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Title: The Arabian Nights, Volume III (of 4)
Author: Anonymous
Language: English
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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 "The Arabian Nights, Volume III (of 4)" ***

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                            ARABIAN NIGHTS.

                            WITH ENGRAVINGS,
                              FROM DESIGNS
                          BY R. WESTALL, R.A.

                            IN FOUR VOLUMES.
                               VOL. III.

        Printed for Rodwell & Martin; and the other Proprietors.





                               VOL. III.

  The Story of Noureddin and the Fair Persian                          1
  The Story of Beder, prince of Persia, and Giahaure, princess of
          Samarcand                                                   70
  The Story of Ganem, son to Abou Ayoub, and known by the surname
          of Love’s Slave                                            155
  The Story of Prince Zeyn Alasnam, and the king of the Genii        212
  The Story of Codadad and his Brothers                              233
  The Story of the princess of Deryabar                              243
  The Story of the Sleeper awakened                                  269

                            ARABIAN NIGHTS’

                              THE STORY OF

Balsora was for many years the capital of a kingdom tributary to the
caliphs of Arabia. The king who governed it in the days of caliph Haroun
Alraschid was named Zinchi. They were both cousins, the sons of two
brothers. Zinchi not thinking it proper to commit the administration of
his affairs to one single vizier, made choice of two, Khacan and Saouy.

Khacan was of a sweet, generous, and affable temper, and took a wonderful
pride in obliging those with whom he had any concern, to the utmost of
his power, without the least hinderance or prejudice to justice, whenever
it was demanded of him; so that he was universally respected both at
court, in the city, and throughout the whole kingdom; and every body’s
mouth was full of the praises he so highly deserved.

Saouy was of a quite different character: he was always sullen and
morose, and treated every body after a disrespectful manner, without any
regard to their rank or quality; instead of making himself beloved and
admired for his riches, he was so perfect a miser, as to deny himself the
necessaries of life. In short, nobody could endure him; and if ever any
thing was said of him, to be sure it was something of ill. But what
increased the people’s hatred against him the more was his implacable
aversion for Khacan; always interpreting in the worst sense the actions
of that worthy minister, and endeavouring to do him all the ill offices
imaginable with the king.

One day, after council, the king of Balsora diverted himself with his two
viziers, and some other members of the council: they fell into discourse
about the women slaves, that with us are daily bought and sold, and are
almost reckoned in the same rank with our wives. Some were of opinion,
that it was enough if the slave that one bought was beautiful and well
shaped, to make us amends for the wives, which, very often, upon the
account of alliance or interest in families, we are forced to marry, who
are not always the greatest beauties, nor mistresses of any perfection,
either of mind or body. Others maintained, and amongst the rest Khacan,
that neither beauty, nor a thousand other charming perfections of the
body, were the only things to be coveted in a mistress; but they ought to
be accompanied with a great deal of wit, prudence, modesty, and
agreeableness; and, if possible, abundance of sense and penetration. The
reason they gave for it was, that nothing in the world could be more
agreeable to persons on whom the management of important affairs depend,
than, after having spent the day in that fatiguing employment, to have a
companion in their retirement whose conversation is not only agreeable,
but useful and diverting; for, in short, continued they, there is but
little difference between brutes and those men who keep a mistress only
to look upon her, and gratify a passion that we have in common with them.

The king was entirely of their opinion who spoke last, and he quickly
gave some demonstration of it, by ordering Khacan to buy him a slave, one
that was a perfect beauty, mistress of all those qualifications they had
just mentioned, and especially very ingenious.

Saouy, jealous of the honour the king had done Khacan, and vexed at his
being of a contrary opinion, Sir, says he, it will be very difficult to
find a slave so accomplished as to answer your majesty’s demand; and,
should they light upon such a one, (as I scarce believe they will,) she
will be a cheap bargain at ten thousand pieces of gold. Saouy, replied
the king, I perceive plainly you think it too great a sum: it may be so
for you, though not for me. Then turning to the chief treasurer, he
ordered him to send the ten thousand pieces of gold to the vizier’s

Khacan, as soon as he came home, sent for all the courtiers who used to
deal in women slaves, and strictly charged them, that, if ever they met
with a slave that answered the description he gave them, they should come
and acquaint him with it. The courtiers, partly to oblige the vizier, and
partly for their own interest, promised to use their utmost endeavours to
find out one to his liking. Accordingly there was scarce a day past but
they brought him one, yet he always found some fault or other with them.

One day as Khacan was getting on horseback very early in the morning to
go to court, a courtier came to him, and, with a great deal of eagerness,
catching hold of the stirrup, told him there was a Persian merchant
arrived very late the day before, who had a slave to sell so surprisingly
beautiful, that she excelled all women that his eyes ever beheld; and, as
for her parts and learning, the merchant engaged she could cope with the
finest wits and the most knowing persons of the age.

Khacan, overjoyed at this news, which made him hope for a favourable
reception at court, ordered him to bring the slave to his palace against
his coming back, and so continued his journey.

The courtier failed not of being at the vizier’s at the appointed hour;
and Khacan, finding the lovely slave so much beyond his expectation,
immediately gave her the name of the Fair Persian. As she had an infinite
deal of wit and learning, he soon perceived by her conversation that it
was in vain to search any farther for a slave that surpassed her in any
of those qualifications required by the king, and therefore he asked the
courtier at what rate the Persian merchant valued her.

Sir, replied the courtier, he is a man of few words in bargaining, and he
tells me, that the very lowest rate he can part with her at, is ten
thousand pieces of gold: he has also sworn to me, that without reckoning
his pains and trouble from the time of his first taking care of her, he
has laid out pretty near the sum upon her education, on masters to
instruct and teach her, besides clothes and maintenance; and, as he
always thought her fit for a king, so from her very infancy, in which he
bought her, he has not been sparing in any thing that might contribute
towards advancing her to that high honour. She plays on all sorts of
instruments to perfection, she dances, sings, writes better than the most
celebrated authors, understands poetry; and, in short, there is scarce
any book but what she has read; so that there never was a slave of so
vast a capacity heard of before.

The vizier Khacan, who understood the merit of the Fair Persian better
than the courtier, that only reported what he had heard from the
merchant, was unwilling to drive off the bargain to another time; and
therefore he sent one of his servants to look after the merchant, where
the courtier told him he was to be found.

As soon as the Persian merchant came, It is not for myself, but the king,
says the vizier Khacan, that I buy your slave; but, however, you must let
him have her at a more reasonable price than what you have already set
upon her.

Sir, replied the merchant, I should do myself an unspeakable honour in
offering her as a present to his majesty, were I able to make him one of
so inestimable a value. I barely ask no more than what her education and
breeding up has cost me; and all I have to say is, that I believe his
majesty will be extremely pleased with the purchase.

The vizier Khacan would stand no longer bargaining with the merchant, but
paid him the money down immediately. Sir, says he to the vizier, upon
taking his leave of him, since the slave is designed for the king’s use,
give me leave to tell you, that being extremely fatigued with our long
journey together, you see her at a great disadvantage; and though she has
not her equal in the world for beauty, yet if you please to keep her at
your own house but for a fortnight, and strive a little to please and
humour her, she will appear quite another creature: after that, you may
present her to the king with abundance of honour and credit; for which, I
doubt not but you will think yourself much obliged to me. The sun, you
see, has a little tarnished her complexion; but after two or three times
bathing, and when you have dressed her according to the fashion of your
country, she will appear to your eyes infinitely more charming than now.

Khacan was mightily pleased with the advice the merchant gave him, and
was resolved to follow it. Accordingly the Fair Persian was lodged in a
particular apartment near his lady’s, whom he desired to invite her to an
entertainment, and henceforth to treat her as a mistress designed for the
king: he also entreated his lady to get the richest clothes for her that
possibly could be had, and especially those that became her best. Before
he took his leave of the Fair Persian, he says, Your happiness, madam,
cannot be greater than what I am about to procure for you, since it is
for the king himself I have bought you; and I hope he will be better
pleased with the enjoyment of you, than I am in discharging the trust his
majesty has laid upon me: however, I think it my duty to warn you of my
son, who, though he has a tolerable share of wit, yet is a young, wanton,
forward youth; and therefore have a care how you suffer him to come near
you. The Fair Persian thanked him for his good advice; and after she had
given him an assurance of her intention to follow it, he withdrew.

Noureddin, for so the vizier’s son was named, had all the liberty
imaginable in his mother’s apartment, with whom he usually ate: he was
very genteel, young, agreeable, and bold; and being master of abundance
of wit and readiness of expression, he had the art of persuading people
to whatever he pleased. He saw the Fair Persian; and from their first
interview, though he knew his father had bought her purposely for the
king, and he himself had declared the same, yet he never used the least
endeavour to put a stop to the violence of his passion. In short, he
resigned himself wholly to the power of her charms, by which his heart
was at first conquered: and being ravished with her conversation, he was
resolved to employ his utmost endeavours to get her from the king.

On the other hand, the Fair Persian had no dislike to Noureddin. The
vizier, says she to herself, has done me a particular honour in buying me
for the king of Balsora; but I should have thought myself very happy if
he had designed me only for his son.

Noureddin was not backward in making use of the advantage of seeing,
entertaining, and conversing with a beauty he was so passionately in love
with; for he would never leave her until his mother forced him to do it.
My son, she would say, it is not proper for a young man, as you are, to
be always amongst the ladies; go mind your studies, that in time you may
be worthy to succeed your father in his high posts and honours.

It being a great while since the Fair Persian had bathed, on account of
her late fatiguing journey, the vizier’s lady, five or six days after she
was bought, ordered a private bath in her own house to be got ready
purposely for her. She had a great many women slaves to wait upon her,
who were charged by the vizier’s lady, to be as careful of her as of her
own person, and, after bathing, to put on her a very rich suit of clothes
that she had provided for her; and all this pains and care was taken
purely to ingratiate herself the more into her husband’s affection, by
letting him see how much she concerned herself in every thing that
contributed to his pleasure.

As soon as she came out of the bath, the Fair Persian, a thousand times
more beautiful than ever she appeared to Khacan when he bought her, went
to make a visit to his lady, who at first sight hardly knew her. After
having saluted her in a very graceful manner, Madam, says she, I know not
how you like me in this dress you have been pleased to order for me; but
your women, who tell me it becomes me so extremely well they should
scarce know me, are such gross flatterers, that it is from you alone I
expect to hear the truth: but, however, if what they say be really so, it
is to you entirely, madam, that I owe the advantage it has given me.

Oh! my daughter, cries the vizier’s lady, quite transported with joy, you
have no reason in the world to believe my women have flattered you: I am
better skilled in beauty than they are; and, setting aside your dress,
which becomes you admirably well, you appear so much handsomer than you
did before your bathing, that I hardly knew you myself: if I thought the
bath was yet hot enough, I would willingly take my turn, for I am now of
an age that requires frequent use of it. Madam, replies the Fair Persian,
I have nothing to say to the undeserved civilities you have been pleased
to show me; but, as for the bath, it is wonderfully fine; and if you
design to go in, you must be quick, for there is no time to be lost, as
your women can inform you as well as I.

The vizier’s lady, considering that she had not bathed for some days
past, was willing to make use of that opportunity; and accordingly she
acquainted her women with her intention, who immediately prepared all
things necessary on such an occasion. The Fair Persian withdrew to her
apartment; and the vizier’s lady, before she went to bathe, ordered two
little slaves to stay with her, with a strict charge, that if Noureddin
came they should not give him admittance.

While the vizier’s lady was bathing, and the fair slave alone in her
apartment, in came Noureddin, and not finding his mother in her chamber,
went directly to the Fair Persian’s, where he found the two little slaves
in the antechamber: he asked them where his mother was. They told him, in
the bath. Where is the Fair Persian, then? replied Noureddin. In her
chamber, answered the slaves; but we have positive orders from your
mother not to let you go in.

The entrance into the Fair Persian’s chamber being only covered with a
piece of tapestry, Noureddin went to lift it up in order to go in, but
was opposed by the two slaves, who clapped themselves just before it on
purpose to stop his passage: he presently caught hold of both their arms,
and thrusting them out of the antechamber, locked the door upon them.
Away they immediately ran with a great outcry to the bath, and with
weeping eyes told their lady that Noureddin, having driven them away by
force, had got into the Fair Persian’s chamber.

The vizier’s lady received the astonishing news of her son’s presumption
with the greatest concern that could be: she immediately left off
bathing, and dressing herself with all possible speed, came directly to
the Fair Persian’s chamber; but before she could get thither, Noureddin
was fairly marched off.

The Fair Persian was extremely surprised to see the vizier’s lady enter
her chamber all in tears, and in the utmost confusion imaginable: Madam,
says she to her, may I presume to ask you the occasion of your concern;
and what accident has happened in the bath, that makes you leave it so

What! cries the vizier’s lady, can you so calmly ask that question, after
your entertaining my son Noureddin alone in your chamber? or can there
happen a greater misfortune either to him or me?

I beseech you, madam, says the fair slave, what injury can this action of
Noureddin’s do either to you or him?

How! replied the vizier’s lady, did not my husband tell you that you were
designed for the king, and sufficiently caution you to have a care of

I have not forgot it, madam, replied the Fair Persian; but your son came
to tell me the vizier his father had changed his mind, and, instead of
reserving me for the king, as he first designed, has made him a present
of my person. I easily believed him, madam; for oh! think how a slave as
I am, accustomed from my infant years to the bonds of servitude, could
have the heart and power to resist him! I must own I did it with the less
unwillingness on account of a violent passion for him, which the freedom
of conversation, and seeing one another daily, has raised in my soul. I
could freely lose the hopes of ever being the king’s, and think myself
the happiest of creatures in spending my whole life with Noureddin.

At this discourse of the Fair Persian’s, Would to God, cries the vizier’s
lady, that what you say were true! for then I should have no reason to be
concerned: but, believe me, Noureddin is an impostor, and you are
deceived; for it is impossible his father should ever make him the
present you spoke of. Ah! wretched youth, how miserable hast thou made
me, but more thy father, by the dismal consequences we must all expect to
share with him! Neither my prayers nor tears will be able to prevail, or
obtain a pardon for him; but, as soon as his father hears of his violence
to you, he will inevitably sacrifice him to his just resentment. At the
end of these words she fell a-weeping bitterly; and the slaves, who had
as tender a regard for Noureddin as herself, bore her company.

A little after this, in came the vizier Khacan; and being mightily
surprised to find his lady and her slaves all in tears, and the Fair
Persian very melancholy, asked the reason of it; but they, instead of
answering him, kept on weeping and making hideous lamentations. He was
more astonished at this than he was before; at last, addressing himself
to his wife, I command you, says he, to let me know the occasion of your
tears, and to tell me the whole truth of the matter.

The poor disconsolate lady being forced to satisfy her husband, Sir, says
she, you shall first promise not to use me unkindly upon the discovery of
what you are desirous to know, since I tell you beforehand that what has
happened has not been occasioned by any fault of mine. While I was
bathing with my women, continued she, your son, laying hold of that fatal
opportunity to ruin us both, came hither, and made the Fair Persian
believe that, instead of reserving her for the king, as you once
designed, you had given her to him as a present: I do not say he has done
this out of any ill design, but shall leave you to judge of it yourself.
It is upon your account, and his, for whom I want confidence to implore
your pardon, that I am so extremely concerned.

It is impossible to express the vizier Khacan’s distraction upon the
hearing of the insolence of his son Noureddin: Ah! cried he, beating his
breast, and tearing his beard, Miserable son! unworthy of life! hast thou
at last thrown thy father from the highest pinnacle of happiness into a
misfortune that must inevitably involve thee also in its ruin? Neither
will the king be satisfied with thy blood nor mine, but will revenge
himself after a more severe manner for the affront offered to his royal

His lady used her utmost endeavours to comfort and assuage his sorrow.
Concern yourself no more about the matter, my dear, said she; I will sell
part of my jewels for ten thousand pieces of gold, with which you may buy
another slave, handsomer, and more agreeable to the king’s fancy than

Ah! replied the vizier, could you think me of so mean a spirit, as to be
so extremely afflicted at the losing ten thousand pieces of gold? It is
not that, nor the loss of all my goods, which I can easily part with; but
the forfeiting of my honour, more precious than all the riches in the
world, that torments and touches me so nearly. However, methinks, replied
the lady, this can be no very considerable damage, since it is in the
power of money to repair it.

How! cried the vizier, you know Saouy is my mortal enemy; and as soon as
this affair comes to his knowledge, do you think he will not insult over
me, and mock my misfortunes before the king? Your majesty, he will say to
him, is always talking of Khacan’s zeal and affection for your service:
but see what a proof he has lately given of his being worthy the respect
you have hitherto shown him. He has received ten thousand pieces of gold
to buy a slave with; and, to do him justice, he has honourably performed
that commission, in buying the most beautiful that ever eyes beheld; but,
instead of bringing her to your majesty, he has thought it better to make
a present of her to his son: Here, my son, said he, take this slave,
since thou art more worthy of her than the king. Then, with his usual
malice, will he go on: His son has her now entirely in his possession,
and every day revels in her arms, without the least disturbance: this,
sir, is the whole truth of the matter, that I have done myself the honour
of acquainting you with; and if your majesty questions the truth of it,
you may easily satisfy yourself. Do you not plainly see, my dear,
continued the vizier, how, upon such a malicious insinuation as this, I
am every moment liable to have my house forced open by the king’s guards,
and the Fair Persian taken from me, besides a thousand other misfortunes
that will unavoidably follow? Sir, said the vizier’s lady to her husband,
after he had finished his discourse, I am sensible the malice of Saouy is
very great, and that, if he has had but the least intimation of this
affair, he will certainly give it a turn very disadvantageous to your
interest: but how is it possible that he or any body else should come to
the knowledge of what has been privately transacted in your family?
Suppose it comes to the king’s ear, and he should ask you about it,
cannot you say, that upon strict examination, you did not think the slave
so fit for his majesty’s use as you did at the first view; that the
merchant has cheated you; that, indeed, she has a great deal of beauty,
but is nothing near so witty or agreeable as she was reported to be? The
king will certainly believe what you say, and Saouy be vexed to the soul
to see all his malicious designs of ruining you eternally disappointed.
Take courage, then, and, if you will follow my advice, send for all the
courtiers, tell them you do not like the Fair Persian, and order them to
be as expeditious as possible in getting another slave.

The vizier Khacan, highly approving of this advice, was resolved to make
use of it; and though his passion began to cool a little, yet his
indignation against his son Noureddin was not in the least abated.

Noureddin came not in sight all that day; and, not daring to hide himself
among his companions, lest his father should search their houses for him,
he went a little way out of town, and took sanctuary in a garden where he
had never been before, and where his person was utterly unknown. It was
very late when he came back, being willing to stay till his father was
a-bed, and then his mother’s women opening the door very softly, let him
in without any manner of noise. The next morning he went out before his
father was stirring; and thus for a whole month was he put to his shifts,
which was a terrible mortification to him. Indeed the women never
flattered him, but told him plainly his father’s anger was as great as
ever, and if he came in his sight he would certainly kill him.

Though the vizier’s lady was informed by her women of Noureddin’s lying
every night in the house, yet she durst not presume to entreat her
husband to pardon him. At last, one day, says she to him; I have hitherto
been silent, not daring to take the liberty of talking to you about your
son; but now give me leave to ask you what you design to do with him.
Indeed it is impossible for a son to be more criminal towards a father
than Noureddin has been towards you; he has robbed you of the honour and
satisfaction of presenting the king with a slave so accomplished as the
Fair Persian: but, after all, are you absolutely resolved to destroy him;
and, instead of a light evil, draw upon yourself a far greater than
perhaps you imagine at present? Are you not afraid that the world, which
spitefully inquires after the reason of your son’s absconding, should
find out the true cause which you are so desirous of keeping secret? and
if that should happen, you would justly fall into a misfortune which it
is so much your interest to avoid.

Madam, said the vizier, there is abundance of sound reasoning in what you
have urged: however, I cannot think of pardoning Noureddin till I have
humbled him a little more. He shall be sufficiently mortified, replied
the lady, if you will put in execution what is just come into my mind.
You must know, then, your son comes hither every night after you are
a-bed; he lies here, and steals out every morning before you are
stirring: you shall wait for his coming in to-night; make as if you
designed to kill him; upon which I will run to his assistance, and when
he finds his life entirely owing to my prayers and entreaties, you may
oblige him to take the Fair Persian on what condition soever you please.
He loves her, and I am sensible the fair slave has no aversion for him.

Khacan was very willing to make use of this stratagem: so, when Noureddin
came at the usual hour, before the door was opened, he placed himself
behind it: as soon as ever he entered, he rushed suddenly upon him, and
got him down under his feet. Noureddin, lifting up his head, saw his
father with a dagger in his hand, ready prepared to stab him.

At that very instant, in came his mother, and, catching hold of the
vizier’s arm, Sir, cried she, what are you a-doing? Let me alone, replied
the vizier, that I may kill this base unworthy son. You shall kill me
first, cried the mother; nor will I suffer you to imbrue your hands in
your own blood: speak to him, Noureddin, speak to him, and improve this
tender moment. My father, cried he, with tears in his eyes, I implore
your clemency and compassion; nor must you deny me pardon, since I ask it
in His name before whom we must all appear at the last day.

Khacan suffered the poniard to be taken out of his hand; and as soon as
Noureddin was released, he threw himself at his father’s feet, and kissed
them, to show how sincerely he repented of his having ever offended him.
Noureddin, said he, return your mother thanks, since it is purely for her
sake I pardon you. I design also to give you the Fair Persian, on
condition that you will oblige yourself by an oath not to look upon her
any longer as a slave, but as your wife, that you will not sell her, nor
ever be divorced from her; for, having abundance of wit and prudence,
besides much better conduct than you, I am persuaded she will be able to
moderate those rash sallies of youth which are enough to ruin you.

Noureddin, who little expected to be treated after so kind and indulgent
a manner, returned his father a thousand thanks, with all the gratitude
and sincerity imaginable; and, in the conclusion, the vizier, the Fair
Persian, and he, were well pleased and satisfied with the match.

The vizier Khacan would not stay in expectation of the king’s asking him
about the order he had given him, but took particular care to mention it
often, in representing to his majesty the many difficulties he met with
in that affair, and how fearful he was of not acquitting himself to his
majesty’s satisfaction. In short, he managed the business with so much
cunning and address, that the king insensibly forgot it; and, though
Saouy had got some small information of the matter, yet Khacan was so
much in the king’s favour, that he was afraid to speak of it.

It was now above a year that this nice affair had been kept with greater
secrecy than at first the vizier expected; when, being one day in the
bath, and some important business obliging him to leave it all in a
sweat, the air, which was then a little moist, struck a damp to his
breast, caused a defluxion of rheum to fall upon his lungs, which threw
him into a violent fever, and confined him to his bed. His illness
growing every day worse, and perceiving he had but a few moments to live,
he thus addressed himself to his son Noureddin, who never stirred from
him during his whole sickness: My son, I know not whether I have made a
good use of the riches Heaven has blessed me with, but you see they are
not able to save me from the hands of death: the last thing I desire of
you, with my dying breath, is, that you would be mindful of the promise
you made concerning the Fair Persian; and, with a certainty of that, I
shall die pleased and well contented.

These were the vizier’s last words; who, dying a few moments after, left
his family, the court, and the whole city in great affliction for his
death. The king lamented him, as having lost a wise, zealous, and
faithful minister; and the whole city wept for him as their protector and
benefactor. Never was there a funeral at Balsora solemnized with greater
pomp and magnificence; the viziers and emirs, and, in general, all the
grandees of the court, strove for the honour of bearing his coffin, one
after another, upon their shoulders to the place of burial; and both rich
and poor accompanied him thither with tears.

Noureddin gave all the demonstration of a sorrow equal to the loss he had
lately sustained, and lived a great while without ever seeing any
company. At last, he admitted of a visit from an intimate friend of his.
His friend endeavoured to comfort him all he could; and, finding him a
little inclinable to hear reason, he told him, that, having paid what was
due to the memory of his father, and fully satisfied all that custom and
decency required of him, it was now high time to appear again in the
world to converse with his friends, and maintain a character suitable to
his birth and merit: For, continued he, we should sin both against the
laws of nature and civility, and be thought insensible, if, upon the
death of our fathers, we neglected to pay them what filial love and
tenderness require at our hands; but having once performed that duty, and
put it out of the power of any man to reproach us upon that account, we
are obliged to return to our usual method of living. Dry up your tears
then, and re-assume that wonted air of gaiety which always inspires with
joy those that have the honour of your conversation.

This advice seeming very reasonable to Noureddin, he was easily persuaded
to follow it; and, if he had been ruled by his friend in every thing, he
would certainly have avoided all the misfortunes that afterwards befell
him. He treated him very nobly; and, when he took his leave, Noureddin
desired him to come the next day, and bring three or four friends of
their acquaintance. By this means he insensibly fell into the society of
about ten young gentlemen, pretty near his own age, with whom he spent
his time in continual feasting and entertainments; and scarce a day came
over his head but he made every one of them some considerable present.

Sometimes, to oblige his friends after a more particular manner,
Noureddin would send for the Fair Persian to entertain them; who,
notwithstanding her obedience to his command, never approved of his
extravagant way of living, and often took the liberty of speaking her
mind freely. Sir, said she, I question not but your father has left you
abundance of riches; but, how great soever they are, be not angry with
your slave for telling you that, at this rate of living, you will quickly
see an end of them. We may indeed sometimes afford to treat our friends,
and be merry with them; but, to make a daily practice of it, is certainly
the high road to ruin and destruction. Therefore, for your own honour and
reputation, you would do much better to follow the footsteps of your
deceased father, that, in time, you may rise to that dignity by which he
acquired so much glory and renown.

Noureddin hearkened to the fair Persian’s discourse with a smiling
countenance; and, when she had done, My charmer, said he, with the same
air of mirth, say no more of that; let us talk of nothing but mirth and
pleasure. In my father’s lifetime I was always under restraint, and I am
now resolved to enjoy the liberty I so much sighed for before his death.
It is time enough for me to think of leading a sober regular life; and a
man of my age ought to taste the pleasures of youth.

What contributed very much towards ruining Noureddin’s fortune, was his
unwillingness to reckon with his steward; for, whenever he brought in his
accounts, he still sent him away without examining them. Go, go, said he,
I trust wholly to your honesty; therefore only take care to let me have
wherewith to make merry.

You are the master, sir, replied he, and I but the steward; however, you
would do well to think upon the proverb, He that spends much and has but
little, must at last insensibly be reduced to poverty. You are not
contented with keeping an extravagant table, but you must lavish away
your estate with both hands: and were your coffers as large as mountains,
they would not be sufficient to maintain you. Begone, replied Noureddin;
your grave lessons are needless; only take care to provide good eating
and drinking, and trouble your head no farther about the rest.

In the mean time Noureddin’s friends were constant guests at his table,
and never failed making some advantage of the easiness of his temper.
They praised and flattered him, extolling his most indifferent actions to
the very skies. But, above all, they took particular care to commend
whatever belonged to him and his; and this, they found, turned to some
account. Sir, says one of them, I came the other day by your estate that
lies in such a place: certainly there is nothing so magnificent, or so
handsomely furnished, as your house; and the garden belonging to it is a
paradise upon earth. I am very glad it pleases you, says Noureddin. Here,
bring me pen, ink, and paper: but, without more words, it is at your
service, and I make you a present of it. No sooner had others commended
his house, baths, and some public buildings erected for the use of
strangers, the yearly revenue of which was very considerable, than he
immediately gave them away. The Fair Persian could not forbear letting
him know how much injury he did himself; but, instead of taking any
notice of it, he continued his extravagances, and, upon the first
opportunity, squandered away the little he had left.

In short, Noureddin did nothing for a whole year together, but feasted
and made himself merry, wasting and consuming, after a prodigal manner,
the riches that his predecessors, and the good vizier his father, had,
with so much pains and care, heaped together and preserved.

The year was but just expired, when somebody one day knocked at the hall
door, where he and his friends were at dinner together by themselves,
having sent away their slaves, that they might enjoy a greater liberty
and freedom of conversation.

One of his friends offered to rise, but Noureddin stepped before him, and
opened the door himself. It seems it was the steward; and Noureddin going
a little out of the hall to know his business, left the door half open.

The friend that offered to rise from his seat, seeing it was the steward,
and being somewhat curious to know what he had to say to Noureddin,
placed himself between the hangings and the door, where he plainly
overheard the steward’s discourse to his master. Sir, said the steward, I
ask a thousand pardons for my coming to disturb you in the height of your
joys; but this affair is of such importance, that I thought myself bound
in duty to acquaint you with it. I come, sir, to make up my last
accounts, and to tell you that what I all along foresaw, and have often
warned you of, is at last come to pass. Behold, sir, says he, (showing
him a small piece of money,) the remainder of all the sums I have
received from you during my stewardship; the other funds you were pleased
to assign me are all exhausted. The farmers, and those that owe you rent,
have made it so plainly appear to me that you have assigned over to
others whatever remains in their hands due to you, that it is impossible
for me to get any more from them upon your account. Here are my books; if
you please, examine them: and if you think fit to continue me in the
place I am now in, order me some other funds, or else give me leave to
quit your service. Noureddin was so astonished at this discourse, that he
gave him no manner of answer.

The friend who had been listening all this while, and had heard every
syllable of what the steward said, immediately came in and told the
company what he had lately overheard. It is your business, gentlemen,
says he, to make use of this caution; for my part, I declare it openly to
you, this is the last visit I design to make Noureddin. Nay, replied
they, if matters go thus, we have as little business here as you; and,
for the future, shall take care not to trouble him with our company.

Noureddin returned presently after; yet, notwithstanding his carrying it
pleasantly to his guests, by putting them into a merry humour again, he
could not so handsomely dissemble the matter but they plainly perceived
the truth of what they had been informed of. He was scarce sat down in
his place, when one of his friends rose up, saying, Sir, I am sorry I
cannot have the honour of your company any longer; and, therefore, I hope
you will excuse my rudeness of leaving you so soon. What urgent affair
have you, replied Noureddin, that obliges you to be going? My wife, sir,
said he, was brought to bed to-day, and upon such an occasion, you know a
husband’s company is very acceptable; so, making a very low bow, away he
went. A minute afterwards, a second took his leave upon another sham
excuse; and so one after another, till at last not one of those ten
friends that had hitherto kept Noureddin company, was left in the room.

As soon as they were gone, Noureddin, little suspecting the resolution
they had made of never visiting him, went directly to the Fair Persian’s
apartment, to whom, in private, he related all the steward had told him,
and seemed extremely concerned at the ill posture of his affairs. Sir,
said the Fair Persian to him, you would never take my advice, but always
managed your concerns after your own way, and now you see the fatal
consequences of it. I find I was not mistaken, when I presaged to what a
miserable condition you would bring yourself at last; but what afflicts
me the more, is, that at present you do not see the worst of your
misfortunes. Whenever I presumed freely to impart my thoughts to you, Let
us be merry, said you, and in pleasures improve the time that fortune has
kindly given us; perhaps she will not always be so prodigal of her
favours. But was I now to blame in telling you that we are the makers or
undoers of our own fortunes, by a prudent or foolish management of them?
You indeed would never hearken to me; so, at last, much against my will,
I was forced to desist, and let you alone.

I must own, replied Noureddin, I was extremely in the wrong in not
following the advice that you, out of your abundance of prudence and
discretion, was pleased to give me. It is true I have spent my estate;
but do you not consider it is among friends of a long acquaintance, who,
I am persuaded, have more generosity and gratitude in them than to
abandon and forsake me in distress? Sir, replied the Fair Persian, if you
have nothing but the gratitude of your friends to depend on, you are in a
desperate condition; for, believe me, that hope is vain and ill-grounded,
and you will tell me so yourself in a very little time.

To this Noureddin replied, Charming Persian, I have a much better opinion
of my friends’ generosity than you. To-morrow I design to make a visit to
them all, before the usual time of their coming hither, and you shall see
me return with a vast sum, that they will raise among them to support me.
I am resolved to change my way of living, and, with the money they lend
me, set up for a merchant.

The next morning, Noureddin failed not to visit his ten friends, who
lived in the very same street. He knocked at the first door he came at,
where one of the richest of them lived. A slave came to the door; but,
before he would open it, he asked who was there? Go to your master, says
he to the slave, and tell him it is Noureddin, the late vizier’s son.
Upon this the slave opens the door, and shows him into a hall, where he
left him to go and tell his master, who was in an inner room, that
Noureddin was come to wait on him. Noureddin! cried he, in a disdainful
tone, loud enough for Noureddin to hear it with surprise. Go, tell him I
am not at home; and whenever he comes hither, be sure you give him the
same answer. The slave came back, and told Noureddin he thought his
master was within, but he was mistaken.

Noureddin came away in the greatest confusion in the world. Ah! base,
ungrateful wretch! said he to himself, to treat me so basely to-day,
after the vows and protestations of love and friendship that you made me
yesterday! From thence he went to another door, but that friend ordered
his slaves also to say he was gone out. He had the same answer at the
third; and, in short, all the rest denied themselves, though every one of
them was at home at the same time.

It was now that Noureddin began in earnest to reflect with himself, and
be convinced of the folly of his too credulous temper, in relying so much
upon the vows and protestations of amity, that his false friends in the
time of his prosperity had solemnly made him. It is very true, said he to
himself, that a fortunate man, as I was, may be compared to a tree laden
with fruit, which, as long as there is any remaining on its boughs,
people will be crowding round; but, as soon as it is stripped of all,
they immediately leave it, and go to another. He smothered his passions
as much as possible while he was abroad; but, no sooner was he got home,
than he gave loose to his sorrow, and resigned himself wholly to it.

The Fair Persian, seeing him so extremely concerned, fancied he had not
found his friends so ready to assist him as he expected. Well, sir, said
she, are you now convinced of the truth of what I told you? Ah! cried he,
my dear, thou hast been too true a prophetess; for not one of them would
so much as know me, see me, or speak to me. Oh! who could ever have
believed that persons so highly obliged to me as they are, and on whom I
have spent my estate, could ever have used me so barbarously? I am
distracted, and I fear committing some dishonourable action, below
myself, in the deplorable condition I am reduced to, without the aid and
assistance of your prudent advice. Sir, replied the Fair Persian, I see
no other way of supporting yourself in your misfortunes, but selling off
your slaves and moveables, and living upon the money, till Heaven shall
find out some other means to deliver you from your present misery.

Noureddin was very loath to make use of this expedient; but what could he
do in the necessitous circumstance he was in? He first sold off his
slaves; those unprofitable mouths, which were a greater expense to him
than what his present condition could bear. He lived on the money for
some time; and when all of it was spent, he ordered his goods to be
carried into the market-place, where they were sold for half their worth;
among which were several valuable things that cost immense sums. Upon
this he lived for a considerable time: but that supply failing at last,
he had nothing at all left by which he could raise any more money; of
which he complained to the Fair Persian in the most tender expressions
that sorrow could inspire.

Noureddin only waited to hear what answer this prudent creature would
make. Sir, said she, at last, I am your slave, and you know that the late
vizier your father gave ten thousand pieces of gold for me: perhaps I am
a little sunk in value since that time, but I believe I shall sell for
pretty near that sum yet. Let me entreat you then instantly to carry me
to the market, and expose me to sale; and with the money that you get for
me, which will be very considerable, you may turn merchant in some city
where you are unknown, and by that means find a way of living, if not in
splendour, yet with happiness and content.


Ah! lovely and adorable Persian, cried Noureddin, is it possible you can
entertain such a thought of me? Have I given you such slender proofs of
my love, that you should think me capable of so base an action? But
suppose me so vile a wretch, could I do it without being guilty of
perjury, after the oath I have taken never to sell you? No, I could
sooner die than part with you, whom I love infinitely beyond myself;
though by the unreasonable proposition you have made me, it is plain your
love is not so tender as mine.

Sir, replied the Fair Persian, I am sufficiently convinced that your
passion for me is as violent as you say it is; and Heaven, who knows with
what reluctance I have made this proposition that you dislike, is my
witness, that mine is as great as yours; but, to silence reason at once,
I need only bid you remember that necessity has no law. I love you to
that degree, it is impossible for you to love me more: and be assured,
that to what master soever I shall belong, my passion shall always
continue the same: and if you are ever able to redeem me, as I hope you
may, it will be the greatest pleasure in the world to be in your
possession again. Alas! to what a fatal and cruel necessity are we
driven! But I see no other way of freeing ourselves from the misery that
involves us both.

Noureddin, who very well knew the truth of what the Fair Persian had
spoken, and that there was no other way of avoiding a shameful poverty,
was in the end forced to yield to her first request. Accordingly he led
her to the market, where the women-slaves are exposed to sale, with a
regret that cannot be easily expressed. He applied himself to a courtier
named Hagi Hassan: Hagi Hassan, said he, here is a slave that I have a
mind to sell; I pray thee to see what they will give for her. Hagi Hassan
desired Noureddin and the Fair Persian to walk into a room; and when she
had pulled off the veil that covered her face, Sir, said Hagi Hassan to
Noureddin, in a great surprise, if I am not mistaken, this is the slave
your father, the late vizier, gave ten thousand pieces of gold for?
Noureddin assured him it was the same; and Hagi Hassan gave him some
hopes of selling her at a good rate, and promised to use all his art and
cunning to raise her price as high as it would bear.

Hagi Hassan and Noureddin went out of the room, and locked the Fair
Persian in; after which Hagi Hassan went to look after the merchants; but
they being busy in buying slaves that came from different countries, he
was forced to stay till the market was done. When their sale was over,
and the greatest part of them got together, My masters, said he to them,
with an air of gaiety in his looks and actions, every thing that is round
is not a nut; every thing that is long is not a fig; all that is red is
not flesh; and all eggs are not fresh. It is true you have seen and
bought a great many slaves in your lives, but you never yet saw one
comparable to her I am going to tell you of; in short, she is the very
pearl of slaves. Come, follow me, and you shall see her yourselves, and
by that judge at what rate I shall cry her.

The merchants followed Hagi Hassan into the chamber where the Fair
Persian was; and, as soon as they beheld her, they were so surprised at
her beauty, that at the first word they unanimously agreed that four
thousand pieces of gold was the very lowest price that they could set
upon her. The merchants then left the room, and Hagi Hassan, who came out
with them, without going any farther, proclaimed with a loud voice, Four
thousand pieces of gold for the Persian slave.

None of the merchants had yet offered any thing, and they were but just
consulting together about what they might afford to give for her, when
the vizier Saouy, perceiving Noureddin in the market, appeared. Said he
to himself, Noureddin has certainly made some more money of his goods,
(for he knew of his exposing them to sale,) and is come hither to buy a
slave with it. Upon this he advanced forward just as Hagi Hassan began to
proclaim a second time, Four thousand pieces of gold for the Persian

The vizier Saouy, concluding by the extravagance of the price, that she
must be some extraordinary piece of beauty, had a longing desire to see
her; so spurring his horse forward, he rode directly up to Hagi Hassan,
who was in the very middle of the merchants. Open the door, said he, and
let me see this slave. It was never the custom to show their slaves to
any particular person, till after the merchants had seen her, and had the
refusal: but Saouy being a person of so great authority, none of them
durst dispute their right with him; and Hagi Hassan being forced to open
the door, beckoned the fair slave to come forward, that Saouy might have
a sight of her without the trouble of alighting from his horse.

The vizier was astonished at the sight of so beautiful a slave; and
knowing the courtier’s name, (having formerly dealt with him,) Hagi
Hassan, said he, is it not at four thousand pieces of gold that you cry
her? Yes, sir, answered he, it is but a moment since I cried her at that
price, and the merchants you see gathered together here are come to bid
money for her; and I question not but they will give a great deal more
than that.

If nobody offers any higher, I will give that sum, replied Saouy, looking
upon the merchants at the same time with a countenance that forbade them
to advance any more. In short, he was so universally dreaded, that nobody
durst speak a word, not so much as to complain of his encroaching upon
their privilege.

The vizier Saouy having staid some time, and finding none of the
merchants outbid him, What do you stay for? said he to Hagi Hassan: go,
look after the seller, and strike a bargain with him at four thousand
pieces of gold, or more if he demands it; not knowing yet the slave
belonged to Noureddin.

Hagi Hassan having locked the chamber-door, went to confer notes with
Noureddin: Sir, said he to him, I am very sorry to bring you the ill news
of your slave’s being just going to be sold for nothing. How so? replied
Noureddin. Why sir, said Hagi Hassan, you must know that the business at
first went on rarely; for, as soon as the merchants had seen your slave,
they ordered me to cry her at four thousand pieces of gold. Accordingly I
cried her at the price; upon which the vizier Saouy came, and his
presence has stopped the mouths of all the merchants, who seemed
inclinable to raise her, at least to the same price your deceased father
gave for her. Saouy will give no more than four thousand pieces, and it
is much against my inclination that I am come to tell you the despicable
price he offers. The slave indeed is your own; but I will not advise you
to part with her upon those terms, since you and every body else are
sensible of her being worth infinitely more: besides, he is base enough
to contrive a way to trick you out of the money.

Hagi Hassan, replied Noureddin, I am highly obliged to thee for thy
advice; but do not think I will ever sell my slave to an enemy of our
family. My necessities indeed are at present very great, but I would
sooner die in the most shameful poverty, than ever consent to the
delivering her up to his arms. I have only one thing to beg of thee, who
art skilful in all the turns and shifts of life, that thou wouldst put me
in a way to prevent the sale of her.

Sir, said Hagi Hassan, there is nothing more easy: you must pretend,
that, being in a violent passion with your slave, you swore to expose her
in the market, and for the sake of your oath you have now brought her
hither, without any manner of intention of selling her. This will satisfy
every body, and Saouy will have nothing to say against it. Come along
with me then; and just as I am presenting her to Saouy, as if it were by
your own consent, pull her to you, give her two or three blows, and send
her home. I thank thee for thy counsel, said Noureddin, and thou shalt
see I will make use of it.

Hagi Hassan went back to the chamber, and having in two words acquainted
the Fair Persian with their design, that she might not be surprised at
it, he took her by the hand, and led her to the vizier Saouy, who was
still, on horseback at the door: Sir, said he, here is the slave: she is
yours; pray take her.

These words were scarce out of Hagi Hassan’s mouth, when Noureddin,
catching hold of the Fair Persian, pulled her to him, and giving her a
box on the ear, Come hither, impertinence, said he, and get you home
again; for though your ill humour obliged me to swear I would bring you
hither, yet I never intended to sell you; I have business for you to do
yet, and it will be time enough to part with you when I have nothing else

This action of Noureddin’s put the vizier Saouy into a violent passion.
Miserable debauchee, cried he, wouldst thou have me believe thou hast any
thing else left to make money of but thy slave? And at the same instant,
spurring his horse directly against him, endeavoured to have carried off
the Fair Persian. Noureddin, nettled to the quick at the affront the
vizier had put upon him, quits the Fair Persian, and, laying hold of his
horse’s bridle, made him run two or three paces backwards. Vile dotard,
said he to the vizier, I would tear thy soul out of thy body this very
moment, were it not for the crowd of people here present.

The vizier Saouy being loved by nobody, but, on the contrary, hated by
all, there was not one among them but was now pleased to see Noureddin
mortifying him a little; and, by shrewd signs, they let him understand he
might revenge himself upon him as much as he pleased, for nobody would
meddle with their quarrel.

Saouy endeavoured all he could to make Noureddin quit the bridle; but he
being a lusty vigorous man, and encouraged by those that stood by, pulled
him off his horse, in the middle of a brook, gave him a thousand blows,
and dashed his head against the stones till it was all of a gore of
blood. The slaves that waited upon the vizier would fain have drawn their
scimitars and fallen upon Noureddin, but the merchants interposing
prevented them from doing it. What do you mean? said they to them; do not
you see the one is a vizier, and the other a vizier’s son? Let them
dispute their quarrel themselves; perhaps they will be reconciled one
time or other; whereas, if you had killed Noureddin, your master, with
all his greatness, could not have been able to protect you against the

Noureddin having given over beating the vizier Saouy, left him in the
middle of the brook, and taking the Fair Persian, marched home with her,
being attended by the people with shouts and acclamations for the action
he had performed.

The vizier Saouy, cruelly bruised with the strokes he had received, by
the assistance of his slaves made shift to get up, and had the
mortification to see himself besmeared all over with blood and dirt. He
leaned upon the shoulders of two slaves, and in that condition went
straight to the palace, in the sight of all the people, with so much
greater confusion because nobody pitied him. As soon as he reached the
king’s apartment, he began to cry out, and call for justice, after a
lamentable manner. The king ordered him to be admitted; and as soon as he
came, he asked him who it was that had abused and put him into that
miserable pickle. Sir, cried Saouy, your majesty ought to afford me a
large share of your favour, and to take into your royal consideration my
late abuse, since it was chiefly upon your account that I have been so
barbarously treated. Say no more of that, replied the king, but let me
hear the whole story, simply as it is, and who the offender is; and if he
is in the wrong, you may depend upon it he shall be severely punished.

Sir, said Saouy then, telling the whole matter to his own advantage,
having an occasion for a cook-maid, I went to the market of women-slaves
to buy me one. When I came thither, there was a slave just cried at four
thousand pieces of gold: I ordered them to bring the slave before me, and
I think my eyes never did, nor ever will, behold a more glorious creature
than she is. I had not time to examine her beauty thoroughly: but,
however, I immediately asked to whom she belonged; and upon inquiry I
found that Noureddin, son to the late vizier Khacan, had the disposing of

Sir, you may remember that, about two or three years ago, you gave that
vizier ten thousand pieces of gold, strictly charging him to buy you a
slave with it. The money indeed was laid out upon this very slave; but
instead of bringing her to your majesty, thinking his son deserved her
better, he made him a present of her. Noureddin, since his father’s
death, having wasted his whole fortune in riot and feasting, has nothing
left but this slave, which he intended to part with, and therefore she
was to be sold in his name. I sent for him, and without mentioning any
thing of his father’s baseness, or rather treachery, to your majesty, I
very civilly said to him, Noureddin, the merchants, I perceive, have put
your slave up at four thousand pieces of gold; and I question not but, in
emulation of each other, they will raise the price considerably: let me
have her for the four thousand pieces; I am going to buy her for the
king, our lord and master: this will be a handsome opportunity of making
your court to him, and his favour will be worth a great deal more than
the merchants can propose to give you.

Instead of returning me a civil answer, as in good manners he ought to
have done, the insolent wretch beholding me with an air of fierceness,
Decrepit villain, said he, I would rather sell my slave to a Jew for
nothing than to thee for money. Noureddin, replied I, without any manner
of passion, though I had some reason to be a little warm, you do not
consider that in talking at this rate you affront the king, who has
raised your father and me to the honours we have enjoyed.

This admonition, instead of moving him to a compliance, provoked him to a
higher degree; so that, falling upon me like a madman, he pulled me off
my horse, beat me as long as he could stand over me, and has put me into
this miserable plight your majesty sees me in; and therefore I beseech
you, sir, to consider me, since it is upon your account I have been so
openly affronted. At the end of these words, he bowed his head, and
turning about, wept a plentiful shower of tears.

The abused king, highly incensed against Noureddin by this relation, full
of malice and artifice, discovered by his countenance the violence of his
anger; and, turning to the captain of his guards that stood near him,
Take forty of your soldiers, said he, and immediately go plunder
Noureddin’s house; and, having ordered it to be razed to the ground,
bring him and his slave along with you.

The captain of the guards was not gone out of the king’s presence, when a
gentleman-usher belonging to the court, who overheard the order that had
been given, got before him. His name was Sangiar, and he had been
formerly the vizier Khacan’s slave, by whose favour he was brought into
the court service, where by degrees he was advanced higher.

Sangiar, full of gratitude to his old master, and affection for
Noureddin, with whom in his infancy he had often played, and being no
stranger to Saouy’s hatred to Khacan’s family, could not hear the orders
without concern and trembling. May be, said he to himself, this action of
Noureddin’s is not altogether so black as Saouy has represented it; but,
however, the king is prejudiced against him, and will certainly put him
to death without allowing him time to justify himself.

Sangiar made so much haste to Noureddin’s house, as to get thither time
enough to acquaint him with what had passed at court, and to desire him
to provide for his own and the Fair Persian’s safety. He knocked so
violently loud at the door, that Noureddin, who had been a great while
without any servant, ran immediately to open it: My dear lord, said
Sangiar, here is no more staying for you in Balsora: if you design to
save yourself, you must lose no time, but depart hence this very moment.

Why so? replied Noureddin; what is the reason I must be gone so soon? Ah!
sir, said Sangiar, make haste away, and take your slave with you; for, in
short, Saouy has been just now acquainting the king, after his own way of
telling it, all that happened between you and him; and the captain of the
guards will be here in an instant, with forty soldiers, and seize you and
the Fair Persian. Here, sir, take these forty pieces of gold; it is all I
have about me, to assist you in finding out some other place of safety.
Excuse my not staying any longer with you: I leave you with a great deal
of unwillingness; but I do it for the good of us both. I have so much
interest with the captain of the guards, that he will take no notice of
me. Sangiar gave Noureddin but just time to thank him, and away he went.

Noureddin presently acquainted the Fair Persian with the absolute
necessity of their going that moment. She only staid to put on her veil,
and then they both stole out of the house together, and were so very
lucky, as not only to get clear of the city, without the least notice
being taken of their escape, but also safely to arrive at the mouth of
the Euphrates, where they embarked in a vessel that lay ready to weigh

They were no sooner on ship-board than the captain came upon deck amongst
his passengers: My children, said he to them, are you all here? have any
of you any more business to do in the city? or have you left any thing
behind you? They answered him they were all there, and ready prepared; so
that he might set sail as soon as he pleased. When Noureddin came aboard,
the first question he asked was, whither the ship was bound? and being
told for Bagdad, he greatly rejoiced at it. And now the captain having
weighed anchor, set sail, and the vessel with a very favourable wind lost
sight of Balsora.

But now let us see how matters went at Balsora, in the mean time, while
Noureddin and the Fair Persian made their escape from the fury of the
enraged king.

The captain of the guards came to Noureddin’s house and knocked at the
door, but nobody coming to open it, he ordered his soldiers to break it
down, who immediately obeyed him, and in they rushed in a full body. They
searched every hole and corner of the house, but neither he nor the Fair
Persian were to be found. The captain of the guards made them inquire of
the neighbours, and he asked himself if they had seen them lately: it was
all in vain; for, though they had seen him go out of his house, so
universally beloved was Noureddin, that not one of them would have said
the least word that might be injurious to him. As soon as they had rifled
the house and levelled it to the ground, they went to acquaint the king
with the news. Look for them, said he, in some other places, for I am
resolved to have them found.

The captain of the guards made a second search after them; and the king
dismissed the vizier Saouy with a great deal of honour. Go home, said he
to him; trouble yourself no farther with Noureddin’s punishment; for with
my own hand I will revenge the insolence he has offered your person.

Without any farther delay, the king ordered the public criers to proclaim
throughout the whole city a reward of a thousand pieces of gold for any
person that should apprehend Noureddin and the Fair Persian, with a
severe punishment upon whomsoever should conceal them. But after all this
pains and trouble, there was no news to be heard of them; and the vizier
Saouy had only the comfort of seeing the king espouse his quarrel.

In the mean time, Noureddin and the Fair Persian, after a prosperous
voyage, landed safe at Bagdad. As soon as the captain came within sight
of that city, pleased that his voyage was at an end, Children, cried he
to the passengers, cheer up, and be merry! look, yonder is that great and
wonderful city, where there is perpetual concourse of people from all
parts of the world: there you shall meet with innumerable crowds every
day, and never feel the extremity of cold in winter, nor the excess of
heat in summer; but enjoy an eternal spring, always crowned with flowers,
and the delicious fruits of autumn.

When the vessel came to anchor a little below the city, the passengers
got ashore, and every body went to the place they designed to lie at that
night. Noureddin gave the captain five pieces of gold for his passage,
and went ashore also with the Fair Persian; but being a perfect stranger
in Bagdad, he was at a loss for a lodging. They rambled a considerable
time about the gardens that bordered on the Tigris; and, keeping close to
one of them that was enclosed with a very high wall, at the end of it
they turned into a street finely paved, where they perceived a garden
door, and a charming fountain near it.

The door, which was very magnificent, happened to be shut, but the porch
was open, in which there stood a sofa on each side. This is a very
convenient place for us, said Noureddin to the Fair Persian: night comes
on apace; and though we have eaten nothing since our landing, yet I
believe we must even lie here to-night, and to-morrow we shall have time
enough to get a lodging; what say ye to it, my dear? Sir, replied the
Fair Persian, you know very well I am never against what you propose;
therefore let us go no farther, since you are willing to stay here. Each
of them having drunk a draught of water at the fountain, they laid
themselves down upon one of the sofas; and, after a little chat, being
invited by the agreeable murmur of the water, they fell fast asleep.

The garden, it seems, belonged to the caliph; and in the middle of it
there was a pavilion, called the Pavilion of Pictures, because its chief
ornament was pictures, after the Persian manner, drawn by the most
celebrated limners in Persia, whom the caliph sent for on purpose. The
stately hall beneath this pavilion was adorned with fourscore windows,
and in every window a branched candlestick. The candles were never
lighted but when the caliph came thither to spend the evening, which was
never but when the weather was so very calm that not a breath of air was
stirring. Then, indeed, they made a glorious illumination, and could be
plainly discerned at a vast distance in the country on that side, and by
the greatest part of the city.

There was but one person that had the charge of this fine garden, and the
place was at this time enjoyed by a very ancient officer, named Scheich
Ibrahim, whom the caliph himself, for some important service, put into
that employment, with a strict charge not to let all sorts of people in,
but especially to suffer nobody either to sit or lie down on the sofas
that stood at the outward door, that they might always be clean and
handsome; and whenever he found any body there, to punish them severely.

Some business had obliged this officer to go abroad, and he was not as
yet returned. When he came back, there was just daylight enough for him
to discern two persons asleep upon one of the sofas, with both their
heads under a piece of linen cloth, to secure them from the gnats. Very
well, said Scheich Ibrahim to himself, here are brave people, to disobey
the caliph’s orders; but I shall take care to pay them handsomely what
they deserve. Upon this, he opens the door very softly, and a moment
after returns with a swinging cane in his hand, and his sleeve tucked up
to the elbow. He was just going to lay on them with all his force; but,
withholding his arm, he began to reason with himself after this manner:
Thou wast going to strike, without any consideration that these perhaps
are strangers, destitute of a lodging, and utterly ignorant of the
caliph’s order; for that reason, it would be advisable in thee to know
first who they are. Upon this, he gently lifts up the linen that covered
their heads, and being wonderfully astonished to see two persons so
mightily beautiful and well-shaped, waked Noureddin, with pulling him
softly by the feet.

[Illustration p45:  Drawn by R. Westall R.A. Engraved by Chad Heath.]

Noureddin presently lifting up his head, and seeing an old man with a
long white beard standing at his feet, got up, and throwing himself upon
his knees, Good father, said he, Heaven preserve you! What do you want,
my son? replied Scheich Ibrahim: who are you, and from whence came you?
We are strangers newly arrived, answered Noureddin, and we would fain
tarry here till to-morrow. This is not a proper place for you, said
Scheich Ibrahim: but come in with me, and I will find one fitter for you
to sleep in than this; and I fancy the sight of the garden, which is very
fine, will please you, when you see it to-morrow by daylight. Is this
garden your own? said Noureddin. Yes, replied Scheich Ibrahim; it is an
inheritance left me by my father: pray walk in, for I am sure you will
not repent your seeing it.

Noureddin rose up to thank Scheich Ibrahim for the civility he had shown
them, and afterwards the Fair Persian and he went into the garden.
Scheich Ibrahim locked the door, and going before, led them to an
eminence, from whence at one look they might almost take a view of the
grandeur, order, and beauty of the whole garden.

Noureddin had seen very fine gardens in Balsora, but never any comparable
to this. Having satisfied his curiosity in looking upon every thing worth
taking notice of, as he was walking in one of the alleys, he turned about
to the officer that was with him, and asked what his name was. As soon as
he told him it was Scheich Ibrahim; Scheich Ibrahim, said he to him, I
must confess this is a charming garden indeed. Heaven send you long to
enjoy the pleasures of it; and we cannot sufficiently thank you for the
favour of showing us a place so worthy our seeing. However, it is but
just that we should make you some amends for your kindness: therefore,
here are two pieces of gold; take them, and get us something to eat, that
we may be merry together before we part.

At the sight of the two pieces of gold, Scheich Ibrahim, who was a great
admirer of that metal, laughed in his sleeve: he took them, and leaving
Noureddin and the Fair Persian by themselves, went to provide what he was
sent about. As soon as he was alone, said he to himself with abundance of
joy, These are generous people; I should highly have injured myself, if,
through imprudence or rashness, I had abused or driven them hence: the
tenth part of the money will treat them like princes, and the rest I will
keep for my pains and trouble.

While Scheich Ibrahim was gone to fetch something for his own supper, as
well as for his guests, Noureddin and the Fair Persian took a walk in the
garden, sometimes in one place and sometimes in another, till at last
they came to the pavilion of pictures that was in the middle of it. They
stood a pretty while to admire its wonderful structure, beauty, and
loftiness; and, after taking a full view of it on every side, they went
up a great many steps of fine white marble, to the hall door, which they
found locked.

They were but just got to the bottom of the steps as Scheich Ibrahim
returned, loaded with provisions. Scheich Ibrahim, said Noureddin in a
great surprise, did you not tell us that this was your garden? I did,
replied Scheich Ibrahim, and do so still. And does this magnificent
pavilion also belong to you? said Noureddin. Scheich Ibrahim was put to a
nonplus, and would not hearken to any more questions: For, said he to
himself, if I should say it is none of mine, he will presently ask me how
I can be the master of the garden and not the pavilion? So, being willing
to make them believe the garden was his, he said the same of the
pavilion. My son, said he, the pavilion is not distinct from the garden,
but they both belong to me. If so, said Noureddin, since you are willing
to let us be your guests to-night, do us the favour to show us the inside
of it; for, if we may judge by the outward appearance, it must certainly
be very splendid and magnificent.

It would have been a great piece of incivility in Scheich Ibrahim to have
refused Noureddin that favour, after the returns he had made him:
moreover, he considered that the caliph not having given any notice,
according to the usual custom, it was likely he would not be there that
night, and therefore resolved to treat his guests, and sup with them in
that room. He laid the provisions upon the first step, while he went to
his chamber to fetch the key. He soon returned with a light, and opened
the door.

Noureddin and the Fair Persian entered the hall; and finding it so
extravagantly surprising, could not forbear admiring the beauty and
richness of the place. Indeed, without saying anything of the pictures,
which were admirably well drawn, the sofas were very noble and costly;
and, besides the branched candlesticks that were fixed to every window,
there was a silver spring between each cross bar, with a wax candle in
it. Noureddin could not behold those glorious objects, which put him in
mind of his former greatness, without sighing.

In the mean time, Scheich Ibrahim was getting supper ready; and the cloth
being laid upon a sofa, and every thing in order, Noureddin and the Fair
Persian and he sat down and ate together. When supper was done, and they
had washed their hands, Noureddin opened the casement, and calling the
Fair Persian to him, Come hither, my dear, said he, and with me admire
the charming prospect and beauty of the garden by moonlight; for
certainly nothing can be more agreeable. She came to him, and they both
together diverted themselves with that lovely object, while Scheich
Ibrahim was busy in taking away the cloth.

When Scheich Ibrahim came to his guests again, Noureddin asked him
whether he had any good liquor in his lodgings to treat them with. What
liquor would you have? replied Scheich Ibrahim. Sherbet, I have the best
in the world; but sherbet, you know, my son, is never drunk after supper.

I know that very well, said Noureddin; it is not sherbet, but another
sort of liquor that we ask you for; and I am surprised at your not
understanding me. It is wine that I perceive you speak of, said Scheich
Ibrahim. You have hit right, replied Noureddin; and if you have any, pray
let us have a bottle: you know a bottle after supper is a very proper
companion to spend the hours with till bed-time.

Heaven defend me from keeping wine in my house, cried Scheich Ibrahim,
and from ever coming to a place where any is to be sold! A man as I am,
who has been a pilgrimage four times to Mecca, has renounced wine for

However, said Noureddin, you would do us a singular kindness in getting
us a little for our own drinking: and if it be not too much trouble, I
will put you in a way how you may do it, without ever going into the inn,
or so much as laying your hand upon the vessel that contains it. Upon
that condition, I will do it, replied Scheich Ibrahim; therefore pray let
me know how I am to manage it.

Why then, said Noureddin to him, we just now saw an ass tied at the
entrance of the garden, which certainly must be yours, and which you may
make use of in this extremity. Here are two pieces of gold more; take
them, and lead your ass with the panniers towards the next inn: you may
stand at as great a distance as you please; only give something to the
next passenger that comes by, and desire him to go with your ass to the
inn, there load him with two pitchers of wine, one in one pannier and
another in another, which he must pay for out of the money we have given
you; and so let him bring the ass back to you: you will have nothing to
do but drive the beast hither before you; for we will take the wine out
of the panniers; and by this means you will act nothing but what you may
do without any scruple at all.

The two last pieces of gold that Scheich Ibrahim was going to receive,
wrought wonderfully upon his temper. Ah! my son, cried he, after
Noureddin had done speaking, you have contrived the matter rarely; and
had it not been for your invention, I should never have found out a way
of getting you some wine, without a little scruple of conscience. Away he
went to execute the orders he had received; and upon his return, which
was in a little time, Noureddin went down stairs, and taking the wine out
of the panniers, carried it into the hall.

Scheich Ibrahim having led the ass back to the place from whence he took
him, came back again. Scheich Ibrahim, said Noureddin to him, we cannot
enough thank you for the trouble we have already given you; but, my
friend, we want something yet. What is that? replied Scheich Ibrahim; is
it anything that I can be farther serviceable to you in? Why, said
Noureddin, we have no cups to drink out of; and a little choice fruit, if
you have any, would be very acceptable to us. Do but say what you have a
mind to, replied Scheich Ibrahim, and you shall have every thing to your
heart’s content.

Down went Scheich Ibrahim, and in a short time spread a table for them
with porcelain dishes, full of all sorts of delicious fruits, besides a
great number of gold and silver cups to drink out of; and having asked
them if they wanted any thing else, he withdrew, though they pressed him
earnestly to stay.

Noureddin and the Fair Persian sat down again, and after a cup a-piece,
they were mightily pleased with the wine. Well, my dear, said Noureddin
to the Fair Persian, are we not the most fortunate persons in the world,
after so many dangers, to meet with so charming and agreeable a place?
come, let us be merry, and think no more on the hardships of our voyage.
Can my happiness be greater in this world, than to have you on one side
of me, and my bottle on the other? They took off their cups pretty
heartily, and diverted themselves very agreeably, in singing each of them
a song.

Both of them having very fine voices, but especially the Fair Persian,
Scheich Ibrahim, who had stood hearkening a great while on the steps
without discovering himself, was perfectly charmed with their songs. He
could contain himself no longer; but, thrusting his head in at the door,
Courage, sir, said he to Noureddin, whom he took to be quite drunk; I am
overjoyed to see you so merry.

Ah! Scheich Ibrahim, cried Noureddin, turning to him, you are a glorious
man, and we are extremely obliged to you. We dare not ask you to drink a
cup; but pray walk in, and let us have the honour at least of your
company. Excuse me, sir, said Scheich Ibrahim; the pleasure of hearing
your songs is sufficient for me. Upon this, he immediately retired.

The Fair Persian perceiving Scheich Ibrahim, through one of the windows,
standing upon the steps without the door, told Noureddin of it. Sir, said
she, you see what an aversion he has for wine; yet I question not in the
least to make him drink some, if you would do as I would have you.
Noureddin asked her what it was. Do but say the word, replied he, and I
am ready to do what you please. Prevail with him, then, only to come in
and bear us company: some time after, fill up a bumper, and give it him;
if he refuses it, drink it off, feign yourself to be asleep, and leave
the rest to me.

Noureddin quickly finding out the drift of the Fair Persian’s design,
called to Scheich Ibrahim, who came again to the door: Scheich Ibrahim,
said he, we are your guests; you have entertained us after the most
obliging manner in the world; and will you now refuse us the honour of
bearing us company? We do not ask you to drink, but only the favour of
seeing you.

Scheich Ibrahim being at last prevailed upon, came into the hall, and sat
down upon the edge of a sofa that stood the nearest to the door. You do
not sit well there, said Noureddin; besides, you are too far off for us
to converse with you: pray come nearer, and sit down by the lady, since
she will have it so. I will obey you, replied Scheich Ibrahim; so, coming
forward with a simpering countenance, to think he should be seated near
so beautiful a creature, he placed himself at some distance from the Fair
Persian. Noureddin desired a song of her, upon the account of the honour
that Scheich Ibrahim had done them; and she sang one that charmed him to
an ecstasy.

When the Fair Persian had ended her song, Noureddin poured out a cup of
wine, and presented it to Scheich Ibrahim; Scheich Ibrahim, said he,
here, drink this to our healths. Sir, replied he, starting back, as if
the very sight of the wine had put him into a horror and confusion, I
beseech you to excuse me; I have already told you, that I have forsworn
the use of wine these many years. Then positively you will not drink our
healths, said Noureddin; however, give me leave to drink yours.

While Noureddin was drinking, the Fair Persian cut a piece of apple, and
presented it to Scheich Ibrahim. Though you refused drinking, said she,
yet I believe you will not refuse eating this piece of apple, since it is
a very good one. Scheich Ibrahim had no power to refuse it from so fair a
hand; but taking it with a very low bow, kissed it, and put it in his
mouth. She said a great many amorous things upon that occasion; and
Noureddin tumbling back upon a sofa, pretended to fall fast asleep. The
Fair Persian presently advanced towards Scheich Ibrahim; and speaking in
a very low voice, See, said she, the sleepy sot! thus, in all our merry
bouts, he constantly serves me; and no sooner has he drunk a cup or two,
than he falls asleep, and leaves me alone; but I hope you will have the
goodness to keep me company till he awakes.

At this, the Fair Persian took a cup, and filling it to the brim with
wine, offered it to Scheich Ibrahim: Here, said she, drink off this to my
health: I am going to pledge you. Scheich Ibrahim made a great many
difficulties of the matter at first, and begged her to excuse him from
drinking; but, at last, overcome by her charms and entreaties, he took
the cup, and drank every drop of the wine off.

The good old man loved a cheruping cup to his heart, but was ashamed to
drink among strangers. He often went to the tavern in private, as
abundance of people do; and now his hand being once in, without any more
ceremony, or round-about ways, as Noureddin had instructed him, he goes
directly to the next inn, where he was very well known, and fetches some
more wine (the night serving him instead of a cloak) with the money that
Noureddin had ordered him to give the messenger that went for the first.

As soon as Scheich Ibrahim had taken off his cup, and made an end of the
piece of apple, the Fair Persian filled him out another, which he
received with less difficulty than the former, but made none at all at
the third. In short, he drank four times before ever Noureddin discovered
his pretended sleeping; but then bursting out into a violent fit of
laughter, he rose up, and looking upon him, Ha! ha! said he, Scheich
Ibrahim, are you caught at last? did you not tell me you had forsworn
wine? and now you have drank it all up from me.

Scheich Ibrahim, not expecting to be surprised after that manner, blushed
a little: however, that did not spoil his draught: but when he had done,
Sir, said he to Noureddin, laughing, if there is any crime in what I have
done, it lies at this fair lady’s door, not mine; for who could possibly
resist so many charms?

The Fair Persian, who knew well enough what Noureddin would be at, took
Scheich Ibrahim’s part: Let him talk, said she; Scheich Ibrahim, take no
notice of him; but let us drink on, and be merry. A while after,
Noureddin fills out a cup for himself and the Fair Persian; but when
Scheich Ibrahim saw that Noureddin had forgot him in his turn, he took
his cup, and presenting it to the Fair Persian, Madam, said he, do I
pretend I cannot drink now?

At these words of Scheich Ibrahim’s, Noureddin and the Fair Persian were
ready to split their sides with laughing. Noureddin poured him out some
wine; and there they sat laughing, chatting, and drinking, till pretty
near midnight. About that hour, the Fair Persian began to take notice of
there being but one candle upon the table. Scheich Ibrahim, said she to
the good old officer, methinks you might have afforded us another candle,
since there are so many wax-lights yonder: pray do us the favour to light
some of them, that we may see a little better what we are doing here.

Scheich Ibrahim making use of the liberty that wine gives a man, when it
gets up into the crown-office, and not caring to be interrupted in his
discourse with Noureddin, bid the Fair Persian light them herself: It is
fitter for you to do it than me, said he: but, hark ye, be sure not to
light above five or six; for this is enough. Up rose the Fair Persian
immediately, and taking a wax-candle in her hand, lights it with that
which stood upon the table; and, without any regard to Scheich Ibrahim’s
orders, set fire to the whole fourscore.

By and by, while Scheich Ibrahim was entertaining the Fair Persian with
some other discourse, Noureddin took his turn to desire him to light up
some of the candles in the branched candlesticks, not taking notice that
all the wax-lights were already in a blaze: Certainly, replied Scheich
Ibrahim, you are lazier, or less vigorous, than I am, that you are not
able to light them yourself: get you gone; but be sure you light no more
than three. To work he went; but, instead of that number, he lighted them
all, and opened the shutters of the fourscore windows, before Scheich
Ibrahim, who was deeply engaged with the Fair Persian, knew any thing of
the matter.

The caliph Haroun Alraschid being not yet gone to bed, was in a parlour
at his palace by the river Tigris, from whence he could take a side-view
both of the garden and pavilion. By chance, he opened the casement, and
seeing the pavilion was illuminated, was mightily surprised at it; and at
first, by the greatness of the light, thought the city was on fire. The
grand vizier Giafar was still with him, who only waited for his going to
rest, and then designed to go home too. The caliph, in a great rage,
called the vizier to him: Careless vizier, said he, come hither, look
upon the pavilion of pictures, and tell me the reason of its being
illuminated, now I am not there.

The grand vizier Giafar, upon this news, fell into a violent trembling,
fearing something else was the matter; but, when he came nearer, and with
his own eyes saw the truth of what the caliph had told him, he was more
astonished than before. However, being obliged to make some excuse to
appease the caliph’s anger, he said, Commander of the true believers, all
that I can say to your majesty about this matter is, that about five or
six days ago, Scheich Ibrahim came to acquaint me, that he had a design
to call an assembly of the ministers of his mosque, to assist at a
ceremony he was ambitious of performing in your majesty’s auspicious
reign. I asked him if I could be any way serviceable to him in this
affair; upon which he entreated me to get leave of your majesty to
perform the ceremony in the pavilion. When he left me, I told him he
might do it, and I would take care to acquaint your majesty with it; but
indeed I had quite forgot it, and I heartily ask pardon. Scheich Ibrahim,
continued he, has certainly made choice of this day for the ceremony;
and, after treating the ministers of his mosque, he was willing to divert
them with the sight of this illumination.

Giafar, said the caliph, with a tone that plainly showed his anger was a
little mollified, according to thy own words, thou hast committed three
faults that are unpardonable: the first, in giving Scheich Ibrahim leave
to perform his ceremony in my pavilion; for a person in so mean an office
as his, is not worthy of so great an honour: the second, in not
acquainting me with it: and the third, in not diving into the bottom of
the good old man’s intention. For my part, I am persuaded he only did it
to try if he could get any money towards bearing the charge of it; but
perhaps that never came into thy head: and sure I shall not wrong him, in
forgiving him the expense of the night’s illumination, which will be some
amends for thy presenting him with nothing.

The grand vizier Giafar, overjoyed to hear the caliph put the matter upon
that foot, very willingly owned the faults he reproached him with, and
freely confessed he was to blame in not giving Scheich Ibrahim a few
pieces of gold. Since the case is so, added the caliph, it is just that
thou shouldst be punished for thy mistakes; but thy punishment shall be
light: thou shalt spend the remainder of the night as I do, with these
honest souls, whose company I am very well pleased with; and while I am
putting on a citizen’s habit, go thou and disguise thyself, with Mesrour,
and come both of you along with me. The vizier Giafar told him it was
late, and that all the company would be gone before he could get thither;
but the caliph said he would positively go. The vizier, who knew that not
a syllable of what he said before was true, began to be in great
consternation; but there was no reply to be made, and go he must.

The caliph then, disguised like a citizen, with the grand vizier Giafar,
and Mesrour, chief of the eunuchs, stole out of the palace together. They
rambled through the streets of Bagdad, till at last they came to the
garden: the door, through the carelessness of Scheich Ibrahim, was open,
having forgot to shut it when he came back from buying the wine. The
caliph was very angry at it: Giafar, said he to the grand vizier, what
excuse have you for the door’s being open at this unseasonable hour? Is
it possible that Scheich Ibrahim makes a custom of leaving it thus all
night? No; I rather believe the hurry of the feast has been the occasion
of this neglect.

The caliph went into the garden; and when he came to the pavilion,
resolving not to go into the hall till he knew what they were doing
there, he consulted with the grand vizier, whether it was not his best
way to climb up into one of the trees that was near it, to make a
discovery. The grand vizier at last casting his eye upon the door,
perceived it stood half open, and told the caliph of it. It seems Scheich
Ibrahim had left it so, when he was prevailed upon to come in and bear
Noureddin and the Fair Persian company.

The caliph laying aside his first design, stole softly up to the
hall-door, which standing half-open, he had the conveniency of seeing all
the company that were within, without being discovered himself.

Never was any person so surprised as he, when he saw a lady of an
incomparable beauty, and a young, handsome, fine-shaped man, sitting at
the table, with Scheich Ibrahim by them. Scheich Ibrahim had just then
got a cup in his hand: My dear creature, said he to the Fair Persian, a
right toper never drinks without singing a brisk tune first. If you
please to hear, I will give you one of my best songs.

Scheich Ibrahim sang; and the caliph wondered at it more, because till
that very moment he never knew any thing of his drinking wine, but always
took him for a grave solid man, as he seemed to be to outward appearance.
The caliph retired from the door with the same caution as he made his
approach to it; and coming to the grand vizier Giafar, who was standing
upon the steps a little lower, Come up, said he to him, and see if those
within yonder are the ministers of the mosque, as you would fain have me

By the tone of the voice in which the caliph spoke these last words, the
vizier understood that things went ill on his side: however, he went up
the steps; but when he had peeped in at the door, and saw them all three
sitting, and in that condition, he fell a-trembling for fear of his life.
He went back to the caliph, but in so great a confusion, that he had not
a word to say to him. What riotous doings are here? said the caliph to
him: who are those people that have presumed to take the liberty of
diverting themselves in my garden and pavilion? and how durst Scheich
Ibrahim give them admittance, and partake of the diversion with them?
However, I must confess, I never saw two persons more beautiful, or
better paired, in my life; and therefore, before I discover my anger, I
will inform myself a little better, and inquire who they are, and the
reason of their being here. He went to the door again, to observe them
more narrowly; and the vizier who followed, stood behind him, and fixed
his eyes upon them. They both of them plainly heard every word that
Scheich Ibrahim spoke to the Fair Persian. Is there any thing, my
charming lady, wanting to render the pleasures of this night complete?
Nothing but a lute, replied the Fair Persian; and methinks, if you could
get me one, all things would be very well. Can you play upon it? said
Scheich Ibrahim. Fetch me one, replied the Fair Persian, and you shall
hear whether I can or not.

Scheich Ibrahim, without stirring very far from his place, pulled a lute
out of a cupboard, and presented it to the Fair Persian, who began to put
it in tune. The caliph, in the mean time, turning to the grand vizier;
Giafar, said he, the young lady is going to play upon the lute; and if
she performs well, I will forgive her, and the young man for her sake;
but, as for thee, thou mayest go hang thyself. Commander of the true
believers, replied the grand vizier, if that is your intention I wish she
may play ill. Why so? said the caliph. Because, replied the grand vizier,
the longer we live in this world, the more time we shall have to comfort
ourselves with the hopes of dying in good social company. The caliph, who
loved a jest dearly, began to laugh at this repartee; and putting his ear
to the open side of the door, he listened to hear the Fair Persian play.

The Fair Persian made such artful flourishes upon the lute, that from the
first moment of her touching it, the caliph perceived that she did it
with a masterly hand. Afterwards, she began to sing; and suiting her
voice, which was admirably fine, to the lute, she sang and played with so
much skill and sweetness, that the caliph was quite ravished to hear her.

As soon as the Fair Persian had finished her song, the caliph went down
the steps, and the vizier Giafar after him. When he came to the bottom,
By my soul, said he to the vizier, I never heard a more charming voice,
or a lute better touched in my life. Isaac[1], that hitherto I thought
the most skilful player in the world, does not come up to her. In short,
I am so charmed with her music, that I must hear her play before me; and
therefore contrive some way how to bring it about.

Commander of the true believers, said the grand vizier, if you should go
in, and Scheich Ibrahim chance to know you, he would infallibly die with
the fright. I should be extremely concerned at that, replied the caliph,
and should be loath to be the occasion of his death, after so many years’
service. But there is a thought just come into my head, how to compass my
design: stay here with Mesrour, and wait for me in the next alley till I

The neighbourhood of the Tigris had given the caliph the conveniency of
turning a sufficient quantity of water under a stately bridge, well
terraced, into his garden, to make a fine canal, whither the choicest
fish of the whole river used to retire. The fishermen knew it very well,
and would have given the world to fish there; but the caliph had
expressly charged Scheich Ibrahim not to suffer any of them to come near
it. However, that very night, a fisherman passing by the garden door,
which the caliph had left open as he found it, made use of this
opportunity, and going in, went directly to the canal.

The fisherman immediately fell to work with his casting-nets, and was
just ready to draw them, when the caliph, fearing what would be the
effect of Scheich Ibrahim’s negligence, but willing to make use of it, to
bring his design about, came to the same place. The fisherman, in spite
of his disguise, knew him, and throwing himself at his feet, humbly
implored his pardon, and excused himself upon account of his poverty.
Rise, saith the caliph, and be not afraid; only draw your nets, that I
may see what fish you have got.

The fisherman, recovered of his fright, quickly obeyed the caliph’s
orders. He drew out five or six very large fishes; and the caliph,
choosing the two largest, tied them together by the head with a sprig of
a tree. After this, said he to the fisherman, Give me thy clothes, and
here take mine. The exchange was soon made; and the caliph being dressed
like a fisherman, even to his boots and turban, Take thy nets, said he to
the fisherman, and get thee about thy business.

When the fisherman, very well pleased with his good fortune, was gone,
the caliph, taking the two fishes in his hand, went to look after the
grand vizier Giafar and Mesrour. He made a full stop at the grand vizier,
who, not knowing him, asked him what he wanted, and bade him go about his
business. Upon this, the caliph fell a-laughing; by which the vizier
finding it to be him, Commander of the true believers, said he, is it
possible it can be you? I knew you not; and I ask a thousand pardons for
my rudeness: you are so strangely disguised now, that without any fear of
being discovered by Scheich Ibrahim, you may venture into the hall. Stay
you here with Mesrour, said the caliph, while I go yonder and play my

The caliph went up to the hall, and knocked at the door. Noureddin
hearing him first, told Scheich Ibrahim of it, who asked who was there.
The caliph opened the door, and stepping a little way into the hall to
show himself, Scheich Ibrahim, said he, I am the fisherman Kerim, who
being informed of your design to treat some of your friends, have brought
two very large fishes, fresh caught, to see if you have any occasion for

Noureddin and the Fair Persian, mightily pleased to hear him name fish,
Pray, said she to Scheich Ibrahim, let him come in, that we may look upon
them. Scheich Ibrahim, by this time, was incapable of asking this
counterfeit fisherman how or what way he came thither; but his whole
design being only to oblige the Fair Persian, with much ado he turns his
head towards the door, being quite drunk, and in a stammering tone,
calling to the caliph, whom he took to be a fisherman, Come hither, thou
nightly thief, said he, and let us see what thou hast got.

The caliph went forwards, and counterfeiting all the humours and actions
of a fisherman to a nicety, presented them with the two fishes. These are
very fine ones indeed, said the Fair Persian; and if they were well
ordered, and delicately dressed, I should be glad to eat some of them.
The lady is in the right, answered Scheich Ibrahim; but what the plague
can we do with your fish, unless it was dressed? Go, dress it thyself,
and bring it to us; thou wilt find every thing necessary for thee in my

The caliph went back to the grand vizier: Giafar, said he, I have been
very well received; but they want the fish to be dressed. I will take
care to dress it myself, said the grand vizier, and they shall have it in
a moment. Nay, replied the caliph, so eager am I to accomplish my design,
that I will take abundance of pains about it too; for since I have
personated the fisherman so well, sure I can play the cook for once:
besides, in my younger days, I dealt a little in cookery, and always came
off with flying colours. In saying these words, he went directly towards
Scheich Ibrahim’s lodgings, and the grand vizier and Mesrour followed

All three of them presently fell to work, and though Scheich Ibrahim’s
kitchen was not very large, yet there was every thing in it that they
wanted. The fish was quickly cooked, and the caliph served it up, putting
to every one’s plate a lemon to squeeze, if they thought it proper, into
the sauce. They all ate very heartily, but especially Noureddin and the
Fair Persian; and the caliph sat down with them at the lower end of the

As soon as the repast was over, Noureddin looking upon the caliph,
Fisherman, said he, never were better fish eaten, and you have done us
the greatest favour in the world. At the same time putting his hand into
his bosom, and pulling out a purse of thirty pieces of gold, the
remainder of the forty that Sangiar, gentleman-usher to the king of
Balsora, had given him just upon his departure; Here, said he to him,
take that, and if I had any more, thou shouldst have it: had I known thee
in my prosperity, I would have taken care of securing thee from ever
wanting: do not refuse the small present I make thee, but accept of it as
kindly as if it was much greater.

The caliph took the purse, and perceiving by the weightiness that it was
all gold, Sir, said he, I cannot enough thank you for your liberality,
and I think myself very fortunate in having to do with a person of your
generosity; but before I take my leave, I have a favour to ask, which I
beg you not to deny me. Yonder is a lute, which makes me believe that the
lady understands playing upon it; and if you can prevail with her to play
but one tune, I shall go away the best satisfied in the world: a lute,
sir, is an instrument I greatly admire.

Fair Persian, said Noureddin, immediately addressing himself to her, I
ask that favour of you, and I hope you will not refuse me. She took up
the lute without more entreaties, and putting it presently in tune,
played and sang with such an air as charmed the very soul of the caliph
with its harmony. Afterwards she played upon the lute without singing,
but with so much skill and softness that it transported him into an
ecstasy of joy.

When the Fair Persian had given over playing, the caliph cried out, What
a voice! What a hand! What skill is here! Was there ever finer singing,
or better playing upon the lute? Never was there any heard or seen like

Noureddin, who was a person of breeding, and always returned the
compliment that was made him; Fisherman, said he, I find thou hast some
taste for music, since thou art delighted with her performance; and if
thou likest her she is thine; I make thee a present of her. At the same
time he rose up, and taking his robe, which he had laid by, was for going
away and leaving the pretended fisherman in possession of the Fair

The Fair Persian was extremely surprised at Noureddin’s liberality; she
took hold of him, and looking very wishfully at him, Whither, sir, are
you going? said she; sit down in your place, I entreat you, and hearken
to the song I am going to sing and play. He did as she desired him, and
then the Fair Persian touching her lute, and looking upon him with tears,
sang some verses that she had made _extempore_ to reproach him with his
indifference, and the easiness as well as cruelty of resigning her to
Kerim. She only hinted, without explaining herself any farther to the
fisherman, for she was ignorant of his being the caliph, as well as
Noureddin. When she had done playing, she put the lute down by her, and
clapped a handkerchief to her face to hide the tears she could not help

Noureddin made no answer to all these reproaches, but by his silence
seemed to declare he did not repent of what he had done. The caliph
surprised at what he had newly heard, Sir, said he, as far as I see, this
beautiful lady, that so generously you have made me a present of just
now, is your slave, and you are her master. It is very true, Kerim,
replied Noureddin, and thou wouldst be more surprised than thou art now,
should I tell thee all the misfortunes that have happened to me on her
account. Ah! I beseech you, sir, replied the caliph, still behaving
himself like a fisherman, oblige me so far as to let me hear part of your

Noureddin, who had already obliged him in several things of a higher
nature than this, was so complaisant as to relate the whole story to him.
He began with his father’s buying the Fair Persian for the king of
Balsora, and omitted nothing of what he had done, or what had happened to
him, from that time to their arrival at Bagdad, and since, to that very
moment he was talking to him.

When Noureddin had ended his story, Whither are you going now? said the
caliph. Even where Heaven shall direct me, answered Noureddin. Believe
me, replied the caliph, you shall go no farther, but on the contrary,
return to Balsora: I will go and write a short letter, which you shall
give the king in my name; and you shall see upon the reading of it, he
will give you a very handsome reception, and nobody will dare to speak
against you.

Kerim, said Noureddin, what thou hast told me is very unaccountable and
singular: didst thou ever hear that a poor fisherman, as thou art, had
any correspondence with a king? Be not astonished at that, replied the
caliph; you must know then, that we both studied together under the same
masters, and were always the best friends in the world. It is true,
fortune has not been equally favourable to us both; she has made him a
king, and me but a fisherman. However, this inequality has not at all
lessened our friendship: he has often expressed a readiness and desire to
advance my fortune, but I always refused it; and am better pleased with
the satisfaction of knowing that he never will deny me whatever I ask for
the service and advantage of my friends. Let me do it then, and you shall
see the success.

Noureddin consented to what the caliph had proposed; and there being
every thing necessary for writing in the hall, the caliph wrote a letter
to the king of Balsora; at the top of which, pretty near the edge of the
paper, he placed this set form, in three small characters: ‘In the name
of the most merciful God,’ to show he would be absolutely obeyed.


‘Haroun Alraschid, son of Mandi, sends this letter to Mohammed Zinchi,
his cousin, greeting. As soon as Noureddin, son to the late vizier
Khacan, the bearer, has delivered you this letter and you have read it,
pull off the royal mantle, put it on his shoulders, and place him in thy
seat: fail not. So farewell.’

The caliph folded up the letter, and sealed it, and giving it to
Noureddin, without saying any thing of what was in it, Go, said he, and
embark immediately in a vessel that is ready to go off, (as there did
constantly every day at the same hour), and you may sleep when you are

Noureddin took the letter, and away he went with the little money he had
about him when Sangiar gave him his purse; and the Fair Persian,
distracted with grief at his departure, retired by herself to one of the
sofas, and fell a-weeping bitterly.

Noureddin was scarce gone out of the hall, when Scheich Ibrahim, who had
been silent during the transaction of this affair, looking steadfastly
upon the caliph, whom he still believed to be a fisherman: Hark you, said
he, Kerim, thou hast brought us two fishes that are worth twenty pieces
of leather or more, and thou hast got a purse and a slave: but dost thou
think to have it all for thyself? I here declare that I will go halves
with thee in the slave; and as for the purse, show me what is in the
inside: if it is silver, thou shalt have one piece for thyself; but if it
is gold, I will have it all, and in exchange, give thee some pieces of
leather I have in my pocket.

(For the better understanding of what follows, said Scheherazade,
interrupting herself here, we must observe to you, that the caliph,
before his serving up the fish, had despatched the grand vizier Giafar to
his palace, with orders to get four slaves with a rich habit, and to wait
on the other side of the pavilion till he gave a signal with his finger
against the window. The grand vizier receiving his commission, he,
Mesrour, and the four slaves, waited at the appointed place, expecting
the sign).

The caliph, still personating the fisherman, answered Scheich Ibrahim
very boldly, I know not what there is in the purse, gold or silver:
whatever it is, you shall freely go my halves; but, as to the slave, I
will have her all to myself; and if you will not accept of these
conditions, you shall have nothing at all.

Scheich Ibrahim, enraged to the last degree at this insolence,
considering him only as a fisherman, snatched up one of the china dishes,
and flung it at the caliph’s head. The caliph easily avoided the blow,
being thrown by a person in drink; but the dish striking against the
wall, was dashed into a thousand pieces. Scheich Ibrahim having missed
his aim, grew more enraged, and catching up the candle that stood upon
the table, rose from his seat, and staggering along, went down a back
pair of stairs to look for a cane.

The caliph made use of this opportunity, and striking his hands against
the window, the grand vizier, Mesrour, and the four slaves were with him
in a trice, who quickly pulled off the fisherman’s clothes, and put on
him the habit they had brought. They had not quite dressed the caliph,
(who had seated himself upon the throne that was in the hall), but they
were very busy about him, when Scheich Ibrahim, spurred on by interest,
came back, with a swinging cane in his hand, with which he designed to
pay the pretended fisherman soundly; but, instead of finding him, he saw
his clothes in the middle of the hall, and the caliph upon his throne,
with the grand vizier and Mesrour on each side of him. He stood a while
gazing upon this unexpected sight, doubting whether he was awake or
asleep. The caliph fell a-laughing at his astonishment; and, calling to
him, Scheich Ibrahim, said he, what dost thou want? whom dost thou look

Scheich Ibrahim, no longer doubting that it was the caliph, immediately
threw himself at his feet, with his face to the ground: Commander of the
true believers, cried he, your vile slave has offended you; but he
implores your clemency, and asks a thousand pardons for his offence. As
soon as the slaves had made an end of dressing him, he came down from his
throne, and advancing towards him, Rise, said he; I forgive thee.

Afterwards the caliph addressed himself to the Fair Persian, who had
suspended her sorrow, as soon as she understood that the garden and
pavilion belonged to that prince, and not to Scheich Ibrahim, as he had
all along made her believe, and that it was he himself disguised in the
fisherman’s clothes. Fair Persian, said he, rise and follow me: by what
you have lately seen, you ought to know who I am, and to believe that I
am above taking any advantage of Noureddin’s humour, who, with a
generosity not to be paralleled, has made me a present of your person. I
have sent him to Balsora to be king there; and when I have despatched
some business necessary for his establishment, you shall also go thither
and be a queen. In the mean time, I am going to order an apartment for
you in my palace, where you shall be treated according to your desert.

This discourse put the Fair Persian in heart again, and comforted her
after a very sensible manner. The joy of Noureddin’s advancement, whom
she passionately loved, to so high an honour, made her sufficient amends
for her affliction. The caliph kept his promise, and recommended her to
the care of his lady Zobeide, whom he acquainted with the esteem he had
lately entertained for Noureddin.

Noureddin’s return to Balsora was more fortunate and speedier by some
days than he could have expected. Upon his arrival, without visiting any
of his friends or relations, he went directly to the palace, where the
king at that time was giving public audience. He pressed through the
crowd with the letter held up in his hand, who presently made way for him
to come forward and deliver it. The king took and opened it; and his
colour changed in reading it: he kissed it thrice, and was just about to
obey the caliph’s orders, when he bethought himself of showing it to the
vizier Saouy, Noureddin’s irreconcileable enemy.

Saouy, who had discovered Noureddin, and began to think with himself,
with a great deal of uneasiness, what might be the design of his coming,
was no less surprised than the king, at the order contained in the
letter; and being as much concerned in it, he thought upon a way that
very moment how to evade it. He pretended not to have read the letter
quite through, and therefore desired a second view of it; he turned
himself a little on one side, as if he wanted a better sight, and without
being perceived by any body, dexterously tore off the set form that
showed the caliph would be absolutely obeyed, from the top of it, and
putting it into his mouth, swallowed it down.

After this notorious piece of villany, Saouy turned to the king, and
giving him the letter, Sir, said he to him, in a low voice, what does
your majesty intend to do? What the caliph has commanded me, replied the
king. Have a care, sir, said the wicked vizier, what you do: it is true,
this is the caliph’s hand; but the set form is not to it. The king had
observed that very well, but in the confusion he was in, he thought his
eyes deceived him, when he saw it was gone.

Sir, continued the vizier, we have no reason to doubt, but that the
caliph upon the complaints he has made against your majesty and me, has
granted him this letter purely to get rid of him, not with any intention
of having the order contained in it executed. Besides, we must consider,
he has sent no express with a patent: and without that, the order is of
no force: and since a king of your majesty’s grandeur was never deposed
without that formality, let who will bring such a letter as this, it
ought not to be put in execution. Your majesty may depend upon what I
have said; and how dangerous soever the consequence of disobeying this
order may be, I will take it all upon myself.

King Zinchi, easily persuaded by this pernicious counsel, left Noureddin
entirely to the discretion of the vizier Saouy, who led him to his house
after a very insulting manner; where, after causing him to be bastinadoed
till he was almost dead, he ordered him to a prison, where he commanded
him to be put in the darkest dungeon, with a strict charge to the gaoler
to give him nothing but bread and water.

When Noureddin, sadly bruised with the strokes, came to himself, and
found what a nasty dungeon he was in, he bewailed his misfortunes after
the most pathetic manner imaginable. Ah! fisherman, cried he, how hast
thou cheated me; and how easy have I been in believing thee! Could I,
after the civility I showed thee, expect so inhuman and barbarous usage!
However, may Heaven reward thee: for I cannot persuade myself, that thy
intention was so base, and I will with patience wait the end of my

The poor disconsolate Noureddin remained six whole days in this miserable
condition, and Saouy did not forget that he had confined him there, but
being resolved to put him to a shameful death, and not daring to do it by
his own authority, to accomplish his villanous design, he ordered some of
his slaves to prepare some very rich presents, which he, at the head of
them, went and presented to the king, saying, Behold, sir, what the new
king hath sent you upon his accession to the crown, and begs your majesty
to accept of it.

The king taking the matter just as Saouy intended it, What! replied he,
is the wretch still living? I thought you had put him to death already.
Sir, I have no power, answered the vizier, to take any person’s life
away; that only belongs to your majesty. Go, said the king, behead him
instantly; I give you full authority. Sir, replied the vizier Saouy, I am
infinitely obliged to your majesty for the justice you do me; but, since
Noureddin has publicly affronted me, I humbly beg the favour that his
execution may be performed before the palace, and, that the criers may
publish it in every quarter of the city, that every body may be satisfied
that he has made sufficient reparation for the affront. The king granted
the request, and the criers, in performing their office, diffused a
universal sorrow through the whole city. The memory of his father’s
virtues being yet fresh among them, there was no one could hear of the
ignominious death the son was going to suffer, through the villany and
instigation of the vizier Saouy, without horror and indignation.

Saouy went in person to the prison, accompanied with twenty slaves, his
ministers of cruelty, who took Noureddin out of his dungeon, and put him
on a shabby horse without a saddle. When Noureddin saw himself in the
hands of his enemy, Thou triumphest now, said he, but thou abusest thy
power. Yet, I have still some confidence in the truth of what is written
in one of our books: ‘You judge unjustly, and in a little time you shall
be judged yourself.’ The vizier Saouy, who really triumphed in his heart,
What! insolent, said he, darest thou insult me yet? but go, I pardon
thee, and care not whatever happens to me, so I have the pleasure of
seeing thee lose thy head in the public view of all Balsora. Thou
oughtest also to remember what another of our books says: ‘What signifies
dying the next day the death of his enemy?’

The vizier, still implacable and full of malice, surrounded by one part
of his slaves in arms, ordered Noureddin to be conducted by the other
towards the palace. The people were ready to fall upon him as they went
along; and, if any body had set them the example, they would certainly
have stoned him to death. When he had brought him to the place of
suffering, which was in sight of the king’s apartment, he left him in the
executioner’s hands, and went straight to the king, who was in his closet
ready to glut his eyes with the bloody spectacle he had prepared.

The king’s guard and the vizier’s slaves, who made a circle round
Noureddin, had much ado to withstand the people, who made all the efforts
possible, but in vain, to break through them and carry him off by force.
The executioner coming up to him, Sir, said he, I hope you will forgive
me; I am but a slave, and cannot help doing my duty. If you have no
occasion for any thing, I beseech you prepare yourself, for the king is
just going to give me orders to strike the blow.

The poor unfortunate Noureddin, at that cruel moment, looked round upon
the people: Will no charitable body, cried he, bring me a little water to
quench my thirst? which immediately they did, and handed it up to him
upon the scaffold. The vizier Saouy, perceiving this delay, called out to
the executioner from the king’s closet window, where he had planted
himself, Strike, what dost thou stay for? At these barbarous and inhuman
words the whole palace echoed with loud imprecations against him; and the
king, jealous of his authority, made it appear, by ordering him to stay a
while, that he was angry at his presumption. But there was another
reason; for the king that very moment casting his eyes up into a large
street that faced him and joined to the place of execution, saw about the
middle of it a troop of horsemen coming with full speed towards the
palace. Vizier, said the king immediately, look yonder, what is the
meaning of those horsemen? Saouy, who knew not what it might be,
earnestly pressed the king to give the executioner the sign. No, replied
the king, I will first see who these horsemen are. It was the vizier
Giafar and his train, who came in person from Bagdad by the caliph’s

To make the occasion of this minister’s coming to Balsora a little
plainer, we must observe, that after Noureddin’s departure with the
caliph’s letter, the caliph the next day, nor several days after, ever
thought of sending the patent that he mentioned to the Fair Persian. He
happened one day to be in the inner palace, which was the women’s, and
passing by the apartment, he heard the sound of a fine voice: he listened
to it, and he had no sooner heard the words of one complaining for the
absence of somebody, than he asked the officer of his eunuchs that
attended him, who that woman was that belonged to that apartment. The
officer told him that it was the young stranger’s slave, whom he had sent
to Balsora to be king in the room of Mohammed Zinchi.

Ah! poor Noureddin, cried the caliph presently, I had forgot thee; but
haste, said he to the officer, and bid Giafar come to me. The vizier was
with him in an instant. As soon as he came, Giafar, said he, I have
hitherto neglected sending the patent to Noureddin, which was to confirm
him king of Balsora; but we have no time now to draw up one, therefore
immediately take post-horses, and, with some of your servants, make what
haste you can to Balsora. If Noureddin is dead, and put to death by them,
order the vizier Saouy to be hanged; but, if he be living, bring him to
me with the king and the vizier.

The grand vizier staid no longer than just the time of getting on
horseback, and being attended by a great train of officers belonging to
his house, he set forward for Balsora, where he arrived after the manner,
and at the time above mentioned. As soon as he came to the palace-yard
the people cleared the way for him, crying out, A pardon for Noureddin!
and with his whole train he rode into the palace, even to the very
stairs, where he alighted.

The king of Balsora knowing him to be the caliph’s chief minister, went
to meet him, and received him at the entrance of his apartment. The first
question the vizier asked was, if Noureddin was living; and, if he was,
that he might be sent for. The king made answer, He was alive, and gave
orders to have him brought in. Accordingly he soon made his appearance as
he was, tied, and bound with cords. The grand vizier Giafar caused him to
be untied, and setting him at liberty, ordered the vizier Saouy to be
seized, and bound with the same cords.

The grand vizier Giafar lay but one night in Balsora. The next day he set
out again for Bagdad; and, according to the order he had received,
carried Saouy, the king of Balsora, and Noureddin along with him. As soon
as he came to Bagdad, he presented them all to the caliph; and after he
had given him an account of his journey, and particularly of the
miserable condition he found Noureddin in, and that all his ill usage was
purely by the advice and malice of Saouy, the caliph desired Noureddin to
behead the vizier himself. Commander of the true believers, said
Noureddin, notwithstanding the injury this wicked man has done me, and
the mischief he endeavoured to do my deceased father, I should think
myself the basest of mankind if I had stained my hands with his blood.
The caliph was extremely pleased with his generosity, and ordered justice
to be done by the executioner’s hand.

The caliph would fain have sent Noureddin back to Balsora to have been
king there; but Noureddin humbly begged to be excused from accepting the
offer, saying, Commander of the true believers, the city of Balsora,
after the misfortunes that have happened to me there, is so much my
aversion, and will always continue to be so, that I beseech your majesty
to give me leave to keep the oath I have made of never returning thither
again: and I shall think it my greatest glory to do you some services
near your royal person, if you are pleased to do me the honour. The
caliph consented to it; and placing him among the number of those
courtiers who were his greatest favourites, restored the Fair Persian to
him again. To all these favours he added a plentiful fortune; and he and
the Fair Persian lived together to their dying day, with all the
satisfaction they could both desire.

As for the king of Balsora, the caliph contented himself with only
letting him see how careful he ought to be in the choice of his viziers,
and so sent him back into his kingdom.

                              THE STORY OF

Persia is a country of so vast extent, that their ancient monarchs have,
not without some colour of reason, assumed the haughty title of king of
kings. For, not to mention those nations subdued by their arms, there are
whole kingdoms and provinces whose kings are not only tributary, but also
in as great subjection to them as petty governors in other nations are to

Some ages ago one of these kings, who, in the beginning of his reign, had
signalized himself by many glorious and successful conquests, enjoyed so
profound and lasting a peace and tranquillity as rendered him the
happiest of monarchs. The only thing in which he could be termed
unfortunate was, that amongst all his mistresses not one of them ever
brought him a son; and being now far advanced in years, he was desirous
of an heir to succeed him after his death. However, he had above a
hundred ladies all lodged in separate apartments, after a magnificent
manner, with women slaves and eunuchs to wait upon and take care of them.
Yet, notwithstanding all his endeavours to please and humour them in
every thing, there was not one that answered his expectation. He had
women very often brought him from the most remote countries, and if they
pleased him, he not only gave the merchants their full price at the first
word, but treated them with all respect and civility imaginable, and by
considerable presents obliged them still to bring others, flattering
himself, that at last he might be so happy as to meet with one by whom he
might have a son. There was scarce any act of charity but what he
performed, fancying by that means to prevail with Heaven. He gave immense
sums to the poor, besides large donatives to the religious of his own
persuasion, building for their use many noble colleges richly endowed, in
hopes of obtaining by their prayers what he earnestly desired.

One day, according to the custom of his royal predecessors, during their
residence in the capital city, he gave his mistresses a ball, at which
all the ambassadors and strangers of quality about the court were
present; and where they not only entertained one another with talking of
news and politics, but also of learning, history, poetry, and whatever
else was capable of diverting the understanding after the most agreeable
manner. It was upon that day that an eunuch came to acquaint him with the
arrival of a certain merchant from a far country, who, having brought a
slave along with him, desired leave to show her to his majesty. Give him
admittance instantly, says the king, and after the ball is done I will
talk with him: the merchant was introduced, and seated in a convenient
place, from whence he might easily have a full view of the king, and hear
him talk with abundance of familiarity to those that stood near his
person. The king was extremely civil in his conversation with strangers,
with a design, that by degrees they might grow acquainted with him; so
that when they saw with what freedom and civility he addressed himself to
the whole assembly, they took courage and began to discourse with him
also, without being the least surprised at the dazzling pomp and
splendour of his appearance, which was enough to deprive those of their
power of speech that were not used to such glorious sights. He treated
the ambassadors also after the same manner: first he ate with them, and
during the repast, he asked them several questions concerning their
health, of their voyage, and the affairs of their country; and, after
they had been encouraged by his generous entertainment, he gave them

When the ball was over, all the company retired; the merchant, who was
the only person left, fell prostrate before the king’s throne with his
face to the earth, wishing his majesty an accomplishment of all his
desires. As soon as he rose up, the king asked him if the news of his
having brought a slave for him was true, and whether she was handsome.

Sir, replied the merchant, I doubt not in the least but your majesty has
very beautiful women, since you search every corner of the earth for
them; but I may boldly affirm, without overvaluing my merchandise, that
you never saw a woman that could stand in competition with her for shape
and beauty, besides a thousand other agreeable qualifications that she is
mistress of. Where is she? says the king; bring her to me instantly. Sir,
replied the merchant, I have delivered her into the hands of one of your
chief eunuchs, and your majesty may send for her at your pleasure.

The fair slave was immediately brought in, and no sooner had the king
cast his eyes on her, than the genteelness of her mien and shape charmed
him. He went presently into his closet, whither the merchant, with a few
eunuchs, followed him. The slave wore a red satin veil, striped with
gold, over her face; and when the merchant had taken it off, the king of
Persia beheld a lady that surpassed in beauty, not only his present
mistresses, but even all that ever he had before; in short, he
immediately fell passionately in love with her, and bade the merchant
name his price.

Sir, said he, I gave a thousand pieces of gold to the persons of whom I
bought her, and in my three years’ journey to your court, I have spent as
much: but I shall forbear setting any price to so great a monarch; and,
therefore, if your majesty likes her, I humbly beg you would accept of
her as a present. I am highly obliged to you, replied the king; but it is
never my custom to treat merchants, who come hither purely for my
pleasure, after so ungenerous a manner. I am going to order thee ten
thousand pieces of gold; therefore speak, whether thou art pleased with
that sum or not. Sir, answered the merchant, though I should have
esteemed myself very happy in your majesty’s acceptance of her for
nothing, yet I dare not refuse so generous an offer. I shall take care to
publish it, not only in my own country, but also in every place through
which I pass. The money was presently paid him; and, before he stirred
out of his presence, the king made him put on a rich suit of cloth of

The king caused the fair slave to be lodged in the finest apartment next
his own, and gave particular orders to the matrons and to the women
slaves appointed to attend her, that after bathing they should dress her
in the richest clothes the kingdom afforded. He also commanded them to
carry her some pearl-necklaces, with abundance of diamonds, and other
precious stones, that she might have the liberty of choosing those she
liked best.

The officious matrons, whose only care it was to please the king, were
astonished with admiration at her beauty; and being well skilled in that
affair, they told his majesty, that, if he would allow them but three
days, they would engage to make her so much handsomer than she was at
present, that he should scarce know her again. The king at first was very
loath to defer the pleasure of enjoyment so long; but at last he
consented, upon condition they would be as good as their word.

The king of Persia’s capital was situated in an island, and his palace,
which was very magnificent, was built upon the sea-shore: his apartment
looked upon that element; and the fair slave’s, which was pretty near it,
had also the same prospect; and it was the more agreeable upon the
account of the sea beating almost against the foot of the wall.

At the three days’ end, the fair slave, gloriously dressed and set off,
was alone in her chamber, sitting upon a sofa, and leaning against one of
the windows that faced the sea, when the king, being informed that he
might visit her, came in. The slave hearing somebody walk in the room,
with an air quite different from that of the women slaves who had
hitherto attended her, immediately turned her head about to see who it
was. She knew him to be the king; but without discovering the least
surprise, or so much as rising from her seat to salute or receive him, as
if he had been the meanest person in the world, she put herself in the
same posture again.

The king of Persia was extremely surprised to see a slave of so beauteous
a form so ignorant of the world. He attributed this piece of ill breeding
to the narrowness of her education, and the little care that was taken of
instructing her at first in the rules of civility and good manners. He
went to her at the window, where, notwithstanding the coldness and
indifferency with which she had just now received him, she suffered
herself to be admired, caressed, and embraced, as much as he pleased.

In the midst of these amorous embraces and tender endearments, this
monarch paused a while to gaze upon, or rather to devour her with his
eyes: My goddess! my angel! my charmer! cried the king; whence came you?
and where do those happy parents live that brought into the world so
surprising a masterpiece of nature as you are? Ah! how I adore you! and
my passion shall continue the same. Never did I feel for a woman what I
now suffer for you: and though I have seen, and do see every day, a vast
number of beauties, yet never did my eyes behold so many charms in one
single person, which have so transported me out of myself, that I am no
longer at my own, but entirely at your disposal. My dearest life,
continued he, you neither answer me, nor by any visible token give me the
least reason to believe that you are sensible of the many demonstrations
I have given you of the violence of my passion; neither will you turn
your eyes on me, to afford mine the pleasure of meeting them with an
amorous glance, and to convince you that it is impossible to love more
than I do you. Why will you still keep this obstinate silence, which
freezes me to death? and whence proceeds the seriousness, or rather
sorrow, that torments me to the soul? Do you mourn for your country, your
friends, or your relations? Alas! is not the king of Persia, who loves
and adores you, capable of comforting and making you amends for the loss
of every thing in the world?

What protestations of love soever the king of Persia made the fair slave
to oblige her to speak to him, she continued her astonishing
reservedness, and keeping her eyes still fixed on the ground, would not
so much as open her lips.

The king of Persia, charmed with the purchase he had made of a slave that
pleased him so well, pressed her no farther, in hopes that, by treating
her civilly, he might prevail upon her to change her mind. He presently
gave the usual sign to the women that waited in an outward room; and as
soon as they entered, he commanded them to bring in supper. When it was
on the table, My dear, said he to the slave, come hither and sup with me.
She rose up from her seat, and being placed over against the king, his
majesty helped her before he began eating himself; and so he did of every
dish during the whole supper. The slave ate with downcast eyes, and
without speaking one word, though he often asked her how she liked the
entertainment, and whether it was dressed to her taste.

The king, willing to change the discourse, asked her what her name was,
how she liked the clothes and the jewels she had on, what she thought of
her apartment and the rich furniture, and whether the prospect of the sea
was not very agreeable and charming. But to all these questions she
answered not a word; so that the king was at a loss what to think of her
silence. He imagined at first, that perhaps she might be dumb: But then,
said he to himself, can it be possible that Heaven should form a creature
so beautiful, so perfect, and so accomplished, and yet at the same time
with so great an imperfection? However, I cannot love with less passion
than I do.

When the king of Persia rose from the table, he washed his hands on one
side, while the fair slave washed hers on the other. He took that time to
ask the women that held the basin and the towel, if ever they had heard
her speak. One of them presently made answer, Sir, we have neither seen
her open her lips, nor heard her speak, any more than your majesty has
just now: we have taken care of her in the bath, we have combed and
dressed her head, put on her clothes, and waited upon her in her chamber;
but she has never opened her lips, so much as to say, That is well, or, I
like this. We have often asked her, Madam, do you want any thing? let us
know what you would have; do but ask, and we are ready to get it for you:
but we have never been able to draw a word from her; so that we cannot
tell whether her silence proceeds from pride, sorrow, stupidity, or
dumbness; and this is all we can inform your majesty.

The king of Persia was more astonished at hearing this than he was
before: however, believing the slave might have some reason for her
sorrow, he was willing to endeavour to divert it, and make her merry.
Accordingly, he made a very splendid ball, to which all the fine ladies
of the court came, and those who were skilful in playing upon musical
instruments showed their parts, while others sang or danced, or did both
together: in short, they played at a great many sorts of games, which
mightily diverted the king. The fair slave was the only person that took
no pleasure in those diversions: she never stirred out of her place, but
with her eyes still fixed on the ground, without taking any notice of the
entertainment, behaved herself with so much indifferency that all the
ladies were no less surprised at it than the king. After the ball was
done, every one retired to her apartment; and the king, who was left
alone with the fair slave, lay with her that night.

The next morning, the king of Persia arose more pleased than he had been
with all the women he had ever seen, and more enamoured with the fair
slave than he was before. Indeed, he soon made it appear, by resolving
henceforth to keep constant to her; and he performed his resolution. On
the very same day he dismissed all his other women, giving every one of
them their jewels and other valuable things, besides a considerable
fortune, with free leave to marry whom they thought fit, and only kept
the matrons, and a few other old women, to wait upon and attend the fair
slave. However, for a whole year together, she never afforded him the
pleasure of one single word; yet the king took abundance of pains to
please her, and, with all complaisance imaginable, to give her the most
signal proofs of his violent passion.

The year was now expired, when the king, sitting one day by his mistress,
protested to her that his love, instead of being diminished, grew every
day more violent: My queen, said he, I cannot conceive what your thoughts
are; but, however, nothing is more true, and I swear to you the same,
that in having the happiness of possessing you, there remains nothing for
me to desire: I esteem my kingdom, great as it is, less than an atom,
when I have the pleasure of beholding your eyes, and of telling you a
thousand times how I adore you. You see I have given you some other
proofs of my affection than bare words; and therefore surely you can
never doubt of it, after the vast number of women I have sacrificed to
your beauty. You may remember, it is about a year since I sent them away
from my court; and I repent of it as little even now I am talking with
you, as I did the first moment of their departure, and I believe I never
shall. Nothing would be wanting to complete my happiness, and crown my
joys for ever, would you speak but one single word to me, by which I
might be assured that you thought yourself in some measure obliged to me.
But how can you speak to me if you are dumb? and alas! how fearful I am
lest it should be true! yet what reason have I to doubt of it, since you
still torment me with silence, after a whole year’s entreating you every
hour to speak to me! However, if it is impossible for me to obtain that
consolation, may Heaven, at least, grant me the blessing of a son by you
to succeed me after my death. I find myself growing old every day, and I
begin to want one to assist me in bearing the weight of a crown. But
still I cannot refrain from the desire I have of hearing you speak; for
methinks something within me tells me you are not dumb; and, therefore,
dear madam, I beseech, I conjure you, to break through this obstinate
humour, and speak but one word to me; and after that, I care not how soon
I die.

At this discourse, the fair slave, who, according to her usual custom,
had hearkened to the king with downcast eyes, and had given him cause to
believe, not only that she was dumb, but that she never had laughed in
her life, began to look up and smile a little. The king of Persia
perceived it with a surprise that made him break forth into an
exclamation of joy; and no longer doubting but that she was going to
speak, he waited for that happy moment with an eagerness and attention
that cannot be easily expressed.

At last, the fair slave, breaking her long silence, thus addressed
herself to the king: Sir, said she, I have so many things to say to your
majesty, that, having once broke silence, I know not where to begin.
However, in the first place, I think myself obliged in duty to thank your
majesty for all the favours and honours you have been pleased to confer
upon me, and to implore the gods to bless and prosper you, to prevent the
wicked designs and intentions of your enemies, and that they would not
suffer you to die after hearing me speak, but grant you a long and happy
reign. After this, sir, I cannot give you a greater satisfaction than
acquainting you with my being with child; and I wish, as you do, it may
be a son. Had it never been my fortune to have been breeding, I was
resolved (I beg your majesty to pardon the sincerity of my intention)
never to have loved you, as well as to have kept an eternal silence; but
now I love and respect you as I ought to do.

The king of Persia, ravished to hear the fair slave not only speak, but
at the same time tell him news in which he was so nearly concerned,
embraced her tenderly: Shining light of my eyes, said he, it is
impossible for me to receive a greater joy than what you have now given
me: you have spoken to me, and declared your being with child; so that I
am fully satisfied in myself, that after these two signal occasions of
joy, I ought to expect no other.

The king of Persia, in the transport of joy he was in, said no more to
the fair slave. He left her; but after such a manner as made her perceive
his intention was speedily to return; and being willing that the occasion
of his joy should be made public, he declared it to his officers, and
sent in all haste for the grand vizier. As soon as he came, he ordered
him to distribute a thousand pieces of gold among the holy men of his
religion, who had made vows of poverty; as also among the hospitals and
the poor, by way of returning thanks to Heaven; and his will was obeyed,
by the direction of that minister.

After the king of Persia had given this order, he came to the fair slave
again: Madam, said he, pardon me for leaving you so abruptly, since you
have been the occasion of it; but I hope you will entertain me some other
time, since I am desirous to know of you several things of a much greater
consequence. However, in the mean time, tell me, I beseech you, my
dearest charmer, what were the powerful reasons that induced you to
persist in that obstinate silence for a whole year together, though every
day you saw me, heard me talk to you, ate and drank with me, and every
night lay with me? I shall pass by your not speaking; but how you could
carry yourself after such an indifferent manner, that I could never
discover whether you were sensible of what I said to you, or no, I must
confess it surpasses my understanding: and I cannot yet comprehend, how
you could contain yourself so long: therefore I must conclude the
occasion of it to be very extraordinary.

To satisfy the king of Persia’s curiosity, this fair person replied,
Think whether or no to be a slave, far from my own country, without any
hopes of ever seeing it again, to have a heart torn with grief, for being
separated from my mother, my brother, my friends, and my acquaintance,
are not sufficient reasons for my keeping a silence your majesty has
thought so strange and unaccountable. The love of our native country is
as natural to us as that of our parents; and the loss of liberty is
unsupportable to every one, who is not wholly destitute of sense and
reason, and knows how to set a value on it. The body indeed may be
enslaved, and under the subjection of a master who has the power and
authority in his hands; but the will can never be conquered or domineered
over, but still remains free and unconfined, depending on itself alone,
and your majesty has found an example of it in me; and it is a wonder
that I have not followed the example of abundance of unfortunate
wretches, whom the loss of liberty has reduced to the mournful resolution
of procuring their own deaths a thousand ways, rather than survive it,
and wear out a wretched life in shameful slavery.

Madam, replied the king, I am now convinced of the truth of what you say;
but till this moment I was of opinion, that a person beautiful,
well-shaped, with a great deal of wit and good sense, such as yourself,
whom her rigorous stars had destined to be a slave, ought to think
herself very happy in meeting with a king for her master.

Sir, replied the fair slave, whatever the slave is, supposing her to be
such as I have already mentioned to your majesty, there is no king on
earth can tyrannize over her will. But, however, when you speak of a
slave, mistress of charms enough to captivate a monarch, and make him
adore her, provided she is of a rank infinitely below him, I am of your
opinion she ought to think herself happy in her misfortune; but what
happiness can it be when she considers herself only as a slave, torn from
her parents’ arms, and perhaps a lover’s, for whom she has a passion that
death only can extinguish? But when this very slave is nothing inferior
to the king that bought her, your majesty shall then judge yourself of
the rigour of her destiny, of her misery, and of her sorrow, and to what
desperate attempts the anguish of despair may drive her.

The king of Persia, astonished at this discourse, said, Madam, can it be
possible that you are of royal blood, as by your words you seem to
intimate? Explain the whole secret to me, I beseech you, and no longer
augment my impatience. Ah! let me instantly know who are the happy
parents of so great a prodigy of beauty, who are your brothers, your
sisters, and your relations; but above all, what your name is.

Sir, said the fair slave, my name is Gulnare of the sea; and my father,
who is now dead, was one of the most potent monarchs of the ocean. When
he died, he left his kingdom to a brother of mine, named Saleh, and to
the queen my mother, who is also a princess, the daughter of another
puissant monarch of the sea. We enjoyed a profound peace and tranquillity
through the whole kingdom, till a neighbouring prince, an enemy to our
repose, invaded our dominions with a mighty army; and, penetrating as far
as our capital, made himself master of it: and we had but just time
enough to save ourselves in a steep inaccessible place, with a few trusty
officers, who were so generous as not to forsake us in our distress.

In this retreat, my brother was not negligent in contriving all manner of
ways to drive the unjust invader from our dominions. While this affair
was in agitation, one day taking me into his closet, Sister, said he, the
events of the least undertakings in this world are always dubious. As,
for my own part, I am willing to die in the attempt I design to make to
re-establish myself in my kingdom; and I shall be less concerned for my
own disgrace, than for what may possibly happen to you; and therefore to
prevent it, and to secure you from whatever accident may befall you, I
would fain see you married first. But in the miserable condition that our
affairs are at present, I see no probability of matching you to any of
the princes of the sea; and therefore I should be very glad if you would
resolve to be of my opinion, and think of marrying to some of the princes
of the earth. I am ready to contribute all that lies in my power towards
it, and I am certain there is not one of them, considering the beauty you
are mistress of, but would be proud of your accepting of their crown.

At this discourse of my brother’s, I fell into a violent passion.
Brother, said I, you know that I am descended, as well as you, by both
father and mother’s sides, from the kings and queens of the sea, without
any mixture of alliance with those of the earth; therefore I do not
design to marry below myself, any more than they did: and I took an oath
of it, as soon as I had understanding to inquire into the nobleness and
antiquity of our family. The condition to which we are reduced shall
never oblige me to alter my resolution; and if you perish in the
execution of your design, I am prepared to fall with you, rather than
follow the advice I so little expected from you.

My brother, who was still earnest for the marriage, endeavoured to make
me believe that there were kings of the earth who were no ways inferior
to those of the sea. This put me again into a violent passion, which
occasioned him to speak several bitter reflecting things that nettled me
to the quick. At last he left me, as much dissatisfied with myself as he
could possibly be; and in this peevish mood, I gave a spring from the
bottom of the sea, directly up to the island of the moon.

Notwithstanding the violent discontent that made me cast myself upon that
island, I lived pretty easy in a by-corner of it, where I retired for
conveniency and safety. But, alas! this happiness lasted not long; for,
in spite of all my endeavours to lie concealed in my beloved obscurity, a
certain person of distinction and figure, attended by his servants,
surprised me sleeping, and carried me to his own house. He made violent
love to me, and omitted nothing which he thought might reasonably induce
me to make a return to his passion. When he saw that fair means would
prevail nothing upon me, he attempted to make use of force; but I soon
made him repent of his insolence. So at last, finding that there was
nothing to be done with me, he resolved to part with me, which he did to
that very merchant who brought me hither and sold me to your majesty. He
was a very prudent, courteous, obliging person; and during the whole
journey, which was somewhat tedious, he never gave me the least reason to
complain of his usage.

As for your majesty, sir, continued the princess Gulnare, if you had not
shown me all the respect you have hitherto paid (for which I am extremely
obliged to your goodness) and given me such undeniable marks of your
affection, that I could no longer doubt of it; if you had not immediately
sent away your women; give me leave to tell you plainly, sir, that I was
positively resolved not to have lived with you: I would have thrown
myself into the sea, out of this very window, where your majesty first
saw me when you came into this apartment; and I would have gone in search
after my mother, my brother, and the rest of my relations. I still
persisted in that design, and I would infallibly have put it in
execution, if, after a certain time, I had found myself deceived in the
hopes of being with child: but now, in the condition I am in, I shall
take care what I do. Should I tell my mother or my brother that I have
been a slave, even to a king as mighty as you are, they would never
believe it, but would for ever upbraid me with the crime I have committed
against my honour, since it was a voluntary act of my own. However, sir,
be it a prince or a princess that I bring into the world, it will be a
pledge to engage me never to be parted from your majesty; and therefore I
hope you will no longer look upon me as a slave, but as a princess worthy
of your alliance.

It was after this manner that the princess Gulnare finished her story she
had been telling the king of Persia. My charming and adorable princess,
cried he, what wonders have I heard! and what an ample subject have you
afforded my curiosity, of asking a thousand questions concerning those
strange and unheard-of things which you have related to me! But, in the
first place, I ought to thank you for your goodness and patience in
making a trial of the truth and constancy of my passion. I must confess,
I thought it impossible for me to love you more than I did; but since I
know you to be so great a princess, I love you a thousand times more.
What! did I say princess? Madam, you are no longer so; but you are my
queen, the queen of Persia; and by that title you shall soon be
proclaimed throughout the whole kingdom. Tomorrow the ceremony shall be
performed in my capital, with a pomp and magnificence that was never yet
beheld; which will plainly show, that you are both my queen and lawful
wife. This should have been done long ago, had you sooner convinced me of
my error; for, from the first moment of my seeing you, I have been of the
same opinion as now, to love you for ever, and never to place my
affection on any other.

However, I am pleased with myself for having, in the mean time, paid you
all the respect and civility I ought, that is due to your merit; and
therefore, madam, I beseech you to inform me in a more particular manner,
of the kingdoms and people of the sea, which are altogether unknown to
me. I have heard much talk indeed of the inhabitants of the sea; but I
always looked upon it as nothing but a pleasant tale or fable: however,
by what you have told me, I am convinced there is nothing more true; and
I have a very good proof of it in your own person, who are one of them,
and are pleased to condescend to be my wife; which is an honour no other
inhabitant on the earth can boast of besides myself. There is one thing
yet, madam, which puzzles me a little, therefore I must beg the favour of
you to explain it; that is, I cannot comprehend how it is possible for
you to move, breathe, and walk up and down in the water, without being
drowned. There are but few amongst us who have the art of staying under
water; but they would surely perish there, if after a certain space of
time, which is according to their skill, and constitution of their
bodies, they did not come up again.

Sir, replied the queen Gulnare, I shall take a great deal of pleasure in
satisfying the king of Persia in any thing that lies in my power. You
must know, then, that we can walk at the bottom of the sea with as much
ease as you can upon the dry land; and can breathe in the water as well
as you do in the air; so that instead of suffocating us, as it does you,
it is absolutely necessary for the preservation of our lives. What is yet
more remarkable is, that it never wets our clothes: so that when we have
a mind to visit your upper world, we have no occasion of drying them. Our
vulgar language is the same in which the writing upon the seal of the
great prophet Solomon, the son of David, was engraven.

I must not forget to tell you, that the water does not in the least
hinder us from seeing in the sea; for we can open and shut our eyes when
we please, without any manner of inconveniency; and as we have generally
a very quick, piercing sight, so we can discern any object as clearly in
the deepest part of the sea, as upon land. We have also a succession
there of day and night; the moon affords us her light, and even the
planets and the stars appear very visible to us. I have already spoken of
their kingdoms; but as the sea is a great deal larger than the earth, so
there are a greater number of them, and of vaster extent. They are
divided into provinces, and in every province there are several great
cities, well peopled; and, in short, there are an infinite number of
nations, differing in manners and customs, as well as upon the earth.

The palaces of the kings and princes are very sumptuous and magnificent.
There are some of them of marble of various colours; others of
rock-crystal, mother-of-pearl, coral, and of other materials more
valuable; gold, silver, and all sorts of precious stones, are more
plentiful there than with you. I say nothing of the pearls, since the
largest that ever was seen upon the earth would not be valuable amongst
us; and none but the very lowest rank of citizens would wear them.

As we have a marvellous and almost incredible agility of transporting
ourselves whither we please in the twinkling of an eye, so we have no
occasion for any coaches or horses: not but that every king has his
stables, and his breed of sea-horses; but they seldom make use of them,
but upon public feasts and rejoicing days. After they have been well
managed, they set riders upon their backs, who show their skill and
dexterity in the art of riding: others are put to chariots of
mother-of-pearl, adorned with an infinite number of shells of all sorts,
of the liveliest colours in the world. These chariots are open; and in
the middle there is a throne on which the king sits, and exposes himself
to the public view of his subjects. The horses are trained up to draw by
themselves, so that there is no occasion for a coachman to guide them. I
pass over a thousand other particulars relating to these sea-countries,
full of wonder and curiosity, which would be very entertaining to your
majesty; but I believe, sir, you will be pleased I should defer it, to
speak of something of much greater consequence; which is, that the method
of delivering, and the way of managing the women of the sea in their
lying-in, is quite different from those of the women of the earth; and I
am afraid to trust myself in the hands of the midwives of this country.
Therefore, sir, since my safe delivery is a thing which equally concerns
us both, with your majesty’s permission, I think it proper to send for my
mother and my cousins to assist at my labour; at the same time to desire
my brother’s company, to whom I have a great desire to be reconciled.
They will be very glad to see me again, after I have related my story to
them, and when they understand that I am wife to the mighty king of
Persia. I beseech your majesty to give me leave to send for them: I am
sure they will be proud to pay their respects to you; and I dare say you
will be extremely pleased to see them.

Madam, said the king of Persia, you are mistress, and so do whatever you
please; I will endeavour to receive them with all the honours they
deserve. But I would fain know how you would acquaint them with what you
desire, and when they will arrive; that I may make some preparation for
their reception, and go myself in person to meet them.

Sir, replied the queen Gulnare, there is no need of any of these
ceremonies; they will be here in a moment: and if your majesty will be
pleased but to step into the closet and look through the lattice, you
shall see the manner of their arrival.

As soon as the king of Persia was gone into the closet, the queen Gulnare
ordered one of her women to bring her a perfuming-pan, with a little fire
in it. After that, she bade her retire, and shut the door. When she was
alone, she took a little piece of aloes out of a box, and put it into the
perfuming-pan. As soon as she saw the smoke arise, she repeated some
mystical words, utterly unknown to the king of Persia, who observed with
great attention what she was doing. She had no sooner ended her charm,
than the sea began to be disturbed. The closet that the king was in was
so contrived, that looking through the lattice, on the same side with the
windows that faced the sea, he could plainly perceive it.

In short, the sea opened at some distance; presently there appeared a
tall handsome young man, with whiskers of a sea-green colour; a little
behind him, a lady well in years, but of a stately majestic air, attended
by five young ladies, nothing inferior in beauty to queen Gulnare.

The queen Gulnare immediately came to one of the windows, and saw the
king her brother, the queen her mother, and the rest of her relations,
who at the same time perceived her also. The company came forward, not
walking, but carried, as it were, upon the surface of the waves. When
they came to the brink of the sea, they nimbly, one after another, leaped
in at the window, from whence the queen Gulnare was retired, to make room
for them. The king Saleh, the queen her mother, and the rest of her
relations, embraced her tenderly, with tears in their eyes, upon their
first entrance.

After the queen Gulnare had received them with all the honour imaginable,
and placed them upon a sofa, the queen her mother addressed herself to
her after a very tender manner. Daughter, said she, I am overjoyed to see
you again, after so long an absence; and I am confident that your brother
and your relations are no less so than I. Your leaving us, without
acquainting any body with it, put us into an inexpressible concern; and
it is impossible to tell you how many tears we have shed upon that
account. We know of no other reason that could induce you to take such a
surprising resolution, but the discourse that passed between your brother
and you, of which he afterwards informed me. The advice he gave you
seemed very advantageous to him at that time, for settling you handsomely
in the world; and was then very suitable to the posture of our affairs.
However, if you had not approved of his proposals, you ought not to have
been so much alarmed; and give me leave to tell you, you took the thing
quite otherwise than you ought to have done. But no more of this
discourse, which serves only to renew the occasion of our sorrows and
complaints, that we and you ought to bury for ever in oblivion. Give us
now a relation of all that has happened to you since you left us, and
also an account of the present circumstances you are in; but especially
let us know if you are pleased and contented.

The queen Gulnare immediately threw herself at her mother’s feet, and
after rising up and kissing her hand, said, Madam, I own I have been
guilty of a very great crime, and I shall be indebted to your goodness
for the pardon which I hope you will be pleased to grant me. What I am
going to say, in obedience to your commands, will soon convince you, that
it is very often in vain for us to have an aversion for some certain
things: I have experienced it myself; and the only thing I had an
abhorrence to, either justly, or by the malice of my stars, has happened
to me here. She began to relate the whole story of what had befallen her
since her quitting the sea, in a violent passion, for the earth. As soon
as she had made an end, and had acquainted them with her having been sold
to the king of Persia, in whose palace she was at present; Sister, cried
the king her brother, you have been mightily wronged in having so many
affronts offered you; but you can blame nobody but yourself: you have it
in your power now to free yourself; and I cannot but admire your
patience, that you could endure so long a slavery. Rise, and return with
us into my kingdom, that I have reconquered, and taken from the proud
usurper that was once master of it.

The king of Persia, who heard these killing words from the closet where
he stood, was in the utmost confusion imaginable. Ah! said he to himself,
I am ruined and undone; and if my queen, my angel, leaves me, I shall
surely die, for it is impossible for me to live without her: and will
they be so barbarous as to deprive me of her? But the queen Gulnare soon
put him out of his fears, and eased the sorrow of his heart.

Brother, said she, and smiled, what I have just now heard, gives me a
greater proof than ever I had of the sincerity of your friendship for me;
but as heretofore I could not brook your proposing a match between me and
a prince of the earth, so now I can scarce forbear being angry with you,
for advising me to break the engagement I have made with the most
puissant and most renowned monarch in the world. I do not speak here of
an engagement between a slave and her master; if that were all, it would
be easy to return the ten thousand pieces of gold that I cost him; but I
speak now of a contract between a woman and her husband, who has never
given her the least reason to complain or be discontented: besides, he is
a king, wise, temperate, religious, and just, and has given me the most
essential demonstrations of his love that possibly he could. What can be
a greater instance of the violence of his passion, than sending away all
his women (of which he had a great number) immediately upon my arrival,
and confining himself only to me? I am now his wife, and he has lately
declared me queen of Persia; and I am to sit with him in the council:
besides, I am breeding; and if Heaven shall be pleased to favour me with
a son, that shall be another motive to engage my affections to him the
more. So, brother, continued the queen Gulnare, instead of following your
advice, you see I have all the reason in the world, not only to love the
king of Persia as passionately as I do, but also to live and die with
him, more out of gratitude than duty. I hope, then, neither my mother,
nor you, nor any of my cousins, will disapprove of the resolution and
alliance I have made, which will be an equal honour to the kings of both
the sea and earth. I ask a thousand pardons for giving you the trouble of
coming hither from the bottom of the deep to partake of it; and I return
you thanks for the pleasure of seeing you after so long a separation.

Sister, replied king Saleh, the proposition I made you of going back with
us into my kingdom, upon the recital of your adventures, (which I could
not hear without concern,) was to let you see what a particular love and
honour I had for you, and that nothing in the world was so dear to me as
your welfare and happiness. Upon the same account, then, for my own part,
I cannot condemn a resolution so reasonable, and so worthy of yourself,
after what you have told me of the king of Persia your husband, and the
many obligations you have to him; and I am persuaded that the queen our
mother will be of the same opinion.

The queen confirmed what her son had just spoken, and addressing herself
immediately to her daughter, said, My dear, I am very glad to hear you
are pleased; and I have nothing else to add to what your brother has
already said to you. I should have been the first that would have
condemned you, if you had not expressed all the gratitude you were
capable of for a monarch that loves you so passionately, and has done
such mighty things to oblige you.

As the king of Persia, who was still in the closet, had been extremely
concerned for fear of losing his beloved queen, so now he was transported
with joy at her resolution never to forsake him; and having no room to
doubt of her love, after so open a declaration, he began to love her more
than ever, and was resolved within himself to give her all the outward
proofs of it, after the most sensible manner he possibly could.

While the king was entertaining himself with a pleasure that cannot
easily be imagined, the queen Gulnare clapped her hands aloud, and
presently in came some of her slaves, whom she had ordered to bring in a
collation. As soon as it was served up, she invited the queen her mother,
the king her brother, and her cousins, to sit down and take part of it.
They began to consider, that, without ever asking leave, they were got
into the palace of a mighty king, who had never seen or heard of them,
and were all of the same opinion, that it would be a great piece of
rudeness and incivility to eat at his table without him. This reflection
raised a blush in their faces, and their eyes glowing with the concern
they were in, they breathed nothing but flames at their mouths and

This unexpected sight put the king of Persia, who was perfectly ignorant
of the cause of it, into a most dreadful consternation. The queen Gulnare
fancying that his majesty might be a little surprised at it, and finding
her relations desirous of the honour of seeing him, rose from her seat,
and told them she would be back in a moment. She went directly to the
closet, and by her presence recovered the king of Persia from his
surprise: Sir, said she, I doubt not but that your majesty is well
pleased with the acknowledgment I have lately made of the many favours
that I am still indebted to your goodness for. It was wholly in my power
to have complied with my relations, who would fain have persuaded me to
have forsaken you, and gone back with them into their dominions; but
alas! I am not capable of being guilty of such ingratitude as I should
have condemned in another. Ah! my queen, cried the king of Persia, speak
no more of your obligations to me, for indeed you have none; it is I that
am your debtor so much, that I am afraid I shall never be able to repay,
or return you thanks equal to the favour you have done me; for I never
thought it possible you could have loved me so tenderly as you do, and as
you have made it appear to me, after the most signal manner in the world.
Ah! sir, replied the queen Gulnare, could I do less than I have done? I
rather fear I have not done enough, considering all the honours and
favours that your majesty has heaped upon me; and it is impossible for me
to remain insensible of your passion, after so many convincing proofs as
you have given me. But let us drop this, and give me leave to assure you
of the sincere friendship that the queen my mother, and the king my
brother, are pleased to honour you with; they earnestly desire to see
you, and tell you themselves. I intended to have discoursed with them a
little before I introduced them to your majesty, and accordingly I have
ordered a banquet for them; but they are very impatient to pay their
respects to you, and therefore I desire your majesty would be pleased to
walk in, and honour them with your presence.

Madam, said the king of Persia, I should be very glad to salute persons
that have the honour to be so nearly related to you; but I am afraid of
the flames that they breathe at their mouths and nostrils. Sir, replied
the queen, laughing, you need not in the least be afraid of those flames,
which are nothing but a sign of their unwillingness to eat in your palace
without your honouring them with your presence, and eating with them.

The king of Persia taking heart at these words, went into his chamber
with his queen Gulnare. She presented him to the queen her mother, to the
king her brother, and to her other relations, who instantly threw
themselves at his feet, with their faces to the ground. The king of
Persia ran to them, and lifting them up, embraced them one after another
after a very tender manner. After they were all seated, king Saleh began
his speech: Sir, said he to the king of Persia, we are at a loss for
words to express our joy, to think that the queen my sister, after all
her hardships and affronts, should have the happiness of falling under
the protection of so powerful a monarch as your majesty. We can assure
you, sir, she is not unworthy of the high honour that you have been
pleased to raise her to; and we have always had so much love and
tenderness for her, that we could never think of parting with her, even
to the most puissant princes of the sea, who have often demanded her in
marriage before she came of age: but Heaven has reserved her for you,
sir; and we have no better way of returning thanks for the favour it has
done her, than beseeching it to grant your majesty a long and happy life
with her, and to crown your days with content and satisfaction.

Certainly, replied the king of Persia, Heaven reserved her purely for me,
as you were pleased to observe; and I love her with so tender and violent
a passion, that it is plain I never loved any woman till I saw her. Oh!
how I am blessed and transported with her charms! and I cannot
sufficiently thank either the queen her mother, or you, prince, or your
whole family, for the matchless generosity with which you have consented
to receive me into so glorious an alliance as yours. At the end of these
words, he invited them to take part of the collation, and he and his
queen sat down at his table with them. After the collation was over, the
king of Persia entertained them with discourse till it was very late; and
when they thought it convenient to retire, he waited upon them himself to
the several apartments he had ordered to be prepared for them.

The king of Persia treated his illustrious guests for a great many days
together; during which time, he omitted nothing that might show his court
in its greatest splendour and magnificence, and insensibly prevailed with
them to stay there till the queen was brought to bed. When the time of
her lying-in drew near, he gave particular orders to get every thing in
readiness that was necessary upon such an occasion. At last there was a
son born, to the great joy of the queen his mother, who, as soon as he
was dressed in swaddling-clothes, which were very rich and costly, went
and presented him to the king.

The king of Persia received the present with a joy easier to be imagined
than expressed. The young prince being of a beautiful countenance, and
all over charms, he thought no name so proper for him as that of Beder,
which, in the Arabian language, signifies the Full Moon. By way of thanks
to Heaven, he was very liberal in his alms to the poor, and caused the
prison-doors to be set open, and gave all the prisoners of both sexes
their liberty. He distributed vast sums among the priests and the holy
men of his religion. He also gave large donatives to his courtiers,
besides a great deal that was thrown amongst the people; and, by a
proclamation, ordered several rejoicing days to be kept publicly through
the whole city.

One day after the queen’s up-sitting, as the king of Persia, queen
Gulnare herself, the queen her mother, king Saleh her brother, and the
princesses their relations, were discoursing together in her majesty’s
bed-chamber, the nurse chanced to come in with the young prince Beder in
her arms. King Saleh no sooner saw him, than he ran to embrace him, and
taking him in his arms, fell a kissing and caressing him after a mighty
rate. He took several turns with him about the room, dancing and dandling
him about, when all of a sudden, through a transport of joy, the window
being open, he leaped out, and plunged with him into the sea.

The king of Persia, who expected no such sight, set up a hideous cry,
verily believing he should either see the dear prince his son no more, or
that he should see him drowned; nay, he was like to give up the ghost
amidst his so great grief and affliction. Sir, quoth queen Gulnare, with
a quiet and undisturbed countenance, (the better to comfort him,) let
your majesty fear nothing; the young prince is my son as well as yours,
and I do not love him less than you do. You see I am not alarmed at the
loss of him; neither in truth ought I to be so. In short, he runs no
risk, and you will soon see the king his uncle appear with him again, who
will return him to you safe and sound. Although he be born of your blood
as well as mine, he will not fail to have the same advantage his uncle
and I have, of living equally in the sea and upon the land. The queen his
mother, and the princesses his relations, confirmed the same thing: yet
all was no great consolation to the king; he could not possibly recover
from his fright till he saw prince Beder appear again as before.

The sea at length became troubled, when immediately king Saleh arose,
with the young prince in his arms, and dancing and dandling him about,
re-entered at the same window he went out at. The king of Persia,
overjoyed to see prince Beder again, became as calm as before he lost
sight of him. Then king Saleh said, Sir, was not your majesty in a great
fright, when you first saw me plunge into the sea with the prince my
nephew? Alas! prince, answered the king of Persia, I cannot express my
concern: I thought him lost from that very moment, and you now restore
life to me by bringing him again. I thought as much, replied king Saleh,
though you had not the least reason to apprehend any danger; for before I
plunged into the sea with him, I pronounced certain mysterious words over
him, which were engraven on the seal of the great Solomon the Son of
David. We practise the like in relation to all those children that are
born in the regions at the bottom of the sea, by virtue whereof they
receive the same privileges that we have over those people who inhabit
the earth. Now, from what your majesty has observed, you may easily see
what advantage your son prince Beder has acquired on the part of his
mother queen Gulnare my sister; for as long as he lives, and as often as
he pleases, it shall be free for him to plunge into the sea, and traverse
the vast empires it contains at its bottom.

Having so spoken, king Saleh, who had restored prince Beder to his
nurse’s arms, opened a box he had fetched from his palace in that little
time he had disappeared, which was filled with three hundred diamonds, as
large as pigeons’ eggs; a like number of rubies, of extraordinary size;
as many emerald wands, of half a foot long; and with thirty strings of
necklaces of pearl, consisting each of ten pieces. Sir, said he to the
king of Persia, presenting him with this box, when I was first summoned
by the queen my sister, I knew not what part of the earth she was in, or
that she had the honour to be married to so great a monarch as I now
find; wherefore I came empty-handed: but now I understand how much we
have been both obliged to your majesty, I beg you therefore to accept of
this small token of gratitude, in acknowledgment of the many particular
favours you have been pleased to do us, and whereof I am not less
sensible than she.

It cannot be imagined how greatly the king of Persia was surprised at the
sight of so much riches enclosed in so little compass. What! prince,
cried he, do you call so inestimable a present a small token of your
gratitude, when you never have been indebted to me? I declare you have
never been in the least obliged to me, neither you nor the queen your
mother; I esteem myself but too happy in the consent you have been
pleased to give to the alliance I have contracted with you. Madam,
continued he, turning to Gulnare, the king your brother has put me into
the greatest confusion in the world; and I would beg of him to retain his
present, were it not that I fear to disoblige him. Do you therefore
endeavour to obtain his leave, that I may be dispensed with on this

Sir, replied king Saleh, I am not at all surprised that your majesty
thinks this present so extraordinary: I know you are not accustomed upon
earth to see such and so many fine stones; but if you knew, as I do, the
mines from whence these jewels were taken, and that it is in my power to
heap up a treasure, much larger than those, of all the things of the
earth, you would, it may be, wonder I should have the boldness to make
you a present of so small a value. I beseech you therefore not to regard
it in that respect, but on account of the sincere friendship I am obliged
to offer to you, which I hope you will not give me the mortification to
refuse. These engaging expressions obliged the king of Persia to accept
the present, for which he returned many thanks, both to king Saleh and
the queen his mother.

A few days after, king Saleh gave the king of Persia to understand that
the queen his mother, the princesses his relations, and himself could
have no greater pleasure than to spend their whole lives at his court;
but that having been absent from their own kingdom for some time, where
their presence was absolutely necessary, they begged of him not to take
it ill, if they took leave of him and queen Gulnare. The king of Persia
assured them he was very sorry that it was not in his power to come and
visit them in their dominions; but added, As I am verily persuaded you
will not forget queen Gulnare, but come and see her now and then, I hope
I shall have the honour to kiss your hands again many times before I die.

Many tears were shed on both sides upon their separation. King Saleh
departed first; but the queen his mother, and the princesses his
relations, were fain to force themselves, in a manner, from the embraces
of queen Gulnare, who could not prevail with herself to let them go. This
royal company were no sooner out of sight, than the king of Persia said
to queen Gulnare, Madam, I should have looked upon that person as one who
would have imposed on my credulity in the grossest manner, that had
pretended to palm those wonders upon me for true, which I myself have
been an eye-witness of from the time I have been honoured with your
illustrious family at my court: but I cannot escape conviction of this
kind; and shall remember it as long as I live, and be always ready to
bless Heaven for directing you to me, rather than to any other prince.

Young prince Beder was brought up and educated in the palace, under the
care of the king and queen of Persia, who both saw him grow and increase
in beauty, to their great satisfaction. He gave them yet greater pleasure
as he advanced in years, by his continued sprightliness, by his agreeable
ways in whatever he did, and by the justness and vivacity of his wit in
whatever he said; and they were the more sensible of this satisfaction,
by reason king Saleh his uncle, the queen his grandmother, and the
princesses his relations, came from time to time to take part of it.

He was easily taught to read and write, and was instructed with the same
facility in all the sciences that became a prince of his rank.

When he arrived at fifteen, he acquitted himself of all his exercises
with infinitely better address, and good grace, than any of his masters.
He was withal very wise and prudent. The king, who had almost from his
cradle discovered in him virtues so necessary for a monarch, and who
moreover began to perceive the infirmities of old age coming upon
himself, would not stay till death gave him the possession of his throne,
but purposed to resign it to him immediately. He had no great difficulty
to make his council consent to it; and the people heard this resolution
with so much the more joy, as they conceived prince Beder worthy to
govern them. In a word, as the king had not for a long time appeared in
public, they had all the opportunity in the world to observe he had not
that disdainful, proud, and crabbed air, which most princes, who look
upon all below them with scorn and contempt, have. They saw, on the
contrary, he treated all mankind with that goodness which invited them to
approach him, that he heard favourably all who had any thing to say to
him; that he answered every body with a goodness that was peculiar to
him; and that he refused nobody any thing that had the least appearance
of reasonableness.

The day for the ceremony was appointed, when in the midst of the whole
assembly, which was then more numerous than ordinary, the king of Persia,
then sitting on his throne, came down from it, took the crown off his
head, put it on that of prince Beder; and having seated him in his place,
kissed his hand, as a token that he resigned his authority to him: after
which, he ranged himself among the crowd of viziers and emirs.

Hereupon the viziers, emirs, and other principal officers, came
immediately and threw themselves at the new king’s feet, taking each the
oath of fidelity, according to their degrees. Then the grand vizier made
a report of divers important matters; on which the young king gave
judgment with that admirable prudence and sagacity that surprised all the
council. He next turned out divers governors convicted of
mal-administration, and put others in their room; which he did with that
wonderful and just discernment as excited the acclamations of every body,
which were so much the more honourable, as flattery had no share in them.
He at length left the council, accompanied by the late king his father,
and went to wait on his mother queen Gulnare, at her apartment. The queen
no sooner saw him coming with the crown upon his head, than she ran to
embrace him with a great deal of tenderness, wishing him a long and
prosperous reign.

The first year of his reign, king Beder acquitted himself of all his
royal functions with great assiduity. Above all, he took care to instruct
himself in affairs of state, and all that might any way contribute
towards the happiness of his people. Next year, having left the
administration to his council, under the direction of the old king his
father, he went out of his capital city, under pretence of diverting
himself with hunting; but his real intention was to visit all the
provinces of his kingdom, that he might reform all abuses there,
establish good order and discipline every where, and deprive all
ill-minded princes, his neighbours, of any opportunities of attempting
any thing against the security and tranquillity of his subjects, by
appearing and showing himself seasonably on his frontiers.

No less than a whole year sufficed this young king to put in practice a
purpose so worthy of him. Soon after his return, the old king his father
fell so dangerously ill, that he knew at first he should never recover.
He waited for his last moment with great tranquillity, and his only care
was to recommend to the ministers and other lords of his son’s court to
persist in the fidelity they had sworn to him; insomuch that there was
not one but willingly renewed his oath as freely as at first. He died at
length, to the great grief of king Beder and queen Gulnare, who caused
his corpse to be carried to a stately mausoleum, worthy of his rank and

When the funeral obsequies were ended, king Beder found no difficulty to
comply with that ancient custom in Persia to mourn for the dead a whole
month, and not to be seen by any body during all that time. He had
mourned the death of his father his whole life, had he hearkened to his
excessive affliction, and had it been permitted to so great a prince as
he was to amuse himself after that manner. During this interval, the
queen, mother to queen Gulnare, and king Saleh, together with the
princesses their relations, arrived at the Persian court, and shared in
great part of their affliction, before they proposed any consolation.

Though the month was expired, the king could not prevail on himself to
give admittance to the grand vizier and the other lords of his court, who
all besought him to lay aside his mourning habit, to show himself to his
subjects, and take upon him the administration of affairs as before.

He showed so great unwillingness to their request, that the grand vizier
took upon him to speak in the following manner: Sir, it would be needless
to represent to your majesty that it belongs only to women to persist in
perpetual mourning. We doubt not but you are sufficiently convinced of
that, and that it is not your intention to follow their example. Neither
our tears nor yours are capable of restoring life to the good king your
father, though we should lament all our days. He has undergone the common
fate of all men, which nobody can resist. Yet we cannot say absolutely
that he is dead, since we see him reviving in the person of your sacred
majesty. He did not himself doubt, when he was dying, but he should
revive in you, and to your majesty it belongs to show that he was not

King Beder could no longer oppose such pressing instances. He laid aside
his mourning habit that very moment; and after he had resumed the royal
ornaments, he began to provide for the necessities of his subjects with
the same assiduity as before his father’s death. He acquitted himself
with universal approbation; and, as he was exact in maintaining his
predecessor’s ordinances, the people perceived no alteration in their

King Saleh, who was returned to his dominions in the sea, with the queen
his mother and the princesses, no sooner saw that king Beder had resumed
the government, than he came alone to visit him; and king Beder and queen
Gulnare were overjoyed to see him. One day, as they rose from table, they
fell to discoursing of several matters. King Saleh fell insensibly on the
praises of the king his nephew, and the queen his sister, how glad he was
to see him govern so prudently, which had acquired him so great
reputation, not only among his neighbours, but more remote princes. King
Beder, who could not bear to hear himself so well spoken of, and not
being willing to interrupt the king his uncle, through good manners
turned on one side, and seemed to be asleep, leaning his head against a
cushion that was behind him.

From these commendations, which regarded only the wonderful conduct and
surprising wit of king Beder, king Saleh came to speak of the perfections
of his body, which he extolled after a mighty rate, as having nothing
equal to them, either upon the earth, or the kingdoms under the waters,
which he was well acquainted with.

Sister, said he in an ecstasy, so beautiful as he is, and of such
excellent endowments, I wonder you have not thought of marrying him ere
this: if I mistake not, he is at present in his twentieth year, and at
that age no prince ought to be suffered to be without a wife. I will
think of a match for him myself, since you will not, and marry him to
some princess of our lower world, that may be worthy of him.

Brother, replied queen Gulnare, you call to my remembrance a thing, I
must own, I have never thought of to this very moment. As he never
discovered any inclination for marriage, I never thought of mentioning it
to him; and I am glad you have now spoken of it to me. I like your
proposing one of your princesses; and I desire you to name one who may be
beautiful and well accomplished, that the king my son may be obliged to
love her.

I know one that will be proper, replied king Saleh, softly; but before I
will tell you who she is, let us see if the king my nephew sleeps or not,
and I will tell you afterwards why it is necessary we should take that
precaution. Queen Gulnare then looked upon her son, and thought she had
no reason to doubt but he was profoundly asleep, (king Beder
nevertheless, very far from sleeping, redoubled his attention, as being
unwilling to lose any thing the king his uncle said upon that subject.)
There is no necessity for your speaking so low, said the queen to the
king her brother; you may speak out with all freedom, without fear of
being heard.

It is by no means proper, replied king Saleh, that the king my nephew
should as yet have any knowledge of what I am going to say. Love, you
know, sometimes enters the ear; and it is not necessary he should love
this lady I am about to name, after that sort: in short, I see many
difficulties to surmount in this case, not on the lady’s part, as I hope,
but on that of her father. I need only mention to you the princess
Giahaure[2], and the king of Samarcand.

How, brother, replied queen Gulnare, is not the princess Giahaure yet
married? I remember to have seen her a little before I left your palace;
she was then about eighteen months old, and surprisingly beautiful, and
must needs be the wonder of the world, if her charms have increased equal
with her years. The few years she is older than the king my son, ought
not to hinder our doing our utmost to bring the match about. Let me know
but the difficulties that are to be surmounted, and I will warrant we
will do well enough.

Sister, replied king Saleh, the greatest difficulty is, that the king of
Samarcand is insupportably vain, looking upon all others as his
inferiors: it is not likely we shall easily get him to enter into this
alliance. For my part, I will go to him in person, and demand the
princess his daughter of him; and in case he refuses her, will address
ourselves elsewhere, where we shall be like to be more favourably heard.
For this reason, as you may perceive, added he, it is not proper for the
king my nephew to know any thing of our design, lest he should fall in
love with the princess Giahaure, and we afterwards not be able to obtain
her for him. They discoursed a little longer upon this point, and before
they parted, agreed that king Saleh should forthwith return to his own
dominions, and demand the princess Giahaure of the king of Samarcand, her
father, for the king of Persia, his nephew.

This done, queen Gulnare and king Saleh, who verily believed king Beder
asleep, agreed to wake him; and he dissembled the matter so well, that he
seemed to wake from a profound sleep. He had nevertheless heard every
word they said; and the character they gave of the princess Giahaure had
inflamed his heart with an unknown passion. He had conceived so bright an
idea of her beauty, that he could not sleep a wink all night, but
remained under continual inquietudes.

Next day king Saleh would needs take leave of queen Gulnare and the king
his nephew. The young king, who knew the king his uncle would not have
departed so soon, but to go and promote his happiness, blushed when he
heard him mention his departure. His passion was become so violent, it
would not suffer him to wait so long for the sight of his mistress as
would suffice to accomplish the marriage. He more than once resolved to
desire his uncle to bring her away with him; but as he did not care to
let the queen his mother understand he knew any thing of what had passed,
he desired him only to stay with him a day or two, that they might hunt
together, intending to make use of that occasion to discover his mind to

The day for hunting was set, and king Beder had many opportunities to
declare his mind to his uncle; but he had not the courage so much as once
to open his mouth to acquaint him with what he designed.

In the midst of the chase, when not only king Saleh but all his
attendants had left him, he alighted near a spring; and, having tied his
horse to a tree that afforded a very plentiful shade, as did several
others along the banks of the rivulet, he laid himself down on the grass,
and gave a free course to his tears, which issued forth in great
abundance, accompanied with many sobs and sighs. He remained in this
condition, overwhelmed with thought, and not speaking so much as one
word. King Saleh, in the mean time, missing the king his nephew, and not
meeting with any one who could tell tidings of him, began to be much
concerned to know what was become of him. He therefore left his company
to go in search of him, and at length perceived him at a distance. He had
observed the day before, and even more evidently that day, that he was
not so merry as he used to be, that he was more pensive than ordinary,
and that if he was asked a question, he either answered not at all, or
nothing to the purpose: but he never so much as in the least suspected
the cause of all this alteration, till he saw him lying in that
disconsolate posture; when he immediately guessed he had not only heard
what passed between him and the queen Gulnare, but was become
passionately in love. He hereupon alighted, at some distance from him,
and having tied his horse to a tree, took a compass, and came upon him so
softly, that he heard him pronounce the following words:

Adorable princess of the kingdom of Samarcand, cried he out, I have no
doubt had but an imperfect sketch of your incomparable beauty; yet I hold
you to be preferable to all the princesses in the world in charms, and to
excel them as much as the sun does the moon and stars. I would this
moment go and offer you my heart, if I but knew where to find you: it
belongs to you, dear princess, and nobody shall be the possessor of it
but you.

King Saleh would hear no more: he advanced immediately, and discovered
himself to king Beder. From what I have understood, nephew, said he, you
heard that which the queen your mother and I discoursed the other day of
the princess Giahaure. It was not our intention you should have known any
thing, and we verily thought you were asleep. My dear uncle, replied king
Beder, I heard every word you said, and have sufficiently experienced the
effect you foretold; which it was not in your power to prevent. I
detained you on purpose to acquaint you with my love before your
departure; but the confusion I had to let you know my weakness, if it be
any to love so worthy a princess as this seems to be, altogether sealed
my mouth. I beseech you then, by the friendship you profess for a prince
that has the honour to be so nearly allied to you, that you would pity
me, and not delay to procure me the consent of the king of Samarcand,
that I may marry his daughter, the adorable Giahaure, with all speed,
unless you have a mind to see me die with love before I have the sight of

These words of the king of Persia troubled king Saleh very much: he gave
him to understand how difficult it was to give him the satisfaction he
desired, and that he could not well do it without carrying him along with
him; which might be of dangerous consequences, since his presence was so
absolutely necessary in his kingdom, that the least absence might
occasion his subjects to revolt. He conjured him, therefore, to moderate
his passion till such time as he had put things into a better posture;
assuring him he would use his utmost diligence to content him, and, when
he had brought matters to bear, he would come to acquaint him. But these
reasons were not sufficient to satisfy the king of Persia. Cruel uncle,
said he, I find you do not love me so much as you pretended, and that you
had rather see me die than grant the first request that ever I made you.

I am ready to convince your majesty, replied king Saleh, that I would do
any thing to serve you in reason; but as for carrying you along with me,
I cannot do that till I have spoken to the queen your mother. What would
she say if I should do this? If she consents, I am ready to do all you
would have me. You cannot be ignorant, replied the king of Persia, that
the queen my mother would never willingly part with me; and therefore
this excuse of yours does but yet farther convince me of the hardness of
your heart. If you do really love me, as you would have me to believe you
do, you must return to your kingdom immediately, and carry me along with

King Saleh, finding himself in a manner obliged to yield to his nephew’s
importunity, drew a ring off his finger, which was engraved with the same
mysterious names of God that were upon Solomon’s seal, that had wrought
so many wonders by their virtue. Here, take this ring, said he, put it
upon your finger, and fear neither the waters of the sea, nor their
depth. The king of Persia took the ring, and when he had put it on his
finger, king Saleh said unto him, Follow me; when, at the same time, they
both mounted leisurely up into the air, and made towards the sea, which
was not far off, whereinto they jointly plunged.

The sea-king was not long in going to his palace with the king of Persia,
whom he immediately carried to the queen’s apartment, and presented him
to her. The king of Persia kissed the queen his grandmother’s hands, and
she embraced him with great demonstrations of joy. I do not ask you how
you do, said she to him, I see you are well enough, and I am rejoiced at
it; but I desire to know how my daughter and your mother queen Gulnare
does. The king of Persia took great care not to let her know he came
without her consent; and therefore told her the queen his mother was in
perfect health, and had enjoined him to pay her duty to her. Then the
queen presented him to the princesses; and while he was in conversation
with them, she left him, and went with king Saleh into a closet. He there
told her how the king of Persia was fallen in love with the princess
Giahaure, upon the bare relation of her beauty; and, contrary to his
intention, that he had brought him along with him, without being able to
hinder it, and that he was going to concert measures to procure the
princess for him in marriage.

Although king Saleh was, to do him justice, perfectly innocent of the
king of Persia’s passion, yet the queen could hardly forgive his
indiscretion, in mentioning the princess Giahaure before him. Your
imprudence is beyond parallel, said she to him: can you think that the
king of Samarcand, whose character is so well known, will have greater
consideration for you than the many other kings he has refused his
daughter to with scorn and contempt? Would you have him send you away
with the same confusion he has done them?

Madam, replied king Saleh, I have told you it was contrary to my
intention that the king my nephew heard what I related of the beauty of
the princess Giahaure to the queen my sister. The fault, if it be one, is
already committed; and we must consider what a violent passion he has for
this princess, and that he will die with grief and affliction if we do
not speedily obtain her for him, with whatever trouble we are to do it.
For my part, I shall omit nothing that may contribute to it, since I was,
though innocently, the cause of the malady: I will therefore do all that
I can to remedy it. I hope, madam, you will approve of my resolution, to
go and wait upon the king of Samarcand, with a rich present of precious
stones, and demand the princess his daughter of him for the king of
Persia, your grandson and my nephew. I have some reason to believe he
will not refuse me, nor neglect to ally himself with one of the greatest
potentates of the earth.

It were to have been wished, replied the queen, that we had not been
under a necessity of making this demand, since the success of our attempt
is not so certain as we could desire; but since my grandson’s quiet and
content totally depend upon it, I freely give my consent to it. But,
above all, I charge you, since you sufficiently know the humour of the
king of Samarcand, that you take care to show him due respect, and not in
any wise offend him by too presuming a behaviour.

The queen prepared the present herself, composing it of diamonds, rubies,
emeralds, and strings of pearl; all which she put into a box, very neat
and very rich. Next morning, king Saleh took his leave of her majesty and
the king of Persia, and departed with a chosen but small troop of
officers and other attendants. He soon arrived at the capital and palace
of the king of Samarcand, who did not scruple to afford him audience
immediately upon his arrival. He rose from his throne as soon as he
perceived king Saleh; who, being willing to forget his character for some
moments, knowing whom he had to deal with, prostrated himself at his
feet, wishing him an accomplishment of whatever he desired. The king of
Samarcand immediately stooped to take him up; and, after he had placed
him by him on his left-hand, he told him he was welcome, and asked him if
there was any thing he could do to serve him.

Sir, answered king Saleh, though I should have no other motive than that
of rendering my respects to the most potent and most prudent prince in
the world, yet would I endeavour to convince your majesty, though poorly,
how much I honour and adore you. Were it possible you could penetrate
into my inmost soul, you would soon be convinced of the great veneration
I have had for you, and the ardent desire I entertain to pay you my most
humble acknowledgments. Having spoken these words, he took the box of
jewels from one of his servants, and having opened it, presented it to
the king, imploring him to accept of it for his sake.

Prince, replied the king of Samarcand, I hope you do not make me this
present without requiring a proportional benefit from me. If there be any
thing within the compass of my capacity, you may freely command it, and
will do me signal honour in accepting it. Speak, and tell me frankly
wherein I can serve you.

I must own ingenuously, replied king Saleh, I have a boon to ask of your
majesty; but I shall take care to ask nothing but what is within your
power to grant. The thing depends so absolutely on yourself, that it
would be to no purpose to require it of any other. I ask it then with all
possible earnestness, and I beg of you not to refuse it me. If it be so,
replied the king of Samarcand, you have nothing to do but to acquaint me
what it is, and you shall see after what manner I can oblige people of

Sir, then said king Saleh, after the confidence your majesty has been
pleased to think I have put in your good-will, I will not dissemble any
longer, that I came to beg of you to honour our house with your alliance
by marriage, and by that means to fortify the good understanding that has
always hitherto been between our two crowns.

At these words, the king of Samarcand began to laugh heartily, falling
back in his throne against a cushion that supported him; and soon after
said, with an injurious and scornful air, to king Saleh; King Saleh, I
have always hitherto thought you were a prince of great sense and wisdom;
but now I find you just the contrary. Tell me, I beseech you, where was
your wit or discretion, when you formed to yourself so great a chimera as
you have just now proposed to me? Could you conceive a thought only of
aspiring in marriage to so great a princess as my daughter? You ought to
have considered better the great distance between us, and not to run the
risk of losing in a moment the esteem I always had for your person.

King Saleh was extremely nettled at this affronting answer, and had much
ado to restrain his just resentment: however he replied, with greater
moderation than could be expected, God reward your majesty according as
you deserve. I beg the honour to inform you, I do not demand the princess
in marriage for myself: had I done so, your majesty, or the princess,
ought to have been so far from being offended, that you might rather have
taken it for an honour done to both. Your majesty knows well I am a king
of the sea as well as yourself; that the kings my ancestors have no
reason to yield in antiquity to any other royal families; and that the
kingdom I inherit from them is no less potent and flourishing than it has
ever been. If your majesty had not interrupted me, you had soon
understood, that the favour I asked of you was not for myself, but for
the young king of Persia, my nephew, whose power and grandeur, no less
than his personal good qualities, cannot be unknown to you. Every body
acknowledges the princess Giahaure to be one of the finest ladies under
the heavens; but it is at the same time acknowledged by all, that the
young king of Persia, my nephew, is as accomplished as any prince, either
upon land or under the water. Thus the favour that is asked being likely
to redound both to the honour of your majesty and the princess your
daughter, you ought not to delay your consent to an alliance so equal,
and which no doubt will be approved by the generality of people. The
princess is worthy of the king of Persia, and the king of Persia is no
less worthy of her. No king or prince in the world can deny me this.

The king of Samarcand had not let king Saleh go on so long after this
rate, had not the rage he put him in deprived him of all power of speech.
He was moreover some time longer before he could find his tongue, so much
was he transported with passion. At length, however, he broke out into
outrageous and injurious expressions, unworthy of a king. Dog, says he
aloud, dare you talk to me after this manner, and so much as once to
mention my daughter’s name in my presence? Can you think the son of your
sister Gulnare worthy to come in competition with my daughter? Who are
you? who was your father? who is your sister? and who your nephew? Was
not his father a dog, and a son of a dog, like thee? Guards, seize the
insolent wretch, and immediately cut off his head.

The few officers that were about the king of Samarcand were immediately
going to obey his orders, when king Saleh, who was in the flower of his
age, nimble and vigorous, got from them before they could draw their
sabres; and, having reached the palace gate, he there found a thousand
men of his relations and friends, well armed and equipped, who were but
just arrived. The queen his mother having considered the small number of
attendants he took with him, and moreover foreseeing the bad reception he
would probably have from the king of Samarcand, had sent these troops to
protect and defend him, in case of danger. Those of his relations who
were at the head of this troop immediately saw how seasonably they were
arrived, when they beheld him and his companions come running in great
disorder, and a small number of officers at their heels in pursuit of
them. My lord, cried out his friends, at the moment he joined them, what
is the matter? We are ready to revenge you; you need only command us.

King Saleh related his case to them in as few words as he could; and
afterwards putting himself at the head of a large troop, he, whilst some
seized on the gates, re-entered the palace as before. The few officers
and guards who had pursued him being soon dispersed, he re-entered the
king of Samarcand’s apartment, who, being abandoned by his attendants,
was soon seized. King Saleh left sufficient guards to secure his person,
and then went from apartment to apartment, to search after the princess
Giahaure. But that princess, on the first noise of this alarm, had,
together with her women, flung herself on the surface of the sea, and
escaped to a desert island.

As matters passed thus in the palace of the king of Samarcand, those of
king Saleh’s attendants, who had fled at the first menaces of the king,
put the queen his mother into a terrible consternation, upon relating the
danger her son was in. King Beder, who was by at that time, was the more
concerned, in that he looked upon himself as the principal author of all
the mischief that might ensue: therefore, not caring to abide the queen’s
presence any longer, he, whilst she was giving the necessary orders at
that conjuncture, darted himself upwards from the bottom of the sea; and
not knowing how to find his way to the kingdom of Persia, he happened to
light on the same island where the princess Giahaure had saved herself.

The prince, not a little disturbed in his mind, went and seated himself
under the shade of a large tree, surrounded with divers others. Whilst he
was endeavouring to recover his temper, he heard one that talked, but was
too far off to understand what was said. He arose, and advanced softly
towards the place whence the sound came, where, among the branches, he
perceived a beauty that dazzled him. Doubtless, said he within himself,
stopping, and considering her with great attention, this must be the
princess Giahaure, whom fear has obliged to abandon her father’s palace;
or, if it be not, she is, at least, one that no less deserves my love and
admiration. This said, he moved forward, and discovering himself,
approached the princess with a profound reverence. Madam, said he, I can
never sufficiently thank Heaven for the favour it has done me, in
regaling my eyes this day with so glorious a sight. A greater blessing
could not be conferred on me than this opportunity to offer you my most
humble services. I beseech you, therefore, madam, to accept them, it
being impossible that a lady, under such solitary circumstances, should
not want assistance.

True, my lord, replied Giahaure, very sorrowfully, it is not a little
extraordinary for a lady of my quality to be found in this condition. I
am a princess, daughter of the king of Samarcand, and my name is
Giahaure. As I was at ease in my father’s palace, and in my apartment, I
all of a sudden heard a dreadful noise: news was immediately brought me,
that king Saleh, I know not for what reason, had fired the palace, seized
upon the king my father, and murdered all the guards that made any
resistance. I had only time to save myself, and escape hither from his

At these words of the princess, king Beder began to be concerned that he
had quitted his grandmother so hastily, without staying to hear from her
the news that had been brought her; but he was, on the other hand,
overjoyed to find that the king his uncle had rendered himself master of
the king of Samarcand’s person, not doubting but he would consent to give
up the princess for his liberty. Adorable princess, continued he, your
concern is most just; but it is easy to put an end both to that and your
father’s captivity. You will agree with me, when I shall tell you that I
am Beder, king of Persia, and king Saleh is my uncle. I assure you,
madam, he has no design to seize upon the king your father’s dominions:
his only intent is, to obtain of him that I may have the honour to be
received for his son-in-law. I had already given my heart to you, upon
the bare relation of your charming beauty; and now, very far from
repenting of what I have done, I beg of you to accept it, and to be
assured that I will love you as long as I live. I dare flatter myself you
will not refuse this favour, but be ready to acknowledge, that a king
that quitted his dominions purely on your account deserves some favour.
Permit then, beauteous princess, that I may have the honour to go and
present you to the king my uncle; and the king your father shall no
sooner have consented to our marriage, than king Saleh will leave him
sovereign of his dominions as before.

This declaration of king Beder had not all the success he could have
desired. It is true the princess no sooner saw his person, and the good
mien wherewith he accosted her, than she had some kindness for him; but
when she came to understand from his own mouth that he had been the
occasion of all the ill treatment her father had undergone, of the grief
and fright she had endured, and especially the necessity she was reduced
to in flying her country to save her life, she looked upon him with that
horror, that she considered him rather as an enemy than a friend, with
whom she resolved to have no manner of converse. Moreover, whatever
inclination she might by any means be thought to have in regard to this
marriage, she determined never to yield to it, in consideration that one
of the reasons her father might have against this match might be, that
king Beder was son of a king of the earth; and therefore she proposed to
obey her father, especially in that particular.

She nevertheless resolved to let king Beder know nothing of her
resentment, and only sought an occasion to deliver herself dexterously
out of his hands, seeming, in the mean time, to have a great kindness for
him. Are you then, said she, with all possible civility, son of the queen
Gulnare, so famous for her wit and beauty? I am highly glad of it, and
moreover rejoice that you are the son of so worthy a mother. The king my
father was much in the wrong for so strongly opposing our conjunction: he
could no sooner have seen you but he must have consented to have made us
both happy. Saying these words, she reached forth her hand to him as a
token of friendship.

King Beder, believing himself arrived at the very pinnacle of happiness
held forth his hand, and was stooping to take that of the princess to
kiss it, when she, pushing him back, and spitting at him, said, Wretch,
quit that form of a man, and take one of a white bird, with a red bill
and feet. Upon her pronouncing these words, king Beder was immediately
changed into a bird of that sort, to his great surprise and astonishment.
Take him now, said she to one of her women, and carry him to the Desert
Island. This island was only one frightful rock, where there was not a
drop of water to be had.

The waiting-woman took the bird; and, in executing the princess’s orders,
had compassion on king Beder’s destiny. It would be great pity, said she
to herself, to let a prince, so worthy to live, die of hunger and thirst.
The princess will, it may be, repent of what she has ordered, when she
comes again to herself: it were better that I carried him to a place
where he may die a natural death. She then carried him to a
well-frequented island, and left him on a charming plain, planted with
all sorts of fruit-trees, and watered by divers rivulets.

Let us now return to king Saleh, who, after he had sought a good while
for the princess Giahaure, and ordered others to seek for her, to no
purpose, caused the king of Samarcand to be shut up in his palace, under
a good guard; and, having given the necessary orders for governing the
kingdom in his absence, he returned to give the queen his mother an
account of what he had done. The first thing he asked, upon his arrival,
was, Where was the king his nephew? and he was answered, to his great
surprise and astonishment, that he disappeared soon after he left him.
News being brought me, said the queen, of the danger you was in at the
palace of the king of Samarcand, while I was giving orders to send troops
for you to revenge yourself, he disappeared. He must necessarily have
been frightened at the hearing of your being in so great danger, and did
not think himself in sufficient security with us.

This news exceedingly afflicted king Saleh, who now repented of his being
so easily wrought upon by king Beder, as to carry him away with him
without his mother’s consent. He sent every where after him; but whatever
diligence was used, he could hear no news of him; and instead of the joy
he conceived at having carried on the marriage so far, which he looked
upon as his own work, he felt a grief for this accident that was
mortifying to him. While he was under suspense about his nephew, he left
his kingdom to the administration of his mother, and went and governed
that of the king of Samarcand, whom he continued to keep with great
vigilance, though with all due respect to his character.

The same day that king Saleh returned to the kingdom of Samarcand, queen
Gulnare, mother to king Beder, arrived at the court of the queen her
mother. The princess was not at all surprised to find her son did not
return the same day he set out; because it was common for him to go
farther than he proposed, in the heat of the chase: but when she saw he
neither returned the next day nor the day after that, she began to be
alarmed, as may easily be imagined, from the kindness she professed for
him. This alarm was considerably augmented, when the officers who had
accompanied the king, and were retired, after they had for a long time
sought in vain both for him and his uncle, came and told her majesty they
must of necessity have come to some harm, since, whatever diligence they
had used, they had heard no tidings of them. Their horses, indeed, they
had found; but, as for their persons, they knew not where to look for
them. The queen, hearing this, dissembled and concealed her affliction,
bidding the officers go and search once more with their utmost diligence;
but in the mean time, saying nothing to any body, she went and plunged
into the sea, to satisfy herself in the suspicion she had that king Saleh
must have carried away his nephew along with him.

This great queen would have been the more affectionately received by the
queen her mother, had she not, upon first sight of her, guessed the
occasion of her coming. Daughter, said she, I plainly perceive you are
not come hither to visit me; you come only to inquire after the king your
son; and I can only tell you such news of him as will augment both your
grief and mine. I must confess, I no sooner saw him arrive in our
territories, than I greatly rejoiced: yet, when I came to understand he
had come away without your knowledge, I began to partake with you in the
concern you must needs have at it. Then she related to her with what zeal
king Saleh went to demand the princess Giahaure in marriage for king
Beder, and what happened upon it, till such time as her son disappeared.
I have sent diligently after him, added she; and the king my son, who is
just gone to govern the kingdom of Samarcand, has done all that lay in
his power on his part. All our endeavours have hitherto proved
unsuccessful; but we hope nevertheless to see him again, perhaps when we
least expect it.

Comfortless queen Gulnare was not satisfied with this hope: she looked
upon the king her dear son as lost; and she lamented him grievously,
laying all the blame upon the king his uncle. The queen her mother made
her to consider the necessity there was of her not yielding too much to
her grief. The king your brother, said she, ought not, it is true, to
have talked to you so inconsiderately about that marriage, nor ever have
consented to carry away the king your son without your privacy: yet,
since it is not certain that the king of Persia is absolutely lost, you
ought to neglect nothing to preserve his kingdom for him. Lose then no
more time; but return to your capital: your presence there will be
necessary; and it will not be hard for you to preserve the public peace,
by causing it to be published that the king of Persia was gone to visit
his grandmother.

This reason was sufficient to oblige queen Gulnare to submit to it. She
took leave of the queen her mother, and was got back to the palace of her
capital of Persia before she had been missed. She despatched immediately
persons to recall the officers she had sent after the king, and to tell
them she knew where his majesty was, and that they should soon see him
again. She also caused the same report to be spread throughout the city,
and governed, in concert with the prime minister and council, with the
same tranquillity as if the king had been present.

To return to king Beder, whom the princess Giahaure’s waiting-woman had
carried and left in the island before mentioned. That monarch was not a
little surprised when he found himself alone, and under the form of a
bird. He esteemed himself more unhappy, in that he knew not where he was,
nor in what part of the world the kingdom of Persia lay. But if he had
known, and sufficiently knew the force of his wings to traverse so vast
watery regions, what could he have gained by it, but the mortification to
continue still in the same ill plight, not to be accounted so much as a
man, in the lieu of being acknowledged for king of Persia? He was then in
a manner constrained to remain where he was, and live upon such
nourishment as birds of his kind were wont to have.

A few days after, a peasant, who was skilled in taking birds with nets,
chanced to come to the place where he was; when, perceiving this fine
bird, the like of which he had never seen, though he had used that sport
for a long while, he began greatly to rejoice. He employed all his art to
become master of him; and at length used such proper methods, that he
took him. Overjoyed at so great a prize, which he looked upon to be of
more worth than all the other birds he commonly took, by reason of its
being so great a rarity, he shut it up in a cage, and carried it to the
city. As soon as he was come into the market, a citizen stopped him, and
asked him how much he would have for that bird.

Instead of answering, the peasant demanded of the citizen what he would
do with him in case he should buy him. What wouldst thou have me do with
him, answered the citizen, but roast and eat him? Very well, replied the
peasant; and so, I suppose, you would think me very well paid if you
should give me the smallest piece of money for him: but know, I set a
much greater value upon him; and you should not have him for a large
piece of gold. Although I am pretty well advanced in years, I never saw
such a bird in my life. I intend to make a present to the king of him;
and I am sure he will know the worth of him better than you.

Without staying any longer in the market, the peasant went directly to
the court, and placed himself exactly before the king’s apartment. His
majesty being at a window where he could see all that passed in the
base-court, at length cast his eyes on this beautiful bird; and, being
charmed with the sight of it, he immediately sent the commander of his
eunuchs to buy it for him. The officer, going to the peasant, demanded of
him how much he would have for that bird. If it be for his majesty,
answered the peasant, I humbly beg of him to accept it of me as a
present, and I desire you to carry it to him. Hereupon the officer took
the bird, and brought it to the king, who found it so great a rarity,
that he ordered the same officer to take ten pieces of gold and carry
them to the peasant, who departed very well satisfied with the market he
had made. The king ordered the bird to be put into a magnificent cage,
and gave it corn and water in rich vessels.

His majesty being then ready to mount on horseback, had not time to
consider the bird, therefore had it brought to him as soon as he came
back. The officer brought the cage; and the king, that he might better
view the bird, took it out himself, and perched it upon his hand. Looking
earnestly upon it, he demanded of the officer if he had seen it eat. Sir,
replied the officer, your majesty may observe his eating: the drawer is
still full; and I believe he has hardly touched any of his meat; at least
I did not see him. Then the king ordered him meat of divers sorts, that
he might take what he liked best.

The table being spread, (for dinner happened to be served up just as the
king had given these orders), and the plates being placed, the bird
leaped off the king’s hand, and, clapping his wings, flew upon the table,
where he began to peck the bread and victuals after an extraordinary
rate. The king seeing this, was so surprised at it, that he immediately
sent for the queen to come and see this miracle. The person that was sent
related the matter to her majesty, and she came forthwith; but she no
sooner saw the bird, than she covered her face with her veil, and would
have retired. The king, admiring her proceedings, in that there were none
but the eunuchs of the chamber and the women that waited on her, asked
the reason of it.

Sir, answered the queen, your majesty will no longer admire at my
proceeding, when you come to know that this bird, which you take to be
such, is no bird, but a man. Madam, said the king, more astonished than
before, you are pleased to banter me, I suppose; but you shall never
persuade me that a bird can be a man. Sir, replied the queen, far be it
from me to banter your majesty; yet nothing is more certain than what I
have had the honour to tell you.

I can assure your majesty it is the king of Persia, named Beder, son of
the celebrated Gulnare, princess of one of the largest kingdoms of the
sea, nephew of Saleh, king of that kingdom, and grand-child of queen
Farasche, mother of Gulnare and Saleh; and it was the princess Giahaure,
daughter of the king of Samarcand, who thus metamorphosed him into a
bird. Moreover, that the king might no longer doubt of what she affirmed,
she told him the whole story, as how, and for what reason, the princess
Giahaure had thus revenged herself for the ill treatment which king Saleh
had used towards the king of Samarcand, her father.

The king had the less difficulty to believe this assertion of the
queen’s, in that he knew her to be a skilful sorceress, perhaps one of
the greatest in the world; and as she knew every thing which passed in
it, he was always timely informed of the designs of the kings his
neighbours against him, and so prevented them. His majesty had compassion
on the king of Persia, and therefore earnestly besought his queen to
break the enchantment, that he might return to his own form.

The queen consented to it with great willingness. Sir, said she to the
king, be pleased to take the bird into your closet, and I will show you a
thing worthy of the consideration you have for him. The bird, which had
never minded eating, by reason of his attentiveness to what the king and
queen said, would not give his majesty the trouble to take him, but
hopped into the closet before him; and the queen came in soon after, with
a pot full of water in her hand. She mumbled over the pot some words,
unknown to the king, till such time as the water began to boil; when she
took some of it in her hand, and sprinkling a little upon the bird, said,
By virtue of these holy and mysterious words I am going to pronounce, and
in the name of the Creator both of heaven and earth, who raises the dead,
and maintains the universe in its distinct state, quit that form of a
bird, and reassume that form which thou receivedst from thy Creator.

The words were scarce out of the queen’s mouth, when, instead of a bird,
the king saw a young prince of good shape, air, and mien. King Beder
immediately fell on his knees, and thanked God for the mercy that had
been bestowed upon him. Then he took the king’s hand, who helped him up,
and kissed it as a token of his acknowledgment; but the king embraced him
with a great deal of joy, and testified to him the great satisfaction he
had to see him. He would then have paid his acknowledgments to the queen,
but she was already retired to her apartment. The king made him sit at
the table with him, and after supper was over, he prayed him to relate to
him how the princess Giahaure had had the inhumanity to transform him
into a bird, so agreeable and amiable a prince as he was; and the king of
Persia immediately applied himself to satisfy him. When he had done, the
king, disdaining the proceeding of the princess, could not help blaming
her. It was commendable, said he, in the princess of Samarcand, not to be
insensible of the king her father’s ill treatment; but to carry her
vengeance so far, and especially against one that was not culpable, was
by no means to be excused, and she will never be able to justify herself.
But let us have done with this discourse, and tell me, I beseech you, in
what I can farther serve you.

Sir, answered king Beder, my obligation to your majesty has been so
great, that I ought to remain with you all my life-time to testify my
acknowledgments; but since your majesty has set no limits to your
generosity, I humbly entreat you to grant me one of your ships to
transport me to Persia, where I fear my absence, which has been but too
long, may have occasioned some disorder; and moreover, that the queen my
mother, from whom I concealed my departure, may be dead of grief, under
the uncertainty she must needs be of my life or of my death.

The king granted what he desired with all the good will imaginable, and
immediately gave orders for equipping one of his largest ships and best
sailers in all his numerous fleet. The ship was soon furnished with all
its complement of men, provisions, and ammunition; and as soon as the
wind became fair, king Beder embarked, after having taken leave of the
king, and thanked him for all his favours.

The ship sailed before the wind for ten days together, which made it
advance considerably. The eleventh day the wind changed, and becoming
very violent, there followed a furious tempest. The ship was not only
driven out of its course, but so grievously agitated, that all its masts
were thrown overboard; and driving along at the pleasure of the wind, it
at length struck against a rock and bulged.

The greatest part of the people were drowned, though some few were saved
by swimming, and others by getting on pieces of the wreck. King Beder was
one of the last; when, after having been tossed about for some time under
great uncertainty of his fate, he at length perceived himself near the
shore, and not far from a city that seemed large. He used his utmost
endeavours to reach the land, and was at length so fortunate to come so
near as to be able to touch the ground with his feet. He then immediately
abandoned his piece of wood, which had been of so great service to him;
but when he came pretty near the shore, he was greatly surprised to see
horses, camels, mules, asses, oxen, cows, bulls, and other animals,
crowding towards the shore, and putting themselves in a posture to oppose
his landing. He had all the difficulty in the world to conquer their
obstinacy, and force his way; but at length he did it, which when done,
he sheltered himself among the rocks till such time as he had recovered
his breath, and dried his clothes in the sun.

When the prince advanced to enter the city, he met with the same
opposition from these animals, who seemed to intend to make him forego
his design, and give him to understand it was dangerous to proceed.

King Beder, however, got into the city soon after, and saw many fair and
spacious streets, but was surprised to find never a man there. This made
him think it was not without a cause that so many animals had opposed his
passage. Going forward, nevertheless, he observed divers shops open,
which gave him reason to believe the place was not destitute of
inhabitants, as he imagined. He approached one of these shops, where
several sorts of fruits were exposed to sale, and saluted very
courteously an old man that was sitting there.

The old man, who was busy about something, suddenly lifted up his head,
and seeing a youth that showed some grandeur in his air, started, and
asked him whence he came, and what business had brought him hither. King
Beder satisfied him in a few words; and the old man farther asked him, if
he had met any body on the road. You are the first person I have seen,
answered the king; and I cannot comprehend how so fine and large a city
comes to be without inhabitants. Come in, sir, stay no longer on the
threshold, replied the old man, or peradventure some misfortune may
happen to you. I will satisfy your curiosity at leisure, and give you a
reason why it is necessary you should take this precaution.

King Beder would not be bid twice. He entered the shop, and sat himself
down by the old man. The old man, who had learned from him an account of
his misfortunes, knew he must needs want nourishment, therefore
immediately presented him with what was necessary to recover his spirits;
and, although king Beder was very earnest to know why he gave him that
precaution before he entered the shop, he would nevertheless not be
prevailed upon to tell him any thing till he had done eating, for fear
the sad things he had to relate might balk his appetite. In a word, when
he found he ate no longer, he said to him, You have great reason to thank
God you got hither without any ill accident. Alas! why? replied king
Beder, very much surprised and alarmed.

Because, answered he, this city is the city of enchantments, and governed
not by a king, but a queen, who is not only one of the finest women of
her sex, but likewise a dangerous sorceress. You will be convinced of
this, added he, when you come to know that these horses, mules, and other
animals that you have seen, are so many men like you and me, whom she has
transformed by her diabolical art: and for young men like you only, that
come to enter into the city, she has hired servants to stop and bring
them, either by good will or force, before her. She receives them with
all the seeming civility in the world: she caresses them, she treats and
lodges them magnificently, and gives them so many reasons to believe that
she loves them, that they think they cannot be mistaken. But she does not
suffer them to enjoy long their happiness. Not one of them but she has
transformed into some animal or bird, within the space of forty days. You
told me those animals presented themselves to oppose your landing, and
hinder your entering the city; and I must now tell you they were your
friends, and what they did was to make you comprehend the danger you were
going to expose yourself to.

This account afflicted exceedingly the young king of Persia. Alas! cried
he out aloud, to what extremities has my ill fortune reduced me! I am
hardly freed from one enchantment, which I look back upon with horror,
but I incur another much more terrible to me. This gave him occasion to
relate his story to the old man much more at length, and to acquaint him
of his birth and quality, his passion for the princess of Samarcand, and
her cruelty in changing him into a bird, the very moment he came to see
and declare his love to her.

When the prince came to that passage where he spoke of his good fortune
in finding a queen that broke the enchantment, the old man said to him,
Notwithstanding all I have told you of the magic queen being true, yet
that ought not to give you the least disquiet, since I am generally
beloved throughout the city, and am not even unknown to the queen
herself, who has no small respect for me; therefore it was your peculiar
happiness to address yourself to me rather than elsewhere. You are secure
in my house, where I advise you to continue, if you think fit; and,
provided, you do not stray from hence, I dare assure you, you will have
no just cause to complain of my breach of faith; so that you are under no
sort of constraint whatsoever.

King Beder thanked the old man for his kind reception of him, and the
protection he was pleased to afford him. Then he sat down at the entrance
into the shop, where he no sooner appeared, than his youth and good mien
drew the eyes of all that passed that way on him. Many stopped and
complimented the old man on his having so fine a slave, as they imagined
the king to be; and they could not comprehend how so beautiful a youth
could escape the queen’s knowledge. Believe not, said the old man, this
is a slave: you all know I am not rich enough to have one of this
consequence: he is my nephew, son of a brother of mine that is dead; and
as I had no children of my own, I sent for him to keep me company. They
all congratulated his good fortune, in having so fine a young man for his
relation; but withal told him, they feared the queen would take him from
him. You know her well, said they to him; and you cannot be ignorant of
the danger you expose yourself and nephew to, after all the examples you
have seen of the kind. How grieved would you be, if she should serve you
as she has done so many others!

I am obliged to you, gentlemen, replied the old man, for your good will
towards me, and I thank you for the care you seem to take of my interest;
but I shall never entertain the least thought that the queen will do me
any injury, after all the kindness she has professed for me. In case she
happens to hear of this young man, and speaks to me about him, I doubt
not but she will be contented to excuse him, as soon as she comes to know
he is my nephew.

The old man was exceedingly glad to hear the commendations they bestowed
on the young king of Persia. He was as much affected with them as if he
had been his own son; and he conceived such a kindness for him, as
augmented every day during the stay he made with him. They lived about a
month together, when king Beder, sitting at the shop-door after his
ordinary manner, queen Labe (so was this magic queen’s name) happened to
come by with great pomp. The young king no sooner perceived the guards
coming, who marched before her, than he arose, and going into the shop,
asked the old man what all that show meant. The queen is coming by,
answered he; but stand you still, and fear nothing.

The queen’s guards, clothed in purple, and well armed and mounted,
marched in four files, with their sabres drawn, to the number of a
thousand, and not one of their officers but, as they passed by the shop,
saluted the old man. Then followed a like number of eunuchs habited in
brocade silk, and better mounted, whose officers did the old man the like
honours. Next came as many young ladies on foot, equally beautiful,
richly dressed, and set off with precious stones. They marched gravely,
with half pikes in their hands; and in the midst of them appeared queen
Labe, on a horse all glittering with diamonds, with a golden saddle, and
a housing of inestimable price. All the young ladies saluted the old man
as they passed by him; and the queen, moved with the good mien of king
Beder, stopped as soon as she came over-against the shop. Abdallah, (so
was the old man’s name,) said she to him, tell me, I beseech thee, does
that beautiful and charming slave belong to thee, and is it long that
thou hast been in possession of him?

Abdallah, before he answered the queen, threw himself on the ground, and
rising again, said, Madam, he is my nephew, son of a brother I had, who
has been dead for some time. Having no children, I look upon him as my
son, and sent for him to come and comfort me, intending to leave him what
I have when I die.

Queen Labe, who had never yet seen any one that pleased her so well as
king Beder, and who began to conceive a mighty passion for him, thought
immediately of getting the old man to abandon him to her. Father, quoth
she, will not you oblige me so far as to make me a present of this young
man? Do not refuse me, I conjure you; and I swear by the fire and the
light, I will make him as great and powerful as ever private man was in
the world. Although my design be to do evil to all mankind, yet he shall
be the sole exception. I trust you will grant me what I desire, more on
account of the friendship you have for me, than the esteem you know I
have always had, and shall ever have, for your person.

Madam, replied the good Abdallah, I am infinitely obliged to your majesty
for all the kindness you have for me, and the honours you propose to do
my nephew. He is not worthy to approach so great a queen, and I humbly
beseech your majesty to excuse him.

Abdallah, replied the queen, I all along flattered myself you loved me,
and I could never have thought you would have given me so evident a token
of your slighting my request: but I swear once more by the fire and
light, and even by whatsoever is most sacred in my religion, that I will
pass on no farther until I have conquered thy obstinacy. I understand
very well what raises fears in thee; but I here promise, thou shalt never
have any occasion to repent thy having trusted me.

Old Abdallah was exceedingly grieved, in relation to king Beder and
himself, for being in a manner forced to obey the queen. Madam,
therefore, replied he, I would not willingly have your majesty have an
ill opinion of the sincere respect I have for you, but would always
contribute whatever I can to oblige you: I put an entire confidence in
your royal word, and I do not in the least doubt but you will keep it: I
only beg of your majesty to delay doing this great honour to my nephew
till you shall again pass by this way. That shall be to-morrow, quoth the
queen; and so saying, she inclined her head, as a token of her being
pleased, and so went forward towards her palace.

When queen Labe and all her attendants were out of sight, the good
Abdallah said to king Beder, Son, (for so he was wont to call him, for
fear of some time or other betraying himself in public,) it has not been
in my power, as you may have observed, to refuse the queen what she
demanded of me with so great earnestness, to the end I might not force
her to an extremity of employing her magic both against you and myself.
But I have some reason to believe she will use you well, as she promised,
on account of that particular esteem she professes for me. This you may
have seen, by the respect both she and all her court paid me. She would
be a cursed creature indeed, if she should deceive me; but in case she
should, she shall not deceive me unrevenged, for I know how to be even
with her.

All these assurances, which appeared very doubtful, were not sufficient
to support king Beder’s spirits. After all you have told me of this
queen’s wickedness, replied he, you cannot wonder if I am somewhat
fearful to approach her. I should, it may be, slight all you could tell
me of her, and suffer myself to be dazzled by the lustre of grandeur that
surrounds her, if I had not already been at the mercy of a sorceress. The
condition I was in, through the enchantment of the princess Giahaure, and
from whence I was delivered only to enter anew into another, has made me
look upon such a fate with horror. His tears hindered him from going on
any farther, and sufficiently showed with what repugnance he held himself
in a manner under a fatal necessity of being delivered to queen Labe.

Son, replied old Abdallah, do not afflict yourself; for though I must own
there is no great stress to be laid upon the oaths and promises of so
perfidious a queen, yet I must withal acquaint you, her power extends no
farther than I am pleased to permit it: she knows it full well herself;
and that is the reason, and no other, that she pays me so great respect.
I can quickly hinder her from doing you the least harm, though she should
be perfidious enough to attempt it. You may entirely depend upon me; and,
provided you follow exactly the advice I shall give you before I abandon
you to her, she shall have no more power over you than she has over me.

The magic queen did not fail to pass by the old man’s shop the next day,
with the same pomp she had done the day before; and Abdallah waited for
her with great respect. Father, cried she, stopping just against him, you
may judge of my impatience to have your nephew with me, by my punctual
coming to put you in mind of your promise: I know you are a man of your
word, and I cannot think you will break it with me.

Abdallah, who fell on his knees as soon as he saw the queen approaching,
rose up when she had done speaking; and as he would have nobody hear what
he had a mind to say to her, he advanced with great respect as far as her
horse’s head, and then said softly, Puissant queen! I am persuaded your
majesty will not be offended at my seeming unwillingness to trust my
nephew with you yesterday, since you cannot be ignorant of the reasons I
had for it; but I conjure you to lay aside the secrets of that art which
you possess in so wonderful a degree. I respect my nephew as my own son;
and your majesty would reduce me to the utmost despair, if you should
think fit to deal with him as you have done with others.

I promise you once more I will not, replied the queen; and I once more
repeat the oath I made yesterday, that neither you nor your nephew shall
have any cause to be offended at me. I see plainly, added she, you are
not yet well enough acquainted with me: you never saw me yet but through
a veil; but as I find your nephew worthy of my friendship, I will show
you I am not any wise unworthy of his. With that she threw off her veil,
and discovered to king Beder, who came near her with Abdallah, an
incomparable face: but king Beder was little charmed. It is not enough,
said he within himself, to be beautiful; one’s actions ought to
correspond in regularity with one’s features.

While king Beder was making these reflections, with his eyes fixed on
queen Labe, the old man turned towards him, and, taking him by the arm,
presented him to her majesty, saying, Here he is, madam; and I beg of
your majesty once more to remember he is my nephew, and to let him come
and see me sometimes. The queen promised he should; and, to give a
farther assurance of her acknowledgment, she caused a bag of a thousand
pieces of gold to be given him. He excused himself at first from
receiving them; but she insisted absolutely upon it, and he could not
refuse her. She had caused a horse to be brought, as richly harnessed and
set out as her own, for the king of Persia. While he was mounting him, I
forgot, said the queen to Abdallah, to ask you your nephew’s name; pray
how is he called? He answered, his name was Beder, (The Full Moon); and
her majesty replied, Sure his ancestors were mistaken; they ought to have
given him the name of Shems, (The Sun).

When king Beder was mounted, he would have taken his post behind the
queen; but she would not suffer him, and made him to ride on her left
hand. She looked upon Abdallah; and, after having made him an inclination
with her head, she set forward on her march.

Instead of observing a satisfaction in the people’s faces at the sight of
their sovereign, king Beder took notice that they rather despised and
cursed her. The sorceress, said some, has got a new subject to exercise
her wickedness upon: will Heaven never deliver the world from her
tyranny? Poor stranger, cried out others, thou art much deceived if thou
thinkest thy happiness will last long: it is to render thy fall more
terrible, that she has raised thee so high. This talk gave king Beder to
understand Abdallah had told him nothing but the truth of queen Labe; but
as he no longer depended on him, he had recourse to divine Providence to
free him from the danger he was got into.

The magic queen arrived at her palace, whither she was no sooner come,
than she alighted, and, giving her hand to king Beder, entered with him,
accompanied by her women and the officers of her eunuchs. She herself
showed him all her apartments, where there was nothing to be seen but
massy gold, precious stones, and furniture of wonderful magnificence.
When she had carried him into her closet, she led him out into a balcony,
from whence he observed a garden of surprising beauty. King Beder
commended all he saw, with a great deal of wit, but nevertheless in such
a manner that he might not be discovered to be any other than old
Abdallah’s nephew. They discoursed of divers indifferent matters, till
such time as news was brought the queen that dinner was upon the table.

The queen and king Beder arose, and went to place themselves at table,
which was of pure massy gold, and the plates of the same. They began to
eat, but did not drink till almost the dessert came, when the queen
caused a cup to be filled with excellent wine: she took it, and drank to
king Beder’s health; and then causing it to be filled again, presented it
to him. King Beder received it with profound respect, and, by a very low
bow, signified to her majesty that he likewise drank to her health.

Soon after, ten of queen Labe’s women entered with musical instruments,
with which, accompanied with their voices, they made an agreeable concert
during the whole drinking, which continued till late at night. At length
they began to be so heated with wine, that king Beder insensibly forgot
he had to do with a magic queen, and looked upon her only as the finest
woman he ever saw. As soon as the queen perceived she had wrought him to
the pitch she desired, she made a sign to her eunuchs and women to
retire. They obeyed; and king Beder and she went and lay together all

Next morning the queen and king Beder went to the bagnio; and as soon as
they came out, the women who had served the king there, presented him
with fine linen and a magnificent habit. The queen likewise, who was more
splendidly dressed than the day before, came to receive him, and they
went together to her apartment, where they had a good repast brought
before them, and spent the remainder of the day in walking and other

Queen Labe treated king Beder after this manner for forty days, as she
had been accustomed to do all her lovers. The fortieth night, as they
were lying together, she, believing he was really asleep, arose without
making any noise; but he was awake, and perceiving she had some design
upon him, watched all her motions. Being up, she opened a chest, from
whence she took a little box, full of a certain yellow powder. Taking
some of the powder, she laid a train of it across the chamber, and
immediately flowed in a rivulet of water, to the great astonishment of
king Beder. He trembled with fear, but still pretended to sleep, that he
might not discover to the sorceress he was awake.

Queen Labe next took up some of the water in a pot, and poured it into a
basin where there was flour, with which she made paste, and kneaded it
for a long time: then she mixed certain drugs with it, which she took
from different boxes, and made a cake, and put it into a covered
baking-pan. As she had taken care at first to make a good fire, she took
some of the coals, and set the pan upon them; and as the cake was baking,
she put up her pot and boxes again; and at the pronouncing of certain
words, dismissed the rivulet, which appeared no more. When the cake was
baked, she took it off the coals, and carried it into her closet, and
afterwards returned to bed again to king Beder, who dissembled the matter
so well with her, that she had not the least suspicion that he knew any
thing of what she had done.

King Beder, whom the pleasures and delights of a court had made to forget
his good host Abdallah, began now to think of him again, and believed he
had more than ordinary occasion for his advice at this juncture, since he
saw all the queen had done that night. As soon as he was up, therefore,
he expressed a great desire to go and see his uncle, and begged of her
majesty to permit him. Alas! my dear Beder, cried the queen, are you then
already tired, I will not say with the pleasures of so superfine a palace
as mine is, but with the company of a queen who loves you so passionately
as I do?

Great queen, answered king Beder, how can I be tired with so many favours
and graces as your majesty perpetually heaps upon me? Very far from that,
I desire this permission, madam, purely to go and give my uncle an
account of the mighty obligations I have to your majesty. I must own
likewise it is partly in this respect, that my uncle loving me so
tenderly, as it is very well known he does, and I having been from him
now forty days, without so much as once seeing him, he will surely take
it very unkindly if I cannot afford him one visit. Go, said the queen, I
consent to it; but you will not be long before you return, if you
consider I cannot possibly live without you. This said, she ordered him a
fine horse richly caparisoned, and so he departed.

Old Abdallah was overjoyed to see his dear adopted son again; insomuch
that, without regard to his quality, he embraced him heartily, and king
Beder returned the like, that nobody might doubt but that he was his
nephew. As soon as they were sat down, Well, said Abdallah to the king,
how do you do, sir? and how have you passed your time with that infidel

Hitherto, answered king Beder, I must needs own she has been
extraordinary kind to me, and has done all she could to persuade me that
she loves me entirely; but I observed something last night, which gives
me just reason to suspect that all her kindness hitherto is but
dissimulation. Whilst she thought me asleep, although I was really awake,
she stole from me with a great deal of precaution, which made me suspect
her intention, and therefore I resolved to watch her. Going on with his
discourse, he related to Abdallah how, and after what manner, he had seen
her make the cake; and then added, Hitherto, said he, I must needs
confess I had almost forgot, not only you, but all the advice you gave me
concerning the wickedness of this queen: but this last action of hers
gives me reason to fear she neither intends to observe any of her oaths
nor promises. I thought of you immediately, and esteem myself happy in
that I have obtained permission to come to you.

You are not deceived in this wicked queen, replied old Abdallah with a
smile, to show he did not himself believe she would observe one word she
spoke, nor oath she made; nothing is capable of obliging a perfidious
woman to mend her morals. But fear nothing; I have a way to make the
mischief she intends you fall upon herself. You are become jealous in
time; and you could not have done better than this, to have recourse to
me. It is her ordinary practice to keep her lovers only forty days; and
after that time, instead of sending them home, to turn them into animals
to stock her forests and parks; but I thought of measures yesterday to
prevent her doing any harm. The earth has borne this monster long enough,
and it is now high time she should be served as she deserves.

So saying, Abdallah put two cakes into king Beder’s hands, bidding him
keep them to make use of as he should direct. You told me, continued he,
the sorceress made a cake last night: it was for you to eat of, depend
upon it, but take great care you do not touch it. Nevertheless, do not
refuse to receive it when she offers it you; but, instead of tasting it,
break off part of one of the two that I gave you, unobserved, and eat
that. As soon as she thinks you have swallowed it, she will not fail to
attempt transforming you into some animal, but she shall not succeed;
which when she sees, she will immediately turn the thing to pleasantry,
as if what she had done was only to frighten you; but she will conceal a
mortal aversion in her heart, and think her having failed proceeded only
from the want of something in the composition of her cake. As for the
cake she made, and which she will not know to be her own, you shall make
a present of it to her, and press her to eat it; which she will not
refuse to do, if it were only to convince you she does not mistrust you,
though she has given you so much reason to mistrust her. When she has
quite eaten it, take a little water in the hollow of your hand, and,
throwing it in her face, say, Quit that form you now wear, and take that
of such or such an animal, as you shall think fit; which done, come to me
with the animal, and I will tell you what you shall do afterwards.

King Beder made all possible acknowledgments to old Abdallah, for the
great obligations he had to him, for defending him from the wiles of a
pestilent sorceress who sought to ruin him; and after some little
discourse, he took his leave of him and returned to the palace. Upon his
arrival, he understood that the queen waited for him with great
impatience in the garden. He went to pay his respects to her, and she no
sooner perceived him, than she came in great haste to meet him. My dear
Beder! said she, it is said, with a great deal of reason, that nothing
moves more the force and excess of love than absence from the object
beloved. I have had no quiet since I saw you, and the minutes I have been
separated from you have seemed so many ages; nay, if you had staid ever
so little longer, I was preparing to come and fetch you once more to my

Madam, replied king Beder, I can assure your majesty that I have not been
under less disquiets on your account; but I could not refuse to stay a
little longer than ordinary with an uncle who loves me so dearly, and had
not seen me for so long a while. He would have kept me still longer, but
I tore myself away from him to come and pay my vows where they are so
much due. Of all the collations he prepared for me, I have only brought
away this cake, which I desire your majesty to accept. King Beder had
wrapped up one of the two cakes in a handkerchief very neatly, took it
out, and presented it to the queen, saying, I beg your majesty to accept
of it, though it be so inconsiderable a present.

I do accept of it with all my heart, replied the queen, receiving it, and
will eat it cheerfully for yours and your good uncle’s sake: but before I
taste of it, I desire you will eat a piece of mine, which I have made for
you during your absence. Fair queen, answered king Beder, receiving it
with great respect, such hands as your majesty’s can never make any thing
but what is excellent; and the favour hereby done me will exact an
eternal acknowledgment.

King Beder then substituted, in the place of the queen’s cake, the other
which old Abdallah had given him, and having broken off a piece, he put
it to his mouth, and cried, while he was eating, Ah! queen, I never
tasted any thing so charming in my life. They being near a cascade, the
sorceress seeing him swallow one bit of the cake, and ready to eat
another, she took a little water in the palm of her hand, and throwing it
on the king’s face, said, Wretch! quit that form of a man thou bearest,
and take that of a vile horse, lame and blind.

These words not having the desired effect, the sorceress was strangely
surprised to find king Beder still in the same form, and that he only
started, being a little frightened. Blushes came suddenly into her
cheeks; and as she saw that she had missed her aim, Dear Beder, cries
she, this is nothing, recover thyself; I did not intend thee any harm;
what I did, was only to see what thou wouldst say. I should be the most
miserable and execrable of women, should I attempt aught against thy
tranquillity; I do not only say, after all the oaths I made to the
contrary, but even after so many testimonies of love as I have given

Puissant queen, replied king Beder, however well satisfied I were, that
what your majesty did was only to divert yourself, yet I could not help
being a little frightened with the surprise. Also, what could hinder me
from being a little moved at the pronouncing of such terrible words, as
are capable of making so strange a transformation? But, madam, continued
he, let us set aside this discourse; and since I have ate of your cake, I
desire you would do me the like favour by tasting of mine.

Queen Labe, who could no better justify herself than by putting this
confidence in the king of Persia, broke off a piece of his cake and ate
it; which she had no sooner done, than she appeared much troubled, and
remained, as it were, motionless. King Beder, seeing his time, took water
out of the same basin she had done, and, throwing it in her face, cried,
Abominable sorceress! quit that form of a woman, and be turned instantly
into a mare.

The same instant queen Labe was transformed into a very beautiful mare;
and she was so concerned to find herself in that condition, that she shed
tears in great abundance, which perhaps no mare before had been ever
known to do. She bowed her head with great obeisance to king Beder,
thinking to move him to compassion; but, though he could have been so
moved, it was absolutely out of his power to repair the damage he had
done her. He led her then into the stable belonging to the palace, and
put her into the hands of a groom, to bridle and saddle; but of all the
bridles he tried upon her, not one would fit her. This made him cause two
horses to be saddled, one for the groom and the other for himself; and
the groom led the mare after him to old Abdallah’s.

Abdallah, seeing king Beder coming with the mare at a distance, doubted
not but he had done what he advised him. Cursed sorceress! said he
immediately to himself very joyfully. Heaven has at length punished thee
as thou deservest. King Beder alighted at Abdallah’s door, and entered
with him into the shop embracing and thanking him for all the signal
services he had done him. He related to him the whole matter, with all
its circumstances; and moreover told him, he could find no bridle fit for
the mare. Abdallah found one that fitted exactly; and as soon as king
Beder had sent back the groom, he said to him, My lord, you have no
reason to stay any longer in this city; take the mare, mount her, and
return to your kingdom. I have but one thing more to recommend to you;
and that is, if ever you should happen to part with the mare, be sure to
deliver her bridle. King Beder promised to observe all his commands, and
this especially; and so, having taken leave of the good old man, he

The young king of Persia no sooner got out of the city, than he began to
reflect on the deliverance he had had, and to rejoice he had the
sorceress in his power, who had given him so much cause to tremble. Three
days after, he arrived at a great city, where, entering the suburbs, he
met a venerable old man, walking on foot towards a pleasure-house he had
hard by: Sir, said the old man to him, stopping, may I presume to ask
from what part of the world you come? The king stopped to satisfy him;
and, as they were discoursing together, an old woman chanced to come by,
who, stopping likewise, wept and sighed bitterly at the sight of the

King Beder and the old man left off discoursing, to look on the old
woman, whom the king asked, whom she had to lament so much. Alas! sir,
replied she, It is because your mare resembles so perfectly one my son
had, and which I still mourn the loss of on this account, and should
think yours were the same, did I not know she was dead. Sell her to me,
sir, I beseech you, and I will give you even more than she is worth, for
the sake of the person that once owned her likeness.

Good woman, replied king Beder, I am heartily sorry I cannot comply with
your request; my mare is not to be sold. Alas! sir, continued the old
woman, do not refuse me this favour, for the love of God. I conjure you
to do it out of pure charity, since my son and I shall certainly die with
grief if you do not grant it. Good mother, replied the king, I would
grant it with all my heart, if I was disposed to part with so good a
beast; but if I were so disposed, I believe you would hardly give a
thousand pieces of gold for her, which is the lowest price I shall ever
put upon her. Why should I not give so much? replied the old woman: if
that be the lowest price, you need only say you will take it, and I will
fetch you the money.

King Beder, seeing the old woman so poorly dressed, could not imagine she
could find the money; therefore, to try her, he said, not thinking to
part with his mare for all that, Go fetch me the money, and the mare is
yours. The old woman immediately unloosed a purse she had fastened to her
girdle, and desiring him to alight, bade him tell over the money: and, in
case he found it came short of the sum demanded, her house was not far
off, and she could quickly fetch the rest.

The surprise king Beder was in at the sight of this purse was not small.
Good woman, said he, do you not perceive I have bantered you all this
while? I will assure you my mare is not to be sold.

The old man, who had been witness to all that was said, now began to
speak: Son, quoth he to king Beder, it is necessary you should know one
thing, which I find you are ignorant of; and that is, that in this city
it is not permitted any one to lie, on any account whatsoever, and that
on pain of death: now, you having made this bargain with this old woman,
you must not refuse her money, and delivering your mare according to the
agreement; and this you had better do without any noise, than expose
yourself to what may ensue.

King Beder, sorely afflicted to find himself thus trapped by his rash
proffer, was nevertheless forced to alight and perform his agreement. The
old woman stood ready to seize the bridle; which when she had done, she
immediately unbridled the mare, and taking some water in her hand from a
spring that ran in the middle of the street, she threw it in the mare’s
face, uttering these words: Daughter, quit that bestial form, and
reassume thy own. The transformation was effected in a moment; and king
Beder, who swooned as soon as he saw queen Labe appear, would have fallen
to the ground, if the old man had not hindered him.

The old woman, who was mother to queen Labe, and who had instructed her
in all her magic, had no sooner embraced her daughter, than in an
instant, she, by whistling, caused a genie to rise, of a gigantic form
and stature: this genie immediately took king Beder on one shoulder, and
the old woman with the magic queen on the other, and transported them in
a few minutes to the palace of queen Labe, in the city of enchantments.

The magic queen immediately fell upon king Beder, reproaching him
grievously, in the following manner: Is it thus, ungrateful wretch, that
thy unworthy uncle and thou make me amends for all the kindnesses I have
done for you? I shall soon be able to make you both feel what you so well
deserve. She said no more, but, taking water in her hand, threw it in his
face, with these words, Come out of that form, and take that of a vile
owl. These words were soon followed by the effect; and immediately she
commanded one of her women to shut up the owl in a cage, and give him
neither meat nor drink.

The woman took the cage, and, without regarding what the queen ordered,
gave him both meat and drink; and being old Abdallah’s friend, she sent
him word privately how the queen had treated his nephew, and what design
she had taken to destroy him and king Beder, in case he did not take
timely measures to prevent it.

Abdallah knew no common measures would do with queen Labe; he therefore
did but whistle after a certain manner, and there immediately rose a vast
giant, with four wings, who presented himself before him, and asked what
he would have with him. Lightning, said Abdallah to him, (for so was the
genie’s name,) I command you to preserve the life of king Beder, son of
the queen Gulnare. Go to the palace of the magic queen, and transport
immediately to the capital of Persia the compassionate woman who has the
cage in custody, that she may inform queen Gulnare of the danger the king
her son is in, and the occasion he has of her assistance. Take care not
to fright her when you come before her, and acquaint her from me what she
ought to do.

Lightning immediately disappeared, and got in an instant to the palace of
the magic queen. He instructed the woman, lifted her up into the air, and
transported her to the capital of Persia, where he placed her on the
terrace of the apartment where queen Gulnare was. She went down stairs to
the apartment, and she there found queen Gulnare and queen Farasche,
lamenting their mutual misfortunes. She made them a profound reverence,
and, by the relation she gave them, they soon came to understand the
great necessity king Beder was in of their assistance.

Queen Gulnare was so overjoyed at the news, that, rising from her seat,
she went and embraced the good woman, telling her how much she was
obliged to her for the service she had done her.

Then going immediately out, she commanded the trumpets to sound and the
drums to beat, to acquaint the city, that the king of Persia would
suddenly return safe to his kingdom. She then went again, and found king
Saleh her brother, whom Farasche had caused to come speedily thither, by
a certain fumigation. Brother, said she to him, the king your nephew, and
my dear son, is in the city of enchantments, under the power of queen
Labe. Both you and I must see what we can do to deliver him, for there is
no time to be lost.

King Saleh forthwith assembled a puissant body of sea-troops, and even
called to his assistance the genies his allies, who appeared with a much
more numerous army. As soon as the two armies were joined, he put himself
at the head of them, together with queen Farasche, queen Gulnare, and the
princesses, who would all have their share in this glorious action. They
then lifted themselves up into the air, and soon poured down on the
palace and city of enchantments, where the magic queen, her mother, and
all the other adorers of fire, were destroyed in an instant.

Queen Gulnare had ordered the woman who brought her the news of queen
Labe’s transforming and imprisoning her son, to follow her close, and
bade her, in her hurly-burly, to take no other care than to go and seize
the cage, and bring it to her. She did as she was ordered, and queen
Gulnare was no sooner in the possession of the cage, than she opened it,
and took the owl out, saying, after she had sprinkled a little water upon
him, My dear son, quit that foreign form which has been given thee, and
resume thy natural one of a man. In a moment queen Gulnare no more saw
the hideous owl, but king Beder her son instead of him. She immediately
embraced him with that excess of joy which is better expressed by actions
than words. She could not find in her heart to let him go; and, if he had
not been in a manner torn from her by queen Farasche, who had a mind to
embrace him in her turn, for aught I know, they might not have parted
till now, so great queen Gulnare’s affection was for him. After the queen
his grandmother had done with him, he was likewise embraced by the king
his uncle, and the princesses his relations.

The next care queen Gulnare had, was to look out for old Abdallah, to
whom she had been obliged for the recovery of the king of Persia; and
who, being brought to her, she said to him, My obligations to you, sir,
have been so great, that there is nothing within my power but I will
freely do for you as a token of my acknowledgment. Do but satisfy me in
what I can serve you; and you shall see I will immediately set about it.
Great queen, replied Abdallah, if the lady next to your majesty will but
consent to the marriage I offer her, and the king of Persia will give me
leave to reside at his court, I will spend the remainder of my days in
his service. The queen turned towards the lady; and, finding by her
modesty that she was not against the match proposed, she caused them to
join hands, and the king of Persia and she took care of their fortune.

This marriage occasioned the king of Persia to speak thus, addressing
himself to the queen: Madam, I am heartily glad of this match which your
majesty has just now made: there remains one more, which I desire you to
think of. Queen Gulnare did not at first comprehend what marriage he
meant; but, after a little considering, she said, Of yours do you mean,
son? I consent to it with all my heart. Then, turning about, and looking
on her brother’s sea-attendants, and the genies, who were still present,
she said, Go you, and traverse both the sea and land, to find out the
most lovely and amiable princess, worthy of the king my son, and come and
bring us word.

Madam, replied king Beder, it is to no purpose for them to take all that
pains. You have, no doubt, heard that I have already given my heart to
the princess of Samarcand, upon the bare relation of her beauty. I have
seen her, and do not repent of the present I then made her. In a word,
neither earth nor sea, in my opinion, can furnish a princess any thing
like her. It is true, upon declaring my love to her, she used me after a
rate that would have extinguished any flame less fierce than mine: but I
hold her excused; for, after a rigorous treatment, and imprisoning the
king her father, which I was in some measure the cause of, how could she
use me more civilly? But, it may be, the king of Samarcand may have
changed his resolution; and his daughter, the princess, may consent to
love me, when she sees her father has agreed to it.

Son, replied queen Gulnare, if only the princess Giahaure can make you
happy in this world, I shall not make it my business to oppose you. The
king your uncle need only have the king of Samarcand brought, and we
shall see whether he be still of the same untractable temper.

How strictly soever the king of Samarcand had been kept during his
captivity, by king Saleh’s orders, yet he always had great respect shown
him, and was become very familiar with the officers that guarded him. In
order to bring him, king Saleh caused a chafing dish of coals to be
brought, into which he threw a certain composition, uttering at the same
time some mysterious words. As soon as the smoke began to arise, the
palace shook, and immediately the king of Samarcand, with king Saleh’s
officers, appeared. The king of Persia cast himself at the king of
Samarcand’s feet; and then, rising upon one knee, he said, It is no
longer king Saleh that demands of your majesty the honour of your
alliance for the king of Persia: it is the king of Persia himself that
humbly begs that boon; and I persuade myself your majesty will never
persist in being the cause of the death of a king, who can no longer live
than he is in the possession of the adorable princess Giahaure.

The king of Samarcand did not long suffer the king of Persia to remain on
his knee; he took him up, and embracing him, said, I should be very sorry
to have contributed in the least towards the death of a monarch who is so
worthy to live. If it be true that so precious a life cannot be
preserved, without being in possession of my daughter, live, sir, and
live happy; she is yours. She has always hitherto been obedient to my
will, and I cannot think she will now oppose it. Speaking these words, he
ordered one of the officers that king Saleh had assigned him, to go and
look for the princess Giahaure, and bring her to him immediately.

The princess continued all this while where the king of Persia had left
her. The officer brought her with her women to attend her. The king of
Samarcand embraced her, and said, Daughter, I have provided a husband for
you: it is the king of Persia you see there, the most accomplished
monarch at this juncture in the universe. The preference he has given you
to all other princesses obliges us both to make him suitable

Sir, replied the princess Giahaure, your majesty well knows I have never
presumed to disobey your will in any thing: I shall be always ready to
obey you; and I hope the king of Persia will please to forget the ill
treatment I gave him, and consider it was duty, not inclination, that
forced me to it.

The nuptials were celebrated in the palace of the city of enchantments,
with so much the greater solemnity, as all the lovers of the magic queen,
who resumed their pristine forms as soon as ever that queen ceased to
live, assisted at them, and came to pay their acknowledgments to the king
of Persia, queen Gulnare, and king Saleh. They were all either sons of
kings, or princes of extraordinary merit.

King Saleh at length conducted the king of Samarcand to his dominions,
and put him once again in possession of them. The king of Persia, having
what he most desired, returned to his capital with queen Giahaure, queen
Gulnare, queen Farasche, and the princesses; and queen Farasche and the
princesses continued there, till such time as king Saleh came to
re-conduct them to his kingdom under the waves of the sea.

                              THE STORY OF

There was formerly a merchant at Damascus, who had, by care and industry,
acquired great wealth, on which he lived in a very honourable manner. His
name was Abou Ayoub, and he had one son and a daughter. The son was at
first called Ganem, but afterwards had the surname of Love’s Slave. He
was graceful as to his person, and the excellent natural qualities of his
mind had been improved by able masters his father had taken care to
provide him. The daughter’s name was Alcolomb, signifying ravisher of
hearts, because her beauty was so accomplished, that whosoever saw her
could not but love her.

Abou Ayoub died, and left immense riches: an hundred loads of brocades,
and other silks that lay in his warehouse, were the least part of it. The
loads were ready made up, and on every bale was written, in large
characters, “For Bagdad.”

Mohammed, the son of Soliman, surnamed Zinebi, reigned at that time in
Damascus, the capital of Syria. His kinsman Haroun Alraschid, whose
residence was at Bagdad, had bestowed this kingdom on him as tributary to

Soon after the death of Abou Ayoub, Ganem, discoursing with his mother
about their private affairs, among the rest, concerning the bales of
merchandise that lay in the warehouse, asked her the meaning of what was
written upon each bale. My son, answered his mother, your father used to
travel sometimes into one province and sometimes into another, and it was
customary with him, before he set out, to write the name of the city he
designed to repair to on every bale. He had provided all things to take a
journey to Bagdad, and was upon the point of setting forwards, when
death——She had not the power to proceed any farther; the lively
remembrance of the loss of her husband would not permit her to say any
more, and drew from her a shower of tears.

Ganem could not see his mother so sensibly affected without relenting.
Thus they continued some time in silence; but at length he recovered
himself; and, as soon as he found his mother calm enough to listen to
him, he directed his discourse to her, and said: Since my father designed
these goods for Bagdad, and is no longer in being to put his design in
execution, I will prepare myself to perform that journey; and I am of
opinion, it will be proper for me to expedite my departure, for fear
those commodities should perish, or, at least, that we lose the
opportunity of selling them to the best advantage.

Abou Ayoub’s widow, who tenderly loved her son, was much surprised at
this resolution; and replied, My dear child, I cannot but commend you for
designing to follow your father’s example; but consider that you are too
young, inexperienced, and altogether a stranger to the toils of
travelling. Besides, can you think of leaving me, and by that means add
to that sorrow with which I am already oppressed? Is it not better to
sell those goods to the merchants of Damascus, and to take up with a
moderate profit, than to expose yourself to the danger of perishing?

It was in vain for her to oppose Ganem’s resolution by the strongest
arguments, for they had no weight with him. An inclination to travel, and
to accomplish himself by a thorough knowledge of the affairs of the
world, urged him on to set out, and prevailed above all his mother’s
remonstrances, her entreaties, and even her tears. He went away to the
market where the slaves are sold, and bought such as were able of body,
hired one hundred camels, and, having furnished all other necessaries, he
entered upon his journey, with five or six merchants of Damascus, who
were going to trade at Bagdad.

Those merchants, attended by all their slaves, and accompanied by several
other travellers, made up such a considerable caravan, that they had no
occasion to fear the Bedouins, that is, the Arabs who make it their only
profession to range the country, and to attack and plunder the caravans
which are not strong enough to repulse them. Thus they had no other
difficulty to encounter than the usual fatigues of a long journey, which
were easily forgot when they saw the city of Bagdad, where they arrived
in safety.

They went to alight at the most magnificent and most resorted khan in the
city; but Ganem, who had a mind to be lodged conveniently, and by
himself, took no apartment there. He only left his goods in a warehouse
for their greater security, and hired a very fine house in the
neighbourhood, richly furnished; having a garden, which was very
delightful, on account of the many water-works and shady groves that were
in it.

Some days after this young merchant had been settled in his house, and
perfectly recovered of the fatigue of his journey, he dressed himself
genteelly, and repaired to the public place where the merchants meet to
buy and sell their commodities, with a slave following him, carrying a
parcel of fine stuffs and silks.

The merchants received Ganem very courteously, and their syndic, or
chief, to whom he first made application, bought all his parcel at the
price set down in the ticket annexed to every piece of stuff. Ganem
continued his trade so successfully, that he daily sold all the goods he

He had no more left than one bale, which he had caused to be carried from
the warehouse to his own house, and then went to the public rendezvous,
where he found all the shops shut. This seemed somewhat extraordinary to
him; and, having asked the cause of it, was told, that one of the prime
merchants, whom he knew, was dead, and that all his brother traders were
gone to his funeral.

Ganem inquired after the mosque where the ceremony was to be performed,
and whence the body was to be conducted to the grave; and having been
told it, sent back his slaves with the goods, and walked towards the
mosque. He got thither before the prayers were ended, which were said in
a hall hung with black satin. The corpse was taken up and followed by the
kindred, the merchants, and Ganem, to the place of burial, which was at a
great distance without the city. It was a stone structure, like a dome,
purposely built to receive the bodies of all the family of the deceased,
and, being very small, they had pitched tents all about it, that all the
company might be sheltered during the ceremony. The monument was opened,
and the corpse laid into it, after which it was shut up again. Then the
iman, and other ministers of the mosque, sat down in a ring on carpets,
in the largest tent, and said the rest of the prayers. They also read the
chapters of the Alcoran appointed for the burial of the dead. The kindred
and merchants sat round in the same manner behind the ministers.

It was near night before the whole was ended. Ganem, who had not expected
such a long ceremony, began to be uneasy; and was the more so, when he
saw meat served up in memory of the deceased, according to the custom of
Bagdad. He was also told that the tents had been set up, not only against
the heat of the sun, but also against the evening dew, because they
should not return to the city before the next morning. These words
perplexed Ganem: I am a stranger, said he to himself, and have the
reputation of being a rich merchant: thieves may take this opportunity of
my absence, and go rob my house: my very slaves may be tempted to make
their advantage of so convenient a time; they may run away with all the
gold I have received for my goods; and whither shall I look for them? His
head being full of these thoughts, he ate a few mouthfuls hastily, and
dexterously slipped away from the company.

He made all possible haste to gain time; but, as it often happens, the
more a man puts on, the less he advances: he mistook his way, and went
astray in the dark; so that it was near midnight when he came to the
city-gate; and, to add to this misfortune, that was shut. That
disappointment was a fresh affliction to him; and he was obliged to think
of finding some convenient place to pass the rest of the night in, and
wait till the gate was opened. He went into a burial-place, so very
spacious, that it reached from the city to the very place he was come
from. He advanced to a parcel of pretty high walls, which enclosed a
small field, being the peculiar burying-place of a family, and in which
there was a palm-tree. There was an infinite number of other particular
burial-places, the doors whereof they did not take much care to shut
fast. Ganem, finding that this burial-place was open, went into it, and
put to the door after him. He lay down on the grass, and did all he could
to sleep; but the uneasiness he was under, for being absent from home,
would not permit him. He got up; and, after having passed by the door
several times, as he walked forwards and backwards, he opened it, without
knowing why he did so, and immediately perceived a light at a distance,
which seemed to come towards him. He was startled at that sight, put to
the door, which had nothing to make it fast but a latch, and got up as
fast as he could to the top of the palm-tree, looking upon that as the
safest retreat under his present apprehensions. No sooner was he got up,
than, by the help of the light which had frightened him, he plainly
perceived three men, whom, by their habit, he knew to be slaves, come
into the burial-place. One of them went foremost with a lantern, and the
two others followed him, being loaded with a chest, between five and six
feet long, which they carried on their shoulders. They laid it down, and
then one of the three slaves said to his comrades, Brothers, if you will
be advised by me, we will leave the chest here, and return to the city.
No, no, replied another, that is not the way of doing what we were
ordered by our mistress; we may have cause to repent our not doing as we
were commanded: let us bury the chest, since we are so enjoined to do.
The two other slaves complied with him; so they began to break ground
with the tools they had brought for that purpose. When they had made a
deep trench, they put the chest into it, and covered it with the earth
they had taken out; then departed, and returned home.

Ganem, who, from the top of the palm-tree, had heard every word the
slaves had spoken, could not tell what to think of that adventure. He
concluded that chest must needs contain something of value, and that the
person to whom it belonged had some particular reasons for causing it to
be buried in that church-yard. He resolved immediately to satisfy his
curiosity, came down from the palm-tree, his fear being gone with the
slaves, and fell to work upon the pit, plying his hands and feet so well,
that in a short time he discovered the chest, but found it secured with a
great padlock. This new obstacle to the satisfying of his curiosity was
no small mortification to him: yet he would not be discouraged; but the
day beginning then to appear, he saw several great pebbles about the
burial-place: he picked out one, with which he easily knocked off the
padlock, and then, with much impatience, opened the chest. Ganem was
strangely surprised, when, instead of finding money in it, he discovered
a young lady of incomparable beauty. Her fresh and rosy complexion, and
her gentle regular breathing, satisfied him that she was alive; but he
could not conceive, why, if she were only asleep, she had not awaked at
the noise he made in forcing off the padlock. Her habit was so costly,
with bracelets and pendants of diamonds, and a necklace of true pearl,
and so large, that he made not the least doubt of her being one of the
prime ladies about the court. At the sight of so beautiful an object, not
only natural inclination to relieve persons in danger, but also something
more powerful, which Ganem could not then give an account of, prevailed
on him to afford that young beauty all the assistance he was able.

[Illustration p170: Drawn by R. Westall R.A. Engraved by Chas. Heath.]

He first shut the gate of the burial-place, which the slaves had left
open, then returning, took the lady in his arms out of the chest, and
laid her on the soft earth he had thrown off the chest. As soon as the
lady was laid down, and had the benefit of the open air, she sneezed; and
having made a motion in turning her head there came from her mouth a
liquor, which seemed to have been offensive to her stomach; then opening
and rubbing her eyes, she, with such a voice as charmed Ganem, whom she
did not see, cried out, Zohorob Bostan, Schragrom Matglon, Cassabos
Soucear, Nouron Nihar, Nagmatos Sobi, Nour Hatos Zoman, why do you not
answer? where are you? Those were the names of six female slaves that
used to wait on her, and signified, Flower of the Garden, Branch of
Coral, Sugar Cane, Light of the Day, Morning Star, and Delight of the
Season. She called them, and wondered that nobody answered; but at length
looking about, and perceiving she was in a burial-place, she was in a
mighty fright. How now, cried she, much louder than before, is this the
resurrection of the dead? Is the day of judgment come? What a wonderful
change is this from night to morning!

Ganem did not think fit to leave the lady any longer in that confusion,
but immediately appeared before her with all possible respect; and, in
the most courteous manner, said, Madam, I am scarce able to express my
joy, for having happened to be here to do you the service I have done,
and for being present to offer you all the assistance you shall stand in
need of, under your present circumstances.

In order to persuade the lady to repose all her confidence in him, he, in
the first place, told her who he was, and what accident it was that had
brought him into that place. Next, he acquainted her with the coming of
the three slaves, and how they had buried the chest. The lady, who had
covered her face with her veil as soon as Ganem appeared, was
extraordinarily sensible of the obligations she owed him. I return thanks
to God, said she, for having sent so worthy a person as you are to
deliver me from death; but, since you have begun so charitable a work, I
conjure you not to leave it imperfect. Let me beg of you to go into the
city, and provide a muleteer to come with his mule, and carry me to your
house in the chest; for, should I go in with you on foot, my dress being
different from that of the city-ladies, some one might happen to take
notice of it, and follow me, which it highly concerns me to prevent. When
I shall be in your house, I will give you an account of myself; and, in
the mean time, be assured that you have not obliged an ungrateful person.

Before the young merchant left the lady, he drew the chest out of the
pit, which he filled up with the earth, laid her again in the chest, and
shut it in such a manner, that it did not look as if the padlock had been
forced off; but, for fear of stifling her, he put it not quite close,
leaving room for the air to get in. Going out of the burial-place, he
drew the door after him; and the city-gate being then open, soon found
what he sought for. He returned with speed to the burial-place, and
helped the muleteer to lay the chest across his mule; telling him, to
remove all causes of suspicion, that he came to that place the night
before, with another muleteer, who, being in haste to return home, had
laid down the chest in the burial-place.

Ganem, who had minded nothing but his business since his arrival at
Bagdad, was still unacquainted with the power of love, and now felt the
first sallies of it. It had not been in his power to look upon the young
lady without being disturbed; and the uneasiness he felt, following the
muleteer at a distance, and the fear lest any accident might happen by
the way that should deprive him of his conquest, taught him to unravel
his intricate thoughts. It was an extraordinary satisfaction to him,
when, being arrived safe at home, he saw the chest unloaded. He dismissed
the muleteer; and having caused a slave to shut the doors of his house,
he opened the chest, helped the lady out, gave her his hand, and
conducted her to his apartment, lamenting how much she must have endured
in that close confinement. If I have suffered, said she, I have
satisfaction enough in what you have done me, and in the pleasure of
seeing myself out of danger.

Though Ganem’s apartment was very richly furnished, the lady did not so
much regard that, as she did the handsome presence and engaging mien of
her deliverer, whose politeness and obliging behaviour highly heightened
her gratitude. She sat down on a sofa; and, to begin to give the merchant
to understand how sensible she was of the service done her, she took off
her veil. Ganem, on his part, was sensible of the favour so lovely a lady
did in uncovering herself, or rather felt he had already a most violent
passion for her. Whatsoever obligations she owed him, he thought himself
more than requited by so singular a favour.

The lady dived into Ganem’s thoughts, yet was not at all surprised,
because he appeared very full of respect. He, judging she might have
occasion to eat, and not willing to trust any but himself with the care
of entertaining so charming a guest, went out with a slave to an
eating-house to give directions for a treat. From thence he went to a
fruit-seller, where he chose the finest and most excellent fruit; buying
also the choicest wine, and some of the same bread that was eaten at the
caliph’s table.

As soon as he returned home, he, with his own hands, made a pyramid of
the fruit he had bought, and served it up himself to the lady, in a large
dish of the finest china ware, saying, Madam, be pleased to make choice
of some of this fruit, while a more solid entertainment, and more worthy
yourself, is made ready. He would fain have continued standing before
her; but she declared she would not touch any thing, unless he sat down
and ate with her. He obeyed; and when they had eaten some small matter,
Ganem observing that the lady’s veil, which she had laid down by her on a
sofa, was embroidered along the edge with golden letters, begged leave of
her to look upon that embroidery. The lady immediately took up the veil,
and delivered it to him, asking him whether he could read. Madam, replied
he, with a modest air, a merchant would be able to manage his business
very ill, if he could not at least read and write. Well then, said she,
read the words which are embroidered on that veil, which gives me an
opportunity of telling you my story.

Ganem took the veil, and read these words, ‘I am yours, and you are mine,
thou descendant from the prophet’s uncle.’ That descendant from the
prophet’s uncle was the caliph Haroun Alraschid, who then reigned, and
was descended from Abbas, Mahomet’s uncle.

When Ganem perceived the sense of these words, Alas! madam, said he, in a
melancholy tone, I have just saved your life, and this embroidery is my
death! I do not comprehend all the mystery; but it makes me too sensible
that I am the most unfortunate of men. Pardon the liberty I take, madam,
of telling you so much. It was impossible for me to see you without
giving you up my heart. You are not ignorant yourself, that it was not in
my power to refuse it to you; and that makes my presumption excusable. I
proposed to myself to move yours by my respect, my diligence, my
complaisance, my assiduity, my submission, and my constancy; and no
sooner had I flattered myself with that design, than I am robbed of all
my hopes. But be that as it will, I shall have the satisfaction of dying
entirely yours. Proceed, madam, I conjure you, to give me a full
information of my unhappy state.

He could not deliver those words without letting fall some tears. The
lady was moved, but was so far from being displeased at the declaration
he made, that she felt an inward joy, for her heart began to yield.
However, she concealed it; and, as if she had not regarded what Ganem
said, I would have been very cautious, answered she, of showing you my
veil, had I thought it would have made you so uneasy; and I do not
perceive that what I have to say to you can make your condition so
deplorable as you imagine.

You must understand, proceeded she, in order to acquaint you with my
story, that my name is Fetnah, (which signifies a storm or tempest) which
was given me at my birth, because it was judged that the sight of me
would occasion many calamities. You cannot be a stranger to it, since
nobody in Bagdad but knows that the caliph Haroun Alraschid, my sovereign
lord and yours, has a favourite so called.

I was carried into his palace in my very tender years, and I have been
brought up there with all the care that is usually taken with such
persons of my sex as are designed to reside there. I made no ill advances
in all they took the pains to teach me; and that, with some share of
beauty, gained me the caliph’s affection, who gave me a particular
apartment adjoining to his own. That prince was not satisfied with such a
mark of distinction: he appointed twenty women to wait on me, and as many
eunuchs; and, ever since, he has made me such considerable presents, that
I was once richer than any queen in the world. You may reasonably judge,
by what I have said, that Zobeide, the caliph’s wife and kinswoman, could
not but be jealous of my happiness. Though Haroun has all the regard
imaginable for her, she has used all her endeavours to ruin me.

Hitherto, I had secured myself against all her snares; but, at length, I
fell under the last effort of her jealousy; and, were it not for you, I
had now been exposed to inevitable death. I do not question but that she
had corrupted one of my slaves, who, last night, in some lemonade, gave
me a drug, which causes such a deep sleep, that it is easy to dispose of
those who have taken it; and that sleep is so profound, that nothing can
dispel it for the space of seven or eight hours. I have the more reason
to judge so, because naturally I am very light of sleep, and apt to wake
at the least noise.

Zobeide, the better to put her design in execution, has laid hold of the
opportunity of the absence of the caliph, who has been gone lately to put
himself at the head of his troops, to chastise some neighbouring kings,
who have presumed to join in league to make war on him. Were it not for
this opportunity, my rival, courageous as she is, durst not have presumed
to attempt any thing against my life. I know not what she will do to
conceal this action from the caliph; but you see it highly concerns me
that you should keep my secret. My life depends on it. I shall be safe in
your house as long as the caliph is from Bagdad. It behoves you to keep
my adventure private; for, should Zobeide know the obligation I owe you,
she would punish you for having saved me.

When the caliph returns, I shall not need to be so much upon my guard. I
shall find means to acquaint him with all that has happened, and I am
fully persuaded he will be more earnest than myself to requite a service
which restores me to his love.

As soon as Haroun Alraschid’s beautiful favourite had done speaking,
Ganem began, and said, Madam, I return you a thousand thanks for having
given me the information I took the liberty to desire of you; and I beg
of you to believe that you are here in safety; the sentiments you have
inspired in me are a pledge of my secrecy.

As for my slaves, I own there is cause to suspect them; they may perhaps
fail of the fidelity they owe me, should they know by what accident, and
in what place I had the good fortune to find you; but it is impossible
they should guess at that. Nay, I dare assure you that they will not have
the curiosity to inquire after it. It is so natural for young men to
purchase beautiful slaves, that it will be no way surprising to them to
see you here, as believing you to be one, and that I have bought you.
They will also believe that I had some particular reasons for bringing
you home as I did. Set your heart therefore at rest as to that point, and
remain satisfied that you shall be served with all the respect that is
due to the favourite of so great a monarch as ours is. But how great
soever he is, give me leave, madam, to declare, that nothing will be able
to make me recall the present I have made you of my heart. I know, and
shall never forget, that what belongs to the master is forbidden to the
slave; but I loved you before you told me that you were engaged to the
caliph: it is not in my power to overcome a passion, which, though now in
its infancy, has all the force of a love strengthened by a perfect
correspondence. I wish your august and most fortunate lover may revenge
you against the malice of Zobeide, by calling you back to him; and, when
you shall be restored to his wishes, that you may remember the
unfortunate Ganem, who is no less your conquest than the caliph. As
powerful as that prince is, I flatter myself he will not be able to blot
me out of your memory. If love be your predominant passion, he cannot
love you more passionately than I do; and I shall never cease to burn in
your flames, whatsoever part of the world I go into to expire, after
having lost you.

Fetnah perceived that Ganem was under the greatest of afflictions, and it
moved her; but, considering the uneasiness she was likely to bring upon
herself by prosecuting the discourse upon that subject, which might
insensibly lead her to discover the inclination she felt in herself for
him, she said, I perceive that this sort of conversation gives you too
much trouble; let us change the discourse, and talk of the infinite
obligations I owe you. I can never sufficiently express my satisfaction,
when I consider that, without your assistance, I had not beheld the light
of the sun.

It was happy for them both that somebody just then knocked at the door:
Ganem went to see who it was, and found it was one of his slaves to
acquaint him that the entertainment was ready. Ganem, who, by way of
precaution, would have none of his slaves to come into the room where
Fetnah was, took what was brought, and served it up himself to his
beautiful guest, whose soul was ravished to behold with what diligence
and respect he attended her.

When they had eaten, Ganem took away, as he covered the table; and having
delivered all things at the chamber-door to his slaves, he said to
Fetnah, Madam, you may now perhaps desire to take some rest; I will leave
you, and when you have reposed yourself you shall find me ready to
receive your commands.

Having spoken these words, he left her, and went to buy two women-slaves.
He also bought two parcels, the one of linen, and the other of all such
things as were proper to make up a toilet fit for the caliph’s favourite.
Having conducted home the two women-slaves, he presented them to Fetnah,
saying, Madam, a person of your quality cannot be without two maids, at
least, to serve you; be pleased to allow me to give you these.

Fetnah, admiring Ganem’s forecast, My lord, said she, I perceive you are
not one that will do things by halves: you add by your courtesy to the
obligations I owe you already; but I hope I shall not die ungrateful, and
that Heaven will soon put me in a condition to make acknowledgments for
all your acts of generosity.

When the women-slaves were withdrawn into a chamber adjoining, which the
young merchant showed them, he sat down on the sofa where Fetnah was;
but, at some distance from her, in token of the greater respect. He then
began again to discourse of his passion, and spoke very moving things
relating to the invincible obstacles which robbed him of all his hopes. I
dare not so much as hope, said he, by my passion, to excite the least
sensibility in a heart like yours, destined for the greatest prince in
the world. Alas! it would be a comfort to me, if I could flatter myself
that you have not looked upon the excess of my love with indifferency. My
lord, answered Fetnah—Alas! madam, said Ganem, interrupting her at the
word lord, this is a second time you have done me the honour to call me
lord; the presence of the women-slaves hindered me the first time from
taking notice of it to you: in the name of God, madam, do not give me
that title of honour; it does not belong to me: treat me, I beseech you,
as your slave: I am, and shall never cease to be so.

No, no, replied Fetnah, interrupting him in her turn, I shall be cautious
how I treat a man to whom I owe my life, after that manner. I should be
ungrateful could I say or do any thing that did not become you. Leave me
therefore to follow the dictates of my gratitude, and do not require it
of me that I misbehave myself towards you, in return for the benefits I
have received. I shall never be guilty of it; I am too sensible of your
respectful behaviour, to abuse it; and I will not stick to own, that I do
not look upon all your care with indifferency. You know the reason that
condemns me to silence.

Ganem was ravished at that declaration: he wept for joy; and not being
able to find expressions significant enough, in his own conceit, to
return Fetnah thanks, was satisfied with telling her, that, as she knew
what she owed to the caliph, he, on his part, was not ignorant, ‘that
what belongs to the master is forbidden to the servant.’

Night drawing on, he went out to fetch some light, which he brought in
himself, as also some collation, as is the custom in the city of Bagdad;
where, having made a good meal at noon, they, at night, are satisfied
with eating some fruit, and drinking a glass of wine; so diverting the
time till they go to bed.

They both sat down at table, and at first complimented each other,
presenting the fruit reciprocally. The excellency of the wine insensibly
drew them both on to drink; and having drunk two or three glasses, they
agreed that neither should take another glass without singing some air
first. Ganem sang verses he composed _extempore_, and which expressed the
vehemency of his passion; and Fetnah, encouraged by his example, composed
and sang verses relating to her adventure, and always containing
something which Ganem might take in a sense that was favourable to him;
bating, that she nicely observed the fidelity due to the caliph. The
collation held till very late, and the night was far advanced, before
they thought of parting. Ganem then withdrew to another apartment,
leaving Fetnah where she was, and the women-slaves he had bought coming
in to wait upon her.

They lived together after this manner for several days. The young
merchant went not abroad, unless upon business of the utmost consequence;
and, even for that, took the time when his lady was at her rest; for he
could not prevail upon himself to let slip a moment that might be spent
in her company. All his thoughts were taken up with his dear Fetnah, who,
on her side, giving way to her inclination, confessed she had no less
affection for him than he had for her. However, as fond as they were of
each other, their respect for the caliph kept them within those bounds
that were due to him, which still heightened their passion.

While Fetnah, thus snatched from the jaws of death, passed her time so
agreeably with Ganem, Zobeide was not without some apprehensions in
Haroun Alraschid’s palace.

As soon as the three slaves intrusted with the execution of her revenge,
had carried away the chest, without knowing what was in it, or so much as
the least curiosity to inquire into it, as being used to pay a blind
obedience to her commands, she was seized with a tormenting uneasiness: a
thousand perplexing thoughts disturbed her rest; sleep fled from her
eyes, and she spent the night in contriving how to conceal her crime. My
consort, said she, loves Fetnah more than ever he did any of his
favourites. What shall I say to him at his return, when he inquires of me
after her? Many contrivances occurred to her, but none were satisfactory:
she still met with difficulties, and knew not where to fix. There lived
with her an ancient lady, who had bred her up from her infancy: as soon
as it was day, she sent for her, and having intrusted her with the
secret, said, Dear mother, you have always been assisting to me with your
advice; if ever I stood in need of it, it is now; when the business
before you is to still my thoughts, distracted by a mortal concern, and
to show me some way to satisfy the caliph.

Dear madam, replied the old lady, it had been much better not to have run
yourself into the difficulties you labour under; but since the thing is
done, the best way is to say no more of it: all that must now be thought
of, is how to deceive the chief of believers; and I am of opinion that
you must immediately cause a wooden image to be carved resembling a dead
body; we will shroud it up in old linen; and, when shut up in a coffin,
it shall be buried in some part of the palace; then shall you immediately
cause a marble monument to be built, after the manner of a dome, over the
burial-place; and erect a figure which shall be covered with black cloth,
and set about with great candlesticks and large wax tapers. There is
another thing, added the old lady, which ought not to be forgot: you must
put on mourning, and cause the same to be done by all your own and
Fetnah’s women, your eunuchs, and all that belong to the palace. When the
caliph returns, and sees you and all the palace in mourning, he will be
sure to ask the occasion of it; then will you have an opportunity of
insinuating yourself into his favour, saying, it was in respect to him,
that you paid the last honours to Fetnah, snatched away by sudden death.
You may also tell him you have caused a mausoleum to be built; and, in
short, that you have paid all the dues to his favourite which he would
have done himself had he been present. His passion for her being
extraordinary, he will certainly go and shed some tears upon her grave;
and, perhaps, added the old woman, he will not believe she is really
dead; and suspect you have turned her out of the palace through jealousy,
and look upon all the mourning as an artifice to deceive him, and prevent
his making search after her. It is likely he will cause the coffin to be
taken up and opened, and it is certain he will be convinced of her death
as soon as he shall see the figure of a dead body buried. He will be
pleased with all you shall have done, and express his gratitude. As for
the wooden image, I will undertake to have it cut myself by a carver in
the city, who shall not know what use it is to be put to. As for your
part, madam, order Fetnah’s woman, who yesterday gave her the lemonade,
to give out that she had just found her mistress dead in her bed; and,
that they may only think of lamenting, without offering to go into her
chamber, let her add, she has already acquainted you with it, and that
you have ordered Mesrour to cause her to be laid out and buried.

As soon as the old lady had spoken these words, Zobeide took a rich
diamond ring out of her casket, and putting it on her finger, and
embracing her in a perfect transport of joy, said, How infinitely am I
beholden to you, my dear mother! I should never have thought of so
ingenious a contrivance. It cannot fail of success, and I perceive my
peace of mind begins to be restored to me. I leave the care of the wooden
figure to you, and I will go myself to order the rest.

The wooden image was got ready with as much expedition as Zobeide could
have wished, and then conveyed by the lady herself into Fetnah’s
bed-chamber, where she dressed it like a dead body, and put it into a
coffin. Then Mesrour, who was much deceived by it, caused the coffin, and
the representation of Fetnah, to be carried away; and buried it with the
usual ceremonies, in the place appointed by Zobeide, the favourite’s
women weeping and lamenting, and she who had given her the lemonade
setting them an example by her cries and howlings.

That very day, Zobeide sent for the architect of the palace, and of the
caliph’s other houses; and, according to the orders he received from her,
the mausoleum was finished in a very short time. Such potent princesses,
as was this consort of a monarch, whose power extended from east to west,
are always punctually obeyed in whatsoever they command, by all the
court; so that the news of Fetnah’s death was soon spread all over the

Ganem was one of the last who had heard of it; for, as I have before
observed, he scarce went abroad. Being at length informed of it, Madam,
said he to the caliph’s fair favourite, you are thought to be dead in
Bagdad, and I do not question but that Zobeide herself believes it; I
bless Heaven that I am the cause, and the happy witness of your being
alive; and would to God, that, taking the advantage of this false report,
you would share my fortune, and go far from hence to reign in my heart!
But whither does this pleasing notion carry me? I do not consider that
you are born to make the greatest prince in the world happy, and that
only Haroun Alraschid is worthy of you. Supposing you could resolve to
give him up for me, and that you would follow me, ought I to consent to
it? No, it is my part always to remember, that what belongs to the master
is forbidden to the slave.

The lovely Fetnah, though moved by the tenderness of the passion he
expressed, yet prevailed with herself not to comply with it. My lord,
said she to him, we cannot obstruct Zobeide’s triumphing. I am not at all
surprised at the artifice she makes use of to conceal her guilt: but let
her proceed; I flatter myself that sorrow will soon follow her triumph:
the caliph will return, and we shall find means privately to inform him
of all that has happened. In the mean time, let us be more cautious than
ever, that she may not know I am alive. I have already told you the

Three months after, the caliph returned to Bagdad with honour, having
vanquished all his enemies: he entered the palace with impatience to see
Fetnah, and to lay all his laurels at her feet; but was amazed to see all
the servants he had left behind him in mourning. It struck him, without
knowing the cause; and his concern was double, when, coming into the
apartment of Zobeide, he spied that princess coming to meet him with all
her women in mourning. He immediately asked her the cause of it, with
much concern. Chief of the believers, answered Zobeide, I am in mourning
for your slave Fetnah, who died so suddenly, that it was impossible to
apply any medicine to her distemper. She would have proceeded, but the
caliph did not give her time, being so surprised at the news, that he
cried out, and then fell into a swoon in the arms of Giafar, his grand
vizier, who attended him. Coming soon after to himself, he, with a weak
voice, which sufficiently expressed his concern, asked where his dear
Fetnah had been buried? Sir, said Zobeide, I took care myself of her
funeral, and spared for no cost to make it magnificent. I have caused a
marble mausoleum to be built over her grave, and will attend you thither,
if you desire it.

The caliph would not permit Zobeide to take that trouble, but was
satisfied to have Mesrour to conduct him. He went thither just as he was,
that is, in the camp dress. When he saw the figure covered with a black
cloth, the lighted candles all about it, and the magnificence of the
mausoleum, he was amazed that Zobeide should have performed the obsequies
of her rival with so much magnificence; and, being naturally of a jealous
temper, he suspected his wife’s generosity, and fancied his mistress
might perhaps be yet alive; that Zobeide, taking the advantage of his
long absence, might have turned her out of the palace, ordering those she
had intrusted with it to convey her so far-off, that she might never more
be heard of. This was all he suspected; for he did not think Zobeide
wicked enough to have murdered his favourite.

The better to discover the truth himself, that prince ordered the figure
to be removed, and caused the grave and the coffin to be opened in his
presence: but when he saw the linen which wrapped up the wooden image, he
durst not proceed any farther. That religious caliph thought it would be
an irreligious act to suffer the body of the dead lady to be touched; and
this scruple prevailed above his love and curiosity. He caused the coffin
to be shut up again, the grave to be filled, and the figure to be placed
as it was before.

The caliph, thinking himself obliged to pay some respect to the tomb of
his favourite, sent for the ministers of his religion, the officers of
the palace, and the readers of the Alcoran; and, whilst they were calling
together, he remained in the mausoleum, moistening the earth that covered
the phantom of his love with his tears. When all the persons he had sent
for were come, he stood before the figure, and they about it recited long
prayers; after which the readers of the Alcoran read several chapters.

The same ceremony was performed every day during the whole month, morning
and evening, the caliph being always present, with Giafar the grand
vizier, and the prime officers of the court, all of them in mourning, as
well as the caliph himself, who all that while failed not to honour the
memory of Fetnah with tears, and would not talk the least of any

The last day of the month, the prayers and reading of the Alcoran lasted
from that morning till break of day the next morning; and at length, when
all was done, every man returned home. Haroun Alraschid, being tired with
sitting up all that time, went to take some rest in his apartment, and
fell asleep on a sofa between two of the court ladies, one of them
sitting at the bed’s head, and the other at the feet, who, whilst he
slept, were working some embroidery, and observed a profound silence.

She who sat at the bed’s head, and whose name was Nouron-Nihar, that is,
Dawn of the Day, perceiving the caliph was asleep, whispered to the
other, called Nagmatos-Sobi, signifying Morning-Star, There is great
news! The chief of the believers, our master, will be overjoyed when he
awakes and hears what I have to say to him: Fetnah is not dead; she is in
perfect health. O Heavens! cried Morning-Star, in a transport of joy, is
it possible that the beautiful, the charming, the incomparable Fetnah
should be still among the living? Morning-Star uttered these words with
such a sprightly air, and so loud, that the caliph awaked. He asked why
they had disturbed his rest. Alas! my sovereign lord, answered
Morning-Star, pardon me this indiscretion, I could not contain myself.
What then is become of her, said the caliph, if she is not dead? Chief of
the believers, replied Dawn of the Day, I this evening received a note,
not signed, from a person unknown, but written with Fetnah’s own hand,
which gives me an account of her melancholy adventures, and orders me to
acquaint you with it. I thought fit, before I fulfilled my commission, to
let you take some few moments’ rest, believing you must stand in need of
it after your fatigue. Give me that note, said the caliph, interrupting
her in a disorderly manner; you were in the wrong in deferring to deliver
it to me.

Dawn of the Day immediately delivered him the note, which he opened with
much impatience; and in it Fetnah gave a brief account of all that had
befallen her, but enlarged a little too much on the care Ganem took of
her. The caliph, who was naturally jealous, instead of being provoked at
the inhumanity of Zobeide, was only concerned for the infidelity he
fancied Fetnah had been guilty of towards him. Is it so? said he, after
reading the note; the perfidious wretch has been four months with a young
merchant, and has the impudence to boast of the respect he pays her.
Thirty days are passed since my return to Bagdad, and she now bethinks
herself of sending me this news. Ungrateful creature! while I spend the
days in bewailing her, she passes them away in betraying me. Go to, let
us take revenge of the false woman, and that bold youth who affronts me.
Having spoken these words, that prince got up, and went into a great
hall, where he used to appear in public, and to give audience to the
great men of his court. The first gate was opened, and immediately all
the courtiers, who expected him, that moment entered. The grand vizier
came in, and prostrated himself before the throne the caliph sat on. Then
rising, he stood before his master, who, in a tone which denoted he would
be instantly obeyed, said to him, Giafar, your presence is requisite for
putting in execution an important affair I am about to commit to you.
Take four hundred men out of my guards along with you, and first inquire
where a merchant of Damascus lives, whose name is Ganem, the son of Abou
Ayoub. When you have learned that, repair to his house, and cause it to
be razed down to the foundation; but first secure Ganem, and bring him
hither, with my slave Fetnah, who has lived with him these four months. I
will punish her, and make an example of that insolent man, who has
presumed to fail in respect to me.

The grand vizier having received this positive command, made a low bow to
the caliph, having his hand on his own head, as a token that he would
rather lose it than disobey him, and departed. The first thing he did,
was to send to the syndic, or head of the merchants, for some foreign
stuffs and fine silks, of the new ones brought by Ganem; with strict
orders, above all things, to inquire after the street and house he lived
in. The officer he sent with these orders brought him back word, that he
had scarce been seen for some months, and no man knew what could keep him
at home, if he was there. The same officer told Giafar where Ganem lived,
and the name of the widow who had let him the house.

Upon this information, which could not fail, that minister, without
losing any time, marched with the soldiers the caliph had ordered him to
take, went to the mayor of the city, whom he also caused to bear him
company; and being attended by a great number of carpenters and masons,
with the necessary tools for razing of a house, came to that in which
Ganem lived; and finding it stood alone, without being confined any way,
he posted his soldiers quite round it, to prevent the young merchant
making his escape.

Fetnah and Ganem had just then dined: the lady was sitting at a window
next the street; and hearing a noise, she looked out through the lattice,
when, seeing the grand vizier draw near with all his attendants, she
concluded his design was upon her as well as Ganem. She perceived her
note had been received, but had not expected such an answer, having hoped
that the caliph would have taken that business quite otherwise. She knew
not how long that prince had been come home; and though she was
acquainted with his jealous temper, yet she apprehended nothing on that
account. However, the sight of the grand vizier and the soldiers made her
quake in reality, not for herself, but for Ganem: she did not question
clearing herself, provided the caliph would but hear her. As for Ganem,
whom she was kind to rather out of gratitude than affection, she plainly
foresaw that his rival, being incensed, would see, and might be apt to
condemn him, upon account of his youth and mien. Being full of that
thought, she turned to the young merchant, and said, Alas! Ganem, we are
undone; it is you and I that are sought after. He presently looked
through the lattice, and was seized with dread when he beheld the
caliph’s guards with their naked scimitars, and the grand vizier with the
civil magistrate at the head of them. At that sight he stood motionless,
and had not power to utter one word. Ganem, said the favourite, there is
no losing of time: if you love me, put on the habit of one of your slaves
immediately, and daub your face and arms with soot; then lay some of
these dishes on your head: you may be taken for a servant belonging to
the eating-house, and they will let you pass. If they happen to ask you
where the master of the house is, answer, without any hesitation, that he
is within. Alas! madam, answered Ganem, less concerned for himself than
for Fetnah, you only take care of me; what will become of you? Let not
that trouble you, replied Fetnah, it is my part to look to that. As for
what you leave in this house, I will take care of it; and I hope it will
be one day justly restored to you, when the caliph’s anger is over: but
do you avoid his fury; for the orders he gives in heat of passion are
always fatal. The young merchant’s affliction was so great, that he knew
not what course to fix upon, and would certainly have suffered himself to
have been seized by the caliph’s soldiers, had not Fetnah pressed him to
disguise himself. He was prevailed upon by her persuasions, to put on the
habit of a slave, and daub himself with soot; and it was high time, for
they were knocking at the door; and all they could do was to embrace each
other lovingly: they were both so overwhelmed with sorrow that they could
not utter one word; and it was thus they parted. Ganem went out with some
dishes on his head: he was taken for the servant of an eating-house, and
nobody offered to stop him. On the contrary, the grand vizier, who was
the first that met him, gave him way to let him pass, being far from any
thought that he was the man he looked for. Those who were behind the
grand vizier made way as he had done, and thus favoured his escape. He
got speedily to one of the city gates, and so got clear away.

While he was making the best of his way from the grand vizier Giafar,
that minister came into the room where Fetnah was sitting on a sofa, and
where there were many chests full of Ganem’s equipage, and of the money
he had made of his goods.

As soon as Fetnah saw the grand vizier come into the room, she fell flat
on her face, and continued in that posture, as it were, ready to receive
her death. My lord, said she, I am ready to undergo the sentence passed
against me by the chief of the believers; you need only make it known to
me. Madam, answered Giafar, falling also down till she had raised
herself, God forbid any man should presume to lay his profane hands on
you. I do not design to offer you the least wrong. I have no farther
orders than to entreat you will be pleased to go with me to the palace,
and to conduct you thither with the merchant that lives in this house. My
lord, replied the favourite, let us go; I am ready to follow you. As for
the young merchant, to whom I am indebted for my life, he is not here; he
has been gone about a month since to Damascus, whither his business
called him, and he has left these chests you see under my care till he
returns. I conjure you to cause them to be secured, that I may perform
the promise I made to take all possible care of them.

You shall be obeyed, said Giafar, and immediately sent for porters, whom
he commanded to take up the chests, and carry them to Mesrour.

As soon as the porters were gone, he whispered the civil magistrate,
committing to him the care of seeing the house razed; but first to cause
diligent search to be made for Ganem, who, he suspected, might be hid,
whatever Fetnah had told of him. Then he went out, taking the young lady
with him attended by the two slaves that waited on her. As for Ganem’s
slaves, they were not regarded; they ran in among the crowd, and it was
not known what became of them.

No sooner was Giafar out of the house, than the masons and carpenters
began to raze it; and did it so effectually, that in a few hours none of
it remained. But the civil magistrate, not finding Ganem, after the
strictest search, sent to acquaint the grand vizier with it, before that
minister reached the palace. Well, said Haroun Alraschid, seeing him come
into his closet, have you executed my orders? Yes, sir, answered Giafar,
the house Ganem lived in is levelled with the ground, and I have brought
you your favourite Fetnah; she is at your closet-door, and I will call
her in if you command me. As for the young merchant, we could not find
him, though all places have been searched; and Fetnah affirms that he has
been gone this month to Damascus.

Never was any man in such a passion as the caliph, when he heard that
Ganem had made his escape. As for his favourite, being possessed that she
had been false to him, he would neither see nor speak to her. Mesrour,
said he to the chief of the eunuchs, who was there present, take the
ungrateful, the perfidious Fetnah, and go shut her up in the dark tower.
That tower was within the enclosure of the palace, and commonly served as
a prison for the favourites who any way disgusted the caliph.

Mesrour, being used to execute his sovereign’s orders, though ever so
unjust, without making any objection, obeyed this with some reluctancy.
He signified his concern to Fetnah, who was the more grieved at it,
because she had reckoned that the caliph would not refuse to speak to
her. There was no remedy but to submit to her hard fate, and to follow
Mesrour, who conducted her to the dark tower, and there left her.

In the mean time the caliph, being incensed, and only consulting his
passion, wrote the following letter, with his own hand, to the king of
Syria, his cousin and tributary, who resided at Damascus.

                               OF SYRIA.

‘Cousin, this is to inform you, that a merchant of Damascus, whose name
is Ganem, the son of Abou Ayoub, has seduced the most amiable of my women
slaves, called Fetnah, and is fled. It is my will, that, when you have
read my letter, you cause search to be made for Ganem, and secure him.
When he is in your power, you shall cause him to be loaded with irons,
and for three days successively he shall receive fifty strokes with a
bull’s pizzle. Then let him be led through all parts of the city, with a
crier, crying, This is the smallest punishment the chief of the believers
inflicts on him that offends his lord, and debauches one of his slaves.
After that, you shall send him to me under a strong guard. It is my will
that you cause his house to be plundered; and when it shall be razed,
order the materials to be carried out of the city into the middle of the
plain. Besides, if he has father, mother, sister, wives, daughters, or
other kindred, cause them to be stripped; and when they are naked, expose
them as a spectacle during three days to the whole city, forbidding any
one, on pain of death, to afford them any shelter. I expect you will no
way delay what I enjoin.

                                                      Haroun Alraschid.’

The caliph having written this letter, sent it away by an express,
ordering him to make all possible speed, and to take pigeons along with
him, that he might the sooner hear what had been done by Mohammed Zinebi.

The pigeons of Bagdad have this particular quality, that, though they be
carried ever so far, they return to Bagdad as soon as they are turned
loose, especially when they have young ones. A letter rolled up is made
fast under their wing; and by that means, they have speedy advice from
such places as they desire.

The caliph’s express travelling night and day, as his master’s impatience
required, and being come to Damascus, went directly to king Zinebi’s
palace, who sat upon his throne to receive the caliph’s letter. The
express having delivered it, Mohammed looking upon it, and knowing the
hand, stood up to show his respect, kissed the letter, and laid it on his
head, to denote he was ready submissively to obey the orders contained in
it. He opened it, and having read it, immediately descended from his
throne, and, without losing time, mounted on horseback, with the prime
officers of his household. He also sent for the civil magistrate, who
came to him; and then he went directly to Ganem’s house, attended by all
his guards.

That young merchant’s mother had never heard or received any letter from
him since he left Damascus, but the other merchants with whom he went to
Bagdad were returned, and all of them told her they had left her son in
perfect health. However, as he did not return himself, and neglected to
write, the tender mother could not be persuaded but that he was dead, and
was so fully convinced of it in her imagination, that she went into
mourning. She bewailed Ganem as if she had seen him die, and had herself
closed his eyes: never mother expressed greater sorrow; and so far was
she from seeking any comfort, that she delighted in indulging her sorrow.
She caused a dome to be built in the middle of the court belonging to her
house, in which she placed a figure representing her son, and covered it
with black cloth. She spent the greatest part of the days and nights in
weeping under that dome, in the same manner as if her son had been buried
there. The beautiful Alcolomb, or Ravisher of Hearts, her daughter, bore
her company, and mixed her tears with hers.

It was now some time since they had thus devoted themselves to sorrow,
and since the neighbourhood, hearing their cries and lamentations, pitied
such loving relations, when king Mohammed Zinebi came to the door, which,
being opened by a slave belonging to the family, he went into the house,
inquiring for Ganem, the son of Abou Ayoub.

Though the slave had never seen king Zinebi, she easily guessed, by his
retinue, that this must be one of the prime men of Damascus. My lord,
said she, that Ganem you inquire for is dead: my mistress, his mother, is
in that monument you see there, actually lamenting the loss of him. The
king, not regarding what was said by the slave, caused all the house to
be diligently searched by his guards for Ganem. Then he advanced towards
the monument, where he saw the mother and daughter sitting on nothing but
a mat, by the figure which represented Ganem, and their faces appeared to
him bathed in tears. Those poor women immediately veiled themselves, as
soon as they beheld a man at the door of the dome; but the mother,
knowing the king of Damascus, got up, and ran to cast herself at his
feet. My good lady, said he, I was looking for your son Ganem; is he
here? Alas, sir! cried the mother, it is a long time since he has ceased
to be: would to God I had at least put him into his shroud with my own
hands, and had the comfort of having his bones in this monument! O, my
son, my dear son! She would have said more, but was oppressed with so
violent sorrow that she was not able.

Zinebi was moved; for he was a prince of a mild nature, and had much
compassion for the sufferings of the unfortunate. If Ganem alone is
guilty, thought he to himself, why should the mother and the daughters,
who are innocent, be punished? Ah! cruel Haroun Alraschid, what a
mortification do you put upon me, in making me the executioner of your
vengeance, obliging me to persecute those persons who have not offended

The guards that the king ordered to search for Ganem, came and told him
they had lost their labour. He was fully convinced: the tears of these
two women would not leave him any room to doubt. It distracted him to be
obliged to execute the caliph’s order. My good lady, said he to Ganem’s
mother, come out of this monument with your daughter; it is no place of
safety for you. They went out; and he, to secure them against any insult,
took off his own robe, which was very large, and covered them both with
it, bidding them be sure to keep close to him. Then he ordered the
multitude to be admitted to plunder, which was performed with the utmost
rapaciousness, and many shouts, which terrified Ganem’s mother and sister
the more, because they knew not the reason of it. The rabble carried off
the richest goods, chests full of wealth, fine Persian and Indian
carpets, cushions made of cloth of gold and silver, fine china ware. In
short, all was taken away; nothing was left but the hard walls of the
house: and it was certainly a dismal spectacle for the unhappy ladies, to
see all their goods plundered, without knowing why they were so cruelly

When the house was plundered, Mohammed ordered the civil magistrates to
raze the house and monument; and, whilst that was doing, he carried away
Alcolomb and her mother to his palace. There it was he redoubled their
affliction, acquainting them with the caliph’s will. He commands me, said
he to them, to cause you to be stripped, and expose you naked for three
days to the view of the people. It is with the utmost reluctance that I
execute that cruel and ignominious sentence. The king delivered these
words with such an air, as plainly made it appear his heart was really
pierced with grief and compassion. Though the fear of being dethroned
obstructed his following the dictates of his pity, yet he in some measure
moderated the rigour of Haroun Alraschid’s orders, causing coarse sacks,
like smocks with sleeves, to be made of horse-hair, for Ganem’s mother,
and his sister Alcolomb, or Ravisher of Hearts.

The next day, these two victims of the caliph’s rage were stripped of
their clothes, and their horse-hair smocks put upon them; their
head-dress was also taken away, so that their dishevelled hair hung upon
their backs. Alcolomb had the finest hair in the world; and it hung down
to the ground. In that condition, they were exposed to the people. The
civil magistrate, attended by his officers, went along with them; and
they were conducted throughout all the city. A crier went before them,
who, every now and then, cried, This is the punishment due to those who
have drawn on themselves the indignation of the chief of the believers.

When they walked in this manner along the streets of Damascus, with their
arms and feet naked, clad in such a strange garment, and endeavouring to
hide their shame under their hair, with which they covered their faces,
all the people were dissolved in tears; more especially the ladies,
looking on them as innocent persons, through their lattice-windows, and
being particularly moved by Alcolomb’s youth and beauty, made the air
ring with their dreadful shrieks, as they passed before their houses. The
very children, frightened at those shrieks, and at the spectacle that
occasioned them, mixed their cries with that general lamentation, and
added new horror to it. In short, had an enemy been at Damascus, and then
putting all to fire and sword, the consternation could not have been

It was near night when that dismal scene concluded. The mother and
daughter were both conducted back to king Mohammed’s palace. Not being
used to walk barefoot, they were so spent, that they lay a long time in a
swoon. The queen of Damascus, highly afflicted at their misfortunes,
notwithstanding the caliph’s prohibition to relieve them, sent some of
her women to comfort them with all sorts of refreshments, and wine to
raise their spirits.

The queen’s women found them still in a swoon, and almost past receiving
any benefit by what they offered them. However, with much difficulty,
they were brought to themselves. Ganem’s mother immediately returned them
thanks for their courtesy. My good lady, said one of the queen’s ladies
to her, we are highly concerned at your affliction; and the queen of
Syria, our mistress, has done us a favour in employing us to assist you.
We can assure you, that princess is much afflicted at your misfortunes,
as well as the king her consort. Ganem’s mother entreated the queen’s
women to return her majesty a thousand thanks from her and her daughter
Alcolomb; and then, directing her discourse to the lady that spoke to
her, she said, Madam, the king has not told me why the chief of the
believers inflicts so many outrages on us; pray be pleased to tell us
what crimes we have been guilty of. My good lady, answered the other, the
origin of your misfortune proceeds from your son Ganem. He is not dead,
as you imagine. He is accused of having stolen the beautiful Fetnah, the
best beloved of all the king’s favourites; and he having, by timely
flight, withdrawn himself from that prince’s indignation, the punishment
is fallen on you. All mankind condemns the caliph’s resentment; but all
mankind fears him: and you see king Zinebi himself dares not contradict
his orders, for fear of incurring his displeasure. So that all we can do
is to pity and exhort you to have patience.

I know my son, answered Ganem’s mother; I have educated him very
carefully, and in that respect which is due to the commander of the
believers. He has not committed the crime he is accused of; I dare answer
for his innocency. But I will give over muttering and complaining, since
it is for him that I suffer, and he is not dead. O Ganem! added she, in a
transport of love and joy, my dear son Ganem, is it possible that you are
still alive? I no longer am concerned for the loss of my goods; and how
extravagant soever the caliph’s orders may be, I forgive him all the
severity of them, provided Heaven has saved my son. I am only concerned
for my daughter; her sufferings only afflict me; yet I believe her to be
so good a sister as to follow my example.

At the hearing of these words, Alcolomb, who till then had appeared
insensible, turned to her mother, and, clasping her arms about her neck,
Yes, dear mother, said she, I will always follow your example, whatever
extremity the love of my brother brings you to.

The mother and daughter, thus interchanging their sighs and tears,
continued a considerable time in such moving embraces. In the mean time,
the queen’s women, who were much moved at that spectacle, omitted no
persuasions to prevail with Ganem’s mother to take some sustenance. She
ate a morsel out of complaisance, and Alcolomb did the like.

The caliph having ordered that Ganem’s kindred should be exposed three
days successively to the sight of the people, in the condition as has
been said, Alcolomb and her mother afforded the same spectacle the second
time next day, from morning till night. But that day and the following,
things were not done after the same manner: the streets, which at first
had been full of people, were left quite empty. All the traders, incensed
at the ill usage of Abou Ayoub’s widow and daughter, shut up their shops,
and kept themselves close within their houses. The ladies, instead of
looking through their lattice-windows, withdrew into the back parts of
their houses. There was not one soul to be seen in the public places
those unfortunate women were carried through. It looked as if all the
inhabitants of Damascus had abandoned their city.

On the fourth day, king Mohammed Zinebi, who was resolved punctually to
obey the caliph’s orders, though he did not approve of them, sent criers
into all quarters of the city to make proclamation, strictly forbidding
all the inhabitants of Damascus, and strangers, of what condition soever,
upon pain of death, and having their bodies cast to the dogs to be
devoured, to receive Ganem’s mother and sister into their houses, or to
give them a morsel of bread or a drop of water; and, in a word, to afford
them the least support, or hold the least correspondence with them.

When the criers had performed what the king had enjoined them, that
prince ordered the mother and the daughter to be turned out of the
palace, and left to their choice to go where they thought fit. As soon as
ever they appeared, all persons fled from them, so great an impression
had the late prohibition made upon them all. They easily perceived that
every body shunned them; but not knowing the reason of it, they were much
surprised; and their amazement was the greater, when, coming into any
street, or among several persons, they knew some of their best friends,
who presently vanished with as much haste as the rest. What is the
meaning of this? said Ganem’s mother: do we carry the plague about us?
Must the unjust and barbarous usage we have received render us odious to
our fellow-citizens? Come, my child, added she, let us depart from
Damascus with all speed; let us not stay any longer in a city where we
are become frightful to our very friends.

The two wretched ladies, discoursing after this manner, came to one of
the ends of the city, and retired to a ruined house, to pass the night.
Thither some Mussulmen, or believers, out of charity and compassion,
resorted to them after the day was shut in. They carried them provisions,
but durst not stay to comfort them, for fear of being discovered, and
punished for disobeying the caliph’s orders.

In the mean time, king Zinebi had let fly a pigeon, to give Haroun
Alraschid an account of his exact obedience. He informed him of all that
had been done, and conjured him to direct what he would have done with
Ganem’s mother and sister. He soon received the caliph’s answer the same
way, which was, that he banished them from Damascus for ever. Immediately
the king of Syria sent men to the old house, with orders to take the
mother and the daughter, and to conduct them three days’ journey from
Damascus, and there to leave them, forbidding them ever to return to the

Zinebi’s men executed their commission; but being less precise than their
master, in the strict performance of every tittle of Haroun Alraschid’s
orders, they in pity gave Alcolomb and her mother some small pieces of
money to buy them some subsistence, and each of them a bag, which they
hung about their necks, to carry their provisions.

In this miserable condition, they came to the first village. The peasants
flocked about them; and as it appeared through their disguise that they
were people of some fashion, they asked them what was the occasion of
their travelling after that manner, in a habit that did not seem properly
to belong to them. Instead of answering the question put to them, they
fell a-weeping, which only served to heighten the curiosity of the
peasants, and to move them to compassion. Ganem’s mother told them what
she and her daughter had endured; at which the good countrywomen were
sensibly afflicted, and endeavoured to comfort them. They treated them as
well as their poverty would permit; they took off their horse-hair
smocks, which were very uneasy, and put on others they gave them, with
shoes, and something to cover their heads, and save their hair.

Having expressed their gratitude to those charitable women, Alcolomb and
her mother departed that village, taking short journeys towards Aleppo.
They used at night to lie near the mosques, or in them, upon the mat, if
there was any, or else on the bare pavement; and sometimes put up in the
places appointed for the use of travellers. As for sustenance, they did
not want; for they often came to places where bread, boiled rice, and
other provisions, are distributed to all travellers who desire it.

At length they came to Aleppo, but would not stay there, and holding on
their journey towards the Euphrates, crossed that river, and entered into
Mesopotamia, which they traversed as far as Moussoul. Thence,
notwithstanding all they had endured, they proceeded to Bagdad. That was
the place they had fixed their thoughts upon, hoping to find Ganem there,
though they ought not to have fancied that he was in a city where the
caliph resided: but they hoped, because they wished it; their affection
rather increasing than diminishing, in spite of all their misfortunes.
Their discourse was generally about him, and they inquired for him of all
they met. But let us leave Alcolomb and her mother, to return to Fetnah.

She was still confined close in the dark tower, ever since the day that
had been so fatal to Ganem and her. However, disagreeable as her prison
was to her, it was much less grievous than the thoughts of Ganem’s
misfortune, the uncertainty of whose fate was a killing affliction to
her. There was scarce a moment in which she did not lament him.

One night when the caliph was walking by himself within the enclosure of
his palace, as he frequently did; for he was the most prying prince in
the world, and sometimes, by means of those night-walks, he came to the
knowledge of things that happened in his palace, which would otherwise
never have come to his ear: one of these nights, in his walk, he happened
to pass by the dark tower, and fancying he heard somebody talk, he
stopped, and drew near the door to listen, and distinctly heard these
words, which Fetnah, whose thoughts were always on Ganem, uttered with a
loud voice: O Ganem! too unfortunate Ganem! where are you at this time?
whither has thy cruel fate led thee? Alas! it is I that have made you
miserable! Why did you not let me perish unhappily, rather than afford me
your generous relief? What a dismal reward have you received for your
care and respect! The commander of the faithful, who ought to have
requited, persecutes you; and in return for having always looked upon me
as a person reserved for his bed, you lose all your goods, and are
obliged to seek for safety in flight. O caliph! barbarous caliph! what
will you say for yourself when you shall appear with Ganem before the
tribunal of the Supreme Judge, and the angels shall testify the truth
before your face! All the power you are now invested with, and which
makes the best part of the world quake, will not prevent your being
condemned and punished for your violent and unjust proceedings. Here
Fetnah ceased her complaint, her sighs and tears putting a stop to her

This was enough to bring the caliph to himself. He plainly perceived,
that if what he had heard was true, his favourite must be innocent, and
that he had been too rash in giving orders against Ganem and his family.
Being resolved to be rightly informed in an affair which so nearly
concerned him, in point of equity, on which he valued himself, he
immediately returned to his apartment, and that moment ordered Mesrour to
repair to the dark tower and bring Fetnah to him.

By this command, and much more by the caliph’s way of delivery, the chief
of the eunuchs guessed that his master designed to pardon his favourite,
and take her to him again. He was overjoyed at it, for he loved Fetnah,
and had been much concerned at her disgrace; and therefore flying to the
tower, Madam, said he to the favourite, with such an air as expressed his
satisfaction, be pleased to follow me: I hope you will never more return
to this vile dark tower: the commander of the faithful has a mind to
speak with you, and I have reason to hope for a happy issue.

Fetnah followed Mesrour, who conducted her into the caliph’s closet. She
prostrated herself before that prince, and so continued, letting fall a
shower of tears. Fetnah, said the caliph, without bidding her rise, I
think you charge me with violence and injustice. Who is he, who,
notwithstanding the regard and respect he had for me, is in a miserable
condition? Speak freely; you know how good-natured I am, and that I love
to do justice.

By these words the favourite conceived that the caliph had heard what she
had said; and laying hold on so favourable an opportunity to clear her
dear Ganem, she said, Commander of the true believers, if I have let fall
any word that is not agreeable to your majesty, I most humbly beseech you
to forgive me; but he whose innocence and misfortune you desire to be
acquainted with, is Ganem, the unhappy son of Abou Ayoub, merchant in
Damascus. He is the man that saved my life, and afforded me a safe
sanctuary in his house. I must own, that, from the first moment he saw
me, he perhaps designed to devote himself to me, and conceived hopes of
engaging me to admit of his service. I guessed at this, by the eagerness
he showed in entertaining, and giving me all the attendance which was
requisite under the circumstances I was then in; but as soon as he heard
that I had the honour to belong to you, Alas, madam, said he, ‘That which
belongs to the master is forbidden to the slave.’ From that moment, I owe
this justice to his virtue, his behaviour was always suitable to his
words. However, you well know with what rigour you have treated him, and
you will answer for it before the tribunal of God.

The caliph was not displeased with Fetnah for the freedom of those words.
But may I, answered he, rely on the assurances you give me of Ganem’s
virtue? Yes, replied Fetnah, you may; I would not for the world conceal
the truth from you: and to make out to you that I am sincere, I must own
one thing to you, which perhaps may displease you; but I beg pardon of
your majesty beforehand. Speak, child, said Haroun Alraschid; I forgive
all, provided you conceal nothing from me. Well then, replied Fetnah, let
me inform you, that Ganem’s respectful behaviour, together with all the
good offices he did me, gained him my esteem. I went farther yet: you
know the tyranny of love; I felt some tender inclination growing in my
breast. He perceived it, but was still far from taking an advantage of my
frailty: and notwithstanding the flame which consumed him, he still
remained steady in his duty; and all his passion could force from him,
were those words I have already told your majesty, ‘That which belongs to
the master is forbidden to the slave.’

This ingenuous confession might have provoked any other man than the
caliph; but it was the very thing which quite appeased that prince. He
commanded her to rise, and making her sit by him, Tell me your story,
said he, from the beginning to the end. She did so with much art and wit,
slightly passing over what regarded Zobeide, and dilating on the
obligations she owed Ganem, the expense he had been at for her; and,
above all, she highly extolled his discretion, endeavouring by that means
to make the caliph sensible that she had been under the necessity of
lying concealed in Ganem’s house, to deceive Zobeide. She concluded with
the young merchant’s escape, which she plainly told the caliph she had
compelled him to, that he might avoid his indignation.

When she had done speaking, the caliph said to her, I believe all you
have told me; but why was it so long before you let me hear from you? Was
there any need of staying a whole month after my return, before you sent
me word where you were? Commander of the true believers, answered Fetnah,
Ganem went abroad so very seldom, that you need not wonder that we were
none of the first that heard of your return. Besides that, Ganem, who
took upon him to deliver the letter I wrote to Nouron Nihar, was a long
time before he could find an opportunity of putting it into her own

It is enough, Fetnah, replied the caliph; I own my fault, and would
willingly make amends for it by heaping favours on that young merchant of
Damascus; therefore consider what I can do for him: ask what you think
fit, and I will grant it. Hereupon the favourite fell down at the
caliph’s feet, with her face flat on the ground; and then rising again,
said, Commander of the true believers, after returning your majesty
thanks for Ganem, I most humbly entreat you to cause it to be published
throughout all your dominions, that you pardon the son of Abou Ayoub, and
that he may safely come to you. I will do more, rejoined that prince, in
requital for having saved your life, and the respect he has bore to me,
and to make amends for the loss of his goods; and, in short, to repair
the wrong I have done to his family, I give him to you for a husband.
Fetnah had not words expressive enough to thank the caliph for his
generosity. She then withdrew into the apartment she had before her
dismal adventure. The same furniture was still in it; nothing had been
removed; but that which pleased her most, was, to find there Ganem’s
chests and packs, which Mesrour had taken care to convey thither.

The next day Haroun Alraschid ordered the grand vizier to cause
proclamation to be made throughout all his dominions, that he pardoned
the son of Abou Ayoub; but this proved of no effect, for a long time
elapsed without any news of that young merchant. Fetnah concluded for
certain, that he had not been able to survive the pain of losing her. A
dreadful uneasiness seized her; but as hope is the last thing which
forsakes lovers, she entreated the caliph to give her leave to seek for
Ganem herself; which being granted, she took a purse with a thousand
pieces of gold out of her basket, and one morning went out of the palace,
mounted on a mule she had out of the caliph’s stables, very richly
accoutred. Black eunuchs attended her, with their hands on each side upon
the mule’s buttocks.

Thus she went from mosque to mosque, bestowing her alms among the
devotees of the Mahometan religion, desiring their prayers for obtaining
the accomplishment of an affair on which the happiness of two persons, as
she told them, depended. She spent the whole day and the thousand pieces
of gold, in giving alms at the mosques, and returned to the palace in the

The next day she took another purse of the same value, and, in the like
equipage as the day before, went to the place where all the jewellers’
shops were; and stopping at the door without alighting, sent one of her
black eunuchs for the syndic, or chief of them. That syndic, who was an
extraordinary charitable man, and spent above two-thirds of his income in
relieving poor strangers, whether they happened to be sick or in
distress, made not Fetnah stay, knowing by her dress that she was a lady
belonging to the palace. I apply myself to you, said she, putting the
purse into his hands, as a person whose piety is cried up throughout the
city. I desire you to distribute that gold among the poor strangers you
relieve, for I know you make it your business to assist poor strangers
who have recourse to your charity. I am also satisfied that you prevent
their wants, and that nothing is more agreeable to you than to have an
opportunity of easing their misery. Madam, answered the syndic, I shall
obey your commands with pleasure; but if you desire to exercise your
charity in person, and will be pleased to step to my house, you will
there see two women worthy of your compassion: I met them yesterday as
they were coming into the city; they were in a deplorable condition, and
it moved me the more, because I thought they were persons of some
quality. Through all the rags that covered them, and notwithstanding the
impression the sun has made on their faces, I discovered a noble air, not
to be commonly found in those poor people I relieve. I carried them both
to my house, and delivered them to my wife, who was of the same opinion
with me. She caused her slaves to provide them good beds, whilst she
herself washed their faces, and gave them clean linen. We know not as yet
who they are, because we will let them take some rest before we trouble
them with our questions.

Fetnah, without being able to give any reason for it, had a curiosity to
see them. The syndic would have conducted her to his house, but she would
not give him the trouble, and was satisfied that a slave of his should go
and show her the way. She alighted at the door, and followed the syndic’s
slave, who was gone on before to give notice to his mistress, she being
then in the chamber with Alcolomb and her mother, for they were the
persons the syndic had been talking of to Fetnah.

The syndic’s wife, being informed by the slave that a court-lady was in
her house, was going out of the room to meet her; but Fetnah, who had
followed close to the slave’s heels, did not give her so much time, and
coming into the chamber, the syndic’s wife fell down before her, to
express the respect she had for all that belonged to the caliph. Fetnah
took her up, and said, My good lady, I desire you would let me speak with
those two strangers that arrived at Bagdad last night. Madam, answered
the syndic’s wife, they lie in those two little beds you see close by
each other. The favourite immediately drew near the mother’s, and viewing
her carefully, Good woman, said she, I come to offer you my assistance: I
have a considerable interest in this city, and may be assisting to you
and your companion. Madam, answered Ganem’s mother, I perceive by your
obliging offers that Heaven has not quite forsaken us, though we have
cause to believe it, after so many misfortunes as have befallen us.
Having uttered these words, she wept so bitterly that Fetnah and the
syndic’s wife could not forbear letting fall some tears.

The caliph’s favourite, having dried up hers, said to Ganem’s mother, Be
so kind as to tell us your misfortunes, and recount your story. You
cannot give the relation to any persons better disposed than we are to
use all possible means to comfort you. Madam, replied Abou Ayoub’s
disconsolate widow, a favourite of the commander of the true believers, a
lady whose name is Fetnah, is the occasion of all our misfortunes. These
words were like a thunderbolt to the favourite: but suppressing her
concern and uneasiness, she suffered Ganem’s mother to proceed, who did
it after this manner: I am the widow of Abou Ayoub, a merchant of
Damascus; I had a son, called Ganem, who, coming to trade at Bagdad, has
been accused of having debauched that Fetnah. The caliph has caused
search to be made for him every where, to put him to death; and not
finding him, wrote to the king of Damascus, to cause our house to be
plundered and razed, and to expose my daughter and me three days
successively, stark naked, to be seen by the people, and then to banish
us out of Syria for ever.

But how unworthy soever our usage has been, I should still be comforted,
were my son alive, and I could meet with him. What a pleasure would it be
for his sister and me to see him again! Embracing him, we should forget
the loss of our goods, and all the evils we have suffered for him. Alas!
I am fully persuaded he is the innocent cause of them; and that he is no
more guilty towards the caliph, than his sister and I.

No doubt of it, said Fetnah, interrupting her there; he is no more guilty
than you are; I can assure you of his innocence, for I am that very
Fetnah you so much complain of, who, through some fatality in my stars,
have occasioned so many misfortunes. To me you must impute the loss of
your son, if he is no more; but if I have occasioned your misfortune, I
can in some measure relieve it. I have already cleared Ganem to the
caliph, who has caused it to be proclaimed throughout his dominions, that
he pardons the son of Abou Ayoub; and I do not question but that he will
do you as much good as he has done you harm. You are no longer his
enemies: he expects Ganem to requite the service he has done me by
uniting our fortunes: he gives me to him for his consort; therefore look
on me as your daughter, and permit me to vow an eternal friendship to
you. Having so said, she bowed down on Ganem’s mother, who was so
astonished that she could return no answer. Fetnah held her a long time
in her arms, and only left her to run to the other bed to Alcolomb, who,
sitting up, held out her arms to receive her.

When the caliph’s charming favourite had given the mother and daughter
all the tokens of affection they could expect from Ganem’s wife, she said
to them, Cease both of you to afflict yourselves: the wealth Ganem had in
this city is not lost; it is in my apartment in the palace; but I know
all the treasure in the world cannot comfort you without Ganem: I judge
so of his mother and sister, if I may judge of them by myself; blood is
no less powerful than love in great minds. But why should we despair of
seeing him again? We shall find him: the good fortune of meeting with you
makes me conceive fresh hopes: and perhaps this is the last day of your
sufferings, and the beginning of a greater felicity than you enjoyed in
Damascus when Ganem was with you.

Fetnah would have gone on, when the syndic of the jewellers came in,
saying, Madam, I am come from seeing a very moving object; it is a young
man, a camel-driver, who was carrying to the hospital of Bagdad: he was
bound with cords on a camel, because he had not strength enough to sit
him. They had already unbound, and were carrying him into the hospital,
when I happened to be passing by. I went close up to the young man,
viewed him carefully, and fancied his countenance was not altogether
unknown to me. I asked him some questions concerning his family and his
country; but all the answer I could get, consisted only in sighs and
tears. I took pity on him, and perceiving, by being so much used to sick
people, that he had great need to have particular care taken of him, I
would not permit him to be put into the hospital; for I am too well
acquainted with their way of looking to the sick, and am sensible of the
incapacity of the physicians. I have caused him to be brought home to my
house by my slaves; and they are now, by my orders, putting on some of my
own linen, and serving him as they would do me, in a chamber for that

Fetnah’s heart leaped at these words of the jeweller, and she felt a
sudden emotion, for which she could not account. Show me, said she to the
syndic, into that sick man’s room; I would gladly see him. The syndic
conducted her, and whilst she was going thither, Ganem’s mother said to
Alcolomb, Alas! daughter, as wretched as that sick stranger is, your
brother, if he be living, is not perhaps in a more happy condition.

The caliph’s favourite, coming into the chamber where the sick man was,
drew near the bed, into which the syndic’s slaves had already laid him.
She saw a young man whose eyes were closed, his countenance pale,
disfigured, and bathed in tears. She gazed earnestly on him, her heart
beat, and she fancied she beheld Ganem; but yet she would not believe her
eyes. Though she found something of Ganem in the object she beheld, yet,
in other respects, he appeared so different, that she durst not imagine
it was he that lay before her. However, not being able to withstand the
earnest desire of being satisfied, Ganem, said she, with a quivering
voice, is it you I behold? Having spoken these words, she stopped to give
the young man time to answer; but observing that he seemed insensible,
Alas! Ganem, added she, it is not you that I talk to! My imagination
being overcharged with your image, has given this stranger a deceitful
resemblance: the son of Abou Ayoub, though ever so sick, would know the
voice of Fetnah. At the name of Fetnah, Ganem (for it was really he)
opened his eyes, and turned his face towards the person that spoke to
him, and knowing the caliph’s favourite, Ah! madam, said he, what
miracle?——He could say no more; such a sudden transport of joy seized him
that he fell into a swoon. Fetnah and the syndic did all they could to
bring him to himself; but as soon as they perceived he began to revive,
the syndic desired the lady to withdraw, for fear lest the sight of her
should heighten Ganem’s distemper.

The young man, having recovered his senses, looked all about, and not
seeing what he looked for, cried out, What is become of you, charming
Fetnah? did you really appear before mine eyes, or was it only an
illusion? No, sir, said the syndic, it was no illusion. It was I that
caused that lady to withdraw, but you shall see her again as soon as you
are in a condition to bear her sight. You now stand in need of rest, and
nothing ought to obstruct your taking it. The posture of your affairs is
altered, since you are, as I suppose, that Ganem, in favour of whom the
commander of the true believers has caused a proclamation to be made in
Bagdad, declaring that he forgives him what is past. Be satisfied for the
present, with knowing so much; the lady who just now spoke to you will
acquaint you with the rest; therefore think of nothing but recovering
your health: I will contribute all that shall be in my power towards it.
Having spoken these words, he left Ganem to take his rest, and went
himself to provide all such medicines for him as were proper to recover
his strength, quite spent by want and toil.

During that time Fetnah was in the room with Alcolomb and her mother,
where almost the same scene was acted over again; for when Ganem’s mother
understood that the sick man the syndic had then newly brought into his
house was Ganem himself, she was so overjoyed, that she also swooned
away; and when, with the assistance of Fetnah and the syndic’s wife, she
was again come to herself, she would have got up to see her son: but the
syndic coming in then, hindered her, giving her to understand that Ganem
was so weak and feeble that it would endanger his life, to excite in him
those commotions which must be the consequence of the unexpected sight of
a beloved mother and sister. There was no occasion for the syndic’s
making any long discourses to persuade Ganem’s mother: as soon as she was
told that she could not discourse to her son without hazarding his life,
she ceased insisting to go and see him. Then Fetnah, turning the
discourse, said, Let us bless Heaven for having brought us all together
into one place. I will return to the palace to give the caliph an account
of all these adventures, and to-morrow morning I will return to you: this
said, she embraced the mother and the daughter, and went away. As soon as
she came to the palace, she sent Mesrour to desire to be admitted to the
caliph in private, which was immediately granted; and being brought into
that prince’s closet, where he was alone, she prostrated herself at his
feet, with her face on the ground, according to custom. He commanded her
to rise, and having made her sit down, asked whether she had heard any
news of Ganem. Commander of the true believers, said she, I have been so
successful, that I have found him, as also his mother and sister. The
caliph was curious to know how she could find them in so short a time,
and she satisfied his curiosity, saying so many things in commendation of
Ganem’s mother and sister, that he desired to see them, as well as the
young merchant.

Though Haroun Alraschid was passionate, and in his heat sometimes guilty
of cruel actions; yet, to make amends, he was just, and the most generous
prince in the world, as soon as his anger was over, and he was made
sensible of the wrong he had done. Therefore, having no longer cause to
doubt but that he had unjustly persecuted Ganem and his family, and
having publicly wronged them, he resolved to make them public
satisfaction. I am overjoyed, said he to Fetnah, that your search has
proved so successful; it is a mighty satisfaction to me, not so much for
your sake as for my own. I will keep the promise I have made you. You
shall marry Ganem, and I here declare you are no longer my slave. Go back
to that young merchant; and, as soon as he has recovered his health, you
shall bring him to me, with his mother and sister.

The next morning early, Fetnah repaired to the syndic of the jewellers,
being impatient to hear of Ganem’s health, and to tell the mother and
daughter the good news she had for them. The first person she met was the
syndic, who told her that Ganem had rested very well that night; and that
his distemper altogether proceeded from melancholy, and the cause being
removed, he would soon recover his health.

Accordingly the son of Abou Ayoub was much mended. Rest, and the good
medicines applied to him, but, above all, the easiness of his mind, had
wrought so good an effect, that the syndic thought he might without
danger see his mother, his sister, and his mistress, provided he was
prepared to receive them; because there was ground to fear that, not
knowing his mother and sister were at Bagdad, the sight of them might
occasion too great joy and surprise. It was therefore resolved, that
Fetnah should first go alone into Ganem’s chamber, and then make a sign
to the two other ladies to appear, when she thought fit.

Affairs being so ordered, the sick man was acquainted with Fetnah’s
coming, by the syndic, which was so ravishing a sight to him, that he was
again near falling into a swoon. Well, Ganem, said she, drawing near to
his bed, you have again found your Fetnah, whom you thought you had lost
for ever. Ah! madam, said he, interrupting her, what miracle has restored
you to my sight? I thought you were in the caliph’s palace: that prince
has doubtless given ear to you. You have dispelled his jealousy, and he
has restored you to his favour. Yes, my dear Ganem, answered Fetnah, I
have cleared myself before the commander of the true believers, who, to
make amends for the wrong he has done you, bestows me on you for a wife.
These last words occasioned such an excess of joy in Ganem, that he knew
not for a while how to express himself, otherwise than by that passionate
silence so well known to lovers. At length he broke out with these words:
Ah, beautiful Fetnah, may I give credit to what you tell me? May I
believe that the caliph really resigns you to Abou Ayoub’s son? Nothing
is more certain, answered the lady. That prince, who before caused search
to be made for you to take away your life, and who in his fury caused
your mother and your sister to suffer a thousand indignities, desires now
to see you, that he may reward the respect you had for him; and there is
no question to be made, but that he will be profuse in his favours to
your family.

Ganem asked what the caliph had done to his mother and sister, which
Fetnah told him; and he could not forbear letting fall some tears at that
relation, notwithstanding his thoughts were so full of the news he had
heard of being married to his mistress. But when Fetnah informed him that
they were actually in Bagdad, and in the same house with him, he appeared
so impatient to see them, that the favourite could no longer defer giving
him that satisfaction; and accordingly called them in. They were then at
the door, only waiting that moment. They came in, made up to Ganem, and
embracing him in their turns, gave him a thousand kisses. How many tears
were shed amidst those embraces! Ganem’s face was bathed with them, as
well as his mother’s and sister’s; and Fetnah let fall in abundance. The
syndic himself, and his wife, being moved at the spectacle, could not
forbear weeping, nor sufficiently admire the secret workings of
Providence, which brought together into their house four persons whom
fortune had so cruelly parted.

When they had all dried up their tears, Ganem drew a fresh supply, by the
recital of all he had suffered from the day he left Fetnah, till the
moment the syndic brought him to his house. He told them, that having
reached a small village, he there fell sick; that some charitable
peasants had taken care of him, but finding he did not recover, a
camel-driver had undertaken to carry him to the hospital at Bagdad.
Fetnah, also, told them all the uneasiness of her imprisonment; how the
caliph, having heard her talk in the tower, had sent for her into his
closet, and how she had cleared herself. In the conclusion, when they had
all related what accidents had befallen them, Fetnah said, Let us bless
Heaven, which has brought us all together again, and let us think of
nothing but the happiness that attends us. As soon as Ganem has recovered
his health, he must appear before the caliph with his mother and sister;
but because they are not in a condition to be seen, I will go and make
some provision for them; so I desire you to stay a moment for me.

This said, she went away to the palace, and soon returned to the
syndic’s, with a purse containing a thousand pieces of gold, which she
delivered to the syndic, desiring him to buy clothes for the mother and
daughter. The syndic, who was a man of a good fancy, chose such as were
extraordinary fine, and had them made up with all speed. They were
finished in three days, and Ganem, finding himself strong enough to go
abroad, prepared for it; but on the day he had appointed to go and pay
his respects to the caliph, when he was making ready with his mother and
sister, the grand vizier Giafar came to the syndic’s house.

That minister came on horseback, attended by a great number of officers.
Sir, said he to Ganem, as soon as he came in, I am come from the
commander of the true believers, my master and yours; the orders I have,
differ very much from those which I do not care to revive in your memory.
I am to bear you company, and to present you to the caliph, who is
desirous to see you. Ganem returned no other answer to the vizier’s
compliments than by profoundly bowing his head, and then mounted a horse
brought from the caliph’s stables, which he managed very gracefully. The
mother and daughter were mounted on mules belonging to the palace; and
whilst Fetnah led them a by-way to the prince’s court, Giafar conducted
Ganem another way, and brought him into the presence-chamber. The caliph
was there sitting on his throne, encompassed with emirs, viziers, and
other attendants and courtiers, Arabs, Persians, Egyptians, Africans, and
Syrians, of his own dominions, not to mention strangers.

When the vizier had conducted Ganem to the foot of the throne, that young
merchant paid his obeisance, prostrating himself with his face on the
ground; and then rising, made his compliment in verse, which, though
_extempore_, met with the approbation of the whole court.

After his compliment, the caliph caused him to draw near, and said to
him, I am glad to see you, and desire to hear from your own mouth where
you found my favourite, and all that you did for her. Ganem obeyed, and
appeared so sincere, that the caliph was convinced of the reality of what
he said. That prince ordered a very rich vest to be given him, according
to the custom observed with those who are admitted to audience. After
which, he said to him, Ganem, I will have you live in my court. Commander
of the true believers, answered the young merchant, a slave has no will
but his master’s, on whom his life and fortune depend. The caliph was
highly pleased with Ganem’s answer, and assigned him a considerable
pension. Then that prince came down from his throne, and causing only
Ganem and the grand vizier to follow him, went into his own apartment.
Not questioning but Fetnah was there, with Abou Ayoub’s widow and
daughter, he caused them to be called in. They fell down before him: he
made them rise, and was so taken with Alcolomb’s beauty, that, after
viewing her very attentively, he said, I am so sorry for having treated
your charms so unworthily, that I owe them such a satisfaction as may
surpass the injury I have done them: I take you to wife; and by that
means shall punish Zobeide, who shall become the first cause of your good
fortune, as she was of your past sufferings. This is not all, added he,
turning towards Ganem’s mother; you are still young; I believe you will
not disdain to be allied to my grand vizier: I give you to Giafar. Let a
cadi and witnesses be called, and the three contracts be drawn up and
signed immediately. Ganem would have represented to the caliph, that it
would be honour enough for his sister to be one of his favourites; but
that prince was resolved to marry her.

He thought this such an extraordinary story, that he ordered a famous
historian to commit it to writing, with all its circumstances. It was
afterwards laid up in his library; and many copies being transcribed from
that original, it became public.

                              THE STORY OF

A king of Balsora, who possessed great wealth and was well beloved by his
subjects, had no children, which was a great affliction to him; and
therefore he made presents to all the holy persons in his dominions to
engage them to beg a son for him of Heaven: and their prayers being
effectual, the queen proved with child, and was happily delivered of a
prince who was named Zeyn Alasnam, which signifies Ornament of the

The king caused all the astrologers in his kingdom to be assembled, and
ordered them to calculate the infant’s nativity. They found by their
observations, that he would live long and be very brave; but that all his
courage would be little enough to bear him through the misfortunes that
would threaten him. The king was not daunted at the prediction. My son,
said he, is not to be pitied, since he will be brave: it is fit that
princes should have a taste of misfortunes; for adversity tries virtue,
and they are the fitter to reign.

He rewarded the astrologers, and dismissed them; and caused Zeyn to be
educated with the greatest care imaginable; appointing him able masters
as soon as he was of age to receive their instructions. In short, he
proposed to make him an accomplished prince; when, on a sudden, that good
king fell sick of a distemper which all the skill of his physicians could
not cure. Perceiving his disease was mortal, he sent for his son, and
among other things advised him rather to endeavour to be beloved than to
be feared by his people; not to give ear to flatterers; to be as slow in
rewarding as in punishing; because it often happens that monarchs, misled
by false appearances, load wicked men with favours, and oppress the

As soon as king Zeyn was dead, prince Zeyn went into mourning, which he
wore seven days, and the eighth he ascended the throne, taking his
father’s seal off the royal treasure, and putting on his own. He began
thus to taste the sweets of ruling, the pleasure of seeing all his
courtiers bow down before him, and make it their whole business to show
their zeal and obedience. In a word, the sovereign power was too
agreeable to him. He only regarded what his subjects owed to him, without
considering what his duty was towards them, and consequently took little
care to govern them well. He wallowed in all sorts of debauchery among
the voluptuous youth, on whom he conferred the prime employments in the
kingdom; so that there was nothing regular. Being naturally prodigal, he
set no bounds to his grants, so that his women and his favourites
insensibly drained his treasure.

The queen his mother was still living, a discreet wise princess. She had
several times unsuccessfully tried to give some check to her son’s
prodigality and debauchery; giving him to understand, that if he did not
soon take another course, he would not only squander his wealth, but
would also alienate the minds of his people, and occasion some
revolution, which perhaps might cost him his crown and his life. What she
had foretold was very near falling out; the people began to mutter
against the government, and their muttering had certainly been followed
by a general revolt, had not the queen by her dexterity prevented it. But
that princess, being informed of the ill posture of affairs, gave notice
to the king, who at last suffered himself to be prevailed upon. He
committed the government to discreet ancient men, who knew how to keep
the people within the bounds of duty.

Zeyn, seeing all his wealth consumed, repented that he had made no better
use of it. He fell into a dismal melancholy, and nothing could comfort
him. One night he saw in a dream, a venerable old man, who came towards
him, and with a smiling countenance said, Know, Zeyn, that there is no
sorrow but what is followed by mirth, no misfortune but what in the end
brings some happiness. If you desire to see the end of your affliction,
get up, set out for Egypt, go to Grand Cairo: a greater fortune attends
you there.

The prince, when he awaked in the morning, reflected on his dream, and
talked of it very seriously to his mother, who only laughed at it. My
son, said she to him, would you now go into Egypt upon belief of that
fine dream? Why not, madam? answered Zeyn: do you imagine all dreams are
chimerical? No, no, some of them are mysterious. My masters have told me
a thousand stories, which will not permit me to doubt of it. Besides,
though I were not otherwise convinced, I could not forbear giving some
credit to it. The old man that appeared to me had something supernatural.
He was not one of those men whom nothing but age makes venerable; there
appeared a sort of divine air about his person. In short, he was such a
one as our great prophet is represented; and if you will have me tell you
what I think, I believe it was he, who, pitying my affliction, designs to
ease it: I rely on the confidence he has inspired me with. I am full of
his promises, and have resolved to follow his advice. The queen
endeavoured to dissuade him; but it was in vain. The prince committed to
her the government of the kingdom, set out one night very privately from
his palace, and took the road to Cairo, without suffering any person to
attend him.

After much trouble and fatigue, he arrived at that famous city, like
which there are few in the world either for extent or beauty. He alighted
at the gate of a mosque, where, being spent with weariness, he lay down.
No sooner was he fallen asleep, than he saw the same old man, who said to
him, I am pleased with you, my son; you have given credit to my words.
You are come hither, without being deterred by the length or the
difficulties of the way: but take notice, that I have not put you upon
undertaking such a long journey upon any other design than to make trial
of you. I find you have courage and resolution. You deserve I should make
you the greatest and richest prince in the world. Return to Balsora, and
you shall find immense wealth in your palace. No king ever possessed so
much as is there.

The prince was not pleased with that dream.—Alas! thought he to himself,
when he awaked, how much was I mistaken! That old man, whom I took for
our prophet, is no other than the product of my disturbed imagination. My
fancy was so full of him, that it is no wonder I have seen him again. I
had best return to Balsora; what should I do here any longer? It is very
happy that I told none but my mother the occasion of my journey: I should
become a jest to my people if they knew it.

Accordingly he set out again for his kingdom; and as soon as he arrived
there, the queen asked him, whether he returned well pleased. He told her
all that had happened; and he was so much concerned for having been so
credulous, that the queen, instead of adding to his vexation by reproving
or laughing at him, comforted him. Forbear afflicting yourself, my son,
said she; if God has appointed you riches, you will have them without any
trouble. Be easy: all that I recommend to you is, to be virtuous.
Renounce the delight of dancing, music, and high-coloured wine: shun all
pleasures; they have already almost ruined you: apply yourself to the
making of your subjects happy; and, securing their happiness, you will
fix your own.

Prince Zeyn swore he would for the future follow his mother’s advice, and
be directed by the wise viziers she had made choice of to assist him in
supporting the weight of the government. But the very first night after
he returned to his palace, he the third time saw in a dream the old man,
who said to him, Brave Zeyn, the time of your prosperity is come.
To-morrow morning, as soon as you are up, take a little pick-axe, and go
dig in your father’s closet; you will there find a mighty treasure.

As soon as the prince awaked, he got up, ran to the queen’s apartment,
and with much earnestness told her the new dream of that night. Really,
my son, said his mother, that is a very positive man: he is not satisfied
with having deceived you twice; have you a mind to believe him again? No,
madam, answered Zeyn, I give no credit to what he has said; but I will,
for my own satisfaction, search my father’s closet. I really fancied so,
cried the queen, laughing very heartily: go, my son, please yourself; my
comfort is, that work is not so toilsome as the journey to Egypt.

Well, madam, answered the king, I must own that this third dream has
restored my belief, for it agrees with the two others; and, in short, let
us examine the old man’s words. He first directed me to go into Egypt;
there he told me, he had put me upon taking that journey only to try me.
Return to Balsora, said he; that is the place where you are to find
treasures: this night he has exactly pointed out the place where they
are. These three dreams, in my opinion, are connected. After all, they
may be chimerical; but I would rather search in vain, than blame myself
as long as I live for having perhaps missed of great riches, by being
unseasonably too hard of belief.

Having spoken these words, he left the queen’s apartment, caused a
pick-axe to be brought him, and went alone into the late king’s closet.
He fell to breaking up the ground, and took up above half the square
stones it was paved with; and yet found not the least appearance of what
he sought after. He ceased working to take a little rest, thinking within
himself, I am much afraid my mother had cause enough to laugh at me.
However, he took heart, and went on with his labour: nor had he cause to
repent; for, on a sudden, he discovered a white stone, which he took up,
and under it found a door made fast with a steel padlock, which he broke
with the pick-axe, and opened the door, which covered a staircase of
white marble. He immediately lighted a candle, and went down those stairs
into a room, the floor whereof was laid with tiles of china-ware, and the
roofs and walls were of crystal; but he particularly fixed his eyes on
four places a little raised above the rest of the floor, on each of which
there were ten urns of porphyry stone. He fancied they were full of wine:
Well, said he, that wine must needs be very old; I do not question but it
is excellent. He went up to one of the urns, took off the cover, and,
with no less joy than surprise, perceived it was full of pieces of gold.
He searched all the forty, one after another, and found them full of the
same coin, took out a handful, and carried it to the queen.

That princess was as much amazed as can be imagined, when the king gave
her an account of what he had seen. Oh! my son, said she, take heed that
you do not lavish away all that treasure foolishly, as you have already
done the royal treasure: let not your enemies have so much occasion to
rejoice. No, madam, answered Zeyn, I will from henceforward live after
such a manner as shall be pleasing to you.

The queen desired the king her son to conduct her to that wonderful
subterraneous place, which the late king her husband had made with such
secrecy, that she had never heard the least account of it. Zeyn led her
to the closet, down the marble stairs, and into the chamber where the
urns were. She observed every thing with singular curiosity, and in a
corner spied a little urn of the same sort of stone as the others. The
prince had not before taken notice of it, but opening, found in it a
golden key. My son, said the queen, the key certainly belongs to some
other treasure; let us look all about; perhaps we may discover the use it
is designed for.

They viewed all the chamber with the utmost exactness, and at length
found a key-hole in one of the pannels of the wall, and guessed it to be
that the key belonged to. The king immediately tried, and as readily
opened the door, which led into a chamber, in the midst of which were
nine pedestals of massy gold, on eight of which stood as many statues,
each of them made of one single diamond, and from them came such a
brightness that the whole room was perfectly light.

O Heavens! cried Zeyn, in a wonderful surprise, where could my father
find such rarities? The ninth pedestal redoubled their amazement, for it
was covered with a piece of white satin, on which were written these
words: ‘Dear son, it cost me much toil to get these statues: but though
they are extraordinary beautiful, you must understand that there is a
ninth in the world which surpasses them all: that alone is worth more
than a thousand such as these. If you desire to be master of it, go to
the city of Cairo in Egypt: one of my old slaves, whose name is Morabec,
lives there; you will easily find him; the first person you shall meet
will show you his house: go seek, and tell him all that has befallen you.
He will know you to be my son, and he will conduct you to the place where
that wonderful statue is, which you will get with safety.’

The prince, having read those words, said to the queen, I will not be
without that ninth statue; it must certainly be a very rare piece, since
all these here are not of so great value together. I will set out
speedily for Grand Cairo; nor do I believe, madam, that you will oppose
my design. No, my son, answered the queen, I am not against it: you are
certainly under the special protection of our great prophet; he will not
suffer you to perish in this journey. Set out when you think fit; your
viziers and I will take care of the government during your absence. The
prince made ready his equipage, but would take only a small number of
slaves with him.

Nothing remarkable befell him by the way; but arriving at Cairo, he
inquired for Morabec. The people told him he was one of the wealthiest
inhabitants of the city; that he lived like a great lord, and that he
kept open house, especially for strangers. Zeyn was conducted thither,
knocked at the gate, which a slave opened, and said, What is your want?
and who are you? I am a stranger, answered the prince; and, having heard
much of lord Morabec’s generosity, am come to take up my lodging with
him. The slave desired Zeyn to stay a while, and went to acquaint his
master, who ordered him to desire the stranger to walk in. The slave
returned to the gate, and told the prince he was welcome.

Zeyn went in, crossed a large court, and entered into a hall
magnificently furnished, where Morabec expected him, and received him
very courteously, returning thanks for the honour he did him in accepting
of a lodging in his house. The prince, having answered his compliments,
said to Morabec, I am son to the late king of Balsora, and my name is
Zeyn Alasnam. The king, said Morabec, was formerly my master; but, my
lord, I never knew of any children he had. What age are you of? I am
twenty years old, answered the prince. How long is it since you left my
father’s court? Almost two and twenty years, replied Morabec. But how can
you convince me that you are his son? My father, replied Zeyn, had a
subterraneous place under his closet, in which I have found forty
porphyry urns full of gold. And what more is there? said Morabec. There
are, answered the prince, nine pedestals of massy gold, on eight whereof
are eight diamond statues, and on the ninth is a piece of white satin, on
which my father has written what I am to do to get another statue, more
valuable than all those together. You know where the statue is; for it
mentioned on the satin that you will conduct me to it.

As soon as he had spoken these words, Morabec fell down at his feet, and
kissing one of his hands several times, said, I bless God for having
brought you hither: I know you to be the king of Balsora’s son. If you
will go to the palace where the wonderful statue is, I will conduct you;
but you must first rest here a few days. This day I treat the great men
of the court: we were at table when word was brought me of your being at
the door. Will you vouchsafe to come and be merry with us? I shall be
very glad, replied Zeyn, to be admitted to your feast. Morabec
immediately led him into a dome where the company was, seated him at
table, and served him on his knee. The great men of Cairo were surprised,
and whispered to one another, Who is this stranger to whom Morabec pays
so much respect?

When they had dined, Morabec, directing his discourse to the company,
said, Great men of Cairo, do not think much to see me serve this young
stranger after this manner: be it known to you, that he is the son of the
king of Balsora, my master. His father purchased me with his money, and
died without making me free; so that I am still a slave, and consequently
all I have of right belongs to this young prince, his sole heir. Here
Zeyn interrupted him, saying, Morabec, I declare before all these lords,
that I make you free from this moment, and that I renounce all right to
your person, and all you possess. Consider what you would have me do more
for you. Morabec then kissed the ground, and returned the prince most
hearty thanks. Wine was then brought in, which they drank all the day,
and towards evening presents were distributed among the guests, who then
went away.

The next day, Zeyn said to Morabec, I have taken rest enough: I came not
to Cairo to take my pleasure; my design is to get the ninth statue: it is
time for us to set out in search of it. Sir, said Morabec, I am ready to
comply with your desires; but you know not what dangers you must
encounter to gain the precious conquest. Whatsoever the danger may be,
answered the prince, I am resolved to undertake it; I will either perish
or succeed. All that happens in this world is by God’s direction: do you
but bear me company, and let your resolution be equal to mine.

Morabec finding him resolved to set out, called his servants, and ordered
them to make ready his equipage. Then the prince and he performed the
ablution, or washing, and the prayer enjoined, which is called Farz; and,
that done, they set out. By the way they took notice of abundance of
strange and wonderful things, and travelled many days; at the end
whereof, being come to a delicious place, they alighted from their
horses. Then Morabec said to all the servants that attended them, Do you
stay in this place, and take care of our equipage till we return. Next,
he said to Zeyn, Now, sir, let us two go on by ourselves: we are near the
dreadful place where the ninth statue is kept. You will stand in need of
all your courage.

They soon came to a lake; and Morabec sat down on the brink of it, saying
to the prince, We must cross this sea. How can we cross it, answered
Zeyn, when we have no boat? You will see one appear in a moment, replied
Morabec: the enchanted boat of the king of the genii will come for us.
But do not forget what I am going to say to you: you must observe a
profound silence; do not speak to the waterman, though his figure seem
ever so strange to you: whatsoever you observe, say nothing: for I tell
you beforehand, that if you utter the least word when you are embarked,
the boat will sink down. I shall take care to hold my peace, said the
prince: you need only tell me what I am to do, and I will strictly
observe it.

Whilst they were talking, he spied on a sudden a boat in the lake, and it
was made of red sanders. It had a mast of fine amber, and a blue satin
flag. There was only one waterman in it, whose head was like an
elephant’s, and his body like a tiger’s. When the boat was come up to the
prince and Morabec, the monstrous waterman took them up one after another
with his trunk, and put them into the boat, and then carried them over
the lake in a moment. He then again took them up with his trunk, set them
ashore, and immediately vanished with his boat.

Now we may talk, said Morabec: the island we are on belongs to the king
of the genii; there are no more such throughout the world. Look all about
you, prince; can there be a more delightful place? It is certainly a
lively representation of the charming place God has appointed for the
faithful observers of our law. Behold the fields, adorned with all sorts
of flowers and odoriferous plants: admire those fine trees, whose
delicious fruit makes the branches hang down to the ground: enjoy the
delight of those harmonious songs formed in the air by a thousand birds,
of as many various sorts, unknown in other countries. Zeyn could never
sufficiently admire the beauty of those things that were about him, and
still found something new as he advanced farther into the island.

At length they came before a palace all of fine emeralds, encompassed
with a ditch, on the banks whereof, at certain distances, were planted
such tall trees that they shaded the whole palace. Before the gate, which
was of massy gold, was a bridge made of one single shell of a fish,
though it was at least six fathoms long and three in breadth. At the head
of the bridge stood a company of genii, of a prodigious height, who
guarded the entrance into the castle with great clubs of china steel.

Let us go no farther, said Morabec; these genii will beat our brains out;
and if we would prevent their coming to us, we must perform a magical
ceremony. He then drew out of a purse he had under his garment four long
stripes of yellow taffety; one he put about his middle, and laid the
other on his back, giving the other two to the prince, who did the like.
Then Morabec laid on the ground two large table-cloths, on the edges
whereof he scattered some precious stones, musk, and amber. Then he sat
down on one of those cloths, and Zeyn on the other; and Morabec said to
the prince, I will now, sir, conjure the king of the genii, who lives in
the palace that is before us, that he may come peaceably to us. I confess
I am somewhat uneasy about the reception he is like to give us. If our
coming into this island is displeasing to him, he will appear in the
shape of a dreadful monster; but if he approves of our design, he will
come in the shape of a handsome man. As soon as he appears before us, you
must rise and salute him, without going off your cloth; for you would
certainly perish, should you stir off it. You may say to him, Sovereign
lord of the genii, my father, who was your servant, has been taken away
by the angel of death; I wish your majesty may protect me, as you always
protected my father. If the king of the genii ask you what favour you
desire of him, you must answer, Sir, I most humbly beg of you to give me
the ninth statue.

Morabec having thus instructed prince Zeyn, began his conjuration.
Immediately their eyes were dazzled with a long flash of lightning, which
was followed by a clap of thunder. The whole island was covered with a
hideous darkness, a furious storm of wind blew, a dreadful cry was heard,
the island felt a shock, and there was such an earthquake as that which
Asrasyel is to cause on the day of judgment.

Zeyn was somewhat startled, and began to look upon that noise as a very
ill omen, when Morabec, who knew better than he what to think of it,
began to smile, and said, Be not dismayed, my prince, all goes well. In
short, that very moment the king of the genii appeared in the shape of a
very handsome man; yet there was something of sternness in his air.

As soon as prince Zeyn had made him the compliment he had been taught by
Morabec, the king of the genii, smiling, answered, My son, I loved your
father; and every time he came to pay me his respects, I presented him
with a statue, which he carried away with him. I have no less kindness
for you. I obliged your father, some days before he died, to write that
which you read on the piece of white satin. I promised him to receive you
under my protection, and to give you the ninth statue, which in beauty
surpasses those you have already. I have begun to perform my promise to
him. It was I whom you saw in a dream in the shape of an old man: I
caused you to open the subterraneous place where the urns and the statues
are: I have a great share in all that has befallen you, or rather am the
occasion of it. I know the motive that brought you hither; and you shall
obtain what you desire. Though I had not promised your father to give it,
I would willingly grant it you; but you must first swear to me by all
that is sacred, that you will return to this island, and that you will
bring a maid that is in her fifteenth year, and who has never known man,
nor desired to know any. She must also be perfectly beautiful, and you so
much master of yourself, as not even to desire to enjoy her, as you are
conducting her hither.

Zeyn took the rash oath that was required of him. But, sir, said he, then
suppose I should be so fortunate as to meet with such a maid as you
require, how shall I know that I have found her? I own, answered the king
of the genii smiling, that you might be mistaken in her mien: that
knowledge is above the sons of Adam, and therefore I do not intend to
depend upon your judgment in that particular; I will give you a
looking-glass, which will be surer than your conjectures. When you shall
have seen a maid fifteen years of age, perfectly beautiful, you shall
only need to look into the glass, in which you shall see the maiden’s
representation. If she be chaste, the glass will remain clear and
unsullied; but if, on the contrary, it sullies, that will be a certain
sign that she has not been always undefiled, or at least that she has
desired to cease being so. Do not forget the oath you have taken; be sure
to keep it, as becomes a man of honour, otherwise I will take away your
life, as much kindness as I have for you. Prince Zeyn Alasnam protested
over again that he would faithfully keep his word.

Then the king of the genii delivered to him a looking-glass, saying, My
son, you may return when you please: there is the glass you are to make
use of. Zeyn and Morabec took leave of the king of the genii, and went
towards the lake. The waterman with the elephant’s head brought his boat,
and carried them over the lake as he had done before. They joined their
servants, and returned with them again to Cairo.

Prince Alasnam rested a few days at Morabec’s house, and then said to
him, Let us go to Bagdad, to seek a maiden for the king of the genii.
Why, are we not at Grand Cairo? said Morabec: shall we not there find
beautiful maidens enough? You are in the right, answered the prince; but
how shall we do to find where they are? Do not trouble yourself about
that, sir, answered Morabec; I know a very cunning old woman, whom I will
intrust with that affair, and she will acquit herself well of it.

Accordingly the old woman found means to show the prince a considerable
number of beautiful maidens of fifteen years of age; but when he had
viewed them, and came to consult his looking-glass, the fatal touchstone
of their virtue, the glass always appeared sullied. All the maidens in
the court and city, that were in their fifteenth year, underwent the
trial one after another, and the glass never remained bright and clear.

When they saw there were no chaste maids to be found in Cairo, they went
away to Bagdad, where they hired a magnificent palace in one of the chief
corners of the city, and began to live splendidly. They kept open house;
and, after all people had eaten in the palace, the fragments were carried
to the dervises, who, by that means, had convenient subsistence.

There lived in that quarter an iman, whose name was Boubekir Mouesm, a
vain, haughty, and envious person: he hated the rich, only because he was
poor, his misery incensing him against his neighbour’s prosperity. He
heard talk of Zeyn Alasnam, and of the plenty his house afforded. This
was enough for him to take an aversion to that prince; and it proceeded
so far, that one day, after the evening prayer, in the mosque, he said to
the people, Brethren, I have been told a stranger is come to live in our
ward, who is at a prodigious expense every day. How can we tell but that
this unknown person is some villain, who has committed a great robbery in
his own country, and comes hither to make much of himself? Let us take
heed, brethren; if the caliph should happen to be informed that such a
man is in our ward, it is to be feared that he will punish us for not
acquainting him with it: I declare, for my part, I wash my hands of it;
and if any thing should happen amiss, it shall not lie at my door. The
multitude, who were easily led away, unanimously cried to Boubekir, It is
your business, doctor; do you acquaint the council with it. The iman went
home well pleased, and drew up a memorial, resolving to present it to the
caliph the next day.

But Morabec, who had been at prayers, and heard all that was said by the
doctor as well as the rest of the company, put five hundred pieces of
gold into a handkerchief, made up with a parcel of several silks, and
went away to Boubekir’s house. The doctor asked him in a harsh tone what
he wanted. Doctor, answered Morabec, with an obliging air, and at the
same time putting into his hand the gold and the silk, I am your
neighbour and your servant; I come from prince Zeyn, who lives in this
ward. He has heard of your worth, and has ordered me to come and tell
you, that he desires to be acquainted with you; and, in the mean time,
desires you to accept of this small present. Boubekir was transported
with joy, and answered Morabec thus: Be pleased, sir, to beg the prince’s
pardon for me: I am ashamed I have not yet been to see him, but I will
atone for my fault, and wait on him to-morrow.

Accordingly the next day, after morning prayer, he said to the people,
You must understand, brethren, that no man is without some enemies. Envy
pursues those chiefly who are very rich. The stranger I spoke to you
about yesterday in the evening is no ill man, as some ill-designing
persons would have persuaded me: he is a young prince, endued with all
manner of virtues. It behoves us to take care how we go about to give any
ill account of him to the caliph.

Boubekir, having thus wiped off the ill impression he had the day before
given the people concerning Zeyn, returned home, put on his best apparel,
and went to visit that young prince, who gave him a courteous reception.
After several compliments had passed on both sides, Boubekir said to the
prince, Sir, do you design to stay long at Bagdad? I shall stay, answered
Zeyn, till I can find a maid fifteen years of age, perfectly beautiful,
and so chaste, that she has not only never known a man, but even never
desired to know one. You seek after a rarity, replied the iman; and I
should be apt to fear your search would prove unsuccessful, did I not
know where there is a maid of that character. Her father was formerly
vizier; but he has left the court, and lived a long time in a house out
of the way, where he applies himself only to the education of his
daughter. If you please, I will go ask her of him for you: I do not
question but he will be overjoyed to have a son-in-law of your quality.
Not so fast, said the prince; I shall not marry that maid before I know
whether I like her. As for her beauty, I can depend on you: but what
assurance can you give me in relation to her virtue? What assurance do
you require? said Boubekir. I must see her face, answered Zeyn; that is
enough for me to come to a resolution. You are skilful, then, in
physiognomy? replied the iman, smiling. Well, come along with me to her
father’s: I will desire him to let you see her one moment in his

Mouesm conducted the prince to the vizier’s, who, as soon as he was
acquainted with the prince’s birth and design, called his daughter, and
made her take off her veil. Never had the young king of Balsora beheld
such a perfect and powerful beauty. He stood amazed; and, since he could
then try whether the maid was as chaste as fair, he pulled out his glass,
which remained bright and unsullied.

When he perceived he had at length found such a person as he desired, he
entreated the vizier to grant her to him. Immediately the lady was sent
for, and came; the contract was signed, and the marriage-prayer said.
After which ceremony, Zeyn carried the vizier to his house, where he
treated him magnificently, and gave him considerable presents. Next, he
sent a prodigious quantity of jewels to the bride by Morabec, who brought
her to his house, where the wedding was kept with all the pomp that
became Zeyn’s quality. When all the company was dismissed, Morabec said
to his master, Let us be gone, sir; let us not stay any longer at Bagdad,
but return to Cairo: remember the promise you made the king of the genii.
Let us go, answered the prince; I must take care to perform it exactly:
yet I must confess, my dear Morabec, that, if I obey the king of the
genii, it is not without reluctancy. The person I have married is
charming, and I am tempted to carry her to Balsora, and place her on the
throne. Alas! sir, answered Morabec, take heed how you give way to your
inclination. Make yourself master of your passions; and, whatsoever it
costs you, be as good as your word to the king of the genii. Well then,
Morabec, said the prince, do you take care to conceal that lovely maid
from me: let her never appear in my sight. Perhaps I have already seen
too much of her.

Morabec having made all ready for their departure, they returned to
Cairo, and thence set out for the island of the king of the genii. When
they were there, the maid, who had performed the journey in a
horse-litter, and whom the prince had never seen since his wedding-day,
said to Morabec, Where are we? shall we be soon in the dominions of the
prince my husband? Madam, answered Morabec, it is time to undeceive you.
Prince Zeyn married you, only in order to get you from your father; he
did not engage his faith to you to make you sovereign of Balsora, but to
deliver you to the king of the genii, who has asked of him a virgin of
your character. Hearing these words, she wept bitterly, which moved the
prince and Morabec. Take pity on me, said she; I am a stranger: you will
be accountable to God for your treachery towards me.

Her tears and complaints were of no effect, for she was presented to the
king of the genii, who, having gazed on her very earnestly, said to Zeyn,
Prince, I am satisfied with your behaviour; the virgin you have brought
me is beautiful and chaste, and I am pleased with the force you have put
upon yourself to be as good as your word to me. Return to your dominions,
and when you shall enter the subterraneous room where the eight statues
are, you shall find the ninth which I promised you. I will go and make my
genii carry it thither. Zeyn thanked the king, and returned to Cairo with
Morabec, but did not stay long there; his impatience to see the ninth
statue made him hasten his journey. However, he could not but often think
of the young virgin he married; and, blaming himself for having deceived
her, he looked upon himself as the cause and instrument of her
misfortune. Alas! said he to himself, I have taken her from a tender
father to sacrifice her to a genie. O incomparable beauty! you deserve a
better fate.

Prince Zeyn, disturbed with these thoughts, at length reached Balsora,
where his subjects made extraordinary rejoicings for his return. He went
directly to give his mother an account of his journey, who was in a
rapture to hear he had obtained the ninth statue. Let us go, my son, said
she, let us go and see it; for it is certainly in the chamber under
ground, since the king of the genii told you you should find it there.
The young king and his mother, being both impatient to see that wonderful
statue, went down into the subterraneous place, and into the room of the
statues: but how great was their surprise, when, instead of a statue of
diamonds, they spied on the ninth pedestal a most beautiful virgin, whom
the prince knew to be the same he had conducted into the island of the
genii! Prince, said the young maid, you are amazed to see me here: you
expected to have found something more precious than I; and I question not
but that you now repent having taken so much trouble: you expected a
better reward. Madam, answered Zeyn, Heaven is my witness, that I more
than once thought to have broke my word with the king of the genii, to
keep you to myself. Whatsoever the value of a diamond statue may be, is
it worth the satisfaction of enjoying you? I love you above all the
diamonds and wealth in the world.

Just as he had done speaking these words, a clap of thunder was heard,
which made that subterraneous place shake. Zeyn’s mother was frightened;
but the king of the genii, immediately appearing, dispelled her dread.
Madam, said he to her, I protect and love your son: I had a mind to try
whether, at his age, he could subdue his passions. I know the charms of
this young lady have wrought on him, and that he did not punctually keep
the promise he had made me, not to desire to enjoy her; but I am too well
acquainted with the frailty of the human race. This is the ninth statue I
designed for him; it is more rare and precious than the others. Live,
said he, (directing his discourse to the young prince,) live happy, Zeyn,
with this young lady, who is your wife; and, if you would have her true
and constant to you, love her always, and love her alone. Give her no
rival, and I will answer for her fidelity. Having spoken these words, the
king of the genii vanished; and Zeyn, ravished with that young lady,
consummated the marriage the same day, and caused her to be proclaimed
queen of Balsora. Those two ever faithful and loving consorts lived
together many years.

                              THE STORY OF
                       CODADAD AND HIS BROTHERS.

Those who have written the history of the kingdom of Diarbekir inform us,
that there formerly reigned a most magnificent king in the city of
Harran, who loved his subjects, and was equally beloved by them. He was
endued with all virtues, and wanted nothing to complete his happiness but
an heir. Though he had the finest women in the world in his seraglio, yet
he was destitute of children. He continually prayed to Heaven for them;
and one night, in his sleep, a comely person, or rather a prophet,
appeared to him, and said, Your prayers are heard; you have obtained what
you desired: rise as soon as you awake, go to your prayers, and make two
genuflections: then walk into the garden of your palace, call your
gardener, and bid him bring you a pomegranate; eat as many of the seeds
as you think fit, and your wishes shall be accomplished.

The king, calling to mind his dream when he awaked, returned thanks to
Heaven, got up, and fell to his prayers, made two genuflections, and then
went down into his garden, where he took fifty pomegranate-seeds, which
he counted, and ate them. He had fifty wives who shared in his bed; they
all proved with child; but there was one called Pirouze, who did not
appear to be big-bellied. He took an aversion to that lady, and would
have her put to death. Her barrenness, said he, is a certain token that
Heaven does not judge Pirouze worthy to bear a prince; it is my duty to
deliver the world from an object that is odious to the Lord. He had taken
this cruel resolution, but his vizier diverted him from putting it in
execution; representing to him, that all women were not of the same
constitution, and that it was not impossible but that Pirouze might be
with child, though it did not appear. Well, answered the king, let her
live; but let her depart my court, for I cannot endure her. Your majesty,
replied the vizier, may send her to prince Samer, your cousin. The king
approved of his advice: he sent Pirouze to Samaria with a letter, in
which he ordered his cousin to treat her well; and, in case she proved
with child, to give him notice of her being brought to bed.

No sooner was Pirouze arrived in that country, than it appeared that she
was with child; and at length she was delivered of a most beautiful
prince. The prince of Samaria wrote immediately to the king of Harran, to
acquaint him with the birth of that son, and to congratulate him on that
occasion. The king was much rejoiced at it, and answered prince Samer as
follows: ‘Cousin, all my other wives have also been delivered of each a
prince; so that we have a great number of children here. I desire you to
breed up that of Pirouze, to give him the name of Codadad, and to send
him to me when I shall give you notice.’

The prince of Samaria spared nothing that might improve the education of
his nephew. He taught him to ride, shoot with a bow, and all the other
things becoming the son of a king; so that Codadad, at eighteen years of
age, was looked upon as a prodigy. This young prince, being inspired with
a courage worthy his birth, said one day to his mother, Madam, I begin to
grow weary of Samaria: I find myself inclined to gain renown; give me
leave to go seek it amidst the perils of war. My father, the king of
Harran, has many enemies. Some neighbouring princes make it their
business to disturb him. Why does he not call me to his assistance? Why
does he leave me here so long, like an infant? Must I spend my life here
in sloth, when all my brothers have the good fortune to be fighting by
his side? My son, answered Pirouze, I am no less impatient to have your
name become famous; I could wish you had already signalized yourself
against your father’s enemies; but we must wait till he requires it. No,
madam, replied Codadad, I have already waited but too long. I long to see
the king, and am tempted to go to offer him my service as a young
gentleman unknown. No doubt but he will accept of it, and I will not
discover myself till I have performed a thousand glorious actions: I
design to merit his esteem before he knows who I am. Pirouze approved of
his generous resolution; and Codadad one day departed from Samaria, as if
he had been going a-hunting, without acquainting prince Samer, for fear
he should thwart his design.

He was mounted on a white horse, who had a gold bit and shoes; his
housing was of blue satin, embroidered with pearls; the hilt of his
scimitar was of one entire diamond; and the scabbard of sandal-wood, all
adorned with emeralds and rubies; and on his shoulder hung his bow and
quiver. In this equipage, which added much to his good mien, he arrived
at the city of Harran, and soon found means to offer his service to the
king; who, being charmed with his beauty and lovely presence, and perhaps
inspired by natural sympathy, gave him a favourable reception, and asked
his name and quality. Sir, answered Codadad, I am son to an emir of Grand
Cairo: an inclination to travel has made me quit my country; and,
understanding, in my passage through your dominions, that you were
engaged in war with some of your neighbours, I am come to your court to
offer your majesty my service. The king showed him extraordinary
kindness, and employed him in his troops.

That young prince soon signalized his bravery. He gained the esteem of
the officers, and was admired by the soldiers; and, having no less wit
than courage, he so far advanced himself in the king’s affection as to
become his favourite. All the ministers and other courtiers daily
resorted to Codadad, and were so eager to purchase his friendship that
they neglected the king’s other sons. Those princes could not but resent
it; and, imputing it to the stranger, they all conceived an implacable
hatred against him; but the king’s affection daily increasing, he was
never weary of giving him fresh testimonies of it. He always desired he
should be near him: he admired his discourse, ever full of wit and
discretion; and, to show how much he was satisfied with his wisdom, he
gave him the tuition of the other princes, though he was of the same age
as they. Thus Codadad was made governor of his brothers; which only
served to heighten their hatred. Is it come to this, said they, that the
king, not satisfied with loving a stranger more than us, will have him to
be our tutor, and not allow us to do any thing without his leave? This is
not to be endured: we must rid ourselves of this stranger. Let us go
together, said one of them, and dispatch him. No, no, answered another;
we had better be cautious how we sacrifice ourselves: his death would
render us odious to the king, who, in return would declare us all unfit
to reign. Let us destroy the stranger artfully. We will ask leave to go
a-hunting; and, when far from the palace, we will proceed to some other
city, and stay there some time. The king will wonder at our absence; and,
perceiving we do not return, he may perhaps put the stranger to death, or
at least will turn him out of the court, for suffering us to leave the

All the princes applauded this artifice, went together to Codadad, and
desired him to give them leave to go and take the diversion of hunting,
promising to return the same day. Pirouze’s son was taken in the snare,
and granted the leave his brothers desired. They went, but returned not.
They had been three days absent, when the king asked Codadad where the
princes were, for it was long since he had seen them. Sir, answered
Codadad, they have been gone a-hunting these three days; but they
promised me they would return sooner. The king grew uneasy, and much more
when he perceived the princes did not return the next day. This provoked
his passion: Indiscreet stranger, said he to Codadad, why did you let my
sons go without bearing them company? Is it thus you discharge the trust
I have reposed in you? Go seek them immediately, or you are a dead man.

These words pierced Pirouze’s unfortunate son to the heart. He armed
himself, went out of the city, and, like a shepherd who had lost his
flock, searched all the country for his brothers, inquiring at every
village whether they had been seen; and, hearing no news of them, was
grieved to the heart. Alas! my brothers, said he, what is become of you?
Are you perhaps fallen into the hands of our enemies? Am I come to the
court of Harran to be the occasion of giving the king so much trouble? He
was altogether comfortless for having given the princes leave to go
a-hunting, or for not having borne them company.

After some days spent in a fruitless search, he arrived in a plain of
prodigious extent, in the midst whereof was a palace all of black marble.
He drew near, and at one of the windows spied a most beautiful lady, but
set off with no other ornament than her own beauty; for her hair was
dishevelled, her garments ragged, and on her countenance appeared all the
tokens of the greatest affliction. As soon as she saw Codadad, and judged
he might hear her, she directed her discourse to him, saying, Alas! young
man, get away from this fatal place, or else you will soon fall into the
hands of the monster that inhabits it. A black who feeds only on human
blood, resides in this palace. He seizes all persons whom their ill fate
conducts to this plain, and shuts them up in his dark dungeons, whence
they are never released but to be devoured by him.

Madam, answered Codadad, tell me who you are, and be not concerned for
any more. I am a maid of quality, of Grand Cairo, replied the lady: I was
passing by this castle yesterday, in my way to Bagdad, and met with the
black, who killed all my servants, and brought me hither. I wish I had
nothing but death to fear; but, to add to my calamity, this monster would
persuade me to love him; and, in case I do not yield to-morrow to his
brutality, I must expect the utmost violence. I tell you once more, added
she, make your escape: the black will soon return: he is gone out to
pursue some travellers he spied at a distance on the plain. Lose no time;
nay, I know not whether a speedy flight will deliver you from him.

She had scarce done speaking these words before the black appeared. He
was a man of a monstrous bulk, and of a dreadful aspect, mounted on a
mighty Tartar horse, and wore such a large and heavy scimitar, that none
but he could make use of it. The prince, seeing him, was amazed at his
monstrous mien, directed his prayers to Heaven to assist him, then drew
his scimitar, and stood still to expect the black; who, despising so
inconsiderable an enemy, called to him to yield himself with engaging
words; but Codadad, by his behaviour, gave him to understand that he was
resolved to defend his life; for he drew near, and gave him a great cut
on the knee. The black, feeling himself wounded, gave such a dreadful
shriek as made all the plain resound. He grew enraged, foamed at the
mouth, and raising himself on his stirrups, made at Codadad with his
dreadful scimitar. The stroke was so violent, that no more would have
been required to put an end to the prince, had not he, by a sudden spring
he made his horse take, avoided it. The scimitar made a mighty hissing in
the air; but, before the black could have leisure to second the blow,
Codadad let fall one on his right arm with such fury, that he cut it off.
The dreadful scimitar fell, with the hand that held it; and the black,
yielding under the violence of the stroke, lost his stirrups, and made
the earth quake with his mighty fall. The prince alighted at the same
time, and chopped off his enemy’s head. Just then the lady, who had been
a spectator of the combat, and was still offering up her vows to Heaven
for that young hero whom she admired, gave a shriek for joy, and said to
Codadad, Prince, (for the mighty victory you have obtained convinces me
that you are of no ordinary extraction,) finish the work you have begun:
the black has the keys of this castle: take them, and deliver me out of
prison. The prince searched the wretch’s pockets, as he lay stretched out
on the ground, and found several keys.

He opened the first door, and went into a court, where he met the lady
coming to meet him. She would have cast herself at his feet, in token of
her gratitude; but he would not permit her. She commended his valour, and
extolled him above all the heroes in the world. He returned her
compliments; and she appearing still more lovely to him near at hand than
at a distance, I know not whether she was more joyful to be delivered
from the desperate danger she had been in, than he for having done so
considerable a service to so beautiful a person.

Their discourse was interrupted by dismal cries and groans. What is this
I hear? said Codadad: whence come those miserable cries which pierce our
ears? Sir, said the lady to him, pointing to a little door there was in
the court, they come from thence. There are I know not how many wretched
persons, whom fate has made to fall into the hands of the black. They are
all chained; and that monster drew out one every day to be devoured.

It is an addition to my joy, answered the young prince, to understand
that my victory will save the lives of those unfortunate persons. Come
along with me, madam, to partake in the satisfaction of giving them their
liberty. You may guess by yourself how welcome we shall be to them.
Having so said, they advanced towards the door of the dungeon; and the
nearer they drew, the more distinctly they heard the complaints of the
prisoners. Codadad pitying them, and impatient to put an end to their
sufferings, put one of the keys into the key-hole, which proved not to be
the right one at first, and therefore he took another; at which noise all
those unfortunate creatures, concluding it was the black, who came,
according to custom, to bring them some meat, and at the same time to
seize one of them to eat himself, redoubled their cries and groans.
Lamentable voices were heard, which sounded as if they had come from the
centre of the earth.

In the mean time, the prince had opened the door, and went down a very
steep stair-case into a large and deep vault, which received some small
light from a little window, and in which there were above a hundred
persons bound to stakes, and their hands tied. Unfortunate travellers,
said he to them, wretched victims, who only expected the moment of an
approaching cruel death, give thanks to Heaven, which has this day
delivered you by my means. I have slain the black by whom you were to be
devoured, and am come to knock off your irons. The prisoners hearing
these words, all together gave a shout, occasioned by joy and surprise.
Codadad and the lady began to unbind them; and, as soon as any of them
were loose, they helped to take off the fetters from the rest; so that in
a short time they were all at liberty.

They then kneeled down, and, having returned thanks to Codadad for what
he had done for them, went out of the dungeon; and when they were come
into the court, how surprising it was for the prince to see among the
prisoners those he was in search of, and almost out of hopes to find!
Princes, cried he, am I not deceived? is it not you I behold? May I
flatter myself that it will be in my power to restore you to the king
your father, who is inconsolable for the loss of you? But will he not
have some one to lament? Are you all here alive? Alas! the death of one
of you will suffice to damp all the joy I conceive for having delivered

The forty-nine princes all made themselves known to Codadad, who embraced
them one after another, and told them how uneasy their father was on
account of their absence. They gave their deliverer all the commendations
he deserved, as did the other prisoners, who could not find words
expressive enough to declare the gratitude they were sensible of. Next,
Codadad, with them, took a view of the whole castle, where there was
immense wealth; curious silks, gold brocades, Persian carpets, China
satins, and an infinite quantity of other goods, which the black had
taken from the caravans he had plundered, a considerable part whereof
belonged to the prisoners Codadad had then set free. Every man knew and
reclaimed what belonged to him. The prince restored them their own, and
divided the rest of the merchandise among them. Then he said to them, How
will you do to carry away your goods? we are here in a desert place, and
there is no likelihood of getting your horses. Sir, answered one of the
prisoners, the black robbed us of our camels as well as our goods, and
perhaps they may be in the stables of this castle. That is not unlikely,
replied Codadad; let us see after it. Accordingly they went to the
stables, where they not only found the camels, but also the horses
belonging to the king of Harran’s sons. There were some black slaves in
the stables; who, seeing all the prisoners released, and guessing thereby
that their master had been killed, fled through by-ways well known to
them. Nobody minded to pursue them. All the merchants, overjoyed that
they had recovered their goods and camels, together with their liberty,
thought of nothing but prosecuting their journey; but first repeated
their thanks to their deliverer.

When they were gone, Codadad, directing his discourse to the lady, said,
To what place, madam, do you desire to go? whither did you design when
you were seized by the black? I intend to bear you company to the place
you shall appoint, and I do not question but that all these princes will
do the same. The king of Harran’s sons protested to the lady they would
not leave her till she was restored to her friends.

Princes, said she, I am of a country too remote from hence: and, besides
that it would be an imposition on your generosity to oblige you to travel
so far, I must own to you that I am come from my native country for ever.
I told you a while ago that I was a lady of Grand Cairo; but since you
have shown me so much favour, and I am so highly obliged to you, added
she, looking upon Codadad, I should be much in the wrong in concealing
the truth from you. I am a king’s daughter; an usurper has possessed
himself of my father’s throne after having murdered him, and I have been
forced to fly to save my life.

Then Codadad and his brothers desired the princess to tell them her
story, assuring her they were highly concerned at her misfortunes, and
fully disposed to spare for nothing that might contribute towards
rendering her more happy. After thanks returned for their fresh
protestations of readiness to serve her, she could not refuse satisfying
their curiosity, and began the recital of her adventures in the following


There is, in a certain island, a great city called Deryabar. It has been
long governed by a potent, magnificent, and virtuous king. That prince
had no children, which was the only thing wanting to make him happy. He
continually addressed his prayers to Heaven; but Heaven granted his
requests by halves; for the queen his wife, after a long expectation,
brought forth a daughter.

I am the unfortunate princess. My father was rather troubled than pleased
at my birth; but he submitted to the will of God, and caused me to be
educated with all possible care, being resolved, since he had no son, to
teach me the art of ruling, that I might supply his place after his

One day, when he was taking the diversion of hunting, he spied a wild
ass, which he chased, lost his company, and was carried away so far in
that heat, as to ride on till night, without reflecting that he was quite
out of the way. He then alighted, and sat down at the edge of a wood,
into which he had observed the ass had taken. No sooner was the day shut
in, than he discovered a light among the trees, which made him conclude
that he was not far from some village: he rejoiced at it, hoping that he
might pass the night there, and find some person to send to his followers
to acquaint them where he was; and accordingly he got up and walked
towards the light, which served to guide him.

He soon found he had been deceived, that light being no other than a fire
lighted in a hut: however, he drew near, and with amazement beheld a
great black, or rather a dreadful giant, sitting on a sofa. Before the
monster was a great pitcher of wine, and he was roasting a bullock he had
newly killed. Sometimes he drank out of the pitcher, and then cut slices
off the bullock and ate them. But that which most drew the king my
father’s attention was a beautiful woman he saw in the hut. She seemed to
be overwhelmed with grief; her hands were bound, and at her feet was a
small child, about two or three years old, who, as if he was sensible of
his mother’s misfortunes, continually wept, and rent the air with cries.

My father being moved with that object of pity, thought at first to have
gone into the hut and attack the giant; but considering it would be an
unequal combat, he stopped, and resolved, since he had not strength
enough to prevail by open force, to use art.

In the mean time the giant, having emptied the pitcher and devoured above
half the bullock, turned to the woman, and said, Beautiful princess, why
do you oblige me by your obstinacy to treat you with severity? It is in
your own power to be happy. You need only to resolve to love and be true
to me, and I shall express my affection to you. Thou hideous satyr,
answered the lady, never expect that time should wear away the aversion I
have for you. Thou wilt ever be a monster in my eyes. To these words she
added so many reproaches, that the giant grew enraged. This is too much,
cried he, in a furious tone; my love undervalued is turned into rage.
Your hatred has at last caused mine; I find it prevails above my desires,
and that I now wish your death rather than enjoyment. Having spoken these
words, he took that wretched lady by the hair, held her up with one hand
in the air, and drawing his scimitar with the other, was just going to
strike off her head, when the king my father let fly an arrow, which
pierced the giant’s breast, so that he staggered and dropped down dead.

My father entered the hut, unbound the lady’s hands, asked her who she
was, and how she came thither. Sir, said she, there are some families of
Saracens along the sea-coast, who live under a prince who is my husband;
this giant you have killed was one of his principal officers. The wretch
fell desperately in love with me, but took special care to conceal it,
till he could put in execution the designs he had laid of stealing me
away. Fortune oftener favours wicked designs than the virtuous. The giant
one day surprised me and my child in a by-place. He seized us both; and,
to disappoint the search he well knew my husband would cause to be made
on account of this rape, he removed far from the country inhabited by
those Saracens, and brought us into this wood, where he has kept me some
days. As deplorable as my condition is, it is still a great satisfaction
to me to think that the giant, though so brutal and amorous, never used
force to obtain that which I always refused to his entreaties: not but
that he has threatened me a hundred times that he would have recourse to
the worst of extremities, in case he could not otherwise prevail upon me;
and, I must confess to you, that a while ago, when I provoked his anger
by my words, I was less concerned for my life than for my honour.

This, sir, said the prince of the Saracens’ wife, is the faithful account
of my misfortunes, and I do not question but that you will think me
worthy enough of your compassion, not to repent your having so generously
relieved me. Madam, answered my father, be assured your troubles have
moved me, and I will do all that shall be in my power to make you happy
again. To-morrow, as soon as the day appears, we will go out of this
wood, and endeavour to fall into the road which leads to the great city
of Deryabar, of which I am sovereign; and, if you think fit, you shall be
entertained in my palace, till the prince your husband shall come to
reclaim you.

The Saracen lady accepted the offer, and the next day followed the king
my father, who found all his retinue upon the skirts of the wood, they
having spent the night in searching after, and being very uneasy for that
they could not find him. They were no less joyful to meet their king,
than amazed to see him with a lady whose beauty surprised them. He told
them how he had found her, and the danger he had run in drawing near to
the hut, where he must certainly have lost his life had the giant espied
him. One of his servants took up the lady behind him, and another carried
the child.

Thus they arrived at the king my father’s palace, who assigned the
beautiful Saracen lady an apartment, and caused the child to be carefully
educated. The lady was sensible of the king’s goodness to her, and
expressed as much gratitude as he could desire. She had at first appeared
very uneasy and impatient, on account that her husband did not reclaim
her; but by degrees she shook off that uneasiness: the respect my father
paid her dispelled her impatience; and I am of opinion she would at last
have blamed fortune more for restoring her to her kindred than she did
for removing her from them.

In the mean time, the lady’s son grew up; he was very handsome; and not
wanting wit, found the way to please the king my father, who had a great
kindness for him. All the courtiers perceived it, and guessed that young
man might in the end be my husband. Upon this conceit, and looking on him
already as heir to the crown, they made their court to him, and every man
endeavoured to gain his favour. He soon saw into their designs, grew
conceited of himself, and, forgetting the distance there was between our
conditions, flattered himself with the hopes that my father was fond
enough of him to prefer him before all the princes in the world. Nay, he
went farther; for the king not answering his expectation, in offering me
to him as soon as he could have wished, he had the boldness to ask me of
him. Whatsoever punishment his insolence deserved, my father was
satisfied with telling him that he had other thoughts in relation to me,
and showed him no farther dislike. The youth was incensed at this
refusal; the vain fellow resented the contempt, as if he had asked some
maid of indifferent extraction, or as if his birth had been equal to
mine. Nor was he so satisfied; but resolved to be revenged on the king;
and, with unparalleled ingratitude, conspired against him. In short, he
murdered him, and caused himself to be proclaimed king of Deryabar, by a
great number of malcontents whom he supported. The first thing he did,
after ridding himself of my father, was to come into my apartment with a
great train of the conspirators. His design was, either to take my life
or oblige me to marry him. While he was busy murdering my father, the
grand vizier, who had been always loyal to his master, came to carry me
away from the palace, and secured me in a friend’s house, till a vessel
he had provided was ready to sail. I then left the island, attended only
by a governess and that generous minister, who chose rather to follow his
master’s daughter, and to partake of her misfortunes, than to submit to a

The grand vizier designed to carry me to the courts of the neighbouring
kings, to implore their assistance, and excite them to revenge my
father’s death; but Heaven did not give me a blessing to that resolution
we thought so just. When we had been but a few days at sea, there arose
such a furious storm, that, in spite of all the mariners’ art, our
vessel, carried away by the violence of the winds and waves, was dashed
in pieces against a rock. I will not spend time in describing our
shipwreck. I can but faintly represent to you how my governess, the grand
vizier, and all that attended me, were swallowed up by the sea. The dread
I was seized with did not permit me to observe the horror of our
condition. In fine, I lost my senses; and whether I was thrown upon the
coast upon any part of the wreck of our ship, or whether Heaven, which
reserved me for other misfortunes, wrought a miracle in my deliverance, I
found myself on shore when my senses returned to me.

Misfortunes very often make us forget our duty: instead of returning
thanks to God for so singular a mercy shown me, I only lifted up my eyes
to heaven, to complain because I had been saved. I was so far from
bewailing the vizier and my governess, that I envied their fate; and, my
dreadful imaginations by degrees prevailing above my reason, I resolved
to cast myself into the sea. I was upon the point of doing so, when I
heard behind me a great noise of men and horses. I looked about to see
what it might be, and spied several armed horsemen, among whom was one
mounted on an Arabian horse. He had on a garment embroidered with silver,
a girdle set with precious stones, and a crown of gold on his head.
Though his habit had not convinced me that he was the chief of the
company, I should have judged it by the air of grandeur which appeared in
his person. He was a young man extraordinarily finely shaped, and
perfectly beautiful. Being surprised to see a young lady alone in that
place, he sent some of his officers to ask who I was. All my answer was
weeping. The shore being covered with the wreck of our ship, they
concluded some vessel had been cast away there, and that I was certainly
some person that had saved my life. This conjecture, and my inconsolable
condition, excited the curiosity of those officers, who began to ask me a
thousand questions, with assurances that their king was a generous
prince, and that I should receive all comfort in his court.

The king, impatient to know who I was, grew weary of expecting the return
of his officers, and drew near to me. He gazed on me very earnestly, and,
observing that I did not give over weeping and afflicting myself, without
being able to return an answer to their questions, he forbade them
troubling me any more; and, directing his discourse to me, said, Madam, I
conjure you to moderate your excessive affliction. Though Heaven in its
wrath has laid this calamity upon you, yet it does not behove you to
despair. I beseech you, show more courage: fortune, which has hitherto
persecuted you, is inconstant, and may soon change. I dare assure you,
that, if your misfortunes are capable of receiving any comfort, you shall
find it in my dominions. My palace is at your service: you shall live
with the queen my mother, who will endeavour by her kindness to ease your
affliction. I know not as yet who you are; but I find I am already
concerned for you.

I thanked the young king for his great goodness towards me, accepted of
the obliging offers he made me; and, to convince him that I was not
unworthy of him, told him my condition. I described to him the insolence
of the young Saracen, and found it needless to do any more than barely to
recount my misfortunes, to excite compassion in him, and all his officers
who heard me. When I had done speaking, the prince began again, assuring
me that he was highly concerned at my misfortune. Then he conducted me to
his palace, and presented me to the queen his mother, to whom I was
obliged again to repeat my misfortunes, and to renew my tears. The queen
seemed very sensible of my troubles, and took an extraordinary liking to
me. On the other hand the king her son fell desperately in love with me,
and soon offered me his person and his crown. I was still so entirely
taken up with the thoughts of my calamities, that the prince, though so
lovely a person, did not make so great an impression on me as he might
have done at another time. However, gratitude prevailing on me, I did not
refuse to make him happy; and our wedding was kept with all imaginable

At the time when all the people were taken up with the celebration of
their sovereign’s nuptials, a neighbouring prince, who was his enemy,
made a descent by night on the island with a great number of troops. That
formidable enemy was the king Zanguebar: he surprised those people, and
cut to pieces all the king my husband’s subjects. We two escaped very
narrowly, for he had already entered the palace with some of his
followers; but we found means to slip away, and got to the sea-coast,
where we entered a fishing-boat we had the good fortune to meet with. Two
days we were driven about by the winds, without knowing what would become
of us. The third day, we spied a vessel making towards us with all her
sails aboard. We rejoiced at first, believing it had been a merchant-ship
which might take us aboard; but were more astonished than I can express,
when, as it drew near, we saw ten or twelve armed pirates appear on the
deck. Being come up to us, five or six of them leaped into our boat,
seized us, bound the prince, and conveyed us into their ship, where they
immediately took off my veil. Instead of casting lots, every one of them
claimed the preference, and me as his right. The controversy grew hot,
and they came to blows about me, and fought like so many madmen. The deck
was soon covered with dead bodies; and, in short, they were all killed
but one, who, being left sole possessor of me, said, You are mine; I will
carry you to Grand Cairo, to deliver you to a friend of mine, to whom I
have promised a beautiful slave. But who, added he, looking upon the king
my husband, is that man? What relation is he to you? Are you allied by
blood or love? Sir, answered I, he is my husband. If so, replied the
pirate, in pity I must rid myself of him; it would be too great an
affliction to him to see you in my friend’s arms. Having spoken these
words, he took up the unhappy prince, who was bound, and threw him into
the sea, notwithstanding all my endeavours to hinder him.

I shrieked in a dreadful manner at the sight of that cruel action, and
had certainly cast myself headlong into the sea, had not the pirate held
me. He plainly saw that was my design, and therefore bound me fast to the
main-mast, and then hoisting sail, made towards the land, and there got
ashore. He unbound and led me to a little town, where he bought camels,
tents, and slaves, and then set out for Grand Cairo; designing, as he
still said, to present me to his friend, according to his promise.

We had been several days upon the road, when, as we were crossing this
plain yesterday, we spied the black who inhabited this castle. At a
distance, we took him for a tower; and, when near us, could scarce
believe him to be a man. He drew his vast scimitar, and summoned the
pirate to yield himself up a prisoner, with all his slaves, and the lady
he was conducting. The pirate was daring; and, being seconded by all his
slaves, who promised to stand by him, he attacked the black. The fight
lasted a considerable time; but at length the pirate fell under the
enemy’s deadly blows, as did all his slaves, who chose rather to die than
forsake him. The black then conducted me to the castle, whither he also
brought the pirate’s body, which he did eat that night for his supper.
After that inhuman meal, perceiving that I ceased not weeping, he said to
me, Young lady, prepare to satisfy my desires, rather than continue thus
to afflict yourself. Make a virtue of necessity, and comply: I give you
till to-morrow to consider. Let me then find you comforted for all your
misfortunes, and overjoyed for having been reserved for my bed. Having
spoken these words, he conducted me to a chamber, and went to bed in his
own, after locking up all the castle-doors. He opened them this morning,
and presently locked them again, to pursue some travellers he perceived
at a distance; but it is likely they made their escape, since he was
coming alone, and without any booty, when you attacked him.

As soon as the princess had put an end to the recital of her adventures,
Codadad declared to her that he was highly concerned at her misfortunes.
But, madam, added he, it shall be your own fault if you do not live at
ease for the future: the king of Harran’s sons offer you a safe retreat
in the court of the king their father; be pleased to accept of it. You
will be there cherished by that prince, and respected by all other
persons; and, if you do not disdain the person of your deliverer, permit
me to make you a present of it, and to marry you before all these
princes: let them be witnesses to our contract. The princess consented to
it, and the marriage was concluded that very day in the castle, where
they found all sorts of provisions. The kitchens were full of flesh and
other eatables, which the black used to feed on when he was weary of
feeding on human bodies. There was also a variety of fruits, very
excellent in their kinds, and, to complete their satisfaction, abundance
of delicious wine and other liquors.

They all sat down to table; and, after having eaten and drunk
plentifully, they took along with them the rest of the provisions, and
set out for the king of Harran’s court. They travelled several days,
encamping in the pleasantest places they could find; and they were within
one day’s journey of Harran, when, having halted, and drunk all their
wine, as being under no longer concern to make it hold out, Codadad
directed his discourse to all his company thus: Princes, I have too long
concealed from you who I am. Behold your brother Codadad! I have received
my being, as well as you, of the king of Harran. The prince of Samaria
has bred me, and the princess Pirouze is my mother. Madam, added he,
applying himself to the princess of Deryabar, do you also forgive me, for
having concealed my birth from you. Perhaps, by discovering it sooner, I
might have prevented some disagreeable reflections which may have been
occasioned by a match you may have thought unequal. No, sir, answered the
princess; the opinion I at first conceived of you heightened every
moment, and you did not stand in need of the extraction you now discover,
to make me happy.

The princes congratulated Codadad on his birth, and expressed much
satisfaction at the knowledge of it: but, in reality, instead of
rejoicing, their hatred for so amiable a brother was redoubled. They met
together at night in a by-place, whilst Codadad and the princess his wife
lay fast asleep in their tent. Those ungrateful, envious brothers,
forgetting that, had it not been for the brave son of Pirouze, they must
have been devoured by the black, agreed among themselves to murder him.
We have no other course to choose, said one of those wicked brethren; for
the moment our father shall come to understand that this stranger he is
already so fond of is our brother, and that he alone has been able to
destroy a giant whom we could not all of us together conquer, he will
bestow all his favour and a thousand praises on him, and declare him his
heir, in spite of all his brothers, who will be obliged to obey and fall
down before him. Besides these, he added many other words, which made
such an impression on their jealous minds, that they immediately repaired
to Codadad, then fast asleep, stabbed him in a thousand places, and
leaving him for dead in the arms of the princess of Deryabar, proceeded
on their journey for the city of Harran, where they arrived the next day.

The king their father conceived the greater joy at their return, because
he had despaired of ever seeing them. He asked what had been the occasion
of their stay; but they took care not to acquaint him with it, making no
mention either of the black or of Codadad; and only said, that, being
curious to see the country, they had spent some time in the neighbouring

In the mean time Codadad lay in his tent, drowned in his own blood, and
little differing from a dead man, with the princess his wife, who seemed
to be in no much better condition than he. She rent the air with her
dismal shrieks, tore her hair, and, bathing her husband’s body with her
tears, Alas! Codadad, my dear Codadad, cried she, is it you whom I behold
just departing this life? What cruel hands have put you into this
condition? May I believe these are your brothers who have treated you so
unmercifully? No, they are rather devils, who have taken those shapes to
murder you. O barbarous wretches! whosoever you are, how could you make
so ungrateful a return for the service he has done you? But why should I
complain of your brothers, unfortunate Codadad! I alone am to blame for
your death. You would tack your fate upon mine; and all the ill fortune
that attends me since I left my father’s palace has fallen upon you. O
Heaven! which has condemned me to lead a wandering life and full of
calamities, if you will not permit me to have a consort, why do you
permit me to find any? Behold, you have now robbed me of two, just as I
began to be endeared to them.

By these, and other moving expressions, the unhappy princess of Deryabar
vented her sorrow, fixing her eyes on the deplorable Codadad, who could
not hear her. But Codadad was not dead; and his consort, observing that
he still breathed, ran to a large open town she spied in the plain, to
inquire for a surgeon. She was showed one, who went immediately with her:
but when they came to the tent, they could not find Codadad, which made
them conclude he had been dragged away by some wild beast to devour him.
The princess renewed her complaints and lamentations in a most dismal
manner. The surgeon took compassion; and, being unwilling to leave her in
that miserable condition, proposed to her to return to the town, offering
her his house and service.

She suffered herself to be prevailed on. The surgeon conducted her to his
house, and, without knowing as yet who she was, treated her with all
imaginable courtesy and respect. He used all his rhetoric to comfort her;
but it was in vain to think of removing her sorrow, which was rather
heightened than diminished. Madam, said he to her one day, be pleased to
recount to me your misfortunes; tell your country and your condition:
perhaps I may give you some advice, when I am acquainted with all the
circumstances of your calamity. You do nothing but afflict yourself,
without considering that remedies may be found for the most desperate

The surgeon’s words were so efficacious, that they wrought on the
princess, who recounted to him all her adventures; and when she had done,
the surgeon directed his discourse to her, saying, Madam, since this is
the posture of affairs, give me leave to tell you, that you ought not
thus to give way to your sorrow; you ought rather to arm yourself with
resolution, and to perform what the name and the duty of a wife require
of you. You are obliged to revenge your husband: if you please I will
wait on you as your squire: let us go to the king of Harran’s court; he
is a good and just prince: you need only represent to him, in a lively
manner, how prince Codadad has been treated by his brothers: I am fully
persuaded he will do you justice. I submit to your reasons, answered the
princess: it is my duty to endeavour to revenge Codadad; and since you
are so obliging and generous as to offer to bear me company, I am ready
to set out. No sooner had she fixed this resolution, than the surgeon
ordered two camels to be made ready, on which the princess and he
mounted, and repaired to Harran.

They alighted at the first caravansary they found; and inquiring of the
host what news at court, It is, said he, in very great confusion. The
king had a son, who lived a long time with him as a stranger, and none
can tell what is become of that young prince. One of the king’s wives,
called Pirouze, is his mother; she has made all possible inquiry, but to
no purpose. All men are concerned at the loss of that prince, because he
was very deserving. The king has forty-nine other sons, all of them born
of several mothers; but not one of them has worth enough to comfort the
king for the death of Codadad: I say his death, because it is impossible
he should be alive, since no news have been heard of him, notwithstanding
so much search has been made after him.

The surgeon, having heard this account from the host, concluded that the
best course the princess of Deryabar could take, was to wait upon
Pirouze: but that method was not without some danger, and required much
precaution; for it was to be feared, that if the king of Harran’s sons
should happen to hear of the arrival of their sister-in-law, and her
design, they might cause her to be conveyed away before she could speak
to Codadad’s mother. The surgeon weighed all these particulars, and
considered what risk he might run himself; and therefore, that he might
manage the affair with discretion, he desired the princess to stay in the
caravansary, whilst he went to the palace to observe which might be the
safest way to conduct her to Pirouze.

He went accordingly into the city, and was walking towards the palace,
like one led only by curiosity to see the court, when he spied a lady
mounted on a mule richly accoutred. She was followed by several ladies
mounted on mules, with a great number of guards and black slaves. All the
people made a lane to see her pass along, and saluted her, prostrating
themselves on the ground. The surgeon paid her the same respect, and then
asked a calendar, who happened to stand by him, whether that lady was one
of the king’s wives. Yes, brother, answered the calendar, she is one of
the king’s wives, and the most honoured and beloved by the people,
because she is mother to prince Codadad, of whom I suppose you have

The surgeon asked no more questions, but followed Pirouze to a mosque,
into which she went to distribute alms, and assist at the public prayers
the king had ordered to be made for the safe return of Codadad. The
people, who were highly concerned for that young prince, ran in crowds to
join their vows to the prayers of the priests, so that the mosque was
quite full. The surgeon broke through the throng, and advanced as far as
Pirouze’s guards. He staid out the prayers; and when that princess went
out, he stepped up to one of her slaves, and whispered him in his ear,
saying, Brother, I have a secret of moment to impart to the princess
Pirouze; may not I, by your means, be brought into her apartment? If that
secret, answered the slave, be relating to prince Codadad, I dare promise
you shall have audience of her this very day; but if it concerns not him,
it is needless for you to endeavour to be introduced to her; for her
thoughts are all upon her son, and she will not hear talk of any other
subject. It is only about that dear son, replied the surgeon, that I
would discourse to her. If so, said the slave, you need only follow us to
the palace, and you shall soon speak to her.

Accordingly, as soon as Pirouze was returned to her apartment, that slave
acquainted her that a person unknown had some important affair to
communicate to her, and that it related to prince Codadad. No sooner had
he uttered these words, than Pirouze expressed her impatience to see that
stranger. The slave immediately conducted him into the princess’s closet,
who ordered all her women to withdraw, except two, from whom she
concealed nothing. As soon as she saw the surgeon, she asked him abruptly
what news he had to tell her of Codadad. Madam, answered the surgeon,
after having prostrated himself on the ground, I have a long account to
give you, and such as will be very surprising. Then he told her all the
particulars of what had passed between Codadad and his brothers, which
she listened to with an eager attention; but when he came to speak of the
murder, that tender mother swooned away on her sofa, as if she had been
herself stabbed like her son. Her two women used proper means, and soon
brought her to herself. The surgeon continued his relation; and when he
had ended it, Pirouze said to him, Go back to the princess of Deryabar,
and assure her from me that the king shall soon own her for his
daughter-in-law; and as for yourself, be assured that your service shall
be well rewarded.

When the surgeon was gone, Pirouze remained on the sofa in such a state
of affliction as is not easy to imagine; and, relenting at the thoughts
of Codadad, O! my son, said she, I must never then expect to see you
more! Alas! when I gave you leave to depart from Samaria, and you took
leave of me, I did not imagine that so unfortunate a death had awaited
you at such a distance from me. Unfortunate Codadad! why did you leave
me? It is true, you would not have acquired so much renown; but you had
been still alive, and had not cost your mother so many tears. Whilst she
uttered these words, she wept bitterly, and her two confidants, moved by
her sorrow, mixed their tears with hers.

Whilst they were all three in that affliction, the king came into the
closet, and seeing them in that condition, asked Pirouze whether she had
received any bad news concerning Codadad. Alas! sir, said she, all is
over; my son has lost his life; and, to add to my sorrow, I cannot pay
him the funeral rites; for, in all appearance, the wild beasts have
devoured him. Then she told him all that she had heard from the surgeon,
and did not fail to express herself fully at the inhuman manner in which
Codadad had been murdered by his brothers.

The king did not give Pirouze time to finish her relation; but, being
transported with anger, and giving way to his passion, Madam, said he to
the princess, those perfidious wretches who cause you to shed these
tears, and are the occasion of the mortal grief which oppresses their
father, shall soon feel the punishment due to their guilt. The king
having spoken these words, with indignation appearing in his countenance,
went directly to the presence-chamber, where all his courtiers attended,
and such of the people as had any petitions to present to him. They were
all astonished to see him in that passion, and thought his anger had been
kindled against his people.

Their hearts failed them for fear. He ascended the throne, and causing
the grand vizier to draw near, said, Hassan, I have some orders for you:
go immediately, take a thousand of my guards, and seize all the princes
my sons; shut them up in the tower appointed for a prison for murderers;
and let this be done in a moment. All that were present quaked at the
hearing of this surprising command; and the grand vizier, without
answering one word, laid his hand on his head, to express his obedience,
and went out of the presence to execute his orders, which were very
surprising to him. In the mean time, the king dismissed those who
attended to desire audience, and declared he would not despatch any
business for a month to come. He was still in the presence-chamber, when
the vizier returned. Are all my sons, said that prince, in the tower?
They are, sir, answered the vizier; I have obeyed your orders. This is
not all, replied the king, I have farther commands for you; and so
saying, he went out of the presence-chamber, and returned to Pirouze’s
apartment, with the vizier following him. He asked that princess where
Codadad’s widow had taken up her lodging. Pirouze’s women told him; for
the surgeon had not forgot that in his relation. Then the king, turning
to his minister, Go, said he, to that caravansary, and bring a young
princess, who lodges there; but treat her with all the respect due to her

The vizier was not backward in performing what he was ordered. He mounted
on horseback, with all the emirs and courtiers, and repaired to the
caravansary where the princess of Deryabar was, whom he acquainted with
his orders, and presented her, from the king, a fine white mule, whose
saddle and bridle were adorned with gold, rubies, and diamonds. She
mounted it, and went to the palace, attended by all those great men. The
surgeon bore her company, mounted on a sprightly Tartar horse which the
vizier had provided for him. All the people were at their windows, or in
the streets, to see that noble cavalcade; and it being given out that the
princess, whom they conducted in such state to court, was Codadad’s wife,
the city resounded with acclamations, the air rang with shouts of joy,
which would certainly have been turned into lamentations, had that
prince’s fatal adventure been known; so much was he beloved by all men.

The princess of Deryabar found the king at the palace gate, waiting to
receive her. He took her by the hand, and led her to Pirouze’s apartment,
where a very moving scene was acted among them. Codadad’s wife found her
affliction redouble upon her at the sight of her husband’s father and
mother; as, on the other side, those parents could not look on their
son’s wife without being much concerned. She cast herself at the king’s
feet, and having bathed them with tears, was so overcome with grief, that
she was not able to speak one word. Pirouze was in no better condition;
she seemed to be stunned with her sorrows; and the king, moved by those
dismal objects, gave way to his passion: those three persons, mixing
their tears and sighs, for some time observed a silence, which appeared
extraordinary moving and pitiful. At length the princess of Deryabar,
being somewhat recovered, recounted the adventure of the castle and
Codadad’s disaster. Then she required justice for the treachery of the
princes. Yes, madam, said the king to her, those ungrateful wretches
shall perish, but Codadad’s death must first be made public, that the
punishment of his brothers may not cause my subjects to rebel; and,
though we have not my son’s body, we will not omit paying him the last
duties. This said, he directed his discourse to the vizier, and ordered
him to build a dome of white marble in a delightful plain, in the midst
of which the city of Harran stands; then he appointed the princess of
Deryabar a fine apartment in his palace, acknowledging her for his

Hassan caused the work to be carried on with such diligence, and employed
so many workmen, that the dome was soon finished. Within it was erected a
monument, and on it was placed a figure representing Codadad. As soon as
all was perfected, the king ordered prayers to be said, and appointed a
day for the obsequies of his son.

On that day, all the inhabitants of the city went out upon the plain to
see that ceremony performed; which was after this manner. The king,
attended by his vizier and the prime persons of the court, proceeded
towards the dome; and being come to it, went in, and sat down with them
on carpets laid on the ground, made of black satin, with gold flowers. A
great body of horse guards, hanging their heads, and looking down, drew
up close about the dome, and marched round it twice, observing a profound
silence; but at the third round, they halted before the door, and all of
them with a loud voice pronounced these words: ‘O prince, son to the
king, could we by dint of sword and human valour any way retrieve your
misfortune, we would bring you back to life; but the King of kings has
commanded, and the angel of death has obeyed.’ Having uttered these
words, they drew off, to make way for a hundred old men, all of them
mounted on black mules, and wearing long gray beards.

These were anchorites, who lived all their days concealed in caves. They
never appeared in the sight of the world, but when they were to assist at
the obsequies of the kings of Harran, and of the princes of their family.
Each of these venerable persons carried a book on his head, which he held
with one hand. They took three turns round the dome without uttering one
word; then stopping before the door, one of them said, ‘O prince, what
can we do for you? If you could be restored to life by prayers or
learning, we would rub our gray beards at thy feet, and recite prayers;
but the King of the universe has taken you away for ever.’

This said, the old men removed at a distance from the dome, and
immediately fifty young beautiful maids drew near to it: each of them was
mounted on a little white horse: they wore no veils, and carried gold
baskets full of all sorts of precious stones. Thus they did also ride
thrice round the dome; and, halting at the same place as the others had
done, the youngest of them spoke in the name of all as follows: ‘O
prince, once so beautiful, what relief can you expect from us? If we
could restore you to life by our charms, we would become your slaves. But
you are no longer sensible to beauty, and have no more occasion for us.’

When the young maids were withdrawn, the king and his courtiers arose,
and, having walked thrice round the figure representing Codadad, the king
spoke as follows: ‘O my dear son, light of my eyes, I have then lost thee
for ever.’ These words were attended with sighs, and he watered the tomb
with his tears, his courtiers weeping with him. Then the gate of the dome
was shut, and all the people returned to the city. The next day, there
were public prayers in all the mosques; and the same was continued for
eight days successively. On the ninth, the king resolved to cause the
princes his sons to be beheaded. All the people, being incensed at their
cruelty towards Codadad, impatiently expected to see them executed. The
scaffolds were erecting; but the execution was respited, on account that,
on a sudden, news was brought, that the neighbouring princes, who had
before made war on the king of Harran, were advancing with more numerous
forces than the first time, and were not then far from the city. It had
been long known that they were preparing for war, but no great notice had
been taken of it. This advice occasioned a general consternation, and
gave new cause to lament the loss of Codadad, by reason that prince had
signalized himself in the former war against those enemies. Alas! said
they, were the brave Codadad alive, we should little value those princes
who are coming to surprise us. The king, nothing dismayed, raised men
with all possible speed, formed a considerable army, and, being too brave
to expect the enemy to come and attack him within his walls, marched out
to meet them. They, on their side, being informed by their advanced
parties that the king of Harran was marching to engage them, halted in
the plain, and formed their army.

As soon as the king discovered them, he also drew up his forces, and
ranged them in order of battle. The signal was given, and he attacked
them with extraordinary vigour. Nor was the opposition inferior: much
blood was shed on both sides, and the victory remained long dubious; but
at length it seemed to incline to the king of Harran’s enemies, who,
being more numerous, were about hemming him in, when a good body of horse
appeared on the plain, and drew near the two armies in good order. The
sight of that fresh party daunted both sides, as not knowing what to
think of them. But their doubts were soon cleared; for those horsemen
fell upon the flank of the king of Harran’s enemies, giving such a
furious charge, that they soon broke and put them to the rout; and, not
so satisfied, they pursued them, and cut most of them in pieces.

The king of Harran, who had nicely observed all the action, admired the
bravery of those horsemen, whose unexpected arrival had given the victory
to his side. But, above all, he was charmed with their chief, whom he had
seen fighting with a more than ordinary valour. He longed to know the
name of that generous hero. Being impatient to see and thank him, he
advanced towards him, but perceived he was coming to prevent him. The two
princes drew near, and the king of Harran finding Codadad in that brave
warrior who had just then succoured him, or rather defeated his enemies,
became motionless with joy and surprise. Sir, said Codadad to him, you
have sufficient cause to be astonished, seeing a man appear on a sudden
before your majesty whom perhaps you concluded to be dead. I should have
been so, had not Heaven preserved me still against your enemies. O my
son! cried the king, is it possible that you are restored to me? Alas! I
despaired of seeing you any more. Having so said, he stretched out his
arms to the young prince, who flew to his loving embraces.

I know all, my son, said the king again, after having long held him in
his arms; I know what return my sons have made you for the service you
did in delivering them out of the hands of the black; but you shall be
revenged to-morrow. Let us now go to the palace; your mother, who has
wept sufficiently for you, expects me, to rejoice with us for the defeat
of our enemies. What a joy will it be to her to be informed that my
victory is your handy-work! Sir, said Codadad, give me leave to ask you,
how could you come to know the adventure of the castle? Has any of my
brothers, repenting, owned the thing to you? No, answered the king, the
princess of Deryabar has given us an account of all things; for she is in
my palace, and came thither to demand justice against your brothers.
Codadad was in a transport of joy to understand that the princess his
wife was at the court. Let us go, sir, cried he to his father in a
rapture, let us go to see my mother, who waits for us. I have an ardent
desire to dry up her tears, as well as those of the princess of Deryabar.

The king immediately returned to the city, with his army, which he
dismissed; entering his palace victorious, amidst the acclamations of his
people, who followed him in crowds, praying to Heaven to prolong his
life, and extolling Codadad to the skies. These two princes found Pirouze
and her daughter-in-law waiting for the king to congratulate him; but
there is no expressing the transport of joy they felt when they saw the
young prince come with him: they dissolved in embraces, mixed with tears,
but of a different sort from those they had before shed for him. When
these four persons had performed all that the ties of blood and love
demanded of them, the question was asked of Pirouze’s son, by what
miracle he came to be still alive. He answered, that a peasant, mounted
on a mule, happening accidentally to come into the tent where he lay
senseless, and perceiving him alone, and stabbed in several places, had
made him fast on his mule, and carried him to his house, where he applied
to his wounds certain herbs chewed, which had recovered him in a few
days. When I found myself well, added he, I returned thanks to the
peasant, and gave him all the diamonds I had. Then I drew near the city
of Harran; but being informed by the way that some neighbouring princes
had gathered forces, and were coming to fall upon the king’s subjects, I
made myself known unto the villagers, and stirred up those people to
stand upon their guard. I armed a good number of young men; and heading
them, happened to come in at that time when the two armies were engaged.

When he had done speaking, the king said, Let us return thanks to God for
having preserved Codadad; but it is requisite that the traitors, who
would have destroyed him, should perish this day. Sir, answered the
generous son of Pirouze, though they are wicked and ungrateful, consider
they are your own flesh and blood: they are my brothers; I forgive them
the offence, and beg pardon of you for them. This generosity drew tears
from the king, who caused the people to be assembled, and declared
Codadad his heir. Then he ordered the princes, who were prisoners, to be
brought, loaded with irons. Pirouze’s son knocked off their chains, and
embraced them all successively, with as much sincerity as he had done in
the court of the black’s castle. The people were charmed with Codadad’s
good nature, and highly applauded him. Next he nobly rewarded the
surgeon, to requite the service he had done the princess of Deryabar.

The sultaness Scheherazade, having told the story of Ganem with so much
address, and in so agreeable a manner, that the sultan of the Indies
could not forbear showing the pleasure that relation gave him, said to
that monarch, I doubt not but your majesty is very well satisfied to find
the caliph Haroun Alraschid change his sentiments in favour of Ganem, his
mother, and sister; and I believe you may be sensibly affected with their
misfortunes, and the ill treatment they received; but am persuaded, if
your majesty would hear the story of the Sleeper Awakened, it would,
instead of exciting all those emotions of indignation and compassion in
your breast, on the contrary, afford you all the mirth and diversion
imaginable. The sultan, who promised himself some new adventures from the
title of that story, would have heard it that morning; but perceiving day
approached, deferred it till next, when Dinarzade called upon her sister,
who began her story as follows.

                              THE STORY OF
                         THE SLEEPER AWAKENED.

In the reign of caliph Haroun Alraschid, there lived at Bagdad a very
rich merchant, who, having married a woman pretty well in years, had but
one son, whom he named Abon Hassan, and educated with great restraint.
When this son was thirty years old, the merchant died, and left him his
sole heir, and master of great riches, which his father had amassed
together by his industry, frugality, and great application to business.

Abon Hassan, whose views and inclinations were very much different from
those of his father, was resolved to make another use of his wealth; for,
as his father had never allowed him any money but what was just necessary
for subsistence, and he had always envied those young persons of his age
who wanted none, and who debarred themselves from none of those pleasures
to which youth are too much addicted, he resolved, in his turn, to
signalize himself by extravagances proportionable to his fortune. To this
end, he divided his riches in two parts; with one half he bought houses
in town and land in the country, with a promise to himself never to touch
the income of his estate, which was considerable enough to live upon very
handsomely, but lay it all by; with the other half, which he kept by him
in ready money, he designed to make himself amends for the time he had
lost in the severe restraint with which his father had always kept him.

With this intent, Abon Hassan associated himself in a few days with
people of his age and condition, and thought of nothing more than how to
spend their time agreeably. Every day he gave them splendid
entertainments, at which the most exquisite and delicate wines flowed in
plenty, while concerts of the best vocal and instrumental music
heightened their pleasures; and then this young band of debauchees, with
glasses in their hands, sang and joined with the music; and these feasts
generally ended with balls at night, to which the best dancers in Bagdad,
of both sexes, were invited. These entertainments, renewed every day,
were so expensive to Abon Hassan, that he could not support the
extravagance above one year; and, in short, the great sum which he had
consecrated to this prodigality and the year ended together. As soon as
he left off keeping this table, his friends forsook him: whenever they
saw him, they avoided him; and if by chance he met any of them, and would
stop them, they always excused themselves on some pretence or other.

Abon Hassan, touched more to the quick at this strange behaviour of his
friends, who had forsaken him so basely and ungratefully, after all the
protestations of friendship they had made him, and their inviolable
attachment to his service, than all the money he had foolishly squandered
away, went, melancholy and thoughtful, into his mother’s apartment, and
sat down on a sofa a good distance from her. What is the matter with you,
son? said his mother, reading his grief in his countenance: why are you
so altered, so dejected, and so much different from yourself? You could
not certainly be more concerned if you had lost all you had in the world.
I know you have lived very profusely, and believe all your money is
spent; yet you have a good estate; and the reason I did not so very much
oppose your irregular way of living, was, I knew the wise precaution you
had taken to preserve half your substance; therefore I do not see why you
should plunge yourself into this deep melancholy.

At these words, Abon Hassan melted into tears, and in the midst of his
sighs cried out, Ah! mother, I see at last, by sad experience, how
insupportable poverty is: I am sensible that it deprives us of joy, as
much as the setting sun does of light. In poverty, we have no
commendations and fine things said unto us: we endeavour to conceal all
our actions, and spend our nights in tears and sorrow. In short, a poor
man is looked upon, both by friends and relations, as a stranger. You
know, mother, how I have used my friends for this year past: I have
entertained them with all imaginable generosity, till I have spent all my
money; and now they have left me, when I can treat them no longer. For my
estate, I thank Heaven for having given me the grace to keep the oath I
have made not to enter upon that; and now I shall know how to make a good
use of it. But first, I will try the gratitude of friends, who deserve
not that I should call them so: I will go to them one after another, and
when I have represented to them what I have done for their sakes, I will
ask them to make me up a sum of money among them, to relieve me out of
the miserable condition I am reduced to: these are the steps I intend to
take to try their gratitude.

I do not pretend, son, said Abon Hassan’s mother, to dissuade you from
executing your design; but I can tell you before-hand, that you have no
ground for any hope: believe me, you will find no relief, but from the
estate you have reserved. I see you do not, but will soon know those
people, whom we generally call friends; and I wish to Heaven you may, in
the manner I desire; that is to say, for your own good. Mother, replied
Abon Hassan, I am persuaded of the truth of what you say; but shall be
certain of a fact which concerns me so nearly, when I shall inform myself
better of their baseness. Upon this, Abon Hassan went immediately to his
friends, whom he found at home, represented to them the great need he was
in, and begged of them to loose their purse-strings to assist him. He
promised to give every one bonds to pay them the money they lent him, as
soon as his affairs were made up; giving them to understand, at the same
time, that it was, in a great measure, upon their accounts that he was
undone; and forgetting not to allure them with the hopes of being once
again entertained in the same manner as before.

Not one of his bottle companions was affected with the arguments which
the afflicted Abon Hassan made use of to persuade them; and he had the
mortification to find, that many of them told him plainly they scarce
knew him.

He returned home again full of grief and rage; and, going into his
mother’s apartment, said, Ah! madam, you was in the right of it; instead
of friends, I have found none but ungrateful, perfidious wretches, who
deserve not my friendship; whom I renounce, and promise never to see them
more. He resolved to be as good as his word; and, to that end, took all
possible precautions to avoid falling into the same inconvenience, taking
an oath never to give an inhabitant of Bagdad any entertainment again.
Afterwards he opened a strong chest, in which he had put the rents he had
received from his estate, and resolved to take every day a sum that was
sufficient to defray the expense of a single person to sup with him; who,
according to the oath he had taken, must be a stranger that came into
Bagdad the same day, and must take his leave of him the next morning.

According to this project, Abon Hassan took care every morning to provide
whatever he designed for night, and towards the close of the evening went
and sat on Bagdad bridge; and, as soon as ever he saw a stranger, of
whatever condition he was, he accosted him civilly, and invited him to
sup and lodge with him that night; and, after having informed him of the
law he had imposed upon himself, took him home with him. The repast with
which Abon Hassan regaled his guests was not costly, but always plain and
neat, with plenty of good wine, and generally lasted till the night was
pretty well advanced; when, instead of entertaining his guest with the
affairs of state, his family or business, as is too frequent, he affected
to talk of indifferent subjects, and was naturally of so gay and pleasant
a temper, that he could give the most agreeable turns in conversation,
and make the most reserved and melancholy persons merry. When he saw his
guest again the next morning, he always said to him, God preserve you
from all sorrow wherever you go: when I invited you yesterday to come and
sup with me, I informed you of the law I have made; therefore do not take
it ill if I tell you that we must never see one another again, nor drink
together, for reasons best known to myself: so God conduct you.

Abon Hassan was very exact in the observation of this oath, and never
looked upon, or spoke to, any stranger he had once entertained, wherever
he met them; and had lived for a long time after this manner, when one
afternoon, a little before sunset, as he was sitting upon the bridge,
according to custom, the caliph Haroun Alraschid came by so disguised
that nobody could know him: for that monarch, though his chief ministers
and officers of justice acquitted themselves of their duty very
punctually, yet would take notice of every thing himself; and, to that
purpose, often disguised himself, and walked through the city and suburbs
of Bagdad; and that day was dressed like a merchant of Moussel, who had
but just disembarked, and was followed by a slave.

As the caliph had in his disguise a grave and awful air, Abon Hassan, who
thought him to be a Moussel merchant, went directly to him; and, after
having saluted him with a smiling countenance, and kissed his hand, said,
Sir, I congratulate you on your happy arrival, and beg of you to do me
the honour to go and sup with me, and repose yourself at my home this
night, after the fatigue of your voyage; and, to oblige him not to deny
him that favour, he told him his custom of entertaining the first
stranger he met with. The caliph found something so odd and singular in
Abon Hassan’s taste, that he was very desirous to know the bottom,
without quitting the character of a merchant; and told him, that he could
not better answer that great civility, which he did not expect at his
arrival at Bagdad, than by accepting the obliging offer that he made him.

Abon Hassan, who knew not that the guest which fortune presented to him
was so very much above him, treated him as his equal, carried him home,
and led him into a room very neatly furnished, where he set him on a
sofa, at the upper end of a table that was ready laid for supper, which
was soon after sent up by Abon Hassan’s mother, who took upon herself the
care of the kitchen, and consisted of three dishes. The first was a capon
and four large pullets, which were set in the middle; and the second and
third, placed on each side, were a fat roasted goose and boiled pigeons,
all dressed very neatly, and with proper sauces.

Abon Hassan sat down over against his guest, and he and the caliph began
to eat heartily of what they liked best, without speaking or drinking,
according to the custom of the country. When they had done eating, the
caliph’s slave brought them water to wash their hands; and, in the mean
time, Abon Hassan’s mother sent up a dessert of all sorts of dried
sweetmeats, and all the fruits then in season, as grapes, peaches,
apples, pears, &c. As soon as it grew dark, wax-candles were lighted, and
Abon Hassan, after charging his mother to take care of the caliph’s
slave, brought bottles and glasses.

Then Abon Hassan, sitting down with the pretended Moussel merchant again,
filled out a glass of wine, before he touched the dessert; and holding it
out in his hand, said to the caliph, You know, sir, that the cock never
drinks before he calls to his hens to come and drink with him; so I
invite you to follow my example. I do not know what you may think; for my
part, I cannot reckon him a wise man who does not love wine: come, let us
leave those sort of people to their dull melancholy humours, and seek for
mirth, which is only to be found in a brimmer.

While Abon Hassan was drinking, the caliph, taking the glass that was set
by him, said, Now I like you, you are an honest fellow; I am mightily
taken with your pleasant temper, and expect you should fill me as much.
Abon Hassan, as soon as he had drunk, filled the caliph’s glass, and
giving it to him, Here, sir, said he, taste this wine; I will warrant it
good. I am very well persuaded, replied the caliph, laughing, that you
know how to make choice of the best. O, replied Abon Hassan, while the
caliph was taking off his glass, one may easily find that you know what
good living is, and have seen the world. Alas! how happy is my house in
your presence, and how overjoyed am I for meeting with a man of so much

The caliph, who was naturally a merry man, was mightily diverted with
these sallies of Abon Hassan, and took great pleasure in promoting
drinking, often asking for wine, thinking that when that began to work,
he might penetrate so far into his discourse as to satisfy his curiosity.
Therefore, to enter into conversation, he asked him his name, his
business, and how he spent his life. My name, sir, replied he, is Abon
Hassan: my father, whom I buried, was a merchant of Bagdad; and though he
was not the richest, yet he lived very well. When he died, he left me
enough in my station to live free from ambition; but as he always kept a
very strict hand over me in his life-time, I was willing, when he was
gone, to make up the time I thought I had lost.

But notwithstanding, continued Abon Hassan, in this I was more prudent
than most young people are, who give themselves unto debauchery without
any thought, and who reduce themselves to the utmost poverty, and are
forced to do penance all the rest of their lives after. Now I, to avoid
this misfortune, divided what I had left me in two parts, and with one
bought an estate, with a resolution not to finger my rents at that time;
and kept the other in ready money to pursue my extravagances with. I
associated myself with young people of my age, and with my ready money,
which I spent profusely, treated them every day; and, in short, spared
for no sort of pleasure. But these feastings did not last long; for by
that time the year was out, I had got to the bottom of my cash, and then
all my friends vanished. I made a visit to every one of them, and
represented to them the miserable condition I was in, but none of them
would relieve me. Upon this, I renounced their friendship, and retrenched
so far as to live within the compass of my income, and obliged myself to
keep company with none but the first stranger I could meet with, coming
that day into Bagdad, and to entertain him but one night. I have told you
the rest before; and I thank my good fortune this day for meeting with a
stranger of so much worth.

The caliph was very well satisfied with this information, and said to
Abon Hassan, I cannot enough commend the measures you have taken, and the
prudence with which you have acted, by forsaking your debauchery; a
conduct rarely to be met with in young persons; and I esteem you the more
for being so just to yourself as you have been. It was a slippery path
you trode in; and I cannot enough admire, how, after having seen the end
of your ready money, you had so great a command over yourself not to
enter upon your estate. In short, I must own I envy your happiness: you
are the only happy man in the world, to enjoy every day the company of
some one honest man, with whom you can discourse freely and agreeably,
and to whom you give an opportunity to declare, wherever he goes, how
handsomely he was received by you. But we talk too long without drinking;
come drink, and pour out to me.

In this manner the caliph and Abon Hassan entertained each other,
drinking and talking of indifferent matters till the night was pretty far
advanced; when the caliph, pretending to be fatigued after his voyage,
told his host he stood in need of a little rest; but, added he, that I
may not deprive you of yours, before we part, because to-morrow I may be
gone before you are stirring, I would be glad to show you how sensible I
am of your civility, and the kind and obliging hospitality you have shown
me. The only thing that troubles me is, that I know not which way to pay
my acknowledgment; therefore I beg of you to let me understand how I may,
and you shall see I will not be ungrateful; for certainly you must have
some business in which you may be served, or must want something which
you could wish for. Speak freely, and declare your mind; for, though I am
but a merchant, it may be in mine or some friend’s power to oblige you.

To these offers of the caliph, Abon Hassan, taking him still for a
Moussel merchant, replied, I am very well persuaded, good sir, that it is
not out of a compliment that you make me these generous tenders; but,
upon the word of an honest man, I have nothing that troubles me, no
business nor desires, and want not any thing. I have not the least
ambition, as I told you before, but am very well satisfied with my
condition. Therefore, I can only thank you for your obliging proffers,
and the honour you have done me to come and take a slight repast with me.
Yet I must tell you, pursued Abon Hassan, there is one thing gives me
great uneasiness. You know the town of Bagdad is divided into several
parts and divisions, to each of which there belongs a mosque, and an iman
to read prayers at certain hours. The iman of the division I live in is
an old man, of an austere countenance, and the greatest hypocrite in the
world. This man, and four old men of this neighbourhood, who are people
of the same stamp, meet every day at the iman’s house; there they vent
their slander, calumny, and malice against me and the whole division, to
the disturbance of the public peace of the neighbourhood, and the
promotion of dissension. Some they threaten, others they rail against;
and, in short, would be lords paramount, and have every one govern
himself according to their caprice; and, at the same time, know not how
to govern themselves. Indeed, I would have them meddle with nothing but
their Alcoran, and let the world live quietly.

Well, I suppose, said the caliph, you would willingly put a stop to this
disorder. You have guessed it, answered Abon Hassan; and the only thing I
should desire, would be to be caliph only for one day, in the stead of
our sovereign lord and master Haroun Alraschid, the commander of the
faithful. What would you do if you were? said the caliph. I would make
them examples, answered Abon Hassan, to the satisfaction of all honest
men. I would punish the four old men with each a hundred bastinadoes on
the soles of their feet, and the iman with four hundred, to learn them
not to disturb and abuse their neighbours any more.

The caliph was extremely well pleased with this thought of Abon Hassan’s;
and, as he was a prince who loved adventures, he fancied to make this a
very singular one. Indeed, said he, I approve very much of your wish,
which I see proceeds from an upright mind, that cannot bear to see the
malice of wicked people go unpunished. I could like to see it take
effect, and that is not so impossible a thing as you imagine. I am
persuaded that the caliph would willingly put his authority for
twenty-four hours into your hands, if he knew your good intentions, and
the just use you would make of it. I see, said Abon Hassan, you laugh at
my foolish fancy; and the caliph himself would laugh at my extravagance
too if he knew it; but yet it would be a means of informing him of the
iman’s and his companions’ behaviour, and he might chastise them.

Heaven forbid, replied the caliph, that I, who have been so handsomely
entertained by you, should laugh at you; neither do I believe, as much a
stranger as I am, that the caliph would be displeased. But let us lay
this discourse aside; it is almost midnight, and time to go to bed. With
all my heart, said Abon Hassan, I would not be any hindrance to your
going to rest; but there is still some wine in the bottle, and, if you
please, we will drink it off first. The only thing that I have to
recommend to you is, that, when you go out in the morning, if I am not
up, you will give yourself the trouble of shutting the door after you,
which the caliph promised; and while Abon Hassan was talking, took the
bottle and two glasses, and filled his own first, saying, Here is a cup
of thanks to you; and then filling the other, put artfully a little
powder, which he had about him, into it, and giving it to Abon Hassan,
said, you have taken the pains to fill for me all this night, and it is
the least I can do to save you the trouble once; come, drink to our good

Abon Hassan took the glass, and, to show his guest with how much pleasure
he received the honour he did him, whipped it off at once; but had
scarcely set the glass upon the table before the powder began to work,
and he fell into so sound a sleep, that his head knocked against his
knees. The caliph ordered the slave that he had brought along with him,
and who came again into the room as soon as he had supped, to take him
upon his back, and follow him; but to be sure to observe the house, that
he might know it again when he should bring him back; and in this manner
the caliph, followed by the slave with Abon Hassan on his back, went out
of the house, but without shutting the door after him, as Abon Hassan
desired, and went directly to his palace, and, by a backdoor, into his
own apartment, where all the officers of his apartment were waiting for
him, whom he ordered to undress him, and put him in his bed, which they
immediately performed.

Then the caliph sent for all the officers and ladies of the palace, and
said to them, I would have all those whose business it is to attend my
levee wait to-morrow morning upon this man who lies in my bed, and pay
the same respect to him as to myself, and obey him in whatever he
commands; let him be refused in nothing that he asks for, and be spoken
to and answered in every thing he says or does, as if he was the
commander of the faithful. In short, I expect you to look upon him as the
true caliph, and neglect not the least circumstance.

The officers and ladies presently understood that the caliph had a mind
to divert himself, and made low bows to show their obedience, and then
withdrew, every one full of the part they were to act.

Then he sent for the grand vizier: Giafar, said he, I have sent for you
to instruct you, and to prevent your being surprised to-morrow when you
come to an audience, to see this man, that is laid here in my bed, seated
on my throne in my royal robes: accost him with the same reverence and
respect you pay to myself; observe, and punctually execute, whatever he
bids you do, the same as if I commanded you, even if his liberality
should extend so far as to empty all the coffers in my treasury; and
remember to acquaint all my emirs and huissirs, all the officers without
the palace, to pay him the same honour at audience as the commander of
the believers himself; and to carry on the matter so well, that he might
not perceive the least thing that may interrupt this joke which I am
diverting myself with.

Afterwards the grand vizier retired, and the caliph went to bed in
another apartment; and ordered Mesrour, the chief of his eunuchs, to take
care to manage things so well, that he might see how Abon Hassan would
use the power and authority of the caliph for the time he desired to have
it; and, above all, charged him to awake him at the usual hour, before he
awakened Abon Hassan, because he had a mind to be present when he rose.

Mesrour failed not to do as the caliph had commanded; and, as soon as the
caliph went into the room where Abon Hassan lay, he placed himself in a
little closet, from whence he could see all that passed. All the officers
and ladies who were to attend Abon Hassan’s levee, took their posts
according to their rank, with great silence, and discharged themselves as
punctually of their offices as if the caliph had been to rise.

As it was just day-break, and time to rise to morning prayer before
sun-rise, the officer that stood nearest to the head of the bed, put a
sponge steeped in vinegar to Abon Hassan’s nose; who, presently turning
his head about without opening his eyes, sneezed heartily, which was
generally the effect of the caliph’s powder, and which lasted longer or
shorter in proportion to the dose. Then opening his eyes, he found
himself, by the small light that appeared, in a stately room
magnificently furnished, the ceiling of which was finely painted, and the
floor covered with a rich silk tapestry, and surrounded by a great many
young and handsome ladies, with all sorts of instruments of music in
their hands, and black eunuchs richly clothed, all standing with great
modesty and respect. After casting his eyes on the quilt of the bed, he
perceived it was cloth of gold, richly embossed with pearls and diamonds;
and that there was laid by the bed a habit of the same stuff and
trimmings, with a caliph’s turban.

At the sight of these glittering objects, Abon Hassan was in the most
inexpressible confusion and amazement, and looked upon all he saw as a
dream. So, said he to himself, I am caliph; but, added he a little after,
it is only a dream, the effect of the wish I entertained my guest with
last night; and then he turned himself about to sleep again. At the same
time, the eunuch said very respectfully, Commander of the Faithful, it is
time for your majesty to rise to prayers; the morning begins to advance.

These words very much surprised Abon Hassan. Am I awake, or do I sleep?
said he to himself. Ah! certainly I am asleep! continued he, keeping his
eyes shut; there is no reason to doubt of it.

Immediately the eunuch, who saw he had no inclination to get up, and that
he gave him no answer, said again, Your majesty, I hope, will not be
angry, if I tell you once more that it is time to rise to morning prayer,
which you never neglect, and the sun is just upon rising. I am mistaken,
said Abon Hassan presently; I am not asleep, but awake: for those that
sleep do not hear, and I hear very distinctly. Then opening his eyes, he
saw plainly by broad daylight, what appeared but uncertain before, and
rising upon his breech, with a smiling countenance, like a man overjoyed
at a sudden promotion, pleased the caliph, who penetrated into the bottom
of his thoughts.

Then the ladies of the palace prostrated themselves with their faces to
the ground before Abon Hassan, and those who had the instruments of music
in their hands, wished him a good-morrow, by a concert of soft flutes,
hautboys, theorboes, and other harmonious instruments, with which he was
ravished, and was in such an ecstasy, that he knew not himself, nor where
he was; but, recovering at last his first idea, he doubted whether what
he saw was a dream or matter of fact. He clapped his hands before his
eyes, and lowering his head, said to himself, What means all this? where
am I? and whom does this palace belong to? What can these eunuchs,
officers, beautiful ladies, and musicians signify? How is it possible for
me to distinguish whether I am in my right senses or in a dream? When he
took his hands from his eyes, the sun shone full in at the
chamber-window; and at that instant, Mesrour, the chief of the eunuchs,
came in, prostrated himself before Abon Hassan, and said, Commander of
the Faithful, your majesty will excuse me for representing to you, that
you used not to lie so long, and that the time of prayer is over; I am
afraid your majesty has had an ill night, and has been indisposed, and
may not be able to ascend your throne in council as usual: all your
generals, governors, and other officers of state, wait your presence in
the council-hall.

At this discourse of Mesrour’s, Abon Hassan was verily persuaded that he
was neither asleep nor in a dream; but, at the same time, was very much
embarrassed and confused. At last, looking earnestly at Mesrour, he said
to him in a serious tone, Who is it you speak to, and call the commander
of the faithful? For my part, I do not know you, and you mistake me for
somebody else.

Any person but Mesrour would have been dashed at these questions of Abon
Hassan’s; but he had been so well instructed by the caliph, that he
played his part to a wonder. My worthy lord and master, said he, your
majesty only speaks thus to try me: is not your majesty the commander of
the faithful, monarch of the world, and the prophet’s vicar on earth?
Mesrour, your slave, has not forgot you, after so many years that he has
had the honour and happiness to serve and pay his respects to your
majesty; and should think himself the most unhappy of all men if he has
incurred your displeasure, and begs of you most humbly to remove his
fears; but is apt to believe that you have been disturbed by some
troublesome dream last night.

Abon Hassan burst out a-laughing at these words of Mesrour’s, and fell
backwards upon the bolster, which pleased the caliph so much, that he
would have laughed as loud himself, if he had not been afraid of putting
a stop to the pleasant scene he promised himself.

Abon Hassan, when he had tired himself with laughing, sat up again on his
breech, and, speaking to a little black eunuch that stood by him, said,
Hark ye, tell me who I am. Sir, answered the little boy modestly, your
majesty is the commander of the believers, and God’s vicar on earth. You
are a liar, sooty face, said Abon Hassan. Then he called the lady that
stood the nearest to him: Come hither, fair one, said he, holding out his
hand, bite the end of my finger, that I may feel whether I am asleep or

The lady, who knew the caliph saw all that passed, was overjoyed to show
how capable she was of diverting him, and went with a grave countenance,
and putting his finger between her teeth, she bit so hard that he cried
out; and, snatching his hand quickly back again, said, I find I am awake,
and not asleep. But by what miracle am I become caliph in a night’s time?
This is certainly the most strange and surprising thing in the world!
Then addressing himself to the same lady, he said, I conjure you, for
Heaven’s sake, not to hide the truth from me; am I really the commander
of the faithful? It is so true, answered the lady, that we, who are your
slaves, are amazed to find that you will not believe yourself to be so.
Ah! you are a deceiver, replied Abon Hassan; I know very well who I am.

As the chief of the eunuchs perceived that Abon Hassan had a mind to
rise, he lent him his hand, and helped him to get out of bed. No sooner
were his feet set on the floor, than the chamber rang again with repeated
acclamations of the officers and ladies, who cried out, God preserve your
majesty, and give you a good day. O Heaven! cried Abon Hassan, what a
strange thing is this! Last night I was Abon Hassan, and this morning I
am the commander of the believers! I cannot comprehend this sudden and
surprising change. Presently some of the officers began to dress him; and
when they had done, Mesrour led him through all the eunuchs and ladies,
who were ranged on both sides quite to the council-chamber door, which
was opened by one of the huissirs. Mesrour walked before him to the foot
of the throne, where he stopped, and putting one hand under one arm,
while another officer did the same by the other, they helped him to
ascend the throne.

The caliph, in the mean time, came out of the closet where he was hid,
and went into another which looked into the council-hall, from whence he
could hear all that passed, and see Abon Hassan, who filled his throne
with all the gravity imaginable.

As soon as Abon Hassan had seated himself, the grand vizier Giafar
prostrated himself at the foot of the throne, and addressing himself to
him, said, God shower down blessings on your majesty in this life,
receive you into his paradise in the other world, and confound your

Abon Hassan, after all that had happened that morning, and these words of
the grand vizier, never doubted but he was caliph, as he wished to be;
and so, without examining any farther, how, or by what adventure or
sudden change of fortune, he immediately began to exercise his power, and
looking very gravely upon the vizier, asked him what he had to say.
Commander of the Faithful, replied the grand vizier, the emirs, viziers,
and other officers who are of your majesty’s council, wait at the door,
until your majesty give them leave to come in, and pay their usual
respects to you. Abon Hassan presently bade that the door be opened, and
the grand vizier gave the sign to the huissir that waited for it.

When the door was opened, the viziers, emirs, and principal officers of
the court, all dressed magnificently in their habits of ceremony, went in
their order to the foot of the throne, and paid their respects to Abon
Hassan; and bowing their heads down to the carpet, kneeling on one knee,
saluted him with the title of Commander of the Faithful, according to the
instruction of the grand vizier, and afterwards took their seats.

When this ceremony was over, the grand vizier, standing before the
throne, began with papers in his hand to make his report of affairs,
which at that time were of very little consequence. Nevertheless, Abon
Hassan acquitted himself in his great post without the least
embarrassment; and gave judgment so well in all matters, that the caliph
could not help wondering at his address. But before the grand vizier had
finished his report, Abon Hassan called the judge of the police, whom he
knew by sight, as he sat in his place: Hold, said he to the grand vizier,
I have something to order the judge of the police. The judge of the
police perceiving that Abon Hassan looked at him, and hearing his name
mentioned, arose from his seat, and went gravely to the foot of the
throne, where he prostrated himself with his face to the ground. Judge of
the police, said Abon Hassan, go immediately to such a division, and
seize the iman of the mosque, and four old men, (whom he described,) and
give each of the old men a hundred bastinadoes with a bull’s pizzle, and
the iman four hundred: after that, mount them all five on camels, with
their faces to the tails; and lead them through the whole city, with a
crier before them, who shall proclaim, This is the punishment of all
those who trouble their heads with other people’s affairs, and make it
their business to create disturbances and misunderstandings in families
in their neighbourhood. My intention is also, that you enjoin them to
leave that division, and never to set a foot more in it; and while your
lieutenant is conducting them through the town, return, and give me an
account of the execution of my orders. The judge of the police laid his
hand upon his head, to show his obedience, and, prostrating himself a
second time, went away.

The caliph was extremely well pleased at this order; and perceived by
Abon Hassan’s strictness and expedition, that he was resolved not to lose
the opportunity of punishing the iman and the other four old hypocrites.
In the mean time, the grand vizier went on with his report, and had just
done when the judge of the police came back from executing his
commission. He went to the throne with the usual ceremony, and said,
Commander of the Faithful, I found the iman and his four companions; and
for a proof that I have punctually obeyed your commands, I have brought
an instrument signed by the principal inhabitants of that division: at
the same time, he pulled out a paper, and presented it to the pretended

Abon Hassan took the paper, and reading over the names of the witnesses,
who were all people that he knew very well, said to the judge of the
police, It is very well; return to your seat. These old hypocrites, said
he to himself, with a great deal of satisfaction in his looks, who must
be censuring my actions, and finding fault with my entertaining honest
people, deserved this punishment. The caliph all the time penetrated into
his thoughts, and conceived a sensible joy in this expedition.

Then Abon Hassan, addressing himself afterwards to the grand vizier,
said, Go to the high treasurer for a purse of a thousand pieces of gold,
and carry it to the mother of Abon Hassan, who is known by the name of
the Debauchee; she lives in the same division into which I sent the judge
of the police: return immediately.

The grand vizier, after laying his hand upon his head, and prostrating
himself before the throne, went to the high treasurer, who gave him the
money, which he ordered a slave to take, and follow him to Abon Hassan’s
mother, to whom he gave it, saying only, The caliph makes you this
present. She received it with the greatest surprise imaginable, and could
not tell what to think of this liberality of the caliph.

During the grand vizier’s absence, the judge of the police acted for him,
in making the report, which lasted till the vizier returned. As soon as
he came into the council-chamber, and had assured Abon Hassan he had done
as he had bade him, Mesrour, the chief of the eunuchs, who returned to
the palace after he had conducted Abon Hassan to the council, came again,
and made a sign to the viziers, emirs, and other officers, that the
council was done, and that they might all retire; which they all did, by
making the same reverence and obedience as when they entered.

Abon Hassan sat not long after them, but came down from the throne,
supported in the same manner as he went up to it, by Mesrour and another
eunuch, who attended him back again to the apartment from whence he came,
preceded all the way by the grand vizier: but before he reached the
apartment, he was taken with a pressing occasion; upon which they showed
him into a convenient closet, paved with white marble; and while Abon
Hassan was there, the grand vizier went to acquaint the caliph with what
had passed, though he had been an eye-witness all the time.

When Abon Hassan came out of the closet, Mesrour went before him, to show
him the way into an inner apartment, where there was a table spread.
Several eunuchs ran before, to tell the musicians that the sham caliph
was coming, who immediately began a concert of vocal and instrumental
music, with which Abon Hassan was so charmed and transported, that he
could not tell what to think at all he saw and heard. If this is a dream,
said he, it is a long one: but certainly, continued he, it is no dream;
for I can see and feel, walk, hear, and argue reasonably. Whatever it is,
I trust in God: yet I cannot believe but I am the commander of the
faithful; for no other person could live in this splendour. The honour
and respect that is given me, and the obedience paid to my commands, are
sufficient proofs.

In short, Abon Hassan took it for granted that he was caliph, and the
commander of the faithful; and was fully convinced of it, when he entered
that magnificent and spacious hall, which was finely painted. Seven bands
of musicians were placed round the hall, and as many gold branches hung
down from the ceiling, which was painted with blue and gold. In the
middle of the hall there was spread a table, which was served up with all
manner of rarities, in massy gold plates and dishes; and seven young
beautiful ladies, dressed in the richest habits, of the most lively
colours, stood round this table, each with a fan in her hand, to fan Abon
Hassan when at dinner.

If ever mortal was charmed, Abon Hassan was: at every step he took in
that stately hall, he could not help stopping to contemplate on all the
wonders that regaled his eyes, and turned his head first on one side and
then again on the other, which made the caliph almost split his sides
with laughing. At last he went and sat down at the table, and presently
all the ladies that stood about it began to fan him. He looked first at
one and then at another, and admired the grace with which they acquitted
themselves; and told them, with a smile, that he believed one fan was
enough to cool him, and would have six of the ladies sit at table with
him, three on his right hand and three on his left; that, as the table
was round, which way soever he turned, his eyes might be saluted with
agreeable objects.

The six ladies obeyed; and Abon Hassan taking notice that, out of
respect, they did not eat, helped them himself, and invited them to eat
in the most pressing and obliging terms. Afterwards, he asked their
names; which they told him were, White neck, Coral Lips, Fair Face, Sun
Shine, Heart’s Delight, Sweet Looks, and she who fanned him was Sugar
Cane. The many soft things he said upon their names, showed him to be a
man of a sprightly wit, and very much increased the esteem which the
caliph (who saw every thing) had for him.

When the ladies saw that Abon Hassan had done eating, one of them said to
the eunuch who waited, the commander of the faithful will go into the
next hall to the desert: bring some water. Upon which they all rose from
the table, and taking from the eunuchs, one a gold basin, another an
ewer, and a third a towel, kneeled down before Abon Hassan, and presented
them to him to wash his hands; who, as soon as he had done, got up, and
after an eunuch had opened the door, went, preceded by Mesrour, who never
left him, into another hall, as large as the former, adorned with the
best paintings, gold vessels, silk tapestry, and other rich furniture.
There seven other bands of music began a new concert, as soon as Abon
Hassan appeared. In this hall there were seven gold branches, and a table
full of dried sweetmeats, and the most choice and exquisite fruits,
raised in pyramids, in seven gold basins, and seven ladies, more
beautiful than the others, standing round it, with fans in their hands.

These new objects put Abon Hassan into a greater admiration than ever;
who, after he had made a full stop, and given the most sensible marks of
his surprise and astonishment, went directly to the table; where, sitting
down, he gazed a considerable time at the seven ladies, with an
embarrassment that plainly showed he knew not which to give the
preference to. At last he ordered them all to sit and eat with him,
telling them that it was not so hot but he could spare them that trouble.

When the ladies were all placed about him, the first thing he did was to
ask their names, which were different from the other seven, and expressed
some perfection of either mind or body, which distinguished them from one
another; and upon which he took an opportunity, when he presented them
with fruit, &c. to say somewhat that was handsome. Take this fig, said he
to Chain of Hearts, who sat on his right hand, and render the fetters
with which you loaded me at first sight more supportable; and so went on
to the rest. By these ways, Abon Hassan pleased and diverted the caliph
more and more, who was resolved to carry on this scene which entertained
him so agreeably.

After Abon Hassan had tasted of all the fruits, &c. he got up and
followed Mesrour into a third hall, much more magnificently furnished
than the other two; where he was received by the same number of musicians
and ladies, who stood about a table covered over with all manner of
sweetmeats. After he had looked about him with new admiration, he
advanced to the table, the music playing all the time, which ceased when
he sat down. The seven ladies sat down with him, by his order, and helped
themselves, as he desired them, to what they liked best; and afterwards
he informed himself of their names, which pleased him as much as the
others had done.

By this time the day began to close, and Abon Hassan was conducted into
the fourth hall, much more stately and magnificently furnished, lighted
with wax-candles, in seven gold branches and sconces, which were placed
all around it, all which made a glorious light. Abon Hassan found the
same number of musicians here as he had done in the other halls, and saw
also as many ladies standing round a table, furnished with such things as
were proper to promote drinking. There he saw a beaufet, which he had not
observed in any of the other halls, which was set out with seven large
silver flagons full of the choicest wines, and seven crystal glasses by

All the day long, Abon Hassan had drunk nothing but water, according to a
custom observed at Bagdad, from the highest to the lowest; who never
drink wine till the evening, it being accounted the most scandalous thing
in the world to be seen drunk in the streets in the day-time.

As soon as Abon Hassan entered the fourth hall, he went directly to the
table and sat down, and was a long time in a kind of ecstasy at the sight
of those seven ladies, who were much more beautiful than all he beheld in
the other halls. He was very desirous to know all their names; but the
music playing then so very loud that he could not hear them speak, he
made a sign for them to leave off playing: then taking one of the ladies
who sat next to him by the hand, he made her sit down by him, and
presenting her with some of those relishing viands before him, asked her
name. Commander of the Faithful, said the lady, I am called Cluster of
Pearls. No name, replied Abon Hassan, could have more properly expressed
your worth; and indeed your teeth exceed the finest pearls. Cluster of
Pearls, added he, since that is your name, oblige me with a glass of wine
from your fair hand. The lady went presently to the beaufet, and brought
him a glass with a pleasant air. Abon Hassan took the glass with a smile,
and looking passionately upon her; said, Cluster of Pearls, your health;
I desire you to fill out as much for yourself, and pledge me. Accordingly
she went to the beaufet, and returned with a glass in her hand; but
before she drank, she sang a song, and by the sweetness of her voice
ravished his senses.

After Abon Hassan had drunk, he made another lady sit, and presenting her
with some of the viands, asked her name, which she told him was Morning
Star. Your bright eyes, said he, shine with greater lustre than that star
you bear the name of. Do me the pleasure to bring me some wine; which she
did, with an extraordinary grace. Then turning to the third lady, whose
name was Daylight, he ordered her to do the same; and so on to the
seventh, to the extreme satisfaction of the caliph.

When they had all filled him round, Cluster of Pearls went to the
beaufet, poured out a glass of wine, and putting in a pinch of the same
powder the caliph had used the night before, presented it to Abon Hassan.
Commander of the Faithful, said she, I beg of your majesty to take this
glass of wine; and, before you drink it off, do me the favour to hear a
song I have made to-day, and which may not displease you. With all my
heart, said Abon Hassan, taking the glass; and, as commander of the
faithful, I command you to sing it: for I am persuaded that so beautiful
a lady as yourself must abound with wit and humour. The lady took a lute,
and tuning it to her voice, sang with so much justness and grace, and
with such delicate turns of thought and expression, that Abon Hassan was
in perfect ecstasy all the time, and was so much delighted, that he
ordered her to sing it again.

When the lady had done, Abon Hassan drank off his glass, and, turning his
head towards her, to give her those praises which he thought due to her,
fell fast asleep with his mouth open gaping, and his eyes close shut,
just in the same condition as when the caliph brought him from home; who
took a greater satisfaction in this scene, than he could have promised
himself. One of the ladies stood ready to catch the glass, which fell out
of his hand; and then the caliph, who was all along a spectator of what
had passed, came into the hall to them, and ordered Abon Hassan to be
dressed again in his own clothes, and to be carried back again to his own
house by the same slave that brought him, charging him to lay him on a
sofa in the same room, and to leave the door open.

The slave took Abon Hassan upon his shoulders, and carried him home by a
back-door of the palace, and returned with speed to acquaint the caliph
he had executed his commands. Well, said the caliph, Abon Hassan wished
only to be caliph for one day, to punish the iman of the mosque, and the
four scheiks or old men of his division, who had displeased him: I have
procured him the means, and he ought to be content.

In the mean time, Abon Hassan, who was laid upon a sofa by the slave,
slept very late the next morning. When the powder was worked off, Abon
Hassan opened his eyes, and finding himself at home, was in the utmost
surprise. Cluster of Pearls! Morning Star! Coral Lips! Fair Face! cried
he, calling the ladies of the palace by their names, as he remembered
them: Where are you? Come hither.

Abon Hassan called so loud, that his mother, who was in her own
apartment, heard, and running to him upon the noise he made, said, What
do you mean, son? What is the matter? At these words, Abon Hassan lifted
up his head, and looking haughtily at his mother, said, Good woman, who
is it you call son? Why, you, answered his mother, very calmly; are not
you Abon Hassan, my son? It is a strange thing that you have forgot
yourself. I your son, old trull! replied Abon Hassan; thou art mad, and
knowest not what thou sayest: I am not Abon Hassan, I tell you, but the
commander of the faithful.

Hold your tongue, son, answered the mother; one would think you were a
fool, to hear you talk thus. You are an old fool yourself, replied Abon
Hassan: I tell you once more, I am the commander of the faithful, and
God’s vicar on earth. Ah! child, cried the mother, is it possible that I
should hear you utter such words, that show you are distracted? What evil
genius possesses you, to make you talk at this rate? God bless you, and
preserve you from the power of Satan. You are my son Abon Hassan, and I
am your mother.

After she had made use of all the arguments she could think of to bring
him to himself, and to show how great an error he was in, she said, Do
not you see that the room you are now in is your own, and is not like a
chamber fit for the commander of the believers? Think seriously of what I
have said to you, and do not fancy things that are not, nor ever can be.

Abon Hassan heard all these remonstrances of his mother very patiently,
holding down his eyes, and clapping his hands before his face, like one
who was looking into himself to examine the truth of what he saw and
heard. At last, said he to his mother, just as if he was come out of a
deep sleep, and with his hands in the same posture, Methinks I am Abon
Hassan, you are my mother, and I am in my own room. Then looking about
him again, he added, I am Abon Hassan, there is no doubt of it; and I
cannot comprehend how this fancy came into my head.

The mother really believed that her son was cured of that disorder of
mind, and began to laugh, and ask him questions about his dream; when,
all on a sudden, he started up on his breech, and looking crossly at his
mother, said, Old sorceress, thou knowest not what thou sayest. I am not
thy son, nor thou my mother, but the commander of the faithful; and thou
shalt never persuade me to the contrary. For heaven’s sake, son, said the
mother, let us leave off this discourse, and talk of something else, for
fear some misfortune should happen to us. I will tell you what fell out
yesterday in our division to the iman of the mosque, and the four scheiks
our neighbours: the judge of the police came and seized them, and gave
each of them I do not know how many strokes with a bull’s pizzle; and
afterwards led them through all the streets, with a crier before them,
who proclaimed, that that was the punishment of all those who troubled
themselves about other folks’ business, and set their neighbours at
variance; and ordered them never to come into our division again. Abon
Hassan’s mother could not imagine that her son had any share in this
adventure, and therefore turned the discourse this way to put him out of
the conceit of being the commander of the faithful; but instead of
effacing that idea, she rather strengthened it.

Abon Hassan no sooner heard this relation, than he cried out, I am
neither thy son, nor Abon Hassan, but certainly the commander of the
believers: I cannot doubt of it, after what you have told me. Know then,
that it was by my order that the iman and the four scheiks were punished;
and I tell you, I am certainly the commander of the faithful; therefore
do not tell me any more of its being a dream. I was not asleep, but as
much awake as I am now. You do me a pleasure to confirm what the judge of
the police told me he had executed according to my order; and I am
overjoyed that the iman and the four scheiks, those great hypocrites,
were so chastised, and would be glad to know how I came here. God be
praised for all things! I am certainly commander of the faithful, and all
thy arguments shall not convince me to the contrary.

The mother, who could not divine or imagine why her son supported and
maintained himself so strenuously to be caliph, never disputed but that
he had lost his senses, when she found he insisted so much upon a thing
that was so incredible; and in this thought said, I pray God to have
mercy upon you, son! pray do not talk so madly. Beseech God to forgive
you, and give you grace to talk more reasonably. What would the world say
to hear you rave in this manner? Do not you know, they say walls have

These remonstrances only enraged Abon Hassan the more; and he was so
provoked at his mother, that he said, Old woman, I have bid you once
already hold your tongue; if you do not, I shall rise and give you cause
to repent it all your life-time. I am the caliph, and the commander of
the believers; and you ought to believe me when I say so.

Then the good woman perceiving that he was more lunatic than ever,
abandoned herself to tears; and beating her face and breast, expressed
the utmost grief and astonishment to see her son in that distraction.
Abon Hassan, instead of appeasing and being moved by his mother’s tears,
on the contrary, lost all the respect due from a son to his mother; and
getting up hastily, and laying hold of a cane, ran to his mother in great
fury, and in a threatening manner said, Tell me presently, wicked woman,
who I am. I do not believe, son, replied she, looking at him tenderly,
and void of fear, that you are so abandoned by God as not to know your
mother, who brought you into the world. Indeed you are my son Abon
Hassan; and are very much in the wrong to arrogate to yourself the title
of our sovereign lord the caliph Haroun Alraschid, after the noble and
generous present that monarch made us yesterday. In short, I forgot to
tell you, that the grand vizier Giafar came to me yesterday, and putting
a purse of a thousand pieces of gold into my hands, bade me pray for the
commander of the faithful, who made me that present.

At these words, Abon Hassan grew quite mad. The circumstance of the
caliph’s liberality his mother told him of, persuaded him more than ever
that he was caliph, remembering how he had sent the vizier. Well, old
hag, cried he, will you be convinced when I tell you that I sent you
those thousand pieces of gold by my grand vizier Giafar, who obeyed my
commands, as I was commander of the faithful? But, instead of believing
me, thou endeavourest to distract me by thy contradictions, and
maintainest with obstinacy that I am thy son; but thou shalt not go long
unpunished. After these words, he was so unnatural, in the height of his
frenzy, as to beat her cruelly with his cane.

The poor mother, who could not have thought that her son would have come
so soon from words to blows, called out for help so loud, that the
neighbours ran in to her assistance. But in the mean time, Abon Hassan,
at every stroke, asked her if he was the commander of the faithful. To
which she always answered tenderly, that he was her son.

By the time the neighbours came in, Abon Hassan’s rage began to abate.
The first who entered the room got between him and his mother; and taking
the cane out of his hand, said to him, What are you doing, Abon Hassan?
Have you no fear of God, nor reason? Did ever a son, so well brought up
as you, ever dare to strike his mother? Are you not ashamed to treat
yours so, who loves you so tenderly? Abon Hassan looked at him that
spoke, without returning an answer; and then staring on all that followed
him, said, Who is that Abon Hassan you speak of? Is it me you call by
that name?

This question put the neighbours a little to a stand. How! said he that
spoke first, do not you know your mother, who brought you up, and with
whom you have always lived? Be gone, you are impertinent people, replied
Abon Hassan; I neither know her nor you, and will not know you; I am not
Abon Hassan; but will make you know, to your cost, I am the commander of
the faithful.

At this discourse, the neighbours no longer doubted but that he was mad;
and to prevent his being guilty of the like actions, seized him,
notwithstanding his resistance, and bound him hand and foot, while one in
the mean time ran for the keeper of the hospital for mad folks, who came
presently with a bull’s pizzle, chains, and handcuffs, and a great many
attendants. When they entered the room, Abon Hassan, who little expected
such treatment, endeavoured all he could to unloose himself; but after
the keeper had given him two or three smart strokes upon his shoulders
with the bull’s pizzle, he lay so quiet, that the keeper and his people
might do what they would with him; who as soon as they had bound and
manacled him, took him with them to the hospital; where, before the
keeper put him into a room, he regaled him with fifty strokes of the
bull’s pizzle on his shoulders, which he repeated every day without pity
for three weeks, bidding him to remember that he was not the commander of
the faithful.

Abon Hassan’s mother went every day to see her son, and could not forbear
crying to see him fall away daily, and to hear him sigh and complain at
the hardships he endured. In short, his shoulders, back, and sides were
so black and blue and bruized, that he could not turn himself. His mother
would willingly have talked with him, to comfort him, and to sound him
whether he still retained the notion of being caliph; but whenever she
opened her mouth, he rebuked her with so much fury, that she was forced
to leave him, and return home disconsolate at his obstinacy.

At last those strong and lively ideas which Abon Hassan entertained of
being clothed in the caliph’s habit, and having used all his authority,
and being obeyed very punctually, and treated like the true caliph, and
which persuaded him when he waked that he was so, all began to be
insensibly effaced. Sometimes he would say to himself, If I was the
caliph, and commander of the believers, how came I home dressed in my own
apparel? Why should I not have been attended by eunuchs and ladies? Why
should my grand Vizier Giafar, and all those emirs and governors of
provinces, who prostrated themselves at my feet, forsake me? Undoubtedly
if I had any authority over them, they would have delivered me all this
time out of this miserable condition I am in: certainly I ought to look
upon all this as a dream. It is true, I commanded the judge of the police
to punish the iman and four old men his companions: I ordered Giafar the
grand vizier to carry my mother a thousand pieces of gold: and all my
commands were executed. All these things are obstacles to my believing it
a dream; but yet there are so many things that I cannot comprehend, nor
ever shall, that I will put my trust in God, who knows all things.

Abon Hassan was taken up with these thoughts and sentiments, when his
mother came to see him, who found him so much altered and changed from
what he had been, that she let fall a torrent of tears; in the midst of
which she saluted him as she used to do, and he returned her salute,
which he had never done before while he had been in the hospital. This
civility she looked upon to be a good sign. Well, son, said she, how do
you do, and how do you find yourself? Have you renounced all those whims
and fancies which some cursed demon had put into your head? Indeed,
mother, replied Abon Hassan, very rationally and calmly, I acknowledge my
error, and beg of you to forgive the execrable crime which I have been
guilty of towards you, and which I detest. I ask pardon also of my
neighbours whom I have abused. I have been deceived by a dream; but by so
extraordinary a one, and so like to truth, that any other person, to whom
such a thing might have happened, would have been guilty of as great
extravagances: and I am at this instant so much perplexed about it, that
I can hardly persuade myself but that it was matter of fact. But whatever
it was, I do and always will look upon it as a dream and illusion. I am
convinced that I am not that shadow of a caliph and commander of the
faithful, but Abon Hassan, your son; and shall never forget that fatal
day which covered me with shame and confusion; but honour and respect you
all my life as I ought.

At these sensible words, the mother of Abon Hassan changed the tears of
her sorrow and affliction into those of joy, to find her son so well
recovered. My dear child, said she, transported with pleasure, my
satisfaction and comfort is inexpressible, to hear you talk so
reasonably, and gives me as much joy as if I had brought you into the
world a second time. But I must observe one thing in this adventure,
which you may not have taken notice of: the stranger that you brought
home one night to sup with you, went away without shutting the
chamber-door after him as you desired him; which I believe gave some
demon an opportunity to enter, and put you into that horrible illusion
you were in: and therefore, my son, you ought to return God thanks for
your deliverance, and beseech him to keep you out of the snares of the
evil spirit.

You have found out the source of my misfortunes, answered Abon Hassan; it
was that very night I had this dream, which turned my brain. I bade the
merchant expressly to shut the door after him; and now I find he did not
do it. I am persuaded, as well as you, some devil came in, and filled my
head full of these fancies. For they at Moussel are not so well convinced
that the devil is the cause of troublesome dreams, as we are at Bagdad.
But since, mother, you see I am so well recovered, for God’s sake get me
out of this hellish place. The mother, glad to find her son so well cured
of his foolish imagination of being caliph, went immediately to the
keeper, and assuring him that he was very sensible and well, he came and
examined him, and afterwards gave him his liberty.

When Abon Hassan came home, he staid within doors some days, to comfort
himself by better food and nourishment than what he had at the hospital.
But when he had recovered his strength, and refreshed himself after his
harsh treatment, he began to be weary with spending his evenings alone,
and so entered again upon the same way of living as before; which was to
provide enough every day to regale a stranger at night.

The day on which Abon Hassan renewed this custom, happened to be the
first day of the month, which was the day that the caliph always sets
apart to go disguised through the town, to observe what irregularities
were committed in the government of the city. Towards the evening he went
to the bridge, and set himself on a bench which was fixed to the parapet;
where, looking about him, he perceived the caliph disguised again like a
Moussel merchant, and followed by the same slave: and, persuaded that all
his misfortunes were owing to the caliph’s leaving his door open, whom he
took for a merchant, he swooned at the sight of him. God preserve me,
said he to himself; if I am not deceived, there is the magician again
that enchanted me! and thereupon got up, and looked over the parapet into
the river, that he might not see him.

The caliph, who had a mind to carry on his joke farther, had taken a
great deal of care to inform himself of all that had happened when Abon
Hassan waked at home, and conceived a great pleasure at the relation
given him, especially at his being sent to a mad-house. But that monarch
was both just and generous, and had taken a great liking to Abon Hassan:
he designed, after he had carried on this scene, to take him into his
palace; and to pursue this project, he had dressed himself again like a
merchant of Moussel. He perceived Abon Hassan at the same time that he
saw him, and presently guessed by his actions that he was angry with him,
and wanted to shun him. This made him walk close to the parapet Abon
Hassan leaned over; and when he came nigh him, he put his head over to
look him in the face. Ah, brother Abon Hassan, said he, is it you? give
me leave to embrace you. Not I, replied Abon Hassan roughly, without
looking at the pretended Moussel merchant: I will not embrace you; I have
nothing to say to you; go along.

What! answered the caliph, do you not know me? Do you not remember the
evening we spent together at your house this day month, where you did me
the honour to treat me very generously? No, replied Abon Hassan, I do not
know you, nor what you talk about: go, I say again, about your business.

The caliph was not to be dashed with this rude behaviour of Abon Hassan.
He knew very well the law he had imposed on himself, never to have any
commerce again with a stranger he had once entertained; but though Abon
Hassan had declared so much to him, he pretended to be ignorant of it. I
cannot believe, said he, but you must know me again; it is not possible
that you should have forgot me in so short a time. Certainly some
misfortune has befallen you, which gives you this aversion. However, you
ought to remember that I show my acknowledgment by my good wishes; and
that I have offered you my interest, which is not despicable, in an
affair which you had very much at heart.

I do not know, replied Abon Hassan, what your interest may be, and I have
no desire to make use of it; but I am sensible the utmost of your wishes
was to make me mad. In God’s name, I say once more, go your way, and
trouble me no more.

Ah! brother Abon Hassan, replied the caliph, embracing him, I do not
intend to part with you in this manner, since I have had the good fortune
to meet with you a second time: you must exercise the same hospitality
towards me again that you showed me a month ago, when I had the honour to
drink with you.

I have protested against it, said Abon Hassan, and have so much power
over myself as not to receive such a man as you. You know the proverb,
Take up your drum and be gone: make the application to yourself. God be
with you; you have been the cause of my misfortune, and I will not
venture myself with you again. My good friend Abon Hassan, said the
caliph, embracing him again, I beg of you not to treat me after this
injurious manner, but be better persuaded of my friendship. Do me the
favour to tell me what has happened to you; for I assure you, I wish you
well, and would be glad of an opportunity to make you amends for the
trouble I have caused you, if it has been actually my fault. Abon Hassan
yielded to the pressing instances of the caliph, and bade him sit down by
him. Your incredulity and importunity have tired my patience; and what I
am going to tell you, will show you that I do not accuse you wrongfully.

The caliph sat down by Abon Hassan, while he told him all that happened
to him, from his waking in the palace to his waking again in his own
house, all as a mere dream, with all the circumstances, which the caliph
knew as well as himself, and which renewed his pleasure. He exaggerated
afterwards upon the impression that dream of being caliph made upon him,
which, he said, threw him into such extravagances, that he was carried to
the mad-house, and used very barbarously. But, said he, what will
surprise you, and what you little think of, is, that it was altogether
your fault that these things fell out: for, if you remember, I desired
you to shut the door after you, which you neglected; and some devil
finding it open, put this dream into my head, which, though it was very
agreeable, was the cause of the misfortune I complain of; therefore you,
for your negligence, are answerable for the horrid and detestable crime I
was guilty of, in lifting my hand against my mother, whom I might have
killed, and committed parricide, because she said I was her son, and she
would not acknowledge me for the commander of the faithful: besides, I
blush when I think of it, and that all my neighbours were witnesses of my
folly. In short, Abon Hassan complained of his misfortunes with great
heat and vehemence, and did not forget the least circumstance; which
pleased the caliph to find he had succeeded so well, who could not help
bursting out a-laughing at the simplicity wherewith he related them.

Abon Hassan, who thought that his story should rather move compassion,
and that every one ought to be as much concerned at it as himself, very
much resented the pretended Moussel merchant’s laughter. What! said he,
do you make a jest of me, to laugh in my face, or do you believe that I
do not speak seriously? If you want proofs of what I advance, look and
see whether or no I tell you the truth: with that, stooping down, and
baring his shoulders, he showed the caliph the strokes and weals the
bull’s pizzle had made.

The caliph could not behold these objects of horror without pitying poor
Abon Hassan, and being sorry for carrying the jest so far. Come, rise,
dear brother, said he, hugging Abon Hassan friendly in his arms; let me
go and enjoy the happiness of being merry with you to-night; and
to-morrow, if it please God, all things will go well.

Abon Hassan, notwithstanding his resolution and oath, could not resist
the caliph’s caresses. I will consent, said he to the pretended merchant,
if you will swear to shut my door after you, that no demon may come in to
distract my brain again. The caliph promised that he would; upon which
they both got up, and, followed by the caliph’s slave, reached Abon
Hassan’s house by the time it was dark.

As soon as Abon Hassan entered the doors, he called for candles, and
desired his guest to sit down upon a sofa, and then placed himself by
him. A little time after, supper was brought up, and they both fell to
without ceremony: afterwards there came up a small dessert of fruit,
wine, and glasses. Abon Hassan first filled out his glass, and then the
caliph’s; and after they had drunk some time, and talked of indifferent
matters, the caliph perceiving that his host grew warm with liquor, began
to talk of love, and asked him if he had never been sensible of that

Brother, replied Abon Hassan familiarly, I never looked upon love or
marriage but as bondage or slavery, to which I was always unwilling to
submit; and must own to you that I never loved any thing but good cheer
and good wine; in short, to divert and entertain myself agreeably with my
friends. But yet I do not tell you that I am so indifferent for marriage,
or incapable of an inclination, if I could meet with a woman of such
beauty and sweetness of temper as those I saw in my dream that fatal
night I first saw you, and received you into my house, and you, to my
misfortune, left my door open, who would pass the whole night with me,
drinking, and singing, and playing on some instrument, and who would
study to please and divert me: I believe, on the contrary, I should
change all my indifference to a perfect attachment to such a person, and
I believe should live very happily with her. But where is such a woman to
be found, but in the caliph’s palace, or in those of the grand vizier, or
some other great lords of the court, who want no money? I choose rather
to stick close to my bottle, which is a pleasure much cheaper, and which
I can enjoy as well as they. In saying, these words, he filled out his
own and the caliph’s glass, and said, Come, take your glass, and let us
pursue this charming pleasure.

When they had drunk off their wine, It is a great pity, said the caliph,
that so gallant a man as you, who owns himself not insensible of love,
should lead so solitary a life. I prefer the easy quiet life I live,
replied Abon Hassan, before the company of a wife, whose beauty might not
please, and who, besides, might create me a great deal of trouble by her
imperfections, and perhaps ill humour. This subject lasted a long time;
and the caliph, seeing Abon Hassan had drunk up to the pitch he wanted to
have him, said, Let me alone; since you have so good a taste, I warrant
you I will find you one that shall please you: and then taking Abon
Hassan’s glass, and putting a pinch of the same powder into it again,
filled him up a bumper, and presenting it to him, said, Come, let us
drink first the fair lady’s health who is to make you happy.

Abon Hassan took the glass laughing, and shaking his head, said, Come, I
will drink the lady’s health you promised me, though I am very well
contented as I am, and do not rely on your promise; but cannot be guilty
of so great a piece of incivility, as to disoblige a guest of so much
merit, in such a trifling matter. But as soon as he had drunk off his
liquor, he was seized with as deep a sleep as before; and the caliph
ordered the same slave to take him and carry him to the palace, and in
the mean time shut the door after him, as he had promised, and followed

When they arrived at the palace, the caliph ordered Abon Hassan to be
laid on a sofa, in the fourth hall, from whence he was carried home: but
first he bade them put him in the same habit which he acted the caliph
in. After that, he charged all the eunuchs; officers, ladies, and
musicians, who were in the hall when he drank the last glass of wine, to
be there by daybreak, and to take care to act their parts well; and then
went to bed, charging Mesrour to wake him before they went into the hall,
that he might hide himself in the closet as before.

Mesrour wakened the caliph at the hour appointed; who immediately rose,
and went to the hall where Abon Hassan was laid fast asleep; and when he
had placed himself in his closet, Mesrour and the other officers and
ladies placed themselves about the sofa, so that the caliph might see
what passed.

Things being thus disposed, and the caliph’s powder having had its
effect, Abon Hassan began to stir, and the music to play a very agreeable
concert. Abon Hassan was in a great surprise to hear that charming
harmony; but when he opened his eyes, and saw the ladies and officers
about him, and which he thought he knew again, his amazement was
redoubled. The hall that he was in seemed to be the same he dreamed of;
and he observed the same branches, and the same furniture and ornaments.

When the concert was ended, he bit his finger and cried loud enough for
the caliph to hear him, Alas! I am fallen again into the same dream and
illusion that happened to me a month ago, and must expect again the
bull’s pizzle and mad-house. Almighty God, added he, I commit myself into
the hands of thy divine providence. He was a wicked man that I
entertained at my house last night, who has been the cause of this
illusion, and the miserable hardships I must undergo. The base wretch
swore to shut the door after him, and he did not do it; and the devil
came in, and filled my head full of this wicked dream of being commander
of the faithful, and other phantoms, which bewitch my eyes. May thou be
confounded, Satan, and crushed under some mountain!

After these words, Abon Hassan closed his eyes, and remained some time
thoughtful, and very much perplexed; then opening them again, and looking
about him, cried out a second time, Great God! I commit myself into the
hands of thy providence; preserve me from the temptation of Satan. Then
shutting them again, he said, All that I know is, I will go and sleep
till Satan leaves me, and returns as he came; when one of the ladies
approached, and sitting down on a sofa by him, said to him, Commander of
the Faithful, I beg of your majesty to forgive me for taking the liberty
to tell you not to go to sleep; day appears, and it is time to rise. Be
gone, Satan! answered Abon Hassan, raising his voice: but looking upon
the lady, he said, Is it I you call the commander of the faithful?
Certainly you take me for somebody else. It is to your majesty I give
that title, replied the lady, to whom it belongs, as you are sovereign of
the world and the Mussulmans, and I am your most humble slave.
Undoubtedly your majesty, added she, pretends to have forgot yourself, or
this is the effect of some troublesome dream; but if you would but open
your eyes, the mists which may disturb your imagination will soon be
dispelled, and you will find yourself in your own palace, surrounded by
your officers and slaves, who all wait your commands: and that your
majesty may not be surprised to find yourself in this hall, and not in
bed, I beg leave to tell you, that you fell so suddenly asleep last
night, that we were unwilling to wake you, to conduct you to your own
chamber, but laid you carefully upon this sofa. In short, she urged so
many things to him that were so very probable, that at last he sat upon
his breech, and knew all the ladies again. Then she who spoke first,
assuming the discourse, said, Commander of the Faithful, and the
prophet’s vicar on earth, be not displeased if I acquaint your majesty
once more, that it is time to rise, for day appears.

You are very troublesome and importunate, replied Abon Hassan, rubbing
his eyes: I am not the commander of the faithful, but Abon Hassan; and
you shall not persuade me otherwise. We do not know that Abon Hassan your
majesty speaks of, answered the lady; but know you to be the commander of
the believers.

Abon Hassan looking about, and finding himself in the same hall,
attributed all he saw and heard to be such a dream as he had before, and
feared very much the dreadful consequences. Heaven have mercy on me! said
he, lifting up his hands and eyes, like a man who knew not where he was;
after what I have seen, there is no dispute but that devil who came into
my chamber possesses me, and fills my imagination full of all these

The caliph, who saw him all the time, and heard these exclamations,
almost killed himself with laughing; and had much ado to forbear bursting
out into so loud a laughter, that the false caliph must have heard him.

Afterwards Abon Hassan laid himself down again, and shutting his eyes,
the same lady said again, Since your majesty does not rise, after we
have, according to our duty, told you it was day, and the dispatch of
business requires your presence, we shall use the liberty you give us in
such like cases. Then taking him by one arm, and calling to one of the
other ladies to do the same by the other, they lifted him up, and carried
him into the middle of the hall, where they set him on his breech, and
all taking hands, danced round him while the music played.

Abon Hassan was in an inexpressible perplexity of mind, and said, What!
am I indeed caliph, and commander of the faithful? and in the uncertainty
he was in, would have said something more, but the music was so loud that
he could not be heard. At last he made a sign to two of the ladies who
were dancing, that he wanted to speak with them; upon which they forbore,
and went to him. Do not lie, now, said he, but tell me truly who I am.

Commander of the Faithful, replied one of the ladies, your majesty would
either surprise us by asking this question, or else you must have had
some very extraordinary dream to-night; which may very well be,
considering that your majesty has slept longer to-night than ordinary:
however, if you will give me leave, I will refresh your memory with what
passed yesterday. Then she told him how he went to the council, punished
the iman and the four old men, and sent a present by his grand vizier, of
a thousand pieces of gold, to the mother of one Abon Hassan: after that,
continued she, your majesty dined in the three halls, and, in the fourth,
did us the honour to make us sit down by you, to hear our songs, and
receive wine from our hands, till your majesty fell so fast asleep, that
you never awaked, contrary to custom, before day. All your slaves and
officers can confirm what I say; and it is now time you should go to

Very well, replied Abon Hassan, shaking his head, you would have me
believe all this but I can tell you, you are all fools or mad; and that
is a great pity, for you are very handsome: for I can tell you, that
since I saw you, I have been at home, where I used my mother so ill, that
they sent me to a mad-house, and kept me three weeks, and beat me every
day with a bull’s pizzle; and yet you would make me believe all this to
be a dream. Commander of the Faithful answered the lady, we are all ready
to swear by what your majesty holds most dear, that all you tell is a
dream; for you never stirred out of this hall since yesterday, but slept
here all night long.

The confidence with which the lady assured Abon Hassan that all she said
was truth, and that he had never been out of the hall since that time,
made him not to know what to believe, but bewildered his senses. O
Heaven! said he to himself, am I Abon Hassan, or the commander of the
faithful? Almighty God, enlighten my understanding, and inform me of the
truth. Then he bared his shoulders, and showed the ladies the livid
weals. Look, and judge, said he, whether these strokes could come to me
in a dream, or when I was asleep. For my part, I can affirm that they
were real blows; for I feel the smart of them yet, and that is a
testimonial there is no room to doubt of. Now, if I received these
strokes in my sleep, it is the most surprising and extraordinary thing in
the world, and what I cannot understand.

In this uncertainty, Abon Hassan called to one of the officers that stood
round him: Come hither, said he, and bite the tip of my ear, that I may
know whether I am asleep or awake. The officer obeyed him, and bit so
hard that he made him cry out horridly: the music struck up at the same
time, and the officers and ladies all began to dance, and skip about Abon
Hassan, and made such a noise, that he was in a perfect enthusiasm, and
played a thousand merry tricks. He tore off his caliph’s habit, threw off
his turban, and jumped up in his shirt and drawers, and taking hold of
two of the ladies’ hands, fell a-dancing and singing, and jumping and
cutting capers, that the caliph could not contain himself, but burst into
so violent a laughter at this sudden pleasantry of Abon Hassan’s, that he
fell backwards, and made a greater noise than the musicians and all of
them together, and lay in that condition for some time. At last he got up
again, and putting out his head, cried out, Abon Hassan, Abon Hassan,
what! have you a mind to kill me with laughing?

As soon as the caliph’s voice was heard, every body was silent, and Abon
Hassan among the rest; who, turning his head to see from whence the voice
came, knew the caliph and the Moussel merchant, but was not in the least
dashed; but, on the contrary, found that he was awake, and all that had
happened to him was matter of fact, and not a dream. He entered into the
caliph’s pleasantry and intentions: Ha! ha! said he, looking at him with
a good assurance, you are a merchant of Moussel, and complain that I
would kill you, who have been the occasion of my using my mother so ill,
and being sent to a mad-house. It was you who treated the iman and the
four scheiks in the manner they were used, and not I; I wash my hands of
it. It was you who have been the cause of all my disorders: in short, you
are the aggressor, and I the injured person.

Indeed you are in the right of it, Abon Hassan, answered the caliph,
laughing all the while; but to comfort thee, and make thee amends for all
thy troubles, I call Heaven to witness, I am ready and willing to make
thee what reparation thou pleasest to ask. After these words, he came out
of the closet into the hall, and ordered one of his most magnificent
habits to be brought, and commanded the ladies to dress Abon Hassan in
it; and when they had done so, he said, embracing him, Thou art my
brother; ask what thou wilt, and thou shalt have it.

Commander of the Faithful, replied Abon Hassan, I beg of your majesty to
do me the favour to tell me what you did to disturb my brain in that
manner, and what was your design; for that is a thing of the greatest
importance for me to know, that I may perfectly recover my senses.

The caliph promised to give him that satisfaction, and said, First you
ought to know, that I often disguise myself, and particularly at night,
to observe what irregularities are committed in Bagdad; besides, I set
apart the first day of every month to make a tour about it, sometimes on
one side and sometimes on another, but always return by the bridge. That
evening that you invited me to supper, I had been taking my rounds; and
in our discourse you told me, that the only thing you wished for was to
be caliph for four and twenty hours, to punish the iman of your mosque
and his four counsellors. I fancied that this desire of thine would
afford me a great deal of diversion, and thought immediately how I might
procure thee that satisfaction. I had about me a certain powder, which
throws immediately the person that takes it into a sound sleep for such a
time. I put a dose of it, without being perceived by thee, into the last
glass I presented to thee; upon which you fell fast asleep, and I ordered
my slave to carry you to my palace, and came away without shutting the
door. I have no occasion to repeat what happened at my palace when you
waked: but after you had been regaled all day, one of the slaves, by my
order, put another dose of the same powder at night into a glass she gave
you; you fell asleep as before, and the same slave carried you home, and
left the door open. You told me all that happened to you afterwards. I
never imagined that you could have suffered so much as you have done. But
as I have a great regard for you, I will make you amends; and that you
may have no cause to remember your ill treatment, think of what would
please you, and ask me boldly for it.

Commander of the Faithful, replied Abon Hassan, how great soever my
tortures may have been, they were all blotted out of my remembrance, as
soon as I understood my sovereign lord had any share in them, and doubt
not in the least of your majesty’s bounty; but as interest had never any
sway over me, and I have the liberty to ask a favour, I beg that it may
be that of having access to your person, to have the happiness of
admiring, all my life-time, your grandeur.

This last proof of Abon Hassan’s generosity completed the esteem the
caliph had entertained for him. I am mightily pleased with thy request,
said the caliph, and grant thee free access to my person at all times and
all hours. In short, he assigned him an apartment in the palace; and, in
regard to his pension, told him, that he would not have him to have any
thing to do with his treasurer, but to come always to him for an order
upon him. Abon Hassan made a low bow, and the caliph left him to go to

Abon Hassan made use of this time to go and inform his mother of his good
fortune, and what had happened, which, he told her, was not a dream; for
that he had actually been caliph, and had acted as such, and received all
the honours; and that she had no reason to doubt of it, since he had it
confirmed, by the caliph himself.

It was not long before this new story of Abon Hassan was spread all about
Bagdad, and was carried into all the provinces both far and near, and not
one single circumstance scarce omitted.

The new favourite Abon Hassan was always with the caliph; for as he was a
man of a pleasant temper, and created mirth by all his words and actions,
the caliph could not live without him, and often carried him along with
him to see his spouse Zobeide, to whom he told his story, and who was
mightily pleased with him, and observed that every time he came with the
caliph he had his eyes always fixed upon one of her slaves, called
Nouz-hatoul-aonadat, (which is to say, Renewed Pleasure,) and resolved to
tell the caliph of it. Commander of the Faithful, said that princess one
day, you do not observe so well as I, that every time Abon Hassan attends
you in your visits to me, he never keeps his eyes off
Nouz-hatoul-aonadat, and makes her blush, which is almost a certain sign
that she entertains no aversion for him. If you approve of it, we will
make a match between them.

Madam, replied the caliph, you put me in mind of a thing which I ought to
have done before now. I know Abon Hassan’s taste of marriage from
himself, and have always promised him a wife that should please him. I am
glad you mentioned it, for I know not how I came to forget it. But it is
better that Abon Hassan has followed his own inclination, and chose for
himself; and if Nouz-hatoul-aonadat is not averse to it, we ought not to
hesitate upon their marriage; and since they are both present, let them
declare that they give consent.

Abon Hassan threw himself at the caliph’s and Zobeide’s feet, to show the
sense he had of their bounty; and, rising up, said, I cannot receive a
wife from better hands, but dare not hope that Nouz-hatoul-aonadat will
give me hers. After these words, he looked upon the princess’s slave, who
showed, by her respectful silence, and the sudden blush that rose in her
cheeks, that she was disposed to obey the caliph and her mistress

The marriage was solemnized, and the nuptials celebrated in the palace,
with great rejoicings, which lasted several days. Zobeide, in respect to
the caliph, made her slave considerable presents, and the caliph did the
same to Abon Hassan. The bride was conducted to the apartment the caliph
had assigned Abon Hassan, who waited for her with all the impatience of a
bridegroom, and received her with the sounding of trumpets and all sorts
of instruments, which played in concert, and made the air echo again
their sweet and harmonious notes.

After these feasts and rejoicings, which lasted several days, the
new-married couple were left to pursue their loves peaceably. Abon Hassan
and his spouse were charmed with each other, and lived together in
perfect union, and seldom were asunder, but when either he paid his
respects to the caliph, or she to Zobeide. Indeed Nouz-hatoul-aonadat was
endued with all the qualifications capable of gaining Abon Hassan’s love
and attachment, and was just such a wife as he desired; therefore they
could want nothing to render their lives agreeable. They always ate the
nicest and choicest rarities in season, and had the best meats tossed up
in fricasees and ragouts, &c. by an excellent cook, who took upon him to
provide every thing. Their beaufet was always stored with exquisite
wines. At dinner they enjoyed themselves in this manner, and afterwards
entertained each other with some pleasantry or other: and in the
evenings, which they consecrated to mirth, they had generally some slight
repast of dried sweetmeats, choice fruits, and other light meats, and
invited each other by songs and catches to drink, and sometimes played to
their voices on a lute, or other instruments which they could touch.

Abon Hassan and Nouz-hatoul-aonadat lived a long time in this manner,
when the caterer, who disbursed the money for these expenses, put them in
mind that he had gone his length, and parted with all his money; which
they found, but too late, to be so considerable a sum, that all the
presents that the caliph and the princess Zobeide had given them at their
marriage, were but just enough to pay him. This made them reflect on what
was past, and which at that time they could not remedy. However, they
agreed to pay the cook; and sent for him, and paid him all they owed him,
without showing the least trouble.

The caterer went away very well pleased to receive so large a sum of
money, though Abon Hassan and his wife were not so over-well satisfied
with seeing the bottom of their purse, but remained a long time silent
and very much embarrassed, to find themselves reduced to that condition
the first year of their marriage. Abon Hassan remembered very well that
the caliph, when he took him into the palace, promised never to let him
want any thing. But when he considered how prodigal he had been of his
money in so short a time, he was unwilling to expose himself to the shame
of telling the caliph the ill use he had made of what he had given him,
and that he wanted more. Besides, he had made over his patrimony to his
mother, as soon as the caliph had received him nigh his person; and was
afraid to go to her, lest she should find that he had returned to the
same extravagance he had been guilty of after his father’s death. His
wife, on the other hand, looked upon Zobeide’s generosity, and the
liberty she had given her to marry, as more than a sufficient recompense
for her service, and thought she could not ask any more.

Abon Hassan at last broke silence, and looking upon his wife, said, I see
you are in the same embarrassment as myself, and am thinking what we must
do in this unhappy juncture. I do not know what your sentiments may be;
but mine are, let what will happen, not to retrench our expenses in the
least; and, I believe you will come into my opinion: the point is, how to
support them without asking the caliph or Zobeide; and I fancy I have
thought on the means: but we must both assist each other.

This discourse of Abon Hassan’s very much pleased his wife, and gave her
great hopes. I was thinking so as well as you, said she; but durst not
explain my thoughts, because I did not know how to help ourselves; and
must confess, that what you tell me gives me a great deal of pleasure.
But since you say you have found out a way, and my assistance is
necessary, you need but to tell me, and I will do all that lies in my

I believe, replied Abon Hassan, that you will not fail in this affair,
which concerns us both; and therefore I must tell you this want of money
has made me think of a trick we will put upon the caliph and Zobeide, and
at which, I am sure, they will both be pleased, and be diverted with the
cheat; which is, you and I will both die. Not I indeed, interrupted
Nouz-hatoul-aonadat; you may die by yourself, if you will. I am not so
weary of this life; and whether you are pleased or not, will not die so
soon. If you have nothing else to propose than that, you may do it by
yourself; for I shall not meddle with it.

You are so quick and hasty, replied Abon Hassan, that you will not give
me time to explain my meaning: have but a little patience, and you shall
find that you will be ready enough; for sure you did not think I meant a
real death. Well, said his wife, if it is but sham death you design, I am
at your service, and you may depend on my zeal: but I must tell you
truly, I am very unwilling to die as I apprehended you meant at first.

Be but easy a little, said Abon Hassan, and I will tell you what I
propose. I will feign myself dead, and you shall lay me out on a white
sheet, in the middle of my chamber, with my feet towards Mecca, and my
turban upon my face, just ready to be buried. When you have done so, you
must cry and take on, as is usual in such cases, and tear your clothes,
and with your hair loose about your ears, go to Zobeide. The princess
will ask you the cause of your grief; and when you have told her, with
words intermixed with sighs, she will pity you, and give you some money
to defray the expense of my funeral, and a piece of gold brocade, to
cover my body with, that my interment may be the more magnificent, and to
make you a habit in the room of that you had torn; and as soon as you
return with the money and the brocade, I will get up and lay you in my
place, and go and act the same part with the caliph as you have done with
Zobeide; and I dare say the caliph will be as generous to me as Zobeide
will be to you.

Nouz-hatoul-aonadat liked this project very well, and said to Abon
Hassan, Come, lose no time; strip to your shirt and breeches, while I
prepare a sheet. Abon Hassan did as his wife bade him, and laid himself
all along on his back, with his feet towards Mecca, on the sheet which
his wife spread on the carpet, just in the middle of the room. As soon as
he had crossed his arms, his wife wrapped him up, and put a fine piece of
muslin and his turban upon his face. After this, she pulled her hair over
her face, and with a dismal crying and lamentation, ran across the court
of Zobeide’s apartment; who, hearing the voice of a person crying very
loud, commanded some of her women to see who it was, who returned, and
told her that it was Nouz-hatoul-aonadat, who was coming in a deplorable

The princess, impatient to know what had happened to her, rose up
immediately, and went to meet her at the door of the antechamber.
Nouz-hatoul-aonadat played her part excellently well. As soon as she saw
Zobeide, she redoubled her cries, tore her hair off by handfuls, beat her
face and breast, and threw herself at her feet, bathing them with her

Zobeide, amazed to see her slave in so extraordinary an affliction, asked
her, what misfortune had happened to her. But, instead of answering, she
continued sighing and sobbing; and at last, feigning to strive to check
herself, said, with words intermixed with sighs, Alas! my most honoured
lady and mistress, what greater misfortune could have befallen me than
this, which obliges me to throw myself at your highness’s feet? May God
prolong your days, my most respectable princess, in perfect health, and
grant you many happy years. Abon Hassan! poor Abon Hassan! whom you
honoured with your esteem, and gave me for a husband, is no more!

Then Nouz-hatoul-aonadat redoubled her tears and sighs, and threw herself
again at the princess’s feet. Zobeide was extremely surprised at this
news. Abon Hassan dead! cried she, that agreeable pleasant man! indeed I
did not in the least expect his death so soon; he seemed to promise a
long life, and well deserved one. Then she burst out also into tears, as
did all her women, who had been often witnesses of Abon Hassan’s
pleasantries, when the caliph brought him to see the princess Zobeide,
and continued a long time bewailing the loss of him. At last Zobeide
broke silence, and ordered one of her slaves to go to her treasure, and
fetch a hundred pieces of gold, and a piece of rich brocade.

The slave returned soon with a purse and piece of brocade, which, by
Zobeide’s order, she put into Nouz-hatoul-aonadat’s hand; who threw
herself again at the princess’s feet, and thanked her with a great deal
of satisfaction, to think she had succeeded so well. Go, said Zobeide,
make use of that brocade to cover the corpse of thy husband, and with
that money bury him handsomely, and as he ought to be. Moderate the
transports of thy affliction: I will take care of thee.

As soon as Nouz-hatoul-aonadat got out of the princess’s presence, she
dried up her tears, and returned with joy to Abon Hassan, to give him an
account of her good success. When she came into her own apartment, and
saw her husband still stretched out in the middle of the floor, she ran
to him laughing, and bade him rise, and see the fruits of his project.
Upon which he arose, and rejoiced with his wife at the sight of the purse
and brocade, who, for her part, could, not contain herself. Come,
husband, said she laughing, let me act the dead part, and see if you can
manage the caliph as well as I have done Zobeide.

This is the temper of all women, replied Abon Hassan, who, we may well
say, have always the vanity to believe they can do things better than
men, though, at the same time, what they do is by their advice. It would
be odd indeed, if I, who laid this plot myself, could not carry it on
likewise. But let us lose no time in idle discourse: lie down in my
place, and see if I do not come off with as much applause.

Abon Hassan wrapped up his wife as she had done him; and with his turban
undone, and set awry on his head, and like a man in the greatest
affliction imaginable, he ran to the caliph, who was holding a private
council with the grand vizier Giafar and some other viziers, and he
having free access wheresoever he was, went with his handkerchief before
his eyes, to hide the feigned tears which trickled down his cheeks, and
striking his breast with the other, expressed an extraordinary grief.

The caliph, who was ever used to see Abon Hassan gay and merry, was very
much surprised to behold him in that sorrowful state, and asked him the
cause of his grief. Commander of the Faithful, answered Abon Hassan, with
repeated sighings and sobbings, may God preserve your majesty on the
throne, which you fill so gloriously! Alas! Nouz-hatoul-aonadat, whom you
in your bounty gave me for a wife, is ——. At this exclamation, Abon
Hassan pretended to have his heart so full that he could not utter one
syllable more, but poured forth a flood of tears.

The caliph, who presently understood that Abon Hassan came to tell him of
the death of his wife, seemed very much concerned, and said to him, God
comfort thee; she was a good slave, and we gave her to thee with an
intention to make thee happy: she deserved a longer life. Then the tears
ran down his face, so that he was obliged to pull out his handkerchief to
wipe them off. In short, Abon Hassan dissembled so well, that the caliph,
who did not in the least doubt of his sincerity, ordered his treasurer,
who was then present, to give Abon Hassan a purse of a hundred pieces of
gold, and a piece of brocade. Abon Hassan immediately cast himself at the
caliph’s feet, and thanked him for his present. Follow the treasurer,
said that monarch; throw the brocade over the corpse, and with the money
show the last testimony of thy love for thy wife.

Abon Hassan made no reply to these obliging words of the caliph, but
retired with a low bow, and followed the treasurer; and as soon as he had
got the purse and piece of brocade, went home, very well pleased with
having found out so quick and ready a way of supplying his necessity,
which had given him some trouble.

Nouz-hatoul-aonadat, weary with lying so long in that posture, never
waited till Abon Hassan bade her rise; but as soon as she heard the door
open, got up and ran to her husband, and asked him if he had cheated the
caliph as well as she did Zobeide? You see, said he, showing her the
stuff, and shaking the purse, that I can act a sorrowful husband as well
as you can an afflicted wife. But for fear this trick of theirs should be
attended with some ill consequences, he thought it would not be amiss to
instruct his wife with what might happen, that they might act in concert.
For, added he, the better we succeed in embarrassing the caliph and
Zobeide, the more they will be pleased at last, and perhaps may show
their satisfaction by a greater liberality. And this last consideration
induced them to carry on this scene further.

The caliph, though he had a great deal of business to transact in
council, was nevertheless so impatient to go and condole with the
princess upon the death of her slave, that he rose up as soon as Abon
Hassan was gone, and put off the council to another day. Follow me, said
he to Mesrour, who always attended him wherever he went, and let us go
and share with the princess the grief which the death of her slave
Nouz-hatoul-aonadat causes her.

Accordingly, they went to Zobeide’s apartment, whom the caliph found
seated on a sofa, very much afflicted, and all in tears. Madam, said the
caliph, going up to her, it is necessary to tell you how much I partake
with you in your affliction; since you are not insensible that what gives
you pleasure or trouble, has the same effect on me. But we are all
mortals, and must surrender up to God that life he gives us, when he
requires it. Nouz-hatoul-aonadat, your faithful slave, was endued with
qualifications that deserved all your esteem, and I do not disapprove
your expressing it after her death; but consider, all your grief will not
bring her to life again. Therefore, madam, if you love me, and would take
my advice, be comforted for this loss, and take care of a life which you
know is precious to me.

If the princess was charmed with these tender sentiments which the caliph
expressed in his compliments, she was much more amazed to hear of
Nouz-hatoul-aonadat’s death. This news put her into so great a surprise,
that she was not able to return an answer for some time. At last,
recovering, she said, Commander of the Faithful, I am very sensible of
all your tender sentiments; but cannot comprehend the news you tell me of
the death of my slave, who is in perfect health. My affliction is for the
death of Abon Hassan, her husband, your favourite, whom you was so kind
to let me know, who often diverted me very agreeably, and for whom I have
as great a value as you yourself. But, sir, the little concern you show
for his death, and your so soon forgetting a man in whom you have often
told me you took a great deal of pleasure, amazes and surprises me very
much; and this insensibility seems the greater, by your changing his
death for that of my slave.

The caliph, who thought that he was perfectly well informed of the death
of the slave, and had just reason to believe so, because he had both seen
and heard Abon Hassan, fell a-laughing and shrugging up his shoulders, to
hear Zobeide talk after this manner. Mesrour, said he, turning himself
about to that eunuch, what dost thou think of the princess’s discourse?
Do not women sometimes lose their senses? for, in short, thou hast heard
and seen all as well as myself. Then turning about to Zobeide, Madam,
said he, do not shed any more tears for Abon Hassan, for I can assure you
he is well; but rather bewail the death of your dear slave. It is not
many moments since her husband came all in tears, and the most
inexpressible affliction, to tell me of the death of his wife. I gave him
a purse of a hundred pieces of gold, and a piece of brocade, to comfort
him, and bury her with; and Mesrour here, who was by, can tell you the

The princess took this discourse of the caliph to be all a jest, and that
he had a mind to impose upon her credulity. Commander of the Faithful,
replied she, though you are used to banter, I must tell you this is not a
proper time. What I tell you is very serious: I do not talk of my slave’s
death, but of Abon Hassan her husband’s, whose fate I bewail, and so
ought you too. Madam, said the caliph, putting on a grave countenance, I
tell you, without raillery, that you are deceived; Nouz-hatoul-aonadat is
dead, and Abon Hassan is alive, and in perfect health.

Zobeide was very much piqued at this answer of the caliph. Commander of
the Faithful, replied she smartly, surely you would make me think that
you were mad; give me leave to repeat to you once more that it is Abon
Hassan who is dead, and that my slave Nouz-hatoul-aonadat is living; it
is not an hour ago since she went from hence; she came here in so
disconsolate a state, that the sight of her was enough to have drawn
tears from my eyes, if she had not told me her affliction. All my women,
who cried with me, can bear me witness, and tell you also, that I made
her a present of a hundred pieces of gold, and a piece of brocade; and
the grief which you found me in was upon the death of her husband; and
just that instant that you came in, I was going to send you a compliment
of condolence.

At these words of Zobeide, the caliph cried out, in a fit of laughter,
This, madam, is a strange piece of obstinacy; but, continued he
seriously, you may depend upon Nouz-hatoul-aonadat’s being dead. I tell
you not, sir, replied Zobeide instantly; it is Abon Hassan that is dead,
and you shall never make me believe otherwise.

Upon this the caliph began to be angry, and set himself upon a sofa, some
distance from the princess, and, speaking to Mesrour, said, Go
immediately, and see which it is, and bring me word; for though I am
certain that it is Nouz-hatoul-aonadat, I would rather take this way,
than be any longer obstinately positive. For my part, replied Zobeide, I
know very well that I am in the right, and you will find it to be Abon
Hassan. And for mine, replied the caliph, I am so sure that it is
Nouz-hatoul-aonadat, that I will lay you what wager you will that Abon
Hassan is well.

Do not think to come off there, said Zobeide: I accept of your wager, and
I am so well persuaded of his death, that I would willingly lay the
dearest thing in the world to me. You know what I have in my disposal,
and what I value most; propose the bet, and I will stand to it.

Since it is come to that, said the caliph, I will lay my garden of
pleasures against your palace of paintings, though the one is worth much
more than the other. It is no matter for that, replied Zobeide; if your
garden is more valuable, you have made choice of what you thought fit,
and what belonged to me, as an equivalent against what you lay; and I say
done to the wager, and will not turn back. The caliph said the same, and
both waited until Mesrour returned.

While the caliph and Zobeide were disputing so earnestly, and with so
much heat, Abon Hassan, who foresaw their difference, was very attentive
to whatever might happen. As soon as he perceived Mesrour through a
window, over against which he sat, talking with his wife, and observed
that he was coming directly to their apartment, he presently guessed what
he was coming about, and bade his wife make haste to act the dead part
once more, as they had agreed on; and, in short, they were so pinched for
time, that Abon Hassan had much ado to wrap up his wife, and lay the
piece of brocade upon her, before Mesrour came. As soon as he had done
that, he opened the door of his apartment, and with a melancholy dejected
countenance, and his handkerchief before his eyes, went and sat down at
the head of the pretended deceased.

By that time he was seated Mesrour came into the room. The dismal sight
that saluted his eyes gave him a secret joy, on account of the errand the
caliph sent him on. As soon as Abon Hassan perceived him, he rose up to
meet him, and kissing his hand out of respect, said, sighing and
groaning, You see me, sir, in the greatest affliction that ever could
befall me; the death of my wife Nouz-hatoul-aonadat, whom you honoured
with your favours.

Mesrour, softened by this discourse, could not refuse some tears to the
memory of the deceased. He lifted up the pall a little at the head, which
was uncovered, and peeping under it, let it down again, and said, with a
deep sigh, There is no other god but God; we must all submit to his will,
and return to him. Nouz-hatoul-aonadat, my good sister, added he, thy
days have been very few: God have mercy on thee. Then turning to Abon
Hassan, who was all the time in tears, We may well say, said he, that
women sometimes have whims, and lose their senses; for Zobeide will
maintain to the caliph, that you are dead, and not your wife; and
whatever the caliph can say to the contrary, he cannot persuade her
otherwise. He called me to witness the truth of what he affirms; for you
know I was by when you came and told him the sorrowful news: but all
signifies nothing; they are both positive; and the caliph, to convince
Zobeide, has sent me to know the truth; but I fear I shall not be
believed; for when women once take a thing, they are not to be beat out
of it.

God keep the commander of the faithful in the right use of his senses,
replied Abon Hassan, still sighing and crying; you see how it is, and
that I have not imposed upon his majesty; and I wish to heaven, continued
he, to dissemble the better, that I had no occasion to tell him the
melancholy and afflicting news. Alas! I cannot enough express my
irreparable loss. That is true, replied Mesrour; and I can assure you, I
have a great share in your affliction; but you must comfort, and not
abandon yourself to your grief. I leave you against my will, to return to
the caliph; but I beg the favour of you not to bury the corpse until I
come again, for I will assist at the interment.

Abon Hassan waited on him to the door, and told him that he did not
deserve the honour that he did him; and for fear Mesrour should return to
say something else to him, he followed him with his eyes for some time,
and then returned to his wife, and unloosed her. This is already, said
he, a new scene of mirth; but I fancy it will not be the last; for
certainly the princess Zobeide will not believe Mesrour, but laugh at
him, since she has too substantial a reason to the contrary; therefore we
must expect some new event. Whilst Abon Hassan and Nouz-hatoul-aonadat
were talking thus, she had time enough to put on her clothes again; and
both went and sat down on a sofa, opposite to the window, where they
could see all that passed.

In the mean time, Mesrour reached Zobeide’s apartment, and going into her
closet laughing, clapped his hands, like one who had something very
agreeable to tell.

The caliph, who was naturally impatient, would presently be informed of
the truth of the matter; for he was piqued a little at the princess’s
diffidence: therefore, as soon as he saw Mesrour, Vile slave, said he, is
this a time to laugh? Why do you not tell me which is dead, the wife or
the husband?

Commander of the Faithful, answered Mesrour, putting on a serious
countenance, it is Nouz-hatoul-aonadat who is dead; for the loss of whom
Abon Hassan is as much afflicted as when he appeared before your majesty.
The caliph, not giving him time to pursue his story, interrupted him, and
cried out, laughing heartily, Good news; Zobeide was a moment ago
mistress of the palace of paintings, which she staked against my garden
of pleasures, since you went, and now it is mine; therefore thou couldst
not have done me a greater pleasure: but give me a true account of what
thou sawest.

Commander of the Faithful, said Mesrour, when I came to Abon Hassan’s
apartments, I found the door open, and he bewailing the death of his wife
Nouz-hatoul-aonadat. He was seated at the head of the deceased, who was
laid out in the middle of the room, with her feet towards Mecca, and was
covered with that piece of brocade which your majesty made a present of
to Abon Hassan. After I had expressed the share I had in his grief, I
went and lifted up the pall at the head, and knew Nouz-hatoul-aonadat,
though her face was very much swelled. I exhorted Abon Hassan the best I
could to comfort himself; and when I came away, I told him I would attend
at his wife’s funeral, and desired him not to stir the corpse till I
came. This is all I can tell your majesty. I ask no more, said the
caliph, laughing heartily; and I am very well satisfied with thy
exactness. Then addressing himself to Zobeide, Well, madam, said he, have
you yet any thing to say against so certain a truth? Will you always
believe that Nouz-hatoul-aonadat is alive, and that Abon Hassan is dead?
And will you not own that you have lost your wager?

How, sir, replied Zobeide, who would not believe one word Mesrour said,
do you think that I regard that impertinent slave, who knows not what he
says? I am not so blind or mad. With these eyes I saw Nouz-hatoul-aonadat
in the greatest affliction: I spoke to her myself, and she told me that
her husband was dead.

Madam, replied Mesrour, I swear to you by your own life, and that of the
commander of the faithful, which are both dear to me, that
Nouz-hatoul-aonadat is dead, and Abon Hassan is living.

Thou art a base despicable slave, said Zobeide, in a rage, and I will
confound thee immediately; and thereupon she called her women, by
clapping her hands together, who all came in. Come hither, said the
princess to them, and speak the truth: Who was that who came and spoke
with me a little before the caliph came here? The women all answered,
that it was poor afflicted Nouz-hatoul-aonadat. And what, added she,
addressing herself to her that was treasurer, did I order you to give
her? Madam, answered the treasurer, I gave Nouz-hatoul-aonadat, by your
orders, a purse of a hundred pieces of gold, and a piece of brocade,
which she carried along with her. Well then, sorry slave, said Zobeide to
Mesrour, in a great passion, what hast thou to say to all this? What dost
thou think now, that I ought to believe thee, or my treasurer, my other
women, or myself?

Mesrour did not want for arguments to contradict the princess; but, as he
was afraid of provoking her too much, he chose rather to be silent,
though he was satisfied within himself that the wife was dead, and not
the husband.

All the time of this dispute between Zobeide and Mesrour, the caliph, who
heard what was said on both sides, and was against the princess, because
he had seen and spoke to Abon Hassan himself, laughed heartily to see
Zobeide so exasperated against Mesrour. Madam, said he to Zobeide, I know
not indeed who was the author of that saying, That women sometimes lose
their wits; but I am sure you make it good. Mesrour came just now from
Abon Hassan’s, and tells you that he saw Nouz-hatoul-aonadat lying dead
in the middle of the room, Abon Hassan alive, and sitting by her; and yet
you will not believe this evidence, which nobody can reasonably refuse: I
think it is very strange.

Zobeide would not hear what the caliph represented. Pardon me, Commander
of the Faithful, replied she, if I suspect you: I see very well that you
have contrived with Mesrour to chagrin me, and try my patience. And as I
perceive that this report was concerted between you, I beg leave to send
a person to Abon Hassan’s, to know whether or no I am in the wrong.

The caliph consented, and the princess charged an old nurse, who had
lived a long time with her, with that important commission. Hark ye,
nurse, said she, you see the dispute between the caliph and me; therefore
go to Abon Hassan’s, or rather Nouz-hatoul-aonadat’s, for he is dead, and
clear up this matter. If thou bringest me good news, a handsome present
is thy reward. Make haste and return quickly.

The caliph was overjoyed to see Zobeide in this embarrassment; but
Mesrour, extremely mortified to find the princess so angry with him, did
all he could to appease her, insomuch that she and the caliph were both
satisfied with him. He was overjoyed when Zobeide sent the nurse; because
he was persuaded that the report she would make would agree with his, and
would justify him, and restore him to her favour.

In the mean time, Abon Hassan, who watched the window, perceived the
nurse at a distance, and guessing that she was sent by Zobeide, called
his wife, and told her that the princess’s nurse was coming to know the
truth; therefore, said he, make haste and lay me out. Accordingly
Nouz-hatoul-aonadat did so, and covered him with the piece of brocade
Zobeide had given her, and put his turban upon his face. The nurse, eager
to acquit herself of her commission, came a good round pace, and entering
the room, perceived Nouz-hatoul-aonadat all in tears, her hair
dishevelled, and seated at the head of her husband, beating her breast,
and expressing a violent grief.

The good old nurse went directly to the false widow. My dear
Nouz-hatoul-aonadat, said she, with a sorrowful face, I come not to
interrupt your grief and tears for a husband who loved you so tenderly.
Ah! good mother, replied the counterfeit widow, you see my misfortune,
and how unhappy I am by the loss of my beloved Abon Hassan. Abon Hassan,
my dear husband! cried she, what have I done that you should leave me so
soon? Have I not always rather obeyed your will than my own? Alas! what
will become of poor Nouz-hatoul-aonadat?

The nurse was in a great surprise to see every thing quite the reverse of
what the chief of the eunuchs had told the caliph. This black-faced
Mesrour, said she, lifting up her hands, deserves to be impaled for
having made so great a difference between my good mistress and the
commander of the faithful, by the notorious lie he told them. I will tell
you daughter, said she, the wickedness of that villain Mesrour, who has
asserted, with an inconceivable impudence, before my mistress’s face,
that you were dead, and Abon Hassan was alive.

Alas! my good mother, cried Nouz-hatoul-aonadat, I wish to heaven that it
was true! I should not be in this sorrowful state, nor bewail a husband
so dear to me. At these words she burst out into tears, and feigned a
most desperate trouble.

The nurse was so much concerned for her tears, that she sat down by her,
and cried too: then gently lifting up the turban and cloth, looked on the
face of the corpse. Ah! poor Abon Hassan, cried she, covering the face
again, God have mercy upon thee. Adieu, child, said she to
Nouz-hatoul-aonadat; if I could stay longer with you, I would, with all
my heart: but I am obliged to return immediately, to free my mistress
from the uneasiness that black villain has given her by his impudent lie,
assuring her with an oath that you was dead.

As soon as the nurse was gone, and had pulled the door after her, and
Nouz-hatoul-aonadat thought she would not come back again, she wiped her
eyes, and went and unloosed Abon Hassan, and then both went and sat down
on a sofa against the window, expecting what would be the end of this
cheat, and to be ready to act according as things should offer.

The nurse, in the mean time, made all the haste she could to Zobeide. The
pleasure of carrying the princess good news, and hopes of a good reward,
added wings to her feet; and running into the princess’s closet, quite
out of breath, there gave her a true account of all she had seen. Zobeide
hearkened to the old woman’s relation with a most sensible pleasure; and
when she had done, she said, Repeat it once more before the caliph, who
looked upon us all to be fools, and would make us believe we have no
sense of religion, nor fear of God; and tell your story to that wicked
black slave, who had the insolence to assert a falsity, and which I know
to be one.

Mesrour, who expected the nurse’s report would prove favourable on his
side, was very much mortified to find it so much the contrary. He was so
vexed at the rage Zobeide expressed against him, for a thing he believed
to be very true, that he was glad of having an opportunity of speaking
his mind freely to the nurse, which he durst not do to the princess. Old
toothless, said he to the nurse, thou tellest lies, and there is no truth
in what thou sayest; for I saw Nouz-hatoul-aonadat, with these eyes, laid
out in the midst of the room.

Thou art a notorious liar thyself, replied the nurse, with an insulting
air, to dare to maintain before my face so great a falsity, since I saw
Abon Hassan dead, and laid out, and left his wife alive. Thou art an
impostor, replied Mesrour, and endeavourest to put us all into confusion.

There is impudence for you, said the nurse, to dare to tell me I lie, in
the presence of their majesties, when I saw just now, with my own eyes,
what I have had the honour to tell them. Indeed, nurse, answered Mesrour
again, you had better hold your tongue, for you certainly dote.

Zobeide, who could not support this want of respect in Mesrour, who,
without any regard to her, treated her nurse injuriously, without giving
the nurse time to reply to so gross an affront, said to the caliph,
Commander of the Faithful, I demand justice for this insolence in our
presence; and could say no more, she was so enraged, and burst out into

The caliph, who had heard all this dispute, thought it very intricate,
and mused some time, and could not tell what to think of so many
contradictions. The princess, for her part, as well as Mesrour, the
nurse, and all the women slaves who were present, were as much puzzled,
and remained silent. At last the caliph taking up the cudgels, and
addressing himself to Zobeide, said, I see very well we are all liars;
myself first, and then you, Mesrour, and your nurse; or at least it seems
not one can be believed before the other: therefore, let us go ourselves
to know the truth; for I can see no other way to clear up these doubts.

After these words the caliph got up, the princess followed him, and
Mesrour went before to open the doors. Commander of the Faithful, said
he, I am overjoyed that your majesty has taken this course, and much
more, when I shall make it plainly appear that the nurse dotes, though
the expression is displeasing to my good mistress.

The nurse, who wanted not to reply, said, Hold thy tongue, black face;
thou dotest thyself.

Zobeide, who was very much provoked at Mesrour, could not bear to hear
him attack her nurse again without taking her part. Vile slave, said she,
say what thou wilt, I maintain my nurse is in the right, and look upon
thee as a liar. Madam, replied Mesrour, if the nurse is so very certain
that Nouz-hatoul-aonadat is alive, and Abon Hassan is dead, I will lay
her what she dare of it. The nurse was as ready as he; and, in short,
they laid a piece of gold and silver stuff.

The apartment the caliph and Zobeide came out of, though it was a great
way from Abon Hassan’s, was nevertheless just over against it, and Abon
Hassan could perceive them coming, and told his wife, that the caliph and
Zobeide, preceded by Mesrour, and followed by a great number of women,
were coming to do them the honour of a visit. At this news she seemed
frightened, and cried out, What shall we do? we are ruined! Fear nothing,
replied Abon Hassan: What! have you forgot what we agreed on? We will
both be dead, and you shall see all will go well. At the slow rate they
come, we shall be ready before that time they get to the door.
Accordingly Abon Hassan and his wife wrapped up and covered themselves
with the piece of brocade, and waited patiently for their visitors.

Mesrour, who came first, opened the door, and the caliph and Zobeide,
followed by their attendants, entered the room; but were extremely
surprised, and stood motionless, at the dismal sight which saluted their
eyes. At last, Zobeide breaking silence, said to the caliph, Alas! they
are both dead! You have done finely, continued she, looking at the caliph
and Mesrour, to endeavour to make me believe that my slave was dead; and
I find it true at last: it is dangerous jesting with edge-tools: the
grief of losing her husband has certainly killed her. Say rather, madam,
answered the caliph, prepossessed to the contrary, that
Nouz-hatoul-aonadat died first, and the afflicted Abon Hassan could not
survive his dear wife: therefore you ought to agree that you have lost
your wager, and your palace of paintings is mine.

Hold there, answered Zobeide, animated with the same spirit of
contradiction; I will maintain it, you have lost your garden of pleasures
to me. Abon Hassan died first; since my nurse told you, as well as me,
that she saw her alive, and crying for the death of her husband.

The dispute of the caliph and Zobeide brought on another between Mesrour
and the nurse, who had wagered as well as they; and each pretended to
win, and came at last to abuse each other very grossly.

After all, the caliph reflecting on what had passed, began to think that
Zobeide had as much reason as himself to maintain that she had won. In
the embarrassment he was, of not being able to find out the truth, he
advanced towards the two corpses, and sat himself down at the head,
searching after something that might gain him the victory over Zobeide.
Well, cried he, presently after, I swear, by the holy name of God, that I
will give a thousand pieces of gold to him that can tell me which of
these two died first.

No sooner were these words out of the caliph’s mouth, but he heard a
voice under Abon Hassan’s pall, say, Commander of the Faithful, I died
first, give me the thousand pieces of gold. At the same time he saw Abon
Hassan throw off the piece of brocade, and come and prostrate himself at
his feet, while his wife did the same to Zobeide, keeping on her pall of
brocade, out of decency. The princess at first shrieked out, and
frightened all about her; but recovering herself at last, expressed a
great joy to see her slave rise again alive. Ah! wicked
Nouz-hatoul-aonadat, cried she, what affliction have I been in for thy
sake! However, I forgive thee from my heart, and am glad to see thee

The caliph, for his part, was not so much surprised when he heard Abon
Hassan’s voice; but thought he should have died away with laughing at
this unravelling of the mystery, and to hear Abon Hassan ask so seriously
for the thousand pieces of gold. What, Abon Hassan, said he, hast thou
conspired against my life, to kill me a second time with laughing? How
came this thought into your head, to surprise Zobeide and me thus, when
we least thought on such a trick?

Commander of the Faithful, replied Abon Hassan, I will declare to your
majesty the whole truth, without the least reserve. Your majesty knows
very well, that I always loved to eat and drink well; and the wife you
gave me rather increased than restrained that inclination. With these
dispositions, your majesty may easily suppose we might spend a good
estate; and, to make short of my story, we were not the least sparing of
what your majesty so generously gave us. This morning, accounting with
our caterer, who took care to provide every thing for us, and paying what
we owed him, we found we had nothing left. Then reflections of what was
past, and resolutions to manage better for the future, crowded into our
thoughts apace, and after them a thousand projects, all which we refused.
At last, the shame of being reduced to so low a condition, and not daring
to tell your majesty, made us contrive this trick to relieve our
necessities, and to divert your majesty, hoping that you would be pleased
to pardon us.

The caliph and Zobeide were very well satisfied with Abon Hassan’s
sincerity; and then Zobeide, who had all along been very serious, began
to laugh, and could not help thinking of Abon Hassan’s scheme; when the
caliph, who had laughed his sides sore at the singularity of this
adventure, rising up, said, Follow me both of you, and I will give you
the thousand pieces of gold I promised you. Zobeide desired him to let
her make her slave a present of that sum. By this means Abon Hassan and
his dear wife Nouz-hatoul-aonadat preserved the favour of the caliph
Haroun Alraschid and the princess Zobeide; and by their liberalities were
made capable of pursuing their pleasures.


[1]A famous player on the lute, that lived at Bagdad at that time.

[2]Giauhara, in Arabic, signifies a Precious Stone.

                        END OF THE THIRD VOLUME.


                          Transcriber’s notes

--Silently corrected several palpable typos.

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software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.