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Title: Tales from the Arabic — Volume 02
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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Tales from the Arabic — Volume 02" ***

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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 SECOND.


                         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
     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

               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


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

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


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


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

              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

                        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

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

                   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

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

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


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

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

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,


'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

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

             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


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,


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

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

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

                           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

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

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

              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,


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

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

(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

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

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
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,


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

"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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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.


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

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)


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.


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.


'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

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

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


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


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

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

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,

                  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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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
The railers for your loss pretend that I should patient be:
     'Away!' I answer them: ' 'tis I, not you, that feel the
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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.


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,
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,
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

[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

[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

[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

[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,

[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

[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.

[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

[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

[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

[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

[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

[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

[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

[FN#142] Or "came true."

[FN#143] i.e. crucify.

[FN#144] i.e. a native of the Hauran, a district East of

[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

[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

[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

[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

[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

[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

[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.

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