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Title: Tales from the Arabic — Complete
Author: John Payne, - To be updated
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                     TALES FROM THE ARABIC

       Of the Breslau and Calcutta (1814-18) editions of

         The Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night

     not occurring in the other printed texts of the work,

                  Now first done into English

                         By John Payne

                       In Three Volumes:



                       VOLUME THE FIRST.



                              1901

                         Delhi Edition


                 Contents of The First Volume.



                         Breslau Text.

1.   Asleep and Awake
     a.   Story of the Lackpenny and the Cook
2.   The Khalif Omar Ben Abdulaziz and the Poets
3.   El Hejjaj and the Three Young Men
4.   Haroun Er Reshid and the Woman of the Barmecides
5.   The Ten Viziers; or the History of King Azadbekht and His
     Son
     a.   Of the Uselessness of Endeavour Against Persistent Ill
          Fortune
          i.   Story of the Unlucky Merchant
     b.   Of Looking to the Issues of Affairs
          i.   Story of the Merchant and His Sons
     c.   Of the Advantages of Patience
          i.   Story of Abou Sabir
     d.   Of the Ill Effects of Precipitation
          i.   Story of Prince Bihzad
     e.   Of the Issues of Good and Evil Actions
          i.   Story of King Dadbin and His Viziers
     f.   Of Trust in God
          i.   Story of King Bexhtzeman
     g.   Of Clemency
          i.   Story of King Bihkerd
     h.   Of Envy and Malice
          i.   Story of Ilan Shah and Abou Temam
     i.   Of Destiny or That Which Is Written on the Forehead
          i.   Story of King Abraham and His Son
     j.   Of the Appointed Term, Which, If it Be Advanced, May
          Not Be Deferred and If it Be Deferred, May Not Be
          Advanced
          i.   Story of King Suleiman Shah and His Sons
     k.   Of the Speedy Relief of God
          i.   Story of the Prisoner and How God Gave Him Relief
6.   Jaafer Ben Yehya and Abdulmelik Ben Salih the Abbaside
7.   Er Reshid and the Barmecides
8.   Ibn Es Semmak and Er Reshid
9.   El Mamoun and Zubeideh
10.  En Numan and the Arab of the Benou Tai
11.  Firouz and His Wife
12.  King Shah Bekht and His Vizier Er Rehwan
     a.   Story of the Man of Khorassan, His Son and His Governor
     b.   Story of the Singer and the Druggist
     c.   Story of the King Who Knew the Quintessence of Things
     d.   Story of the Rich Man Who Gave His Fair Daughter in
          Marriage to the Poor Old Man
     e.   Story of the Rich Man and His Wasteful Son
     f.   The King's Son Who Fell in Love with the Picture
     g.   Story of the Fuller and His Wife
     h.   Story of the Old Woman, the Merchant and the King
     i.   Story of the Credulous Husband
     j.   Story of the Unjust King and the Tither
          i.   Story of David and Solomon
     k.   Story of the Thief and the Woman
     l.   Story of the Three Men and Our Lord Jesus
          i.   The Disciple's Story
     m.   Story of the Dethroned King Whose Kingdom and Good Were
          Restorfd to Him
     n.   Story of the Man Whose Caution Was the Cause of His
          Death
     o.   Story of the Man Who Was Lavish of His House and His
          Victual to One Whom He Knew Not
     p.   Story of the Idiot and the Sharper
     q.   Story of Khelbes and His Wife and the Learned Man



                         Breslau Text.



                     ASLEEP AND AWAKE[FN#1]



There was once [at Baghdad], in the Khalifate of Haroun er
Reshid, a man, a merchant, who had a son by name Aboulhusn el
Khelia.[FN#2] The merchant died and left his son great store of
wealth, which he divided into two parts, one of which he laid up
and spent of the other half; and he fell to companying with
Persians[FN#3] and with the sons of the merchants and gave
himself up to good eating and good drinking, till all that he had
with him of wealth[FN#4] was wasted and gone; whereupon he betook
himself to his friends and comrades and boon-companions and
expounded to them his case, discovering to them the failure of
that which was in his hand of wealth; but not one of them took
heed of him neither inclined unto him.

So he returned to his mother (and indeed his spirit was broken),
and related to her that which had happened to him and what had
betided him from his friends, how they, had neither shared with
him nor requited him with speech. "O Aboulhusn," answered she,
"on this wise are the sons[FN#5]of this time: if thou have aught,
they make much of thee,[FN#6] and if thou have nought, they put
thee away [from them]." And she went on to condole with him, what
while he bewailed himself and his tears flowed and he repeated
the following verses:

     An if my substance fail, no one there is will succour me,
          But if my wealth abound, of all I'm held in amity.
     How many a friend, for money's sake, hath companied with me!
          How many an one, with loss of wealth, hath turned mine
          enemy!

Then he sprang up [and going] to the place wherein was the other
half of his good, [took it] and lived with it well; and he swore
that he would never again consort with those whom he knew, but
would company only with the stranger nor entertain him but one
night and that, whenas it morrowed, he would never know him more.
So he fell to sitting every night on the bridge[FN#7] and looking
on every one who passed by him; and if he saw him to be a
stranger, he made friends with him and carried him to his house,
where he caroused with him till the morning. Then he dismissed
him and would never more salute him nor ever again drew near unto
him neither invited him.

On this wise he continued to do for the space of a whole year,
till, one day, as he sat on the bridge, according to his custom,
expecting who should come to him, so he might take him and pass
the night with him, behold, [up came] the Khalif and Mesrour, the
swordsman of his vengeance, disguised [in merchants' habits] as
of their wont. So he looked at them and rising up, for that he
knew them not, said to them, "What say ye? Will you go with me to
my dwelling-place, so ye may eat what is ready and drink what is
at hand, to wit, bread baked in the platter[FN#8] and meat cooked
and wine clarified?" The Khalif refused this, but he conjured him
and said to him, "God on thee, O my lord, go with me, for thou
art my guest this night, and disappoint not my expectation
concerning thee!" And he ceased not to press him till he
consented to him; whereat Aboulhusn rejoiced and going on before
him, gave not over talking with him till they came to his [house
and he carried the Khalif into the] saloon. Er Reshid entered and
made his servant abide at the door; and as soon as he was seated,
Aboulhusn brought him somewhat to eat; so he ate, and Aboulhusn
ate with him, so eating might be pleasant to him. Then he removed
the tray and they washed their hands and the Khalif sat down
again; whereupon Aboulhusn set on the drinking vessels and
seating himself by his side, fell to filling and giving him to
drink and entertaining him with discourse.

His hospitality pleased the Khalif and the goodliness of his
fashion, and he said to him, "O youth, who art thou? Make me
acquainted with thyself, so I may requite thee thy kindness." But
Aboulhusn smiled and said, "O my lord, far be it that what is
past should recur and that I be in company with thee at other
than this time!" "Why so?" asked the Khalif. "And why wilt thou
not acquaint me with thy case?" And Aboulhusn said, "Know, O my
lord, that my story is extraordinary and that there is a cause
for this affair." Quoth the Khalif, "And what is the cause?" And
he answered, "The cause hath a tail." The Khalif laughed at his
words and Aboulhusn said, "I will explain to thee this [saying]
by the story of the lackpenny and the cook. Know, O my lord, that



              STORY OF THE LACKPENNY AND THE COOK.



One of the good-for-noughts found himself one day without aught
and the world was straitened upon him and his patience failed; so
he lay down to sleep and gave not over sleeping till the sun
burnt him and the foam came out upon his mouth, whereupon he
arose, and he was penniless and had not so much as one dirhem.
Presently, he came to the shop of a cook, who had set up therein
his pans[FN#9] [over the fire] and wiped his scales and washed
his saucers and swept his shop and sprinkled it; and indeed his
oils[FN#10] were clear[FN#11] and his spices fragrant and he
himself stood behind his cooking-pots [waiting for custom]. So
the lackpenny went up to him and saluting him, said to him,
'Weigh me half a dirhem's worth of meat and a quarter of a
dirhem's worth of kouskoussou[FN#12] and the like of bread.' So
the cook weighed out to him [that which he sought] and the
lackpenny entered the shop, whereupon the cook set the food
before him and he ate till he had gobbled up the whole and licked
the saucers and abode perplexed, knowing not how he should do
with the cook concerning the price of that which he had eaten and
turning his eyes about upon everything in the shop.

Presently, he caught sight of an earthen pan turned over upon its
mouth; so he raised it from the ground and found under it a
horse's tail, freshly cut off, and the blood oozing from it;
whereby he knew that the cook adulterated his meat with horses'
flesh. When he discovered this default, he rejoiced therein and
washing his hands, bowed his head and went out; and when the cook
saw that he went and gave him nought, he cried out, saying,
'Stay, O sneak, O slink-thief!' So the lackpenny stopped and said
to him, 'Dost thou cry out upon me and becall [me] with these
words, O cuckold?' Whereat the cook was angry and coming down
from the shop, said, 'What meanest thou by thy speech, O thou
that devourest meat and kouskoussou and bread and seasoning and
goest forth with "Peace[FN#13][be on thee!]," as it were the
thing had not been, and payest down nought for it?' Quoth the
lackpenny, 'Thou liest, O son of a cuckold!' Wherewith the cook
cried out and laying hold of the lackpenny's collar, said, 'O
Muslims, this fellow is my first customer[FN#14] this day and he
hath eaten my food and given me nought.'

So the folk gathered together to them and blamed the lackpenny
and said to him, 'Give him the price of that which thou hast
eaten.' Quoth he, 'I gave him a dirhem before I entered the
shop;' and the cook said, 'Be everything I sell this day
forbidden[FN#15] to me, if he gave me so much as the name of a
piece of money! By Allah, he gave me nought, but ate my food and
went out and [would have] made off, without aught [said I]'
'Nay,' answered the lackpenny, 'I gave thee a dirhem,' and he
reviled the cook, who returned his abuse; whereupon he dealt him
a cuff and they gripped and grappled and throttled each other.
When the folk saw them on this wise, they came up to them and
said to them, 'What is this strife between you, and no cause for
it?' 'Ay, by Allah,' replied the lackpenny, 'but there is a cause
for it, and the cause hath a tail!' Whereupon, 'Yea, by Allah,'
cried the cook, 'now thou mindest me of thyself and thy dirhem!
Yes, he gave me a dirhem and [but] a quarter of the price is
spent. Come back and take the rest of the price of thy dirhem.'
For that he understood what was to do, at the mention of the
tail; and I, O my brother," added Aboulhusn, "my story hath a
cause, which I will tell thee."

The Khalif laughed at his speech and said, "By Allah, this is
none other than a pleasant tale! Tell me thy story and the
cause." "With all my heart," answered Aboulhusn. "Know, O my
lord, that my name is Aboulhusn el Khelia and that my father died
and left me wealth galore, of which I made two parts. One I laid
up and with the other I betook myself to [the enjoyment of the
pleasures of] friendship [and conviviality] and consorting with
comrades and boon-companions and with the sons of the merchants,
nor did I leave one but I caroused with him and he with me, and I
spent all my money on companionship and good cheer, till there
remained with me nought [of the first half of my good]; whereupon
I betook myself to the comrades and cup-companions upon whom I
had wasted my wealth, so haply they might provide for my case;
but, when I resorted to them and went round about to them all, I
found no avail in one of them, nor broke any so much as a crust
of bread in my face. So I wept for myself and repairing to my
mother, complained to her of my case. Quoth she, 'On this wise
are friends; if thou have aught, they make much of thee and
devour thee, but, if thou have nought, they cast thee off and
chase thee away.' Then I brought out the other half of my money
and bound myself by an oath that I would never more entertain
any, except one night, after which I would never again salute him
nor take note of him; hence my saying to thee, 'Far be it that
what is past should recur!' For that I will never again
foregather with thee, after this night."

When the Khalif heard this, he laughed heartily and said, "By
Allah, O my brother, thou art indeed excused in this matter, now
that I know the cause and that the cause hath a tail.
Nevertheless if it please God, I will not sever myself from
thee." "O my guest," replied Aboulhusn, "did I not say to thee,
'Far be it that what is past should recur! For that I will never
again foregather with any'?" Then the Khalif rose and Aboulhusn
set before him a dish of roast goose and a cake of manchet-bread
and sitting down, fell to cutting off morsels and feeding the
Khalif therewith. They gave not over eating thus till they were
content, when Aboulhusn brought bowl and ewer and potash[FN#16]
and they washed their hands.

Then he lighted him three candles and three lamps and spreading
the drinking-cloth, brought clarified wine, limpid, old and
fragrant, the scent whereof was as that of virgin musk. He filled
the first cup and saying, "O my boon-companion, by thy leave, be
ceremony laid aside between us! I am thy slave; may I not be
afflicted with thy loss!" drank it off and filled a second cup,
which he handed to the Khalif, with a reverence. His fashion
pleased the Khalif and the goodliness of his speech and he said
in himself, "By Allah, I will assuredly requite him for this!"
Then Aboulhusn filled the cup again and handed it to the Khalif,
reciting the following verses:

Had we thy coming known, we would for sacrifice Have poured thee
     out heart's blood or blackness of the eyes;
Ay, and we would have spread our bosoms in thy way, That so thy
     feet might fare on eyelids, carpet-wise.

When the Khalif heard his verses, he took the cup from his hand
and kissed it and drank it off and returned it to Aboulhusn, who
made him an obeisance and filled and drank. Then he filled again
and kissing the cup thrice, recited the following verses:

     Thy presence honoureth us and we Confess thy magnanimity;
     If thou forsake us, there is none Can stand to us instead of
        thee.

Then he gave the cup to the Khalif, saying, "Drink [and may]
health and soundness [attend it]! It doth away disease and
bringeth healing and setteth the runnels of health abroach."

They gave not over drinking and carousing till the middle of the
night, when the Khalif said to his host, "O my brother, hast thou
in thy heart a wish thou wouldst have accomplished or a regret
thou wouldst fain do away?" "By Allah," answered he, "there is no
regret in my heart save that I am not gifted with dominion and
the power of commandment and prohibition, so I might do what is
in my mind!" Quoth the Khalif, "For God's sake, O my brother,
tell me what is in thy mind!" And Aboulhusn said, "I would to God
I might avenge myself on my neighbours, for that in my
neighbourhood is a mosque and therein four sheikhs, who take it
ill, whenas there cometh a guest to me, and vex me with talk and
molest me in words and threaten me that they will complain of me
to the Commander of the Faithful, and indeed they oppress me
sore, and I crave of God the Most High one day's dominion, that I
may beat each of them with four hundred lashes, as well as the
Imam of the mosque, and parade them about the city of Baghdad and
let call before them, 'This is the reward and the least of the
reward of whoso exceedeth [in talk] and spiteth the folk and
troubleth on them their joys.' This is what I wish and no more."

Quoth the Khalif, "God grant thee that thou seekest! Let us drink
one last cup and rise before the dawn draw near, and to-morrow
night I will be with thee again." "Far be it!" said Aboulhusn.
Then the Khalif filled a cup and putting therein a piece of
Cretan henbane, gave it to his host and said to him, "My life on
thee, O my brother, drink this cup from my hand!" "Ay, by thy
life," answered Aboulhusn, "I will drink it from thy hand." So he
took it and drank it off; but hardly had he done so, when his
head forewent his feet and he fell to the ground like a slain
man; whereupon the Khalif went out and said to his servant
Mesrour, "Go in to yonder young man, the master of the house, and
take him up and bring him to me at the palace; and when thou
goest out, shut the door."

So saying, he went away, whilst Mesrour entered and taking up
Aboulhusn, shut the door after him, and followed his master, till
he reached the palace, what while the night drew to an end and
the cocks cried out, and set him down before the Commander of the
Faithful, who laughed at him. Then he sent for Jaafer the
Barmecide and when he came before him, he said to him, "Note this
young man and when thou seest him to-morrow seated in my place of
estate and on the throne of my Khalifate and clad in my habit,
stand thou in attendance upon him and enjoin the Amirs and
grandees and the people of my household and the officers of my
realm to do the like and obey him in that which he shall command
them; and thou, if he bespeak thee of anything, do it and hearken
unto him and gainsay him not in aught in this coming day." Jaafer
answered with, "Hearkening and obedience,"[FN#17] and withdrew,
whilst the Khalif went in to the women of the palace, who came to
him, and he said to them, "Whenas yonder sleeper awaketh
to-morrow from his sleep, kiss ye the earth before him and make
obeisance to him and come round about him and clothe him in the
[royal] habit and do him the service of the Khalifate and deny
not aught of his estate, but say to him, 'Thou art the Khalif.'"
Then he taught them what they should say to him and how they
should do with him and withdrawing to a privy place, let down a
curtain before himself and slept.

Meanwhile, Aboulhusn gave not over snoring in his sleep, till the
day broke and the rising of the sun drew near, when a
waiting-woman came up to him and said to him, "O our lord [it is
the hour of] the morning- prayer." When he heard the girl's
words, he laughed and opening his eyes, turned them about the
place and found himself in an apartment the walls whereof were
painted with gold and ultramarine and its ceiling starred with
red gold. Around it were sleeping-chambers, with curtains of
gold-embroidered silk let down over their doors, and all about
vessels of gold and porcelain and crystal and furniture and
carpets spread and lamps burning before the prayer-niche and
slave-girls and eunuchs and white slaves and black slaves and
boys and pages and attendants. When he saw this, he was
confounded in his wit and said, "By Allah, either I am dreaming,
or this is Paradise and the Abode of Peace!"[FN#18] And he shut
his eyes and went to sleep again. Quoth the waiting-woman, "O my
lord, this is not of thy wont, O Commander of the Faithful!"

Then the rest of the women of the palace came all to him and
lifted him into a sitting posture, when he found himself upon a
couch, stuffed all with floss-silk and raised a cubit's height
from the ground.[FN#19] So they seated him upon it and propped
him up with a pillow, and he looked at the apartment and its
greatness and saw those eunuchs and slave-girls in attendance
upon him and at his head, whereat he laughed at himself and said,
"By Allah, it is not as I were on wake, and [yet] I am not
asleep!" Then he arose and sat up, whilst the damsels laughed at
him and hid [their laughter] from him; and he was confounded in
his wit and bit upon his finger. The bite hurt him and he cried
"Oh!" and was vexed; and the Khalif watched him, whence he saw
him not, and laughed.

Presently Aboulhusn turned to a damsel and called to her;
whereupon she came to him and he said to her, "By the protection
of God, O damsel, am I Commander of the Faithful?" "Yes, indeed,"
answered she; "by the protection of God thou in this time art
Commander of the Faithful." Quoth he, "By Allah, thou liest, O
thousandfold strumpet!" Then he turned to the chief eunuch and
called to him, whereupon he came to him and kissing the earth
before him, said, "Yes, O Commander of the Faithful." "Who is
Commander of the Faithful?" asked Aboulhusn. "Thou," replied the
eunuch and Aboulhusn said, "Thou liest, thousandfold catamite
that thou art!" Then he turned to another eunuch and said to him,
"O my chief,[FN#20] by the protection of God, am I Commander of
the Faithful?" "Ay, by Allah, O my lord!" answered he. "Thou in
this time art Commander of the Faithful and Vicar of the Lord of
the Worlds." Aboulhusn laughed at himself and misdoubted of his
reason and was perplexed at what he saw and said, "In one night I
am become Khalif! Yesterday I was Aboulhusn the Wag, and to-day I
am Commander of the Faithful." Then the chief eunuch came up to
him and said, "O Commander of the Faithful, (the name of God
encompass thee!) thou art indeed Commander of the Faithful and
Vicar of the Lord of the Worlds!" And the slave-girls and eunuchs
came round about him, till he arose and abode wondering at his
case.

Presently, one of the slave-girls brought him a pair of sandals
wrought with raw silk and green silk and embroidered with red
gold, and he took them and put them in his sleeve, whereat the
slave cried out and said, "Allah! Allah! O my lord, these are
sandals for the treading of thy feet, so thou mayst enter the
draught-house." Aboulhusn was confounded and shaking the sandals
from his sleeve, put them on his feet, whilst the Khalif
[well-nigh] died of laughter at him. The slave forewent him to
the house of easance, where he entered and doing his occasion,
came out into the chamber, whereupon the slave- girls brought him
a basin of gold and an ewer of silver and poured water on his
hands and he made the ablution.

Then they spread him a prayer-carpet and he prayed. Now he knew
not how to pray and gave not over bowing and prostrating himself,
[till he had prayed the prayers] of twenty inclinations,[FN#21]
pondering in himself the while and saying, "By Allah, I am none
other than the Commander of the Faithful in very sooth! This is
assuredly no dream, for all these things happen not in a dream."
And he was convinced and determined in himself that he was
Commander of the Faithful; so he pronounced the Salutation[FN#22]
and made an end[FN#23] of his prayers; whereupon the slaves and
slave-girls came round about him with parcels of silk and
stuffs[FN#24] and clad him in the habit of the Khalifate and gave
him the royal dagger in his hand. Then the chief eunuch went out
before him and the little white slaves behind him, and they
ceased not [going] till they raised the curtain and brought him
into the hall of judgment and the throne-room of the Khalifate.
There he saw the curtains and the forty doors and El Ijli and Er
Recashi[FN#25] and Ibdan and Jedim and Abou Ishac [FN#26] the
boon-companions and beheld swords drawn and lions [FN#27]
encompassing [the throne] and gilded glaives and death-dealing
bows and Persians and Arabs and Turks and Medes and folk and
peoples and Amirs and viziers and captains and grandees and
officers of state and men of war, and indeed there appeared the
puissance of the house of Abbas [FN#28] and the majesty of the
family of the Prophet.

So he sat down upon the throne of the Khalifate and laid the
dagger in his lap, whereupon all [present] came up to kiss the
earth before him and called down on him length of life and
continuance [of glory and prosperity]. Then came forward Jaafer
the Barmecide and kissing the earth, said, "May the wide world of
God be the treading of thy feet and may Paradise be thy
dwelling-place and the fire the habitation of thine enemies! May
no neighbour transgress against thee nor the lights of fire die
out for thee, [FN#29] O Khalif of [all] cities and ruler of [all]
countries!"

Therewithal Aboulhusn cried out at him and said, "O dog of the
sons of Bermek, go down forthright, thou and the master of the
police of the city, to such a place in such a street and deliver
a hundred dinars to the mother of Aboulhusn the Wag and bear her
my salutation. [Then, go to such a mosque] and take the four
sheikhs and the Imam and beat each of them with four hundred
lashes and mount them on beasts, face to tail, and go round with
them about all the city and banish them to a place other than the
city; and bid the crier make proclamation before them, saying,
'This is the reward and the least of the reward of whoso
multiplieth words and molesteth his neighbours and stinteth them
of their delights and their eating and drinking!'" Jaafer
received the order [with submission] and answered with
["Hearkening and] obedience;" after which he went down from
before Aboulhusn to the city and did that whereunto he had bidden
him.

Meanwhile, Aboulhusn abode in the Khalifate, taking and giving,
ordering and forbidding and giving effect to his word, till the
end of the day, when he gave [those who were present] leave and
permission [to withdraw], and the Amirs and officers of state
departed to their occasions. Then the eunuchs came to him and
calling down on him length of life and continuance [of glory and
prosperity], walked in attendance upon him and raised the
curtain, and he entered the pavilion of the harem, where he found
candles lighted and lamps burning and singing-women smiting [on
instruments of music]. When he saw this, he was confounded in his
wit and said in himself, "By Allah, I am in truth Commander of
the Faithful!" As soon as he appeared, the slave-girls rose to
him and carrying him up on to the estrade,[FN#30] brought him a
great table, spread with the richest meats. So he ate thereof
with all his might, till he had gotten his fill, when he called
one of the slave-girls and said to her, "What is thy name?" "My
name is Miskeh," replied she, and he said to another, "What is
thy name?" Quoth she, "My name is Terkeh." Then said he to a
third, "What is thy name?" "My name is Tuhfeh," answered she; and
he went on to question the damsels of their names, one after
another, [till he had made the round of them all], when he rose
from that place and removed to the wine-chamber.

He found it every way complete and saw therein ten great trays,
full of all fruits and cakes and all manner sweetmeats. So he sat
down and ate thereof after the measure of his sufficiency, and
finding there three troops of singing-girls, was amazed and made
the girls eat. Then he sat and the singers also seated
themselves, whilst the black slaves and the white slaves and the
eunuchs and pages and boys stood, and the slave-girls, some of
them, sat and some stood. The damsels sang and warbled all manner
melodies and the place answered them for the sweetness of the
songs, whilst the pipes cried out and the lutes made accord with
them, till it seemed to Aboulhusn that he was in Paradise and his
heart was cheered and his breast dilated. So he sported and
joyance waxed on him and he bestowed dresses of honour on the
damsels and gave and bestowed, challenging this one and kissing
that and toying with a third, plying one with wine and another
with meat, till the night fell down.

All this while the Khalif was diverting himself with watching him
and laughing, and at nightfall he bade one of the slave-girls
drop a piece of henbane in the cup and give it to Aboulhusn to
drink. So she did as he bade her and gave Aboulhusn the cup,
whereof no sooner had he drunken than his head forewent his feet
[and he fell down, senseless]. Therewith the Khalif came forth
from behind the curtain, laughing, and calling to the servant who
had brought Aboulhusn to the palace, said to him, "Carry this
fellow to his own place." So Mesrour took him up [and carrying
him to his own house], set him down in the saloon. Then he went
forth from him and shutting the saloon-door upon him, returned to
the Khalif, who slept till the morrow.

As for Aboulhusn, he gave not over sleeping till God the Most
High brought on the morning, when he awoke, crying out and
saying, "Ho, Tuffaheh! Ho, Rahet el Culoub! Ho, Miskeh! Ho,
Tuhfeh!" And he gave not over calling upon the slave-girls till
his mother heard him calling upon strange damsels and rising,
came to him and said, "The name of God encompass thee! Arise, O
my son, O Aboulhusn! Thou dreamest." So he opened his eyes and
finding an old woman at his head, raised his eyes and said to
her, "Who art thou?" Quoth she, "I am thy mother;" and he
answered, "Thou liest! I am the Commander of the Faithful, the
Vicar of God." Whereupon his mother cried out and said to him,
"God preserve thy reason! Be silent, O my son, and cause not the
loss of our lives and the spoiling of thy wealth, [as will
assuredly betide,] if any hear this talk and carry it to the
Khalif."

So he rose from his sleep and finding himself in his own saloon
and his mother by him, misdoubted of his wit and said to her, "By
Allah, O my mother, I saw myself in a dream in a palace, with
slave-girls and servants about me and in attendance upon me, and
I sat upon the throne of the Khalifate and ruled. By Allah, O my
mother, this is what I saw, and verily it was not a dream!" Then
he bethought himself awhile and said, "Assuredly, I am Aboulhusn
el Khelia, and this that I saw was only a dream, and [it was in a
dream that] I was made Khalif and commanded and forbade." Then he
bethought himself again and said, "Nay, but it was no dream and I
am no other than the Khalif, and indeed I gave gifts and bestowed
dresses of honour." Quoth his mother to him, "O my son, thou
sportest with thy reason: thou wilt go to the hospital and become
a gazing-stock. Indeed, that which thou hast seen is only from
the Devil and it was a delusion of dreams, for whiles Satan
sporteth with men's wits in all manner ways."

Then said she to him, "O my son, was there any one with thee
yesternight?" And he bethought himself and said, "Yes; one lay
the night with me and I acquainted him with my case and told him
my story. Doubtless, he was from the Devil, and I, O my mother,
even as thou sayst truly, am Aboulhusn el Khelia." "O my son,"
rejoined she, "rejoice in tidings of all good, for yesterday's
record is that there came the Vivier Jaafer the Barmecide [and
his company] and beat the sheikhs of the mosque and the Imam,
each four hundred lashes; after which they paraded them about the
city, making proclamation before them and saying, 'This is the
reward and the least of the reward of whoso lacketh of goodwill
to his neighbours and troubleth on them their lives!' and
banished them from Baghdad. Moreover, the Khalif sent me a
hundred dinars and sent to salute me." Whereupon Aboulhusn cried
out and said to her, "O old woman of ill-omen, wilt thou
contradict me and tell me that I am not the Commander of the
Faithful? It was I who commanded Jaafer the Barmecide to beat the
sheikhs and parade them about the city and make proclamation
before them and who sent thee the hundred dinars and sent to
salute thee, and I, O beldam of ill-luck, am in very deed the
Commander of the Faithful, and thou art a liar, who would make me
out a dotard."

So saying, he fell upon her and beat her with a staff of
almond-wood, till she cried out, "[Help], O Muslims!" and he
redoubled the beating upon her, till the folk heard her cries and
coming to her, [found] Aboulhusn beating her and saying to her,
"O old woman of ill-omen, am I not the Commander of the Faithful?
Thou hast enchanted me!" When the folk heard his words, they
said, "This man raveth," and doubted not of his madness. So they
came in upon him and seizing him, pinioned him and carried him to
the hospital. Quoth the superintendant, "What aileth this youth?"
And they said, "This is a madman." "By Allah," cried Aboulhusn,
"they lie against me! I am no madman, but the Commander of the
Faithful." And the superintendant answered him, saying, "None
lieth but thou, O unluckiest of madmen!"

Then he stripped him of his clothes and clapping on his neck a
heavy chain, bound him to a high lattice and fell to drubbing him
two bouts a day and two anights; and on this wise he abode the
space of ten days. Then his mother came to him and said, "O my
son, O Aboulhusn, return to thy reason, for this is the Devil's
doing." Quoth he, "Thou sayst sooth, O my mother, and bear thou
witness of me that I repent [and forswear] that talk and turn
from my madness. So do thou deliver me, for I am nigh upon
death." So his mother went out to the superintendant and procured
his release and he returned to his own house.

Now this was at the beginning of the month, and when it was the
end thereof, Aboulhusn longed to drink wine and returning to his
former usance, furnished his saloon and made ready food and let
bring wine; then, going forth to the bridge, he sat there,
expecting one whom he should carouse withal, as of his wont. As
he sat thus, behold, up came the Khalif [and Mesrour] to him; but
Aboulhusn saluted them not and said to them, "No welcome and no
greeting to the perverters![FN#31] Ye are no other than devils."
However, the Khalif accosted him and said to him, "O my brother,
did I not say to thee that I would return to thee?" Quoth
Aboulhusn, "I have no need of thee; and as the byword says in
verse:

'Twere fitter and better my loves that I leave, For, if the eye
     see not, the heart will not grieve.

And indeed, O my brother, the night thou camest to me and we
caroused together, I and thou, it was as if the Devil came to me
and troubled me that night." "And who is he, the Devil?" asked
the Khalif. "He is none other than thou," answered Aboulhusn;
whereat the Khalif smiled and sitting down by him, coaxed him and
spoke him fair, saying, "O my brother, when I went out from thee,
I forgot [to shut] the door [and left it] open, and belike Satan
came in to thee." Quoth Aboulhusn, "Ask me not of that which hath
betided me. What possessed thee to leave the door open, so that
the Devil came in to me and there befell me with him this and
that?" And he related to him all that had befallen him, from
first to last, aud there is no advantage in the repetition of it;
what while the Khalif laughed and hid his laughter.

Then said he to Aboulhusn, "Praised be God who hath done away
from thee that which irked thee and that I see thee in weal!" And
Aboulhusn said, "Never again will I take thee to boon-companion
or sitting-mate; for the byword saith, 'Whoso stumbleth on a
stone and returneth thereto, blame and reproach be upon him.' And
thou, O my brother, nevermore will I entertain thee nor use
companionship with thee, for that I have not found thy commerce
propitious to me."[FN#32] But the Khalif blandished him and
conjured him, redoubling words upon him with "Verily, I am thy
guest; reject not the guest," till Aboulhusn took him and
[carrying him home], brought him into the saloon and set food
before him and friendly entreated him in speech. Then he told him
all that had befallen him, whilst the Khalif was like to die of
hidden laughter; after which Aboulhusn removed the tray of food
and bringing the wine-tray, filled a cup and emptied it out three
times, then gave it to the Khalif, saying, "O boon-companion
mine, I am thy slave and let not that which I am about to say irk
thee, and be thou not vexed, neither do thou vex me." And he
recited these verses:

No good's in life (to the counsel list of one who's
     purpose-whole,) An if thou be not drunken still and gladden
     not thy soul.
Ay, ne'er will I leave to drink of wine, what while the night on
     me Darkens, till drowsiness bow down my head upon my bowl.
In wine, as the glittering sunbeams bright, my heart's
     contentment is, That banishes hence, with various joys, all
     kinds of care and dole.

When the Khalif heard these his verses, he was moved to exceeding
delight and taking the cup, drank it off, and they ceased not to
drink and carouse till the wine rose to their heads. Then said
Aboulhusn to the Khalif, "O boon-companion mine, of a truth I am
perplexed concerning my affair, for meseemed I was Commander of
the Faithful and ruled and gave gifts and largesse, and in very
deed, O my brother, it was not a dream." "These were the
delusions of sleep," answered the Khalif and crumbling a piece of
henbane into the cup, said to him, "By my life, do thou drink
this cup." And Aboulhusn said, "Surely I will drink it from thy
hand." Then he took the cup from the Khalifs hand and drank it
off, and no sooner had it settled in his belly than his head
forewent his feet [and he fell down senseless].

Now his parts and fashions pleased the Khalif and the excellence
of his composition and his frankness, and he said in himself, "I
will assuredly make him my cup- companion and sitting-mate." So
he rose forthright and saying to Mesrour, "Take him up,"
[returned to the palace]. Accordingly, Mesrour took up Aboulhusn
and carrying him to the palace of the Khalifate, set him down
before Er Reshid, who bade the slaves and slave- girls encompass
him about, whilst he himself hid in a place where Aboulhusn could
not see him.

Then he commanded one of the slave-girls to take the lute and
strike it at Aboulhusn's head, whilst the rest smote upon their
instruments. [So they played and sang,] till Aboulhusn awoke at
the last of the night and heard the noise of lutes and tabrets
and the sound of the pipes and the singing of the slave-girls,
whereupon he opened his eyes and finding himself in the palace,
with the slave-girls and eunuchs about him, exclaimed, 'There is
no power and no virtue but in God the Most High, the Supreme!
Verily, I am fearful of the hospital and of that which I suffered
therein aforetime, and I doubt not but the Devil is come to me
again, as before. O my God, put thou Satan to shame!" Then he
shut his eyes and laid his head in his sleeve and fell to
laughing softly and raising his head [bytimes], but [still] found
the apartment lighted and the girls singing.

Presently, one of the eunuchs sat down at his head and said to
him, "Sit up, O Commander of the Faithful, and look on thy palace
and thy slave-girls." Quoth Aboulhusn, "By the protection of God,
am I in truth Commander of the Faithful and dost thou not lie?
Yesterday, I went not forth neither ruled, but drank and slept,
and this eunuch cometh to rouse me up." Then he sat up and
bethought himself of that which had betided him with his mother
and how he had beaten her and entered the hospital, and he saw
the marks of the beating, wherewithal the superintendant of the
hospital had beaten him, and was perplexed concerning his affair
and pondered in himself, saying, "By Allah, I know not how my
case is nor what is this that betideth me!"

Then he turned to a damsel of the damsels and said to her, "Who
am I?" Quoth she, "Thou art the Commander of the Faithful;" and
he said, "Thou liest, O calamity![FN#33] If I be indeed the
Commander of the Faithful, bite my finger." So she came to him
and bit it with her might, and he said to her, "It sufficeth."
Then he said to the chief eunuch, "Who am I?" And he answered,
"Thou art the Commander of the Faithful." So he left him and
turning to a little white slave, said to him, "Bite my ear;" and
he bent down to him and put his ear to his mouth. Now the slave
was young and lacked understanding; so he closed his teeth upon
Aboulhusn's ear with his might, till he came near to sever it;
and he knew not Arabic, so, as often as Aboulhusn said to him,
"It sufficeth," he concluded that he said, "Bite harder," and
redoubled his bite and clenched his teeth upon the ear, whilst
the damsels were diverted from him with hearkening to the
singing-girls, and Aboulhusn cried out for succour from the boy
and the Khalif [well-nigh] lost his senses for laughter.

Then he dealt the boy a cuff and he let go his ear, whereupon
Aboulhusn put off his clothes and abode naked, with his yard and
his arse exposed, and danced among the slave-girls. They bound
his hands and he wantoned among them, what while they [well-nigh]
died of laughing at him and the Khalif swooned away for excess of
laughter. Then he came to himself and going forth to Aboulhusn,
said to him, "Out on thee, O Aboulhusn! Thou slayest me with
laughter." So he turned to him and knowing him, said to him, "By
Allah, it is thou slayest me and slayest my mother and slewest
the sheikhs and the Imam of the Mosque!"

Then the Khalif took him into his especial favour and married him
and bestowed largesse on him and lodged him with himself in the
palace and made him of the chief of his boon-companions, and
indeed he was preferred with him above them and the Khalif
advanced him over them all. Now they were ten in number, to wit,
El Ijli and Er Recashi and Ibdan and Hassan el Feresdec and El
Lauz and Es Seker and Omar et Tertis and Abou Nuwas[FN#34] and
Abou Ishac en Nedim and Aboulhusn el Khelia, and by each of them
hangeth a story that is told in other than this book. And indeed
Aboulhusn became high in honour with the Khalif and favoured
above all, so that he sat with him and the Lady Zubeideh bint el
Casim and married the latter's treasuress, whose name was Nuzhet
el Fuad.

Aboulhusn abode with his wife in eating and drinking and all
delight of life, till all that was with them was spent, when he
said to her, "Harkye, O Nuzhet el Fuad!" "At thy service,"
answered she, and he said, "I have it in mind to play a trick on
the Khalif and thou shalt do the like with the Lady Zubeideh, and
we will take of them, in a twinkling, two hundred dinars and two
pieces of silk." "As thou wilt," answered she; "but what thinkest
thou to do?" And he said,"We will feign ourselves dead and this
is the trick. I will die before thee and lay myself out, and do
thou spread over me a kerchief of silk and loose [the muslin of]
my turban over me and tie my toes and lay on my heart a knife,
and a little salt.[FN#35] Then let down thy hair and betake
thyself to thy mistress Zubeideh, tearing thy dress and buffeting
thy face and crying out. She will say to thee, 'What aileth
thee?' and do thou answer her, saying, 'May thy head outlive
Aboulhusn el Khelia! For he is dead." She will mourn for me and
weep and bid her treasuress give thee a hundred dinars and a
piece of silk and will say to thee, 'Go lay him out and carry him
forth [to burial].' So do thou take of her the hundred dinars and
the piece of silk and come back, and when thou returnest to me, I
will rise up and thou shalt lie down in my place, and I will go
to the Khalif and say to him, 'May thy head outlive Nuzhet el
Fuad!' and tear my dress and pluck at my beard. He will mourn for
thee and say to his treasurer, 'Give Aboulhusn a hundred dinars
and a piece of silk.' Then he will say to me, 'Go; lay her out
and carry her forth;' and I will come back to thee."

Therewith Nuzhet el Fuad rejoiced and said, "Indeed, this is an
excellent device." [Then Aboulhusn stretched himself out]
forthright and she shut his eyes and tied his feet and covered
him with the kerchief and did what [else] her lord had bidden
her; after which she rent her dress and uncovering her head, let
down her hair and went in to the Lady Zubeideh, crying out and
weeping, When the princess saw her in this case, she said to her,
"What plight is this [in which I see thee]? What is thy story and
what maketh thee weep?" And Nuzhet el Fuad answered, weeping and
crying out the while, "O my lady, may thy head live and mayst
thou survive Aboulhusn el Khelia! For he is dead." The Lady
Zubeideh mourned for him and said, "Alas for Aboulhusn el
Khelia!" And she wept for him awhile. Then she bade her
treasuress give Nuzhet el Fuad a hundred dinars and a piece of
silk and said to her, "O Nuzhet el Fuad, go, lay him out and
carry him forth."

So she took the hundred dinars and the piece of silk and returned
to her dwelling, rejoicing, and went in to Aboulhusn and told him
what had befallen, whereupon he arose and rejoiced and girt his
middle and danced and took the hundred dinars and the piece of
silk and laid them up. Then he laid out Nuzhet el Fuad and did
with her even as she had done with him; after which he rent his
clothes and plucked out his beard and disordered his turban [and
went forth] and gave not over running till he came in to the
Khalif, who was sitting in the hall of audience, and he in this
plight, beating upon his breast. Quoth the Khalif to him, "What
aileth thee, O Aboulhusn!" And he wept and said, "Would thy
boon-companion had never been and would his hour had never come!"
"Tell me [thy case,]" said the Khalif; and Aboulhusn said, "O my
lord, may thy head outlive Nuzhet el Fuad!" Quoth the Khalif,
"There is no god but God!" And he smote hand upon hand. Then he
comforted Aboulhusn and said to him, "Grieve not, for we will
give thee a concubine other than she." And he bade the treasurer
give him a hundred dinars and a piece of silk. So the treasurer
gave him what the Khalif bade him, and the latter said to
him,"Go, lay her out and carry her forth and make her a handsome
funeral." So Aboulhusn took that which he had given him and
returning to his house, rejoicing, went in to Nuzhet el Fuad and
said to her, "Arise, for the wish is accomplished unto us." So
she arose and he laid before her the hundred dinars and the piece
of silk, whereat she rejoiced, and they added the gold to the
gold and the silk to the silk and sat talking and laughing at one
another.

Meanwhile, when Aboulhusn went out from the presence of the
Khalif and went to lay out Nuzhet el Fuad, the prince mourned for
her and dismissing the divan, arose and betook himself, leaning
upon Mesrour, the swordsman of his vengeance, [to the pavilion of
the harem, where he went in] to the Lady Zubeideh, that he might
condole with her for her slave-girl. He found the princess
sitting weeping and awaiting his coming, so she might condole
with him for [his boon-companion] Aboulhusn el Khelia. So he said
to her, "May thy head outlive thy slave-girl Nuzhet el Fuad!" And
she answered, saying, "O my lord, God preserve my slave-girl!
Mayst thou live and long survive thy boon-companion Aboulhusn el
Khelia! For he is dead."

The Khalif smiled and said to his eunuch, "O Mesrour, verily
women are little of wit. I conjure thee, by Allah, say, was not
Aboulhusn with me but now?" ["Yes, O Commander of the Faithful,"
answered Mesrour] Quoth the Lady Zubeideh, laughing from a heart
full of wrath, "Wilt thou not leave thy jesting? Is it not enough
that Aboulhusn is dead, but thou must kill my slave-girl also and
bereave us of the two and style me little of wit?" "Indeed,"
answered the Khalif, "it is Nuzhet el Fuad who is dead." And
Zubeideh said, "Indeed he hath not been with thee, nor hast thou
seen him, and none was with me but now but Nuzhet el Fuad, and
she sorrowful, weeping, with her clothes torn. I exhorted her to
patience and gave her a hundred dinars and a piece of silk; and
indeed I was awaiting thy coming, so I might condole with thee
for thy boon- companion Aboulhusn el Khelia, and was about to
send for thee." The Khalif laughed and said, "None is dead but
Nuzhet el Fuad;" and she, "No, no, my lord; none is dead but
Aboulhusn."

With this the Khalif waxed wroth, and the Hashimi vein[FN#36]
started out from between his eyes and he cried out to Mesrour and
said to him, "Go forth and see which of them is dead." So Mesrour
went out, running, and the Khalif said to Zubeideh, "Wilt thou
lay me a wager?" "Yes," answered she; "I will wager, and I say
that Aboulhusn is dead." "And I," rejoined the Khalif, "wager and
say that none is dead save Nuzhet el Fuad; and the stake shall be
the Garden of Pleasance against thy palace and the Pavilion of
Pictures." So they [agreed upon this and] abode awaiting Mesrour,
till such time as he should return with news.

As for Mesrour, he gave not over running till he came to the
by-street, [wherein was the house] of Aboulhusn el Khelia. Now
the latter was sitting reclining at the lattice, and chancing to
look round, saw Mesrour running along the street and said to
Nuzhet el Fuad, "Meseemeth the Khalif, when I went forth from
him, dismissed the Divan and went in to the Lady Zubeideh, to
condole with her [for thee;] whereupon she arose and condoled
with him [for me,] saying, 'God greaten thy recompence for [the
loss of] Aboulhusn el Khelia!' And he said to her, 'None is dead
save Nuzhet el Fuad, may thy head outlive her!' Quoth she, 'It is
not she who is dead, but Aboulhusn el Khelia, thy
boon-companion.' And he to her, 'None is dead but Nuzhet el
Fuad.' And they gainsaid one another, till the Khalif waxed wroth
and they laid a wager, and he hath sent Mesrour the sword- bearer
to see who is dead. Wherefore it were best that thou lie down, so
he may see thee and go and acquaint the Khalif and confirm my
saying." So Nuzhet el Fuad stretched herself out and Aboulhusn
covered her with her veil and sat at her head, weeping.

Presently, in came Mesrour the eunuch to him and saluted him and
seeing Nuzhet el Fuad stretched out, uncovered her face and said,
"There is no god but God! Our sister Nuzhet el Fuad is dead. How
sudden was the [stroke of] destiny! May God have mercy on thee
and acquit thee of responsibility!" Then he returned and related
what had passed before the Khalif and the Lady Zubeideh, and he
laughing. "O accursed one,' said the Khalif, "is this a time for
laughter? Tell us which is dead of them." "By Allah, O my lord,"
answered Mesrour, "Aboulhusn is well and none is dead but Nuzhet
el Fuad." Quoth the Khalif to Zubeideh, "Thou hast lost thy
pavilion in thy play," and he laughed at her and said to Mesrour,
"O Mesrour, tell her what thou sawest." "Verily, O my lady," said
the eunuch, "I ran without ceasing till I came in to Aboulhusn in
his house and found Nuzhet el Fuad lying dead and Aboulhusn
sitting at her head, weeping. I saluted him and condoled with him
and sat down by his side and uncovered the face of Nuzhet el Fuad
and saw her dead and her face swollen. So I said to him, 'Carry
her out forthright [to burial], so we may pray over her.' He
answered, 'It is well;' and I left him to lay her out and came
hither, that I might tell you the news."

The Khalif laughed and said, "Tell it again and again to thy lady
lack-wit." When the Lady Zubeideh heard Mesrour's words [and
those of the Khalif,] she was wroth and said, "None lacketh wit
but he who believeth a black slave." And she reviled Mesrour,
whilst the Khalif laughed. Mesrour was vexed at this and said to
the Khalif, "He spoke sooth who said, 'Women lack wit and
religion.'" Then said the Lady Zubeideh to the Khalif, "O
Commander of the Faithful, thou sportest and jestest with me, and
this slave hoodwinketh me, to please thee; but I will send and
see which is dead of them." And he answered, saying, "Send one
who shall see which is dead of them." So the Lady Zubeideh cried
out to an old woman, a stewardess, and said to her, "Go to the
house of Nuzhet el Fuad in haste and see who is dead and loiter
not." And she railed at her.

The old woman went out, running, whilst the Khalif and Mesrour
laughed, and gave not over running till she came into the street.
Aboulhusn saw her and knowing her, said to his wife, "O Nuzhet el
Fuad, meseemeth the Lady Zubeideh hath sent to us to see who is
dead and hath not given credence to Mesrour's report of thy
death; so she hath despatched the old woman, her stewardess, to
discover the truth; wherefore it behoveth me to be dead in my
turn, for the sake of thy credit with the Lady Zubeideh."
Accordingly, he lay down and stretched himself out, and she
covered him and bound his eyes and feet and sat at his head,
weeping.

Presently, the old woman came in to her and saw her sitting at
Aboulhusn's head, weeping and lamenting; and when she saw the old
woman, she cried out and said to her, "See what hath betided me!
Indeed, Aboulhusn is dead and hath left me alone and forlorn!"
Then she cried out and tore her clothes and said to the old
woman, "O my mother, how good he was!" Quoth the other, "Indeed
thou art excused, for thou wast used to him and he to thee." Then
she considered what Mesrour had reported to the Khalif and the
Lady Zubeideh and said to her, "Indeed, Mesrour goeth about to
sow discord between the Khalif and the Lady Zubeideh." "And what
is the [cause of] discord, O my mother?" asked Nuzhet el Fuad. "O
my daughter," answered the old woman, "Mesrour came to the Khalif
and the Lady Zubeideh and gave them news of thee that thou wast
dead and that Aboulhusn was well. "And Nuzhet el Fuad said to
her, "O my aunt, I was with my lady but now and she gave me a
hundred dinars and a piece of silk; and now see my condition and
that which hath befallen me! Indeed, I am bewildered, and how
shall I do, and I alone, forlorn? Would God I had died and he had
lived!"

Then she wept and the old woman with her and the latter went up
to Aboulhusn and uncovering his face, saw his eyes bound and
swollen for the binding. So she covered him again and said,
"Indeed, O Nuzhet el Fuad, thou art afflicted in Aboulhusn!" Then
she condoled with her and going out from her, ran without ceasing
till she came in to the Lady Zubeideh and related to her the
story; and the princess said to her, laughing, "Tell it over
again to the Khalif, who maketh me out scant of wit and lacking
of religion, and to this ill-omened slave, who presumeth to
contradict me." Quoth Mesrour, "This old woman lieth; for I saw
Aboulhusn well and Nuzhet el Fuad it was who lay dead." "It is
thou that liest," rejoined the stewardess, "and wouldst fain sow
discord between the Khalif and the Lady Zubeideh." And he said,
"None lieth but thou, O old woman of ill-omen, and thy lady
believeth thee, and she doteth." Whereupon the Lady Zubeideh
cried out at him, and indeed she was enraged at him and at his
speech and wept.

Then said the Khalif to her, "I lie and my eunuch lieth, and thou
liest and thy waiting-woman lieth; so methinks we were best go,
all four of us together, that we may see which of us telleth the
truth." Quoth Mesrour, "Come, let us go, that I may put this
ill-omened old woman to shame[FN#37] and deal her a sound
drubbing for her lying." And she answered him, saying, "O dotard,
is thy wit like unto my wit? Indeed, thy wit is as the hen's
wit." Mesrour was incensed at her words and would have laid
violent hands on her, but the Lady Zubeideh warded him off from
her and said to him, "Her sooth-fastness will presently be
distinguished from thy sooth-fastness and her leasing from thy
leasing."

Then they all four arose, laying wagers with one another, and
went forth, walking, from the palace-gate [and fared on] till
they came in at the gate of the street in which Aboulhusn el
Khelia dwelt. He saw them and said to his wife Nuzhet el Fuad,
"Verily, all that is sticky is not a pancake and not every time
cometh the jar off safe.[FN#38]' Meseemeth the old woman hath
gone and told her lady and acquainted her with our case and she
hath disputed with Mesrour the eunuch and they have laid wagers
with one another about our death and are come to us, all four,
the Khalif and the eunuch and the Lady Zubeideh and the old
woman." When Nuzhet el Fuad heard this, she started up from her
lying posture and said, "How shall we do?" And he said, "We will
both feign ourselves dead and stretch ourselves out and hold our
breath." So she hearkened unto him and they both lay down on the
siesta[-carpet] and bound their feet and shut their eyes and
covered themselves with the veil and held their breath.

Presently, up came the Khalif and the Lady Zubeideh and Mesrour
and the old woman and entering, found Aboulhusn and his wife both
stretched out [apparently] dead; which when the Lady Zubeideh
saw, she wept and said, "They ceased not to bring [ill] news of
my slave- girl, till she died; methinketh Aboulhusn's death was
grievous to her and that she died after him."[FN#39]. Quoth the
Khalif, "Thou shalt not forestall me with talk and prate. She
certainly died before Aboulhusn, for he came to me with his
clothes torn and his beard plucked out, beating his breast with
two bricks, and I gave him a hundred dinars and a piece of silk
and said to him, 'Go, carry her forth [and bury her] and I will
give thee a concubine other than she and handsomer, and she shall
be in stead of her.' But it would appear that her death was no
light matter to him and he died after her;[FN#40] so it is I who
have beaten thee and gotten thy stake."

The Lady Zubeideh answered him many words and the talk waxed
amain between them. At last the Khalif sat down at the heads of
the pair and said, "By the tomb of the Apostle of God (may He
bless and preserve him!) and the sepulchres of my fathers and
forefathers, whoso will tell me which of them died before the
other, I will willingly give him a thousand dinars!" When
Aboulhusn heard the Khalifs words, he sprang up in haste and
said, "I died first, O Commander of the Faithful! Hand over the
thousand dinars and quit thine oath and the conjuration by which
thou sworest." Then Nuzhet el Fuad rose also and stood up before
the Khalif and the Lady Zubeideh, who both rejoiced in this and
in their safety, and the princess chid her slave-girl. Then the
Khalif and the Lady Zubeideh gave them joy at their well-being
and knew that this [pretended] death was a device to get the
money; and the princess said to Nuzhet el Fuad, "Thou shouldst
have sought of me that which thou desiredst, without this
fashion, and not have consumed my heart for thee." And she said,
"Indeed, I was ashamed, O my lady."

As for the Khalif, he swooned away for laughing and said, "O
Aboulhusn, thou wilt never cease to be a wag and do rarities and
oddities!" Quoth he, "O Commander of the Faithful, I played off
this trick, for that the money was exhausted, which thou gavest
me, and I was ashamed to ask of thee again. When I was single, I
could never keep money; but since thou marriedst me to this
damsel here, if I possessed thy wealth, I should make an end of
it. So, when all that was in my hand was spent, I wrought this
trick, so I might get of thee the hundred dinars and the piece of
silk; and all this is an alms from our lord. But now make haste
to give me the thousand dinars and quit thee of thine oath."

The Khalif and the Lady Zubeideh laughed and returned to the
palace; and he gave Aboulhusn the thousand dinars, saying, "Take
them as a thank-offering for thy preservation from death," whilst
the princess did the like with Nuzhet el Fuad. Moreover, the
Khalif increased Aboulhusn in his stipends and allowances, and he
[and his wife] ceased not [to live] in joy and contentment, till
there came to them the Destroyer of Delights and Sunderer of
Companies, he who layeth waste the palaces and peopleth the
tombs.



             THE KHALIF OMAR BEN ABDULAZIZ AND THE
                         POETS.[FN#41]



It is said that, when the Khalifate devolved on Omar ben
Abdulaziz[FN#42] (of whom God accept), the poets [of the time]
resorted to him, as they had been used to resort to the Khalifs
before him, and abode at his door days and days, but he gave them
not leave to enter, till there came to Omar Adi ben Artah,[FN#43]
who stood high in esteem with him. Jerir[FN#44] accosted him and
begged him to crave admission for them [to the Khalif]. "It is
well," answered Adi and going in to Omar, said to him, "The poets
are at thy door and have been there days and days; yet hast thou
not given them leave to enter, albeit their sayings are
abiding[FN#45] and their arrows go straight to the mark." Quoth
Omar, "What have I to do with the poets?" And Adi answered,
saying, "O Commander of the Faithful, the Prophet (whom God bless
and preserve) was praised [by a poet] and gave [him largesse,]
and therein[FN#46] is an exemplar to every Muslim." Quoth Omar,
"And who praised him?" "Abbas ben Mirdas[FN#47] praised him,"
replied Adi, "and he clad him with a suit and said, 'O
Bilal,[FN#48] cut off from me his tongue!'" "Dost thou remember
what he said?" asked the Khalif; and Adi said, "Yes." "Then
repeat it," rejoined Omar. So Adi recited the following verses:

I saw thee, O thou best of all the human race, display A book
     that came to teach the Truth to those in error's way.
Thou madest known to us therein the road of righteousness, When
     we had wandered from the Truth, what while in gloom it lay.
A dark affair thou littest up with Islam and with proof
     Quenchedst the flaming red-coals of error and dismay.
Mohammed, then, I do confess, God's chosen prophet is, And every
     man requited is for that which he doth say.
The road of right thou hast made straight, that erst was crooked
     grown; Yea, for its path of old had fall'n to ruin and
     decay.
Exalted mayst thou be above th' empyrean heaven of joy And may
     God's glory greater grow and more exalted aye!

"And indeed," continued Adi, "this ode on the Prophet (may God
bless and keep him!) is well known and to comment it would be
tedious." Quoth Omar, "Who is at the door?" "Among them is Omar
ibn [Abi] Rebya the Cureishite,"[FN#49] answered Adi, and the
Khalif said, "May God show him no favour neither quicken him! Was
it not he who said ... ?" And he recited the following verses:

Would God upon that bitterest day, when my death calls for me,
     What's 'twixt thine excrement and blood[FN#50] I still may
     smell of thee!
Yea, so but Selma in the dust my bedfellow may prove, Fair fall
     it thee! In heaven or hell I reck not if it be.

"Except," continued the Khalif, "he were the enemy of God, he had
wished for her in this world, so he might after [repent and]
return to righteous dealing. By Allah, he shall not come in to
me! Who is at the door other than he?" Quoth Adi, "Jemil ben
Mamer el Udhri[FN#51] is at the door;" and Omar said, "It is he
who says in one of his odes" ... [And he recited the following:]

Would we may live together and when we come to die, God grant the
     death-sleep bring me within her tomb to lie!
For if "Her grave above her is levelled" it be said, Of life and
     its continuance no jot indeed reck I.

"Away with him from me! Who is at the door?" "Kutheiyir
Azzeh,"[FN#52] replied Adi, and Omar said, "It is he who says in
one of his odes ... " [And he repeated the following verses:]

Some with religion themselves concern and make it their business
     all; Sitting,[FN#53] they weep for the pains of hell and
     still for mercy bawl!
If they could hearken to Azzeh's speech, as I, I hearken to it,
     They straight would humble themselves to her and prone
     before her fall.

"Leave the mention of him. Who is at the door?" Quoth Adi, "El
Akhwes el Ansari."[FN#54] "God the Most High put him away and
estrange him from His mercy!" cried Omar. "Is it not he who said,
berhyming on a man of Medina his slave-girl, so she might outlive
her master ... ?" [And he repeated the following line:]

God [judge] betwixt me and her lord! Away With her he flees me
     and I follow aye.

"He shall not come in to me. Who is at the door, other than he?"
"Heman ben Ghalib el Ferezdec,"[FN#55] answered Adi; and Omar
said, "It is he who saith, glorying in adultery ..." [And he
repeated the following verses:]

The two girls let me down from fourscore fathoms' height, As
     swoops a hawk, with wings all open in full flight;
And when my feet trod earth, "Art slain, that we should fear,"
     Quoth they, "or live, that we may hope again thy sight?"

"He shall not come in to me. Who is at the door, other than he?"
"El Akhtel et Teghlibi,"[FN#56] answered Adi; and Omar said, "He
is the unbeliever who says in his verse ..." [And he repeated the
following:]

Ramazan in my life ne'er I fasted, nor e'er Have I eaten of
     flesh, save in public[FN#57] it were.
No exhorter am I to abstain from the fair, Nor to love Mecca's
     vale for my profit I care;
Nor, like others a little ere morning appear who bawl, "Come to
     safety!"[FN#58] I stand up to prayer.
Nay, at daybreak I drink of the wind-freshened wine And prostrate
     me[FN#59] instead in the dawn-whitened air.

"By Allah, he treadeth no carpet of mine! Who is at the door
other than he?" "Jerir ibn el Khetefa," answered Adi; and Omar
said, "It is he who saith ... " [And he recited as follows:]

But for the spying of the eyes [ill-omened,] we had seen Wild
     cattle's eyes and antelopes' tresses of sable sheen.
The huntress of th' eyes[FN#60] by night came to me. "Turn in
     peace," [Quoth I to her;] "This is no time for visiting, I
     ween."

"If it must be and no help, admit Jerir." So Adi went forth and
admitted Jerir, who entered, saying:

He, who Mohammed sent, as prophet to mankind, Hath to a just
     high-priest[FN#61] the Khalifate assigned.
His justice and his truth all creatures do embrace; The erring he
     corrects and those of wandering mind.
I hope for present[FN#62] good [and bounty at thy hand,] For
     souls of men are still to present[FN#63] good inclined.

Quoth Omar, "O Jerir, keep the fear of God before thine eyes and
say nought but the truth." And Jerir recited the following
verses:

How many, in Yemameh,[FN#64] dishevelled widows plain! How many a
     weakling orphan unsuccoured doth remain,
For whom is thy departure even as a father's loss! To fly or
     creep, like nestlings, alone, they strive in vain.
Now that the clouds have broken their promise to our hope, We
     trust the Khalif's bounty will stand to us for rain.[FN#65]

When the Khalif heard this, he said, "By Allah, O Jerir, Omar
possesseth but a hundred dirhems."[FN#66] [And he cried out to
his servant, saying,] "Ho, boy! give them to him." Moreover, he
gave him the ornaments of his sword; and Jerir went forth to the
[other] poets, who said to him, "What is behind thee?"[FN#67] And
he answered, "A man who giveth to the poor and denieth the poets,
and I am well-pleased with him."[FN#68]



           EL HEJJAJ AND THE THREE YOUNG MEN.[FN#69]



They tell that El Hejjaj[FN#70] once commanded the Master of
Police [of Bassora] to go round about [the city] by night, and
whomsoever he found [abroad] after nightfall, that he should
strike off his head. So he went round one night of the nights and
came upon three youths staggering from side to side, and on them
signs of [intoxication with] wine. So the officers laid hold of
them and the captain of the watch said to them, "Who are ye that
ye transgress the commandment of the [lieutenant of the]
Commander of the Faithful and come abroad at this hour?" Quoth
one of the youths, "I am the son of him to whom [all]
necks[FN#71] abase themselves, alike the nose-pierced[FN#72] of
them and the [bone-]breaker;[FN#73] they come to him in their own
despite, abject and submissive, and he taketh of their
wealth[FN#74] and of their blood."

The master of police held his hand from him, saying, "Belike he
is of the kinsmen of the Commander of the Faithful," and said to
the second, "Who art thou?" Quoth he, "I am the son of him whose
rank[FN#75] time abaseth not, and if it descend[FN#76] one day,
it will assuredly return [to its former height]; thou seest the
folk [crowd] in troops to the light of his fire, some standing
around it and some sitting." So the master of the police
refrained from slaying him and said to the third, "Who art thou?"
Quoth he, "I am the son of him who plungeth through the
ranks[FN#77] with his might and correcteth[FN#78] them with the
sword,[FN#79] so that they stand straight;[FN#80] his feet are
not loosed from the stirrup,[FN#81] whenas the horsemen on the
day of battle are weary." So the master of police held his hand
from him also, saying, "Belike, he is the son of a champion of
the Arabs."

Then he kept them under guard, and when the morning morrowed, he
referred their case to El Hejjaj, who caused bring them before
him and enquiring into their affair, found that the first was the
son of a barber-surgeon, the second of a [hot] bean-seller and
the third of a weaver. So he marvelled at their readiness of
speech[FN#82] and said to his session-mates, "Teach your sons
deportment;[FN#83] for, by Allah, but for their ready wit, I had
smitten off their heads!"



             HAROUN ER RESHID AND THE WOMAN OF THE
                       BARMECIDES.[FN#84]



They tell that Haroun er Reshid was sitting one day to do away
grievances, when there came up to him a woman and said to him, "O
Commander of the Faithful, may God accomplish thine affair and
cause thee rejoice in that which He hath given thee and increase
thee in elevation! Indeed, thou hast done justice[FN#85] and
wrought equitably."[FN#86] Quoth the Khalif to those who were
present with him, "Know ye what this woman meaneth by her
saying?" And they answered, "Of a surety, she meaneth not
otherwise than well, O Commander of the Faithful." "Nay,"
rejoined Haroun; "she purposeth only in this an imprecation
against me. As for her saying, 'God accomplish thine affair!' she
hath taken it from the saying of the poet, 'When an affair is
accomplished, its abatement[FN#87] beginneth. Beware of
cessation, whenas it is said, "It is accomplished."' As for her
saying 'God cause thee rejoice in that which He hath given thee,'
she took it from the saying of God the Most High, 'Till, whenas
they rejoiced in that which they were given, we took them
suddenly and lo, they were confounded!'[FN#88] As for her saying,
'God increase thee in elevation!' she took it from the saying of
the poet, 'No bird flieth and riseth up on high, but, like as he
flieth, he falleth.' And as for her saying, 'Indeed, thou hast
done justice and wrought equitably,' it is from the saying of the
Most High, '[If ye deviate[FN#89] or lag behind or turn aside,
verily, God of that which ye do is aware;'[FN#90] and] 'As for
the transgressors,'[FN#91] they are fuel for hell[-fire]."[FN#92]

Then he turned to the woman and said to her, "Is it not thus?"
"Yes, O Commander of the Faithful," answered she; and he said,
"What prompted thee to this?" Quoth she, "Thou slewest my father
and my mother and my kinsfolk and tookest their goods." "Whom
meanest thou?" asked the Khalif, and she replied, "I am of the
house of Bermek."[FN#93] Then said he to her, "As for the dead,
they are of those who are past away, and it booteth not to speak
of them; but, as for that which I took of wealth, it shall be
restored to thee, yea, and more than it." And he was bountiful to
her to the utmost of munificence.



            THE TEN VIZIERS; OR THE HISTORY OF KING
                 AZADBEKHT AND HIS SON.[FN#94]



There was once, of old days, a king of the kings, whose name was
Azadbekht; his [capital] city was called Kuneim Mudoud and his
kingdom extended to the confines of Seistan and from the
frontiers of Hindustan to the sea He had ten viziers, who ordered
his state and his dominion, and he was possessed of judgment and
exceeding wisdom. One day he went forth with certain of his
guards to the chase and fell in with an eunuch on horseback,
holding in his hand the halter of a mule, which he led along. On
the mule's back was a litter of gold-inwoven brocade, garded
about with an embroidered band set with gold and jewels, and over
against the litter was a company of horsemen. When King Azadbekht
saw this, he separated himself from his companions and making for
the mule and the horsemen, questioned the latter, saying, "To
whom belongeth this litter and what is therein?". The eunuch
answered, (for he knew not that he was King Azadbekht,) saying,
"This litter belongeth to Isfehend, vizier to King Azadbekht, and
therein is his daughter, whom he purposeth to marry to Zad Shah
the King."

As the eunuch was speaking with the king, behold, the damsel
raised a corner of the curtain that shut in the litter, so she
might look upon the speaker, and saw the king. When Azadbekht
beheld her and noted her fashion and her loveliness (and indeed
never set story-teller[FN#95] eyes on her like,) his soul
inclined to her and she took hold upon his heart and he was
ravished by her sight. So he said to the eunuch, "Turn the mule's
head and return, for I am King Azadbekht and I will marry her
myself, for that Isfehend her father is my vizier and he will
accept of this affair and it will not be grievous to him." "O
king," answered the eunuch, "may God prolong thy continuance,
have patience till I acquaint my lord her father, and thou shalt
take her in the way of approof, for it befitteth thee not neither
is it seemly unto thee that thou take her on this wise, seeing
that it will be an affront to her father if thou take her without
his knowledge." Quoth Azadbekht, "I have not patience [to wait]
till thou go to her father and return, and no dishonour will
betide him, if I marry her." "O my lord," rejoined the eunuch,
"nought that is done in haste is long of durance nor doth the
heart rejoice therein; and indeed it behoveth thee not to take
her on this foul wise. Whatsoever betideth thee, destroy not
thyself with [undue] haste, for I know that her father's breast
will be straitened by this affair and this that thou dost will
not profit thee." But the king said, "Verily, Isfehend is [my
boughten] servant and a slave of my slaves, and I reck not of her
father, if he be vexed or pleased." So saying, he drew the reins
of the mule and carrying the damsel, whose name was Behrjaur, to
his house, married her.

Meanwhile, the eunuch betook himself, he and the horsemen, to her
father and said to him, "O my lord, the king is beholden to thee
for many years' service and thou hast not failed him a day of the
days; and now, behold, he hath taken thy daughter against thy
wish and without thy permission." And he related to him what had
passed and how the king had taken her by force. When Isfehend
heard the eunuch's story, he was exceeding wroth and assembling
many troops, said to them, "Whenas the king was occupied with his
women [and concerned not himself with the affairs of his
kingdom], we took no reck of him; but now he putteth out his hand
to our harem; wherefore methinketh we should do well to look us
out a place, wherein we may have sanctuary."

Then he wrote a letter to King Azadbekht, saying to him, "I am a
servant of thy servants and a slave of thy slaves and my daughter
is a handmaid at thy service, and may God the Most High prolong
thy days and appoint thy times [to be] in delight and
contentment! Indeed, I still went girded of the waist in thy
service and in caring for the preservation of thy dominion and
warding off thine enemies from thee; but now I abound yet more
than before in zeal and watchfulness, for that I have taken this
to charge upon myself, since my daughter is become thy wife." And
he despatched a messenger to the king with the letter and a
present.

When the messenger came to King Azadbekht and he read the letter
and the present was laid before him, he rejoiced with an
exceeding joy and occupied himself with eating and drinking, hour
after hour. But the chief Vizier of his Viziers came to him and
said, "0 king, know that Isfehend the Vizier is thine enemy, for
that his soul liketh not that which thou hast done with him, and
the message that he hath sent thee [is a trick; so] rejoice thou
not therein, neither be thou deluded by the sweetness of his
words and the softness of his speech." The king hearkened [not]
to his Vizier's speech, but made light of the matter and
presently, [dismissing it from his thought], busied himself with
that which he was about of eating and drinking and merrymaking
and delight

Meanwhile, Isfehend the Vizier wrote a letter and despatched it
to all the Amirs, acquainting them with that which had betided
him with King Azadbekht and how he had taken his daughter by
force and adding, "And indeed he will do with you more than he
hath done with me." When the letter reached the chiefs [of the
people and troops], they all assembled together to Isfehend and
said to him, "What is to do with him?"[FN#96] So he discovered to
them the affair of his daughter and they all agreed, of one
accord, that they should endeavour for the slaughter of the king
and taking horse with their troops, set out, intending for him.
Azadbekht knew not [of their design] till the noise [of the
invasion] beset his capital city, when he said to his wife
Behrjaur, "How shall we do?" And she answered, saying, "Thou
knowest best and I am at thy commandment." So he let bring two
swift horses and bestrode one himself, whilst his wife mounted
the other. Then they took what they might of gold and went forth,
fleeing, in the night, to the desert of Kerman; what while
Isfehend entered the city and made himself king.

Now King Azadbekht's wife was big with child and the pains of
labour took her in the mountain; so they alighted at the
mountain-foot, by a spring of water, and she gave birth to a boy
as he were the moon. Behrjaur his mother pulled off a gown of
gold-inwoven brocade and wrapped the child therein, and they
passed the night [in that place], what while she gave him suck
till the morning. Then said the king to her, "We are hampered by
this child and cannot abide here nor can we carry him with us; so
methinks we were better leave him here and go, for Allah is able
to send him one who shall take him and rear him." So they wept
over him exceeding sore and left him beside the spring, wrapped
in the gown of brocade: then they laid at his head a thousand
dinars in a bag and mounting their horses, departed, fleeing.

Now, by the ordinance of God the Most High, a company of thieves
fell in upon a caravan hard by that mountain and made prize of
that which was with them of merchandise. Then they betook
themselves to the mountain, so they might share their booty, and
looking at the foot thereof, espied the gown of brocade. So they
descended, to see what it was, and finding the child wrapped
therein and the gold laid at his head, marvelled and said,
"Extolled be the perfection of God! By what wickedness cometh
this child here?" Then they divided the money between them and
the captain of the thieves took the boy and made him his son and
fed him with sweet milk and dates, till he came to his house,
when he appointed him a nurse, who should rear him.

Meanwhile, King Azadbekht and his wife stayed not in their flight
till they came to [the court of] the King of Fars,[FN#97] whose
name was Kutrou.[FN#98] When they presented themselves to him, he
entreated them with honour and entertained them handsomely, and
Azadbekht told him his story, first and last. So he gave him a
great army and wealth galore and he abode with him some days,
till he was rested, when he made ready with his host and setting
out for his own dominions, waged war upon Isfehend and falling in
upon the capital, defeated the rebel vizier and slew him. Then he
entered the city and sat down on the throne of his kingship; and
whenas he was rested and the kingdom was grown peaceful for him,
he despatched messengers to the mountain aforesaid in quest of
the child; but they returned and informed the king that they had
not found him.

As time went on, the boy, the son of the king, grew up and fell
to stopping the way[FN#99] with the thieves, and they used to
carry him with them, whenas they went a-thieving. They sallied
forth one day upon a caravan in the land of Seistan, and there
were in that caravan strong and valiant men and with them
merchandise galore. Now they had heard that in that land were
thieves; so they gathered themselves together and made ready
their arms and sent out spies, who returned and gave them news of
the thieves. Accordingly, they prepared for battle, and when the
robbers drew near the caravan, they fell in upon them and they
fought a sore battle. At last the folk of the caravan
overmastered the thieves, by dint of numbers, and slew some of
them, whilst the others fled. Moreover they took the boy, the son
of King Azadbekht, and seeing him as he were the moon, possessed
of beauty and grace, brightfaced and comely of fashion,
questioned him, saying, "Who is thy father, and how camest thou
with these thieves?" And he answered, saying, "I am the son of
the captain of the thieves." So they took him and carried him to
the capital of his father King Azadbekht

When they reached the city, the king heard of their coming and
commanded that they should attend him with what befitted [of
their merchandise]. So they presented themselves before him, [and
the boy with them,] whom when the king saw, he said to them, "To
whom belongeth this boy?" And they answered, "O king, we were
going in such a road, when there came out upon us a sort of
robbers; so we made war upon them and overcame them and took this
boy prisoner. Then we questioned him, saying, 'Who is thy
father?' and he answered, 'I am the captain's son of the
thieves.'" Quoth the king, "I would fain have this boy." And the
captain of the caravan said, "God maketh thee gift of him, O king
of the age, and we all are thy slaves." Then the king dismissed
[the people of] the caravan and let carry the youth into his
palace and he became as one of the servants, what while his
father the king knew not that he was his son. As time went on,
the king observed in him good breeding and understanding and
knowledge[FN#100] galore and he pleased him; so he committed his
treasuries to his charge and straitened the viziers' hand
therefrom, commanding that nought should be taken forth therefrom
except by leave of the youth. On this wise he abode a number of
years and the king saw in him nought but fidelity and
studiousness in well-doing.

Now the treasuries aforetime had been in the viziers' hand, so
they might do with them what they would, and when they came under
the youth's hand, that of the viziers was straitened from them,
and the youth became dearer to the king than a son and he could
not brook to be separated from him. When the viziers saw this,
they were jealous of him and envied him and cast about for a
device against him whereby they might oust him from the king's
favour, but found no opportunity. At last, when came the destined
hour,[FN#101] it chanced that the youth one day drank wine and
became drunken and wandered from his wits; so he fell to going
round about within the palace of the king and fate led him to the
lodging of the women, in which there was a little
sleeping-chamber, where the king lay with his wife. Thither came
the youth and entering the chamber, found there a couch spread,
to wit, a sleeping place, and a candle burning. So he cast
himself on the couch, marvelling at the paintings that were in
the chamber, and slept and slumbered heavily till eventide, when
there came a slave-girl, bringing with her all the dessert,
eatables and drinkables, that she was wont to make ready for the
king and his wife, and seeing the youth lying on his back, (and
none knowing of his case and he in his drunkenness unknowing
where he was,) thought that he was the king asleep on his bed; so
she set the censing-vessel and laid the essences by the couch,
then shut the door and went away.

Presently, the king arose from the wine-chamber and taking his
wife by the hand, repaired with her to the chamber in which he
slept. He opened the door and entering, saw the youth lying on
the bed, whereupon he turned to his wife and said to her, "What
doth this youth here? This fellow cometh not hither but on thine
account." Quoth she, "I have no knowledge of him." With this, the
youth awoke and seeing the king, sprang up and prostrated himself
before him, and Azadbekht said to him, "O vile of origin,[FN#102]
O lack-loyalty, what hath prompted thee to outrage my dwelling?"
And he bade imprison him in one place and the woman in another.



                         The First Day.



            OF THE USELESSNESS OF ENDEAVOUR AGAINST
                    PERSISTENT ILL FORTUNE.



When the morning morrowed and the king sat on the throne of his
kingship, he summoned the chief of his viziers and said to him,
"What deemest thou of this that yonder robber-youth hath done?
Behold, he hath entered my house and lain down on my bed and I
fear lest there be an intrigue between him and the woman. How
deemest thou of the affair?" "God prolong the king's
continuance!" replied the vizier. "What sawest thou in this youth
[to make thee trust in him]? Is he not vile of origin, the son of
thieves? Needs must a thief revert to his vile origin, and whoso
reareth the young of the serpent shall get of them nought but
biting. As for the woman, she is not at fault; for, since [the]
time [of her marriage with thee] till now, there hath appeared
from her nought but good breeding and modesty; and now, if the
king give me leave, I will go to her and question her, so I may
discover to thee the affair."

The king gave him leave for this and the vizier betook himself to
the queen and said to her, "I am come to thee, on account of a
grave reproach, and I would have thee be truthful with me in
speech and tell me how came the youth into the sleeping-chamber."
Quoth she, "I have no knowledge whatsoever [of it]" and swore to
him a solemn oath thereof, whereby he knew that she had no
knowledge of the matter and that she was not at fault and said to
her, "I will teach thee a device, where- with thou mayst acquit
thyself and thy face be whitened before the king." "What is it?"
asked she; and he answered, saying, "When the king calleth for
thee and questioneth thee of this, say thou to him, 'Yonder youth
saw me in the privy-chamber and sent me a message, saying, "I
will give thee a hundred jewels, to whose price money may not
avail, so thou wilt suffer me to foregather with thee." I laughed
at him who bespoke me with these words and rebuffed him; but he
sent again to me, saying, "An thou fall not in with my wishes, I
will come one of the nights, drunken, and enter and lie down in
the sleeping-chamber, and the king will see me and kill me; so
wilt thou be put to shame and thy face will be blackened with him
and thine honour abased."' Be this thy saying to the king, and I
will presently go to him and repeat this to him." Quoth the
queen, "And I also will say thus."

So the vizier returned to the king and said to him, "Verily, this
youth hath merited grievous punishment, after abundance of bounty
[bestowed on him], and it may not be that a bitter kernel should
ever become sweet; but, as for the woman, I am certified that
there is no fault in her." Then he repeated to the king the story
which he had taught the queen, which when Azadbekht heard, he
rent his clothes and bade fetch the youth. So they brought him
and stationed him before the king, who let bring the headsman,
and the folk all fixed their eyes upon the youth, so they might
see what the king should do with him.

Then said Azadbekht to him (and indeed his words were [prompted]
by anger and those of the youth by presence of mind and good
breeding), "I bought thee with my money and looked for fidelity
from thee, wherefore I chose thee over all my grandees and
servants and made thee keeper of my treasuries. Why, then, hast
thou outraged my honour and entered my house and played the
traitor with me and tookest no thought unto that which I have
done thee of benefits?" "O king," answered the youth, "I did this
not of my choice and freewill and I had no [evil] intent in being
there; but, of the littleness of my luck, I was driven thither,
for that fate was contrary and fair fortune lacking. Indeed, I
had striven with all endeavour that nought of foul should proceed
from me and kept watch over myself, lest default appear in me;
but none may avail to make head against ill fortune, nor doth
endeavour profit in case of lack of luck, as appeareth by the
example of the merchant who was stricken with ill luck and his
endeavour profited him not and he succumbed to the badness of his
fortune." "What is the story of the merchant," asked the king,
"and how was his luck changed upon him by the sorriness of his
fortune?" "May God prolong the king's continuance!" answered the
youth.



Story of the Unlucky Merchant.



"There was once a man, a merchant, who was fortunate in trade,
and at one time his [every] dirhem profited [him] fifty.
Presently, his luck turned against him and he knew it not; so he
said in himself, 'I have wealth galore, yet do I weary myself and
go round about from country to country; I were better abide in my
own country and rest myself in my house from this travail and
affliction and sell and buy at home.' Then he made two parts of
his money, with one whereof he bought wheat in summer, saying,
'When the winter cometh, I will sell it at a great profit.' But,
when the winter came, wheat became at half the price for which he
had bought it, whereat he was sore concerned and left it till the
next year. However, next year, the price fell yet lower and one
of his friends said to him, 'Thou hast no luck in this wheat; so
do thou sell it at whatsoever price.' Quoth the merchant, 'This
long while have I profited and it is allowable that I lose this
time. God is all- knowing! If it abide [with me] half a score
years, I will not sell it save at a profit.'

Then, in his anger, he walled up the door of the granary with
clay, and by the ordinance of God the Most High, there came a
great rain and descended from the roofs of the house wherein was
the wheat [so that the latter rotted]; and needs must the
merchant give the porters five hundred dirhems from his purse, so
they should carry it forth and cast it without the city, for that
the smell of it was noisome. So his friend said to him, 'How
often did I tell thee thou hadst no luck in wheat? But thou
wouldst not give ear to my speech, and now it behoveth thee to go
to the astrologer and question him of thy star.' Accordingly the
merchant betook himself to the astrologer and questioned him of
his star, and the astrologer said to him, 'Thy star is
unpropitious. Put not thy hand to any business, for thou wilt not
prosper therein.' However, he paid no heed to the astrologer's
words and said in himself, 'If I do my occasion,[FN#103] I am not
afraid of aught.' Then he took the other part of his money, after
he had spent therefrom three years, and built [therewith] a ship,
which he loaded with all that seemed good to him and all that was
with him and embarked on the sea, so he might travel.

The ship tarried with him some days, till he should be certified
what he would do,[FN#104] and he said, 'I will enquire of the
merchants what this merchandise profiteth and in what country it
lacketh and how much is the gain thereon.' [So he questioned them
and] they directed him to a far country, where his dirhem should
profit a hundredfold. Accordingly, he set sail and steered for
the land in question; but, as he went, there blew on him a
tempestuous wind and the ship foundered. The merchant saved
himself on a plank and the wind cast him up, naked as he was, on
the sea-shore, hard by a town there. So he praised God and gave
Him thanks for his preservation; then, seeing a great village
hard by, he betook himself thither and saw, seated therein, a
very old man, whom he acquainted with his case and that which had
betided him. The old man grieved sore for him, when he heard his
story, and set food before him. So he ate and the old man said to
him, 'Abide here with me, so I may make thee my steward and
factor over a farm I have here, and thou shall have of me five
dirhems [FN#105] a day.' 'God make fair thy reward,' answered the
merchant, 'and requite thee with benefits!'

So he abode in this employ, till he had sowed and reaped and
threshed and winnowed, and all was sheer in his hand and the
owner appointed neither inspector nor overseer, but relied
altogether upon him. Then he bethought himself and said, '_I_*
misdoubt me the owner of this grain will not give me my due; so I
were better take of it, after the measure of my hire; and if he
give me my due, I will restore him that which I have taken.' So
he took of the grain, after the measure of that which fell to
him, and hid it in a privy place. Then he carried the rest to the
old man and meted it out to him, and he said to him, 'Come, take
[of the grain, after the measure of] thy hire, for which I agreed
with thee, and sell it and buy with the price clothes and what
not else; and though thou abide with me half a score years, yet
shall thou still have this wage and I will acquit it to thee
thus.' Quoth the merchant in himself, 'Indeed, I have done a foul
thing in that I look it without his leave.'

Then he went to fetch that which he had hidden of the grain, but
found it not and returned, perplexed and sorrowful, to the old
man, who said to him, 'What aileth thee to be sorrowful?' And he
answered, 'Methought thou wouldst not pay me my due; so I took of
the grain, after the measure of my hire; and now thou hast paid
me my due and I went to bring back to thee that which I had
hidden from thee, but found it gone, for those who had happened
upon it had stolen it.' The old man was wroth, when he heard
this, and said to the merchant, 'There is no device [can cope]
with ill luck! I had given thee this, but, of the sorriness of
thy luck and thy fortune, thou hast done this deed, O oppressor
of thine own self! Thou deemedst I would not acquit thee thy
wage; but, by Allah, nevermore will I give thee aught.' And he
drove him away from him.

So the merchant went forth, afflicted, sorrowful, weeping, [and
wandered on along the sea-shore], till he came to a sort of
divers diving in the sea for pearls. They saw him weeping and
mourning and said to him, 'What is thy case and what maketh thee
weep?' So he acquainted them with his history, from first to
last, whereby they knew him and said to him, 'Art thou [such an
one] son of such an one?' 'Yes,' answered he; whereupon they
condoled with him and wept sore for him and said to him, 'Abide
here till we dive for thy luck this next time and whatsoever
betideth us shall be between us and thee.' Accordingly, they
dived and brought up ten oysters, in each two great pearls;
whereat they marvelled and said to him, 'By Allah, thy luck hath
returned and thy good star is in the ascendant!' Then they gave
him ten pearls and said to him, 'Sell two of them and make them
thy capital [whereon to trade]; and hide the rest against the
time of thy straitness.' So he took them, joyful and contented,
and addressed himself to sew eight of them in his gown, keeping
the two others in his mouth; but a thief saw him and went and
advertised his mates of him; whereupon they gathered together
upon him and took his gown and departed from him. When they were
gone away, he arose, saying, 'These two pearls [in my mouth] will
suffice me,' and made for the [nearest] city, where he brought
out the pearls [and repairing to the jewel- market, gave them to
the broker], that he might sell them.

Now, as destiny would have it, a certain jeweller of the town had
been robbed of ten pearls, like unto those which were with the
merchant; so, when he saw the two pearls in the broker's hand, he
said to him, 'To whom do these pearls belong?' and the broker
answered, 'To yonder man.' [The jeweller looked at the merchant
and] seeing him in sorry case and clad in tattered clothes,
misdoubted of him and said to him (purposing to surprise him into
confession), 'Where are the other eight pearls?' The merchant
thought he asked him of those which were in the gown and
answered, 'The thieves stole them from me.' When the jeweller
heard his reply, he doubted not but that it was he who had taken
his good; so he laid hold of him and haling him before the chief
of the police, said to him, 'This is the man who stole my pearls:
I have found two of them upon him and he confesseth to the other
eight.'

Now the magistrate knew of the theft of the pearls; so he bade
clap the merchant in prison. Accordingly they imprisoned him and
flogged him, and he abode in the prison a whole year, till, by
the ordinance of God the Most High, the Master of Police arrested
one of the divers aforesaid and imprisoned him in the prison
where the merchant lay. He saw the latter and knowing him,
questioned him of his case; whereupon he told them his story and
that which had befallen him, and the diver marvelled at the
sorriness of his luck. So, when he came forth of the prison, he
acquainted the Sultan with the merchant's case and told him that
it was he who had given him the pearls. The Sultan bade bring him
forth of the prison and questioned him of his story, whereupon he
told him all that had befallen him and the Sultan pitied him and
assigned him a lodging in his own palace, together with an
allowance for his living.

Now the lodging in question adjoined the king's house, and whilst
the merchant was rejoicing in this and saying, 'Verily, my luck
hath returned and I shall live in this king's shadow the rest of
my life,' he espied an opening walled up with stones and clay. So
he pulled out the stones and clearing away the earth from the
opening, found that it was a window giving upon the lodging of
the king's women. When he saw this, he was affrighted and rising
in haste, fetched clay and stopped it up again. But one of the
eunuchs saw him and misdoubting of him, repaired to the Sultan
and told him of this. So he came and seeing the stones pulled
out, was wroth with the merchant and said to him, 'Is this my
recompense from thee, that thou seekest to violate my harem?' And
he bade pluck out his eyes. So they did as he commanded and the
merchant took his eyes in his hand and said, 'How long [wilt thou
afflict me], O star of ill-omen? First my wealth and now my
life!' And he bewailed himself, saying, 'Endeavour profiteth me
nought against evil fortune. The Compassionate aided me not and
endeavour was useless.'

On like wise, O king," continued the youth, "whilst fortune was
favourable to me, all that I did came to good; but now that it is
grown contrary to me, everything turneth against me."

When the youth had made an end of his story, the king's anger
subsided a little and he said, "Restore him to the prison, for
the day draweth to an end, and tomorrow we will took into his
affair."



              OF LOOKING TO THE ISSUES OF AFFAIRS.



When it was the second day, the second of the king's viziers,
whose name was Beheroun, came in to him and said, "God advance
the king! This that yonder youth hath done is a grave matter and
a foul deed and a heinous against the household of the king." So
Azadbekht bade fetch the youth, because of the saying of the
vizier; and when he came into his presence, he said to him, "Out
on thee, O youth! Needs must I slay thee by the worst of deaths,
for indeed thou hast committed a grave crime, and I will make
thee a warning to the folk." "O king," answered the youth,
"hasten not, for the looking to the issues of affairs is a pillar
of the realm and [a cause of] continuance and sure stablishment
for the kingship. Whoso looketh not to the issues of affairs,
there befalleth him that which befell the merchant, and whoso
looketh to the issues of affairs, there betideth him of joyance
that which betided the merchant's son." "And what is the story of
the merchant and his son?" asked the king. "O king," answered the
youth,



Story of the Merchant and His Sons.



"There was once a man, a merchant, who had a wife and abundant
wealth. He set out one day on a journey with merchandise, leaving
his wife big with child, and said to her, 'If it be the will of
God the Most High, I will return before the birth of the child.'
Then he took leave of her and setting out, journeyed from country
to country till he came to the court of one of the kings and
foregathered with him. Now this king was in need of one who
should order his affairs and those of his kingdom and seeing the
merchant well-bred and intelligent, he charged him abide with him
and entreated him with honour and munificence. After awhile, he
sought of the king leave to go to his own house, but the latter
would not consent to this; whereupon he said to him, 'O king,
suffer me go and see my children and come again.' So he gave him
leave for this and took surety of him for his return. Moreover,
he gave him a purse, wherein were a thousand gold dinars, and the
merchant embarked in a ship and set sail, intending for his own
country.

Meanwhile, news came to his wife that her husband had taken
service with King Such-an-one; so she arose and taking her two
sons, (for she had given birth to twin boys in his absence,) set
out for those parts. As fate would have it, they happened upon an
island and her husband came thither that very night in the ship.
[When the woman heard of the coming of the ship], she said to her
children, 'This ship cometh from the country where your father
is; so go ye to the sea-shore, that ye may enquire of him.' So
they repaired to the sea-shore and [going up into the ship], fell
to playing about it and occupied themselves with their play till
the evening.

Now the merchant their father lay asleep in the ship, and the
crying of the boys troubled him; so he rose to call out to them
[and silence them] and let the purse [with the thousand dinars
therein] fall among the bales of merchandise. He sought for it
and finding it not, buffeted his head and seized upon the boys,
saying, 'None took the purse but you. Ye were playing about the
bales, so ye might steal somewhat, and there was none here but
you.' Then he took a staff and laying hold of the children, fell
to beating them and flogging them, whilst they wept, and the
sailors came round about them and said, 'The boys of this island
are all thieves and robbers.' Then, of the greatness of the
merchant's wrath, he swore that, if they brought not out the
purse, he would drown them in the sea; so when [by reason of
their denial] his oath became binding upon him, he took the two
boys and lashing them [each] to a bundle of reeds, cast them into
the sea.

Presently, the mother of the two boys, finding that they tarried
from her, went searching for them, till she came to the ship and
fell to saying, 'Who hath seen two boys of mine? Their fashion is
thus and thus and their age thus and thus.' When they heard her
words, they said, 'This is the description of the two boys who
were drowned in the sea but now.' Their mother heard and fell to
calling on them and saying, 'Alas, my anguish for your loss, O my
sons! Where was the eye of your father this day, that it might
have seen you?' Then one of the crew questioned her, saying,
'Whose wife art thou?' And she answered, 'I am the wife of such
an one the merchant. I was on my way to him, and there hath
befallen me this calamity.' When the merchant heard her speech,
he knew her and rising to his feet, rent his clothes and buffeted
his head and said to his wife, 'By Allah, I have destroyed my
children with mine own hand! This is the end of whoso looketh not
to the issues of affairs.' Then he fell a-wailing and weeping
over them, he and his wife, and he said, 'By Allah, I shall have
no ease of my life, till I light upon news of them!' And he
betook himself to going round about the sea, in quest of them,
but found them not.

Meanwhile, the wind carried the two children [out to sea and
thence driving them] towards the land, cast them up on the
sea-shore. As for one of them, a company of the guards of the
king of those parts found him and carried him to their master,
who marvelled at him with an exceeding wonderment and adopted him
to his son, giving out to the folk that he was his [very] son,
whom he had hidden,[FN#106] of his love for him. So the folk
rejoiced in him with an exceeding joy, for the king's sake, and
the latter appointed him his heir-apparent and the inheritor of
his kingdom. On this wise, a number of years passed, till the
king died and they crowned the youth king in his room. So he sat
down on the throne of his kingship and his estate flourished and
his affairs prospered.

Meanwhile, his father and mother had gone round about all the
islands of the sea in quest of him and his brother, hoping that
the sea might have cast them up, but found no trace of them; so
they despaired of finding them and took up their abode in one of
the islands. One day, the merchant, being in the market, saw a
broker, and in his hand a boy he was calling for sale, and said
in himself, 'I will buy yonder boy, so I may console myself with
him for my sons.' So he bought him and carried him to his house;
and when his wife saw him, she cried out and said, 'By Allah,
this is my son!' So his father and mother rejoiced in him with an
exceeding joy and questioned him of his brother; but he answered,
'The sea parted us and I knew not what became of him.' Therewith
his father and mother consoled themselves with him and on this
wise a number of years passed.

Now the merchant and his wife had taken up their abode in a city
in the land whereof their [other] son was king, and when the boy
[whom they had found] grew up, his father assigned unto him
merchandise, so he might travel therewith. So he set out and
entered the city wherein his brother was king. News reached the
latter that there was a merchant come thither with merchandise
befitting kings. So he sent for him and the young merchant obeyed
the summons and going in to him, sat down before him. Neither of
them knew the other; but blood stirred between them and the king
said to the young merchant, 'I desire of thee that thou abide
with me and I will exalt thy station and give thee all that thou
desirest and cravest.' So he abode with him awhile, quitting him
not; and when he saw that he would not suffer him to depart from
him, he sent to his father and mother and bade them remove
thither to him. So they addressed them to remove to that island,
and their son increased still in honour with the king, albeit he
knew not that he was his brother.

It chanced one night that the king sallied forth without the city
and drank and the wine got the mastery of him and he became
drunken. So, of the youth's fearfulness for him, he said, 'I will
keep watch myself over the king this night, seeing that he
deserveth this from me, for that which he hath wrought with me of
kindnesses.' So he arose forthright and drawing his sword,
stationed himself at the door of the king's pavilion. Now one of
the royal servants saw him standing there, with the drawn sword
in his hand, and he was of those who envied him his favour with
the king; so he said to him, 'Why dost thou on this wise at this
season and in the like of this place?' Quoth the youth, 'I am
keeping watch over the king myself, in requital of his bounties
to me.'

The servant said no more to him, but, when it was morning, he
acquainted a number of the king's servants with this and they
said, 'This is an opportunity for us. Come let us assemble
together and acquaint the king with this, so the young merchant
may lose favour with him and he rid us of him and we be at rest
from him.' So they assembled together and going in to the king,
said to him, 'We have a warning we would give thee.' Quoth he,
'And what is your warning?' And they said, 'Yonder youth, the
merchant, whom thou hast taken into favour and whose rank thou
hast exalted above the chiefs of the people of thy household, we
saw yesterday draw his sword and offer to fall upon thee, so he
might slay thee.' When the king heard this, his colour changed
and he said to them, 'Have ye proof of this?' Quoth they, 'What
proof wouldst thou have? If thou desire this, feign thyself
drunken again this night and lie down, as if asleep, and watch
him, and thou wilt see with thine eyes all that we have named to
thee.'

Then they went to the youth and said to him, 'Know that the king
thanketh thee for thy dealing yesternight and exceedeth in
[praise of] thy good deed;' and they prompted him to do the like
again. So, when the next night came, the king abode on wake;
watching the youth; and as for the latter, he went to the door of
the pavilion and drawing his sword, stood in the doorway. When
the king saw him do thus, he was sore disquieted and bade seize
him and said to him, 'Is this my requital from thee? I showed
thee favour more than any else and thou wouldst do with me this
vile deed.' Then arose two of the king's servants and said to
him, 'O our lord, if thou command it, we will strike off his
head.' But the king said, 'Haste in slaying is a vile thing, for
it[FN#107] is a grave matter; the quick we can slay, but the
slain we cannot quicken, and needs must we look to the issue of
affairs. The slaying of this [youth] will not escape us.'[FN#108]
Therewith he bade imprison him, whilst he himself returned [to
the city] and despatching his occasions, went forth to the chase.

Then he returned to the city and forgot the youth; so the
servants went in to him and said to him, 'O king, if thou keep
silence concerning yonder youth, who would have slain thee, all
thy servants will presume upon thee, and indeed the folk talk of
this matter.' With this the king waxed wroth and saying, 'Fetch
him hither,' commanded the headsman to strike off his head. So
they [brought the youth and] bound his eyes; and the headsman
stood at his head and said to the king, 'By thy leave, O my lord,
I will strike off his head.' But the king said, 'Stay, till I
look into his affair. Needs must I put him to death and the
slaying of him will not escape [me].' So he restored him to the
prison and there he abode till it should be the king's will to
put him to death.

Presently, his father and his mother heard of the matter;
whereupon the former arose and going up to the place, wrote a
letter and [presented it to the king, who] read it, and behold,
therein was written, saying, 'Have pity on me, so may God have
pity on thee, and hasten not in the slaughter [of my son]; for
indeed I acted hastily in a certain affair and drowned his
brother in the sea, and to this day I drink the cup of his
anguish. If thou must needs kill him, kill me in his stead.'
Therewith the old merchant prostrated himself before the king and
wept; and the latter said to him, 'Tell me thy story.' 'O my
lord,' answered the merchant, 'this youth had a brother and I [in
my haste] cast them both into the sea.' And he related to him his
story from first to last, whereupon the king cried out with an
exceeding great cry and casting himself down from the throne,
embraced his father and brother and said to the former, 'By
Allah, thou art my very father and this is my brother and thy
wife is our mother.' And they abode weeping, all three.

Then the king acquainted the people [of his court] with the
matter and said to them,' O folk, how deem ye of my looking to
the issues of affairs?' And they all marvelled at his wisdom and
foresight. Then he turned to his father and said to him, 'Hadst
thou looked to the issue of thine affair and dealt deliberately
in that which thou didst, there had not betided thee this
repentance and grief all this time.' Then he let bring his mother
and they rejoiced in each other and lived all their days in joy
and gladness. What then," continued the young treasurer, "is more
grievous than the lack of looking to the issues of affairs?
Wherefore hasten thou not in the slaying of me, lest repentance
betide thee and sore concern."

When the king heard this, he said, "Restore him to the prison
till the morrow, so we may look into his affair; for that
deliberation in affairs is advisable and the slaughter of this
[youth] shall not escape [us]."

                         The Third Day.



                 OF THE ADVANTAGES OF PATIENCE.



When it was the third day, the third vizier came in to the king
and said to him, "O king, delay not the affair of this youth, for
that his deed hath caused us fall into the mouths of the folk,
and it behoveth that thou slay him presently, so the talk may be
estopped from us and it be not said, 'The king saw on his bed a
man with his wife and spared him.'"* The king was chagrined by
this speech and bade bring the youth. So they brought him in
shackles, and indeed the king's anger was roused against him by
the speech of the vizier and he was troubled; so he said to him,
"O base of origin, thou hast dishonoured us and marred our
repute, and needs must I do away thy life from the world." Quoth
the youth, "O king, make use of patience in all thine affairs, so
wilt thou attain thy desire, for that God the Most High hath
appointed the issue of patience [to be] in abounding good, and
indeed by patience Abou Sabir ascended from the pit and sat down
upon the throne." "Who was Abou Sabir," asked the king, "and what
is his story?" And the youth answered, saying, "O king,



                      STORY OF ABOU SABIR.



There was once a man, a headman [of a village], by name Abou
Sabir, and he had much cattle and a fair wife, who had borne him
two sons. They abode in a certain village and there used to come
thither a lion and devour Abou Sabir's cattle, so that the most
part thereof was wasted and his wife said to him one day, 'This
lion hath wasted the most part of our cattle. Arise, mount thy
horse and take thy men and do thine endeavour to kill him, so we
may be at rest from him.' But Abou Sabir said, 'Have patience, O
woman, for the issue of patience is praised. This lion it is that
transgresseth against us, and the transgressor, needs must Allah
destroy him. Indeed, it is our patience that shall slay him, and
he that doth evil, needs must it revert upon him.' A little
after, the king went forth one day to hunt and falling in with
the lion, he and his troops, gave chase to him and ceased not [to
follow] after him till they slew him. This came to Abou Sabir's
knowledge and he said to his wife, 'Said I not to thee, O woman,
that whoso doth evil, it shall revert upon him? Belike, if I had
sought to slay the lion myself, I had not availed against him,
and this is the issue of patience.'

It befell, after this, that a man was slain in Abou Sabir's
village; wherefore the Sultan caused plunder the village, and
they plundered the headman's goods with the rest So his wife said
to him, 'All the Sultan's officers know thee; so do thou prefer
thy plaint to the king, that he may cause thy beasts to be
restored to thee.' But he said to her, 'O woman, said I not to
thee that he who doth evil shall suffer it? Indeed, the king hath
done evil, and he shall suffer [the consequences of] his deed,
for whoso taketh the goods of the folk, needs must his goods be
taken.' A man of his neighbours heard his speech, and he was an
envier of his; so he went to the Sultan and acquainted him
therewith, whereupon he sent and plundered all [the rest of] his
goods and drove him forth from the village, and his wife [and
children] with him. So they went wandering in the desert and his
wife said to him, 'All that hath befallen us cometh of thy
slothfulness in affairs and thy default.' But he said to her,
'Have patience, for the issue of patience is good.'

Then they went on a little, and thieves met them and despoiling
them of that which remained with them, stripped them of their
raiment and took the children from them; whereupon the woman wept
and said to her husband, 'O man, put away from thee this folly
and arise, let us follow the thieves, so haply they may have
compassion on us and restore the children to us.' 'O woman,'
answered he, 'have patience, for he who doth evil shall be
requited with evil and his wickedness shall revert upon him. Were
I to follow them, most like one of them would take his sword and
smite off my head and slay me; but have patience, for the issue
of patience is praised.' Then they fared on till they drew near a
village in the land of Kirman, and by it a river of water. So he
said to his wife, 'Abide thou here, whilst I enter the village
and look us out a place wherein we may take up our lodging.' And
he left her by the water and entered the village.

Presently, up came a horseman in quest of water, so he might
water his horse. He saw the woman and she was pleasing in his
sight; so he said to her, 'Arise, mount with me and I will take
thee to wife and entreat thee kindly.' Quoth she, 'Spare me, so
may God spare thee! Indeed, I have a husband.' But he drew his
sword and said to her, 'An thou obey me not, I will smite thee
and kill thee.' When she saw his malice, she wrote on the ground
in the sand with her finger, saying, 'O Abou Sabir, thou hast not
ceased to be patient, till thy wealth is gone from thee and thy
children and [now] thy wife, who was more precious in thy sight
than everything and than all thy wealth, and indeed thou abidest
in thy sorrow all thy life long, so thou mayst see what thy
patience will profit thee.' Then the horseman took her, and
setting her behind him, went his way.

As for Abou Sabir, when he returned, he saw not his wife and read
what was written on the ground, wherefore he wept and sat
[awhile] sorrowing. Then said he to himself, 'O Abou Sabir, it
behoveth thee to be patient, for belike there shall betide [thee]
an affair yet sorer than this and more grievous;' and he went
forth wandering at a venture, like to the love-distraught, the
madman, till he came to a sort of labourers working upon the
palace of the king, by way of forced labour. When [the overseers]
saw him, they laid hold of him and said to him, 'Work thou with
these folk at the palace of the king; else will we imprison thee
for life.' So he fell to working with them as a labourer and
every day they gave him a cake of bread. He wrought with them a
month's space, till it chanced that one of the labourers mounted
a ladder and falling, broke his leg; whereupon he cried out and
wept. Quoth Abou Sabir to him, 'Have patience and weep not; for
thou shall find ease in thy patience.' But the man said to him,
'How long shall I have patience?' And he answered, saying,
'Patience bringeth a man forth of the bottom of the pit and
seateth him on the throne of the kingdom.'

Now the king was seated at the lattice, hearkening to their talk,
and Abou Sabir's words angered him; so he bade bring him before
him and they brought him forthright. Now there was in the king's
palace an underground dungeon and therein a vast deep pit, into
which the king caused cast Abou Sabir, saying to him, 'O lackwit,
now shall we see how thou wilt come forth of the pit to the
throne of the kingdom.' Then he used to come and stand at the
mouth of the pit and say, 'O lackwit, O Abou Sabir, I see thee
not come forth of the pit and sit down on the king's throne!' And
he assigned him each day two cakes of bread, whilst Abou Sabir
held his peace and spoke not, but bore with patience that which
betided him.

Now the king had a brother, whom he had imprisoned in that pit of
old time, and he had died [there]; but the folk of the realm
thought that he was alive, and when his [supposed] imprisonment
grew long, the king's officers used to talk of this and of the
tyranny of the king, and the report spread abroad that the king
was a tyrant, wherefore they fell upon him one day and slew him.
Then they sought the well and brought out Abou Sabir therefrom,
deeming him the king's brother, for that he was the nearest of
folk to him [in favour] and the likest, and he had been long in
the prison. So they doubted not but that he was the prince in
question and said to him, 'Reign thou in thy brother's room, for
we have slain him and thou art king in his stead.' But Abou Sabir
was silent and spoke not a word; and he knew that this was the
issue of his patience. Then he arose and sitting down on the
king's throne, donned the royal raiment and discovered justice
and equity and the affairs [of the realm] prospered [in his
hand]; wherefore the folk obeyed him and the people inclined to
him and many were his troops.

Now the king, who had plundered Abou Sabir['s goods] and driven
him forth of his village, had an enemy; and the latter took horse
against him and overcame him and captured his [capital] city;
wherefore he addressed himself to flight and came to Abou Sabir's
city, craving protection of him and seeking that he should
succour him. He knew not that the king of the city was the
headman whom he had despoiled; so he presented himself before him
and made complaint to him; but Abou Sabir knew him and said to
him, 'This is somewhat of the issue of patience. God the Most
High hath given me power over thee.' Then he bade his guards
plunder the [unjust] king and his attendants; so they plundered
them and stripping them of their clothes, put them forth of his
country. When Abou Sabir's troops saw this, they marvelled and
said, 'What is this deed that the king doth? There cometh a king
to him, craving protection, and he despoileth him! This is not of
the fashion of kings.' But they dared not [be]speak [him] of
this.

After this, news came to the king of robbers in his land; so he
set out in quest of them and ceased not to follow after them,
till he seized on them all, and behold, they were the [very]
thieves who had despoiled him [and his wife] by the way and taken
his children. So he bade bring them before him, and when they
came into his presence, he questioned them, saying, 'Where are
the two boys ye took on such a day?' Quoth they, 'They are with
us and we will present them to our lord the king for slaves to
serve him and give him wealth galore that we have gotten together
and divest ourselves of all that we possess and repent from sin
and fight in thy service.' Abou Sabir, however, paid no heed to
their speech, but took all their good and bade put them all to
death. Moreover, he took the two boys and rejoiced in them with
an exceeding joy, whereat the troops murmured among themselves,
saying, 'Verily, this is a greater tyrant than his brother! There
come to him a sort of robbers and seek to repent and proffer two
boys [by way of peace-offering], and he taketh the two boys and
all their good and slayeth them!'

After this came the horseman, who had taken Abou Sabir's wife,
and complained of her to the king that she would not give him
possession of herself, avouching that she was his wife. The king
bade bring her before him, that he might hear her speech and
pronounce judgment upon her. So the horseman came with her before
him, and when the king saw her, he knew her and taking her from
her ravisher, bade put the latter to death. Then he became aware
of the troops, that they murmured against him and spoke of him as
a tyrant; so he turned to his officers and viziers and said to
them, 'As for me, by God the Great, I am not the king's brother!
Nay, I am but one whom the king imprisoned upon a word he heard
from me and used every day to taunt me therewith. Ye think that I
am the king's brother; but I am Abou Sabir and God hath given me
the kingship in virtue of my patience. As for the king who sought
protection of me and I despoiled him, it was he who first wronged
me, for that he despoiled me aforetime and drove me forth of my
native land and banished me, without due [cause]; wherefore I
requited him with that which he had done to me, in the way of
lawful vengeance. As for the thieves who proffered repentance,
there was no repentance for them with me, for that they began
upon me with foul [dealing] and waylaid me by the road and
despoiled me and took my good and my sons. Now these two boys,
that I took of them and whom ye deemed slaves, are my very sons;
so I avenged myself on the thieves of that which they did with me
aforetime and requited them with equity. As for the horseman whom
I slew, the woman I took from him was my wife and he took her by
force, but God the Most High hath restored her [to me]; so this
was my right, and my deed that I have done was just, albeit ye,
[judging] by the outward of the matter, deemed that I had done
this by way of tyranny.' When the folk heard this, they marvelled
and fell prostrate before him; and they redoubled in esteem for
him and exceeding affection and excused themselves to him,
marvelling at that which God had done with him and how He had
given him the kingship by reason of his longsuffering and his
patience and how he had raised himself by his patience from the
bottom of the pit to the throne of the kingdom, what while God
cast down the [late] king from the throne into the pit.[FN#109]
Then Abou Sabir foregathered with his wife and said to her, 'How
deemest thou of the fruit of patience and its sweetness and the
fruit of haste and its bitterness? Verily, all that a man doth of
good and evil, he shall assuredly abide.' On like wise, O king,"
continued the young treasurer, "it behoveth thee to practise
patience, whenas it is possible to thee, for that patience is of
the fashion of the noble, and it is the chiefest of their
reliance, especially for kings."

When the king heard this from the youth, his anger subsided; so
he bade restore him to the prison, and the folk dispersed that
day.

                        The Fourth Day.



              OF THE ILL EFFECTS OF PRECIPITATION.



When it was the fourth day, the fourth vizier, whose name was
Zoushad, made his appearance and prostrating himself to the king,
said to him, "O king, suffer not the talk of yonder youth to
delude thee, for that he is not a truth-teller. So long as he
abideth on life, the folk will not give over talking nor will thy
heart cease to be occupied with him." "By Allah," cried the king,
"thou sayst sooth and I will cause fetch him this day and slay
him before me." Then he commanded to bring the youth; so they
brought him in shackles and he said to him, "Out on thee!
Thinkest thou to appease my heart with thy prate, whereby the
days are spent in talk? I mean to slay thee this day and be quit
of thee." "O king," answered the youth, "it is in thy power to
slay me whensoever thou wilt, but haste is of the fashion of the
base and patience of that of the noble. If thou put me to death,
thou wilt repent, and if thou desire to bring me back to life,
thou wilt not be able thereunto. Indeed, whoso acteth hastily in
an affair, there befalleth him what befell Bihzad, son of the
king." Quoth the king, "And what is his story?" "O king," replied
the young treasurer,



                    STORY OF PRINCE BIHZAD.



"There was once, of old time, a king and he had a son [named
Bihzad], there was not in his day a goodlier than he and he loved
to consort with the folk and to sit with the merchants and
converse with them. One day, as he sat in an assembly, amongst a
number of folk, he heard them talking of his own goodliness and
grace and saying, 'There is not in his time a goodlier than he.'
But one of the company said, 'Indeed, the daughter of King
Such-an-one is handsomer than he.' When Bihzad heard this saying,
his reason fled and his heart fluttered and he called the last
speaker and said to him, 'Repeat to me that which thou saidst and
tell me the truth concerning her whom thou avouchest to be
handsomer than I and whose daughter she is.' Quoth the man, 'She
is the daughter of King Such-an-one;' whereupon Bihzad's heart
clave to her and his colour changed.

The news reached his father, who said to him, 'O my son, this
damsel to whom thy heart cleaveth is at thy commandment and we
have power over her; so wait till I demand her [in marriage] for
thee.' But the prince said, 'I will not wait.' So his father
hastened in the matter and sent to demand her of her father, who
required of him a hundred thousand dinars to his daughter's
dowry. Quoth Bihzad's father, 'So be it,' and paid down what was
in his treasuries, and there remained to his charge but a little
of the dower. So he said to his son, 'Have patience, O my son,
till we gather together the rest of the money and send to fetch
her to thee, for that she is become thine.' Therewith the prince
waxed exceeding wroth and said, 'I will not have patience;' so he
took his sword and his spear and mounting his horse, went forth
and fell to stopping the way, [so haply that he might win what
lacked of the dowry].

It chanced one day that he fell in upon a company of folk and
they overcame him by dint of numbers and taking him prisoner,
pinioned him and carried him to the lord of that country. The
latter saw his fashion and grace and misdoubting of him, said,
'This is no robber's favour. Tell me truly, O youth, who thou
art.' Bihzad thought shame to acquaint him with his condition and
chose rather death for himself; so he answered, 'I am nought but
a thief and a bandit.' Quoth the king, 'It behoveth us not to act
hastily in the matter of this youth, but that we look into his
affair, for that haste still engendereth repentance.' So he
imprisoned him in his palace and assigned him one who should
serve him.

Meanwhile, the news spread abroad that Bihzad, son of the king,
was lost, whereupon his father sent letters in quest of him [to
all the kings and amongst others to him with whom he was
imprisoned]. When the letter reached the latter, he praised God
the Most High for that he had not anydele hastened in Bihzad's
affair and letting bring him before himself, said to him, 'Art
thou minded to destroy thyself?' Quoth Bihzad, '[I did this] for
fear of reproach;' and the king said, 'An thou fear reproach,
thou shouldst not practise haste [in that thou dost]; knowest
thou not that the fruit of haste is repentance? If we had hasted,
we also, like unto thee, we had repented.'

Then he conferred on him a dress of honour and engaged to him for
the completion of the dowry and sent to his father, giving him
the glad news and comforting his heart with [the tidings of] his
son's safety; after which he said to Bihzad, Arise, O my son, and
go to thy father.' 'O king,' rejoined the prince, 'complete thy
kindness to me by [hastening] my going-in to my wife; for, if I
go back to my father, till he send a messenger and he return,
promising me, the time will be long.' The king laughed and
marvelled at him and said to him, 'I fear for thee from this
haste, lest thou come to shame and attain not thy desire.' Then
he gave him wealth galore and wrote him letters, commending him
to the father of the princess, and despatched him to them. When
he drew near their country, the king came forth to meet him with
the people of his realm and assigned him a handsome lodging and
bade hasten the going-in of his daughter to him, in compliance
with the other king's letter. Moreover, he advised the prince's
father [of his son's coming] and they busied themselves with the
affair of the damsel.

When it was the day of the going-in,[FN#110] Bihzad, of his haste
and lack of patience, betook himself to the wall, which was
between himself and the princess's lodging and in which there was
a hole pierced, and looked, so he might see his bride, of his
haste. But the bride's mother saw him and this was grievous to
her; so she took from one of the servants two red-hot iron spits
and thrust them into the hole through which the prince was
looking. The spits ran into his eyes and put them out and he fell
down aswoon and joyance was changed and became mourning and sore
concern. See, then, O king," continued the youth, "the issue of
the prince's haste and lack of deliberation, for indeed his haste
bequeathed him long repentance and his joy was changed to
mourning; and on like wise was it with the woman who hastened to
put out his eyes and deliberated not. All this was the doing of
haste; wherefore it behoveth the king not to be hasty in putting
me to death, for that I am under the grasp of his hand, and what
time soever thou desirest my slaughter, it shall not escape
[thee]."

When the king heard this, his anger subsided and he said, "Carry
him back to prison till to-morrow, to we may look into his
affair."

                         The Fifth Day



            OF THE ISSUES OF GOOD AND EVIL ACTIONS.



When it was the fifth day, the fifth Vizier, whose name was
Jehrbaur, came in to the king and prostrating himself before him,
said, "O king, it behoveth thee, if thou see or hear that one
look on thy house,[FN#111] that thou put out his eyes. How then
should it be with him whom thou sawest midmost thy house and on
thy very bed, and he suspected with thy harem, and not of thy
lineage nor of thy kindred? Wherefore do thou away this reproach
by putting him to death. Indeed, we do but urge thee unto this
for the assurance of thine empire and of our zeal for thy loyal
counselling and of our love to thee. How can it be lawful that
this youth should live for a single hour?"

Therewith the king was filled with wrath and said, "Bring him
forthright," So they brought the youth before him, shackled, and
the king said to him, "Out on thee! Thou hast sinned a great sin
and the time of thy life hath been long;[FN#112] but needs must
we put thee to death, for that there is for us no ease in thy
life after this," "O king," answered he, "know that I, by Allah,
am guiltless, and by reason of this I hope for life, for that he
who is guiltless of offence goeth not in fear of punishment
neither maketh great his mourning and his concern; but whoso hath
sinned, needs must his sin be expiated upon him, though his life
be prolonged, and it shall overtake him, even as it overtook
Dadbin the king and his vizier." "How was that?" asked Azadbekht,
and the youth said,



             STORY OF KING DADBIN AND HIS VIZIERS.



"There was once a king in the land of Teberistan, by name Dadbin,
and he had two viziers, called one Zourkhan and the other Kardan.
The Vizier Zourkhan had a daughter, there was not in her time a
handsomer than she nor yet a chaster nor a more pious, for she
was a faster, a prayer and a worshipper of God the Most High, and
her name was Arwa. Now Dadbin heard tell of her charms; so his
heart clave to her and he called the vizier [her father] and said
to him, 'I desire of thee that thou marry me to thy daughter.'
Quoth Zourkhan, 'Allow me to consult her, and if she consent, I
will marry thee with her.' And the king said, 'Hasten unto this.'

So the vizier went in to his daughter and said to her, 'O my
daughter, the king seeketh thee of me and desireth to marry
thee.' 'O my father,' answered she 'I desire not a husband and if
thou wilt marry me, marry me not but with one who shall be below
me in rank and I nobler than he, so he may not turn to other than
myself nor lift his eyes upon me, and marry me not to one who is
nobler than I, lest I be with him as a slave-girl and a
serving-woman.' So the vizier returned to the king and acquainted
him with that which his daughter had said, whereat he redoubled
in desire and love-liking for her and said to her father, 'An
thou marry me not to her of good grace, I will take her by force
in thy despite.' The vizier again betook himself to his daughter
and repeated to her the king's words, but she replied, 'I desire
not a husband.' So he returned to the king and told him what she
said, and he was wroth and threatened the vizier, whereupon the
latter took his daughter and fled with her.

When this came to the king's knowledge, he despatched troops in
pursuit of Zourkhan, to stop the road upon him, whilst he himself
went out and overtaking the vizier, smote him on the head with
his mace and slew him. Then he took his daughter by force and
returning to his dwelling-place, went in to her and married her.
Arwa resigned herself with patience to that which betided her and
committed her affair to God the Most High; and indeed she was
used to serve Him day and night with a goodly service in the
house of King Dabdin her husband.

It befell one day that the king had occasion to make a journey;
so he called his Vizier Kardan and said to him, 'I have a trust
to commit to thy care, and it is yonder damsel, my wife, the
daughter of the Vizier [Zourkhan], and I desire that thou keep
her and guard her thyself, for that there is not in the world
aught dearer to me than she.' Quoth Kardan in himself, 'Of a
truth, the king honoureth me with an exceeding honour [in
entrusting me] with this damsel.' And he answered 'With all my
heart.'

When the king had departed on his journey, the vizier said in
himself, 'Needs must I look upon this damsel whom the king loveth
with all this love.' So he hid himself in a place, that he might
look upon her, and saw her overpassing description; wherefore he
was confounded at her and his wit was dazed and love got the
mastery of him, so that he said to her, saying, 'Have pity on me,
for indeed I perish for the love of thee.' She sent back to him,
saying, 'O vizier, thou art in the place of trust and confidence,
so do not thou betray thy trust, but make thine inward like unto
thine outward[FN#113] and occupy thyself with thy wife and that
which is lawful to thee. As for this, it is lust and [women are
all of] one taste.[FN#114] And if thou wilt not be forbidden from
this talk, I will make thee a byword and a reproach among the
folk.' When the vizier heard her answer, he knew that she was
chaste of soul and body; wherefore he repented with the utmost of
repentance and feared for himself from the king and said, 'Needs
must I contrive a device wherewithal I may destroy her; else
shall I be disgraced with the king.'

When the king returned from his journey, he questioned his vizier
of the affairs of his kingdom and the latter answered, 'All is
well, O king, save a vile matter, which I have discovered here
and wherewith I am ashamed to confront the king; but, if I hold
my peace thereof, I fear lest other than I discover it and I [be
deemed to] have played traitor to the king in the matter of my
[duty of] loyal warning and my trust.' Quoth Dabdin, 'Speak, for
thou art none other than a truth-teller, a trusty one, a loyal
counsellor in that which thou sayest, undistrusted in aught.' And
the vizier said, 'O king, this woman to whose love thy heart
cleaveth and of whose piety thou talkest and her fasting and
praying, I will make plain to thee that this is craft and guile.'
At this, the king was troubled and said, 'What is to do?' 'Know,'
answered the vizier, 'that some days after thy departure, one
came to me and said to me, "Come, O vizier, and look." So I went
to the door of the [queen's] sleeping-chamber and beheld her
sitting with Aboulkhair, her father's servant, whom she
favoureth, and she did with him what she did, and this is the
manner of that which I saw and heard.'

When Dabdin heard this, he burnt with rage and said to one of his
eunuchs,[FN#115] 'Go and slay her in her chamber.' But the eunuch
said to him, 'O king, may God prolong thy continuance! Indeed,
the killing of her may not be at this time; but do thou bid one
of thine eunuchs take her up on a camel and carry her to one of
the trackless deserts and cast her down there; so, if she be at
fault, God shall cause her to perish, and if she be innocent, He
will deliver her, and the king shall be free from sin against
her, for that this damsel is dear to thee and thou slewest her
father by reason of thy love for her.' Quoth the king, 'By Allah,
thou sayst sooth!' Then he bade one of his eunuchs carry her on a
camel to one of the far-off deserts and there leave her and go
away, and he forbade [him] to prolong her torment. So he took her
up and betaking himself with her to the desert, left her there
without victual or water and returned, whereupon she made for one
of the [sand-]hills and ranging stones before her [in the form of
a prayer-niche], stood praying.

Now it chanced that a camel-driver, belonging to Kisra the king,
lost certain camels and the king threatened him, if he found them
not, that he would slay him. So he set out and plunged into the
deserts till he came to the place where the damsel was and seeing
her standing praying, waited till she had made an end of her
prayer, when he went up to her and saluted her, saying, 'Who art
thou?' Quoth she, 'I am a handmaid of God.' 'What dost thou in
this desolate place?' asked he, and she said, 'I serve God the
Most High.' When he saw her beauty and grace, he said to her,
'Harkye! Do thou take me to husband and I will be tenderly
solicitous over thee and use thee with exceeding compassion and I
will further thee in obedience to God the Most High.' But she
answered, saying, 'I have no need of marriage and I desire to
abide here [alone] with my Lord and His service; but, if thou
wouldst deal compassionately with me and further me in the
obedience of God the Most High, carry me to a place where there
is water and thou wilt have done me a kindness.'

So he carried her to a place wherein was running water and
setting her down on the ground, left her and went away,
marvelling at her. After he left her, he found his camels, by her
blessing, and when he returned, King Kisra asked him, 'Hast thou
found the camels?' ['Yes,' answered he] and acquainted him with
the affair of the damsel and set out to him her beauty and grace;
whereupon the king's heart clave to her and he mounted with a few
men and betook himself to that place, where he found the damsel
and was amazed at her, for that he saw her overpassing the
description wherewith the camel-driver had described her to him.
So he accosted her and said to her, 'I am King Kisra, greatest of
the kings. Wilt thou not have me to husband?' Quoth she, 'What
wilt thou do with me, O king, and I a woman abandoned in the
desert?' And he answered, saying, 'Needs must this be, and if
thou wilt not consent to me, I will take up my sojourn here and
devote myself to God's service and thine and worship Him with
thee.'

Then he bade set up for her a tent and another for himself,
facing hers, so he might worship God with her, and fell to
sending her food; and she said in herself, 'This is a king and it
is not lawful for me that I suffer him forsake his subjects and
his kingdom for my sake. So she said to the serving-woman, who
used to bring her the food, 'Speak to the king, so he may return
to his women, for he hath no need of me and I desire to abide in
this place, so I may worship God the Most High therein.' The
slave-girl returned to the king and told him this, whereupon he
sent back to her, saying, 'I have no need of the kingship and I
also desire to abide here and worship God with thee in this
desert.' When she found this earnestness in him, she consented to
his wishes and said, 'O king, I will consent unto thee in that
which thou desirest and will be to thee a wife, but on condition
that thou bring me Dadbin the king and his Vizier Kardan and his
chamberlain[FN#116] and that they be present in thine assembly,
so I may speak a word with them in thy presence, to the intent
that thou mayest redouble in affection for me.' Quoth Kisra, 'And
what is thine occasion unto this?' So she related to him her
story from first to last, how she was the wife of Dadbin the king
and how the latter's vizier had miscalled her honour.

When King Kisra heard this, he redoubled in loveliking for her
and affection and said to her, 'Do what thou wilt.' So he let
bring a litter and carrying her therein to his dwelling-place,
married her and entreated her with the utmost honour. Then he
sent a great army to King Dadbin and fetching him and his vizier
and the chamberlain, caused bring them before him, unknowing what
he purposed with them. Moreover, he caused set up for Arwa a
pavilion in the courtyard of his palace and she entered therein
and let down the curtain before herself. When the servants had
set their seats and they had seated themselves, Arwa raised a
corner of the curtain and said, 'O Kardan, rise to thy feet, for
it befitteth not that thou sit in the like of this assembly,
before this mighty King Kisra.' When the vizier heard these
words, his heart quaked and his joints were loosened and of his
fear, he rose to his feet. Then said she to him, 'By the virtue
of Him who hath made thee stand in this place of standing [up to
judgment], and thou abject and humiliated, I conjure thee speak
the truth and say what prompted thee to lie against me and cause
me go forth from my house and from the hand of my husband and
made thee practise thus against a man,[FN#117] a true believer,
and slay him. This is no place wherein leasing availeth nor may
prevarication be therein.'

When the vizier was ware that she was Arwa and heard her speech,
he knew that it behoved him not to lie and that nought would
avail him but truth-speaking; so he bowed [his head] to the
ground and wept and said, 'Whoso doth evil, needs must he abide
it, though his day be prolonged. By Allah, I am he who hath
sinned and transgressed, and nought prompted me unto this but
fear and overmastering desire and the affliction written upon my
forehead;[FN#118] and indeed this woman is pure and chaste and
free from all fault.' When King Dadbin heard this, he buffeted
his face and said to his vizier, 'God slay thee! It is thou that
hast parted me and my wife and wronged me!' But Kisra the king
said to him, 'God shall surely slay thee, for that thou
hastenedst and lookedst not into thine affair and knewest not the
guilty from the guiltless. Hadst thou wrought deliberately, the
false had been made manifest to thee from the true; so where was
thy judgment and thy sight?"

Then said he to Arwa, "What wilt thou that I do with them?" And
she answered, saying, "Accomplish on them the ordinance of God
the Most High;[FN#119] the slayer shall be slain and the
transgressor transgressed against, even as he transgressed
against us; yea, and the well-doer, good shall be done unto him,
even as he did unto us." So she gave [her officers] commandment
concerning Dadbin and they smote him on the head with a mace and
slew him, and she said, "This is for the slaughter of my father."
Then she bade set the vizier on a beast [and carry him] to the
desert whither he had caused carry her [and leave him there
without victual or water]; and she said to him, "An thou be
guilty, thou shalt abide [the punishment of] thy guilt and perish
of hunger and thirst in the desert; but, if there be no guilt in
thee, thou shalt be delivered, even as I was delivered."

As for the eunuch, the chamberlain, who had counselled King
Dadbin [not to slay her, but] to [cause] carry her to the desert
[and there abandon her], she bestowed on him a sumptuous dress of
honour and said to him, "The like of thee it behoveth kings to
hold in favour and set in high place, for that thou spokest
loyally and well, and a man is still requited according to his
deed." And Kisra the king invested him with the governance of one
of the provinces of his empire. Know, therefore, O king,"
continued the youth, "that whoso doth good is requited therewith
and he who is guiltless of sin and reproach feareth not the issue
of his affair. And I, O king, am free from guilt, wherefore I
trust in God that He will show forth the truth and vouchsafe me
the victory over enemies and enviers."

When the king heard this, his wrath subsided and he said, "Carry
him back to the prison till the morrow, so we may look into his
affair."

                         The Sixth Day



                        OF TRUST IN GOD.



When it was the sixth day, the viziers' wrath redoubled, for that
they had not compassed their desire of the youth and they feared
for themselves from the king; so three of them went in to him and
prostrating themselves before him, said to him, "O king, indeed
we are loyal counsellors to thy dignity and tenderly solicitous
for thee. Verily, thou persistest long in sparing this youth
alive and we know not what is thine advantage therein. Every day
findeth him yet on life and the talk redoubleth suspicions on
thee; so do thou put him to death, that the talk may be made an
end of." When the king heard this speech, he said, "By Allah,
indeed, ye say sooth and speak rightly!" Then he let bring the
young treasurer and said to him, "How long shall I look into
thine affair and find no helper for thee and see them all athirst
for thy blood?"

"O king," answered the youth, "I hope for succour only from God,
not from created beings: if He aid me, none can avail to harm me,
and if He be with me and on my side, because of the truth, who is
it I shall fear, because of falsehood? Indeed, I have made my
intent with God a pure and sincere intent and have severed my
expectation from the help of the creature; and whoso seeketh help
[of God] findeth of his desire that which Bekhtzeman found."
Quoth the king, "Who was Bekhtzeman and what is his story?" "O
king," replied the youth,



                   STORY OF KING BEKHTZEMAN.



"There was once a king of the kings, whose name was Bekhtzeman,
and he was a great eater and drinker and carouser. Now enemies of
his made their appearance in certain parts of his realm and
threatened him; and one of his friends said to him, 'O king, the
enemy maketh for thee: be on thy guard against him.' Quoth
Bekhtzeman, 'I reck not of him, for that I have arms and wealth
and men and am not afraid of aught.' Then said his friends to
him, 'Seek aid of God, O king, for He will help thee more than
thy wealth and thine arms and thy men.' But he paid no heed to
the speech of his loyal counsellors, and presently the enemy came
upon him and waged war upon him and got the victory over him and
his trust in other than God the Most High profited him nought. So
he fled from before him and seeking one of the kings, said to
him, 'I come to thee and lay hold upon thy skirts and take refuge
with thee, so thou mayst help me against mine enemy.'

The king gave him money and men and troops galore and Bekhtzeman
said in himself, 'Now am I fortified with this army and needs
must I conquer my enemy therewith and overcome him;' but he said
not, 'With the aid of God the Most High.' So his enemy met him
and overcame him again and he was defeated and put to the rout
and fled at a venture. His troops were dispersed from him and his
money lost and the enemy followed after him. So he sought the sea
and passing over to the other side, saw a great city and therein
a mighty citadel. He asked the name of the city and to whom it
belonged and they said to him, 'It belongeth to Khedidan the
king.' So he fared on till he came to the king's palace aud
concealing his condition, passed himself off for a
horseman[FN#120] and sought service with King Khedidan, who
attached him to his household and entreated him with honour; but
his heart still clave to his country and his home.

Presently, it chanced that an enemy attacked King Khedidan; so he
sent out his troops to him and made Bekhtzeman head of the army.
Then they went forth to the field and Khedidan also came forth
and ranged his troops and took the spear and sallied out in
person and fought a sore battle and overcame his enemy, who fled,
he and his troops, ignominiously. When the king and his army
returned in triumph, Bekhtzeman said to him, 'Harkye, O king!
Meseemeth this is a strange thing of thee that thou art compassed
about with this vast army, yet dost thou apply thyself in person
to battle and adventurest thyself.' Quoth the king, 'Dost thou
call thyself a cavalier and a man of learning and deemest that
victory is in abundance of troops?' 'Ay,' answered Bekhtzeman;
'that is indeed my belief.' And Khedidan said, 'By Allah, then,
thou errest in this thy belief! Woe and again woe to him whose
trust is in other than God! Indeed, this army is appointed only
for adornment and majesty, and victory is from God alone. I too,
O Bekhtzeman, believed aforetime that victory was in the
multitude of men, and an enemy came out against me with eight
hundred men, whilst I had eight hundred thousand. I trusted in
the number of my troops, whilst mine enemy trusted in God; so he
defeated me and routed me and I was put to a shameful flight and
hid myself in one of the mountains, where I met with a recluse,
[who had] withdrawn [himself from the world]. So I joined myself
to him and complained to him of my case and acquainted him with
all that had befallen me. Quoth he, "Knowest thou why this befell
thee and thou wast defeated?" "I know not," answered I, and he
said, "Because thou puttest thy trust in the multitude of thy
troops and reliedst not upon God the Most High. Hadst thou put
thy trust in God and believed in Him that it is He [alone] who
advantageth and endamageth thee, thine enemy had not availed to
cope with thee. Return unto God." So I returned to myself and
repented at the hands of the solitary, who said to me, "Turn back
with what remaineth to thee of troops and confront thine enemies,
for, if their intents be changed from God, thou wilt overcome
them, wert thou alone." When I heard these words, I put my trust
in God the Most High, and gathering together those who remained
with me, fell upon mine enemies at unawares in the night. They
deemed us many and fled on the shamefullest wise, whereupon I
entered my city and repossessed myself of my place by the might
of God the Most High, and now I fight not but [trusting] in His
aid.'

When Bekhtzeman heard this, he awoke from his heedlessness and
said, 'Extolled be the perfection of God the Great! O king, this
is my case and my story, nothing added and nought diminished, for
I am King Bekhtzeman and all this happened to me; wherefore I
will seek the gate of God['s mercy] and repent unto Him.' So he
went forth to one of the mountains and there worshipped God
awhile, till one night, as he slept, one appeared to him in a
dream and said to him, 'O Bekhtzeman, God accepteth thy
repentance and openeth on thee [the gate of succour] and will
further thee against thine enemy.' When he was certified of this
in the dream, he arose and turned back, intending for his own
city; and when he drew near thereunto, he saw a company of the
king's retainers, who said to him, 'Whence art thou? We see that
thou art a stranger and fear for thee from this king, for that
every stranger who enters this city, he destroys him, of his fear
of King Bekhtzeman.' Quoth Bekhtzeman, 'None shall hurt him nor
advantage him save God the Most High.' And they answered, saying,
'Indeed, he hath a vast army and his heart is fortified in the
multitude of his troops.'

When King Bekhtzeman heard this, his heart was comforted and he
said in himself, 'I put my trust in God. If He will, I shall
overcome mine enemy by the might of God the Most High.' So he
said to the folk, ' Know ye not who I am?' and they answered, '
No, by Allah.' Quoth he, 'I am King Bekhtzeman.' When they heard
this and knew that it was indeed he, they dismounted from their
horses and kissed his stirrup, to do him honour, and said to him,
'O king, why hast thou thus adventured thyself?' Quoth he,
'Indeed, my life is a light matter to me and I put my trust in
God the Most High, looking to Him for protection.' And they
answered him, saying, 'May this suffice thee! We will do with
thee that which is in our power and whereof thou art worthy:
comfort thy heart, for we will succour thee with our goods and
our lives, and we are his chief officers and the most in favour
with him of all folk. So we will take thee with us and cause the
folk follow after thee, for that the inclination of the people,
all of them, is to thee.' Quoth he, 'Do that unto which God the
Most High enableth you.'

So they carried him into the city and hid him with them.
Moreover, they agreed with a company of the king's chief
officers, who had aforetime been those of Bekhtzeman, and
acquainted them with this; whereat they rejoiced with an
exceeding joy. Then they assembled together to Bekhtzeman and
made a covenant and handfast [of fealty] with him and fell upon
the enemy at unawares and slew him and seated King Bekhtzeman
again on the throne of his kingship. And his affairs prospered
and God amended his estate and restored His bounty to him, and he
ruled his subjects justly and abode in the obedience of the Most
High. On this wise, O king," continued the young treasurer, "he
with whom God is and whose intent is pure, meeteth nought but
good. As for me, I have no helper other than God, and I am
content to submit myself to His ordinance, for that He knoweth
the purity of my intent."

With this the king's wrath subsided and he said, "Restore him to
the prison till the morrow, so we may look into his affair."

                        The Seventh Day.



                          OF CLEMENCY.



When it was the seventh day, the seventh vizier, whose name was
Bihkemal, came in to the king and prostrating himself to him,
said, "O king, what doth thy long-suffering with this youth
advantage thee? Indeed the folk talk of thee and of him. Why,
then, dost thou postpone the putting him to death?" The vizier's
words aroused the king's anger and he bade bring the youth. So
they brought him before him, shackled, and Azadbekht said to him,
"Out on thee! By Allah, after this day there abideth no
deliverance for thee from my hand, for that thou hast outraged
mine honour, and there can be no forgiveness for thee."

"O king," answered the youth, "there is no great forgiveness save
in case of a great crime, for according as the offence is great,
in so much is forgiveness magnified and it is no dishonour to the
like of thee if he spare the like of me. Verily, Allah knoweth
that there is no fault in me, and indeed He commandeth unto
clemency, and no clemency is greater than that which spareth from
slaughter, for that thy forgiveness of him whom thou purposest to
put to death is as the quickening of a dead man; and whoso doth
evil shall find it before him, even as it was with King Bihkerd."
"And what is the story of King Bihkerd?" asked the king. "O
king," answered the youth,



                     STORY OF KING BIHKERD.



"There was once a king named Bihkerd aed he had wealth galore and
many troops; but his deeds were evil and he would punish for a
slight offence and never forgave. He went forth one day to hunt
and one of his servants shot an arrow, which lit on the king's
ear and cut it off. Quoth Bihkerd, 'Who shot that arrow?' So the
guards brought him in haste the offender, whose name was Yetrou,
and he of his fear fell down on the ground in a swoon. Then said
the king, 'Put him to death;' but Yetrou said, 'O King, this that
hath befallen was not of my choice nor of my knowledge; so do
thou pardon me, in the hour of thy power over me, for that
clemency is of the goodliest of things and belike it shall be [in
this world] a provision and a good work [for which thou shall be
requited] one of these days, and a treasure [laid up to thine
account] with God in the world to come. Pardon me, therefore, and
fend off evil from me, so shall God fend off from thee evil the
like thereof.' When the king heard this, it pleased him and he
pardoned the servant, albeit he had never before pardoned any.

Now this servant was of the sons of the kings and had fled from
his father, on account of an offence he had committed. Then he
went and took service with King Bihkerd and there happened to him
what happened. After awhile, it chanced that a man recognized him
and went and told his father, who sent him a letter, comforting
his heart and mind and [beseeching him] to return to him. So he
returned to his father, who came forth to meet him and rejoiced
in him, and the prince's affairs were set right with him.

It befell, one day of the days, that King Bihkerd embarked in a
ship and put out to sea, so he might fish; but the wind blew on
them and the ship foundered. The king won ashore on a plank,
unknown of any, and came forth, naked, on one of the coasts; and
it chanced that he landed in the country whereof the father of
the youth aforesaid, [his sometime servant], was king. So he came
in the night to the gate of the latter's city and [finding it
shut], took up his lodging [for the night] in a burying-place
there.

When the morning morrowed and the folk came forth of the city,
they found a murdered man cast down in a corner of the
burial-ground and seeing Bihkerd there, doubted not but it was he
who had slain him; so they laid hands on him and carried him up
to the king and said to him, 'This fellow hath slain a man.' The
king bade imprison him; [so they clapped him in prison] and he
fell a-saying in himself, what while he was in the prison, 'All
that hath befallen me is of the abundance of my sins and my
tyranny, for, indeed, I have slain much people unrighteously and
this is the requital of my deeds and that which I have wrought
aforetime of oppression.' As he was thus pondering in himself,
there came a bird and lighted down on the coign of the prison,
whereupon, of his much eagerness in the chase, he took a stone
and cast it at the bird.

Now the king's son was playing in the exercise-ground with the
ball and the mall, and the stone lit on his ear and cut it off,
whereupon the prince fell down in a swoon. So they enquired who
had thrown the stone and [finding that it was Bihkerd,] took him
and carried him before the prince, who bade put him to death.
Accordingly, they cast the turban from his head and were about to
bind his eyes, when the prince looked at him and seeing him
cropped of an ear, said to him, 'Except thou wert a lewd fellow,
thine ear had not been cut off.' 'Not so, by Allah!' answered
Bihkerd. 'Nay, but the story [of the loss] of my ear is thus and
thus, and I pardoned him who smote me with an arrow and cut off
my ear.' When the prince heard this, he looked in his face and
knowing him, cried out and said, 'Art thou not Bihkerd the king?'
'Yes,' answered he, and the prince said to him 'What bringeth
thee here?' So he told him all that had betided him and the folk
marvelled and extolled the perfection of God the Most High.

Then the prince rose to him and embraced him and kissed him and
entreated him with honour. Moreover, he seated him in a chair and
bestowed on him a dress of honour; and he turned to his father
and said to him, 'This is the king who pardoned me and this is
his ear that I cut off with an arrow; and indeed he deserveth
pardon from me, for that he pardoned me.' Then said he to
Bihkerd, 'Verily, the issue of clemency hath been a provision for
thee [in thine hour of need].' And they entreated him with the
utmost kindness and sent him back to his own country in all
honour and worship Know, then, O King," continued the youth,
"that there is no goodlier thing than clemency and that all thou
dost thereof, thou shalt find before thee, a treasure laid up for
thee."

When the king heard this, his wrath subsided and he said, "Carry
him back to the prison till the morrow, so we may look into his
affair."

                        The Eighth Day.



                      OF ENVY AND MALICE.



When it was the eighth day, the viziers all assembled and took
counsel together and said, "How shall we do with this youth, who
baffleth us with his much talk? Indeed, we fear lest he be saved
and we fall [into perdition]. Wherefore, let us all go in to the
king and unite our efforts to overcome him, ere he appear without
guilt and come forth and get the better of us." So they all went
in to the king and prostrating themselves before him, said to
him, "O king, have a care lest this youth beguile thee with his
sorcery and bewitch thee with his craft. If thou heardest what we
hear, thou wouldst not suffer him live, no, not one day. So pay
thou no heed to his speech, for we are thy viziers, [who
endeavour for] thy continuance, and if thou hearken not to our
word, to whose word wilt thou hearken? See, we are ten viziers
who testify against this youth that he is guilty and entered not
the king's sleeping-chamber but with evil intent, so he might put
the king to shame and outrage his honour; and if the king slay
him not, let him banish him his realm, so the tongue of the folk
may desist from him."

When the king heard his viziers' words, he was exceeding wroth
and bade bring the youth, and when he came in to the king, the
viziers all cried out with one voice, saying, "O scant o' grace,
thinkest thou to save thyself from slaughter by craft and guile,
that thou beguilest the king with thy talk and hopest pardon for
the like of this great crime which thou hast committed?" Then the
king bade fetch the headsman, so he might smite off his head;
whereupon each of the viziers fell a-saying, "I will slay him;"
and they sprang upon him. Quote the youth, "O king, consider and
ponder these men's eagerness. Is this of envy or no? They would
fain make severance between thee and me, so there may fall to
them what they shall plunder, as aforetime." And the king said to
him, "Consider their testimony against thee." "O king," answered
the young man, "how shall they testify of that which they saw
not? This is but envy and rancour; and thou, if thou slay me,
thou wilt regret me, and I fear lest there betide thee of
repentance that which betided Ilan Shah, by reason of the malice
of his viziers." "And what is his story?" asked Azadbekht. "O
king," replied the youth,



               STORY OF ILAN SHAH AND ABOU TEMAM.



"There was once a merchant named Abou Temam, and he was a man of
understanding and good breeding, quick-witted and truthful in all
his affairs, and he had wealth galore. Now there was in his land
an unjust king and a jealous, and Abou Temam feared for his
wealth from this king and said, 'I will remove hence to another
place where I shall not be in fear.' So he made for the city of
Ilan Shah and built himself a palace therein and transporting his
wealth thither, took up his abode there. Presently, the news of
him reached King Ilan Shah; so he sent to bid him to his presence
and said to him, 'We know of thy coming to us and thine entry
under our allegiance, and indeed we have heard of thine
excellence and wit and generosity; so welcome to thee and fair
welcome! The land is thy land and at thy commandment, and
whatsoever occasion thou hast unto us, it is [already]
accomplished unto thee; and it behoveth that thou be near our
person and of our assembly.' Abou Temam prostrated himself to the
king and said to him, 'O king, I will serve thee with my wealth
and my life, but do thou excuse me from nearness unto thee, for
that, [if I took service about thy person], I should not be safe
from enemies and enviers.' Then he addressed himself to serve the
king with presents and largesses, and the king saw him to be
intelligent, well-bred and of good counsel; so he committed to
him the ordinance of his affairs and in his hand was the power to
bind and loose.

Now Ilan Shah had three viziers, in whose hands the affairs [of
the kingdom] were [aforetime] and they had been used to leave not
the king night nor day; but they became shut out from him by
reason of Abou Temam and the king was occupied with him to their
exclusion. So they took counsel together upon the matter and
said, 'What counsel ye we should do, seeing that the king is
occupied from us with yonder man, and indeed he honoureth him
more than us? But now come, let us cast about for a device,
whereby we may remove him from the king.' So each of them spoke
forth that which was in his mind, and one of them said, 'The king
of the Turks hath a daughter, whose like there is not in the
world, and whatsoever messenger goeth to demand her in marriage,
her father slayeth him. Now our king hath no knowledge of this;
so, come, let us foregather with him and bring up the talk of
her. When his heart is taken with her, we will counsel him to
despatch Abou Temam to seek her hand in marriage; whereupon her
father will slay him and we shall be quit of him, for we have had
enough of his affair."

Accordingly, they all went in to the king one day (and Abou Temam
was present among them,) and mentioned the affair of the damsel,
the king's daughter of the Turks, and enlarged upon her charms,
till the king's heart was taken with her and he said to them, 'We
will send one to demand her in marriage for us; but who shall be
our messenger?' Quoth the viziers, 'There is none for this
business but Abou Temam, by reason of his wit and good breeding;'
and the king said, 'Indeed, even as ye say, none is fitting for
this affair but he.' Then he turned to Abou Temam and said to
him, 'Wilt thou not go with my message and seek me [in marriage]
the king's daughter of the Turks?' and he answered, 'Hearkening
and obedience, O king.'

So they made ready his affair and the king conferred on him a
dress of honour, and he took with him a present and a letter
under the king's hand and setting out, fared on till he came to
the [capital] city of Turkestan. When the king of the Turks knew
of his coming, he despatched his officers to receive him and
entreated him with honour and lodged him as befitted his rank.
Then he entertained him three days, after which he summoned him
to his presence and Abou Temam went in to him and prostrating
himself before him, as beseemeth unto kings, laid the present
before him and gave him the letter.

The king read the letter and said to Abou Temam, "We will do what
behoveth in the matter; but, O Abou Temam, needs must thou see my
daughter and she thee, and needs must thou hear her speech and
she thine.' So saying, he sent him to the lodging of the
princess, who had had notice of this; so that they had adorned
her sitting-chamber with the costliest that might be of utensils
of gold and silver and the like, and she seated herself on a
throne of gold, clad in the most sumptuous of royal robes and
ornaments. When Abou Temam entered, he bethought himself and
said, 'The wise say, he who restraineth his sight shall suffer no
evil and he who guardeth his tongue shall hear nought of foul,
and he who keepeth watch over his hand, it shall be prolonged and
not curtailed.'[FN#121] So he entered and seating himself on the
ground, [cast down his eyes and] covered his hands and feet with
his dress.[FN#122] Quoth the king's daughter to him, 'Lift thy
head, O Abou Temam, and look on me and speak with me.' But he
spoke not neither raised his head, and she continued, 'They sent
thee but that thou mightest look on me and speak with me, and
behold, thou speakest not at all. Take of these pearls that be
around thee and of these jewels and gold and silver. But he put
not forth his hand unto aught, and when she saw that he paid no
heed to anything, she was angry and said, 'They have sent me a
messenger, blind, dumb and deaf.'

Then she sent to acquaint her father with this; whereupon the
king called Abou Temam to him and said to him, 'Thou camest not
but to see my daughter. Why, then, hast thou not looked upon
her?' Quoth Abou Temam, 'I saw everything.' And the king said,
'Why didst thou not take somewhat of that which thou sawest of
jewels and the like? For they were set for thee.' But he
answered, 'It behoveth me not to put out my hand to aught that is
not mine.' When the king heard his speech, he gave him a
sumptuous dress of honour and loved him exceedingly and said to
him, 'Come, look at this pit.' So Abou Temam went up [to the
mouth of the pit] and looked, and behold, it was full of heads of
men; and the king said to him, 'These are the heads of
ambassadors, whom I slew, for that I saw them without loyalty to
their masters, and I was used, whenas I saw an ambassador without
breeding, [FN#123] to say, "He who sent him is less of breeding
than he, for that the messenger is the tongue of him who sendeth
him and his breeding is of his master's breeding; and whoso is on
this wise, it befitteth not that he be akin to me."[FN#124] So,
because of this, I used to put the messengers to death; but, as
for thee, thou hast overcome us and won my daughter, of the
excellence of thy breeding; so be of good heart, for she is thy
master's.' Then he sent him back to king Ilan Shah with presents
and rarities and a letter, saying, 'This that I have done is in
honour of thee and of thine ambassador.'

When Abou Temam returned with [news of] the accomplishment of his
errand and brought the presents and the letter, King Ilan Shah
rejoiced in this and redoubled in showing him honour and made
much of him. Some days thereafterward, the king of Turkestan sent
his daughter and she went in to King Ilan Shah, who rejoiced in
her with an exceeding joy and Abou Temam's worth was exalted in
his sight. When the viziers saw this, they redoubled in envy and
despite and said, 'An we contrive us not a device to rid us of
this man, we shall perish of rage.' So they bethought them [and
agreed upon] a device they should practise.

Then they betook themselves to two boys affected to the [special]
service of the king, who slept not but on their knee,[FN#125] and
they lay at his head, for that they were his pages of the
chamber, and gave them each a thousand dinars of gold, saying,
'We desire of you that ye do somewhat for us and take this gold
as a provision against your occasion.' Quoth the boys, 'What is
it ye would have us do?' And the viziers answered, 'This Abou
Temam hath marred our affairs for us, and if his case abide on
this wise, he will estrange us all from the king's favour; and
what we desire of you is that, when ye are alone with the king
and he leaneth back, as he were asleep, one of you say to his
fellow, "Verily, the king hath taken Abou Temam into his especial
favour and hath advanced him to high rank with him, yet is he a
transgressor against the king's honour and an accursed one." Then
let the other of you ask, "And what is his transgression?" And
the first make answer, "He outrageth the king's honour and saith,
'The King of Turkestan was used, whenas one went to him to seek
his daughter in marriage, to slay him; but me he spared, for that
she took a liking to me, and by reason of this he sent her
hither, because she loved me.'" Then let his fellow say, "Knowest
thou this for truth?" And the other reply, "By Allah, this is
well known unto all the folk, but, of their fear of the king,
they dare not bespeak him thereof; and as often as the king is
absent a-hunting or on a journey, Abou Temam comes to her and is
private with her."' And the boys answered, 'We will say this.'

Accordingly, one night, when they were alone with the king and he
leant back, as he were asleep, they said these words and the king
heard it all and was like to die of rage and said in himself,
'These are young boys, not come to years of discretion, and have
no intrigue with any; and except they had heard these words from
some one, they had not spoken with each other thereof.' When it
was morning, wrath overmastered him, so that he stayed not
neither deliberated, but summoned Abou Temam and taking him
apart, said to him, 'Whoso guardeth not his lord's
honour,[FN#126] what behoveth unto him?' Quoth Abou Temam, 'It
behoveth that his lord guard not his honour.' 'And whoso entereth
the king's house and playeth the traitor with him,' continued the
king, 'what behoveth unto him?' And Abou Temam answered, 'He
shall not be left on life.' Whereupon the king spat in his face
and said to him, 'Both these things hast thou done.' Then he drew
his dagger on him in haste and smiting him in the belly, slit it
and he died forthright; whereupon the king dragged him to a well
that was in his palace and cast him therein.

After he had slain him, he fell into repentance and mourning and
chagrin waxed upon him, and none, who questioned him, would he
acquaint with the cause thereof, nor, of his love for his wife,
did he tell her of this, and whenas she asked him of [the cause
of] his grief, he answered her not. When the viziers knew of Abou
Temam's death, they rejoiced with an exceeding joy and knew that
the king's grief arose from regret for him. As for Ilan Shah, he
used, after this, to betake himself by night to the
sleeping-chamber of the two boys and spy upon them, so he might
hear what they said concerning his wife. As he stood one night
privily at the door of their chamber, he saw them spread out the
gold before them and play with it and heard one of them say, 'Out
on us! What doth this gold profit us? For that we cannot buy
aught therewith neither spend it upon ourselves. Nay, but we have
sinned against Abou Temam and done him to death unjustly.' And
the other answered, 'Had we known that the king would presently
kill him, we had not done what we did.'

When the king heard this, he could not contain himself, but
rushed in upon them and said to them, 'Out on you! What did ye?
Tell me.' And they said, 'Pardon, O king.' Quoth he, 'An ye would
have pardon from God and me, it behoveth you to tell me the
truth, for nothing shall save you from me but truth-speaking.' So
they prostrated themselves before him and said, 'By Allah, O
king, the viziers gave us this gold and taught us to lie against
Abou Teman, so thou mightest put him to death, and what we said
was their words.' When the king heard this, he plucked at his
beard, till he was like to tear it up by the roots and bit upon
his fingers, till he well-nigh sundered them in twain, for
repentance and sorrow that he had wrought hastily and had not
delayed with Abou Temam, so he might look into his affair.

Then he sent for the viziers and said to them, 'O wicked viziers,
ye thought that God was heedless of your deed, but your
wickedness shall revert upon you. Know ye not that whoso diggeth
a pit for his brother shall fall into it? Take from me the
punishment of this world and to-morrow ye shall get the
punishment of the world to come and requital from God.' Then he
bade put them to death; so [the headsman] smote off their heads
before the king, and he went in to his wife and acquainted her
with that wherein he had transgressed against Abou Temam;
whereupon she grieved for him with an exceeding grief and the
king and the people of his household left not weeping and
repenting all their lives. Moreover, they brought Abou Temam
forth of the well and the king built him a dome[FN#127] in his
palace and buried him therein.

See, then, O august king," continued the youth, "what envy doth
and injustice and how God caused the viziers' malice revert upon
their own necks; and I trust in God that He will succour me
against all who envy me my favour with the king and show forth
the truth unto him. Indeed, I fear not for my life from death;
only I fear lest the king repent of my slaughter, for that I am
guiltless of offence, and if I knew that I were guilty of aught,
my tongue would be mute."

When the king heard this, he bowed [his head] in perplexity and
confusion and said, "Carry him back to the prison till the
morrow, so we may look into his affair."

                         The Ninth Day



           OF DESTINY OR THAT WHICH IS WRITTEN ON THE
                           FOREHEAD.



When it was the ninth day, the viziers [foregathered and] said,
one to another, "Verily, this youth baffleth us, for as often as
the king is minded to put him to death, he beguileth him and
ensorcelleth him with a story; so what deem ye we should do, that
we may slay him and be at rest from him?" Then they took counsel
together and were of accord that they should go to the king's
wife [and prompt her to urge the king to slaughter the youth. So
they betook themselves to her] and said to her, "Thou art
heedless of this affair wherein thou art and this heedlessness
will not profit thee; whilst the king is occupied with eating and
drinking and diversion and forgetteth that the folk beat upon
tabrets and sing of thee and say, 'The king's wife loveth the
youth;' and what while he abideth on life, the talk will increase
and not diminish." Quoth she, "By Allah, it was ye set me on
against him, and what shall I do [now]?" And they answered, "Do
thou go in to the king and weep and say to him, 'Verily, the
women come to me and tell me that I am become a byword in the
city, and what is thine advantage in the sparing of this youth?
If thou wilt not slay him, slay me, so this talk may be estopped
from us.'"

So she arose and tearing her clothes, went in to the king, in the
presence of the viziers, and cast herself upon him, saying, "O
king, falleth my shame not upon thee and fearest thou not
reproach? Indeed, this is not of the behoof of kings that their
jealousy over their women should be thus [laggard]. Thou art
heedless and all the folk of the realm prate of thee, men and
women. So either slay him, that the talk may be cut off, or slay
me, if thy soul will not consent to his slaughter." Thereupon the
king's wrath waxed hot and he said to her, "I have no pleasure in
his continuance [on life] and needs must I slay him this day. So
return to thy house and comfort thy heart."

Then he bade fetch the youth; so they brought him before him and
the viziers said, "O base of origin, out on thee! Thy term is at
hand and the earth hungereth for thy body, so it may devour it."
But he answered them, saying, "Death is not in your word nor in
your envy; nay, it is an ordinance written upon the forehead;
wherefore, if aught be written upon my forehead, needs must it
come to pass, and neither endeavour nor thought-taking nor
precaution will deliver me therefrom; [but it will surely happen]
even as happened to King Ibrahim and his son." Quoth the king,
"Who was King Ibrahim and who was his son?" And the youth said,
"O king,



               STORY OF KING IBRAHIM AND HIS SON.



There was once a king of the kings, by name Ibrahim, to whom the
kings abased themselves and did obedience; but he had no son and
was straitened of breast because of this, fearing lest the
kingship go forth of his hand. He ceased not vehemently to desire
a son and to buy slave-girls and lie with them, till one of them
conceived, whereat he rejoiced with an exceeding joy and gave
gifts and largesse galore. When the girl's months were
accomplished and the season of her delivery drew near, the king
summoned the astrologers and they watched for the hour of her
child-bearing and raised astrolabes [towards the sun] and took
strait note of the time. The damsel gave birth to a male child,
whereat the king rejoiced with an exceeding joy, and the people
heartened each other with the glad news of this.

Then the astrologers made their calculations and looked into his
nativity and his ascendant, whereupon their colour changed and
they were confounded. Quoth the king to them, 'Acquaint me with
his horoscope and ye shall have assurance and fear ye not of
aught' 'O king,' answered they, 'this child's nativity denotes
that, in the seventh year of his age, there is to be feared for
him from a lion, which will attack him; and if he be saved from
the lion, there will betide an affair yet sorer and more
grievous.' 'What is that?' asked the king; and they said, 'We
will not speak, except the king command us thereto and give us
assurance from [that which we] fear.' Quoth the king, 'God assure
you!' And they said, 'If he be saved from the lion, the king's
destruction will be at his hand.' When the king heard this, his
colour changed and his breast was straitened; but he said in
himself, 'I will be watchful and do my endeavour and suffer not
the lion to eat him. It cannot be that he will kill me, and
indeed the astrologers lied.'

Then he caused rear him among the nurses and matrons; but withal
he ceased not to ponder the saying of the astrologers and indeed
his life was troubled. So he betook himself to the top of a high
mountain and dug there a deep pit and made in it many
dwelling-places and closets and filled it with all that was
needful of victual and raiment and what not else and made in it
conduits of water from the mountain and lodged the boy therein,
with a nurse who should rear him. Moreover, at the first of each
month he used to go to the mountain and stand at the mouth of the
pit and let down a rope he had with him and draw up the boy to
him and strain him to his bosom and kiss him and play with him
awhile, after which he would let him down again into the pit to
his place and return; and he used to count the days till the
seven years should pass by.

When came the time [of the accomplishment] of the foreordered
fate and the fortune graven on the forehead and there abode for
the boy but ten days till the seven years should be complete,
there came to the mountain hunters hunting wild beasts and seeing
a lion, gave chase to him. He fled from them and seeking refuge
in the mountain, fell into the pit in its midst. The nurse saw
him forthright and fled from him into one of the closets;
whereupon the lion made for the boy and seizing upon him, tore
his shoulder, after which he sought the closet wherein was the
nurse and falling upon her, devoured her, whilst the boy abode
cast down in a swoon. Meanwhile, when the hunters saw that the
lion had fallen into the pit, they came to the mouth thereof and
heard the shrieking of the boy and the woman; and after awhile
the cries ceased, whereby they knew that the lion had made an end
of them.

Presently, as they stood by the mouth of the pit, the lion came
scrambling up the sides and would have issued forth; but, as
often as he showed his head, they pelted him with stones, till
they beat him down and he fell; whereupon one of the hunters
descended into the pit and despatched him and saw the boy
wounded; after which he went to the cabinet, where he found the
woman dead, and indeed the lion had eaten his fill of her. Then
he noted that which was therein of clothes and what not else, and
advising his fellows thereof, fell to passing the stuff up to
them. Moreover, he took up the boy and bringing him forth of the
pit, carried him to their dwelling-place, where they dressed his
wounds and he grew up with them, but acquainted them not with his
affair; and indeed, when they questioned him, he knew not what he
should say, for that he was little, when they let him down into
the pit. The hunters marvelled at his speech and loved him with
an exceeding love and one of them took him to son and abode
rearing him with him [and instructing him] in hunting and riding
on horseback, till he attained the age of twelve and became a
champion, going forth with the folk to the chase and to the
stopping of the way.

It chanced one day that they sallied forth to stop the way and
fell in upon a caravan in the night; but the people of the
caravan were on their guard; so they joined battle with the
robbers and overcame them and slew them and the boy fell wounded
and abode cast down in that place till the morrow, when he opened
his eyes and finding his comrades slain, lifted himself up and
rose to walk in the way. Presently, there met him a man, a
treasure-seeker, and said to him, 'Whither goest thou, O youth?'
So he told him what had betided him and the other said, 'Be of
good heart, for that [the season of] thy fair fortune is come and
God bringeth thee joy and solace. I am one who am in quest of a
hidden treasure, wherein is vast wealth. So come with me, that
thou mayst help me, and I will give thee wealth, wherewith thou
shalt provide thyself thy life long.' Then he carried the youth
to his dwelling and dressed his wound, and he abode with him some
days, till he was rested; when he took him and two beasts and all
that he needed, and they fared on till they came to a precipitous
mountain.

Here the treasure-seeker brought out a book and reading therein,
dug in the crest of the mountain five cubits deep, whereupon
there appeared to him a stone. He pulled it up and behold, it was
a trap-door covering the mouth of a pit. So he waited till the
[foul] air was come forth from the midst of the pit, when he
bound a rope about the boy's middle and let him down to the
bottom, and with him a lighted flambeau. The boy looked and
beheld, at the upper end of the pit, wealth galore; so the
treasure-seeker let down a rope and a basket and the boy fell to
filling and the man to drawing up, till the latter had gotten his
sufficiency, when he loaded his beasts and did his occasion,
whilst the boy looked for him to let down to him the rope and
draw him up; but he rolled a great stone to the mouth of the pit
and went away.

When the boy saw what the treasure-seeker had done with him he
committed his affair to God (extolled be His perfection and
exalted be He!) and abode perplexed concerning his case and said,
'How bitter is this death!' For that indeed the world was
darkened on him and the pit was blinded to him. So he fell
a-weeping and saying, 'I was delivered from the lion and the
thieves and now is my death [appointed to be] in this pit, where
I shall die lingeringly.' And he abode confounded and looked for
nothing but death. As he pondered [his affair], behold, he heard
a sound of water running with a mighty noise; so he arose and
walked in the pit, following after the sound, till he came to a
corner and heard the mighty running of water. So he laid his ear
to the sound of the current and hearing it a great strength, said
in himself, 'This is the running of a mighty water and needs must
I die in this place, be it to-day or to-morrow; so I will cast
myself into the water and not die a lingering death in this pit.'

Then he braced up his courage and gathering his skirts about him,
threw himself into the water, and it bore him along with an
exceeding might and carrying him under the earth, stayed not till
it brought him out into a deep valley, wherethrough ran a great
river, that welled up from under the earth. When he found himself
on the surface of the earth, he abode perplexed and dazed all
that day; after which he came to himself and rising, fared on
along the valley, till he came to an inhabited land and a great
village in the dominions of the king his father. So he entered
the village and foregathered with its inhabitants, who questioned
him of his case; whereupon he related to them his history and
they marvelled at him, how God had delivered him from all this.
Then he took up his abode with them and they loved him
exceedingly.

To return to the king his father. When he went to the pit, as of
his wont, and called the nurse, she returned him no answer,
whereat his breast was straitened and he let down a man who
[found the nurse dead and the boy gone and] acquainted the king
therewith; which when he heard, he buffeted his head and wept
passing sore and descended into the midst of the pit, so he might
see how the case stood. There he found the nurse slain and the
lion dead, but saw not the boy; so he [returned and] acquainted
the astrologers with the verification of their words, and they
said, 'O king, the lion hath eaten him; destiny hath been
accomplished upon him and thou art delivered from his hand; for,
had he been saved from the lion, by Allah, we had feared for thee
from him, for that the king's destruction should have been at his
hand.' So the king left [sorrowing for] this and the days passed
by and the affair was forgotten.

Meanwhile, the boy [grew up and] abode with the people of the
village, and when God willed the accomplishment of His ordinance,
the which endeavour availeth not to avert, he went forth with a
company of the villagers, to stop the way. The folk complained of
them to the king, who sallied out with a company of his men and
surrounded the highwaymen and the boy with them, whereupon the
latter drew forth an arrow and launched it at them, and it smote
the king in his vitals and wounded him. So they carried him to
his house, after they had laid hands upon the youth and his
companions and brought them before the king, saying, 'What
biddest thou that we do with them?' Quoth he, 'I am presently in
concern for myself; so bring me the astrologers.' Accordingly,
they brought them before him and He said to them, 'Ye told me
that my death should be by slaying at the hand of my son: how,
then, befalleth it that I have gotten my death-wound on this wise
of yonder thieves?' The astrologers marvelled and said to him, 'O
king, it is not impossible to the lore of the stars, together
with the fore-ordinance of God, that he who hath smitten thee
should be thy son.'

When Ibrahim heard this, he let fetch the thieves and said to
them, 'Tell me truly, which of you shot the arrow that wounded
me.' Quoth they, 'It was this youth that is with us.' Whereupon
the king fell to looking upon him and said to him, 'O youth,
acquaint me with thy case and tell me who was thy father and thou
shalt have assurance from God.' 'O my lord,' answered the youth,
'I know no father; as for me, my father lodged me in a pit [when
I was little], with a nurse to rear me, and one day, there fell
in upon us a lion, which tore my shoulder, then left me and
occupied himself with the nurse and rent her in pieces; and God
vouchsafed me one who brought me forth of the pit.' Then he
related to him all that had befallen him, first and last; which
when Ibrahim heard, he cried out and said, 'By Allah, this is my
very son!' And he said to him, 'Uncover thy shoulder.' So he
uncovered it and behold, it was scarred.

Then the king assembled his nobles and commons and the
astrologers and said to them, 'Know that what God hath graven
upon the forehead, be it fair fortune or calamity, none may avail
to efface, and all that is decreed unto a man he must needs
abide. Indeed, this my caretaking and my endeavour profited me
nought, for that which God decreed unto my son, he hath abidden
and that which He decreed unto me hath betided me. Nevertheless,
I praise God and thank Him for that this was at my son's hand and
not at the hand of another, and praised be He for that the
kingship is come to my son!' And he strained the youth to his
breast and embraced him and kissed him, saying, 'O my son, this
matter was on such a wise, and of my care and watchfulness over
thee from destiny, I lodged thee in that pit; but caretaking
availed not.' Then he took the crown of the kingship and set it
on his son's head and caused the folk and the people swear fealty
to him and commended the subjects to his care and enjoined him to
justice and equity. And he took leave of him that night and died
and his son reigned in his stead.

On like wise, O king," continued the young treasurer, "is it with
thee. If God have written aught on my forehead, needs must it
befall me and my speech to the king shall not profit me, no, nor
my adducing to him of [illustrative] instances, against the
fore-ordinance of God. So with these viziers, for all their
eagerness and endeavour for my destruction, this shall not profit
them; for, if God [be minded to] save me, He will give me the
victory over them."

When the king heard these words, he abode in perplexity and said,
"Restore him to the prison till the morrow, so we may look into
his affair, for the day draweth to an end and I mean to put him
to death on exemplary wise, and [to-morrow] we will do with him
that which he meriteth."

                         The Tenth Day.



         OF THE APPOINTED TERM,[FN#128] WHICH, IF IT BE
           ADVANCED, MAY NOT BE DEFERRED AND IF IT BE
                 DEFERRED, MAY NOT BE ADVANCED.



When it was the tenth day, (now this day was called El
Mihrjan[FN#129] and it was the day of the coming in of the folk,
gentle and simple, to the king, so they might give him joy and
salute him and go forth), the counsel of the viziers fell of
accord that they should speak with a company of the notables of
the city [and urge them to demand of the king that he should
presently put the youth to death]. So they said to them, "When ye
go in to-day to the king and salute him, do ye say to him, 'O
king, (to God be the praise!) thou art praiseworthy of policy and
governance, just to all thy subjects; but this youth, to whom
thou hast been bountiful, yet hath he reverted to his base origin
and wrought this foul deed, what is thy purpose in his
continuance [on life]? Indeed, thou hast prisoned him in thy
house, and every day thou hearest his speech and thou knowest not
what the folk say.'" And they answered with "Hearkening and
obedience."

So, when they entered with the folk and had prostrated themselves
before the king and given him joy and he had raised their rank,
[they sat down]. Now it was the custom of the folk to salute and
go forth, so, when they sat down, the king knew that they had a
word that they would fain say. So he turned to them and said,
"Ask your need." And the viziers also were present. Accordingly,
they bespoke him with all that these latter had taught them and
the viziers also spoke with them; and Azadbekht said to them, "O
folk, I know that this your speech, there is no doubt of it,
proceedeth from love and loyal counsel to me, and ye know that,
were I minded to slay half these folk, I could avail to put them
to death and this would not be difficult to me; so how shall I
not slay this youth and he in my power and under the grip of my
hand? Indeed, his crime is manifest and he hath incurred pain of
death and I have only deferred his slaughter by reason of the
greatness of the offence; for, if I do this with him and my proof
against him be strengthened, my heart is healed and the heart of
the folk; and if I slay him not to-day, his slaughter shall not
escape me to-morrow."

Then he bade fetch the youth and when he was present before him,
he prostrated himself to him and prayed for him; whereupon quoth
the king to him, "Out on thee! How long shall the folk upbraid me
on thine account and blame me for delaying thy slaughter? Even
the people of my city blame me because of thee, so that I am
grown a talking-stock among them, and indeed they come in to me
and upbraid me [and urge me] to put thee to death. How long shall
I delay this? Indeed, this very day I mean to shed thy blood and
rid the folk of thy prate."

"O king," answered the youth, "if there have betided thee talk
because of me, by Allah, by Allah the Great, those who have
brought on thee this talk from the folk are these wicked viziers,
who devise with the folk and tell them foul things and evil
concerning the king's house; but I trust in God that He will
cause their malice to revert upon their heads. As for the king's
menace of me with slaughter, I am in the grasp of his hand; so
let not the king occupy his mind with my slaughter, for that I am
like unto the sparrow in the hand of the fowler; if he will, he
slaughtereth him, and if he will, he looseth him. As for the
delaying of my slaughter, it [proceedeth] not [from] the king,
but from Him in whose hand is my life; for, by Allah, O king, if
God willed my slaughter, thou couldst not avail to postpone it,
no, not for a single hour. Indeed, man availeth not to fend off
evil from himself, even as it was with the son of King Suleiman
Shah, whose anxiety and carefulness for the accomplishment of his
desire of the new-born child [availed him nothing], for his last
hour was deferred how many a time! and God saved him until he had
accomplished his [foreordained] period and had fulfilled [the
destined term of] his life."

"Out on thee!" exclaimed the king. "How great is thy craft and
thy talk! Tell me, what was their story." And the youth said, "O
king,



           STORY OF KING SULEIMAN SHAH AND HIS SONS.



There was once a king named Suleiman Shah, who was goodly of
polity and judgment, and he had a brother who died and left a
daughter. So Suleiman Shah reared her on the goodliest wise and
the girl grew up, endowed with reason and perfection, nor was
there in her time a fairer than she. Now the king had two sons,
one of whom he had appointed in himself that he would marry her
withal, and the other purposed in himself that he would take her.
The elder son's name was Belehwan and that of the younger Melik
Shah, and the girl was called Shah Khatoun.

One day, King Suleiman Shah went in to his brother's daughter and
kissing her head, said to her, 'Thou art my daughter and dearer
to me than a child, for the love of thy father deceased;
wherefore I am minded to marry thee to one of my sons and appoint
him my heir apparent, so he may be king after me. Look, then,
which thou wilt have of my sons, for that thou hast been reared
with them and knowest them.' The damsel arose and kissing his
hand, said to him, 'O my lord, I am thine handmaid and thou art
the ruler over me; so whatsoever pleaseth thee, do, for that thy
wish is higher and more honourable and nobler [than mine] and if
thou wouldst have me serve thee, [as a handmaid], the rest of my
life, it were liefer to me than any [husband].'

The king approved her speech and bestowed on her a dress of
honour and gave her magnificent gifts; after which, for that his
choice had fallen upon his younger son, Melik Shah, he married
her with him and made him his heir apparent and caused the folk
swear fealty to him. When this came to the knowledge of his
brother Belehwan and he was ware that his younger brother had
been preferred over him, his breast was straitened and the affair
was grievous to him and envy entered into him and rancour; but he
concealed this in his heart, whilst fire raged therein because of
the damsel and the kingship.

Meanwhile Shah Khatoun went in to the king's son and conceived by
him and bore a son, as he were the resplendent moon. When
Belehwan saw this that had betided his brother, jealousy and envy
overcame him; so he went in one night to his father's house and
coming to his brother's lodging, saw the nurse sleeping at the
chamber-door, with the cradle before her and therein his
brother's child asleep. Belehwan stood by him and fell to looking
upon his face, the radiance whereof was as that of the moon, and
Satan insinuated himself into his heart, so that he bethought
himself and said, 'Why is not this child mine? Indeed, I am
worthier of him than my brother, [yea], and of the damsel and the
kingship.' Then envy got the better of him and anger spurred him,
so that he took out a knife and setting it to the child's gullet,
cut his throat and would have severed his windpipe.

So he left him for dead and entering his brother's chamber, saw
him asleep, with the damsel by his side, and thought to slay her,
but said in himself, 'I will leave the damsel for myself.' Then
he went up to his brother and cutting his throat, severed his
head from his body, after which he left him and went away.
Therewithal the world was straitened upon him and his life was a
light matter to him and he sought his father Suleiman Shah's
lodging, that he might slay him, but could not win to him. So he
went forth from the palace and hid himself in the city till the
morrow, when he repaired to one of his father's strengths and
fortified himself therein.

Meanwhile, the nurse awoke, that she might give the child suck,
and seeing the bed running with blood, cried out; whereupon the
sleepers and the king awoke and making for the place, found the
child with his throat cut and the cradle running over with blood
and his father slain and dead in his sleeping chamber. So they
examined the child and found life in him and his windpipe whole
and sewed up the place of the wound. Then the king sought his son
Belehwan, but found him not and saw that he had fled; whereby he
knew that it was he who had done this deed, and this was grievous
to the king and to the people of his realm and to the lady Shah
Katoun. So the king laid out his son Melik Shah and buried him
and made him a mighty funeral and they mourned passing sore;
after which he addressed himself to the rearing of the infant

As for Belehwan, when he fled and fortified himself, his power
waxed amain and there remained for him but to make war upon his
father, who had cast his affection upon the child and used to
rear him on his knees and supplicate God the Most High that he
might live, so he might commit the commandment to him. When he
came to five years of age, the king mounted him on horseback and
the people of the city rejoiced in him and invoked on him length
of life, so he might take his father's leavings[FN#130] and
[heal] the heart of his grandfather.

Meanwhile, Belehwan the froward addressed himself to pay court to
Caesar, King of the Greeks,[FN#131] and seek help of him in
making war upon his father, and he inclined unto him and gave him
a numerous army. His father the king heard of this and sent to
Caesar, saying, 'O king of illustrious might, succour not an
evil-doer. This is my son and he hath done thus and thus and cut
his brother's throat and that of his brother's son in the
cradle.' But he told not the King of the Greeks that the child
[had recovered and] was alive. When Caesar heard [the truth] of
the matter, it was grievous to him and he sent back to Suleiman
Shah, saying, 'If it be thy will, O king, I will cut off his head
and send it to thee.' But he made answer, saying, 'I reck not of
him: the reward of his deed and his crimes shall surely overtake
him, if not to-day, then to-morrow.' And from that day he
continued to correspond with Caesar and to exchange letters and
presents with him.

Now the king of the Greeks heard tell of the damsel[FN#132] and
of the beauty and grace wherewith she was gifted, wherefore his
heart clave to her and he sent to seek her in marriage of
Suleiman Shah, who could not refuse him. So he arose and going in
to Shah Khatoun, said to her, 'O my daughter, the king of the
Greeks hath sent to me to seek thee in marriage. What sayst
thou?' She wept and answered, saying, 'O king, how canst thou
find it in thy heart to bespeak me thus? Abideth there husband
for me, after the son of my uncle?' 'O my daughter,' rejoined the
king, 'it is indeed as thou sayest; but let us look to the issues
of affairs. Needs must I take account of death, for that I am an
old man and fear not but for thee and for thy little son; and
indeed I have written to the king of the Greeks and others of the
kings and said, "His uncle slew him," and said not that he [hath
recovered and] is living, but concealed his affair. Now hath the
king of the Greeks sent to demand thee in marriage, and this is
no thing to be refused and fain would we have our back
strengthened with him."[FN#133] And she was silent and spoke not.

So King Suleiman Shah made answer unto Caesar with 'Hearkening
and obedience.' Then he arose and despatched her to him, and
Cassar went in to her and found her overpassing the description
wherewithal they had described her to him; wherefore he loved her
with an exceeding love and preferred her over all his women and
his love for Suleiman Shah was magnified; but Shah Khatoun's
heart still clave to her son and she could say nought. As for
Suleiman Shah's rebellious son, Belehwan, when he saw that Shah
Khatoun had married the king of the Greeks, this was grievous to
him and he despaired of her. Meanwhile, his father Suleiman Shah
kept strait watch over the child and cherished him and named him
Melik Shah, after the name of his father. When he reached the age
of ten, he made the folk swear fealty to him and appointed him
his heir apparent, and after some days, [the hour of] the old
king's admission [to the mercy of God] drew near and he died.

Now a party of the troops had banded themselves together for
Belehwan; so they sent to him and bringing him privily, went in
to the little Melik Shah and seized him and seated his uncle
Belehwan on the throne of the kingship. Then they proclaimed him
king and did homage to him all, saying, 'Verily, we desire thee
and deliver to thee the throne of the kingship; but we wish of
thee that thou slay not thy brother's son, for that on our
consciences are the oaths we swore to his father and grandfather
and the covenants we made with them.' So Belehwan granted them
this and imprisoned the boy in an underground dungeon and
straitened him. Presently, the heavy news reached his mother and
this was grievous to her; but she could not speak and committed
her affair to God the Most High, daring not name this to King
Caesar her husband, lest she should make her uncle King Suleiman
Shah a liar.

So Belehwan the froward abode king in his father's room and his
affairs prospered, what while the young Melik Shah lay in the
underground dungeon four full-told years, till his charms faded
and his favour changed. When God (extolled be His perfection and
exalted be He!) willed to relieve him and bring him forth of the
prison, Belehwan sat one day with his chief officers and the
grandees of his state and discoursed with them of the story of
King Suleiman Shah and what was in his heart. Now there were
present certain viziers, men of worth, and they said to him, 'O
king, verily God hath been bountiful unto thee and hath brought
thee to thy wish, so that thou art become king in thy father's
stead and hast gotten thee that which thou soughtest. But, as for
this boy, there is no guilt in him, for that, from the day of his
coming into the world, he hath seen neither ease nor joyance, and
indeed his favour is faded and his charms changed [with long
prison]. What is his offence that he should merit this
punishment? Indeed, it is others than he who were to blame, and
God hath given thee the victory over them, and there is no fault
in this poor wight.' Quoth Belehwan, 'Indeed, it is as ye say;
but I am fearful of his craft and am not assured from his
mischief; belike the most part of the folk will incline unto
him.' 'O king,' answered they, 'what is this boy and what power
hath he? If thou fear him, send him to one of the frontiers.' And
Belehwan said, 'Ye say sooth: we will send him to be captain over
such an one of the marches.'

Now over against the place in question was a host of enemies,
hard of heart, and in this he purposed the youth's slaughter. So
he bade bring him forth of the underground dungeon and caused him
draw near to him and saw his case. Then he bestowed on him a
dress of honour and the folk rejoiced in this. Moreover, he tied
him an ensign[FN#134] and giving him a numerous army, despatched
him to the region aforesaid, whither all who went were still
slain or made prisoners. So Melik Shah betook himself thither
with his army and when it was one of the days, behold, the enemy
fell in upon them in the night; whereupon some of his men fled
and the rest the enemy took; and they took Melik Shah also and
cast him into an underground dungeon, with a company of his men.
There he abode a whole year in evil plight, whilst his fellows
mourned over his beauty and grace.

Now it was the enemy's wont, at every year's end, to bring forth
their prisoners and cast them down from the top of the citadel to
the bottom. So they brought them forth, at the end of the year,
and cast them down, and Melik Shah with them. However, he fell
upon the [other] men and the earth touched him not, for his term
was [God-]guarded. Now those that were cast down there were slain
and their bodies ceased not to lie there till the wild beasts ate
them and the winds dispersed them. Melik Shah abode cast down in
his place, aswoon, all that day and night, and when he recovered
and found himself whole, he thanked God the Most High for his
safety [and rising, fared on at a venture]. He gave not over
walking, unknowing whither he went and feeding upon the leaves of
the trees; and by day he hid himself whereas he might and fared
on all his night at hazard; and thus he did some days, till he
came to an inhabited land and seeing folk there, accosted them
and acquainted them with his case, giving them to know that he
had been imprisoned in the fortress and that they had cast him
down, but God the Most High had delivered him and brought him off
alive.

The folk took compassion on him and gave him to eat and drink and
he abode with them awhile. Then he questioned them of the way
that led to the kingdom of his uncle Belehwan, but told them not
that he was his uncle. So they taught him the way and he ceased
not to go barefoot, till he drew near his uncle's capital, and he
naked and hungry, and indeed his body was wasted and his colour
changed. He sat down at the gate of the city, and presently up
came a company of King Belehwan's chief officers, who were out
a-hunting and wished to water their horses. So they lighted down
to rest and the youth accosted them, saying, 'I will ask you of
somewhat, wherewith do ye acquaint me.' Quoth they, 'Ask what
thou wilt.' And he said, 'Is King Belehwan well?' They laughed at
him and answered, 'What a fool art thou, O youth! Thou art a
stranger and a beggar, and what concern hast thou with the king's
health?' Quoth he, 'Indeed, he is my uncle;' whereat they
marvelled and said, 'It was one question[FN#135] and now it is
become two.' Then said they to him, 'O youth, it is as thou wert
mad. Whence pretendest thou to kinship with the king? Indeed, we
know not that he hath aught of kinsfolk, except a brother's son,
who was prisoned with him, and he despatched him to wage war upon
the infidels, so that they slew him.' 'I am he,' answered Melik
Shah, 'and they slew me not, but there betided me this and that.'

They knew him forthright and rising to him, kissed his hands and
rejoiced in him and said to him, 'O our lord, in good sooth, thou
art a king and the son of a king, and we desire thee nought but
good and beseech [God to grant] thee continuance. Consider how
God hath rescued thee from this thy wicked uncle, who sent thee
to a place whence none came ever off alive, purposing not in this
but thy destruction; and indeed thou fellest into [peril of]
death and God delivered thee therefrom. So how wilt thou return
and cast thyself again into thine enemy's hand? By Allah, save
thyself and return not to him again. Belike thou shall abide upon
the face of the earth till it please God the Most High [to
vouchsafe thee relief]; but, if thou fall again into his hand, he
will not suffer thee live a single hour.'

The prince thanked them and said to them, 'God requite you with
all good, for indeed ye give me loyal counsel; but whither would
ye have me go?' Quoth they, 'Get thee to the land of the Greeks,
the abiding-place of thy mother.' And he said, 'My grandfather
Suleiman Shah, when the King of the Greeks wrote to him,
demanding my mother in marriage, concealed my affair and hid my
secret; [and she hath done the like,] and I cannot make her a
liar.' 'Thou sayst sooth,' rejoined they; 'but we desire thine
advantage, and even if thou tookest service with the folk, it
were a means of thy continuance [on life].' Then each of them
brought out to him money and gave to him and clad him and fed him
and fared on with him a parasang's distance till they brought him
far from the city, and giving him to know that he was safe,
departed from him, whilst he fared on till he came forth of the
dominions of his uncle and entered those [of the king] of the
Greeks. Then he entered a village and taking up his abode
therein, betook himself to serving one there in ploughing and
sowing and the like.

As for his mother, Shah Khatoun, great was her longing for her
son and she [still] thought of him and news of him was cut off
from her, wherefore her life was troubled and she forswore sleep
and could not make mention of him before King Caesar her husband.
Now she had an eunuch who had come with her from the court of her
uncle King Suleiman Shah, and he was intelligent, quickwitted, a
man of good counsel. So she took him apart one day and said to
him, 'Thou hast been my servant from my childhood to this day;
canst thou not therefore avail to get me news of my son, for that
I cannot speak of his matter?' 'O my lady,' answered he, 'this is
an affair that thou hast concealed from the first, and were thy
son here, it would not be possible for thee to harbour him, lest
thine honour fall into suspicion with the king; for they would
never credit thee, since the news hath been spread abroad that
thy son was slain by his uncle.' Quoth she, 'The case is even as
thou sayst and thou speakest truly; but, provided I know that my
son is alive, let him be in these parts pasturing sheep and let
me not see him nor he me.' And he said to her, 'How shall we
contrive in this affair?' 'Here are my treasures and my wealth,'
answered she. 'Take all thou wilt and bring me my son or else
news of him.'

Then they agreed upon a device between them, to wit, that they
should feign an occasion in their own country, under pretext that
she had there wealth buried from the time of her husband Melik
Shah and that none knew of it but this eunuch who was with her,
wherefore it behoved that he should go and fetch it. So she
acquainted the king her husband with this and sought of him leave
for the eunuch to go: and the king granted him permission for the
journey and charged him cast about for a device, lest any get
wind of him. Accordingly, the eunuch disguised himself as a
merchant and repairing to Belehwan's city, began to enquire
concerning the youth's case; whereupon they told him that he had
been prisoned in an underground dungeon and that his uncle had
released him and dispatched him to such a place, where they had
slain him. When the eunuch heard this, it was grievous to him and
his breast was straitened and he knew not what he should do.

It chanced one day that one of the horsemen, who had fallen in
with the young Melik Shah by the water and clad him and given him
spending-money, saw the eunuch in the city, disguised as a
merchant, and recognizing him, questioned him of his case and of
[the reason of] his coming. Quoth he, 'I come to sell
merchandise.' And the horseman said, 'I will tell thee somewhat,
if thou canst keep it secret.' 'It is well,' answered the eunuch;
'what is it?' And the other said, 'We met the king's son Melik
Shah, I and certain of the Arabs who were with me, and saw him by
such a water and gave him spending-money and sent him towards the
land of the Greeks, near his mother, for that we feared for him,
lest his uncle Belehwan should kill him.' Then he told him all
that had passed between them, whereupon the eunuch's countenance
changed and he said to the cavalier, 'Assurance!' 'Thou shalt
have assurance,' answered the other, 'though thou come in quest
of him.' And the eunuch rejoined, saying, 'Truly, that is my
errand, for there abideth no repose for his mother, lying down or
rising up, and she hath sent me to seek news of him.' Quoth the
cavalier, 'Go in safety, for he is in a [certain] part of the
land of the Greeks, even as I said to thee.'

The eunuch thanked him and blessed him and mounting, returned
upon his way, following the trace, whilst the cavalier rode with
him to a certain road, when he said to him, 'This is where we
left him.' Then he took leave of him and returned to his own
city, whilst the eunuch fared on along the road, enquiring of the
youth in every village he entered by the description which the
cavalier had given him, and he ceased not to do thus till he came
to the village where the young Melik Shah was. So he entered and
lighting down therein, made enquiry after the prince, but none
gave him news of him; whereat he abode perplexed concerning his
affair and addressed himself to depart. Accordingly he mounted
his horse [and set out homeward]; but, as he passed through the
village, he saw a cow bound with a rope and a youth asleep by her
side, with the end of the halter in his hand; so he looked at him
and passed on and took no heed of him in his heart; but presently
he stopped and said in himself; 'If he of whom I am in quest be
come to the like [of the condition] of yonder sleeping youth, by
whom I passed but now, how shall I know him? Alas, the length of
my travail and weariness! How shall I go about in quest of a
wight whom I know not and whom, if I saw him face to face, I
should not know?'

Then he turned back, pondering upon that sleeping youth, and
coming to him, as he slept, lighted down from his horse and sat
down by him. He fixed his eyes upon his face and considered him
awhile and said in himself, 'For aught I know, this youth may be
Melik Shah.' And he fell a-hemming and saying, 'Harkye, O youth!'
Whereupon the sleeper awoke and sat up; and the eunuch said to
him, 'Who is thy father in this village and where is thy
dwelling?' The youth sighed and answered, 'I am a stranger;' and
the eunuch said, 'From what land art thou and who is thy father?'
Quoth the other, 'I am from such a land,' and the eunuch ceased
not to question him and he to answer him, till he was certified
of him and knew him. So he rose and embraced him and kissed him
and wept over his case. Moreover, he told him that he was going
about in quest of him and informed him that he was come privily
from the king his mother's husband and that his mother would be
content [to know] that he was alive and well, though she saw him
not.

Then he re-entered the village and buying the prince a horse,
mounted him thereon and they ceased not going, till they came to
the frontier of their own country, where there fell robbers upon
them by the way and took all that was with them and pinioned
them; after which they cast them into a pit hard by the road and
went away and left them to die there, and indeed they had cast
many folk into that pit and they had died.

The eunuch fell a-weeping in the pit and the youth said to him,
'What is this weeping and what shall it profit here?' Quoth the
eunuch, 'I weep not for fear of death, but of pity for thee and
the sorriness of thy case and because of thy mother's heart and
for that which thou hast suffered of horrors and that thy death
should be this abject death, after the endurance of all manner
stresses.' But the youth said, 'That which hath betided me was
forewrit to me and that which is written none hath power to
efface; and if my term be advanced, none may avail to defer
it.'[FN#136] Then they passed that night and the following day
and the next night and the next day [in the pit], till they were
weak with hunger and came near upon death and could but groan
feebly.

Now it befell, by the ordinance of God the Most High and His
providence, that Caesar, king of the Greeks, the husband of Melik
Shah's mother Shah Khatoun, [went forth to the chase that day].
He started a head of game, he and his company, and chased it,
till they came up with it by that pit, whereupon one of them
lighted down from his horse, to slaughter it, hard by the mouth
of the pit. He heard a sound of low moaning from the bottom of
the pit} so he arose and mounting his horse, waited till the
troops were assembled. Then he acquainted the king with this and
he bade one of his servants [descend into the pit]. So the man
descended and brought out the youth [and the eunuch], aswoon.

They cut their bonds and poured wine into their gullets, till
they came to themselves, when the king looked at the eunuch and
recognizing him, said, 'Harkye, such an one!' 'Yes, O my lord the
king,' replied the man and prostrated himself to him; whereat the
king marvelled with an exceeding wonder and said to him, 'How
earnest thou to this place and what hath befallen thee?" Quoth
the eunuch, 'I went and took out the treasure and brought it
hither; but the [evil] eye was behind me and I unknowing. So the
thieves took us alone here and seized the money and cast us into
this pit, so we might die of hunger, even as they had done with
other than we; but God the Most High sent thee, in pity to us.'

The king marvelled, he and his company, and praised God the Most
High for that he had come thither; after which he turned to the
eunuch and said to him, 'What is this youth thou hast with thee?'
'O king,' answered he, 'this is the son of a nurse who belonged
to us and we left him little. I saw him to-day and his mother
said to me, 'Take him with thee.' So I brought him with me, that
he might be a servant to the king, for that he is an adroit and
quickwitted youth.' Then the king fared on, he and his company,
and the eunuch and the youth with them, what while he questioned
the former of Belehwan and his dealing with his subjects, and he
answered, saying, 'As thy head liveth, O king, the folk with him
are in sore straits and not one of them desireth to look on him,
gentle or simple.'

[When the king returned to his palace,] he went in to his wife
Shah Khatoun and said to her, 'I give thee the glad news of thine
eunuch's return.' And he told her what had betided and of the
youth whom he had brought with him. When she heard this, her wits
fled and she would have cried out, but her reason restrained her,
and the king said to her, 'What is this? Art thou overcome with
grief for [the loss of] the treasure or [for that which hath
befallen] the eunuch?' 'Nay, as thy head liveth, O king!'
answered she. 'But women are fainthearted.' Then came the servant
and going in to her, told her all that had befallen him and
acquainted her with her son's case also and with that which he
had suffered of stresses and how his uncle had exposed him to
slaughter and he had been taken prisoner and they had cast him
into the pit and hurled him from the top of the citadel and how
God had delivered him from these perils, all of them; and he went
on to tell her [all that had betided him], whilst she wept.

Then said she to him, 'When the king saw him and questioned thee
of him, what saidst thou to him?' And he answered, 'I said to
him, "This is the son of a nurse who belonged to us. We left him
little and he grew up; so I brought him, that he might be servant
to the king,"' Quoth she, 'Thou didst well.' And she charged him
to be instant in the service of the prince. As for the king, he
redoubled in kindness to the eunuch and appointed the youth a
liberal allowance and he abode going in to the king's house and
coming out therefrom and standing in his service, and every day
he grew in favour with him; whilst, as for Shah Khatoun, she used
to stand a-watch for him at the windows and balconies and gaze
upon him, and she on coals of fire on his account, yet could she
not speak.

On this wise she abode a great while and indeed yearning for him
came nigh to slay her; so she stood and watched for him one day
at the door of her chamber and straining him to her bosom, kissed
him on the cheek and breast. At this moment, out came the master
of the king's household and seeing her embracing the youth, abode
amazed. Then he asked to whom that chamber belonged and was
answered, 'To Shah Khatoun, wife of the king,' whereupon he
turned back, trembling as [one smitten by] a thunderbolt. The
king saw him quaking and said to him, 'Out on thee! what is the
matter?' 'O king,' answered he, 'what matter is graver than that
which I see?' 'What seest thou?' asked the king and the officer
said, 'I see that yonder youth, who came with the eunuch, he
brought not with him but on account of Shah Khatoun; for that I
passed but now by her chamber door, and she was standing,
watching; [and when the youth came up,] she rose to him and
clipped him and kissed him on his cheek.'

When the king heard this, he bowed [his head] in amazement and
perplexity and sinking into a seat, clutched at his beard and
shook it, till he came nigh to pluck it out. Then he arose
forthright and laid hands on the youth and clapped him in prison.
Moreover, he took the eunuch also and cast them both into an
underground dungeon in his house, after which he went in to Shah
Khatoun and said to her, 'Thou hast done well, by Allah, O
daughter of nobles, O thou whom kings sought in marriage, for the
excellence of thy repute and the goodliness of the reports of
thee! How fair is thy semblance! May God curse her whose inward
is the contrary of her outward, after the likeness of thy base
favour, whose outward is comely and its inward foul, fair face
and foul deeds! Verily, I mean to make of thee and of yonder
good-for-nought an example among the folk, for that thou sentest
not thine eunuch but of intent on his account, so that he took
him and brought him into my house and thou hast trampled my head
with him; and this is none other than exceeding hardihood; but
thou shall see what I will do with you.'

So saying, he spat in her face and went out from her; whilst Shah
Khatoun made him no answer, knowing that, if she spoke at that
time, he would not credit her speech. Then she humbled herself in
supplication to God the Most High and said, 'O God the Great,
Thou knowest the hidden things and the outward parts and the
inward' If an advanced term[FN#137] be [appointed] to me, let it
not be deferred, and if a deferred one, let it not be advanced!'
On this wise she passed some days, whilst the king fell into
perplexity and forswore meat and drink and sleep and abode
knowing not what he should do and saying [in himself], 'If I kill
the eunuch and the youth, my soul will not be solaced, for they
are not to blame, seeing that she sent to fetch him, and my heart
will not suffer me to slay them all three. But I will not be
hasty in putting them to death, for that I fear repentance.' Then
he left them, so he might look into the affair.

Now he had a nurse, a foster-mother, on whose knees he had been
reared, and she was a woman of understanding and misdoubted of
him, but dared not accost him [with questions]. So she went in to
Shah Khatoun and finding her in yet sorrier plight than he, asked
her what was to do; but she refused to answer. However, the nurse
gave not over coaxing and questioning her, till she exacted of
her an oath of secrecy. So the old woman swore to her that she
would keep secret all that she should say to her, whereupon the
queen related to her her history from first to last and told her
that the youth was her son. With this the old woman prostrated
herself before her and said to her, 'This is an easy matter.' But
the queen answered, saying, 'By Allah, O my mother, I choose my
destruction and that of my son rather than defend myself by
avouching a thing whereof they will not credit me; for they will
say, "She avoucheth this, but that she may fend off reproach from
herself" And nought will avail me but patience.' The old woman
was moved by her speech and her intelligence and said to her,
'Indeed, O my daughter, it is as thou sayst, and I hope in God
that He will show forth the truth. Have patience and I will
presently go in to the king and hear what he saith and contrive
somewhat in this matter, if it be the will of God the Most High.'

Then she arose and going in to the king, found him with his head
between his knees, and he lamenting. So she sat down by him
awhile and bespoke him with soft words and said to him, 'Indeed,
O my son, thou consumest mine entrails, for that these [many]
days thou hast not mounted to horse, and thou lamentest and I
know not what aileth thee.' 'O my mother,' answered he, '[this my
chagrin] is due to yonder accursed woman, of whom I still deemed
well and who hath done thus and thus.' Then he related to her the
whole story from first to last, and she said to him, 'This thy
concern is on account of a worthless woman.' Quoth he, 'I was but
considering by what death I should slay them, so the folk may [be
admonished by their fate and] repent.' And she said, 'O my son,
beware of haste, for it engendereth repentance and the slaying of
them will not escape [thee]. When thou art assured of this
affair, do what thou wilt.' 'O my mother,' rejoined he; 'there
needeth no assurance concerning him for whom she despatched her
eunuch and he fetched him.'

But she said, 'There is a thing wherewith we will make her
confess, and all that is in her heart shall be discovered to
thee.' 'What is that?' asked the king, and she answered, 'I will
bring thee a hoopoe's heart,[FN#138] which, when she sleepeth, do
thou lay upon her heart and question her of all thou wilt, and
she will discover this unto thee and show forth the truth to
thee." The king rejoiced in this and said to his nurse, 'Hasten
and let none know of thee.' So she arose and going in to the
queen, said to her, 'I have done thine occasion and it is on this
wise. This night the king will come in to thee and do thou feign
thyself asleep; and if he ask thee of aught, do thou answer him,
as if in thy sleep.' The queen thanked her and the old woman went
away and fetching the hoopoe's heart, gave it to the king.

Hardly was the night come, when he went in to his wife and found
her lying back, [apparently] asleep; so he sat down by her side
and laying the hoopoe's heart on her breast, waited awhile, so he
might be certified that she slept. Then said he to her, 'Shah
Khatoun, Shah Khatoun, is this my recompense from thee?' Quoth
she, 'What offence have I committed?' And he, 'What offence can
be greater than this? Thou sentest after yonder youth and
broughtest him hither, on account of the desire of thy heart, so
thou mightest do with him that for which thou lustedst.' 'I know
not desire,' answered she. 'Verily, among thy servants are those
who are comelier and handsomer than he; yet have I never desired
one of them.' 'Why, then,' asked he, 'didst thou lay hold of him
and kiss him!' And she said, 'This is my son and a piece of my
heart; and of my longing and love for him, I could not contain
myself, but sprang upon him and kissed him.' When the king heard
this, he was perplexed and amazed and said to her, 'Hast thou a
proof that this youth is thy son? Indeed, I have a letter from
thine uncle King Suleiman Shah, [wherein he giveth me to know]
that his unck Belehwan cut his throat.' 'Yes,' answered she, 'he
did indeed cut his throat, but severed not the windpipe; so my
uncle sewed up the wound and reared him, [and he lived,] for that
his hour was not come.'

When the king heard this, he said, 'This proof sufficeth me,' and
rising forthright in the night, let bring the youth and the
eunuch. Then he examined the former's throat with a candle and
saw [the scar where] it [had been] cut from ear to ear, and
indeed the place had healed up and it was like unto a
stretched-out thread. Therewithal the king fell down prostrate to
God, [in thanksgiving to Him] for that He had delivered the
prince from all these perils and from the stresses that he had
undergone, and rejoiced with an exceeding joy for that he had
wrought deliberately and had not made haste to slay him, in which
case sore repentance had betided him. As for the youth,"
continued the young treasurer, "he was not saved but because his
term was deferred, and on like wise, O king, is it with me; I too
have a deferred term, which I shall attain, and a period which I
shall accomplish, and I trust in God the Most High that He will
give me the victory over these wicked viziers."

When the youth had made an end of his speech, the king said,
"Carry him back to the prison;" and when they had done this, he
turned to the viziers and said to them, "Yonder youth looseth his
tongue upon you, but I know your affectionate solicitude for the
welfare of my empire and your loyal counsel to me; so be of good
heart, for all that ye counsel me I will do." When they heard
tnese words, they rejoiced and each of them said his say Then
said the king, "I have not deferred his slaughter but to the
intent that the talk might be prolonged and that words might
abound, and I desire [now] that ye sit up for him a gibbet
without the town and make proclamation among the folk that they
assemble and take him and carry him in procession to the gibbet,
with the crier crying before him and saying, 'This is the
recompense of him whom the king delighted to favour and who hath
betrayed him!'" The viziers rejoiced, when they heard this, and
slept not that night, of their joy; and they made proclamation in
the city and set up the gibbet.

                       The Eleventh Day.



                  OF THE SPEEDY RELIEF OF GOD.



When it was the eleventh day, the viziers betook them early in
the morning to the king's gate and said to him, "O king, the folk
are assembled from the king's gate to the gibbet, so they may see
[the execution of] the king's commandment on the youth." So the
king bade fetch the prisoner and they brought him; whereupon the
viziers turned to him and said to him, "O vile of origin, doth
any hope of life remain with thee and lookest thou still for
deliverance after this day?" "O wicked viziers," answered he,
"shall a man of understanding renounce hope in God the Most High?
Indeed, howsoever a man be oppressed, there cometh to him
deliverance from the midst of stress and life from the midst of
death, [as is shown by the case of] the prisoner and how God
delivered him." "What is his story?" asked the king; and the
youth answered, saying, "O king, they tell that



             STORY OF THE PRISONER AND HOW GOD GAVE
                          HIM RELIEF.



There was once a king of the kings, who had a high palace,
overlooking a prison of his, and he used to hear in the night one
saying, 'O Ever-present Deliverer, O Thou whose relief is nigh,
relieve Thou me!' One day the king waxed wroth and said, "Yonder
fool looketh for relief from [the consequences of] his crime.
'Then said he to his officers, 'Who is in yonder prison?' And
they answered, 'Folk upon whom blood hath been found.'[FN#139] So
the king bade bring the man in question before him and said to
him, 'O fool, little of wit, how shall thou be delivered from
this prison, seeing that thine offence is great?' Then he
committed him to a company of his guards and said to them, 'Take
this fellow and crucify him without the city.'

Now it was the night-season. So the soldiers carried him without
the city, thinking to crucify him, when, behold, there came out
upon them thieves and fell in on them with swords and [other]
weapons. Thereupon the guards left him whom they purposed to put
to death [and took to flight], whilst the man who was going to
slaughter fled forth at a venture and plunging into the desert,
knew not whither he went before he found himself in a thicket and
there came out upon him a lion of frightful aspect, which
snatched him up and set him under him. Then he went up to a tree
and tearing it up by the roots, covered the man therewith and
made off into the thicket, in quest of the lioness.

As for the man, he committed his affair to God the Most High,
relying upon Him for deliverance, and said in himself, 'What is
this affair?' Then he did away the leaves from himself and
rising, saw great plenty of men's bones there, of those whom the
lion had devoured. He looked again and saw a heap of gold lying
alongside a girdle;[FN#140] whereat he marvelled and gathering up
the gold in his skirts, went forth of the thicket and fled in
affright at hazard, turning neither to the right nor to the left,
in his fear of the lion; till he came to a village and cast
himself down, as he were dead. He lay there till the day appeared
and he was rested from his fatigue, when he arose and burying the
gold, entered the village. Thus God gave him relief and he came
by the gold."

Then said the king, "How long wilt thou beguile us with thy
prate, O youth? But now the hour of thy slaughter is come." And
he bade crucify him upon the gibbet. [So they carried him to the
place of execution] and were about to hoist him up [upon the
cross,] when, behold, the captain of the thieves, who had found
him and reared him,[FN#141] came up at that moment and asked what
was that assembly and [the cause of] the crowds gathered there.
They told him that a servant of the king had committed a great
crime and that he was about to put him to death. So the captain
of the thieves pressed forward and looking upon the prisoner,
knew him, whereupon he went up to him and embraced him and
clipped him and fell to kissing him upon his mouth. Then said he,
"This is a boy whom I found under such a mountain, wrapped in a
gown of brocade, and I reared him and he fell to stopping the way
with us. One day, we set upon a caravan, but they put us to
flight and wounded some of us and took the boy and went their
way. From that day to this I have gone round about the lands in
quest of him, but have not lighted on news of him [till now;] and
this is he."

When the king heard this, he was certified that the youth was his
very son; so he cried out at the top of his voice and casting
himself upon him, embraced him and wept and said, "Had I put thee
to death, as was my intent, I should have died of regret for
thee." Then he cut his bonds and taking his crown from his head,
set it on that of his son, whereupon the people raised cries of
joy, whilst the trumpets sounded and the drums beat and there
befell a great rejoicing. They decorated the city and it was a
glorious day; the very birds stayed their flight in the air, for
the greatness of the clamour and the noise of the crying. The
army and the folk carried the prince [to the palace] in
magnificent procession, and the news came to his mother Behrjaur,
who came forth and threw herself upon him. Moreover, the king
bade open the prison and bring forth all who were therein, and
they held high festival seven days and seven nights and rejoiced
with a mighty rejoicing; whilst terror and silence and confusion
and affright fell upon the viziers and they gave themselves up
for lost.

After this the king sat, with his son by his side and the viziers
sitting before him, and summoned his chief officers and the folk
of the city. Then the prince turned to the viziers and said to
them, "See, O wicked viziers, that which God hath done and the
speedy [coming of] relief." But they answered not a word and the
king said, "It sufficeth me that there is nothing alive but
rejoiceth with me this day, even to the birds in the sky, but ye,
your breasts are straitened. Indeed, this is the greatest of
ill-will in you to me, and had I hearkened to you, my regret had
been prolonged and I had died miserably of grief." "O my father,"
quoth the prince, "but for the fairness of thy thought and thy
judgment and thy longanimity and deliberation in affairs, there
had not bedded thee this great joyance. Hadst thou slain me in
haste, repentance would have been sore on thee and long grief,
and on this wise doth he who ensueth haste repent."

Then the king sent for the captain of the thieves and bestowed on
him a dress of honour,[FN#142] commanding that all who loved the
king should put off [their raiment and cast it] upon him.[FN#143]
So there fell dresses of honour [and other presents] on him, till
he was wearied with their much plenty, and Azadbekht invested him
with the mastership of the police of his city. Then he bade set
up other nine gibbets beside the first and said to his son, "Thou
art guiltless, and yet these wicked viziers endeavoured for thy
slaughter." "O my father," answered the prince, "I had no fault
[in their eyes] but that I was a loyal counsellor to thee and
still kept watch over thy good and withheld their hands from thy
treasuries; wherefore they were jealous and envied me and plotted
against me and sought to slay me," Quoth the king, "The time [of
retribution] is at hand, O my son; but what deemest thou we
should do with them in requital of that which they did with thee?
For that they have endeavoured for thy slaughter and exposed thee
to public ignominy and soiled my honour among the kings."

Then he turned to the viziers and said to them, "Out on ye! What
liars ye are! What excuse is left you?" "O king," answered they,
"there abideth no excuse for us and our sin hath fallen upon us
and broken us in pieces. Indeed we purposed evil to this youth
and it hath reverted upon us, and we plotted mischief against him
and it hath overtaken us; yea, we digged a pit for him and have
fallen ourselves therein." So the king bade hoist up the viziers
upon the gibbets and crucify them there, for that God is just and
ordaineth that which is right. Then Azadbekht and his wife and
son abode in joyance and contentment, till there came to them the
Destroyer of Delights and they died all; and extolled be the
perfection of the [Ever-]Living One, who dieth not, to whom be
glory and whose mercy be upon us for ever and ever! Amen.



              JAAFER BEN YEHYA AND ABDULMEILIK BEN
                  SALIH THE ABBASIDE.[FN#144]



It is told of Jaafer ben Yehya the Barmecide that he sat down one
day to drink and being minded to be private (with his friends),
sent for his boon-companions, in whom he delighted, and charged
the chamberlain[FN#145] that he should suffer none of the
creatures of God the Most High to enter, save a man of his
boon-companions, by name Abdulmelik ben Salih,[FN#146] who was
behindhand with them. Then they donned coloured clothes,[FN#147]
for that it was their wont, whenas they sat in the wine-chamber,
to don raiment of red and yellow and green silk, and sat down to
drink, and the cups went round and the lutes pulsed.

Now there was a man of the kinsfolk of the Khalif [Haroun er
Reshid], by name Abdulmelik ben Salih ben Ali ben Abdallah ben el
Abbas,[FN#148] who was great of gravity and piety and
decorousness, and Er Reshid was used instantly to require of him
that he should keep him company in his carousals and drink with
him and had proffered him, to this end, riches galore, but he
still refused. It chanced that this Abdulmelik es Salih came to
the door of Jaafer ben Yehya, that he might bespeak him of
certain occasions of his, and the chamberlain, doubting not but
he was the Abdulmelik ben Salih aforesaid, whom Jaafer had
charged him admit and that he should suffer none but him to
enter, allowed him to go in to his master.

When Jaafer saw him, his reason was like to depart for shame and
he knew that the chamberlain had been deceived by the likeness of
the name; and Abdulmelik also perceived how the case stood and
confusion was manifest to him in Jaafer's face. So he put on a
cheerful favour and said, "No harm be upon you![FN#149] Bring us
of these dyed clothes." So they brought him a dyed gown[FN#150]
and he put it on and sat discoursing cheerily with Jaafer and
jesting with him. Then said he, "Give us to drink of your wine."
So they poured him out a pint and he said, "Be ye indulgent with
us, for we have no wont of this." Then he chatted and jested with
them till Jaafer's breast dilated and his constraint ceased from
him and his shamefastness, and he rejoiced in this with an
exceeding joy and said to Abdulmelik, "What is thine errand?"
Quoth the other, "I come (may God amend thee!) on three
occasions, whereof I would have thee bespeak the Khalif; to wit,
firstly, I have on me a debt to the amount of a thousand thousand
dirhems,[FN#151] which I would have discharged; secondly, I
desire for my son the office of governor of a province, whereby
his rank may be raised; and thirdly, I would fain have thee marry
him to a daughter of the Khalif, for that she is his cousin and
he is a match for her." And Jaafer said, "God accomplished! unto
thee these three occasions. As for the money, it shall presently
be carried to thy house; as for the government, I make thy son
viceroy of Egypt; and as for the marriage, I give him to wife
such an one, the daughter of our Lord the Commander of the
Faithful, at a dowry of such and such a sum. So depart in the
assurance of God the Most High."

So Abdulmelik went away to his house, whither he found that the
money had foregone him, and on the morrow Jaafer presented
himself before the Khalif and acquainted him with what had passed
and that he had appointed Abdulmelik's son governor of Egypt and
had promised him his daughter in marriage. Er Reshid approved of
this and confirmed the appointment and the marriage. [Then he
sent for the young man] and he went not forth of the palace of
the Khalif till he wrote him the patent [of investiture with the
government] of Egypt; and he let bring the Cadis and the
witnesses and drew up the contract of marriage.



             ER RESHID AND THE BARMECIDES.[FN#152]



It is said that the most extraordinary of that which happened to
Er Reshid was as follows: His brother El Hadi,[FN#153] when he
succeeded to the Khalifate, enquired of a seal-ring of great
price, that had belonged to his father El Mehdi,[FN#154] and it
came to his knowledge that Er Reshid had taken it. So he required
it of the latter, who refused to give it up, and El Hadi insisted
upon him, but he still denied the seal-ring of the Khalifate. Now
this was on the bridge [over the Tigris], and he threw the ring
into the river. When El Hadi died and Er Reshid succeeded to the
Khalifate, he came in person to that bridge, with a seal-ring of
lead, which he threw into the river at the same place, and bade
the divers seek it. So they did [his bidding] and brought up the
first ring, and this was reckoned [an omen] of Er Reshid's good
fortune and [a presage of] the continuance of his reign.[FN#155]

When Er Reshid came to the throne, he invested Jaafer ben Yehya
ben Khalid el Bermeki[FN#156] with the vizierate. Now Jaafer was
eminently distinguished for generosity and munificence, and the
stories of him to this effect are renowned and are written in the
books. None of the viziers attained to the rank and favour which
he enjoyed with Er Reshid, who was wont to call him
brother[FN#157] and used to carry him with him into his house.
The period of his vizierate was nineteen years,[FN#158] and Yehya
one day said to his son Jaafer, "O my son, what time thy reed
trembleth, water it with kindness."[FN#159] Opinions differ
concerning the reason of Jaafer's slaughter, but the better is as
follows. Er Reshid could not brook to be parted from Jaafer nor
from his [own] sister Abbaseh, daughter of El Mehdi, a single
hour, and she was the loveliest woman of her time; so he said to
Jaafer, "I will marry thee to her, that it may be lawful to thee
to look upon her, but thou shalt not touch her." [Accordingly,
they were married] and they used both to be present in Er
Reshid's sitting chamber. Now the Khalif would rise bytimes [and
go forth] from the chamber, and they being both young and filled
with wine, Jaafer would rise to her and swive her. She conceived
by him and bore a handsome boy and fearing Er Reshid, despatched
the newborn child by one of her confidants to Mecca the Holy, may
God the Most High advance it in honour and increase it in
venerance and nobility and magnification! The affair abode
concealed till there befell despite between Abbaseh and one of
her slave-girls, whereupon the latter discovered the affair of
the child to Er Reshid and acquainted him with its abiding-place.
So, when the Khalif made the pilgrimage, he despatched one who
brought him the boy and found the affair true, wherefore he
caused befall the Barmecides that which befell.[FN#160]



              IBN ES SEMMAK AND ER RESHID.[FN#161]



It is related that Ibn es Semmak[FN#162] went in one day to Er
Reshid and the Khalif, being athirst, called for drink. So his
cup was brought him, and when he took it, Ibn es Semmak said to
him, "Softly, O Commander of the Faithful! If thou wert denied
this draught, with what wouldst thou buy it?" "With the half of
my kingdom," answered the Khalif; and Ibn es Semmak said, "Drink
and God prosper it to thee!" Then, when he had drunken, he said
to him, "If thou wert denied the going forth of the draught from
thy body, with what wouldst thou buy its issue?" "With the whole
of my kingdom," answered Er Reshid: and Ibn es Semmak said, "O
Commander of the Faithful, verily, a kingdom that weigheth not in
the balance against a draught [of water] or a voiding of urine is
not worth the striving for." And Haroun wept.



                 EL MAMOUN AND ZUBEIDEH[FN#163]



It is said that El Mamoun[FN#164] came one day upon Zubeideh,
mother of El Amin,[FN#165] and saw her moving her lips and
muttering somewhat he understood not; so he said to her, "O
mother mine, dost thou imprecate [curses] upon me, for that I
slew thy son and despoiled him of his kingdom?" "Not so, by
Allah, O Commander of the Faithful!" answered she, and he said,
"What then saidst thou?" Quoth she, "Let the Commander of the
Faithful excuse me." But he was instant with her, saying, "Needs
must thou tell it." And she replied, "I said, 'God confound
importunity!'" "How so?" asked the Khalif, and she said, "I
played one day at chess with the Commander of the Faithful
[Haroun er Reshid] and he imposed on me the condition of
commandment and acceptance.[FN#166] He beat me and bade me put
off my clothes and go round about the palace, naked; so I did
this, and I incensed against him. Then we fell again to playing
and I beat him; so I bade him go to the kitchen and swive the
foulest and sorriest wench of the wenches thereof. [I went to the
kitchen] and found not a slave-girl fouler and filthier than thy
mother;[FN#167] so I bade him swive her. He did as I bade him and
she became with child by him of thee, and thus was I [by my
unlucky insistance] the cause of the slaying of my son and the
despoiling him of his kingdom." When El Mamoun heard this, he
turned away, saying, "God curse the importunate!" to wit,
himself, who had importuned her till she acquainted him with that
matter.



               EN NUMAN AND THE ARAB OF THE BENOU
                          TAI.[FN#168]



It is said that En Numan[FN#169] had two boon-companions, one of
whom was called Ibn Saad and the other Amrou ben el Melik, and he
became one night drunken and bade bury them alive; so they buried
them. When he arose on the morrow, he enquired for them and was
acquainted with their case, whereupon he built over them a
monument and appointed to himself a day of ill-luck and a day of
good-luck. If any met him on his day of ill-omen, he slew him and
with his blood he washed the monument aforesaid, the which is a
place well known in Cufa; and if any met him on his day of grace,
he enriched him.

Now there accosted him once, on his day of ill-omen, an Arab of
the Benou Tai,[FN#170] and En Numan would have put him to death;
but the Arab said, "God quicken the king! I have two little girls
and have made none guardian over them; so, if the king see fit to
grant me leave to go to them, I will give him the covenant of
God[FN#171] that I will return to him, whenas I have appointed
them a guardian." En Numan had compassion on him and said to him,
"If a man will be surety for thee of those who are with us, [I
will let thee go], and if thou return not, I will put him to
death." Now there was with En Numan his vizier Sherik ben Amrou;
so the Tai[FN#172] looked at him and said,

Sherik ben Amrou, what device avails the hand of death to stay? O
     brother of the brotherless, brother of all th' afflicted,
     say.
Brother of En Numan, with thee lies an old man's anguish to
     allay, A graybeard slain, may God make fair his deeds upon
     the Reckoning-Day!
Quoth Sherik, "On me be his warranty, may God assain the king!"
     So the Tai departed, after a term had been assigned him for
     his coming.

When the appointed day arrived, En Numan sent for Sherik and said
to him, "Verily the first part of this day is past." And Sherik
answered, "The king hath no recourse against me till it be
eventide." When it evened, there appeared one afar off and En
Numan fell to looking upon him and on Sherik, and the latter said
to him, "Thou hast no right over me till yonder fellow come, for
belike he is my man." As he spoke, up came the Tai in haste and
En Numan said "By Allah, never saw I [any] more generous than you
two! I know not whether of you is the more generous, this one who
became warrant for thee in [danger of] death or thou who
returnest unto slaughter." Then said he to Sherik, "What prompted
thee to become warrant for him, knowing that it was death?" And
he said, "[I did this] lest it be said, 'Generosity hath departed
from viziers.'" Then said En Numan to the Tai, "And thou, what
prompted thee to return, knowing that therein was death and thine
own destruction?" Quoth the Arab, "[I did this] lest it be said,
'Fidelity hath departed from the folk.'" And En Numan said, "By
Allah, I will be the third of you,[FN#173] lest it be said,
'Clemency hath departed from kings.'" So he pardoned him and bade
abolish the day of ill-omen; whereupon the Arab recited the
following verses:

Full many a man incited me to infidelity, But I refused, for all
     the talk wherewith they set on me.
I am a man in whom good faith's a natural attribute; The deeds of
     every upright man should with his speech agree.

Quoth En Numan, "What prompted thee to keep faith, the case being
as thou sayest?" "O king," answered the Arab, "it was my
religion." And En Numan said, "What is thy religion?" "The
Christian," replied the other. Quoth the king, "Expound it unto
me." [So the Tai expounded it to him] and En Numan became a
Christian.[FN#174]



                  FIROUZ AND HIS WIFE[FN#175]



A certain king sat one day on the roof of his palace, diverting
himself with looking about him, and presently, chancing to look
aside, he espied, on [the roof of] a house over against his
palace, a woman, never saw his eyes her like. So he turned to
those who were present and said to them, "To whom belongeth
yonder house?" "To thy servant Firouz," answered they, "and that
is his wife." So he went down, (and indeed love had made him
drunken and he was passionately enamoured of her), and calling
Firouz, said to him, "Take this letter and go with it to such a
city and bring me the answer." Firouz took the letter and going
to his house, laid it under his head and passed that night. When
the morning morrowed, he took leave of his wife and set out for
the city in question, unknowing what the king purposed against
him.

As for the king, he arose in haste and disguising himself,
repaired to the house of Firouz and knocked at the door. Quoth
Firouz's wife, "Who is at the door?" And he answered, saying, "I
am the king, thy husband's master." So she opened the door and he
entered and sat down, saying, "We are come to visit thee." Quoth
she, "I seek refuge [with God] from this visitation, for indeed I
deem not well thereof." And the king said, "O desire of hearts, I
am thy husband's master and methinks thou knowest me not." "Nay,"
answered she, "I know thee, O my lord and master, and I know thy
purpose and that which thou seekest and that thou art my
husband's lord. I understand what thou wishest, and indeed the
poet hath forestalled thee in his saying of the following verses,
in reference to thy case:

Your water I'll leave without drinking, for there Too many
     already have drunken whilere.
When the flies light on food, from the platter my hand I raise,
     though my spirit should long for the fare;
And whenas the dogs at a fountain have lapped, The lions to drink
     of the water forbear."

Then said she, "O king, comest thou to a [watering-]place whereat
thy dog hath drunken and wilt thou drink thereof?" The king was
abashed at her and at her words and went out from her, but forgot
his sandal in the house.

As for Firouz, when he went forth from his house, he sought the
letter, but found it not; so he returned home. Now his return
fell in with the king's going forth and he found the latter's
sandal in his house, whereat his wit was dazed and he knew that
the king had not sent him away but for a purpose of his own.
However, he held his peace and spoke not a word, but, taking the
letter, went on his errand and accomplished it and returned to
the king, who gave him a hundred dinars. So Firouz betook himself
to the market and bought what beseemeth women of goodly gifts and
returning to his wife, saluted her and gave her all that he had
brought and said to her, "Arise [go] to thy father's house."
"Wherefore?" asked she, and he said, "Verily, the king hath been
bountiful to me and I would have thee show forth this, so thy
father may rejoice in that which he seeth upon thee." "With all
my heart," answered she and arising forthright, betook herself to
the house of her father, who rejoiced in her coming and in that
which he saw upon her; and she abode with him a month's space,
and her husband made no mention of her.

Then came her brother to him and said, "O Firouz, an thou wilt
not acquaint me with the reason of thine anger against thy wife,
come and plead with us before the king." Quoth he, "If ye will
have me plead with you, I will do so." So they went to the king
and found the cadi sitting with him; whereupon quoth the damsel's
brother, "God assist our lord the cadi! I let this man on hire a
high-walled garden, with a well in good case and trees laden with
fruit; but he beat down its walls and ruined its well and ate its
fruits, and now he desireth to return it to me." The cadi turned
to Firouz and said to him, "What sayst thou, O youth?" And he
answered, "Indeed, I delivered him the garden in the goodliest of
case." So the cadi said to the brother, "Hath he delivered thee
the garden, as he saith?" And the other replied, "No; but I
desire to question him of the reason of his returning it." Quoth
the cadi, "What sayst thou, O youth?" And Firouz answered, "I
returned it in my own despite, for that I entered it one day and
saw the track of the lion; wherefore I feared lest, if I entered
it again, the lion should devour me. So that which I did, I did
of reverence to him and for fear of him."

Now the king was leaning back upon the cushion, when he heard the
man's words, he knew the purport thereof; so he sat up and said,
"Return to thy garden in all assurance and ease of heart; for, by
Allah, never saw I the like of thy garden nor stouter of ward
than its walls over its trees!" So Firouz returned to his wife,
and the cadi knew not the truth of the affair, no, nor any of
those who were in that assembly, save the king and the husband
and the damsel's brother.[FN#176]



               KING SHAH BEKHT AND HIS VIZIER ER
                        REHWAN.[FN#177]



There was once, of old days and in bygone ages and times, a king
of the kings of the time, by name Shah Bekht, who had troops and
servants and guards galore and a vizier called Er Rehwan, who was
wise, understanding, a man of good counsel and a cheerful
acceptor of the commandments of God the Most High, to whom belong
might and majesty. The king committed to him the affairs of his
kingdom and his subjects and said according to his word, and on
this wise he abode a long space of time.

Now this vizier had many enemies, who envied him his high place
and still sought to do him hurt, but found no way thereunto, and
God, in His fore-knowledge and His fore-ordinance from time
immemorial, decreed that the king dreamt that the Vizier Er
Rehwan gave him a fruit from off a tree and he ate it and died.
So he awoke, affrighted and troubled, and when the vizier had
presented himself before him [and withdrawn] and the king was
alone with those in whom he trusted, he related to them his dream
and they counselled him to send for the astrologers and
interpreters [of dreams] and commended to him a sage, for whose
skill and wisdom they vouched. So the king sent for him and
entreated him with honour and made him draw near to himself. Now
there had been private with the sage in question a company of the
vizier's enemies, who besought him to slander the vizier to the
king and counsel him to put him to death, in consideration of
that which they promised him of wealth galore; and he agreed with
them of this and told the king that the vizier would slay him in
the course of the [ensuing] month and bade him hasten to put him
to death, else would he surely slay him.

Presently, the vizier entered and the king signed to him to cause
avoid the place. So he signed to those who were present to
withdraw, and they departed; whereupon quoth the king to him,
"How deemest thou, O excellent vizier, O loyal counsellor in all
manner of governance, of a vision I have seen in my sleep?" "What
is it, O king?" asked the vizier, and Shah Bekht related to him
his dream, adding, "And indeed the sage interpreted it to me and
said to me, 'An thou put not the vizier to death within a month,
he will slay thee.' Now I am exceeding both to put the like of
thee to death, yet do I fear to leave thee on life. What then
dost thou counsel me that I should do in this matter?" The vizier
bowed his head awhile, then raised it and said, "God prosper the
king! Verily, it skills not to continue him on life of whom the
king is afraid, and my counsel is that thou make haste to put me
to death."

When the king heard his speech, he turned to him and said, "It is
grievous to me, O vizier of good counsel." And he told him that
the [other] sages testified [to the correctness of their fellow's
interpretation of the dream]; whereupon Er Rehwan sighed and knew
that the king went in fear of him; but he showed him fortitude
and said to him, "God assain the king! My counsel is that the
king accomplish his commandment and execute his ordinance, for
that needs must death be and it is liefer to me that I die,
oppressed, than that I die, an oppressor. But, if the king see
fit to defer the putting of me to death till the morrow and will
pass this night with me and take leave of me, when the morrow
cometh, the king shall do what he will."

Then he wept till he wet his gray hairs and the king was moved to
compassion for him and granted him that which he sought and
vouchsafed him that night's respite.

                  The First Night of the Month

When it was eventide, the king caused avoid his sitting chamber
and summoned the vizier, who presented himself and making his
obeisance to the king, kissed the earth before him and bespoke
him as follows:



           STORY OF THE MAN OF KHORASSAN, HIS SON AND
                         HIS GOVERNOR.



"There was once a man of Khorassan and he had a son, whose
improvement he ardently desired; but the young man sought to be
alone and to remove himself from his father's eye, so he might
give himself up to pleasance and delight. So he sought of his
father [leave to make] the pilgrimage to the Holy House of God
and to visit the tomb of the Prophet (whom God bless and keep!).
Now between them and Mecca was a journey of five hundred
parasangs; but his father could not gainsay him, for that the law
of God made this[FN#178] incumbent on him and because of that
which he hoped for him of improvement [therefrom]. So he joined
unto him a governor, in whom he trusted, and gave him much money
and took leave of him. The son set out on the holy
pilgrimage[FN#179] with the governor and abode on that wise,
spending freely and using not thrift.

Now there was in his neighbourhood a poor man, who had a
slave-girl of surpassing beauty and loveliness, and the youth
became enamoured of her and suffered grief and concern for the
love of her and her loveliness, so that he was like to perish for
passion; and she also loved him with a love yet greater than his
love for her. So she called an old woman who used to visit her
and acquainted her with her case, saying, 'An I foregather not
with him, I shall die.' The old woman promised her that she would
do her endeavour to bring her to her desire; so she veiled
herself and repairing to the young man, saluted him and
acquainted him with the girl's case, saying, 'Her master is a
covetous man; so do thou invite him [to thy lodging] and tempt
him with money, and he will sell thee the damsel.'

Accordingly, he made a banquet, and stationing himself in the
man's way, invited him and carried him to his house, where they
sat down and ate and drank and abode in discourse. Presently, the
young man said to the other, 'I hear that thou hast with thee a
slave-girl, whom thou desirest to sell.' And he answered, saying,
'By Allah, O my lord, I have no mind to sell her!' Quoth the
youth, 'I hear that she cost thee a thousand dinars, and I will
give thee six hundred, to boot.' And the other said, 'I sell her
to thee [at that price].' So they fetched notaries, who drew up
the contract of sale, and the young man counted out to the girl's
master half the purchase money, saying, 'Let her be with thee
till I complete to thee the rest of the price and take my
slave-girl.' The other consented to this and took of him a bond
for the rest of the money, and the girl abode with her master, on
deposit.

As for the youth, he gave his governor a thousand dirhems and
despatched him to his father, to fetch money from him, so he
might pay the rest of the girl's price, saying to him, 'Be not
[long] absent.' But the governor said in himself, 'How shall I go
to his father and say to him, "Thy son hath wasted thy money and
wantoned it away"?[FN#180] With what eye shall I look on him, and
indeed, I am he in whom he confided and to whom he hath entrusted
his son? Indeed, this were ill seen. Nay, I will fare on to the
pilgrimage[FN#181] [with the caravan of pilgrims], in despite of
this fool of a youth; and when he is weary [of waiting], he will
demand back the money [he hath already paid] and return to his
father, and I shall be quit of travail and reproach.' So he went
on with the caravan to the pilgrimage[FN#182] and took up his
abode there.

Meanwhile, the youth abode expecting his governor's return, but
he returned not; wherefore concern and chagrin waxed upon him,
because of his mistress, and his longing for her redoubled and he
was like to slay himself. She became aware of this and sent him a
messenger, bidding him to her. So he went to her and she
questioned him of the case; whereupon he told her what was to do
of the matter of his governor, and she said to him, 'With me is
longing the like of that which is with thee, and I misdoubt me
thy messenger hath perished or thy father hath slain him; but I
will give thee all my trinkets and my clothes, and do thou sell
them and pay the rest of my price, and we will go, I and thou, to
thy father.'

So she gave him all that she possessed and he sold it and paid
the rest of her price; after which there remained to him a
hundred dirhems. These he spent and lay that night with the
damsel in all delight of life, and his soul was like to fly for
joy; but when he arose in the morning, he sat weeping and the
damsel said to him, 'What aileth thee to weep?' And he said, 'I
know not if my father be dead, and he hath none other heir but
myself; and how shall I win to him, seeing I have not a dirhem?'
Quoth she, 'I have a bracelet; do thou sell it and buy small
pearls with the price. Then bray them and fashion them into great
pearls, and thereon thou shalt gain much money, wherewith we may
make our way to thy country.' So he took the bracelet and
repairing to a goldsmith, said to him, 'Break up this bracelet
and sell it.' But he said, 'The king seeketh a good[FN#183]
bracelet; I will go to him and bring thee the price thereof.' So
he carried the bracelet to the Sultan and it pleased him greatly,
by reason of the goodliness of its workmanship. Then he called an
old woman, who was in his palace, and said to her, 'Needs must I
have the mistress of this bracelet, though but for a single
night, or I shall die.' And the old woman answered, 'I will bring
her to thee.'

So she donned a devotee's habit and betaking herself to the
goldsmith, said to him, 'To whom belongeth the bracelet that is
in the king's hand?' Quoth he, 'It belongeth to a man, a
stranger, who hath bought him a slave-girl from this city and
lodgeth with her in such a place.' So the old woman repaired to
the young man's house and knocked at the door. The damsel opened
to her and seeing her clad in devotee's apparel,[FN#184] saluted
her and said to her, ' Belike thou hast an occasion with us?'
'Yes,' answered the old woman; 'I desire privacy and
ablution.'[FN#185] Quoth the girl, 'Enter.' So she entered and
did her occasion and made the ablution and prayed. Then she
brought out a rosary and began to tell her beads thereon, and the
damsel said to her, 'Whence comest thou, O pilgrim?'[FN#186]
Quoth she '[I come] from [visiting] the Idol[FN#187] of the
Absent in such a church.[FN#188] There standeth up no woman [to
prayer] before him, who hath an absent friend and discovereth to
him her need, but he acquainteth her with her case and giveth her
tidings of her absent one.' 'O pilgrim,' said the damsel, 'we
have an absent one, and my lord's heart cleaveth to him and I
desire to go to the idol and question him of him.' Quoth the old
woman, '[Wait] till to-morrow and ask leave of thy husband, and I
will come to thee and go with thee in weal.'

Then she went away, and when the girl's master came, she sought
his leave to go with the old woman and he granted her leave. So
the beldam took her and carried her to the king's door. The
damsel entered with her, unknowing whither she went, and beheld a
goodly house and chambers adorned [with gold and colours] that
were no idol's chambers. Then came the king and seeing her beauty
and grace, went up to her, to kiss her; whereupon she fell down
in a fit and strove with her hands and feet. When he saw this, he
was solicitous for her and held aloof from her and left her; but
the thing was grievous to her and she refused meat and drink, and
as often as the king drew near her, she fled from him in
affright, wherefore he swore by Allah that he would not approach
her, save with her consent, and fell to guerdoning her with
trinkets and raiment, but she only redoubled in aversion to him.

Meanwhile, the youth her master abode expecting her; but she
returned not and his heart forbode him of the draught [of
separation]; so he went forth at hazard, distraught and knowing
not what he should do, and fell to strewing dust upon his head
and crying out, 'The old woman hath taken her and gone away!' The
boys followed him with stones and pelted him, saying, 'A madman!
A madman!' Presently, the king's chamberlain, who was a man of
age and worth, met him, and when he saw his youth, he forbade the
boys and drove there away from him, after which he accosted him
and questioned him of his case. So he told him how it was with
him and the chamberlain said to him, 'Fear not: all shall yet be
well with thee. I will deliver thy slave-girl for thee: so calm
thy trouble.' And he went on to speak him fair and comfort him,
till he put faith in his speech.

Then he carried him to his house and stripping him of his
clothes, clad him in rags; after which he called an old woman,
who was his stewardess, and said to her. 'Take this youth and
clap on his neck this iron chain and go round about with him in
all the thoroughfares of the city; and when thou hast made an end
of this, go up with him to the palace of the king.' And he said
to the youth, 'In whatsoever place thou seest the damsel, speak
not a syllable, but acquaint me with her place and thou shall owe
her deliverance to none but me.' The youth thanked him and went
with the old woman on such wise as the chamberlain bade him. She
fared on with him till they entered the city [and made the round
thereof]; after which she went up to the palace of the king and
fell to saying, 'O people of affluence, look on a youth whom the
devils take twice in the day and pray for preservation from [a
like] affliction!' And she ceased not to go round about with him
till she came to the eastern wing[FN#189] of the palace,
whereupon the slave-girls came out to look upon him and when they
saw him they were amazed at his beauty and grace and wept for
him.

Then they told the damsel, who came forth and looked upon him and
knew him not. But he knew her; so he bowed his head and wept. She
was moved to compassion for him and gave him somewhat and
returned to her place, whilst the youth returned with the
stewardess to the chamberlain and told him that she was in the
king's house, whereat he was chagrined and said, 'By Allah, I
will assuredly contrive a device for her and deliver her!'
Whereupon the youth kissed his hands and feet. Then he turned to
the old woman and bade her change her apparel and her favour. Now
this old woman was goodly of speech and nimble of wit; so he gave
her costly and delicious perfumes and said to her, 'Get thee to
the king's slave girls and sell them these [perfumes] and make
thy way to the damsel and question her if she desire her master
or not.' So the old woman went out and making her way to the
palace, went in to the damsel and drew near her and recited the
following verses:

God keep the days of love-delight! How dearly sweet they were!
     How joyous and how solaceful was life in them whilere!
Would he were not who sundered us upon the parting day! How many
     a body hath he slain, how many a bone laid bare?
Sans fault of mine, my blood and tears he shed and beggared me Of
     him I love, yet for himself gained nought thereby whate'er.


When the damsel heard these verses, she wept till her clothes
were drenched and drew near the old woman, who said to her,
'Knowest thou such an one?' And wept and said, 'He is my lord.
Whence knowest thou him?' 'O my lady,' answered the old woman,
'sawst thou not the madman who came hither yesterday with the old
woman? He was thy lord. But this is no time for talk. When it is
night, get thee to the top of the palace [and wait] on the roof
till thy lord come to thee and contrive for thy deliverance.'
Then she gave her what she would of perfumes and returning to the
chamberlain, acquainted him with that which had passed, and he
told the youth.

When it was eventide, the chamberlain let bring two horses and
great store of water and victual and a saddle-camel and a man to
show them the way. These he hid without the town, whilst he and
the young man took with them a long rope, made fast to a staple,
and repaired to the palace. When they came thither, they looked
and beheld the damsel standing on the roof. So they threw her the
rope and the staple; whereupon she [made the latter fast to the
parapet and] wrapping her sleeves about her hands, slid down [the
rope] and landed with them. They carried her without the town,
where they mounted, she and her lord, and fared on, whilst the
guide forewent them, directing them in the way, and they gave not
over going night and day till they entered his father's house.
The young man saluted his father, who rejoiced in him, and he
related to him all that had befallen him, whereupon he rejoiced
in his safety.

As for the governor, he wasted all that was with him and returned
to the city, where he saw the youth and excused himself to him.
Then he questioned him of what had befallen him and he told him,
whereat he marvelled and returned to companionship with him; but
the youth ceased to have regard for him and gave him not
stipends, as of his [former] wont, neither discovered to him
aught of his secrets. When the governor saw that there was no
profit for him with the young Khorassani, he returned to the
king, the ravisher of the damsel, and told him what the
chamberlain had done and counselled him to slay the latter and
incited him to recover the damsel, [promising] to give his friend
to drink of poison and return. So the king sent for the
chamberlain and upbraided him; whereupon he fell upon him and
slew him and the king's servants fell upon the chamberlain and
slew him.

Meanwhile, the governor returned to the youth, who questioned him
of his absence, and he told him that he had been in the city of
the king who had taken the damsel. When the youth heard this, he
misdoubted of the governor and never again trusted him in aught,
but was still on his guard against him. Then the governor made
great store of sweetmeats and put in them deadly poison and
presented them to the youth. When the latter saw the sweetmeats,
he said in himself, 'This is an extraordinary thing of the
governor! Needs must there be mischief in this sweetmeat, and I
will make proof of it upon himself.' So he made ready victual and
set on the sweetmeat amongst it and bade the governor to his
house and set food before him. He ate and amongst the rest, they
brought him the poisoned sweetmeat; so he ate thereof and died
forthright; whereby the youth knew that this was a plot against
himself and said, 'He who seeketh his fortune of his own
[unaided] might[FN#190] attaineth it not.' Nor (continued the
vizier) is this, O king of the age, more extraordinary than the
story of the druggist and his wife and the singer."

When King Shah Bekht heard his vizier's story, he gave him leave
to withdraw to his own house and he abode there the rest of the
night and the next day till the evening.

                 The Second Night of the Month

When the evening evened, the king sat in his privy
sitting-chamber and his mind was occupied with the story of the
singer and the druggist. So he called the vizier and bade him
tell the story. "It is well," answered he, "They tell, O my lord,
that



             STORY OF THE SINGER AND THE DRUGGIST.



There was once in the city of Hemadan[FN#191] a young man of
comely aspect and excellently skilled in singing to the lute, and
he was well seen of the people of the city. He went forth one day
of his city, with intent to travel, and gave not over journeying
till his travel brought him to a goodly city. Now he had with him
a lute and what pertained thereto,[FN#192] so he entered and went
round about the city till he fell in with a druggist, who, when
he espied him, called to him. So he went up to him and he bade
him sit down. Accordingly, he sat down by him and the druggist
questioned him of his case. The singer told him what was in his
mind and the other took him up into his shop and brought him food
and fed him. Then said he to him, 'Arise and take up thy lute and
beg about the streets, and whenas thou smellest the odour of
wine, break in upon the drinkers and say to them, "I am a
singer." They will laugh and say, "Come, [sing] to us." And when
thou singest, the folk will know thee and bespeak one another of
thee; so shall thou become known in the city and thine affairs
will prosper.'

So he went round about, as the druggist bade him, till the sun
grew hot, but found none drinking. Then he entered a by-street,
that he might rest himself, and seeing there a handsome and lofty
house, stood in its shade and fell to observing the goodliness of
its ordinance. As he was thus engaged, behold, a window opened
and there appeared thereat a face, as it were the moon. Quoth
she,[FN#193] 'What aileth thee to stand there? Dost thou want
aught?' And he answered, 'I am a stranger,' and acquainted her
with his case; whereupon quoth she, 'What sayst thou to meat and
drink and the enjoyment of a fair-face[d one] and getting thee
what thou mayst spend?' 'O my lady,' answered he, 'this is my
desire and that in quest whereof I am going about.'

So she opened the door to him and brought him in. Then she seated
him at the upper end of the room and set food before him. So he
ate and drank and lay with her and swived her. Then she sat down
in his lap and they toyed and laughed and kissed till the day was
half spent, when her husband came home and she could find nothing
for it but to hide the singer in a rug, in which she rolled him
up. The husband entered and seeing the place disordered[FN#194]
and smelling the odour of wine, questioned her of this. Quoth
she, 'I had with me a friend of mine and I conjured her [to drink
with me]; so we drank a jar [of wine], she and I, and she went
away but now, before thy coming in.' Her husband, (who was none
other than the singer's friend the druggist, that had invited him
and fed him), deemed her words true and went away to his shop,
whereupon the singer came forth and he and the lady returned to
their sport and abode on this wise till eventide, when she gave
him money and said to him, 'Come hither to-morrow in the
forenoon.' 'It is well,' answered he and departed; and at
nightfall he went to the bath.

On the morrow, he betook himself to the shop of his friend the
druggist, who welcomed him and questioned him of his case and how
he had fared that day. Quoth the singer, 'May God requite thee
with good, O my brother! For that thou hast directed me unto
easance!' And he related to him his adventure with the woman,
till he came to the mention of her husband, when he said, 'And at
midday came the cuckold her husband and knocked at the door. So
she wrapped me in the mat, and when he had gone about his
business, I came forth and we returned to what we were about.'
This was grievous to the druggist and he repented of having
taught him [how he should do] and misdoubted of his wife. So he
said to the singer, 'And what said she to thee at thy going
away?' And the other answered, 'She bade me come back to her on
the morrow. So, behold, I am going to her and I came not hither
but that I might acquaint thee with this, lest thy heart be
occupied with me.' Then he took leave of him and went his way. As
soon as the druggist was assured that he had reached the house,
he cast the net over his shop[FN#195] and made for his house,
misdoubting of his wife, and knocked at the door.

Now the singer had entered and the druggist's wife said to him,
'Arise, enter this chest.' So he entered it and she shut the lid
on him and opened to her husband, who came in, in a state of
bewilderment, and searched the house, but found none and
overlooked the chest. So he said in himself, 'The house [of which
the singer spoke] is one which resembleth my house and the woman
is one who resembles my wife,' and returned to his shop;
whereupon the singer came forth of the chest and falling upon the
druggist's wife, did his occasion and paid her her due and
weighed down the scale for her.[FN#196] Then they ate and drank
and kissed and clipped, and on this wise they abode till the
evening, when she gave him money, for that she found his weaving
good,[FN#197] and made him promise to come to her on the morrow.

So he left her and slept his night and on the morrow he repaired
to the shop of his friend the druggist and saluted him. The other
welcomed him and questioned him of his case; whereupon he told
him how he had fared, till he came to the mention of the woman's
husband, when he said, 'Then came the cuckold her husband and she
clapped me into the chest and shut the lid on me, whilst her
addlepated pimp of a husband went round about the house, top and
bottom; and when he had gone his way, we returned to what we were
about.' With this, the druggist was certified that the house was
his house and the wife his wife, and he said, 'And what wilt thou
do to-day?' Quoth the singer, 'I shall return to her and weave
for her and full her yarn,[FN#198] and I came but to thank thee
for thy dealing with me.'

Then he went away, whilst the fire was loosed in the heart of the
druggist and he shut his shop and betaking himself to his house,
knocked at the door. Quoth the singer, 'Let me get into the
chest, for he saw me not yesterday.' 'Nay,' answered she, 'wrap
thyself up in the rug.' So he wrapped himself up in the rug and
stood in a corner of the room, whilst the druggist entered and
went straight to the chest, but found it empty. Then he went
round about the house and searched it from top to bottom, but
found nothing and no one and abode between belief and disbelief,
and said in himself, 'Belike, I suspect my wife of that which is
not in her.' So he was certified of her innocence and returned to
his shop, whereupon out came the singer and they abode on their
former case, as of wont, till eventide, when she gave him one of
her husband's shirts and he took it and going away, passed the
night in his lodging.

On the morrow, he repaired to the druggist, who saluted him and
came to meet him and rejoiced in him and smiled in his face,
deeming his wife innocent. Then he questioned him of his
yesterday's case and he told him how he had fared, saying, 'O my
brother, when the cuckold knocked at the door, I would have
entered the chest; but his wife forbade me and rolled me up in
the rug. The man entered and thought of nothing but the chest; so
he broke it open and abode as he were a madman, going up and
coming down. Then he went his way and I came out and we abode on
our wonted case till eventide, when she gave me this shirt of her
husband's; and behold, I am going to her.'

When the druggist heard the singer's words, he was certified of
the case and knew that the calamity, all of it, was in his own
house and that the wife was his wife; and he saw the shirt,
whereupon he redoubled in certainty and said to the singer, 'Art
thou now going to her?' 'Yes, O my brother,' answered he and
taking leave of him, went away; whereupon the druggist started
up, as he were a madman, and ungarnished his shop.[FN#199] Whilst
he was thus engaged, the singer won to the house, and presently
up came the druggist and knocked at the door. The singer would
have wrapped himself up in the rug, but she forbade him and said
to him, 'Get thee down to the bottom of the house and enter the
oven[FN#200] and shut the lid upon thyself.' So he did as she
bade him and she went down to her husband and opened the door to
him, whereupon he entered and went round about the house, but
found no one and overlooked the oven. So he stood meditating and
swore that he would not go forth of the house till the morrow.

As for the singer, when his [stay in the oven] grew long upon
him, he came forth therefrom, thinking that her husband had gone
away. Then he went up to the roof and looking down, beheld his
friend the druggist; whereat he was sore concerned and said in
himself, 'Alas, the disgrace of it! This is my friend the
druggist, who dealt kindly with me and wrought me fair and I have
requited him with foul' And he feared to return to the druggist;
so he went down and opened the first door and would have gone
out; but, when he came to the outer door, he found it locked and
saw not the key. So he stole up again to the roof and cast
himself down into the [next] house. The people of the house heard
him and hastened to him, deeming him a thief. Now the house in
question belonged to a Persian; so they laid hands on him and the
master of the house began to beat him, saying to him, 'Thou art a
thief.' 'Nay,' answered he, 'I am no thief, but a singing-man, a
stranger. I heard your voices and came to sing to you.'

When the folk heard his words, they talked of letting him go; but
the Persian said, 'O folk, let not his speech beguile you. This
fellow is none other than a thief who knoweth how to sing, and
when he happeneth on the like of us, he is a singer.' 'O our
lord,' answered they, 'this man is a stranger, and needs must we
release him.' Quoth he, 'By Allah, my heart revolteth from this
fellow! Let me make an end of him with beating.' But they said,
'Thou mayst nowise do that' So they delivered the singer from the
Persian, the master of the house, and seated him amongst them,
whereupon he fell to singing to them and they rejoiced in him.

Now the Persian had a mameluke,[FN#201] as he were the full moon,
and he arose [and went out], and the singer followed him and wept
before him, professing love to him and kissing his hands and
feet. The mameluke took compassion on him and said to him, 'When
the night cometh and my master entereth [the harem] and the folk
go away, I will grant thee thy desire; and I lie in such a
place.' Then the singer returned and sat with the
boon-companions, and the Persian rose and went out, he and the
mameluke beside him. [Then they returned and sat down.][FN#202]
Now the singer knew the place that the mameluke occupied at the
first of the night; but it befell that he rose from his place and
the candle went out. The Persian, who was drunken, fell over on
his face, and the singer, supposing him to be the mameluke, said,
'By Allah, it is good!' and threw himself upon him and clipped
him, whereupon the Persian started up, crying out, and laying
hands on the singer, pinioned him and beat him grievously, after
which he bound him to a tree that was in the house.[FN#203]

Now there was in the house a fair singing-girl and when she saw
the singer pinioned and bound to the tree, she waited till the
Persian lay down on his couch, when she arose and going to the
singer, fell to condoling with him over what had betided him and
ogling him and handling his yard and rubbing it, till it rose on
end. Then said she to him, 'Do thou swive me and I will loose thy
bonds, lest he return and beat thee again; for he purposeth thee
evil.' Quoth he, 'Loose me and I will do.' But she said, 'I fear
that, [if I loose thee], thou wilt not do. But I will do, and
thou standing; and when I have done, I will loose thee.' So
saying, she pulled up her clothes and sitting down on the
singer's yard, fell to going and coming.

Now there was in the house a ram, with which the Persian used to
butt, and when he saw what the woman did, he thought she would
butt with him; so he broke his halter and running at her, butted
her and broke her head. She fell on her back and cried out;
whereupon the Persian started up from sleep in haste and seeing
the singing-girl [cast down on her back] and the singer with his
yard on end, said to the latter, 'O accursed one, doth not what
thou hast already done suffice thee?' Then he beat him soundly
and opening the door, put him out in the middle of the night.

He lay the rest of the night in one of the ruins, and when he
arose in the morning, he said, 'None is to blame. I sought my own
good, and he is no fool who seeketh good for himself; and the
druggist's wife also sought good for herself; but destiny
overcometh precaution and there remaineth no abiding for me in
this town.' So he went forth from the city. Nor (added the
vizier) is this story, extraordinary though it be, more
extraordinary than that of the king and his son and that which
bedded them of wonders and rarities."

When the king heard this story, he deemed it pleasant and said,
"This story is near unto that which I know and meseemeth I should
do well to have patience and hasten not to slay my vizier, so I
may get of him the story of the king and his son." Then he gave
the vizier leave to go away to his own house; so he thanked him
and abode in his house all that day.

                  The Third Night of the Month

When it was the time of the evening meal, the king repaired to
the sitting-chamber and summoning the vizier, sought of him the
story he had promised him; and the vizier said, "They avouch, O
king, that

                 STORY OF THE KING WHO KNEW THE
                QUINTESSENCE[FN#204] OF THINGS.

There came to a king of the kings, in his old age, a son, who
grew up comely, quick-witted and intelligent, and when he came to
years of discretion and became a young man, his father said to
him, 'Take this kingdom and govern it in my stead, for I desire
to flee [from the world] to God the Most High and don the gown of
wool and give myself up to devotion.' Quoth the prince, 'And I
also desire to take refuge with God the Most High.' And the king
said, 'Arise, let us flee forth and make for the mountains and
worship in them, for shamefastness before God the Most High.'

So they gat them raiment of wool and clothing themselves
therewith, went forth and wandered in the deserts and wastes;
but, when some days had passed over them, they became weak for
hunger and repented them of that which they had done, whenas
repentance profited them not, and the prince complained to his
father of weariness and hunger. 'Dear my son,' answered the king,
'I did with thee that which behoved me,[FN#205] but thou wouldst
not hearken to me, and now there is no means of returning to thy
former estate, for that another hath taken the kingdom and become
its defender; but I will counsel thee of somewhat, wherein do
thou pleasure me.' Quoth the prince, 'What is it?' And his father
said, 'Take me and go with me to the market and sell me and take
my price and do with it what thou wilt, and I shall become the
property of one who will provide for my support,' 'Who will buy
thee of me,' asked the prince, 'seeing thou art a very old man?
Nay, do thou rather sell me, for the demand for me will be
greater.' But the king said, 'An thou wert king, thou wouldst
require me of service.'

So the youth obeyed his father's commandment and taking him,
carried him to the slave-dealer and said to the latter, 'Sell me
this old man.' Quoth the dealer, 'Who will buy this fellow, and
he a man of fourscore?' Then said he to the king, 'In what crafts
dost thou excel?' Quoth he, 'I know the quintessence of jewels
and I know the quintessence of horses and that of men; brief, I
know the quintessence of all things.' So the dealer took him and
went about, offering him for sale to the folk; but none would
buy. Presently, up came the overseer of the [Sultan's] kitchen
and said, 'What is this man?' And the dealer answered, 'This is a
slave for sale.' The cook marvelled at this and bought the king
for ten thousand dirhems, after questioning him of what he could
do. Then he paid down the money and carried him to his house, but
dared not employ him in aught of service; so he appointed him an
allowance, such as should suffice for his livelihood, and
repented him of having bought him, saying, 'What shall I do with
the like of this fellow?'

Presently, the king [of the city] was minded to go forth to his
garden,[FN#206] a-pleasuring, and bade the cook forego him
thither and appoint in his stead one who should dress meat for
the king, so that, when he returned, he might find it ready. So
the cook fell a-considering of whom he should appoint and was
bewildered concerning his affair. As he was on this wise, the old
man came to him and seeing him perplexed how he should do, said
to him, 'Tell me what is in thy mind; belike, I may avail to
relieve thee.' So he acquainted him with the king's wishes and he
said, 'Have no care for this, but leave me one of the serving-men
and go thou in peace and surety, for I will suffice thee of
this.' So the cook departed with the king, after he had brought
the old man what he needed and left him a man of the guards.

When he was gone, the old man bade the trooper wash the
kitchen-vessels and made ready passing goodly food. When the king
returned, he set the meat before him, and he tasted food whose
like he had never known; whereat he marvelled and asked who had
dressed it. So they acquainted him with the old man's case and he
summoned him to his presence and awarded him a handsome
recompense.[FN#207] Moreover, he commanded that they should cook
together, he and the cook, and the old man obeyed his
commandment.

Awhile after this, there came two merchants to the king with two
pearls of price and each of them avouched that his pearl was
worth a thousand dinars, but there was none who availed to value
them. Then said the cook, 'God prosper the king! Verily, the old
man whom I bought avouched that he knew the quintessence of
jewels and that he was skilled in cookery. We have made proof of
him in cookery and have found him the skilfullest of men; and
now, if we send after him and prove him on jewels, [the truth or
falsehood of] his pretension will be made manifest to us.'

So the king bade fetch the old man and he came and stood before
the Sultan, who showed him the two pearls. Quoth he, 'As for this
one, it is worth a thousand dinars.' And the king said, 'So saith
its owner.' 'But for this other,' continued the old man, 'it is
worth but five hundred.' The folk laughed and marvelled at his
saying, and the merchant, [the owner of the second pearl], said
to him, 'How can this, which is greater of bulk and purer of
water and more perfect of rondure, be less of worth than that?'
And the old man answered, 'I have said what is with me.'[FN#208]
Then said the king to him, 'Indeed, the outward appearance
thereof is like unto that of the other pearl; why then is it
worth but the half of its price?' 'Yes,' answered the old man,
'[its outward resembleth the other]; but its inward is corrupt.'
'Hath a pearl then an outward and an inward?' asked the merchant,
and the old man said, 'Yes. In its inward is a boring worm; but
the other pearl is sound and secure against breakage.' Quoth the
merchant, 'Give us a token of this and prove to us the truth of
thy saying.' And the old man answered, 'We will break the pearl.
If I prove a, liar, here is my head, and if I speak truth, thou
wilt have lost thy pearl.' And the merchant said, 'I agree to
that.' So they broke the pearl and it was even as the old man had
said, to wit, in its midst was a boring worm.

The king marvelled at what he saw and questioned him of [how he
came by] the knowledge of this. 'O king,' answered the old man,
'this [kind of] jewel is engendered in the belly of a creature
called the oyster and its origin is a drop of rain and it is firm
to the touch [and groweth not warm, when held in the hand]; so,
when [I took the second pearl and felt that] it was warm to the
touch, I knew that it harboured some living thing, for that live
things thrive not but in heat.'[FN#209] So the king said to the
cook, 'Increase his allowance.' And he appointed to him [fresh]
allowances.

Awhile after this, two merchants presented themselves to the king
with two horses, and one said, 'I ask a thousand dinars for my
horse,' and the other, 'I seek five thousand for mine.' Quoth the
cook, 'We have experienced the old man's just judgment; what
deemeth the king of fetching him?' So the king bade fetch him,
and when he saw the two horses, he said, 'This one is worth a
thousand and the other two thousand dinars.' Quoth the folk,
'This [horse that thou judgeth the lesser worth] is an evident
thoroughbred and he is younger and swifter and more compact of
limb than the other, ay, and finer of head and clearer of skin
and colour. What token, then, hast thou of the truth of thy
saying?' And the old man said, 'This ye say is all true, but his
sire is old and this other is the son of a young horse. Now, when
the son of an old horse standeth still [to rest,] his breath
returneth not to him and his rider falleth into the hand of him
who followeth after him; but the son of a young horse, if thou
put him to speed and make him run, [then check him] and alight
from off him, thou wilt find him untired, by reason of his
robustness.'

Quoth the merchant, 'Indeed, it is as the old man avoucheth and
he is an excellent judge.' And the king said, 'Increase his
allowance.' But the old man stood still and did not go away. So
the king said to him, 'Why dost thou not go about thy business?'
And he answered, 'My business is with the king.' 'Name what thou
wouldst have,' said the king, and the other replied, 'I would
have thee question me of the quintessences of men, even as thou
hast questioned me of the quintessences of horses.' Quoth the
king, 'We have no occasion to question thee of [this].' But the
old man replied, 'I have occasion to acquaint thee.' 'Say what
thou pleasest,' rejoined the king, and the old man said, 'Verily,
the king is the son of a baker.' Quoth the king 'How knowest thou
that?' And the other replied, 'Know, O king, that I have examined
into degrees and dignities[FN#210] and have learnt this.'

Thereupon the king went in to his mother and questioned her of
his father, and she told him that me king her husband was
weak;[FN#211] 'wherefore,' quoth she, 'I feared for the kingdom,
lest it pass away, after his death; so I took to my bed a young
man, a baker, and conceived by him [and bore a son]; and the
kingship came into the hand of my son, to wit, thyself.' So the
king returned to the old man and said to him, 'I am indeed the
son of a baker; so do thou expound to me the means whereby thou
knewest me for this.' Quoth the other, 'I knew that, hadst thou
been a king's son, thou wouldst have given largesse of things of
price, such as rubies [and the like]; and wert thou the son of a
Cadi, thou hadst given largesse of a dirhem or two dirhems, and
wert thou the son of a merchant, thou hadst given wealth galore.
But I saw that thou guerdonest me not but with cakes of bread
[and other victual], wherefore I knew that thou wast the son of a
baker.' Quoth the king, 'Thou hast hit the mark.' And he gave him
wealth galore and advanced him to high estate."

This story pleased King Shah Bekht and he marvelled thereat; but
the vizier said to him, "This story is not more extraordinary
than that of the rich man who married his fair daughter to the
poor old man." The king's mind was occupied with the [promised]
story and he bade the vizier withdraw to his lodging. So he
[returned to his house and] abode there the rest of the night and
the whole of the following day.

                 The Fourth Night of the Month.

When the evening evened, the king withdrew to his privy
sitting-chamber and bade fetch the vizier. When he presented
himself before him, he said to him, "Tell me the story of the
wealthy man who married his daughter to the poor old man." "It is
well," answered the vizier. "Know, O puissant king, that



            STORY OF THE RICH MAN WHO GAVE HIS FAIR
              DAUGHTER IN MARRIAGE TO THE POOR OLD
                              MAN.



A certain wealthy merchant had a fair daughter, who was as the
full moon, and when she attained the age of fifteen, her father
betook himself to an old man and spreading him a carpet in his
sitting-chamber, gave him to eat and caroused with him. Then said
he to him, 'I desire to marry thee to my daughter.' The other
excused himself, because of his poverty, and said to him, 'I am
not worthy of her nor am I a match for thee.' The merchant was
instant with him, but he repeated his answer to him, saying, 'I
will not consent to this till thou acquaint me with the reason of
thy desire for me. If I find it reasonable, I will fall in with
thy wish; and if not, I will not do this ever.'

'Know, then,' said the merchant, 'that I am a man from the land
of China and was in my youth well-favoured and well-to-do. Now I
made no account of womankind, one and all, but followed after
boys, and one night I saw, in a dream, as it were a balance set
up, and it was said by it, "This is the portion of such an one."
Presently, I heard my own name; so I looked and beheld a woman of
the utmost loathliness; whereupon I awoke in affright and said,
"I will never marry, lest haply this loathly woman fall to my
lot." Then I set out for this city with merchandise and the
voyage was pleasant to me and the sojourn here, so that I took up
my abode here awhile and got me friends and factors, till I had
sold all my merchandise and taken its price and there was left me
nothing to occupy me till the folk[FN#212] should depart and
depart with them.

One day, I changed my clothes and putting money in my sleeve,
sallied forth to explore the holes and corners of this city, and
as I was going about, I saw a handsome house. Its goodliness
pleased me; so I stood looking on it, and behold, a lovely woman
[at the lattice]. When she saw me, she made haste and descended,
whilst I abode confounded. Then I betook myself to a tailor there
and questioned him of the house and to whom it belonged. Quoth
he, "It belongeth to such an one the notary, may God curse him!"
"Is he her father?" asked I; [and he replied, "Yes."] So I
repaired in haste to a man, with whom I had been used to deposit
my goods for sale, and told him that I desired to gain access to
such an one the notary. Accordingly he assembled his friends and
we betook ourselves to the notary's house. When we came in to
him, we saluted him and sat with him, and I said to him, "I come
to thee as a suitor, desiring the hand of thy daughter in
marriage." Quoth he, "I have no daughter befitting this man." And
I rejoined, "God aid thee! My desire is for thee and not for
her."[FN#213] But he still refused and his friends said to him,
"This is an honourable man and thine equal in estate, and it is
not lawful to thee that thou hinder the girl of her fortune."
Quoth he to them, "Verily, my daughter whom ye seek is passing
foul-favoured and in her are all blameworthy qualities." And I
said, "I accept her, though she be as thou sayest." Then said the
folk, "Extolled be the perfection of God! A truce to talk! [The
thing is settled;] so say the word, how much wilt thou have [to
her dowry]?" Quoth he, "I must have four thousand dinars." And I
said, "Hearkening and obedience."

So the affair was concluded and we drew up the contract of
marriage and I made the bride-feast; but on the wedding-night I
beheld a thing[FN#214] than which never made God the Most High
aught more loathly. Methought her people had contrived this by
way of sport; so I laughed and looked for my mistress, whom I had
seen [at the lattice], to make her appearance; but saw her not.
When the affair was prolonged and I found none but her, I was
like to go mad for vexation and fell to beseeching my Lord and
humbling myself in supplication to Him that He would deliver me
from her. When I arose in the morning, there came the
chamber-woman and said to me, "Hast thou occasion for the bath?"
"No," answered I; and she said, "Art thou for breakfast?" But I
replied, "No;" and on this wise I abode three days, tasting
neither meat nor drink.

When the damsel[FN#215] saw me in this plight, she said to me, "O
man, tell me thy story, for, by Allah, an I may avail to thy
deliverance, I will assuredly further thee thereto." I gave ear
to her speech and put faith in her loyalty and told her the story
of the damsel whom I had seen [at the lattice] and how I had
fallen in love with her; whereupon quoth she, "If the girl belong
to me, that which I possess is thine, and if she belong to my
father, I will demand her of him and deliver her to thee." Then
she fell to calling slave-girl after slave-girl and showing them
to me, till I saw the damsel whom I loved and said, "This is
she." Quoth my wife, "Let not thy heart be troubled, for this is
my slave-girl. My father gave her to me and I give her to thee.
So comfort thyself and be of good heart and cheerful eye."

Then, when it was night, she brought her to me, after she had
adorned her and perfumed her, and said to her, "Gainsay not this
thy lord in aught that he shall seek of thee." When she came to
bed with me, I said in myself, "Verily, this damsel[FN#216] is
more generous than I!" Then I sent away the slave-girl and drew
not nigh unto her, but arose forthright and betaking myself to my
wife, lay with her and did away her maidenhead. She straightway
conceived by me and accomplishing the time of her pregnancy, gave
birth to this dear little daughter; in whom I rejoiced, for that
she was lovely to the utterest, and she hath inherited her
mother's wit and her father's comeliness.

Indeed, many of the notables of the people have sought her of me
in marriage, but I would not marry her to any, for that, one
night, I saw, in a dream, the balance aforesaid set up and men
and women being weighed, one against the other, therein, and
meseemed I saw thee [and her] and it was said to me, "This is
such a man,[FN#217] the allotted portion of such a
woman."[FN#218] Wherefore I knew that God the Most High had
allotted unto her none other than thyself, and I choose rather to
marry thee to her in my lifetime than that thou shouldst marry
her after my death.'

When the poor man heard the merchant's story, he became desirous
of marrying his daughter. So he took her to wife and was
vouchsafed of her exceeding love. Nor," added the vizier, "is
this story more extraordinary than that of the rich man and his
wasteful heir."

When the king heard his vizier's story, he was assured that he
would not slay him and said, "I will have patience with him, so I
may get of him the story of the rich man and his wasteful heir."
And he bade him depart to his own house.

                  The Fifth Night of the Month

When the evening evened, the king sat in his privy closet and
summoning the vizier, required of him the promised story. So Er
Rehwan said, "Know, O king, that



             STORY OF THE RICH MAN AND HIS WASTEFUL
                              SON.



There was once a sage of the sages, who had three sons and sons'
sons, and when they waxed many and their posterity multiplied,
there befell dissension between them. So he assembled them and
said to them, 'Be ye one hand[FN#219] against other than you and
despise[FN#220] not [one another,] lest the folk despise you, and
know that the like of you is as the rope which the man cut, when
it was single; then he doubled [it] and availed not to cut it; on
this wise is division and union. And beware lest ye seek help of
others against yourselves[FN#221] or ye will fall into perdition,
for by whosesoever means ye attain your desire,[FN#222] his
word[FN#223] will have precedence of[FN#224] your word. Now I
have wealth which I will bury in a certain place, so it may be a
store for you, against the time of your need.'

Then they left him and dispersed and one of the sons fell to
spying upon his father, so that he saw him hide the treasure
without the city. When he had made an end of burying it, he
returned to his house; and when the morning morrowed, his son
repaired to the place where he had seen his father bury the
treasure and dug and took it and went his way. When the [hour of
the] old man's admission [to the mercy of God] drew nigh, he
called his sons to him and acquainted them with the place where
he had hidden his riches. As soon as he was dead, they went and
dug up the treasure and found wealth galore, for that the money,
which the first son had taken by stealth, was on the surface and
he knew not that under it was other money. So they took it and
divided it and the first son took his share with the rest and
laid it to that which he had taken aforetime, behind [the backs
of] his father and his brethren. Then he took to wife the
daughter of his father's brother and was vouchsafed by her a male
child, who was the goodliest of the folk of his time.

When the boy grew up, his father feared for him from poverty and
change of case, so he said to him, 'Dear my son, know that in my
youth I wronged my brothers in the matter of our father's good,
and I see thee in weal; but, if thou [come to] need, ask not of
one of them nor of any other, for I have laid up for thee in
yonder chamber a treasure; but do not thou open it until thou
come to lack thy day's food.' Then he died, and his wealth, which
was a great matter, fell to his son. The young man had not
patience to wait till he had made an end of that which was with
him, but rose and opened the chamber, and behold, it was [empty
and its walls were] whitened, and in its midst was a rope hanging
down and half a score bricks, one upon another, and a scroll,
wherein was written, 'Needs must death betide; so hang thyself
and beg not of any, but kick away the bricks, so there may be no
escape[FN#225] for thee, and thou shall be at rest from the
exultation of enemies and enviers and the bitterness of poverty.'

When the youth saw this, he marvelled at that which his father
had done and said, 'This is a sorry treasure.' Then he went forth
and fell to eating and drinking with the folk, till nothing was
left him and he abode two days without tasting food, at the end
of which time he took a handkerchief and selling it for two
dirhems, bought bread and milk with the price and left it on the
shelf [and went out. Whilst he was gone,] a dog came and took the
bread and spoiled the milk, and when the man returned and saw
this, he buffeted his face and went forth, distraught, at a
venture. Presently, he met a friend of his, to whom he discovered
his case, and the other said to him, 'Art thou not ashamed to
talk thus? How hast thou wasted all this wealth and now comest
telling lies and saying, "The dog hath mounted on the shelf," and
talking nonsense?' And he reviled him.

So the youth returned to his house, and indeed the world was
grown black in his eyes and he said, 'My father said sooth.' Then
he opened the chamber door and piling up the bricks under his
feet, put the rope about his neck and kicked away the bricks and
swung himself off; whereupon the rope gave way with him [and he
fell] to the ground and the ceiling clove in sunder and there
poured down on him wealth galore, So he knew that his father
meant to discipline[FN#226] him by means of this and invoked
God's mercy on him. Then he got him again that which he had sold
of lands and houses and what not else and became once more in
good case. Moreover, his friends returned to him and he
entertained them some days.

Then said he to them one day, 'There was with us bread and the
locusts ate it; so we put in its place a stone, a cubit long and
the like broad, and the locusts came and gnawed away the stone,
because of the smell of the bread.' Quoth one of his friends (and
it was he who had given him the lie concerning the dog and the
bread and milk), 'Marvel not at this, for mice do more than
that.' And he said, 'Go to your houses. In the days of my
poverty, I was a liar [when I told you] of the dog's climbing
upon the shelf and eating the bread and spoiling the milk; and
to-day, for that I am rich again, I say sooth [when I tell you]
that locusts devoured a stone a cubit long and a cubit broad.'
They were confounded at his speech and departed from him; and the
youth's good flourished and his case was amended.[FN#227] Nor,"
added the vizier,"is this stranger or more extraordinary than the
story of the king's son who fell in love with the picture."

Quoth the king, "Belike, if I hear this story, I shall gain
wisdom from it; so I will not hasten in the slaying of this
vizier, nor will I put him to death before the thirty days have
expired." Then he gave him leave to withdraw, and he went away to
his own house.


                  The Sixth Night of the Month

When the day departed and the evening came, the king sat in his
privy chamber and summoned the vizier, who presented himself to
him and he questioned him of the story. So the vizier said,
"Know, O august king, that



            THE KING'S SON WHO FELL IN LOVE WITH THE
                            PICTURE.



There was once, in a province of Persia, a king of the kings, who
was mighty of estate, endowed with majesty and venerance and
having troops and guards at his command; but he was childless.
Towards the end of his life, his Lord vouchsafed him a male
child, and the boy grew up and was comely and learned all manner
of knowledge. He made him a private place, to wit, a lofty
palace, builded with coloured marbles and [adorned with] jewels
and paintings. When the prince entered the palace, he saw in its
ceiling the picture [of a woman], than whom he had never beheld a
fairer of aspect, and she was compassed about with slave-girls;
whereupon he fell down in a swoon and became distraught for love
of her. Then he sat under the picture, till, one day, his father
came in to him and finding him wasted of body and changed of
colour, by reason of his [continual] looking on that picture,
thought that he was ill and sent for the sages and physicians,
that they might medicine him. Moreover, he said to one of his
boon- companions, 'If thou canst learn what aileth my son, thou
shalt have of me largesse.' So the courtier went in to the prince
and spoke him fair and cajoled him, till he confessed to him that
his malady was caused by the picture. Then he returned to the
king and told him what ailed his son, whereupon he transported
the prince to another palace and made his former lodging the
guest-house; and whosoever of the Arabs was entertained therein,
he questioned of the picture, but none could give him tidings
thereof.

One day, there came a traveller and seeing the picture, said,
'There is no god but God! My brother wrought this picture.' So
the king sent for him and questioned him of the affair of the
picture and where was he who had wrought it. 'O my lord,'
answered the traveller, 'we are two brothers and one of us went
to the land of Hind and fell in love with the king's daughter of
the country, and it is she who is the original of the portrait.
In every city he entereth, he painteth her portrait, and I follow
him, and long is my journey.' When the king's son heard this, he
said,'Needs must I travel to this damsel.' So he took all manner
rarities and store of riches and journeyed days and nights till
he entered the land of Hind, nor did he win thereto save after
sore travail. Then he enquired of the King of Hind and he also
heard of him.

When the prince came before him, he sought of him his daughter in
marriage, and the king said, 'Indeed, thou art her equal, but
none dare name a man to her, because of her aversion to men.' So
the prince pitched his tents under the windows of the princess's
palace, till one day he got hold of one of her favourite
slave-girls and gave her wealth galore. Quoth she to him, 'Hast
thou a wish?' ‘Yes,' answered he and acquainted her with his
case; and she said, 'Indeed thou puttest thyself in peril.' Then
he abode, flattering himself with false hopes, till all that he
had with him was gone and the servants fled from him; whereupon
quoth he to one in whom he trusted, 'I am minded to go to my
country and fetch what may suffice me and return hither.' And the
other answered, 'It is for thee to decide.' So they set out to
return, but the way was long to them and all that the prince had
with him was spent and his company died and there abode but one
with him, on whom he loaded what remained of the victual and they
left the rest and fared on. Then there came out a lion and ate
the servant, and the prince abode alone. He went on, till his
beast stood still, whereupon he left her and fared on afoot till
his feet swelled.

Presently he came to the land of the Turks,[FN#228] and he naked
and hungry and having with him nought but somewhat of jewels,
bound about his fore-arm. So he went to the bazaar of the
goldsmiths and calling one of the brokers, gave him the jewels.
The broker looked and seeing two great rubies, said to him,
'Follow me.' So he followed him, till he brought him to a
goldsmith, to whom he gave the jewels, saying, 'Buy these.' Quoth
he, 'Whence hadst thou these?' And the broker replied, 'This
youth is the owner of them.' Then said the goldsmith to the
prince, 'Whence hadst thou these rubies?' And he told him all
that had befallen him and that he was a king's son. The goldsmith
marvelled at his story and bought of him the rubies for a
thousand dinars.

Then said the prince to him, 'Make ready to go with me to my
country.' So he made ready and went with the prince till he drew
near the frontiers of his father's kingdom, where the people
received him with the utmost honour and sent to acquaint his
father with his son's coming. The king came out to meet him and
they entreated the goldsmith with honour. The prince abode awhile
with his father, then set out, [he and the goldsmith] to return
to the country of the fair one, the daughter of the King of Hind;
but there met him robbers by the way and he fought the sorest of
battles and was slain. The goldsmith buried him and marked his
grave[FN#229] and returned, sorrowing and distraught to his own
country, without telling any of the prince's death.

To return to the king's daughter of whom the prince went in quest
and on whose account he was slain. She had been used to look out
from the top of her palace and gaze on the youth and on his
beauty and grace; so she said to her slave-girl one day, 'Harkye!
What is come of the troops that were encamped beside my palace?'
Quoth the maid, 'They were the troops of the youth, the king's
son of the Persians, who came to demand thee in marriage, and
wearied himself on thine account, but thou hadst no compassion on
him.' 'Out on thee!' cried the princess. 'Why didst thou not tell
me?' And the damsel answered, 'I feared thy wrath.' Then she
sought an audience of the king her father and said to him, 'By
Allah, I will go in quest of him, even as he came in quest of me;
else should I not do him justice.'

So she made ready and setting out, traversed the deserts and
spent treasures till she came to Sejestan, where she called a
goldsmith to make her somewhat of trinkets. [Now the goldsmith in
question was none other than the prince's friend]; so, when he
saw her, he knew her (for that the prince had talked with him of
her and had depictured her to him) and questioned her of her
case. She acquainted him with her errand, whereupon he buffeted
his face and rent his clothes and strewed dust on his head and
fell a-weeping. Quoth she, 'Why dost thou thus?' And he
acquainted her with the prince's case and how he was his comrade
and told her that he was dead; whereat she grieved for him and
faring on to his father and mother, [acquainted them with the
case].

So the prince's father and his uncle and his mother and the
grandees of the realm repaired to his tomb and the princess made
lamentation over him, crying aloud. She abode by the tomb a whole
month; then she let fetch painters and caused them limn her
portraiture and that of the king's son. Moreover, she set down in
writing their story and that which had befallen them of perils
and afflictions and set it [together with the pictures], at the
head of the tomb; and after a little, they departed from the
place. Nor," added the vizier, "is this more extraordinary, O
king of the age, than the story of the fuller and his wife and
the trooper and what passed between them."

With this the king bade the vizier go away to his lodging, and
when he arose in the morning, he abode his day in his house.

                The Seventh Night of the Month.

At eventide the king sat [in his privy sitting-chamber] and
sending for the vizier, said to him, "Tell me the story of the
fuller and his wife." "With all my heart," answered the vizier.
So he came forward and said, "Know, O king of the age, that



               STORY OF THE FULLER AND HIS WIFE.



There was once in a certain city a woman fair of favour, who had
to lover a trooper. Her husband was a fuller, and when he went
out to his business, the trooper used to come to her and abide
with her till the time of the fuller's return, when he would go
away. On this wise they abode awhile, till one day the trooper
said to his mistress, 'I mean to take me a house near unto thine
and dig an underground passage from my house to thy house, and do
thou say to thy husband, "My sister hath been absent with her
husband and now they have returned from their travels; and I have
made her take up her sojourn in my neighbourhood, so I may
foregather with her at all times. So go thou to her husband the
trooper and offer him thy wares [for sale], and thou wilt see my
sister with him and wilt see that she is I and I am she, without
doubt. So, Allah, Allah, go to my sister's husband and give ear
to that which he shall say to thee."'

Accordingly, the trooper bought him a house near at hand and made
therein an underground passage communicating with his mistress's
house. When he had accomplished his affair, the wife bespoke her
husband as her lover had lessoned her and he went out to go to
the trooper's house, but turned back by the way, whereupon quoth
she to him, 'By Allah, go forthright, for that my sister asketh
of thee.' So the dolt of a fuller went out and made for the
trooper's house, whilst his wife forewent him thither by the
secret passage, and going up, sat down beside her lover.
Presently, the fuller entered and saluted the trooper and his
[supposed] wife and was confounded at the coincidence of the
case.[FN#230] Then doubt betided him and he returned in haste to
his dwelling; but she forewent him by the underground passage to
her chamber and donning her wonted clothes, sat [waiting] for him
and said to him, 'Did I not bid thee go to my sister and salute
her husband and make friends with them?' Quoth he, 'I did this,
but I misdoubted of my affair, when I saw his wife.' And she
said, 'Did I not tell thee that she resembleth me and I her, and
there is nought to distinguish between us but our clothes? Go
back to her.'

So, of the heaviness of his wit, he believed her and turning
back, went in to the trooper; but she had foregone him, and when
he saw her beside her lover, he fell to looking on her and
pondering. Then he saluted her and she returned him the
salutation; and when she spoke, he was bewildered. So the trooper
said to him, 'What ails thee to be thus?' And he answered, 'This
woman is my wife and the voice is her voice.' Then he rose in
haste and returning to his own house, saw his wife, who had
foregone him by the secret passage. So he went back to the
trooper's house and saw her sitting as before; whereupon he was
abashed before her and sitting down in the trooper's
sitting-chamber, ate and drank with him and became drunken and
abode without sense all that day till nightfall, when the trooper
arose and shaving off some of the fuller's hair (which was long
and flowing) after the fashion of the Turks, clipped the rest
short and clapped a tarboush on his head.

Then he thrust his feet into boots and girt him with a sword and
a girdle and bound about his middle a quiver and a bow and
arrows. Moreover, he put money in his pocket and thrust into his
sleeve letters-patent addressed to the governor of Ispahan,
bidding him assign to Rustem Khemartekeni a monthly allowance of
a hundred dirhems and ten pounds of bread and five pounds of meat
and enrol him among the Turks under his commandment. Then he took
him up and carrying him forth, left him in one of the mosques.

The fuller gave not over sleeping till sunrise, when he awoke and
finding himself in this plight, misdoubted of his affair and
imagined that he was a Turk and abode putting one foot forward
and drawing the other back. Then said he in himself, 'I will go
to my dwelling, and if my wife know me, then am I Ahmed the
fuller; but, if she know me not, I am a Turk.' So he betook
himself to his house; but when the artful baggage his wife saw
him, she cried out in his face, saying, 'Whither away, O trooper?
Wilt thou break into the house of Ahmed the fuller, and he a man
of repute, having a brother-in-law a Turk, a man of high standing
with the Sultan? An thou depart not, I will acquaint my husband
and he will requite thee thy deed.'

When he heard her words, the dregs of the drunkenness wrought in
him and he imagined that he was indeed a Turk. So he went out
from her and putting his hand to his sleeve, found therein a
scroll and gave it to one who read it to him. When he heard that
which was written in the scroll, his mind was confirmed in the
false supposition; but he said in himself, 'Maybe my wife seeketh
to put a cheat on me; so I will go to my fellows the fullers; and
if they know me not, then am I for sure Khemartekeni the Turk.'
So he betook himself to the fullers and when they espied him afar
off, they thought that he was one of the Turks, who used to wash
their clothes with them without payment and give them nothing.

Now they had complained of them aforetime to the Sultan, and he
said, 'If any of the Turks come to you, pelt them with stones.'
So, when they saw the fuller, they fell upon him with sticks and
stones and pelted him; whereupon quoth he [in himself], 'Verily,
I am a Turk and knew it not.' Then he took of the money in his
pocket and bought him victual [for the journey] and hired a
hackney and set out for Ispahan, leaving his wife to the trooper.
Nor," added the vizier, "is this more extraordinary than the
story of the merchant and the old woman and the king."

The vizier's story pleased King Shah Bekht and his heart clave to
the story of the merchant and the old woman; so he bade Er Rehwan
withdraw to his lodging, and he went away to his house and abode
there the next day.

                  The Eight Night of the Month

When the evening evened, the king sat in his privy chamber and
bade fetch the vizier, who presented himself before him, and the
king required of him the promised story. So the vizier answered,
"With all my heart. Know, O king, that



            STORY OF THE OLD WOMAN, THE MERCHANT AND
                           THE KING.



There was once in a city of Khorassan a family of affluence and
distinction, and the townsfolk used to envy them for that which
God had vouchsafed them. As time went on, their fortune ceased
from them and they passed away, till there remained of them but
one old woman. When she grew feeble and decrepit, the townsfolk
succoured her not with aught, but put her forth of the city,
saying, 'This old woman shall not harbour with us, for that we do
her kindness and she requiteth us with evil.' So she took shelter
in a ruined place and strangers used to bestow alms upon her, and
on this wise she abode a while of time.

Now the uncle's son of the king of the city had aforetime
disputed [the kingship] with him, and the people misliked the
king; but God the Most High decreed that he should get the better
of his cousin. However, jealousy of him abode in his heart and he
acquainted the vizier, who hid it not and sent [him] money.
Moreover, he fell to summoning [all strangers who came to the
town], man after man, and questioning them of their faith and
their worldly estate, and whoso answered him not [to his liking],
he took his good.[FN#231] Now a certain wealthy man of the
Muslims was on a journey and it befell that he arrived at that
city by night, unknowing what was to do, and coming to the ruin
aforesaid, gave the old woman money and said to her, 'No harm
upon thee.' Whereupon she lifted up her voice and prayed [for
him], He set down his merchandise by her [and abode with her] the
rest of the night and the next day.

Now thieves had followed him, so they might rob him of his good,
but availed not unto aught; wherefore he went up to the old woman
and kissed her head and exceeded in munificence to her. Then she
[warned him of that which awaited strangers entering the town
and] said to him, 'I like not this for thee and I fear mischief
for thee from these questions that the vizier hath appointed for
the confrontation of the ignorant.' And she expounded to him the
case according to its fashion. Then said she to him, 'But have no
concern: only carry me with thee to thy lodging, and if he
question thee of aught, whilst I am with thee, I will expound the
answers to thee.' Se he carried her with him to the city and
established her in his lodging and entreated her kindly.

Presently, the vizier heard of the merchant's coming; so he sent
to him and let bring him to his house and talked with him awhile
of his travels and of that which he had abidden therein, and the
merchant answered him thereof. Then said the vizier, 'I will put
certain questions to thee, which if thou answer me, it will be
well [for thee].' And the merchant rose and made him no answer.
Quoth the vizier, 'What is the weight of the elephant?' The
merchant was perplexed and returned him no answer and gave
himself up for lost. Then said he, 'Grant me three days' time.'
So the vizier granted him the delay he sought and he returned to
his lodging and related what had passed to the old woman, who
said, 'When the morrow cometh, go to the vizier and say to him,
"Make a ship and launch it on the sea and put in it an elephant,
and when it sinketh in the water, [under the beast's weight],
mark the place to which the water riseth. Then take out the
elephant and cast in stones in its place, till the ship sink to
the mark aforesaid; whereupon do thou take out the stones and
weigh them and thou wilt know the weight of the elephant"'

So, when he arose in the morning, he repaired to the vizier and
repeated to him that which the old woman had taught him; whereat
the vizier marvelled and said to him, 'What sayst thou of a man,
who seeth in his house four holes, and in each a viper offering
to come out and kill him, and in his house are four staves and
each hole may not be stopped but with the ends of two staves? How
shall he stop all the holes and deliver himself from the vipers?'
When the merchant heard this, there betided him [of concern] what
made him forget the first and he said to the vizier, 'Grant me
time, so I may consider the answer.' 'Go out,' replied the
vizier, 'and bring me the answer, or I will seize thy good.'

The merchant went out and returned to the old woman, who, seeing
him changed of colour, said to him, 'What did he ask thee, [may
God confound] his hoariness?' So he acquainted her with the case
and she said to him, 'Fear not; I will bring thee forth of this
[strait].' Quoth he, 'God requite thee with good!' And she said,
'To-morrow go to him with a stout heart and say, "The answer to
that whereof thou askest me is that thou put the heads of two
staves into one of the holes; then take the other two staves and
lay them across the middle of the first two and stop with their
heads the second hole and with their butts the fourth hole. Then
take the butts of the first two staves and stop with them the
third hole."'[FN#232]

So he repaired to the vizier and repeated to him the answer; and
he marvelled at its justness and said to him, 'Go; by Allah, I
will ask thee no more questions, for thou with thy skill marrest
my foundation.'[FN#233] Then he entreated him friendly and the
merchant acquainted him with the affair of the old woman;
whereupon quoth the vizier, 'Needs must the man of understanding
company with those of understanding.' Thus did this weak woman
restore to that man his life and good on the easiest wise. Nor,"
added the vizier, "is this more extraordinary than the story of
the credulous husband."

When the king heard this story, he said, "How like is this to our
own case!" Then he bade the vizier retire to his lodging; so he
withdrew to his house and on the morrow he abode at home [till
the king should summon him to his presence.]

                 The Ninth Night of the Month.

When the night came, the king sat in his privy chamber and
sending after the vizier, sought of him the promised story; and
he said, "Know, O august king, that



                 STORY OF THE CREDULOUS HUSBAND



There was once of old time a foolish, ignorant man, who had
wealth galore, and his wife was a fair woman, who loved a
handsome youth. The latter used to watch for her husband's
absence and come to her, and on this wise he abode a long while.
One day, as the woman was private with her lover, he said to her,
'O my lady and my beloved, if thou desire me and love me, give me
possession of thyself and accomplish my need in thy husband's
presence; else will I never again come to thee nor draw near
thee, what while I abide on life.' Now she loved him with an
exceeding love and could not brook his separation an hour nor
could endure to vex him; so, when she heard his words, she said
to him, ['So be it,] in God's name, O my beloved and solace of
mine eyes, may he not live who would vex thee!' Quoth he,
'To-day?' And she said, 'Yes, by thy life,' and appointed him of
this.

When her husband came home, she said to him, 'I desire to go
a-pleasuring.' And he said, ' With all my heart.' So he went,
till he came to a goodly place, abounding in vines and water,
whither he carried her and pitched her a tent beside a great
tree; and she betook herself to a place beside the tent and made
her there an underground hiding-place, [in which she hid her
lover]. Then said she to her husband, 'I desire to mount this
tree.' And he said, 'Do so.' So she climbed up and when she came
to the top of the tree, she cried out and buffeted her face,
saying, 'Lewd fellow that thou art, are these thy usages? Thou
sworest [fidelity to me] and liedst.' And she repeated her speech
twice and thrice.

Then she came down from the tree and rent her clothes and said,
'O villain, if these be thy dealings with me before my eyes, how
dost thou when thou art absent from me?' Quoth he, 'What aileth
thee?' and she said, 'I saw thee swive the woman before my very
eyes.' 'Not so, by Allah!' cried he. 'But hold thy peace till I
go up and see.' So he climbed the tree and no sooner did he begin
to do so than up came the lover [from his hiding-place] and
taking the woman by the legs, [fell to swiving her]. When the
husband came to the top of the tree, he looked and beheld a man
swiving his wife. So he said, 'O strumpet, what doings are
these?' And he made haste to come down from the tree to the
ground; [but meanwhile the lover had returned to his hiding-
place] and his wife said to him, 'What sawest thou?' 'I saw a man
swive thee,' answered he; and she said, 'Thou liest; thou sawest
nought and sayst this but of conjecture.'

On this wise they did three times, and every time [he climbed the
tree] the lover came up out of the underground place and bestrode
her, whilst her husband looked on and she still said, 'O liar,
seest thou aught?' 'Yes,' would he answer and came down in haste,
but saw no one and she said to him, 'By my life, look and say
nought but the truth!' Then said he to her, 'Arise, let us depart
this place,[FN#234] for it is full of Jinn and Marids.' [So they
returned to their house] and passed the night [there] and the man
arose in the morning, assured that this was all but imagination
and illusion. And so the lover accomplished his desire.[FN#235]
Nor, O king of the age," added the vizier, "is this more
extraordinary than the story of the king and the tither."

When the king heard this from the vizier, he bade him go away
[and he withdrew to his house].

                 The Tenth Night of the Month.

When it was eventide, the king summoned the vizier and sought of
him the story of the King and the Tither, and he said, "Know, O
king, that



            STORY OF THE UNJUST KING AND THE TITHER.



There was once a king of the kings of the earth, who dwelt in a
populous[FN#236] city, abounding in good; but he oppressed its
people and used them foully, so that he ruined[FN#237] the city;
and he was named none other than tyrant and misdoer. Now he was
wont, whenas he heard of a masterful man[FN#238] in another land,
to send after him and tempt him with money to take service with
him; and there was a certain tither, who exceeded all his
brethren in oppression of the people and foulness of dealing. So
the king sent after him and when he stood before him, he found
him a mighty man[FN#239] and said to him, 'Thou hast been praised
to me, but meseemeth thou overpassest the description. Set out to
me somewhat of thy sayings and doings, so I may be dispensed
therewith from [enquiring into] all thy circumstance.' 'With all
my heart,' answered the other. 'Know, O king, that I oppress the
folk and people[FN#240] the land, whilst other than I
wasteth[FN#241] it and peopleth it not.'

Now the king was leaning back; so he sat up and said, 'Tell me of
this.' 'It is well,' answered the tither. 'I go to the man whom I
purpose to tithe and circumvent him and feign to be occupied with
certain business, so that I seclude myself therewith from the
folk; and meanwhile the man is squeezed after the foulest
fashion, till nothing is left him. Then I appear and they come in
to me and questions befall concerning him and I say, "Indeed, I
was ordered worse than this, for some one (may God curse him!)
hath slandered him to the king." Then I take half of his good and
return him the rest publicly before the folk and send him away to
his house, in all honour and worship, and he causeth the money
returned to be carried before him, whilst he and all who are with
him call down blessings on me. So is it published in the city
that I have returned him his money and he himself saith the like,
so he may have a claim on me for the favour due to whoso praiseth
me. Then I feign to forget him till some time[FN#242] hath passed
over him, when I send for him and recall to him somewhat of that
which hath befallen aforetime and demand [of him] somewhat
privily. So he doth this and hasteneth to his dwelling and
sendeth what I bid him, with a glad heart. Then I send to another
man, between whom and the other is enmity, and lay hands upon him
and feign to the first man that it is he who hath traduced him to
the king and taken the half of his good; and the people praise
me.'[FN#243]

The king marvelled at this and at his dealing and contrivance and
invested him with [the control of] all his affairs and of his
kingdom and the land abode [under his governance] and he said to
him, 'Take and people.'[FN#244] One day, the tither went out and
saw an old man, a woodcutter, and with him wood; so he said to
him, 'Pay a dirhem tithe for thy load.' Quoth the old man,
'Behold, thou killest me and killest my family.' 'What [meanest
thou]?' said the tither. 'Who killeth the folk?' And the other
answered, 'If thou suffer me enter the city, I shall sell the
wood there for three dirhems, whereof I will give thee one and
buy with the other two what will support my family; but, if thou
press me for the tithe without the city, the load will sell but
for one dirhem and thou wilt take it and I shall abide without
food, I and my family. Indeed, thou and I in this circumstance
are like unto David and Solomon, on whom be peace!' ['How so?'
asked the tither, and the woodcutter said], 'Know that



                  STORY OF DAVID AND SOLOMON.



Certain husbandmen once made complaint to David (on whom be
peace!) against certain owners of sheep, whose flocks had fallen
upon their crops by night and devoured them, and he bade value
the crops [and that the shepherds should make good the amount].
But Solomon (on whom be peace!) rose and said, "Nay, but let the
sheep be delivered to the husbandmen, so they may take their milk
and wool, till they have repaid themselves the value of their
crops; then let the sheep return to their owners." So David
withdrew his own ordinance and caused execute that of Solomon;
yet was David no oppressor; but Solomon's judgment was more
pertinent and he showed himself therein better versed in
jurisprudence.'[FN#245]

When the tither heard the old man's speech, he relented towards
him and said to him, 'O old man, I make thee a present of that
which is due from thee, and do thou cleave to me and leave me
not, so haply I may get of thee profit that shall do away from me
my errors and guide me into the way of righteousness.' So the old
man followed him, and there met him another with a load of wood.
Quoth the tither to him, 'Pay what is due from thee.' And he
answered, 'Have patience with me till to-morrow, for I owe the
hire of a house, and I will sell another load of wood and pay
thee two days' tithe.' But he refused him this and the old man
said to him, 'If thou constrain him unto this, thou wilt enforce
him quit thy country, for that he is a stranger here and hath no
domicile; and if he remove on account of one dirhem, thou wilt
lose [of him] three hundred and threescore dirhems a year. Thus
wilt thou lose the much in keeping the little.' Quoth the tither,
'I give him a dirhem every month to the hire of his lodging.'

Then he went on and presently there met him a third woodcutter
and he said to him, 'Pay what is due from thee.' And he answered,
'I will pay thee a dirhem when I enter the city; or take of me
four danics[FN#246] [now].' Quoth the tither, 'I will not do it,'
but the old man said to him, 'Take of him the four danics
presently, for it is easy to take and hard to restore.' 'By
Allah,' quoth the tither, 'it is good!' and he arose and went on,
crying out, at the top of his voice and saying, 'I have no power
to-day [to do evil].' Then he put off his clothes and went forth
wandering at a venture, repenting unto his Lord. Nor," added the
vizier, "is this story more extraordinary than that of the thief
who believed the woman and sought refuge with God against falling
in with her like, by reason of her cunning contrivance for
herself."

When the king heard this, he said in himself, "Since the tither
repented, in consequence of the admonitions [of the woodcutter],
it behoves that I spare this vizier, so I may hear the story of
the thief and the woman." And he bade Er Rehwan withdraw to his
lodging.

                The Eleventh Night of the Month.

When the evening came and the king sat in his privy chamber, he
summoned the vizier and required of him the story of the thief
and the woman. Quoth the vizier, "Know, O king, that



               STORY OF THE THIEF AND THE WOMAN.



A certain thief was a [cunning] workman and used not to steal
aught, till he had spent all that was with him; moreover, he
stole not from his neighbours, neither companied with any of the
thieves, lest some one should come to know him and his case get
wind. On this wise he abode a great while, in flourishing case,
and his secret was concealed, till God the Most High decreed that
he broke in upon a poor man, deeming that he was rich. When he
entered the house, he found nought, whereat he was wroth, and
necessity prompted him to wake the man, who was asleep with his
wife. So he aroused him and said to him, 'Show me thy treasure.'

Now he had no treasure; but the thief believed him not and
insisted upon him with threats and blows. When he saw that he got
no profit of him, he said to him, 'Swear by the oath of divorce
from thy wife[FN#247] [that thou hast nothing].' So he swore and
his wife said to him, 'Out on thee! Wilt thou divorce me? Is not
the treasure buried in yonder chamber?' Then she turned to the
thief and conjured him to multiply blows upon her husband, till
he should deliver to him the treasure, concerning which he had
sworn falsely. So he drubbed him grievously, till he carried him
to a certain chamber, wherein she signed to him that the treasure
was and that he should take it up.

So the thief entered, he and the husband; and when they were both
in the chamber, she locked on them the door, which was a stout
one, and said to the thief, 'Out on thee, O fool! Thou hast
fallen [into the trap] and now I have but to cry out and the
officers of the police will come and take thee and thou wilt lose
thy life, O Satan!' Quoth he, 'Let me go forth;' and she said,
'Thou art a man and I am a woman; and in thy hand is a knife and
I am afraid of thee.' Quoth he, 'Take the knife from me.' So she
took the knife from him and said to her husband, 'Art thou a
woman and he a man? Mar his nape with beating, even as he did
with thee; and if he put out his hand to thee, I will cry out and
the police will come and take him and cut him in sunder.' So the
husband said to him, 'O thousand-horned,[FN#248] O dog, O
traitor, I owe thee a deposit,[FN#249] for which thou dunnest
me.' And he fell to beating him grievously with a stick of
live-oak, whilst he called out to the woman for help and besought
her of deliverance; but she said, 'Abide in thy place till the
morning, and thou shalt see wonders.' And her husband beat him
within the chamber, till he [well- nigh] made an end of him and
he swooned away.

Then he left beating him and when the thief came to himself, the
woman said to her husband, 'O man, this house is on hire and we
owe its owners much money, and we have nought; so how wilt thou
do?' And she went on to bespeak him thus. Quoth the thief, 'And
what is the amount of the rent?' 'It will be fourscore dirhems,'
answered the husband; and the thief said, 'I will pay this for
thee and do thou let me go my way.' Then said the wife, 'O man,
how much do we owe the baker and the greengrocer?' Quoth the
thief, 'What is the sum of this?' And the husband said, 'Sixscore
dirhems.' 'That makes two hundred dirhems,' rejoined the other;
'let me go my way and I will pay them.' But the wife said, 'O my
dear one, and the girl groweth up and needs must we marry her and
equip her and [do] what else is needful' So the thief said to the
husband, 'How much dost thou want?' And he answered, 'A hundred
dirhems, in the way of moderation.'[FN#250] Quoth the thief,
'That makes three hundred dirhems.' And the woman said, 'O my
dear one, when the girl is married, thou wilt need money for
winter expenses, charcoal and firewood and other necessaries.'
'What wouldst thou have?' asked the thief; and she said, 'A
hundred dirhems.' 'Be it four hundred dirhems,' rejoined he; and
she said, 'O my dear one and solace of mine eyes, needs must my
husband have capital in hand, wherewith he may buy merchandise
and open him a shop.' 'How much will that be?' asked he, and she
said, 'A hundred dirhems.' Quoth the thief, '[That makes five
hundred dirhems; I will pay it;] but may I be divorced from my
wife if all my possessions amount to more than this, and that the
savings of twenty years! Let me go my way, so I may deliver them
to thee.' 'O fool,' answered she, 'how shall I let thee go thy
way? Give me a right token.' [So he gave her a token for his
wife] and she cried out to her young daughter and said to her,
'Keep this door.'

Then she charged her husband keep watch over the thief, till she
should return, and repairing to his wife, acquainted her with his
case and told her that her husband the thief had been taken and
had compounded for his release, at the price of seven hundred
dirhems, and named to her the token. So she gave her the money
and she took it and returned to her house. By this time, the dawn
had broken; so she let the thief go his way, and when he went
out, she said to him, 'O my dear one, when shall I see thee come
and take the treasure?' 'O indebted one,' answered he, 'when thou
needest other seven hundred dirhems, wherewithal to amend thy
case and that of thy children and to discharge thy debts.' And he
went out, hardly believing in his deliverance from her. Nor,"
added the vizier, "is this more extraordinary than the story of
the three men and our Lord Jesus."

And the king bade him depart to his own house.

                The Twelfth Night of the Month.

When it was eventide, the king summoned the vizier and bade him
tell the [promised] story, "Hearkening and obedience," answered
he. "Know, O king, that



           STORY OF THE THREE MEN AND OUR LORD JESUS.



Three men once went out in quest of riches and came upon a block
of gold, weighing a hundred pounds. When they saw it, they took
it up on their shoulders and fared on with it, till they drew
near a certain city, when one of them said, 'Let us sit in the
mosque, whilst one of us goes and buys us what we may eat." So
they sat down in the mosque and one of them arose and entered the
city. When he came therein, his soul prompted him to play his
fellows false and get the gold for himself alone. So he bought
food and poisoned it; but, when he returned to his comrades, they
fell upon him and slew him, so they might enjoy the gold without
him. Then they ate of the [poisoned] food and died, and the gold
abode cast down over against them.

Presently, Jesus, son of Mary (on whom be peace!) passed by and
seeing this, besought God the Most High for tidings of their
case; so He told him what had betided them, whereat great was his
wonderment and he related to his disciples what he had seen.
Quoth one of them, 'O Spirit of God,[FN#251] nought resembleth
this but my own story.' 'How so?' asked Jesus, and the other
said,



                     THE DISCIPLE'S STORY.



'I was aforetime in such a city and hid a thousand dirhems in a
monastery there. After awhile, I went thither and taking the
money, bound it about my middle. [Then I set out to return] and
when I came to the desert, the carrying of the money was
burdensome to me. Presently, I espied a horseman pricking after
me; so I [waited till he came up and] said to him, "O horseman,
carry this money [for me] and earn reward and recompense [from
God]." "Nay," answered he; "I will not do it, for I should weary
myself and weary my horse." Then he went on, but, before he had
gone far, he said in himself, "If I take up the money and spur my
horse and forego him, how shall he overtake me?" And I also said
in myself, "Verily, I erred [in asking him to carry the money];
for, had he taken it and made off, I could have done nought."
Then he turned back to me and said to me, "Hand over the money,
that I may carry it for thee." But I answered him, saying, "That
which hath occurred to thy mind hath occurred to mine also; so go
in peace."'

Quoth Jesus (on whom be peace!), 'Had these dealt prudently, they
had taken thought for themselves; but they neglected the issues
of events; for that whoso acteth prudently is safe and
conquereth,[FN#252] and whoso neglecteth precaution perisheth and
repenteth.' Nor," added the vizier," is this more extraordinary
nor goodlier than the story of the king, whose kingdom was
restored to him and his wealth, after he had become poor,
possessing not a single dirhem."

When the king heard this, he said in himself "How like is this to
my own story in the matter of the vizier and his slaughter! Had I
not used precaution, I had put him to death." And he bade Er
Rehwan depart to his own house.

               The Thirteenth Night of the Month.

When the evening evened, the king sent for the vizier to his
privy sitting chamber and bade him [tell] the [promised] story.
So he said, "Hearkening and obedience. They avouch, O king, that



               STORY OF THE DETHRONED KING WHOSE
             KINGDOM AND GOOD WERE RESTORED TO HIM.



There was once, in a city of Hind, a just and beneficent king,
and he had a vizier, a man of understanding, just in his
judgment, praiseworthy in his policy, in whose hand was the
governance of all the affairs of the realm; for he was firmly
stablished in the king's favour and high in esteem with the folk
of his time, and the king set great store by him and committed
himself to him in all his affairs, by reason of his contrivance
for his subjects, and he had helpers[FN#253] who were content
with him.

Now the king had a brother, who envied him and would fain have
been in his place; and when he was weary of looking for his death
and the term of his life seemed distant unto him, he took counsel
with certain of his partisans and they said, 'The vizier is the
king's counsellor and but for him, there would be left the king
no kingdom.' So the king's brother cast about for the ruin of the
vizier, but could find no means of accomplishing his design; and
when the affair grew long upon him, he said to his wife, 'What
deemest thou will advantage us in this?' Quoth she, 'What is it?'
And he replied, 'I mean in the matter of yonder vizier, who
inciteth my brother to devoutness with all his might and biddeth
him thereto, and indeed the king is infatuated with his counsel
and committeth to him the governance of all things and matters.'
Quoth she, 'Thou sayst truly; but how shall we do with him?' And
he answered, 'I have a device, so thou wilt help me in that which
I shall say to thee.' Quoth she, 'Thou shall have my help in
whatsoever thou desirest.' And he said, 'I mean to dig him a pit
in the vestibule and dissemble it artfully.'

So he did this, and when it was night, he covered the pit with a
light covering, so that, whenas the vizier stepped upon it, it
would give way with him. Then he sent to him and summoned him to
the presence in the king's name, and the messenger bade him enter
by the privy door. So he entered in thereat, alone, and when he
stepped upon the covering of the pit, it gave way with him and he
fell to the bottom; whereupon the king's brother fell to pelting
him with stones. When the vizier saw what had betided him, he
gave himself up for lost; so he stirred not and lay still. The
prince, seeing him make no motion, [deemed him dead]; so he took
him forth and wrapping him up in his clothes, cast him into the
billows of the sea in the middle of the night. When the vizier
felt the water, he awoke from the swoon and swam awhile, till a
ship passed by him, whereupon he cried out to the sailors and
they took him up.

When the morning morrowed, the people went seeking for him, but
found him not; and when the king knew this, he was perplexed
concerning his affair and abode unknowing what he should do. Then
he sought for a vizier to fill his room, and the king's brother
said, 'I have a vizier, a sufficient man.' 'Bring him to me,'
said the king. So he brought him a man, whom he set at the head
of affairs; but he seized upon the kingdom and clapped the king
in irons and made his brother king in his stead. The new king
gave himself up to all manner of wickedness, whereat the folk
murmured and his vizier said to him, 'I fear lest the Indians
take the old king and restore him to the kingship and we both
perish; wherefore, if we take him and cast him into the sea, we
shall be at rest from him; and we will publish among the folk
that he is dead.' And they agreed upon this. So they took him up
and carrying him out to sea, cast him in.

When he felt the water, he struck out, and gave not over swimming
till he landed upon an island, where he abode five days, finding
nothing which he might eat or drink; but, on the sixth day, when
he despaired of himself, he caught sight of a passing ship; so he
made signals to the crew and they came and took him up and fared
on with him to an inhabited country, where they set him ashore,
naked as he was. There he saw a man tilling; so he sought
guidance of him and the husbandman said, 'Art thou a stranger?'
'Yes,' answered the king and sat with him and they talked. The
husbandman found him quickwitted and intelligent and said to him,
'If thou sawest a comrade of mine, thou wouldst see him the like
of what I see thee, for his case is even as thy case, and he is
presently my friend.'

Quoth the king, 'Verily, thou makest me long to see him. Canst
thou not bring us together?' 'With all my heart,' answered the
husbandman, and the king sat with him till he had made an end of
his tillage, when he carried him to his dwelling-place and
brought him in company with the other stranger, aud behold, it
was his vizier. When they saw each other, they wept and embraced,
and the husbandman wept for their weeping; but the king concealed
their affair and said to him, 'This is a man from my country and
he is as my brother.' So they abode with the husbandman and
helped him for a wage, wherewith they supported themselves a long
while. Meanwhile, they sought news of their country and learned
that which its people suffered of straitness and oppression.

One day, there came a ship and in it a merchant from their own
country, who knew them and rejoiced in them with an exceeding joy
and clad them in goodly apparel. Moreover, he acquainted them
with the manner of the treachery that had been practised upon
them and counselled them to return to their own land, they and he
with whom they had made friends,[FN#254] assuring them that God
the Most High would restore them to their former estate. So the
king returned and the folk joined themselves to him and he fell
upon his brother and his vizier and took them and clapped them in
prison.

Then he sat down again upon the throne of his kingship, whilst
the vizier stood before him, and they returned to their former
estate, but they had nought of the [goods of the world]. So the
king said to his vizier, 'How shall we avail to abide in this
city, and we in this state of poverty?' And he answered, 'Be at
thine ease and have no concern.' Then he singled out one of the
soldiers[FN#255] and said to him, 'Send us thy service[FN#256]
for the year.' Now there were in the city fifty thousand
subjects[FN#257] and in the hamlets and villages a like number;
and the vizier sent to each of these, saying, 'Let each of you
get an egg and lay it under a hen.' So they did this and it was
neither burden nor grievance to them.

When twenty days had passed by, each [egg] was hatched, and the
vizier bade them pair the chickens, male and female, and rear
them well. So they did this and it was found a charge unto no
one. Then they waited for them awhile and after this the vizier
enquired of the chickens and was told that they were become
fowls. Moreover, they brought him all their eggs and he bade set
them; and after twenty days there were hatched from each [pair]
of them thirty or five-and-twenty or fifteen [chickens] at the
least. The vizier let note against each man the number of
chickens that pertained to him, and after two months, he took the
old hens and the cockerels, and there came to him from each man
nigh half a score, and he left the [young] hens with them. On
like wise he sent to the country folk and let the cocks abide
with them. So he got him young ones [galore] and appropriated to
himself the sale of the fowls, and on this wise he got him, in
the course of a year, that which the regal estate required of the
king and his affairs were set right for him by the vizier's
contrivance. And he peopled[FN#258] the country and dealt justly
by his subjects and returned to them all that he took from them
and lived a happy and prosperous life. Thus good judgment and
prudence are better than wealth, for that understanding profiteth
at all times and seasons. Nor," added the vizier, "is this more
extraordinary than the story of the man whose caution slew him."

When the king heard his vizier's words, he marvelled with the
utmost wonderment and bade him retire to his lodging. [So Er
Rehwan withdrew to his house and abode there till eventide of the
next day, when he again presented himself before the king.]

               The Fourteenth Night of the Month.

When the vizier returned to the king, the latter sought of him
the story of the man whose caution slew him and be said, "Know, O
august king, that



             STORY OF THE MAN WHOSE CAUTION WAS THE
                      CAUSE OF HIS DEATH.



There was once a man who was exceeding cautious over himself, and
he set out one day on a journey to a land abounding in wild
beasts. The caravan wherein he was came by night to the gate of a
city; but the warders refused to open to them; so they passed the
night without the city, and there were lions there. The man
aforesaid, of the excess of his caution, could not fix upon a
place wherein he should pass the night, for fear of the wild
beasts and reptiles; so he went about seeking an empty place
wherein he might lie.

Now there was a ruined building hard by and he climbed up on to a
high wall and gave not over clambering hither and thither, of the
excess of his carefulness, till his feet betrayed him and he
slipped [and fell] to the bottom and died, whilst his companions
arose in the morning in health [and weal]. Now, if he had
overmastered his corrupt[FN#259] judgment and submitted himself
to fate and fortune fore-ordained, it had been safer and better
[for him]; but he made light of the folk and belittled their wit
and was not content to take example by them; for his soul
whispered him that he was a man of understanding and he imagined
that, if he abode with them, he would perish; so his folly cast
him into perdition. Nor," added the vizier, "is this more
extraordinary than the story of the man who was lavish of his
house and his victual to one whom he knew not"

When the king heard this, he said, "I will not isolate myself
from the folk and slay my vizier." And he bade him depart to his
dwelling.

               The Fifteenth Night of the Month.

When the evening evened, the king let fetch the vizier and
required of him the [promised] story. So he said, "Know, O king,
that



             STORY OF THE MAN WHO WAS LAVISH OF HIS
              HOUSE AND HIS VICTUAL TO ONE WHOM HE
                           KNEW NOT.



There was once an Arab of [high] rank and [goodly] presence, a
man of exalted generosity and magnanimity, and he had brethren,
with whom he consorted and caroused, and they were wont to
assemble by turns in each other's houses. When it came to his
turn, he made ready in his house all manner goodly and pleasant
meats and dainty drinks and exceeding lovely flowers and
excellent fruits, and made provision of all kinds of instruments
of music and store of rare apothegms and marvellous stories and
goodly instances and histories and witty anedotes and verses and
what not else, for there was none among those with whom he was
used to company but enjoyed this on every goodly wise, and in the
entertainment he had provided was all whereof each had need. Then
he sallied forth and went round about the city, in quest of his
friends, so he might assemble them; but found none of them in his
house.

Now in that town was a man of good breeding and large generosity,
a merchant of condition, young of years and bright of face, who
had come to that town from his own country with great store of
merchandise and wealth galore. He took up his abode therein and
the place was pleasant to him and he was lavish in expenditure,
so that he came to the end of all his good and there remained
with him nothing save that which was upon him of raiment. So he
left the lodging wherein he had abidden in the days of his
affluence, after he had wasted[FN#260] that which was therein of
furniture, and fell to harbouring in the houses of the townsfolk
from night to night.

One day, as he went wandering about the streets, he espied a
woman of the utmost beauty and grace, and what he saw of her
charms amazed him and there betided him what made him forget his
present plight. She accosted him and jested with him and he
besought her of foregathering and companionship. She consented to
this and said to him, 'Let us go to thy lodging.' With this he
repented and was perplexed concerning his affair and grieved for
that which must escape him of her company by reason of the
straitness of his hand,[FN#261] for that he had no jot of
spending money. But he was ashamed to say, 'No,' after he had
made suit to her; so he went on before her, bethinking him how he
should rid himself of her and casting about for an excuse which
he might put off on her, and gave not over going from street to
street, till he entered one that had no issue and saw, at the
farther end, a door, whereon was a padlock.

So he said to her, 'Do thou excuse me, for my servant hath locked
the door, and who shall open to us?' Quoth she, 'O my lord, the
padlock is worth [but] half a score dirhems.' So saying, she
tucked up [her sleeves] from fore-arms as they were crystal and
taking a stone, smote upon the padlock and broke it. Then she
opened the door and said to him, 'Enter, O my lord.' So he
entered, committing his affair to God, (to whom belong might and
majesty,) and she entered after him and locked the door from
within. They found themselves in a pleasant house, comprising
all[FN#262] weal and gladness; and the young man went on, till he
came to the sitting-chamber, and behold, it was furnished with
the finest of furniture [and arrayed on the goodliest wise for
the reception of guests,] as hath before been set out, [for that
it was the house of the man aforesaid].

He [seated himself on the divan and] leant upon a cushion, whilst
she put out her hand to her veil and did it off. Then she put off
her heavy outer clothes and discovered her charms, whereupon he
embraced her and kissed her and swived her; after which they
washed and returned to their place and he said to her, 'Know that
I have little knowledge [of what goes on] in my house, for that I
trust to my servant; so arise thou and see what the boy hath made
ready in the kitchen.' Accordingly, she arose and going down into
the kitchen, saw cooking pots over the fire, wherein were all
manner of dainty meats, and manchet-bread and fresh
almond-and-honey cakes. So she set bread on a dish and ladled out
[what she would] from the pots and brought it to him.

They ate and drank and sported and made merry awhile of the day;
and as they were thus engaged, up came the master of the house,
with his friends, whom he had brought with him, that they might
carouse together, as of wont. He saw the door opened and knocked
lightly, saying to his friends, 'Have patience with me, for some
of my family are come to visit me; wherefore excuse belongeth
[first] to God the Most High, and then to you.'[FN#263] So they
took leave of him and went their ways, whilst he gave another
light knock at the door. When the young man heard this, he
changed colour and the woman said to him, 'Methinks thy servant
hath returned.' 'Yes,' answered he; and she arose and opening the
door to the master of the house, said to him, 'Where hast thou
been? Indeed, thy master is wroth with thee.' 'O my lady,'
answered he, 'I have but been about his occasions.'

Then he girt his middle with a handkerchief and entering, saluted
the young merchant, who said to him, 'Where hast thou been?'
Quoth he, 'I have done thine errands;' and the youth said, 'Go
and eat and come hither and drink.' So he went away, as he bade
him, and ate. Then he washed and returning to the saloon, sat
down on the carpet and fell to talking with them; whereupon the
young merchant's heart was comforted and his breast dilated and
he addressed himself to joyance. They abode in the most
delightsome life and the most abounding pleasance till a third
part of the night was past, when the master of the house arose
and spreading them a bed, invited them to lie down. So they lay
down and the youth abode on wake, pondering their affair, till
daybreak, when the woman awoke and said to her companion, 'I wish
to go.' So he bade her farewell and she departed; whereupon the
master of the house followed her with a purse of money and gave
it to her, saying, 'Blame not my master,' and made his excuse to
her for the young merchant.

Then he returned to the youth and said to him, 'Arise and come to
the bath.' And he fell to shampooing his hands and feet, whilst
the youth called down blessings on him and said, 'O my lord, who
art thou? Methinks there is not in the world the like of thee,
no, nor a pleasanter than thy composition.' Then each of them
acquainted the other with his case and condition and they went to
the bath; after which the master of the house conjured the young
merchant to return with him and summoned his friends. So they ate
and drank and he related to them the story, wherefore they
praised the master of the house and glorified him; and their
friendship was complete, what while the young merchant abode in
the town, till God vouchsafed him a commodity of travel,
whereupon they took leave of him and he departed; and this is the
end of his story. Nor," added the vizier, "O king of the age, is
this more marvellous than the story of the rich man who lost his
wealth and his wit."

When the king heard the vizier's story, it pleased him and he
bade him go to his house.

               The Sixteenth Night of the Month.

When the evening evened, the king sat in his sitting- chamber and
sending for his vizier, bade him relate the story of the wealthy
man who lost his wealth and his wit. So he said, "Know, O king,
that



              STORY OF THE IDIOT AND THE SHARPER.



There was once a man of fortune, who lost his wealth, and chagrin
and melancholy got the mastery of him, so that he became an idiot
and lost his wit. There abode with him of his wealth about a
score of dinars and he used to beg alms of the folk, and that
which they gave him he would gather together and lay to the
dinars that were left him. Now there was in that town a vagabond,
who made his living by sharping, and he knew that the idiot had
somewhat of money; so he fell to spying upon him and gave not
over watching him till he saw him put in an earthen pot that
which he had with him of money and enter a deserted ruin, where
he sat down, [as if] to make water, and dug a hole, in which he
laid the pot and covering it up, strewed earth upon the place.
Then he went away and the sharper came and taking what was in the
pot, covered it up again, as it was.

Presently, the idiot returned, with somewhat to add to his hoard,
but found it not; so he bethought him who had followed him and
remembered that he had found the sharper aforesaid assiduous in
sitting with him and questioning him. So he went in quest of him,
assured that he had taken the pot, and gave not over looking for
him till he espied him sitting; whereupon he ran to him and the
sharper saw him. [Then the idiot stood within earshot] and
muttered to himself and said, 'In the pot are threescore dinars
and I have with me other score in such a place and to-day I will
unite the whole in the pot.' When the sharper heard him say this
to himself, muttering and mumbling after his fashion, he repented
him of having taken the dinars and said, 'He will presently
return to the pot and find it empty; wherefore that[FN#264] for
which I am on the look-out will escape me; and meseemeth I were
best restore the dinars [to their place], so he may see them and
leave all that is with him in the pot, and I can take the whole.'

Now he feared [to return to the pot then and there], lest the
idiot should follow him to the place and find nothing and so his
plan be marred. So he said to him, 'O Ajlan,[FN#265] I would have
thee come to my lodging and eat bread with me." So the idiot went
with him to his lodging and he seated him there and going to the
market, sold somewhat of his clothes and pawned somewhat from his
house and bought dainty food. Then he betook himself to the ruin
and replacing the money in the pot, buried it again; after which
he returned to his lodging and gave the idiot to eat and drink,
and they went out together. The sharper went away and hid
himself, lest the idiot should see him, whilst the latter
repaired to his hiding- place and took the pot

Presently, the sharper came to the ruin, rejoicing in that which
he deemed he should get, and dug in the place, but found nothing
and knew that the idiot had tricked him. So he buffeted his face,
for chagrin, and fell to following the other whithersoever he
went, so he might get what was with him, but availed not unto
this, for that the idiot knew what was in his mind and was
certified that he spied upon him, [with intent to rob him]; so he
kept watch over himself. Now, if the sharper had considered [the
consequences of] haste and that which is begotten of loss
therefrom, he had not done thus. Nor," continued the vizier, "is
this story, O king of the age, rarer or more extraordinary or
more diverting than the story of Khelbes and his wife and the
learned man and that which befell between them."

When the king heard this story, he renounced his purpose of
putting the vizier to death and his soul prompted him to continue
him on life. So he bade him go away to his house.

              The Seventeenth Night of the Month.

When the evening evened, the king summoned the vizier, and when
he presented himself, he required of him the [promised] story. So
he said, "Hearkening and obedience. Know, O august king, that



             STORY OF KHELBES AND HIS WIFE AND THE
                          LEARNED MAN.



There was once a man hight Khelbes, who was a lewd fellow, a
calamity, notorious for this fashion, and he had a fair wife,
renowned for beauty and loveliness. A man of his townsfolk fell
in love with her and she also loved him. Now Khelbes was a crafty
fellow and full of tricks, and there was in his neighbourhood a
learned man, to whom the folk used to resort every day and he
told them stories and admonished them [with moral instances]; and
Khelbes was wont to be present in his assembly, for the sake of
making a show before the folk.

Now this learned man had a wife renowned for beauty and
loveliness and quickness of wit and understanding and the lover
cast about for a device whereby he might win to Khelbes's wife;
so he came to him and told him, as a secret, what he had seen of
the learned man's wife and confided to him that he was enamoured
of her and besought him of help in this. Khelbes told him that
she was distinguished to the utterest for chastity and continence
and that she exposed herself not to suspicion; but the other
said, 'I cannot renounce her, [firstly,] because the woman
inclineth to me and coveteth my wealth, and secondly, because of
the greatness of my love for her; and nothing is wanting but thy
help.' Quoth Khelbes, 'I will do thy will;' and the other said,
'Thou shalt have of me two dirhems a day, on condition that thou
sit with the learned man and that, when he riseth from the
assembly, thou speak a word notifying the breaking up of the
session.' So they agreed upon this and Khelbes entered and sat in
the assembly, whilst the lover was assured in his heart that the
secret was safe with him, wherefore he rejoiced and was content
to pay the two dirhems.

Then Khelbes used to attend the learned man's assembly, whilst
the other would go in to his wife and abide with her, on such
wise as he thought good, till the learned man arose from his
session; and when Khelbes saw that he purposed rising, he would
speak a word for the lover to hear, whereupon he went forth from
Khelbes's wife, and the latter knew not that calamity was in his
own house. At last the learned man, seeing Khelbes do on this
wise every day, began to misdoubt of him, more by token of that
which he knew of his character, and suspicion grew upon him; so,
one day, he advanced the time of his rising before the wonted
hour and hastening up to Khelbes, laid hold of him and said to
him, 'By Allah, an thou speak a single syllable, I will do thee a
mischief!' Then he went in to his wife, with Khelbes in his
grasp, and behold, she was sitting, as of her wont, nor was there
about her aught of suspicious or unseemly.

The learned man bethought him awhile of this, then made for
Khelbes's house, which adjoined his own, still holding the
latter; and when they entered, they found the young man lying on
the bed with Khelbes's wife; whereupon quoth he to him, 'O
accursed one, the calamity is with thee and in thine own house!'
So Khelbes put away his wife and went forth, fleeing, and
returned not to his own land. This, then," continued the vizier,
"is the consequence of lewdness, for whoso purposeth in himself
craft and perfidy, they get possession of him, and had Khelbes
conceived of himself that[FN#266] which he conceived of the folk
of dishonour and calamity, there had betided him nothing of this.
Nor is this story, rare and extraordinary though it be, more
extraordinary or rarer than that of the pious woman whose
husband's brother accused her of lewdness."

When the king heard this, wonderment gat hold of him and his
admiration for the vizier redoubled; so he bade him go to his
house and return to him [on the morrow], according to his wont.
Accordingly, the vizier withdrew to his lodging, where he passed
the night and the ensuing day.



End of Vol. I.



                Tales from the Arabic, Volume 1
                            Endnotes



[FN#1]  Breslau Text, vol. iv. pp. 134-189, Nights
cclxxii.-ccxci. This is the story familiar to readers of the old
"Arabian Nights" as "Abon Hassan, or the Sleeper Awakened" and is
the only one of the eleven tales added by Galland to his version
of the (incomplete) MS. of the Book of the Thousand Nights and
One Night procured by him from Syria, the Arabic original of
which has yet been discovered. (See my "Book of the Thousand
Nights and One Night," Vol. IX. pp. 264 et seq.) The above title
is of course intended to mark the contrast between the everyday
(or waking) hours of Aboulhusn and his fantastic life in the
Khalif's palace, supposed by him to have passed in a dream, and
may also be rendered "The Sleeper and the Waker."

[FN#2]  i.e. The Wag.

[FN#3]  Always noted for debauchery.

[FN#4]  i.e. the part he had taken for spending money.

[FN#5]  i.e. "those," a characteristic Arab idiom.

[FN#6]  Lit. draw thee near (to them).

[FN#7]  i.e. that over the Tigris.

[FN#8]  "Platter bread," i.e. bread baked in a platter, instead
of, as usual with the Arabs, in an oven or earthen jar previously
heated, to the sides of which the thin cakes of dough are
applied, "is lighter than oven bread, especially if it be made
thin and leavened."--Shecouri, a medical writer quoted by Dozy.

[FN#9]  Or cooking-pots.

[FN#10] Or fats for frying.

[FN#11] Or clarified.

[FN#12] Taam, lit. food, the name given by the inhabitants of
Northern Africa to the preparation of millet-flour (something
like semolina) called kouskoussou, which forms the staple food of
the people.

[FN#13] Or "In peace."

[FN#14] Eastern peoples attach great importance, for good or evil
omen, to the first person met or the first thing that happens in
the day.

[FN#15] Or "attributed as sin."

[FN#16] A common Eastern substitute for soap.

[FN#17] This common formula of assent is an abbreviation of
"Hearkening and obedience are due to God and to the Commander of
the Faithful" or other the person addressed.

[FN#18] Dar es Selam, one of the seven "Gardens" into which the
Mohammedan Paradise is divided.

[FN#19] i.e. a mattrass eighteen inches thick.

[FN#20] Complimentary form of address to eunuchs, generally used
by inferiors only.

[FN#21] The morning-prayer consists of four inclinations (rekäat)
only. A certain fixed succession of prayers and acts of adoration
is called a rekah (sing, of rekäat) from the inclination of the
body that occurs in it.

[FN#22] i.e. the terminal formula of prayer, "Peace be on us and
on all the righteous servants of God!"

[FN#23] i.e. said "I purpose to make an end of prayer."

[FN#24] Or "linen."

[FN#25] A well-known poet of the time.

[FN#26] i.e. Ibrahim of Mosul, the greatest musician of his day.

[FN#27] i.e., doughty men of war, guards.

[FN#28] The Abbaside Khalifs traced their descent from Abbas, the
uncle of Mohammed, and considered themselves, therefore, as
belonging to the family of the Prophet.

[FN#29] i.e. May thy dwelling-place never fall into ruin.

[FN#30] i.e. the raised recess situate at the upper end of an
Oriental saloon, wherein is the place of honour.

[FN#31] ie, the necromancers.

[FN#32] Lit. I have not found that thou hast a heel blessed (or
propitious) to me.

[FN#33] i.e. O thou who art a calamity to those who have to do
with thee!

[FN#34] Abou Nuwas ibn Hani, the greatest poet of the time.

[FN#35] As a charm against evil spirits.

[FN#36] i.e. the vein said to have been peculiar to the
descendants of Hashim, grandfather of Abbas and great-grandson of
Mohammed, and to have started out between their eyes in moments
of anger.

[FN#37] Lit. that I may do upon her sinister deeds.

[FN#38] "The pitcher comes not always back unbroken from the
well."--English proverb.

[FN#39] i.e. of sorrow for his loss.

[FN#40] i.e. of grief for her loss.

[FN#41] Breslau Text, vol. vl. pp. 182-188, Nights
ccccxxxii-ccccxxxiv.

[FN#42] The eighth Khalif (A.D. 717-720) of the house of Umeyyeh
and the best and most single-hearted of all the Khalifs, with the
exception of the second, Omar ben Khettab, from whom he was
descended.

[FN#43] A celebrated statesman of the time, afterwards governor
of Cuia* and Bassora under Omar ben Abdulaziz.

[FN#44] The most renowned poet of the first century of the
Hegira. He is said to have been equally skilled in all styles of
composition grave and gay.

[FN#45] Or eternal.

[FN#46] Or "in him."

[FN#47] Chief of the tribe of the Benou Suleim. Et Teberi tells
this story in a different way. According to him, Abbas ben Mirdas
(who was a well-known poet), being dissatisfied with the portion
of booty allotted to him by the Prophet, refused it and composed
a lampoon against Mohammed, who said to Ali, "Cut off this tongue
which attacketh me," i.e. "Silence him by giving what will
satisfy him," whereupon Ali doubled the covetous chief's share.

[FN#48] Bilal ibn Rebeh was the Prophet's freedman and crier. The
word bilal signifies "moisture" or (metonymically) "beneficence"
and it may well be in this sense (and not as a man's name) that
it is used in the text.

[FN#49] Said to have been the best poet ever produced by the
tribe of Cureish. His introduction here is an anachronism, as he
died A.D. 712, five years before Omar's accession.

[FN#50] i.e. odorem pudendorum amicæ?

[FN#51] A famous poet of the tribe of the Benou Udhreh, renowned
for their passionate sincerity in love-matters. He is celebrated
as the lover of Butheineh, as Petrarch of Laura, and died A.D.
701, sixteen years before Omar's accession.

[FN#52] A friend of Jemil and a poet of equal renown. He is
celebrated as the lover of Azzeh, whose name is commonly added to
his, and kept a grocer's shop at Medina.

[FN#53] i.e. in the attitude of prayer.

[FN#54] A famous satirical poet of the time, afterwards banished
by Omar for the virulence of his lampoons. His name is wrongly
given by the text; it should be El Ahwes. He was a descendant of
the Ansar or (Medinan) helpers of Mohammed.

[FN#55] A famous poet of the tribe of the Benou Temim and a rival
of Jerir, to whom he was by some preferred. He was a notorious
debauchee and Jerir, in one of the satires that were perpetually
exchanged between himself and El Ferezdec, accuses his rival of
having "never been a guest in any house, but he departed with
ignominy and left behind him disgrace."

[FN#56] A Christian and a celebrated poet of the time.

[FN#57] The poet apparently meant to insinuate that those who
professed to keep the fast of Ramazan ate flesh in secret. The
word rendered "in public," i.e. openly, avowedly, may also
perhaps be translated "in the forenoon," and in this El Akhtel
may have meant to contrast his free-thinking disregard of the
ordinances of the fast with the strictness of the orthodox
Muslim, whose only meals in Ramazan-time are made between sunset
and dawn-peep. As soon as a white thread can be distinguished
from a black, the fast is begun and a true believer must not even
smoke or swallow his saliva till sunset.

[FN#58] Prominent words of the Muezzin's fore-dawn call to
prayer.

[FN#59] i.e. fall down drunk.

[FN#60] i.e. she who ensnares [all] eyes.

[FN#61] Imam, the spiritual title of the Khalif, as head of the
Faith and leader (lit. "foreman") of the people at prayer.

[FN#62] Or "worldly."

[FN#63] Or "worldly."

[FN#64] A town and province of Arabia, of which (inter alia) Omar
ben Abdulaziz was governor, before he came to the Khalifate.

[FN#65] Syn. munificence.

[FN#66] About 2 pounds sterling 10 s.

[FN#67] i.e. what is thy news?

[FN#68] Or "I approve of him."

[FN#69] Breslau Text, vol. vi. pp. 188-9, Night ccccxxxiv.

[FN#70] El Hejjaj ben Yousuf eth Thekefi, a famous statesman and
soldier of the seventh and eighth centuries. He was governor of
Chaldaea (Irak Arabi), under the fifth and sixth Khalifs of the
Ommiade dynasty, and was renowned for his cruelty, but appears to
have been a prudent and capable administrator, who 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, which abound in Arab authors, are, in all
probability, apocryphal.

[FN#71] Used, by synecdoche, for "heads."

[FN#72] i.e. the governed, to wit, he who is led by a halter
attached (metaphorically of course) to a ring passed through his
nose, as with a camel.

[FN#73] i.e. the governor or he who is high of rank.

[FN#74] i.e. their hair, which may be considered the wealth of
the head. This whole passage is a description a double-entente of
a barber-surgeon.

[FN#75] Syn. cooking-pot.

[FN#76] Syn. be lowered. This passage is a similar description of
an itinerant hot bean-seller.

[FN#77] The rows of threads on a weaver's loom.

[FN#78] Syn. levelleth.

[FN#79] i.e. that of wood used by the Oriental weaver to govern
the warp and weft.

[FN#80] Syn. behave aright.

[FN#81] The loop of thread so called in which the weaver's foot
rests.

[FN#82] Syn. eloquence.

[FN#83] Adeb, one of the terribly comprehensive words which
abound in Arabic literature for the confusion of translators. It
signifies generally all kinds of education and means of mental
and moral discipline and seems here to mean more particularly
readiness of wit and speech or presence of mind.

[FN#84] Breslau Text, vol. vi. pp. 189-191, Night ccccxxxiv.

[FN#85] Syn. (Koranic) "Thou hast swerved from justice" or "been
unjust" (adeita).

[FN#86] Syn. (Koranic) "Thou hast transgressed" (caset-ta).

[FN#87] Or falling-away.

[FN#88] Koran vi. 44.

[FN#89] Or do injustice, tadilou (syn. do justice).

[FN#90] Koran iv. 134.

[FN#91] El casitouna (syn. those who act righteously or
equitably).

[FN#92] Koran lxxii. 15.

[FN#93] Name of the Persian ancestor of the Barmecide (properly
Bermeki) family.

[FN#94] Breslau Text, vol. vi. pp. 191-343, Nights
ccccxxv-cccclxxxvii. This is the Arab version of the well-known
story called, in Persian, the Bekhtyar Nameh, i.e. the Book of
Bekhtyar, by which name the prince, whose attempted ruin by the
envious viziers is the central incident of the tale, is
distinguished in that language. The Arab redaction of the story
is, to my mind, far superior to the Persian, both in general
simplicity and directness of style and in the absence of the
irritating conceits and moral digressions with which Persian (as
well as Indian) fiction is so often overloaded. The Persian
origin of the story is apparent, not only in the turn of the
incidents and style and the names of the personages, but in the
fact that not a single line of verse occurs in it.

[FN#95] Rawi; this is probably a copyist's mistake for raai, a
beholder, one who seeth.

[FN#96] Lit. what was his affair? It may be here observed that
the word keif (how?) is constantly used in the Breslau Text in
the sense of ma (what?).

[FN#97] A district of Persia, here probably Persia itself.

[FN#98] Probably a corruption of Kisra (Chosroës).

[FN#99] i.e. waylaying travellers, robbing on the high road.

[FN#100] Or skill.

[FN#101] Lit. the descended fate.

[FN#102] The Arabs attribute to a man's parentage absolute power
in the determination of his good and evil qualities; eg. the son
of a slave, according to them, can possess none of the virtues of
the free-born, whilst good qualities are in like manner
considered congenitally inherent in the latter.

[FN#103] Or "business."

[FN#104] i.e. whither he should travel.

[FN#105] About half-a-crown.

[FN#106] It is a common practice with Eastern nations to keep a
child (especially a son and one of unusual beauty) concealed
until a certain age, for fear of the evil eye. See my "Book of
the Thousand Nights and One Night," Vol. III. p. 234; Vol. IX. p.
67, etc., etc.

[FN#107] i.e. killing a man.

[FN#108] i.e., it will always be in our power to slay him, when
we will.

[FN#109] i.e. the grave.

[FN#110] i.e. the wedding-day.

[FN#111] i.e. thy women

[FN#112] i.e. hath been unduly prolonged.

[FN#113] i.e. Let thy secret thoughts and purposes be righteous,
even as thine outward profession.

[FN#114] See my "Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night," Vol.
V. p. 264.

[FN#115] Afterwards called his "chamberlain," i.e. the keeper of
the door of the harem or chief eunuch. See post, p. III.

[FN#116] i.e. the eunuch who had dissuaded Dadbin from putting
her to death.

[FN#117] Apparently referring to Aboulkhair (see ante p. 107),
whom Dabdin would seem to have put to death upon the vizier's
false accusation, although no previous mention of this occurs.

[FN#118] The Arabs believe that each man's destiny is
charactered, could we decipher it, in the sutures of his skull.

[FN#119] ie. the lex talionis, which is the essence of Muslim
jurisprudence.

[FN#120] i.e. a soldier of fortune, going about from court to
court, in quest of service.

[FN#121] This phrase refers to the Arab idiom, "His hand (or arm)
is long or short," i.e. he is a man of great or little puissance.

[FN#122] The Arabs consider it a want of respect to allow the
hands or feet to remain exposed in the presence of a superior.

[FN#123] Adeb. See ante, p. 54, note 9.

[FN#124] i.e. that he become my son-in-law.

[FN#125] It is a common Eastern practice to have the feet kneaded
and pressed (shampooed) for the purpose of inducing sleep, and
thus the king would habitually fall asleep with his feet on the
knees of his pages.

[FN#126] Syn. whoso respecteth not his lord's women.

[FN#127] i.e. a domed tomb.

[FN#128] Of a man's life. The Muslims believe each man's last
hour to be written in a book called "The Preserved Tablet."

[FN#129] i.e, the Autumnal Equinox, one of the two great festival
days (the other being the New Year) of the Persians. See my "Book
of the Thousand Nights and One Night," Vol. IV. p. 144.

[FN#130] i.e. heritage.

[FN#131] i.e. The Emperor of the Romans of the Lower Empire, so
called by the Arabs. "Caesar" is their generic term for the
Emperors of Constantinople, as is Kisra (Chosroës) for the
ancient Kings of Persia.

[FN#132] i.e. Shah Khatoun.

[FN#133] i.e. our power increased by his alliance, a. familiar
Arab idiom.

[FN#134] In token of deputation of authority, a ceremony usual on
the appointment of a governor of a province.

[FN#135] Or enigma.

[FN#136] i.e. if my death be ordained of destiny to befall on an
early day none may avail to postpone it to a later day.

[FN#137] Of life. See supra, note, p. 147.

[FN#138] The hoopoe is fabled by the Muslim chroniclers to have
been to Solomon what Odin's ravens were to the Norse god. It is
said to have known all the secrets of the earth and to have
revealed them to him; hence the magical virtues attributed by the
Mohammedans to its heart.

[FN#139] This phrase may be read either literally or in its
idiomatic sense, i.e., "Folk convicted or suspected of murder or
complicity in murder."

[FN#140] Or purse-belt.

[FN#141] See supra, p. 66.

[FN#142] Khilaah, lit. that which one takes off from one's own
person, to bestow upon a messenger of good tidings or any other
whom it is desired especially to honour. The literal meaning of
the phrase, here rendered "he bestowed on him a dress of honour,"
is "he put off on him [that which was upon himself." A Khilaah
commonly includes a horse, a sword, a girdle or waist-cloth and
other articles, according to the rank of the recipient, and might
more precisely be termed "a complete equipment of honour."

[FN#143] An economical mode of rewarding merit, much in favour
with Eastern monarchs.

[FN#144] Breslau Text, vol. vii. pp. 251-4, Night dlxv.

[FN#145] Syn. doorkeper (hajib).

[FN#146] Ibn Khelbkan, who tells this story in a somewhat
different style, on the authority of Er Reshid's brother Ibrahim
ben El Mehdi, calls the person whom Jaafer expected "Abdulmelik
ben Behran, the intendant of his demesnes."

[FN#147] The wearing of silk and bright colours is forbidden to
the strict Muslim and it is generally considered proper, in a man
of position, to wear them only on festive occasions or in
private, as in the text.

[FN#148] The Abbasides or descendants of El Abbas, the Prophet's
uncle, were noted for their excessive pride and pretensions to
strict orthodoxy in all outward observances. Abdulmelik ben
Salih, who was a well-known general and statesman of the time,
was especially renowned for pietism and austerity of manners.

[FN#149] i.e. Do not let my presence trouble you.

[FN#150] As a member of the reigning family, he of course wore
black clothes, that being the especial colour of the house of
Abbas, adopted by them in opposition to the rival (and fallen)
dynasty of the Benou Umeyyeh, whose family colour was white, that
of the house of Ali being green.

[FN#151] About £25,000. Ibn Khellikan makes the debt four
millions of dirhems or about £100,000

[FN#152] Breslau text, vol vii, pp.258-60, Night dlxvii.

[FN#153] Fourth Khalif of the house of Abbas, A.D. 785-786.

[FN#154] Third Khalif of the house of Abbas, A.D. 775-785.

[FN#155] The following is Et Teberi's version of this anecdote.
El Mehdi had presented his son Haroun with a ruby ring, worth a
hundred thousand dinars, and the latter being one day with his
brother [the then reigning Khalif], El Hadi saw the ring on his
finger and desired it. So, when Haroun went out from him, he sent
after him, to seek the ring of him. The Khalif's messenger
overtook Er Reshid on the bridge over the Tigris and acquainted
him with his errand; whereupon the prince enraged at the demand,
pulled off the ring and threw it into the river. When El Hadi
died and Er Reshid succeeded to the throne, he went with his
suite to the bridge in question and bade his Vizier Yehya ben
Khalid send for divers and cause them make search for the ring.
It had then been five months in the water and no one believed it
would be found. However, the divers plunged into the river and
found the ring in the very place where he had thrown it in,
whereat Haroun rejoiced with an exceeding joy, regarding it as a
presage of fair fortune.

[FN#156] This is an error. Jaafer's father Yehya was appointed by
Haroun his vizier and practically continued to exercise that
office till the fall of the Barmecides (A.D. 803), his sons Fezl
and Jaafer acting only as his assistants or lieutenants. See my
Essay on the History and Character of the Book of the Thousand
Nights and One Night.

[FN#157] Another mistake. It was Fezl, the Khalif's
foster-brother, to whom he used to give this title.

[FN#158] A third mistake. The whole period during which the
empire was governed by Yehya and his sons was only seventeen
years, i.e. A.D 786-803, but see my Essay.

[FN#159] The apparent meaning of this somewhat obscure saying is,
"Since fortune is uncertain, conciliate the favour of those with
whom thou hast to do by kind offices, so thou mayst find refuge
with them in time of need."

[FN#160] For a detailed account of the Barmecides and of their
fall, see my Essay.

[FN#161] Breslau Text, vol. vii. pp. 260-1, Night dlxviii.

[FN#162] Aboulabbas Mohammed Ibn Sabih, surnamed Ibn es Semmak
(son of the fishmonger), a well-known Cufan jurisconsult and
ascetic of the time. He passed the latter part of his life at
Baghdad and enjoyed high favour with Er Reshid, as the only
theological authority whom the latter could induce to promise him
admission to Paradise.

[FN#163] Breslau Text, vol. vii. pp. 261-2, Night dlxviii.

[FN#164] Seventh Khalif of the house of Abbas, A.D. 813-33.

[FN#165] Sixth Khalif of the house of Abbas, A.D. 809-13, a
sanguinary and incapable prince, whose contemplated treachery
against his brother El Mamoun, (whom, by the advice of his
vizier, the worthless intriguer Fezl ben Rebya, the same who was
one of the prime movers in the ruin of the illustrious Barmecide
family and who succeeded Yehya and his sons in the vizierate (see
my Essay), he contemplated depriving of his right of succession
and murdering,) was deservedly requited with the loss of his own
kingdom and life. He was, by the way, put to death by El Mamoun's
general, in contravention of the express orders of that generous
and humane prince, who wished his brother to be sent prisoner to
him, on the capture of Baghdad.

[FN#166] i.e. forfeits. It is a favourite custom among the Arabs
to impose on the loser of a game, in lieu of stakes, the
obligation of doing whatsoever the winner may command him. For an
illustration of this practice, see my "Book of the Thousand
Nights and One Night," Vol. V. pp. 336-41, Story of the
Sandalwood Merchant and the Sharpers.

[FN#167] El Mamoun was of a very swarthy complexion and is said
to have been the son of a black slave-girl. Zubeideh was Er
Reshid's cousin, and El Amin was, therefore, a member of the
house of Abbas, both on the father's and mother's side. Of this
purity of descent from the Prophet's family (in which he is said
to have stood alone among the Khalifs of the Abbaside dynasty)
both himself and his mother were exceedingly proud, and it was
doubtless this circumstance which led Er Reshid to prefer El Amin
and to assign him the precedence in the succession over the more
capable and worthier El Mamoun.

[FN#168] Breslau Text, vol. viii. pp. 226-9, Nights dclx-i.

[FN#169] A pre-Mohammedan King of the Arab kingdom of Hireh (a
town near Cufa on the Euphrates), under the suzerainty of the
Chosroes of Persia, and a cruel and fantastic tyrant.

[FN#170] The tribe to which belonged the renowned pre-Mohammedan
chieftain and poet, Hatim Tal, so celebrated in the East for his
extravagant generosity and hospitality.

[FN#171] i.e. I will make a solemn covenant with him before God.

[FN#172] i.e. he of the tribe of Tai.

[FN#173] In generosity.

[FN#174] A similar anecdote is told of Omar ben el Khettab,
second successor of Mohammed, and will be found in my "Book of
the Thousand Nights and One Night," Vol. IV. p. 239.

[FN#175] Breslau Text, vol. viii. pp. 273-8, Nights dclxxv--vi.

[FN#176] A similar story will be found in my "Book of the
Thousand Nights and One Night", Vol. V. p. 263.

[FN#177] Breslau Text, vol xi. pp. 84-318, Nights
dccclxxv-dccccxxx.

[FN#178] i.e. A pilgrimage. Pilgrimage is one of a Muslim's
urgent duties.

[FN#179] By a rhetorical figure, Mecca is sometimes called El
Hejj (the Pilgrimage) and this appears to be the case here. It is
one of the dearest towns in the East and the chief occupation of
its inhabitants a the housing and fleecing of pilgrims. An Arab
proverb says, "There is no place in which money goes [so fast] as
it goes in Mecca."

[FN#180] lit. loved with it.

[FN#181] It is not clear what is here meant by El Hejj; perhaps
Medina, though this is a "visitation" and not an obligatory part
of the pilgrimage. The passage is probably corrupt.

[FN#182] It is not clear what is here meant by El Hejj; perhaps
Medina, though this is a "visitation" and not an obligatory part
of the pilgrimage. The passage is probably corrupt.

[FN#183] Syn. whole or perfect (sehik).

[FN#184] i.e. in white woollen garments.

[FN#185] i.e. I desire a privy place, where I may make the
preliminary ablution and pray.

[FN#186] It is customary in the East to give old men and women
the complimentary title of "pilgrim," assuming, as a matter of
course, that they have performed the obligatory rite of
pilgrimage.

[FN#187] Or saint.

[FN#188] Keniseh, a Christian or other non-Muslim place of
worship.

[FN#189] Apparently the harem.

[FN#190] i.e. otherwise than according to God's ordinance.

[FN#191] A city of Persian Irak.

[FN#192] Lit. its apparatus, i.e. spare strings, etc.?

[FN#193] i.e. the woman whose face he saw.

[FN#194] Lit. the place of battle, i.e. that where they had lain.

[FN#195] A common Eastern fashion of securing a shop, when left
for a short time. The word shebekeh (net) may also be tendered a
grating or network of iron or other metal.

[FN#196] i.e. gave her good measure.

[FN#197] i.e. she found him a good workman. Equivoque erotique,
apparently founded on the to-and-fro movement of the shuttle in
weaving.

[FN!198] Equivoque érotique.

[FN#199] i.e. removed the goods exposed for sale and laid them up
in the inner shop or storehouse.

[FN#200] The Eastern oven is generally a great earthenware jar
sunken in the earth.

[FN#201] i.e. a boughten white slave (memlouk).

[FN#202] Apparently changing places. The text is here fearfully
corrupt and (as in many other parts of the Breslau Edition) so
incoherent as to be almost unintelligible.

[FN#203] i.e. in the (inner) courtyard.

[FN#204] i.e. the essential nature, lit. jewel.

[FN#205] i.e. in proffering thee the kingship.

[FN#206] Without the city.

[FN#207] According to the conclusion of the story, this
recompense consisted in an augmentation of the old man's
allowances of food. See post, p. 245.

[FN#208] i.e. I have given my opinion.

[FN#209] This passage is evidently corrupt. I have amended it, on
conjecture, to the best of my power.

[FN#210] The words ruteb wa menazil, here rendered "degrees and
dignities," may also be rendered, "stations and mansions (of the
moon and planets)."

[FN#211] Syn. "ailing" or "sickly."

[FN#212] i.e. the caravan with which he came.

[FN#213] i.e. I seek to marry thy daughter, not for her own sake,
but because I desire thine alliance.

[FN#214] i.e. the face of his bride.

[FN#215] i.e. his wife.

[FN#216] i.e. his wife.

[FN#217] Naming the poor man.

[FN#218] Naming his daughter.

[FN#219] i.e. united.

[FN#220] Or "humble."

[FN#221] i.e. one another.

[FN#222] Or "conquer."

[FN#223] Or "commandment."

[FN#224] Lit. "will be higher than."

[FN#225] Syn. device or resource (hileh).

[FN#226] Syn. chasten or instruct.

[FN#227] Students of our old popular poetry will recognize, in
the principal incident of this story, the subject of the
well-known ballad, "The Heir of Linne."

[FN#228] i.e. Turcomans; afterwards called Sejestan.

[FN#229] With a pile of stones or some such landmark.

[FN#230] i.e. the extraordinary resemblance of the supposed
sister to his wife.

[FN#231] The foregoing passage is evidently very corrupt and the
meaning is by no means plain, but, in the absence of a parallel
version, it is impossible to clear up the obscurity of the text.

[FN#232] This appears to be the sense of the text; but the whole
passage is to obscure and corrupt that it is impossible to make
sure of its exact meaning.

[FN#233] Meaning apparently, "thou puttest my devices to nought"
or (perhaps) "thou art so skilful that I fear lest thou undermine
my favour with the king and oust me from my post of vizier."

[FN#234] Lit. "land;" but the meaning is evidently as in the
text.

[FN#235] The reader will recognize the well-known story used by
Chaucer, Boccaccio and La Fontaine.

[FN#236] Syn. flourishing.

[FN#237] Syn. depopulated.

[FN#238] Lit. an oppressor.

[FN#239] i.e. a man of commanding presence.

[FN#240] Syn. cause flourish.

[FN#241] Syn. depopulateth.

[FN#242] Lit. the year.

[FN#243] The whole of the tither's account of himself is terribly
obscure and so corrupt that it is hardly possible to make sense
of it. The same remark applies to much of the rest of the story.

[FN#244] Or "cause flourish."

[FN#245] Lit. a better theologian. The Muslim law being entirely
based on the Koran and the Traditions of the Prophet, the terms
"lawyer" and "theologian" are necessarily synonymous among
Mohammedan peoples.

[FN#246] A danic is the sixth of a dirhem, i.e. about one penny.

[FN#247] i.e. say, "May I be [triply] divorced from my wife, if
etc.!" By the Muslim law, a divorce three times pronounced is
irrevocable, and in case of its appearing that the user of such
an oath as the above had sworn falsely, his wife would become
divorced by operation of law, without further ceremony. Hence the
frequency and binding nature of the oath in question.

[FN#248] i.e. thousandfold cuckold.

[FN#249] i.e. the blows which the thief had given him.

[FN#250] i.e. at least, at the most moderate reckoning.

[FN#251] Or "Breath of God," a title given to Jesus by the
Mohammedans.

[FN#252] i.e. attaineth his desire.

[FN#253] Syn. guards.

[FN#254] i.e. the husbandman.

[FN#255] i.e. those bound to render suit and service to the king,
as holders of fiefs.

[FN#256] Syn. the revenue or rent-charge of thy fief.

[FN#257] Heads of families?

[FN#258] Or "caused flourish."

[FN#259] Or froward.

[FN#260] i.e. sold and spent the price of.

[FN#261] i.e. his lack of means to entertain her.

[FN#262] i.e. all that can conduce to.

[FN#263] i.e. it is for you (after God) to excuse me.

[FN#264] i.e. the [supposed] rest of his hoard.

[FN#265] Apparently the idiot's name.

[FN#266] i.e. had he been on his own guard against that, etc.


Text scanned by JC Byers and proof read by the volunteers of the
Distributed Proofreaders site: http://charlz.dns2go.com/gutenberg/


                     TALES FROM THE ARABIC

       Of the Breslau and Calcutta (1814-18) editions of

         The Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night

     not occurring in the other printed texts of the work,

                  Now first done into English

                         By John Payne

                       In Three Volumes:



                       VOLUME THE SECOND.



                              1901

                         Delhi Edition


                 Contents of The Second Volume.



                         Breslau Text.

1.   King Shah Bekht and His Vizier Er Rehwan (Continued)
     a.   Story of the Pious Woman Accused of Lewdness
     b.   Story of the Journeyman and the Girl
     c.   Story of the Weaver Who Became a Physician by His
          Wife's Commandment
     d.   Story of the Two Sharpers Who Cheated Each His Fellow
     e.   Story of the Sharpers with the Money-Changer and the
          Ass
     f.   Story of the Sharper and the Merchants
          i.   Story of the Hawk and the Locust
     g.   Story Op the King and His Chamberlain Wife
     h.   Story of the Old Woman and the Draper's Wife
     i.   Story of the Foul-favoured Man and His Fair Wife
     j.   Story of the King Who Lost Kingdom and Wife and Wealth
          and God Restored Them To Him
     k.   Story of Selim and Selma
     l.   Story of the King of Hind and His Vizier
2.   El Melik Ez Zahir Rukneddin Bibers El Bunducdari and the
     Sixteen Officers Of Police
     a.   The First Officer's Story
     b.   The Second Officer's Story
     c.   The Third Officer's Story
     d.   The Fourth Officer's Story
     e.   The Fifth Officer's Story
     f.   The Sixth Officer's Story
     g.   The Seventh Officer's Story
     h.   The Eighth Officer's Story
          i.   The Thief's Story
     i.   The Ninth Officer's Story
     j.   The Tenth Officer's Story
     k.   The Eleventh Officer's Story
     l.   The Twelfth Officer's Story
     m.   The Thirteenth Officer's Story
     n.   The Fourteenth Officer's Story
          i.   A Merry Jest of a Thief
          ii.  Story of the Old Sharper
     o.   The Fifteenth Officer's Story
     p.   The Sixteenth Officer's Story
3.   Abdallah Ben Nafi and the King's Son of Cashghar
     a.   Story of the Damsel Tuhfet El Culoub and the Khalif
          Haroun Er Reshid

                     Calcutta (1814-8) Text

4.   Women's Craft



                         Breslau Text.



            King Shah Bekht and His Vizier Er Rehwan
                          (continued).



               The Eighteenth Night of the Month.

When the evening evened, the king summoned the vizier and
required of him the [promised] story; so he said, "It is well.
Know, O king, that



              STORY OF THE PIOUS WOMAN ACCUSED OF
                           LEWDNESS.



There was once a man of Nishapour,[FN#1] who had a wife of the
utmost loveliness and piety, and he was minded to set out on the
pilgrimage. So he commended his wife to the care of his brother
and besought him to aid her in her affairs and further her to her
desires till he should return, so they both abode alive and well.
Then he took ship and departed and his absence was prolonged.
Meanwhile, the brother went in to his brother's wife, at all
times and seasons, and questioned her of her circumstances and
went about her occasions; and when his visits to her were
prolonged and he heard her speech and looked upon her face, the
love of her gat hold upon his heart and he became distraught with
passion for her and his soul prompted him [to evil]. So he
besought her to lie with him, but she refused and chid him for
his foul deed, and he found him no way unto presumption;[FN#2]
wherefore he importuned her with soft speech and gentleness.

Now she was righteous in all her dealings and swerved not from
one word;[FN#3] so, when he saw that she consented not unto him,
he misdoubted that she would tell his brother, when he returned
from his journey, and said to her, 'An thou consent not to this
whereof I require thee, I will cause thee fall into suspicion and
thou wilt perish.' Quoth she, 'Be God (extolled be His perfection
and exalted be He!) [judge] betwixt me and thee, and know that,
shouldst thou tear me limb from limb, I would not consent to that
whereto thou biddest me.' His folly[FN#4] persuaded him that she
would tell her husband; so, of his exceeding despite, he betook
himself to a company of people in the mosque and told them that
he had witnessed a man commit adultery with his brother's wife.
They believed his saying and took act of his accusation and
assembled to stone her. Then they dug her a pit without the city
and seating her therein, stoned her, till they deemed her dead,
when they left her.

Presently a villager passed by [the pit and finding] her [alive,]
carried her to his house and tended her, [till she recovered].
Now, he had a son, and when the young man saw her, he loved her
and besought her of herself; but she refused and consented not to
him, whereupon he redoubled in love and longing and despite
prompted him to suborn a youth of the people of his village and
agree with him that he should come by night and take somewhat
from his father's house and that, when he was discovered, he
should say that she was of accord with him in this and avouch
that she was his mistress and had been stoned on his account in
the city. So he did this and coming by night to the villager's
house, stole therefrom goods and clothes; whereupon the old man
awoke and seizing the thief, bound him fast and beat him, to make
him confess. So he confessed against the woman that she had
prompted him to this and that he was her lover from the city. The
news was bruited abroad and the people of the city assembled to
put her to death; but the old man, with whom she was, forbade
them and said, 'I brought this woman hither, coveting the
recompense [of God,] and I know not [the truth of] that which is
said of her and will not suffer any to hurt her.' Then he gave
her a thousand dirhems, by way of alms, and put her forth of the
village. As for the thief, he was imprisoned for some days; after
which the folk interceded for him with the old man, saying, 'This
is a youth and indeed he erred;' and he released him.

Meanwhile, the woman went out at hazard and donning devotee's
apparel, fared on without ceasing, till she came to a city and
found the king's deputies dunning the towns-folk for the tribute,
out of season. Presently, she saw a man, whom they were pressing
for the tribute; so she enquired of his case and being acquainted
therewith, paid down the thousand dirhems for him and delivered
him from beating; whereupon he thanked her and those who were
present. When he was set free, he accosted her and besought her
to go with him to his dwelling. So she accompanied him thither
and supped with him and passed the night. When the night darkened
on him, his soul prompted him to evil, for that which he saw of
her beauty and loveliness, and he lusted after her and required
her [of love]; but she repelled him and bade him fear God the
Most High and reminded him of that which she had done with him of
kindness and how she had delivered him from beating and
humiliation.

However, he would not be denied, and when he saw her [constant]
refusal of herself to him, he feared lest she should tell the
folk of him. So, when he arose in the morning, he took a scroll
and wrote in it what he would of forgery and falsehood and going
up to the Sultan's palace, said, '[I have] an advisement [for the
king].' So he bade admit him and he delivered him the writ that
he had forged, saying, 'I found this letter with the woman, the
devotee, the ascetic, and indeed she is a spy, a secret informer
against the king to his enemy; and I deem the king's due more
incumbent on me than any other and his advisement the first
[duty], for that he uniteth in himself all the people, and but
for the king's presence, the subjects would perish; wherefore I
have brought [thee] warning.' The king put faith in his words and
sent with him those who should lay hands upon the woman and put
her to death; but they found her not.

As for the woman, whenas the man went out from her, she resolved
to depart; so she went forth, saying in herself, 'There is no
journeying for me in woman's attire.' Then she donned men's
apparel, such as is worn of the pious, and set out and wandered
over the earth; nor did she leave going till she entered a
certain city. Now the king of that city had an only daughter in
whom he gloried and whom he loved, and she saw the devotee and
deeming her a pilgrim youth, said to her father, 'I would fain
have this youth take up his abode with me, so I may learn of him
wisdom and renunciation and religion.' Her father rejoiced in
this and commanded the [supposed] pilgrim to take up his sojourn
with his daughter in his palace. Now they were in one place and
the king's daughter was strenuous to the utterest in continence
and chastity and nobility of mind and magnanimity and devotion to
the worship of God; but the ignorant slandered her[FN#5] and the
folk of the realm said, 'The king's daughter loveth the pilgrim
youth and he loveth her.'

Now the king was a very old man and destiny decreed the ending of
his term of life; so he died and when he was buried, the folk
assembled and many were the sayings of the people and of the
king's kinsfolk and officers, and they took counsel together to
slay the princess and the young pilgrim, saying, 'This fellow
dishonoureth us with yonder strumpet and none accepteth dishonour
but the base.' So they fell upon them and slew the princess,
without questioning her of aught; whereupon the pious woman (whom
they deemed a boy) said to them, 'Out on ye, O misbelievers I Ye
have slain the pious lady.' Quoth they, 'Lewd fellow that thou
art, dost thou bespeak us thus? Thou lovedst her and she loved
thee, and we will slay thee without mercy.' 'God forbid!'
answered she, 'Indeed, the affair is the contrary of this.' 'What
proof hast thou of that?' asked they, and she said, 'Bring me
women.' So they brought her women, and when they looked on her,
they found her a woman.

When the townsfolk saw this, they repented of that which they had
done and the affair was grievous to them; so they sought pardon
[of God] and said to her, ' By the virtue of Him whom thou
servest, do thou seek pardon for us [of God!]' Quoth she, 'As for
me, I may no longer abide with you and I am about to depart from
you.' Then they humbled themselves in supplication to her and
wept and said to her, 'We conjure thee, by the virtue of God the
Most High, that thou take upon thyself the governance of the
kingdom and of the subjects.' But she refused; whereupon they
came up to her and wept and gave not over supplicating her, till
she consented and abode in the kingship. Her first commandment
was that they should bury the princess and build over her a
dome[FN#6] and she abode in that palace, worshipping God the Most
High and ruling the people with justice, and God (extolled be His
perfection and exalted be He!) vouchsafed her, by reason of the
excellence of her piety and her patience and continence, the
acceptance of her prayers, so that she sought not aught of Him to
whom belong might and majesty, but He granted her prayer; and her
report was noised abroad in all countries.

So the folk resorted to her from all parts and she used to pray
God (to whom belong might and majesty) for the oppressed and God
granted him relief, and against his oppressor, and He broke him
in sunder. Moreover, she prayed for the sick and they were made
whole; and on this wise she abode a great space of time. As for
her husband, when he returned from the pilgrimage, his brother
and the neighbours acquainted him with his wife's affair, whereat
he was sore concerned and misdoubted of their story, for that
which he knew of her chastity and prayerfulness; and he wept for
her loss.

Meanwhile, she prayed to God the Most High that He would
establish her innocence in the eyes of her husband and the folk.
So He sent down upon her husband's brother a sore disease and
none knew a remedy for him; wherefore he said to his brother, '
In such a city is a pious woman, a recluse, and her prayers are
answered; so do thou carry me to her, that she may pray for me
and God (to whom belong might and majesty) may make me whole of
this sickness.' Accordingly, he took him up and fared on with
him, till they came to the village where dwelt the old man, who
had rescued the woman from the pit and carried her to his
dwelling and tended her there, [till she recovered].

Here they halted and took up their lodging with the old man, who
questioned the husband of his case and that of his brother and
the reason of their journey, and he said, 'I purpose to go with
my brother, this sick man, to the holy woman, her whose prayers
are answered, so she may pray for him and God may make him whole
by the blessing of her prayers.' Quoth the villager, 'By Allah,
my son is in a parlous plight for sickness and we have heard that
the holy woman prayeth for the sick and they are made whole.
Indeed, the folk counsel me to carry him to her, and behold, I
will go in company with you. And they said, 'It is well.' So they
passed the night in that intent and on the morrow they set out
for the dwelling of the holy woman, this one carrying his son and
that his brother.

Now the man who had stolen the clothes and forged a lie against
the pious woman, pretending that he was her lover, sickened of a
sore sickness, and his people took him up and set out with him to
visit the holy woman, and Destiny brought them all together by
the way. So they fared on, till they came to the city wherein the
man dwelt for whom she had paid a thousand dirhems, to deliver
him from torment, and found him about to travel to her, by reason
of a sickness that had betided him. So they all fared on
together, unknowing that the holy woman was she whom they had so
foully wronged, and ceased not going till they came to her city
and foregathered at the gates of her palace, to wit, that wherein
was the tomb of the king's daughter.

Now the folk used to go in to her and salute her and crave her
prayers; and it was her wont to pray for none till he had
confessed to her his sins, when she would seek pardon for him and
pray for him that he might be healed, and he was straightway made
whole of sickness, by permission of God the Most High. [So, when
the four sick men were brought in to her,] she knew them
forthright, though they knew her not, and said to them, ' Let
each of you confess his sins, so I may crave pardon for him and
pray for him.' And the brother said, 'As for me, I required my
brother's wife of herself and she refused; whereupon despite and
folly[FN#7] prompted me and I lied against her and accused her to
the townsfolk of adultery; so they stoned her and slew her
unjustly and unrighteously; and this is the issue of unright and
falsehood and of the slaying of the [innocent] soul, whose
slaughter God hath forbidden.'

Then said the young man, the villager's son, 'And I, O holy
woman, my father brought us a woman who had been stoned, and my
people tended her till she recovered. Now she was surpassing of
beauty; so I required her of herself; but she refused and clave
fast to God (to whom belong might and majesty), wherefore
folly[FN#8] prompted me, so that I agreed with one of the youths
that he should steal clothes and coin from my father's house.
Then I laid hands on him [and carried him] to my father and made
him confess. So he avouched that the woman was his mistress from
the city and had been stoned on his account and that she was of
accord with him concerning the theft and had opened the doors to
him, and this was a lie against her, for that she had not yielded
to me in that which I sought of her. So there befell me what ye
see of punishment." And the young man, the thief, said, 'I am he
with whom thou agreedst concerning the theft and to whom thou
openedst the door, and I am he who avouched against her falsely
and calumniously and God (extolled be His perfection and exalted
be He!) knoweth that I never did evil with her, no, nor knew her
in any wise before then.'

Then said he whom she had delivered from torture and for whom she
had paid a thousand dirhems and who had required her of herself
in his house, for that her beauty pleased him, and [when she
refused to yield to him] had forged a letter against her and
treacherously denounced her to the Sultan and requited her bounty
with ingratitude, 'I am he who wronged her and lied against her,
and this is the issue of the oppressor's affair.'

When she heard their words, in the presence of the folk, she
said, 'Praise be to God, the King who availeth unto all things,
and blessing upon His prophets and apostles!' Then quoth she [to
the assembly], ' Bear witness, O ye who are present, to these
men's speech, and know that I am that woman whom they confess
that they wronged.' And she turned to her husband's brother and
said to him, 'I am thy brother's wife and God (extolled be His
perfection and exalted be He I) delivered me from that whereinto
thou castedst me of false accusation and suspect and from the
frowardness whereof thou hast spoken, and [now] hath He shown
forth my innocence, of His bounty and generosity. Go, for thou
art absolved of the wrong thou didst me.' Then she prayed for him
and he was made whole of his sickness.

Then said she to the villager's son, 'Know that I am the woman
whom thy father delivered from harm and stress and whom there
betided from thee of false accusation and frowardness that which
thou hast named.' And she craved pardon for him and he was made
whole of his sickness. [Then said she to the thief, 'I am she
against whom thou liedst, avouching that I was thy mistress, who
had been stoned on thine account, and that I was of accord with
thee concerning the robbing of the villager's house and had
opened the doors to thee.' And she prayed for him and he was made
whole of his sickness.] Then said she to [the townsman], him of
the tribute, 'I am she who gave thee the [thousand] dirhems and
thou didst with me what thou didst.' And she craved pardon for
him and prayed for him and he was made whole; whereupon the folk
marvelled at her oppressors, who had been afflicted alike, so God
(extolled be His perfection and exalted be He!) might show forth
her innocence before witnesses.

Then she turned to the old man who had delivered her from the pit
and prayed for him and gave him presents galore and among them a
myriad of money;[FN#9] and they all departed from her, except her
husband. When she was alone with him, she made him draw near unto
her and rejoiced in his coming and gave him the choice of abiding
with her. Moreover, she assembled the people of the city and set
out to them his virtue and worth and counselled them to invest
him with the charge of their governance and besought them to make
him king over them. They fell in with her of this and he became
king and took up his abode amongst them, whilst she gave herself
up to her religious exercises and abode with her husband on such
wise as she was with him aforetime.[FN#10] Nor," added the
vizier, "is this story, O king of the time, more extraordinary or
more delightful than that of the journeyman and the girl whose
belly he slit and fled."

When King Shah Bekht heard this, he said, "Most like all they say
of the vizier is leasing and his innocence will appear, even as
that of the pious woman appeared." Then he comforted the vizier's
heart and bade him go to his house.

               The Nineteenth Night of the Month.

When the evening evened, the king bade fetch the vizier and
required of him the story of the journeyman and the girl. So he
said, "Hearkening and obedience. Know, O august king, that



             STORY OF THE JOURNEYMAN AND THE GIRL.



There was once, of old time, in one of the tribes of the Arabs, a
woman great with child by her husband, and they had a hired
servant, a man of excellent understanding. When the woman came to
[the time of her] delivery, she gave birth to a maid-child in the
night and they sought fire of the neighbours. So the journeyman
went in quest of fire.

Now there was in the camp a wise woman,[FN#11] and she questioned
him of the new-born child, if it was male or female. Quoth he,
'It is a girl;' and she said, 'She shall do whoredom with a
hundred men and a journeyman shall marry her and a spider shall
slay her.' When the journeyman heard this, he returned upon his
steps and going in to the woman, took the child from her by wile
and slit its paunch. Then he fled forth into the desert at a
venture and abode in strangerhood what [while] God willed.

He gained him wealth and returning to his native land, after
twenty years' absence, alighted in the neighbourhood of an old
woman, whom he bespoke fair and entreated with liberality,
requiring of her a wench whom he might lie withal. Quoth she, 'I
know none but a certain fair woman, who is renowned for this
fashion.'[FN#12] Then she described her charms to him and made
him lust after her, and he said, 'Hasten to her forthright and
lavish unto her that which she asketh, [in exchange for her
favours].' So the old woman betook herself to the damsel and
discovered to her the man's wishes and bade her to him; but she
answered, saying, 'It is true that I was on this [fashion of]
whoredom [aforetime]; but now I have repented to God the Most
High and hanker no more after this; nay, I desire lawful
marriage; so, if he be content with that which is lawful, I am at
his service.'

The old woman returned to the man and told him what the damsel
said; and he lusted after her, by reason of her beauty and her
repentance; so he took her to wife, and when he went in to her,
he loved her and she also loved him. On this wise they abode a
great while, till one day he questioned her of the cause of a
mark[FN#13] he espied on her body, and she said, 'I know nought
thereof save that my mother told me a marvellous thing concerning
it.' 'What was that?' asked he, and she answered, 'She avouched
that she gave birth to me one night of the nights of the winter
and despatched a hired man, who was with us, in quest of fire for
her. He was absent a little while and presently returning, took
me and slit my belly and fled. When my mother saw this,
affliction overcame her and compassion possessed her; so she
sewed up my belly and tended me till, by the ordinance of God (to
whom belong might and majesty), the wound healed up."

When her husband heard this, he said to her, 'What is thy name
and what are the names of thy father and mother?' She told him
their names and her own, whereby he knew that it was she whose
belly he had slit and said to her, 'And where are thy father and
mother?' 'They are both dead,' answered she, and he said, 'I am
that journeyman who slit thy belly.' Quoth she, 'Why didst thou
that?' And he replied, 'Because of a saying I heard from the wise
woman.' 'What was it?' asked his wife, and he said, 'She avouched
that thou wouldst play the harlot with a hundied men and that I
should after take thee to wife.' Quoth she, 'Ay, I have whored it
with a hundred men, no more and no less, and behold, thou hast
married me.' 'Moreover,' continued her husband, 'the wise woman
foresaid, also, that thou shouldst die, at the last of thy life,
of the bite of a spider. Indeed, her saying hath been verified of
the harlotry and the marriage, and I fear lest her word come true
no less in the matter of thy death.'

Then they betook themselves to a place without the city, where he
builded him a mansion of solid stone and white plaster and
stopped its inner [walls] and stuccoed them; yea, he left not
therein cranny nor crevice and set in it two serving-women to
sweep and wipe, for fear of spiders. Here he abode with his wife
a great while, till one day he espied a spider on the ceiling and
beat it down. When his wife saw it, she said, 'This is that which
the wise woman avouched would kill me; so, by thy life [I conjure
thee], suffer me to slay it with mine own hand.' Her husband
forbade her from this, but she conjured him to let her kill the
spider; then, of her fear and her eagerness, she took a piece of
wood and smote it. The wood broke in sunder, of the force of the
blow, and a splinter from it entered her hand and wrought upon
it, so that it swelled. Then her arm swelled also and the
swelling spread to her side and thence grew till it reached her
heart and she died. Nor," added the vizier, "is this more
extraordinary or more wonderful than the story of the weaver who
became a physician by his wife's commandment."

When the king heard this, his admiration redoubled and he said,
"Of a truth, destiny is forewritten to all creatures, and I will
not accept[FN#14] aught that is said against my vizier the loyal
counsellor." And he bade him go to his house.

               The Twentieth Night of the Month.

When the evening evened, the king let call his vizier and he
presented himself before him, whereupon he required of him the
hearing of the [promised] story. So he said, "Hearkening and
obedience. Know, O king. that



                STORY OF THE WEAVER WHO BECAME A
              PHYSICIAN BY HIS WIFE'S COMMANDMENT.



There was once, in the land of Fars,[FN#15] a man who took to
wife a woman higher than himself in rank and nobler of lineage,
but she had no guardian to preserve her from want. It misliked
her to marry one who was beneath her; nevertheless, she married
him, because of need, and took of him a bond in writing to the
effect that he would still be under her commandment and
forbiddance and would nowise gainsay her in word or deed. Now the
man was a weaver and he bound himself in writing to pay his wife
ten thousand dirhems, [in case he should make default in the
condition aforesaid].

On this wise they abode a long while till one day the wife went
out in quest of water, whereof she had need, and espied a
physician who had spread a carpet in the Thereon he had set out
great store of drugs and implements of medicine and he was
speaking and muttering [charms], whilst the folk flocked to him
and compassed him about on every side. The weaver's wife
marvelled at the largeness of the physician's fortune[FN#16] and
said in herself, 'Were my husband thus, he would have an easy
life of it and that wherein we are of straitness and misery would
be enlarged unto him.'

Then she returned home, troubled and careful; and when her
husband saw her on this wise, he questioned her of her case and
she said to him, 'Verily, my breast is straitened by reason of
thee and of the simpleness of thine intent. Straitness liketh me
not and thou in thy [present] craft gaiuest nought; so either do
thou seek out a craft other than this or pay me my due[FN#17] and
let me go my way.' Her husband chid her for this and admonished
her;[FN#18] but she would not be turned from her intent and said
to him, 'Go forth and watch yonder physician how he doth and leam
from him what he saith.' Quoth he, 'Let not thy heart be
troubled: I will go every day to the physician's assembly.'

So he fell to resorting daily to the physician and committing to
memory his sayings and that which he spoke of jargon, till he had
gotten a great matter by heart, and all this he studied throughly
and digested it. Then he returned to his wife and said to her, 'I
have committed the physician's sayings to memory and have learned
his fashion of muttering and prescribing and applying
remedies[FN#19] and have gotten by heart the names of the
remedies and of all the diseases, and there abideth nought
[unaccomplished] of thy commandment. What wilt thou have me do
now?' Quoth she, 'Leave weaving and open thyself a physician's
shop.' But he answered, 'The people of my city know me and this
affair will not profit me, save in a land of strangerhood; so
come, let us go out from this city and get us to a strange land
and [there] live.' And she said, 'Do as thou wilt.'

So he arose and taking his weaving gear, sold it and bought with
the price drugs and simples and wrought himself a carpet, with
which they set out and journeyed to a certain village, where they
took up their abode. Then the man donned a physician's habit and
fell to going round about the hamlets and villages and country
parts; and he began to earn his living and make gain. Their
affairs prospered and their case was bettered; wherefore they
praised God for their present ease and the village became to them
a home.

[On this wise he abode a pretty while] and the days ceased not
and the nights to transport him from country to country, till he
came to the land of the Greeks and lighted down in a city of the
cities thereof, wherein was Galen the Sage; but the weaver knew
him not, nor was he ware who he was. So he went forth, according
to his wont, in quest of a place where the folk might assemble
together, and hired Galen's courtyard.[FN#20] There he spread his
carpet and setting out thereon his drugs and instruments of
medicine, praised himself and his skill and vaunted himself of
understanding such as none but he might claim.

Galen heard that which he avouched of his understanding and it
was certified unto him and established in his mind that the man
was a skilled physician of the physicians of the Persians and [he
said in himself], 'Except he had confidence in his knowledge and
were minded to confront me and contend with me, he had not sought
the door of my house neither spoken that which he hath spoken.'
And concern gat hold upon Galen and doubt. Then he looked out
upon[FN#21] the weaver and addressed himself to see what he
should do, whilst the folk began to flock to him and set out to
him their ailments, and he would answer them thereof [and
prescribe for them], hitting the mark one while and missing it
another, so that there appeared unto Galen of his fashion nothing
whereby his mind might be assured that he had formed a just
opinion of his skill.

Presently, up came a woman with a phial of urine, and when the
[mock] physician saw the phial afar off, he said to her, 'This is
the urine of a man, a stranger.' 'Yes,' answered she; and he
continued, 'Is he not a Jew and is not his ailment indigestion?'
'Yes,' replied the woman, and the folk marvelled at this;
wherefore the man was magnified in Galen's eyes, for that he
heard speech such as was not of the usage of physicians, seeing
that they know not urine but by shaking it and looking into it
anear neither know they a man's water from a woman's water, nor a
stranger's [from a countryman's], nor a Jew's from a
Sherifs.[FN#22] Then said the woman, 'What is the remedy?' Quoth
the weaver, 'Pay down the fee.' So she paid him a dirhem and he
gave her medicines contrary to that ailment and such as would
aggravate the patient's malady.

When Galen saw what appeared to him of the [mock] physician's
incapacity, he turned to his disciples and pupils and bade them
fetch the other, with all his gear and drugs. So they brought him
into his presence on the speediest wise, and when Galen saw him
before him, he said to him, 'Knowest thou me?' ' No,' answered
the other, 'nor did I ever set eyes on thee before this day.'
Quoth the sage, 'Dost thou know Galen?' And the weaver said,
'No.' Then said Galen, 'What prompted thee to that which thou
dost?' So he related to him his story and gave him to know of the
dowry and the obligation by which he was bound with regard to his
wife, whereat Galen marvelled and certified himself of the matter
of the dower.

Then he bade lodge him near himself and was bountiful to him and
took him apart and said to him, 'Expound to me the story of the
phial and whence then knewest that the water therein was that of
a man, and he a stranger and a Jew, and that his ailment was
indigestion?' ' It is well,' answered the weaver. ' Thou must
know that we people of Persia are skilled in physiognomy[FN#23]
and I saw the woman to be rosy-cheeked, blue-eyed and tall. Now
these attributes belong to women who are enamoured of a man and
are distraught for love of him;[FN#24] moreover, I saw her
consumed [with anxiety]; wherefore I knew that the patient was
her husband. As for his strangerhood, I observed that the woman's
attire differed from that of the people of the city, wherefore I
knew that she was a stranger; and in the mouth of the phial I
espied a yellow rag,[FN#25] whereby I knew that the patient was a
Jew and she a Jewess. Moreover, she came to me on the first day
[of the week];[FN#26] and it is the Jews' custom to take
pottages[FN#27] and meats that have been dressed overnight[FN#28]
and eat them on the Sabbath day,[FN#29] hot and cold, and they
exceed in eating; wherefore indigestion betideth them. On this
wise I was directed and guessed that which thou hast heard.'

When Galen heard this, he ordered the weaver the amount of his
wife's dowry and bade him pay it to her and divorce her.
Moreover, he forbade him from returning to the practice of physic
and warned him never again to take to wife a woman of better
condition than himself; and he gave him his spending-money and
bade him return to his [former] craft. Nor," added the vizier,
"is this more extraordinary or rarer than the story of the two
sharpers who cozened each his fellow."

When King Shah Bekht heard this, he said in himself, "How like is
this story to my present case with this vizier, who hath not his
like!" Then he bade him depart to his own house and come again at
eventide.

              The Twenty-First Night of the Month.

When came the night, the vizier presented himself before the
king, who bade him relate the [promised] story. So he said,
"Hearkening and obedience. Know, Out



             STORY OF THE TWO SHARPERS WHO CHEATED
                        EACH HIS FELLOW.



There was once, in the city of Baghdad, a man, [by name El
Merouzi,][FN#30] who was a sharper and plagued[FN#31] the folk
with his knavish tricks, and he was renowned in all quarters [for
roguery]. [He went out one day], carrying a load of sheep's dung,
and took an oath that he would not return to his lodging till he
had sold it at the price of raisins. Now there was in another
city a second sharper, [by name Er Razi,][FN#32] one of its
people, who [went out the same day], bearing a load of goat's
dung, which he had sworn that he would not sell but at the price
of dried figs.

So each of them fared on with that which was with him and gave
not over going till they met in one of the inns[FN#33] and each
complained to the other of that which he had abidden of travel
[in quest of custom] and of the lack of demand for his wares. Now
each of them had it in mind to cheat his fellow; so El Merouzi
said to Er Razi, 'Wilt thou sell me that?' 'Yes,' answered he,
and the other continued, 'And wilt thou buy that which is with
me?' Er Razi assented; so they agreed upon this and each of them
sold his fellow that which was with him [in exchange for the
other's ware]; after which they bade each other farewell and
parted. As soon as they were out of each other's sight, they
examined their loads, to see what was therein, and one of them
found that he had a load of sheep's dung and the other that he
had a load of goat's dung; whereupon each of them turned back in
quest of his fellow. They met in the inn aforesaid and laughed at
each other and cancelling their bargain, agreed to enter into
partnership and that all that they had of money and other good
should be in common between them, share and share alike.

Then said Er Razi to El Merouzi, 'Come with me to my city, for
that it is nearer [than thine].' So he went with him, and when he
came to his lodging, he said to his wife and household and
neighbours, 'This is my brother, who hath been absent in the land
of Khorassan and is come back.' And he abode with him in all
honour and worship three days' space. On the fourth day, Er Razi
said to him, 'Know, O my brother, that I purpose to do somewhat'
'What is it?' asked El Merouzi. Quoth the other, 'I mean to feign
myself dead and do thou go to the market and hire two porters and
a bier. [Then come back and take me up and go round about the
streets and markets with me and collect alms on my
account.][FN#34]

Accordingly El Merouzi repaired to the market and fetching that
which he sought, returned to Er Razi's house, where he found the
latter cast down in the vestibule, with his beard tied and his
eyes shut; and indeed, his colour was paled and his belly blown
out and his limbs relaxed. So he deemed him in truth dead and
shook him; but he spoke not; and he took a knife and pricked him
in the legs, but he stirred not. Then said Er Razi, 'What is
this, O fool?' And El Merouzi answered, 'Methought thou wast dead
in very sooth.' Quoth Er Razi, 'Get thee to seriousness and leave
jesting.' So he took him up and went with him to the market and
collected [alms] for him that day till eventide, when he carried
him back to his lodging and waited till the morrow.

Next morning, he again took up the bier and went round with it as
before, in quest of alms. Presently, the master of police, who
was of those who had given alms on account of the supposed dead
man on the previous day, met him; so he was angered and fell on
the porters and beat them and took the [supposed] dead body,
saying, 'I will bury him and earn the reward [of God].'[FN#35] So
his men took him up and carrying him to the prefecture, fetched
grave-diggers, who dug him a grave. Then they bought him a shroud
and perfumes[FN#36] and fetched an old man of the quarter, to
wash him. So he recited over him [the appointed prayers and
portions of the Koran] and laying him on the bench, washed him
and shrouded him. After he had shrouded him, he voided;[FN#37] so
he renewed the washing and went away to make his
ablutions,[FN#38] whilst all the folk departed, likewise, to make
the [obligatory] ablution, previously to the funeral.

When the dead man found himself alone, he sprang up, as he were a
Satan, and donning the washer's clothes,[FN#39] took the bowls
and water-can and wrapped them up in the napkins. Then be took
his shroud under his arm and went out. The doorkeepers thought
that he was the washer and said to him, 'Hast thou made an end of
the washing, so we may tell the Amir?' 'Yes,' answered the
sharper and made off to his lodging, where he found El Merouzi
soliciting his wife and saying to her, 'Nay, by thy life, thou
wilt never again look upon his face; for that by this time he is
buried. I myself escaped not from them but after travail and
trouble, and if he speak, they will put him to death.' Quoth she,
'And what wilt thou have of me?' 'Accomplish my desire of thee,'
answered he, 'and heal my disorder, for I am better than thy
husband.' And he fell a-toying with her.

When Er Razi heard this, he said, 'Yonder wittol lusteth after my
wife; but I will do him a mischief.' Then he rushed in upon them,
and when El Merouzi saw him, he marvelled at him and said to him,
'How didst thou make thine escape?' So he told him the trick he
had played and they abode talking of that which they had
collected from the folk [by way of alms], and indeed they had
gotten great store of money. Then said El Merouzi, 'Verily, mine
absence hath been prolonged and fain would I return to my own
country.' Quoth Er Rasi,' As thou wilt;' and the other said, 'Let
us divide the money we have gotten and do thou go with me to my
country, so I may show thee my tricks and my fashions.' 'Come
to-morrow,' replied Er Razi, 'and we will divide the money.'

So El Merouzi went away and the other turned to his wife and said
to her, 'We have gotten us great plenty of money, and yonder dog
would fain take the half of it; but this shall never be, for that
my mind hath been changed against him, since I heard him solicit
thee; wherefore I purpose to play him a trick and enjoy all the
money; and do not thou cross me.' ' It is well,' answered she,
and he said to her, '[To-morrow] at day-peep I will feign myself
dead and do thou cry out and tear thy hair, whereupon the folk
will flock to me. Then lay me out and bury me, and when the folk
are gone away [from the burial-place], do thou dig down to me and
take me; and have no fear for me, for I can abide two days in the
tomb [without hurt].' And she answered, 'Do what thou wilt.'

So, when it was the foredawn hour, she tied his beard and
spreading a veil over him, cried out, whereupon the people of the
quarter flocked to her, men and women. Presently, up came El
Merouzi, for the division of the money, and hearing the crying
[of the mourners], said, 'What is to do?" Quoth they, 'Thy
brother is dead;' and he said in himself, 'The accursed fellow
putteth a cheat on me, so he may get all the money for himself,
but I will do with him what shall soon bring him to life again.'
Then he rent the bosom of his gown and uncovered his head,
weeping and saying, 'Alas, my brother! Alas, my chief! Alas, my
lord!' And he went in to the men, who rose and condoled with him.
Then he accosted Er Razi's wife and said to her, 'How came his
death about?' 'I know not,' answered she, 'except that, when I
arose in the morning, I found him dead.' Moreover, he questioned
her of the money and good that was with her, but she said, 'I
have no knowledge of this and no tidings.'

So he sat down at the sharper's head, and said to him, 'Know, O
Razi, that I will not leave thee till after ten days and their
nights, wherein I will wake and sleep by thy grave. So arise and
be not a fool.' But he answered him not and El Merouzi [drew his
knife and] fell to sticking it into the other's hands and feet,
thinking to make him move; but [he stirred not and] he presently
grew weary of this and concluded that the sharper was dead in
good earnest. [However, he still misdoubted of the case] and said
in himself, 'This fellow is dissembling, so he may enjoy all the
money.' Therewith he addressed himself to prepare him [for
burial] and bought him perfumes and what [not else] was needed.
Then they brought him to the washing-place and El Merouzi came to
him and heating water till it boiled and bubbled and a third of
it was wasted,[FN#40] fell to pouring it on his skin, so that it
turned red and blue and blistered; but he abode still on one case
[and stirred not].

So they wrapped him in the shroud and set him on the bier. Then
they took up his bier and bearing him to the burial-place, laid
him in the grave[FN#41] and threw the earth over him; after which
the folk dispersed, but El Merouzi and the widow abode by the
tomb, weeping, and gave not over sitting till sundown, when the
woman said to him, 'Come, let us go to the house, for this
weeping will not profit us, nor will it restore the dead.' 'By
Allah,' answered the sharper, 'I will not budge hence till I have
slept and waked by this tomb ten days, with their nights!' When
she heard this his speech, she feared lest he should keep his
word and his oath, and so her husband perish; but she said in
herself, 'This fellow dissembleth: if I go away and return to my
house, he will abide by him a little while and go away.' And El
Merouzi said to her, 'Arise, thou, and go away.'

So she arose and returned to her house, whilst El Merouzi abode
in his place till the night was half spent, when he said to
himself, 'How long [is this to last]? Yet how can I let this
knavish dog die and lose the money? Methinks I were better open
the tomb on him and bring him forth and take my due of him by
dint of grievous beating and torment.' Accordingly, he dug him up
and pulled him forth of the tomb; after which he betook himself
to an orchard hard by the burial-ground and cut thence staves and
palm sticks. Then he tied the dead man's legs and came down on
him with the staff and beat him grievously; but he stirred not.
When the time grew long on him, his shoulders became weary and he
feared lest some one of the watch should pass on his round and
surprise him. So he took up Er Razi and carrying him forth of the
cemetery, stayed not till he came to the Magians' burying-place
and casting him down in a sepulchre[FN#42] there, rained heavy
blows upon him till his shoulders failed him, but the other
stirred not Then he sat down by his side and rested; after which
he rose and renewed the beating upon him, [but to no better
effect; and thus he did] till the end of the night

Now, as destiny would have it, a band of thieves, whose use it
was, whenas they had stolen aught, to resort to that place and
divide [their booty], came thither [that night], as of their
wont; and they were ten in number and had with them wealth
galore, which they were carrying. When they drew near the
sepulchre, they heard a noise of blows within it and the captain
said, 'This is a Magian whom the angels[FN#43] are tormenting.'
So they entered [the burial-ground] and when they came over
against El Merouzi, he feared lest they should be the officers of
the watch come upon him, wherefore he [arose and] fled and stood
among the tombs.[FN#44] The thieves came up to the place and
finding Er Razi bound by the feet and by him near seventy sticks,
marvelled at this with an exceeding wonderment and said, 'God
confound thee! This was sure an infidel, a man of many crimes;
for, behold, the earth hath rejected him from her womb, and by my
life, he is yet fresh! This is his first night [in the tomb] and
the angels were tormenting him but now; so whosoever of you hath
a sin upon his conscience, let him beat him, as a propitiatory
offering to God the Most High.' And the thieves said, 'We all
have sins upon our consciences.'

So each of them went up to the [supposed] dead man and dealt him
nigh upon a hundred blows, exclaiming the while, one, 'This is
for[FN#45] my father!' and another, 'This is for my grandfather!'
whilst a third said, 'This is for my brother!' and a fourth,
'This is for my mother!' And they gave not over taking turns at
him and beating him, till they were weary, what while El Merouzi
stood laughing and saying in himself, 'It is not I alone who have
entered into sin against him. There is no power and no virtue
save in God the Most High, the Supreme!'

Then the thieves addressed themselves to sharing their booty and
presently fell out concerning a sword that was among the spoil,
who should take it. Quoth the captain, 'Methinks we were better
prove it; so, if it be good, we shall know its worth, and if it
be ill, we shall know that.' And they said, 'Try it on this dead
man, for he is fresh.' So the captain took the sword and drawing
it, poised it and brandished it; but, when Er Razi saw this, he
made sure of death and said in himself, 'I have borne the washing
and the boiling water and the pricking with the knife and the
grave and its straitness and all this [beating], trusting in God
that I might be delivered from death, and [hitherto] I have been
delivered; but, as for the sword, I may not brook that, for but
one stroke of it, and I am a dead man.'

So saying, he sprang to his feet and catching up the thigh-bone
of one of the dead, cried out at the top of his voice, saying, 'O
ye dead, take them!' And he smote one of them, whilst his comrade
[El Merouzi] smote another and they cried out at them and
buffeted them on the napes of their necks; whereupon the thieves
left that which was with them of plunder and fled; and indeed
their wits forsook them [for terror] and they stayed not in their
flight till they came forth of the Magians' burial-ground and
left it a parasang's length behind them, when they halted,
trembling and affrighted for the soreness of that which had
betided them of fear and amazement at the dead.

As for Er Razi and El Merouzi, they made peace with each other
and sat down to share the booty. Quoth El Merouzi, 'I will not
give thee a dirhem of this money, till thou pay me my due of the
money that is in thy house.' And Er Razi said 'I will not do it,
nor will I subtract this from aught of my due.' So they fell out
upon this and disputed with one another and each went saying to
his fellow, 'I will not give thee a dirhem!' And words ran high
between them and contention was prolonged.

Meanwhile, when the thieves halted, one of them said to the
others, 'Let us return and see;' and the captain said, 'This
thing is impossible of the dead: never heard we that they came to
life on this wise. So let us return and take our good, for that
the dead have no occasion for good.' And they were divided in
opinion as to returning: but [presently they came to a decision
and] said, 'Indeed, our arms are gone and we cannot avail against
them and will not draw near the place where they are: only let
one of us [go thither and] look at it, and if he hear no sound of
them, let him advertise us what we shall do.' So they agreed that
they should send a man of them and assigned him [for this
service] two parts [of the booty].

Accordingly, he returned to the burial-ground and gave not over
going till he stood at the door of the sepulchre, when he heard
El Merouzi say to his fellow, 'I will not give thee a single
dirhem of the money!' The other said the like and they were
occupied with contention and mutual revilement and talk. So the
thief returned in haste to his fellows, who said, 'What is behind
thee?' Quoth he, 'Get you gone and flee for your lives and save
yourselves, O fools; for that much people of the dead are come to
life and between them are words and contention.' So the thieves
fled, whilst the two sharpers retained to Er Razi's house and
made peace with one another and laid the thieves' purchase to the
money they had gotten aforetime and lived a while of time. Nor, O
king of the age," added the vizier, "is this rarer or more
marvellous than the story of the four sharpers with the
money-changer and the ass."

When the king heard this story, he smiled and it pleased him and
he bade the vizier go away to his own house.

             The Twenty-Second Night of the Month.

When the evening evened, the king summoned the vizier and
required of him the hearing of the [promised] story. So he said,
"Hearkening and obedience. Know, O king, that



                 STORY OF THE SHARPERS WITH THE
                   MONEY-CHANGER AND THE ASS.



Four sharpers once plotted against a money-changer, a man of
abounding wealth, and agreed upon a device for the taking of
somewhat of his money. So one of them took an ass and laying on
it a bag, wherein was money, lighted down at the money-changer's
shop and sought of him change for the money. The money- changer
brought out to him the change and bartered it with him, whilst
the sharper was easy with him in the matter of the exchange, so
he might give him confidence in himself. [As they were thus
engaged,] up came the [other three] sharpers and surrounded the
ass; and one of them said, '[It is] he,' and another said, 'Wait
till I look at him.' Then he fell to looking on the ass and
stroking him from his mane to his crupper; whilst the third went
up to him and handled him and felt him from head to tail, saying,
' Yes, [it is] in him.' Quoth another, ['Nay,] it is not in him.'
And they gave not over doing the like of this.

Then they accosted the owner of the ass and chaffered with him
and he said, 'I will not sell him but for ten thousand dirhems.'
They offered him a thousand dirhems; but he refused and swore
that he would not sell the ass but for that which he had said.
They ceased not to add to their bidding, till the price reached
five thousand dirhems, whilst their fellow still said, 'I will
not sell him but for ten thousand dirhems.' The money-changer
counselled him to sell, but he would not do this and said to him,
'Harkye, gaffer! Thou hast no knowledge of this ass's case.
Concern thyself with silver and gold and what pertaineth thereto
of change and exchange; for indeed the virtue of this ass passeth
thy comprehension. To every craft its craftsman and to every
means of livelihood its folk.'

When the affair was prolonged upon the three sharpers, they went
away and sat down a little apart; then they came up to the
money-changer privily and said to him, 'If thou canst buy him for
us, do so, and we will give thee a score of dirhems.' Quoth he,
'Go away and sit down afar from him.' So they did his bidding and
the money-changer went up to the owner of the ass and gave not
over tempting him with money and cajoling him and saying, 'Leave
yonder fellows and sell me the ass, and I will reckon him a gift
from thee,' till he consented to sell him the ass for five
thousand and five hundred dirhems. Accordingly the money-changer
counted down to him five thousand and five hundred dirhems of his
own money, and the owner of the ass took the price and delivered
the ass to him, saying, 'Whatsoever betideth, though he abide a
deposit about thy neck,[FN#46] sell him not to yonder rogues for
less than ten thousand dirhems, for that they would fain buy him
because of a hidden treasure whereof they know, and nought can
guide them thereto but this ass. So close thy hand on him and
gainsay me not, or thou wilt repent.'

So saying, he left him and went away, whereupon up came the three
other sharpers, the comrades of him of the ass, and said to the
money-changer, 'God requite thee for us with good, for that thou
hast bought him! How can we requite thee!' Quoth he, 'I will not
sell him but for ten thousand dirhems.' When they heard this,
they returned to the ass and fell again to examining him and
handling him. Then said they to the money-changer, 'We were
mistaken in him. This is not the ass we sought and he is not
worth more than half a score paras to us.' Then they left him and
offered to go away, whereat the money-changer was sore chagrined
and cried out at their speech, saying, 'O folk, ye besought me to
buy him for you and now I have bought him, ye say, "We were
deceived [in him], and he is not worth more than ten paras to
us."' Quoth they, 'We supposed that in him was that which we
desired; but, behold, in him is the contrary of that which we
want; and indeed he hath a default, for that he is short of
back.' And they scoffed at him and went away from him and
dispersed.

The money-changer thought they did but finesse with him, that
they might get the ass at their own price; but, when they went
away from him and he had long in vain awaited their return, he
cried out, saying, 'Woe!' and 'Ruin!' and 'Alack, my sorry
chance!' and shrieked aloud and tore his clothes. So the people
of the market assembled to him and questioned him of his case;
whereupon he acquainted them with his plight and told them what
the sharpers had said and how they had beguiled him and how it
was they who had cajoled him into buying an ass worth half a
hundred dirhems[FN#47] for five thousand and five hundred.[FN#48]
His friends blamed him and a company of the folk laughed at him
and marvelled at his folly and his credulity in accepting the
sharpers' talk, without suspicion, and meddling with that which
he understood not and thrusting himself into that whereof he was
not assured.

On this wise, O King Shah Bekht," continued the vizier, "is the
issue of eagerness for [the goods of] the world and covetise of
that which our knowledge embraceth not; indeed, [whoso doth thus]
shall perish and repent Nor, O king of the age, (added he) is
this story more extraordinary than that of the sharper and the
merchants."

When the king heard this story, he said in himself, "Verily, had
I given ear to the sayings of my courtiers and inclined to the
idle prate [of those who counselled me] in the matter of [the
slaying of] my vizier, I had repented to the utterest of
repentance, but praised be God, who hath disposed me to
mansuetude and long-suffering and hath endowed me with patience!"
Then he turned to the vizier and bade him return to his dwelling
and [dismissed] those who were present, as of wont.

              The Twenty-Third Night of the Month.

When the evening evened, the king sent after the vizier and when
he presented himself before him, he required of him the hearing
of the [promised] story. So he said, "Hearkening and obedience.
Know, O illustrious lord, that



            STORY OF THE SHARPER AND THE MERCHANTS.



There was once aforetime a certain sharper, who [was so eloquent
that he] would turn the ear inside out, and he was a man of
understanding and quick wit and skill and perfection. It was his
wont to enter a town and [give himself out as a merchant and]
make a show of trafficking and insinuate himself into the
intimacy of people of worth and consort with the merchants, for
he was [apparently] distinguished for virtue and piety. Then he
would put a cheat on them and take [of them] what he might spend
and go away to another city; and he ceased not to do thus a great
while.

It befell one day that he entered a certain city and sold
somewhat that was with him of merchandise and got him friends of
the merchants of the place and fell to sitting with them and
entertaining them and inviting them to his lodging and his
assembly, whilst they also invited him to their houses. On this
wise he abode a long while, till he was minded to leave the city;
and this was bruited abroad among his friends, who were concerned
for parting from him. Then he betook himself to him of them, who
was the richest of them in substance and the most apparent of
them in generosity, and sat with him and borrowed his goods; and
when he was about to take leave, he desired him to give him the
deposit that he had left with him. 'And what is the deposit?'
asked the merchant. Quoth the sharper, 'It is such a purse, with
the thousand dinars therein.' And the merchant said, 'When didst
thou give it me?' 'Extolled be the perfection of God!' replied
the sharper. 'Was it not on such a day, by such a token, and thus
and thus?' 'I know not of this,' rejoined the merchant, and words
were bandied about between them, whilst the folk [who were
present also] disputed together concerning their affair and their
speech, till their voices rose high and the neighbours had
knowledge of that which passed between them.

Then said the sharper, 'O folk, this is my friend and I deposited
with him a deposit, but he denieth it; so in whom shall the folk
put trust after this?' And they said, 'This [FN#49] is a man of
worth and we have found in him nought but trustiness and loyality
and good breeding, and he is endowed with understanding and
generosity. Indeed, he avoucheth no falsehood, for that we have
consorted with him and mixed with him and he with us and we know
the sincerity of his religion.' Then quoth one of them to the
merchant, 'Harkye, such an one! Bethink thee and consult thy
memory. It may not be but that thou hast forgotten.' But he said,
'O folk, I know nothing of that which he saith, for indeed he
deposited nought with me.' And the affair was prolonged between
them. Then said the sharper to the merchant, 'I am about to make
a journey and have, praised be God the Most High, wealth galore,
and this money shall not escape me; but do thou swear to me.' And
the folk said, 'Indeed, this man doth justice upon
himself.'[FN#50] Whereupon the merchant fell into that which he
misliked[FN#51] and came near upon [suffering] loss and ill
repute.

Now he had a friend, who pretended to quickwittedness and
understanding; so he came up to him privily and said to him, 'Let
me do, so I may put the change on this trickster, for I know him
to be a liar and thou art near upon having to pay the money; but
I will turn suspicion from thee and say to him, "The deposit is
with me and thou erredst in imagining that it was with other than
myself," and so divert him from thee.' 'Do so,' replied the
merchant, 'and rid the folk of their [false] debts.'

So the friend turned to the sharper and said to him, 'O my lord,
O such an one, thou goest under a delusion. The purse is with me,
for it was with me that thou depositedst it, and this elder is
innocent of it.' But the sharper answered him with impatience and
impetuosity, saying, 'Extolled be the perfection of God! As for
the purse that is with thee, O noble and trusty man, I know that
it is in the warrant of God and my heart is at ease concerning
it, for that it is with thee as it were with me; but I began by
demanding that which I deposited with this man, of my knowledge
that he coveteth the folk's good.' At this the friend was
confounded and put to silence and returned not an answer; [and
the] only [result of his interference was that] each of them
[FN#52] paid a thousand dinars.

So the sharper took the two thousand dinars and made off; and
when he was gone, the merchant said to his friend, the
[self-styled] man of wit and intelligence, 'Harkye, such an one!
Thou and I are like unto the hawk and the locust.' 'What was
their case?' asked the other; and the merchant said,



               STORY OF THE HAWK AND THE LOCUST.



'There was once, of old time, a hawk who made himself a nest hard
by that of a locust, and the latter gloried in his neighbourhood
and betaking herself to him, saluted him and said, "O my lord and
chief of the birds, indeed the nearness unto thee delighteth me
and thou honourest me with thy neighbourhood and my soul is
fortified with thee." The hawk thanked her for this and there
ensued friendship between them. One day, the locust said to the
hawk, "O chief of the birds, how cometh it that I see thee alone,
solitary, having with thee no friend of thy kind of the birds, to
whom thou mayst incline in time of easance and of whom thou mayst
seek succour in time of stress? Indeed, it is said, 'Man goeth
about seeking the ease of his body and the preservation of his
strength, and in this there is nought more necessary to him than
a friend who shall be the completion of his gladness and the
mainstay of his life and on whom shall be his dependence in his
stress and in his ease.' Now I, albeit I ardently desire thy weal
in that which beseemeth thy condition, yet am I weak [and unable]
unto that which the soul craveth; but, if thou wilt give me
leave, I will seek out for thee one of the birds who shall be
conformable unto thee in thy body and thy strength." And the hawk
said, "I commit this to thee and rely upon thee therein."

Therewithal, O my brother, the locust fell to going round about
among the company of the birds, but saw nought resembling the
hawk in bulk and body save the kite and deemed well of her. So
she brought the hawk and the kite together and counselled the
former to make friends with the latter. Now it chanced that the
hawk fell sick and the kite abode with him a long while [and
tended him] till he recovered and became whole and strong;
wherefore he thanked her [and she departed from him]. But after
awhile the hawk's sickness returned to him and he needed the
kite's succour. So the locust went out from him and was absent
from him a day, after which she returned to him with a[nother]
locust, [FN#53] saying, "I have brought thee this one." When the
hawk saw her, he said, "God requite thee with good! Indeed, thou
hast done well in the quest and hast been subtle in the choice."

All this, O my brother,' continued the merchant, 'befell because
the locust had no knowledge of the secret essence that lieth hid
in apparent bodies. As for thee, O my brother, (may God requite
thee with good!) thou wast subtle in device and usedst
precaution; but precaution sufficeth not against fate, and
fortune fore-ordained baffleth contrivance. How excellent is the
saying of the poet! And he recited the following verses:

It chances whiles that the blind man escapes a pit, Whilst he who
     is clear of sight falls into it.
The ignorant man may speak with impunity A word that is death to
     the wise and the ripe of wit.
The true believer is pinched for his daily bread, Whilst infidel
     rogues enjoy all benefit.
Where is a man's resource and what can he do? It is the
     Almighty's will; we most submit.

Nor," added the vizier, "is this, O king of the age, more
extraordinary or stranger than the story of the king and his
chamberlain's wife; nay, the latter is rarer than this and more
delightsome."

When the king heard this story, he was fortified in his resolve
to spare the vizier and to leave haste in an affair whereof he
was not assured; so he comforted him and bade him withdraw to his
lodging.

             The Twenty-Fourth Night of the Month.

When it was night, the king summoned the vizier and sought of him
the hearing of the [promised] story. "Hearkening and obedience,"
replied Er Rehwan, "Know, O august king, that



            STORY OF THE KING AND HIS CHAMBERLAIN'S
                             WIFE.



There was once, of old days and in bygone ages and times, a king
of the kings of the Persians, who was passionately addicted to
the love of women. His courtiers bespoke him of the wife of a
chamberlain of his chamberlains, for that she was endowed with
beauty and loveliness and perfection, and this prompted him to go
in to her. When she saw him, she knew him and said to him, 'What
prompteth the king unto this that he doth?' And he answered,
saying, 'Verily, I yearn after thee with an exceeding yearning
and needs must I enjoy thy favours.' And he gave her of wealth
that after the like whereof women hanker; but she said, 'I cannot
do that whereof the king speaketh, for fear of my husband.' And
she refused herself to him with the most rigorous of refusals and
would not do his desire. So the king went out, full of wrath, and
forgot his girdle in the place.

Presently, her husband entered and saw the girdle and knew it.
Now he was ware of the king's love for women; so he said to his
wife, ' What is this that I see with thee?' Quoth she, 'I will
tell thee the truth,' and recounted to him the story; but he
believed her not and doubt entered into his heart. As for the
king, he passed that night in chagrin and concern, and when it
morrowed, he summoned the chamberlain and investing him with the
governance of one of his provinces, bade him betake himself
thither, purposing, after he should have departed and come to his
destination, to foregather with his wife. The chamberlain
perceived [his intent] and knew his design; so he answered,
saying, 'Hearkening and obedience. I will go and set my affairs
in order and give such charges as may be necessary for the
welfare of my estate; then will I go about the king's occasion.'
And the king said, 'Do this and hasten.'

So the chamberlain went about that which he needed and assembling
his wife's kinsfolk, said to them, 'I am resolved to put away my
wife.' They took this ill of him and complained of him and
summoning him before the king, sat pleading with him. Now the
king had no knowledge of that which had passed; so he said to the
chamberlain, 'Why wilt thou put her away and how can thy soul
consent unto this and why takest thou unto thyself a goodly piece
of land and after forsakest it? 'May God amend the king!'
answered the husband. 'By Allah, O king, I saw therein the track
of the lion and fear to enter the land, lest the lion devour me;
and indeed the like of my affair with her is that which befell
between the old woman and the draper's wife.' 'What is their
story?' asked the king; and the chamberlain said, 'Know, O king,
that



            STORY OF THE OLD WOMAN AND THE DRAPER'S
                             WIFE.



There was once a man of the drapers, who had a fair wife, and she
was curtained [FN#54] and chaste. A certain young man saw her
coming forth of the bath and loved her and his heart was occupied
with her. So he cast about [to get access to her] with all manner
of devices, but availed not to win to her; and when he was weary
of endeavour and his patience was exhausted for weariness and his
fortitude failed him and he was at an end of his resources
against her, he complained of this to an old woman of ill-omen,
[FN#55] who promised him to bring about union between him and
her. He thanked her for this and promised her all manner of good;
and she said to him, "Get thee to her husband and buy of him a
turban-cloth of fine linen, and let it be of the goodliest of
stuffs."

So he repaired to the draper and buying of him a turban-cloth of
lawn, returned with it to the old woman, who took it and burned
it in two places. Then she donned devotees' apparel and taking
the turban-cloth with her, went to the draper's house and knocked
at the door. When the draper's wife saw her, she opened to her
and received her kindly and made much of her and welcomed her. So
the old woman went in to her and conversed with her awhile. Then
said she to her, "[I desire to make] the ablution [preparatory]
to prayer." So the wife brought her water and she made the
ablution and standing up to pray, prayed and did her occasion.
When she had made an end of her prayers, she left the
turban-cloth in the place of prayer and went away.

Presently, in came the draper, at the hour of evening prayer, and
sitting down in the place where the old woman had prayed, looked
about him and espied the turban. He knew it [for that which he
had that day sold to the young man] and misdoubted of the case,
wherefore anger appeared in his face and he was wroth with his
wife and reviled her and abode his day and his night, without
speaking to her, what while she knew not the cause of his anger.
Then she looked and seeing the turban-cloth before him and noting
the traces of burning thereon, understood that his anger was on
account of this and concluded that he was wroth because it was
burnt.

When the morning morrowed, the draper went out, still angered
against his wife, and the old woman returned to her and found her
changed of colour, pale of face, dejected and heart-broken. [So
she questioned her of the cause of her dejection and she told her
how her husband was angered against her (as she supposed) on
account of the burns in the turban-cloth.] "O my daughter,"
rejoined the old woman, "be not concerned; for I have a son, a
fine-drawer, and he, by thy life, shall fine-draw [the holes] and
restore the turban-cloth as it was. "The wife rejoiced in her
saying and said to her, "And when shall this be?" "To-morrow, if
it please God the Most High," answered the old woman, "I will
bring him to thee, at the time of thy husband's going forth from
thee, and he shall mend it and depart forth-right." Then she
comforted her heart and going forth from her, returned to the
young man and told him what had passed.

Now, when the draper saw the turban-cloth, he resolved to put
away his wife and waited but till he should get together that
which was obligatory on him of the dowry and what not
else,[FN#56] for fear of her people. When the old woman arose in
the morning, she took the young man and carried him to the
draper's house. The wife opened the door to her and the
ill-omened old woman entered with him and said to the lady, "Go,
fetch that which thou wouldst have fine-drawn and give it to my
son." So saying, she locked the door on her, whereupon the young
man forced her and did his occasion of her and went forth. Then
said the old woman to her, "Know that this is my son and that he
loved thee with an exceeding love and was like to lose his life
for longing after thee. So I practised on thee with this device
and came to thee with this turban-cloth, which is not thy
husband's, but my son's. Now have I accomplished my desire; so do
thou trust in me and I will put a trick on thy husband for the
setting thee right with him, and thou wilt be obedient to me and
to him and to my son."[FN#57] And the wife answered, saying, "It
is well. Do so."

So the old woman returned to the lover and said to him, "I have
skilfully contrived the affair for thee with her; [and now it
behoveth us to amend that we have marred]. So go now and sit with
the draper and bespeak him of the turban-cloth, [saying, 'The
turban-cloth I bought of thee I chanced to burn in two places; so
I gave it to a certain old woman, to get mended, and she took it
and went away, and I know not her dwelling-place.'] When thou
seest me pass by, rise and lay hold of me [and demand of me the
turban-cloth], to the intent that I may amend her case with her
husband and that thou mayst be even with her." So he repaired to
the draper's shop and sat down by him and said to him, "Thou
knowest the turban-cloth I bought of thee?" "Yes," answered the
draper, and the other said, "Knowest thou what is come of it?"
"No," replied the husband, and the youth said, "After I bought it
of thee, I fumigated myself[FN#58] and it befell that the
turban-cloth was burnt in two places. So I gave it to a woman,
whose son, they said, was a fine-drawer, and she took it and went
away with it; and I know not her abiding-place." When the draper
heard this, he misdoubted him [of having wrongly suspected his
wife] and marvelled at the story of the turban-cloth, and his
mind was set at ease concerning her.

Presently, up came the old woman, whereupon the young man sprang
to his feet and laying hold of her, demanded of her the
turban-cloth. Quoth she, "Know that I entered one of the houses
and made the ablution and prayed in the place of prayer; and I
forgot the turban-cloth there and went out. Now I know not the
house in which I prayed, nor have I been directed[FN#59] thereto,
and I go round about every day till the night, so haply I may
light on it, for I know not its owner." When the draper heard
this, he said to the old woman, "Verily, Allah restoreth unto
thee vhat which thou hast lost. Rejoice, for the turban-cloth is
with me and in my house." And he arose forthright and gave her
the turban-cloth, as it was. She gave it to the young man, and
the draper made his peace with his wife and gave her raiment and
jewellery, [by way of peace-offering], till she was content and
her heart was appeased. [FN#60]

When the king heard his chamberlain's story, he was confounded
and abashed and said to him, 'Abide on thy wonted service and
till thy land, for that the lion entered it, but marred it not,
and he will never more return thither.'[FN#61] Then he bestowed
on him a dress of honour and made him a sumptuous present; and
the man returned to his wife and people, rejoicing and glad, for
that his heart was set at rest concerning his wife. Nor," added
the vizier, "O king of the age, is this rarer or more
extraordinary than the story of the fair and lovely woman,
endowed with amorous grace, with the foul-favoured man."

When the king heard the vizier's speech, he deemed it goodly and
it pleased him; so he bade him go away to his house, and there he
abode his day long.

              The Twenty-fifth Night of the Month.

When the evening evened, the king summoned his vizier and bade
him tell the [promised] story. So he said, "It is well. Know, O
king, that



             STORY OF THE FOUL-FAVOURED MAN AND HIS
                           FAIR WIFE.



There was once a man of the Arabs who had a number of sons, and
amongst them a boy, never was seen a fairer than he of favour nor
a more accomplished in loveliness, no, nor a more perfect of wit.
When he came to man's estate, his father married him to the
daughter of one of his uncles, and she excelled not in beauty,
neither was she praiseworthy of attributes; wherefore she pleased
not the youth, but he bore with her, for kinship's sake.

One day, he went forth in quest of certain stray camels of his
and fared on all his day and night till eventide, when he [came
to an Arab encampment and] was fain to seek hospitality of one of
the inhabitants. So he alighted at one of the tents of the camp
and there came forth to him a man of short stature and loathly
aspect, who saluted him and lodging him in a corner of the tent,
sat entertaining him with talk, the goodliest that might be. When
his food was dressed, the Arab's wife brought it to the guest,
and he looked at the mistress of the tent and saw a favour than
which no goodlier might be. Indeed, her beauty and grace and
symmetry amazed him and he abode confounded, looking now at her
and now at her husband. When his looking grew long, the man said
to him, 'Harkye, O son of the worthy! Occupy thyself with thine
own concerns, for by me and this woman hangeth a rare story, that
is yet goodlier than that which thou seest of her beauty; and
when we have made an end of our food, I will tell it thee.'

So, when they had made an end of eating and drinking, the young
man asked his host for the story, and he said, 'Know that in my
youth I was even as thou seest me in the matter of loathliness
and foul favour; and I had brethren of the comeliest of the folk;
wherefore my father preferred them over me and used to show them
kindness, to my exclusion, and employ me, in their room [in
menial service], like as one employeth slaves. One day, a
she-camel of his went astray and he said to me, "Go thou forth in
quest of her and return not but with her." Quoth I, "Send other
than I of thy sons." But he would not consent to this and reviled
me and insisted upon me, till the matter came to such a pass with
him that he took a whip and fell to beating me. So I arose and
taking a riding-camel, mounted her and sallied forth at a
venture, purposing to go out into the deserts and return to him
no more. I fared on all my night [and the next day] and coming at
eventide to [the encampment of] this my wife's people, alighted
down with her father, who was a very old man, and became his
guest.

When the night was half spent, I arose [and went forth the tent]
to do an occasion of mine, and none knew of my case save this
woman. The dogs misdoubted of me and followed me and gave not
over besetting me, till I fell on my back into a deep pit,
wherein was water, and one of the dogs fell in with me. The
woman, who was then a girl in the first bloom of youth, full of
strength and spirit, was moved to pity on me, for that wherein I
was fallen, and coming to me with a rope, said to me, "Lay hold
of this rope." So I laid hold of the rope and clung to it and she
pulled me up; but, when I was halfway up, I pulled her [down] and
she fell with me into the pit; and there we abode three days, she
and I and the dog.

When her people arose in the morning and saw her not, they sought
her in the camp, but, finding her not and missing me also,
doubted not but she had fled with me. Now she had four brothers,
as they were falcons, and they mounted and dispersed in quest of
us. When the day dawned [on the fourth morning], the dog began to
bark and the other dogs answered him and coming to the mouth of
the pit, stood howling to him. My wife's father, hearing the
howling of the dogs, came up and standing at the brink of the
pit, [looked in and] beheld a marvel. Now he was a man of valour
and understanding, an elder versed[FN#62] in affairs so he
fetched a rope and bringing us both forth, questioned us of our
case. I told him all that had betided and he abode pondering the
affair.

Presently, her brothers returned, whereupon the old man
acquainted them with the whole case and said to them, "O my sons,
know that your sister purposed not aught but good, and if ye slay
this man, ye will earn abiding reproach and ye will wrong him,
ay, and wrong yourselves and your sister, to boot; for indeed
there appeareth no cause [of offence] such as calleth for
slaughter, and it may not be denied that this incident is a thing
the like whereof may well betide and that he may well have been
baffled by the like of this chance." Then he turned to me and
questioned me of my lineage; so I set forth to him my genealogy
and he said, "A man of equal rank, honourable [and]
understanding." And he offered me [his daughter in] marriage. I
consented to him of this and marrying her, took up my abode with
him and God the Most High hath opened on me the gates of weal and
fortune, so that I am become the most abounding in substance of
the folk of the tribe; and He hath stablished me in that which He
hath given me of His bounties.'

The young man marvelled at his story and lay the night with him;
and when he arose in the morning, he found his strays. So he took
them and returning [to his family.], acquainted them with what he
had seen and that which had betided him. Nor," added the vizier,
"is this more marvellous or rarer than the story of the king who
lost kingdom and wealth and wife and children and God restored
them unto him and requited him with a kingdom more magnificent
than that which he had lost and goodlier and rarer and greater of
wealth and elevation."

The vizier's story pleased the king and he bade depart to his
dwelling.

              The Twenty-Sixth Night of the Month.

When came the night, the king summoned his vizier and bade him
tell the story of the king who lost kingdom and wife and wealth.
"Hearkening and obedience," replied Er Rehwan. "Know, O king,
that



             STORY OF THE KING WHO LOST KINGDOM AND
            WIFE AND WEALTH AND GOD RESTORED THEM TO
                              HIM.



There was once a king of the kings of Hind, who was goodly of
polity, praiseworthy in administration, just to his subjects,
beneficent to men of learning and piety and asceticism and
devoutness and worship and shunning traitors and froward folk and
those of lewd life. On this wise of polity he abode in his
kingship what God the Most High willed of days and hours and
years, and he married the daughter of his father's brother, a
beautiful and lovesome woman, endowed with brightness and
perfection, who had been reared in the king's house in splendour
and delight. She bore him two sons, the comeliest that might be
of boys. Then came fore-ordained fate, which there is no warding
off, and God the Most High raised up against the king another
king, who came forth upon his realm, and all the folk of the
city, who had a mind unto evil and lewdness, joined themselves
unto him. So he fortified himself against the king and made
himself master of his kingdom, putting his troops to the rout and
slaying his guards.

The king took his wife, the mother of his sons, and what he might
[of good] and saved himself and fled in the darkness of the
night, unknowing whither he should go. When travel grew sore upon
them, there met them robbers by the way, who took all that was
with them, [even to their clothes], so that there was left unto
each of them but a shirt and trousers; yea, they left them
without victual or camels or [other] riding-cattle, and they
ceased not to fare on afoot, till they came to a coppice, to wit,
a garden of trees, on the shore of the sea. Now the road which
they would have followed was crossed by an arm of the sea, but it
was scant of water. So, when they came to that place, the king
took up one of his children and fording the water with him, set
him down on the other bank and returned for his other son. Him
also he set by his brother and returning for their mother, took
her up and passing the water with her, came to the place [where
he had left his children], but found them not. Then he looked at
the midst of the island and saw there an old man and an old
woman, engaged in making themselves a hut of reeds. So he put
down his wife over against them and set off in quest of his
children, but none gave him news of them and he went round about
right and left, but found not the place where they were.

Now the children had entered the coppice, to make water, and
there was there a forest of trees, wherein, if a horseman
entered, he might wander by the week, [before finding his way
out], for none knew the first thereof from the last. So the boys
entered therein and knew not how they should return and went
astray in that wood, to an end that was willed of God the Most
High, whilst their father sought them, but found them not. So he
returned to their mother and they abode weeping for their
children. As for these latter, when they entered the wood, it
swallowed them up and they went wandering in it many days,
knowing not where they had entered, till they came forth, at
another side, upon the open country.

Meanwhile, the king and queen abode in the island, over against
the old man and woman, and ate of the fruits that were in the
island and drank of its waters, till, one day, as they sat, there
came a ship and moored to the side of the island, to fill up with
water, whereupon they[FN#63] looked at each other and spoke. The
master of the ship was a Magian and all that was therein, both
men and goods, belonged to him, for that he was a merchant and
went round about the world. Now covetise deluded the old man, the
owner of the island, and he went up [into the ship] and gave the
Magian news of the king's wife, setting out to him her charms,
till he made him yearn unto her and his soul prompted him to use
treachery and practise upon her and take her from her hnsband. So
he sent to her, saying, 'With us in the ship is a woman with
child, and we fear lest she be delivered this night. Hast thou
skill in the delivering of women?' And she answered, 'Yes.' Now
it was the last of the day; so he sent to her to come up into the
ship and deliver the woman, for that the pangs of labour were
come upon her; and he promised her clothes and spending-money.
Accordingly, she embarked in all assurance, with a heart at ease
for herself, and transported her gear to the ship; but no sooner
was she come thither than the anchors were weighed and the canvas
spread and the ship set sail.

When the king saw this, he cried out and his wife wept in the
ship and offered to cast herself into the sea; but the Magian
bade the sailors lay hands on her. So they seized her and it was
but a little while ere the night darkened and the ship
disappeared from the king's eyes; whereupon he swooned away for
excess of weeping and lamentation and passed his night bewailing
his wife and children.

When the morning morrowed, he recited the following verses:

How long, O Fate, wilt thou oppress and baffle me?
Tell me, was ever yet a mortal spared of thee?
     Behold, my loved ones all are ta'en from me away.
They left me and content forthright forsook my heart,
Upon that day my loves my presence did depart;
     My pleasant life for loss of friends is troubled aye.
By Allah, I knew not their worth nor yet how dear
A good it is to have one's loved ones ever near,
     Until they left my heart on fire without allay.
Ne'er shall I them forget, nay, nor the day they went
And left me all forlorn, to pine for languishment,
     My severance to bewail in torment and dismay.
I make a vow to God, if ever day or night
The herald of good news my hearing shall delight,
     Announcing the return o' th' absent ones,
I'll lay Upon their threshold's dust my cheeks and to my soul,
"Take comfort, for the loved are come again,"
I'll say. If for my loved ones' loss I rent my heart for dole,
     Before I rent my clothes, reproach me not, I pray.

He abode weeping for the loss of his wife and children till the
morning, when he went forth wandering at a venture, knowing not
what he should do, and gave not over faring along the sea-shore
days and nights, unknowing whither he went and taking no food
therein other than the herbs of the earth and seeing neither man
nor beast nor other living thing, till his travel brought him to
the top of a mountain. He took up his sojourn in the mountain and
abode there [awhile] alone, eating of its fruits and drinking of
its waters. Then he came down thence and fared on along the high
road three days, at the end of which time he came upon tilled
fields and villages and gave not over going till he sighted a
great city on the shore of the sea and came to the gate thereof
at the last of the day. The gatekeepers suffered him not to
enter; so he abode his night anhungred, and when he arose in the
morning, be sat down hard by the gate.

Now the king of the city was dead and had left no son, and the
townsfolk fell out concerning who should be king over them: and
their sayings differed and their counsels, so that turmoil was
like to betide between them by reason of this. At last, after
long dissension, they came to an accord and agreed to leave the
choice to the late king's elephant and that he unto whom he
consented should be king and that they would not contest the
commandment with him. So they made oath of this and on the
morrow, they brought out the elephant and came forth to the
utterward of the city; nor was there man or woman left in the
place but was present at that time. Then they adorned the
elephant and setting up the throne on his back, gave him the
crown in his trunk; and he went round about examining the faces
of the folk, but stopped not with any of them till he came to the
banished king, the forlorn, the exile, him who had lost his
children and his wife, when he prostrated himself to him and
placing the crown on his head, took him up and set him on his
back.

Thereupon the folk all prostrated themselves and gave one another
joy of this and the drums of good tidings beat before him, and he
entered the city [and went on] till he came to the House of
Justice and the audience-hall of the palace and sat down on the
throne of the kingdom, with the crown on his head; whereupon the
folk came in to him to give him joy and offer up prayers for him.
Then he addressed himself, after his wont in the kingship, to
ordering the affairs of the folk and ranging the troops according
to their ranks and looking into their affairs and those of all
the people. Moreover, he released those who were in the prisons
and abolished the customs dues and gave dresses of honour and
bestowed gifts and largesse and conferred favours on the amirs
and viziers and dignitaries, and the chamberlains and deputies
presented themselves before him and did him homage. So the people
of the city rejoiced in him and said, 'Indeed this is none other
than a king of the greatest of the kings.'

Moreover, he assembled the sages and the theologians and the sons
of the kings and devised with them and asked them questions and
problems and examined with them into many things of all fashions
that might direct him to well-doing in the kingly office; and he
questioned them also of subtleties and religious obligations and
of the laws of the kingdom and the fashions of administration and
of that which it behoveth the king to do of looking into the
affairs of the people and repelling the enemy [from the realm]
and fending off his malice with war; wherefore the people's
contentment redoubled and their joy in that which God the Most
High had vouchsafed them of his elevation to the kingship over
them. So he upheld the ordinance of the realm and the affairs
thereof abode established upon the accepted customs.

Now the late king had left a wife and a daughter, and the people
would fain have married the latter to the new king, to the intent
that the kingship might not pass out of the old royal family. So
they proposed to him that he should take her to wife, and he
promised them this, but put them off from him,[FN#64] of his
respect for the covenant he had made with his former wife, to
wit, that he would take none other to wife than herself. Then he
betook himself to fasting by day and standing up by night [to
pray], giving alms galore and beseeching God (extolled be His
perfection and exalted be He!) to reunite him with his children
and his wife, the daughter of his father's brother.

When a year had elapsed, there came to the city a ship, wherein
were merchants and goods galore. Now it was of their usance, from
time immemorial, that, when there came a ship to the city, the
king sent unto it such of his servants as he trusted in, who took
charge of the goods, so they might be [first of all] shown to the
king, who bought such of them as befitted him and gave the
merchants leave to sell the rest. So he sent, as of wont, one who
should go up to the ship and seal up the goods and set over them
who should keep watch over them.

To return to the queen his wife. When the Magian fled with her,
he proffered himself to her and lavished unto her wealth galore,
but she rejected his suit and was like to slay herself for
chagrin at that which had befallen and for grief for her
separation from her husband. Moreover, she refused meat and drink
and offered to cast herself into the sea; but the Magian shackled
her and straitened her and clad her in a gown of wool and said to
her, 'I will continue thee in misery and abjection till thou obey
me and consent to my wishes.' So she took patience and looked for
God to deliver her from the hand of that accursed one; and she
ceased not to travel with him from place to place till he came
with her to the city wherein her husband was king and his goods
were put under seal.

Now the woman was in a chest and two youths of the pages of the
late king, who were now in the new king's service, were those who
had been charged with the guardianship of the vessel and the
goods. When the evening evened on them, the two youths fell
a-talking and recounted that which had befallen them in their
days of childhood and the manner of the going forth of their
father and mother from their country and royal estate, whenas the
wicked overcame their land, and [called to mind] how they had
gone astray in the forest and how fate had made severance between
them and their parents; brief, they recounted their story, from
beginning to end. When the woman heard their talk, she knew that
they were her very sons and cried out to them from the chest,
saying, 'I am your mother such an one, and the token between you
and me is thus and thus.' The young men knew the token and
falling upon the chest, broke the lock and brought out their
mother, who strained them to her breast, and they fell upon her
and swooned away, all three.

When they came to themselves, they wept awhile and the folk
assembled about them, marvelling at that which they saw, and
questioned them of their case. So the young men vied with each
other who should be the first to discover the story to the folk;
and when the Magian saw this, he came up, crying out, 'Alas!' and
'Woe worth the day!' and said to them, 'Why have ye broken open
my chest? I had in it jewels and ye have stolen them, and this
damsel is my slave-girl and she hath agreed with you upon a
device to take the good.' Then he rent his clothes and called
aloud for succour, saying, 'I appeal to God and to the just king,
so he may quit me of these wrong-doing youths!' Quoth they, 'This
is our mother and thou stolest her.' Then words waxed many
between them and the folk plunged into talk and prate and
discussion concerning their affair and that of the [pretended]
slave-girl, and the strife waxed amain between them, so that [at
last] they carried them up to the king.

When the two young men presented themselves before him and set
forth their case to him and to the folk and the king heard their
speech, he knew them and his heart was like to fly for joyance in
them: the tears poured from his eyes at their sight and that of
his wife, and he thanked God the Most High and praised Him for
that He had reunited [him with] them. Then he dismissed the folk
who were present about him and bade commit the Magian and the
woman and the two youths to his armoury[FN#65] [for the night],
commanding that they should keep guard over them till God caused
the morning morrow, so he might assemble the cadis and the judges
and assessors and judge between them, according to the Holy Law,
in the presence of the four cadis. So they did his bidding and
the king passed the night praying and praising God the Most High
for that which He had vouchsafed him of kingship and puissance
and victory over[FN#66] him who had wronged him and thanking Him
who had reunited him with his family.

When the morning morrowed, he assembled the cadis and judges and
assessors and sending for the Magian and the two youths and their
mother, questioned them of their case, whereupon the two young
men began and said, 'We are the sons of the king Such-an-one and
enemies and wicked men got the mastery of out realm; so our
father fled forth with us and wandered at a venture, for fear of
the enemies.' [And they recounted to him all that had betided
them, from beginning to end.] Quoth he, 'Ye tell a marvellous
story; but what hath [Fate] done with your father?' 'We know not
how fortune dealt with him after our loss,' answered they; and he
was silent.

Then he turned to the woman and said to her, 'And thou, what
sayst thou?' So she expounded to him her case and recounted to
him all that had betided her and her husband, first and last, up
to the time when they took up their abode with the old man and
woman who dwelt on the sea-shore. Then she set out that which the
Magian had practised on her of knavery and how he had carried her
off in the ship and all that had betided her of humiliation and
torment, what while the cadis and judges and deputies hearkened
to her speech. When the king heard the last of his wife's story,
he said, 'Verily, there hath betided thee a grievous matter; but
hast thou knowledge of what thy husband did and what came of his
affair?' 'Nay, by Allah,' answered she; 'I have no knowledge of
him, save that I leave him no hour unremembered in fervent
prayer, and never, whilst I live, will he cease to be to me the
father of my children and my father's brother's son and my flesh
and my blood.' Then she wept and the king bowed his head, whilst
his eyes brimmed over with tears at her story.

Then he raised his head to the Magian and said to him, 'Say thy
say, thou also.' So the Magian said, 'This is my slave-girl, whom
I bought with my money from such a land and for so many dinars,
and I made her my favourite[FN#67] and loved her with an
exceeding love and gave her charge over my good; but she betrayed
me in my substance and plotted with one of my servants to slay
me, tempting him by promising him that she would be his wife.
When I knew this of her and was certified that she purposed
treason against me, I awoke [from my heedlessness] and did with
her that which I did, of fear for myself from her craft and
perfidy; for indeed she is a beguiler with her tongue and she
hath taught these two youths this pretence, by way of trickery
and of her perfidy and malice: so be thou not deluded by her and
by her talk.'

'Thou liest, O accursed one,' cried the king and bade lay hands
on him and clap him in irons. Then he turned to the two youths,
his sons, and strained them to his breast, weeping sore and
saying, 'O all ye who are present of cadis and assessors and
officers of state, know that these twain are my sons and that
this is my wife and the daughter of my father's brother; for that
I was king aforetime in such a region.' And he recounted to them
his history from beginning to end, nor is there aught of profit
in repetition; whereupon the folk cried out with weeping and
lamentation for the stress of that which they heard of marvellous
chances and that rare story. As for the king's wife, he caused
carry her into his palace and lavished upon her and upon her sons
all that behoved and beseemed them of bounties, whilst the folk
flocked to offer up prayers for him and give him joy of [his
reunion with] his wife and children.

When they had made an end of pious wishes and congratulations,
they besought the king to hasten the punishment of the Magian and
heal their hearts of him with torment and humiliation. So he
appointed them for a day on which they should assemble to witness
his punishment and that which should betide him of torment, and
shut himself up with his wife and sons and abode thus private
with them three days, during which time they were sequestered
from the folk. On the fourth day the king entered the bath, and
coming forth, sat down on the throne of his kingship, with the
crown on his head, whereupon the folk came in to him, according
to their wont and after the measure of their several ranks and
degrees, and the amirs and viziers entered, ay, and the
chamberlains and deputies and captains and men of war and the
falconers and armbearers. Then he seated his two sons, one on his
right and the other on his left hand, whilst all the folk stood
before him and lifted up their voices in thanksgiving to God the
Most High and glorification of Him and were strenuous in prayer
for the king and in setting forth his virtues and excellences.

He returned them the most gracious of answers and bade carry the
Magian forth of the town and set him on a high scaffold that had
been builded for him there; and he said to the folk, 'Behold, I
will torture him with all kinds of fashions of torment.' Then he
fell to telling them that which he had wrought of knavery with
the daughter of his father's brother and what he had caused
betide her of severance between her and her husband and how he
had required her of herself, but she had sought refuge against
him with God (to whom belong might and majesty) and chose rather
humiliation than yield to his wishes, notwithstanding stress of
torment; neither recked she aught of that which he lavished to
her of wealth and raiment and jewels.

When the king had made an end of his story, he bade the
bystanders spit in the Magian's face and curse him; and they did
this. Then he bade cut out his tongue and on the morrow he bade
cut off his ears and nose and pluck out his eyes. On the third
day he bade cut off his hands and on the fourth his feet; and
they ceased not to lop him limb from limb, and each member they
cast into the fire, after its cutting-off, before his face, till
his soul departed, after he had endured torments of all kinds and
fashions. The king bade crucify his trunk on the city-wall three
days' space; after which he let burn it and reduce its ashes to
powder and scatter them abroad in the air.

Then the king summoned the cadi and the witnesses and bade them
many the old king's daughter and sister to his own sons; so they
married them, after the king had made a bride-feast three days
and displayed their brides to them from eventide to peep of day.
Then the two princes went in to their brides and did away their
maidenhead and loved them and were vouchsafed children by them.

As for the king their father, he abode with his wife, their
mother, what while God (to whom belong might and majesty) willed,
and they rejoiced in reunion with each other. The kingship
endured unto them and glory and victory, and the king continued
to rule with justice and equity, so that the people loved him and
still invoked on him and on his sons length of days and durance;
and they lived the most delightsome of lives till there came to
them the Destroyer of Delights and Sunderer of Companies, He who
layeth waste the palaces and peopleth the tombs; and this is all
that hath come down to us of the story of the king and his wife
and children. Nor," added the vizier, "if this story be a solace
and a diversion, is it pleasanter or more diverting than that of
the young man of Khorassan and his mother and sister."

When King Shah Bekht heard this story, it pleased him and he bade
the vizier go away to his own house.

             The Twenty-Seventh Night of the Month

When the evening came, the king bade fetch the vizier; so he
presented himself before him and the king bade him tell the
[promised] story. So he said, "Hearkening and obedience. Know, O
king (but God alone knoweth His secret purpose and is versed in
all that is past and was foredone among bygone peoples), that



                   STORY OF SELIM AND SELMA.



There was once, in the parts of Khorassan, a man of the affluent
of the country, who was a merchant of the chiefest of the
merchants and was blessed with two children, a son and a
daughter. He was assiduous in rearing them and making fair their
education, and they grew up and throve after the goodliest
fashion. He used to teach the boy, who taught his sister all that
he learnt, so that the girl became perfect in the knowledge of
the Traditions of the Prophet and in polite letters, by means of
her brother. Now the boy's name was Selim and that of the girl
Selma. When they grew up and waxed, their father built them a
mansion beside his own and lodged them apart therein and
appointed them slave-girls and servants to tend them and assigned
unto each of them pensions and allowances and all that they
needed of high and low, meat and bread and wine and raiment and
vessels and what not else. So Selim and Selma abode in that
mansion, as they were one soul in two bodies, and they used to
sleep on one couch; and rooted in each one's heart was love and
affection and familiar friendship [for the other of them].

One night, when the night was half spent, as Selim and Selma sat
talking and devising with each other, they heard a noise below
the house; so they looked out from a lattice that gave upon the
gate of their father's mansion and saw a man of goodly presence,
whose clothes were hidden by a wide cloak, which covered him. He
came up to the gate and laying hold of the door-ring, gave a
light knock; whereupon the door opened and out came their sister,
with a lighted flambeau, and after her their mother, who saluted
the stranger and embraced him, saying, 'O beloved of my heart and
light of mine eyes and fruit of mine entrails, enter.' So he
entered and shut the door, whilst Selim and Selma abode amazed.

Then Selim turned to Selma and said to her, 'O sister mine, how
deemest thou of this calamity and what counsellest thou
thereanent?' 'O my brother,' answered she, 'indeed I know not
what I shall say concerning the like of this; but he is not
disappointed who seeketh direction [of God], nor doth he repent
who taketh counsel. One getteth not the better of the traces of
burning by[FN#68] haste, and know that this is an affliction that
hath descended on us; and we have need of management to do it
away, yea, and contrivance to wash withal our shame from our
faces.' And they gave not over watching the gate till break of
day, when the young man opened the door and their mother took
leave of him; after which he went his way and she entered, she
and her handmaid.

Then said Selim to his sister, 'Know that I am resolved to slay
yonder man, if he return this next night, and I will say to the
folk, "He was a thief," and none shall know that which hath
befallen. Moreover, I will address myself to the slaughter of
whosoever knoweth that which is between yonder fellow and my
mother.' But Selma said, ' I fear lest, if thou slay him in our
dwelling-place and he savour not of robberhood,[FN#69] suspicion
will revert upon ourselves, and we cannot be assured but that he
belongeth unto folk whose mischief is to be feared and their
hostility dreaded,[FN#70] and thus wilt thou have fled from privy
shame to open shame and abiding public dishonour.' 'How then
deemest thou we should do?' asked Selim and she said, 'Is there
nothing for it but to slay him? Let us not hasten unto slaughter,
for that the slaughter of a soul without just cause is a grave
[matter].'

(When Shehriyar heard this, he said in himself, 'By Allah, I have
indeed been reckless in the slaying of women and girls, and
praised be God who hath occupied me with this damsel from the
slaughter of souls, for that the slaughter of souls is a grave
[matter!] By Allah, if Shah Bekht spare the vizier, I will
assuredly spare Shehrzad!' Then he gave ear to the story and
heard her say to her sister:)

Quoth Selma to Selim, 'Hasten not to slay him, but ponder the
matter and consider the issue to which it may lead; for whoso
considereth not the issues [of his actions], fortune is no friend
to him.' Then they arose on the morrow and occupied themselves
with devising how they should turn away their mother from that
man, and she forebode mischief from them, by reason of that which
she saw in their eyes of alteration, for that she was keen of wit
and crafty. So she took precaution for herself against her
children and Selma said to Selim, 'Thou seest that whereinto we
have fallen through this woman, and indeed she hath gotten wind
of our purpose and knoweth that we have discovered her secret.
So, doubtless, she will plot against us the like of that which we
plot for her; for indeed up to now she had concealed her affair,
and now she will forge lies against us; wherefore, methinks,
there is a thing [fore-]written to us, whereof God (extolled be
His perfection and exalted be He!) knew in His foreknowledge and
wherein He executeth His ordinances.' 'What is that?' asked he,
and she said, 'It is that we arise, I and thou, and go forth this
night from this land and seek us a land wherein we may live and
witness nought of the doings of yonder traitress; for whoso is
absent from the eye is absent from the heart, and quoth one of
the poets in the following verse:

Twere better and meeter thy presence to leave, For, if the eye
     see not, the heart doth not grieve.'

Quoth Selim to her, 'It is for thee to decide and excellent is
that which thou counsellest; so let us do this, in the name of
God the Most High, trusting in Him for grace and guidance.' So
they arose and took the richest of their clothes and the lightest
of that which was in their treasuries of jewels and things of
price and gathered together a great matter. Then they equipped
them ten mules and hired them servants of other than the people
of the country; and Selim bade his sister Selma don man's
apparel. Now she was the likest of all creatures to him, so that,
[when she was clad in man's attire,] the folk knew no difference
between them, extolled be the perfection of Him who hath no like,
there is no God but He! Then he bade her mount a horse, whilst he
himself bestrode another, and they set out, under cover of the
night. None of their family nor of the people of their house knew
of them; so they fared on into the wide world of God and gave not
over going night and day two months' space, at the end of which
time they came to a city on the sea-shore of the land of Mekran,
by name Es Sherr, and it is the first city in Sind.

They lighted down without the place and when they arose in the
morning, they saw a populous and goodly city, fair of seeming and
great, abounding in trees and streams and fruits and wide of
suburbs. So the young man said to his sister Selma, 'Abide thou
here in thy place, till I enter the city and examine it and make
assay of its people and seek out a place which we may buy and
whither we may remove. If it befit us, we will take up our abode
therein, else will we take counsel of departing elsewhither.'
Quoth she, 'Do this, trusting in the bounty of God (to whom
belong might and majesty) and in His blessing.'

So he took a belt, wherein were a thousand dinars, and binding it
about his middle, entered the city and gave not over going round
about its streets and markets and gazing upon its houses and
sitting with those of its folk whose aspect bespoke them men of
worth, till the day was half spent, when he resolved to return to
his sister and said in himself, 'Needs must I buy what we may eat
of ready-[dressed] food] I and my sister.' Accordingly, he
accosted a man who sold roast meat and who was clean [of person],
though odious in his [means of getting a] living, and said to
him, 'Take the price of this dish [of meat] and add thereto of
fowls and chickens and what not else is in your market of meats
and sweetmeats and bread and arrange it in dishes.' So the cook
set apart for him what he desired and calling a porter, laid it
in his basket, and Selim paid the cook the price of his wares,
after the fullest fashion.

As he was about to go away, the cook said to him, 'O youth,
doubtless thou art a stranger?' And he answered, 'Yes.' Quoth the
cook, 'It is reported in one of the Traditions [of the Prophet
that he said,] "Loyal admonition is [a part] of religion;" and
the understanding say, "Admonition is of the characteristics of
the true believers." And indeed that which I have seen of thy
fashions pleaseth me and I would fain give thee a warning.'
'Speak out thy warning,' rejoined Selim, 'and may God strengthen
thine affair!' Then said the cook, 'Know, O my son, that in this
our country, whenas a stranger entereth therein and eateth of
flesh-meat and drinketh not old wine thereon, this is harmful
unto him and engendereth in him dangerous disorders. Wherefore,
if thou have provided thee somewhat thereof,[FN#71] [it is well;]
but, if not, look thou procure it, ere thou take the meat and
carry it away.' 'May God requite thee with good!' rejoined Selim.
'Canst thou direct me where it is sold?' And the cook said, 'With
me is all that thou seekest thereof.' 'Is there a way for me to
see it?' asked the young man; and the cook sprang up and said,
'Pass on.' So he entered and the cook showed him somewhat of
wine; but he said, 'I desire better than this.' Whereupon he
opened a door and entering, said to Selim, 'Enter and follow me.'

Selim followed him till he brought him to an underground chamber
and showed him somewhat of wine that was to his mind. So he
occupied him with looking upon it and taking him at unawares,
sprang upon him from behind and cast him to the earth and sat
upon his breast. Then he drew a knife and set it to his jugular;
whereupon there betided Selim [that wherewithal] God made him
forget all that He had decreed [unto him],[FN#72] and he said to
the cook, 'Why dost thou this thing, O man? Be mindful of God the
Most High and fear Him. Seest thou not that I am a stranger? And
indeed [I have left] behind me a defenceless woman. Why wilt thou
slay me?' Quoth the cook, 'Needs must I slay thee, so I may take
thy good.' And Selim said, 'Take my good, but slay me not,
neither enter into sin against me; and do with me kindness, for
that the taking of my money is lighter[FN#73] than the taking of
my life.'

'This is idle talk,' answered the cook. 'Thou canst not deliver
thyself with this, O youth, for that in thy deliverance is my
destruction.' Quoth Selim, 'I swear to thee and give thee the
covenant of God (to whom belong might and majesty) and His bond,
that He took of His prophets, that I will not discover thy secret
ever.' But the cook answered, saying, 'Away! Away! This may no
wise be.' However, Selim ceased not to conjure him and make
supplication to him and weep, while the cook persisted in his
intent to slaughter him. Then he wept and recited the following
verses:

Haste not to that thou dost desire, for haste is still unblest;
     Be merciful to men, as thou on mercy reckonest;
For no hand is there but the hand of God is over it And no
     oppressor but shall be with worse than he opprest.

Quoth the cook, 'Nothing will serve but I must slay thee, O
fellow; for, if I spare thee, I shall myself be slain.' But Selim
said, 'O my brother, I will counsel thee somewhat[FN#74] other
than this.' 'What is it?' asked the cook. 'Say and be brief, ere
I cut thy throat' And Selim said, '[Do thou suffer me to live
and] keep me, that I may be a servant unto thee, and I will work
at a craft, of the crafts of the skilled workmen, wherefrom there
shall return to thee every day two dinars.' Quoth the cook, 'What
is the craft?' and Selim said, 'The cutting [and polishing] of
jewels.'

When the cook heard this, he said in himself, 'It will do me no
hurt if I imprison him and shackle him and bring him what he may
work at. If he tell truth, I will let him live, and if he prove a
liar, I will slay him.' So he took a pair of stout shackles and
clapping them on Selim's legs, imprisoned him within his house
and set over him one who should guard him. Then he questioned him
of what tools he needed to work withal. Selim set forth to him
that which he required, and the cook went out from him and
presently returning, brought him all he needed. So Selim sat and
wrought at his craft; and he used every day to earn two dinars;
and this was his wont and usance with the cook, whilst the latter
fed him not but half his fill.

To return to his sister Selma. She awaited him till the last of
the day, but he came not; and she awaited him a second day and a
third and a fourth, yet there came no news of him, wherefore she
wept and beat with her hands on her breast and bethought her of
her affair and her strangerhood and her brother's absence; and
she recited the following verses:

Peace on thee! Would our gaze might light on thee once more! So
     should our hearts be eased and eyes no longer sore.
Thou only art the whole of our desire; indeed Thy love is hid
     within our hearts' most secret core.

She abode awaiting him thus till the end of the month, but
discovered no tidings of him neither happened upon aught of his
trace; wherefore she was troubled with an exceeding perturbation
and despatching her servants hither and thither in quest of him,
abode in the sorest that might be of grief and concern. When it
was the beginning of the new month, she arose in the morning and
bidding cry him throughout the city, sat to receive visits of
condolence, nor was there any in the city but betook himself to
her, to condole with her; and they were all concerned for her,
nothing doubting but she was a man.

When three nights had passed over her with their days of the
second month, she despaired of him and her tears dried not up.
Then she resolved to take up her abode in the city and making
choice of a dwelling, removed thither. The folk resorted to her
from all parts, to sit with her and hearken to her speech and
witness her good breeding; nor was it but a little while ere the
king of the city died and the folk fell out concerning whom they
should invest with the kingship after him, so that strife was
like to betide between them. However, the men of judgment and
understanding and the folk of experience counselled them to make
the youth king who had lost his brother, for that they doubted
not but Selma was a man. They all consented unto this and
betaking themselves to Selma, proffered her the kingship. She
refused, but they were instant with her, till she consented,
saying in herself, 'My sole desire in [accepting] the kingship is
[to find] my brother.' Then they seated her on the throne of the
kingdom and set the crown on her head, whereupon she addressed
herself to the business of administration and to the ordinance of
the affairs of the people; and they rejoiced in her with the
utmost joy.

Meanwhile, Selim abode with the cook a whole year's space,
earning him two dinars every day; and when his affair was
prolonged, the cook inclined unto him and took compassion on him,
on condition that, if he let him go, he should not discover his
fashion to the Sultan, for that it was his wont every little
while to entrap a man and carry him to his house and slay him and
take his money and cook his flesh and give it to the folk to eat.
So he said to him, 'O youth, wilt thou that I release thee from
this thy plight, on condition that thou be reasonable and
discover not aught of thine affair ever?' And Selim answered, 'I
will swear to thee by whatsoever oath thou choosest that I will
keep thy secret and will not speak one syllable against thy due,
what while I abide on life.' Quoth the cook, 'I purpose to send
thee forth with my brother and cause thee travel with him on the
sea, on condition that thou be unto him a boughten slave; and
when he cometh to the land of Hind, he shall sell thee and thus
wilt thou be delivered from prison and slaughter.' And Selim
said, 'It is well: be it as thou sayst, may God the Most High
requite thee with good!'

Therewithal the cook equipped his brother and freighting him a
ship, embarked therein merchandise. Then he committed Selim unto
him and they set out and departed with the ship. God decreed them
safety, so that they arrived [in due course] at the first city
[of the land of Hind], the which is known as El Mensoureh, and
cast anchor there. Now the king of that city had died, leaving a
daughter and a widow, who was the quickest-witted of women and
gave out that the girl was a boy, so that the kingship might be
stablished unto them. The troops and the amirs doubted not but
that the case was as she avouched and that the princess was a
male child; so they obeyed her and the queen mother took order
for the matter and used to dress the girl in man's apparel and
seat her on the throne of the kingship, so that the folk might
see her. Accordingly, the grandees of the kingdom and the chief
officers of the realm used to go in to her and salute her and do
her service and go away, nothing doubting but she was a boy.

On this wise they abode months and years and the queen-mother
ceased not to do thus till the cook's brother came to the town in
his ship, and with him Selim. So he landed with the youth and
showed him to the queen, [that she might buy him]. When she saw
him, she augured well of him; so she bought him from the cook's
brother and was kind to him and entreated him with honour. Then
she fell to proving him in his parts and making assay of him in
his affairs and found in him all that is in kings' sons of
understanding and breeding and goodly manners and qualities.

So she sent for him in private and said to him, 'I purpose to do
thee a service, so thou canst but keep a secret.' He promised her
all that she desired and she discovered to him her secret in the
matter of her daughter, saying, 'I will marry thee to her and
commit to thee the governance of her affair and make thee king
and ruler over this city.' He thanked her and promised to uphold
all that she should order him, and she said to him, 'Go forth to
such an one of the neighbouring provinces privily.' So he went
forth and on the morrow she made ready bales and gear and
presents and bestowed on him a great matter, all of which they
loaded on the backs of camels.

Then she gave out among the folk that the king's father's
brother's son was come and bade the grandees and troops go forth
to meet him. Moreover, she decorated the city in his honour and
the drums of good tidings beat for him, whilst all the king's
household [went out to meet him and] dismounting before him,
[escorted him to the city and] lodged him with the queen-mother
in her palace. Then she bade the chiefs of the state attend his
assembly; so they presented themselves before him and saw of his
breeding and accomplishments that which amazed them and made them
forget the breeding of those who had foregone him of the kings.

When they were grown familiar with him, the queen-mother fell to
sending [privily] for the amirs, one by one, and swearing them to
secrecy; and when she was assured of their trustworthiness, she
discovered to them that the king had left but a daughter and that
she had done this but that she might continue the kingship in his
family and that the governance should not go forth from them;
after which she told them that she was minded to marry her
daughter with the new-comer, her father's brother's son, and that
he should be the holder of the kingship. They approved of her
proposal and when she had discovered the secret to the last of
them [and assured herself of their support], she published the
news abroad and sent for the cadis and assessors, who drew up the
contract of marriage between Selim and the princess, and they
lavished gifts upon the troops and overwhelmed them with
bounties. Then was the bride carried in procession to the young
man and the kingship was stablished unto him and the governance
of the realm.

On this wise they abode a whole year, at the end of which time
Selim said to the queen-mother, 'Know that my life is not
pleasing to me nor can I abide with you in contentment till I get
me tidings of my sister and learn in what issue her affair hath
resulted and how she hath fared after me. Wherefore I will go and
be absent from you a year's space; then will I return to you, so
it please God the Most High and I accomplish of this that which I
hope.' Quoth she, 'I will not trust to thy word, but will go with
thee and help thee to that which thou desirest of this and
further thee myself therein.' So she took a ship and loaded it
with all manner things of price, goods and treasures and what not
else. Moreover, she appointed one of the viziers, a man in whom
she trusted and in his fashion and ordinance, to rule the realm
in their absence, saying to him, 'Abide [in the kingship] a
full-told year and ordain all that whereof thou hast need.

Then the old queen and her daughter and son-in-law embarked in
the ship and setting sail, fared on till they came to the land of
Mekran. Their arrival there befell at the last of the day; so
they passed the night in the ship, and when the day was near to
break, the young king went down from the ship, that he might go
to the bath, and made for the market. As he drew near the bath,
the cook met him by the way and knew him; so he laid hands on him
and binding his arms fast behind him, carried him to his house,
where he clapped the old shackles on his feet and straightway
cast him back into his whilom place of duresse.

When Selim found himself in that sorry plight and considered that
wherewith he was afflicted of tribulation and the contrariness of
his fortune, in that he had been a king and was now returned to
shackles and prison and hunger, he wept and groaned and lamented
and recited the following verses:

My fortitude fails, my endeavour is vain; My bosom is straitened.
     To Thee, I complain,
O my God! Who is stronger than Thou in resource? The Subtle, Thou
     knowest my plight and my pain.

To return to his wife and her mother. When the former arose in
the morning and her husband returned not to her with break of
day, she forebode all manner of calamity and straightway
despatched her servants and all who were with her in quest of
him; but they happened not on any trace of him neither fell in
with aught of his news. So she bethought herself concerning her
affair and complained and wept and groaned and sighed and blamed
perfidious fortune, bewailing that sorry chance and reciting
these verses:

God keep the days of love-delight! How passing sweet they were!
     How joyous and how solaceful was life in them whilere!
Would he were not, who sundered us upon the parting-day! How many
     a body hath he slain, how many a bone laid bare!
Sans fault of mine, my blood and tears he shed and beggared me Of
     him I love, yet for himself gained nought thereby whate'er.

When she had made an end of her verses, she considered her affair
and said in herself, 'By Allah, all these things have betided by
the ordinance of God the Most High and His providence and this
was written and charactered upon the forehead.' Then she landed
and fared on till she came to a spacious place, where she
enquired of the folk and hired a house. Thither she straightway
transported all that was in the ship of goods and sending for
brokers, sold all that was with her. Then she took part of the
price and fell to enquiring of the folk, so haply she might scent
out tidings [of her lost husband]. Moreover, she addressed
herself to lavishing alms and tending the sick, clothing the
naked and pouring water upon the dry ground of the forlorn. On
this wise she abode a whole year, and every little while she sold
of her goods and gave alms to the sick and the needy; wherefore
her report was bruited abroad in the city and the folk were
lavish in her praise.

All this while, Selim lay in shackles and strait prison, and
melancholy possessed him by reason of that whereinto he had
fallen of that tribulation. Then, when troubles waxed on him and
affliction was prolonged, he fell sick of a sore sickness. When
the cook saw his plight (and indeed he was like to perish for
much suffering), he loosed him from the shackles and bringing him
forth of the prison, committed him to an old woman, who had a
nose the bigness of a jug, and bade her tend him and medicine him
and serve him and entreat him kindly, so haply he might be made
whole of that his sickness. So the old woman took him and
carrying him to her lodging, fell to tending him and giving him
to eat and drink; and when he was quit of that torment, he
recovered from his malady.

Now the old woman had heard from the folk of the lady who gave
alms to the sick, and indeed [the news of] her bounties reached
both poor and rich; so she arose and bringing out Selim to the
door of her house, laid him on a mat and wrapped him in a mantle
and sat over against him. Presently, it befell that the
charitable lady passed by them, which when the old woman saw, she
rose to her and offered up prayers for her, saying, 'O my
daughter, O thou to whom pertain goodness and beneficence and
charity and almsdoing, know that this young man is a stranger,
and indeed want and vermin and hunger and nakedness and cold slay
him.' When the lady heard this, she gave her alms of that which
was with her; and indeed her heart inclined unto Selim, [but she
knew him not for her husband].

The old woman received the alms from her and carrying it to
Selim, took part thereof herself and with the rest bought him an
old shirt, in which she clad him, after she had stripped him of
that he had on. Then she threw away the gown she had taken from
off him and arising forthright, washed his body of that which was
thereon of filth and scented him with somewhat of perfume.
Moreover, she bought him chickens and made him broth; so he ate
and his life returned to him and he abode with her on the most
solaceful of life till the morrow.

Next morning, the old woman said to him, 'When the lady cometh to
thee, do thou arise and kiss her hand and say to her, "I am a
strange man and indeed cold and hunger slay me;" so haply she may
give thee somewhat that thou mayst expend upon thy case.' And he
answered, 'Hearkening and obedience.' Then she took him by the
hand and carrying him without her house, seated him at the door.
As he sat, behold, the lady came up to him, whereupon the old
woman rose to her and Selim kissed her hand and offered up
prayers for her. Then he looked on her and when he saw her, he
knew her for his wife; so he cried out and wept and groaned and
lamented; whereupon she came up to him and cast herself upon him;
for indeed she knew him with all knowledge, even as he knew her.
So she laid hold of him and embraced him and called to her
serving-men and attendants and those who were about her; and they
took him up and carried him forth of that place.

When the old woman saw this, she cried out to the cook from
within the house, and he said to her, 'Go before me.' So she
forewent him and he ran after her till he [overtook the party
and] catching hold of Selim, said [to the latter's wife,] 'What
aileth thee to take my servant?' Whereupon she cried out at him,
saying, 'Know that this is my husband, whom I had lost.' And
Selim also cried out, saying, 'Mercy! Mercy! I appeal to God and
to the Sultan against this Satan!' Therewith the folk gathered
together to them forthright and loud rose the clamours and the
cries between them; but the most part of them said, 'Refer their
affair to the Sultan.' So they referred the case to the Sultan,
who was none other than Selim's sister Selma.

[Then they went up to the palace and] the interpreter went in to
Selma and said to her, 'O king of the age, here is an Indian
woman, who cometh from the land of Hind, and she hath laid hands
on a young man, a servant, avouching that he is her husband, who
hath been missing these two years, and she came not hither but on
his account, and indeed these many days she hath done almsdeeds
[in the city]. And here is a man, a cook, who avoucheth that the
young man is his slave.' When the queen heard these words, her
entrails quivered and she groaned from an aching heart and called
to mind her brother and that which had betided him. Then she bade
those who were about her bring them before her, and when she saw
them, she knew her brother and was like to cry aloud; but her
reason restrained her; yet could she not contain herself, but she
must needs rise up and sit down. However, she enforced herself
unto patience and said to them, 'Let each of you acquaint me with
his case.'

So Selim came forward and kissing the earth before the [supposed]
king, praised him and related to him his story from beginning to
end, till the time of their coming to that city, he and his
sister, telling him how he had entered the place and fallen into
the hands of the cook and that which had betided him [with him]
and what he had suffered from him of beating and bonds and
shackles and pinioning. Moreover, he told him how the cook had
made him his brother's slave and how the latter had sold him in
Hind and he had married the princess and become king and how life
was not pleasant to him till he should foregather with his sister
and how the cook had fallen in with him a second time and
acquainted her with that which had betided him of sickness and
disease for the space of a full-told year.

When he had made an end of his speech, his wife came forward
forthright and told her story, from first to last, how her mother
bought him from the cook's partner and the people of the kingdom
came under his rule; nor did she leave telling till she came, in
her story, to that city [and acquainted the queen with the manner
of her falling in with her lost husband]. When she had made an
end of her story, the cook exclaimed, 'Alack, what impudent liars
there be! By Allah, O king, this woman lieth against me, for this
youth is my rearling[FN#75] and he was born of one of my
slave-girls. He fled from me and I found him again.

When the queen heard the last of the talk, she said to the cook,
'The judgment between you shall not be but in accordance with
justice.' Then she dismissed all those who were present and
turning to her brother, said to him, 'Indeed thy soothfastness is
established with me and the truth of thy speech, and praised be
God who hath brought about union between thee and thy wife! So
now begone with her to thy country and leave [seeking] thy sister
Selma and depart in peace.' But Selim answered, saying, 'By
Allah, by the virtue of the All-knowing King, I will not turn
back from seeking my sister till I die or find her, if it please
God the Most High!' Then he called his sister to mind and broke
out with the following verses from a heart endolored, afflicted,
disappointed, saying:

O thou that blamest me for my heart and railest at my ill, Hadst
     them but tasted my spirit's grief, thou wouldst excuse me
     still.
By Allah, O thou that chid'st my heart concerning my sister's
     love, Leave chiding and rather bemoan my case and help me to
     my will.
For indeed I am mated with longing love in public and privily,
     Nor ever my heart, alas I will cease from mourning, will I
     or nill.
A fire in mine entrails burns, than which the fire of the hells
     denounced For sinners' torment less scathing is: it seeketh
     me to slay.

When his sister Selma heard what he said, she could no longer
contain herself, but cast herself upon him and discovered to him
her case. When he knew her, he threw himself upon her [and lay
without life] awhile; after which he came to himself and said,
'Praised be God, the Bountiful, the Beneficent!' Then they
complained to each other of that which they had suffered for the
anguish of separation, whilst Selim's wife abode wondered at this
and Selma's patience and constancy pleased her. So she saluted
her and thanked her for her fashion, saying, 'By Allah, O my
lady, all that we are in of gladness is of thy blessing alone; so
praised be God who hath vouchsafed us thy sight!' Then they abode
all three in joy and happiness and delight three days,
sequestered from the folk; and it was bruited abroad in the city
that the king had found his brother, who was lost years agone.

On the fourth day, all the troops and the people of the realm
assembled together to the [supposed] king and standing at his
gate, craved leave to enter. Selma bade admit them; so they
entered and paid her the service of the kingship and gave her joy
of her brother's safe return. She bade them do suit and service
to Selim, and they consented and paid him homage; after which
they kept silence awhile, so they might hear what the king should
command. Then said Selma, 'Harkye, all ye soldiers and subjects,
ye know that ye enforced me to [accept] the kingship and besought
me thereof and I consented unto your wishes concerning my
investment [with the royal dignity]; and I did this [against my
will]; for know that I am a woman and that I disguised myself and
donned man's apparel, so haply my case might be hidden, whenas I
lost my brother. But now, behold, God hath reunited me with my
brother, and it is no longer lawful to me that I be king and bear
rule over the people, and I a woman; for that there is no
governance for women, whenas men are present. Wherefore, if it
like you, do ye set my brother on the throne of the kingdom, for
this is he; and I will busy myself with the worship of God the
Most High and thanksgiving [to Him] for my reunion with my
brother. Or, if it like you, take your kingship and invest
therewith whom ye will.'

Thereupon the folk all cried out, saying, 'We accept him to king
over us!' And they did him suit and service and gave him joy of
the kingship. So the preachers preached in his name[FN#76] and
the poets praised him; and he lavished gifts upon the troops and
the officers of his household and overwhelmed them with favours
and bounties and was prodigal to the people of justice and
equitable dealings and goodly usance and polity. When he had
accomplished this much of his desire, he caused bring forth the
cook and his household to the divan, but spared the old woman who
had tended him, for that she had been the cause of his
deliverance. Then they assembled them all without the town and he
tormented the cook and those who were with him with all manner of
torments, after which he put him to death on the sorriest wise
and burning him with fire, scattered his ashes abroad in the air.

Selim abode in the governance, invested with the sultanate, and
ruled the people a whole year, after which he returned to El
Mensoureh and sojourned there another year. And he [and his wife]
ceased not to go from city to city and abide in this a year and
that a year, till he was vouchsafed children and they grew up,
whereupon he appointed him of his sons, who was found fitting, to
be his deputy in [one] kingdom [and abode himself in the other];
and he lived, he and his wife and children, what while God the
Most High willed. Nor," added the vizier, "O king of the age, is
this story rarer or more extraordinary than that of the king of
Hind and his wronged and envied vizier."

When the king heard this, his mind was occupied [with the story
he had heard and that which the vizier promised him], and he bade
the latter depart to his own house.

         The Twenty-Eighth and Last Night of the Month

When the evening evened, the king summoned the vizier and bade
him tell the story of the King of Hind and his vizier. So he
said, "Hearkening and obedience. Know, O king of august lineage,
that



           STORY OF THE KING OF HIND AND HIS VIZIER.



There was once in the land of Hind a king of illustrious station,
endowed with understanding and good sense, and his name was Shah
Bekht. He had a vizier, a man of worth and intelligence, prudent
in counsel, conformable to him in his governance and just in his
judgment; wherefore his enviers were many and many were the
hypocrites, who sought in him faults and set snares for him, so
that they insinuated into King Shah Bekht's eye hatred and
rancour against him and sowed despite against him in his heart;
and plot followed after plot, till [at last] the king was brought
to arrest him and lay him in prison and confiscate his good and
avoid his estate.[FN#77]

When they knew that there was left him no estate that the king
might covet, they feared lest he be brought to release him, by
the incidence of the vizier's [good] counsel upon the king's
heart, and he return to his former case, so should their plots be
marred and their ranks degraded, for that they knew that the king
would have need of that which he had known from that man nor
would forget that wherewith he was familiar in him. Now it befell
that a certain man of corrupt purpose[FN#78] found a way to the
perversion of the truth and a means of glozing over falsehood and
adorning it with a semblance of fair-seeming and there proceeded
from him that wherewith the hearts of the folk were occupied, and
their minds were corrupted by his lying tales; for that he made
use of Indian subtleties and forged them into a proof for the
denial of the Maker, the Creator, extolled be His might and
exalted be He! Indeed, God is exalted and magnified above the
speech of the deniers. He avouched that it is the planets[FN#79]
that order the affairs of all creatures and he set down twelve
mansions to twelve signs [of the Zodiac] and made each sign
thirty degrees, after the number of the days of the month, so
that in twelve mansions there are three hundred and threescore
[degrees], after the number of the days of the year; and he
wrought a scheme, wherein he lied and was an infidel and denied
[God]. Then he got possession of the king's mind and the enviers
and haters aided him against the vizier and insinuated themselves
into his favour and corrupted his counsel against the vizier, so
that he suffered of him that which he suffered and he banished
him and put him away.

So the wicked man attained that which he sought of the vizier and
the case was prolonged till the affairs of the kingdom became
disordered, by dint of ill governance, and the most part of the
king's empery fell away from him and he came nigh unto ruin.
Therewithal he was certified of the loyalty of his [late] skilful
vizier and the excellence of his governance and the justness of
his judgment. So he sent after him and brought him and the wicked
man before him and summoning the grandees of his realm and the
chiefs of his state to his presence, gave them leave to talk and
dispute and forbade the wicked man from that his lewd
opinion.[FN#80] Then arose that wise and skilful vizier and
praised God the Most High and lauded Him and glorified Him and
hallowed Him and attested His unity and disputed with the wicked
man and overcame him and put him to silence; nor did he cease
from him till he enforced him to make confession of repentance
[and turning away] from that which he had believed.

Therewith King Shah Bekht rejoiced with an exceeding great joy
and said, 'Praise be to God who hath delivered me from yonder man
and hath preserved me from the loss of the kingship and the
cessation of prosperity from me!' So the affair of the vizier
returned to order and well-being and the king restored him to his
place and advanced him in rank. Moreover, he assembled the folk
who had missaid of him and destroyed them all, to the last man.
And how like," continued the vizier, "is this story unto that of
myself and King Shah Bekht, with regard to that whereinto I am
fallen of the changing of the king's heart and his giving
credence to others against me; but now is the righteousness of my
dealing established in thine eyes, for that God the Most High
hath inspired me with wisdom and endowed thee with longanimity
and patience [to hearken] from me unto that which He allotted
unto those who had foregone us, till He hath shown forth my
innocence and made manifest unto thee the truth. For now the days
are past, wherein it was avouched to the king that I should
endeavour for the destruction of my soul,[FN#81] [to wit,] the
month; and behold, the probation time is over and gone, and past
is the season of evil and ceased, by the king's good fortune."
Then he bowed his head and was silent.[FN#82]

When King Shah Bekht heard his vizier's speech, he was confounded
before him and abashed and marvelled at the gravity of his
understanding and his patience. So he sprang up to him and
embraced him and the vizier kissed his feet. Then the king called
for a sumptuous dress of honour and cast it over Er Rehwan and
entreated him with the utmost honour and showed him special
favour and restored him to his rank and vizierate. Moreover he
imprisoned those who had sought his destruction with leasing and
committed unto himself to pass judgment upon the interpreter who
had expounded to him the dream. So the vizier abode in the
governance of the realm till there came to them the Destroyer of
Delights; and this (added Shehrzad) is all, O king of the age,
that hath come down to us of King Shah Bekht and his vizier.



                    SHEHRZAD AND SHEHRIYAR.



As for King Shehriyar, he marvelled at Shehrzad with the utmost
wonder and drew her near to his heart, of his much love for her;
and she was magnified in his eyes and he said in himself, "By
Allah, the like of this woman is not deserving of slaughter, for
indeed the time affordeth not her like. By Allah, I have been
heedless of mine affair, and had not God overcome me with His
mercy and put this woman at my service, so she might adduce to me
manifest instances and truthful cases and goodly admonitions and
edifying traits, such as should restore me to the [right] road,
[I had come to perdition!]. Wherefore to God be the praise for
this and I beseech Him to make my end with her like unto that of
the vizier and Shah Bekht." Then sleep overcame the king and
glory be unto Him who sleepeth not!

When it was the Nine hundred and thirtieth Night, Shehrzad said,
"O king, there is present in my thought a story which treateth of
women's craft and wherein is a warning to whoso will be warned
and an admonishment to whoso will be admonished and whoso hath
discernment; but I fear lest the hearing of this lessen me with
the king and lower my rank in his esteem; yet I hope that this
will not be, for that it is a rare story. Women are indeed
corruptresses; their craft and their cunning may not be set out
nor their wiles known. Men enjoy their company and are not
careful to uphold them [in the right way], neither do they watch
over them with all vigilance, but enjoy their company and take
that which is agreeable and pay no heed to that which is other
than this. Indeed, they are like unto the crooked rib, which if
thou go about to straighten, thou distortest it, and which if
thou persist in seeking to redress, thou breakest it; wherefore
it behoveth the man of understanding to be silent concerning
them."

"O sister mine," answered Dinarzad, "bring forth that which is
with thee and that which is present to thy mind of the story
concerning the craft of women and their wiles, and have no fear
lest this endamage thee with the king; for that women are like
unto jewels, which are of all kinds and colours. When a [true]
jewel falleth into the hand of him who is knowing therein, he
keepeth it for himself and leaveth that which is other than it.
Moreover, he preferreth some of them over others, and in this he
is like unto the potter, who filleth his oven with all the
vessels [he hath moulded] and kindleth fire thereunder. When the
baking is at an end and he goeth about to take forth that which
is in the oven, he findeth no help for it but that he must break
some thereof, whilst other some are what the folk need and
whereof they make use, and yet other some there be that return to
their whilom case. Wherefore fear thou not to adduce that which
thou knowest of the craft of women, for that in this is profit
for all folk."

Then said Shehrzad, "They avouch, O king, (but God [alone]
knowest the secret things,) that



             EL MELIK EZ ZAHIR RUKNEDDIN BIBERS EL
             BUNDUCDARI AND THE SIXTEEN OFFICERS OF
                         POLICE.[FN#83]



There was once in the land [of Egypt and] the city of Cairo,
[under the dynasty] of the Turks,[FN#84] a king of the valiant
kings and the exceeding mighty Sultans, by name El Melik ez Zahir
Rukneddin Bibers el Bunducdari.[FN#85] He was used to storm the
Islamite strongholds and the fortresses of the Coast[FN#86] and
the Nazarene citadels, and the governor of his [capital] city was
just to the folk, all of them. Now El Melik ez Zahir was
passionately fond of stories of the common folk and of that which
men purposed and loved to see this with his eyes and hear their
sayings with his ears, and it befell that he heard one night from
one of his story-tellers[FN#87] that among women are those who
are doughtier than men of valour and greater of excellence and
that among them are those who will do battle with the sword and
others who cozen the quickest-witted of magistrates and baffle
them and bring down on them all manner of calamity; whereupon
quoth the Sultan, 'I would fain hear this of their craft from one
of those who have had to do theiewith, so I may hearken unto him
and cause him tell.' And one of the story-tellers said, 'O king,
send for the chief of the police of the town.'

Now Ilmeddin Senjer was at that time Master of Police and he was
a man of experience, well versed in affairs: so the king sent for
him and when he came before him, he discovered to him that which
was in his mind. Quoth Ilmeddin Senjer, 'I will do my endeavour
for that which our lord the Sultan seeketh.' Then he arose and
returning to his house, summoned the captains of the watch and
the lieutenants of police and said to them, 'Know that I purpose
to marry my son and make him a bride-feast, and it is my wish
that ye assemble, all of you, in one place. I also will be
present, I and my company, and do ye relate that which ye have
heard of extraordinary occurrences and that which hath betided
you of experiences.' And the captains and sergeants and agents of
police made answer to him, saying, 'It is well: in the name of
God! We will cause thee see all this with thine eyes and hear it
with thine ears.' Then the master of police arose and going up to
El Melik ez Zahir, informed him that the assembly would take
place on such a day at his house; and the Sultan said, 'It is
well,' and gave him somewhat of money for his expenses.

When the appointed day arrived, the chief of the police set apart
for his officers a saloon, that had windows ranged in order and
giving upon the garden, and El Melik ez Zahir came to him, and he
seated himself, he and the Sultan, in the alcove. Then the tables
were spread unto them for eating and they ate; and when the cup
went round amongst them and their hearts were gladdened with meat
and drink, they related that which was with them and discovered
their secrets from concealment. The first to relate was a man, a
captain of the watch, by name Muineddin, whose heart was
engrossed with the love of women; and he said, 'Harkye, all ye
people of [various] degree, I will acquaint you with an
extraordinary affair which befell me aforetime. Know that



                   THE FIRST OFFICER'S STORY.



When I entered the service of this Amir,[FN#88] I had a great
repute and every lewd fellow feared me of all mankind, and whenas
I rode through the city, all the folk would point at me with
their fingers and eyes. It befell one day, as I sat in the house
of the prefecture, with my back against a wall, considering in
myself, there fell somewhat in my lap, and behold, it was a purse
sealed and tied. So I took it in my hand and behold, it had in it
a hundred dirhems,[FN#89] but I found not who threw it and I
said, "Extolled be the perfection of God, the King of the
Kingdoms!"[FN#90] Another day, [as I sat on like wise,] somewhat
fell on me and startled me, and behold, it was a purse like the
first. So I took it and concealing its affair, made as if I
slept, albeit sleep was not with me.

One day, as I was thus feigning sleep, I felt a hand in my lap,
and in it a magnificent purse. So I seized the hand and behold,
it was that of a fair woman. Quoth I to her, "O my lady, who art
thou?" And she said, "Rise [and come away] from here, that I may
make myself known to thee." So I arose and following her, fared
on, without tarrying, till she stopped at the door of a lofty
house, whereupon quoth I to her,"O my lady, who art thou? Indeed,
thou hast done me kindness, and what is the reason of this?" "By
Allah," answered she, "O Captain Mum, I am a woman on whom desire
and longing are sore for the love of the daughter of the Cadi
Amin el Hukm. Now there was between us what was and the love of
her fell upon my heart and I agreed with her upon meeting,
according to possibility and convenience. But her father Amin el
Hukm took her and went away, and my heart cleaveth to her and
love-longing and distraction are sore upon me on her account."

I marvelled at her words and said to her, "What wouldst thou have
me do?" And she answered, "O Captain Muin, I would have thee give
me a helping hand." Quoth I, "What have I to do with the daughter
of the Cadi Amin el Hukm?" And she said, "Know that I would not
have thee intrude upon the Cadi's daughter, but I would fain
contrive for the attainment of my wishes.' This is my intent and
my desire, and my design will not be accomplished but by thine
aid." Then said she, "I mean this night to go with a stout heart
and hire me trinkets of price; then will I go and sit in the
street wherein is the house of Amin el Hukm; and when it is the
season of the round and the folk are asleep, do thou pass, thou
and those who are with thee of the police, and thou wilt see me
sitting and on me fine raiment and ornaments and wilt smell on me
the odour of perfumes; whereupon do thou question me of my case
and I will say, 'I come from the Citadel and am of the daughters
of the deputies[FN#91] and I came down [into the town,] to do an
occasion; but the night overtook me at unawares and the Zuweyleh
gate was shut against me and all the gates and I knew not whither
I should go this night Presently I saw this street and noting the
goodliness of its ordinance and its cleanness, took shelter
therein against break of day.' When I say this to thee with all
assurance[FN#92] the chief of the watch will have no suspicion of
me, but will say, 'Needs must we leave her with one who will take
care of her till morning.' And do thou rejoin, 'It were most
fitting that she pass the night with Amin el Hukm and lie with
his family and children till the morning.' Then do thou
straightway knock at the Cadi's door, and thus shall I have
gained admission into his house, without inconvenience, and
gotten my desire; and peace be on thee!" And I said to her, "By
Allah, this is an easy matter."

So, when the night darkened, we sallied forth to make our round,
attended by men with sharp swords, and went round about the
streets and compassed the city, till we came to the by-street
where was the woman, and it was the middle of the night Here we
smelt rich scents and heard the clink of earrings; so I said to
my comrades, "Methinks I spy an apparition," And the captain of
the watch said, "See what it is." So I came forward and entering
the lane, came presently out again and said, "I have found a fair
woman and she tells me that she is from the Citadel and that the
night surprised her and she espied this street and seeing its
cleanness and the goodliness of its ordinance, knew that it
appertained to a man of rank and that needs must there be in it a
guardian to keep watch over it, wherefore she took shelter
therein." Quoth the captain of the watch to me, "Take her and
carry her to thy house." But I answered, "I seek refuge with
Allah![FN#93] My house is no place of deposit[FN#94] and on this
woman are trinkets and apparel [of price]. By Allah, we will not
deposit her save with Amin el Hukrn, in whose street she hath
been since the first of the darkness; wherefore do thou leave her
with him till the break of day." And he said, "As thou wilt."
Accordingly, I knocked at the Cadi's door and out came a black
slave of his slaves, to whom said I, "O my lord, take this woman
and let her be with you till break of day, for that the
lieutenant of the Amir Ilmeddin hath found her standing at the
door of your house, with trinkets and apparel [of price] on her,
and we feared lest her responsibility be upon you;[FN#95]
wherefore it is most fit that she pass the night with you." So
the slave opened and took her in with him.

When the morning morrowed, the first who presented himself before
the Amir was the Cadi Amin el Hukm, leaning on two of his black
slaves; and he was crying out and calling [on God] for aid and
saying, "O crafty and perfidious Amir, thou depositedst with me a
woman [yesternight] and broughtest her into my house and my
dwelling-place, and she arose [in the night] and took from me the
good of the little orphans,[FN#96] six great bags, [containing
each a thousand dinars,[FN#97] and made off;] but as for me, I
will say no more to thee except in the Sultan's presence."[FN#98]
When the Master of the Police heard these words, he was troubled
and rose and sat down; then he took the Cadi and seating him by
his side, soothed him and exhorted him to patience, till he had
made an end of talk, when he turned to the officers and
questioned them. They fixed the affair on me and said, "We know
nothing of this affair but from Captain Muineddin." So the Cadi
turned to me and said, "Thou wast of accord with this woman, for
she said she came from the Citadel."

As for me, I stood, with my head bowed to the earth, forgetting
both Institutes and Canons,[FN#99] and abode sunk in thought,
saying, "How came I to be the dupe of yonder worthless baggage?"
Then said the Amir to me, "What aileth thee that thou answerest
not?" And I answered, saying, "O my lord, it is a custom among
the folk that he who hath a payment to make at a certain date is
allowed three days' grace; [so do thou have patience with me so
long,] and if, [by the end of that time,] the culprit be not
found, I will be answerable for that which is lost." When the
folk heard my speech, they all deemed it reasonable and the
Master of Police turned to the Cadi and swore to him that he
would do his utmost endeavour to recover the stolen money and
that it should be restored to him. So he went away, whilst I
mounted forthright and fell to going round about the world
without purpose, and indeed I was become under the dominion of a
woman without worth or honour; and I went round about on this
wise all that my day and night, but happened not upon tidings of
her; and thus I did on the morrow.

On the third day I said to myself, "Thou art mad or witless!" For
I was going about in quest of a woman who knew me and I knew her
not, seeing that indeed she was veiled, [whenas I saw her]. Then
I went round about the third day till the hour of afternoon
prayer, and sore was my concern and my chagrin, for I knew that
there abode to me of my life but [till] the morrow, when the
chief of the police would seek me. When it was the time of
sundown, I passed through one of the streets, and beheld a woman
at a window. Her door was ajar and she was clapping her hands and
casting furtive glances at me, as who should say, "Come up by the
door." So I went up, without suspicion, and when I entered, she
rose and clasped me to her breast 1 marvelled at her affair and
she said to me, "I am she whom thou depositedst with Amin el
Hukm." Quoth I to her, "O my sister, I have been going round and
round in quest of thee, for indeed thou hast done a deed that
will be chronicled in history and hast cast me into
slaughter[FN#100] on thine account." "Sayst thou this to me,"
asked she, "and thou captain of men?" And I answered, "How should
I not be troubled, seeing that I am in concern [for an affair]
that I turn over and over [in my mind], more by token that I
abide my day long going about [searching for thee] and in the
night I watch its stars [for wakefulness]?" Quoth she, "Nought
shall betide but good, and thou shalt get the better of him."

So saying, she rose [and going] to a chest, took out therefrom
six bags full of gold and said to me, "This is what I took from
Amin el Hukm's house. So, if thou wilt, restore it; else the
whole is lawfully thine; and if thou desire other than this,
[thou shalt have it;] for I have wealth in plenty and I had no
design in this but to marry thee." Then she arose and opening
[other] chests, brought out therefrom wealth galore and I said to
her, "O my sister, I have no desire for all this, nor do I covet
aught but to be quit of that wherein I am." Quoth she, "I came
not forth of the [Cadi's] house without [making provision for]
thine acquittance."

Then said she to me, "To-morrow morning, when Amin el Hukm
cometh, have patience with him till he have made an end of his
speech, and when he is silent, return him no answer; and if the
prefect say to thee, 'What ailest thee that thou answereth him
not?' do thou reply, 'O lord, know that the two words are not
alike, but there is no [helper] for him who is undermost[FN#101],
save God the Most High.'[FN#102] The Cadi will say, 'What is the
meaning of thy saying," The two words are not alike"?' And do
thou make answer, saying, 'I deposited with thee a damsel from
the palace of the Sultan, and most like some losel of thy
household hath transgressed against her or she hath been privily
murdered. Indeed, there were on her jewels and raiment worth a
thousand dinars, and hadst thou put those who are with thee of
slaves and slave-girls to the question, thou hadst assuredly lit
on some traces [of the crime].' When he heareth this from thee,
his agitation will redouble and he will be confounded and will
swear that needs must thou go with him to his house; but do thou
say, 'That will I not do, for that I am the party aggrieved, more
by token that I am under suspicion with thee.' If he redouble in
calling [on God for aid] and conjure thee by the oath of divorce,
saying, 'Needs must thou come,' do thou say, 'By Allah, I will
not go, except the prefect come also.'

When thou comest to the house, begin by searching the roofs; then
search the closets and cabinets; and if thou find nought, humble
thyself unto the Cadi and make a show of abjection and feign
thyself defeated, and after stand at the door and look as if thou
soughtest a place wherein to make water, for that there is a dark
corner there. Then come forward, with a heart stouter than
granite, and lay hold upon a jar of the jars and raise it from
its place. Thou wilt find under it the skirt of a veil; bring it
out publicly and call the prefect in a loud voice, before those
who are present. Then open it and thou wilt find it full of
blood, exceeding of redness,[FN#103] and in it [thou wilt find
also] a woman's shoes and a pair of trousers and somewhat of
linen." When I heard this from her, I rose to go out and she said
to me, "Take these hundred dinars, so they may advantage thee;
and this is my guest-gift to thee." So I took them and bidding
her farewell, returned to my lodging.

Next morning, up came the Cadi, with his face like the
ox-eye,[FN#104] and said, "In the name of God, where is my debtor
and where is my money?" Then he wept and cried out and said to
the prefect, "Where is that ill-omened fellow, who aboundeth in
thievery and villainy?" Therewith the prefect turned to me and
said, "Why dost thou not answer the Cadi?" And I replied, "O
Amir, the two heads[FN#105] are not equal, and I, I have no
helper but God; but, if the right be on my side, it will appear."
At this the Cadi cried out and said, "Out on thee, O ill-omened
fellow! How wilt thou make out that the right is on thy side?" "O
our lord the Cadi," answered I, "I deposited with thee a trust,
to wit, a woman whom we found at thy door, and on her raiment and
trinkets of price. Now she is gone, even as yesterday is gone;
and after this thou turnest upon us and makest claim upon me for
six thousand dinars. By Allah, this is none other than gross
unright, and assuredly some losel of thy household hath
transgressed against her!"

With this the Cadi's wrath redoubled and he swore by the most
solemn of oaths that I should go with him and search his house.
"By Allah," replied I, "I will not go, except the prefect be with
us; for, if he be present, he and the officers, thou wilt not
dare to presume upon me." And the Cadi rose and swore an oath,
saying, "By Him who created mankind, we will not go but with the
Amir!" So we repaired to the Cadi's house, accompanied by the
prefect, and going up, searched high and low, but found nothing;
whereupon fear gat hold upon me and the prefect turned to me and
said, "Out on thee, O ill-omened fellow! Thou puttest us to shame
before the men." And I wept and went round about right and left,
with the tears running down my face, till we were about to go
forth and drew near the door of the house. I looked at the place
[behind the door] and said, "What is yonder dark place that I
see?" And I said to the sergeants, "Lift up this jar with me."
They did as I bade them and I saw somewhat appearing under the
jar and said, "Rummage and see what is under it." So they
searched and found a woman's veil and trousers full of blood,
which when I beheld, I fell down in a swoon.

When the prefect saw this, he said, "By Allah, the captain is
excused!" Then my comrades came round about me and sprinkled
water on my face, [till I came to myself,] when I arose and
accosting the Cadi, who was covered with confusion, said to him,
"Thou seest that suspicion is fallen on thee, and indeed this
affair is no light matter, for that this woman's family will
assuredly not sit down under her loss." Therewith the Cadi's
heart quaked and he knew that the suspicion had reverted upon
him, wherefore his colour paled and his limbs smote together; and
he paid of his own money, after the measure of that which he had
lost, so we would hush up the matter for him.[FN#106] Then we
departed from him in peace, whilst I said in myself, "Indeed, the
woman deceived me not."

After that I tarried till three days had elapsed, when 1 went to
the bath and changing my clothes, betook myself to her house, but
found the door locked and covered with dust. So I questioned the
neighbours of her and they said, "This house hath been empty
these many days; but three days agone there came a woman with an
ass, and yesternight, at eventide, she took her gear and went
away." So I turned back, confounded in my wit, and every day
[after this, for many a day,] I inquired of the inhabitants [of
the street] concerning her, but could light on no tidings of her.
And indeed I marvelled at the eloquence of her tongue and [the
readiness of] her speech; and this is the most extraordinary of
that which hath betided me.'

When El Melik ez Zahir heard Muineddin's story, he marvelled
thereat Then rose another officer and said, 'O lord, bear what
befell me in bygone days.



                  THE SECOND OFFICER'S STORY.



I was once an officer in the household of the Amir Jemaleddin El
Atwesh El Mujhidi, who was invested with the governance of the
Eastern and Western districts,[FN#107] and I was dear to his
heart and he concealed from me nought of that which he purposed
to do; and withal he was master of his reason.[FN#108] It chanced
one day that it was reported to him that the daughter of such an
one had wealth galore and raiment and jewels and she loved a Jew,
whom every day she invited to be private with her, and they
passed the day eating and drinking in company and he lay the
night with her. The prefect feigned to give no credence to this
story, but one night he summoned the watchmen of the quarter and
questioned them of this. Quoth one of them, "O my lord, I saw a
Jew enter the street in question one night; but know not for
certain to whom he went in." And the prefect said, "Keep thine
eye on him henceforth and note what place he entereth." So the
watchman went out and kept his eye on the Jew.

One day, as the prefect sat [in his house], the watchman came in
to him and said, "O my lord, the Jew goeth to the house of such
an one." Whereupon El Atwesh arose and went forth alone, taking
with him none but myself. As he went along, he said to me,
"Indeed, this [woman] is a fat piece of meat."[FN#109] And we
gave not over going till we came to the door of the house and
stood there till a slave-girl came out, as if to buy them
somewhat. We waited till she opened the door, whereupon, without
further parley, we forced our way into the house and rushed in
upon the girl, whom we found seated with the Jew in a saloon with
four estrades, and cooking-pots and candles therein. When her
eyes fell on the prefect, she knew him and rising to her feet,
said, "Welcome and fair welcome! Great honour hath betided me by
my lord's visit and indeed thou honourest my dwelling."

Then she carried him up [to the estrade] and seating him on the
couch, brought him meat and wine and gave him to drink; after
which she put off all that was upon her of raiment and jewels and
tying them up in a handkerchief, said to him, "O my lord, this is
thy portion, all of it." Moreover she turned to the Jew and said
to him, "Arise, thou also, and do even as I." So he arose in
haste and went out, scarce crediting his deliverance. When the
girl was assured of his escape, she put out her hand to her
clothes [and jewels] and taking them, said to the prefect, "Is
the requital of kindness other than kindness? Thou hast deigned
[to visit me and eat of my victual]; so now arise and depart from
us without ill-[doing]; or I will give one cry and all who are in
the street will come forth." So the Amir went out from her,
without having gotten a single dirhem; and on this wise she
delivered the Jew by the excellence of her contrivance.'

The folk marvelled at this story and as for the prefect and El
Melik ez Zahir, they said, 'Wrought ever any the like of this
device?' And they marvelled with the utterest of wonderment Then
arose a third officer and said, 'Hear what betided me, for it is
yet stranger and more extraordinary.



                   THE THIRD OFFICER'S STORY



I was one day abroad on an occasion with certain of my comrades,
and as we went along, we fell in with a company of women, as they
were moons, and among them one, the tallest and handsomest of
them. When I saw her and she saw me, she tarried behind her
companions and waited for me, till I came up to her and bespoke
her. Quoth she, "O my lord, (God favour thee!) I saw thee prolong
thy looking on me and imagined that thou knewest me. If it be
thus, vouchsafe me more knowledge of thee." "By Allah," answered
I, "I know thee not, save that God the Most High hath cast the
love of thee into my heart and the goodliness of thine attributes
hath confounded me and that wherewith God hath gifted thee of
those eyes that shoot with arrows; for thou hast captivated me."
And she rejoined, "By Allah, I feel the like of that which thou
feelest; so that meseemeth I have known thee from childhood."

Then said I, "A man cannot well accomplish all whereof he hath
need in the market-places." "Hast thou a house?" asked she. "No,
by Allah," answered I; "nor is this town my dwelling-place." "By
Allah," rejoined she, "nor have I a place; but I will contrive
for thee." Then she went on before me and I followed her till she
came to a lodging-house and said to the housekeeper, "Hast thou
an empty chamber?" "Yes," answered she; and my mistress said,
"Give us the key." So we took the key and going up to see the
room, entered it; after which she went out to the housekeeper and
[giving her a dirhem], said to her, "Take the key-money,[FN#110]
for the room pleaseth us, and here is another dirhem for thy
trouble. Go, fetch us a pitcher of water, so we may [refresh
ourselves] and rest till the time of the noonday siesta pass and
the heat decline, when the man will go and fetch the [household]
stuff." Therewith the housekeeper rejoiced and brought us a mat
and two pitchers of water on a tray and a leather rug.

We abode thus till the setting-in of the time of mid-afternoon,
when she said, "Needs must I wash before I go." Quoth I, "Get
water wherewithal we may wash," and pulled out from my pocket
about a score of dirhems, thinking to give them to her; but she
said, "I seek refuge with God!" and brought out of her pocket a
handful of silver, saying, "But for destiny and that God hath
caused the love of thee fall into my heart, there had not
happened that which hath happened." Quoth I, "Take this in
requital of that which thou hast spent;" and she said, "O my
lord, by and by, whenas companionship is prolonged between us,
thou wilt see if the like of me looketh unto money and gain or
no." Then she took a pitcher of water and going into the
lavatory, washed[FN#111] and presently coming forth, prayed and
craved pardon of God the Most High for that which she had done.

Now I had questioned her of her name and she answered, "My name
is Rihaneh," and described to me her dwelling-place. When I saw
her make the ablution, I said in myself, "This woman doth on this
wise, and shall I not do the like of her?" Then said I to her,
"Belike thou wilt seek us another pitcher of water?" So she went
out to the housekeeper and said to her, "Take this para and fetch
us water therewith, so we may wash the flags withal."
Accordingly, the housekeeper brought two pitchers of water and I
took one of them and giving her my clothes, entered the lavatory
and washed.

When I had made an end of washing, I cried out, saying, "Harkye,
my lady Rihaneh!" But none answered me. So I went out and found
her not; and indeed she had taken my clothes and that which was
therein of money, to wit, four hundred dirhems. Moreover, she had
taken my turban and my handkerchief and I found not wherewithal
to cover my nakedness; wherefore I suffered somewhat than which
death is less grievous and abode looking about the place, so
haply I might espy wherewithal to hide my shame. Then I sat a
little and presently going up to the door, smote upon it;
whereupon up came the housekeeper and I said to her, "O my
sister, what hath God done with the woman who was here?" Quoth
she, "She came down but now and said, 'I am going to cover the
boys with the clothes and I have left him sleeping. If he awake,
tell him not to stir till the clothes come to him.'" Then said I,
"O my sister, secrets are [safe] with the worthy and the
freeborn. By Allah, this woman is not my wife, nor ever in my
life have I seen her before this day!" And I recounted to her the
whole affair and begged her to cover me, informing her that I was
discovered of the privities.

She laughed and cried out to the women of the house, saying, "Ho,
Fatimeh! Ho, Khedijeh! Ho, Herifeh! Ho, Senineh!" Whereupon all
those who were in the place of women and neighbours flocked to me
and fell a-laughing at me and saying, "O blockhead, what ailed
thee to meddle with gallantry?" Then one of them came and looked
in my face and laughed, and another said, "By Allah, thou
mightest have known that she lied, from the time she said she
loved thee and was enamoured of thee? What is there in thee to
love?" And a third said, "This is an old man without
understanding." And they vied with each other in making mock of
me, what while I suffered sore chagrin.

However, after awhile, one of the women took pity on me and
brought me a rag of thin stuff and cast it on me. With this I
covered my privities, and no more, and abode awhile thus. Then
said I in myself, "The husbands of these women will presently
gather together on me and I shall be disgraced." So I went out by
another door of the house, and young and old crowded about me,
running after me and saying, "A madman! A madman!" till I came to
my house and knocked at the door; whereupon out came my wife and
seeing me naked, tall, bareheaded, cried out and ran in again,
saying,"This is a madman, a Satan!" But, when she and my family
knew me, they rejoiced and said to me, "What aileth thee?" I told
them that thieves had taken my clothes and stripped me and had
been like to kill me; and when I told them that they would have
killed me, they praised God the Most High and gave me joy of my
safety. So consider the craft of this woman and this device that
she practised upon me, for all my pretensions to sleight and
quickwittedness.'

The company marvelled at this story and at the doings of women.
Then came forward a fourth officer and said, 'Verily, that which
hath betided me of strange adventures is yet more extraordinary
than this; and it was on this wise.



                  THE FOURTH OFFICER'S STORY.



We were sleeping one night on the roof, when a woman made her way
into the house and gathering into a bundle all that was therein,
took it up, that she might go away with it. Now she was great
with child and near upon her term and the hour of her
deliverance; so, when she made up the bundle and offered to
shoulder it and make off with it, she hastened the coming of the
pangs of labour and gave birth to a child in the dark. Then she
sought for the flint and steel and striking a light, kindled the
lamp and went round about the house with the little one, and it
was weeping. [The noise awoke us,] as we lay on the roof, and we
marvelled. So we arose, to see what was to do, and looking down
through the opening of the saloon,[FN#112] saw a woman, who had
kindled the lamp, and heard the little one weeping. She heard our
voices and raising her eyes to us, said, "Are ye not ashamed to
deal with us thus and discover our nakedness? Know ye not that
the day belongeth to you and the night to us? Begone from us! By
Allah, were it not that ye have been my neighbours these [many]
years, I would bring down the house upon you!" We doubted not but
that she was of the Jinn and drew back our heads; but, when we
arose on the morrow, we found that she had taken all that was
with us and made off with it; wherefore we knew that she was a
thief and had practised [on us] a device, such as was never
before practised; and we repented, whenas repentance advantaged
us not.'

When the company heard this story, they marvelled thereat with
the utmost wonderment. Then the fifth officer, who was the
lieutenant of the bench,[FN#113] came forward and said, '[This
is] no wonder and there befell me that which is rarer and more
extraordinary than this.



                   THE FIFTH OFFICER'S STORY.



As I sat one day at the door of the prefecture, a woman entered
and said to me privily, "O my lord, I am the wife of such an one
the physician, and with him is a company of the notables[FN#114]
of the city, drinking wine in such a place." When I heard this, I
misliked to make a scandal; so I rebuffed her and sent her away.
Then I arose and went alone to the place in question and sat
without till the door opened, when I rushed in and entering,
found the company engaged as the woman had set out, and she
herself with them. I saluted them and they returned my greeting
and rising, entreated me with honour and seated me and brought me
to eat. Then I informed them how one had denounced them to me,
but I had driven him[FN#115] away and come to them by myself;
wherefore they thanked me and praised me for my goodness. Then
they brought out to me from among them two thousand
dirhems[FN#116] and I took them and went away.

Two months after this occurrence, there came to me one of the
Cadi's officers, with a scroll, wherein was the magistrate's
writ, summoning me to him. So I accompanied the officer and went
in to the Cadi, whereupon the plaintiff, to wit, he who had taken
out the summons, sued me for two thousand dirhems, avouching that
I had borrowed them of him as the woman's agent.[FN#117] I denied
the debt, but he produced against me a bond for the amount,
attested by four of those who were in company [on the occasion];
and they were present and bore witness to the loan. So I reminded
them of my kindness and paid the amount, swearing that I would
never again follow a woman's counsel. Is not this marvellous?'

The company marvelled at the goodliness of his story and it
pleased El Melik ez Zahir; and the prefect said, 'By Allah, this
story is extraordinary!' Then came forward the sixth officer and
said to the company, 'Hear my story and that which befell me, to
wit, that which befell such an one the assessor, for it is rarer
than this and stranger.



                   THE SIXTH OFFICER'S STORY.



A certain assessor was one day taken with a woman and much people
assembled before his house and the lieutenant of police and his
men came to him and knocked at the door. The assessor looked out
of window and seeing the folk, said, "What aileth you?" Quoth
they, "[Come,] speak with the lieutenant of police such an one."
So he came down and they said to him, "Bring forth the woman that
is with thee." Quoth he, "Are ye not ashamed? How shall I bring
forth my wife?" And they said, "Is she thy wife by
contract[FN#118] or without contract?" ["By contract,"] answered
he, "according to the Book of God and the Institutes of His
Apostle." "Where is the contract?" asked they; and he replied,
"Her contract is in her mother's house." Quoth they, "Arise and
come down and show us the contract." And he said to them, "Go
from her way, so she may come forth." Now, as soon as he got wind
of the matter, he had written the contract and fashioned it after
her fashion, to suit with the case, and written therein the names
of certain of his friends as witnesses and forged the signatures
of the drawer and the wife's next friend and made it a contract
of marriage with his wife and appointed it for an excuse.[FN#119]
So, when the woman was about to go out from him, he gave her the
contract that be had forged, and the Amir sent with her a servant
of his, to bring her to her father. So the servant went with her
and when she came to her door, she said to him, "I will not
return to the citation of the Amir; but let the witnesses[FN#120]
present themselves and take my contract."

Accordingly, the servant carried this message to the lieutenant
of police, who was standing at the assessor's door, and he said,
"This is reasonable." Then said [the assessor] to the servant,
"Harkye, O eunuch! Go and fetch us such an one the notary;" for
that he was his friend [and it was he whose name he had forged as
the drawer-up of the contract]. So the lieutenant of police sent
after him and fetched him to the assessor, who, when he saw him,
said to him, "Get thee to such an one, her with whom thou
marriedst me, and cry out upon her, and when she cometh to thee,
demand of her the contract and take it from her and bring it to
us." And he signed to him, as who should say, "Bear me out in the
lie and screen me, for that she is a strange woman and I am in
fear of the lieutenant of police who standeth at the door; and we
beseech God the Most High to screen us and you from the trouble
of this world. Amen."

So the notary went up to the lieutenant, who was among the
witnesses, and said "It is well. Is she not such an one whose
marriage contract we drew up in such a place?" Then he betook
himself to the woman's house and cried out upon her; whereupon
she brought him the [forged] contract and he took it and returned
with it to the lieutenant of police. When the latter had taken
cognizance [of the document and professed himself satisfied, the
assessor] said [to the notary,] "Go to our lord and master, the
Cadi of the Cadis, and acquaint him with that which befalleth his
assessors." The notary rose to go, but the lieutenant of police
feared [for himself] and was profuse in beseeching the assessor
and kissing his hands, till he forgave him; whereupon the
lieutenant went away in the utterest of concern and affright. On
this wise the assessor ordered the case and carried out the
forgery and feigned marriage with the woman; [and thus was
calamity warded off from him] by the excellence of his
contrivance."[FN#121]

The folk marvelled at this story with the utmost wonderment and
the seventh officer said, 'There befell me in Alexandria the
[God-]guarded a marvellous thing, [and it was that one told me
the following story].



                  THE SEVENTH OFFICER'S STORY.



There came one day an old woman [to the stuff-market], with a
casket of precious workmanship, containing trinkets, and she was
accompanied by a damsel great with child. The old woman sat down
at the shop of a draper and giving him to know that the damsel
was with child by the prefect of police of the city, took of him,
on credit, stuffs to the value of a thousand dinars and deposited
with him the casket as security. [She opened the casket and]
showed him that which was therein; and he found it full of
trinkets [apparently] of price; [so he trusted her with the
goods] and she took leave of him and carrying the stuffs to the
damsel, who was with her, [went her way]. Then the old woman was
absent from him a great while, and when her absence was
prolonged, the draper despaired of her; so he went up to the
prefect's house and enquired of the woman of his household, [who
had taken his stuffs on credit;] but could get no tidings of her
nor lit on aught of her trace.

Then he brought out the casket of jewellery [and showed it to an
expert,] who told him that the trinkets were gilt and that their
worth was but an hundred dirhems. When he heard this, he was sore
concerned thereat and presenting himself before the Sultan's
deputy, made his complaint to him; whereupon the latter knew that
a trick had been put off upon him and that the folk had cozened
him and gotten the better of him and taken his stuffs. Now the
magistrate in question was a man of good counsel and judgment,
well versed in affairs; so he said to the draper, "Remove
somewhat from thy shop, [and amongst the rest the casket,] and on
the morrow break the lock and cry out and come to me and complain
that they have plundered all thy shop. Moreover, do thou call
[upon God for succour] and cry aloud and acquaint the folk, so
that all the people may resort to thee and see the breach of the
lock and that which is missing from thy shop; and do thou show it
to every one who presenteth himself, so the news may be noised
abroad, and tell them that thy chief concern is for a casket of
great value, deposited with thee by a great man of the town and
that thou standest in fear of him. But be thou not afraid and
still say in thy converse, 'My casket belonged to such an one,
and I fear him and dare not bespeak him; but you, O company and
all ye who are present, I call you to witness of this for me.'
And if there be with thee more than this talk, [say it;] and the
old woman will come to thee."

The draper answered with "Hearkening and obedience" and going
forth from the deputy's presence, betook himself to his shop and
brought out thence [the casket and] somewhat considerable, which
he removed to his house. At break of day he arose and going to
his shop, broke the lock and cried out and shrieked and called
[on God for help,] till the folk assembled about him and all who
were in the city were present, whereupon he cried out to them,
saying even as the prefect had bidden him; and this was bruited
abroad. Then he made for the prefecture and presenting himself
before the chief of the police, cried out and complained and made
a show of distraction.

After three days, the old woman came to him and bringing him the
[thousand dinars, the] price of the stuffs, demanded the
casket.[FN#122] When he saw her, he laid hold of her and carried
her to the prefect of the city; and when she came before the
Cadi, he said to her, "O Sataness, did not thy first deed suffice
thee, but thou must come a second time?" Quoth she, "I am of
those who seek their salvation[FN#123] in the cities, and we
foregather every month; and yesterday we foregathered." "Canst
thou [bring me to] lay hold of them?" asked the prefect; and she
answered, "Yes; but, if thou wait till to-morrow, they will have
dispersed. So I will deliver them to thee to-night." Quoth he to
her, "Go;" and she said, "Send with me one who shall go with me
to them and obey me in that which I shall say to him, and all
that I bid him he shall give ear unto and obey me therein." So he
gave her a company of men and she took them and bringing them to
a certain door, said to them, "Stand at this door, and whoso
cometh out to you, lay hands on him; and I will come out to you
last of all." "Hearkening and obedience," answered they and stood
at the door, whilst the old woman went in. They waited a long
while, even as the Sultan's deputy had bidden them, but none came
out to them and their standing was prolonged. When they were
weary of waiting, they went up to the door and smote upon it
heavily and violently, so that they came nigh to break the lock.
Then one of them entered and was absent a long while, but found
nought; so he returned to his comrades and said to them,"This is
the door of a passage, leading to such a street; and indeed she
laughed at you and left you and went away."When they heard his
words, they returned to the Amir and acquainted him with the
case, whereby he knew that the old woman was a crafty trickstress
and that she had laughed at them and cozened them and put a cheat
on them, to save herself. Consider, then, the cunning of this
woman and that which she contrived of wiles, for all her lack of
foresight in presenting herself [a second time] to the draper and
not apprehending that his conduct was but a trick; yet, when she
found herself in danger, she straightway devised a shift for her
deliverance.'

When the company heard the seventh officer's story, they were
moved to exceeding mirth, and El Melik ez Zahir Bibers rejoiced
in that which he heard and said, 'By Allah, there betide things
in this world, from which kings are shut out, by reason of their
exalted station!" Then came forward another man from amongst the
company and said, 'There hath reached me from one of my friends
another story bearing on the malice of women and their craft, and
it is rarer and more extraordinary and more diverting than all
that hath been told to you."

Quoth the company, 'Tell us thy story and expound it unto us, so
we may see that which it hath of extraordinary.' And he said
'Know, then, that



                  THE EIGHTH OFFICER'S STORY.



A friend of mine once invited me to an entertainment; so I went
with him, and when we came into his house and sat down on his
couch, he said to me, "This is a blessed day and a day of
gladness, and [blessed is] he who liveth to [see] the like of
this day. I desire that thou practise with us and deny[FN#124] us
not, for that thou hast been used to hearken unto those who
occupy themselves with this."[FN#125] I fell in with this and
their talk happened upon the like of this subject.[FN#126]
Presently, my friend, who had invited me, arose from among them
and said to them, "Hearken to me and I will tell you of an
adventure that happened to me. There was a certain man who used
to visit me in my shop, and I knew him not nor he me, nor ever in
his life had he seen me; but he was wont, whenever he had need of
a dirhem or two, by way of loan, to come to me and ask me,
without acquaintance or intermediary between me and him, [and I
would give him what he sought]. I told none of him, and matters
abode thus between us a long while, till he fell to borrowing ten
at twenty dirhems [at a time], more or less.

One day, as I stood in my shop, there came up to me a woman and
stopped before me; and she as she were the full moon rising from
among the stars, and the place was illumined by her light. When I
saw her, I fixed my eyes on her and stared in her face; and she
bespoke me with soft speech. When I heard her words and the
sweetness of her speech, I lusted after her; and when she saw
that I lusted after her, she did her occasion and promising me
[to come again], went away, leaving my mind occupied with her and
fire kindled in my heart. Then I abode, perplexed and pondering
my affair, whilst fire flamed in my heart, till the third day,
when she came again and I scarce credited her coming. When I saw
her, I talked with her and cajoled her and courted her and strove
to win her favour with speech and invited her [to my house]; but
she answered, saying, 'I will not go up into any one's house.'
Quoth I, 'I will go with thee;' and she said, 'Arise and come
with me.'

So I arose and putting in my sleeve a handkerchief, wherein was a
good sum of money, followed the woman, who went on before me and
gave not over walking till she brought me to a by-street and to a
door, which she bade me open. I refused and she opened it and
brought me into the vestibule. As soon as I had entered, she
locked the door of entrance from within and said to me, 'Sit
[here] till I go in to the slave-girls and cause them enter a
place where they shall not see me.' 'It is well,' answered I and
sat down; whereupon she entered and was absent from me a moment,
after which she returned to me, without a veil, and said, 'Arise,
[enter,] in the name of God.'[FN#127] So I arose and went in
after her and we gave not over going till we entered a saloon.
When I examined the place, I found it neither handsome nor
agreeable, but unseemly and desolate, without symmetry or
cleanliness; nay, it was loathly to look upon and there was a
foul smell in it.

I seated myself amiddleward the saloon, misdoubting, and as I
sat, there came down on me from the estrade seven naked men,
without other clothing than leather girdles about their waists.
One of them came up to me and took my turban, whilst another took
my handkerchief, that was in my sleeve, with my money, and a
third stripped me of my clothes; after which a fourth came and
bound my hands behind me with his girdle. Then they all took me
up, pinioned as I was, and casting me down, fell a-dragging me
towards a sink-hole that was there and were about to cut my
throat, when, behold, there came a violent knocking at the door.
When they heard this, they were afraid and their minds were
diverted from me by fear; so the woman went out and presently
returning, said to them, 'Fear not; no harm shall betide you this
day. It is only your comrade who hath brought you your
noon-meal.' With this the new-comer entered, bringing with him a
roasted lamb; and when he came in to them, he said to them, 'What
is to do with you, that ye have tucked up [your sleeves and
trousers]?' Quoth they, '[This is] a piece of game we have
caught.'

When he heard this, he came up to me and looking in my face,
cried out and said, 'By Allah, this is my brother, the son of my
mother and father! Allah! Allah!' Then he loosed me from my bonds
and kissed my head, and behold it was my friend who used to
borrow money of me. When I kissed his head, he kissed mine and
said, 'O my brother, be not affrighted.' Then he called for my
clothes [and money and restored to me all that had been taken
from me] nor was aught missing to me. Moreover, he brought me a
bowl full of [sherbet of] sugar, with lemons therein, and gave me
to drink thereof; and the company came and seated me at a table.
So I ate with them and he said to me, 'O my lord and my brother,
now have bread and salt passed between us and thou hast
discovered our secret and [become acquainted with] our case; but
secrets [are safe] with the noble.' Quoth I, 'As I am a
lawfully-begotten child, I will not name aught [of this] neither
denounce [you!*]' And they assured themselves of me by an oath.
Then they brought me out and I went my way, scarce crediting but
that I was of the dead.

I abode in my house, ill, a whole month; after which I went to
the bath and coming out, opened my shop [and sat selling and
buying as usual], but saw no more of the man or the woman, till,
one day, there stopped before my shop a young man, [a Turcoman],
as he were the full moon; and he was a sheep-merchant and had
with him a bag, wherein was money, the price of sheep that he had
sold. He was followed by the woman, and when he stopped at my
shop, she stood by his side and cajoled him, and indeed he
inclined to her with a great inclination. As for me, I was
consumed with solicitude for him and fell to casting furtive
glances at him and winked at him, till he chanced to look round
and saw me winking at him; whereupon the woman looked at me and
made a sign with her hand and went away. The Turcoman followed
her and I counted him dead, without recourse; wherefore I feared
with an exceeding fear and shut my shop. Then I journeyed for a
year's space and returning, opened my shop; whereupon, behold,
the woman came up to me and said, 'This is none other than a
great absence.' Quoth I, 'I have been on a journey;' and she
said, 'Why didst thou wink at the Turcoman?' 'God forbid!'
answered I. 'I did not wink at him.' Quoth she, 'Beware lest thou
cross me;' and went away.


Awhile after this a friend of mine invited me to his house and
when I came to him, we ate and drank and talked. Then said he to
me, 'O my friend, hath there befallen thee in thy life aught of
calamity?' 'Nay,' answered I; 'but tell me [first], hath there
befallen thee aught?' ['Yes,'] answered he. 'Know that one day I
espied a fair woman; so I followed her and invited her [to come
home with me]. Quoth she, "I will not enter any one's house; but
come thou to my house, if thou wilt, and be it on such a day."
Accordingly, on the appointed day, her messenger came to me,
purposing to carry me to her; so I arose and went with him, till
we came to a handsome house and a great door. He opened the door
and I entered, whereupon he locked the door [behind me] and would
have gone in, but I feared with an exceeding fear and foregoing
him to the second door, whereby he would have had me enter,
locked it and cried out at him, saying, "By Allah, an thou open
not to me, I will kill thee; for I am none of those whom thou
canst cozen!" Quoth he, "What deemest thou of cozenage?" And I
said, "Verily, I am affrighted at the loneliness of the house and
the lack of any at the door thereof; for I see none appear." "O
my lord," answered he, "this is a privy door." "Privy or public,"
answered I, "open to me."

So he opened to me and I went out and had not gone far from the
house when I met a woman, who said to me, "Methinks a long life
was fore-ordained to thee; else hadst thou not come forth of
yonder house." "How so?" asked I, and she answered, "Ask thy
friend [such an one," naming thee,] "and he will acquaint thee
with strange things." So, God on thee, O my friend, tell me what
befell thee of wonders and rarities, for I have told thee what
befell me.' 'O my brother,' answered I, 'I am bound by a solemn
oath.' And he said, 'O my friend, break thine oath and tell me.'
Quoth I, 'Indeed, I fear the issue of this.' [But he importuned
me] till I told him all, whereat he marvelled. Then I went away
from him and abode a long while, [without farther news].

One day, another of my friends came to me and said 'A neighbour
of mine hath invited me to hear [music]. [And he would have me go
with him;] but I said, 'I will not foregather with any one.'
However, he prevailed upon me [to accompany him]; so we repaired
to the place and found there a man, who came to meet us and said,
'[Enter,] in the name of God!' Then he pulled out a key and
opened the door, whereupon we entered and he locked the door
after us. Quoth I, 'We are the first of the folk; but where are
their voices?'[FN#128] '[They are] within the house,' answered
he. 'This is but a privy door; so be not amazed at the absence of
the folk.' And my friend said to me, 'Behold, we are two, and
what can they avail to do with us?' [Then he brought us into the
house,] and when we entered the saloon, we found it exceeding
desolate and repulsive of aspect Quoth my friend, 'We are fallen
[into a trap]; but there is no power and no virtue save in God
the Most High, the Supreme!' And I said, 'May God not requite
thee for me with good!'

Then we sat down on the edge of the estrade and presently I
espied a closet beside me; so I looked into it and my friend said
to me, 'What seest thou?' Quoth I, 'I see therein good galore and
bodies of murdered folk. Look.' So he looked and said, 'By Allah,
we are lost men!' And we fell a-weeping, I and he. As we were
thus, behold, there came in upon us, by the door at which we had
entered, four naked men, with girdles of leather about their
middles, and made for my friend. He ran at them and dealing one
of them a buffet, overthrew him, whereupon the other three fell
all upon him. I seized the opportunity to escape, what while they
were occupied with him, and espying a door by my side, slipped
into it and found myself in an underground chamber, without
window or other issue. So I gave myself up for lost and said,
'There is no power and no virtue save in God the Most High, the
Supreme!' Then I looked to the top of the vault and saw in it a
range of glazed lunettes; so I clambered up for dear life, till I
reached the lunettes, and I distracted [for fear]. I made shift
to break the glass and scrambling out through the frames, found a
wall behind them. So I bestrode the wall and saw folk walking in
the road; whereupon I cast myself down to the ground and God the
Most High preserved me, so that I reached the earth, unhurt. The
folk flocked round me and I acquainted them with my story.

As fate would have it, the chief of the police was passing
through the market; so the people told him [what was to do] and
he made for the door and burst it open. We entered with a rush
and found the thieves, as they had overthrown my friend and cut
his throat; for they occupied not themselves with me, but said,
'Whither shall yonder fellow go? Indeed, he is in our grasp.' So
the prefect took them with the hand[FN#129] and questioned them,
and they confessed against the woman and against their associates
in Cairo. Then he took them and went forth, after he had locked
up the house and sealed it; and I accompanied him till he came
without the [first] house. He found the door locked from within;
so he bade break it open and we entered and found another door.
This also he caused burst in, enjoining his men to silence till
the doors should be opened, and we entered and found the band
occupied with a new victim, whom the woman had just brought in
and whose throat they were about to cut.

The prefect released the man and gave him back all that the
thieves had taken from him; and he laid hands on the woman and
the rest and took forth of the house treasures galore. Amongst
the rest, they found the money-bag of the Turcoman
sheep-merchant. The thieves they nailed up incontinent against
the wall of the house, whilst, as for the woman, they wrapped her
in one of her veils and nailing her [to a board, set her] upon a
camel and went round about the town with her. Thus God razed
their dwelling-places and did away from me that which I feared.
All this befell, whilst I looked on, and I saw not my friend who
had saved me from them the first time, whereat I marvelled to the
utterest of marvel. However, some days afterward, he came up to
me, and indeed he had renounced[FN#130] [the world] and donned a
fakir's habit; and he saluted me and went away.

Then he again began to pay me frequent visits and I entered into
converse with him and questioned him of the band and how he came
to escape, he alone of them all. Quoth he, 'I left them from the
day on which God the Most High delivered thee from them, for that
they would not obey my speech; wherefore I swore that I would no
longer consort with them.' And I said, 'By Allah, I marvel at
thee, for that thou wast the cause of my preservation!' Quoth he,
'The world is full of this sort [of folk]; and we beseech God the
Most High for safety, for that these [wretches] practise upon men
with every kind of device.' Then said I to him, 'Tell me the most
extraordinary adventure of all that befell thee in this villainy
thou wast wont to practise.' And he answered, saying, 'O my
brother, I was not present when they did on this wise, for that
my part with them was to concern myself with selling and buying
and [providing them with] food; but I have heard that the most
extraordinary thing that befell them was on this wise.



                       THE THIEF'S STORY.



The woman who used to act as decoy for them once caught them a
woman from a bride-feast, under pretence that she had a wedding
toward in her own house, and appointed her for a day, whereon she
should come to her. When the appointed day arrived, the woman
presented herself and the other carried her into the house by a
door, avouching that it was a privy door. When she entered [the
saloon], she saw men and champions[FN#131] [and knew that she had
fallen into a trap]; so she looked at them and said, "Harkye,
lads![FN#132] I am a woman and there is no glory in my slaughter,
nor have ye any feud of blood-revenge against me, wherefore ye
should pursue me; and that which is upon me of [trinkets and
apparel] ye are free to take." Quoth they, "We fear thy
denunciation." But she answered, saying, "I will abide with you,
neither coming in nor going out." And they said, "We grant thee
thy life."

Then the captain looked on her [and she pleased him]; so he took
her for himself and she abode with him a whole year, doing her
endeavour in their service. till they became accustomed to her
[and felt assured of her]. One night she plied them with drink
and they drank [till they became intoxicated]; whereupon she
arose and took her clothes and five hundred dinars from the
captain; after which she fetched a razor and shaved all their
chins. Then she took soot from the cooking-pots and blackening
their faces withal, opened the doors and went out; and when the
thieves awoke, they abode confounded and knew that the woman had
practised upon them.'"'

The company marvelled at this story and the ninth officer came
forward and said, 'I will tell you a right goodly story I heard
at a wedding.



                   THE NINTH OFFICER'S STORY.



A certain singing-woman was fair of favour and high in repute,
and it befell one day that she went out apleasuring. As she
sat,[FN#133] behold, a man lopped of the hand stopped to beg of
her, and he entered in at the door. Then he touched her with his
stump, saying, "Charity, for the love of God!" but she answered,
"God open [on thee the gate of subsistence]!" and reviled him.
Some days after this, there came to her a messenger and gave her
the hire of her going forth.[FN#134] So she took with her a
handmaid and an accompanyist;[FN#135] and when she came to the
appointed place, the messenger brought her into a long passage,
at the end whereof was a saloon. So (quoth she) we entered and
found none therein, but saw the [place made ready for an]
entertainment with candles and wine and dessert, and in another
place we saw food and in a third beds.

We sat down and I looked at him who had opened the door to us,
and behold he was lopped of the hand. I misliked this of him, and
when I had sat a little longer, there entered a man, who filled
the lamps in the saloon and lit the candles; and behold, he also
was handlopped. Then came the folk and there entered none except
he were lopped of the hand, and indeed the house was full of
these. When the assembly was complete, the host entered and the
company rose to him and seated him in the place of honour. Now he
was none other than the man who had fetched me, and he was clad
in sumptuous apparel, but his hands were in his sleeves, so that
I knew not how it was with them. They brought him food and he
ate, he and the company; after which they washed their hands and
the host fell to casting furtive glances at me.

Then they drank till they were drunken, and when they had taken
leave [of their wits], the host turned to me and said, "Thou
dealtest not friendly with him who sought an alms of thee and
thou saidst to him, 'How loathly thou art!'" I considered him and
behold, he was the lophand who had accosted me in my pleasaunce.
So I said, "O my lord, what is this thou sayest?" And he
answered, saying, "Wait; thou shall remember it." So saying, he
shook his head and stroked his beard, whilst I sat down for fear.
Then he put out his hand to my veil and shoes and laying them by
his side, said to me, "Sing, O accursed one!" So I sang till I
was weary, whilst they occupied themselves with their case and
intoxicated themselves and their heat redoubled.[FN#136]
Presently, the doorkeeper came to me and said, "Fear not, O my
lady; but, when thou hast a mind to go, let me know." Quoth I,
"Thinkest thou to delude me?" And he said, "Nay, by Allah! But I
have compassion on thee for that our captain and our chief
purposeth thee no good and methinketh he will slay thee this
night." Quoth I to him, "An thou be minded to do good, now is the
time." And he answered, saying, "When our chief riseth to do his
occasion and goeth to the draught-house, I will enter before him
with the light and leave the door open; and do thou go
whithersoever thou wilt."

Then I sang and the captain said, "It is good," Quoth I, "Nay,
but thou art loathly." He looked at me and said, "By Allah, thou
shalt never more scent the odour of the world!" But his comrades
said to him, "Do it not," and appeased him, till he said, "If it
must be so, she shall abide here a whole year, not going forth."
And I said, "I am content to submit to whatsoever pleaseth thee.
If I have erred, thou art of those to whom pertaineth clemency."
He shook his head and drank, then arose and went out to do his
occasion, what while his comrades were occupied with what they
were about of merry-making and drunkenness and sport. So I winked
to my fellows and we slipped out into the corridor. We found the
door open and fled forth, unveiled and knowing not whither we
went; nor did we halt till we had left the house far behind and
happened on a cook cooking, to whom said I, "Hast thou a mind to
quicken dead folk?" And he said, "Come up." So we went up into
the shop, and he said, 'Lie down." Accordingly, we lay down and
he covered us with the grass,[FN#137] wherewith he was used to
kindle [the fire] under the food.

Hardly had we settled ourselves in the place when we heard a
noise of kicking [at the door] and people running right and left
and questioning the cook and saying, "Hath any one passed by
thee?" "Nay," answered he; "none hath passed by me." But they
ceased not to go round about the shop till the day broke, when
they turned back, disappointed. Then the cook removed the grass
and said to us, "Arise, for ye are delivered from death." So we
arose, and we were uncovered, without mantle or veil; but the
cook carried us up into his house and we sent to our lodgings and
fetched us veils; and we repented unto God the Most High and
renounced singing,[FN#138] for indeed this was a great
deliverance after stress.'

The company marvelled at this story and the tenth officer came
forward and said, 'As for me, there befell me that which was yet
more extraordinary than all this.' Quoth El Melik ez Zahir, 'What
was that?' And he said,



                   THE TENTH OFFICER'S STORY.



'A great theft had been committed in the city and I was
cited,[FN#139] I and my fellows. Now it was a matter of
considerable value and they[FN#140] pressed hard upon us; but we
obtained of them some days' grace and dispersed in quest of the
stolen goods. As for me, I sallied forth with five men and went
round about the city that day; and on the morrow we fared forth
[into the suburbs]. When we came a parasang or two parasangs'
distance from the city, we were athirst; and presently we came to
a garden. So I went in and going up to the water-wheel,[FN#141]
entered it and drank and made the ablution and prayed. Presently
up came the keeper of the garden and said to me, "Out on thee!
Who brought thee into this water-wheel?" And he cuffed me and
squeezed my ribs till I was like to die. Then he bound me with
one of his bulls and made me turn in the water-wheel, flogging me
the while with a cattle whip he had with him, till my heart was
on fire; after which he loosed me and I went out, knowing not the
way.

When I came forth, I swooned away: so I sat down till my trouble
subsided; then I made for my comrades and said to them, "I have
found the booty and the thief, and I affrighted him not neither
troubled him, lest he should flee; but now, come, let us go to
him, so we may make shift to lay hold upon him." Then I took them
and repaired to the keeper of the garden, who had tortured me
with beating, meaning to make him taste the like of that which he
had done with me and lie against him and cause him eat stick. So
we rushed into the water-wheel and seizing the keeper, pinioned
him.

Now there was with him a youth and he said, "By Allah, I was not
with him and indeed it is six months since I entered the city,
nor did I set eyes on the stuffs until they were brought hither."
Quoth we, "Show us the stuffs." So he carried us to a place
wherein was a pit, beside the water-wheel, and digging there,
brought out the stolen goods, with not a stitch of them missing.
So we took them and carried the keeper to the prefecture, where
we stripped him and beat him with palm-rods till he confessed to
thefts galore. Now I did this by way of mockery against my
comrades, and it succeeded.'[FN#142]

The company marvelled at this story with the utmost wonderment,
and the eleventh officer rose and said, 'I know a story yet rarer
than this: but it happened not to myself.



                 THE ELEVENTH OFFICER'S STORY.



There was once aforetime a chief officer [of police] and there
passed by him one day a Jew, with a basket in his hand, wherein
were five thousand dinars; whereupon quoth the officer to one of
his slaves, "Canst thou make shift to take that money from yonder
Jew's basket?" "Yes," answered he, nor did he tarry beyond the
next day before he came to his master, with the basket in his
hand. So (quoth the officer) I said to him, "Go, bury it in such
a place." So he went and buried it and returned and told me.
Hardly had he done this when there arose a clamour and up came
the Jew, with one of the king's officers, avouching that the
money belonged to the Sultan and that he looked to none but us
for it. We demanded of him three days' delay, as of wont, and I
said to him who had taken the money, "Go and lay somewhat in the
Jew's house, that shall occupy him with himself." So he went and
played a fine trick, to wit, he laid in a basket a dead woman's
hand, painted [with henna] and having a gold seal- ring on one of
the fingers, and buried the basket under a flagstone in the Jew's
house. Then came we and searched and found the basket, whereupon
we straightway clapped the Jew in irons for the murder of a
woman.

When it was the appointed time, there came to us the man of the
Sultan's guards, [who had accompanied the Jew, when he came to
complain of the loss of the money,] and said, "The Sultan biddeth
you nail up[FN#143] the Jew and bring the money, for that there
is no way by which five thousand dinars can be lost." Wherefore
we knew that our device sufficed not. So I went forth and finding
a young man, a Haurani,[FN#144] passing the road, laid hands on
him and stripped him and beat him with palm-rods. Then I clapped
him in irons and carrying him to the prefecture, beat him again,
saying to them, "This is the thief who stole the money." And we
strove to make him confess; but he would not confess. So we beat
him a third and a fourth time, till we were weary and exhausted
and he became unable to return an answer. But, when we had made
an end of beating and tormenting him, he said, "I will fetch the
money forthright."

So we went with him till he came to the place where my slave had
buried the money and dug there and brought it out; whereat I
marvelled with the utmost wonder and we carried it to the
prefect's house. When the latter saw the money, he rejoiced with
an exceeding joy and bestowed on me a dress of honour. Then he
restored the money straightway to the Sultan and we left the
youth in prison; whilst I said to my slave who had taken the
money, "Did yonder young man see thee, what time thou buriedst
the money?" "No, by the Great God!" answered he. So I went in to
the young man, the prisoner, and plied him with wine till he
recovered, when I said to him, "Tell me how thou stolest the
money." "By Allah," answered he, "I stole it not, nor did I ever
set eyes on it till I brought it forth of the earth!" Quoth I,
"How so?" And he said, "Know that the cause of my falling into
your hands was my mother's imprecation against me; for that I
evil entreated her yesternight and beat her and she said to me,
'By Allah, O my son, God shall assuredly deliver thee into the
hand of the oppressor!' Now she is a pious woman. So I went out
forthright and thou sawest me in the way and didst that which
thou didst; and when beating was prolonged on me, my senses
failed me and I heard one saying to me, 'Fetch it.' So I said to
you what I said and he[FN#145] guided me till I came to the place
and there befell what befell of the bringing out of the money."

I marvelled at this with the utmost wonderment and knew that he
was of the sons of the pious. So I bestirred myself for his
release and tended him [till he recovered] and besought him of
quittance and absolution of responsibility.'

All those who were present marvelled at this story with the
utmost marvel, and the twelfth officer came forward and said, 'I
will tell you a pleasant trait that I had from a certain man,
concerning an adventure that befell him with one of the thieves.
(Quoth he)



                  THE TWELFTH OFFICER'S STORY.



As I was passing one day in the market, I found that a thief had
broken into the shop of a money-changer and taken thence a
casket, with which he had made off to the burial-grounds. So I
followed him thither [and came up to him, as] he opened the
casket and fell a-looking into it; whereupon I accosted him,
saying, "Peace be on thee!" And he was startled at me. Then I
left him and went away from him.

Some months after this, I met him again under arrest, in the
midst of the guards and officers of the police, and he said to
them, "Seize yonder man." So they laid hands on me and carried me
to the chief of the police, who said, "What hast thou to do with
this fellow?" The thief turned to me and looking a long while in
my face, said, "Who took this man?" Quoth the officers, "Thou
badest us take him; so we took him." And he said, "I seek refuge
with God! I know not this man, nor knoweth he me; and I said not
that to you but of a man other than this." So they released me,
and awhile afterward the thief met me in the street and saluted
me, saying, "O my lord, fright for fright! Hadst thou taken aught
from me, thou hadst had a part in the calamity."[FN#146] And I
said to him, "God [judge] between thee and me!" And this is what
I have to tell'

Then came forward the thirteenth officer and said, 'I will tell
you a story that a man of my friends told me. (Quoth he)



                THE THIRTEENTH OFFICER'S STORY.



I went out one night to the house of one of my friends and when
it was the middle of the night, I sallied forth alone [to go
home]. When I came into the road, I espied a sort of thieves and
they saw me, whereupon my spittle dried up; but I feigned myself
drunken and staggered from side to side, crying out and saying,
"I am drunken." And I went up to the walls right and left and
made as if I saw not the thieves, who followed me till I reached
my house and knocked at the door, when they went away.

Some days after this, as I stood at the door of my house, there
came up to me a young man, with a chain about his neck and with
him a trooper, and he said to me, "O my lord, charity for the
love of God!" Quoth I, "God open!"[FN#147] and he looked at me a
long while and said, "That which thou shouldst give me would not
come to the value of thy turban or thy waistcloth or what not
else of thy raiment, to say nothing of the gold and the silver
that was about thee." "How so?" asked I, and he said, "On such a
night, when thou fellest into peril and the thieves would have
stripped thee, I was with them and said to them, 'Yonder man is
my lord and my master who reared me.' So was I the cause of thy
deliverance and thus I saved thee from them." When I heard this,
I said to him, "Stop;" and entering my house, brought him that
which God the Most High made easy [to me].[FN#148] So he went his
way. And this is my story.'

Then came forward the fourteenth officer and said, 'Know that the
story I have to tell is pleasanter and more extraordinary than
this; and it is as follows.



                THE FOURTEENTH OFFICER'S STORY.



Before I entered this corporation,[FN#149] I had a draper's shop
and there used to come to me a man whom I knew not, save by his
face, and I would give him what he sought and have patience with
him, till he could pay me. One day, I foregathered with certain
of my friends and we sat down to drink. So we drank and made
merry and played at Tab;[FN#150] and we made one of us Vizier and
another Sultan and a third headsman.

Presently, there came in upon us a spunger, without leave, and we
went on playing, whilst he played with us. Then quoth the Sultan
to the Vizier, "Bring the spunger who cometh in to the folk,
without leave or bidding, that we may enquire into his case. Then
will I cut off his head." So the headsman arose and dragged the
spunger before the Sultan, who bade cut off his head. Now there
was with them a sword, that would not cut curd;[FN#151] so the
headsman smote him therewith and his head flew from his body.
When we saw this, the wine fled from our heads and we became in
the sorriest of plights. Then my friends took up the body and
went out with it, that they might hide it, whilst I took the head
and made for the river.

Now I was drunken and my clothes were drenched with the blood;
and as I passed along the road, I met a thief. When he saw me, he
knew me and said to me, "Harkye, such an one!" "Well?" answered
I, and he said, "What is that thou hast with thee?" So I
acquainted him with the case and he took the head from me. Then
we went on till we came to the river, where he washed the head
and considering it straitly, said, "By Allah, this is my brother,
my father's son. and he used to spunge upon the folk." Then he
threw the head into the river. As for me, I was like a dead man
[for fear]; but he said to me, "Fear not neither grieve, for thou
art quit of my brother's blood."

Then he took my clothes and washed them and dried them, and put
them on me; after which he said to me, "Get thee gone to thy
house." So I returned to my house and he accompanied me, till I
came thither, when he said to me, "May God not forsake thee! I am
thy friend [such an one, who used to take of thee goods on
credit,] and I am beholden to thee for kindness; but henceforward
thou wilt never see me more."'

The company marvelled at the generosity of this man and his
clemency[FN#152] and courtesy, and the Sultan said, 'Tell us
another of thy stories.'[FN#153] 'It is well,' answered the
officer, 'They avouch that



                    A MERRY JEST OF A THIEF.



A thief of the thieves of the Arabs went [one night] to a certain
man's house, to steal from a heap of wheat there, and the people
of the house surprised him. Now on the heap was a great copper
measure, and the thief buried himself in the corn and covered his
head with the measure, so that the folk found him not and went
away; but, as they were going, behold, there came a great crack
of wind forth of the corn. So they went up to the measure and
[raising it], discovered the thief and laid hands on him. Quoth
he, "I have eased you of the trouble of seeking me: for I
purposed, [in letting wind], to direct you to my [hiding-]place;
wherefore do ye ease me and have compassion on me, so may God
have compassion on you!" So they let him go and harmed him not.

And for another story of the same kind,' continued the officer,



                   STORY OF THE OLD SHARPER.



'There was once an old man renowned for roguery, and he went, he
and his mates, to one of the markets and stole thence a parcel of
stuffs. Then they separated and returned each to his quarter.
Awhile after this, the old man assembled a company of his fellows
and one of them pulled out a costly piece of stuff and said,
"Will any one of you sell this piece of stuff in its own market
whence it was stolen, that we may confess his [pre-eminence in]
sharping?" Quoth the old man, "I will;" and they said, "Go, and
God the Most High prosper thee!"

So on the morrow, early, he took the stuff and carrying it to the
market whence it had been stolen, sat down at the shop whence it
had been stolen and gave it to the broker, who took it and cried
it for sale. Its owner knew it and bidding for it, [bought it]
and sent after the chief of the police, who seized the sharper
and seeing him an old man of venerable appearance, handsomely
clad, said to him, "Whence hadst thou this piece of stuff?" "I
had it from this market," answered he, "and from yonder shop
where I was sitting." Quoth the prefect, "Did its owner sell it
to thee?" "Nay," replied the thief; "I stole it and other than
it." Then said the magistrate, "How camest thou to bring it [for
sale] to the place whence thou stolest it?" And he answered, "I
will not tell my story save to the Sultan, for that I have an
advertisement[FN#154] wherewith I would fain bespeak him." Quoth
the prefect, "Name it." And the thief said, "Art thou the
Sultan?" "No," replied the other; and the old man said, "I will
not tell it but to himself."

So the prefect carried him up to the Sultan and he said, "I have
an advertisement for thee, O my lord." "What is thine
advertisement?" asked the Sultan; and the thief said, "I repent
and will deliver into thy hand all who are evildoers; and
whomsoever I bring not, I will stand in his stead." Quoth the
Sultan, "Give him a dress of honour and accept his profession of
repentance." So he went down from the presence and returning to
his comrades, related to them that which had passed and they
confessed his subtlety and gave him that which they had promised
him. Then he took the rest of the stolen goods and went up with
them to the Sultan. When the latter saw him, he was magnified in
his eyes and he commanded that nought should be taken from him.
Then, when he went down, [the Sultan's] attention was diverted
from him, little by little, till the case was forgotten, and so
he saved the booty [for himself].' The folk marvelled at this and
the fifteenth officer came forward and said, 'Know that among
those who make a trade of knavery are those whom God the Most
High taketh on their own evidence against themselves.' 'How so?'
asked they; and he said.



                 THE FIFTEENTH OFFICER'S STORY.



'It is told of a certain doughty thief, that he used to rob and
stop the way by himself upon caravans, and whenever the prefect
of police and the magistrates sought him, he would flee from them
and fortify himself in the mountains. Now it befell that a
certain man journeyed along the road wherein was the robber in
question, and this man was alone and knew not the perils that
beset his way. So the highwayman came out upon him and said to
him, "Bring out that which is with thee, for I mean to slay thee
without fail." Quoth the traveller, "Slay me not, but take these
saddle-bags and divide [that which is in] them and take the
fourth part [thereof]." And the thief answered, "I will not take
aught but the whole." "Take half," rejoined the traveller, "and
let me go." But the robber replied, "I will take nought but the
whole, and I will slay thee [to boot]." And the traveller said,
"Take it."

So the highwayman took the saddle-bags and offered to kill the
traveller, who said, "What is this? Thou hast no blood-feud
against me, that should make my slaughter incumbent [on thee].
Quoth the other, "Needs must I slay thee;" whereupon the
traveller dismounted from his horse and grovelled on the earth,
beseeching the robber and speaking him fair. The latter hearkened
not to his prayers, but cast him to the ground; whereupon the
traveller [raised his eyes and seeing a francolin flying over
him,] said, in his agony," O francolin, bear witness that this
man slayeth me unjustly and wickedly; for indeed I have given him
all that was with me and besought him to let me go, for my
children's sake; yet would he not consent unto this. But be thou
witness against him, for God is not unmindful of that which is
done of the oppressors." The highwayman paid no heed to this
speech, but smote him and cut off his head.

After this, the authorities compounded with the highwayman for
his submission, and when he came before them, they enriched him
and he became in such favour with the Sultan's deputy that he
used to eat and drink with him and there befell familiar converse
between them. On this wise they abode a great while, till, one
day, the Sultan's deputy made a banquet, and therein, for a
wonder, was a roasted francolin, which when the robber saw, he
laughed aloud. The deputy was angered against him and said to
him, "What is the meaning of thy laughter? Seest thou default [in
the entertainment] or dost thou mock at us, of thy lack of
breeding?" "Not so, by Allah, O my lord," answered the
highwayman. "But I saw yonder francolin and bethought myself
thereanent of an extraordinary thing; and it was on this wise. In
the days of my youth, I used to stop the way, and one day I fell
in with a man, who had with him a pair of saddle-bags and money
therein. So I said to him, 'Leave these bags, for I mean to kill
thee.' Quoth he, 'Take the fourth part of [that which is in] them
and leave [me] the rest.' And I said, 'Needs must I take the
whole and slay thee, to boot.' Then said he, 'Take the
saddle-bags and let me go my way.' But I answered, 'Needs must I
slay thee.' As we were in this contention, he and I, behold, he
saw a francolin and turning to it, said, 'Bear witness against
him, O francolin, that he slayeth me unjustly and letteth me not
go to my children, for all he hath gotten my money.' However, I
took no pity on him neither hearkened to that which he said, but
slew him and concerned not myself with the francolin's
testimony."

His story troubled the Sultan's deputy and he was sore enraged
against him; so he drew his sword and smiting him, cut off his
head; whereupon one recited the following verses:

An you'd of evil be quit, look that no evil yon do; Nay, but do
     good, for the like God will still render to you.
All things, indeed, that betide to you are fore-ordered of God;
     Yet still in your deeds is the source to which their
     fulfilment is due.

Now this[FN#155] was the francolin that bore witness against
him.'

The company marvelled at this story and said all, 'Woe to the
oppressor!' Then came forward the sixteenth officer and said,
'And I also will tell you a marvellous story, and it is on this
wise.



                 THE SIXTEENTH OFFICER'S STORY.



I went forth one day, purposing to make a journey, and fell in
with a man whose wont it was to stop the way. When he came up
with me, he offered to slay me and I said to him, "I have nothing
with me whereby thou mayst profit." Quoth he, "My profit shall be
the taking of thy life." "What is the cause of this?" asked I.
"Hath there been feud between us aforetime?" And he answered,
"No; but needs must I slay thee." Therewithal I fled from him to
the river-side; but he overtook me and casting me to the ground,
sat down on my breast. So I sought help of the Sheikh El
Hejjaj[FN#156] and said to him, "Protect me from this oppressor!"
And indeed he had drawn a knife, wherewith to cut my throat,
when, behold, there came a great crocodile forth of the river and
snatching him up from off my breast, plunged with him into the
water, with the knife still in his hand; whilst I abode extolling
the perfection of God the Most High and rendering thanks for my
preservation to Him who had delivered me from the hand of that
oppressor.'



            ABDALLAH BEN NAFI AND THE KING'S SON OF
                       CASHGHAR.[FN#157]



There abode once, of old days and in bygone ages and times, in
the city of Baghdad, the Abode of Peace, the Khalif Haroun er
Reshid, and he had boon-companions and story-tellers, to
entertain him by night Among his boon-companions was a man called
Abdallah ben Nan, who was high in favour with him and dear unto
him, so that he was not forgetful of him a single hour. Now it
befell, by the ordinance of destiny, that it became manifest to
Abdallah that he was grown of little account with the Khalif and
that he paid no heed unto him; nor, if he absented himself, did
he enquire concerning him, as had been his wont. This was
grievous to Abdallah and he said in himself, "Verily, the heart
of the Commander of the Faithful and his fashions are changed
towards me and nevermore shall I get of him that cordiality
wherewith he was wont to entreat me." And this was distressful to
him and concern waxed upon him, so that he recited the following
verses:

If, in his own land, midst his folk, abjection and despite
     Afflict a man, then exile sure were better for the wight.
So get thee gone, then, from a house wherein thou art abased And
     let not severance from friends lie heavy on thy spright.
Crude amber[FN#158] in its native land unheeded goes, but, when
     It comes abroad, upon the necks to raise it men delight.
Kohl[FN#159] in its native country, too, is but a kind of stone;
     Cast out and thrown upon the ways, it lies unvalued quite;
But, when from home it fares, forthright all glory it attains And
     'twixt the eyelid and the eye incontinent 'tis dight.

Then he could brook this no longer; so he went forth from the
dominions of the Commander of the Faithful, under pretence of
visiting certain of his kinsmen, and took with him servant nor
companion, neither acquainted any with his intent, but betook
himself to the road and fared on into the desert and the
sandwastes, knowing not whither he went. After awhile, he fell in
with travellers intending for the land of Hind [and journeyed
with them]. When he came thither, he lighted down [in a city of
the cities of the land and took up his abode] in one of the
lodging-places; and there he abode a while of days, tasting not
food neither solacing himself with the delight of sleep; nor was
this for lack of dirhems or dinars, but for that his mind was
occupied with musing upon [the reverses of] destiny and bemoaning
himself for that the revolving sphere had turned against him and
the days had decreed unto him the disfavour of our lord the
Imam.[FN#160]

On this wise he abode a space of days, after which he made
himself at home in the land and took to himself comrades and got
him friends galore, with whom he addressed himself to diversion
and good cheer. Moreover, he went a-pleasuring with his friends
and their hearts were solaced [by his company] and he entertained
them with stories and civilities[FN#161] and diverted them with
pleasant verses and told them abundance of histories and
anecdotes. Presently, the report of him reached King Jemhour,
lord of Cashghar of Hind, and great was his desire [for his
company]. So he went in quest of him and Abdallah repaired to his
court and going in to him, kissed the earth before him. Jemhour
welcomed him and entreated him with kindness and bade commit him
to the guest-house, where he abode three days, at the end of
which time the king sent [to him] a chamberlain of his
chamberlains and let bring him to his presence. When he came
before him, he greeted him [with the usual compliment], and the
interpreter accosted him, saying, "King Jemhour hath heard of thy
report, that thou art a goodly boon-companion and an eloquent
story-teller, and he would have thee company with him by night
and entertain him with that which thou knowest of anecdotes and
pleasant stories and verses." And he made answer with "Hearkening
and obedience."

(Quoth Abdallah ben Nan) So I became his boon-companion and
entertained him by night [with stories and the like]; and this
pleased him to the utmost and he took me into especial favour and
bestowed on me dresses of honour and assigned me a separate
lodging; brief, he was everywise bountiful to me and could not
brook to be parted from me a single hour. So I abode with him a
while of time and every night I caroused with him [and
entertained him], till the most part of the night was past; and
when drowsiness overcame him, he would rise [and betake himself]
to his sleeping-place, saying to me, "Forsake not my service for
that of another than I and hold not aloof from my presence." And
I made answer with "Hearkening and obedience."

Now the king had a son, a pleasant child, called the Amir
Mohammed, who was comely of youth and sweet of speech; he had
read in books and studied histories and above all things in the
world he loved the telling and hearing of verses and stories and
anecdotes. He was dear to his father King Jemhour, for that he
had none other son than he on life, and indeed he had reared him
in the lap of fondness and he was gifted with the utterest of
beauty and grace and brightness and perfection. Moreover, he had
learnt to play upon the lute and upon all manner instruments of
music and he was used to [carouse and] company with friends and
brethren. Now it was of his wont that, when the king rose to go
to his sleeping-chamber, he would sit in his place and seek of me
that I should entertain him with stories and verses and pleasant
anecdotes; and on this wise I abode with them a great while in
all cheer and delight, and the prince still loved me with an
exceeding great love and entreated me with the utmost kindness.

It befell one day that the king's son came to me, after his
father had withdrawn, and said to me, "Harkye, Ibn Nafil" "At thy
service, O my lord," answered I; and he said, "I would have thee
tell me an extraordinary story and a rare matter, that thou hast
never related either to me or to my father Jemhour." "O my lord,"
rejoined I, "what story is this that thou desirest of me and of
what kind shall it be of the kinds?" Quoth he, "It matters little
what it is, so it be a goodly story, whether it befell of old
days or in these times." "O my lord," said I, "I know many
stories of various kinds; so whether of the kinds preferrest
thou, and wilt thou have a story of mankind or of the Jinn?" "It
is well," answered he; "if thou have seen aught with thine eyes
and heard it with thine ears, [tell it me."Then he bethought
himself] and said to me, "I conjure thee by my life, tell me a
story of the stories of the Jinn and that which thou hast heard
and seen of them!" "O my son," replied I, "indeed thou conjurest
[me] by a mighty conjuration; so [hearken and thou shalt] hear
the goodliest of stories, ay, and the most extraordinary of them
and the pleasantest and rarest." Quoth the prince, "Say on, for I
am attentive to thy speech." And I said, "Know, then, O my son,
that



            STORY OF THE DAMSEL TUHFET EL CULOUB AND
                  THE KHALIF HAROUN ER RESHID.



The Vicar of the Lord of the Worlds[FN#162] Haroun er Reshid had
a boon-companion of the number of his boon-companions, by name
Ishac ben Ibrahim en Nedim el Mausili,[FN#163] who was the most
accomplished of the folk of his time in the art of smiting upon
the lute; and of the Commander of the Faithful's love for him, he
assigned him a palace of the choicest of his palaces, wherein he
was wont to instruct slave-girls in the arts of lute-playing and
singing. If any slave-girl became, by his instruction,
accomplished in the craft, he carried her before the Khalif, who
bade her play upon the lute; and if she pleased him, he would
order her to the harem; else would he restore her to Ishac's
palace.

One day, the Commander of the Faithful's breast was straitened;
so he sent after his Vizier Jaafer the Barmecide and Ishac the
boon-companion and Mesrour the eunuch, the swordsman of his
vengeance; and when they came, he changed his raiment and
disguised himself, whilst Jaafer [and Ishac] and Mesrour and El
Fezll[FN#164] and Younus[FN#165] (who were also present) did the
like. Then he went out, he and they, by the privy gate, to the
Tigris and taking boat, fared on till they came to near Et
Taf,[FN#166] when they landed and walked till they came to the
gate of the thoroughfare street.[FN#167] Here there met them an
old man, comely of hoariness and of a venerable and dignified
bearing, pleasing[FN#168] of aspect and apparel. He kissed the
earth before Ishac el Mausili (for that be knew but him of the
company, the Khalif being disguised, and deemed the others
certain of his friends) and said to him, 'O my lord, there is
presently with me a slave-girl, a lutanist, never saw eyes the
like of her nor the like of her grace, and indeed I was on my way
to pay my respects to thee and give thee to know of her; but
Allah, of His favour, hath spared me the trouble. So now I desire
to show her to thee, and if she be to thy liking, well and good:
else I will sell her.' Quoth Ishac, 'Go before me to thy barrack,
till I come to thee and see her.'

The old man kissed his hand and went away; whereupon quoth Er
Reshid to him, 'O Ishac, who is yonder man and what is his
occasion?' 'O my lord,' answered the other, 'this is a man called
Said the Slave-dealer, and he it is who buyeth us slave-girls and
mamelukes.[FN#169] He avoucheth that with him is a fair
[slave-girl, a] lutanist, whom he hath withheld from sale, for
that he could not fairly sell her till he had shown her to me.'
'Let us go to him,' said the Khalif,'so we may look on her, by
way of diversion, and see what is in the slave-dealer's barrack
of slave-girls.' And Ishac answered, 'Commandment belongeth to
God and to the Commander of the Faithful.' Then he went on before
them and they followed in his track till they came to the
slave-dealer's barrack and found it high of building and spacious
of continence, with sleeping-cells and chambers therein, after
the number of the slave-girls, and folk sitting upon the benches.

Ishac entered, he and his company, and seating themselves in the
place of honour, amused themselves by looking on the slave-girls
and mamelukes and watching how they were sold, till the sale came
to an end, when some of the folk went away and other some sat.
Then said the slave-dealer, 'Let none sit with us except him who
buyeth by the thousand [dinars] and upwards.' So those who were
present withdrew and there remained none but Er Reshid and his
company; whereupon the slave-dealer called the damsel, after he
had caused set her a chair of fawwak,[FN#170] furnished with
Greek brocade, and it was as she were the sun shining in the
clear sky. When she entered, she saluted and sitting down, took
the lute and smote upon it, after she had touched its strings and
tuned it, so that all present were amazed. Then she sang thereto
the following verses:

Wind of the East, if thou pass by the land where my loved ones
     dwell, I pray, The fullest of greetings bear to them from
     me, their lover, and say
That I am the pledge of passion still and that my longing love
     And eke my yearning do overpass all longing that was aye.
O ye who have withered my heart and marred my hearing and my
     sight, Desire and transport for your sake wax on me night
     and day.
My heart with yearning is ever torn and tortured without cease,
     Nor can my lids lay hold on sleep, that Sees from them away.

'Well done, O damsel!' cried Ishac. 'By Allah, this is a fair
hour!' Whereupon she rose and kissed his hand, saying, 'O my
lord, the hands stand still in thy presence and the tongues at
thy sight, and the eloquent before thee are dumb; but thou art
the looser of the veil.'[FN#171] Then she clung to him and said,
'Stand.' So he stood and said to her, 'Who art thou and what is
thy need?' She raised a corner of the veil, and he beheld a
damsel as she were the rising full moon or the glancing
lightning, with two side locks of hair that fell down to her
anklets. She kissed his hand and said to him, 'O my lord, know
that I have been in this barrack these five months, during which
time I have been withheld[FN#172] from sale till thou shouldst be
present [and see me]; and yonder slave-dealer still made thy
coming a pretext to me[FN#173] and forbade me, for all I sought
of him night and day that he should cause thee come hither and
vouchsafe me thy presence and bring me and thee together.' Quoth
Ishac, 'Say what thou wouldst have.' And she answered, 'I beseech
thee, by God the Most High, that thou buy me, so I may be with
thee, by way of service.' 'Is that thy desire?' asked he, and she
replied, ' Yes.'

So Ishac returned to the slave-dealer and said to him, 'Harkye,
Gaffer Said!*' 'At thy service, O my lord,' answered the old man;
and Ishac said, 'In the corridor is a cell and therein a damsel
pale of colour. What is her price in money and how much dost thou
ask for her?, Quoth the slave-dealer, 'She whom thou mentionest
is called Tuhfet el Hemca.'[FN#174] 'What is the meaning of El
Hemca?' asked Ishac, and the old man replied, 'Her price hath
been paid down an hundred times and she still saith, "Show me him
who desireth to buy me;" and when I show her to him, she saith,
"This fellow is not to my liking; he hath in him such and such a
default." And in every one who would fain buy her she allegeth
some default or other, so that none careth now to buy her and
none seeketh her, for fear lest she discover some default in
him.' Quoth Ishac, 'She seeketh presently to sell herself; so go
thou to her and enquire of her and see her price and send her to
the palace.' 'O my lord,' answered Said, 'her price is an hundred
dinars, though, were she whole of this paleness that is upon her
face, she would be worth a thousand; but folly and pallor have
diminished her value; and behold, I will go to her and consult
her of this.' So he betook himself to her, and said to her, 'Wilt
thou be sold to Ishac ben Ibrahim el Mausili?' 'Yes,' answered
she, and he said, 'Leave frowardness,[FN#175] for to whom doth it
happen to be in the house of Ishac the boon-companion?'[FN#176]

Then Ishac went forth of the barrack and overtook Er Reshid [who
had foregone him]; and they walked till they came to their
[landing-]place, where they embarked in the boat and fared on to
Theghr el Khanekah.[FN#177] As for the slave-dealer, he sent the
damsel to the house of Ishac en Nedim, whose slave-girls took her
and carried her to the bath. Then each damsel gave her somewhat
of her apparel and they decked her with earrings and bracelets,
so that she redoubled in beauty and became as she were the moon
on the night of its full. When Ishac returned home from the
Khalifs palace, Tuhfeh rose to him and kissed his hand; and he
saw that which the slave-girls had done with her and thanked them
therefor and said to them, 'Let her be in the house of
instruction and bring her instruments of music, and if she be apt
unto singing, teach her; and may God the Most High vouchsafe her
health and weal!' So there passed over her three months, what
while she abode with him in the house of instruction, and they
brought her the instruments of music. Moreover, as time went on,
she was vouchsafed health and soundness and her beauty waxed many
times greater than before and her pallor was changed to white and
red, so that she became a ravishment to all who looked on her.

One day, Ishac let bring all who were with him of slave-girls
from the house of instruction and carried them up to Er Reshid's
palace, leaving none in his house save Tuhfeh and a cookmaid; for
that he bethought him not of Tuhfeh, nor did she occur to his
mind, and none of the damsels remembered him of her. When she saw
that the house was empty of the slave-girls, she took the lute
(now she was unique in her time in smiting upon the lute, nor had
she her like in the world, no, not Ishac himself, nor any other)
and sang thereto the following verses:

Whenas the soul desireth one other than its peer, It winneth not
     of fortune the wish it holdeth dear.
Him with my life I'd ransom whose rigours waste away My frame and
     cause me languish; yet, if he would but hear,
It rests with him to heal me; and I (a soul he hath Must suffer
     that which irks it), go saying, in my fear
Of spies, "How long, O scoffer, wilt mock at my despair, As
     'twere God had created nought else whereat to jeer?"

Now Ishac had returned to his house upon an occasion that
presented itself to him; and when he entered the vestibule, he
heard a sound of singing, the like whereof he had never heard in
the world, for that it was [soft] as the breeze and
richer[FN#178] than almond oil.[FN#179] So the delight of it gat
hold of him and joyance overcame him, and he fell down aswoon in
the vestibule, Tuhfeh heard the noise of steps and laying the
lute from her hand, went out to see what was to do. She found her
lord Ishac lying aswoon in the vestibule; so she took him up and
strained him to her bosom, saying, 'I conjure thee in God's name,
O my lord, tell me, hath aught befallen thee?' When he heard her
voice, he recovered from his swoon and said to her, 'Who art
thou? ' Quoth she, 'I am thy slave-girl Tuhfeh.' And he said to
her, 'Art thou indeed Tuhfeh?' 'Yes,' answered she; and he, 'By
Allah, I had forgotten thee and remembered thee not till now!'
Then he looked at her and said, 'Indeed, thy case is altered and
thy pallor is grown changed to rosiness and thou hast redoubled
in beauty and lovesomeness. But was it thou who was singing but
now?' And she was troubled and affrighted and answered, 'Even I,
O my lord.'

Then Ishac seized upon her hand and carrying her into the house,
said to her, 'Take the lute and sing; for never saw I nor heard
thy like in smiting upon the lute; no, not even myself!' 'O my
lord,' answered she, 'thou makest mock of me. Who am I that thou
shouldst say all this to me? Indeed, this is but of thy
kindness.' 'Nay, by Allah,' exclaimed he, 'I said but the truth
to thee and I am none of those on whom pretence imposeth. These
three months hath nature not moved thee to take the lute and sing
thereto, and this is nought but an extraordinary thing. But all
this cometh of strength in the craft and self-restraint.' Then he
bade her sing; and she said, 'Hearkening and obedience.' So she
took the lute and tightening its strings, smote thereon a number
of airs, so that she confounded Ishac's wit and he was like to
fly for delight. Then she returned to the first mode and sang
thereto the following verses:

Still by your ruined camp a dweller I abide; Ne'er will I change
     nor e'er shall distance us divide.
Far though you dwell, I'll ne'er your neighbourhood forget, O
     friends, whose lovers still for you are stupefied.
Your image midst mine eye sits nor forsakes me aye; Ye are my
     moons in gloom of night and shadowtide.
Still, as my transports wax, grows restlessness on me And woes
     have ta'en the place of love-delight denied.

When she had made an end of her song and laid down the lute,
Ishac looked fixedly on her, then took her hand and offered to
kiss it; but she snatched it from him and said to him, 'Allah, O
my lord, do not that!' Quoth he, 'Be silent. By Allah, I had said
that there was not in the world the like of me; but now I have
found my dinar[FN#180] in the craft but a danic,[FN#181] "for
thou art, beyond comparison or approximation or reckoning, more
excellent of skill than I! This very day will I carry thee up to
the Commander of the Faithful Haroun er Reshid, and whenas his
glance lighteth on thee, thou wilt become a princess of
womankind. So, Allah, Allah upon thee, O my lady, whenas thou
becomest of the household of the Commander of the Faithful, do
not thou forget me!' And she replied, saying, 'Allah, O my lord,
thou art the source of my fortunes and in thee is my heart
fortified.' So he took her hand and made a covenant with her of
this and she swore to him that she would not forget him.

Then said he to her, 'By Allah, thou art the desire of the
Commander of the Faithful![FN#182] So take the lute and sing a
song that thou shalt sing to the Khalif, whenas thou goest in to
him.' So she took the lute and tuning it, sang the following
verses:

His love on him took pity and wept for his dismay: Of those that
     him did visit she was, as sick he lay.
She let him taste her honey and wine[FN#183] before his death:
     This was his last of victual until the Judgment Day.

Ishac stared at her and seizing her hand, said to her, 'Know that
I am bound by an oath that, when the singing of a damsel pleaseth
me, she shall not make an end of her song but before the
Commander of the Faithful. But now tell me, how came it that thou
abodest with the slave-dealer five months and wast not sold to
any, and thou of this skill, more by token that the price set on
thee was no great matter?'

She laughed and answered, 'O my lord, my story is a strange one
and my case extraordinary. Know that I belonged aforetime to a
Mughrebi merchant, who bought me, when I was three years old, and
there were in his house many slave-girls and eunuchs; but I was
the dearest to him of them all. So he kept me with him and used
not to call me but "daughterling," and indeed I am presently a
clean maid. Now there was with him a damsel, a lutanist, and she
reared me and taught me the craft, even as thou seest. Then was
my master admitted to the mercy of God the Most High[FN#184] and
his sons divided his good. I fell to the lot of one of them; but
it was only a little while ere he had squandered all his
substance and there was left him no tittle of money. So I left
the lute, fearing lest I should fall into the hand of a man who
knew not my worth, for that I was assured that needs must my
master sell me; and indeed it was but a few days ere he carried
me forth to the barrack of the slave-merchant who buyeth
slave-girls and showeth them to the Commander of the Faithful.
Now I desired to learn the craft; so I refused to be sold to
other than thou, till God (extolled be His perfection and exalted
be He!) vouchsafed me my desire of thy presence; whereupon I came
out to thee, whenas I heard of thy coming, and besought thee to
buy me. Thou healedst my heart and boughtedst me; and since I
entered thy house, O my lord, I have not taken up the lute till
now; but to-day, whenas I was quit of the slave-girls, [I took
it]; and my purpose in this was that I might see if my hand were
changed[FN#185] or no. As I was singing, I heard a step in the
vestibule; so I laid the lute from my hand and going forth to see
what was to do, found thee, O my lord, on this wise.'

Quoth Ishac, 'Indeed, this was of thy fair fortune. By Allah, I
know not that which thou knowest in this craft!' Then he arose
and going to a chest, brought out therefrom striped clothes of
great price, netted with jewels and great pearls, and said to
her, 'In the name of God, don these, O my lady Tuhfeh.' So she
arose and donned those clothes and veiled herself and went up
[with Ishac] to the palace of the Khalifate, where he made her
stand without, whilst he himself went in to the Commander of the
Faithful (with whom was Jaafer the Barmecide) and kissing the
earth before him, said to him, 'O Commander of the Faithful, I
have brought thee a damsel, never saw eyes her like for
excellence in singing and touching the lute; and her name is
Tuhfeh."[FN#186] 'And where,' asked Er Reshed, 'is this Tuhfeh,
who hath not her like in the world?' Quoth Ishac, 'Yonder she
stands, O Commander of the Faithful;' and he acquainted the
Khalif with her case from first to last. Then said Er Reshid, 'It
is a marvel to hear thee praise a slave-girl after this fashion.
Admit her, so we may see her, for that the morning may not be
hidden.'

Accordingly, Ishac bade admit her; so she entered, and when her
eyes fell upon the Commander of the Faithful, she kissed the
earth before him and said, 'Peace be upon thee, O Commander of
the Faithful and asylum of the people of the faith and reviver of
justice among all creatures! May God make plain the treading of
thy feet and vouchsafe thee enjoyment of that which He hath
bestowed on thee and make Paradise thy harbourage and the fire
that of thine enemies!' Quoth Er Reshid, 'And on thee be peace, O
damsel! Sit.' So she sat down and he bade her sing; whereupon she
took the lute and tightening its strings, played thereon in many
modes, so that the Commander of the Faithful and Jaafer were
confounded and like to fly for delight. Then she returned to the
first mode and sang the following verses:

By Him whom I worship, indeed, I swear, O thou that mine eye dost
     fill, By Him in whose honour the pilgrims throng and fare to
     Arafat's hill,
Though over me be the tombstone laid, if ever thou call on me,
     Though rotten my bone should be, thy voice I'll answer, come
     what will.
I crave none other than thou for friend, beloved of my heart; So
     trust in my speech, for the generous are true and trusty
     still.

Er Reshid considered her beauty and the goodliness of her singing
and her eloquence and what not else she comprised of qualities
and rejoiced with an exceeding joyance; and for the stress of
that which overcame him of delight, he descended from the couch
and sitting down with her upon the ground, said to her, 'Thou
hast done well, O Tuhfeh. By Allah, thou art indeed a
gift'[FN#187] Then he turned to Ishac and said to him, 'Thou
dealtest not equitably, O Ishac, in the description of this
damsel,[FN#188] neither settest out all that she compriseth of
goodliness and skill; for that, by Allah, she is incomparably
more skilful than thou; and I know of this craft that which none
knoweth other than I!' 'By Allah,' exclaimed Jaafer, 'thou sayst
sooth, O my lord, O Commander of the Faithful. Indeed, this
damsel hath done away my wit' Quoth Ishac, 'By Allah, O Commander
of the Faithful, I had said that there was not on the face of the
earth one who knew the craft of the lute like myself; but, when I
heard her, my skill became nothing worth in mine eyes.'

Then said the Khalif to her, 'Repeat thy playing, O Tuhfeh.' So
she repeated it and he said to her, 'Well done!' Moreover, he
said to Ishac, 'Thou hast indeed brought me that which is
extraordinary and worth in mine eyes the empire of the earth.'
Then he turned to Mesrour the eunuch and said to him, 'Carry
Tuhfeh to the lodging of honour.'[FN#189] Accordingly, she went
away with Mesrour and the Khalif looked at her clothes and seeing
her clad in raiment of choice, said to Ishac, 'O Ishac, whence
hath she these clothes?' 'O my lord, answered he, 'these are
somewhat of thy bounties and thy largesse, and they are a gift to
her from me. By Allah, O Commander of the Faithful, the world,
all of it, were little in comparison with her!' Then the Khalif
turned to the Vizier Jaafer and said to him, 'Give Ishac fifty
thousand dirhems and a dress of honour of the apparel of choice.'
'Hearkening and obedience,' replied Jaafer and gave him that
which the Khalif ordered him.

As for Er Reshid, he shut himself up with Tuhfeh that night and
found her a clean maid and rejoiced in her; and she took high
rank in his heart, so that he could not endure from her a single
hour and committed to her the keys of the affairs of the realm,
for that which he saw in her of good breeding and wit and
modesty. Moreover, he gave her fifty slave-girls and two hundred
thousand dinars and clothes and trinkets and jewels and precious
stones, worth the kingdom of Egypt; and of the excess of his love
for her, he would not entrust her to any of the slave-girls or
eunuchs; but, whenas he went out from her, he locked the door
upon her and took the key with him, against he should return to
her, forbidding the damsels to go in to her, of his fear lest
they should slay her or practise on her with knife or poison; and
on this wise he abode awhile.

One day as she sang before the Commander of the Faithful, he was
moved to exceeding delight, so that he took her and offered to
kiss her hand; but she drew it away from him and smote upon her
lute and broke it and wept Er Reshid wiped away her tears and
said, 'O desire of the heart, what is it maketh thee weep? May
God not cause an eye of thine to weep!' 'O my lord,' answered
she, 'what am I that thou shouldst kiss my hand? Wilt thou have
God punish me for this and that my term should come to an end and
my felicity pass away? For this is what none ever attained unto.'
Quoth he, 'Well said, O Tuhfeh. Know that thy rank in my esteem
is mighty and for that which wondered me of what I saw of thee, I
offered to do this, but I will not return unto the like thereof;
so be of good heart and cheerful eye, for I have no desire for
other than thyself and will not die but in the love of thee, and
thou to me art queen and mistress, to the exclusion of all
humankind.' Therewith she fell to kissing his feet; and this her
fashion pleased him, so that his love for her redoubled and he
became unable to brook an hour's severance from her.

One day he went forth to the chase and left Tuhfeh in her
pavilion. As she sat looking upon a book, with a candlestick of
gold before her, wherein was a perfumed candle, behold, a
musk-apple fell down before her from the top of the
saloon.[FN#190] So she looked up and beheld the Lady Zubeideh
bint el Casim,[FN#191] who saluted her and acquainted her with
herself, whereupon Tuhfeh rose to her feet and said, 'O my lady,
were I not of the number of the upstarts, I had daily sought thy
service; so do not thou bereave me of thine august
visits.'[FN#192] The Lady Zubeideh called down blessings upon her
and answered, 'By the life of the Commander of the Faithful, I
knew this of thee, and but that it is not of my wont to go forth
of my place, I had come out to do my service to thee.' Then said
she to her, 'Know, O Tuhfeh, that the Commander of the Faithful
hath forsaken all his concubines and favourites on thine account,
even to myself. Yea, me also hath he deserted on this wise, and I
am not content to be as one of the concubines; yet hath he made
me of them and forsaken me, and I am come to thee, so thou mayst
beseech him to come to me, though it be but once a month, that I
may not be the like of the handmaids and concubines nor be evened
with the slave-girls; and this is my occasion with thee.'
'Hearkening and obedience,' answered Tuhfeh. 'By Allah, O my
lady, I would well that he might be with thee a whole month and
with me but one night, so thy heart might be comforted, for that
I am one of thy handmaids and thou art my lady in every event.'
The Lady Zubeideh thanked her for this and taking leave of her,
returned to her palace.

When the Khalif returned from the chase, he betook himself to
Tuhfeh's pavilion and bringing out the key, opened the door and
went in to her. She rose to receive him and kissed his hand, and
he took her to his breast and seated her on his knee. Then food
was brought to them and they ate and washed their hands; after
which she took the lute and sang, till Er Reshid was moved to
sleep. When she was ware of this, she left singing and told him
her adventure with the Lady Zubeideh, saying, 'O Commander of the
Faithful, I would have thee do me a favour and heal my heart and
accept my intercession and reject not my word, but go forthright
to the Lady Zubeideh's lodging.' Now this talk befell after he
had stripped himself naked and she also had put off her clothes;
and he said, 'Thou shouldst have named this before we stripped
ourselves naked.' But she answered, saying, ' O Commander of the
Faithful, I did this not but in accordance with the saying of the
poet in the following verses:

All intercessions come and all alike do ill succeed, Save
     Tuhfeh's, daughter of Merjan, for that, in very deed,
The intercessor who to thee herself presenteth veiled Is not her
     like who naked comes with thee to intercede.'

When the Khalif heard this, her speech pleased him and he
strained her to his bosom. Then he went forth from her and locked
the door upon her, as before; whereupon she took the book and sat
looking in it awhile. Presently, she laid it down and taking the
lute, tightened its strings. Then she smote thereon, after a
wondrous fashion, such as would have moved inanimate things [to
delight], and fell to singing marvellous melodies and chanting
the following verses:

Rail not at the vicissitudes of Fate, For Fortune still spites
     those who her berate.
Be patient under its calamities, For all things have an issue
     soon or late.
How many a mirth-exciting joy amid The raiment of ill chances
     lies in wait!
How often, too, hath gladness come to light Whence nought but
     dole thou didst anticipate!

Then she turned and saw within the chamber an old man, comely of
hoariness, venerable of aspect, who was dancing on apt and goodly
wise, a dance the like whereof none might avail unto. So she
sought refuge with God the Most High from Satan the
Stoned[FN#193] and said, 'I will not give over what I am about,
for that which God decreeth, He carrieth into execution.'
Accordingly, she went on singing till the old man came up to her
and kissed the earth before her, saying, 'Well done, O Queen of
the East and the West! May the world be not bereaved of thee! By
Allah, indeed thou art perfect of qualities and ingredients, O
Tuhfet es Sudour![FN#194] Dost thou know me?' 'Nay, by Allah,'
answered she; 'but methinks thou art of the Jinn.' Quoth he,
'Thou sayst sooth; I am the Sheikh Aboultawaif[FN#195] Iblis, and
I come to thee every night, and with me thy sister Kemeriyeh, for
that she loveth thee and sweareth not but by thy life; and her
life is not pleasant to her, except she come to thee and see
thee, what while thou seest her not. As for me, I come to thee
upon an affair, wherein thou shall find thine advantage and
whereby thou shalt rise to high rank with the kings of the Jinn
and rule them, even as thou rulest mankind; [and to that end I
would have thee come with me and be present at the festival of my
son's circumcision;[FN#196]] for that the Jinn are agreed upon
the manifestation of thine affair.' And she answered, 'In the
name of God.'

So she gave him the lute and he forewent her, till he came to the
house of easance, and behold, therein was a door and a stairway.
When Tuhfeh saw this, her reason fled; but Iblis cheered her with
discourse. Then he descended the stair and she followed him to
the bottom thereof, where she found a passage and they fared on
therein, till they came to a horse standing, Teady saddled and
bridled and accoutred. Quoth Iblis, '[Mount], in the name of God,
O my lady Tuhfeh;' and he held the stirrup for her. So she
mounted and the horse shook under her and putting forth wings,
flew up with her, whilst the old man flew by her side; whereat
she was affrighted and clung to the pummel of the saddle; nor was
it but an hour ere they came to a fair green meadow,
fresh-flowered as if the soil thereof were a goodly robe,
embroidered with all manner colours.

Midmost that meadow was a palace soaring high into the air, with
battlements of red gold, set with pearls and jewels, and a
two-leaved gate; and in the gateway thereof were much people of
the chiefs of the Jinn, clad in sumptuous apparel. When they saw
the old man, they all cried out, saying, 'The Lady Tuhfeh is
come!' And as soon as she reached the palace-gate, they came all
and dismounting her from the horse's back, carried her into the
palace and fell to kissing her hands. When she entered, she
beheld a palace whereof never saw eyes the like; for therein were
four estrades, one facing other, and its walls were of gold and
its ceilings of silver. It was lofty of building, wide of
continence, and those who beheld it would be puzzled to describe
it. At the upper end of the hall stood a throne of red gold, set
with pearls and jewels, unto which led up five steps of silver,
and on the right thereof and on its left were many chairs of gold
and silver; and over the dais was a curtain let down, gold and
silver wrought and broidered with pearls and jewels.

The old man carried Tuhfeh up [to the dais and seated her] on a
chair of gold beside the throne, whilst she was amazed at that
which she saw in that place and magnified her Lord (extolled be
His perfection and exalted be He!) and hallowed Him. Then the
kings of the Jinn came up to the throne and seated themselves
thereon; and they were in the semblance of mortals, excepting two
of them, who were in the semblance of the Jinn, with eyes slit
endlong and jutting horns and projecting tusks. After this there
came up a young lady, fair of favour and pleasant of parts; the
light of her face outshone that of the flambeaux, and about her
were other three women, than whom there were no fairer on the
face of the earth. They saluted Tuhfeh and she rose to them and
kissed the earth before them; whereupon they embraced her and sat
down on the chairs aforesaid.

Now the four women who thus accosted Tuhfeh were the princess
Kemeriyeh, daughter of King Es Shisban, and her sisters; and
Kemeriyeh loved Tuhfeh with an exceeding love. So, when she came
up to her, she fell to kissing and embracing her, and Iblis said,
'Fair befall you! Take me between you.' At this Tuhfeh laughed
and Kemeriyeh said, 'O my sister, I love thee and doubtless
hearts have their evidences,[FN#197] for, since I saw thee, I
have loved thee.' 'By Allah,' replied Tuhfeh, 'hearts have
deeps,[FN#198] and thou, by Allah, art dear to me and I am thy
handmaid.' Kemeriyeh thanked her for this and said to her, 'These
are the wives of the kings of the Jinn: salute them. This is
Queen Jemreh,[FN#199] that is Queen Wekhimeh and this other is
Queen Sherareh, and they come not but for thee.' So Tuhfeh rose
to her feet and kissed their hands, and the three queens kissed
her and welcomed her and entreated her with the utmost honour.

Then they brought trays and tables and amongst the rest a platter
of red gold, inlaid with pearls and jewels; its margents were of
gold and emerald, and thereon were graven the following verses:

For the uses of food I was fashioned and made; The hands of the
     noble me wrought and inlaid.
My maker reserved me for generous men And the niggard and
     sland'rer to use me forebade.
So eat what I offer in surety and be The Lord of all things with
     thanks- giving repaid!

So they ate and Tuhfeh looked at the two kings, who had not
changed their favour and said to Kemeriyeh, 'O my lady, what is
yonder wild beast and that other like unto him? By Allah, mine
eye brooketh not the sight of them.' Kemeriyeh laughed and
answered, 'O my sister, that is my father Es Shisban and the
other is Meimoun the Sworder; and of the pride of their souls and
their arrogance, they consented not to change their [natural]
fashion. Indeed, all whom thou seest here are, by nature, like
unto them in fashion; but, on thine account, they have changed
their favour, for fear lest thou be disquieted and for the
comforting of thy mind, so thou mightest make friends with them
and be at thine ease.' 'O my lady,' quoth Tuhfeh, 'indeed I
cannot look at them. How frightful is yonder Meimoun, with his
[one] eye! Mine eye cannot brook the sight of him, and indeed I
am fearful of him.' Kemeriyeh laughed at her speech, and Tuhfeh
said, 'By Allah, O my lady, I cannot fill my eye with
them!'[FN#200] Then said her father Es Shisban to her, 'What is
this laughing?' So she bespoke him in a tongue none understood
but they [two] and acquainted him with that which Tuhfeh had
said; whereat he laughed a prodigious laugh, as it were the
pealing thunder.

Then they ate and the tables were removed and they washed their
hands; after which Iblis the Accursed came up to Tuhfeh and said
to her, 'O my lady Tuhfeh, thou gladdenest the place and with thy
presence enlightenest and embellishest it; but now fain would
these kings hear somewhat of thy singing, for the night hath
spread its wings for departure and there abideth thereof but a
little.' Quoth she, 'Hearkening and obedience.' So she took the
lute and touching its strings on rare wise, played thereon after
a wondrous fashion, so that it seemed to those who were present
as if the palace stirred with them for the music. Then she fell
a-singing and chanted the following verses:

Peace on you, people of my troth! With peace I do you greet. Said
     ye not truly, aforetime, that we should live and meet?
Ah, then will I begin on you with chiding than the breeze More
     soft, ay pleasanter than clear cold water and more sweet.
Indeed, mine eyelids still with tears are ulcered and to you My
     bowels yearn to be made whole of all their pain and heat.
Parting hath sundered us, belov'd; indeed, I stood in dread Of
     this, whilst yet our happiness in union was complete.
To God of all the woes I've borne I plain me, for I pine For
     longing and lament, and Him for solace I entreat

The kings of the Jinn were moved to delight by that fair singing
and fluent speech and praised Tuhfeh; and Queen Kemeriyeh rose to
her and embraced her and kissed her between the eyes, saying, 'By
Allah, it is good, O my sister and solace of mine eyes and
darling of my heart!' Then said she, 'I conjure thee by Allah,
give us more of this lovely singing.' And Tuhfeh answered with
'Hearkening and obedience.' So she took the lute and playing
thereon after a different fashion from the former one, sang the
following verses:

Oft as my yearning waxeth, my heart consoleth me With hopes of
     thine enjoyment in all security.
Sure God shall yet, in pity, reknit our severed lives, Even as He
     did afflict me with loneness after thee.
Thou whose desire possesseth my soul, the love of whom Hold on my
     reins hath gotten and will not let me free,
Compared with thine enjoyment, the hardest things are light To
     win and all things distant draw near and easy be.
God to a tristful lover be light! A man of wit, Yet perishing for
     yearning and body-worn is he.
Were I cut off, beloved, from hope of thy return, Slumber,
     indeed, for ever my wakeful lids would flee.
For nought of worldly fortune I weep! my only joy In seeing thee
     consisteth and in thy seeing me.

At this the accursed Iblis was moved to delight and put his
finger to his arse, whilst Meimoun danced and said, 'O Tuhfet es
Sudour, soften the mode;[FN#201] for, as delight, entereth into
my heart, it bewildereth my vital spirits.' So she took the lute
and changing the mode, played a third air; then she returned to
the first and sang the following verses:

The billows of thy love o'erwhelm me passing sore; I sink and all
     in vain for succour I implore.
Ye've drowned me in the sea of love for you; my heart Denies to
     be consoled for those whom I adore.
Think not that I forget our trothplight after you. Nay; God to me
     decreed remembrance heretofore.[FN#202]
Love to its victim clings without relent, and he Of torments and
     unease complaineth evermore.

The kings and all those who were present rejoiced in this with an
exceeding delight and the accursed Iblis came up to Tuhfeh and
kissing her hand, said to her, 'There abideth but little of the
night; so do thou tarry with us till the morrow, when we will
apply ourselves to the wedding[FN#203] and the circumcision.'
Then all the Jinn went away, whereupon Tuhfeh rose to her feet
and Iblis said, 'Go ye up with Tuhfeh to the garden for the rest
of the night.' So Kemeriyeh took her and carried her into the
garden. Now this garden contained all manner birds, nightingale
and mocking-bird and ringdove and curlew[FN#204] and other than
these of all the kinds, and therein were all kinds of fruits. Its
channels[FN#205] were of gold and silver and the water thereof,
as it broke forth of its conduits, was like unto fleeing
serpents' bellies, and indeed it was as it were the Garden of
Eden.[FN#206]

When Tuhfeh beheld this, she called to mind her lord and wept
sore and said, 'I beseech God the Most High to vouchsafe me
speedy deliverance, so I may return to my palace and that my high
estate and queendom and glory and be reunited with my lord and
master Er Reshid.' Then she walked in that garden and saw in its
midst a dome of white marble, raised on columns of black teak and
hung with curtains embroidered with pearls and jewels.
Amiddleward this pavilion was a fountain, inlaid with all manner
jacinths, and thereon a statue of gold, and [beside it] a little
door. She opened the door and found herself in a long passage; so
she followed it and behold, a bath lined with all kinds of
precious marbles and floored with a mosaic of pearls and jewels.
Therein were four cisterns of alabaster, one facing other, and
the ceiling of the bath was of glass coloured with all manner
colours, such as confounded the understanding of the folk of
understanding and amazed the wit.

Tuhfeh entered the bath, after she had put off her clothes, and
behold, the basin thereof was overlaid with gold set with pearls
and red rubies and green emeralds and other jewels; so she
extolled the perfection of God the Most High and hallowed Him for
the magnificence of that which she saw of the attributes of that
bath. Then she made her ablutions in that basin and pronouncing
the Magnification of Prohibition,[FN#207] prayed the morning
prayer and what else had escaped her of prayers;[FN#208] after
which she went out and walked in that garden among jessamine and
lavender and roses and camomile and gillyflowers and thyme and
violets and sweet basil, till she came to the door of the
pavilion aforesaid and sat down therein, pondering that which
should betide Er Reshid after her, whenas he should come to her
pavilion and find her not. She abode sunken in the sea of her
solicitude, till presently sleep took her and she slept

Presently she felt a breath upon her face; whereupon she awoke
and found Queen Kemeriyeh kissing her, and with her her three
sisters, Queen Jemreh, Queen Wekhimeh and Queen Sherareh. So she
arose and kissed their hands and rejoiced in them with the utmost
joy and they abode, she and they, in talk and converse, what
while she related to them her history, from the time of her
purchase by the Mughrebi to that of her coming to the
slave-dealers' barrack, where she besought Ishac en Nedim to buy
her, and how she won to Er Reshid, till the moment when Iblis
came to her and brought her to them. They gave not over talking
till the sun declined and turned pale and the season of sundown
drew near and the day departed, whereupon Tuhfeh was instant in
supplication to God the Most High, on the occasion of the prayer
of sundown, that He would reunite her with her lord Er Reshid.

After this, she abode with the four queens, till they arose and
entered the palace, where she found the candles lit and ranged in
candlesticks of gold and silver and censing-vessels of gold and
silver, filled with aloes-wood and ambergris, and there were the
kings of the Jinn sitting. So she saluted them, kissing the earth
before them and doing them worship; and they rejoiced in her and
in her sight. Then she ascended [the estrade] and sat down upon
her chair, whilst King Es Shisban and King El Muzfir and Queen
Louloueh and [other] the kings of the Jinn sat on chairs, and
they brought tables of choice, spread with all manner meats
befitting kings. They ate their fill; after which the tables were
removed and they washed their hands and wiped them with napkins.
Then they brought the wine-service and set on bowls and cups and
flagons and hanaps of gold and silver and beakers of crystal and
gold; and they poured out the wines and filled the flagons.

Then Iblis took the cup and signed to Tuhfeh to sing; and she
said, 'Hearkening and obedience.' So she took the lute and tuning
it, sang the following verses:

Drink ever, O lovers, I rede you, of wine And praise his desert
     who for yearning doth pine,
Where lavender, myrtle, narcissus entwine, With all sweet-scented
     herbs, round the juice of the vine.

So Iblis the Accursed drank and said, 'Well done, O desire of
hearts! but thou owest me yet another song.' Then he filled the
cup and signed to her to sing. Quoth she, 'Hearkening and
obedience,' and sang the following verses:

Ye know I'm passion-maddened, racked with love and languishment,
     Yet ye torment me, for to you 'tis pleasing to torment.
Between mine eyes and wake ye have your dwelling-place, and thus
     My tears flow on unceasingly, my sighs know no relent.
How long shall I for justice sue to you, whilst, with desire For
     aid, ye war on me and still on slaying me are bent!
To me your rigour love-delight, your distance nearness is; Ay,
     your injustice equity, and eke your wrath consent.
Accuse me falsely, cruelly entreat me; still ye are My heart's
     beloved, at whose hands no rigour I resent.

All who were present were delighted and the sitting-chamber shook
with mirth, and Iblis said, 'Well done, O Tuhfet es Sudour!' Then
they gave not over wine-bibbing and rejoicing and making merry
and tambourining and piping till the night waned and the dawn
drew near; and indeed exceeding delight entered into them. The
most of them in mirth was the Sheikh Iblis, and for the excess of
that which betided him of delight, he put off all that was upon
him of coloured clothes and cast them over Tuhfeh, and among the
rest a robe broidered with jewels and jacinths, worth ten
thousand dinars. Then he kissed the earth and danced and put his
finger to his arse and taking his beard in his hand, said to her,
'Sing about this beard and endeavour after mirth and pleasance,
and no blame shall betide thee for this.' So she improvised and
sang the following verses:

Beard of the old he-goat, the one-eyed, what shall be My saying
     of a knave, his fashion and degree?
I rede thee vaunt thee not of praise from us, for lo! Even as a
     docktailed cur thou art esteemed of me.
By Allah, without fail, to-morrow thou shalt see Me with
     ox-leather dress and drub the nape of thee!

All those who were present laughed at her mockery of Iblis and
marvelled at the goodliness of her observation[FN#209] and her
readiness in improvising verses; whilst the Sheikh himself
rejoiced and said to her, 'O Tuhfet es Sudour, the night is gone;
so arise and rest thyself ere the day; and to-morrow all shall be
well.' Then all the kings of the Jinn departed, together with
those who were present of guards, and Tuhfeh abode alone,
pondering the affair of Er Reshid and bethinking her of how it
was with him, after her, and of that which had betided him for
her loss, till the dawn gleamed, when she arose and walked in the
palace. Presently she saw a handsome door; so she opened it and
found herself in a garden goodlier than the first, never saw eyes
a fairer than it. When she beheld this garden, delight moved her
and she called to mind her lord Er Reshid and wept sore, saying,
'I crave of the bounty of God the Most High that my return to him
and to my palace and my home may be near at hand!'

Then she walked in the garden till she came to a pavilion, lofty
of building and wide of continence, never saw mortal nor heard of
a goodlier than it [So she entered] and found herself in a long
corridor, which led to a bath goodlier than that whereof it hath
been spoken, and the cisterns thereof were full of rose-water
mingled with musk. Quoth Tuhfeh, 'Extolled be the perfection of
God! Indeed, this[FN#210] is none other than a mighty king.' Then
she put off her clothes and washed her body and made her
ablution, after the fullest fashion,[FN#211] and prayed that
which was due from her of prayer from the evening [of the
previous day].[FN#212] When the sun rose upon the gate of the
garden and she saw the wonders thereof, with that which was
therein of all manner flowers and streams, and heard the voices
of its birds, she marvelled at what she saw of the surpassing
goodliness of its ordinance and the beauty of its disposition and
sat meditating the affair of Er Reshid and pondering what was
come of him after her. Her tears ran down upon her cheek and the
zephyr blew on her; so she slept and knew no more till she felt a
breath on her cheek, whereupon she awoke in affright and found
Queen Kemeriyeh kissing her face, and with her her sisters, who
said to her, 'Arise, for the sun hath set.'

So she arose and making the ablution, prayed that which behoved
her of prayers[FN#213] and accompanied the four queens to the
palace, where she saw the candles lighted and the kings sitting.
She saluted them and seated herself upon her couch; and behold,
King Es Shisban had changed his favour, for all the pride of his
soul. Then came up Iblis (whom God curse!) and Tuhfeh rose to him
and kissed his hands. He in turn kissed her hand and called down
blessings on her and said, 'How deemest thou? Is [not] this place
pleasant, for all its loneliness and desolation?' Quoth she,
'None may be desolate in this place;' and he said, 'Know that no
mortal dare tread [the soil of] this place.' But she answered, 'I
have dared and trodden it, and this is of the number of thy
favours.' Then they brought tables and meats and viands and
fruits and sweetmeats and what not else, to the description
whereof mortal man availeth not, and they ate till they had
enough; after which the tables were removed and the trays and
platters[FN#214] set on, and they ranged the bottles and flagons
and vessels and phials, together with all manner fruits and
sweet-scented flowers.

The first to take the cup was Iblis the Accursed, who said, 'O
Tuhfet es Sudour, sing over my cup.' So she took the lute and
touching it, sang the following verses:

Awaken, O ye sleepers all, and profit, whilst it's here By what's
     vouchsafed of fortune fair and life untroubled, clear.
Drink of the first-run wine, that shows as very flame it were,
     When from the pitcher 'tis outpoured, or ere the day appear.
O skinker of the vine-juice, let the cup 'twixt us go round, For
     in its drinking is my hope and all I hold most dear.
What is the pleasance of the world, except it be to see My lady's
     face, to drink of wine and ditties still to hear?

So Iblis drank off his cup, and when he had made an end of his
draught, he waved his hand to Tuhfeh, and putting off that which
was upon him of clothes, delivered them to her. Amongst them was
a suit worth ten thousand dinars and a tray full of jewels worth
a great sum of money. Then he filled again and gave the cup to
his son Es Shisban, who took it from his hand and kissing it,
stood up and sat down again. Now there was before him a tray of
roses; so he said to her 'O Tuhfeh sing upon these roses.'
Hearkening and obedience,' answered she and sang the following
verses:

O'er all the fragrant flowers that be I have the prefrence aye,
     For that I come but once a year, and but a little stay.
And high is my repute, for that I wounded aforetime My
     lord,[FN#215] whom God made best of all the treaders of the
     clay.

So Es Shisban drank off the cup in his turn and said, 'Well done,
O desire of hearts!' And he bestowed on her that which was upon
him, to wit, a dress of cloth-of-pearl, fringed with great pearls
and rubies and broidered with precious stones, and a tray wherein
were fifty thousand dinars. Then Meimoun the Sworder took the cup
and fell to gazing intently upon Tuhfeh. Now there was in his
hand a pomegranate-flower and he said to her, 'Sing upon this
pomegranate-flower, O queen of men and Jinn; for indeed thou hast
dominion over all hearts.' Quoth she, 'Hearkening and obedience;'
and she improvised and sang the following verses:

The zephyr's sweetness on the coppice blew, And as with falling
     fire 'twas clad anew;
And to the birds' descant in the foredawns, From out the boughs
     it flowered forth and grew,
Till in a robe of sandal green 'twas clad And veil that blended
     rose and flame[FN#216] in hue.

Meinsoun drank off his cup and said to her, 'Well done, O perfect
of attributes!' Then he signed to her and was absent awhile,
after which he returned and with him a tray of jewels worth an
hundred thousand dinars, [which he gave to Tuhfeh]. So Kemeriyeh
arose and bade her slave-girl open the closet behind her, wherein
she laid all that wealth. Then she delivered the key to Tuhfeh,
saying, 'All that cometh to thee of riches, lay thou in this
closet that is by thy side, and after the festival, it shall be
carried to thy palace on the heads of the Jinn.' Tuhfeh kissed
her hand, and another king, by name Munir, took the cup and
filling it, said to her, 'O fair one, sing to me over my cup upon
the jasmine.' 'Hearkening and obedience,' answered she and
improvised the following verses:

It is as the jasmine, when it I espy, As it glitters and gleams
     midst its boughs, were a sky
Of beryl, all glowing with beauty, wherein Thick stars of pure
     silver shine forth to the eye.

Munir drank off his cup and ordered her eight hundred thousand
dinars, whereat Kemeriyeh rejoiced and rising to her feet, kissed
Tuhfeh on her face and said to her, 'May the world not be
bereaved of thee, O thou who lordest it over the hearts of Jinn
and mortals!' Then she returned to her place and the Sheikh Iblis
arose and danced, till all present were confounded; after which
he said to Tuhfeh, 'Indeed, thou embellishest my festival, O thou
who hast commandment over men and Jinn and rejoicest their hearts
with thy loveliness and the excellence of thy faithfulness to thy
lord. All that thy hands possess shall be borne to thee [in thy
palace and placed] at thy service; but now the dawn is near at
hand; so do thou rise and rest thee, as of thy wont' Tuhfeh
turned and found with her none of the Jinn; so she laid her head
on the ground and slept till she had gotten her rest; after which
she arose and betaking herself to the pool, made the ablution and
prayed. Then she sat beside the pool awhile and pondered the
affair of her lord Er Reshid and that which had betided him after
her and wept sore.

Presently, she heard a blowing behind her; so she turned and
behold, a head without a body and with eyes slit endlong; it was
of the bigness of an elephant's head and bigger and had a mouth
as it were an oven and projecting tusks, as they were grapnels,
and hair that trailed upon the earth. So Tuhfeh said, 'I take
refuge with God from Satan the Stoned!' and recited the Two
Amulets;[FN#217] what while the head drew near her and said to
her, 'Peace be upon thee, O princess of Jinn and men and unique
pearl of her age and her time! May God still continue thee on
life, for all the lapsing of the days, and reunite thee with thy
lord the Imam!'[FN#218] 'And upon thee be peace,' answered she,
'O thou whose like I have not seen among the Jinn!' Quoth the
head, 'We are a people who avail not to change their favours and
we are called ghouls. The folk summon us to their presence, but
we may not present ourselves before them [without leave]. As for
me, I have gotten leave of the Sheikh Aboultawaif to present
myself before thee and I desire of thy favour that thou sing me a
song, so I may go to thy palace and question its haunters[FN#219]
concerning the plight of thy lord after thee and return to thee;
and know, O Tuhfet es Sudour, that between thee and thy lord is a
distance of fifty years' journey to the diligent traveller.'
'Indeed,' rejoined Tuhfeh, 'thou grievest me [for him] between
whom and me is fifty years' journey. And the head said to her,
'Be of good heart and cheerful eye, for the kings of the Jinn
will restore thee to him in less than the twinkling of an eye.'
Quoth she,' I will sing thee an hundred songs, so thou wilt bring
me news of my lord and that which hath befallen him after me.'
And the head answered, saying, 'Do thou favour me and sing me a
song, so I may go to thy lord and bring thee news of him, for
that I desire, before I go, to hear thy voice, so haply my
thirst[FN#220] may be quenched.' So she took the lute and tuning
it, sang the following verses:

They have departed; but the steads yet full of them remain: Yea,
     they have left me, but my heart of them doth not complain.
My heart bereavement of my friends forebode; may God of them The
     dwellings not bereave, but send them timely home again!
Though they their journey's goal, alas I have hidden, in their
     track Still will I follow on until the very planets wane.
Ye sleep; by Allah, sleep comes not to ease my weary lids; But
     from mine eyes, since ye have passed away, the blood doth
     rain.
The railers for your loss pretend that I should patient be:
     'Away!' I answer them: ' 'tis I, not you, that feel the
     pain.'
What had it irked them, had they'd ta'en farewell of him they've
     left Lone, whilst estrangement's fires within his entrails
     rage amain?
Great in delight, beloved mine, your presence is with me; Yet
     greater still the miseries of parting and its bane.
Ye are the pleasaunce of my soul; or present though you be Or
     absent from me, still my heart and thought with you remain.

The head wept exceeding sore and said, 'O my lady, indeed thou
hast solaced my heart, and I have nought but my life; so take
it.' Quoth she, 'An I but knew that thou wouldst bring me news of
my lord Er Reshid, it were liefer to me than the empery of the
world.' And the head answered her, saying, 'It shall be done as
thou desirest.' Then it disappeared and returning to her at the
last of the night, said, 'Know, O my lady, that I have been to
thy palace and have questioned one of the haunters thereof of the
case of the Commander of the Faithful and that which befell him
after thee; and he said, "When the Commander of the Faithful came
to Tuhfeh's lodging and found her not and saw no sign of her, he
buffeted his face and head and rent his clothes. Now there was in
thy lodging the eunuch, the chief of thy household, and he cried
out at him, saying, 'Bring me Jaafer the Barmecide and his father
and brother forthright.' The eunuch went out, confounded in his
wit for fear of the Commander of the Faithful, and whenas he came
to Jaafer, he said to him, 'Come to the Commander of the
Faithful, thou and thy father and brother.' So they arose in
haste and betaking themselves to the Khalif's presence, said to
him, 'O Commander of the Faithful, what is to do?' Quoth he,
'There is that to do which overpasseth description. Know that I
locked the door and taking the key with me, betook myself to the
daughter of mine uncle, with whom I lay the night; but, when I
arose in the morning and came and opened the door, I found no
sign of Tuhfeh.' 'O Commander of the Faithful,' rejoined Jaafer,
'have patience, for that the damsel hath been snatched away, and
needs must she return, seeing she took the lute with her, and it
is her [own] lute. The Jinn have assuredly carried her off and we
trust in God the Most High that she will return.' Quoth the
Khalif, ' This[FN#221] is a thing that may nowise be' And he
abode in her lodging, eating not neither drinking, what while the
Barmecides besought him to go forth to the folk; and he weepeth
and abideth on this wise till she shall return." This, then, is
that which hath betided him after thee.'

When Tuhfeh heard this, it was grievous to her and she wept sore;
whereupon quoth the head to her, 'The relief of God the Most High
is near at hand; but now let me hear somewhat of thy speech.' So
she took the lute and sang three songs, weeping the while. 'By
Allah,' said the head, 'thou hast been bountiful to me, may God
be with thee!' Then it disappeared and the season of sundown
came. So she arose [and betook herself] to her place [in the
hall]; whereupon the candles rose up from under the earth and
kindled themselves. Then the kings of the Jinn appeared and
saluted her and kissed her hands and she saluted them. Presently,
up came Kemeriyeh and her three sisters and saluted Tuhfeh and
sat down; whereupon the tables were brought and they ate. Then
the tables were removed and there came the wine-tray and the
drinking-service. So Tuhfeh took the lute and one of the three
queens filled the cup and signed to Tuhfeh [to sing]. Now she had
in her hand a violet; so Tuhfeh sang the following verses:

Behold, I am clad in a robe of leaves green And a garment of
     honour of ultramarine.
Though little, with beauty myself I've adorned; So the flowers
     are my subjects and I am their queen.
If the rose be entitled the pride of the morn, Before me nor
     after she wins it, I ween.

The queen drank off her cup and bestowed on Tuhfeh a dress of
cloth-of-pearl, fringed with red rubies, worth twenty thousand
dinars, and a tray wherein were ten thousand dinars.

All this while Meimoun's eye was upon her and presently he said
to her, 'Harkye, Tuhfeh! Sing to me.' But Queen Zelzeleh cried
out at him and said, 'Desist, O Meimoun. Thou sufferest not
Tuhfeh to pay heed unto us.' Quoth he, 'I will have her sing to
me.' And words waxed between them and Queen Zelzeleh cried out at
him. Then she shook and became like unto the Jinn and taking in
her hand a mace of stone, said to him, 'Out on thee! What art
thou that thou shouldst bespeak us thus? By Allah, but for the
king's worship and my fear of troubling the session and the
festival and the mind of the Sheikh Iblis, I would assuredly beat
the folly out of thy head!' When Meimoun heard these her words,
he rose, with the fire issuing from his eyes, and said, 'O
daughter of Imlac, what art thou that thou shouldst outrage me
with the like of this talk?' 'Out on thee, O dog of the Jinn,'
replied she, 'knowest thou not thy place?' So saying, she ran at
him and offered to strike him with the mace, but the Sheikh Iblis
arose and casting his turban on the ground, said, 'Out on thee, O
Meimoun! Thou still dost with us on this wise. Wheresoever thou
art present, thou troubleth our life! Canst thou not hold thy
peace till thou goest forth of the festival and this
bride-feast[FN#222] be accomplished? When the circumcision is at
an end and ye all return to your dwelling-places, then do as thou
wilt. Out on thee, O Meimoun! Knowest thou not that Imlac is of
the chiefs of the Jinn? But for my worship, thou shouldst have
seen what would have betided thee of humiliation and punishment;
but by reason of the festival none may speak. Indeed thou
exceedest: knowest thou not that her sister Wekhimeh is doughtier
than any of the Jinn? Learn to know thyself: hast thou no regard
for thy life?'

Meimoun was silent and Iblis turned to Tuhfeh and said to her,
'Sing to the kings of the Jinn this day and to-night until the
morrow, when the boy will be circumcised and each shall return to
his own place.' So she took the lute and Kemeriyeh said to her,
(now she had in her hand a cedrat), 'O my sister, sing to me on
this cedrat.' 'Hearkening and obedience,' replied Tuhfeh, and
improvising, sang the following verses:

My fruit is a jewel all wroughten of gold, Whose beauty amazeth
     all those that behold.
My juice among kings is still drunken for wine And a present am I
     betwixt friends, young and old.

At this Queen Kemeriyeh was moved to exceeding delight and drank
off her cup, saying, 'Well done, O queen of hearts!' Moreover,
she took off a surcoat of blue brocade, fringed with red rubies,
and a necklace of white jewels, worth an hundred thousand dinars,
and gave them to Tuhfeh. Then she passed the cup to her sister
Zelzeleh, who had in her hand sweet basil, and she said to
Tuhfeh, 'Sing to me on this sweet basil.' 'Hearkening and
obedience,' answered she and improvised and sang the following
verses:

The crown of the flow'rets am I, in the chamber of wine, And
Allah makes mention of me 'mongst the pleasures divine; Yea, ease
and sweet basil and peace, the righteous are told, In Eternity's
Garden of sweets shall to bless them combine.[FN#223] Where,
then, is the worth that in aught with my worth can compare And
where is the rank in men's eyes can be likened to mine?

Thereat Queen Zelzeleh was moved to exceeding delight and bidding
her treasuress bring a basket, wherein were fifty pairs of
bracelets and the like number of earrings, all of gold, set with
jewels of price, the like whereof nor men nor Jinn possessed, and
an hundred robes of coloured brocade and an hundred thousand
dinars, gave the whole to Tuhfeh. Then she passed the cup to her
sister Sherareh, who had in her hand a stalk of narcissus; so she
took it from her and turning to Tuhfeh, said to her, 'O Tuhfeh,
sing to me on this.' 'Hearkening and obedience,' answered she and
improvised and sang the following verses:

Most like a wand of emerald my shape it is, trow I; Amongst the
     fragrant flow'rets there's none with me can vie.
The eyes of lovely women are likened unto me; Indeed, amongst the
     gardens I open many an eye.

When she had made an end of her song, Sherareh was moved to
exceeding delight and drinking off her cup, said to her, 'Well
done, O gift of hearts!' Then she ordered her an hundred dresses
of brocade and an hundred thousand dinars and passed the cup to
Queen Wekhimeh. Now she had in her hand somewhat of blood-red
anemone; so she took the cup from her sister and turning to
Tuhfeh, said to her, 'O Tuhfeh, sing to me on this.' Quoth she,
'I hear and obey,' and improvised the following verses:

The Merciful dyed me with that which I wear Of hues with whose
     goodliness none may compare.
The earth is my birth-place, indeed; but my place Of abidance is
     still in the cheeks of the fair.

Therewith Wekhimeh was moved to exceeding delight and drinking
off the cup, ordered her twenty dresses of Greek brocade and a
tray, wherein were thirty thousand dinars. Then she gave the cup
to Queen Shuaaeh, Queen of the Fourth Sea, who took it and said,
'O my lady Tuhfeh, sing to me on the gillyflower.' Quoth she
'Hearkening and obedience,' and improvised the following verses:

The season of my presence is never at an end 'Mongst all their
     time in gladness and solacement who spend,
Whenas the folk assemble for birling at the wine, Whether in
     morning's splendour or when night's shades descend.
The pitcher then of goblets filled full and brimming o'er With
     limpid wine we plunder, that pass from friend to friend.

Queen Shuaaeh was moved to exceeding delight and emptying her
cup, gave Tuhfeh an hundred thousand dinars. Then arose Iblis
(may God curse him!) and said, 'Verily, the dawn gleameth.'
Whereupon the folk arose and disappeared, all of them, and there
abode not one of them save Tuhfeh, who went forth to the garden
and entering the bath, made her ablutions and prayed that which
had escaped her of prayers. Then she sat down and when the sun
rose, behold, there came up to her near an hundred thousand green
birds; the branches of the trees were filled with their
multitudes and they warbled in various voices, whilst Tuhfeh
marvelled at their fashion. Presently, up came eunuchs, bearing a
throne of gold, set with pearls and jewels and jacinths white and
red and having four steps of gold, together with many carpets of
silk and brocade and Egyptian cloth of silk welted with gold.
These latter they spread amiddleward the garden and setting up
the throne thereon, perfumed the place with virgin musk and aloes
and ambergris.

After that, there appeared a queen, never saw eyes a goodlier
than she nor than her attributes; she was clad in rich raiment,
embroidered with pearls and jewels, and on her head was a crown
set with various kinds of pearls and jewels. About her were five
hundred slave-girls, high-bosomed maids, as they were moons,
screening her, right and left, and she among them as she were the
moon on the night of its full, for that she was the most of them
in majesty and dignity. She gave not over walking, till she came
to Tuhfeh, whom she found gazing on her in amazement; and when
the latter saw her turn to her, she rose to her, standing on her
feet, and saluted her and kissed the earth before her.

The queen rejoiced in her and putting out her hand to her, drew
her to herself and seated her by her side on the couch; whereupon
Tuhfeh kissed her hands and the queen said to her, 'Know, O
Tuhfeh, that all that thou treadest of these belong not to any of
the Jinn,[FN#224] for that I am the queen of them all and the
Sheikh Aboultawaif Iblis sought my permission[FN#225] and prayed
me to be present at the circumcision of his son. So I sent to
him, in my stead, a slave-girl of my slave-girls, to wit,
Shuaaeh, Queen of the Fourth Sea, who is vice-queen of my
kingdom. When she was present at the wedding and saw thee and
heard thy singing, she sent to me, giving me to know of thee and
setting forth to me thine elegance and pleasantness and the
goodliness of thy breeding and thy singing. So I am come to thee,
for that which I have heard of thy charms, and this shall bring
thee great worship in the eyes of all the Jinn.'[FN#226]

Tuhfeh arose and kissed the earth and the queen thanked her for
this and bade her sit. So she sat down and the queen called for
food; whereupon they brought a table of gold, inlaid with pearls
and jacinths and jewels and spread with various kinds of birds
and meats of divers hues, and the queen said, 'O Tuhfeh, in the
name of God, let us eat bread and salt together, thou and I.' So
Tuhfeh came forward and ate of those meats and tasted somewhat
the like whereof she had never eaten, no, nor aught more
delicious than it, what while the slave-girls stood compassing
about the table and she sat conversing and laughing with the
queen. Then said the latter, 'O my sister, a slave-girl told me
of thee that thou saidst, "How loathly is yonder genie Meimoun!
There is no eating [in his presence]."'[FN#227] 'By Allah, O my
lady,' answered Tuhfeh, 'I cannot brook the sight of him,[FN#228]
and indeed I am fearful of him.' When the queen heard this, she
laughed, till she fell backward, and said, 'O my sister, by the
virtue of the inscription upon the seal-ring of Solomon, prophet
of God, I am queen over all the Jinn, and none dare so much as
look on thee a glance of the eye.' And Tuhfeh kissed her hand.
Then the tables were removed and they sat talking.

Presently up came the kings of the Jinn from every side and
kissed the earth before the queen and stood in her service; and
she thanked them for this, but stirred not for one of them. Then
came the Sheikh Aboultawaif Iblis (God curse him!) and kissed the
earth before her, saying, 'O my lady, may I not be bereft of
these steps!'[FN#229] O Sheikh Aboultawalf,' answered she, 'it
behoveth thee to thank the bounty of the Lady Tuhfeh, who was the
cause of my coming.' 'True,' answered he and kissed the earth.
Then the queen fared on [towards the palace] and there [arose
and] alighted upon the trees an hundred thousand birds of various
colours. Quoth Tuhfeh, 'How many are these birds!' And Queen
Wekhimeh said to her, 'Know, O my sister, that this queen is
called Queen Es Shuhba and that she is queen over all the Jinn
from East to West. These birds that thou seest are of her troops,
and except they came in this shape, the earth would not contain
them. Indeed, they came forth with her and are present with her
presence at this circumcision. She will give thee after the
measure of that which hath betided thee[FN#230] from the first of
the festival to the last thereof; and indeed she honoureth us all
with her presence.'

Then the queen entered the palace and sat down on the throne of
the circumcision[FN#231] at the upper end of the hall, whereupon
Tuhfeh took the lute and pressing it to her bosom, touched its
strings on such wise that the wits of all present were bewildered
and the Sheikh Iblis said to her, 'O my lady Tuhfeh, I conjure
thee, by the life of this worshipful queen, sing for me and
praise thyself, and gainsay me not.' Quoth she, 'Hearkening and
obedience; yet, but for the adjuration by which thou conjurest
me, I had not done this. Doth any praise himself? What manner of
thing is this?' Then she improvised and sang the following
verses:

In every rejoicing a boon[FN#232] midst the singers and minstrels
     am I;
The folk witness bear of my worth and none can my virtues deny.
My virtues 'mongst men are extolled and my glory and station rank
     high.

Her verses pleased the kings of the Jinn and they said, 'By
Allah, thou sayst sooth!' Then she rose to her feet, with the
lute in her hand, and played and sang, whilst the Jinn and the
Sheikh Aboultawaif danced. Then the latter came up to her and
gave her a carbuncle he had taken from the hidden treasure of
Japhet, son of Noah (on whom be peace), and which was worth the
kingdom of the world; its light was as the light of the sun and
he said to her, 'Take this and glorify thyself withal
over[FN#233] the people of the world.' She kissed his hand and
rejoiced in the jewel and said, 'By Allah, this beseemeth none
but the Commander of the Faithful.'

Now the dancing of Iblis pleased Queen Es Shuhba and she said to
him, 'By Allah, this is a goodly dancing!' He thanked her for
this and said to Tuhfeh, 'O Tuhfeh, there is not on the face of
the earth a skilfuller than Ishac en Nedim; but thou art more
skilful than he. Indeed, I have been present with him many a time
and have shown him passages[FN#234] on the lute, and there have
betided me such and such things with him.[FN#235] Indeed, the
story of my dealings with him is a long one and this is no time
to repeat it; but now I would fain show thee a passage on the
lute, whereby thou shall be exalted over all the folk.' Quoth she
to him, 'Do what seemeth good to thee.' So he took the lute and
played thereon on wondrous wise, with rare divisions and
extraordinary modulations, and showed her a passage she knew not;
and this was liefer to her than all that she had gotten. Then she
took the lute from him and playing thereon, [sang and] presently
returned to the passage that he had shown her; and he said, 'By
Allah, thou singest better than I!' As for Tuhfeh, it was made
manifest to her that her former usance[FN#236] was all of it
wrong and that what she had learnt from the Sheikh Aboultawaif
Iblis was the origin and foundation [of all perfection] in the
art. So she rejoiced in that which she had gotten of [new skill
in] touching the lute far more than in all that had fallen to her
lot of wealth and raiment and kissed the Sheikh's hand.

Then said Queen Es Shuhba, 'By Allah, O Sheikh, my sister Tuhfeh
is indeed unique among the folk of her time, and I hear that she
singeth upon all sweet- scented flowers.' 'Yes, O my lady,'
answered Iblis, 'and I am in the utterest of wonderment thereat.
But there remaineth somewhat of sweet-scented flowers, that she
hath not besung, such as the myrtle and the tuberose and the
jessamine and the moss-rose and the like.' Then he signed to her
to sing upon the rest of the flowers, that Queen Es Shuhba might
hear, and she said, 'Hearkening and obedience.' So she took the
lute and played thereon in many modes, then returned to the first
mode and sang the following verses:

One of the host am I of lovers sad and sere For waiting long
     drawn out and expectation drear.
My patience underneath the loss of friends and folk With pallor's
     sorry garb hath clad me, comrades dear.
Abasement, misery and heart-break after those I suffer who
     endured before me many a year.
All through the day its light and when the night grows dark, My
     grief forsakes me not, no, nor my heavy cheer.
My tears flow still, nor aye of bitterness I'm quit, Bewildered
     as I am betwixten hope and fear.

Therewithal Queen Es Shuhba was moved to exceeding delight and
said, 'Well done, O queen of delight! None can avail to describe
thee. Sing to us on the apple,' Quoth Tuhfeh, 'Hearkening and
obedience.' Then she improvised and sang the following verses:

Endowed with amorous grace past any else am I; Graceful of shape
     and lithe and pleasing to the eye.
The hands of noble folk do tend me publicly; With waters clear
     and sweet my thirsting tongue they ply.
My clothes of sendal are, my veil of the sun's light, The very
     handiwork of God the Lord Most High.
Whenas my sisters dear forsake me, grieved that they Must leave
     their native place and far away must hie,
The nobles' hands, for that my place I must forsake, Do solace me
     with beds, whereon at ease I lie.
Lo! in the garden-ways, the place of ease and cheer, Still, like
     the moon at full, my light thou mayst espy.

Queen Es Shubha rejoiced in this with an exceeding delight and
said, 'Well done! By Allah, there is none surpasseth thee.'
Tuhfeh kissed the earth, then returned to her place and
improvised on the tuberose, saying:

My flower a marvel on your heads doth show, Yet homeless[FN#237]
     am I in your land, I trow.
Make drink your usance in my company And flout the time that
     languishing doth go.
Camphor itself to me doth testify And in my presence owns me
     white as snow.
So make me in your morning a delight And set me in your houses,
     high and low;
So shall we quaff the cups in ease and cheer, In endless joyance,
     quit of care and woe.

At this Queen Es Shuhba was stirred to exceeding delight and
said, 'Well done, O queen of delight! By Allah, I know not how I
shall do to render thee thy due! May God the Most High grant us
to enjoy thy long continuance [on life]!' Then she strained her
to her breast and kissed her on the cheek; whereupon quoth Iblis
(on whom be malison!), 'Indeed, this is an exceeding honour!'
Quoth the queen, 'Know that this lady Tuhfeh is my sister and
that her commandment is my commandment and her forbiddance my
forbiddance. So hearken all to her word and obey her
commandment.' Therewithal the kings rose all and kissed the earth
before Tuhfeh, who rejoiced in this. Moreover, Queen Es Shuhba
put off on her a suit adorned with pearls and jewels and
jacinths, worth an hundred thousand dinars, and wrote her on a
sheet of paper a patent in her own hand, appointing her her
deputy. So Tuhfeh rose and kissed the earth before the queen, who
said to her, 'Sing to us, of thy favour, concerning the rest of
the sweet-scented flowers and herbs, so I may hear thy singing
and divert myself with witnessing thy skill.' 'Hearkening and
obedience, O lady mine,' answered Tuhfeh and taking the lute,
improvised the following verses:

Midst colours, my colour excelleth in light And I would every eye
     of my charms might have sight.
My place is the place of the fillet and pearls And the fair are
     most featly with jasmine bedight,
How bright and how goodly my lustre appears! Yea, my wreaths are
     like girdles of silver so white.

Then she changed the measure and improvised the following:

I'm the crown of every sweet and fragrant weed; When the loved
     one calls, I keep the tryst agreed.
My favours I deny not all the year; Though cessation be desired,
     I nothing heed.
I'm the keeper of the promise and the troth, And my gathering is
     eath, without impede.

Then she changed the measure and the mode [and played] so that
she amazed the wits of those who were present, and Queen Es
Shuhba was moved to mirth and said, 'Well done, O queen of
delight!' Then she returned to the first mode and improvised the
following verses on the water-lily:

I fear to be seen in the air, Without my consent, unaware;
So I stretch out my root neath the flood And my branches turn
     back to it there.

Therewithal Queen Es Shuhba was moved to delight and said, 'Well
done, O Tuhfeh! Let me have more of thy singing.' So she smote
the lute and changing the mode, improvised the following verses
on the moss-rose:

Look at the moss-rose, on its branches seen, Midmost its leafage,
     covered all with green.
Tis gazed at for its slender swaying shape And cherished for its
     symmetry and sheen.
Lovely with longing for its love's embrace, The fear of his
     estrangement makes it lean.

Then she changed the measure and the mode and sang the following
verses:

O thou that questionest the lily of its scent, Give ear unto my
     words and verses thereanent.
Th' Amir (quoth it) am I whose charms are still desired; Absent
     or present, all in loving me consent.

When she had made an end of her song, Queen Es Shuhba arose and
said, 'Never heard I from any the like of this.' And she drew
Tuhfeh to her and fell to kissing her. Then she took leave of her
and flew away; and all the birds took flight with her, so that
they walled the world; whilst the rest of the kings tarried
behind.

When it was the fourth night, there came the boy whom they were
minded to circumcise, adorned with jewels such as never saw eye
nor heard ear of, and amongst the rest a crown of gold, set with
pearls and jewels, the worth whereof was an hundred thousand
dinars. He sat down upon the throne and Tuhfeh sang to him, till
the surgeon came and they circumcised him, in the presence of all
the kings, who showered on him great store of jewels and jacinths
and gold. Queen Kemeriyeh bade the servants gather up all this
and lay it in Tuhfeh's closet, and it was [as much in value as]
all that had fallen to her, from the first of the festival to the
last thereof. Moreover, the Sheikh Iblis (whom God curse!)
bestowed upon Tuhfeh the crown worn by the boy and gave the
latter another, whereat her reason fled. Then the Jinn departed,
in order of rank, whilst Iblis took leave of them, band by band.

Whilst the Sheikh was thus occupied with taking leave of the
kings, Meimoun sought his opportunity, whenas he saw the place
empty, and taking up Tuhfeh on his shoulders, soared up with her
to the confines of the sky and flew away with her. Presently,
Iblis came to look for Tuhfeh and see what she purposed, but
found her not and saw the slave-girls buffeting their faces; so
he said to them, 'Out on ye! What is to do?' 'O our lord,'
answered they, 'Meimoun hath snatched up Tuhfeh and flown away
with her.' When Iblis heard this, he gave a cry, to which the
earth trembled, and said, 'What is to be done? Out on ye! Shall
he carry off Tuhfeh from my very palace and outrage mine honour?
Doubtless, this Meimoun hath lost his wits.' Then he cried out a
second time, that the earth quaked therefor, and rose up into the
air.

The news came to the rest of the kings; so they [flew after him
and] overtaking him, found him full of trouble and fear, with
fire issuing from his nostrils, and said to him, 'O Sheikh
Aboultawaif, what is to do?' Quoth he, 'Know that Meimoun hath
carried off Tuhfeh from my palace and outraged mine honour.' When
they heard this, they said, 'There is no power and no virtue but
in God the Most High, the Supreme! By Allah, he hath ventured
upon a grave matter and indeed he destroyeth himself and his
people!' Then the Sheikh Iblis gave not over flying till he fell
in with the tribes of the Jinn, and there gathered themselves
together unto him much people, none may tell the tale of them
save God the Most High. So they came to the Fortress of Copper
and the Citadel of Lead,[FN#238] and the people of the
strongholds saw the tribes of the Jinn issuing from every steep
mountain-pass and said, 'What is to do?' Then Iblis went in to
King Es Shisban and acquainted him with that which had befallen,
whereupon quoth he, 'May God destroy Meimoun and his folk! He
thinketh to possess Tuhfeh, and she is become queen of the Jinn!
But have patience till we contrive that which befitteth in the
matter of Tuhfeh.' Quoth Iblis, 'And what befitteth it to do?'
And Es Shisban said, *We will fall upon him and slay him and his
people with the sword.'

Then said the Sheikh Iblis, 'We were best acquaint Queen
Kemeriyeh and Queen Zelzeleh and Queen Sherareh and Queen
Wekhimeh; and when they are assembled, God shall ordain [that
which He deemeth] good in the matter of her release.' 'It is well
seen of thee,' answered Es Shisban and despatched to Queen
Kemeriyeh an Afrit called Selheb, who came to her palace and
found her asleep; so he aroused her and she said, 'What is to do,
O Selheb?' 'O my lady,' answered he, 'come to the succour of thy
sister Tuhfeh, for that Meimoun hath carried her off and outraged
thine honour and that of the Sheikh Iblis.' Quoth she, 'What
sayest thou?' And she sat up and cried out with a great cry. And
indeed she feared for Tuhfeh and said, 'By Allah, indeed she used
to say that he looked upon her and prolonged the looking on her;
but ill is that to which his soul hath prompted him.' Then she
arose in haste and mounting a she-devil of her devils, said to
her, 'Fly.' So she flew off and alighted with her in the palace
of her sister Sherareh, whereupon she sent for her sisters
Zelzeleh and Wekhimeh and acquainted them with the news, saying,
'Know that Meimoun hath snatched up Tuhfeh and flown off with her
swiftlier than the blinding lightning.'

[Then they all flew off in haste and] lighting down in the place
where were their father Es Shisban and their grandfather the
Sheikh Aboultawaif, found the folk on the sorriest of plights.
When their grandfather Iblis saw them, he rose to them and wept,
and they all wept for Tuhfeh. Then said Iblis to them, 'Yonder
dog hath outraged mine honour and taken Tuhfeh, and I doubt not
but that she is like to perish [of concern] for herself and her
lord Er Reshid and saying "All that they said and did[FN#239] was
false."' Quoth Kemeriyeh, 'O grandfather mine, there is nothing
left for it but [to use] stratagem and contrivance for her
deliverance, for that she is dearer to me than everything; and
know that yonder accursed one, whenas he is ware of your coming
upon him, will know that he hath no power to cope with you, he
who is the least and meanest [of the Jinn]; but we fear that,
when he is assured of defeat, he will kill Tuhfeh; wherefore
nothing will serve but that we contrive for her deliverance; else
will she perish.' 'And what hast thou in mind of device?' asked
he; and she answered, 'Let us take him with fair means, and if he
obey, [all will be well]; else will we practise stratagem against
him; and look thou not to other than myself for her deliverance.'
Quoth Iblis, 'The affair is thine; contrive what thou wilt, for
that Tuhfeh is thy sister and thy solicitude for her is more
effectual than [that of] any.'

So Kemeriyeh cried out to an Afrit of the Afrits and a calamity
of the calamities,[FN#240] by name El Ased et Teyyar,[FN#241] and
said to him, 'Go with my message to the Crescent Mountain, the
abiding-place of Meimoun the Sworder, and enter in to him and
salute him in my name and say to him, "How canst thou be assured
for thyself, O Meimoun?[FN#242] Couldst thou find none on whom to
vent thy drunken humour and whom to maltreat save Tuhfeh, more by
token that she is a queen? But thou art excused, for that thou
didst this not but of thine intoxication, and the Shekh
Aboultawaif pardoneth thee, for that thou wast drunken. Indeed,
thou hast outraged his honour; but now restore her to her palace,
for that she hath done well and favoured us and done us service,
and thou knowest that she is presently our queen. Belike she may
bespeak Queen Es Shuhba, whereupon the matter will be aggravated
and that wherein there is no good will betide. Indeed, thou wilt
get no tittle of profit [from this thine enterprise]; verily, I
give thee good counsel, and so peace be on thee!"'

'Hearkening and obedience,' answered El Ased and flew till he
came to the Crescent Mountain, when he sought audience of
Meimoun, who bade admit him. So he entered and kissing the earth
before him, gave him Queen Kemeriyeh's message, which when he
heard he said to the Afrit, 'Return whence thou comest and say to
thy mistress, "Be silent and thou wilt do wisely." Else will I
come and seize upon her and make her serve Tuhfeh; and if the
kings of the Jinn assemble together against me and I be overcome
of them, I will not leave her to scent the wind of this world and
she shall be neither mine nor theirs, for that she is presently
my soul[FN#243] from between my ribs; and how shall any part with
his soul?' When the Afrit heard Meimoun's words, he said to him,
'By Allah, O Meimoun, thou hast lost thy wits, that thou speakest
these words of my mistress, and thou one of her servants!'
Whereupon Meimoun cried out and said to him, 'Out on thee, O dog
of the Jinn! Wilt thou bespeak the like of me with these words?'
Then, he bade those who were about him smite El Ased, but he took
flight and soaring into the air, betook himself to his mistress
and told her that which had passed; and she said, 'Thou hast done
well, O cavalier.'

Then she turned to her father and said to him, 'Give ear unto
that which I shall say to thee.' Quoth he, 'Say on;' and she
said, 'Take thy troops and go to him, for that, when he heareth
this, he in his turn will levy his troops and come forth to thee;
wherepon do thou give him battle and prolong the fighting with
him and make a show to him of weakness and giving way. Meantime,
I will practise a device for winning to Tuhfeh and delivering
her, what while he is occupied with you in battle; and when my
messenger cometh to thee and giveth thee to know that I have
gotten possession of Tuhfeh and that she is with me, do thou
return upon Meimoun forthright and destroy him, him and his
hosts, and take him prisoner. But, if my device succeed not with
him and we avail not to deliver Tuhfeh, he will assuredly go
about to slay her, without recourse, and regret for her will
abide in our hearts.' Quoth Iblis, 'This is the right counsel,'
and let call among the troops to departure, whereupon an hundred
thousand cavaliers, doughty men of war, joined themselves to him
and set out for Meimoun's country.

As for Queen Kemeriyeh, she flew off to the palace of her sister
Wekhimeh and told her what Meimoun had done and how [he avouched
that], whenas he saw defeat [near at hand], he would slay Tuhfeh;
'and indeed,' added she, 'he is resolved upon this; else had he
not dared to commit this outrage. So do thou contrive the affair
as thou deemest well, for thou hast no superior in judgment.'
Then they sent for Queen Zelzeleh and Queen Sherareh and sat down
to take counsel, one with another, of that which they should do
in the matter. Then said Wekhimeh, 'We were best fit out a ship
in this island [wherein is my palace] and embark therein, in the
guise of mortals, and fare on till we come to a little island,
that lieth over against Meimoun's palace. There will we [take up
our abode and] sit drinking and smiting the lute and singing. Now
Tuhfeh will of a surety be sitting looking upon the sea, and
needs must she see us and come down to us, whereupon we will take
her by force and she will be under our hands, so that none shall
avail more to molest her on any wise. Or, if Meimoun be gone
forth to do battle with the Jinn, we will storm his stronghold
and take Tuhfeh and raze his palace and put to death all who are
therein. When he hears of this, his heart will be rent in sunder
and we will send to let our father know, whereupon he will return
upon him with his troops and he will be destroyed and we shall be
quit of him.' And they answered her, saying, 'This is a good
counsel.' Then they bade fit out a ship from behind the
mountain,[FN#244] and it was fitted out in less than the
twinkling of an eye. So they launched it on the sea and embarking
therein, together with four thousand Afrits, set out, intending
for Meimoun's palace. Moreover, they bade other five thousand
Afrits betake themselves to the island under the Crescent
Mountain and lie in wait for them there.

Meanwhile, the Sheikh Aboultawaif Iblis and his son Es Shisban
set out, as we have said, with their troops, who were of the
doughtiest of the Jinn and the most accomplished of them in
valour and horsemanship, [and fared on till they drew near the
Crescent Mountain], When the news of their approach reached
Meimoun, he cried out with a great cry to the troops, who were
twenty thousand horse, [and bade them make ready for departure].
Then he went in to Tuhfeh and kissing her, said to her, 'Know
that thou art presently my life of the world, and indeed the Jinn
are gathered together to wage war on me on thine account. If I am
vouchsafed the victory over them and am preserved alive, I will
set all the kings of the Jinn under thy feet and thou shall
become queen of the world.' But she shook her head and wept; and
he said, 'Weep not, for, by the virtue of the mighty inscription
engraven on the seal-ring of Solomon, thou shall never again see
the land of men! Can any one part with his life? So give ear unto
that which I say; else will I kill thee.' And she was silent.

Then he sent for his daughter, whose name was Jemreh, and when
she came, he said to her, 'Harkye, Jemreh! Know that I am going
to [meet] the clans of Es Shisban and Queen Kemeriyeh and the
kings of the Jinn. If I am vouchsafed the victory over them, to
Allah be the praise and thou shall have of me largesse; but, if
thou see or hear that I am worsted and any come to thee with news
of me [to this effect], hasten to slay Tuhfeh, so she may fall
neither to me nor to them.' Then he took leave of her and
mounted, saying, 'When this cometh about, pass over to the
Crescent Mountain and take up thine abode there, and await what
shall befall me and what I shall say to thee.' And Jemreh
answered with 'Hearkening and obedience.'

When Tuhfeh heard this, she fell to weeping and wailing and said,
'By Allah, nought irketh me save separation from my lord Er
Reshid; but, when I am dead, let the world be ruined after me.'
And she doubted not in herself but that she was lost without
recourse. Then Meimoun set forth with his army and departed in
quest of the hosts [of the Jinn], leaving none in the palace save
his daughter Jemreh and Tuhfeh and an Afrit who was dear unto
him. They fared on till they met with the army of Es Shisban; and
when the two hosts came face to face, they fell upon each other
and fought a passing sore battle. After awhile, Es Shisban's
troops began to give back, and when Meimoun saw them do thus, he
despised them and made sure of victory over them.

Meanwhile, Queen Kemeriyeh and her company sailed on, without
ceasing, till they came under the palace wherein was Tuhfeh, to
wit, that of Meimoun the Sworder; and by the ordinance of
destiny, Tuhfeh herself was then sitting on the belvedere of the
palace, pondering the affair of Haroun er Reshid and her own and
that which had befallen her and weeping for that she was doomed
to slaughter. She saw the ship and what was therein of those whom
we have named, and they in mortal guise, and said, 'Alas, my
sorrow for yonder ship and the mortals that be therein!' As for
Kemeriyeh and her company, when they drew near the palace, they
strained their eyes and seeing Tuhfeh sitting, said, 'Yonder sits
Tuhfeh. May God not bereave [us] of her!' Then they moored their
ship and making for the island, that lay over against the palace,
spread carpets and sat eating and drinking; whereupon quoth
Tuhfeh, 'Welcome and fair welcome to yonder faces! These are my
kinswomen and I conjure thee by Allah, O Jemreh, that thou let me
down to them, so I may sit with them awhile and make friends with
them and return.' Quoth Jemreh, 'I may on no wise do that.' And
Tuhfeh wept. Then the folk brought out wine and drank, what while
Kemeriyeh took the lute and sang the following verses:

By Allah, but that I trusted that I should meet you again, Your
     camel-leader to parting had summoned you in vain!
Parting afar hath borne you, but longing still is fain To bring
     you near; meseemeth mine eye doth you contain.

When Tuhfeh heard this, she gave a great cry, that the folk heard
her and Kemeriyeh said, 'Relief is at hand.' Then she looked out
to them and called to them, saying, 'O daughters of mine uncle, I
am a lonely maid, an exile from folk and country. So, for the
love of God the Most High, repeat that song!' So Kemeriyeh
repeated it and Tuhfeh swooned away. When she came to herself,
she said to Jemreh, 'By the virtue of the Apostle of God (whom
may He bless and preserve!) except thou suffer me go down to them
and look on them and sit with them awhile, [I swear] I will cast
myself down from this palace, for that I am weary of my life and
know that I am slain without recourse; wherefore I will slay
myself, ere thou pass sentence upon me.' And she was instant with
her in asking.

When Jemreh heard her words, she knew that, if she let her not
down, she would assuredly destroy herself. So she said to her, 'O
Tuhfeh, between thee and them are a thousand fathoms; but I will
bring them up to thee.' 'Nay,' answered Tuhfeh, 'needs must I go
down to them and take my pleasance in the island and look upon
the sea anear; then will we return, thou and I; for that, if thou
bring them up to us, they will be affrighted and there will
betide them neither easance nor gladness. As for me, I do but
wish to be with them, that they may cheer me with their company
neither give over their merrymaking, so haply I may make merry
with them, and indeed I swear that needs must I go down to them;
else will I cast myself upon them.' And she cajoled Jemreh and
kissed her hands, till she said, 'Arise and I will set thee down
beside them.'

Then she took Tuhfeh under her armpit and flying up, swiftlier
than the blinding lightning, set her down with Kemeriyeh and her
company; whereupon she went up to them and accosted them, saying,
'Fear not, no harm shall betide you; for I am a mortal, like unto
you, and I would fain look on you and talk with you and hear your
singing.' So they welcomed her and abode in their place, whilst
Jemreh sat down beside them and fell a-snuffing their odours and
saying, 'I smell the scent of the Jinn! I wonder whence [it
cometh!'] Then said Wekhimeh to her sister Kemeriyeh, 'Yonder
filthy one [smelleth us] and presently she will take to flight;
so what is this remissness concerning her?'[FN#245] Thereupon
Kemeriyeh put out a hand,[FN#246] as it were a camel's
neck,[FN#247] and dealt Jemreh a buffet on the head, that made it
fly from her body and cast it into the sea. Then said she, 'God
is most great!' And they uncovered their faces, whereupon Tuhfeh
knew them and said to them, 'Protection!'

Queen Kemeriyeh embraced her, as also did Queen Zelzeleh and
Queen Wekhimeh and Queen Sherareh, and the former said to her,
'Rejoice in assured deliverance, for there abideth no harm for
thee; but this is no time for talk.' Then they cried out,
whereupon up came the Afrits ambushed in the island, with swords
and maces in their hands, and taking up Tuhfeh, flew with her to
the palace and made themselves masters thereof, whilst the Afrit
aforesaid, who was dear to Meimoun and whose name was Dukhan,
fled like an arrow and stayed not in his flight till he carne to
Meimoun and found him engaged in sore battle with the Jinn. When
his lord saw him, he cried out at him, saying, 'Out on thee! Whom
hast thou left in the palace?' And Dukhan answered, saying, 'And
who abideth in the palace? Thy beloved Tuhfeh they have taken and
Jemreh is slain and they have gotten possession of the palace,
all of it.' With this Meimoun buffeted his face and head and
said, 'Out on it for a calamity!' And he cried aloud. Now
Kemeriyeh had sent to her father and acquainted him with the
news, whereat the raven of parting croaked for them. So, when
Meimoun saw that which had betided him, (and indeed the Jinn
smote upon him and the wings of death overspread his host,) he
planted the butt of his spear in the earth and turning the point
thereof to his heart, urged his charger upon it and pressed upon
it with his breast, till the point came forth, gleaming, from his
back.

Meanwhile the messenger had reached the opposite camp with the
news of Tuhfeh's deliverance, whereat the Sheikh Aboultawaif
rejoiced and bestowed on the bringer of good tidings a sumptuous
dress of honour and made him commander over a company of the
Jinn. Then they fell upon Meimoun's troops and destroyed them to
the last man; and when they came to Meimoun, they found that he
had slain himself and was even as we have said. Presently
Kemeriyeh and her sister [Wekhimeh] came up to their grandfather
and told him what they had done; whereupon he came to Tuhfeh and
saluted her and gave her joy of her deliverance. Then he
delivered Meimoun's palace to Selheb and took all the former's
riches and gave them to Tuhfeh, whilst the troops encamped upon
the Crescent Mountain. Moreover, the Sheikh Aboultawaif said to
Tuhfeh, 'Blame me not,' and she kissed his hands. As they were
thus engaged, there appeared to them the tribes of the Jinn, as
they were clouds, and Queen Es Shuhba flying in their van, with a
drawn sword in her hand.

When she came in sight of the folk, they kissed the earth before
her and she said to them, 'Tell me what hath betided Queen Tuhfeh
from yonder dog Meimoun and why did ye not send to me and tell
me?' Quoth they, 'And who was this dog that we should send to
thee, on his account? Indeed, he was the least and meanest [of
the Jinn].' Then they told her what Kemeriyeh and her sisters had
done and how they had practised upon Meimoun and delivered Tuhfeh
from his hand, fearing lest he should slay her, whenas he found
himself discomfited; and she said, 'By Allah, the accursed one
was wont to prolong his looking upon her!' And Tuhfeh fell to
kissing Queen Es Shuhba's hand, whilst the latter strained her to
her bosom and kissed her, saying, 'Trouble is past; so rejoice in
assurance of relief.'

Then they arose and went up to the palace, whereupon the trays of
food were brought and they ate and drank; after which quoth Queen
Es Shuhba, 'O Tuhfeh, sing to us, by way of thankoffering for thy
deliverance, and favour us with that which shall solace our
minds, for that indeed my mind hath been occupied with thee.'
Quoth Tuhfeh 'Hearkening and obedience, O my lady.' So she
improvised and sang the following verses:

Wind of the East, if thou pass by the land where my loved ones
     dwell, I pray, The fullest of greetings bear to them from
     me, their lover, and say
That I am the pledge of passion still and that my longing love
     And eke my yearning do overpass all longing that was aye.

Therewithal Queen Es Shuhba rejoiced and all who were present
rejoiced also and admired her speech and fell to kissing her; and
when she had made an end of her song, Queen Kemeriyeh said to
her, 'O my sister, ere thou go to thy palace, I would fain bring
thee to look upon El Anca, daughter of Behram Gour, whom El Anca,
daughter of the wind, carried off, and her beauty; for that there
is not her match on the face of the earth.' And Queen Es Shuhba
said, 'O Kemeriyeh, I [also] have a mind to see her.' Quoth
Kemeriyeh, 'I saw her three years agone; but my sister Wekhimeh
seeth her at all times, for that she is near unto her, and she
saith that there is not in the world a fairer than she. Indeed,
this Queen El Anca is become a byword for loveliness and proverbs
are made upon her beauty and grace' And Wekhimeh said, 'By the
mighty inscription [on the seal-ring of Solomon], there is not
her like in the world!' Then said Queen Es Shuhba, 'If it needs
must be and the affair is as ye say, I will take Tuhfeh and go
with her [to El Anca], so she may see her.'

So they all arose and repaired to El Anca, who abode in the
Mountain Caf.[FN#248] When she saw them, she rose to them and
saluted them, saying, 'O my ladies, may I not be bereaved of
you!' Quoth Wekhimeh to her, 'Who is like unto thee, O Anca?
Behold, Queen Es Shuhba is come to thee.' So El Anca kissed the
queen's feet and lodged them in her palace; whereupon Tuhfeh came
up to her and fell to kissing her and saying, 'Never saw I a
goodlier than this favour.' Then she set before them somewhat of
food and they ate and washed their hands; after which Tuhfeh took
the lute and played excellent well; and El Anca also played, and
they fell to improvising verses in turns, whilst Tuhfeh embraced
El Anca every moment. Quoth Es Shuhba, 'O my sister, each kiss is
worth a thousand dinars;' and Tuhfeh answered, 'Indeed, a
thousand dinars were little for it.' Whereat El Anca laughed and
on the morrow they took leave of her and went away to Meimoun's
palace.[FN#249]

Here Queen Es Shuhba bade them farewell and taking her troops,
returned to her palace, whilst the kings also went away to their
abodes and the Sheikh Aboultawaif addressed himself to divert
Tuhfeh till nightfall, when he mounted her on the back of one of
the Afrits and bade other thirty gather together all that she had
gotten of treasure and raiment and jewels and dresses of honour.
[Then they flew off,] whilst Iblis went with her, and in less
than the twinkling of an eye he set her down in her
sleeping-chamber. Then he and those who were with him took leave
of her and went away. When Tuhfeh found herself in her own
chamber and on her couch, her reason fled for joy and it seemed
to her as if she had never stirred thence. Then she took the lute
and tuned it and touched it on wondrous wise and improvised
verses and sang.

The eunuch heard the smiting of the lute within the chamber and
said, 'By Allah, that is my lady Tuhfeh's touch!' So he arose and
went, as he were a madman, falling down and rising up, till he
came to the eunuch on guard at the door at the Commander of the
Faithful and found him sitting. When the latter saw him, and he
like a madman, falling down and rising up, he said to him, 'What
aileth thee and what bringeth thee hither at this hour?' Quoth
the other, 'Wilt thou not make haste and awaken the Commander of
the Faithful?' And he fell to crying out at him; whereupon the
Khalif awoke and heard them bandying words together and Tuhfeh's
servant saying to the other, 'Out on thee! Awaken the Commander
of the Faithful in haste.' So he said, 'O Sewab, what aileth
thee?' And the chief eunuch answered, saying, 'O our lord, the
eunuch of Tuhfeh's lodging hath taken leave of his wits and
saith, "Awaken the Commander of the Faithful in haste!"' Then
said Er Reshid to one of the slave-girls, 'See what is to do.'

So she hastened to admit the eunuch, who entered; and when he saw
the Commander of the Faithful, he saluted not neither kissed the
earth, but said, 'Quick, quick! Arise in haste! My lady Tuhfeh
sitteth in her chamber, singing a goodly ditty. Come to her in
haste and see all that I say to thee! Hasten! She sitteth [in her
chamber].' The Khalif was amazed at his speech and said to him,
'What sayst thou?' 'Didst thou not hear the first of the speech?'
replied the eunuch. 'Tuhfeh sitteth in the sleeping-chamber,
singing and playing the lute. Come thy quickliest! Hasten!' So Er
Reshid arose and donned his clothes; but he credited not the
eunuch's words and said to him, 'Out on thee! What is this thou
sayst? Hast thou not seen this in a dream?' 'By Allah,' answered
the eunuch, 'I know not what thou sayest, and I was not asleep.'
Quoth Er Reshid, 'If thy speech be true, it shall be for thy good
luck, for I will enfranchise thee and give thee a thousand
dinars; but, if it be untrue and thou have seen this in sleep, I
will crucify thee.' And the eunuch said in himself, 'O
Protector,[FN#250] let me not have seen this in Sleep!' Then he
left the Khalif and going to the chamber-door, heard the sound of
singing and lute-playing; whereupon he returned to Er Reshid and
said to him, 'Go and hearken and see who is asleep.'

When Er Reshid drew near the door of the chamber, he heard the
sound of the lute and Tuhfeh's voice singing; whereat he could
not restrain his reason and was like to swoon away for excess of
joy. Then he pulled out the key, but could not bring his hand to
open the door. However, after awhile, he took heart and applying
himself, opened the door and entered, saying, 'Methinks this is
none other than a dream or an illusion of sleep.' When Tuhfeh saw
him, she rose and coming to meet him, strained him to her bosom;
and he cried out with a cry, wherein his soul was like to depart,
and fell down in a swoon. She strained him to her bosom and
sprinkled on him rose-water, mingled with musk, and washed his
face, till he came to himself, as he were a drunken man, for the
excess of his joy in Tuhfeh's return to him, after he had
despaired of her.

Then she took the lute and smote thereon, after the fashion she
had learnt from the Sheikh Iblis, so that Er Reshid's wit was
dazed for excess of delight and his understanding was confounded
for joy; after which she improvised and sang the following
verses:

My heart will never credit that I am far from thee; In it thou
     art, nor ever the soul can absent be.
Or if to me "I'm absent" thou sayest, "'Tis a lie," My heart
     replies, bewildered 'twixt doubt and certainty.

When she had made an end of her verses, Er Reshid said to her, 'O
Tuhfeh, thine absence was extraordinary, but thy presence[FN#251]
is yet more extraordinary.' 'By Allah, O my lord,' answered she,
'thou sayst sooth.' And she took his hand and said to him, 'See
what I have brought with me.' So he looked and saw riches such as
neither words could describe nor registers avail to set out,
pearls and jewels and jacinths and precious stones and great
pearls and magnificent dresses of honour, adorned with pearls and
jewels and embroidered with red gold. Moreover, she showed him
that which Queen Es Shuhba had bestowed on her of those carpets,
which she had brought with her, and that her throne, the like
whereof neither Chosroes nor Cassar possessed, and those tables
inlaid with pearls and jewels and those vessels, that amazed all
who looked on them, and the crown, that was on the head of the
circumcised boy, and those dresses of honour, which Queen Es
Shuhba and the Sheikh Aboultawaif had put off upon her, and the
trays wherein were those riches; brief, she showed him treasures
the like whereof he had never in his life set eyes on and which
the tongue availeth not to describe and whereat all who looked
thereon were amazed.

Er Reshid was like to lose his wits for amazement at this sight
and was confounded at this that he beheld and witnessed. Then
said he to Tuhfeh, 'Come, tell me thy story from first to last,
[and let me know all that hath betided thee,] as if I had been
present' She answered with 'Hearkening and obedience,' and fell
to telling him [all that had betided her] first and last, from
the time when she first saw the Sheikh Aboultawaif, how he took
her and descended with her through the side of the draught-house;
and she told him of the horse she had ridden, till she came to
the meadow aforesaid and described it to him, together with the
palace and that which was therein of furniture, and related to
him how the Jinn rejoiced in her and that which she had seen of
the kings of them, men and women, and of Queen Kemeriyeh and her
sisters and Queen Shuaaeh, Queen of the Fourth Sea, and Queen Es
Shuhba, Queen of Queens, and King Es Shisban, and that which each
one of them had bestowed upon her. Moreover, she told him the
story of Meimoun the Sworder and described to him his loathly
favour, which he had not consented to change, and related to him
that which befell her from the kings of the Jinn, men and women,
and the coming of the Queen of Queens, Es Shuhba, and how she had
loved her and appointed her her vice-queen and how she was thus
become ruler over all the kings of the Jinn; and she showed him
the patent of investiture that Queen Es Shuhba had written her
and told him that which had betided her with the Ghoul-head,
whenas it appeared to her in the garden, and how she had
despatched it to her palace, beseeching it to bring her news of
the Commander of the Faithful and that which had betided him
after her. Then she described to him the gardens, wherein she had
taken her pleasure, and the baths inlaid with pearls and jewels
and told him that which had befallen Meimoun the Sworder, whenas
he carried her off, and how he had slain himself; brief, she told
him all that she had seen of wonders and rarities and that which
she had beheld of all kinds and colours among the Jinn.

Then she told him the story of Anca, daughter of Behram Gour,
with Anca, daughter of the wind, and described to him her
dwelling-place and her island, whereupon quoth Er Reshid, 'O
Tuhfet es Sedr,[FN#252] tell me of El Anca, daughter of Behram
Gour; is she of the Jinn or of mankind or of the birds? For this
long time have I desired to find one who should tell me of her.'
'It is well, O Commander of the Faithful,' answered Tuhfeh. 'I
asked the queen of this and she acquainted me with her case and
told me who built her the palace.' Quoth Er Reshid, 'I conjure
thee by Allah, tell it me.' And Tuhfeh answered, 'It is well,'
and proceeded to tell him. And indeed he was amazed at that which
he heard from her and what she told him and at that which she had
brought back of jewels and jacinths of various colours and
preciots stones of many kinds, such as amazed the beholder and
confounded thought and mind. As for this, it was the means of the
enrichment of the Barmecides and the Abbasicles, and they abode
in their delight.

Then the Khalif went forth and bade decorate the city: [so they
decorated it] and the drums of glad tidings were beaten. Moreover
they made banquets to the people and the tables were spread seven
days. And Tuhfeh and the Commander of the Faithful ceased not to
be in the most delightsome of life and the most prosperous
thereof till there came to them the Destroyer of Delights and the
Sunderer of Companies; and thu is all that hath come down to as
of their story."



                    Calcutta (1814-18) Text.



                             NOTE.



The following story occupies the last five Nights (cxcv-cc) of
the unfinished Calcutta Edition of 1814-18. The only other text
of it known to me is that published by Monsieur Langles (Paris,
1814), as an appendix to his Edition of the Voyages of Sindbad,
and of this I have freely availed myself in making the present
translation, comparing and collating with it the Calcutta
(1814-18) Text and filling up and correcting omissions and errors
that occur in the latter. In the Calcutta (1814-18) Text this
story (Vol. II. pp. 367-378) is immediately succeeded by the
Seven Voyages of Sindbad (Vol. II. pp. 378-458), which conclude
the work.



                         WOMEN'S CRAFT.



It is told that there was once, in the city of Baghdad, a comely
and well-bred youth, fair of face, tall of stature and slender of
shape. His name was Alaeddin and he was of the chiefs of the sons
of the merchants and had a shop wherein he sold and bought One
day, as he sat in his shop, there passed by him a girl of the
women of pleasure,[FN#253] who raised her eyes and casting a
glance at the young merchant, saw written in a flowing hand on
the forepart[FN#254] of the door of his shop, these words,
"VERILY, THERE IS NO CRAFT BUT MEN'S CRAFT, FORASMUCH AS IT OVERCOMETH
WOMEN'S CRAFT." When she beheld this, she was wroth and took
counsel with herself, saying, "As my head liveth, I will
assuredly show him a trick of the tricks of women and prove the
untruth of[FN#255] this his inscription!"

So, on the morrow, she made her ready and donning the costliest
of apparel, adorned herself with the most magnificent of
ornaments and the highest of price and stained her hands with
henna. Then she let down her tresses upon her shoulders and went
forth, walking along with coquettish swimming gait and amorous
grace, followed by her slave-girls, till she came to the young
merchant's shop and sitting down thereat, under colour of seeking
stuffs, saluted him and demanded of him somewhat of merchandise.
So he brought out to her various kinds of stuffs and she took
them and turned them over, talking with him the while. Then said
she to him, "Look at the goodliness of my shape and my symmetry.
Seest thou in me any default?" And he answered, "No, O my lady."
"Is it lawful," continued she, "in any one that he should slander
me and say that I am humpbacked?"

Then she discovered to him a part of her bosom, and when he saw
her breasts, his reason took flight from his head and he said to
her, "Cover it up, so may God have thee in His safeguard!" Quoth
she, "Is it fair of any one to missay of my charms?" And he
answered, "How shall any missay of thy charms, and thou the sun
of loveliness?" Then said she, "Hath any the right to say of me
that I am lophanded? "And tucking up her sleeves, showed him
forearms, as they were crystal; after which she unveiled to him a
face, as it were a full moon breaking forth on its fourteenth
night, and said to him, "Is it lawful for any to missay of me
[and avouch] that my face is pitted with smallpox or that I am
one-eyed or crop-eared?" And he answered her, saying, "O my lady,
what is it moveth thee to discover unto me that lovely face and
those fair members, [of wont so jealously] veiled and guarded?
Tell me the truth of the matter, may I be thy ransom!" And he
recited the following verses:

A white one, from her sheath of tresses now laid bare And now
     again concealed in black, luxuriant hair;[FN#256]
As if the maid the day resplendent and her locks The night that
     o'er it spreads its shrouding darkness were.

"Know, O my lord," answered she, "that I am a maiden oppressed of
my father, for that he misspeaketh of me and saith to me, 'Thou
art foul of favour and it befitteth not that thou wear rich
clothes; for thou and the slave-girls, ye are equal in rank,
there is no distinguishing thee from them.' Now he is a rich man,
having wealth galore, [and saith not on this wise but] because he
is a niggard and grudgeth the spending of a farthing; [wherefore
he is loath to marry me,] lest he be put to somewhat of charge in
my marriage, albeit God the Most High hath been bountiful to him
and he is a man puissant in his time and lacking nothing of the
goods of the world." "Who is thy father," asked the young
merchant, "and what is his condition?" And she replied, "He is
the Chief Cadi of the Supreme Court, under whose hand are all the
Cadis who administer justice in this city."

The merchant believed her and she took leave of him and went
away, leaving in his heart a thousand regrets, for that the love
of her had gotten possession of him and he knew not how he should
win to her; wherefore he abode enamoured, love-distraught,
unknowing if he were alive or dead. As soon as she was gone, he
shut his shop and going up to the Court, went in to the Chief
Cadi and saluted him. The magistrate returned his salutation and
entreated him with honour and seated him by his side. Then said
Alaeddin to him, "I come to thee, a suitor, seeking thine
alliance and desiring the hand of thy noble daughter." "O my lord
merchant," answered the Cadi, "indeed my daughter beseemeth not
the like of thee, neither sorteth she with the goodliness of thy
youth and the pleasantness of thy composition and the sweetness
of thy discourse;" but Alaeddin rejoined, saying, "This talk
behoveth thee not, neither is it seemly in thee; if I be content
with her, how should this irk thee?" So they came to an accord
and concluded the treaty of marriage at a dower precedent of five
purses[FN#257] paid down then and there and a dower contingent of
fifteen purses,[FN#258] so it might be uneath unto him to put her
away, forasmuch as her father had given him fair warning, but he
would not be warned.

Then they drew up the contract of marriage and the merchant said,
"I desire to go in to her this night." So they carried her to him
in procession that very night, and he prayed the prayer of
eventide and entered the privy chamber prepared for him; but,
when he lifted the veil from the face of the bride and looked, he
saw a foul face and a blameworthy aspect; yea, he beheld somewhat
the like whereof may God not show thee! loathly, dispensing from
description, inasmuch as there were reckoned in her all legal
defects.[FN#259] So he repented, whenas repentance availed him
not, and knew that the girl had cheated him. However, he lay with
the bride, against his will, and abode that night sore troubled
in mind, as he were in the prison of Ed Dilem.[FN#260] Hardly had
the day dawned when he arose from her and betaking himself to one
of the baths, dozed there awhile, after which he made the
ablution of defilement[FN#261] and washed his clothes. Then he
went out to the coffee-house and drank a cup of coffee; after
which he returned to his shop and opening the door, sat down,
with discomfiture and chagrin written on his face.

Presently, his friends and acquaintances among the merchants and
people of the market began to come up to him, by ones and twos,
to give him joy, and said to him, laughing, "God's blessing on
thee! Where an the sweetmeats? Where is the coffee?[FN#262] It
would seem thou hast forgotten us; surely, the charms of the
bride have disordered thy reason and taken thy wit, God help
thee! Well, well; we give thee joy, we give thee joy." And they
made mock of him, whilst he gave them no answer and was like to
tear his clothes and weep for vexation. Then they went away from
him, and when it was the hour of noon, up came his mistress,
trailing her skirts and swaying in her gait, as she were a
cassia-branch in a garden. She was yet more richly dressed and
adorned and more bewitching[FN#263] in her symmetry and grace
than on the previous day, so that she made the passers stop and
stand in ranks to look on her.

When she came to Alaeddin's shop, she sat down thereat and said
to him, "May the day be blessed to thee, O my lord Alaeddin! God
prosper thee and be good to thee and accomplish thy gladness and
make it a wedding of weal and content!" He knitted his brows and
frowned in answer to her; then said he to her, "Tell me, how have
I failed of thy due, or what have I done to injure thee, that
thou shouldst play me this trick?" Quoth she, "Thou hast no wise
offended against me; but this inscription that is written on the
door of thy shop irketh me and vexeth my heart. If thou wilt
change it and write up the contrary thereof, I will deliver thee
from thy predicament." And he answered, "This that thou seekest
is easy. On my head and eyes be it." So saying, he brought out a
ducat[FN#264] and calling one of his mamelukes, said to him, "Get
thee to such an one the scribe and bid him write us an
inscription, adorned with gold and ultramarine, in these words,
to wit, 'THERE IS NO CRAFT BUT WOMEN'S CRAFT, FOR THAT INDEED THEIR CRAFT IS
A MIGHTY CRAFT AND OVERCOMETH AND HUMBLETH THE FABLES[FN#265] OF MEN.'" And
she said to the servant, "Go forthright."

So he repaired to the scribe, who wrote him the scroll, and he
brought it to his master, who set it on the door and said to the
damsel, "Art thou satisfied?" "Yes," answered she. "Arise
forthright and get thee to the place before the citadel, where do
thou foregather with all the mountebanks and ape-dancers and
bear-leaders and drummers and pipers and bid them come to thee
to-morrow early, with their drums and pipes, what time thou
drinkest coffee with thy father-in-law the Cadi, and congratulate
thee and wish thee joy, saying, 'A blessed day, O son of our
uncle! Indeed, thou art the vein[FN#266] of our eye! We rejoice
for thee, and if thou be ashamed of us, verily, we pride
ourselves upon thee; so, though thou banish us from thee, know
that we will not forsake thee, albeit thou forsakest us.' And do
thou fall to strewing dinars and dirhems amongst them; whereupon
the Cadi will question thee, and do thou answer him, saying, 'My
father was an ape-dancer and this is our original condition; but
out Lord opened on us [the gate of fortune] and we have gotten us
a name among the merchants and with their provost.'

Then will he say to thee, 'Then thou art an ape-leader of the
tribe of the mountebanks?' And do thou reply, 'I may in nowise
deny my origin, for the sake of thy daughter and in her honour.'
The Cadi will say, 'It may not be that thou shalt be given the
daughter of a sheikh who sitteth upon the carpet of the Law and
whose descent is traceable by genealogy to the loins of the
Apostle of God,[FN#267] nor is it seemly that his daughter be in
the power of a man who is an ape-dancer, a minstrel.' And do thou
rejoin, 'Nay, O Effendi, she is my lawful wife and every hair of
her is worth a thousand lives, and I will not let her go, though
I be given the kingship of the world.' Then be thou persuaded to
speak the word of divorce and so shall the marriage be dissolved
and ye be delivered from each other."

Quoth Alaeddin, "Thou counsellest well," and locking up his shop,
betook himself to the place before the citadel, where he
foregathered with the drummers and pipers and instructed them how
they should do, [even as his mistress had counselled him,]
promising them a handsome reward. So they answered him with
"Hearkening and obedience" and on the morrow, after the
morning-prayer, he betook himself to the presence of the Cadi,
who received him with obsequious courtesy and seated him beside
himself. Then he turned to him and fell to conversing with him
and questioning him of matters of selling and buying and of the
price current of the various commodities that were exported to
Baghdad from all parts, whilst Alaeddin replied to him of all
whereof he asked him.

As they were thus engaged, behold, up came the dancers and
mountebanks, with their pipes and drums, whilst one of their
number forewent them, with a great banner in his hand, and played
all manner antics with his voice and limbs. When they came to the
Courthouse, the Cadi exclaimed, "I seek refuge with God from
yonder Satans!" And the merchant laughed, but said nothing. Then
they entered and saluting his highness the Cadi, kissed
Alaeddin's hands and said, "God's blessing on thee, O son of our
uncle! Indeed, thou solacest our eyes in that which thou dost,
and we beseech God to cause the glory of our lord the Cadi to
endure, who hath honoured us by admitting thee to his alliance
and allotted us a part in his high rank and dignity." When the
Cadi heard this talk, it bewildered his wit and he was confounded
and his face flushed with anger and he said to his son-in-law,
"What words are these?" Quoth the merchant, "Knowest thou not, O
my lord, that I am of this tribe? Indeed this man is the son of
my mother's brother and that other the son of my father's
brother, and I am only reckoned of the merchants [by courtesy]!"

When the Cadi heard this, his colour changed and he was troubled
and waxed exceeding wroth and was rike to burst for excess of
rage. Then said he to the merchant, "God forbid that this should
be! How shall it be permitted that the daughter of the Cadi of
the Muslims abide with a man of the dancers and vile of origin?
By Allah, except thou divorce her forthright, I will bid beat
thee and cast thee into prison till thou die! Had I foreknown
that thou wast of them, I had not suffered thee to approach me,
but had spat in thy face, for that thou art filthier[FN#268] than
a dog or a hog." Then he gave him a push and casting him down
from his stead, commanded him to divorce; but he said, "Be
clement to me, O Effendi, for that God is clement, and hasten
not. I will not divorce my wife, though thou give me the kingdom
of Irak."

The Cadi was perplexed and knew that constraint was not permitted
of the law;[FN#269] so he spoke the young merchant fair and said
to him, "Protect me,[FN#270] so may God protect thee. If thou
divorce her not, this disgrace will cleave to me till the end of
time." Then his rage got the better of him and he said to him,
"An thou divorce her not with a good grace, I will bid strike off
thy head forthright and slay myself; rather flame[FN#271] than
shame." The merchant bethought himself awhile, then divorced her
with a manifest divorcement[FN#272] and on this wise he delivered
himself from that vexation. Then he returned to his shop and
sought in marriage of her father her who had played him the trick
aforesaid and who was the daughter of the chief of the guild of
the blacksmiths. So he took her to wife and they abode with each
other and lived the most solaceful of lives, in all prosperity
and contentment and joyance, till the day of death; and God
[alone] is All-Knowing.



End of vol. II.



                Tales from the Arabic, Volume 2
                            Endnotes



[FN#1]  A town of Khoiassan.

[FN#2]  i.e., he dared not attempt to force her?

[FN#3]  i.e. her "yes" meant "yes" and her "no" "no."

[FN#4]  Lit. ignorance.

[FN#5]  Lit. spoke against her due.

[FN#6]  i.e. a domed monument.

[FN#7]  Lit "ignorance," often used in the sense of
"forwardness."

[FN#8]  i.e. my present plight.

[FN#9]  i.e. ten thousand dinars.

[FN#10] A similar story to this, though differing considerably in
detail, will be found in my "Book of the Thousand Nights and One
Night," Vol. V. p. 9, The Jewish Cadi and his pions wife.

[FN#11] Or divineress (kahinek).

[FN#12] i.e. whoredom.

[FN#13] Or "scar" (ather).

[FN#14] ie. hearken to.

[FN#15] i.e. Persia.

[FN#16] i.e. the case with which he earned his living.

[FN#17] i.e. the ten thousand dirhems of the bond.

[FN#18] i.e. exhorted her to patience.

[FN#19] Or performing surgical operations (ilaj).

[FN#20] i.e. the open space before his house.

[FN#21] Or "drew near unto."

[FN#22] i.e. a descendant of Mohammed.

[FN#23] Or the art of judging from external appearances
(firaseh).

[FN#24] Sic in the text; but the passage is apparently corrupt.
It is not plain why a rosy complexion, blue eyes and tallness
should be peculiar to women in love. Arab women being commonly
short, swarthy and black eyed, the attributes mentioned appear
rather to denote the foreign origin of the woman; and it is
probable, therefore, that this passage has by a copyist's error,
been mixed up with that which related to the signs by which the
mock physician recognized her strangehood, the clause specifying
the symptoms of her love lorn condition having been crowded out
in the process, an accident of no infrequent occurrence in the
transcription of Oriental works.

[FN#25] Yellow was the colour prescribed for the wearing of Jews
by the Muslim lawm in accordance with the decree issued by Khalif
Omar ben el Khettab after the taking of Jerusalem in A.D. 636.

[FN#26] i.e. Sunday.

[FN#27] Herais, a species of "risotto," made of pounded wheat or
rice and meat in shreds.

[FN#28] Lit. "That have passed the night," i.e. are stale and
therefore indigestable.

[FN#29] i.e. Saturday.

[FN#30] i.e. native of Merv.

[FN#31] Or "ruined," lit. "destroyed."

[FN#32] i.e. native of Rei, a city of Khorassia.

[FN#33] The text has khenadic, ditches or valleys; but this is,
in all probability, a clerical or typographical error for
fenadic, inns or caravanserais.

[FN#34] It is a paramount duty of the Muslim to provide his dead
brother in the faith with decent interment; it is, therefore, a
common practice for the family of a poor Arab to solicit
contributions toward the expenses of his burial, nor is the
well-to-do true believer safe from imposition of the kind
described in the text.

[FN#35] i.e. the recompense in the world to come promised to the
performer of a charitable action.

[FN#36] i.e. camphor and lote-tree leaves dried and powdered
(sometimes mixed with rose-water) which are strewn over the dead
body, before it is wrapped in the shroud. In the case of a man of
wealth, more costly perfumes (such as musk, aloes and ambergris)
are used.

[FN#37] All the ablutions prescribed by the Mohammedan ritual are
avoided by the occurrence, during the process, of any cause of
ceremonial impurity (such as the mentioned in the text) and must
be recommenced.

[FN#38] Having handled a corpse, he had become in a state of
legal impurity and it beloved him therefore to make the
prescribed ablution.

[FN#39] Which he had taken off for the purpose of making
abulution. This was reversing the ordinary course of affairs, the
dead man's clothes being the washer's prequisite.

[FN#40] i.e. till it was diminished by evaporation to two-thirds
of its original volume.

[FN#41] The Mohammedan grave is a cell, hollowed out in the sides
of a trench and so constructed as to keep out the earth, that the
deceased may be able to sit up and answer the examining angels
when they visit him in the tomb. There was, therefore, nothing
improbable in Er Razi's boast that he could abide two days in the
tomb.

[FN#42] Nawous, a sort of overground well or turricle of masonry,
surmounted by an iron grating, on which the Gueber's body is
placed for devoration by the birds.

[FN#43] Munkir [Munker] and Nakir [Nekir] are the two angels that
preside at 'the examination of the tomb.' They visit a man in his
grave directly after he has been buried and examine him
concerning his faith; if he acknowledge that there is but one God
and that Mohammed is His prophet [apostle], they suffer him to
rest in peace; otherwise they beat him with [red-hot] iron maces,
till he roars so loud[ly] that he is heard by all from east to
west, except by man and Ginns [Jinn]."--Palmer's Koran,
Introduction.

[FN#44] Lit. the oven (tennour); but this is obviously a mistake
for "tombs" (cubour).

[FN#45] i.e. as a propitiatory offering on behalf of.

[FN#46] i.e. though he remain at thy charge or (as we should say)
on thy hands.

[FN#47] About twenty-five shillings.

[FN#48] About £137 10s.

[FN#49] Meaning the sharper.

[FN#50] i.e. he asketh nought but that which is reasonable.

[FN#51] The strict Muslim is averse from taking an oath, even in
support at the truth, and will sometimes submit to a heavy loss
rather than do so. For an instance of this, see my "Book of the
Thousand Nights and One Night," Vol. V. p. 44, The King of the
Island.

[FN#52] To wit, the merchant and his officious friend.

[FN#53] There appears to be some mistake here, but I have no
means of rectifying it. The passage is probably hopelessly
corrupt and a portion of the conclusion of the story seems to
have dropped out.

[FN#54] i.e. well-guarded, confined in the harem.

[FN#55] i.e. an old woman to crafty that she was a calamity to
those against whom she plotted.

[FN#56] i.e. the amount of the contingent dowry and of the
allowance which he was bound to make her for her support during
the four months and some days which must elapse before she could
lawfully marry again.

[FN#57] i.e. thou wilt have satisfied us all.

[FN#58] With the smoke of burning aloes-wood or other perfume, a
common practice among the Arabs. The aloes-wood is placed upon
burning charcoal in a censer perforated with holes, which is
swung towards the person to be fumigated, whose clothes and hair
are thus impregnated with the grateful fragrance of the burning
wood. An accident such as that mentioned in the text might easily
happen during the process of fumigation.

[FN#59] i.e. by God. The old woman is keeping up her assumption
of the character of a devotee by canting about Divine direction.

[FN#60] This is the same story as "The House with the Belvedere."
See my "Book of the Thousand Nights and one Night," Vol. V. p.
323.

[FN#61] See note, Vol. I. p. 212. Also my "Book of the Thousand
Nights and One Night," Vol. V. p. 263, The King and his Vizier's
wife.

[FN#62] Or experienced.

[FN#63] i.e. the inhabitants of the island and the sailors?

[FN#64] i.e. postponed the fulfilment of his promise.

[FN#65] Sic; but apparently a state-prison or place of
confinement for notable offenders is meant.

[FN#66] Or "getting hold of."

[FN#67] Lit. "betrothed."

[FN#68] Or "in."

[FN#69] i.e. if his appearance be such as to belie the
possibility of his being a thief.

[FN#70] i.e. people of power and worship.

[FN#71] i.e. of wine.

[FN#72] i.e. all his former afflictions or (perhaps) all His
commandments.

[FN#73] i.e. a more venial sin.

[FN#74] i.e. I have a proposal to make thee.

[FN#75] i.e. he was brought up in my house.

[FN#76] i.e. prayed for him by name, as the reigning sovereign,
in the Khutbeh, a sort of homily made up of acts of prayer and
praise and of exhortations to the congregation, which forms part
of the Friday prayers. The mention of a newly-appointed
sovereign's name in the Khutbeh is equivalent with the Muslims to
a solemn proclamation of his accession.

[FN#77] i.e. deprive him of his rank.

[FN#78] Or perverted belief, i.e. an infidel.

[FN#79] i.e. not God.

[FN#80] Or corrupt belief, i.e. that the destinies of mankind
were governed by the planets and not by God alone.

[FN#81] i.e. "him who is to me even as mine own soul," to wit,
the king.

[FN#82] The whole of this story (which is apparently intended as
an example of the flowery style (el bediya) of Arab prose) is
terribly corrupt and obscure, and in the absence of a parallel
version, with which to collate it, it is impossible to be sure
that the exact sense has been rendered.

[FN#83] Breslau Text, vol xi. pp. 321-99, Nights dccccxxx-xl.

[FN#84] i.e. the first or Beherite dynasty of the Mameluke
Sultans, the founder of which was originally a Turkish (i.e.
Turcoman) slave.

[FN#85] Fourth Sultan of the above dynasty.

[FN#86] i.e. Palestine (Es Sahil) so styled by the Arabs.

[FN#87] Lit. his nightly entertainers, i.e. those whose place it
was to entertain him by night with the relation of stories and
anecdotes and the recitation of verses, etc.

[FN#88] i.e. the perfect of police.

[FN#89] About fifty shillings.

[FN#90] i.e. those of the visible and invisible worlds.

[FN#91] i.e. of the Sultan's officers of the household. The
Sultan's palace and the lodgings of his chief officers were
situate, according to Eastern custom, in the citadel or central
fortress of the city.

[FN#92] Lit. [self-]possession (temkin).

[FN#93] God forbid!

[FN#94] Or strong place.

[FN#95] i.e. lest ill-hap betide her and you be held responsible
for her.

[FN#96] Which was in his custody in his ex-officio capacity of
guardian, orphans in Muslim countries being, by operation of law,
wards of the Cadi of their district.

[FN#97] Altogether six thousand dinars or about £3000.

[FN#98] i.e. except thou give me immediate satisfaction, I will
complain of thee to the Sultan.

[FN#99] i.e. forgetting all that is enjoined upon the
true-believer by the Institutes of the Prophet (Sunneh) and the
Canons (Fers) of the Divine Law, as deduced from the Koran.

[FN#100] Lit. red i.e. violent or bloody) death.

[FN#101] Lit. the conquered one.

[FN#102] i.e. my view of the matter differs from that of the
Cadi, but I cannot expect a hearing against a personage of his
rank.

[FN#103] And therefore freshly shed.

[FN#104] For redness.

[FN#105] Or parties.

[FN#106] Lit. quench that fire from him.

[FN#107] Of Cairo or (quære) the two Egyptian provinces known as
Es Sherkiyeh (The Eastward) and El Gherbiyeh (The Westward).

[FN#108] i.e, he was a man of ready wit and presence of mind.

[FN#109] Or (in modern slang) "There are good pickings to be had
out of this job."

[FN#110] Lit "the douceur of the key," i.e. the gratuity which it
is customary to give to the porter or portress on hiring a house
or lodging. Cf. the French denier à Dieu, Old English "God's
penny."

[FN#111] i.e. made the complete ablution prescribed by the Muslim
law after copulation.

[FN#112] i.e. the round opening made in the ceiling for
ventilation.

[FN#113] i.e. he who sits on the bench outside the police-office,
to attend to emergencies.

[FN#114] Lit. witnesses, i.e. those who are qualified by their
general respectability and the blamelessness of their lives, to
give evidence in the Mohamedan courts of law.

[FN#115] Sic.

[FN#116] About 50 pounds.

[FN#117] Or guardian.

[FN#118] Syn. book (kitab).

[FN#119] Or made it a legal deed.

[FN#120] Lit. assessors.

[FN#121] This sentence is almost unintelligible, owing to the
corruptness and obscurity of the text; but the sense appears to
be as above.

[FN#122] Apparently supposing the draper to have lost it and
purposing to require a heavy indemnity for its loss.

[FN#123] Apparently, a cant phrase for "thieve."

[FN#124] or disapprove of.

[FN#125] This passage is unintelligible; the text is here again,
to all appearance, corrupt.

[FN#126] i.e. women's tricks?

[FN#127] Muslim formula of invitation.

[FN#128] i.e. the singers?

[FN#129] i.e. easily.

[FN#130] Or made a show of renouncing.

[FN#131] i.e. strong men (or athletes) armed.

[FN#132] Fityan, Arab cant name for thieves.

[FN#133] Apparently in a pavillion in some garden or orchard, the
usual pleasure of the Arabs.

[FN#134] i.e. engaged her to attend an entertainment and paid her
her hire in advance.

[FN#135] Lit. a [she-]partner, i.e. one who should relieve her,
when she was weary of singing, and accompany her voice on the
lute.

[FN#136] i.e. they grew ever more heated with drink.

[FN#137] Helfeh or helfaa (vulg. Alfa), a kind of coarse, rushy
grass (Pos. multiflora), used in the East as fuel.

[FN#138] Lit. "we repented to God, etc, of singing." The practice
of music, vocal and instrumental, is deprecated by the strict
Muslim, in accordance with a tradition by which the Prophet is
said to have expressed his disapproval of these arts.

[FN#139] i.e. required to find the thief or make good the loss.

[FN#140] i.e. the parties aggrieved.

[FN#141] Or irrigation-work, usually a bucket-wheel, worked by
oxen.

[FN#142] Or "came true."

[FN#143] i.e. crucify.

[FN#144] i.e. a native of the Hauran, a district East of
Damascus.

[FN#145] i.e. the mysterious speaker.

[FN#146] i.e. in the punishment that overtook me.

[FN#147] The well-known Arab formula of refusal to a beggar,
equivalent to the Spanish "Perdoneme por amor de Dios, hermano!"

[FN#148] i.e. what I could afford.

[FN#149] i.e. that of the officers of police.

[FN#150] A common Oriental game, something like a rude out-door
form of back-gammon, in which the players who throw certain
numbers are dubbed Sultan and Vizier.

[FN#151] Lit. milk (leben), possibly a copyist's error for jubn
(cheese).

[FN#152] i.e. his forbearance in relinquishing his blood-revenge
for his brother.

[FN#153] In the text, by an evident error, Shehriyar is here made
to ask Shehrzad for another story and she to tell it him.

[FN#154] Nesiheh.

[FN#155] i.e. the mysterious speaker?

[FN#156] Apparently some famous saint. The El Hajjaj whose name
is familiar to readers of the Thomsand and One Night (see supra,
Vol. I. p. 53, note 2) was anything but a saint, if we may
believe the popular report of him.

[FN#157] Breslan Text, vol. xi. pp. 400-473 and vol. xii. pp.
4-50, Nights dccccvli-dcccclvii.

[FN#158] The usual meaning of the Arab word anber (pronounced
amber) a ambergris, i.e. the morbid secretion of the sperm-whale;
but the context appears to point to amber, i.e. the fossil resin
used for necklaces, etc.; unless, indeed, the allusion of the
second hemistich is to ambergris, as worn, for the sake of the
perfume, in amulets or pomanders (Fr. pomme d'ambre) slung about
the neck.

[FN#159] i.e. galena or sulphuret of lead, of which, reduced to
powder, alone or in combination with other ingredients, the
well-known cosmetic or eye-powder called kohl consists.

[FN#160] See supra, Vol. 1. p. 50, note 2.

[FN#161] Or "accomplishments" (adab).

[FN#162] Title of the Khalif.

[FN#163] i.e. Isaac of Mosul, the greatest of Arab musicians.

[FN#164] Elder brother of Jaafer; see my "Book of the Thousand
Nights and One Night," Vol. IX. p. 342 et seq.

[FN#165] Yonnus ibn Hebib, a renowned grammarian and philologer
of the day, who taught at Bassora and whose company was much
sought after by distinguished men of letters and others. He was a
friend of Isaac of Mosul.

[FN#166] Apparently a suburb of Baghdad.

[FN#167] i.e. the principal street of Et Taf.

[FN#168] Or "elegant."

[FN#169] See supra, Vol. I. p. 236, note 1.

[FN#170] ?

[FN#171] A passage has apparently dropped out here. The Khalif
seems to have gone away without buying, leaving Ishac behind,
whereupon the latter was accosted by another slave-girl, who came
out of a cell in the corridor.

[FN#172] Or "have withheld myself."

[FN#173] For not selling me?

[FN#174] i.e. Tuhfeh the fool. Hemca is the feminine form of
ahmec, fool. If by a change in the (unwritten) vowels, we read
Humeca, which is the plural form of ahmec, the title will
signify, "Gift (Tuhfeh) of fools" and would thus represent a
jesting alteration of the girl's real name (Tuhfet el Culoub,
Gift of hearts), in allusion to her (from the slave-merchant's
point of view) foolish and vexatious behaviour in refusing to be
sold to the first comer, as set out below.

[FN#175] Or "folly" (hemakeh).

[FN#176] i.e. not every one is lucky enough to be in Ishac's
house.

[FN#177] Apparently some part of Baghdad adjoining the Tigris.
Khanekah means "a convent of dervishes."

[FN#178] Lit. stronger (acwa).

[FN#179] The gist of this curious comparison is not very
apparent. Perhaps "blander" is meant.

[FN#180] About 10s.

[FN#181] About a penny; i.e. I have found all my skill in the
craft but a trifle in comparison with thine.

[FN#182] i.e. thou art what he wants.

[FN#183] i.e. the dews of her mouth, commonly compared by
Oriental writers to wine and honey.

[FN#184] i.e. he died.

[FN#185] i.e. if my hand were out for want of practice.

[FN#186] i.e. a gift or rarity.

[FN#187] Or "rarity" (tuhfeh)

[FN#188] i.e. thou didst her not justice.

[FN#189] i.e. that set apart for the chief of the concubines.

[FN#190] i.e. from the opening made in the ceiling for
ventilation. Or the saloon in which she sat may have been open to
the sky, as is not uncommon in the East.

[FN#191] Zubeideh was the daughter of Jaafer, son of El Mensour,
second Khalif of the house of Abbas, and was therefore Er
Reshid's first cousin. It does not appear why she is called
daughter (bint) of El Casim.

[FN#192] Lit. "of those noble steps."

[FN#193] So styled by the Muslums, because Abraham is fabled by
them to have driven him away with stones, when he strove to
prevent him from sacrificing Ishmael, whom they substitute for
Isaac as the intended victim.

[FN#194] i.e. Gift of Breasts. The word "breasts" here is, of
course, used (metonymically) for "hearts."

[FN#195] i.e. "He (lit. father) of the hosts of tribes."

[FN#196] See post, passim.

[FN#197] Lit. witnesses (shawahid).

[FN#198] Lit. seas (behar).

[FN#199] Afterwards called Zelzeleh; see post, p. 245 et seq.

[FN#200] i.e. I cannot look long on them.

[FN#201] i.e. change the sir to one less poignant? Or (perhaps)
"lower thy voice."

[FN#202] i.e. from time immemorial, before the creation of the
world. The most minute details of every man's life in the world
are believed by the Mohammedans to have been fore-ordained by God
from all eternity. This belief is summed up in the Koranic
saying, "Verily, the commandment of God is a prevenient decree."

[FN#203] No mention is afterward made of any wedding, and the
word is, therefore, probably used here in its implied sense of
"festival," "merry-making." I am not, however acquainted with any
instance of this use of the word urs.

[FN#204] Or "peewit."

[FN#205] i.e. those that led the water to the roots of the trees,
after the manner of Eastern gardeners.

[FN#206] One of the seven "Gardens" or stages for the Mohammedan
heaven.

[FN#207] "God is Most Great!" So called because its
pronunciation, after that of the niyeh or intent (i.e. "I purpose
to pray such and such prayers"), prohibits the speaking of any
words previous to prayer.

[FN#208] i.e. those of the five daily prayers (due at daybreak,
noon, mid-afternoon, sundown, and nightfall respectively) which
she had been prevented from praying on the previous evening,
through having passed it in carousing with the Jinn. It is
incumbent on the strict Muslim to make up his arrears of prayer
in this manner.

[FN#209] Lit. skill in physiognomy (firaseh).

[FN#210] i.e. the owner of this palace.

[FN#211] The Mohammedan rite of ablution, previous to prayer, is
a very elaborate and complicated process, somewhat "scamped" by
the ordinary "true-believer." See my "Book of the Thousand Nights
and One Night," Vol. IV. pp. 332-4.

[FN#212] i.e. the prayers of nightfall, in addition to those of
daybreak.

[FN#213] i.e. those of noon, mid-afternoon and sundown.

[FN#214] Containing the dessert.

[FN#215] i.e. Mohammed, who was passionately fond of flowers and
especially of the rose, which is fabled to have blossomed from
his sweat.

[FN#216] The Arab name (julnar) of the promegranate is made up of
the Persian word for rose (gul) and the Arabic fire (nar).

[FN#217] i.e. Chapters cxiii. and cxiv. of the Koran,
respectively known as the Chapter of the [Lord of the] Daybreak
and the Chapter of [The Lord of] Men. These chapters, which it is
the habit of the Muslim to recite as a talisman or preventive
against evil, are the last and shortest in the book and run as
follows. Chapter cxiii.--"In the name of the Compassionate, the
Merciful! Say [quoth Gabriel] 'I take refuge with the Lord of the
Daybreak from the evil of that which He hath created and from the
evil of the beginning of the night, whenas it invadeth [the
world], and from the mischief of the women who blow on knots
(i.e. witches) and from the mischief of the envier, whenas he
envieth.'" Chapter cxiv.--"In the name of God the Compassionate,
the Merciful! Say [quoth Gabriel] 'I take refuge with the Lord of
Men, the King of Men, the God of Men, from the mischief of the
stealthy Tempter (i.e. the devil) who whispereth (i.e.
insinuateth evil) into the breasts (hearts) of mankind, from Jinn
and men!'" These two chapters are often written on parchment etc.
and worn as an amulet about the person--hence their name.

[FN#218] Hieratic title of the Khalif, as foreman (imam) of the
people at prayer.

[FN#219] i.e. the Jinn that dwell therein. Each house, according
to Muslim belief, has its haunter or domestic spirit.

[FN#220] i.e. yearning.

[FN#221] i.e. her return.

[FN#222] See ante, p. 229, note 2.

[FN#223] "As for him who is of those brought near unto God, [for
him shall be] easance and sweet basil (syn. victual, rihan), and
a garden of pleasance."--Koran lvi. 87-8. It will be observed
that this verse is somewhat garbled in the quotation.

[FN#224] Meaning apparently, "None of the Jinn may tread these
carpets, etc., that thou treadest."

[FN#225] i.e. to hold festival.

[FN#226] This passage may also be rendered, "And in this I do
thee a great favour [and honour thee] over all the Jinn."

[FN#227] Lit. "How loathly is that which yonder genie Meimoun
eateth!" But this is evidently a mistake. See ante, p. 226.

[FN#228] Lit. "I have not an eye that availeth to look upon him."

[FN#229] i.e. "May I not lack of thy visits!"

[FN#230] i.e. "As much again as all thou hast given."

[FN#231] The attainment by a boy of the proper age for
circumcision, or (so to speak) his religious majority, in a
subject for great rejoicing with the Mohammedans, and the
occasion is celebrated by the giving of as splendid an
entertainment as the means of his family will afford, during
which he is displayed to view upon a throne or raised seat,
arrayed in the richest and ornaments that can be found, hired or
borrowed for the purpose.

[FN#232] Tuhfeh.

[FN#233] Lit. "be equitable therewith unto;" but the meaning
appears to be as above.

[FN#234] Lit. "places" (mawazi). Quaere "shifts" or "positions."

[FN#235] See my "Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night," Vol.
VI. p. 226, Isaac of Mosul and his Mistress and the Devil.

[FN#236] i.e. method of playing the lute.

[FN#237] i.e. not indigenous?

[FN#238] Apparently the residence of King Es Shisban.

[FN#239] i.e. all the Jinn's professions of affection to me and
promises of protection, etc.

[FN#240] i.e. one so crafty that he was a calamity to his
enemies, a common Arab phrase used in a complimentary sense.

[FN#241] i.e. the Flying Lion.

[FN#242] i.e. How canst thou feel assured of safety, after that
which thou hast done?

[FN#243] Or "life" (ruh).

[FN#244] Quaere the mountain Cat.

[FN#245] i.e. why tarriest thou to make an end of her?

[FN#246] i.e. arm.

[FN#247] i.e. for length.

[FN#248] A fabulous mountain-range, believed by the Arabs to
encompass the world and by which they are supposed to mean the
Caucasus.

[FN#249] The Anca, phoenix or griffin, is a fabulous bird that
figures largely in Persian romance. It is fabled to have dwelt in
the Mountain Caf and to have once carried off a king's daughter
on her wedding-day. It is to this legend that the story-teller
appears to refer in the text; but I am not aware that the
princess in question is represented to have been the daughter of
Behram Gour, the well-known King of Persia, who reigned in the
first half of the fifth century and was a contemporary of the
Emperors Theodosius the Younger and Honorius.

[FN#250] One of the names of God.

[FN#251] i.e. thy return.

[FN#252] Gift of the Breast (heart).

[FN#253] Binat el hawa, lit. daughters of love. This is the
ordinary meaning of the phrase; but the girl in question appears
to have been of good repute and the expression, as applied to
her, is probably, therefore, only intended to signify a
sprightly, frolicsome damsel.

[FN#254] Lit. the forehead, quare the lintel.

[FN#255] Or "put to nought"

[FN#256] Comparing her body, now hidden in her flowing stresses
and now showing through them, to a sword, as it flashes in and
out of its sheath.

[FN#257] About £25.

[FN#258] About £75.

[FN#259] i.e. all defects for which a man is by law entitled to
return a slave-girl to her seller.

[FN#260] Ed Dilem is the ancient Media. The allusion to its
prison or prisons I do not understand.

[FN#261] i.e. the complete ablution prescribed by the Mohammedan
law after sexual intercourse.

[FN#262] It is customary for a newly-married man to entertain his
male acquaintances with a collation on the morning after the
wedding.

[FN#263] Lit. more striking and cutting.

[FN#264] Sherifi, a small gold coin, worth about 6s. 8d.

[FN#265] Or "false pretences."

[FN#266] Or, as we should say, "the apple."

[FN#267] Apparently the Cadi was our claimed to be a seyyid i.e.
descendant of Mohammed, through his daughter Fatmeh.

[FN#268] Lit. more ill-omened.

[FN#269] i.e. that the law would not allow him to compel the
young merchant to divorce his wife.

[FN#270] i.e. veil in honour.

[FN#271] Lit the fire, i.e. hell.

[FN#272] i.e. by an irrevocable divorcement (telacan bainan), to
wit, such a divorcement as estops the husband from taking back
his divorced wife, except with her consent and after the
execution of a fresh contract of marriage.

Text scanned by JC Byers and proof read by the volunteers of the
Distributed Proofreaders site: http://charlz.dns2go.com/gutenberg/



                     TALES FROM THE ARABIC

       Of the Breslau and Calcutta (1814-18) editions of

         The Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night

     not occurring in the other printed texts of the work,

                  Now first done into English

                         By John Payne

                       In Three Volumes:



                       VOLUME THE THIRD.



                              1901

                         Delhi Edition


                 Contents of The Third Volume.



                         Breslau Text.

16.  Noureddin Ali of Damascus and the Damsel Sitt El Milah
17.  El Abbas and the King's Daughter of Baghdad
18.  The Two Kings and the Vizier's Daughters
19.  The Favourite and Her Lover
20.  The Merchant of Cairo and the Favourite of the Khalif El
     Mamoun El Hakim Bi Amrillah
     Conclusion



                    Calcutta (1814-18) Text.



21.  Story of Sindbad the Sailor and Hindbad the Porter
     a.   The Sixth Voyage of Sindbad the Sailor
     b.   The Seventh Voyage of Sindbad the Sailor
Note
Table of Contents of the Calcutta (1839-42) and Boulac Editions
Table of Contents of the Breslau Edition
Table of Contents of the Calcutta Edition
Alphabetical Table of the First Lines of the Verse in the "Tales
from the Arabic"
Index to the Names of the "Tales from the Arabic"



                         Breslau Text.



               NOUREDDIN ALI OF DAMASCUS AND THE
                  DAMSEL SITT EL MILAH.[FN#1]



There was once, of old days and in bygone ages and times, a
merchant of the merchants of Damascus, by name Aboulhusn, who had
money and riches and slaves and slave-girls and lands and houses
and baths; but he was not blessed with a child and indeed his
years waxed great; wherefore he addressed himself to supplicate
God the Most High in private and in public and in his inclining
and his prostration and at the season of the call to prayer,
beseeching Him to vouchsafe him, before his admittance [to His
mercy], a son who should inherit his wealth and possessions; and
God answered his prayer. So his wife conceived and the days of
her pregnancy were accomplished and her months and her nights and
the pangs of her travail came upon her and she gave birth to a
male child, as he were a piece of the moon. He had not his match
for beauty and he put to shame the sun and the resplendent moon;
for he had a shining face and black eyes of Babylonian
witchery[FN#2] and aquiline nose and ruby lips; brief, he was
perfect of attributes, the loveliest of the folk of his time,
without doubt or gainsaying.

His father rejoiced in him with the utmost joy and his heart was
solaced and he was glad; and he made banquets to the folk and
clad the poor and the widows. He named the boy Sidi[FN#3]
Noureddin Ali and reared him in fondness and delight among the
slaves and servants. When he came to seven years of age, his
father put him to school, where he learned the sublime Koran and
the arts of writing and reckoning: and when he reached his tenth
year, he learned horsemanship and archery and to occupy himself
with arts and sciences of all kinds, part and parts.[FN#4] He
grew up pleasant and subtle and goodly and lovesome, ravishing
all who beheld him, and inclined to companying with brethren and
comrades and mixing with merchants and travellers. From these
latter he heard tell of that which they had seen of the marvels
of the cities in their travels and heard them say, "He who
leaveth not his native land diverteth not himself [with the sight
of the marvels of the world,] and especially of the city of
Baghdad."

So he was concerned with an exceeding concern for his lack of
travel and discovered this to his father, who said to him, "O my
son, why do I see thee chagrined?" And he answered, "I would fain
travel." Quoth Aboulhusn, "O my son, none travelleth save those
whose occasion is urgent and those who are compelled thereunto
[by need]. As for thee, O my son, thou enjoyest ample fortune; so
do thou content thyself with that which God hath given thee and
be bounteous [unto others], even as He hath been bounteous unto
thee; and afflict not thyself with the toil and hardship of
travel, for indeed it is said that travel is a piece of
torment."[FN#5] But the youth said, "Needs must I travel to
Baghdad, the abode of peace."

When his father saw the strength of his determination to travel,
he fell in with his wishes and equipped him with five thousand
dinars in cash and the like in merchandise and sent with him two
serving-men. So the youth set out, trusting in the blessing of
God the Most High, and his father went out with him, to take
leave of him, and returned [to Damascus]. As for Noureddin Ali,
he gave not over travelling days and nights till he entered the
city of Baghdad and laying up his loads in the caravanserai, made
for the bath, where he did away that which was upon him of the
dirt of the road and putting off his travelling clothes, donned a
costly suit of Yemen stuff, worth an hundred dinars. Then he put
in his sleeve[FN#6] a thousand mithcals[FN#7] of gold and sallied
forth a-walking and swaying gracefully as he went. His gait
confounded all those who beheld him, as he shamed the branches
with his shape and belittled the rose with the redness of his
cheeks and his black eyes of Babylonian witchcraft; indeed, thou
wouldst deem that whoso looked on him would surely be preserved
from calamity; [for he was] even as saith of him one of his
describers in the following verses:

Thy haters say and those who malice to thee bear A true word,
     profiting its hearers everywhere;
"The glory's not in those whom raiment rich makes fair, But those
     who still adorn the raiment that they wear."

So he went walking in the thoroughfares of the city and viewing
its ordinance and its markets and thoroughfares and gazing on its
folk. Presently, Abou Nuwas met him. (Now he was of those of whom
it is said, "They love the fair,"[FN#8] and indeed there is said
what is said concerning him.[FN#9] When he saw Noureddin Ali, he
stared at him in amazement and exclaimed, "Say, I take refuge
with the Lord of the Daybreak!"[FN#10] Then he accosted the young
Damascene and saluting him, said to him, "Why do I see my lord
alone and forlorn? Meseemeth thou art a stranger and knowest not
this country; so, with my lord's permission, I will put myself at
his service and acquaint him with the streets, for that I know
this city." Quoth Noureddin, "This will be of thy favour, O
uncle." Whereat Abou Nuwas rejoiced and fared on with him,
showing him the markets and thoroughfares, till they came to the
house of a slave-dealer, where he stopped and said to the youth,
"From what city art thou?" "From Damascus," answered Noureddin;
and Abou Nuwas said, "By Allah, thou art from a blessed city,
even as saith of it the poet in the following verses:

Damascus is all gardens decked for the pleasance of the eyes; For
     the seeker there are black-eyed girls and boys of Paradise."

Noureddin thanked him and they entered the slave-merchant's
house. When the people of the house saw Abou Nuwas, they rose to
do him worship, for that which they knew of his station with the
Commander of the Faithful. Moreover, the slave-dealer himself
came up to them with two chairs, and they seated themselves
thereon. Then the slave-merchant went into the house and
returning with the slave-girl, as she were a willow-wand or a
bamboo-cane, clad in a vest of damask silk and tired with a black
and white turban, the ends whereof fell down over her face,
seated her on a chair of ebony; after which quoth he to those who
were present, "I will discover to you a face as it were a full
moon breaking forth from under a cloud." And they said, "Do so."
So he unveiled the damsel's face and behold, she was like the
shining sun, with comely shape and day-bright face and slender
[waist and heavy] hips; brief, she was endowed with elegance, the
description whereof existeth not, [and was] even as saith of her
the poet:

A fair one, to idolaters if she herself should show, They'd leave
     their idols and her face for only Lord would know;
And if into the briny sea one day she chanced to spit, Assuredly
     the salt sea's floods straight fresh and sweet would grow.

The dealer stood at her head and one of the merchants said, "I
bid a thousand dinars for her." Quoth another, "I bid eleven
hundred dinars;" [and a third, "I bid twelve hundred"]. Then said
a fourth merchant, "Be she mine for fourteen hundred dinars." And
the biddings stood still at that sum. Quoth her owner, "I will
not sell her save with her consent. If she desire to be sold, I
will sell her to whom she willeth." And the slave-dealer said to
him, "What is her name?" "Her name is Sitt el Milah,"[FN#11]
answered the other; whereupon the dealer said to her, "By thy
leave, I will sell thee to yonder merchant for this price of
fourteen hundred dinars." Quoth she, "Come hither to me." So he
came up to her and when he drew near, she gave him a kick with
her foot and cast him to the ground, saying, "I will not have
that old man." The slave-dealer arose, shaking the dust from his
clothes and head, and said, "Who biddeth more? Who is desirous
[of buying?]" Quoth one of the merchants, "I," and the dealer
said to her, "O Sitt el Milah, shall I sell thee to this
merchant?" "Come hither to me," answered she; but he said "Nay;
speak and I will hearken to thee from my place, for I will not
trust myself to thee," And she said, "I will not have him."

Then he looked at her and seeing her eyes fixed on the young
Damascene, for that in very deed he had ravished her with his
beauty and grace, went up to the latter and said to him, "O my
lord, art thou a looker-on or a buyer? Tell me." Quoth Noureddin,
"I am both looker-on and buyer. Wilt thou sell me yonder
slave-girl for sixteen hundred dinars?" And he pulled out the
purse of gold. So the dealer returned, dancing and clapping his
hands and saying, "So be it, so be it, or not [at all]!" Then he
came to the damsel and said to her, "O Sitt el Milah, shall I
sell thee to yonder young Damascene for sixteen hundred dinars?"
But she answered, "No," of shamefastness before her master and
the bystanders; whereupon the people of the bazaar and the
slave-merchant departed, and Abou Nuwas and Ali Noureddin arose
and went each his own way, whilst the damsel returned to her
master's house, full of love for the young Damascene.

When the night darkened on her, she called him to mind and her
heart clave to him and sleep visited her not; and on this wise
she abode days and nights, till she sickened and abstained from
food. So her lord went in to her and said to her, "O Sitt el
Milah, how findest thou thyself?" "O my lord," answered she, "I
am dead without recourse and I beseech thee to bring me my
shroud, so I may look on it before my death." Therewithal he went
out from her, sore concerned for her, and betook himself to a
friend of his, a draper, who had been present on the day when the
damsel was cried [for sale]. Quoth his friend to him, "Why do I
see thee troubled?" And he answered, "Sitt el Milah is at the
point of death and these three days she hath neither eaten nor
drunken. I questioned her to-day of her case and she said, 'O my
lord, buy me a shroud, so I may look on it before my death.'"
Quoth the draper, "Methinks nought ails her but that she is
enamoured of the young Damascene and I counsel thee to mention
his name to her and avouch to her that he hath foregathered with
thee on her account and is desirous of coming to thy house, so he
may hear somewhat of her singing. If she say, 'I reck not of him,
for there is that to do with me which distracteth me from the
Damascene and from other than he,' know that she saith sooth
concerning her sickness; but, if she say to thee other than this,
acquaint me therewith.'"

So the man returned to his lodging and going in to his
slave-girl, said to her, "O Sitt el Milah, I went out on thine
occasion and there met me the young man of Damascus, and he
saluted me and saluteth thee. Indeed, he seeketh to win thy
favour and would fain be a guest in our dwelling, so thou mayst
let him hear somewhat of thy singing." When she heard speak of
the young Damascene, she gave a sob, that her soul was like to
depart her body, and answered, saying, "He knoweth my plight and
is ware that these three days past I have eaten not nor drunken,
and I beseech thee, O my lord, by the Great God, to accomplish
the stranger his due and bring him to my lodging and make excuse
to him for me."

When her master heard this, his reason fled for joy and he went
to his friend the draper and said to him, "Thou wast right in the
matter of the damsel, for that she is enamoured of the young
Damascene; so how shall I do?" Quoth the other, "Go to the bazaar
and when thou seest him, salute him and say to him, 'Indeed, thy
departure the other day, without accomplishing thine occasion,
was grievous to me; so, if thou be still minded to buy the girl,
I will abate thee an hundred dinars of that which thou badest for
her, by way of hospitable entreatment of thee and making myself
agreeable to thee; for that thou art a stranger in our land.' If
he say to thee, 'I have no desire for her' and hold off from
thee, know that he will not buy; in which case, let me know, so I
may contrive thee another device; and if he say to thee other
than this, conceal not from me aught.

So the girl's owner betook himself to the bazaar, where he found
the youth seated at the upper end of the merchants' place of
session, selling and buying and taking and giving, as he were the
moon on the night of its full, and saluted him. The young man
returned his salutation and he said to him, "O my lord, be not
thou vexed at the girl's speech the other day, for her price
shall be less than that [which thou badest], to the intent that I
may propitiate thy favour. If thou desire her for nought, I will
send her to thee, or if thou wouldst have me abate thee of her
price, I will well, for I desire nought but what shall content
thee; for that thou art a stranger in our land and it behoveth us
to entreat thee hospitably and have consideration for thee." "By
Allah," answered the youth, "I will not take her from thee but at
an advance on that which I bade thee for her aforetime; so wilt
thou now sell her to me for seventeen hundred dinars?" And the
other answered," O my lord, I sell her to thee, may God bless
thee in her."

So the young man went to his lodging and fetching a purse,
returned to the girl's owner and counted out to him the price
aforesaid, whilst the draper was between them. Then said he,
"Bring her forth;" but the other answered, "She cannot come forth
at this present; but be thou my guest the rest of this day and
night, and on the morrow thou shall take thy slave-girl and go in
the protection of God." The youth fell in with him of this and he
carried him to his house, where, after a little, he let bring
meat and wine, and they [ate and] drank. Then said Noureddin to
the girl's owner, "I beseech thee bring me the damsel, for that I
bought her not but for the like of this time." So he arose and
[going in to the girl], said to her, "O Sitt el Milan, the young
man hath paid down thy price and we have bidden him hither; so he
hath come to our dwelling and we have entertained him, and he
would fain have thee be present with him."

Therewithal the damsel rose briskly and putting off her clothes,
washed and donned sumptuous apparel and perfumed herself and went
out to him, as she were a willow-wand or a bamboo-cane, followed
by a black slave girl, bearing the lute. When she came to the
young man, she saluted him and sat down by his side. Then she
took the lute from the slave-girl and tuning it, smote thereon in
four-and-twenty modes, after which she returned to the first mode
and sang the following verses:

Unto me the world's whole gladness is thy nearness and thy sight;
     All incumbent thy possession and thy love a law of right.
In my tears I have a witness; when I call thee to my mind, Down
     my cheeks they run like torrents, and I cannot stay their
     flight.
None, by Allah, 'mongst all creatures, none I love save thee
     alone! Yea, for I am grown thy bondman, by the troth betwixt
     us plight.
Peace upon thee! Ah, how bitter were the severance from thee! Be
     not this thy troth-plight's ending nor the last of our
     delight!

Therewithal the young man was moved to delight and exclaimed, "By
Allah, thou sayest well, O Sitt el Milan! Let me hear more." Then
he handselled her with fifty dinars and they drank and the cups
went round among them; and her seller said to her, "O Sitt el
Milah, this is the season of leave-taking; so let us hear
somewhat on the subject." Accordingly she struck the lute and
avouching that which was in her heart, sang the following verses:

I am filled full of longing pain and memory and dole, That from
     the wasted body's wounds distract the anguished soul.
Think not, my lords, that I forget: the case is still the same.
     When such a fever fills the heart, what leach can make it
     whole?
And if a creature in his tears could swim, as in a sea, I to do
     this of all that breathe were surely first and sole.
O skinker of the wine of woe, turn from a love-sick maid, Who
     drinks her tears still, night and morn, thy bitter-flavoured
     bowl.
I had not left you, had I known that severance would prove My
     death; but what is past is past, Fate stoops to no control.


As they were thus in the enjoyment of all that in most delicious
of easance and delight, and indeed the wine was sweet to them and
the talk pleasant, behold, there came a knocking at the door. So
the master of the house went out, that he might see what was to
do, and found ten men of the Khalif's eunuchs at the door. When
he saw this, he was amazed and said to them, "What is to do?"
Quoth they, "The Commander of the Faithful saluteth thee and
requireth of thee the slave-girl whom thou hast for sale and
whose name is Sitt el Milah." By Allah," answered the other, "I
have sold her." And they said, "Swear by the head of the
Commander of the Faithful that she is not in thy dwelling." He
made oath that he had sold her and that she was no longer at his
disposal; but they paid no *need to his word and forcing their
way into the house, found the damsel and the young Damascene in
the sitting-chamber. So they laid hands upon her, and the youth
said, "This is my slave-girl, whom I have bought with my money."
But they hearkened not to his speech and taking her, carried her
off to the Commander of the Faithful.

Therewithal Noureddin's life was troubled; so he arose and donned
his clothes, and his host said, "Whither away this night, O my
lord?" Quoth Noureddin, "I mean to go to my lodging, and
to-morrow I will betake myself to the palace of the Commander of
the Faithful and demand my slave-girl." "Sleep till the morning,"
said the other, "and go not forth at the like of this hour." But
he answered, "Needs must I go;" and the host said to him, "[Go]
in the safeguard of God." So Noureddin went forth, and
drunkenness had got the mastery of him, wherefore he threw
himself down on [a bench before one of] the shops. Now the watch
were at that hour making their round and they smelt the sweet
scent [of essences] and wine that exhaled from him; so they made
for it and found the youth lying on the bench, without sense or
motion. They poured water upon him, and he awoke, whereupon they
carried him to the house of the Chief of the Police and he
questioned him of his affair. "O my lord," answered Noureddin, "I
am a stranger in this town and have been with one of my friends.
So I came forth from his house and drunkenness overcame me."

The prefect bade carry him to his lodging; but one of those in
attendance upon him, by name El Muradi, said to him, "What wilt
thou do? This man is clad in rich clothes and on his finger is a
ring of gold, the beazel whereof is a ruby of great price; so we
will carry him away and slay him and take that which is upon him
of raiment [and what not else] and bring it to thee; for that
thou wilt not [often] see profit the like thereof, more by token
that this fellow is a stranger and there is none to enquire
concerning him." Quoth the prefect, "This fellow is a thief and
that which he saith is leasing." And Noureddin said, "God forbid
that I should be a thief!" But the prefect answered, "Thou
liest." So they stripped him of his clothes and taking the ring
from his finger, beat him grievously, what while he cried out for
succour, but none succoured him, and besought protection, but
none protected him. Then said he to them, "O folk, ye are quit
of[FN#12] that which ye have taken from me; but now restore me to
my lodging." But they answered, saying, "Leave this knavery, O
cheat! Thine intent is to sue us for thy clothes on the morrow."
"By Allah, the One, the Eternal," exclaimed he, "I will not sue
any for them!" But they said, "We can nowise do this." And the
prefect bade them carry him to the Tigris and there slay him and
cast him into the river.

So they dragged him away, what while he wept and spoke the words
which whoso saith shall nowise be confounded, to wit, "There is
no power and no virtue save in God the Most High, the Sublime!"
When they came to the Tigris, one of them drew the sword upon him
and El Muradi said to the swordbearer, "Smite off his head." But
one of them, Ahmed by name, said, "O folk, deal gently with this
poor wretch and slay him not unjustly and wickedly, for I stand
in fear of God the Most High, lest He burn me with his fire."
Quoth El Muradi, "A truce to this talk!" And Ahmed said, "If ye
do with him aught, I will acquaint the Commander of the
Faithful." "How, then, shall we do with him?" asked they; and he
answered, "Let us deposit him in prison and I will be answerable
to you for his provision; so shall we be quit of his blood, for
indeed he is wrongfully used." So they took him up and casting
him into the Prison of Blood,[FN#13]went away.

Meanwhile, they carried the damsel into the Commander of the
Faithful and she pleased him; so he assigned her a lodging of the
apartments of choice. She abode in the palace, eating not neither
drinking and ceasing not from weeping night nor day, till, one
night, the Khalif sent for her to his sitting-chamber and said to
her, "O Sitt el Milah, be of good heart and cheerful eye, for I
will make thy rank higher than [any of] the concubines and thou
shall see that which shall rejoice thee." She kissed the earth
and wept; whereupon the Khalif called for her lute and bade her
sing. So she improvised and sang the following verses, in
accordance with that which was in her heart:

Say, by the lightnings of thy teeth and thy soul's pure desire,
     Moan'st thou as moan the doves and is thy heart for doubt on
     fire?
How many a victim of the pangs of love-liking hath died! Tired is
     my patience, but of blame my censors never tire.

When she had made an end of her song, she cast the lute from her
hand and wept till she swooned away, whereupon the Khalif bade
carry her to her chamber. Now he was ravished with her and loved
her with an exceeding love; so, after awhile, he again commanded
to bring her to his presence, and when she came, he bade her
sing. Accordingly, she took the lute and spoke forth that which
was in her heart and sang the following verses:

What strength have I solicitude and long desire to bear? Why art
     thou purposed to depart and leave me to despair?
Why to estrangement and despite inclin'st thou with the spy? Yet
     that a bough[FN#14] from side to side incline[FN#15] small
     wonder 'twere.
Thou layst on me a load too great to bear, and thus thou dost But
     that my burdens I may bind and so towards thee fare.

Then she cast the lute from her hand and swooned away; so she was
carried to her chamber and indeed passion waxed upon her. After a
long while, the Commander of the Faithful sent for her a third
time and bade her sing. So she took the lute and sang the
following verses:

O hills of the sands and the rugged piebald plain, Shall the
     bondman of love win ever free from pain!
I wonder, shall I and the friend who's far from me Once more be
     granted of Fate to meet, we twain!
Bravo for a fawn with a houri's eye of black, Like the sun or the
     shining moon midst the starry train!
To lovers, "What see ye?" he saith, and to hearts of stone, "What
     love ye," quoth he, "[if to love me ye disdain?"]
I supplicate Him, who parted us and doomed Our separation, that
     we may meet again.

When she had made an end of her song, the Commander of the
Faithful said to her, "O damsel, thou art in love." "Yes,"
answered she. And he said, "With whom?" Quoth she, "With my lord
and my master, my love for whom is as the love of the earth for
rain, or as the love of the female for the male; and indeed the
love of him is mingled with my flesh and my blood and hath
entered into the channels of my bones. O Commander of the
Faithful, whenas I call him to mind, mine entrails are consumed,
for that I have not accomplished my desire of him, and but that I
fear to die, without seeing him, I would assuredly kill myself."
And he said, "Art thou in my presence and bespeakest me with the
like of these words? I will assuredly make thee forget thy lord."

Then he bade take her away; so she was carried to her chamber and
he sent her a black slave-girl, with a casket, wherein were three
thousand dinars and a carcanet of gold, set with pearls, great
and small, and jewels, worth other three thousand, saying to her,
"The slave-girl and that which is with her are a gift from me to
thee." When she heard this, she said, "God forbid that I should
be consoled for the love of my lord and my master, though with
the earth full of gold!" And she improvised and recited the
following verses:

I swear by his life, yea, I swear by the life of my love without
     peer, To please him or save him from hurt, I'd enter the
     fire without fear!
"Console thou thyself for his love," quoth they, "with another
     than he;" But, "Nay, by his life," answered I, "I'll never
     forget him my dear!"
A moon is my love, in a robe of loveliness proudly arrayed, And
     the splendours of new-broken day from his cheeks and his
     forehead shine clear.

Then the Khalif summoned her to his presence a fourth time and
said to her, "O Sitt el Milah, sing." So she improvised and sang
the following verses:

To his beloved one the lover's heart's inclined; His soul's a
     captive slave, in sickness' hands confined.
"What is the taste of love?" quoth one, and I replied, "Sweet
     water 'tis at first; but torment lurks behind."
Love's slave, I keep my troth with them; but, when they vowed,
     Fate made itself Urcoub,[FN#16] whom never oath could bind.
What is there in the tents? Their burdens are become A lover's,
     whose belov'd is in the litters' shrined.
In every halting-place like Joseph[FN#17] she appears And he in
     every stead with Jacob's grief[FN#18] is pined.

When she had made an end of her song, she threw the lute from her
hand and wept till she swooned away. So they sprinkled on her
rose-water, mingled with musk, and willow-flower water; and when
she came to herself, Er Reshid said to her, "O Sitt el Milah,
this is not fair dealing in thee. We love thee and thou lovest
another." "O Commander of the Faithful," answered she, "there is
no help for it." Therewithal he was wroth with her and said, "By
the virtue of Hemzeh[FN#19] and Akil[FN#20] and Mohammed, Prince
of the Apostles, if thou name one other than I in my presence, I
will bid strike off thy head!" Then he bade return her to her
chamber, whilst she wept and recited the following verses:

If I must die, then welcome death to heal My woes; 'twere lighter
     than the pangs I feel.
What if the sabre cut me limb from limb! No torment 'twere for
     lovers true and leal.

Then the Khalif went in to the Lady Zubeideh, pale with anger,
and she noted this in him and said to him, "How cometh it that I
see the Commander of the Faithful changed of colour?" "O daughter
of my uncle," answered he, "I have a beautiful slave-girl, who
reciteth verses and telleth stories, and she hath taken my whole
heart; but she loveth other than I and avoucheth that she loveth
her [former] master; wherefore I have sworn a great oath that, if
she come again to my sitting-chamber and sing for other than I, I
will assuredly take a span from her highest part."[FN#21]Quoth
Zubeideh, "Let the Commander of the Faithful favour me with her
presence, so I may look on her and hear her singing." So he bade
fetch her and she came, whereupon the Lady Zubeideh withdrew
behind the curtain, whereas she saw her not, and Er Reshid said
to her, "Sing to us." So she took the lute and tuning it, sang
the following verses:

Lo, since the day I left you, O my masters, Life is not sweet, no
     aye my heart is light.
Yea, in the night the thought of you still slays me; Hidden are
     my traces from the wise men's sight,
All for a wild deer's love, whose looks have snared me And on
     whose brows the morning glitters bright
I am become, for severance from my loved one, Like a left hand,
     forsaken of the right.
Beauty on his cheek hath written, "Blest be Allah, He who created
     this enchanting wight!"
Him I beseech our loves who hath dissevered, Us of his grace once
     more to reunite.

When Er Reshid heard this, he waxed exceeding wroth and said,
"May God not reunite you twain in gladness!" Then he summoned the
headsman, and when he presented himself, he said to him, "Strike
off the head of this accursed slave-girl." So Mesrour took her by
the hand and [led her away; but], when she came to the door, she
turned and said to the Khalif, "O Commander of the Faithful, I
conjure thee, by thy fathers and forefathers, give ear unto that
I shall say!" Then she improvised and recited the following
verses:

O Amir of justice, be kind to thy subjects; For justice, indeed,
     of thy nature's a trait.
O thou my inclining to love him that blamest, Shall lovers be
     blamed for the errors of Fate?
Then spare me, by Him who vouchsafed thee the kingship; For a
     gift in this world is the regal estate.

Then Mesrour carried her to the other end of the sitting-chamber
and bound her eyes and making her sit, stood awaiting a second
commandment; whereupon quoth the Lady Zubeideh, "O Commander of
the Faithful, with thy permission, wilt thou not vouchsafe this
damsel a share of thy clemency? Indeed, if thou slay her, it were
injustice." Quoth he, "What is to be done with her?" And she
said, "Forbear to slay her and send for her lord. If he be as she
describeth him in grace and goodliness, she is excused, and if he
be not on this wise, then slay her, and this shall be thy
justification against her."[FN#22]

"Be it as thou deemest," answered Er Reshid and caused return the
damsel to her chamber, saying to her, "The Lady Zubeideh saith
thus and thus." Quoth she, "God requite her for me with good!
Indeed, thou dealest equitably, O Commander of the Faithful, in
this judgment." And he answered, "Go now to thy place, and
to-morrow we will let bring thy lord." So she kissed the earth
and recited the following verses:

I am content, for him I love, to all abide; So, who will, let him
     blame, and who will, let him chide.
At their appointed terms souls die; but for despair My soul is
     like to die, or ere its term betide.
O thou with love of whom I'm smitten, yet content, I prithee come
     to me and hasten to my side.

Then she arose and returned to her chamber.

On the morrow, the Commander of the Faithful sat [in his hall of
audience] and his Vizier Jaafer ben Yehya the Barmecide came in
to him; whereupon he called to him, saying, "I would have thee
bring me a youth who is lately come to Baghdad, hight [Sidi
Noureddin Ali] the Damascene." Quoth Jaafer, "Hearkening and
obedience," and going forth in quest of the youth, sent to the
markets and khans and caravanserais three days' space, but found
no trace of him, neither lit upon tidings of him. So on the
fourth day he presented himself before the Khalif and said to
him, "O our lord, I have sought him these three days, but have
not found him." Quoth Er Reshid, "Make ready letters to Damascus.
Belike he hath returned to his own land." So Jaafer wrote a
letter and despatched it by a dromedary-courier to the city of
Damascus; and they sought him there and found him not.

Meanwhile, news was brought that Khorassan had been
conquered;[FN#23] whereupon Er Reshid rejoiced and bade decorate
Baghdad and release all who were in the prisons, giving each of
them a dinar and a dress. So Jaafer addressed himself to the
decoration of the city and bade his brother El Fezl ride to the
prison and clothe and release the prisoners. El Fezl did his
brother's bidding and released all but the young Damascene, who
abode still in the Prison of Blood, saying, "There is no power
and no virtue save in God the Most High, the Sublime! Verily, we
are God's and to Him we return." Then said El Fezl to the gaoler,
"Is there any prisoner left in the prison?" "No," answered he,
and El Fezl was about to depart, when Noureddin called out to him
from within the prison, saying, "O my lord, tarry, for there
remaineth none in the prison other than I and indeed I am
oppressed. This is a day of clemency and there is no disputing
concerning it." El Fezl bade release him; so they set him free
and he gave him a dress and a dinar. So the young man went out,
bewildered and knowing not whither he should go, for that he had
abidden in the prison nigh a year and indeed his condition was
changed and his favour faded, and he abode walking and turning
round, lest El Muradi should come upon him and cast him into
another calamity.

When El Muradi heard of his release, he betook himself to the
chief of the police and said to him, "O our lord, we are not
assured from yonder youth, [the Damascene], for that he hath been
released from prison and we fear lest he complain of us." Quoth
the prefect, "How shall we do?" And El Muradi answered, saying,
"I will cast him into a calamity for thee." Then he ceased not to
follow the young Damascene from place to place till he came up
with him in a strait place and a by-street without an issue;
whereupon he accosted him and putting a rope about his neck,
cried out, saying, "A thief!" The folk flocked to him from all
sides and fell to beating and reviling Noureddin, whilst he cried
out for succour, but none succoured him, and El Muradi still said
to him, "But yesterday the Commander of the Faithful released
thee and to-day thou stealest!" So the hearts of the folk were
hardened against him and El Muradi carried him to the master of
police, who bade cut off his hand.

Accordingly, the hangman took him and bringing out the knife,
offered to cut off his hand, what while El Muradi said to him,
"Cut and sever the bone and sear[FN#24] it not for him, so he may
lose his blood and we be rid of him." But Ahmed, he who had
aforetime been the means of his deliverance, sprang up to him and
said, "O folk, fear God in [your dealings with] this youth, for
that I know his affair from first to last and he is void of
offence and guiltless. Moreover, he is of the folk of
condition,[FN#25] and except ye desist from him, I will go up to
the Commander of the Faithful and acquaint him with the case from
first to last and that the youth is guiltless of crime or
offence." Quoth El Muradi, "Indeed, we are not assured from his
mischief." And Ahmed answered, "Release him and commit him to me
and I will warrant you against his affair, for ye shall never see
him again after this." So they delivered Noureddin to him and he
took him from their hands and said to him, "O youth, have
compassion on thyself, for indeed thou hast fallen into the hands
of these folk twice and if they lay hold of thee a third time,
they will make an end of thee; and [in dealing thus with thee], I
aim at reward and recompense for thee[FN#26] and answered
prayer."[FN#27]

Noureddin fell to kissing his hand and calling down blessings on
him and said to him, "Know that I am a stranger in this your city
and the completion of kindness is better than the beginning
thereof; wherefore I beseech thee of thy favour that thou
complete to me thy good offices and kindness and bring me to the
gate of the city. So will thy beneficence be accomplished unto me
and may God the Most High requite thee for me with good!" ["Fear
not,"] answered Ahmed; "no harm shall betide thee. Go; I will
bear thee company till thou come to thy place of assurance." And
he left him not till he brought him to the gate of the city and
said to him, "O youth, go in the safeguard of God and return not
to the city; for, if they fall in with thee [again], they will
make an end of thee." Noureddin kissed his hand and going forth
the city, gave not over walking till he came to a mosque that
stood in one of the suburbs of Baghdad and entered therein with
the night.

Now he had with him nought wherewithal he might cover himself; so
he wrapped himself up in one of the rugs of the mosque [and abode
thus till daybreak], when the Muezzins came and finding him
sitting in that case, said to him, "O youth, what is this
plight?" Quoth he, "I cast myself on your hospitality, imploring
your protection from a company of folk who seek to kill me
unjustly and oppressively, without cause." And [one of] the
Muezzin[s] said, "Be of good heart and cheerful eye." Then he
brought him old clothes and covered him withal; moreover, he set
before him somewhat of meat and seeing upon him signs of gentle
breeding, said to him, "O my son, I grow old and desire thee of
help, [in return for which] I will do away thy necessity."
"Hearkening and obedience," answered Noureddin and abode with the
old man, who rested and took his ease, what while the youth [did
his service in the mosque], celebrating the praises of God and
calling the faithful to prayer and lighting the lamps and filling
the ewers[FN#28] and sweeping and cleaning out the place.

Meanwhile, the Lady Zubeideh, the wife of the Commander of the
Faithful, made a banquet in her palace and assembled her
slave-girls. As for Sitt el Milah, she came, weeping-eyed and
mournful-hearted, and those who were present blamed her for this,
whereupon she recited the following verses:

Ye chide at one who weepeth for troubles ever new; Needs must th'
     afflicted warble the woes that make him rue.
Except I be appointed a day [to end my pain], I'll weep until
     mine eyelids with blood their tears ensue.

When she had made an end of her verses, the Lady Zubeideh bade
each damsel sing a song, till the turn came round to Sitt el
Milah, whereupon she took the lute and tuning it, sang thereto
four-and-twenty songs in four-and-twenty modes; then she returned
to the first mode and sang the following verses:

Fortune its arrows all, through him I love, let fly At me and
     parted me from him for whom I sigh.
Lo, in my heart the heat of every heart burns high And in mine
     eyes unite the tears of every eye.

When she had made an end of her song, she wept till she made the
bystanders weep and the Lady Zubeideh condoled with her and said
to her, "God on thee, O Sitt el Milah, sing us somewhat, so we
may hearken to thee." "Hearkening and obedience," answered the
damsel and sang the following verses:

Assemble, ye people of passion, I pray; For the hour of our
     torment hath sounded to-day.
The raven of parting croaks loud at our door; Alas, for our raven
     cleaves fast to us aye!
For those whom we cherish are parted and gone; They have left us
     in torment to pine for dismay.
So arise, by your lives I conjure you, arise And come let us fare
     to our loved ones away.

Then she cast the lute from her hand and wept till she made the
Lady Zubeideh weep, and she said to her, "O Sitt el Milah,
methinks he whom thou lovest is not in this world, for that the
Commander of the Faithful hath sought him in every place, but
hath not found him." Whereupon the damsel arose and kissing the
Lady Zubeideh's hands, said to her, "O my lady, if thou wouldst
have him found, I have a request to make to thee, wherein thou
mayst accomplish my occasion with the Commander of the Faithful."
Quoth the princess, "And what is it?" "It is," answered Sitt el
Milah, "that thou get me leave to go forth by myself and go round
about in quest of him three days, for the adage saith, 'She who
mourneth for herself is not the like of her who is hired to
mourn.'[FN#29] If I find him, I will bring him before the
Commander of the Faithful, so he may do with us what he will; and
if I find him not, I shall be cut off from hope of him and that
which is with me will be assuaged." Quoth the Lady Zubeideh, "I
will not get thee leave from him but for a whole month; so be of
good heart and cheerful eye." Whereupon Sitt el Milah was glad
and rising, kissed the earth before her once more and went away
to her own place, rejoicing.

As for Zubeideh, she went in to the Khalif and talked with him
awhile; then she fell to kissing him between the eyes and on his
hand and asked him that which she had promised Sitt el Milah,
saying, "O Commander of the Faithful, I doubt me her lord is not
found in this world; but, if she go about in quest of him and
find him not, her hopes will be cut off and her mind will be set
at rest and she will sport and laugh; for that, what while she
abideth in hope, she will never cease from her frowardness." And
she gave not over cajoling him till he gave Sitt el Milah leave
to go forth and make search for her lord a month's space and
ordered her an eunuch to attend her and bade the paymaster [of
the household] give her all she needed, were it a thousand
dirhems a day or more. So the Lady Zubeideh arose and returning
to her palace, sent for Sitt el Milah and acquainted her with
that which had passed [between herself and the Khalif]; whereupon
she kissed her hand and thanked her and called down blessings on
her.

Then she took leave of the princess and veiling her face,
disguised herself; [FN#30] after which she mounted the mule and
sallying forth, went round about seeking her lord in the
thoroughfares of Baghdad three days' space, but lit on no tidings
of him; and on the fourth day, she rode forth without the city.
Now it was the noontide hour and great was the heat, and she was
aweary and thirst waxed upon her. Presently, she came to the
mosque, wherein the young Damascene had taken shelter, and
lighting down at the door, said to the old man, [the Muezzin], "O
elder, hast thou a draught of cold water? Indeed, I am overcome
with heat and thirst." Quoth he, "[Come up] with me into my
house." So he carried her up into his lodging and spreading her
[a carpet and cushions], seated her [thereon]; after which he
brought her cold water and she drank and said to the eunuch, "Go
thy ways with the mule and on the morrow come back to me here."
[So he went away] and she slept and rested herself.

When she awoke, she said to the old man, "O elder, hast thou
aught of food?" And he answered, "O my lady, I have bread and
olives." Quoth she, "That is food fit but for the like of thee.
As for me, I will have nought but roast lamb and broths and fat
rissoled fowls and stuffed ducks and all manner meats dressed
with [pounded nuts and almond-]kernels and sugar." "O my lady,"
replied the Muezzin, "I never heard of this chapter in the Koran,
nor was it revealed unto our lord Mohammed, whom God bless and
keep!"[FN#31] She laughed and said, "O elder, the matter is even
as thou sayest; but bring me inkhorn and paper." So he brought
her what she sought and she wrote a letter and gave it to him,
together with a seal-ring from her finger, saying, "Go into the
city and enquire for such an one the money-changer and give him
this my letter."

The old man betook himself to the city, as she bade him, and
enquired for the money-changer, to whom they directed him. So he
gave him the ring and the letter, which when he saw, he kissed
the letter and breaking it open, read it and apprehended its
purport. Then he repaired to the market and buying all that she
bade him, laid it in a porter's basket and bade him go with the
old man. So the latter took him and went with him to the mosque,
where he relieved him of his burden and carried the meats in to
Sitt el Milah. She seated him by her side and they ate, he and
she, of those rich meats, till they were satisfied, when the old
man rose and removed the food from before her.

She passed the night in his lodging and when she arose in the
morning, she said to him, "O elder, may I not lack thy kind
offices for the morning-meal! Go to the money-changer and fetch
me from him the like of yesterday's food." So he arose and
betaking himself to the money-changer, acquainted him with that
which she had bidden him. The money-changer brought him all that
she required and set it on the heads of porters; and the old man
took them and returned with them to Sitt el Milah. So she sat
down with him and they ate their sufficiency, after which he
removed the rest of the food. Then she took the fruits and the
flowers and setting them over against herself, wrought them into
rings and knots and letters, whilst the old man looked on at a
thing whose like he had never in his life seen and rejoiced
therein.

Then said she to him, "O elder, I would fain drink." So he arose
and brought her a gugglet of water; but she said to him, "Who
bade thee fetch that?" Quoth he, "Saidst thou not to me, 'I would
fain drink'?" And she answered, "I want not this; nay, I want
wine, the delight of the soul, so haply, O elder, I may solace
myself therewith." "God forbid," exclaimed the old man, "that
wine should be drunk in my house, and I a stranger in the land
and a Muezzin and an imam,[FN#32] who prayeth with the
true-believers, and a servant of the house of the Lord of the
Worlds! "Quoth she, "Why wilt thou forbid me to drink thereof in
thy house?" "Because," answered he, "it is unlawful." "O elder,"
rejoined she, "God hath forbidden [the eating of] blood and
carrion and hog's flesh. Tell me, are grapes and honey lawful or
unlawful?" Quoth he, "They are lawful;" and she said, "This is
the juice of grapes and the water of honey." But he answered,
"Leave this thy talk, for thou shall never drink wine in my
house." "O Sheikh," rejoined she, "folk eat and drink and enjoy
themselves and we are of the number of the folk and God is very
forgiving, clement."[FN#33] Quoth he, "This is a thing that may
not be." And she said, "Hast thou not heard what the poet saith
... ?" And she recited the following verses:

O son of Simeon, give no ear to other than my say. How bitter
     from the convent 'twas to part and fare away!
Ay, and the monks, for on the Day of Palms a fawn there was Among
     the servants of the church, a loveling blithe and gay.
By God, how pleasant was the night we passed, with him for third!
     Muslim and Jew and Nazarene, we sported till the day.
The wine was sweet to us to drink in pleasance and repose, And in
     a garden of the garths of Paradise we lay,
Whose streams beneath the myrtle's shade and cassia's welled
     amain And birds made carol jubilant from every blossomed
     spray.
Quoth he, what while from out his hair the morning glimmered
     white, "This, this is life indeed, except, alas! it doth not
     stay."

"O elder," added she, "if Muslims and Jews and Nazarenes drink
wine, who are we [that we should abstain from it]?" "By Allah, O
my lady," answered he, "spare thine endeavour, for this is a
thing to which I will not hearken." When she knew that he would
not consent to her desire, she said to him, "O elder, I am of the
slave-girls of the Commander of the Faithful and the food waxeth
on me[FN#34] and if I drink not, I shall perish,[FN#35] nor wilt
thou be assured against the issue of my affair. As for me, I am
quit of blame towards thee, for that I have made myself known to
thee and have bidden thee beware of the wrath of the Commander of
the Faithful."

When the old man heard her words and that wherewith she menaced
him, he arose and went out, perplexed and knowing not what he
should do, and there met him a Jew, who was his neighbour, and
said to him, "O Sheikh, how cometh it that I see thee strait of
breast? Moreover, I hear in thy house a noise of talk, such as I
use not to hear with thee." Quoth the Muezzin, "Yonder is a
damsel who avoucheth that she is of the slave-girls of the
Commander of the Faithful Haroun er Reshid; and she hath eaten
food and now would fain drink wine in my house, but I forbade
her. However she avoucheth that except she drink thereof, she
will perish, and indeed I am bewildered concerning my affair."
"Know, O my neighbour," answered the Jew, "that the slave-girls
of the Commander of the Faithful are used to drink wine, and
whenas they eat and drink not, they perish; and I fear lest some
mishap betide her, in which case thou wouldst not be safe from
the Khalifs wrath." "What is to be done?" asked the Sheikh; and
the Jew replied, "I have old wine that will suit her." Quoth the
old man, "[I conjure thee] by the right of neighbourship, deliver
me from this calamity and let me have that which is with thee!"
"In the name of God," answered the Jew and going to his house,
brought out a flagon of wine, with which the Sheikh returned to
Sitt el Milah. This pleased her and she said to him, "Whence
hadst thou this?" "I got it from my neighbour the Jew," answered
he. "I set out to him my case with thee and he gave me this."

Sitt el Milah filled a cup and emptied it; after which she drank
a second and a third. Then she filled the cup a fourth time and
handed it to the old man, but he would not accept it from her.
However, she conjured him, by her own head and that of the
Commander of the Faithful, that he should take it from her, till
he took the cup from her hand and kissed it and would have set it
down; but she conjured him by her life to smell it. So he smelt
it and she said to him, "How deemest thou?" "Its smell is sweet,"
replied he; and she conjured him, by the life of the Commander of
the Faithful, to taste it. So he put it to his mouth and she rose
to him and made him drink; whereupon, "O princess of the fair,"
said he, "this is none other than good." Quoth she, "So deem I.
Hath not our Lord promised us wine in Paradise?" And he answered,
"Yes. Quoth the Most High, 'And rivers of wine, a delight to the
drinkers.'[FN#36] And we will drink it in this world and the
world to come." She laughed and emptying the cup, gave him to
drink, and he said, "O princess of the fair, indeed thou art
excusable in thy love for this." Then he took from her another
and another, till he became drunken and his talk waxed great and
his prate.

The folk of the quarter heard him and assembled under the window;
and when he was ware of them, he opened the window and said to
them, "Are ye not ashamed, O pimps? Every one in his own house
doth what he will and none hindereth him; but we drink one poor
day and ye assemble and come, cuckoldy varlets that ye are!
To-day, wine, and to-morrow [another] matter; and from hour to
hour [cometh] relief." So they laughed and dispersed. Then the
girl drank till she was intoxicated, when she called to mind her
lord and wept, and the old man said to her, "What maketh thee
weep, O my lady?" "O elder," replied she, "I am a lover and
separated [from him I love]." Quoth he, "O my lady, what is this
love?" "And thou," asked she, "hast thou never been in love?" "By
Allah, O my lady," answered he, "never in all my life heard I of
this thing, nor have I ever known it! Is it of the sons of Adam
or of the Jinn?" She laughed and said, "Verily, thou art even as
those of whom the poet speaketh, when as he saith ..." And she
repeated the following verses:

How long will ye admonished be, without avail or heed? The
     shepherd still his flocks forbids, and they obey his rede.
I see yon like unto mankind in favour and in form; But
     oxen,[FN#37] verily, ye are in fashion and in deed.


The old man laughed at her speech and her verses pleased him.
Then said she to him, "I desire of thee a lute."[FN#38] So he
arose and brought her a piece of firewood. Quoth she, "What is
that?" And he said, "Didst thou not bid me bring thee wood?" "I
do not want this," answered she, and he rejoined, "What then is
it that is called wood, other than this?" She laughed and said,
"The lute is an instrument of music, whereunto I sing." Quoth he,
"Where is this thing found and of whom shall I get it for thee?"
And she said, "Of him who gave thee the wine." So he arose and
betaking himself to his neighbour the Jew, said to him, "Thou
favouredst us aforetime with the wine; so now complete thy
favours and look me out a thing called a lute, to wit, an
instrument for singing; for that she seeketh this of me and I
know it not" "Hearkening and obedience," replied the Jew and
going into his house, brought him a lute. [The old man took it
and carried it to Sitt el Milah,] whilst the Jew took his drink
and sat by a window adjoining the other's house, so he might hear
the singing.

The damsel rejoiced, when the old man returned to her with the
lute, and taking it from him, tuned its strings and sang the
following verses:

After your loss, nor trace of me nor vestige would remain, Did
     not the hope of union some whit my strength sustain.
Ye're gone and desolated by your absence is the world: Requital,
     ay, or substitute to seek for you 'twere vain.
Ye, of your strength, have burdened me, upon my weakliness, With
     burdens not to be endured of mountain nor of plain.
When from your land the breeze I scent that cometh, as I were A
     reveller bemused with wine, to lose my wits I'm fain.
Love no light matter is, O folk, nor are the woe and care And
     blame a little thing to brook that unto it pertain.
I wander seeking East and West for you, and every time Unto a
     camp I come, I'm told, "They've fared away again."
My friends have not accustomed me to rigour; for, of old, When I
     forsook them, they to seek accord did not disdain.

When she had made an end of her song, she wept sore, till
presently sleep overcame her and she slept.

On the morrow, she said to the old man, "Get thee to the
money-changer and fetch me the ordinary." So he repaired to the
money-changer and delivered him the message, whereupon he made
ready meat and drink, as of his wont, [with which the old man
returned to the damsel and they ate till they had enough. When
she had eaten,] she sought of him wine and he went to the Jew and
fetched it. Then they sat down and drank; and when she grew
drunken, she took the lute and smiting it, fell a-singing and
chanted the following verses:

How long shall I thus question my heart that's drowned in woe?
     I'm mute for my complaining; but tears speak, as they flow.
They have forbid their image to visit me in sleep; So even my
     nightly phantom forsaketh me, heigho!

And when she had made an end of her song, she wept sore.

All this time, the young Damascene was hearkening, and whiles he
likened her voice to that of his slave-girl and whiles he put
away from him this thought, and the damsel had no whit of
knowledge of him. Then she broke out again into song and chanted
the following verses:

"Forget him," quoth my censurers, "forget him; what is he?" "If I
     forget him, ne'er may God," quoth I, "remember me!"
Now God forbid a slave forget his liege lord's love! And how Of
     all things in the world should I forget the love of thee?
Pardon of God for everything I crave, except thy love, For on the
     day of meeting Him, that will my good deed be.

Then she drank three cups and filling the old man other three,
sang the following verses:

His love he'd have hid, but his tears denounced him to the spy,
     For the heat of a red-hot coal that 'twixt his ribs did lie.
Suppose for distraction he seek in the Spring and its blooms one
     day, The face of his loved one holds the only Spring for his
     eye.
O blamer of me for the love of him who denieth his grace, Which
     be the delightsome of things, but those which the people
     deny?
A sun [is my love;] but his heat in mine entrails still rageth,
     concealed; A moon, in the hearts of the folk he riseth, and
     not in the sky.

When she had made an end of her song, she threw the lute from her
hand and wept, whilst the old man wept for her weeping. Then she
fell down in a swoon and presently coming to herself, filled the
cup and drinking it off, gave the old man to drink, after which
she took the lute and breaking out into song, chanted the
following verses:

Thy loss is the fairest of all my heart's woes; My case it hath
     altered and banished repose.
The world is upon me all desolate grown. Alack, my long grief and
     forlornness! Who knows
But the Merciful yet may incline thee to me And unite us again,
     in despite of our foes!

Then she wept till her voice rose high and her lamentation was
discovered [to those without]; after which she again began to
drink and plying the old man with wine, sang the following
verses:

They have shut out thy person from my sight; They cannot shut thy
     memory from my spright.
Favour or flout me, still my soul shall be Thy ransom, in
     contentment or despite.
My outward of my inward testifies And this bears witness that
that tells aright.[FN#39]

When she had made an end of her song, she threw the lute from her
hand and wept and lamented. Then she slept awhile and presently
awaking, said, "O elder, hast thou what we may eat?" "O my lady,"
answered the old man, "there is the rest of the food;" but she
said, "I will not eat of a thing I have left. Go down to the
market and fetch us what we may eat." Quoth he, "Excuse me, O my
lady; I cannot stand up, for that I am overcome with wine; but
with me is the servant of the mosque, who is a sharp youth and an
intelligent. I will call him, so he may buy thee that which thou
desirest." "Whence hast thou this servant?" asked she; and he
replied, "He is of the people of Damascus." When she heard him
speak of the people of Damascus, she gave a sob, that she swooned
away; and when she came to herself, she said, "Woe's me for the
people of Damascus and for those who are therein! Call him, O
elder, that he may do our occasions."

So the old man put his head forth of the window and called the
youth, who came to him from the mosque and sought leave [to
enter]. The Muezzin bade him enter, and when he came in to the
damsel, he knew her and she knew him; whereupon he turned back in
bewilderment and would have fled; but she sprang up to him and
seized him, and they embraced and wept together, till they fell
down on the ground in a swoon. When the old man saw them in this
plight, he feared for himself and fled forth, seeing not the way
for drunkenness. His neighbour the Jew met him and said to him,
"How comes it that I see thee confounded?" "How should I not be
confounded," answered the old man, "seeing that the damsel who is
with me is fallen in love with the servant of the mosque and they
have embraced and fallen down in a swoon? Indeed, I fear lest the
Khalif come to know of this and be wroth with me; so tell me thou
what is to be done in this wherewith I am afflicted of the affair
of this damsel." Quoth the Jew, "For the nonce, take this
casting-bottle of rose-water and go forth-right and sprinkle them
therewith. If they be aswoon for this their foregathering and
embracement, they will come to themselves, and if otherwise, do
thou flee."

The old man took the casting-bottle from the Jew and going up to
Noureddin and the damsel, sprinkled their faces, whereupon they
came to themselves and fell to relating to each other that which
they had suffered, since their separation, for the anguish of
severance. Moreover, Noureddin acquainted Sitt el Milah with that
which he had endured from the folk who would have slain him and
made away with him; and she said to him, "O my lord, let us
presently give over this talk and praise God for reunion of
loves, and all this shall cease from us." Then she gave him the
cup and he said, "By Allah, I will nowise drink it, whilst I am
in this plight!" So she drank it off before him and taking the
lute, swept the strings and sang the following verses:

Thou that wast absent from my stead, yet still with me didst
     bide, Thou wast removed from mine eye, yet still wast by my
     side.
Thou left'st unto me, after thee, languor and carefulness; I
     lived a life wherein no jot of sweetness I espied.
For thy sweet sake, as 'twere, indeed, an exile I had been, Lone
     and deserted I became, lamenting, weeping-eyed.
Alack, my grief! Thou wast, indeed, grown absent from my yiew,
     Yet art the apple of mine eye nor couldst from me divide.

When she had made an end of her song, she wept and Noureddin wept
also. Then she took the lute and improvised and sang the
following verses:

God knows I ne'er recalled thy memory to my thought, But still
     with brimming tears straightway mine eyes were fraught;
Yea, passion raged in me and love-longing was like To slay me;
     yet my heart to solace still it wrought.
Light of mine eyes, my hope, my wish, my thirsting eyes With
     looking on thy face can never sate their drought.

When Noureddin heard these his slave-girl's verses, he fell
a-weeping, what while she strained him to her bosom and wiped
away his tears with her sleeve and questioned him and comforted
his mind. Then she took the lute and sweeping its strings, played
thereon, after such a wise as would move the phlegmatic to
delight, and sang the following verses:

Whenas mine eyes behold thee not, that day As of my life I do not
     reckon aye;
And when I long to look upon thy face, My life is perished with
     desire straightway.

On this wise they abode till the morning, tasting not the savour
of sleep; and when the day lightened, behold, the eunuch came
with the mule and said to Sitt el Milah, "The Commander of the
Faithful calleth for thee." So she arose and taking her lord by
the hand, committed him to the old man, saying, "I commend him to
thy care, under God,[FN#40] till this eunuch cometh to thee; and
indeed, O elder, I owe thee favour and largesse such as filleth
the interspace betwixt heaven and earth."

Then she mounted the mule and repairing to the palace of the
Commander of the Faithful, went in to him and kissed the earth
before him. Quoth he to her, as who should make mock of her, "I
doubt not but thou hast found thy lord." "By thy felicity and the
length of thy continuance [on life,]" answered she, "I have
indeed found him!" Now Er Reshid was leaning back; but, when he
heard this, he sat up and said to her, "By my life, [is this thou
sayest] true?" "Ay, by thy life!" answered she; and he said,
"Bring him into my presence, so I may see him." But she replied,
"O my lord, there have betided him many stresses and his charms
are changed and his favour faded; and indeed the Commander of the
Faithful vouchsafed me a month; wherefore I will tend him the
rest of the month and then bring him to do his service to the
Commander of the Faithful." Quoth Er Reshid, "True; the condition
was for a month; but tell me what hath betided him." "O my lord,"
answered she, "may God prolong thy continuance and make Paradise
thy place of returning and thy harbourage and the fire the
abiding-place of thine enemies, when he presenteth himself to pay
his respects to thee, he will expound to thee his case and will
name unto thee those who have wronged him; and indeed this is an
arrear that is due to the Commander of the Faithful, in[FN#41]
whom may God fortify the Faith and vouchsafe him the mastery over
the rebel and the froward!"

Therewithal he ordered her a handsome house and bade furnish it
with carpets and other furniture and vessels of choice and
commanded that all she needed should be given her. This was done
during the rest of the day, and when the night came, she
despatched the eunuch with the mule and a suit of clothes, to
fetch Noureddin from the Muezzin's lodging. So the young man
donned the clothes and mounting; rode to the house, where he
abode in luxury and delight a full-told month, what while she
solaced him with four things, to wit, the eating of fowls and the
drinking of wine and the lying upon brocade and the entering the
bath after copulation. Moreover, she brought him six suits of
clothes and fell to changing his apparel day by day; nor was the
appointed time accomplished ere his beauty returned to him and
his goodliness; nay, his charms waxed tenfold and he became a
ravishment to all who looked on him.

One day the Commander of the Faithful bade bring him to the
presence; so his slave-girl changed his raiment and clothing him
in sumptuous apparel, mounted him on the mule. Then he rode to
the palace and presenting himself before the Khalif, saluted him
with the goodliest of salutations and bespoke him with eloquent
and deep-thoughted speech. When Er Reshid saw him, he marvelled
at the goodliness of his favour and his eloquence and the
readiness of his speech and enquiring of him, was told that he
was Sitt el Milah's lord; whereupon quoth he, "Indeed, she is
excusable in her love for him, and if we had put her to death
unrighteously, as we were minded to do, her blood would have been
upon our heads." Then he turned to the young man and entering
into discourse with him, found him well bred, intelligent, quick
of wit and apprehension, generous, pleasant, elegant, erudite. So
he loved him with an exceeding love and questioned him of his
native city and of his father and of the manner of his journey to
Baghdad. Noureddin acquainted him with that which he would know
in the goodliest of words and with the concisest of expressions;
and the Khalif said to him, "And where hast thou been absent all
this while? Indeed, we sent after thee to Damascus and Mosul and
other the towns, but lit on no tidings of thee." "O my lord,"
answered the young man, "there betided thy slave in thy city that
which never yet betided any." And he acquainted him with his case
from first to last and told him that which had befallen him of
evil [from El Muradi and his crew].

When Er Reshid heard this, he was sore chagrined and waxed
exceeding wroth and said, "Shall this happen in a city wherein I
am?" And the Hashimi vein[FN#42] started out between his eyes.
Then he bade fetch Jaafer, and when he came before him, he
acquainted him with the matter and said to him, "Shall this come
to pass in my city and I have no news of it?" Then he bade Jaafer
fetch all whom the young Damascene had named [as having
maltreated him], and when they came, he let smite off their
heads. Moreover, he summoned him whom they called Ahmed and who
had been the means of the young man's deliverance a first time
and a second, and thanked him and showed him favour and bestowed
on him a sumptuous dress of honour and invested him with the
governance over his city.[FN#43]

Then he sent for the old man, the Muezzin, and when the messenger
came to him and told him that the Commander of the Faithful
sought him, he feared the denunciation of the damsel and
accompanied him to the palace, walking and letting wind[FN#44] as
he went, whilst all who passed him by laughed at him. When he
came into the presence of the Commander of the Faithful, he fell
a-trembling and his tongue was embarrassed, [so that he could not
speak]. The Khalif laughed at him and said to him, "O elder, thou
hast done no offence; so [why] fearest thou?" "O my lord,"
answered the old man (and indeed he was in the sorest of that
which may be of fear,) "by the virtue of thy pure forefathers,
indeed I have done nought, and do thou enquire of my conduct."
The Khalif laughed at him and ordering him a thousand dinars,
bestowed on him a sumptuous dress of honour and made him chief of
the Muezzins in his mosque.

Then he called Sitt el Milah and said to her, "The house [wherein
thou lodgest] and that which is therein Is a guerdon [from me] to
thy lord. So do thou take him and depart with him in the
safeguard of God the Most High; but absent not yourselves from
our presence." [So she went forth with Noureddin and] when she
came to the house, she found that the Commander of the Faithful
had sent them gifts galore and abundance of good things. As for
Noureddin, he sent for his father and mother and appointed him
agents and factors in the city of Damascus, to take the rent of
the houses and gardens and khans and baths; and they occupied
themselves with collecting that which accrued to him and sending
it to him every year. Meanwhile, his father and mother came to
him, with that which they had of monies and treasures and
merchandise, and foregathering with their son, saw that he was
become of the chief officers of the Commander of the Faithful and
of the number of his session-mates and entertainers, wherefore
they rejoiced in reunion with him and he also rejoiced in them.

The Khalif assigned them pensions and allowances and as for
Noureddin, his father brought him those riches and his wealth
waxed and his case was goodly, till he became the richest of the
folk of his time in Baghdad and left not the presence of the
Commander of the Faithful night or day. Moreover, he was
vouchsafed children by Sitt el Milah, and he ceased not to live
the most delightsome of lives, he and she and his father and
mother, a while of time, till Aboulhusn sickened of a sore
sickness and was admitted to the mercy of God the Most High.
After awhile, his mother died also and he carried them forth and
shrouded them and buried and made them expiations and
nativities.[FN#45] Then his children grew up and became like unto
moons, and he reared them in splendour and fondness, what while
his wealth waxed and his case flourished. He ceased not to pay
frequent visits to the Commander of the Faithful, he and his
children and his slave-girl Sitt el Milah, and they abode, he and
they, in all solace of life and prosperity till there came to
them the Destroyer of Delights and the Sunderer of Companies; and
extolled be the perfection of the Abiding One, the Eternal! This
is all that hath come down to us of their story.



              EL ABBAS AND THE KING'S DAUGHTER OF
                        BAGHDAD.[FN#46]



There was once, of old days and in bygone ages and times, in the
city of Baghdad, the Abode of Peace, a king mighty of estate,
lord of understanding and beneficence and liberality and
generosity, and he was strong of sultanate and endowed with might
and majesty and magnificence. His name was Ins ben Cais ben
Rebiya es Sheibani,[FN#47] and when he took horse, there rode
unto him [warriors] from the farthest parts of the two
Iraks.[FN#48] God the Most High decreed that he should take to
wife a woman hight Afifeh, daughter of Ased es Sundusi, who was
endowed with beauty and grace and brightness and perfection and
justness of shape and symmetry; her face was like unto the new
moon and she had eyes as they were gazelle's eyes and an aquiline
nose like the crescent moon. She had learned horsemanship and the
use of arms and had thoroughly studied the sciences of the Arabs;
moreover, she had gotten by heart all the dragomanish[FN#49]
tongues and indeed she was a ravishment to mankind.

She abode with Ins ben Cais twelve years, during which time he
was blessed with no children by her; wherefore his breast was
straitened, by reason of the failure of lineage, and he besought
his Lord to vouchsafe him a child. Accordingly the queen
conceived, by permission of God the Most High; and when the days
of her pregnancy were accomplished, she gave birth to a
maid-child, than whom never saw eyes a goodlier, for that her
face was as it were a pure pearl or a shining lamp or a
golden[FN#50] candle or a full moon breaking forth of a cloud,
extolled be the perfection of Him who created her from vile
water[FN#51] and made her a delight to the beholders! When her
father saw her on this wise of loveliness, his reason fled for
joy, and when she grew up, he taught her the art of writing and
polite letters[FN#52] and philosophy and all manner of tongues.
So she excelled the folk of her time and overpassed her
peers;[FN#53] and the sons of the kings heard of her and all of
them desired to look upon her.

The first who sought her in marriage was King Nebhan of Mosul,
who came to her with a great company, bringing with him an
hundred she-camels laden with musk and aloes-wood and ambergris
and as many laden with camphor and jewels and other hundred laden
with silver money and yet other hundred laden with raiment of
silken and other stuffs and brocade, besides an hundred
slave-girls and an hundred magnificent horses of swift and
generous breeds, completely housed and accoutred, as they were
brides; and all this he laid before her father, demanding her of
him in marriage. Now King Ins ben Cais had bound himself by an
oath that he would not marry his daughter but to him whom she
should choose; so, when King Nebhan sought her in marriage, her
father went in to her and consulted her concerning his affair.
She consented not and he repeated to Nebhan that which she said,
whereupon he departed from him. After this came King Behram, lord
of the White Island, with riches more than the first; but she
accepted not of him and he returned, disappointed; nor did the
kings give over coming to her father, on her account, one after
other, from the farthest of the lands and the climes, each
glorying in more[FN#54] than those who forewent him; but she paid
no heed unto any of one them.

Presently, El Abbas, son of King El Aziz, lord of the land of
Yemen and Zebidoun[FN#55] and Mecca (which God increase in honour
and brightness and beauty!), heard of her; and he was of the
great ones of Mecca and the Hejaz[FN#56] and was a youth without
hair on his cheeks. So he presented himself one day in his
father's sitting-chamber,[FN#57] whereupon the folk made way for
him and the king seated him on a chair of red gold, set with
pearls and jewels. The prince sat, with his head bowed to the
ground, and spoke not to any; whereby his father knew that his
breast was straitened and bade the boon-companions and men of wit
relate marvellous histories, such as beseem the assemblies of
kings; nor was there one of them but spoke forth the goodliest of
that which was with him; but El Abbas still abode with his head
bowed down. Then the king bade his session-mates withdraw, and
when the chamber was void, he looked at his son and said to him,
"By Allah, thou rejoicest me with thy coming in to me and
chagrinest me for that thou payest no heed to any of the
session-mates nor of the boon-companions. What is the cause of
this?"

"O father mine," answered the prince, "I have heard tell that in
the land of Irak is a woman of the daughters of the kings, and
her father is called King Ins ben Cais, lord of Baghdad; she is
renowned for beauty and grace and brightness and perfection, and
indeed many folk have sought her in marriage of the kings; but
her soul consented not unto any one of them. Wherefore I am
minded to travel to her, for that my heart cleaveth unto her, and
I beseech thee suffer me to go to her." "O my son," answered his
father, "thou knowest that I have none other than thyself of
children and thou art the solace of mine eyes and the fruit of
mine entrails; nay, I cannot brook to be parted from thee an
instant and I purpose to set thee on the throne of the kingship
and marry thee to one of the daughters of the kings, who shall be
fairer than she." El Abbas gave ear to his father's word and
dared not gainsay him; so he abode with him awhile, whilst the
fire raged in his entrails.

Then the king took counsel with himself to build his son a bath
and adorn it with various paintings, so he might show it to him
and divert him with the sight thereof, to the intent that his
body might be solaced thereby and that the obsession of travel
might cease from him and he be turned from [his purpose of]
removal from his parents. So he addressed himself to the building
of the bath and assembling architects and builders and artisans
from all the towns and citadels and islands [of his dominions],
assigned them a site and marked out its boundaries. Then the
workmen occupied themselves with the making of the bath and the
setting out and adornment of its cabinets and roofs. They used
paints and precious stones of all kinds, according to the
variousness of their hues, red and green and blue and yellow and
what not else of all manner colours; and each artisan wrought at
his handicraft and each painter at his art, whilst the rest of
the folk busied themselves with transporting thither varicoloured
stones.

One day, as the [chief] painter wrought at his work, there came
in to him a poor man, who looked long upon him and observed his
handicraft; whereupon quoth the painter to him, "Knowest thou
aught of painting?" "Yes," answered the stranger; so he gave him
tools and paints and said to him, "Make us a rare piece of work."
So the stranger entered one of the chambers of the bath and drew
[on the walls thereof] a double border, which he adorned on both
sides, after a fashion than which never saw eyes a fairer.
Moreover, [amiddleward the chamber] he drew a picture to which
there lacked but the breath, and it was the portraiture of
Mariyeh, the king's daughter of Baghdad. Then, when he had made
an end of the portrait, he went his way [and told none of what he
had done], nor knew any the chambers and doors of the bath and
the adornment and ordinance thereof.

Presently, the chief workman came to the palace and sought an
audience of the king, who bade admit him. So he entered and
kissing the earth, saluted him with a salutation beseeming kings
and said, "O king of the time and lord of the age and the day,
may felicity endure unto thee and acceptance and be thy rank
exalted over all the kings both morning and evening![FN#58] The
work of the bath is accomplished, by the king's fair fortune and
the eminence of his magnanimity,[FN#59] and indeed we have done
all that behoved us and there remaineth but that which behoveth
the king." El Aziz ordered him a sumptuous dress of honour and
expended monies galore, giving unto each who had wroughten, after
the measure of his work. Then he assembled in the bath all the
grandees of his state, amirs and viziers and chamberlains and
lieutenants, and the chief officers of his realm and household,
and sending for his son El Abbas, said to him,"O my son, I have
builded thee a bath, wherein thou mayst take thy pleasance; so
enter thou therein, that thou mayst see it and divert thyself by
gazing upon it and viewing the goodliness of its ordinance and
decoration." "With all my heart," replied the prince and entered
the bath, he and the king and the folk about them, so they might
divert themselves with viewing that which the workmen's hands had
wroughten.

El Abbas went in and passed from place to place and chamber to
chamber, till he came to the chamber aforesaid and espied the
portrait of Mariyeh, whereupon he fell down in a swoon and the
workmen went to his father and said to him, "Thy son El Abbas
hath swooned away." So the king came and finding the prince cast
down, seated himself at his head and bathed his face with
rose-water. After awhile he revived and the king said to him,
"God keep thee,[FN#60] O my son! What hath befallen thee?" "O my
father," answered the prince, "I did but look on yonder picture
and it bequeathed me a thousand regrets and there befell me that
which thou seest." Therewithal the king bade fetch the [chief]
painter, and when he stood before him, he said to him, "Tell me
of yonder portrait and what girl is this of the daughters of the
kings; else will I take thy head." "By Allah, O king," answered
the painter, "I limned it not, neither know I who she is; but
there came to me a poor man and looked at me. So I said to him,
'Knowest thou the art of painting?' And he replied, 'Yes.'
Whereupon I gave him the gear and said to him, 'Make us a rare
piece of work.' So he wrought yonder portrait and went away and I
know him not neither have I ever set eyes on him save that day."

Therewithal the king bade all his officers go round about in the
thoroughfares and colleges [of the town] and bring before him all
strangers whom they found there. So they went forth and brought
him much people, amongst whom was the man who had painted the
portrait. When they came into the presence, the Sultan bade the
crier make proclamation that whoso wrought the portrait should
discover himself and have whatsoever he desired. So the poor man
came forward and kissing the earth before the king, said to him,
"O king of the age, I am he who painted yonder portrait." Quoth
El Aziz, "And knowest thou who she is?" "Yes," answered the
other; "this is the portrait of Mariyeh, daughter of the king of
Baghdad." The king ordered him a dress of honour and a slave-girl
[and he went his way]. Then said El Abbas, "O father mine, give
me leave to go to her, so I may look upon her; else shall I
depart the world, without fail." The king his father wept and
answered, saying, "O my son, I builded thee a bath, that it might
divert thee from leaving me, and behold it hath been the cause of
thy going forth; but the commandment of God is a
foreordained[FN#61] decree."[FN#62]

Then he wept again and El Abbas said to him, "Fear not for me,
for thou knowest my prowess and my puissance in returning answers
in the assemblies of the land and my good breeding[FN#63] and
skill in rhetoric; and indeed he whose father thou art and whom
thou hast reared and bred and in whom thou hast united
praiseworthy qualities, the repute whereof hath traversed the
East and the West, thou needest not fear for him, more by token
that I purpose but to seek diversion[FN#64] and return to thee,
if it be the will of God the Most High." Quoth the king, "Whom
wilt thou take with thee of attendants and [what] of good?" "O
father mine," replied El Abbas, "I have no need of horses or
camels or arms, for I purpose not battle, and I will have none go
forth with me save my servant Aamir and no more."

As he and his father were thus engaged in talk, in came his
mother and caught hold of him; and he said to her, "God on thee,
let me go my gait and strive not to turn me from my purpose, for
that needs must I go." "O my son," answered she, "if it must be
so and there is no help for it, swear to me that them wilt not be
absent from me more than a year." And he swore to her. Then he
entered his father's treasuries and took therefrom what he would
of jewels and jacinths and everything heavy of worth and light of
carriage. Moreover, he bade his servant Aamir saddle him two
horses and the like for himself, and whenas the night darkened
behind him,[FN#65] he rose from his couch and mounting his horse,
set out for Baghdad, he and Aamir, whilst the latter knew not
whither he intended.

He gave not over going and the journey was pleasant to him, till
they came to a goodly land, abounding in birds and wild beasts,
whereupon El Abbas started a gazelle and shot it with an arrow.
Then he dismounted and cutting its throat, said to his servant,
"Alight thou and skin it and carry it to the water." Aamir
answered him [with "Hearkening and obedience"] and going down to
the water, kindled a fire and roasted the gazelle's flesh. Then
they ate their fill and drank of the water, after which they
mounted again and fared on diligently, and Aamir still unknowing
whither El Abbas was minded to go. So he said to him, "O my lord,
I conjure thee by God the Great, wilt thou not tell me whither
thou intendest?" El Abbas looked at him and made answer with the
following verses:

In my soul the fire of yearning and affliction rageth aye; Lo, I
     burn with love and longing; nought in answer can I say.
To Baghdad upon a matter of all moment do I fare, For the love of
     one whose beauties have my reason led astray.
Under me's a slender camel, a devourer of the waste; Those who
     pass a cloudlet deem it, as it flitteth o'er the way.
So, O Aamir, haste thy going, e'en as I do, so may I Heal my
     sickness and the draining of the cup of love essay;
For the longing that abideth in my heart is hard to bear. Fare
     with me, then, to my loved one. Answer nothing, but obey.

When Aamir heard his lord's verses, he knew that he was a slave
of love [and that she of whom he was enamoured abode] in Baghdad.
Then they fared on night and day, traversing plains and stony
wastes, till they came in sight of Baghdad and lighted down in
its suburbs[FN#66] and lay the night there. When they arose in
the morning, they removed to the bank of the Tigris and there
they encamped and sojourned three days.

As they abode thus on the fourth day, behold, a company of folk
giving their beasts the rein and crying aloud and saying, "Quick!
Quick! Haste to our rescue, O King!" Therewithal the king's
chamberlains and officers accosted them and said to them, "What
is behind you and what hath befallen you?" Quoth they, "Bring us
before the king." [So they carried them to Ins ben Cais;] and
when they saw him, they said to him, "O king, except thou succour
us, we are dead men; for that we are a folk of the Benou
Sheiban,[FN#67] who have taken up our abode in the parts of
Bassora, and Hudheifeh the Arab[FN#68] hath come down on us with
his horses and his men and hath slain our horsemen and carried
off our women and children; nor was one saved of the tribe but he
who fled; wherefore we crave help [first] by God the Most High,
then by thy life."

When the king heard their speech, he bade the crier make
proclamation in the thoroughfares of the city that the troops
should prepare [for the march] and that the horsemen should mount
and the footmen come forth; nor was it but the twinkling of the
eye ere the drums beat and the trumpets sounded; and scarce was
the forenoon of the day passed when the city was blocked with
horse and foot. So the king passed them in review and behold,
they were four-and-twenty thousand in number, horsemen and
footmen. He bade them go forth to the enemy and gave the
commandment over them to Said ibn el Wakidi, a doughty cavalier
and a valiant man of war. So the horsemen set out and fared on
along the bank of the Tigris.

El Abbas looked at them and saw the ensigns displayed and the
standards loosed and heard the drums beating; so he bade his
servant saddle him a charger and look to the girths and bring him
his harness of war. Quoth Aamir, "And indeed I saw El Abbas his
eyes flash and the hair of his hands stood on end, for that
indeed horsemanship[FN#69] abode [rooted in his heart]."So he
mounted his charger, whilst Aamir also bestrode a war-horse, and
they went forth with the troops and fared on two days. On the
third day, after the hour of the mid-afternoon prayer, they came
in sight of the enemy and the two armies met and the ranks joined
battle. The strife raged amain and sore was the smiting, whilst
the dust rose in clouds and hung vaulted [over them], so that all
eyes were blinded; and they ceased not from the battle till the
night overtook them, when the two hosts drew off from the mellay
and passed the night, perplexed concerning themselves [and the
issue of their affair].

When God caused the morning morrow, the two armies drew out in
battle array and the troops stood looking at one another. Then
came forth El Harith ibn Saad between the two lines and played
with his lance and cried out and recited the following verses:

Algates ye are our prey become; this many a day and night Right
     instantly of God we've craved to be vouchsafed your sight.
So hath the Merciful towards Hudheifeh driven you, A champion
     ruling over all, a lion of great might.
Is there a man of you will come, that I may heal his paint With
     blows right profitful for him who's sick for lust of fight?

By Allah, come ye forth to me, for lo, I'm come to you I May he
who's wronged the victory get and God defend the right![FN#70]

Thereupon there sallied forth to him Zuheir ben Hebib, and they
wheeled about and feinted awhile, then came to dose quarters and
exchanged strokes. El Harith forewent his adversary in smiting
and stretched him weltering in his gore; whereupon Hudheifeh
cried out to him, saying, "Gifted of God art thou, O Harith! Call
another of them." So he cried out, saying, "Is there a
comer-forth [to battle?]" But they of Baghdad held back froni
him; and when it appeared to El Harith that confusion was amongst
them, he fell upon them and overthrew the first of them upon
their last and slew of them twelve men. Then the evening overtook
him and the Baghdadis addressed themselves to flight.

When the morning morrowed, they found themselves reduced to a
fourth part of their number and there was not one of them had
dismounted from his horse. So they made sure of destruction and
Hudheifeh came out between the ranks (now he was reckoned for a
thousand cavaliers) and cried out, saying, "Harkye, my masters of
Baghdad! Let none come forth to me but your Amir, so I may talk
with him and he with me; and he shall meet me in single combat
and I will meet him, and may he who is void of offence come off
safe!" Then he repeated his speech and said, "Why do I not hear
your Amir return me an answer?" But Saad, the amir of the army of
Baghdad, [replied not to him], and indeed his teeth chattered in
his head, whenas he heard him summon him to single combat.

When El Abbas heard Hudheifeh's challenge and saw Saad in this
case, he came up to the latter and said to him, "Wilt thou give
me leave to reply to him and I will stand thee in stead in the
answering of him and the going forth to battle with him and will
make myself thy sacrifice?" Saad looked at him and seeing valour
shining from between his eyes, said to him, "O youth, by the
virtue of the Chosen [Prophet,] (whom God bless and keep,) tell
me [who thou art and] whence thou comest to our succour." "This
is no place for questioning," answered the prince; and Saad said
to him, "O champion, up and at Hudheifeh! Yet, if his devil prove
too strong for thee, afflict not thyself in thy youth."[FN#71]
Quoth El Abbas, "It is of Allah that help is to be
sought,"[FN#72] and taking his arms, fortified his resolution and
went down [into the field], as he were a castle of the castles or
a piece of a mountain.

[When] Hudheifeh [saw him], he cried out to him, saying, "Haste
thee not, O youth! Who art thou of the folk?" And he answered, "I
am Saad [ibn] el Wakidi, commander of the host of King Ins, and
but that thou vauntedst thyself in challenging me, I had not come
forth to thee; for that thou art not of my peers neither art
counted equal to me in prowess and canst not avail against my
onslaught. Wherefore prepare thee for departure,[FN#73] seeing
that there abideth but a little of thy life." When Hudheifeh
heard this his speech, he threw himself backward,[FN#74] as if in
mockery of him, whereat El Abbas was wroth and called out to him,
saying, "O Hudheifeh, guard thyself against me." Then he rushed
upon him, as he were a swooper of the Jinn,[FN#75] and Hudheifeh
met him and they wheeled about a long while.

Presently, El Abbas cried out at Hudheifeh a cry that astonied
him and dealt him a blow, saying, "Take this from the hand of a
champion who feareth not the like of thee." Hudheifeh met the
stroke with his shield, thinking to ward it off from him; but the
sword shore the target in sunder and descending upon his
shoulder, came forth gleaming from the tendons of his throat and
severed his arm at the armpit; whereupon he fell down, wallowing
in his blood, and El Abbas turned upon his host; nor had the sun
departed the pavilion of the heavens ere Hudheifeh's army was in
full flight before El Abbas and the saddles were empty of men.
Quoth Saad, "By the virtue of the Chosen [Prophet], whom God
bless and keep, I saw El Abbas with the blood upon his saddle
pads, [in gouts] like camels' livers, smiting with the sword
right and left, till he scattered them abroad in every
mountain-pass and desert; and when he turned [back to the camp],
the men of Baghdad were fearful of him."

When the Baghdadis saw this succour that had betided them against
their enemies [and the victory that El Abbas had gotten them],
they turned back and gathering together the spoils [of the
defeated host], arms and treasures and horses, returned to
Baghdad, victorious, and all by the valour of El Abbas. As for
Saad, he foregathered with the prince, and they fared on in
company till they came to the place where El Abbas had taken
horse, whereupon the latter dismounted from his charger and Saad
said to him, "O youth, wherefore alightest thou in other than thy
place? Indeed, thy due is incumbent upon us and upon our Sultan;
so go thou with us to the dwellings, that we may ransom thee with
our souls." "O Amir Saad," replied El Abbas, "from this place I
took horse with thee and herein is my lodging. So, God on thee,
name me not to the king, but make as if thou hadst never seen me,
for that I am a stranger in the land."

So saying, he turned away from him and Saad fared on to the
palace, where he found all the suite in attendance on the king
and recounting to him that which had betided them with El Abbas.
Quoth the king, "Where is he?" And they answered, "He is with the
Amir Saad." [So, when the latter entered], the king [looked, but]
found none with him; and Saad, seeing that he hankered after the
youth, cried out to him, saying, "God prolong the king's days!
Indeed, he refuseth to present himself before thee, without leave
or commandment." "O Saad," asked the king, "whence cometh this
man?" And the Amir answered, "O my lord, I know not; but he is a
youth fair of favour, lovesome of aspect, accomplished in
discourse, goodly of repartee, and valour shineth from between
his eyes."

Quoth the king, "O Saad, fetch him to me, for indeed thou
describest to me a masterful man."[FN#76] And he answered,
saying, "By Allah, O my lord, hadst thou but seen our case with
Hudheifeh, what while he challenged me to the field of war and
the stead of thrusting and smiting and I held back from doing
battle with him! Then, whenas I thought to go forth to him,
behold, a cavalier gave loose to his bridle-rein and called out
to me, saying, 'O Saad, wilt thou suffer me to fill thy room in
waging war with him and I will ransom thee with myself?' And I
said, 'By Allah, O youth, whence cometh thou?' Quoth he, 'This is
no time for thy questions.'" Then he recounted to the king all
that had passed between himself and El Abbas from first to last;
whereupon quoth Ins ben Cais, "Bring him to me in haste, so we
may learn his tidings and question him of his case." "It is
well," answered Saad, and going forth of the king's presence,
repaired to his own house, where he put off his harness of war
and took rest for himself.

To return to El Abbas, when he alighted from his charger, he put
off his harness of war and rested awhile; after which he brought
out a shirt of Venetian silk and a gown of green damask and
donning them, covered himself with a turban of Damietta stuff and
girt his middle with a handkerchief. Then he went out a-walking
in the thoroughfares of Baghdad and fared on till he came to the
bazaar of the merchants. There he found a merchant, with chess
before him; so he stood watching him and presently the other
looked up at him and said to him, "O youth, what wilt thou stake
upon the game?" And he answered, "Be it thine to decide." "Then
be it a hundred dinars," said the merchant, and El Abbas
consented to him, whereupon quoth he, "O youth, produce the
money, so the game may be fairly stablished." So El Abbas brought
out a satin purse, wherein were a thousand dinars, and laid down
an hundred dinars therefrom on the edge of the carpet, whilst the
merchant did the like, and indeed his reason fled for joy, whenas
he saw the gold in El Abbas his possession.

The folk flocked about them, to divert themselves with watching
the play, and they called the bystanders to witness of the wager
and fell a-playing. El Abbas forbore the merchant, so he might
lead him on, and procrastinated with him awhile; and the merchant
won and took of him the hundred dinars. Then said the prince,
"Wilt thou play another game?" And the other answered, "O youth,
I will not play again, except it be for a thousand dinars." Quoth
the prince, "Whatsoever thou stakest, I will match thy stake with
the like thereof." So the merchant brought out a thousand dinars
and the prince covered them with other thousand. Then they fell
a-playing, but El Abbas was not long with him ere he beat him in
the square of the elephant,[FN#77] nor did he leave to do thus
till he had beaten him four times and won of him four thousand
dinars.

This was all the merchant's good; so he said, "O youth, I will
play thee another game for the shop." Now the value of the shop
was four thousand dinars; so they played and El Abbas beat him
and won his shop, with that which was therein; whereupon the
other arose, shaking his clothes, and said to him, "Up, O youth,
and take thy shop." So El Abbas arose and repairing to the shop,
took possession thereof, after which he returned to [the place
where he had left] his servant [Aamir] and found there the Amir
Saad, who was come to bid him to the presence of the king. El
Abbas consented to this and accompanied him till they came before
King Ins ben Cais, whereupon he kissed the earth and saluted him
and exceeded[FN#78] in the salutation. Quoth the king to him,
"Whence comest thou, O youth?" and he answered, "I come from
Yemen."

Then said the king, "Hast thou a need we may accomplish unto
thee? For indeed we are exceeding beholden to thee for that which
thou didst in the matter of Hudheifeh and his folk." And he let
cast over him a mantle of Egyptian satin, worth an hundred
dinars. Moreover, he bade his treasurer give him a thousand
dinars and said to him, "O youth, take this in part of that which
thou deserves! of us; and if thou prolong thy sojourn with us, we
will give thee slaves and servants." El Abbas kissed the earth
and said, "O king, may grant thee abiding prosperity, I deserve
not all this." Then he put his hand to his poke and pulling out
two caskets of gold, in each of which were rubies, whose value
none could tell, gave them to the king, saying, "O king, God
cause thy prosperity to endure, I conjure thee by that which God
hath vouchsafed thee, heal my heart by accepting these two
caskets, even as I have accepted thy present." So the king
accepted the two caskets and El Abbas took his leave and went
away to the bazaar.

When the merchants saw him, they accosted him and said, "O youth,
wilt thou not open thy shop?" As they were bespeaking him, up
came a woman, having with her a boy, bareheaded, and [stood]
looking at El Abbas, till he turned to her, when she said to him,
"O youth, I conjure thee by Allah, look at this boy and have pity
on him, for that his father hath forgotten his cap in the shop
[he lost to thee]; so if thou will well to give it to him, thy
reward be with God! For indeed the child maketh our hearts ache
with his much weeping, and God be witness for us that, were there
left us aught wherewithal to buy him a cap in its stead, we had
not sought it of thee." "O adornment of womankind," replied El
Abbas, "indeed, thou bespeakest me with thy fair speech and
supplicatest me with thy goodly words ...But bring me thy
husband." So she went and fetched the merchant, whilst the folk
assembled to see what El Abbas would do. When the man came, he
returned him the gold he had won of him, all and part, and
delivered him the keys of the shop, saying, "Requite us with thy
pious prayers."Therewithal the woman came up to him and kissed
his feet, and on like wise did the merchant her husband; and all
who were present blessed him, and there was no talk but of El
Abbas.

As for the merchant, he bought him a sheep and slaughtering it,
roasted it and dressed birds and [other] meats of various kinds
and colours and bought dessert and sweetmeats and fresh fruits.
Then he repaired to El Abbas and conjured him to accept of his
hospitality and enter his house and eat of his victual. The
prince consented to his wishes and went with him till they came
to his house, when the merchant bade him enter. So El Abbas
entered and saw a goodly house, wherein was a handsome saloon,
with a vaulted estrade. When he entered the saloon, he found that
the merchant had made ready food and dessert and perfumes, such
as overpass description; and indeed he had adorned the table with
sweet-scented flowers and sprinkled musk and rose-water upon the
food. Moreover, he had smeared the walls of the saloon with
ambergris and set [the smoke of burning] aloes-wood abroach
therein.

Presently, El Abbas looked out of the window of the saloon and
saw thereby a house of goodly ordinance, lofty of building and
abounding in chambers, with two upper stories; but therein was no
sign of inhabitants. So he said to the merchant, "Indeed, thou
exceedest in doing us honour; but, by Allah, I will not eat of
thy victual till thou tell me what is the reason of the emptiness
of yonder house." "O my lord," answered the other, "that was El
Ghitrif's house and he was admitted to the mercy of God[FN#79]
and left none other heir than myself; so it became mine, and by
Allah, if thou hast a mind to sojourn in Baghdad, do thou take up
thine abode in this house, so thou mayst be in my neighbourhood;
for that indeed my heart inclineth unto thee with love and I
would have thee never absent from my sight, so I may still have
my fill of thee and hearken to thy speech." El Abbas thanked him
and said to him, "Indeed, thou art friendly in thy speech and
exceedest [in courtesy] in thy discourse, and needs must I
sojourn in Baghdad. As for the house, if it like thee, I will
abide therein; so take of me its price."

So saying, he put his hand to his poke and bringing out therefrom
three hundred dinars, gave them to the merchant, who said in
himself, "Except I take the money, he will not abide in the
house." So he pouched the money and sold him the house, taking
the folk to witness against himself of the sale. Then he arose
and set food before El Abbas and they ate of the good things
which he had provided; after which he brought him dessert and
sweetmeats. They ate thereof till they had enough, when the
tables were removed and they washed their hands with rose-water
and willow-flower-water. Then the merchant brought El Abbas a
napkin perfumed with the fragrant smoke of aloes-wood, on which
he wiped his hand,[FN#80] and said to him, "O my lord, the house
is become thy house; so bid thy servant transport thither the
horses and arms and stuffs." El Abbas did this and the merchant
rejoiced in his neighbourhood and left him not night nor day, so
that the prince said to him, "By Allah, I distract thee from thy
livelihood." "God on thee, O my lord," replied the merchant,
"name not to me aught of this, or thou wilt break my heart, for
the best of traffic is thy company and thou art the best of
livelihood." So there befell strait friendship between them and
ceremony was laid aside from between them.

Meanwhile the king said to his vizier, "How shall we do in the
matter of yonder youth, the Yemani, on whom we thought to confer
largesse, but he hath largessed us with tenfold [our gift] and
more, and we know not if he be a sojourner with us or no?" Then
he went into the harem and gave the rubies to his wife Afifeh,
who said to him, "What is the worth of these with thee and with
[other] the kings?" And he answered, "They are not to be found
save with the greatest of kings and none may avail to price them
with money." Quoth she, "Whence gottest thou them?" So he
recounted to her the story of El Abbas from first to last, and
she said, "By Allah, the claims of honour are imperative on us
and the king hath fallen short of his due; for that we have not
seen him bid him to his assembly, nor hath he seated him on his
left hand."

[When the king heard his wife's words], it was as if he had been
asleep and awoke; so he went forth of the harem and bade
slaughter fowls and dress meats of all kinds and colours.
Moreover, he assembled all his retainers and let bring sweetmeats
and dessert and all that beseemeth unto kings' tables. Then he
adorned his palace and despatched after El Abbas a man of the
chief officers of his household, who found him coming forth of
the bath, clad in a doublet of fine goats' hair and over it a
Baghdadi scarf; his waist was girt with a Rustec[FN#81] kerchief
and on his head he wore a light turban of Damietta make.

The messenger wished him joy of the bath and exceeded in doing
him worship. Then he said to him, "The king biddeth thee in
weal."[FN#82] "Hearkening and obedience," answered El Abbas and
accompanied the messenger to the king's palace.

Now Afifeh and her daughter Mariyeh were behind the curtain,
looking at him; and when he came before the king, he saluted him
and greeted him with the greeting of kings, whilst all who were
present stared at him and at his beauty and grace and perfection.
The king seated him at the head of the table; and when Afifeh saw
him and straitly considered him, she said, "By the virtue of
Mohammed, prince of the Apostles, this youth is of the sons of
the kings and cometh not to these parts but for some high
purpose!" Then she looked at Mariyeh and saw that her face was
changed, and indeed her eyes were dead in her face and she turned
not her gaze from El Abbas a glance of the eyes, for that the
love of him had gotten hold upon her heart. When the queen saw
what had befallen her daughter, she feared for her from reproach
concerning El Abbas; so she shut the wicket of the lattice and
suffered her not to look upon him more. Now there was a pavilion
set apart for Mariyeh, and therein were privy chambers and
balconies and lattices, and she had with her a nurse, who served
her, after the fashion of kings' daughters.

When the banquet was ended and the folk had dispersed, the king
said to El Abbas, "I would fain have thee [abide] with me and I
will buy thee a house, so haply we may requite thee the high
services for which we are beholden to thee; for indeed thy due is
imperative [upon us] and thy worth is magnified in our eyes; and
indeed we have fallen short of thy due in the matter of
distance."[FN#83] When the prince heard the king's speech, he
rose and sat down[FN#84] and kissing the earth, returned thanks
for his bounty and said, "I am the king's servant, wheresoever I
may be, and under his eye." Then he recounted to him the story of
the merchant and the manner of the buying of the house, and the
king said, "Indeed, I would fain have had thee with me and in my
neighbourhood."

Then El Abbas took leave of the king and went away to his own
house. Now it befell that he passed under the palace of Mariyeh
the king's daughter, and she was sitting at a window. He chanced
to look round and his eyes met those of the princess, whereupon
his wit departed and he was like to swoon away, whilst his colour
changed and he said, "Verily, we are God's and to Him we return!"
But he feared for himself lest estrangement betide him; so he
concealed his secret and discovered not his case to any of the
creatures of God the Most High. When he reached his house, his
servant Aamir said to him, "O my lord, I seek refuge for thee
with God from change of colour! Hath there betided thee a pain
from God the Most High or hath aught of vexation befallen thee?
Verily, sickness hath an end and patience doth away vexation."
But the prince returned him no answer. Then he brought out
inkhorn [and pen] and paper and wrote the following verses:


Quoth I (and mine a body is of passion all forslain, Ay, and a
     heart that's all athirst for love and longing pain
And eye that knoweth not the sweet of sleep; yet she, who caused
     My dole, may Fortune's perfidies for aye from her abstain!
Yea, for the perfidies of Fate and sev'rance I'm become Even as
     was Bishr[FN#85] of old time with Hind,[FN#86] a fearful
     swain;
A talking-stock among the folk for ever I abide; Life and the
     days pass by, yet ne'er my wishes I attain),
"Knoweth my loved one when I see her at the lattice high Shine as
     the sun that flameth forth in heaven's blue demesne?"
Her eye is sharper than a sword; the soul with ecstasy It takes
     and longing leaves behind, that nothing may assain.
As at the casement high she sat, her charms I might espy, For
     from her cheeks the envious veil that hid them she had
     ta'en.
She shot at me a shaft that reached my heart and I became The
     bond- man of despair, worn out with effort all in vain.
Fawn of the palace, knowst thou not that I, to look on thee, The
     world have traversed, far and wide, o'er many a hill and
     plain?
Read then my writ and pity thou the blackness of my fate, Sick,
     love- distraught, without a friend to whom I may complain.

Now the merchant's wife aforesaid, who was the nurse of the
king's daughter, was watching him from a window, unknown of him,
and [when she heard his verses], she knew that there hung some
rare story by him; so she went in to him and said, "Peace be on
thee, O afflicted one, who acquaintest not physician with thy
case! Verily, thou exposest thyself unto grievous peril! I
conjure thee by the virtue of Him who hath afflicted thee and
stricken thee with the constraint of love-liking, that thou
acquaint me with thine affair and discover to me the truth of thy
secret; for that indeed I have heard from thee verses that
trouble the wit and dissolve the body." So he acquainted her with
his case and enjoined her to secrecy, whereof she consented unto
him, saying, "What shall be the recompense of whoso goeth with
thy letter and bringeth thee an answer thereto?" He bowed his
head for shamefastness before her [and was silent]; and she said
to him, "Raise thy head and give me thy letter." So he gave her
the letter and she took it and carrying it to the princess, said
to her, "Read this letter and give me the answer thereto."

Now the liefest of all things to Mariyeh was the recitation of
poems and verses and linked rhymes and the twanging [of the
strings of the lute], and she was versed in all tongues; so she
took the letter and opening it, read that which was therein and
apprehended its purport. Then she cast it on the ground and said,
"O nurse, I have no answer to make to this letter." Quoth the
nurse, "Indeed, this is weakness in thee and a reproach unto
thee, for that the people of the world have heard of thee and
still praise thee for keenness of wit and apprehension; so do
thou return him an answer, such as shall delude his heart and
weary his soul." "O nurse," rejoined the princess, "who is this
that presumeth upon me with this letter? Belike he is the
stranger youth who gave my father the rubies." "It is himself,"
answered the woman, and Mariyeh said, "I will answer his letter
on such a wise that thou shalt not bring me other than it [from
him]." Quoth the nurse, "So be it." So the princess called for
inkhorn and paper and wrote the following verses:

O'erbold art thou in that to me, a stranger, thou hast sent These
     verses; 'twill but add to thee unease and miscontent.
Now God forbid thou shouldst attain thy wishes! What care I If
     thou have looked on me a look that caused thee languishment?
Who art thou, wretch, that thou shouldst hope to win me? With thy
     rhymes What wouldst of me? Thy reason, sure, with passion is
     forspent.
If to my favours thou aspire and covet me, good lack! What leach
     such madness can assain or what medicament?
Leave rhyming, madman that thou art, lest, bound upon the cross,
     Thou thy presumption in the stead of abjectness repent.
Deem not, O youth, that I to thee incline; indeed, no part Have I
     in those who walk the ways, the children of the tent.[FN#87]
In the wide world no house thou hast, a homeless wanderer thou:
     To thine own place thou shall be borne, an object for
     lament.[FN#88]
Forbear thy verse-making, O thou that harbourest in the camp,
     Lest to the gleemen thou become a name of wonderment.
How many a lover, who aspires to union with his love, For all his
     hopes seem near, is baulked of that whereon he's bent!
Then get thee gone nor covet that which thou shall ne'er obtain;
     So shall it be, although the time seem near and the event.
Thus unto thee have I set forth my case; consider well My words,
     so thou mayst guided be aright by their intent.

When she had made an end of her verses, she folded the letter and
delivered it to the nurse, who took it and went with it to El
Abbas. When she gave it to him, he took it and breaking it open,
read it and apprehended its purport; and when he came to the end
of it, he swooned away. After awhile, he came to himself and
said, "Praised be God who hath caused her return an answer to my
letter! Canst thou carry her another letter, and with God the
Most High be thy requital?" Quoth she, "And what shall letters
profit thee, seeing she answereth on this wise?" But he said,
"Belike, she may yet be softened." Then he took inkhorn and paper
and wrote the following verses:

Thy letter reached me; when the words thou wrot'st therein I
     read, My longing waxed and pain and woe redoubled on my
     head.
Yea, wonder-words I read therein, my trouble that increased And
     caused emaciation wear my body to a shred.
Would God thou knewst what I endure for love of thee and how My
     vitals for thy cruelty are all forspent and dead!
Fain, fain would I forget thy love. Alack, my heart denies To be
     consoled, and 'gainst thy wrath nought standeth me in stead.
An thou'dst vouchsafe to favour me,'twould lighten my despair,
     Though but in dreams thine image 'twere that visited my bed.
Persist not on my weakliness with thy disdain nor be Treason and
     breach of love its troth to thee attributed;
For know that hither have I fared and come to this thy land, By
     hopes of union with thee and near fruition led.
How oft I've waked, whilst over me my comrades kept the watch!
     How many a stony waste I've crossed, how many a desert
     dread!
From mine own land, to visit thee, I came at love's command, For
     all the distance did forbid,'twixt me and thee that spread.
Wherefore, by Him who letteth waste my frame, have ruth on me And
     quench my yearning and the fires by passion in me fed.
In glory's raiment clad, by thee the stars of heaven are shamed
     And in amaze the full moon stares to see thy goodlihead.
All charms, indeed, thou dost comprise; so who shall vie with
     thee And who shall blame me if for love of such a fair I'm
     sped?

When he had made an end of his verses, he folded the letter and
delivering it to the nurse, charged her keep the secret. So she
took it and carrying it to Mariyeh, gave it to her. The princess
broke it open and read it and apprehended its purport. Then said
she, "By Allah, O nurse, my heart is burdened with an exceeding
chagrin, never knew I a dourer, because of this correspondence
and of these verses." And the muse made answer to her, saying, "O
my lady, thou art in thy dwelling and thy place and thy heart is
void of care; so return him an answer and reck thou not"
Accordingly, the princess called for inkhorn and paper and wrote
the following verses:

Thou that the dupe of yearning art, how many a melting wight In
     waiting for the unkept tryst doth watch the weary night!
If in night's blackness thou hast plunged into the desert's heart
     And hast denied thine eyes the taste of sleep and its
     delight,
If near and far thy toiling feet have trod the ways and thou
     Devils and Marids hast ensued nor wouldst be led aright,
And dar'dst, O dweller in the tents, to lift thine eyes to me,
     Hoping by stress to win of me the amorous delight,
Get thee to patience fair, if thou remember thee of that Whose
     issues (quoth the Merciful) are ever benedight.[FN#89]
How many a king for my sweet sake with other kings hath vied,
     Still craving union with me and suing for my sight!
Whenas En Nebhan strove to win my grace, himself to me With
     camel- loads he did commend of musk and camphor white,
And aloes-wood, to boot, he brought and caskets full of pearls
     And priceless rubies and the like of costly gems and bright;
Yea, and black slaves he proffered me and slave-girls big with
     child And steeds of price, with splendid arms and trappings
     rich bedight.
Raiment of silk and sendal, too, he brought to us for gift, And
     me in marriage sought therewith; yet, all his pains despite,
Of me he got not what he sought and brideless did return, For
     that estrangement and disdain were pleasing in my sight.
Wherefore, O stranger, dare thou not approach me with desire,
     Lest ruin quick and pitiless thy hardihood requite.

When she had made an end of her verses, she folded the letter and
delivered it to the nurse, who took it and carried it to El
Abbas. He broke it open and read it and apprehended its purport;
then took inkhorn and paper and wrote the following verses:

Indeed, thou'st told the tale of kings and men of might, Each one
     a lion fierce, impetuous in the fight,
Whose wits (like mine, alack!) thou stalest and whose hearts With
     shafts from out thine eyes bewitching thou didst smite.
Yea, and how slaves and steeds and good and virgin girls Were
     proffered thee to gift, thou hast not failed to cite,
How presents in great store thou didst refuse and eke The givers,
     great and small, with flouting didst requite.
Then came I after them, desiring thee, with me No second save my
     sword, my falchion keen and bright.
No slaves with me have I nor camels swift of foot, Nor
     slave-girls have I brought in curtained litters dight.
Yet, an thou wilt vouchsafe thy favours unto me, My sabre thou
     shalt see the foemen put to flight;
Ay, and around Baghdad the horsemen shalt behold, Like clouds
     that wall the world, full many a doughty knight,
All hearkening to my word, obeying my command, In whatsoever
     thing is pleasing to my sight.
If slaves thou fain wouldst have by thousands every day Or,
     kneeling at thy feet, see kings of mickle might,
And horses eke wouldst have led to thee day by day And girls,
     high- breasted maids, and damsels black and white,
Lo under my command the land of Yemen is And trenchant is my
     sword against the foe in fight.
Whenas the couriers came with news of thee, how fair Thou wast
     and sweet and how thy visage shone with light,
All, all, for thy sweet sake, I left; ay, I forsook Aziz, my
     sire, and those akin to me that hight
And unto Irak fared, my way to thee to make, And crossed the
     stony wastes i' the darkness of the night.
Then sent I speech to thee in verses such as burn The heart;
     reproach therein was none nor yet unright;
Yet with perfidiousness (sure Fortune's self as thou Ne'er so
     perfidious was) my love thou didst requite
And deemedst me a waif, a homeless good-for-nought, A
     slave-begotten brat, a wanton, witless wight.

Then he folded the letter and committed it to the nurse and gave
her five hundred dinars, saying, "Accept this from me, for that
indeed thou hast wearied thyself between us." "By Allah, O my
lord," answered she, "my desire is to bring about union between
you, though I lose that which my right hand possesseth." And he
said, "May God the Most High requite thee with good!" Then she
carried the letter to Mariyeh and said to her, "Take this letter;
belike it may be the end of the correspondence." So she took it
and breaking it open, read it, and when she had made an end of
it, she turned to the nurse and said to her, "This fellow putteth
off lies upon me and avoucheth unto me that he hath cities and
horsemen and footmen at his command and submitting to his
allegiance; and he seeketh of me that which he shall not obtain;
for thou knowest, O nurse, that kings' sons have sought me in
marriage, with presents and rarities; but I have paid no heed
unto aught of this; so how shall I accept of this fellow, who is
the fool[FN#90] of his time and possesseth nought but two caskets
of rubies, which he gave to my father, and indeed he hath taken
up his abode in the house of El Ghitrif and abideth without
silver or gold? Wherefore, I conjure thee by Allah, O nurse,
return to him and cut off his hope of me."

Accordingly the nurse returned to El Abbas, without letter or
answer; and when she came in to him, he saw that she was troubled
and noted the marks of chagrin on her face; so he said to her,
"What is this plight?" Quoth she, "I cannot set out to thee that
which Mariyeh said; for indeed she charged me return to thee
without letter or answer." "O nurse of kings," rejoined El Abbas,
"I would have thee carry her this letter and return not to her
without it." Then he took inkhorn and paper and wrote the
following verses:

My secret is disclosed, the which I strove to hide; Of thee and
     of thy love enough have I abyed.
My kinsmen and my friends for thee I did forsake And left them
     weeping tears that poured as 'twere a tide.
Yea, to Baghdad I came, where rigour gave me chase And I was
     overthrown of cruelty and pride.
Repression's draught, by cups, from the beloved's hand I've
     quaffed; with colocynth for wine she hath me plied.
Oft as I strove to make her keep the troth of love, Unto
     concealment's ways still would she turn aside.
My body is dissolved with sufferance in vain; Relenting, ay, and
     grace I hoped should yet betide;
But rigour still hath waxed on me and changed my case And love
     hath left me bound, afflicted, weeping-eyed.
How long shall I anights distracted be for love Of thee? How long
     th' assaults of grief and woes abide?
Thou, thou enjoy'st repose and comfortable sleep, Nor of the
     mis'ries reckst by which my heart is wried.
I watch the stars for wake and pray that the belov'd May yet to
     me relent and bid my tears be dried.
The pains of long desire have wasted me away; Estrangement and
     disdain my body sore have tried.
"Be thou not hard of heart," quoth I. Had ye but deigned To visit
     me in dreams, I had been satisfied.
But when ye saw my writ, the standard ye o'erthrew Of faith, your
     favours grudged and aught of grace denied.
Nay, though ye read therein discourse that sure should speak To
     heart and soul, no word thereunto ye replied,
But deemed yourself secure from every changing chance Nor recked
     the ebb and flow of Fortune's treacherous tide.
Were my affliction thine, love's anguish hadst thou dreed And in
     the flaming hell of long estrangement sighed.
Yet shall thou suffer that which I from thee have borne And with
     love's woes thy heart shall yet be mortified.
The bitterness of false accusing shall thou taste And eke the
     thing reveal that thou art fain to hide;
Yea, he thou lov'st shall be hard-hearted, recking not Of
     fortune's turns or fate's caprices, in his pride.
Wherewith farewell, quoth I, and peace be on thee aye, What while
     the branches bend, what while the stars abide.

When he had made an end of his verses, he folded the letter and
gave it to the nurse, who took it and carried it to Mariyeh. When
she came into the princess's presence, she saluted her; but
Mariyeh returned not her salutation and she said, "O my lady, how
hard is thy heart that thou grudgest to return the salutation!
Take this letter, for that it is the last of that which shall
come to thee from him." Quoth Mariyeh, "Take my warning and never
again enter my palace, or it will be the cause of thy
destruction; for I am certified that thou purposest my dishonour.
So get thee gone from me." And she commanded to beat the nurse;
whereupon the latter went forth fleeing from her presence,
changed of colour and absent of wits, and gave not over going
till she came to the house of El Abbas.

When the prince saw her in this plight, he was as a sleeper
awakened and said to her, "What hath befallen thee? Set out to me
thy case." "God on thee," answered she, "nevermore send me to
Mariyeh, and do thou protect me, so may God protect thee from the
fires of hell!" Then she related to him that which had bedded her
with Mariyeh; which when he heard, there took him the
shamefastness of the generous and this was grievous unto him. The
love of Mariyeh fled forth of his heart and he said to the nurse,
"How much hadst thou of Mariyeh every month?" "Ten dinars,"
answered she, and he said, "Be not concerned." Then he put his
hand to his poke and bringing out two hundred dinars, gave them
to her and said, "Take this for a whole year's wage and turn not
again to serve any one. When the year is out, I will give thee
two years' wage, for that thou hast wearied thyself with us and
on account of the cutting off of thy dependence upon Mariyeh."

Moreover, he gave her a complete suit of clothes and raising his
head to her, said, "When thou toldest me that which Mariyeh had
done with thee, God rooted out the love of her from my heart, and
never again will she occur to my mind; so extolled be the
perfection of Him who turneth hearts and eyes! It was she who was
the cause of my coming out from Yemen, and now the time is past
for which I engaged with my people and I fear lest my father levy
his troops and come forth in quest of me, for that he hath no
child other than myself and cannot brook to be parted from me;
and on like wise is it with my mother." When the nurse heard his
words, she said to him, "O my lord, and which of the kings is thy
father?" "My father is El Aziz, lord of Yemen and Nubia and the
Islands[FN#91] of the Benou Kehtan and the Two Noble
Sanctuaries[FN#92] (God the Most High have them in His
keeping!)," answered El Abbas; "and whenas he taketh horse, there
mount with him an hundred and twenty and four thousand horsemen,
all smiters with the sword, let alone attendants and servants and
followers, all of whom give ear unto my word and obey my
commandment." "Why, then, O my lord," asked the nurse, "didst
thou conceal the secret of thy rank and lineage and passedst
thyself off for a wayfarer? Alas for our disgrace before thee by
reason of our shortcoming in rendering thee thy due! What shall
be our excuse with thee, and thou of the sons of the kings?" But
he rejoined, "By Allah, thou hast not fallen short! Nay, it is
incumbent on me to requite thee, what while I live, though I be
far distant from thee."

Then he called his servant Aamir and said to him, "Saddle the
horses." When the nurse heard his words and indeed [she saw that]
Aamir brought him the horses and they were resolved upon
departure, the tears ran down upon her cheeks and she said to
him, "By Allah, thy separation is grievous to me, O solace of the
eye!" Then said she, "Where is the goal of thine intent, so we
may know thy news and solace ourselves with thy report?" Quoth
he, "I go hence to visit Akil, the son of my father's brother,
for that he hath his sojourn in the camp of Kundeh ben Hisham,
and these twenty years have I not seen him nor he me; wherefore I
purpose to repair to him and discover his news and return hither.
Then will I go hence to Yemen, if it be the will of God the Most
High."

So saying, he took leave of the woman and her husband and set
out, intending for Akil, his father's brother's son. Now there
was between Baghdad and Akil's abiding-place forty days' journey;
so El Abbas settled himself on the back of his courser and his
servant Aamir mounted also and they fared forth on their way.
Presently, El Abbas turned right and left and recited the
following verses:

I am the champion-slayer, the warrior without peer; My foes I
     slay, destroying the hosts, when I appear.
Tow'rds El Akil my journey I take; to visit him, The wastes in
     praise and safety I traverse, without fear,
And all the desert spaces devour, whilst to my rede, Or if in
     sport or earnest,[FN#93] still Aamir giveth ear.
Who letteth us or hind'reth our way, I spring on him, As
     springeth lynx or panther upon the frighted deer;
With ruin I o'erwhelm him and abjectness and woe And cause him
     quaff the goblet of death and distance drear.
Well-ground my polished sword is and thin and keen of edge And
     trenchant, eke, for smiting and long my steel-barbed spear.
So fell and fierce my stroke is, if on a mountain high It lit,
     though all of granite, right through its midst 'twould
     shear.
Nor troops have I nor henchmen nor one to lend me aid Save God,
     to whom, my Maker, my voice in praise I rear.
'Tis He who pardoneth errors alike to slave and free; On Him is
     my reliance in good and evil cheer.

Then they fell to journeying night and day, and as they went,
behold, they sighted a camp of the camps of the Arabs. So El
Abbas enquired thereof and was told that it was the camp of the
Benou Zuhreh. Now there were around them sheep and cattle, such
as filled the earth, and they were enemies to El Akil, the cousin
of El Abbas, upon whom they still made raids and took his cattle;
wherefore he used to pay them tribute every year, for that he
availed not to cope with them. When El Abbas came near the camp,
he dismounted from his courser and his servant Aamir also
dismounted; and they set down the victual and ate their
sufficiency and rested awhile of the day. Then said the prince to
Aamir, "Fetch water and give the horses to drink and draw water
for us in thy water-bag, by way of provision for the road."

So Aamir took the water-skin and made for the water; but, when he
came to the well, behold, two young men with gazelles, and when
they saw him, they said to him, "Whither wilt thou, O youth, and
of which of the Arabs art thou?" "Harkye, lads," answered he,
"fill me my water-skin, for that I am a stranger man and a
wayfarer and I have a comrade who awaiteth me." Quoth they, "Thou
art no wayfarer, but a spy from El Akil's camp." Then they took
him and carried him to [their king] Zuheir ben Shebib; and when
he came before him, he said to him, "Of which of the Arabs art
thou?" Quoth Aamir, "I am a wayfarer." And Zuheir said, "Whence
comest thou and whither wilt thou?" "I am on my way to Akil,"
answered Aamir. When he named Akil, those who were present were
agitated; but Zuheir signed to them with his eyes and said to
him, "What is thine errand with Akil?" Quoth he, "We would fain
see him, my friend and I."

When Zuheir heard his words, he bade smite off his head; but his
Vizier said to him, "Slay him not, till his friend be present."
So he commanded the two slaves to fetch his friend; whereupon
they repaired to El Abbas and called to him, saying, "O youth,
answer the summons of King Zuheir." "What would the king with
me?" asked he, and they answered, "We know not." Quoth he, "Who
gave the king news of me?" "We went to draw water," answered
they, "and found a man by the water. So we questioned him of his
case, but he would not acquaint us therewith; wherefore we
carried him perforce to King Zuheir, who questioned him of his
case and he told him that he was going to Akil. Now Akil is the
king's enemy and he purposeth to betake himself to his camp and
make prize of his offspring and cut off his traces." "And what,"
asked El Abbas, "hath Akil done with King Zuheir?" And they
replied, "He engaged for himself that he would bring the king
every year a thousand dinars and a thousand she-camels, besides a
thousand head of thoroughbred horses and two hundred black slaves
and fifty slave-girls; but it hath reached the king that Akil
purposeth to give nought of this; wherefore he is minded to go to
him. So hasten thou with us, ere the king be wroth with thee and
with us."

Then said El Abbas to them, "O youths, sit by my arms and my
horse till I return." But they answered, saying, "By Allah, thou
prolongest discourse with that which beseemeth not of words! Make
haste, or we will go with thy head, for indeed the king purposeth
to slay thee and to slay thy comrade and take that which is with
you." When the prince heard this, his skin quaked and he cried
out at them with a cry that made them tremble. Then he sprang
upon his horse and settling himself in the saddle, galloped till
he came to the king's assembly, when he cried out at the top of
his voice, saying ["To horse,] cavaliers!" And levelled his spear
at the pavilion wherein was Zuheir. Now there were about him a
thousand smiters with the sword; but El Abbas fell in upon them
and dispersed them from around him, and there abode none in the
tent save Zuheir and his vizier.

Then came up El Abbas to the door of the tent, and therein were
four-and-twenty golden doves; so he took them, after he had
beaten them down with the end of his lance. Then he called out,
saying, "Harkye, Zuheir! Doth it not suffice thee that thou hast
quelled El Akil's repute, but thou art minded to quell that of
those who sojourn round about him? Knowest thou not that he is of
the lieutenants of Kundeh ben [Hisham of the Benou] Sheiban, a
man renowned for prowess? Indeed, covetise of him hath entered
into thee and jealousy of him hath gotten possession of thee.
Doth it not suffice thee that thou hast orphaned his
children[FN#94] and slain his men? By the virtue of the Chosen
Prophet, I will make thee drink the cup of death!" So saying, he
drew his sword and smiting Zuheir on his shoulder, caused the
steel issue, gleaming, from the tendons of his throat. Then he
smote the vizier and clove his head in sunder.

As he was thus, behold, Aamir called out to him and said, "O my
lord, come to my help, or I am a dead man!" So El Abbas went up
to him and found him cast down on his back and chained with four
chains to four pickets of iron. He loosed his bonds and said to
him, "Go before me, O Aamir." So he fared on before him a little,
and presently they looked, and behold, horsemen making to
Zuheir's succour, to wit, twelve thousand cavaliers, with Sehl
ben Kaab in their van, mounted upon a jet-black steed. He charged
upon Aamir, who fled from him, then upon El Abbas, who said, "O
Aamir, cleave fast to my horse and guard my back." Aamir did as
he bade him, whereupon El Abbas cried out at the folk and falling
upon them, overthrew their braves and slew of them nigh two
thousand cavaliers, whilst not one of them knew what was to do
nor with whom he fought. Then said one of them to other, "Verily,
the king is slain; so with whom do we wage war? Indeed ye flee
from him; so do ye enter under his banners, or not one of you
will be saved."

Thereupon they all dismounted and putting off that which was upon
them of harness of war, came before El Abbas and tendered him
allegiance and sued for his protection. So he held his hand from
them and bade them gather together the spoils. Then he took the
riches and the slaves and the camels, and they all became his
liege-men and his retainers, to the number (according to that
which is said) of fifty thousand horse. Moreover, the folk heard
of him and flocked to him from all sides; whereupon he divided
[the spoil amongst them] and gave gifts and abode thus three
days, and there came presents to him. Then he bade set out for
Akil's abiding-place; so they fared on six days and on the
seventh day they came in sight of the camp. El Abbas bade his man
Aamir forego him and give Akil the glad news of his cousin's
coming. So he rode on to the camp and going in to Akil, gave him
the glad news of Zuheir's slaughter and the conquest of his
tribe.

Akil rejoiced in the coming of El Abbas and the slaughter of his
enemy and all in his camp rejoiced also and cast dresses of
honour upon Aamir. Moreover, Akil bade go forth to meet El Abbas,
and commanded that none, great or small, freeman or slave, should
tarry behind. So they did his bidding and going forth all, met El
Abbas at three parasangs' distance from the camp. When they met
him, they all dismounted from their horses and Akil and he
embraced and clapped hands.[FN#95] Then they returned, rejoicing
in the coming of El Abbas and the slaughter of their enemy, to
the camp, where tents were pitched for the new-comers and carpets
spread and game killed and beasts slaughtered and royal
guest-meals spread; and on this wise they abode twenty days, in
the enjoyment of all delight and solace of life.

To return to King El Aziz. When his son El Abbas left him, he was
desolated for him with an exceeding desolation, he and his
mother; and when tidings of him tarried long and the appointed
time passed [and the prince returned not], the king caused public
proclamation to be made, commanding all his troops to make ready
to mount and go forth in quest of his son El Abbas at the end of
three days, after which time no cause of hindrance nor excuse
should be admitted unto any. So on the fourth day, the king bade
number the troops, and behold, they were four-and-twenty thousand
horse, besides servants and followers. Accordingly, they reared
the standards and the drums beat to departure and the king set
out [with his army], intending for Baghdad; nor did he cease to
fare on with all diligence, till he came within half a day's
journey of the city and bade his troops encamp in [a place there
called] the Green Meadow. So they pitched the tents there, till
the country was straitened with them, and set up for the king a
pavilion of green brocade, broidered with pearls and jewels.

When El Aziz had sat awhile, he summoned the mamelukes of his son
El Abbas, and they were five-and-twenty in number, besides half a
score slave-girls, as they were moons, five of whom the king had
brought with him and other five he had left with the prince's
mother. When the mamelukes came before him, he cast over each of
them a mantle of green brocade and bade them mount like horses of
one and the same fashion and enter Baghdad and enquire concerning
their lord El Abbas. So they entered the city and passed through
the [streets and] markets, and there abode in Baghdad nor old man
nor boy but came forth to gaze on them and divert himself with
the sight of their beauty and grace and the goodliness of their
aspect and of their clothes and horses, for that they were even
as moons. They gave not over going till they came to the royal
palace, where they halted, and the king looked at them and seeing
their beauty and the goodliness of their apparel and the
brightness of their faces, said, "Would I knew of which of the
tribes these are!" And he bade the eunuch bring him news of them.

So he went out to them and questioned them of their case,
whereupon, "Return to thy lord," answered they, "and question him
of Prince El Abbas, if he have come unto him, for that he left
his father King El Aziz a full-told year agone, and indeed
longing for him troubleth the king and he hath levied a part of
his army and his guards and is come forth in quest of his son, so
haply he may light upon tidings of him." Quoth the eunuch, "Is
there amongst you a brother of his or a son?" "Nay, by Allah!"
answered they. "But we are all his mamelukes and the boughten of
his money, and his father El Aziz hath despatched us to make
enquiry of him. So go thou to thy lord and question him of the
prince and return to us with that which he shall answer you."
"And where is King El Aziz?" asked the eunuch; and they replied,
"He is encamped in the Green Meadow."[FN#96]

The eunuch returned and told the king, who said, "Indeed, we have
been neglectful with regard to El Abbas. What shall be our excuse
with the king? By Allah, my soul misdoubted me that the youth was
of the sons of the kings!" The Lady Afifeh, his wife, saw him
lamenting for [his usage of] El Abbas and said to him, "O king,
what is it thou regrettest with this exceeding regret?" Quoth he,
"Thou knowest the stranger youth, who gave us the rubies?"
"Assuredly," answered she; and he said, "Yonder youths, who have
halted in the palace court, are his mamelukes, and his father
King El Aziz, lord of Yemen, hath pitched his camp in the Green
Meadow; for he is come with his army to seek him, and the number
of his troops is [four-and-] twenty thousand men." [Then he went
out from her], and when she heard his words, she wept sore for
him and had compassion on his case and sent after him,
counselling him to send for the mamelukes and lodge them [in the
palace] and entertain them.

The king gave ear to her counsel and despatching the eunuch for
the mamelukes, assigned them a lodging and said to them, "Have
patience, till the king give you tidings of your lord El Abbas."
When they heard his words, their eyes ran over with plenteous
tears, of their much longing for the sight of their lord. Then
the king bade the queen enter the privy chamber[FN#97] and let
down the curtain[FN#98] [before the door thereof]. So she did
this and he summoned them to his presence. When they stood before
him, they kissed the earth, to do him worship, and showed forth
their breeding[FN#99] and magnified his dignity. He bade them
sit, but they refused, till he conjured them by their lord El
Abbas. So they sat down and he caused set before them food of
various kinds and fruits and sweetmeats. Now within the Lady
Afifeh's palace was an underground way communicating with the
palace of the princess Mariyeh. So the queen sent after her and
she came to her, whereupon she made her stand behind the curtain
and gave her to know that El Abbas was the king's son of Yemen
and that these were his mamelukes. Moreover, she told her that
the prince's father had levied his troops and was come with his
army in quest of him and that he had pitched his camp in the
Green Meadow and despatched these mamelukes to make enquiry of
their lord. So Mariyeh abode looking upon them and upon their
beauty and grace and the goodliness of their apparel, till they
had eaten their fill of food and the tables were removed;
whereupon the king recounted to them the story of El Abbas and
they took leave of him and went away.

As for the princess Mariyeh, when she returned to her palace, she
bethought herself concerning the affair of El Abbas, repenting
her of that which she had done, and the love of him took root in
her heart. So, when the night darkened upon her, she dismissed
all her women and bringing out the letters, to wit, those which
El Abbas had written, fell to reading them and weeping. She gave
not over weeping her night long, and when she arose in the
morning, she called a damsel of her slave-girls, Shefikeh by
name, and said to her, "O damsel, I purpose to discover to thee
mine affair, and I charge thee keep my secret; to wit, I would
have thee betake thyself to the house of the nurse, who used to
serve me, and fetch her to me, for that I have grave occasion for
her."

Accordingly, Shefikeh went out and repairing to the nurse's
house, found her clad in apparel other[FN#100] than that which
she had been wont to wear aforetime. So she saluted her and said
to her, "Whence hadst thou this dress, than which there is no
goodlier?" "O Shefikeh," answered the nurse, "thou deemest that I
have gotten[FN#101] no good save of thy mistress; but, by Allah,
had I endeavoured for her destruction, I had done [that which was
my right], for that she did with me what thou knowest[FN#102] and
bade the eunuch beat me, without offence of me committed;
wherefore do thou tell her that he, on whose behalf I bestirred
myself with her, hath made me quit of her and her humours, for
that he hath clad me in this habit and given me two hundred and
fifty dinars and promised me the like thereof every year and
charged me serve none of the folk."

Quoth Shefikeh, "My mistress hath occasion for thee; so come thou
with me and I will engage to restore thee to thy dwelling in weal
and safety." But the nurse answered, saying, "Indeed, her palace
is become forbidden[FN#103] to me and never again will I enter
therein, for that God (extolled be His perfection and exalted be
He!) of His favour and bounty hath rendered me independent of
her." So Shefikeh returned to her mistress and acquainted her
with the nurse's words and that wherein she was of affluence;
whereupon Mariyeh confessed the unseemliness of her dealing with
her and repented, whenas repentance profited her not; and she
abode in that her case days and nights, whilst the fire of
longing flamed in her heart.

Meanwhile, El Abbas abode with his cousin Akil twenty days, after
which he made ready for the journey to Baghdad and letting bring
the booty he had gotten of King Zuheir, divided it between
himself and his cousin. Then he set out for Baghdad, and when he
came within two days' journey of the city, he called his servant
Aamir and bade him mount his charger and forego him with the
baggage-train and the cattle. So Aamir [took horse and] fared on
till he came to Baghdad, and the season of his entering was the
first of the day; nor was there little child or hoary old man in
the city but came forth to divert himself with gazing on those
flocks and herds and upon the goodliness of those slave-girls,
and their wits were amazed at what they saw. Presently the news
reached the king that the young man El Abbas, who had gone forth
from him, was come back with herds and rarities and slaves and a
mighty host and had taken up his sojourn without the city, whilst
his servant Aamir was presently come to Baghdad, so he might make
ready dwelling- places for his lord, wherein he should take up
his abode.

When the king heard these tidings of Aamir, he sent for him and
let bring him before him; and when he entered his presence, he
kissed the earth and saluted and showed forth his breeding and
greeted him with the goodliest of compliments. The king bade him
raise his head and questioned him of his lord El Abbas; whereupon
he acquainted him with his tidings and told him that which had
betided him with King Zuheir and of the army that was become at
his commandment and of the spoil that he had gotten. Moreover, he
gave him to know that El Abbas was coming on the morrow, and with
him more than fifty thousand cavaliers, obedient to his
commandment. When the king heard his speech, he bade decorate
Baghdad and commanded [the inhabitants] to equip themselves with
the richest of their apparel, in honour of the coming of El
Abbas. Moreover, he sent to give King El Aziz the glad tidings of
his son's return and acquainted him with that which he had heard
from the prince's servant.

When the news reached El Aziz, he rejoiced with an exceeding joy
in the coming of his son and straightway took horse, he and all
his army, what while the trumpets sounded and the musicians
played, that the earth quaked and Baghdad also trembled, and it
was a notable day. When Mariyeh beheld all this, she repented
with the uttermost of repentance of that which she had wroughten
against El Abbas his due and the fires still raged in her vitals.
Meanwhile, the troops[FN#104] sallied forth of Baghdad and went
out to meet those of El Abbas, who had halted in a meadow called
the Green Island. When he espied the approaching host, he knew
not what they were; so he strained his sight and seeing horsemen
coming and troops and footmen, said to those about him, "Among
yonder troops are ensigns and banners of various kinds; but, as
for the great green standard that ye see, it is the standard of
my father, the which is reserved [unto him and never displayed
save] over his head, and [by this] I know that he himself is come
out in quest of me." And he was certified of this, he and his
troops.

[So he fared on towards them] and when he drew near unto them, he
knew them and they knew him; whereupon they lighted down from
their horses and saluting him, gave him joy of his safety and the
folk flocked to him. When he came to his father, they embraced
and greeted each other a long time, whilst neither of them
availed unto speech, for the greatness of that which betided them
of joy in reunion. Then El Abbas bade the folk mount; so they
mounted and his mamelukes surrounded him and they entered Baghdad
on the most magnificent wise and in the highest worship and
glory.

The wife of the shopkeeper, to wit, the nurse, came out, with the
rest of those who came out, to divert herself with gazing upon
the show, and when she saw El Abbas and beheld his beauty and the
goodliness of his army and that which he had brought back with
him of herds and slaves and slave-girls and mamelukes, she
improvised and recited the following verses:

El Abbas from Akil his stead is come again; Prize hath he made of
     steeds and many a baggage-train;
Yea, horses hath he brought, full fair of shape and hue, Whose
     collars, anklet-like, ring to the bridle-rein.
Taper of hoofs and straight of stature, in the dust They prance,
     as like a flood they pour across the plain;
And on their saddles perched are warriors richly clad, That with
     their hands do smite on kettle-drums amain.
Couched are their limber spears, right long and lithe of point,
     Keen- ground and polished sheer, amazing wit and brain.
Who dares with them to cope draws death upon himself; Yea, of the
     deadly lance incontinent he's slain.
Come, then, companions mine, rejoice with me and say, "All hail
     to thee, O friend, and welcome fair and fain!"
For whoso doth rejoice in meeting him shall have Largesse and
     gifts galore at his dismounting gain.

When the troops entered Baghdad, each of them alighted in his
pavilion, whilst El Abbas encamped apart in a place near the
Tigris and commanded to slaughter for the troops, each day, that
which should suffice them of oxen and sheep and bake them bread
and spread the tables. So the folk ceased not to come to him and
eat of his banquet. Moreover, all the people of the country came
to him with presents and rarities and he requited them many times
the like of their gifts, so that the lands were filled with his
tidings and the report of him was bruited abroad among the folk
of the deserts and the cities.

Then, when he rode to his house that he had bought, the
shopkeeper and his wife came to him and gave him joy of his
safety; whereupon he ordered them three swift thoroughbred horses
and ten dromedaries and an hundred head of sheep and clad them
both in sumptuous dresses of honour. Then he chose out ten
slave-girls and ten black slaves and fifty horses and the like
number of she- camels and three hundred head of sheep, together
with twenty ounces of musk and as many of camphor, and sent all
this to the King of Baghdad. When this came to Ins ben Cais, his
wit fled for joy and he was perplexed wherewithal to requite him.
Moreover, El Abbas gave gifts and largesse and bestowed dresses
of honour upon great and small, each after the measure of his
station, save only Mariyeh; for unto her he sent nothing.

This was grievous to the princess and it irked her sore that he
should not remember her; so she called her slave- girl Shefikeh
and said to her, "Go to El Abbas and salute him and say to him,
'What hindereth thee from sending my lady Mariyeh her part of thy
booty?'" So Shefikeh betook herself to him and when she came to
his door, the chamberlains refused her admission, until they
should have gotten her leave and permission. When she entered, El
Abbas knew her and knew that she had somewhat of speech [with
him]; so he dismissed his mamelukes and said to her, "What is
thine errand, O handmaid of good?" "O my lord," answered she, "I
am a slave-girl of the Princess Mariyeh, who kisseth thy hands
and commendeth her salutation to thee. Indeed, she rejoiceth in
thy safety and reproacheth thee for that thou breakest her heart,
alone of all the folk, for that thy largesse embraceth great and
small, yet hast thou not remembered her with aught of thy booty.
Indeed, it is as if thou hadst hardened thy heart against her."
Quoth he, "Extolled be the perfection of him who turneth hearts!
By Allah, my vitals were consumed with the love of her
[aforetime] and of my longing after her, I came forth to her from
my native land and left my people and my home and my wealth, and
it was with her that began the hardheartedness and the cruelty.
Nevertheless, for all this, I bear her no malice and needs must I
send her somewhat whereby she may remember me; for that I abide
in her land but a few days, after which I set out for the land of
Yemen."

Then he called for a chest and bringing out thence a necklace of
Greek handiwork, worth a thousand dinars, wrapped it in a mantle
of green silk, set with pearls and jewels and inwrought with red
gold, and joined thereto two caskets of musk and ambergris.
Moreover, he put off upon the girl a mantle of Greek silk,
striped with gold, wherein were divers figures and semblants
depictured, never saw eyes its like. Therewithal the girl's wit
fled for joy and she went forth from his presence and returned to
her mistress. When she came in to her, she acquainted her with
that which she had seen of El Abbas and that which was with him
of servants and attendants and [set out to her] the loftiness of
his station and gave her that which was with her.

Mariyeh opened the mantle, and when she saw that necklace, and
indeed the place was illumined with the lustre thereof, she
looked at her slave-girl and said to her, "By Allah, O Shefikeh,
one look at him were liefer to me than all that my hand
possesseth! Would I knew what I shall do, whenas Baghdad is empty
of him and I hear no tidings of him!" Then she wept and calling
for inkhorn* and paper and pen of brass, wrote the following
verses:

Still do I yearn, whilst passion's fire flames in my liver aye;
     For parting's shafts have smitten me and done my strength
     away.
Oft for thy love as I would be consoled, my yearning turns
     To-thee- ward still and my desires my reason still gainsay.
My transports I conceal for fear of those thereon that spy; Yet
     down my cheeks the tears course still and still my case
     bewray.
No rest is there for me, no life wherein I may delight, Nor
     pleasant meat nor drink avails to please me, night or day.
To whom save thee shall I complain, of whom relief implore, Whose
     image came to visit me, what while in dreams I lay?
Reproach me not for what I did, but be thou kind to one Who's
     sick of body and whose heart is wasted all away.
The fire of love-longing I hide; severance consumeth me, A thrall
     of care, for long desire to wakefulness a prey.
Midmost the watches of the night I see thee, in a dream; A lying
     dream, for he I love my love doth not repay.
Would God thou knewest that for love of thee which I endure! It
     hath indeed brought down on me estrangement and dismay.
Read thou my writ and apprehend its purport, for my case This is
     and fate hath stricken me with sorrows past allay.
Know, then, the woes that have befall'n a lover, neither grudge
     Her secret to conceal, but keep her counsel still, I pray.

Then she folded the letter and giving it to her slave-girl, bade
her carry it to El Abbas and bring back his answer thereto.
Accordingly, Shefikeh took the letter and carried it to the
prince, after the doorkeeper had sought leave of him to admit
her. When she came in to him, she found with him five damsels, as
they were moons, clad in [rich] apparel and ornaments; and when
he saw her, he said to her, "What is thine occasion, O handmaid
of good?" So she put out her hand to him with the letter, after
she had kissed it, and he bade one of his slave-girls receive it
from her. Then he took it from the girl and breaking it open,
read it and apprehended its purport; whereupon "We are God's and
to Him we return!" exclaimed he and calling for ink- horn and
paper, wrote the following verses:

I marvel for that to my love I see thee now incline, What time my
     heart, indeed, is fain to turn away from thine.
Whilere, the verses that I made it was thy wont to flout, Saying,
     "No passer by the way[FN#105] hath part in me or mine.
How many a king to me hath come, of troops and guards ensued, And
     Bactrian camels brought with him, in many a laden line,
And dromedaries, too, of price and goodly steeds and swift Of
     many a noble breed, yet found no favour in my eyne!"
Then, after them came I to thee and union did entreat And unto
     thee set forth at length my case and my design;
Yea, all my passion and desire and love-longing in verse, As
     pearls in goodly order strung it were, I did enshrine.
Yet thou repaidst me with constraint, rigour and perfidy, To
     which no lover might himself on any wise resign.
How many a bidder unto love, a secret-craving wight, How many a
     swain, complaining, saith of destiny malign,
"How many a cup with bitterness o'erflowing have I quaffed! I
     make my moan of woes, whereat it boots not to repine."
Quoth thou, "The goodliest of things is patience and its use: Its
     practice still mankind doth guide to all that's fair and
     fine."
Wherefore fair patience look thou use, for sure 'tis
     praiseworthy; Yea, and its issues evermore are blessed and
     benign;
And hope thou not for aught from me, who reck not with a folk To
     mix, who may with abjectness infect my royal line.
This is my saying; apprehend its purport, then, and know I may in
     no wise yield consent to that thou dost opine.

Then he folded the letter and sealing it, delivered it to the
damsel, who took it and carried it to her mistress. When the
princess read the letter and apprehended its contents, she said,
"Meseemeth he recalleth to me that which I did aforetime." Then
she called for inkhorn and paper and wrote the following verses:

Me, till I stricken was therewith, to love thou didst excite, And
     with estrangement now, alas! heap'st sorrows on my spright.
The sweet of slumber after thee I have forsworn; indeed The loss
     of thee hath smitten me with trouble and affright.
How long shall I, in weariness, for this estrangement pine, What
     while the spies of severance[FN#106] do watch me all the
     night?
My royal couch have I forsworn, sequestering myself From all, and
     have mine eyes forbid the taste of sleep's delight.
Thou taught'st me what I cannot bear; afflicted sore am I; Yea,
     thou hast wasted me away with rigour and despite.
Yet, I conjure thee, blame me not for passion and desire, Me whom
     estrangement long hath brought to sick and sorry plight.
Sore, sore doth rigour me beset, its onslaughts bring me near
     Unto the straitness of the grave, ere in the shroud I'm
     dight.
So be thou kind to me, for love my body wasteth sore, The thrall
     of passion I'm become its fires consume me quite.

Mariyeh folded the letter and gave it to Shefikeh, bidding her
carry it to El Abbas. So she took it and going with it to his
door, would have entered; but the chamberlains and serving-men
forbade her, till they had gotten her leave from the prince. When
she went in to him, she found him sitting in the midst of the
five damsels aforesaid, whom his father had brought him. So she
gave him the letter and he took it and read it. Then he bade one
of the damsels, whose name was Khefifeh and who came from the
land of China, tune her lute and sing upon the subject of
separation. So she came forward and tuning the lute, played
thereon in four-and-twenty modes; after which she returned to the
first mode and sang the following verses:

Upon the parting day our loves from us did fare And left us to
     endure estrangement and despair.
Whenas the burdens all were bounden on and shrill The
     camel-leader's call rang out across the air,
Fast flowed my tears; despair gat hold upon my soul And needs
     mine eyelids must the sweet of sleep forbear.
I wept, but those who spied to part us had no ruth On me nor on
     the fires that in my vitals flare.
Woe's me for one who burns for love and longing pain! Alas for
     the regrets my heart that rend and tear!
To whom shall I complain of what is in my soul, Now thou art gone
     and I my pillow must forswear?
The flames of long desire wax on me day by day And far away are
     pitched the tent-poles of my fair.
O breeze of heaven, from me a charge I prithee take And do not
     thou betray the troth of my despair;
Whenas thou passest by the dwellings of my love, Greet him for me
     with peace, a greeting debonair,
And scatter musk on him and ambergris, so long As time endures;
     for this is all my wish and care.

When the damsel had made an end of her song, El Abbas swooned
away and they sprinkled on him rose-water, mingled with musk,
till he came to himself, when he called another damsel (now there
was on her of linen and clothes and ornaments that which
beggareth description, and she was endowed with brightness and
loveliness and symmetry and perfection, such as shamed the
crescent moon, and she was a Turkish girl from the land of the
Greeks and her name was Hafizeh) and said to her, "O Hafizeh,
close thine eyes and tune thy lute and sing to us upon the days
of separation." She answered him with "Hearkening and obedience"
and taking the lute, tuned its strings and cried out from her
head,[FN#107] in a plaintive voice, and sang the following
verses:

O friends, the tears flow ever, in mockery of my pain; My heart
     is sick for sev'rance and love-longing in vain.
All wasted is my body and bowels tortured sore; Love's fire on me
     still waxeth, mine eyes with tears still rain.
Whenas the fire of passion flamed in my breast, with tears, Upon
     the day of wailing, to quench it I was fain.
Desire hath left me wasted, afflicted, sore afraid, For the spy
     knows the secret whereof I do complain.
When I recall the season of love-delight with them, The sweet of
     sleep forsakes me, my body wastes amain.
Those who our parting plotted our sev'rance still delights; The
     spies, for fearful prudence, their wish of us attain.
I fear me for my body from sickness and unrest, Lest of the fear
     of sev'rance it be betrayed and slain.

When Hafizeh had made an end of her song, El Abbas said to her,
"Well done! Indeed, thou quickenest hearts from sorrows." Then he
called another damsel of the daughters of the Medes, by name
Merjaneh, and said to her, "O Merjaneh, sing to me upon the days
of separation." "Hearkening and obedience," answered she and
improvising, sang the following verses:

"Fair patience practise, for thereon still followeth content." So
     runs the rede 'mongst all that dwell in city or in tent.
How oft of dole have I made moan for love and longing pain, What
     while my body for desire in mortal peril went!
How oft I've waked, how many a cup of sorrow have I drained,
     Watching the stars of night go by, for sleepless
     languishment!
It had sufficed me, had thy grace with verses come to me; My
     expectation still on thee in the foredawns was bent.
Then was my heart by that which caused my agitation seared, And
     from mine eyelids still the tears poured down without
     relent.
Yea, nevermore I ceased from that wherewith I stricken was; My
     night with wakefulness was filled, my heart with dreariment.
But now hath Allah from my heart blotted the love of thee, After
     for constancy I'd grown a name of wonderment.
Hence on the morrow forth I fare and leave your land behind; So
     take your leave of us nor fear mishap or ill event.
Whenas in body ye from us are far removed, would God I knew who
     shall to us himself with news of you present!
And who can tell if ever house shall us together bring In union
     of life serene and undisturbed content?

When Merjaneh had made an end of her song, the prince said to
her, "Well done, O damsel! Indeed, thou sayest a thing that had
occurred to my mind and my tongue was like to speak it." Then he
signed to the fourth damsel, who was a Cairene, by name Sitt el
Husn, and bade her tune her lute and sing to him upon the [same]
subject. So she tuned her lute and sang the following verses:

Fair patience use, for ease still followeth after stress And all
     things have their time and ordinance no less.
Though Fortune whiles to thee belike may be unjust, Her seasons
     change and man's excused if he transgress.
In her revolving scheme, to bitter sweetness still Succeeds and
     things become straight, after crookedness.
Thine honour, therefore, guard and eke thy secret keep, Nor save
     to one free-born and true thy case confess.
The Lord's alternatives are these, wherewith He's wont The needy
     wretch to ply and those in sore duresse.

When El Abbas heard her verses, they pleased him and he said to
her, "Well done, O Sitt el Husn! Indeed, thou hast done away
trouble from my heart and [banished] the things that had occurred
to my mind." Then he heaved a sigh and signing to the fifth
damsel, who was from the land of the Persians and whose name was
Merziyeh (now she was the fairest of them all and the sweetest of
speech and she was like unto a splendid star, endowed with beauty
and loveliness and brightness and perfection and justness of
shape and symmetry and had a face like the new moon and eyes as
they were gazelle's eyes) and said to her, "O Merziyeh, come
forward and tune thy lute and sing to us on the [same] subject,
for indeed we are resolved upon departure to the land of Yemen."
Now this damsel had met many kings and had consorted with the
great; so she tuned her lute and sang the following verses:

May the place of my session ne'er lack thee I Oh, why, My heart's
     love, hast thou saddened my mind and mine eye?[FN#108]
By thy ransom,[FN#109] who dwellest alone in my heart, In despair
     for the loss of the loved one am I.
So, by Allah, O richest of all men in charms, Vouchsafe to a
     lover, who's bankrupt well-nigh
Of patience, thy whilom endearments again, That I never to any
     divulged, nor deny
The approof of my lord, so my stress and unease I may ban and
     mine enemies' malice defy,
Thine approof which shall clothe me in noblest attire And my rank
     in the eyes of the people raise high.

When she had made an end of her song, all who were in the
assembly wept for the daintiness of her speech and the sweetness
of her voice and El Abbas said to her, "Well done, O Merziyeh I
Indeed, thou confoundest the wits with the goodliness of thy
verses and the elegance of thy speech." All this while Shefikeh
abode gazing upon her, and when she beheld El Abbas his
slave-girls and considered the goodliness of their apparel and
the nimbleness of their wits and the elegance of their speech,
her reason was confounded. Then she sought leave of El Abbas and
returning to her mistress Mariyeh, without letter or answer,
acquainted her with his case and that wherein he was of puissance
and delight and majesty and venerance and loftiness of rank.
Moreover, she told her what she had seen of the slave-girls and
their circumstance and that which they had said and how they had
made El Abbas desireful of returning to his own country by the
recitation of verses to the sound of the strings.

When the princess heard this her slave-girl's report, she wept
and lamented and was like to depart the world. Then she clave to
her pillow and said, "O Shefikeh, I will instruct thee of
somewhat that is not hidden from God the Most High, and it is
that thou watch over me till God the Most High decree the
accomplishment of His commandment, and when my days are ended,
take thou the necklace and the mantle that El Abbas gave me and
return them to him. Indeed, I deem not he will live after me, and
if God the Most High decree against him and his days come to an
end, do thou give one charge to shroud us and bury us both in one
grave."

Then her case changed and her colour paled; and when Shefikeh saw
her mistress in this plight, she repaired to her mother and told
her that the lady Mariyeh refused meat and drink. "Since when
hath this befallen her?" asked the queen, and Shefikeh answered,
"Since yesterday;" whereat the queen was confounded and betaking
herself to her daughter, that she might enquire into her case,
found her as one dead. So she sat down at her head and Mariyeh
opened her eyes and seeing her mother sitting by her, sat up for
shamefastness before her. The queen questioned her of her case
and she said, "I entered the bath and it stupefied me and
weakened me and left an exceeding pain in my head; but I trust in
God the Most High that it will cease."

When her mother went out from her, Mariyeh fell to chiding the
damsel for that which she had done and said to her, "Verily,
death were leifer to me than this; so look thou discover not my
affair to any and I charge thee return not to the like of this
fashion." Then she swooned away and lay awhile without life, and
when she came to herself, she saw Shefikeh weeping over her;
whereupon she took the necklace from her neck and the mantle from
her body and said to the damsel, "Lay them in a napkin of damask
and carry them to El Abbas and acquaint him with that wherein I
am for the persistence of estrangement and the effects of
forbiddance." So Shefikeh took them and carried them to El Abbas,
whom she found in act to depart, for that he was about to take
horse for Yemen. She went in to him and gave him the napkin and
that which was therein, and when he opened it and saw what it
contained, to wit, the mantle and the necklace, his vexation was
excessive and his eyes were distorted, [so that the whites
thereof appeared] and his rage was manifest in them.

When Shefikeh saw that which betided him, she came forward and
said to him, "O bountiful lord, indeed my mistress returneth not
the mantle and the necklace despitefully; but she is about to
depart the world and thou hast the best right to them." "And what
is the cause of this?" asked he. Quoth Shefikeh, "Thou knowest.
By Allah, never among the Arabs nor the barbarians nor among the
sons of the kings saw I a harder of heart than thou! Is it a
light matter to thee that thou troublest Mariyeh's life and
causest her mourn for herself and depart the world on account
of[FN#110] thy youth? Indeed, thou wast the cause of her
acquaintance with thee and now she departeth the world on thine
account, she whose like God the Most High hath not created among
the daughters of the kings."

When El Abbas heard these words from the damsel, his heart irked
him for Mariyeh and her case was grievous to him; so he said to
Shefikeh, "Canst thou avail to bring me in company with her, so
haply I may discover her affair and allay that which aileth her?"
"Yes," answered the damsel, "I can do that, and thine will be the
bounty and the favour." So he arose and followed her, and she
forewent him, till they came to the palace. Then she [opened and]
locked behind them four-and-twenty doors and made them fast with
bolts; and when he came to Mariyeh, he found her as she were the
setting sun, cast down upon a rug of Taifi leather,[FN#111] among
cushions stuffed with ostrich down, and not a limb of her
quivered. When her maid saw her in this plight, she offered to
cry out; but El Abbas said to her, "Do it not, but have patience
till we discover her affair; and if God the Most High have
decreed the ending of her days, wait till thou have opened the
doors to me and I have gone forth. Then do what seemeth good to
thee."

So saying, he went up to the princess and laying his hand upon
her heart, found it fluttering like a doveling and the life yet
clinging to[FN#112] her bosom. So he laid his hand upon her
cheek, whereupon she opened her eyes and beckoning to her maid,
signed to her, as who should say, "Who is this that treadeth my
carpet and transgresseth against me?"[FN#113] "O my lady,"
answered Shefikeh, "this is Prince El Abbas, for whose sake thou
departest the world." When Mariyeh heard speak of El Abbas, she
raised her hand from under the coverlet and laying it upon his
neck, inhaled his odour awhile. Then she sat up and her colour
returned to her and they sat talking till a third part of the
night was past.

Presently, the princess turned to her maid and bade her fetch
them somewhat of food and sweetmeats and dessert and fruits. So
Shefikeh brought what she desired and they ate and drank [and
abode on this wise] without lewdness, till the night departed and
the day came. Then said El Abbas, "Indeed, the day is come. Shall
I go to my father and bid him go to thy father and seek thee of
him in marriage for me, in accordance with the Book of God the
Most High and the Institutes of His Apostle (whom may He bless
and keep!) so we may not enter into transgression?" And Mariyeh
answered, saying, "By Allah, it is well counselled of thee!" So
he went away to his lodging and nought befell between them; and
when the day lightened, she improvised and recited the following
verses:

O friends, the East wind waxes, the morning draweth near; A
     plaintive voice[FN#114] bespeaks me and I rejoice to hear.
Up, to our comrade's convent, that we may visit him And drink of
     wine more subtle than dust;[FN#115] our trusty fere
Hath spent thereon his substance, withouten stint; indeed, In his
     own cloak he wrapped it, he tendered it so dear.[FN#116]
Whenas its jar was opened, the singers prostrate fell In worship
     of its brightness, it shone so wonder-clear.
The priests from all the convent came flocking onto it: With
     cries of joy and welcome their voices they did rear.
We spent the night in passing the cup, my mates and I, Till in
     the Eastward heaven the day-star did appear.
No sin is there in drinking of wine, for it affords All that's
     foretold[FN#117] of union and love and happy cheer.
O morn, our loves that sunder'st, a sweet and easeful life Thou
     dost for me prohibit, with thy regard austere.
Be gracious, so our gladness may be fulfilled with wine And we of
     our beloved have easance, without fear.
The best of all religions your love is, for in you Are love and
     life made easeful, untroubled and sincere.

Meanwhile, El Abbas betook himself to his father's camp, which
was pitched in the Green Meadow, by the side of the Tigris, and
none might make his way between the tents, for the much
interlacement of the tent-ropes. When the prince reached the
first of the tents, the guards and servants came out to meet him
from all sides and escorted him till he drew near the
sitting-place of his father, who knew of his coming. So he issued
forth of his pavilion and coming to meet his son, kissed him and
made much of him. Then they returned together to the royal
pavilion and when they had seated themselves and the guards had
taken up their station in attendance on them, the king said to El
Abbas, "O my son, make ready thine affair, so we may go to our
own land, for that the folk in our absence are become as they
were sheep without a shepherd." El Abbas looked at his father and
wept till he swooned away, and when he recovered from his swoon,
he improvised and recited the following verses:

I clipped her[FN#118] in mine arms and straight grew drunken with
     the scent Of a fresh branch that had been reared in
     affluence and content.
'Twas not of wine that I had drunk; her mouth's sweet honeyed
     dews It was intoxicated me with bliss and ravishment.
Upon the table of her cheek beauty hath writ, "Alack, Her charms!
     'Twere well thou refuge sought'st with God
     incontinent."[FN#119]
Since thou hast looked on her, mine eye, be easy, for by God Nor
     mote nor ailment needst thou fear nor evil accident.
Beauty her appanage is grown in its entirety, And for this cause
     all hearts must bow to her arbitrament.
If with her cheek and lustre thou thyself adorn,[FN#120] thou'lt
     find But chrysolites and gold, with nought of baser metal
     blent.
When love-longing for her sweet sake I took upon myself, The
     railers flocked to me anon, on blame and chiding bent;
But on no wise was I affrayed nor turned from love of her; So let
     the railer rave of her henceforth his heart's content.
By God, forgetfulness of her shall never cross my mind, What
     while I wear the bonds of life nor when of death they're
     rent
An if I live, in love of her I'll live, and if I die Of love and
     longing for her sight, O rare! O excellent!

When El Abbas had made an end of his verses, his father said to
him, "I seek refuge for thee with God, O my son! Hast thou any
want unto which thou availest not, so I may endeavour for thee
therein and lavish my treasures in quest thereof?" "O father
mine," answered El Abbas, "I have, indeed, an urgent want, on
account whereof I came forth of my native land and left my people
and my home and exposed myself to perils and stresses and became
an exile from my country, and I trust in God that it may be
accomplished by thine august endeavour." "And what is thy want?"
asked the king. Quoth El Abbas, "I would have thee go and demand
me in marriage Mariyeh, daughter of the King of Baghdad, for that
my heart is distraught with love of her." And he recounted to his
father his story from first to last.

When the king heard this from his son, he rose to his feet and
calling for his charger of state, took horse with four-and-twenty
amirs of the chief officers of his empire. Then he betook himself
to the palace of the King of Baghdad, who, when he saw him
coming, bade his chamberlains open the doors to him and going
down himself to meet him, received him with all worship and
hospitality and entreated him with the utmost honour. Moreover,
he carried him [and his suite] into the palace and causing make
ready for them carpets and cushions, sat down upon a chair of
gold, with traverses of juniper- wood, set with pearls and
jewels. Then he bade bring sweetmeats and confections and
odoriferous flowers and commanded to slaughter four-and-twenty
head of sheep and the like of oxen and make ready geese and
fowls, stuffed and roasted, and pigeons and spread the tables;
nor was it long before the meats were set on in dishes of gold
and silver. So they ate till they had enough and when they had
eaten their fill, the tables were removed and the wine-service
set on and the cups and flagons ranged in order, whilst the
mamelukes and the fair slave- girls sat down, with girdles of
gold about their middles, inlaid with all manner pearls and
diamonds and emeralds and rubies and other jewels. Moreover, the
king bade fetch the musicians; so there presented themselves
before him a score of damsels, with lutes and psalteries and
rebecks, and smote upon instruments of music, on such wise that
they moved the assembly to delight.

Then said El Aziz to the King of Baghdad, "I would fain speak a
word to thee; but do thou not exclude from us those who are
present. If thou consent unto my wish, that which is ours shall
be thine and that which is incumbent on thee shall be incumbent
on us,[FN#121] and we will be to thee a mighty aid against all
enemies and opposites." Quoth Ins ben Cais, "Say what thou wilt,
O King, for indeed thou excellest in speech and attainest [the
mark] in that which them sayest" So El Aziz said to him," I
desire that thou give thy daughter Mariyeh in marriage to my son
El Abbas, for thou knowest that wherewithal he is gifted of
beauty and loveliness and brightness and perfection and how he
beareth himself in the frequentation of the valiant and his
constancy in the stead of smiting and thrusting." "By Allah, O
king," answered Ins ben Cais, "of my love for Mariyeh, I have
appointed her disposal to be in her own hand; wherefore,
whomsoever she chooseth of the folk, I will marry her to him."

Then he arose and going in to his daughter, found her mother with
her; so he set out to them the case and Mariyeh said, "O father
mine, my wish is subject unto[FN#122] thy commandment and my will
ensueth thy will; so whatsoever thou choosest, I am still
obedient unto thee and under thy dominion." Therewithal the King
knew that Mariyeh inclined unto El Abbas; so he returned
forthright to King El Aziz and said to him, "May God amend the
King! Verily, the occasion is accomplished and there is no
opposition unto that which thou commandest" Quoth El Aziz, "By
God's leave are occasions accomplished. How deemest thou, O King,
of fetching El Abbas and drawing up the contract of marriage
between Mariyeh and him?" And Ins ben Cais answered, saying,
"Thine be it to decide."

So El Aziz sent after his son and acquainted him with that which
had passed; whereupon El Abbas called for four-and-twenty males
and half a score horses [and as many camels] and loaded the mules
with pieces of silk and rags of leather and boxes of camphor and
musk and the camels [and horses] with chests of gold and silver.
Moreover, he took the richest of the stuffs and wrapping them in
pieces of gold-striped silk, laid them on the heads of porters,
and they fared on with the treasures till they reached the King
of Baghdad's palace, whereupon all who were present dismounted in
honour of El Abbas and escorting him to the presence of King Ins
ben Cais, displayed unto the latter all that they had with them
of things of price. The king bade carry all this into the harem
and sent for the Cadis and the witnesses, who drew up the
contract and married Mariyeh to Prince El Abbas, whereupon the
latter commanded to [slaughter] a thousand head of sheep and five
hundred buffaloes. So they made the bride-feast and bade thereto
all the tribes of the Arabs, Bedouins and townsfolk, and the
tables abode spread for the space of ten days.

Then El Abbas went in to Mariyeh in a happy and praiseworthy
hour[FN#123] and found her an unpierced pearl and a goodly filly
that had never been mounted; wherefore he rejoiced and was glad
and made merry, and care and sorrow ceased from him and his life
was pleasant and trouble departed and he abode with her in the
gladsomest of case and in the most easeful of life, till seven
days were past, when King El Aziz determined to set out and
return to his kingdom and bade his son seek leave of his
father-in-law to depart with his wife to his own country. [So El
Abbas bespoke King Ins of this] and he granted him the leave he
sought; whereupon he chose out a red camel, taller[FN#124] than
the [other] camels, and mounting Mariyeh in a litter thereon,
loaded it with apparel and ornaments.

Then they spread the ensigns and the standards, whilst the drums
beat and the trumpets sounded, and set out upon the homeward
journey. The King of Baghdad rode forth with them and brought
them three days' journey on their way, after which he took leave
of them and returned with his troops to Baghdad. As for King El
Aziz and his son, they fared on night and day and gave not over
going till there abode but three days' journey between them and
Yemen, when they despatched three men of the couriers to the
prince's mother [to acquaint her with their return], safe and
laden with spoil, bringing with them Mariyeh, the king's daughter
of Baghdad. When the queen-mother heard this, her wit fled for
joy and she adorned El Abbas his slave-girls after the goodliest
fashion. Now he had ten slave-girls, as they were moons, whereof
his father had carried five with him to Baghdad, as hath
aforetime been set out, and other five abode with his mother.
When the dromedary-posts[FN#125] came, they were certified of the
approach of El Abbas, and when the sun rose and their standards
appeared, the prince's mother came out to meet her son; nor was
there great or small, old man or infant, but went forth that day
to meet the king.

The drums of glad tidings beat and they entered in the utmost of
worship and magnificence. Moreover, the tribes heard of them and
the people of the towns and brought them the richest of presents
and the costliest of rarities and the prince's mother rejoiced
with an exceeding joy. Then they slaughtered beasts and made
mighty bride-feasts to the people and kindled fires, that it
might be visible afar to townsman [and Bedouin] that this was the
house of the guest-meal and the wedding, festival, to the intent
that, if any passed them by, [without partaking of their
hospitality], it should be of his own fault[FN#126] So the folk
came to them from all parts and quarters and on this wise they
abode days and months.

Then the prince's mother bade fetch the five slave-girls to that
assembly; whereupon they came and the ten damsels foregathered.
The queen seated five of them on her son's right hand and other
five on his left and the folk assembled about them. Then she bade
the five who had remained with her speak forth somewhat of verse,
so they might entertain therewith the assembly and that El Abbas
might rejoice therein. Now she had clad them in the richest of
raiment and adorned them with trinkets and ornaments and
wroughten work of gold and silver and collars of gold, set with
pearls and jewels. So they came forward, with harps and lutes and
psalteries and recorders and other instruments of music before
them, and one of them, a damsel who came from the land of China
and whose name was Baoutheh, advanced and tightened the strings
of her lute. Then she cried out from the top of her head[FN#127]
and improvising, sang the following verses:

Unto its pristine lustre your land returned and more, Whenas ye
     came, dispelling the gloom that whiles it wore.
Our stead, that late was desert, grew green and eke our trees,
     That barren were, grew loaded with ripened fruits galore.
Yea, to the earth that languished for lack of rain, the clouds
     Were bounteous; so it flourished and plenteous harvests
     bore;
And troubles, too, forsook us, who tears like dragons' blood, O
     lordings, for your absence had wept at every pore.
Indeed, your long estrangement hath caused my bowels yearn. Would
     God I were a servant in waiting at your door!

When she had made an end of her song, all who were present were
moved to delight and El Abbas rejoiced in this. Then he bade the
second damsel sing somewhat on the like subject. So she came
forward and tuning the strings of her harp, which was of balass
ruby,[FN#128] warbled a plaintive air and improvising, sang the
following verses;

The absent ones' harbinger came us unto With tidings of those
     who[FN#129] had caused us to rue.
"My soul be thy ransom,"quoth I,"for thy grace! Indeed, to the
     oath that thou swor'st thou wast true."
On the dear nights of union, in you was our joy, But afflicted
     were we since ye bade us adieu.
You swore you'd be faithful to us and our love, And true to your
     oath and your troth-plight were you;
And I to you swore that a lover I was; God forbid that with
     treason mine oath I ensue!
Yea, "Welcome! Fair welcome to those who draw near!" I called out
     aloud, as to meet you I flew.
The dwellings, indeed, one and all, I adorned, Bewildered and
     dazed with delight at your view;
For death in your absence to us was decreed; But, when ye came
     back, we were quickened anew.

When she had made an end of her verses, El Abbas bade the third
damsel, who came from Samarcand of the Persians and whose name
was Rummaneh, sing, and she answered with "Hearkening and
obedience." Then she took the psaltery and crying out from the
midst of her bead[FN#130] improvised and sang the following
verses:

My watering lips, that cull the rose of thy soft cheek, declare
     My basil,[FN#131] lily mine, to be the myrtles of thy hair.
Sandhill[FN#132] and down[FN#133] betwixt there blooms a yellow
     willow-flower,[FN#134] Pomegranate-blossoms[FN#135] and for
     fruits pomegranates[FN#136] that doth bear.
His eyelids' sorcery from mine eyes hath banished sleep; since he
     From me departed, nought see I except a drowsy fair.[FN#137]
He shot me with the shafts of looks launched from an
     eyebrow's[FN#138] bow; A chamberlain[FN#139] betwixt his
     eyes hath driven me to despair.
My heart belike shall his infect with softness, even as me His
     body with disease infects, of its seductive air.
Yet, if with him forgotten be the troth-plight of our loves, I
     have a king who of his grace will not forget me e'er.
His sides the tamarisk's slenderness deride, so lithe they are,
     Whence for conceit in his own charms still drunken doth he
     fare.
Whenas he runs, his feet still show like wings,[FN#140] and for
     the wind When was a rider found, except King Solomon it
     were?[FN#141]

Therewithal El Abbas smiled and her verses pleased him. Then he
bade the fourth damsel come forward and sing. Now she was from
the land of Morocco and her name was Belekhsha. So she came
forward and taking the lute and the psaltery, tightened the
strings thereof and smote thereon in many modes; then returned to
the first mode and improvising, sang the following verses:

When in the sitting-chamber we for merry-making sate, With thine
     eyes' radiance the place thou didst illuminate
And pliedst us with cups of wine, whilst from the necklace
     pearls[FN#142] A strange intoxicating bliss withal did
     circulate,
Whose subtleness might well infect the understanding folk; And
     secrets didst thou, in thy cheer, to us communicate.
Whenas we saw the cup, forthright we signed to past it round And
     sun and moon unto our eyes shone sparkling from it straight.
The curtain of delight, perforce, we've lifted through the
     friend,[FN#143] For tidings of great joy, indeed, there came
     to us of late.
The camel-leader singing came with the belov'd; our wish
     Accomplished was and we were quit of all the railers' prate.
When clear'd my sky was by the sweet of our foregathering And not
     a helper there remained to disuniting Fate,
I shut myself up with my love; no spy betwixt us was; We feared
     no enemies' despite, no envious neighbour's hate.
Life with our loves was grown serene, estrangement was at end:
     Our dear ones all delight of love vouchsafed to us elate,
Saying, "Thy fill of union take; no spy is there on us, Whom we
     should fear, nor yet reproach our gladness may abate."
Our loves are joined and cruelty at last is done away; Ay, and
     the cup of love-delight 'twixt us doth circulate.
Upon yon be the peace of God! May all prosperity, For what's
     decreed of years and lives, upon you ever wait!

When Belekhsha had made an end of her verses, all present were
moved to delight and El Abbas said to her, "Well done, O damsel!"
Then he bade the fifth damsel come forward and sing. Now she was
from the land of Syria and her name was Rihaneh; she was
surpassing of voice and when she appeared in an assembly, all
eyes were fixed upon her. So she came forward and taking the
rebeck (for that she was used to play upon [all manner]
instruments) improvised and sang the following verses:

Your coming to-me-ward, indeed, with "Welcome! fair welcome!" I
     hail. Your sight to me gladness doth bring and banisheth
     sorrow and bale;
For love with your presence grows sweet, untroubled and life is
     serene And the star of our fortune burns bright, that clouds
     in your absence did veil.
Yea, by Allah, my longing for you ne'er waneth nor passetb away;
     For your like among creatures is rare and sought for in
     mountain and vale.
Ask mine eyes whether slumber hath lit on their lids since the
     hour of your loss Or if aye on a lover they've looked. Nay,
     an ye believe not their tale,
My heart, since the leave-taking day afflicted, will tell of my
     case, And my body, for love and desire grown wasted and
     feeble and frail.
Could they who reproach me but see my sufferings, their hearts
     would relent; They'd marvel, indeed, at my case and the loss
     of my loved ones bewail.
Yea, they'd join me in pouring forth tears and help me my woes to
     lament, And like unto me they'd become all wasted and
     tortured and pale.
How long did the heart for thy love that languished with longing
     endure A burden of passion, 'neath which e'en mountains
     might totter and fail!
By Allah, what sorrows and woes to my soul for thy sake were
     decreed! My heart is grown hoar, ere eld's snows have left
     on my tresses their trail.
The fires in my vitals that rage if I did but discover to view,
     Their ardour the world to consume, from the East to the
     West, might avail.
But now unto me of my loves accomplished are joyance and cheer
     And those whom I cherish my soul with the wine of
     contentment regale.
Our Lord, after sev'rance, with them hath conjoined us, for he
     who doth good Shall ne'er disappointed abide and kindnesses
     kindness entail.

When King El Aziz heard the damsel's song, her speech and her
verses pleased him and he said to El Abbas, "O my son, verily,
these damsels are weary with long versifying, and indeed they
make us yearn after the dwellings and the homesteads with the
goodliness of their songs. Indeed, these five have adorned our
assembly with the excellence of their melodies and have done well
in that which they have said before those who are present;
wherefore we counsel thee to enfranchise them for the love of God
the Most High." Quoth El Abbas, "There is no commandment but thy
commandment;" and he enfranchised the ten damsels in the
assembly; whereupon they kissed the hands of the king and his son
and prostrated themselves in thanksgiving to God the Most High.
Then they put off that which was upon them of ornaments and
laying aside the lutes [and other] instruments of music, clave to
their houses, veiled, and went not forth.[FN#144]

As for King El Aziz, he lived after this seven years and was
admitted to the mercy of God the Most High; whereupon his son El
Abbas carried him forth to burial on such wise as beseemeth unto
kings and let make recitations and readings of the Koran, in
whole or in part, over his tomb. He kept up the mourning for his
father a full-told month, at the end of which time he sat down on
the throne of the kingship and judged and did justice and
distributed silver and gold. Moreover, he loosed all who were in
the prisons and abolished grievances and customs dues and did the
oppressed justice of the oppressor; wherefore the people prayed
for him and loved him and invoked on him endurance of glory and
kingship and length of continuance [on life] and eternity of
prosperity and happiness. Moreover, the troops submitted to him
and the hosts from all parts of the kingdom, and there came to
him presents from all the lands. The kings obeyed him and many
were his troops and his grandees, and his subjects lived with him
the most easeful and prosperous of lives.

Meanwhile, he ceased not, he and his beloved, Queen Mariyeh, in
the most delightsome of life and the pleasantest thereof, and he
was vouchsafed by her children; and indeed there befell
friendship and love between them and the longer their
companionship was prolonged, the more their love waxed, so that
they became unable to endure from each other a single hour, save
the time of his going forth to the Divan, when he would return to
her in the utterest that might be of longing. Aud on this wise
they abode in all solace and delight of life, till there came to
them the Destroyer of Delights and the Sunderer of Companies. So
extolled be the perfection of Him whose kingdom endureth for
ever, who is never heedless neither dieth nor sleepeth! This is
all that hath come down to us of their story, and so peace [be on
you!]



                SHEHRZAD AND SHEHRIYAR.[FN#145]



King Shehriyar marvelled [at this story[FN#146]] and said "By
Allah, verily, injustice slayeth its folk!"[FN#147] And he was
edified by that wherewith Shehrzad bespoke him and sought help of
God the Most High. Then said he to her, "Tell me another of thy
stories, O Shehrzad; let it be a pleasant one and this shall be
the completion of the story-telling." "With all my heart,"
answered Shehrzad. "It hath reached me, O august King, that a man
once said to his fellows, 'I will set forth to you a
means[FN#148] of security[FN#149] against vexation.[FN#150] A
friend of mine once related to me and said, "We attained [whiles]
to security[FN#151] against vexation,[FN#152]and the origin of it
was other than this; to wit, it was as follows.[FN#153]



                 THE TWO KINGS AND THE VIZIER'S
                       DAUGHTERS.[FN#154]



[Aforetime] I journeyed in [many] lands and climes and towns and
visited the great cities and traversed the ways and [exposed
myself to] dangers and hardships. Towards the last of my life, I
entered a city [of the cities of China],[FN#155] wherein was a
king of the Chosroes and the Tubbas[FN#156] and the
Caesars.[FN#157] Now that city had been peopled with its
inhabitants by means of justice and equitable dealing; but its
[then] king was a tyrant, who despoiled souls and [did away]
lives; there was no wanning oneself at his fire,[FN#158] for that
indeed he oppressed the true believers and wasted the lands. Now
he had a younger brother, who was [king] in Samarcand of the
Persians, and the two kings abode a while of time, each in his
own city and place, till they yearned unto each other and the
elder king despatched his vizier in quest of his younger brother.

When the vizier came to the King of Samarcand [and acquainted him
with his errand], he submitted himself to the commandment [of his
brother and made answer] with 'Hearkening and obedience.' Then he
equipped himself and made ready for the journey and brought forth
his tents and pavilions. A while after midnight, he went in to
his wife, that he might take leave of her, and found with her a
strange man, sleeping with her in one bed. So he slew them both
and dragging them out by the feet, cast them away and set forth
incontinent on his journey. When he came to his brother's court,
the latter rejoiced in him with an exceeding joy and lodged him
in the pavilion of entertainment, [to wit, the guest-house,]
beside his own palace. Now this pavilion overlooked a garden
belonging to the elder king and there the younger brother abode
with him some days. Then he called to mind that which his wife
had done with him and remembered him of her slaughter and
bethought him how he was a king, yet was not exempt from the
vicissitudes of fortune; and this wrought upon him with an
exceeding despite, so that it caused him abstain from meat and
drink, or, if he ate anything, it profited him not.

When his brother saw him on this wise, he doubted not but that
this had betided him by reason of severance from his people and
family and said to him, 'Come, let us go forth a-hunting.' But he
refused to go with him; so the elder brother went forth to the
chase, whilst the younger abode in the pavilion aforesaid. As he
was diverting himself by looking out upon the garden from the
window of the palace, behold, he saw his brother's wife and with
her ten black slaves and as many slave-girls. Each slave laid
hold of a damsel [and swived her] and another slave [came forth
and] did the like with the queen; and when they had done their
occasions, they all returned whence they came. Therewithal there
betided the King of Samarcand exceeding wonder and solacement and
he was made whole of his malady, little by little.

After a few days, his brother returned and finding him healed of
his sickness, said to him, 'Tell me, O my brother, what was the
cause of thy sickness and thy pallor, and what is the cause of
the return of health to thee and of rosiness to thy face after
this?' So he acquainted him with the whole case and this was
grievous to him; but they concealed their affair and agreed to
leave the kingship and fare forth pilgrim-wise, wandering at a
venture, for they deemed that there had befallen none the like of
this which had befallen them. [So they went forth and wandered on
at hazard] and as they journeyed, they saw by the way a woman
imprisoned in seven chests, whereon were five locks, and sunken
in the midst of the salt sea, under the guardianship of an Afrit;
yet for all this that woman issued forth of the sea and opened
those locks and coming forth of those chests, did what she would
with the two brothers, after she had circumvented the Afrit.

When the two kings saw that woman's fashion and how she
circumvented the Afrit, who had lodged her at the bottom of the
sea, they turned back to their kingdoms and the younger betook
himself to Samarcand, whilst the elder returned to China and
established unto himself a custom in the slaughter of women, to
wit, his vizier used to bring him a girl every night, with whom
he lay that night, and when he arose in the morning, he gave her
to the vizier and bade him put her to death. On this wise he
abode a great while, whilst the people murmured and the creatures
[of God] were destroyed and the commons cried out by reason of
that grievous affair whereinto they were fallen and feared the
wrath of God the Most High, dreading lest He should destroy them
by means of this. Still the king persisted in that fashion and in
that his blameworthy intent of the killing of women and the
despoilment of the curtained ones,[FN#159] wherefore the girls
sought succour of God the Most High and complained to Him of the
tyranny of the king and of his oppressive dealing with them.

Now the king's vizier had two daughters, own sisters, the elder
of whom had read books and made herself mistress of [all]
sciences and studied the writings of the sages and the histories
of the boon-companions,[FN#160] and she was possessed of abundant
wit and knowledge galore and surpassing apprehension. She heard
that which the folk suffered from the king and his despiteous
usage of their children; whereupon compassion gat hold upon her
for them and jealousy and she besought God the Most High that He
would bring the king to renounce that his heresy,[FN#161] and God
answered her prayer. Then she took counsel with her younger
sister and said to her, 'I mean to contrive somewhat for the
liberation of the people's children; and it is that I will go up
to the king [and offer myself to him], and when I come to his
presence, I will seek thee. When thou comest in to me and the
king hath done his occasion [of me], do thou say to me, 'O my
sister, let me hear and let the king hear a story of thy goodly
stories, wherewithal we may beguile the waking hours of our
night, till we take leave of each other.' 'It is well,' answered
the other. 'Surely this contrivance will deter the king from his
heresy and thou shalt be requited with exceeding favour and
abounding recompense in the world to come, for that indeed thou
adventurest thyself and wilt either perish or attain to thy
desire.'

So she did this and fair fortune aided her and the Divine favour
was vouchsafed unto her and she discovered her intent to her
father, who forbade her therefrom, fearing her slaughter.
However, she repeated her speech to him a second and a third
time, but he consented not. Then he cited unto her a parable,
that should deter her, and she cited him a parable in answer to
his, and the talk was prolonged between them and the adducing of
instances, till her father saw that he availed not to turn her
from her purpose and she said to him, 'Needs must I marry the
king, so haply I may be a sacrifice for the children of the
Muslims; either I shall turn him from this his heresy or I shall
die.' When the vizier despaired of dissuading her, he went up to
the king and acquainted him with the case, saying, 'I have a
daughter and she desireth to give herself to the king.' Quoth the
king, 'How can thy soul consent unto this, seeing that thou
knowest I lie but one night with a girl and when I arise on the
morrow, I put her to death, and it is thou who slayest her, and
thou hast done this again and again?' 'Know, O king,' answered
the vizier, 'that I have set forth all this to her, yet consented
she not unto aught, but needs must she have thy company and still
chooseth to come to thee and present herself before thee,
notwithstanding that I have cited to her the sayings of the
sages; but she hath answered me to the contrary thereof with more
than that which I said to her.' And the king said, 'Bring her to
me this night and to-morrow morning come thou and take her and
put her to death; and by Allah, an thou slay her not, I will slay
thee and her also!'

The vizier obeyed the king's commandment and going out from
before him, [returned to his own house. When it was night, he
took his elder daughter and carried her up to the king; and when
she came into his presence,] she wept; whereupon quoth he to her,
'What causeth thee weep? Indeed, it was thou who willedst this.'
And she answered, saying, 'I weep not but for longing after my
little sister; for that, since we grew up, I and she, I have
never been parted from her till this day; so, if it please the
king to send for her, that I may look on her and take my fill of
her till the morning, this were bounty and kindness of the king.'

Accordingly, the king bade fetch the girl [and she came]. Then
there befell that which befell of his foregathering with the
elder sister, and when he went up to his couch, that he might
sleep, the younger sister said to the elder, 'I conjure thee by
Allah, O my sister, an thou be not asleep, tell us a story of thy
goodly stories, wherewithal we may beguile the watches of our
night, against morning come and parting.' 'With all my heart,'
answered she and fell to relating to her, whilst the king
listened. Her story was goodly and delightful, and whilst she was
in the midst of telling it, the dawn broke. Now the king's heart
clave to the hearing of the rest of the story; so he respited her
till the morrow, and when it was the next night, she told him a
story concerning the marvels of the lands and the extraordinary
chances of the folk, that was yet stranger and rarer than the
first. In the midst of the story, the day appeared and she was
silent from the permitted speech. So he let her live till the
ensuing night, so he might hear the completion of the story and
after put her to death.

Meanwhile, the people of the city rejoiced and were glad and
blessed the vizier's daughter, marvelling for that three days had
passed and that the king had not put her to death and exulting in
that, [as they deemed,] he had turned [from his purpose] and
would never again burden himself with blood-guiltiness against
any of the maidens of the city. Then, on the fourth night, she
related to him a still more extraordinary story, and on the fifth
night she told him anecdotes of kings and viziers and notables.
On this wise she ceased not [to do] with him [many] days and
nights, what while the king still said in himself, 'When I have
heard the end of the story, I will put her to death,' and the
people waxed ever in wonder and admiration. Moreover, the folk of
the provinces and cities heard of this thing, to wit, that the
king had turned from his custom and from that which he had
imposed upon himself and had renounced his heresy, wherefore they
rejoiced and the folk returned to the capital and took up their
abode therein, after they had departed thence; yea, they were
constant in prayer to God the Most High that He would stablish
the king in that his present case; and this," said Shehrzad, "is
the end of that which my friend related to me."

"O Shehrzad," quoth Shehriyar, "finish unto us the story that thy
friend told thee, for that it resembleth the story of a king whom
I knew; but fain would I hear that which betided the people of
this city and what they said of the affair of the king, so I may
return from that wherein I was." "With all my heart," answered
Shehrzad. "Know, O august king and lord of just judgment and
praiseworthy excellence and exceeding prowess, that, when the
folk heard that the king had put away from him his custom and
returned from that which had been his wont, they rejoiced in this
with an exceeding joy and offered up prayers for him. Then they
talked with one another of the cause of the slaughter of the
girls, and the wise said, 'They[FN#162] are not all alike, nor
are the fingers of the hand alike.'"



                SHEHRZAD AND SHEHRIYAR.[FN#163]
                          (Conclusion)



When King Shehriyar heard this story, he came to himself and
awaking from his drunkenness,[FN#164] said, "By Allah, this story
is my story and this case is my case, for that indeed I was in
wrath[FN#165] and [danger of] punishment till thou turnedst me
back from this into the right way, extolled be the perfection of
the Causer of causes and the Liberator of necks! Indeed, O
Shehrzad," continued he, "thou hast awakened me unto many things
and hast aroused me from mine ignorance."

Then said she to him, "O chief of the kings, the wise say, 'The
kingship is a building, whereof the troops are the foundation,'
and whenas the foundation is strong, the building endureth;
wherefore it behoveth the king to strengthen the foundation, for
that they say, 'Whenas the foundation is weak, the building
falleth.' On like wise it behoveth the king to care for his
troops and do justice among his subjects, even as the owner of
the garden careth for his trees and cutteth away the weeds that
have no profit in them; and so it behoveth the king to look into
the affairs of his subjects and fend off oppression from them. As
for thee, O king," continued Shehrzad, "it behoveth thee that thy
vizier be virtuous and versed in the knowledge of the affairs of
the folk and the common people; and indeed God the Most High hath
named his name[FN#166] in the history of Moses (on whom be
peace!) whenas He saith, [Quoth Moses] 'And make me a vizier of
my people, Aaron [my brother].[FN#167] Could a vizier have been
dispensed withal, Moses ben Imran had been worthier [than any of
this dispensation].[FN#168]

As for the vizier, the sultan discovereth unto him his affairs,
private and public; and know, O king, that the similitude of thee
with the people is that of the physician with the sick man; and
the condition[FN#169] of the vizier is that he be truthful in his
sayings, trustworthy in all his relations, abounding in
compassion for the folk and in tender solicitude over them.
Indeed, it is said, O king, that good troops[FN#170] are like the
druggist; if his perfumes reach thee not, thou still smallest the
sweet scent of them; and ill troops are like the black-smith; if
his sparks burn thee not, thou smellest his nauseous smell. So it
behoveth thee take unto thyself a virtuous vizier, a man of good
counsel, even as thou takest unto thee a wife displayed before
thy face, for that thou hast need of the man's righteousness for
thine own amendment,[FN#171] seeing that, if thou do righteously,
the commons will do likewise, and if thou do evil, they also will
do evil."

When the king heard this, drowsiness overcame him and he slept
and presently awaking, called for the candles. So they were
lighted and he sat down on his couch and seating Shehrzad by him,
smiled in her face. She kissed the earth before him and said, "O
king of the age and lord of the time and the day, extolled be the
perfection of [God] the Forgiving One, the Bountiful Giver, who
hath sent me unto thee, of His favour and beneficence, so I have
informed thee with longing after Paradise; for that this which
thou wast used to do was never done of any of the kings before
thee. As for women, God the Most High [in His Holy Book] maketh
mention of them, [whenas He saith, 'Verily, men who submit
[themselves unto God] and women who submit] and true-believing
men and true-believing women and obedient men and obedient women
and soothfast men and soothfast women [and long-suffering men and
long-suffering women and men who order themselves humbly and
women who order themselves humbly and charitable men and
charitable women and men who fast and women who fast] and men who
guard their privities and women who guard their privities [and
men who are constantly mindful of God and women who are
constantly mindful, God hath prepared unto them forgiveness and a
mighty recompense].[FN#172]

As for that which hath befallen thee, verily, it hath befallen
[many] kings before thee and their women have played them false,
for all they were greater of puissance than thou, yea, and
mightier of kingship and more abounding in troops. If I would, I
could relate unto thee, O king, concerning the wiles of women,
that whereof I could not make an end all my life long; and
indeed, aforetime, in all these my nights that I have passed
before thee, I have told thee [many stories and anecdotes] of the
artifices of women and of their craft and perfidy; but indeed the
things abound on me;[FN#173] wherefore, if it like thee, O king,
I will relate unto thee [somewhat] of that which befell kings of
old time of the perfidy of their women and of the calamities
which overtook them by reason of these latter." "How so?" asked
the king. "Tell on." "Hearkening and obedience,"answered
Shehrzad."It hath been told me, O king, that a man once related
to a company and spoke as follows:



              THE FAVOURITE AND HER LOVER.[FN#174]



One day, a day of excessive heat, as I stood at the door of my
house, I saw a fair woman approaching, and with her a slave-girl
carrying a parcel. They gave not over going till they came up to
me, when the woman stopped and said to me, 'Hast thou a draught
of water?' 'Yes,' answered I. 'Enter the vestibule, O my lady, so
thou mayst drink.' Accordingly, she entered and I went up into
the house and fetched two mugs of earthenware, perfumed with
musk[FN#175] and full of cold water. She took one of them and
discovered her face, [that she might drink]; whereupon I saw that
she was as the shining sun or the rising moon and said to her, 'O
my lady, wilt thou not come up into the house, so thou mayst rest
thyself till the air grow cool and after go away to thine own
place?' Quoth she, 'Is there none with thee?' 'Indeed,' answered
I, 'I am a [stranger] and a bachelor and have none belonging to
me, nor is there a living soul in the house.' And she said, 'An
thou be a stranger, thou art he in quest of whom I was going
about.'

Then she went up into the house and put off her [walking] clothes
and I found her as she were the full moon. I brought her what I
had by me of meat and drink and said to her, 'O my lady, excuse
me: this is that which is ready.' Quoth she, 'This is abundant
kindness and indeed it is what I sought' And she ate and gave the
slave-girl that which was left; after which I brought her a
casting-bottle of rose-water, mingled with musk, and she washed
her hands and abode with me till the season of afternoon-prayer,
when she brought out of the parcel that she had with her a shirt
and trousers and an upper garment[FN#176] and a kerchief
wroughten with gold and gave them to me; saying, 'Know that I am
one of the favourites of the Khalif, and we are forty favourites,
each one of whom hath a lover who cometh to her as often as she
would have him; and none is without a lover save myself,
wherefore I came forth to-day to find me a gallant and behold, I
have found thee. Thou must know that the Khalif lieth each night
with one of us, whilst the other nine-and-thirty favourites take
their ease with the nine-and-thirty men, and I would have thee be
with me on such a day, when do thou come up to the palace of the
Khalif and wait for me in such a place, till a little eunuch come
out to thee and say to thee a [certain] word, to wit, "Art thou
Sendel?" And do thou answer, "Yes," and go with him.'

Then she took leave of me and I of her, after I had strained her
to my bosom and embraced her and we had kissed awhile. So she
went away and I abode expecting the appointed day, till it came,
when I arose and went forth, intending for the trysting-place;
but a friend of mine met me by the way [and would have me go home
with him. So I accompanied him to his house] and when I came up
[into his sitting-chamber] he locked the door on me and went
forth to fetch what we might eat and drink. He was absent till
mid-day, then till the hour of afternoon-prayer, whereat I was
sore disquieted. Then he was absent till sundown, and I was like
to die of chagrin and impatience; [and indeed he returned not]
and I passed my night on wake, nigh upon death, for that the door
was locked on me, and my soul was like to depart my body on
account of the tryst.

At daybreak, my friend returned and opening the door, came in,
bringing with him meat-pottage[FN#177]