over thee and me; but now she has given thee into the power
and possession of Bennaskar, and I am not permitted to rescue thee
from the clutches of this detested merchant."

"Then," said Bennaskar, who before was awed by the presence of the
genius Macoma, "Hemjunah is my own, and my faithful Ulin has not
deceived me."

At these words, exerting all his strength, the villain seized me; but
his triumph was short, for the genius, advancing, immediately touched
him with her wand, and said,

"Wretched slave of iniquity! though I am not permitted to rescue the
Princess, yet I have power over thee, base tool of sin! therefore I
ordain, that whenever you look upon the Princess, you shall deprive
her of sensation."

"Then," said Bennaskar, rising and turning from me, "I will at present
disappoint thy power till I receive my commands from the mouth of
Ulin, the mistress of my fate."

"Ah!" cried the enchantress Ulin, who that moment entered the vaulted
chamber from the closet, which, my Prince, you have heard described by
Mahoud, "what hast thou done, thou enemy of our race? Accursed and
fatal neglect, that I had not at first secured Bennaskar from thy
power! But since the inexorable word is gone forth, I will add to thy
sentence. Here," continued she, stamping with her foot, and an ugly
dwarf arose through a trap-door in the chamber, "Nego, be it thy
business to attend my servant Bennaskar, and whenever thou seest that
female deprived of sensation, do you bury her in the earth beneath
this chamber. And, Bennaskar," continued the enchantress, "do you take
this phial, and whenever you want to converse with this stubborn
female, let one of your slaves, whom you can trust, pour part of the
liquor into her mouth, and she shall recover: only retire yourself
into the closet, that you be not seen of her, at least till she
consent to your will, for then the enchantments of Macoma shall no
longer prevail against you."

"The enchantments," said Macoma, "O wretched Ulin, are not yet
complete! there is yet a moment left, and both our power over Hemjunah
and Bennaskar will be at an end. Therefore thus shall it be: although
Bennaskar is possessed of the Princess, yet shall these apartments be
hidden from the sight of all men, except on that day when thy evil
race prevails. On the full of the moon only shall Bennaskar be able to
explore these rooms. And fear not, amiable Hemjunah," said the genius,
addressing herself to me, "for neither force nor enchantment shall
work your ruin without your own consent; and although Mahomet,
displeased at your late imprudence, for a time permits this
enchantment, yet at length, if you continue faithful and virtuous, he
will assuredly deliver you."

At these words, Bennaskar turned towards me, with anger and
disappointment in his eye, and immediately I was seized with a deep
sleep, and what passed afterwards I know not.

One day I found myself awakened by the pouring of some liquor into my
mouth, and saw a black slave standing before me. At the same time the
voice of Bennaskar issued from the closet.

"Ill-fated Princess! thy tyrant genius hath now hidden thee a month
from my sight, while thy friends, Ulin and Bennaskar, seek to restore
thee to light and to life: say but, therefore, thou wilt be mine, and
the enchantments of Macoma will be destroyed."

"Wretched Bennaskar!" answered I, "I knew not that my sleep had
continued a month; but, if it be so long since I saw the genius Macoma
in this chamber, I thank Mahomet that he hath so long hidden me from
the persecutions of Bennaskar."

"Haughty Princess!" answered the vile Bennaskar from the closet, "my
slave shall inspire you with humbler words." Whereupon he ordered the
black slave to give me fifty lashes with the chabouc.

But it is needless, O Prince, to repeat the various designs of that
wretch. For three months was I thus confined, and Bennaskar having
exercised, through the hands of his slave, the cruelties of his heart,
used at length, when he found me persist in my resolution, to come
forth, and by his presence deprive me of sensation. The adventures of
the third month you have heard from the mouth of Mahoud; I shall
therefore only continue my narrative from the time that he left me
with the book in my hand.

Bennaskar, seeing his friend Mahoud had left him, went out, and soon
returned again with him, and taking him into the closet, in a moment
came forth, and, touching me, he said, "Come, fair Princess, the
enchantments of Macoma are now at an end, and thou art given up
entirely to Bennaskar."

I shrieked at his words, hoping the Cadi would hear me, but in vain.
Bennaskar ran with me through the vaulted passage, and found myself
with him in an extended plain.

"Wretch!" said the genius Macoma, who that moment appeared, "hast thou
dared to disobey my commands, and remove the Princess from the vaulted
chamber, where even thy mistress yielded to my power? But I thank
thee: what the imprudent Mahoud could not accomplish against thee thou
hast effected thyself."

As she spake, the form of Bennaskar perished from the face of the
plain, and his body crumbled to atoms and mixed with the dust of the
earth; but from his ashes the enchantress Ulin arose, and with an
enraged visage turned towards me and said, "Thou art still the victim
of my power; and since Bennaskar is no more, go, sweet Princess, and
join thy delicate form to the form of thy preserver Mahoud, whom I
designed for the flames; but, my will being opposed, he is rescued
thence, and now defiles the air of Tarapajan with his pestiferous
breath."

Such, Sultan of India, were the consequences of my imprudence; and
thus are our sex, by the smallest deviations, often led through
perpetual scenes of misery and distress.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Lovely Princess of Cassimir," said the Sultan Misnar, "I have felt
more anxiety during this short interval in which you have related your
adventures than in all the campaigns I have made. But suffer us, O
Princess, to add a further trouble to you by a second request; for I
am as anxious to hear by what misfortune you were enclosed in the tomb
of death as I was to know in what manner you were subjected to the
villanous cruelties of the wretched Bennaskar."

"The tale, O Prince," said the fair Hemjunah, "is wonderful; but,
alas! new indiscretions drew upon me the severities I have
experienced."


THE HISTORY OF THE PRINCESS CONTINUED.


As soon as, by our restoration to our pristine forms, we were apprised
of your victory over the enchantress Ulin, I found myself in the
seraglio of my father's palace. In the apartment from which I was
taken by the wicked enchantress, I beheld my nurse Eloubrou: she was
prostrate on the ground, and the palace was filled with her cries.

"Faithful Eloubrou," said I, "arise and look upon thy beloved
Hemjunah. Where is my royal father Zebenezer, and the fond
Chederazade, the mother of my heart?"

Eloubrou, at my voice, started up like one awakened from a trance.
"What is it?" said she in emotion, "what is it I behold? Art thou the
departed shade of my once-loved Hemjunah?"

"No shade, beloved Eloubrou," said I, running to her, "but the true
Princess of Cassimir, whom Misnar the Sultan of India hath rescued
from the enchantments of the wicked Ulin."

"Oh that thy royal mother," said Eloubrou, "were, like me, blessed
with the sight of thy return!"

"What," said I "Eloubrou, what dost thou say? Where, then, is the
much-honoured Chederazade? where the dear parent of my life?"

"Alas!" said Eloubrou, "who shall tell the dismal tale to thy tender
heart?"

"Ah!" said I, "is my beloved mother no more? Is she gone to seek her
disobedient daughter over the burning lake?"

At these words my spirit failed, and I sank motionless to the ground.
But my lord must forgive me if I hasten over the dreadful scene that
followed. The report of Eloubrou was too true: Chederazade, the
dearest Chederazade, had been ten days dead when I was restored to my
father's palace; and Zebenezer, distracted at the double loss of his
consort and his child, had shut himself up in the tomb of my mother.

Eloubrou hastened to the tomb wherein my father poured forth his
tears, and acquainted the guards who watched without that I was
returned.

The sorrowful Zebenezer, although he was rejoiced at the news,
resolved not to come forth out of his consort's tomb till the month
was expired, according to his oath; and gave orders, that during that
interval I should be obeyed by his subjects.

My mourning was not less poignant than my royal father's. I shut
myself up in my apartments, and would suffer none but Eloubrou to see
me.

Nine days passed in silence; our loss affected both, and Eloubrou was
as little disposed as myself to forget the cause of her griefs. On the
tenth morning, Eloubrou was called out by the Grand Vizier, who then
had the command of my father's kingdom.

She returned in haste. "Princess of Cassimir," said she, "one who
calleth himself Mahoud inquires for thee; and the Grand Vizier,
understanding that he was instrumental in your release, waits without
to know your will."

At the name of Mahoud I started from my reverie. "Mahoud," said I, "O
Eloubrou! deserves my notice; and the son of the jeweller of Delhi
shall be rewarded for his services to your mistress."

"Alas!" answered Eloubrou, "my lovely mistress is distracted with
sorrows, and supposes the Prince Mahoud to be the offspring of a
slave!"

"If he be a Prince," answered I, "he has hitherto concealed his
circumstances and birth from me, or he is not that Mahoud whom I
remember in the deserts of Tarapajan."

"That," answered Eloubrou, "you will soon discover when you see him.
But," continued she, "he desires a private audience."

"Well, then," replied I, "introduce him, Eloubrou; but let my slaves
be ready to enter at my call."

Eloubrou obeyed, and brought the merchant Mahoud into my presence, and
then retired.

Mahoud fell at my feet, and said, "Forgive my presumption in
approaching the throne of Cassimir, and that I have added hypocrisy to
my boldness, by assuming the title of a Prince."

"What, then," answered I, sternly, "has induced you to deceive my
Court?"

"Let death," said Mahoud, falling again before me, "let death atone
for my crime; but first permit me to explain the motives of my
presumption."

"Proceed," said I.

He then informed me that, after assuming his natural form, he visited
Delhi, where he was spurned by Misnar and Horam, and had been
compelled to beg his way to my dominions. A merchant of the city had
furnished him with the robes in which he appeared. Then clapping my
hands, Eloubrou appeared, and I said, "Eloubrou, let the Prince Mahoud
be lodged in my father's palace, and let a proper number of slaves
attend him; and do you acquaint the Vizier with his quality."

Eloubrou did as I commanded; and Mahoud, full of joy, fell down at my
feet, and kissed the hem of my garment.

"Prince," said I, "arise; and Eloubrou shall conduct you to my
father's palace."

A few days' experience made me repent my folly in giving credit to
the falsehoods of Mahoud, for the insolent merchant got proud of his
newly-assumed honours. He came daily, and was introduced to me, and
every time assumed greater state; till at last he dared to declare his
passion for me, and talked of asking my father's consent as soon as
the days of his sorrow should be accomplished. Astonished at his
insolence, I bade him depart from my presence, which he did
reluctantly, muttering revenge as he went.

As soon as he was gone, I acquainted Eloubrou with Mahoud's story, his
ridiculous and insolent behaviour, and that he had even dared to
threaten me with revenge.

"The threats of Mahoud," said Eloubrou, "are of little consequence,
though prudence should never esteem the least enemy unworthy of its
notice; care shall, therefore, be taken of this insolent merchant."

While Eloubrou was giving the necessary instructions, one of the
slaves entered the apartment, and gave me notice that Zebenezer, my
father, expected me in the tomb immediately. I put on the solemn veil,
and followed the guard to the tomb of Chederazade. I entered the
lonely mansions of the dead with fear and trembling, and, at the upper
end of the vaulted tomb, saw my father kneeling before the embalmed
corpse of my mother.

"Unhappy Hemjunah," said the aged man, "come hither, and behold the
sad remains of my dearest Chederazade."

Although my heart sank with grief, and my limbs tottered, yet I went
to reach the place where Chederazade lay embalmed, and fell at the
feet of my father Zebenezer.

"Rise," said he, "O daughter!" and caught me suddenly in his arms;
when, oh fearful sight! I perceived his visage alter, and that the
villanous Mahoud held me in his embrace.

Struck with horror and despair, I endeavoured to cry out, but in
vain--my voice was gone, and the power of speech was taken from me.

"No," said he, with a fierce air, "your struggles and resistance, O
prudent Princess, are all vain; for she who would join to deceive
others must expect to be deceived when there is none to help her;
therefore speech, if you resist, is taken from you."

"What," said I, "cruel Mahoud! is this the return my friendship
deserves, when, to save you from infamy and slavery, I gave way to
your entreaties, and represented you otherwise than you really were?"

"Friendship, O Princess," said he, "is built on virtue, which Mahoud
has disclaimed since he entered into the service of the sage
Hapacuson; and by her advice it was that he told you a false tale to
deceive you to your own destruction. Had you not yielded to that tale,
I could have had no power over you or your father; but it is our
triumph to circumvent the prudence of Mahomet's children; wherefore,
seeing you would not yield openly to my wishes, I had no sooner left
you with Eloubrou, than, by Hapacuson's assistance, I entered this
tomb invisibly, and, by my enchantments, overpowered your father
Zebenezer, and then, assuming his person, I sent for my Princess, and
she came obedient to my call. But, now," continued the false Mahoud,
"your cries will profit you but little; for Hapacuson, who is ever
hovering over Delhi, to watch the motions of the Sultan Misnar, has by
this time placed us in a repository of the dead, where we shall have
none to overhear or disturb us."

"Mahoud then showed me my father Zebenezer, whom, by his enchantment,
he had deprived of all sensation: he lay in a coffin of black marble,
in an inner apartment, and after that he vowed that he would desist
from force; but, till I consented to love him, I must be content to
live in the tomb.

"He, by his enchantments, obliged me to sleep in the place whence you
delivered me, and what time has elapsed during my confinement I know
not."

       *       *       *       *       *

"Princess," said the Sultan, "we rejoice at your escape; but as it is
probable, by your account, that your royal sire Zebenezer still sleeps
in the tomb, we will pray for his deliverance from the chains of
enchantment."

The Sultan then sent officers to search in the tomb for the body of
Zebenezer, and also called together those who were skilled in magic,
and desired them to use incantations to invoke the genius Macoma to
their assistance. But the arts of the magicians were vain, and Macoma
remained deaf to the entreaties of the Sultan and his sages.

In the meantime, while the Sultan and his Vizier Horam endeavoured to
comfort the afflicted Hemjunah, the ambassadors returned from
Cassimir, bringing advice that the grand Vizier Hobaddan had assumed
the title of Sultan, and that the whole kingdom of Cassimir
acknowledged his authority.

At this report, Hemjunah sank on the earth, and the Sultan Misnar ran
to comfort her, declaring that he would march his whole army to
recover her dominions from the rebel Hobaddan.

"Horam," said the Sultan, "let us be prudent as well as just:
therefore, while you march to the assistance of the injured subjects
of Cassimir, and to restore that kingdom to its lawful Prince, I will
keep strict discipline and order in the provinces of my empire; and I
trust, in a short time, I shall see you return with the head of the
rebel Hobaddan."

The Vizier Horam set out in a few days from Delhi with three hundred
thousand troops of the flower of the Sultan's army, and by forced
marches reached the confines of Cassimir ere the pretended Sultan
Hobaddan had notice of his arrival.

The Vizier Horam's intention to restore the Princess Hemjunah to the
throne of her ancestors being proclaimed, numbers of the subjects of
Cassimir flocked to the standard of Horam; and the army, now increased
to five hundred thousand troops, marched forthwith toward the capital
of Cassimir.

Hobaddan, having notice of the increase and progress of his enemies,
and finding that to engage them upon equal terms was vain, sent an
embassy to the Vizier Horam, assuring him that he and his whole army
would surrender themselves up to the mercy and clemency of his
master's troops. Horam rejoiced at the success of his march; and
desirous of regaining the kingdom of Cassimir without bloodshed, sent
an assurance to Hobaddan in answer, that, if he fulfilled his promise,
his own life should be saved.

The next morning Hobaddan appeared in front of his troops, with their
heads dejected and their arms inverted toward the ground; and in this
manner they came forward to the Vizier Horam's army.

Horam, to encourage the submission of Hobaddan, had placed the forces,
which he had raised in the kingdom of Cassimir, in the van of his
army; and also to secure them from retreating, by the support which
his own troops were to give them in the rear.

When Hobaddan was within hearing, instead of throwing his arms on the
ground, he unsheathed his scimitar, and thus spake to the troops
before him:

"Brethren and countrymen, suffer me to speak what my affection to you
all, and my love for my country, requires me to say. Against whom, O
my brethren, is this array of battle? and whose blood seek ye to spill
on the plains which our forefathers have cultivated? Is it our own
blood that must be poured forth over these lands to enrich them for a
stranger's benefit? Is it not under pretence of fighting for the
Princess of Cassimir, who has been long since dead, that the Sultan of
India's troops are now ravaging, not on our borders only, but
penetrating even into the heart of our nation? But suppose ye that the
conquerors will give up the treasures they hope to earn by their
blood? Will they not rather, invited by the fruitfulness of our vales,
and by the rich produce of our mountains, fix here the standard of
their arms, and make slaves of us, who are become thus easily the
dupes of their ambitious pretences? Then, farewell content! farewell
pleasure! farewell the well-earned fruits of industry and frugality!
Our lands shall be the property of others, and we still tied down by
slavish chains to cultivate and improve them. Our houses, our
substance, shall be the reward of foreign robbers; our wives and our
virgins shall bow down before conquerors; and we, like the beasts of
the field, shall be drawn in the scorching midday to the furrow or the
mine."

As Hobaddan began to utter these words, Horam, astonished at his
malice and presumption, ordered the archers who attended him to draw
forth their arrows, and pierce him to the heart; but the weapons of
war were as straws on the armour of Hobaddan, and he stood dauntless
and unhurt amidst ten thousand arrows.

"Friends and brethren!" continued Hobaddan, "you see the powers above
are on our side; the arrows of Horam are as chaff on the plain, and as
the dust which penetrates not the garments of the traveller. Halt not,
therefore, but join your arms to the defender and supporter of your
liberties and your possessions."

At these words the recruits of Horam filed off in a body and joined
the party of Hobaddan; while the pretended Sultan, elated at his
success, pushed forward to the Vizier Horam's troops, and charged them
with the utmost impetuosity.

The weapons of the brave were foiled by the armour of Hobaddan; for
the enchantress Hapacuson, studious of diverting the attention of the
Sultan Misnar, had assisted Hobaddan with her counsel and with
invulnerable arms; wherefore, seeing their labour vain and fruitless
against the pretended and unconquerable Sultan, the hearts of Horam's
warriors melted within them, and they fell away from the field of
battle; and Hobaddan, sensible of his advantage, hastened after the
troops of Horam all the day and night; and the Vizier himself barely
escaped with his life, having none left behind him to send to Delhi
with the unhappy report of his defeat.

But malicious Fame, ever indefatigable in representing the horrors of
affliction and distress, soon spread her voice throughout the regions
of Delhi; and Misnar heard from every quarter, that his faithful Horam
and all his chosen troops were defeated or cut off by the victorious
arm of Hobaddan. The Princess Hemjunah gave up herself to sighs and
tears, and refused the consolation of the Court of Delhi; and the
Sultan Misnar, enraged at his loss, resolved to assemble the greatest
part of his troops, and march to the assistance of Horam.

But first he gave orders that recruits should be raised, and that the
number of his troops should be increased; and then, mixing his young
raised soldiers with the veterans of his army, he left one half of his
troops to guard his own provinces, and with the other he marched
towards the confines of Cassimir.

The Vizier Horam had concealed himself in the hut of a faithful
peasant, and hearing that his master had arrived with a numerous army
in the kingdom of Cassimir, he went forward to meet him, and, falling
down at his feet, besought his forgiveness.

"Horam," said the Sultan, "arise. I forgive thee, although thou hast
lost so many of my troops; but I little suspected Hobaddan had been
too artful for the experience and sagacity of my Vizier. However,
Horam, he must not expect to deceive us again: we are more in number,
and we are aware of his deceit. You, Horam, forced your marches and
weakened your troops, but I will bring them on slowly and surely. Have
we prevailed against Ulin, and Happuck, and Ollomand, and Tasnar--have
we crushed Ahaback and Desra by our prudent arts--and shall we fear
the contrivance of a poor Vizier, who leads a few rebels among the
rocks of the province of Cassimir? Let us but use prudence with
resolution, and these enemies must soon fade away like the shadow that
flieth from the noontide sun."

The two armies of the Sultan of India and the pretended Sultan of
Cassimir approached each other; and the troops of Misnar were pleased
to hear that their number was treble the number of their enemies. But,
however great their superiority might be, the Sultan Misnar and his
Vizier kept the strictest discipline among them, and acted as if they
were about to engage a superior force.

For some time the armies continued within sight of each other, neither
choosing to engage without some superiority of circumstances, and both
watchful to prevent that superiority. At length the Sultan observing a
weakness in the left wing of Hobaddan's army, caused by sickness, as
they were encamped near a morass, gave orders for a furious attack
upon the front, but directed the main effort to be made against that
wing.

But the Sultan's intentions were defeated; for Hobaddan, commanding
not in the centre, as was expected, but in the left wing (with a
chosen troop he had conveyed there the very morning of the
engagement), totally defeated those who were sent to oppose him. The
troops to the right of the Sultan's army, giving way, put all in
confusion; and the unwieldy number of Misnar's forces, instead of
regularly supporting them, poured toward the right in such tumult as
destroyed the whole disposition of the army.

During this confusion, Hobaddan hewed down on all sides those who
dared oppose his arms; and his chosen troop followed him over heaps of
the slain, every one flying through fear at his presence.

The Sultan and his Vizier Horam, finding it in vain to rally their
troops or oppose the conquerors, sounded a retreat, and, amidst the
general confusion, fled toward the sandy deserts which divide the
realms of Cassimir from the province of Delhi.

But the prudent Sultan, in his flight, endeavoured to restore to his
troops their rank and order; and while Horam reduced the foot under
their proper banners, Misnar regulated the confusion of the horse, and
placed them as a covering to the rest of his forces.

In this manner they marched before the face of their enemies into the
desert, without any provision or forage but what they carried with
their accoutrements; and although the Sultan and his Vizier used every
argument to persuade their troops (who still exceeded the number of
their enemies) to turn and pursue the army of Hobaddan, yet so great
was their dread of the victorious rebel and his forces, that they
threatened to throw down their arms rather than return to the battle.

Seeing all his endeavours to inspire his men with courage ineffectual,
the Sultan travelled onward with them into the desert, as one given up
to certain destruction.

After two days' march, they halted beside several small pools; and
such was the excessive drought of Misnar's army, that many perished
before they could be prevailed upon to quit the refreshing waters of
the desert. These, indeed, thought of little more than present relief;
but Misnar, their lord, was overwhelmed with the severest pangs of
distress.

To increase their grief, scouts brought word that the troops of
Hobaddan, being refreshed after their fatigues, were marching towards
them, intending to destroy them while they were faint from want of
provision. The army of the Sultan, terrified by the report, and seeing
no hope of escape, fell upon the wretched Sultan and his faithful
Vizier, and bringing them into the centre of the troops, demanded
their blood as an atonement for the losses they were about to suffer
in their cause.

The ringleader of this general mutiny was Ourodi, the ancient enemy of
the faithful Horam, who, standing foremost in the ranks, commanded the
archers to bind their Sultan and Vizier to a stake.

The Sultan, seeing all his hopes defeated, and the rage of the
multitude, knelt down and commended his cause to the all-powerful
Allah.

[Illustration]

And now the archers were about to bend their bows and fit the deadly
shafts to their bow-strings, when a luminous appearance was discovered
to the eastward, and the outskirts of the army saw a female in robes
of light travelling over the sands of the desert. In a moment she
passed through the ranks of the army, and stood in the circle who were
gathered around to see the execution of the Sultan and his Vizier.

"Misnar," said she, "arise, and fear not those sons of clay, nor the
malice of enchantment: I am the genius Macoma, sent by Mahomet to save
and deliver thee when human assistance was vain and impossible.
Therefore assume thy just command over these thy subjects, and let
them all fall prostrate on the ground to Allah, and wait to see the
fate of those who fight against the Prophet of the Faithful. But first
learn, from thine own experience, the folly of trusting even to the
greatest human power or prudence, without an affiance in the Lord of
Heaven. The world, O Misnar, is Allah's, and the kingdom of heaven is
the work of His hands; let not, therefore, the proudest boast, nor the
most humble despair; for, although the towering mountains appear most
glorious to the sight, the lowly valleys enjoy the fatness of the
skies. But Allah is able to clothe the summit of the rocks with
verdure, and dry up even the rivers of the vale. Wherefore, although
thou wert suffered to destroy the greatest part of thine enemies, yet
one was left to overpower thee, that thou mightest know that thou wert
but a weak instrument in the hands of strength."

"I know," answered the Sultan Misnar, "that Allah is able to dissolve
this frame of earth, and every vision of the eye; and therefore not
the proudest nor the most powerful can stand against Him."

As the Sultan spake thus; the army of Hobaddan appeared on the face of
the sandy desert.

"Although His power be infinite," said the genius, "yet can He effect
these changes by the most unexpected means. But I will not waste that
time in words which I am commanded to employ in action, to convince
both you and your army of the sovereignty of Allah. Therefore suffer
no man to rise from the earth or to quit his place; but lift up your
heads only, and behold those enemies destroyed before whom you fled."

So saying, the genius Macoma waved her wand, and instantly the air was
darkened, and a confused noise was heard above the armies of Misnar
and Hobaddan.

For some hours the Sultan's troops knew not the cause of the darkness
that overshadowed them; but in a little time the light returned by
degrees, and they looked toward the army of Hobaddan, and saw them
overwhelmed with innumerable locusts.

"Thine enemies," said Macoma, "O Sultan, are no more, save the
enchantress Hapacuson, who personates the rebel Ourodi."

"The glory of extirpating her infernal race," said the Vizier Horam,
bowing before the genius Macoma, "belongs to my Sultan; otherwise
Horam would esteem himself the happiest of mankind in her
destruction."

"The glory you speak of," answered the genius Macoma, "is given to
another: a fly has gone forth, the winged messenger of Allah's wrath,
and at this moment bereaves the vile Hapacuson of her breath and of
her life."

The Vizier Horam held down his head at the just reproof of the genius;
but the words of her reproof were the words of truth; for an account
was brought that the rebel Ourodi was suddenly dead, being strangled
by some impediment in his throat, and that, at his death, his figure
was changed into the appearance of a deformed enchantress.

"Although your enemies, O Misnar, are no more," said the genius, "yet
the assistance of Allah is as necessary for your support as for their
defeat; wherefore He hath given life to the springs of the pools of
the desert, and your troops will find such refreshment from them, that
you may safely march over the sandy plains; and, to add to your
happiness, the old Sultan Zebenezer, being released from the
enchantments of Hapacuson, waits, with his daughter Hemjunah, your
safe arrival, and knows not as yet those wonders which I leave your
prudence to reveal to him."

The Sultan Misnar well understood the mysterious speech of the genius
Macoma; but before he or his troops tasted of the pools or pursued
their march, he commanded them to fall down before Allah, the only
Lord of the world.

The soldiers, having done reverence to Allah, were desirous of
repeating it before Misnar, to ask his forgiveness; but the Sultan
would not permit them. "Let us make," said he, "Allah and His Prophet
our guide and defence, and then neither presumption nor rebellion
shall lead us into error."

The unexpected change reached not the Court of Delhi till the troops
were within a few day's march of the city; and Zebenezer and Hemjunah
were but just prepared to meet the Sultan Misnar when he entered the
gates of the palace.

As Misnar advanced toward the aged Zebenezer, the good old man started
with surprise, and cried out, "Oh! is it possible that the Sultan of
India and the Prince of Georgia should be one and the same?"

The Princess Hemjunah was confounded at her father's speech, and she
fell on his bosom and hid her face.

"What you suspect, my royal friend," said Misnar, "is true: I am
indeed the man who once passed in Cassimir for the Prince of Georgia.
I beseech thee, O Zebenezer, forgive my deception."

"You have no forgiveness," said the aged Zebenezer, "O Sultan, to ask
from me."

"Indeed," answered the Sultan, "my title was just: my royal father,
Dabulcombar, being treacherously advised by those who wished to place
his younger son Ahubal on the throne, commanded me to travel, and gain
renown and experience in arms; and, to conceal my importance, gave me
the title of Prince of Georgia. In this disguise I came to the royal
Court of Cassimir, and engaged in your service, O venerable Sultan,
and Allah sent His blessing on us: your enemies were put to flight,
and your subjects, who favoured me, gave the credit of the defeat to
my arms.

"Hearing that you intended me the honour of an alliance with your
illustrious family, I resolved first to see the Princess Hemjunah,
whom I heard you had confined, being warned, from an ancient prophecy,
that a stranger should deprive you of her. I saw the Princess by means
of one of her slaves, and Hemjunah from that moment took possession of
my heart. I was earnest, therefore, with you to propose the nuptials,
and was to have been introduced to the Princess, when I received
advice that my father was drawing near his end. In expectation of
demanding your daughter as the Sultan of India, and not as an obscure
Prince, I journeyed to Delhi, and arrived time enough to see my royal
sire ere he departed.

"'Son,' said he, 'evil threatens your reign: extricate, therefore,
yourself from danger, and do not involve others in your ruin.'

"Mindful of my father's words, I resolved to quell the commotions of
the empire before I made myself known to the Sultan of Cassimir; but
Allah has so wound the string of our fates together, that it is
needless to repeat the rest of my adventures. Only the Princess must
forgive me this, that, hearing she had been taken away from her
father's Court, I was resolved to conceal my interest in her affairs
till I was sensible that the Prince of Georgia, though not blessed
with her smiles, had yet no rival in her affections."

"Most noble Sultan," said the Princess Hemjunah, "it is vain to
dissemble: suffer me, therefore, freely to declare that the Sultan of
India has totally extirpated the Prince of Georgia from my heart; but,
whatever my own sentiments may be, assure yourself that I shall not,
at my father's commands, refuse the Prince of Georgia my hand."

The Sultan of India and Zebenezer were both delighted with the
Princess Hemjunah's answer; and the faithful Vizier Horam rejoiced to
find that his master and the Princess Hemjunah were to be united. The
whole Court expected the nuptials with impatience; and the good old
Sultan Zebenezer stayed to see his daughter the Sultaness of India,
and Misnar the happiest and the most thankful of the children of
Allah.

"The children of Allah," said the sage Horam, "have indeed a freedom
of action; but that freedom is best exercised when it leads them to
trust and depend on the Lord of all things: not that He who seeth even
beyond the confines of light is pleased with idleness, or giveth
encouragement to the sons of sloth; the spirit which He has infused
into mankind He expects to find active and industrious; and, when
prudence is joined with religion, Allah either gives success to its
dictates, or, by counteracting its motions, draws forth the brighter
virtues of patience and resignation. Learn, therefore, ye pupils of
the race of immortals, not to forget your dependence on Allah while ye
follow the prudent maxims of wisdom and experience; for he only is
truly prudent who adds faith to his practice, and he truly religious
whose actions are the result of his faith."

[Illustration]



Sadik Beg.


Sadik Beg was of good family, handsome in person, and possessed of
both sense and courage; but he was poor, having no property but his
sword and his horse, with which he served as a gentleman retainer of a
Pasha. The latter, satisfied with the purity of Sadik's descent, and
entertaining a respect for his character, determined to make him the
husband of his daughter Hooseinee, who, though beautiful as her name
implied, was remarkable for her haughty manner and ungovernable
temper.

Giving a husband of the condition of Sadik Beg to a lady of
Hooseinee's rank was, according to usage in such unequal matches, like
giving her a slave; and as she heard a good report of his personal
qualities, she offered no objections to the marriage, which was
celebrated soon after it was proposed, and apartments were assigned to
the happy couple in the Pasha's palace.

Some of Sadik Beg's friends rejoiced in his good fortune, as they saw,
in the connection he had formed, a sure prospect of his advancement.
Others mourned the fate of so fine and promising a young man, now
condemned to bear through life all the humours of a proud and
capricious woman; but one of his friends, a little man called Merdek,
who was completely henpecked, was particularly rejoiced, and quite
chuckled at the thought of seeing another in the same condition with
himself.

About a month after the nuptials, Merdek met his friend, and, with
malicious pleasure, wished him joy of his marriage.

"Most sincerely do I congratulate you, Sadik," said he, "on this happy
event."

"Thank you, my good fellow, I am very happy indeed, and rendered more
so by the joy I perceive it gives my friends."

"Do you really mean to say you are happy?" said Merdek, with a smile.

"I really am so," replied Sadik.

"Nonsense!" said his friend; "do we not all know to what a termagant
you are united? and her temper and high rank combined must no doubt
make her a sweet companion." Here he burst into a loud laugh, and the
little man actually strutted with a feeling of superiority over the
bridegroom.

Sadik, who knew his situation and feelings, was amused instead of
being angry. "My friend," said he, "I quite understand the grounds of
your apprehension for my happiness. Before I was married, I had heard
the same reports as you have done of my beloved bride's disposition;
but I am happy to say, I have found it quite otherwise: she is a most
docile and obedient wife."

"But how has this miraculous change been wrought?"

"Why," said Sadik, "I believe I have some merit in effecting it; but
you shall hear. After the ceremonies of our nuptials were over, I went
in my military dress, and with my sword by my side, to the apartment
of Hooseinee. She was sitting in a most dignified posture to receive
me, and her looks were anything but inviting. As I entered the room, a
beautiful cat, evidently a great favourite, came purring up to me. I
deliberately drew my sword, struck its head off, and taking that in
one hand and the body in the other, threw them out of the window. I
then very unconcernedly turned to the lady, who appeared in some
alarm; she, however, made no observations, but was in every way kind
and submissive, and has continued so ever since."

"Thank you, my dear fellow," said little Merdek, with a significant
shake of the head: "a word to the wise." And away he capered,
obviously quite rejoiced.

It was near evening when this conversation took place; soon after,
when the dark cloak of night had enveloped the bright radiance of day,
Merdek entered the chamber of his spouse, with something of a martial
swagger, armed with a scimitar. The unsuspecting cat came forward as
usual, to welcome the husband of her mistress, but in an instant her
head was divided from her body by a blow from the hand which had so
often caressed her. Merdek, having proceeded so far courageously,
stooped to take up the dissevered members of the cat, but before he
could effect this, a blow upon the side of the head, from his incensed
lady, laid him sprawling on the floor.

The tattle and scandal of the day spreads from zenaneh to zenaneh with
surprising rapidity, and the wife of Merdek saw in a moment whose
example it was that he had imitated.

"Take that!" said she, as she gave him another cuff, "take that, you
paltry wretch! You should," she added, laughing him to scorn, "have
killed the cat on the wedding day."

[Illustration]



Halechalbe and the Unknown Lady.

[Illustration]


The Caliph Haroun al Raschid sent for Giafar, his Grand Vizier, and
Mesrour, his Chief Eunuch.

"I intend," said he, "to go down to Bagdad in disguise, that I may
visit my hospitals, and examine whether the administration of them is
wise and regular, and whether the patients there receive the
assistance and relief of which they stand in need. I will assume the
disguise of a dervish: do you, who are to accompany me, choose a dress
by which you will be completely concealed."

The orders of the Caliph were obeyed, and he set out with his
attendants on his expedition. He was in the centre of the
establishments which he had proposed to visit, and everything appeared
in the order which he wished for, until he arrived at the gate of a
very large court, where he heard a noise.

"Whence comes this noise?" said he to Giafar.

"This," answered the Vizier, "is the place where mad people are
confined. Those whose madness is not dangerous are allowed to walk in
the great court, and they have their cells or small apartments all
around."

"Let us go in," said the Caliph: "this object is also interesting. Let
us first ascertain if they are all confined for proper reasons. There
are many people left at liberty who deserve to be confined; perhaps
there are some here whom it would be for the interest, both of society
and themselves, to restore to freedom. Let each of us examine apart
one of the inhabitants of this place; let us determine by lot which of
the three shall begin the examination, and we will immediately set to
work."

The lot decided that Mesrour should begin.

All three having entered the court, the Chief Eunuch went straight to
the first cell. He found there a man of about forty years of age,
smoking a pipe with a serious air, and leaning his elbow on a table,
upon which there were some papers. He saluted the smoker, who made him
a due return.

"I suppose," said Mesrour to him, "that you are entrusted with
overseeing those who make a noise in the court?"

"Overseeing," answered the smoker, "is a trouble from which I am free;
I am entrusted with watching over myself, and that is quite enough."

"But surely," said Mesrour, "you are not kept here in confinement
among the number of mad people?"

"And why should I not be kept in that character? Do you think me wiser
than others? They have done me that justice, which they ought to do to
all the inhabitants of Bagdad. I cannot complain: I was condemned by
my equals, and they are so attentive as to come here every day to
visit me."

"I understand you," said Mesrour: "we have all a small grain of
madness. However, when it does not pass certain bounds, we are very
properly allowed to enjoy our liberty. It is only extraordinary
madness----"

"Ah, you are right," interrupted the smoker: "men excuse all their
ordinary follies, however ridiculous; but when any one raises himself,
by his ideas, knowledge, and observation, above others, he is a kind
of reproach to them for the debasement into which they allow
themselves to fall, and they endeavour to remove him from their sight.
This is my history: I knew more than the vulgar, and therefore was
separated from them."

"In what branch did you excel?" inquired Mesrour.

"In that science which is the chief of all others--astrology."

"And were you in possession of that science?"

"I endeavoured after it, but my progress was interrupted."

"You were in correspondence with the stars, then?"

"Yes, indeed."

"And by whom were you chiefly favoured?"

"By the moon."

"Are you no longer in favour with her?"

"Since I have lost my liberty, she uses me as she pleases. She
formerly owed me great obligations, but now she has forgotten them.
She had an enormous wart upon her nose, of which I cured her. Thus it
is to me she owes that beautiful appearance which you sometimes see
her assume. Besides, by causing her to go on her side, I saved her
from an eclipse which was expected by all the astronomers. At first
she showed me some gratitude; but since I have been confined, if I
address her in her increase, she is yet too weak to act in my favour;
if I address her when she is full, she is surrounded with clouds and
mist; but if in her wane, all her malignant influences are at my
service. Defluxions, rheumatisms, catarrhs are showered down upon me.
I endeavour actually to deliver myself from this last mark of her
beneficence. Ah! if I could get hold of her some day, she would find
that she has not obliged an ungrateful person."

"And what will you do to get hold of her?" inquired Mesrour.

"Nothing can be more easy," said the smoker: "if a man like you would
assist me; she will come this evening at nine o'clock to admire
herself, and to bathe in that well which you see in the middle of the
court. I will give you my table, and you will lie in wait. She will
not suspect you; and while she is amusing herself with making her
beams play upon the water, you will suddenly shut the well: then we
shall get hold of her. It will make both our fortunes, and we will see
how she will be put to it to justify her conduct."

"She will speak, then?" said Mesrour. "Shall we hear her?"

"I don't say that you will hear it very distinctly," answered the
smoker; "but I, whose ear is by practice become so perfect as to be
able to mark the cadence of the celestial harmony, shall not lose a
single word. With respect to you, we must know how your ear is
formed."

So saying, the smoker laid down his pipe, examined narrowly Mesrour's
ear, and, taking hold of it very roughly, suddenly pulled it with all
his force, crying out, "Your ear is too short!"

Mesrour uttered a dreadful cry. One of the keepers ran up, and caused
the astrologer to quit his hold. The eunuch, holding his ear with both
his hands, rejoined the Caliph, and related to him his lamentable
adventure.

"I have long been persuaded," said Haroun, smiling, "that those madmen
who have an air of wisdom are most to be distrusted. Come, Giafar,"
said he to his Grand Vizier, "you are warned beforehand not to allow
your ear to be pulled. Proceed to your examination: Mesrour and I will
not go far from the cell which you enter, that we may be at hand to
assist you if there is occasion."

The Grand Vizier had already cast his eye upon a door, by the side of
which sat an old man, with a venerable beard and an engaging air. He
began with giving him alms, and then saluted him. He appeared more
attentive to the civility of the salutation than to the alms he had
received. He returned the salute, and made a sign to Giafar to sit
down on a seat a few paces distant from him.

"You are undoubtedly come here to be instructed, young man," said he
to him. "You ought to thank Heaven for having been so well directed.
Of what chapter in my book do you wish to understand the text or the
explanation?"

The book, of which this man seemed to speak, was a small square plank
of cedar, on which there were no characters. Giafar asked what book it
was.

"What! do you not distinguish in these characters the finger of God,
and the inspiration of the angel Gabriel? A Mussulman not know the
divine Koran, nor discover in him who presents it, according as he was
inspired, the great prophet Mahomet!"

Upon this exclamation, the Vizier rose up and withdrew.

Having joined the Caliph, "Commander of the Faithful," said he, "I
have been forced to abandon my project. The man whom I have left makes
me tremble at his blasphemy: he says he is the Great Prophet."

"It is not certain that he blasphemes," replied the Caliph: "every man
may call himself a prophet, provided he proves his mission by
miracles. Go and ask him concerning this point."

Giafar obeyed, and returned to his place.

"If you are Mahomet," said he to the old madman, "who has put you in a
place like this?"

"My ungrateful people," replied the pretended prophet. "They would not
believe in me, and this has vexed rather than surprised me, for they
scarcely believe in Allah."

"But a prophet proves his mission by miracles. Why have you wrought
none?"

"My people should first have demanded them from me; but they were
afraid of being convinced: they seek to believe nothing."

"You could work miracles, then?"

"Do you doubt the power of Mahomet?"

"Work them immediately."

"Your request shall not be refused. Ascend to the top of this spire by
this outer stair, and throw yourself down from it without hesitation.
When you are at the earth, though you were in a thousand pieces, with
one word I will set you upon your feet, straighter and with a better
carriage than you now have."

"I would rather," said Giafar as he was going away, "believe you a
prophet than oblige you to prove yourself one."

He came and gave the Caliph an account of the proposal which had been
made to him.

"You can learn very little," said Haroun to him, "for you will make no
trial."

"If any one wishes to be instructed in this matter," replied Giafar,
"the man and the tower are there, he may try the adventure--I will not
be jealous of his success."

The conversation of the Prince and his ministers was a little
interrupted by some persons who accosted them. One of them was Caliph,
and came to propose Haroun's quitting his habit of dervish, and
accepting the place of Vizier. He intended to clothe him in a
magnificent robe: it was an old piece of stuff, full of holes, dirty,
and devoured by vermin. Another, with a basket full of nut-shells,
came to sell him confections.

These short and public scenes did not answer the design of Haroun, nor
the purpose of the agreement into which he had entered with his
ministers. It was his turn to go into a cell, where, like his two
companions in adventure, he might have a private conversation. He
passed near one, which appeared larger and better furnished than the
rest. A young man, of a soft and engaging figure, was sitting upon a
sofa, and appeared to be in deep melancholy: he held in his hand the
Koran. The Caliph accosted and saluted him, addressing him in that
kind and familiar tone which the robe of a dervish authorized him to
assume.

"Young man," said he, "why is a man so rational as you appear to be,
to be found among mad people?"

At this question, the young man shut his book, modestly opened his
eyes, looked at the dervish, and answered him: "All the actions of my
life have not been rational; I have given reason for the abuse which
is now made of power in keeping me here."

"And could not I," said the dervish, "learn from you your history,
when you appear to be so well qualified for giving it?"

"Pious dervish," answered the young man, "were you the Caliph, I would
persuade you to sit down by me, and I would open to you my heart.
Every day do I beseech God to send me this equitable Prince; but it
would serve no purpose to have any other confidant. You see here a
victim of his Grand Vizier Giafar, by whose orders I was brought
hither, for a reason which appeared well founded; but I can declare
that there is no reason why I should be still detained; and without
the support of religion, I should sink under the weight of my
misfortune and the horror of my situation."

The Caliph was greatly astonished to hear so reasonable and connected
a discourse. He called Giafar and Mesrour, and repeated what he had
heard. The Grand Vizier attentively considered the young man, and
assured the Caliph that the prisoner and his history were totally
unknown to him. Haroun's curiosity grew stronger, and made him anxious
to hear his history. He entered the cell with that freedom which
dervishes generally use, and sat down beside the supposed victim of
Giafar's orders.

"Unfortunate young man," said he to him, "you know that people of my
character have many privileges, and especially that of approaching the
great, and of speaking to them the truth. The Commander of the
Faithful is to us of all men the easiest of access: depend upon my
zeal; it may be possible for me to serve you; you will entrust your
misfortunes to a prudent ear, and to a soul truly charitable."

The young man again sighed, mused a short time, shed some tears, and
thus began his history:

"My name is Halechalbe, and my father is syndic of the trade of
Bagdad. One evening he invited to supper the principal merchants in
the city, each of whom brought with him his eldest son. After the
repast, which was plentiful and gay, the guests began to converse
concerning the disposal of their children.

"One had sent his son to a foreign counting-house; another had
entrusted to his a vessel full of merchandise; a third had given up a
certain branch of his trade; in short, it appeared from what I heard,
that all my contemporaries were either advantageously placed or
settled in life. After fully discoursing of these different
arrangements, the company retired.

"Remaining behind with my father, I observed to him, that though the
son of the first in our profession, I alone was unemployed. He allowed
the force of the observation, and proposed that I should open a
warehouse of whatever goods I chose, in one of the quarters of Bagdad.

"This proposal was agreeable to my inclination for trade and
independence. I accepted it; and next day was put into possession of a
large assortment of the most beautiful Persian and Indian stuffs. I
had slaves who were skilled in trade, and who relieved me of the
troublesome part of the business.

"Being surrounded during the day with all the nobility of Bagdad, with
whom I had an opportunity of getting acquainted, I returned in the
evening to my father's house. In the management of my business I led a
very active and busy life--a life, in short, agreeable to my own
taste. My father often visited me in my shop, and was pleased to see
the concourse of virtuosi and customers of both sexes. He never
received anything uncommon from abroad but he was happy to send it to
me; the manager of his own trade had orders to that purpose.

"I was one day surrounded with a great many people in my
counting-house, when two women of a fine external appearance came in.
Civility made the other customers give place; and one of the two women
put aside her veil sufficiently to discover charms which dazzled the
sight.

"They sat down upon a sofa, asked for the richest stuffs, bargained
with me, and bought them for three thousand crowns. By this bargain,
from calculation, I was a gainer of five hundred crowns. The goods
were folded up, and, by the orders of one of the women who appeared
mistress, were carried away by slaves. I was preparing to hold out my
hand for payment, when the young lady began to speak.

"'Halechalbe,' said she to me, 'I have brought no money with me; but
be not uneasy about what is owing to you: I will return in a few days
and bring it with me, at which time I intend to make very considerable
purchases from you.'

"'The other woman then spoke.

"'Madam,' said she, 'do you speak to a son of the chief of trade, a
man of acknowledged opulence, and whose worth is known to the Caliph
himself, as if you supposed that he would not reckon it an honour to
give so trifling a credit to a lady like you?'

"The discourse of this woman, the impression made upon me by the
beautiful eyes of her mistress, in consequence of the derangement of
her veil, and my natural timidity, prevented me not only from
venturing to ask payment, but even from insisting to know the name of
the lady to whom I gave credit. She left me, after saluting me in a
very graceful manner; and I remained at my door, fixed like a post,
without taking the precaution to cause a slave to follow her, and
observe the place of her abode.

"When I was alone, the imprudence of which I had been guilty presented
itself to my mind in the strongest colours. To whom had I given my
goods? Could I forget, after the lessons I had received from my
father, that Bagdad swarmed with adventurers, who could appear in any
form and assume any tone? Everything, even the beautiful eyes which
she had allowed me to see, then became suspicious. I believed myself
cheated out of my goods, and returned to my father's house, trembling
for the reproaches which I thought I had brought upon myself.

"My mother soon perceived my distress. She well knew how to draw from
me a confession of the cause, and endeavoured, as much as she could,
to calm my apprehensions.

"'The merchant who knows not how to lose,' said she, 'deserves not to
gain. If you are embarrassed in your accounts with your father, my
purse will supply the defect.'

"I returned next day to my shop, hurt at being duped and at the loss
which I had sustained. I had some hopes, however, that the lady would
return; but the evening came, and she had not made her appearance.
This unhappy day was followed by two others of the same kind, and my
mother saw my distress increase, without being able to give it any
relief.

"In vain did she tell me that she would supply this loss out of her
own purse, and that I should consider what had happened to me as a
useful misfortune, for it was only by experience that man could learn
wisdom.

"All her discourses were in vain: nothing could console me for having
allowed myself to be cheated by a pair of fine eyes, by mere
compliment and show; my vanity, which was hurt, tormented my soul.

"On the fourth day the unknown lady at last came to my shop, and threw
a large purse upon my counter.

"'Fair young man,' said she, 'I bring you your money; see if the
account is right.'

"At this desirable and unexpected sight my fears and anxieties
vanished, and I felt myself suddenly recover new life.

"The unknown lady caused other stuffs to be brought to her. She chose
some of them, and carried from my shop goods to the value of three
hundred pieces of gold. In my enthusiasm I would have given her credit
for two thousand. As soon as she was gone I returned to my mother, and
now showed as much joy as formerly I had shown sorrow and dejection. I
related to her the lucky adventure of the day, and perceived the full
force of the reasoning which till that time she had made use of in
vain, to persuade me that in trade _he who never ventures can never
gain_.

"In short, respectable dervish, I continued to deal in the same manner
with the unknown lady, who always carried from my shop stuffs worth
more money than she left in it, till she was owing me about ten
thousand crowns, equal to all the profit which I had been able to make
in my different bargains with her.

"One day, after opening my shop, I was scarcely seated on my sofa when
an aged woman came and accosted me. I thought she wanted some robes or
stuffs, and proposed to show them to her.

"'No, my son,' answered she, 'I am entrusted with a commission of much
greater importance: I come from the young lady who owes you ten
thousand crowns. I do not bring you payment, but I am charged by her
to tell you that you became her merchant in preference to every other
of the same profession at Bagdad, only because her heart granted you a
preference of another kind. In short, she is beautiful, young, and
rich, and offers you her hand in marriage. If you find it agreeable
to enter into this engagement after you have seen and conversed with
her, no other dowry is required than the ten thousand crowns in which
she stands indebted to you; if you do not agree to it, the money shall
instantly be paid down. But you must resolve to follow me, that you
may have it in your power to know whether the affair is agreeable to
your wishes.'

"During this discourse of the old woman, a flame, to which I was till
then quite a stranger, penetrated through my veins, and the hope which
was now suggested having increased its violence, I soon felt the fire
of love burning in my heart. The beautiful eyes of the lady, from the
first moment I beheld them, had so dazzled and blinded me concerning
my real interest, that I allowed her to carry off my goods without
knowing how I should receive payment for them. Though, in the visits
which she afterwards made me, her veil had wholly concealed the
features of her countenance, yet the fulness of her dress could not
conceal the elegance of her stature, the gracefulness of her motions,
the exquisite form of her foot, and the extraordinary beauty of her
hands. Besides, she disputed with me about the price with so much
courtesy, and with such an angelic voice, that she never left my shop
without carrying away something more than my goods; but I did not well
know what it was. Scarcely had she left my shop, when I felt myself
extremely uneasy; said to myself, This is a charming lady! and then
fell into a long state of profound thoughtfulness.

"When the old woman had informed me that the unknown lady was in love
with me, my passion increased to a desperate height. I ordered my
slaves to shut up my shop; and, having desired them to tell my father
and mother that I was going to enjoy myself with some of my friends,
in a garden at some distance from the city, before I returned home, I
put myself under the direction of the old woman.

"'You will never repent,' said she, as we went along, 'of having put
confidence in me; but you must still give me another proof of it. If
the lady is not agreeable to you, if you do not accept the proposals
which she is to make, and consequently a separation takes place, it is
proper that she should remain always unknown. Her delicacy requires
this; and I was ordered to put a covering over your eyes, that you may
not be able to discover the house to which you are going.'

"I readily agreed to this condition; and we withdrew under a portico,
where, being concealed by two advanced pillars, she covered my eyes
with a very thick silk handkerchief. She made me turn three or four
times round on my heel; then took me by the hand, and caused me to
walk by her side for a full quarter of an hour. We suddenly stopped. I
heard her knock at a door, which opened, and, as soon as we had
entered, immediately shut.

"I was in a short time restored to the use of my eyes, and committed
to the care of two female slaves of remarkable beauty and richness of
dress. They conducted me through seven doors, at the end of which I
was received by fourteen other slaves, whose figures were so striking,
and whose dress so magnificent, that I was dazzled with beholding
them. I was now in a superb apartment, where everything was marble,
jasper, or rich gilding. My adventure had so much the appearance of a
dream, that, though my eyes were open, I could scarcely be convinced
that I was really awake. The old woman, who had still followed me,
went out for an instant, and soon returned, accompanied by a slave,
who brought breakfast upon a large golden plate. I sat down to refresh
myself.

"While I was satisfying my hunger, the old woman counted down upon a
table the ten thousand crowns which were owing to me. 'There is your
whole sum,' said she. 'Be not uneasy that my mistress does not yet
appear. The law commands, and decency requires, that you should not
see one another before the contract is made.'

"Before she had done speaking, a Cadi appeared, with ten persons in
his train. I arose to salute him, when the old woman, addressing the
lawyer, said to him,

"'The young lady who is to be married to this merchant has chosen you
for her guardian: do you agree to accept the office?'

"The Cadi replied, 'that he reckoned himself highly honoured by the
choice which had been made of him.'

"He immediately drew up the contract, and got it signed by the
witnesses whom he had brought with him. After partaking of an ample
collation, which was served up to him and his attendants, and having
been presented with a magnificent dress and three hundred sequins, he
retired, charging the old woman to beg her mistress to accept his
thanks.

"I was so astonished at what I saw, that when the Cadi went away, I
made a motion to follow him, without perceiving that I left my money
behind. I was prevented by the old woman, who made me sit down again.

"'Are you mad?' said she. 'Need I inform you that the marriage follows
the contract? Come, be wiser, and remain quiet till night, when
everything will be ready for the completion of the ceremony.'

"I continued in the hall, where a great number of slaves were
attentive to every motion and ready to anticipate every wish. I was in
a very extraordinary state of mind. The power of that feeling which
had made me run so fast with my eyes blindfolded was no longer felt,
and love remained fixed at the bottom of my heart, astonished at the
luxury with which I was surrounded, and the ceremony of this
extraordinary marriage.

"Towards the evening, a magnificent repast was served up, accompanied
with all kinds of confections, and exquisite wines, which I used very
sparingly. As soon as I made a signal for them to remove the dishes,
the old woman took me by the hand, and conducted me to the bath. I was
there received by eight slaves, dressed in silk, who wrapped me in
stuffs of the same material, entered into the water with me, and
served me with all that respect and attention which could have been
paid to the Caliph himself.

"Imagine, O respectable dervish, my astonishment: it almost deprived
me of my senses! I was soon drawn from it, however, by the appearance
of twenty female slaves, beautiful and well dressed. Some held
flambeaux, and other pots full of exquisite perfumes, the sweet odour
of which, mingled with that of the wood of aloes, which served to warm
the bath, embalmed the air, and raised an agreeable vapour to the very
roof of the apartment.

"From these delights I was carried to the enjoyment of others. Twenty
slaves went before me, and conducted me into a magnificent apartment;
I sat down on a sofa covered with cloth of gold. I was there attended
by the most melodious music, which was at the same time so cheerful
and lively, and so fitted to inspire delight, that I could not help
feeling a little reanimated. The slaves at length proposed to conduct
me into the apartment destined for the celebration of the nuptials.

"I arose. A great door opened; and I beheld the person approach who
had marked me out for her husband, preceded by twenty other slaves,
whom she alone could surpass in beauty. At the sight of her I remained
almost senseless; but this first impression instantly gave place to
love; and my passion at length assumed over me that power, which even
at this day makes me, every moment of my life, endure torments worse
than death.

"The beautiful stranger, preceded by her twenty slaves, and I attended
by the same number, went into the grand apartment prepared for our
nuptials, and there sat down together on the same sofa. The old woman
then appeared at the head of four slaves, and brought us, on golden
plates, different refreshments, exquisite confections, and fruit of
all kinds, which we mutually presented to one another. After this, the
service disappeared, and we remained alone.

"I was almost trembling, when the lovely unknown lady took me by the
hand to encourage me.

"'Halechalbe,' said she, 'since the day when curiosity first led me
into your shop I have loved you; and the same sentiment has frequently
carried me back, under pretence of cheapening and purchasing goods.
The little intercourse we have had together has given me an
opportunity of knowing you; and my liking for you has so much
increased as to make me ambitious of being united to you for life. Can
you think of sacrificing your liberty?'

"'Madam,' answered I, 'from the first moment you appeared in my sight,
your charms failed not to produce their effect. I never saw you
without feeling an unaccountable disorder, mixed, however, with the
sweetest pleasure. You never left me without occasioning the most
lively regret: I expected you every day, and my thoughts were
incessantly occupied about your image. I dared not avow my passion to
myself; but since you have confessed your regard for me, I swear to
you, that nothing can equal the strength of my love, and that the
sacrifice of liberty is nothing to one who would give his life for
your sake.'

"'Halechalbe,' said she, 'truth seems to flow from your lips: spare
your life; it is essential to my happiness; but if we are to be united
for life, attend to the conditions upon which I will yield my heart.
My name and rank must remain unknown to you until the steps I am now
taking shall have enabled me publicly to acknowledge you for my
husband. You shall make no inquiry within this place for the purpose
of getting information, and the door of the house shall be opened only
once a year.'

"'O madam,' said I, 'I will keep silence; I will remain ignorant; I
will never leave the house----

"'Stop,' said she, 'I have a still more severe condition to impose
upon you: as I give myself wholly to you, it is reasonable that you
should be wholly mine. My slaves are become yours, and will obey you
in everything; but you must not speak to them, except to require their
services. If you condescend to use the smallest familiarity with any
one of them, further than mere expressions of kindness, if----I must
discover to you a part of my character. I am inclined to be jealous;
and if you make me the subject of this fatal passion, I know not how
far my resentment may carry me against you.'

"'Take courage,' said I, 'my adorable spouse: the strength of my
passion secures you from every indiscretion on my part. I should die
with vexation were I capable of displeasing you; but I am not afraid
that I will ever be so unlucky as to give you offence.'

"The unknown lady burst into tears when she saw the frankness and air
of sincerity with which my protestations were accompanied.
'Halechalbe,' said she, 'we will now be united; but had you hesitated
about accepting them, I would have sacrificed my happiness to my
delicacy, and we would have separated for ever.'

"I tenderly embraced her, and she fainted away in my arms. A slave
was called, and she, the idol of my heart, after a time opened her
beautiful eyes, and with rapture I beheld them turned towards me.

"I pass over the remaining events of my marriage, because they cannot
be interesting to you, and the remembrance of them is still the
torment of my life.

"I was so enchanted by my passion, that I spent a fortnight in total
forgetfulness of the whole world besides; and I will confess, to my
shame, that I even omitted the most essential of all duties, for I
never once thought of the uneasiness of my father and mother on my
account. At last, by little and little, nature resumed her rights, and
I began to think seriously of the grief which I must have occasioned
to my affectionate parents. I uttered some sighs, which proceeded from
the bottom of my heart; and the distress of my mind appeared in my
countenance. My wife, who possessed great discernment, soon perceived
the change which I underwent, got from me the secret, took an interest
in my pain, and pointed out the method of being delivered from its
attacks.

"'Dear Halechalbe,' said she, 'I commend you for your attachment to
your father and mother: they are dear to me on your account. We have
given ourselves laws; but, as we are the judges, we must not allow
them to do injury to nature. You will go to see your parents, spend a
week with them, and also resume your business. There are many reasons
for so doing. First of all, it will serve as a cloak to hide our
marriage, and will furnish you with an opportunity of being present or
absent at pleasure, without occasioning any suspicion of our marriage.
It will likewise enable you to acquire, by your civil, frank, and
generous dealings, the public esteem, which will one day be of great
advantage to us; for we live under the government of a Caliph who has
ears everywhere, and who likewise makes very good use of his own. Go,
then, and my heart will accompany you wherever you are: if it could be
rendered visible, you would see it continually fluttering around you.
Besides, you will be under my hand: we have our trusty old woman, by
whose means you will have the satisfaction of hearing me spoken of,
and I shall have that of being informed of your welfare, and
communicating to you my wishes. Above all,' added she, 'as our
marriage cannot be concealed from your parents, charge them to keep it
a profound secret.'

"Night was beginning to come on when this discourse was ended; and my
wife ordered the old woman to blindfold me, and conduct me out of the
gates of the palace till I was under the portico where I had first
submitted to this operation. As soon as my guide had restored to me
the use of my eyes, I flew with all speed to my father's house. A
neighbouring lady was just entering it. She discovered me by the light
of a shop before which I passed.

"'Halechalbe!' exclaimed she, 'what! is it you? Do not show yourself
so unexpectedly to your mother. Retire for a few minutes into my
house, and in the meantime my husband will go and inform her of your
return. She is in the utmost distress and despair at your loss; and
the joy occasioned by your sudden and unexpected return might be
productive of fatal consequences.

"'Whence come you, wicked young man?' said she, as soon as she had sat
down. 'How could you let your worthy parents continue ignorant of what
had become of you?'

"Not having a story ready made for the first inquisitive person I
should meet, and it being necessary to conceal my marriage from
everybody, I was very much at a loss what answer to give. But I made
it up by presence of mind, and was obliged to have recourse to a lie.

"'I am astonished, madam,' answered I, 'to hear you talk of the
vexation which I have occasioned to my parents. Having met with an
opportunity of going to Balsora, where I had a very urgent and
important examination to take against one of my most considerable
debtors, and, not having a moment to lose, I set out without being
able to inform my father of my departure. I dispatched an express as
soon as it was in my power; but some accident must have befallen him,
as no news have been received of me.'

"The lady was satisfied with the excuse.

"'All Bagdad, however,' said she, 'supposed you dead, and, moreover,
magnificently buried; for a superb funeral was given you yesterday. I
will relate the whole affair to you, when once my husband has prepared
our neighbours for again seeing in good health the son whom they
believed dead.'

"The husband having with great pleasure undertaken the commission, the
woman returned to her recital.

"'Your slave informed your father and mother that you were to spend
the remainder of the day and the night in a garden with your friends.
This prevented them from being uneasy during that evening and next
day; but on the following days all the merchants of Bagdad were in
search of you. Messengers were sent to all the gardens in the
neighbourhood of the city, to the woods, and to a great distance in
the country. As you were nowhere to be found, and nobody had observed
you, it was conjectured that you had fallen into one of those snares
which are too common at Bagdad, where young people without knowledge
and experience find death in the very cup of pleasure.

"'Your father and mother tore their hair through grief; your family
and friends went into mourning. Some kind of consolation was supposed
to be derived from the pretended funeral, which all the mourners in
Bagdad were hired to attend, but where many real tears were shed.
Every person was affected with the distress of your parents.'

"This recital, O virtuous dervish! made me very uneasy. I perceived
the dreadful consequences of forgetting myself and my duty; and I
always considered my misfortunes, and the distraction of mind which
was the consequence thereof, as a punishment from Heaven, because, in
the arms of love, I was unmindful of the sacred obligations of nature.

"After our neighbour had related that part of my history which it was
necessary I should know, she rose up.

"'It is now time,' said she, 'to appear: my husband must already have
announced you; go, and confirm the account which he has given of your
return.'

"I then entered my father's house, and it is impossible to describe
his joy, much less that of my mother, who fainted away in my arms.

"'What!' said my father, 'you are returned from Balsora? Poor child!
the loss you might have sustained was not nearly equal in my
estimation to the danger which you have run and the fatigues you have
undergone.'

"'Father,' said I, still keeping up before the neighbours the story
which I had thought it convenient to adopt, 'I know not whether our
correspondent is to fail, but I will deliver to you securities
sufficient to remove every fear. There is a diamond to put in your
turban; here is one for the hilt of your poniard; another for the
handle of your scimitar, and a bracelet for my mother. I believe that
this is a full equivalent for the sum which we may lose by him.'

"They again embraced me, without asking any further explanation; the
weeds of mourning soon disappeared, and every one was dressed in his
festival robes. The house was filled with music; a thousand tapers
shed their light, and the friends of my father and mother assembled to
enjoy a splendid entertainment. The evening and night were spent by
the company in amusement and joy.

"Next morning I thought it my duty to eradicate from the mind of my
parents those opinions which, in order to deceive the public, prudence
had made me establish the evening before. I related to them the
circumstances of my marriage, and besought them to keep it secret, as
my happiness depended on its being concealed. Everything increased
their astonishment, and the rich jewels which I had brought them from
my wife were speaking proofs.

"'He must have married the daughter of a genie,' said my mother.

"'Such nuptials,' said my father, 'are celebrated without a Cadi.'

"They knew not what to think; but they saw me happy, and they were
satisfied.

"I proposed to my parents to resume my trade. They were delighted to
find that fortune had not deprived me of economy and diligence, and
next day I again appeared in my shop. The quarter in which I lived
expressed their happiness at seeing me again. As I was no longer
directed by the hope of gain, I was perfectly easy and disinterested
in my dealings, and brought to my shop all the people of Bagdad. In
the evening I returned as usual to my father's house.

"On the evening preceding the seventh day, I informed my father that I
was again to disappear. He endeavoured to get my place filled up by an
intelligent clerk, who was bound to conduct himself according to my
principles. It was easy to account for my being a second time absent,
by pretending that I had some business abroad.

"On the seventh day, towards evening, the old woman came and informed
me that my wife was waiting impatiently for my arrival. As I was
equally impatient to rejoin her, I needed no entreaties to persuade me
to follow my guide. The same mystery as before was still observed in
conducting me to the palace, where my presence was expected, and I was
received at the first door by my charming wife, who loosened the
bandage with her own hands.

"I passed another fortnight, still happier than the former, in those
enjoyments which mutual love bestows, and amid those delights,
pleasures, and amusements which the eager wishes and riches of my
spouse could bring together. At the conclusion of this period, which
seemed very short, I returned to my father's house, and afterwards to
my business. My parents received me with the greatest affection; but
scarcely did I enjoy it before I sighed for the return of the seventh
day, when the old woman would come to blindfold me, and conduct me to
an abode which I now considered as a celestial Paradise.

"My wife appeared to feel with equal force the pangs of separation.
During my absence from the palace, the only method which she pursued
to divert her attention was to play upon a musical instrument, or to
sing in concert with her slaves.

"One day, during my absence, while my mistress and her slaves were
singing my praises and our loves, Zaliza, one of the slaves, hearing a
couplet in praise of my fidelity, affected to drop her lute, as if
through impatience, and did not take it up again.

"'Why,' said my spouse, 'do you leave your lute lying upon the
ground?'

"'I cannot sing the fidelity of men,' answered Zaliza, 'for I do not
believe it. Halechalbe,' continued she, 'is very amiable; he
undoubtedly loves you, and who would not? But I do not believe that
his affection is equal to yours, or that he is more faithful than
another: of this I can give proofs whenever they are required.'

"These base and perfidious words infused the most fatal jealousy into
the heart of my spouse: she gave me no opportunity, however, of
perceiving that she entertained any suspicions. At the time fixed
between us, I returned to my father's house and my ordinary business,
and when I went back to the lady I was received as kindly and
affectionately as before.

"One day I was in my shop, when, about two hours before the usual time
of the old woman's arrival to conduct me to my spouse, the public
crier proclaimed in the street a golden censer set with diamonds, to
be sold for two thousand sequins. I ordered a slave to call the crier.

"'Who is the proprietor of that censer?' said I to him.

"'It belongs,' answered he, 'to a young lady, whom you behold there;'
at the same time he pointed out a handsome and well-dressed woman, and
I desired him to bid her speak with me.

"The woman took the censer from the crier, gave him a reward, and
advanced towards me.

"'Madam,' said I, 'since this censer belongs to you, I know where to
place it; will you allow me to have it?'

"'Since it pleases you, Halechalbe,' said the lady, 'it is yours, and
I demand nothing in return.'

"'I am not accustomed,' answered I, 'to make such bargains.'

"'Nor I,' said the lady, 'to enjoy the happiness of making a present
to the most amiable and best-beloved of his sex. I have,' continued
she, 'for a long time past frequented your shop, unobserved, alas! by
you; but your figure and your manners enchanted me, and still enchant
me more and more. Since the censer pleases you, I reckon myself very
fortunate in having it in my power to present you with it.'

"'I will receive your present, madam,' said I, 'if you will accept
from me its value.'

"'Silver and gold,' said she, 'are of no account in my estimation.
The love which I bear you has deprived me of repose: do not treat me
with cruel disdain. A liking for me would do you no dishonour, for,
thank God! I may be proud of my descent. But if, despised by you, I
cannot aspire to the highest marks of your affection, let me have a
single kiss, and the censer shall be yours.'

"'I cannot agree,' replied I, 'that you should make so bad a bargain.
Take your money, or keep your censer. A kiss is no trading price.'

"'It is beyond price,' answered the lady, 'to one who dies of love. I
brought not this censer here to sell, but to give it to you; accept it
at the price mentioned, and you will save my life.'

"Venerable dervish, I will confess my weakness, and declare that I was
gained over by these flattering praises and this language of love. I
had no suspicions, and was unable to discover the features of the lady
through her veil. Overcome by self-love more than by her entreaties, I
retired into a dark part of the shop, and presented my cheek; but
instead of kissing it, she bit it with such force as made me cry out;
and I was left alone with the censer in my hand, my cheek bathed in
blood, and my countenance totally disfigured. The blood was at length
stopped, but I was unable to allay the swelling or remove the marks of
her cruel teeth.

"At this moment the old woman came for me, and appeared surprised at
the situation in which she beheld me. I intended to tell her that I
had fallen upon a piece of broken glass, and I was ready to give the
same account to my spouse. But the treacherous Zaliza had previously
informed her of the whole matter. It was she who had played me that
base trick, and she had no doubt reported it to my spouse in such a
manner as to make me appear much more guilty than I really was. When I
arrived at the palace, instead of being received as formerly by an
eager and affectionate wife, I fell into the power of an enraged and
implacable judge.

"'What has hurt your cheek?' was the first question proposed by my
wife as soon as I was before her. I was about to tell her of the
pieces of glass, but she interrupted me with asking, 'whence I got the
censer which I held in my hand?'

"'It cost me two thousand sequins,' said I, stammering.

"'Liar!' replied my spouse, her eyes inflamed with rage, 'it cost you
much more: the account of it is on your cheek. Vile and base man! you
have made a trade of your love, but you shall pay dear for your
infamous conduct. Morigen,' said she, addressing her first eunuch,
'let him be beheaded.'

"Morigen had already seized me, when the old woman, our confidante,
threw herself at the feet of her mistress.

"'Oh, madam!' said she, 'do not commit such a crime; do not expose
yourself to remorse which you will be unable to support.'

"The behaviour of the old slave brought my wife to reflection. She
appeared to meditate a little; and then, changing her opinion, ordered
me to receive the bastinado. While Morigen was executing her rigorous
orders, which I endeavoured to bear without complaining, she seized a
musical instrument, and made the chords resound with an air which
expressed a mixture of jealous rage and malignant satisfaction.

"The pain I suffered totally deprived me of feeling; and I did not
recover till I was in my father's house, placed upon a bed, surrounded
by the whole family, and attended by physicians, who were employed in
procuring me relief. I had been carried away after the fatal execution
of my wife's orders, and left on the threshold of my father's door.

"It was six weeks before I recovered from the consequences of the
severe treatment I had undergone. At the end of this time, when I was
again able to be out of bed, my father tried to gain my confidence,
and I concealed not the smallest circumstance of my last adventure.

"'O Heaven!' said he, 'you are united, my son, to a monster of cruelty
and injustice.'

"'Do not say so, father!' exclaimed I: 'my wife, I must confess, was
cruel, but she thought she had reason to complain, and I was wanting
in my duty to her, even when she loaded me with kindness and
affection. I find that I still adore her, and that my love is
increased by the consciousness of my fault, and by the fear of a
final separation. Ah! would that I were admitted to be the lowest of
her slaves!'

"'You have not the feelings of a man,' said my father: 'know the
dignity of your sex. I cannot determine to what kind of a being you
have been united by the ceremony of a contract. I should suppose it
entirely whimsical, if so strong proofs, and particularly the last,
had not been given us of its reality. Be ashamed, that a man like you,
who are well descended, and who might have aspired to a connection
with the best families in Bagdad, has been hurried away by a foolish
passion to so extraordinary and unequal a connection as that which you
have now formed. Forget your disgraceful passion.'

"Every word which my father uttered, by way of invective against my
marriage and my wife, was a dagger to my heart.

"'I shall one day discover this abominable creature,' added he. 'I
will bring an information against her before the Caliph, who will put
it out of her power to make further victims.'

"Instead of seconding my father's resentment, my heart revolted
against his plans of revenge, and placed itself betwixt him and my
cruel but charming spouse.

"This disposition of mind, in spite of the assistance of medicine,
soon injured my health, and deranged my understanding. I became
thoughtful and melancholy, refused every means of consolation, grieved
my too affectionate parents, and was a torment to all the domestics.
Nothing could be prepared to my taste, and I constantly blamed the
unskilfulness of the cooks.

"One of them came one day to justify his conduct.

"'See,' said I, overturning the table, and treading the dishes under
my feet, 'there is the estimation in which I hold your skill and
diligence!'

"As he wanted to make a reply, I threw myself upon him to give him a
hearty beating. His cries and screams soon brought my mother, who
wished to tear from me the person at whom I was offended. She even
ventured to add blows to her reproofs; and, in the blindness of my
fury, I unfortunately struck her. When my father arrived, he was not
more prudent, and I was at length put in chains. I recollect that,
having put my hand across my mouth, it was covered with foam. In
short, I lost my recollection, and only recovered it to behold myself
an inhabitant of this mournful abode. I then learned that I was kept
here by order of Giafar, the Grand Vizier.

"Many months have now elapsed since I groaned a miserable captive in
this place. I have now recovered soundness of mind, in consequence of
the solitude, but more especially the opportunity of indulging my
unfortunate passion, which I here enjoy without hearing the person
whom I will ever love loaded with imprecations.

"Here, O respectable dervish! I am swayed by sadness, and not by
passion, and can discover in myself nothing for which I ought to be
detained in this hospital. My friends, it would appear, have forgotten
me; but it is the duty of the Grand Vizier, whose orders are here
followed, to inspect this place, and endeavour to bring back to me my
parents, since I only offended by one fit of madness, and have now
sufficiently recovered my reason to regulate my conduct. This,
venerable dervish, is the whole of my history. All my consolation is
the Koran, and the hope that some time or other the Commander of the
Faithful, who wishes to see everything himself, will direct his steps
towards this mournful abode. I ask this from Allah a hundred times a
day; but, alas! my supplications have never reached his throne."

"Cease not to pray, my dear son," replied the Caliph: "you will soon
know the efficacy thereof, and your request will be heard."

After these words of consolation, Haroun returned with Giafar and
Mesrour to the palace.

"What think you," said the Prince to the companions of his adventures,
"of the story which has now been related? You were at hand, and must
have heard everything which was spoken."

"I think," said Giafar, "that this young man, of whom I never heard
before, though he accuses me of being the cause of his misfortunes,
has been employing his invention to relate to you a collection of
dreams or falsehoods."

"It is impossible that everything can be false in his relation,"
replied the Caliph; "and I command you to think on the means of
ascertaining the truth. To-morrow I expect to hear from you."

Next day the Grand Vizier gave an account of the plan which he had
devised for discovering what trust was to be placed in the history and
complaints of Halechalbe.

"Those people," said the minister, "who are deranged in their mind,
are never consistent in their accounts. Let your Highness therefore
order the young man to be brought before you; and if he repeats his
long story in the same connection he did yesterday, and without
varying its circumstances, it will then be proper to make the
necessary inquiries for ascertaining the truth of the facts."

The Vizier's opinion was highly approved of, and orders were instantly
given to go for Halechalbe.

When the young man was at the foot of the throne, the Caliph thus
addressed him: "Halechalbe, I have been informed that you have been
confined in a madhouse, by a series of the most extraordinary
adventures: recover your spirits, and be assured that I am anxious to
do justice to all my subjects. But in the relation I demand from you,
omit no circumstance, and consider the respect which is due to truth
and to my presence."

Halechalbe, seeing the prediction of the dervish fulfilled, being
inspired with confidence and affected with his subject, again began
his history, and made not the smallest variations, even in the
expressions.

Giafar was obliged to own that the recital which he had twice heard
bore very striking marks of veracity. His sole object now was to
discover Halechalbe's beloved but cruel enemy, in order to procure
justice from her towards her injured husband; and his sagacity soon
suggested the steps which were proper to be taken.

By calling together all the Cadis in Bagdad, in order to learn by whom
the contract had been drawn up, the affair would be in danger of being
divulged, without resolving the difficulty. For, if any of them had,
contrary to law, drawn up a contract of so extraordinary a nature, he
would not readily confess it; and besides, a man might have been
suborned to act the part.

If Halechalbe's father was reconciled to him, and persuaded again to
entrust his son with the management of his trade, it was probable that
the old woman would be going about him, were it only from curiosity;
and spies, properly placed, might apprehend her, and force her to
disclose the name of her mistress.

The Caliph approved the scheme, and the syndic was immediately sent
for. This unfortunate father, still supposing that his son was totally
deranged in his mind, was greatly astonished to find himself in his
company at the foot of the Caliph's throne, and still more to see
Halechalbe treated by Haroun with the kindest attention.

Upon the first proposal of a reconciliation made by the Grand Vizier,
the father stretched out his arms to receive his son. Measures were
then agreed upon for unravelling the adventure, and Halechalbe's
father promised to execute with fidelity the orders which he received.
The father and son returned to their house, after having received two
rich robes from the munificent Caliph; and next day Halechalbe was
re-established in his shop, which was as richly furnished as before.

The young man endeavoured, by submission, kindness, and attention, to
make his parents forget the cause of complaint which he had given
them. Though still inflamed by love, he strove to conceal from them
its effects, and to get the better of his melancholy. He yielded to it
only when free from every other business, and when left to himself in
solitude and retirement.

Halechalbe's wife did not long enjoy the satisfaction of her revenge.
Having come to serious reflection on her conduct, she blamed herself
for the excess of her cruelty, and at length became uneasy about the
fate of the husband whom she had treated with too much severity,
though she still supposed him criminal and ungrateful. Love soon
regained the empire of her heart; and though she struggled for some
days against a feeling which she durst not avow, silence at length
became burdensome to her, and she ordered the old woman, as if solely
through compassion, to make inquiry about the situation of her
unfortunate husband.

"Alas, madam!" answered she, "my pity for him led me to his father's
house, and I there learned from the inhabitants of that quarter, that
the poor young man's life was in danger."

"His life in danger!" replied the lady. "Ah! unfortunate that I am! I
have killed the only man in the world I ever loved, or can love! Can I
not inform him that my life depends upon his? but everything prevents
me from doing so. Go, however, and speedily get information concerning
him, as far as you can, consistently with the safety of my honour."

The old woman received the order with great pleasure, and for some
time was able to give her mistress good hopes of the recovery of her
husband's health. But her inquiries soon became fruitless, for the
neighbours were altogether silent concerning Halechalbe, from the
moment when he was privately taken to a madhouse in a state of
insanity.

Her mistress now yielded to despair, and shut herself up with her
confidante, that she might indulge her sorrow and shed her tears
without restraint. The musical instrument, which had formerly been
employed to insult over the misfortune of Halechalbe, now served to
express her own complaints. The lady, quite inconsolable, could no
longer make verses, as she was wont to do when inspired by love or
revenge, but only uttered a few broken words, intermingled with sighs
and tears.

The good old woman was one day traversing the city, little thinking
that she would have any agreeable news to carry to her mistress, when,
as she passed through the quarter where Halechalbe's shop was, she
observed it open. Stopping to look at it, she discovered the master
himself, seated on a sofa and lost in deep thought, and she determined
to enter. As soon as she saw him she wished to throw herself into his
arms, and Halechalbe was running to meet her when he perceived her
approaching; but the Grand Vizier's spies, who had not lost sight of
the slave, interposed, carried off the woman, and conducted her to
Giafar.

Great was the astonishment of Giafar to find that the woman now
brought before him was Nemana, the old governess of his beloved
daughter Zeraïde.

"Is it possible," said he, "that you whom my daughter loads with her
kindness should be engaged in the intrigue of Halechalbe's marriage?
Who is the woman you have given him for a wife?"

"O my Prince and master," answered Nemana, in great astonishment,
"whom could I serve but your daughter, the Princess Zeraïde?"

Giafar was thunderstruck when he learned that his daughter had married
without his knowledge and consent; but knowing that the Caliph was
very anxious to get this affair unravelled, instead of returning to
his own palace to get an explanation from Zeraïde, he instantly
repaired to the Commander of the Faithful, followed by Nemana and the
spies whom he had sent in pursuit of her.

"Wise Prince," said he "the old woman who was concerned in
Halechalbe's marriage has been found: she is at the door, and I have
put some questions to her. Halechalbe's wife," continued the Vizier,
"has only availed herself of the law delivered in the Koran, by
chastising her husband, who was surprised in a fault worthy of
punishment. The duties of husband and wife are reciprocal, and
Halechalbe had received the caresses of a strange woman."

"I think," said Haroun, "you strain the expressions of the law: you
make it too sanguinary, and you would expose a great many in Bagdad to
danger if the right of doing themselves justice was granted to all who
really are, or think themselves, injured in this respect."

"Marriages of every kind," replied the Vizier, "will not admit of the
rigorous application of the law; but when the lady who is married,
while she subjects herself to the law in all its rigour, has it
likewise in her power to demand the same subjection from the man whom
she is to marry, and this condition is freely accepted, the injured
person in avenging herself only makes use of her legal right."

"Notwithstanding all your fine arguments," said Haroun, "I am still
inclined to favour the unfortunate Halechalbe: it yet remains that I
be informed of the name of the woman in whose cause you are so
eloquent."

"She is my daughter," answered the Vizier in great confusion.

"You have now," replied the Caliph, "let me into the secret. I see
that the multiplicity of my affairs makes you neglect your own, and
renders you perfectly ignorant of what passes in your own house.
Marriages are contracted, and men's lives disposed of, without your
knowing anything of the matter. Imagine the consequences which would
result from allowing an arm directed by passion to execute a rigorous
law. I know the rights which are assumed by women in cases of unequal
marriages. If conveniency and prudence, those powerful directors of
human conduct, sometimes oblige them to give their hand to one of an
inferior station, then they may avail themselves of these rights to a
certain extent: they are a sort of compensation for the sacrifice
which they make. But this is not the case with your daughter, who has
made no sacrifice but to her own taste, and the son of the chief of
trade is in every respect become her equal. He loves and adores her,
notwithstanding all the cruelty which she has exercised against him,
and she would certainly be too happy in having him again for her
husband. You well know that with one word I can make my meanest
subject a Prince. I will raise Halechalbe's father to that dignity,
from a principle of justice, and I will take care of the son, from
regard to himself and to you. Find out the name of the Cadi who drew
up the contract, and why he ventured to do so without your consent,
since without that the deed would be void; take care that nothing be
wanting in the form." After this discourse with his Vizier, the Caliph
ordered Halechalbe to approach.

"Young man," said he, "your wife shall be restored to you, and you
shall have it in your power either to pardon or punish her. She is my
Grand Vizier's daughter; but nothing ought to have any influence in
preventing you from following the inclinations of your heart and the
dictates of your mind."

"O Commander of the Faithful!" exclaimed the young Halechalbe, "can I
retain any resentment against the person who is dearer to me than
life? I aspire after nothing but the happiness of seeing her again,
and if I can once more gain her heart, and the consent of her father,
I vow to an affection which will terminate only with my existence."

"Giafar," replied the Caliph, "I recommend the interests of your
daughter and son-in-law to your care. Henceforth consider him as a man
connected with my service, and for whom I mean to provide."

The Grand Vizier returned to his palace, holding Halechalbe by the
hand, and followed by the old woman, who perceiving herself at
liberty, soon made her escape to go and inform her mistress of the
visit which she might expect to receive. The Vizier, whom she had
outrun, at length arrived at his house. Zeraïde arose to meet him, and
to give the usual marks of her attachment and respect; but a signal
with his hand, and a look of severity, forced her to desist.

"Suppress these demonstrations of attachment," said Giafar: "there can
be no love without confidence, and no respect without obedience. You
first married without my consent, and then, in a fit of delirium,
abusing the authority which I gave you over my servants, you went to
the most criminal excess against your husband, and committed a crime
which exposed us to the wrath of the Caliph. When you gave your hand
to the son of the chief of trade at Bagdad--a man esteemed and
respected by everybody, and valued even by the Caliph himself--did you
think that you were entering into a connection with the meanest slave?
And if the life even of these is to be spared, how could you imagine
that you might dispose of your husband's according to your pleasure
and caprice? I have brought him to you; he is your master, and in his
turn has your life in his power. Fall at his feet, and be assured that
you can never regain my esteem unless you obliterate from his mind, by
submission and obedience, the undeserved and cruel treatment which he
has received."

While the Vizier was speaking, the trembling Zeraïde would have fallen
dead at his feet if she had not perceived in the eyes of Halechalbe
something more than compassion for the confusion to which she was
reduced. With pleasure did she throw herself at his feet, and kissed
them with transport. The young husband, happy beyond expression,
having raised Zeraïde, embraced her, and for some moments their tears
were mingled together. This affecting scene made an impression on
Giafar, who was passionately fond of his daughter: the father and the
minister were at once disarmed. But the Cadi must be called to correct
the irregularity in the contract of marriage. He learned that his name
was Yaleddin, and ordered him to be instantly sent for.

Yaleddin arrived, and did not allow Giafar time to ask why he agreed
to marry Zeraïde in private, and without the concurrence of any one
but the young lady.

"Your daughter," said the judge, "sent for me, and discovered the
excess of her passion. I thought it my duty to fulfil her wishes, that
I might prevent, though by an irregular proceeding on my part, a
conduct still more irregular in her. She proposed that I should be her
guardian; and having undertaken this character, and not condemning her
choice, I believed I was doing an important service to this fond
couple, and I plainly foresaw that one day it would not meet your
disapprobation."

Giafar, instead of showing dissatisfaction, generously expressed his
gratitude to the Cadi; but ordered the slave Zaliza to be delivered to
him, that she might be punished, after a confession should be extorted
from her of the odious stratagem which she had employed for separating
her mistress and her husband.

The happy pair were then left to themselves, after the Vizier had
assured Halechalbe that he would be as dear to him as his own son.
Magnificent feasts were afterwards given, that all possible splendour
might accompany an union authorized and approved by the Caliph, and
which diffused joy among all the inhabitants of Bagdad.

Thus did Halechalbe pass almost unexpectedly from a madhouse to that
honourable elevation to which he was raised by the Caliph Haroun, and
from the most mournful of all situations to the highest degree of
happiness.

[Illustration]



The Four Talismans.

[Illustration]


Abouali Nabul,[7] Emperor of the Moguls, reflecting upon his great
age, felt convinced that he could not long enjoy the light of the sun;
he therefore sent for his well-beloved and only son Nourgehan, and
spoke to him thus:

[Footnote 7: Great father.]

"Nourgehan, I leave my throne to thee. You will soon fill my place:
forget not to do justice equally to the poor as to the rich. Be
satisfied with possessing a flourishing kingdom. Envy not the
dominions of any other Prince: leave every one in possession of that
which they have inherited from their fathers. In one word, always
remember that clemency and justice are the noblest titles of a
Sovereign."

After having said these words, the Emperor descended from his throne,
made his son ascend it, and retired into a delightful apartment (where
he had passed his happiest days), where he remained till he died,
which was shortly afterwards.

Nourgehan, after having paid all the honours that nature and gratitude
required for so good a father, was wholly occupied in fulfilling the
last counsels that he had received from him. His heart was naturally
good, and his judgment just; but if every man stands in need of
experience to form his mind, much more is it necessary for those who
are destined to fill a throne. Nourgehan, persuaded of this important
truth, was far from the presumption too common to Princes. One day, as
he conversed with his courtiers upon the subject of government, he
applauded those Kings who had shown the greatest love of justice.
Solomon was quoted as having been the most just.

"This example is not a just one," replied Nourgehan. "Solomon was a
prophet, and could easily prevent the evils which he foresaw; but a
common mortal can only use his best endeavours to repair the faults of
his weakness: therefore I command you all, not only to inform me of
all my duties without flattery, but also to prevent or repair my
faults by your counsels. When a King testifies a love for virtue, all
his subjects become virtuous."

As soon as Nourgehan had ceased speaking, Abourazier rose up and said,
"Great Prince, if you wish to have justice truly exercised in your
dominions, you must make choice of a disinterested Vizier, who has
only your glory and the good of the State in view. The satisfaction of
having done right must be the only recompense he desires."

"You say well, Abourazier," returned Nourgehan; "but the difficulty is
to find such a man."

"You have, my lord," replied the courtier, "one of your subjects whose
moderation and wisdom made him renounce all public employments under
the reign of your illustrious father: your Majesty, perhaps, is
ignorant of what happened to him in the city of Shiras."

The King having commanded him to inform him of it, Abourazier pursued
his discourse thus:

"Imadil Deule,[8] in the last war which we sustained against Persia,
led our victorious army as far as Shiras, which he took, and, by a
sentiment of humanity, preserved from being plundered. His soldiers,
however, demanded a recompense that might make them amends for the
booty they expected to have obtained, and spoke to him so strongly,
that he was obliged to promise one to them, though he knew not where
he could procure it."

[Footnote 8: The support and assistance of felicity.]

"One day as he was in his palace, thinking of this demand, he
perceived a serpent creep out of a hole in the wall and return into it
again. He called the officers of his harem, and said to them, 'Break
open that hole, and take out the serpent that I saw enter it this
moment.'

"The courtiers obeyed him, and found a vault full of presses ranged
along the walls, with chests piled upon each other. They were opened,
and found to be filled with sequins, while the presses were heaped up
with the most magnificent stuffs. Imadil Deule returned thanks to God
for this discovery, and distributed the treasure to his soldiers. He
afterwards commanded a tailor to be sent for to make habits of these
stuffs, with which he designed to recompense the merits of those
officers who had served under his command. The most experienced tailor
of the city was presented to him, who had always wrought for the late
Governor. Imadil Deule said to him, 'Not only thou shalt be well paid
if these habits are carefully made, but I will procure thee a further
recompense, and some bowls of cassonnade.'"[9]

[Footnote 9: A kind of sherbet mixed with honey.]

"The tailor, who was deaf of one ear, understood that he was to have
the bastinado, and fell a-weeping. Imagining that it was intended to
exact an account of the late Governor's clothes which he had in his
possession, he declared he had only twelve chests full, and those who
accused him of having more had not said the truth.

"Imadil Deule could not forbear smiling at the effect which fear had
produced in the poor tailor: he caused the habits to be brought, which
were found to be magnificent and entirely new. The only use he made of
them, as well as of the rich stuffs he found in the presses, was to
clothe and adorn the officers of his army. I believe, therefore, that
so disinterested a man deserves the confidence of your Majesty."

Abourazier having ceased speaking, Nourgehan said to him, "Imadil
Deule shall not be my Vizier. I believe him an honest man, but he
wants prudence, and I do not think him capable of supporting my
authority. He had the seals of the empire, and yet knew not how to
order everything necessary for his expedition; in a word, his treasure
failed him, and his soldiers presumed to give him laws. Without the
accident of the serpent, of which any other man would have made the
same use, what would have become of him? The story of the tailor is of
no consequence."

Nourgehan was continually occupied with the love of justice and the
desire of reigning well. He left his palace at all hours to inform
himself of the truth by his own knowledge. There was an old potter of
earthen vessels who dwelt near his palace. Nourgehan, moved by seeing
him every day pray to God with the most ardent and zealous fervour,
stopped one day before the little hut in which he dwelt, and said to
him, "Ask of me whatever thou desirest, and I promise to grant it
thee."

"Command all your officers," said the potter, "to take each of them
one of my pots, and pay for it that which I ask. I will not abuse this
permission."

Nourgehan granted him his request, and gave orders to his guard to
watch over the sale of the pots, and, above all, to do whatever the
potter ordered him. He made a very modest use of the favour that he
had obtained, and, satisfied with the sale of his work, he exacted no
more than the value of it, thinking himself happy in being able to
live by his industry, and wishing that he might give a proof of his
gratitude to his Sovereign. The Vizier of Nourgehan was avaricious;
but for fear of displeasing his master, he concealed that vice with
the utmost care. He went one morning to the Emperor's audience, when
the potter demanded a sequin for a pot which he presented to him. The
Vizier refused it, and said it was a jest to ask such a sum for a
thing that the least coin would sufficiently pay for.

The potter, seeing that he added menaces to his refusal, answered him,
"that since he took it in that strain, he demanded a thousand sequins
for his pot," and added, "that he should not enter into the Emperor's
presence until he had hung the pot round his neck, and carried him
upon his back to have an audience of the Emperor, that he might make
his complaints of the refusal and menaces he had given him."

The Vizier made many difficulties and great entreaties to avoid these
vexatious and mortifying conditions; but the hour approaching which
the Emperor had appointed for an audience, and the guards refusing to
let him enter till he had satisfied the desires of the potter, he was
obliged to submit to them; to promise the thousand sequins, to hang
the pot about his neck, and to carry the potter on his back, a
condition from which he would not recede. The Emperor, surprised at
seeing his Vizier arrive in a manner so ridiculous and so unsuitable
to his dignity, commanded him to explain what it all meant. When he
was told, he obliged the Vizier to pay the thousand sequins
immediately; and comprehending of how great an injury it might be to a
Prince to have an avaricious minister, he deposed him, and was pleased
with the potter for having made known to him a fact that he never
would have suspected otherwise.

Nourgehan formed a counsel of the most worthy men of the empire,
ordained wise and prudent laws, and departed to visit his provinces,
with a resolution of releasing his people from any possible abuse of
an authority which is always dangerous, when those who exercise it are
at too great a distance from the Sovereign. This Prince, endowed with
every virtue, had no other wish than that of deserving after his death
the noble epitaph of that Persian monarch who has graved upon his
tomb, "Weep! for Shah Chuja is dead!"

Nourgehan, visiting all the provinces of his kingdom, had already gone
through the greatest part of them, and remedied numberless disorders,
when his curiosity engaged him in a journey into Tartary, his
neighbouring kingdom. Finding himself so near their country, he had a
desire also to see and know the manners of these Tartars, who were
more civilized than others, for they had cities and fixed habitations:
their women also are not shut up like those of the other Asiatics. The
Tartars came to meet the Emperor of the Moguls. Some of them
performed courses on their swiftest horses to do him honour, others,
accompanied with their women, formed a kind of dance which, though a
little savage, was not destitute of grace. In the number of the Tartar
women who presented themselves before him, Nourgehan was struck with
the beauty of a young person of eighteen, named Damake.[10] She
possessed great beauty; an inexpressible sense and modesty was visible
in her countenance. Nourgehan did homage to so many charms, and caused
a place in his harem to be proposed to her, but she refused it. Love
but too often causes the greatest change in the worthiest characters.
The Prince, so wise, and till then so moderate, led away by his
passion, joined menaces to his entreaties; he even went so far as to
threaten that he would bring a formidable army thither to obtain a
beauty whose refusals did not permit him to hope to win her otherwise.
He made this rash speech to Damake alone; for if the Tartars, who are
a people most jealous of their liberty, had had the least knowledge of
it, war would have been that moment declared. But Damake answered him
with the utmost sweetness, without showing the least fear, and without
losing that respect which she owed to a Sovereign; and it was with the
gentle and yet resolved tone that courage and truth always inspire,
that she related this little history to him:

[Footnote 10: Joy of the heart.]

"One of the great Lamas," said she, "of whose supreme authority in
this country you are not ignorant, fell in love, in this very place,
with a maiden of my tribe. She not only refused all that he offered to
her, but she would not accept the proposal he made to marry her. The
love she felt for a musician was the sole cause of her refusal, which
she confessed to the Lama, with a hope of appearing unworthy of his
attachment. But that Prince--for they are looked upon as
such--distracted with anger and sorrow, caused his unworthy rival to
be put to death, and under the pretext of her being agreeable to the
Grand Lama, it was not difficult to have her carried off. For you are
sensible, my lord, that in this country every one trembles at the very
name of him, whom we look upon as a god. But the Lama enjoyed not
much satisfaction from his cruelty and injustice; for after she had
promised to marry him, in order to obtain a greater liberty, she
precipitated herself from the top of a rock, which can be perceived
from hence, and which is always shown in the country as a proof of the
constancy and resolution of which the Tartar virgins are capable. It
is not," continued Damake, "love for another that makes me refuse the
offers of your Majesty. My heart to this hour is free; but, my lord,
learn to know it thoroughly. It is noble, and perhaps worthy of the
favour you condescend to honour me with. My weak charms have seduced
you; but a woman who has no other merit than beauty, in my opinion, is
of little value."

"Perhaps," returned Nourgehan, "the difference of our religions is an
obstacle to my happiness?"

"No, my lord, I am a Mussulman," resumed Damake. "Can you imagine I
could submit to the ideas that are given us of the Grand Lama? Can we
believe that a man is immortal? The artifice that is made use of to
persuade us of it is too gross. In one word, my eyes are too much
enlightened for me to hesitate between the ideas inculcated by these
priests, and those by which the divinity of God is preached by his
most sacred Prophet. No, my lord," continued she, "I am sensible of
the risk I shall run by your goodness to me. Time causes the
nightingale to perish and the rose to fade. The moon shines during the
night; but its lustre fades when the day approaches. Can I expect,
therefore, that time should spare me? Yet, notwithstanding these
reflections, I confess, my lord, I should be flattered with the
thought of pleasing a man whose virtues I esteem above his greatness.
But I should wish to please him by other qualities: I should wish to
have rendered myself worthy of him by services so considerable, that
even a marriage thus unsuitable, far from exposing him to reproaches,
should only serve to make his choice more applauded."

Nourgehan, charmed at finding such uncommon sense and such delicate
sentiments in an object whose figure alone would have rendered her
amiable, admired her virtue, gave her his royal promise never to
constrain her inclinations, and resolved never to depart from her. He
sent a numerous train of slaves and camels to the beauteous Damake,
who followed him with all her family. She would never have consented
to this step if she had been obliged to abandon her family, to whom
she was fondly attached. The King saw her every day, and could not
exist a moment without wishing to see her, or without admiring her
when he did see her. In the meantime the discourses of the Court and
of the populace reached the ears of Damake. She knew the evil opinion
they had of her. To repair this wrong she conjured Nourgehan to
assemble all the learned men of his kingdom, that she might answer
their questions, and afterwards propose some to them. Nourgehan, who
dreaded lest a person so young as Damake should expose herself too
hastily, and return with confusion from such a dispute, used his
utmost efforts to dissuade her from her request; for the fear and
concern that is felt for those whom we love is most certainly far
stronger than that which interests us for ourselves. His remonstrances
were in vain.

Learned men were assembled to the number of twelve; and in the
audience that was given them, the King was placed upon an elevated
throne, in his habits of ceremony. Damake was seated lower, opposite
to him, leaning upon a sofa, dressed with the greatest plainness, but
shining with every charm of youth and every gift of nature, surrounded
by the twelve sages, venerable by their extreme age and their flowing
beards, leaning upon a large table, round which they and she were
seated. The sages, who knew not with what design Nourgehan had
assembled them, were extremely astonished when he made known to them
the project of Damake. They looked upon the adversary who was
presented to them, and kept silence, not doubting that the King did it
with the design of showing them contempt. Nourgehan said to them,

"I perceive your thoughts, but I have given my royal promise, and it
is your duty to acquit me of it. Propose boldly the hardest questions
to this lady, who has engaged to resolve all the difficulties that
your great learning gives you the opportunity of proposing to her."

The first sage demanded, "What is that which takes the colour of
those who look upon it, which men cannot do without, and which of
itself has neither form nor colour?"

"It is the water," replied Damake.

The second said to her, "Can you, O miracle of sense and beauty, tell
me what is the thing which has neither door nor foundation, and which
is within filled with yellow and white?"

"It is an egg," said the beauteous maiden.

The third sage, after having considered a little, in hopes of
surpassing his brethren (for the learned men in the Mogul have a share
of self-love), said to her, "There is in a certain garden a tree; this
tree bears twelve branches, upon each branch there are thirty leaves,
and upon each leaf there are five fruits, of which three are in the
shade and two in the sun. What is this tree? and where is it to be
found?"

"This tree," returned Damake, "represents the year: the twelve
branches are the months, the thirty leaves the days, the five fruits
the five prayers, of which two are made by day and three by night."

The sage was amazed, and the courtiers, whose minds vary like the air,
and whose sentiments are changed by that which is less than nothing,
began to be inwardly persuaded of the value of that which they had at
first only pretended to admire.

The other sages, who had not yet spoken, would have excused
themselves, and had their silence passed over in favour of the
applauses they gave to the uncommon sense of her who had confounded
those who preceded them. But Nourgehan, at the entreaty of Damake,
having commanded them to continue the conference, one of them
demanded, "What is heavier than a mountain?" the other, "What is more
cutting than a sabre?" and the third, "What is swifter than an arrow?"
Damake answered that the first "was the tongue of a man that complains
of oppression;" the second, "Calumny," and the third, "A glance."

There were four sages remaining who had not yet proposed their
difficulties. Nourgehan trembled, lest at length the mind of Damake
should be exhausted, and she should lose the honour of so great a
number of judicious answers. Yet this beautiful maiden appeared
neither fatigued nor exalted with that which would have raised the
vanity of the greatest part of mankind. But the very property of love
being to submit to the will of that which it loves, Nourgehan, whom
the preceding examples had not yet reassured, full of alarms and
inquietudes, commanded them to speak by a sign of his head, which they
durst not refuse. The first demanded of her, "What that animal was
which avoided everybody, was composed of seven different animals, and
inhabited desolate places." The second desired to know who that was
whose habit was armed with darts, who wore a black vest, a yellow
shirt, whose mother lived above a hundred years, and who was liked by
the whole world. The third desired her to name that which had but one
foot, which had a hole in its head, a leathern girdle, and which
raised up its head when its hairs were torn off and its face was spit
upon.

Damake answered to the first that it was a grasshopper, which is
composed of seven animals; for it has the head of a horse, the neck of
an ox, the wings of an eagle, the feet of a camel, the tail of a
serpent, the horns of a stag, and the body of a scorpion.

The lady found it more difficult to answer the question of the second:
for a moment the whole assembly thought her vanquished. This idea,
which she perceived in the eyes of all who looked upon her, made her
blush. She appeared only still more beautiful from her modesty; and
Nourgehan was charmed when he saw the sage who had proposed the
question agree that she had answered with her usual justness, when she
said that it was a Chestnut. She answered the third without
hesitation, that it was a Distaff.

So much knowledge, so much presence of mind, joined to such uncommon
personal charms, threw all minds into so pleasing a confusion that,
notwithstanding the awe that the presence of Nourgehan inspired, they
all loudly expressed the joy, admiration, and pleasure they felt at
being witnesses of so uncommon a scene. Damake then made a sign that
she wished now to speak. Silence was commanded, and she desired the
sages to inform her what was sweeter than honey.

Some of them answered that it was the satisfaction of having our
wishes fulfilled, some that of gratitude, and others it was the
pleasure of conferring obligations.

When Damake had let them speak, she applauded all their reasonable and
just thoughts, but finished her discourse by asking them with
gentleness if she was mistaken when she imagined the sweetest thing
upon earth to be the love of a mother for her child.

An answer so suitable to her sex, who ought always to be attached to
their maternal duty, and proposed with so much modesty, entirely
finished the conquest of their hearts. But Damake, who had no other
design upon this occasion than to conciliate their esteem and
authorize the favours with which Nourgehan honoured her, was resolved
to finish a scene which she did not design to repeat, resolving for
the future to be occupied with schemes and ideas of a higher kind.
Damake then caused instruments to be brought, and sang and played in
all the different modes of music, finishing by singing the famous
strain of Zeaghioule.

Nourgehan, in those transports of joy which are given by the repeated
successes of those one loves, dismissed the assembly, but not without
making some large presents to the sages; and when they had all
retired, he threw himself at the knees of Damake, saying, "Thou art
the life of my soul: haste thee to make me happy!"

The beauty answered that she was not yet worthy of him.

"What can you require further?" cried the passionate Prince. "You have
charmed my whole Court; you have confounded the learning of the men
most celebrated for their wisdom; the justness of your answers, the
moderation of your questions, and the modesty with which you bore the
advantage of so great a triumph, have dazzled them. Not satisfied with
having proved your sense, what talents did not you show when you
touched the musical instruments! What taste did you not express in
your song! Whoever, like Damake, joined such merit to so much beauty?
But I perceive you love me not," added this passionate Prince, with
the utmost tenderness, "since you refuse to attach your destiny to
mine. Doubtless you have an aversion for my person."

"I am very far from deserving this reproach, my lord," said Damake;
"you yourself shall be the judge. The greatest pleasure and the
highest satisfaction I have felt on this day, which your prejudice in
my favour has made you think so glorious, was the being able to
express before the whole Court, in a proper manner, the sentiments
with which you have filled my heart."

"What can you wait for further to render me the happiest man upon
earth?" cried Nourgehan with eagerness. "You love me, and I adore you.
What wants there more? My wishes for you are become an ocean unbounded
by any shore."

"I resolve to deserve you, my lord," replied she, "by talents of more
value than those of music; by a justness of sense more valuable than
that which your sages set such a price upon, and which is only a mere
subtlety of mind. I wish to establish myself in your heart upon
foundations more solid than beauty, or those superficial talents that
you have had the goodness to applaud. In short, I wish that love may
in you only be a passage to that esteem and friendship which I aspire
to deserve. Submit your impatience to grant me this favour--it perhaps
gives me more pain to ask it than your Majesty to grant: let me live
some time under the shadow of your felicity."

"I am capable of nothing now," replied Nourgehan, "but of loving and
adoring you; but at least permit me to give a full proof of the
justice I do your merit. Assist in the divan, preside in all affairs,
and give me your counsels: I can follow none that are more prudent or
better judged."

"The diamond boasted," replied Damake, smiling, "that there was no
stone which equalled it in strength and hardness. Allah, who loves not
pride, changed its nature in favour of lead, the vilest of metals, to
which He gave the power to cut it. Independently of the pride I must
render myself guilty of if I accepted your offers,--Allah forbid that
I should do that wrong to my Sovereign Lord!--to authorize by my
behaviour the reproaches that would be thrown upon him. There would be
a foundation to say that he was governed by a woman. I allow," added
she, "that your Majesty ought to have a Vizier: you cannot see to
everything with your own eyes, and I believe I am able to show you one
worthy of Nourgehan."

"Name him to me," replied he, "and I will give him the charge this
moment."

"Your Majesty," replied the beauteous Damake, "must know him before
you accept him. I hope you will find in him whom I propose those
virtues and talents necessary in a man dignified with so great an
employment. He lives in the city of Balk, and is named Diafer. The
post of Vizier to one of the most powerful Kings of the Indies has
been in his family above a thousand years. Judge then, my lord, what a
collection of admirable precepts he must have upon all parts of
government, and yet a Prince, blinded by the pernicious counsels of
his favourites, has deposed him, and he passes his days at Balk--days
which might be happy if he had not lived in the habit of labour and a
hurry of great affairs, which seldom leave the mind at liberty to be
satisfied with anything less tumultuous."

Nourgehan immediately replied, "Diafer is my Vizier: Damake can never
be mistaken."

Upon the spot he wrote to the Governor of Balk, and sent him a note
for a hundred thousand sequins, to be delivered to Diafer, to defray
the expenses of his journey; and he charged the same courier with a
letter for Diafer, in which he conjured him to accept the post that he
had destined him for.

Diafer began his journey. He was received with magnificence in every
city, and the Emperor sent all the noblemen of his Court to meet him,
and conduct him to the palace which he had destined for him in the
kingdom of Visiapour, where he then resided. He was treated there with
incredible magnificence during three days, after which he was
conducted to an audience of the Prince. He appeared at the height of
joy for possessing a man whom Damake esteemed so highly; but that joy
was of no long duration, for the Prince, who was so gracious and so
prejudiced in his favour, flew into the most dreadful anger the moment
Diafer appeared in his presence.

"Go," said he to him, "depart this moment, and never see me again!"

Diafer obeyed, and retired in all the confusion, the sorrow, and the
surprise that such a reception must needs give him. He returned to his
apartment without being able to imagine the cause of the King's sudden
anger, who, in the meantime, held a council, and examined the affairs
of his kingdom, without taking any notice of what had passed with him
whom he had destined to be his Vizier.

He afterwards repaired to the apartment of Damake, who, already
informed of an event which employed the thoughts of the whole Court,
doubted not that there was an alteration in the mind of him to whom
she was so perfectly attached. The sorrow which this reflection had
given her had plunged her into a state so languishing as scarce left
her the use of speech. Yet making an effort to conquer herself, she
said to him, after some moments' silence,

"How is it possible, my lord, that after all the expenses you have
been at, and all the cares you took for the arrival of Diafer at your
Court--after all the honours you have ordered to be paid him, and
those that you have loaded him with, you should receive him so ill?"

"Ah! Damake," cried Nourgehan, "I should have had no regard to all
that I have done for him, to his illustrious family, nor to the
fatigues that he has suffered in coming so far, if any one but you had
recommended him to me. I would have had his head struck off the moment
he presented himself before me, and it was wholly in regard to you
that I satisfied myself with banishing him from my presence for ever."

"But how did he incur your indignation?" pursued Damake.

"Know, then," resumed Nourgehan, "that when he came up to me he had
the most subtle of poisons about him."

"May I ask you, my lord," returned Damake, "what certainty you have of
such a fact, and if you may not doubt of the fidelity of him who made
you the report?"

Nourgehan replied, "I knew it myself. I permit you to inquire into it,
and you will find whether I was mistaken or not."

When Nourgehan had left Damake more reassured as to the heart of the
Emperor, though alarmed at the impressions he was capable of taking so
lightly, she sent for Diafer, who appeared sunk in the most violent
chagrin. She conversed with him for some time, and perceiving how
deeply the ill-treatment he had received from the King had plunged the
poniard of sorrow into his heart, she said to him that he ought not to
afflict himself so much, that the wrath of Nourgehan would be of no
long duration, and that he would soon repair the affront that he had
publicly given him. She added that Princes had their hasty moments,
that ought to be passed by and excused. When she had a little calmed
his chagrin, she finished her discourse by saying to him,

"If I have deserved your confidence, if you believe that I shall
endeavour to repair the affront you have suffered--since I, by doing
justice to your talents, was the innocent cause of that which has
happened to you--if I deserve any return from you, vouchsafe to inform
me why you had poison about you when you were presented to Nourgehan?"

Diafer, surprised at this question, after having reflected some
moments, replied, "True, I had poison with me; but my heart, though I
bore it about me, was as pure as the dew of the morning. I even have
it now that I speak to you." Saying this, he drew a ring from his
finger and presented it to her. "The setting of this ring," said he,
"encloses a most subtle poison. It is a treasure that has been
preserved in our family from father to son these thousand years. My
ancestors have always worn it, to preserve themselves from the anger
of those Princes they served, in case they should have had the
misfortune to displease them in the exercise of their post of Vizier.
You may believe," continued he, "that when the King sent for me, who
was wholly unknown to him, to exercise that charge, and conscious of
the many enemies a stranger generally meets with, I would not forget
to bring this treasure. The sorrow that the cruel behaviour of
Nourgehan has given me, and the shame that he has covered me with,
render it still more precious to me: it will not be long before I make
use of it."

Damake obtained from him that he should delay, at least for some days,
this fatal design, and conjured him to wait in his palace till he
heard from her.

She immediately repaired to give an account to Nourgehan of what she
had learned. That Prince, perceiving by her relation that Diafer had
no ill design, and that the cruelty of Princes in general authorized
but too justly such a precaution, repented that he had received him so
unworthily, and promised Damake the next day to make amends for the
pain he had given him. She approved this design; but before she
quitted him she conjured him to satisfy her curiosity by informing her
how he could perceive the poison which Diafer had with him. Nourgehan
replied,

"Never will I have anything concealed from the sovereign of my heart.
I always wear a bracelet, which my father left me, and which has long
been in our family, though I am ignorant of the name of the sage who
composed it, or how it fell into the hands of my ancestors. It is of a
substance that nearly resembles coral, and it has the property of
discovering poison, even at a very great distance. It is moved and
agitated whenever poison approaches; and when Diafer came near me, the
bracelet was very nigh breaking, the poison which he bore had so much
strength and violence. Had he not been recommended by you, his head
should have been struck off that moment. I was the more certain that
Diafer bore that dangerous poison, as my bracelet remained immovable
immediately after his leaving the hall where I gave audience."

Nourgehan loosed it from his arm, and gave it to Damake. She examined
it with great attention, and said to him, "This talisman, my lord, is
doubtless very wonderful; yet this adventure ought to prove to you how
much those who have the sovereign power are obliged to be upon their
guard against appearances, and of what consequence it is for them not
to give judgment rashly."

Damake retired, and Nourgehan commanded the greatest pomp and the most
splendid train to conduct Diafer the next day to an audience. This
order was executed. Nourgehan received him with the utmost affability,
and testified the greatest regret for what had passed. Then there was
presented to him, by the Sultan's command, a standish of gold, a pen
and paper. Immediately he wrote in the most beautiful characters
sublime sentences upon the manner in which a Vizier ought to fulfil
the duties of his important post. Nourgehan admired his talents, made
him clothe himself in the robe of a Vizier, and, to crown his
goodness, confided to him the secret of his bracelet. Diafer
strenuously advised that Prince never to part with it; and in his
admiration, and the pleasure he felt at possessing so great a
treasure, he asked his new Vizier if he believed that through the
whole world there could be found anything so curious.

"Great Prince," replied Diafer to him, "I have seen in the city of
Dioul another miracle of nature, less useful, indeed, but which for
the strength of art and learning with which a sage has composed it,
may be compared to this."

"What is it?" returned Nourgehan. "I should be glad to be informed of
it."

Then Diafer spoke thus:

"When I had received your Majesty's command to repair to your
presence, I departed at once, but was obliged to make some stay at
Dioul, through which I passed in my way to Visiapour, where I knew I
might join your Majesty. Notwithstanding my impatience, I was obliged
to collect several things which were necessary for my journey, and
made use of that time to view the beauties of the city. The Governor,
whose riches and opulence astonished me, came to meet me on the day of
my arrival, and conducted me to his palace. He loaded me with honours,
and, during my residence there, showed me the utmost respect and
favour; yet it was accompanied with a constraint that rendered his
fidelity suspected by me. Among the amusements that he procured for
me, was a party upon the river: I consented to join it, and we
embarked the next day in a small frigate which he had provided. The
weather was fair, and the conversation most agreeable. The Governor of
Dioul was seated on the upper deck, and I was placed close to him. A
young boy, beautiful as the sun, lay at his feet; the most exquisite
wines were served upon a table which stood before us: their coldness,
and that of the ice with which all the fruits were surrounded,
contributed to the most seducing voluptuousness. The slaves sang and
played upon different instruments. Our pleasure was thus accompanied
with everything that could render it delicious; and as I was thinking
upon something to say that might be agreeable to the Governor, I
perceived upon his finger so magnificent a ruby, that I could not
forbear giving it the praises it deserved. The Governor immediately
drew it off, and presented it to me. I examined it with attention, and
returned it to him again, but had great trouble to make him take it.
Seeing that I absolutely refused to keep it, he was so concerned that
he threw it into the river. I repented then that I had not accepted so
perfect a work of nature, and testified my sorrow to the Governor, who
answered, that it was my own fault.

"'Yet,' continued he, 'if you will promise me to accept it, it will
not be difficult for me to find the ring again, which is really
deserving of your acceptance.'

"I imagined that, having another not unlike it, he designed to offer
me that; but, without saying any more to me, he immediately commanded
they should steer the vessel to the land. When he was arrived there,
he sent his slave to his treasurer to demand a small casket which he
described to him, and cast anchor to wait the return of the slave, who
was expeditious in executing the orders he had received. The Governor,
having then taken out of his pocket a small gold key, opened the
casket, out of which he took a small fish of the same metal and of
admirable workmanship, and threw it into the river. Immediately it
plunged to the bottom, and soon after appeared upon the surface of the
water holding the ring in its mouth. The rowers who were in the boat
took it in their hands and brought it to the Governor, to whom it
delivered the ring with a motion of its head: no other person could
have forced it from its teeth. The Governor again presenting the ring
to me, I could not refuse it, especially as he redoubled his
entreaties. The fish was replaced in the little casket and sent back
to the treasury."

Diafer, after having related this history, drew the ring from his
finger and presented it to Nourgehan, who, finding it to be extremely
magnificent, said to him,

"Never part from this ring, which is still more precious from the
virtue of the talisman which rendered you the possessor of it. But,"
continued he, "you ought to have informed yourself at what time, how,
and by whom that wonderful masterpiece of art was composed."

"I used my utmost efforts to be informed," replied Diafer, "but they
were in vain. Struck with so singular an event, I thought no more of
the pleasures of the day. The Governor, perceiving that I fell into a
deep reverie, said to me, 'Life is short: make use of every moment and
enjoy every pleasure. The soul is a bird imprisoned in the cage of the
body, which it must soon quit: rejoice while it is in your power, you
know not who shall exist to-morrow.' I confessed to him that curiosity
had penetrated my heart. He replied, 'I am in despair that I cannot
satisfy you,' and pronounced these words with a tone that expressed
his design of not giving a more particular answer. 'Let us think only
of amusing ourselves agreeably,' continued he. I followed his counsels
as much as it was in my power, and departed from Dioul without being
able to obtain any information upon the subject, but fully persuaded
that this talisman was the source of all the treasures which he
possesses."

Nourgehan terminated the audience of Diafer by assuring him of his
favour if he used his utmost care in the administration of justice. He
afterwards gave an account to Damake of the conversation he had held
with his Vizier, and told her the history of the fish.

"I have a love for these talismans," said that Prince, "and this
little fish rouses my curiosity. I wish at least I knew the maker of
it."

Damake promised him to use her utmost efforts to inform him. In
effect, the next day, she told him, that of all the talismans which
the great Seidel-Beckir had made, there existed only four--his
bracelet, the little fish of which Diafer had spoken to him, and which
she presented to him from the Governor of Dioul, adding, that he had
just sent it as a present to his Majesty in order to obtain a life
which he had deserved to lose, his faithful subjects having taken him
in arms against the Sultan. The third, a poniard, very meanly adorned,
which she begged him to accept.

"The others," continued she, "are either worn out (for you know, my
lord they only last for a certain time), or have been destroyed by
different accidents."

"Why did the Governor of Dioul," resumed Nourgehan, "conceal from
Diafer that Seidel-Beckir was the maker of that which he possessed?"

"He was ignorant of it, my lord," interrupted Damake; "and perhaps,
ashamed of not knowing it, he feigned it to be a secret. It is the
habit of men to cover their ignorance by an affectation of mystery."

"But what is the virtue of this talisman that you offer me?" said
Nourgehan, as he accepted the poniard.

"I will inform you of it, my lord," said Damake, "at the same time
that I give you an account of what I have been able to learn
concerning the fish. It may be about three thousand years since there
appeared, in the part of Asia which we inhabit, a man named Houna, who
was so great that he was surnamed Seidel-Beckir. He was a sage who
possessed in perfection all those talents which acquire a general
veneration. The science of talismans he possessed in so eminent a
degree, that by their means he commanded the stars and the
constellations. Unhappily, his writings are lost, and therefore no
talismans like his can now be made. Antinmour, King of Hindostan,
having found means to form a friendship with him, Seidel-Beckir, in
return for his kindness and some small services that he had done him,
made him a present of that little fish of which your Vizier gave you
an account. It always remained in the treasury of Antinmour as long as
his family existed. One of the ancestors of the Governor of Dioul
finding himself the Vizier of the last of that race, when the family
was extinct by those revolutions which the history of the Indies
relates at length, and which are universally known, seized upon this
curiosity, and his successors have kept it with the utmost care till
this time. Not only does this talisman bring back whatever is fallen
into a river, or the sea, to the person to whom it belongs, but if you
indicate to it anything to be brought out of that element, it goes in
search of it with the greatest readiness, and brings it wherever it is
commanded."

"I am fully satisfied," replied Nourgehan, "as to the two talismans,
and never Prince was possessor of such treasures. I may now truly
style myself the sovereign of the sea. What do I owe to thee, the
ruler of my soul! But of what use is this one which the beauteous
Damake has presented to me?"

"My lord," replied she, "when I tell you for what reason it was
composed, you will know its virtue."

"We read in the revolutions of Hindostan, that Antinmour would have
unjustly exacted a tribute from Keiramour, who was too weak to resist
the forces of his enemy; and not knowing to whom to have recourse, he
resolved to address himself to the sage Seidel-Beckir, and sent his
Vizier to him with magnificent presents. The sage refused them; but he
was so touched by the situation to which the King, his friend, had
been reduced, that he declared Antinmour should not succeed in his
designs. Immediately he composed this very poniard, which I have now
presented to my Sovereign, and gave it to the Vizier. 'Tell your
master from me,' said he, 'to choose out twenty of the bravest
soldiers of his kingdom, and deliver the poniard into the hands of him
who commands them; for this poniard has the virtue (when it is drawn)
to render invisible not only the person who bears it, but all those
whom he designs should participate in the virtue of the talisman. His
will alone decides the effect of it. Keiramour shall send these twenty
persons to Antinmour with a letter, in which he shall refuse to pay
the tribute that is demanded of him. Antinmour, in the excess of his
anger, will order the ambassadors to be seized. Then the law of
nations being violated, he who bears the poniard shall render himself
invisible by drawing it with one hand, and his sabre with the other;
and his troop following his example, and doing the same, he shall
obey, without hesitation, the dictates of his courage.'

"The Vizier returned to Keiramour, and all that Seidel-Beckir had
commanded was executed. The son of the King was charged with the
command and execution of this great enterprise. Antinmour was enraged
on reading the letter that was presented to him.

"'Let this insolent ambassador be seized,' cried he, 'this moment.'

"Then the Prince, hastily drawing out his poniard and sabre, struck
off the head of Antinmour. His train did the same to all those who
composed the divan; and running directly into the city, an infinity of
heads were flying off without knowing who caused this disorder. After
this great execution, the ambassador and his train made themselves
visible, and declared to the people in the public square that there
was no other method of avoiding certain death but to submit to the
government of Keiramour, which they did without reluctance. This
poniard," continued Damake, "has been long kept in the treasury of the
Princes of that country. By little and little, however, its value was
forgotten, and the remembrance of its uncommon property totally lost;
and when your Majesty desired an explanation of the talismans, I found
that this was at Balsora in the possession of a poor Jew, a broker,
who sells upon the bridge of that city all the old iron and useless
weapons that are cast away. It was not difficult to procure the
possession of it, therefore it was no merit in me to give my Sovereign
Lord a talisman which would be absolutely useless to me, whilst the
destiny of monarchs may unfortunately render such precautions
necessary to them."

Nourgehan made a thousand exclamations upon the boundless ocean of her
liberality, and said to her,

"Sovereign of my heart, reflect upon what you have said to me:
consider that if these talismans, valuable in themselves, but mean in
comparison with you, have excited my wish to possess them, how much
greater must my desire be to wed the giver! All the sages,
Seidel-Beckir himself, never composed a talisman so wonderful as you
are. Yesterday you knew not a single word of the history of the
talisman, to-day you are perfectly instructed in it. This poniard was
not four and twenty hours since at Balsora, yet notwithstanding the
great distance we are from that city, you have presented it to me this
moment. Are you the daughter of Seidel-Beckir, or are you an
enchantress yourself?"

Damake blushed at this discourse, and Nourgehan again pressing her to
speak, she replied,

"Nothing is impossible when one desires to please him whom one loves.
But I will explain at once all that puzzles my Sultan. Not long after
my birth, my mother was seated at the foot of a palm-tree, enjoying
with me the coolness of the morning, without any other thought than
that of returning by her tender kisses my innocent caresses, when in a
moment she perceived herself surrounded by a numerous Court who
attended a Queen, beautiful, majestic, magnificently dressed, and who
had herself also an infant in her arms. Notwithstanding the pomp of
her train, and all the grandeur of royalty, she caressed me, young as
I was, and after some moments' stay said to my mother,

"'This child whom you see in my arms, and who is mine, is by fate
obliged to taste the milk of a mortal, it being a command laid upon us
by Allah; and I cannot find one more modest, more wise, nor whose milk
is purer than thine. Do me the pleasure, therefore, of nursing my
infant for a few moments.'

"My mother consented with pleasure; and the Queen, in return for her
complaisance, said to her,

"'Whenever you have any sorrow or any desire, come to the foot of a
palm-tree, cut a leaf off it, burn it, and call for me--I am named the
Peri Malikatada--and I will haste immediately to your assistance. I
grant the same power to your little girl when she attains the age of
reason.'

"My mother never importuned the Peri except for the care of my
education; and I, my lord, before I knew you, had never addressed
myself to her, for I knew no desire, nor had my heart formed any wish.
From that time I fear I have fatigued her, so many troubles and
inquietudes have seized upon my soul. It was she, as you will judge,
who made Diafer known to me, who dictated to me the answers I gave the
sages, who informed me of the talismans, and delivered this one to me.
It was she, likewise, who caused the Governor of Dioul to be arrested,
and who demands his life of you in return for the golden fish which I
have given you from him; she also would have given me----" she paused.

"Go on, beauteous Damake," said Nourgehan, with tenderness; "if you
love me, can you conceal anything from me?"

"She would have given me," resumed Damake, "a talisman of her
composition that should force you always to love me, but I have
refused it. Can there be any happy talisman in love but the heart?"

Nourgehan, struck with so many virtues, and such proofs of her
attachment to him, would no longer defer his happiness. He immediately
caused his whole Court, and all the grandees of his kingdom, to be
assembled.

"I may boast with reason," said he to them, "that I am the happiest
Prince upon earth: I possess a bracelet which preserves me from all
fear of poison; all the treasures of the sea are mine by the means of
a fish, which at my command will fetch them from the bottom of the
waves; Damake has given me this poniard, which renders whoever I
please invisible. The proof that I can make before your eyes of this
magnificent talisman will convince you of their virtues better than
the golden fish, which it would be more tedious and difficult to
exhibit."

He drew his poniard as he spoke, and disappeared from their sight. The
astonishment of the spectators was not yet dissipated, when he
disappeared with all his military officers, and said to his
magistrates, "Do you see such a general, such an officer that has
served so long in my army?" To every question they answered No. He
ceased then to be visible to the eyes of his warriors, and disappeared
with his Viziers and all the Doctors of the Law, designing by that
means to convince them fully, and leave no room for jealousy and
suspicion. "Return thanks, then, with me," added he, "to Allah and His
holy Prophet, for having made me the most powerful Prince upon earth."

He performed his action of thanks with a fervour worthy of the bounty
which Heaven had shown him, and all his courtiers followed his
example. When he had fulfilled that important duty, he said to them,

"The greatest vice of the human heart is ingratitude: it is to Damake
that I owe these powerful treasures; her beauty alone, her merit and
her virtue, would deserve the gratitude I shall my whole life preserve
for her; but gratitude ought to be accompanied with more than words: I
will this day unite her to me for ever."

All the Court and the grandees applauded his choice; and Nourgehan,
having commanded Damake to be brought, she appeared with all those
modest graces that nature had adorned her. When the Prince had given
her his hand in presence of the Great Imam, Damake, who had prostrated
herself before him, said with an audible voice,

"When I gave an account of the talismans of the great Seidel-Beckir, I
informed you, my lord, that there were four still subsisting in the
world: you have yet but three."

"Have I not riches enough in possessing thee?" returned Nourgehan.
"Thou art reckoned, perhaps, for the fourth; but they are not all of
half thy value."

"No, my lord," resumed Damake, casting her eyes upon the ground, and
presenting him with a ring, "this was wanting. This ring of steel
gives you a power of penetrating into the secrets of every heart.
Others, in my place, might look upon this talisman as a danger, but I
shall look upon it as a blessing if you still condescend to interest
yourself in the sentiments that you have for ever graved in mine; and
if I have the misfortune not to deserve that interesting curiosity, it
will at least make known to you, without any doubts, the characters
and the fidelity of your subjects."

At that instant the Peri Malikatada appeared with her whole Court, and
desired the King to pass into a garden, which by her power, and that
of the genii, she had adorned with exquisite taste and magnificence.
Here she honoured the nuptials with her presence, and Nourgehan lived
happily ever afterwards, more happy in the love and counsels of Damake
than in all the talismans upon earth, if he could have joined them to
those which he already possessed.

[Illustration]



The Story of Bohetzad;

OR,

The Lost Child.

[Illustration]


The kingdom of Dineroux comprehended all Syria and the isles of India
lying at the mouth of the Persian Gulf. This powerful State was
formerly subject to King Bohetzad, who resided in the city of
Issessara. Nothing could equal the power of this monarch. His troops
were without number, his treasures inexhaustible, and the population
of his dominions was equal to their fertility. His whole kingdom,
divided into ten great departments, was entrusted to the
administration of ten Viziers, of whom his divan was composed. This
Prince used often to repair to the chase as a recreation after the
cares of government.

One day, while he entered with his usual keenness into this exercise,
he allowed himself to be carried so far in pursuit of a stag which had
darted into the forest, and left his attendants at so great a
distance, that, upon coming out of the wood, he could perceive none of
his people; he had also lost sight of his prey. And while he
endeavoured to find out the east of the place he was in, he perceived
at a distance a pretty large troop of men. He approached them, and as
he drew near he could distinguish a body of forty knights,[11]
surrounding a splendid litter, the brightness of which was heightened
by the rays of the sun. This carriage was made of rock crystal, the
mouldings and hinges were of carved gold, and the roof, in form of a
crown, was made of wood of aloes, having cornices of silver. This
litter resembled in shape a small antique temple, but so brilliant
that the eye was quite dazzled with it. A prodigy of this kind in the
midst of a desert, astonished the King, and at the same time excited
his curiosity. He came up and saluted the convoy, and, addressing his
discourse to the knight who held the reins of the mules,

"Friends," said he, "be so kind as to tell me the meaning of all this
equipage, and the name of the person to whom it belongs."

[Footnote 11: Knights. The very ancient knighthood of India existed at
this time. Those who devoted themselves to this manner of life came,
armed from head to foot, to offer their services to the different
Princes. See the "Memoirs of Hyder Ali Khan."]

Notwithstanding the civil and polite manner in which the monarch spoke
this, yet, as the hunting dress did not express the dignity of the
wearer, they answered, "What matters it to you?"

Bohetzad was not discouraged with so dry an answer, but still insisted
with politeness, and even earnestness, for a more satisfactory reply.
He who appeared to be the leader of the troop then presented to him
the point of his spear, and said,

"Go on your way, audacious fellow! otherwise, if your curiosity
becomes more impertinent, be assured it will cost you your life."

This insolent behaviour excited the indignation of the King. He went
up to the knight who thus threatened him, with that air of confidence
and that commanding tone, the habit of which he had acquired in the
exercise of absolute power.

"Slave of my throne!" said he to him, "dost thou not know Bohetzad?
But, had I been only a common man, after speaking to you in so modest
and friendly a manner, ought you to have threatened me with death?"

At the very name of Bohetzad, the knights alighted and prostrated
themselves on the earth.

"Sire," said one of the oldest of them, "pardon an answer which we
could not think addressed to the greatest monarch of the earth; for it
was very possible not to recognize your Majesty in a hunting dress,
and without attendants."

"Rise," said the King, "and gratify my curiosity. Who is the person in
that litter, and whither are you conducting it?"

"Sire," answered the knight, "it is the daughter of Asphand, your
Grand Vizier: we are conducting her to the Prince of Babylon, to whom
she is going to be married."

During this, the daughter of the Vizier, uneasy on account of the
delay, presented her head at the curtain of the litter, in order to
get information, and was perceived by Bohetzad. Whatever pains she had
taken to prevent herself from being seen, her extraordinary beauty
struck the Sovereign. His heart received a fatal wound: his passion,
arrived at its height, aspired after gratification from the very
moment of its existence; and Bohetzad, determined to make sure of the
object of it, made use of his absolute authority, and spoke thus to
the conductor of the litter:

"I command you to take the road to Issessara, and to conduct the
daughter of my Grand Vizier to my palace."

The commander of the troop thought it necessary to make some reply to
his Majesty.

"Sire," said he, "your Vizier is your slave as well as we; and
therefore, if we return his daughter to his own palace, she will
continue there in equal subjection to your will."

"But my Vizier has disposed of his daughter without my consent, and I
do not owe him the attention which you propose I should pay him."

"Sire," replied the knight, "your Grand Vizier Asphand has always been
held in the highest estimation, and has had the honour to enjoy the
confidence of your Majesty. One instance of violence exercised against
him may affect his reputation, and cause him to lose, in the opinion
of the public, that credit which it is your interest that he should
enjoy."

"All his credit depends on me, and I do not detract from it by doing
him the honour to marry his daughter."

The oldest, and likewise the best informed of the knights, still
ventured to speak.

"Sire," said he, "precipitation is dangerous; it often draws
repentance after it: your slaves beseech your Majesty to reflect
maturely on this."

"I have reflected already, audacious old man!" replied the Prince in
anger; "what caution should I observe with my slave? Obey."

Being able to restrain his impatience no longer, he himself seized the
bridle of the mules, and directed their steps towards that part of the
forest where he presumed his people would be assembled at the
appointed rendezvous. He soon found himself at the tent which they had
set up, and he ordered all his suite to accompany the Princess in the
litter to his palace. When the retinue was arrived, the King ordered
the chief of his eunuchs to bring the Cadi, who instantly appeared,
and drew up a contract of marriage between Bohetzad and the Princess
Baherjoa, daughter of Asphand the Vizier.

While the King was taken up with the ceremonies of the marriage, the
forty knights returned to the palace of the Grand Vizier, being forced
to abandon the litter, and the Princess whom they were conducting to
Babylon. The minister was confounded at so speedy a return. Having set
out from the city of Issessara, how could they come back so soon from
Babylon? He feared that some extraordinary accident had befallen them.
One of the knights came and told what had happened: he exaggerated the
violence and despotic manner of Bohetzad, and filled the mind of the
minister with fear and resentment, although he assured him that the
monarch was that very night to marry his daughter.

"Thus to oppose himself to my disposal of my own family! to carry off
my daughter! to marry her against my will!--in this manner to repay my
services!" said the enraged minister.

Full of a desire of vengeance, he immediately ordered expresses to be
sent to all his friends, the Princes and grandees of his family, to
assemble them at his house. When they were come, he represented to
them the outrage which the King had committed against his daughter,
the Prince of Babylon, and himself. Shame and resentment entered into
every breast. Asphand perceived, from the effect of the relation which
he had made them, that it would be easy to associate them with him in
his schemes of revenge.

"Princes and lords!" said he to them, "the King, occupied with his
pleasures, is not delicate about the means of gratification; and, as a
recompense for my labours, he hesitates not to expose me to the
disgrace of an irreparable insult. I am nothing but a vile slave in
his eyes. Thinks he that my daughter is obliged to share his unsteady
attachment? You yourselves will not be safe from this dishonour; your
wives and daughters will not be spared. His torrent of iniquity will
discharge itself on you, if we endeavour not to stop its course."

The relations and friends of the Vizier entered into his interests,
and a deliberation was held concerning the measures which were to be
taken. One of them, deeply skilled in politics, thus gave his opinion:

"Vizier, write to the King, and express to him how sensible you are of
the unexpected honour which he has done you, to which you could never
have had the smallest pretensions. Along with this letter send another
to your daughter, in which you must seem delighted with her good
fortune. Supplicate Heaven with her, to pour down happiness upon a
monarch so beloved by his people. Accompany these despatches with
magnificent presents, and Bohetzad, blinded by his passion, will
readily believe everything which can flatter it. You will take
advantage of this security to leave him at the first opportunity,
under pretence of attending to his business; and, having secured
yourself against any sudden attack from him, transmit to all the
Princes, the Governors, and people entrusted with the management of
the finances, alarming accounts of the situation of the kingdom.
Represent to them the danger of the State, while the government, is in
the hands of a young Prince, addicted to the gratification of his
passions, and incapable of rewarding the services done him, which he
only repays with violence and disgrace, being guided by no law but the
dictates of a will as depraved as it is absolute."

The Grand Vizier and the rest of the assembly adopted this plan. They
all agreed to embrace every opportunity which might present itself of
preparing the minds of the people, without exposing themselves to
danger, and to continue at Issessara when Asphand had left it, for the
purpose of giving him information and directing his conduct. These
resolutions being entered into, the assembly quickly broke up, that
they might give no room for suspicion; and Asphand wrote to the King
in the following terms:

"Mighty King, monarch of two seas! your slave, already elevated by you
to the place of Grand Vizier, and honoured with the title of Prince,
did not expect the distinguished honour of becoming your relation.
Infinitely obliged by this new favour, I offer up to the God of heaven
the most ardent wishes that He would continually heap on your Majesty
new marks of His kindness; that He would prolong your days, and grant
you all the blessings of a kingdom which shall not be shaken to the
latest posterity. My duty hitherto has been to labour for maintaining
both external and internal peace in your dominions, by the wise
administration of justice, and by defending your frontiers from the
enemy. I filled the station of your First Vizier; the duties thereof
are now become more sacred to me; the honour of a connection with you
gives me a personal interest in their success; and my daughter and I
will only be slaves more faithfully attached to your person and
interests."

The letter to Baherjoa contained congratulations on her good fortune,
and was as artfully expressed as the one addressed to her spouse.
Asphand caused the first officer of his household to deliver these
letters, and accompanied them with a magnificent present. The young
son of the Vizier joined the envoy; they went together to the King's
palace, and prostrated themselves before him.

Bohetzad, intoxicated with the good fortune which he enjoyed, did not
in the least suspect the false declarations of the Vizier. He ordered
his son to be clothed with the richest robe, and a thousand pieces of
gold to be given to the officer who was entrusted with the message.
Scarcely were they gone out, when the oldest of the Viziers came to
pay his court to the King. The monarch received him with his usual
goodness, made him sit down, and communicated to him the happiness
which he expected to enjoy in the possession of his lovely spouse;
for, though he had gained her by an act of violence, he imagined that
his happiness could be obscured by no cloud.

"The attachment shown me by Asphand," said he, "removes my fears
concerning the resentment which I might suppose him to possess: here
are his letters; read them, and you will see how well he is pleased
with this alliance. Besides, the magnificence of his presents exceeds
even the force of his expressions."

The old minister, after reading the letters, continued thoughtful, and
with downcast eyes.

"Are you not satisfied with what you have read?" said the King.

"A dangerous reptile," replied the minister, "when it means to
introduce itself anywhere, does not try to frighten by its odious
hissings: it creeps in artfully under the folds of its flexible and
thin body; its scales are glittering and smooth; its looks are soft
and fawning, and it takes care to conceal its treacherous and venomous
sting. The letters of Asphand are studied: doubt not that you have
offended; and the pretended softness of his expressions only conceals
a scheme of revenge, the consequences of which you ought to guard
against and prevent."

Bohetzad, entirely occupied with his love, and supposing that the
minister who thus spoke to him was influenced by motives of jealousy,
paid no regard to the advice, which proceeded from attachment, zeal,
and prudence, but allowed himself to be blinded concerning the conduct
of Asphand. The latter, in prosecution of his plan, and under pretence
of appeasing some rumours in certain parts of the kingdom, left the
capital, in a few months after, with his whole retinue. As soon as he
saw himself out of the reach of power, he communicated to the
governors of the provinces the affront which he had received; he
excited them to revolt, by inspiring them with a fear that they would
all meet with a treatment similar to that which he had received; and
to determine them, he calumniated, in every instance, the person and
government of Bohetzad.

On receiving the messengers of the Grand Vizier, the grandees of the
kingdom, enraged against a Prince whose administration was held forth
in such odious colours, concerted together, from one province to
another, and assured Asphand that, upon the first signal given by him,
they would take the field with the troops under their command. The
Vizier at the same time warned the Princes who remained at Issessara
to hold themselves in readiness against the day on which he should
come to complete his revenge, and to free the State from a tyrant who
was sunk in effeminacy.

The plot was executed before Bohetzad had the smallest suspicion of
it. The city of Issessara was completely invested by the army of
Asphand. On receiving this news, the King armed in haste; he ordered
the troops who were about his person to follow him; but they had been
gained over, and were devoted to his enemy. He saw no safety for
himself but in flight. He saddled, with his own hands, one of his
finest coursers; and, taking Baherjoa behind him, endeavoured to gain
the desert. He made a passage for himself through the midst of his
mutinous subjects, whom he trod under his feet. The young hero, whose
courage seemed only to be increased by love, burst like a torrent
through a troop of those who wished to interrupt his passage; his
invincible spear spared none of the rebels; and his horse, as vigorous
as swift, soon carried him out of sight of his enemies.

He was now in the midst of the desert; and, night obliging him to
allow some repose to his wife, fatigued with so violent an expedition,
he stopped at the foot of a frightful mountain. On this spot the
Queen, exhausted with weariness, gave birth to her first-born child,
and the Prince received in his arms a young boy, no less beautiful
than his mother.

The tender pair loaded him with caresses, and soon forgot, in their
new joy, the fatigue, uneasiness, and horror of their situation. The
child was wrapped in a part of the Queen's robes; and, in this
solitude, they enjoyed a profound sleep. The returning day invited
them, however, to pursue their journey. The affectionate mother nursed
her infant tenderly, but it pined away, and the mother herself was in
danger. Bohetzad then saw himself under the cruel necessity of
sacrificing nature to duty. He perceived a limpid fountain, on the
borders of which there was a green bank, defended from the rays of the
sun by the neighbouring willows. Here the unhappy parents abandoned to
the care of Providence the object of their affection, having first
watered it with their tears.

"Great Allah!" said the afflicted mother, "Thou who formerly watched
over the young Ishmael, take care of this innocent creature. Send the
preserving angel to him. We have no hope but in Thy succour."

Sighs prevented her from saying more. They both tore themselves away
from this dreadful sacrifice, and committed this sacred deposit into
the hands of its Creator.

The noise they had made in coming thither had frightened away from the
brink a hind, who, along with her fawns, was refreshing herself at
this exuberant fountain. As soon as they were gone, she returned, and
approached the languishing creature, which seemed about to lose for
ever the little strength which remained. A powerful instinct led this
animal to give the child that nourishment which was reserved only for
her young ones. She fed quietly around her nursling, and left the
place no more. The wild beasts of the forest, it appeared, had
abandoned to her the enjoyment of this happy spot, although so
necessary to the supply of their wants, amid the burning sands and
parched deserts with which they were surrounded. Nevertheless, men
came to disturb their repose.

It was a band of robbers, whom thirst had brought into these places.
They saw a child wrapped in rich swaddling-clothes, but still more
remarkable for the beauty of its features. The leader of the banditti
approached it, took it up, and sent it straightway to his wife, that
she might pay it the necessary attentions, and educate it as if it had
been their own son. When the wife saw it she was moved with its
innocent beauty, entered into the benevolent views of her husband, and
immediately procured for their adopted son the best nurse in the
horde.

Having seen the son of Bohetzad in safe hands, let us now follow the
steps of those illustrious travellers.

Full of grief for the sacrifice which they had been forced to make,
the King and Queen continued their journey in sadness till they
reached the capital of Persia, where Kassera then reigned.

This powerful monarch received the fugitive Prince and his charming
spouse with the respect which was due from a crowned head to a great
Sovereign, his ally, whose rebellious subjects had revolted under the
standard of a criminal usurper. To Bohetzad he allotted an apartment
in his palace as magnificent as his own, and to Baherjoa one equal to
that of his favourite Sultana. Such were the riches and magnificence
of the palace in which the King of Dineroux and his wife now were,
that, besides the magnificent apartments in which they were lodged
themselves, there were twenty-four others occupied by as many ladies
belonging to the Sultan, each of whom was served by fifty slaves of
their own sex, in the bloom of youth and of the most exquisite beauty.

The treasures of the East seemed to have been exhausted in beautifying
these stately dwellings. The gardens were full of the rarest and the
most gaudy flowers; the waters, whose courses were distributed with
great art, presented a magnificent scene to the eye; the trees gave at
once, by the beauty of their fruit and the thickness of their foliage,
the idea of plenty and the delight of repose; the birds, with the
variety of their plumage and their song, enchanted the inhabitants of
these happy regions. Everything, in short, concurred to display the
riches of the great monarch of Persia, whose immense power was further
displayed by an army of two hundred thousand men which constituted his
life guard. A Prince so powerful and magnificent need spare nothing in
treating, in a manner suitable to their rank, the illustrious guests
whom he had received into his palace.

At the same time that he ordered a powerful army to be assembled on
the frontiers, with the necessary stores and military engines, he
endeavoured to dispel the melancholy of the husband and wife by
feasts, which displayed the greatest splendour and variety. But
generosity and greatness of soul were not the only cause of his
attentions; a less noble but more powerful feeling had taken
possession of his heart. He was enamoured of Baherjoa, whose beauty
was superior to that of all the wives in his seraglio. His passion for
her was disguised under the veil of friendship; but, from the
profusion which he displayed on every occasion, the delicacy of his
attentions, and the care which he took to anticipate her wishes, it
was easy to discover the love by which he was actuated. The sad
Baherjoa, whose attention was occupied solely by the loss of her son
and the misfortunes of her husband, was far from ascribing any of the
attentions which she met with to this motive; her soul, weighed down
with grief, was incapable of enjoying any of the pleasures which were
presented to her; her heart, sincerely affected, was inaccessible to
every impression but that with which it was already occupied. Her son
abandoned in the desert to the care of Providence, and her husband
reduced by her father to the necessity of asking succour from a
foreign King, were the only objects which engrossed her thoughts.

In the meantime, the army which Bohetzad was to command was assembled.
He took leave of Kassera to put himself at the head of this formidable
body, and soon penetrated into the heart of Syria. Asphand, the
usurper, being informed of the danger which threatened him,
communicated it to his associates, assembled them as quickly as
possible, and met his enemy at the head of two hundred thousand men.

The armies were now in sight of one another. The centre of Bohetzad's
army was commanded by an experienced Vizier of the Persian King.
Bohetzad himself, at the head of a chosen body of knights, was
everywhere to give orders. He suddenly began the combat on the right
by attacking the opposite wing of the enemy with such fury that they
were obliged to fall back upon the centre, and were thrown into
confusion and disorder. The King of Dineroux lost not a moment: he
advanced his main body towards that of the enemy as if he meant to
attack it; but, frugal of the blood of his subjects, whose lives he
wished to spare, he made them halt, and ordered his left wing to
attack the right wing of the enemy: they gave way and fell back in
disorder, so that three-fourths of Asphand's army remained surrounded.
The usurper endeavoured in vain to rally his troops, whom an attack
equally prudent and vigorous had thrown into disorder. Fear, and above
all remorse, disarmed them. A pardon being offered, they accepted it;
and, that they might appear less unworthy of it, they unanimously
delivered up the ringleaders of the revolt. Asphand, his family, and
his principal associates, were put to death on the field of battle.

This victory decided anew the fate of the kingdom of Dineroux, which
again submitted to the laws of its rightful Sovereign. The monarch
returned to his capital, re-established order throughout his empire,
and contrived proper means for testifying his gratitude to the
Sovereign who had given him such powerful assistance.

He determined that the most intelligent of his Viziers should go into
Persia, at the head of twelve thousand men. Twenty elephants, loaded
with magnificent presents, were to follow in his train. At the same
time, he was charged with a more delicate commission. He was to pass
through the desert in which the son of Baherjoa had been abandoned,
and endeavour to find out the place near the fountain which had served
him for a cradle. He was to make inquiry of every living soul he might
meet on the road, in order to get information concerning the fate of
this precious deposit; and having found him, to carry him to the arms
of his tender mother, whom he was to bring with him also to Issessara.
But many obstacles stood in the way of these things. The prudent envoy
caused the whole desert to be searched, but to no purpose: he did not
succeed so well in finding the child as in bringing back the mother.

Kassera, desperately in love with this Princess, could not think of
parting with her. On the arrival of the ambassador, with presents from
the King of Dineroux, and a commission to bring away the Queen, he
felt some struggles in his heart; but love triumphed over them. This
imperious passion magnified, in his eyes, the good offices he had
done, and made the giving up of a woman seem but a poor return for
them. In a word, he renounced the glorious title of a generous
protector for that of a base ravisher of the wife of his ally.

Nevertheless, he appeared to receive with gratitude the embassy of
Bohetzad, and the presents with which it was accompanied. Meanwhile,
he was informed that the auxiliary troops, which he had furnished this
monarch, had returned into Persia. The officers who commanded them
extolled to the skies the bravery, the abilities, and the magnificence
of Bohetzad. They returned from his dominions, delighted with himself,
loaded with kindness, and astonished at the power with which he was
surrounded, and the resources of the country over which he reigned.
These universal reports raised an unusual conflict in the soul of
Kassera. He was not accustomed to victory over himself, for, till that
moment, he had yielded to every inclination. But he must now either
give up a violent passion, or the title of the benefactor of a
Sovereign equal to himself in dignity and in power, and that, too, at
the hazard of drawing upon Persia the scourge of a cruel war, and of
seeing all Asia in dreadful confusion.

"Be ashamed, Kassera," said he to himself, "of the guilty designs you
have formed. Return thanks to fortune for the favour it has done you,
in opening your eyes to the folly of your conduct. May the King of
Dineroux for ever remain ignorant that, forgetting what you owe both
to yourself and him, you have dared to covet a blessing which he holds
so dear. Remember the benefit you have derived from encountering
difficulties which have recalled you to your duty. Oh! absolute power!
how much art thou to be dreaded by the man who knows not how to
command himself! Allowing myself to be carried away by my desires, I
was about to become criminal, and to show myself unworthy to reign.
But I know how to check my passions and change my projects."

The King of Persia, having taken this resolution, sent immediately for
his principal treasurer, and gave orders that a litter, ornamented
with precious stones, and more splendid than had ever been seen,
should be prepared to carry Baherjoa into her husband's dominions. A
considerable embassy was ordered to follow it, with magnificent
presents. In this manner did Baherjoa begin her journey to Syria,
after being well assured of respect and attachment by the Sovereign
who had now determined to part with her. Bohetzad met his spouse
before she entered Issessara. It is impossible to describe the
transports of this interview. Yet the tender uneasiness of the mother,
respecting the fate of her son, soon disturbed the happiness with
which the pair were intoxicated. Baherjoa offered the greatest reward
to obtain news of her son, and Bohetzad gave orders that the most
minute inquiry should be made. It was by no means probable that he had
been devoured by wild beasts, otherwise some remnants would have been
found, at the first search, of the clothes wherein he was wrapped. A
thousand knights were again dispatched to the desert, and ordered to
spread themselves all around the fountain; but their search was in
vain. Bohetzad concealed their want of success from his inconsolable
spouse, and endeavoured to soften her pain and vexation.

"There is as yet no room for despair," said he to her: "the favour of
Heaven, which did not abandon us amidst the dangers to which we have
been exposed, and which has restored to us the throne whereon we are
now seated, will have preserved the son so dear to our heart. It only
withholds him in order to deliver him to us when we shall have merited
this favour by our submission to its will. To be deprived of him is
grievous, but we are still of an age to expect consolation. Dry up
your tears, my dear Baherjoa; they are the torment of my life."

The Queen appeared somewhat more tranquil, but the wound which her
heart had received could not be so easily closed.

In the meantime, the tender object of their uneasiness, snatched from
the arms of death by the chief of the robbers, and educated by his
wife with all the care of the most tender mother, grew in strength and
beauty. The leisure of his early youth was filled up by reading and
study. He was soon able to engage in those exercises which strengthen
the body; he outstripped all the children of the horde by abilities,
address, strength, and intrepidity, very surprising at his years. He
was also distinguished by an application to study, from which he
derived the greatest advantages, and by punctuality in those duties
which were required of him by a society little suited to him, but of
which chance had made him a member. The chief of these vagabonds,
seeing him so expert in the use of arms and in riding, soon associated
him with himself in his expeditions against the travellers whom
business led into the countries infested by their depredations; and
the young Aladin (for this was his name) showed himself as brave as he
was expert.

One day the troop attacked a caravan returning from India, and which,
as it was loaded with goods of the most valuable kind, a formidable
guard defended from danger. The desire of booty prevented the
vagabonds from thinking of the danger to which they were exposing
themselves. They attacked this convoy with an unusual degree of
boldness, but were soon repulsed. Two-thirds of the troop remained on
the field of battle, and the rest fled. Aladin, as yet young and
inexperienced, drawn on by his valour, was soon surrounded and made
prisoner.

When a robber is taken with arms in his hand he ought to be beheaded.
But the engaging air, the elegance, and beauty of this young Prince,
interested the whole caravan in his favour, and saved him from the
common fate. They did not believe the ingenuous replies which he made.
When questioned about his birth and profession, he declared himself
the son of the chief of the robbers. They could not imagine how this
youth should unite so many natural advantages with an air so
remarkable. He was carried along with the caravan, which soon arrived
at Issessara, where his father Bohetzad held his Court.

The arrival of the caravan afforded a new opportunity of diverting the
attention of the Queen, as yet afflicted with the loss of a son, whom
she could not banish from her memory. The Sovereign sent the chief of
the eunuchs to make choice of such stuffs and valuable articles as
might be most agreeable to Baherjoa. The merchants were eager to
display them before him; but the figure of Aladin, who was there as a
slave, appeared to him so ravishingly beautiful that he attracted his
particular attention. He wished to conduct him to the palace, hoping
that his service might be agreeable to the monarch; so that, after
having purchased what was proper, he returned, together with Aladin,
to the palace, where the King appeared satisfied with his bargains.

"Sire," said the eunuch, "your Majesty seems pleased with what I have
purchased; but the most beautiful article in the _kan_[12] was a young
man of such complete beauty that I thought him the perfect image of
him who is mentioned in the Alcoran, before whom the eleven stars
prostrated themselves, as before the sun and the moon."

[Footnote 12: The _kan_ is a place allotted for the shops of foreign
merchants, where they expose their merchandise for sale.]

The King, curious to see this slave, ordered him to be brought with
his master, and they both quickly appeared before the King.

The appearance of the young stranger did not belie the favourable
character which the chief of the eunuchs had given of him. The King
could not believe that so beautiful a slave could owe his birth to a
class of men so vulgar as that which composed the caravan. He made
inquiry concerning him of their chief, to whom he communicated his
doubts on that point.

"Sire," replied the merchant, "this young man does not in reality
belong to any of us, and we know neither his family nor origin. We
were attacked in the desert by a band of robbers; we defended
ourselves with bravery. Part of them remained on the field of battle,
the rest fled, and left in our hands the young man who now engages
your curiosity. Custom condemned him to death, but we could not think
of inflicting it. We asked him concerning his station and family, and
he told us that he was the son of the chief of these vagabonds. We
know no more of him, and can say nothing more to your Majesty with any
degree of certainty."

"Let him be left here," said the King; "I want him to enter into my
service."

"Your Majesty," replied the chief, "may dispose as you please of all
that belongs to the slaves of your throne."

At that instant Aladin fell at the feet of the monarch, with his face
on the ground, and kissed his robe. The King ordered the chief of the
eunuchs to admit him into the class of slaves which were most
frequently about his person.

Nature spoke in the monarch's heart in favour of his new page. He
never saw him without feeling emotions which he could by no means
account for. He always wished to have him with him; and that which at
first appeared no more than a rising inclination, soon became a very
warm attachment. An interest which he felt very strongly made him
regard with pleasure the progress both of the young Aladin's mind and
body. He admired his application, prudence, discretion, and fidelity,
and already considered his rare virtues as the fruit of his cares.

After long experience of his abilities and activity, he went so far as
to trust him with the superintendence of his finances, and deprived
his Viziers of an administration in which he suspected them. In short,
he decided every affair of importance, by submitting it to the
sagacity of the young Aladin. The confidence of the Sovereign was not
misplaced. The more he trusted the reason and wisdom of his favourite,
the more the happiness of his people, the prosperity of the realm, and
his revenues were increased. His confidence in a short time knew no
bounds. Aladin became as dear to his father as if he had known himself
to be so in reality, and the influence of the Viziers was lost in that
of the young minister.

Jealous of a power which they had lost, the ten Viziers assembled in
secret for the purpose of contriving the means of gratifying their
ambition and their avarice. They determined, at any rate, to hasten
the ruin of their hated rival; and, unfortunately, he himself seemed
to furnish a favourable opportunity for this purpose.

A grand entertainment was given in the palace. Aladin was naturally
sober; but, while he sought only to participate in the pleasure of the
guests, he indulged himself in drink, with so much the greater
security that he was not accustomed to it, and was ignorant of its
effects. At the end of the repast he wanted to retire to his own
apartment. He staggered, his eyes grew dim, and he lost the use of his
senses. The first apartment which came in his way seemed to be made
ready for him. It was a very rich one, and lighted by a great number
of wax candles set in lustres. But Aladin saw nothing; he only sought
repose, and having found a sofa, he threw himself upon it and fell
asleep.

There were no slaves there to inform him of his mistake. They were
enjoying the feast, and only returned to the apartment, which they had
left open, to fill the pots with perfumes, and prepare, according to
the custom of the East, a collation of different sherbets and dried
sweetmeats. The hangings concealed the sofa on which Aladin lay.

All these preparations being finished, the King and Queen retired to
their apartment. Bohetzad approached the sofa, opened the curtains,
and beheld his minister stretched upon it and asleep. He was instantly
seized with frantic indignation.

"What dreadful behaviour is this of yours?" said he to Baherjoa. "This
slave could not have got into your apartment and placed himself there
without your knowledge."

"Sire," replied the Queen, in astonishment, but without confusion, "in
the name of the great Prophet I swear that I have never spoken to this
young man. This is the first time I ever saw him, and in nothing have
I encouraged his audacity."

At the noise which was made around the sofa Aladin awoke, surprised
and astonished at his situation. He hastily arose.

"Traitor!" said the frantic King to him, "ingrate! is this thy
gratitude for my favour? Darest thou enter into my womens' apartment,
wretch that thou art? Speedily shalt thou receive the chastisement of
thy boldness."

Having said this, Bohetzad, inflamed with rage, ordered the chief of
his eunuchs to shut up the minister in prison. The monarch, agitated
with the most violent and opposite passions, spent the night without
closing his eyes. At daybreak he called to him the first of his
Viziers, who had not, for a long time, been admitted into his
presence. He told him of the insult which he supposed he had received.

At this recital the Vizier concealed his secret joy. Envy, hatred, and
revenge were about to triumph. It was no feeble victim which was
offered: it was a most powerful rival whom he had to crush. The old
courtier recollected himself. He endeavoured still further to
exasperate his Sovereign, and determine him to take distinguished
vengeance; and with a humble air he spoke as follows:

"Sire, your faithful subjects were astonished when they saw your
confidence bestowed upon an avowed son of a chief of the robbers. It
would have been too great an instance of your Majesty's goodness to
have admitted the branch of so corrupt a stock near your sacred
person. You could expect nothing from him but treachery and crimes."

At this speech of the Vizier, the eyes of the monarch sparkled with
rage. Immediately he ordered the young man to be brought before him,
loaded with chains.

"Wretch!" said he, as soon as he saw him, "recollect the excess of my
favours, and of your ingratitude! Let the recollection of these, and
your remorse, be to you the preludes of the punishment that awaits
you! Your head is soon to fall upon the scaffold."

The fury and threatening of the King could not change the countenance
of the innocent and unfortunate Aladin. No trouble altered the beauty
of his features: he preserved that sweet, modest, and firm air which
had hitherto gained him the goodwill of the monarch. He began to
speak, and ingenuous candour flowed from his lips.

"Sire, my fault was an involuntary one. If an indiscretion on my part
reduced me to a situation in which, during some time, I was deprived
of the use of reason, so that it was no longer my guide, and allowed
me to fall into a very gross mistake, the rest was the work of the
cruelty of fate. My heart, overcome by your favours, and entirely
devoted to your Majesty, has hitherto felt no pleasure but in the
happiness of serving you. But, alas! what avail the best intentions,
and all the exertions of zeal, if a superior law, ruling our destiny,
can put a different appearance on the purity of the motives by which
we are influenced?--if a single action of our life, and that, too,
done from the momentary disorder of our senses, can expose us to the
apparent guilt of a crime, although all our inclinations are virtuous?
Hurried from the summit of happiness into the horrors of disgrace, I
must submit to the decree which inflicts the blow, like the merchant,
whose memorable story is known even in your Majesty's palace."

"What merchant do you mean?" said the King. "What connection has his
story with thy crime? I allow you to relate it."


THE HISTORY OF KASKAS, OR THE UNLUCKY MAN.


Sire, there lived at Bagdad a very wealthy merchant, whose manners and
knowledge rendered him worthy of public confidence. His name was
Kaskas. Fortune had hitherto seconded his labours so well, that he
could boast of success in all his enterprises; but fate soon declared
against him. He could now no longer send a commission, or receive a
return, without being obliged to make considerable sacrifices. He
determined at length to change the nature of his commerce. He sold his
stock, and laid out one-half of the money in buying grain, in hopes
that this article would rise in its price during the winter.
Circumstances, however, were against his speculation, for grain fell
in its value. To avoid this loss, he locked up his granaries,
determined to wait for a more favourable opportunity. In the meantime,
one of his friends having come on a visit to him, wished to persuade
him to give up this new kind of commerce in which he was engaged; but
he did not listen to this advice, and was obstinately determined to
keep his grain a third year. Soon after there happened so violent a
storm that the streets and houses of Bagdad suffered by an inundation.
When the waters were abated, Kaskas went to see if his corn had
received any damage; he found it all springing, and beginning to rot.
In order to escape the penalty, it cost him five hundred pieces to get
thrown into the river that which he had heaped up in his granaries at
a great expense.

His friend returned to him.

"You have neglected," said he, "the advice which I gave you. Distrust
fortune, she seems to have sworn against you, and engage in no
enterprise without the advice of a skilful astrologer."

There was no scarcity of these in Bagdad; and Kaskas, taught by his
ill success, thought the advice of his friend deserved attention. The
soothsayer drew out his horoscope, and assured him that his star was
so malignant, that he must of necessity lose whatever stock he should
hazard in commerce. Kaskas, shocked with a prophecy so contrary to his
own inclination, attempted to prove the prediction false. He laid out
all the money he had remaining in loading a vessel, and embarked in it
with all his wealth.

At the end of four days, during which he had an agreeable voyage, a
terrible tempest arose, which broke in pieces the masts and sails,
carried away the rudder, and at last sunk the ship, with the whole
crew. Kaskas alone, after seeing the remainder of his fortune perish,
was saved from shipwreck by a fragment of the vessel, which carried
him towards a sandy country, where he landed at length, after much
difficulty and fatigue. Tired and naked, he landed in the
neighbourhood of a village which was situated on the sea-shore. He
hastened thither to implore relief, and return thanks to Heaven for
having preserved him from death, while his unfortunate companions had
perished.

As he entered this little colony, he met an old man whose features and
dress inspired respect and confidence. This man, affected with the
situation of Kaskas, covered him with his cloak, and led him to his
house, where, after having given such relief as his exhausted strength
required, he clothed him in a suitable dress.

It was natural for Kaskas to gratify his landlord's curiosity by the
relation of his adventures, and he recounted them with such an air of
candour as to leave no doubt of their truth. As this old man had just
lost his steward, he judged Kaskas worthy to succeed him, and offered
him this new office, with an appointment of two pieces of gold a day.
It was a laborious office: he had to sow a considerable quantity of
ground, to direct the work and workmen, to gather in immense harvests,
to look after the flocks, and to give in accurate and faithful
accounts of the whole at the end of the year. The poor Kaskas returned
thanks to Providence for thus putting it in his power to earn a
subsistence by his labour, since every other resource in the world had
failed him; and he immediately entered on the duties of his new
place.

These he fulfilled with assiduity, zeal, and knowledge, till the very
moment when he was to treasure up the different crops. As his master
had never yet given him any part of his wages, he suspected that he
would not fulfil his engagements, and, to make sure of his salary, he
set apart as much of the grain as would amount to the sum, and shut up
all the rest, giving an account of it to his master. The latter
received this account, full of confidence in his steward, and paid him
all the wages which he owed him, assuring him of the same punctuality
in that respect every year. Kaskas was much ashamed of the precautions
which he had taken, and of the suspicions which he had allowed himself
to entertain.

He immediately returned to the little magazine he had made, in order
to repair his injustice, if happily it were still in his power. But
what was his surprise when he did not find in it the grain he had set
apart! He thought he saw in this theft the punishment of Heaven, and
determined to confess the fault of which he had been guilty. With a
heart full of grief he returned to his master.

"You appear vexed," said the old man. "What can be the cause of it?"

Then Kaskas, flattering himself that he would obtain by his sincerity
the pardon of his fault, made a humble confession of the motive, and
all the circumstances of it, even to the carrying off the grain which
he had set apart, and of which he had not been able to discover the
thieves.

The old man, discovering the marked influence of his steward's
malignant star, thought it would be imprudent to keep him any longer
in his service, and determined to give him his dismissal immediately.

"We do not suit one another," said he to him; "let us part. But, as it
is not just that I should bear the loss of that which you improperly
set apart, restore me the money which I gave you, and seek the reward
of your labour in the sale of the grain which you took from me. I
abandon you."

The unfortunate Kaskas acknowledged the justice of this order: he
submitted to it without murmuring, and left the house of his
benefactor somewhat less naked than he entered it, but without a
single piece of money, and plunged into a deep melancholy.

This sorrowful sport of fortune was thoughtfully walking along the
sea-shore, when he perceived a tent, which he approached. He found in
it four persons, who, discovering in his countenance, which was
otherwise engaging, the traces of deep sorrow, eagerly asked him the
cause of it. He gratified their curiosity by the recital of his
misfortunes. As he spoke he drew a very marked attention from one of
the four, who seemed to have a kind of authority over the other three.
This man soon recognized him as one of his correspondents at Bagdad,
with whom he had formerly had important and lucrative concerns. The
merchant was moved with compassion. At that time he was engaged in an
adventure of pearl-fishing, and was the chief of the three divers who
were with him.

"Throw yourselves into the sea," said he to them, "and the first take
of pearls which you have shall be for this unfortunate traveller."

The three divers, affected as well as their master with the misfortune
of Kaskas, threw themselves into the sea, and brought up, in shells
which they carried with them, ten pearls of an inestimable value for
their size and beauty. The merchant was delighted with the little
fortune he had been able to procure for his former correspondent.

"Take these pearls," said he to him; "sell two of them when you arrive
in the capital, and their price will be sufficient for any adventure
in which you may be inclined to engage; but take particular care of
the other eight, that they may serve you in the time of need, and sell
them where you can do it to the greatest advantage."

Kaskas, after thanking his benefactor, departed, and took the road
which he was directed to follow in his way to the capital. He had been
three days on his journey, when he perceived at a distance some people
on horseback. Afraid lest they should be robbers, he hid eight of the
pearls betwixt the two cloths of his vest, and put into his mouth the
two others which he proposed to sell. He was not wrong in his
conjecture concerning the persons he had seen--they were in reality
robbers. They came up to him, surrounded him, and stripped him; and in
this situation they left him on the road, with nothing but a single
pair of drawers.

The unfortunate traveller recognized in this new feature of fortune
the effect of the evil destiny which pursued him. Meanwhile, he
congratulated himself on having been able to save from the hands of
the rascals the two most beautiful pearls, which were sufficient to
re-establish his affairs and assist him in some lucrative adventure.
The capital was not far distant. He arrived there, and entrusted to
the Dellal[13] the two pearls which remained, to expose them for sale.
The Dellal proclaimed the jewels with a loud voice in the market, and
invited the curious to bid for them. Unfortunately, some days before
there had been some pearls stolen from one of the richest jewellers in
the city. He thought he recognized some of his own in those which were
set up to sell, and demanded that the pretended owner of the jewels
should appear. When he saw him so ill dressed he was convinced he had
found the thief.

[Footnote 13: The Dellal is a public crier.]

"There are two pearls," said he to him, "but you ought to have ten:
what have you done with the other eight?"

Kaskas, thinking the jeweller had been informed of the present that
the fisher had made him, ingenuously replied, "I had ten of them, it
is true; but some robbers whom I met on the road have carried off the
other eight in the lining of my waistcoat, where I had concealed
them."

On this confession, which appeared to the jeweller an acknowledgment
of guilt, he took Kaskas by the hand and carried him before the civil
magistrate, accusing him of having stolen his pearls. This judge, led
away by appearances, and on the declaration of the rich citizen,
condemned the poor Kaskas to the bastinado, and to imprisonment as
long as his accuser should be pleased to detain him in custody. This
unhappy creature, the sport of fortune and of men's injustice,
underwent the punishment, and was forced, during a whole year, to
groan under the rigour of a severe confinement, till at length chance
brought a man of his acquaintance into the same prison. This was one
of the three divers in the Persian Gulf, whose labour appeared to have
been so profitable to him.

The diver, surprised to see him in this situation, asked the cause of
it. Kaskas related to him all that had happened since they parted.
This new confidant immediately addressed a petition to the King, in
which he implored the favour of being admitted into his presence, that
he might communicate to him a secret of the utmost importance. The
King caused the diver to be brought before him. He prostrated himself;
and the King, after having made him rise up, ordered him to
communicate the secret which he was to reveal.

"Great King," said the diver, "the greatness of your Majesty's soul,
and your love of justice, are known to all your subjects. I venture,
this day, to call upon these sublime virtues, in favour of an unhappy
innocent stranger, who has suffered an unjust punishment for a crime
which he did not commit, and who is still confined in the same dungeon
in which I have been shut up for a trifling fault. You love, sire, to
punish the wicked; but it is with the spirit of equity, and for the
maintenance of good order. Your Majesty would wish that the wolf and
the lamb should walk together securely; and it is the duty of your
slave to co-operate with your benevolent intentions, by putting it in
your power to repair an injustice committed against a man, persecuted
by his evil destiny, and worthy of your compassion."

He then entered into a minute detail of the adventure of Kaskas with
regard to the pearls. He showed him the circumstance which had led the
jeweller into a mistake, and occasioned the ignorance of the judge; in
fine, he added, "If your Majesty still suspects the truth of my
recital, you may cause the chief of the fishery, and my companions the
divers, to be interrogated concerning it."

The diver, having no interest in a matter that concerned only an
unfortunate and helpless man, spoke with that boldness and openness
which truth inspires. In the end, the monarch was convinced of the
innocence of the unfortunate Kaskas, and ordered the chief of the
eunuchs to set him at liberty, conduct him to the bath, and, after
having clothed him decently, to bring him into his presence.

The eunuch obeyed. Kaskas was led to the feet of the Sovereign, where
he confirmed the report of the diver. He told the fruitless efforts he
had made to undeceive the jeweller and remove the prejudice of the
judge. In a word, by the detail of all his adventures, he interested
the King so much, that he obtained from him, that instant, a lodging
in the palace, and a place of trust near his person, with great
appointments.

As to the jeweller, after being obliged to restore the pearls, he was
sentenced to receive two hundred strokes of the bastinado: the judge
received double that number, and was deposed from his office. Kaskas,
loaded with favours, thought fate reconciled to him for ever. He took
pleasure in hardening himself against his bad fortune, and was already
arranging the plans of that success which he promised himself in the
new office which he filled, when his curiosity laid a new snare for
him.

He discovered one day in the apartment which was allotted to him a
door covered up with a thin coat of plaster, which, from age, fell to
dust at the smallest touch. It required no effort to force this
passage--the door opened of itself. He entered, without reflecting,
into a rich apartment, to which he was an entire stranger, and found
himself, without knowing it, in the middle of the palace.

Scarcely had he made one step when the chief of the eunuchs observed
him, and without delay informed the King of it. The monarch instantly
came. The fragments of the plaster, which were still upon the ground,
appeared a proof that the door had been forced, and the astonishment
of Kaskas carried a complete conviction of his guilt.

"Unhappy man!" said the King to him, "is it thus you acknowledge my
favours and your obligations? My justice saved you when I believed you
innocent: guilty now, it condemns you to lose your sight."

The imprudent man, without daring to attempt any justification, was
instantly delivered over to the executioner, asking no other favour
than that they would put into his hands the eyes which were to be torn
out.

He carried them in his hand as he walked groping through the streets
of the capital.

"Behold," said he, "O ye who hear me, that which the unfortunate
Kaskas hath gained by hardening himself against the decrees of his
evil destiny, and despising the advice of his friends! Behold the lot
of the obstinate!"

       *       *       *       *       *

Aladin having thus finished the history of the merchant, addressed
himself directly to Bohetzad.

"Sire, you have seen the effect of fortune's influence on the man
whose adventures I have now related. So long as his star was
propitious, he succeeded in everything; but whenever it changed, his
efforts to correct its malignity were fruitless. The transient
instances of success which seemed to arrest the current of his
misfortunes soon plunged him into greater evils than those which he
had escaped. Circumstances that were unforeseen, and steps that were
innocent, gave him the appearance of ingratitude and guilt, even when
everything assured him of the purity of his conduct. My lot, alas! is
but too like that of his."

The young man had related the adventures of the unfortunate merchant
of Bagdad so naturally and with so much grace, and had made so happy
an application of them, that Bohetzad, still disposed to favour a
criminal whom he had loved so well, and moved by the instance of rash
judgment which he had just heard, put off the execution which he had
ordered till the day following, under pretence of its being too late
for it then.

"Return to thy prison," said he to him. "I grant thee thy life till
to-morrow: I put off till that time the punishment that is justly due
to thee."

In the meantime the First Vizier expected with impatience the account
of Aladin's execution, and when he heard that it was delayed, he
assembled his associates, and thus addressed the Second Vizier:

"The favourite has found means to suspend the execution of his
sentence. I have done my duty in determining the King to an act of
justice. It now belongs to you to do yours by representing to him the
wrong which he does in forgetting the duties of the throne, and in
withholding so long the punishment of a crime that has been proved.
Make your remonstrances to his Majesty, and give them that force which
both his personal safety and ours requires."

The next morning, as soon as access could be had to Bohetzad, Baharon
(for that was the name of the Second Vizier) was introduced to the
King.

"Sire," said this minister to him, "I heard in the retirement of my
closet, and amid the important business with which I am entrusted, of
the insult your Majesty has received. Excuse the zeal by which I am
animated if I offer your Majesty all the service which can arise from
my experience and attachment to you to stop the progress of this
evil."

The King thought Baharon might really be ignorant of the event which
had happened within the palace, and told him the crime of which Aladin
was guilty.

The Vizier seemed to shake as he listened to this report.

"Sire," said he to the King, as soon as he had done speaking, "if the
son of a chief of villains, brought up and nourished amidst guilt,
could have been capable of virtuous sentiments, this phenomenon would
have contradicted experience, and even proved it deceitful. I will
here venture to recall to your Majesty a fable of our ancestors which
tradition has preserved to us:

"In ancient times a young wolf was put to school, to endeavour, by
instruction, to correct his natural propensity to voracity. His
master, in order to teach him to read, transcribed, in large
characters, some letters of the alphabet, and attempted to make him
understand these signs. But instead of reading K L S, as it was
written, the savage animal read fluently Kid, Lamb, Sheep. He was
governed by instinct, and his nature was incorrigible. The son of a
robber is in the very same situation: vice is coeval with his
existence. From the beginning he is an infected mass, which it is
impossible to purify. But what astonishes me most, sire, is that such
a criminal should have survived one moment the insult he has offered
to the Crown."

These remonstrances of the Second Vizier having enraged the mind of
the monarch still more, he ordered the prisoner to be brought in
chains into his presence. He was obeyed.

Aladin appeared. The King, doing violence to the sentiments which
moved him in his favour, addressed him with the greatest severity.

"Traitor!" said he to him, "nothing can hereafter delay your
punishment; and the world shall be informed of your crime and my
vengeance!"

At the same time he gave the executioner the signal of death.

"Sire," interrupted Aladin, whose steady and modest countenance was
the genuine proof of courage and innocence, "my life is in the hands
of your Majesty; but I conjure you still not to hasten my death. He
who thinks only of the present, without reference to the future,
exposes himself to as bitter a repentance as that which the merchant
felt, whose history I have heard. He, on the contrary, who looks into
futurity, has a right one day to congratulate himself on his prudence,
as it happened to the son of this merchant."

Bohetzad, in spite of himself, felt his curiosity excited anew, and
was desirous to hear the story which Aladin wanted to relate to him.

"I will consent," said the monarch, "to hear the adventures of this
merchant; but it is the last instance of complaisance I shall show
you."

"May it please your beneficent Majesty," returned Aladin, "order this
man, who holds the sabre above my head, to be gone. I think I see the
angel of death."

The executioner, having withdrawn by the King's order, Aladin
fulfilled the engagement he had come under in the following terms:

[Illustration]


THE HISTORY OF ILLAGE MAHOMET AND HIS SONS.


There was, in the city of Naka in Tartary, a merchant, whose name was
Illage Mahomet, who, wishing to extend his commerce to the most remote
boundaries of the world, constructed a vessel in such a manner as to
be able to endure the longest voyage and carry a considerable burden.
When this ship was ready to go to sea, he filled it with merchandise;
and observing that the wind was favourable, he took leave of his wife,
embraced his three children, went on board, and sailed with a fair
wind for the Indies.

A fortunate voyage having, in a short time, brought him to the port of
the capital of India, he took lodgings, and placed his merchandise in
the _kan_. Quite at ease respecting the fate of his effects, he then
visited the different quarters of the city, accompanied by four
slaves, and soon entered into friendship with the most celebrated
merchants of the place. As his attendants had orders to publish the
nature of his merchandise, and to distribute patterns of them, a crowd
of purchasers resorted to his magazines.

The King of India was accustomed to come out of his palace in order to
walk through the town, and inform himself of what was going on there,
under a disguise which rendered it impossible he should be known.
Chance having directed his steps to the neighbourhood of the _kan_, he
was anxious to know what drew everybody there. He saw this foreign
merchant, whom a happy and engaging physiognomy, with a gracious
address, announced in a very favourable manner. He heard him answer,
with good breeding and perspicuity, the questions that were put to
him, and saw him conduct his affairs with an openness which gained the
confidence of all. He was desirous of having some conversation with
him; but the fear of being discovered made him renounce his design for
the present. He returned to his palace as quickly as he could, resumed
the dress which became his dignity, and sent for this honourable
merchant. The merchant quickly obeyed the will of the monarch. He was
admitted into his presence, and the King expressed his desire to be
acquainted with him.

"Sire," replied the merchant, "I was born and established in Naka,
near Mount Caucasus. Commerce is my profession. The favour and liberty
which your Majesty grants it have directed my speculations to your
dominions, and Heaven hath favoured my voyage."

The King, satisfied with the simple and noble reply of this stranger,
wished to find out more particularly the amount of his knowledge, by
showing, by turns, curiosity on some subjects and embarrassment on
others; but he was equally pleased with all his answers. Convinced, by
all that he had heard, that the stranger's abilities were far beyond
those necessary for trade, he determined to attach him to his own
service by raising him to the highest office. It was not the design of
the Sovereign to try the stranger by the allurements of honour; but,
knowing that distinguished merit may become useless in an inferior
station, and is frequently only the object of envy, he gave him the
office of Grand Vizier, in order that it might afford him an
opportunity of displaying to greater advantage his knowledge and
ability. Illage received this favour with expressions of respect and
gratitude.

"I should have considered myself as too much honoured, sire, in being
admitted into the number of the slaves who surround your throne. The
dignity of the honourable office to which you have called me far
surpasses my merit and pretensions; but the high idea which I have
conceived of your Majesty inspires me with an unbounded zeal for your
service, and a confidence that I shall be wholly devoted to it."

The monarch, still more pleased with his new minister, ordered him a
magnificent robe, assigned him for lodgings a palace in the
neighbourhood of his own, and caused him to be installed in his new
dignity. The Prince had no reason to repent of his choice, which might
appear rash. The new minister sat in the divan on the right hand of
his master. He was never embarrassed in the discussion of affairs,
however intricate. He had great sagacity in understanding every report
concerning them. Justice and equity were summed up in his decisions,
so that the people and the monarch enjoyed, under the administration
of this enlightened minister, all the blessings of a wise government.

Two years passed in labour and great employments; but at last nature
resumed her rights. The Vizier, separated so long from a family which
he tenderly loved, felt a desire to see them. The first request which
he made on this subject alarmed the Sovereign. But he had a soul of
sensibility; he could not long resist the voice of nature, and
permitted his minister to undertake a voyage which he limited to a
certain period, assuring him that if he brought his whole family along
with him he should never be exposed to any uneasiness in his service.
With this permission, the Vizier embarked for Naka in a vessel of war,
of which he had the command.

The family of this merchant of Tartary, being entirely ignorant of his
fate since the time of his departure, were abandoned to the most cruel
uneasiness. Fortunately, a merchant of the country, returning from
India, had given them news of him, and restored tranquillity to the
family, who were raised to the summit of joy on hearing of the
elevation and success of him on whose account they were alarmed. The
wife of Illage determined that moment to repair to her husband, less
to share his glory than his love. She set her affairs in order, and,
after having taken every necessary step, she embarked with the same
merchant who had given her the consolatory news.

After some days' sailing, the vessel which carried them cast anchor
near an island where they were to land and exchange merchandise.
Contrary winds had obliged Illage to land at the same place. He had
hired a lodging pretty near the harbour, and, being fatigued with the
bad weather which he had met with, had thrown himself upon a bed in
order to take repose. His spouse, who lived in an opposite quarter of
the city, soon learned that a vessel had arrived on its way from
India, and that it had sailed from the capital. She sent her children
to ask the news concerning the Grand Vizier, thinking it impossible
but that they should be able to receive some.

The young people went from the inn where their mother was, running,
the one after the other, till they had come under the windows of the
apartment where the Vizier was at rest. They took possession of a
little eminence on which a number of bales of goods were collected to
keep them dry. The thoughtless youths went to play on the bales,
trying which of the two could push down his brother. These playful
lads, disputing with address and roguery, announced their victory or
their defeat by such piercing shouts that they awoke the Vizier.

He lost his patience: he went to the window to check the noise, and,
leaning over it, three diamonds, which the King had given him, fell
from his fingers. The agitation of the sea had already stirred up the
minister's choler; the habit of command rendered him incapable of
forbearance; and, the island on which he was being within the
jurisdiction of his government, he ordered these troublesome children
to be taken into custody. He came down himself to search for his
diamonds; but, amidst such confusion, this search was fruitless.
Driven by degrees to indignation and fury, he accused the children,
not only of being the cause of the loss of his diamonds, but even of
having stolen them. Their innocence could not defend them against
prejudice. He punished them with the bastinado, and then caused each
of them to be tied to a board and cast into the sea. The innocent
victims, expecting a cruel death, became the sport of the waves and
billows.

Meanwhile night approached, and the spouse of Illage, not seeing her
children return, uneasy, and bathed in tears, went out to seek them.
The neighbours could tell her nothing of them. She ran from street to
street, without meeting any person who could satisfy her well-founded
impatience. This tender mother came at last to the harbour. There,
from the description she gave of the three persons who were the object
of her search and the cause of her uneasiness, a sailor replied to
her,

"Madam, the young people whom you inquire after are the same whom a
powerful man, lately arrived from India, hath punished by his slaves
for a theft which he imputed to them. They gave them the bastinado,
tied them to a plank, and, by his order, threw them into the sea."

At these words, the unhappy mother filled the air with her shrieks and
groans: she rent her clothes and tore her hair. "O my children," said
she, "where is the Vizier your father, to revenge me on the man who
hath murdered my children?"

Her despair struck the ear of her husband, who was not far distant. He
seemed to know the voice, and learned that it was that of the
inconsolable mother whose children he had condemned to death. The cry
of nature resounded in his heart, and he no longer doubted that the
children he had punished were his own. He hastened to the unfortunate
woman whose misery he had occasioned, and immediately knew her.

"Ah, barbarian that I am, I have been the murderer of our children!
Fatal power with which I am invested! blinded by thee, I had not time
allowed me to be just! I am the executioner of my own children!"

As he spoke these words, all the signs of the most violent despair
were painted in his countenance, and manifested themselves by every
sort of extravagance. His wife sank at his feet under the weight of
her grief.

"Do not pardon me," added he: "I am a monster; and so much the more
criminal as I am at this moment placed beyond the reach of the law. I
must for ever be torn by my own remorse and loaded with your
reproaches. I thought myself injured, and I hastened to revenge
myself, without taking time to reflect. I saw a crime where there was
none, and let fall the stroke upon innocence without thinking it would
rebound upon myself."

"You see, sire," continued Aladin, "what cause this Vizier had to
repent his believing these children guilty upon a deceitful
appearance, and his having hurried on a severe punishment without
reflecting on whom it was to fall. He forgot that a regard to futurity
ought to regulate the present."

The unfortunate minister, disgusted with glory and opulence, renounced
the search for his diamonds, abandoned the vessel and its lading, and
supporting the tottering steps of a weeping mother, they both walked
along the shore of the sea mournfully demanding of it the treasures
which the Vizier had cruelly committed to the inconstancy of its
waves.

"Your Majesty," continued Aladin, "will pardon me, if, for a short
time, I make you lose sight of this disconsolate pair, while I fix
your attention on their unhappy children."

The billows, to whose caprice they had been abandoned, were so
agitated that, although they were frequently thrown against one
another, they were immediately separated again. One of them, after
having struggled for two days against the billows, and after having
escaped the danger of being dashed to pieces on the rocks against
which he was continually driven, found himself, all at once, ashore on
the coast of a neighbouring kingdom. The chains which fixed him to the
plank were much worn by the sea, and notwithstanding his fatigue and
hunger, he had still strength enough to disengage himself from them,
and reach the land. He there found an officer who was going to refresh
his horse at the stream of a neighbouring fountain. This man, affected
with the sight of the unfortunate child, gave him part of his clothes,
set him behind him, and carried him to his own house. There
nourishing food and repose completely recovered the shipwrecked youth.

After decently dressing him, his benefactor presented him to the King,
already informed of the event.

The happy physiognomy of the young man made an impression on the King,
and his answers soon completed the very favourable opinion he had of
him. He became a distinguished officer in the palace, where his
conduct gained the complete esteem and confidence of his Sovereign.
This Prince, to whom Heaven had not granted children, thought he could
not do his people a greater service than by adopting the youth, whom
fortune had thrown into his arms. His choice was applauded by the
whole Court, and confirmed by the divan. The people were happy, and
the abilities of the young Prince soon placed him in the number of the
most valiant Kings of Asia. Age and infirmities rendered the King
unable to support the weight of the government, and he abdicated the
sceptre in favour of his adopted son. He saw him married, and thus
terminating his career of glory, calmly resigned his life into the
hands of his Creator.

The young Sovereign, bewailing the loss of his benefactor, gave
himself up to the justest sorrow. He wished to fulfil the duties of
gratitude and piety, and summoned his divan, that he might honour the
ashes of his predecessor by prayers and solemn ceremonies. The people
repaired to the mosques. The Imam, the Nabib, the dervishes, and all
those who serve at them, paid to his memory the homage which was due
to it. He caused many alms to be distributed among the poor and
through all the hospitals of the kingdom. These religious duties early
announced the wisdom of his government, and they were not proved false
by the event. He was always a just and active King, and governed his
people with the affection of a father.

In this manner did fortune snatch from the fury of the waves one of
the Vizier's children, to raise him to the summit of greatness. But
this unhappy father continued to grieve for the loss of his two sons,
until, in one of the islands where he had his residence, he heard the
Dellal proclaim, with a loud voice, that there was a young slave to
be sold, and that the curious were invited to come and examine him.
Illage stopped, looked at the young man, and, constrained by a feeling
of which he knew not the cause, he determined to purchase him.

The figure of this stranger had attractions which he could not resist.
His age corresponded to that of one of his own children; and if the
beauty of his features was a true indication of the virtues of his
mind, he hoped he would supply the place of one of those whom he had
lost. He returned home with his new purchase.

His wife, who perceived them at a distance, recognized the youth, and
was about to throw herself into his arms, but sank under this
unexpected surprise. But although her joy deprived her of the use of
her senses, she was still able to utter the name of her son. The
attention of her husband, and that of the young man, who bathed her
with his tears, recalled her to life. The father, affected with what
he saw, recognized the cry of nature, and returning thanks to Heaven
for the unexpected favour he had received, mingled together his tears
and caresses at this moving picture, and partook of the happiness of
an unlooked-for discovery. Nevertheless, he was tormented by a new
uneasiness: the presence of his son recalled to him his brother--"What
is become of him?"

"Alas!" replied the young man, "the waves soon separated the planks on
which we were carried, and I can tell you nothing of his fate."

This answer redoubled the affliction of the husband and wife; but they
seemed to be comforted with the hope of another blessing similar to
that which they had just received; and in this pleasing expectation
their tenderness centred on the beloved son whom Heaven had at length
restored to their arms.

Several years had elapsed. Achib, the son of Illage, grew stronger
every day. He acquired knowledge, and became capable of following
commerce, in which his father had instructed him. Seeing him fit even
to undertake a profitable voyage, his father purchased a ship, loaded
it with merchandise, and destined it for the capital of the islands in
which they were settled, entrusting him with the management of it.
Upon his arrival in the capital, Achib hired a storehouse in the
_kan_, deposited his goods there, and passed some days in arranging
them to advantage.

The Feast of the Ramezan came. The young man, a faithful Mussulman,
possessed the art of singing so perfectly, that he was able to fulfil
with dignity the functions of the Imam.[14] He dressed himself in his
_faragi_, and went to the principal mosque. There the King, with all
his Court and the grandees of the kingdom, were present at the noonday
service. The young man took his place near the King, and when the
Athib[15] mounted the pulpit and began to chaunt the _Falhea_,[16]
Achib repeated three times, _Alla Akbar_.

[Footnote 14: Imam is a priest who reads and explains the Koran.]

[Footnote 15: Athib is a reader who chaunts over the prayers in plain
song.]

[Footnote 16: Falhea, the Mahommedan Confession of Faith.]

The assembly, and the King himself, were astonished at this young
stranger seating himself so near his Majesty; but the pleasure of his
melodious and affecting voice excited so agreeable a surprise, that
they soon forgot his assurance. All agreed that they had never heard
anything so exquisite and perfect. The Athib was jealous of him: he
had never supposed that there was a voice in the world superior to his
own, and the despair which he felt deprived him of the use of it--he
felt it die upon his lips. Achib did not give him time to recover it:
he continued the prayer with a force and ease which the efforts of the
Athib, supposing him to have had the courage to attempt it, could not
have surpassed.

When the King had ended his prayer, as he came out of the mosque he
ordered his officers to wait for the new singer, to have a horse ready
for him, and to conduct him to the palace, where his Majesty desired
to see him. Achib received this invitation with respect, and obeyed
the orders of his Sovereign.

The monarch gave him a most gracious reception, bestowing the highest
praise upon his talents, and soon felt himself prejudiced in favour of
this stranger by a sympathy of which he could not discover the
springs; but it seemed to be of the most interesting nature. Achib was
only in his seventeenth year, and was endowed with every personal
grace. Everything seemed to unite in strengthening the liking which
the King showed for this stranger. Thus, whether on this pretence or
to do a beneficent action, he made him lodge in his palace, and gave
him a distinguished preference over the pages and those who composed
his household.

The officers soon conspired the destruction of their rival. In the
meantime the virtuous Achib, after a long residence at Court, became
desirous of seeing his parents and giving them an account of the goods
with which he had been entrusted. Afraid lest he should not obtain the
monarch's permission to return to them, he wrote to them and informed
them of the favour he enjoyed. This motive, and the desire he
expressed of seeing them again, determined the family to go to him
immediately.

Illage and his wife bore in their hearts the letter which they had
just received; and both being flattered with having a son who at so
early an age had been able to gain the good graces of a King, they
instantly determined to hasten their departure, and informed their son
of this resolution. As soon as Achib received this information, he
purchased a house and suitable furniture, and in a short time embraced
in it the authors of his existence, to whom the King sent presents of
such magnificence as showed that they were intended for the family of
his favourite.

The fineness of the season having invited the King to one of his
country houses, he removed thither, and gave entertainments for the
amusement of his Court. One evening, contrary to his usual custom, he
gave himself up to the pleasures of the table, and drank of a strange
liquor of which he knew not the strength. In a short time after he was
suddenly seized with such a stupidity that he was obliged to throw
himself on a sofa, where he soon fell asleep. Pleasure had removed
from him all his servants. Achib alone, following from affection every
step of his master and benefactor, entered into the apartment and
found him asleep. Then placing himself within the door, he drew his
sabre, and stood there as a guard.

One of the pages having returned, was surprised to find him in this
situation, and asked him the cause of it.

"I am watching," said Achib, "for the safety of my King: my attachment
and my duty fix me here."

The page ran and told his companions what he had seen. They thought
they might easily avail themselves of this event to destroy him, and
went in a body to the monarch. The witness swore that he had found
Achib with a naked sabre in his hand in his Majesty's chamber while he
was asleep. He ascribed the most criminal intentions to this faithful
guard, and pretended that nothing but some sudden alarm had prevented
the intended blow.

"If your Majesty, sire," added he, "suspects the truth of my report,
you need only to-day feign giving yourself up to sleep without any
precaution, and we do not doubt that this rash man, pursuing his
detestable purpose, will come to renew his attempt."

Though moved by this accusation, the King was unwilling to trust
entirely to the declaration of his pages, and thought it his duty to
clear up his doubts himself.

In the meantime the pages had gone to find the young favourite.

"The King," said they to him, "is highly pleased with the zeal you
have shown for the safety of his person. 'Achib,' hath he said, 'is to
me as a shield; under his protection I can sleep without fear.'"

Night came, and the King, after a repast, during which he affected
much gaiety and cheerfulness, suddenly retired, and threw himself upon
a sofa, apparently in the same state in which he had been the night
before. Achib, who never lost sight of him, supposing he was asleep,
entered the apartment to place himself on guard, with his sabre
uplifted and naked.

As soon as the King saw the gleam of the sabre he was seized with
terror, and a cry which he uttered brought to him all the officers of
his guard. Achib was arrested by his order, loaded with chains, and
led away to prison.

The next morning, after the first prayer, the King assembled his
divan, ascended his throne, and caused the man to be brought before
him whom slanderous and false reports and deceitful appearances had
exposed to the presumption of so much guilt.

"Ungrateful that you are!" said he to him. "Is it by putting me to
death that you would show your gratitude and repay my favours? I will
not delay to take signal vengeance on your detestable baseness."

Achib, having made no reply to these reproaches, was sent back to
prison.

Scarcely was he gone out, when two of the courtiers who were most
eager for his destruction approached the King.

"Sire," said they to him, "everybody is surprised to see the execution
of the criminal delayed. There is no crime equal to that which he
intended to commit; and you ought to give such a speedy example of
justice as your personal safety and the tranquillity of your people
require."

"Let us not be rash," replied the King, "in a judgment of this nature.
The criminal is in chains, and cannot make his escape. And as to
public vengeance, it will never be too late to gratify it. It is easy
to take away a man's life, but it is impossible to restore it. Life is
a blessing of Heaven which we ought to respect, and it becomes not us
to deprive our fellow-creatures of it without the most mature
deliberation. The evil, once done, can never be repaired. I have it
now in my power to reflect on what I ought to do, and wish not that
the future should have to reproach me with the improper conduct of the
present."

Having said this, the King dismissed the divan, ordered his hunting
equipage to be got ready, and gave himself up for some days to the
amusements of the chase.

On his return, he was again set upon by the enemies of Achib. The
longer, according to them, that this criminal's punishment was
delayed, the more the people were discontented. Clemency and
moderation ceased to be virtues when they spared such crimes as his.
These new remarks embarrassed the Sovereign, who had now nothing to
oppose to them, since the delay which he had granted had brought
nothing to light. He determined to inflict that severe punishment
which justice seemed to require, and ordered the criminal to be
brought before him, accompanied by the officers of justice and the
executioner.

Achib stood blindfolded at the foot of the throne. The executioner,
with the sword in his hand, waited the King's command. At that instant
a confused noise was heard; a stranger pierced through the crowd, and
hastened to the feet of the King. It was the unfortunate Illage.

"Mercy, sire! mercy!" exclaimed he: "pardon the only child that Heaven
has restored to me! My son could not intend an attack upon your life:
he was incapable of designing so unnatural a murder; your life is
dearer to him than his own. I have letters of his which made me fly to
your Majesty, that I might admire more nearly those virtues which I
adored. But, O monarch, whose illustrious virtues are renowned through
the most distant corners of the world, justify the public admiration
by a new display of wisdom, in overcoming a resentment with which
false appearances have inspired you! Consider with horror the
melancholy consequences of a too rash judgment! Behold in me a
dreadful example of the consequence of being led away by passion, and
of yielding, without reflection, to its imprudent follies. Heaven
blessed me with children; but having been separated from them from
their earliest infancy, the day at length came when we were to be
reunited. Not knowing them, and being blinded by passion, I abused the
power with which I was invested. I had them bound upon planks and
thrown into the sea. The man whom you threaten with death alone
escaped from perishing in the waves, and must I this day be the
witness of his death? Behold the reward of my guilty rashness! My
heart is filled with bitterness, and tears will flow from mine eyes
till they are closed in death."

During this discourse, the King stood motionless through astonishment.
It was his own history he had just heard. The man who spoke was his
father, and the supposed criminal his brother!

Having happily acquired, in the exercise of power, the habit of
self-command, he knew how to shun the dangers of too sudden a
discovery. Nature, however, yielded at length to his eagerness, and he
affectionately embraced the author of his life. He ordered his brother
to be set free from those shameful chains with which envy had bound
him. He made himself known to him; and after mutual consolation.

"Behold," said he to his divan, "to what a dreadful evil I should have
exposed myself, had I lightly credited the detractions of slander,
and, upon your artful reports, had hastened the punishment which you
so eagerly urged! Go, and be ashamed! Was there one among you all who
supported innocence?"

After these few words, the King retired into his apartments with his
father and brother. He admitted them to a share in all the joys of his
Court, and sent twenty slaves, magnificently dressed, in quest of his
mother. This family, so happily reunited, lived in the blessings of
the most affectionate unity, grateful to the Almighty, and faithful to
the law written by His great Prophet, till the moment when they were
called, by the decree of fate, from this world to a better.

       *       *       *       *       *

Aladin, having thus finished the history of "Illage Mahomet, or the
Imprudent," added some reflections fitted to make an impression on the
mind of the King, whose attention he had been so fortunate as to
engage.

"Sire!" said he to him, "if the son, when he became a King, had
conducted himself as rashly as the father when he was a minister,
innocence would have been sacrificed to jealousy and ambition, and a
whole family devoted for life to misery and remorse. There is always
something gained by delay. Appearances are equally against me, and
envy hath availed itself of them to make me appear guilty; but I have
Heaven and your wisdom on my side."

When the young man had done speaking, Bohetzad turned towards his
ministers.

"I do not mean," said he, "that crimes should remain unpunished. But
truth, even when it comes from the mouth of an enemy, ought to be
esteemed precious. This criminal hath well remarked, that there can be
nothing lost by taking time to reflect. Let him be carried back to
prison."

The Viziers were enraged. Delay might discover the truth, through the
cloud under which they had concealed it. As they jointly endeavoured
to conceal the stratagems they had devised in secret, the third among
them went early the next day to the palace.

The King inquired if the interval that had elapsed had produced no new
light.

"Sire," replied this minister, "the police which, under your Majesty's
orders, we exercise, maintains the peace of your capital, and all
would be perfectly quiet if the throne were avenged of the outrage of
this son of a villain, whose punishment your Majesty still delays. The
people are murmuring at it, and I should have thought myself wanting
in my duty had I concealed from you their uneasiness, the consequences
of which may be dangerous. It is never too soon to prevent a
rebellion, and that which is now forming would be extremely fatal."

Constrained by these observations, the King commanded the criminal to
be brought before him.

"Unhappy man!" said he to him, "thou shalt never summon me to the
tribunal of Heaven for having hastened thy punishment. I have listened
to all the weak shifts by which thou hast defended thyself. I have
weighed their value. But reserve and circumspection have an end. My
people murmur. Their patience and mine is exhausted. Heaven and earth
look to me for justice, and thou hast reached thy last moment."

"Sire," replied the modest Aladin, "do the people look for an example
of your justice? Impatience is the fault of the people. But patience
ought always to sit upon the throne, amidst the virtues which form its
basis and safety. This virtue, necessary to all, and which calls upon
us for that resignation which we owe to the eternal decrees, raised
the patient Abosaber from the bottom of a well even to the throne."

"Who is this Abosaber?" asked the King. "Give me a short account of
his history."

[Illustration]


THE HISTORY OF ABOSABER THE PATIENT.


Sire (said Aladin), Abosaber, surnamed the Patient, was a wealthy and
generous man, who lived in a village which he rendered happy by his
charities. He was hospitable and beneficent to the poor, and every one
that applied to him. His granaries were full, his ploughs were
continually at work, his flocks covered the plains, and he maintained
plenty in the country. He had a wife and two children, and the
happiness of this way of life was disturbed by nothing but the
devastations of a monstrous lion, which ravaged the stables and folds
belonging to the peaceful cultivators of these happy regions,
according to its necessities and those of its young.

The wife of Abosaber wanted her husband, at the head of his people, to
hunt this animal, by whose devastation they, on account of their
riches, were more particularly affected.

"Wife," said Abosaber to her, "let us have patience! I have not any
skill in lion hunting; leave it to others."

The King of the country heard of the ravages of this lion, and ordered
a general chase. The people immediately took arms: the lion was sought
for, and soon surrounded on every side. A shower of arrows was
discharged upon him. He became furious: his bristles stood on end, his
eyes flashed, he beat his sides with his terrible tail, and, setting
up tremendous roarings, darted with fury upon the nearest of the
hunters. This was a young man of nineteen years of age, mounted upon a
vigorous horse.

At the cries of the lion the courser was seized with terror, and his
strength instantly failed him. He fell, and died as if he had been
struck with a thunderbolt. The valiant knight soon got upon his feet,
and, invoking the name of the great Prophet, he plunged his spear into
the enormous jaws which were opened to devour him. This exploit of
courage and intrepidity gained him, together with the applauses of his
Sovereign, the office of commander-in-chief of all his troops.

Abosaber, hearing of the lion's death, said to his wife, "See of what
advantage patience hath been to us! Had I followed your advice, and
exposed myself to the danger of attacking an animal against which it
was necessary to draw out so much strength, I should have lost my
life, with all my people, to no purpose."

The dangerous lion did not alone disturb the peaceful retreat of
Abosaber; the inhabitants of the village did not all enjoy the same
good character. One of them committed a considerable robbery in the
capital, and made his escape, after having murdered the master of the
house he had plundered. The King, informed of this double crime, sent
in search of the relations and slaves of the man who had been so
inhumanly murdered. No one could give him any information, but by
throwing out suspicions against the inhabitants of the village where
Abosaber dwelt. These had the character of being very bad people, and
were known to have frequented the house in which the murder and theft
had been committed, the perpetrators of which they were endeavouring
to discover. Upon this declaration alone, and without having recourse
to any other proof, the enraged monarch commanded an officer at the
head of a detachment to lay waste the village, and bring away its
inhabitants loaded with chains.

Those who are employed in the execution of severe commands frequently
go beyond the orders they have received. Troops very ill disciplined
spread their devastation over all the neighbouring country. They
spared only the dwelling of Abosaber and six persons of his household;
but they pillaged his granaries and his standing corn, with those of
all the inhabitants.

The wife of Abosaber bewailed this disaster.

"We are ruined," said she to her husband; "you see our flocks carried
off with those of the guilty, notwithstanding the orders they have to
spare whatever belongs to us. See with what injustice we are treated.
Speak to the officers of the King."

"I have spoken," said Abosaber, "but they have not time to hear me.
Let us have patience: the evil will recoil on those who commit it.
Unhappy the man who gives orders at once rigorous and urgent! unhappy
the man who acts without reflection! I fear that the evils which the
King has brought upon us will soon return upon himself."

An enemy of Abosaber had heard this discourse, and reported it to the
King.

"Thus," said he, "speaks the man whom the goodness of your Majesty had
spared!"

The monarch instantly gave orders that Abosaber, his wife, and his two
children, should be driven from the village and banished from his
dominions.

The wife of the wise and resigned Mussulman made loud complaints: she
reproached the authors of her calamity, and carried her resentment to
excess.

"Have patience, wife," said he to her: "this virtue is the sovereign
balm against adversity; it gives salutary counsel, and carries with it
hope and consolation. Let us go to the desert, since they persecute us
here."

The good Abosaber lifted up his eyes and blessed the Almighty as he
pursued his journey with his family. But they had scarcely entered
the desert when they were attacked by a band of robbers. They were
plundered, their children were carried off, and, deprived of every
resource or human aid, they were left to the care of Providence.

The wife, having lost by this new stroke of fate what was most dear to
her, gave free course to her grief, and set up mournful cries.

"Indolent man!" said she to her husband, "lay aside your listlessness.
Let us pursue the robbers: if they have any feeling of humanity left,
they will restore us our children."

"Let us have patience," replied Abosaber; "it is the only remedy for
evils which appear desperate. These robbers are well mounted; naked
and fatigued as we are, there is no probability of our overtaking
them. And suppose we should succeed in that, perhaps these barbarous
men, harassed with our lamentations, might put us to death."

The wife grew calm, for the decay of her strength made her unable to
complain; and they both arrived on the bank of a river, from whence
they discovered a village.

"Sit down here," said Abosaber to his wife; "I will go to seek a
lodging and some clothes to cover us."

Saying this, he went away, taking the road to the village, from which
they were not far distant.

Scarcely was Abosaber out of sight when a gentleman passing near her
stopped in astonishment at seeing a most beautiful woman plundered and
abandoned thus in a solitary road. He put several questions to her,
which this singular adventure might seem to authorize, and she
answered them with sufficient spirit. These replies increased the
fancy of the young man.

"Madam," said he to her, "you seem formed to enjoy a happier lot, and
if you will accept of that which I will prepare for you, follow me,
and, together with my heart and hand, I offer you a situation that
deserves to be envied."

"I have a husband," replied the lady, "to whom, unfortunate as he is,
I am bound for life."

"I have no time," replied the gentleman, "to convince you of the
folly of a refusal in your situation. I love you. Mount my horse
without reply, or with one stroke of my scimitar I will terminate both
your misfortunes and your life."

The wife of Abosaber, forced to yield, before she departed wrote these
words upon the sand: "Abosaber, your patience hath cost you your
fortune, your children, and your wife, who is carried off from you.
Heaven grant that it may not prove still more fatal to you!"

While she traced these words, the gentleman quitted his horse's
bridle, and when everything was ready, he seized his prey and
disappeared.

Abosaber, on his return, sought for his spouse, and called upon her in
vain. He demanded her of all nature, but nature was silent. He cast
his eyes upon the ground, and there learned his misfortune. He could
not restrain the first accents of grief: he tore his hair, rent his
breast, and bruised himself with strokes. But soon becoming quiet,
after all this agitation,

"Have patience, Abosaber!" said he to himself; "thou lovest thy wife,
and art beloved by her. Allah hath undoubtedly suffered her to fall
into the situation in which she is in order to snatch her from more
dreadful evils. Does it become thee to search into the secrets of
Providence? It is thy part to submit, and also to cease from fatiguing
and offending Heaven by thy cries and thy complaints."

These reflections completely restored his tranquillity, and abandoning
the design he had of returning to the village from which he came, he
took the road to a city whose distant spires had attracted his
attention.

As he approached it, he perceived a number of workmen engaged in
constructing a palace for the King. The overseer of this work took
hold of him by the arm, and obliged him to labour with his workmen,
under pain of being sent to prison. Abosaber was forced to have
patience, while he exerted himself to the utmost, receiving no wages
but a little bread and water.

He had been a month in this laborious and unprofitable situation, when
a workman, falling from a ladder, broke his leg. This poor unhappy
man set up dreadful cries, interrupted by complaints and imprecations.
Abosaber approached him.

"Companion," said he to him, "you increase your misfortunes instead of
relieving them. Have patience! The fruits of this virtue are always
salutary: it supports us under calamity, and such is its power that it
can raise a man to the throne, even though he were cast into the
bottom of a well."

The monarch of the country was at this moment at one of the windows of
his palace, to which the cries of the unfortunate workman had drawn
him. He had heard Abosaber's discourse, and was offended at it.

"Let this man be arrested," said he to one of his officers, "and
brought before me."

The officer obeyed. Abosaber was in the presence of the tyrant whose
pride he had unintentionally shocked.

"Insolent fellow!" said this barbarous King to him, "can patience then
bring a man from the bottom of a well to a throne? Thou art going to
put the truth of thy own maxim to the trial."

At the same time he ordered him to be let down to the bottom of a dry
and deep well which was within the palace. There he visited him
regularly every day, carrying him two morsels of bread.

"Abosaber," would he say to him, "you appear to me to be still at the
bottom of the well: when is your patience to raise you to the throne?"

The more this unfeeling monarch insulted his prisoner, he became the
more resigned.

"Let us have patience," would he say to himself; "let us not repel
contempt with reproach; we are not suffered to avenge ourselves in any
shape whatever. Let us allow the crime to come to its full height:
Heaven sees, and is our judge. Let us have patience."

The King had a brother, whom he had always concealed from every eye in
a secret part of the palace. But suspicion and uneasiness made him
afraid lest he should one day be carried off and placed upon the
throne. Some time ago he had secretly let him down into the bottom of
this well we have spoken of. This unhappy victim soon sank under so
many difficulties. He died, but this event was not known, although the
other parts of the secret had transpired.

The grandees of the realm and the whole nation, shocked at the
capricious cruelty, which exposed them all to the same danger, rose
with one accord against the tyrant, and assassinated him. The
adventure of Abosaber had been long since forgotten. One of the
officers of the palace reported that the King went every day to carry
bread to a man who was in the well, and to converse with him. This
idea led their thoughts to the brother who had been so cruelly used by
the tyrant. They ran to the well, went down into it, and found there
the patient Abosaber, whom they took for the presumptive heir to the
crown. Without giving him time to speak, or to make himself known,
they conducted him to a bath, and he was soon clothed in the royal
purple and placed upon the throne.

The new King, always steady to his principles, left Heaven to operate
in his favour, and was patient. His deportment, his reserve, and his
coolness disposed men to prophecy well of his reign, and the wisdom of
his conduct justified these happy presages. Not contented to weigh
with indefatigable patience the decisions of his own judgment, he was
present as often as possible at all the business of the State.
"Viziers, Cadis, ministers of justice," said he to them, "before
deciding hastily, take patience and inquire."

They admired his wisdom, and yielded themselves to its direction. Such
was the disposition of their minds with respect to him, when a train
of events produced a great change in it.

A neighbouring monarch, driven from his dominions by a powerful enemy,
vanquished, and followed by a small retinue, took refuge with
Abosaber, and implored on his knees the hospitality, assistance, and
good offices of a King renowned for his virtues, and especially for
his patience.

Abosaber dismissed his divan to converse with this exiled Prince, and,
as soon as they were alone, he said to him, "Behold in me Abosaber,
your former subject, unjustly spoiled by you of all his fortune, and
banished from your kingdom. Observe the just difference in the
conduct of Heaven towards us. I departed from my village, reduced by
you to the last point of wretchedness. I submitted, however, to my
lot, was patient, and Providence hath conducted me to the throne,
while your passionate, cruel, and rash conduct hath brought you down
from one. It appears to me that, in seeing you thus at my discretion,
I am commissioned to execute on you the decrees of Heaven, as a
warning to the wicked."

After this reproof, and without waiting a reply, Abosaber commanded
his officers to drive the exiled King and all his followers from the
city. These orders were instantly put in execution, but they
occasioned some murmurs. Should an unfortunate and suppliant King be
treated with so much rigour? This seemed contrary to all the laws of
equity, of humanity, and of policy.

Some time after this Abosaber, having been informed that a band of
robbers infested a part of his dominions, sent troops in pursuit of
them. They were surprised, surrounded, and brought before him. The
King recognized them to be those who had carried off his children, and
privately interrogated their chief.

"In such a situation," said he to him, "and in such a desert, you
found a man, a woman, and two children. You plundered the father and
mother, and carried away their children. What have you done with them?
What is become of them?"

"Sire," replied the chief of the robbers, "these children are among
us, and we will give them to your Majesty to dispose of them as you
please. We are ready, moreover, to deliver into your hands all that we
have heaped up in our profession. Grant us life and pardon; receive us
into the number of your subjects; we will return from our evil
courses, and no soldiers in your Majesty's service shall be more
devoted to you than we."

The King sent for the children, seized the riches of the robbers, and
caused their heads to be instantly struck off, without regarding their
repentance or entreaties.

The subjects of Abosaber, seeing this hasty conduct, and recollecting
the treatment of the exiled Monarch, in a short time did not know what
might be their own. "What precipitation!" said they. "Is this the
compassionate King, who, when the Cadi was about to inflict any
punishment, continually repeated to him, '_Wait, examine, do nothing
rashly; have patience_'?" They were extremely surprised, but a new
event rendered them still more astonished.

A gentleman came with complaints against his wife. Abosaber, before
hearing them, said to him, "Bring your wife with you: if it be just
for me to listen to your arguments, it cannot be less so to hear
hers."

The gentleman went out, and in a few moments after returned with his
wife. The King had scarcely looked at her, when he ordered her to be
conducted into the palace, and the man's head to be cut off, who had
come to complain of her. The order was obeyed. The Viziers, the
officers, and the whole divan murmured aloud, that Abosaber might hear
them.

"Never was there seen such an act of violence," said they among
themselves. "The King who was beheaded was never guilty of so shocking
an action, and this brother, coming out of a well, and promising at
first wisdom and prudence, is carried in cold blood to an excess which
borders on madness."

Abosaber listened and remained patient, till at length a wave of his
hand having imposed silence, he spoke as follows:

"Viziers, Cadis, ministers of justice, and all ye vassals of the Crown
who hear me, I have always advised you against precipitation in your
judgments; you owe me the same attention, and I pray you hear me.

"Arrived at a point of good fortune to which I had never even dared to
aspire, the circumstances which were necessary for my success being so
difficult to be united; indifferent as to the crown which I wear, and
to which I had no right by my birth; it only remains for me to gain
your esteem by justifying the motives of my conduct, and making myself
known to you.

"I am not brother to the King whom you judged unworthy to reign; I am
a man of mean birth. Persecuted, undone, and driven from my country, I
took refuge in this kingdom, after having seen my two children and my
wife torn from me in the way. I devoutly submitted to the strokes
which fate had laid on me, when, at the entrance of this city, I was
seized by force, and constrained to labour at the building of the
palace. Convinced in my mind that patience is the most necessary
virtue to man, I exhorted one of my fellow-labourers to bear with
resignation a dreadful evil he had met with in breaking his leg.
_Patience_, said I to him, _is so great a virtue, that it could raise
a man to the throne, although he were cast into the bottom of a well_.

"The King, my predecessor, heard me. This maxim shocked him, and that
instant he caused me be let down into the well, from which you took me
to set me on the throne.

"When a neighbouring monarch, driven by an usurper from his dominions,
came to implore my assistance, I recognized in him my own Sovereign,
who had unjustly stripped me of my possessions and sent me into
banishment. I was not the only object of his capricious cruelties: I
saw all his subjects groaning under them.

"The robbers, whom I punished, had carried off my children and reduced
me to the last point of wretchedness.

"In fine, the gentleman whom I caused to be beheaded is he who
violently took away my wife.

"In all these judgments, I have not had the revenge of my own
particular offences in view. King of these dominions by your choice,
the instrument of God upon earth, I did not think myself at liberty to
yield to an arbitrary clemency, which would have weakened your power.
It was my duty to execute the decrees of Providence upon such as were
clearly convicted of guilt, and to cut off from society mortals too
dangerous for it.

"A tyrannical King who respects not the laws, and is only directed by
his passions and caprice, is the scourge of his people. If it is not
lawful to make any attempt upon his life, it is still less so to grant
him such assistance as would authorize him in the perpetual exercise
of revenge, and in the indulgence of the injustice and atrocity of his
disposition. It is even wise to deprive him of the means of it.

"Villains whose sole occupation is to attack caravans, plunder
travellers, and who are accustomed to nothing but disorder, can never
become useful and valuable citizens. They deserve still less to be
admitted to the honour of defending their country. Banishment to them
is only a return to their former life. By increasing their number, the
evils of the world are rendered perpetual.

"The ravisher of a wife is a monster in society from which it ought to
be freed. The man who indulges himself in this crime is capable of
every other.

"Such are the motives of my conduct: severity costs me more than any
one else. But I should have been unworthy of the confidence of my
people, and wanting in the duties of the throne, had I not exercised
it in this situation.

"If I have exceeded the limits of my authority, I am ready to resign
it into your hands. Reunited to my wife and my children, and thus
loaded with the most precious blessings of the Almighty, I should have
nothing left but to wish you happy days under a government wiser than
mine."

When Abosaber had finished this justification of his conduct,
admiration and respect held the whole assembly in silence. Soon,
however, a shout followed by a thousand others resounded through the
divan.

"Long live Abosaber! long live our King! long live the patient
monarch! may he live for ever! and may his reign endure to eternity!"

The King having returned into his apartment, sent for his wife and his
children, and after yielding to the sweet impulses of nature,
"Behold," said he to his spouse, "the fruits of patience, and the
consequences of rashness. Give up at last your prejudices, and engrave
on the hearts of our children these important truths. Good and evil
happen under the inspection of Providence, and divine wisdom
infallibly bestows the punishment or the reward. The patient man who
submits to his lot is sooner or later crowned with honour."

       *       *       *       *       *

After having ended his story Aladin kept a respectful silence.
Bohetzad seemed lost in thought.

"How is it possible," said he, "that the maxims of wisdom should flow
from the lips of a man whose heart must be corrupted, and whose soul
must be guilty? Young man!" added he, addressing himself to the
supposed criminal, "I will still defer your punishment till to-morrow.
You are to be carried back to prison. The counsels which you have
given me shall have their proper effect. A professed robber ought to
be cut off from the class of citizens, from that of the defenders of
the kingdom, and from the whole world. But as you have at the same
time guarded me against precipitation in judgment, I consent that you
may live during the remainder of this day and the following night."

At these words the King dismissed the assembly.

The Viziers took counsel together respecting the step they should take
to secure the destruction of the favourite. Perceiving the punishment
so often delayed, it was their business to alarm the King respecting
the dangerous effects of his clemency, and his weakness in allowing
himself to be led away by these discourses, prepared on purpose to
suspend an act of justice which was absolutely necessary. He ought to
banish from the people every suspicion of weakness on the part of the
government, and show them that equity was its foundation.

The artful detail of this reasoning was entrusted to the Fourth
Vizier; and this minister came next morning to Bohetzad to perform his
part.

The poison of flattery was artfully mingled with remonstrances, which
appeared to be dictated by a disinterested zeal, and made a deep
impression on the King. He ordered the Superintendent to be brought
before him, as formerly, with all the apparatus of punishment.
"Unhappy man!" said he to him, "I have reflected enough to punish you
for your crime. May your death, if it be possible, make me forget you
for ever!"

"Sire," replied Aladin, with respect and firmness, "I receive with
submission the sentence of my crime. It is dictated by circumstances;
and were it not, I feel that the misery of having fallen under your
disgrace would be worse to me. The sacrifice once made, I can repent
of it no more. But the day will come, when your Majesty, regretting
your unjust precipitation, will repent that you did not sufficiently
consult the rules of prudence, as it happened to Bhazad, the son of
Cyrus, founder of the Syrian empire."


HISTORY OF BHAZAD THE IMPATIENT.


Bhazad was a Prince possessed of every external accomplishment. His
beauty, celebrated by the poets, was become proverbial among all
nations. He was the delight of every company, and scarcely anything
was noticed in it but himself. One day, while he was unperceived, his
beauty became the subject of conversation. After it had been much
praised, one who was present, and had till then been silent, added,

"Prince Bhazad is doubtless one of the most beautiful men in the
world; but I know a woman who in this respect is much more superior to
her own sex than he is to his."

This discourse roused the curiosity of Bhazad more than his pride;
and, addressing himself in private to the man who spoke thus:

"Might one know from you," said he to him, "the name of this beauty,
in whose praise you have just now spoken?"

"Prince," replied this man, "she is the daughter of one of the most
illustrious vassals of the Syrian throne; and if she enchants every
eye by her external charms, the virtues of her heart and of her mind
contribute still more to make her perfect."

Those few words made a lively impression upon the heart of Bhazad. He
could think of nothing but of the object whose praises he had heard,
and he endeavoured to make a conquest of her. The love which consumed
him injured his health, rendered him thoughtful and solitary; and the
King his father, being surprised at this change, upon inquiring of
him, was informed of its cause.

Bhazad, after having made a confession of his passion to Cyrus,
suffered from him some reproaches for his reserve.

"Why have you concealed from me the state of your heart?" said he to
him. "Are you ignorant that I have all power over the Prince whose
daughter you are desirous to marry? Are you afraid that he will not
accept the honour of our alliance?"

Upon this Cyrus sent in quest of the father of the young beauty, and
demanded her for his son. The dowry, which was to be three hundred
thousand pieces of gold, was agreed upon at once. But the future
father-in-law required that the celebration of the nuptials should be
delayed for nine months.

"Nine months without seeing her!" said the impatient Bhazad to
himself. "Nine months without her! It is insupportable."

He quickly formed the design of going to her. He mounted the best
courser in his stables, and immediately departed, having provided
himself with some necessary articles, such as a bow, a lance, and a
scimitar. He was not far from the capital of Syria when he was
attacked by a band of robbers. His undaunted countenance and his
martial air made an impression upon them; and far from endeavouring,
according to their usual custom, to murder him after they had robbed
him, they proposed to him a very different plan, and promised him his
life on condition that he would associate with them. Bhazad thought it
necessary to discover to these vagabonds his rank, his projects, and
the fatal delay of nine months, which his impatience had been unable
to endure. Upon this declaration, the chief of the robbers replied to
him,

"We will shorten this delay. We know the castle in which the object of
your love dwells, and the strength that defends it. March at our head;
we will attack it, and no object shall be able to resist us. All we
ask of you for this important service is a share in the dowry, your
future protection, and a delay of some days to prepare ourselves for
the enterprise."

Bhazad, in his impatience, thought himself already on the very point
of happiness. Every method seemed just to him which could serve his
passion, and he was by no means delicate in the choice of them. Thus
he deliberated no more, but continued his journey at the head of the
robbers.

They soon met a numerous caravan, and the robbers, constrained by
their natural propensity, attacked it in disorder. They were repulsed,
however, with the loss of several men and a considerable number of
prisoners, among whom Bhazad was included. He was conducted to the
capital of the country to which the caravan was travelling. The
commander of it, after relating his adventure, presented Bhazad to the
King.

"Here, sire, is a young man who, in our opinion, deserves to be
distinguished from the rest, and we beseech your Majesty to dispose of
him according to your pleasure."

The countenance of the captive attracted the particular attention of
the King.

"Who are you, young man?" inquired the Prince. "You seem not to have
been born for the criminal profession you follow. How did you fall
into the hands of the caravan?"

Bhazad, lest he should dishonour his respectable name, was unwilling
to make himself known.

"Sire," replied he, "my appearance ought not to impose upon your
Majesty: I am, and always have been, a professed robber."

"Your answer," said the King, "is your sentence of death. Yet," said
he to himself, "I ought to be rash in nothing. Regard must be had to
his youth and external qualities, which seem to distinguish him from
people of his profession. If this young man is in reality a robber, he
deserves punishment; but if he is an unfortunate sport of destiny, who
hath sought for death as a deliverance from the sorrows of life, one
may become an accomplice in his crime by not preventing his death."

The prudent Sovereign, having made this soliloquy, ordered Bhazad to
be shut up in close confinement, expecting some great discovery
respecting his rank.

In the meantime the King of Syria, having in quest of his son searched
his dominions in vain, addressed circular letters to all the
Sovereigns of Asia. One of them came to the King in whose dominion
Bhazad was in custody. From the description which it gave of him, he
had no doubt that the young adventurer whom he kept in prison was the
well-beloved son of the powerful monarch of Syria. What reason had he
to applaud himself for not having hurried his judgment!

He sent immediately for the handsome prisoner, and asked his name.

"My name is Bhazad," replied the young man.

"You are the son, then, of King Cyrus. But what motives determined you
to conceal your birth? Had I not been slow in the execution of
punishment, it would have cost you your life, and me the remorse of
having treated you as a vile assassin."

"Sire," replied Bhazad, after having revealed to him the secret of his
escape, "finding myself seized among robbers, in whose crimes I had
involuntarily shared, I preferred death to shame, and was unwilling to
dishonour a name so illustrious."

"Son," replied the sage monarch, "there has been a great deal of
imprudence in your behaviour. You were in love, and assured of wedding
in a few months the object of your affection. See to what rashness and
impatience have brought you. Instead of waiting patiently till you
should become the son-in-law of one of your father's noble vassals,
after having quitted the Court of Syria without permission, and after
having incautiously exposed yourself to be murdered by the robbers who
infest these deserts, you joined yourself to these vagabonds to carry
off by force the woman who was voluntarily to be given you in
marriage. See into what a train of crimes you have drawn yourself.
Check this passion and calm your impatience. I will procure you the
means of uniting yourself soon to the Princess whose hand you are
anxious to obtain. But as everything ought to be done in a manner
suitable to her condition and your rank, we will hurry nothing."

After this, the King, having caused Bhazad to be magnificently
dressed, appointed him lodgings in his palace, and admitted him to his
table. He wrote to Cyrus to set him at ease respecting the fate of his
son, whose equipage was getting ready that he might appear with more
splendour at the Court of the Prince whose daughter he was about to
espouse.

The impatient Bhazad saw these preparations with uneasiness. The
attention which was paid to them retarded his happiness. At length,
however, the order for his departure was given, and he might begin his
journey. A small army escorted him, but every halt which it made
appeared an age to this impatient Prince.

Messengers had been dispatched to the father of the Princess, to
inform him of the arrival of his son-in-law. He came, with his
daughter covered with a veil, to receive him at the gate of his
castle, and allotted him a magnificent apartment next to that of his
future spouse. All the arrangements had been previously fixed by the
two fathers. The term of nine months would have elapsed in three days,
and all the preparations suitable to this so much wished-for union
were finished.

Bhazad was only separated from the object of his affection by the
breadth of a thin wall. In three days he might see her. But this wall
was like Mount Ararat to him, and these three days seemed an eternity.
As he constantly inquired what she was doing, he learnt that she was
at her toilet, assisted by her female slaves, and without her veil.
This was the time for him to surprise her and behold her at his
pleasure. He presently examined all the openings of his apartment, to
find some way of gratifying his impatience and curiosity. He
discovered, to his misfortune, a small grated window, to which he
applied his eye. But an eunuch, placed there on guard, perceived the
inquisitive man, and, without knowing him, struck him with the point
of his scimitar, which at once ran through both his eyes, and drew
from him a piercing cry, which soon collected around him all those
engaged in his service.

They stood around the wounded, inquiring the cause which could have
reduced him to the unhappy situation he was in. His misfortune
discovered to him his crime.

"It was my impatience," replied he, with sorrow. "I have too soon
forgotten the sage counsels of the King my benefactor. In three days I
would have seen her who was to crown my happiness; but I was unable to
bear this delay with patience. I wished to enjoy beforehand the
pleasure of seeing her, and for this I am punished with the loss of my
sight."

       *       *       *       *       *

"In this manner," added Aladin, "did the impatient Bhazad, on the very
point of becoming happy, lose that hope for ever, and was condemned to
the most cruel loss in being deprived of the sense of sight. He ought
to have recollected the dangers to which his former imprudence had
exposed him; with what maturity of deliberation, with what wise delay,
the monarch to whom he was indebted for his fortune and life had
conducted himself with respect to him, and he ought to have yielded
entirely to his advice. But it is not from acting without reflection
that experience is acquired, and the wise alone can profit by that of
others."

       *       *       *       *       *

The young Superintendent, having made an end of speaking, Bohetzad,
drowned in thought, dismissed the assembly, and remanded the criminal
to prison.

The ten Viziers, afraid lest their victim should escape, assembled
again next day, and sent three of their number in a deputation to the
King to strike the last blow against the young Aladin. They assured
Bohetzad that the dangerous consequences of his clemency were already
felt.

"Every day," said they, "ordinary justice is engaged in checking the
audacious crimes of your subjects against the sanctity of the harem.
Prevaricating criminals have the boldness to defend themselves by the
example that is before their eyes; and the delays which arise from
your Majesty in this affair are so many pretences which they allege in
their justification. We conjure you, sire, to put an end to this
disorder, which your ministers will soon be unable to restrain."

Bohetzad, ashamed of his too great indulgence, caused the
Superintendent to be brought before him.

"Thou appearest at length," said he to him, "for the last time, on the
scaffold, which thou art about to stain with thy blood. The crime
which thou hast committed allows me no rest. The too long suspension
of the sword of the law draws along with it an example fatal to my
subjects. Every voice is united against thee, and not one justifies
thee."

"Men pursue me," interrupted the undaunted Aladin. "I am the object of
hatred and slander; but, if the Eternal and His Prophet are for me, I
have nothing in this world to fear. Heaven protects my innocence, and
the sword cannot deprive me of it. It will always shine upon my
forehead, even when it shall be separated from my body. My confidence
is in God. I expect everything from Him, as King Bazmant at length did
after the reverses he experienced."


HISTORY OF BAZMANT, OR THE CONFIDENT.


This Sovereign, too much addicted to the pleasures of the table, was
giving himself up one day to the immoderate enjoyment of a sumptuous
feast, when his Vizier came to inform him that the enemy was coming to
besiege his capital.

"Have not I," replied he, "excellent generals and good troops? Let
them take care of everything, and beware of disturbing my pleasures."

"I will obey, sire," replied the Vizier; "but remember that the
Almighty disposes of thrones, and that if you invoke not His aid, your
riches and power will not support you or yours."

Disregarding this wise counsel, Bazmant fell asleep in the arms of
sensuality; and when he awoke was obliged to take to flight:
notwithstanding the bravery of his soldiers, the enemy had become
masters of the city.

The fugitive King withdrew to one of his allies, his father-in-law and
friend, who granted him a powerful army, with which he hoped in a
short time to re-enter his dominions and take vengeance on his enemy.
Full of confidence in this assistance, he marched at the head of his
troops, and advanced towards the capital which he had lost. But
victory again declared in favour of the usurper. His army was routed,
and he himself owed his safety to the swiftness and vigour of his
horse, which, pursued by the enemy, crossed an arm of the sea which
lay in his way, and soon landed him on the opposite shore.

Not far from the shore was situated a fortified city called Kerassin,
at that time under the dominion of King Abadid. Bazmant went to it,
and demanded an asylum in the hospital destined for the reception of
poor strangers. He learned that King Abadid resided in Medinet-Ilahid,
the capital of the kingdom. He took the road to it, arrived there, and
demanded an audience of the Sovereign, which was immediately granted.
His external appearance prejudiced the monarch in his favour, and he
asked him concerning his rank, his country, and the motives which had
brought him to Medinet-Ilahid.

"I was," replied he, "a distinguished officer in the Court of King
Bazmant, to whom I was much attached. This unfortunate Prince has been
driven from his kingdom, and as it became necessary for me to choose a
master, I am come to make a voluntary offer of my person and services
to your Majesty."

Abadid, full of prudence and penetration, conceived a favourable
opinion of the stranger. He loaded him with presents, and assigned him
a distinguished rank among his officers. Bazmant might have been proud
of his new situation could he have banished from his memory the
fortune he had once enjoyed, and had he not been still wholly occupied
with the loss of his kingdom.

A neighbouring power at that time threatened Abadid with an invasion
of his dominions. The Sovereign put himself in a posture of defence,
and took every necessary precaution to repel his enemy. He himself
took arms, and left his capital at the head of a formidable army.
Bazmant had the chief command of the van.

The battle was soon begun, during which Abadid and Bazmant conducted
themselves like experienced chiefs, and were distinguished by
remarkable feats of courage and intrepidity. The enemy was entirely
defeated and repulsed. Bazmant extolled to the skies the mighty deeds
and wise plans of Abadid.

"Sire," said he to him, "with an army so well disciplined and so much
good conduct you might easily humble the most formidable nations."

"You are mistaken," replied the wise monarch; "without the assistance
of Allah I could not resist the most feeble atoms in the creation. It
is by trusting in Him alone that we have the power of posting our
troops to advantage, of directing our plans with wisdom, and of
preserving that presence of mind which is the guide of all our
operations. If I had not had recourse to Him, the greatest force would
have vanished in my hands."

"I am convinced of it," replied Bazmant, "and the misfortunes which I
have experienced are a proof of it. A false prudence induced me to
conceal my name and my misfortunes. But your virtues forcibly draw the
secret from me. You see before you the unhappy Bazmant, whom too much
confidence in his own troops could not preserve upon the throne."

Upon this confession, Abadid, seized with astonishment, wished to make
an apology to Bazmant for the reception he had given him.

"How could you know me," replied the dethroned Prince, "since shame
and confusion obliged me to be silent? Could you read upon my forehead
a character which the justice of Heaven had effaced? Great King,"
added he, embracing him, "I owe to your generosity a full account of
my faults: lend me your attention."

At these words Bazmant related his history.

"My dear brother," said Abadid to him, after having heard it, "cease
to humble yourself before a man brought up in your very principles,
and corrected at last by a series of misfortunes similar to yours. I
have not been wiser than you. It appears that we must be instructed by
misery! Formerly I put my confidence in my troops and my own
abilities, and at the head of a numerous army I was conquered by an
enemy who had nothing to oppose me but a handful of men. Forced to
take to flight, I retired to the mountains, with fifty men who would
not abandon me. Providence caused me to fall in with a dervish in his
hermitage, where he was wholly devoted to the exercise and duties of
religion. He showed me the cause of my misfortunes, and told me that
the enemy had put his trust in Allah alone, and was thus enabled to
strike me with unerring blows; while I, depending upon the effort of
my spear and the thickness of my battalions, and full of audacious
pride, neglected my duty, and gave no order which did not lead to an
error. 'Put,' said he to me, 'your confidence in Him who directs
everything here below, and if His arm is engaged in your behalf, fifty
men will be sufficient to regain your kingdom.' These discourses of
the sage made a strong impression upon me. I raised my eyes on high,
and, full of a salutary confidence, I returned to my capital.
Prosperity had blinded my enemy. He had forgotten in the lap of
pleasure the wise maxims to which he was indebted for his victory.
Everything seemed quiet in his dominions. He believed himself secure
in the possession of them, and neglected the maintenance of an army. I
arrived unawares at the beginning of the night. I hastened to the
palace with my small party, which curiosity, however, increased. It
became a formidable army within the palace: dismay and terror marched
in its train. The usurper had only just time to make his escape and
avoid the danger which surrounded him. And the next day beheld me
re-established on my throne, and in the undisturbed possession of my
kingdom."

The recital of Abadid's adventures completely changed the opinions of
Bazmant.

"You have," said the Prince to him, "inspired me with a confidence
equal to that which animated you, and henceforward I will place it
nowhere else. God alone and His great Prophet are able to restore me
my crown; and in order to regain it, I will follow the same method
that you did."

At these words he took leave of Abadid, and hastened into a desert,
through which he was obliged to pass in order to reach his dominions.
Guided by the confidence which he had placed in the Sovereign Ruler of
men, and imploring His support by prayer, he gained the summit of a
mountain. He was oppressed with fatigue, and, having fallen asleep, he
saw a vision in a dream.

He thought he heard a voice say to him, "Bazmant, Allah has heard thy
prayers: He accepts thy penitence, and thou mayest march without fear
whither thou intendest."

The Prince believed he had heard his guardian angel, and hastened his
journey towards the capital of his kingdom. Scarcely had he reached
the frontiers, when he met a party of those who had been most faithful
to him. They lived under a tent, ready to seek another asylum on the
least instance of tyranny in the usurper. Without making himself
known, he entered into conversation, and told them that he was
travelling to the capital. They endeavoured to divert him from his
design. They described the avenues to the city as extremely dangerous.
They told him that suspicion and fear were upon the throne; that
strangers who approached it were believed to be emissaries of Bazmant,
and were, without distinction, beheaded by order of the tyrant.

"He causes the former King to be regretted, then?" inquired the
Prince, certain that they could not know him.

"Alas!" replied they, "would indeed that our worthy monarch were here!
He would find a safe asylum in the hearts of all his subjects, and a
hundred thousand arms to avenge him. The monster who has dethroned
him, confiding in his forces, sacrifices everything to his unbridled
desires, and frees himself by the sword of his slightest alarms."

"He is in the wrong," replied Bazmant, "to trust wholly in his army:
the true support of Kings is the favour of Heaven. As for me, who have
come here with no other intention than to acquire knowledge by
travelling, knowing that no one can injure me while I have the divine
protection, I will, without fear, approach the place which the vain
precautions of your master have caused to be looked upon as so
dangerous."

"We conjure you not to do this," replied these worthy people, in a
feeling tone: "do not give us another misfortune to bewail. Since you
are a good Mussulman, wait patiently till the divine justice shall
have struck this tyrant: the time is not far distant, for the measure
of his iniquity is full. And should the arm of man delay to strike,
the pillars of his palace will fall upon him."

At these words, Bazmant felt his hopes revive. He laid aside all
disguise, and declared that he was the monarch whom they wished to
return. At that instant his faithful subjects, exiled on his account,
fell at his feet. They kissed his hands and moistened them with their
tears. A part of the knights who were there devoted themselves as his
life-guard. The rest spread all around to announce his happy return,
and appoint a place of rendezvous. A formidable army was soon in a
condition to advance to the capital, the tyrant was overthrown, and
Bazmant resumed the reins of government and power amidst the
acclamations of all his people.

       *       *       *       *       *

At the end of this history, Aladin ventured to add some reflections of
his own.

"You see," said he to Bohetzad, "how Bazmant reascended his throne,
without any other assistance than that of Heaven. My true throne,
sire, is my innocence; and, as if inspired from above, I have a fixed
belief that I will yet be re-established on it, and triumph over mine
enemies."

As the young minister mingled sage truths with the recital of his
stories, the Sovereign, who had listened to him, felt his anger
relent.

He again ordered the punishment to be deferred, and the criminal was
carried back to prison.

The Viziers again resolved to diffuse in the mind of the King the
poison of those perfidious insinuations which had hitherto been so
unsuccessful.

One of them accordingly arrived well prepared. He brought with him
seditious libels and a list of disorders which, he said, the violation
of a law that was refused to be put in execution had occasioned, in
leaving unpunished a crime which appeared in so obvious a manner.

These reports, which seemed to be dictated by disinterestedness and
fidelity, again inflamed Bohetzad. He resumed his first resolutions,
and sent for the criminal to his presence.

"I have hesitated too long," said he. "Thy death is essential to the
safety of my kingdom, and thou canst no more hope either for delay or
mercy."

"Sire," said Aladin, "every fault deserves pardon. I have committed
one in indulging myself in a drink which I did not know, and which
deprived me, for a moment, of reason. But I have a right to obtain
your Majesty's pardon. I am incapable of the crime of which I am
accused. Sovereigns, sire, have a noble right which they derive from
Heaven: it is that of exercising mercy when it is proper. Let us
suppose that, after a little delay and deliberate examination, you had
snatched an innocent person from punishment, would not your Majesty
have done an action something like that of raising him from the dead?
An action may often appear agreeable to strict justice, while in
reality it is only the effect of lawless tyranny. And what glory is
there not, even in pardoning an offence? He who is capable of mercy
will, like Baharkan, sooner or later receive his reward."

Aladin, perceiving Bohetzad inclined to listen to him, proceeded thus
in the explanation of what he had advanced:


HISTORY OF BAHARKAN.


Baharkan was an intemperate Prince. He sacrificed everything to his
passions, and, in order to gratify them, he boldly plunged into the
greatest excess of tyranny. He never pardoned even the appearance of a
crime: so that involuntary faults were punished no less than avowed
transgressions.

Being one day at the chase, one of his officers inadvertently
discharged from his bow an arrow which he was holding prepared. It
struck the ear of the King, and unfortunately carried it off.
Baharkan, in his fury, ordered the offender to be brought before him,
and his head to be struck off. As soon as the unhappy young man was in
his presence, having heard the sentence of death pronounced by the
monarch, he spoke to him thus:

"Sire, the fault I have committed was unpremeditated on my part; it
was the effect of the fatality of the stars. I throw myself on your
clemency. I implore your pardon. It will be meritorious in the sight
of God and approved of by men. In the name of the heavenly Power which
hath put the sceptre into your hands, I entreat for pardon, and your
Majesty will one day receive your reward."

This prayer softened the unrelenting heart of the King, and, contrary
to the general expectation, the young officer obtained his pardon.

His name was Tirkan. He was a Prince who had fled from his father's
Court in order to escape the punishment of a fault which he had
committed. After having wandered unknown from kingdom to kingdom, he
at length settled at the Court of Baharkan, where he obtained
employment. He remained there for some time after the accident which
had befallen him; but his father, having discovered the place of his
retreat, sent him his pardon, and advised him to return to him. He
did this in such affectionate and paternal terms that Tirkan, trusting
in his father's goodness, immediately departed. His hopes were not
deceived, and he was re-established in all his rights.

King Baharkan, desiring one day to amuse himself with pearl-fishing,
embarked in a vessel with a design to coast along the shores of his
kingdom in search of pearls. An unexpected storm drove the ship into
the open sea. It became the sport of the winds and the waves, and,
stripped of all its rigging, ran aground on an unknown shore, and was
dashed to pieces against the rocks which surrounded it. The whole crew
perished. Baharkan alone was saved from shipwreck by a plank which he
had had the good fortune to seize. Fortunately, he landed on the
dominions of the monarch whose son had shot away his ear, and whom he
had pardoned.

Night began to descend when Baharkan landed. He wanted neither courage
nor vigour, and therefore took the first road that presented itself,
which led to a large fortified city. But, as the gates had just been
shut, he was forced to wait without till next day, and to pass the
night in a neighbouring churchyard.

Day began to appear, and the gates were opened. The first persons who
came from the city found, at the gate of the churchyard, a man who had
been murdered. Baharkan was coming out of it at the same time. The
efforts he had made in the evening to reach the coast with his plank
had given him some slight wounds, from which the blood was still
trickling. This proof appeared sufficient in the eyes of the
bystanders: he was taken for the murderer, and carried to prison.

There this unfortunate Prince, left to his own reflections, thus
communed with himself: "Heaven chastises thee, Baharkan. Thou wast
cruel, vindictive, and inexorable. With thee humanity had no value.
Thou sacrificedst thy brethren on the slightest suspicion. Behold
thyself now on a level with the vilest of mortals. Thou hast met with
no more than thy desert."

As he rendered this terrible justice to himself, he perceived in the
air a vulture, which hovered above the prison in the court of which
he was walking. He instinctively took a flint, and threw it with great
force at the bird, which avoided the stroke; but, in falling, the
stone accidentally struck the same Prince Tirkan who formerly had
carried off his ear by the stroke of an arrow. It wounded him exactly
on the ear, but not so severely as Baharkan had been. Pain forced a
cry from the young Prince, which brought all his courtiers around him.
Surgeons were sent for, who soon cured this slight wound.

The King ordered a search to be made, in order to discover the person
who had thrown the stone. Baharkan was accused by his fellow-prisoners
of picking up and throwing it. He was brought before the monarch, who
condemned him to lose his head, since, besides this, he believed him
to be the murderer of the man who had been assassinated near the
churchyard. The executioner of justice had already taken off the
turban which covered him, and was drawing the sword from its scabbard,
when the King, examining attentively the head which had just been
uncovered, perceived that it wanted an ear.

"It appears," said he to the criminal, "that this is not your first
offence. For what crime have you been already condemned to lose an
ear?"

Baharkan, having assumed a manly spirit since his misfortunes,
replied, with boldness, "Sire, if I have committed crimes, I owe no
account of them but to Heaven; and till it should have determined to
punish me, human justice had no right to inflict it. I have been, in
one word, your equal--I was a King. The ear which I want was
unfortunately carried off by an arrow, which escaped from the bow of
one of my officers, whose name was Tirkan. Impelled by the first
emotion of anger, I condemned him to death. He besought my pardon, and
obtained it. My name is Baharkan."

Tirkan, without giving him time to finish, had already thrown himself
into his arms. He recognized at once his ancient master and his
deliverer. Baharkan, far from being punished, was treated as a King,
and an unfortunate one. He related the adventure which had landed him
in the dominions of Tirkan's father. The latter communicated to him
his own, and especially the unfortunate accident which had wounded
Baharkan.

"Recollect, sire," added he, "that in soliciting a pardon, I ventured
to promise you, from Heaven, the same favour which I expected from
you. Here you have received it, under the very same circumstances,
through the instrumentality of my father."

After these discoveries, the two Sovereigns embraced each other, with
marks of esteem and kindness. A short time after, Baharkan returned to
his kingdom in a fleet well equipped, and at the head of an army of
fifty thousand fighting men, commanded by Prince Tirkan.

       *       *       *       *       *

"In this manner," added Aladin, "Baharkan was rewarded for suffering
himself to be softened when he was personally offended. Heaven did not
confine its blessings to his receiving the same treatment in a similar
situation and restoring him to his subjects, it moreover granted to
him every virtue requisite in a good King; and in governing his
subjects, it enabled him always to govern himself."

Bohetzad, shaken in his resolution by this discourse, ordered the
instruments of death to be again removed, and the minister to be
conducted back to prison. He even pronounced these last words so
hesitatingly, that the Viziers, who observed it, were alarmed.

The whole conspiracy formed against Aladin awoke with still greater
force, and it was determined that the ten Viziers should go in a body
to the King. Their danger would become so great, if Aladin should
succeed in justifying himself, that every step should be taken to
destroy him.

The next day they all repaired to the palace, and he who was possessed
of the warmest eloquence spoke. If the monarch would believe it, the
wicked story-teller, whose talents were so specious, was indebted for
his success to the art of magic, in which he was well skilled. But he
ought to distrust an illusion which exposes at once the laws,
religion, morals, the honour of the throne, and the public welfare;
and unless he punished this crime, it would be impossible to check
disorder. All the other Viziers supported this insidious harangue.
Each of them alleged his own disinterestedness, his zeal, and his
fidelity.

"Unbridled audacity is in him united with matchless cunning," they
said. "Everything is in danger if this offence remains unpunished."

Bohetzad could not resist the unanimous voice of so many counsellors.
His anger re-awoke, and he ordered the criminal to be brought forth.

Aladin appeared in chains, and the King, perceiving him, exclaimed,

"Let the head of this unhappy man be struck off."

The ten Viziers hastened to seize the sword of the executioner, in
order to dispute with him the execution of his office. This motion
gave Aladin time to speak.

"Behold, sire, the eagerness of your Viziers to bathe themselves in
the blood of innocence. Justice pursues the crime, but does not rush
upon the criminal. Zeal, like every other virtue, should be moderated.
Stop, eager and wicked men! I am here under the justice of the King,
not under yours. You have no power over my life. It is sacred with
respect to you, who are neither judges nor executioners. Speak! Show
yourselves openly as you really are. I have offended you by checking
your rapine. You are my enemies and base slanderers."

"You recriminate upon my Viziers," interrupted the King; "truth which
flows from their mouths confounds you."

"Nothing from them can confound me," replied Aladin; "not even the
blackness of their calumny. It is coeval with their existence. But for
these, who have reduced me to the necessity of this defence, I must
question them in my turn. They are all here, and let them answer. Does
not the law require that every accuser or deponent should have been a
witness of the crime? Their evidence is therefore objectionable in
this case; the law rejects it. It is only the effect of envy and
jealous rage by which they are devoured. Look at them, sire, and at
me. The sword is above my head, yet I dare raise it up, while their
eyes shun both yours and mine. Heaven supports me and condemns them;
our sentence is written on our countenance. O great King! deserving of
better ministers, beware of being drawn into the guilty plot they have
contrived for you. One may, but without passion, bear testimony
against the accused. If he is convicted, justice condemns him. But the
judge, in describing the crime and pronouncing sentence, never forgets
the duty due to the creature of God on whom the punishment is about to
fall. Here I see nothing but fury and jealous rage. They are devoured
by their thirst for blood, and equity is not the basis of their
judgments. All the injurious imputations which have been levelled
against me vanish. An invisible hand imprints on my forehead the
serenity of innocence. An inward sentiment tells me that, having lived
free from crimes, I shall not be confounded with the guilty. Unhappy
is the man whose conscience gives a contrary testimony. He endeavours
in vain to shun the stroke that threatens him. The history of the
Sultan Hebraim and of his son is a proof of this."

Bohetzad, struck with astonishment at the intrepid firmness of Aladin
and the united rage of his ministers, wished to hear the adventures of
Hebraim; and the Superintendent, having obtained permission to relate
them, thus began:


HISTORY OF THE SULTAN HEBRAIM AND HIS SONS, OR THE PREDESTINATED.

[Illustration]


The Sultan Hebraim, called by his birth to the government of extensive
dominions, had enlarged them considerably by the success of his arms.
But the want of an heir disturbed the enjoyment of his glory. At
length, however, a son was born, whose birth was celebrated by public
rejoicings and feasts, which, during forty days, announced to the
people the happiness of the Sovereign.

This time was employed in a very different manner by the astrologers
who were employed to cast the infant's nativity. They could not
conceal from the Sultan that an evil star had presided at the birth of
his son. The orbit of his planet, black and stained with blood,
announced misfortunes, which it would be difficult to resist. They
unanimously declared that before he was seven years old, the infant
would be exposed to the devouring jaws of a tiger; and that if he
could escape the fury of that animal during this determinate space of
time, his hand would become fatal to the author of his existence; and
that there was no other way by which he could escape the evils that
threatened him but by becoming, from the effects of education, an
enlightened, wise, and virtuous Prince.

The annunciation of so mournful a prediction dissipated the joy of
Hebraim, and the days of public happiness were spent by him in tears
and in grief. Nevertheless, as hope never forsakes the unfortunate, he
flattered himself, and was happy to think, that it was possible to
screen the heir of his power from the decrees of fate. It did not
appear to him impossible to protect his son from the attacks of the
tiger during the appointed term of seven years; and after having
snatched him from the first decree of destiny, he might, by carefully
watching over his education, beget in him sentiments of wisdom and the
love of virtue, and thus disprove the prediction of the astrologers.

After these reflections, the Sultan prepared a retreat on the summit
of a mountain, in which he hoped that his son would be safe from the
attacks of the tiger for the seven years determined by fate. A number
of workmen were employed in forming in the rock a cavity of a hundred
feet in depth, about a hundred and fifty in length, and thirty in
breadth. They let down into this every material necessary to make a
commodious lodging; a spring of water was found there, and they
contrived a passage for it, as well as for the rain-water which might
be collected in this cavity. They carried earth to it, and put plants
there, which were soon in a thriving condition.

After having furnished this little palace in a proper manner, they let
down into it the Prince and his nurse by the help of a pulley,
together with every necessary article for a month. At the end of every
moon Hebraim came regularly to visit his son. The nurse laid the
child in a basket made of bulrushes, which was lifted up to the very
brim of the entrance; and while the father yielded to the sweetest
emotions of nature in caressing his son, a numerous guard, by the
thundering sound of their instruments, kept the wild beasts at a
distance. When the visit was over the provisions were renewed, and the
cord, rolling upon the pulley, gently returned to the bottom of the
cave the basket and the infant.

The young Prince grew and prospered in this solitary habitation, which
a very strong vegetation had adorned with trees and shrubs of every
kind. The fatal term marked out by the astrologers had almost elapsed.
Only twenty days were wanting to fulfil the seven years, when a troop
of unknown hunters, in vigorous pursuit of an enormous tiger which
they had already wounded, came to the summit of the mountain in full
view of their prey. The furious animal, terrified by their shouts, and
struck by arrows which were shot at it from every quarter, found this
cavity in its course, and either blinded by terror or being now in
despair, immediately sprang down it. It fell upon a tree, which,
bending under its weight, considerably broke the force of a fall which
would have dashed it to pieces on the bottom of this pit.

The terrified nurse endeavoured to conceal herself, and the monster
found the child, which it grievously wounded on the shoulder. On
hearing the cries of the infant, however, the nurse, forgetting her
own danger, flew to his assistance. The tiger darted at her, and
having torn her in pieces, was about to devour her, when the huntsmen,
coming suddenly up to the brink of the precipice, discharged at once a
shower of arrows upon the voracious animal. His body was full of them,
the blood gushed from every part of it, and an enormous stone thrown
at his head killed him on the spot.

After this exploit the huntsmen, anxious to discover the child whose
cries resounded in this frightful habitation, eagerly descended into
it. But what was their astonishment when they found there at the side
of a dead woman a beautiful infant, richly dressed, and swimming in
the blood of the wounds it had received! Their first care was to
assist the innocent creature, which still breathed. They bathed its
wounds, and wrapped them up with healing herbs. As soon as the infant
appeared more calm, they buried the nurse and examined this strange
retreat. The furniture of this small habitation appeared extremely
rich, and a quantity of provisions was found there, which seemed to
have come down from heaven. The huntsmen took possession of everything
by the right of conquest, and sought how they might take out of this
dungeon everything it concealed.

The basket of bulrushes was first employed in drawing up the young
child out of this habitation, and next all the effects, the furniture,
and the provisions, were raised by means of the pulley which was fixed
at the top of the cave. When everything was out a division was made.
The chief of the troop took possession of the infant, in whose
preservation he felt himself strongly interested, and carried it with
him to his own house.

The only son of the Sultan Hebraim had fallen into good hands. His
benefactor was a man of distinction, wealthy, and without a fault but
that of an unlimited passion for the chase. Struck with the beauty and
the sweetness of his young charge, he paid the greatest attention to
him. And when he found him capable of answering his questions, he
endeavoured to learn from him who he was, and for what reason he had
been made to dwell in so extraordinary a habitation.

"I know not," replied the child. "I lived with the woman whom you
found dead; she gave me everything I wanted. From time to time a man,
much bigger than you, came and stood at the top of the dwelling where
you found me. I was put into a basket and drawn up to him. He caressed
me very much, and called me his dear child. I called the woman Nurse,
and she likewise said I was her dear child. I know nothing more."

The benefactor could not conclude, from this simple declaration,
anything else than that this child owed its birth to parents of an
illustrious rank, but he could not discover the very extraordinary
reason which had forced them to conceal its existence by a method
still more extraordinary. Expecting that time would unravel this
mystery, he paid every attention to the boy's education, had him
instructed in the sciences, and trained up in exercises suitable to
the most illustrious descent.

The young disciple early answered the hopes of his friend. He excelled
particularly in the art of horsemanship, handled every sort of weapon
with dexterity, and in general acquired all the knowledge necessary
for the most resolute warrior or hunter.

One day, as they were both hotly engaged in the pursuit of some
tigers, they were suddenly surrounded by a band of robbers. Abaquir
(for that was the young man's name) displayed, as well as his master,
prodigious feats of valour. But, overpowered by numbers, they were
both plundered. The protector of Abaquir lost his life, and he himself
received some slight wounds; but the faintness which succeeded was
more the effect of fatigue than of blows. As soon as the robbers had
disappeared he came to himself, and being naturally courageous, he
attempted, though deprived of every aid, to cross the desert, in order
to reach some inhabited place, having nothing for his defence but a
hunter's javelin, which had been left on the field of battle.

He had travelled but a few hours when he perceived in the plain a man
in the habit of a dervish. He made haste to join him, to address and
salute him. The dervish prevented him by beginning the conversation
himself.

"Beautiful young man," said he to him, "you are naked and wounded. Who
hath reduced you to the distressed situation in which I see you?"
Abaquir did not hesitate to relate his adventure to this man, whom he
took for some holy person, and confidently asked from him some food
and clothing.

"One ought," replied the dervish, "to know what it is to strip himself
in order to clothe his brother, and to share with him his food in
order to preserve him."

At the same time he covered the young man with his cloak, made him sit
down, and drew from a sort of wallet some dates, bread baked with the
milk of a camel, and a bottle of the skin of a goat, containing five
or six pints of water.

"Hold," said he, "you shall have the repast of a penitent. I carry
these with me to supply my own wants and those of others; but we will
go to my cave, and there you will find both repose and plenty."

Abaquir, before he began to eat, returned thanks to the holy Prophet
for so seasonable a relief. When the first calls of hunger were
satisfied, the dervish prevailed upon him to go with him to his cell,
which was at no great distance.

Abaquir was received therewith every mark of benevolent charity. His
wounds were washed and dressed, and the most nourishing food was set
before him. In this wild habitation the tables and chairs were nothing
but stones rudely thrown together, and the beds were made of heaps of
moss; but it was very well for Abaquir, who had been reduced to the
want of everything. Besides, the attention of his landlord supplied
the want of conveniences in this retreat. The young man conceived the
highest idea of the profession of a dervish, from its inspiring
sentiments so humane.

"My dear child," said the disguised person to him, "I take pleasure in
bestowing care on you; do not place all to the account of religion.
You inspire me with a strong interest, and if you wish to go away from
me, you must at least tarry till you are perfectly recovered of your
wounds, for the passage from this desert is extremely difficult."

Although the young man could not but show himself grateful for so much
attention, yet it did not appear uncommon to him. Accustomed to the
tender caresses of his nurse, to those of his father, and of his
generous benefactor who had since directed his education, the
attentions of the pretended dervish seemed to him affectionate and
natural. The latter, by degrees, came to know all the adventures of
Abaquir, and appeared to take in him an interest always more marked.

"Either I am much deceived, child," said the recluse, "or I perceive
that you are reserved for very high fates, and I devote myself to
become your conductor in this fortunate career. I will restore to you
this father who took so much pleasure in lavishing his caresses upon
you."

"Ah! if you can," replied Abaquir, "conduct me to him immediately."

"In your present condition? No, my child, you are unacquainted with
mankind. Nature speaks not with the great in favour of a stranger
covered with the old cloak of a dervish. Before you could obtain a
hearing, you would experience the treatment reserved for an impostor,
and there would be a number of interested people ready to forbid you
all access. But at present you are with a man who loves you, and whose
resources are inexhaustible. A disgust at the riches and vanities of
the world made me form the resolution of retiring from it. But
to-morrow, if I choose, I can have more of them in my possession than
would satisfy the ambition of the most wealthy potentates on earth. I
can show you part of them. The earth conceals treasures which I can
force her to give up. Not far from this there is great abundance of
them, and I will conduct you thither. You shall take what may be
necessary to carry you to your father's Court, preceded by a hundred
camels, loaded with the richest stuffs of the East, and each of them
led by a slave. You shall be surrounded by a guard, which will secure
you respect wherever you pass."

Abaquir was lost in admiration. He could not imagine that these
magnificent promises were real when he looked upon the coarse cloak
with which he was covered, the furniture, and the fantastic utensils
of his landlord. The latter, after having been some moments lost in
reflection, thus resumed his speech:

"O my child, never let appearances deceive you! The more you advance
in years, the more you will learn to distrust its illusions. I am a
dervish by inclination, but all the garments I wear are not mean. Here
is one which becomes none but brave and powerful men." At the same
time the pretended dervish opened his cassock, and discovered a girdle
of red, yellow, and green silk.

"Take courage, young man," continued he: "to-morrow I will show you
great things. Our attention shall be engaged about your fortune. I
shall be able, without being obliged to go far, to find out this
singular cave in which you were brought up. I shall know the
architect; and in a month, after having finished all our preparations,
we will depart for your father's Court, with a train of attendants
that will force everybody to welcome us."

The discovery of this girdle under rags had struck Abaquir with
astonishment. He depended upon the promises of his new protector, and
accepted his offers.

"But," continued this extraordinary man, "as soon as you shall be at
your father's house, and, notwithstanding the pain which our
separation will cost you, I shall require your permission to return to
my solitary manner of life."

"Willingly," replied Abaquir; "but you will not prevent me from
conducting you thither."

On the morning of the next day the dervish made the young man take a
basket with provisions for breakfast, and a parcel of ropes, and they
went together to the bottom of a steep mountain. When they had arrived
there, the companion of Abaquir encouraged him to exert new strength.

"You may," said he, "suffer a little fatigue, but reflecting that you
are to reap the fruit of it, you must redouble your courage. Be not
astonished at what you are about to see. This mountain contains in its
bosom a treasure which cannot be estimated. These riches are abandoned
to magi, like me; but we despise using them for ourselves. Do not
spend your time in gathering gold, which you will find here in great
quantity: take nothing but precious stones. This is the best method of
enriching yourself speedily."

After this advice, the dervish threw off his cloak, and appeared as a
magician. He was covered only with his large particoloured girdle
which adorned his breast. He took from a purse which hung from his
girdle an instrument for striking fire, and, having lighted a taper,
he burnt perfumes, and running over a book, he pronounced with a loud
voice a magical charm. Scarcely had he finished when the earth shook
under his feet, opened before him, and discovered a square stone of
marble, upon the middle of which the magician immediately scattered
perfumes. When he thought the air sufficiently purified and refreshed
with them, he girded Abaquir with a rope under his arms, put a taper
in his hand, and let him down into the opening.

As soon as Abaquir had got into it, his eyes were dazzled by the
splendour of the riches with which he was surrounded. But, faithful
to the advice of the magician, he picked up only precious stones, with
which he filled the basket which his guide had let down to him by a
cord. When it was full and lifted out of the pit, the magician took
it; and at that moment a dreadful noise was heard, the fatal trap was
shut, and the young Abaquir found himself swallowed up in the bowels
of the earth, without any hope of ever getting out.

He believed he was betrayed by the magician, and, without great vigour
of mind, would have abandoned himself to despair. But, after having
shed some tears, he retraced in his memory the events of his former
life. Threatened in his early infancy with becoming the prey of a
tiger, Providence had protected him from danger. Attacked afterwards
by robbers, the same protection had saved him. "The arm which hath
defended me," said he, "will not cease to do so still. I am innocent
and betrayed." In this confidence he prostrated himself before Him who
has the keys of the deep, and rested with confidence in His
assistance.

By the light of the candle, which was still burning, he examined the
immense cave which served him as a prison. He thought he perceived at
the bottom a passage, the path of which could not be followed without
stooping. He approached it with his light, but there came from it so
strong a wind that it was instantly extinguished. Far from lessening
his hopes, this accident increased them. So violent a wind announced
to him a passage outward. He entered it with great difficulty, and
almost creeping in the darkness. As he advanced he heard a hollow
noise, the murmur of which presaged to him some singular event. He
soon perceived that he dipped his hands and his knees in a spring of
running water. He raised his head, and finding that he could take some
rest, he sat down upon a stone which he had met with, amid the murmurs
of many other streams which flowed from these deep caves. He filled
the hollow of his hand with the water, which was fresh and delicious.
He drank of it, and after having recruited his strength, he continued
this fatiguing journey. But these little streams, which thus far had
only run upon the ground, had here hollowed out a bed for themselves.
He was obliged to enter it, and the farther he advanced the more the
danger increased, till at last he began to swim. The darkness around
him at length began to be dissipated. The cavern grew wider and
higher, and admitted a feeble ray of light, which seemed to announce
that the outlet was near. The strength of the swimmer increased with
his hopes; and he soon found himself under the vault of heaven, at the
moment when the sun was ceasing to adorn it, and the goddess of the
night was succeeding to her task.

Abaquir might now repose without fear, and his strength was exhausted.
He laid himself upon the ground, and, overcome with fatigue, soon fell
asleep. He had but few of the wet clothes which he had received from
the magician to put off, for the rubbing of the flints had carried
away part of them, and the remainder were but shreds.

The singing of birds announced the return of morning, and the first
rays of the sun awakened Abaquir. The young Prince, on opening his
eyes, recollected the dangers from which he had just escaped. He
retraced the most trifling circumstances of them in his memory. He
thought he remembered to have seen, in the frightful cavern he had
traversed, the carcasses of many who had fallen victims to the avarice
of the wicked magician. This remembrance filled his soul with terror
and dismay; but, at the same time, he felt the value of the blessings
of the Almighty hand, which had miraculously rescued him from this
tomb. His eyes, raised to heaven and swimming in tears, expressed his
gratitude, while his lips celebrated the praises of the Almighty and
of His Prophet.

These first duties being fulfilled, it became necessary to appease the
hunger which preyed upon him. In running round the borders of a small
lake where he was, he perceived some reeds, of which he sucked the
stalks, and chewed the roots with his teeth. He dug up the earth all
around, which furnished him such supplies as his urgent need required.
By the help of care and patience he at last regained strength, and
with it, courage. He then took up some shreds of his clothes, already
dried by the sun, and fixed them to a girdle made of the leaves of
reeds; and by searching carefully he found a stick, which served him
at once for support and defence. He arrived, after much fatigue, upon
a little plain, from whence he discovered a neighbouring city, to
which he directed his steps by the first road that presented itself.

As soon as he was perceived by the inhabitants, one of them ran to
meet him, and appeared eager to lavish upon him the assistance of
which his external appearance showed he had need. He obliged him to
take an asylum in his house, where he was received with kindness; the
recital of his adventures was listened to with feeling, and he found
friends in his misfortunes.

And now, without feeling a moment's uneasiness concerning the fate of
this young Prince, let us return to the Sultan Hebraim, his father,
much more afflicted than he by the accomplishment of the mournful
prediction.

The second day after the defeat of the tiger was the term assigned by
the astrologers. The Sultan, thinking to reap at length the fruit of
his cares and prudence, appeared at the top of the opening, and
announced his arrival as usual by the sound of a horn. But nobody
having answered his first signal, Hebraim, uneasy at this silence,
made some of his officers go down into the pit, who, after much
diligent but fruitless search, found nothing in it but the dead body
of a tiger. The unhappy father doubted no longer the death of his son:
he returned in haste to his palace, and sent for the same astrologers
whom he had formerly consulted respecting the fate of his heir.

"Unhappy that I am!" said he to them, "your fatal prediction is
verified: my son has been devoured by a tiger before the expiration of
the seven years; for in the retreat which I prepared for him I have
found nothing but the body of an enormous tiger."

"Invincible Sultan!" replied the astrologers, "since the event forces
from you an acknowledgment of the truth of our presage, we must
congratulate you now on being beyond the reach of an inevitable death,
which he whose loss you deplore would have brought upon you. Your son,
falling under his destiny, has died in innocence and you are
preserved."

This reflection brought some relief to the natural sorrow of the
Sultan, and time completely effaced the remembrance of it.

In the meantime, Abaquir, of whom we must not lose sight, grew weary
of his idleness in this little village where he had been so well
received. His landlord had a numerous family, and but very small
resources for their maintenance. The young Prince being unwilling to
be a burden on him, went frequently to hunt in the country. One day as
he had killed a deer, and was preparing to lay it on his shoulders, he
was suddenly surrounded by a troop of horsemen, and doubted not that
he was in the middle of a band of robbers.

"Companion!" said the chief to him, "you hunt on foot, and carry
nothing but a bow. There are, however, in these deserts many lions and
tigers, and you may some day be worsted. Come and hunt along with us,
and we will give you an excellent horse."

Abaquir, already eager for the chase, thought he had found an
excellent opportunity of following his inclination, and of relieving
his landlord of the burden of his entertainment. He briskly replied to
this offer by saying that he accepted the favour they intended him of
admitting him into their number. The chief of the band perceived by
this reply that the young man, who was as yet a novice, had not
understood his proposal in its true sense, and thus resumed his
speech:

"Since you are willing to join us, we will breakfast together to
confirm our acquaintance."

Upon this the rest of the band dismounted, opened their knapsacks, and
began each to satisfy his appetite.

"Since you are one of us," said the chief, "I must inform you of the
laws by which we are governed. We love and assist one another as
brethren, we make an equal division of our booty, and we swear to be
faithful in life or in death."

"I have already lived among hunters," replied Abaquir; "I love that
way of life, and you must know that if I do not owe my birth to them,
I am at least indebted to them for my life. Your laws appear to me
extremely equitable."

"Since it is so," said the chief, "I have nothing more to do but
instruct you in our rules. Although I am only your equal, every one
here submits to me as their chief. And as it is necessary that I
should be feared and respected, I treat with extreme rigour all those
who disobey my orders."

"The moment you associate in a band," said Abaquir, "subordination is
essentially necessary."

"Swear, then, upon the Koran, and by the name of the holy Prophet,"
replied the chief, "to submit to all our laws without limitation."

As soon as Abaquir heard the divine book mentioned, he believed he had
got among saints, and without hesitating took the Koran, put it thrice
upon his heart, his head, and his lips, and promised more than was
required of him. Thus was he enrolled without knowing it in the number
of the greatest miscreants of the desert. All his new companions
embraced him with joy. He mounted a fine horse, was covered with a
cloak, and armed with a bow, a sabre, and a spear. Abaquir was
delighted, and perceived not till next day the rashness of the
engagements he had made.

In a short time these vagabonds spread themselves over the desert, and
robbed and plundered travellers and caravans. Their number was every
day increased by the success of their fatal expeditions. At length
their ravages became so considerable that the Sovereign of these
countries put himself at the head of some troops to pursue them. This
was the Sultan Hebraim. The robbers were surrounded on every side; and
Abaquir, being at the head of the band, was particularly aimed at by
the Sultan. But the young man, warding off the danger which threatened
him, wounded his adversary with an arrow; while, in another quarter,
the subjects of the Prince had made themselves masters of the robbers.
Every one that did not fall by the sword was taken prisoner, and the
deserts were at last cleared of this wandering and destructive band.

The Sultan, however, was very grievously wounded. On his return to the
capital, and after having received some medicines for his hurt, he
sent for the astrologers.

"Impostors!" said he to them. "Did you foretell that I was to die by
the hand of a robber?--you who threatened me only with dying by that
of my son?"

"Sultan," replied they, "everything which we have foretold is
unhappily but too true. First let your Highness examine the criminal;
inform yourself from what hand the fatal arrow came, and then form
your opinion of us."

Hebraim ordered all the prisoners to be brought into his presence, and
promised them their lives and their liberty if they would discover the
person that wounded him.

"It was I," said Abaquir, with firmness; "I have been so unfortunate
as to attack the life of my Sovereign, whom I did not know, and I
deserve death."

"Take courage, young man," said the astonished Sultan. "Tell me only
who you are, and who is your father."

Upon this demand, Abaquir gave a full detail of his history, so far as
was consistent with his knowledge, up to that part of it where the
tiger wounded him and devoured his nurse. The relation was interrupted
by the visible change which was observed on the countenance of the
Sultan. But somewhat recovered from this first emotion, Hebraim warmly
solicited the account of his adventures. The young Prince continued
his history, and ended by describing the dread he had felt when
fighting against the Sultan.

"Stop!" said Hebraim, with tears in his eyes. "Approach, and show me
the bite of the tiger."

Abaquir obeyed.

"I have found the truth," exclaimed the Sultan, as he examined the
scar. "Hesitate no more, my dear son; come into my arms! Let me have
at least the consolation, before going down to the grave, of having
found my only son.--Astrologers!" said he, turning towards them, "you
have told me truth as far as it was possible for you, but I was in the
wrong to consult you about my destiny: we ought to submit in silence
to the decree pronounced upon us; in seeking to shun it, we only
increase its weight."

Then addressing the whole Court:

"Viziers, and grandees of the realm!" said he to them, "acknowledge as
your rightful Sovereign Ben-Hebraim, my only son and assist him in
fulfilling with dignity the difficult duties of the throne."

Abaquir having been immediately crowned, under the name of
Abaquir-Ben-Hebraim, his father died; for he caused the arrow which
had entered his body to be pulled out, and his life escaped with the
blood which issued from the large wound, while he reverenced the
decree whose execution he had drawn upon himself, and blessed God for
granting him an heir worthy of his crown.

Ben-Hebraim, early called to the government of a kingdom, but
instructed by adversity, brought up amid labour, and virtuous from
principle, showed himself worthy of the public confidence. The
adventure of the magician and the robbers put him on his guard against
appearances. He pardoned the latter, but ardently wished that Heaven
would bring the former under his power, that he might make him an
example of justice.

One day, as the young Sultan was passing through the market-places of
the city in disguise, he perceived a stranger surrounded by a crowd,
whom curiosity had attracted. They were admiring some diamonds and
jewels of the most exquisite beauty.

Ben-Hebraim observed this stranger attentively, and, under the rich
dress of an Armenian, he recollected his wicked dervish. The tone of
his voice and his striking air marked him so strongly, that it was
impossible to mistake him.

The Sultan speedily returned to his palace, and sent secretly for the
youngest of the robbers, whom he had kept on account of the happy
dispositions he had discovered in him, and of the aversion he had
shown for a manner of life which he had formerly been compelled to
embrace.

"Margam," said he to him, "I have need of your assistance in
delivering the world from a most dangerous man."

And at the same time he pointed out to him the part he was to act in
the plan which they concerted together.

Two days after, Ben-Hebraim sent his chief eunuch, attended by four
officers of the palace and a train of slaves, to invite the Armenian
jeweller Daboul to come to the palace. And for this purpose one of the
finest horses in the stables was led to him.

The pretended Armenian was astonished at so much honour; and not
supposing that this invitation had any other motive than curiosity, he
collected his most precious effects, and intended to dazzle every eye
by the magnificence of the present he was to carry to the Sultan. He
entrusted two of his own slaves with it, and allowed himself to be
conducted by the eunuch.

As soon as he arrived at the gates of the palace, a deputation from
the Sultan, with an officer at their head, came to present him with a
richly-ornamented box filled with betel-nuts. All the halls of the
palace which he crossed were perfumed with aloes and sandal-wood; he
passed thus even to the most retired closet of the Sultan's
apartments.

Margam, in the robes of a Sultan, seated upon an elevated sofa, well
instructed in what he was to do and say, was waiting for the stranger.
Ben-Hebraim had acquired some knowledge in the magical art, the effect
of which will soon be perceived.

At the sight of Daboul, Margam descended from the sofa, and came to
meet the pretended Armenian, without allowing him time to kneel, as
was usual, and made him sit down on the sofa, giving him the
right-hand place.

"Permit this homage," added he: "it is that of a young magician
towards his master." The astonished Daboul was silent. "Here are my
proofs," pursued Margam, and, uncovering his deliman, he showed him
the red, yellow, and green-coloured girdle which adorned his breast.
"I earnestly wished," continued the false Sultan, "again to bring near
me the man for whom wonderful circumstances have inspired me with as
much respect as curiosity. The moment is now come, and I congratulate
myself upon it."

"Sultan," replied Daboul, "when science is united with power,
everything must bend before them. And you see me in admiration at
being within the reach of kissing the feet of another Solomon."

"Let us leave to ordinary men," said Margam, "the desire of external
respect. I seek not for empty homage, but am desirous to obtain new
knowledge. Besides, what is an earthly sovereignty, subjected to so
much labour and exposed to so many dangers, compared to that which you
enjoy? What a happiness to be able to acquire immense riches, and to
diffuse the blessings thereof, without being burdensome to any!"

"I cannot, O wise Sultan," replied Daboul, "but approve of this noble
ambition and these virtuous sentiments. We can make ourselves masters
of many things with great facility, and without delivering a whole
people to misery and the horrors of war: we sacrifice but one man."

"That is precisely," interrupted Margam, "what I wanted to avoid. I
would wish to be able to save a man, and it is on this very subject I
was desirous to consult you."

"To save him?" said Daboul. "When he is predestined to it, one could
not preserve him even by putting oneself in his place."

"In this case, he must be abandoned; but I would wish, at least, that
he might only be a slave."

"Sultan, you would obtain nothing. He must be a victim of consequence,
and of a distinguished rank."

"But it appears to me," said Margam, "that in a choice like this one
is exposed to dangerous resentments."

"There is a method of consulting beforehand," replied the magician,
"such as I made use of in my last search, and I received for answer,
'_In order that you may run some danger, it would be necessary that
you should meet with your victim on earth_.' Now, having put him two
hundred feet below ground, I could not fear the danger of his return."

After appearing to muse, Margam added, "It will be necessary, then,
that I overcome my scruples. I have only one thing to desire of you.
We can work together during your residence here. I am going to show
you the book which I have upon my breast, and wish you to give me
yours."

Daboul could not refuse; he was in a place where everything was
subject to the power of the Sultan. Margam took the book, carelessly
approached a burning pan, and threw it in. The magician wished to pull
it out; but at that instant the real Sultan, coming from behind a
curtain, stopped him.

"Wretch," said he, "thy hour is come! Thou art in presence of Abaquir,
thy victim, and at the same time of Ben-Hebraim, Sovereign of these
dominions."

Then, addressing his page, "Margam," said he to him, "lay aside your
royal dress, and make my eunuchs approach. Infamous magician!"
continued he, speaking to Daboul, "see how the deceitful illusions of
thy art have hurried thee under the sword which must strike thee.
Whither shall guilt flee when Heaven pursues it?--when the Divine
vengeance arises from the earth to strike?"

At these words the magician remained horror-stricken. But in a short
time the terrible remorse which gnawed his conscience appeared to have
the same effect upon him that the hot fire had upon his detestable
book.

"I burn!" exclaimed he at short intervals, and setting up dismal
shrieks.

"Let him be conducted from the palace," said the Sultan, "and let his
head be cut off in presence of his slaves and of the people who are
there assembled."

       *       *       *       *       *

Aladin thus finished the history of the Sultan Hebraim and of his son;
and, after a moment's silence, he again addressed himself to Bohetzad.

"Sire, I might here apply to my own adventures the reflections which
naturally arise from the history you have just heard. But if the
decree of Heaven hath not determined my deliverance, there is no means
whatever which could save me from the danger in which I am involved.
The characters imprinted upon my forehead decide concerning my safety,
and the success or the shame of my enemies. But at all events I shall
remain rich in my innocence, and sooner or later it will triumph."

Bohetzad, more irresolute than ever, gave notice by a signal that the
minister was to be conducted back to prison.

The seventh day had just appeared since the condemnation of the young
Aladin had been so often deferred. It was the time of a festival. The
grandees, the courtiers, and the nobility of the kingdom were
assembled around the throne, a duty they were obliged to fulfil. The
ten Viziers had all their creatures there. Some of these, authorized
by the duties of their station, undertook to speak to the King
against the Superintendent, by repeating all the strongest and most
deceitful things that had been said, in order to bring the Sovereign
to the resolution of exercising against this convicted criminal all
the severity of justice. They finished by insinuating that, being
descended from robbers, nothing was to be expected from him but
crimes. Every one appeared to support these assertions by looks and
gestures.

The unanimity of these advices, in appearance so disinterested, shook
the monarch once more. He thought himself obliged to acknowledge these
marks of zeal by thanks, and to justify the irresolution of his
conduct. "I do not mean," he said, "that the wicked should remain
unpunished, but I would wish that the criminal himself, convinced that
he has merited death, should be forced to acknowledge the equity of
the judgment by which he is condemned."

After this observation he ordered the criminal, who was still loaded
with irons, to be brought before him.

"Audacious young man!" said he to him, "you see around me the
representatives of my nation, to whom the continuance of your life is
a grievance. It is only by your death that the murmurings of my people
can be appeased."

"Sire," replied Aladin, with respect and dignity, "as to the crime
with which so many voices seem to accuse me, and with whose vengeance
I am pursued, I throw it always far from me, even to the shadow of
suspicion. If the nation were here worthily represented, its voice
would be the voice of God, and would be lifted up in favour of my
innocence. This voice, to whose sound every one is deaf at this
moment, yet resounds at the bottom of your Majesty's heart. The fowler
has less power to smother with his hands the bird which he holds in
them, than you have to take away my life. Your clemency alone would
not have led you to have deliberated so long, if the finger of Allah
did not weigh in your heart the atrocity of the imputations with which
I am charged, and if the power of the star which rules my fortune were
not opposed to my fall. I find, among the adventures of the family of
Selimansha, innumerable circumstances that have a resemblance to
mine. Balavan, his son, found, in attempting the death of one of his
nephews, that no human power can hasten the moment of death marked out
by Providence."

"I should wish to know," said Bohetzad, "if you can show us in the
history of this family an example of ingratitude like yours."


HISTORY OF SELIMANSHA AND HIS FAMILY.


Sire (replied the young Superintendent immediately) history has
preserved to us the memory of a King of Persia, named Selimansha, who
possessed all the virtues of a great Sovereign. His family consisted
of two sons, but was increased by an only daughter of Kalisla, his
brother, whom the latter, when dying, had entrusted to his care.
Sensible of his preference, Selimansha forgot nothing in order to
return his confidence. His love for his brother, joined to the purest
virtues, engaged him to bestow the greatest care on the education of
this Princess, whom he looked upon as his own daughter. Favours so
delicate met in this young disciple the happiest dispositions, and
soon brought her to a great degree of perfection.

From the age of twelve the charms of her person and the graces of her
mind caused her to be remarked by persons of her own sex as the star
of morning in the bosom of the firmament. Her well-stored memory
always enabled her to display the soundness of her judgment. She was
so well acquainted with the Koran as to repeat chapters of it at
pleasure, and she explained its meaning with a precision that
delighted every hearer.

Selimansha, seeing his amiable niece fit for marriage, thought he
could not dispose of her hand better than by bestowing it on one of
his sons. He proposed this to the Princess, leaving her, however,
absolute mistress of her choice.

"It is only your happiness that I seek, daughter; pronounce, and my
will shall follow your decision."

"On whose judgment could I better rely than on yours?" replied
Chamsada. "I commit myself entirely to the tenderness of which I have
every day the most affecting proofs, and I submit with pleasure to
everything which your wisdom shall determine concerning me."

"Your confidence flatters me," replied the good monarch, "and would
redouble my affection for you were it capable of being increased.
Since you leave to me the disposal of your lot, I will join it to that
of my second son. The happy similarity which I have observed in your
dispositions seems to me to promise the most agreeable union. I
discern in him virtues which, now unfolding themselves, will soon
become the rivals of your own. You are born to govern kingdoms, and I
think he possesses virtues worthy of a throne. In giving him your
hand, and in allotting him my crown, I promote your happiness, his,
and that of my people."

The amiable Princess cast down her eyes, while she thanked her uncle
for his goodness. Selimansha immediately ordered the preparations
necessary for the celebration of the nuptials.

Public rejoicings followed it, and manifested the general
satisfaction. They lasted sixty days. At the end of this term
Selimansha, desirous of repose, abdicated the crown in favour of the
son to whose fortunes he had just united the lovely Chamsada.

Balavan, the eldest of Selimansha's sons, expected to ascend the
throne at the death of his father. Smitten with the charms of his
beautiful relation, he was reckoning upon offering her his hand, and
associating her with his fortune. Indignation and jealousy took
possession of his heart when he saw the rank and happiness to which he
thought himself called by the right of age pass into the hands of his
brother. Even if his merit had not been a reason for this preference,
he knew that the Sovereigns of this part of the East have the power of
choosing their successors in their family without regard to the
prerogatives of age. But the impetuous Balavan thought they should
have departed from this usage in his behalf, and followed that of
other nations.

The birth of a son to his brother increased his rage, and was another
obstacle to his pretensions. He found means to introduce himself
secretly into the apartment of the King his brother, and with a
furious hand plunged his poniard into his breast. He entered with the
same precautions and the same design into that where the infant was
asleep; but lifting the veil which concealed this young Prince, more
beautiful than the day, a supernatural feeling seemed to withhold his
hand.

"Thou shouldst have been my son," said he, "if injustice had not torn
from me the heart and the hand of Chamsada."

And recognizing at the same time in this innocent victim the features
of her whose charms he adored, an involuntary emotion made him strike
a feeble blow; the poniard wavered in his trembling hand, and the
wound of the stroke was not mortal.

Balavan was only induced to spare his sister-in-law from the hopes he
entertained of one day obtaining her hand. This hope, however,
restrained his murdering arm. As for Selimansha, he escaped this
monster by the vigilance of his guards. At the moment when he
approached the apartment of his father, in the dreadful design of
completing his crimes by embruing his hands in his parent's blood, he
was perceived by a slave, who, assisted by the eunuchs of the guard,
deprived the murderer of every hope of success in the crime he was
about to commit. Convinced then that he could not escape suspicion, he
fled and concealed himself on the frontiers of the kingdom, in a
castle fortified both by nature and by art.

Day, which began to appear, was soon to discover the horrors of this
bloody night. With the first rays of morning the nurse went to feed
her tender care, whose blood deluged the cradle. Lost in astonishment,
she ran to the apartment of the King and Queen to announce this fatal
news. Her despair and shrieks went before her, and awakened Chamsada.
The unhappy Queen opened her eyes, and found her husband breathing his
last at her side. The cries of the nurse made her dread misfortunes
still more terrible. A widowed spouse and a weeping mother, she ran to
the cradle of her son and took him in her arms. He still breathed, and
she conceived the hope of saving his life. The whole palace was in
motion. Selimansha arrived with his eunuchs, and surgeons were called,
whose skill and attention restored the life of this innocent creature.
But they were employed to no purpose on the body of the young monarch,
whose death the unfortunate Chamsada deplored. Aromatic and medicinal
herbs and the balms of the East produced their effect on the wound of
the child, and rekindled the hopes of his mother. He was again placed
in the bosom of his nurse, and the presumptive heir of Selimansha was
at length out of danger.

In the meantime the aged monarch endeavoured to discover the murderer
of his children. The hasty flight of Balavan, his poniard stained with
blood, which was found in the apartment, soon confirmed the suspicions
to which his vicious disposition had at first given rise. The
unfortunate old man with difficulty restrained the excess of his
grief.

"Heaven," exclaimed he, "keep far from me the angel of death, since it
is your will that I should still be useful on earth."

After this he assembled the grandees and the Viziers, and announced to
them his intention of resuming the reins of government.

His first care was to comfort the disconsolate Chamsada, and they
agreed in directing their attention to the lovely infant whom
Providence had preserved. While they strengthened his constitution,
they also formed his understanding and his heart. The mother explained
to him passages of the law which ought to guide his manners and his
conduct, and the old man instructed him in the important knowledge of
the world and of men.

At the age of eight, the young Prince was so robust that he was able
to handle arms and endure the fatigue of riding; and in a few years
more, his moral virtues were unfolded, and promised one day to eclipse
those which had shone so conspicuous in the King his father.

Selimansha, now judging that his grandson, with the assistance of good
counsel, was capable of wearing the crown, resigned the reins of
empire into his hands amidst the assembled divan, and caused him to be
proclaimed King, under the name of Shaseliman, amidst the acclamations
of the kingdom. The people, not yet recovered from astonishment at the
dreadful stroke which had deprived them of a Sovereign they adored,
promised his heir the same attachment, and expected from him the same
love.

The new King, directed by wise counsels, did not belie the happy
anticipation of his subjects in his favour. The Cadis and Viziers,
fulfilling with propriety the duties of their office, made the laws
beloved, the wise and speedy execution of which confirmed the
happiness of all. Equally punctual in the duties of religion as in
those of the throne, Shaseliman was regular in his ablutions, attended
prayers in the mosques, held three divans in the week, was every day
busied with his ministers, and was found in every place where his
presence was necessary to restore tranquillity and good order. The
people, happy under his government, enjoyed their felicity in peace,
when new crimes came to disturb it, and tear from them the hope of a
durable happiness.

The accursed Balavan, pursued by remorse at the crime which he had
committed, and not thinking himself safe among a people by whom he was
hated, left the fortified place where he had taken refuge, and
attempted to retire into Egypt, in order to implore the protection of
the Sovereign of that vast empire. There, concealing his crimes, he
presented himself as an unfortunate Prince, the victim of a woman, and
sacrificed by a father whom age had rendered weak. The King of Egypt
received him with kindness, and was preparing to give him assistance,
when an envoy of Selimansha arrived and demanded audience.

This old monarch, informed by his spies of the road which Balavan had
taken, had sent deputies to all the Courts at which this wretch might
beg a retreat or support. A very full description was given of the
fugitive, and all his crimes were mentioned.

The Sultan, in communicating to the criminal the despatches he had
received, gave immediate orders that he should be shut up in close
confinement, waiting the sentence which an enraged father should pass
against him. Such was the order intimated to Balavan, and such was the
import of the answer which was given to the King Selimansha. But this
father, too weak and affectionate, committed at once two capital
blunders.

In order to excite against his son all the anger of the Egyptian King,
he had concealed from him that the young Shaseliman had escaped the
mortal blow which was aimed at him. He did not correct this opinion
in his second letter, and advised the King of Egypt to set the
criminal at liberty.

"Already too unhappy," said he, "I do not wish to stain my hand by
tracing the order for my son's death. Let him wander from place to
place, destitute of resources and assistance, having no companion but
remorse, and no society but the tigers of the desert, less inhuman
than himself. Assailed by want, tormented by grief, and detested by
others, may he himself become the instrument of my vengeance, which I
leave to the King of Kings."

Upon this resolution, the Sultan set Balavan at liberty, and banished
him for ever from his kingdom. Of this he gave an account to
Selimansha, with whom he entered upon a much more agreeable
negotiation.

The fame of the beauty and valuable qualities of Chamsada had reached
even to Egypt. Bensirak, the Sultan just mentioned, perceiving that it
was possible to obtain her hand, made the proposal to Selimansha in
the most urgent and respectful terms, beseeching him to gain the
consent of her whom both nature and blood had made subject to him as
his niece and daughter-in-law.

The aged monarch of Persia, pleased with a demand which offered to his
amiable niece so advantageous an establishment, instantly laid the
proposal before her. The feeling Chamsada could not hear it without
tears. Her heart still belonged wholly to the husband whom she had
lost, and she must tear herself from the arms of her uncle and her
child to be able to open her soul to the impressions of a new
affection!

"Alas! dear uncle," said she, "what sentiments will ever replace those
whose sweetness I here experience? Where could I find duties so
pleasant to fulfil?"

"My dear daughter," replied Selimansha, "you are asked in marriage by
one of the most powerful monarchs in the world. His virtues are highly
praised, and his person favourably spoken of. Your son, whom I have
placed upon my throne, stands in need of a protection more vigorous
and lasting than mine. You will be able by your address to bring about
a strict alliance betwixt the two monarchs. But forget not that, in
order to procure the expulsion of Balavan, I have charged him with
the double crime of having assassinated his brother and his nephew.
Shaseliman reigns in Persia as a descendant of my house, and his
mother must be concealed from Bensirak. You will become dearer to him
when he can hope for your undivided affections, and that they will
only be extended to the children who shall be born of this marriage.
My experience hath taught me the weakness of the human heart. A
powerful man always distrusts discourses in which personal interest is
concerned. You can render your son upon the Persian throne the most
essential services as a distant relation without being suspected of
sacrificing the interests of your husband and children; but were you
to speak in behalf of a son, you would be looked on as a mother
blinded by an excess of love. Besides, it is very fortunate for us
that Bensirak expects from our favour that which he might force from
us by his power. Let us not by a refusal draw the scourge of war upon
our people, and let us sacrifice to their repose and our own interests
the pleasure we should have in living together."

Chamsada made no opposition to these arguments, more specious than
solid; and Selimansha in a short time returned, in answer to the
Sultan, that his niece found herself extremely honoured by the choice
of the powerful Sovereign of Egypt, and that she was ready to be
united to him. On hearing this, the Sultan, intoxicated with joy, sent
an ambassador with a superb retinue to bring his spouse. Selimansha,
informed of the arrival of the Egyptian minister in his kingdom, went
twenty leagues from his capital to meet him, received him in a
magnificent camp, and after having feasted him for two days, delivered
to him his niece. The ceremonies were shortened, as well to gratify
the impatience of the Sultan as to conceal from the ambassador the
secret of the existence of Chamsada's son. The aged monarch at that
time assumed the dignity of envoy from the King of Persia, to fulfil
the conditions of the treaty.

No sooner had Chamsada arrived in the capital of Egypt, than the
Sultan sent for the Mufti and the Cadi for the contract and ceremony
of marriage. Their obedience was immediately rewarded by a present of
robes and five thousand pieces of gold. The Princess entered the
apartment allotted for the nuptials. A crowd of most beautiful slaves,
and magnificently dressed, conducted her to the bath, carrying pots in
which the most precious spices were burning. At her coming out of the
bath she was dressed by her attendants with the greatest care. They
fanned her with peacocks' feathers while her long and lovely hair was
dressed, and spared no pains to attire her in the most costly
garments, till her splendour outshone the lights of the apartment, and
her beauty eclipsed that of everything around her. Thus attired, she
was conducted to the Sultan.

The monarch received her with demonstrations of the most tender
affection, and seated her by his side. A supper was served up to them,
of which the delicacy exceeded the profusion of the dishes; and he
presented his future spouse with several boxes stored with the rarest
jewels.

In the meantime Chamsada, far from partaking of the public felicity
and of the happiness of her husband, pined in secret. Separated from
her son, she was occupied about him alone, to whom her heart was truly
attached. Seconding the political and foolish views of her uncle, she
would hazard nothing with the Sultan which might lessen the character
of this respectable old man, and she durst not speak of her son. What
evils, however, might she not have prevented by a proper confidence!
And what might she not have expected from the love of Bensirak, which
grew stronger every day!

The event was soon to justify the tender uneasiness of the Queen
respecting her son. Balavan, informed of the marriage of his
sister-in-law with the Sultan of Egypt, and having learned that
Selimansha reigned in Persia, felt his projects of vengeance awaken in
his heart. He beheld himself deprived of the fruit of his crimes, of
the throne of Persia, the object of his ambition, and of the beauty he
was anxious to conquer. The wretch, delivered over to his
inclinations, infested by every sort of crime the kingdom, which he
hoped to seize after the death of his father. He lived by rapine and
robbery.

At length Selimansha, sinking under the weight of years, resigned his
soul into the hands of his Creator. No sooner was Balavan informed of
this event than he placed himself at the head of the banditti of whom
he was the chief, stirring them up to revolt, drawing together new
forces--gaining some by magnificent promises, and seducing others by
the allurement of the gold which his crimes had amassed. They
concerted their measures together. He dethroned his nephew, threw him
into a dungeon, and was proclaimed in his stead.

This cruel usurper, not content with his success, determined to put to
death the innocent victim, who had formerly had such a miraculous
escape from his murdering arm. But compassion, which could find no
avenue to his soul, had entered the heart of his wretched accomplices.

"We cannot consent to the death of a young man that hath done no
evil," said they to Balavan: "keep him in close confinement if you are
afraid of his interest, but spare his life."

He was forced to comply with their demand, and shut up his nephew in a
cave.

Chamsada, having heard this afflicting news, was unable to restrain
her excessive grief. But she could not inform her husband of the
misfortunes of her son without exposing the memory of her uncle
Selimansha, without representing him as an impostor, since he had
written that the young Shaseliman had been assassinated. In the
meantime the detestable Balavan completed the conquest of Persia. All
the grandees of the kingdom came to pay him homage. The young
Shaseliman remained shut up four years, scarcely receiving as much
food as was necessary for his subsistence. Loaded with misfortune, his
beauty no longer recalled the image of his mother, of whom he was the
perfect resemblance. At length it pleased Providence, that watched
over him, to relieve him for a time from so many evils.

Balavan, seated in his divan and surrounded by a brilliant Court,
seemed to enjoy in peace an authority which appeared immovable. In
midst of grandees whose confidence he thought he possessed, and of
courtiers whose flattery he received, a voice was heard. This voice,
sacred to truth, and still devoted to the memory of Selimansha, spake
as follows:

"Sire, Heaven has crowned you with prosperity: in giving you, with
this empire, the hearts of your people, your throne appears to rest
upon an immovable foundation; show yourself more and more worthy of
the favours of the Most High. Cast a look of compassion upon a feeble
young man, whose innocence is his only support; who never opens his
eyes to the light but to shed tears; every moment of whose existence
has been marked by sufferings and misfortune. The unfortunate
Shaseliman never could offend you: restore him his liberty."

"I would agree to your request," replied Balavan, "had I not some
reasons to fear that he would form a party against me, and become the
leader of the malcontents whom a King never fails to make in spite of
his best intentions."

"Alas! sire," replied the Prince who had spoken, "who would follow a
young man in whom nature is partly wasted by suffering, and whose soul
has no longer any vigour? Your subjects are devoted to your interest,
and where would he find any who would be foolish enough to cherish
ambitious designs against you?"

Balavan yielded to these arguments, and affecting clemency in the
presence of his Court, he set the young Shaseliman at liberty, dressed
him in a rich robe, and gave him the command of a distant province.
But this was not so much with a view to procure him prosperity as to
get rid of him altogether, by sending him to the defence of a country
which was continually exposed to the attacks of Infidels. He presumed,
with some reason, that he would sacrifice his life there, since none
of his predecessors had ever escaped the dangers with which that part
of Persia was threatened.

The young Prince departed with a small party. Scarcely had they
arrived at the place of their destination when the conjectures of his
uncle Balavan were partly verified. The Infidels made an irruption.
Shaseliman, having nothing to oppose to them but a handful of men, was
forced to yield to numbers, and fell himself into the hands of the
enemy. But they, on account of his age and beauty (departing from the
cruel usage they practised on such occasions), instead of putting him
to death, were satisfied with letting him down into a well, where
several Mussulmans were already shut up prisoners. This unhappy
Prince, the victim of destiny, saw a whole year elapse in this
dreadful captivity.

These Infidels had a custom every year, on a certain day, of carrying
such as they had made prisoners to be thrown from the top of a very
high tower.

Shaseliman was drawn up from the well, conducted to the top of the
tower, and thrown down with others. But Providence, who watched over
his life, made him fall upon the body of one of his companions in
misfortune. This body partly bearing him up, and the air supporting
his clothes, preserved him from a mortal fall. He was stunned by the
rapidity of the motion, but he neither met with a fracture nor a
contusion, and except a long swoon, he experienced no other accident.

He was at length recalled to life amidst the unfortunate people who
had lost it. His first step was to raise his soul to God, and to
testify his gratitude to Him, through the intercession of His great
Prophet. He discovered that he was in the middle of an immense forest,
and that the corpses which surrounded him must necessarily attract the
wild beasts; he therefore removed from this dangerous spot. He walked
all night, and as soon as he thought himself beyond the reach of men
and animals, he ascended a tree, endeavouring to conceal himself in
its foliage from the notice of travellers, and supporting himself by
wild fruits. This way of life he constantly pursued till he reached
the dominions of Balavan his uncle.

He was near entering the first city of Persia when he perceived five
or six men conversing together. Perceiving them to be Mussulmans, he
accosted them, and gave them an account of the treatment he had
received from the Infidels, and of the miraculous way in which he had
been saved. The simplicity of his relation leaving no room to suspect
its truth, they were affected with compassion in his favour, and
conducted him to their house, where he enjoyed all the rites of
hospitality. After some days' rest he took leave of his benefactors,
in order to continue his journey towards the capital where Balavan
reigned. His hosts, after furnishing him with whatever he had need of,
showed him the way, without suspecting that the young man whom they
had entertained in so obliging a manner was the nephew of their
Sovereign.

The young Prince walked night and day. Fatigued, tired, his legs and
feet torn by the brambles and flints, he at length arrived under the
walls of Ispahan, and sat down near a basin which served as a
reservoir to a neighbouring fountain. Scarcely had he time to recover
his breath, when he saw several gentlemen on horseback approaching.
They were officers of the King who were returning from the chase, and
were going to give their horses drink. Looking about them, they
perceived the young Shaseliman; and notwithstanding the disorder of
his dress, and the change which sufferings and dejection had made upon
the natural charms of his countenance, they easily distinguished its
sweetness and beauty, and were not able to look at him without feeling
an emotion of the most tender interest.

"What are you doing here, young man?" asked one of the officers.

"Brother!" replied the wise Shaseliman, "you know the proverb: 'Ask
not a stranger who is naked where are his clothes.' Let that answer
for me. I am hungry and thirsty, I am weak and deprived of every
resource."

At this reply one of the officers ran to their beasts of burden, and
taking some venison and bread, brought it to him. As soon as he had
profited by this food, and seemed to have sufficient strength to
continue the conversation,

"Brother!" said one of the officers of the company to him, "we are
interested in your fortune. Would it be indiscreet in us, should we
beg of you to give us some account of your history?"

"Before satisfying you," replied the unfortunate Prince, "answer, if
you please, one question of the greatest consequence to me. Is King
Balavan, your Sovereign, still alive?"

"Do you know the King?"

"Yes. You see before you Shaseliman, his nephew."

"How can you be Shaseliman," replied the officer, "since we know that
his uncle, after delivering him from a dungeon in which he had been
for four years shut up, gave him the command of a province, where it
was impossible but he must have died by the hands of the Infidels?
Besides, we have heard that he was thrown down from the summit of a
high tower by them with many other Mussulmans."

Then the young Prince, in order completely to convince them, entered
into the detail of all his adventures, and of the wonderful manner in
which Providence had preserved his life. At this relation the officers
were struck with astonishment: they prostrated themselves at his feet
and watered his hand with their tears.

"You are King, sire," said they to him, "the son of our rightful
Sovereign, and in all respects worthy of a better fate. But, alas!
what do you come to seek at a Court where you can find nothing but
death? Recollect the cruelties of which you have been the victim--the
treatment you have experienced, and the dangerous snare by which,
under the shadow of power, you were devoted to certain death in the
office to which you were appointed. Fly! Seek the country where the
beautiful Chamsada reigns Queen over the heart of the Sultan of Egypt.
It is there you will find happiness."

"Alas! how can I direct my steps to Egypt? Selimansha, my grandfather,
deceived the Sovereign of that empire by assuring him that I was dead:
my mother and I would be considered as impostors should I hazard an
appearance there."

"You are right," replied he to him; "but should you be reduced to the
necessity of living concealed in Egypt, you will at least be beyond
the reach of your uncle's attempts, whose cruelties you will not
escape if he learns that you are alive."

To these advices the oldest of the officers likewise added his
entreaties.

"O my master and my King!" said he to the Prince, throwing himself on
his knees, "the only and true descendant of Selimansha! Alas! must the
slave who for thirty years was subject to his orders, who was the
witness of his virtues and the object of his kindness, see you reduced
to this depth of misfortune? Does fate, then, pursue this monarch even
beyond the grave? Fly, dear Prince and wait not till you are attacked
by greater misfortunes!"

Each of them was eager to supply the most urgent necessities of
Shaseliman. One stripped himself of part of his garments in order to
clothe him; another divided with him his little provision; and all
together made up a small sum of money, which might enable him to
continue his journey. The unfortunate Prince, availing himself of
their beneficence and counsel, took his leave. They did not separate
from him without giving proofs of their attachment; and Shaseliman
began his journey, recommending himself to God, and Mahomet His great
Prophet.

After a long and fatiguing journey, he at length arrived in Egypt,
where Chamsada, his mother, reigned. When he drew near to Grand Cairo,
he was unwilling to enter that great city, lest he should expose
himself to discovery. He therefore stopped at a village at a little
distance from the road, with the intention of entering into the
service of some of its inhabitants. He offered himself to a farmer of
the place to tend his flocks. He did not demand high wages, and lived
in this obscure and miserable situation, subsisting with difficulty on
the crumbs which fell from his master's table.

But while the presumptive heir of the Persian throne was reduced to
such a strange situation, how was Queen Chamsada employed? Every day
this disconsolate mother felt her uneasiness increase. In the struggle
betwixt her affection for her son and the secret which she must keep
from the monarch, for the sake of her uncle's honour, her situation
was as distressing as that of Shaseliman. There was at the Court of
Bensirak an old slave of Selimansha, who had accompanied the Queen
into Egypt, and who since that time had remained in her service. He
had all her confidence, and was frequently the depository of the
uneasiness of this tender mother. One day she perceived him alone, and
made him a signal to approach her.

"Well," said she to him, "you know my attachment for my son; you know
my fears on his account, and you have taken no step in order to know
what has become of him."

"Queen!" replied the slave, "that which you wish to know is extremely
difficult, and I know no means by which I could get information of it.
You know that you have yourself confirmed the report of his death,
which was attested by Selimansha; and although by chance your son
should appear here, how could you destroy the public opinion? How
could you make him known?"

"Ah! would to God that my son were here, although I should even be
deprived of the pleasure of seeing him. To know that he was still
alive would be sufficient to confirm my repose and happiness."

"Queen," replied the slave, "I am willing to sacrifice my life for
you: what do you require of me?"

"Take from my treasures," said the Queen, "the sum which you judge
necessary for your journey: go to Persia and bring my son."

"Money alone is less necessary here than prudence. Some plausible
reason must be given for the journey which your Majesty proposes to
me. You know that the Sultan honours me with his bounty, and that,
engaged in his service, I cannot remove from his Court without his
express permission. You yourself must ask and obtain it under some
specious pretence, which may prevent him from entertaining any
suspicion, and at the same time secure the success of your
application. Tell him that during the disturbances which preceded the
death of your husband you concealed, in a place known only to me, a
casket of precious jewels, which you were anxious to put beyond the
reach of accident. Beseech his Majesty to grant you permission to send
me into Persia in search of this treasure. The care of the rest
belongs to me."

The Queen, convinced of her slave's attachment, and approving his
counsels, flew instantly to put them in execution, and found no
difficulty in obtaining her desire.

The faithful emissary speedily departed, disguised as a merchant, that
he might not be recognized in Persia. After much fatigue, he arrived
at Ispahan, and having privately made inquiry concerning the fate of
Shaseliman, received at first the most distressing accounts of him.

Some days after, as he was walking in the environs of the palace, he
found by chance one of the officers who had assisted the young Prince
when he was sitting near the fountain which we have already mentioned.
Having served together under the reign of Selimansha, they
recollected one another, and entered into conversation.

"You come from Egypt," said the officer: "did you meet Prince
Shaseliman?"

"Shaseliman!" replied the slave. "Ah! can he be alive after the
dreadful news that are spread here concerning him?"

"Yes, he is alive, and I will tell you, in confidence, how we learned
this."

He then related everything which had befallen him, as well as the
other officers, when they had met the Prince, and how, upon their
advice, the latter had taken the road to Egypt.

The pretended merchant, transported with joy, wished, in his turn, to
return the confidence of his former companion, and revealed to him the
whole mystery of his mission into Persia; after this he took his leave
of him to return into Egypt. In every place through which he passed he
made diligent inquiry after the young Prince, describing his
appearance as the officer had represented it to him. Being arrived at
the village where he expected to meet him, he was very much surprised
that no person could give any information concerning him. As he was
preparing to continue his journey, he found, at his going out of the
city, a young man asleep under a tree, near which some sheep were
feeding quietly.

He cast a look of compassion upon this poor creature, whose tattered
garments announced his misery.

"Alas!" said he, "it is impossible that this can be the man whom I
seek. This is doubtless the child of some unhappy shepherd. My trouble
will be lost; yet what do I risk by awaking this young man, and
inquiring concerning the person of whom I am in search? Let me not
neglect even this hopeless expedient."

Having soon awakened him, he put the same questions to him which he
had been accustomed to propose to every one.

"I am a stranger in these places," replied Shaseliman, who was afraid
to make himself known, being ignorant of the motives of this
curiosity; "but, if I am not greatly mistaken, from the description
which you have given, the person whom you are in search of is
Shaseliman, the young King of Persia, and grandson to Selimansha. His
father was killed by his barbarous brother Balavan, who usurped his
throne; the son was wounded in his cradle, yet Allah preserved the
life of that unfortunate infant."

"O Heaven!" exclaimed the slave, "am I so happy as to hear Shaseliman
mentioned? How, young man, have you guessed the cause which made me
travel from Egypt into Persia? Who could inform you of it? Do you
know, then, what has become of this unfortunate Prince? Shall I reap
at length the fruit of my anxiety and labours? Where could I find
him?"

When Shaseliman was convinced that he who thus spoke to him was a
messenger from his mother, he thought he might make himself known.

"In vain would you run over the whole world," said he to him, "in
order to find Shaseliman, since it is he who now speaks to you."

At these words, the slave fell at the feet of his Sovereign, and
covered his hands with tears and kisses.

"Ah," exclaimed he, "how overjoyed will Chamsada be! What happy news
shall I bring to her! Remain here, my Prince: I am going to find
everything that is necessary for your going with me."

He ran quickly to the village, and brought from it a saddled horse and
more suitable clothes for Shaseliman, and they both took the road to
Grand Cairo.

An unforeseen event interrupted their journey. As they were crossing a
desert, they were surrounded by robbers, seized, plundered, and let
down into a well. Shut up in this frightful place, the slave abandoned
himself to grief.

"How! are you disconsolate?" said the young Prince. "Is it the
prospect of death which terrifies you?"

"Death hath nothing dreadful to me," replied he; "but can I remain
insensible to the hardships of your lot? Can I think calmly upon the
loss which the sorrowful Chamsada will suffer?"

"Take courage," said Shaseliman. "I must fulfill the decrees of the
Almighty. All that has happened to me was written in the Book of Life;
and, if I must end my days in this dreadful abode, no human power can
rescue me from it, and it becomes me to be submissive and resigned."

In these sentiments and in this dreadful situation did this virtuous
Prince and his slave pass two days and two nights.

In the meantime, the eye of Providence continually watched over
Shaseliman. It brought the King of Egypt, in pursuit of a roebuck, to
the place where this Prince was shut up. The animal, struck by a
deadly arrow, came to lie down and die on the brink of the well.

A hunter, outstripping the King's retinue, came first to seize the
prey. As he approached it, he heard a plaintive voice from the bottom
of the well. Having listened to ascertain whether it was so, he ran to
report this to the King, who was speedily advancing with his train,
and ordered some of them to descend into the well. Shaseliman and the
slave were immediately drawn out of it. The cords which tied them were
cut, cordials recalled them to life; and no sooner had they opened
their eyes than the King recognized in one of them his own officer.

"Are not you," said he to him, "the confidant of Chamsada?"

"Yes, sire, I am."

"Well, what has brought you into this situation?"

"I was returning," said the slave, "loaded with the treasure the Queen
had ordered me to search for in Persia; I was attacked by robbers,
plundered, and thrown alive into this sepulchre."

"And who is this young man?"

"He is son to the nurse of your Majesty's august spouse. I was
bringing him to your Court, with the view of procuring him a place."

After these two unfortunate men had received proper food, the King
returned to his palace. He flew instantly to Chamsada, to give her an
account of what he had seen, of the return of her slave with a young
man, and of the loss of her treasure. When the Queen learned that they
had been thrown into a well, grief took possession of her soul. She
tried to hide her disorder, which was, however, betrayed by the
visible alteration of her countenance under the mask of apparent
tranquillity. The King, who was looking at her, and perceived the
efforts she employed to restrain herself, wished to penetrate into the
cause of her trouble.

"What is the matter with you, Chamsada?" said he. "Are you afflicted
at the loss of your treasure? Is not mine at your disposal?"

"I swear by your life, O glorious Sultan," replied she, "that I am
less sorry for the loss of my treasures, than for the sufferings of
the poor slave, of which I have been the cause. I have a feeling
heart, and you know how much I am affected by the misfortunes of
others."

However, as the King continued to relate the adventure of the well,
and as she learned that the slave and the young man had been drawn up
from it, she recovered her tranquillity, and at the end of her
husband's relation her feelings were entirely calm.

"Be comforted, my dear Chamsada," said he to her. "If all that I
possess is not sufficient to make up for the loss of your treasure,
think that you have one that is inexhaustible in the affection of a
heart which is yours for life."

Having said this, he retired.

As soon as Chamsada was alone she called for her slave. He gave her an
account of the manner in which he had got information of the Prince's
adventures; of the means which Providence had employed in saving him
from the cruelties and snares of his uncle; of the barbarity of the
Infidels; and even of his too great confidence, when, having escaped
being dashed to pieces by the fall, from which no Mussulman before him
was ever saved, he was about again to deliver himself into the power
of the barbarous Balavan. He continued his recital even to the moment
when, drawn up from the well, the young Prince had been seen by the
Egyptian monarch, whose curiosity he had excited.

The Queen then interrupted him.

"Ah!" said she to him, "what answer did you make to the King when he
asked you who this young man was?"

"Alas!" replied the slave, "I told a lie, and I beseech you to pardon
it. I told him that he was the son of your nurse, and that he was
intended for his Majesty's service."

"Wise and faithful friend!" exclaimed Chamsada, her eyes bathed in
tears, and still moved with what she had heard, "what gratitude will
ever repay the service you have rendered to the most tender mother?
Watch over my son. I trust him to your zeal and prudence. Never shall
I forget the obligation I am under for what you have already done for
him, and for what your attachment may still be able to do."

"Queen! the recommendation is unnecessary. I know what I owe to the
posterity of my Sovereigns, and there is no sacrifice I am not ready
to make for your Majesty."

These were not empty promises; the slave was no courtier. Considering
what care and precaution would be necessary to repair the health and
constitution of the young Prince, wasted by sufferings and fatigue, he
made this his only study. A salutary and light diet, the use of the
bath, and moderate exercise, gradually succeeded in renewing his
strength. Nature resumed her empire; his body and mind regained their
energy and every external charm, restored at length to the fairest of
Queens the most beautiful Prince in the world.

A happy similarity of disposition gained him the monarch's heart, who
distinguished this page above all the rest. He soon became so
necessary to his service, that he alone was admitted into his private
apartment. The monarch boasted continually of his virtues, and praised
this new favourite to the grandees of his Court, endeavouring to
render him as dear to them as he was to himself.

Amidst these flattering praises, which resounded in the ears of
Chamsada, what conflicts of tenderness did not this feeling mother
experience in the loss of her own son! She often perceived him, but
durst not cast upon him one affectionate look. She was forced to
restrain the affection of her heart, and give no visible tokens of her
regard. Every day she observed his steps, and secretly longed for the
moment when she might pour out her soul in his embraces. As he passed
one day before the door of her apartment, and when she presumed no one
would perceive her, she suddenly yielded to a mother's transports,
threw herself on his neck, and in that happy moment forgot many years
of sorrow.

While this fond mother was indulging the sweetest feelings of nature,
danger surrounded her. One of the King's ministers, coming
accidentally out of the neighbouring apartment, was the unintentional
witness of this scene. He was uncertain what to think of it. As
Chamsada was veiled he might have mistaken her. But having asked of
the eunuchs the name of the lady who inhabited the apartment before
which he had passed, he came trembling to his Majesty, eager to
discover the mystery of which chance had made him a witness. The
charming page had already gone before him to the throne.

"August Majesty," said the minister, "you see me still in horror at
the crime which has just now been committed, and of which I have been
a witness. Pardon me, sire, if I am under the necessity of discovering
to you the conduct of a spouse whom you have loved too dearly, but as
I passed before her apartment, I saw her embracing the vile slave who
is at your side."

He knows not the power of the passions who cannot figure to himself
the sudden revolution which this report occasioned in the soul of the
enamoured Sultan. The confusion of Shaseliman seemed still to increase
it, and to remove every doubt concerning the truth of the fact. The
Sultan instantly ordered the young man and the slave who had brought
him from Persia to be thrown into a dungeon.

"What abominable treachery!" exclaimed he. "What! was this pretended
treasure nothing but a slave?" And running hastily into Chamsada's
apartment, "What has she become," said he, addressing himself to
Chamsada, "whose prudence, wisdom, and love were the glory of my Court
and the pattern of wives? How has this mirror of perfection been
tarnished in a moment! How has she become my shame after having been
my true honour, and a subject of reproach to the world after having
been its admiration! How, alas! have appearances deceived me!
Henceforward, every woman shall be dishonoured in my eyes, from past
and present to all future generations."

Having said this, the King went out, his soul struggling betwixt love
and jealousy, fury and grief.

Chamsada was astonished at the reproaches she had just heard, and
tormented by the false suspicions to which her husband, whom she
loved, was abandoned. But how could she remove them? She had always
confirmed to the Sultan the false report of her son's death
intentionally spread by her father Selimansha, and she could not
venture to discover him at present without exposing him to the utmost
danger. Alas! when one has so long wandered from truth, is it possible
to return? Could one regain confidence who has not known how to
deserve it by a sincere and timely confession?

"No, no," would she say, "it was my inclination, and, without doubt,
my duty, to spare the reputation of my uncle, and to-day I would in
vain attempt to sully it. O Sovereign Wisdom! Divine Goodness! only
resource of the innocent, to Thee I lift my hands and my heart. By
invisible means you formerly snatched my unfortunate son from the
snares of death with which he was on all sides surrounded. He falls
into them still, notwithstanding his innocence. The fatality of his
star draws along with him my faithful slave and myself, and even the
Sultan my husband, who is weighed down by the too well-founded
presumption of our crime. Deliver us, O Allah, from the horrors of
suspicion! And thou, great Prophet! if thou bearest in thy heart thy
faithful followers--if all thy prayers in their behalf are heard--make
mine ascend before the God of Justice! And since all the wisdom of the
world could not untie the fatal knot in which we are bound, be pleased
to employ in this work thy omnipotent power."

After this invocation, she placed her confidence in Allah, and waited
the event with resignation.

In the meantime the irresolute soul of the Sultan was abandoned to the
greatest uncertainty. His passion for Chamsada seemed to acquire new
strength in proportion as he attempted to destroy it. He knew not what
step to take. How should he take vengeance on the guilty? How could he
discern if they were both equally so? How could he know which of the
two he ought to spare? How could he strike two objects who were so
dear to him? Harassed by these painful and afflicting considerations,
he lost his repose and his health, and his nurse, who still remained
in the seraglio, was alarmed at this change. This woman, whom age and
experience had rendered prudent, having deserved the confidence of her
masters, had acquired the right of approaching them whenever she
thought proper, and accordingly she went to the Sultan.

"What is the matter with you, my son?" said she to him. "You are not
as you used to be. You shun the amusements which, till now, appeared
agreeable to your inclinations. Riding, walking, and hunting, please
you no more. You do not now assemble your Court, nor give feasts and
entertainments. I well know that you scarcely take food. What secret
grief consumes you? Open to me your heart, my son. You know my tender
attachment, and you ought to fear nothing from my indiscretion. We
often allow ourselves to be prepossessed by phantoms, and perhaps I
may be able to dissipate, in a moment, those which disturb your
imagination. Trust me with your affliction, my son, and I hope to
soothe it."

Whatever confidence this Prince had in his good nurse, and
notwithstanding the great estimation in which he held her excellent
qualities, he did not think it proper to disclose his grief to her. He
must speak against Chamsada, and this remembrance would make the wound
bleed afresh which she had made in his heart. The sage old woman was
not discouraged by the ill success of her first attempt: she watched
every opportunity of being seen by her master; and the tender looks
which she cast upon him seemed to say, "O my dear son! speak to me,
unfold your heart to your good nurse." But all her cares were
fruitless.

Finding that she could not succeed by this method, and presuming that
Chamsada must have been informed of the Sultan's grief, and
conjecturing, moreover, that a woman would more easily reveal the
secret which she wished to know, she flew to the Queen, whom she found
plunged in sorrow apparently as deep as that which consumed the
Sultan. She employed every method which address and experience could
furnish her, in order to deserve the confidence of Chamsada.

"But why this cruel reserve with me?" said the good nurse. "Look, my
daughter, upon my grey hairs! If age and time have furrowed my brow
with wrinkles, they have also given me experience. I am no more the
sport of passion, and my counsels will be dictated by prudence."

Chamsada, shaken but not convinced by these arguments, replied to her,

"My secret is very weighty, my dear nurse; it weighs down my heart;
but it is impossible it should ever come out of it. In trusting you
with it, I must be well assured that it will remain for ever shut up
in your breast."

"Your wishes shall be fulfilled," said the old woman. "I am discreet,
and never shall my lips divulge your secret; but let it be no more one
with her who takes so lively an interest in your happiness."

At length Chamsada could resist her no longer: she related to her all
her adventures, and informed her that the young man of whom the Sultan
was become jealous was her son Shaseliman, who had been supposed to
have been dead.

"O great Prophet, I thank you!" exclaimed the nurse. "Praised be
Mahomet! we have nothing to struggle with but chimeras! Be comforted,
my daughter: every cloud will disappear: I behold the rising of a
bright day."

"O my good mother, we shall never, never reach it. Never will this
young man be believed to be my son. We shall be accused of falsehood,
and I would prefer the loss of his life, and of my own, rather than be
suspected of this infamy."

"I approve of your delicacy," said the nurse; "but my precautions
shall prevent everything that might hurt it."

Upon this she went out, and immediately entered the Sultan's
apartment, whom she found in the same state of dejection and sorrow in
which she had left him; she embraced him and took him by the hand.

"My son," said she to him, "you are too much afflicted. If you are a
true Mussulman, I conjure you by the name of the great Prophet to
reveal to me the true cause of the grief which afflicts you."

Unable any longer to withstand the force of this intercession, the
Sultan was forced to reveal all his distress.

"I loved Chamsada with my whole heart," said the Sultan. "Her graces,
her wisdom, her virtues, all the charms, in a word, with which she was
adorned, appeared to me a delicious garden, where my thoughts wandered
with delight. All is now changed into a frightful desert, where I see
nothing but hideous monsters and dreadful precipices. Chamsada is
faithless. The false Chamsada whom I adored, and whom I love still,
has betrayed me. She has given her heart to a vile slave. I am fallen
from the height of an imaginary happiness into a hell where every evil
torments me. The two criminals must perish: nothing remains for me but
to proportion the punishment to the crime, and endeavour to
distinguish on which of the two my severest justice ought to fall.
But, alas! what will it cost me to execute this fatal sentence! The
same weapon which pierces the heart of my adorable Chamsada, will
wound my own with a deadly stroke."

"My son! do nothing rashly," said the nurse. "You may expose yourself
to eternal repentance. Those whom you think guilty are in your hands:
you will always have time to punish them: allow yourself time to
examine them. 'Time,' says the proverb, 'is the wisest of all
counsellors: many things are brought to light by time and patience.'"

"Ah! my good nurse, what explanation can I expect? Is there any that
could destroy an attested fact? Chamsada loves this young man; and
pretending that she had a treasure in Persia, she abused my confidence
and affection to obtain from me an order to go in search of him."

"My dear son, be calm," said the old woman. "I have a method of laying
open to you the soul of Chamsada. Cause your hunters to bring me an
egret.[17] I will tear out the heart of this bird, which I will give
to you, and as soon as Chamsada shall be asleep, you must bring it
near hers, and it will be impossible for her to conceal from you the
smallest secret."

[Footnote 17: Egret. A bird with a tuft upon its head.]

The King, delighted with having it in his power to discover so easily
the mystery which kept him in such perplexity, instantly ordered his
officers to go and catch an egret in his gardens. One was brought to
him, which he immediately gave to the old nurse. She tore its breast,
accompanying this action, extremely simple in itself, with a magical
charm, and the Sultan was put in possession of its reeking heart.

While the Prince was reflecting on the surprising virtues of this
method, the nurse had gone secretly to the apartment of Chamsada.

"Everything goes well," said she to her. "Let your heart be filled
with hope, and let your mouth be prepared to disclose the truth,
without any reserve. Expect this night to receive a mysterious visit.
It will be from the Sultan himself, with the heart of an egret in his
hand. As soon as you perceive that he brings it near yours, feign to
be asleep, but answer with precision all the questions which he may
put to you, and let truth flow from your mouth, unsullied by the
slightest scruple."

Chamsada tenderly thanked the nurse, and prepared herself to second
this innocent stratagem, beseeching the favour of the holy Prophet to
carry conviction to his heart who was endeavouring to discover the
truth.

As soon as night had spread her shades, Chamsada, contrary to her
custom, signified that she had need of rest. She sent away her slaves,
and threw herself upon a sofa. Scarcely had she been there two hours
when the Sultan, impatient to prove the nurse's secret, presented
himself at the apartment of his favourite: he found there the chief of
the eunuchs.

"How is Chamsada employed?" demanded he.

"She had need of rest," replied the eunuch, "and I believe she is upon
her sofa."

The Sultan entered without making the least noise, and found her
asleep. He approached very near her, in order the better to judge of
the soundness of her sleep, and, thinking it profound, he judged it
proper to try his experiment, and gently applied the heart of the bird
to that of Chamsada, saying to her, "Chamsada, who is that young man
whom you were caressing when one of my ministers surprised you?"

"He is Shaseliman," replied she, without awaking, "the only child of
my first marriage with the son of Selimansha my uncle."

"This child was stabbed in his cradle; I am assured of this by letters
from your uncle himself."

"He was indeed wounded, but the stroke was not mortal; skilful
surgeons restored him to life; and this was kept a secret from the
murderer of my husband."

"Why have you concealed it from me, who loved you so dearly?"

"Because my uncle, whose memory I cherished, and wished to be
respected, had for a political reason imposed upon you respecting this
fact. If what I have told you does not appear possible, interrogate
the young man, and his mouth will confirm the truth of this
declaration."

Having got this ray of light, the Sultan gave over his inquiries,
withdrew from his spouse, whom he supposed still asleep, left her
apartment, and gave orders that the young man and the slave should be
brought out of the dungeons in which they were shut up. This order was
immediately executed.

The unfortunate Shaseliman, who was languishing in his prison,
suddenly hearing the vaults resound with the noise of the bolts and
keys, believed that his last hour was come, and that the ignominy of
punishment was about to terminate his existence.

"O Allah!" said he, raising his innocent hands to heaven, "my life is
in Thy hands; to Thee I resign it; but watch over the life of my
mother!"

Shaseliman and the slave were brought before the Sultan. The Prince
did not leave to others the care of proving a fact so important to his
honour and repose. He ran to the young man, and searched in his bosom
for the scar of Balavan's poniard; he found it, and, transported with
joy, he exclaimed, "O Allah! for ever be Thou blessed for having
preserved me from the dreadful crime I was about to commit! and thou
His great Prophet, a signal mark of whose protection the virtues of
Chamsada have drawn down upon me, to so many favours still add that of
enabling me to efface, by my services, the dreadful sorrows I have
occasioned, and the idea of the injustice I was about to commit!"

Then throwing himself into the arms of Shaseliman, "Come, dear and
unfortunate Prince, come to my heart! Let your image be joined there
with that of my beloved Chamsada, that my most tender affections may
henceforth be centred on one object alone! But deign to satisfy my
curiosity, and inform me by what chain of events you have been
conducted hither, unknown to all the world. How have you existed?
Speak, Prince. I am impatient to know more particularly the person who
restores me to happiness."

Shaseliman, encouraged by the demonstration of such affecting
kindness, then gave a faithful detail of his adventures, from the very
moment in which he had been hurled from the throne into prison, even
to that in which, reduced to the humble condition of a shepherd, he
had been found by the messenger of his mother, surrounded by robbers,
drawn up out of the well into which they had been let down, and
conducted to the Court of the Sultan.

While this recital engaged the attention of Bensirak, Chamsada, his
spouse, although less troubled than on the preceding days, was not
altogether in a tranquil state. The events had become too important
for her. She endeavoured to find out with what design the Sultan,
after having questioned her, had departed so abruptly. She had not
been able to learn what he had done, nor what was become of him, since
the confession which she had made to him. She was indulging these
reflections, and continued sunk in the sleep in which the Sultan
seemed to surprise her. All at once twenty slaves, carrying flambeaux,
came to illuminate her apartment; they walked before the Sultan, who
conducted by the hand and looked with kindness on the beloved son of
the most virtuous of mothers. He had caused Shaseliman to be dressed
in the most magnificent garments; he was adorned with beautiful
diamonds, in which Bensirak had delighted to be decked on the days of
triumph.

"Soothe your sorrows, adorable Chamsada," cried he, throwing himself
into her arms. "The favour of Heaven restores to you a husband and a
son, whose feelings and affection secure your felicity for ever."

Shaseliman, on his knees, kissed the hands of his mother; and tears of
consolation expressed the sentiments of the son and of the delighted
pair.

As soon as day had succeeded this happy night, the Sultan assembled
the best of his troops, and put himself at their head, accompanied by
Shaseliman. He took the road for Persia, causing heralds go before
him, and announce to the people of that kingdom that he was about to
re-establish on the throne their rightful King, assassinated,
persecuted, and dethroned by the usurper Balavan. Scarcely had they
reached the frontiers of Persia, when a party of the faithful subjects
of the old King Selimansha, always attached to the blood of this
august family, came to range themselves under the banners of the
Sultan of Egypt and of Shaseliman. The perfidious Balavan heard this
intelligence, and endeavoured to assemble his forces, in order to
dispute the ground with a powerful enemy who came to overwhelm him;
but no one would repair to his colours, and he was obliged to shut
himself up in his capital with his usual guard and the few subjects on
whose fidelity he thought he could depend.

But if virtue, pursued by a superior force, is so often deserted,
where are the resources of guilt?

Ispahan is invested, and Balavan, betrayed by his ministers, is
delivered up to the Sultan Bensirak, who, turning his eyes from a
monster who had dishonoured the throne by the most dreadful crimes,
and directing himself to Shaseliman,

"My son," said he, "to you I commit the scourge of your subjects and
your father's murderer; dispose of his lot, and give orders for his
punishment."

"O my benefactor! O my father! it belongs not to me to dispose of
him," replied Shaseliman; "vengeance must come down from above. Let
him go to the frontiers to guard that dangerous post with which I was
entrusted. If he is innocent, he will be preserved as I have been; but
if he is guilty, his decree is pronounced, and nothing can suspend its
execution."

The Sultan approved of the decision of Shaseliman, and Balavan set out
to make head against the infidels. But divine justice was now
prepared to inflict its stroke. He was taken, chained, and thrown into
the fatal well, where gnawing remorse and dreadful despair continued
to torment him till the moment of his death.

Meanwhile the presumptive heir of the Persian crown, the happy
Shaseliman, seated on the throne of his ancestors, received the oaths
of his people. He commenced a reign of which the wisdom and piety
recalled to the Persians the sublime virtues of the Grand Caliph
Moavie. The Sultan of Egypt, after having seen this young Sovereign
shine in the splendour of the most distinguished virtues, and having
tenderly embraced him, returned to his dominions, and by his presence
completed the joy of Chamsada. Nothing afterwards disturbed the repose
of this happy pair, and having reached at last the term allotted to
human greatness, they fell asleep in that peace which is the portion
of faithful Mussulmans.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Sire," said Aladin to King Bohetzad, after having finished his
recital, "see by what secret and wonderful ways Providence delivered
Shaseliman from the hands of persecution! See how it led Balavan into
the very gulf he had dug for another! No, Allah will never suffer
guilt to triumph and innocence to be punished. His vigilance and
justice nothing can escape, and sooner or later He will tear asunder
the veil with which the wicked are covered. As for me, sire,
encouraged by my conscience and convinced that man cannot alter the
decrees of my destiny, I am always firm and hopeful. I only fear that
your justice will light on your Viziers, my accusers."

At this discourse, equally firm, wise, and modest, the King was left
still more irresolute than ever.

"Let the execution of the sentence be suspended," said he; "let this
young man be conducted back to prison. The silence of the night, and
the reflections which his recital will occasion, may enlighten my
judgment, and to-morrow I shall more easily take my resolution."

As soon as Aladin had been led back to his dungeon, one of the Viziers
began:

"Sire, your Majesty suffers yourself to be overcome by the magic of
this young impostor's discourses. The great Prophet preserve you from
yielding to sentiments of mercy in his behalf! When guilt remains
unpunished, the splendour of the throne is obscured. You are seated
there for no other purpose but to administer justice: the crime of
this villain is evident, and his punishment ought to be signal; the
most awful should be fixed upon, that it may serve as an example to
such."

"Let orders be immediately given," interrupted Bohetzad eagerly, "to
erect a scaffold without the walls of the city, on the most elevated
situation. Let the dread of death terrify those who might attempt to
follow his footsteps. Such is my final resolution, and let it be
announced to the people by the public criers."

The ten Viziers were well pleased to hear this resolution. They hoped
at length, by their secret plots, to make the object of their envy
fall beneath the sword of justice, and were eager to order the
apparatus of punishment.

On the morning of the following day, which was the eleventh since the
confinement of Aladin, the ten Viziers went to the King.

"Sire," said they, "your orders are obeyed; your pleasure is known,
and the people assembled round the spot wait only for him who is to
die there."

Bohetzad gave orders that the criminal should be brought to him. As
soon as he appeared the ten Viziers lifted up their voices against
him.

"Wretch! offspring of villains!" said they to him, "the scythe of
death is raised over thy head; thy stratagems are exhausted, and thou
art about to receive the reward of thy crimes and rashness."

"Audacious ministers," said Aladin, looking at them with a confident
but modest air, "it belongs not to you to mark my forehead with the
seal of death! If the decree which strikes me comes not from Heaven,
what could all your attempts avail? Guilt alone can be afraid of them.
But since I have nothing wherewith to reproach myself, had I even my
head under the fatal sword, I should be preserved from the stroke,
like the slave who was accused although innocent."

"Sire," interrupted all the Viziers at once, "impose silence on this
audacious fellow; he wishes still to deceive your Majesty by a new
tale."

"I wish not to impose upon the King," said Aladin; "it is you who
cherish falsehood and imposture."

"Stop!" said Bohetzad to him; "I will yet put my patience to a last
effort, and agree to hear the history of your slave and of his
deliverance."

"Oh, the clemency of my King!" replied Aladin. "May truth at length
reach your heart, which is so difficult of access! I wish not by a
false relation to deceive your Majesty; the story I am going to relate
is well known throughout all Chaldea."


HISTORY OF THE KING OF HARAM, AND OF THE SLAVE.


The King of Haram, uneasy at the manner in which his Viziers and Cadis
administered justice in the provinces of his empire, went one night
from his palace disguised, and only escorted by two eunuchs. By chance
he passed near a dungeon, from whence he heard a plaintive and
lamentable voice. He learned that this place served as a prison, in
which criminals condemned to death were shut up; and approaching
nearer it in order to hear distinctly the doleful accents, which
appeared to come from the bowels of the earth, he heard these words:

"O powerful Allah! Thou who watchest constantly over the unfortunate,
stooping under the burden of his misery, wilt Thou suffer innocence,
falsely accused, to sink under presumptions which a fatal destiny hath
heaped upon it? Infinite mercy! none of Thy creatures are
insignificant in Thy eyes; Thou hearest the cries of a worm; listen to
that of Thy slave; and if my death is not determined by Thy
providence, arrest the stroke with which I am threatened."

A silence, interrupted only by sighs, succeeded this prayer. The King
of Haram returned to his palace with a heart moved by these
lamentations, and a spirit troubled with this adventure. In vain did
he seek repose: the idea of the death of an innocent person agitated
him, and he only waited the return of day to clear up this mystery.

As soon as the sun had enlightened the earth, he called together his
ministers, and described to them the place from which the cries came
that had excited his pity. They informed him that the unfortunate
person confined in this dungeon was destined to die that very day upon
the scaffold. They gave him an account of his trial, from which the
crime appeared clear, and two witnesses certified that the slave, whom
his Majesty had heard, was the perpetrator of it. The King of Haram
could not resist what human justice reckons evidence, and immediately
confirmed the order for his execution.

The slave, convicted of the crime, was taken from the dungeon: he
walked to punishment with a firm and modest countenance; his hands
bound, and his eyes lifted up to Heaven, which was now his only hope.
He was at the foot of the scaffold; the executioners were preparing to
strip him of his clothes, when an unexpected noise entirely changed
the aspect of this scene of death. A hostile party, having formed the
design of making themselves masters of the city, waited until the
people, attracted by curiosity to see the execution, should have gone
out of it. They hastily quitted the ambuscade in which they were
concealed, fell upon the guard, and dispersed it. All those who
endeavoured to defend it either fell by the sword or were made
prisoners; not one escaped except the unhappy slave who was about to
suffer an ignominious death.

The enemy, dreading the approach of the King, then withdrew to a
distance in order to increase their forces, carrying with them the
booty they had got, and deferred to another time the consummation of
their enterprise.

Meanwhile, the slave, delivered from his chains by the hands of the
enemy, and still fearing lest people should be dispatched to pursue
him, gained the country, and walked day and night without stopping. At
length, overcome with fatigue, he stopped under the shade of a laurel,
which, from its size and height, appeared coeval with the world, and
sat down. Opposite to this tree, and very near it, was the entrance of
a dark cave; two torches threw a dreadful light around it, without
altogether dispelling its darkness. His attention was fixed with
astonishment on these objects, which inspired him with terror, when he
thought he observed these two lights move and advance towards him.
These bright fires were nothing but the glaring eyes of a monstrous
lion, which came out of the cave and slowly approached the unhappy
slave, who had nothing with which he could defend himself. The animal
seized him, and, without hurting him, carried him into the cave. He
instantly went out of it again, tore down the enormous laurel under
which the man had been formerly seated, and, having placed it at the
mouth of the cave in order to shut up its passage, ran into the desert
in search of its mate, whom the need of food for their whelps had
carried far from their common haunt.

The mouth of this cave, shut up by the trunk of the tree, was
inaccessible to all human power. However, there was still sufficient
light left for the slave to view the inside of this dreadful
habitation, to distinguish its inhabitants, and to see there the
fragments of bones and food with which the ground was covered. He saw
likewise two young lions couching on a heap of moss, who were not
frightened by his presence. In an opposite corner he perceived a heap
of human bones, the sad remains of the unfortunate whom the same
destiny that had brought him there had drawn toward this frightful
abode. Nevertheless, amid these objects, fear did not damp his
courage: he turned towards the south, and, like a faithful Mussulman,
addressed his prayer to the great Prophet with as much zeal and
fervour as if he had been in the most splendid mosque and in the most
secure asylum.

Full of confidence in the Sovereign Arbiter of Destiny, he then cast
his eyes into the dark cavities of this den. There were many clothes
in it: he put his hand into the pockets of one garment, and found
there a stone and a piece of steel for striking fire; the earth was
covered with a dry moss, which served as litter to the savage
inhabitants of this dwelling. The possibility of getting out revived
his courage; and scarcely was the enterprise conceived when it was put
in execution. He set fire to the moss which he had collected at the
mouth of the cave; the flames penetrated the moist bark of the
laurel's roots, and the fire speedily increasing, the tree lost its
support and fell upon its side with a crash, so as to leave the mouth
of the cave quite open. In examining this cave he had seen a bow,
sabres, and poniards, which might serve for his defence. He had also
discovered, by the light, a pan with coined gold, and pieces of this
metal, with precious jewels of different kinds. Provided in this
manner, with everything which could assist his escape, he armed
himself with what was necessary, cut away with his sabre the burning
branches which opposed his passage, and, blessing Heaven, at length
recovered his liberty.

Scarcely had the slave got out of this dangerous cave, when he
perceived the lion at the distance of four bowshots, and the lioness
somewhat farther off in the plain. He put upon his bow a deadly arrow;
and the lion, thinking to dart upon his prey, ran with great rapidity
against the arrow, which was discharged at him. The steel reached his
heart, and he fell lifeless.

The slave, freed from this enemy, soon had the other also to contend
with. He darted another arrow, but it made only a slight wound. The
animal, rendered still more furious, rushed forwards to throw him on
the ground. The slave opposed her with his poniard, and plunged it
into her side. The lioness, roaring aloud, made a new effort; but with
his scimitar he struck off one of her fore-paws, and disabled her for
further combat. She rolled along the earth, making the echoes resound
with her roaring: the young lions from the cave answered her with
hideous cries, which would have filled the most warlike soul with
terror. In the meantime the conqueror secured his victory by piercing
the animal in the vital parts, till at length she sank under the
vigour of his arm. He ran immediately to kill the whelps, and drew
them out of the cave. After this feat of valour, he looked in the
plain for a tree, the fruit of which might afford him nourishment, and
a stream in which he might quench his thirst; and still aided by
Providence, everything seemed subject to his desires and offered
itself to his hand.

Having at length recruited his strength, exhausted by so much fatigue,
he re-entered the cave whose inhabitants he had destroyed, made
himself master of the treasures it contained, shut up its entrance
with the branches of a tree, and, armed to as much advantage as
possible, and furnished with gold and silver to satisfy his wants, he
took the road to his native country. He arrived there at the end of
some days, and gave an account of his history to his relations. Camels
and slaves were dispatched to bring away the precious effects which
were left in the lions' den. Possessed of so much riches, the
beneficent slave shared them with the indigent. Not far from his
habitation he built an asylum for caravans, pilgrims, and travellers
who might be obliged to take that road; and from the spoils of a
lions' den he erected a temple of charity.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Sire," added Aladin, after having finished his relation, "you see how
this slave, condemned to perish upon the scaffold, on the false
evidence of his enemies, and in danger of being devoured by lions, was
miraculously delivered from these dangers; while his accusers and
enemies, eager to feast their eyes with the sight of his tortures,
were massacred and punished. The King of Haram, deprived of part of
his subjects, suffered the punishment of his negligence in not
examining the proceedings himself, and not listening sufficiently to
complaints which, although they moved his pity, had not armed his
justice."

Bohetzad felt an unusual struggle betwixt his own power, the relations
and reflections of Aladin, and the solicitations of his ministers. A
voice within him pleaded powerfully against the judgment he had
pronounced; yet the orders which he had given publicly, the scaffold
already prepared without the walls of the city, the crowd of people
impatient to enjoy this execution, so long delayed, all seemed to
increase the embarrassment of the King. His Viziers, seeing him
hesitate again, were eager to fix his resolution by the strongest
remonstrances; and going over all the arguments they had already
alleged, they ended by alarming the King respecting the duration of
his power.

"I feel in spite of you," said the King, "that my heart revolts at
what I am doing; nevertheless, as the safety of my kingdom depends
upon this decree, I yield to your reasons. Let the criminal be
conducted to punishment."

That very instant the guard seized Aladin. He was bound with cords,
loaded with chains, and led without the city to the place where he was
to terminate his existence. The King himself, mounted upon an
elephant, and followed by his whole Court, repaired to the place of
punishment: he was seated upon a throne from which he would behold the
execution. The unfortunate Aladin was already on the scaffold, when
suddenly a stranger, rushing through the crowd, and removing the
guards and every obstacle that opposed his passage, threw himself into
the arms of Aladin.

"Oh, my son! my dear son!" exclaimed he, the tears flowing in a
torrent from his eyes. He could say no more, for grief stopped his
utterance.

This unexpected event threw the people into commotion, and the King
gave orders that the stranger should be brought before him.

"Sovereign monarch," said he to him, embracing his knees, "save the
life of the unfortunate young man whom you have condemned to death. If
a criminal must die, give orders for my punishment: I await it at your
feet."

"Who are you?" said the King. "What interest have you in this
criminal?"

"Sire, I am the chief of a band of robbers. Searching one day in the
desert for a fountain to allay the thirst of my company, I found upon
the grass,