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Title: The Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night, Volume III
Author: Anonymous, - To be updated
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night, Volume III" ***

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Soulard, and Coralee Sheehan



                Richard F. Burton in 16 volumes.



         THE BOOK OF THE THOUSAND NIGHTS AND ONE NIGHT:

             Now First Completely Done Into English
           Prose and Verse, From The Original Arabic,

                         By John Payne
(Author of "The Masque of Shadows," "Intaglios: Sonnets," "Songs
                      of Life and Death,"
 "Lautrec," "The Poems of Master Francis Villon of Paris," "New
                      Poems," Etc, Etc.).

                        In Nine Volumes:



                       VOLUME THE THIRD.


                             London
                  Printed For Subscribers Only
                              1901

                         Delhi Edition


                 Contents of The Third Volume.


1.   The Birds and Beasts and the Son of Adam
2.   The Hermits
3.   The Water-Foul and the Tortoise
4.   The Wolf and the Fox
     a.   The Hawk and the Partridge
5.   The Mouse and the Weasel
6.   The Cat and the Crow
7.   The Fox and the Crow
     a.   The Mouse and the Flea
     b.   The Falcon and the Birds
     c.   The Sparrow and the Eagle
8.   The Hedgehog and the Pigeons
     a.   The Merchant and the Two Sharpers
9.   The Thief and his Monkey
     a.   The Foolish Weaver
10.  The Sparrow and the Peacock
11.  Ali Ben Bekkar and Shemsennehar
12.  Kemeezzeman and Boudour
     a.   Nimeh Ben er Rebya and Num his Slave Girl
13.  Alaeddin Abou Esh Shamat
14.  Hatim et Yai: His Generosity After Death
15.  Maan Ben Zaideh and the Three Girls
16.  Maan Ben Zaideh and the Bedouin
17.  The City of Lebtait
18.  The Khalif Hisham and the Arab Youth
19.  Ibrahim Ben el Mehdi and the Barber-surgeon
20.  The City of Irem
21.  Isaac of Mosul's Story of Khedijeh and the Khalif Mamoun
22.  The Scavenger and the Noble Lady of Baghdad
23.  The Mock Khalif
24.  Ali the Persian and the Kurd Sharper



                THE BOOK OF THE THOUSAND NIGHTS
                         AND ONE NIGHT



When Shehrzad had made an end of the history of King Omar teen
Ennuman and his sons, Shehriyar said to her, "I desire that thou
tell me some story about birds;" and Dunyazad, hearing this, said
to her sister, "All this while I have never seen the Sultan light
at heart till this night; and this gives me hope that the issue
may be a happy one for thee with him." Then drowsiness overcame
the Sultan; so he slept and Shehrzad, perceiving the approach of
day, was silent.

When it was the hundred and forty-sixth night, Shehrzad began as
follows: "I have heard tell, O august King, that



           STORY OF THE BIRDS AND BEASTS AND THE SON
                            OF ADAM.



A peacock once abode with his mate on the sea-shore, in a place
that abounded in trees and streams, but was infested with lions
and all manner other wild beasts, and for fear of these latter,
the two birds were wont to roost by night upon a tree, going
forth by day in quest of food. They abode thus awhile, till,
their fear increasing on them, they cast about for some other
place wherein to dwell, and in the course of their search, they
happened on an island abounding in trees and streams. So they
alighted there and ate of its fruits and drank of its waters.
Whilst they were thus engaged, up came a duck, in a state of
great affright, and stayed not till she reached the tree on which
the two peacocks were perched, when she seemed reassured. The
peacock doubted not but that she had some rare story; so he asked
her of her case and the cause of her alarm, to which she replied,
'I am sick for sorrow and my fear of the son of Adam: beware, O
beware of the sons of Adam!' 'Fear not,' rejoined the peacock,
'now that thou hast won to us.' 'Praised be God,' cried the
duck, 'who hath done away my trouble and my concern with your
neigbourhood! For indeed I come, desiring your friendship.'
Thereupon the peahen came down to her and said, 'Welcome and fair
welcome! No harm shall befall thee: how can the son of Adam come
at us and we in this island midmost the sea? From the land he
cannot win to us, neither can he come up to us out of the sea. So
be of good cheer and tell us what hath betided thee from him.
'Know then, O peahen,' answered the duck, 'that I have dwelt all
my life in this island in peace and safety and have seen no
disquieting thing, till one night, as I was asleep, I saw in a
dream the semblance of a son of Adam, who talked with me and I
with him. Then I heard one say to me, "O duck, beware of the son
of Adam and be not beguiled by his words nor by that he may
suggest to thee; for he aboundeth in wiles and deceit; so beware
with all wariness of his perfidy, for he is crafty and guileful,
even as saith of him the poet:

He giveth thee honeyed words with the tip of his tongue, galore.
     But sure he will cozen thee, as the fox cloth, evermore.

For know that the son of Adam beguileth the fish and draweth them
forth of the waters and shooteth the birds with a pellet of clay
and entrappeth the elephant with his craft. None is safe from his
mischief, and neither beast nor bird escapeth him. Thus have I
told thee what I have heard concerning the son of Adam." I awoke,
fearful and trembling (continued the duck), and from that time to
this my heart hath not known gladness, for fear of the son of
Adam, lest he take me unawares by his craft or trap me in his
snares. By the time the end of the day overtook me, I was grown
weak and my strength and courage failed me; so, desiring to eat
and drink, I went forth, troubled in spirit and with a heart ill
at ease. I walked on, till I reached yonder mountain, where I saw
a tawny lion-whelp at the door of a cave. When he saw me, he
rejoiced greatly in me, for my colour pleased him and my elegant
shape: so he cried out to me, saying "Draw nigh unto me." So I
went up to him and he said to me, "What is thy name and thy
kind?" Quoth I, "My name is 'duck,' and I am of the bird-kind;
but thou, why tarriest thou in this place till now?" "My father
the lion," answered he, "has bidden me many a day beware of the
son of Adam, and it befell this night that I saw in my sleep the
semblance of a son of Adam." And he went on to tell me the like
of that I have told you. When I heard this, I said to him, "O
lion, I resort to thee, that thou mayst kill the son of Adam and
steadfastly address thy thought to his slaughter; for I am
greatly in fear for myself of him, and fear is added to my fear,
for that thou also fearest the son of Adam, and thou the Sultan
of the beasts. Then, O my sister, I ceased not to bid him beware
of the son of Adam and urge him to slay him, till he rose of a
sudden from his stead and went out, lashing his flanks with his
tail. He fared on, and I after him, till we came to a place,
where several roads met, and saw cloud of dust arise, which,
presently clearing away, discovered a naked runaway ass, and now
running and galloping and now rolling in the dust. When the
lion saw the ass, he cried out to him, and he came up to him
submissively. Then said the lion, "Harkye, crack-brain! What is
thy kind and what brings thee hither?" "O, son of the Sultan,"
answered the ass, "I am by kind an ass, and the cause of my
coming hither is that I am fleeing from the son of Adam." "Dost
thou fear then that he will kill thee?" asked the lion-whelp.
"Not so, O son of the Sultan," replied the ass; "but I fear lest
he put a cheat on me; for he hath a thing called the pad, that he
sets on my back, and a thing called the girth, that he binds
about my belly, and a thing called the crupper, that he puts
under my tail, and a thing called the bit, that he places in my
mouth; and he fashions me a goad and goads me with it and makes
me run more than my strength. If I stumble, he curses me, and
if I bray, he reviles me; and when I grow old and can no longer
run, he puts a wooden pannel on me and delivers me to the
water-carriers, who load my back with water from the river, in
skins and other vessels, such as jars, and I wear out my life in
misery and abasement and fatigue till I die, when they cast me on
the rubbish-heaps to the dogs. So what misery can surpass this,
and what calamities can be greater than these?" When, O peahen, I
heard the ass's words, my skin shuddered at the son of Adam and I
said to the lion-whelp, "Of a verity, O my lord, the ass hath
excuse, and his words add terror to my terror." Then said the
lion to the ass, "Whither goest thou?" "Before the rising of the
sun" answered he, "I espied the son of Adam afar off and fled
from him, and now I am minded to flee forth and run without
ceasing, for the greatness of my fear of him, so haply I may find
a place to shelter me from the perfidious son of Adam." Whilst he
was thus discoursing, seeking the while to take leave of us and
go away, behold, another cloud of dust arose, at sight of which
the ass brayed and cried out and let fly a great crack of wind.
Presently, the dust lifted and discovered a handsome black horse
of elegant shape, with white feet and fine legs and a brow-star
like a dirhem, which made towards us, neighing, and stayed not
till he stood before the whelp, the son of the lion, who, when he
saw him, marvelled at his beauty and said to him, "What is thy
kind, O noble wild beast, and wherefore fleest thou into this
vast and wide desert?" "O lord of the beasts," answered he, "I am
of the horse-kind, and I am fleeing from the son of Adam." The
whelp wondered at the horse's words and said to him, "Say not
thus; for it is shame for thee, seeing that thou art tall and
stout. How comes it that thou fearest the son of Adam, thou, with
thy bulk of body and thy swiftness of running, when I, for all my
littleness of body, am resolved to find out the son of Adam, and
rushing on him, eat his flesh, that I may allay the affright of
this poor duck and make her to dwell in peace in her own place.
But now thou hast wrung my heart with thy talk and turned me back
from what I had resolved to do, in that, for all thy bulk, the
son of Adam hath mastered thee and feared neither thy height nor
thy breadth, though, wert thou to kick him with thy foot, thou
wouldst kill him, nor could he prevail against thee, but thou
wouldst make him drink the cup of death." The horse laughed, when
he heard the whelp's words, and replied, "Far, far is it from my
power to overcome him, O king's son! Let not my length and my
breadth nor yet my bulk delude thee, with respect to the son
of Adam; for he, of the excess of his guile and his cunning,
fashions for me a thing called a hobble and hobbles my four legs
with ropes of palm-fibres, bound with felt, and makes me fast by
the head to a high picket, so that I remain standing and can
neither sit nor lie down, being tied up. When he hath a mind to
ride me, he binds on his feet a thing of iron called a stirrup
and lays on my back another thing called a saddle, which he
fastens by two girths, passed under my armpits. Then he sets in
my mouth a thing of iron he calls a bit, to which he ties a thing
of leather called a rein; and when he mounts on the saddle on
my back, he takes the rein in his hand and guides me with it,
goading my flanks the while with the stirrups[FN#1], till he
makes them bleed: so do not ask, O king's son, what I endure from
the son of Adam. When I grow old and lean and can no longer run
swiftly, he sells me to the miller, who makes me turn in the
mill, and I cease not from turning night and day, till I grow
decrepit. Then he in turn sells me to the knacker, who slaughters
me and flays off my hide, after which he plucks out my tail,
which he sells to the sieve-makers, and melts down my fat for
tallow." At this, the young lion's anger and vexation redoubled,
and he said to the horse, "When didst thou leave the son of
Adam?" "At mid-day," replied the horse; "and he is now on my
track." Whilst the whelp was thus conversing with the horse,
there arose a cloud of dust and presently subsiding, discovered a
furious camel, which made toward us, braying and pawing the earth
with his feet. When the whelp saw how great and lusty he was, he
took him to be the son of Adam and was about to spring at him,
when I said to him, "O king's son, this is not the son of Adam,
but a camel, and me seems he is fleeing from the son of Adam."
As I spoke, O my sister, the camel came up and saluted the
lion-whelp, who returned his greeting and said to him, "What
brings thee hither?" Quoth he, "I am fleeing from the son of
Adam." "And thou," said the whelp, "with thy huge frame and
length and breadth, how comes it that thou fearest the son of
Adam, seeing that one kick of thy foot would kill him?" "O son of
the Sultan," answered the camel, "know that the son of Adam has
wiles, which none can withstand, nor can any but Death prevail
against him; for he puts in my nostrils a twine of goat's-hair he
calls a nose-ring and over my head a thing he calls a halter;
then he delivers me to the least of his children, and the
youngling draws me along by the nose-ring, for all my size and
strength. Then they load me with the heaviest of burdens and go
long journeys with me and put me to hard labours all hours of the
day and night. When I grow old and feeble, my master keeps me not
with him, but sells me to the knacker, who slaughters me and
sells my hide to the tanners and my flesh to the cooks: so do not
ask what I suffer from the son of Adam." "When didst thou leave
the son of Adam?" asked the young lion. "At sundown," replied the
camel; "and I doubt not but that, having missed me, he is now in
search of me: wherefore, O son of the Sultan, let me go, that I
may flee into the deserts and the wilds." "Wait awhile, O camel,"
said the whelp, "till thou see how I will rend him in pieces and
give thee to eat of his flesh, whilst I crunch his bones and
drink his blood." "O king's son," rejoined the camel, "I fear for
thee from the son of Adam, for he is wily and perfidious." And he
repeated the following verse:

Whenas on any land the oppressor cloth alight, There's nothing
     left for those, that dwell therein, but flight.

Whilst the camel was speaking, there arose a cloud of dust,
which opened and showed a short thin old man, with a basket of
carpenters' tools on his shoulder and a branch of a tree and
eight planks on his head. He had little children in his hand, and
came on at a brisk pace, till he drew near us. When I saw him, O
my sister, I fell down for excess of affright; but the young lion
rose and went to meet the carpenter, who smiled in his face and
said to him, with a glib tongue, "O illustrious king and lord of
the long arm, may God prosper shine evening and shine endeavour
and increase thy velour and strengthen thee! Protect me from that
which hath betided me and smitten me with its mischief, for I
have found no helper save only thee." And he stood before him,
weeping and groaning and lamenting. When the whelp heard his
weeping and wailing, he said, "I will succour thee from that thou
fearest. Who hath done thee wrong and what art thou, O wild
beast, whose like I never saw in my life nor saw I ever one
goodlier of form or more eloquent of tongue than thou? What is
thy case?" "O lord of the beasts," answered the man, "I am a
carpenter; he who hath wronged me is a son of Adam, and by break
of dawn he will be with thee in this place." When the lion heard
this, the light in his face was changed to darkness and he roared
and snorted and his eyes cast forth sparks. Then he said, "By
Allah, I will watch this night till the dawn, nor will I return
to my father till I have compassed my intent. But thou,"
continued he, addressing the carpenter, "I see thou art short of
step, and I would not wound thy feelings, for that I am generous
of heart; yet do I deem thee unable to keep pace with the wild
beasts: tell me then whither thou goest." "Know," answered the
carpenter, "that I am on my way to thy father's Vizier, the Lynx;
for when he heard that the son of Adam had set foot in this
country, he feared greatly for himself and sent one of the beasts
for me, to make him a house, wherein he should dwell, that it
might shelter him and hold his enemy from him, so not one of the
sons of Adam should come at him." When the young lion heard this,
he envied the lynx and said to the carpenter, "By my life, thou
must make me a house with these planks, ere thou make one for the
lynx! When thou hast done my work, go to the lynx and make him
what he wishes." "O lord of the beasts," answered the carpenter,
"I cannot make thee aught, till I have made the lynx what he
desires: then will I return to thy service and make thee a house,
to ward thee from shine enemy." "By Allah," exclaimed the whelp,
"I will not let thee go hence, till thou make me a house of these
planks!" So saying, he sprang upon the carpenter, thinking to
jest with him, and gave him a cuff with his paw. The blow knocked
the basket off the man's shoulder and he fell down in a swoon,
whereupon the young lion laughed at him and said, "Out on thee, O
carpenter! Of a truth thou art weak and hast no strength; so it
is excusable in thee to fear the son of Adam." Now the carpenter
was exceeding wroth; but he dissembled his anger, for fear of the
whelp, and sat up and smiled in his face, saying, "Well, I will
make thee the house." With this, he took the planks, and nailing
them together, made a house in the form of a chest, after the
measure of the young lion. In this he cut a large opening, to
which he made a stout cover and bored many holes therein, leaving
the door open. Then he took out some nails of wrought iron and a
hammer and said to the young lion, "Enter this opening, that I
may fit it to thy measure." The whelp was glad and went up to the
opening, but saw that it was strait; and the carpenter said to
him, "Crouch down and so enter." So the whelp crouched down and
entered the chest, but his tail remained outside. Then he would
have drawn back and come out; but the carpenter said to him,
"Wait till I see if there be room for thy tail with thee." So
saying, he twisted up the young lion's tail, and stuffing it into
the chest, whipped the lid on to the opening and nailed it down;
whereat the whelp cried out and said, "O carpenter, what is this
narrow house thou hast made me? Let me out." But the carpenter
laughed and answered, "God forbid! Repentance avails nothing for
what is passed, and indeed thou shalt not come out of this place.
Verily thou art fallen into the trap and there is no escape for
thee from duresse, O vilest of wild beasts!" "O my brother,"
rejoined the whelp, "what manner of words are these?" "Know, O
dog of the desert," answered the man, "that thou hast fallen into
that which thou fearedst; Fate hath overthrown thee, nor did
thought-taking profit thee." When the whelp heard these words, he
knew that this was indeed the very son of Adam, against whom he
had been warned by his father on wake and by the mysterious voice
in sleep; and I also, O my sister, was certified that this was
indeed he without doubt; wherefore there took me great fear of
him for myself and I withdrew a little apart and waited to see
what he would do with the young lion. Then I saw the son of Adam
dig a pit hard by the chest and throwing the latter therein, heap
brushwood upon it and burn the young lion with fire. At this
sight, my fear of the son of Adam redoubled, and in my affright I
have been these two days fleeing from him.'"

When the peahen heard the duck's story, she wondered exceedingly
and said to her, 'O my sister, thou art safe here from the son of
Adam, for we are in one of the islands of the sea, whither there
is no way for him; so do thou take up shine abode with us, till
God make easy shine and our affair.' Quoth the duck, 'I fear lest
some calamity come upon me by night, for no runaway can rid him
of fate.' 'Abide with us,' rejoined the peahen, 'and be even as
we;' and ceased not to persuade her, till she yielded, saying, 'O
my sister, thou knowest how little is my fortitude: had I not
seen thee here, I had not remained.' 'That which is written on
our foreheads,' said the peahen, 'we must indeed fulfil, and when
our appointed day draws near, who shall deliver us? But not a
soul passes away except it have accomplished its predestined term
and fortune.' As they talked, a cloud of dust appeared, at sight
of which the duck shrieked aloud and ran down into the sea,
crying out, 'Beware, beware, albeit there is no fleeing from Fate
and Fortune!' After awhile, the dust subsided and discovered an
antelope; whereat the duck and the peahen were reassured and the
latter said to her companion, 'O my sister, this thou seest and
wouldst have me beware of is an antelope, and he is making for
us. He will do us no hurt, for the antelope feeds upon the herbs
of the earth, and even as thou art of the bird-kind, so is he of
the beast-kind. So be of good cheer and leave care-taking; for
care-taking wasteth the body.' Hardly had the peahen done
speaking, when the antelope came up to them, thinking to shelter
under the shade of the tree, and seeing the two birds, saluted
them and said, 'I came to this island to-day, and I have seen
none richer in herbage nor more pleasant of habitance.' Then he
besought them of company and amity, and they, seeing his friendly
behaviour to them, welcomed him and gladly accepted his offer. So
they swore friendship one to another and abode in the island in
peace and safety, eating and drinking and sleeping in common,
till one day there came thither a ship, that had strayed from its
course in the sea. It cast anchor near them, and the crew
landing, dispersed about the island. They soon caught sight of
the three animals and made for them, whereupon the peahen flew up
into the tree and the antelope fled into the desert, but the duck
abode paralysed (by fear). So they chased her, till they caught
her and carried her with them to the ship, whilst she cried out
and said, 'Caution availed me nothing against Fate and destiny!'
When the peahen saw what had betided the duck, she came down from
the tree, saying, 'I see that misfortunes lie in wait for all.
But for yonder ship, parting had not befallen between me and this
duck, for she was one of the best of friends. Then she flew off
and rejoined the antelope, who saluted her and gave her joy of
her safety and enquired for the duck, to which she replied, 'The
enemy hath taken her, and I loathe the sojourn of this island
after her.' Then she wept for the loss of the duck and repeated
the following verses:

The day of severance broke my heart in tway. God do the like unto
     the severance-day!

And also these:

I pray that we may yet foregather once again. That I may tell her
     all that parting wrought of pain.

The antelope was greatly moved at hearing of their comrade's
fate, but dissuaded the peahen from her resolve to leave the
island. So they abode there together, eating and drinking in
peace and safety, save that they ceased not to mourn for the loss
of the duck, and the antelope said to the peahen, 'Thou seest, O
my sister, how the folk who came forth of the ship were the means
of our severance from the duck and of her destruction; so do thou
beware of them and guard thyself from them and from the craft of
the son of Adam and his perfidy.' But the peahen replied, 'I am
assured that nought caused her death but her neglect to celebrate
the praises of God, and indeed I said to her, "Verily I fear for
thee, because thou art not careful to praise God; for all things
that He hath made do glorify Him, and if any neglect to do so, it
leadeth to their destruction."' When the antelope heard the
peahen's words, he exclaimed, 'May God make fair thy face!' and
betook himself to the celebration of the praises of the Almighty,
never after slackening therefrom. And it is said that his form of
adoration was as follows: 'Glory be to the Requiter of good and
evil, the Lord of glory and dominion!'



                          THE HERMITS.



There was once a hermit, who served God on a certain mountain,
whither resorted a pair of pigeons; and he was wont to make two
parts of his daily bread, eating one half himself and giving the
other to the pigeons. He prayed also for them, that they might be
blest with increase; so they increased and multiplied greatly.
Now they resorted only to that mountain, and the reason of
their foregathering with the holy man was their assiduity in
celebrating the praises of God; for it is said that the pigeons'
formula of praise is, 'Glory be to the Creator of all things,
Who appointeth to every one his daily bread, Who builded the
heavens and spread out the earth like a carpet!' They dwelt thus
together, in the happiest of life, they and their brood, till the
holy man died, when the company of the pigeons was broken up, and
they all dispersed among the towns and villages and mountains.

Now in a certain other mountain there dwelt a shepherd, a man of
piety and chastity and understanding; and he had flocks of sheep,
which he tended, and made his living by their milk and wool. The
mountain aforesaid abounded in trees and pasturage and wild
beasts, but the latter had no power over the peasant nor over his
flocks; so he continued to dwell therein, in security, taking no
thought to the things of the world, by reason of his happiness
and assiduity in prayer and devotion, till God ordained that he
should fall exceeding sick. So he betook himself to a cavern in
the mountain, and his sheep used to go out in the morning to the
pasturage and take refuge at night in the cave. Now God was
minded to try him and prove his obedience and constancy; so He
sent him one of His angels, who came in to him in the semblance
of a fair woman and sat down before him. When the shepherd saw
the woman seated before him, his flesh shuddered with horror of
her and he said to her, 'O woman, what brings thee hither? I have
no need of thee, nor is there aught betwixt thee and me that
calls for thy coming in to me.' 'O man,' answered she, 'dost thou
not note my beauty and grace and the fragrance of my breath and
knowest thou not the need women have of men and men of women?
Behold, I have chosen to be near thee and desire to enjoy thy
company; so who shall forbid thee from me? Indeed, I come to thee
willingly and do not withhold myself from thee: there is none
with us whom we need fear; and I wish to abide with thee as long
as thou sojournest in this mountain and be thy companion. I offer
myself to thee, for thou needest the service of women; and if
thou know me, thy sickness will leave thee and health return to
thee and thou wilt repent thee of having forsworn the company of
women during thy past life. Indeed, I give thee good advice: so
give ear to my counsel and draw near unto me.' Quoth he, 'Go out
from me, O deceitful and perfidious woman! I will not incline to
thee nor approach thee. I want not thy company; he who coveteth
thee renounceth the future life, and he who coveteth the future
life renounceth thee, for thou seduces the first and the last.
God the Most High lieth in wait for His servants and woe unto him
who is afflicted with thy company!' 'O thou that errest from the
truth and wanderest from the path of reason,' answered she, 'turn
thy face to me and look upon my charms and profit by my nearness,
as did the wise who have gone before thee. Indeed, they were
richer than thou in experience and greater of wit; yet they
rejected not the society of women, as thou dost, but took their
pleasure of them and their company, and it did them no hurt, in
body or in soul. Wherefore do thou turn from thy resolve and thou
shalt praise the issue of shine affair.' 'All thou sayest I deny
and abhor,' rejoined the shepherd, 'and reject all thou offerest;
for thou art cunning and perfidious and there is no faith in
thee, neither honour. How much foulness cost thou hide under thy
beauty and how many a pious man hast thou seduced, whose end was
repentance and perdition! Avaunt from me, O thou who devotes
thyself to corrupt others!' So saying, he threw his goat's-hair
cloak over his eyes, that he might not see her face, and betook
himself to calling upon the name of his Lord. When the angel saw
the excellence of his obedience (to God), he went out from him
and ascended to heaven.

Now hard by the mountain was a village wherein dwelt a pious man,
who knew not the other's stead, till one night he saw in a dream
one who said to him, 'In such a place near to thee is a pious
man: go to him and be at his command.' So when it was day, he set
out afoot to go thither, and at the time when the heat was
grievous upon him, he came to a tree, which grew beside a spring
of running water. He sat down to rest in the shadow of the tree,
and birds and beasts came to the spring to drink; but when they
saw him, they took fright and fled. Then said he, 'There is no
power and no virtue save in God the Most High! I am resting here,
to the hurt of the beasts and fowls.' So he rose and went on,
blaming himself and saying, 'My tarrying here hath wronged these
beasts and birds, and what excuse have I towards my Creator and
the Creator of these creatures, for that I was the cause of their
flight from their watering-place and their pasture? Alas, my
confusion before my Lord on the day when He shall avenge the
sheep of the goats!' And he wept and repeated the following
verses:

By Allah, if men knew for what they are create, They would not go
     and sleep, unheeding of their fate!
Soon cometh death, then wake and resurrection come; Then judgment
     and reproof and terrors passing great.
Obey me or command, the most of us are like. The dwellers in the
     cave, [FN#2] asleep early and late.

Then he fared on, weeping for that he had driven the birds and
beasts from the spring by sitting down under the tree, till he
came to the shepherd's dwelling and going in, saluted him. The
shepherd returned his greeting and embraced him, weeping and
saying, 'What brings thee hither, where no man hath ever come in
to me?' Quoth the other, 'I saw in my sleep one who described to
me this thy stead and bade me repair to thee and salute thee: so
I came, in obedience to the commandment.' The shepherd welcomed
him, rejoicing in his company, and they both abode in the cavern,
doing fair service to their Lord and living upon the flesh and
milk of their sheep, having put away from them wealth and
children and other the goods of this world, till there came to
them Death, the Certain, the Inevitable. And this is the end of
their story."

"O Shehrzad," said King Shehriyar, "thou puttest me out of
conceit with my kingdom and makest me repent of having slain so
many women and maidens. Hast thou any stories of birds?" "Yes,"
answered she, and began as follows:



                THE WATER-FOWL AND THE TORTOISE



"A water-fowl flew high up into the air and alighted on rock in
the midst of a running water. As it sat, behold, the water
floated up a carcase, that was swollen and rose high out of the
water, and lodged it against the rock. The bird drew near and
examining it, found that it was the dead body of a man and saw in
it spear and sword wounds. So he said in himself, 'Belike, this
was some evil-doer, and a company of men joined themselves
together against him and slew him and were at peace from him and
his mischief.' Whilst he was marvelling at this, vultures and
eagles came down upon the carcase from all sides; which when the
water-fowl saw, he was sore affrighted and said, 'I cannot endure
to abide here longer.' So he flew away in quest of a place where
he might harbour, till the carcase should come to an end and the
birds of prey leave it, and stayed not in his flight, till he
came to a river with a tree in its midst. He alighted on the
tree, troubled and distraught and grieved for his separation from
his native place, and said to himself, 'Verily grief and vexation
cease not to follow me: I was at my ease, when I saw the carcase,
and rejoiced therein exceedingly, saying, "This is a gift of God
to me;" but my joy became sorrow and my gladness mourning, for
the lions of the birds[FN#3] took it and made prize of it and
came between it and me. How can I trust in this world or hope to
be secure from misfortune therein? Indeed, the proverb says, "The
world is the dwelling of him who hath no dwelling: he who hath no
understanding is deceived by it and trusteth in it with his
wealth and his child and his family and his folk; nor doth he who
is deluded by it leave to rely upon it, walking proudly upon the
earth, till he is laid under it and the dust is cast over him by
him who was dearest and nearest to him of all men; but nought is
better for the noble than patience under its cares and miseries."
I have left my native place, and it is abhorrent to me to quit my
brethren and friends and loved ones.' Whilst he was thus devising
with himself, behold, a tortoise descended into the water and
approaching the bird, saluted him, saying, 'O my lord, what hath
exiled thee and driven thee afar from thy place?' 'The descent of
enemies thereon,' replied the water-fowl; 'for the understanding
cannot brook the neighbourhood of his enemy; even as well says
the poet:

Whenas on any land the oppressor doth alight, There's nothing
     left for those, that dwell therein, but flight.'

Quoth the tortoise, 'If the case be as thou sayest, I will not
leave thee nor cease to be before thee, that I may do thy need
and fulfil thy service; for it is said that there is no sorer
desolation than that of him who is an exile, cut off from friends
and country; and also that no calamity equals that of severance
from virtuous folk; but the best solace for the understanding is
to seek companionship in his strangerhood and be patient under
adversity. Wherefore I hope that thou wilt find thine account
in my company, for I will be to thee a servant and a helper.'
'Verily, thou art right in what thou sayest,' answered the
water-fowl; 'for, by my life, I have found grief and pain in
separation, what while I have been absent from my stead and
sundered from my friends and brethren, seeing that in severance
is an admonition to him who will be admonished and matter of
thought for him who will take thought. If one find not a
companion to console him, good is cut off from him for ever and
evil stablished with him eternally; and there is nothing for the
wise but to solace himself in every event with brethren and be
instant in patience and constancy; for indeed these two are
praiseworthy qualities, that uphold one under calamities and
shifts of fortune and ward off affliction and consternation, come
what will.' 'Beware of sorrow,' rejoined the tortoise, 'for it
will corrupt thy life to thee and do away thy fortitude.' And
they gave not over converse, till the bird said, 'Never shall I
leave to fear the strokes of fortune and the vicissitudes of
events.' When the tortoise heard this, he came up to him and
kissing him between the eyes, said to him, 'Never may the company
of the birds cease to be blest in thee and find good in thy
counsel! How shalt thou be burdened with inquietude and harm?'
And he went on to comfort the water-fowl and soothe his disquiet,
till he became reassured. Then he flew to the place, where the
carcase was, and found the birds of prey gone and nothing left of
the body but bones; whereupon he returned to the tortoise and
acquainted him with this, saying, 'I wish to return to my stead
and enjoy the society of my friends; for the wise cannot endure
separation from his native place.' So they both went thither and
found nought to affright them; whereupon the water-fowl repeated
the following verses:

Full many a sorry chance doth light upon a man and fill His life
     with trouble, yet with God the issue bideth still.
His case is sore on him, but when its meshes straitened are To
     att'rest, they relax, although he deem they never will.

So they abode there in peace and gladness, till one day fate led
thither a hungry hawk, which drove its talons into the bird's
belly and killed him, nor did caution stand him in stead seeing
that his hour was come. Now the cause of his death was that he
neglected to praise God, and it is said that his form of
adoration was as follows, 'Glory be to our Lord in that He
ordereth and ordaineth, and glory be to our Lord in that He
maketh rich and maketh poor!'"

"O Shehrzad," said the Sultan, "verily, thou overwhelmest me with
admonitions and salutary instances! Hast thou any stories of
beasts?" "Yes," answered she. "Know, O King, that



                     THE WOLF AND THE FOX.



A fox and a wolf once dwelt in the same den, harbouring therein
together day and night; but the wolf was cruel and oppressive to
the fox. They abode thus awhile, till one day the fox exhorted
the wolf to use gentle dealing and leave evil-doing, saying, 'If
thou persist in thine arrogance, belike God will give the son of
Adam power over thee, for he is past master in guile and craft
and knavery. By his devices he brings down the birds from the air
and draws the fish forth of the waters and sunders mountains in
twain and transports them from place to place. All this is of his
craft and wiliness; wherefore do thou betake thyself to equity
and fair dealing and leave evil and tyranny; and thou shalt fare
the better for it.' But the wolf rejected his counsel and
answered him roughly, saying, 'Thou hast no call to speak of
matters of weight and stress.' And he dealt the fox a buffet that
laid him senseless; but, when he revived, he smiled in the wolf's
face and excused himself for his unseemly speech, repeating the
following verses:

If I have sinned in aught that's worthy of reproach Or if I've
     made default against the love of you,
Lo, I repent my fault; so let thy clemency The sinner comprehend,
     that doth for pardon sue.

The wolf accepted his excuse and held his hand from him, saying,
'Speak not of that which concerns thee not, or thou shalt hear
what will not please thee.' 'I hear and obey,' answered the fox;
'henceforth I will abstain from what pleaseth thee not; for the
sage says, "Speak thou not of that whereof thou art not asked;
answer not, when thou art not called upon; leave that which
concerns thee not for that which does concern thee and lavish not
good counsel on the wicked, for they will repay thee therefor
with evil."' And he smiled in the wolf's face, but in his heart
he meditated treachery against him and said in himself, 'Needs
must I compass the destruction of this wolf.' So he bore with his
ill usage, saying in himself, 'Verily arrogance and falsehood
lead to perdition and cast into confusion, and it is said, "He
who is arrogant suffers and he who is ignorant repents and he who
fears is safe: fair dealing is a characteristic of the noble, and
gentle manners are the noblest of gains." It behoves me to
dissemble with this tyrant, and needs must he be cast down.' Then
said he to the wolf, 'Verily, the Lord pardons his erring servant
and relents towards him, if he confess his sins; and I am a weak
slave and have sinned in presuming to counsel thee. If thou
knewest the pain that befell me by thy buffet, thou wouldst see
that an elephant could not stand against it nor endure it: but I
complain not of the pain of the blow, because of the contentment
that hath betided me through it; for though it was exceeding
grievous to me, yet its issue was gladness. As saith the sage,
"The blow of the teacher is at first exceeding grievous, but the
end of it is sweeter than clarified honey."' Quoth the wolf, 'I
pardon thine offence and pass over thy fault; but be thou ware of
my strength and avow thyself my slave; for thou knowest how
rigorously I deal with those that transgress against me.'
Thereupon the fox prostrated himself to the wolf, saying, 'May
God prolong thy life and mayst thou cease never to subdue thine
enemies!' And he abode in fear of the wolf and ceased not to
wheedle him and dissemble with him.

One day, the fox came to a vineyard and saw a breach in its wall;
but he mistrusted it and said in himself, 'Verily, there must be
some reason for this breach and the adage says, "He who sees a
cleft in the earth and doth not shun it or be wary in going up to
it, is self-deluded and exposes himself to destruction." Indeed,
it is well known that some folk make a semblant of a fox in their
vineyards, even to setting before it grapes in dishes, that foxes
may see it and come to it and fall into destruction. Meseems,
this breach is a snare and the proverb says, "Prudence is the
half of cleverness." Now prudence requires that I examine this
breach and see if there be ought therein that may lead to
perdition; and covetise shall not make me cast myself into
destruction.' So he went up to the breach and examining it
warily, discovered a deep pit, lightly covered (with boughs and
earth), which the owner of the vineyard had dug, thinking to trap
therein the wild beasts that laid waste his vines. Then he drew
back from it, saying in himself, 'I have found it as I expected.
Praised be God that I was wary of it! I hope that my enemy the
wolf, who makes my life miserable, will fall into it; so will the
vineyard be left to me and I shall enjoy it alone and dwell
therein in peace.' So saying, he shook his head and laughed
aloud, repeating the following verses:

Would God I might see, even now, A wolf fallen into yon pit,
That this long time hath tortured my heart And made me quaff
     bitters, God wit!
God grant I may live and be spared And eke of the wolf be made
     quit!
So the vineyard of him shall be rid And I find my purchase in it.

Then he returned in haste to the wolf and said to him, 'God hath
made plain the way for thee into the vineyard, without toil. This
is of thy good luck; so mayst thou enjoy the easy booty and the
plentiful provant that God hath opened up to thee without
trouble!' 'What proof hast thou of what thou sayest?' asked the
wolf; and the fox answered, 'I went up to the vineyard and found
that the owner was dead, having been devoured by wolves: so I
entered and saw the fruit shining on the trees.' The wolf
misdoubted not of the fox's report and gluttony got hold on him;
so he rose and repaired to the breach, blinded by greed; whilst
the fox stopped short and lay as one dead, applying to the case
the following verse:

Lustest after Leila's favours? Look thou rather bear in mind That
     'tis covetise plays havoc with the necks of human kind.

Then said he to the wolf, 'Enter the vineyard: thou art spared
the trouble of climbing, for the wall is broken down, and with
God be the rest of the benefit.' So the wolf went on, thinking to
enter the vineyard; but when he came to the middle of the
covering (of the pit), he fell in; whereupon the fox shook for
delight and gladness; his care and concern left him and he sang
out for joy and recited the following verses:

Fortune hath taken ruth on my case; Yea, she hath pitied the
     length of my pain,
Doing away from me that which I feared And granting me that
     whereto I was fain.
So I will pardon her all the sins She sinned against me once and
     again;
Since for the wolf there is no escape From certain ruin and
     bitter bane,
And now the vineyard is all my own And no fool sharer in my
     domain.

Then he looked into the pit, and seeing the wolf weeping for
sorrow and repentance over himself, wept with him; whereupon the
wolf raised his head to him and said, 'Is it of pity for me thou
weepest, O Aboulhussein?' [FN#4] 'Not so,' answered the fox, 'by
Him who cast thee into the pit! I weep for the length of thy past
life and for regret that thou didst not sooner fall into the pit;
for hadst thou done so before I met with thee, I had been at
peace: but thou wast spared till the fulfilment of thine allotted
term.' The wolf thought he was jesting and said, 'O sinner, go to
my mother and tell her what has befallen me, so haply she may
make shift for my release.' 'Verily,' answered the fox, 'the
excess of thy gluttony and thy much greed have brought thee to
destruction, since thou art fallen into a pit whence thou wilt
never escape. O witless wolf, knowest thou not the proverb, "He
who taketh no thought to results, Fate is no friend to him, nor
shall he be safe from perils?"' 'O Aboulhussein,' said the wolf,
'thou wast wont to show me affection and covet my friendship and
fear the greatness of my strength. Bear me not malice for that I
did with thee, for he who hath power and forgiveth, his reward is
with God; even as saith the poet:


Sow benefits aye, though in other than fitting soil. A benefit's
     never lost, wherever it may be sown;
And though time tarry full long to bring it to harvest-tide, Yet
     no man reapeth its fruit, save he who sowed it alone.'

'O most witless of beasts of prey and stupidest of the wildings
of the earth,' rejoined the fox, 'hast thou forgotten thine
arrogance and pride and tyranny and how thou disregardedst the
due of comradeship and wouldst not take counsel by what the poet
says:

Do no oppression, whilst the power thereto is in thine hand, For
     still in danger of revenge the sad oppressor goes.
Thine eyes will sleep anon, what while the opprest, on wake, call
     down Curses upon thee, and God's eye shuts never in repose.'

'O Aboulhussein,' replied the wolf, 'reproach me not for past
offences; for forgiveness is expected of the noble, and the
practice of kindness is the best of treasures. How well says the
poet:

Hasten to do good works, whenever thou hast the power, For thou
     art not able thereto at every season and hour.'

And he went on to humble himself to the fox and say to him,
'Haply, thou canst do somewhat to deliver me from destruction.'
'O witless, deluded, perfidious, crafty wolf,' answered the fox,
'hope not for deliverance, for this is but the just reward of thy
foul dealing.' Then he laughed from ear to ear and repeated the
following verses:

A truce to thy strife to beguile me! For nothing of me shalt thou
     gain. Thy prayers are but idle; thou sowedst Vexation; so
     reap it amain.

'O gentlest of beasts of prey,' said the wolf, 'I deem thee too
faithful to leave me in this pit.' Then he wept and sighed and
recited the following verses, whilst the tears streamed from his
eyes:

O thou, whose kindnesses to me are more than one, I trow, Whose
     bounties unto me vouchsafed are countless as the sand,
No shift of fortune in my time has ever fall'n on me, But I have
     found thee ready still to take me by the hand.

'O stupid enemy,' said the fox, 'how art thou reduced to humility
and obsequiousness and abjection and submission, after disdain
and pride and tyranny and arrogance! Verily, I companied with
thee and cajoled thee but for fear of thy violence and not in
hope of fair treatment from thee: but now trembling is come upon
thee and vengeance hath overtaken thee.' And he repeated the
following verses:

O thou that for aye on beguiling art bent, Thou'rt fall'n in the
     snare of thine evil intent.
So taste of the anguish that knows no relent And be with the rest
     of the wolven forspent!

'O clement one,' replied the wolf, 'speak not with the tongue of
despite nor look with its eyes; but fulfil the covenant of
fellowship with me, ere the time for action pass away. Rise, make
shift to get me a rope and tie one end of it to a tree; then let
the other end down to me, that I may lay hold of it, so haply I
may escape from this my strait, and I will give thee all my hand
possesseth of treasures.' Quoth the fox, 'Thou persistest in talk
of that wherein thy deliverance is not. Hope not for this, for
thou shalt not get of me wherewithal to save thyself; but call to
mind thy past ill deeds and the craft and perfidy thou didst
imagine against me and bethink thee how near thou art to being
stoned to death. For know that thy soul is about to leave the
world and cease and depart from it; so shalt thou come to
destruction and evil is the abiding-place to which thou goest!'
'O Aboulhussein,' rejoined the wolf, 'hasten to return to
friendliness and persist not in this rancour. Know that he, who
saves a soul from perdition, is as if he had restored it to life,
and he, who saves a soul alive, is as if he had saved all
mankind. Do not ensue wickedness, for the wise forbid it: and it
were indeed the most manifest wickedness to leave me in this pit
to drink the agony of death and look upon destruction, whenas it
lies in thy power to deliver me from my strait. Wherefore go thou
about to release me and deal benevolently with me.' 'O thou
barbarous wretch,' answered the fox, 'I liken thee, because of
the fairness of thy professions and the foulness of thine intent
and thy practice, to the hawk with the partridge.' 'How so ?'
asked the wolf; and the fox said,



The Hawk and the Partridge.



'I entered a vineyard one day and saw a hawk stoop upon a
partridge and seize it: but the partridge escaped from him and
entering its nest, hid itself there. The hawk followed and called
out to it, saying, "O wittol, I saw thee in the desert, hungry,
and took pity on thee; so I gathered grain for thee and took hold
of thee that thou mightest eat; but thou fledst, wherefore I know
not, except it were to slight me. So come out and take the grain
I have brought thee to eat, and much good may it do thee!" The
partridge believed what he said and came out, whereupon the hawk
stuck his talons into him and seized him. "Is this that which
thou saidst thou hadst brought me from the desert," cried the
partridge, "and of which thou badest me eat, saying, 'Much good
may it do thee?' Thou hast lied to me and may God make what thou
eatest of my flesh to be a deadly poison in thy maw!" So when the
hawk had eaten the partridge, his feathers fell off and his
strength failed and he died on the spot. Know, then, O wolf, that
he, who digs a pit for his brother, soon falls into it himself,
and thou first dealtest perfidiously with me.' 'Spare me this
talk and these moral instances,' said the wolf, 'and remind me
not of my former ill deeds, for the sorry plight I am in suffices
me, seeing that I am fallen into a place, in which even my enemy
would pity me, to say nothing of my friend. So make thou some
shift to deliver me and be thou thereby my saviour. If this cause
thee aught of hardship, think that a true friend will endure the
sorest travail for his friend's sake and risk his life to deliver
him from perdition; and indeed it hath been said, "A tender
friend is better than an own brother." So if thou bestir thyself
and help me and deliver me, I will gather thee such store of
gear, as shall be a provision for thee against the time of want,
and teach thee rare tricks to gain access to fruitful vineyards
and strip the fruit-laden trees.' 'How excellent,' rejoined the
fox, laughing, 'is what the learned say of those who are past
measure ignorant, like unto thee!' 'What do they say?' asked the
wolf; and the fox answered, 'They say that the gross of body are
gross of nature, far from understanding and nigh unto ignorance.
As for thy saying, O perfidious, stupid self-deceiver, that a
friend should suffer hardship to succour his friend, it is true,
as thou sayest: but tell me, of thine ignorance and poverty of
wit, how can I be a true friend to thee, considering thy
treachery? Dost thou count me thy friend? Behold, I am thine
enemy, that exulteth in thy misfortune; and couldst thou
understand it, this word were sorer to thee than slaughter and
arrow-shot. As for thy promise to provide me a store against the
time of want and teach me tricks to enter vineyards and spoil
fruit-trees, how comes it, O crafty traitor, that thou knowest
not a trick to save thyself from destruction? How far art thou
from profiting thyself and how far am I from lending ear to thy
speech! If thou have any tricks, make shift for thyself to save
thee from this peril, wherefrom I pray God to make thine escape
distant! So look, O idiot, if there be any trick with thee and
save thyself from death therewith, before thou lavish instruction
on others. But thou art like a certain sick man, who went to
another, suffering from the same disease, and said to him, "Shall
I heal thee of thy disease?" "Why dost thou not begin by healing
thyself?" answered the other; so he left him and went his way.
And thou, O ignorant wolf, art like this; so stay where thou art
and be patient under what hath befallen thee.' When the wolf
heard what the fox said, he knew he had no hope from him; so he
wept for himself, saying, 'Verily, I have been heedless of mine
affair; but if God deliver me from this scrape, I will assuredly
repent of my arrogance towards those who are weaker than I and
will put on wool and go upon the mountains, celebrating the
praises of God the Most High and fearing His wrath. Yea, I will
sunder myself from all the other wild beasts and feed the poor
and those who fight for the Faith.' Then he wept and lamented,
till the heart of the fox was softened and he took pity on him,
whenas he heard his humble words and his professions of
repentance for his past arrogance and tyranny. So he sprang up
joyfully and going to the brink of the pit, sat down on his hind
quarters and let his tail fall therein; whereupon the wolf arose
and putting out his paw, pulled the fox's tail, so that he fell
down into the pit with him. Then said the wolf, 'O fox of little
ruth, why didst thou exult over me, thou that wast my companion
and under my dominion? Now thou art fallen into the pit with me
and retribution hath soon overtaken thee. Verily, the wise have
said, "If one of you reproach his brother with sucking the teats
of a bitch, he also shall suck her," and how well saith the poet:

When fortune's blows on some fall hard and heavily, With others
     of our kind as friend encampeth she.
So say to those who joy in our distress, "Awake; For those who
     mock our woes shall suffer even as we."

And death in company is the best of things; wherefore I will make
haste to kill thee, ere thou see me killed.' 'Alas! Alas!' said
the fox in himself. 'I am fallen in with this tyrant, and my case
calls for the use of craft and cunning; for indeed it is said
that a woman fashions her ornaments for the festival day, and
quoth the proverb, "I have kept thee, O my tear, against the time
of my distress!" Except I make shift to circumvent this
overbearing beast, I am lost without recourse; and how well says
the poet:

Provide thee by craft, for thou liv'st in a time Whose folk are
     as lions that lurk in a wood,
And set thou the mill-stream of knavery abroach, That the mill of
     subsistence may grind for thy food,
And pluck the fruits boldly; but if they escape From thy grasp,
     then content thee with hay to thy food.'

Then said he to the wolf, 'Hasten not to slay me, for that is not
my desert and thou wouldst repent it, O valiant beast, lord of
might and exceeding prowess! If thou hold thy hand and consider
what I shall tell thee, thou wilt know that which I purpose; but
if thou hasten to kill me, it will profit thee nothing and we
shall both die here.' 'O wily deceiver,' answered the wolf, 'how
hopest thou to work my deliverance and thine own, that thou
wouldst have me grant thee time? Speak and let me know thy
purpose.' 'As for my purpose,' replied the fox, 'it was such as
deserves that thou reward me handsomely for it; for when I heard
thy promises and thy confession of thy past ill conduct and
regrets for not having earlier repented and done good and thy
vows, shouldst thou escape from this thy stress, to leave harming
thy fellows and others and forswear eating grapes and other
fruits and devote thyself to humility and cut thy claws and break
thy teeth and don wool and offer thyself as a sacrifice to God
the Most High,--when (I say), I heard thy repentance and vows of
amendment, compassion took me for thee, though before I was
anxious for thy destruction, and I felt bound to save thee from
this thy present plight. So I let down my tail, that thou
mightest grasp it and make thine escape. Yet wouldst thou not put
off thy wonted violence and brutality nor soughtest to save
thyself by fair means, but gavest me such a tug that I thought my
soul would depart my body, so that thou and I are become involved
in the same stead of ruin and death. There is but one thing can
deliver us, to which if thou agree, we shall both escape; and
after it behoves thee to keep the vows thou hast made, and I will
be thy friend.' 'What is it thou hast to propose?' asked the
wolf. 'It is,' answered the fox, 'that thou stand up, and I will
climb up on to thy head and so bring myself nigh on a level with
the surface of the earth. Then will I give a spring and as soon
as I reach the ground, I will fetch thee what thou mayst lay hold
of and make thine escape.' 'I have no faith in thy word,'
rejoined the wolf, 'for the wise have said, "He who practices
trust in the place of hate, errs," and "He who trusts in the
faithless is a dupe; he who tries those that have been [already]
tried (and found wanting) shall reap repentance and his days
shall pass away without profit; and he who cannot distinguish
between cases, giving each its due part, his good fortune will be
small and his afflictions many." How well saith the poet:

Be thy thought ever ill and of all men beware; Suspicion of good
     parts the helpfullest was e'er.
For nothing brings a man to peril and distress As doth the doing
     good (to men) and thinking fair.

And another:

Be constant ever in suspect; 'twill save thee aye anew; For he
     who lives a wakeful life, his troubles are but few.
Meet thou the foeman in thy way with open, smiling face; But in
     thy heart set up a host shall battle with him do.

And yet another:

Thy worst of foes is thy nearest friend, in whom thou puttest
     trust; So look thou be on thy guard with men and use them
     warily aye.
'Tis weakness to augur well of fate; think rather ill of it. And
     be in fear of its shifts and tricks, lest it should thee
     bewray.'

'Verily,' said the fox, 'distrust is not to be commended in
every case; on the contrary, a confiding disposition is the
characteristic of a noble nature and its issue is freedom from
terrors. Now it behoves thee, O wolf, to put in practice some
device for thy deliverance from this thou art in and the escape
of us both will be better than our death: so leave thy distrust
and rancour; for if thou trust in me, one of two things will
happen; either I shall bring thee whereof to lay hold and escape,
or I shall play thee false and save myself and leave thee; and
this latter may not be, for I am not safe from falling into
some such strait as this thou art in, which would be fitting
punishment of perfidy. Indeed the adage saith, "Faith is fair and
perfidy foul." It behoves thee, therefore, to trust in me, for I
am not ignorant of the vicissitudes of Fortune: so delay not to
contrive some device for our deliverance, for the case is too
urgent for further talk.' 'To tell thee the truth,' replied the
wolf, 'for all my want of confidence in thy fidelity, I knew what
was in thy mind and that thou wast minded to deliver me, whenas
thou heardest my repentance, and I said in myself, "If what he
asserts be true, he will have repaired the ill he did: and if
false, it rests with God to requite him." So, behold, I accept
thy proposal, and if thou betray me, may thy perfidy be the cause
of thy destruction!' Then he stood upright in the pit and taking
the fox upon his shoulders, raised him to the level of the
ground, whereupon the latter gave a spring and lighted on the
surface of the earth. When he found himself in safety, he fell
down senseless, and the wolf said to him, 'O my friend, neglect
not my case and delay not to deliver me.' The fox laughed
derisively and replied, 'O dupe, it was but my laughing at thee
and making mock of thee that threw me into thy hands: for when I
heard thee profess repentance, mirth and gladness seized me and I
frisked about and danced and made merry, so that my tail fell
down into the pit and thou caughtest hold of it and draggedst me
down with thee. Why should I be other than a helper in thy
destruction, seeing that thou art of the host of the devil! I
dreamt yesterday that I danced at thy wedding and related my
dream to an interpreter, who told me that I should fall into a
great danger and escape from it. So now I know that my falling
into thy hand and my escape are the fulfilment of my dream, and
thou, O ignorant dupe, knowest me for thine enemy; so how canst
thou, of thine ignorance and lack of wit, hope for deliverance at
my hands, after all thou hast heard of harsh words from me, and
wherefore should I endeavour for thy deliverance, whenas the wise
have said, "In the death of the wicked is peace for mankind and
purgation for the earth?" Yet, but that I fear to reap more
affliction by keeping faith with thee than could follow perfidy,
I would do my endeavour to save thee.' When the wolf heard this,
he bit his paws for despite and was at his wit's end what to do.
Then he gave the fox fair words, but this availed nought; so he
said to him softly, 'Verily, you foxes are the most pleasant
spoken of folk and the subtlest in jest, and this is but a jest
of thine; but all times are not good for sport and jesting.' 'O
dolt,' answered the fox, 'jesting hath a limit, that the jester
overpasses not, and deem not that God will again give thee power
over me, after having once delivered me from thee.' Quoth the
wolf, 'It behoves thee to endeavour for my release, by reason of
our brotherhood and fellowship, and if thou deliver me, I will
assuredly make fair thy reward.' 'The wise say,' rejoined the
fox,' "Fraternize not with the ignorant and wicked, for he will
shame thee and not adorn thee,--nor with the liar, for if thou do
good, he will hide it, and if evil, he will publish it;" and
again, "There is help for everything but death: all may be
mended, save natural depravity, and everything may be warded off,
except Fate." As for the reward thou promisest me, I liken thee
therein to the serpent that fled from the charmer. A man saw her
affrighted and said to her, "What ails thee, O serpent?" Quoth
she, "I am fleeing from the serpent-charmer, who is in chase of
me, and if thou wilt save me and hide me with thee, I will make
fair thy recompense and do thee all manner of kindness." So he
took her, moved both by desire of the promised recompense and a
wish to find favour with God, and hid her in his bosom. When the
charmer had passed and gone his way and the serpent had no longer
any reason to fear, he said to her, "Where is the recompense thou
didst promise me? Behold, I have saved thee from that thou
dreadest." "Tell me where I shall bite thee," replied she, "for
thou knowest we overpass not that recompense." So saying, she
gave him a bite, of which he died. And I liken thee, O dullard,
to the serpent in her dealings with the man. Hast thou not heard
what the poet says?

Trust not in one in whose heart thou hast made wrath to abide And
     thinkest his anger at last is over and pacified.
Verily vipers, though smooth and soft to the feel and the eye And
     graceful of movements they be, yet death-dealing venom they
     hide.'

'O glib-tongue, lord of the fair face,' said the wolf, 'thou art
not ignorant of my case and of men's fear of me and knowest how I
assault the strong places and root up the vines. Wherefore, do as
I bid thee and bear thyself to me as a servant to his lord.' 'O
stupid dullard,' answered the fox, 'that seekest a vain thing, I
marvel at thy stupidity and effrontery, in that thou biddest me
serve thee and order myself towards thee as I were a slave bought
with thy money; but thou shalt see what is in store for thee, in
the way of breaking thy head with stones and knocking out thy
traitor's teeth.' So saying, he went up to a hill that gave upon
the vineyard and standing there, called out to the people of the
place, nor did he give over crying, till he woke them and they,
seeing him, came up to him in haste. He held his ground till they
drew near him and near the pit, when he turned and fled. So they
looked into the pit and spying the wolf, fell to pelting him with
heavy stones, nor did they leave smiting him with sticks and
stones and piercing him with lances, till they killed him and
went away; whereupon the fox returned to the pit and looking
down, saw the wolf dead: so he wagged his head for excess of joy
and chanted the following verses:

Fate took the soul o' the wolf and snatched it far away; Foul
     fall it for a soul that's lost and perished aye!
How oft, O Gaffer Grim, my ruin hast thou sought! But unrelenting
     bale is fallen on thee this day.
Thou fellst into a pit, wherein there's none may fall Except the
     blasts of death blow on him for a prey.

Then he abode alone in the vineyard, secure and fearing no hurt.



                   THE MOUSE AND THE WEASEL.



A mouse and a weasel once dwelt in the house of a poor peasant,
one of whose friends fell sick and the doctor prescribed him
husked sesame. So he sought of one of his comrades sesame and
gave the peasant a measure thereof to husk for him; and he
carried it home to his wife and bade her dress it. So she steeped
it and husked it and spread it out to dry. When the weasel saw
the grain, he came up to it and fell to carrying it away to his
hole, nor stinted all day, till he had borne off the most of it.
Presently, in came the peasant's wife, and seeing great part of
the sesame gone, stood awhile wondering; after which she sat down
to watch and find out the cause. After awhile, out came the
weasel to carry off more of the grain, but spying the woman
seated there, knew that she was on the watch for him and said to
himself, 'Verily, this affair is like to end ill. I fear me this
woman is on the watch for me and Fortune is no friend to those
who look not to the issues: so I must do a fair deed, whereby I
may manifest my innocence and wash out all the ill I have done.'
So saying, he began to take of the sesame in his hole and carry
it out and lay it back upon the rest. The woman stood by and
seeing the weasel do thus, said in herself, 'Verily, this is not
the thief, for he brings it back from the hole of him that stole
it and returns it to its place. Indeed, he hath done us a
kindness in restoring us the sesame and the reward of those that
do us good is that we do them the like. It is clear that this is
not he who stole the grain. But I will not leave watching till I
find out who is the thief.' The weasel guessed what was in her
mind, so he went to the mouse and said to her, 'O my sister,
there is no good in him who does not observe the claims of
neighbourship and shows no constancy in friendship.' 'True, O my
friend,' answered the mouse, 'and I delight in thee and in thy
neighbourhood; but what is the motive of thy speech?' Quoth the
weasel, 'The master of the house has brought home sesame and has
eaten his fill of it, he and his family, and left much; every
living soul has eaten of it, and if thou take of it in thy turn,
thou art worthier thereof than any other.' This pleased the mouse
and she chirped and danced and frisked her ears and tail, and
greed for the grain deluded her; so she rose at once and issuing
forth of her hole, saw the sesame peeled and dry, shining with
whiteness, and the woman sitting watching, armed with a stick.
The mouse could not contain herself, but taking no thought to the
issue of the affair, ran up to the sesame and fell to messing it
and eating of it; whereupon the woman smote her with the stick
and cleft her head in twain: so her greed and heedlessness of the
issue of her actions led to her destruction."

"By Allah," said the Sultan to Shehrzad, "this is a goodly story!
Hast thou any story bearing upon the beauty of true friendship
and the observance of its obligations in time of distress and
rescuing from destruction?" "Yes, answered she; "it hath teached
me that



                     THE CAT AND THE CROW.



A crow and a cat once lived in brotherhood. One day, as they were
together under a tree, they spied a leopard making towards them,
of which they had not been ware, till he was close upon them. The
crow at once flew up to the top of the tree; but the cat abode
confounded and said to the crow, 'O my friend, hast thou no
device to save me? All my hope is in thee.' 'Indeed,' answered
the crow, 'it behoveth brethren, in case of need, to cast about
for a device, whenas any peril overtakes them, and right well
saith the poet:

He is a right true friend who is with thee indeed And will
     himself undo, to help thee in thy need,
Who, when love's severance is by evil fate decreed, To join your
     sundered lives will risk his own and bleed.'

Now hard by the tree were shepherds with their dogs; so the crow
flew towards them and smote the face of the earth with his wings,
cawing and crying out, to draw their attention. Then he went up
to one of the dogs and flapped his wings in his eyes and flew up
a little way, whilst the dog ran after him, thinking to catch
him. Presently, one of the shepherds raised his head and saw the
bird flying near the ground and lighting now and then; so he
followed him, and the crow gave not over flying just out of the
dogs' reach and tempting them to pursue and snap at him: but as
soon as they came near him, he would fly up a little; and so he
brought them to the tree. When they saw the leopard, they rushed
upon it, and it turned and fled. Now the leopard thought to eat
the cat, but the latter was saved by the craft of its friend the
crow. This story, O King, shows that the friendship of the
virtuous saves and delivers from difficulties and dangers.



                     THE FOX AND THE CROW.



A fox once dwelt in a cave of a certain mountain, and as often as
a cub was born to him and grew stout, he would eat it, for,
except he did so, he had died of hunger; and this was grievous to
him. Now on the top of the same mountain a crow had made his
nest, and the fox said to himself, 'I have a mind to strike up a
friendship with this crow and make a comrade of him, that he may
help me to my day's meat, for he can do what I cannot.' So he
made for the crow's stead, and when he came within earshot, he
saluted him, saying, 'O my neighbour, verily a true-believer
hath two claims upon his true-believing neighbour, that of
neighbourliness and that of community of faith; and know, O my
friend, that thou art my neighbour and hast a claim upon me,
which it behoves me to observe, the more that I have been long
thy neighbour. Moreover, God hath set in my breast a store of
love to thee, that bids me speak thee fair and solicit thy
friendship. What sayst thou?' 'Verily,' answered the crow, 'the
best speech is that which is soothest, and most like thou
speakest with thy tongue that which is not in thy heart. I fear
lest thy friendship be but of the tongue, outward, and shine
enmity of the heart, inward; for that thou art the Eater and I
the Eaten, and to hold aloof one from the other were more apt to
us than friendship and fellowship. What, then, maketh thee seek
that thou mayst not come at and desire what may not be, seeing
that thou art of the beast and I of the bird kind? Verily, this
brotherhood [thou profferest] may not be, neither were it
seemly.' He who knoweth the abiding-place of excellent things,'
rejoined the fox, 'betters choice in what he chooses therefrom,
so haply he may win to advantage his brethren; and indeed I
should love to be near thee and I have chosen thy companionship,
to the end that we may help one another to our several desires;
and success shall surely wait upon our loves. I have store of
tales of the goodliness of friendship, which, an it like thee, I
will relate to thee.' 'Thou hast my leave,' answered the crow;
'let me hear thy story and weigh it and judge of thine intent
thereby.' 'Hear then, O my friend,' rejoined the fox, 'that which
is told of a mouse and a flea and which bears out what I have
said to thee.' 'How so?' asked the crow. 'It is said,' answered
the fox, 'that



The Mouse and the Flea.



A mouse once dwelt in the house of a rich and busy merchant. One
night, a flea took shelter in the merchant's bed and finding his
body soft and being athirst, drank of his blood. The smart of the
bite awoke the merchant, who sat up and called to his serving men
and maids. So they hastened to him and tucking up their sleeves,
fell to searching for the flea. As soon as the latter was ware of
the search, he turned to flee and happening on the mouse's hole,
entered it. When the mouse saw him, she said to him, "What brings
thee in to me, seeing that thou art not of my kind and canst not
therefore be assured of safety from violence or ill-usage?"
"Verily," answered the flea, "I took refuge in thy dwelling from
slaughter and come to thee, seeking thy protection and not
anywise coveting thy house, nor shall aught of mischief betide
thee from me nor aught to make thee leave it. Nay, I hope to
repay thy favours to me with all good, and thou shalt assuredly
see and praise the issue of my words." "If the case be as thou
sayest," answered the mouse, "be at thine ease here; for nought
shall betide thee, save what may pleasure thee; there shall fall
on thee rain of peace alone nor shall aught befall thee, but what
befalls me. I will give thee my love without stint and do not
thou regret thy loss of the merchant's blood nor lament for thy
subsistence from him, but be content with what little of
sufficient sustenance thou canst lightly come by; for indeed this
is the safer for thee, and I have heard that one of the moral
poets saith as follows:

I have trodden the road of content and retirement And lived out
     my life with whatever betided;
With a morsel of bread and a draught of cold water, Coarse salt
     and patched garments content I abided.
If God willed it, He made my life easy of living; Else, I was
     contented with what He provided."

"O my sister," rejoined the flea, "I hearken to thine injunction
and submit myself to yield thee obedience, nor have I power to
gainsay thee, till life be fulfilled, in this fair intent."
"Purity of intent suffices to sincere affection," replied the
mouse. So love befell and was contracted between them and after
this, the flea used (by night) to go to the merchant's bed and
not exceed moderation (in sucking his blood) and harbour with the
mouse by day in the latter's hole. One night, the merchant
brought home great store of dinars and began to turn them over.
When the mouse heard the chink of the coin, she put her head out
of her hole and gazed at it, till the merchant laid it under his
pillow and went to sleep, when she said to the flea, "Seest thou
not the favourable opportunity and the great good fortune! Hast
thou any device to bring us to our desire of yonder dinars?"
"Verily," answered the flea, "it is not good for one to strive
for aught, but if he be able to compass his desire; for if he
lack of ableness thereto, he falls into that of which he should
be ware and attains not his wish for weakness, though he use all
possible cunning, like the sparrow that picks up grain and falls
into the net and is caught by the fowler. Thou hast no strength
to take the dinars and carry them into thy hole, nor can I do
this; on the contrary, I could not lift a single dinar; so what
hast thou to do with them?" Quoth the mouse, "I have made me
these seventy openings, whence I may go out, and set apart a
place for things of price, strong and safe; and if thou canst
contrive to get the merchant out of the house, I doubt not of
success, so Fate aid me." "I will engage to get him out of the
house for thee," answered the flea and going to the merchant's
bed, gave him a terrible bite, such as he had never before felt,
then fled to a place of safety. The merchant awoke and sought for
the flea, but finding it not, lay down again on his other side.
Then came the flea and bit him again, more sharply than before.
So he lost patience and leaving his bed, went out and lay down on
the bench before the door and slept there and awoke not till the
morning. Meanwhile the mouse came out and fell to carrying the
dinars into her hole, till not one was left; and when it was day,
the merchant began to accuse the folk and imagine all manner of
things. And know, O wise, clear-sighted and experienced crow
(continued the fox), that I only tell thee this to the intent
that thou mayst reap the recompense of thy goodness to me, even
as the mouse reaped the reward of her kindness to the flea; for
see how he repaid her and requited her with the goodliest of
requitals.' Quoth the crow, 'It lies with the benefactor to show
benevolence or not; nor is it incumbent on us to behave kindly to
whoso seeks an impossible connection. If I show thee favour, who
art by nature my enemy, I am the cause of my own destruction, and
thou, O fox, art full of craft and cunning. Now those, whose
characteristics these are, are not to be trusted upon oath, and
he who is not to be trusted upon oath, there is no good faith in
him. I heard but late of thy perfidious dealing with thy comrade
the wolf and how thou leddest him into destruction by thy perfidy
and guile, and this though he was of thine own kind and thou
hadst long companied with him; yet didst thou not spare him; and
if thou didst thus with thy fellow, that was of thine own kind,
how can I have confidence in thy fidelity and what would be thy
dealing with thine enemy of other than thy kind? Nor can I liken
thee and me but to the Falcon and the Birds.' 'How so?' asked the
fox. 'They say,' answered the crow, 'that



The Falcon and the Birds.



There was once a falcon who was a cruel tyrant in the days of his
youth, so that the beasts of prey of the air and of the earth
feared him and none was safe from his mischief; and many were the
instances of his tyranny, for he did nothing but oppress and
injure all the other birds. As the years passed over him, he grew
weak and his strength failed, so that he was oppressed with
hunger; but his cunning increased with the waning of his strength
and he redoubled in his endeavour and determined to go to the
general rendezvous of the birds, that he might eat their
leavings, and in this manner he gained his living by cunning,
whenas he could do so no longer by strength and violence. And
thou, O fox, art like this: if thy strength fail thee, thy
cunning fails not; and I doubt not that thy seeking my friendship
is a device to get thy subsistence; but I am none of those who
put themselves at thy mercy, for God hath given me strength in my
wings and caution in my heart and sight in my eyes, and I know
that he who apeth a stronger than he, wearieth himself and is
often destroyed, wherefore I fear for thee lest, if thou ape a
stronger than thou, there befall thee what befell the sparrow.'
'What befell the sparrow?' asked the fox. 'I conjure thee, by
Allah, to tell me his story.' 'I have heard,' replied the crow,
'that



The Sparrow and the Eagle.



A sparrow was once hovering over a sheep-fold, when he saw a
great eagle swoop down upon a lamb and carry it off in his claws.
Thereupon the sparrow clapped his wings and said, "I will do even
as the eagle hath done;" and he conceited himself and aped a
greater than he. So he flew down forthright and lighted on the
back of a fat ram, with a thick fleece that was become matted, by
his lying in his dung and stale, till it was like felt. As soon
as the sparrow lighted on the sheep's back, he clapped his wings
and would have flown away, but his feet became tangled in the
wool and he could not win free. All this while the shepherd was
looking on, having seen as well what happened with the eagle as
with the sparrow; so he came up to the latter in a rage and
seized him. Then he plucked out his wing-feathers and tying his
feet with a twine, carried him to his children and threw him to
them. "What is this?" asked they and he answered, "This is one
that aped a greater than himself and came to grief." Now thou, O
fox,' continued the crow, 'art like this and I would have thee
beware of aping a greater than thou, lest thou perish. This is
all I have to say to thee; so go from me in peace.' When the fox
despaired of the crow's friendship, he turned away, groaning and
gnashing his teeth for sorrow and disappointment, which when the
crow heard, he said to him, 'O fox, why dost thou gnash thy
teeth?' 'Because I find thee wilier than myself,' answered the
fox and made off to his den."

"O Shehrzad," said the Sultan, "how excellent and delightful are
these thy stories! Hast thou more of the like edifying tales?"
"It is said," answered she, "that



                 THE HEDGEHOG AND THE PIGEONS.



A hedgehog once took up his abode under a palm-tree, on which
roosted a pair of wood-pigeons, that had made their nest there
and lived an easy life, and he said to himself, 'These pigeons
eat of the fruit of the palm-tree, and I have no means of getting
at it; but needs must I go about with them.' So he dug a hole at
the foot of the palm-tree and took up his lodging there, he and
his wife. Moreover, he made a place of prayer beside the hole, in
which he shut himself and made a show of piety and abstinence and
renunciation of the world. The male pigeon saw him praying and
worshipping and inclined to him for his much devoutness and said
to him, 'How long hast thou been thus?' 'Thirty years,' replied
the hedgehog. 'What is thy food?' asked the bird and the other
answered, 'What falls from the palm-tree.' 'And what is thy
clothing?' asked the pigeon. 'Prickles,' replied the hedgehog; 'I
profit by their roughness.' 'And why,' continued the bird, 'hast
thou chosen this place rather than another?' 'I chose it,'
answered the hedgehog, 'that I might guide the erring into
the right way and teach the ignorant.' 'I had thought thee
other-guise than this,' rejoined the pigeon; but now I feel a
yearning for that which is with thee.' Quoth the hedgehog, 'I
fear lest thy deed belie thy speech and thou be even as the
husbandman, who neglected to sow in season, saying, "I fear lest
the days bring me not to my desire, and I shall only waste my
substance by making haste to sow." When the time of harvest came
and he saw the folk gathering in their crops, he repented him of
what he had lost by his tardiness and died of chagrin and
vexation.' 'What then shall I do,' asked the pigeon, 'that I
may be freed from the bonds of the world and give myself up
altogether to the service of my Lord?' 'Betake thee to preparing
for the next world,' answered the hedgehog, 'and content thyself
with a pittance of food.' 'How can I do this,' said the pigeon,
'I that am a bird and may not go beyond the palm-tree whereon is
my food? Nor, could I do so, do I know another place, wherein I
may abide.' Quoth the hedgehog, 'Thou canst shake down of the
fruit of the palm what shall suffice thee and thy wife for a
year's victual; then do ye take up your abode in a nest under the
tree, that ye may seek to be guided in the right way, and do ye
turn to what ye have shaken down and store it up against the time
of need; and when the fruits are spent and the time is long upon
you, address yourselves to abstinence from food.' 'May God
requite thee with good,' exclaimed the pigeon, 'for the fair
intent with which thou hast reminded me of the world to come and
hast directed me into the right way!' Then he and his wife busied
themselves in knocking down the dates, till nothing was left on
the palm-tree, whilst the hedgehog, finding whereof to eat,
rejoiced and filled his den with the dates, storing them up for
his subsistence and saying in himself, 'When the pigeon and his
wife have need of their provant, they will seek it of me,
trusting in my devoutness and abstinence; and from what they have
heard of my pious counsels and admonitions, they will draw near
unto me. Then will I seize them and eat them, after which I shall
have the place and all that drops from the palm-tree, to suffice
me.' Presently the pigeon and his wife came down and finding that
the hedgehog had carried off all the dates, said to him, 'O pious
and devout-spoken hedgehog of good counsel, we can find no sign
of the dates and know not on what else we shall feed.' 'Belike,'
replied the hedgehog, 'the winds have carried them away; but the
turning from the provision to the Provider is of the essence of
prosperity, and He who cut the corners of the mouth will not
leave it without victual.' And he gave not over preaching to them
thus and making a show of piety and cozening them with fine
words, till they put faith in him and entered his den, without
suspicion, where-upon he sprang to the door and gnashed his
tusks, and the pigeon, seeing his perfidy manifested, said to
him, 'What has to-night to do with yester-night? Knowest thou not
that there is a Helper for the oppressed? Beware of treachery and
craft, lest there befall thee what befell the sharpers who
plotted against the merchant.' 'What was that?' asked the
hedgehog. 'I have heard tell,' answered the pigeon, 'that



The Merchant and the Two Sharpers.



There was once in a city called Sendeh a very wealthy merchant,
who made ready merchandise and set out with it for such a city,
thinking to sell it there. There followed him two sharpers, who
had made up into bales what goods they could get and giving out
to him that they also were merchants, companied with him by the
way. At the first halting-place, they agreed to play him false
and take his goods; but, at the same time, each purposed inwardly
foul play to the other, saying in himself, "If I can cheat my
comrade, it will be well for me and I shall have all to myself."
So each took food and putting therein poison, brought it to his
fellow; and they both ate of the poisoned mess and died. Now they
had been sitting talking with the merchant; so when they left him
and were long absent from him, he sought for them and found them
both dead; whereby he knew that they were sharpers, who had
plotted to play him foul, but their treachery had recoiled upon
themselves; so the merchant was preserved and took what they
had.'"

"O Shehrzad," said the Sultan, "verily thou hast aroused me to
all whereof I was negligent! Continue to edify me with these
fables." Quoth she, "It has come to my knowledge, O King, that



                   THE THIEF AND HIS MONKEY.



A certain man had a monkey and was a thief, who never entered one
of the markets of the city in which he dwelt, but he made off
with great purchase. One day, he saw a man offering for sale worn
clothes, and he went calling them in the market, but none bid for
them, and all to whom he showed them refused to buy of him.
Presently, the thief saw him put the clothes in a wrapper and sit
down to rest for weariness; so he made the ape sport before him,
and whilst he was busy gazing at it, stole the parcel from him.
Then he took the ape and made off to a lonely place, where he
opened the wrapper and taking out the old clothes, wrapped them
in a piece of costly stuff. This he carried to another market and
exposed it for sale with what was therein, making it a condition
that it should not be opened and tempting the folk with the
lowness of the price he set on it. A certain man saw the wrapper
and it pleased him; so he bought the parcel on these terms and
carried it home, doubting not but he had gotten a prize. When his
wife saw it, she said, 'What is this?' And he answered, 'It is
precious stuff, that I have bought below its worth, meaning to
sell it again and take the profit.' 'O dupe,' rejoined she,
'would this stuff be sold under its value, except it were stolen?
Dost thou not know that he who buys a ware, without examining it,
erreth? And indeed he is like unto the weaver.' 'What is the
story of the weaver?' asked he; and she said, 'I have heard tell
that



The Foolish Weaver.



There was once in a certain village a weaver who could not earn
his living save by excessive toil. One day, it chanced that a
rich man of the neighbourhood made a feast and bade the folk
thereto. The weaver was present and saw such as were richly clad
served with delicate meats and made much of by the master of the
house, for what he saw of their gallant array. So he said in
himself, "If I change this my craft for another, easier and
better considered and paid, I shall amass store of wealth and
buy rich clothes, that so I may rise in rank and be exalted in
men's eyes and become like unto these." Presently, one of the
mountebanks there climbed up to the top of a steep and lofty wall
and threw himself down, alighting on his feet; which when the
weaver saw, he said to himself, "Needs must I do as this fellow
hath done, for surely I shall not fail of it." So he climbed up
on to the wall and casting himself down to the ground, broke his
neck and died forthright. I tell thee this (continued the woman)
that thou mayst get thy living by that fashion thou knowest and
throughly understandest, lest greed enter into thee and thou lust
after what is not of thy competence.' Quoth he, 'Not every wise
man is saved by his wisdom nor is every fool lost by his folly. I
have seen a skilful charmer versed in the ways of serpents,
bitten by a snake and killed, and I have known others prevail
over serpents, who had no skill in them and no knowledge of their
ways.' And he hearkened not to his wife, but went on buying
stolen goods below their value, till he fell under suspicion and
perished.



                  THE SPARROW AND THE PEACOCK.



There was once a sparrow, that used every day to visit a certain
king of the birds and was the first to go in to him and the last
to leave him. One day, a company of birds assembled on a high
mountain, and one of them said to another, 'Verily, we are waxed
many and many are the differences between us, and needs must we
have a king to order our affairs, so shall we be at one and our
differences will cease.' Thereupon up came the sparrow and
counselled them to make the peacock,--that is, the prince he used
to visit,--king over them. So they chose the peacock to their
king and he bestowed largesse on them and made the sparrow his
secretary and vizier. Now the sparrow was wont bytimes to leave
his assiduity [in the personal service of the king] and look into
affairs [in general]. One day, he came not at the usual time,
whereat the peacock was sore troubled; but presently, he returned
and the peacock said to him, 'What hath delayed thee, that art
the nearest to me of all my servants and the dearest?' Quoth the
sparrow, 'I have seen a thing that is doubtful to me and at which
I am affrighted.' 'What was it thou sawest?' asked the king; and
the sparrow answered, 'I saw a man set up a net, hard by my nest,
and drive its pegs fast into the ground. Then he strewed grain in
its midst and withdrew afar off. As I sat watching what he would
do, behold, fate and destiny drove thither a crane and his wife,
which fell into the midst of the net and began to cry out;
whereupon the fowler came up and took them. This troubled me, and
this is the reason of my absence from thee, O king of the age;
but never again will I abide in that nest, for fear of the net.'
'Depart not thy dwelling,' rejoined the peacock; 'for precaution
will avail thee nothing against destiny.' And the sparrow obeyed
his commandment, saying, 'I will take patience and not depart, in
obedience to the king.' So he continued to visit the king and
carry him food and water, taking care for himself, till one day
he saw two sparrows fighting on the ground and said in himself,
'How can I, who am the king's vizier, look on and see sparrows
fighting in my neighbourhood? By Allah, I must make peace between
them!' So he flew down to them, to reconcile them; but the fowler
cast the net over them and taking the sparrow in question, gave
him to his fellow, saying, 'Take care of him, for he is the
fattest and finest I ever saw.' But the sparrow said in himself,
'I have fallen into that which I feared and it was none but the
peacock that inspired me with a false security. It availed me
nothing to beware of the stroke of fate, since for him who taketh
precaution there is no fleeing from destiny; and how well says
the poet:

That which is not to be shall by no means be brought To pass, and
     that which is to be shall come, unsought,
Even at the time ordained; but he that knoweth not The truth is
     still deceived and finds his hopes grown nought.'



           STORY OF ALI BEN BEKKAR AND SHEMSENNEHAR.



There lived once [at Baghdad] in the days of the Khalif Haroun er
Reshid a merchant named Aboulhusn Ali ben Tahir, who was great of
goods and grace, handsome and pleasant-mannered, beloved of all.
He used to enter the royal palace without asking leave, for all
the Khalif's concubines and slave-girls loved him, and he was
wont to company with Er Reshid and recite verses to him and tell
him witty stories. Withal he sold and bought in the merchants'
bazaar, and there used to sit in his shop a youth named Ali ben
Bekkar, a descendant of the ancient kings of Persia, who was fair
of face and elegant of shape, with rosy cheeks and joined
eyebrows, sweet of speech and laughing-lipped, a lover of mirth
and gaiety. It chanced one day, as they sat laughing and talking,
there came up ten damsels like moons, every one of them
accomplished in beauty and symmetry, and amongst them a young
lady riding on a mule with housings of brocade and golden
stirrups. She was swathed in a veil of fine stuff, with a girdle
of gold-embroidered silk, and was even as says the poet:

She hath a skin like very silk and a soft speech and sweet;
     Gracious to all, her words are nor too many nor too few.
Two eyes she hath, quoth God Most High, "Be," and forthright they
     were; They work as wine upon the hearts of those whom they
     ensue.
Add to my passion, love of her, each night; and, solacement Of
     loves, the Resurrection be thy day of rendezvous!

The lady alighted at Aboulhusn's shop and sitting down there,
saluted him, and he returned her salute. When Ali ben Bekkar saw
her, she ravished his understanding and he rose to go away; but
she said to him, 'Sit in thy place. We came to thee and thou
goest away: this is not fair.' 'O my lady,' answered he, 'by
Allah, I flee from what I see; for the tongue of the case saith:

She's the sun and her dwelling's in heaven on high; Look, then,
     to thine heart thou fair patience commend.
Thou mayst not climb up to her place in the sky, Nor may she to
     thee from her heaven descend.'

When she heard this, she smiled and said to Aboulhusn, 'What is
the name of this young man?' 'He is a stranger,' answered he.
'What countryman is he?' asked she, and the merchant replied, 'He
is a descendant of the (ancient) kings of Persia; his name is Ali
ben Bekkar, and indeed it behoves us to use strangers with
honour.' 'When my damsel comes to thee,' rejoined she, 'come thou
at once to us and bring him with thee, that we may entertain him
in our abode, lest he blame us and say, "There is no hospitality
in the people of Baghdad:" for niggardliness is the worst fault
that a man can have. Thou hearest what I say to thee and if thou
disobey me, thou wilt incur my displeasure and I will never again
visit thee or salute thee.' 'On my head and eyes,' answered
Aboulhusn; 'God preserve me from thy displeasure, fair lady!'
Then she rose and went away, leaving Ali ben Bekkar in a state
of bewilderment. Presently, the damsel came and said to the
merchant, 'O my lord Aboulhusn, my lady Shemsennehar, the
favourite of the Commander of the Faithful Haroun er Reshid, bids
thee to her, thee and thy friend, my lord Ali ben Bekkar.' So he
rose and taking Ali with him, followed the girl to the Khalif's
palace, where she carried them into a chamber and made them sit
down. They talked together awhile, till she set trays of food
before them, and they ate and washed their hands. Then she
brought them wine, and they drank and made merry; after which she
bade them rise and carried them into another chamber, vaulted
upon four columns and adorned and furnished after the goodliest
fashion with various kinds of furniture and decorations, as it
were one of the pavilions of Paradise. They were amazed at the
rarities they saw and as they were gazing at these marvels, up
came ten damsels, like moons, with a proud and graceful gait,
dazzling the sight and confounding the wit, and ranged themselves
in two ranks, as they were of the houris of Paradise. After
awhile, in came ten other damsels, with lutes and other
instruments of mirth and music in their hands, who saluted the
two guests and sitting down, fell to tuning their instruments.
Then they rose and standing before them, played and sang and
recited verses: and indeed each one of them was a seduction to
the faithful. Whilst they were thus occupied, there entered other
ten damsels like unto them, high-bosomed and of an equal age,
with black eyes and rosy cheeks, joined eyebrows and languorous
looks, a seduction to the faithful and a delight to all who
looked upon them, clad in various kinds of coloured silks, with
ornaments that amazed the wit. They took up their station at the
door, and there succeeded them yet other ten damsels, fairer than
they, clad in gorgeous apparel, such as defies description; and
they also stationed themselves by the door. Then in came a band
of twenty damsels and amongst them the lady Shemsennehar, as she
were the moon among the stars, scarved with the luxuriance of her
hair and dressed in a blue robe and a veil of silk, embroidered
with gold and jewels. About her middle she wore a girdle set with
various kinds of precious stones, and she advanced with a
graceful and coquettish gait, till she came to the couch that
stood at the upper end of the chamber and seated herself thereon.
When Ali ben Bekkar saw her, he repeated the following couplets:

Yes, this is she indeed, the source of all my ill, For whom with
     long desire I languish at Love's will.
Near her, I feel my soul on fire and bones worn waste For
     yearning after her that doth my heart fulfih

Then said he to Aboulhusn, 'Thou hadst dealt more kindly with me
to have forewarned me of these things; that I might have prepared
my mind and taken patience to support what hath befallen me ;'
and he wept and groaned and complained. 'O my brother,' replied
Aboulhusn, 'I meant thee nought but good; but I feared to tell
thee of this, lest such transport should overcome thee as might
hinder thee from foregathering with her and intervene between
thee and her: but take courage and be of good heart, for she is
well disposed to thee and inclineth to favour thee.' 'What is the
lady's name?' asked Ali ben Bekkar. 'She is called Shemsennehar,'
answered Aboulhusn 'she is one of the favourites of the Commander
of the Faithful Haroun er Reshid and this is the palace of the
Khalifate.' Then Shemsennehar sat gazing upon Ali ben Bekkar's
charms and he upon hers, till each was engrossed with love of the
other. Presently, she commanded the damsels to sit; so they sat
down, each in her place, on a couch before one of the windows,
and she bade them sing; whereupon one of them took a lute and
sang the following verses:

Twice be the message to my love made known, And take the answer
     from his lips alone.
To thee, O monarch of the fair, I come And stand, of this my case
     to make my moan.
O thou my sovereign, dear my heart and life, That in my inmost
     bosom hast thy throne,
Prithee, bestow a kiss upon thy slave; If not as gift, then even
     as a loan.
I will repay it, (mayst thou never fail!) Even as I took it, not
     a little gone.
Or, if thou wish for more than thou didst lend, Take and content
     thee; it is all thine own.
May health's fair garment ever gladden thee, Thee that o'er me
     the wede of woe hast thrown!

Her singing charmed Ali ben Bekkar, and he said to her, 'Sing me
more of the like of these verses.' So she struck the strings and
sang as follows:

By excess of estrangement, beloved mine, Thou hast taught long
     weeping unto my eyne.
O joy of my sight and its desire, O goal of my hopes, my
     worship's shrine,
Have pity on one, whose eyes are drowned In the sorrowful lover's
     tears of brine!


When she had finished, Shemsennehar said to another damsel, 'Sing
us somewhat, thou.' So she played a lively measure and sang the
following verses:

His looks 'twas made me drunken, in sooth, and not his wine; And
     the grace of his gait has banished sleep from these eyes of
     mine.
'Twas not the wine-cup dazed me, but e'en his glossy curls; His
     charms it was that raised me and not the juice o' the vine.
His winding browlocks have routed my patience, and my wit Is done
     away by the beauties his garments do enshrine.[FN#5]

When Shemsennehar heard this, she sighed heavily, and the song
pleased her. Then she bade another damsel sing; so she took the
lute and chanted the following:

A face that vies, indeed, with heaven's lamp, the sun; The
     welling of youth's springs upon him scarce begun.
His curling whiskers write letters wherein the sense Of love in
     the extreme is writ for every one.
Beauty proclaimed of him, whenas with him it met, "A stuff in
     God's best loom was fashioned forth and done!"

When she had finished, Ali Ben Bekkar. said to the damsel nearest
him, 'Sing us somewhat, thou.' So she took the lute and sang
these verses:

The time of union's all too slight For coquetry and prudish
     flight.
Not thus the noble are. How long This deadly distance and
     despite?
Ah, profit by the auspicious time, To sip the sweets of
     love-delight.

Ali ben Bekkar followed up her song with plentiful tears; and
when Shemsennehar saw him weeping and groaning and lamenting, she
burned with love-longing and desire and passion and transport
consumed her. So she rose from the couch and came to the door of
the alcove, where Ali met her and they embraced and fell down
a-swoon in the doorway; whereupon the damsels came to them and
carrying them into the alcove, sprinkled rose-water upon them.
When they revived, they missed Aboulhusn, who had hidden himself
behind a couch, and the young lady said, 'Where is Aboulhusn?' So
he showed himself to her from beside the couch, and she saluted
him, saying, 'I pray God to give me the means of requiting thee
thy kindness!' Then she turned to Ali ben Bekkar and said to him,
'O my lord, passion has not reached this pass with thee, without
doing the like with me; but there is nothing for it but to bear
patiently what hath befallen us.' 'By Allah, O my lady,' rejoined
he, 'converse with thee may not content me nor gazing upon thee
assuage the fire of my heart, nor will the love of thee, that
hath mastered my soul, leave me, but with the passing away of my
life.' So saying, he wept and the tears ran down upon his cheeks,
like unstrung pearls. When Shemsennehar saw him weep, she wept
for his weeping; and Aboulhusn exclaimed, 'By Allah, I wonder at
your plight and am confounded at your behaviour; of a truth, your
affair is amazing and your case marvellous. If ye weep thus, what
while ye are yet together, how will it be when ye are parted?
Indeed, this is no time for weeping and wailing, but for
foregathering and gladness; rejoice, therefore, and make merry
and weep no more.' Then Shemsennehar signed to a damsel, who went
out and returned with handmaids bearing a table, whereon were
silver dishes, full of all manner rich meats. They set the table
before them, and Shemsennehar began to eat and to feed Ali ben
Bekkar, till they were satisfied, when the table was removed and
they washed their hands. Presently the waiting-women brought
censors and casting bottles and sprinkled them with rose-water
and incensed them with aloes and ambergris and other perfumes;
after which they set on dishes of graven gold, containing all
manner of sherbets, besides fruits and confections, all that the
heart can desire or the eye delight in, and one brought a flagon
of carnelian, full of wine. Then Shemsennehar chose out ten
handmaids and ten singing-women to attend on them and dismissing
the rest to their apartments, bade some of those who remained
smite the lute. They did as she bade them and one of them sang
the following verses:

My soul be a ransom for him who returned my salute with a smile
     And revived in my breast the longing for union after
     despair!
The hands of passion have brought my secret thoughts to the light
     And that which is in my bosom unto my censors laid bare.
The very tears of my eyes press betwixt me and him, As though
     they, even as I, enamoured of him were.

When she had finished, Shemsennehar rose and filling a. cup,
drank it off, then filled it again and gave it to Ali ben Bekkar;
after which she bade another damsel sing; and she sang the
following verses:

My tears, as they flow, are alike to my wine, as I brim it up!
     For my eyes pour forth of their lids the like of what froths
     in my cup.[FN#6]
By Allah, I know not, for sure, whether my eyelids it is Run over
     with wine or else of my tears it is that I sup!

Then Ali ben Bekkar drank off his cup and returned it to
Shemsennehar. She filled it again and gave it to Aboulhusn, who
drank it off. Then she took the lute, saying, 'None shall sing
over my cup but myself.' So she tuned the strings and sang these
verses:

The hurrying tears upon his cheeks course down from either eye'
     For very passion, and love's fires within his heart flame
     high.
He weeps whilst near to those he loves, for fear lest they
     depart: So, whether near or far they be, his tears are never
     dry.

And again:

Our lives for thee, O cupbearer, O thou whom beauty's self From
     the bright parting of thy hair doth to the feet army!
The full moon[FN#7] from thy collar-folds rises, the
     Pleiades[FN#8] Shine from thy mouth and in thine hands there
     beams the sun of day.[FN#9]
I trow, the goblets wherewithal thou mak'st us drunk are those
     Thou pourest to us from thine eyes, that lead the wit
     astray.
Is it no wonder that thou art a moon for ever full And that thy
     lovers 'tis, not thou, that wane and waste away?
Art thou a god, that thou, indeed, by favouring whom thou wilt
     And slighting others, canst at once bring back to life and
     slay?
GCod moulded beauty from thy form and eke perfumed the breeze With
     the sheer sweetness of the scent that cleaves to thee alway.
None of the people of this world, an angel sure thou art, Whom
     thy Creator hath sent down, to hearten our dismay.

When Ali and Aboulhusn and the bystanders heard Shemsennehar's
song, they were transported and laughed and sported; but while
they were thus engaged, up came a damsel, trembling for fear, and
said, 'O my lady, Afif and Mesrour and Merjan and others of the
Commander of the Faithful's eunuchs, whom I know not, are at the
door.' When they heard this they were like to die of fright, but
Shemsennehar laughed and said, 'Have no fear.' Then said she to
the damsel, 'Hold them in parley, whilst we remove hence.' And
she caused shut the doors of the alcove upon Ali and Aboulhusn
and drew the curtains over them; after which she shut the door of
the saloon and went out by the privy gate into the garden, where
she seated herself on a couch she had there and bade one of the
damsels rub her feet. Then she dismissed the rest of her women
and bade the portress admit those who were at the door; whereupon
Mesrour entered, he and his company, twenty men with drawn
swords, and saluted her. Quoth she, 'Wherefore come-ye?' And they
answered, 'The Commander of the Faithful salutes thee. He wearies
for thy sight and would have thee to know that this with him is a
day of great joy and gladness and he is minded to seal his
gladness with thy present company: wilt thou then go to him or
shall he come to thee?' At this she rose, and kissing the earth,
said, 'I hear and obey the commandment of the Commander of the
Faithful.' Then she summoned the chief (female) officers of her
household and other damsels and made a show of complying with the
Khalif's orders and commanding them to make preparations for his
reception, albeit all was in readiness; and she said to the
eunuchs, 'Go to the Commander of the Faithful and tell him that I
await him after a little space, that I may make ready for him a
place with carpets and so forth.' So they returned in haste to
the Khalif, whilst Shemsennehar, doffing her (outer) clothing,
repaired to her beloved Ali ben Bekkar and strained him to her
bosom and bade him farewell, whereat he wept sore and said, 'O my
lady, this leave-taking will lead to the ruin of my soul and the
loss of my life; but I pray God to grant me patience to bear this
my love, wherewith He hath smitten me!' 'By Allah, answered she,
'none will suffer perdition but I; for thou wilt go out to the
market and company with those that will divert thee, and thine
honour will be in safety and thy passion concealed; whilst I
shall fall into trouble and weariness nor find any to console me,
more by token that I have given the Khalif a rendezvous, wherein
haply great peril shall betide me, by reason of my love and
longing passion for thee and my grief at being parted from thee.
For with what voice shall I sing and with what heart shall I
present me before the Khalif and with what speech shall I
entertain the Commander of the Faithful and with what eyes shall
I look upon a place where thou art not and take part in a banquet
at which thou art not present and with what taste shall I drink
wine of which thou partakest not?' 'Be not troubled,' said
Aboulhusn 'but take patience and be not remiss in entertaining
the Commander of the Faithful this night, neither show him any
neglect, but be of good courage.' At this juncture, up came a
damsel, who said to Shemsennehar, 'O my lady, the Khalif's pages
are come.' So she rose to her feet and said to the maid, 'Take
Aboulhusn and his friend and carry them to the upper gallery
giving upon the garden and there leave them, till it be dark;
when do thou make shift to carry them forth.' Accordingly, the
girl carried them up to the gallery and locking the door upon
them, went away. As they sat looking on the garden, the Khalif
appeared, preceded by near a hundred eunuchs with drawn swords
and compassed about with a score of damsels, as they were moons,
holding each a lighted flambeau. They were clad in the richest of
raiment and on each one's head was a crown set with diamonds
and rubies. The Khalif walked in their midst with a majestic
gait, whilst Mesrour and Afif and Wesif went before him and
Shemsennehar and all her damsels rose to receive him and meeting
him at the garden door, kissed the earth before him; nor did they
cease to go before him, till they brought him to the couch,
whereon he sat down, whilst all the waiting-women and eunuchs
stood before him and there came fair maids and slave-girls with
lighted flambeaux and perfumes and essences and instruments of
music. Then he bade the singers sit down, each in her room, and
Shemsennehar came up and seating herself on a stool by the
Khalif's side, began to converse with him, whilst Ali and the
jeweller looked on and listened, unseen of the prince. The Khalif
fell to jesting and toying with Shemsennehar and bade throw open
the (garden) pavilion. So they opened the doors and windows and
lighted the flambeaux till the place shone in the season of
darkness even as the day. The eunuchs removed thither the
wine-service and (quoth Aboulhusn), 'I saw drinking-vessels and
rarities, whose like mine eyes never beheld, vases of gold and
silver and all manner precious stones and jewels, such as beggar
description, till indeed meseemed I was dreaming, for excess of
amazement at what I saw!' But as for Ali ben Bekkar, from the
moment Shemsennehar left him, he lay prostrate on the ground for
excess of passion and desire and when he revived, he fell to
gazing upon these things that had not their like, and saying to
Aboulhusn, 'O my brother, I fear lest the Khalif see us or come
to know of us; but the most of my fear is for thee. For myself, I
know that I am surely lost past recourse, and the cause of my
destruction is nought but excess of passion and love-longing and
desire and separation from my beloved, after union with her; but
I beseech God to deliver us from this predicament.' Then they
continued to look on, till the banquet was spread before the
Khalif, when he turned to one of the damsels and said to her, 'O
Gheram, let us hear some of thine enchanting songs.' So she tool:
the lute and tuning it, sang as follows:

The longing of a Bedouin maid, whose folk are far away, Who
     yearns after the willow of the Hejaz and the bay,--
Whose tears, when she on travellers lights, might for their water
     serve And eke her passion, with its heat, their bivouac-fire
     purvey,--
Is not more fierce nor ardent than my longing for my love, Who
     deem: that I commit a crime in loving him alway.

When Shemsennehar heard this, she slipped off the stool on which
she sat and fell to the earth insensible; where upon the damsels
came and lifted her up. When Ali ben Bekkar saw this from the
gallery, he also fell down senseless, and Aboulhusn said, 'Verily
Fate hath apportioned passion equally between you!' As he spoke,
in came the damsel who had brought them thither and said to him,
'O Aboulhusn, arise and come down, thou and thy friend, for of a
truth the world is grown strait upon us and I fear lest our case
be discovered or the Khalif become aware of you: so, except you
descend at once, we are dead folk. 'How shall this youth
descend,' replied he, 'seeing that he hath not strength to rise?'
With this she fell to sprinkling rose-water on Ali ben Bekkar,
till he came to himself, when Aboulhusn lifted him up and the
damsel stayed him. So they went down from the gallery and walked
on awhile, till they came to a little iron door, which the damsel
opened, and they found themselves on the Tigris' bank. Here they
sat down on a stone bench, whilst the girl clapped her hands and
there came up a man with a little boat, to whom said she, 'Carry
these two young men to the other bank.' So they all three entered
the boat and the man put off with them; and as they launched out
into the stream, Ali ben Bekkar looked back towards the Khalif's
palace and the pavilion and the garden and bade them farewell
with these verses:

I stretch forth a feeble hand to bid farewell to thee, With the
     other upon my burning breast, beneath the heart of me.
But be not this the last of the love betwixt us twain And let not
     this the last of my soul's refreshment be.

The damsel said to the boatman, 'Make haste with them.' So he
plied his oars swiftly till they reached the opposite bank, where
they landed, and she took lease of them, saying, 'It were my wish
not to leave you, but I can go no farther than this.' Then she
turned back, whilst Ali ben Bekkar lay on the ground before
Aboulhusn and could not rise, till the latter said to him, 'This
place is not sure and I am in fear of our lives, by reason of the
thieves and highwaymen and men of lawlessness.' With this Ali
arose and essayed to walk a little, but could not. Now Aboulhusn
had friends in that quarter, so he made for the house of one of
them, in whom he trusted and who was of his intimates, and
knocked at the door. The man came out quickly and seeing them,
bade them welcome and brought them into his house, where he made
them sit down and talked with them and asked them whence they
came. Quoth Aboulhusn 'We came out but now, being moved thereto
by a man with whom I had dealings and who hath in his hands
monies of mine. It was told me that he was minded to flee into
foreign countries with my money; so I came out to-night in quest
of him, taking with me this my friend Ali ben Bekkar for company
but he hid from us and we could get no speech of him So we turned
back, empty-handed, and knew not whither to go, for it were
irksome to us to return home at this hour of the night; wherefore
we came to thee, knowing thy wonted courtesy and kindness.' 'Ye
are right welcome,' answered the host, and studied to do them
honour. They abode with him the rest of the night, and as soon as
it was day, they left him and made their way back to the city.
When they came to Aboulhusn's house, the latter conjured his
friend to enter; so they went in and lying down on the bed, slept
awhile. When they awoke, Aboulhusn bade his servants spread the
house with rich carpets saying in himself, 'Needs must I divert
this youth and distract him from thoughts of his affliction, for
I know his case better than another.' Then he called for water
for Ali ben Bekkar, and the latter rose and making his ablutions,
prayed the obligatory prayers that he had omitted for the past
day and night; after which he sat down and began to solace
himself with talk with his friend. When Aboulhusn saw this, he
turned to him and said, 'O my lord, it were better for thy case
that thou abide with me this night, so thy heart may be lightened
and the anguish of love-longing that is upon thee be dispelled
and thou make merry with us and haply the fire of thy heart be
allayed.' 'O my brother,' answered Ali, 'do what seemeth good to
thee; for I may not anywise escape from what hath befallen me.'
Accordingly, Aboulhusn arose and bade his servants summon some of
the choicest of his friends and sent for singers and musicians.
Meanwhile he made ready meat and drink for them, and they came
and sat eating and drinking and making merry till nightfall Then
they lit the candles, and the cups of friendship and good
fellowship went round amongst them, and the time passed
pleasantly with them. Presently, a singing-woman took the lute
and sang the following verses:

Fate launched at me a dart, the arrow of an eye; It pierced me
     and cut off from those I love am I.
Fortune hath mauled me sore and patience fails me now; But long
     have I forebode misfortune drawing nigh.

When Ali ben Bekkar heard this, he fell to the earth in a swoon
and abode thus till daybreak, and Aboulhusn despaired of him.
But, with the dawning, he came to himself and sought to go home;
nor could Aboulhusn deny him, for fear of the issue of his
affair. So he made his servants bring a mule and mounting Ali
thereon, carried him to his lodging, he and one of his men. When
he was safe at home, the merchant thanked God for his deliverance
from that peril and sat awhile with him, comforting him; but Ali
could not contain himself, for the violence of his passion and
love-longing. Presently Aboulhusn rose to take leave of him and
Ali said, 'O my brother, leave me not without news.' 'I hear and
obey, answered Aboulhusn, and repairing to his shop, opened it
and sat there all day, expecting news of Shemsennehar; but none
came. He passed the night in his own house and when it was day,
he went to Ali ben Bekkar's lodging and found him laid on his
bed, with his friends about him and physicians feeling his pulse
and prescribing this or that. When he saw Aboulhusn, he smiled,
and the latter saluting him, enquired how he did and sat with him
till the folk withdrew, when he said to him, 'What plight is
this?' Quoth Ali, 'It was noised abroad that I was ill and I have
no strength to rise and walk, so as to give the lie to the report
of my sickness, but continue lying here as thou seest. So my
friends heard of me and came to visit me. But, O my brother, hast
thou seen the damsel or heard any news of her?' 'I have not seen
her,' answered Aboulhusn, 'since we parted from her on the
Tigris' bank; but, O my brother, beware of scandal and leave this
weeping.' 'O my brother,' rejoined Ali, 'indeed, I have no
control over myself ;' and he sighed and recited the following
verses:

She giveth unto her hand that whereof mine doth fail, A dye on
     the wrist, wherewith she doth my patience assail
She standeth in fear for her hand of the arrows she shoots from
     her eyes; So, for protection, she's fain to clothe it in
     armour of mail.[FN#10]
The doctor in ignorance felt my pulse, and I said to him, "Leave
     thou my hand alone; my heart it is that doth ail."
Quoth she to the dream of the night, that visited me and fled,
     "By Allah, describe him to me and bate me no jot of the
     tale!"
It answered, "I put him away, though he perish of thirst, and
     said, 'Stand off from the watering-place!' So he could not
     to drink avail."
She poured forth the pearls of her tears from her eyes' narcissus
     and gave The rose of her cheeks to drink and bit upon
     jujubes[FN#11] with hail.[FN#12]

Then he said, 'O Aboulhusn, I am smitten with an affliction, from
which I deemed myself in surety, and there is no greater ease for
me than death.' 'Be patient,' answered his friend: 'peradventure
God will heal thee.' Then he went out from him and repairing
to his shop, opened it, nor had he sat long, when up came
Shemsennehar's hand-maid, who saluted him. He returned her salute
and looking at her, saw that her heart was palpitating and that
she was troubled and bore the traces of affliction: so he said to
her, 'Thou art welcome. How is it with Shemsennehar?' 'I will
tell thee,' answered she; 'but first tell me how doth Ali ben
Bekkar.' So he told her all that had passed, whereat she was
grieved and sighed and lamented and marvelled at his case. Then
said she, 'My lady's case is still stranger than this; for when
you went away, I turned back, troubled at heart for you and
hardly crediting your escape, and found her lying prostrate in
the pavilion, speaking not nor answering any, whilst the
Commander of the Faithful sat by her head, unknowing what aided
her and finding none who could give him news of her. She ceased
not from her swoon till midnight, when she revived and the Khalif
said to her, "What ails thee, O Shemsennehar, and what has
behllen thee this night?" "May God make me thy ransom, O
Commander of the Faithful!" answered she. "Verily, bile rose in
me and lighted a fire in my body, so that I lost my senses for
excess of pain, and I know no more." "What hast thou eaten
to-day?" asked the Khalif. Quoth she, "I broke my fast on
something I had never before eaten." Then she feigned to be
recovered and calling for wine, drank it and begged the Khalif to
resume his diversion. So he sat down again on his couch in the
pavilion and made her sit as before. When she saw me, she asked
me how you fared; so I told her what I had done with you and
repeated to her the verses that Ali ben BeLkar had recited at
parting, whereat she wept secretly, but presently stinted. After
awhile, the Khalif ordered a damsel to sing, and she chanted the
following verses:

Life, as I live, has not been sweet since I did part from thee;
     Would God I knew but how it fared with thee too after me!
If thou be weeping tears of brine for sev'rance of our loves, Ah,
     then, indeed, 'twere meet my tears of very blood should be.

When my lady heard this, she fell back on the sofa in a swoon,
and I seized her hand and sprinkled rose-water on her face, till
she revived, when I said to her, "O my lady, do not bring ruin on
thyself and on all thy house-hold, but be patient, by the life of
thy beloved!" "Can aught befall me worse than death?" answered
she. "That, indeed, I long for, for, by Allah, my ease is
therein." Whilst we were talking, another damsel sang the
following words of the poet:

"Patience shall peradventure lead to solacement," quoth they; and
     I, "Where's patience to be had, now he is gone away?"
He made a binding covenant with me to cut the cords Of patience,
     when we two embraced upon the parting day.

When Shemsennehar heard this, she swooned away once more, which
when the Khalif saw, he came to her in haste and commanded the
wine-service to be removed and each damsel to return to her
chamber. He abode with her the rest of the night, and when it was
day, he sent for physicians and men of art and bade them medicine
her, knowing not that her sickness arose from passion and
love-longing. He tarried with her till he deemed her in a way of
recovery, when he returned to his palace, sore concerned for her
illness, and she bade me go to thee and bring her news of Ali ben
Bekkar. So I came, leaving with her a number of her bodywomen;
and this is what has delayed me from thee.' When Aboulhusn heard
her story, he marvelled and said, 'By Allah, I have acquainted
thee with his whole case; so now return to thy mistress; salute
her for me and exhort her to patience and secrecy and tell her
that I know it to be a hard matter and one that calls for prudent
ordering.' She thanked him and taking leave of him, returned to
her mistress, whilst he abode in his place till the end of the
day, when he shut the shop and betaking himself to Ali ben
Bekkar's house, knocked at the door. One of the servants came out
and admitted him; and when Ali saw him, he smiled and re-joiced
in his coming, saying, 'O Aboulhusn, thou hast made a weary man
of me by thine absence from me this day; for indeed my soul is
pledged to thee for the rest of my days.' 'Leave this talk,'
answered the other. 'Were thy healing at the price of my hand, I
would cut it off, ere thou couldst ask me; and could I ransom
thee with my life, I had already laid it down for thee. This very
day, Shemsennehar's handmaid has been with me and told me that
what hindered her from coming before this was the Khalif's
sojourn with her mistress;' and he went on to repeat to him all
that the girl had told him of Shemsennehar; at which Ali lamented
sore and wept and said to him, 'O my brother, I conjure thee by
God to help me in this mine affliction and teach me how I shall
do! Moreover, I beg thee of thy grace to abide with me this
night, that I may have the solace of thy company.' Aboulhusn
agreed to this; so they talked together till the night darkened,
when Ali groaned aloud and lamented and wept copious tears,
reciting the following verses:

My eye holds thine image ever; thy name in my mouth is aye And
     still in my heart is thy sojourn; so how canst thou absent
     be?
How sore is my lamentation for life that passes away Nor is
     there, alas! in union a part for thee and me!

And also these:

She cleft with the sword of her glance the helm of my courage in
     two And the mail of my patience she pierced with the spear
     of her shape through and through.
She unveiled to us, under the musk of the mole that is set on her
     cheek, carnphor-whlte dawning a-break through a night of the
     ambergris' hue.[FN#13]
Her spirit was stirred to chagrin and she bit on cornelian[FN#14]
     with pearls,[FN#15] Whose unions unvalued abide in a lakelet
     of sugary dew.
She sighed for impatience and smote with her palm on the snows of
     her breast. Her hand left a scar; so I saw what never before
     met my view;
Pens fashioned of coral (her nails), that, dinting the book of
     her breast Five lines, scored in ambergris ink, on a table
     of crystal drew,
O ye that go girded with steel, O swordsmen, I rede you beware Of
     the stroke of her death-dealing eyes, that never looked yet
     but they slew!
And guard yourselves, ye of the spears, and fence off her thrust
     from your hearts, If she tilt with the quivering lance of
     her shape straight and slender at you.

Then he gave a great cry and fell down in a swoon. Aboulhusn
thought that his soul had departed his body and he ceased not
from his swoon till daybreak, when he came to himself and talked
with his friend, who sat with him till the forenoon. Then he left
him and repaired to his shop. Hardly had he opened it, when the
damsel came and stood before him. As soon as he saw her, she made
a sign of salutation to him, which he returned; and she greeted
him for her mistress, saying, 'How doth Ali ben BeLkar?' 'O good
damsel,' replied he, 'ask me not how he doth nor what he suffers
for excess of passion; for he sleeps not by night neither rests
by day; wakefulness wasteth him and affliction hath gotten the
mastery of him and his case is distressful to his friend.' Quoth
she, 'My lady salutes thee and him, and indeed she is in worse
case than he. She hath written him a letter and here it is. When
she gave it me, she said to me, "Do not return save with the
answer." So wilt thou go with me to him and get his reply?' 'I
hear and obey,' answered Aboulhusn, and shutting his shop,
carried her, by a different way to that by which he came, to Ali
ben Bekkar's house, where he left her standing at the door and
entered. When Ali saw him, he rejoiced, and Aboulhusn said to
him, 'The reason of my coming is that such an one hath sent his
handmaid to thee with a letter, containing his greeting to thee
and excusing himself for that he hath tarried by reason of a
certain matter that hath betided him. The girl stands even now at
the door: shall she have leave to enter?' And he signed to him
that it was Shemsennehar's slave-girl. Ali understood his sign
and answered, 'Bring her in.' So she entered and when he saw her,
he shook for joy and signed to her, as who should say, 'How doth
thy lord, may God grant him health and recovery!' 'He is well,'
answered she and pulling out the letter, gave it to him. He took
it and kissing it, opened and read it; after which he handed it
to Aboulhusn, who found written therein what follows:

The messenger of me will give thee news aright; So let his true
     report suffice thee for my sight.
A lover hast thou left, for love of thee distraught; Her eyes
     cease never-more from watching, day or night.
I brace myself to bear affliction, for to foil The buffets of
     ill-fate is given to no wight.
But be thou of good cheer; for never shall my heart Forget thee
     nor thy thought be absent from my spright.
Look on thy wasted frame and what is fallen thereon And thence
     infer of me and argue of my plight.

To proceed: I have written thee a letter without fingers and
speak to thee without tongue; to tell thee my whole state, I have
an eye from which sleeplessness is never absent and a heart
whence sorrowful thought stirs not. It is with me as I had never
known health nor let sadness, neither beheld a fair face nor
spent an hour of pleasant life; but it is as I were made up of
love-longing and of the pain of passion and chagrin. Sickness is
unceasing upon me and my yearning redoubles ever; desire
increases still and longing rages in my heart. I pray God to
hasten our union and dispel the trouble of my mind: and I would
fain have thee write me some words, that I may solace myself
withal. Moreover, I would have thee put on a becoming patience,
till God give relief; and peace be on thee.' When Ali ben Bekkar
had read this letter, he said, 'With what hand shall I write and
with what tongue shall I make moan and lament? Indeed she addeth
sickness to my sickness and draweth death upon my death!' Then he
sat up and taking inkhorn and paper, wrote the following reply:
'In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful. O my lady,
thy letter hath reached me and hath given ease to a mind worn out
with passion and desire and brought healing to a wounded heart,
cankered with languishment and sickness; for indeed I am become
even as saith the poet:


Bosom contracted and grievous thought dilated, Eyes ever wakeful
     and body wearied aye;
Patience cut off and separation ever present, Reason disordered
     and heart all stolen away.

Know that complaining quenches not the fire of calamity; but it
eases him whom love-longing consumes and separation destroys; and
so I comfort myself with the mention of the word "union;" for how
well saith the poet:

If love had not pain and pleasure, satisfaction and despite,
     Where of messengers and letters were for lovers the
     delight?'

When he had made an end of this letter, he gave it to Aboulhusn,
saying, 'Read it and give it to the damsel.' So he took it and
read it and its words stirred his soul and its meaning wounded
his vitals. Then he gave it to the girl, and Ali said to her,
'Salute thy lady for me and tell her of my passion and longing
and how love is blent with my flesh and my bones; and say to her
that I need one who shall deliver me from the sea of destruction
and save me from this dilemma; for of a truth fortune oppresseth
me with its vicissitudes; and is there any helper to free me from
its defilements?' So saying, he wept and the damsel wept for his
weeping. Then she took leave of him and Aboulhusn went out with
her and bade her farewell. So she went her way and he returned to
his shop, which he opened, and sat down there, according to his
wont; but as he sat, he found his bosom straitened and his heart
oppressed and was troubled about his case. He ceased not from
melancholy thought the rest of that day and night, and on the
morrow he betook himself to Ali ben Bekkar, with whom he sat till
the folk withdrew, when he asked him how he did. Ali began to
complain of passion and descant upon the longing and distraction
that possessed him, ending by repeating the following words of
the poet:

Folk have made moan of passion before me of past years, And live
     and dead for absence have suffered pains and fears;
But what within my bosom I harbour, with mine eyes I've never
     seen the like of nor heard it with mine ears.

And also these:

I've suffered for thy love what Caïs, that madman[FN#16] hight,
     Did never undergo for love of Leila bright.
Yet chase I not the beasts o' the desert, as did he; For madness
     hath its kinds for this and th' other wight.

Quoth Aboulhusn, 'Never did I see or hear of one like unto thee
in thy love! If thou sufferest all this transport and sickness
and trouble, being enamoured of one who returns thy passion, how
would it be with thee, if she whom thou lovest were contrary and
perfidious? Meseems, thy case will be discovered, if thou abide
thus.' His words pleased Ali ben Bekkar and he trusted in him and
thanked him.

Now Aboulhusn had a friend, to whom he had discovered his affair
and that of Ali ben Bekkar and who knew that they were close
friends; but none other than he was acquainted with what was
betwixt them. He was wont to come to him and enquire how Ali did
and after a little, he began to ask about the damsel; but
Aboulhusn put him off, saying, 'She invited him to her and there
was between him and her what passeth words, and this is the end
of their affair; but I have devised me a plan which I would fain
submit to thy judgment.' 'And what is that?' asked his friend. 'O
my brother,' answered Aboulhusn, 'I am a man well known, having
much dealing among the notables, both men and women, and I fear
lest the affair of these twain get wind and this lead to my death
and the seizure of my goods and the ruin of my repute and that of
my family. Wherefore I purpose to get together my property and
make ready forthright and repair to the city of Bassora and abide
there, till I see what comes of their affair, that none may know
of me, for passion hath mastered them and letters pass between
them. Their go-between and confidant at this present is a
slave-girl, who hath till now kept their counsel, but I fear lest
haply she be vexed with them or anxiety get the better of her and
she discover their case to some one and the matter be noised
abroad and prove the cause of my ruin; for I have no excuse
before God or man.' 'Thou acquaintest me with a perilous matter,'
rejoined his friend, 'and one from the like of which the wise and
understanding will shrink in affright. May God preserve thee and
avert from thee the evil thou dreadest! Assuredly, thy resolve is
a wise one.' So Aboulhusn returned home and betook himself to
setting his affairs in order and preparing for his journey; nor
had three days elapsed ere he made an end of his business and
departed for Bassora. Three days after, his friend came to visit
him, but finding him not, asked the neighbours of him; and they
answered, 'He set out three days ago for Bassora, for he had
dealings with merchants there and is gone thither to collect his
debts; but he will soon return.' The man was confounded at the
news and knew not whither to go; and he said in himself, 'Would I
had not parted with Aboulhusn!' Then he bethought him how he
should gain access to Ali ben Bekkar and repairing to the
latter's lodging, said to one of his servants, 'Ask leave for me
of thy master that I may go in and salute him.' So the servant
went in and told his master and presently returning, invited the
man to enter. So he went in and found Ali ben Bekkar lying back
on the pillow and saluted him. Ali returned his greeting and bade
him welcome; whereupon the other began to excuse himself for
having held aloof from him all this while and added, 'O my lord,
there was a close friendship between Aboulhusn and myself, so
that I used to trust him with my secrets and could not brook to
be severed from him an hour. It chanced but now that I was absent
three days' space on certain business with a company of my
friends, and when I came back, I found his shop shut; so I asked
the neighbours of him and they replied, "He is gone to Bassora."
Now I know he had no surer friend than thou; so I conjure thee,
by Allah, to tell me what thou knowest of him.' When Ali heard
this, his colour changed and he was troubled and answered, 'I
never heard of his departure till this day, and if it be as thou
sayest, weariness is come upon me.' And he repeated the following
verses:

Whilom I wept for what was past of joy and pleasant cheer, Whilst
     yet the objects of my love were unremoved and near;
But now my sad and sorry fate hath sundered me and them And I
     to-day must weep for those that were to me most dear.

Then he bent his head awhile in thought and presently raising it,
said to one of his servants, 'Go to Aboulhusn'' house and enquire
whether he be at home or gone on a journey. If they say, "He is
abroad;" ask whither.' The servant went out and presently
returning, said to his master, 'When I asked after Aboulhusn, his
people told me that he was gone on a journey to Bassora; but I
saw a damsel standing at the door, who knew me, though I knew her
not, and said to me, "Art thou not servant to Ali ben Bekkar?"
"Yes," answered I. And she said, "I have a message for him from
one who is the dearest of all folk to him." So she came with me
and is now at the door.' Quoth Ali, 'Bring her in.' So the
servant went out and brought her in, and the man who was with Ali
ben Bekkar looked at her and found her comely. She came up to Ali
and saluting him, talked with him privily; and he from time to
time exclaimed with an oath and swore that he had not done as she
avouched. Then she took leave of him and went away. When she was
gone, Aboulhusn's friend, who was a jeweller, took occasion to
speak and said to Ali ben Bekkar, 'Doubtless, the women of the
palace have some claim upon thee or thou hast dealings with the
Khalif's household?' 'Who told thee of this?' asked Ali. 'I
know it by yonder damsel,' replied the jeweller, 'who is
Shemsennehar's slave-girl; for she came to me awhile since with a
written order for a necklace of jewels; and I sent her a costly
one.' When Ali heard this, he was greatly troubled, so that the
jeweller feared for his life, but after awhile he recovered
himself and said, 'O my brother, I conjure thee by Allah to tell
me truly how thou knowest her.' 'Do not press me as to this,'
replied the other; and Ali said, 'Indeed, I will not desist from
thee till thou tell me the truth.' 'Then,' said the jeweller, 'I
will tell thee all, that thou mayst not distrust me nor be
alarmed at what I said, nor will I conceal aught from thee, but
will discover to thee the truth of the matter, on condition that
thou possess me with the true state of thy case and the cause of
thy sickness.' Then he told him all that had passed between
Aboulhusn and himself, adding that he had acted thus only out of
friendship for him and of his desire to serve him and assuring
him that he would keep his secret and venture life and goods in
his service. So Ali in turn told him his story and added, 'By
Allah, O my brother, nought moved me to keep my case secret from
thee and others but my fear lest the folk should lift the veils
of protection from certain persons.' 'And I,' rejoined the
jeweller, 'desired not to foregather with thee but of the great
affection I bear thee and my zeal for thee in every case and my
compassion for the anguish thy heart endureth for severance.
Haply, I may be a comforter to thee in the room of my friend
Aboulhusn, during his absence. So take heart and be of good
cheer.' Ali thanked him and repeated the following verses:

If, 'I am patient,' I say, since forth from me he went, My tears
     give me the lie and the stress of my lament.
And how shall I hide the tears, that flow in streams adown The
     table of my cheek for his evanishment?

Then he was silent awhile, and presently said to the jeweller,
'Knowest thou what the girl whispered to me?' 'Not I, by Allah, O
my lord,' answered he. Quoth Ali, 'She would have it that I had
counselled Aboulhusn to go to Bassora and that I had used this
device to put a stop to our correspondence and intercourse. I
swore to her that this was not so: but she would not credit me
and went away to her mistress, persisting in her injurious
suspicions; and indeed I know not what I shall do without
Aboulhusn, for she inclined to him and gave ear to his word.' 'O
my brother,' answered the jeweller, 'I guessed as much from her
manner; but, if it please God the Most High, I will help thee to
thy desire.' 'Who can help me,' rejoined Ali, 'and how wilt thou
do with her, when she takes umbrage like a wilding of the
desert?' 'By Allah,' exclaimed the jeweller, 'needs must I
do my utmost endeavour to help thee and contrive to make her
acquaintance, without exposure or mischief!' Then he asked leave
to depart, and Ali said, 'O my brother, see thou keep my counsel'
And he looked at him and wept. The jeweller bade him farewell and
went away, knowing not what he should do to further his wishes;
but as he went along pondering the matter, he spied a letter
lying in the road, and taking it up, found that it bore the
following superscription, 'From the least worthy of lovers to the
most excellent of beloved ones.' He opened it and found these
words written therein:

'The messenger brought me a promise of union and delight; But yet
     that he had mistaken 'twas constant in my spright.
Wherefore I joyed not: but sorrow was added unto me, For that I
     knew my envoy had read thee not aright.

To proceed: Know, O my lord, that I am ignorant of the cause of
the breaking off of the correspondence between thee and me: but
if it arise from cruelty on thy part, I will meet it with
fidelity, and if love have departed from thee, I will remain
constant to my love in absence for I am with thee even as says
the poet:

Be haughty and I will be patient; capricious, I'll bear; turn
     away, I'll draw near thee; be harsh, I'll be abject;
     command, I'll give ear and obey.

As he was reading, up came the slave-girl, looking right and
left, and seeing the letter in the jeweller's hand, said to him,
'O my lord, this letter is one I let fall.' He made her no
answer, but walked on, and she followed him, till he came to his
house, when he entered and she after him, saying, 'O my lord,
give me back the letter, for it fell from me.' He turned to her
and said, 'O good slave-girl, fear not, neither grieve, for
verily God the Protector loves to protect [His creatures]; but
tell me the truth of thy case, for I am one who keepeth counsel.
I conjure thee by an oath to hide from me nothing of thy lady's
affair; for haply God shall help me to further her wishes and
make easy what is hard by my hand' 'O my lord,' answered she,
'indeed a secret is not lost whereof thou art the keeper; nor
shall any affair come to nought for which thou strivest. Know
that my heart inclines to thee, and do thou give me the letter.'
Then she told him the whole story, adding, 'God is witness to
what I say.' 'Thou hast spoken truly,' said the jeweller, 'for I
am acquainted with the root of the matter.' Then he told her how
he had come by Ali ben Bekkar's secret and related to her all
that had passed, whereat she rejoiced; and they agreed that she
should carry the letter to Ali and return and tell the jeweller
all that passed. Accordingly he gave her the letter and she took
it and sealed it up as it was before, saying, 'My mistress
Shemsennehar gave it to me sealed; and when he hath read it and
given me the reply, I will bring it to thee.' Then she repaired
to Ali ben Bekkar, whom she found waiting, and gave him the
letter. He read it and writing an answer, gave it to the damsel.
She carried it to the jeweller, who broke the seal and read what
was written therein, as follows:

'Neglected are our messages, for lo, our go-between, That wont to
     keep our counsel erst, is wroth with us, I ween.
So choose us out a messenger, a true and trusty wight, Yea, one
     of whom fidelity, not falsehood, is well seen.

To proceed: Verily, I have not entered upon perfidy nor left
fidelity; I have not used cruelty, neither have I put off loyalty
nor broken faith. I have not ceased from affection nor severed
myself from grief; neither have I found aught after separation
but misery and ruin. I know nothing of that thou avouchest nor do
I love aught but that which thou lovest. By Him who knoweth the
secret of the hidden things, I have no desire but to be united
with her whom I love and my one business is the concealment of my
passion, though sickness consume me. This is the exposition of my
case and peace be on thee.' When the jeweller read this letter,
he wept sore and the girl said to him, 'Leave not this place,
till I return to thee; for he suspects me of such and such
things, in which he is excusable; so it is my desire to bring
thee in company with my mistress Shemsennehar, howsoever I may
contrive it. I left her prostrate, awaiting my return with the
answer.' Then she went away and the jeweller passed the night in
a state of agitation. On the morrow he prayed the morning prayer
and sat awaiting the girl's coming. Presently she came in to him,
rejoicing, and he said to her, 'What news, O damsel?' Quoth she,
'I gave my mistress Ali ben Bekkar's reply, and when she read it,
she was troubled in her mind; but I said to her, "O my lady, have
no fear of the hindrance of your affair by reason of Aboulhusn's
absence, for I have found one to take his place, better than he
and more of worth and apt to keep secrets." Then I told her what
was between Aboulhusn and thyself and how thou camest by his
confidence and that of Ali ben Bekkar and how I met with thee and
showed her how matters stood betwixt thee and me. Now she is
minded to have speech of thee, that she may be assured by thy
words of the covenants between thee and him; so do thou make
ready to go with me to her forthwith. When the jeweller heard
the girl's words, he saw that what she proposed was a grave
matter and a great peril, not lightly to be undertaken or entered
upon, and said to her, 'O my stster, verily, I am of the common
people and not like unto Aboulhusn; for he was of high rank and
repute and was wont to frequent the Khalif's household, because
of their need of his wares. As for me, he used to talk with me,
and I trembled before him the while. So, if thy mistress would
have speech of me, it must be in some place other than the
Khalif's palace and far from the abode of the Commander of the
Faithful; for my reason will not let me do what thou proposest.'
Accordingly, he refused to go with her, and she went on to assure
him of impunity, saying, 'Fear not,' and pressed him, till he
consented to accompany her; but, when he would have risen, his
legs bent under him and his hands trembled and he exclaimed, 'God
forbid that I should go with thee! Indeed, I cannot do this.'
'Reassure thyself,' answered she; 'if it irk thee to go to the
Khalif's palace and thou canst not muster up courage to accompany
me, I will make her come to thee; so stir not from thy place till
I return to thee with her.' Then she went away and returning
after a little, said to the jeweller, 'Look that there be with
thee neither slave-girl nor man-slave nor any other.' Quoth he,
'I have but an old negress-slave, who waits on me.' So she locked
the door between the jeweller and his negress and sent his
man-servants out of the house, after which she went out and
presently returned, followed by a lady, who filled the house with
the sweet scent of her perfumes. When the jeweller saw her, he
sprang to his feet and set her a couch and a cushion, and she sat
down. He seated himself before her and she abode awhile without
speaking, till she was rested, when she unveiled her face and it
seemed to the jeweller as if the sun had risen in his house. Then
said she to her slave-girl, 'Is this the man of whom thou spakest
to me?' 'Yes,' answered she; whereupon the lady turned to the
jeweller and said to him, 'How is it with thee?' 'Well,' replied
he. 'May God preserve thy life and that of the Commander of the
Faithful!' Quoth she, 'Thou hast moved us to come to thee and
possess thee with our secret.' Then she questioned him of
his household and family; and he discovered to her all his
circumstance and said to her, 'I have another house, which I have
set apart for entertaining my friends and brethren, and there is
none there save the old negress, of whom I spoke to thy handmaid.'
She asked him how he came first to know of the matter and what
had made Aboulhusn absent himself, so he told her all and she
bewailed the loss of Aboulhusn and said to the jeweller, 'Know
that the minds of men are at one in desires, and however they may
differ in estate, men are still men and have need one of the
other: an affair is not accomplished without speech nor is a wish
fulfilled save by endeavour: ease comes not but after weariness
nor is succour compassed save by the help of the generous. Now I
have trusted my secret to thee and it is in thy power to expose
or shield us; I say no more, because of thy generosity of nature.
Thou knowest that this my hand-maid keeps my counsel and is
therefore in high favour with me and I have chosen her to
transact my affairs of importance. So let none be worthier in thy
sight than she and acquaint her with thine affair. Be of good
cheer, for thou art safe from what thou fearest on our account,
and there is no shut place but she shall open it to thee. She
shall bring thee messages from me to Ali ben Bekkar, and thou
shalt be our go-between.' So saying, she rose, scarcely able to
stand, and the jeweller forewent her to the door of the house,
after which he returned and sat down again in his place, having
seen of her beauty what dazzled him and heard of her speech what
confounded his wit and witnessed of her grace and courtesy what
bewitched him. He sat musing on her perfections till his trouble
subsided, when he called for food and ate enough to stay his
stomach. Then he changed his clothes and repairing to Ali ben
Bekkar's house, knocked at the door. The servants hastened to
admit him and brought him to their master, whom he found laid
upon his bed. When he saw the jeweller, he said to him, 'Thou
hast tarried long from me and hast added concern to my concern.'
Then he dismissed his servants and bade shut the doors, after
which he said to the jeweller, 'By Allah, O my brother, I have
not closed my eyes since I saw thee last; for the slave-girl
came to me yesterday with a sealed letter from her mistress
Shemsennehar;' and went on to tell him all that had passed,
adding, 'Indeed, I am perplexed concerning mine affair and my
patience fails me: for Aboulhusn was of comfort to me, because he
knew the girl.' When the jeweller heard this, he laughed and Ali
said, 'Why dost thou laugh at my words, thou in whom I rejoiced
and to whom I looked for succour against the shifts of fortune?'
Then he sighed and wept and repeated the following verses:

Many an one laughs at my weeping, whenas he looks on my pain. Had
     he but suffered as I have, he, also, to weep would be fain.
No one hath ruth on the smitten, for that he is doomed to endure
     But he who alike is afflicted and long in affliction hath
     lain
My passion, my yearning, my sighing, my care and distraction end
     woe Are all for a loved one, whose dwelling is in my heart's
     innermost fane.
He made his abode in my bosom and never will leave it again; And
     yet with my love to foregather I weary and travail in vain.
I know of no friend I can choose me to stand in his stead unto
     me, Nor ever, save him, a companion, to cherish and love
     have I ta'en.[FN#17]

When the jeweller heard this, he wept also and told him all that
had passed betwixt himself and the slave-girl and her mistress,
since he left him, whilst Ali gave ear to his speech, and at
every fresh word his colour shifted 'twixt white and red and his
body grew now stronger and now weaker, till he came to the end of
his tale, when Ali wept and said to him, 'O my brother, I am a
lost man in any event. Would my end were near, that I might be at
rest from ail this! But I beg thee, of thy favour, to be my
helper and comforter in all my affairs, till God accomplish
His will; and I will not gainsay thee in aught.' Quoth the
jeweller, 'Nothing will quench the fire of thy passion save union
with her whom thou lovest: and this must not be in this perilous
place, but in a house of mine other than in which the girl and
her mistress came to me. This place she chose for herself, to the
intent that ye may there foregather and complain one to the other
of what you have suffered from the pangs of love.' 'O my lord,'
answered Ali ben Bekkar, 'do as thou wilt and may God requite
thee for me! What thou deemest fit will be right: but be not long
about it, lest I die of this anguish.' So I abode with him (quoth
the jeweller) that night, entertaining him with converse, till
daybreak, when I prayed the morning prayers and going out from
him, returned to my house. Hardly had I done so, when the damsel
came up and saluted me. I returned her greeting and told her what
had passed between Ali ben Bekkar and myself; and she said, 'Know
that the Khalif has left us and there is none in our lodging, and
it is safer for us and better.' 'True,' replied I; 'yet it is not
like my house yonder, which is both surer and fitter for us.' 'Be
it as thou wilt,' rejoined she. 'I will go to my lady and tell
her what thou sayest.' So she went away and presently returned
and said to me, 'It is to be as thou sayest: so make us ready the
place and expect us.' Then she took out a purse of diners and
said to me, 'My lady salutes thee and bids thee take this and
provide therewith what the case calls for.' But I swore that I
would have nought of it; so she took the purse and returning to
her mistress, said to her, 'He would not take the money, but gave
it back to me.' 'No matter,' answered Shemsennehar. As soon as
she was gone, I betook myself to my other house and transported
thither all that was needful, by way of furniture and utensils
and rich carpets and vessels of china and glass and gold and
silver, and made ready meat and drink for the occasion. When the
damsel came and saw what I had done, it pleased her and she bade
me fetch Ali ben Bekkar; but I said, 'None shall fetch him but
thou.' Accordingly she went to him and brought him back, dressed
to perfection and looking his best. I met him and welcomed him
and making him sit down on a couch befitting his condition, set
before him sweet-scented flowers in vases of china and crystal of
various colours. Then I set on a tray of vari-coloured meats, of
such as rejoice the heart with their sight, and sat talking with
him and diverting him, whi'st the girl went away and was absent
till after sundown, when she returned with Shemsennehar, attended
by two maids and no more. When Ali saw her, he rose and embraced
her and they both fell down in a swoon. They lay awhile
insensible, then, coming to themselves, began to complain to each
other of the pains of separation. They sat awhile, conversing
with eloquence and tenderness, after which they perfumed
themselves and fell to thanking me for what I had done. Said I,
'Have ye a mind for food?' 'Yes,' answered they. So I set food
before them, and they ate till they were satisfied and washed
their hands, after which I carried them to another room and
brought them wine. So they drank and grew merry with wine and
inclined to one another, and Shemsennehar said to me, 'O my lord,
complete thy kindness by bringing us a lute or other instrument
of music that the measure of our joy may be filled.' 'On my head
and eyes,' answered I and rising, brought her a lute. She took it
and tuned it, then laying it in her lap, made masterly music, at
once exciting to sorrowful thoughts and cheering the afflicted;
after which she sang the following verses:

I wake and I watch till it seemeth as I were in love with unrest
     And I waste and I languish, as sickness, meseemeth, were
     born in my breast.
The tides of my tears, ever flowing, have burnt up my cheeks with
     their heat: Would I knew if our loves, after sev'rance, with
     union again will be blest!


She went on to sing song after song, choice words set to various
airs, till our minds were bewitched and it seemed as if the very
room would dance with excess of pleasure for the marvel of her
sweet singing and there was nor thought nor reason left in us.
When we had sat awhile and the cup had gone round amongst us, the
damsel took the lute and sang the following verses to a lively
measure:

My love a visit promised me and did fulfil his plight One night
     that I shall reckon aye for many and many a night.
O night of raptures that the fates vouchsafed unto us twain;
     Unheeded of the railing tribe and in the spies' despite!
My loved one lay the night with me and I of my content Clipped
     him with my left hand, while he embraced me with his right.
I strained him to my breast and drank his lips' sweet wine, what
     while I of the honey and of him who sells it had delight.

Whilst we were thus drowned in the sea of gladness, in came a
little maid, trembling, and said, 'O my lady, look how you may go
away, for the folk are upon us and have surrounded the house, and
we know not the cause of this.' When I heard this, I arose in
affright, and behold, in came a slave-girl, who said, 'Calamity
hath overtaken you!' At the same moment, the door was burst open
and there rushed in upon us half a score masked men, with
poniards in their hands and swords by their sides, and as many
more behind them. When I saw this, the world, for all its
wideness, was straitened on me and I looked to the door, but saw
no way out; so I sprang (from the roof) into the house of one of
my neighbours and hid myself there. Thence I heard a great uproar
in my house and concluded that the Khalif had gotten wind of us
and sent the chief of the police to seize us and bring us before
him. So I abode confounded and remained in my place, without
daring to move, till midnight, when the master of the house
became aware of me and being greatly affrighted, made at me with
a drawn sword in his hand, saying, 'Who is this in my house?'
Quoth I, 'I am thy neighbour, the jeweller;' and he knew me and
held his hand. Then he fetched a light and coming up to me, said,
'O my brother, indeed that which hath befallen thee this night is
grievous to me.' 'O my brother,' answered I, 'tell me who it was
entered my house and broke in the door, for I fled to thee, not
knowing what was the matter.' Quoth he, 'The robbers, who visited
our neighbours yesterday and slew such an one and took his goods,
saw thee yesterday bringing hither furniture and what not; so
they broke in upon thee and stole thy goods and slew thy guests.'
Then we arose, he and I, and repaired to my house, which I found
empty and stripped of everything, whereat I was confounded and
said to myself, 'I care not for the loss of the gear, though
indeed I borrowed part thereof of my friends; yet is there no
harm in that, for they know my excuse in the loss of my goods and
the pillage of my house; but as for Ali ben Bekkar and the
Khalif's favourite, I fear lest their case get wind and this
cause the loss of my life.' So I turned to my neighbour and said
to him, 'Thou art my brother and my neighbour and wilt cover my
nakedness; what dost thou counsel me to do?' 'I counsel thee to
wait,' answered he; 'for they who entered thy house and stole thy
goods have murdered the better part of a company from the
Khalif's palace, besides some of the police, and the Khalif's
officers are now in quest of them on every side. Haply they will
chance on them and so thy wish will come about without effort of
thine.' Then I returned to my other house, that in which I dwelt,
saying to myself, 'This that hath befallen me is what Aboulhusn
feared and from which he fled to Bassora.' Presently the pillage
of my pleasure-house was noised abroad among the folk, and they
came to me from all sides, some rejoicing in my misfortune and
others excusing me and condoling with me, whilst I bewailed
myself to them and ate not neither drank for grief. As I sat,
repenting me of what I had done, one of my servants came in to me
and said, 'There is a man at the door, who asks for thee; and I
know him not.' So I went out and found at the door a man whom I
knew not. I saluted him, and he said to me, 'I have somewhat to
say to thee privily.' So I brought him in and said to him, 'What
hast thou to say to me?' Quoth he, 'Come with me to thine other
house.' 'Doss thou then know my other house,' asked I. 'I know
all about thee,' replied he, 'and I know that also wherewith God
will dispel thy concern.' So I said to myself, 'I will go with
him whither he will;' and we went out and walked on till we came
to my other house, which when he saw, he said to me, 'It is
without door or doorkeeper, and we cannot sit in it; so come thou
with me to another house.' Accordingly, he went on from place to
place and I with him, till the night overtook us. Yet I put no
question to him and we ceased not to walk on, till we reached the
open country. He kept saying, 'Follow me,' and quickened his
pace, whilst I hurried after him, heartening myself to go on.
Presently; we came to the river-bank, where he took boat with me,
and the boatman rowed us over to the other side. Here my guide
landed and I after him and he took my hand and led me to a street
I had never before entered, nor do I know in what quarter it is.
Presently he stopped at the door of a house, and opening, entered
and made me enter with him; after which he bolted the door with a
bolt of iron and carried me along the vestibule, till he brought
me in presence of ten men, brothers, as they were one and the
same man. We saluted them and they returned our greeting and bade
us be seated; so we sat down. Now I was like to die for very
weariness; so they brought rose-water and sprinkled it on my
face, after which they gave me to drink and set food before me,
of which some of them ate with me. Quoth I to myself, 'Were there
aught of harm in the food, they would not eat with me.' So I ate,
and when we had washed our hands, each of us returned to his
place. Then said they to me, 'Dost thou know us?' 'I never in my
life saw you nor this your abode,' answered I; 'nay, I know not
even him who brought me hither.' Said they, 'Tell us thy case and
lie not in aught.' 'Know then,' rejoined I, 'that my case is
strange and my affair marvellous: but do you know aught of me?'
'Yes,' answered they; 'it was we took thy goods yesternight and
carried off thy friend and her who was singing to him.' 'May God
let down the veil of His protection over you!' said I. 'But
where is my friend and she who was singing to him?' They pointed
to two doors and replied, 'They are yonder, each in a room apart;
but, by Allah, O our brother, the secret of their case is known
to none but thee, for from the time we brought them hither, we
have not seen them nor questioned them of their condition, seeing
them to be persons of rank and dignity. This it was that hindered
us from putting them to death: so tell us the truth of their case
and be assured of their safety and thine own.' When I heard this,
I was like to die of fright and said to them, 'O my brethren, if
generosity were lost, it would not be found save with you and had
I a secret, which I feared to divulge, your breasts alone should
have the keeping of it.' And I went on to expatiate to them in
this sense, till I saw that frankness would profit me more than
concealment; so I told them the whole story. When they heard it,
they said, 'And is this young man Ali ben Bekkar and this damsel
Shemsennehar?' 'Yes,' answered I. This was grievous to them and
they rose and made their excuses to the two lovers. Then they said
to me, 'Part of what we took from thy house is spent, but here is
what is left of it.' So saying, they gave me back the most part
of my goods and engaged to return them to my house and restore me
the rest. So my heart was set at ease, and some of them abode
with me, whilst the rest fetched Ali ben Bekkar and Shemsennehar,
who were well-nigh dead for excess of fear. Then they all sallied
forth with us and I went up to the two lovers and saluting them,
said to them, 'What became of the damsel and the two maids?' 'We
know nothing of them,' answered they. Then we walked on till we
came to the river-bank, where we all embarked in the boat that
had brought me over before, and the boatman rowed us to the other
side; but hardly had we landed and sat down on the bank to rest,
when a troop of horse swooped down on us like eagles and
surrounded us on all sides, whereupon the robbers with us sprang
up in haste and the boatman, putting back for them, took them in
and pushed off into mid-stream, leaving us on the bank, unable to
move or abide still. The horseman said to us, 'Whence come ye?'
And we were perplexed for an answer; but I said, 'Those ye saw
with us are rogues: we know them not. As for us, we are singers,
whom they would have taken to sing to them, nor could we win free
of them, save by subtlety and fair words, and they have but now
left us.' They looked at Ali and Shemsennehar and said to me,
'Thou hast not spoken sooth; but if thy tale be true, tell us who
you are and whence you come and in what quarter you dwell.' I
knew not what to answer, but Shemsennehar sprang up and
approaching the captain of the troop, spoke with him privily,
whereupon he dismounted and setting her on his steed, began to
lead it along by the bridle. Two of his men did the like with Ali
ben Bekkar and myself, and they fared on with us, till they
reached a certain part of the river-bank, when the captain sang
out in jargon and there came to us a number of men with two
boats. The captain embarked with Shemsennehar in one boat and
went his way, whilst the rest of his men put off in the other,
with Ali ben Bekkar and myself, and rowed on with us, we the
while enduring the agonies of death for excess of fear, till they
came to a place whence there was a way to our quarter. Here we
landed and walked on, escorted by some of the horsemen, till we
came to Ali ben Bekkar's house, where they took leave of us and
went their way. We entered the house and abode there, unable to
stir and knowing not night from day, till nightfall of the next
day, when I came to myself and saw Ali ben Bekkar stretched out
without sense or motion, and the men and women of his household
weeping over him. When they saw that I had recovered my senses,
some of them came to me and helping me sit up, said to me, 'Tell
us what hath befallen our son and how he came in this plight.' 'O
folk,' answered I, 'hearken to me and importune me not; but be
patient and he will come to himself and tell you his story for
himself.' And I was round with them and made them afraid of a
scandal between us; but as we were thus, behold, Ali ben Bekkar
moved in his bed, whereat his friends rejoiced and the [most part
of the] folk withdrew from him; but his people forbade me to go
away. Then they sprinkled rose-water on his face, and he
presently revived and breathed the air, whereupon they questioned
him of his case. He essayed to answer them, but could not speak
forthright and signed to them to let me go home. So they let me
go, and I returned to my own house, supported by two men and
hardly crediting my escape. When my people saw me thus, they fell
a-shrieking and buffeting their faces; but I signed to them to
hold their peace, and they were silent. Then the two men went
their way and I threw myself down on my bed, where I lay the rest
of the night and awoke not till the forenoon, when I found my
people collected round me and they said, 'What hath befallen thee
and what (evil) hath smitten thee with its mischief?' Quoth I,
'Bring me to drink.' So they brought me wine, and I drank what I
would and said to them, 'Wine got the better of me and it was
this caused the state in which ye saw me' Then they went away,
and I made my excuses to my friends and asked if any of the goods
that had been stolen from my other house had been returned.'
'Yes,' answered they. 'Some of them have come back: and the
manner of their coming was that a man came and threw them down
in the doorway and we saw him not.' So I comforted myself and
abode two days, unable to rise, at the end of which time I
began to regain strength and went to the bath, for I was worn
out with fatigue and troubled at heart for Ali ben Bekkar and
Shemsennehar, because I had no news of them all this time and
could neither get to Ali's house nor rest in my own, out of fear
for myself. And I repented to God the Most High of what I had
done and praised Him for my safety. Then I bethought me to go to
such and such a place and see the folk and divert myself; so I
went to the stuff-market and sat awhile with a friend of mine
there. When I rose to go, I saw a woman standing in my road; so I
looked at her, and behold it was Shemsennehar's slave-girl. When
I saw her, the world grew dark in my eyes and I hurried on. She
followed me, but I was afraid and fled from her, trembling
whenever I looked at her, whilst she pursued me, saying, 'Stop,
that I may tell thee somewhat.' But I heeded her not and went on,
till I reached a mosque in an unfrequented spot, and she said to
me, 'Enter the mosque, that I may say a word to thee, and fear
nothing.' And she conjured me: so I entered the mosque, and she
after me. I prayed a two-bow prayer, after which I turned to her,
sighing, and said, 'What dost thou want?' She asked me how I did,
and I told her all that had befallen myself and Ali ben Bekkar
and asked her for news of herself. 'Know,' answered she, 'that
when I and the two maids saw the robbers break open thy door, we
doubted not but they were the Khalif's officers and would seize
us and our mistress and we perish forthright: so we fled over the
roofs and casting ourselves down from a high place, took refuge
with some people, who harboured us and brought us to the palace,
where we arrived in the sorriest of plights. We concealed our
case and abode on coals of fire till nightfall, when I opened the
river-gate and calling the boatman who had carried us the night
before, said to him, "I know not what is come of my mistress; so
take me in thy boat, that we may seek her on the river: it may be
I shall chance on some news of her." So he took me into the boat
and rowed about with me till midnight, when I spied a boat making
towards the water-gate, with one man rowing and another standing
up and a woman lying prostrate between them. When they reached
the shore and the woman landed, I looked at her, and behold, it
was Shemsennehar. So I landed and joined her, dazed for joy,
after having lost hope of her. When I came up to her, she bade me
give the man who had brought her thither a thousand diners, and I
and the two maids carried her in and laid her on her bed, and she
at death's door. She abode thus all that day and the next day and
I forbade the eunuchs and women to go in to her; but on the third
day, she revived and I found her as she had come out of the
grave. So I sprinkled rose-water upon her face and changed her
clothes and washed her hands and feet, nor did I cease to
persuade her, till I brought her to eat a little and drink some
wine, though she had no mind to it. As soon as she had breathed
the air and strength began to return to her, I fell to upbraiding
her, saying, "Consider, O my lady, and have pity on thyself; thou
seest what has betided us Surely, enough of evil hath befallen
thee and thou hast been nigh upon death." "By Allah, O good
damsel," replied she, "death were easier to me than what hath
befallen me; for I had renounced all hope of deliverance and gave
myself up for lost. When the robbers took us from the jeweller's
house, they asked me who I was; I replied, 'I am a singing-girl,'
and they believed me. Then they said to Ali ben Bekkar, 'And who
art thou and what is thy condition?' And he answered, 'I am of
the common people.' So they carried us to their abode, and we
hurried on with them for fear; but when they had us with them in
the house, they looked at me and seeing the clothes I wore and my
necklaces and jewellery, believed me not and said to me, 'No
singing-girl ever had such jewels as these; tell us the truth of
thy case.' I returned them no answer, saying in myself, 'Now will
they kill me for my clothes and ornaments;' and I spoke not a
word. Then they turned to Ali ben Bekkar and said to him, 'And
thou, who and whence art thou? For thy favour is not as that of
the common folk.' But he was silent and we ceased not to keep our
counsel and weep, till God inclined the rogues' hearts towards us
and they said to us, 'Who is the owner of the house in which you
were?' 'Such an one, the jeweller,' answered we; whereupon quoth
one of them, 'I know him well and where he lives, and I will
engage to bring him to you forthright.' Then they agreed to set
me in a place by myself and Ali ben Bekkar in a place by himself,
and said to us, 'Be at rest and fear not lest your secret be
divulged; ye are safe from us.' Meanwhile their comrade went away
and returned with the jeweller, who made known to them our case,
and we joined company with him; after which one of the band
fetched a boat, in which they embarked us all three and rowing us
over the river, landed us on the opposite bank and went away;
whereupon up came a horse-patrol and asked us who we were. So I
spoke with the captain and said to him, 'I am Shemsennehar, the
Khalif's favourite; I had drunken wine and went out to visit
certain of my acquaintance of the wives of the Viziers, when
yonder rogues laid hold of me and brought me hither; but when
they saw you, they fled. I met these men with them; so do thou
escort me and them to a place of safety and I will requite thee.'
When the captain heard my speech, he knew me and alighting,
mounted me on his horse; and in like manner did two of his men
with Ali and the jeweller. And now my heart is on fire on their
account, especially for Ali's friend the jeweller: so do thou go
to him and salute him and ask him for news of Ali ben Bekkar." I
spoke to her and blamed her and bade her beware, saying' "O my
lady, have a care for thyself and give up this intrigue." But she
was angered at my words and cried out at me. So I came forth in
quest of thee, but found thee not and dared not go to Ali's
house; so stood watching for thee, that I might ask thee of him
and know how it is with him. And I beg thee, of thy favour, to
take some money of me, for belike thou borrowedst of thy friends
some of the goods, and as they are lost, it behoves thee to make
them compensation.' 'I hear and obey,' answered I. 'Go on.' And I
walked with her till we drew near my house, when she said to me,
'Wait till I return to thee.' So she went away and presently
returned with a bag of money, which she handed to me, saying, 'O
my lord, where shall we meet?' Quoth I, 'I will go to my house at
once and suffer hardship for thy sake and contrive how thou mayst
win to him, for access to him is difficult at this present.' 'Let
me know where I shall come to thee,' said she, and I answered,
'In my other house; I will go thither forthright and have the
doors repaired and the place made secure again, and henceforth we
will meet there.' Then she took leave of me and went her way,
whilst I carried the money home, and counting it, found it five
thousand diners. I gave my people some of it and made good their
loss to all who had lent me aught, after which I took my servants
and repaired to my other house, with builders and carpenters,
who restored it to its former state. Moreover, I placed my
negress-slave there and forgot what had befallen me. Then I
repaired to Ali ben Bekkar's house, where his servants accosted
me, saying, 'Our lord calls for thee day and night and hath
promised his freedom to whichever of us brings thee to him; so we
have been in quest of thee everywhere, but knew not where to find
thee. Our master is by way of recovery, but he has frequent
relapses, and when he revives, he names thee and says, "Needs
must ye bring him to me, though but for an instant," and sinks
back into his torpor.' So I went in to Ali ben Bekkar and finding
him unable to speak, sat down at his head, whereupon he opened
his eyes and seeing me, wept and said, 'Welcome and fair
welcome!' I raised him and making him sit up, strained him to my
bosom, and he said, 'Know, O my brother, that, since I took to my
bed, I have not sat up till now: praised be God that I see thee
again!' Presently, little by little, I made him stand up and walk
a few steps, after which I changed his clothes and he drank some
wine. All this he did to please me. Then, seeing him to be
somewhat restored, I told him what had befallen me with the
slave-girl, none else hearing me, and said to him, 'I know what
thou sufferest; but take heart and be of good courage; for
henceforth nought shall betide thee, but what shall rejoice thee
and ease thine heart.' He smiled and called for food, which being
brought, he signed to his servants, and they withdrew. Then said
he to me, 'O my brother, thou seest what hath befallen me;' and
he made his excuses to me and enquired how I had fared all that
while. I told him all that had befallen me, from first to last,
at which he wondered and calling his servants, said, 'Bring me
such and such things.' Accordingly, they brought in rich carpets
and hangings and utensils of gold and silver, more than I had
lost, and he gave them all to me; so I sent them to my house and
abode with him that night. When the day began to break, he said
to me, 'To everything there is an end, and the end of love is
death or enjoyment. I am nearer unto death, would I had died ere
this befell! For, had not God favoured us, we had been discovered
and put to shame. And now I know not what shall deliver me from
this my strait, and were it not that I fear God, I would hasten
my own death; for know, O my brother, that I am like the bird in
the cage and that my life is of a surety perished, by reason of
the distresses that have befallen me; yet hath it a fixed period
and an appointed term.' And he wept and groaned and repeated the
following verses:

Indeed, it sufficeth the lover the time that his tears have run;
     As for affliction, of patience it hath him all fordone.
He who concealeth the secrets conjoined us heretofore And now His
     hand hath severed that which Himself made one.

When he had finished, I said to him, 'O my lord, I would fain
return to my house; it may be the damsel will come back to me
with news.' 'It is well,' answered he; 'go and return to me
speedily with news, for thou seest my condition.' So I took leave
of him and went home. Hardly had I sat down, when up came the
damsel, choked with her tears. 'What is the matter?' asked I, and
she said, 'O my lord, what we feared has fallen on us; for, when
I returned yesterday to my lady, I found her enraged with one of
the two maids who were with us the other night, and she ordered
her to be beaten. The girl took fright and ran away; but one of
the gate-keepers stopped her and would have sent her back to her
mistress. However, she let fall some hints, which excited his
curiosity; so he coaxed her and led her on to talk, and she
acquainted him with our case. This came to the ears of the
Khalif, who bade remove my mistress and all her gear to his own
palace and set over her a guard of twenty eunuchs. Since then he
has not visited her nor given her to know the cause of his
action, but I suspect this to be the cause; wherefore I am in
fear for myself and am perplexed, O my lord, knowing not what I
shall do nor how I shall order my affair and hers, for she had
none more trusted nor trustier than myself. So do thou go quickly
to Ali ben Bekkar and acquaint him with this, that he may be on
his guard; and if the affair be discovered, we will cast about
for a means of saving ourselves.' At this, I was sore troubled
and the world grew dark in my sight for the girl's words. Then
she turned to go, and I said to her, 'What is to be done?' Quoth
she, 'My counsel is that thou hasten to Ali ben Bekkar, if thou
be indeed his friend and desire his escape; thine be it to carry
him the news forthright, and be it mine to watch for further
news.' Then she took her leave of me and went away. I followed
her out and betaking myself to Ali ben Bekkar, found him
flattering himself with hopes of speedy enjoyment and staying
himself with vain expectations. When he saw me, he said, 'I see
thou hast come back to me forthwith' 'Summon up all thy
patience,' answered I, 'and put away thy vain doting and shake
off thy preoccupation, for there hath befallen that which may
bring about the loss of thy life and goods.' When he heard this,
he was troubled and his colour changed and he said to me, 'O my
brother, tell me what hath happened.' 'O my lord,' replied I,
'such and such things have happened and thou art lost without
recourse, if thou abide in this thy house till the end of the
day.' At this he was confounded and his soul well-nigh departed
his body, but he recovered himself and said to me, 'What shall I
do, O my brother, and what is thine advice?' 'My advice,'
answered I, 'is that thou take what thou canst of thy property
and whom of thy servants thou trustest and flee with me to a land
other than this, ere the day come to an end.' And he said, 'I
hear and obey.' So he rose, giddy and dazed, now walking and now
falling down and took what came under his hand. Then he made an
excuse to his household and gave them his last injunctions, after
which he loaded three camels and mounted his hackney. I did the
like and we went forth privily in disguise and fared on all day
and night, till nigh upon morning, when we unloaded and hobbling
our camels, lay down to sleep; but, being worn with fatigue, we
neglected to keep watch, so that there fell on us robbers, who
stripped us of all we had and slew our servants, when they would
have defended us, after which they made off with their booty,
leaving us naked and in the sorriest of plights. As soon as they
were gone, we arose and walked on till morning, when we came to a
village and took refuge in its mosque. We sat in a corner of the
mosque all that day and the next night, without meat or drink;
and at daybreak, we prayed the morning prayer and sat down again.
Presently, a man entered and saluting us, prayed a two-bow
prayer, after which he turned to us and said, 'O folk, are ye
strangers?' 'Yes,' answered we, 'robbers waylaid us and stripped
us, and we came to this town, but know none here with whom we may
shelter.' Quoth he, 'What say you? Will you come home with me?'
And I said to Ali ben Bekkar, 'Let us go with him, and we shall
escape two evils; first, our fear lest some one who knows us
enter the mosque and so we be discovered; and secondly, that we
are strangers and have no place to lodge in.' 'As thou wilt,'
answered he. Then the man said to us again, 'O poor folk, give
ear unto me and come with me to my house.' 'We hear and obey,'
answered I; whereupon he pulled off a part of his own clothes and
covered us therewith and made his excuses to us and spoke kindly
to us. Then we accompanied him to his house and he knocked at the
door, whereupon a little servant came out and opened to us. We
entered after our host, who called for a parcel of clothes and
muslin for turbans, and gave us each a suit of clothes and a
piece of muslin; so we made us turbans and sat down. Presently,
in came a damsel with a tray of food and set it before us,
saying, 'Eat.' We ate a little and she took away the tray; after
which we abode with our host till nightfall, when Ali ben Bekkar
sighed and said to me, 'Know, O my brother, that I am a dead man
and I have a charge to give thee: it is that, when thou seest me
dead, thou go to my mother and tell her and bid her come hither,
that she may be present at the washing of my body and take order
for my funeral; and do thou exhort her to bear my loss with
patience.' Then he fell down in a swoon and when he revived, he
heard a damsel singing afar off and addressed himself to give ear
to her and hearken to her voice; and now he was absent from the
world and now came to himself, and anon he wept for grief and
mourning at what had befallen him. Presently, he heard the damsel
sing the following verses:

Parting hath wrought in haste our union to undo After the
     straitest loves and concord 'twixt us two.
The shifts of night and day have torn our lives apart. When shall
     we meet again? Ah, would to God I knew!
After conjoined delight, how bitter sev'rance is! Would God it
     had no power to baffle lovers true!
Death's anguish hath its hour, then endeth; but the pain Of
     sev'rance from the loved at heart is ever new.
Could we but find a way to come at parting's self, We'd surely
     make it taste of parting's cup of rue.

When he heard this, he gave one sob and his soul quitted his
body. As soon as I saw that he was dead, I committed his body to
the care of the master of the house and said to him, 'I go to
Baghdad, to tell his mother and kinsfolk, that they may come
hither and take order for his burial' So I betook myself to
Baghdad and going to my house, changed my clothes, after which I
repaired to Ali ben Bekkar's lodging. When his servants saw me,
they came to me and questioned me of him, and I bade them ask
leave for me to go in to his mother. She bade admit me; so I
entered and saluting her, said, 'Verily God orders the lives of
all creatures by His commandment and when He decreeth aught,
there is no escaping its fulfilment, nor can any soul depart but
by His leave, according to the Writ which prescribeth the
appointed terms.' She guessed by these words that her son was
dead and wept sore, then she said to me, 'I conjure thee by
Allah, tell me, is my son dead?' I could not answer her for tears
and much grief, and when she saw me thus, she was choked with
weeping and fell down in a swoon. As soon as she came to herself,
she said to me, 'Tell me how my son died.' 'May God abundantly
requite thee for him!' answered I and told her all that had
befallen him, from first to last. 'Did he give thee any charge?'
asked she. 'Yes,' answered I and told her what he had said,
adding, 'Hasten to take order for his funeral.' When she heard
this, she swooned away again; and when she recovered, she
addressed herself to do as I bade her. Then I returned to my
house; and as I went along, musing sadly upon his fair youth, a
woman caught hold of my hand. I looked at her and behold, it was
Shemsennehar's slave-girl, broken for grief. When we knew each
other, we both wept and gave not over weeping till we reached my
house, and I said to her, 'Knowest thou the news of Ali ben
Bekkar?' 'No, by Allah,' replied she; so I told her the manner of
his death and all that had passed, whilst we both wept; after
which I said to her, 'And how is it with thy mistress?' Quoth
she, 'The Khalif would not hear a word against her, but saw all
her actions in a favourable light, of the great love he bore her,
and said to her, "O Shemsennehar, thou art dear to me and I will
bear with thee and cherish thee, despite thine enemies." Then he
bade furnish her a saloon decorated with gold and a handsome
sleeping-chamber, and she abode with him in all ease of life and
high favour. One day, as he sat at wine, according to his wont,
with his favourites before him, he bade them be seated in their
places and made Shemsennehar sit by his side. (Now her patience
was exhausted and her disorder redoubled upon her.) Then he bade
one of the damsels sing: so she took a lute and tuning it,
preluded and sang the following verses:

One sought me of lore and I yielded and gave him that which he
     sought. And my tears write the tale of my transport in
     furrows upon my cheek.
Meseemeth as if the teardrops were ware, indeed, of our case And
     hide what I'd fain discover and tell what to hide I seek.
How can I hope to be secret and hide the love that I feel, Whenas
     the stress of my longing my passion for thee doth speak?
Death, since the loss of my loved ones, is sweet to me: would I
     knew What unto them is pleasant, now that they've lost me
     eke!

When Shemsennehar heard these verses, she could not keep her
seat, but fell down in a swoon, whereupon the Khalif threw the
cup from his hand and drew her to him, crying out. The damsels
clamoured and he turned her over and shook her, and behold, she
was dead. The Khalif grieved sore for her death and bade break
all the vessels and lutes and other instruments of mirth and
music in the place; then carrying her body to his closet, he
abode with her the rest of the night. When the day broke, he laid
her out and commanded to wash her and shroud her and bury her.
And he mourned very sore for her and questioned not of her case
nor what ailed her. And I beg thee in God's name,' continued the
damsel, 'to let me know the day of the coming of Ali ben Bekkar's
funeral train, that I may be present at his burial.' Quoth I,
'For myself, thou canst find me where thou wilt; but thou, who
can come at thee where thou art?' 'On the day of Shemsennehar's
death,' answered she, 'the Commander of the Faithful freed all
her women, myself among the rest; and we are now abiding at the
tomb in such a place.' So I accompanied her to the burial-ground
and visited Shemennehar's tomb;[FN#18] after which I went my way
and awaited the coming of Ali ben Bekkar's funeral. When it
arrived, the people of Baghdad went forth to meet it and I with
them; and I saw the damsel among the women and she the loudest of
them in lamentation, crying out and wailing with a voice that
rent the vitals and made the heart ache. Never was seen in
Baghdad a greater funeral than his and we ceased not to follow in
crowds, till we reached the cemetery and buried him to the mercy
of God the most High; nor from that time to this have I ceased to
visit his tomb and that of Shemsennehar." This, then, is their
story, and may God the Most High have mercy upon them!



                    KEMEREZZEMAN AND BUDOUR.



There was once, of old time, a king called Shehriman, who was
lord of many troops and guards and officers and reigned over
certain islands, known as the Khalidan Islands, on the borders of
the land of the Persians; but he was grown old and decrepit,
without having been blessed with a son, albeit he had four wives,
daughters of kings, and threescore concubines, with each of whom
he was wont to lie one night in turn.  This preyed upon his mind
and disquieted him, so that he complained thereof to one of his
Viziers, saying, 'I fear lest my kingdom be lost, when I die, for
that I have no son to take it after me.'  'O King,' answered the
Vizier, 'peradventure God shall yet provide for this; do thou put
thy trust in Him and be constant in supplication to Him.'  So the
King rose and making his ablutions, prayed a two-bow prayer with
a believing heart; after which he called one of his wives to bed
and lay with her forthright.  By God's grace, she conceived by
him and when her months were accomplished, she bore a male child,
like the moon on the night of its full.  The King named him
Kemerezzeman and rejoiced in him with exceeding joy and bade
decorate the city in his honour.  So they decorated the city
seven days, whilst the drums beat and the messengers bore the
glad tidings abroad.  Meanwhile nurses and attendants were
provided for the boy and he was reared in splendour and delight,
until he reached the age of fifteen.  He grew up of surpassing
beauty and symmetry, and his father loved him very dear, so that
he could not brook to be parted from him day or night.  One day,
he complained to one of his Viziers of the excess of his love for
his son, saying, 'O Vizier, of a truth I fear the shifts and
accidents of fortune for my son Kemerezzeman and fain would I
marry him in my lifetime.'  'O King,' answered the Vizier,
'marriage is one of the most honourable of actions, and thou
wouldst indeed do well to marry thy son in thy lifetime, ere
thou make him king.'  Quoth the King, 'Fetch me my son;' so
Kemerezzeman came and bowed his head before his father, out of
modesty.  'O Kemerezzeman,' said the King, 'I desire to marry
thee and rejoice in thee in my lifetime.'  'O my father,'
answered the prince, 'know that I have no wish to marry, nor doth
my soul incline to women; for that I have read many books and
heard much talk concerning their craft and perfidy, even as saith
the poet:

If ye would know of women and question of their case, Lo, I am
     versed in their fashions and skilled all else above.
When a man's head grows grizzled or for the nonce his wealth
     Falls from his hand, then, trust me, he hath no part in
     their love.

And again:

Gainsay women; he obeyeth Allah best who saith them nay, And he
     prospers not who giveth them his bridle-rein to sway;
For they'll hinder him from winning to perfection in his gifts,
     Though a thousand years he study, seeking after wisdom's
     way.

Wherefore (continued Kemerezzeman) marriage is a thing to which I
will never consent; no, not though I drink the cup of death.'
When the King heard this, the light in his sight became darkness
and he was excessively chagrined at his son's lack of obedience
to his wishes; yet, for the great love he bore him, he forbore to
press him and was not wroth with him, but caressed him and spoke
him fair and showed him all manner of kindness such as tends to
cultivate affection.  He took patience with him a whole year,
during which time Kemerezzeman increased daily in beauty and
elegance and amorous grace, till he became perfect in eloquence
and loveliness.  All men were ravished with his beauty and every
breeze that blew carried the tidings of his charms; he was a
seduction to lovers and a garden of delight to longing hearts,
for he was sweet of speech and his face put the full moon to
shame.  Accomplished in symmetry as in elegance and engaging
manners, his shape was slender and graceful as the willow-wand or
the flowering cane and his cheeks might pass for roses or
blood-red anemones.  He was, in fine, charming in all respects,
even as the poet hath said of him:

He comes and "Blest be God!" say all men, high and base. "Glory
     to Him who shaped and fashioned forth his face!"
He's monarch of the fair, wherever they may be;  For, lo, they're
     all become the liegemen of his grace.
The water of his mouth is liquid honey-dew And 'twixt his lips
     for teeth fine pearls do interlace.
Perfect in every trait of beauty and unique, His witching
     loveliness distracts the human race.
Beauty itself hath writ these words upon his cheek, "Except this
     youth there's none that's fair in any place."

When the year came to an end, the King called his son to him and
said, 'O my son, wilt thou not hearken to me?'  Whereupon
Kemerezzeman fell down for respect and shame before his father
and replied, 'O my father, how should I not hearken to thee,
seeing that God commandeth me to obey thee and not gainsay thee?'
'O my son,' said King Shehriman, 'know that I desire to marry
thee and rejoice in thee, whilst yet I live, and make thee king
over my realm, before my death.'  When the prince heard this, he
bowed his head awhile, then raised it and said, 'O my father,
this is a thing that I will never do, though I drink the cup of
death.  I know of a surety that God the Most High enjoins on me
obedience to thee; but in His name I conjure thee, press me not
in this matter of marriage, neither think that I will ever marry
my life long; for that I have read the books both of the ancients
and the moderns and have come to know all the troubles and
calamities that have befallen them through women and the
disasters that have sprung from their craft without end.  How
well says the poet:

He, whom the baggages entrap, Deliverance shall never know,
Although a thousand forts he build, Plated with lead;--'gainst
     such a foe
It shall not profit him to build Nor citadels avail, I trow.
Women are traitresses to all, Both near and far and high and low.
With fingers dyed and flowing hair Plaited with tresses, sweet of
     show,
And eyelids beautified with kohl, They make one drink of bale and
     woe.

And no less excellently saith another:

Women, for all to chastity they're bidden, everywhere Are carrion
     tossed about of all the vultures of the air.
To-night their converse, ay, and all their secret charms are
     thine, But on the morn their leg and wrist fall to another's
     share;
Like to an inn in which thou lodg'st, departing with the dawn,
     And one thou know'st not, after thee, lights down and lodges
     there.

When King Shehriman heard these his son's words, he made him no
answer, of his great love for him, but redoubled in favour and
kindness to him.  As soon as the audience was over, he called his
Vizier and taking him apart, said to him, 'O Vizier, tell me how
I shall do with my son in this matter of his marriage.  I took
counsel with thee thereon and thou didst counsel me to marry him,
before making him king.  I have spoken with him once and again of
marriage, and he still gainsaid me; so do thou now counsel me
what to do.'  'O King,' answered the Vizier, 'wait another year,
and if after that thou be minded to speak to him on the matter of
marriage, do it not privily, but on a day of state, when all the
Viziers and Amirs are present and all the troops standing before
thee.  Then send for thy son and broach to him the matter of
marriage before the Viziers and grandees and officers of state
and captains; for he will surely be daunted by their presence and
will not dare to oppose thy will.'  The King rejoiced exceedingly
in his Vizier's advice, deeming it excellent, and bestowed on him
a splendid robe of honour.  Then he took patience with his son
another year, whilst, with every day that passed over him,
Kemerezzeman increased in grace and beauty and elegance and
perfection, till he was nigh twenty years old.  Indeed, God had
clad him in the habit of beauty and crowned him with the crown of
perfection: his eyes were more ensorcelling than Harout and
Marout[FN#19] and the play of his glances more misleading than
Taghout.[FN#20] His cheeks shone with redness and his eyelashes
outvied the keen-edged sword: the whiteness of his forehead
resembled the shining moon and the blackness of his hair was as
the murky night.  His waist was more slender than the gossamer
and his buttocks heavier than two hills of sand, troubling the
heart with their softness; but his waist complained of their
weight.  In fine, his charms ravished all mankind, even as saith
the poet:

By his cheeks' unfading damask and his smiling teeth I swear, By
     the arrows that he feathers with the witchery of his air,
By his sides so soft and tender and his glances bright and keen,
     By the whiteness of his forehead and the blackness of his
     hair,
By his arched imperious eyebrows, chasing slumber from mine eyes,
     With their yeas and noes that hold me 'twixt rejoicing and
     despair,
By the scorpious[FN#21] that he launches from his
     ringlet-clustered brows, Seeking ever in their meshes
     hapless lovers to ensnare,
By the myrtle of his whiskers and the roses of his cheeks, By his
     lips' incarnate rubies and his teeth's fine pearls and rare,
By his breath's delicious fragrance and the waters of his mouth,
     That defy old wine and choicest with their sweetness to
     compare,
By his heavy hips that tremble, both in motion and repose, And
     the slender waist above them, all too slight their weight to
     bear,
By his hand's perennial bounty and his true and trusty speech, By
     the stars that smile upon him, favouring and debonair,
Lo, the scent of musk none other than his very perfume is, And
     the ambergris's fragrance breathes about him everywhere.
Yea, the sun in all his splendour cannot with his brightness vie,
     And the crescent moon's a fragment that he from his nail
     doth pare.

The King, accordingly, waited till a day of state, when the
audience hall was filled with his Amirs and Viziers and grandees
and officers of state and captains.  As soon as they were all
assembled, he sent for his son Kemerezzeman, who came and kissing
the earth three times, stood before him, with his hands clasped
behind his back.  Then said the King to him, 'Know, O my son,
that I have sent for thee and summoned thee to appear before this
assembly and all these officers of state that I may lay a
commandment on thee, wherein do thou not gainsay me.  It is that
thou marry, for I am minded to wed thee to a king's daughter and
rejoice in thee ere I die.'  When the prince heard these his
father's words, he bowed his head awhile, then raising it,
replied, being moved thereto by youthful folly and boyish
ignorance, 'Never will I marry, no, not though I drink the cup of
death!  As for thee, thou art great in years and little of wit:
hast thou not, twice before this, questioned me of the matter of
marriage, and I refused thee?  Indeed, thou dotest and art not
fit to govern a flock of sheep!'  So saying, he unclasped his
hands from behind his back and rolled up his sleeves, in his
rage; moreover, he added many words to his father, knowing not
what he said, in the trouble of his spirit.  The King was
confounded and ashamed, for that this befell in the presence of
his grandees and officers assembled on an occasion of state; but
presently the energy of kingship took him and he cried out upon
his son and made him tremble.  Then he called to his guards and
bade them seize him and bind his hands behind his back.  So they
laid hands on Kemerezzeman and binding him, brought him before
his father, full of shame and confusion, with his head bowed down
for fear and inquietude and his brow and face beaded with sweat.
The King loaded him with reproaches, saying, 'Out on thee, thou
whoreson and nursling of abomination!  Dost thou dare to answer
me thus before my captains and officers?  But hitherto none hath
corrected thee.  Knowest thou not that this thou hast done were
disgraceful in the meanest of my subjects?'  And he commanded his
guards to loose his bonds and imprison him in one of the turrets
of the citadel.  So they carried the prince into an old tower,
wherein there was a dilapidated saloon, after having first swept
it and cleansed its floor and set him a couch in its midst, on
which they laid a mattress, a leathern rug and a cushion. Then
they brought him a great lantern and a candle, for the place
was dark, even by day, and posting an eunuch at the door, left
him to himself.  Kemerezzeman threw himself on the couch,
broken-spirited and mournful-hearted, blaming himself and
repenting of his unseemly behaviour to his father, when
repentance availed him nothing, and saying, 'May God curse
marriage and girls and women, the traitresses!  Would I had
hearkened to my father and married!  It were better for me than
this prison.'

Meanwhile, King Shehriman abode on his throne till sundown, when
he took the Vizier apart and said to him, 'O Vizier, thine advice
is the cause of all this that hath befallen between me and my
son.  What doth thou counsel me to do now?'  'O King,' answered
he, 'leave thy son in prison for the space of fifteen days; then
send for him and command him to marry, and he will not again
gainsay thee.'  The King accepted the Vizier's counsel and lay
down to sleep, troubled at heart concerning Kemerezzeman, for he
loved him very dearly, having no other child, and it was his wont
not to sleep, save with his arm about his son's neck.  So he
passed the night in trouble and unease, tossing from side to
side, as he were laid on coals of tamarisk-wood; for he was
overcome with inquietude and sleep visited him not all that
night; but his eyes ran over with tears and he repeated the
following verses:

The night, whilst the slanderers sleep, is tedious unto me;
     Suffice thee a heart that aches for parting's agony!
I cry, whilst my night for care grows long and longer aye, "O
     light of the morning, say, is there no returning for thee?"

And these also:

When the Pleïads I saw leave to shine in their stead And over the
     pole-star a lethargy shed
And the maids of the Bier[FN#22] in black raiment unveiled, I
     knew that the lamp of the morning was dead.

To return to Kemerezzeman.  When the night came on, the eunuch
set the lantern before him and lighting a candle, placed it in
the candlestick; then brought him food.  The prince ate a little
and reproached himself for his ill-behaviour to his father,
saying to himself, 'O my soul, knowst thou not that a son of Adam
is the hostage of his tongue and that a man's tongue is what
casts him into perils?'  Then his eyes ran over with tears and he
bewailed that which he had done, from an anguished heart and an
aching bosom, repenting him with an exceeding repentance of the
wrong he had done his father repeating the following verses:

For the sheer stumble of his tongue the youth must death aby,
     Though for the stumble of his foot the grown man shall not
     die.
Thus doth the slipping of his mouth smite off his head, I ween,
     What while the slipping of his foot is healed, as time goes
     by.

When he had made an end of eating, he called the eunuch, who
washed his hands.  Then he made his ablutions and prayed the
prayers of sundown and nightfall, after which he sat down on the
couch, to read[FN#23] the Koran.  He read the chapters called
'The Cow,' 'The family of Imran,'  'Ya-Sin,' 'The Compassionate,'
'Blessed be the King,' 'Unity' and 'The two Amulets,' and
concluded with blessing and supplication, seeking refuge with God
from Satan the accursed.  Then he put off his trousers and the
rest of his clothes and lay down, in a shirt of fine waxed cloth
and a coif of blue stuff of Merv, upon a mattress of satin,
embroidered on both sides with gold and quilted with Irak silk,
having under his head a pillow stuffed with ostrich-down.  In
this guise, he was like the full moon, when it rises on its
fourteenth night.  Then, drawing over himself a coverlet of silk,
he fell asleep with the lantern burning at his feet and the
candle at his head, and woke not for a third part of the night,
being ignorant of that which lurked for him in the secret purpose
of God and what He who knoweth the hidden things had appointed
unto him.  Now, as chance and destiny would have it, the tower in
question was old and had been many years deserted; and there was
therein a Roman well, inhabited by an Afriteh of the lineage of
Iblis the Accursed, by name Maimouneh, daughter of Ed Dimiryat, a
renowned King of the Jinn.  In the middle of the night, Maimouneh
came up out of the well and made for heaven, thinking to listen
by stealth to the discourse of the angels; but, when she reached
the mouth of the well, she saw a light shining in the tower,
contrary to wont; whereat she was mightily amazed, having dwelt
there many years and never seen the like, and said to herself,
'Needs must there be some cause for this.'  So she made for the
light and found that it came from the saloon, at whose door she
found the eunuch sleeping.  She entered and saw a man Iying
asleep upon the couch, with the lantern burning at his feet and
the candle at his head; at which she wondered and going softly
up to him, folded her wings and drawing back the coverlid,
discovered his face.  The lustre of his visage outshone that of
the candle, and the Afriteh abode awhile, astounded at his beauty
and grace; for his face beamed with light, his cheeks were
rose-red and his eyelids languorous; his brows were arched like
bows and his whole person exhaled a scent of musk, even as saith
of him the poet:

I kissed him and his cheeks forthwith grew red, and black and
     bright The pupils grew that are my soul's seduction and
     delight.
O heart, if slanderers avouch that there exists his like For
     goodliness, say thou to them, "Produce him to my sight."

When Maimouneh saw him, she glorified God and said, 'Blessed be
Allah, the best of Creators!'  For she was of the true-believing
Jinn.  She stood awhile, gazing on his face, proclaiming the
unity of God and envying the youth his beauty and grace.  And she
said in herself, 'By Allah, I will do him no hurt nor let any
harm him, but will ransom him from all ill, for this fair face
deserves not but that folk should look upon it and glorify God.
But how could his family find it in their hearts to leave him in
this desert place, where if one of our Marids came upon him at
this hour, he would kill him?'  Then she bent over him and
kissing him between the eyes, folded back the coverlet over his
face; after which she spread her wings and soaring into the air,
flew upward till she drew near the lowest heaven, when she heard
the noise of wings beating the air and making for the sound,
found that it came from an Afrit called Dehnesh.  So she swooped
down on him like a sparrow-hawk; and when he was ware of her and
knew her to be Maimouneh, daughter of the King of the Jinn, he
feared her and his nerves trembled; and he implored her
forbearance, saying, 'I conjure thee by the Most Great and August
Name and by the most noble talisman graven upon the seal of
Solomon, entreat me kindly and harm me not!'  When she heard
this, her heart inclined to him and she said, 'Verily, thou
conjurest me with a mighty conjuration, O accursed one!
Nevertheless, I will not let thee go, till thou tell me whence
thou comest at this hour.'  'O princess,' answered he, 'know that
I come from the uttermost end of the land of Cathay and from
among the islands, and I will tell thee of a wonderful thing I
have seen this night.  If thou find my words true, let me go my
way and write me a patent under thy hand that I am thy freedman,
so none of the Jinn, whether of the air or the earth, divers or
flyers,[FN#24] may do me let or hindrance.'  'And what is it thou
hast seen this night, O liar, O accursed one?'  rejoined
Maimouneh.  'Tell me without leasing and think not to escape from
my hand with lies, for I swear to thee by the inscription on the
beazel of the ring of Solomon son of David (on whom be peace,)
except thy speech be true, I will pluck out thy feathers with
mine own hand and strip off thy skin and break thy bones.'  'I
accept this condition, O my lady,' answered Dehnesh, son of
Shemhourish the Flyer.  'Know that I come to-night from the
Islands of the Inland Sea in the parts of Cathay, which are the
dominions of King Ghaïour, lord of the Islands and the Seas and
the Seven Palaces.  There I saw a daughter of his, than whom God
hath made none fairer in her time,--I cannot picture her to thee,
for my tongue would fail to describe her aright; but I will name
to thee somewhat of her charms, by way of approximation.  Her
hair is like the nights of estrangement and separation and her
face like the days of union; and the poet hath well described her
when he says:

She took up three locks of her hair and spread them out one night
     And straight four nights discovered at once unto my sight.
Then did she turn her visage up to the moon of the sky And showed
     me two moons at one season, both burning clear and bright.

She hath a nose like the point of the burnished sword and cheeks
like purple wine or blood-red anemones: her lips are like coral
and cornelian and the water of her mouth is sweeter than old
wine, its taste would allay the torments of Hell.  Her tongue is
moved by abounding wit and ready repartee: her breast is a
temptation to all that see it, glory be to Him who created it and
finished it: and joined thereto are two smooth round arms.  As
says of her the poet El Welhan:

She hath two wrists, which, were they not by bracelets held, I
     trow, Would flow out of their sleeves as brooks of liquid
     silver flow.

She has breasts like two globes of ivory, the moons borrow from
their brightness, and a belly dimpled as it were a brocaded cloth
of the finest Egyptian linen, with creases like folded scrolls,
leading to a waist slender past conception, over buttocks like a
hill of sand, that force her to sit, when she would fain stand,
and awaken her, when she would sleep, even as saith of her the
poet:

Her slender waist a pair of buttocks overlies, The which both
     over her and me do tyrannize.
For they confound my wit, whenas I think on them, And eke enforce
     her sit, whenas she fain would rise.

They are upborne by smooth round thighs and legs like columns of
pearl, and all this rests upon two slender feet, pointed like
spear-blades, the handiwork of God, the Protector and Requiter, I
wonder how, of their littleness, they can sustain what is above
them.  But I cut short my description of her charms, lest I be
tedious.  The father of this young lady is a powerful king, a
fierce cavalier, immersed night and day in wars and battles,
fearless of death and dreading not ruin, for that he is a
masterful tyrant and an irresistible conqueror, lord of troops
and armies, continents and islands, cities and villages, and his
name is King Ghaïour, lord of the Islands and the Seas and of the
Seven Palaces.  He loves his daughter, the young lady whom I have
described to thee, very dearly, and for love of her, he gathered
together the treasures of all the kings and built her therewith
seven palaces, each of a different fashion; the first of crystal,
the second of marble, the third of China steel, the fourth of
precious stones, the fifth of porcelain and vari-coloured onyx,
the sixth of silver and the seventh of gold.  He filled the seven
palaces with rich silken carpets and hangings and vessels of gold
and silver and all manner of gear befitting kings and commanded
his daughter, whose name is the Princess Budour, to abide in each
by turns for a certain season of the year.  When her beauty
became known and her fame was noised abroad in the neighbouring
countries, all the kings sent to her father, to demand her in
marriage, and he consulted her on the matter, but she misliked it
and said, "O my father, I have no mind to marry; for I am a
sovereign lady and a princess ruling over men, and I have no
desire for a man who shall rule over me." The more she refused,
the more the eagerness of her suitors increased and all the kings
of the Islands of the Inland Sea sent gifts and offerings to her
father, with letters asking her in marriage.  So he pressed her
again and again to make choice of a husband, despite her
refusals, till at last she turned upon him angrily and said to
him, "O my father, if thou name marriage to me again, I will go
into my chamber and take a sword and fixing its hilt in the
ground, set its point to my breast; then will I lean upon it,
till it come forth from my back, and so kill myself." When the
King heard this, the light became darkness in his sight and his
heart was torn with anxiety and perplexity concerning her affair;
for he feared lest she should kill herself and knew not how to
deal with the kings who sought her hand.  So he said to her, "If
thou be irrevocably determined not to marry, abstain from going
in and out." Then he shut her up in her chamber, appointing ten
old body-women to guard her, and made as though he were wroth
with her, forbidding her to go forth to the seven palaces;
moreover, he sent letters to all the kings, giving them to know
that she had been stricken with madness.  It is now a year
(continued Dehnesh) since she has been thus cloistered, and every
night I go to her, whilst she is asleep, and take my fill of
gazing on her face and kiss her between the eyes: yet, of my love
to her, I do her no hurt neither swive her, for that her youth is
fair and her loveliness surpassing; every one who sees is jealous
for her of himself.  I conjure thee, therefore, O my lady, to go
back with me and look on her beauty and symmetry; and after, if
thou wilt, chastise me or enslave me: for it is thine to command
and to forbid.'  So saying, he bowed his head towards the earth
and drooped his wings; but Maimouneh laughed at his words and
spitting in his face, answered, 'What is this girl of whom thou
pratest but a potsherd to cleanse the privities withal?  Faugh!
Faugh!  By Allah, O accursed one, I thought thou hadst some rare
story to tell me or some marvel to make known to me!  How would
it be if thou sawest my beloved?  Verily this night I have seen a
young man whom if thou sawest though but in sleep, thou wouldst
be palsied with admiration and thy mouth would water.'  'And who
and what is this youth?'  asked the Afrit.  'Know, O Dehnesh,'
answered she, 'that there hath befallen him the like of what
befell thy mistress; for his father pressed him again and again
to marry, but he refused, till at length his father waxed wroth
and imprisoned him in the tower where I dwell: and I came up
to-night and saw him.'  'O my lady,' said Dehnesh, 'show me the
youth, that I may see if he be indeed handsomer than my mistress,
the Princess Budour, or not; for I cannot believe that there
lives her equal.'  'Thou liest, O accursed one!'  rejoined
Maimouneh.  'O most ill-omened of Marids and vilest of  Satans!
Sure am I that there is not in this world the like of my beloved.
Art thou mad to even thy beloved with mine?'  'I conjure thee by
Allah, O my lady,' said Dehnesh, 'to go back with me and see my
mistress, and after I will return with thee and look upon thy
beloved.'  'It must needs be so, O accursed one!'  answered she.
'Yet, for that thou art a knavish devil, I will not go with thee
nor shalt thou come with me, save upon surety and condition of
pledge.  If thy beloved prove handsomer than mine, the pledge
shall be thine against me; but if my beloved prove the fairer,
the pledge shall be mine against thee.'  'O my lady,' said
Dehnesh, 'I accept this thy condition; so come with me to the
Islands.'  'Not so,' replied Maimouneh; 'for the abode of my
beloved is nearer than that of thine: here it is under us; so
come down with me and see my beloved, and after we will go look
upon thy mistress.'  'I hear and obey,' said Dehnesh.  So they
descended and alighting on the tower, entered the saloon, where
Maimouneh stationed Dehnesh beside the bed and putting out her
hand, drew back the silken coverlet, whereupon Kemerezzeman's
face shone out like the sun.  She looked at him a moment, then
turning to Dehnesh, said, ''Look, O accursed one, and be not the
vilest of madmen; I am a maiden and am ravished with him.'  So
Dehnesh looked at the prince and gazed steadfastly on him awhile,
then, shaking his head, said to Maimouneh, 'By Allah, O my lady,
thou art excusable; but there is another thing to be considered,
and that is that the female estate differs from the male.  By the
virtue of God, this thy beloved is the likest of all created
things to my mistress in beauty and loveliness and grace and
it is as though they were both cast alike in the mould of
perfection!'  When Maimouneh heard these words, the light in
her sight became darkness and she dealt him so fierce a buffet
on the head with her wing as well-nigh made an end of him. Then,
'I conjure thee,' said she, 'by the light of his glorious
countenance, go at once, O accursed one, and bring hither thy
mistress in haste that we may lay them together and look on them
both, as they lie asleep side by side; so will it appear to us
whether is the goodlier and more beautiful of the two.  Except
thou obey me forthright, I will dart my sparks at thee and
consume thee with my fire; yea, I will rend thee in pieces and
cast thee into the deserts, as an example to stay-at-home and
wayfarer.'  'O my lady,' answered the Afrit, 'I will do thy
bidding, for I know that my mistress is the fairer and sweeter.'
So saying, he flew away and Maimouneh flew with him, to guard
him.  They were absent awhile and presently returned, bearing the
young lady, who was clad in a shift of fine Venetian silk, laced
with gold and wrought with the most exquisite broidery and having
the following verses worked upon the ends of the sleeves:

Three things for ever hinder her to visit us, for fear Of the
     intriguing spy and eke the rancorous envier;
Her forehead's lustre and the sound of all her ornaments And the
     sweet scent her creases hold of ambergris and myrrh.
Grant with the border of her sleeve she hide her brows and doff
     Her ornaments, how shall she do her scent away from her?

They carried her into the saloon and laying her beside
Kemerezzeman, uncovered both their faces, and behold, they were
the likest of all folk, one to the other, as they were twins or
an only brother and sister; and indeed they were a temptation to
the pious, even as says of them  the poet El Mubin:

Be not thy love, O heart, to one alone confined, Lest, for that
     one, amaze and doting thee enwind;
But love thou rather all the fair, and thou shalt find, If one
     contrarious prove, another will be kind.

And quoth another:

Two fair ones lying on the earth I did of late espy; Two that I
     needs must love, although they lay upon mine eye.

Dehnesh and Maimouneh gazed on them awhile, and the former said,
'By Allah, O my lady, it is good!  My mistress is assuredly the
fairer.'  'Not so,' answered she, 'my beloved is the fairer.  Out
on thee, O Dehnesh!  Thou art blind of eye and heart and
distinguishest not between good and bad.[FN#25] Wilt thou hide
the truth?  Dost thou not see his beauty and grace and symmetry?
Out on thee, hear what I purpose to say in praise of my beloved,
and do thou the like for her thou lovest, an thou be a true
lover.'  Then she kissed Kemerezzeman again and again between the
eyes and repeated the following ode:

Ah me, what ails the censurer that he at thee should flite? How
     shall I be consoled for thee, and thou a sapling slight?
Thou of the black and languorous eye, that casteth far and wide
     Charms, whose sheer witchery compels to passion's utmost
     height,
Whose looks, with Turkish languor fraught, work havoc in the
     breast, Leaving such wounds as ne'er were made of falchion
     in the fight,
Thou layst on me a heavy load of passion and desire, On me that
     am too weak to bear a shift upon me dight.
My love for thee, as well thou know'st, my very nature is, And
     that for others which I feign dissembling but and sleight.
An if my heart were like to thine, I'd not refuse; alack!  'Tis
     but my body's like thy waist, worn thin and wasted quite.
Out on him for a moon that's famed for beauty far and near, That
     for th' exemplar of all grace men everywhere do cite!
The railers say, "Who's this for love of whom thou art
     distressed?" And I reply, "An if ye can, describe the lovely
     wight."
O learn to yield, hard heart of his, take pattern by his shape!
     So haply yet he may relent and put away despite.
Thou, that my prince in beauty art, a steward[FN#26] hast, whose
     rule Aggrieves me and a chamberlain[FN#27] that doth me foul
     upright.
He lies who says, "All loveliness in Joseph was comprised." How
     many a Joseph is there not within thy beauty bright!
The Jinn do fear me, whenas I confront them face to face; But
     when I meet with thee, my heart doth tremble for affright.
I feign aversion unto thee, for fear of slanderous tongues; The
     more I feign, the more my love to madness I excite.
Black hair and smooth and glistening brows, eyes languorous and
     soft, As of the maids of Paradise, and slender shape and
     slight!

When Dehnesh heard this, he shook for delight and was filled with
admiration and said, 'Thou hast indeed done well in praise of him
whom thou lovest!  Needs must I do my endeavour, in my turn, to
celebrate my mistress, to the best of my power, and recite
somewhat in her honour.'  Then he went up to the lady Budour and
kissing her  between the eyes, looked at her and at Maimouneh and
recited the following verses, for all he had no skill in poetry:

They chide my passion for my fair in harsh and cruel guise; But,
     of their ignorance, forsooth, they're neither just nor wise.
Vouchsafe thy favours to the slave of love, for, an he taste Of
     thine estrangement and disdain, assuredly he dies.
Indeed, for very stress of love, I'm drenched with streaming
     tears, That, like a rivulet of blood, run ever from mine
     eyes.
No wonder 'tis what I for love endure; the wonder is That any,
     since the loss of thee, my body recognize.
Forbidden be thy sight to me, if I've a thought of doubt Or if my
     heart of passion tire or feign or use disguise!

And also the following:

I feed mine eyes on the places where we met long ago; Far distant
     now is the valley and I'm forslain for woe.
I'm drunk with the wine of passion and the teardrops in mine eyes
     Dance to the song of the leader of the camels, as we go.
I cease not from mine endeavour to win to fortune fair; Yet in
     Budour, Suada,[FN#28] all fortune is, I know.
Three things I reckon, I know not of which to most complain; Give
     ear whilst I recount them and be you judge, I trow.
Firstly, her eyes, the sworders; second, the spearman, her shape,
     And thirdly, her ringlets that clothe her in armour,[FN#29]
     row upon row.
Quoth she (and indeed I question, for tidings of her I love, All
     whom I meet, or townsman or Bedouin, high or low)
Quoth she unto me, "My dwelling is in thy heart; look there And
     thou shalt see me." I answer, "And where is my heart?
     Heigho!"

When Maimouneh heard this, she said, 'Thou hast done well, O
Dehnesh!  But tell me, which of the two is the handsomer?'  And
he answered, 'My mistress Budour is certainly handsomer than thy
beloved.'  'Thou liest, O accursed one!'  cried Maimouneh.  'Nay,
my beloved is more beautiful than thine!'  And they ceased not to
gainsay each other, till Maimouneh cried out at Dehnesh and would
have laid violent hands on him; but he humbled himself to her and
softening his speech, said to her, 'Let us leave talking, for we
do but contradict each other, and rather seek one who shall judge
fairly between us, whether of the two is fairer, and let us abide
by his sentence.'  'I agree to this,' answered she and smote the
earth with her foot, whereupon there came up a one-eyed Afrit,
hump-backed and scurvy, with eyes slit endlong in his face.  On
his head were seven horns and four locks of hair falling to his
heels; his hands were like pitchforks, his legs like masts and he
had claws like a lion and hoofs like those of the wild ass.  When
he saw Maimouneh, he kissed the earth before her and standing
with his hands clasped behind him, said, 'What is thy will, O
king's daughter?'  'O Keshkesh,' answered she, 'I would have thee
judge between me and this accursed Dehnesh.'  And she made known
to him the whole matter, whereupon he looked at the prince and
princess and saw them lying asleep, embraced, each with an arm
about the other's neck, alike in beauty and grace and equal in
goodliness.  The Marid gazed long and fixedly upon them,
marvelling at their beauty, and repeated the following verses:

Cleave fast to her thou lov'st and let the envious rail amain,
     For calumny and envy ne'er to favour love were fain.
Lo, the Compassionate hath made no fairer thing to see Than when
     one couch in its embrace enfoldeth lovers twain,
Each to the other's bosom clasped, clad in their own delight,
     Whilst hand with hand and arm with arm about their necks
     enchain.
If in thy time thou find but one to love thee and be true, I rede
     thee cast the world away and with that one remain.
Lo, when two hearts are straitly knit in passion and desire, But
     on cold iron smite the folk that chide at them in vain.
Thou that for loving censures the votaries of love, Canst thou
     assain a heart diseased or heal a cankered brain?
O Lord, O Thou Compassionate, I prithee, ere we die, Though only
     for a single day, unite us two again!


Then he turned to Maimouneh and Dehnesh and said to them, 'By
Allah, if you will have the truth, they are equal in beauty and
grace and perfection, nor is there any difference between them
but that of sex.  But I have another idea, and it is that we wake
each of them in turn, without the other's knowledge, and
whichever is more enamoured of the other shall be held the lesser
in beauty and grace.'  'This is a good counsel,' answered
Maimouneh, and Dehnesh said, 'I consent to this.'  Then Dehnesh
changed himself to a flea and bit Kemerezzeman on the neck,
whereupon the prince awoke with a start and rubbed the place of
the bite, because of the smart.  Then turning sideways, he found
lying by him something, whose breath was more fragrant than musk,
and whose body was softer than cream.  At this he marvelled
greatly and sitting up, looked at this that lay beside him and
saw it to be a young lady like the moon, as she were a splendid
pearl, or a shining sun, five feet high, with a shape like the
letter I, high-bosomed and rosy-checked; even as saith of her the
poet:

Four things there are, which ne'er unite, except it be To shed my
     heart's best blood and take my soul by storm.
And these are night-black locks and brow as bright as day, Cheeks
     ruddy as the rose and straight and slender form.

And also quoth another:

She shineth forth, a moon, and bends, a willow-wand, And
     breathes, pure ambergris, and gazes, a gazelle.
It seems as if grief loved my heart and when from her
     Estrangement I endure, possession to it fell.

She was clad in a shift of Venetian silk, without drawers, and
wore on her head a kerchief embroidered with gold and jewels; her
ears were hung with earrings, that shone like stars, and round
her neck was a collar of great pearls, past the competence of any
king.  When he saw this, his reason was confounded and natural
heat began to stir in him; God awoke in him the desire of coition
and he said, 'What God wills, shall be, and what He will not,
shall not be!'  So saying, he put out his hand and turning her
over, loosed the collar of her shift, laying bare her bosom, with
its breasts like globes of ivory; whereat his inclination for her
redoubled and he desired her with an exceeding desire.  Then he
shook her and moved her, essaying to waken her and saying, 'O my
beloved, awake and look on me; I am Kemerezzeman.'  But she awoke
not, neither moved her head, for Dehnesh made her sleep heavy.
With this, he considered awhile and said to himself, 'If I guess
aright, this is she to whom my father would have married me and I
have refused these three years past; but, God willing, as soon as
it is day, I will say to him,  "Marry me to her that I may enjoy
her," nor will I let half the day pass ere I possess her and take
my fill of her beauty and grace.'  Then he bent over Budour, to
kiss her, whereat Maimouneh trembled and was confounded and
Dehnesh was like to fly for joy.  But, as Kemerezzeman was about
to kiss her, he was ashamed before God and turned away his head,
saying to his heart, 'Have patience.'  Then he considered awhile
and said, 'I will be patient, lest my father have brought this
young lady and made her lie by my side, to try me with her,
charging her not to be lightly awakened, whenas I would fain
arouse her, and bidding her tell him all that I do to her.
Belike, he is hidden somewhere whence he can see all I do with
this young lady, himself unseen; and to-morrow he will flout me
and say, "How comes it that thou feignest to have no mind to
marry and yet didst kiss and clip yonder damsel?" So I will
forbear her, lest I be shamed before my father; and it were well
that I look not on her nor touch her at this present, except to
take from her somewhat to serve as a sign of remembrance and a
token between us.'  Then he lifted her hand and took from her
little finger a ring worth much money, for that its beazel was of
precious jewels and around it were graven the following verses:

Think not that I have forgotten thy sometime promises, Though long
     thou hast protracted thy cruelty, ywis.
Be generous, O my master, vouchsafe me of thy grace, So it to me
     be given thy lips and cheeks to kiss.
Never, by Allah, never will I abandon thee, Though thou
     transgress thy limits in love and go amiss!


Then he put the ring on his own little finger, and turning his
back to her, went to sleep.  When Maimouneh saw this, she was
glad and said, 'Saw ye how my beloved Kemerezzeman forbore
this young lady?  Verily, this was of the perfection of his
excellences; for see how he looked on her and noted her beauty
and grace, yet clipped her not neither kissed her nor put his
hand to her, but turned his back to her and slept.'  'It is
well,' answered they; 'we saw how perfectly he bore himself.'
Then Maimouneh changed herself into a flea and entering Budour's
clothes, crept up her leg and bit her four finger-breadths below
the navel; whereupon she opened her eyes and sitting up in bed,
saw a youth lying beside her and breathing heavily in his sleep,
the loveliest of God's creatures, with eyes that put to shame
the fair maids of Paradise, mouth like Solomon's seal, whose
water was sweeter to the taste and more efficacious than
triacle,[FN#30] lips the colour of coral and cheeks like
blood-red anemones, even as saith one, describing him:

From Zeyneb[FN#31] and Newar[FN#32] my mind is drawn away By the
     rose of a cheek, whereo'er a whisker's myrtles stray.
I'm fallen in love with a fawn, a youngling tunic-clad, And joy
     no more in love of bracelet-wearing may.
My mate in banquet-hall and closet's all unlike To her with whom
     within my harem's close I play:
O thou that blames me, because I flee from Hind[FN#33] And
     Zeyneb, my excuse is clear as break of day.
Would'st have me be a slave, the bondsman of a slave, One
     cloistered and confined behind a wall alway?[FN#34]

When the princess saw him, a transport of passion and longing
seized her and she said to herself, 'Alas my shame!  This is a
strange youth and I know him not.  How comes he lying in one bed
with me?'  Then she looked at him again and noting his beauty and
grace, said, 'By Allah, he is a comely youth and my heart is
well-nigh torn in sunder with longing for him.  But alas, how am
I shamed by him!  By Allah, had I known it was he who sought my
hand of my father, I had not rejected him, but had married him
and enjoyed his loveliness!'  Then she gazed in his face and
said, 'O my lord and light of mine eyes, awake from sleep and
enjoy my beauty and grace.'  And she moved him with her hand; but
Maimouneh let down sleep upon him (as it were a curtain) and
pressed on his head with her wings, so that he awoke not.  The
princess went on to shake him and say, 'My life on thee, give ear
unto me!  Awake and look on the narcissus and the tender green
and enjoy my body and my secret charms and dally with me and
touzle me from now till break of day!  I conjure thee by Allah, O
my lord, sit up and lean against the pillow and sleep not!'
Still he made her no answer, but breathed heavily in his sleep.
'Alas!  Alas!'  continued she.  'Thou art proud in thy beauty and
grace and lovely looks!  But if thou art handsome, so am I; what
then is this thou dost?  Have they lessoned thee to flout me or
has the wretched old man, my father, made thee swear not to speak
to me to-night?'  But he opened not his mouth neither awoke,
whereat her passion redoubled and God inflamed her heart with
love of him.  She stole one glance at him that cost her a
thousand sighs: her heart fluttered and her entrails yearned and
she exclaimed, 'Speak to me, O my lord!  O my friend, my beloved,
answer me and tell me thy name, for indeed thou hast ravished my
wit!'  Still he abode drowned in sleep and answered her not a
word, and she sighed and said, 'Alas!  Alas!  why art thou so
self-satisfied?'  Then she shook him and turning his hand over,
saw her ring on his little finger, whereat she cried out and
said, with a sigh of passion, 'Alack!  Alack!  By Allah, thou art
my beloved and lovest me!  Yet meseems thou turnest away from me
out of coquetry, for all thou camest to me whilst I was asleep
and knew not what thou didst, and tookest my ring.  But I will
not pull it off thy finger.'  So saying, she opened the bosom of
his shirt and kissed him and put her hand to him, seeking
somewhat that she might take as a token, but found nothing.  Then
she put her hand into his breast, and for the smoothness of his
body, it slipped down to his navel and thence to his yard,
whereupon her heart ached and her entrails quivered and desire
was sore upon her, for that women's lust is fiercer than that of
men, and she was confounded.  Then she took his ring from his
finger and put it on her own and kissed his mouth and hands, nor
did she leave any part of him unkissed; after which she took him
to her breast and laying one of her hands under his neck and the
other under his armpit, fell asleep by his side.  Then said
Maimouneh to Dehnesh, 'O accursed one, sawst thou how prudishly
and coquettishly my beloved bore himself and what ardour of
passion thy mistress showed to him?  There can be no doubt that
my beloved is handsomer than thine; nevertheless I pardon thee.'
Then she wrote him a patent of manumission and said to Keshkesh,
'Help Dehnesh to take up his mistress and carry her back to her
own place, for the night wanes apace and there is but little left
of it.'  'I hear and obey,' answered Keshkesh.  So the two
Afrits lifted up the Princess Budour and flying away with her,
carried her back to her own place and laid her on her bed, whilst
Maimouneh abode alone with Kemerezzeman, gazing upon him as he
slept, till the night was all but spent, when she went her way.

At break of day, the prince awoke from sleep and turned right and
left, but found not the young lady by him and said in himself,
'What is this?  It would seem as if my father would fain incline
me to marriage with the young lady, that was with me, and have
now taken her away by stealth, to the intent that my desire for
marriage may redouble.'  Then he called out to the eunuch who
slept at the door, saying, 'Out on thee, O accursed one, arise
forthright!'  So the eunuch arose, dazed with sleep, and
brought him basin and ewer, whereupon Kemerezzeman entered the
draught-house and did his need; then, coming out, made his
ablutions and prayed the morning-prayer, after which he sat
telling his beads.  Then he looked up, and seeing the eunuch
standing waiting upon him, said to him, 'Out on thee, O Sewab!
Who was it came hither and took away the young lady from beside
me, whilst I slept?'  'O my lord, what young lady?'  asked the
eunuch.  'She that lay with me last night,' replied Kemerezzeman.
The eunuch was troubled at his words and said to him, 'By Allah,
there has been with thee neither young lady nor other!  How
should she have come in to thee, when the door was locked and I
asleep before it?  By Allah, O my lord, neither man nor woman has
come in to thee!'  'Thou liest, O pestilent slave!'  exclaimed
the prince.  'Dost thou also presume to hoodwink me and wilt thou
not tell me what is come of the young lady who lay with me last
night and who took her away?'  The eunuch was affrighted at him
and answered, 'By Allah, O my lord, I have seen neither girl nor
boy!'  His words only angered Kemerezzeman and he said to him, 'O
accursed one, my father hath taught thee deceit!  Come hither.'
So the eunuch came up to him, and the prince seized him by the
collar and threw him to the ground.  He let fly a crack of wind,
and Kemerezzeman, kneeling upon him, kicked him and throttled
him, till he fainted away.  Then he tied him to the well-rope,
and lowering him into the well, plunged him into the water, then
drew him up and plunged him in again.  Now it was hard winter
weather, and Kemerezzeman ceased not to lower the eunuch into the
water and pull him up again, whilst he screamed and called for
help.  Quoth the prince, 'By Allah, O accursed one, I will not
draw thee up out of the well, till thou tell me the story of the
young lady and who it was took her away, whilst I slept.'  'O my
lord,' answered the eunuch, seeing death staring him in the face,
'let me go and I will tell thee the truth.'  So Kemerezzeman
pulled him up out of the well, all but dead for cold and wet and
torture and beating and fear of drowning.  His teeth chattered
and he shook like the reed in the hurricane and his clothes were
drenched and his body befouled and torn by the rough slimy sides
of the well.  When Kemerezzeman saw him in this sorry plight, he
relented towards him; and as soon as the eunuch found himself on
dry land, he said to him, 'O my lord, let me go and put off my
clothes and wring them out and spread them in the sun to dry and
don others; after which I will return to thee forthwith and tell
thee the truth of the matter.'  'O wretched slave,' answered the
prince, 'hadst thou not seen death face to face, thou hadst never
confessed; but go now and do thy will, and after return speedily
and tell me the truth.'  So the eunuch went out, hardly crediting
his escape, and gave not over running and stumbling, in his
haste, till he came in to King Shehriman, whom he found sitting
talking with his Vizier of Kemerezzeman's case and saying, 'I
slept not last night, for anxiety concerning my son Kemerezzeman,
and indeed I fear lest some harm befall him in that old tower.
What good was there in imprisoning him?'  'Have no care for him,'
answered the Vizier.  'By Allah, no hurt will befall him!  Leave
him in prison for a month, till his humour yield and his spirit
be broken and he return to his senses.'  As he spoke, in came the
eunuch, in the aforesaid plight, and said to the King, who was
troubled at sight of him, 'O our lord the Sultan, thy son's wits
are fled and he has gone mad; he has dealt with me thus and thus,
so that I am become as thou seest, and says, "A young lady lay
with me this night and stole away whilst I slept.  Where is she?"
And insists on my telling him where she is and who took her away.
But I have seen neither girl nor boy; the door was locked all
night, for I slept before it, with the key under my head, and
opened to him in the morning with my own hand.'  When the King
heard this, he cried out, saying, 'Alas, my son!'  And he was
sore enraged against the Vizier, who had been the cause of all
this, and said to him, 'Go, bring me news of my son and see what
hath befallen his wit.'  So the Vizier rose and hastened with the
slave to the tower, tumbling over his skirts, in his fear of the
King's anger.  The sun had now risen and when he came in to
Kemerezzeman, he found him sitting on the couch, reading the
Koran; so he saluted him and sitting down by his side, said to
him, 'O my lord, this wretched slave brought us news that
disquieted and alarmed us and incensed the King.'  'And what,'
asked Kemerezzeman, 'hath he told you of me, to trouble my
father?  In good sooth, he hath troubled none but me.'  'He came
to us in a sorry plight,' answered the Vizier, 'and told us of
thee a thing which God forfend and a lie which it befits not to
repeat, may God preserve thy youth and sound wit and eloquent
tongue and forbid aught of foul to come from thee!'  'O Vizier,'
said the prince, 'what did this pestilent slave say of me?'  'He
told us,' replied the Vizier, 'thou hadst taken leave of thy wits
and would have it that a young lady lay with thee last night and
wast instant with him to tell thee whither she had gone and didst
torture him to that end.'  When Kemerezzeman heard this, he was
sore enraged and said to the Vizier, 'It is manifest to me that
you taught the eunuch to do as he did and forbade him to tell me
what became of the young lady.  But thou, O Vizier, art more
reasonable than the eunuch; so do thou tell me forthright whither
went the young lady that lay in my bosom last night; for it was
you who sent her and bade her sleep in my arms, and we lay
together till day; but when I awoke, I found her not.  So where
is she now?'  'O my lord Kemerezzeman,' said the Vizier, 'the
name of God encompass thee!  By Allah, we sent none to thee last
night, but thou layest alone, with the door locked on thee and
the eunuch sleeping before it, nor did there come to thee a
young lady or any other.  Stablish thy reason, O my lord, and
return to thy senses and occupy thy mind no longer [with vain
imaginations].'  'O Vizier,' rejoined Kemerezzeman, incensed at
his words, 'the young lady in question is my beloved, the fair
one with the black eyes and red cheeks, whom I held in my arms
all last night.'  The Vizier wondered at his words and said to
him, 'Didst thou see this damsel with thine eyes and on wake,
or in sleep?'  'O wretched old man,' answered Kemerezzeman,
'thinkest thou I saw her with my ears?  Indeed, I saw her with my
very eyes and on wake and touched her with my hand and watched by
her half the night, gazing my fill on her beauty and grace and
elegance and lovely looks.  But thou hadst schooled her and
charged her to speak no word to me; so she feigned sleep and I
lay by her side till morning, when I awoke and found her gone.'
'O my lord Kemerezzeman,' rejoined the Vizier, 'surely thou
sawest this in thy sleep; it must have been a delusion of dreams
or a hallucination caused by eating various kinds of food or a
suggestion of the accursed devils.'  'O pestilent old man,' cried
the prince, 'wilt thou too make a mock of me and tell me this was
an illusion of dreams, when this eunuch confessed to the young
lady, saying, "I will return to thee forthwith and tell thee all
about her?"' So saying, he sprang up and laying hold of the
Vizier's long beard, twisted his hand in it and tugging him off
the couch, threw him on the floor.  It seemed to the Vizier as
though his soul departed his body for the violent plucking at his
beard, and Kemerezzeman fell to kicking him and pummelling his
breast and sides and cuffing him on the nape, till he had
well-nigh made an end of him.  Then said the Vizier in himself,
'I must save myself from this madman by telling him a lie, even
as did the eunuch; else he will kill me, for he is mad beyond a
doubt.'  So he said to Kemerezzeman, 'O my lord, bear me not
malice, for indeed thy father charged me to conceal from thee
this affair of the young lady; but now I am weak and weary and
sore with beating; for I am an old man and lack strength to
endure blows.  So have a little patience with me and I will tell
thee all.'  When the prince heard this, he left beating him
and said, 'Why couldst thou not tell me without blows and
humiliation?  Rise now, unlucky old man that thou art, and tell
me her story.'  Quoth the Vizier, 'Dost thou ask of the young
lady with the fair face and perfect shape?'  'Yes,' answered
Kemerezzeman.  'Tell me who it was laid her by my side and took
her away by night, and let me know whither she is gone, that I
may go to her.  If my father did this to try me, with a view to
our marriage, I consent to marry her and be quit of this trouble;
for he only dealt thus with me, because I refused to marry.  I
say again, I consent to marry: so tell this to my father, O
Vizier, and advise him to marry me to her, for I will have none
other and my heart loveth her alone.  Go now to my father and
counsel him to hasten our marriage and bring me his answer
forthright.'  'It is well,' rejoined the Vizier, and went out
from him, hardly crediting his escape.  Then he set off running
and stumbling as he went, for excess of affright and agitation,
till he came in to the King, who said to him, 'O Vizier, what has
befallen thee and who has maltreated thee and how comes it that I
see thee thus confounded and terrified?'  'O King,' answered the
Vizier, 'I bring thee news.'  'What is it?'  asked Shehriman, and
the Vizier said, 'Know that thy son Kemerezzeman's wits are gone
and that madness hath betided him.'  When the King heard this,
the light in his face became darkness and he said, 'Expound to me
the nature of my son's madness.'  'O my lord,' answered the
Vizier, 'I hear and obey.'  Then he told him all that had passed
and the King said to him, 'O most ill-omened of Viziers and
filthiest of Amirs, know that the reward I will give thee in
return for this thy news of my son's madness shall be the cutting
off of thy bead and the forfeiture of thy goods; for thou hast
caused my son's disorder by the wicked and sinister counsel thou
hast given me first and last.  By Allah, if aught of mischief or
madness have befallen him, I will nail thee upon the dome [of the
palace] and make thee taste the bitterness of death!'  Then
rising, he betook himself with the Vizier to the tower, and when
Kemerezzeman saw him, he came down to him in haste from the couch
on which he sat and kissing his hands, drew back and stood before
him awhile, with his eyes cast down and his hands clasped behind
him.  Then he raised his head and repeated the following verses,
whilst the tears streamed down his cheeks:


If I have borne myself blameworthily to you Or if I've made
     default in that which is your due,
I do repent my fault; so let your clemency Th' offender
     comprehend, who doth for pardon sue.

When the King heard this, he embraced his son and kissing him
between the eyes, made him sit by his side on the couch; then
turned to the Vizier and looking on him with angry eyes, said to
him, 'O dog of a Vizier, why didst thou tell me that my son was
mad and make my heart quake for him?'  Then he turned to the
prince and said to him, 'O my son, what is to-day called?'  'O my
father,' answered he, 'to-day is Saturday and to-morrow Sunday:
then come Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.'  'O
my son, O Kemerezzeman,' exclaimed the King, 'praised be God for
the preservation of thy reason!  What is this present month
called in Arabic?'

'Dhoulcaadeh,' answered Kemerezzeman, 'and it is followed by
Dhoulhejjeh; then comes Muherrem, then Sefer, then Rebia the
First and Rebia the Second, the two Jumadas, Rejeb, Shaaban,
Ramazan and Shewwal.'  At this the King rejoiced exceedingly and
spat in the Vizier's face, saying, 'O wicked old man, how canst
thou pretend that my son is mad?  None is mad but thou.'  The
Vizier shook his head and would have spoken, but bethought
himself to wait awhile and see what befell.  Then the King said
to Kemerezzeman, 'O my son, what is this thou sayest to the
eunuch and the Vizier of a fair damsel that lay with thee last
night?  What damsel is this of whom thou speakest?'  Kemerezzeman
laughed at his father's words and replied, 'O my father, I can
bear no more jesting; so mock me not with another word, for my
humour is soured by that you have done with me.  Let it suffice
thee to know that I consent to marry, but on condition that thou
give me to wife her with whom I lay yesternight; for I am assured
that it was thou sentest her to me and madest me in love with
her, then tookest her away from beside me before the dawn.'  'O
my son,' rejoined the King, 'the name of God encompass thee and
preserve thy wit from madness!  What young lady is this of whom
thou talkest?  By Allah, O my son, I know nothing of the affair,
and I conjure thee, tell me if it be a delusion of sleep or a
hallucination caused by food?  Doubtless, thou layest down to
sleep last night, with thy mind occupied with marriage and
troubled with the thought of it (may God curse marriage and the
hour in which it occurred to me and him who counselled it!) and
dreamtest that a handsome young lady embraced thee and didst
fancy thou sawst her on wake; but all this, O my son, is but an
illusion of dreams.'  'Leave this talk,' replied Kemerezzeman,
'and swear to me by God, the All-wise Creator, the Humbler of the
mighty and the Destroyer of the Chosroës, that thou knowest
nothing of the young lady nor of her abiding-place.'  'By the
virtue of the Most High God,' said the King, 'the God of Moses
and Abraham, I know nothing of all this and it is assuredly but
an illusion of dreams that thou hast seen in sleep.'  Quoth the
prince, 'I will give thee a proof that it was not a dream.  Come,
let me put a case to thee: did it ever happen to any to dream
that he was fighting a sore battle and after to awake and find in
his hand a sword besmeared with blood?'  'No, by Allah, O my
son,' answered the King, 'this hath never been.'  'I will tell
thee what happened to me,' rejoined Kemerezzeman.  'Meseemed I
awoke from sleep in the middle of the past night and found a
young lady lying by my side, whose shape and favour were as mine.
I embraced her and turned her about with my hand and took her
ring, which I put on my finger, and she pulled off my ring and
put it on her finger.  Then I went to sleep by her side, but
refrained from her and was ashamed to kiss her on the mouth,
deeming that thou hadst sent her to me, with intent to tempt me
with her and incline me to marriage, and misdoubting thee to be
hidden somewhere whence thou couldst see what I did with her.  At
point of day, I awoke and found no trace of her, nor could I come
at any news of her, and there befell me what thou knowest of with
the eunuch and the Vizier.  How then can this have been a dream
and a delusion, seeing that the ring is a reality?  I should
indeed have deemed it a dream but for her ring on my finger.
Here it is: look at it, O King, and see what is its worth.'  So
saying, he handed the ring to his father, who examined it and
turned it over, then said to his son, 'Verily, there hangs some
mighty mystery by this ring and some strange secret.  What befell
thee last night is indeed a mysterious affair and I know not how
this intruder came in upon us.  None is the cause of all this
trouble save the Vizier; but I conjure thee, O my son, to take
patience, so haply God may do away this affliction from thee and
bring thee complete relief: as quoth one of the poets:

It may be Fate at last shall draw its bridle-rein And bring us
     happy chance; for Fortune changes still;
And things shall happen yet, despite the things fordone, To
     further forth my hopes and bring me to my will.

And now, O my son,' added he, 'I am certified that thou art not
mad; but thy case is a strange one, none can unravel it for thee
but God the Most High.'  'By Allah, O my father,' cried the
prince, 'deal kindly with me and seek out this damsel and hasten
her coming to me; else I shall die of grief.'  And he repeated
the following verses, in a voice that betrayed the ardour of his
passion:

An if thy very promise of union prove untrue, Let but in sleep
     thy favours the longing lover cheer.
"How can the phantom visit a lover's eyes," quoth they, "From
     which the grace of slumber is banned and banished sheer?"

And he sighed and wept and groaned aloud from a wounded heart,
whilst the tears streamed from his eyes.  Then turning to his
father, with submission and despondency, he said to him, 'By
Allah, O my father, I cannot endure to be parted from her even
for an hour.'  The King smote hand upon hand and exclaimed,
'There is no power and no virtue but in God, the Most High, the
Sublime!  There is no device can profit us in this affair!'  Then
he took his son by the hand and carried him to the palace, where
Kemerezzeman lay down on the bed of languor and the King sat at
his head, weeping and mourning over him and leaving him not night
or day, till at last the Vizier came in to him and said, 'O King
of the age and the time, how long wilt thou remain shut up with
thy son and deny thyself to thy troops?  Verily, the order of thy
realm is like to be deranged, by reason of thine absence from
thy grandees and officers of state.  It behoves the man of
understanding, if he have various wounds in his body, to apply
him (first) to heal the most dangerous; so it is my counsel to
thee that thou transport the prince to the pavilion overlooking
the sea and shut thyself up with him there, setting apart
Monday and Thursday in every week for state receptions and the
transaction of public business.  On these days let thine Amirs
and Viziers and Chamberlains and deputies and captains and
grandees and the rest of the troops and subjects have access to
thee and submit their affairs to thee, and do thou their needs
and judge between them and give and take with them and command
and forbid.  The rest of the week thou shalt pass with thy son
Kemerezzeman, and thus do till God vouchsafe you both relief.
Think not, O King, that thou art exempt from the shifts of
fortune and the strokes of calamity; for the wise man is still on
his guard, as well saith the poet:

Thou madest fair thy thought of Fate, whenas the days were fair,
     And fearedst not the unknown ills that they to thee might
     bring.
The nights were fair and calm to thee; thou wast deceived by
     them, For in the peace of night is born full many a
     troublous thing.
O all ye children of mankind, to whom the Fates are kind, Let
     caution ever have a part in all your reckoning.'

The King was struck with the Vizier's words and deemed his
counsel wise and timely, fearing lest the order of the state be
deranged; so he rose at once and bade carry his son to the
pavilion in question, which was built (upon a rock) midmost the
water and was approached by a causeway, twenty cubits wide.  It
had windows on all sides, overlooking the sea; its floor was of
variegated marble and its roof was painted in the richest colours
and decorated with gold and lapis-lazuli.  They furnished it for
Kemerezzeman with embroidered rugs and carpets of the richest
silk and hung the walls with choice brocades and curtains
bespangled with jewels.  In the midst they set him a couch of
juniper-wood, inlaid with pearls and jewels, and he sat down
thereon, like a man that had been sick twenty years; for the
excess of his concern and passion for the young lady had wasted
his charms and emaciated his body, and he could neither eat nor
drink nor sleep.  His father seated himself at his head, mourning
sore for him, and every Monday and Thursday he gave his Viziers
and Amirs and grandees and officers and the rest of his subjects
leave to come in to him in the pavilion.  So they entered and did
their several service and abode with him till the end of the day,
when they went their ways and he returned to his son, whom he
left not night nor day; and on this wise did he many days and
nights.

To return to the Princess Budour.  When the two Afrits carried
her back to her palace and laid her on her bed, she slept on till
daybreak, when she awoke and sitting up, looked right and left,
but saw not the youth who had lain in her bosom.  At this, her
heart was troubled, her reason fled and she gave a great cry,
whereupon all her damsels and nurses and serving-women awoke and
came in to her; and the chief of them said to her, 'What ails
thee, O my lady?'  'O wretched old woman,' answered the princess,
'where is my beloved, the handsome youth that lay last night in
my bosom?  Tell me where he is gone.'  When the old woman heard
this, the light in her eyes became darkness and she was sore in
fear of her mischief and said to her, 'O my lady Budour, what
unseemly words are these?'  'Out on thee, pestilent crone that
thou art!'  cried the princess.  'Where is my beloved, the goodly
youth with the shining face and the slender shape, the black eyes
and the joined eyebrows, who lay with me last night from dusk
until near daybreak?'  'By Allah, O my lady,' replied the old
woman, 'I have seen no young man nor any other; but I conjure
thee, leave this unseemly jesting, lest we be all undone.
Belike, it may come to thy father's ears and who shall deliver us
from his hand?'  'I tell thee,' rejoined Budour, 'there lay a
youth with me last night, one of the fairest-faced of men.'  'God
preserve thy reason!'  exclaimed the nurse.  'Indeed, no one lay
with thee last night.'  The princess looked at her hand and
seeing her own ring gone and Kemerezzeman's ring on her finger in
its stead, said to the nurse, 'Out on thee, thou accursed
traitress, wilt thou lie to me and tell me that none lay with me
last night and forswear thyself to me?'  'By Allah,' replied the
nurse, 'I do not lie to thee nor have I sworn falsely!'  Her
words incensed the princess and drawing a sword she had by her,
she smote the old woman with it and slew her; whereupon the
eunuch and the waiting-women cried out at her and running to her
father, acquainted him with her case.  So he went to her
forthright and said to her, 'O my daughter, what ails thee?'  'O
my father,' answered she, 'where is the young man that lay with
me last night?'  Then her reason left her and she cast her eyes
right and left and rent her dress even to the skirt.  When the
King saw this, he bade the women lay hands on her; so they seized
and bound her, then putting a chain of iron about her neck, made
her fast to the window and there left her.  As for her father,
the world was straitened upon him, when he saw what had befallen
her, for that he loved her and her case was not a little thing to
him.  So he summoned the doctors and astrologers and magicians
and said to them, 'Whoso cureth my daughter of her disorder, I
will marry him to her and give him half my kingdom; but whoso
cometh to her and cureth her not, I will strike off his head and
hang it over her palace-gate.'  Accordingly, all who went in to
her, but failed to cure her, he beheaded and hung their heads
over her palace-gate, till he had beheaded forty physicians and
crucified as many astrologers on her account; wherefore all the
folk held aloof from her, for all the physicians failed to cure
her malady and her case was a puzzle to the men of science and
the magicians.  And as her longing and passion redoubled and love
and distraction were sore upon her, she poured forth tears and
repeated the following verses:

My longing after thee, my moon, my foeman is; The thought of thee
     by night doth comrade with me dwell.
I pass the darksome hours, and in my bosom flames A fire, for
     heat that's like the very fire of hell.
I'm smitten with excess of ardour and desire; By which my pain is
     grown an anguish fierce and fell.

Then she sighed and repeated these also:

My peace on the belovéd ones, where'er they light them down! I
     weary for the neighbourhood of those I love, full sore.
My salutation unto you,--not that of taking leave, But greetings
     of abundant peace, increasing evermore!
For, of a truth, I love you dear and love your land no less; But
     woe is me!  I'm far away from that I weary for.


Then she wept till her eyes grew weak and her cheeks pale and
withered: and thus she abode three years.  Now she had a
foster-brother, by name Merzewan, who was absent from her all
this time, travelling in far countries.  He loved her with an
exceeding love, passing that of brothers; so when he came back,
he went in to his mother and asked for his foster-sister the
princess Budour.  'Alas, my son,' answered she, 'thy sister has
been smitten with madness and has passed these three years, with
an iron chain about her neck; and all the physicians and men of
science have failed of curing her.'  When he heard this, he said,
'I must needs go in to her; peradventure I may discover what ails
her, and be able to cure her.'  'So be it,' replied his mother;
'but wait till to-morrow, that I may make shift for thee.'  Then
she went to the princess's palace and accosting the eunuch in
charge of the door, made him a present and said to him, 'I have a
married daughter, who was brought up with thy mistress and is
sore concerned for what has befallen her, and I desire of thy
favour that my daughter may go in to her and look on her awhile,
then return whence she came, and none shall know it.'  'This may
not be, except by night,' replied the eunuch, 'after the King has
visited the princess and gone away; then come thou and thy
daughter.'  She kissed the eunuch's hand and returning home,
waited till the morrow at nightfall, when she dressed her son in
woman's apparel and taking him by the hand, carried him to the
palace.  When the eunuch saw her, he said, 'Enter, but do not
tarry long.'  So they went in and when Merzewan saw the princess
in the aforesaid plight, he saluted her, after his mother had
taken off his woman's attire: then pulling out the books he had
brought with him and lighting a candle, he began to recite
certain conjurations.  The princess looked at him and knowing
him, said to him, 'O my brother, thou hast been absent on thy
travels and we have been cut off from news of thee.'  'True,'
answered he; 'but God has brought me back in safety and I am now
minded to set out again; nor has aught delayed me but the sad
news I hear of thee; wherefore my heart ached for thee and I came
to thee, so haply I may rid thee of thy malady.'  'O my brother,'
rejoined she, 'thinkest thou it is madness ails me?'  'Yes,'
answered he, and she said, 'Not so, by Allah!  It is even as says
the poet:

Quoth they, "Thou'rt surely mad for him thou lov'st;" and I
     replied, "Indeed the sweets of life belong unto the raving
     race.
Lo, those who love have not, for that, the upper hand of fate;
     Only the madman 'tis, I trow, o'ercometh time and space.
Yes, I am mad; so bring me him for whom ye say I'm mad; And if he
     heal my madness, spare to blame me for my case."'

Then she told him that she was in love, and he said, 'Tell me thy
story and what befell thee: peradventure God may discover to me a
means of deliverance for thee.' 'Know then,' said she, 'that one
night I awoke from sleep, in the last watch of the night, and
sitting up, saw by my side the handsomest of youths, as he were a
willow-wand or an Indian cane, the tongue fails to describe him.
Me-thought this was my father's doing to try me, for that he had
consulted me, when the kings sought me of him in marriage, and I
had refused.  It was this idea that withheld me from arousing
him, for I thought that if I did aught or embraced him, he would
most like tell my father.  When I awoke in the morning, I found
his ring on my finger in place of my own, which he had taken;
and, O my brother, my heart was taken with him at first sight;
and for the violence of my passion and longing, I have never
since known the taste of sleep and have no occupation save
weeping and repeating verses night and day.  This, then, O my
brother, is the story of the cause of my (pretended) madness.'
Then she poured forth tears and repeated the following verses:

Love has banished afar my delight; they are fled With a fawn that
     hath hearts for a pasturing-stead.
To him lovers' blood is a trifle, for whom My soul is a-wasting
     for passion and dread.
I'm jealous for him of my sight and my thought; My heart is a spy
     on my eyes and my head.
His eyelashes dart at us death-dealing shafts; The hearts that
     they light on are ruined and dead.
Whilst yet there is left me a share in the world, Shall I see
     him, I wonder, or ever I'm sped?
I fain would conceal what I suffer for him; 'Tis shown to the spy
     by the tears that I shed.
When near, his enjoyment is distant from me: But his image is
     near, when afar he doth tread.


'See then, O my brother,' added she, 'how thou mayest aid me in
this my affliction.'  Merzewan bowed his head awhile, marvelling
and knowing not what to do, then raised it and said to her, 'I
believe all thou hast said to be true, though the case of the
young man passes my imagination: but I will go round about all
countries and seek for what may heal thee; peradventure God shall
appoint thy deliverance to be at my hand.  Meanwhile, take
patience and be not disquieted.'  So saying, he took leave of
her, after he had prayed that she might be vouchsafed constancy,
and left her repeating the following verses:

Thine image in my thoughts fares as a pilgrim aye, For all thy
     stead and mine are distant many a day.
The wishes of my heart do bring thee near to me For 'gainst the
     speed of thought what is the levin's ray?
Depart thou not, that art the lustre of mine eyes; Yea, when
     thou'rt far removed, all void of light are they.

He returned to his mother's house, where he passed the night, and
on the morrow, after furnishing himself for his journey, he set
out and travelled from city to city and from island to island for
a whole month.  Everywhere he heard talk of the princess Budour's
madness, till he came to a city named Teyreb and seeking news of
the townsfolk, so haply he might light on a cure for his
foster-sister's malady, heard that Kemerezzeman, son of King
Shehriman, was fallen sick and afflicted with melancholy madness.
He enquired the name of this prince's capital and was told that
it stood on the Islands of Khalidan and was distant thence a
whole month's journey by sea and six by land.  So he took passage
in a ship that was bound thither, and they sailed with a
favouring breeze for a whole month, till they came in sight of
the city and there remained for them but to enter the harbour;
when there came out on them a tempestuous wind which carried away
the masts and rent the canvas, so that the sails fell into the
sea and the ship foundered, with all on board.  Each looked to
himself, and as for Merzewan, the current carried him under the
King's palace, wherein was Kemerezzeman.  As fate would have it,
it was the day on which the King gave audience to his grandees
and officers, and he was sitting, with his son's head in his lap,
whilst an eunuch whisked away the flies.  The prince had not
spoken, neither had he eaten nor drunk for two days, and he was
grown thinner than a spindle.  Now the Vizier was standing near
the window giving on the sea and raising his eyes, saw Merzewan
at the last gasp for struggling with the waves; whereupon his
heart was moved to pity for him and he drew near to the King and
said to him, 'O King, I crave thy leave to go down to the court
of the pavilion and open the water-gate, that I may rescue a man
who is at the point of drowning in the sea and bring him forth of
peril into deliverance; peradventure, on this account, God may
ease thy son of his affliction.'  'O Vizier,' replied Shehriman,
enough is that which has befallen my son through thee and on
thine account.  Belike, if thou rescue this drowning man, he will
look on my son and come to know our affairs and exult over me;
but I swear by Allah, that, if he come hither and see my son and
after go out and speak of our secrets to any, I will assuredly
strike off thy head before his; for thou art the cause of all
that hath befallen us, first and last.  Now do as thou wilt.'
The Vizier rose and opening the postern, descended to the
causeway; then walked on twenty steps and came to the sea, where
he saw Merzewan nigh unto death.  So he put out his hand to him
and catching him by the hair of his head, drew him ashore, in a
state of unconsciousness, with belly full of water and eyes
starting from his head.  The Vizier waited till he came to
himself, when he pulled off his wet clothes and clad him in a
fresh suit, covering his head with one of his servants' turbans;
after which he said to him, 'I have been the means of saving thee
from drowning: do not thou requite me by causing my death and
thine own.'  'How so?' asked Merzewan; and the Vizier answered,
'Thou art now about to go up and pass among Amirs and Viziers,
all silent and speaking not, because of Kemerezzeman, the King's
son.'  When Merzewan heard the name of Kemerezzeman, he knew that
this was he of whom he came in search, but he feigned ignorance
and said to the Vizier, 'And who is Kemerezzeman?'  Quoth the
Vizier, 'He is the King's son and lies sick on his couch,
restless, eating not nor drinking neither sleeping night nor day;
indeed he is nigh upon death and we have lost hope of his
recovery.  Beware lest thou look too long on him or on any place
other than that where thou settest thy feet: else thou art a lost
man and I also.'  'O Vizier,' said Merzewan, 'I conjure thee by
Allah, tell me of thy favour, the cause of this youth's malady.'
'I know none,' answered the Vizier, 'save that, three years ago,
his father pressed him to marry, but he refused; whereat the King
was wroth and imprisoned him.  On the morrow, he would have it
that he had had, for a bedfellow, the night before, a young lady
of surpassing beauty, beggaring description, with whom he had
exchanged rings; but we know not the meaning of all this.  So by
Allah, O my son, when thou comest up into the palace, look not on
the prince, but go thy way; for the King's heart is full of anger
against me.'  'By Allah,' said Merzewan in himself, 'this is he
whom I sought!'  Then he followed the Vizier up to the palace,
where the latter seated himself at the prince's feet; but
Merzewan must needs go up to Kemerezzeman and stand before him,
gazing on him.  At this, the Vizier was like to die of affright
and signed to Merzewan to go his way; but he feigned not to see
him and gave not over gazing upon Kemerezzeman, till he was
assured that it was indeed he of whom he was in search. Then,
'Glory be to God,' cried he, 'who hath made his shape even as her
shape and his complexion as her complexion and his cheek as her
cheek!'  At this Kemerezzeman opened his eyes and gave ear to his
speech; and when Merzewan saw him listening, he repeated the
following verses:

I see thee full of song and plaint and ecstasy amain, And to the
     setting forth in words of charms I find thee fain.
Can it be love hath wounded thee or art thou shot with shafts?
     For sure these fashions but belong unto a smitten swain.
Ho, pour me out full cups of wine and sing me eke, in praise Of
     Tenam, Suleyma, Rebäb,[FN#35] a glad and lovesome strain!
Yea, let the grape-vine's sun[FN#36] go round, whose mansion is
     its jar, Whose East the cupbearer and West my thirsty mouth
     I feign.
I'm jealous of the very clothes she dights upon her side, For
     that upon her body soft and delicate they've lain;
And eke I'm envious of the cups that touch her dainty lips, When
     to the kissing-place she sets them ever and again.
Think not that I in anywise with sword am done to death; 'Tis by
     the arrows of a glance, alack!  that I am slain.
Whenas we met again, I found her fingers dyed with red, As 'twere
     the juice of tragacanth had steeped them in its stain.
Said I to her, "Thou'st dyed thy palms,[FN#37] whilst I was far
     away. This then is how the slave of love is 'quited for his
     pain."
Quoth she (and cast into my heart the flaming fires of love,
     Speaking as one who hath no care love's secret to contain),
"No, by thy life, this is no dye I've used!  So haste thou not To
     heap accusings on my head and slander me in vain.
For, when I saw thee get thee gone upon our parting day, My eyes,
     for very dreariment, with tears of blood did rain.
I wiped them with my hand, and so my fingers with my blood Were
     all to-reddened and do yet their ruddy tint retain."
Had I for very passion wept, or e'er my mistress did, I should,
     before repentance came, have solaced heart and brain;
But she before my weeping wept; her tears drew mine and so Quoth
     I, "Unto the precedent the merit doth pertain."
Chide not at me for loving her, for by Love's self I swear, My
     heart with anguish for her sake is well-nigh cleft in twain.
I weep for one whose face is decked by Beauty's self; there's
     none, Arab or foreigner, to match with her, in hill or
     plain.
The lore of Locman[FN#38] hath my love and Mary's chastity, with
     Joseph's loveliness to boot and David's songful vein;
Whilst Jacob's grief to me belongs and Jonah's dreariment, Ay,
     and Job's torment and despite and Adam's plight of bane.
Slay ye her not, although I die for love of her, but ask, How
     came it lawful unto her to shed my blood in vain.

When Kemerezzeman heard these verses, they brought refreshment
and healing to his heart, and he sighed and turning his tongue in
his mouth, said to the King, 'O my father, let this young man
come and sit by my side.'  The King, hearing these words from his
son, rejoiced exceedingly, though at the first he had been wroth
with Merzewan and thought in himself to have stricken off his
head: but when he heard Kemerezzeman speak, his anger left him
and he arose and drawing Merzewan to him, made him sit down by
his son and said to him, 'Praised be God for thy safety!'  'May
God bless thee,' answered Merzewan, 'and preserve thy son to
thee!'  Then said the King, 'From what country comest thou?'
'From the Islands of the Inland Sea,' replied he, 'the kingdom of
King Ghaïour, lord of the Islands and the seas and the Seven
Palaces.'  Quoth the King, 'Maybe thy coming shall be blessed to
my son and God vouchsafe to heal him of his malady.'  'God
willing,' rejoined Merzewan, 'all shall yet be well.'  Then
turning to Kemerezzeman, he said to him in his ear, unheard of
the King and his court, 'Be of good cheer, O my lord, and take
heart and courage.  As for her for whose sake thou art thus, ask
not of her condition on thine account.  Thou keptest thy secret
and fellest sick, but she discovered hers and they said she was
mad; and she is now in prison, with an iron chain about her neck,
in most piteous case; but, God willing, the healing of  both of
you shall be at my hand.'  When Kemerezzeman heard this, his life
returned to him and he took heart and courage and signed to his
father to help him sit up; at which the King was like to lose his
reason for joy and lifting him up, set two pillows for him
to lean upon.  Then, of his fear for his son, he shook the
handkerchief of dismissal and all the Amirs and Viziers withdrew;
after which he bade perfume the palace with saffron and decorate
the city, saying to Merzewan, 'By Allah, O my son, thou hast a
lucky and a blessed aspect!'  And he made much of him and called
for food, which when they brought, Merzewan said to the prince,
'Come, eat with me.'  So he obeyed him and ate with him, while
the King called down blessings on Merzewan and said, 'How
auspicious is thy coming, O my son!'  When he saw Kemerezzeman
eat, his joy redoubled and he went out and told the prince's
mother and the people of the palace.  Then he let call abroad the
good news of the prince's recovery and proclaimed the decoration
of the city: so the people rejoiced and decorated the city and it
was a day of high festival.  Merzewan passed the night with
Kemerezzeman, and the King also slept with them, in the excess of
his joy for his son's recovery.  Next morning, when the King had
gone away and the two young men were left alone, Kemerezzeman
told Merzewan his story from first to last and the latter said to
him, 'I know her with whom thou didst foregather; her name is the
princess Budour and she is daughter to King Ghaïour.'  Then he
told him all that had befallen the princess and acquainted him
with the excessive love she bore him, saying, 'All that befell
thee with thy father hath befallen her with hers, and thou art
without doubt her beloved, even as she is thine; so brace up thy
resolution and take heart, for I will bring thee to her and unite
you both anon and deal with you even as saith the poet:

Though to the lover adverse be the fair And drive him with her
     rigours to despair,
Yet will I soon unite them, even as I The pivot of a pair of
     scissors were.

And he went on to comfort and hearten Kemerezzeman and urged him
to eat and drink, cheering him and diverting him with talk and
song and stories, till he ate food and drank wine and life and
strength returned to him.  In good time he became free of his
disorder and stood up and sought to go to the bath.  So Merzewan
took him by the hand and carried him to the bath, where they
washed their bodies and made them clean.  When his father heard
of this, in his joy he freed the prisoners and gave alms to the
poor; moreover he bestowed splendid dresses of honour upon his
grandees and let decorate the city seven days.  Then said
Merzewan to Kemerezzeman, 'Know, O my lord, that the sole object
of my journey hither was to deliver the princess Budour from her
present strait; and it remains but for us to devise how we may
get to her, since thy father cannot brook the thought of parting
with thee.  So it is my counsel that tomorrow thou ask his leave
to go a-hunting, saying, "I have a mind to divert myself with
hunting in the desert and to see the open country and pass the
night there."  Then do thou take with thee a pair of saddle-bags
full of gold and mount a swift hackney and I will do the like;
and we will take each a spare horse.  Suffer not any servant to
follow us, for as soon as we reach the open country, we will go
our ways.'  Kemerezzeman rejoiced mightily in this plan and said,
'It is good.'  Then he took heart and going in to his father,
sought his leave to go out to hunt, saying as Merzewan had taught
him.  The King consented and said, 'O my son, a thousandfold
blessed be the day that restores thee to health!  I will not
gainsay thee in this; but pass not more than one night in the
desert and return to me on the morrow; for thou knowest that life
is not good to me without thee, and indeed I can hardly as yet
credit thy recovery, because thou art to me as he of whom quoth
the poet:

Though Solomon his carpet were mine both day and night, Though
     the Choeroës' empire, yea, and the world were mine,
All were to me in value less than a midge's wing, Except mine
     eyes still rested upon that face of thine.'

Then he equipped the prince and Merzewan for the excursion,
bidding make them ready four horses, together with a dromedary to
carry the money and a camel for the water and victuals; and
Kemerezzeman forbade any of his attendants to follow him.  His
father bade him farewell and pressed him to his breast and kissed
him, saying, 'I conjure thee by Allah, be not absent from me more
than one night, wherein sleep will be denied me, for I am even as
saith the poet:

Thy presence with me is my heaven of delight And my hell of
     affliction the loss of thy sight.
My soul be thy ransom!  If love be my crime For thee, my offence,
     of a truth, is not light.
Doth passion blaze up in thy heart like to mine? I suffer the
     torments of hell day and night.'

'O my father,' answered Kemerezzeman, 'God willing, I will lie
but one night abroad.'  Then he took leave of him, and he and
Merzewan mounted and taking with them the dromedary and camel,
rode out into the open country.  They drew not bridle from the
first of the day till nightfall, when they halted and ate and
drank and fed their beasts and rested awhile; after which they
again took horse and fared on three days, till they came to a
spacious wooded tract.  Here they alighted and Merzewan, taking
the camel and one of the horses, slaughtered them and cut the
flesh off their bones.  Then he took from Kemerezzeman his shirt
and trousers and cassock and tearing them in shreds, smeared them
with the horse's blood and cast them down in the fork of the
road.  Then they ate and drank and taking horse set forward
again.  'O my brother,' said Kemerezzeman, 'what is this thou
hast done and how will it profit us?'  'Know,' answered Merzewan,
'that thy father, when he finds that we have outstayed the night
for which we had his leave, will mount and follow in our track
till he comes hither; and when he sees the blood and thy clothes
torn and bloodied, he will deem thee to have been slain of
highway robbers or wild beasts; so he will give up hope of thee
and return to his city, and by this devise we shall gain our
end.'  'By Allah,' said Kemerezzeman, 'this is indeed a rare
device!  Thou hast done well.'  Then they fared on days and
nights and Kemerezzeman did nought but weep and complain, till
they drew near their journey's end, when he rejoiced and repeated
the following verses:

Wilt thou be harsh to a lover, who's never unmindful of thee, And
     wilt thou now cast him away to whom thou wast fain
     heretofore?
May I forfeit the favour of God, if I ever was false to thy love!
     Abandonment punish my crime, if I've broken the vows that I
     swore!
But no, I've committed no crime, that calleth for rigour from
     thee; Or, if in good sooth I'm at fault, I bring thee
     repentance therefor.
Of the marvels of Fortune it is that thou shouldst abandon me
     thus; But Fortune to bring to the light fresh marvels will
     never give o'er.

When he had made an end of these verses, Merzewan said to him,
'See, yonder are King Ghaïour's Islands.'  Whereat Kemerezzeman
rejoiced with an exceeding joy and thanked him for what he had
done and strained him to his bosom and kissed him between the
eyes.  They entered the city and took up their lodging at a khan,
where they rested three days from the fatigues of the journey;
after which Merzewan carried Kemerezzeman to the bath and
clothing him in a merchant's habit, provided him with a geomantic
tablet of gold, a set of astrological instruments and an
astrolabe of silver, plated with gold.  Then he said to him, 'Go,
O my lord, stand before the King's palace and cry out, "I am the
mathematician, I am the scribe, I am he that knows the Sought and
the Seeker, I am the skilled physician, I am the accomplished
astrologer.  Where then is he that seeketh?"  When the King hears
this, he will send after thee and carry thee in to his daughter
the princess Budour, thy mistress: but do thou say to him, "Grant
me three days' delay, and if she recover, give her to me to wife,
and if not, deal with me as with those who came before me."  If
he agree to this, as soon as thou art alone with her, discover
thyself to her; and when she knows thee, her madness will cease
from her and she will be made whole in one night.  Then do thou
give her to eat and drink, and her father, rejoicing in her
recovery, will marry thee to her and share his kingdom with thee,
according to the condition he hath imposed on himself: and so
peace be on thee.'  'May I never lack thine excellence!' replied
Kemerezzeman, and taking the instruments aforesaid, sallied forth
of the khan and took up his station before King Ghaïour's palace,
where he began to cry out, saying, 'I am the scribe, I am the
mathematician, he that knows the Sought and the Seeker, I am he
who makes calculations for marriage contracts, who draws
horoscopes, interprets dreams and traces the magical characters
by which hidden treasures are discovered!  Where then is the
seeker?'  When the people of the city heard this, they flocked to
him, for it was long since they had seen a scribe or an
astrologer, and stood round him, wondering at his beauty and
grace and perfect symmetry.  Presently one of them accosted him
and said, 'God on thee, O fair youth with the eloquent tongue,
cast not thyself into perdition, in thy desire to marry the
princess Budour!  Do but look on yonder heads hung up; they are
all those of men who have lost their lives in this same venture.'
He paid no heed to them, but cried out at the top of his voice,
saying, 'I am the doctor, the scribe!  I am the astrologer, the
mathematician!'  And all the townsfolk forbade him from this, but
he heeded them not, saying in himself, 'None knoweth desire save
he who suffereth it.'  Then he began again to cry his loudest,
saying, 'I am the scribe, I am the mathematician, I am the
astrologer!'  till all the townsfolk were wroth with him and said
to him, 'Thou art but a silly self-willed boy!  Have pity on
thine own youth and tender years and beauty and grace.'  But he
cried all the more, 'I am the astrologer, I am the mathematician!
Is there any one that seeketh?'  As he was thus crying and the
people remonstrating with him, King Ghaïour heard his voice and
the clamour of the folk and said to his Vizier, 'Go down and
bring me yon astrologer.'  So the Vizier went down and taking
Kemerezzeman from the midst of the crowd, carried him up to the
King, before whom he kissed the earth, repeating the following
verses:

Eight elements of high renown are all comprised in thee; By them
     may Fortune never cease thy bounder slave to be!
Munificence and knowledge sure, glory and piety, Fair fluent
     speech and eloquence and might and victory.

When the King saw him, he made him sit down by his side and said
to him, 'By Allah, O my son, an thou be not an astrologer,
venture not thy life nor submit thyself to my condition; for I
have bound myself to strike off the head of whoso goeth in to my
daughter and healeth her not of her disorder; but him who healeth
her I will marry to her.  So let not thy beauty and grace delude
thee; for, by Allah, if thou cure her not, I will assuredly cut
off thy head!'  'I knew of this condition before I came hither,'
answered Kemerezzeman, 'and am ready to abide by it.'  Then King
Ghaïour took the Cadis to witness against him and delivered him
to an eunuch, saying, 'Carry this fellow to the lady Budour.'  So
the eunuch took him by the hand and led him along the gallery;
but Kemerezzeman out-went him and pushed on before, whilst the
eunuch ran after him, saying, 'Out on thee!  Hasten not to
destroy thyself.  By Allah, never yet saw I astrologer so eager
for his own destruction: thou knowest not the calamities that
await thee.'  But Kemerezzeman turned away his face and repeated
the following verses:

A learnéd man, I'm ignorant before thy beauties bright; Indeed, I
     know not what I say, confounded at thy sight.
If I compare thee to the sun, thou passest not away, Whilst the
     sun setteth from the sky and fails anon of light.
Perfect, indeed, thy beauties are; they stupefy the wise Nor ev'n
     the eloquent avail to praise thy charms aright.

The eunuch stationed Kemerezzeman behind the curtain of the
princess's door and the prince said to him, 'Whether of the two
wilt thou liefer have me do, cure thy lady from here or go in and
cure her within the curtain?'  The eunuch marvelled at his words
and answered, 'It were more to thine honour to cure her from
here.'  So Kemerezzeman sat down behind the curtain and taking
out pen and inkhorn and paper, wrote the following: 'This is the
letter of one whom passion torments and whom desire consumes and
sorrow and misery destroy; one who despairs of life and looks for
nothing but death, whose mourning heart has neither comforter nor
helper, whose sleepless eyes have none to succour them against
affliction, whose day is passed in fire and his night in torment,
whose body is wasted for much emaciation and there comes to him
no messenger from his beloved:

I write with a heart devoted to thee and the thought of thee And
     an eyelid, wounded for weeping tears of the blood of me.
And a body that love and affliction and passion and long desire
     Have clad with the garment of leanness and wasted utterly.
I plain me to thee of passion, for sore hath it baffled me Nor is
     there a corner left me where patience yet may be.
Wherefore, have mercy, I prithee, show favour unto me, For my
     heart, my heart is breaking for love and agony.

The cure of hearts is union with the beloved and whom his love
maltreateth, God is his physician.  If either of us have broken
faith, may the false one fail of his desire!  There is nought
goodlier than a lover who is faithful to a cruel beloved one.'
Then, for a subscription, he wrote, 'From the distracted and
despairing lover, him whom love and longing disquiet, from the
captive of passion and transport, Kemerezzeman, son of Shehriman,
to the peerless beauty, the pearl of the fair Houris, the Lady
Budour, daughter of King Ghaïour.  Know that by night I am
wakeful and by day distraught, consumed with ever-increasing
wasting and sickness and longing and love, abounding in sighs,
rich in floods of tears, the prisoner of passion, the slain of
desire, the debtor of longing, the boon-companion of sickness, he
whose heart absence hath seared.  I am the sleepless one, whose
eyes close not, the slave of love, whose tears run never dry, for
the fire of my heart is still unquenched and the flaming of my
longing is never hidden.'  Then in the margin he wrote this
admired verse:

Peace from the stores of the grace of my Lord be rife On her in
     whose hand are my heart and soul and life!

And also these:

Vouchsafe thy converse unto me some little, so, perchance, Thou
     mayst have ruth on me or else my heart be set at ease.
Yea, for the transport of my love and longing after thee, Of all
     I've suffered I make light and all my miseries.
God guard a folk whose dwelling-place is far removed from mine,
     The secret of whose love I've kept in many lands and seas!
But fate, at last, hath turned on me a favourable face And on my
     loved one's threshold-earth hath cast me on my knees.
Budour beside me in the bed I saw and straight my moon, Lit by
     her sun, shone bright and blithe upon my destinies.[FN#39]

Then by way of subscription, he wrote the following verses:

Ask of my letter what my pen hath written, and the scroll Will
     tell the passion and the pain that harbour in my soul.
My hand, what while my tears rain down, writes and desire makes
     moan Unto the paper by the pen of all my weary dole.
My tears roll ever down my cheeks and overflow the page; Nay, I'd
     ensue them with my blood, if they should cease to roll.

And at the end he added this other verse:

I send thee back herewith the ring I took whilere of thee, Whenas
     we companied; so send me that thou hadst of me.

Then he folded up Budour's ring inside the letter and sealing it,
gave it to the eunuch, who went in with it to the princess.  She
took it from him and opening it, found in it her own ring.  Then
she read the letter and when she understood its purport and knew
that her beloved stood behind the curtain, her reason fled and
her breast dilated for joy; and she repeated the following
verses:

Long, long have I bewailed the sev'rance of our loves, With tears
     that from my lids streamed down like burning rain,
And vowed that, if the days should reunite us two, My lips should
     never speak of severance again.
Joy hath o'erwhelmed me so that, for the very stress Of that
     which gladdens me, to weeping I am fain.
Tears are become to you a habit, O my eyes, So that ye weep as
     well for gladness as for pain.

Then she rose and setting her feet to the wall, strained with all
her might upon the iron collar, till she broke it from her neck
and snapped the chains; then going forth, she threw herself on
Kemerezzeman and kissed him on the mouth, like a pigeon billing.
And she embraced him with all the stress of her love and longing
and said to him, 'O my lord, do I wake or sleep and has God
indeed vouchsafed us reunion after separation?  Praised be He who
hath reknit our loves, after despair!'  When the eunuch saw this,
he ran to King Ghaïour and kissing the earth before him, said, 'O
my lord, know that this is indeed the prince and paragon of
astrologers; for he hath cured thy daughter from behind the
curtain, without going in to her.'  'Look to it well,' said the
King; 'is this news true?'  'O my lord,' answered the eunuch,
'come and see for thyself how she hath found strength to break
the iron chains and is come forth to the astrologer, kissing and
embracing him.'  So the King arose and went in to his daughter,
who, when she saw him, rose and covered her face, reciting the
following verses:

I love not the toothstick; 'tis hateful to me, For I, when I name
     it, say, "Other than thee."[FN#40]
But I love, notwithstanding, the capparis-tree, For, whenas I
     name it I say, "Thee I see."[FN#41]

The King was transported for joy at her recovery and kissed her
between the eyes, for he loved her very dearly; then turning to
Kemerezzeman, he asked him who he was and whence he came.  The
prince told him his name and rank and that he was the son of King
Shehriman, and related to him the whole story from beginning to
end; whereat Ghaïour marvelled and said, 'Verily, your story
deserves to be recorded in books and read after you, generation
after generation.'  Then he summoned Cadis and witnesses
forthright and married the two lovers; after which he bade
decorate the city seven days long.  So they decorated the city
and held high festival, and all the troops donned their richest
clothes, whilst the drums beat and the criers announced the glad
tidings.  Then they spread the tables with all manner meats and
unveiled the princess before Kemerezzeman, and behold, each was
like unto the other in beauty and elegance and amorous grace.  So
the King rejoiced in the issue of her affair and in her marriage
and praised God for that He had made her to fall in love with a
goodly youth of the sons of the kings.  Then Kemerezzeman went in
to her and lay with her that night and took his will of her,
whilst she in like manner fufilled her desire of him and enjoyed
his beauty and grace; and they clipped each other till the
morning.  On the morrow, the King made a banquet and spreading
the tables with the richest meats, kept open house a whole month
to all comers from the Islands of the Inner and the Outer Seas.
Now, when Kemerezzeman had thus attained his desire and had
tarried awhile with the princess Budour, he bethought him of his
father and saw him in a dream, saying, 'O my son, is it thus thou
dealest with me?' and reciting the following verses:

The moon o' the dark by his neglect my spirit doth appal And to
     the watching of his stars hath made my eyelids thrall.
But soft, my heart!  It may be yet he will return to thee; And
     patience, soul, beneath the pain he's smitten thee withal!

Kemerezzeman awoke in the morning, afflicted and troubled at what
he had seen, whereupon the princess questioned him and he told
her his dream.  Then they both went in to King Ghaïour and
telling him what had passed, besought his leave to depart.  He
gave the prince the leave he sought; but the princess said,
'O my father, I cannot endure to be parted from him.'  Quoth
Ghaïour, 'Then go thou with him,' and gave her leave to be
absent a whole year, charging her to visit him once in every year
thereafterward.  So she kissed his hand and Kemerezzeman did the
like; after which he proceeded to equip them for the journey,
furnishing them with horses and dromedaries of choice and a
litter for his daughter, besides mules and camels laden with
victual and all manner of travelling gear.  Moreover, he
gave them slaves and eunuchs to serve them and bestowed on
Kemerezzeman ten splendid suits of cloth of gold, embroidered
with jewels, together with a treasury[FN#42] of money and ten
riding horses and as many she-camels.  When the day of departure
arrived, the King accompanied them to the farthest limits of his
islands, where, going in to his daughter Budour in the litter, he
kissed her and strained her to his bosom, weeping and repeating
the following verses:

O thou that seekest parting, stay thy feet, For sure embraces are
     a lover's right.
Softly, for fortune's nature is deceit And parting is the end of
     love-delight.

Then, leaving her, he kissed her husband and commended his
daughter to his care; after which he bade him farewell and giving
the signal for departure, returned to his capital with his
troops.  The prince and princess and their suite fared on without
stopping a whole month, at the end of which time they came to a
spacious champaign, abounding in pasturage, where they alighted
and pitched their tents.  They ate and drank and rested, and
the princess Budour lay down to sleep.  Presently, Kemerezzeman
went in to her and found her lying asleep, in a shift of
apricot-coloured silk, that showed all it should have covered,
and a coif of cloth of gold embroidered with pearls and jewels.
The breeze raised her shift and showed her breasts and navel and
a belly whiter than snow, each one of whose dimples contained an
ounce of benzoin ointment.[FN#43] At this sight, his love and
passion for her redoubled, and he recited the following verses:

If, whilst within my entrails the fires of hell did stir And
     flames raged high about me, 'twere spoken in my ear,
"Which wilt thou have the rather, a draught of water cold Or
     sight of her thou lovest?"  I'd say, "The sight of her."

Then he put his hand to the ribbon of her trousers and drew it
and loosed it, for that his soul lusted after her, when he saw a
jewel, red as dragon's blood,[FN#44] made fast to the band.  He
untied and examined it and seeing two lines of writing graven
thereon, in a character not to be read, marvelled and said in
himself, 'Except she set great store by this, she had not tied it
to the ribbon of her trousers nor hidden it in the most private
place about her person, that she might not be parted from it.  I
wonder what she doth with it and what is the secret that is in
it.'  So saying, he took it and went without the tent to look at
it in the light; but as he was examining it, a bird swooped down
on him and snatching it from his hand, flew off with it and
lighted on the ground at a little distance.  Fearing to lose the
talisman, he ran after the bird; but it flew on before him,
keeping just out of his reach, and drew him on from place to
place and from hill to hill, till the night came on and the air
grew dark, when it roosted on a high tree.  Kemerezzeman stopped
under the tree, confounded and faint for hunger and weariness,
and giving himself up for lost, would have turned back, but knew
not the way, for the darkness had overtaken him.  So he
exclaimed, 'There is no power and no virtue but in God the Most
High, the Supreme!'  and lying down under the tree, slept till
the morning, when he awoke and saw the bird also awake and fly
away.  He arose and walked after it, and it flew on little by
little before him, after the measure of his going; at which he
smiled and said, 'By Allah, this is a strange thing!  Yesterday,
the bird flew before me as fast as I could run; and to-day,
knowing that I am tired and cannot run, it flieth after the
measure of my walking.  By Allah, this is wonderful!  But,
whether it lead me to my death or to my life, I must needs follow
it, wherever it goeth, for it will surely not abide save in some
inhabited land.  So he  followed the bird, eating of the fruits
of the earth and drinking of its waters, for ten days' space, and
every night the bird roosted on a tree.  At the end of this time,
he came in sight of an inhabited city, whereupon the bird darted
off like the glance of the eye and entering the town, was lost to
view: and Kemerezzeman marvelled at this and exclaimed, 'Praised
be God, who hath brought me hither in safety!'  Then he sat down
by a stream and washed his hands and feet and face and rested
awhile: and recalling his late easy and pleasant life of union
with his beloved and contrasting it with his present plight of
trouble and weariness and hunger and strangerhood and severance,
the tears streamed from his eyes and he repeated the following
cinquains:

I strove to hide the load that love on me did lay; In vain, and
     sleep for me is changed to wake alway.
Whenas wanhope doth press my heart both night and day, I cry
     aloud, "O Fate, hold back thy hand, I pray.
          For all my soul is sick with dolour and dismay!"
If but the Lord of Love were just indeed to me, Sleep had not
     fled mine eyes by his unkind decree.
Have pity, sweet, on one that is for love of thee Worn out and
     wasted sore; once rich and great was he,
          Now beggared and cast down by love from his array.
The railers chide at thee full sore; I heed not, I, But stop my
     ears to them and give them back the lie.
"Thou lov'st a slender one," say they; and I reply, "I've chosen
     her and left all else beneath the sky."
          Enough; when fate descends, the eyes are blinded aye.

As soon as he was rested, he rose and walked on, little by
little, till he came to the city-gate and entered, knowing not
whither he should go.  He traversed the city from end to end,
without meeting any of the townsfolk, entering by the land-gate
and faring on till he came out at the sea-gate, for the city
stood on the sea-shore.  Presently, he found himself among the
orchards and gardens of the place and passed among the trees,
till he came to a garden-gate and stopped before it, whereupon
the keeper came out to him and saluted him.  The prince returned
his greeting and the other bade him welcome, saying, 'Praised be
God that thou hast come off safe from the people of the city!
Quick, come into the garden, ere any of the townsfolk see thee.'
So Kemerezzeman entered the garden, amazed, and said to the
keeper, 'Who and what then are the people of this city?'  'Know,'
answered the other,' that the people of this city are all
Magians: but, God on thee, tell me how and why thou camest
hither.'  Accordingly, Kemerezzeman told him all that had
befallen him, at which the gardener marvelled greatly and said,
'Know, O my son, that from this place to the cities of Islam is
four months' journey by sea and a whole year by land.  We have a
ship that sails yearly hence with merchandise to the Ebony
Islands, which are the nearest Muslim country, and thence to the
Khalidan Islands, the dominions of King Shehriman.'  Kemerezzeman
considered awhile and concluding that he could not do better than
abide with the gardener and become his assistant, said to him,
'Wilt thou take me into thy service, to help thee in this
garden?'  'Willingly,' answered the gardener and clothing him in
a short blue gown, that reached to his knees, taught him to lead
the water to the roots of the trees.  So Kemerezzeman abode with
him, watering the trees and hoeing up the weeds and weeping
floods of tears; for he had no rest day or night, by reason of
his strangerhood and separation from his beloved, and he ceased
not to repeat verses upon her, amongst others the following:

Ye made us a promise of yore; will ye not to your promise be
     true? Ye spoke us a word aforetime; as ye spoke to us, will
     ye not do?
We waken, whilst ye are asleep, according to passion's decree; So
     have ye the vantage of us, for watchers and sleepers are
     two.
We vowed to each other, whilere, that we would keep secret our
     loves; But the breedbate possessed you to speak, and you
     spoke and revealed what none knew.
Belovéd in pleasure and pain, chagrin and contentment alike,
     Whate'er may betide, ye alone are the goal that my wishes
     ensue.
There's one that still holdeth a heart, a heart sore tormented of
     mine; Ah, would she'd have ruth on my plight and pity the
     soul that she slew!
Not every one's eye is as mine, worn wounded and cankered with
     tears, And hearts that are, even as mine, the bondslaves of
     passion, are few.
Ye acted the tyrant with me, saying, "Love is a tyrant, I trow."
     Indeed, ye were right, and the case has proved what ye said
     to be true.
Alack!  They've forgotten outright a passion-distraught one,
     whose faith Time 'minisheth not, though the fires in his
     entrails rage ever anew.
If my foeman in love be my judge, to whom shall I make my
     complaint? To whom of injustice complain, to whom for
     redress shall I sue?
Were it not for my needing of love and the ardour that burns in
     my breast, I had not a heart love-enslaved and a soul that
     for passion must rue.

To return to the princess Budour.  When she awoke, she sought her
husband and found him not: then she saw the ribbon of her
trousers undone and the talisman missing and said to herself, 'By
Allah, this is strange!  Where is my husband?  It would seem as
if he had taken the talisman and gone away, knowing not the
secret that is in it.  Whither can he have gone?  It must have
been some extraordinary matter that drew him away, for he cannot
brook to leave me an hour.  May God curse the talisman and its
hour!'  Then she considered awhile and said in herself, 'If I go
out and tell the servants that my husband is lost, they will
covet me: I must use stratagem.'  So she rose and donned some of
her husband's clothes and boots and spurs and a turban like his,
drawing the loose end across her face for a chin-band.  Then
setting a slave-girl in her litter, she went forth the tent and
called to the servants, who brought her Kemerezzeman's horse; and
she mounted and bade load the beasts and set forward.  So they
bound on the burdens and departed, none doubting but she was
Kemerezzeman, for she resembled him in face and form; nor did
they leave journeying, days and nights, till they came in sight
of a city overlooking the sea, when they halted to rest and
pitched their tents without the walls.  The princess asked the
name of the place and was told, 'It is called the City of Ebony:
its king is named Armanous, and he hath a daughter called Heyat
en Nufous.'  Presently, the King sent to learn who it was that
had encamped without his city; so the messenger, coming to the
tents, enquired of Budour's servants and was told that she was a
king's son, bound for the Khalidan Islands, who had strayed
from his road; whereupon he returned and told the King, who
straightway took horse and rode out, with his nobles, to meet the
strange prince.  As he drew near the tents, the princess came to
meet him on foot, whereupon the King alighted and they saluted
each other.  Then he carried her into the city and bringing her
to the palace, let spread a banquet and bade transport her
company and baggage to the guest-house, where they abode three
days; at the end of which time the King came in to Budour (Now
she had that day gone to the bath and her face shone as the moon
at its full, enchanting all beholders, and she was clad in robes
of silk, embroidered with gold and jewels) and said to her,
'Know, O my son, that I am a very old man and am grown unable for
the conduct of the state.  Now God has blessed me with no child
save one daughter, who resembles thee in beauty and grace; so, O
my son, if this my country please thee and thou be willing to
make thine abode here, I will marry thee to my daughter and give
thee my kingdom and so be at rest.'  When Budour heard this, she
bowed her head and her forehead sweated for shame, and she said
to herself, 'How shall I do, and I a woman?  If I refuse and
depart, I cannot be safe but that he may send after me troops to
kill me; and if I consent, belike I shall be put to shame.  I
have lost my beloved Kemerezzeman and know not what is come of
him; wherefore I see nothing for it but to hold my peace and
consent and abide here, till God accomplish what is to be.'
So she raised her head and made submission to King Armanous,
saying, 'I hear and obey,' whereat he rejoiced and bade make
proclamation, throughout the Ebony Islands, to hold high festival
and decorate the houses.  Then he assembled his chamberlains and
Amirs and Viziers and other officers of state and the Cadis of
the city, and putting off the kingship, invested Budour therewith
and clad her in the royal robes.  Moreover, the Amirs and
grandees went in to her and did her homage, nothing doubting but
that she was a young man, and all who looked on her berayed their
hose for the excess of her beauty and grace; then, after the lady
Budour had been made Sultan and the drums had been beaten, in
announcement of the joyful event, Armanous proceeded to equip his
daughter for marriage, and in a few days, they brought Budour in
to her, when they seemed as it were two moons risen at one time
or two suns foregathering.  So they entered the bridal-chamber
and the doors were shut and the curtains let down upon them,
after the attendants had lighted the candles and spread the bed
for them.  When Budour found herself alone with the princess
Heyat en Nufous, she called to mind her beloved Kemerezzeman and
grief was sore upon her.  So she wept for his loss and absence
and repeated the following verses:

O ye who went and left my heart to pine alone fore'er, No spark
     of life remains in me, since ye away did fare!
I have an eye that doth complain of sleeplessness alway; Tears
     have consumed it; would to God that sleeplessness would
     spare!
When ye departed, after you the lover did abide; But question of
     him what of pain in absence he doth bear.
But for the ceaseless flood of tears my eyes pour forth, the
     world Would at my burning all catch fire, yea, seas and
     lands and air.
To God Most High I make my moan of dear ones loved and lost, That
     on my passion have no ruth nor pity my despair.
I never did them wrong, except my love for them were such; But
     into blest and curst in love men aye divided were.

When she had finished, she sat down beside the princess Heyat en
Nufous and kissed her on the mouth.  Then, rising abruptly, she
made the ablution and betook herself to her devotions, nor did
she leave praying till Heyat en Nufous was asleep, when she slipt
into bed and lay with her back to her till morning; then rose and
went out.  Presently, the old king and queen came in to their
daughter and asked her how she did, whereupon she told them what
had passed and repeated to them the verses she had heard.

Meanwhile, Budour seated herself upon the throne and all the
Amirs and captains and officers of state came in to her and
wished her joy of the kingship, kissing the earth before her and
calling down blessings upon her.  She smiled on them and clad
them in robes of honour, augmenting the fiefs of the Amirs and
giving largesse to the troops; wherefore all the people loved her
and offered up prayers for the continuance of her reign, doubting
not but that she was a man.  She sat all day in the hall of
audience, ordering and forbidding and dispensing justice,
releasing those who were in prison and remitting the customs
dues, till nightfall, when she withdrew to the apartment prepared
for her.  Here she found Heyat en Nufous seated; so she sat down
by her and clapping her on the back, caressed her and kissed her
between the eyes, repeating the following verses:

The secret that I cherished my tears have public made; The
     wasting of my body my passion hath bewrayed.
I hid my love and longing; but on the parting-day My plight,
     alas!  revealed it to spies; 'twas open laid.
O ye who have departed the camp, ye've left behind My body worn
     with languor and spirit all decayed.
Within my heart's recesses ye have your dwelling-place; My tears
     are ever running and lids with blood berayed.
For ever will I ransom the absent with my soul; Indeed, for them
     my yearnings are patent and displayed.
I have an eye, whose pupil, for love of them, rejects Sleep and
     whose tears flow ever, unceasing and unstayed.
My foes would have me patient for him; but God forbid That ever
     of my hearing should heed to them be paid!
I baulked their expectation.  Of Kemerezzeman Sometime I did
     accomplish the joys for which I prayed.
He doth, as none before him, perfections all unite; No king of
     bygone ages was in the like arrayed.
His clemency and bounty Ben Zaïdeh's[FN#45] largesse And
     Muawiyeh's[FN#46] mildness have cast into the shade.
But that it would be tedious and verse sufficeth not To picture
     forth his beauties, I'd leave no rhyme unmade.

Then she wiped away her tears and making the ablution, stood up
to pray; nor did she give over praying, till drowsiness overcame
Heyat en Nufous and she slept, whereupon Budour came and lay
beside her till the morning.  At daybreak, she arose and prayed
the morning-prayer; then, going forth, seated herself on the
throne and passed the day in ordering and forbidding and
administering justice.  Meanwhile, King Armanous went in to his
daughter and asked her how she did; so she told him all that had
passed and repeated to him the verses that Budour had recited,
adding, 'O my father, never saw I one more abounding in sense and
modesty than my husband, save that he doth nothing but weep and
sigh.'  'O my daughter,' answered her father, 'have patience with
him yet this third night, and if he go not in to thee and do away
thy maidenhead,  we will take order with him and oust him from
the throne and banish him the country.'  When the night came, the
princess Budour rose from the throne and betaking herself to the
bride-chamber, found the candles lighted and the princess Heyat
en Nufous sitting awaiting her; whereupon she bethought her of
her husband and recalling the early severance of their loves,
wept and sighed and groaned groan upon groan, repeating the
following verses:

I swear the tidings of my woes fills all the country-side, Like
     the sun shining on the hills of Nejed far and wide.
His gesture speaks, but hard to tell the meaning of it is, And
     thus my yearning without end is ever magnified.
I hate fair patience since the hour I fell in love with thee.
     Hast seen a lover hating love at any time or tide?
One, in whose glances sickness lies, hath smitten me to death,
     For looks are deadliest of the things, wherein doth sickness
     bide.
He shook his clustered ringlets down and laid his chin-band by,
     And beauty thus in him, at once both black and white, I
     spied.
Sickness and cure are in his hands; for, to the sick of love, By
     him alone who caused their dole can healing be applied.
The softness of his waist hath made his girdle mad for love And
     of his hips, for jealousy, to rise he is denied.
His forehead, covered with his curls, is as a mirky night;
     Unveiled, 'tis as a shining moon that thrusts the dark
     aside.

When she had finished, she would have risen to pray, but Heyat en
Nufous caught her by the skirt, saying, 'O my lord, art thou not
ashamed to neglect me thus, after all the favour my father hath
done thee?'  When Budour heard this, she sat down again and said,
'O my beloved, what is this thou sayest?'  'What I say,' answered
Heyat en Nufous, 'is that I never saw any so self-satisfied as
thou.  Is every fair one so disdainful?  I say not this to
incline thee to me, but only of my fear for thee from King
Armanous; for he purposes, an thou go not in to me to-night and
do away my maidenhead, to strip thee of the kingship on the
morrow and banish thee the realm; and belike his much anger may
lead him to kill thee.  But I, O my lord, have compassion on thee
and give thee fair warning; and it is thine to decide.'  At this,
Budour bowed her head in perplexity and said in herself, 'If I
refuse, I am lost, and if I obey, I am shamed.  I am now queen of
all the Ebony Islands and they are under my rule and I shall
never again foregather with Kemerezzeman except it be in this
place; for there is no way for him to his native land but through
the Ebony Islands.  Verily, I know not what to do, for I am no
man that I should arise and open this virgin girl; but I commit
my case to God, who orders all for the best.'  Then she said to
Heyat en Nufous, 'O my beloved, it is in my own despite that I
have neglected thee and abstained from thee.'  And she discovered
herself to her and told her her whole story, saying, 'I conjure
thee by Allah to keep my counsel, till God reunite me with my
beloved Kemerezzeman, and then let what will happen.'  Her story
moved Heyat en Nufous to wonder and pity, and she prayed God to
reunite her with her beloved, saying, 'Fear nothing, O my sister,
but have patience till God accomplish that which is to be.'  And
she repeated the following verses:

None keepeth counsel saving those who're trusty and discreet. A
     secret's ever safely placed with honest folk and leal;
And secrets trusted unto me are in a locked-up house, Whose keys
     are lost and on whose door is set the Cadi's seal.

'O my sister,' continued she, 'the breasts of the noble are the
graves of secrets, and I will not discover thine.'  Then they
toyed and embraced and kissed and slept till near the call to
morning-prayer, when Heyat en Nufous arose and slaughtering a
young pigeon, besmeared herself and besprinkled her shift with
its blood.  Then she put off her trousers and cried out,
whereupon her waiting-women hastened to her and raised cries of
joy.  Presently, her mother came in to her aad asked her how she
did and tended her and abode with her till evening; whilst the
lady Budour repaired to the bath and after washing herself,
proceeded to the hall of audience, where she sat down on her
throne and dispensed justice among the folk.  When King Armanous
heard the cries, he asked what was the matter and was informed of
the consummation of his daughter's marriage; whereat he rejoiced
and his breast dilated and he made a great banquet.

To return to King Shehriman.  When Kemerezzeman and Merzewan
returned not at the appointed time, he passed the night without
sleep, restless and consumed with anxiety.  The night was long
upon him and he thought the day would never dawn.  He passed the
forenoon of the ensuing day in expectation of his son's coming,
but he came not; whereat his heart forebode separation and he was
distraught with fears for Kemerezzeman.  He wept till his clothes
were drenched, crying out, 'Alas, my son!'  and repeating the
following verses from an aching heart:

Unto the votaries of love I still was contrary, Till of its
     bitter and its sweet myself perforce must taste.
I quaffed its cup of rigours out, yea, even to the dregs, And to
     its freemen and its slaves myself therein abased.
Fortune aforetime made a vow to separate our loves; Now hath she
     kept her vow, alack!  and made my life a waste.

Then he wiped away his tears and bade his troops make ready for a
long journey.  So they all mounted and set forth, headed by the
Sultan, whose heart burnt with grief and anxiety for his son.  He
divided the troops into six bodies, whom he despatched in as many
directions, giving them rendezvous for the morrow at the
cross-roads.  Accordingly they scoured the country diligently all
that day and night, till at noon of the ensuing day they joined
company at the cross-roads.  Here four roads met and they knew
not which the prince had followed, till they came to the torn
clothes and found shreds of flesh and blood scattered by the way
on all sides.  When the King saw this, he cried out from his
inmost heart, saying, 'Alas, my son!' and buffeted his face and
tore his beard and rent his clothes, doubting not but his son was
dead.  Then he gave himself up to weeping and wailing, and the
troops also wept for his weeping, being assured that the prince
had perished.  They wept and lamented and threw dust on their
heads till they were nigh upon death, and the night surprised
them whilst they were thus engaged.  Then the King repeated the
following verses, with a heart on fire for the torment of his
despair:

Blame not the mourner for the grief to which he is a prey, For
     yearning sure sufficeth him, with all its drear dismay.
He weeps for dreariment and grief and stress of longing pain, And
     eke his transport doth the fires, that rage in him, bewray.
Alas, his fortune who's Love's slave, whom languishment hath
     bound Never to let his eyelids stint from weeping night and
     day!
He mourns the loss of one was like a bright and brilliant moon,
     That shone out over all his peers in glorious array.
But Death did proffer to his lips a brimming cup to drink, What
     time he left his native land, and now he's far away.
He left his home and went from us unto calamity; Nor to his
     brethren was it given to him farewell to say.
Indeed, his loss hath stricken me with anguish and with woe; Yea,
     for estrangement from his sight my wits are gone astray.
Whenas the Lord of all vouchsafed to him His Paradise, Upon his
     journey forth he fared and passed from us for aye.

Then he returned with the troops to his capital, giving up his
son for lost and deeming that wild beasts or highwaymen had set
on him and torn him in pieces, and made proclamation that all in
the Khalidan Islands should don black in mourning for him.
Moreover, he built a pavilion in his memory, naming it House of
Lamentations, and here he was wont to spend his days, (with the
exception of Mondays and Thursdays, which he devoted to the
business of the state), mourning for his son and bewailing him
with verses, of which the following are some:

My day of bliss is that whereon thou drawest near to me, And
     that, whereon thou turn'st away, my day of death and fear.
What though I tremble all the night and go in dread of death, Yet
     thine embraces are to me than safety far more dear.

And again:

My soul redeem the absent, whose going cast a blight On hearts
     and did afflict them with anguish and affright!
Let gladness then accomplish its purification-time,[FN#47] For,
     by a triple divorcement,[FN#48] I've put away delight.

Meanwhile, the princess Budour abode in the Ebony Islands, whilst
the folk would point to her and say, 'Yonder is King Armanous's
son-in-law;' and every night she lay with Heyat en Nufous, to
whom she made moan of her longing for her husband Kemerezzeman,
weeping and describing to her his beauty and grace and yearning
to enjoy him, though but in a dream.  And bytimes she would
repeat these verses:

God knows that, since my severance from thee, full sore I've
     wept, So sore that needs my eyes must run for very tears in
     debt.
"Have patience," quoth my censurer, "and thou shalt win them
     yet," And I, "O thou that blamest me, whence should I
     patience get?"


All this time, Kemerezzeman abode with the gardener, weeping and
repeating verses night and day, bewailing the seasons of
enjoyment and the nights of delight, whilst the gardener
comforted him with the assurance that the ship would set sail for
the land of the Muslims at the end of the year.  One day, he saw
the folk crowding together and wondered at this; but the gardener
came in to him and said, 'O my son, give over work for to-day
neither water the trees; for it is a festival day, on which the
folk visit one another.  So rest and only keep thine eye on the
garden, whilst I go look after the ship for thee; for yet but a
little while and I send thee to the land of the Muslims.'  So
saying, he went out, leaving Kemerezzeman alone in the garden,
who fell to musing upon his condition, till his courage gave way
and the tears streamed from his eyes.  He wept till he swooned
away, and when he recovered, he rose and walked about the garden
pondering what fate had done with him and bewailing his long
estrangement from those he loved.  As he went thus, absorbed in
melancholy thought, his foot stumbled and he fell on his face,
striking his forehead against the stump of a tree.  The blow cut
it open and his blood ran down and blent with his tears.  He rose
and wiping away the blood, dried his tears and bound his forehead
with a piece of rag; then continued his melancholy walk about the
garden.  Presently, he saw two birds quarrelling on a tree, and
one of them smote the other on the neck with its beak and cut off
its head, with which it flew away, whilst the slain bird's body
fell to the ground before Kemerezzeman.  As it lay, two great
birds flew down and alighting, one at the head and the other at
the tail of the dead bird, drooped their wings over it and bowing
their heads towards it, wept; and when Kemerezzeman saw them thus
bewail their mate, he called to mind his wife  and father and
wept also.  Then he saw them dig a grave and bury the dead bird;
after which they flew away, but presently returned with the
murderer and alighting on the grave, stamped on him till they
killed him.  Then they rent his belly and tearing out his
entrails, poured the blood on the grave.  Moreover, they stripped
off his skin and tearing his flesh in pieces, scattered it hither
and thither.  All this while Kemerezzeman was watching them and
wondering; but presently, chancing to look at the dead bird's
crop, he saw therein something gleaming.  So he opened it and
found the talisman that had been the cause of his separation from
his wife.  At this sight, he fell down in a swoon for joy; and
when he revived, he said, 'Praised be God!  This is a good omen
and a presage of reunion with my beloved.'  Then he examined the
jewel and passed it over his eyes; after which he bound it to his
arm, rejoicing in coming good, and walked about, awaiting the
gardener's return, till nightfall; when, as he came not, he lay
down and slept in his wonted place.  At daybreak he rose and
girding himself with a cord of palm-fibre, took hoe and basket
and went out to his work in the garden.  Presently, he came to a
carob-tree and struck the hoe into its roots.  The blow resounded
[as if it had fallen on metal]; so he cleared away the earth and
discovered a trap-door of brass.  He raised the trap and found a
winding stair, which he descended and came to an ancient vault of
the time of Aad and Themoud,[FN#49]  hewn out of the rock.  Round
the vault stood many brazen vessels of the bigness of a great
oil-jar, into one of which he put his hand and found it full of
red and shining gold; whereupon he said to himself, 'Verily, the
days of weariness are past and joy and solace are come!'  Then he
returned to the garden and replacing the trap-door, busied
himself in tending the trees till nightfall, when the gardener
came back and said to him, 'O my son, rejoice in a speedy return
to thy native land, for the merchants are ready for the voyage
and in three days' time the ship will set sail for the City of
Ebony, which is the first of the cities of the Muslims; and
thence thou must travel by land six months' journey till thou
come to the Islands of Khalidan, the dominions of King Shehriman.'
At this Kemerezzeman rejoiced and repeated the following verses:

Forsake not a lover unused aversion from thee, Nor punish the
     guiltless with rigour and cruelty.
Another, when absence was long, had forgotten thee And changed
     from his faith and his case; not so with me.

Then he kissed the gardener's hand, saying, 'O my father, even as
thou hast brought me glad tidings, so I also have great good news
for thee,' and told him of his discovery in the garden; whereat
the gardener rejoiced and said, 'O my son, fourscore years have I
dwelt in this garden and have never chanced on aught; whilst
thou, who hast not sojourned with me a year, hast discovered
this thing; wherefore it is God's gift to thee, for the cesser
of thine ill fortune, and will aid thee to rejoin thy folk
and foregather with her thou lovest.'  'Not so,' answered
Kemerezzeman, 'it must be shared between us.'  Then he carried
him to the underground chamber and showed him the gold, which was
in twenty jars.  So he took ten and the gardener ten, and the
latter said to him, 'O my son, fill thyself jars with the olives
that grow in the garden, for they are not found but in our land
and are sought after; the merchants carry them to all parts and
they are called Asafiri[FN#50] olives.  Lay the gold in the jars
and cover it with olives: then stop them and cover them and take
them with thee in the ship.'  So Kemerezzeman took fifty jars and
laying in each somewhat of the gold, filled it up with olives.
At the bottom of one of the jars he laid the talisman, then
stopped and covered the jars and sat down to talk with the
gardener, making sure of speedy reunion with his own people and
saying in himself, 'When I come to the Ebony Islands, I will
journey thence to my father's country and enquire for my beloved
Budour.  I wonder whether she turned back to her own land or
journeyed on to my father's country or whether there befell her
any accident by the way.'  And he repeated the following verses:

Love in my breast they lit and passed away forthright: Far
     distant is the land that holds my soul's delight.
Far, far from me the camp and those that dwell therein; No
     visitation-place again shall us unite.
Patience and reason fled from me, when they fared forth; Sleep
     failed me and despair o'ercame me, like a blight.
They left me, and with them departed all my joy; Tranquillity and
     peace with them have taken flight.
They made mine eyes run down with tears of love laid waste; My
     lids for lack of them brim over day and night.
Whenas my sad soul longs to see them once again And waiting and
     desire are heavy on my spright,
Midmost my heart of hearts their images I trace, Love and
     desireful pain and yearning for their sight.

Then he told the gardener what he had seen pass between the
birds, whereat he wondered; and they both lay down and slept till
the morning.  The gardener awoke sick and abode thus two days;
but on the third day, his sickness increased on him, till they
despaired of his life and Kemerezzeman grieved sore for him.
Meanwhile, the captain and sailors came and enquired for the
gardener.  Kemerezzeman told them that he was sick, and they
said, 'Where is the young man that is minded to go with us to the
Ebony Islands?'  'He is your servant,' answered the prince and
bade them carry the jars of olives to the ship.  So they
transported them to the ship, saying, 'Make haste, for the wind
is fair;' and he answered, 'I hear and obey.'  Then he carried
his victual on board and returning, to bid the gardener farewell,
found him in the agonies of death.  So he sat down at his head
and closed his eyes, and his soul departed his body; whereupon he
laid him out and committed him to the earth to the mercy of God
the Most High.  Then he went down to the port, to embark, but
found that the ship had already weighed anchor and set sail; nor
did she cease to cleave the waters, till she disappeared from
his sight.  So he returned to the garden, sorrowful and
heavy-hearted, and sitting down, threw dust on his head and
buffeted his face.  Then he rented the garden of its owner and
hired a man to help him tend the trees.  Moreover, he went down
to the underground chamber and bringing up the rest of the gold,
stowed it in other fifty jars, which he filled up with olives.
Then he enquired of the ship and was told that it sailed but once
a year; at which his affliction redoubled and he mourned sore for
that which had befallen him, above all for the loss of the
princess Budour's talisman, and spent his nights and days weeping
and repeating verses.

Meanwhile, the ship sailed with a favouring wind, till it reached
the Ebony Islands.  As fate would have it, the princess Budour
was sitting at a window overlooking the sea and saw the ship cast
anchor in the port.  At this sight, her heart throbbed and she
mounted and riding down to the port, with her officers, halted by
the ship, whilst the sailors broke out the cargo and transported
the goods to the storehouses; after which she called the captain
and asked what he had with him.  'O King,' answered he, 'I have
with me drugs and cosmetics and powders and ointments and
plasters and rich stuffs and Yemen rugs and other costly
merchandise, not to be borne of mule or camel, and all manner
essences and spices and perfumes, civet and ambergris and camphor
and Sumatra aloes-wood, and tamarinds and Asafiri olives to boot,
such as are rare to find in this country.'  When she heard talk
of Asafiri olives, her heart yearned for them and she said to the
captain, 'How much olives hast thou?'  'Fifty jars full,'
answered he.  'Their owner is not with us, but the King shall
take what he will of them.'  Quoth she, 'Bring them ashore, that
I may see them.'  So he called to the sailors, who brought her
the fifty jars; and she opened one and looking at the olives,
said to the captain, 'I will take the whole fifty and pay you
their value, whatever it may be.'  'By Allah, O my lord,'
answered he, 'they have no value in our country and the fifty
jars may be worth some hundred dirhems; but their owner tarried
behind us, and he is a poor man.'  'And what are they worth
here?' asked she.  'A thousand dirhems,' replied he.  'I will
take them at that price,' quoth she and bade carry the fifty jars
to the palace.  When it was night, she called for a jar of olives
and opened it, there being none present but herself and the
princess Heyat en Nufous.  Then, taking a dish, she turned into
it the contents of the jar, when behold there fell out into the
dish with the olives a heap of red gold and she said to Heyat en
Nufous, 'This is nought but gold!'  So she sent for the rest of
the jars and found each one full of gold and scarce enough olives
in the whole fifty to fill one jar.  Moreover, she sought among
the gold and found the talisman, which she took and examined and
knew for that which Kemerezzeman had taken from off the riband of
her trousers; whereupon she cried out for joy and fell down in a
swoon.  When she revived, she said in herself, 'Verily, this
talisman was the cause of my separation from my beloved
Kemerezzeman; but now it is an omen of good.'  Then she showed it
to Heyat en Nufous and said to her, 'This was the cause of
separation and now, please God, it shall be the cause of
reunion.'  As soon as it was day, she seated herself on her
throne and sent for the captain, who came and kissed the ground
before her.  Quoth she, 'Where didst thou leave the owner of
these olives?'  'O King of the age,' answered he, 'we left him in
the land of the Magians and he is a gardener there.'  'Except
thou bring him to me,' said she, 'thou knowest not the harm that
awaits thee and thy ship.'  Then she bade seal up the merchants'
storehouses and said to them, 'The owner of these olives is my
debtor; and an ye bring him not to me, I will without fail put
you all to death and confiscate your goods.'  So they all went to
the captain and promised him the hire of the ship, if he would go
and return a second time, saying, 'Deliver us from this masterful
tyrant.'  Accordingly, the captain set sail and God decreed him a
prosperous voyage, till he came to the city of the Magians, and
landing by night, went up to the garden.  Now the night was long
upon Kemerezzeman, and he sat, bethinking him of his beloved and
weeping over what had befallen him and repeating the following
verses:

Full many a night I've passed, whose stars their course did stay,
     A night that seemed of those that will not pass away,
That was, as 'twere, for length the Resurrection-morn, To him
     that watched therein and waited for the day!

At this moment, the captain knocked at the garden-gate, and
Kemerezzeman opened and went out to him, whereupon the sailors
seized him and carrying him on board the ship, weighed anchor
forthright.  They sailed on without ceasing days and nights,
whilst Kemerezzeman knew not why they dealt thus with him; but
when he questioned them, they replied, 'Thou hast offended
against the lord of the Ebony Islands, the son-in-law of King
Armanous, and hast stolen his good, unhappy wretch that thou
art!'  'By Allah,' said he, 'I know not the country nor was I
ever there in all my life!'  However, they fared on with him,
till they made the Ebony Islands and landing, carried him up to
the princess Budour, who knew him at sight and said, 'Leave him
with the eunuchs, that they may take him to the bath.'  Then she
relieved the merchant of the embargo and gave the captain a dress
of honour and ten thousand dinars; after which, she went in that
night to the princess Heyat en Nufous and told her what had
passed, saying, 'Keep thou my counsel, till I accomplish my
purpose and do a thing that shall be recorded and told to kings
and commoners after us.'  Meanwhile, they carried Kemerezzeman to
the bath and clad him in a royal habit, so that, when he came
forth, he resembled a willow-wand or a star whose aspect put to
shame both sun and moon, and his life returned to him.  Then he
went in to the princess Budour, who, when she saw him, schooled
her heart to patience, till she should have accomplished her
purpose, and bestowed on him slaves and servants, black and
white, and camels and mules.  Moreover, she gave him a treasury
of money and advanced him from dignity to dignity, till she made
him treasurer and committed to his charge all the treasures of
the state; nor did she leave day by day to increase his
allowances and afford him fresh marks of her favour.  As for
Kemerezzeman, he was at a loss for the reason of all the honour
and favour she showed him and gave gifts and largesse out of the
abundance of the wealth he owed to her munificence, devoting
himself in particular to the service of King Armanous, so that he
and all the Amirs and people, great and small, loved him and were
wont to swear by his life.  Nevertheless, he ceased not to marvel
at the favour shown him by Budour and said in himself, 'By Allah,
there must be a reason for this affection!  Peradventure, this
king favours me thus excessively with some ill purpose and needs
must I therefore crave leave of him to depart his realm.'  So he
went in to Budour and said to her, 'O King, thou hast overwhelmed
me with favours, but it will fulfil the measure of thy bounties
if thou wilt take from me all thou hast given and let me depart.'
She smiled and said, 'What makes thee seek to depart and plunge
into new perils, whenas thou art in the enjoyment of the greatest
favour and prosperity?'  'O King,' answered Kemerezzeman, 'this
favour, if there be no reason for it, is indeed a wonder of
wonders, more by token that thou hast advanced me to dignities
such as befit graybeards, albeit I am but a child.'  'The reason
is,' answered she, 'that I love thee for thine exceeding grace
and thy surpassing beauty; and so thou wilt but grant me my
desire of thee, I will advance thee yet further in honour and
favour and largesse and make thee Vizier, for all thy tender age,
even as the folk made me Sultan and I no older than thou; so that
nowadays there is nothing strange in the headship of children,
and gifted of God was he who said:

Our time is, meseems, of the lineage of Lot; It craves the
     advancement of younglings, God wot.'

When Kemerezzeman heard this, he was confounded and his cheeks
flushed till they seemed on fire; and he said, 'I reck not of
favours that involve the commission of sin; I will live poor in
wealth but rich in virtue and honour.'  Quoth she, 'I am not the
dupe of thy scruples, arising from prudery and coquetry: and God
bless him who says:

I mentioned to him the pact of fruition, and he, "How long with
     vexatious discourse wilt thou set upon me?"
I showed him a dinar and straightway he sang out and said, "O
     whither shall one from Fate irresistible flee!"

'O King,' replied Kemerezzeman, 'I have not the wont of these
doings, nor have I strength, who am but of tender years, to bear
these heavy burdens, for which elder than I have proved unable.'
She smiled and rejoined, 'Indeed, it is wonderful how error
springs from the disorder of the wit.  Since thou art but a boy,
why standest thou in fear of sin or the doing of forbidden
things, seeing that thou art not yet come to years of discretion
and the offences of a child incur neither punishment nor reproof?
Verily, thou committest thyself to an argument advanced but for
the sake of contention, and it behoves thee to bow to the
ordinance of fruition, which has been given against thee.
Wherefore, henceforward, give over denial and coyness, for the
commandment of God is a foreordained decree:[FN#51] indeed, I
have more reason than thou to fear falling into error; and
well-inspired was he who said:

My pintle is big and the little one said unto me, "Tilt boldly
     therewith at my inwards and quit thee thy need."
Quoth I, "'Tis unlawful;" but he, "It is lawful with me;" So to
     it I fell, supporting myself by his rede.'

When Kemerezzeman heard these words, the light in his eyes became
darkness and he said, 'O King, thou hast in thy palace women and
female slaves, that have not their like in this age: may not
these suffice thee without me?  Do thy will with them and leave
me.'  'Thou speakest truth,' answered she; 'but it is not with
them that one who loves thee can heal himself of torment and
fever; for when tastes and inclinations are corrupted, they
hearken to other than good counsel.  So leave arguing and hear
what the poet says:

Seest not the fruits of the market, how of two kinds they be?
     Some are for figs,[FN#52] but more for the fruit of the
     sycamore-tree.[FN#53]

And what another says:


Full many an one, whose ankle-rings are dumb, her girdle sounds;
     So this one is content and that a tale of need must tell.
Thou'dst have me, foolwise, in her charms forget thee. God
     forfend I, that a true believer am, should turn an infidel!
No, by a whisker that makes mock of all her curls, I swear, Nor
     maid nor strumpet from thy side shall me by guile compel!

And a third:

O pearl of loveliness, to love thee is my faith; Yea, and my
     choice of all the faiths that have been aye.
Women I have forsworn, indeed, for thy sweet sake, So that the
     folk avouch I'm grown a monk to-day

And a fourth:

Compare not a wench with a boy and to the spy, Who says to thee,
     "This is wrong," pay thou no heed.
'Twixt a woman whose feet one's lips kiss and a smooth-faced
     fawn, Who kisses the earth, the diff'rence is great indeed.

And a fifth:

My soul be thy ransom!  Indeed, I've chosen thee out with intent,
     Because thou layest no eggs and dost not menstruate.
For, an I inclined to foregather with harlots, upon my faith, The
     wide, wide world for the brats I should get would prove too
     strait.

And a sixth:

Quoth she to me,--and sore enraged for wounded pride was she, For
     she in sooth had bidden me to that which might not be,--
"An if thou swive me not forthright, as one should swive his
     wife, If thou be made a cuckold straight, reproach it not to
     me.
Meseems thy yard is made of wax, for very flaccidness; For, when
     I rub it with my hand, it softens instantly."

And a seventh:

Quoth she (for I to lie with her would not consent), "O fool,
     that followest on thy folly to the extent,
If thou reject my kaze for Kibleh[FN#54] to thy yard, We'll show
     thee one wherewith thou shalt be sure content."

And an eighth:

She proffered me a tender kaze; But I, "I will not swive,"
     replied.
She drew back, saying, "From the truth Needs must he turn who's
     turned aside;[FN#55]
And swiving frontwise in our day Is all abandoned and decried;"
Then turned and showed me, as it were A lump of silver, her
     backside.
"Well done, O mistress mine!  No more Am I in pain for thee," I
     cried,
"Whose poke of all God's openings[FN#56] Is sure the amplest and
     most wide!"

And a ninth:

Men crave forgiveness with uplifted hands; But women pray with
     lifted legs, I trow.[FN#57]
Out on it for a pious piece of work! God shall exalt it to the
     deeps below.[FN#58]

When Kemerezzeman heard these verses and was certified that there
was no escaping compliance with her will, he said, 'O King, if
thou must needs have it so, swear to me that thou wilt use me
thus but once, though it avail not to stay thy debauched
appetite; and that thou wilt never again require me of this to
the end of time; so it may be God will purge me of the sin.'  'I
promise thee that,' replied she, 'hoping that God of His favour
will relent towards us and blot out our mortal sins; for the
compass of the Divine forgiveness is not indeed so strait, but it
may altogether embrace us and absolve us of the excess of our
transgressions and bring us to the light of righteousness out of
the darkness of error.  As most excellent well saith the poet:

The folk imagine of us twain an evil thing, I ween, And with
     their hearts and souls, indeed, they do persist therein.
Come, let us justify their thought and free them thus from guilt,
     This once, 'gainst us; and then will we repent us of our
     sin.'

Then she swore to him a solemn oath, by Him whose existence is
unconditioned, that this thing should befall betwixt them but
once and never again for all time, and vowed to him that the
desire of him was driving her to death and perdition.  So he went
with her, on this condition, to her privy closet, that she might
quench the fire of her passion, saying, 'There is no power and no
virtue save in God the Most High, the Supreme!  This is the
ordinance of the All-powerful, the All-wise!'  And did off his
trousers, in the utmost confusion, with the tears running from
his eyes for stress of affright; whereat she smiled and carrying
him on to a couch, said to him, 'After this night, thou shalt see
nought that will displease thee.'  Then she turned to him,
kissing and clipping him and twining leg with leg, and said to
him, 'Put thy hand, between my thighs, to that thou wottest of,
so haply it may be won to stand up after prostration.'  He wept
and said, 'I am not good at aught of this.'  But she said, 'As I
live, an thou do as I bid thee, it shall profit thee!'  So he put
out his hand, with a heart on fire for confusion, and found her
thighs fresher than cream and softer than silk.  The touching of
them pleasured him and he moved his hand hither and thither, till
he came to a dome abounding in benedictions and movements and
said in himself, 'Belike this king is a hermaphrodite, nor male
nor female.'  So he said to her, 'O King, I cannot find that thou
hast any manly gear, even as other men; what then moved thee to
do thus?'  When the princess heard this, she laughed till she
fell backward, and said, 'O my beloved, how quickly thou hast
forgotten the nights we have lain together!'  Then she made
herself known to him and he knew her for his wife, the Lady
Budour, daughter of King Ghaïour.  So he embraced her and she
embraced him and they kissed each other; then they lay down on
the bed of delight, repeating the words of the poet:

Whenas the softness of a shape did bid him to my arms, That, as
     it were a trailing vine with twinings did him ply
And on the hardness of his heart its very softness shed, He
     yielded, though at first he feigned reluctance to comply,
And came, provided with a stock of caution safe and sure, Fearing
     lest, when he did appear, the railers should him spy.
His waist of buttocks maketh moan, that lay upon his feet A very
     camel's load, what time he would a-walking hie.
Girt with his glances' trenchant swords and cuirassed with the
     mail Of his bright locks, as 'twere the dusk new fallen from
     the sky,
His fragrance brought me from afar the news of his approach, And
     forth, as bird let out from cage, to meet my love fled I.
I laid my cheek within his way, beneath his sandal-soles, And lo,
     their dust's collyrium healed the ailment of mine eye!
With an embrace I hoisted up the flag of loves new linked And
     loosed the knot of my delight, that made as 'twould deny.
Then let I call high festival, and gladness, all unmixed With any
     thought of troublousness, came flocking in reply.
The full moon handselled with the stars the teeth, like grains of
     pearl, That on the laughing face of wine now dance, now
     stirless lie.
So in the niche of their delight I gave me up to joys, The
     veriest sinner would repent if he their like might try.
The morning-glories of his face be pledge I'll ne'er, in him,
     Forget the writ that biddeth us One only glorify![FN#59]

Then they told one another all that had befallen them since their
separation, after which he began to upbraid her, saying, 'What
moved thee to deal with me as thou hast done this night?'  'Do
not reproach me,' replied she; 'for I did this but by way of jest
and for increase of pleasure and gladness.'  When it was morning
and the day arose with its light and shone, she sent to King
Armanous and acquainted him with the truth of the case and that
she was wife to Kemerezzeman.  Moreover, she told him their story
and the manner of their separation and how his daughter Heyat
en Nufous was yet a maid.  He marvelled greatly at their story
and bade record it in letters of gold.  Then he turned to
Kemerezzeman and said, 'O king's son, art thou minded to marry my
daughter and become my son-in-law?'  'I must consult the princess
Budour,' answered he; 'for I owe her favour without stint.'  So
he took counsel with her and she said, 'This is well seen; marry
her and I will be her handmaid, for I am her debtor for kindness
and favour and good offices, more by token that we are here in
her place and that the king her father has loaded us with
benefits.'  When he saw that she inclined to this and was not
jealous of Heyat en Nufous, he agreed with her thereupon and told
King Armanous what she had said, whereat he rejoiced greatly.
Then he went out and seating himself in his chair of estate,
assembled all the Viziers and Amirs and chamberlains and
grandees, to whom he related the whole story and acquainted them
with his desire to marry his daughter to Kemerezzeman and make
him king in the stead of the princess Budour.  Whereupon said
they all, 'Since he is the husband of the princess Budour, who
hath been our Sultan till now, whilst we deemed her King
Armanous's son-in-law, we are all content to have him to Sultan
over us and will be his servants, nor will we swerve from his
allegiance.'  At this Armanous rejoiced and summoning Cadis and
witnesses and the chief officers of state, let draw up the
contract of marriage between Kemerezzeman and his daughter, the
princess Heyat en Nufous.  Then he held high festival, giving
sumptuous banquets and bestowing costly dresses of honour upon
the Amirs and captains; moreover, he gave alms to the poor and
needy and freed the prisoners.  All the folk rejoiced in the
coming of Kemerezzeman to the throne, wishing him abiding glory
and prosperity and happiness and renown, and as soon as he became
king, he remitted the customs-dues and released all that
remained in prison.  Thus he abode a long while, ordering himself
worthily towards his subjects, and lived with his wives in peace
and happiness and content, lying the night with each of them in
turn.  And indeed all his troubles and afflictions were blotted
out from him and he forgot his father King Shehriman and his
former estate of honour and worship with him.

After awhile, God the Most High blessed him with two sons, as
they were two shining moons, the elder, whose name was prince
Amjed, by Queen Budour, and the younger, whose name was prince
Asaad and who was comelier than his brother, by Queen Heyat en
Nufous.  They were reared in splendour and delight and were
instructed in penmanship and science and the arts of government
and horsemanship and other polite arts and accomplishments, till
they attained the extreme of perfection and the utmost limit of
beauty and grace, and both men and women were ravished by their
charms.  They grew up together, till they reached the age of
seventeen, and loved one another so dear that they were never
apart, eating and drinking together and sleeping in one bed; and
all the people envied them their beauty and concord.  When they
came to man's estate and were endowed with every perfection,
their father was wont, as often as he went on a journey, to make
them sit in his stead by turns in the place of judgment, and
each did justice among the folk one day at a time.  Now, as
unalterable fate and foreordained destiny would have it, Queen
Budour fell in love with Asaad, son of Queen Heyat en Nufous, and
the latter became enamoured of Amjed; and each of them used to
sport and play with the other's son, kissing him and straining
him to her bosom, whilst each thought that the other's behaviour
arose but from motherly affection.  On this wise, passion got the
mastery of the two women's hearts and they became madly enamoured
of the two youths, so that when the other's son came in to either
of them, she would press him to her bosom and long for him never
to be parted from her; till, at last, when waiting grew tedious
to them and they found no way to enjoyment, they refused meat and
drink and forewent the solace of sleep.  Presently, the King went
out to hunt, bidding his sons sit to do justice in his stead,
each one day in turn, according to their wont.  So prince Amjed
sat on the throne the first day, ordering and forbidding,
appointing and deposing, giving and denying; and Queen Heyat
en Nufous took a scroll and wrote to him the following letter,
suing for his favour and discovering to him her passion, in
fine, altogether putting off the mask and giving him to know
that she desired to enjoy him.  'From the wretched lover, the
sorrowful severed one, whose youth is wasted in the love of
thee and whose torment for thee is prolonged.  Were I to
recount to thee the extent of my affliction and what I suffer
for sadness, the passion that is in my breast and all that I
endure for weeping and groaning and the rending of my sorrowful
heart, my unremitting cares and my ceaseless griefs and all my
suffering for severance and sadness and the ardour of desire,
no letter could contain it nor calculation compass it. Indeed,
earth and heaven are straitened upon me, and I have no hope and
no trust but in thee.  I am come nigh upon death and suffer the
horrors of dissolution; burning is sore upon me, and the pangs
of separation and estrangement.  Were I to set out the yearnings
that possess me, no scrolls would suffice thereto: and of the
excess of my affliction and wasting away, I have made the
following verses:

Were I to set down all I feel of heart-consuming dole And all the
     transport and unease that harbour in my soul,
Nor ink nor pen in all the world thereafter would remain, Nor
     aught from east to west were left of paper or of scroll.'

Then she folded up the silken tresses of her hair, whose cost
swallowed up treasures, in the letter, and wrapping it in a piece
of rich silk, scented with musk and ambergris, laid it in a
handkerchief; after which she gave it to an eunuch and bade him
carry it to prince Amjed.  The eunuch took it, knowing not what
the future hid for him, (for He who knoweth the hidden things
ordereth events according to His will,) and going in to the
prince, kissed the earth before him and gave him the letter.  He
opened it and reading it, was ware that his father's wife was in
intent an adulteress and a traitress to her husband; whereat he
was exceeding wroth and railed at women and their works, saying,
'May God curse women, the traitresses, that lack reason and
religion!'  Then he drew his sword and said to the eunuch, 'Out
on thee, thou wicked slave!  Dost thou carry adulterous messages
for thy lord's wife?  By Allah, there is no good in thee, O black
of hue and heart, O foul of face and nature!'  So saying, he
smote him on the neck and severed his head from his body; then,
folding the letter in the handkerchief, he thrust it into his
pocket and went in to his own mother and told her what had
passed, reviling and reproaching her and saying, 'Each one of you
is worse than the other; and by God the Great, did I not fear to
transgress against the rights of my father and my brother Asaad,
I would assuredly go in to her and cut off her head, even as I
cut off that of her eunuch!'  Then he went out in a great rage;
and when the news reached Queen Heyat en Nufous of what he had
done with her messenger, she reviled him and cursed him and
plotted perfidy against him.  He passed the night, sick with
anger and disgust and concern, nor was meat nor drink nor sleep
sweet to him.  Next morning, prince Asaad went out in his
turn to rule the folk in his father's stead and sat in the
audience-chamber, judging and administering justice, appointing
and deposing, ordering and forbidding, giving and bestowing, till
near the time of afternoon-prayer, when Queen Budour sent for a
crafty old woman and discovering to her what was in her heart,
wrote a letter to prince Asaad, complaining of the excess of her
love and longing for him, as follows: 'From her who perisheth for
passion and love-longing to the goodliest of mankind in form and
nature, him who is conceited of his own loveliness and glories in
his amorous grace, who turneth away from those that seek to
enjoy him and refuseth to show favour unto the lowly and the
self-abasing, him who is cruel and disdainful; from the
despairing lover to prince Asaad, lord of surpassing beauty and
excelling grace, of the moon-bright face and the flower-white
brow and dazzling splendour.  This is my letter to him whose love
consumes my body and rends my skin and my bones.  Know that my
patience fails me and I am at a loss what to do: longing and
wakefulness weary me and sleep and patience deny themselves to
me; but mourning and watching stick fast to me and desire and
passion torment me, and the extremes of languor and sickness.
Yet may my life be thy ransom, though it be thy pleasure to slay
her who loveth thee, and may God prolong thy life and preserve
thee from every ill!'  After this, she wrote the following
verses:


Fate hath so ordered it that I must needs thy lover be, O thou
     whose charms shine as the moon, when at the full is she!
All beauty and all eloquence thou dost in thee contain And over
     all the world of men thou'rt bright and brave to see.
That thou my torturer shouldst be, I am indeed content, So but
     thou wilt one glance bestow, as almous-deed, on me.
Happy, thrice happy is her lot who dieth for thy love! No good is
     there in any one that doth not cherish thee.

And these also:

To thee, O Asaad, of the pangs of passion I complain; Have pity
     on a slave of love, that burns for longing pain.
How long, I wonder, shall the hands of passion sport with me And
     love and dole and sleeplessness consume me, heart and brain?
Whiles do I plain me of a sea within my heart and whiles Of
     flaming; surely, this is strange, O thou my wish and bane!
Give o'er thy railing, censor mine, and set thyself to flee From
     love that maketh eyes for aye with burning tears to rain.
How oft, for absence and desire, I cry, "Alas, my grief!" But all
     my crying and lament in this my case are vain.
Thou hast with rigours made me sick, that passed my power to
     bear: Thou'rt the physician; do thou me with what befits
     assain.
O thou my censurer, forbear to chide me for my case, Lest, of
     Love's cruel malady, perdition thee attain.

Then she scented the letter with odoriferous musk and winding it
in the tresses of her hair, which were of Irak silk, with tassels
of oblong emeralds, set with pearls and jewels, delivered it to
the old woman, bidding her carry it to prince Asaad.  She
undertook the errand, to pleasure her, and going in straightway
to the prince, found him in his closet and delivered him the
letter; after which she stood waiting for the answer.  When Asaad
had read the letter and knew its purport, he wrapped it up again
in the tresses and put it in his pocket, cursing false women;
then, for he was beyond measure wroth, he sprang up and drawing
his sword, smote the old woman on the neck and cut off her head.
Then he went in to his mother, Queen Heyat en Nufous, whom he
found lying on her bed, sick for that which had betided her with
prince Amjed, and railed at her and cursed her; after which he
left her and betook himself to his brother, to whom he related
what had befallen him with Queen Budour, adding, 'By Allah, O my
brother, but that I feared to grieve thee, I had gone in to her
forthright and smitten her head off her shoulders!'  'By Allah, O
my brother,' replied Amjed, 'the like of what hath befallen thee
befell me also yesterday with thy mother Queen Heyat en Nufous.'
And he told him what had passed, adding, 'By Allah, O my brother,
nought but respect for thee withheld me from going in to her and
dealing with her even as I dealt with the eunuch!'  They passed
the rest of the night in trouble and affliction, conversing and
cursing false women, and agreed to keep the matter secret, lest
their father should hear of it and kill the two women.


On the morrow, the King returned with his suite from hunting and
sat awhile in his chair of estate; after which he dismissed the
Amirs and went up to his harem, where he found his two wives
lying on the bed, exceeding sick.  Now they had made a plot
against the two princes and concerted to do away their lives, for
that they had exposed themselves before them and feared to be at
their mercy.  When Kemerezzeman saw them on this wise, he said to
them, 'What ails you?'  Whereupon they rose and kissing his
hands, answered, perverting the case and saying, 'Know, O King,
that thy sons, who have been reared in thy bounty, have played
thee false and outraged thee in the persons of thy wives.'  When
he heard this, the light in his eyes became darkness and his
reason fled for the excess of his rage; then said he to them,
'Expound this thing to me.'  'O King of the age,' answered
Budour, 'know that these many days past thy son Asaad has been
wont to send me letters and messages to solicit me to lewdness,
and I still forbade him from this, but he would not be forbidden.
When thou wentest forth to hunt, he rushed in on me, drunk and
with a drawn sword in his hand, and smiting my eunuch, slew him.
Then he mounted on my breast, still holding the sword, and I
feared lest he should slay me even as he had slain my eunuch, if
I gainsaid him; so he took his will of me by force; and now an
thou do me not justice on him, O King, I will slay myself with my
own hand, for I reck not of life in the world after this foul
deed.'  Queen Heyat en Nufous, choking with tears, told him a
like story respecting prince Amjed, after which she fell a-
weeping and wailing and said, 'Except thou avenge me on him, I
will tell my father, King Armanous.'  Then they both wept sore
before King Kemerezzeman, who, when he saw their tears and heard
their words, concluded that their story was true and waxing
beyond measure wroth, went out, thinking to fall upon his two
sons and put them to death.  On his way he met his father-in-law
King Armanous, who hearing of his return from the chase, had come
to salute him and seeing him with the naked sword in his hand and
the blood dripping from his nostrils, for excess of rage,
enquired what ailed him.  Kemerezzeman told him what his sons
Amjed and Asaad had done and added, 'I am now going in to them,
to slay them on the foulest wise and make of them the most
shameful of examples.'  'O my son,' said King Armanous, (and
indeed he too was wroth with them,) 'thou dost well, and may God
not bless them nor any sons that offend thus against their
father's honour!  But, O my son, the proverb says, "Whoso looks
not to the issues, Fortune is no friend to him."  In any case,
they are thy sons, and it befits not that thou put them to death
with thine own hand, lest thou drink of their agony and after
repent of having slain them, whenas repentance will avail thee
nothing.  Rather do thou send one of thine officers with them
into the desert and let him kill them there, out of thy sight,
for, as says the adage, "When the eye sees not, the heart grieves
not."' Kemerezzeman saw his father-in-law's words to be just, so
he sheathed his sword and turning back, sat down upon his throne
and called his treasurer, a very old man, versed in affairs and
in the shifts of fortune, to whom he said, 'Go in to my sons
Amjed and Asaad; bind fast their hands behind them and lay them
in two chests and set them on a mule.  Then take horse and carry
them into the mid-desert, where do thou put them to death and
fill two vials with their blood and bring them to me in haste.'
'I hear and obey,' answered the treasurer and went out forthright
to do his bidding.  On his way, he met the princes coming out of
the palace-vestibule, for they had donned their richest clothes
and were on their way to salute their father and give him joy of
his safe return from the chase.  When he saw them, he laid hands
on them, saying, 'O my sons, know that I am but a slave commanded
and that your father hath laid a commandment on me: will ye obey
his commandment?'  'Yes,' answered they; whereupon he bound their
hands and laying them in the chests, set the latter on the back
of a mule, with which he left the city and rode into the open
country, till near midday, when he halted in a waste and desert
spot and dismounting, set down the two chests.  He opened them
and took out Amjed and Asaad; whom when he saw, he wept sore for
their beauty and grace; then drawing his sword, he said to them,
'O my lords, indeed it irks me to deal so foully by you; but I am
to be excused in this, being but a slave commanded, for that your
father King Kemerezzeman hath bidden me strike off your heads.'
'O Amir,' answered they, 'do the King's bidding, for we submit
with patience to that which God (to whom be ascribed might and
majesty) hath decreed to us; and thou art quit of our blood.'
Then they embraced and bade each other farewell, and Asaad said
to the treasurer, 'God on thee, O uncle, spare me the sight of my
brother's agony and make me not drink of his anguish, but kill me
first, that it may be the easier for me.'  Amjed said the like
and entreated the treasurer to kill him before Asaad, saying, 'My
brother is younger than I; so make me not taste of his anguish.'
And they both wept sore, whilst the treasurer wept for their
weeping, and they said to each other, 'All this comes of the
malice of those traitresses, our mothers; and this is the reward
of our forbearance towards them.  But there is no power and no
virtue but in God the Most High, the Supreme!  Verily, we are His
and unto Him we return.'  And Asaad embraced his brother, sobbing
and repeating the following verses:

O Thou to whom the sad complain, to whom the fearful flee, Thou
     that art evermore prepared for all that is to be,
Lord, there is left me no resource but at Thy door to knock; Yea,
     at whose portal shall I knock, if Thou be deaf to me?
O Thou, the treasures of whose grace are in the one word "Be," Be
     favourable, I beseech, for all good is with Thee!

When Amjed heard his brother's weeping, he wept also and pressed
him to his bosom, repeating the following verses:

O Thou, whose bounties unto me are more than one, I trow, Whose
     favours lavished on my head are countless as the sand,
No blow of all the blows of fate has ever fall'n on me, But I
     have found Thee ready still to take me by the hand.

Then said he to the treasurer, 'I conjure thee by the One God the
Omnipotent King and Protector, kill me before my brother Asaad
and allay the fire of my heart!'  But Asaad wept and exclaimed,
'Not so: I will die first;' whereupon said Amjed, 'It were best
that we embrace each other, so the sword may fall upon us and
kill us both at one stroke.'  So they embraced, face to face, and
clipped each other straitly, whilst the treasurer bound them fast
with cords, weeping the while.  Then he drew his sword and said
to them, 'By Allah, O my lords, it is indeed hard to me to kill
you!  But have ye no last wishes or injunctions that I may fulfil
or message that I may carry?'  'We have no wish,' replied Amjed,
'and my only injunction to thee is that thou set my brother
undermost, that the blow may fall on me first; and when thou hast
slain us and returnest to the King and he asks thee, "What said
they before their death?" do thou answer, "Thy sons salute thee
and say to thee, 'Thou knewest not if we were innocent or guilty,
yet hast thou put us to death and hast not certified thyself of
our guilt nor looked into our case.'"  Then do thou repeat to him
these verses:


Women are very devils, made to work us dole and death; Refuge I
     seek with God Most High from all their craft and scaith.
Prime source are they of all the ills that fall upon mankind,
     Both in the fortunes of this world and matters of the faith.

'We desire of thee nought but this,' continued Amjed, 'except
that thou have patience with us, whilst I repeat other two lines
to my brother.'  Then he wept sore and recited the following
verses:

Examples many, thou and I, We have in kings of days gone by,
How many, alack, have trod this road, Of great and small and low
     and high!

At this the treasurer wept, till his beard was wet, whilst
Asaad's eyes filled with tears and he in turn repeated these
verses:

Fate, when the thing itself is past, afflicteth with the trace,
     And weeping is not, of a truth, for body or form or
     face.[FN#60]
What ails the nights?[FN#61] May God blot out our error from the
     nights And may the hand of change bewray and bring them to
     disgrace!
They wreaked their malice to the full on Ibn ez Zubeir[FN#62]
     erst, And on the House and Sacred Stone[FN#63] his safeguard
     did embrace.
Would God, since Kharijeh[FN#64] they took for Amrou's sacrifice,
     They'd ransomed Ali with whome'er they would of all our
     race!

Then, with cheeks stained with thick-coming tears, he recited
these also:

The days and nights are fashioned for treachery and despite; Yea,
     they are full of perfidy and knavish craft and sleight.
The mirage is their lustre of teeth, and to their eyes The horror
     of all darkness the kohl that keeps them bright.
My crime against them (hateful their nature is!) is but The
     sword's crime, when the sworder sets on into the fight.

Then he sobbed and said:

O thou that seeketh the worthless world, give ear to me and know
     The very net of ruin it is and quarry of dole and woe;
A stead, whom it maketh laugh to-day, to-morrow it maketh weep:
     Out on it then for a dwelling-place, since it is even so!
Its raids and its onsets are never done, nor can its bondsman win
     To free himself from its iron clutch by dint of stress and
     throe.
How many an one in its vanities hath gloried and taken pride,
     Till froward and arrogant thus he grew and did all bounds
     o'ergo!
Then did she[FN#65] turn him the buckler's back and give him to
     drink therein Full measure and set her to take her wreak of
     the favours she did show.
For know that her blows fall sudden and swift and unawares,
     though long The time of forbearance be and halt the coming
     of fate and slow.
So look to thyself, lest life in the world pass idle and
     profitless by, And see that thou fail not of taking thought
     to the end of all below.
Cast loose from the chains of the love and the wish of the world
     and thou shalt find Guidance and help unto righteousness and
     peace of heart, I trow.

When he had made an end of these verses, he clipped his brother
in his arms, till they seemed as it were one body, and the
treasurer, raising his sword, was about to strike them, when,
behold, his horse took fright at the wind of his upraised hand
and breaking its tether, fled into the desert.  Now the horse was
worth a thousand dinars and on his back was a splendid saddle,
worth much money: so the treasurer threw down his sword, in
great concern, and ran after him, to catch him.  The horse
galloped on, snorting and neighing and pawing the earth in his
fright, till he raised a cloud of dust, and presently coming to a
wood, fled into the midst of it, whither the treasurer followed
him.  Now there was in this wood a terrible lion, foul of face,
with eyes that cast forth sparks; his look was grim and his
aspect struck terror into men's souls.  He heard the noise made
by the horse and came out to see what was to do.  Presently the
treasurer turned and saw the lion making towards him; but found
no way of escape, nor had he his sword with him.  So he said in
himself, 'There is no power and no virtue but in God the Most
High, the Supreme!  This stress is come upon me because of Amjed
and Asaad; and indeed this journey was unblest from the first!'
Meanwhile Amjed and Asaad were grievously oppressed by the heat
and grew sore athirst, so that their tongues hung out and they
cried for succour; but none came to their relief and they said,
'Would God we were dead and at peace from this torment!  But we
know not whither the treasurer's horse hath fled, that he has
gone and left us bound.  If he would but come back and kill us,
it were easier to us than to suffer this torture.'  'O my
brother,' said Asaad, 'be patient and the relief of God (blessed
and exalted be He) will surely come to us; for the horse ran not
away save of His favour towards us, and nought irks us but this
thirst.'  So saying, he stretched himself and strained right and
left, till he burst his bonds; then he unbound his brother and
taking up the Amir's sword, said, 'By Allah, we will not go
hence, till we know what is come of him!'  So they followed the
track, till it led them to the wood and they said to one another,
'Of a surety, the horse and the treasurer have not overgone this
wood.'  Quoth Asaad, 'Stay thou here, whilst I enter the wood and
search it.'  'I will not let thee go in alone,' answered Amjed.
'We will both go in; so if we escape, we shall escape together,
and if we perish, we shall perish together.'  So they entered
both and found the lion standing over the treasurer, who lay like
a sparrow in his grip, calling upon God for help and lifting his
hands to heaven.  When Amjed saw this, he took the sword and
running to the lion, smote him between the eyes and laid him dead
on the ground.  The Amir arose, marvelling at this, and seeing
Amjed and Asaad his lord's sons, standing there, cast himself at
their feet and exclaimed, 'By Allah, O my lords, it were foul
wrong in me to put you to death!  May the man never be who would
kill you!  Indeed, I will ransom you with my life.'  Then he rose
and embracing them, enquired how they had loosed their bonds and
come thither, whereupon they told him how the bonds of one of
them had fallen loose and he had unbound the other, that they
might quit their intent, and how they had followed his track till
they came upon him.  He thanked them for their deed and went with
them forth of the wood, where they said to him, 'O uncle, do our
father's bidding.'  'God forbid,' answered he, 'that I should
draw near to you with hurt!  I mean to take your clothes and
clothe you with mine; then will I fill two vials with the lion's
blood and go back to the King and tell him I have put you to
death.  But as for you, fare ye forth into the lands, for God's
earth is wide; and know, O my lords, that it irks me to part from
you.'  At this, they all fell a-weeping; then the two youths put
off their clothes and the treasurer covered them with his own.
Moreover, he filled two vials with the lion's blood and making
two parcels of the princes' clothes, set them before him on his
horse's back.  Then he took leave of them and making his way back
to the city, went in to King Kemerezzeman and kissed the earth
before him.  The King saw him pale and troubled and deeming this
came of the slaughter of the two princes (though in truth it came
of his adventure with the lion) rejoiced and said to him, 'Hast
thou done the business?'  'Yes, O our lord,' answered the
treasurer and gave him the two parcels of clothes and the two
vials of blood.  'How bore they themselves,' asked the King, 'and
did they give thee any charge?'  'I found them patient and
resigned to their fate,' answered the treasurer; 'and they said
to me, "Verily, our father is excusable; bear him our salutation
and say to him, 'Thou art quit of our blood;' and repeat to him
the following verses:

Women are very devils, made to work us dole and death; Refuge I
     seek with God Most High from all their craft and scaith.
Prime source are they of all the ills that fall upon mankind,
     Both in the fortunes of this world and matters of the
     faith."'

When the King heard this, he bowed his head a long while and knew
this to mean that they had wrongfully been put to death.  Then he
bethought himself of the perfidy of women and the calamities
brought about by them, and opening the two parcels fell to
turning over his sons' clothes and weeping.  Presently, he found
in the pocket of his son Asaad's clothes a letter in Queen
Budour's hand, enclosing the tresses of her hair, and reading it,
knew that the prince had been falsely accused.  Then he searched
Amjed's clothes and found in his pocket a letter in the
handwriting of Queen Heyat en Nufous, enclosing the tresses of
her hair; so he opened and read it and knew that Amjed also had
been wronged; whereupon he beat hand upon hand and exclaimed,
'There is no power and no virtue but in God!  I have slain my
sons unjustly.'  And he buffeted his face, crying out, 'Alas, my
sons!  Alas, my long grief!'  Then he bade build two tombs in one
house, which he styled 'House of Lamentations,' and let grave
thereon his sons' names; and he threw himself on Amjed's tomb,
weeping and groaning and lamenting, and repeated these verses:

O moon, that hast set beneath the earth for aye, For whose loss
     weep the shining stars of the sky,
O wand, after whom no more shall the flexile grace Of the
     willow-like bending shape enchant the eye,
My sight I've bereft of thee, of my jealousy, And ne'er shall I
     see thee again, till I come to die.
I'm drowned in the sea of my tears, for sheer unrest; Indeed, for
     sleepless sorrow in hell am I.

Then he threw himself on Asaad's tomb and recited the following
verses, whilst the tears poured from his eyes:

Fain had I shared with thee, dear heart, in death and ill; But
     God, that ordereth all, willed other than my will.
All that I see, my dole makes black, whilst from my eyes All
     black I've blotted out with weeping all my fill.[FN#66]
I weep and never stint; mine eyes run never dry; My entrails
     ulcered are and blood and tears distil.
Sore, sore it irketh me to see thee in a place[FN#67] Where
     slaves and kings alike foregather, will or nill.

Then he forsook his friends and intimates, and denying himself to
his women and his family, shut himself up in the House of
Lamentations, where he passed his time in weeping for his sons.

Meanwhile, Amjed and Asaad fared on into the desert a whole
month's journey, eating of the fruits of the earth and drinking
of the rain-pools, till their travel brought them to a mountain
of black stone, where the road divided in two, one skirting the
foot of the mountain and the other leading to its summit.  They
took the former way, for fear of thirst, and followed it five
days, but saw no end to it and were overcome with weariness,
being unused to walking in mountains or elsewhere.  At last,
despairing of coming to the end of the road, they retraced their
steps and taking the other, that led over the mountain, followed
it all that day, till nightfall, when Asaad, weary with much
travel, said to Amjed, 'O my brother, I can go no farther, for I
am exceeding weak.'  'Courage,' replied Amjed; 'may be God will
send us relief.'  So they walked on part of the night, till the
darkness closed in upon them, when Asaad became beyond measure
weary and saying, 'O my brother, I am worn out and spent with
walking,' threw himself on the ground and wept.  Amjed took him
in his arms and fared on with him, halting bytimes to rest, till
break of day, when they came to the mountain-top and found there
a stream of running water and by it a pomegranate-tree and a
prayer-niche.  They could hardly believe their eyes, but, sitting
down by the spring, drank of its water and ate of the fruit of
the tree; after which they lay down and slept till sunrise, when
they washed in the spring and eating of the pomegranates, slept
again till the time of afternoon-prayer.  Then they thought to
continue their journey, but Asaad could not walk, for his feet
were swollen.  So they abode there three days, till they were
rested, after which they set out again and fared on over the
mountain days and nights, well-nigh perished for thirst, till
they came in sight of a city afar off, at which they rejoiced and
made towards it.  When they drew near it, they thanked God the
Most High and Amjed said to Asaad, 'O my brother, sit here,
whilst I go to yonder city and see what and whose it is and where
we are in God's wide world, that we may know through what lands
we have passed in crossing this mountain, whose skirts if we had
followed, we had not reached this city in a whole year: so
praised be God for safety!'  'By Allah,' replied Asaad, 'none
shall go but myself, and may I be thy ransom!  If thou leave me,
I shall imagine a thousand things and suffer tortures of anxiety
on thine account, for I cannot brook thine absence from me.'  'Go
then,' rejoined Amjed, 'and do not tarry.'  So Asaad took money
and leaving his brother awaiting him, descended the mountain and
fared on, till he entered the city.  As he passed through the
streets, he met an old man, with a beard that flowed down upon
his breast and was parted in twain; he bore a walking-staff in
his hand and was richly clad, with a great red turban on his
head.  When Asaad saw him, he wondered at his mien and habit;
nevertheless, he went up to him and saluting him, enquired the
way to the market.  The old man smiled in his face and said, 'O
my son, meseems thou art a stranger?'  'Yes,' answered Asaad; 'I
am a stranger.'  'O my son,' rejoined the other, 'verily, thou
gladdenest our country with thy presence and makest thine own
land desolate by reason of thine absence.  What wantest thou of
the market?'  'O uncle,' replied Asaad, 'I have an elder brother,
with whom I have journeyed these three months, for we come from a
far country.  When we sighted this city, I left my brother in the
mountain and came hither, purposing to buy food and what else and
return therewith to him, that we might feed thereon.'  'Rejoice
in all good, O my son!' said the old man.  'Know that to-day I
give a marriage-feast, to which I have bidden many guests, and I
have made ready great plenty of the best and most delicious meats
that the heart can desire.  So, if thou wilt come home with me, I
will give thee freely all thou lackest, without price.  Moreover,
I will teach thee the ways of the city; and praised be God, O my
son, that thou hast fallen in with me and none other!'  'As thou
wilt,' answered Asaad; 'but make haste, for my brother awaits me
and his whole heart is with me.'  So the old man took Asaad by
the hand, smiling in his face and saying, 'Glory be to Him who
hath delivered thee from the people of this city!'  Then he
carried him to a narrow lane and entering a spacious house,
brought him into a saloon, wherein were forty old men, seated in
a circle about a lighted fire, to which they were doing worship
and prostrating themselves.  When Asaad saw this he was
confounded and his flesh quaked, though he knew not what they
were; and the old man said to them, 'O elders of the fire, how
blessed is this day!'  Then he cried out, saying, 'Ho, Ghezban!'
Whereupon there came out to him a tall black slave of forbidding
aspect, grim-visaged and flat-nosed.  The old man made a sign to
him, and he bound Asaad straitly; after which the old man said
to him, 'Bear him to the dungeon under the earth and bid my
slave-girl Kewam torture him day and night and give him a cake of
bread to eat morning and evening, against the time come of the
voyage to the Blue Sea and the Mountain of Fire, when we will
slaughter him on the mountain as a sacrifice.'  So the black
carried him out at another door and raising a flag in the floor,
discovered a flight of twenty steps leading to a chamber under
the earth, into which he descended with him and laying his
feet in irons, committed him to the slave-girl and went away.
Meanwhile, the old men said to one another, 'When the day of
the Festival of the Fire comes, we will sacrifice him on the
mountain, as a propitiatory offering to the Fire.'  Presently the
damsel went down to him and beat him grievously, till the blood
streamed from his sides and he fainted away; after which she set
at his head a cake of bread and a cruse of brackish water and
went away and left him.  In the middle of the night, he revived
and found himself bound and sore with beating: so he wept
bitterly and recalling his former estate of ease and honour and
lordship and dominion, groaned and lamented and repeated the
following verses:

Halt by the ruins of the house and question of our fate Nor think
     we sojourn in the land, as in our first estate.
Fortune, the sunderer, hath wrought the severance of our loves;
     Yet doth our enemies' despite against us nought abate.
A filthy cockatrice is set to torture me with whips, Whose breast
     against me is fulfilled with rancour and with hate.
But haply God shall yet reknit our severed loves again And turn
     our enemies from us with vengeance stern and strait.

Then he put out his hand and finding the bread and water at his
head, ate enough to keep life in him and drank a little water,
but could get no sleep for the swarms of bugs and lice.  As soon
as it was day, the slave-girl came down to him and changed his
clothes, which were drenched with blood and stuck to him, so that
his skin came off with the shirt; wherefore he shrieked aloud and
cried, 'Alas!' and said, 'O my God, if this be Thy pleasure,
increase it upon me!  O Lord, verily Thou art not unmindful of
him that oppresses me: do Thou then avenge me upon him!'  And he
groaned and repeated the following verses:

Lord, I submit myself to that Thou dost decree, Contented to
     endure, if but it pleasure Thee;
To suffer at Thy will with patience nor complain, Though I be
     cast to burn on coals of tamarisk-tree.[FN#68]
Mine enemies oppress and torture me; but Thou With benefits
     belike shall 'quite and comfort me.
Far be 't from Thee to let th' oppressor go unscathed; Thou art
     my hope and stay, O Lord of Destiny!


And what another says:

Avert thy face from thought-taking and care And trust to fate to
     order thine affair;
For many a weary and a troublous thing Is, in its issue,
     solaceful and fair.
That which was strait is oftentimes made wide And straitened
     that, which easy was whilere.
God orders all, according to His will; Gainsay Him not in what He
     doth prepare,
But trust in happy fortune near at hand, Wherein thou shalt
     forget the woes that were.

Then the slave-girl beat him till he fainted away and throwing
him a cake of bread and a cruse of brackish water, went away and
left him sad and lonely, bound in chains of iron, with the blood
streaming from his sides  and far from those he loved.  So he
called to mind his brother and his former high estate and
repeated the following verses, shedding floods of tears the
while:

How long wilt thou wage war on me, O Fate, and bear away My
     brethren from me?  Hold thy hand and spare awhile, I pray!
Is it not time, O thou whose heart is as the rock, that thou My
     long estrangement and my dole shouldst pity and allay?
Ill hast thou wrought to those I love and made my foes exult With
     all that thou hast wreaked on me of ruin and dismay.
Yea, for the pains he sees me brook of exile and desire And
     loneliness, my foeman's heart is solaceful and gay.
Thou'rt not content with what is fallen on me of bitter dole, Of
     loss of friends and swollen eyes, affliction and affray.
But I must lie and rot, to boot, in prison strait and dour, Where
     nought but gnawing of my hands I have for help and stay,
And tears that shower in torrents down, as from the rain-charged
     clouds, And fire of yearning, never quenched, that rages
     night and day,
And memory and longing pain and melancholy thought And sobs and
     sighs and groans and cries of "Woe!" and "Wellaway!"
Passion and soul-destroying grief I suffer, and unto Desire, that
     knoweth not relent nor end, am fallen a prey.
No kindly soul is found to have compassion on my case And with
     his visits and his grace my misery allay.
Lives there a true and tender friend, who doth compassionate My
     sickness and my long unrest, that unto him I may
Make moan of all that I endure for dole and drearihead And of my
     sleepless eyes, oppressed of wakefulness alway?
My night in torments is prolonged; I burn, without reprieve, In
     flames of heart-consuming care that rage in me for aye.
The bug and flea do drink my blood, even as one drinks of wine,
     Poured by the hand of damask-lipped and slender-waisted may.
The body of me, amongst the lice, is as an orphan's good, That in
     an unjust Cadi's hands doth dwindle and decay.
My dwelling-place is in a tomb, three scanty cubits wide, Wherein
     in shackles and in bonds I languish night and day.
My tears my wine are and my chains my music: my dessert Woeworthy
     thought and cares the bed whereon myself I lay.

Meanwhile his brother abode, awaiting him, till mid-day, but he
returned not: whereupon Amjed's heart fluttered and the tears
welled from his eyes.  The pangs of severance were sore upon him
and he wept sore, exclaiming, 'Alas, my brother!  Alas, my
companion!  Alas, my grief!  I fear me we are separated!'  Then
he descended the mountain, with the tears running down his
cheeks, and entering the city, made for the market.  He asked
the folk the name of the city and of its people, and they said,
'This is called the City of the Magians, and its people serve
the Fire, not the Omnipotent King.'  Then he enquired of the
City of Ebony and they answered, 'It is a year's journey
thither by land and six months' by sea: it was governed erst by
a King called Armanous, but he took to son-in-law a prince called
Kemerezzeman, distinguished for justice and loyalty, munificence
and benevolence, and made him king in his stead.'  When Amjed
heard tell of his father, he groaned and wept and lamented and knew
not whither to go.  However, he bought food and carried it with him,
till he came to a retired spot, where he sat down, thinking to
eat: but, recalling his brother, he fell a-weeping and ate but a
morsel to stay his stomach, and that against his will.  Then he
rose and walked about the city, seeking news of his brother, till
he saw a Muslim, a tailor, sitting in his shop; so he sat down by
him and told him his story; whereupon quoth the tailor, 'If he
have fallen into the hands of any of the Magians, thou shalt
hardly see him again: yet it may be God will reunite you. But
thou, O my brother,' added he, 'wilt thou lodge with me?' 'Yes,'
answered Amjed, and the tailor rejoiced at this.  So Amjed abode
with him many days, what while the tailor comforted him and
exhorted him to patience and taught him his craft, till he became
expert.  One day, he went forth to the sea-shore and washed his
clothes; after which he entered the bath and put on clean
raiment.  Then he walked about the streets, to divert himself,
and presently fell in with a woman of surpassing beauty and
symmetry, unequalled for grace and loveliness.  When she saw him,
she raised her face-veil and winked to him and ogled him,
reciting the following verses:

Afar, I saw thee coming and cast mine eyes down straight, As if,
     loveling slender, thou wert the very sun.
Indeed, thou art the fairest of all beholden; yea, Even than
     thyself thou'rt fairer, since yesterday was done.
Were beauty but allotted, to every one his due, One-fifth of it
     were Joseph's or but a part of one,
And all the rest were surely thine own and only thine; May all
     men be thy ransom, yea, every mother's son!

When he heard this, his heart inclined to her and the  hands of
love sported with him: so he winked to her in  answer and
repeated the following verses:

Over the rose of the cheek, the thorns of the eyelashes rise; So
     who shall adventure himself to gather the flowery prize?
Lift not your hands to the rose, for long have the lashes waged
     war And poured on us battle, because we lifted to it-ward
     our eyes.
Tell her the tyrant who plays and yet is temptation itself,
     (Though still more seductive she'd be, if she dealt but in
     loyaller wise),
I see that, for beauty like thine, exposure's the surest of
     guards, For the veiling thy face but augments its seductions
     and adds to our sighs;
Like the sun, on whose visage undimmed the eye still refuses to
     look, And yet we may gaze at our ease, when the thinnest of
     clouds o'er it lies.
The honey's protected, forsooth, by the sting of the bees of the
     hive: So question the guards of the camp why they stay us in
     this our emprise.
If my slaughter be what they desire, let them put off their
     rancours and stand From between us and leave her to deal
     with me and my life at her guise;
For, I wot, not so deadly are they, when they set on a foe with
     their swords, As the eyes of the fair with the mole, when
     her glances upon us she plies.

At this she sighed deeply and signing to him again, repeated the
following verses:

'Tis thou that hast trodden the road of aversion and coyness; not
     I Vouchsafe me the promised delight, for the time of
     fulfilment draws nigh.
O thou that mak'st morning to dawn with the lustre and light of
     thy brows And eke, with thy brow-locks unloosed, the night
     to sink down from the sky,
Thou hast, with an idol's aspéct, seduced me and made me thy
     slave And hast stirred me up troubles galore in many a
     season past by.
And yet it is just that my heart with the ardour of passion
     should burn, For the fire is their due who adore aught other
     than God the Most High.
Thou sellest the like of myself for nothing, yea, free, without
     price; If needs thou must sell, and no help, take a price,
     then, of those that would buy.

When he heard this, he said to her, 'Wilt thou come to my lodging
or shall I go with thee to thine?'  At this, she hung her head
bashfully and repeated the words of the Most High, 'Men shall
have precedence over women, for that God hath preferred these
over those.'[FN#69] By this, Amjed understood that she wished to
go with him and felt himself bounden to find a place wherein to
receive her, but was ashamed to carry her to the house of his
host, the tailor.  So he walked on and she followed him from
street to street, till she was tired and said to him, 'O my lord,
where is thy house?'  'But a little way before us,' answered he.
Then he turned aside into a handsome street, followed by the
young lady, and walked on, till he came to the end, when he found
it had no issue and exclaimed, 'There is no power and no virtue
but in God the Most High, the Supreme!'  Then, raising his eyes,
he saw, at the upper end of the street, a great door, with two
stone benches; but it was locked.  So he sat down on one of the
benches and the lady on the other; and she said to him, 'O my
lord, wherefore waitest thou?'  He bowed his head awhile, then
raised it and answered, 'I am waiting for my servant, who has the
key: for I bade him make me ready meat and drink and flowers for
the wine-service against my return from the bath.'  But he said
in himself, 'Belike she will grow tired of waiting and go about
her business, leaving me here, when I will go my own way.'
However, when she was weary of waiting, she said, 'O my lord, thy
servant tarries long; and here are we waiting in the street.'
And she took a stone and went up to the lock.  'Be not in haste,'
said Amjed; 'but have patience till the servant comes.'  However,
she hearkened not to him, but smote the lock with the stone and
broke it in half, whereupon the door opened.  Quoth he, 'What
possessed thee to do this?'  'Pooh, pooh, my lord!' answered she.
'What matters it?  Is not the house thine?'  'Yes,' said he; 'but
there was no need to break the lock.'  Then she entered, leaving
Amjed confounded and knowing not what to do for fear of the
people of the house; but she said to him, 'Why dost thou not
enter, O light of mine eyes and darling of my heart?'  'I hear
and obey,' answered he; 'but my servant tarries long upon me and
I know not if he have done aught of what I bade him or not.'  So
saying, he entered, sore in fear of the people of the house, and
found himself in a handsome saloon, full of buffets and niches
and settles, furnished with stuffs of silk and brocade.  It had
four raised recesses, each facing other, and in the midst was a
fountain of costly fashion, on whose margin stood a covered tray
(of meats), with a leather table-cloth hanging up and dishes set
with jewels, full of fruits and sweet-scented flowers.  Hard by
stood drinking vessels and a candlestick with a candle therein.
The place was full of precious stuffs, and therein were chests
and stools set, on each of which latter lay a parcel of clothes
and a purse full of gold and silver.  The floor was paved with
marble and the house bore witness in every part to its owner's
fortune.  When Amjed saw all this, he was confounded and said in
himself, 'I am a lost man!  Verily, we are God's and to God we
return!'  As for the lady, she was transported at what she saw
and said to him, 'By Allah, O my lord, thy servant has not failed
of his duty; for see, he has swept the place and cooked the meat
and set on the fruit; and indeed I come at the best of times.'
But he paid no heed to her, his heart being taken up with fear of
the people of the house; and she said, 'Fie, O my lord, O my
heart!  What ails thee to stand thus?'  Then she sighed and
giving him a kiss, that sounded like the cracking of a walnut,
said, 'O my lord, and thou have bidden other than me, I will gird
my middle and serve her and thee.'  Amjed laughed from an
angerful heart and sat down, panting and saying in himself,
'Alack, how I shall smart for it, when the owner of the house
returns!'  She seated herself by him and fell to jesting and
laughing, whilst he sat careful and frowning, thinking a thousand
thoughts and saying in himself, 'The master of the house will
surely come and what shall I say to him?  He will assuredly kill
me without mercy.'  Presently, she rose and tucking up her
sleeves, took a table, on which she laid the cloth and the tray
of food; then set it before Amjed and began to eat, saying, 'Eat,
O my lord.'  So he came forward and ate; but the food was not
pleasant to him and he ceased not to look towards the door, till
the lady had eaten her fill, when she took away the meats and
setting on the dessert, fell to eating of the dried fruits.  Then
she brought the wine-service and opening the jar, filled a cup
and gave it to Amjed, who took it, saying in himself, 'Alas!
what will become of me, when the master of the house comes and
sees me!'  Presently, as he sat, with the cup in his hand and his
eyes fixed on the vestibule, in came the master of the house, who
was one of the chief men of the city, being Master of the Horse
to the King.  He had fitted up this house for his privy
pleasures, that he might make merry therein and be private with
whom he would, and had that day bidden one whom he loved and had
made this entertainment for him.  When, therefore, this man
(whose name was Behadir and who was a kindly, liberal and open-
handed man) came thither and found the door open and the lock
broken, he entered softly and putting in his head at the door of
the saloon, saw Amjed and the lady sitting, with the dish of
fruit and the wine-jar before them.  Amjed at that moment had the
cup in his hand and his face turned to the door; and when his
eyes met Behadir's, he turned pale and trembled in every nerve.
Behadir, seeing his trouble, signed to him, with his finger on
his lips, as who should say, 'Be silent and come hither to me.'
So he set down the cup and rose, whereupon quoth the lady,
'Whither away?'  He shook his head and signing to her that he
wished to make water, went out into the corridor, barefoot.  When
he saw Behadir, he knew him for the master of the house; so he
hastened to him and kissing his hands, said to him, 'God on thee,
O my lord, before thou do me any hurt, hear what I have to say.'
Then he told him who he was and what caused him leave his native
land and royal state, and how he had not entered his house of his
free will, but that it was the lady who had broken the lock and
done all this.  When Behadir heard his story and knew that he was
a king's son, he inclined to him and taking compassion on him,
said to him, 'O Amjed, hearken to me and do what I bid thee, and
I will ensure thee safety from that thou fearest; but, if thou
cross me, I will kill thee.'  'Command me as thou wilt,' answered
Amjed.  'I will not gainsay thee in aught, for I am the freedman
of thy bounty.'  'Then go back forthright into the saloon,'
rejoined Behadir, 'and sit down in thy place and take thine ease.
I will presently come in to thee, and when thou seest me (now my
name is Behadir) do thou revile me and rail at me, saying, "Why
hast thou tarried till now?"  And accept no excuse from me, but
rise and beat me; and if thou spare me, I will do away thy life.
Enter now and make merry and whatsoever thou seekest of me, I
will bring thee forthwith.  So pass the night as thou wilt and on
the morrow go thy way.  This in honour of thy strangerhood, for I
love strangers and hold myself bounden to do them honour.'  So
Amjed kissed his hand and returning to the saloon, with his face
clad in its native white and red, said to the lady, 'O my
mistress, the place is gladdened by thy presence, and this is
indeed a blessed night.'  'Verily,' said she, 'this is a
wonderful change in thee, that thou now welcomest me so
cordially!'  'By Allah, O my lady,' answered he, 'methought my
servant Behadir had robbed me of some necklaces of jewels, worth
ten thousand dinars each; however, when I went out but now, in
concern for this, I sought for them and found them in their
place.  I know not why the knave tarries thus, and needs must I
punish him for it.'  She was satisfied with his answer, and they
drank and sported and made merry, till near upon sundown, when
Behadir came in to them, having changed his clothes and girt his
middle and put on shoes, such as are worn of servants.  He
saluted and kissed the earth, then clasped his hands behind him
and stood, with his head hanging down, as one who confesses to a
fault.  Amjed looked at him with angry eyes and said, 'Why hast
thou tarried till now, O most pestilent of slaves?'  'O my lord,'
answered Behadir, 'I was busy washing my clothes and knew not of
thy being here; for thou hadst appointed me for nightfall and not
for the daytime.'  But Amjed cried out at him, saying, 'Thou
liest, O vilest of slaves!  By Allah, I must beat thee!'  So he
rose and laying Behadir on the ground, took a stick and beat him
gingerly: but the lady sprang up and snatching the stick from his
hand, laid on to Behadir so lustily, that the tears ran from his
eyes and he ground his teeth together and called out for succour;
whilst Amjed cried out to the lady to hold her hand and she
answered, 'Let me stay my anger on him;' till at last he snatched
the stick from her hand and pushed her away.  Behadir arose and
wiping away his tears, waited upon them awhile; after which he
swept the hall and lighted the lamps; but, as often as he went in
and out, the lady railed at him and cursed him, till Amjed was
wroth with her and said, 'For God's sake, leave my servant; he is
not used to this.'  Then they sat eating and drinking, whilst
Behadir waited upon them, till midnight, when the latter, weary
with service and beating, fell asleep in the midst of the hall
and snored and snorted; whereupon the lady, who was heated with
wine, said to Amjed, 'Arise, take the sword that hangs yonder and
cut off this slave's head, or I will be the death of thee.'
'What possesses thee to kill my slave?' asked Amjed; and she
answered, 'Our delight will not be fulfilled but by his death.
If thou wilt not kill him, I will do it myself.'  'For God's
sake,' cried Amjed, 'do not this thing!'  'It must be,' replied
she and taking down the sword, drew it and made at Behadir to
kill him; but Amjed said in himself, 'This man hath entreated us
courteously and sheltered us and done us kindness and made
himself my servant: and shall we requite him by killing him?
This shall never be.  Then he said to the lady, 'If my slave must
be killed, better I should do it than thou.'  So saying, he took
the sword from her and raising his hand, smote her on the neck
and made her head fly from her body.  It fell upon Behadir, who
awoke and sitting up, saw Amjed standing by him, with the
bloodstained sword in his hand, and the damsel lying dead.  He
enquired what had passed, and Amjed told him what she had said,
adding, 'Nothing would serve her but she must kill thee; and this
is her reward.'  Behadir rose and kissing the prince's hand, said
to him, 'Would God thou hadst spared her!  But now there is
nothing for it but to rid us of her forthright, before the day
break.'  So saying, he wrapped the body in a mantle and laying it
in a basket, said to Amjed, 'Thou art a stranger here and knowest
no one: so sit thou here and await my return.  If I come back, I
will assuredly do thee great good service and use my endeavour to
have news of thy brother; but if I return not by sunrise, know
that all is over with me; in which case the house and all it
contains are thine, and peace be on thee.'  Then he shouldered
the basket and going forth, made for the sea, thinking to throw
it therein: but as he drew near the shore, he turned and found
himself surrounded by the chief of the police and his officers.
They knew him and wondered and opened the basket, in which they
found the slain woman.  So they seized him and laid him in irons
till the morning, when they carried him and the basket to the
King and acquainted the latter with the case.  The King was sore
enraged and said to Behadir, 'Out on thee!  This is not the first
time thou hast slain folk and cast them into the sea and taken
their goods.  How many murders hast thou done ere this?'  Behadir
hung his head, and the King cried out at him, saying, 'Woe to
thee!  Who killed this young lady?'  'O my lord,' answered
Behadir, 'I killed her, and there is no power and no virtue but
in God the Most High, the Supreme!'  At this the King's anger
redoubled and he commanded to hang him.  So the hangman and
the chief of the police went down with him, by the King's
commandment, and paraded him through the streets and markets of
the town, whilst a crier forewent them, bidding all the folk to
the execution of Behadir, the King's Master of the Horse.

Meanwhile, Amjed awaited his host's return till the day broke and
the sun rose, and when he saw that he came not, he exclaimed,
'There is no power and no virtue but in God the Most High, the
Supreme!  I wonder what is come of him?'  As he sat musing, he
heard the crier proclaiming aloud Behadir's sentence and bidding
the people to his hanging at midday; whereat he wept and
exclaimed, 'Verily, we are God's and to Him we return!  He means
to sacrifice himself unjustly for my sake, when it was I killed
her.  By Allah, this shall never be!'  Then he went out and
shutting the door after him, hurried through the streets, till he
overtook Behadir, when he accosted the chief of the police and
said to him, 'O my lord, put not Behadir to death, for he is
innocent.  By Allah, none killed her but I.'  When the Master of
the Police heard this, he took them both and carrying them before
the King, told him what Amjed had said; whereupon he looked at
the prince and said to him, 'Didst thou kill the young lady?'
'Yes,' answered he, and the King said, 'Tell me why thou killedst
her, and speak the truth.'  'O King,' replied Amjed, 'indeed, it
is a rare event and a strange matter that hath befallen me: were
it graven with needles on the corners of the eye, it would serve
as a lesson to whoso can profit by admonition.'  Then he told him
his whole story and all that had befallen him and his brother,
first and last; whereat the King wondered greatly and said to
him, 'O youth, I know thee now to be excusable.  Wilt thou be my
Vizier?'  'I hear and obey,' answered Amjed; whereupon the King
bestowed magnificent dresses of honour on him and Behadir and
gave him a handsome house, with servants and officers and all
things needful, appointing him stipends and allowances and
bidding him make search for his brother Asaad.  So Amjed sat down
in the seat of office and governed and did justice and invested
and deposed and gave and took.  Moreover, he sent out a crier to
cry his brother throughout the city, and he made proclamation in
the streets and markets many days, but heard no news of Asaad nor
happened on any trace of him.

Meanwhile, the Magians ceased not to torture Asaad, night and
day, for a whole year's space, till the day of their festival
drew near, when the old man (whose name was Behram) made ready
for the voyage and fitted out a ship for himself.  When all was
ready, he laid Asaad in a chest and locking it, transported it to
the ship.  As fate would have it, Amjed was at that very time
standing looking upon the sea; and when he saw the men carrying
the chest and other gear on board the ship, his heart throbbed
and he called to his servants to bring him his horse.  Then,
mounting with a company of his officers, he rode down to the port
and halted before the Magian's ship, which he commanded his men
to search.  So they boarded the vessel and searched it in every
part, but found nothing and returned and told Amjed, who mounted
again and rode back to his palace, with a troubled mind.  As he
entered, he cast his eyes on the wall and saw written thereon the
following verses, which when he read, he called to mind his
brother and wept:

Belovéd ones, for all you're absent from my sight, Yet in my
     heart and thought you have your sojourn still.
You leave me here to pine and languish for desire; You rob mine
     eyes of sleep and sleep yourselves your fill.

Meanwhile, Behram embarked and shouted to his crew to make sail
in all haste.  So they loosed the sails and departing, fared on
without ceasing many days and nights; and every other day, Behram
took out Asaad and gave him a little bread and water, till they
drew near the Mountain of Fire, when there came out on them a
contrary wind and the sea rose against them, so that they were
driven out of their course into strange waters and came in sight
of a city builded upon the shore, with a citadel whose windows
overlooked the sea.  Now the ruler of this city was a queen
called Merjaneh, and the captain said to Behram, 'O my lord, we
have strayed from our course and come to the island of Queen
Merjaneh, who is a devout Muslim; and if she know that we are
Magians, she will take our ship and slay us to the last man.  Yet
needs must we put in here to rest [and refit].'  Quoth Behram,
'Let us clothe this Muslim we have with us in a slave's habit and
carry him ashore with us, so that, when the queen sees him, she
will think and say,  "This is a slave."  As for me, I will tell
her that I am a dealer in white slaves and that I had with me
many, but have sold all but this one, whom I have retained to
keep my accounts, for he can read and write.'  And the captain
said, 'This device should serve well.'  Presently they reached
the city and slackening sail, cast anchor; when, behold, Queen
Merjaneh came down to them, attended by her guards, and halting
before the ship, called out to the captain, who landed and kissed
the earth before her.  Quoth she, 'What is the lading of thy ship
and whom hast thou with thee?'  'O queen of the age,' answered
he, 'I have with me a merchant who deals in slaves.'  And she
said, 'Bring him to me;' whereupon Behram came ashore to her,
followed by Asaad in a slave's habit, and kissed the earth before
her.  'What is thy condition?' asked the queen; and Behram
answered, 'I am a slave-dealer.'  Then she looked at Asaad and
taking him for a slave, said to him, 'What is thy name?'  Quoth
he, 'Dost thou ask my present or my former name?'  'Hast thou
then two names?' asked she, and he answered (and indeed his voice
was choked with tears), 'Yes; my name aforetime was Asaad,[FN#70]
but now it is Muterr.'[FN#71] Her heart inclined to him and she
said, 'Canst thou write?'  'Yes,' answered he; and she gave him
inkhorn and pen and paper and said to him, 'Write somewhat, that
I may see it.'  So he wrote the following verses:

Harkye, O thou that judgest, what can a mortal do, When fate, in
     all conditions, doth him to death ensue?
It casts him in the ocean, bound hand and foot, and says, "Beware
     lest with the water you wet yourself, look you!"

When she read this, she had compassion upon him and said to
Behram, 'Sell me this slave.'  'O my lady,' answered he, 'I
cannot sell him, for he is the only slave I have left.'  Quoth
she, 'I must have him of thee, either by purchase or as a gift.'
But Behram said, 'I will neither sell him nor give him.'  Whereat
she was wroth and taking Asaad by the hand, carried him up to the
palace and sent to Behram, saying, 'Except thou set sail and
depart our city this very night, I will seize all thy goods and
break up thy ship.'  When the message reached the Magian, he was
sore troubled and said, 'Verily, this voyage is every way
unfortunate.'  Then he made ready and took all he needed and
awaited the coming of the night, to resume his voyage, saying to
the sailors, 'Provide yourselves and fill the waterskins, that we
may set sail at the last of the night.'  So the sailors did their
occasions and awaited the coming of the night.

To return to Queen Merjaneh.  When she had brought Asaad into the
palace, she opened the windows overlooking the sea and bade her
handmaids bring food.  Accordingly, they set food before Asaad
and herself, and they ate, after which the queen called for wine
and fell to drinking with him.  Now God (may He be exalted and
glorified!) filled her heart with love for Asaad and she plied
him with wine, till his reason fled and presently he rose and
left the hall, to do an occasion.  Seeing a door open, he went
out and walked on, till he came to a vast garden full of all
manner fruits and flowers and sitting down under a tree, did his
occasion.  Then he went up to a fountain in the garden and made
the ablution and washed his hands and face, after which he would
have risen to go away; but the air smote him and he fell back,
with his clothes undone, and slept, and night overcame him thus.

Meanwhile, Behram, the night being come, cried out to the sailors
to spread sail and depart.  'We hear and obey,' answered they;
'but give us time to fill our water-skins.'  Then they landed
with their water-skins and coasting the palace, found nothing but
walls: so they climbed over into the garden and followed the
track of feet, that led them to the fountain, where they found
Asaad lying on his back, asleep.  They knew him and taking him
up, climbed the wall again with him, after they had filled their
skins, and carried him back in haste to Behram, to whom said
they, 'Beat thy drums and sound thy pipes; for we have found thy
prisoner, whom Queen Merjaneh took from thee by force, and have
brought him back to thee.'  And they threw Asaad down before
him. When Behram saw him, his heart leapt for joy and his
breast dilated with gladness.  Then he bestowed largesse on
the sailors and bade them weigh anchor in haste.  So they set
sail forthright, intending for the Mountain of Fire, and stayed
not their course till the morning.

As for Queen Merjaneh, she abode awhile, awaiting Asaad's return;
and when she saw that he came not, she rose and sought him, but
found no trace of him.  Then she bade her women light flambeaux
and search for him, whilst she herself went forth and seeing the
garden-door open, knew that he had gone thither.  So she went out
and finding his slippers lying by the fountain, searched the
garden in every part, but found no sign of him.  Nevertheless,
she gave not over the search till morning, when she enquired for
the Magian's ship and was told that it had set sail in the first
watch of the night; wherefore she knew that they had taken Asaad
with them and this was grievous to her and she was angry.  So she
bade equip ten great ships forthwith and arming herself, embarked
in one of them, with her guards and women and troops, richly
accoutred and armed for war.  They spread the sails and she said
to the captain, 'If you overtake the Magian's ship, ye shall have
of me dresses of honour and largesse; but if ye let it escape, I
will kill you all.'  Whereat fear and great hope fell upon the
seamen, and they sailed three days and nights, till, on the
fourth day, they sighted Behram's ship.  Ere ended day, they came
up with it and surrounded it on all sides, even as Behram had
taken Asaad forth of the chest and was beating and torturing him,
whilst the prince cried out for succour and relief, but found
neither helper nor deliverer; and indeed he was sorely tormented
with much beating.  Presently Behram chanced to look up and
seeing himself encompassed by the queen's ships, as the white of
the eye encompasses the black, gave himself up for lost and
groaned and said to Asaad, 'Out on thee, O Asaad!  This is all
thy doing; but, by Allah, I will kill thee ere I die myself.'
Then he bade the sailors throw him overboard; so they took him by
the hands and feet and cast him into the sea and he sank.  But
God (may He be exalted and glorified!) willed that his life
should be saved and that his last day should be deferred; so He
caused him to rise again and he struck out with his hands and
feet, till the Almighty gave him ease and relief and the waves
bore him far from the Magian's ship and threw him ashore.  He
landed, scarce crediting his escape, and putting off his clothes,
wrung them and spread them out to dry, whilst he sat, naked and
weeping over his misfortunes and desolate and forlorn condition
and repeating the following verses:

My fortitude fails me for travail and pain; My patience is spent,
     my endeavour in vain;
My sinews are sundered; O Lord of all lords, To whom but his Lord
     shall the wretched complain?

Then, rising, he donned his clothes and set out at a venture,
knowing not whither he went.  He fared on day and night, eating
of the herbs of the earth and the fruits of the trees and
drinking of the streams, till he came in sight of a city;
whereupon he rejoiced and hurried on; but before he reached it,
the night overtook him and the gates were shut.  Now, as chance
would have it, this was the very city in which he had been a
prisoner and to whose king his brother Amjed was vizier. When
he saw the gate was shut, he turned back and made for the
burial-ground, where finding a tomb without a door, he entered
and lay down and fell asleep, with his face in his sleeve.

Meanwhile, Queen Merjaneh, coming up with Behram's ship,
questioned him of Asaad; but he swore to her that he was not with
him and that he knew nothing of him.  She searched the ship, but
found no trace of Asaad, so took Behram and carrying him back to
her castle, would have put him to death; but he ransomed himself
from her with all his good and his ship and she released him and
his men.  They went forth from her, hardly believing in their
escape, and fared on ten days' journey, till they came to their
own city and found the gate shut, it being eventide.  So they
made for the burial-ground, thinking to lie the night there, and
going round about the tombs, as fate would have it, saw that, in
which Asaad lay, open; whereat Behram marvelled and said,' I must
look into this tomb.'  Then he entered and found Asaad lying
asleep, with his head on his sleeve; so he raised his head and
looking in his face, knew him for him on whose account he had
lost his goods and his ship, and said, 'Art thou yet alive?'
Then he bound him and gagged him, without further parley, and
carried him to his house, where he clapped heavy shackles on his
feet and lowered him into the underground dungeon aforesaid,
affected to the tormenting of Muslims, bidding a daughter of his,
by name Bustan, torture him night and day, till the next year,
when they would again visit the Mountain of Fire and offer him up
as a sacrifice there.  Then he beat him grievously and locking
the dungeon door upon him, gave the keys to his daughter.  By and
by, she opened the door and went down to beat him, but finding
him a comely sweet-faced youth, with arched brows and melting
black eyes, fell in love with him and said to him, 'What is thy
name?'  'My name is Assad,'[FN#72] answered he.  'Mayst thou
indeed be happy,' exclaimed she, 'and happy be thy days!  Thou
deservest not torture and blows, and I see thou hast been
unjustly entreated.'  And she comforted him with kind words and
loosed his bonds.  Then she questioned him of the faith of Islam,
and he told her that it was the true and orthodox faith and that
our lord Mohammed had approved himself by surpassing miracles and
manifest signs and that the [worship of] fire was not profitable,
but harmful; and he went on to expound to her the tenets of
Islam, till she was persuaded and the love of the True Faith
entered her heart.  Then (for God the Most High had filled her
with love of Asaad), she made profession of the faith and became
of the people of felicity.  After this, she brought him meat and
drink and talked with him and they prayed together: moreover, she
made him chicken-broths and fed him therewith, till he regained
strength and his sickness left him and he was restored to health.
One day, as she stood at the door of the house, she heard the
crier proclaiming aloud and saying, 'Whoso hath with him a
handsome young man, whose favour is thus and thus, and bringeth
him forth, shall have all he seeketh of wealth; but if any have
him and discover it not, he shall be hanged over his own door and
his goods shall be confiscated and his blood go for nought.'  Now
Asaad had acquainted her with his whole history: so, when she
heard the crier, she knew that it was he who was sought for and
going down to him, told him the news.  Then she went forth with
him to the palace of the Vizier, whom when Asaad saw, he
exclaimed, 'By Allah, this is my brother Amjed!'  And threw
himself upon him; whereupon Amjed also knew him and they embraced
each other and lay awhile insensible, whilst the Vizier's
officers stood round them.  When they came to themselves, Amjed
took his brother and carried him to the Sultan, to whom he
related the whole story, and the Sultan charged him to plunder
Behram's house and take himself.  So Amjed despatched thither a
company of men, who sacked the house and took Behram and brought
his daughter to the Vizier, who received her with all honour, for
Asaad had told his brother all the torments he had suffered and
the kindness that she had done him.  Moreover, Amjed, in his
turn, related to Asaad all that had passed between the lady and
himself and how he had escaped hanging and become Vizier; and
they made moan, each to the other, of the anguish they had
suffered for separation.  Then the Sultan sent for Behram and
bade strike off his head; but he said, 'O most mighty King, art
thou indeed resolved to put me to death?'  'Yes,' replied the
King, 'except thou save thyself by becoming a Muslim.'  And
Behram said, 'O King, have patience with me a little.'  Then he
bowed his head awhile and presently raising it again, made
profession of the faith and avowed himself a Muslim at the hands
of the Sultan.  They all rejoiced at his conversion and Amjed and
Asaad told him all that had befallen them, whereat he wondered
and said, 'O my lords, make ready for the journey and I will
depart with you and carry you back to your father's court in a
ship.'  At this they rejoiced and wept sore; but he said, 'O my
lords, weep not for your departure, for ye shall be re-united
[with those you love], even as were Nimeh and Num.'  'And what
befell Nimeh and Num?' asked they.  'It is told,' replied Behram,
'(but God alone is all-knowing), that



Story of Nimeh Ben Er Rebya and Num His Slave-girl



There lived once in the city of Cufa a man called Er Rebya ben
Hatim, who was one of the chief men of the town, rich in goods
and prosperous, and God had vouchsafed him a son, whom he named
Nimet Allah.[FN#73] One day, being in the slave-dealers' mart, he
saw a female slave exposed for sale, with a little girl of
wonderful beauty and grace in her hand.  So he beckoned to the
broker and said to him, "What is the price of this woman and her
child?"  "Fifty dinars," answered he.  "Write the contract of
sale," said Er Rebya, "and take the money and give it to her
owner."  Then he gave the broker the price and his brokerage and
taking the woman and her child, carried them to his house.  When
his wife saw the slave, she said to her husband (who was the son
of her father's brother), "O my cousin, what is this damsel?"
Quoth he, "I bought her for the sake of the little one on her
arm, for know that, when she grows up, there will not be her like
for beauty, either in the land of the Arabs or elsewhere."  "It
was well seen of thee," answered his wife.  Then said she to the
woman, "What is thy name?"  "O my lady," replied she, "my name is
Taufic."  "And what is thy daughter's name?" asked she.
"Saad,"[FN#74] answered the slave.  "Thou sayst sooth," rejoined
her mistress.  "Thou art indeed happy, and happy is he who hath
bought thee."  Then said she to her husband, "O my cousin, what
wilt thou call her?"  "What thou choosest," answered he.  "Then
let us call her Num,"[FN#75] quoth she, and he said, "Good."  The
little Num was reared with Er Rebya's son Nimeh in one cradle and
each grew up handsomer than the other.  They were wont to call
each other brother and sister, till they came to the age of ten,
when Er Rebya said to Nimeh, "O my son, Num is not thy sister,
but thy slave.  I bought her in thy name, whilst thou wast yet in
the cradle; so call her no more 'sister' from this day forth."
"If that be so," quoth Nimeh, "I will take her to wife."  Then he
went to his mother and told her of this, and she said to him, "O
my son, she is thy handmaid."  So he went in to Num and loved her
and two years passed over them, whilst Num grew up, nor was there
in all Cufa a fairer or sweeter or more graceful girl than she.
She learnt the Koran and all manner of knowledge and excelled in
music and singing and playing upon all kinds of instruments, so
that she surpassed all the folk of her time.  One day, as she sat
with her husband in the wine-chamber, she took the lute and
tuning it, sang the following verses:

Since thou'rt my lord, by whose good grace I live in fair estate,
     A sword wherewith I smite in twain the neck of adverse fate,
No need is mine to have recourse to Amr[FN#76] or to Zeid,[FN#77]
     Nor any but thyself, an if the ways on me grow strait.

Nimeh was charmed with these verses and said to her, "I conjure
thee, by my life, O Num, sing to us with the tambourine and other
instruments!"  So she sang the following verses to a lively air:

By him whose hand possesses the reins of my affair, On passion's
     score, I swear it, my enviers I'll dare.
Yea, I will vex my censors and thee alone obey And sleep and ease
     and solace, for thy sweet sake, forswear
And dig midmost my entrails, to hold the love of thee, A grave,
     of which not even my heart shall be aware.

And Nimeh exclaimed, "Gifted of God art thou, O Num!"

But whilst they led thus the most delightsome life, El Hejjaj,
[FN#78] [the governor of Cufa, heard of Num and] said in
himself, "Needs must I make shift to take this girl Num and send
her to the Commander of the Faithful Abdulmelik ben Merwan, for
he hath not in his palace her like for beauty and sweet singing."
Then, calling an old woman, one of his body-servants, he said to
her, "Go to Er Rebya's house and foregather with the girl Num and
cast about to steal her away, for her like is not to be found on
the face of the earth."  She promised to do his bidding; so next
morning she donned clothes of wool[FN#79] and threw round her
neck a rosary of thousands of beads; then, taking in her hand a
staff and water-bottle of Yemen make, went forth, exclaiming,
"Glory be to God!  Praised be God!  There is no god but God!  God
is most great!  There is no power and no virtue but in God the
Most High, the Supreme!"  Nor did she leave making devout
ejaculations, whilst her heart was full of craft and fraud, till
she came to Nimeh's house, at the hour of noonday-prayer, and
knocked at the door.  The doorkeeper opened and said to her,
"What dost thou want?"  Quoth she, "I am a poor pious woman, whom
the time of noonday-prayer hath overtaken, and I would fain pray
in this blessed place."  "O old woman," answered the porter,
"this is no mosque nor oratory, but the house of Nimeh ben er
Rebya."  "I know there is neither mosque nor oratory like the
house of Nimeh ben er Rebya," rejoined she.  "I am a chamberwoman
of the palace of the Commander of the Faithful and am come out
upon a pilgrimage of devotion."  But the porter replied, "Thou
canst not enter;" and many words passed between them, till at
last she caught hold of him, saying, "Shall the like of me, who
have free access to the houses of Amirs and grandees, be denied
admission to the house of Nimeh ben er Rebya?"  Presently, out
came Nimeh and hearing their dispute, laughed and bade the old
woman enter.  So she followed him into the presence of Num, whom
she saluted after the goodliest fashion; and when she looked on
her, she was confounded at her exceeding beauty and said to her,
"O my lady, I commend thee to the safeguard of God, who made thee
and thy lord to accord in beauty and grace!"  Then she stood up
in the prayer-niche and betook herself to inclination and
prostration and prayer, till the day departed and the night came
with the darkness, when Num said to her, "O my mother, rest thy
feet awhile."  "O my lady," answered the old woman, "whoso
seeketh the world to come must weary himself in this world, and
whoso wearieth not himself in this world shall not attain the
dwellings of the just in the world to come."  Then Num brought
her food and said to her, "O my mother, eat of my victual and
pray that God may relent towards me and have mercy on me."  But
she replied, "O my lady, I am fasting.  As for thee, thou art but
a girl and it befits thee to eat and drink and make merry.  May
God be indulgent to thee!  Quoth the Most High, '(None shall be
saved) except those that repent and believe and work the works of
righteousness.'"[FN#80] Num sat awhile, conversing with the old
woman, and presently said to Nimeh, "O my lord, conjure this old
woman to sojourn with us awhile, for piety is imprinted on her
face."  Quoth he, "Set apart for her a chamber, where she may do
her devotions, and let none go in to her: peradventure God
(glorified and exalted be He!) shall prosper us by the blessing
of her presence and part us not."  The old woman passed the night
in prayer and recitation,[FN#81] till daybreak, when she went in
to Nimeh and Num and giving them good morning, said to them, "I
pray God to have you in His holy keeping!"  "Whither away, O my
mother?" said Num.  "My lord hath bidden me set apart for thee a
chamber, where thou mayst retire for thy devotions."  "God give
him long life," replied the old woman, "and continue His favour
to you both!  I would have you charge the doorkeeper not to stay
my coming in to you, and (God willing) I will go the round of the
Holy Places and pray for you at the end of my devotions every day
and night."  Then she went out (whilst Num wept for parting with
her, knowing not the purpose of her coming) and returned to El
Hejjaj, who said to her, "What news?"  She answered, "I have seen
the girl, and indeed never bore woman of her day a lovelier than
she."  And El Hejjaj said to her, "So thou do my bidding, thou
shalt have of me abundant good."  Quoth she, "I ask of thee a
month's time."  And he replied, "It is well."  Then she fell to
paying frequent visits to Nimeh and Num, who redoubled in honour
and kindness to her, and she used to go in to them morning and
evening, and all in the house welcomed her, till, one day, being
alone with Num, she said to her, "By Allah, O my lady, when I go
to the Holy Places, I will pray for thee; but I should love thee
to go thither with me, that thou mightest look on the Elders
of the Faith that resort thither, and they should pray for
thee, according to thy desire."  "O my mother," said Num, "I
conjure thee by Allah, take me with thee!"  "Ask leave of thy
mother-in-law," replied the old woman, "and I will take thee."
So Num said to her mother-in-law, "O my lady, ask my master to
let us go, thee and me, one day, with this my old mother, to pray
and worship with the fakirs in the Holy Places."  Presently,
Nimeh came in and sat down, whereupon the old woman went up to
him and would have kissed his hand, but he forbade her; so she
called down blessings on him and left the house.  Next day, she
came again, in the absence of Nimeh, and said to Num, "We prayed
for thee yesterday; but arise now and divert thyself and return
ere thy lord come home."  So Num said to her mother-in-law, "I
beseech thee, for God's sake, let me go with this pious woman,
that I may look upon the friends of God in the Holy Places and
return speedily, ere my lord come."  Quoth Nimeh's mother, "I
fear lest thy lord know."  "By Allah," said the old woman, "I
will not let her sit down; but she shall look, standing on her
feet, and not tarry."  So on this wise she took the damsel by
guile and carrying her to El Hejjaj's palace, bestowed her in a
privy chamber and told him of her coming; whereupon he went in to
her and looking upon her, saw her to be the loveliest of the
people of the day, never had he beheld her like.  When Num saw
him, she veiled her face from him; but he left her not till he
had called his chamberlain, whom he commanded to take fifty
horsemen and mounting the damsel on a swift dromedary, carry her
to Damascus and there deliver her to the Commander of the
Faithful, Abdulmelik ben Merwan.  Moreover, he gave him a letter
for the Khalif, saying, "Bear him this letter and bring me his
answer in all haste."  So the chamberlain took the damsel, all
tearful for separation from her lord, and setting out with her
for Syria, gave not over journeying till he reached Damascus and
sought an audience of the Commander of the Faithful, to whom he
delivered the damsel and the letter.  The Khalif appointed her a
separate apartment and going into his harem, said to his wife,
"El Hejjaj has bought me a female slave of the daughters
(descendants) of the (ancient) Kings of Cufa, for ten thousand
dinars, and has sent her to me with this letter."  "May God
increase thee of his favour!"  answered she.  Then the Khalif's
sister went into Num and when she saw her, she said, "By Allah,
happy the man who hath thee in his house, were thy cost a hundred
thousand dinars!"  "O fair-faced one," said Num, "what King's
palace is this?"  "This is the city of Damascus," answered the
princess, "and the palace of my brother, the Commander of the
Faithful, Abdulmelik ben Merwan.  Didst thou not know this?"  "By
Allah, O my lady," said Num, "I had no knowledge of this!"  "And
he who sold thee and took thy price," asked the princess, "did he
not tell thee that the Khalif had bought thee?"  When Num heard
this, she wept and said in herself, "I have been cozened; but, if
I speak, none will credit me; so I will hold my peace and take
patience, knowing that the relief of God is near."  Then she bent
her head for shame, and indeed her cheeks were tanned with the
journey and the sun.  So the Khalif's sister left her that day
and returned to her on the morrow with clothes and necklaces of
jewels and dressed her; after which the Khalif came in to her and
sat down by her side, and his sister said to him, "Look on this
damsel, in whom God hath united every perfection of beauty and
grace."  So he said to Num, "Draw back the veil from thy face;"
but she would not unveil, and he beheld not her face.  However,
he saw her wrists and love of her entered his heart; and he said
to his sister, "I will not go in to her for three days, till she
be cheered by thy converse."  Then he left her, but Num ceased
not to brood over her case and sigh for her separation from
Nimeh, till, at eventide, she fell sick of a fever and ate not
nor drank; and her face grew pale and her charms faded.  They
told the Khalif of this, and it grieved him; so he visited her
with physicians and men of skill, but none could come at a cure
for her.

As for Nimeh, when he returned home, he sat down on his bed and
cried, "Ho, Num!"  But she answered not; so he rose in haste and
called out, but none came to him, for all the women in the house
had hidden themselves, for fear of him.  Then he went in to his
mother, whom he found sitting with her cheek on her hand, and
said to her, "O my mother, where is Num?"  "O my son," answered
she, "she is with one who is worthier than I to be trusted with
her, namely, the devout old woman; she went forth with her to
visit the fakirs and return."  "Since when has this been her
wont," asked Nimeh, "and at what hour went she forth?"  Quoth his
mother, "She went out early in the morning."  "And how camest
thou to give her leave for this?" said he, and she replied, "O my
son, it was she persuaded me."  "There is no power and no virtue
but in God the Most High, the Supreme!" exclaimed Nimeh and going
forth, in a state of distraction, repaired to the chief of the
police, to whom said he, "Dost thou practice on me and steal my
slave-girl away from me?  I will assuredly complain of thee to
the Commander of the Faithful."  "Who has taken her?" asked the
chief of the police, and Nimeh answered, "An old woman of such
and such a favour, clad in woollen raiment and carrying a rosary
of thousands of beads."  "Find me the old woman," rejoined the
other, "and I will get thee back thy slave-girl."  "Who knows
the old woman?" said Nimeh.  "And who knows the hidden things
save God, may He be glorified and exalted?" replied the official,
who knew her for El Hejjaj's agent.  Quoth Nimeh, "I look to thee
for my slave-girl, and El Hejjaj shall judge between thee and
me."  And the master of police answered, "Go to whom thou wilt."
Now Nimeh's father was one of the chief men of Cufa; so he went
to the palace of the governor, whose chamberlain went in to him
and told him what was to do.  El Hejjaj bade admit him and
enquired his business.  Quoth Nimeh, "Such and such things have
befallen me."  And the governor said, "Bring me the chief of the
police, and we will bid him seek for the old woman."  Now he knew
that the chief of the police knew her; so, when he came, he said
to him, "I wish thee to make search for the slave-girl of Nimeh
ben er Rebya."  And he answered, "None knoweth the hidden things
save God the Most High."  "Thou must send out horsemen," rejoined
El Hejjaj, "and look for the damsel in all the roads and towns."
Then he turned to Nimeh and said to him, "An thy slave-girl
return not, I will give thee ten slave-girls from my house and
ten from that of the chief of the police."  And he said to the
latter, "Go and seek for the girl."  So he went out and Nimeh
returned home, full of trouble and despairing of life.  He had
now reached the age of fourteen and there was yet no hair on his
cheeks.  He shut himself up from his household and ceased not to
weep and lament, he and his mother, till the morning, when his
father came in to him and said, "O my son, El Hejjaj hath put a
cheat on the damsel and stolen her away; but from hour to hour
God giveth relief."  But grief redoubled on Nimeh, so that he
knew not what he said nor who came in to him, and indeed his
charms were changed and he was in sorry case.  In this plight he
abode three months, till his father despaired of him, and the
physicians visited him and said, "There is no cure for him but
the damsel."  One day, Er Rebya heard tell of a skilful Persian
physician, whom the folk gave out for accomplished in medicine
and astrology and geomancy.  So he sent for him and seating him
by his side, entreated him with honour and said to him, "Look
into my son's case."  So he said to Nimeh, "Give me thy hand."
Accordingly, the young man gave him his hand and he felt his
pulse and his joints and looked in his face; then he laughed and
turning to Er Rebya, said, "Thy son's only ailment is in his
heart."  "Thou sayst sooth, O sage," answered Er Rebya; "but
apply thy skill to the consideration of his state and case and
acquaint me with the whole thereof and hide nought from me."
Quoth the Persian, "He is enamoured of a girl, who is either in
Bassora or Damascus; and there is no cure for him but reunion
with her."  "An thou bring them together," said Er Rebya, "thou
shalt have of me what will rejoice thee and shalt live all thy
life in wealth and delight."  "This is an easy matter," answered
the Persian, "and soon brought about;" and he turned to Nimeh and
said to him, "Fear not; no hurt shall befall thee; so take heart
and be of good cheer."  Then said he to Er Rebya, "Give me four
thousand dinars of your money."  So he gave them to him, and he
said, "I wish to carry thy son with me to Damascus, and God
willing, we will not return thence but with the damsel."  Then
said he to the youth, "What is thy name?"  And he answered,
"Nimeh."  "O Nimeh," said the Persian, "sit up and be of good
heart, for God will reunite thee with the damsel.  So put thy
trust in Him and eat and drink and be cheerful and fortify
thyself for travel, for we set out for Damascus this very day."
So he sat up whilst the Persian made his preparations and took of
Er Rebya, in all, the sum of ten thousand dinars, together with
horses and camels and beasts of burden such as he needed for the
journey.  Then Nimeh took leave of his father and mother and
journeyed with the physician to Aleppo.  They could get no news
of Num there, so fared on to Damascus, where they abode three
days, after which the Persian took a shop and adorned its shelves
with gilding and stuffs of price and stocked them with vessels of
costly porcelain, with covers of silver.  Moreover, he set before
himself vases and flagons of glass full of all manner ointments
and syrups, surrounded by cups of crystal, and donning a
physician's habit, took his seat in the shop, with his astrolabe
and geomantic tablet before him.  Then he clad Nimeh in a shirt
and gown of silk and girding his middle with a silken kerchief
embroidered with gold, made him sit before himself, saying to
him, "O Nimeh, henceforth thou art my son; so call me nought but
father and I will call thee son."  And he replied, "I hear and
obey."  The people of Damascus flocked to gaze on the youth's
goodliness and the beauty of the shop and its contents, whilst
the physician spoke to Nimeh in Persian and he answered him in
the same tongue, for he knew the language, after the wont of the
sons of the notables.  The Persian soon became known among the
townsfolk and they began to resort to him and acquaint him with
their ailments, for which he prescribed.  Moreover, they brought
him the water of the sick in phials, and he would examine it and
say, "He, whose water this is, is suffering from such and such a
disease."  And the patient would say, "Verily, this physician
says sooth."  So he continued to do the occasions of the folk and
they to flock to him, till his fame spread throughout the city
and into the houses of the great.  One day, as he sat in his
shop, there came up an old woman riding on an ass with housings
of brocade, embroidered with jewels, and drawing bridle before
his shop, beckoned to him, saying, "Take my hand."  So he took
her hand, and she alighted and said to him, "Art thou the Persian
physician from Irak?"  "Yes," answered he, and she said, "Know
that I have a sick daughter."  Then she brought out to him
a phial and he looked at it and said to her, "Tell me thy
daughter's name, that I may calculate her horoscope and learn the
hour in which it will befit her to take medicine."  "O brother of
the Persians," answered she, "her name is Num."  When he heard
this, he fell to calculating and writing on his hand and
presently said to her, "O my lady, I cannot prescribe for the
girl, till I know what countrywoman she is, because of the
difference of climate: so tell me where she was brought up and
what is her age."  "She is fourteen years old," replied the old
woman, "and was brought up in Cufa of Irak."  "And how long,"
asked he, "has she sojourned in this country?"  "But a few
months," answered she.  When Nimeh heard the old woman's words
and the name of his slave-girl, his heart fluttered and he was
like to swoon.  Then said the Persian to the old woman, "Such and
such medicines will suit her case;" and she rejoined, "Then make
them up and give them to me, with the blessing of God the Most
High!"  So saying, she threw him ten dinars, and he bade Nimeh
prepare the necessary drugs; whereupon she looked at the youth
and exclaimed, "God have thee in His holy keeping, O my son!
Verily, she is like thee in age and favour."  Then said she to
the physician, "O brother of the Persians, is this thy slave or
thy son?"  "He is my son," answered he.  So Nimeh made up the
medicine and laying it in a little box, took a piece of paper and
wrote thereon the following verses:

So Num but vouchsafe me a glance, to gladden my heart and my
     mind, Let Suada unfavouring prove and Juml, an't please her,
     unkind.[FN#82]
"Forget her," quoth they unto me, "And thou shalt have twenty
     like her." I will not forget her, I swear, for never her
     like should I find.

He put the paper in the box and sealing it up, wrote on the cover
the following words in the Cufic character, "I am Nimeh ben er
Rebya of Cufa."  Then he gave it to the old woman, who bade them
farewell and returning to the Khalif's palace, went in to Num, to
whom she delivered the box, saying, "O my lady, know that there
is lately come to our town a Persian physician, than whom I never
saw a more skilful nor a better versed in matters of sickness.  I
showed him the phial and told him thy name, and he knew thine
ailment and prescribed a remedy.  Then, by his order, his son
made thee up this medicine; and there is not in Damascus a
comelier or more elegant youth than this son of his nor hath any
the like of his shop."  Num took the box and seeing the names of
her lord and his father written thereon, changed colour and said
to herself, "Doubtless, the owner of this shop is come in search
of me."  So she said to the old woman, "Describe this youth to
me."  "His name is Nimeh," answered the old woman; "he is richly
clad and perfectly handsome and has a mole on his right eyebrow."
"Give me the medicine," cried Num, "and may the blessing and help
of God the Most High attend it!"  So she drank off the potion and
said, laughing, "Indeed, it is a blessed medicine."  Then she
sought in the box and finding the paper, read it and knew that
this was indeed her lord, whereat her heart was solaced and she
rejoiced.  When the old woman saw her laughing, she exclaimed,
"This is indeed a blessed day!"  And Num said, "O nurse, I
have a mind to eat and drink."  So the old woman said to the
serving-women, "Bring a tray of dainty viands for your mistress;"
whereupon they set food before her and she sat down to eat.
Presently, in came the Khalif and seeing her sitting eating,
rejoiced; and the old woman said to him, "O Commander of the
Faithful, I give thee joy of thy slave's recovery!  Know that
there is lately come to our city a physician, than whom I never
saw a better versed in diseases and their cure.  I fetched her
medicine from him and she has taken of it but once and is
restored to health."  Quoth he, "Take a thousand dinars and
provide for her treatment, till she be completely recovered." And
he went away, rejoicing in the damsel's recovery, whilst the old
woman betook herself to the physician, to whom she delivered the
thousand dinars and a letter that Num had written, giving him to
know that she was become the Khalif's slave.  He gave the letter
to Nimeh, who knew her hand and fell down in a swoon.  When he
came to himself, he opened the letter and found these words
written therein: "From the slave despoiled of her delight,[FN#83]
her whose reason hath been beguiled and who is separated from the
beloved of her heart.  Thy letter hath reached me and hath
dilated my bosom and rejoiced my heart, even as saith the poet:

The letter reached me, never may the fingers fail thee aught,
     That traced its characters, until with sweetest scent
     they're fraught!
'Twas as unto his mother's arms when Moses was restored Or as to
     blind old Jacob's hands when Joseph's coat was
     brought."[FN#84]

When he read these verses, his eyes ran over with tears and the
old woman said to him, "What ails thee to weep, O my son?  May
God never make thine eye to shed tears!"  "O my lady," answered
the Persian, "how should my son not weep, seeing that this is his
slave-girl and he her lord Nimeh ben er Rebya of Cufa?  Indeed,
her recovery depends on her seeing him, for nought ails her but
the love of him.  So, O my lady, take these thousand dinars to
thyself (and thou shalt have of me yet more than this) and look
on us with eyes of compassion; for we know not how to bring this
affair to a happy issue but through thee."  Then she said to
Nimeh, "Art thou indeed her lord?"  "Yes," answered he, and she,
"Thou sayst truly; for she ceases not to name thee."  Then he
told her all that had passed from first to last, and she said, "O
youth, thou shalt owe thy reunion with her to none but me."  So
she mounted at once and returning to Num, looked in her face and
smiled, saying, "O my daughter, it is just that thou weep and
fall sick for thy separation from thy master Nimeh ben er Rebya
of Cufa."  Quoth Num, "Verily, the veil has been withdrawn for
thee and the truth revealed to thee."  "Be of good cheer,"
rejoined the old woman, "and take heart, for I will surely bring
you together, though it cost me my life."  Then she returned to
Nimeh and said to him, "I have seen thy slave-girl and find that
she longs for thee yet more than thou for her; for the Commander
of the Faithful is minded to foregather with her, but she refuses
herself to him.  But if thou be stout of heart and firm of
courage, I will bring you together and venture myself for you and
make shift to bring thee to her in the Khalif's palace; for she
cannot come forth."  And Nimeh answered, "God requite thee with
good!"  Then she went back to Num and said to her, "Thy lord is
indeed dying of love for thee and would fain see thee and
foregather with thee.  What sayst thou?"  "And I also," answered
Num, "am dying for his sight."  So the old woman took a parcel of
women's clothes and ornaments and repairing to Nimeh, said to
him, "Come apart with me into a privy place."  So he brought her
into the room behind the shop, where she painted him and decked
his wrists and plaited his hair, after which she clad him in a
slave-girl's habit and adorned him after the fairest fashion of
woman's adornment, till he was as one of the houris of Paradise;
and when she saw him thus, she exclaimed, "Blessed be God, the
most excellent Creator!  By Allah, thou art handsomer than the
damsel!  Now, walk with thy left shoulder forward and swing thy
buttocks."  So he walked before her, as she bade him; and when
she saw he had caught the trick of women's gait, she said to him,
"Expect me to-morrow night, when, God willing, I will come and
carry thee to the palace.  When thou seest the chamberlains and
the eunuchs, fear not, but bow thy head and speak not with any,
for I will ward thee from their speech; and with God is success."
Accordingly, on the morrow she returned at the appointed hour and
carrying him to the palace, entered and he after her.  The
chamberlain would have stayed him, but the old woman said to him,
"O most ill-omened of slaves, this is the handmaid of Num, the
Khalif's favourite.  How darest thou stay her?"  Then said she,
"Enter, O damsel!"  And they went on, till they drew near the
door leading to the inner court of the palace, when the old woman
said to him, "O Nimeh, take courage and enter and turn to the
left.  Count five doors and enter the sixth, for it is that of
the place prepared for thee.  Fear nothing, and if any speak to
thee, answer not neither stop."  Then she went up with him to the
door, and the chamberlain on guard hailed her, saying, "What
damsel is that?"  Quoth the old woman, "Our lady hath a mind to
buy her."  And he said, "None may enter save by leave of the
Commander of the Faithful; so go thou back with her.  I cannot
let her pass, for thus am I commanded."  "O chief chamberlain,"
replied the old woman, "use thy reason.  Thou knowest that Num,
the Khalif's slave-girl, of whom he is enamoured, is but now
restored to health and the Commander of the Faithful hardly yet
credits her recovery.  Now she is minded to buy this girl; so
oppose thou not her entrance, lest it come to Num's knowledge and
she be wroth with thee and suffer a relapse and this bring thy
head to be cut off."  Then said she to Nimeh, "Enter, O damsel;
pay no heed to what he says and tell not the princess that he
opposed thine entrance."  So Nimeh bowed his head and entered,
but mistook and turned to his right, instead of his left, and
meaning to count five doors and enter the sixth, counted six
and entering the seventh, found himself in a  place carpeted
with brocade and hung with curtains of gold-embroidered silk.
Here and there stood censers of aloes-wood and ambergris and
sweet-scented musk, and at the upper end was a couch covered with
brocade, on which he seated himself, marvelling at the exceeding
magnificence of the place and knowing not what was appointed to
him in the secret purpose of God.  As he sat musing on his case,
the Khalif's sister entered, followed by her handmaid, and seeing
him seated there took him for a slave-girl and said to him, "What
art thou, O damsel, and who brought thee hither?"  He made no
reply and she continued, "If thou be one of my brother's
favourites and he be wroth with thee, I will intercede with him
for thee."  But he answered her not a word; so she said to her
maid, "Stand at the door and let none enter."  Then she went up
to Nimeh and looking at him, was amazed at his beauty and said to
him, "O lady, tell me who thou art and how thou camest here; for
I have never seen thee in the palace."  Still he answered not,
whereat she was angered and putting her hand to his bosom, found
no breasts and would have unveiled him, that she might know who
he was; but he said to her, "O my lady, I am thy slave and cast
myself on thy protection; do thou protect me."  "No harm shall
come to thee," said she; "but tell me who thou art and who
brought thee into this my lodging."  "O princess," answered he,
"I am known as Nimeh ben er Rebya of Cufa, and I have ventured my
life for my slave-girl Num, whom El Hejjaj took by sleight and
sent hither."  "Fear not," rejoined the princess; "no harm shall
befall thee."  Then, calling her maid, she said to her, "Go to
Num's chamber and bid her to me."

Meanwhile, the old woman went to Num's bed-chamber and said to
her, "Has thy lord come to thee?"  "No, by Allah!" answered Num,
and the other said, "Belike he hath gone astray and entered some
chamber other than thine."  "There is no power and no virtue but
in God the Most High, the Supreme!" exclaimed Num.  "Our last
hour is come and we are all lost."  As they sat, pondering, in
came the princess's maid and saluting Num, said to her, "My lady
bids thee to her entertainment."  "I hear and obey," answered the
damsel, and the old woman said, "Belike thy lord is with the
Khalif's sister and the veil has been done away."  So Num rose
and betook herself to the princess, who said to her, "Here is thy
lord sitting with me; it seems he has gone astray; but, please
God, neither thou nor he has any cause for fear."  When Num heard
this, she took heart and went up to Nimeh, who rose to meet her,
and they embraced and fell down in a swoon.  As soon as they came
to themselves, the princess said to them, "Sit down and let us
take counsel for your deliverance from this your strait."  And
they answered, "O our lady, we hear and obey: it is thine to
command."  "By Allah," quoth she, "no harm shall befall you from
us!"  Then she called for meat and drink, and they sat down and
ate till they had enough, after which they sat drinking.  The cup
went round amongst them and their cares ceased from them; but
Nimeh said, "Would I knew how this will end!"  "O Nimeh," quoth
the princess, "dost thou love thy slave Num?"  "O my lady,"
answered he, "it is my passion for her that has brought me thus
in peril of my life."  Then she said to the damsel, "O Num, dost
thou love thy lord Nimeh?"  And she replied, "O my lady, it is
the love of him that has wasted my body and brought me to evil
case."  "By Allah," rejoined the princess, "since ye love each
other thus, may he not live who would sunder you!  Take heart and
be of good cheer." At this they both rejoiced, and Num, calling
for a lute, tuned it and preluded enchantingly, then sang the
following verses:

Whenas, content with nothing less, the spies our sev'rance
     sought, Allbe no debt of blood they had 'gainst me or thee
     in aught,
Whenas they poured upon our ears the hurtling din of war, Whilst
     helpers and protectors failed and succour came there nought,
I fought the railers with my tears, my spirit and thine eyes;
     Yea, with the torrent, fire and sword, to fend them off I
     wrought.

Then she gave the lute to Nimeh, saying, "Sing thou to us."  So
he took it and playing a lively measure, sang these verses:

The moon were like thee at its full, were it of freckles free,
     And did it never brook eclipse, the sun would favour thee.
Indeed, I marvel, (but in love how many a marvel is! Therein are
     passion and desire and cares and ecstasy,)
Short seems the distance, when I fare towards my love's abode;
     But when I journey from her sight, the way is long to me.

When he had made an end of his song, Num filled the cup and gave
it to him, and he drank it off; then she filled again and gave
the cup to the princess, who took it and emptied it; after which
she in her turn took the lute and sang as follows:

Mourning and grief possess my heart and in my breast The ardour
     of desire abideth as a guest.
The wasting of my frame, alas! is manifest And all my soul is
     sick with passion and unrest.

Then she filled the cup and gave it to Num, who drank  it off and
taking the lute, sang the following verses:

O thou, upon whom I bestowed my soul and thou rack'dst it to
     death And I would have ta'en it again, but could not release
     it i' faith,
Relent to a lover forlorn; vouchsafe him, I pray, ere he die,
     What may from perdition redeem, for this is the last of his
     breath.

They ceased not to sing and make merry and drink to the sweet
sound of the strings, full of mirth and joyance and good cheer,
till, behold, in came the Commander of the Faithful.  When they
saw him, they rose and kissed the ground before him; and he,
seeing Num with the lute in her hand, said to her, "O Num,
praised be God who hath done away from thee pain and affliction!"
Then he looked at Nimeh (who was still disguised as a woman) and
said to the princess, "O my sister, what damsel is this by Num's
side?"  "O Commander of the Faithful," answered she, "she is one
of thy slave-girls and the bosom friend of Num, who will neither
eat nor drink without her."  And she repeated the words of the
poet:

Two opposites, dissevered still in charms and straitly knit, And
     each one's beauty brightlier shows against its opposite.

"By the Great God," said the Khalif, "she is as handsome as Num,
and to-morrow, I will appoint her a separate chamber beside that
of Num and send her furniture and linen and all that befits her,
in honour of Num."  Then, the princess called for food and set it
before her brother, who ate and filling a cup, signed to Num to
sing.  So she took the lute, after drinking two cups, and sang
the following verses:

Whenas my cup-companion hath poured me out of wine Three foaming
     cups, brimmed over with nectar from the vine,
I trail my skirts in glory all night, as if o'er thee, Commander
     of the Faithful, the empery were mine.

The Khalif was delighted and filling another cup, gave it to Num
and bade her sing again.  So she drank off the cup, and sweeping
the strings of the lute, sang as follows:

O thou, the noblest man of men that live in this our day, Whose
     equal none may boast himself in power and mightiness,
O all unpeered in pride of place, to whom munificence Is as a
     birthright, Lord and King, whom all in all confess,
Thou, that dost lord it, sovran-wise, o'er all the kings of earth
     And without grudging or reproach, giv'st bountiful largesse,
God have thee ever in His guard, despite thine every foe, And be
     thy fortune ever bright with victory and success!

When the Khalif heard this, he exclaimed, "By Allah, it is good!
By Allah, it is excellent!  Verily, God hath been good to thee, O
Num!  How sweet is thy voice and how clear thy speech!"  They
passed the time thus in mirth and good cheer, till midnight, when
the Khalif's sister said to him, "O Commander of the Faithful,
give ear to a tale I have read in books of a certain man of
rank."  "And what is this tale?" asked he.  "Know," said she,
"that there lived once in the city of Cufa, a youth called Nimeh
ben er Rebya, and he had a slave-girl whom he loved and who loved
him.  They had been reared in one bed; but when they grew up and
mutual love took possession of them, fate smote them with its
calamities and decreed separation unto them.  For designing folk
enticed her by sleight forth of his house and stealing her away
from him, sold her to one of the Kings for ten thousand dinars.
Now the girl loved her lord even as he loved her; so he left
house and home and fortune and setting out in quest of her, made
shift, at the peril of his life, to gain access to her; but they
had not been long in company, when in came the King, who had
bought her of her ravisher, and hastily bade put them to death,
without waiting to enquire into the matter, as was just.  What
sayest thou, O Commander of the Faithful, of this King's
conduct?"  "This was indeed a strange thing," answered the
Khalif; "it behoved the King to use his power with clemency, and
he should have considered three things in their favour; first,
that they loved one another; secondly, that they were in his
house and under his hand; and thirdly, that it behoves a King to
be deliberate in judging between the folk, and how much more so
when he himself is concerned!  Wherefore the King in this did
unkingly."  Then said his sister, "O my brother by the Lord of
heaven and earth, I conjure thee, bid Num sing and give ear to
that she shall sing!"  And he said, "O Num, sing to me."  So she
played a lively measure and sang the following verses:

Fortune hath played the traitor; indeed, 'twas ever so,
     Transpiercing hearts and bosoms and kindling care and woe
And parting friends in sunder, that were in union knit, So down
     their cheeks thou seest the tears in torrents flow.
They were, and I was with them, in all delight of life, And
     fortune did unite us full straitly whiles ago.
So gouts of blood, commingled with tears, both night and day I'll
     weep, my sore affliction for loss of thee to show.

When he heard this, he was moved to great delight, and his sister
said to him, "O my brother, he who decideth in aught against
himself, it behoveth him to abide by it and do according to his
word; and thou hast by this judgment decided against thyself."
Then said she, "O Nimeh, stand up, and do thou likewise, O Num!"
So they stood up and she continued, "O Commander of the Faithful,
she who stands before thee is Num, whom El Hejjaj ben Yousuf eth
Thekefi stole and sent to thee, falsely pretending in his letter
to thee that he had bought her for ten thousand dinars.  This
other is her lord, Nimeh ben er Rebya; and I beseech thee, by the
honour of thy pious forefathers and by Hemzeh and Akil and
Abbes,[FN#85] to pardon them and bestow them one on the other,
that thou mayst earn the recompense in the next world of thy
just dealing with them; for they are under thy hand and have
eaten of thy meat and drunken of thy drink; and behold, I make
intercession for them and beg of thee the boon of their lives."
"Thou sayst sooth," replied the Khalif, "I did indeed give
judgment as thou sayst, and I use not to go back on my word."
Then said he, "O Num, is this thy lord?"  And she answered, "Yes,
O Commander of the Faithful."  "No harm shall befall you," said
he; "I give you to one another."  Then he said to the young man,
"O Nimeh, who told thee where she was and taught thee how to get
at her?"  "O Commander of the Faithful," replied he, "give ear to
my story; for by the virtue of thy pious forefathers, I will hide
nothing from thee!"  And he told him all that had passed between
himself and the Persian physician and the old woman and how she
had brought him into the palace and he had mistaken one door for
another; whereat the Khalif wondered exceedingly and said, "Fetch
me the Persian."  So they fetched him and he made him one of his
chief officers.  Moreover, he bestowed on him robes of honour and
ordered him a handsome present, saying, "Him, who has shown such
good sense and skill in his ordinance, it behoves us to make one
of our chief officers."  He also loaded Nimeh and Num with gifts
and honours and rewarded the old woman; and they abode with him
in joy and content and all delight of life seven days; at the end
of which time Nimeh craved leave to return to Cufa with his
slave-girl.  The Khalif gave leave and they departed accordingly
and arrived in due course at Cufa, where Nimeh foregathered with
his father and mother, and they abode in the enjoyment of all the
delights and comforts of life, till there came to them the
Destroyer of Delights and the Sunderer of Companies.'

                 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The princes wondered mightily at Behram's story and said, 'By
Allah, this is indeed a rare story!'  They passed the night thus,
and next morning, Amjed and Asaad mounted and riding to the
palace, sought an audience of the King, who received them with
honour.  As they sat talking, of a sudden they heard the
townsfolk crying aloud and shouting to one another and calling
for help, and the chamberlain came in to the King and said to
him, 'Some King hath encamped before the city, he and his army,
with arms displayed, and we know not who they are nor what they
seek.'  The King took counsel with his Vizier and Asaad, and
Amjed said, 'I will go out to him and learn the cause of his
coming.'  So he took horse and riding forth the city, repaired to
the stranger's camp, where he found the King and with him many
soldiers and mounted officers.  When the guards saw him, they
knew him for an ambassador from the King of the city; so they
took him and brought him to their King.  Amjed kissed the ground
before him; but lo, the King was a queen, who wore a chin-band
over her face, and she said to Amjed, 'Know that I have no design
on your city and am only come hither in quest of a beardless
slave of mine, whom if I find with you, I will do you no hurt;
but if I find him not, then shall there befall sore battle
between you and me.'  'O Queen,' asked Amjed, 'what is thy
slave's name and what like is he?'  Said she, 'His name is Asaad
and he is of such and such a favour.  My name is Merjaneh, and
this slave came to my town in company of Behram, a Magian, who
refused to sell him to me; so I took him by force, but the Magian
fell upon him by night and took him away by stealth.'  When Amjed
heard this he knew that it was his brother Asaad whom she sought
and said to her, 'O Queen of the age, praised be God who hath
brought us relief!  Know that he whom thou seekest is my
brother.'  Then he told her their story and all that had befallen
them in the land of exile, and acquainted her with the cause of
their departure from the Islands of Ebony, whereat she marvelled
and rejoiced to have found Asaad.  So she bestowed a dress of
honour upon Amjed, and he returned to the King and told him what
had passed, at which they all rejoiced and the King and the two
princes went forth to meet Queen Merjaneh.  They were admitted to
her presence and sat down to converse with her, but as they were
thus engaged, behold, a cloud of dust arose and grew, till it
covered the landscape.  Presently, it lifted and discovered an
army, in numbers like the swollen sea, armed cap-a-pie, who,
making for the city with naked swords, encompassed it as the ring
encompasses the little finger.  When Amjed and Asaad saw this,
they exclaimed, 'We are God's and to Him we return.  What is this
great army?  Doubtless, these are enemies; and except we agree
with this Queen Merjaneh to resist them, they will take the town
from us and slay us.  There is nothing for us but to go out to
them and see who they are.'  So Amjed mounted and passing through
Queen Merjaneh's camp, came to the approaching army and was
admitted to the presence of their King, to whom he delivered his
message, after kissing the earth before him.  Quoth the King, 'I
am called King Ghaïour, lord of the Islands and the Seas and the
Seven Castles, and am come out in quest of my daughter Budour, of
whom fortune hath bereft me; for she left me and returned not to
me, nor have I heard any news of her or her husband Kemerezzeman.
Have ye any tidings of them?'  When Amjed heard this, he knew
that this King was none other than his grandfather, his mother's
father, and kissing the earth before him, told him that he was
the son of his daughter Budour; whereupon Ghaïour threw himself
upon him and they both fell a-weeping.  Then said Ghaïour,
'Praised be God, O my son, for safety, since I have foregathered
with thee!'  And Amjed told him that his daughter Budour and her
husband Kemerezzeman were well and abode in a city called the
City of Ebony.  Moreover, he related to him how his father, being
wroth with him and his brother, had commanded his treasurer to
put them to death, but that the latter had taken pity on them and
let them go with their lives.  Quoth King Ghaïour, 'I will go
back with thee and thy brother to your father and make your peace
with him.'  Amjed kissed the ground before him and the King
bestowed a dress of honour upon him, after which he returned,
smiling, to the King of the city of the Magians and told him what
he had learnt, at which he wondered exceedingly.  Then he
despatched guest-gifts of sheep and horses and camels and
provender and so forth to King Ghaïour and the like to Queen
Merjaneh and told her what had chanced, whereupon quoth she, 'I
too will accompany you with my troops and will do my endeavour to
make peace [between the princes and their father.]' At this
moment, there arose another cloud of dust and spread, till it
covered the prospect and darkened the day; and under it, they
heard shouts and cries and neighing of horses and saw the sheen
of swords and the glint of lance-points.  When this new host drew
near the city and saw the two other armies, they beat their drums
and the King of the Magians exclaimed, 'This is indeed a blessed
day!  Praised be God who hath made us of accord with these two
armies!  If it be His will, He will give us peace with yon other
also.'  Then said he to Amjed and Asaad, 'Go forth and bring us
news of them, for they are a mighty host, never saw I a
mightier.'  So they opened the city gates, which the King had
shut for fear of the surrounding troops, and Amjed and Asaad went
forth and coming to the new host, found that it was the army of
the King of the Ebony Islands, led by their father, King
Kemerezzeman in person.  When they came before him, they kissed
the earth and wept; but, when he saw them, he threw himself upon
them, weeping sore, and strained them long to his breast.  Then
he excused himself to them and told them how sore desolation he
had suffered for their loss; and they acquainted him with King
Ghaïour's arrival, whereupon he mounted with his chief officers
and proceeded to the King of China's camp, he and his sons.  As
they drew near, one of the princes rode forward and informed King
Ghaïour of Kemerezzeman's coming, whereupon he came out to meet
him and they joined company, marvelling at these things and
how Fortune had ordered their encounter in that place.  Then
the townsfolk made them banquets of all manner of meats and
confections and brought them sheep and horses and camels and
fodder and other guest-gifts and all that the troops needed.
Presently, behold, yet another cloud of dust arose and spread
till it covered the landscape, whilst the earth shook with the
tramp of horse and the drums sounded like the storm-winds.  After
awhile, the dust lifted and discovered an army clad in black and
armed cap-a-pie, and in their midst rode a very old man clad
also in black, whose beard flowed down over his breast.  When the
King of the city saw this great host, he said to the other Kings,
'Praised be God the Most High, by whose leave ye are met here,
all in one day, and proved all known one to the other!  But what
vast army is this that covers the country?'  'Have no fear of
them,' answered they; 'we are here three Kings, each with a great
army, and if they be enemies, we will join thee in doing battle
with them, were three times their number added to them.'  As they
were talking, up came an envoy from the approaching host, making
for the city.  They brought him before the four Kings and he
kissed the earth and said, 'The King my master comes from the
land of the Persians; many years ago he lost his son and is
seeking him in all countries.  If he find him with you, well and
good; but if he find him not, there will be war between him and
you, and he will lay waste your city.'  'That shall he not,'
rejoined Kemerezzeman; 'but how is thy master called in the land
of the Persians?'  'He is called King Shehriman, lord of the
Khalidan Islands,' answered the envoy; 'and he hath levied these
troops in the lands traversed by him, whilst seeking his son.'
When Kemerezzeman heard his father's name, he gave a great cry
and fell down in a swoon; then, presently coming to himself, he
wept sore and said to Amjed and Asaad, 'Go, O my sons, with the
messenger: salute your grandfather, King Shehriman, and give him
glad tidings of me, for he mourns my loss and even now wears
black for my sake.'  Then he told the other Kings all that had
befallen him in his youth, at which they all wondered and
mounting with him, repaired to his father, whom he saluted, and
they embraced and fell down in a swoon, for excess of joy.  When
they revived, Kemerezzeman acquainted his father with all his
adventures, and the other Kings saluted Shehriman.  Then they
married Merjaneh to Asaad and sent her back to her kingdom,
charging her not to leave them without news of her.  Moreover,
Amjed took Bustan, Behram's daughter, to wife, and they all set
out for the City of Ebony.  When they arrived there, Kemerezzeman
went in to his father-in-law, King Armanous, and told him all
that had befallen him and how he had found his sons; whereat
Armanous rejoiced and gave him joy of his safe return.  Then King
Ghaïour went in to his daughter, Queen Budour, and satisfied his
longing for her company, and they all abode a month's space in
the City of Ebony; after which the King of China and his daughter
returned to their own country with their company, taking prince
Amjed with them, whom, as soon as Ghaïour was settled again in
his kingdom, he made king in his stead.  Moreover, Kemerezzeman
made Asaad king in his room over the Ebony Islands, with the
consent of his grandfather, King Armanous, and set out himself,
with his father, King Shehriman, for the Islands of Khalidan.
The people of the capital decorated the city in their honour and
they ceased not to beat the drums for glad tidings a whole month;
nor did Kemerezzeman leave to govern in his father's room, till
there overtook them the Destroyer of Delights and the Sunderer of
Companies."

"O Shehrzad," said King Shehriyar, "this is indeed a right
wonderful story!"  "O King," answered she, "it is not more
wonderful than that of Alaeddin Abou esh Shamat."  "What is
that?" asked he, and she said, "I have heard tell, O august King,
that



                   ALAEDDIN ABOU ESH SHAMAT.



There lived once in Cairo, of old time, a merchant named
Shemseddin, who was of the best and truest-spoken of the traders
of the city and had great store of money and goods and slaves and
servants, white and black and male and female. Moreover, he was
Provost of the Merchants of Cairo and had a wife, whom he loved
and who loved him; but he had lived with her forty years, yet had
not been blessed with son or daughter by her. One Friday, as he
sat in his shop, he noted that each of the merchants had a son or
two or more, sitting in shops like their fathers. Presently, he
entered the bath and made the Friday ablution; after which he
came out and took the barber's glass, saying, 'I testify that
there is no god but God and that Mohammed is His Apostle!' Then
he looked at his beard and seeing that the white hairs in it
outnumbered the black, bethought himself that hoariness is the
harbinger of death. Now his wife knew the time of his coming and
had washed and made ready for him; so when he came in to her, she
said, 'Good even;' but he replied, 'I see no good.' Then she
called for the evening meal and said to her husband, 'Eat, O my
lord.' Quoth he, 'I will eat nothing,' and pushing the table away
with his foot, turned his back to her. 'Why dost thou thus?' said
she. 'What has vexed thee?' And he answered, 'Thou art the cause
of my vexation.' 'How so?' asked she. 'This morning,' replied he,
'when I opened my shop, I saw that each of the other merchants
had a son or two or more, and I said to myself, "He who took thy
father will not spare thee." Now the night I wedded thee, thou
madest me swear that I would never take a second wife nor a
concubine, Abyssinian or Greek or other, nor would lie a night
from thee: and behold, thou art barren, and swiving thee is like
boring into the rock.' 'God is my witness,' rejoined she, 'that
the fault lies with thee, for that thy seed is thin.' 'And how is
it with him whose seed is thin?' asked he, and she, 'He cannot
get women with child nor beget children.' 'What thickens seed?'
asked he. 'Tell me and I will try it: haply, it will thicken
mine.' Quoth she, 'Enquire for it of the druggists.' They slept
that night and arose on the morrow, repenting each of having
spoken angrily to the other. Then he went to the market and
accosting a druggist, said to him, 'Hast thou wherewithal to
thicken the seed?' 'I had it, but am spent of it,' answered the
druggist; 'ask my neighbour.' So Shemseddin made the round of the
bazaar, till he had asked every one; but they all laughed at him
and he returned to his shop and sat down, troubled. Now there was
in the market a man called Sheikh Mohammed Semsem, who was syndic
of the brokers and was given to the use of opium and bang and
hashish. He was poor and used to wish Shemseddin good morrow
every day; so he came to him according to his wont and saluted
him. The merchant returned his salute, and the other, seeing him
vexed, said to him, 'O my lord, what hath crossed thee?' Quoth
Shemseddin, 'These forty years have I been married to my wife,
yet hath she borne me neither son nor daughter; and I am told
that the cause of my failure to get her with child is the
thinness of my seed; so I have been seeking wherewithal to
thicken it, but found it not.' 'I have a thickener,' said Sheikh
Mohammed; 'but what wilt thou say to him who makes thy wife
conceive by thee, after forty years' barrenness? 'An thou do
this,' answered the merchant, 'I will largely reward thee.' 'Then
give me a dinar,' rejoined the broker, and Shemseddin said, 'Take
these two dinars.' He took them and said, 'Give me also yonder
bowl of porcelain.' So he gave it him, and the broker betook
himself to a hashish-seller, of whom he bought two ounces of
concentrated Turkish opium and equal parts of Chinese cubebs,
cinnamon, cloves, cardamoms, white pepper, ginger and mountain
lizard[FN#86] and pounding them all together, boiled them in
sweet oil; after which he added three ounces of frankincense and
a cupful or coriander-seed and macerating the whole, made it into
a paste with Greek honey. Then he put the electuary in the bowl
and carried it to the merchant, to whom he delivered it, saying,
'This is the seed-thickener, and the manner of using it is this.
Make the evening-meal of mutton and house-pigeon, plentifully
seasoned and spiced; then take of this electuary with a spoon
and wash it down with a draught of boiled date-wine.' So the
merchant bought mutton and pigeons and sent them to his wife,
bidding her dress them well and lay up the electuary till he
should call for it. She did as he bade her and he ate the
evening-meal, after which he called for the bowl and ate of the
electuary. It liked him well, so he ate the rest and lay with his
wife. That very night she conceived by him and after three
months, her courses ceased and she knew that she was with child.
When the days of her pregnancy were accomplished, the pangs
of labour took her and they raised cries of joy. The midwife
delivered her with difficulty [of a son], then, taking the new-
born child, she pronounced over him the names of Mohammed and Ali
and said, 'God is Most Great!' Moreover, she called in his ear
the call to prayer; then swathed him and gave him to his mother,
who took him and put him to her breast; and he sucked his full
and slept. The midwife abode with them three days, till they had
made the mothering-cakes and sweetmeats; and they distributed
them on the seventh day. Then they sprinkled salt[FN#87] and the
merchant, going in to his wife, gave her joy of her safe delivery
and said, 'Where is the gift of God?' So they brought him a babe
of surpassing beauty, the handiwork of the Ever-present Orderer
of all things, whoever saw him would have deemed him a yearling
child, though he was but seven days old. Shemseddin looked on his
face and seeing it like a shining full moon, with moles on both
cheeks, said to his wife, 'What hast thou named him?' 'If it were
a girl,' answered she, 'I had named her; but it is a boy, so none
shall name him but thou.' Now the people of that time used to
name their children by omens; and whilst the merchant and his
wife were taking counsel of the name, they heard one say to his
friend, 'Harkye, my lord Alaeddin!' So the merchant said, 'We
will call him Alaeddin Abou esh Shamat.'[FN#88] Then he committed
the child to the nurses, and he drank milk two years, after which
they weaned him and he grew up and throve and walked upon the
earth. When he came to seven years old, they put him in a chamber
under the earth, for fear of the evil eye, and his father said,
'He shall not come out, till his beard grows.' And he gave him in
charge to a slave-girl and a black slave; the former dressed him
his meals and the latter carried them to him. Then his father
circumcised him and made him a great feast; after which he
brought him a doctor of the law, who taught him to write and
repeat the Koran and other parts of knowledge, till he became an
accomplished scholar. One day, the slave, after bringing him the
tray of food, went away and forgot to shut the trap-door after
him: so Alaeddin came forth and went in to his mother, with whom
was a company of women of rank. As they sat talking, in came he
upon them, as he were a drunken white slave,[FN#89] for the
excess of his beauty; and when they saw him, they veiled their
faces and said to his mother, 'God requite thee, O such an one!
How canst thou let this strange slave in upon us? Knowest thou
not that modesty is a point of the Faith?' 'Pronounce the name of
God,'[FN#90] answered she. 'This is my son, the darling of my
heart and the son of the Provost Shemseddin.' Quoth they, 'We
never knew that thou hadst a son:' and she, 'His father feared
the evil eye for him and shut him up in a chamber under the
earth, nor did we mean that he should come out, before his beard
was grown; but it would seem as if the slave had unawares left
the door open, and he hath come out.' The women gave her joy of
him, and he went out from them into the courtyard, where he
seated himself in the verandah.[FN#91] Presently, in came the
slaves with his father's mule, and he said to them, 'Whence comes
this mule?' Quoth they, 'Thy father rode her to the shop, and we
have brought her back.' 'And what is my father's trade?' asked
he. And they replied, 'He is Provost of the merchants of Cairo
and Sultan of the Sons of the Arabs.' Then he went in to his
mother and said to her, 'O my mother, what is my father's trade?'
Said she, 'He is a merchant and Provost of the merchants of Cairo
and Sultan of the Sons of the Arabs. His slaves consult him not
in selling aught whose price is less than a thousand dinars, but
sell it at their own discretion; nor doth any merchandise, little
or much, enter or leave Cairo, without passing through his hands;
for, O my son, God the Most Great hath given thy father wealth
past count.' 'Praised be God,' exclaimed he, 'that I am son of
the Sultan of the Sons of the Arabs and that my father is Provost
of the merchants! But why, O my mother, did you put me in the
underground chamber and leave me prisoner there?' 'O my son,'
answered she, 'we did this for fear of (men's) eyes, for it is
true that the evil eye hath power to harm and the most part of
the sojourners in the tombs are of its victims.' 'O my mother,'
rejoined he, 'where is a place of refuge against destiny? Verily,
taking care estoppeth not fate nor is there any escape from that
which is written. He who took my grandfather will not spare
myself nor my father; for, though he live to-day, he shall not
live to-morrow. And when my father dies and I come forth and say,
"I am Alaeddin, son of Shemseddin the merchant," none of the
people will believe me, but the aged will say, "Never in our
lives saw we a son or a daughter of Shemseddin." Then the
Treasury will come down and take my father's estate; and may
Allah have mercy on him who saith, "The noble dies and his wealth
passes away and the meanest of men take his women." So do thou, O
my mother, speak to my father, that he take me with him to the
market and set me up in a shop with merchandise and teach me to
buy and sell and give and take.' 'O my son,' answered his mother,
'when thy father returns, I will tell him this.' So when the
merchant came home, he found his son sitting with his mother and
said to her, 'Why hast thou brought him forth of the underground
chamber?' 'O my cousin,' answered she, 'it was not I that brought
him out; but the servants forgot to shut the door and left it
open; so he came forth and came in to me, as I sat with a company
of women of rank.' And she went on to repeat to him what the boy
had said; and Shemseddin said to the latter, 'O my son, to-
morrow, God willing, I will take thee with me to the market; but
I would have thee know that the commerce of the markets and the
shops demands good manners and an accomplished carriage in all
conditions.' So Alaeddin passed the night, rejoicing in his
father's promise; and on the morrow the merchant carried him to
the bath and clad him in a suit worth much money. As soon as they
had broken their fast and drunken sherbets, Shemseddin mounted
his mule and rode to the market, followed by his son; but when
the market-folk saw their Provost making towards them, followed
by a youth as he were a piece of the moon on its fourteenth
night, they said, one to another, 'See yonder boy behind the
Provost of the merchants. Verily, we thought well of him; but he
is like the leek, grayheaded and green at the heart.' And Sheikh
Mohammed Semsem before mentioned, the Deputy of the market, said,
'O merchants, never will we accept the like of him for our
chief.' Now it was the custom, when the Provost came from his
house and sat down in his shop of a morning, for the Deputy of
the market and the rest of the merchants to go in a body to his
ship and recite to him the opening chapter of the Koran, after
which they wished him good morrow and went away, each to his
shop. Shemseddin seated himself in his shop as usual, but the
merchants come not to him as of wont; so he called the Deputy and
said to him, 'Why come not the merchants together as usual?' 'I
know not how to tell thee,' answered Mohammed Semsem; 'for they
have agreed to depose thee from the headship of the market and to
recite the first chapter to thee no more.' 'And why so?' asked
Shemseddin. 'What boy is this that sits beside thee,' asked the
Deputy, 'and thou a man of years and chief of the merchants? Is
he a slave or akin to thy wife? Verily, I think thou lovest him
and inclinest [unlawfully] to the boy.' With this, the Provost
cried out at him, saying, 'God confound thee, hold thy peace!
This is my son.' 'Never knew we that thou hadst a son,' rejoined
the Deputy; and Shemseddin answered, 'When thou gavest me the
seed-thickener, my wife conceived and bore this youth, whom I
reared in a chamber under the earth, for fear of the evil eye,
nor was it my purpose that he should come forth, till he could
take his beard in his hand. However, his mother would not agree
to this, and he would have me bring him to the market and stock
him a shop and teach him to sell and buy.' So the Deputy returned
to the other merchants and acquainted them with the truth of
the case, whereupon they all arose and going in a body to
Shemseddin's shop, stood before him and recited the first chapter
of the Koran to him; after which they gave him joy of his son and
said to him, 'God prosper root and branch! But even the poorest
of us, when son or daughter is born to him, needs must he make a
pot of custard and bid his friends and acquaintances; yet thou
hast not done this.' Quoth he, 'This is your due from me; be our
rendezvous in the garden.' So next morning, he sent the carpet-
layer to the pavilion in the garden and bade him furnish it.
Moreover, he sent thither all that was needful for cooking, such
as sheep and butter and so forth, and spread two tables, one in
the saloon and another in the upper chamber. Then he and his son
girded themselves, and he said to the latter, 'O my son, when a
graybeard enters, I will meet him and carry him into the upper
chamber and seat him at the table; and do thou, in like manner,
receive the beardless youths and seat them at the table in the
saloon.' 'O my father,' asked Alaeddin, 'why dost thou spread two
tables, one for men and another for youths?' 'O my son,' answered
Shemseddin, 'the beardless boy is ashamed to eat with men.' And
his son was content with this answer. So when the merchants
arrived, Shemseddin received the men and seated them in the upper
chamber, whilst Alaeddin received the youths and seated them in
the saloon. Then the servants set on food and the guests ate and
drank and made merry, whilst the attendants served them with
sherbets and perfumed them with the fragrant smoke of scented
woods; and the elders fell to conversing of matters of science
and tradition. Now there was amongst them a merchant called
Mehmoud of Balkh, a Muslim by profession but at heart a Magian, a
man of lewd life, who had a passion for boys. He used to buy
stuffs and merchandise of Alaeddin's father; and when he saw the
boy, one look at his face cost him a thousand sighs and Satan
dangled the jewel before his eyes, so that he was taken with
desire and mad passion for him and his heart was filled with love
of him. So he arose and made for the youths, who rose to receive
him. At this moment, Alaeddin, being taken with an urgent
occasion, withdrew to make water; whereupon Mehmoud turned to the
other youths and said to them, 'If ye will incline Alaeddin's
mind to journeying with me, I will give each of you a dress worth
much money.' Then he returned to the men's party; and when
Alaeddin came back, the youths rose to receive him and seated him
in the place of honour. Presently, one of them said to his
neighbour, 'O my lord Hassan, tell me how thou camest by the
capital on which thou tradest.' 'When I came to man's estate,'
answered Hassan, 'I said to my father, "O my father, give me
merchandise." "O my son," answered he, "I have none by me: but go
thou to some merchant and take of him money and traffic with it
and learn to buy and sell and give and take." So I went to one of
the merchants and borrowed of him a thousand dinars, with which I
bought stuffs and carrying them to Damascus, sold them there at a
profit of two for one. Then I bought Syrian stuffs and carrying
them to Aleppo, disposed of them there at a like profit; after
which I bought stuffs of Aleppo and repaired with them to
Baghdad, where I sold them with the same result; nor did I cease
to buy and sell, till I was worth nigh ten thousand dinars.' Each
of the others told a like tale, till it came to Alaeddin's turn,
when they said to him, 'And thou, O my lord Alaeddin?' Quoth he,
'I was brought up in a chamber underground and came forth from it
but this week and I do but go to the shop and return home.' 'Thou
art used to abide at home,' rejoined they, 'and knowest not the
delight of travel, for travel is for men only.' 'I reck not of
travel,' answered he, 'and value ease above all things.'
Whereupon quoth one to the other, 'This youth is like the fish:
when he leaves the water he dies.' Then they said to him, 'O
Alaeddin, the glory of the sons of the merchants is not but in
travel for the sake of gain.' Their talk angered him and he left
them, weeping-eyed and mourning-hearted, and mounting his mule,
returned home. When his mother saw him thus, she said to him,
'What ails thee to weep, O my son?' And he answered, 'All the
sons of the merchants made mock of me and said to me, "There is
no glory for a merchant's son save in travel for gain."' 'O my
son,' rejoined she, 'hast thou a mind for travel?' 'Yes,' said
he. 'And whither wilt thou go?' asked she. 'To the city of
Baghdad,' answered he; 'for there folk make a profit of two to
one on their goods.' 'O my son,' said she, 'thy father is a very
rich man, and if he provide thee not with merchandise, I will do
so of my own monies.' Quoth he, 'The best of favours is that
which is quickly bestowed; if it is to be, now is the time for
it.' So she called the servants and sent them for packers; then
opening a store-house, brought out ten loads of stuffs, which the
packers made up into bales for him. Meanwhile Shemseddin missed
his son and enquiring after him, was told that he had mounted and
gone home; so he too mounted and followed him. When he entered
the house, he saw the bales packed ready and asked what they
were; whereupon his wife told him what had passed between
Alaeddin and the young merchants and he said, 'O my son, may God
curse foreign travel! Verily, the Prophet (whom God bless and
preserve) hath said, "It is of a man's good fortune that he have
his livelihood in his own land;" and it was said of the ancients,
"Leave travel, though but for a mile."' Then he said to his son,
'Art thou indeed resolved to travel and wilt thou not turn back
from it?' 'Needs must I journey to Baghdad with merchandise,'
answered Alaeddin, 'else will I put off my clothes and don a
dervish's habit and go a-wandering over the world.' Quoth
Shemseddin, 'I am no lackgood, but have great plenty of wealth
and with me are stuffs and merchandise befitting every country in
the world.' Then he showed him his goods and amongst the rest,
forth bales ready packed, with the price, a thousand dinars,
written on each, and said to him, 'Take these forty loads,
together with those thy mother gave thee, and set out under the
safeguard of God the Most High. But, O my son, I fear for thee a
certain wood in thy way, called the Lion's Copse, and a valley
called the Valley of Dogs, for there lives are lost without
mercy.' 'How so?' asked Alaeddin. 'Because of a Bedouin
highwayman, hight Ajlan,' answered his father, 'who harbours
there.' Quoth Alaeddin, 'Fortune is with God; if any part in it
be mine, no harm will befall me.' Then they rode to the cattle
market, where a muleteer alighted from his mule and kissing the
Provost's hand, said to him, 'O my lord, by Allah, it is long
since thou hast employed me to carry merchandise for thee!'
'Every time hath its fortune and its men,' answered Shemseddin;
'and may God have mercy on him who said:

An old man went walking the ways of the world, So bowed and so
     bent that his beard swept his knee.
"What makes thee go doubled this fashion?" quoth I. He answered
     (and spread out his hands unto me),
"My youth hath escaped me; 'tis lost in the dust, And I bend me
     to seek it, where'er it may be."

O captain,'[FN#92] added he, 'it is not I, but this my son that
is minded to travel.' 'God preserve his to thee!' said the
muleteer. Then Shemseddin made a contract between Alaeddin and
the muleteer, appointing that the former should be to the latter
as a son, and gave him into his charge, saying, 'Take these
hundred dinars for thy men.' Moreover, he bought his son
threescore mules and a lamp and covering of honour for the tomb
of Sheikh Abdulcadir el Jilani[FN#93] and said to him, 'O my son,
I am leaving thee, and this is thy father in my stead: whatsoever
he biddeth thee, do thou obey him.' So saying, he returned home
with the mules and servants and they made recitations of the
Koran and held a festival that night in honour of the Sheikh
Abdulcadir. On the morrow, Shemseddin gave his son ten thousand
dinars, saying, 'O my son, when thou comest to Baghdad, if thou
find stuffs brisk of sale, sell them; but if they be dull, spend
of these dinars.' Then they loaded the mules and taking leave of
their friends, set out on their journey.

Now Mehmoud of Balkh had made ready his own venture for Baghdad
and set up his tents without the city, saying in himself, 'I
shall not enjoy this youth but in the desert, where there is
neither spy not spoil-sport to trouble me.' It chanced that he
had in hand a thousand dinars of Shemseddin's monies, the balance
of a dealing between them; so he went to the Provost and bade him
farewell; and he said to him, 'Give the thousand dinars to my son
Alaeddin,' and commended the latter to his care, saying, 'He is
as it were thy son.' Accordingly, Alaeddin joined company with
Mehmoud, who charged the youth's cook to dress nothing for him,
but himself provided him and his company with meat and drink. Now
he had four houses, one at Cairo, another at Damascus, a third at
Aleppo and a fourth at Baghdad. So they set out and journeyed
over deserts and plains, till they drew near Damascus, when
Mehmoud sent his servant to Alaeddin, whom he found reading. He
went up to him and kissed his hands, and Alaeddin asked him what
he sought. 'My master salutes thee,' answered the slave, 'and
craves thy company to a banquet in his house.' Quoth the youth,
'I must consult my father Kemaleddin, the captain of the
caravan.' So he consulted the muleteer, who said, 'Do not go.'
Then they left Damascus and journeyed on till they came to
Aleppo, where Mehmoud made a second entertainment and sent to bid
Alaeddin; but the muleteer again forbade him. Then they departed
Aleppo and fared on, till they came within a day's journey of
Baghdad. Here Mehmoud repeated his invitation a third time and
Kemaleddin once more forbade Alaeddin to accept it; but the
latter said, 'I must needs go.' So he rose and girding on a sword
under his clothes, repaired to the tent of Mehmoud of Balkh, who
came to meet him and saluted him. Then he set a sumptuous repast
before him, and they ate and drank and washed their hands.
Presently, Mehmoud bent towards Alaeddin, to kiss him, but the
youth received the kiss on his hand and said to him, 'What wilt
thou do?' Quoth Mehmoud, 'I brought thee hither that I might do
delight with thee in this jousting-ground, and we will comment
the words of him who saith:

Can't be thou wilt with us a momentling alight, Like to an
     ewekin's milk or what not else of white,
And cat what liketh thee of dainty wastel-bread And take what
     thou mayst get of silver small and bright
And bear off what thou wilt, sans grudging or constraint,
     Spanling or full-told span or fistling filled outright?'

Then he would have laid hands on Alaeddin; but he rose and
drawing his sword, said to him, 'Shame on thy gray hairs! Hast
thou no fear of God, and He of exceeding great might?[FN#94] May
He have mercy on him who saith:

Look thou thy hoariness preserve from aught that may it stain,
     For whiteness still to take attaint is passing quick and
     fain.

This merchandise,' added he, 'is a trust from God and may not be
sold. If I sold it to other than thee for gold, I would sell it
thee for silver: but, by Allah, O filthy one, I will never again
company with thee!' Then he returned to Kemaleddin and said to
him, 'Yonder man is a lewd fellow and I will no longer consort
with him nor suffer his company by the way.' 'O my son,' replied
the muleteer, 'did I not forbid thee to go with him? But if we
part company with him, I fear destruction for ourselves; so let
us still make one caravan.' But Alaeddin said, 'It may not be: I
will never again travel with him.' So he loaded his beasts and
journeyed onward, he and his company, till they came to a valley,
where Alaeddin would have halted, but the muleteer said to him,
'Do not halt here; rather let us fare forward and quicken our
pace, so haply we may reach Baghdad before the gates are
closed, for they open and shut them with the sun, for fear the
schismatics should take the city and throw the books of learning
into the Tigris.' 'O my father,' replied Alaeddin, 'I came not to
Baghdad with this merchandise, for the sake of traffic, but to
divert myself with the sight of foreign lands.' And Kemaleddin
rejoined, 'O my son, we fear for thee and for thy goods from the
wild Arabs.' But he answered, 'Harkye, sirrah, art thou master or
servant? I will not enter Baghdad till the morning, that the
townsfolk may see my merchandise and know me.' 'Do as thou wilt,'
said the muleteer; 'I have given thee good counsel, and thou must
judge for thyself.' Then Alaeddin bade them unload the mules and
pitch the tent; so they did his bidding and abode there till the
middle of the night, when the youth went out to do an occasion
and seeing something gleaming afar off, said to Kemaleddin, 'O
captain, what is yonder glittering?' The muleteer sat up and
considering it straitly, knew it for the glint of spear-heads and
Bedouin swords and harness. Now this was a troop of Bedouins
under a chief called Ajlan Abou Naib, Sheikh of the Arabs, and
when the neared the camp and saw the baggage, they said, one to
another, 'O night of booty!' Quoth Kemaleddin, 'Avaunt, O meanest
of Arabs!' But Abou Naib smote him with his javelin in the
breast, that the point came out gleaming from his back, and he
fell down dead at the tent-door. Then cried the water-carrier,
'Avaunt, O foulest of Arabs!' and one of them smote him with a
sword upon the shoulder, that it issued shining from the tendons
of the throat and he also fell slain. Then the Bedouins fell upon
the caravan from all sides and slew the whole company except
Alaeddin, after which they loaded the mules with the spoil and
made off. Quoth Alaeddin to himself, 'Thy dress and mule will be
the death of thee.' So he put off his cassock and threw it over
the back of a mule, remaining in his shirt and drawers alone;
after which he went to the door of the tent and finding there a
pool of blood from the slain, rolled himself in it, till he was
as a slain man, drowned in his blood. Meanwhile Ajlan said to his
men, 'O Arabs, was this caravan bound from Egypt for Baghdad or
from Baghdad for Egypt?' 'It was bound from Egypt for Baghdad,'
answered they. 'Then,' said he, 'return to the slain, for
methinks the owner of the caravan is not dead.' So they turned
back and fell to larding the slain with lance and sword-thrusts,
[lest any life were left in them,] till they came to Alaeddin,
who had laid himself among the dead bodies. Quoth they, 'Thou
dost but feign thyself dead, but we will make an end of thee.' So
one of the Bedouins drew his javelin and should have plunged
it into his breast. But he cried out, 'Save me, O my lord
Abdulcadir!' and behold, he saw a hand turn the lance away from
his breast to that of the muleteer, so that it pierced the latter
and spared himself. Then the Bedouins made off; and when Alaeddin
saw that the birds were flown with their purchase, he rose and
set off running; but Abou Naib looked back and said, 'O Arabs, I
see somewhat moving.' So one of the Bedouins turned back and
spying Alaeddin running, called out to him, saying, 'Flight shall
not avail thee, and we after thee;' and he smote his mare with
his fist and pricked after him. Then Alaeddin, seeing before him
a watering tank and a cistern beside it, climbed up into a niche
in the cistern and stretching himself along, feigned sleep and
said, 'O gracious Protector, cover me with the veil of Thy
protection, that may not be torn away!' Presently, the Bedouin
came up to the cistern and standing in his stirrups put out one
hand to lay hold of Alaeddin; but he said 'Save me, O my lady
Nefiseh![FN#95] Now is thy time!' And behold, a scorpion stung
the Bedouin in the palm and he cried out, saying, 'Help, O Arabs!
I am stung;' and fell off his mare. His comrades came up to him
and set him on horseback again, saying, 'What hath befallen
thee?' Quoth he, 'A scorpion stung me.' And they departed,
leaving Alaeddin in the niche.

Meanwhile, Mehmoud of Balkh loaded his beasts and fared on till
he came to the Valley of Dogs, where he found Alaeddin's men
lying slain. At this he rejoiced and went on till he reached the
reservoir. Now his mule was athirst and turned aside to drink,
but took fright at Alaeddin's shadow in the water and started;
whereupon Mehmoud raised his eyes and seeing Alaeddin lying in
the niche, stripped to his shirt and trousers, said to him, 'Who
hath dealt thus with thee and left thee in this ill plight?' 'The
Bedouins,' answered Alaeddin, and Mehmoud said, 'O my son, the
mules and the baggage were thy ransom; so do thou comfort thyself
with the saying of the poet:


So but a man may win to save his soul alive from death, But as
     the paring of his nail his wealth he reckoneth.

But now, O my son,' continued he, 'come down and fear no hurt.'
So he came down from the niche and Mehmoud mounted him on a mule
and fared on with him, till they reached Baghdad, where he
brought him to his own house and bade his servants carry him to
the bath, saying to him, 'O my son, the goods and money were the
ransom of thy life; but, if thou wilt harken to me, I will give
thee the worth of that thou hast lost, twice told.' When he came
out of the bath, Mehmoud carried him into a saloon with four
estrades, decorated with gold, and let bring a tray of all manner
meats. So they ate and drank and Mehmoud turned to Alaeddin and
would have taken a kiss of him; but he received it upon his hand
and said, 'Dost thou persist in thy evil designs upon me? Did I
not tell thee that, were I wont to sell this merchandise to other
than thee for gold, I would sell it thee for silver?' Quoth
Mehmoud, 'I will give thee neither mule nor clothes nor
merchandise save at this price; for I am mad for love of thee,
and God bless him who said:


Abou Bilal his saw of an object of love, Which from one of his
     elders himself did derive
"The lover's not healed of the pangs of desire By clips nor by
     kisses, excepting he swive."

'This may never be,' replied Alaeddin. 'Take back thy dress and
thy mule and open the door, that I may go out.' So he opened the
door, and Alaeddin went forth and walked on, with the dogs
yelping at his heels, till he saw the door of a mosque open and
going in, took shelter in the vestibule. Presently, he espied a
light approaching and examining it, saw that it came from a pair
of lanterns borne by two slaves before two merchants, an old man
of comely aspect and a youth. He heard the latter say to the
other, 'O my uncle, I conjure thee by Allah, give me back my
wife!' The old man replied, 'Did I not warn thee, many a time,
when the oath of divorce was always in thy mouth, as it were thy
Koran?' Then he turned and seeing Alaeddin, as he were a piece of
the moon, said to him, 'Who art thou, O my son?' Quoth he, 'I am
Alaeddin, son of Shemseddin, Provost of the merchants at Cairo. I
besought my father for merchandise; so he packed me fifty loads
of goods and gave me ten thousand dinars, wherewith I set out for
Baghdad; but when I came to the Lion's Copse, the Bedouins fell
upon me and took all I had. So I entered this city, knowing not
where to pass the night, and seeing this place, I took shelter
here.' 'O my son,' said the old man, 'what sayst thou to a
thousand dinars and a suit of clothes and a mule worth other two
thousand?' 'To what end wilt thou give me this?' asked Alaeddin,
and the other answered, 'This young man, whom thou seest, is
the only son of my brother and I have an only daughter called
Zubeideh the Lutanist, who is endowed with beauty and grace. I
married her to him and he loves her, but she hates him. Now he
took an oath of triple divorcement and broke it.[FN#96] As soon
as she heard of this, she left him, and he egged on all the folk
to intercede with me to restore her to him; but I told him that
this could not lawfully be done but by an intermediate marriage,
and we have agreed to make some stranger the intermediary, so
none may taunt him with this affair. So, as thou art a stranger,
come with us and we will marry thee to her; thou shalt lie with
her to-night and on the morrow divorce her, and we will give thee
what I said.' 'By Allah,' quoth Alaeddin to himself, 'it were
better to pass the night with a bride on a bed in a house, than
in the streets and vestibules!' So he went with them to the Cadi,
who, as soon as he saw Alaeddin, was moved to love of him and
said to the old man, 'What is your will?' Quoth he, 'We wish to
marry this young man to my daughter, as an intermediary, and the
contract is to be for ten thousand dinars, dowry precedent, for
which he shall give us a bond. If he divorce her in the morning,
we will give him a thousand dinars and a mule and dress worth
other two thousand; but if he divorce her not, he shall pay down
the ten thousand dinars, according to the bond.' The Cadi drew up
the marriage contract to this effect and the lady's father took a
bond for the dowry. Then he took Alaeddin and clothing him anew,
carried him to his daughter's house, where he left him at the
door, whilst he himself went in to the young lady and gave her
the bond, saying, 'Take the bond of thy dowry, for I have married
thee to a handsome youth by name Alaeddin Abou esh Shamat; so do
thou use him with all consideration.' Then he left her and went
to his own lodging. Now the lady's cousin had an old waiting-
woman, to whom he had done many a kindness and who used to visit
Zubeideh; so he said to her, 'O my mother, if my cousin Zubeideh
see this handsome young man, she will never after accept of me;
so I would fain have thee contrive to keep them apart.' 'By thy
youth,' answered she, 'I will not suffer him to approach her!'
Then she went to Alaeddin and said to him, 'O my son, I have a
warning to give thee, for the love of God the Most High, and do
thou follow my advice, for I fear for thee from this damsel: let
her lie alone and handle her not nor draw near to her.' 'Why
so?' asked he, and she answered, 'Because her body is full of
elephantiasis and I fear lest she infect thy fair youth.' Quoth
he, 'I have no need of her.' Moreover, she went to the lady and
said the like to her of Alaeddin; and she replied, 'I have no
need of him, but will let him lie alone, and on the morrow he
shall go his way.' Then she called a slave-girl and said to her,
'Take him the tray of food, that he may sup.' So the maid carried
him the tray of food and set it before him, and he ate his fill;
after which he sat down and fell to reciting the chapter called
Ya-sin[FN#97] in a sweet voice. The lady listened to him and
found his voice as melodious as the psalms of David, which when
she heard, she exclaimed, 'Beshrew the old hag that told me that
he was affected with leprosy! Surely, that is a lie against him,
for this is not the voice of one who hath such a disease.' Then
she took a lute of Indian workmanship and tuning it, sang the
following verses, in a voice, whose music would stay the birds in
mid-heaven:

I am enamoured of a fawn with black and languorous eyes;    The
     willow-branches, as he goes, are jealous of him still.
Me he rejects and others 'joy his favours in my stead. This is
     indeed the grace of God He gives to whom He will.

As soon as he had finished his recitation, he sang the following
verse in reply:

My salutation to the shape that through the wede doth show And to
     the roses in the cheeks' full-flowering meads that blow!

When she heard this, her inclination for him redoubled and she
rose and lifted the curtain; and Alaeddin, seeing her, repeated
these verses:

She shineth forth, a moon, and bends, a willow-wand, And breathes
     out ambergris and gazes, a gazelle.
Meseems as if grief loved my heart and when from her Estrangement
     I abide, possession to it fell.

Thereupon she came forward, swinging her hips and swaying
gracefully from side to side with a shape the handiwork of Him
whose bounties are hidden, and each of them stole a glance at the
other, that cost them a thousand regrets. Then, for that the
arrows of her glances overcame his heart, he repeated the
following verses:

The moon of the heavens she spied and called to my thought The
     nights of our loves in the meadows under her shine.
Yea, each of us saw a moon, but, sooth to say, It was her
     eyes[FN#98] that I saw and she saw mine.[FN#99]

Then she drew near him, and when there remained but two paces
between them, he repeated these verses:

She took up three locks of her hair and spread them out one night
     And straight three nights discovered at once unto my sight.
Then did she turn her visage up to the moon of the sky And showed
     me two moons at one season, both burning clear and bright.

Then said he to her, 'Keep off from me, lest thou infect me.'
Whereupon she uncovered her wrist to him, and he saw that it was
cleft [like a peach] and its whiteness was as the whiteness of
silver. Then said she, 'Hold off from me, thou, for thou art
stricken with leprosy, and belike thou wilt infect me.' 'Who told
thee I was a leper?' asked he, and she said, 'The old woman.'
Quoth he, 'It was she told me that thou wast afflicted with
elephantiasis.' So saying, he bared his arms and showed her that
his skin was like virgin silver, whereupon she pressed him to her
bosom and they clipped one another. Then she took him and lying
down on her back, did off her trousers, whereupon that which his
father had left him rose up [in rebellion] against him and he
said, 'To it, O elder of yards, O father of nerves!' And putting
his hands to her flanks, set the nerve of sweetness to the mouth
of the cleft and thrust on to the wicket-gate. His passage was by
the gate of victories [or openings] and after this he entered the
Monday market and those of Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday and
finding the carpet after the measure of the estrade, he plied [or
turned] the box within its sheath [or cover] till he came to [the
end of] it.[FN#100] When it was morning, he exclaimed, 'Alas for
delight that is not fulfilled! The raven[FN#101] takes it and
flies away!' 'What means this saying?' asked she, and he
answered, 'O my lady, I have but this hour to abide with thee.'
Quoth she, 'Who saith so?' and he, 'Thy father made me give him a
bond to pay ten thousand dinars to thy dowry; and except I pay it
this very day, they will lay me in prison therefor in the Cadi's
house; and now my hand lacketh one para of the sum.' 'O my lord,'
said she, 'is the marriage bond in thy hand or in theirs?' 'In
mine,' answered he, 'but I have nothing.' Quoth she, 'The matter
is easy; fear nothing. Take these hundred dinars; if I had more,
I would give thee what thou lackest; but my father, for his love
of my cousin, hath transported all his good, even to my trinkets,
from my lodging to his. But when they send thee a serjeant of the
court and the Cadi and my father bid thee divorce, answer thou,
"By what code is it right that I should marry at nightfall and
divorce in the morning?" Then kiss the Cadi's hand and give him a
present, and in like manner kiss the Assessors' hands and give
each of them half a score dinars. So they will all speak with
thee and if they say to thee, "Why dost thou not divorce her and
take the thousand dinars and the mule and suit of clothes,
according to contract?" do thou answer, "Every hair of her head
is worth a thousand dinars to me and I will never put her away,
neither will I take a suit of clothes nor aught else." If the
Cadi say to thee, "Then pay down the dowry," do thou reply, "I am
straitened at this present;" whereupon he and the Assessors will
deal friendly with thee and allow thee time to pay.' Whilst they
were talking, the Cadi's officer knocked at the door; so Alaeddin
went down and the man said to him, 'The Cadi cites thee to answer
thy father-in-law's summons.' Alaeddin gave him five dinars and
said to him, 'O serjeant, by what code am I bound to marry at
night and divorce next morning?' 'By none of ours,' answered the
serjeant; 'and if thou be ignorant of the law, I will act as
thine advocate.' Then they went to the court and the Cadi said to
Alaeddin, 'Why dost thou not divorce the woman and take what
falls to thee by the contract?' With this he went up to the Cadi
and kissing his hand, put in it fifty dinars and said, 'O our
lord the Cadi, by what code is it right that I should marry at
night and divorce in the morning in my own despite?' 'Divorce on
compulsion,' replied the Cadi, 'is sanctioned by no school of the
Muslims.' Then said the lady's father, 'If thou wilt not divorce,
pay me the ten thousand dinars, her dowry.' Quoth Alaeddin, 'Give
me three days' time.' But the Cadi said, 'Three days is not
enough; he shall give thee ten.' So they agreed to this and bound
him to pay the dowry or divorce after ten days. Then he left them
and taking meat and rice and butter and what else of food he
needed, returned to his wife and told her what had passed;
whereupon she said, 'Between night and day, wonders may happen:
and God bless him who saith:

Be mild what time thou'rt ta'en with anger and despite And
     patient, if there fall misfortune on thy head.
Indeed, the nights are quick and great with child by time And of
     all wond'rous things are hourly brought to bed.

Then she rose and made ready food and brought the tray, and they
ate and drank and made merry awhile. Presently, Alaeddin besought
her to let him hear some music; so she took the lute and played a
measure, that would have made the very rock dance for delight,
and the strings cried out, in ecstasy, 'O Loving One!'[FN#102]
after which she passed into a livelier measure. As they were thus
passing the time in mirth and delight, there came a knocking at
the door and Zubeideh said to Alaeddin, 'Go and see who is at the
door.' So he went down and finding four dervishes standing
without, said to them, 'What do you want?' 'O my lord,' answered
they, 'we are foreign dervishes, the food of whose souls is music
and dainty verse, and we would fain take our pleasure with thee
this night. On the morrow we will go our way, and with God the
Most High be thy reward; for we adore music and there is not one
of us but hath store of odes and songs and ballads.' 'I must
consult [my wife],' answered he and returned and told Zubeideh,
who said, 'Open the door to them.' So he went down again and
bringing them up, made them sit down and welcomed them. Then he
brought them food, but they would not eat and said, 'O my lord,
our victual is to magnify God with out hearts and hear music with
our ears: and God bless him who saith:

We come for your company only, and not for your feasts; For
     eating for eating's sake is nought but a fashion of beasts.

Just now,' added they, 'we heard pleasant music here; but when we
knocked, it ceased; and we would fain know whether the player was
a slave-girl, white of black, or a lady.' 'It was this my wife,'
answered he and told them all that had befallen him, adding, 'My
father-in-law hath bound me to pay a dowry of ten thousand dinars
for her and they have given me ten days' time.' 'Have no care and
think nought but good,' said one of the dervishes; 'for I am head
of the convent and have forty dervishes under my hand. I will
gather thee from them the ten thousand dinars and thou shalt pay
thy father-in-law the dowry. But now bid thy wife make us music,
that we may be heartened and solaced, for to some music is food,
to others medicine and to others refreshment.'[FN#103] Now
these four dervishes were none other than the Khalif Haroun er
Reshid and his Vizier Jaafer the Barmecide and Abou Nuwas ben
Hani[FN#104] and Mesrour the headsman; and the reason of their
coming thither was that the Khalif, being heavy at heart, had
called his Vizier and signified to him his wish to go forth and
walk about the city, to divert himself. So they all four donned
dervish habits and went out and walked about, till they came to
Zubeideh's house and hearing music, were minded to know the
cause. They spent the night in mirth and harmony and discourse,
till the morning, when the Khalif laid a hundred dinars under the
prayer-carpet and taking leave of Alaeddin, went his way, he and
his companions. Presently, Zubeideh lifted the carpet and finding
the hundred dinars, gave them to her husband, saying, 'Take these
hundred dinars that I have found under the prayer-carpet; the
dervishes must have laid them there, without our knowledge.' So
he took the money and repairing to the market, bought meat and
rice and butter and so forth. When it was night, he lighted the
candled and said to Zubeideh, 'The dervishes have not brought the
ten thousand dinars that they promised me: but indeed they are
poor men.' As they were talking, the dervishes knocked at the
door and she said, 'Go down and open to them.' So he went down
and bringing them up, said to them, 'Have you brought me the ten
thousand dinars?' 'We have not been able to get aught thereof as
yet,' answered they, 'but fear nothing: to-morrow, God willing,
we will make an alchymic operation for thee. But now bid thy wife
play her best to us and gladden our hearts, for we love music.'
So she made them music, that would have caused the very rocks to
dance; and they passed the night in mirth and converse and good
cheer, till the morning appeared with its light and shone, when
they took leave of Alaeddin and went their way, after laying
other hundred dinars under the carpet. They continued to visit
him thus every night for nine nights, and each morning the Khalif
put a hundred dinars under the prayer-carpet, till the tenth
night, when they came not. Now the reason for their failure to
come was that the Khalif had sent to a great merchant, saying to
him, 'Bring me fifty loads of stuffs, such as come from Cairo,
each worth a thousand dinars, and write on each bale its price;
and bring me also a male Abyssinian slave.' The merchant did the
bidding of the Khalif, who write a letter to Alaeddin, as from
his father Shemseddin, and committed it to the slave, together
with the fifty loads and a basin and ewer of gold and other
presents, saying to him, 'Take these bales and what else and go
to such and such a quarter and enquire for Alaeddin Abou esh
Shamat, at the house of the Provost of the merchants.' So the
slave took the letter and the goods and went out on his errand.

Meanwhile the lady's first husband went to her father and said to
him, 'Come, let us go to Alaeddin and make him divorce my
cousin.' So they set out, and when they came to the street in
which Zubeideh's house stood, they found fifty mules, laden with
stuffs, and a black slave riding on a she-mule. So they said to
him, 'Whose goods are these?' 'They belong to my lord Alaeddin
Abou esh Shamat,' answered he. 'His father equipped him with
merchandise and sent him on a journey to Baghdad; but the
Bedouins fell on him and took all he had. So when the news of his
despoilment reached his father, he despatched me to him with
these fifty loads, in place of those he had lost, besides a mule
laden with fifth thousand dinars and a parcel of clothes worth
much money and a cloak of sables and a basin and ewer of gold.'
When the old merchant heard this, he said, 'He whom thou seekest
is my son-in-law and I will show thee his house.' Now Alaeddin
was sitting in great concern, when one knocked at the door, and
he said, 'O Zubeideh, God is all-knowing! Thy father hath surely
sent me an officer from the Cadi or the Chief of the Police.' 'Go
down,' said she, 'and see what it is.' So he went down and
opening the door, found his father-in-law, with an Abyssinian
slave, dusky-hued and pleasant of favour, riding on a mule. When
the slave saw him, he alighted and kissed his hands: and Alaeddin
said, 'What dost thou want?' Quoth he, 'I am the slave of my load
Alaeddin Abou esh Shamat, son of Shemseddin, Provost of the
merchants of Cairo, who has sent me to him with this charge.'
Then he gave him the letter and Alaeddin, opening it, read what
follows:

Harkye, my letter, when my beloved sees thee, Kiss thou the earth
     before him and his shoes.
Look thou go softly and hasten not nor hurry, For in his hands
     are my life and my repose.

Then after the usual salutations from Shemseddin to his son, the
letter proceeded thus: 'Know, O my son, that news hath reached me
of the slaughter of thy men and the plunder of thy baggage; so I
send thee herewith fifty loads of Egyptian stuffs, together with
a suit of clothes and a cloak of sables and an ewer and basin of
gold. Fear no evil and be not anywise troubled, for, O my son,
the goods thou hast lost were the ransom of thy life. Thy mother
and the people of the house are well and in good case and send
thee many greetings. Moreover, O my son, I hear that they have
married thee, by way of intermediation, to the lady Zubeideh the
Lutanist and have imposed on thee a dowry of ten thousand dinars;
wherefore I send thee also fifty thousand dinars by thy slave
Selim, the bearer of these presents, whereout thou mayest pay the
dowry and provide thyself with the rest.' When Alaeddin had made
an end of reading the letter, he took possession of the goods and
turning to the old merchant, said to him, 'O my father-in-law,
take the ten thousand dinars, thy daughter's dowry, and take also
the loads of goods and dispose of them, and thine be the profit;
only return me the cost-price.' 'Nay, by Allah,' answered he, 'I
will take nothing; and as for thy wife's dowry, do thou settle it
with her.' Then they went in to Zubeideh, after the goods had
been brought in, and she said to her father, 'O my father, whose
goods are these?' 'They belong to thy husband Alaeddin,' answered
he; 'his father hath sent them to him in place of those of which
the Bedouins spoiled him. Moreover, he hath sent him fifty
thousand dinars and a parcel of clothes and a cloak of sables and
a riding mule and an ewer and basin of gold. As for the dower,
that is thine affair.' Thereupon Alaeddin rose and opening the
chest [of money] gave her her dowry. Then said the lady's cousin,
'O my uncle, let him divorce to me my wife;' but the old man
replied, 'This may never be now, for the marriage-tie is in his
hand.' With this the young man went out, sore afflicted, and
returning home, fell sick, for he had received his death-blow; so
he took to his bed and presently died. But as for Alaeddin, he
went to the market and buying what victual he needed, made a
banquet as usual against the night, saying to Zubeideh, 'See
these lying dervishes; they promised us and broke their promise.'
Quoth she, 'Thou art the son of a Provost of the merchants yet
did thy hand lack of a para; how then should it be with poor
dervishes?' 'God the Most High hath enabled us to do without
them,' answered Alaeddin; 'but never again will I open the door
to them.' 'Why so,' asked she, 'seeing that their coming brought
us good luck, and moreover, they put a hundred dinars under the
prayer-carpet for us every night? So needs must thou open to
them, if they come.' So when the day departed with its light and
the night came, they lighted the candles and he said to her,
'Come, Zubeideh, make us music.' At this moment some one knocked
at the door, and she said, 'Go and see who is at the door.' So he
went down and opened it and seeing the dervishes, said, 'Welcome
to the liars! Come up.' Accordingly, they went up with him, and
he made them sit down and brought them the tray of food. So they
ate and drank and made merry and presently said to him, 'O my
lord, our hearts have been troubled for thee: what hath passed
between thee and thy father-in-law?' 'God hath compensated us
beyond our desire,' answered he. 'By Allah,' rejoined they, 'we
were in fear for thee and nought kept us from thee but our lack
of money.' Quoth he, 'My Lord hath vouchsafed me speedy relief;
for my father hath sent me fifty thousand dinars and fifty loads
of stuffs, each worth a thousand dinars, besides an Abyssinian
slave and a riding mule and a suit of clothes and a basin and an
ewer of gold. Moreover, I have made my peace with my father-in-
law and my wife is confirmed to me; so praised be God for this!'
Presently the Khalif rose to do an occasion; whereupon Jaafer
turned to Alaeddin and said to him, 'Look to thy manners, for
thou art in the presence of the Commander of the Faithful.' 'How
have I failed in good breeding before the Commander of the
Faithful,' asked he, 'and which of you is he?' Quoth Jaafer, 'He
who went out but now is the Commander of the Faithful and I am
the Vizier Jaafer: this is Mesrour the headsman, and this other
is Abou Nuwas ben Hani. And now, O Alaeddin, use thy reason and
bethink thee how many days' journey it is from Cairo hither.'
'Five-and-forty days' journey,' answered he, and Jaafer rejoined,
'Thy baggage was stolen but ten days ago; so how could the news
have reached thy father, and how could he pack thee up other
goods and send them to thee five-and-forty days' journey in ten
days' time?' 'O my lord,' said Alaeddin, 'and whence then came
they?' 'From the Commander of the Faithful,' replied Jaafer, 'of
his much affection for thee.' As he spoke, the Khalif entered and
Alaeddin, rising, kissed the ground before him and said, 'God
keep thee, O Commander of the Faithful, and give thee long life,
so the folk may not lack thy bounty and beneficence!' 'O
Alaeddin,' replied the Khalif, 'let Zubeideh play us an air, by
way of thank-offering for thy deliverance.' So she played him
the rarest of measures on the lute, till the very stones shook
for delight and the strings cried out for ecstasy, 'O Loving
One!'[FN#105] They spent the night after the merriest fashion,
and in the morning, the Khalif said to Alaeddin, 'Come to the
Divan to-morrow.' 'I hear and obey, O Commander of the Faithful,'
answered he, 'so it please God and thou be well and in good
case.' So on the morrow he took ten trays and putting a costly
present on each, went up with them to the palace. As the Khalif
was sitting on the throne, Alaeddin appeared at the door of the
Divan, repeating the following verses:

Good fortune and glory still wait on thy days And rubbed in the
     dust be thine envier's nose!
May the days never stint to be white unto thee And black with
     despite be the days of thy foes!

'Welcome, O Alaeddin!' sad the Khalif, and he replied, 'O
Commander of the Faithful, the Prophet (whom God bless and
preserve) accepted presents; and these ten trays, with what is on
them, are my present to thee.' The Khalif accepted his gift and
ordering him a robe of honour, made him Provost of the merchants
and gave him a seat in the Divan. Presently, his father-in-law
came in, and seeing Alaeddin seated in his place and clad in a
robe of honour, said to the Khalif, 'O King of the age, why is
this man sitting in my place and wearing this robe of honour?'
Quoth the Khalif, 'I have made him Provost of the merchants, and
thou art deposed; for offices are by investiture and not in
perpetuity.' 'Thou hast done well, O Commander of the Faithful,'
answered the merchant; 'for he is art and part of us. May God
make the best of us the orderers of our affairs! How many a
little one hath become great!' Then the Khalif wrote Alaeddin a
patent [of investiture] and gave it to the Master of Police, who
gave it to the crier and the latter made proclamation in the
Divan, saying, 'None is Provost of the merchants but Alaeddin
Abou esh Shamat, and it behoves all to give heed to his words and
pay him respect and honour and consideration!' Moreover, when the
Divan broke up, the Master of the Police took Alaeddin and
carried him through the thoroughfares of Baghdad, whilst the
crier went before him, making proclamation of his dignity. Next
day, Alaeddin opened a shop for his slave Selim and set him
therein, to buy and sell, whilst he himself rode to the palace
and took his place in the Khalif's Divan.

One day, as he sat in his place, one said to the Khalif, 'O
Commander of the Faithful, may thy head survive such an one the
boon-companion! He is gone to the mercy of God the Most High, but
may thy life be prolonged!' Quoth the Khalif, 'Where is Alaeddin
Abou esh Shamat?' So he went up to the Commander of the Faithful,
who clad him in a splendid dress of honour and made him his boon-
companion in the dead man's room, appointing him a monthly wage
of a thousand dinars. He continued to fill his new office till,
one day, as he sat in the Divan, according to his wont, an Amir
came up with a sword and shield in his hand and said, 'O
Commander of the Faithful, mayst thou outlive the Chief of the
Sixty, for he is this day dead;' whereupon the Khalif ordered
Alaeddin a dress of honour and made him Chief of the Sixty, in
place of the dead man, who had neither wife nor child. So
Alaeddin laid hands on his estate, and the Khalif said to him,
'Bury him in the earth and take all he hath left of wealth and
slaves, male and female.' Then he shook the handkerchief and
dismissed the Divan, whereupon Alaeddin went forth, attended by
Ahmed ed Denef, captain of the right hand, and Hassan Shouman,
captain of the left hand troop of the Khalif's guard, riding at
his either stirrup, each with his forty men. Presently, he turned
to Hassan Shouman and his men and said to them, 'Plead ye for me
with Captain Ahmed ed Denef, that he accept me as his son before
God.' And Ahmed ed Denef assented, saying, 'I and my forty men
will go before thee to the Divan every day.'

After this, Alaeddin abode in the Khalif's service many days;
till one day it chanced that he left the Divan and returning
home, dismissed Ahmed ed Denef and his men and sat down with his
wife, who lighted the candles and went out of the room upon an
occasion. Presently, he heard a great cry and running in haste to
see what was the matter, found that it was his wife who had cried
out. She was lying prone on the groudn and when he put his hand
to her breast, he found her dead. Now her father's house faced
that of Alaeddin, and he, hearing her cry out, came in and said,
'What is the matter, O my lord Alaeddin?' 'O my father,' answered
he, 'may thy head outlive thy daughter Zubeideh! But the honour
we owe the dead is to bury them.' So, on the morrow, they buried
her in the earth and her husband and father condoled with each
other. Moreover, Alaeddin put on mourning apparel and absented
himself from the Divan, abiding tearful-eyed and sorrowful-
hearted. After awhile, the Khalif said to Jaafer, 'O Vizier, what
is the cause of Alaeddin's absence from the Divan?' 'O Commander
of the Faithful,' answered Jaafer, 'he is in mourning for his
wife Zubeideh;' and the Khalif said, 'It behoves us to pay him a
visit of condolence.' 'I hear and obey,' replied Jaafer. So they
took horse and riding to Alaeddin's house, came in upon him with
their attendants, as he sat at home; whereupon he rose to receive
them and kissed the earth before the Khalif, who said to him,
'May God abundantly make good thy loss to thee!' 'May He preserve
thee to us, O Commander of the Faithful!' answered Alaeddin. Then
said the Khalif, 'O Alaeddin, why hast thou absented thyself from
the Divan?' And he replied, 'Because of my mourning for my wife
Zubeideh, O Commander of the Faithful.' 'Put away grief from
thee,' rejoined the prince. 'She is dead and gone to the mercy of
God the Most High, and mourning will avail thee nothing.' But
Alaeddin said, 'O Commander of the Faithful, I shall never leave
mourning for her till I die and they bury me by her side.' Quoth
Haroun, 'With God is compensation for every loss, and neither
wealth nor device can deliver from death. God bless him who said:

Every son of woman, how long soe'er his life be, Must one day be
     carried upon the bulging bier.
How shall he have pleasure in life or hold it goodly, He unto
     whose cheeks the dust must soon adhere?'

Then, when he had made an end of condoling with him, he charged
him not to absent himself from the Divan and returned to his
palace. On the morrow, Alaeddin mounted and riding to the court,
kissed the ground before the Khalif, who rose from the throne, to
greet and welcome him, and bade him take his appointed place in
the Divan saying, 'O Alaeddin, thou art my guest to-night.' So
presently he carried him into his seraglio and calling a slave-
girl named Cout el Culoub, said to her, 'Alaeddin had a wife
called Zubeideh, who used to sing to him and solace him of care
and trouble; but she is gone to the mercy of God the Most High,
and now I desire that thou play him an air of thy rarest fashion
on the lute, that he may be diverted from his grief and
mourning.' So she rose and made rare music; and the Khalif said
to Alaeddin, 'What sayst thou of this damsel's voice?' 'O
Commander of the Faithful', answered he, 'Zubeideh's voice was
the finer; but she is rarely skilled in touching the lute, and
her playing would make a rock dance.' 'Doth she please thee?'
asked the Khalif. 'Yes, O Commander of the Faithful,' answered
Alaeddin, and Haroun said, 'By the life of my head and the tombs
of my forefathers, she is a gift from me to thee, she and her
waiting-women!' Alaeddin thought that the Khalif was jesting with
him; but, on the morrow, he went in to Cout el Culoub and said to
her, 'I have given thee to Alaeddin;' whereat she rejoiced, for
she had seen and loved him. Then the Khalif returned to the Divan
and calling porters, said to them, 'Set Cout el Culoub and her
waiting-women in a litter and carry them, together with her
goods, to Alaeddin's house.' So they did as he bade them and left
her in the upper chamber of Alaeddin's house, whilst the Khalif
sat in the hall of audience till the close of the day, when the
Divan broke up and he retired to his harem.

Meanwhile, Cout el Culoub, having taken up her lodging in
Alaeddin's house, with her women, forty in all, besides eunuchs,
called two of the latter and said to them, 'Sit ye on stools, one
on the right and another on the left hand of the door; and when
Alaeddin comes home, kiss his hands and say to him, "Our mistress
Cout el Culoub bids thee to her in the upper chamber, for the
Khalif hath given her to thee, her and her women."' 'We hear and
obey,' answered they and did as she bade them. So, when Alaeddin
returned, he found two of the Khalif's eunuchs sitting at the
door and was amazed and said to himself, 'Surely, this is not my
own house; or else what can have happened?' When the eunuchs saw
him, they rose and kissing his hands, said to him, 'We are of the
Khalif's household and servants to Cout el Culoub, who salutes
thee, giving thee to know that the Khalif hath bestowed her on
thee, her and her women, and craves thy company.' Quoth Alaeddin,
'Say ye to her, "Thou art welcome; but so long as thou abidest
with me, I will not enter thy lodging, for it befits not that
what was the master's should become the servant's;" and ask her
also what was the sum of her day's expense in the Khalif's
palace.' So they went in to her and did his errand to her, and
she replied, 'A hundred dinars a day;' whereupon quoth he in
himself, 'There was no need for the Khalif to give me Cout el
Culoub, that I should be put to such an expense for her; but
there is no help for it.' So she abode with him awhile and he
assigned her daily a hundred dinars for her maintenance, till,
one day, he absented himself from the Divan and the Khalif said
to Jaafer, 'O Vizier, I gave Cout el Culoub unto Alaeddin, that
she might console him for his wife; but why doth he still hold
aloof from us?' 'O Commander of the Faithful,' answered Jaafer,
'he spoke sooth who said, "Whoso findeth his beloved, forgetteth
his friends."' 'Belike he hath excuse for his absence,' rejoined
the Khalif; 'but we will pay him a visit.' (Now some days before
this, Alaeddin had said to Jaafer, 'I complained to the Khalif of
my grief for the loss of my wife Zubeideh, and he gave me Cout el
Culoub.' And Jaafer replied, 'Except he loved thee, he had not
given her to thee.' Hast thou gone in to her?' 'No, by Allah!
answered Alaeddin. 'I know not her length from her breadth.' 'And
why?' asked Jaafer. 'O Vizier,' replied Alaeddin, 'what befits
the master befits not the servant.') Then the Khalif and Jaafer
disguised themselves and went privily to visit Alaeddin; but he
knew them and rising to them, kissed the hands of the Khalif, who
looked at him and read trouble in his face. So he said to him, 'O
Alaeddin, whence cometh this trouble in which I see thee? Hast
thou gone in to Cout el Culoub?' 'O Commander of the Faithful,'
answered he, 'what befits the master befits not the servant. No,
I have not gone in to her nor do I know her length from her
breadth; so do thou quit me of her.' Quoth the Khalif, 'I would
fain see her and question her of her case.' And Alaeddin replied,
'I hear and obey, O Commander of the Faithful.' So the Khalif
went in to Cout el Culoub, who rose and kissed the ground before
him, and said to her, 'Hath Alaeddin gone in to thee?' 'No, O
Commander of the Faithful,' answered she; 'I sent to bid him to
me, but he would not come.' So he bade carry her back to the
harem and saying to Alaeddin, 'Do not absent thyself from us,'
returned to his palace. Accordingly, next morning, Alaeddin
mounted and rode to the Divan, where he took his seat as Chief of
the Sixty. Presently the Khalif bade his treasurer give the
Vizier Jaafer ten thousand dinars and said to the latter, 'I
charge thee to go down to the slave-market and buy Alaeddin a
slave-girl with this sum.' So Jaafer took Alaeddin and went down
with him to the bazaar. As change would have it, that very day,
the Amir Khalid, Chief of the Baghdad Police, had gone down to
the market to buy a slave-girl for his son Hebezlem Bezazeh. Now
this son he had by his wife Khatoun, and he was foul of favour
and had reached the age of twenty, without learning to ride,
albeit his father was a valiant cavalier and a doughty champion
and delighted in battle and adventure. One night, he had a dream
of dalliance in sleep and told his mother, who rejoiced and told
his father, saying, 'Fain would I find him a wife, for he is now
apt for marriage.' Quoth Khalid, 'He is so foul of favour and
withal so evil of odour, so sordid and churlish, that no woman
would accept of him.' And she answered, 'We will buy him a slave-
girl.' So it befell, for the accomplishment of that which God the
Most High had decreed, that the Amir and his son went down, on
the same day as Jaafer and Alaeddin, to the market, where they
saw a beautiful girl, full of grace and symmetry, in the hands of
a broker, and the Vizier said to the latter, 'O broker, ask her
owner if he will take a thousand dinars for her.' The broker
passed by the Amir and his son with the slave and Hebezlem took
one look of her, that cost him a thousand sighs; and he fell
passionately in love with her and said, 'O my father, buy me
yonder slave-girl.' So the Amir called the broker, who brought
the girl to him, and asked her her name. 'My name is Jessamine,'
replied she; and he said to Hebezlem, 'O my son, an she please
thee, bid for her.' Then he asked the broker what had been bidden
for her and he replied, 'A thousand dinars.' 'She is mine for a
thousand and one,' said Hebezlem, and the broker passed on to
Alaeddin, who bid two thousand dinars for her; and as often as
Hebezlem bid another dinar, Alaeddin bid a thousand. The Amir's
son was vexed at this and said to the broker, 'Who is it that
bids against me for the slave-girl?' 'It is the Vizier Jaafer,'
answered the broker, 'who is minded to buy her for Alaeddin Abou
esh Shamat.' Alaeddin continued to bid for her till he brought
her price up to ten thousand dinars, and her owner sold her to
him for that sum. So he took the girl and said to her, 'I give
thee thy freedom for the love of God the Most High.' Then he
married her and carried her to his house. When the broker
returned, after having delivered the girl and received his
brokerage, Hebezlem called him and said to him, 'Where is the
girl?' Quoth he, 'She was bought for ten thousand dinars by
Alaeddin, who hath set her free and married her.' At this the
young man was greatly cast down and heaving many a sigh, returned
home, sick for love of the damsel. He threw himself on his bed
and refused food, and passion and love-longing were sore upon
him. When his mother saw him in this plight, she said to him,
'God keep thee, O my son! What ails thee?' And he answered, 'Buy
me Jessamine, O my mother.' 'When the flower-seller passes,' said
she, 'I will buy thee a basketful of jessamine.' Quoth he, 'It is
not the jessamine one smells I want, but a slave girl named
Jessamine, whom my father would not buy for me.' So she said to
her husband, 'Why didst thou not buy him the girl?' And he
replied, 'What is fit for the master is not fit for the servant,
and I have no power to take her; for no less a man bought her
than Alaeddin, Chief of the Sixty.' Then the youth's weakness
redoubled upon him, till he could neither sleep nor eat, and his
mother bound her head with the fillets of mourning. Presently, as
she sat at home, lamenting over her son, there came in to her an
old woman, known as the mother of Ahmed Kemakim the arch-thief, a
knave who would bore through the stoutest wall and scale the
highest and steal the very kohl from the eye. From his earliest
years he had been given to these foul practices, till they made
him captain of the watch, when he committed a robbery and the
Chief of the Police, taking him in the act, carried him to the
Khalif, who bade put him to death. But he sought protection of
the Vizier, whose intercession the Khalif never rejected; so he
pleaded for him with the Commander of the Faithful, who said,
'How canst thou intercede for a wretch who is the pest of the
human race?' 'O Commander of the Faithful,' replied Jaafer, 'do
thou imprison him; he who built the [first] prison was a sage,
seeing that a prison is the sepulchre of the live and a cause for
their enemies to exult.' So the Khalif bade lay him in chains and
write thereon, 'Appointed to remain until death and not to be
loosed but on the bench of the washer of the dead.' And they
fettered him and cast him into prison. Now his mother was a
frequent visitor to the house of the Master of the Police and
used to go in to her son in prison and say to him, 'Did I not
warn thee to turn from thy wicked ways?' 'God decreed this to
me,' would he answer; 'but, O my mother, when thou visitest the
Amir's wife, make her intercede for me with her husband.' So when
the old woman came in to the Lady Khatoun, she found her bound
with the fillets of mourning and said to her, 'Wherefore dost
thou mourn?' 'For my son Hebezlem Bezazeh,' answered she, and the
old woman exclaimed, 'God keep thy son! What hath befallen him?'
So Khatoun told her the whole story, and she said, 'What wouldst
thou say of him who should find means to save thy son?' 'And what
wilt thou do?' asked the lady. Quoth the old woman, 'I have a son
called Ahmed Kemakim the arch-thief, who lies chained in prison,
and on his fetters is written, "Appointed to remain till death."
So do thou don thy richest clothes and trinkets and present
thyself to thy husband with an open and smiling favour; and when
he seeks of thee what men use to seek of women, put him off and
say, "By Allah, it is a strange thing! When a man desires aught
of his wife, he importunes her till she satisfies him; but if a
wife desire aught of her husband, he will not grant it to her."
Then he will say, "What dost thou want?" And do thou answer,
"First swear to grant my request." If he swear to thee by his
head or by Allah, say to him, "Swear to me the oath of divorce,"
and so not yield to him, except he do this. Then, if he swear to
thee the oath of divorce, say to him, "Thou hast in prison a man
called Ahmed Kemakim, and he has a poor mother, who is instant
with me to urge thee to intercede for him with the Khalif, that
he may relent towards him and thou earn a reward from God."' 'I
hear and obey,' answered Khatoun. So when her husband came in to
her, she did as the old woman had taught her and extorted the
required oath from him, before she would yield to his wishes. He
lay with her that night and on the morrow, after he had made his
ablutions and prayed the morning prayers, he repaired to the
prison and said to Ahmed Kemakim, 'Harkye, O arch-thief, dost
thou repent of thy ill deeds?' 'I do indeed repent and turn to
God,' answered he, 'and say with heart and tongue, "I ask pardon
of Allah."' So he carried him, still chained, to the Divan and
kissed the earth before the Khalif, who said to him, 'O Amir
Khalid, what seekest thou?' Then he brought forward Ahmed
Kemakim, shuffling in his fetters, and the Khalif said to him, 'O
Kemakim, art thou yet alive?' 'O Commander of the Faithful,'
answered he, 'the wretched are long-lived.' Then said the Khalif
to the Amir, 'Why have thou brought him hither?' And he replied,
'O Commander of the Faithful, he hath a poor, desolate mother,
who hath none but him, and she hath had recourse to thy slave,
imploring him to intercede with thee to set him free and make him
Captain of the Watch as before; for he repenteth of his evil
courses.' Quoth the Khalif to Ahmed, 'Dost thou repent of thy
sins?' 'I do indeed repent to God, O Commander of the Faithful,'
answered he; whereupon the Khalif called for the blacksmith and
made him strike off his irons on the bench of the washer of the
dead. Moreover, he restored him to his former office and charged
him to walk in the way of good and righteousness. So he kissed
the Khalif's hands and donning the captain's habit, went forth,
whilst they made proclamation of his appointment.

He abode awhile in the exercise of his office, till, one day, his
mother went in to the wife of the Chief of the Police, who said
to her, 'Praised be God who hath delivered thy son from prison
and restored him to health and safety! But why dost thou not bid
him cast about to get the girl Jessamine for my son Hebezlem
Bezazeh?' 'That will I,' answered she and going out from her,
repaired to her son. She found him drunken and said to him, 'O my
son, none was the cause of thy release from prison but the wife
of the Master of Police, and she would have thee go about to kill
Alaeddin Abou esh Shamat and get his slave-girl Jessamine for her
son Hebezlem Bezazeh.' 'That will be the easiest of things,'
answered he, 'and I will set about it this very night.' Now this
was the first night of the new month, and it was the Khalif's
wont to pass that night with the Princess Zubeideh, for the
setting free of a male or female slave or what not else of the
like. On this occasion, he used to doff his royal habit and lay
it upon a chair in the sitting-chamber, together with his rosary
and dagger and royal signet and a golden lantern, adorned with
three jewels strung on a wire of gold, by which he set great
store, committing all these things to the charge of the eunuchs,
whilst he sent into the Lady Zubeideh's apartment. So Ahmed
Kemakim waited till midnight, when Canopus shone and all
creatures slept, whilst the Creator covered them with the curtain
[of the dark]. Then he took his naked sword in one hand and his
grappling iron in the other, and repairing to the Khalif's
pavilion, cast his grapnel on to the roof. It caught there and he
fixed his rope-ladder and climbed up to the roof; then, raising
the trap-door, let himself down into the saloon, where he found
the eunuchs asleep. So he drugged them with henbane and taking
the Khalif's dress and dagger and rosary and handkerchief and
signet-ring and lantern, returned whence he came and betook
himself to the house of Alaeddin, who had that night celebrated
his wedding festivities with Jessamine and had gone in to her and
gotten her with child. Ahmed climbed over into his saloon and
raising one of the marble slabs of the floor, dug a hole under it
and laid the stolen things therein, all save the lantern, which
he kept, saying in himself, 'I will set it before me, when I sit
at wine, and drink by its light.' Then he plastered down the
marble slab, as it was, and returning whence he came, went back
to his own house. As soon as it was day, the Khalif went out into
the sitting-chamber, and finding the eunuchs drugged with
henbane, aroused them. Then he put his hand to the chair and
found neither dress nor signet nor rosary nor dagger nor lantern;
whereat he was exceeding wroth and donning the habit of anger,
which was red, sat down in the Divan. So the Vizier Jaafer came
forward and kissing the earth before him, said, 'May God avert
the wrath of the Commander of the Faithful!' 'O Vizier,' answered
the Khalif, 'I am exceeding wroth!'[FN#106] 'What has happened?'
asked Jaafer; so he told him what had happened and when the Chief
of the Police appeared, with Ahmed Kemakim at his stirrup, he
said to him, 'O Amir Khalid, how goes Baghdad?' And he answered,
'It is safe and quiet.' 'Thou liest!' rejoined the Khalif. 'How
so, O Commander of the Faithful?' asked the Amir. So he told him
the case and added, 'I charge thee to bring me back all the
stolen things.' 'O Commander of the Faithful', replied the Amir,
'the vinegar-worm is of and in the vinegar, and no stranger can
get at this place.'[FN#107] But the Khalif said, 'Except thou
bring me these things, I will put thee to death.' Quoth Khalid,
'Ere thou slay me, slay Ahmed Kemakim, for none should know the
robber and the traitor but the captain of the watch.' Then came
forward Ahmed Kemakim and said to the Khalif, 'Accept my
intercession for the Master of Police, and I will be responsible
to thee for the thief and will follow his track till I find him;
but give me two Cadis and two Assessors, for he who did this
thing feareth thee not, nor doth he fear the Chief of the Police
nor any other.' 'Thou shalt have what thou seekest,' answered the
Khalif; 'but let search be made first in my palace and then in
those of the Vizier and the Chief of the Sixty.' 'Thou sayst
well, O Commander of the Faithful,' rejoined Ahmed; 'most like
the thief is one who had been reared in thy household or that of
one of thy chief officers.' 'As my head liveth,' said Haroun,
'whosoever shall appear to have done the deed, I will put him to
death, be it my very own son!' Then Ahmed Kemakim received a
written warrant to enter and search the houses and taking in his
hand a [divining] rod made of equal parts of bronze, copper, iron
and steel, went forth, attended by the Cadis and Assessors and
the Chief of the Police. He first searched the palace of the
Khalif, then that of the Vizier Jaafer; after which he went the
round of the houses of the chamberlains and officers, till he
came to that of Alaeddin. When the latter heard the clamour
before his house, he left his wife and opening the door, found
the Master of Police without, with a crowd of people. So he said,
'What is the matter, O Amir Khalid?' The Chief of the Police told
him the case and Alaeddin said, 'Enter my house and search it.'
'Pardon, O my lord,' replied the Amir; 'thou art a man in
authority,[FN#108] and God forbid that such should be guilty of
treason!' Quoth Alaeddin, 'Needs must my house be searched. So
they entered, and Ahmed Kemakim went straight to the saloon and
let the rod fall upon the slab, under which he had buried the
stolen goods, with such force that the marble broke in sunder and
discovered something that glistened underneath. Then said he, 'In
the name of God! what He willeth! Thanks to our coming, we have
lit upon a treasure. Let us go down into this hiding-place and
see what is therein.' So the Cadis and Assessors looked down into
the hole and finding there the stolen goods, drew up a statement
of how they had discovered them in Alaeddin's house, to which
they set their seals. Then they bade seize upon Alaeddin and took
his turban from his head, and making an inventory of all his
property and effects, [sealed them up]. Meanwhile, Ahmed Kemakim
laid hands on Jessamine, who was with child by Alaeddin, and
committed her to his mother, saying, 'Deliver her to the Lady
Khatoun.' So the old woman took her and carried her to the wife
of the Master of Police. As soon as Hebezlem saw her, health and
strength returned to him and he arose forthright, rejoicing
greatly, and would have drawn near her: but she pulled a dagger
from her girdle and said, 'Keep off from me, or I will kill thee
and myself after.' 'O strumpet,' exclaimed his mother, 'let my
son have his will of thee!' But Jessamine answered, 'O bitch, by
what code is it lawful for a woman to marry two husbands, and how
shall the dog take the lion's place?' With this Hebezlem's
passion redoubled and he sickened for unfulfilled desire and
refusing food, took to his bed again. Then said his mother to
her, 'O harlot, how canst thou make me thus to sorrow for my son?
Needs must I punish thee, and as for Alaeddin, he will assuredly
be hanged.' 'And I will die for love of him,' answered Jessamine.
Then Khatoun stripped her of her jewels and silken raiment and
clothing her in sackcloth drawers and a shift of hair-cloth, sent
her down into the kitchen and made her a scullery-wench, saying,
'Thy punishment shall be to split wood and peel onions and set
fire under the cooking pots.' Quoth she, 'I am willing to brook
all manner of hardship and servitude, but not thy son's sight.'
But God inclined the hearts of the slave-girls to her and they
used to do her service in the kitchen.

Meanwhile, they carried Alaeddin to the Divan and brought him,
together with the stolen goods, before the Khalif, who said,
'Where did ye find them?' 'Amiddleward Alaeddin's house,'
answered they; whereat the Khalif was filled with wrath and took
the things, but found not the lantern among them, and said to
Alaeddin, 'Where is the lantern?' 'I know nought of it,' answered
he; 'it was not I that stole it.' 'O traitor,' said the Khalif,
'how comes it that I brought thee near unto me and thou hast cast
me out, and I trusted in thee and thou hast betrayed me?' And he
commanded to hang him. So the Chief of the Police took him and
went down with him into the city, whilst the crier forewent them,
proclaiming aloud and saying, 'This is the reward and the least
of the reward of him who doth treason against the orthodox
Khalifs!' And the folk flocked to the gallows.

Meanwhile, Ahmed ed Denef, Alaeddin's adopted father, was
sitting, making merry with his followers in a garden, when in
came one of the water-carriers of the Divan and kissing Ahmed's
hand, said to him, 'O Captain, thou sittest at thine ease, with
water running at thy feet, and knowest not what has happened.'
'What is to do?' asked Ahmed, and the other answered, 'They have
gone down with thine adopted son, Alaeddin, to the gallows.'
'O Hassan Shouman,' said Ahmed, 'What sayst thou of this?'
'Assuredly, Alaeddin is innocent' replied his lieutenant; 'and
this is some enemy's practice against him.' Quoth Ahmed, 'What
counsellest thou?' And Hassan said, 'God willing, we must rescue
him.' Then he went to the prison and said to the gaoler, 'Give us
some one deserving of death.' So he gave him one that was likest
to Alaeddin and they covered his head and carried him to the
place of execution between Ahmed ed Denef and Ali ez Zibec of
Cairo. Now they had brought Alaeddin to the gibbet, to hang him,
but Ahmed ed Denef came forward and set his foot on that of the
hangman, who said, 'Give me room to do my office.' 'O accursed
one,' replied Ahmed, 'take this man and hang him in Alaeddin's
stead; for he is innocent and we will ransom him with this
fellow, even as Abraham ransomed Ishmael[FN#109] with the ram.'
So the hangman took the man and hanged him in Alaeddin's room.
Then Ahmed and Ali took Alaeddin and carried him to the house of
the former, to whom said he, 'O my father, may God abundantly
requite thee!' 'O Alaeddin,' said Ahmed, 'what is this thou hast
done? God's mercy on him who said, "Whoso trusteth in thee,
betray him not, though thou be a traitor." Now the Khalif set
thee in high place about him and styled thee "Trusty" and
"Faithful;" how then couldst thou deal thus with him and steal
his goods?' 'By the Most Great Name, O my father,' replied
Alaeddin, 'I had no hand in this, nor do I know who did it.'
Quoth Ahmed, 'Of a surety none did this but a manifest enemy and
whoso doth aught shall be requited for his deed; but, O Alaeddin,
thou canst tarry no longer in Baghdad, for kings, O my son, may
not be bought off and longsome is his travail whom they pursue.'
'Whither shall I go, O my father?' asked Alaeddin. 'O my son,'
answered Ahmed, 'I will bring thee to Alexandria, for it is a
blessed place; its environs are green and its sojourn pleasant.'
And Alaeddin said, 'I hear and obey, O my father.' So Ahmed said
to Hassan Shouman, 'Be mindful and when the Khalif asks for me,
say I am gone on a circuit of the provinces.' Then, taking
Alaeddin, he went forth of Baghdad and stayed not till they came
to the vineyards and gardens, where they met two Jews of the
Khalif's tax-gatherers, riding on mules, and Ahmed said to them,
'Give me the guard-money.'[FN#110] 'Why should we give thee
guard-money?' asked they. 'Because,' answered he, 'I am the
patrol of this valley.' So they gave him each a hundred dinars,
after which he slew them and took their mules, one of which he
mounted, whilst Alaeddin bestrode the other. Then they rode on,
till they came to the city of Ayas[FN#111] and put up for the
night at an inn. Next morning, Alaeddin sold his own mule and
committed that of Ahmed to the charge of the doorkeeper of the
inn, after which they took ship from the port of Ayas and sailed
to Alexandria. Here they landed and proceeded to the Bazaar,
where they found a broker crying a shop and a chamber behind it
for sale. The last bidding for the premises (which belonged to
the Treasury) was nine hundred and fifty dirhems;[FN#112] so
Alaeddin bid a thousand and his offer being accepted, took the
keys and opened the shop and room, which latter he found
furnished with carpets and cushions. Moreover, he found there a
storehouse full of sails and masts and ropes and chests and bags
of beads and shells and stirrups and axes and maces and knives
and scissors and what not else, for the last owner of the shop
had been a dealer in second-hand goods. So he took his seat in
the shop and Ahmed ed Denef said to him, 'O my son, the shop and
room and that which is therein are become thine; so abide thou
here and buy and sell and grudge not, neither repine; for God the
Most High blesseth trade.' After this he abode with him three
days and on the fourth he took leave of him, saying, 'O my son,
abide here till I bring thee the Khalif's pardon and learn who
hath played thee this trick.' Then he took ship for Ayas,
where he took the mule from the inn and returning to Baghdad,
foregathered with Hassan Shouman, to whom said he, 'Has the
Khalif asked for me?' 'No,' answered Hassan, 'nor hath thou come
to his thought.' So he resumed his service about the Khalif's
person and set himself to seek news of Alaeddin's case, till one
day he heard the Khalif say to the Vizier, 'See, O Jaafer, how
Alaeddin dealt with me!' 'O Commander of the Faithful,' replied
Jaafer, 'thou hast requited him with hanging, and it was what he
deserved.' Quoth Haroun, 'I have a mind to go down and see him
hanging.' And the Vizier answered, 'As thou wilt, O Commander of
the Faithful.' So the Khalif and Jaafer went down to the place of
execution, and the former, raising his eyes, saw the hanged man
to be other than Alaeddin and said to the Vizier, 'This is not
Alaeddin.' 'How knowest thou that it is not he?' asked the
Vizier, and the Khalif answered, 'Alaeddin was short and this
fellow is tall.' Quoth Jaafer, 'Hanging stretches a man.' 'But,'
rejoined the Khalif, 'Alaeddin was fair and this man's face is
black.' 'Knowest thou not, O Commander of the Faithful,' replied
Jaafer, 'that death (by hanging) causes blackness?' Then the
Khalif bade take down the body and they found the names of he
first two Khalifs, Abou Bekr and Omar, written on his heels;
whereupon quoth the Khalif, 'O Vizier, Alaeddin was a Sunnite,
and this fellow is a Shiyaite.'[FN#113] 'Glory be to God who
knowest the hidden things!' answered Jaafer. 'We know not whether
this was he or another.' Then the Khalif bade bury the body and
Alaeddin became altogether forgotten.

As for Hebezlem Bezazeh, the Amir Khalid's son, he ceased not to
languish for passion and desire, till he died and they buried
him; whilst Jessamine accomplished the months of her pregnancy
and being taken with the pains of labour, gave birth to a male
child like the moon. The serving-women said to her, 'What wilt
thou name him?' And she answered, 'Were his father alive, he had
named him; but now I will name him Aslan.' She gave him suck two
years, then weaned him, and he crawled and walked. One day,
whilst his mother was busied with the service of the kitchen, the
child went out and seeing the stairs, mounted to the guest-
chamber,[FN#114] where the Amir Khalid was sitting. When the
latter saw him, he took him in his lap and glorified his Lord for
that which He had created and fashioned forth; then eyeing him
straitly, he saw that he was the likest of all creatures to
Alaeddin Abou esh Shamat; and God informed his heart with love of
the boy. Presently, his mother Jessamine sought for him and
finding him not, mounted to the guest-chamber, where she saw the
Amir seated, with the child playing in his lap. The latter,
spying his mother, would have thrown himself upon her: but the
Amir held him back and said to Jessamine, 'Come hither, O
damsel.' So she came to him, and he said to her, 'Whose son is
this?' Quoth she, 'He is my son and the darling of my heart.'
'Who is his father?' asked the Amir; and she answered, 'His
father was Alaeddin Abou esh Shamat, but now he is become thy
son.' Quoth Khalid, 'Alaeddin was a traitor.' 'God deliver him
from treason!' replied she. 'God forbid that the Faithful should
be a traitor!' Then said he, 'When the boy grows up and says to
thee, "Who is my father?" say thou to him, "Thou art the son of
the Amir Khalid, Chief of the Police."' And she answered, 'I hear
and obey.' Then he circumcised the boy and reared him after the
goodliest fashion, bringing him a tutor, who taught him to read
and write; so he read (and commented) the Koran twice and learnt
it by heart and grew up, calling the Amir father. Moreover, the
latter used to go down with him to the tilting-ground and
assemble horsemen and teach the lad warlike exercises and the use
of arms, so that, by the time he was fourteen years old, he
became a valiant and accomplished cavalier and gained the rank of
Amir.[FN#115]

It chanced one day that he fell in with Ahmed Kemakim and
clapping up an acquaintance with him, accompanied him to the
tavern, where Ahmed took out the lantern he had stolen from the
Khalif and fell to plying the wine-cup by its light, till he
became drunken. Presently Aslan said to him, 'O Captain, give me
yonder lantern;' but he replied, 'I cannot give it thee.' 'Why
not?' asked Aslan. 'Because,' answered Ahmed, 'lives have been
lost for it.' 'Whose life?' asked Aslan; and Ahmed said, 'There
came hither a man named Alaeddin Abou est Shamat, who was made
Captain of the Sixty and lost his life through this lantern.'
Quoth Aslan, 'And how was that?' 'Know,' replied Ahmed Kemakim,
'that thou hadst an elder brother by name Hebezlem Bezazeh, for
whom, when he became apt for marriage, thy father would have
bought a slave-girl named Jessamine.' And he went on to tell him
the whole story of Hebezlem's illness and what befell Alaeddin,
undeserved. When Aslan heard this, he said in himself, 'Most like
this slave-girl was my mother Jessamine and my father was no
other than Alaeddin Abou esh Shamat.' So he went out from him,
sorrowful, and met Ahmed ed Denef, who exclaimed at sight of him,
'Glory be to Him to whom none is like!' 'At what dost thou
marvel, O my chief?' asked Hassan Shouman. 'At the make of yonder
boy Aslan,' replied Ed Denef; 'for he is the likest of all
creatures to Alaeddin Abou esh Shamat.' Then he called Aslan and
said to him, 'What is thy mother's name?' 'She is called the
damsel Jessamine,' answered Aslan; and Ed Denef said, 'Harkye,
Aslan, take heart and be of good cheer, for thy father was none
other than Alaeddin Abou esh Shamat: but, O my son, go thou in to
thy mother and question her of thy father.' 'I hear and obey,'
answered he, and going in to his mother, said to her, 'Who is my
father?' Quoth she, 'The Amir Khalid is thy father.' 'Not so,'
rejoined he, 'my father was none other than Alaeddin Abou esh
Shamat.' At this, she wept and said, 'Who told thee this?' 'Ahmed
ed Denef, the Captain of the Guard,' answered he; so she told him
the whole story, saying, 'O my son, the truth can no longer be
hidden: know that Alaeddin was indeed thy father, but it was the
Amir Khalid who reared thee and adopted thee as his son. And now,
O my son, when thou seest Ahmed ed Denef, so thou say to him, "I
conjure thee, by Allah, O my chief, avenge me on the murderer of
my father Alaeddin Abou esh Shamat!"' So he went out from her and
betaking himself to Ahmed ed Denef, kissed his hand. Quoth Ed
Denef, 'What ails thee, O Aslan?' And he answered, 'I know now
for certain that I am the son of Alaeddin Abou esh Shamat and I
would have thee avenge me of my father's murderer.' 'And who was
thy father's murderer?' asked Ed Denef. 'Ahmed Kemakim the arch-
thief,' replied Aslan. 'Who told thee this?' said Ed Denef, and
Aslan answered, 'I saw in his hand the lantern hung with jewels,
that was lost with the rest of the Khalif's gear, and asked him
to give it me; but he refused, saying, "Lives have been lost on
account of this," and told me how it was he who had broken into
the palace and stolen the goods and hidden them in my father's
house.' Then said Ed Denef, 'When thou seest the Amir Khalid don
his harness of war, beg him to equip thee like himself and take
thee with him. Then do thou some feat of prowess before the
Khalif and he will say to thee, "Ask a boon of me, O Aslan." And
do thou answer, "I ask of thee that thou avenge me of my father's
murderer." If he say, "Thy father is alive and is the Amir
Khalid, the Chief of the Police," answer thou, "My father was
Alaeddin Abou esh Shamat, and the Amir Khalid is only my father
by right of fosterage and adoption." Then tell him all that
passed between thee and Ahmed Kemakim and say, "O Commander of
the Faithful, order him to be searched and I will bring the
lantern forth of his bosom."' 'I hear and obey,' answered Aslan
and returning to the Amir Khalid, found him making ready to
repair to the Divan and said to him, 'I would fain have thee arm
and harness me like thyself and carry me to the Divan.' So he
equipped him and carried him to the Divan, with Ahmed Kemakim at
his stirrup. Then the Khalif sallied forth of Baghdad with his
retinue and let pitch tents and pavilions without the city;
whereupon the troops divided into two parties and fell to playing
at ball and striking it with the mall from one to the other. Now
there was among the troops a spy, who had been hired to kill the
Khalif; so he took the ball and smiting it with the mall, drove
it straight at the Khalif's face; but Aslan interposed and
catching it in mid-volley, drove it back at him who smote it, so
that it struck him between the shoulders and he fell to the
ground. The Khalif exclaimed, 'God bless thee, O Aslan!' and they
all dismounted and sat on chairs. Then the Khalif bade bring the
smiter of the ball before him and said to him, 'Who moved thee to
do this thing and art thou friend or foe?' Quoth he, 'I am a foe
and it was my purpose to kill thee.' 'And wherefore?' asked the
Khalif. 'Art thou not an (orthodox) Muslim?' 'No,' replied the
spy; 'I am a Shiyaite.' So the Khalif bade put him to death and
said to Aslan, 'Ask a boon of me.' Quoth he, 'I ask of thee that
thou avenge me of my father's murderer.' 'Thy father is alive,'
answered the Khalif; 'and there he stands.' 'And who is he?'
asked Aslan. The Khalif replied, 'He is the Amir Khalid, Chief of
the Police.' 'O Commander of the Faithful,' rejoined Aslan, 'he
is no father of mine, save by right of fosterage; my father was
none other than Alaeddin Abou esh Shamat.' 'Then thy father was a
traitor,' said the Khalif. 'God forbid, O Commander of the
Faithful,' replied Aslan, 'that the Faithful should be a traitor!
But how did he wrong thee?' Quoth the Khalif, 'He stole my royal
habit and what was therewith.' 'O Commander of the Faithful,'
rejoined Aslan, 'God forfend that my father should be a traitor!
But, O my lord, didst thou ever recover the lantern that was
stolen from thee?' 'No,' answered the Khalif, 'we never got it
back.' And Aslan said, 'I saw it in the hands of Ahmed Kemakim
and begged it of him; but he refused to give it me, saying,
"Lives have been lost on account of this." Then he told me of the
sickness of Hebezlem Bezazeh, son of the Amir Khalid, by reason
of his passion for the damsel Jessamine, and how he himself was
released from prison and that it was he who stole the lamp and
robe and so forth. Do thou then, O Commander of the Faithful,
avenge me of my father on him who murdered him.' So the Khalif
caused Ahmed Kemakim to be brought before him and sending for
Ahmed ed Denef, bade him search him; whereupon he put his hand
into the thief's bosom and pulled out the lamp. 'Harkye,
traitor,' said the Khalif, 'whence hadst thou this lantern?' And
Kemakim replied, 'I bought it, O Commander of the Faithful!'
'Where didst thou buy it?' said the Khalif, 'and who could come
by its like to sell it to thee?' Then they beat him, till he
confessed that he had stolen the lantern and the rest, and the
Khalif said, 'O traitor, what moved thee to do this thing and
ruin Alaeddin Abou esh Shamat, the Trusty and Well-beloved?' Then
he bade lay hands on him and on the Chief of the Police, but the
latter said, 'O Commander of the Faithful, indeed I am unjustly
entreated; thou badest me hang him, and I had no knowledge of
this plot, for the thing was contrived between Ahmed Kemakim and
his mother and my wife. I crave thine intercession, O Aslan.' So
Aslan interceded for him with the Khalif, who said, 'What hath
God done with this lad's mother?' 'She is with me,' answered
Khalid, and the Khalif said, 'I command thee to bid thy wife
dress her in her own clothes and ornaments and restore her to her
former rank; and do thou remove the seals from Alaeddin's house
and give his son possession of his estate.' 'I hear and obey,'
answered Khalid, and going forth, carried the Khalif's order to
his wife, who clad Jessamine in her own apparel; whilst he
himself removed the seals from Alaeddin's house and gave Aslan
the keys. Then said the Khalif to Aslan, 'Ask a boon of me;' and
he replied, 'I beseech thee to unite me with my father.' Whereat
the Khalif wept and said, 'Most like it was thy father that was
hanged and is dead; but by the life of my forefathers, whoso
bringeth me the glad news that he is yet in the bonds of life, I
will give him all he seeketh!' Then came forward Ahmed ed Denef
and kissing the earth before the Khalif, said, 'Grant me
indemnity, O Commander of the Faithful!' 'Thou hast it,' answered
the Khalif; and Ed Denef said, 'I give thee the good news that
Alaeddin is alive and well.' Quo the Khalif, 'What is this thou
sayest?' 'As thy head liveth,' answered Ed Denef, 'I speak sooth;
for I ransomed him with another, of those who deserved death, and
carried him to Alexandria, where I set him up as a dealer in
second-hand goods.' Then said Er Reshid, 'I charge thee fetch him
to me;' and Ed Denef replied, 'I hear and obey;' whereupon the
Khalif bade give him ten thousand dinars and he set out for
Alexandria.

Meanwhile Alaeddin sold all that was in his shop, till he had but
a few things let and amongst the rest a bag. So he shook the bag
and there fell out a jewel, big enough to fill the palm of the
hand, hanging to a chain of gold and having five faces, whereon
were names and talismanic characters, as they were ant-tracks.
'God is All-knowing!' quoth he. 'Belike this is a talisman.' So
he rubbed each face; but nothing came of it and he said to
himself, 'Doubtless it is a piece of [naturally] variegated
onyx,' and hung it up in the shop. Presently, a Frank passed
along the street and seeing the jewel hanging up, seated himself
before the shop and said to Alaeddin, 'O my lord, is yonder jewel
for sale?' 'All I have is for sale,' answered Alaeddin; and the
Frank said, 'Wilt thou sell it me for fourscore thousand dinars?'
'May God open!'[FN#116] replied Alaeddin. 'Wilt thou sell it for
a hundred thousand dinars?' asked the Frank, and he answered, 'I
sell it to thee for a hundred thousand dinars; pay me down the
money.' Quoth the Frank, 'I cannot carry such a sum about me, for
there are thieves and sharpers in Alexandria; but come with me to
my ship and I will pay thee the money and give thee to boot a
bale of Angora wool, a bale of satin, a bale of velvet and a
bale of broadcloth.' So Alaeddin rose and giving the jewel to
the Frank, locked up his shop and committed the keys to his
neighbour, saying, 'Keep these keys for me, whilst I go with this
Frank to his ship and take the price of my jewel. If I be long
absent and there come to thee Captain Ahmed ed Denef,--he who set
me up in this shop,--give him the keys and tell him where I am.'
Then he went with the Frank to his ship, where the latter set him
a stool and making him sit down, said [to his men], 'Bring the
money.' So [they brought it and] he paid him the price of the
jewel and gave him the four bales he had promised him; after
which he said to him, 'O my lord, honour me by taking a morsel or
a draught of water.' And Alaeddin answered, 'If thou have any
water, give me to drink.' So the Frank called for drink, and they
brought sherbets, drugged with henbane, of which no sooner had
Alaeddin drunk, than he fell over on his back; whereupon they
weighed anchor and shoving off, shipped the poles and made sail.
The wind blew fair and they sailed till they lost sight of land,
when the Frank bade bring Alaeddin up out of the hold and made
him smell to the counter-drug, whereupon he opened his eyes and
said, 'Where am I?' 'Thou art bound and in my power,' answered
the Frank; 'and if thou hadst refused to take a hundred thousand
dinars for the jewel, I would have bidden thee more.' 'What art
thou?' asked Alaeddin, and the other replied, 'I am a sea-
captain and mean to carry thee to my mistress.' As they were
talking, a ship hove in sight, with forty Muslim merchants on
board; so the Frank captain gave chase and coming up with the
vessel, made fast to it with grappling-irons. Then he boarded it
with his men and took it and plundered it; after which he sailed
on with his prize, till he reached the city of Genoa, where he
repaired to the gate of a palace, that gave upon the sea, and
there came forth to him a veiled damsel, who said, 'Hast thou
brought the jewel and its owner?' 'I have brought them both,'
answered he; and she said, 'Then give me the jewel.' So he gave
it to her and returning to the port, fired guns to announce his
safe return; whereupon the King of the city, being notified of
his arrival, came down to receive him and said to him, 'What
manner of voyage hast thou had?' 'A right prosperous one,'
answered the captain, 'and I have made prize of a ship with one-
and-forty Muslim merchants.' Being them ashore,' said the King.
So he landed the merchants in irons, and Alaeddin among the rest;
and the King and the captain mounted and made the captives walk
before them, till they reached the palace, where the King sat
down in the audience-chamber and making the prisoners pass before
him, one by one, said to the first, 'O Muslim, whence comest
thou?' 'From Alexandria,' answered he; whereupon the King said,
'O headsman, put him to death.' So the headsman smote him with
the sword and cut off his head: and thus it fared with the second
and the third, till forty were dead and there remained but
Alaeddin, who drank the cup of his comrades' anguish and said to
himself, 'God have mercy on thee, O Alaeddin! Thou art a dead
man.' Then said the King to him, 'And thou, what countryman art
thou?' 'I am of Alexandria,' answered Alaeddin, and the King
said, 'O headsman, strike off his head.' So the headsman raised
his arm and was about to strike, when an old woman of venerable
aspect presented herself before the King, who rose to do her
honour, and said to him, 'O King, did I not bid thee remember,
when the captain came back with captives, to keep one or two for
the convent, to serve in the church?' 'O my mother, answered the
King, 'would thou hadst come a while earlier! But take this one
that is left.' So she turned to Alaeddin and said to him, 'Wilt
thou serve in the church, or shall I let the King kill thee?'
Quoth he, 'I will serve in the church.' So she took him and
carried him forth of the palace to the church, where he said to
her, 'What service must I do?' And she answered, 'Thou must arise
in the morning and take five mules and go with them into the
forest and there cut dry firewood and split it and bring it to
the convent-kitchen. Then must thou take up the carpets and sweep
and wipe the stone and marble pavements and lay the carpets down
again, as they were; after which thou must take two bushels and a
half of wheat and sift it and grind it and knead it and make it
into cracknels for the convent; and thou must take also a bushel
of lentils and sift and crush and cook them. Then must thou fetch
water in barrels and fill the four fountains; after which thou
must take three hundred and threescore and six wooden platters
and crumble the cracknels therein and pour of the lentil pottage
over each and carry every monk and patriarch his platter.' 'Take
me back to the King and let him kill me,' said Alaeddin; 'it were
easier to me than this service.' 'If thou do the service that is
due from thee,' replied the old woman, 'thou shalt escape death;
but, if thou do it not, I will let the King kill thee.' Then she
went away, leaving Alaeddin heavy at heart. Now there were in the
church ten blind cripples, and one of them said to him, 'Bring me
a pot.' So he brought it him and he did his occasion therein and
said, 'Throw away the ordure.' He did do, and the blind man said,
'The Messiah's blessing be upon thee, O servant of the church!'
Presently, the old woman came in and said to him, 'Why hast thou
not done thy service?' 'How many hands have I,' answered he,
'that I should suffice for all this work?' 'Thou fool!' rejoined
she.' 'I brought thee not hither but to work. But,' added she,
giving him a wand of brass with a cross at the top, 'take this
rod and go forth into the highway, and whomsoever thou meetest,
were he governor of the ciy, say to him, "I summon thee to the
service of the church, in the name of the Messiah." And he will
not refuse thee. Then make him sift the wheat and grind it and
bolt it and knead it and bake it into cracknels; and if any
gainsay thee, beat him and fear none.' 'I hear and obey,'
answered he and did as she said, pressing great and small into
his service; nor did he leave to do thus for the space of
seventeen years, till, one day, the old woman came to him, as he
sat in the church, and said to him, 'Go forth of the convent.'
'Whither shall I go?' asked he, and she said, 'Thou canst pass
the night in a tavern or with one of thy friends.' Quoth he, 'Why
dost thou send me forth of the church?' and she replied, 'The
princess Husn Meryem, daughter of Youhenna, King of the city,
purposes this night to pay a visit to the church, and it befits
not that any abide in her way.' So he rose and made a show of
obeying her and of leaving the church; but he said in himself, 'I
wonder whether the princess is like our women or fairer than
they! Algates, I will not go till I have had a sight of her.' So
he hid himself in a closet[FN#117] with a window looking into the
church, and as he watched, in came the King's daughter. He cast
one glance at her, that cost him a thousand sighs, for she was
like the full moon, when it emerges from the clouds; and with her
was a damsel, to whom he heard her say, 'O Zubeideh, thy company
is grateful to me.' So he looked straitly at the damsel and found
her to be none other than his wife, Zubeideh the Lutanist, whom
he thought dead. Then the princess said to Zubeideh, 'Play us an
air on the lute.' But she answered, 'I will make no music for
thee, till thou grant my wish and fulfil thy promise to me.' 'And
what did I promise thee?' asked the princess. 'That thou wouldst
reunite me with my husband Alaeddin Abou esh Shamat,' said
Zubeideh. 'O Zubeideh,' rejoined the princess, 'be of good cheer
and play us an air, as a thank-offering for reunion with thy
husband.' 'Where is he?' asked Zubeideh, and Meryem replied, 'He
is in yonder closet, listening to us.' So Zubeideh played a
measure on the lute, that would have made a rock dance; which
when Alaeddin heard, his entrails were troubled and he came forth
and throwing himself upon his wife, strained her to his bosom.
She also knew him and they embraced and fell down in a swoon.
Then came the princess and sprinkled rose-water on them, till
they revived, when she said to them, 'God hath reunited you.' 'By
thy kind offices, O my lady,' replied Alaeddin and turning to his
wife, said to her, 'O Zubeideh, thou didst surely die and we
buried thee: how then camest thou to life and to this place?' 'O
my lord,' answered she, 'I did not die; but a Marid of the Jinn
snatched me up and flew with me hither. She whom thou buriedst
was a Jinniyeh, who took my shape and feigned herself dead, but
presently broke open the tomb and returned to the service of this
her mistress, the princess Husn Meryem. As for me, I was in a
trance, and when I opened my eyes, I found myself with the
princess; so I said to her, "Why hast thou bought me hither?" "O
Zubeideh," answered she, "know that I am predestined to marry thy
husband Alaeddin Abou esh Shamat: wilt thou then accept of me to
fellow-wife, a night for me and a night for thee?" "I hear and
obey, O my lady," rejoined I; "but where is my husband?" Quoth
she, "Upon his forehead is written what God hath decreed to him;
as soon as what is there written is fulfilled to him he must
needs come hither, and we will beguile the time of our separation
from him with songs and smiting upon instruments of music, till
it please God to unite us with him." So I abode with her till God
brought us together in this church.' Then the princess turned to
him and said, 'O my lord Alaeddin, wilt thou accept of me to
wife?' 'O my lady,' replied he, 'I am a Muslim and thou art a
Nazarene; so how can I marry thee?' 'God forbid,' rejoined she,
'that I should be an infidel! Nay, I am a Muslim; these eighteen
years have I held fast the Faith of Submission and I am pure of
any faith other than that of Islam.' Then said he, 'O my lady, I
would fain return to my native land.' And she answered, 'Know
that I see written on thy forehead things that thou must needs
fulfil and thou shalt come to thy desire. Moreover, I give thee
the glad tidings, O Alaeddin, that there hath been born to thee a
son named Aslan, who is now eighteen years old and sitteth in thy
place with the Khalif. Know also that God hath shown forth the
truth and done away the false by withdrawing the curtain of
secrecy from him who stole the Khalif's goods, that is, Ahmed
Kemakim the arch-thief and traitor; and he now lies bound and in
prison. It was I who caused the jewel to be put in the bag where
thou foundest it and who sent the captain to thee; for thou must
know that he is enamoured of me and seeketh my favours, but I
refused to yield to his wishes, till he should being me the jewel
and its owner. So I gave him a hundred purses[FN#118] and
despatched him to thee, in the habit of a merchant; and it was I
also who sent the old woman to save thee from being put to death
with the other captives.' 'May God requite thee for us with all
good!' said he. 'Indeed, thou hast done well.' Then she renewed
her profession of the Mohammedan faith at his hands, and when he
was assured of the truth of her speech, he said to her, 'O my
lady, tell me what are the virtues of the jewel and whence cometh
it?' 'It came from an enchanted treasure,' answered she, 'and has
five virtues, that will profit us in time of need. The princess
my grandmother, my father's mother, was an enchantress and
skilled in solving mysteries and winning at hidden treasures, and
from one of the latter came the jewel into her hands. When I grew
up and reached the age of fourteen, I read the Evangel and other
books and found the name of Mohammed (whom God bless and
preserve) in four books, the Evangel, the Pentateuch, the
Psalms[FN#119] and the Koran; so I believed in Mohammed and
became a Muslim, being assured that none is worship-worth save
God the Most High and that to the Lord of all creatures no faith
is acceptable save that of Submission. When my grandmother fell
sick, she gave me the jewel and taught me its virtues. Moreover,
before she died, my father said to her, 'Draw me a geomantic
figure and see the issue of my affair and what will befall me.'
And she foretold him that he should die by the hand of a captive
from Alexandria. So he swore to kill every captive from that
place and told the captain of this, saying, "Do thou fall on the
ships of the Muslims and seize them and whomsoever thou findest
of Alexandria, kill him or bring him to me." The captain did his
bidding and he slew as many in number as the hairs of his head.
Then my grandmother died and I took a geomantic tablet, being
minded to now who I should marry, and drawing a figure, found
that none should be my husband save one called Alaeddin Abou esh
Shamat, the Trusty and Well-beloved. At this I marvelled and
waited till the times were accomplished and I foregathered with
thee.' So Alaeddin took her to wife and said to her, 'I desire to
return to my own country.' 'If it be so,' replied she, 'come with
me.' Then she carried him into the palace and hiding him in a
closet there, went in to her father, who said to her, 'O my
daughter, my heart is exceeding heavy to-day; let us sit down and
make merry with wine, thou and I.' So he called for a table of
wine, and she sat down with him and plied him with wine, till he
lost his wits, when she drugged a cup with henbane, and he drank
it off and fell backward. Then she brought Alaeddin out of the
closet and said to him, 'Come; thine enemy is laid prostrate, for
I made him drunk and drugged him; so do thou with him as thou
wilt.' Accordingly Alaeddin went to the King and finding him
lying drugged and helpless, bound him fast, hand and foot. Then
he gave him the counter-drug and he came to himself and finding
his daughter and Alaeddin sitting on his breast, said to her, 'O
my daughter, dost thou deal thus with me?' 'If I be indeed thy
daughter,' answered she, 'become a Muslim, even as I have done;
for the truth was shown to me, and I embraced it, and the false,
and I renounced it. I have submitted myself unto God, the Lord of
all creatures, and am pure of all faiths contrary to that of
Islam in this world and the next. Wherefore, if thou wilt become
a Muslim, well and good; if not, thy death were better than thy
life.' Alaeddin also exhorted him to embrace the true faith; but
he refused and was obstinate: so Alaeddin took a dagger and cut
his throat from ear to ear. Then he wrote a scroll, setting forth
what had happened and laid it on the dead man's forehead, after
which they took what was light of weight and heavy of worth and
returned to the church. Here the princess took out the jewel and
rubbed the face whereon was figured a couch, whereupon a couch
appeared before her and she mounted upon it with Alaeddin and
Zubeideh, saying, 'O couch, I conjure thee by the virtue of the
names and talismans and characters of art engraven on this jewel,
rise up with us!' And it rose with them into the air and flew,
till I came to a desert valley, when the princess turned the face
on which the couch was figured towards the earth, and it sank
with them to the ground. Then she turned up the face whereon was
figured a pavilion and tapping it, said, 'Let a pavilion be
pitched in this valley.' And immediately there appeared a
pavilion, in which they seated themselves. Now this valley was a
desert waste, without grass or water; so she turned a third face
of the jewel towards the sky and said, 'By the virtue of the
names of God, let trees spring up here and a river run beside
them!' And immediately trees sprang up and a river ran rippling
and splashing beside them. They made their ablutions and prayed
and drank of the stream; after which the princess turned up a
fourth face of the jewel, on which was figured a table of food,
and said, 'By the virtue of the names of God, let the table be
spread!' And immediately there appeared before them a table,
spread with all manner rich meats, and they ate and drank and
made merry.

Meanwhile, the King's son went in to waken his father, but found
him slain and seeing the scroll, took it and read. Then he sought
his sister and finding her not, betook himself to the old woman
in the church, of whom he enquired of her, but she said, 'I have
not seen her since yesterday.' So he returned to the troops and
cried out, saying, 'To horse, cavaliers!' Then he told them what
had happened, and they mounted and rode after the fugitives, till
they drew near the pavilion. Presently, Husn Meryem looked up and
saw a cloud of dust, which spread till it covered the prospect,
then lifted and discovered her brother and his troops, crying
aloud and saying, 'Whither will ye fly, and we on your track!'
Then said she to Alaeddin, 'Art thou steadfast in battle?' 'Even
as the stake in bran,' answered he; 'I know not war nor battle,
neither swords nor spears.' So she pulled out the jewel and
rubbed the fifth face, that on which were depictured a horse and
his rider, and straightway a horseman appear out of the desert
and driving at the pursuing host, ceased not to do battle with
them and smite them with the sword, till he routed them and put
them to flight. Then said the princess to Alaeddin, 'Wilt thou go
to Cairo or to Alexandria?' And he answered, 'To Alexandria.'
So they mounted the couch and she pronounced over it the
conjuration, whereupon it set off with them and brought them to
Alexandria in the twinkling of an eye. They alighted without the
city and Alaeddin hid the women in a cavern, whilst he went into
Alexandria and fetched them veils and outer clothing, wherewith
he covered them. Then he carried them to his ship and leaving
them in the room behind it, went forth to fetch them the morning
meal, when he met Ahmed ed Denef coming from Baghdad. He saw him
in the street and received him with open arms, embracing him and
welcoming him. Ed Denef gave him the good news of his son Aslan
and how he was now come to the age of twenty; and Alaeddin, in
his turn, told the captain of the guard all that had befallen
him, whereat he marvelled exceedingly. Then he brought him to his
lodging, where they passed the night; and next day he sold his
shop and laid its price with his other monies. Now Ed Denef had
told him that the Khalif sought him; but he said, 'I am bound
first for Cairo, to salute my father and mother and the people of
my house.' So they all mounted the couch and it carried them to
Cairo the Happy, where they alighted in the street called Yellow,
where stood Shemseddin's house. Alaeddin knocked at the door, and
his mother said, 'Who is at the door, now that we have lost our
beloved?' 'It is I, Alaeddin,' replied he; whereupon they came
down and embraced him. Then he sent his wives and baggage into
the house and entering himself with Ahmed ed Denef, rested there
three days, after which he was minded to set out for Baghdad and
his father said, 'O my son, abide with me.' But he answered, 'I
cannot brook to be parted from my son Aslan.' So he took his
father and mother and set out for Baghdad. When they came
thither, Ahmed ed Denef went in to the Khalif and gave him the
glad tidings of Alaeddin's arrival and told him his story;
whereupon the Prince went forth to meet him, accompanied by his
son Aslan, and they met and embraced each other. Then the Khalif
sent for Ahmed Kemakim and said to Alaeddin, 'Up and avenge thee
of thine enemy!' So he drew his sword and smote off Ahmed's head.
Then the Khalif held festival for Alaeddin and summoning the
Cadis and the witnesses, married him to the princess Husn Meryem;
and he went in to her and found her an unpierced pearl. Moreover,
the Khalif made Aslan Chief of the Sixty and bestowed upon him
and his father sumptuous dresses of honour; and they abode in the
enjoyment of all the comforts and pleasures of life, till there
came to them the Destroyer of Delights and the Sunderer of
Companies.



           HATIM ET TAÏ: HIS GENEROSITY AFTER DEATH.



It is told of Hatim et Taï[FN#120], that when he died, they
buried him on the top of a mountain and set over his grave two
boughs hewn out of two rocks and stone figures of women with
dishevelled hair. At the foot of the hill was a stream of running
water, and when wayfarers camped there, they heard loud crying in
the night, from dark till daybreak; but when they arose in the
morning, they found nothing but the girls carved in stone. Now
when Dhoulkeraa, King of Himyer, going forth of his tribe, came
to the valley, he halted to pass the night there and drawing near
the mountain, heard the crying and said, 'What lamenting is that
on yonder hill?' They answered him, saying, 'This is the tomb of
Hatim et Taï, over which are two troughs of stone and stone
figures of girls with dishevelled hair; and all who camp in this
place by night hear this crying and lamenting.' So he said
jestingly, 'O Hatim et Taï, we are thy guests this night, and we
are lank with hunger.' Then sleep overcame him, but presently he
awoke in affright and cried out, saying, 'Help, O Arabs! Look at
my beast!' So they came to him and finding his she-camel
struggling in the death-agony, slaughtered it and roasted its
flesh and ate. Then they asked him what had happened and he said,
'When I closed my eyes, I saw in my sleep Hatim et Taï, who came
to me with a sword in his hand and said to me, "Thou comest to us
and we have nothing by us." Then he smote my she-camel with his
sword, and she would have died, though ye had not come to her and
cut her throat.' Next morning the prince mounted the beast of one
of his companions and taking the latter up behind him, set out
and fared on till midday, when they saw a man coming towards
them, mounted on a camel and leading another, and said to him,
'Who art thou?' 'I am Adi, son of Hatim et Taï,' answered he.
'Where is Dhoulkeraa, prince of Himyer?' 'This is he,' replied
they, and he said to the prince, 'Take this camel in place of
thine own, which my father slaughtered for thee.' 'Who told thee
of this?' asked Dhoulkeraa, and Adi answered, 'My father appeared
to me in a dream last night and said to me, "Harkye, Adi;
Dhoulkeraa, King of Himyer, sought hospitality of me and I,
having nought to give him, slaughtered him his she-camel, that he
might eat: so do thou carry him a she-camel to ride, for I have
nothing."' And Dhoulkeraa took her, marvelling at the generosity
of Hatim et Taï, alive and dead.



              MAAN BEN ZAÏDEH AND THE THREE GIRLS.



It is told of Maan ben Zaïdeh[FN#121] that, being out one day
a-hunting, he became athirst and would have drunk, but his men
had no water with them. Presently, he met three damsels, bearing
three skins of water; so he begged drink of them, and they gave
him to drink. Then he sought of his men somewhat to give the
damsels; but they had no money; so he gave each girl ten
golden-headed arrows from his quiver. Whereupon quoth one of them
to her mates, 'Harkye! These fashions pertain to none but Maan
ben Zaïdeh; so let each of us recite somewhat of verse in his
praise.' Then said the first:


He heads his shafts with gold and shooting at his foes, Dispenses
     thus largesse and bounties far and wide,
Giving the wounded man wherewith to get him cure And
     grave-clothes unto him must in the tombs abide.

And the second:

A warrior, for the great excess of his magnificence, both friends
     and foes enjoy the goods his liberal hands dispense.
His arrowheads are forged of gold, that so his very wars May not
     estop his generous soul from its munificence.

And the third:

With arrows he shoots at his foes, of his generosity, Whose heads
     are fashioned and forged of virgin gold, in steel's room;
That those whom he wounds may spend the price of the gold for
     their cure And those that are slain of his shafts may buy
     them the wede of the tomb.



                MAAN BEN ZAÏDEH AND THE BEDOUIN.



It is told also of Maan ben Zaïdeh that he went forth one day to
the chase with his company, and they came upon a herd of
gazelles. So they separated in pursuit of them and Maan was left
alone in chase of one of the gazelles. When he had made prize of
it, he alighted and slaughtered it; and as he was thus engaged,
he espied a man coming towards him on an ass. So he remounted and
riding up to the new-comer, saluted him and asked him whence he
came. Quoth he, 'I come from the land of Cuzaäh, where we have
had a two years' dearth; but this year it was a season of plenty
and I sowed cucumbers. They came up before their time, so I
gathered the best of them and set out to carry them to the Amir
Maan ben Zaïdeh, because of his well-known generosity and
notorious munificence.' 'How much cost thou hope to get of him?'
asked Maan, and the Bedouin answered, 'A thousand diners.' 'What
if he say, "This is too much"?' quoth Maan. 'Then I will ask five
hundred diners,' said the Bedouin. 'And if he say, "Too much"?'
said Maan. 'Then three hundred,' replied the other. 'And if he
say yet, "Too much"?' 'Then two hundred.' 'And yet, "Too much"?'
'Then one hundred.' 'And yet, "Too much"?' 'Then fifty.' 'And
yet, "Too much"?' 'Then thirty.' 'And if he still say, "Too
much"?' said Maan ben Zaïdeh. 'Then,' answered the Bedouin, 'I
will make my ass set his feet in his sanctuary[FN#122] and return
to my people, disappointed and empty-handed.' Maan laughed at him
and spurring his horse, rode on till he came up with his suite
and returned home, when he said to his chamberlain, 'If there
come a man with cucumbers, riding on an ass, admit him.'
Presently up came the Bedouin and was admitted to Maan's
presence, but knew him not for the man he had met in the desert,
by reason of the gravity and majesty of his aspect and the
multitude of his servants and attendants, for he was seated on
his chair of estate, with his officers about him. So he saluted
him and Maan said to him, 'O brother of the Arabs, what brings
thee?' 'I hoped in the Amir,' answered the Bedouin, 'and have
brought him cucumbers out of season.' 'And how much cost thou
expect of us?' asked Maan. 'A thousand diners,' answered the
Bedouin. 'Too much,' said Maan. Quoth the Bedouin, 'Five
hundred;' but Maan repeated, 'Too much.' 'Then three hundred,'
said the Bedouin. 'Too much,' said Maan. 'Two hundred.' 'Too
much' 'One hundred.' 'Too much' 'Fifty.' 'Too much.' At last the
Bedouin came down to thirty diners; but Maan still replied, 'Too
much.' 'By Allah,' cried the Bedouin, 'the man I met in the
desert brought me ill luck! But I will not go lower than thirty
diners.' The Amir laughed and said nothing; whereupon the Bedouin
knew that it was he whom he had met and said, 'O my lord, except
thou bring the thirty diners, there is the ass tied ready at the
door and here sits Maan.' At this, Maan laughed, till he fell
backward, and calling his steward, said to him, 'Give him a
thousand diners and five hundred and three hundred and two
hundred and one hundred and fifty and thirty and leave the ass
where he is.' So the Bedouin, to his amazement, received two
thousand and nine score diners, and may God have mercy on them
both!



                      THE CITY OF LEBTAIT.



There was once a city in the land of the Franks, called the City
of Lebtait.[FN#123] It was a royal city and in it stood a tower
which was always shut. Whenever a King died and another King of
the Franks took the Kingship after him, he set a new and strong
lock on the tower, till there were four-and-twenty locks upon
the gate. After this time, there came to the throne a man who was
not of the old royal house, and he had a mind to open the locks,
that he might see what was within the tower. The grandees of his
kingdom forbade him from this and were instant with him to
desist, offering him all that their hands possessed of riches and
things of price, if he would but forego his desire; but he would
not be baulked and said, 'Needs must I open this tower.' So he
did off the locks and entering, found within figures of Arabs on
their horses and camels, covered with turbans with hanging ends,
girt with swords and bearing long lances in their hands. He found
there also a scroll, with these words written therein: 'Whenas
this door is opened, a people of the Arabs, after the likeness of
the figures here depictured, will conquer this country; wherefore
beware, beware of opening it.' Now this city was in Spain, and
that very year Tarik ibn Ziyad conquered it, in the Khalifate of
Welid ben Abdulmelik[FN#124] of the sons of Umeyyeh, slaying this
King after the sorriest fashion and sacking the city and making
prisoners of the women and boys therein. Moreover, he found there
immense treasures; amongst the rest more than a hundred and
seventy crowns of pearls and rubies and other gems, and a saloon,
in which horsemen might tilt with spears, full of vessels of gold
and silver, such as no description can comprise. Moreover, he
found there also the table of food of the prophet of God, Solomon
son of David (on whom be peace), which is extant even now in a
city of the Greeks; it is told that it was of green emerald, with
vessels of gold and platters of chrysolite; likewise, the Psalms
written in the [ancient] Greek character, on leaves of gold set
with jewels, together with a book setting forth the properties of
stones and herbs and minerals, as well as the use of charms and
talismans and the canons of the art of alchemy, and another
that treated of the art of cutting and setting rubies and
other [precious] stones and of the preparation of poisons
and antidotes. There found he also a representation of the
configuration of the earth and the seas and the different towns
and countries and villages of the world and a great hall full of
hermetic powder, one drachm of which would turn a thousand
drachms of silver into fine gold; likewise a marvellous great
round mirror of mixed metals, made for Solomon son of David (on
whom be peace), wherein whoso looked might see the very image and
presentment of the seven divisions of the world, and a chamber
full of carbuncles, such as no words can suffice to set forth,
many camel-loads. So he despatched all these things to Welid ben
Abdulmelik, and the Arabs spread all over the cities of Spain,
which is one of the finest of lands. This is the end of the story
of the City of Lebtait.



             THE KHALIF HISHAM AND THE ARAB YOUTH.



The Khalif Hisham ben Abdulmelik ben Merwan was hunting one day,
when he sighted an antelope and pursued it with his dogs. As he
was following the chase, he saw an Arab youth pasturing sheep and
said to him, 'Ho, boy, up and stop yonder antelope, for it
escapeth me!' The youth raised his head and replied, 'O ignorant
of the worth of the worthy,[FN#125] thou lookest on me with
disdain and speakest to me with contempt; thy speech is that of a
tyrant and thy conduct that of an ass.' 'Out on thee,' cried
Hisham. 'Dost thou not know me?' 'Verily,' rejoined the youth,
'thine unmannerliness hath made thee known to me, in that thou
spokest to me, without beginning by the salutation."[FN#126] 'Out
on thee!' repeated the Khalif. 'I am Hisham ben Abdulmelik.' 'May
God not favour thy dwellings,' replied the Arab, 'nor guard
thine abiding-place! How many are thy words and how few thy
generosities!' Hardly had he spoken, when up came the troops from
all sides and surrounded him, saying, 'Peace be on thee, O
Commander of the Faithful!' Quoth Hisham, 'Leave this talk and
seize me yonder boy.' So they laid hands on him; and when he saw
the multitude of chamberlains and viziers and officers of state,
he was in nowise concerned and questioned not of them, but let
his chin fall on his breast and looked where his feet fell, till
they brought him to the Khalif,[FN#127] when he stood before him,
with head bowed down, and saluted him not neither spoke. So one
of the attendants said to him, 'O dog of the Arabs, what ails
thee that thou salutest not the Commander of the Faithful?' The
youth turned to him angrily and replied, 'O packsaddle of an ass,
the length of the way it was that hindered me from this and the
steepness of the steps and sweat.' Then said Hisham (and indeed
he was exceeding wroth), 'O boy, thou art come to thy last hour;
thy hope is gone from thee and thy life is past.' 'By Allah, O
Hisham,' answered the Arab, 'if the time[FN#128] be prolonged and
its cutting short be not ordained of destiny, thy words irk me
not, be they much or little.' Then said the (chief) chamberlain
to him, 'O vilest of the Arabs, what art thou to bandy words with
the Commander of the Faithful?' He answered promptly, 'Mayest
thou meet with adversity and may woe and mourning never depart
from thee! Hast thou not heard the saying of God the Most
High? "One day, every soul shall come to give an account of
itself."'[FN#129] "At this, Hisham rose, in great wrath, and
said, 'O headsman, bring me his head; for indeed he multiplies
talk, such as passes conception, and fears not reproach.' So the
headsman took him and making him kneel on the carpet of blood,
drew his sword and said to the Khalif, 'O Commander of the
Faithful, shall I smite off the head of this thy misguided slave,
who is on the way to his grave, and be quit of his blood?' 'Yes,'
replied Hisham. He repeated his question and the Khalif again
replied in the affirmative. Then he asked leave a third time, and
the youth, knowing that, if the Khalif assented yet once more, it
would be the signal of his death, laughed till his wang-teeth
appeared; at which Hisham's wrath redoubled and he said to him,
'O boy, meseems thou art mad; seest thou not that thou art about
to depart the world? Why then dost thou laugh in mockery of
thyself?' 'O Commander of the Faithful,' answered the young Arab,
'if my life is to be prolonged, none can hurt me, great or small;
but I have bethought me of some verses, which do thou hear, for
my death cannot escape thee.' 'Say on and be brief,' replied
Hisham; so the Arab repeated the following verses: A hawk once
seized a sparrow, so have I heard men say, A sparrow of the
desert, that fate to him did throw; And as the hawk was flying to
nestward with his prize, The sparrow in his clutches did thus
bespeak his foe: "There's nought in me the stomach of such as
thou to stay; Indeed, I'm all too paltry to fill thy maw, I
trow." The hawk was pleased and flattered with pride and self
conceit;   He smiled for self-contentment and let the sparrow go.
At this Hisham smiled and said, 'By my kinship to the Prophet
(whom God bless and preserve), had he spoken thus at first, I had
given him all he asked, except the Khalifate!' Then he bade his
servants stuff his mouth with jewels and entreat him courteously;
so they did as he bade them and the Arab went his way.



                  IBRAHIM BEN EL MEHDI AND THE
                        BARBER-SURGEON.



When the Khalifate fell to El Mamoun the son of Haroun er Reshid,
the latter's brother Ibrahim, son of El Mehdi, refused to
acknowledge his nephew and betook himself to Er Rei,[FN#130]
where he proclaimed himself Khalif and abode thus a year and
eleven months and twelve days.  Meanwhile Mamoun remained
awaiting his return to allegiance, till, at last, despairing of
this, he mounted with his horsemen and footmen and repaired to Er
Rei in quest of him.  When the news came to Ibrahim, he found
nothing for it but to flee to Baghdad and hide there, fearing for
his life; and Mamoun set a price of a hundred thousand dinars
upon his head.

(Quoth Ibrahim) 'Now when I heard of this price being set upon my
head, I feared for myself and knew not what to do: so I disguised
myself and went forth of my house at midday, knowing not whither
I should go.  Presently, I entered a street that had no issue and
said in myself, "Verily, we are God's and to Him we return!  I
have exposed myself to destruction.  If I retrace my steps, I
shall arouse suspicion."  Then I espied, at the upper end of the
street, a negro standing at his door; so I went up to him and
said to him, "Hast thou a place where I may abide awhile of the
day?"  "Yes," answered he, and opening the door, admitted me into
a decent house, furnished with carpets and mats and cushions of
leather.  Then he shut the door on me and went away; and I
misdoubted me he had heard of the reward offered for me and said
in myself, "He has gone to inform against me."  But, as I sat
pondering my case and boiling like the pot over the fire, my host
came back, followed by a porter loaded with meat and bread and
new cooking-pots and goblets and a new jar and other needful
gear.  He took them from the porter and dismissing him, said to
me, "I make myself thy ransom!  I am a barber-surgeon, and I know
it would mislike thee to eat with me, because of the way in which
I get my living; so do thou shift for thyself with these things
whereon no hand hath fallen."  Now I was anhungred; so I cooked
me a pot of meat, whose like I mind me not ever to have eaten;
and when I had done my desire, he  said to me, "O my lord, God
make me thy ransom!  Art thou for wine?  Indeed, it gladdens the
soul and does away care."  "I have no objection," replied I,
being desirous of his company; so he brought me new flagons of
glass, that no hand had touched, and a jar of excellent wine,
and said to me, "Mix for thyself, to thy liking."  So I cleared
the wine and mixed myself a most pleasant draught.  Then he
brought me a new cup and fruits and flowers in new vessels of
earthenware; after which he said to me, "Wilt thou give me leave
to sit apart and drink of wine of my own by myself, of my joy in
thee and for thee?"  "Do so."  answered I.  So we drank, he and
I, till the wine began to take effect upon us, when he rose and
going to a closet, took out a lute of polished wood and said to
me, "O my lord, it is not for the like of me to ask thee to sing,
but it behoves thine exceeding generosity to render my respect
its due; so, an thou see fit to honour thy slave, thine is the
august decision."  Quoth I (and indeed I thought not that he knew
me), "How knowest thou that I excel in song?"  "Glory be to God!"
answered he.  "Our lord is too well renowned for that![FN#131]
Thou art my lord Ibrahim, son of El Mehdi, our Khalif of
yesterday, he on whose head Mamoun hath set a price of a hundred
thousand dinars: but thou art in safety with me."  When I heard
him say this, he was magnified in my eyes and his loyalty was
certified to me; so I complied with his wish and took the lute
and tuned it.  Then I bethought me of my severance from my
children and my family and sang the following verses:

It may be that He, who restored his folk to Joseph of old And
     raised him to high estate from the prison where in bonds he
     lay,
Will hear our prayer and unite us; for Allah, the Lord of the
     worlds, All-powerful is, and His puissance knows neither let
     nor stay.

When the barber heard this, exceeding delight took possession of
him and he was of great good cheer; (for it is said that when
Ibrahim's neighbours heard him [but] say, "Ho, boy, saddle the
mule!"  they were filled with delight).  Then, being overborne by
mirth, he said to me (continues Ibrahim), "O my lord, wilt thou
give me leave to say what is come to my mind, for all I am not of
the folk of the craft?"  "Do so," answered I; "this is of thy
great courtesy and kindness."  So he took the lute and sang the
following verses:

Unto our loved ones we made our moan of our nights so long and
     drear; And lo, "How short is the night with us!" quoth they
     we hold so dear.
This is because quick-coming sleep closes their happy eyes, But
     slumber comes not to close our lids, that burn with many a
     tear.
When the night approaches, the night so dread and drear to those
     that love, We are oppressed with grief; but they rejoice,
     when the night draws near.
Had they but drunken our bitter cup and suffered of our dole,
     Then were their nights as ours, as long and full of heavy
     cheer.

"Thou hast acquitted thee rarely, O my friend," said I, "and hast
done away from me the pangs of sorrow.  Let me hear more trifles
of thy fashion."  So he sang these verses:

So a man's honour be unstained and free of all impair, Lo, every
     garment that he dights on him is fit and fair.
She taunted me, because, forsooth, our numbers were but few; But
     I "The noble," answer made, "are ever few and rare."
It irks us nought that we are few and eke our neighbour great,
     For all the neighbours of most folk are scant and mean
     elsewhere;
For we're a folk, that deem not death an evil nor reproach,
     Albeit Aamir and Seloul so deem, of their despair.
The love of death that is in us brings near our ends to us, But
     theirs, who loathe and rail at it, are long and far to fare.
We, an it like us, give the lie to others of their speech; But,
     when we speak, no man on earth to gainsay us doth dare.

When I heard this, I was filled with delight and marvelled
exceedingly.  Then I slept and awoke not till past nightfall,
when I washed my face, with a mind full of the high worth of this
barber-surgeon; after which I aroused him and taking out a purse
I had with me, containing a considerable sum of money, threw it
to him, saying, "I commend thee to God, for I am about to go
forth from thee, and beg thee to spend what is in this purse on
thine occasions; and thou shalt have an abounding reward of me,
when I am quit of my fear."  But he returned it to me, saying, "O
my lord, poor wretches like myself are of no value in thine eyes;
but how, for mine own dignity's sake, can I take a price for the
boon which fortune hath vouchsafed me of thy favour and company?
By Allah, if thou repeat thy words and throw the purse to me
again, I will kill myself."  So I put the purse in my sleeve (and
indeed its weight was irksome to me) and would have gone away;
but when I came to the door of the house, he said to me, "O my
lord, this is a safer hiding-place for thee than another, and thy
keep is no burden to me; so do thou abide with me, till God grant
thee relief."  So I turned back, saying, "On condition that thou
spend of the money in this purse."  He let me believe that he
consented to this, and I abode with him some days in the utmost
comfort; but, perceiving that he spent none of the contents of
the purse, I revolted at the idea of abiding at his charge and
thought shame to be a burden on him; so I disguised myself in
women's apparel, donning walking-boots and veil, and left his
house.

When I found myself in the street, I was seized with excessive
fear, and going to pass the bridge, came to a place sprinkled
with water, where a trooper, who had been in my service, saw me
and knowing me, cried out, saying, "This is he whom Mamoun
seeks!"  Then he laid hold of me, but the love of life lent me
strength and I gave him a push, which threw him and his horse
down in that slippery place, so that he became an example to
those who will take warning and the folk hastened to him.
Meanwhile, I hurried on over the bridge and entered a street,
where I saw the door of a house open and a woman standing in the
vestibule.  So I said to her, "O my lady, have pity on me and
save my life; for I am a man in fear."  Quoth she, "Enter and
welcome;" and carried me into an upper chamber, where she spread
me a bed and brought me food, saying, "Calm thy fear, for not a
soul shall know of thee."  As she spoke, there came a loud
knocking at the door; so she went and opened, and lo, it was my
friend whom I had thrown down on the bridge, with his head bound
up, the blood running down upon his clothes and without his
horse.  "O so and so," said she, "what hath befallen thee?"
Quoth he, "I made prize of the man [whom the Khalif seeks] and he
escaped from me."  And told her the whole story.  So she brought
out tinder and applying it to his head, bound it up with a piece
of rag; after which she spread him a bed and he lay sick.  Then
she came up to me and said, "Methinks thou art the man in
question?"  "I am," answered I, and she said, "Fear not: no harm
shall befall thee," and redoubled in kindness to me.

I abode with her three days, at the end of which time she said to
me, "I am in fear for thee, lest yonder man happen upon thee and
betray thee to what thou dreadest; so save thyself by flight."  I
besought her to let me tarry till nightfall, and she said, "There
is no harm in that."  So, when the night came, I put on my
woman's attire and taking leave of her, betook me to the house of
a freed woman, who had once been mine.  When she saw me, she wept
and made a show of affliction and praised God the Most High for
my safety.  Then she went forth, as if she would go to the
market, in the interests of hospitality, and I thought no harm;
but, ere long, I espied Ibrahim el Mausili[FN#132] making for the
house, with his servants and troopers, led by a woman whom I
knew for the mistress of the house.  She brought them to my
hiding-place and delivered me into their hands, and I saw death
face to face.  They carried me, in my woman's attire, to Mamoun,
who called a general council and let bring me before him.  When I
entered I saluted him by the title of Khalif, saying, "Peace be
on thee, O Commander of the Faithful!"  and he replied, "May God
neither give thee peace nor bless thee!"  "At thy leisure, O
Commander of the Faithful!"  rejoined I.  "It is for him in whose
hand is revenge[FN#133] to decree retaliation or forgiveness; but
forgiveness is nigher to the fear of God, and God hath set thy
forgiveness above all other, even as He hath made my sin to excel
all other sin.  So, if thou punish, it is of thy right, and if
thou pardon, it is of thy bounty."  And I repeated the following
verses:

Great is my sin, in sooth, 'gainst thee, But thou art greater
     still, perdie.
So take thy due of me, or else Remit it of thy clemency.
If of the noble I've not been Indeed, yet do thou of them be.

At this he raised his head to me and I hastened to add these
verses:

Indeed, I've offended full sore, But thou art disposed to
     forgive.
'Twere justice to punish my crime And grace to allow me to live.

Then he bowed his head and repeated the following verses:

Whenas a friend against me doth grievously offend And maketh me
     with anger to choke, yet in the end,
I pardon his offending and take him back again Into my favour,
     fearing to live without a friend.

When I heard this, I scented the odour of mercy, knowing his
disposition to clemency.  Then he turned to his son El Abbas and
his brother Abou Ishac and other his chief officers there
present and said to them, "What deem ye of his case!"  They all
counselled him to slay me, but differed as to the manner of my
death.  Then said he to Ahmed ibn Ali Khalid,[FN#134] "And what
sayst thou, O Ahmed?"  "O Commander of the Faithful," answered
he, "if thou put him to death, we find thy like who hath slain
the like of him; but, if thou pardon him, we find not the like of
thee that hath pardoned the like of him."  At this Mamoun bowed
his head and repeated the following verse:

The people of my tribe, they have my brother slain; But, an I
     shoot, my shaft reverts to me again.

And also these:

Use not thy brother with despite, Although he mingle wrong with
     right,
And still be kind to him, all be With thanklessness he thee
     requite;
And if he go astray and err One day, revile thou not the wight.
Seest not that loved and loathed at once In every way of life
     unite?
That by the annoy of hoary hairs Embittered is long life's
     delight,
And that the bristling thorns beset The branch with pleasant
     fruits bedight?
Who is it doth good deeds alone And who hath never wrought
     unright?
Prove but the age's sons, thou'lt find The most have fallen from
     the light.

When I heard this, I uncovered my head and cried out, saying,
"God is most great!  By Allah, the Commander of the Faithful
pardons me!"  Quoth he, "No harm shall come to thee, O uncle."
And I, "O Commander of the Faithful, my offence is too great for
me to attempt to extenuate it and thy pardon is too great for me
to speak a word of thanks for it."  And I chanted the following
verses:


Sure, He, who made the virtues all, stored them in Adam's loins
     For His high-priest, the seventh prince of Abbas' royal
     seed!
The hearts of all the folk are filled with reverence for thee,
     And thou, with meek and humble heart, dost keep them all and
     lead.
Error-deluded as I was, against thee I rebelled, Intent on
     covetise alone and base ambitious greed;
Yet hast thou pardon giv'n to one, the like of whom before Was
     never pardoned, though for him no one with thee did plead,
And on a mother's bleeding heart hadst ruth and little ones, Like
     to the desert-grouse's young, didst pity in their need.

Quoth Mamoun, "I say, like our lord Joseph (on whom and on our
Prophet be peace and blessing), 'There shall be no reproach on
thee this day.  God will forgive thee, for He is the Most
Merciful of the Merciful ones.'[FN#135] Indeed, I pardon thee, O
uncle, and restore thee thy goods and lands, and no harm shall
befall thee."  So I offered up devout prayers for him and
repeated the following verses:

My wealth thou hast given me again and hast not begrudged it to
     me; Yea, and to boot, before this, my life and my blood thou
     didst spare.
So if, thine approval to win, I lavish my blood and my wealth And
     e'en to the shoe off my foot, in thy service, I strip myself
     bare,
'Twere but the restoring to thee of the loans that I owe to thy
     grace Which none might reproach thee nor blame, I trow,
     hadst thou chos'n to forbear.
Ungrateful henceforth if I prove for the favours vouchsafed me by
     thee, Still worthier of blame than thyself of honour and
     reverence I were.

Then Mamoun showed me honour and favour and said to me, "O uncle,
Abou Ishac and Abbas counselled me to put thee to death."  "And
they counselled thee right loyally, O Commander of the Faithful,"
answered I; "but thou hast done after thine own nature and hast
put away what I feared with what I hoped."  "O uncle," rejoined
he, "thou didst extinguish my rancour with the humbleness of
thine excuse, and I pardon thee without making thee drink the
bitterness of obligation to intercessors."  Then he prostrated
himself in prayer a long while, after which he raised his head
and said to me, "O uncle, knowest thou why I prostrated myself?"
"Haply," answered I, "thou didst this in thanksgiving to God, for
that He hath given thee the mastery over thine enemy."  "Not so,"
rejoined he, "but to thank Him for having inspired me to pardon
thee and purified my mind towards thee.  Now tell me thy story."
So I told him all that had befallen me and he sent for the
freed-woman, who was in her house, expecting the reward.  When
she came, he said to her, "What moved thee to deal thus with thy
lord?"  And she answered, "Lust of money."  "Hast thou a child or
a husband?"  asked the Khalif; and she said, "No."  So he bade
give her a hundred blows with a whip and imprisoned her for life.
Then he sent for the soldier and his wife and the barber-surgeon
and asked the former what had moved him to do thus.  "Lust of
money," answered he; whereupon quoth the Khalif, "It befits that
thou be a  barber-surgeon,"[FN#136] and committed him to one whom
he charged to place him in a barber's shop, where he might learn
the craft.  But his wife he entreated with honour and lodged in
his palace, saying, "This is a woman of sense and apt for matters
of moment."  Then said he to the barber-surgeon, "Verily, what
has come to light of thy worth and generosity calls for
extraordinary honour."  So he commanded the trooper's house and
all that was therein to be given him and bestowed on him a dress
of honour and fifteen thousand dinars.'



                       THE CITY OF IREM.



It is related that Abdallah ben Abou Kilabeh went forth in quest
of a camel that had strayed from him; and as he was wandering in
the deserts of Yemen and Sebaa, he came upon a great city in
whose midst was a vast citadel compassed about with pavilions,
that rose high into the air. He made for the place, thinking to
find there inhabitants, of whom he might enquire concerning his
camel; but, when he reached it, he found it deserted, without a
living soul in it. So (quoth Abdallah), 'I alighted and hobbling
my she-camel, took courage and entered the city. When I came to
the citadel, I found it had two vast gates, never in the world
was seen their like for size and loftiness, inlaid with all
manner jewels and jacinths, white and red and yellow and green.
At this I marvelled greatly and entering the citadel, trembling
and dazed with wonder and affright, found it long and wide, as it
were a city[FN#137] for bigness; and therein were lofty storied
pavilions, builded of gold and silver and inlaid with many-
coloured jewels and jacinths and chrysolites and pearls. The
leaves of their doors were even as those of the citadel for
beauty and their floors strewn with great pearls and balls, as
they were hazel-nuts, of musk and ambergris and saffron. When I
came within the city and saw no human being therein, I had nigh-
well swooned and died for fear. Moreover, I looked down from the
summit of the towers and balconies and saw rivers running under
them; in the streets were fruit-laden trees and tall palms, and
the manner of the building of the city was one brick of gold and
one of silver. So I said to myself, "Doubtless this is the
Paradise promised for the world to come." Then I took of the
jewels of its gravel and the musk of its dust as much as I could
bear and returned to my own country, where I told the folk what I
had seen.

After awhile, the news reached Muawiyeh ben Abou Sufyan, who was
then Khalif in the Hejaz; so he wrote to his lieutenant in Senaa
of Yemen to send for the teller of the story and question him of
the truth of the case. Accordingly the lieutenant sent for me and
questioned me, and I told him what I had seen; whereupon he
despatched me to Muawiyeh, to whom I repeated my story; but he
would not credit it. So I brought out to him some of the pearls
and balls of musk and ambergris and saffron, in which latter
there was still some sweet smell; but the pearls were grown
yellow and discoloured. The Khalif wondered at this and sending
for Kaab el Ahbar,[FN#138], said to him, "O Kaab el Ahbar, I have
sent for thee to learn the truth of a certain matter and hope
that thou wilt be able to certify me thereanent." "What is it, O
Commander of the Faithful?" asked Kaab, and Muawiyeh said,
"Wottest thou of a city builded of gold and silver, the pillars
whereof are of rubies and chrysolites and its gravel pearls and
balls of musk and ambergris and saffron?" "Yes, O Commander of
the Faithful," answered Kaab. "It is Irem of the Columns, the
like of which was never made in the lands,'[FN#139] and it was
Sheddad son of Aad the Great that built it." Quoth the Khalif,
"Tell us of its history," and Kaab said, "Aad the Great had two
sons, Shedid and Sheddad. When their father died, they ruled in
his stead, and there was no king of the kings of the earth but
was subject to them. After awhile Shedid died and his brother
Sheddad reigned over the earth alone. Now he was fond of reading
in old books, and happening upon the description of the world to
come and of Paradise, with its pavilions and galleries and trees
and fruits and so forth, his soul moved him to build the like
thereof in this world, after the fashion aforesaid.[FN#140] Now
under his hand were a hundred thousand kings, each ruling over a
hundred thousand captains, commanding each a hundred thousand
warriors; so he called these all before him and said to them, 'I
find in old books and histories a description of Paradise, as it
is to be in the next world, and I desire to build its like in
this world. Go ye forth therefore to the goodliest and most
spacious tract in the world and build me there a city of gold and
silver, whose gravel shall be rubies and chrysolites and pearls
and the columns of its vaults beryl. Fill it with palaces,
whereon ye shall set galleries and balconies, and plant its lanes
and thoroughfares with all manner of trees bearing ripe fruits
and make rivers to run through it in channels of gold and
silver.' 'How can we avail to do this thing,' answered they, 'and
whence shall we get the chrysolites and rubies and pearls whereof
thou speakest?' Quoth he, 'Know ye not that all the kings of the
word are under my hand and that none that is therein dare gainsay
my commandment?' 'Yes,' answered they; 'we know that.' 'Get ye
then,' rejoined he, 'to the mines of chrysolites and rubies and
gold and silver and to the pearl-fisheries and gather together
all that is in the world of jewels and metals of price and leave
nought; and take also for me such of these things as be in men's
hands and let nothing escape you: be diligent and beware of
disobedience.'

Then he wrote letters to all the [chief] kings of the world (now
the number of kings then reigning [in chief] over the earth was
three hundred and threescore kings) and bade them gather together
all of these things that were in their subjects' hands and get
them to the mines of precious stones and metals and bring forth
all that was therein, even from the abysses of the seas. This
they accomplished in the space of twenty years, and Sheddad then
assembled from all lands and countries builders and men of art
and labourers and handicraftsmen, who dispersed over the world
and explored all the wastes and deserts thereof, till they came
to a vast and fair open plain, clear of hills and mountains, with
springs welling and rivers running, and said, 'This is even such
a place as the King commanded us to find.' So they busied
themselves in building the city even as Sheddad, King of the
whole earth in its length and breadth, had commanded them, laying
the foundations and leading the rivers therethrough in channels
after the prescribed fashion. Moreover, all the Kings of the
earth sent thither jewels and precious stones and pearls large
and small and cornelian and gold and silver upon camels by land
and in great ships over the waters, and there came to the
builders' hands of all these things so great a quantity as may
neither be told or imagined. They laboured at the work three
hundred years; and when they had wrought it to end, they went to
King Sheddad and acquainted him therewith. Then said he, 'Depart
and make thereto an impregnable citadel, rising high into the
air, and round it a thousand pavilions, each builded on a
thousand columns of chrysolite and ruby and vaulted with gold,
that in each pavilion may dwell a Vizier.' So they returned and
did this in other twenty years; after which they again presented
themselves before the King and informed him of the accomplishment
of his will. Then he commanded his Viziers, who were a thousand
in number, and his chief officers and such of his troops and
others as he put trust in, to prepare for departure and removal
to Many-Columned Irem, at the stirrup of Sheddad son of Aad, king
of the world; and he bade also such as he would of his women and
of his female slaves and eunuchs make them ready for the journey.
They spent twenty years preparing for departure, at the end of
which time Sheddad set out with his host, rejoicing in the
attainment of his wish, and fared forward till there remained but
one day's journey between him and Item. Then God sent down on him
and on the stubborn unbelievers with him a thunderblast from the
heavens of His power, which destroyed them all with a mighty
clamour, and neither he nor any of his company set eyes on the
city. Moreover, God blotted out the road that led to the city,
and it stands unchanged, in its stead, until the Resurrection
Day."

Muawiyeh wondered greatly ad Kaab's story and said to him, "Hath
any mortal ever made his way to the city?" "Yes," answered Kaab;
"one of the companions of Mohammed (on whom be peace and
salvation) reached it, doubtless after the same fashion as this
man who sits here." And (quoth Es Shaabi) it is related, on the
authority of learned men of Himyer of Yemen, that Sheddad was
succeeded in his kingship by his son Sheddad the Less, whom he
left his viceregent in Hezremout and Sebaa, when he set out for
Irem. When he heard of his father's death on the road, he caused
his body to be brought back to Hezremout and let hew him out a
sepulchre in a cavern, where he laid the body on a throne of gold
and threw over it threescore and ten robes of cloth of gold,
embroidered with precious stones; and at his head he set up a
tablet of gold, on which were graven the following verses:

Take warning, thou that by long life Art duped and thinkst to
     live alway.
I'm Sheddad son of Aad, a high And mighty monarch in my day;
Lord of the columned citadel, Great was my prowess in the fray.
All the world's peoples feared my might And did my ordinance
     obey;
Yes, and I held the East and West And ruled them with an iron
     sway.
One[FN#141] came to us with God's command And summoned us to the
     right way
"Is there no 'scaping from this thing?" Quoth we and did his word
     gainsay.
Then on us fell a thunderblast From out the heaven far away,
And like the sheaves in reaping-time Midmost a field, o'erthrown
     we lay.
And now beneath the storied plains Of earth we wait the appointed
     Day.

(Quoth Eth Thaalibi also) It chanced that two men once entered
this cavern and found at its upper end a stair; so they descended
and came to an underground chamber, a hundred cubits long by
forth wide and a hundred high. In the midst stood a throne of
gold, whereon lay a man of gigantic stature, filling the whole
length and breadth of the throne. He was covered with jewelry and
raiment gold and silver wrought, and at his head was a tablet of
gold, bearing an inscription. So they took the tablet and bore it
off, together with as many bars of gold and silver and so forth
as they could away with.



          ISAAC OF MOSUL'S STORY OF THE LADY KHEDIJEH
                     AND THE KHALIF MAMOUN



(Quoth Isaac of Mosul[FN#142]) 'I went out one night from
Mamoun's presence, on my way to my house, and being taken with a
need to make water, I turned aside into a by-street and stood up
against a wall, fearing lest something might hurt me, if I
squatted down. Presently, I espied something hanging down from
one of the houses and feeling it, found that it was a great four-
handled basket, covered with brocade. "There must be some reason
for this," said I to myself and knew not what to think, then
drunkenness led me to seat myself in the basket, whereupon the
people of the house pulled me up, supposing me to be he whom they
expected. When I came to the top of the wall, I found four
damsels, who said to me, "Descend and welcome!" Then one of them
went before me with a flambeau and brought me down into a
mansion, wherein were furnished sitting-chambers, whose like I
had never seen, save in the Khalif's palace. So I sat down and
after awhile, the curtains were drawn from one side of the room
and in came damsels bearing lighted flambeaux and censers full of
Sumatran aloes-wood, and amongst them a young lady as she were
the rising full moon. I rose and she said, "Welcome to thee for a
visitor!" Then she made me sit down again and asked how I came
thither. Quoth I, "I was returning home from a friend's house and
went astray in the dark; then, being taken with an urgent
occasion, I turned aside into this street, where I found a basket
let down. The wine which I had drunk led me to seat myself in it
and it was drawn up with me into this house." "No harm shall
befall thee," rejoined she, "and I hope thou wilt have cause to
praise the issue of thine adventure. But what is thy condition?"
"I am a merchant in the Baghdad bazaar," replied I, and she,
"Canst thou repeat any verses?" "Some small matter," answered I.
"Then," said she, "let us hear some of them." But I said, "A
visitor is [naturally] bashful; do thou begin." "True," answered
she and recited some of the choicest verses of the poets, past
and present, so that I knew not whether more to marvel at her
beauty and grace or at the charm of her diction. Then said she,
"Is thy bashfulness gone?" "Yes, by Allah!" answered I. "Then, if
thou wilt," rejoined she, "recite us somewhat." So I repeated to
her a number of poems by old writers, and she applauded, saying,
"By Allah I did not look to find such culture among the trader
folk!"

Then she called for food and fell to taking of it and setting it
before me; and the place was full of all manner sweet-scented
flowers and rare fruits, such as are found only in kings' houses.
Presently, she called for wine and drank a cup, after which she
filled another and gave it to me, saying, "Now is the time for
converse and story-telling." So I bethought myself and related to
her a number of pleasing stories and anecdotes, with which she
was delighted and said, "It is wonderful that a merchant should
have such store of tales like unto these, for they are fit for
kings." Quoth I, "I have a neighbour who uses to consort with
kings and bear them company at table; so, when he is at leisure,
I visit his house and he often tells me what he has heard." "By
my life," exclaimed she, "thou hast a good memory!"

We continued to converse thus, and as often as I was silent, she
would begin, till the most part of the night was spent, whilst
the burning aloes-wood diffused its fragrance and I was in such
case as, if the Khalif had suspected it, would have made him wild
with longing for it. Then said she to me, "Verily, thou art one
of the most pleasant and accomplished of men and passing well-
bred; but there lacks one thing." "What is that?" asked I, and
she said, "If but thou knewest how to sing verses to the lute!" I
answered, "I was once passionately fond of this art, but finding
I had no gift for it, I abandoned it, thou reluctantly. Indeed, I
should love to sing somewhat well at this present and fulfil my
night's enjoyment." "Meseemeth thou hintest a wish for the lute
to be brought?" said she, and I, "It is thine to decide, if thou
wilt so far favour me, and to thee be the thanks." So she called
for a lute and sang a song, in a manner whose like I never heard,
both for sweetness of voice and perfection of style and skill in
playing, in short, for general excellence. Then said she,
"Knowest thou who made the air and words of this song?" "No,"
answered I; and she said, "The words are so and so's and the air
is Isaac's." "And hath Isaac then (may I be thy ransom!) such a
talent?" asked I. "Glory be to Isaac!" replied she. "Indeed he
excels in this art." "Glory be to Allah," exclaimed I, "who hath
given this man what He hath vouchsafed unto none other!" And she
said, "How would it be, if thou heardest this song from himself?"
Thus did we till break of day, when there came to her an old
woman, as she were her nurse, and said to her, "The time is
come." So she rose and said to me, "Keep what hath passed between
us to thyself; for meetings of this kind are in confidence." "May
I be thy ransom!" answered I. "I needed no enjoinder of this."
Then I took leave of her and she sent a damsel to open the door
to me; so I went forth and retuned to my own house, where I
prayed the morning prayer and slept.

Presently, there came to me a messenger from the Khalif; so I
went to him and passed the day in his company. When the night
came, I called to mind my yesternight's pleasure, a thing from
which none but a fool could be content to abstain, and betook
myself to the street, where I found the basket, and seating
myself therein, was drawn up to the place in which I had passed
the previous night. When the lady saw me, she said, "Indeed, thou
art assiduous," And I answered, "Meseems rather that I am
neglectful." Then we fell to conversing and passed the night as
before in talking and reciting verses and telling rare stories,
each in turn, till daybreak, when I returned home. I prayed the
morning prayer and slept, and there came to me a messenger from
Mamoun. So I went to him and spent the day with him till
nightfall, when he said to me, "I conjure thee to sit here,
whilst I go on an occasion and come back." As soon as he was
gone, my thoughts turned to the lady and calling to mind my late
delight, I recked little what might befall me from the Commander
of the Faithful. So I sprang up and going out, ran to the street
aforesaid, where I sat down in the basket and was drawn up as
before. When the lady saw me, she said, "Verily, thou art a
sincere friend to us." "Yea, by Allah!" answered I; and she said,
"Hath thou made our house thine abiding-place?" "May I be thy
ransom!" replied I. "A guest hath a right to three days'
entertainment, and if I return after this, ye are free to shed my
blood." Then we passed the night as before; and when the time of
departure drew near, I bethought me that Mamoun would certainly
question me nor be content save with a full explanation: so I
said to her, "I see thee to be of those who delight in singing.
Now I have a cousin who is handsomer than I and higher of station
and more accomplished; and he is the most intimate of all God's
creatures with Isaac." "Art thou a spunger?" asked she. "Verily,
thou art importunate." Quoth I, "It is for thee to decide;" and
she, "If thy cousin be as thou sayst, it would not displease me
to make his acquaintance."

Then I left her and returned to my house, but hardly had I
reached it, when the Khalif's messengers came down on me and
carried me before him by main force. I found him seated on a
chair, wroth with me, and he said to me, "O Isaac, art thou a
traitor to thine allegiance?" "No, by Allah, O Commander of the
Faithful!" answered I. "What hast thou then to say?" asked he.
"Tell me the truth." And I replied, "I will well; but in
private." So he signed to his attendants, who withdrew to a
distance, and I told him the case, adding, "I promised to bring
thee to visit her." And he said, "Thou didst well." Then we spent
the day in our usual pleasures, but Mamoun's heart was taken with
the lady, and hardly was the appointed time come, when we set
out. As we went along, I cautioned him, "Look that thou call me
not by my name before her; but do thou sing and I will accompany
thee." He assented to this, and we fared on till we came to the
house, where we found two baskets hanging ready. So we sat down
in them and were drawn up to the usual place, where the damsel
came forward and saluted us. When Mamoun saw her, he was amazed
at her beauty and grace; and she began to entertain him with
stories and verses. Presently, she called for wine and we fell to
drinking, she paying him especial attention and delighting in him
and he repaying her in kind. Then he took the lute and sang an
air, after which she said to me, "And is thy cousin also a
merchant?" "Yes," answered I, and she said, "Indeed, ye resemble
one another nearly." But when Mamoun had drunk three pints, he
grew merry with wine and called out saying, "Ho, Isaac!" "At thy
service, O Commander of the Faithful," answered I. Quoth he,
"Sing me such an air."

As soon as the lady knew that he was the Khalif, she withdrew to
another place, and when I had made an end of my song, Mamoun said
to me, "See who is the master of this house;" whereupon an old
woman hastened to make answer, saying, "It belongs to Hassan ben
Sehl."[FN#143] "Fetch him to me," said the Khalif. So she went
away and after awhile in came Hassan, to whom said Mamoun, "Hath
thou a daughter?" "Yes," answered he; "her name is Khedijeh." "Is
she married?" asked the Khalif. "No, by Allah!" replied Hassan.
"Then," said Mamoun, "I ask her of thee in marriage." "O
Commander of the Faithful," replied Hassan, "she is thy
handmaiden and at thy commandment." Quoth Mamoun, "I take her to
wife at a present dower of thirty thousand dinars, which thou
shalt receive this very morning; and do thou being her to us this
next night." And Hassan answered, "I hear and obey."

'Then he went out, and the Khalif said to me, "O Isaac, tell this
story to no one." So I kept it secret till Mamoun's death. Surely
never was man's life to fulfilled with delights as was mine these
four days' time, whenan I companied with Mamoun by day and with
Khedijeh by night; and by Allah, never saw I among men the like
of Mamoun, neither among women have I ever set eyes on the like
of Khedijeh, no, nor on any that came near her in wit and
understanding and pleasant speech!'



              THE SCAVENGER AND THE NOBLE LADY OF
                            BAGHDAD.



At Mecca, one day, in the season of pilgrimage, whilst the people
were making the enjoined circuits about the Holy House and the
place of compassing was crowded, a man laid hold of the covering
of the Kaabeh and cried out, from the bottom of his heart,
saying, 'I beseech Thee, O God, that she may once again be wroth
with her husband and that I may lie with her!' A company of the
pilgrims heard him and falling on him, loaded him with blows and
carried him to the governor of the pilgrims, to whom said they,
'O Amir, we found this man in the Holy Places, saying thus and
thus.' The governor commanded to hang him; but he said, 'O Amir,
I conjure thee, by the virtue of the Prophet (whom God bless and
preserve), hear my story and after do with me as thou wilt.' 'Say
on,' quoth the Amir. 'Know then, O Amir,' said the man, 'that I
am a scavenger, who works in the sheep-slaughterhouses and
carries off the blood and the offal to the rubbish-heaps.[FN#144]
One day, as I went along with my ass loaded, I saw the people
running away and one of them said to me, "Enter this alley, lest
they kill thee." Quoth I, "What ails the folk to run away?" And
he answered, "It is the eunuchs in attendance on the wife of one
of the notables, who drive the people out of her way and beat
them all, without distinction." So I turned aside with the ass
and stood, awaiting the dispersal of the crowd. Presently up came
a number of eunuchs with staves in their hands, followed by nigh
thirty women, and amongst them a lady as she were a willow-wand
or a thirsty gazelle, perfect in beauty and elegance and amorous
grace. When she came to the mouth of the passage where I stood,
she turned right and left and calling one of the eunuchs,
whispered in his ear; whereupon he came up to me and laying hold
of me, bound me with a rope and haled me along after him, whilst
another eunuch took my ass and made off with it. I knew not what
was to do and the people followed us, crying out, "This is not
allowed of God! What has this poor scavenger done that he should
be bound with ropes?" and saying to the eunuchs, "Have pity on
him and let him go, so God have pity on you!" And I the while
said in myself, "Doubtless the eunuch seized me, because his
mistress smelt the offal and it sickened her. Belike she is with
child or ailing; but there is no power and no virtue save in God
the Most High, the Supreme!" So I walked on behind them, till
they stopped at the door of a great house and entering, brought
me into a great hall, I know not how I shall describe its
goodliness, furnished with magnificent furniture. The women
withdrew to the harem, leaving me bound with the eunuch and
saying in myself, "Doubtless they will torture me here till I
die, and none know of my death." However, after a while, they
carried me into an elegant bathroom, adjoining the hall; and as I
sat there, in came three damsels, who seated themselves round me
and said to me, "Strip off thy rags." So I pulled off my
threadbare clothes, and one of them fell a-rubbing my feet,
whilst another washed my head and the third scrubbed my body.
When they had made an end of washing me, they brought me a parcel
of clothes and said to me, "Put these on." "By Allah," answered
I, "I know not how!" So they came up to me and dressed me,
laughing at me the while; after which they brought casting-
bottles, full of rose-water, and sprinkled me therewith. Then I
went out with them into another saloon, by Allah, I know not how
to set out its goodliness, for the much paintings and furniture
therein; and here I found the lady seated on a couch of Indian
cane with ivory feet and before her a number of damsels. When she
saw me, she rose and called to me; so I went up to her and she
made me sit by her side. Then she called for food, and the
damsels brought all manner rich meats, such as I never saw in all
my life; I do not even know the names of the dishes. So I ate my
fill and when the dishes had been taken away and we had washed
our hands, she called for fruits and bade me eat of them; after
which she bade one of the waiting-women bring the wine-service.
So they set on flagons of divers kinds of wine and burned
perfumes in all the censers, what while a damsel like the moon
rose and served us with wine, to the sound of the smitten
strings. We sat and drank, the lady and I, till we were warm with
wine, whilst I doubted not but that all this was an illusion of
sleep. Presently, she signed to one of the damsels to spread us a
bed in such a place, which being done, she took me by the hand
and led me thither. So I lay with her till the morning, and as
often as I pressed her in my arms, I smelt the delicious
fragrance of musk and other perfumes that exhaled from her and
could think no otherwise but that I was in Paradise or in the
mazes of a dream. When it was day, she asked me where I lodged
and I told her, "In such a place;" whereupon she gave me a
handkerchief gold and silver wrought, with somewhat tied in it,
and bade me depart, saying, "Go to the bath with this." So I
rejoiced and said to myself, "If there be but five farthings
here, it will buy me the morning meal." Then I left her, as I
were leaving Paradise, and returned to my lodging, where I opened
the handkerchief and found in it fifty dinars of gold. I buried
them in the ground and buying two farthings' worth of bread and
meat, sat down at the door and breakfasted; after which I sat
pondering my case till the time of afternoon-prayer, when a
slave-girl accosted me, saying, "My mistress calls for thee." So
I followed her to the house aforesaid and she carried me in to
the lady, before whom I kissed the earth, and she bade me sit and
called for meat and wine as on the previous day; after which I
again lay with her all night. On the morrow, she gave me a second
handkerchief, with other fifty dinars therein, and I took it and
going home, buried this also.

Thus did I eight days running, going in to her at the hour of
afternoon-prayer and leaving her at daybreak; but, on the eighth
night, as I lay with her, one of her maids came running in and
said to me, "Arise, go up into yonder closet." So I rose and went
into the closet, which was over the gate and had a window giving
upon the street in front of the house. Presently, I heard a great
clamour and tramp of horse, and looking out of the window, saw a
young man, as he were the rising moon on the night of her full,
come riding up, attended by a number of servants and soldiers. He
alighted at the door and entering, found the lady seated on the
couch in the saloon. So he kissed the earth before her, then came
up to her and kissed her hands; but she would not speak to him.
However, he ceased not to soothe her and speak her fair, till he
made his peace with her, and they lay together that night. Next
morning, the soldiers came for him and he mounted and rode away;
whereupon she came in to me and said, "Sawst thou yonder man?"
"Yes," answered I; and she said, "He is my husband, and I will
tell thee what befell me with him.

"It chanced one day that we were sitting, he and I, in the garden
within the house, when he rose from my side and was absent a long
while, till I grew tired of waiting and said to myself, 'Most
like, he is in the wardrobe.' So I went thither, but not finding
him there, went down to the kitchen, where I saw a slave-girl, of
whom I enquired for him, and she showed him to me lying with one
of the cook-maids. When I saw this, I swore a great oath that I
would do adultery with the foulest and filthiest man in Baghdad;
and the day the eunuch laid hands on thee, I had been four days
going round about the town in quest of one who should answer this
description, but found none fouler nor more filthy than thee. So
I took thee and there passed between us that which God fore-
ordained to us; and now I am quit of my oath. But," added she,
"if my husband return yet again to the cook-maid and lie with
her, I will restore thee to thy late place in my favours."

When (continued the scavenger) I heard these words from her lips,
what while she transfixed my heart with the arrows of her
glances, my tears streamed forth, till my eyelids were sore with
weeping, and I repeated the saying of the poet:

Vouchsafe me the kiss of thy left hand, I prithee, And know that
     it's worthier far than thy right;
For 'tis but a little while since it was washing Sir reverence
     away from the stead of delight.

Then she gave me other fifty dinars (making in all four hundred
dinars I had of her) and bade me depart. So I went out from her
and came hither, that I might pray God (blessed and exalted be
He!) to make her husband return to the cook-maid, so haply I
might be again admitted to her favours.' When the governor of the
pilgrims heard the man's story, he set him free and said to the
bystanders, 'God on you, pray for him, for indeed he is
excusable.'



                        THE MOCK KHALIF.



It is related that the Khalif Haroun er Reshid, being one night
troubled with a persistent restlessness, summoned his Vizier
Jaafer the Barmecide and said to him, 'My heart is straitened and
I have a mind to divert myself tonight by walking about the
streets of Baghdad and looking into the affairs of the folk; but
we will disguise ourselves as merchants, that none may know us.'
'I hear and obey,' answered Jaafer. So they rose at once and
putting off the rich clothes they wore, donned merchants' habits
and sallied forth, the Khalif and Jaafer and Mesrour the
headsman. They walked from place to place, till they came to the
Tigris and saw an old man sitting in a boat; so they went up to
him and saluting him, said, 'O old man, we desire thee of thy
favour to carry us a-pleasuring down the river, in this thy boat,
and take this dinar to thy hire.' 'Who may go a-pleasuring on the
Tigris?' replied the boatman. 'Seeing that the Khalif every night
comes down the stream in his barge, and with him one crying
aloud, "Ho, all ye people, great and small, gentle and simple,
men and boys, whoso is found in a boat on the Tigris [by night],
I will strike off his head or hang him to the mast of his boat!"
And ye had well-nigh met him; for here comes his barge.' But the
Khalif and Jaafer said, 'O old man, take these two dinars, and
when thou seest the Khalif's barge approaching, run us under one
of the arches, that we may hide there till he have passed. 'Hand
over the money,' replied the boatman; 'and on God the Most High
be our dependence!' So they gave him the two dinars and embarked
in the boat; and he put off and rowed about with them awhile,
till they saw the barge coming down the river in mid-stream, with
lighted flambeaux and cressets therein. Quoth the boatman, 'Did I
not tell you that the Khalif passed every night? O Protector,
remove not the veils of Thy protection!' So saying, he ran the
boat under an arch and threw a piece of black cloth over the
Khalif and his companions, who looked out from under the covering
and saw, in the bows of the barge, a man holding a cresset of red
gold and clad in a tunic of red satin, with a muslin turban on
his head. Over one of his shoulders hung a cloak of yellow
brocade, and on the other was a green silk bag full of Sumatran
aloes-wood, with which he fed the cresset by way of firewood. In
the stern stood another man, clad like the first and bearing a
like cresset, and in the barge were two hundred white slaves,
standing right and left about a throne of red gold, on which sat
a handsome young man, like the moon, clad in a dress of black,
embroidered with yellow gold. Before him they saw a man, as he
were the Vizier Jaafer, and at his head stood an eunuch, as he
were Mesrour, with a drawn sword in his hand, besides a score of
boon-companions. When the Khalif saw this, he turned to Jaafer
and said to him, 'Belike this is one of my sons, El Amin or El
Mamoun.' Then he examined the young man that sat on the throne,
and finding him accomplished in beauty and grace and symmetry,
said to Jaafer, 'Verily, this young man abates no jot of the
state of the Khalifate! See, there stands before him one as he
were thyself, O Jaafer; yonder eunuch is as he were Mesrour and
those boon-companions as they were my own. By Allah, O Jaafer, my
reason is confounded and I am filled with amazement at this
thing!' 'And I also, by Allah, O Commander of the Faithful,'
replied Jaafer. Then the barge passed on and disappeared from
sight; whereupon the boatman pushed out again into the stream,
saying, 'Praised be God for safety, since none hath fallen in
with us!' 'O old man,' said Er Reshid, 'doth the Khalif come down
the river every night?' 'Yes, O my lord,' answered the boatman;
'he hath done so every night this year past.' 'O old man,'
rejoined Er Reshid, 'we wish thee of thy favour to await us here
to-morrow night, and we will give thee five dinars, for we are
strangers, lodging at El Khendek, and we have a mind to divert
ourselves.' 'With all my heart,' replied the boatman. Then the
Khalif and Jaafer and Mesrour returned to the palace, where they
put off their merchants' habits and donning their apparel of
state, sat down each in his several room. Then came the amirs and
viziers and chamberlains and officers, and the Divan assembled as
of wont.

When the night came and all the folk had dispersed and gone each
his own way, the Khalif said to his Vizier, 'Come, O Jaafer, let
us go and amuse ourselves by looking on the other Khalif.' At
this, Jaafer and Mesrour laughed, and the three, donning
merchants' habits, went out at the privy gate and made their way
through the city, in great glee, till they came to the Tigris,
where they found the boatman sitting, waiting for them. They
embarked with him in the boat and had not sat long, before up
came the mock Khalif's barge, with the cresset-bearers crying
aloud as of wont, and in it two hundred white slaves other than
those of the previous night. 'O Vizier,' exclaimed the Khalif,
'had I heard tell of this, I had not believed it; but I have seen
it with my own eyes.' Then said he to the boatman, 'Take these
ten dinars and row us along abreast of them, for they are in the
light and we in the shade, and we can see them and divert
ourselves by looking on them, but they cannot see us.' So he took
the money and pushing off, followed in the shadow of the barge,
till they came among the gardens and the barge cast anchor before
a postern door, where they saw servants standing with a mule
saddled and bridled. Here the mock Khalif landed and mounting the
mule, rode away with his boon-companions, attended by his suite
and preceded by the cresset-bearers crying aloud. Then Haroun and
Jaafer and Mesrour landed also and making their way through the
press of servants, walked on before them. Presently, the cresset-
bearers espied them and seeing three strangers in merchants'
habits, misdoubted of them; so they pointed them out and caused
bring them before the mock Khalif, who looked at them and said,
'How come ye here at this hour?' 'O our lord,' answered they, 'we
are foreign merchants, who arrived here this day and were out a-
walking to-night, when ye came up and these men laid hands on us
and brought us before thee.' Quoth the mock Khalif, 'Since you
are strangers, no harm shall befall you; but had ye been of
Baghdad, I had struck off your heads.' Then he turned to his
Vizier and said to him, 'Take these men with thee; for they are
our guests this night.' 'I hear and obey, O our lord,' answered
he; and they followed him, till they came to a lofty and splendid
palace of curious ordinance, such as no king possesses, rising
from the dust and laying hold upon the marges of the clouds. Its
door was of teak, inlaid with glittering gold, and by it one
passed into a saloon, amiddleward which was a basin of water,
with an artificial fountain rising from its midst. It was
furnished with carpets and cushions and divans of brocade and
tables and other gear such as amazed the wit and defied
description. There, also, was a curtain drawn, and upon the door
were written these two verses:


A palace, upon it be blessing and greeting and grace! Fair
     fortune hath put off her beauty to brighten the place.
Therein are all manner of marvels and rarities found; The penmen
     are puzzled in story its charms to retrace.

The mock Khalif entered with his company and sat down on a throne
of gold, set with jewels and covered with a prayer-carpet of
yellow silk; whilst the boon-companions took their seats and the
sword-bearer stood before him. Then the servants laid the tables
and they ate and washed their hands, after which the dishes were
removed and the wine-service set on, with cups and flagons in due
order. The cup went round till it came to Er Reshid, who refused
it, and the mock Khalif said to Jaafer, 'What ails thy friend
that he drinks not?' 'O our lord,' replied the Vizier, 'this long
while he hath drunk no wine.' Quoth the mock Khalif, 'I have
drink other than this, a kind of apple-wine, that will suit him.'
So he let bring apple-sherbet and said to Haroun, 'Drink thou of
this, as often as it comes to thy turn.' Then they continued to
drink and make merry, till the wine rose to their heads and
mastered their wits; and Haroun said to Jaafer, 'O Jaafer, by
Allah, we have no such vessels as these. Would God I knew what
manner of man this is!' Presently, the young man glanced at them
and seeing them talking privily, said, 'It is unmannerly to
whisper.' 'No rudeness was meant,' answered Jaafer. 'My friend
did but say to me, "Verily, I have travelled in most countries
and have caroused and companied with the greatest of kings and
captains; yet never saw I a goodlier ordinance than this nor
passed a more delightful night; save that the people of Baghdad
say, 'Drink without music often leaves headache.'"' When the mock
Khalif heard this, he smiled merrily and struck a gong[FN#145]
with a rod he had in his hand; whereupon a door opened and out
came an eunuch, bearing a stool of ivory, inlaid with glittering
gold, and followed by a damsel of surpassing beauty and symmetry.
He set down the stool and the damsel seated herself on it, as she
were the sun shining in the cloudless sky. In her hand she had a
lute of Indian make, which she laid in her lap and bending over
it as a mother bends over her child, preluded in four-and-twenty
modes, amazing all wits. Then she returned to the first mode and
sang the following verses to a lively measure:

The tongue of passion in my heart bespeaketh thee of me And
     giveth thee to know that I enamoured am of thee.
The burning of an anguished heart is witness to my pain And
     ulcerated eyes and tears that flow incessantly.
I had no knowledge what Love was, before the love of thee; But
     God's forewritten ordinance o'ertaketh all that be.

When the mock Khalif heard this, he gave a great cry and rent his
robe to the skirt, whereupon they let down a curtain over him and
brought him a fresh robe, handsomer than the first. He put it on
and sat as before, till the cup came round to him, when he struck
the gong a second time and behold, a door opened and out came an
eunuch with a chair of gold, followed by a damsel handsomer than
the first, bearing a lute, such as mortified the heart of the
envious. She sat down on the chair and sang to the lute these
verses:

Ah, how can I be patient, when longing in my soul Flames high and
     from mine eyelids the tears in torrents roll?
Life hath no sweet, by Allah, wherein I may rejoice. How shall a
     heart be joyous, that's all fulfilled of dole?

No sooner did the youth hear this than he gave a great cry and
rent his clothes to the skirt; whereupon they let down the
curtain over him and brought him another dress. He put it on and
sitting up as before, fell again to cheerful talk, till the cup
came round to him, when he smote once more upon the gong and out
came an eunuch with a chair, followed by a damsel fairer than she
who had foregone her. So she sat down on the chair, with a lute
in her hand, and sang thereto the following verses:

Have done with your disdain and leave to make me rue; For, by
     your life, my heart to you was ever true!
Have ruth on one distraught, the bondslave of your love, Sorry
     and sick and full of longings ever new.
Sickness, for passion's stress, hath wasted him to nought, And
     still for your consent to Allah he doth sue.
O ye full moons, whose place of sojourn is my heart, Amongst the
     human race whom can I choose but you?

At this the young man gave a great cry and rent his clothes,
whereupon they let fall the curtain over him and brought him
other clothes. Then he returned to his former case with his boon-
companions and the cup went round as before, till it came to him,
when he struck the gong a fourth time and the door opening, out
came a boy, bearing a chair and followed by a damsel. He set the
chair for her and she sat down upon it and taking the lute, tuned
it and sang to it these verses:

When, when will separation and hatred pass away And what is past
     of joyance come back to make me gay?
But yesterday, in gladness, one dwelling held us both; We saw the
     enviers napping, all heedless of their prey.
But fortune played the traitor with us and sundered us, And left
     our dwelling-places even as the desert grey.
Wilt have me, O my censor, be solaced for my loves? Alas, my
     heart the censor, I see, will not obey!
So make an end of chiding and leave me to my love; For of my
     loved one's converse my heart is full alway.
Fair lords, though you've been fickle and broken faith and troth,
     Deem not my heart for absence forgets you night or day.

When the mock Khalif heard the girl's song, he gave a great cry
and tearing his clothes as before, fell down in a swoon;
whereupon they would have let down the curtain over him, as of
wont; but the cords stuck fast and Er Reshid, chancing to look at
him, saw on his body the marks of beating with palm-rods and said
to Jaafer, 'By Allah, he is a handsome youth, but a foul thief!'
'Whence knowest thou that, O Commander of the Faithful?' asked
Jaafer, and the Khalif answered, 'Sawst thou not the marks of
whips on his sides?' Then they let fall the curtain over him and
brought him a fresh dress, which he put on and sat up as before
with his courtiers. Presently, he saw the Khalif and Jaafer
whispering together and said to them, 'What is the matter,
gentlemen?' 'Nothing, my lord,' replied Jaafer, 'save that my
friend here, who (as is not unknown to thee) is of the merchants
and hath visited all the great cities and countries of the world
and foregathered with kings and men of worth, saith to me,
"Verily, that which our lord the Khalif hath done this night is
beyond measure extravagant, never saw I any do the like of his
fashion in any country; for he hath rent four dresses, each worth
a thousand dinars, and this is surely excessive extravagance."'
'O man,' replied the youth, 'the money is my money and the stuff
my stuff and this is by way of largesse to my servants and
followers; for each suit that is rent belongeth to one of my
boon-companions here present and I appoint him, in exchange
therefor, [if it so like him,] the sum of five hundred dinars.'
'Well is that thou dost, O our lord!' answered Jaafer and recited
the following verses:

The virtues sure have built themselves a dwelling in thy palm;
     Thou hast thy wealth to all mankind made common property.
An if the virtues' doors were shut on us one luckless day, Thy
     hand unto their locks, indeed, were even as a key.

When the young man heard these verses, he ordered Jaafer a
thousand dinars and a dress of honour. Then the cup went round
among them and the wine was pleasant to them; but, after awhile,
the Khalif said to Jaafer, 'Ask him of the marks on his ribs,
that we may see what he will say.' 'Softly, O my lord,' replied
Jaafer; 'be not hasty, for patience is more becoming.' 'By the
life of my head and by the tomb of El Abbas,'[FN#146] rejoined
the Khalif, 'except thou ask him, I will assuredly make an end of
thee!' With this the young man turned towards Jaafer and said to
him, 'What ails thee and thy friend to be whispering together?
Tell me what is to do with you.' 'It is nothing,' replied
Jaafer; but the mock Khalif rejoined, 'I conjure thee, by Allah,
tell me what ails you and hide from me nothing of your case.' 'O
my lord,' answered the Vizier, 'my companion here saw on thy
sides the marks of beating with whips and rods and marvelled
thereat exceedingly, saying, "How came the Khalif to be beaten?"
And he would fain know the cause of this.' When the youth heard
this, he smiled and said, 'Know that my story is wonderful and my
case extraordinary; were it graven with needles on the corners of
the eye, it would serve as an admonition to him who can profit by
admonition.' And he sighed and repeated the following verses:

Strange is my story and outdoes all marvels that can be. By Love
     itself I swear, my ways are straitened upon me!
An ye would know my case, give ear and hearken to my tale And all
     be dumb, on every side, in this our company.
Take heed unto my speech, for lo! therein a warning is; Ay, and
     my words no leasing are, but naked verity.
I am a man of passion slain, the victim of desire, And she who
     slew me fairer is than all the stars to see.
A bright black eye she hath, whose glance is as an Indian sword,
     And from her eyebrows' bended bows full many a shaft shoots
     she.
My heart forebodes me that 'mongst you the Khalif of the age, Our
     Imam[FN#147] is, of high descent and noble pedigree,
And that the second of you he, that's known as Jaafer, is, His
     vizier and a vizier's son, a lord of high degree.
Yea, and the third of you Mesrour the eunuch is, I ween, The
     swordsman of his vengeance. So, if true my saying be,
I have of this my case attained to all for which I hoped And
     hearts' content from every side is come, indeed, to me.

When they heard this, Jaafer swore to him a dissembling oath that
they were not those he named; whereupon he laughed and said,
'Know, O my lords, that I am not the Commander of the Faithful
and that I do but style myself thus, to get my will of the people
of the city. My real name is Mohammed Ali son of Ali the Jeweller
and my father was one of the chief men [of the city]. When he
died, he left me great store of gold and silver and pearls and
coral and rubies and chrysolites and other jewels, besides houses
and lands and baths and gardens and orchards and shops and
brickfields and slaves, male and female. One day, as I sat in my
shop, surrounded by my slaves and servants, there came up a young
lady, riding on a mule and attended by three damsels like moons.
She alighted at my shop and seating herself by me, said to me,
"Art thou Mohammed the jeweller?" "Yes," answered I, "I am he, at
thy service." "Hast thou a necklace of jewels fit for me?" asked
she, and I replied, "O my lady, I will show thee what I have; and
if any please thee, it will be of thy slave's good luck; if not,
of his ill-fortune." I had by me a hundred necklaces and showed
them all to her; but none of them pleased her and she said, "I
want a better than those I have seen." Now I had a small
necklace, that my father had bought for a hundred thousand dinars
and the like whereof was not to be found with any of the great
kings; so I said to her, "O my lady, I have yet one necklace of
fine stones, whose like none possesseth, great or small." "Show
it me," said she. So I showed it her and she said, "This is what
I sought and what I have wished for all my life. What is its
price?" Quoth I, "It cost my father a hundred thousand dinars;"
and she said, "I will give thee five thousand dinars to thy
profit." "O my lady," answered I, "the necklace and its owner are
at thy service and I cannot gainsay thee [in aught]." "Not so,"
rejoined she; "needs must thou have the profit, and I am still
much beholden to thee." Then she rose and mounting the mule in
haste, said to me, "O my lord, in God's name, favour us with thy
company, to receive the money; for this thy day is a milk-white
day[FN#148] with us." So I shut the shop and accompanied her, in
all security, till we came to a house, on which were manifest the
signs of fortune. Its door was wrought with gold and silver and
lapis lazuli, and thereon were written these verses:


Nay mourning never enter thee, I pray, O house, nor fortune e'er
     thy lord bewray!
A goodly sojourn art thou to the guest, When strait on him is
     every place and way.

She dismounted and entered the house, bidding me sit down on the
stone bench at the door, till the money-changer should come. So I
sat awhile, till presently a damsel came out to me and said, "Q
my lord, enter the vestibule; for it is not seemly that thou
shouldst sit at the door." Accordingly, I entered the vestibule
and sat down on the settle there. As I sat, another damsel came
out and said to me, "O my lord, my mistress bids thee enter and
sit down at the door of the saloon, to receive thy money." So I
entered and sat down, nor had I sat a moment, before a curtain of
silk was drawn aside and I saw the lady seated on a throne of
gold, with the necklace about her neck, unveiled and showing a
face as it were the round of the moon. At this sight, my wit was
troubled and my mind confounded, by reason of her exceeding
beauty and grace; but, when she saw me, she rose and coming up to
me, said, "O light of mine eyes, is every handsome one like thee
pitiless to his mistress?" "O my lady," answered I, "beauty, all
of it, is in thee and is one of thine attributes." "O jeweller,"
rejoined she, "know that I love thee and can hardly credit that I
have brought thee hither." Then she bent to me and I kissed her,
and she kissed me, and drawing me towards her, pressed me to her
bosom. She knew by my case that I had a mind to enjoy her; so she
said to me, "O my lord, dost thou think to foregather with me
unlawfully? By Allah, may he not live who would do the like of
this sin and who takes pleasure in foul talk! I am a clean
virgin, whom no man hath approached, nor am I unknown in the
city. Knowest thou who I am?" "No, by Allah, O my lady!" replied
I. Quoth she, "I am the lady Dunya, daughter of Yehya ben Khalid
the Barmecide and sister of Jaafer, the Khalif's Vizier." When I
heard this, I drew back from her, saying, "O my lady, it is no
fault of mine if I have been over-bold with thee; it was thou
didst encourage me to aspire to thy love, by giving me access to
thee." "No harm shall befall thee," answered she; "and needs must
thou attain thy desire in the way that is pleasing to God. I am
my own mistress and the Cadi shall act as my guardian, in
consenting to the marriage-contract; for it is my will that I be
thy wife and thou my husband." Then she sent for the Cadi and the
witnesses and busied herself with the necessary preparations.
When they came, she said to them, "Mohammed Ali ben Ali the
jeweller seeks me in marriage and hath given me the necklace to
my dowry; and I accept and consent." So they drew up the contract
of marriage between us; after which the servants brought the
wine-service and the cups passed round, after the goodliest
ordinance: and when the wine mounted to our heads, she ordered a
damsel, a lute-player, to sing. So she took the lute and sang
thereto the following verses:

He comes and shows me, all in one, fawn, moon and sapling slight:
     Foul fall the heart for thought of him that watches not the
     night!
A fair one, Allah had a mind t' extinguish from his cheek One
     ravishment, and straight, instead, another sprang to light.
Whenas my censors speak of him, I cavil at their word, Feigning
     as if I did mislike the mention of the wight;
Yea, and I hearken, when they speak of other than of him, Though
     for the thought of him, nathelesse, I am consumed outright.
Prophet of beauty, all in him 's a very miracle Of grace, and
     greatest of them all his face's splendid sight.
The sable mole upon his cheek hath taken up its stead, Against
     the troubles of this life to ward his forehead bright.
The censors, of their ignorance, bid me forget; but I From true-
     believer cannot turn an infidel forthright.

We were ravished by the sweet music she made and the beauty of
the verses she sang and the other damsels went on to sing, one
after another, till ten had done so; when the lady Dunya took the
lute and playing a lively measure, sang these verses:

By the softness of thy graceful-gaited shape I swear, For
     estrangement from thy presence the pangs of hell I bear.
Have pity on a heart that burns i' the hell-fire of thy love, O
     full moon in the darkness of the night that shinest fair!
Vouchsafe to me thy favours, and by the wine-cup's light To
     blazon forth thy beauties, henceforth, I'll never spare.
A rose hath ta'en me captive, whose colours varied are, Whose
     charms outvie the myrtle and make its thorns despair.

When she had finished, I took the lute and playing a quaint
prelude, sang the following verses:

Glory to Him who gave thee all beauty in earth and skies So I'm
     become of thy bondsmen for ever and thy prize.
Thou that art gifted with glances that make mankind thy slaves,
     Pray we may come off scathless from the sorcery of thine
     eyes.
Two opposites, fire, incarnate in shining splendour of flame, And
     water, thy cheek uniteth, conjoined in wondrous wise.
How dulcet and yet how bitter thou art to my heart, alack! To
     which thou at once and ever art Hell and Paradise!

When she heard this, she rejoiced with an exceeding joy; then,
dismissing her women, she brought me to a most goodly place,
where they had spread us a bed of various colours. She did off
her clothes and I had a lover's privacy of her and found her an
unpierced pearl and a filly no man had ridden. So I rejoiced in
her and repeated the following verses:

Stay with us, Night, I prithee! I want no morning white; The face
     of my beloved sufficeth me for light.
I gave my love, for chin-band, my palm spread open wide And eke
     for ringdove's collar, my arms about him dight.
This is indeed th' attainment of fortune's topmost height! We
     clip and clip and care not to stir from our delight.


Never in my life knew I a more delightful night than this, and I
abode with her a whole month, forsaking shop and home and family,
till one day she said to me, "O light of my eyes, O my lord
Mohammed, I have a mind to go to the bath to-day; so sit thou on
this couch and budge not from thy place, till I return to thee."
"I hear and obey," answered I, and she made me swear to this;
after which she took her women and went off to the bath. But, by
Allah, O my brothers, she had not reached the end of the street,
when the door opened and in came an old woman, who said to me, "O
my lord Mohammed, the lady Zubeideh bids thee to her, for she
hath heard of thine elegance and accomplishments and skill in
singing." "By Allah," answered I, "I will not rise from my place,
till the lady Dunya come back." "O my lord," rejoined the old
woman, "do not anger the lady Zubeideh with thee and make an
enemy of her. Come, speak with her and return to thy place." So I
rose and followed her into the presence of the princess, who said
to me, "O light of the eye, art thou the lady Dunya's beloved?"
"At thy service," answered I. Quoth she, "He spoke sooth who
reported thee possessed of grace and beauty and good breeding and
all good qualities; indeed, thou surpassest report; but now sing
to me, that I may hear thee." "I hear and obey," answered I. So
she brought me a lute, and I sang the following verses:

The heart of the lover is weary with loving and striving in vain,
     And even as a spoil is his body in the hands of sickness and
     pain.
Who should there be, 'mongst the riders on camels with haltered
     head, Save a lover whose dear-beloved the camel-litters
     contain!
A moon, in your tents that rises, to Allah I commend, One my
     heart loves and tenders, shut in from the sight of her
     swain.
Anon she is kind, anon angry: how goodly her coquetry is! For all
     that is done of a loved one must needs to her lover be fain.

When I had finished, she said to me, "God assain thy body and
sweeten thy voice! Verily, thou art perfect in beauty and good
breeding and singing. But now rise and return to thy place, ere
the lady Dunya come back, lest she find thee not and be wroth
with thee." So I kissed the earth before her and the old woman
forewent me to the door whence I came. I entered and going up to
the couch, found that my wife had come back and was lying asleep
there. So I sat down at her feet and rubbed them; whereupon she
opened her eyes and seeing me, drew up her feet and gave me a
kick that threw me off the couch, saying, "O traitor, thou hast
been false to thine oath and hast perjured thyself. Thou sworest
to me that thou wouldst not stir from thy place; yet didst thou
break thy promise and go to the lady Zubeideh. By Allah, but that
I fear scandal, I would pull down the palace over her head!" Then
said she to her black slave, "Harkye, Sewab, arise and strike off
this lying traitor's head, for we have no further need of him."
So the slave came up to me and tearing a strip from his skirt,
bound my eyes with it and would have cut off my head; but all her
women, great and small, came up to her and said to her, "O our
lady, this is not the first who hath erred: indeed, he knew not
thy humour and hath done nothing deserving of death." "By Allah,"
replied she, "I must needs set my mark on him." And she bade beat
me; so they beat me on my sides, and the marks ye saw are the
scars of that beating. Then she bade them put me out, and they
carried me to a distance from the house and cast me down. I rose
and dragged myself little by little to my own house, where I sent
for a surgeon, who dressed my wounds and comforted me. As soon as
I was recovered and my pains and sickness had left me, I went to
the bath and thence betaking myself to my shop, sold all that was
therein. With the proceeds, I bought four hundred white slaves,
such as no king ever got together, and caused two hundred of them
ride out with me every day. Then I made me yonder barge, on which
I spent five thousand dinars, and styled myself Khalif and
appointed each of my servants to the charge and clad him in the
habit of some one of the Khalif's officers. Moreover, I let cry
abroad, "Whoso goeth a-pleasuring on the Tigris [by night], I
will strike off his head without mercy;" and on this wise have I
done this whole year past, during which time I have heard no news
of the lady neither happened upon any trace of her.' And he wept
copiously and repeated the following verses:

By Allah, I will never all my life long forget her, my dear; And
     those only will I tender, who shall bring her to me to draw
     near.
Now glory to her Maker and Creator be given evermore! As the full
     moon in the heavens, in her aspect and her gait she doth
     appear.
She, indeed, hath made me weariful and wakeful, full of sorrow,
     sick for love; Yea, my heart is all confounded at her
     beauty, dazed for trouble and for fear.

When Er Reshid heard the young man's story and knew the passion
and transport and love-longing that afflicted him, he was moved
to compassion and wonder and said, 'Glory be to God who hath
appointed to every thing a cause!' Than they craved the young
man's leave to depart; which being granted, they took leave of
him, the Khalif purposing to do him justice and entreat him with
the utmost munificence, and returned to the palace of the
Khalifate, where they changed their clothes for others befitting
their station and sat down, whilst Mesrour stood before them.
After awhile, the Khalif said to Jaafer, 'O Vizier, bring me the
young man with whom we were last night.' 'I hear and obey,'
answered Jaafer, and going to the youth, saluted him, saying,
'The Commander of the Faithful calls for thee.' So he returned
with him to the palace, in great concern by reason of the
summons, and going in to the Khalif, kissed the earth before him.
Then said he, 'Peace be on thee, O Commander of the Faithful
and Protector of the people of the Faith!' And offered up a
prayer for the endurance of his glory and prosperity, for the
accomplishment of his desires and the continuance of his bounty
and the cessation of evil and punishment, ordering his speech as
best he might and ending by repeating the following verses:


Still may thy threshold as a place of adoration[FN#149] Be sought
     and on men's brows its dust bespeak prostration,
That so in every land be made this proclamation, "Thou, thou art
     Abraham and this his very station."[FN#150]

The Khalif smiled in his face and returned his salute, looking on
him with the eye of favour. Then he bade him draw near and sit
down before him and said to him, 'O Mohammed Ali, I wish thee to
tell me what befell thee last night, for it was rare and passing
strange.' 'Pardon, O Commander of the Faithful!' replied the
youth. 'Give me the handkerchief of immunity, that my trouble may
be appeased and my heart set at rest.' Quoth the Khalif, 'Thou
art safe from fear and trouble.' So the young man told him his
story from first to last, whereby the Khalif knew him to be a
lover and severed from his beloved and said to him, 'Wilt thou
that I restore her to thee?' 'This were of the bounty of the
Commander of the Faithful,' answered the youth and repeated the
following verses:

Kiss thou his finger-tips, for no mere fingers they, But keys to
     all the goods by God to men assigned;
And praise his deeds no less, for no mere deeds are they, But
     jewels to adorn the necks of humankind.

Thereupon the Khalif turned to Jaafer and said to him, 'Bring me
thy sister the lady Dunya.' 'I hear and obey,' answered he and
fetched her forthright. When she stood before the Khalif, he said
to her, 'Dost thou know who this is?' 'O Commander of the
Faithful,' answered she, 'how should women have knowledge of
men?' The Khalif smiled and said, 'O Dunya, this is thy beloved,
Mohammed ben Ali the jeweller. We are acquainted with his case,
for we have heard the whole story, from beginning to end, and
apprehended its inward and its outward; and it is no more hidden,
for all it was kept secret.' 'O Commander of the Faithful,'
rejoined she, 'this was written in the book of destiny. I crave
the forgiveness of the Most High God for that which I have done
and beseech thee to pardon me of thy favour.' At this the Khalif
laughed and summoning the Cadi and the witnesses, renewed the
marriage-contract between Dunya and her husband, whereby there
betided them the utmost of felicity and those who envied them
were mortified. Moreover, he made Mohammed Ali one of his boon-
companions, and they abode in joy and cheer and gladness, till
there came to them the Destroyer of Delights and the Sunderer of
Companies.



          ALI THE PERSIAN'S STORY OF THE KURD SHARPER



The Khalif Haroun er Reshid, being more than commonly restless
one night, sent for his Vizier and said to him, 'O Jaafer, I am
sore wakeful and heavy at heart to-night, and I desire of thee
what may cheer my spirit and ease me of my oppression.' 'O
Commander of the Faithful,' answered Jaafer, 'I have a friend, by
name Ali the Persian, who hath store of tales and pleasant
stories, such as lighten the heart and do away care.' 'Fetch him
to me,' said the Khalif. 'I hear and obey,' replied Jaafer and
going out from before him, sent for Ali the Persian and said to
him, 'The Commander of the Faithful calls for thee.' 'I hear and
obey,' answered Ali and followed the Vizier into the presence of
the Khalif, who bade him be seated and said to him, 'O Ali, my
heart is heavy within me this night and I hear that thou hast
great store of tales and anecdotes; so I desire of thee that thou
let me hear what will relieve my oppression and gladden my
melancholy.' 'O Commander of the Faithful,' said he, 'shall I
tell thee what I have seen with my eyes or what I have heard with
my ears?' 'An thou have seen aught [worth telling],' replied the
Khalif, 'let me hear that.' 'Know then, O Commander of the
Faithful,' said Ali, 'that some years ago I left this my native
city of Baghdad on a journey, having with me a boy who carried a
light wallet. Presently, we came to a certain city, where, as I
was buying and selling, a rascally thief of a Kurd fell on me and
seized my wallet, saying, "This is my bag, and all that is in it
is my property." Thereupon, "Ho, Muslims all," cried I, "deliver
me from the hand of the vilest of oppressors!" But they all said,
"Come, both of you, to the Cadi and submit yourselves to his
judgement." I agreed to this and we both presented ourselves
before the Cadi, who said, "What brings you hither and what is
your case?" Quoth I, "We are men at difference, who appeal to
thee and submit ourselves to thy judgement." "Which of you is the
complainant?" asked the Cadi. So the Kurd came forward and said,
"God preserve our lord the Cadi! Verily, this bag is my bag and
all that is in it is my property. It was lost from me and I found
it with this man." "When didst thou lose it?" asked the Cadi.
"But yesterday," replied the Kurd; "and I passed a sleepless
night by reason of its loss." "If it be thy bag," said the Cadi,
"tell me what is in it." Quoth the Kurd, "There were in my bag
two silver styles and eye-powders and a handkerchief, and I had
laid therein two gilt cups and two candlesticks. Moreover it
contained two tents and two platters and two hooks and a cushion
and two leather rugs and two ewers and a brass tray and two
basins and a cooking-pot and two water-jars and a ladle and a
sacking-needle and a she-cat and two bitches[FN#151] and a wooden
trencher and two sacks and two saddles and a gown and two fur
pelisses and a cow and two calves and a she-goat and two sheep
and an ewe and two lambs and two green pavilions and a camel and
two she-camels and a she-buffalo and two bulls and a lioness and
two lions and a she-bear and two foxes and a mattress and two
couches and an upper chamber and two saloons and a portico and
two ante-rooms and a kitchen with two doors and a company of
Kurds who will testify that the bag is mine." Then said the
Cadi to me, "And thou, what sayst thou?" So I came forward, O
Commander of the Faithful (and indeed the Kurd's speech had
bewildered me) and said, "God advance our lord the Cadi! There
was nothing in this my wallet, save a little ruined house and
another without a door and a dog-kennel and a boys' school and
youths playing dice and tents and tent-poles and the cities of
Bassora and Baghdad and the palace of Sheddad ben Aad[FN#152] and
a smith's forge and a fishing net and cudgels and pickets and
girls and boys and a thousand pimps, who will testify that the
bag is my bag." When the Kurd heard my words, he wept and wailed
and said, "O my lord the Cadi, my bag is known and what is in it
is renowned; therein are castles and citadels and cranes and
beasts of prey and men playing chess and draughts. Moreover, in
this my bag is a brood-mare and two colts and a stallion and two
blood-horses and two long lances and a lion and two hares and a
city and two villages and a courtezan and two sharking pimps and
a catamite and two gallows-birds and a blind man and two dogs and
a cripple and two lameters and a priest and two deacons and a
patriarch and two monks and a Cadi and two assessors, who will
testify that the bag is my bag." Quoth the Cadi to me, "And what
sayst thou, O Ali?" So, O Commander of the Faithful, being filled
with rage, I came forward and said, "God keep our lord the Cadi!
I had in this my wallet a coat of mail and a broadsword and
armouries and a thousand fighting rams and a sheep-fold and a
thousand barking dogs and gardens and vines and flowers and sweet
herbs and figs and apples and pictures and statues and flagons
and goblets and fair-faced slave-girls and singing-women and
marriage-feasts and tumult and clamour and great tracts of land
and brothers of success[FN#153] and a company of daybreak-riders,
with swords and spears and bows and arrows, and true friends and
dear ones and intimates and comrades and men imprisoned for
punishment and cup-companions and a drum and flutes and flags and
banners and boys and girls and brides, in all their wedding
bravery, and singing-girls and five Abyssinian women and three
Hindi and four women of Medina and a score of Greek girls and
half a hundred Turkish and threescore and ten Persian girls and
fourscore Kurd and fourscore and ten Georgian women and Tigris
and Euphrates and a fowling net and a flint and steel and Many-
Columned Irem[FN#154] and a thousand rogues and pimps and horse-
courses and stables and mosques and baths and a builder and a
carpenter and a plank and a nail and a black slave, with a pair
of recorders, and a captain and a caravan-leader and towns and
cities and a hundred thousand dinars and Cufa and Ambar[FN#155]
and twenty chests full of stuffs and twenty store-houses for
victual and Gaza and Askalon and from Damietta to Essouan and the
palace of Kisra Anoushirwan[FN#156] and the kingdom of Solomon
and from Wadi Numan[FN#157] to the land of Khorassan and Balkh
and Ispahan and from India to the Soudan. Therein also (may God
prolong the life of our lord the Cadi!) are doublets and cloths
and a thousand sharp razors to shave the Cadi's chin, except he
fear my resentment and adjudge the bag to be mine."

When the Cadi heard what I and the Kurd avouched, he was
confounded and said, "I see ye are none other than two pestilent
atheistical fellows, who make sport of Cadis and magistrates and
stand not in fear of reproach. Never did any tell or hear tell of
aught more extraordinary than that which ye pretend. By Allah,
from China to Shejreh umm Ghailan[FN#158] nor from Fars to the
Soudan, nor from Wadi Numan to Khorassan, ever was heard or
credited the like of what ye avouch! Is this bag a bottomless sea
or the Day of Resurrection, that shall gather together the just
and unjust?" Then he bade open the bag; so I opened it and
behold, there was in it bread and a lemon and cheese and olives.
So I threw it down before the Kurd and went away.'

When the Khalif heard Ali's story, he laughed till he fell
backward and made him a handsome present.



End of Vol. III.



                       Notes to Volume 3



[FN#1] It need hardly be remarked that Eastern stirrups are made
so to do duty as spurs.

[FN#2] i.e. The Seven Sleepers.

[FN#3] i.e. The birds of prey.

[FN#4] "O thou of the little stronghold."  A sobriquet popularly
bestowed on the fox, even as we call him "Reynard."

[FN#5] These verses are full of plays upon words, which it is
impossible to render in a translation.

[FN#6] i.e. blood, like wine in colour.

[FN#7] The face.

[FN#8] The teeth.

[FN#9] The wine-cup.

[FN#10] Alluding to the Eastern practice of dying the hands with
henna in concentric bands.

[FN#11] The lips, likened to the plum of the jujube-tree.

[FN#12] The teeth.

[FN#13] A well-known metaphor for the brilliant whiteness of the
face shining through the black hair.

[FN#14] The lips.

[FN#15] The teeth.

[FN#16] Mejnoun, the well-known lover of Eastern romance.

[FN#17] These verses apparently relate to Aboulhusn, but it is
possible that they may be meant to refer to Shemsennehar, as the
masculine is constantly used for the feminine in Oriental love-
poetry.

[FN#18] As that of a martyr. See Vol. II. p. 25, note 2. {Vol. 2,
FN#15}

[FN#19] Two fallen angels appointed to tempt men by teaching them
the art of magic.

[FN#20] An idol or idols of the Arabs before Mohammed.

[FN#21] The browlocks, from their shape, are commonly likened by
Eastern poets to scorpions.

[FN#22] Three stars so called in the Great Bear.

[FN#23] or recite.

[FN#24] There are three orders of Jinn: the upper or inhabitants
of the air, the lower or inhabitants of the earth and the divers
or inhabitants of the waters.

[FN#25] Lit. lean and fat.

[FN#26] Syn. eye (nazir).

[FN#27] Syn. eyebrow (hajib).

[FN#28] A play upon words turning upon the literal meaning
("auspicious full moons") of the two names of women Budour and
Suad.

[FN#29] Ring-mail.

[FN#30] i.e. Orvietan or Venice treacle, the well-known universal
remedy of the middle ages, alluded to by Chaucer in the words,
"And Christ that is unto all ills triacle."

[FN#31] Names of women.

[FN#32] Women's name.

[FN#33] Women's name.

[FN#34] i.e. a woman.

[FN#35] Women's names.

[FN#36] Wine.

[FN#37]  i.e. by way of ornament.

[FN#38] The well-known semi-legendary sage and fabulist.

[FN#39] Playing upon his own name, Kemerezzeman, which means,
"Moon of the time or of fortune."  Budour means "Full moons."

[FN#40] Siwaka, a toothstick, (acc.) means also "other than
thee."

[FN#41] Araka, a capparis-tree, (acc.) means also, "I see thee."
Toothsticks are made of
the wood of this tree.

[FN#42] A treasury of money is a thousand purses or about £5,000.

[FN#43] This expression is of course metaphorical.  Cf. Solomon's
Song passim.

[FN#44] i.e. gum tragacanth.

[FN#45] See post p. 317. {see Vol. 3. Maan Ben Zaideh and the
Three Girls, FN#121.}

[FN#46] The mansuetude of the Khalif Muawiyeh, the founder of the
Ommiade dynasty, is a proverb among the Arabs, though hardly to
be reconciled with the accredited records of his life and
actions.

[FN#47] Alluding, for the sake of metaphor, to the months of
purification which, according to the Muslim ceremonial law, must
be accomplished by a divorced woman, before she can marry again.

[FN#48] A divorce three times pronounced cannot be revoked.

[FN#49] Fabulous peoples mentioned in the Koran.

[FN#50] Said to be so called, because they attract sparrows
(asafir), but it seems to me more probable that the name denotes
the colour of the fruit and is derived from usfur, safflower.

[FN#51] Koran,  xxxiii. 38.

[FN#52] Met. anus.

[FN#53] Met. cunnus.

[FN#54] Kibleh, the point of the compass to which one turns in
prayer.  Mecca is the Kibleh of the Muslims, even as Jerusalem
that of the Jews and Christians.  The meaning of the text is
obvious.

[FN#55] i.e. of God.--Koran, li. 9.

[FN#56] The word (futouh) translated "openings" may also be
rendered "victories" or "benefits."

[FN#57] Cf. Aristophanes, Lysistrata and Ecclesiazusæ passim.

[FN#58] An audacious parody of the Koran, applied ironically,
"And the pious work God shall raise up."--Koran, xxxv. 11.

[FN#59] Lit. The chapter of clearing (oneself from belief in any
but God), or Unity, Koran, cxii.  It ends with the words, "There
is none like unto Him."

[FN#60] i.e. but for the soul that animated them.

[FN#61] The word "nights" (more commonly "days," sometimes also
"days and nights," as in the verses immediately following) is
constantly used in the sense of "fortune" or "fate" by the poets
of the East.

[FN#62] Abdallah ibn ez Zubeir revolted (A.D. 680) against Yezid
(second Khalif of the Ommiade dynasty) and was proclaimed Khalif
at Mecca, where he maintained himself till A.D. 692, when he was
killed in the siege of that town by the famous Hejjaj, general of
Abdulmelik,  the fifth Ommiade Khalif.

[FN#63] The allusion here appears to be to the burning of part of
Mecca, including the Temple and Kaabeh, during the (unsuccessful)
siege by Hussein, A.D. 683.

[FN#64] Three Muslim sectaries (Kharejites), considering the
Khalif Ali (Mohammed's son-in-law), Muawiyeh (founder of the
Ommiade dynasty) and Amr (or Amrou), the conqueror of Egypt, as
the chief authors of the intestine discords which then (A.D. 661
) ravaged Islam, conspired to assassinate them; but only
succeeded in killing Ali, Muawiyeh escaping with a wound and the
fanatic charged with the murder of Amr slaying Kharijeh, the
chief of the police at Cairo, by mistake, in his stead.  The
above verses are part of a famous but very obscure elegy on the
downfall of one of the Muslim dynasties in Spain, composed in the
twelfth century by Ibn Abdoun el Andalousi, one of the most
celebrated of the Spanish Arabic poets.

[FN#65] i.e. fortune.  The word dunya (world) is constantly used
in poetry to signify "fortune" or "the fortune of this world."

[FN#66] This line is a characteristic example of the antithetical
conceits so common in Oriental poetry.  The meaning is, "My grief
makes all I behold seem black to me, whilst my tears have washed
out all the colour from my eyes."

[FN#67] i.e. the tomb.

[FN#68] The wood of which makes a peculiarly fierce and lasting
fire.

[FN#69] Koran iv. 38.

[FN#70] Most happy.

[FN#71] Wretched.

[FN#72] Most happy.

[FN#73] The gift of God. The h in Nimeh becomes t before a vowel.

[FN#74] i.e. happiness.

[FN#75] Num is synonymous with Saad.  The purpose of the change
of name was to make the little one's name correspond with that of
Nimeh, which is derived from the same root.

[FN#76] i.e. to any one, as we should say, "to Tom, Dick or
Harry."

[FN#77] i.e. to any one, as we should say, "to Tom, Dick or
Harry."

[FN#78] El Hejjaj ben Yousuf eth Thekefi, a famous statesman and
soldier of the seventh and eighth centuries.  He was governor of
Chaldæa under the fifth and sixth Ommiade Khalifs and was
renowned for his cruelty; but appears nevertheless to have been a
prudent and capable administrator, who probably used no more
rigour than was necessary to restrain the proverbially turbulent
populations of Bassora and Cufa.  Most of the anecdotes of his
brutality and tyranny, some of which will be found in this
collection, are, in all probability, apocryphal.

[FN#79] Wool is the distinctive wear of Oriental devotees.

[FN#80] Koran xxv. 70.

[FN#81] Of the Koran.

[FN#82] This verse contains a series of jeux-de-mots, founded
upon the collocation of the three proper names, Num, Suada and
Juml, with the third person feminine singular, preterite-present,
fourth conjugation, of their respective verb-roots, i.e. idka
anamet Num, if Num vouchsafe, etc., etc.

[FN#83] Nimeh.

[FN#84] "And he (Jacob) turned from them, saying, 'Woe is me for
Joseph!'  And his eyes grew white for grief ...  (Quoth Joseph to
his brethren)  'Take this my shirt and throw it over my father's
face and he will recover his sight' ...  So, when the messenger
of glad tidings came (to Jacob), he threw it (the shirt) over his
face and he was restored to sight."--Koran xii. 84, 93, 96.

[FN#85] Hemzeh and Abbas were uncles of Mohammed.  The Akil here
alluded to is apparently a son of the Khalif Ali, who deserted
his father and joined the usurper Muawiyeh, the founder of the
Ommiade dynasty.

[FN#86] One of the numerous quack aphrodisiacs current in the
middle ages, as with us cock's cullions and other grotesque
prescriptions.

[FN#87] To conjure the evil eye.

[FN#88] i.e. him of the moles.

[FN#89] Alluding to the redness of his cheeks, as if they had
been flushed with wine. The passage may be construed, "As he were
a white slave, with cheeks reddened by wine." The Turkish and
other white slaves were celebrated for their beauty.

[FN#90] As a protection against the evil eye. We may perhaps,
however, read, "Ask pardon of God!", i.e. for your unjust
reproach.

[FN#91] See note, post, p. 299. {see Vol. 3, FN#114}

[FN#92] i.e. of the caravan.

[FN#93] A famous Muslim saint of the twelfth century and founder
of the four great orders of dervishes. He is buried at Baghdad.

[FN#94] Koran xiii. 14.

[FN#95] Another well-known saint.

[FN#96] i.e. He engaged to do somewhat, undertaking upon oath in
case of default to divorce his wife by pronouncing the triple
formula of divorcement, and she therefore became divorced, by
operation of law, on his failure to keep his engagement.

[FN#97] The 36th chapter of the Koran.

[FN#98] or "herself."

[FN#99] or "myself."

[FN#100] This passage is full of double-entendres, the meaning of
most of which is obvious, but others are so obscure and
farfetched as to defy explanation.

[FN#101] The raven is the symbol of separation.

[FN#102] One of the names of God (Breslau. The two other editions
have it, "O David!"). It is the custom of the Arabs, as will
appear in others of these tales, to represent inarticulate music
(such as that of birds and instruments) as celebrating the
praises of God.

[FN#103] lit. a fan.

[FN#104] One of the most celebrated, as well as the most witty
and licentious, of Arab poets. He was one of Haroun er Reshid's
boon-companions and died early in the ninth century.

[FN#105] See note, p. 274.{see Vol. 3, FN#102}

[FN#106] The above appears to be the meaning of this somewhat
obscure passage; but we may perhaps translate it as follows: "May
God preserve (us) from the mischief of he Commander of the
Faithful!" "O Vizier," answered the Khalif, "the mischief is
passing great."

[FN#107] Meaning that the robbery must have been committed by
some inmate of the palace.

[FN#108] Amir. Thus the Breslau edition; the two others give
Amin, i.e. one who is trusted or in a position of trust.

[FN#109] According to Mohammedan tradition, it was Ishmael, not
Isaac, whom Abraham was commanded to sacrifice.

[FN#110] Apparently a sort of blackmail levied upon merchants and
others by the soldiers who protected them against the Bedouins.

[FN#111] A village on the Gulf of Scanderoon.

[FN#112] Or perhaps dinars, the coin not being specified.

[FN#113] Or sectary of Ali. The Shiyaites did not acknowledge the
first three Khalifs Abou Bekr, Omar, and Othman, and were wont to
write their names upon their heels, in token of contempt. The
Sunnites are the orthodox Muslims, who accept the actual order of
things.

[FN#114] An open-fronted reception-room, generally on the first
floor and giving on the interior court of the house.

[FN#115] Instead of "rank of Amir," we should perhaps read
"knighthood."

[FN#116] i.e. It is not enough. See Vol. II, p. 74, note. {see
Vol. 2, FN#29}

[FN#117] Confessional?

[FN#118] £500.

[FN#119] The Mohammedans accuse the Jews, as well as the
Christians, of falsifying their sacred books, so as to suppress
the mention of Mohammed.

[FN#120] A very famous Arab chieftain of the latter part of the
sixth century, especially renowned for the extravagance with
which he practiced the patriarchal virtues of generosity and
hospitality. He died a few years after Mohammed's birth.

[FN#121] Another famous Oriental type of generosity. He was a
celebrated soldier and statesman of the eighth century and stood
in high favour with the Ommiade Khalifs, as also (after the
change of dynasty) with those of the house of Abbas.

[FN#122] Apparently meaning the upper part of the carpet whereon
the Amir's chair was set. It is the place of honour and has a
peculiar sanctity among the Arabs, it being a breach of good
manners to tread upon it (or indeed upon any part of the carpet)
with shodden feet.

[FN#123] Apparently Toledo.

[FN#124] Sixth Khalif of the Ommiade dynasty, A.D. 705-716.

[FN#125] Or perhaps "of that which is due to men of worth."

[FN#126] It is the invariable custom (and indeed the duty) of
every Muslim to salute his co-religionist with the words "Peace
be on thee!" upon first accosting him.

[FN#127] He having then returned to his palace.

[FN#128] i.e. of life.

[FN#129] Lit. to dispute about or defend itself, Koran xvi 112.

[FN#130] The Rages of the Apocrypha; a great city of Persia,
formerly its capital, but now a mere heap of ruins in the
neighbourhood of Teheran.

[FN#131] Ibrahim ben El Mehdi was one of the most celebrated
musicians and wits of his day.  "He was a man of great merit and
a perfect scholar, possessed of an open heart and a generous
hand; his like had never before been seen among the sons of the
Khalifs, none of whom spoke with more propriety and elegance or
composed verses with greater ability." (Ibn Khellikan.)

[FN#132] Ibrahim of Mosul, the greatest musician of the time, a
boon-companion and special favourite of Haroun er Reshid and his
son.

[FN#133] Lit. the lord of the blood-revenge, i.e. the person
entitled to exact the blood-wit.

[FN#134] His Vizier.

[FN#135] Joseph to his brethren, Koran xii. 92.

[FN#136] Playing upon the literal meaning, "blood-sucker," of the
word kejjam, cupper or barber-surgeon.

[FN#137] The Arabic word is el Medineh, lit. the city. Perhaps
the narrator meant to compare the citadel to the actual city of
Medina.

[FN#138] A well-known theologian.

[FN#139] Koran lxxxix. 6, 7.

[FN#140] According to the Breslau edition, it was the prophet
Hond who, being sent of God to exhort Sheddad and his people to
embrace the true faith, promised them Paradise in the next world,
as a reward, describing it as above. Quoth Sheddad, on hearing
this description, "I will build me in this world the like of this
Paradise and I have no need of that thou promisest me."

[FN#141] i.e. the prophet Houd (Heber).

[FN#142] Son of Ibrahim el Mausili and still more famous as a
musician. He was also an excellent poet and a great favourite
with the Khalif Mamoun.

[FN#143] Mamoun's own Vizier, a man of great wealth and
munificence.

[FN#144] Witout the town.

[FN#145] Medewwerek, lit. "something round." This word generally
means a small round cushion; but, in the present instance, a gong
is evidently referred to.

[FN#146] The Prophet's uncle, from whom the Abbaside Khalifs were
descended.

[FN#147] Lit. "fugleman," i.e. "leader of the people at prayer,"
a title bestowed upon the Khalifs, in recognition of their
spiritual headship.

[FN#148] Dies albo lapide notanda.

[FN#149] Lit. Kaabeh.

[FN#150] Referring to the station in the Temple of Mecca, known
as the Mecam or standing-place of Abraham. The wish inferred is
that the Khalif's court may be as favourite a place of reverent
resort as the station in question.

[FN#151] Or (quaere) a pair of forceps.

[FN#152] See ante, p. 335. {see Vol. 3, FN#139}

[FN#153] i.e. thieves.

[FN#154] See ante, p. 337. {...to Many-Columned Irem, at the ...}

[FN#155] A city on the Euphrates, about 40 miles west of Baghdad.

[FN#156] The famous King of Persia.

[FN#157] In Arabia.

[FN#158] Lit. "a thorn-acacia tree." Quaere, the name of a town
in Egypt?





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