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Title: A Group of Eastern Romances and Stories from the Persian, Tamil and Urdu
Author: Clouston, W. A. (William Alexander)
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Group of Eastern Romances and Stories from the Persian, Tamil and Urdu" ***

                               A GROUP OF
                            EASTERN ROMANCES
                               AND STORIES
                   FROM THE PERSIAN, TAMIL, AND URDU.

                           BY W. A. CLOUSTON,

                          “BAKHTYAR NAMA,” ETC.

      “Who is he, that is now wholly overcome with idleness or
      otherwise involved in a labyrinth of worldly cares and troubles
      and discontents, that will not be much lightened in his mind
      by reading some enticing story, true or feigned?”—BURTON’S
      _Anatomy of Melancholy_.

                           PRIVATELY PRINTED.


                          EDITION—_300 Copies._




    Since you have always been warmly interested in my own works as
    well as in Oriental Literature generally, allow me to Dedicate
    to you the present collection of Eastern Tales. This I do with
    the greater pleasure, knowing that no man is more able than
    yourself to appreciate their value for the comparative study
    of popular fictions, and also to recognise their entertaining

               Believe me,

                         Yours ever faithfully,

                                               W. A. CLOUSTON.

    GLASGOW, _April, 1889_.


It has been justly remarked that “the literature of a nation furnishes
the best guide to researches into its character, manners, and opinions,
and no department of literature contains a more ample store of data
in this respect than the light and popular part consisting of tales,
romances, and dramatic pieces.” The lighter literature of mediæval Europe
affords us an insight into customs, manners, and superstitions which
have long passed away; but in “the unchanging East” the literature of
the Asiatic races, produced at the same period, continues to reflect
the sentiments and habits of the Hindús, Buddhists, and Muslims at the
present day. For among Asiatics belief in astrology, magic, divination,
good and bad omens, and evil spirits (rákshasas, dívs, jinn, etc.) who
are ever eager to injure human beings is still as prevalent as when
the oldest of their popular tales and romances were first written. The
child-like, wonder-loving Oriental mind delights in stories of the
supernatural, and the more such narratives exceed the bounds of human
possibility the greater is the pleasure derived from them;—like our own
peasantry, who believed (and not so long since) in “ghosts, fairies,
goblins, and witches,” as well as in the frequent apparition of Satan
in various forms to delude the benighted traveller, and were fond of
listening to “tales of the wild and wonderful” during the long winter

       *       *       *       *       *

The following collection comprises fairly representative Eastern tales;
some of which are of common life and have nothing in them of the
supernatural, while in others may be found all the machinery of typical
Asiatic fictions: gorgeous palaces constructed of priceless gems; wealth
galore; enchantments; magical transformations; fairies and jinn, good
and evil. Those who think that they are “sensible, practical men” (and
are therefore _not_ sensible) would not condescend to read “such a pack
of lies”; but there be men, I wot, who entertain no particularly high
opinion of themselves, to whom what poor Mr. Buckle called “the lying
spirit of Romance” is often a great solace amidst the stern realities of
work-a-day life, and, carried away in imagination to regions where all is
_as it ought to be_, they for a brief season quite forget “life and its
ills, duns and their bills.”

       *       *       *       *       *

But few words are necessary to explain the design of the present
work. I found the four romances diverting and many of their incidents
peculiarly interesting from a comparative folk-lore point of view; and
I felt encouraged by the friendly reception of my _Book of Sindibád_ to
reproduce them as a companion volume and as a farther contribution to
the study of popular fictions. It may be considered by some readers that
my notes are too copious. I know that foot-notes have been likened to
runaway knocks, calling one downstairs for nothing; but as the book is
not specially designed for Eastern scholars (who indeed require none of
the information that I could furnish), I was desirous that nothing likely
to be obscure to the ordinary reader should pass without explanation and
illustration; and since these foot-notes have considerably swelled the
bulk of the book and I shall certainly not profit by them, I trust they
will not prove altogether useless or superfluous. The abstract of the
romance of Hatim Taï—which was an afterthought—and the other matter in
the Appendix will be, I venture to think, interesting to readers “of all
ranks and ages.”

       *       *       *       *       *

It only remains to express my thanks, in the first place, to the learned
Orientalist Mr. Edward Rehatsek, of Bombay, for kindly permitting me to
reprint his translations from the Persian, with which I have taken a few
liberties, but had he revised them himself, I feel sure he would have
made very similar alterations: I much regret that want of space prevented
me from reproducing more of the shorter stories. In the next place, I
(and the reader also, if I am not mistaken) have to thank Pandit Natésa
Sástrí, of Madras, for his translation of the Tamil romance, which I
have entitled “The King and his Four Ministers.” I must also acknowledge
my great indebtedness to Dr. Chas. Rieu, of the British Museum, whose
courtesy, great as everybody knows it is, I fear was very frequently
sorely tried by my “anxious inquiries”; and to Prof. E. Fagnan, of the
École des Lettres, Algiers, and Mr. E. H. Whinfield, who has done good
work in Persian literature, for their kind investigations regarding an
inedited Turkish story-book. Private friends want no public recognition,
but I should consider myself ungrateful did I omit to place also on
record my obligations in the course of this work to Dr. David Ross,
Principal of the E.C. Training College, Glasgow, to Mr. Leonard C.
Smithers, Sheffield, and finally, but certainly not least of all, to my
old and trusty friend Mr. Hugh Shedden, Grangemouth. With so much help it
may well be thought my work might have been of higher quality than I fear
is the case; but there is an ancient saying about expecting “grapes of
thorns,” which I have made my excuse in a former work.

                                                                 W. A. C.



    INTRODUCTION                                                   xix

    HISTORY OF NASSAR                                                3
        Story of Shah Manssur                                       12
        Story of Hatim Taï and the Benevolent Lady                  46
            The Painter’s Story                                     53
            The Washerman’s Story                                   58
            The Blind Man’s Story                                   60
            The Benevolent Lady’s Story                             64
        Story of Prince Kasharkasha                                 69
    CONTINUATION OF THE HISTORY OF NASSAR                           98
        Story of the Foolish Hermit                                112
        Story of the Treacherous Vazír                             114
        Story of the Unlucky Shoayb                                118
    CONCLUSION OF THE HISTORY OF NASSAR                            137


                               CHAPTER I.

        How three brothers set out on a trading journey—How the
          youngest is cruelly abandoned by his elder brethren—How
          he meets with royal favour                               147

                               CHAPTER II.

        The hero’s quest of a throne of marvellous gems            154

                              CHAPTER III.

        The hero goes in quest of four treasure-trees, and is
          married to the Queen of the Fairies                      166

                               CHAPTER IV.

        How the hero pretended to visit Paradise, and caused all
          his enemies to perish                                    182

    THE KING AND HIS FOUR MINISTERS                                193
        Story of the Lost Camel                                    194
        Story of the Hunter and His Faithful Dog                   206
        Story of the Bráhman’s Wife and the Mungús                 211
        Story of the Faithless Wife and the Ungrateful Blind Man   215
        Story of the Wonderful Mango Fruit                         220
        Story of the Poisoned Food                                 226
        Story of the Bráhman and the Rescued Snake                 231


    Proem                                                          237

                               CHAPTER I.

        The Astrologers’ prediction at the birth of our
          hero—His Father is struck with blindness—His four
          Brothers set out in quest of the Rose of Bakáwalí,
          to restore their Father’s sight—He secretly follows
          them—They fall into the toils of Dilbar, an artful
          courtesan, who fleeces them and makes them prisoners     240

                               CHAPTER II.

        The Prince determines to rescue his Brethren—He takes
          service with a nobleman, and makes friends with
          Dilbar’s confidante, by whose instructions he turns the
          tables on Dilbar, and wins all her wealth and her own
          person—He tells Dilbar of his design to obtain the Rose
          of Bakáwalí, and she warns him of the dangers he must
          encounter—He relates the _Story of the Bráhman and the
          Lion_—Dilbar exhorts our hero before his departure       247

                              CHAPTER III.

        Showing how the Prince is helped in his quest by
          a friendly Demon—Marries Mahmúda, a beautiful
          girl—Reaches the Garden of Bakáwalí and plucks the
          Rose—Seeing the Fairy Bakáwalí asleep, falls in love
          with her—Returns with Mahmúda and rejoins Dilbar, who
          liberates his Brethren, before the three set out for
          his own country—On the way he is deprived of the Rose
          by his Brethren, who return home, and by means of the
          Flower restore their Father’s sight                      259

                               CHAPTER IV.

        Bakáwalí, on awaking, discovers that her Rose has been
          stolen, sets out in search of the thief disguised as a
          man, and takes service with the Prince’s Father, the
          King of the East—The Fairies build a grand Palace for
          the Prince, like that of Bakáwalí—The King hears of the
          new Palace—_Story of the Princess and the Demon who
          exchanged Sexes_—The Prince’s Father and Brethren,
          with Bakáwalí (disguised), visit him at his Palace,
          and he discloses himself                                 272

                               CHAPTER V.

        Bakáwalí returns to her own country, and there writes
          a love-letter to the Prince, who sets out to visit
          her—The Mother of Bakáwalí discovers that her daughter
          is in love with a human being, tosses the Prince high
          up into the air, and imprisons Bakáwalí—The Prince
          falls into a river, emerges from it in safety, obtains
          several magical articles, is changed into a young
          woman, then into a foul-visaged Abyssinian, and finally
          regains his own form                                     288

                               CHAPTER VI.

        The Prince comes to the Castle of a fierce Demon
          called Sháh Pykar, where he finds Rúh-afzá, cousin of
          Bakáwalí, a prisoner—He rescues her from the Demon
          and conveys her to her parents—He obtains Bakáwalí in
          Marriage and returns with his beauteous Fairy Bride to
          his own Palace                                           303

                              CHAPTER VII.

        Bakáwalí goes to the Court of Indra, where she sings
          and dances—The Deity, enraged at her love for a human
          being, pronounces a curse upon her—The Prince goes
          to Ceylon, where he finds Bakáwalí confined in a
          Temple, the lower part of her body being turned into
          marble—Chitrawat, the daughter of the Rájá, falls in
          love with him, and on his declining her overtures he
          is thrown into prison                                    316

                              CHAPTER VIII.

        The Prince is married to Chitrawat, but, visiting
          Bakáwalí every night, his new bride complains to her
          Father of his indifference, and the Rájá sends spies
          to dog his steps—The Temple is discovered and razed
          to the ground, and the Prince is in despair              329

                               CHAPTER IX.

        Bakáwalí is re-born in the house of a Farmer—When she
          is of marriageable age the Prince and Chitrawat meet
          her and they all three proceed to his own country,
          where he is welcomed affectionately by Dilbar and
          Mahmúda—Bahrám, the son of Zayn ul-Mulúk’s Vazír,
          falls in love with Rúh-afzá, the cousin of Bakáwalí      335

                               CHAPTER X.

        Bahrám is long love-sick, but by the help of two
          sympathising fairy damsels is finally united to the
          beautiful Rúh-afzá, and all ends happily                 343


        THE THREE DECEITFUL WOMEN                                  355
            Trick of the Kází’s Wife                               358
            Trick of the Bazár-Master’s Wife                       376
            Trick of the Kutwál’s Wife                             384
        THE ENVIOUS VAZÍR                                          390
        THE BLIND BEGGAR                                           402
        THE KÁZI OF GHAZNÍ AND THE MERCHANT’S WIFE                 414
        THE KING WHO LEARNED A TRADE                               434
        THE HIDDEN TREASURE                                        442
        THE DEAF MAN AND HIS SICK FRIEND                           446
        THE GARDENER AND THE LITTLE BIRD                           448

        Hatim Taï and the Benevolent Lady                          455
            Abstract of the Romance of Hatim Taï                   456
            The Painter’s Story                                    471
            The Washerman’s Story                                  476
            The Blind Man’s Story                                  477
        Story of Prince Kasharkasha                                479
        Story of the Unlucky Shoayb                                489
        History of Farrukhrúz                                      493
            The Ungrateful Brothers                                493
            The Three Expeditions                                  496
            The Expedition to Paradise                             500
        The King and his Four Ministers                            504
        Bengalí oral Version                                       504
            Story of the Woman who knew the Language of Animals    505
            Story of the King and his Faithful Horse               507
            Story of the Wonderful Fruit                           507
        Kashmírí oral Version                                      507
            Story of the Merchant and his Faithful Dog             509
            Story of the Woman who knew the Language of Animals    510
            Story of the King and his Falcon                       510
        Story of the Lost Camel                                    511
        Story of the Hunter and his Faithful Dog                   513
        Story of the Bráhman’s Wife and the Mungús                 515
        Story of the Faithless Wife and the Ungrateful Blind Man   516
        Story of the Wonderful Mango Fruit                         517
        Story of the Poisoned Food                                 518
        Story of the Bráhman and the Rescued Snake                 518
        The Rose of Bakáwalí                                       519
            The Magical Flower                                     520
            The Prince and Dilbar playing Backgammon               522
            The Bráhman and the Lion                               531
            The Princess and the Dív who exchanged Sexes           532
            The Prince obtains a Snake-Gem                         540
            The Prince conceals the Snake-Gem in his Thigh         541
            Bakáwalí at Indra’s Court                              544
            Bahrám transformed into a Bird                         545
        Persian Stories.
            The Three Deceitful Women                              546
            The Kází and the Merchant’s Wife                       555
            The Hidden Treasure                                    558
            The Deaf Man and his Sick Friend                       561
            The Gardener and the Little Bird                       563
        Additional Notes                                           568




Man has been variously described as a laughing, a cooking, and a
clothes-wearing animal, for no other animal laughs, or cooks, or wears
clothes. Perhaps another definition might be added, namely, that he is a
_story-telling_ animal. From bleak Greenland to the sunny islands that
be-gem the South Pacific, there seems to be no race so low in the scale
of humanity as not to possess a store of legends and tales, which take
their colouring from the ways of life and the habits of the people among
whom they are found domiciled. But notwithstanding the very considerable
number of popular tales that have been collected from various parts of
the world, their origin and general diffusion are still involved in
obscurity. The germs from which some of them sprang may have originated
soon after men became sentient beings. It is possible, though not very
probable, that the ideas on which are based the more simple fictions
which are found to be similar—_mutatis mutandis_—among Non-Aryan as well
as Aryan races were independently conceived; but this concession does
not apply to tales and stories of more elaborate construction, where the
incidents and their very sequence are almost identical—in such cases
there must have been deliberate appropriation by one people from another.
And assuredly not a few of the tales which became orally current in
Europe during the middle ages through the preaching monks and the merry
minstrels were directly imported from the East. But even when a tale has
been traced through different countries till it is discovered in a book,
the date of which is known to be at least 200 B.C., it does not follow,
of course, that the author of the book where it occurs was the actual
inventor of it. Men are much more imitative than inventive, and there is
every reason to believe that the Buddhists and the Bráhmans alike simply
adapted for their own purposes stories and apologues which had for ages
upon ages been common to the whole world. All that is now maintained
by the so-called “Benfey school” is that many of the Western popular
tales current orally, as well as existing in a literary form, during the
mediæval times which are found in old Indian books reached Europe from
Syria, having travelled thither from India through Persia and Arabia, and
that this importation of Eastern fictions had been going on long before
the first crusades.

       *       *       *       *       *

Whatever our modern European authors may do in the production of their
novels (the _novel_ has no existence in the East), it is certain that
Asiatic writers do not attempt the invention of new “situations” and
incidents. They have all along been content to use such materials as
came ready to hand, both by taking stories out of other books, and
dressing them up according to their own taste and fancy, and by writing
down tales which they had heard publicly or privately recited.[1] Indeed
they usually mention quite frankly in the prefaces to their books from
whence they derived their materials. Thus, Somadeva tells us that his
_Kathá Sarit Ságara_ (Ocean of the Streams of Story), of the 11th
century, is wholly derived from a very much older Sanskrit work, of the
6th century, the _Vrihat Kathá_ (Great Story), of Gunadhya; and Nakhshabí
states that his _Túti Náma_ (Parrot Book) is chiefly an abridgment, in
more elegant language, of an older Persian work composed in a prolix
style, which was translated from a book “originally written in the Indian
tongue.” So we need not expect to find much originality in later Eastern
collections,[2] though they are of special interest to students of the
genealogy of popular tales in so far as they contain incidents, and even
entire stories and fables, out of ancient books now lost, which have
their parallels and analogues in European folk-lore.

       *       *       *       *       *

The first two romances in the present work form the third _báb_, or
chapter, of a Persian collection of moral tales and anecdotes entitled
_Mahbúb ul-Kalúb_, or the Delight of Hearts, written by Barkhurdár bin
Mahmúd Turkman Faráhí, surnamed Mumtáz, concerning whom all that is
known is given by himself in what Dr. Rieu terms “a diffuse preface,
written in a stilted and ambitious style.” In early life[3] he quitted
his native place, Faráh, for Marv Sháhiján, where he entered the service
of the governor, Aslán Khán, and two years afterwards he proceeded to
Ispahán and became secretary to Hasan Kulí Khán Shámlú: both amírs
flourished during the reign of Sháh Sultan Husain, A.H. 1105-1135
(A.D. 1693-1722). At Ispahán he heard in an assembly a pleasing tale,
which, at the request of his friends, he “adorned with the flowers of
rhetoric,” under the title of _Hikáyát-i Ra’ná ú Zíbá_. In course of
time he added other stories, until he had made a large collection,
comprising no fewer than four hundred tales and anecdotes, divided into
an introduction, eight _bábs_, and a _khátimah_, or conclusion, and he
entitled the work _Mahfil-árá_—‘Adorner of the Assembly.’ After a visit
to his native place, he went to Herát, where he remained for some time,
and thence he set out on a pilgrimage to the shrine at Mashad. But on his
way he was attacked by a band of Kuzzaks in the desert, who robbed him
of everything, including the precious manuscript of his _Mahfil-árá_.
Returning to Ispahán, it may be presumed, though he does not specify
“the place of security,” he re-wrote from memory his collection of tales,
dividing the work into an introduction, five _bábs_, and a _khátimah_.
The work is formed on the plan of the _Gulistán_, or Rose-Garden, of
the illustrious Persian poet Sa’dí, each section being devoted to the
exemplification of a special subject or theme. The introduction comprises

    (1) On the necessity of Politeness;

    (2) On the behaviour of a householder, so as to obtain for
    himself happiness in this world and the next;

    (3) On the Education of Children;

    (4) On the advantages of following a Trade or Profession;

    (5) On Hospitality;

    (6) On gratitude for the benefits received from God.

Then follow Five Chapters:

    I—On Civility, Humility, and Modesty, the virtues on which
    amicable intercourse with all conditions of men is based.

    II—On Good Manners and abstention from injuring others by word
    or deed.

    III—On Equanimity in Prosperity and Adversity, and Resignation
    to the will of God in all things.

    IV—On Friendship, or Association: the choice of a suitable
    Companion, and the rejection of an uncongenial or base one.

    V—On the Advantages of Contentment and the Meanness of Envy and

    Conclusion: Story of Ra’ná and Zíbá.

The Persian text of this large collection of Tales was printed at Bombay
in 1852. There are two MS. copies in the British Museum, one of which
is described by Dr. Rieu as being embellished with two _’unváns_, or
ornamental head-pieces, gold-ruled margins, and 55 miniatures in the
Persian style.

In 1870 Mr. Edward Rehatsek published, at Bombay, a translation of
the two Tales contained in the third chapter of the _Mahbúb ul-Kalúb_
under the title of _Fortune and Misfortune_, which are reproduced in
the present volume as the _History of Nassar_ (properly Násir) and the
_History of Farrukhrúz_, the Tales being quite distinct from each other.

       *       *       *       *       *

I—In the HISTORY OF NASSAR, son of the Merchant of Baghdád, the _motif_
is that Fate, or Destiny, is paramount in all human affairs, and so long
as Fortune frowns all the efforts of men to better their condition are
utterly futile: an essentially Asiatic notion, and quite foreign to the
sentiments of the more manly and self-relying Western races. It must be
allowed, however, that there seems to be a mysterious factor in human
life which we call “luck,” against which it were vain to struggle;—only
it is seldom to be recognised until it has worked out its purpose! How,
for example, are we to account for a soldier escaping uninjured after
taking an active part in many battles, while his comrade by his side is
shot dead at the first fire of the enemy? There are certainly lucky and
unlucky men who have done little or nothing to bring about their own good
or ill fortune. “Fate,” says Defoe, “makes footballs of men: kicks some
upstairs and some down. Some are advanced without honour, and others
are suppressed without infamy. Some are raised without merit; some are
crushed without crime. And no man knows, by the beginning of things,
whether his course will end in a peerage or a pillory.” And a Persian
poet chants in melancholy strain:

    Strive not to grapple with the grasp of Fate;
      Canst thou with feebleness success combine?
    All vain, ’gainst Destiny thy watchful state;
      Go thou, and to its force thyself resign.

But the Bard of Rydal Mount—the Christian Philosopher, whose grand poetry
is out of vogue in these “double-distilled” days—tells us that

                One adequate support
    For the calamities of mortal life
    Exists—one only: an assured belief
    That the procession of our fate, howe’er
    Sad or disturbed, is ordered by a Being
    Of infinite benevolence and power;
    Whose everlasting purposes embrace
    All accidents, converting them to good.

And it may be safely asserted that no great things were ever done by any
man whose actions were controlled by a belief in mere “luck.” The great
American poet lustily sings:

    Let us then be up and doing,
      With a heart for any fate;
    Still achieving, still pursuing,
      Learn to _labour_ and to _wait_.

The Sinhalese have a number of proverbs about “luck” which might very
suitably serve as mottoes for the Tale of Násir and the subordinate
stories of Mansúr and of Shoayb; for instance, they say: “It hails
whenever an unlucky man goes abroad”; and again: “Even if the unlucky man
have a gold coin in his purse, he is sure to be accused of having stolen
it.” In the tale of Prince Kasharkasha, when the ruined merchant comes
to the young king whom he had formerly befriended, he is dismissed with
a small sum of money, the king fearing lest his old friend’s ill-luck
should also affect him: an idea which is constantly cropping up in
Asiatic stories; though, by the way, it does not appear that the worthy
merchant had himself any such fear when he so generously relieved the
prince from his bitter distress.

It can hardly be said that the “moral” to be drawn from the career of
Násir is a very elevating one. The three pieces of wholesome advice
bestowed on him by his father’s ancient friend, and enforced with such
appropriate stories, did the young traveller little good; for we find him
go on blundering out of one scrape into another, until his “lucky star”
is once more in the ascendant. And in the case of poor Mansúr, though
he does ultimately attain wealth and ease through his own exertions,
yet he was in the first instance indebted to sheer luck in discovering
a treasure-crock in an old ruin. From one point of view, there is droll
humour in some of the incidents in these tales, more especially in
Násir’s unlucky exhibitions of his accomplishments before the king; and
in the narrative of the misfortunes of poor Shoayb, whom another king
strove so persistently to benefit, disregarding the counsel of his prime
minister and setting at defiance the evident decree of Fate;—though one
cannot help regretting that he should have been expelled from the country
after all he had suffered. Let us believe that ere long his “run of
ill-luck” came to an end!

       *       *       *       *       *

II—The HISTORY OF FARRUKHRÚZ may be considered as exemplifying the
Sinhalese proverb which asserts that “the teeth of the dog that barks
at the lucky man will fall out;” for did not all the vile schemes of
the envious vazírs, to compass the death of this Favourite of Fortune,
turn to his advantage and finally to their own well-merited destruction?
True, he was very near losing his good fortune when he parted with
the talismanic ring, and, by the art magic of Kashank the ’Ifrít, was
changed to an old barber in Damascus; but here again have we not an
illustration of another Sinhalese proverb which says that “you cannot
even kick away good luck”? In this spirited little romance the interest
is well sustained throughout, and the scene in Damascus will, I think,
favourably compare with some of the facetious tales in the _Arabian
Nights_. Variants and analogues of the principal incidents are given in
the Appendix.

       *       *       *       *       *

III—THE KING AND HIS FOUR MINISTERS, which is now for the first time
presented in English, has been translated from the Tamil, at my
suggestion, by my friend Pandit S. M. Natésa Sástrí, of Madras, who is
already known in this country to students of the migrations of popular
tales from his _Folk-Lore in Southern India_, published at Bombay,
and his translation of another Tamil romance, _Madanakámarájankadai_,
under the title of _Dravidian Nights Entertainments_, published at
Madras: London agents for both works, Messrs. Trübner & Co. The Tamil
title is _Alakésa Kathá_, or Story of (King) Alakésa, and a short but
not quite accurate account of it is given by Dr. H. H. Wilson in his
most valuable _Descriptive Catalogue of the Oriental MSS. etc. in the
Mackenzie Collection_, published at Calcutta, 1828, vol. i, p. 220. Dr.
Wilson describes the work as “a story of the rájá of Alakapúr and his
four ministers, who, being falsely accused of violating the sanctity of
the inner apartments, vindicate their innocence and disarm the king’s
wrath by narrating a number of stories.” It is, however, only one of the
ministers who is believed by the rájá and the rání to have thus offended,
and his three colleagues successively urge the rájá to inquire into all
the circumstances of the affair before proceeding to punish him, and they
support their arguments with Tales showing the deplorable evils which may
result from inconsiderate actions. An aged minister of the rájá’s father
then comes before the king and relates a story to the same purpose,
and he is followed by the accused minister, who also tells a story as
a warning against hasty decisions, after which he not only makes his
innocence manifest, but shows how he had saved the rájá and his spouse
from a terrible fatality.[4]

In the Appendix of the present work will be found abstracts of Bengalí
and Kashmírí oral variants of this Tale, the frame of which was evidently
suggested by that of the Book of Sindibád, of which the numerous European
versions are commonly known under the title of the _History of the Seven
Wise Masters of Rome_, where a young prince is falsely accused, as
Joseph was by the wife of Potiphar, and his father the king orders him
to be put to death; but he alternately reprieves and condemns him during
seven days, in consequence of his Seven Vazírs, day after day, and the
Lady, night after night, relating to the king stories of the wickedness
of women and of the depravity of men, till at length the innocence of the
prince is proved, and the wanton, treacherous lady is duly punished.—The
leading tale of the Turkish _History of the Forty Vazírs_ (which has been
completely translated into English by Mr. E.J.W. Gibb; London: Mr. George
Redway) is on the same plan, though the stories related by the Vazírs and
the Lady are almost all different.

To the sporadic part of the great Sindibád family of romances belongs
also the Persian work entitled _Bakhtyár Náma_, in which a stranger youth
becomes the king’s favourite and is raised to a position of great honour
and dignity, which excites the envy of the king’s Ten Vazírs, who cause
him to be accused of violating the royal haram, and the young man is
reprieved from day to day through his relating eloquently stories showing
the lamentable consequences of precipitation, and he is ultimately found
to be guiltless, and, moreover, to be the king’s own son, whom he and his
queen had abandoned in a desert when newly born, as they were flying for
their lives.—Another group of tales pertaining to the same cycle is found
in the Breslau printed Arabic text of the _Alf Layla wa Layla_ (Thousand
and One Nights), under the title of “King Shah Bakht and his Vazír
Er-Rahwan,” where the king is induced by the machinations of some of his
courtiers to believe that his favourite minister Er-Rahwan should slay
him within twenty-eight days; and the Vazír, being condemned to death,
obtains a respite by relating to the king each night an interesting story
until the supposed fatal period is past, when the king is convinced of
his fidelity.[5]

Neither the name of the author nor the date of the _Alakésa Kathá_ is
known, but it is supposed to have been written in the 16th century.
It is one of the very few Asiatic collections in which the tales are
all unobjectionable, and while these are found in much older Indian
story-books, they present some curious variations, and are moreover
of considerable interest as illustrating Hindú popular beliefs and

As European mediæval writers were in the habit of piously prefixing
the sign of the cross to their compositions, and Muhammedan authors
invariably begin their books with the formula, “In the Name of God, the
most Merciful, the most Compassionate,” so Hindú writers always commence
by invoking the assistance of Ganesa, the god of wisdom. Accordingly
the _Alakésa Kathá_ opens thus: “Before relating in Tamil the story of
the Four Ministers, which is admired by the whole world, O Mind! adore
and serve him who is the elder of the trident-armed and the remover of
obstacles”—that is, Ganesa, who is said to be the son of Siva and his
spouse Parvati, or of the latter only. Ganesa is represented as having
the head of an elephant, which was perhaps originally a symbol of his
sagacity, but is accounted for in one of the later legends regarding this
deity as follows: The goddess Parvati wished to take a bath one day in
her mansion, Kailasa, during the absence of her lord, Siva. Her female
attendants were engaged in some domestic duties, but she must have her
bath, and there must be a servant to guard the door. So Parvati rubbed
her body with her hands, and of the scurf created a man, whom she ordered
to watch outside the door, and allow no one to enter. It so happened
that Siva returned before his spouse had finished bathing, and he was
opposed by the newly-formed man, whose head he immediately struck off,
and then he entered the bath-room. This intrusion Parvati regarded as a
very great insult, and when she learned that her guard at the door was
slain her rage knew no bounds. She demanded that her first son, as she
termed him, should be restored to life, and Siva, vexed at his rashness,
told his _ganas_ (armies of dwarfs: troops of celestials) to search for
him who slept with his head to the north, to kill him, and place his head
on the neck of the murdered guard. The ganas, after wandering long and
far, found only an elephant asleep in that position, so they brought his
head and fixed it on the neck of the man whom Siva had slain, when, lo!
he at once rose up alive, a man in body, with the head of an elephant.
Siva then appointed him lord of his ganas (_Ganesa_) and adopted him as
his son.—This curious legend is the cause of all Hindús never sleeping
with their heads to the north. Ganesa is said to have written down the
_Mahábhárata_ from the dictation of Vyasa, the reputed author of that
epic. He is represented with four hands, in one of which he holds a
shell, in another a discus, in the third a trident, or club, and in the
fourth a water-lily.[6]

       *       *       *       *       *

IV—THE ROSE OF BAKÁWALÍ was originally written, in the Persian language,
by Shaykh Izzat Ulláh, of Bengal, in the year of the Hijra 1124, or
A.D. 1712. It was translated into Urdú in the beginning of the present
century, by Nihál Chand, a native of Delhi, but, from his residence in
Lahore, surnamed Lahorí. He entitled his version of the romance _Mazhab-i
’Ishk_, which signifies the Doctrine of Love; but when the Urdú text was
first printed, under the care of Dr. Gilchrist, at Calcutta, in 1804, it
bore the original Persian title, _Gul-i Bakáwalí_; the second edition,
published in 1814, by T. Roebuck, bears the Urdú title.

M. Garcin de Tassy published an abridgment (in French) of the Urdú
version of the ROSE OF BAKÁWALÍ in the _Journal Asiatique_, vol. xvi,
1835, omitting the snatches of verse with which the author has liberally
garnished his narrative.[7] A complete English translation, with the
verses done into prose, by Lieut. R. P. Anderson, was published at Delhi
in 1851, and the Urdú version was again rendered into English, with the
poetry done into tolerably fair verse, by Thomas Philip Manuel, and
published at Calcutta in 1859. For the version in the present work I
have used both G. de Tassy’s French abridgment and Manuel’s English
translation, following the former when the narrative seemed to be rather
prolix, and the latter when I found the French _savant_ too brief in
specially interesting episodes, thus, I trust, making a readable version
of this charming romance.

In the Appendix will be found copious parallels, analogues, and
illustrations of the chief incidents in the ROSE OF BAKÁWALÍ, which
therefore calls for only a few general remarks in this place. It cannot
be said that there is much originality in the romance, most of the
incidents being common to the folk-tales of the several countries of
India, but they are here woven together with considerable ingenuity, and
the interest of the narrative never flags. It may in fact be regarded as
a typical Asiatic Tale, in which is embodied much of the folk-lore of
the East. Like all fairy tales, it has no particular “moral,” for the
hero achieves all his wonderful enterprises with the aid of super-human
beings and by means of magical fruits, etc. The various and strange
transformations which he undergoes in the course of his adventures are
still believed to be quite possible by Muslims and Hindús alike. We very
frequently read in Eastern tales of fountains the waters of which have
the property of changing a man who drinks of them or bathes in them into
a woman, and of transforming a monkey into a man, and _vice versa_. But
this romance is, I think, singular in representing the hero, after having
been changed into a young woman, as actually becoming a mother! In the
account of his transformation to an Abyssinian, and beset by a shrewish
wife and a pack of clamorous children, there is not a little humour. The
magical things which he obtains through overhearing the conversation of
birds are familiar to the folk-tales of Europe as well as to those of
Asia, and I have treated of them fully in the first volume of my _Popular
Tales and Fictions_.

We must regard the first part of this romance—down to the end of the
third chapter—as belonging to the wide cycle of folk-tales in which a
number of brothers set out in quest of some wonderful and much desired
object, and the youngest is always the successful one; but he is deprived
of the prize by his envious and malicious brothers, who generally throw
him into a well, and returning home claim the credit of the achievement.
In the end, however, the young hero exposes the fraud, and his rascally
and cowardly brethren are put to shame. Several of the incidents in the
brothers’ quest of the magical Rose with which to cure their father’s
sight are paralleled in the story of the Water of Life, in Grimm’s
_Kinder und Hausmärchen_, and in the Norse and German stories of the
Golden Bird. Thus in our romance the four elder princes, through their
pleasure-seeking disposition, fall into the toils of an artful courtesan,
while the youngest pluckily proceeds to fairyland and procures the Rose
of Bakáwalí, of which his brothers deprive him on his way home. In such
stories as I have mentioned the elder brothers, if not deservedly
enchanted in some manner on the road, waste their time at a wayside inn,
and the younger is aided in his quest by some animal, troll, or dwarf,
to whom he had done a friendly turn: in our romance the young prince is
helped by a good-natured dív, or demon.

The prediction of the astrologers, with which the romance begins, that
if the king should ever cast his eyes on his newly-born son he should
instantly become blind, has many analogues in other Eastern tales. For
example, in the _Bakhtyár Náma_ we read that a king of Persia, after
being long childless, one night, in a dream, is addressed by an aged man:
“The Lord has complied with thy request and to-morrow thou shalt have a
son, but in his seventh year a lion shall seize and carry him off to the
top of a mountain, from which he shall fall, rolling in blood and clay.”
The vazírs say that the decrees of Destiny cannot be withstood, but the
king declares that he will do so, and then summons his astrologers, who
say that the king after twenty years shall perish by the hand of his
own son. The king causes an underground dwelling to be constructed, in
which he places his child and the nurse. When the prince is seven years
of age, a lion rushes into the cave, devours the nurse, carries off the
boy, and drops him down a mountain. The child is found by one of the
king’s secretaries, who causes him to be properly educated. In course of
time the youth is appointed armour-bearer to the king, who, of course,
does not know that he is his own son, and in fighting with an enemy who
had invaded his kingdom, in the confusion of the battle, the youth cuts
off the king’s hand, supposing him to be on the enemy’s side, and before
dying the king ascertains that his son had caused his death.

In the _Bagh o Bahár_ (see the Appendix, page 478), a young prince, in
consequence of a prediction of the astrologers that he was menaced with
great danger until his fourteenth year, is confined in a vault lined with
felt, in order that he should not behold the sun and the moon till the
fatal period was passed. In Mr. Ralston’s _Tibetan Tales_, the diviners
declare to a king that he shall have a son who shall take his life and
usurp the royal power, setting the diadem on his own head. And we have a
familiar instance in the Arabian tale of the Third Calender, where the
astrologers having predicted that the newly-born son of a jeweller should
be killed when fifteen years old by ’Ajíb the son of King Khasib, the
child is placed in an underground apartment in an island. In the Turkish
story-book known as the _History of the Forty Vasírs_, the soothsayers
predict that a king’s son shall be much afflicted and wander in strange
lands, with tribulation and pain for his companions, from his thirtieth
till he has attained his sixtieth year. In the Norwegian story of Rich
Peter the Pedlar the star-gazers foretell that his daughter should one
day wed a poor man’s son. And in classical legends we have the story of
Danae, the daughter of Acrisius, king of Argos, by Eurydice, who was
confined in a brazen tower because an oracle had said that his daughter’s
son should put him to death.

       *       *       *       *       *

V—THE PERSIAN STORIES have been selected from a collection translated by
Mr. Edward Rehatsek, and published at Bombay in 1871, under the title of
_Amusing Stories._ They occur in the Persian work, _Mahbúb ul-Kalúb_,
of which some account has been given in connection with the first two
romances in the present volume. The first of these stories, that of the
Three Deceitful Women, is very diverting, and, as I have shown in the
Appendix, has its counterparts in France and Spain. It belongs to the
numerous stories of the Woman’s Wiles cycle, and certainly represents
the ladies in no very amiable character. But as a set-off to this tale
of the depravity of women—the subject of many European mediæval stories
and jests, as well as of Asiatic fictions—we have also stories of the
wickedness of men, such as that of the Envious Vazír and that of the Kází
of Ghazní—“blackguards both”!



During the reign of the Abbaside Khalífs there lived in the city of
Baghdád a merchant called Khoja[8] Humáyún, who was very rich, highly
respected, and prosperous in all his dealings. The caravan of his good
fortune had for a long time travelled in the lands of success; the hand
of detriment was never extended towards the skirts of his wealth; nor
did the simúm of loss and misfortune ever blow in the gardens of his
prosperity; so that he passed all his days in the cradle of happiness and
content. One day he happened to repose in a retired part of his mansion
on the couch of gladness, when he beheld suddenly two kites overhead
contending for something. After the Khoja had been looking at them for
some time, he perceived that from the claws of one something was hanging
which the other wanted to snatch away. Whilst he was wondering the
object fell to the ground, and on examining it he found it to be a small
bundle which contained three rubies, a diamond, and four pearls, all of
unequalled beauty and price. The Khoja was at first highly pleased at
this occurrence, and joyfully considered it as an additional sign of his
good fortune, and recited this distich:

    Whom prosperity favours,
    Jewels rain upon his head.

But, as he was a man of great discernment and experience, he looked at
this affair in another light, on second thoughts, and considered it as
a mystery, which made him uneasy. He had a grown and intelligent son,
called Nassar, whom he privately addressed thus: “My beloved son, it is
well-nigh eighty years since I began to navigate the ocean of life in the
skiff of prosperity, and it has never deserted me, nor have the autumnal
blasts of reverse ever withered the freshness of my affluence. But as
the splendour of every morn of happiness is followed by the darkness and
night of decrease and misfortune, and the leaves of the rosy volume of
comfort are scattered by the whirlwind of distress; and as

    Fate has not lit a lamp of content
    Which the storm of adversity has not extinguished;

I conclude from this incident that as the humái[9] of my good success
has reached the zenith, the caravan of my prosperity will soon deflect
from the path of my destiny: the ship of my happiness may become wrecked
in the ocean of adversity; and, for all I know, the treasure I possess
may become a prey to the whale of reverse, poverty and misery. This
anticipation may be realised very soon, but as I have spent a life of
happiness and content, and have gratified all the desires of a man, I
wish for nothing more; therefore, if misfortune beset me, I trust I shall
be able patiently to endure its bitterness. But since you have not seen
the ups and downs of life, or experienced any reverse, I do not think it
fitting that you should continue to live with me, and it is in conformity
with the dictates of prudence that you spend some time in travelling; for
wise men have said that travel is a polish which rubs off the rust of
carelessness from the speculum of a man’s mind and a sovereign cure for

    Travel lights the lamp of perfection in a man;
    When a pearl is taken out of the sea it is appreciated.[10]

In Shíráz, the seat of learning,” continued the Khoja, “I have a friend
named Khayrandísh, who was my companion in several journeys, and to
whom I have done some good. You must go to him and say: ‘I wish you to
surrender to me the deposit my father entrusted you with when you were
companions on the road of Bahrayn.’ After receiving that article from
Khayrandísh, take prudence and caution for your guide and go to the
Maghrabí country,[11] because there is much chance of acquiring worldly
goods there, and no one ever returned from it empty-handed. Consider that
precious object as a means to procure you a livelihood, for by presenting
it to one of the kings or grandees of those parts it will soon ensure
you attention; and I for my part shall make over all I possess to my
relatives and friends, and shall devote myself solely to the worship of

Nassar made his preparations and departed for Shíráz, the seat of
learning; but he had scarcely proceeded two stages in that direction when
a eunuch in the Khalíf’s service, intending to abscond, had at midnight
absented himself from the royal haram with a casket of jewels which he
had abstracted. He walked with great apprehension through the streets in
search of the dwelling of his accomplice, whence he intended to proceed
farther at the break of day; but as the night was very dark he missed the
house, and, by the decree of Fate, entered the mansion of Khoja Humáyún,
which happened to be open. On looking round he soon discovered his
mistake, so he wandered about the house trying to find his way out, but
the Khoja’s slaves having in the meantime locked the entrance as usual,
he had no alternative but to conceal himself in a corner and there remain
till morning.

But the Khalíf’s treasurer soon discovered that the eunuch had decamped
with the casket, and caused proclamation to be made, that any person
harbouring the culprit should at once hand him over to the police,
failing which his property should be confiscated. The royal officials
made fruitless search all night, but at break of day, when the eunuch
of night had retired and the prince of morn established himself in the
palace of the horizon, one of the attendants of the court, who was a
mortal enemy of Khoja Humáyún, passing his house, perceived the eunuch
and took him before the Khalíf; and, considering this a good opportunity
of avenging himself on his foe, he said: “Khoja Humáyún, who trusted
in his wealth and dignity, has committed this crime by instigating the
eunuch to the deed and afterwards secreting him in his house.” The Khalíf
well knew the Khoja’s loyalty and honesty, had often bestowed favours
upon him, and was aware that such an act was not at all consistent with
his disposition; but as the sun of prosperity, in consequence of the
celestial rotations, had deflected from him and set in the west of
misfortune;[12] and the night of distress was intent on obscuring the
precincts of his comfort and destroying the volume of his happiness with
the scissors of extinction; and as the stratagems of enemies have results
like the bites of snakes and scorpions, the insidious words of the
adversary so inflamed the Khalíf’s wrath that he ordered Khoja Humáyún’s
property to be confiscated, his house razed, and himself expelled from
the city without giving him the least opportunity of uttering a word in
his own defence.

On the same day when the simúm of this catastrophe destroyed Khoja
Humáyún’s rose-garden of prosperity, Nassar’s courser of safety also met
with an accident on his journey. In the vicinity of Shíráz a party of
robbers fell upon him and deprived him of everything he possessed; and,
exchanging the robes of affluence and wealth for poverty and nudity, he
arrived in the city in great distress, and having found the dwelling
of Khayrandísh, he made him acquainted with his father’s injunction.
Khayrandísh received him in the most friendly manner possible, and said:
“Dear youth, I am entirely at your service, and was desirous to be
honoured by a message from your father, whose casket with his seal upon
it is in my charge. But the laws of hospitality require that a guest
who adorns my poor hut with the light of his presence should abide with
me during three days, in order that I may entertain him to the best of
my ability;[13] and this applies especially to you, whose presence I
consider as a great blessing. After the expiration of three days I shall
deliver the deposit into your hands.” To this proposal Nassar agreed, and
Khayrandísh rejoiced him with his amity, and provided him with a very
handsome wardrobe.

When the golden lamp of the glorious sun entered the lantern of the west,
and the amber-haired belle of evening removed the veil from her face,
Khayrandísh placed the best food and drink on the table of intimacy, and
after conversing on various subjects with his guest, he spoke to him
as follows: “Friend, it appears that worldly prosperity has left Khoja
Humáyún, and that he has sent you in pursuit of it; for I have lately had
a fearful dream and was very uneasy about his circumstances. So tell me
now what you intend to do with the deposit.” Nassar acquainted him with
his intention to go to the Maghrabí country, and with the injunctions
of his father. Khayrandísh replied: “As the travellers in the path of
rectitude and probity ought to guide those who wander in the desert of
error and inexperience, and as I am under great obligations to your
father, I consider it my duty to be useful to you. Since you have never
before been from home and have spent all your days in affluence, I fear
you will not be able to perform the journey satisfactorily:

    Travel is not easy—its dangers are boundless;
    Difficulties accompany it in all directions.

But as divine grace is the escort of all who intend to journey in the
path of trust in God, I leave you to the guardianship of divine mercy to
protect you from all dangers. I shall, however, give you three counsels,
and hope you will profit by them.” Nassar rejoined: “It is the first duty
of young men to listen to the counsels of intelligent and upright men;
therefore speak, for I shall follow them.” Khayrandísh then spake thus:


“Though the deceitful bride of the world may look at you from the corner
of her eye, and may try to bias your mind by her coquettish movements,
lose not the reins of self-possession from your hands, because worldly
prosperity is unsubstantial as the mirage, and the honey of its favour
leaves only the bitterness of deception.

    Give not thy heart to the love of the world,
    For it has destroyed thousands like thee.

When the humái of worldly prosperity spreads its wings over you, covet
not its favours, for it will change at last and regret only will remain.

    Be not intent on riches and dignity;
    For, like henna, they are not lasting.[14]

Prosperity is fickle, and when it has turned its back, all efforts
to recall it are futile. The favours and frowns of the world are the
harbingers of the caravan of prosperity and adversity, for both depend in
every individual case from the propitious or unpropitious consequences
of the rotation of the stars of the times, and are connected with them
like the sun with shadows;[15] nor can they be altered by the foresight
of Lukman, or by the wisdom of a thousand Platos. And such efforts may
be compared to the vain longings of procuring spring in the depth of
winter, or for the light of day at midnight. Thus all the struggles of
Shah Manssur were fruitless, and he reaped only sorrow from them.” Nassar
asked: “What is the story of Shah Manssur?” Khayrandísh thereupon related

_Story of Shah Manssur_.

Once upon a time there was a man called Shah Manssur, from the
neighbourhood of Nishapúr, who lived in affluence, but deceitful fortune
had spread the chess-board of hypocrisy, had mated and abandoned him in
the desert of affliction. After he lost all his property, he sat down in
the lap of misery, and finding all his efforts to better his condition
fruitless, he set out for India. When he arrived in Kabúl he was equally
disappointed, so he went one day into the bazár, hoping to find
employment as a porter. There he waited till evening, and every man found
occupation excepting himself. He began involuntarily to shed tears, and
one of the principal merchants, who was returning home from the palace
of the Amír, saw him, and, concluding that he was suffering from some
wrong done to him, asked him the cause of his distress. Manssur informed
him of his circumstances, upon which the merchant took him to his house,
and next morning told him that as he was in need of an attendant he
might stay until he could find something more to his advantage. Shah
Manssur accordingly entered into the merchant’s service, and gained by
his diligence the approbation of his master, but raised the envy of his
fellow servants and incurred the ill-will of his mistress. One day he
felt somewhat indisposed, and the merchant’s wife sent him some poison
as a medicine,[16] but as his distemper was slight he made no use of the
remedy, and kept it in his pocket. Now the merchant had a little son whom
Shah Manssur was wont to carry about, and who was so much accustomed to
him that whenever he cried Manssur only could quiet him. It so happened
that this day the child would not cease weeping, and Shah Manssur was
obliged to take him into the street, hoping to divert him by looking
at the passers-by. Having a little business to despatch, he set the
child for a moment against a wall, which unfortunately fell and covered
him. Shah Manssur was in despair and made a great outcry, whereupon the
merchant came out and asked him why he made such a noise. He told his
master of the accident, at which the merchant was disconsolate, and
the people flocked from all directions wishing to kill Shah Manssur.
Meanwhile the ruins of the wall were removed, and on the child being
extricated he was found alive and perfectly uninjured. The father and
mother of the child were in an ecstasy of joy at his fortunate escape,
and all the people wondered. Shah Manssur fell on his knees and thanked
the Most High, and everybody rejoiced. A man in the crowd proposed that
a medicine be administered to the child, and Shah Manssur immediately
produced from his pocket that sent to him by the merchant’s wife, and
handed it to his master, but as soon as the child had swallowed it he
fell into convulsions and expired. The child’s parents were in despair,
especially the mother, who threatened to commit suicide if Shah Manssur
were suffered to live, because, as she said, he had poisoned her son.
Hereupon the merchant’s servants tied Manssur to a post, and ill-treated
him so much that he fainted, and was abandoned for dead.

In the evening he began to revive and moaned piteously. The merchant
was an intelligent man and could hardly believe Shah Manssur to have
been so ungrateful as to kill his child deliberately with poison, so
he approached the supposed culprit and besought him to speak the truth.
Manssur said that as he was deeply grateful for the kindness he had
received from his master and greatly attached to the child, the thought
of committing such a crime could not have entered his mind; and that
he had only given to the child a remedy which had been sent to himself
by his mistress when he was slightly indisposed. The merchant at once
perceived his wife’s treachery and was convinced of Shah Manssur’s
innocence; but nevertheless he told him that he could no longer retain
him in his service; so he loosed his bonds and dismissed him. Naked and
wounded, as he was, Shah Manssur walked away and took refuge in the
outskirts of the city with an old woman, at whose house he used to stay
in better times when on his commercial journeys. Having explained to
her his case, she received him kindly and set about curing his wounds.
This old woman had a son who was carrying on an amorous intrigue with a
neighbour’s wife. He happened to be absent on that night at a friend’s
house, but his paramour was ignorant of this, and having waited till her
husband was asleep she hastened to her lover’s house, which she found in
darkness, and mistaking Shah Manssur for him she approached his couch.
The wounded man thought it was his old landlady, and began to thank her
for her kind solicitude. In the meantime the husband of the adulterous
woman had missed her and made his appearance in the old woman’s house.
She had just got up to ascertain the cause of the disturbance, and on
perceiving a man standing with a naked sword at the door, she concluded
he was a thief, and at once ran up to the roof of her house and raised an
alarm, which caused all the people of the district to sally forth with
sticks and swords; but the adulterous woman ran off by way of the river,
which was the shortest, to her house and went instantly to bed. In the
confusion her husband was struck by many stones thrown at him when making
his escape, but at last he arrived home and overwhelmed his wife with
reproaches; she, however, yawned, pretended to awake from sleep, turned
from one side to the other, and asked what was the hour of the night.
But the infuriated husband would not be deceived by this subterfuge, but
vehemently accused her of being unfaithful, and even drew his sword. Upon
this the woman cried aloud: “O Muslims! my husband is killing me!” and
the police officers, who were at that moment returning from the alarm
that had been raised by the old woman, caught the words and ran to the
house, when the husband violently struck one of them with his sword, and
after a brief struggle was taken into custody.

After the woman had thus got rid of her husband the wasps of lust again
stung her, and being anxious to know whether her lover was sick she
once more approached Shah Manssur’s couch, awoke him and began her
overtures. The old woman’s son, who had been at a neighbour’s, hearing of
the disturbance in his mother’s house, went home. On his way, however,
when passing near the dwelling of his paramour, he went in, and finding
the house empty he concluded that she had gone in search of himself. He
was not aware, of course, of Shah Manssur being the guest of his mother,
and when he reached home he lit a candle and went into his room, where
beholding his paramour with a strange man, he exclaimed: “I have got a
curious substitute to-night!” The woman fled in terror, but Shah Manssur
fell into the grasp of the young man. The noise of the struggle again
awoke the old woman, who, as before, thought that thieves had broken
into the house, and ran to the roof of the house and screamed loudly.
Her son, supposing Shah Manssur to be the thief, told her that he had
taken him. The old woman tried in vain to undeceive him; but he, incited
by his jealousy and rage, struck her, on which she raised a great noise,
accusing him of wishing to kill her, till some neighbours came and
dragged him off to prison.

Notwithstanding all that had taken place the adulterous woman could not
rest and again repaired to Shah Manssur, who was this time frightened at
her re-appearance, ascribing to her all the mischief that had happened
during the night, and believing her to be an evil spirit was considering
how he might get rid of her. The old woman’s sister, overhearing the
conversation, approached the door to listen. Meanwhile the imprisoned
husband had bribed his jailor, escaped from custody, and made his
appearance at the old woman’s house, where mistaking her sister for his
own wife he wounded her with his sword. The noise again made the landlady
get up, and in the tumult the faithless wife took to her heels, as did
also her husband, who believed that he had grievously wounded her and
chuckled in his heart at the deed. She was, however, very swift-footed,
and when he reached home he found her again in bed and to all appearance
asleep. Pretending to be just awaking, she asked what he wanted, and he
told her he was greatly astonished to behold her safe and sound after he
had killed her at the old woman’s house. The wife sarcastically remarked
that men are once a-year subject to lunatic influences which affect their
minds. Quoth the man: “Possibly this may be the case with me, as I have
been greatly disturbed in my mind during the last two days; you have done
well to inform me of this.”

When the old woman came out from her house she saw no one except her
sister, who was severely wounded. She was amazed, and said to herself:
“All the tumult and mischief of this night occurred on account of the
presence of this man.” So when it was morning she spoke to Shah Manssur,
saying: “Dear sir, as these misfortunes have happened, my son has been
thrown into prison, and my sister will perchance die of her wound; and
as, moreover, my son is very self-willed and incensed against you, it
will be best for you to remove from this house.” Shah Manssur accordingly
left the place and began with great pains to travel towards Gaznín,
bearing the load of misery on the back of sorrow, and reading the
threnody of his misfortunes.[17]

After some time he was overtaken by a man riding on a camel, who accosted
him and had compassion for his wretched condition. The man informed
him that his name was Baba Fys, that his camel was laden with silk
belonging to Khoja Fyra, the vazír of the Amír of Gaznín, who was of a
very benevolent disposition and would no doubt assist him. He then took
Shah Manssur on his camel, and, dreading the dangers of the night, he
proceeded with great speed. The swift motion and his wounds so distressed
Shah Manssur that he earnestly desired Baba Fys to set him down again,
in order that he might pass the night in tranquility and thus be able to
continue his journey in the morning. But his companion told him that to
stop at such a place was by no means advisable, since in the vicinity
there was a mountain pass to which many animals resorted under the
leadership of a monkey named Paykar, who had plundered many caravans.
By the prayers of the Lord Sulayman, they could now do mischief only
during the night, and therefore they kept the pass obstructed all day,
so that travellers must necessarily hasten through it in the night, but
after that the road was quite safe, and then he might rest himself.
Shah Manssur, however, was in such great distress, and so determined to
alight, that Baba Fys, unwilling to abandon him to his fate, was obliged
to comply with his request. They agreed to sleep and relieve each other
by turns, but had rested only a short time when they perceived a camel
approaching them, ridden by a monkey and guided by a bear. Many other
animals of dreadful aspect also came running and attacked the camel.
Hereupon Baba Fys began to lament, and accused Shah Manssur of having
brought him into all this trouble. This attracted the attention of the
monkey, who made a sign to the wild beasts, which immediately pulled
Baba Fys to the ground, bit off his ears and then retired. This incident
so disconcerted Baba Fys that he was ashamed to continue his journey to
Gaznín, and, after bitterly upbraiding his companion for being the cause
of his mishap, he returned to Kabúl.

Shah Manssur, though wretched and on foot, resumed his journey, and
at last reached Gaznín. As it was winter and the city noted for its
coldness, he strolled about till he came to a bath-house, when he said
to himself: “This is a warm place, so I will spend the night in it.”
Accordingly, saluting the keeper, he walked in. The keeper said: “Young
man, you appear to be a stranger; where do you come from? where are
you travelling to? and what is your occupation?” Manssur replied: “I
am a traveller, and the caravan of misfortunes has brought me to this
country.” The bath-keeper then asked him: “Did you happen to meet on
your way a camel-rider named Baba Fys?” He replied: “We were companions,
but in the desert we were attacked by wild beasts, who bit off his ears,
and therefore he has returned to Kabúl.” On hearing this the heart of
the bath-keeper became hot as a blacksmith’s furnace, seething from the
flames of grief, and he exclaimed: “What more distressing news could you
tell me? He is my brother; the camel was my property; and I borrowed
the price of the silk. I must of necessity go home to-night and consult
my relatives on this affair; and as the vazír, who is the owner of this
bath and is at present sick, intends to come here in the morning, I was
ordered to warm the bath well. Do you therefore put fire into it, and
to-morrow I will pay you for your trouble. Take care, however, to stir up
the fuel from time to time, so that the bath may become properly heated.”
After giving these instructions to Manssur, he departed to his house.
But as Manssur was fatigued and glad to be in a warm place, he soon fell
asleep; and on awaking he found the fire was extinguished, so he got
up, and in his anxiety and inexpertness he stirred the fire so as to
break part of the floor above it, in consequence of which the water in
the reservoir rushed down and completely put out the fire again, at the
same time scalding Manssur, who fled from the place in great fear. When
the vazír arrived at the bath in the morning he began to tremble from
the cold, and his malady so increased that he fainted. His attendants
immediately seized the bath-keeper, who asserted, in excuse, that it was
all the fault of the fireman, who had run away. But the vazír suddenly
dying in consequence of having caught cold, his son gave orders that both
the bath-keeper and the fireman should be put to death.

Manssur, however, had made good his escape from Gaznín, and was
journeying towards Lahore when he fell in with a caravan, of which one of
the merchants engaged him as his servant. As Manssur was well acquainted
with his duties, he diligently guarded his master’s goods, and soon
gained his confidence. When the caravan had entered into one of the
pargannas of Lahore, as all the provisions were exhausted, each merchant
gave his servant a quantity of goods to exchange for victuals. Manssur
bartered the goods he had received from his master very profitably, and
returned with various kinds of provisions before any of his companions,
at which his master was so well pleased that he said to him: “I hear
that there are many wealthy persons in this parganna. Take therefore some
goods of high price and dispose of them, and I will give you half the
profits.” Accordingly, Manssur selected merchandise of nearly the value
of five hundred tománs,[18] which he sold for a thousand and returned.
His master gave him three hundred tománs, saying: “Let this sum be the
capital of your business, which you will in a short time increase and
be thus enabled to return to your own country.” Shah Manssur gratefully
received the merchant’s generous gift, and, having bought suitable goods,
again repaired to the parganna, and hawked them about till he arrived at
the gate of an elegant and magnificent mansion, which he concluded to
be the property of some noble or grandee, and thought the owner might
possibly buy all his stock of merchandise. So he deposited his wares
in the shade of a wall and leaned against it, watching the door of the
house. Presently a maiden resembling a húrí[19] in stature, with the
serenity of the moon in her countenance, and with bewitching eyes, came
out of the house with a pitcher in her hand for the purpose of taking
water from the river; and Shah Manssur thus addressed her: “I am at your

    The glances of your eyes are wonderful;
    Whoever beholds them is on the top of felicity.”

But the maiden replied:

    “This is not the place where every caravan stops;
    The lion of every desert is here distrusted.”

Having thus spoken the damsel went her way, leaving Shah Manssur
disappointed. But after a while she returned and inquired of him: “Why
do you stop here?” He answered: “I am waiting on rosy-cheeked ladies,
and my heart is stored with all sorts of services for them.” Quoth the
damsel: “Bring your goods into the house that I may buy them.” So he took
up his wares and followed the girl, who walked very rapidly. They passed
through a corridor with several doors, and arrived in the court-yard of
the mansion, which was a great and lofty edifice of much beauty, having
many apartments elegantly furnished, but untenanted. When he had looked
around and rested himself for a while, he perceived that the maiden had
disappeared. At last he concluded it would be best for him to leave the
place; but as he was roaming from one apartment to another he lost his
way, and finding no way of exit became frightened, yet continued his
search until he reached a hall from the ceiling of which a golden disk
was suspended by chains encrusted with precious stones. On both sides of
the disk small globular bells were dangling, and upon it there was a
phial of glass. The statue of a lion of marble bound in chains occupied
one side of the apartment. While Shah Manssur viewed this scene with
amazement, the same girl entered with a rod in her hand. As he was about
to address her, she exclaimed: “Ha! madman, you have walked into the trap
at last!” and struck the lion so that he began to roar, and the disk,
the chains, and the little bells shook and jingled, accompanied by great
noises, shoutings, and lamentations, which terrified Shah Manssur, who
anxiously wished to make his escape. Meanwhile the phial on the disk
emitted a green substance mingled with flames, which ascended into the
air and filled the apartment with darkness: Shah Manssur almost fainted;
and when the smoke and the flame had subsided, a viper lifted its head
out of the phial, from which it finally emerged and entered the mouth of
the lion. Soon after this the lion sneezed, and from his brains a spider
escaped, which gradually increased in size until it became as large as a
sheep; when it made a still greater effort its skin burst, from which an
old hag of miserable aspect, dreadful as a goblin and ugly as a satyr,
came forth, embraced Shah Manssur very ardently, kissed him, and emitted
from her cadaverous mouth a disgusting liquid which covered his face. Her
putrid breath was like burning sulphur, and made him cough and almost
give up the ghost. This dreadful hag, however, doubled her caresses, and
would not leave him until he fainted away. When he came to his senses
he cried out piteously: “O most gracious lady, deliver me from this
calamity!” But she replied: “Your request cannot be gratified;” and then,
giving him a substance to smell at, he again became unconscious.

Thus Shah Manssur continued during nearly forty days in the grasp
of misfortune. The wretched hag made her appearance once every day,
tormenting him, and causing him to faint for the gratification of her
wicked lust. One day, however, when she was about the same business,
she pulled out a mirror from her pocket and looking into it with great
consternation, was suddenly transformed into a spider, crawled into the
mouth of the lion, whence she again issued in the form of a serpent,
ascended to the disk and disappeared in the phial. Then Shah Manssur
went into the court-yard and tried whether he could escape from the
place. There the girl met him and said: “I am astonished that she has
not thrown you into a trance;” upon which Manssur told her all that had
occurred, and the girl said: “She has a foe in Jábolká, whose machination
she learns from that mirror, because whenever he attempts to ruin this
wicked fairy his figure appears in it, and the accursed one departs
to combat him.” Then exclaimed Shah Manssur bitterly: “O cruel and
merciless woman! the torments which I have suffered in this house are the
consequences of my having by your coquetry been decoyed into it; and now
perhaps you will be compassionate enough to let me depart.” The damsel
replied: “Young man, I have, like yourself, been caught in this shoreless
whirlpool, and have been made the instrument of alluring poor victims,
whom she was in the habit of using for the gratification of her wicked
desires and afterwards destroying. Whenever I disobeyed her she punished
me severely. Her name is Hennána the Witch, and she is a descendant of
the sorcerers of the time of Kolyas, whom the accursed Pharaoh sent
against the Lord Moses (salutation to him).[20] This iniquitous wretch
keeps a similar establishment in Hindústán: she is able, like the wind,
to transport herself in a moment from the eastern to the western parts of
the world, and to carry the flames of misfortune to all places.”

Shah Manssur then asked the girl: “How did you fall into her power?” She
replied: “Know that my father is the chief of Agra and is possessed of
great wealth. He had betrothed me to my cousin, who set out for Banáres
to procure the paraphernalia of the wedding ceremony; and when the report
of my beauty and other qualities had spread through that city, the Amír
verified it, was desirous to marry me, and said to my relatives: ‘I
have heard that you have a beautiful girl, and I wish to take her for
a wife.’ My father and my relatives consented; but as I was deeply in
love with my uncle’s son, I became very indignant and exclaimed: ‘To
how many men will you give your daughter? It is many years since you
betrothed me to my cousin, and though he is absent at Banáres for the
purpose of procuring the things needful for a household, I consider
myself as under his protection, and shall never accept of another husband
as long as I am alive. Do not try to force me, for I would rather commit
suicide.’ This resolute declaration had the effect I desired, and, after
holding a consultation with our relatives, my father determined that we
should all flee to Banáres. I was dressed in male garments, and when
night approached was taken out of the city and given in charge of two
confidential servants who were to explain everything to my cousin, and
we began our journey on fleet Arab steeds. After we had travelled for
three days a fearful wind and thunderstorm overtook us in the desert,
during which I became separated from my escort and was left alone. As
I was roaming about I arrived at a green spot where I discovered a
fountain, and feeling thirsty I alighted from my horse, which at once
took to flight, and in my vain pursuit of it I chanced to meet an old
woman who was weeping piteously and crying aloud: ‘O unhappy fate! have
you at last in my old age and weakness thrown me into such a state that
I must become the prey of wild beasts? Would to God some friend could
take me by the hand and deliver me from this danger!’ I came forward and
said: ‘Old woman, what has happened to you?’ She answered: ‘I was going
on a pilgrimage to Makka, and when our caravan entered this desert it
was plundered by robbers. Here have I been for two days without a morsel
of food. Young man, have pity on my age and helplessness; deliver me
from this calamity, and convey me to a place of security, that you may
be rewarded for your good act.’ I had compassion on the wretched old
woman and was considering what I could do for her, when she handed me
an apple, of which I had no sooner eaten a small piece than I sneezed
and fainted; nor was I sensible of aught until I again opened my eyes
and found myself in this place with that accursed witch. When she saw me
pale and frightened, she exclaimed: ‘Let nothing dismay you, for your
life is not in danger from me;’ and thinking I was a man, she commenced
to fondle me, but I soon undeceived her. Since that time four years have
elapsed, during which, being myself miserable, I was compelled to entice
helpless men into her snares. Nevertheless, one day I conceived that I
might escape and secretly left the house, but I was instantly transformed
into a she-dog, and was pursued by all the dogs in the town, so that I
was again obliged to return to this place. But now I shall propose to
you a means of escape, on condition that you convey me in safety to my
friends.” Shah Manssur eagerly replied: “I promise to do whatever you
require of me,” and the girl went on to say: “When the phial is broken
the witch must die; request her therefore to give you tidings concerning
your family, and as soon as she disappears you must strike the phial with
a stone so as to break it.”[21]

Whilst they were conversing they perceived the accursed hag approaching.
So the maiden left the apartment; and when the witch saw Shah Manssur
weeping she asked him the reason, to which he answered: “It is now a long
time since I was separated from my country, and I have had a fearful
dream which afflicts me sorely.” Quoth the hag: “Be not distressed;
I shall instantly give you information regarding your relatives;” so
saying, she went to the phial, disappeared and quickly returned, and
minutely described to him the dwelling as well as the condition of his
parents and relatives. Manssur was astonished at the accuracy of her
description, but, dissembling, said to her: “I cannot believe all this,
because my country is far distant and you have returned in half a minute.
Unless you bring me a token that you have really been there I cannot
trust you.” Quoth the witch: “What kind of token do you desire?” Manssur
replied: “In the garden of our house is a tree on which I once climbed,
when a portion of my belt was torn off, which I tied to a branch. If you
bring me a rag of the belt I shall then believe you.” When he had said
this the witch went again to the phial, and, as before, disappeared.
This time the girl brought Shah Manssur a stone; he invoked the aid of
God the Most High, and striking the phial, it flew into pieces. Then the
lion roared, the chains clanked, the little bells jingled, a fearful
noise was heard, some blood dripped from the ceiling of the apartment
to the ground, and the magical apparatus, the furniture, the chambers,
and the entire edifice vanished, leaving Shah Manssur and the maiden
standing together in a cemetery, and both poured forth their thanks to
the Most High. Then the girl said: “My dear friend, from hence to Agra
is ten days’ journey;” and handing him some costly pearls she added,
“try to convey me quickly to my parents, and buy with these pearls all
that is necessary for me on the way.” Shah Manssur purchased a camel
with a litter and a slave for the damsel, and sent her off to her own
country, after which he set out on foot, and in a destitute condition,
for Burhanpúr.

When Shah Manssur arrived at his destination he heard that the Amír of
Burhanpúr, while hunting, had lost a precious gem from the hilt of his
sword, and had issued an order that all the citizens should go next
morning to the hunting ground in search of it. So rich and poor, gentle
and simple, left the city and roamed about. Shah Manssur joined the
crowd, and was fortunate enough to find the lost gem. On presenting it
to the Amír he was highly pleased, praised him greatly, and questioned
him as to his connections and circumstances; after which he gave him in
charge of one of his chamberlains to provide for him as soon as possible.
It happened, however, that the Amír died suddenly, and the reward
promised to Manssur came to nothing.

The son of the Amír succeeded his father. One day a merchant presented
him with a parrot that could speak with great eloquence, and the new Amír
entrusted it to the care of the chamberlain, who took the bird home,
and having sent for Manssur said to him: “Take the utmost care of this
parrot, for it may become the means of introducing you to the Amír, and
of your obtaining the reward which his father promised you.”[22] Manssur
took charge of the bird and carried it away; but when he got into the
street the people were all so anxious to see it and pressed so much upon
him that he thought it would be better to take the parrot out of the cage
and carry it in his hand. But unluckily it escaped from his grasp and
flew to the top of the chamberlain’s haram. Manssur had great trouble in
climbing the wall, and just as he had succeeded the parrot again flitted
away and alighted on the roof of one of the haram apartments. Shah
Manssur was so frightened that he said nothing to the eunuch and other
servants, but threw up a cord, by means of which he contrived to reach
the spot; but once more the parrot started off, and in so doing moved
a tile which fell on the head of the chief lady of the chamberlain’s
haram and killed her there and then. The eunuchs and maid-servants, on
discovering this fatal mishap, raised their voices in lamentation, which
caused the chamberlain to leave his office and run into the haram, where
he found everyone in a state of great agitation, and Shah Manssur a
captive in the hands of the eunuchs, and he at once ordered the culprit
to be beaten and thrown into prison, where the poor fellow was kept for
some time and tormented every day until he found a favourable opportunity
and escaped.

Shah Manssur fled to Guzerat, where he wandered about in great distress,
sometimes hiring himself out as a labourer and sometimes as a porter.
One day, when he was unable to obtain either food or employment, he
determined to sell the ring with which the neighbour’s wife had presented
him.[23] He was chiefly induced to take this step by sniffing the
appetising fumes of roast meat in passing a cook’s shop, the owner of
which he approached, and requesting something to eat offered the ring in
pledge for the price. But when the cook looked at the ruby set in the
beazle and then at the poverty-stricken figure of Shah Manssur, he felt
sure that he could not be the lawful possessor of such a gem but must
have stolen it, and that, not knowing its real value, he was ready to
part with it for a meal. Now it chanced that during the preceding night
some thieves had broken into the treasury of the Amír and stolen a great
quantity of gold, silver, precious stones, and valuables of all kinds;
and this audacious robbery had become known throughout the city and the
police were busy searching the bazárs and private houses for the thieves.
So the cook said to Shah Manssur: “Friend, you do not look like the owner
of such a ring as this;—come, tell me where you got it?” “What business
have you thus to question me?” replied Manssur. “Either give me something
to eat or return me the ring.” These words gave rise to a dispute, which
culminated in a fight, wherein the neighbours took the part of the cook,
and on the arrival of the police on the scene they took the ring from
the cook, and thinking it to be one of the articles stolen from the
treasury they dragged Shah Manssur before their superintendent, and
reported that they had recovered a portion of the stolen treasure and
captured the thief.

It happened that a notorious robber named Obayd was at that time, with
forty companions, carrying on great depredations which the police were
unable to prevent, and his fame had so widely spread through Hindústán
that day and night no one could breathe in peace. It is even said that a
few days before the robbery of the Amír’s treasury Obayd sent a message
to the police superintendent, to be on his guard, as he was coming.
Consequently, when the superintendent saw Manssur he supposed him to be
Obayd, loaded him with heavy chains, and sent him to the Amír, together
with the ring, for the purpose of ingratiating himself and displaying
his zeal in the service. But when the Amír looked at Shah Manssur, he
said: “I have always heard that Obayd is a powerful and strong man; this
fellow is weak and looks like an arrant coward: he may possibly be an
accomplice, but he cannot be Obayd himself.” The superintendent, however,
replied: “May your highness live for ever! This man, who seems so feeble,
is strong and bold, and so nimble that he can jump through a finger-ring.
But now that he has been captured by me his powerful limbs have shrunk
together from fear; and I shall put him to the torture forthwith to
compel him to tell the truth.” Said the Amír to Shah Manssur: “Who are
you? and whence have you obtained this ruby?” He replied, “May the Amír
live long! I am a stranger, and the ring is my own property. I have come
to this country on account of the great name and the good report which I
have heard of the Amír. I have fallen into the hands of the police, but I
have no knowledge at all of the robbery of your highness’ treasury.” The
apparatus of torture was then brought, and Shah Manssur, being suspended
by the heels of punishment, forgot in his misery the name of Obayd and
said, “I am Zubayr, and have robbed the treasury.” Now there was a famous
robber of the name of Zubayr, so the Amír believed the poor fellow’s
statement and remarked: “He may be Zubayr.” The superintendent said to
his men: “Take good care of this man to-night, and in the morning we
shall again examine him.” Accordingly they took Manssur to prison, all
believing him to be the robber Zubayr. On the way all the people who had
been robbed by Zubayr rushed up to Manssur and demanded their property;
but the superintendent said: “Do not be uneasy. I shall get back to the
last farthing everything he has taken from you.”

When night set in special watchmen were appointed to guard the prison,
and vaunting their own bravery and fidelity, they took charge of the four
corners thereof. Shah Manssur was unable to sleep, and was thinking how
the morning would dawn on his innocent head, when he heard sounds of
striking and digging. It was midnight, and he hearkened to the sounds
with fear and trembling, till suddenly the wall opened, from which a hand
grasping a sword protruded, at which Manssur became so terrified that he
nearly fainted, for he weened it was a man belonging to the police. A
voice, however, exclaimed: “Friend, be not afraid. I have come to save
you. We have no time to lose in explanations;” and with these words a
strong man seized Shah Manssur with his fetters and chains, carried him
out of the prison, let him down the wall of the fort by a rope, and
conveyed him quickly to a ruin at a distance of nearly three farasangs.
When he arrived there he placed Manssur on his feet, and raising a
great stone which covered the entrance to an underground chamber, they
descended into it, and there he set poor Manssur free from his heavy
bonds, after which he thus addressed him: “Young man, be comfortable and
rest yourself, for I know you have suffered much.” Then placing before
him different kinds of delicious food, he added: “Eat cheerfully, for
your misfortunes are now ended.”

After Shah Manssur had eaten he went to sleep; and when he awoke he spoke
thus to his deliverer: “Generous and kind man, although honesty radiates
from your august countenance and I feel happy in your company, yet, as
it is my fate to wander in the desert of grief and to fall perpetually
from one calamity to another, you would greatly relieve my apprehensions
by informing me of the motives of your kind act.” The man replied: “I
am the robber of the Amír’s treasury! But when I learned that you, an
innocent man, had been imprisoned in my stead, I considered it my duty
to liberate you, and for that purpose I have been obliged to kill many
of the watchmen. To-morrow, when everything becomes known, there will
be great excitement and the police will be in pursuit of me. This is a
secure refuge where no one can discover you; and when the storm is over I
shall find means to convey you out of all danger.” Shah Manssur replied
by expressing his deep feeling of gratitude to his deliverer.

Next morning at sun-rise the superintendent was informed that a number of
watchmen had been killed and that Zubayr had been carried off through an
opening in the wall. At this unpleasant news he was much disconcerted,
and ran at once to the palace to make his report. The Amír was furious
and exclaimed: “You rascal! is this how you have taken care of your
prisoner? This comes only through your gross negligence. I shall hear
none of your excuses. Produce the man, else I shall punish you and
ignominiously expel you from my service.”

When the people of the town learned what had happened, all who had been
plundered by Zubayr accused the superintendent of having connived at the
prisoner’s escape and clamoured for the restitution of their property.
So he asked for a month’s respite and despatched three thousand men in
search of the robber. But after vainly searching in all directions they
returned, and those who had been robbed confiscated the superintendent’s
property, and the Amír expelled him from the city.

Meanwhile the deliverer of Shah Manssur kept him company during the day
and went forth at night in order to ascertain what was going on in the
city; and when he heard of the superintendent’s downfall he hastened
back and said to Manssur: “Praise be to God! the danger is over, and it
is time for me to send you to your own country.” But quoth Shah Manssur:
“Dear friend, I have a difficulty which I wish you to solve for me.”
Said the man: “Speak.” Shah Manssur continued: “Since I have had the
pleasure of your acquaintance, I have discovered nothing improper in your
character; but it is utterly incomprehensible to me how you, who are
endowed with such noble sentiments, can have selected the occupation of a
robber.” His liberator answered:

“My occupation was formerly quite different. Know that my name is Junayd
Muhtashim, and I am a scion of a noble and opulent family. In this
neighbourhood there is a tract of country with flowing rivers, spacious
meadows, fertile lands, many houses and numberless gardens. All that
district belonged to me and was inhabited by my retainers and servants,
and I cheerfully paid all taxes to the Amír, who was for many years
my friend. In course of time, however, the exactions of the government
officials became very heavy; judges, tax-gatherers, and accountants were
sent to me whose rapacity it was difficult to satisfy, and I became
greatly distressed. I repeatedly made complaints to the Amír, and
endeavoured to convince him that he could be powerful only so long as he
treated his subjects with justice, and that oppression could result in
nothing but unhappiness and confusion. But all my advice proved futile,
and when his delegates came again I took refuge in a fort and answered
therefrom. After several days had passed in this way, I heard that it was
the intention of the Amír to plunder me, so I conveyed all my moveable
property into the stronghold and prepared to stand a siege. When the Amír
became aware that he could not very easily get at me, he seized the sheep
and cattle which I possessed outside of the city, and ultimately I was
able to take refuge with my retainers in Hyderábád, whither some persons
came and bought of me all the landed property I had in Guzerat; but as
I could in no other way recover the value of the goods and cattle which
the Amír had forcibly taken from me, I secretly returned to Guzerat to
pay myself from his own treasury or in any other way, and no one has been
able to interfere with me.[24] But you, my friend, must no longer remain
in this place. I have a courser, swift like lightning, to whom fifty
farasangs are an easy stage: mount and ride on him to Hyderábád, where I
shall induce my friends to send you comfortably to Nishapúr.”

Having written a few words to his relatives, explained to Shah Manssur
the position of his house, and presented him with a costly diamond, he
took affectionate leave of him, wished him God-speed, led him out of
the underground apartment, and said: “Wait a moment till I bring you
a horse.” He presently returned with a steed, which when Manssur had
mounted, “This courser,” said his deliverer, “well knows the road, and
when you reach Hyderábád you must throw the reins on his neck, and he
will carry you without fail to the threshold of my house;” so saying, he
led him on to the highway and again bade him farewell.

Shah Manssur prosecuted his journey with great rapidity till he arrived
at Hyderábád, and remembering the injunctions he had received, allowed
the horse to go where it pleased. Thus he rode through the streets till
suddenly a man recognised the horse, and proceeding to Junayd’s house
intimated that a stranger was coming mounted on his horse. Some of
Junayd’s relatives at once went out and asked Shah Manssur where he got
the animal he bestrode. He replied: “The horse is my own, and you have
no right to question me.” These words so incensed the people that they
instantly surrounded him and pulled him off the horse, saying: “This
animal belongs to us. Come—tell us the truth as to how you obtained
it.” Shah Manssur, believing them to be a pack of rascals who wished to
deprive him of the horse, began to use insulting language towards them.
By this time a great number of people had gathered round the horse and
they cried out: “We know this animal: it belongs to Junayd, and these
are his relatives. You must produce some token of your honesty.” As soon
as Manssur learned that these were the friends of Junayd he began to
fumble in his pocket for the letter he had received from him, but could
not find it—on the road he had lost both the letter and the diamond; so
all his assertions that the horse had been given to him by the owner
were discredited. They declared to him plainly that he had either
killed Junayd or robbed him; and then they beat Manssur most cruelly
and imprisoned him until the matter could be cleared up. He was kept in
confinement till one of his accusers fell dangerously ill, and tormented
by the stings of his conscience, when he was set at liberty.

Shah Manssur now reflected: “My remaining in Hindústán is of no use, for
calamities dog me at every step. Alas for the time which I have lost
in roaming about in this country! It were better that I should return
home, and if the Most High please, he can make me happy and cause me to
prosper there.” A caravan was proceeding from Hyderábád to Irán,[25]
and Manssur, sad and disappointed, travelled along with it. On reaching
the outskirts of Nishapúr, he said to himself: “To make my appearance in
this destitute and miserable condition, after a journey from Hindústán,
would distress my friends and cause my enemies to rejoice. Therefore I
will remain here until nightfall and then enter the town and go to my
friends.” He took refuge in a dilapidated building, where he mourned
and wept over his sad fate. After a while an owl flew in, pursued by an
eagle, and sought protection of Shah Manssur, who took up a stone to
throw at the eagle. The stone, however, struck the wall and displaced
a brick, when a quantity of gold ashrafís[26] fell to the ground. Shah
Manssur ran to the place and there found a pot full of gold and silver.
He stuffed his pockets with gold coins and then concealed the pot in
an obscure corner of the ruin, fervently thanking God for this happy
termination of his travels and misfortunes.[27]

He remained in the ruin all night, and in the morning he did not
enter Nishapúr but went to Kazvyn, where he took an apartment in the
caravanserai, changed his habiliments, and bought a large quantity of
the finest merchandise, a string of camels, and three slaves, and made
his entrance into Nishapúr rejoicing. He was most kindly received by his
relatives and friends, and in course of time he removed the whole of the
treasure from the ruin to his own house. Thus he lived in comfort and
prosperity, made several journeys to the country of Rúm and to that of
the Franks,[28] by which he obtained large profits, so that he finally
became the owner of seven hundred strings of valuable camels.

One day when he was sitting with his friends and relating his unhappy
adventures in Hindústán, he mentioned also the affair of the witch, and
asked whether they had seen her about the place. They replied: “We were
sitting together one day in this very house, when a strange cat made its
appearance, looked at each of us attentively, and instantly vanished. Not
long afterwards it came again, ran with great speed up yonder tree, and
immediately falling down, seemed to be in the agony of death, but when we
went up to the animal it had already expired.” Quoth Shah Manssur: “That
was the same witch whose captive I had been for some time, until at last
I contrived to send her here and escape;” and at this explanation they
were greatly amazed.[29]

Shah Manssur once took a large quantity of merchandise, with many
attendants, to the country of Tabríz, which was at that time under the
Turkish government. He waited on the Amír of Tabríz, associated with him,
and so gained his favour that he made him his vazír; and when the Amír
died, the citizens, being pleased with the kind and just disposition of
Shah Manssur in his capacity of vazír, petitioned the sultan to make him
Amír, a request which was readily granted, and Shah Manssur governed in
Tabríz for many years until he died.

       *       *       *       *       *

“My dear Nassar,” continued Khayrandísh, “I have related this narrative
to make you understand that a man cannot attain the object of his desires
by irregular wanderings and inordinate appetites; but if he be patient he
will succeed. The world is a coquette, and the more she is courted the
more coy and prudish she becomes, but if left unnoticed she will try to
gain our favours.”


“It is necessary to guard oneself from the wiles and snares of our
fellow-beings, and not to trust implicitly in persons whose character is
neither known nor tried. Whoever walks among thorns must do so with great
care and precaution. This world resembles a picture-gallery with many
apartments, each of which has its own peculiar attractions; but a man who
should spend all his time in the contemplation and enjoyment thereof,
to the neglect and disregard of his daily avocations, would injure his
own interests. Therefore he is prudent who runs not after every fleeting
illusion, but bridles his desires lest he be disappointed and rendered
unhappy, like the geomancer, the washerman, and the painter, who lost
control of their passions and were drowned in the ocean of misfortunes
and errors, grieving over their troubles, which they were unable to
remedy.” Then Khayrandísh told Nassar the

_Story of Hatim Taï and the Benevolent Lady_.

It is related that when Hatim Taï[30] was dispensing his bounty one day
in a hall which had forty doors, by every one of which the destitute
might be admitted, a darvesh entered and thus addressed him: “O vernal
cloud of liberality! the mead of hope expects to be irrigated by you. O
husbandman of the field of beneficence, the aspirants to your favours are
in attendance to receive your refreshing showers, and this gleaner from
the store-houses of your bounty was by the guide of hope directed to the
prosperous mansion of your generosity!

    Bestow gifts, O noble individual,
    For liberality is the lamp in the assembly of Faith.
    Whoever gives a dirham to a mendicant
    Is favourably regarded by God.
    The umbrella of victory, in both worlds,
    Overshadows the glorious heads of the liberal.”

Hatim ordered one hundred dínars[31] to be given to the darvesh, who
again entered by another door and reiterated his petition, and again
obtained one hundred dínars. Thus he repeated his request until he had
come in by all the forty doors, and had obtained the same sum at each of
them. After that he reappeared at the first door and proffered the same
request, upon which an attendant said to him: “Darvesh, you have made
the round of all the entrances and were disappointed at none. How is it
that your greediness is not yet satisfied, and that you have exposed
yourself to a refusal?” The darvesh heaved a deep sigh and replied: “The
fame of Hatim, which extends over the whole world, has induced me to
travel from China to this place. But in that country there is a lady more
liberal than he, inasmuch as her largesses surpass the most extravagant
expectations of those who receive them, so that a hundred Hatims could
not equal in many years the sums which she disburses in one day.” When
the darvesh had thus spoken he disappeared, and Hatim became desirous of
ascertaining the truth of his statement, so he departed for China, and,
arrived there, considering how he might accomplish his object, he walked
about the streets.

He perceived great crowds of people hastening away and inquired the
reason, when a man answered: “In this city there was a man of the name
of Nassar-ullah, who possessed immense riches. He left a daughter who
distributes in great profusion—and has done so for several years—money
to all persons. If you wish to know whether I speak the truth, you have
only to follow the crowd.” Accordingly Hatim went along with the people,
and arrived at a beautiful palace where servants dressed in rich garments
received everyone who wished to enter. Within the palace Hatim saw a
large assembly reposing on silken couches, with tables before them on
which the finest dainties were placed in rich variety and abundance.
After the repast was over a confidential servant appeared with a platter
full of pieces of paper on which different sums were written; and to
every person who was about to depart he handed one of those papers. When
Hatim’s turn came he also received one, and the assembly broke up. As the
people arrived at the gate each man handed his paper to a servant, who
gave him in return a bag full of gold according to the amount specified
on the little ticket. Hatim was so much astonished at what he had seen
that he was constantly thinking of the immense riches of the lady, and
was extremely anxious to obtain an interview with her. So he requested
a chamberlain to procure him the honour of an audience, and on being
admitted into the presence of that queen he addressed her as follows:
“Most exalted lady of the mansions of liberality, and húrí of the castles
of felicity!

    May the rose of your nature constantly
    Be blooming joyfully in the spring of generosity!
    The hand of your liberality, beauteous fairy,
    Is shedding jewels like the vernal cloud.
    Your servant has a difficulty,
    Which causes him great anxiety:
    If you grant my petition,
    I shall humbly explain it.”

That idol of high prosperity gave permission, and Hatim spake thus: “I
hear that the stream of your extraordinary liberality has for several
years flowed with undiminished vigour, and I am curious to know how you
obtained such enormous wealth.” Quoth the lady: “Every assembly receives
light from its lamp, and the destiny of every individual is traced out
on his forehead by the hand of divine providence.

    Love was the bulbul’s, and beauty the rose’s share;
    Liberal persons are the treasurers of the mercy of God.

The state of my affairs is connected with a tale which I shall
communicate to you on two conditions: First, I am informed that at
present there exists a man of the name of Hatim, whose liberality is so
far famed that in spite of my having for a number of years made it my
business to grant to all persons the richest and most abundant gifts,
my name is not even heard of except in this country; therefore I am so
jealous of Hatim that I wish you to kill him. Secondly, I have heard that
in the neighbourhood of Khatá there is an exceedingly high mountain, in a
cave of which a blind man has dwelt for many years, who never utters any
words save these:

    ‘If you possess one barley-corn of justice,
    You will never have half a grain of sorrow,’

and I desire to know his reason for constantly repeating these words.”

Hatim drew the finger of acquiescence over the face of content, took
his leave, and set out for the cave indicated by the lady. There he
found a blind man, whom he requested to relate his adventures. But the
blind man replied: “My good friend, what can have instigated you to make
such a request? I have no doubt that your mind is often exercised with
problems which you cannot solve; and I pray you to consider this question
as one of them.” Hatim, however, went on to say: “Persons of a kindly
disposition generally comply with the requests of the importunate, and I
hope you will not allow me to depart from this place without affording me
the desired information.” Then quoth the blind man: “I shall withdraw the
veil from the surface of the mystery on one condition: It is long since
I heard that there is a washerman in Khatá who goes every morning to the
bank of the river and does nothing but look at a tree which is there,
leap about like a madman, sigh deeply, and repeat these verses:

    ‘Alas, that your picture has left my sight,
    And left my golden chalice empty of the wine of joy!
    It is the wish of my heart that once more I may meet her.’

Now, my good friend, if you acquaint me with the story of that washerman,
I shall have no objection to relate to you my own history.”

Accordingly Hatim proceeded in quest of the washerman, and finding the
blind man’s account of him perfectly accurate, he was not a little
astonished at his actions and said to him: “Friend, if you would kindly
inform me why you act in this strange manner, I might be able to help
you in your troubles and perhaps liberate you from your affliction.” But
the washerman sighed and only said in reply: “The wound of my heart no
medicine can heal, nor can any advice help me. I am incurable, and the
grief of my heart would only be augmented were I to reveal it.

    I had better hide my sorrow from empirics;
    Perchance the divine mercy will cure my grief.”

Quoth Hatim: “Young man, stand not on ceremony with me, for I shall not
quit hold of your skirt until you have told me your adventures.” Then
said the washerman: “I also have a great curiosity regarding a certain
matter, and if you will satisfy it I shall relate to you my story. Know
that in Máchin there is a man who paints on a board, during the whole
year, a picture of the handsomest kind, which he sells in the bazár
at the end of the year for a thousand dínars, and then returns the
money and breaks his picture to pieces. I wish to learn the reason of
this proceeding.” “Alas, and woe is me!” exclaimed Hatim. “Into what a
labyrinth of troubles have I fallen, to be thus required to solve one
enigma after another!” He had, however, no alternative but to go to the
city of Máchin, and it so chanced that he arrived there at the time when
the painter had brought his picture to the bazár and was surrounded by
such a great crowd of people that Hatim could only get near him as a
bidder, and assisted at the sale until the painter broke his picture and
gathered up the fragments, when the crowd dispersed with exclamations of
regret. Hatim then visited the painter and addressed him, saying: “Young
man, what is your opinion regarding hospitality?” In reply the painter
recited these verses:

    “A guest is a flower from the garden of prosperity and mercy;
    He is the fruit of the spring of happiness.
    Whoever is inhospitable injures his own soul.”

He received Hatim in a very friendly manner, and inquired of him: “To
what circumstance may I ascribe the happiness of being visited by you?”
Quoth Hatim: “The mysterious force which attracts kindred spirits to each
other has made me trespass on your retirement.” After an interchange
of courtesies they became quite intimate, and Hatim, anxious to attain
his object, said to the painter: “Dear friend, I conjure you, by the
obligations which you have already conferred on me, to explain the cause
of what I have witnessed this day,” and he thus complied:

_The Painter’s Story_.

In former times, when the refreshing clouds of youth and strength watered
the grove of my life, I decked out my imagination with the variegated
robes of pleasure, and during the greater portion of that period the buds
of all kinds of desires blossomed, and the ardent longings to embrace the
fairy of enjoyment took possession of my heart. I had a delightful garden
in which I walked about one day according to my usual custom, when I
beheld two serpents fighting. One was black, the other white; the latter
seemed to be the weaker and about to succumb to its antagonist; and,
as every one who removes a thorn from the path of a bare-footed person
performs a good action, I drew my scymetar and struck off the head of
the black serpent. That very moment the sky became darkened, something
roared in the air, a phial fell to the earth and was shattered to pieces,
at the same time the white serpent disappeared. I was astonished at
what had taken place, but again returned to the garden next day to walk
about in it. In passing near the bank of a river I observed a white hand
protruding from the water, each finger of which was adorned with a ring
set with precious stones of a brilliancy never before seen by the eyes of
man. The desire of possessing such gems incited me to seize one of the
fingers, when the hand drew me instantly into the river, and on opening
my eyes I found myself in a garden like Paradise, full of the most
beautiful flowers and trees. When I had recovered from my confusion and
astonishment I began to stroll about that spacious garden until I reached
a splendid building, which I entered, and discovered a person seated on a
throne surrounded by attendants. I approached and humbly saluted him; he
received me kindly, called me nearer, and said: “I am surprised to behold
you in this place.” To which I answered: “May it please your exalted
majesty, I have not intruded, but was forced to come into this region,”
and I explained the whole affair. Then quoth he: “On account of the
benefit you have conferred on our family, we were extremely anxious to
see you.” On hearing these words I began to consider to what nation this
man might belong, and what good service I could possibly have rendered
him, when he proceeded to say: “I know that you are thinking of me. My
name is Zayn al-Mafakhir. From Ma-varannahr, which is inhabited by men,
the country as far as China is in my power; and, except my ancestors,
none of the fairies or genii can enter it. I am obeyed by more than
thirty thousand genii and fairies. I have a daughter called Subayha, who
is innocent and beautiful. One of the chief genii had fallen in love with
her and wished to marry her, and with this object had sent a messenger to
enter into negotiations; but, as enmity and strife existed between us, I
refused to have anything to do with him. This so incensed the suitor that
he despatched a genie to steal my daughter; but my spies having informed
me of his proceedings, I constantly watched the girl. She was, however,
wont to visit your garden, and two days ago she happened to be there when
Jarbua assumed the form of a black serpent, and had almost effected his
purpose when you passed by and killed him. Subayha told me of this, and I
resolved to make you her husband.”

When the maiden was shown to me, her bewitching eye at once captured
the fawn of the repose of my heart; and on beholding the extraordinary
attractions of her person I fell ardently in love with her; and Zayn
al-Mafakhir said: “Subayha belongs to you. But, as the nature of a
fairy is entirely different from that of a human being, you must never
contradict or irritate her, but obey her in all things, lest the
thread of your affection be snapped in twain.” I promised to follow
these injunctions most faithfully; married Subayha; obtained all the
necessaries for housekeeping; and Zayn al-Mafakhir went to reside in
another place, leaving his palace with all its furniture and servants for
our use. In due course my wife gave birth to a son, and at the moment a
wolf appeared, to whom she threw the infant, and he walked off with it.
On seeing this act of cruelty my heart was sorely grieved for my child,
but on account of my promise I could not say anything, and renewed my
intimacy with her. After this we had three more children, two of whom
she threw to wolves and the third into the fire; and each time I was
overwhelmed with sorrow, until one day, when a grandee of that region
sent me some rich food, and I was just about to begin to eat it with
perfect zest when my wife dashed it from me, at which patience forsook
me, and I said to her: “Darling, in every thing my only desire is to
please you, and I have never failed in my duty towards you. But what gave
occasion for your unkindness? Three of my children you have given to
wolves, the fourth you have cast into the fire, and sorrow for their loss
had well-nigh killed me, though I did not complain to you; and now you
have thrown away the most delicious food. Surely these are all tokens of
your displeasure and even hatred!” The fuel of these words set the oven
of the lady’s anger in a blaze, and she exclaimed:

    “To expect fidelity from a weak man
    Is like mistaking a drop of water for a pearl.

Young man, on the day of our union you promised not to ask the reason of
anything I should do. The children whom you thought I had given to wolves
and thrown into the fire were simply delivered to their nurses, and all
are alive and well.” Hereupon she showed me our four children, who were
extremely beautiful. Then she continued: “The food which I threw away had
been poisoned by a malevolent genie, and had you eaten of it you would
have immediately perished. But now that you have been so thoughtless I
can no longer remain with you.” Having thus spoken, she became suddenly
changed into a dove and darkness covered the sky. When it was daylight,
the palace, with its furniture and ornaments, its garden and servants,
had disappeared, and I found myself in a cemetery, dressed in the same
garb as on the day when I went to walk in my garden.

For some time after this event I wandered about the streets and bazárs
like a madman, until my relatives applied various remedies which quieted
the excited condition of my mind; but no medicine could heal my grief. In
our neighbourhood there dwelt a painter who was well skilled in drawing
portraits, and I became his pupil to enable myself to perpetuate the
memory of my love and soothe my grief. I attained skill to paint the
likenesses of my wife and children, in which occupation I take such
delight that I complete every year a large picture and sell it for a
high price; but, as my jealousy does not allow me to let such precious
treasures fall into the possession of strangers, I break the picture to
pieces. O my friend, the felicity I enjoyed is gone for ever, and I spend
my life in misery.

       *       *       *       *       *

As soon as Hatim had heard this narrative he hastened back to the
washerman and related it to him, who in his turn now told Hatim the story
of his adventures, as follows:

_The Washerman’s Story_.

I have followed the business of a washerman for many years. My occupation
brought me every day to this place, and once, when I was here as usual,
I observed a dove alighting on a tree. The bird was so beautiful that
I left off my work to admire it. After a while it shook its wings,
its skin opened, and a húrí-like damsel was revealed to my sight. She
descended from the tree and seated herself in my lap. I rubbed the sleeve
of astonishment over my eyes and exclaimed: “What happiness has fallen
to my lot! O most beauteous lady, I am ready to sacrifice my life to
you, and to make you the companion of my joys and sorrows.” But the
damsel replied: “Young man, this is not a fitting time for jesting. I
have come a long way, and feeling very weary I wish to repose for a
while.” So she laid her head in my lap and fell asleep, while I pondered
my good fortune and future enjoyment. Meantime another and still more
beautiful dove settled on a branch of the tree, and presently turned
into a heart-ravishing maiden. Desirous to please her, I expressed some
compliments, to which she thus responded: “Men are of weak intellects
and so fickle that they bestow every moment their affection on a new
object. One eye needs not two pupils and one scabbard cannot contain
two swords. Let no one be thirsty in a river, or wish for flowers in a
garden.” On hearing these sarcastic remarks I gently removed the head of
the first lady from my lap and said to the second: “I renounce a thousand
mistresses like this for half a glance of your eyes,” adding many other
complimentary expressions which pleased her so much that she also laid
her head in my lap and fell asleep. Soon afterwards a third dove alighted
on the tree, and was like the others transformed into a beautiful girl.
Forgetting what I had said to the other ladies, I fell violently in love
with her, but while I was trying to ingratiate myself with the new comer,
the two others awoke, and all three upbraided me in this strain: “O
faithless and ignorant wretch! are you not ashamed of your unsteady and
chameleon-like nature, and do you not know that the first condition of
love is fidelity! Who could ever expect attachment from thee?

    The morning brings light, the evening night;
    Nor can a bat perceive the sun.”

When they had thus spoken they assumed the forms of doves again and flew
away, leaving me to regret my folly and repent of my fickleness. Many
years have come and gone since then, but I can never forget the happiness
which I might have enjoyed, and so I roam about in despair.

       *       *       *       *       *

Hatim took leave of the washerman and proceeded to the cave in the
mountain where he related the history of the fickle lover to the blind
man, who now told him his own history in these words:

_The Blind Man’s Story_.

In former times I was a skilful geomancer,[32] and one day I visited a
tradesman in the town with whom I had some business, on the conclusion of
which he requested me to cast his horoscope. I complied, and it appeared
that he was to find a treasure. I informed him of this, but he smiled
incredulously and said: “I am too well acquainted with my own destitute
condition. What you say is impossible, and I cannot permit you to jest
at my expense.” I repeated the operation, and the result being the same,
I swore that there was no joke at all in the matter. Quoth he: “Where,
then, is this treasure?” Said I: “In this very house.” The door was then
locked and we both began to dig with great energy until we came upon a
large stone, which having removed, we found that it had covered a well.
After consultation it was agreed that he should go down and I was to
remain above to receive the treasure. Accordingly, my friend having
provided himself with a basket, I let him down by a rope, and when he had
filled the basket with gold, I drew it up, and thus we continued until an
immense heap of gold and gems lay beside me. Then I thought to myself:
“It is possible that if I pull him up again he may try to get rid of me,
and so deprive me of my life as well as of a share of this treasure. I
had better leave him in the well, remove these riches privily, and pass
the rest of my life in comfort.” When my friend found that I did not
again lower the basket he began to suspect my design, and cried to me
from the bottom of the well: “Brother, do not harbour any evil thoughts
about me, for I shall never forget your kindness, and we shall make an
equal division of the whole treasure. Draw me up, I beseech you.” But I
would not comply, because I considered that a secret in the possession
of two persons is soon divulged, and both are disappointed. I therefore
took no notice of his lamentations, and was thinking how I might remove
the treasure without the knowledge of any one, and concluded that the
first thing to be done was to cover up the well so that I should be freed
from any apprehensions concerning my partner, and then carry off the
gold and silver by piecemeal. With these ideas I walked about the house
and considered that it would be advisable to wait till nightfall, when I
should cover the well and take away a portion of the treasure. But when
the night set in it occurred to me that I might be attacked by robbers
or that some other mishap might befal me, so I thought it would be more
prudent to wait for the break of day, and then with a quiet mind carry
off my wealth, and thus thinking, I fell asleep.

Now my friend happened to have a mortal enemy who was waiting for an
opportunity to kill him, and being desirous that night of giving effect
to his purpose he came to the house, fastened a rope to the wall, and
by means of it climbed to the roof, from which he descended into the
apartment where I was sleeping. The sound of the man’s footsteps awoke
me, and I leapt up affrighted, crying: “Who is there?” The man, mistaking
me for the owner of the house, caught hold of me and threw me violently
on the floor. “Friend,” said I, “if you want gold and silver, take it,
but spare my life.” “Do you wish to deceive me,” said the ruffian,
“and escape by such a subterfuge? You are as poor as a beggar, and I
shall make you walk the streets as one.” Thereupon he took an awl and
piercing both my eyes with it blinded me for ever, he being in the
hand of Providence the instrument of punishing me for my covetousness.
After having thus avenged himself on his enemy, as he thought, the man
wished to leave the house, but in the darkness he tumbled into the
well and broke his leg. The tradesman, supposing it was myself who had
thus fallen into the well, exclaimed: “Friend, you are wonderfully
covetous, and thereby have not only brought me to this misery but have
yourself now become my partner in misfortune.” But his enemy, mistaking
him for some one whom the tradesman had thus confined, said to him: “I
have punished the man who has imprisoned you in this well.” Presently,
however, he began to cry out from the pain occasioned by his broken leg,
when the tradesman at once discovered it was not I who had become his
fellow-prisoner. I need hardly say that I passed the night in great pain
from my blinded eyes.

Next day the tradesman’s son returned home from a journey to foreign
lands, where he had gained much wealth. On entering the house he was
astonished to find me holding both my hands to my eyes and a heap of
treasure by the side of the open well, and to hear me exclaiming: “I
was comfortable without this treasure, but my covetousness has for ever
deprived me of my sight,” and the lamentations of the two men at the
bottom of the well. He ordered a slave to draw them up, and to his
surprise and joy the first to appear was the young man’s father, who told
him all that had occurred, and when the other man had also been pulled
out, he discovered that his enemy was uninjured and that it was I whom he
had blinded. The tradesman forgave us both, but his enemy died soon after
these occurrences.

I was conveyed to this cave, and every day, morning and evening, two
small loaves are thrown in to me. I have been in this place many years,
but have never ceased to repent of my covetousness.

       *       *       *       *       *

Hatim, having thus ascertained the histories of those three men, at once
returned to the bountiful lady and related them to her, after which she
told him her own story, as she had promised:

_The Benevolent Lady’s Story_.

My father was a wealthy merchant of this country, and very intimate with
all its ruling powers, until he died, when I inherited his property and
lived in comfort. One day as I was sitting at a window I observed a large
company of devotees, preceded by a man reputed to be of great sanctity,
who bore the marks of piety in his countenance. Whenever he stopped a
chair was placed for him, and the people stood reverently around him,
wiping with their sleeves the dust from his skirts and shoes; and in
this manner the procession entered the city. Seeing the stature of
that person invested with the robe of piety and devotion, I was curious
to ascertain what famed hermit or saint he might be, and despatched a
servant to make inquiries. He returned soon and said: “This is Mullah
Tamurtash, the ascetic, who has in the school of abstinence studied the
divine laws and performs his devotions in the hermitage of Abú Tuchmah
and is now come to the city at the invitation of the people to preach
and pray.” On learning this I considered it incumbent on me to pay a
compliment to so holy a personage, so the next day I made up a few
presents and said to a slave: “Take this to the holy ascetic, and request
his prayers for me at the throne of Grace.” My messenger was received
with great kindness, and examined on every circumstance connected with
my affairs. During the ensuing night an alarm of “thieves” was raised
in my house, and when I awoke I found that a number of men had walked
off with all the valuables they could lay hands on, and I sent a servant
in pursuit of them to discover where they deposited my property. The
servant on his return informed me that everything had been conveyed to
the abode of the ascetic. I immediately proceeded to the king’s palace
and stated my case to him, but was not a little surprised to receive this
reply: “This foolish and impudent woman,” said the king, “speaks like
an infidel, and ought to be expelled from the city lest some calamity
should befall us on account of her wickedness. To asperse the character
of a man who has all his life walked in the path of virtue is enough to
call down the wrath of God on our own heads.” I was accordingly driven
out of the city, poor and helpless, and journeyed on foot till I reached
a village, where I obtained shelter in the house of a respectable man;
and having, as my sole property, a ruby ring, I managed, by means of my
host, to sell it for ten thousand dirhams, and as one of the agents of my
father was established in Hindústán I determined to go to that country.
Having purchased a camel and a slave, I set out on my journey and in
due time arrived safely at the house of my father’s agent, to whom I
related my misfortunes. In short, I remained some time in Hindústán and
engaged in commerce, through which I accumulated immense wealth. I then
resolved to return to China, and, having provided myself with seventy
powerful, valiant, and intelligent slaves and put on men’s attire,
proceeded to trade from town to town until I reached my native city. I
readily obtained an audience of the king, to whom I presented a number of
valuable gifts, and soon it was reported far and wide that a very rich
merchant had arrived from Hindústán with a great company of attendants.
One day I gave a quantity of gold and silver to a slave and ordered him
to carry it to Tamurtash the ascetic, with my humble request that he
would remember me in his prayers. At night I ordered all my attendants
to arm themselves and to be on the alert, but keep quiet and concealed.
I was not deceived in my expectation, for about the middle of the night
the ascetic with his followers came, and throwing ropes over the wall got
into the courtyard with the design of plundering my house. Suddenly my
servants leapt forth from their ambush and captured the ascetic with his
forty accomplices, all of whom I caused to be confined in chains. As soon
as morning dawned I went to the palace and made my statement, when the
king ordered the police immediately to search for the thieves. “O King,”
said I, “all the robbers are already captured, and if you will permit,
I shall bring them into your presence.” When the king and his courtiers
beheld Tamurtash the ascetic and his disciples they were amazed, and
the king straightway caused them all to be put to death, saying: “That
woman stated the truth the first time also, but we gave no credit to her
words; she has suffered innocently, and now we have no means to make good
our error.” But I replied, smiling: “That poor woman am I, O King,” and
related the whole affair. The king approved of what I had done, and made
over to me all the property of the ascetic.[33]

“Now, my friend,” continued the lady, “years have passed since I
commenced to bestow the most abundant gifts from that property, and no
diminution appears in it. But in spite of all my liberality my fame is
not known beyond this country, while that of Hatim is patent and manifest
in the world like the sun. You have promised to bring me the head of
Hatim, but you have not kept your word.” Hatim answered: “I am myself
Hatim, and my head is at your disposal,” and drawing his sword he laid it
before the lady. She was greatly moved and said: “True greatness consists
not merely in liberality but in hazarding our lives for those of our
friends, and that you have done. The pre-eminence is therefore yours.
Hitherto I have abstained from accepting the addresses of any man, but
your beauty and liberality induce me to offer you my hand.” Hatim was
highly pleased, drew the hand of response over the eyes of acquiescence,
married her, and lived with her happily for many years until they were
parted by death.

       *       *       *       *       *

When Khayrandísh had ended this tale he said to Nassar: “I have related
these stories to impress on your mind the fact that whoever abandons
the reins of his heart to the promptings of foolish illusions, and the
vain imaginings of his animal passions, will fare like the Painter, the
Washerman, and the Blind Man, will reap only disappointment, carry on
his back the load of bitter memories, and during his whole life taste
nothing but the beverage of shame and repentance.”


“Although Fortune may smile on a man,” continued Khayrandísh, “and
distinguish him above his peers, he should be provident and prudent,
and must not despise the counsel of his friends. He must also be on his
guard against enemies, else he will, like Kasharkasha the son of the king
of Fars,[34] fall into the power of his foes, and the rose-grove of his
contentment will be withered by the autumn of grief, and all his life he
will be a wanderer in the deserts of repentance.” Nassar asked: “How was
that?” And Khayrandísh began to relate the

_Story of Prince Kasharkasha_.

There was a king of Fars called Farídún[35] who had a son named
Kasharkasha, whom he educated and kept with himself till he was seventy
years old. The young prince then, wishing to visit India, said to
his father: “Since travel enlightens the understanding and entails
experience, it is my desire to wander by land and sea in the capacity
of a merchant.” Quoth the king: “Beloved son, I would please you in all
things, but separation from you will break my heart, and I am unwilling
to part with you.” But neither these words nor any other entreaties could
induce the prince to forego his purpose, and he was at last allowed to
depart. His father gave him abundance of money and a number of faithful
attendants, and said to him: “Travelling, my son, is often attended by
misfortunes; and in case you should fall into distress, I advise you to
visit the merchant Sadullah, who lives in Baghdád, and is greatly devoted
to and willing to do anything for me.” Then giving his seal-ring to
Kasharkasha he added: “Show Sadullah this signet as a voucher for your
family and connections.”[36]

Kasharkasha bade adieu to his father, assumed the dress of a merchant,
and journeyed to India, where he acquired large profits by commerce, and
then went to the country of the Franks, and became so rich that he bought
a thousand Indian and Turkish slaves, who constantly waited on him. But a
craving for dominion and power is inherent in the nature of all scions of
royalty, and therefore all Kasharkasha’s great wealth could not satisfy
him, and he coveted a crown. He said to himself: “Every undertaking must
succeed if the proper means be employed in its pursuit. A kingdom is
gained by valour and a good army; and, thanks be to God, I possess both,
and prosperity will second my efforts. Indeed, which of my ancestors ever
debased himself by trading? I cannot live in such an unworthy manner; for
voluntarily to descend from a high to a lower position is against common
sense and betokens a mean disposition. In these regions there are many
towns and principalities which I may easily conquer, and in truth most
of the royal personages who attained great fame began only on a small
scale and enlarged their possessions by degrees.” After this Kasharkasha
travelled from place to place in the country of the Franks, seeking for
an opportunity to carry out his design. One day he approached a great
city, and beheld an army composed entirely of cavalry, which belonged to
the king of the city, who, on discovering the squadron of Kasharkasha,
imagined it to be that of an enemy and sent a messenger to make
inquiries. The young prince stated to the envoy that he was a merchant
from Hindústán, and in his turn asked some questions, to which the envoy
replied: “This is Tytmyran, and this is the Jalyák of Tytmyran, who is on
a hunting excursion.” When the messenger returned with the answer of the
young prince, the Jalyák of Tytmyran rode to visit Kasharkasha, who met
him half-way and saluted him courteously, because the lamp of politeness
emits so great a glare as to conceal and overshadow any plans that men
harbour in their minds.

On seeing the courteous demeanour of Kasharkasha the Jalyák at once
concluded that he could not but be of lofty birth, and invited him
to make an excursion into the surrounding country. The young prince
gracefully complied, and their intimacy increased more and more during
the day. They came to a high building, near which the king alighted,
and went into it. After a short space he again came out, and in tears.
Kasharkasha asked the cause of his grief, but the king replied that on
another occasion he would acquaint him with the particulars. When they
entered the city a suitable place was assigned to the young prince and
his followers, and the king taking the hand of Kasharkasha thus addressed
him: “Every man bears in his countenance signs of his character, and
in our first interview I discovered you to be of noble descent and the
scion of a royal family. I also had a son of extraordinary beauty and
accomplishments. He was very fond of hunting and roaming everywhere, and
once he took leave of me for two months and departed with a number of
trustworthy attendants. I counted the days of his absence impatiently,
and when the time for his return elapsed I dreaded that some misfortune
had befallen my son, and despatched some of my officers in search of
him, all of whom returned without success. I was so overpowered by
melancholy that I wept day and night, until at last, after a whole year
had passed, my son made his appearance quite alone, in a destitute
condition and almost naked. As soon as I saw him I exclaimed: ‘Beloved
son, how has the dust of this languidness settled on the skirts of your
happy disposition? and how has your beauty faded? What has become of your
servants and goods?’

“My son replied: ‘Dear father, my heart suffers from a wound which no
medicine can cure. Do not ask me any questions, because my case is a sad
one.’ Then he took from his bosom a portrait, which he contemplated,

    ‘When I began to worship the person of my love,
    My soul ascended to my lips and I lost my peace.
    A ray of love’s favour had alighted on my head,
    But, alas! I have lost my love!’

‘Dear father,’ he continued, ‘after we embarked in our boat we sailed
pleasantly for almost a week, when a contrary wind arose and we lost all
control over our vessel. Thus we were tossed about during forty days,
when the tempest ceased and we came in sight of land. We made haste to
go on shore, but we knew not to what country or nation it belonged. We
strolled about and came to a beautiful meadow luxuriant with vegetation,
where we hunted and thus advanced till we arrived at a cultivated
tract of land in which was a magnificent palace. On asking a man for
information regarding this country he answered: “You are in Kashmír, and
that palace is the abode of the daughter of Khoja Fayssur, the vazír of
Kashmír. She is wont to pass a few months here every year during the
season of flowers.” In one of my rambles I chanced to meet a lady of
exquisite beauty, and though I had fallen in love with her I did not dare
to address her, but sent her a fervent declaration of my love through
an old woman, requesting the favour of an interview. The reply which I
received was most discouraging; nevertheless I continued my rambles in
the grounds of the palace to enjoy the happiness of an occasional glance
at my idol. While I was thus standing one day, she dropped a paper from
above, and on opening it I found it contained her portrait. This was a
great joy to me, but it was soon turned to grief when I heard that the
lady had departed to the city. I could do nothing better than follow her
and endeavour to obtain a meeting. At last my passion became a mania, and
as I cared nothing for money affairs my attendants gradually deserted
me, so that I was at last left alone and fell into a state of the utmost
destitution. The dominant idea, however, still supported me that I should
yet be happy although at present a houseless beggar in the streets. One
night the police were about to seize me, but I ran off at the top of my
speed and sought refuge in a house, exclaiming: “Is there anyone here who
possesses kindness enough to save a man from the whirlpool of misery?” A
person opened the door and admitted me, saying: “Rest yourself here this
night, and trust in the mercy of God.” I was tired and reclined against
the wall, when suddenly I heard the tones of a harp and of a woman’s
voice in the adjoining apartment, and my curiosity prompted me to look
through an aperture at the scene. I beheld a húrí-like maiden playing
on a harp and warbling like a nightingale. The amorous melody and the
tones of the instrument produced such an enervating effect on me that
I could no longer stand, and falling on the floor, which was of weak
construction, it gave way and I was precipitated with it on the master
of the house, who was sitting in the room below, and he was killed on
the spot. The girl who had been singing rose up and cried: “A robber has
killed my master!” This soon brought all the neighbours into the house:
they instantly seized and bound me, and gave me so many blows that my
whole body was a mass of bruises. Then I was dragged before the Amír, who
ordered me to be taken to prison. It chanced that the jailer was a man
who had formerly been in my service, and he burst into tears on seeing
me in such a condition. When I had informed him of my reason for coming
to Kashmír and of the unhappy accident, he said: “Fear nothing—you are
safe.” He dressed me in other clothes and sent me out to a friend of his
own; while he put my garments on the corpse of a man who had died that
day and been buried in the cemetery. When the police came in the morning
to take me before the Amír to be beheaded, they were disappointed, and
reported that the culprit had been so severely beaten on being captured
that he had died during the night. The Amír remarked: “If the man was
innocent, the guilt of his death cannot be attached to me,” to which
the chief of the police rejoined: “That is true; but the people had no
right to kill the man. This affair ought not to be lightly regarded,
for those who beat him are guilty of murder.” The Amír then ordered him
to carefully investigate the whole affair. Accordingly the chief of
the police assembled all the inhabitants of that quarter of the town,
intending to fine each one of them in a sum of money, and having caused
the corpse to be brought before him, he said: “Ye impudent fellows, how
many kings or governments are in this city?” They replied: “One.” He
continued: “If there be but one king here, why have you taken justice in
your own hand and killed this man?” The people asked in amazement: “Whom
have we killed?” “This man,” said he, “who was captured on suspicion of
being a robber and whom you have ill-treated so as to cause his death.”
But when the people looked at the dead man they declared: “This is not
the robber whom we seized and beat. He was a young man of fair complexion
and having black hair; of strong make and healthy appearance. This is
the body of a man who was of middle age and sickly; we know not who has
killed him.” Quoth the superintendent: “There is no use in denying the
matter,” and he called for the instruments of torture for the purpose
of eliciting a confession; when one of the bystanders, having examined
the features of the corpse, suddenly cried out: “This is my father,
Khoja Fays, the gladiator, who not long since performed before the Amír
of Kabúl, and returning home, drank some arrack, which gave him the
colic, so that he was obliged to take to his bed. He was visited by some
friends, who advised him to send for Ratyl the glazier, who is so famed
for his skill that he excels all the physicians of the age. I brought
him to the bedside of my father, and he prescribed something which was
of no avail: my father died, and we buried him.” Here the superintendent
exclaimed: “You stupid fellow, who asked for your testimony?” But the
man would not submit to be brow-beaten, and said: “See what our chief
of police has come to! For the sake of gain he takes believers who have
died out of their graves! I shall at once bring the doctor, the muezzin,
the grave-digger, and the mullah. To-morrow we shall bring the affair
before the Amír, and you, my friends, will be my witnesses. Come with
me.” A number of persons followed him, which vexed the superintendent,
who said to those that still remained: “Do not be deceived by the
ravings of that fool; for I shall not let you escape without a fine.”
At these words another section of the crowd became excited and cried:
“The superintendent is in league with a pack of scoundrels whom he sends
out in the night to rob people, and gets his share of the plunder. When
any robbers are caught he allows them to escape, and in their stead he
substitutes disinterred corpses. Is there no king in this place? Is
it not enough that one of us was killed, and now we are to pay a fine
besides?” Just then the son of the dead man returned with his witnesses,
all of whom accused the superintendent, who, however, was supported by
his own officers and another crowd of armed men; so that presently both
parties came to blows, blood was shed, and several men were killed and
wounded. When the Amír heard that the superintendent was the cause of
the disturbance, he was displeased, and his enemies so worked on the
mind of the Amír that the superintendent was ordered to be hanged and
the jailer who had saved my life was installed in his place. One day
after these occurrences I perceived a multitude of people assembled in
the streets and asked the cause of my friend, the new chief of police.
His answer was: “To-day the daughter of the vazír has died, and all this
popular excitement is on that account.” This news upset all my hopes
and I at once quitted my friend’s house and journeyed till I came to the
sea-shore where I found some men embarking for the country of the Franks;
I accompanied them, and finally arrived here.’

“When my son had ended his recital,” continued the king, “he sighed
heavily and added: ‘Beloved father, as a dutiful son I should have obeyed
and never left you, and thus I should not have fallen into the misery I
endure. I beseech you to sweep away my transgressions with the besom of
kindness, and to wash away the filth of my sins with the limpid stream
of pardon.’ Having uttered these words he expired. My grief for him
can never be appeased, and the edifice from which I came out weeping
is his tomb. As I have now no son, I often wonder which of my enemies
will succeed to my kingdom when I am no more. You are, I am sure, a
man of noble blood and good disposition. May I request you to acquaint
me with your affairs?” Kasharkasha most willingly complied, and when
he had concluded, the king spoke as follows: “I am prosperous in all
things and respected by friend and foe. But I have passed the meridian
of life, and purpose devoting the remainder of it to the duties I owe
to my Creator. And though I have meditated about and sought for some
one who might take upon himself a portion of my royal affairs and be a
companion of my solitude, I have found none so worthy as yourself.” As
Kasharkasha was ardently wishing for such a high station, he joyfully
replied: “May the beautiful leaves of the king’s book of life never be
scattered as long as the world-illuming sun moves in the firmament! I am
ready to obey your commands.” Accordingly the Amír assembled the grandees
of his kingdom and spake to them thus: “I inform you that this royal
prince, Kasharkasha, who has dwelt for some time in this city, is by me
appointed to be my successor, as I have no heir. Therefore I desire every
one who loves and obeys me to obey him likewise.” All the vazírs and
grandees drew the finger of acquiescence over the eyes of affirmation,
and the Amír dressed the prince in the costly robe of a viceroy and said
to him: “Dear friend, I have seven vazírs, yet I trust the direction of
all important affairs to Khoja Bihrúz, whose sincere friendship I have
tried on the touchstone of experience and never discovered a flaw in
his noble character. Therefore, though you are endowed with the innate
sagacity of noble personages, as you are not familiar with the laws
and customs of this country, I recommend you never to act without his
advice, in order that the affairs of our kingdom may prosper.” Then the
Jalyák divorced the bride of royalty, married her to Kasharkasha, and
retired to a corner of repose.[37] Kasharkasha, who had been so greatly
favoured by his good luck, without any efforts on his own part, sat
very joyfully on the throne of dignity and power, when, by the decree
of Providence, the Jalyák was removed from this terrestrial abode; and
as the desire of self-aggrandisement, coupled with unlimited dominion,
destroys contentment and begets an inordinate longing for greater power,
Kasharkasha indulged in ambitious schemes and resolved to conquer some of
the neighbouring kingdoms. On this project he consulted all his vazírs,
who readily approved of it, and even still more inflamed his ambition.
When the turn of Bihrúz came he said: “May the ready-money of prosperity
be always present in the treasury of the hopes of the king, and may the
joyful season of perpetual spring always gladden his heart! This is not
the time for attack, but rather for defence. Many potentates of the
country of the Franks have attempted to conquer this land; they came
with countless hosts, but were all repulsed by the Jalyák, whose fame is
yet remembered among them: soon, however, they will learn of the change
which has taken place, and your majesty will have enough to do in warding
off their attacks.” Kasharkasha paid no attention to this warning, and,
confiding in the approbation of all the other vazírs, he marched to Ráml,
which is a country belonging to the Franks, and when he arrived there he
halted, and despatched the following letter to Futtál Sháh, the king of

“The title-ornament of this epistle is the name of that Sovereign of the
volume of whose world-adorning book of omnipotence of existence of all
creatures is but one dot. Secondly, as all nations of men are connected
by the sameness of their species, and as it is incumbent upon the mighty
to protect the feeble; and if they treat their subjects well they will
reap blessings; therefore we send you our kind salutations, and inform
you that as it is our intention to hunt in these regions, and as you
would be unable to endure the brightness of our countenance, even as a
bat cannot look at the sun, and we fear that if you were to behold a part
of our army and warlike preparations, bodily and mental diseases might
befall you;—we advise you to surrender the keys of your fortress to the
bearer of this letter, on pain of incurring our displeasure.”

Futtál Sháh read the letter and returned his answer as follows: “We were
astonished at the folly and presumption of your missive, and defy you
to do your worst.” After despatching these lines the king hastened out
with his forces to attack Kasharkasha, who had in the meanwhile received
information from his spies that in his rear another king of the Frank
country was in ambush. He was considering how to act with one enemy in
front and another in his rear when the countless hosts of Futtál Sháh
came in sight, and there was no option but to await the issue. The enemy
advanced, attacked Kasharkasha, and the battle raged fiercely, for
both armies fought with great bravery; at last, however, Futtál Sháh
prevailed and Kasharkasha fled. In the morning he was a king, and in the
evening a beggar, fleeing from his pursuers. On the second day his horse
was so exhausted that he was obliged to walk on foot until he arrived
at a spring, where having quenched his thirst he lay down and slept. A
shepherd who had been searching for a lost sheep happened to come to the
spot, and seeing a young man in costly garments stretched at full length,
his covetousness induced him to throw a stone, which, however, missed
the intended victim. Kasharkasha jumped up, and seeing a man of helpless
appearance he asked: “Who are you?” The man replied: “I am a shepherd.
Who are you yourself? and what right have you at the spring where I daily
water the sheep of the king? Your inauspicious presence here has caused
the water to become muddy. All my sheep are scattered over the desert,
and how shall I answer for them to the king?” So saying, he suddenly
leapt on Kasharkasha, divested him of his fine clothes and left him his
own rags in exchange; then tying both the hands and feet of the prince,
he went his way.

After Futtál Sháh had won the battle, captured the army of his foe, and
plundered his treasury, he could find no trace of Kasharkasha; so he
sent off a number of men in search of him, some of whom arrived at the
spring, and discovering a man there with his hands and feet tied, asked
him who he was. Kasharkasha guessed they were servants of Futtál Sháh
who had come to look for him, and replied: “I am a shepherd, and came
here with my flock, when a young man, from whose forehead the marks of
royalty radiated, approached and asked me for a sheep, but I said they
all belonged to the king and I was not at liberty to dispose of any of
them. Upon this he became so incensed that he tied my hands and feet and
then walked off with a sheep. Since you have arrived here so opportunely,
I request you to liberate me from my bonds.” The men believed that he had
given them information about Kasharkasha, so they loosed him, and giving
him some food, hastened off in search of the fugitive. For this lucky
escape Kasharkasha thanked the Most High, and speeding to a mountain not
far from the spring, he found there refuge in a cave.

Meanwhile the emissaries of Futtál Sháh were scouring the plain and at
length caught sight of the shepherd while he was trying to catch the
horse of Kasharkasha. They said to each other: “We must not allow him
to get at the horse;” and when the shepherd perceived that they meant
to seize him he thought that they were the servants of Kasharkasha who
had come in pursuit of him, so he cried out: “My good friends, I have
committed an error. I hope you will pardon my transgression;” and he
began to undress himself. But they replied: “Kasharkasha, we are not
such fools as to let you go if you give us your clothes. We have been in
quest of you for the last three or four days and have taken no rest. Your
garments alone cannot reward our pains, and Futtál Sháh will require an
account of you; so come along with us.” Quoth the shepherd: “The affair
between your master and me has only taken place to-day; why should you be
seeking me these three or four days?” The pursuers said to one another:
“He has lost his kingdom and become crazy. We must convey him at once to
our king.” On hearing these words the shepherd wished to make use of the
sword of Kasharkasha, but being too awkward to do so, he threw it on the
ground and wielded his own staff in such a manner as to kill one of his
captors, when the others closed round him, tied his hands, and set him on
a horse, saying: “Kasharkasha, do not struggle now that the boat of your
prosperity has become a wreck and is sunk into the ocean of misfortune,
for it will be of no use.” Quoth the shepherd: “I swear by the souls of
Pír Siah Posh, Baják, Baba Ali Mest, and Mezar Mongal, that I had no idea
he was a king. My covetousness induced me to rob him of his clothes; I
hope you will pardon my incivility.” “You simulate folly,” they replied.
“Do you not remember that you wrote a letter to the king, and after
marching with so large an army against him do you not know that he is
a sovereign? You say that you have robbed him of his clothes; but these
words are very silly, considering that you were of elegant speech and
great intellect, and that you sat on a royal throne.” “You are talking
book-words,” said the shepherd: “I have never learned to read—what do I
know about letters and armies? I have done no farther harm than taken
his clothes. Besides, it is not usual for kings to come into the desert
alone and on foot. As it is, he might have met with a worse man than
myself, who would have killed him. I beseech you, for God’s sake, take
the clothes and let me go; because there is no one to take care of my
sheep, and if anything happen to them I shall have to atone for it by the
loss of all that I possess.” The men now looked at each other and smiled.
They then said: “Kasharkasha, if you have gone mad on account of the loss
of your kingdom it is no wonder, but it is a marvel that you are still
alive.” Quoth the shepherd: “Why have you changed my name? I am called
Kallam ed-Dín Ahmed and you hail me always by the name of Kasharkasha.
Perhaps you mean to sell me?” While they were thus going along, talking
and laughing, they came to a small village, some of the inhabitants of
which recognised the shepherd and asked him: “Where have you got these
fine clothes? Who are these men? Why have they tied your hands?” He said:
“I have robbed a man of these clothes, and these men have caught me and
are taking me to the king. I am willing to abandon the clothes but they
will not abandon me. I beseech you, by the favour of Pír Muhammed Jendah
Poosh, to give them anything they ask for my freedom, and I shall repay
you in goats.” Several of the headmen of the village now stepped forward
and addressed the king’s messengers: “Good friends, Kallam ed-Dín Ahmed
confesses his fault, and he has acted wrongly. But of what use would it
be to take him before the king? We have agreed to prepare a good roast
for you if you will let him go.” But they laughed and said: “This is
Kasharkasha, the king of Tytmyran, who succeeded the Jalyák, and having
wantonly attacked our sovereign was put to flight. The king has sent a
thousand men in pursuit of him, and has promised to confer dignity and
wealth on his captor. We have searched for him without resting for more
than three days, and it is not likely that we shall now let him go free.
All his speeches come from a disordered mind.” Hearing this the villagers
were astonished and silenced.

The messengers of Futtál Sháh proceeded to the city, and on their arrival
the rumour soon spread that they had taken Kasharkasha. The shepherd was
brought into the presence of the king, and the splendour of the court so
dazzled him that he lost his speech, and the king thus addressed him:
“You fool, do sovereigns and high personages indite such letters? Now
shall I ignominiously kill you, as a warning to all presumptuous and
foolish persons.” When the shepherd heard this sentence he was roused,
and exclaimed: “O king, I swear, by the soul of Baba Nasym Sermest, that
I made that very day a vow of repentance to go on pilgrimage to the tomb
of Baba Jany and never again to commit such an act. Indeed the clothes
are present and at hand. I possess several ewes big with young which I
shall give you if you set me free. I have the sheep of one hundred men
under my charge, and were any accident to befal them all my friends
and relatives would be unable to make compensation on my account,” and
he wept bitterly. Futtál Sháh asked in astonishment: “How does this
reply agree with our question?” Upon this all the assembly smiled, and
a merchant present, who had been at Tytmyran and knew the person of
Kasharkasha, kissed the floor of civility, and said: “O king, this is not
Kasharkasha. He is a man of handsome appearance and fair speech; this
is an ignorant boor.” Hereupon the king first questioned the shepherd
closely and then his captors, who stated their case, after which he
declared: “Both parties are right; Kasharkasha was at the spring and
has purposely misled you. At present there is no use of making further
efforts, because he has gained time to go wherever he pleased.” Then he
gave the shepherd five thousand dirhams and dismissed him.

Soon after Kasharkasha had concealed himself in the mountain cave he
was driven out of it by hunger, and descending into the plain wandered
from town to town, scratching the wound of the loss of his kingdom and
of the treasure of prosperity with the nails of regret and sorrow,
and keeping it fresh with the salt of repentance, until he arrived in
Turkey. There it occurred to him one day that his father had told him,
in case his good fortune should desert him, to visit the merchant Khoja
Sadullah, who would aid him. So he proceeded to Baghdád and found the
house of the merchant, who was a very kind-hearted man, and happened at
the time to be going on a visit to the Khalíf, with whom he stood in high
favour. On seeing Kasharkasha he concluded from his mean attire that he
was a mendicant and ordered one of his attendants to give him alms, on
receiving which the prince burst into tears. When Khoja Sadullah asked
him why he wept, he produced his father’s signet, which when the Khoja
examined, “This ring,” said he, “belongs to King Farídún of Fars. I gave
it to him; but how came it into your possession?” Kasharkasha replied:
“He is my father. The desire to travel has separated me from him, and
the instability of fortune has reduced me to this pitiable state.” Khoja
Sadullah warmly embraced and welcomed him, saying: “Forget all your
troubles and be comforted; because you will again become lucky, and this
unpropitious condition will depart from the horoscope of your felicity.
All men are subject to reverses of fortune, but the end is frequently
very happy. My life and property are at your service.” Then he sent the
prince to the bath, provided him with a costly wardrobe, assigned to him
a number of apartments fit for a royal personage, and appointed fifty
slaves to wait on him, all of whom he ordered to obey and try to please
him. Thus Fortune again smiled on Kasharkasha and he spent his days in
comfort and felicity.

One day he was walking on the roof of the house and chanced to look into
the haram of the Khoja, having mistaken it for that of another dwelling.
The wife of the Khoja was in the open court-yard when his eye alighted on
the countenance of that heart-ravishing beauty, which so captivated him
that his person became more attenuated every day. He kept the matter to
himself, but one of his attendants reported it to the Khoja, who seemed
to pay no attention, but nevertheless went to his wife and said to her:
“Darling of my soul, I have a request to make to you, but on condition
that you swear to comply with it.” The lady took the required oath, and
the Khoja continued: “I divorce you.” She asked: “Of what fault has the
bud sprouted in the rose-grove of my imagination? And what crime have I
committed to deserve your abhorrence and to be separated from you?” Quoth
the Khoja: “God forbid that I should have experienced from you anything
save kindness and love; but I have been compelled to part with you.”

The Khoja, having thus divorced his wife, went to Kasharkasha and spoke
to him as follows: “I have been made aware of your condition, and your
wish shall be gratified in a few days. The woman whom you have seen is
the foster-sister of Farrukhzád the merchant. Her husband died a few
days ago, and her time of mourning is not yet over. Her brother, my most
intimate friend, is in Basra, and I have sent a man to him to sue for her
hand in your behalf—be of good cheer.” Kasharkasha was highly pleased,
and the Khoja amused him until the time required by the law was expired.
Then he sent for the Kází, and Kasharkasha was married to the lady in due
form. In the evening the Khoja led his former wife to the apartments of
the prince; and, when she beheld the unparalleled beauty and comeliness
of her new husband, she whispered to the Khoja: “Although you have
divorced me, I thank God that I am to be the spouse of this youth.” When
the Khoja had taken his leave, the prince asked the lady: “What did you
just now whisper to the Khoja?” She replied: “Young man, I was the wife
of the Khoja and we lived together very happily, but he has without any
cause divorced me and married me to you; so I said to him, when I beheld
you, and he had no longer any power over me: ‘Although you have divorced
me without cause, I am delighted to be the wife of this young man, who
seems to be a great deal better than yourself.’” As soon as Kasharkasha
learned that she had been the wife of the Khoja he drew the hand of
refusal over the breast of his desires and said:

    “To overcome one’s own lust is victory;
    To master one’s own passion is bravery indeed.

God forbid that I should touch this woman, for I consider her unlawful to
me.” So he slept that night alone, and in the morning apologised to her,
saying: “I was somewhat indisposed and unable to keep your company. Pray
have patience for a few days till I recover fully.”

In this manner some days passed, when the prince, conversing with the
Khoja about his own country, said to him: “It is now a long time since
I left my dear father, and though I have in your company and by your
kind services forgotten all my misfortunes, I nevertheless feel a very
great desire to rejoin him.” Therefore the Khoja loaded twenty strings
of camels with costly goods and sent them under the care of fifty
trustworthy slaves with Kasharkasha. Taking affectionate leave of his
benefactor and promising always most gratefully to remember his great
kindness, the prince departed on the road to Fars. When he arrived in
the vicinity of the capital he sent the glad tidings to his father, who
hastened to meet him. They entered the city together, and King Farídún
was so rejoiced at the happy event that he opened his treasury and
distributed much money among the people. After some time he abdicated the
government in favour of his beloved son, and died, leaving him his sole
heir and successor.

In the meantime Kasharkasha’s kind-hearted benefactor suffered a reverse
of fortune. One day Sadullah was informed that an agent whom he had
despatched to Hindústán was returned, but had been shipwrecked and lost
everything. The Khoja piously observed: “He from whose favour all that
is in this world depends is able to make good this loss.” But a week
later news reached him that another of his agents had been plundered by
robbers. Soon after this second calamity the Khalíf of Baghdád died, and
was succeeded by Mutassim,[38] who had long nourished ill-will against
the Khoja, therefore he confiscated all the merchant’s property. Khoja
Sadullah, now reduced to absolute poverty, determined to go to Fars
and take refuge with Kasharkasha. He contrived to collect a sum of
money among the merchants for the expenses of his journey, and quitting
Baghdád proceeded as far as Tabríz, where he fell sick and spent all
his little store of money. At last he recovered his health, but being
unable to proceed on his journey he resolved to apply to the Amír for
some assistance. During the preceding night a robbery had been committed
in the Amír’s treasury, and a number of suspected persons were brought
to the palace, among whom Sadullah unwittingly took his place, and was
along with them committed to prison to await the trial. They were all
kept in confinement for several months, and tortured daily to draw from
them acknowledgment of their guilt, until at length the real thieves
were discovered in another quarter and the suspected persons were all

With a broken heart Sadullah resumed his journey to Fars, and chanced to
arrive at the royal palace at the time when Kasharkasha was holding a
levee and receiving petitions from his subjects. He entered the hall of
audience and made his obeisance, but, as Kasharkasha did not recognise
him in his wretched plight, Sadullah’s salutation was not returned.
After trying in vain to attract the notice of the king, Sadullah stepped
a little apart from the crowd and thus addressed Kasharkasha: “O King,
why does your highness disdain to look at me? I am Khoja Sadullah, the
merchant, of Baghdád, who was always devoted to your family. But now
fortune has turned its face from me, and I am come to seek refuge at your
court.” The king turned to one of the attendants and said: “Give one
hundred of the government sheep in charge of this man, and give him also
two loaves every day.” Then he said to Sadullah: “My good friend, we have
appointed you to be one of our shepherds; take good care of your flock.”
Khoja Sadullah thought this proceeding very strange, and said to himself:
“What meanness is this on the part of the king, to appoint me to be a
shepherd! However, though I have occupied a high station, I must obey
and perform the duties of a shepherd till something better turns up.” So
he took a staff, a sling, a bag, and a dog, and went every day with the
other shepherds to pasture his flock, and soon learned the business. But
an epidemic broke out which carried off daily several of his sheep until
every one had perished. Then thought Sadullah: “Since my entire flock
has died, it seems that I am not even fit to be a shepherd.” One day the
king observed the Khoja approaching with a great load on his back, and
asked him: “How are the sheep?” Quoth Sadullah: “May the flock of the
king’s health and comfort be always on the increase and remain unscathed
by the touch of the wolf of misfortune, and abide under the protection of
the Shepherd of divine favour! Thanks to my unlucky destiny, an epidemic
has carried off all the sheep, and I have brought their brands.” The
king smiled and said: “Give him another hundred sheep.” These, however,
also died, and likewise a third hundred, so that the Khoja was ashamed
to show his face. But the fourth flock entrusted to him became more
plump every day; no evil befell them; all the ewes threw twin lambs; and
when the king next called for the Khoja he made his appearance with a
number of sprightly and nimble lambs, and a quantity of butter, cheese,
and milk. The king said to him: “O Khoja, what do you now think of your
sheep?” He answered: “May the game of prosperity and the fawn of life
remain within the grasp of the brave lion of the king’s happiness, as
long as the flock of stars browse in the meadow of the sky, and as long
as the sun continues to travel in the firmament! Thanks be to the Most
High, by the blessing of the king’s good fortune, the contrary wind of my
ill-luck has become appeased, the lamp of success has been kindled, the
sheep of the king are all safe and sound, and my disgrace is wiped off.”
At these words the king rose from his place, fell on the Khoja’s neck,
and exclaimed: “Dear friend, your fate had taken such a mischievous turn
that had I entrusted you with my kingdom you would have lost it, and it
was prudent to wait till your luck changed. It was against my will that I
kept you in so mean an occupation until that calamity withdrew its foot
from the circle of your destiny. But now the obscurity of misfortune has
disappeared and the light of prosperity illumines the speculum of your
hopes. Do whatever you please; you are welcome to govern my kingdom.”
So saying, he seated the Khoja on the throne of intimacy, overwhelmed
him every moment with renewed kindness, and said to him: “I have a
foster-sister seated within the curtains of innocence and modesty; if you
marry her you will oblige me greatly.” The Khoja consented, and was for
the second time espoused to his own wife. When night set in the lady was
brought to the Khoja, who recognised her with no little astonishment,
exclaiming: “My love, I meet you again!” Said the lady: “Khoja, the
prince learnt the first night the true circumstances and has never
touched me, or even seen my face till the moment when he surrendered me
back to you.” Kasharkasha made the Khoja his vazír, and they all lived
happily together for many years until they at last quaffed the beverage
of death, left this rewardless abode, and departed to the mansions of
eternal joy.

       *       *       *       *       *

When Khayrandísh had concluded this story he said: “Nassar, I have
related this narrative to impress on your mind that self-conceit and
presumptuousness are very great obstacles to happiness. Had Prince
Kasharkasha followed the advice of his minister Bihrúz when he succeeded
to the kingdom of Tytmyran, and not attacked Futtál Shah, his dominion
would have been permanent, and the autumnal blasts of misfortune would
not have injured the rose-garden of his comfort and happiness:

    You will be happy in both worlds,
    If you moderate your desires.”


After the usual three days of hospitality had passed and Khayrandísh had
imparted his counsels to Nassar, he brought forth the deposit entrusted
to him by Nassar’s father, and handing it to him, said: “Almost twenty
years have elapsed since your father gave this casket into my charge, but
I know not what it contains; if you have no objection we will see what is
in it.” Nassar at once opened the packet and took out a mirror cut out of
a piece of emerald and surrounded with a number of other precious stones.
In the centre of the mirror was a peacock whose eyes were constantly
moving and whose feathers changed their colours every moment; and the
workmanship was so exquisite and delicate that Khayrandísh and Nassar
were perfectly amazed, while the former exclaimed: “My dear friend, no
sovereign has ever possessed so admirable an object, and it is probable
that you will not be able to sell it to a private individual except at a
price far below its real value. Therefore you should present it to some
mighty king, and it may thus become to you the cause of great prosperity.
Show it to no one during your journey, lest it should excite the cupidity
of some person.” Nassar most willingly promised to follow his friend’s
advice, and received from him a ring with the injunction that should any
calamity befall him he must go to Aleppo and show it to a pious recluse
called Abú Jurjás, who would do his utmost to help him. After taking
leave of Khayrandísh he departed in the company of some men who were
travelling to Egypt, where they all arrived in safety. Nassar happened to
meet the king of that country, who was on a hunting excursion with a very
numerous retinue. He saluted the monarch very humbly and presented to
him the mirror as a gift, which the king accepted, and on his return to
the capital invested Nassar with a robe of honour[39] in full court, and
also took into his hand the mirror, the workmanship of which he greatly
admired, as did also his courtiers. Then the king said to Nassar: “You
appear to be well educated. Pray, what is your greatest accomplishment?”
He replied: “Your majesty’s humble servant is skilled in several arts,
but especially in archery.” After this the king gave him in charge of one
of his officials, who took him to his house and showed him much attention.

During the night the official felt very unwell, and there being no
servant at hand, he went to a cupboard and taking out an apple began to
peel it; and while thus engaged some plaster fell down from the ceiling,
which caused him to run out of the room in great fear, and stumbling
in the dark he fell on the knife which he still held in his hand, and
received from it a wound in consequence of which he expired on the
spot. When this accident became known, the eunuchs, the servants, and
the inmates of the haram were so confused that they accused each other
of having murdered their master, and at last they came to blows, and
several of them were wounded and killed. In the morning the unfortunate
occurrence was reported to the king, who was much grieved at the loss of
a most faithful minister, and appointed his son to succeed him in the

Some time afterwards Nassar ventured to make his appearance at court,
and was respectfully standing in the line of persons near the throne,
when the monarch observed him and exclaimed: “Young man, we have heard of
your archery but have never seen it. Now we wish to have a proof of it.”
Nassar desired that a ring should be tied to a hair and suspended at a
distance of seventy paces. Then he shot an arrow through the ring without
moving it, and repeated the feat thirty-nine times more.[40] The king and
his courtiers were astonished at his skill, while the spectators uttered
shouts of approbation; and the king was considering how to reward him
when an explosion of gunpowder took place in the manufactory close by,
which destroyed the building and killed more than a thousand persons; but
Nassar escaped unhurt. This catastrophe so occupied the mind of the king
that he rose up in a melancholy mood, forgot Nassar, and retired to his
private apartments.

In course of time the king resumed his customary duties and amusements,
and it happened one day while engaged in the chase that an eagle flew
near him, when he called out: “Is there any one who can strike that eagle
while he is flying?” Nassar immediately responded to the call, and the
eagle fell to the ground pierced through by his arrow. The king wished to
reward him on the spot, but the arrow, after passing through the eagle’s
body, having struck the eye of the king’s horse it became restive, began
to gallop, and a helter-skelter race followed, but the horse could not
be stopped, until, one of its legs going into a hole in the ground, it
threw its rider, and dragged him hanging by one foot in the stirrup,
into a very rapid stream. When the attendants beheld their sovereign
in such great peril they hastened to save him, which they did, but not
before he had swallowed a great quantity of water, was wounded, and more
dead than alive, and about five hundred men had been drowned. One of the
king’s servants said to Nassar: “Your archery is very unlucky, since for
every arrow that you shoot hundreds of men lose their lives.” The king
was taken in a litter to the palace, and only recovered his health after
forty days’ medical treatment.

When the bodies of the king’s followers were taken out of the water the
other attendants pierced the heart of Nassar with the shafts of irony
and disapprobation, and he concluded that, as he had been so many times
thwarted in his purpose of deserving the favour of the king, it would be
advisable for him to quit the scene of his exploits lest his life should
be endangered. He was yet undecided where to go when he perceived on
the opposite bank of the river a village, which he resolved to visit.
The current was very rapid, but he entered the water saying to himself:
“Let happen what will, my cup of bitterness is already brimful.” As he
was crossing, the water became so deep that his horse began to swim,
and the violence of the flood soon swept Nassar from its back. He was
a good swimmer, but his arms and accoutrements were heavy, so that he
was obliged to throw away everything, and landed on the other side in a
state of nudity. He waited for the evening, being ashamed thus to enter
the village, and when it was dark he roamed about the streets until
he found a mosque, in a corner of which he concealed himself, naked,
starving, and tired as he was. It happened that a party of thieves had
plundered the house of the village headman, and about midnight brought
their booty into the mosque for the purpose of dividing it. They kindled
lights and made some noise, and Nassar, awaking from sleep and dazzled
by the lights, fancied it was morning and that the people had come to
prayer. As he had a good voice, he said to himself: “Great blessings and
rewards are in store for those who call the faithful to prayer, and if I
do so, possibly the Most High may open the portals of abundance to my
destiny.” And so he ascended to the minaret and pronounced the usual form
of invocation, which when the robbers heard they weened that the morning
had already dawned while they had been so deeply absorbed in dividing
their plunder as to forget the lapse of time. Therefore they made haste
to finish the division, then extinguished the lights, and with their
bundles on their backs were flying from the mosque when they were met by
Nassar, who stopped them and said: “O ye bouquet-binders in the garden
of piety and devotion, now is the opportune time to seek the benefits
obtainable in the house of God, and this is the place for kindling the
lamp of prayer and supplication! Whither are you going? Have you not
heard that any person coming to the mosque for the performance of his
matutinal duty must remain there till sunrise?” The thieves took him for
the muezzin,[41] who wished to detain them till he could hand them over
to justice, and, one of them having given him a box on the ear, they all
ran off at the top of their speed. Nassar, now certain that they could
not be of the pious, ran after the thieves, and being an excellent boxer
and swordsman, attacked them boldly, and snatching the weapon from one of
them he struck about him to such purpose that he killed one and wounded
several of the others, upon which they abandoned their plunder and fled.

Nassar was at a loss what to do with the booty and the corpse, fearing
lest he should be held responsible for all that had occurred, and thus
fall into fresh danger. Some people, who lived near the mosque, having
been aroused from their slumbers by the untimely call from the minaret,
said one to another: “Surely that fellow has gone mad, since he calls to
morning prayer before midnight is past;” and when they heard the noise
of the scuffle they imagined that some vagabonds of the village, whom
Satan had seduced to adopt the doctrines of the Súfís, were holding their
nocturnal assembly in the mosque.[42] So they hastened thither to expel
the intruders; but when they entered they saw only Nassar, who was saying
to himself: “I wonder from what poor fellow the thieves have stolen this
property.” When the folk beheld a man standing alone and muttering to
himself they at once concluded he was a súfí in one of his ecstacies, who
had thus stripped himself naked; and as they walked according to the
commandments of the Most High and in conformity with the holy law of the
Prophet, and hated all súfís, innovators, and enthusiasts, they burst
into reproaches against them, crying: “O ye transgressors of the divine
commands and destroyers of the ordinances of the Refuge of Prophecy;[43]
who degrade the house of God to a brothel, by the wiles of Satan, who
has made you his own, and is your guide in irreligious proceedings! What
breach is this that you wish to make in Islám?” Nassar mistook them for
the thieves who had come back to recover their plunder and wished to
deceive him with such speeches, so he said: “You rogues, I shall not be
circumvented by your tricks,” and seizing the sword which was still near
him he wounded one of them and put the others to flight. Then he tied a
rope to the neck of the wounded man and said: “Come, tell the truth. From
what house have you stolen these goods?” But the man, knowing nothing of
the robbers, believed him to be a súfí in a trance, speaking nonsense,
and replied: “O you wretched vagabond and fanatic and transgressor of the
divine commands! I know not what you say. Have I not come hither from my
house on account of the tumult which you made?”

Meanwhile the other villagers who had been driven away by Nassar went
to the officials and thus addressed them: “Is Islám no longer dominant
in this country, that hypocrites and infidels are allowed to enter the
mosque and desecrate it with their orgies? People who live near the
mosque hear every night the diabolical revellings of a pack of vagabonds.
Last night they again entered the mosque, and, contrary to law, shouted
the call to prayer in the middle of the night. They have even sorely
wounded one of the faithful, and we do not know what has become of him.”
The officials ordered a party of constables to accompany them and to
seize the law-breakers; and when they entered the mosque they found
Nassar still engaged in examining his prisoner, and mistaking them also
for the thieves he wounded one of them likewise. “Súfí,” they exclaimed,
“what impudence and wickedness is this? Do pious and virtuous men ever
fight and kill the servants of God in the mosque?” Quoth Nassar: “You
vile robbers! you cannot deceive me. I intend to slay you all this night,
to deserve the reward of God.” When they saw him speaking so boldly,
naked as he was, they said: “Look at the presumption of this súfí, to
behave in such a manner in the mosque!” By this time, the morning having
dawned, numbers of the people came to prayer, and Nassar fled, with the
sword in his hand, and wounded several persons who attempted to stop him.
But he ran so fast that no one was able to overtake him, and his pursuers
then returned to their homes. Soon afterwards, however, a company of
súfís came into the village and were at once accused of having committed
the robbery; a general tumult ensued and many men were slain or wounded.
Ultimately the affair came before the king of Egypt, who caused the súfís
to be punished and fined, although they were entirely innocent of the
crime laid to their charge.

Nassar now wandered from town to town, pursued by misfortunes. One day
the king of Egypt asked his courtiers what had become of him, but they
could only reply that in consequence of the various calamities that
followed his archery feat he had disappeared. His majesty observed that
for these accidents Nassar was in no way accountable, because they had
all occurred by the decree of Fate, and he despatched messengers in
every direction to search for him. Nassar was at last discovered in a
village, in a very destitute and miserable condition. He was carried to
the capital, and before bringing him into the king’s presence it was
necessary to take him to the bath, after which his majesty received
him with great kindness and inquired of him: “Are you skilled in any
other things besides archery?” Nassar bowed his head and replied: “I am
acquainted with military tactics, mathematics, commerce, mineralogy,
boxing, fencing, and also with cooking.”[44] Quoth the king: “All
these accomplishments adorn the character of a man, none of them,
however, can equal your skill in archery; but when you acquired it your
destiny was unpropitious and the moon was evidently in the mansion of
the Scorpion.[45] It will therefore be proper for you to abstain from
shooting arrows and to practice other arts until the lucky hour comes
when these calamities have disappeared from your horoscope. This day I
wish to give a banquet, and you must exhibit your skill in boxing; and as
you tell me that you also possess a knowledge of the art of cooking, I
give you leave to prepare any dishes you please, for it is long since I
was able to relish any kind of food.”

Accordingly Nassar made various savoury dishes, and when he had finished
his work the king commanded him to show his skill in boxing until the
dinner hour. Nassar said that he was ready to box and wrestle with two
hundred men who excelled in these arts, and when they were produced he
very easily vanquished them one after another.[46] The king gave orders
that more men should be brought, but to his astonishment none could be
found willing to encounter such a formidable antagonist. But recollecting
that he possessed a Circassian slave named Fírúz Bakht, lately presented
to him by the Sultan of Turkey, who was skilled in wrestling, he ordered
him to attack Nassar. The slave caught Nassar about the loins so forcibly
that his own hands bled, but he was unable to move him a hair’s breadth
from the spot where he stood. To be brief, they wrestled long and
skilfully, the Circassian trying two hundred different tricks without
effect. At last, however, Nassar turned the game and lifted Fírúz Bakht
from the ground with as much ease as if he were a child; but the slave so
firmly grasped a pillar of the shed in which the sport was taking place
that Nassar could not pull him from it; and making a final effort he
tugged so hard that along with Fírúz Bakht he wrenched the pillar away,
which killed the slave and about twenty of the spectators by a portion of
the roof falling down on them after its support had been thus withdrawn.
The king, with all his attendants, fled from the place in alarm, and the
banquet, which was to be one of joy, became one of mourning.

Although the king was greatly affected by this sad accident he said to
his courtiers: “As this event only took place by the immutable decree
of Fate, I can in no way blame the young stranger; and if I lose my
life together with my kingdom, a thousand accidents such as this will
not influence me against him.” The courtiers tried to comfort the king,
but as he was very melancholy their efforts were fruitless. When the
table-decker made his appearance and announced that the dinner prepared
by Nassar was ready to be served up, the king said: “Though we have at
present no inclination to eat anything, yet, as the dinner is prepared,
cause it to be brought in.” When, however, the king had tasted some of
the dishes he found them to be more delicious than aught he had ever
eaten before; and, thus seduced, he ate so heartily that he became ill,
and having but lately recovered from sickness he was unable to digest the
food, and only recovered after a long course of medicine.

But that magnanimous and kind-hearted monarch, albeit he had never been
sick before he had come in contact with Nassar, would ascribe neither his
indisposition nor the other calamities to that circumstance, but to the
decrees of Fate, and bore him no ill-will. He invested Nassar with a robe
of honour, made him various presents, and was about to appoint him to
a high office, when one of the vazírs, who had by his natural sagacity
guessed the king’s purpose, said that, although his majesty was of a
liberal and kind disposition and Nassar a deserving person, yet it would
be inadvisable to bestow on him any great favours at the present time,
because experience had abundantly shown that the withering blasts of his
unfortunate destiny had not yet ceased to blow, and only mischief would
be the result. Therefore, he went on to say, it would be better to give
him a considerable sum of money and dismiss him, with the injunction to
remain in some other place until his destiny had changed for the better,
when he might return to the service of the king, whose favours, if now
bestowed, would be thrown away. He continued: “It is also certain that
in the same way as all efforts to aid persons who are predestined to be
unfortunate are in vain, so also the devotional and religious wishes of
silly though well-meaning men are of little avail to them.” The king
asked: “How is that?” Upon which the vazír related the

_Story of the Foolish Hermit_.

At the time of the rising of the Sun of Prophecy, the glance of an
angel of the Court of Unity[47] chanced to alight on the hermitage of
an ascetic, whom he beheld sedulously engaged in all the duties of
religion; and he was so pleased that he was curious to know what should
be the reward of all this piety. Then the allocution reached him from
the Lord of Omniscience: “Angel, pray that this mystery be revealed to
thee.” Accordingly the angel made his supplication and was informed that
the reward of the ascetic should be very inconsiderable; whereat he was
so astonished that he said: “O God! how can this be the reward of a whole
life of piety? I consider it as insufficient for a single day. What
wisdom is concealed in this matter?” Then he heard this order: “Visit
him in human form, and learn the state of the case.” The angel obeyed,
and, after being by the power of the Most High transformed into a man,
he visited the hermit and became so intimate with him that he lived for
several days in his cell, which being situated in a pleasant and fertile
region, with abundance of springs and flowers, the angel said one day
to the hermit: “Arise, let us enjoy a walk in this delightful place.”
Accordingly they went out together, and when they entered a paradise-like
meadow, and beheld the freshness of the parti-coloured vegetation,
they praised the Almighty. Said the angel: “Hermit, be grateful to God
for having adorned the neighbourhood of your cell like a paradise with
springs and flowers and crowned every blade of grass with the diadem
of loveliness and fertility.” The ascetic replied: “My dear brother, I
always enjoy the pleasantness of this locality because it abounds in
grass and water, so that many animals might be fattened here. But I am
constantly burning with grief that God has no ass whom I might comfort
and feed in this place, and might for his sake acquire a higher merit in
the next world.” When the angel was thus made aware of the littleness
of the hermit’s mind, by this silly wish, he left him, and resuming
his proper form the divine allocution reached him: “Have you seen the
intelligence and wisdom of the hermit?”[48]

       *       *       *       *       *

The vazír continued: “A sovereign must also use very great care in the
choice of his ministers, otherwise he may fare like the king of Basra,
who had a very ambitious and wicked vazír.” Quoth the king of Egypt: “How
was that?” and the minister began to relate the

_Story of the Treacherous Vazír_.

In ancient times there was a king of Basra who was very kind-hearted and
liberal. He had a good vazír, worthy of his confidence, who assiduously
attended to all his duties and was very faithful; but death overtook him,
and the king, who was for some time undecided what to do, ultimately
appointed in his place a man of great ambition, who secretly entertained
a design of usurping the throne; and being in want of an accomplice he
bribed a eunuch to introduce him to one of the ladies of the haram. But
when he had become accustomed to the pleasures which awaited him in the
fond embraces of love, he thought that it would be dangerous to carry out
his purpose very hastily, so he drew the lady into his secret, and now
neglected the eunuch who had assisted him thus far and who consequently
made a vow to avenge himself on the ungrateful vazír.

One night the king had a very unpleasant dream: a scorpion crawled
from his sleeve into his shoe, and when he attempted to take it out it
bit him. In the morning the sultan related his dream to some of his
courtiers, and as they could offer no satisfactory explanation of it he
said: “You are only groping in the dark, and we must wait till a skilful
interpreter can be found.”

The eunuch, who had heard the attendants conversing on the subject and
thought this a favourable opportunity to revenge himself on the vazír,
said that he was able to interpret the dream; and on being brought before
the king spake as follows: “The interpretation is, that one of your
majesty’s highest officials has withdrawn his head from the circle of
obedience: by means of a eunuch he has gained admission into the royal
haram, which he visits every night, and carries on a love-intrigue with
one of the ladies; and moreover he entertains the most wicked design,
at a fitting opportunity, of depriving your majesty of life (which God
forbid!) and usurping the throne himself;—and there is a high degree of
probability that the official is no other than the vazír.” On hearing
this the king was wroth, but concealed his feelings, so that he should
not compromise his dignity, and exclaimed: “Base wretch! there is nothing
to warrant such a suspicion, unless, perhaps, some spite which you
harbour against the vazír, and in consequence of which you malign him;”
and he ordered the eunuch to be instantly put to death. But the king,
though inclined to give some credit to the eunuch’s story, could hardly
believe that a man such as his vazír, whom he had raised from a low
position and made a sharer in the government of the kingdom, could be so
ungrateful as to covet his throne and purpose depriving him of life.

During the past night the vazír had as usual visited his paramour, and
they had then agreed to murder the king on the following night, but they
wot not of what was in store for them. The king, who had been rendered
uneasy by the revelation of the eunuch, entered his private apartments
in the evening, and then secretly despatched a confidential servant to
see whether the vazír was in his own house. When the messenger returned
with the information that the vazír was not at home, the king had no
longer any doubts, and knew that if the vazír had entered the haram
he must have done so from the water-side. He quietly summoned all the
watchmen and said to them: “Last night I dreamt that thieves entered the
haram, and I am very uneasy; therefore I command you to kill any person
either entering or issuing from it.” After the sentries had returned to
their posts the king himself went into the haram, and, accompanied by
some trusty eunuchs, rushed into the room where he supposed the vazír
and the lady slept, and there discovering another guilty couple he slew
them, and the former escaped.[49] While a eunuch ran after the vazír and
his paramour, the king went out to see whether all the sentries were at
their posts; and as soon as they perceived him they stabbed him to death,
according to his own order. Meanwhile the eunuch pursued the vazír, who
also went out by the water-side, was also mistaken in the darkness for
a robber, and met the same fate as his master. Then the other eunuchs
who were in search of the vazír, and were not aware of the king’s order,
also issued by the same door and were all killed by the guards; so that
in the morning when the dead bodies were counted they amounted to forty.
On discovering the body of the king the people greatly deplored the
misfortune, and, considering that he with all his attendants had been
killed in consequence of a conspiracy, they laid hold of the watchmen and
put them to death, after which the kingdom fell into a state of anarchy.

       *       *       *       *       *

The vazír added that this narrative exemplified how one individual may
become the cause of the death of many, and that from the misfortunes
which followed Nassar’s exploits it plainly appeared that he was also one
of the number of those ill-fated wretches, and that the misadventures of
Shoayb of Baghdád likewise supported his statement. Quoth the king: “How
is that?” whereupon the vazír related the

_Story of the Unlucky Shoayb_.

In days of yore there dwelt in the city of Baghdád a rich man called
Shoayb, but various calamities befell him so that he became extremely
poor and quitted the country, and his ill-luck followed him wheresoever
he went, and in spite of all his diligence and skill he was unable to
succeed in any affair which he undertook. One day he approached a river
and discovered three men engaged in fishing, and as he had never seen
this occupation exercised he looked on with much interest. The three
fishermen, seeing that he was in a very destitute condition, easily
induced him to enter their service, on condition that they should give
him as his wages one fish for breakfast and another for supper.[50] After
he had been a few days thus employed the river began to decrease in
volume and also the fish in number, so that they caught only a tenth of
the quantity which they used to get formerly. At last they could catch
only one fish in a whole day, and were reduced to such straits that they
resolved to go in quest of some other kind of work.

One day the sultan happened to pass that way and perceived to his
great astonishment that there was scarcely any water in the river. He
questioned the fishermen, who stated their case, when the vazír of the
king, who was a very intelligent man, asked them: “Has any stranger come
among you during these days and been taken into partnership with you?”
They pointed to Shoayb and said: “This man is a stranger among us.” Then
Shoayb was examined, and he recounted his former wealthy condition and
his present destitution in such appropriate and eloquent language that
the king and his vazír, as well as all the attendants, were greatly
amazed, and when he had ended his narrative the vazír said: “To stay any
longer in this place is contrary to the dictates of prudence!” So they
all returned to the city, and on their way the king asked the vazír:
“Why did you make those inquiries and then become so disconcerted by the
answers you received that, by your declaration that it would be unsafe
to stay any longer there, you almost forced us away from the place?”
The vazír saluted the king and thus replied: “Most gracious sovereign,
when your majesty asked for the cause of the river’s decrease I thought
of three causes: First, that perhaps these fishermen had for several
days forgotten God and the Prophet, and that therefore such a calamity
had befallen them; because it is certain that when men give way to evil
habits, the genii and demons are permitted to injure them and to destroy
their prospects even as the withering blasts of autumn deprive the roses
of their freshness and bloom. Secondly, that perchance these fishermen
had in some way injured either your majesty or the inhabitants of this
district, for which they were thus punished. Thirdly, that possibly a
stranger had come amongst these fishermen, and that on account of the
misfortunes which follow his heels they as his partners are compelled to
participate in them, and therefore I questioned that stranger regarding
his history; when I discovered that he had brought his ill-luck with him,
in consequence of which the river itself has nearly dried up.” Quoth the
king: “I have full confidence in your intelligence and experience, but I
put no faith in your theories of good and ill-luck, because both are mere
expressions and depend entirely upon circumstances. Thus, for instance,
if a man be intelligent and honest, and manage his affairs properly, he
will certainly have good luck, but a careless fool must naturally meet
with ill luck:

    Every man is master of his own fortune
      According to his character and strength of mind:[51]

    One, as Lukman,[52] wise and opportune;
      The other as crazy Majnún[53] you will find.
    The bulbul[54] among roses dwells,
      The owl in ruins dark abides;
    But intellect every ascent tells,
      And the fool his own folly chides.”

The vazír responded: “What your majesty says is but the sequel of my
assertion, because the intellectual qualities of every individual depend
upon his horoscope and the propitious or unpropitious positions of the
stars, and according to these a man is either lucky or unlucky. Moreover,
we frequently see that intelligent and good men do not prosper, while
fools and rogues succeed in all their undertakings.”[55] Quoth the
king: “This I believe, because sometimes an intelligent man has not that
practical turn required in the management of affairs and is thereby
unable to overcome difficulties.”[56] To this the vazír rejoined: “What
argument can your majesty adduce in favour of the prosperous condition of
Hindús, Jews, Christians, and infidels, who are more powerful than the
professors of Islám, most of whom are in need of the aid of those nations
addicted to error?” To this question the king could give no satisfactory
answer, but he nevertheless said: “No matter what arguments you may bring
forward, I shall not believe your assertion.” The conversation was still
turning on this subject when they entered the city, and the king said:
“Let this matter stand over until I can prove that I am right;” to which
the vazír replied: “If your majesty can prove the contrary of what I have
stated, I am willing that my blood be spilled and lapped by the dogs in
the streets.”

Next morning the king secretly called one of his confidential servants,
and handing him a bag of gold said: “Go without the knowledge of any one
to the river, take the young stranger to whom we spoke yesterday apart,
and give him this gold. Bid him leave the company of the fishermen, go
to the bath, put on good clothes, and wait the day after to-morrow on
horseback in such a place until farther orders.” The attendant set out
with the gold, and on coming up to the fishermen he was perplexed, as he
could not distinguish which of them was the stranger. At last he called
one of the fishermen aside and asked: “Which is the young stranger with
whom the vazír conversed yesterday?” Quoth the man: “Why do you want
him?” “I have some business with him,” answered the king’s messenger.
The fisherman, who was a cunning fellow, suspected that the vazír had
sent the stranger something, so he assumed a doleful aspect and said
in a melancholy voice: “I am that poor stranger,” on which the servant
took out the gold secretly, and giving it to the man, at the same time
delivered the king’s message; and the fisherman did not return to his
companions, but immediately ran to the city, where he purchased a fleet
horse and fled in the direction of Tabríz.

On the appointed day the king took the vazír towards the river, and
looked in all directions for Shoayb, whom they could not discover, until,
reaching the bank, they saw him with two of the fishermen. The king at
once surmised that the absence of the third was to be ascribed to the
mistake of his servant; accordingly he said nothing to his vazír, but
when he returned to the palace he reprimanded the careless attendant and
sent him to prison. Then he took another bag of gold and delivered it to
an intelligent servant with the same directions as before. He went to
the river, and calling Shoayb privately apart, asked him: “Are you the
stranger among the fishermen?” But Shoayb, suspecting that this man might
be the precursor of a caravan of fresh misfortunes, answered: “I am one
of the fishermen.” Then said the man: “Go and send the young stranger to
me.” Shoayb went and told one of the fishermen that a servant of the king
wanted to see him, and when he came the man handed him the bag of gold,
without asking any questions, delivered the king’s orders, and departed.
The fisherman was at first astonished at his good luck, but afterwards
said to himself: “Gifts such as this are merely tokens of the munificence
of sovereigns. Probably when the king was here and saw our distress the
Most High inspired him with pity for us.” So he concealed the bag at a
distance from Shoayb and his companion; but the latter, having watched
all his movements and observed that a servant of the king had given him
something which he was now hiding, resolved to make away with him and
possess the treasure. Accordingly, having sent Shoayb to the city on some
errand, he took the net and said to his comrade: “Come, let us throw the
net, for I have just seen a very large fish.” His unsuspecting partner
complied, and when he drew near, the intending murderer pushed him into
the river, but his own hand becoming entangled in the net he also fell
into the water and both perished.

It happened that the fisherman who intended to flee to Tabríz was not
well acquainted with the road, and after travelling all day lay down to
sleep. When he awoke he found that his horse had strayed away and went in
pursuit of it; but having proceeded some distance he recollected that he
had left the bag of gold, which was under his head while he slept, and
returned for it, but in his haste he missed the spot, not only for an
hour or two but he was utterly unable to discover it after three days’
search, during which period he had nothing to eat or drink. He found
his way back to the capital in a state of great exhaustion, and had no
alternative but to betake himself again to his old business on the river.
When he arrived there he beheld Shoayb alone and asked him where his two
comrades had gone. Shoayb told him that they had sent him four days ago
to the town on an errand, and when he returned they were absent and had
not yet made their appearance.

Meanwhile the king again made an excursion with the vazír, and when they
reached the bank of the river they saw Shoayb with another man. Therefore
the king concluded that the gold had been again received by the wrong
person and he became very angry. On his return to the palace he punished
the servant, and said to himself: “I am surely singular among kings,
not to possess a man able to execute this business properly.” Then he
despatched a third attendant to the river, telling him that he would
see there two men, one of whom belonged to the country, the other was a
stranger, and to be sure he brought the latter with him. When the servant
came up to the two men he asked: “Which of you two is the stranger?”
The fisherman, having obtained the second bag of gold on pretence of
being the stranger and believing that the king was conferring gifts on
such persons and that the servant had brought more money, replied: “I
am the stranger who has no share in the comforts of this world. What
do you want with me?” Quoth the servant: “The king wishes to see you.”
But when the fisherman heard the king mentioned, reflecting that he had
received the bag of gold on the previous occasion without having a right
to it, he began to tremble; he had no excuse, however, and followed the
messenger. When he was brought into the royal presence the king at once
saw that he was not the man he had sought to benefit and resolved to
punish him. “Are you,” demanded he, “the stranger who lives with the
fishermen?” The man replied: “Yes.” Then quoth the king: “As you are the
fellow in consequence of whose unpropitious advent the water of the river
has become diminished and the fish in it few in number, you are worthy
of death.” On seeing his joyous expectations come to such an end the
fisherman began to moan and said: “May it please your majesty, I am not
that stranger. But as this world is not our permanent abode, and we are
all sojourners in it, I said that I am a stranger.” But the king’s wrath
was not appeased by the man’s supplications, and he was immediately made
to drink of the beverage of death. Thus on account of the misfortunes of
Shoayb all the three fishermen lost their lives.

Shoayb, who had remained by the river, now reflected that, as the
king’s messengers had several times been there and always asked for the
stranger, and as his companions had disappeared, it would not be safe for
him to continue longer in that place, especially as it appeared probable
that the king bore enmity to strangers; and therefore he betook himself
to the city, so that when the king again sent a messenger he could find
no one, and his majesty was once more disappointed in his well-meant
efforts to assist the poor stranger.

One night the king was walking about the city in disguise,[57]
accompanied by some of his courtiers, when he saw a crowd in the bazár
assembled round a man whose hands were tied, and addressing him in this
strain: “In consequence of the unpropitious sight of your unhallowed
person, that misfortune has befallen Khoja Naym. He was so rich that
every morning and evening one thousand men partook of the banquet of his
liberality, and by your ill luck he was overwhelmed by such a calamity.”
When the king looked well at the man he recognised Shoayb as the object
of the reproaches and vituperation of the crowd. So he went aside and
said to his attendants: “Save this man in any way you can from the grasp
of this mob; for he is the individual we are in search of.” The courtiers
mixed with the crowd and asked: “Who is this man? And what has he done to
Khoja Naym?” The people answered: “Yesterday morning the Khoja was riding
out to meet the caravan from Egypt, with the intention of purchasing some
goods, and as soon as his eye caught sight of this fellow he immediately
fell down from his horse and expired.[58] We have been some time in
search of him, and now that we have found him we are going to retaliate
on him the death of Khoja Naym.” The royal attendants said: “Such events
take place by the decrees of Providence. You persecute this guiltless man
in vain, for according to the law no crime can be brought home to him.
You ought rather to give alms and solace the poor, to please God, and
for the pardon of the Khoja. Indeed, should any evil happen to this man
you will have to account for it to the king.” But the people of Khoja
Naym would not listen to reason, and pulled the man on one side while the
courtiers, who were not recognised in the darkness, pulled him on the
other side, and the quarrel resulted in a fight, during which several
persons were wounded and one of the courtiers was killed. Amidst the
confusion, however, Shoayb contrived to make his escape.

When the people of Khoja Naym had fled and the crowd was dispersed, the
king walked away with his attendants, who carried the body of the slain
courtier along with them. On their way to the palace they were met by
the police, who mistook them for robbers carrying a dead comrade, and
attempted to arrest them. The king and his men drew their swords and
resisted, so that a fight again ensued, which ended in the whole party
being captured after several persons had been killed and wounded on both
sides. On taking their prisoners to the guard-house the police discovered
that they had arrested their own king and became so terrified that they
took to their heels. The king arrived at the palace, with his courtiers,
so fatigued and wounded that he was unable to rise from his couch for
several days. Nevertheless he issued orders to fine, imprison, and punish
the people of Khoja Naym, who had during the night attacked certain
persons in the bazár and had even killed one of their number.

On the following evening the king ordered two intimate friends to come to
his private apartments, when he spoke to them as follows: “Although at
present all appearances are in favour of the vazír’s assertion, yet I am
unwilling to concede that it is true. You must go again in search of that
stranger, and possibly we may at last get hold of him.” But the courtiers
replied: “It is not advisable that your majesty should take any more
trouble in this matter, lest it should result in greater misfortunes.”
“I see,” said the king, “that I cannot entrust this service to any one,
and therefore I must go myself.” Accordingly, when evening was somewhat
advanced, he set out with a number of attendants, and while strolling
through the bazárs, he chanced to look into the public bath-house, and
there he saw Shoayb sitting in earnest conversation with the fireman, and
sent a servant to call him out. When Shoayb had come into the street his
majesty said to him: “I am in great favour with the king. I had a brother
resembling you in stature and features who was also in the royal service,
and just when he had been appointed to a high office an accident hastened
him to the next world. No one, however, knows of this but myself; and as
I am very desirous that the position to which he was promoted should be
enjoyed by a member of my family, I propose to substitute you in his
stead, and present you to the king; and after you receive his favours
you will be sent to your post in the country, whereby the dark night of
your reverses will be changed to the bright morning of happiness.” Shoayb
joyfully agreed to this proposal, and the king, handing a purse to an
attendant, said to him: “Take charge of this man; to-morrow take him to
the bath, and purchase with this gold whatever is required. I shall also
send the necessary costume and on the following day present him to his

As Shoayb and the royal servant were proceeding along together, the
latter asked Shoayb to carry the gold for a short while, and just then
one of the king’s elephants, that had become mad and broken loose,
rushing through the street overthrew the servant and trampled him to
death. This so frightened Shoayb that he would not remain in the place,
and having no other acquaintance, he returned to the fireman of the
bath-house. When Shoayb entered, the man perceived the bag in his hand,
and fancied he had brought some delicious food; but as Shoayb showed
no signs of wishing him to partake of it, he resolved to possess it
by a stratagem. He kindled some dry wood over the bath, and, suddenly
affecting to be in great distress, exclaimed: “Woe is me! the roof has
caught fire, and as the bath-house is close to the bazár it will also
become a prey to the flames!” Then handing a bucket to Shoayb, he said:
“Brother, fill this bucket at the river and come back quickly that we
may extinguish the fire, from which the whole world is in danger!”
Shoayb took the bucket and went out; but as soon as he had disappeared
the cupidity of the fireman would not allow him first to extinguish the
flames, but impelled him to examine the bag, and when to his astonishment
he found it full of gold he exclaimed joyfully: “This is indeed great
luck!” But while he was concealing the treasure in an aperture in the
wall the flames increased so much that they enveloped the whole roof,
and some sparks falling on the heaps of fuel around the building kindled
them, and attracted the people of the quarter to the scene, where they
found the covetous man burnt to a cinder. Meanwhile the conflagration
increased, being fanned by the wind, and it was only put out with great
labour, and after much property was destroyed and many persons lost their

While Shoayb was going to fetch water he lost his way, and met a party
of thieves carrying on their backs the plunder which they had just taken
from a house. As soon as they caught sight of him they compelled him also
to carry a burden, and proceeded to the town-wall, which they scaled by
throwing up a rope-ladder, and in the same manner they descended on the
other side. They walked on until they reached a cemetery, where they
deposited their booty, and then proposed to kill Shoayb, but one of
the gang, more merciful than his comrades, said: “Friends, is it not
enough that we steal, but we must also commit murder? This man can do
us no harm.” Others, however, replied: “A head which is cut off cannot
speak;” and the discussion was becoming very warm when one of the king’s
spies chanced to pass by, and hearing voices issuing from the vault, he
listened and soon ascertained what was going on. Then he rode quickly
to the town and brought a number of armed men, with whom he rushed into
the vault, and killed all the thieves. After they had examined the
plunder and were beginning to remove it, they discovered in a corner a
man crouching down, with his hands tied, and asked him: “Who are you?”
Shoayb replied that he was a poor stranger who had been robbed and was
just about to be killed when they arrived. The men bade him take of the
plunder whatever belonged to him, and he was not slow in appropriating
a Kurán[59] with several other articles and walked away. As soon as
the morning dawned and the city gates were opened Shoayb entered; but
as the householder who had been robbed immediately gave notice to the
authorities, they were on the alert; and he himself happening to be
near the gate by which Shoayb entered at once recognised his own Kurán
and the other things the unlucky man was carrying. The servants of the
householder caught hold of him and said: “Where have you got these
articles?” He replied: “They are my property.” Shoayb was, of course,
taken for a thief, and the servants tied his hands and were about to
bring him before the authorities, when the armed men who had slain the
robbers returned, after having secreted the plunder and thrown the bodies
into the river. When they found Shoayb in this difficulty, they knew that
if he were tortured he would make a confession and bring all of them into
trouble, and that they would not be credited with having taken their
plunder from the thieves but would be considered as robbers themselves,
and thus forfeit their lives. So they determined to liberate Shoayb,
and, assembling a great number of their friends, they demanded that the
innocent prisoner should be delivered to them. This was refused, and a
fight ensued which swelled to such dimensions that about a thousand men
were killed, and a rumour spread that an enemy had invaded the capital.
The king at once despatched a body of ten thousand men, with orders to
quell the tumult at any price, which they did, and brought a multitude
of prisoners, including Shoayb, into the presence of the king.

Now the vazír, when the king discussed the subject of Shoayb’s
misfortunes with him, knew that his majesty would endeavour to disprove
his assertions, so he had appointed some men to watch occurrences day and
night, and to keep a record of every misfortune which should befall the
people on account of Shoayb. They performed their duties very faithfully,
and had by this time compiled a document of considerable length. And
when the king discovered Shoayb among the prisoners and the wounded who
had been brought before him, he inwardly acknowledged his error and
was convinced that the vazír was right. The first man whom he called
forth from the assembly was the owner of the stolen property, which
he identified in the hands of Shoayb of Baghdád, and many others bore
witness to the truth of his statement. Then quoth the king to Shoayb:
“I know that you are not a thief and a robber, and it is probable that
he who is not a thief is also not a liar. I therefore command you to
give a true account of this business.” The poor fellow in reply related
every circumstance from his going to fetch water till his falling among
thieves, and so on to the end. Then the king thus spake to the armed men
of his spy: “Cupidity spoils everything in this world. Had you simply
captured the thieves and brought them to me you would have deserved a
reward. But by taking their plunder you have become their accomplices
and the cause of so great confusion and slaughter. You are worthy of
death, but as you have slain the thieves I pardon you; at the same time
I command you to restore the goods to the owners and leave the city
together with Shoayb.” After the people had been dismissed the vazír
produced the document in which the calamities connected with Shoayb were
recorded, and it was found that within the space of twelve days one
thousand five hundred men had lost their lives, besides the injuries
suffered by those who had been wounded and had lost their property.


Having thus ended his third example, the vazír added: “As this story
likewise clearly shows the truth of my assertion, your majesty would
do well to dismiss Nassar to a distant country until the rust of his
misfortunes is wiped off the mirror of his circumstances, when you may
safely receive him again into your royal favour.” The king of Egypt
approved of this advice, and ordered the vazír to give Nassar a thousand
dínars and send him away. The vazír immediately sent for Nassar and gave
him the money; he even apologised to Nassar, and desired him to return
after his fortune had become more propitious, when his majesty would
receive him most graciously, and reward him handsomely.

Nassar was very sad and knew not where to go, till he recollected that
Khayrandísh had given him a ring which he was to show at Aleppo to his
friend Abú Jurjás, if he should fall into any troubles and be in need
of assistance. So he set out for that city. On the way he came to a
delightful meadow, adorned with trees and flowers, and as he was fatigued
he lay down near a beautiful spring, and, placing the gold he had
received from the vazír under his head, soon fell asleep. Presently he
was awoke by a voice exclaiming: “Young man, this is a perilous place for
resting or sleeping in. Arise, and save your life!” He leaped up hastily
and fled. After a while he recollected that he had forgotten his gold,
but was afraid to return; and considering this also as a consequence of
his ill-luck he continued his journey.

When he arrived in the vicinity of the hermitage of Abú Jurjás, he beheld
it in a state of neatness and cleanliness. From its walls blessings and
felicities radiated; but he could find no trace of the hermit. After
looking all round, he perceived a man sleeping on a couch, and said to
himself: “This must be the hermit, who has probably spent the night in
devotion and is now sleeping.” Accordingly he waited till evening, but
the hermit did not move. Then thought Nassar: “Although it is uncivil to
awaken any one from sleep, yet as this man would be sorry to miss the
time for evening prayers I must disturb him.” He therefore went forward
and shook the hermit slightly, but still he did not move. He perceived a
slip of paper on the pillow which contained these words:

“Fortunate youth! on the bank of the river of life no tree grows which
is not blown down by the wind of Fate. In a vision I was informed that
you would come hither, but whilst I was alive I expected you in vain.
But since the goblet of my existence has become filled to-day, I could
not postpone my departure, and, bowing my head obediently to the summons
of the omnipotent Sovereign, I laid myself down on my death-bed. I
am perfectly aware of what you have come to seek. Dread nothing: all
your reverses will soon be turned to prosperity. Friend, I have three
injunctions to communicate to you: First, that you wash my corpse and
bury it in this place; secondly, that as soon as you have the means you
build a chapel here, so that whenever people see it they may remember
me, and their kind wishes may rejoice my soul, for nothing is more
useful to those who sleep on the pillow of death than the prayers of
the living for their pardon; and, thirdly, that every Friday[60] night
frankincense or other perfumes be burnt over my tomb, because wherever
that is done angels of mercy alight. On account of the hardships which
you have hitherto suffered, your fortune will henceforward be very great.
In the neighbourhood of this spot there is a spring called the Fountain
of Al-Kamyss, which was a place where Muslim fairies were wont to amuse
themselves, and therefore infidel genii have dried it up. You must during
the space of forty days[61] go to that place every day and pray God to
cause the water again to flow. As soon as by divine command the water
reappears, you must perform the sacred ablution of gratitude to the
Almighty, when all the filth of your misfortunes will be removed and the
fairies will everywhere shower happiness on your head.”

After Nassar had read the paper he washed and buried the body of the
hermit. Then he betook himself to the fountain and prayed during forty
days, at the end of which period the water again began to flow and fishes
appeared in it, by order of the Almighty, and each fish bore a jewel in
its ear and a ring in its mouth. The fishes exclaimed: “Praise be to
the Most High!” and saluted Nassar, who was very much astonished at the
spectacle. Then a white fish more beautiful than all the others raised
its head from the water, brought the purse of gold which Nassar had left
in the meadow when he was scared away by the warning voice, and said:
“Happy young man! this is your property. Be not amazed at the sight of
us, for, though we are now in the form of fishes, we are in reality
fairies, and live according to the ordinances of Islám; and for this
reason we usually assume the shape of fish, because they are the most
innocent of God’s creatures.[62] This fountain is our abode and place
of amusement. When the malevolent genii had, on account of their enmity
towards us, dried up this spring, we were compelled to wander about; but
now that, by the blessing of your advent, the water has again appeared,
we are engaged in praising God and in thanking you. Young man, in the
meadow where you slept near a fountain we warned you to depart, because
that region is the abode of a tremendous dragon which has destroyed
numberless people by its fiery breath, and no one has been able to kill
it. The astrologers have predicted that a stranger will destroy the
monster, and the king of the country, who has no offspring, has made
a vow that he will abdicate the throne in favour of that fortunate
stranger. We shall reward your good deed by killing the dragon and
bringing you a sign, whereby you shall obtain the bride of royalty and
gain every day a hundredfold more than your father Khoja Humáyún has

Then the fairies brought forth various savoury dishes, of which they
invited him to eat, while they went and slew the dragon, after which
they vanished. But soon a great tempest and dust enveloped the whole
firmament in confusion and darkness; and when all the noise and turmoil
had passed away, the surface of the fountain became slightly agitated,
and the fishes again appeared, and placed the head of the dragon, which
was of monstrous size, on the brim of the spring. Then one of the fairy
fishes addressed Nassar, saying: “This dragon was sleeping in the shadow
of a mountain; we went with seventy thousand fairies to the spot where
the monster lay, and separating half of the mountain threw it on the
dragon, which immediately perished—its last agonies caused the tempest
and darkness. Although the service which we have thus done to you is
as nothing compared with the favour you have conferred upon us, yet as
every return, be it ever so slight, is acceptable, we have been happy to
serve you; and, please God, we shall hereafter consider it as our highest
pleasure to gratify every one of your wishes. And now you may depart to
the city.”

Nassar went away accordingly; and when the people saw the head of the
dragon they notified the event to the capital, from which immense crowds
issued, so that not less than twenty thousand persons met Nassar and
escorted him with great pomp into the city, the people constantly bowing
and thanking him for the great benefit he had conferred on them. Just
then the good king was on his deathbed, and, having no son, his ministers
did not know who should be his successor. But when they heard of Nassar’s
entrance into the city they instantly conveyed him before the dying king,
who was rejoiced to learn that the dragon was slain, kissed Nassar on
the forehead, offered his thanksgivings to the Most High, murmuring:
“If I must die, I have now no other wish.” Then he handed his diadem
and royal signet to Nassar, and said to the vazír: “He is indeed a good
servant who obeys his sovereign on his deathbed; therefore now let every
one who loves me pay his allegiance to Nassar.” With one accord the
ministers and others who were present did homage to Nassar and elevated
him to the throne of royalty.

When the king died Nassar began to govern. He fulfilled the last wishes
of the hermit. He sent messengers to Baghdád to bring his father Khoja
Humáyún with all his relatives, and on their arrival, with great ceremony
and pomp, the father rejoiced to meet his son like Jacob when he was
brought to Joseph. Nassar appointed his father to be his vazír and
bestowed high stations on all his kindred; he also wrote a letter to the
king of Egypt, which he sent with many gifts, informing him of the happy
turn his destiny had taken. Thus Nassar, although for some time in the
gripe of various misfortunes, became ultimately very happy and spent his
life in great comfort.





In ancient times there lived in Kashmír a jeweller called Khoja Marján,
who was very lucky in all his dealings and amassed great wealth. He had
three sons, the two elder of whom were of a foolish and lazy disposition,
and one day the Khoja said to them: “According to the requirements of
this world, everyone must do something for his living. You may have
heard that at first I was only the servant of a jeweller, yet I have, by
dint of industry, overcome all obstacles, so that in this city there is
no person who is richer than myself. It would be a pity if you were, in
your folly, to trust in my opulence and engage in no occupation, because
in this way many who had the greatest expectations were disappointed
and reduced to misery. If any man, though he be rich, knows only how to
spend and never to gain, it is very probable that he will exhaust all his
resources. Therefore as our business is commerce, which is promoted by
trading in different places, I desire you to gain your livelihood in that
manner as long as I am alive, and for this purpose I shall give to each
of you some goods, and thus you may carry on business.”[64]

The name of the Khoja’s third son was Farrukhrúz; he was a great deal
more intelligent than his brothers and therefore loved his father more;
so, after the Khoja had delivered the promised goods to his two elder
sons, he privately handed to Farrukhrúz a small casket, saying: “My dear
son, the true touchstone of young men is travel, by which their ability
appears. Although none of you has yet made a journey, the results of
which might show your skill and intelligence, yet my paternal love
whispers to me that you are the worthiest of my sons. In this casket
there is a cock which skilful artisans have carved from a single ruby and
inserted inside of it various contrivances, so that it is such a great
curiosity that its like has not been seen in the world. Keep it secret
from your brothers, so that should you fall into trouble you may still
help yourself by presenting it as a gift to some king.”

The three brothers, having received each his portion of goods from
their father, began to journey to Irán, and arrived first at the city
of Herát, which was at that time governed with justice and equity. In
that delightful place the two elder sons of Khoja Marján spent all their
time in pleasure, but Farrukhrúz engaged himself in business. One day
he ventured to admonish his brothers, but they stretched forth the neck
of impudence and refused to listen to his advice. At last, however,
their dissipated ways reduced them to poverty, and such was their misery
that they purposed committing suicide. Farrukhrúz took pity on them and
gave them some of his own goods, saying: “Dear brothers, you have only
yourselves to blame for what has happened.” They soon squandered their
brother’s bounty, and when he requested them to continue the journey,
they replied that they had no resources at all and would not move from
that place. So Farrukhrúz was obliged to leave them and proceeded to the
city of Shíráz, where he traded for some time, gained much wealth, and
became acquainted with a most excellent man named Zayn al-Mofáherin, who
presented him with a ring when he was about to depart and said: “As men
are everywhere beset by dangers, especially in travelling, I give you
this ring, and in case you should fall into distress you must show it to
a friend of mine in Mosúl, whose name is Habíb, and he will aid you.”

Farrukhrúz then departed for Tabríz, where he opened a shop, and having
made very large profits he resolved to proceed to the country of the
Franks, and purchased various kinds of merchandise required in that part
of the world, which he placed on the backs of twenty strings of camels.
On reaching Baghdád he stopped there for some time on account of his
commercial transactions; and it happened one day, when he was walking
about the bazár as usual, that he remarked among the porters two men
exactly resembling his brothers, but they were so dirty and ragged, with
their hair and beards unkempt, that he was at first unwilling to approach
them, and they did not appear to recognise him. He ordered one of his
servants to call them aside, and when they came he burst into tears, and
they also wept and were ashamed to look in his face. He gave to each of
them a quantity of goods, saying: “My dear brothers, those that walk in
the streets of safety will never be assailed by the dust of trouble. You
may return home with the goods I have given you.” But they replied: “Why
should we separate from so kind and loving a brother? We wish to obey and
follow you wherever you go.”

In short, the three brothers left Baghdád together and travelled towards
the country of the Franks. But when the two ne’er-do-well brothers
discovered the wealth of Farrukhrúz the flames of envy and cupidity were
kindled in the oven of their hearts, and one said to the other: “What is
the use of such a life, that we should be subject to our younger brother?
We shall earn only shame in the sight of our father and everybody, and so
long as we live the stain of despondency and poverty will never disappear
from our characters, while he will always enjoy honour and respect. We
must in some way cause his death, so as to obtain possession of his
property, after which we may return home and say that a fatal mishap has
befallen him.” Thus did those two ungrateful men wipe from the tablets of
their minds, with the water of treachery and faithlessness, the benefits
they had received, and having agreed about the crime they watched for an
opportunity to perpetrate it.

On arriving in the vicinity of the Frank country they embarked in
a vessel, which carried a skiff, and one day the brothers said to
Farrukhrúz: “Come, let us all three get down into the boat, which is
quite empty, and we may rest ourselves better in it than in this ship.”
Farrukhrúz consented, and when they had all gone down into the skiff the
two seniors said it would be more comfortable to have some bedding, and
went back into the ship to fetch it, leaving Farrukhrúz in the little
boat, who presently perceived to his great consternation that it had been
cast loose and was gradually drifting away from the vessel. The sailors
noticed this occurrence when it was too late to recover their boat.
Farrukhrúz at once concluded that this had been done by his brothers,
but, considering that lamentation is of no avail, he thanked God that he
had nothing more to fear from his brothers, and trusting to the mercy
of the Most High, who is able to deliver us from all dangers, he fell
asleep. Nor did he indeed encounter the least peril, for on the third day
his skiff arrived safely on the coast of Yaman.[65]

Farrukhrúz went on shore, hoping to discover some inhabited place, when
the king of Yaman, who happened to be on a hunting excursion, came in
sight with a splendid cavalcade, so he drew near the prince, made his
obeisance, and spoke as follows: “Your majesty’s humble servant has
tasted of the bitterness of misfortune, and hope impels him to prostrate
himself at your feet.” The king stopped and looked at Farrukhrúz,
who took out the cock given to him by his father and presented it to
his majesty, who was greatly pleased with the gift. To all questions
Farrukhrúz returned very intelligent answers, and in a few days he so
won the affection of the king that he said to him: “I thank God for
having become acquainted with such a prudent and honest man as you are.
Speak your mind freely to me on all subjects.” Farrukhrúz replied: “May
the light of your majesty’s most happy government always remain shining
in the assembly of prosperity, and may it always be protected in the
lantern of divine favour from every wind of adversity! Your humble
servant desires only to behold the glory of your majesty; and, as he
has experienced reverses of fortune, he craves merely permission to
sojourn for a time under the protection of this government.” The king
readily agreed to his request, and assigned a lodging with the means of
subsistence to Farrukhrúz, who was assiduous in attending court, and
succeeded in ingratiating himself so well that he became one of the
favourites of the king, and was appointed to so high a station that the
other counsellors, secretaries, and great officials became such in name
only, because the authority of Farrukhrúz had in all matters become



This elevation of a stranger to the highest post did not fail to excite
universal jealousy and envy, and all the courtiers sought an opportunity
of removing Farrukhrúz. On a certain occasion the king gave a great
banquet, at which the wonderful cock was exhibited, and when the repast
was over the king thus addressed his guests: “You have all seen the
world, but you have at no royal court beheld a curiosity such as this
which Farrukhrúz has presented to me.” The envious courtiers replied:
“That is true; but we conceive that if your majesty were to order a
throne to be constructed of white chrysolites, yellow emeralds, and red
diamonds, it would surpass anything ever possessed by any sovereign.”
Quoth the king, smiling: “You are wishing for an impossibility, because
I have never heard that there exist white chrysolites, yellow emeralds,
or red diamonds; but if so, they are probably so rare that sufficient
of them could not be obtained for a ring, not to speak of a throne.”
The courtiers rejoined: “Any affair that can possibly be accomplished
is open to the competition of skilful and experienced persons.” In this
strain they continued until they succeeded in exciting in the king a
desire to possess such a throne, so he asked them: “Who then can procure
a sufficient quantity of such precious stones with which to construct
a throne?” To this question they unanimously replied: “The business may
be accomplished by a very intelligent man, and we know of no other than
Farrukhrúz who is qualified to undertake it, seeing that he has already
brought a curiosity the like of which is not to be found in the world.”
But the king said that, as Farrukhrúz had become so useful to him, he
could not dispense with his presence. Farrukhrúz, however, rose from his
place and offered his services, promising to return within the space of
forty days.[66] So the king gave him the required leave of absence, and
he proceeded, according to the advice of Zayn al-Mofáherin, to Mosúl, in
search of the hermit Habíb, whom he found in a cave near that town.

The hermit was a devout old man, reposing himself in perfect innocence
and piety in the mansion of tranquillity and asceticism, with a mind free
from the shackles of animal passions, and engaged in humbly praising
and worshipping the Bestower of all gifts. Farrukhrúz made his salám,
presented the ring of Zayn al-Mofáherin, and was welcomed by the hermit,
who said: “I am glad to see you—I know the ring of my friend; and as it
has been during my whole life a pleasure to assist all true believers, I
request you to inform me of your wants.” Farrukhrúz explained his case,
after which the hermit continued: “Although no one has ever returned
disappointed from this place, I must inform you that your enemies have
contrived to send you in search of objects the attainment whereof they
conceived to be impossible, and indeed the affair is a very difficult
one. Let us however trust in God, who is able to help us.”

About sunset the hermit offered up the customary prayers, after which he
said to Farrukhrúz: “By divine inspiration I learn that in Syria there
is a mountain near which is a spot inhabited by genii and fairies, who
possess many of the precious stones you require. They are stored in the
treasury of their king, but no man has dared to approach the place since
the time of King Sulayman (on whom be blessings!). At present, however,
a son of the king of the fairies is suffering from lunacy, which greatly
distresses his father. All physicians who tried to cure him entirely
failed; but I shall teach you a prayer which will restore him to health,
and the king will very gratefully reward you.” Then the hermit taught
Farrukhrúz the prayer, and giving him a staff, said: “This staff is made
from the cocoa-nut tree of Ceylon, one of whose numerous properties
is that it conveys its owner safely through all dangers to the place
of its destination.[67] The various genii and sorcerers harbouring
enmity towards mankind assume different forms and infest the road, and
accomplish the ruin of many travellers. There is no doubt but they will
also lay snares for you, and should you be so foolish as to lose this
staff you will fall into troubles from which you may never escape.”

Farrukhrúz then took his leave of the hermit, started on his journey,
and arrived after several days within the dominions of the fairies,
entering a pleasant meadow adorned with beautiful flowers and rivulets.
The fragrant vegetation and salubrious air which he inhaled exhilarated
Farrukhrúz, and invited him to walk about in that delightful spot.
He soon perceived a group of beauteous fairies sitting around one of
their own sex, who seemed to be their queen, on seeing whom he was so
fascinated by her attractions that he stood still as if petrified, but
his heart palpitated violently. A fairy presently approached him, and
taking him by the hand drew him into the circle. He completely forgot
the admonitions of the hermit, and chatted with the fairy damsel very
pleasantly, till they all leapt up nimbly and taking him along with
him, walked till they came to a palace which the ladies entered, but
Farrukhrúz was turned away by the male attendants with these words: “This
is not a place where any stranger may freely go in and out.” Accordingly
he sat down in melancholy and expectation, and after a short space one
of those heart-ravishers issued forth to call him. Farrukhrúz quickly
arose to obey the joyful summons, but a gate-keeper met him half-way,
saying: “The laws of courtesy prohibit any one from entering the private
apartments of high personages armed; it would be highly improper for
you to pay your respects to the queen of this country with a staff in
your hand.” Then he took the staff from Farrukhrúz, who rushed in as if
intoxicated with the desire of beholding the object of his adoration.
When he entered, he found himself in a paradise-like place containing a
throne ornamented with innumerable gems, on which that beauty reposed
like the world-illuming sun, with all the attendant ladies seated around
her, conversing, playing on musical instruments, laughing, eating, and

Farrukhrúz was rejoiced at beholding this scene, and flattered himself
that he might soon become more closely acquainted with the occupant
of the throne, considering himself as already happier than a thousand
kings of Yaman. Nor was he disappointed in his expectations; for the
charming queen addressed him in the most gratifying terms; dallied with
him amorously; and having asked for a goblet of wine she sipped some
of it, and handing it to him desired him to quaff the contents. But no
sooner had Farrukhrúz done so than he became transformed into a monkey,
with dugs full of milk, and several young monkeys tugging at them, in
the midst of a shoreless ocean, and floating on a piece of timber. He
looked in all directions, but perceived no land, and awaking, in his
bitter grief, from his sleep of carelessness, he recollected the advice
of Habíb the hermit and the loss of his staff. But his self-reproaches
availed him nothing, while the little monkeys pulled away at the teats
and were even manifesting their enmity; but the maternal kindness of a
monkey, with which he had been invested, prevented him from retaliating.
In this manner he spent several days without food, drink, sleep, or rest,
suffering from the burning heat of the sun, and imploring the mercy
of the Almighty to rescue him from this peril, till at last after the
expiration of seven days a ship came in sight, from which a beautiful
lady descended into a skiff with two attendants. The skiff was rowed
about the sea till it approached the piece of timber on which Farrukhrúz
was sitting, when he began to moan most pitifully after the manner of
monkeys, which attracted the attention of the lady and she said to her
attendants: “Unless I am greatly mistaken, I again behold an effect
of the wickedness of that God-forgetting fairy, who has changed this
poor wretch into a monkey.” Then she uttered a magic spell, upon which
Farrukhrúz sneezed and immediately recovered his human shape. The piece
of timber drew near the skiff, and as soon as Farrukhrúz stepped into it
he perceived he was in a garden with the beautiful lady and several other
persons, when he exclaimed: “Praise be to God! I experience wonderful
changes!” The lady took him by the hand, congratulated him on his
delivery, and said: “Be of good cheer. I have, by divine Providence, been
guided to this spot, and have thus been enabled to save you. Others have
fallen into the same snare like yourself and have lost their lives, while
you have come forth unscathed from the whirlpool of calamity.”

For a while the lady promenaded with Farrukhrúz, and then they proceeded
to a splendid mansion, wherein was a throne encrusted with jewels on
which she took her seat, and was waited upon by legions of attendants.
Presently most delicious food was brought to Farrukhrúz, who broke his
fast of seven days, and having satisfied his hunger and recovered his
strength he was obliged to relate his adventures. Then quoth the lady:
“Since cunning and hatred have brought so much trouble on your head,
perhaps kindness may now do somewhat to aid you. Know that the wicked
fairy who has injured you is my sister. Her name is Nafísa, and we are
both the daughters of King Núbahár, who reigned supreme over all the
fairies of this country; but after our father’s death my sister was for
some time led astray from the true faith by an infidel genie who got her
into his power, and even now she tries to injure Muslims as much as she
can.” Having thus spoken, she whispered to a fairy, who went away and
returned with the staff which the hermit Habíb had given to Farrukhrúz,
and of which the other fairies had deprived him. Farrukhrúz thanked the
queen, who then said: “I should be glad if you were to remain here and
live with me, but I wish not to detain you. Yet I beseech you to return,
because that comfort which you may enjoy here you will never find among
men and their follies. In the meanwhile, however, you may go in quest of
the precious stones you are in want of: the king whose son is subject
to fits of lunacy is my uncle, and he possesses a countless store of
the gems you require, but is in great distress on account of his son’s
malady.” Then she sent one of her courtiers with Farrukhrúz to inform her
uncle that he would cure the prince.

Farrukhrúz left the park with the fairy courtier, and at the gate there
was a box wherein he was requested to take his position and close his
eyes, and on opening them after a moment he perceived that he had
been transported into a royal palace, the like of which, for beauty,
magnificence, and decoration, no human eye had ever beheld. There he saw
a monarch seated on a throne with great pomp and surrounded by numerous
courtiers, all of whom were in deep mourning. He was presented by his
guide to the king, who said to him: “Young man, considering that human
beings excel all other earthly creatures in beneficence and happiness,
I welcome your advent. I am informed that you have come to cure my
son, and if you do so I shall feel myself indebted to you as long as
I live.” Farrukhrúz replied: “Exalted sovereign, although every cure
depends in the first place upon the mercy of the Most High, your humble
servant possesses a supplication in which he has the fullest confidence,
and hopes by means of it to effect a cure.” The king then gave orders
to produce the prince, who was accordingly brought forth in bonds and
chains. He wept by turns like a vernal cloud and smiled like a fresh
rose; he had also fits of a violent character. As soon as Farrukhrúz cast
his eyes upon the afflicted prince he opened the portals of eloquence
with the name of God and recited the prayer which he had learned of
Habíb the hermit. When he had completed the invocation the prince
recovered the perfect use of his intellect and was cured; he sneezed a
few times, thanked God, and asked: “For what cause have I been put in
chains?” At these words the king manifested his joy, kissed the prince,
and delivered him from his chains, and all the fairies rejoiced. Then
quoth the sultan to Farrukhrúz: “I cannot express to you my gratitude
in words, nor am I able to reward you. May God requite you!” Farrukhrúz
opened the lips of civility, saying: “I am delighted with the fortunate
result of my prayer,” and preferred his request for the precious stones,
when the king immediately caused immense quantities of white chrysolites,
yellow emeralds, and red diamonds to be brought from the treasury, and
ordered a skilful genie to construct a throne with the gems, which was
instantly done. When it was evening a genie called Tahmatán, who moved
with the celerity of lightning, departed with the throne to the kingdom
of Yaman, accompanied by Farrukhrúz, to whom the king of the fairies said
affectionately: “Take this ring, which has been kept for many ages in the
treasury of my ancestors, and the possession of which is connected with
numerous blessings; keep it always on your finger, and it will preserve
you from all misfortunes, except when you are in a state of ceremonial
uncleanness, because the Ineffable Name is written on it;[68] and if
you keep it with you when in such a condition you will become subject to
fits of epilepsy and lunacy, and it will return to our treasury, nor will
any mortal be able to cure you except ourselves. Whenever any difficulty
occurs to you, turn the ring on the forefinger of your right hand, and
ask aid of the victorious spirit of Sulayman (on whom be blessing!), when
instantly a genie will make his appearance, to whom you may entrust any
service and he will accomplish it. But you must not let it be seen by
wicked demons, who are the sworn enemies of mankind, lest they should
deprive you of this talisman.” Farrukhrúz thanked the king and was taken
up by Tahmatán with the throne at midnight and set down in Yaman before

When Farrukhrúz had departed in quest of the wonderful gems, the envious
vazírs and secretaries were delighted, believing that he would never
return. But the king was grieved at being separated from his favourite
and impatiently counted the days of his absence. At last he said to
his courtiers: “What need had I of such a throne, since the society of
such a friend was more valuable to me than a thousand thrones of king
Sulayman? Perchance Farrukhrúz has been unable to attain his object and
is ashamed to return.” The vazírs professed to agree with the king’s
opinion, being afraid to contradict him. On the fortieth day, however,
Farrukhrúz brought the throne to the palace before any of the vazírs
or secretaries had made their appearance. At the joyful sight the king
embraced and kissed him affectionately, and ordered all the great drums
of gladness to be beaten. The grandees, who were yet in their own houses,
were astonished at the sounds they heard, and when they learned what
had happened they were confused and dismayed. On going to the palace,
and seeing that the honour which Farrukhrúz had before enjoyed was
greatly increased, they said one to another: “The luck of this man is
truly marvellous, since he has accomplished what everybody considered an



The king of Yaman again gave a grand banquet, at which the wonderful cock
was exhibited beside the magnificent throne which Farrukhrúz had brought
from fairyland, and which was greatly admired by the assembled people.
The vazírs were obliged to conceal their malevolence, and after giving
utterance to many expressions of admiration they said: “Although your
majesty’s humble servants and well-wishers are unable to produce anything
themselves, yet they consider it their duty to suggest anything which
might increase your glory. If four date-trees of gold, having fruits and
leaves of jewels, were placed at the four corners of this throne there
is no doubt your majesty would be unequalled as the possessor of costly
and rare objects, and no monarch on earth could pretend to the least
shadow of equality with our king.”[69] The sultan smiled disdainfully
and said: “Such a wish cannot be realised; for, though I have perused
many biographical and historical works, I have never read that anything
of this kind exists in the world.” They replied: “May it please your
majesty, there is nothing which will not yield to skill and intelligent
efforts.” Quoth the king: “Who, then, is able to procure those objects?”
“Farrukhrúz is the man,” said the vazírs. “God forbid,” exclaimed the
king, “that I should burden him with this affair, seeing that I am
already under great obligations to him. Propose some one else.” After
the conversation had thus continued for some time, Farrukhrúz stood up
and said: “If your majesty will give me leave, I shall be most happy
to undertake this business.” The king hesitated long, but ultimately
permitted him to go, on condition that he returned at the end of six

Farrukhrúz accordingly departed in quest of the treasure-trees, and
when he was well out of the city he took the signet-ring given to him
by the king of the fairies and put it on his finger, when immediately
an afrít[70] of dreadful aspect, large as an elephant and fierce as a
dragon, appeared before him, and bowing humbly said: “I am Kashank the
afrít whom the king of the fairies has sent to serve you, and I have
come to execute your orders.” “I wish to see her majesty the queen of
the fairies,” rejoined Farrukhrúz, upon which the afrít Kashank drew the
finger of obedience over the eyes of acquiescence, and taking Farrukhrúz
on his back ascended into the sky.

After the fairy queen had despatched Farrukhrúz to her cousin to cure
his son, she sent a number of afríts for her sister Nafísa, who had
ill-treated Farrukhrúz, and when she was brought the queen spoke to
her thus: “Sinful woman! how is it that you always afflict Muslims,
who are of all men by their piety and devotion the greatest favourites
in the courts of Unity? How had poor Farrukhrúz offended you that you
should change him into a monkey?” Then the queen would have punished
her, but all the fairies pleaded in her favour and Nafísa was pardoned.
But so far from feeling grateful for this clemency, Nafísa, to avenge
the humiliation which she had been forced to endure at the court of her
sister, plotted with a number of malevolent genii against Queen Bánú.
Knowing that her sister wished to marry Farrukhrúz, and that he had cured
the prince and obtained from his father such a powerful talisman as the
signet-ring, she said to her complotters: “It is likely that the love
which Farrukhrúz entertains for Queen Bánú will induce him to visit her
presently, and as she has so deeply insulted me you must kill him and
thus disappoint her. Let one of my damsels be dressed to resemble Queen
Bánú, and send her with a suitable retinue to meet Farrukhrúz, who will
mistake her for the queen and marry her. In his attentions to her he
will become careless about the ring, so that you will be able to take it
from his finger and then easily put him to death.” Matters having been
thus arranged, they waited for the appearance of Farrukhrúz. It happened
also that Kashank the afrít, whom the king of the fairies had sent to
Farrukhrúz, was a friend and well-wisher of Nafísa, so he informed her
of his errand, and she in return disclosed to him her scheme, upon which
he said: “Be not dismayed; make all arrangements for your damsel to meet
Farrukhrúz in the spot where you first saw him, and I shall bring him

       *       *       *       *       *

When Kashank took up Farrukhrúz he ascended higher than any flight of
imagination could conceive, but on coming over the country of Syria
he gradually lowered himself and set Farrukhrúz down in the fairy
park, saying: “Happy mortal! as the secrets of our minds are known to
our true friends and reflected to each other in the mirrors of their
hearts, the queen has obtained the glad tidings of your propitious
advent, and will to-day throw a halo of felicity by meeting you with a
numerous company in this very place. I have brought you here to see your
love.” Farrukhrúz was charmed with this information, and presently was
introduced to one of Nafísa’s maids, dressed to personate Queen Bánú,
seated on a throne, and surrounded by numerous attendants, in great pomp
and dignity. He was deceived by her striking resemblance to the queen,
and, losing self-possession, eagerly ran to meet her, and they fell into
each other’s arms. After the first ebullition of joy was over, she
invited him to seat himself on the throne by her side, and conversed
with him on his adventures. On being informed of the envy of the vazírs
she said: “Beloved friend, are you not disgusted to live among persons
who are unable to appreciate your merits and send you on such errands?
I entreat you by your love not to expose yourself to farther dangers,
and never to return to that place. Remain with me, and let us both be
happy.” While she was thus cajoling Farrukhrúz her attendants gradually
disappeared, and when they were quite alone she threw her arms around
his neck and kissed him. Farrukhrúz had no sooner yielded to the impulse
of his passions than he felt that his mind was becoming deranged; his
head became dizzy and he closed his eyes, and on opening them again he
could find no trace of his mistress, and the whole scene was changed. He
heard the wind blowing and thunders roaring; his mind was confused; he
began to babble incoherently, and at last was drowned in the ocean of
unconsciousness. When he recovered from his trance he found that he had
assumed the form of an old barber in Damascus, and was just then engaged
in shaving the head of a customer, having in his shop the utensils
required in the trade and a number of apprentices standing round him. He
was amazed at this new scene, and thought within himself: “What have I
come to?” and recollecting the signet-ring, with the injunction of the
king of the fairies, he began to weep bitterly.

The man whom he was shaving saw him moving his lips, muttering something,
and shaking his head; so he said to him: “Barber, what is the matter
with you? Perhaps you are calculating the income of your trade, or have
been long in the bath, the fumes of which have muddled your brains, that
you have stopped shaving my head.[71] Be quick! The police magistrate
has invited a large number of high personages to be his guests to-day,
and there is no one except myself to make the necessary arrangements for
the repast.” But Farrukhrúz was so absorbed in his thoughts about Queen
Bánú that he paid not the least attention to what his customer said, at
which the latter became wroth and expostulated, whereupon Farrukhrúz,
who imagined him to be the afrít Kashank, threw away his razor, and tore
his own clothes from top to bottom, strewed dust on his head, struck
the man several times, began to weep, and exclaimed: “Wicked afrít! the
king of the fairies warned me to be on my guard against such as you, and
not let them see the ring. I disregarded this injunction and trusted
in you. By your perfidy I have lost a talisman which is more valuable
than the diadem of Iskandar or the goblet of Jamshíd![72] I have been
deprived of the society of my mistress and become subject to fits of
lunacy and epilepsy, and have lost my happiness. You are not satisfied
with having thus reduced me to misery, but you even now rail at me.” The
customer jumped up, bareheaded as he was, and ran into the bazár, pursued
by Farrukhrúz shouting: “Muslims! seize on Kashank the afrít, who has
deeply wronged me, and destroyed my peace of mind!” As he was thus
bawling and running after the man, his girdle became loose and falling to
his feet he stumbled and fell to the ground, breaking his brow and losing
a great quantity of blood.

When the people saw the servant of the police magistrate running
bare-headed, and a decrepit old barber pursuing him and falling down
wounded, as they knew the other man to be a very bad character, they
concluded that he must have injured the barber, so they assailed
Farrukhrúz with questions, to all of which he only replied: “Seize the
afrít Kashank, who has done me damage of the value of a thousand tománs!”
The people said: “We know him to be the servant of the police magistrate
and a very great scoundrel. He may have injured you, but his name is
not Kashank the afrít. He has now escaped, but if you submit your case
to his master he will be punished.” Then the people bound up his wound
and accompanied him to the magistrate. Farrukhrúz tumbled headlong into
the office and shouted: “Muslims, by the treachery of Kashank the afrít
my happiness has been destroyed!” Several high personages happened to
be with the magistrate just then and were astonished at the intrusion,
but still more so when Farrukhrúz threw a stone in their midst; and as a
few days before an astrologer had predicted that bloodshed and slaughter
would take place in the country, they considered this as an omen and all
ran away, while the magistrate retired to his women’s apartments.[73]
Farrukhrúz rushed into the street, calling out: “Seize Kashank the
afrít, who has changed the spring of my peace into the autumn of misery!”
The people fancied that a thief had escaped from the magistrate’s house
and many of them ran after the fugitives shouting: “Catch Kashank the
afrít, who has run away from the house of the magistrate!” But no one
knew who Kashank was.

It happened that a very tall, dark-complexioned fellow, with a long
dishevelled beard and hair, and dressed in rags, had arrived from the
desert and was walking about the streets. As he had never before seen
such a mob, he got frightened at the noise and began to run like a goblin
of the wilderness, and the people, thinking him to be either Kashank the
afrít or the escaped thief, seized and bound him. Farrukhrúz the maniac,
taking the man for Kashank, then sprang forward, and striking him,
exclaimed: “Perfidious wretch! why have you deprived me of my mistress
and my ring, and thus precipitated me into the abyss of misery?” The man
of the desert was astonished, but thought that it might possibly be the
custom thus to speak to outsiders who intruded themselves into the city.
When the mob perceived the embarrassed countenance and uncouth figure of
the stranger, they also took him for Kashank the afrít and said: “There
is no doubt but he has greatly injured the barber.” At last many people
assembled, and seeing Farrukhrúz lamenting in the most pitiful manner
they began to reproach the stranger, saying: “O Kashank, are you not
ashamed of having done such wrong to this old barber?” The man of the
desert, who had during his whole life never been in a town, supposed this
to be the usual mode of accosting strangers, so he made no reply, merely
shaking his head like the goat of Akhfash.[74] The Amír of the city
happened to return at this time from a hunting excursion, and, seeing the
excited crowd in the street through which he passed, sent a chamberlain
to make inquiries. He returned with the information that a fellow,
Kashank the afrít by name, had deprived the barber of his wife, together
with a costly ring. When Farrukhrúz beheld the royal cavalcade he shouted
the more, but all that the Amír and his courtiers could learn from him
was: “Woe is me! The whirlwind of the treachery of Kashank the afrít has
extinguished the lamp of my happiness, and the fire of his oppression
has melted my soul and my life!” The Amír was of a very kind disposition
and would not suffer even the poorest of his subjects to be wronged, and
he said: “It appears that this peasant has so injured the poor old barber
as to cause him to lose his senses;” then calling to the stranger, who
was now greatly confused, he exclaimed: “Wretch, why have you wronged
this poor man?” The man of the desert, unable to say anything, merely
shook his head as before. At this the Amír smiled and observed: “Here
we have a strange plaintiff and an equally strange defendant, neither
of whom we are able to understand.[75] Is any one present who was a
witness of the outrage?” Hereupon several persons came forward who had
been in the shop when the barber was shaving the servant of the police
magistrate, and next day the latter appeared at the court, but nothing
could be elicited inculpating either him or the man from the desert, and
they were merely required to give securities for their good behaviour,
while Farrukhrúz was sent to the hospital for lunatics.

       *       *       *       *       *

As soon as Nafísa had, with the assistance of Kashank, succeeded in
deranging the mind of Farrukhrúz, they sought for the ring but could
not find it. Then quoth Nafísa: “My object was not so much to obtain
possession of the ring as to prevent Queen Bánú from meeting her lover,
and therefore we must kill him.” But Kashank, who had some experience of
life, replied: “O queen of the universe, though, for the sake of gaining
your approbation, I have become unfaithful to my sovereign, I shall not
commit this new crime, the consequences of which were irreparable. This
young man has done much good by curing the son of the king, who will be
highly displeased at what has happened, but if we execute this second
part of your scheme we shall certainly jeopardise our own lives.” So it
was concluded to spare the life of Farrukhrúz, whom the afrít transported
to Damascus, where he arrived early in the morning, and perceived only a
barber’s shop open, the owner of which he seized and threw into the sea,
putting Farrukhrúz in his stead after having by a magic spell caused him
to assume the form of the old man. For this reason, wise and intelligent
men have warned people never to open their shops before sunrise, because
if they do so they become liable to be injured by genii and demons.

After committing this diabolical crime, Kashank waited the next day on
the king of the fairies, who immediately asked about Farrukhrúz. The
afrít replied: “May it please your exalted majesty, a misfortune has
befallen Farrukhrúz. He was merely sent by the king of Yaman on some
business to the river Nile, and when I brought him thither the water
became very rough, and the afrít Hankál, who is one of his enemies, and
dwells in Egypt, and persecutes human beings, issued from the stream
with seventy afríts of extraordinary power, and as I was unable to cope
with them, they dragged Farrukhrúz under the water and separated his
head from his body, which immediately rose again to the surface and
became the prey of voracious beasts, so that I was compelled to return
in great distress.” At first the king believed this statement, but his
vazír Akhtár said to him: “As I know the evil disposition of Kashank, I
intended to dissuade your majesty from appointing him to this business,
especially as he had been still more led astray by Nafísa, and it is most
probable that she has had something to do in this matter, since she has
on a former occasion injured Farrukhrúz and bears bitter enmity towards
Queen Bánú.” Then the king examined Kashank more closely but without
effect, and finally imprisoned him till farther orders.

The following day one of the treasurers came before the king with a
ring in his hand and said: “This is the ring which your majesty gave to
Farrukhrúz, and which has returned to the treasury.” This betokened that
Farrukhrúz was still alive, and the king sending for Kashank showed him
the ring and told him that he would extort the truth from him by force.
Just then one of the king’s serving genii, who had for some time been
wandering among men for the purpose of avenging his brother’s death,
made his appearance, and stated that he had seen at Damascus a lunatic
who was constantly complaining of Kashank and was probably Farrukhrúz.
The king at once delivered the ring to an afrít with orders to bring
Farrukhrúz, which was done accordingly, and as soon as Farrukhrúz saw the
king he wept bitterly, but the king embraced and comforted him. Then the
king of the fairies sent for Kashank, Nafísa, and Queen Bánú, the two
former of whom he reproved and imprisoned, and to the latter he said:
“Though it is not customary for fairies to marry human beings, yet as
this young man has conferred great benefits on us, I have resolved to
espouse him to you after the orthodox Muslim manner.” Queen Bánú replied:
“Noble uncle! I consider you as my father and shall obey you as long as
I live.” The matrimonial ceremony was celebrated in due form and the
happy couple were full of joy. Some time afterwards Farrukhrúz informed
the king of his promise to the sultan of Yaman, and said that if he were
allowed a year’s leave of absence he would then return and never more
separate from them. The king and the queen Bánú consented, and caused the
required four treasure-trees to be carried to Yaman by seventy faithful
afríts, whom Farrukhrúz accompanied.



Now the courtiers of the sultan of Yaman had been all the time exulting
in the belief that Farrukhrúz would not return; but the king was
confident that he would soon make his appearance. One month before the
leave had expired news was brought that Farrukhrúz was come back with
the treasure-trees on four elephants and himself riding on a fifth. The
king at once marched out with his army to meet him, and when they were
in sight of each other they alighted and embraced with the greatest
manifestations of joy.[76] They rode side by side into the city amidst
the acclamations of the people, and in the palace a throne was placed for
Farrukhrúz, on which he seated himself. When the four golden date-trees
were set around the sultan’s throne and everything was arranged with the
utmost splendour, the envious vazírs and secretaries were full of chagrin
and said to each other: “This man’s luck is most extraordinary, for he
succeeds in whatever he undertakes, and he has so eclipsed us that the
king cares little for any person besides him.”

The golden date-trees being placed one at each corner of the throne
which Farrukhrúz had first procured, with the wonderful cock in front
of it, and all the grandees being assembled, the king said: “What else
besides these rare objects and so dear a friend can contribute to augment
the happiness and glory of a monarch?” Quoth the envious courtiers:
“May your majesty live for ever! Indeed there is nothing in this world
so splendid as this spectacle we at present behold; and to make your
felicity complete it would only be necessary to convey this news to the
eternal world—to inform the forefathers of your majesty who now occupy
the chief places in Paradise; and, as they enjoy the closest intimacy
with the angels of mercy and their prayers meet with acceptance, it would
be well to request a prolongation of your life, which would doubtless
be granted.” The king replied, full of astonishment: “You ask indeed
something very foolish and unattainable.” But they said: “May it please
your majesty, all things in this world depend upon good luck, and as long
as it serves a man he will easily succeed in anything he may undertake;
and, praise be to the Most High, such is your majesty’s case.”

As opinions expressed by different persons find generally an approbative
response, though they may be absurd, and the flames into which they fan
the imagination cannot be extinguished by every intellect, so these
suggestions made an impression on the mind of the king, who thought
there could be no harm in discussing the matter, so he inquired: “Who can
undertake such a business?” To this the envious vazírs replied with one
voice: “Farrukhrúz is the happy man who is successful in everything!”
But the king said: “I have scarcely recovered from the grief I suffered
on account of his absence and only begun to enjoy the happiness of his
presence; how, then, could I again separate from him? You must propose
some one else.” Farrukhrúz, seeing the turn things had taken, arose and
thus addressed the king: “As long as your majesty’s slave is alive, he
is always ready to obey your behests. If I obtain leave for one year I
shall accomplish the business.” As no other person offered his services,
the king reluctantly consented to part with his favourite. Farrukhrúz
suggested that all the letters should be prepared, and that every one who
had a relative or friend in the other world might send him a message.
Accordingly the king dictated to one of his secretaries the following

“In consequence of the intimation of the Sovereign of the decrees of
Fate, of whose power the existence of all creatures is but one sign, our
glorious relatives and ancestors have left this terrestrial abode for the
eternal Paradise, and having thus been delivered of all the vicissitudes
of Fortune, they have left me to inherit their just and righteous
government, so that I have, by the boundless favour of the Giver of all
gifts, become very happy and have no wishes unfulfilled. I have therefore
sent this letter by my devoted servant Farrukhrúz to set the minds of
my beloved ancestors at rest on this subject. And as I am aware that
they are immersed in the shoreless ocean of the divine mercy, and I fear
lest the thread of my life may be suddenly snapped, I cannot enjoy my
happiness as I ought; and since those denizens of the holy regions of the
Kingdom of Pardon are closely connected with and befriended by the angels
of mercy and the cherubim of the courts of Unity, I trust they will
be able to obtain the prolongation of the terrestrial existence of my
life. I do not venture to draw out this request to greater length; and,
making my obeisance, I crave that the bearer of this, Farrukhrúz, who is
indispensable to my comfort, be not detained beyond the space of a few

The vazírs and secretaries followed the example of their sovereign and
also wrote affectionate letters to their beatified relatives; and when
all the letters were written the king sealed them and gave them to
Farrukhrúz. When the sultan asked Farrukhrúz how he meant to depart for
the next world, he requested a large quantity of dry wood to be piled
up. After more than a thousand ass-loads of fuel had been accumulated,
Farrukhrúz kissed the sultan’s hand, bade him farewell, and desired
the fire to be kindled at the four corners of the pile; and when he
was enveloped in smoke he put the magic ring on his finger and was in
a twinkling transported by afríts to the presence of the king of the
fairies and the queen Bánú, to whom he related his adventures, and they
highly approved of his stratagem.

In that delightful region Farrukhrúz spent a whole year joyfully with his
beloved spouse Bánú, and when his leave of absence was almost expired
he told her that this was the last service he should perform for the
sultan of Yaman, after which he should be entirely devoted to her. The
king of the fairies said they wished only to please him, and he might
act as he thought fit. So Farrukhrúz wrote various replies on the part
of the spirits in Paradise for the sultan of Yaman and his vazírs and
secretaries, after which the afríts conveyed him to Yaman.

The sultan and all the people were sorely grieved at the departure of
Farrukhrúz on his last enterprise, but not so the vazírs, who rejoiced
and said one to another: “It is wonderful that a young man who was so
very intelligent should have thus voluntarily destroyed himself! He
cannot possibly return.” And even the king almost despaired of again
seeing his favourite; nevertheless on the day appointed for his return he
held a grand levee, at which all the grandees were ordered to be present.
The vazírs of course obeyed the summons, whispering to each other: “Our
sultan is indeed a fool! A whole year has elapsed since he saw a man
burnt to ashes and now he expects him to return.” Their exultation was,
however, soon ended on hearing the approach of Farrukhrúz announced among
tumultuous acclamations of joy; and when he actually appeared the king
was almost frantic with ecstasy, kissed him fervently, and exclaimed:
“Now am I the happiest of men!” Then his majesty made inquiries regarding
his blessed ancestors, and Farrukhrúz took out the letters, saying: “Most
exalted sovereign, no man is able to describe the multifarious pleasures
of Paradise—the sweetness of the climate, the beauty of the flowers,
the graces of the húrís, the splendid palaces of that beatified abode;
and your majesty will not have any idea of them until you participate
yourself in those delights. Indeed I was very reluctant to leave that
blessed region. Your majesty’s exalted father is in paradise, and your
mother is his partner;[77] your other relatives enjoy appropriate
dignities and are waited upon by many húrís and slaves.” Farrukhrúz
having concluded, the sultan thanked him, and began to read the letter
from Paradise, which contained many compliments, and stated that his
ancestors had prepared for his acceptance many costly presents which they
would entrust to such of his vazírs, secretaries, and other officials
whose names were written in a list given to Farrukhrúz, and for this
purpose they were to come at once to Paradise—their own relatives
moreover being extremely desirous of seeing them; therefore they were in
no way to elude this command, on pain of incurring the displeasure of
the Most High, but, as they were necessary to carry on the government of
Yaman, they should be sent back to the earth at the end of forty days.[78]

This message having been communicated to the vazírs and other officials,
the king commanded them to be ready next morning to set out for Paradise,
and they at once perceived that their lives were in danger. The sultan,
reading their thoughts in their terrified countenances, exclaimed: “O
ye besotted fools! All intelligent and pious men labour during their
whole lives to attain Paradise, and you ought to be delighted with the
message you have just received. Get quickly ready to depart!” Accordingly
they were obliged to feign acquiescence and prepare for death. Then said
Farrukhrúz to the sultan: “Though there are many roads, none is shorter
than that by which your majesty’s humble servant departed.” So the
sultan caused a great quantity of wood to be piled up and about fifty
of those wicked and envious men to be placed upon it. When the fire was
kindled and began to distress them, they pleaded for mercy, and said: “We
acknowledge our fault and repent of it. Hereafter we shall never envy or
slander any one.” But their entreaties were not heeded and they became a
prey to the flames.

After this the sultan counted the days, and when the fortieth arrived he
said to Farrukhrúz: “To-day our friends should return, and I am expecting
them.” But when it was evening and there was no sign of them, the sultan
said to his favourite: “Wise men have said that the road to the next
world is full of dangers, and I begin to fear that some accident has
befallen our friends.” Hereupon Farrukhrúz exclaimed: “May it please
your majesty, that is a road which not everybody can travel upon,” and
proceeded to relate the truth of the whole affair, adding: “The greatest
service I have rendered your majesty was to purge the kingdom of those
villains, because they would, by their conspiracies and treacherous
machinations, at last have succeeded in ruining the country.” When the
sultan became fully aware of the wickedness of the vazírs he thanked
Farrukhrúz and said: “So long as I have you what more vazírs do I need?
And as I possess no offspring I make you my successor.” Farrukhrúz
kissed the ground of obedience and replied: “May power and dominion
ever belong to your majesty! I have sojourned here to serve you and to
remove those wretches. But as I am connected with the fairies, I have
no longer the option to remain here. I shall however bring my parents
and relatives, and beg your majesty to receive them under the shadow
of your protection.” The sultan agreed to this proposal and by order
of Farrukhrúz the afríts brought his whole family to Yaman, and they
were most happy to meet him. The sultan made Khoja Marján, the father
of Farrukhrúz, his vazír, and appointed his other relatives to various

When the leave of Farrukhrúz had expired he bade adieu to the sultan and
his relatives, and departing to the land of the fairies he joined his
spouse Queen Bánú, and whilst he lived never omitted to visit his friends
at Yaman once every six months. At last, however, all responded to the
unavoidable behest of the sovereign of destiny, and, being divested of
the borrowed garments of this perishable life, departed to the regions of



    Though the commands of royalty pervade
    The world, yet sovereigns ever should remember,
    The light of justice must direct their path.

                                               _Hindú Drama._

There was a city called Alakápuri, famous for all the riches that sea and
land can yield, and inhabited by people speaking different languages. In
that city reigned a king named Alakésa,[79] who was a storehouse of all
excellent qualities. He was so just a king that during his reign the cow
and the tiger amicably quenched their thirst side by side in the same
pond, and the kite and the parrot laid their eggs in the same nest, as
though they were “birds of a feather.”[80] The women never deviated from
the path of virtue, and regarded their husbands as gods.[81] Timely
rain refreshed the soil, and all Alakésa’s subjects lived in plenty and
happiness. In short, Alakésa was the body and his subjects the soul of
that body, for he was upright in all things.

_Story of the Lost Camel._

Now there was in Alakápuri a rich merchant who lost a camel one day. He
searched for it without success in all directions, and at last reached
a road which he was informed led to another city, called Mathurapuri,
the king of which was named Mathurésa. He had under him four excellent
ministers, whose names were Bodhaditya, Bodhachandra, Bodhavyapaka, and
Bodhavibhishana. These four ministers being, for some reason, displeased
with the king quitted his dominions, and set out for another country.
As they journeyed along they observed the track of a camel, and each
made a remark on the peculiar condition of the animal, judging from its
footsteps and other indications on the road.[82] Presently they met the
merchant who was searching for his camel, and, entering into conversation
with him, one of the travellers inquired if the animal was not lame in
one of the legs; another asked if it was not blind in the right eye;
the third asked if its tail was not unusually short; and the fourth
inquired if it was not suffering from colic. They were all answered in
the affirmative by the merchant, who was convinced that they must have
met the animal, and eagerly demanded where they had seen it. They replied
that they had seen traces of the camel, but not the camel itself, which
being inconsistent with the minute description they had given of it, the
merchant accused them of having stolen the beast, and immediately applied
to King Alakésa for redress. On hearing the merchant’s story, the king
was equally impressed with the belief that the travellers must know what
had become of the camel, and sending for them threatened them with his
displeasure if they did not confess the truth. How could they know, he
demanded, that the camel was lame or blind, or whether the tail was
long or short, or that it was suffering from any malady, unless they had
it in their possession? In reply, they each explained the reasons which
had induced them to express their belief in these particulars. The first
traveller said: “I noticed in the footmarks of the animal that one was
deficient, and I concluded accordingly that it was lame in one of its
legs.” The second said: “I noticed that the leaves of the trees on the
left side of the road had been snapped or torn off, whilst those on the
right side were untouched, whence I concluded that the animal was blind
of his right eye.” The third said: “I saw some drops of blood on the
road, which I conjectured had flowed from the bites of gnats or flies,
and I thence concluded that the camel’s tail was shorter than usual, in
consequence of which he could not brush the insects away.” The fourth
said: “I observed that while the forefeet of the animal were planted
firmly on the ground the hind ones appeared to have scarcely touched
it, whence I guessed that they were contracted by pain in the belly of
the animal.” When the king heard their explanations he was much struck
by the sagacity of the travellers, and, giving 500 pagodas[83] to the
merchant who had lost the camel, he made the four young men his principal
ministers, and bestowed on each of them several villages as free gifts.

From that time these four young men became the confidential advisers
of King Alakésa in all important affairs of state, and, as night is
the house of sins, they in turn kept a regular watch in the city of
Alakápuri, each patrolling the streets during three hours of the night.
Thus they continued to faithfully serve King Alakésa, till, one night,
the _First Minister_, when his watch was over, proceeded, as usual,
to see whether the royal bedchamber was properly guarded; after which
he went to the temple of the goddess Kálí, where he heard what seemed
to him the voice of a woman, lamenting and sobbing in great distress.
Concealing himself behind the _vád_-tree of the temple, he called out:
“Who are you, poor woman? And why do you thus weep?” At once the cries
ceased, and a voice from the temple inquired: “Who art thou that thus
questionest me?” Then the minister knew that it was Kálí herself who
wept; so he threw himself on the ground, and, rising up, exclaimed: “O
my mother!—Kálí!—Sambhavi!—Mahámayi![84] Why should you thus bitterly
weep?” Quoth Kálí: “What is the use of my revealing it to thee? Canst
thou render any assistance?” The minister said that, if he had but her
favour, there was nothing he could not do. Then the goddess told him that
a calamity was about to come upon the king, and fearing that such a good
monarch was soon to disappear from the world she wept. The thought of
such a misfortune caused the minister to tremble; he fell down before the
goddess, and with tears streaming from his eyes besought her to save him.
Kálí was much gratified to observe his devotion to his master, and thus
addressed him:

“Know, then, that your king will be in danger of three calamities
to-morrow, any one of which were sufficient to cause his death. First of
all, early in the morning there will come to the palace several carts
containing newly-reaped paddy grains. The king will be delighted at this,
and immediately order a measure of the paddy to be husked and cooked
for his morning meal. Now, the field in which that paddy grew was the
abode of serpents, two of which were fighting together one day, when
they emitted poison, which has permeated those grains. Therefore, the
morning meal of your king will contain poison, but only in the first
handful will it take effect, and he will die. Should he escape, another
calamity is in store for him at noon. The king of Vijayanajara[85] will
send to-morrow some baskets of sweetmeats. In the first basket he has
concealed arrows. King Alakésa, suspecting no treachery, will order the
first basket to be opened in his presence, and will meet his death by
that device. And, even should he escape this second calamity, a third
will put an end to his life to-morrow night. A deadly serpent will
descend into his bedroom, by means of the chain of his hanging cot, and
bite him. But, should he be saved from this last misfortune, Alakésa will
live long and prosperously, till he attains the age of a hundred and
twenty years.”

Thus spake Kálí, in tones of sorrow, for she feared that the king should
lose his life by one of these three calamities. The minister prostrated
himself on the ground, and said that if the goddess would but grant him
her favour he was confident he could contrive to avert all the threatened
evils from the king. Kálí smiled and disappeared; and the minister,
taking her kind smile as a token of her favour, returned home and slept

As soon as morning dawned, the _First Minister_ arose, and, having made
the customary ablutions, proceeded to the palace. He took care to reveal
to no one the important secret communicated to him by the goddess—not
even to his three colleagues. The sun was not yet two _ghatikas_[86]
above the horizon when several carts containing the finest paddy grains,
specially selected for the king’s use, came into the courtyard of the
palace. Alakésa was present, and ordered a measure of it to be at once
husked and cooked. The coming in of the carts and the king’s order so
exactly coincided with Kálí’s words that the minister began to fear
that he was quite unequal to the task of averting the fatality; yet
the recollection of the smile of the goddess inspired him with fresh
resolution, and he at once went to the palace-kitchen and requested the
servants to inform him when the king was about to go to dinner. After
issuing orders for the storing of the grain, King Alakésa retired to
perform his morning ablutions and other religious duties.

Meanwhile a carriage containing the pots of sweetmeats sent by the king
of Vijayanajara drove up to the palace, and the emissary who accompanied
the present told the royal servants that his master had commanded him
to deliver it to King Alakésa in person. The _First Minister_ well
understood the meaning of this, and, promising to bring the king, went
into the palace, caused one of the servants to be dressed like Alakésa,
and conducted him to the carriage. The officer of the Vijayanajara king
placed the first pot before the supposed Alakésa, who at once opened it,
when, lo! there darted forth several arrows, one of which pierced his
heart, and he fell dead on the spot.[87] In an instant the emissary was
seized and bound, and the officers began to lament the death of their
good king. But the fatal occurrence spread rapidly through the palace,
and soon the real Alakésa made his appearance on the scene. The officers
now beheld one Alakésa dead and fallen to the ground, pierced by the
arrow, and another standing there alive and well. The _First Minister_
then related how, suspecting treachery, he brought out a servant of the
palace dressed like the king, and how he had been slain in place of his
royal master. Alakésa thanked the minister for having so ingeniously
saved his life, and went into the palace. Thus was one of the three
calamities to the king averted by the faithful Bodhaditya.

When it was the hour for dinner, the king and his courtiers all sat
down, with the exception of the _First Minister_, who remained standing,
without having taken a leaf for his own use.[88] The king, observing
this, with a smile pointed out a leaf to him, but Bodhaditya would not
sit: he wished to be near the king and to abstain from eating on that
occasion. So the king allowed him to have his own way. The food having
been served on the leaves, the hands of all, including the king, were
mingling the rice, ghí, and dhal for the first course. Near the king
stood his faithful minister Bodhaditya, and when the king raised the
first handful to his mouth, “Stop, my master,” cried he; “I have long
hoped for this handful as a present to me from your royal hands. I pray
you give it to me, and feed upon the rest of the rice on your leaf.” This
was uttered more in a tone of command than of request, and the king was
highly incensed at what he naturally considered as insolence on the part
of the minister. For such a request, especially when made to a king,
is deemed nothing less than an insult, while to refuse it is equally
offensive. So, whatever thoughts may have passed through Alakésa’s mind,
recollecting how the minister had that morning saved his life, he gave
him the handful of rice, which Bodhaditya received with delight, feeling
grateful for the favour of the goddess in being the means of averting
this second calamity. Far different, however, were the sentiments of the
king and the assembled company. One and all declared Bodhaditya to be an
insolent, proud fellow; but the king, while secretly blaming himself for
having allowed him to use so much familiarity, suppressed his anger, in
consideration of the important service the minister had rendered him in
the affair of the arrows.

On the approach of night the heart of the _First Minister_ throbbed
violently, for the third calamity predicted by the goddess was yet to
be encountered. His watch being ended, before retiring to rest he went
to examine the royal bedroom, where he saw the light burning brightly,
and the king and queen asleep side by side in the ornamented swing-cot,
which was suspended from the roof by four chains. Presently he perceived
with horror a fierce black snake, the smell of which is enough to kill
a man, slowly gliding down the chain near the head of the queen. The
minister noiselessly went forward, and, with a single stroke of his sharp
sword, cut the venomous brute in two. Bodhaditya, to avoid disturbing any
person at such an hour of the night, threw the pieces over the canopy of
the bed, rejoicing at having thus averted the third and last calamity.
But a fresh horror then met his eyes: a drop of the snake’s poison had
fallen on the bosom of the queen, which was exposed in the carelessness
of slumber. “Alas, sacred goddess!” he muttered, “why do you thus raise
up new obstacles in my efforts to avert the evil which you predicted? I
have done what I could to save the king, and in this last trial I have
killed his beloved queen! How can I remove the poison from her bosom?
How can I profane that sacred spot with my hand? But I regard her even
as my own mother; and do not children draw their nourishment from the
breasts of their mothers?” Having thus briefly reflected, he wiped off
the poison from the queen’s bosom with the tip of his little finger,
and in case the contact of the venom with his finger should endanger
his own life he cut the tip of it off and threw it on the canopy. Just
then the queen awoke, and perceiving a man hastily leaving the room she
cried: “Who are you?” The minister respectfully answered: “Most venerable
mother, I am your son Bodhaditya,” and at once retired. Upon this the
queen thought within herself: “Alas, is there a good man in this world?
Hitherto have I regarded this Bodhaditya as my son; but now he has basely
taken the opportunity of thus disgracing me when my lord and I were sound
asleep. I shall inform the king of this affair, and have that wretch’s
head struck off before the morning.” Accordingly she gently awakened the
king, and, with tears trickling down her beauteous face, she told him
what had occurred, and concluded with these words: “Till now, my lord,
I considered that I was wife to you alone; but this night your First
Minister has made me doubt it, since to my question, ‘Who are you?’
he answered, without any shame, ‘I am Bodhaditya,’ and went away.” On
hearing of this violation of the sanctity of his bedchamber. Alakésa was
greatly enraged, and determined to put to death such an unprincipled
servant, but first to communicate the affair to his three other ministers.

       *       *       *       *       *

When the _Second Minister’s_ watch was over he went to inspect the guard
at the royal bedchamber, and Alakésa hearing his footstep inquired who
was there. “Your servant, Bodhachandra, most royal lord,” was the reply.
“Enter, Bodhachandra,” said the king. “I have somewhat to communicate
to you.” Then Alakésa, almost choking with rage, told him of the gross
offence of which his colleague the First Minister had been guilty, and
demanded to know whether any punishment could be too severe. Bodhachandra
humbled himself before the king, and thus replied: “My lord, such a
crime merits a heavy requital. Can one tie up fire in one’s cloth,[89]
and think that, as it is but a small spark, it will do no harm? How,
then, can we excuse even slight deviations from the rules of propriety?
Therefore, if Bodhaditya be really guilty he must be signally punished.
But permit me to represent to your majesty the advisability of carefully
inquiring into this matter before proceeding to judgment. We ought to
ascertain what reasons he had for such a breach of the zanána[90] rules;
for should we, carried away by anger, act rashly in this affair, we may
repent when repentance is of no avail. As an example I shall, with your
majesty’s permission, relate a story.” The king having at once given his
consent, the _Second Minister_ began to relate the

_Story of the Hunter and his Faithful Dog_.

There dwelt in a certain forest a hunter named Ugravira, who was lord of
the woods, and as such had to pay a fixed sum of money to the king of
the country. It chanced once that the king unexpectedly demanded of him
one thousand five hundred _pons_.[91] The hunter sold all his property
and realised only a thousand pons, and was perplexed how to procure the
rest of the required amount. At length he bethought him of his dog, which
was of the best kind, and was beloved by him more than aught else in
the whole world. He took his dog to an adjacent town, where he pledged
him to a merchant named Kubéra for five hundred pons, at the same time
giving the merchant his bond for the loan. Before going away, the
hunter, with tears in his eyes, thus addressed the intelligent animal:
“Mrigasinha[92]—O my faithful friend! do not leave thy new master until I
have paid him back the money I have borrowed of him. Obey and serve him,
even as thou hast ever obeyed and served me.”

Some time after this, the merchant Kubéra had to leave home and proceed
with his goods to foreign countries; so he called the hunter’s dog to
his side, and bade him watch at his doors and prevent the intrusion of
robbers and other evil disposed persons. The dog indicated, both by his
eyes and his tail, that he perfectly understood his instructions. Then
the merchant, having enjoined his wife to feed the dog three times every
day with rice and milk, set out on his travels. The dog kept his watch
outside of the house, and for a few days the merchant’s wife fed him
regularly three times a day. But this kind treatment was not to continue.
She had for her paramour a wicked youth of the Setti caste,[93] who,
soon after the departure of Kubéra, became a constant visitor at the
merchant’s house. The faithful dog instinctively surmised that his new
master would not approve of such conduct; so one night when the youth
was leaving the house Mrigasinha sprang on him like an enraged lion,
and, seizing him by the throat, sent that evil-doer to the other world.
The merchant’s wife, hearing the scuffle, ran to the spot to save her
lover, but found him dead. Though extremely grieved at the loss of her
paramour, she had the presence of mind to immediately carry the body to
the garden at the back of the house, where she concealed it in a great
pit, and covered it with earth and leaves, vainly thinking that she had
thus concealed her own shame. This was not done, however, without being
observed by the watchful dog; and henceforth the merchant’s wife hated
him with a deadly hatred. She no longer gave him food, and the poor
creature was fain to eat such grains of rice as he found adhering to the
leaves thrown out of the house after meals, still keeping guard at the

After an absence of two months the merchant returned, and the dog, the
moment he saw him, ran up to him and rolled himself on the ground at
his feet; then seizing the merchant’s cloth he dragged him to the very
spot in the garden where the youth’s body was hidden, and began to
scratch the ground, at the same time looking into the merchant’s face and
howling dismally, from which Kubéra concluded that the dog wished him
to examine the place. Accordingly he dug up the spot and discovered the
body of the youth, whom, indeed, he had suspected of being his wife’s
paramour. In a great fury he rushed into the house and commanded his
wife, on pain of instant death, to relate the particulars of this affair
without concealing anything. The wretched woman, seeing that her sin was
discovered, confessed all, upon which her husband exclaimed: “Disgrace
of womankind! you have not a fraction of the virtue possessed by this
faithful brute, which you have, out of revenge, allowed to starve. But
why should I waste words on thee? Depart, and let me see your face no
more!” So saying, he thrust her out of the house. Then the merchant fed
the dog with milk, rice, and sugar, after which he said to that lion of
beasts: “Thou trusty friend! language fails to express my gratitude to
thee. The five hundred pons which I lent thy old master the hunter are as
nothing compared with thy services to me, by which I consider the debt
as more than paid. What must be the feelings of the hunter without thy
companionship! I now give thee leave to return to him.” The merchant took
the hunter’s bond, and tearing it slightly at the top as a token that it
was cancelled, he placed it in the dog’s mouth, and sending him back to
his former master, the dog set off to the forest.

Now by this time the hunter had contrived to save up the five hundred
pons, and with the money and interest due thereon he was going to the
merchant to redeem his bond and reclaim the dog. To his great surprise,
he met Mrigasinha on the way, and as soon as the dog perceived him he
ran up to him to receive his caresses. But the hunter immediately
concluded that the poor brute, in his eagerness to rejoin him, had run
away from the merchant, and determined to put him to death. Accordingly
he plucked a creeper, and fastening it round the dog’s neck tied it to a
branch of a tree, and the faithful creature, who was expecting nothing
but kindness from his old master, was by him most cruelly strangled. The
hunter then continued his journey, and on reaching the merchant’s house
he laid down the money before him. “My dear friend,” said Kubéra, “the
important service your dog rendered me, in killing my wife’s paramour,
has amply repaid your debt, so I gave him permission to return to you,
with your bond in his mouth. Did you not meet him on your way? But why
do you look so horrified? What have you done to the dog?” The hunter,
to whom everything was now only too clear, threw himself on the ground,
like a huge tree cut at the roots, and, after telling Kubéra how he had
inconsiderately slain the faithful dog, stabbed himself with his dagger.
The merchant, grieved at the death of both the dog and the hunter, which
would not have occurred had he waited until the latter came to redeem his
bond, snatched the weapon out of the hunter’s breast and also stabbed
himself. The news of this tragedy soon reached the forest, and the wife
of the hunter, not wishing to survive her lord, threw herself into a well
and was drowned. Lastly, even the wife of the merchant, finding that so
many fatalities were due to her own misconduct, and that she was despised
by the very children in the streets, put an end to her wretched life.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Thus,” added the _Second Minister_, “five lives were lost in consequence
of the hunter’s rashness. Therefore I would respectfully beseech your
majesty to investigate the case of Bodhaditya, and to refrain from acting
merely under the influence of anger.” Having thus spoken, Bodhachandra
obtained leave to retire to his own house.

       *       *       *       *       *

At the end of the third watch of the night, Bodhavyapaka, the _Third
Minister_ of King Alakésa, went to see whether the royal bedchamber
was properly guarded, and the king, summoning him into his presence,
told him of the First Minister’s crime, upon which Bodhavyapaka, after
making due obeisance, thus spake: “Most noble king, such a grave crime
should be severely punished, but it behoves us not to act before having
ascertained that he is guilty beyond doubt; for evil are the consequences
of precipitation, in proof which I know a story, which I will relate,
with your majesty’s leave:

_Story of the Bráhman’s Wife and the Mungús_.

On the banks of the Ganges, which also flows by the most holy city of
Benáres, there is a town named Mithila, where dwelt a very poor Bráhman
called Vidyadhara. He had no children, and to compensate for this want,
he and his wife tenderly nourished in their house a mungús.[94] It was
their all in all—their younger son, their elder daughter—their elder son,
their younger daughter, so fondly did they regard that little creature.
The deity Visvesvara[95] and his spouse Visalakshi observed this, and
had pity for the unhappy pair; so by their divine power they blessed
them with a son.[96] This most welcome addition to their family did not
alienate the affections of the Bráhman and his wife from the mungús; on
the contrary, their attachment to it increased, for they believed that
it was because of their having adopted the pet that a son had been born
to them. So the child and the mungús were brought up together, as twin
brothers, in the same cradle.

It happened one day, when the Bráhman had gone out to beg alms of the
pious and charitable, that his wife went into the garden to cull some
pot-herbs, leaving the child asleep in his cradle and by his side the
mungús kept guard. An old snake, which was living in the well in the
garden, crept into the house and under the cradle, and was beginning to
climb into it to bite the child when the mungús fiercely attacked it and
tore it into several pieces, thus saving the life of the Bráhman’s little
son, and the venomous snake, that came to slay, itself lay dead beneath
the cradle. Pleased at having performed such an exploit, the mungús ran
into the garden to show the Bráhman’s wife its blood-smeared mouth, but
she rashly mistook the deliverer of her child for his destroyer, and with
one stroke of the knife in her hand, with which she was cutting herbs,
she killed the faithful creature, and then hastened into the house to see
her dead son. But there she found the child in his cradle alive and well,
only crying at the absence of his little companion the mungús, and under
the cradle lay the great serpent cut in pieces. The real state of affairs
was now evident, and the Bráhman presently returning home, his wife told
him of her rash act and then put an end to her life. The Bráhman, in his
turn, disconsolate at the death of the mungús and his wife, slew his
child and then killed himself.

       *       *       *       *       *

“And thus,” added the _Third Minister_, “by one rash act four creatures
perished, so true is it that precipitation results in a series of
calamities. Do not, then, condemn Bodhaditya before his guilt is clearly
proved.” Alakésa having then given Bodhavyapaka the signal to retire, he
quitted the presence and went home.

       *       *       *       *       *

When the watch of the _Fourth Minister_, Bodhavibhishana, was terminated,
he visited the private apartments of the king (who had been meanwhile
pondering the stories he had heard), and was called into the sleeping
chamber by Alakésa, and informed of his colleague’s unpardonable offence.
The Minister, after due prostration, thus addressed his royal master:
“Great King, I can scarcely bring myself to believe that Bodhaditya could
ever be guilty of such a crime, and I would respectfully remind your
majesty that it would not be consistent with your world-wide reputation
for wisdom and justice were you to pronounce judgment in this case
without having inquired into all the circumstances. Evil and injustice
result from hasty decisions and actions, of which a striking illustration
is furnished in the

_Story of the Faithless Wife and the Ungrateful Blind Man_.

In the town of Mithila there lived a young Bráhman who, having a quarrel
with his father-in-law, set out on a pilgrimage to Banáres. Going through
a forest he met a blind man, whose wife was leading him by means of a
stick, one end of which she held in her hand, and her husband holding
the other end was following her. She was young and fair of face, and the
pilgrim made signs to her that she should go with him and leave her blind
husband behind. The proposal thus signified pleased this wanton woman, so
she told her husband to sit under a tree for a few minutes while she went
and plucked him a ripe mango.[97] The blind man sat down accordingly,
and his wife went away with the Bráhman.[98] After waiting a long time
in expectation of his wife’s return, and no person coming near him (for
it was an unfrequented place), her infidelity became painfully apparent
to him and he bitterly cursed both her and the villain who had enticed
her from him. For six days he remained at the foot of the tree, in
woeful condition, without a morsel of rice or a drop of water, and he
was well-nigh dead when at length he heard the sound of footsteps near
him, and cried faintly for help. A man of the Setti caste and his wife
came up to him, and inquired how he happened to be in such a plight. The
blind man told them that his wife had deserted him and gone away with a
young Bráhman, whom they had met, leaving him there alone and helpless.
His story excited the compassion of the Setti and his wife. They gave
him to eat of the small quantity of rice they had with them, and, having
supplied him with water to quench his thirst, the Setti bade his wife
lead him with his stick. The woman, though somewhat reluctant to walk
thus in company with a man who was not her husband, yet reflecting that
charitable actions ought never to be left undone, complied with her
lord’s request, and began to lead the blind man. After travelling in this
manner for a day, the three reached a town, and took up their abode for
the night in the house of a friend of the Setti, where the latter and his
wife gave the blind man a share of their rice before tasting a morsel

At daybreak the next morning they advised him to try to provide for
himself in some way in that town, and prepared to resume their journey.
But the blind man, forgetting all the kindness they had shown him, began
to raise an alarm, crying out: “Is there no king in this city to protect
me and give me my rights? Here is a Setti rascal taking away my wife with
him. As I am blind, she denies that I am her husband, and follows that
rogue. But will not the king give me justice?” The people in the street
at once reported these words to the king, who caused inquiry to be made
into the matter. The fact of the Setti’s wife having led the blind man
seemed to indicate that the latter, and not the Setti, was the woman’s
husband, and the king foolishly concluded that both the Setti and his
wife were the real criminals. Accordingly he sentenced the Setti to the
gallows, because he had attempted to entice away a married woman, and
his wife to be burnt in the kiln, as she had wished to forsake her
husband, and he a blind man. When these sentences were pronounced the
blind man was thunderstruck. The thought that by a deliberate lie he had
caused the death of two innocent persons now stung him to the heart. By
this lie he expected that the Setti only should be punished, and that the
woman should be made over to him as his own wife, but now he found that
she also was condemned to death. “Vile wretch that I am!” said he. “I do
not know what sins I committed in a former life to be thus blind now.[99]
My real wife, too, deserted me; and I, heaping sins upon sins, have
now by a false report sent to death an innocent man and his wife, who
rescued me from a horrible fate and tended to all my wants last night.
O Mahámayi! what punishment you have in reserve for me, I know not!”
This soliloquy, being overheard by some bystanders, was communicated to
the king, who, bitterly reproaching himself for having so rashly acted,
at once released the good Setti and his wife, and caused the ungrateful
blind man to be burnt in the kiln.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Thus you see, my lord,” added the _Fourth Minister_, “how nearly that
king had plunged into a gulf of crime by his rashness. Therefore, my
most noble king, I would respectfully and humbly request you to consider
well the case of Bodhaditya, and punish him severely if he be found
really guilty.” Having thus spoken, he obtained leave to depart.

       *       *       *       *       *

The night was now over: darkness, the harbourer of vice, had fled away;
the day dawned. King Alakésa left his bedchamber, bathed and made his
religious ablutions, and after breakfasting summoned a council of all his
father’s old ministers and advisers. Alakésa took his seat in the midst
of the assembly: anger was clearly visible in his countenance; his eyes
had lost their natural expression and had turned very red; his breath
was as hot as that of a furnace. He thus addressed them: “Know ye all,
the ministers of my father and of myself, that last night, during the
first watch, my First Minister, Bodhaditya, while I and my queen were
asleep in our chamber, came and touched with his finger the bosom of my
queen. Consider well the gravity of this crime, and express your opinions
as to what punishment he merits.” Thus spake King Alakésa; but all the
ministers, not knowing what answer to return, hung down their heads in
silence. Among those present was an aged minister named _Manuniti_, who
called Bodhaditya to his side and privately learned the whole story. He
then humbly bowed before the king, and thus spake: “Most noble king, men
are not always wise; and, before replying to your majesty’s question, I
beg permission to relate in your presence the story of a king in whose
reign a certain benevolent action was repaid with disgrace and ignominy:

_Story of the Wonderful Mango Fruit_.

On the banks of the Kávéri there was a city called Tiruvidaimarudur,
where ruled a king named Chakraditya. In that city there lived a poor
Bráhman and his wife, who, having no children, brought up in their house
a young parrot as tenderly as if it had been their own offspring. One
day the parrot was sitting on the roof of the house, basking itself in
the morning sun, when a large flock of parrots flew past, talking to
each other about certain mango fruits. The Bráhman’s parrot asked them
what were the peculiar properties of those fruits, and was informed that
beyond the seven oceans there was a great mango tree, the fruit of which
gave perpetual youth to the person who ate of it, however old and infirm
he might be. On hearing of this wonder the Bráhman’s parrot requested
permission to accompany them, which being granted, they all continued
their flight. When at length they arrived at the mango tree, all ate of
its fruit; but the Bráhman’s parrot reflected: “It would not be right
for me to eat of this fruit; I am still young, while my adopted parents,
the poor Bráhman and his wife, are very old. So I shall give them this
fruit, and they will become young and blooming by eating it.” And that
same evening the good parrot brought the fruit to the Bráhman, and
explained to him its extraordinary properties. But the Bráhman thought
within himself: “I am a beggar. What although I should become young and
live for ever or should die this very moment? Our king is very good and
charitable. If such a great man should eat of this fruit and renew his
youth, he would confer the greatest benefits on mankind. Therefore I will
give this mango to our good king.”

In pursuance of this self-denying resolution, the poor Bráhman proceeded
to the palace and presented the fruit to the king, at the same time
relating how he had obtained it, and its qualities. The king richly
rewarded the Bráhman for his gift and sent him away. Then he began
to reflect thus: “Here is a fruit which can bestow perpetual youth
on the person who eats it. I should gain this great boon for myself
alone, and what happiness could I expect in such circumstances, without
corresponding friends and subjects? I shall therefore not eat this mango
fruit, but plant it carefully in my garden, and it will in time become a
tree, which will bear much fruit having the same wonderful virtue, and my
subjects shall, every one, eat of the fruit and, with myself, be endowed
with everlasting youth.” So calling his gardener the king gave him the
fruit and he planted it in the royal presence. In due course of time the
fruit grew into a fine tree, and during the spring season it began to bud
and blossom and bear fruit. The king, having fixed upon an auspicious
day for cutting one of the mango fruits, gave it to his domestic
chaplain, who was ninety years old, in order that his youth should be
renewed. But no sooner had the priest tasted it than he fell down dead.
At this unexpected calamity the king was both astonished and deeply
grieved. When the old priest’s wife heard of her husband’s sudden death,
she came and prayed the king to allow her to perform _sati_ with him on
the same funeral pyre, which increased the king’s sorrow; but he gave her
the desired permission, and himself superintended all the ceremonies of
the cremation.

King Chakraditya then sent for the poor Bráhman and demanded of him
how he had dared to present a poisonous fruit to his king. The Bráhman
replied: “My lord, I brought up a young parrot in my house, in order to
console me for having no son. That parrot brought me the fruit one day,
and told me of its wonderful properties. Believing that the parrot spoke
truth, I presented it to your majesty, never for a moment suspecting it
to be poisonous.” The king listened to the poor Bráhman’s words, but
thought that the priest’s death should be avenged. So he consulted his
ministers, who recommended, as a slight punishment, that the Bráhman
should be deprived of his left eye. This was done accordingly, and on
his return home, when his wife saw his condition, she asked the reason
of such mutilation. “My dear,” said he, “the parrot we have fostered
so tenderly is the cause of this.” And they resolved to break the
neck of the treacherous bird. But the parrot, having overheard their
conversation, thus addressed them: “My kind foster parents, everyone must
be rewarded for the good actions or punished for the evil deeds of his
previous life.[100] I brought you the fruit with a good intention, but
my sins in my former life have given it a different effect. Therefore, I
pray you to kill me and bury me with a little milk in a pit. And, after
my funeral ceremony is over, I request you to undertake a pilgrimage to
Banáres to clear yourself of your sins.” So the old Bráhman and his wife
killed their pet parrot and buried it as directed, after which, overcome
with grief, they set out on a pilgrimage to the holy city.

Meanwhile the king commanded his gardener to set guards over the
poison-tree, and to allow no one to eat of its fruit; and all the
inhabitants soon came to know that the king had a mango tree in his
garden, the fruit of which was deadly poison. Now there was in the city
an old washerwoman, who had frequent quarrels with her daughter-in-law,
and one day, being weary of her life, she left the house, threatening
to eat of the poison-tree and die. The young parrot who was killed for
having brought the poisonous mango fruit was re-born as a green parrot,
and was waiting an opportunity to demonstrate the harmless nature of the
tree; and when he saw the old woman approach with a determination to
put an end to her life by eating of its fruit, he plucked one with his
beak and dropped it down before her. The old woman rejoiced that Fate
sanctioned her death, and greedily ate the fruit, when, lo! instead of
dying she became young and blooming again. Those who had seen her leave
the house a woman over sixty years of age were astonished on seeing her
return as a handsome girl of sixteen and learning that the wonderful
transformation was caused by the supposed poisonous mango tree. The
strange news soon reached the king, who, in order to test the tree still
farther, ordered another fruit of it to be brought and gave it to a
goldsmith of more than ninety years of age, who had embezzled some gold
which had been entrusted to him to make into ornaments for the ladies of
the palace, and was on that account undergoing imprisonment.[101] When he
had eaten the fruit, he, in his turn, became a young man of sixteen.

The king was now convinced that the fruit of this mango tree, so far from
being poisonous, had the power of converting decrepit age into lusty and
perennial youth. But how did the old priest die by eating of it? It was
by a mere accident. One day a huge serpent was sleeping on a branch of
the mango tree, and its head was placed over a fruit: poison dropped from
its mouth and fell on the rind of that fruit. The gardener, who had no
knowledge of this, when asked to bring a fruit for the priest, happened
to bring the one on which the poison had fallen, and the priest having
eaten it died. And now the king caused proclamation to be made throughout
his kingdom that all who pleased might come and partake of the mango
fruit, and everyone ate of it and became young. But King Chakraditya’s
heart burnt within him at the remembrance of his ill-treatment of the
poor Bráhman, who had returned with his wife from Banáres. So he sent for
him, explained his mistake, and gave him a fruit to eat, which having
tasted, the aged Bráhman became young, and his eye was also restored to
him. But the greatest loss of all, that of the parrot who brought the
fruit from beyond the seven oceans, remained irreparable.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Thus, my lord,” continued the aged minister, _Manuniti_, “it behoves
us not to act precipitately in this affair of Bodhaditya, which we must
carefully sift before expressing our opinion as to the punishment he may
deserve at your majesty’s hands.”

       *       *       *       *       *

When Manuniti had concluded his story of the wonderful mango fruit, King
Alakésa ordered his four ministers to approach the throne, and then, with
an angry countenance, he thus addressed Bodhaditya: “What excuse have you
for entering my bedchamber without permission, and thus violating the
rules of decency?” The _First Minister_ humbly begged leave to relate
to his majesty a story of how a Bráhman fed a hungry traveller, and had
afterwards to endure the infamy of having caused that traveller’s death,
and on King Alakésa signifying his consent, thus began:

_The Story of the Poisoned Food_.

There was a city called Vijayanagara, to the north of which flowed a
small river with topes[102] on both banks. One day a young Bráhman
pilgrim came and sat down to rest by the side of the stream, and,
finding the place very cool and shady, he resolved to bathe, perform his
religious ablutions, and make his dinner off the rice which he carried
tied up in a bundle. Three days before there had come to the same spot
an old Bráhman, whose years numbered more than threescore and ten; he
had quarrelled with his family, and fled from his house to die. Since
he reached that place he had tasted no food, and the young pilgrim
found him lying in a pitiable state, and placed near him a portion of
his rice. The old man arose, and proceeded to the rivulet in order to
wash his feet and hands, and pronounce a holy incantation or two before
tasting the food. While thus engaged, a kite, carrying in its beak a
huge serpent, alighted upon the tree at the foot of which was the rice
given by the pilgrim to the old man, and while the bird was feasting
on the serpent, some of its poison dropped on the rice; and the old
Bráhman, in his hunger, did not observe it on his return; he greedily
devoured some of the rice, and instantly fell down dead. The young
pilgrim, seeing him prone on the ground, ran to help him, but found that
life was gone; and, concluding that the old man’s hasty eating after
his three days’ fast must have caused his death, and being unwilling to
leave his corpse to be devoured by kites and jackals, he determined to
cremate it before resuming his journey. With this object he ran to the
neighbouring village, and reporting to the people what had occurred on
the tope, requested their assistance in the cremating of the old man’s
body. The villagers, however, suspected that the young pilgrim had killed
and robbed the old Bráhman; so they laid hold of him, and, after giving
him a severe flogging, imprisoned him in the village temple of Kálí.
Alas, what a reward was this for his kind hospitality! and how was he
repaid for his beneficence! The unhappy pilgrim gave vent to his sorrows
in the form of verses in praise of the goddess in whose temple he was
a prisoner; for he was a great pandit, versed in the four Vedas,[103]
and the six Sastras,[104] and the sixty-four varieties of knowledge.
On hearing the pilgrim’s verses, the rage of the goddess descended on
the villagers who had so rashly accused and punished him for a crime
of which he was innocent. Suddenly the whole village was destroyed by
fire, and the people lost all their property and were houseless. In
their extremity they went to the temple of Kálí, and humbly requested
the goddess to inform them of the cause of the calamity which had thus
unexpectedly come upon them. The goddess infused herself into the person
of one of the villagers, and thus responded: “Know ye, unkind villagers,
that ye have most unjustly scourged and imprisoned in our presence
an innocent, charitable, and pious Bráhman. The old man died from the
effects of poison, which dropped from a serpent’s mouth on some rice
at the foot of a tree when it was being devoured by a kite. Ye did not
know of this; nevertheless, ye have maltreated a good man without first
making due inquiry as to his guilt or innocence. For this reason we
visited your village with this calamity. Beware, and henceforward avoid
such sins.” So saying, Kálí departed from the person through whom she had
manifested herself.[105] Then the villagers perceived the grievous error
into which they had fallen. They released the good pilgrim and implored
his forgiveness, which he readily granted. And thus was an innocent man
charged with murder in return for his benevolent actions.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Even so,” continued Bodhaditya, “my most noble sovereign, I have
this day had to endure the infamy of having violated the zanána for
saving your valuable life.” He then sent for a thief who was undergoing
imprisonment, and gave him the handful of rice which he had the
preceding day snatched from the king at dinner, and the thief having
eaten it instantly died.[106] He next caused a servant to go to the royal
bedchamber, and fetch from the canopy of the couch the pieces of the
serpent and his little finger-tip, which he laid before the wonder-struck
king and the counsellors, and then addressed his majesty as follows: “My
most noble king and ye wise counsellors, it is known to you all that we
four ministers keep watch over the town during the four quarters of the
night, and mine is the first watch. Well, while I was on duty the day
before yesterday, I heard a weeping voice in the direction of the temple.
I proceeded to the spot, and discovered the goddess sobbing bitterly. She
related to me how three calamities were awaiting the king on the morrow.
The first of them was the arrows despatched by the king of Vijayanajara
as sweetmeats to our sovereign; the second was the poisoned rice, and the
third the serpent. In trying to avert these calamities I have committed
the offence of entering the zanána.” And he thereupon explained the
affair from first to last.

King Alakésa and the whole assembly were highly delighted at the fidelity
and devotion of Bodhaditya; for it was now very evident that he had done
nothing amiss, but had saved the life of the king on three occasions,
and indeed also the life of the queen by wiping off the serpent’s poison
which had fallen on her bosom. Then Alakésa, in explanation of the
saying, “eating the protector,” related the

_Story of the Bráhman and the Rescued Snake_.

In the country of Uttara there lived a Bráhman named Kusalanadan, who had
a wife and six sons. All were in a state of prosperity for some time, but
the entrance of Saturn into the Bráhman’s horoscope turned everything
upside down. The once prosperous Bráhman became poor, and was reduced to
go to the neighbouring woods to gather bambú-rice with which to feed his
hungry family.[107] One day, while plucking the bambú ears, he saw a bush
close by in flames, in the midst of which was a serpent struggling for
its life. The Bráhman at once ran to its rescue, and stretching towards
it a long green stick the reptile crept on to it and escaped from the
flames, and then spread its hood and with a hissing sound approached
to sting its rescuer. The Bráhman began to weep and bewail his folly
in having saved the ungrateful creature, which being observed by the
serpent it asked him: “O Bráhman, why do you weep?” Said the old man:
“You now purpose to kill me; is this the reward for my having saved your
life?” “True, you have rescued me from a terrible death, but how am I
to appease my hunger?” replied the serpent. The Bráhman said: “You speak
of your hunger, but who is to feed my old wife and six hungry children
at my house?” The serpent, seeing the anxiety of the Bráhman, emitted a
precious gem from its hood,[108] and bade him take it home and give it to
his wife for household expenses, after which to return to the wood to be
devoured. The old man agreed, and, solemnly promising to return without
fail, went home. Having given the gem to his family, and told them of his
pact with the serpent, the Bráhman went back to the wood. The serpent had
meanwhile reflected upon his own base ingratitude. “Is it right,” thought
he, “to kill him who saved me from the flames? No! I shall rather perish
of hunger, if I cannot find a prey to-day, than slay my protector.” So,
when the old Bráhman returned, true to his word, the serpent presented
him with another valuable gem, and after expressing a wish that he should
live long and happily with his wife and children, went its own way, while
the Bráhman returned joyously to his home.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Even as the serpent purposed acting towards its benefactor,” continued
the king, “so did I, in my rage, intend putting to death my faithful
minister and the protector of my life, Bodhaditya; and to free myself
from this grievous sin there is no penance I should not undergo.”

       *       *       *       *       *

Then King Alakésa ordered a thousand Bráhmans to be fed every day
during his life, and many rich gifts to be distributed in temples as
atonement for his great error. And from that day Bodhaditya and his
three colleagues enjoyed still more of the royal favour. With those four
faithful ministers King Alakésa lived a most happy life and had a most
prosperous reign.





Every praise is due to that Almighty Creator whose mercy has given
grace and perfection to this garden of the earth. The flowers, like the
loveliest brides, reflect the lustre of his beauty; what power, then, has
the pen, a dry and withered reed as it is, to record his excellencies?

    Each blushing rose-leaf still exhales
    Those heavenly paradisal gales,
    Creator, which thy power proclaim,
    And make the bulbul praise thy name.
    The unexpanded buds confess
    Thy glory, and thy power express;
    And all the loveliness of earth
    From thee alone has taken birth.
    The light of Layla’s[1] beauty glows
    Apparent in the blushing rose;
    And in Narcissus still we find
    Sad Majnún’s hair tossed by the wind.[109]
    O if his mercy rain on me,
    ’Twill wash out my impurity,
    And crown my hopes with verdancy;
    But if his wrath its head should rear,
    ’Neath Ahmed’s[110] shade we must repair.

Thousands of blessings be upon that glorified Prophet, for whom the
heavens and the earth were created,[111] and the footmarks of whose
Burák[112] are impressed on the foreheads of the sun and moon. From the
whole collected works of his power, the world is but a single volume, and
life a single chapter. When he found the earth required his presence, he
left heaven, and, clothed in human flesh, descended here below. Let us
turn now to the praise of the king of heroes, namely, Alí.[113]

When the sun had irradiated the face of the earth I determined to dive
into the river of contemplation, with a view of gaining some pearls of
ideas therefrom. Many came to hand, yet I was wondering how to use them,
when a voice reached my ear, saying: “O thou, immersed in thought, these
gems befit only one, and he is Alí: may peace be on him! Open thy mouth
in his eulogy, because he is an emperor, the lustre of whose countenance
has cast a shade of paleness on the moon, and has redoubled the radiance
of the sun. If he would give loose to the reins of his charger in the
seventh heaven, it would raise disturbance among the stars.”

O King of kings, my request from thy mercy is, that thou wouldst prove a
shelter to me on the day of judgment, and admit me into the ranks of thy
white-faced servants. What shall I add, when it is presumption on my part
to address thee long!



They relate that a king named Zayn ul-Mulúk[114] reigned over a city
in the eastern part of Hindústán. He had already four sons who were
well trained in all the arts and sciences of the time and for courage
compared to Rustam,[115] when Providence bestowed on him a fifth, who
was beautiful as the moon in her fourteenth night, which scatters the
darkness of the world. Zayn ul-Mulúk, full of joy, gave on this occasion
a grand feast, and by the advice of the astrologers called the newly born
Táj ul-Mulúk.[116] The same astrologers, having cast the horoscope[117]
of the infant prince, declared that he would be endowed with courage
far superior to any other mortal, and that genii and men would be
subservient to him; but if unfortunately his father should look on him,
that very instant he would be deprived of his sight. The king, with
mixed sensations of pleasure and grief, gave order to his chief vazír
to put the child and his mother in a palace at some distance from the
court, which was done accordingly. After several years the prince became
accomplished in every science. Being a lover of sport, it chanced one day
that he went far into the thick of a forest in pursuit of a deer. True
it is that what is written by Fate can never be erased. It so happened
that the king was also hunting in the same forest that very day, and
encountered the prince. There is a well-known saying to the effect that
the wounded part is always sore, notwithstanding our efforts not to be
hurt again, and the fugitive slave, fly wherever he will, is sure to
be overtaken by his pursuer. The moment that the eyes of the king fell
upon his son he was struck blind. His minister at once divined the cause
of his blindness. The king observed, that the sight of a son generally
increases the light of his father’s eyes, but in his case the reverse
had occurred. Hence it was proper that such a son should be expelled the
realm, and the queen, his mother, made to sweep the apartments of his

Then physicians equal to Avicenna[118] in learning and skill were called
to remove the king’s blindness, and they all declared that the only
remedy was the Rose of Bakáwalí. Zayn ul-Mulúk despatched messengers
throughout the land to proclaim that whosoever should procure that
wonderful flower, or tell where it was to be found, should be handsomely
rewarded; but without success. Thus year followed year, the king passing
all his time lamenting and weeping, like Jacob when he mourned for
Joseph, and like the prophet Job, waiting with impatient anxiety.[119]
At last his four sons besought him that they should be allowed to go in
quest of the Rose of Bakáwalí. The king at first refused, not wishing
that the bright lamps of his house should be exposed to dangers, but was
ultimately prevailed upon to yield to their entreaties, and gave order to
his vazír to prepare everything needful for their journey—money, beasts
of burden, tents, and attendants. The princes departed and traversed many
miles at random.

By accident they met their brother, Táj ul-Mulúk, who was dragging his
weary feet far away from his native land. He enquired who they were and
whither they were going. In reply they told him how Zayn ul-Mulúk, their
father, had lost his sight, and that they were journeying in search
of the Rose of Bakáwalí, prescribed for the removal of his blindness.
The prince on hearing this said to himself: “I must try my fortune and
experience on the touchstone of the gold of my fate. Perchance I shall
succeed in filling the skirt of my gown with the roses of my desire.”
Having thus resolved, he went to a nobleman named Syíd, who on looking at
him perceived that the light of his countenance surpassed the glory of
the sun, and the dark cluster of his locks, falling upon the fairness of
his forehead, resembled the gloom of the clouds passing over the lustre
of the moon. He asked him: “Who are you, and whence have you come?” Táj
ul-Mulúk answered: “I am a traveller far away from my country, with no
one to sympathise with me in my misfortunes, and none to cheer me with
the soothing music of the voice of a friend. There is no one to assist
and comfort me.” Syíd on hearing the words of this second Joseph[120] was
highly affected and agreed to befriend him.

It is related that Táj ul-Mulúk after a long journey reached the city of
Firdaus,[121] which was then governed by King Rizwán. It was evening.
Standing on the bank of a river, he intended to take up his abode in that
town for some time. When the sun had finished his diurnal travel, and
the moon, riding on her sable charger, had commenced her ramble in the
east, the four princes, mounted on their swift-footed horses, entered the
city. Their eyes fell on a splendid palace, every window of which was
hung with screens of the richest brocade. They asked one of the citizens:
“Whose palace is this?” He answered: “The owner of this mansion is Dilbar
Lakhí.”[122] The princes asked: “How has she obtained such a palace?”
And the man replied: “This lady is unequalled. In beauty and grace she
has no rival on this earth. The sun even would sacrifice himself on her
charms as the moth does on the light of the taper;[123] and the moon
would hide her diminished glory before the lustre of her charms. For
those who court her society she keeps a drum hung on the door, on beating
which, should they be rich enough to pay a lakh of rupís, they will
have the happiness of meeting her.” At these words, the young princes,
proud of their social position and wealth, wished to gratify their love
of pleasure, so they approached the door and loudly beat the drum. When
Dilbar heard the sound she could not contain her joy. “Well, well!” she
said, “since the prey seeks to enter my net, it must be caught. Women
of my trade are always in hopes that some one void of sense and with a
full purse will fall into their hands.” She quickly adorned herself with
rubies, emeralds, diamonds and pearls and sat down to receive the sons of
Zayn ul-Mulúk. She made them sit on a golden seat, and then rosy-cheeked
slave-girls came and presented them with wine in cups of gold, and with
different kinds of food in dishes of silver. When half of the night had
passed in drinking and talking, this artful woman proposed to them that
they should play at backgammon by way of amusement, and the princes
assented with pleasure. The board was brought, and she placed a lamp on
the head of a cat, which she had taken great pains to train up to her
designs, and staked a lakh of rupís on the first game. Before the night
was over the princes lost fifteen lakhs of rupís. In the morning they
took leave of Dilbar and returned to their tents. The following night
they again went to the mansion of Dilbar, and that designing woman won
from them not only all their money but also their horses, elephants,
and camels. Then she said to them: “Young men, seeing that nothing now
remains to you, I think you had better go home.” “No,” said they; “allow
us once more to hang on the scale of experiment the gold of our fortune.
If the scale incline to our side, we depart with all our property; if it
fall to your side, we lose everything and become your slaves.” Dilbar
accepted this proposal and in the twinkling of an eye won the game, and
thus became absolute mistress of the goods and persons of the sons of
Zayn ul-Mulúk, who were sent at once to keep company with many others in
the same predicament. The attendants of the four princes, on learning
their fate, like the petals of the rose which fall in autumn, were in
great trouble and excitement.



Táj ul-Mulúk immediately formed the resolution to make an effort to save
his brothers. Full of this idea, he presented himself at the door of an
Amír and said to the porter: “I am a traveller without means, and wish to
enter the employment of your master, whose noble qualities I have heard
much praised.” The Amír admitted Táj ul-Mulúk into his presence, and,
charmed with the beauty and dignity of his features, willingly accepted
his offer, and from that day treated him with increasing kindness. When
Táj ul-Mulúk had passed several months in the service of the Amír, and
had saved a considerable sum of money, he said to his master one day that
a friend of his had just arrived in the town, and he was desirous that
he should be permitted to go and see him every day and pass a few hours
in his company. This was most cordially granted, and the prince went
daily to the house of the backgammon players, from whom he learned all
the rules of the game. When he thought he was able to play with Dilbar
he proceeded to her palace. An old woman, the confidante of Dilbar, who
did nothing without her advice, opened the door, and the prince threw
himself at her feet and burst into tears. She asked him who he was and
what he wanted. “Alas!” he cried, “I am an unhappy traveller, without
friends or acquaintances. I have no help but God in this town. My country
is far east of here. I had a grandmother, but God admitted her into
Paradise,[124] and I am left alone in this world of sorrow! I trace in
you a strong resemblance to her, hence have I fallen at your feet. If you
are pleased to look on me with an eye of kindness and have compassion on
my wretched condition, I offer to remain near you and to regard you as my
grandmother.” The tone of sincerity with which the prince uttered these
words made the heart of the old woman soft as wax. “My dear young man,”
said she to him, “I am also alone in the world. From this day, therefore,
I adopt you as my grandson.” Then he told her that he was engaged as a
servant and would not be able to see her every day, but he would come
as often as he possibly could. After this, Táj ul-Mulúk often visited
that old woman, and so flattered and wheedled her that he soon became
the confidant of her secrets. One day, after talking on indifferent
subjects, he asked her how it happened that all who played at backgammon
with Dilbar always lost. “My dear son,” replied she, “it is a very great
secret. Take good care never to repeat to anyone what I am going to tell
you. Dilbar has trained a cat and a mouse; she has accustomed the cat to
bear a lamp on her head and the mouse to lie concealed in the shade of
the lamp. When the dice do not turn up to suit Dilbar, the cat moves the
lamp and causes the shadow to go to and fro, while the mouse turns the
dice again, and in this way Dilbar wins without anyone of those who have
played with her being able to understand the reason.” Táj ul-Mulúk went
to the bazár and bought a weasel, which he trained to lie in his sleeve,
and, when he snapped his fingers, to come out suddenly, like a little
panther. Then he visited the old woman and said to her: “I am weary of
service, and if you lend me a thousand rupís I will try to start some
business.” The old woman led him into a room, and, showing him all her
money, bade him take what he required. The prince was satisfied with a
thousand rupís. Returning to his master, he told him that a friend was
to be married that day, and he wished to attend the nuptials if the Amír
would give him suitable clothes. The Amír at once consented, and even
allowed the prince to take one of his best horses.

Táj ul-Mulúk, richly dressed and mounted upon a superb steed, proceeded
to the house of the artful courtesan. He was no sooner introduced to her
than the gambler of the sky closed the chessboard of the sun, in the
house of the west, and threw upon the table of the east the golden dice
of the stars.[125] “I am told,” said he, “that you are fond of playing
backgammon, and if you please, we can have a few games.” Dilbar at first
begged to be excused, but in the end consented to play, and, as usual,
placed the lamp upon the head of the cat, staked a thousand rupís, and
threw the dice. The sháh-záda[126] allowed her to win the first game
with the aid of the cat and the mouse. At the second, as fortune did
not turn in her favour, the cat and the mouse were about to begin their
old tricks, when Táj ul-Mulúk snapped his fingers, and the weasel ran
furiously out of its master’s sleeve, whereupon the mouse disappeared
like lightning, and the cat astonished, fled like the wind, overturning
the lamp. The sháh-záda pretended to be in a great rage, and exclaimed:
“Artful woman! What tricks are you playing? How is it that you have not
a proper lamp in a house so elegantly furnished?” At these words Dilbar
was confused, and beads of perspiration appeared on her brow. She caused
a candlestick to be brought and then the game was resumed. In his turn
the prince had the advantage, and gained that night seven crores of
rupís. In the morning he told Dilbar that he was obliged to return and
breakfast with the king, and went away, leaving with her the money he had
won, and promising to come again at night.

The prince came at the time appointed, and after they had partaken of
some food, they began to play for a crore of rupís, and by midnight he
had won all Dilbar’s hoarded money, which amounted to one hundred crores
of rupís.[127] Dilbar, in despair, wished to play next for her furniture,
in the hope of winning, and afterwards recovering what she had lost. But
she was not any more fortunate than before, and the prince said: “Well,
what shall we do now? Do you wish to play once more with me? If I lose,
I will give you a thousand rupís; if I win, you will give up all the
princes you have kept prisoners by deceit and cheating.” Dilbar agreed
to the proposal, and in a twinkling the sháh-záda had again won the
game. Then she said: “If I win, I will keep all that I have lost; if I
lose, not only will everything belong to you, but I shall be your slave.”
In this last throw fortune was once more propitious to Táj ul-Mulúk.
“Happy young man!” she cried, “with the help of God and your horoscope
you have made me your slave. That game which all the kings of the world
had played in vain throughout their lives is at last in thy hand. Now
consider this as thy house. Bind me to thee by the ties of wedlock, and
pass here the rest of thy days in affluence and grandeur.” “No, no,”
said the prince; “I cannot consent to it. An important affair occupies
my mind. If God grant me success in it, you also shall be happy. I exact
from you that you abandon the life you have been leading, and wait for
me twelve years, employing yourself in the service of the Most High.”
Dilbar earnestly implored him to confide his secret to her. “Listen,
then,” said he. “My name is Táj ul-Mulúk. I am the son of Zayn ul-Mulúk,
the king of an eastern country, who lost his sight by an accident, and
learned physicians have unanimously declared that his blindness can only
be cured by the Rose of Bakáwalí. My brothers set out in quest of this
marvellous flower. I was secretly with them, and when I learned that they
had been ensnared by thy wiles, I employed artifice against thee in my
turn, and thus have I overreached thee. I am determined to search for the
Rose of Bakáwalí, and if I succeed, all will be well, if not, I shall
give up life.” Hearing this Dilbar said: “Alas, what fanciful idea has
taken possession of thy reason? Know that the Rose of which you speak is
in the region of the sun, and not even a bird could succeed in reaching
it. Bakáwalí is the daughter of the king of the Jinn, and in her garden
is that flower. But it is guarded by thousands of _dívs_.[128] No mortal
can approach without their permission. O prince, do not expose yourself
to such dangers, for, as Sa’dí says:

    Although ’tis written, when ’tis doomed, we die,
    Yet in the dragon’s mouth, O wherefore fly?”[129]

Táj ul-Mulúk replied: “The God who changed into a garden of roses the
fire into which Nimrod caused Abraham to be cast[130] will crown my zeal
with success. The sons of men are inferior to dívs in strength, but they
are superior in wisdom; for God himself has said: ‘I have given glory to
the children.’

_Story of the Bráhman and the Lion._

“You may have heard that a Bráhman passing through a forest saw a lion
held fast by a rope and confined in a cage. On perceiving the Bráhman he
begged hard, and humbly said: ‘O Bráhman, if you will kindly release me
I will recompense you some day.’ The simple-minded Bráhman was affected
by the words of the lion; but, blind as he was to reason, he did not
consider that the lion was his enemy, and that no reliance could be
placed on his promises. He opened the door of the cage, unloosed the feet
of the lion, and set him at liberty. The bloodthirsty beast, as soon as
he found himself free, knocked down the Bráhman, and seizing him by the
throat carried him towards his den. The Bráhman cried: “O lion, I did a
good service for you in hopes of getting a fair return, but I see thy
intentions are evil.” The lion answered: ‘In my religion the return for
good is evil. If you do not believe me let us refer the question to some
one else, and whatever he says will decide the matter.’ That fool agreed.
In the forest there grew a tall and umbrageous banyan tree. The lion and
the Bráhman went under its branches and referred the matter to it. Said
the banyan: ‘The lion is in the right. I have always seen that the return
for good is evil. Hear, O Bráhman! I stand on one leg[131] and cast my
shade on every traveller that passes this way. But whoever takes shelter
in my shadow is sure, on departing, to pull off one of my branches, to
make use of it as a walking-stick in his hand. Now say, is not evil the
return of good?’ The lion asked: ‘Well, my friend, what sayest thou?’ The
Bráhman answered: ‘Refer the matter to some one else.’ The lion proceeded
a few steps farther and questioned the road on the subject. The road
answered: ‘The lion is right. Listen, O Bráhman. The traveller deviating
from his path searches for me with the greatest care, and when he finds
me I lead him to his home. But in return he defiles me.’ The beast went
on again and saw a jackal on a rising ground. He was about to run away,
when the lion called out: ‘O jackal, do not be afraid. I have come to
refer a question to you.’ Said the jackal: ‘You may say what you please,
but keep your distance; for if you approach, I am afraid your presence
will render me senseless.’ The lion said: ‘This Bráhman has done good to
me, and I intend to return evil to him. What sayst thou in the matter?’
The jackal replied: ‘I cannot quite understand what you say. How can a
man who is so insignificant do any service to a lion, who is styled the
monarch of the forest? I can never believe such a thing until I have seen
it with my own eyes.’ The lion said: ‘Come on, and I will show it to
you.’ So the lion and the Bráhman proceeded and the jackal followed. When
they came to the cage the Bráhman said: ‘O jackal, the lion was fast
bound to this, and I freed him. What is your decision?’ Said the jackal:
‘How could such a small cage hold so great a lion? If he would re-enter
it before me and lie down as before, and then if you should free him I
shall believe what you say.’ The lion entered the cage and the Bráhman
commenced tying him. The jackal then remarked: ‘If you make the slightest
difference in adjusting the knots, I shall be unable to decide the case.’
The Bráhman bound the lion strongly, and, having fastened the door of
the cage, said to the jackal: ‘In that state I found him.’ ‘Fool that
you were,’ exclaimed the jackal, ‘to expect good from such a powerful
beast. It is laying the axe to your own root to think so. What need have
you to give freedom to such an enemy? Go your way now, for the foe is

“O beloved,” continued the prince, “whoever gives freedom to complaints
and impatience, which are like the lion confined in the cage of the body,
and whoever, showing kindness to them, removes the string of resignation,
always suffers from his own folly. O Dilbar, I have related this fable
to show that the body cannot overcome the mind. It is proper for thee
to release the princes of the East and the West, and God will release
thee from the pains of hell. But until my return be very careful of my
brothers. And now give me leave to depart.”

Dilbar Lakhí answered:

    “Do not leave me sad and lonely;
      Unattended, why depart?
    Wherefore grieve a heart that loves thee?
      Wherefore crush this widowed heart?
    As the shell is thirsty for the
      Drops, that make it teem with pearl,[133]
    So my heart is longing for thee,
      While thy sails thou dost unfurl.
    Lo, the storm blows fierce and furious,
      Leave not thou the joys of home:
    Stranger to the world, O wherefore,
      Joseph-wise, in exile roam?
    Long and distant is the journey;
      Hear my words, and stay—O stay!
    Like the moth I’m fluttering round thee,
      Whilst you wish to pass away.

Beloved, take warning from what you have seen. The princely mind was pure
and clean; and when it fell in the world, the world was dazzled with thy
brightness, and became blind. Arise now, and go after the attainment of
thy desire; but never allow thyself to be prevailed on to play at hazard
with the world, who always keeps her backgammon-board open for all.
Beware, lest, through the assistance of the cat of deceit and the mouse
of cunning, she turn the dice in her own favour. Then the treasures of
thy faith will be exhausted, and she will keep thee in bonds for ever.
If by the help of the weasel of patience you will expose and overcome
her wiles, she will then try (she who has subdued kings and mighty
sovereigns) to captivate thee by her charms, declaring at the same time
that she will become thy slave. But should you turn away your gaze from
her, you will certainly succeed in your undertaking.”[134]



It is related that Táj ul-Mulúk assumed the garb of a darvesh, rubbed
ashes all over his body, and, pronouncing the name of God,[135] set out
on his journey. After some days he entered a forest, so dark on account
of the number of trees in it that night could not be distinguished from
day. But the prince was far from losing courage, thinking it was only a
wave of the ocean of troubles which he had to traverse. “I must,” said
he, “draw closer the girdle of resolution, and, like the salamander,
plunge into this furnace.”[136] He then penetrated into the forest,
as dark as ignorance, and swarming with wild beasts of every kind,
especially ravenous dragons with gaping mouths. He wandered for a long
time, to the right and then to the left; his body was torn by the sharp
thorns of thickets and his feet were pierced by those of the babúl, to
such an extent that he was covered with blood. The end of the forest was
only reached after great difficulty, and prostrating himself before God,
he prayed most earnestly. Then continuing his way he saw a dív sitting,
whom he might have taken for a mountain. When the dív arose, his head
touched the sky, and from his voice like thunder the prince heard the
following words: “Young man, how comes it that, of your own free will,
you leave the city of life and journey with the feet of your desires in
the path of death?” “Learn, you who question me,” replied Táj ul-Mulúk,
pale and trembling, “that the life of this fleeting world is a misfortune
for me. If it were otherwise I should never throw myself into the jaws
of death, and should not find myself in the coils of such a sanguinary
being as you. Free me, then, with all speed from the torments which I
am suffering; for one hour of this existence is like a hundred years
of anguish.” The dív was moved to pity. “Listen, son of Adam,” said
he. “Very far from doing you an injury, I wish to take you under my
protection and lend you my aid.” Thus reassured, Táj ul-Mulúk remained
with the dív, who showed him much friendship, and they were soon as
thick as milk and sugar. One day the dív, being well pleased with a meal
which the sháh-záda had prepared for him,[137] pressed him to disclose
his wishes, swearing by Sulayman[138] that he would accomplish them for
him. Then Táj ul-Mulúk told him that he was most desirous of entering
the country of Bakáwalí, upon which the dív sighed heavily, smote his
own head, and appeared agitated with the utmost grief. “What do you ask,
my young man?” said he. “The country of which you speak is that of the
king of the fairies, and it is guarded day and night on all sides by ten
thousand of his slaves. How could I get you there? And yet I must keep my
oath.” He then uttered a loud cry, and presently another dív appeared, to
whom he communicated the sháh-záda’s desire, adding: “Thou hast the power
to grant it, and I ask the favour of thee, seeing that I am pledged by a
terrible oath to aid him.”

Now this second dív had a sister named Hammála,[139] who was the chief
guard of the country, and eighteen thousand dívs were her subordinates.
He wrote at once recommending the prince to her, and giving the letter
to a messenger told Táj ul-Mulúk to be guided by him. This dív took the
prince on his left arm and with his right protected him from the rays of
the sun. Thus they proceeded on their way, and arrived in the presence of
Hammála, to whom the dív consigned both the letter and the prince. She
said to the messenger: “If my brother had sent me a whole mine of red
sulphur, or even the ring of Sulayman, it could not have given me more
pleasure than I now feel.” Then she wrote a reply to her brother, saying:
“I once had occasion to travel through the habitations of man, and thence
I brought away a girl matchless in beauty, the daughter of a king. Her I
adopted as my own daughter and called her Mahmúda.[140] She is now in her
fourteenth year, and bright in beauty as the moon when half-full. For her
it is evident that God has sent this youth—thanks be to the Lord.” She
then dismissed the messenger with this letter, and Mahmúda was at once
married to Táj ul-Mulúk.

For some time the sháh-záda lived with his protectress and Mahmúda, but
without performing his marital duties, and one day when his spouse
complained to him of his indifference, he informed her that an important
matter occupied his thoughts. “I have made a vow,” said he, “to forego
the pleasures of this world, even lawful ones, until I have attained my
desire.” “Be of good cheer,” rejoined Mahmúda. “If it please God, I will
untie the knot of the thread of hope with the nail of prudence; and I
will tell you where to find the town of Bakáwalí.” On the morrow Hammála
took Mahmúda on her knee, as usual, and overwhelmed her with caresses.
Mahmúda then said to her: “My dear mother, I have a favour to ask of you.
Will you grant it?” “Yes, my child,” said Hammála, kissing her head and
eyes. “This it is, then: the sháh-záda wishes to visit the kingdom of
Bakáwalí; try to satisfy him.” Hammála at first raised up difficulties,
but when she saw that her adopted child would not give up her idea, she
called one of her followers and ordered him to secretly conduct the
prince into the garden of Bakáwalí, which he did accordingly.

When Táj ul-Mulúk entered this wondrous garden, he found that the ground
was of gold, the walls which surrounded it were studded with the rubies
of Badakshán,[141] and the carnelians of Yaman. Through parterres of
emeralds flowed streams of rosewater in beds of topaz.[142] Beautiful
indeed was that grove. The flowers were so bright that had the sun beheld
them he would have been covered with the perspiration of shame. The
clusters of grapes there, vieing in colour with the emerald, were like
the Pleiades in heaven; and the narcissus was more graceful than the
flowing ringlets of the most charming damsel. That garden! If a drop of
its dew were to fall in the ocean it would make the fishes exhale the
perfume of roses; and if the sky should hear a single note of its birds,
it would cease revolving, and stand still to listen to it.[143] If Venus
heard it, she would dance with joy, and fall on earth in company with
the moon. Redder than the fairest fruits was the colour of the fruits
growing there; and much more graceful than the tallest form were the
cypress-trees that waved therein.[144]

The prince gazed on all this with pleasure. Suddenly his eyes fell on
an outer hall, made of ruby and jasper, inlaid with a pond full of
the purest rose-water. Its sides were studded with the most precious
stones, and in the middle of it bloomed a lovely flower, delicate to
view, and most pleasing in fragrance. The prince concluded that this
was the Rose of Bakáwalí. Undressing himself, he plunged into the pond,
and obtained the flower of his fondest wishes. Investing himself again
with his garments, he deposited the flower most carefully in his pocket,
and turned his steps towards the palace of the princess. A magnificent
structure composed of ruby met his eyes. Its doors beamed with the lustre
which once shone on Mount Sinai.[145] Attracted by its beauty the prince
entered. Every hall was made of rubies. The windows were ornamented with
screens of the richest embroidery, the work upon which appeared as stars
sprinkled on the face of the heavens. Táj ul-Mulúk advanced; but what was
his surprise when he perceived a magnificent couch on which was reposing
a slender beauty, fast locked in the arms of sleep! Her hair was
dishevelled. Slight marks of lamp-black were observable round her closed
eyes,[146] her bodice was loosened, her waistband very much removed from
its proper place, and her trouser-sleeves were pulled up, and its bunches
of strings hanging loosely. With her fair hands gracefully laid upon her
forehead, she was sleeping the sleep of innocent youth. The ruddiness of
her cheeks brightened the world and cast the sun and moon into the shade.
Those black eyes would have shamed even the narcissus, and the redness
of her lips would make the heart of the tulip to bleed. The arch of her
eyebrows made the crescent hide its face, and the locks of night paled
before the shady blackness of her raven hair.

    Tall as the cypress of the lawn was she,
      And sweet as honey were her lips so red;
    If seen in all her native brilliancy,
      The stars would lose the lustre which they shed.
    Bright as the pearls her shining teeth were seen;
      Radiant her charms as Pleiades on high;
    She was a rose, the fairest rose, I ween,
      For whom a thousand nightingales would die.

Táj ul-Mulúk was staggered at the sight of so much beauty; but, on
regaining some degree of strength, he approached the couch and softly
recited these verses:

    “If thy charms thou would’st discover,
      Stars would all their light forget,
    And the night would grow the darker,
      Gazing on those locks of jet.
    Glowing in the flush of beauty,
      Careless of the world art thou;
    What am I?—The mightiest princes
      Will before thy beauty bow!”

In brief, the prince thought within himself that it would be well to
leave some token of his visit. So he gently took a ring off one of her
fingers and put his own in its place, murmuring the following lines:

    “Like the tulip, lo! I go, a spot upon my suffering heart,
    Dust upon my head, and in my heart a sharp and rankling dart.
    Like me in this scene of woe, who suffers more from Fortune’s power?
    In this garden I have entered, and I go without a flower.”

While she was yet sleeping the prince departed, and returned to the abode
of Hammála, who was waiting for him in the most intense anxiety. When
she saw him she smiled with the sincerest pleasure, and passed the time
in merriment and joy. And when the bride of day had hidden her blushing
face in the bed of midnight, and evening had shown her murky locks to the
world,[147] the prince retired and that night showed every endearment to
his spouse. Thus several days passed in pleasure.

One night Táj ul-Mulúk sat in the chamber of Mahmúda and conversed with
her to this effect: “O source of all my happiness! although I here enjoy
comfort and everything is ready for my convenience, yet I am longing for
my native land.” “Rest contented,” she replied, “and to-morrow I shall
ask leave to depart.” Next morning, as usual, Hammála tenderly embraced
them, but perceiving them to look sad, she asked them: “What can I do to
please you, my darlings? Fear not a refusal.” Mahmúda answered: “Your
tender care anticipates all our desires; but there is one thing we do
not find here, namely, the company of beings like ourselves; and so,
notwithstanding the violent grief we feel in separating from you, the
fire of the love of country reduces to ashes our repose and necessitates
the employment of the water of return.” Hammála, greatly afflicted by
this sudden declaration, cried out: “What! have I brought you up with
so much care, in the hope that you would be my faithful companion, and
now you wish to leave me! Alas, you would never have thought of it, if
I had not married you to the sháh-záda. But it is all my own fault.”
Yet seeing that they would not willingly remain with her, she summoned
a dív, and ordered him to carry the pair to a place which Táj ul-Mulúk
would indicate to him, and bring back a letter intimating their safe
arrival. Then Hammála plucked two hairs out of her head, and giving one
to the prince and the other to Mahmúda she said: “When you need me, put
this hair in the fire and I will at once hasten to you with a thousand
dívs,”[148] and having received their adieus, a gigantic dív appeared,
who was swifter in his course than the lightning, and told them he was
at their service. “Conduct us then,” said the prince, “to the city of
Firdaus, and into the garden of the courtesan Dilbar Lakhí.” The dív
took them upon his shoulders, and quick as thought deposited them in the
place indicated. Táj ul-Mulúk then dismissed his guide with a letter to
Hammála, announcing their safe arrival.

When the beautiful Dilbar heard the voice of the sháh-záda she ran out to
meet him, and throwing herself at his feet, returned thanks to God for
his safe return. He told all that had occurred to him, and introduced to
her Mahmúda, whom Dilbar Lakhí tenderly embraced in token of her sincere
affection. After a few days Táj ul-Mulúk made preparations to return to
his own country. At the moment of his departure, Dilbar, after having
had some conversation with him, ordered his brothers to be brought,
and he, who was supposed not to know them, begged her to restore them
to liberty, as she had already done to the princes of the east and the
west who had fallen into her power; but she consented only provided she
should be allowed to brand them on the back in token of the state of
slavery to which they had been reduced. The four sons of Zayn ul-Mulúk
had no alternative but to submit to be thus branded; but when they had
withdrawn Táj ul-Mulúk ordered each of them to be given a dress of honour
and a lakh of rupís to defray the expenses of their journey, and then
they set out for their native land. He then sent away Dilbar and Mahmúda,
directing them to wait for him in a certain city, and himself secretly
followed his brothers in order to discover their intentions.

Táj ul-Mulúk stopped at the same inn as his brothers, and, concealed in a
corner of the room, he heard their boasting and falsehood with reference
to the Rose of Bakáwalí. He waited patiently for some time, but at last
could endure it no longer, and drawing near them he said to others who
were present: “What these men say is false; for I alone possess the
Rose of Bakáwalí, and can show it to you.” Then untying his girdle he
drew from it the flower and exhibited it to the impostors, who in fury
snatched it from him saying: “Let us see if you speak the truth; for if
you deceive us we shall make you pay dearly for it.” They caused a blind
man to be brought in, applied the rose to his eyes, and instantly his
sight was restored. Their astonishment and confusion were unbounded, but
they not only refused to return the flower to Táj ul-Mulúk, but showered
blows upon him and chased him from their presence. Then they joyfully
continued their journey, and on reaching the confines of their country
they sent a messenger before them to announce their return. This news
filled the good king, their father, with joy. To do them honour, he made
a journey of several days to meet them.[149] Zayn ul-Mulúk embraced his
four sons and kissed them affectionately. On their part, they gave him
the Rose of Bakáwalí, which when he placed to his eyes rendered them as
bright as the stars. He then offered thanks to God that he had recovered
his sight by means of the flower, and in celebration of the happy event
ordered all his subjects, rich and poor, to keep open for a whole year
the door of joy and pleasure, and to close the door of sadness and



Let us now return to Bakáwalí, whom we left asleep on her beautiful
couch. When she awoke she fastened her bodice, put her dress in order,
drew the comb through her hair, and went to the lake where grew her
cherished Rose. On reaching the bank she discovered that the precious
flower was gone, and at the same moment perceived that she wore a
different ring from her own. “O Heaven!” cried she, “is it a dream or the
effect of magic? But no; only a man could have done this deed, for none
but a human being could elude the vigilance of the dívs. None is equal
to thee in daring, and an ordinary man I am sure thou art not. Gold and
silver are stolen by thieves; but thou art not a common robber. If I
could but see thee I would lay thy hands on my eyes and kiss them over
and over. Thou hast made a mine in my bosom and stolen away my heart. To
thy satisfaction thou hast not seen me; but I doubt not thou hast feasted
thy eyes with a sight of these lips, and who knows, but thou mayest
have tasted the honey therefrom? Thou hast stolen the gold, and the
casket only is here.” Bakáwalí then returned into her palace and summoned
her attendants in order to have them punished for their carelessness,
forgetting the maxim that “when the arrow of Fate is shot none can arrest
it with the shield of prudence,” and said to them: “If you wish to live,
bring the thief to me immediately.” They did as desired, but no trace
whatever of the thief could be found. Bakáwalí resolved to go herself
in quest of him. Rendering herself invisible to all eyes, she reached
the capital of Zayn ul-Mulúk, where she beheld everywhere preparations
being made for a festival, and heard on all sides the sound of musical
instruments. Curious to know the cause of these rejoicings, she assumed
the form of a young man, and inquired of the first person she met: “What
is the reason of the mirth which prevails among the inhabitants of this
city?” “The king,” replied the citizen, “was blind; but his sons, after
searching a long time and coming through unheard-of trials, have at
last succeeded in obtaining the Rose of Bakáwalí, which has restored
his sight. On this account the padisháh has ordered that every one
should give himself up to pleasure for a year, and that the sound of the
_naubat_[150] should everywhere be heard.”

Bakáwalí, delighted to hear tidings, at least, of her Rose, was in hopes
of soon discovering the person who had stolen it from her. Returning
to the bank of the river, she bathed in order to refresh herself after
the fatigue of her journey, and having dressed, she proceeded to the
royal palace. She was introduced to Zayn ul-Mulúk, who inquired of her
who she was, and whence and why she had come. Bakáwalí answered thus,
very composedly: “Your slave comes from the country of the west which
is called Farrukh.[151] I have left my home in the hope of entering the
service of your majesty, and I venture to express the wish that I may be
admitted among the number of officers attached to your royal person.” “I
accept your services,” said the king; “remain with me.” For some time
Bakáwalí performed her new duties, till one day the four sons of the king
presented themselves at court. Zayn ul-Mulúk, according to his custom,
received them most affectionately, pressed them to his bosom, kissed
their heads and eyes, and made them sit beside himself. Bakáwalí asked
an attendant who these personages were, and was informed that they were
the king’s own sons. Then with the touch-stone of discernment she tested
the gold of their countenances, and felt convinced that it was not pure.
“Has the king no other son,” she inquired, “who went with these in search
of the Rose of Bakáwalí?” “He has not,” was the answer.[152] The fairy
princess loved him who had taken possession of her ring, and her heart
told her that he was of a quite different stamp from these four sons
of Zayn ul-Mulúk. In despair, that after so many difficulties she had
discovered traces of her Rose, but still could not find out the one who
had plucked it, she cursed the fate which had sported with her prudent
devices, and remained convinced that these princes had not plucked the
Rose and that the king had another son. So she resolved to be patient and
see what should come from behind the veil of mystery.

       *       *       *       *       *

When the four wicked brothers of Táj ul-Mulúk had deprived him of the
Rose of Bakáwalí he was at first confounded, but soon afterwards followed
them, and when he arrived at the frontiers of his father’s country, and
found himself in a dense jungle full of wild beasts, he recollected
the hair which Hammála had given him, and placed it on a fire which he
lighted by means of a flint. There was not a quarter of it burnt when
the fairy presented herself before him, accompanied by a thousand dívs,
and asked him in what way she could be of service to him. The prince,
after apologising for the liberty he had taken in summoning her, replied
that he wished to have, then and in that spot, a palace equal to that
of Bakáwalí, upon which the fairy despatched some of her followers to
the four corners of the earth, to fetch the rubies of Badakshán, the
carnelians of Yaman, and abundance of gold and silver and all kinds of
precious stones. Within three days the dívs returned laden with treasures
and at once began to erect a palace as instructed by the sháh-záda. It
was soon finished, and one would have said that it was actually the
palace of Bakáwalí. One fourth of the precious stones brought by the
dívs could not be used and were deposited in the treasury of the palace.
When all was ready, Hammála reminded the prince that what she had just
done for him was on account of her love for Mahmúda, and counselled him
never to soil with the dust of sorrow the robe of that damsel, and then

Táj ul-Mulúk proceeded in great state to seek Dilbar and Mahmúda at the
place where they were to wait for him. He provided them with palankíns,
which were decorated with priceless gems and beautiful brocaded curtains,
and preceded by slaves on horseback, carrying sticks of gold and silver
in their hands. In this manner did he bring them to his palace, where
they passed the time very agreeably.

One day, as a slave of the prince, named Sa’íd, was strolling through the
forest he came upon some woodcutters, and asked them whither they were
carrying the faggots they had prepared. “We are,” said they, “men of
the east country, and it is by the sale of our wood that we support our
families.” The slave desired them to convey their burdens to the house of
his master, promising they should be richly recompensed. The men answered
that they had never seen any sign of a habitation in that forest. “Follow
me,” said the slave, “and you will soon be convinced I speak the truth,
and that my master’s house is not far distant.” The woodcutters complied
in the hope of gain, and soon arrived near the palace of Táj ul-Mulúk.
As the precious stones of which its walls were built reflected the rays
of the sun, they thought it was a great fire. “May God preserve us,”
they cried, “from the devil, who has been stoned![153] We will not go a
step farther.” “Calm yourselves,” replied Sa’íd; “what you see is not
fire, but the brilliancy of the stones which cover the walls. Continue to
follow me, and fear nothing.” When they reached the palace, Sa’íd brought
them before Táj ul-Mulúk, who received them with great kindness, and gave
to each a handful of pearls and precious stones, saying to them that if
they would come and stay with him he would give them every day twice
as much as they had just received. So they left their own country and
settled there. The news spread far and wide, and many others followed
the example of the wood-men, and those who went remained in this new
city. Every day the Kutwál[154] was complaining to the minister of Zayn
ul-Mulúk of the migration of his subjects, and how even in one night a
thousand had quitted the capital. The minister inquired whither they had
gone. “I have heard,” said the kutwál, “that in a forest a city has been
built on foundations of gold, and that a palace has been erected which is
unequalled in earth. The generosity of the king of that city bids fair to
erase the name of Hatim[155] from the minds of the people; and such is
the fame of his justice that the glory of Núshírván is eclipsed.”[156]
The minister asked: “How can a man do what is beyond the power of mortals
to perform?” “But I have been credibly informed of it many times,” said
the kutwál. “And that powerful God who transformed a man into a woman and
metamorphosed a woman into a man can also bestow wealth (which is like
a beautiful woman) on a human being. Have you not heard of the princess
who borrowed virility from a dív and married a wife?” “No,” answered the
vazír. “Attend then,” said the kutwál:

_Story of the Princess and the Dív who exchanged sexes_.

In ancient times there lived a king, who had a hundred beautiful girls
in his haram yet had no issue by any one of them. At length one of them
gave birth to a daughter, and afterwards she bore three other children,
but every time a female. When she was pregnant for the fourth time the
king swore that if a daughter was born again he would have both the child
and the mother destroyed. It happened that a daughter was again born; but
lovely and fairy-like was the infant. The mother, anxious to preserve
the life of her darling, gave out that it was a son, and prevailed upon
the astrologers to counsel the king not to see the child’s face for ten
years, for should he do so harm would come to him, and the father agreed
to do as they desired.

When the girl grew up in years and understanding, and the prescribed
period was near expiring, the mother explained matters to her, and
requested her to assume the garb of a young man and thus appear before
the king, so that in this way both their lives might be preserved. The
daughter followed her mother’s instructions, and in due course she was
betrothed to the daughter of another monarch. When the wedding-day
approached, the king caused her to be clothed in rich garments, and,
placing her in a golden litter, despatched her to the country of the
bride. The girl sometimes wept and sometimes laughed at the situation in
which she was placed. At last when she reached a dense forest, where she
had occasion to stay for the night, she could bear her shame no longer,
and finding life nothing less than a burden, she left her litter secretly
and wandered far into the wood, trusting that some beast of prey would
destroy her.

After roaming about for some time, she found herself under the branches
of a tall, umbrageous tree, in which dwelt a dív, who immediately fell
in love with her beauty. In the shape of a young man he appeared to her,
and inquired the cause of her distress. The girl told her story frankly,
upon which the heart of the dív melted, and he offered to change her
into a man and himself into a woman for a short time. She consented to
this, and the transformation took place at once, after which she took
her leave, with a light and happy heart, and rejoined her attendants
unperceived by any of them. In a few days more they reached the country
of the bride. The marriage was consummated and the old king returned to
his own country. The prince who was originally a princess remained with
his spouse until a child was born to him, and then he set out on a visit
to his father. In passing through the forest he sought out the tree
and found the dív sitting there in the form of a woman. “O dív,” cried
the prince, “through thy favour I have obtained the wish of my heart.
Take back your virility and restore my womanhood to me.” But this the
dív could not do, as in the form of a woman he had fallen in love with
another dív and expected soon to become a mother. “Therefore,” added the
dív, “do thou retain thy manhood: I am content to remain a woman.”[157]

       *       *       *       *       *

The kutwál having finished his story, the vazír remarked: “God is great
and powerful. I do not doubt this; but how a man can act so miraculously
as you say the ruler of that new city has done, I cannot understand.
Do you, however, go and inspect that wonderful palace and bring me an
account of all that you see.” So the kutwál at once proceeded to Mulk-i
Nighárín,[158] accompanied by a large body of cavaliers. Táj ul-Mulúk,
on hearing of his approach, ordered all the ponds to be filled and the
fountains to be set playing, and that he should be received in the
ruby-room. When the prince graced the throne with his presence the kutwál
rose, made his obeisance to him, and spoke as follows: “The news of your
residence in this jungle, where you have a palace and a city, has reached
the ears of the king, my master, who has sent me to verify the fact. Now
permit me to explain to you that if you wish to remain independent, you
must quit this place without delay. If not, you must put your neck in the
collar of submission and present yourself at the court of the king, for
one scabbard cannot hold two swords nor one country be governed by two
sovereigns.” “It is true,” replied Táj ul-Mulúk, “that I have constructed
buildings in a place inhabited by wild beasts, but I am only occupied
here in the service of the Most High, and I do not covet sovereignty, but
wish to be regarded as friendly towards your king.” The kutwál, satisfied
with this declaration, returned to the vazír and related to him all
that he had seen and heard, whereupon the vazír communicated it to Zayn
ul-Mulúk. The fairy Bakáwalí, who was still in the king’s service, heard
the news with joy: she now beheld the Aurora of hope emerge from the
night of despair.

Meanwhile Zayn ul-Mulúk bent his head for some time in the collar of
reflection, then expressed his fear that this new city might one day be
the ruin of his kingdom. But the vazír represented to him that it was a
maxim of the sages, that discretion should be practised towards an enemy
who could not be conquered, and therefore he recommended that the king
should enter into an allegiance with the stranger. “I consent,” replied
the monarch; “and, as no one can arrange this affair so well as yourself,
do you go, and kill the serpent without breaking the stick.”[159] The
sagacious vazír accordingly went in great state to visit Táj ul-Mulúk,
and was accorded a reception suited to his exalted rank. “You have
already received a visit of a servant of my master, the king,” said the
vazír. “He has spoken so highly of your qualities that the anger which
had become kindled in the heart of the padisháh, on hearing of your
settlement here, has been extinguished, and he purposes himself paying
you a visit. What can be better than a union of two rivers of goodness
and generosity?” Táj ul-Mulúk replied: “I accept with great pleasure the
message which you bring me on the part of your royal master. I ought to
have made the first advance, for the king’s wish which you have conveyed
to me is also my own.” It was then arranged that the king should come in
a week, and, after the vazír had dined with Táj ul-Mulúk in the most
sumptuous manner, he returned and gave his master a faithful account of
his interview and the wonders of the new city.

That very night the sháh-záda placed Hammála’s hair on the fire, and
immediately she appeared with a thousand dívs. Mahmúda rose to greet her
mother, who kissed and embraced both her children, and inquired if they
were in health. Táj ul-Mulúk answered: “In your safety is our happiness
and all our wants are supplied. But in eight days the king of the East
will visit me, and I wish you to cause carpets of wool and red and green
velvet to be spread on the ground from my palace to his, and erect at
the distance of every two miles tents made of fine ermine, with strings
of gold texture, screens of satin and brocade, and hooks of gold and
silver. These tents must be so numerous that every attendant of the king
may be accommodated separately.” Hammála gave the necessary orders to her
followers and returned to her own country.

On the day appointed, the king set out to visit Táj ul-Mulúk, mounted on
an elephant, in an _amári_[160] of gold, accompanied by his ministers
and a great number of cavaliers. The four sons of the king, mounted on
their own elephants, were also of the party, while Bakáwalí attended as
an officer of the royal household. Táj ul-Mulúk went one day’s march to
meet his father.[161] He paid his respects to him and led him with joy to
his palace, and made him sit down in the room of emeralds. The king was
so astonished that he fell into a kind of stupor. Bakáwalí, on her part,
almost lost her reason, when she beheld the prince. His handsome features
pointed him out to her as the stealer of her Rose, and she was confirmed
in this when she recognised that the palace was an exact copy of her own,
for she felt sure that he who had designed it had seen the original. She
wished at once to make herself known, but her natural timidity restrained
her, and she resolved to wait patiently for a favourable opportunity to
accomplish her purpose. Meanwhile a splendid feast was spread out, and
music and song diffused pleasure over all. When every amusement was over,
the king and Táj ul-Mulúk began to converse, and the prince inquired how
many sons he had. The king pointed to the four princes and said that
these were his only children. “I had one more,” he added, “by gazing
on whose countenance I lost my eyesight. Thanks be to God that I have
regained it now; but there is no knowing where that child has gone.” Táj
ul-Mulúk asked how it was that the prince had turned away his face from
duty and left his father’s house, and farther inquired whether any one in
the company would be able to recognise him. On this Zayn ul-Mulúk gave
a detailed account of the birth of the lost prince as well as a history
of his own blindness. He then pointed out one of his vazírs, who, he
said, might be able to identify him. The prince turned towards him and
inquired whether among all present he saw any one who bore a resemblance
to Táj ul-Mulúk. The old and experienced man, after gazing steadfastly in
the countenance of the speaker, replied that none but the prince himself
presented any likeness to that person.

Hardly were these words uttered than Táj ul-Mulúk threw himself at the
feet of his father, exclaiming: “I am that unfortunate son, who has
wandered so long from your court in consequence of an adverse destiny
and my sorrowful horoscope. Blessed be God who has at last permitted me
to behold your venerable face and embrace your knees!” The king, deeply
moved, pressed his young son to his bosom; then he returned thanks to
God, saying to Táj ul-Mulúk that the astrologers who were consulted at
his birth had predicted his present illustrious condition. “But tell
me, dear son,” he continued, “have you remained free till now, like the
cypress, without uniting yourself to some beautiful lady?” The prince
replied: “I have two wives, whom I shall have the honour to present to
your majesty,” and at once he went into the women’s apartments and led
out Dilbar and Mahmúda, who, however, stopped at the threshold of the
hall and would not advance farther. The king impatiently exclaimed: “Why
do they not come near me, that my eyes may be illumined and my heart
delighted by beholding them?” The prince answered: “My sovereign, it is
shame that restrains them. The four princes, your sons, were once in
bondage to one of them, and bear the tokens on their backs. If you have
any doubt of this, you can satisfy yourself.” At these words the pallor
of confusion overspread the faces of the four princes, who immediately
retired, fearing to be disgraced in public.[162] Then the wives of Táj
ul-Mulúk were introduced to the king, and the prince related their
history; how he bore away the flower from the garden of Bakáwalí and saw
her asleep in all her beauty; how his brothers had deprived him of the
flower; and how he had built his palace in the forest. Zayn ul-Mulúk
immediately thought of the mother of his son. “You,” said he, addressing
the prince, “have restored my eyesight and opened the gates of joy to
me. It is now incumbent on me to communicate the happy tidings to your
mother, and relieve her from the pains of absence, by restoring her
long-lost son to her.” He then arose to depart; and the same night he
paid a visit to Táj ul-Mulúk’s mother, begged a thousand pardons for all
that he had done to her, and informed her of the return of her son.



Bakáwalí, who had heard the story of Táj ul-Mulúk, could no longer doubt
but that he was the ravisher of her Rose and her ring. And when the king
had returned to his capital she obtained permission to leave his service,
and at once returned to her own palace, where she wrote a letter to her
well-beloved, with her ring, and entrusted the packet to a fairy named
Saman-rú,[163] who was her confidante, desiring her to deliver it to
Prince Táj ul-Mulúk when she found him alone and free from the cares of
the world. The fairy spread her wings and in the twinkling of an eye
appeared before the prince and delivered the letter of her mistress. The
prince at once recognised the ring, opened the letter with the greatest
eagerness, and read as follows:

“I begin in the name of God, who has no equal in the universe. He it is
who placed the stars in the heavens and created both genii and men. To
the fairy he has given beauty; and yet has he granted superiority to men
over fairies, for even they are struck by the darts of love. Cast but thy
eyes on the countenance of Laylá, and she will become Majnún for thee.
And if the reflex of thy beauty shine on Shírín, she will become her own
Farhád.[164] The sun and the atoms that dance in his beams are equally
enamoured of thee. The light of love thou hast lightened, and like a moth
is burned in the flame.

“After my compliments to thee, O king of beauty and grace, let me tell
thee that the arrows which sprang from the bows of thine eyebrows
have wounded my heart to its core; and thy raven locks, descending
luxuriantly, have enchained and enfettered me. Love has triumphed over
me; he is my master both externally and internally. It is wrong to think
that one heart is apprised of the feelings of another; but here am I
burning, suffering, and no impression is made on thee. Without thee,
my house is a scene of woe, and even heaven is hell. I am panting for
the life-bestowing elixir of thy kisses. Thy love has deprived me of my
heart; I should not wonder if I find no portion of it within my breast.
Do thou accept my virgin love! Thou art the river, and I am dying of
thirst; come at once and slake it. If you come not, I shall die of a
broken heart; but on rising at the day of resurrection, I shall call
thee to account. What wilt thou answer me then, when I ask thee why thou
didst kill me? But this is enough. My feelings will be apparent from

On reading Bakáwalí’s letter the fire of love which was concealed in the
heart of Táj ul-Mulúk was fiercely kindled. Impatient as mercury, he
wished at once to behold her who had charmed him and whom he had himself
inspired with love. Meanwhile he took the pen in his hand and thus

“O thou, who knowest well how to burn the heart of thy lover, the whole
style of thy letter shows that thou art fully inclined to oppress my
suffering bosom. Thou art beautiful; thou art indeed the robber that
waits for his prey in the path of love. Thine eyebrows are like swords,
and in thine eyes lurk enchantments and lightnings to captivate and burn
the soul. The rose-bud is ashamed before thy countenance, and the ruby
colourless before thy lips. I am an atom; thou art the sun indeed. O thou
charming beauty, and lovelier than the idols of China![166] every word
of thy letter has made a lasting impression on my heart. I have passed
my nights in sighs and groans. The impress of thy countenance will never
be erased from the tablet of my memory. As long as the moon shall retain
her light, so long shall my heart retain thy love. Never think that I
shall forget thee; not for a moment shall my heart lose the idea of thy
enchanting charms. Thy name fills me with impatience. When first I heard
it I undertook to endure every trouble. I made friendship with the dívs
to induce them to convey me to thy fairy-land. I saw thee, and the wound
of my heart was terribly enlarged. Is it that a spark from my heart has
fallen on thine, or has the lightning of desire struck thee? Yet I ought
not to confide any more of my secrets to the pen; as it is said: ‘The pen
should not be admitted into the secrets of lovers.’ Enough now.”

Táj ul-Mulúk applied to this letter, as a seal, his moist eye tinted with
_surma_,[167] and handed it to Samánrú, charging the fairy to say many
things from him to Bakáwalí which he could not express in writing, and
the fairy, taking her leave, soon discharged her commission.

When Bakáwalí saw that the love of Táj ul-Mulúk was still more violent
than her own, and that union alone could calm their mutual impatience,
she summoned Hammála at once, who presently appeared before the princess,
trembling at the peremptory command like the willow of Egypt; but
finding her in tears, she expressed her concern. “Wretched go-between,”
said Bakáwalí, in anger, “it is thou who hast kindled the fire which
consumes me and caused my present condition, by giving to thy son-in-law
the means of coming here. Wherefore, in order to repair thy fault, do
thou bring quickly to me this dearly beloved being.” “Is it for such a
trifle,” replied Hammála, with a smile, “that your cheeks are wet and
your beauty disfigured? Rise and wash yourself, and let the smile return
to your lips, for I will at once bring Táj ul-Mulúk to you—nothing is
easier.” Swiftly flew Hammála and came to the prince. “Arise, thou moth,”
said she smilingly, “thy candle invites thee.” On hearing these welcome
words the prince fell at her feet. Hammála raised him, pressed him in
her arms, and placing him on her shoulder carried him to the realm of

       *       *       *       *       *

In the meantime Jamíla Khatún[168] was informed that her daughter
Bakáwalí was in love with a human being. She flew into a violent rage,
and severely scolded her, saying that she was a disgrace to the fairies.
Bakáwalí, laying her fingers on her ears, denied the assertion, and
declared that she was still ignorant of the meaning of love, and that
only in a dream had she seen a human being. It was after this scene that
Hammála arrived with the prince, and when Saman-rú came, and privately
informed Bakáwalí that her lover was in the garden; she told her to keep
him concealed in some place of safety, as she had, much against her will,
to remain with her mother till the greater part of the night was past.

Jamíla Khatún at last fell asleep, and Bakáwalí arose without disturbing
her mother, and with palpitating bosom, alternating between fear and
desire, she proceeded to the place where her lover was hidden. So
violent were the feelings of Táj ul-Mulúk on beholding Bakáwalí that he
swooned. She ran up to him, and placed his head on her knees, when her
sweet breath had the effect of the essence of roses on the prince, who
soon recovered consciousness, and on opening his eyes and seeing all
her concern for him, he considered himself as the personification of
happiness. Unfortunately, Jamíla Khatún awoke about the middle of the
night and arose; and, seeing the garden lit up by the rays of the moon,
walked out in front of the very spot where the lovers were reposing in
each other’s arms, believing themselves in perfect security. On seeing
them the flames of anger broke out in her heart, and taking up Táj
ul-Mulúk she hurled him like a stone from a sling into the regions of
magic, and then slapped Bakáwalí until the hue of her cheeks was equal to
that of the reddest tulip. After this she conveyed her to the garden of
Iram, the residence of her father, Fírúz Sháh,[169] to whom she disclosed
all she had witnessed. Fírúz Sháh appointed a number of fairies to
divert his daughter’s heart from human love. But in vain did they busy
themselves with this object night and day without intermission: the
more they spoke the more she loved; the more they tried to extinguish
the flame the more it blazed. They saw plainly that love had made a home
in her heart, so at last they told Fírúz Sháh that all their efforts
were of no avail, and he, finding her deaf to all good counsel, threw a
talismanic influence over her, and Bakáwalí found herself confined in
golden fetters.

When Jamíla Khatún had hurled Táj ul-Mulúk up in the air, he fell into
an unknown sea, the waves of which tossed him to and fro. Now like a
pearl he would sink to the bottom, and now like a bubble rise to the
surface. After remaining some days in this condition he at last reached
the shore of a green island: so true it is that even death cannot lay his
hand on the life of lovers. The heat of the sun reanimating his body,
he regained his strength and could rise up and walk. Eager to get away
from this island, he collected the branches of trees, and having joined
them together in the form of a raft, invoked the name of God,[170] cast
it into the sea and placed himself on it. After drifting on the sea for
several days he reached a shore which skirted a frightful desert. At
night, through fear of wild beasts, he climbed a tree, but ere long he
heard a rumbling sound on the south side of the desert, and presently
perceived a monstrous dragon approach and place itself at the foot of
the tree into the branches of which he had climbed. The dragon brought
from its mouth a serpent which emitted a gem so brilliant that it lighted
up the jungle for many miles. The wild beasts and birds came to dance
before the dragon; they were soon rendered senseless and all devoured by
the monster, after which the serpent swallowed the gem and re-entered
the mouth of the dragon, who departed the way it had come. The prince
wished he could obtain possession of the gem, for which purpose he long
remained in thought, devising a plan, but morning dawned before he came
to any determination. He then walked towards the shore and brought away
from there a heavy lump of clay. In the evening he again climbed the tree
and sat patiently. When the dragon came and repeated the scene of the
previous evening, the prince threw the lump of clay down on the gem, and
having thus covered it the whole forest was plunged into darkness, so
that the dragon and the serpent knocked their heads against the stones
and died.[171] On the morrow Táj ul-Mulúk came down from the tree, and
taking the precious gem from beneath the clay placed it in his girdle,
and set out in hopes of finding some inhabited spot. He walked on for
several days without success, sleeping at night among the branches of

It happened one night, as he had secured himself in a tree where a
_maina_[172] had its nest, he heard the little ones ask their mother what
treasures there were in the jungle. She replied: “As you proceed towards
the south there is on the edge of a lake a tree of enormous height. Any
one placing a piece of its bark on his head will become invisible to all,
while everything is visible to him; but no person can go to that tree,
because it is guarded by a huge dragon, which neither sword nor arrow can
wound.” The young ones inquired: “How, then, could any one reach there?”
The maina answered: “If a courageous and prudent man should go to the
border of the lake, he must leap into it, when the dragon will attack
him, and he will be changed into a raven, and must then place himself
on one of the western branches of that tree, where he will find green
and red fruits. Should he eat one of the red fruits, he will regain his
original form; and by eating a green fruit he will become invulnerable,
and by placing one in his girdle he could travel through the air. The
leaves will heal wounds, and its wood open the strongest locks and break
the most solid bodies.” Táj ul-Mulúk listened most attentively to this
conversation, and resolved to profit by it.[173]

In the morning he went to the lake, and the dragon darted forth to attack
him. The prince leaped into the water, and was changed into a raven; then
flying to the tree, he ate of the red fruit, and recovering his proper
form plucked some green fruits and placed them in his girdle; of one of
the branches he made a staff, and, taking some of the healing leaves and
a piece of the bark sufficient to make an invisible cap, he flew away.
He soon left the jungle and arrived at an inhabited place. He cut open a
part of his thigh, placed the gem in it, and by aid of the leaves healed
the wound in a moment.

After proceeding a short distance he came to the marble border of a
lake, around which grew the most beautiful flowers. On seeing the
clear and cool water he felt a strong desire to bathe in it, so he at
once undressed himself and dived into the pond; but when he came to
the surface again he saw neither the lake nor the place where he was
before, but found himself near a strange city, and, what was stranger
still, he felt that he was no longer a man, but metamorphosed into a
beautiful young woman, with cheeks like the jasmine flower. Táj ul-Mulúk
was greatly concerned at this wonderful change, but in the meantime he
saw no remedy but patience. He sat down, quite ashamed, when a young
man, passing by, saw, as he supposed, the features of a húrí, and asked
by what accident he came there. Táj ul-Mulúk replied: “My father was
a merchant, and it was his custom to take me with him on his trading
journeys. We came into this forest with a caravan, and at midnight
robbers attacked us, pillaged all our goods, and killed my father and
several others. The rest fled, and I only am left in the midst of this
solitude, without shelter, or strength to go farther.” “If you take me
as your husband,” said the young man, “I will lead you to my house, in
which you may rule as mistress.” With the form of a woman the prince was
also endowed with her nature, and becoming at once enamoured of the youth
he followed him and duly became his wife. In course of time a son was
born, and on the fortieth day he went to bathe in a lake which was near
the house.[174] When he withdrew his head from the water, he saw nothing
of what surrounded him a moment before, but found himself changed into
a young Abyssinian. Presently a hideous negress appeared before him,
and seizing him by the girdle exclaimed: “O man without feeling! for
three days have thy children suffered from hunger, and I have never
ceased searching for you! Where hast thou been hiding thyself? But never
mind—what is done is done. Come now, where is the wood which thou hast
collected? Give it to me, that I may sell it and procure food for our
starving children.” “Great God!” cried Táj ul-Mulúk, turning his eyes
towards heaven, “how long wilt thou keep me in this state of affliction?
From the day when the mother of Bakáwalí tossed me into the sea, I have
not breathed a single moment free from the clutches of misfortune.” In
short, that sable hag pulled him, _nolens volens_, to her dwelling.
Arrived there, a crowd of children surrounded him, crying: “Father!
father! what hast thou brought for us?” Then the negress gave him an axe,
and told him to go into the forest and cut some wood for the support of
his family. The prince quitted the cottage, and as he went along called
to mind that it was by plunging into a lake that his form had been twice
changed, and he resolved to make a third trial. Accordingly he dived
into the waters of the first lake on his way, lifted up his head, and
found himself restored to his original shape, and on the border of the
lake where he had taken his first plunge. He returned thanks to God, and
determined never again to bathe in any lake. His magical cap and stick
he found lying on the very spot where he had placed them before leaping
into the lake which changed his sex, and taking them up he departed

My friends,[175] those very lakes which Táj ul-Mulúk should have avoided
are the pleasures of this world, which, like the mirage, deceive man.
It was not necessary for him to fill his pitcher from every stream, nor
to smell the flowers of every garden. Thorns have often the appearance
of roses, and seem to be even more beautiful. If you enter into the
world to lay hold of the pearl of pleasure, you will lose your hat
and stick,—images of the goodness and power of God, and so, like Táj
ul-Mulúk, you will cease to have the noble form of men. When you return
to yourself you go to the brink of the stream of the remembrance of God
and plunge into it; and drawing out your head, you again find the hat and
stick of grace.



Táj ul-Mulúk, after suffering every inconvenience, determined at last
to leave the earth altogether, and, by the aid of the green fruit which
he had with him, to travel about in the air. One day he passed over a
mountain so high that by its side Káf would seem a mere hillock, and of
granite so hard that mount Bistán[176] would be reduced to powder by
collision with one of its rocks. On the summit was a beautiful palace,
constructed of precious stones, into which he entered from curiosity. He
looked around but found no living creature, and was walking through the
rooms when his ears caught a wailing sound, and going towards the place
whence it issued he discovered a beautiful damsel extended on a couch and
weeping very bitterly. The prince, taking off his hat and thus making
himself visible, begged her to explain how and why she was there. “I am
a fairy,” said she, “and am called Rúh-afzá.[177] My father, Muzaffar
Sháh,[178] rules over the island of Firdaus.[179] One day I had gone to
the Garden of Iram[180] to visit my cousin Bakáwalí, who was unwell, and
on my return a dív with black countenance carried me away and brought
me here. Then he wished me to yield to his passion, but I refused,
and hence he persecutes me, and tries by all means to increase my
sufferings.” The prince asked what was her cousin’s malady, and Rúh-afzá
replied: “She loves a human being, whom she contrived to bring into her
presence, but she has been separated from him, and my uncle keeps her in
close confinement.” At these words Táj ul-Mulúk could not suppress his
sighs, and with pale cheeks and tears in his eyes confessed that he was
the human creature whom Bakáwalí loved. “Alas!” added he, “while she is
suffering in prison, I am pining away and wandering in search of her.”
Then he told Rúh-afzá all his own history, and the recital so touched the
beautiful fairy that she declared herself willing to do all in her power
to help the lovers if she were freed from the dív. “Be not afraid,” said
the prince; “no one can prevent your going. Come with me, and if the dív
should appear, I shall settle matters with him. My only difficulty is
that I am without weapons.” The fairy directed him to the armoury of the
dív, from which he took a sword of the purest water. Then touching with
his magic stick the chains which bound her feet they broke in pieces,
and they took their way to the island of Firdaus. But they had only
proceeded a short distance when a horrible noise was heard behind them.
“Take care,” cried Rúh-afzá to the prince—“here is my terrible enemy!”
Táj ul-Mulúk, with great presence of mind, drew his magic cap from under
his arm and put it on the head of his lovely companion, and then turned
to confront the dív. “Accursed one!” cried the prince, “advance not a
step farther, if you would not be made a corpse by a single blow.” The
dív grinned, showing his great teeth, and sneeringly asked: “Who has
ever heard of a sparrow wishing to fight with the símurgh,[181] or an
ant with an elephant? I should blush to stain my hand with the blood of
a fly, and strike at a handful of earth—I, who can turn aside mount Káf
with a back stroke of my hand. Give me up my mistress and depart.” “Thou
vile and lewd wretch,” exclaimed Táj ul Mulúk, “dost thou dare to call
Rúh-afzá thy mistress? Had I not been restrained by the grace of God,
ere this time I should have torn thy foul tongue out of thy mouth.” The
dív burnt with anger at these words, and lifting up a stone weighing a
hundred _máns_[182] threw it at the prince, upon which the latter, to
avoid it, by virtue of the green fruit which he carried with him, rose up
into the air, and with his magic staff dealt such a blow on the neck of
the dív that he trembled all over. Then the dív uttered loud cries, and
presently a great number of other dívs, ox-headed and elephant-bodied,
came to his assistance and joined in battle against the sháh-záda, who
after a most formidable engagement proved victorious, and those of his
foes who survived fled in dismay. But no sooner was the field cleared
of the enemy than Táj ul-Mulúk fainted in consequence of his exertions.
The beautiful Rúh-afzá, seeing this, ran up to him, laid her hand like
a rose-leaf on his bosom, and with her fragrant breath recalled him to
consciousness, and, giving him back his magic cap, warmly praised his
valorous achievement. Then they continued their journey, and arriving
at the capital of Firdaus, Rúh-afzá, leaving the prince in a garden
belonging to herself, and bearing her own name, proceeded to her father’s
palace, where she was received by Muzaffar Sháh and her mother with every
token of affection. Rúh-afzá told them of her adventures, but concealed
the fact of her deliverer being the lover of Bakáwalí. Her father at
once proceeded to the garden and thanked Táj ul-Mulúk for rescuing his
daughter, and overwhelmed him with tokens of respect and honour.

Muzaffar Sháh then wrote a letter to Fírúz Sháh, acquainting him of the
return of Rúh-afzá. The monarch read it with joy, and induced Jamíla
Khatún to go and see her niece. Bakáwalí wished to accompany her, which
gave great pleasure to her mother, because she thought that the journey
would remove the mildew of sorrow from the mirror of her heart. Jamíla
unloosed the chains which bound Bakáwalí, and both departed together
for the island of Firdaus. When Muzaffar Sháh was informed of their
arrival he sent his daughter to meet them. Rúh-afzá greeted her aunt
most heartily, kissed her forehead, fell at her feet, and then exchanged
congratulations suitable to the occasion; after which she whispered to
Bakáwalí: “Be you glad also, for I have brought a physician who will
cure your disease, by prescribing the sherbet of love to you.” The
heart of Bakáwalí was full of joy, but she did not venture to reply
before her mother. Muzaffar Sháh and Husn-árá[183] showed the greatest
kindness to their sister and her daughter. The door of speech was opened
and different things were talked about, especially the manner in which
Rúh-afzá had been rescued. The following morning Jamíla Khatún wished
to take farewell of her niece, but the latter entreated her to allow
Bakáwalí to remain a few days longer with her. Jamíla consented to leave
her for a week with her cousin, and returned to the garden of Iram. Then
Rúh-afzá led Bakáwalí to that part of the palace where Táj ul-Mulúk was
dwelling. As soon as they drew near the chamber a doleful sound was heard
from within. Bakáwalí asked: “Who is this groaning?” Her cousin answered:
“It is a new victim. Come, if you wish, and I will show him to you.” At
last she prevailed upon Bakáwalí to enter the chamber, and brought her
into the presence of the prince. The moment the eyes of the lovers fell
on each other patience was lost, sense remained dormant, the reins of
discretion dropped from their hands, love triumphed over all, and they
ran forward and embraced with all the warmth which genuine passion can
alone inspire. They wept for joy, and blotted out with their tears the
remembrance of the sorrows which had caused their long separation. The
lovers remained together, and gave themselves up to mutual tokens of
affection until at last the day arrived when Bakáwalí was obliged to
return to her parents. Rúh-afzá promised to use her utmost efforts to
get them united, and persuaded them to await with patience the course of
events. Bakáwalí yielded to this advice and returned home.

Meanwhile Rúh-afzá related in detail to her mother the history of the
love of her cousin and Táj ul-Mulúk. After the recital Husn-árá held
her head for a long time bowed down in the collar of reflection, and
then said to her daughter: “Although the union of a man with a fairy be
an unusual thing, yet, as this mortal has delivered you from a cruel
bondage, I ought, out of gratitude, to save him from some sorrow and
enable him to succeed in his object.” Having taken this resolution, she
called for a skilful painter and caused him to draw the portrait of Táj
ul-Mulúk, and then proceeded to the garden of Iram, where she stayed a
few days with Fírúz Sháh and Jamíla Khatún. One day in conversation with
the latter she addressed her as follows: “My dear sister, a pearl of
beautiful water is only useful when shown in a necklace. Why do you allow
Bakáwalí to pine away in virginity?” “Perhaps you have already heard,”
replied Jamíla, “that my daughter has placed her affections on a human
being. She does not wish to be united to one of her own race. What can I
do in this matter? Must I give up the customs of our ancestors? Should I
allow my daughter to make a marriage which has never before taken place
amongst us?” “True,” rejoined Husn-árá, “it is unwise to place a precious
gem in the hands of one who cannot appreciate it; but if you knew all
the merits of the human race you would never entertain such thoughts as
these. Hear me: man is the most perfect of the creatures of God.[184] He
is the image of the Deity, is glorified by all, and is considered as the
lord of the creation. His sway extends over the elements, and, clothed in
the garments of virtue, he is more than a sovereign on earth. The light
of God beams in him. Every attribute of the Deity has its corresponding
representation on earth; but in man alone can we find all the several
virtues bound, as it were, in a single volume. Each leaf that trembles to
the gale is a leaf of the works of the Creator.[185] O Jamíla Khatún, man
is a superior creature, and we are but his servants. What an honour it is
therefore to be allied to a superior.” By such words Husn-árá endeavoured
to extinguish in the heart of her sister the hatred which she had for
the human race. “That is all very well,” said Jamíla, “but to a man my
daughter shall never be given.” Thereupon Husn-árá placed Táj ul-Mulúk’s
portrait in her hands, saying: “Tell me, if ever the pen of destiny has
drawn such a handsome face in the world. Make haste, then, to unite this
lovely jasmine to that rose of beauty.” At length Jamíla consented to
bestow her daughter on the prince, and Husn-árá returned to Firdaus, and
reported the result of her expedition.

Jamíla related to her husband, Fírúz Sháh, the conversation she had
with her sister, and showed him the likeness of Táj ul-Mulúk, which he
sent to Bakáwalí, with the message that he was willing she should marry
the young prince of the East, since such was her desire. Bakáwalí at
once recognised her dearly beloved, and felt that this change in the
sentiments of her parents was due to Rúh-afzá. So she hastened to her
father, and said: “Sire, children ought to obey their parents, therefore
I accept the husband whom you offer me. Were he a dív or an Abyssinian,
I would consider him as one of the youths of paradise, or as the Moon of
Canaan.”[186] Fírúz Sháh at once gave orders to make preparations for the
marriage. All the houses were decorated with gold, and songs and dances
resounded throughout the city. Letters of invitation were despatched
everywhere; troops of fairies came to swell the festive gathering. The
wine went gaily round,[187] and plates with cakes and sweets. Fírúz Sháh
treated all with princely hospitality. As the festivities began well, so
they ended. In the island of Firdaus the same arrangements were made by
Muzaffar Sháh and the same ceremonies performed.

On the day before the marriage orders were given to the amírs and vazírs
that they should array themselves in the most brilliant garments. The
army was directed to be drawn out. Husn-árá also adorned herself with the
most precious jewels, and her maids and attendants were as splendidly
decorated. At last, when the auspicious moment arrived,[188] they brought
the prince, arrayed in royal robes, and placed him on a throne of state.
A gorgeous turban adorned his head, whence descended long folds of
flowing cloth, richly embroidered with pearls and flowers. His neck was
surrounded with wreaths of valuable pearls, and his wrists encircled with
the precious _nauratan_.[189] He was then placed on a beautiful horse,
caparisoned in the richest fashion. Muzaffar Sháh, with several other
sovereigns, rode in the train. The palankíns of the ladies followed.
When the procession arrived at the palace of Fírúz Sháh he sent some of
his officers to conduct them to the reception room where the company had
assembled. Jamíla and Husn-árá then came forward, the former as mother
of the bride, the latter as fulfilling the same duty for the bridegroom.
The prince and princess were duly united in marriage, and congratulations
resounded throughout the hall. Wines and sherbets were passed round
abundantly. The singers only ceased their love-songs when sleep overtook
them, and then they reposed in each other’s arms as on cushions.

In the morning, as the prince went to the bath, Rúh-afzá came into the
nuptial chamber and found Bakáwalí still asleep, and perceived on her
cheeks the marks of the teeth of Táj ul-Mulúk,[190] and on her bosom
the trace of his hands tinged with _mehndí_.[191] Muzaffar Sháh and
Husn-árá soon took their leave of their relations and set out for
their own country. Some time after, Táj ul-Mulúk, with the consent of
Bakáwalí, asked permission to quit the palace of Fírúz Sháh. In giving
his sanction, the king of the fairies presented the prince with a great
number of slaves of both sexes, and, besides the dowry of Bakáwalí,
ready money for the journey; and many articles of use and ornament were
also bestowed on him, a mere catalogue of the names of which would fill
a volume. Táj ul-Mulúk, attended with every pomp and magnificence, took
Bakáwalí to his own palace. Dilbar and Mahmúda on beholding him were
restored to joy, and the dry field of their hope was again refreshed
with the shower of gladness. The beauty and grace of Bakáwalí, however,
filled them with confusion, but the fairy tenderly embraced them both
and assured them that she would never disturb their domestic happiness.
They spent their time in peace and mutual love and never had the least
jealousy or rivalry between themselves. The prince passed his days with
these rosy-lipped beauties, immersed in a sea of bliss.



Indian writers say, that there was a city called Amarnagar, whose
inhabitants were immortal, the king of which, named Indra,[192] passed
his days and nights in joyful festivities, and the food of his soul was
song and dancing. His sway extended over all the world of the jinn, and
his court was constantly attended by the parís, who danced before him.
One night Indra observed that Bakáwalí, the daughter of Fírúz Sháh, had
not been present for some time, and demanded to know the reason. “It is,”
replied one of the parís, “because she has been caught in the net of love
by a man, and, intoxicated with this passion, she is constantly with him
and has no longer any dislike for his race.” On hearing this Indra was
greatly enraged, and directed several fairies to bring her instantly. By
an aërial chariot they were carried to the garden of Táj ul-Mulúk, where
they awoke Bakáwalí, told her of the wrath of Indra and intimated his
command. She was therefore compelled to accompany them to Amarnagar, and,
trembling, came before the king, and with folded hands paid her dutiful
respects; but the king, casting on her a look of anger, reprimanded her
with great severity, and ordered that she should be thrown into the
fire, so that her body might lose the odour which the contact with a
mortal had imparted to it. The fairies put her accordingly into a furnace
where she was reduced to ashes; after which they recited a charm over
a basin of water, and sprinkling it on the ashes restored her to life.
Thus purified, she came before Indra, and began to dance. With her first
motion, she trod upon the hearts of the spectators, and in one turn
threw the beholders out of themselves: every mouth applauded her, every
tongue commended her. When she had ended, she saluted the assembly and
returned in the same chariot to her garden. After bathing in rose-water
she rejoined her lord. On the morrow she rose up according to her custom,
and conducted herself all day in her usual manner till night came, when
she again ascended to the court of Indra to repeat the proceedings of
the preceding night; and thus she continued for some time, Táj ul-Mulúk
suspecting nothing.

One night, however, while she was at the court of Indra, the prince
awoke, and finding her not by his side sought her in vain both on the
terrace and in the garden. He went to sleep again, and, meanwhile,
Bakáwalí returned and lay down on the marital couch. The prince was much
astonished, on awaking in the morning, to find her by his side, but,
feigning to know nothing of her absence, he determined to discover the
secret. Before lying down on his couch next night, he cut his finger and
put salt on the wound to prevent him from dropping asleep. At midnight
the flying chariot appeared, and just as Bakáwalí was about to mount
it the prince, without being perceived, fastened himself firmly to one
of the corners, and they were speedily at the gate of Indra. There the
prince saw what he had never before seen as regards immortal beauties;
and heard what he had never before heard with respect to musical sounds.
But when he beheld the terrible purification of Bakáwalí, and saw her
reduced to ashes, he could no longer contain himself, and struck his head
with both hands. Presently, boundless was his astonishment when he saw
his beloved rise up again from her ashes and advance towards Indra. As
the crowd was numerous, he followed her without attracting any attention.
It chanced that the musician attending Bakáwalí was very old, and could
not, from infirmity, perform his duties properly.[193] The prince
approached the musician, and said in a whisper: “If you are tired with
playing, I will take your place for a short time with much pleasure,
as I am considered skilful in this exercise.” The old man accepted
the proposal and handed him the instrument. No sooner had the prince
struck the first note than the movements of Bakáwalí grew animated and
ravishing. Indra was so delighted that he took from his neck a collar, of
the value of nine lakhs of rupís, and cast it before Bakáwalí, who, in a
retrograde movement, gave it in charge of the clever musician. When the
festivities were over Bakáwalí returned home, and went as usual to bathe
in the tank of rose-water. Meanwhile Táj ul-Mulúk gained his couch and
feigned to be fast asleep.

When morning dawned the prince related to Bakáwalí his adventure of the
previous night, confirming the truth of his narrative by showing her
the necklace of Indra. She expressed her fears lest a repetition of the
adventure should cause them distress, but said she would that night try
her fate by taking him with her. Accordingly the prince accompanied her
to the court of Indra, and was presented by her to the king as a skilled
musician; and as soon as the prince began to play and Bakáwalí to dance,
the assembly were overcome with astonishment, and Indra exclaimed: “Ask
what thou desirest, and I will give it to thee.”[194] Bakáwalí replied:
“Great king, I am in want of nothing, save that you will give me this
musician and let me go.” At these words Indra, in anger, and regarding
Bakáwalí as a courtesan, said that as he had given his word he must not
draw back from it; but for twelve years the lower half of her body should
be of marble.[195]

    Fate, alas! ordaineth still,
    Grief and joy are twin-born here:
    Now ’tis spring with laughing flowers,
    Now ’tis autumn bleak and sere!
    A crown adorns the head to-day,
    In the grave it lies to-morrow!
    Now like flowers the heart expands,
    Now ’tis spotted all with sorrow!
    Pleasures vanish fast away,
    Short-lived is the sunny day!

It is related that Bakáwalí immediately after her transformation
disappeared, and Táj ul-Mulúk rolled on the ground through excess of
grief; but the fairies, pitying his condition, took him up and cast him
in a forest on earth. For three days he remained there without sense
or motion. On the fourth he opened his eyes, and found, instead of his
beloved, nothing but thorns in his arms. He wandered on every side,
calling upon Bakáwalí, and asking every tree to direct him to her. One
day he arrived on the banks of a pond. Beautiful stairs were on each side
and trees loaded with fruits were planted everywhere. The prince waited
for a moment, then bathed, and laid himself down under the shade of a
tree, and thinking of his beloved he fell asleep. It happened that a
number of fairies alighted there, and after bathing in the pond, sat down
to dry their hair. The eyes of one falling on the prince, she observed
to her companions: “There is the musician of Bakáwalí.” The moment that
these words were heard by Táj ul-Mulúk he opened his eyes, arose, came
before the fairies, and, weeping, inquired if they knew where Bakáwalí
was. Their hearts melted within them. They said they had not seen her,
but had heard that she was in a temple in Ceylon, the gates of which
remained closed during the day and were open during the night; adding
that Bakáwalí’s body was changed to stone from her waist downward. The
prince inquired in what direction was her present abode, and how far it
was from the place where they were standing. They answered: “Leaving out
the inconvenience of travel, if a person were to journey all his life he
would never reach it.” Táj ul-Mulúk despaired on hearing this, and then,
bidding adieu to life, commenced dashing his head against the stones. The
fairies, compassionating his case, consulted among themselves, with a
view of devising such measures as would enable them to carry him to the
desired quarter, and there leave him to the fate that might befall him.
They removed him instantly, and, in the saying of a word, placed him in
the land of Ceylon.

After a moment his despair was somehow cheered with hope. He gazed upon
a city which rivalled Paradise in loveliness, surrounded as it was with
every surprising object. Not one of the men or women appeared to be
ugly there. Nay, the very trees were so symmetrical as to strike the
beholder with wonder. Rambling about, he at last found himself in the
public thoroughfare, where he met a Bráhman, who was a devotee. Of him
he inquired: “In what shrines do you offer up your prayers?” The Bráhman
answered: “In that of Rájá Chitrasan,[196] who governs this country.” The
prince next asked: “How many temples are there in this city?” The Bráhman
satisfied his inquiries, and then added, that lately a new temple had
been discovered in the south, the doors of which were never opened during
the day, and no one knew what it contained. The prince was delighted at
this intelligence, and took his way as pointed out, until he reached
the building and sat down patiently. In the night one of its doors
suddenly opened. He entered and found Bakáwalí half in her original form
and half petrified, reclining against the wall. On beholding him she
was much astonished, and inquired how he had come thither. The prince
gave a faithful account of his adventures. The night was then passed
in conversation. And when morning was about to dawn Bakáwalí bade him
depart, “for,” said she, “if the sunbeams find you here you will be
changed into a shape like mine.” She then pulled out a pearl from her
earring and gave it to the prince, and desired him to sell it and use the
proceeds for his own subsistence for a few days. The prince took it to
the city and sold it for some thousands of rupís. He then bought a house,
and having furnished it, engaged a number of servants. It was usual with
him to pass his nights with Bakáwalí and return home in the morning, and
thus several years rolled away.

In the meantime the prince had become acquainted with many of the
inhabitants, who generally undertook to escort him through the city. In
one of his walks he came upon a party of naked creatures, on whom every
mark of poverty was visible. He observed that these men, although in the
garb of beggars, had still some tokens of nobility in their features,
and inquired: “What may be the cause of this?” His friends answered that
some of those individuals were actually princes, and some the sons of
nobles, but they were all the victims of love.[197] “The Rájá Chitrasan
has a daughter named Chitrawat,[198] who is as bright as the moon—nay,
more, she is a star in the heaven of loveliness. Amongst women she is
perfectly unrivalled. Grace is visible in her steps and magic in her
eyes.[199] Thousands die before her arching eyebrows, and hundreds of
thousands are entrapped in her raven tresses: those tresses that are
darker than night—nay, darker than the fate of her lovers. Her eyes teem
with nectar and poison. In one moment they can kill, in another, restore
to life. In her love there is nothing but suffering, sorrow, and loss of
reputation.[200] In brief, she is really a fairy, whose charms enslave
both infidels and Muslims. But what is worse, she has two companions
whose beauty has also wrecked the peace of many. One is the daughter of
a betel-seller[201] and is called Nirmalá;[202] the other is the child of
a gardener and is called Chapalá.[203] All three are sincerely attached
to each other. Sitting or rising, in all concerns of life, they are
inseparable companions. Moreover, each is at liberty to choose her own
husband. But hitherto none has proved so fortunate as to be honoured with
the favour of either of those beauties.”

Some time after this the prince found himself under the balcony of
the Princess Chitrawat, and beheld thousands gazing longingly on her
bright features, even as the bulbul regards the blushing beauties of
the rose. Like maniacs, they were blubbering amongst themselves, while
she, the proud beauty, sat on her balcony exulting at the view of their
sufferings. It was at this moment that Táj ul-Mulúk appeared. Their
eyes met. The shaft of love passed at once through her heart. She was
wounded. Her patience was lost, and sense forsook her for the time.
Down she fell, and her attendants ran and lifted her up. They sprinkled
rose-water on her face, put a scent-bottle to her nostrils, and she
presently revived. She was, however, still motionless and speechless,
and although several inquired the cause of her indisposition, she
returned not a word in answer, but continued gazing steadfastly in the
same direction. Then it was that Nirmalá looked down from the window
and discovered the prince; and after hearing all the circumstances of
the case from Chitrawat, comforted her friend thus: “O princess, your
sufferings distract me, and make me lose my equanimity. Why are you
anxious? Your father has already made you mistress of your own hand, and
it depends upon your choice to marry any one you may love. Be comforted:
the youth on the black charger shall be thine, though he should be even
an angel. Depend on me; I will entrap him in such a way that escape
will be altogether impossible.” She then deputed a female go-between to
undertake the work.

Boldly did this woman come forward, and seizing the reins of the prince’s
horse, “Knowest thou,” she asked him, “that the poor are sacrificed and
lovers impaled here? The fair lady of this palace can bind the hearts
of all in her glossy tresses, and at one glance cast them dead upon
the earth. Whence is thy boldness, that thou castest thy glance on the
mansions of kings? Art thou a spark able to melt the hearts of the fair
ones, and to dissolve their stony nature? Whence art thou? What country
dost thou inhabit? Where is thy native land? And what is thy family?” Táj
ul-Mulúk at once divined that she was sent by some one, and answered:
“Silence! Do not re-open my wounds. My native land is brighter than the
sun, and the name of it is known to emperors. Tell the person who has
deputed you, not to cast a glance on such a distressed traveller as
myself, nor harbour any thoughts in her heart that may have the slightest
reference to love:

    Go to him who will approve thee;
    Love him only who can love thee.”

The artful go-between then ascertained that he was a prince of the East,
that his name was Táj ul-Mulúk, and that his connections were high. These
particulars she communicated to Chitrawat.

After this the prince frequently passed along the same road, so that
he might have an opportunity of looking up at the balcony. Even as the
moon wanes from her fourteenth night, so did the health and spirits of
the princess, who pined inwardly for him. She tried long to keep the
secret to herself, but her attempt was in vain. In a few days even her
parents came to know of her sufferings. Her father, the king, employed
an accomplished dame to repair to Táj ul-Mulúk, and try all her arts
to bring about a marriage between him and his daughter; at all events,
to endeavour by every means to gain his heart. The woman faithfully
performed her mission and dwelt long on commendations of the charms of
the princess. Táj ul-Mulúk returned his respects to the king, and said
that he was a wanderer from his country, that he had exchanged the robes
of royalty for the troubles of travelling, and that he had alienated
himself from relations and friends; therefore, to propose an alliance
with him was like tracing figures on water and tying the wind in a napkin.

When this message was delivered to the rájá it made him sadly thoughtful,
and drove him to ask counsel of his minister, who assured him that it
was not a difficult matter for the king to bring a houseless stranger
into subjection. He even offered to undertake such measures as should
ultimately entrap him; and his plan was to bring a charge of theft
against the prince. Now it so happened that the pecuniary resources
of Táj ul-Mulúk were altogether exhausted, and, as he was purposing
applying to Bakáwalí, he recollected the jewel which he had taken from
the serpent and concealed in his thigh.[204] He sent for a surgeon and
had the jewel taken out, afterwards curing the wound by means of his
wonderful ointment. When he had fully recovered, he took the gem to the
bazár; but every jeweller was struck with surprise, and declared himself
unable to pay the price. They informed the vazír that a stranger had
come into the city, wishing to dispose of a jewel which none but the
king could purchase. The minister on hearing this caused the stranger
to be arrested and brought before him, and knowing him to be the prince
with whom Chitrawat was in love, he lost no time in bringing a charge of
robbery against him and committing him to prison. He then told the king
that the bird that had flown away from the cage was ensnared again, and
would doubtless comply with the wishes of the sovereign.



Rájá Chitrasan used every endeavour to make the prince suffer all the
woes of imprisonment to compel him to marry his daughter; but what
caused the greatest pang in the heart of Táj ul-Mulúk was his absence
from Bakáwalí. Night and day he wailed and dashed his head against the
walls and door, till at length the gaoler informed the king that the new
prisoner was suffering much, and if not soon released would certainly
die, and his blood would be on the king’s head. To this the king answered
not a word, but sending for his daughter desired her to go to the prison
and cast the shadow of her bright face on the prince. “Perhaps,” said
he, “like the moth, he may flutter in the lustre of your beauty, and his
pride be reduced to ashes.”

Chitrawat received these instructions with delight. She adorned herself
with all care, and thus heightened the effect of all her natural
charms, and attended by Nirmalá and Chapalá, like the moon with Venus
and Mercury in her train, she proceeded to the prison. On entering,
this Zulaykhá encountered her lover, whose beauty was still equal to
that of Joseph.[205] In all her loveliness she stood before him. Her
teeth glittered like pearls of the purest water, and the redness of her
lips would have shamed the blushing ruby. Her neck shone with silvery
whiteness. As she moved, the richest odours were diffused from her
garments, and _’itr_[206] breathed around her person. Her almond eyes
were enchanting to behold, and her amber cheeks spread fragrance far and
near. The dimples on her chin attracted the hearts of all beholders; but
virgin modesty forbade her to expose to view the pomegranates of her
breasts. Nothing, however, would attract the notice of the prince. In a
word, when Chitrawat found that the magic of her eyes and the fascination
of her brow had no effect upon the heart of the prince, she fell before
him and struggled with her sufferings. Then it was that the prince felt
pity and drew her to his arms, and consented to marry her, for he saw
that unless he did so there was no chance of his release.

Nirmalá communicated the happy intelligence to the rájá, and informed him
that the princess had returned home successful in the object she had in
view. The rájá immediately ordered the liberation of the prince, caused
him to be taken to a splendid bath and arrayed in royal garments, after
which he appointed a mansion for his use. In an auspicious hour he joined
him and his daughter in wedlock according to the rites and ceremonies of
the country. When Táj ul-Mulúk entered the chamber of Chitrawat, he found
Nirmalá and Chapalá in attendance. They received him with great warmth,
which was not returned by the prince.

When a quarter of the night was over, he rose from the nuptial couch, and
took his way towards Bakáwalí’s temple, where that fairy, not having seen
him for some time, was longing for his return. As soon as her eyes fell
on the prince her heart rejoiced, but the moment she saw his hands and
feet tinged with the hue of myrtle, her jasmine-like face reddened with
anger.[207] “Well, prince,” said she, in a taunting manner, “you have
come at last; but what a fashion you have adopted! You have drowned the
name of lover, and shamed the character of faith on earth. Henceforward
never dare to love, or proclaim yourself a lover. What hast thou done,
O cruel one? Is this thy gratitude, that, while I am changed to a stone
here, thy fingers boast the redness of the myrtle? Whilst I pine here in
loneliness, thou reposest on the couch of luxury; and while my heart is
breaking for thee, thou enjoyest pleasures with some other rosy-coloured
damsel! While I die here for thee, how canst thou be happy, O Táj

On hearing these words the prince expressed the sincerest regret, and
answered: “Beloved, whither are your thoughts wandering? Although I am
a famous prince, yet I regard myself as your slave—all that is mine is
also thine. From the day when I first beheld you, nothing has pleased me
so much as the sight of your charms. Friends, luxuries, mirth, music, my
mind disowns them all alike, being constantly fixed on you. And since I
am entirely your own, how can I be attracted by the beauty of others?
Do not mistrust me: my love is too sincere to suffer any change, and
the allegiance I owe you can never be turned aside. I can never have any
concern with others when I have placed life and death in your hands.
But what could I do? I was powerless and in prison. I had no intention
whatever of marrying another, but had I not done so, there was no hope of
release. If I had not complied with the wish of another, how could I have
seen you again? I should have died in confinement, and you would have
remained pining in this temple. Hence I married.”[208]

Bakáwalí replied in wrath: “Why have recourse to such falsehoods? Can
any one be married by compulsion? It is sufficient: I have examined your
faith and love. May you be happy! I will remain content with my misery,
knowing well that in the day of distress none but God is our friend.”
With a breaking heart did the prince hear these words. He heaved a deep
sigh and wept. Bakáwalí could not endure this; she joined him in tears,
and both continued sobbing for some time. At last the prince fell at her
feet and she raised and embraced him. “I am not seriously angry with
you,” she said; “all that I have spoken was but to try your fidelity. I
am happy in your happiness, and am the last person to be indignant with
you.” In this way they went on, till the prince explained how he was
compelled to marry Chitrawat, and at length succeeded in dispelling all
suspicions from her mind.[209] When morning dawned he returned home, and
took his place beside his new bride.

Thus night after night the prince passed with Bakáwalí, and the day in
conversation with Chitrawat, who was naturally very much out of temper at
such conduct. She wondered how it was that her own charms had no effect
on the heart of her husband, and ultimately complained to her father of
the ungracious manner in which she was treated by the prince. Spies were
appointed by the king to watch the nocturnal movements of Táj ul-Mulúk.
They discovered him wending his way to the temple of Bakáwalí, where he
passed the night, and whence he returned at early dawn. When the king was
informed of this, he caused the temple to be demolished and the stones
cast into an adjacent stream. On the following night, Táj ul-Mulúk, as
usual, went to visit Bakáwalí, and finding no vestige of the temple, he
rolled on the ground and exclaimed:

    “If I of thee a trace could find,
      To that spot I’d willing go;
    But I’m powerless: if the earth
      Would open wide, I’d sink below!”

At length, overcome by despair, he gave free vent to his tears, and
finally returned home. For some days sorrow and hopelessness were his
inseparable companions; but when he became convinced that another
meeting with Bakáwalí could never take place, and that his grief was
of no avail, he turned his attention to the enchanting conversation of
Chitrawat, and then it was that the buds of her hopes expanded, touched
by the zephyr of his love, and the shell of her desire was made fragrant
with the pearls of his affection.



They say that the ground on which the temple of Bakáwalí once stood
was tilled by a farmer, who sowed it with mustard-seed. Táj ul-Mulúk
often repaired thither to gaze upon the fields, which were spread with
carpets of the richest verdure. When the plants emerged from the soil and
blossomed the prince visited the fields each morning and evening, and
thus addressed them:

    “Flowers of the field! how fare ye here?
    Love’s fragrance in your bloom I find;
    From earth emerging ye appear—
    Say, where’s the charmer of my mind?”

In due time the mustard-plants ripened, and the farmer reaped his crop
and put it in the oil press. Peasants are generally accustomed to try
the first fruits of their fields themselves. Hence it happened that the
farmer’s wife, partaking of a dish prepared with the oil thus produced,
became pregnant, although she had hitherto been sterile. In due course
she gave birth to a fairy-faced daughter, whose presence illumined the
heretofore dark abode of the farmer. It was soon noised abroad that
a hitherto sterile woman had brought forth a fair daughter through
the virtue of some mustard oil. As for the infant, the neighbours all
declared that, while even now the splendour of her countenance eclipsed
that of the moon, when she should have reached her fourteenth year it
would excel the glory of the sun itself.

When Táj ul-Mulúk heard of this wonderful occurrence, he summoned the
farmer and his babe to his presence; and the moment he cast his eyes upon
the latter, he recognised the features of his beloved, and was convinced
that Bakáwalí had been thus re-born in the farmer’s humble abode.[210]
He gave the farmer a large sum of money and desired him to bring up the
infant with every possible care. When she was seven years of age, many
were the applications made for her hand in marriage; but the farmer,
remembering that the prince had shown a deep interest in her welfare,
knew not how to decide. To all he replied that when the girl came to
be of marriageable age, she should have free permission to choose her
husband. When she was on the verge of her tenth year,[211] Táj ul-Mulúk
sent a messenger to her father, demanding the hand of his daughter in
marriage. The farmer trembled when he heard this, saying: “How can a poor
farmer dare to make the king’s son-in-law the husband of his daughter?
Should I even do so, the result must be that her position will be that
of a slave; and I cannot think of such a fate for my lovely child.” When
Bakáwalí heard him thus soliloquise, “Father,” said she, “hear me. My
name is Bakáwalí, and I am a fairy. Do not be anxious on my account; for
the rose is always destined to grace the head, and the pearl to adorn
the princely diadem. In answer, desire the prince to wait for a few days
more.” The messenger of Táj ul-Mulúk returned and gave him an account of
all that he had heard. The prince was highly delighted; his sorrows all
vanished. He rewarded the messenger and dismissed him.

The dark days of Bakáwalí having passed away, troops of fairies now came
to visit her, and with them Saman-rú, enrobed with richly-embroidered
garments, and glittering with jewels, and seated on a golden throne.
Bakáwalí changed her dress, put on her ornaments, and when all was ready
she addressed her father, saying: “Hitherto I have been your guest; now
I am about to depart.” She then led him behind the house, and pointed
out a spot which contained hidden treasures under ground. Then she left
him, and ascending the throne, guided by her attendant fairies, alighted
in the mansion where Táj ul-Mulúk was sitting in company of Chitrawat,
Nirmalá, and Chapalá. Bakáwalí entered the chamber alone. On approaching
Chitrawat she embraced her with sisterly affection. Chitrawat was so
much struck with the beauty of Bakáwalí that she sank on her sofa quite
exhausted. Then Bakáwalí recounted her adventures to Táj ul-Mulúk, and
heard his in return. She asked Chitrawat if her heart still glowed with
love for the prince, “because, if so, my house is yours.” Chitrawat
replied: “I live only in the prince; and when he departs, how can I
continue to live? I am ready to go with you.”

On a sign from Bakáwalí, her attendants made themselves visible; and it
is related that when they appeared, Ceylon was so densely filled that no
space of four fingers’ breadth even was left unoccupied:[212] confusion
reigned throughout the city. Even the king was dismayed, and sought the
shelter of his palace. The moment he entered Táj ul-Mulúk rose to greet
him. He went a few steps in advance, and led the king to a seat on his
own throne. He then gave him a detailed history of his love for Bakáwalí.
For some time the king seemed much distressed; but at length signs of joy
were visible in his countenance, and rising from his seat he placed the
hands of his daughter into those of Bakáwalí, saying: “I trust my only
child to you; not, indeed, as a rival, but as a slave. My only hope is,
that you will not withhold your kindness from one who is bound to regard
you as her superior.” He then gave them leave to depart.

Táj ul-Mulúk ascended the fairy throne; Bakáwalí and Chitrawat sat on
either side of him; while Nirmalá and Chapalá stood respectfully before
them. In a moment the throne alighted on the threshold of Táj ul-Mulúk’s
palace, and the two princesses entered. Bahrám,[213] the son of the
minister of Zayn-ul-Mulúk, who had been left in charge of the palace and
gardens of the prince, came forth to welcome his master and mistress
home. Táj ul-Mulúk received him graciously, accepted his presents,[214]
and rewarded him with a robe of honour. He then entered the palace, and
was received with the utmost delight by Mahmúda and Dilbar, with whom, as
well as with Chitrawat and Bakáwalí, the stream of life glided through
peace and tranquility.

       *       *       *       *       *

Historians relate that Táj ul-Mulúk addressed letters to Fírúz Sháh,
Muzaffar Sháh, and his father, communicating to them the happy
intelligence of his return. The perusal of these letters afforded much
pleasure to the recipients, who forthwith set out to meet him. Fírúz Sháh
and Jamíla Khatún set out for the East attended by splendid equipages.
Muzaffar Sháh and Husn-árá followed their example. Zayn ul-Mulúk, with
his lawful wife for his companion, and his army preceding him, went after
the other princes to the country of Nighárín,[215] which they reached
in a few days. They observed that its vicinity was so crowded with men
and fairies that there was not sufficient space left to plant a seed of
sesamum even.[216] Táj ul-Mulúk and Bakáwalí were highly delighted to
receive their guests. Sorrow departed from the heart of each. Nought
was heard but songs and music—nought was seen save dancing and mirth.
With the fourth day the feast ended, and the princes departed, highly
pleased with the hospitality of Táj ul-Mulúk. But Bakáwalí prevailed upon
Rúh-afzá to remain with her a few days longer, and a carnelian room was
set apart for her sleeping chamber.

It happened one night, when Rúh-afzá was sleeping near the window, that
her flowing locks descended therefrom, and a bright gem was glittering
in one of the ribbons that tied her tresses. At that time Bahrám was
roving about, enjoying the moonlight scene. As he approached the window,
his eyes fell on the gem glittering there. He thought that a dragon was
holding his jewel in his mouth.[217] But on looking more attentively,
he perceived that it was a ruby glittering in a lock of hair which
had escaped from the window. He then supposed that the room must be
occupied by Bakáwalí, and that the lock of hair was hers. All that
night he knew no rest. When morning dawned he could restrain himself
no longer. He asked Saman-rú whose chamber that was, and she told him
it was Rúh-afzá’s. The moment he heard this the fire of love blazed in
his heart, and maniac-like he wandered to and fro. The next midnight he
watched for an opportunity, applied a scaling-ladder to the window,
and entered the chamber. There he saw the rival of Venus sleeping
gracefully on a golden bed. Beholding this, he became senseless, like
one intoxicated, and as he was yet a stranger to the pleasure which
was now stealing through his veins, incontinently he threw himself on
the bed, embraced the fairy and kissed her rapturously. That instant
Rúh-afzá started up and found that the intruder was Bahrám; and though
she secretly loved him, she was displeased at this breach of the rules of
decency. She pretended to be highly offended and slapped him till he was
fairly pushed out of the window, and Bahrám retired weeping to his own

Next morning Rúh-afzá begged permission of Bakáwalí to depart: and
although the latter endeavoured to persuade her to prolong her visit,
she was resolute, for she was well aware that if Bakáwalí came to know
of the incident of the last night, she would laugh at her and plague her
with her sarcastic remarks. At length she bade adieu to her fair hostess,
and set out for the island of Firdaus. But love accompanied her; for her
thoughts were only of Bahrám. No comfort came to her by day, and no rest
through the live-long night. Her eyes were always moist with tears, and
the simúm of grief withered the bloom of her cheeks.



Meanwhile Bahrám became thinner and thinner every day; but Saman-rú alone
knew the cause. She was constantly advising him to chase away from his
heart that love for a person of another race, which could only render
him unhappy. “The example,” said she, “of the perfect union which exists
between Táj ul-Mulúk and Bakáwalí should not lead you astray. It is a
happy exception. But it is contrary to the nature of things for a human
being to join himself to one of etherial substance.” These words made
no impression on the mind of Bahrám, and when she saw that the thorn of
love had pierced so deeply into his heart that it was hopeless to attempt
its extraction, she declared that all she could do was to conduct him to
Firdaus. Bahrám eagerly accepted this offer, and Saman-rú then clothed
him in women’s apparel, which suited him well, as he was yet beardless,
and carried him through the air to Firdaus, to the house of her sister,
called Banafshá,[218] who was hair-dresser to Rúh-afzá. The latter was
delighted at seeing Saman-rú, and at once asked who was the young lady
whom she had brought with her. “She is one of my friends,” said she,
“who desires to see this country. I have taken the liberty of bringing
her to you, in hopes that you will be so good as to show her all the
sights.” “Certainly,” said Banafshá; “I am willing to do anything that
might please you.” After this Saman-rú returned to Bakáwalí, and Bahrám
remained in the house of Banafshá, who showed her every kindness, led
her each day into a different garden, and pointed out everything worth
seeing; in the evening she discharged her duties as hair-dresser to

One evening Banafshá presented Bahrám to her young mistress, as a friend
of Saman-rú. She at once recognised Bahrám, in spite of his disguise, but
dissembled so well that he believed she did not know him. She induced
Banafshá to leave the young person with her. Therefore she withdrew and
Bahrám remained with his mistress. And when the Eternal Designer of the
affairs of this world had illumed the earth with the clear light of the
moon, Rúh-afzá led Bahrám into her private chamber, and said: “What is
your name, madam?” He replied: “I have had no name for a long time: I
only know yours.” “Why have you come here?” “Ask the taper: it will
tell you why the moth throws itself into the flame.” These pleasant
words gratified Rúh-afzá, but, affecting a severe countenance, she
said: “You are deceiving me; for I observe from your words that you are
not a woman. You have entered here by false pretences, and have thus
exposed my honour to the wind. Say, yourself, what punishment does such
hardihood deserve?” Poor Bahrám, who was quite ignorant of the artifices
of coquetry, and remembered the hard blows of his mistress on a former
occasion, thought that she was about to strike him again and drive him
from her presence. He trembled through fear and repeated these verses:

    “Kill me; for better ’tis to die before
    Thy sight, than live to suffer more and more.”

Then he fell down quite unconscious, and Rúh-afzá, not being able to
carry her feigned severity farther, ran up to him, put his head on her
knees, showered kisses on him, and by the sweet perfume of her breath
brought back his senses.

When Bahrám opened his eyes he perceived that he had assumed the _rôle_
of the Rose and Rúh-afzá that of the Nightingale.[219] Soon did he forget
his former vexations. Rúh-afzá, who was violently in love with him,
did not wish him to leave her, so to conceal him from the looks of the
malicious she fastened round his neck a talisman which changed him into
a bird.[220] In this form she kept him in a golden cage, which was hung
up before her eyes during the day, but at night she caused him to come
out, and restored him to his proper shape. This continued for some time;
but, as the Hindú proverb says, “love and musk cannot be long hidden”;
and Husn-árá began to suspect that all was not as it should be with her
daughter. One morning, at daybreak, she went to her daughter’s chamber,
and beating her, exclaimed: “You have drowned yourself in a vase full of
water! You are lost to all shame! You have disgraced the name of your
father! Let me at least know the name of your audacious accomplice,
else I will strangle you with my own hands!” These violent words caused
Rúh-afzá to tremble. “Dispel, my dear mother,” said she, “your vain
dream. I have never seen a mortal but at a distance. Should a kind
mother believe the gossiping reports of strangers?” But in spite of her
most vehement protestations, her mother believed her not; she insisted
that the ravisher who was in the house should be seized and punished
as he deserved. By her order cunning spies were employed to search for
Bahrám—in the earth, the air, and the sea, but without success: they
were all ignorant of the secret of the golden cage.[221] Husn-árá,
despairing at the failure of her spies, scolded her daughter’s maids, and
threatened them with the wrath of Muzaffar Sháh; whereupon one of them,
called Gul-rukh,[222] pointed out the mysterious cage, saying that she
had often observed Rúh-afzá, both night and day, caressing the dove which
was shut up in it;—might it not be surmised that there was some secret
in that circumstance? Immediately Husn-árá proceeded to her daughter’s
chamber and seized hold of the cage. Rúh-afzá, with horror and dismay,
saw her beloved bird in the talons of the falcon; but, trembling for
herself, she dared not utter a word, still less could she snatch it out
of the hands of the fowler of destiny. Husn-árá carried the cage to her
husband, who drew out the bird, and felt its wings and all its feathers
to see if he could discover any talisman. At last he found what was on
the bird’s neck, and on removing it, Bahrám appeared before him in his
natural form. The attendants were greatly astonished, and Muzaffar Sháh,
wild with passion, said to Bahrám: “Wicked wretch! fear you not my anger?
Death alone can punish thy audacity!” “Sire,” replied Bahrám, “I fear not
death; but I shall deeply regret my beloved mistress in leaving life;
and even in my grave a stream of blood will flow from my eyes.”[223] The
anger of Muzaffar Sháh, far from being appeased by these words, increased
to such a height that he gave orders to his people to go outside the city
and throw Bahrám into the fire, so that he should be reduced to ashes.

By good fortune, Táj ul-Mulúk and Bakáwalí were at that moment walking
together in the garden of Iram, and as they were not far from
Jazína-Firdaus, they determined to visit Rúh-afzá. On going thither they
passed the very spot where Bahrám was about to be burnt. He was already
on the fatal pyre, with the flames surrounding him. Bakáwalí, seeing the
pyre and the great crowd around it, ordered her chariot to draw near and
cried out: “Extinguish the fire and bring that young man to me. I shall
cause a thousand of you to be put to death, if you do not—ay, and raze
all your houses to the ground!” These threats greatly disconcerted the
officials, so they put out the fire and led Bahrám before the princess,
who made him enter her chariot, and conducted him into a quiet garden,
where leaving him with Táj ul-Mulúk, she then proceeded to visit Muzaffar
Sháh and Husn-árá, who received her with the greatest kindness, and after
embracing her, inquired the occasion of her visit. “It is mere chance,”
said she, “which brings me to you; but I have seen on my way hither an
incident which caused me great pain: some of your people were about to
burn the son of my father-in-law’s vazír, and, but for my interference,
he would ere this have been reduced to ashes. Why did you dream of giving
such instructions? Would his death change anything that has occurred?
Would it efface the _tika_[224] of slander? Supposing a hundred persons
already know of the adventure of Rúh-afzá, presently it will be known
to thousands. What you should rather do is pardon Bahrám his fault, and
marry him to your daughter; for he is full of spirit and of a handsome
appearance. If you despise human nature so much, why did you marry me to
Táj ul-Mulúk? Is there any difference between your daughter and me?”

Muzaffar Sháh bent his head on hearing this remonstrance, and said he
would think over it. Then Bakáwalí went in search of Rúh-afzá and found
her in tears; but patting her on the head she said smilingly: “You have
cried enough; wash yourself, change your dress, and come forth from your
cell. I have brought back your lover, safe and sound, and hope that you
will soon be married.” Rúh-afzá thanked Bakáwalí and embraced her most
affectionately, and the cousins remained together all night.[225] On the
morrow Bakáwalí led Rúh-afzá before her parents to be reconciled to them,
after which she set out with Táj ul-Mulúk and Bahrám for Jazíra-i Iram.
She related to her father and mother the story of Rúh-afzá and Bahrám,
and persuaded them to do for the latter, without loss of time, what her
uncle had done for Táj ul-Mulúk. They agreed, and, having clothed Bahrám
in royal robes, proceeded in great state to Firdaus, where suitable
arrangements had been made to receive the marriage procession, which soon
arrived at the palace of Muzaffar Sháh. The wedding guests were conducted
into the reception room, where dance and music continued the whole night.
After the ceremony of the collar and betel, they brought the bridegroom
into the interior of the palace, in order to accomplish the formalities
which still remained to be performed. Bakáwalí behaved towards Bahrám
as though she had been his sister. She held for him the Kurán and the
looking-glass, and made him drink the cup half-emptied by Rúh-afzá.[226]
When all these ceremonies had been performed, Muzaffar Sháh and Husn-árá
gave to their daughter, on the day of separation, a considerable dowry,
great quantity of ready money as well as jewels and slaves. Fírúz Sháh
and Táj ul-Mulúk at the head of the nuptial procession returned to
Jazír-i Iram, where they continued the festive rejoicings for several
days, after which Bakáwalí and her devoted husband conducted Bahrám and
his bride in great splendour to Mulk-i Nighárín. The father and mother
of Bahrám were overjoyed at the sight of their beloved son, and warmly
expressed their gratitude to Bakáwalí, who had brought him such great
good fortune. To celebrate the marriage of his son, the vazír gave a
grand banquet, to which great and small were alike invited, and even
the king himself honoured it with his presence. The festival continued
for several days. Everybody received presents; money was distributed
in abundance—all were delighted. After the king had been escorted back
to his palace and all the guests had retired to their homes, Bakáwalí
summoned Hammála, and ordered her to transport her palace to that spot,
which was soon accomplished, when she presented it to Rúh-afzá and Bahrám
for their residence. Thus terminated the adventures of these lovers: each
was content and happy.





Once on a time there were three whales of the sea of fraud and
deceit—three dragons of the nature of thunder and the quickness of
lightning—three defamers of honour and reputation—in other words, three
men-deceiving, lascivious women, each of whom had, from the chancery
of her cunning, issued the diploma of turmoil to a hundred cities and
countries, and in the arts of fraud they accounted Satan as an admiring
spectator in the theatre of their stratagems. One of them was sitting
in the court of justice of the Kází’s embraces; the second was the
precious gem of the bazár-master’s diadem of compliance; and the third
was the beazle and ornament of the signet-ring of the life and soul of
the superintendent of police. They were constantly entrapping the fawns
of the prairie of deceit, with the grasp of cunning, and plundering the
wares of the caravan of tranquility of the hearts of both strangers and
acquaintances by means of the edge of the scimitar of fraud.[227]

One day this trefoil of roguery met at the public bath, and, according
to their homogeneous nature, they intermingled as intimately as a comb
with the hair: they tucked up the garment of amity to the waist of
union, entered the tank of agreement, seated themselves in the hot-house
of love, and poured from the dish of folly, by means of the key of
hypocrisy, the water of profusion upon the head of intercourse; they
rubbed with the brush of familiarity and the soap of affection the
stains of jealousies from each other’s limbs. After a while, when they
had brought the pot of concord to boil by the fire of mutual laudation,
they warmed the bath of association with the breeze of kindness and came
out.[228] In the dressing-room all three of them happened simultaneously
to find a ring, the gem of which surpassed the imagination of the
Jeweller of Destiny,[229] and the like of which he had never beheld in
the store-house of possibility. The finger of covetousness of each of
the three ladies pointed to the ring, and the right of its possession
became the object of dispute among them. But after their controversy had
been protracted to an undue length, the mother of the bathman,[230] who
had for years practised under the sorceress Shamsah[231] and had learnt
all sorts of tricks from her, stepped forward and said: “I am a woman
who has seen the world, and I have experienced many events of this
kind. Something has occurred to me with reference to this matter, and if
you will listen to my advice your difficulty will be solved. As I am a
faithful and honest person,” the old woman continued, “you may entrust
this ring to me. Each of you must sow the seed of deception into the
field of her husband’s folly, and she whose arrow of fraud shall settle
deepest in the target of her husband’s imbecility, and the rose of whose
act, being watered by the art and care of diligence, shall flourish more
than the plants of her competitors, shall, after due investigation by
myself, be put in possession of the much-coveted ring.” All three of them
agreed to this proposal, and surrendered the ring to the old hag. The
wife of the Kází said: “I shall be the first who writes the incantation
upon the name of the Kází.” Accordingly they dressed in the robe of
cunning, put on the mantle of deception, and departed to their respective

_The Trick of the Kází’s Wife._

In the first place, the wife of the Kází sat down in the court of
meditation and arrangement, and having for the purpose of solving this
problem opened the directory of falsehood, she perused it with great
diligence, scanning it from paragraph to paragraph, from the preface
to the conclusion. It so happened that a carpenter who was the Kází’s
neighbour had long paid attentions to the wife of the latter. He chopped
the tablet of his heart with the axe of uneasiness, and scratched the
board of his body with the plane of lamentation; he was in constant
motion like a saw, and though all his limbs were like a grating turned
into eyes, and he was sitting on the chair of expectation, he was not
able to attain his object; so that the hatchet of longing and burning
felled the palm-tree of his patience and equanimity, and his heart was
perforated by the auger of this grief. As the wife of the Kází was
aware of the sufferings of the carpenter, she called her confidential
slave-girl and said to her: “O thou Violet[232] of the garden of harmony,
the flower of whose body I have so long cherished in the parterre of
education! I have a little business which I mean to discharge this day
by the aid of thy intimacy. If thou wilt accomplish it cheerfully, I
shall ransom thee with my own money, and rejoice thy heart with various
gifts.” The girl replied: “Whatever my mistress orders, it is my duty
to perform.” The wife of the Kází said: “Go, unobserved by any one, to
the carpenter and tell him that the flame of his love has taken effect
on my heart; that I am aware of his having suffered torments on account
of my unkindness; and that on the day of resurrection I shall have to
answer for the sufferings I have caused to him: I am quite embarrassed
in this matter, and, in order to remove this awful responsibility, I am
prepared now to make good my past transgressions, and to meet him if
he will dig an underground passage between this house and his own, so
that we may be enabled to pluck the roses of mutual love whenever we
choose, and communicate freely by means of this passage.” The maid went
to the carpenter, and caused by the nectar of her eloquence this message
to bloom in his garden of hope. He presented the girl with a thousand
dínars[233] and said:

    “I would ransom thee with my life,
    O idol of the garden of purity!
    I shall gird my loins for thy service
    In a hundred thousand places.

It is a lifetime since I began to burn on the thread of exclusion and
separation, and put the collyrium of longing into the eye of desire to
behold that paragon of the world.

    Melancholy for thee inspires my breast;
    Desire for thee permeates my heart!
    Thy behests I shall never disobey;
    Thy will I shall follow with my soul.”

The carpenter dug a spacious passage between the two houses, and the lady
arrived by means of it in her lover’s domicile. When the carpenter beheld
the Jacob’s house of mourning of his heart illuminated by the Joseph’s
lamp of the coveted interview, he said:

    “Welcome, my faithful idol!
    My hut is the envy of Paradise.
    Come, moon-like mistress, come!
    Come, tender sweetheart, come!
    Thy elegant speech is coquetry;
    Thy gait is graceful as the rose:
    Thou art the cynosure of love!
    Thou art the model of tenderness!”

After mutual congratulations and compliments, that title-page of the
ledger of amorous intrigues said to the carpenter: “To-morrow I shall
come here, and you must bring the Kází to marry me to you.” When the
lady had explained the particulars of this matter to him, he drew the
hand of obedience over the eyes of compliance; and when on the next day
the kází of the morn placed the seal of brilliancy upon the volume of
the firmament, and the shaykh-sun seated himself upon the carpet of the
Orient and manifested himself by the consequence of light and brightness,
the Kází hastened from his haram to the court of justice. His tender
mistress, however, betook herself to the house of the carpenter, who
forgot the grief of separation, dressed himself in gaudy clothes, and
waiting on the Kází said: “O spreader of the superficies of the law, and
strengthener of the pillars of the affairs of mankind,

    No matter in this world can be
    Arranged without thy intervention.”

When the Kází perceived from this allocution that the carpenter came
on business, and concluded that it might be something profitable, he
replied: “Greeting to you! And may the mercy of God be upon your fathers
and ancestors, fortunate and blessed man! Welcome! Rest yourself awhile;
smoke tobacco and drink coffee, whilst you are acquainting me with your
intentions.” The carpenter said: “O Kází, I am a bridegroom and am very
restless to-day on that account: my bride is sitting in the house. As
the moon is this day in the first mansion of the Balance, and in the two
hours and nine minutes that are elapsing of the day it has a triangular
aspect with the sun, a hexagonal one with Jupiter, is in opposition
to Mercury, out of the influence of the Scorpion and the remaining
ill-boding influences, therefore I am of good cheer; and as the hour to
tie the matrimonial knot is quite propitious, I request your lordship
quickly to perform the ceremony.”[234]

As soon as the Kází heard about a wedding, he put the turban of
covetousness on his head, took the rosary of thanksgivings into his hand,
and went with the carpenter to the house of the latter. When he entered
he exclaimed: “Open, O opener of portals!” but when his eyes alighted
on the bride and he recognised in her the mistress of his own haram, a
thousand suspicions beset him; nevertheless he composed himself as well
as he was able, but could not help thinking: “This is a very wonderful
business; and I have never seen two persons resembling each other so
much.” While he thus plunged the pen of his mind into the inkstand of
meditation and amazement, the carpenter exclaimed: “My lord, the time is
passing, and what is the use of delaying?” The Kází looked up, and again
scrutinised the lady, but found no difference between her and his wife,
so he cried: “Praise be to God! There is no power nor strength but by
his will!” Then putting his hand to his breast he said: “What memory is
this?” and arose from his place. The carpenter asked: “O Kází, where are
you going?” The Kází replied: “My good fellow, my ‘Key of prosperity’
has been left in the house, and there is a prayer in it that must be
recited before pronouncing the matrimonial formula, in order to procure
the mutual enjoyment of the newly married couple.” Accordingly he went
to the house, but was forestalled by his spouse, who entered it through
the secret passage and lay down on her bed. When the Kází arrived and
saw his wife in this position he said: “I ask pardon of God from all
that displeases him in words, deeds, thoughts, or intentions! To what
a strange suspicion have I given way! May God forgive me!” His wife,
on hearing these exclamations, yawned and turned from one side to the
other, and said: “Violet, did I not tell you to allow no one to enter
this room, so that I might repose for a time?” Quoth the Kází: “Beloved
partner! there is no stranger. Excuse me, and pardon me for having
harboured evil suspicions concerning thee.” The wife replied: “Perhaps
you have become mad!”

The Kází again returned to the carpenter’s house, but his wife had
preceded him and was sitting in her former place. As soon as he looked at
her the same suspicions overwhelmed him, and he exclaimed in amazement:
“O Lord of glory! I have fallen into a strange predicament, and am, as it
were, between two screws of the horns of a dilemma that presses me, on
the one hand, quickly to perform the ceremony, and, on the other hand,
rather to defer it.” Then said the carpenter: “My lord Kází, I see you
despondent and hesitating in this business; and although you ought not
to expect anything from me because I am your neighbour, yet I will give
you these thousand dínars to hasten your proceedings, because the time
is elapsing.” No sooner did the Kází see the money than he put it at
once into his pocket and began: “In the name of God, the Merciful, the
Clement,” and continued to read the matrimonial formula till he arrived
at the words, “I marry,” when he perceived a black mole on the corner of
his wife’s lip, which he had so often kissed. He felt uneasy, and the
sugar of the thousand dínars was bitter in the palate of his greediness,
he again lowered his head into the collar of meditation and said within
himself: “O assembly of genii and men! are you able to withdraw
yourselves from the precincts of heaven and earth?” The carpenter
exclaimed: “O Kází, I really do not know the reason of your delay, nor
from the fountain of what pretence the water of this procrastination
is gushing.” The Kází smiled and thus replied: “O carpenter, we are
the sureties of legal affairs, the successors of the prophets, and the
pontiffs of the laws and canons of the ways of guidance. In every affair
that we perform we must attentively consider a thousand subtleties, lest
we should become liable to blame in the next world by the commission of
a fault. Why are you in such haste? All affairs in this world succeed
only by civility and patience, and not by confusion and impatience.
Thou resemblest that shepherd who was one day engaged in pasturing his
flock and became very thirsty. As a village was very near, he left his
sheep and entered it to look for water. He happened to pass near a tree
under the shadow of which a schoolmaster was teaching a crowd of boys.
After looking for a while, he perceived the teacher reposing and issuing
orders, and the boys humbly obeying him in all things and occupied in
melodiously rehearsing their lessons. This sort of employment disgusted
the shepherd with his own calling, and he thought: ‘While I am able to
learn this trade, I do not see why I should spend my whole life to no
profit by running about the fields with a lot of sheep. I must change
the profession of a shepherd for that of a schoolmaster, and then I
shall spend my days in comfort, like this man.’ Accordingly he stepped
forward and said: ‘My good master, I have a great inclination to learn
your business; please instruct me in it.’ When the master looked at the
figure and aspect of the shepherd, he was astonished, and saw he was an
ignorant fellow who had no capacity. For the sake of fun, however, he
took a piece of paper, wrote the alphabet on it, and said to the man:
‘Be seated, and read this.’ The shepherd asked: ‘Why do you not teach
me from these large books?’ Said the master: ‘You are but a beginner,
and you cannot read books till you have learned the alphabet.’ Quoth the
shepherd: ‘Master, what letters are you speaking about? Please fill me
with them now, for my flock roams about without a shepherd, and I have
no time to sit down and learn the alphabet.’ The schoolmaster smiled
at this and drove the shepherd away. O carpenter,” continued the Kází,
“do not fancy every business to be easy. Now I meditate and study how
to divide the possessions of a certain wealthy man, who died yesterday,
among thirty-two men who have inherited them. This has just occurred to
my mind, and I was engaged in multiplication and division.” Then the
Kází again glanced at the lady, and beginning to feel uneasy arose once
more. The carpenter asked: “O Kází, what fancy is moving you now, and
causes you to look so confused?” Said the Kází: “This transaction is one
of the greatest importance according to the religious law. It cannot
be performed unless after the general ablution, about the completeness
of which a doubt has just arisen in my mind; therefore I must return to
my house and renew it.” The carpenter answered: “You can wash yourself
here.” Quoth the Kází: “No, by God! I never perform my ablutions with
water which I have not seen before, and I have all the arrangements for
purification in my house.”

The Kází returned to his house accordingly, but his wife went before him
through the passage, and was reading a book when he entered her room.
He exclaimed: “I ask forgiveness from God, and I repent of all my sins
and transgressions.” The lady looked at him in astonishment, and said:
“This day I perceive the neck of your intellect confined in the halter
of a lunatic fit. How many times have you come and again gone away after
holding a soliloquy as madmen are wont to do! If you have become subject
to such a distemper, and do not take the proper steps to cure it, I shall
not be your nurse.” Said the Kází: “O Bilkís[235] of the compact of
prudence and innocence, to-day I have indulged in a suspicion regarding
thee: I have made a mistake—forgive me!” The wife answered: “The worst
people in the world are those who indulge in evil imputations, and those
of yours must be expiated.” She then gave a few dínars to Violet, bidding
her distribute them among the poor as a penitential expiation. After this
the Kází took an apple from his pocket, cut it in twain, and gave one
moiety to his wife, saying: “Though apples have many qualities, the chief
of them is to increase conjugal love: I intend to go to the bath.”

Putting the other half of the apple in his pocket, the Kází returned
to the house of the carpenter. His wife preceded him as usual, and sat
down in her place. When he drew near he saw the half of the apple in her
hand, and was greatly amazed, but said nothing, for fear of offending
the carpenter, who cried out: “O Kází, tell me for God’s sake what you
have to say, and why is all this going and coming and all this delay?
If this affair is disagreeable to you, I shall bring Shaykh Jahtás,
or Mullah Allam-Abhuda, the servant of the college, to perform the
matrimonial ceremony. O Kází, I expected more kindness from you as a
neighbour. This business is not worth so much haggling about, and if you
wish more than the thousand, take these five hundred dínars.” When the
Kází saw this additional sum of money he was overpowered by covetousness
and exclaimed: “I take refuge with God from the lapidated Satan![236]
I marry and couple!” Then his eye again alighted on the countenance
of his wife and he saw she wore the ruby necklace which he had bought
for three thousand dínars. He shook his head and said: “Every now and
then I must somehow stop: I do not know what is again distracting my
attention,” and he glanced once more at his wife. Quoth the carpenter:
“O Kází, your amorous looks have convinced me that your desires are
centred in the possession of this lady, for your eyes constantly wander
over her countenance. If this be the case, do not make a secret of it,
that we may consult her opinion on the matter.” The Kází thought within
himself, that, as the carpenter was an ignorant and illiterate man, he
might play a trick on him, and recite something else instead of the
marriage formula, so that, if his suspicions proved to be well-founded,
he might be able to annul the marriage. So he sat down on his haunches
and recited: “Iazghára, Iajargára Aftanys Salanká, Dáma Talkuvára,” etc.
Then he spoke to the carpenter: “Say, ‘I agree.’” But as the carpenter
had frequently heard the marriage formula, he answered: “Kází, this is
a formula read to country fellows and retainers. I have given thee one
thousand five hundred dínars to marry me like one of the grandees. I am
not a child to be thus played with: this formula is not worth twenty
dínars. Either return me the money or recite the proper manly formula.”
Quoth the Kází: “You are but a working man, carpenter, why then do you
entertain such high pretensions? I have just now read to you the formula
which I made use of in marrying Mullah Abdullah, the householder in the
market, yet you want a formula used for grandees, scholars, and judges,
and to give me a headache!” The carpenter replied: “I also covet science
and distinction.” Said the Kází: “How will you convince me of that?” The
carpenter continued: “I know the story of the ‘Sun and Moon.’[237] I have
heard the tale of ‘Sayf ul-Mulúk and Badya’á ul-Jumál.’ I have likewise
seen ‘The Road to the Mosque.’ My father used to pass once every day
near the school-house of Mullah Namatullah Kylak.” Said the Kází: “There
is no science or perfection higher than this. I did not know the degree
or limit which thou hast attained.”[238] In consequence of this irony
of the Kází, the carpenter put a feather in his bonnet[239] and said:
“There is no excuse.” Once more the Kází attempted to begin the formula,
but when he looked at the half of the apple that was in the lady’s
hand, he cried: “Woman, give me that half-apple!” She complied, and the
Kází took the other half from his pocket, and by placing the two halves
together he found them to fit exactly. The carpenter exclaimed: “Kází,
apparently some jugglery is going on here! What delusion are you subject
to every moment?” The Kází replied: “I have done this simply to produce
conjugal love between you.” Then he again rose and wanted to go to his
house for the purpose of verifying his surmises, but the lady turned to
the carpenter and said: “Foolish man, hast thou brought me here to marry
me, or to make a laughing-stock of me? I have never before seen such
proceedings. I think his eyes have become subject to [the disease called]
pearl-water.” The Kází took no notice of these remarks, but hastened
to his house, where his wife met him with these words: “O Kází, thou
resemblest those people who have the pearl-water in their eyes.” Said
he: “There is no God but _the_ God! The other woman has spoken the same
thing. Tell me at all events what is the distemper called pearl-water.”
His wife answered: “Pearl-water is a humour caused by heavy particles in
the stomach rising into the head, and from thence descending into the
eyelids, which injures the eyes, so that different persons appear to be
the same, and cannot be distinguished from each other. If this malady is
not cured it degenerates into blindness.” Quoth the Kází: “Perhaps this
is because I have not kept my depraved appetite in subjection. Several
days ago I was with the superintendent of police in the house of Kávas
the Armenian, who had died; we went there to take an inventory of his
goods and chattels for the Amír. The children of Khoja Kávas had, by way
of a sweetmeat, something baked in hog’s blood; as I was hungry and this
food happened to be delicious, I ate somewhat freely of it; and as it had
been prepared from the property of the deceased man, it may possibly have
had its consequences.”[240]

A third time the Kází returned to the carpenter’s house, and when he
beheld his wife, and glanced stealthily at her, the lady was wroth
and said to the carpenter: “This fellow is every now and then casting
amorous glances at me, and through my connection with thee I have lost my
reputation. Either drive him away or forfeit my company.” Quoth the Kází:
“Respectable virgin and honourable lady, in all matters consideration is
useful.” The carpenter lost his patience and exclaimed: “You have nearly
killed me with your folly and loquacity. I do not wish any longer for
marriage. If thou hast considered this woman worthy of thy haram, why
hast thou for so long a time been undecided?” Whilst the carpenter was
thus talking, they heard the voice of the muezzin, and he exclaimed:
“Alas, it is noon[241]—the propitious hour has elapsed!” Said the Kází:
“You are a carpenter; you know how to handle the saw and the axe, to
make windows and doors. But what idea have you of the rotation of the
spheres—about good and bad stars and hours? This science belongs to our
profession.” Then taking an almanac from his pocket and opening it, he
said: “The moon is a luminary of quick motion. Yesterday she entered the
sign of the Balance, but has so quickly travelled through the degrees
that she feels tired to-day and is still reposing, and will not travel
to-morrow. From hour to hour till to-morrow, inclusive, wedding dinners
and other feasts are propitious. I shall now go to my house and prepare
a medicine for the pearl-water of my eyes, as it will probably hinder me
from studying.” But the carpenter and the lady seized the Kází, one on
either side, and said: “Mayhap the affairs of this world are only a play!
By Allah, we shall not let thee go ere thou hast tied the matrimonial
knot.” Quoth the Kází: “Let me go, else I shall immediately write a
mandate for the capital punishment of both of you.” They rejoined: “May
the columns of the house of Khoja Ratyl, the merchant, fall upon you, if
you do us the least harm!” Upon this the Kází turned his face upwards
and prayed: “O Judge of the court of justice of destiny, protect me
from the evil of all mad persons and from all malefactors, and grant me
health and peace! Thou judgest—thou art the sovereign Judge!” As he had
no alternative now but to marry the lady to the carpenter, and as at
that time it was customary for the bride to kiss the hand of the Kází
after the termination of the ceremony, the lady stepped forward for this
purpose; but the Kází was so anxious to mark his wife for identification
afterwards, that he struck her such a blow on the cheek with his clenched
hand as to cause her to bleed profusely. Then he ran into his own house,
where he found his wife disfiguring her face and crying out: “I renounce
such an adulterous husband, who is carrying on an intrigue with the
carpenter’s wife.” She and her maids then took him by the throat and
pulled off his turban, and he fled into the street. The carpenter, who
had heard the noise, came out, and seeing him with his head uncovered
placed his own turban on it, and said: “O Kází, women are of an imperfect
understanding, and quarrels between husbands and wives have taken place
at all times. If you have lost your senses, this can easily be remedied
by taking up your lodging for a few days in a madhouse, until your spouse
repents of her deed.” And so the Kází went to repose himself in a lunatic

       *       *       *       *       *

The secret-knowing bulbul of the musical-hall of narratives, namely, the
pen, thus continues its melody: After the wife of the Kází had severed
the robe of his conjugal authority with the scissors of deceit, she again
stitched it with the needle of fraud, and invested with it the bosom of
the wretched Kází’s imbecility by means of the above-narrated tricks.
Then she sent word to her two accomplices, that she had drawn the bow of
machination to its utmost extent by the exertion of her skill, that she
had with the arrow thereof hit the target of the conditions stipulated,
and that now the field was free to them for the display of their cunning.

_The Trick of the Bazár-Master’s Wife._

The blandly-ambling pea-fowl of the pen continues the narrative as
follows: Now it was the turn of the bazár-master’s wife, whose tricks
were of a kind to instruct Iblís in the laws of deceit and fraud.[242]
She began to weigh all kinds of stratagems in the balance of meditation,
to enable her to decide what course of roguery would be best for her
object. She happened to have a nurse who had also attained the highest
degree of intrigue by the instigations of Iblís, and was her assistant
in all her devices; so calling this woman, and anointing with the balsam
of flattery the limbs of her attachment, she said: “O beloved and kind
mother, the ornaments and pictures of my house of fraud and cunning are
the offspring of thy instructions. It is long since the bond of amity
was torn between me and my husband. In spite of all my endeavours, I am
unable to cope with his sagacity; but I trust in thy affection, and hope
that we shall be able to arrange this matter by thy assistance.” The
nurse answered: “Ornament of the tribe of the lovely!

    My soul is longing and my eyes waiting,
    Both to be sacrificed at thy behest.

As long as the child of the spirit remains in the cradle of my body, and
the milk of motion and rest circulates in the members of it, I cannot
avoid obeying thy commands. I sincerely comply with all thy orders.” Then
said the wife of the bazár-master: “As I was one day coming from the
bath, the son of a banker was walking in the lane. And when the smoke
of the torch of my tenderness reached his nostrils, he fell from the
courser of the intellect upon the ground of insensibility and followed me
everywhere with groans and sighs; but the vanity of seeing myself beloved
allowed me not to sprinkle the rose-water of a glance upon the face of
his expectation. When he arrived at the door of my house, he sobbed, and
then went away. I know that the bird of his heart is captivated by the
pursuit after the grain of this phantom, and is imprisoned in the meshes
of exclusion. I want thee to go to him and convey to him the following
message: ‘From that day when the chamberlain of carelessness hindered
me from admitting thee to the intimacy of an interview, I dreamed every
night fearful dreams, and am to this day at all times so much plunged
into the drowning waters of uneasiness, that it has become plain to me
that all this is the consequence of thy disappointment and exclusion. Now
I wish to remedy my incivility by promenading a little in the gardens
of thy love and attachment. As the bazár-master will be engaged till
the morning in some business, the house will not be encumbered by his
presence. So put on a woman’s veil, bring wine and the requisites for
amusement, and come hither, that we may sweeten our palates with the
honey of meeting each other.’”

After the lady had despatched her nurse to the banker’s son, the
bazár-master arrived, and his wife thus addressed him: “Beloved husband,
to-morrow, one of the principal ladies of the town, whose acquaintance
I have made at the bath, will come to me on a visit. As it is for my
interest to receive her with all possible courtesy, you must remain in
the town-hall to-morrow until evening. Send in the supplies required for
a handsome entertainment, and please to arrange all in such a manner as
we shall not reap shame from anything.” The bazár-master lighted the lamp
of acquiescence in the assembly of compliance and said: “Let it be so.”

When the banker of morn sat down in the shop of the horizon, and when the
unalloyed gold of the sun stamped in the mint of creation with the legend
of brilliancy, and the light began to ascend towards the meridian of the
sphere, the son of the banker put on costly garments, perfumed himself,
and threw over his clothes a large veil, and taking under it a flask of
ruby-coloured wine, proceeded with a thousand joyful expectations to the
mansion of his mistress, who had, like the crescent moon on a festive
eve, gone to meet him with open arms as far as the vestibule of the
house, saying:

    “To-day my moon visits me with joy,
    And renews the covenant of love with his light.

Thou art welcome! For the rays of thy sun-like countenance have made
my humble cottage the object of jealousy of the palaces of Europe, and
delightful, like Paradise!

    Come! For without thee I cannot endure life:
    The eyelids of my repose meet not sleep without thee.
    I wish not for the water of immortality through Khizr:
    Thy cheeks are not less to me than immortality.”

The lady took him into the interior apartments, divested him of the veil,
threw the hand of amity over the neck of his affection, begged his pardon
for her past offence, entangled with kindness the feet of his heart in
the stirrup-leathers of hope, then entirely undressed him, and said:
“Rest thyself comfortably in this secret apartment until I go and bring
the requisites for company and music, when we shall enjoy ourselves.”
She went out and said to her female attendants: “When I go in again,
you must call the bazár-master into the house and say: ‘Our lady has
brought a strange man, with whom she is amusing herself and drinking
wine.’” Then she returned to the young man and kept him company. In the
meantime her husband was informed of what was going on in his house, and
becoming greatly excited, sent in a servant to inquire. The lady said
to the youth, in seeming perplexity: “This coming of my husband is not
without a cause—perhaps he has a notion that you are here.” The youth,
trembling with terror, said: “Alas, I shall lose my life through this
affair; for the bazár-master is jealous, and will injure me.” Then the
lady opened a chest and said to the young man: “Conceal yourself in this
chest until I see what will come of the business;” and having locked
the box and put away the youth’s clothes, she met her husband, who was
inflamed like an oven. Throwing her arms round his neck, she exclaimed:
“Darling of my soul! I see thee greatly discomposed and confused—what
is it?” He replied: “My reason is unwilling to put faith in what I have
heard, and I want you to tell me the truth.” The lady smiled and said:
“What thou hast heard is quite true. The lamp of my heart was for a long
time blazing in the assembly of love towards a young man; the palm-tree
of his imagination likewise bore the fruit of attachment to me; and now I
have brought him and am in his company. Love is innate in human nature,
but has never manifested itself between me and thee. Hast thou not
heard of Laylá and Majnún, or read the story of Yúzuf and Zulaykhá? Is
there anyone in the world who has not felt the pangs of love? He in the
mother-shell of whose heart affection finds no refuge has indeed reaped
no fruit from the spring of life.

    Love is the ornament of the rose-grove of the heart;
    It is the guide and leader to each mansion.
    The breast is a lamp whose flame is love;
    The heart is a shell, and love the pearl in it.
    The lamp without a flame is the grave;
    Without a pearl the shell has no light.

O bazár-master!” she continued, “there is no man or woman who has not
tasted the pleasures of this passion; it is inherent in life, and its
exhilarating breezes invigorate the rose-garden of politeness. There is
no animate being whose nostrils have not been perfumed by the fragrance
of the garden of love: perhaps I have no heart, and am no human being?
How long shall I dwell with thee? In all circumstances a change of
climate becomes necessary. My unfortunate friend has been long prostrated
on the bed of sickness for the love which he bears to me, and on account
of his exclusion. Humanity and compassion are the chief corner-stones of
Islám, and what shall I answer on the day of resurrection if I do not act
in compliance with these two duties? Hast thou not heard that a mendicant
must not be sent away unrelieved, and that if an ant creep away with one
grain the stores will not be diminished?

    No harm befalls the granary
    If a poor ant obtains half a grain.

A hundred thousand persons drink water from one fountain, and several
people eat fruit from one date-tree. What deficiency will be entailed
upon the rose-grove of my tenderness if the odour of a rose bring
tranquility to the nostrils of an unfortunate man? Quench the thirst of
a thirsty man with a drop of water, and rescue a fainting one from the
labyrinth of distress; for good acts are a dam to misfortunes. Be not
melancholy, O bazár-master, for in the banquet of my existence the plates
of my tender delicacies are so numerous that a thousand persons like
thyself may be satisfied by them for many years.”

The bazár-master said, with astonishment: “Worthless, foolish, and vain
woman, what senseless words are you saying?” She replied: “I swear, by
the gratitude due for thy affection and friendship, that everything I
said was only fun and dissimulation. But if you have any doubts on the
subject come and see for yourself.” She then led the way, and her husband
followed her until they reached her chamber. When he beheld the youth’s
clothes, the arrangements for drinking, and the decorations, he began to
blaze up like a flame, and to ferment like a tub of wine—in short, he was
quite beside himself, and asked: “Where is the young man?” She answered:
“He is in that chest. I have concealed him in it, and if you do not
believe it, take the key—open and look.” The bazár-master had no sooner
taken the key than his wife burst into laughter, clapped her hands, and
exclaimed: “I remember, but you forget!” Her husband threw down the key,
and said: “Miserable woman, you have destroyed my patience. Was it worth
while thus to trifle with my affection?” With these words he left the
house; but during the conversation the young man was like one suspended
between death and life. When it was evening the lady opened the chest,
and said to him: “Leave this place quickly, and remove the spectacle of
this intention from your eyes, for you were near being invested with the
robe of a lover.” The young man thanked God for having preserved his
life, and fled precipitately.[243]

       *       *       *       *       *

After the bird of the bazár-master’s wife had laid this egg in the nest
of deceit, she informed the spouse of the superintendent of police that
she had also spread her net and captured the coveted game; and that now,
the field being free, she was prepared to see what fruit the tree of her
friend’s accomplishments would bear.

_The Trick of the Wife of the Superintendent of Police._

The narrator of this tale causes the rose-bud of his rhetoric to
blossom from the dew of composition as follows: When the wife of the
superintendent of police was apprised that her turn had come, she
revolved and meditated for some time what trick she was to play off upon
her lord, and after coming to a conclusion she said to him one evening:
“To-morrow I wish that we should both enjoy ourselves at home without
interruption, and I mean to prepare some cakes.” He replied: “Very well,
my dear; I have longed for such an occasion.” The lady had a servant
who was very obedient and always covered with the mantle of attachment
to her. Next morning she called this lad and said to him: “I have long
contemplated the Hyacinth[244] grove of thy symmetrical stature. I know
that thou travelest constantly and faithfully on the road of compliance
with all my wishes, and that thou seekest to serve me. I have a little
business which I wish thee to do for me.” The lad answered: “I shall be
happy to comply.” Then the lady gave him a thousand dínars and said: “Go
to the convent which is in our neighbourhood, give this money to one of
the Kalandars,[245] and say: ‘A prisoner whom the Amír had surrendered
to the police escaped last night. He resembles thee greatly; and as the
superintendent of police is unable to give account of his prisoner to
the Amír, he has despatched a man to take thee instead of the escaped
criminal. I have compassion for thee and mean to rescue thee. Take this
sum of money; give me thy dress, and flee from this town; for if thou
remainest till the morning thou wilt be subject to torture and lose thy

The lad acted as he was ordered; brought the Kalandar’s garments and
handed them to his mistress. When it was morning the lady said to her
husband: “I know you have long wished to eat sweetmeats, and, if you
will allow me, I will make some to-day.” He said: “Very well.” His wife
then made all things ready and began to bake the sweetmeats, when the
superintendent of police said: “Last night a theft was committed in
such a place and I sat up late to extort confessions; and as I have had
a sleepless night, I feel tired and wish to repose a little.” The lady
answered: “Very well;” so her husband reclined on the pillow of rest;
and when the sweetmeats were ready she took a portion, and after putting
an opiate into one she roused him, saying: “How long will you sleep?
This is a day of feasting and pleasure, not of sleep and laziness. Lift
up your head and see if I have made the sweets according to your taste.”
He raised his head and ate a piece of the hot cake and presently a deep
sleep overcame him. The lady at once undressed her husband and put on
him the Kalandar’s garments, and the slave-boy shaved his beard and made
tattoo marks on his body.

When night had set in the lady called to the slave-boy: “Hyacinth, take
the superintendent on thy back and carry him to the convent in the place
of that Kalandar, and should he wish to return home in the morning do
not allow him.” The lad obeyed; and towards morning the superintendent
recovered his senses a little, but as the opiate had made his palate very
bitter he became extremely thirsty. He fancied he was in his own house
and bawled out: “Narcissus,[246] bring water.” The other Kalandars awoke,
and after hearing several shouts of this kind they concluded he was under
the effects of bhang and said: “Poor fellow! The narcissus is in the
garden. This is the convent of sufferers, and there are green garments
enough here. Arise and sober thyself; for the morning and harbinger of
benefits, as well as of the acquisition of victuals for subsistence,
is approaching.” When the superintendent heard these words he thought
they were in a dream, for he had not yet fully recovered his senses. He
sat quietly, but was amazed on beholding the vaults and ceiling of the
convent. He got up, looked at the clothes in which he was dressed, and
at the marks tattooed on his body, and began to doubt whether he was
awake or asleep. He washed his face, and perceived that the caravan of
his mustachios had likewise departed from the plain of his countenance.
In this state of perplexity he went out of the monastery and proceeded
to his house. There his wife and servants had made their arrangements
and were expecting his arrival. Approaching the door and knocking for
admission, Hyacinth demanded: “Whom seekest thou, O Kalandar?” “I want
to enter the house.” Quoth the slave-boy: “Evidently thou hast taken
thy morning draught of bhang more copiously than usual, since thou
hast thus foolishly mistaken the road to thy convent. Depart! This is
not the place in which vagabond Kalandars are harboured. This is the
mansion of the superintendent of the police, and if the símurgh should
look uncivilly at this place from his fastness in the west of Mount
Káf,[247] the wings of his impertinence would be at once singed.” The
superintendent replied: “What nonsense is this thou art speaking? Get out
of my way, for I do not relish thy imbecile prattle.” But when he would
have entered, Hyacinth dealt him a blow on the shoulder with a bludgeon,
which the superintendent returned with a box on the ear, and they began
to wrestle together. Just then the lady and her slave-girls rushed forth
from the rear and assailed the superintendent with sticks and stones,
shouting: “This Kalandar wishes in broad daylight to force his way into
the house of the superintendent, who is unfortunately sick, else he would
have hanged the rascal.” By this time all the neighbours were assembled
before the house, and on seeing the Kalandar’s shameless proceedings they
exclaimed: “Look at that impudent Kalandar, who wants forcibly to enter
the house of the superintendent!” Ultimately the crowd amounted to more
than five hundred persons, and the superintendent was put to flight,
pursued by all the boys of the town, who pelted him with stones.

At a distance of three farsangs from the town was a village, where the
superintendent concealed himself in a corner of the mosque. In the
evenings he went from house to house and begged for food to sustain life,
until his beard grew again and the tattoo marks began to disappear.
Whenever any one inquired for the superintendent at his house, the
answer was, that the gentleman was sick. After a month had passed, the
grief of separation and the misery of his condition had again drawn the
superintendent back to the city. He went to the monastery because fear
hindered him from going to his own house. His wife happened one day to
catch a glimpse of him from a window, and perceived him sitting in the
same dress with a company of Kalandars. She felt compassion for him, and
thought: “He has had enough of this!” Making a loaf and putting an opiate
into it, she said to the slave-boy: “When all the Kalandars are asleep,
go and place this loaf under the head of the superintendent,” which he
did accordingly. When the superintendent awoke during the night and found
the loaf, he supposed it had been placed there by one of his companions,
and ate part of it and fell into a deep sleep. Some hours afterwards, the
slave-boy, as directed by his mistress, went to the convent, and taking
the superintendent on his back carried him home.

When it was morning the lady took off the Kalandar’s dress from her
husband and clothed him in his own garments, and then began to bake
sweetmeats as on the former occasion. After some time the gentleman began
to move, and his wife exclaimed: “O superintendent, do not sleep so much.
I have told you that we are to spend this day in joy and festivity, and
it was not right of you to pass the time in this lazy manner. Lift up
your head and see the beautiful sweetmeats I have baked for you.” When
the superintendent opened his eyes and saw himself dressed in his own
clothes, the rose-bush of his amazement again brought forth the flowers
of astonishment, and he cried: “God be praised! What has happened to
me?” He sat up, and said: “Wife, things have occurred to me which I can
hardly describe.” Quoth the lady: “From your uneasy motions during sleep,
it appears that you have had very strange dreams.” “Strange dreams!”
echoed the husband. “From the moment I lay down I have experienced the
most extraordinary adventures.” The lady rejoined: “Assuredly! Last night
you ate food which disagreed with your stomach, and to-day its vapours
seem to have ascended into your brains, causing you all this distress.”
Said he: “You are right. Last evening I was with a party at the house of
Serjeant Bahman, where I heartily partook of a pillau, and it has surely
been the cause of all my trouble.”

       *       *       *       *       *

When the three companions in the lists of deceit had executed their
different stratagems, they went according to arrangement to the same
bath, in order to state their cases to the old hag who had promised to
award the ring to the most cunning of the three ladies; but to their
surprise and chagrin they learned that she had departed to another
country, thus outwitting them all, and kept the coveted ring for herself.


In days of yore and times of old there was a merchant in Yaman of the
name of Khoja Bashír, who was adorned with all good qualities. He enjoyed
the intimacy of the king’s society, and the star of his good luck was
so much in the ascendant with the king’s favour that the splendour of
the lamp of his presence was constantly illuming the courtly assembly
of royalty, which could never for a moment dispense with it. The king
was accustomed to avail himself of his advice in all grave and subtle
affairs, and rewarded him with many favours. But his majesty had a Vazír
of an envious disposition, the merchandise of whose unhappy temper was
neither current nor acceptable in the warehouse of humane qualities. This
Vazír hated Khoja Bashír because he was superior to himself in ability
and was much in the king’s intimacy. He thus reasoned with himself: “It
is probable that the king will become alienated from me and confer the
vazírate upon Khoja Bashír. It is every man’s duty to look after his own
affairs and endeavour to remove his enemies. While Khoja Bashír continues
to drink from the cup of life and dress in the robe of royal favours,
the colour of distress will never be removed from the face of the sun
of my quietude, nor can my heart rest for a moment in peace. Therefore
I must make the utmost efforts and concoct a plan by which Khoja Bashír
will not only lose the regard of the king but be either put to death or
exiled from this city.” Day and night this purpose was uppermost in his
mind, until on one occasion he happened to be alone with the sultan, and
availing himself of the opportunity he said to his majesty:

    “O king of high lineage and great power,
    By thy existence the throne’s glory is honoured!
    May the flag of thy prosperity and grandeur always adorn the sphere!
    The very dust of thy court brightens the eye of dignity!

As, according to the canons of government and the administration of
affairs, vazírs are called the keys of the treasury of the regulations
of business, and the bankers of the good and evil transactions of the
governments of honoured potentates, I venture to trouble your majesty
about a matter which has taken place in opposition to the customs of
obedience.” The king said: “Speak,” and the Vazír thus proceeded: “Two
things injure the edifice and the dignity of government: one is to
lightly esteem honoured and respected persons, and the other is to exalt
those who are mean and nameless. Every one who seeks the shadow of the
humaí of prosperity and of royalty must for several reasons keep in mind
these two things. Khoja Bashír, the merchant, who is placed on the upper
seat of your majesty’s proximity and regard, is a man of low extraction,
a criminal, and notorious for his immorality. His wife is an adulteress,
who has stepped quite beyond the pale of modesty, and scruples not to
be present and to roam in all assemblies and crowds and associate with
all sorts of vagabonds and profligate persons. And it is a matter of
astonishment that, with all your perfections and wisdom, your majesty
should have fallen into this heedlessness.” As the king had many times
tried the character of Khoja Bashír on the touchstone of examination and
experience, and had never discovered a flaw in the gem of his essence
and qualities, he was amazed, and, refusing to assent to the accusations
of the Vazír, he said to him: “It is scarcely possible that I should
associate with a man of that description. I have found him perfect, and
the pure gold of his morals void of the dross and alloy of vices. What
you say about his character is far from probable, and you must establish
your asseveration by witnesses and proofs, that I may believe it, else I
shall punish you with the utmost severity.” The Vazír now regretted and
repented of what he had said, but asked the king for a week’s respite;
and during that time his mind was day and night wandering like a pen over
the plain of composition, and meditating by what ruse he might strike the
lightning of defamation into the granary of the modesty of Khoja Bashír’s

In that city lived a deceitful old hag, who was well skilled in all
sorts of cunning tricks. The Vazír sent for her, and, after anointing
all the limbs of her expectations with the oil of promises, he said to
her: “There is an engagement between me and the king, and for my purpose
I require you to bring me, in any way you possibly can, some token from
Khoja Bashír’s wife.” The old crone answered: “By my soul! I shall
endeavour my utmost to do you this piece of service.” Next day she put on
an old tattered dress, and assumed the appearance of a poor and destitute
creature; and going to the house of Khoja Bashír, as if to beg, wished
to enter, but the porter repulsed her, upon which she exclaimed: “O
accursed one! hast thou not heard that

    ‘Whoever impedes the begging of the poor
    Is a mean wretch, who will go to hell’?

What loss wilt thou suffer if I go into the prosperous house of the Khoja
and the ant of my hope obtain one grain of profit from the storehouse of
his succour?” She again put forth the foot of effort to gain admittance,
but the porter held his staff before her, and said: “The Khoja is at
present with the king, and I cannot allow any person to enter in his
absence.” Hereupon the old woman threw herself upon the ground, and
screamed: “The doorkeeper has killed me!” She bit and wounded her limbs,
besmeared them with blood, and cried: “Alas, my little ones will be
orphans!” When the wife of the Khoja heard the clamour of the hag she
sent the eunuchs out, and when they saw an old woman lying on the ground,
apparently in the agony of death, they asked her: “Who art thou, and what
has happened to thee?” She replied: “I am a poor, weak, old woman, and
have come to the prosperous mansion of the Khoja in the hope of obtaining
assistance, but in consequence of my unfounded expectations my life has
fallen a prey to the winds of annihilation from the beating inflicted
on me by the doorkeeper.” The eunuchs blamed the porter, saying:
“Unfortunate man! The removal of misfortunes and the attainment of
high degrees are connected with the advent [and relief] of mendicants.
Art thou not ashamed of having so unmercifully stricken this old
beggar-woman?” The porter swore to the untruthfulness of her assertions,
and related the whole matter, after which the eunuchs communicated the
facts to the wife of the Khoja, who was very kind-hearted, and said to
them: “Bring the poor creature in, by all means, that I may investigate
her case; for destitute persons and darveshes are the caravan of God’s
mercy and pity, and to injure them kindles the flame of his anger.”

The eunuchs wrapped the old hag in a carpet and carried her before the
Khoja’s wife, who at once applied to her nostrils different perfumes,
such as castor, sandal, and aloe. After a while the old crone opened her
eyes and let loose the general of the caravan of deceit, namely, her
tongue, in praises and good wishes for the lady, saying: “Noble lady,
may you obtain the approbation of God, and may your future circumstances
be still more prosperous! Had my weak limbs not been strengthened by
the balsam of your kindness, the stamina of my life would have been
disturbed by the grasp of death in consequence of the ill-treatment
which I received from the doorkeeper, and my little children would have
been afflicted by the bitter poison of becoming orphans.” Then she began
freely to weep and lament, saying: “O treacherous Destiny! thou hast
thrown me into the heart-burning flames of the death of Khoja Távus, my
husband. Was it not enough to deprive me of so great a blessing, and
to subject me to the trials of poverty, and to compel me to seek for a
precarious maintenance for my children, and to induce me to do things
of which my slaves would have been ashamed? O noble lady, I was a woman
of honour and reputation, and of a very high family, but the reverses
of Fortune have deprived me of my husband and property, and driven me
away from the mansion of tranquility and comfort. Every day a thousand
destitute and worthy persons were supplied from the table of my bounty.
But one day I sent a mendicant away empty-handed, and on that account
the torrent of diminution has overthrown the castle of my affluence, and
reduced me to this needy condition. The poor are the spies of the palace
of monotheism: to give them alms, and to treat them well, is an occasion
of the increase of the vernal garden of God’s favour; but to disappoint
them brings on the destruction of the mansion of comfort and life.

    If thou debar a beggar of aid
    Thou wilt enjoy no pleasure.
    The prayer of the mendicant
    Will preserve thee from ill luck.
    Give thy scraps to the poor,
    That thou mayest always prosper.

O respected and noble lady, the fame of Khoja Bashír’s liberal
disposition has to-day induced me to apply at this place. I came here
eagerly to obtain a morsel of your bounty; but as such an accident has
befallen me, God be praised, what other remedy is there but patience and
gratitude? What use is there to contend with Fate?”

By this address the old hag had so well sown the seeds of weeping and
lamentation in the net of incantation, and had so dexterously sung the
threnody of her sadness and poverty, that the unsuspecting bird of the
lady’s simplicity was taken in the meshes of her ruse. The lady wept, and
begged her pardon for the injuries she had received from the doorkeeper,
and said: “Wait until the Khoja returns home, and I will give thee gold
and silver enough for the comfort of the remainder of thy life, and thou
wilt not need to make any more demands on the liberality of others.
Though thou seest much property here, I am not able to dispose of it
without my husband’s permission.” The old crone waited till evening, but
the Khoja had not returned, so she said: “Honoured lady, the Khoja has
not yet come, and my little children, who know that I have taken refuge
at this threshold, are expecting to participate in his bounty.” The lady
divested herself of a robe, handed it to the old trot, and said: “This
dress is my own property; sell it and provide for your orphans, until I
get something handsome for you from the Khoja in the morning.”

The old woman took the robe and hastened with it to the house of the
Vazír, saying to him: “I have obtained an evident token from the wife
of Khoja Bashír.” The Vazír was extremely rejoiced, and proceeded that
very night to the king after the Khoja had departed to say his prayers,
and, showing the dress, said: “May the spheres always revolve according
to the will of your majesty, and may the sun of your prosperity shine
in the zenith of good fortune! Your humble servant has brought a token
of the guilt of Khoja Bashír’s wife, who often comes to me; but, in
consideration of my virtue and of the favour which I enjoy from your
majesty, as well as because of the good will I bear towards Khoja
Bashír,[248] I have always tried to dissuade her from her misconduct and
never admitted her into my house. Last night, however, for the purpose
of obtaining some proof of her guilt I sent for her; she was with me
till morning, and this is a sign of her presence. Even this evening she
came again, but I sent her away. Let this robe be shown to Khoja Bashír,
and if he should not recognise it I shall find means to give him the
particulars.” The king was greatly displeased, and the vazír took his
leave. When Khoja Bashír returned the king said nothing to him about the
affair, and the Khoja, as usual, slept in the palace. But when the belle
of the morn invested herself with the robe of dawn and seated herself in
the edifice of the Orient, the king showed the garment to Khoja Bashír,
saying: “Last night the police met a gang of thieves and took this dress
from them. I wonder whose it may be?” As soon as the Khoja’s eye alighted
on the garment he recognised it, trembled and became pale, and said: “The
dress belongs to one of your servant’s household; but as I have been for
some time in attendance on your majesty, I do not know what has happened
in my family.” Then said the king: “You vile wretch! Are you not ashamed
to keep so guilty a woman in your house, who spends every night in the
company of a fresh lover? Last night your wife was in the house of the
Vazír till morning, and this dress has been brought to me as a proof of
the fact. I am in fault to have admitted such an unprincipled fellow into
my society.” Khoja Bashír was thunder-struck; but as he had no reason to
doubt his wife’s modesty, he knew that this was a trick of the Vazír. He
tried in vain to undeceive the king, who was so excited that he at once
issued orders for his execution, and so he was taken from the palace to
the place where he was to be put to death.

The Khoja had a slave-boy who was much attached to him, and he ran to
the house and informed his master’s wife of what had happened. The lady
said: “There is no harm done. I gave away the dress in charity and for
the sake of gaining favour with the Most High; nor can the promise which
he has given with reference to the beneficent ever fail in its effects,
and he will not allow any ill to befall the Khoja.” She handed a purse
of gold to the lad and bade him give it to the executioners, to induce
them to delay carrying out the sentence on the Khoja, to which they
willingly consented, as they had received many favours from him while
he was in the king’s service. In the meantime the Khoja’s wife threw a
veil over her head and went to the palace, where she found the Vazír,
who had come to prevent any attempt that might be made to rescue the
Khoja. The lady exclaimed: “O king, I seek justice from the tyranny and
wickedness of the Vazír!” Said the king: “What injustice has the Vazír
done you?” She answered: “I am a stipendiary of grandees, and in this way
do I gain my livelihood. It is almost fifteen years since I began to wait
on the Vazír. He promised to give me nine hundred dirhams annually, but
he now presumes upon his high station and gives me nothing. Last night
when I asked him for what is due to me he threatened to have me killed.”
The Vazír was amazed, and on being questioned by the king said: “This
woman speaks what is not true. I swear by the head of your majesty that
I have never seen her nor do I know her.” Then the lady said: “He has
made a false oath by the head of his benefactor! Let him write down his
assertion, and if his treachery should become evident to your majesty
let him be duly punished.” The Vazír arose and scrutinised the face and
stature of the lady, and then wrote a declaration that he had never seen
or known this woman, and that if his assertion proved false he would
resign his life and leave his blood to be licked by the dogs. After the
Vazír had delivered this paper to the king, the lady said: “Let it be
known to the exalted mind of your majesty that I am the wife of Khoja
Bashír, the merchant, against whom this tyrannical individual, to satisfy
his hatred and envy, concocted this stratagem with reference to me. God
the Most High has said that whoever uses cunning towards another shall
also be over-reached by cunning.” She then explained the matter fully,
and added: “As the Vazír declares that he does not know me, how could I
have been with him last night?”

The king became convinced of the treachery of the Vazír, who was
overwhelmed with shame and fell, as it were, into the agonies of death.
Khoja Bashír was by the king’s order immediately brought back from the
place of execution, and his wife returned to her house. The old hag
was produced and examined, but would not confess until the instruments
of torture were brought, when she spoke as follows: “As women are of
imperfect understanding,[249] I cannot be guilty. At the instigation
of the Vazír I entered the house of the Khoja, where that virtuous and
modest lady, his wife, took off the robe from her own body and bestowed
it on me for the sake of God. Disregarding her kindness, the greediness
of my disposition induced me to transgress the straight path, in order
to obtain the reward promised to me by the Vazír.” The king caused both
the Vazír and the old hag to be suspended on the gallows. He approved
the prudent demeanour of the wife of Khoja Bashír, begged pardon of the
Khoja, and installed him into the dignity of the Vazír, whose whole
property he bestowed upon him.


There was a man in Tabríz the orbs of whose vision were deprived of the
faculty of seeing, and the stature of his circumstances had lost the robe
of wealth. He went from house to house begging and was in the habit of
chanting these verses:

    “Whoever turns his face from the road of justice,
    His breast will become a target for the shafts of misfortune.”

One day he went about according to his custom, and having stopped near a
rich man’s house, he began to beg, and also recited the above distich.
The master of the house refreshed his thirsty lips with the pleasant
shower of a gift and said: “I have often heard you chant these words;
tell me your reason for so doing.” The blind man thus replied:

“Kind and humane Sir, why do you ask me to relate to you an event which
is sad, and still rankles in my heart? My birth-place is in Syria, near
Damascus. My father in the beginning of his career was a hawker, and in
that business he considered honesty, piety, and justice as the principal
stock-in-trade of the shop of his livelihood. By the blessing of these
upright principles his condition was improved, and day by day the
darkness of his poverty was being dispelled by the lamp of prosperity;
his wealth gradually increased so much that he became a dealer in jewels,
and having with some other merchants undertaken an expedition to Bahrayn,
he bought there a great quantity of pearls and returned home. He engaged
in that business with several assistants and the star of his good fortune
was daily rising till it culminated, and he became one of the wealthiest
men in that country. The diver in the sea of Destiny extracted the pearl
of my father’s life from the shell of his existence. All his property
became mine; and having sat down in the depository of my father’s welfare
and ease, I spread like him the carpet of the self-same employment and
occupation. The tree of greediness for money had struck deep roots in my
heart; and worldliness had obtained such a complete dominion over me that
I was deprived once for all of the reins of self-control. In lucrative
speculations and mercantile transactions I took dishonesty and fraud
into my partnership; and, although I endeavoured to cover the reproving
eye of conscience with the sleeve of prohibition, I was unable to cope
with my insatiable greediness. It is considered as very mean to commence
business in the bazár before sunrise, but I was in the habit of doing
so,[250] and one day, just when I had opened my shop, there came a man
of sinister aspect, from whose face the jaundice of poverty had wiped
off the bloom of health. He began to praise God, and, having drawn from
his pocket a precious pearl, thus addressed me: “Young man, I had once
great riches and possessions, but by a sudden reverse of fortune I was
made penniless in the twinkling of an eye, and all that has remained to
me is this pearl. The destitution of my family and my own difficulties
have compelled me to offer it for sale in order to ward off other evils,
until the breeze of prosperity again begins to blow towards me.” I took
the pearl from his hand, and although it was extremely valuable and I
was astonished at its beauty, purity, and splendour, yet, influenced
by the cunning of our trade, I turned contemptuously towards the man
and said: “This pearl is not so precious as you suppose; your poverty,
however, induces me to buy it. What is the price?” Then I pretended to
busy myself with something else, but the desire to possess the pearl
had pervaded my whole being, and I was afraid lest it should become the
prey of another dealer. The man replied: “Dear friend, though you see
me now in a state of distress, there was a time when I presented many
such pearls to my friends. It is not worth while to make so much about
the sale of a single pearl, and I myself am perfectly aware of its real
value; but as I have come to your shop I should feel ashamed to go
round the others. Your own skill and knowledge are perfectly competent
to decide this matter, and you may offer me whatever you think just
and equitable.” He then handed the pearl to me once more, and though I
contended with my greediness to offer him one half of its value my wicked
nature would not consent. I drew forth twenty dirhams from my pocket and
placed them before him. He took the money, and drawing a deep sigh he
exclaimed: “What justice and humanity!” and went his way. I was highly
pleased at having thus obtained a gem for twenty dirhams which would have
been cheap at a thousand. I drew every moment the comb of complacency
over the mustachios of my shrewdness, and placed the hand of approbation
on the shoulder of my expertness, and never suspected that the day of
retribution would overtake me.

“Only two days had elapsed after this transaction when I again opened
my shop at sunrise, before any other inhabitant of the bazár had begun
to stir. I was arranging my shop when one of the principal citizens
passed on horseback, and, thrusting my head out from the door to see who
the cavalier was, the horse shied, the rider was thrown violently to
the ground and immediately expired. A crowd of attendants that followed
fell on me, beat me with sticks, and then tied my hands. The other
shopkeepers, who were unfriendly towards me on account of my greediness
of gain, began to gather round me; they heartily wished that I might
fall into some scrape, and much as I tried to explain no one paid any
attention; but one of them said: ‘The accumulation of wealth by the
unworthy and dishonest clearly points to accidents like this.’ So much
of this kind of talk passed that the majority were convinced of my
guilt, and declared that I had killed the man. The police, having tied
my hands and neck together, took me before the Amír of Damascus, who was
a rapacious man and coveted riches. He considered this as a very good
opportunity to attain his end; and the guards also said that, by the
coruscation of the Amír’s star of prosperity, this day a wonderfully
fat piece of game had fallen into their hands. No time was given me to
explain: the Amír made a sign that I should be decapitated. Some of the
bystanders, however, pleaded for mercy, and I was fined a thousand gold

“By the depredation of this misfortune I was mulcted of more than half
of my property, and, although the loins of my patience had been crushed
by the burden of this loss, I again spread out on all sides the net of
acquisition, and the sportsman of my mind was running about in search
of the game of wealth, when one day, while I was sitting in my shop,
two well-dressed women came up, one of whom had a baby in her arms,
the other carried a casket, and both sat down on the threshold of the
shop. The woman with the child in her arms took some gold ashrafís from
her pocket, and, handing them to the other, said: ‘Give this money to
Haji Jalál Kazviní for the articles which you bought yesterday, and say
that I shall send him the balance to-morrow. Tell him also that he must
quickly procure the jewels which are required, because the wedding is to
take place in ten days. I will wait here for you; return speedily with
an answer.’ When the woman had departed on her errand I became anxious
for gain, because I had heard a wedding spoken of and had seen the gold
ashrafís; so I said to her who remained: ‘Lady of the haram of modesty,
where have you sent your companion?’ She replied: ‘The daughter of such
a citizen is to be given in marriage to the vazír’s son, and we, being
attached to the household of the young lady, have come to the bazár,
because we were in need of some fine linen and jewels; the first we
bought yesterday of Haji Jalál and have now sent him the price, with
orders to procure the jewels as soon as possible.’ On hearing this, I
poured a considerable sum of money into the pocket of my imagination,
and I said to her: ‘Noble and honoured lady, I have many precious
jewels. Allow me to exhibit them to you, and you may choose those which
you consider suitable; there will be no difficulty in agreeing about
the price.’ The woman answered: ‘The lady to whom the jewels are to be
submitted for approbation is very nice in her choice and difficult to
please. During the last few days we have shown her many jewels, but she
desires to see only high-priced gems; besides, we have already bargained
with Haji Jalál and bought jewels of him, and he is very considerate
towards ourselves.’ When she had spoken thus, I knocked at the door of
compliance and observed: ‘Nor would I be disposed to forfeit your good
will, because thereby I should be greatly benefited in the profitable
transaction of business with great people.’ She said: ‘We shall see.’
While we were thus conversing her companion returned and handed her a
string of valuable pearls. She cast a glance at me, whispered something
to her companion, and then continued speaking to her aloud: ‘Since you
have brought them, let them remain also.’ Turning to me, she said: ‘Show
us your jewels.’ I produced a small box which contained my principal
stock, displayed the most rare and beautiful pearls and gems which I
possessed, and stated the price of each. I also fixed the price of the
pearl which I bought from that stranger at two thousand dirhams. The
woman said: ‘I cannot tell whether they will approve of these or not.’
She sealed the box, took out her tablets and wrote something, which she
delivered with the box to her companion, and said to me: ‘I shall remain
here, while the lady of the house makes her choice. If you like, you may
send somebody with my friend, in order to learn where the house is.’ I
had a faithful servant whom I sent along with her companion, and the
woman herself sat down in my shop. Presently two men in the bazár began
to quarrel, and when they reached my door they drew their swords and
began to fight. A great crowd gathered quickly, and the men of the Amír
also came to fetch those who had witnessed the affair. They compelled the
shopkeepers to follow and dragged me also with them. Meanwhile the woman
remained sitting in my shop with the child in her arms, and said to me:
‘Do not be uneasy about your shop, for I will take care of it till you
return.’ I proceeded a few paces, till it occurred to me that the woman
might deceive me, so I said to the butcher whose shop was next to mine:
‘Take care of this woman.’ As he had no knowledge of my transaction with
her, he supposed that I wished him to take care of the shop only, and
said: ‘All right.’

“As some time had elapsed since my servant went with the woman and the
box of jewels and had not yet returned, and as the other woman was by
herself in my shop, I was full of anxiety and went with an oppressed
heart to the court of the Amír. When I arrived there all the witnesses
had been examined and discharged. I was taken into the presence of the
Amír to give my testimony, but being in a very distracted state of mind I
gave my evidence in a way which did not correspond with that of the other
witnesses. The Amír smiled and said: ‘This is the wretch who killed such
a man,’ and the people said: ‘So it is!’ The Amír continued: ‘This is the
reason why his evidence is contradicting that of all the others; such a
worthless fellow deserves to be severely punished.’ When I was led out
of the palace I gave a large sum to the officials to induce them to take
bail of respectable persons and set me at liberty.

“On returning to my shop, the woman was gone, and my servant was sitting
alone crying and in sore distress. I asked him what had become of the
jewels and the woman he accompanied; and he in his turn inquired what had
become of the woman he had left in the shop with me. I told him that I
had committed her to the care of the butcher, and demanded to know where
he had been and what he had done with the box of jewels. He replied:
‘You gave the box to the woman, and ordered me simply to follow her so
as to learn where the house is, and this I did. I went with her from the
bazár and passed through several streets until we reached the street of
the Forty Virgins; she stopped at the door of a house, before which a
number of respectable people were sitting, and bade me sit down till she
came out again. The woman went in, and I remained waiting for her till
near noon, but she did not make her appearance. When it was mid-day and
I heard the voice of the muezzin, and beheld crowds entering the house,
I supposed that somebody had died there and that the people were going
to condole with the relatives. After a while they all came out again.
At last I asked one of the people: “Does the woman who went in here not
intend to come out at all?” The man laughed and said: “Whose house do you
suppose this is? And what woman are you speaking about? Step forward,
there is none to prohibit you, and see what place this house is.” I
arose from my seat and entered the portico with fear and apprehension,
and proceeded till I reached the interior of a mosque where I saw people
engaged in prayer. On the opposite side of the mosque I saw an open
door through which people were also coming and going. Then I knew that
the woman must have passed through it. I went out by that door and saw
women like her walking about, but as there was nothing particular in her
dress by which I might have recognised her, and not knowing her name, I
wandered through the streets for some time and then hopelessly returned
to the shop.’[251]

“I was choked with grief at these tidings, and almost lost my senses. I
went to the butcher and asked him what had become of the woman whom I had
left to his care, and he answered: ‘When did you entrust a woman to me?
You only asked me to look after your shop. When you were gone I noticed a
woman sitting there with a child in her arms, and I asked her with whom
she had any business, to which she replied: “I want a sum of money from
the jeweller.” Presently she brought the child and said: “Let this child
remain here till I come back,” and went away, and there is the child in
your shop.’ I said: ‘Bring it out, that I may see it.’ The butcher did
so, and when I raised the veil from its face we discovered that it was a
plaster figure dressed up as an infant. I said to the butcher: ‘This is a
very strange child!’ He replied: ‘Leave off joking; go in and inquire for
the woman.’ I continued: ‘I entrusted the woman to your care, and I want
you to produce her. She remained in my shop as a pledge for more than
three thousand tománs’ worth of jewels.’ He replied: ‘You fool! Perhaps
I was your servant, that I should take care of the woman, instead of
your doing so yourself!’ I was in so great a state of excitement that I
took up his great knife which was lying near me and threw it at him; it
wounded him in the face. His friends and neighbours seized and carried me
before the Amír, who ordered them to kill me. But there were many that
said: ‘This man is crazy: of what use could it be to kill him? Let his
possessions be confiscated, and himself be expelled from the city, as a
warning to others.’

“All that I possessed was taken from me as a mulct for my crime, and
being driven out of the city, I went away poor and naked. When I reached
the desert I lost my road, and wandered about thirsty and hungry for
ten days, bitterly lamenting my misfortunes. Suddenly a man met me and
mounted me on a camel. Having carried me into the main road, he asked me
whether I knew him. I said: ‘Your voice seems to be that of a friend.’
He continued: ‘I am the man who sold you the pearl for twenty dirhams to
try your honesty, and I have it with me now’; and putting his hand into
his wallet he drew forth the same pearl and showed it to me, saying:
‘Know that I am King Akabil, and that several thousands of genii are
subject to me, and my occupation is to go about in the cities and bazárs
under various disguises, to discover whether people are honest in their
dealings. When I find one upright I always remain his friend and helper;
but when I see a man who is unjust and fraudulent, I endanger his life
and property. You ought to know that base actions are unrighteousness
and deceit towards your fellow beings. On account of your deceitfulness
and injustice, the granary of your immense property has in a very short
time been blown away by the wind of non-existence.’ I began to cry and
complain, but he said: ‘Remorse is now of no avail,’ and disappeared from
my sight. So I came to this country and am wandering about in a state
of helplessness and destitution, in bitter repentance and grief for my
former dishonesty and the loss of my property. Whatever I undertook,
nothing succeeded, and at last I became blind. Now begging has become my
trade; and the reason why I always chant the same distich is that neither
the high nor the low should quit the road of honesty and justice, lest
they be exiled, like myself, from the abode of peace and prosperity.”


During the reign of Sultan Mahmúd Sabaktaghin,[252] of Ghazní, a man was
travelling from Aderbaijan to Hindústán; and when he arrived in Ghazní,
he was much pleased with the climate and resolved to settle there. As he
had great experience in commerce, he went to the bazár, became a broker,
and was very successful in business. He intended to marry, and Fortune
being propitious to him, he entered into a matrimonial alliance with
a virtuous and handsome young woman. By degrees his business became
more and more flourishing, and, having accumulated much wealth, he was
numbered among the richest merchants. Wishing to extend his transactions
to Hindústán, he sent goods to that country; but as he had no connections
or intimate friends who might take charge of his wife till his return,
this thought troubled him greatly; and as it is the first duty of a
respectable man to be on his guard in this matter, and not to hazard his
reputation and honour, he determined not to start on his journey till
he had provided an asylum for his spouse. The Kází of the city being
noted for his piety, virtue, and honour, the merchant said to himself:
“I cannot do better than entrust the keeping of my wife to so godly and
honest a man, who enjoys the esteem of rich and poor; so she shall remain
in his house until I return from my journey.”

The merchant hastened to make his obeisance to the Kází, and said: “O
president of the judgment-seat of truth and piety, from whose highly
gifted and penetrating intellect the explanations of religious and
secular questions flow, and by whose essentially holy authority the
commendatory and prohibitory laws are corroborated—may your most
righteous opinion always remain the guide of those who seek to walk in
the straight path of piety! I, your humble servant, am an inhabitant of
this city, and it is my intention to undertake a journey to Hindústán. I
have a young wife, the leaves of whose modesty and virtue are bound up
in the splendid volume of her natural excellence; and as I have nobody
who might protect and take care of her, and lest she should fall under
the obloquy of false tongues, I venture to hope that she may find refuge
with your lordship.” The Kází placed the seal of acquiescence upon this
request, and said that he would take charge of her; and the merchant,
having furnished his wife with money to defray all the necessary expenses
for a year, delivered her to the Kází, and set out on his journey.

The lady passed all her time in the house of the Kází in prayer and
devotion; and nearly a whole year had elapsed, without the breeze of a
single profane glance having blown on the vernal abode of her face, and
without her having ever heard the bird of a voice in the foliage of her
ears, till one day the Kází unexpectedly made his appearance and looked
at her, when he perceived the Laylá-like beauty sitting within the black
mansion of her musky ringlets, and her sweet tenderness mounted upon the
face of attractiveness and melancholy, the Majnún of the Kází’s intellect
became troubled, and, Ferhád-like, he began to dig the Bistán of his
soul, which was melting and burning in the censer of distraction. He was
desirous of making an attack upon her virtue, but, being aware of her
pure nature and chastity, durst not attempt it. One day, however, when
his wife went to the public bath and had left the lady alone to take
care of the house, he was so completely dominated by his unlawful passion
that he threw skyward the turban of concupiscence and exclaimed:

    “The desired game for which I looked in the skies
    Has now on earth fallen into the net of my good fortune.”

He locked the door, and commenced his stratagem by complimenting her
modesty, and continued to address her in the following strain: “Virtuous
lady, the reputation of my honesty and piety has spread through the
world and penetrated all corners. Even the charms of the húrís of
Paradise could not seduce my righteous disposition from the road of
firm determination, or impel me to transgress the laws of purity; then
why do you avoid me so much? If the absence of intelligence and of the
knowledge of the true state of things keep your face veiled with the
curtain of bashfulness, my obedience to the laws of God and my fear of
eternal punishment at the day of resurrection prohibit me from allowing
the fire of sensuality to be kindled within me. I would not disturb your
peace, even with a single glance of my eye. Be of good cheer, therefore,
and throw aside the veil of apprehension from your face, for there is
no danger of sinning; and although it is against the law of God and the
Prophet to exact services from guests, yet as you belong to the house and
I am dependent on your kindness, I would request you to procure me some
food, for I am hungry.”

Drawing the prohibitory veil of bashfulness over her face, the lady
waited upon the Kází with all due modesty, and having placed food before
him she retired into a corner. Now the Kází had provided himself with a
drug which deprives of all sense any one who partakes of it, and he said
to the lady: “You know that three kinds of persons will be rejected from
the mercy of God on the day of the resurrection and subjected to endless
tortures: he who eats alone, he who sleeps alone, and he who travels
alone; and till now it has never happened to me that I did any of these
three things. As I am now eating alone, and one who does this has Satan
for his companion, and his faith is endangered, why should you not, in
order to free me from the snares of the Devil, defile your hands by
partaking of this meal?” He ceased not thus to press the lady till she
at length sat down near the table and helped herself to some food, into
which the Kází unobserved threw some of the drug. After she had eaten a
few morsels she felt faint, and on attempting to rise from the table her
feet refused to bear her and she fell senseless on the floor.

The Kází quickly gathered up the articles that were on the table and
purposed worse things, when he heard noises outside, which greatly
disturbed him, and he was perplexed where to conceal the unconscious
lady, so that nobody might discover the matter. He thought of the vault
where he kept his money and valuables, which was known only to himself,
and into it he thrust the lady, and then went out and found that his
family had returned from the bath.

The Kází asked his family: “Why did you leave the house empty?” They
answered: “We left the wife of the merchant to take care of the place.”
Quoth the Kází: “It is two hours since I came home, and I have seen no
one; why do you trust a stranger? She may have taken away something.”
They were all astonished, protested that she was not such a woman, and
wondered what had become of her. While this talk was going on, the
merchant, having just returned from his journey to Hindústán, came to
the house of the Kází to inquire for his wife. The Kází said: “It is
some time since your wife left my house, without giving notice or asking
permission.” But the merchant replied: “O Kází, this is not a time for
jesting; give me back my wife.” The Kází swore that he was in earnest.
But the merchant said: “I am too well acquainted with the nature and
disposition of my wife to believe her capable of such conduct. There must
be something more in this affair than appears.” At this the Kází affected
to be wroth, and said: “It is I who ought to be offended, you foolish
man. Why do you talk nonsense and needlessly insult us? Go and look for
your wife!”

As the merchant was devotedly attached to his wife, and the smoke of
distress was beginning to ascend from the oven of his brain, he tore the
collar of patience and hastened to make his complaint to the sultan,
and, prostrating himself upon the carpet of supplication, he recited
these verses:

    “O exalted and happy monarch,
    May felicity be the servant of your palace!
    The Kází of the city has done me injustice
    Greater than the blast of the tornado of the west.
    If it be permitted, I will explain
    The injustice of that mean-spirited wretch.”

The sultan replied: “Set forth your complaint, that I may become
acquainted with it.” Then the merchant spoke as follows: “I am a native
of Aderbaijan, and the fame of the justice and protection which the
poor obtain at the hands of your majesty induced me to settle in this
country, and I have dwelt for some years under the shadow of the sultan’s
protection. I had a beautiful and modest wife, and, purposing to travel
to Hindústán, I committed her a year ago to the charge of the Kází. Now
I have returned from my journey, the Kází, led away by covetousness,
refuses to give up to me my wife.” The sultan ordered the Kází to be
brought before him. When he appeared, the sultan asked him what he had
to say regarding the complaint which the merchant made against him.
Said the Kází: “May the torch of your majesty’s welfare be luminous and
the castle of opposition ruinous! This man entrusted his wife to me,
and it is nearly three months since she quitted my house without giving
notice, and up to this time she has not come back, and we have failed to
discover any trace of her.” To this the merchant responded: “Such conduct
is inconsistent with the character of my wife, and I do not believe it.”
The sultan asked: “Where are the witnesses?” The Kází said that several
neighbours and householders were acquainted with the fact, and wrote down
the names of a number of rascals whom he had bribed to give evidence
in his favour. At a sign from the sultan to the chamberlain they were
brought in and confirmed the assertion of the Kází, upon which the sultan
said to the merchant: “As the Kází has established his statement by
witnesses, your complaint falls to the ground,” and the merchant retired

Now the sultan was in the habit of walking about the bazárs and streets
of the city occasionally in disguise, mixing among the people, in order
to discover what they thought of him. That night he left his palace
according to his wont, and as he walked about he chanced to pass near
the door of a shop where a party of boys were playing at the game of
“The King and his Vazír.” One of the boys was made king, and said to
the others: “As I am king, you are all under my authority, and you must
not seek to evade my commands.” Another boy said: “If you give unjust
decisions like Sultan Mahmúd, we shall soon depose you.” The boy-king
asked: “What injustice has Sultan Mahmúd done?” The other boy answered:
“To-day the affair of the merchant came before the sultan. This merchant
had confided his wife to the keeping of the Kází, and he hid her in his
own house. The sultan called for witnesses, and the Kází gained the case
by producing in court witnesses whom he had previously bribed. It is a
great pity that people should have the administration of justice in their
hands who are unable to distinguish between right and wrong. Had I been
in the place of the sultan I should very soon have discovered the truth
or falsehood of the Kází’s witnesses.”

When the sultan had heard the conversation of these boys he sighed, and
returned to his palace in great agitation of mind; and next morning
as soon as it was daylight he sent a servant to fetch the boy who had
criticised his judgment of the merchant’s case. The boy was brought,
and the sultan received him in a very friendly manner, saying: “This
day you shall be my lieutenant from morning till evening, and I intend
to allow you to sit in judgment and to act entirely according to your
own will.” Then the sultan whispered to the chamberlain to invite the
merchant to repeat his complaint against the Kází, and the merchant,
having been brought into court, did so. The Kází and his witnesses were
next summoned, and when the Kází was about to seat himself the boy said:
“Ho, Master Kází, the leading-strings of justice and the power of tying
and untying knotty points of law have been long in your hands—how then do
you seem to be so ignorant of legal customs? You have been brought into
this court as a party in a law suit, and not as an assessor. It is the
rule that you should stand below, on an equality with your accuser, till
the court breaks up, and then you should obey whatever its decision may
be.” Then the Kází went and stood near the merchant, and again asserted
that the woman had left his house three months ago. The boy asked: “Have
you any witnesses?” The Kází pointed to his followers, saying: “These
are the witnesses.” The boy called one of them to him, and asked him in
a subdued voice whether he had seen the woman. He said: “Yes.” Then he
asked what signs there were on her person, stature, or face. The man
became embarrassed and said: “She had a mole on her forehead; one of
her teeth is wanting; she is of fresh complexion; tall and slender.”
The boy asked: “What hour of the day was it when she went away from the
Kází’s house?” The man replied: “Morning.” “Remain in this place,” said
the boy. Then he called another witness, who thus described the woman:
“She is of low stature and is lean; her cheeks are white and red; she
has a mole near her mouth; she left the house in the afternoon.” Having
placed this man in another corner, the boy called for a third witness,
whose evidence contradicted both the others; and gradually he examined
them all and found they disagreed from each other in everything. The
sultan was sitting by the side of the boy and heard all; and when the
hearing of the witnesses was ended the boy said: “You God-forgetting
wretches, why do you give false evidence? Let the instruments of torture
be brought that we may find out the truth.” As soon as they heard the
word torture they all offered to say the truth, and confessed themselves
to be a set of poor fellows whom the Kází had bribed with a sum of money
and instructed what to say, and that they knew nothing whatever about the
woman. Then the boy called the Kází, and asked him what he had to say in
this business. The Kází commenced to tremble and said: “The truth is as I
have stated.” The boy said: “Our Kází is a bold man, and his haughtiness
hinders him from confessing the truth: the instruments of torture ought
to be employed.” When the Kází heard this, the fear of torture greatly
distressed him, and he confessed the truth. On this the boy kissed the
floor of good manners with the lips of obedience and said: “The rest of
this affair is to be settled by the sultan.” The sultan was much pleased
with the acuteness and intelligence of the boy, and ordered the Kází to
be beheaded and all his property to be given to the merchant’s wife. The
boy was treated kindly and educated, until by degrees he won the entire
confidence of the sultan and became one of his greatest favourites.


Historians relate that there were two men of the inhabitants of Kabúl
sitting in the corner of poverty, fettered with the chains of hardships
and difficulties. The thunderstorms and disturbance of the whirlpools of
the sphere’s revolution had overturned the boat of their possessions, and
it had become the prey of the whale of destruction. They were screwed in
the press of poverty and destitution, like flower-beds from which the
oil is to be squeezed out, and the pain and suffering of distress caused
them to change colour at each moment like a chameleon till each day was
changed into evening. Although they hastened with the foot of labour and
diligence in the performance of their occupations, they could never reach
the desired mansion of their object on account of their unpropitious
fortune and their constant mishaps. The blackness of their morning
tinctured the night even of the poor with the reflection of grief, and
the mirror of their evening imparted new sorrow to orphans.

One day they said to each other: “In this country the gates of peace are
shut upon us, and it is a maxim of the wise that if people meet with
difficulties in their own country they ought to remove to another. As the
liberal Sultan Mahmúd is now reigning, we must go to Ghazní and do our
best to see him, when perhaps the aroma of his generosity will perfume
the nostrils of our intention, and our dilapidated circumstances will be
altered.” So they set out for Ghazní, and on the road they were joined by
a man, the rose-bush of whose disposition was always kept fresh by the
dew of piety, and who passed his life in contentment, like one of the
blest. He asked them: “My brothers, the shoe of what desire have you put
on the foot of your intention? And towards the castle of what pretension
have you turned the face of your inclination?” They answered: “Since the
lamp of each of us has been extinguished by the wind of misfortune, and
the thorn of hardships has pierced the feet of our hearts, and as we
could not find the plaster in Kabúl by which the wound of our untoward
condition might be healed; and hearing that the gates of the generosity
and liberality of Sultan Mahmúd the Ghaznivide have been opened to the
rich and poor, and that the banquet of his unbounded graciousness is
always spread for the relief of the poor, we hope to re-light the lamp
of our circumstances at the blaze of his regard.” Those two men of Kabúl
also asked the young man about his intention, and he replied: “Having
no possessions in my own country, and the day of my well-being having
reached the evening, I am in pursuit of a lawful means of support, but
I do not expect aught from Sultan Mahmúd or persons like him. I desire
grace and favour of a Sultan, the door of the treasury of whose gifts is
besieged by a hundred thousand men as indigent as Sultan Mahmúd, who are
contemplating with the eye of hope the storehouse of his infinite grace
and bounty.” In short, the three travellers pursued their journey in
company till they arrived in Ghazní, where they took up their lodging in
a ruined building.

One night all three of them were sitting together in the ruin, conversing
on various subjects. It happened that Sultan Mahmúd, accompanied by two
of his intimates, had left the palace to walk about in the moonlight.
They passed through several streets and lanes till they came near the
ruin, and, attracted by the voices, they discovered the travellers and
asked them who they were. The two men of Kabúl replied: “We are benumbed
by the crapula of the wine of helplessness and distress; we are veiled
by the curtain of misery; we are riding the horse of poverty, and are
roaming through the ups and downs of this world; and now our fate has
guided us to this place, and we shall see how our affairs terminate.” The
sultan asked: “What are your wishes?” They answered: “If we tell them,
they will never be accomplished; so there is no use in relating them.”
Quoth the sultan: “Since the inhabitants of this world are bound to aid
each other, it is your duty to inform me of your desires, in order that
the complicated knot of that affair may be disentangled by the help of
some one’s nail.” One of them replied: “I was one of the rich and the
prosperous, and possessed great wealth. This world, which is inconstant
like the hues of the chameleon, has ceased to be propitious to me; and
the shame of poverty and the disgrace of my family have induced me to
quit my country. If I were possessed of ten thousand dínars, I should
consider the sum as a capital which might enable me to raise my head
again and return to my country.” The other said: “I had a wife sitting
veiled in the haram of compliance: the loveliness of the sun of her
features surpassed the rose in beauty, and the moon was lessened in
splendour by the rays of her cheeks. I loved her much, and could not live
one moment without her. She died, and the fire of grief has burnt my
liver, and thrown me into the most unhappy condition. Should his highness
the sultan present me with a member of his haram, so that by the sun
of her presence the mansion of my joy and happiness might become again
illumined, I would gladly return to my country.” The third companion
remained silent, and the sultan turning to him asked: “Do you not wish
for anything?” He answered: “I have to do with God. I need neither a
wife nor gold. I turn my face towards the vivifying treasury of God’s
mercy, by whom desires are granted, who knows the innermost recesses of
our hearts, and what every one deserves: my wishes are all regulated by
his good pleasure. If you are in the enjoyment of God’s favour and are
able from him to obtain your desires, pray to him for my sake that he may
grant me the grace that I should not once draw my breath contrary to his
goodwill.” The sultan said nothing, but arose and departed.

When the chamberlain of Destiny had opened the gates of life upon the
inhabited earth, and the world-illuming king, the sun, had seated
himself in the azure tent of the upper sky, the sultan ordered the three
strangers that were in the ruin to be brought into his presence. When
they perceived the sultan, they knew him to be the same man who had been
with them the preceding night, and they were under the apprehension that
he would be angry with them. The sultan called them forward, and inquired
of each of them his wants, and the two men of Kabúl repeated what they
had said on the previous evening. When the third stranger’s turn came he

    “Bitter indeed to our lips is the colocynth of mendicancy;
    We have tasted the sweets of liberality from the hands of the

O thou illuminated speculum of potentates, as long as the storehouse of
the works of God is full of blessings, may the treasury of thy desires
also remain plentifully provided with the exhilarating gold, silver, and
jewels of prosperity! Although people in general may be rejoicing with
the delicacies of the table of thy bounty, and thyself mayest thereby
taste the sweets of good deeds, still those that sit in the tent of
exquisite feelings have so much refreshed their palates with the honey
of contentment that they would by no means defile their lips with a
single mouthful which belongs to others.

    The palate of the contented has never been sweetened by the liberal;
    The delights of independence are far above the delights which
      liberality can bestow.[253]

My hopes and expectations are dependent on the threshold of the Eternal
King: he will grant to me all that he thinks fit, without my fastening
myself on the skirts of petition to any one else, or jeopardising the
position of a retiring and modest individual.”

The sultan tried much, but could not induce the young man to act contrary
to his avowed principles, and to open his lips to beg for some favour.
He gave orders that the man who was in want of a wife should be provided
with one of his own damsels, and presented the man who wanted money with
two purses of gold. Then he said: “Now, all three of you, return to your
own countries.” In obedience to this order they set out together on their
journey to Kabúl. After proceeding about two parasangs,[254] the man who
obtained the gold felt tired by carrying it, so he handed it to his
empty-handed companion, requesting him to carry it for a short time till
he had rested himself.

Now the chroniclers relate that when the three men left the presence of
the sultan, he turned to his courtiers and said: “That independent man
has put me greatly to shame. He left me as if I were in the position of
a poor man; and although I tried much he would not accept of anything.”
One of the courtiers, who was labouring under the asthma of covetousness,
and as the covetous are the natural enemies of the contented, thus
gave expression to his innate feelings: “The sultans and kings of this
world are the collectors of the treasury of God; and, according to the
requirements of the order of mundane affairs, he grants drafts or letters
of credit to the poor for the alleviation of their wants, which drafts
the rich are bound to accept and honour. Whoever refuses to apply to
kings for help scorns their favour, and in this manner acts contrary to
the will of God, on account of his pride and independence. Such a man is
certainly deserving of death, and ought to be so punished.” The sultan
became excited, and ordered one of his chamberlains to proceed on the
same road which the three men had taken, and, leaving undisturbed the man
who had the gold and him who had the girl, to kill the third person who
was empty-handed, and bring his head. It so happened, however, that when
the messenger of the sultan overtook them, the independent man carried
the gold upon his back, and the possessor of the gold was empty-handed.
The chamberlain made no inquiry, but cut off the head of the proprietor
of the gold and returned with it to the sultan. When the sultan had
looked well at the head he exclaimed: “You are a thoughtless fellow, and
have made a mistake.” He despatched forthwith another chamberlain, and
enjoined him to decapitate that man who was without any burden whatever.
But now it fortuned that the possessor of the girl had entrusted her
for a time to the independent man, and fallen a little behind. When
the messenger came up, he perceived the owner of the girl following
empty-handed in the wake of the independent man, and immediately cut off
his head, and on presenting it to his master, the sultan, after looking
at it, cried in astonishment: “This man has also been killed by mistake!”

The sultan reflected for a while, and when he became calm, perceived that
the grace of God had been a bulwark of protection to that independent
man, which had prevented him from coming to any harm. He summoned another
attendant, and commanded him to pursue the same road, and bring into his
presence the man who possessed both the gold and the girl, which he did
accordingly. As soon as the sultan beheld the man, he smiled, and said:
“What has become of your companions?” He answered: “May the life of the
sultan be everlasting, and may the compliant hand of the sweetheart
Prosperity be always round his neck! He who presented them with the gold
and the maid has in return taken their lives; and indeed whoever prefers
the creature to the Creator turns away his face from the threshold of
real felicity, has no refuge whither he might flee, will be trampled
under the feet of distressing events, and will not pluck a single flower
from the rose-garden of his desires.

    Whoever averts his face from his portals
    Will meet with no regard, to whatever door he turns.”

These observations of the man aroused the sultan from the sleep of
indolence, and made him aware that this person had tasted the sweets of
benefits from the spread-table of the love and knowledge of God; and he
said to him: “Thou ornament of the society of obedience to the laws of
God! I am very anxious to bestow something upon you, that I may become
infinitely your debtor. I adjure you, by God, to ask something of me.”
That happy man thus answered: “I have two wishes. The first is, that
you send a very considerable sum of money to Kabúl, to recompense the
heirs of the two men who have been slain without any guilt of their own;
and the second is, that I may be allowed to enjoy the lease of a small
dwelling, in which I may carry on the trade of a weaver, and thus earn
an honest livelihood.” The sultan stroked the face of agreement with the
finger of beneficence, and said: “You flower-gatherer in the gardens of
beneficence! I have also three requests to make of you, with which I
trust your kindness will comply. The first is, that, should you entertain
any ill-feeling towards me, I beg you to forget it; the second is, that
you pray to God that he may blot out my sins from the book of my actions
with reference to those two innocent men; and the third is, that you come
to me every Friday evening, so that I may profit by my intercourse with
you.” The man agreed to all this, and applied himself diligently to his
business, till his singleness of purpose placed him in possession of the
key to prosperity and wealth; and the gates of well-being having become
open in correspondence with his expectation, he was enabled to advance
money to the royal treasury whenever it was required, to redeem many
people from the penalty of death, and to do much good to worthy and poor


There was, in days long past and in the country of Aderbaijan, a king
who administered justice and cherished wisdom; the tiller of his
equity-loving nature kept the garden of his kingdom always free of the
chaff and rubbish of oppression, and preserved, with the light of the
torch of high-mindedness and gifts, the surface of the breasts of those
who hoped and solicited from the darkness of hardship and destitution.
By means of his discernment he became acquainted with the worth and
station due to men of skill, and always honoured the high polish of the
speculum of accomplishments and perfections with the throne of dignity
and the place of respect. One day, while he was seated in the palace of
pomp and splendour, dispensing justice and retribution, and engaged in
diving into the depths of the circumstances of the people, two men took
hold of the collar of complaint before him, one of whom had no trade,
while the other was skilful and accomplished; and, although the former
brought forward arguments and evidence in support of his claim, and it
became clear that he was in the right, the king purposely turned the
scales in favour of the clever man, and ordered him that was without a
trade to be punished.

The king had a vazír equal to Plato in science, who always drew upon the
book of circumstances with the pen of propriety of opinion and prudence
of arrangement. Wondering at the decision of the king, he rose from his
place and said: “O thou leader of the caravan of prosperity of realms,
by the strokes of whose world-conquering scimitar the peace of the
breasts of opponents is destroyed, and from the fruits of whose convoy
of success the countries of the hearts of the amicable are made populous
and flourishing! I have a request to make: first, that the skyward-flying
humaí of your gracious disposition may pervade the atmosphere of
compliance with my solicitation.” The king said: “Explain.” And the
vazír continued: “I pray that the life of this innocent youth, whose
guiltlessness must be visible upon the mirror of your majesty’s mind,
may be spared for my sake; and that it might be disclosed to me why your
majesty pardoned the guilty one and condemned the innocent.” The king
replied: “I have absolved him whom you called guilty because I have
arrived at the certainty that he is unblameable and has the right on his
side. But I do not consider this the proper time to explain the matter,
which, however, will be done as soon as we are alone.”

When the tree of the assembly had shed the leaves and fruits of its
multitude and the lamp of the apartment of privacy was trimmed and made
bright, the king spake thus to his vazír:

“Thou quintessence of acuteness, something happened to me once which
plunged me into the sea of astonishment. From that time I made a vow to
show favour to a man who has a profession, even should he be blameworthy
otherwise, and to punish him who has no trade or occupation, even though
he should be my own son; so that the high and the low, seeing this,
should be induced to have their children taught trades in due conformity
with their circumstances.

“Know, then, that when my father was yet walking in the garden of life,
and was sitting upon the throne of happiness and government, on a
certain day those who were present at the audience were discussing the
advantages of trades and accomplishments; and, although I had made myself
acquainted with several sciences and accomplishments befitting a royal
prince, I was desirous of learning some useful craft. I therefore caused
each one of the tradesmen of the city to exhibit his skill before me,
in order that I might apply myself to the craft which I should prefer.
After having seen them all, none pleased me so much as mat-making,
because the master of that art had introduced into the specimen which he
wrought all sorts of pretty figures. The instructor was engaged, and I
was taught until I became skilful in this business. One day I happened to
entertain a desire to make a pleasure excursion on the sea, and, having
taken leave of the king, embarked in a boat with a number of companions.
We amused ourselves for two days with fishing, but, as all mortals are
subject to the vicissitudes of Fortune, on the third day a dreadful storm
arose, the sea was lashed into furious waves, our boat went to pieces,
and my attendants became food for the palate of the whale of destiny. I
floated about on a broken plank with two of my associates for several
days, drifting like chaff in the ebb and flow of the abyss, and having
our throats choked every moment by the gripe of mortal fear. We humbled
ourselves at the footstool of the Answerer of prayer, because no one ever
besought him in vain; and by his favour the wind drove the broken plank
towards the shore, and all three of us, having landed in safety, made
our way to an oasis in which were various fruits and aromatic plants,
numerous beyond conception. We travelled through this oasis, resting
during the night on trees, for fear of wild beasts, and at length reached
the city of Baghdád. I possessed several rings of great value, and went
to the bazár, accompanied by my friends, in order to procure food. Having
sold a ring, we entered the shop of a cook, who displayed a great variety
of dishes, and in whose service a handsome boy was busying himself. We
handed the master of the shop a few dirhams desiring him to furnish us
with some food. He cast a glance at us and said: ‘Young men, nobility
and greatness shine from your foreheads. In this city it is considered
disgraceful that youths like yourselves should be eating their food in
the bazár. There is a handsome room in the neighbourhood to which persons
like you are accustomed to resort: do me the favour to proceed thither,
and I will supply something worthy of you.’ He sent his boy with us, and
we soon reached the house, which was very neat and tastefully ornamented.
And we were beginning to amuse ourselves by examining the beautiful
paintings upon the walls, when the boy said: ‘I am going to fetch your
food.’ As soon as he was gone the floor of the house began to move as
if a great earthquake had occurred, and we were all precipitated into a
deep well, which was dark like the graves of infidels[255] and black as
their hearts.

“Now that cook was a Jew, and an enemy of the Faith; and it was his
practice to decoy Muslims into this house, and, having thus entrapped
them and put them to death, to roast their flesh and sell it to other
Muslims.[256] Our necks were pledged in this affair, and we were in
expectation of what turn it would take when the same youth descended
into the well, sword in hand, with the intention of murdering us,
upon which we said to him: ‘Friend, what advantage will you derive by
killing us unhappy wretches? If gain be your object, we know the trade
of mat-making, which is very profitable in this city. Bring hither the
tools and materials necessary for that business, and we will make a mat
every day.’ The youth hastened to inform his master of our proposal,
and we were furnished with the required materials, and began at once
to make mats, receiving each day a loaf of barley bread. After being
in this condition for some time, a plan occurred to me through which
our release might be achieved. I finished a mat with all possible care,
and worked into the borders of it an account of my circumstances in the
Arabic language. This was during the reign of Harún er-Rashíd, and I
thought that if this mat were offered to the khalíf it might be the means
of our release. The greediness of the Jew having become an obstacle to
his circumspection and regard of consequences, he carried the mat to the
palace of the khalíf, who highly approved of it; but after examining it
more minutely he discovered the meaning of the characters in the borders,
and demanded of the Jew whose work it was and where he had got it. He
answered: ‘I have a friend in Basra who sent it to me.’ The khalíf said:
‘Wait a little, that I may present thee with a reward worthy of it.’ Then
calling a servant to him he whispered something in his ear, upon which he
came and delivered us from the well and conducted us into the presence of
Harún. When the Jew saw us he began to tremble, and the khalíf demanded
of him: ‘Who are these men?’ The Jew struck with his hand the ring of
the door of negation, and replied: ‘I do not know.’ Then the instruments
of torture were ordered to be brought, and when the Jew heard this he
confessed everything. The khalíf commanded the Jew to be hung upon the
tree of punishment, and the poison of perdition to be poured into the
throat of his existence.

“My plan was highly approved of, and I was sent to the bath and presented
with rich clothes. The khalíf then asked me about my adventures, which I
related to him from beginning to end. As the long service of my father
had laid the khalíf under many obligations to him, and the khalíf knowing
well that I was as the apple of my father’s eye, he was the more kind
to me, and said: ‘Be of good cheer. Please God, we will help you to
return to your own country.’ After entertaining me for several days, he
presented me with ten strings of camels and all sorts of things which are
necessary or useful to grandees, and dismissed me, with a letter to my
father and a guard of fifty men. When I arrived in this city the corpse
of my father was just being carried to the cemetery. Having mourned for
the death of my father, I established myself firmly upon the throne
of dominion. Although my peace was for some time in jeopardy from the
misfortunes I had endured, yet it was by the help of a trade that I
was saved. I have perfect confidence in skilful men, and have decided
always to honour men who have a profession and despise those that have


There dwelt in Damascus a man of the name of Zayn al-Arab, with the honey
of whose life the poison of hardship was always mixed. Day and night he
hastened like the breeze from north to south in the world of exertion,
and he was burning brightly like straw, from his endeavours, in the oven
of acquisition, in order to gain a loaf of bread and to feed his family.
In course of time, however, he succeeded in accumulating a considerable
sum of money, but as he had tasted the bitterness and poison of
destitution, and had for a very long time borne the heavy load of poverty
upon his back, and fearing to lose his property by the chameleon-like
changes of Fortune, one night he carried his money out of the city and
buried it under a tree. After some time had passed he began to miss the
presence of his treasure and betook himself to the tree, in order that
he might refresh his eyes with the sight of it. But when he had dug the
ground at the foot of the tree he discovered that his soul-exhilarating
deposit was refreshing the palate of some one else. The morning of his
prosperity was suddenly changed into the evening of bitterness and of
disappointment. He was perplexed as to what friend to confide his secret,
and to what remedy to fly for the recovery of his treasure. The lancet of
grief had pierced the liver of his peace; and the huntsman of distress
had tied up the wings and feet of the bird of his serenity.

One day he went on some business to a learned and wise man of the city,
with whom he was on a footing of intimacy, who said to him: “I have for
some time past observed the glade of your circumstances destroyed by
the burning coals of restlessness, and a sad change in your health, the
cause of which I do not know, nor do I know what thorn of misfortune has
pierced the foot of your heart, nor what dawn of hardship has risen in
the east of your mind.” Zayn al-Arab wept tears of sadness and replied:
“O thou standard coin from the mint of love! the treachery of Fortune has
brought a strange accident upon me, and the bow of Destiny has let fly
an unpropitious arrow upon my feeble target. I have a heavy heart and a
great sorrow. Were I to reveal it to you perhaps it would be of no use,
and might also plunge you into grief.” The learned man said: “Since the
hearts of intimate friends are like looking-glasses, and are receiving
the figures of mutual secrets, it is at all times necessary that they
should communicate to each other any difficulties which they may fall
into, in order that they may be overcome by taking together steps which
prudence should dictate.” Zayn al-Arab answered: “Dear friend, I had some
gold, and fearing lest it should be stolen, I carried it to such a place
and buried it under a tree; and when I next visited the spot I found
the garment of my beloved Joseph sprinkled with the blood of the wolf of
deception.” The learned man rejoined: “This is a serious mischance, and
it will be difficult to get on the track of your gold. Perhaps you were
seen by some person when you concealed it: he who has taken it away will
surely have to account for it in the next world, for God is omniscient.
Give me ten days for consideration of this matter, and it may be that
something will occur to me when I have examined the book of expedients
and stratagems.”

That knowing man sat down for the space of ten days in the school of
meditation; but after turning over the leaves of the volume of his mind
from the preface to the epilogue he could devise no plan. On the tenth
day they met in the street, and he said to Zayn al-Arab: “Although the
diver of my mind has plunged and searched most diligently into this deep
sea, he has been unable to take hold of the precious pearl of a wise
plan of operation. May God recompense you from the stores of his hidden
treasury!” They were conversing in this way when a lunatic met them and
asked: “Well, my boys, what is all your secret-mongering about?” The
learned man said to Zayn al-Arab: “Come, let us relate our case to this
crazy fellow, and see whether some flower will bloom in his mind.” Zayn
al-Arab replied: “Dear friend, when you with all your knowledge have
failed to devise aught during ten days’ cogitation, how can we expect to
obtain any information from this unfortunate, who does not know whether
it is day or night?” Quoth the learned man: “There is no telling what
he might say to us; but you are aware that the most foolish as well as
the wisest have ideas, and a remark, uttered perhaps at random, often
furnishes a clue by which the desired end is attained.” Meanwhile a
little boy had approached, and seeing the crazy fellow stopped to observe
his antics.

The two friends explained their case to the lunatic, who, after being
apparently immersed in thought for some time, remarked: “He who took the
root of that tree for a medicine also took the gold,” and then turning
his back to them went his way. They consulted with each other as to the
meaning of the crazy man’s observation, when the little boy asked what
kind of a tree it was. Zayn al-Arab replied that it was a jujube-tree.
Then said the boy: “This is a simple affair. You ought to inquire of
all the doctors in the city for whom a medicine compounded of the roots
of that tree has been prescribed.” The learned man greatly approved
of the boy’s acuteness and also of the crazy man’s lucky thought; and
being very well acquainted with all the physicians of the city, he made
his inquiries till he was informed by one of them that about twenty
days before he had prescribed for a merchant named Khoja Samander, who
suffered from asthma, and that one of the remedies was the root of that
jujube-tree. The learned man soon discovered the merchant’s house, found
him enjoying perfect health, and thus addressed him: “Ah, Khoja, all
the goods of this world ought to be given up to purchase health. By the
blessing of God, you have recovered your health, and you ought to restore
what you found at the foot of the jujube-tree, because the owner of it
is a worthy man, and it was his only possession.” The honest merchant
replied: “It is true, I have found it, and it is with me. If you will
tell me the amount of the gold I shall deliver it into your hands;” and
when Zayn al-Arab stated the exact sum he obtained his lost money.


A deaf man had a friend, the garden of whose health became withered by
the autumnal breeze of sickness, and by it he was laid prostrate on the
bed of infirmity, and once went on a visit of condolence to him. On the
road he said to himself: “When I meet the sick man I shall ask him how he
is. And he will certainly reply: ‘I feel a little better.’ Then I will
say: ‘God be praised!’ After that I will inquire who his physician is,
and he will give me the name of the doctor. Then I will say: ‘He is very
skilful, and he will soon free you from your disease.’ After that I will
ask what food and medicine he takes. He will tell me, and then I will
say: ‘Both of them are very appropriate for your distemper;’ and having
recited the _Fátiha_,[258] I shall depart.”

He exercised himself in these questions and answers till he reached the
house of his sick friend, who happened at the time to labour under great
nausea and depression of spirits. The deaf man asked him: “How do you
feel, my friend?” Said the sick man, in peevish tones: “Do not ask me—I
am ready to give up the ghost.” The deaf man smiled and said: “God be
praised! My prayer has been heard.” After that he asked: “Who is your
physician, my friend?” Quoth the sick man: “The angel of death.” This
puzzled the deaf man a little, but he answered: “That is well. I also
had him in view, because he is so skilful, and cures every patient he
treats.” Then he asked what his food and medicine were. The sick man
replied: “Pain and distress.” Said the deaf man: “May they redound to
your welfare; both are very proper for your disease.” Then he began to
recite the _Fátiha_, and the sick man said: “May God forgive you,” and
the deaf man took his leave.


It is related that a rich man in the city of Balkh possessed a garden
pleasant to behold as the roses on the cheeks of fairies, adorned with
various fragrant plants, blossoming flowers, and fruit-bearing trees. In
that garden a little bird took up its abode and amused itself by casting
the fruits, whether they were ripe or not, on the ground. Whenever the
gardener entered and beheld the damage thus occasioned, the bottom of
his heart was stung with the thorn of grief, and the blooming verdure of
the spring of his joy became withered by the cold blasts of the autumn
of that event. Though he rubbed the hands of regret much on each other,
he could not remedy the evil until he had spread a net in the haunts of
the bird, which was soon made a prisoner. When the gardener discovered
his good fortune he joyfully leaped from his ambush, caught hold of the
little bird, intending to despatch it to the regions of non-existence. In
its extremity the feathered captive thus spoke to the gardener: “Ornament
of the world of intelligence! may the paradise of your good wishes always
be the recipient of various divine favours! Consider that if you destroy
me, your loss cannot be repaired, and that he who dies is saved from
all the troubles of this world. But as I am to be killed for acts which
you deem improper, the love of life impels me to make a statement, if
you will permit me, after which you may do as you choose; but remember
that patience is a virtue of the high-minded, and hastiness a failing of
foolish men.”[259] The gardener, whose wrath had somewhat abated during
the address of the little bird, replied: “Before the whirlwind of death
blows in the field of your life, you are at liberty to say what you
desire to say.”

The little bird then said: “Wise gardener, be aware that in the west
there is an oasis which my tribe inhabits, but I left my relatives and
came to this spot. The pleasantness of this garden attracted me, and
for some time I reposed myself on the branch of a tree. A nightingale
and a lapwing were sitting together on the top of a date-tree, and a
locust was flying towards them which both of them wished to catch. The
nightingale was fortunate enough to seize it, but the lapwing snatched
it from its captor’s beak. Hereon the nightingale said: ‘O lapwing, are
you not ashamed to possess yourself of my prey? If you are able, why do
you not catch your own game?’ The lapwing replied: ‘Silence! To get the
prey is no honour, but it is so to deprive the hunter of his prey.’ Said
the nightingale: ‘This may be true; so I give it up. But, lapwing, I
have heard the other birds speak a great deal about you, and now that we
have met, and as your species has in the service of the Lord Sulayman
(salutation to our Prophet and to him!) enjoyed greater proximity to him
than has been the lot of any other kind of birds, I wish to know what
gifts or rewards you have obtained from him for the account which you
furnished him of the city of Sabá and your help in other matters.’[260]
The lapwing replied: ‘King Sulayman bestowed on our species three gifts:
(1) Whenever the earth is being dug up for water, we are able to tell
at what depth it may be found; (2) our heads have been adorned with
the crest of nobility; and (3) we are acquainted with the qualities of
fruits, and know that this year the garden in which we are at present
has been subjected to a visitation of God, so that whosoever should eat
of any of its fruits must immediately die.’ Then the lapwing asked: ‘Has
your species been favoured with any other gifts?’ And the nightingale
answered: ‘We have also been granted three favours: (1) a very melodious
voice, which is pleasing to all hearers; (2) we possess the property of
being awake during the night, which we enjoy in common with ascetics and
pious men; and (3) we have been invested with the gaudy robes of love,
and roses have been assigned for our spouses, whose society we enjoy
without let or hindrance, and in the aspect of whose heart-ravishing
cheeks we perpetually delight.’

“O most intelligent gardener,” the little bird continued, “when I heard
from the lapwing that the fruits of this garden were become deleterious,
I made haste to pluck and to throw them down, lest any person should
eat of them and be injured. And now if you will promise to liberate me,
I will communicate to you three maxims, by means of which you may be
happy in this world and the next, and friends and foes will alike obey
you.” The gardener said: “Speak!” And the little bird proceeded: “First,
never trust persons of a low and uncongenial disposition; secondly,
never believe impossibilities; and thirdly, never repent of anything
that cannot be remedied.” So the gardener relaxed his hold, and the
little bird flew away, perched on a tree, and stretching out its neck,
exclaimed: “O gardener, if you knew what a treasure you have allowed to
slip from your hand, you would end your own life. Verily, I have deceived
you!” Said the gardener: “How?” “In my body is a gem as large as a duck’s
egg, the like of which has never been discovered by the diver into the
region of imagination. Had you obtained possession of this jewel you
might have lived happily during your whole earthly existence.” When the
gardener heard these words he tore his robe from top to bottom, strewed
the ashes of repentance upon his head, and the brambles of confusion and
uneasiness sprouted in the wilderness of his heart. As he looked to the
right and the left how he might again get hold of the little bird, it
flew to a high tree and said: “Having now by my cunning escaped from
your grasp, I shall take care not to fall into it again. Do not flatter
yourself that you will get hold of me a second time.” The gardener began
to weep and heaved every moment deep sighs from the bottom of his heart,
but the little bird said jeeringly: “It is a pity that the name of man
should be applied to a silly fellow like yourself. I just communicated
to you three maxims, all of which you have already forgotten. I advised
you not to be deceived by mean and uncongenial persons;—why, then,
have you believed my words and set me free? I farther told you not to
believe impossibilities;—then why do you put faith in my words, seeing
that nothing could be more absurd than the idea of a weak little bird
like myself having in its body a gem as large as a duck’s egg? Lastly, I
advised you not to repent of anything which is irreparable, nevertheless
you now moan and lament.” After uttering these words the little bird
disappeared from the sight of the gardener.




This story seems to have been written down from recollection of some
of the incidents in the Persian Romance which purports to recount the
adventures of the renowned Hatim et-Ta’í, the generous Arab chief—a work
of uncertain authorship or date. It was probably written about the end
of the 17th or beginning of the 18th century, as the MS. copy used by
Dr. Duncan Forbes for his English translation, published in 1830, which
he procured in 1824, he considered to be at least a hundred years old.
The opening of our version—if indeed such it may be styled—is absurdly
inconsistent with all that is traditionally recorded of Hatim. This
is how the incident of Hatim and the Darvesh is related in a Persian
story-book, according to Dr. Jonathan Scott’s rendering in his _Tales,
Anecdotes, and Letters from the Arabic and Persian_, published in 1800,
p. 251:

Hatim had a large storehouse having 70 entrances, at each of which
he used to bestow alms on the poor. After his death his brother, who
succeeded him, wished to imitate his great example, but his mother
dissuaded him from such an attempt, saying: “My son, it is not in thy
nature.” He would not attend to her advice, upon which she one day,
having disguised herself as a mendicant, came to one of the doors, where
her son relieved her; she went to another door and was relieved once
more; she then went to a third door, when her son said: “I have given
thee twice already, and yet thou importunest me again.” “Did I not tell
thee, my son,” said the mother, discovering herself, “that thou couldst
not equal the liberality of thy brother? I tried him as I have tried
thee, and he relieved me at each of the 70 doors without asking me a
question; but I knew thy nature and his. When I suckled thee, and one
nipple was in thy mouth, thou didst always hold thy hand upon the other,
but thy brother the contrary.”

       *       *       *       *       *

It is quite ludicrous to represent Hatim as setting out for China to see
a lady who was declared by a wandering darvesh to be far more liberal
than himself. From the following abstract of the Romance—which begins
where our story ends—it will be seen that Hatim was actuated by nobler
motives in undertaking his several adventures. The opening of the romance
is reproduced almost in full from Forbes’ translation.


In the kingdom of Khurasan, during the reign of Kardán Sháh, there lived
a worthy merchant, of great dignity, named Burzakh, who was on intimate
terms with the king. He died, leaving an only daughter as his heir,
twelve years of age, and the king took her under his protection, saying:
“She is my daughter.” Husn Bánú esteemed her wealth as no better than
sand, and she began to distribute it in charity. One day a darvesh,
attended by forty slaves[261] passed her house while she was seated in
her balcony. He was the king’s spiritual guide. Husn Bánú sent a servant
to invite him to an entertainment at her house, and he promised to come
the next day. She prepared for an offering to him nine suits of silken
garments, embroidered with gold, and seven trays of pure solid gold and
baskets of fruit. The pride of this darvesh was such that he would not
touch the earth when he walked, but had his path paved with bricks of
gold and silver, and on these alone he placed his feet. On entering the
house of Husn Bánú he was presented with trays full of gold and silver.
He was amazed at the display of wealth, and resolved that very night to
seize the treasure. Accordingly he and his forty slaves broke into the
house, killed such as resisted them, and carried off all the treasure.
Husn Bánú and her nurse, concealed in the lattice, saw the thieves and
knew them. Next day, she complained to the king that the darvesh had
robbed her house. This the king refused to believe, calling the darvesh
the most holy man of the age; but she declared that he was the fiend
of the age. Upon this the king in a rage ordered Husn Bánú and her
attendants to be stoned to death, as a warning to others. But the chief
minister reminded him that she was the daughter of Burzakh the merchant,
and that by putting her to death he would estrange the hearts of his
subjects. So the king spared her life, but caused her to be expelled from
the city.

In the desert, under a shady tree, Husn Bánú and her old nurse fell
asleep; and in a dream a man appeared to Husn Bánú, and told her that
beneath that tree was buried the treasure of the seven regions, hidden
there by the King of Truth, for her sake, and she was to arise and take
possession thereof. “I am a woman,” she replied, “and how can I bring
it out of the earth?” The apparition said: “Dig the earth with a little
spade: let the means be applied by thee, and God will grant success.
Moreover, no one is able forcibly to deprive thee of the treasure. Arise
and build a city on this spot.” Husn Bánú having told of her dream to her
nurse, they both set to work and dug with a piece of wood, when instantly
they saw a pit full of yellow gold, chests full of jewels, cups full of
rubies, and costly pearls the size of ducks’ eggs. Husn Bánú rendered
thanks to the Most High, then giving some gold to her nurse desired
her to return to the city and fetch food and raiment, architects and
labourers. Just then her foster-brother, in a mendicant’s garb, passed
by, and he recognised her. Telling him how God had given her wealth
again, she requested him to bring thither his relations.

The foster-brother soon returned with a builder named Mu’amír. She bids
him begin to build a city, but he explains that the king’s permission
must be first obtained. So Husn Bánú dresses herself in man’s apparel,
and takes for a present a cup full of rubies and a casket full of
brilliant jewels. She gives valuable gifts to the king’s officers,
representing herself as a merchant newly arrived from abroad and desirous
of offering presents to the king. His majesty is astonished to see the
priceless gifts and asks: “Sir, whence art thou?” She replies that her
father was a merchant of Irán, who died at sea; that she was an orphan
and without kindred; had heard of his good qualities; had pitched tents
in a tract of desert, and desired leave to build a city there. The
king presents her with a dress of honour and adopts her as his son; and
suggests that she should rather build her city near the capital and call
it Sháhábád (_i.e._ king’s city). But Husn Bánú prefers the desert, so
the king gives her the required permission.

The city was built in about two years, and Husn Bánú visited the king
once every month. One day he tells her that he is about to visit his
darvesh and prevails on her to accompany him. She invites the darvesh
to her house, and on his consenting she observes: “But my house is far
distant, and in the capital there is the unoccupied house of Burzakh the
merchant.” The king makes it over to her as a free gift. Finding her
father’s house has fallen to decay, she has it repaired and furnished
splendidly. On the day appointed the darvesh came, and he declined the
jewels offered to him by Husn Bánú, who had also displayed vast wealth
throughout the apartment; and even at the banquet he pretended that he
could not partake of dainty dishes. When the darvesh and his attendants
had taken their leave, Husn Bánú caused all the golden dishes, etc. to be
left as at the banquet, and warned the captain of the watch that she had
reason to fear being robbed. At night the darvesh and his forty slaves
entered the house, and having tied up the valuables in bundles were about
to be off with their plunder—the darvesh himself carrying a cup full of
rubies in his hand—when the night watch rushed in, seized and secured the
robbers, and laid them in prison. Next day when the king opened his court
Husn Bánú appeared,[262] and the kutwál brought the prisoners, each with
his bundle of booty hanging from his neck, and made his report. The king
thought the leader of the gang resembled a certain darvesh. Thereupon
Husn Bánú told her story, and the king ordered all the robbers to be
instantly put to death. Her father’s property, of which she had been
formerly robbed, was found in the house of the darvesh, and she presented
it all to the king. Soon after this occurrence the king visited Husn Bánú
at Sháhábád, and she gave him much gold; then pointing out the source of
her wealth desired him to cause his attendants to convey it to his own
treasury. But when they began to handle the gold, it turned into serpents
and dragons, which convinced the king that it was devoted to her sole
use. She built a house for the entertainment of travellers, each of whom
received a handsome present on leaving, and the fame of her generosity
was noised abroad.

       *       *       *       *       *

Husn Bánú, being young, beautiful, and passing rich, had of course many
suitors for her hand in marriage, and she one day consulted with her
nurse as to the best means of securing herself from the importunity of
worldly men. The nurse said she had seven questions (or tasks), which
Husn Bánú should propose to every suitor, and he who complied with the
terms which they embraced should be her husband, to which she agreed.
Her fame being spread far and wide, Prince Munir, the son of the king
of Kharizm, sent a painter to draw her portrait, which he did from the
reflection of her face in a vessel full of water[263] and brought it to
the prince, who on seeing it became quite frantic from love, and that
same night he set out privily for Sháhábád. Obtaining an interview with
Husn Bánú and declaring his passion, she replied: “You must first answer
me seven questions. There is a man who constantly exclaims: ‘_What I
once saw I long to see a second time_.’ Inform me where he lives and
what he saw, and then I will put the second question.” The prince takes
his leave and wanders about all sad at heart. He is met by Hatim Taï,
who learns from him the cause of his evident sorrow, and undertakes to
perform the task for him. Having entertained the prince for three days,
Hatim takes him back to Sháhábád, and they go into the caravanserai
there; but Hatim refusing both the food and the gold always presented to
travellers, he is taken before Husn Bánú, who asks him the reason of this
strange conduct. Hatim only desires to look at her face. She tells him
that he must first bring her the solution of seven questions, to which
Hatim agrees, on the condition that she would become at his disposal in
the event of his succeeding, which condition was at once written and
signed and confirmed by witnesses. Then Hatim, leaving the love-struck
prince at the caravanserai, sets out to obtain an answer to Husn Bánú’s
_First Question_.

       *       *       *       *       *

After many surprising adventures, Hatim at length reaches a desert where
an old man is crying: “_What I once saw I long to see a second time_,”
and learns from him that once he was walking on the border of a lake,
when he saw a damsel who took him by the hand and leaped with him into
the water, whereupon he found himself in a magnificent garden and beheld
a lovely female form closely veiled; and on venturing to raise the veil
he was instantly struck to the ground, and opening his eyes found himself
in that desert, where he had ever since wandered about, restless and
forlorn, wishing to see that beauteous fairy once more. Hatim—for whom
nothing was too difficult, for he had all sorts of talismans—conducts
the old man to the fairy, after which he returns with the required
information to Husn Bánú.

       *       *       *       *       *

His _Second Adventure_ is to ascertain why a man has above his door these
words: “_Do good, and cast it on the water_;” who he is, and where his
house is situated. In the course of this expedition he performs three
additional tasks in order to obtain for another distracted lover the
daughter of a merchant for his wife, the second of which is: Who is the
man that cries every Friday and why does he cry: “_I have done nothing
that will benefit me this night_”? Hatim comes to a sand-hill (having
been directed to the spot by the grateful inhabitants of a town, whose
lives he had saved by slaying a man-eating monster), and hears the voice.
As he advances he discovers a number of the dead rising out of their
graves, with angelic countenances and apparelled in splendid robes—all
save one, who was covered with dust and ashes and sat on the cold ground,
while the others sat on thrones drinking nectar, and never gave him to
drink thereof. This wight sighed heavily and exclaimed: “_Alas, I have
not done that which might benefit me this night!_” He tells Hatim that
he was a merchant and those around him had been his servants. He was
a great miser, but his servants fed the hungry and clothed the naked.
On a journey a gang of robbers attacked and murdered him and all his
followers. “Here they rest as martyrs—_they_ are crowned with glory,
while I am plunged in misery. In the capital of China, my native country,
are my grandchildren living in abject poverty. In a certain chamber
of my house is buried an immense treasure, of which no living man has
knowledge.” Hatim inquires whether it was possible for him to minister to
his relief. “Proceed to the capital of China,” says the miser’s shade,
“and find out my house. My name is Yúsuf, and in my day I was well
known in all parts of the city. Seek my descendants; tell them of the
treasure; divide it into four equal portions; bestow one portion on my
grandchildren, and the other three on the poor of the city; then perhaps
my case may be ameliorated.” Hatim goes at once to the capital of China,
but before he is allowed to enter he must answer three questions put to
every stranger by the governor’s daughter. Of course Hatim gives correct
solutions of the enigmas, and then complies with the directions of the
miser’s ghost.

He now addresses himself seriously to the solution of the Second
Question of Husn Bánú, but he has many wondrous experiences before he
comes at length to the bank of a large river, on which is a lofty mansion
of stone, and over the door is written the motto: “_Do good, and cast
it on the water_.” Ushered by attendants into the house, Hatim sees a
venerable man of a hundred years seated upon a throne, who receives him
with great courtesy and causes him to be supplied with refreshments. When
Hatim asks the meaning of the motto over the door, the old man relates
his history: In his youth he was a great robber, yet every day he made
two large loaves mixed with sweet oil and sugar, which he threw into
the river, saying: “This I give away, to propitiate Heaven.” One day,
continues the old robber, “I was seized with a sickness and I thought a
man grasped me by the hand and pointing to the infernal regions said:
‘There is the place destined for thee.’ But two youths, divinely fair,
came up and laid hold of me, saying: ‘We will not permit this man to
be cast into hell, sinful though he has been. His future state is in
Paradise, and thither let us carry him.’” They conveyed him accordingly
to the regions of bliss, and an angel of exalted rank telling them that
he had a hundred years yet to live, they brought him back to his house,
and explained that they were the two loaves he was wont to cast into the
water for fishes to feed on. His health was at once restored and he made
two loaves as before. When he went to cast them into the water he found
a hundred dínars, which he took up and carried to the village, where he
caused it to be proclaimed that such a sum of money had been found, but
no one came to claim it. Next day when he went to the river with the two
loaves he found another hundred dínars, and this continued till the eve
of the eleventh day, when a man appeared to him in the visions of the
night and said: “Servant of the Almighty, thy two loaves have pleaded thy
cause in heaven: the merciful Creator has forgiven thy sins. The dínars
which thou receivest are for thy subsistence, and what is superfluous
do thou bestow in charity.” Since then the old robber had built that
mansion and written the motto over the door, and every day when he went
to throw the loaves into the river he found a hundred dínars.[264]

       *       *       *       *       *

Hatim returns with this story to Husn Bánú, and she forthwith despatches
him on his _Third Adventure:_ “There is a man who constantly cries:
‘_Injure no one; if you do, evil will overtake you_.’ Find out where that
man lives, what injury he has done, and what evil has overtaken him.”
After having performed a difficult task on behalf of a despairing lover
whom he met on his way, Hatim at length, aided by a band of fairy troops,
arrives at the outskirts of Himyar, where he hears a voice crying these
words, and discovers a blind man confined in a cage, which is suspended
from a branch of a tree. Hatim having promised to mend his condition and
relieve him, the blind man related his history, as follows:

“I am by occupation a merchant, and my name is Hamír. When I became of
age, my father had finished the building of this city, and he called the
same after my name. Shortly after my father departed on a sea voyage and
left me in charge of the city. I was a free-hearted and social young man,
and so in a short time expended all the property left under my care by my
father. Thus I became surrounded with poverty and want; and as I knew
that my father had hidden treasures somewhere in his house I resolved to
discover them if possible. I searched everywhere, but found nothing; and,
to complete my woe, I received the news of my father’s death, the ship in
which he sailed being wrecked.

“One day as I was sauntering, mournful and dejected, through the bazár,
I espied a learned man who cried out: ‘If any one has lost his money
by theft or otherwise, my knowledge of the occult sciences enables me
to recover the same, but on condition that I receive one fourth of
the amount.’ When I heard this seasonable proclamation, I immediately
approached the man of science, and stated to him my sad condition and
how I had been reduced from affluence to poverty. The sage undertook to
restore my wealth, and above all to discover the treasures concealed in
my father’s house. I conducted him to the house and showed him every
apartment, which he carefully examined one after another. At length by
his art he discovered the stores we were in search of; and when I saw
the gold and silver and other valuables, which exceeded calculation,
the demon of fraud entered my heart, and I refused to fulfil my promise
of giving a fourth of the property to the man of wisdom. I offered him
only a few small pieces of silver; instead of accepting which, he stood
for a few moments in silent meditation, and with a look of scorn said:
‘Do I thus receive the fourth part of your treasure, which you agreed
to give me? Base man, of what perjury are you guilty!’ On hearing this
I became enraged, and having struck him several blows on the face I
expelled him from my house. In a few days, however, he returned, and
so far ingratiated himself into my confidence, that we became intimate
friends; and night and day he displayed before my sight the various
hidden treasures contained within the bowels of the earth. One day I
asked him to instruct me in this wonderful science, to which he answered
that no instruction was requisite. ‘Here,’ said he, ‘is a composition of
surma, and whoever applies the same to his eyes, to him will all the
wealth of this world become visible.’[265] ‘Most learned sir,’ I replied,
‘if you will anoint my eyes with this substance, I promise to share with
you the half of all such treasures as I may discover.’ ‘I agree,’ said my
friend: ‘meanwhile let us retire to the desert, where we shall be free
from interruption.’

“We immediately set out, and when we arrived here I was surprised at
seeing this cage, and asked my companion whose it was. I received for
answer, that it belonged to no one. In short, we both sat down at the
foot of this tree, and the sage, having produced the surma from his
pocket, began to apply it to my eyes. But, alas! no sooner had he applied
this composition than I became totally deprived of sight. In a voice of
sorrow I asked him why he had thus treated me, and he replied: ‘Such is
the reward of treachery; and if you wish to recover your sight, you must
for some time undergo penance in this cage. You must utter no complaint
and you shall exclaim from time to time: “Do no evil to any one; if
you do, evil will befall you.”’ I entreated the sage to relieve me,
saying: ‘You are a mere mortal like myself, and dare you thus torment
a fellow-creature? How will you account for your deeds to the Supreme
Judge?’ He answered: ‘This is the reward of your treachery.’ Seeing him
inexorable, I begged of him to inform me when and how my sight was to be
restored; and he told me, that a noble youth should one day visit me,
and to him I was to make known my condition, and farther state that in
the desert of Himyar there is a certain herb called the Flower of Light,
which the youth was to procure and apply to my eyes, by means of which my
sight should be restored.

“It is now three years since he left me in this prison, which, though
quite open, I cannot quit. Were I to attempt to leave my confinement,
I should feel the most excruciating pain in my limbs, so as not to
have the power of moving, and thus I am compelled to remain. One day,
shortly after my companion left me, I reflected that I could do nothing
for myself while I continued like a bird in this cage, and accordingly
resolved to quit it at all hazards; but the moment I was outside of
it the pain that seized my whole body almost killed me. I immediately
returned to my prison, and have since that time resigned myself to my
fate, exclaiming at stated times the words which have attracted your
attention. Many people have passed by me, but on learning my condition
they left me as they found me.”

When the man in the cage had ended his story, Hatim bade him be of good
cheer, for he would at once endeavour to relieve him. By the aid of the
fairies who had conducted him thither and now carry him through the air
for the space of seven days, he arrives in the desert where the Flowers
of Light shine brilliant as lamps on a festival night, diffusing the
sweetest perfume far and wide; and, recking naught for the serpents,
scorpions, and other beasts of prey which infest the place (for he was
guarded by a powerful talisman), he advances and plucks three of the
largest and most brilliant flowers. Returning in the same manner as he
had come, he reaches the spot where the blind man Hamír is imprisoned.
Taking down the cage, he releases the wretched man, compresses the stalk
of the flower so that the juice should drop upon his sightless eyeballs,
and when this has been repeated three times Hamír opens his eyes, and,
seeing Hatim, falls prostrate at his feet with a profusion of thanks.

       *       *       *       *       *

The _Fourth Adventure_ is: “Who is the man that has this motto over
his door: ‘_He who speaks the truth is always tranquil_’; wherein has
he spoken the truth, and what degree of tranquility does he enjoy in
consequence?” Passing through regions of enchantment, Hatim then comes
to a city, and discovers the motto written above the gate of a splendid
mansion. He enters and is received graciously by an old man, who
entertains him hospitably. Next day he relates his story: He is eight
hundred years old. In youth he was a great gambler, and having lost all
his substance he became a robber. One night he broke into the king’s
palace, entered one of the chambers, where the daughter of the king was
sleeping, and seizing all her jewels and a golden lamp that burned beside
her he made his escape. He fled to a desert, where he found a gang of
thieves dividing their plunder, to whom he showed his own booty, and
their avarice was aroused so that they were proceeding to take it from
him by force, when a tremendous voice was heard close by, at which they
ran off in different directions. Presently a figure appeared before him
and demanded: “Who art thou?” He told his story. “’Tis well for thee,”
said the figure, “that thou hast related the whole truth; therefore I
forgive thy crime, and leave the treasure to thy enjoyment. But swear
never to gamble again.” He took the required oath. “Well, keep thy oath,
and the years of thy life shall reach nine hundred.” Returning to the
city with his plunder, his comrades envied his prosperity, and reported
him to the chief of the police, who brought him before the king, to whom
he told the whole truth as to the source of his wealth, and the king
pardoned him and gave him more gold. Then he wrote that motto over his

       *       *       *       *       *

Hatim’s _Fifth Adventure_ is to bring an account of Mount Nida, whence a
voice from time to time proceeds, crying: “Come quickly!” Whereupon one
of the citizens in the neighbourhood is seized with an uncontrollable
frenzy, rushes away to the mountain and is seen no more. This strange
occurrence Hatim learns is the manner in which the inhabitants taste of
death: when the doomed person approached a rock it split asunder, and
as soon as he had entered the opening it closed behind him and his soul
quitted his body.

       *       *       *       *       *

The _Sixth Adventure_ is to procure Husn Bánú a pearl similar to one
she already possesses, which is as large as a duck’s egg. Hatim learns
from the conversation of a pair of Nitka birds that their species used
to “lay” such pearls once in thirty years, but this faculty had ceased
since the days of Solomon; that only two were on the face of the earth
now (all others being at the bottom of the sea), one being in the
possession of Husn Bánú, the other in the treasury of a fairy, who has
an only daughter: he who can tell the history of that pearl (which Hatim
has heard from the well-informed birds) shall have her in marriage and
the pearl for her dowry. Needless to add that Hatim is successful in
his quest, bestows the young fairy on her lover, who had been unable to
comply with her father’s condition, and returns with the pearl to Husn

       *       *       *       *       *

Hatim’s _Seventh Adventure_, and the last, is to bring the lady an
account of the bath of Badgird—an enchanted palace erected for the
preservation of a peerless and priceless diamond by its owner, a powerful
magician. The stone is in the body of a parrot, Hatim is told by a bird
of the same species before entering the hall, and whoever enters shall
never return unless he obtain possession of the gem. He will find a bow
and three arrows laid on a sofa in the hall, and must shoot the arrows
at the parrot, and if he hit right through its head he will break the
spell, but if not, he will, like all others before him, be turned to
marble. Nothing daunted, Hatim shoots one arrow, and, missing, he becomes
marble up to his knees; the second arrow also missing, he becomes marble
up to his middle; but (placing his reliance in God) when he shoots the
third arrow it pierces the head of the parrot and it falls lifeless to
the ground. This achievement is immediately followed by a storm of wind,
thunder, lightning—darkness. And Hatim can see no palace or parrot, but
at his feet are the bow and arrow and a diamond of dazzling brilliance.
No sooner had Hatim seized the diamond than all the marble statues
started into life, being freed from the spell of the enchanter.

Returning to Sháhábád, Hatim presented the diamond to Husn Bánú, and,
as he had now fulfilled all her conditions, she was straightway married
to Prince Munir, who thus reached the summit of happiness. Hatim then
returned to the capital of Yaman, where he was affectionately received
by his father and mother, and his arrival was hailed with universal joy,
while every house resounded with music and mirth. Shortly after this
Hatim’s father resigned the reins of government into his hand and lived
in retirement for the remainder of his life, which amounted to twelve
years, seven months, and nine days. Hatim reigned long and happily in

       *       *       *       *       *

Such is the substance of the wonderful Adventures of Hatim Taï, though I
have necessarily omitted many details and some rather curious incidents:
like a tale in the _Arabian Nights_, out of which spring several other
tales, each of Hatim’s expeditions led him on to others, which had to be
accomplished before he could attain the end for which he originally set
out. He undergoes some extraordinary experiences, too, such as being
swallowed alive and unhurt by a dragon of such monstrous dimensions that
he kept tramping to and fro in its stomach till it was at last obliged,
for its internal peace, to eject him and be off; dipping his hand into
a lake in order to drink of the waters, and finding it instantly turned
into pure silver—where, O where is _that_ lake?—and coming to another,
which had the property of restoring the _argentine_ member to flesh and
blood; not to speak of the scenes of enchantment, which indeed seem to
have been begot of hashish or a like narcotic. With all its absurdities,
however, the _morale_ of the romance is excellent: the hero goes about
constantly doing good; benevolent towards bird and beast as well as to
mankind; feeding the hungry, relieving the distressed, and binding up the
broken heart.—This work is still a first favourite among the Persians,
who continue to entertain a firm belief in dívs, parís, and many other
kinds of spirits, good and evil.

       *       *       *       *       *

Of the three stories which are interwoven with our tale of Hatim and the
Benevolent Lady but one is represented in the Romance, that of the Blind
Man, namely, but the details are very different in the two versions.

_The Painter’s Story (p. 53)_

begins with an account of a fight which he witnessed in his garden
between a white snake and a black snake, and seeing the former was about
to succumb he slew the black snake. This incident also occurs in the
Romance, when Hatim is returning from his second expedition, only the
magnanimous hero does not kill—or even _scotch_—the black snake: he
simply shouts, when it lets go its hold of the other and wriggles off.
The white snake then becomes a handsome young man, and tells Hatim that
he is the son of a king of the jinn, that the black snake is his father’s
slave, and bears a most deadly enmity towards himself, and so forth—an
incident found in many Asiatic story-books. The Painter’s subsequent
experiences in the subaqueous palace of the king of the jinn do not occur
in the romance, though the story is known to several collections, and,
introduced by the incident of the two snakes, it is found, as follows, in
_Turkish Evening Entertainments_, a translation,[267] by J. P. Brown, of
a Turkish story-book entitled _’Ajá’ib el-ma’ásir wa ghara’ib en-nawádir_
(Wonders of Remarkable Incidents and Rarities of Anecdote), by Ahmed ibn
Hemden, the Ketkhoda, surnamed Suhaylí (_i.e._ Canopus), who composed it
for Murád, the fourth Ottoman sultan, who reigned between A.D. 1623 and
A.D. 1640:

In ancient times the sovereign of the country of Sabá was a man called
Yeshrah. One day, when this excellent prince was travelling, he came to
an extensive plain where were two serpents resembling frightful dragons.
One of these was white, the other black. They were entwined around each
other in desperate conflict, and the white one had received a wound in a
most tender part of its body. The black serpent being thus victorious,
the strength of the white one was exhausted; it could move no more,
and the black one wreaked its vengeance upon the helpless animal. King
Yeshrah, touched with pity, went to the assistance of the white snake,
and aided it in its conquered state. He placed a diamond-pointed arrow
in his bow, and, taking aim at the black snake, he let fly and instantly
killed it. The white snake, thus released, crawled away.

One day the king received a visit from a youth of a handsome exterior,
who informed him that he belonged to the race of the jinn, and was the
white serpent rescued by him. The youth then made proffers of service to
the king, which he declined, upon which he offered the king his sister
in marriage. The king, enchanted by her beauty, accepted her, and the
marriage took place on the king undertaking to consent to everything
which his wife did, were it good or evil. Soon after the birth of his
first son, a dog approached the queen, who suddenly cast the child into
the dog’s mouth, and the dog ran away with it, to the king’s great grief.
Their next child, a girl, the queen cast into a brazier, where the infant
was immediately consumed. The king was now exceedingly afflicted; but the
birth of a second daughter, who was so delicately beautiful on account of
her resembling the húrís of Paradise that she was called Bilkís, somewhat
reconciled him to his loss. The king implored her not to treat this child
as she had done the two others, for which she severely rebuked him.

Soon after this a powerful enemy attacked the king, and his own vazír,
secretly allying himself with the enemy, poisoned the provisions designed
for the king’s army. The queen destroyed the provisions, at which the
king in wrath demanded her reason. The queen explained the affair to her
husband, and gave the remaining bread to an animal which fell dead after
eating it. She then said that the king having broken the condition made
on his marriage with her, all intercourse must now cease between them,
and informed him that the son thrown to the dog was still alive, and
had been brought up by a nurse in that form, and that the daughter was
also in perfect health, nursed by the fire. Beseeching him to be mindful
of their daughter Bilkís, who should succeed to the throne and become
a great and illustrious queen, and promising to send to his succour an
army of jinn-soldiers, she disappeared from the king’s sight for ever.
The troops of jinn came to his assistance as promised, routed the enemy’s
forces, and restored the king to his throne. But still he was afflicted
by the loss of his wife. At length the fatal moment arrived, and he died;
and his daughter Bilkís succeeded him on the throne, and her history has
been written elsewhere in a detailed manner.

       *       *       *       *       *

Thus, if we may place any credit in the foregoing story, the
thrice-renowned Queen of Sheba was jinn-born: no wonder, therefore, if
she was a miracle of beauty and wisdom! It does not appear, however,
why her fairy-mother did not dispose of her soon after she was born,
in the same extraordinary manner as she “made away” with her previous
babes.—Regarding the notion that when a human being unites with one of
a supernatural order there are certain conditions always imposed by the
latter, the breaking of which must result in their separation, generally
temporary, I take leave to refer the reader to my _Popular Tales and
Fictions_, vol. i, p. 212 ff.

In more or less different forms the same story is found in the following
works: in _Les Mille et un Jours_, which purports to have been
translated, by Petis de la Croix, from a Persian collection entitled
_Hazár ú Yek Rúz_, the Thousand and one Days, by a darvesh named Mukhlis,
of Isfahán, from whom M. Petis obtained a copy in 1675, where it is
entitled “Histoire du Roi Ruzvanschad et de la Princesse Cheheristani,”
but in this version the king’s fairy-wife leaves him only for a time;
in a Turkish story-book, entitled _Al-Faraj ba’d al-Shiddah_, Joy after
Distress, a work written not later than the 15th century;[268] and in a
collection described by Dr. Chas. Rieu in his _Catalogue of Persian MSS.
in the British Museum_, vol. ii, p. 759, Or. 237, which has no specific
title, the compiler, whose poetical name was Hubbí, merely calling his
work, _Hikáyát-i’Agíb ú Gharíb_, Wonderful and Strange Tales. In this
last work, the MS. of which is unfortunately imperfect, the final story,
No. 34, relates how a king of Yaman, while hunting, saw two snakes,
a white one and a black one, engaged in deadly combat. He sends an
attendant to kill the black snake and rescue the white one, which was
half dead; which being done, he causes the rescued snake to be laid down
beside a spring of water, under the shade of a tree. The snake rallies,
and after a while crawls away. When the king is asleep at night, the wall
of his chamber suddenly opens and a fair youth appears. “I am,” says he,
“the king of the parís (fairies). You rescued me from the black snake.
I am now come to requite your kind act. If you wish it, I will make you
rich with many treasures.” No more of the MS. remains,[269] but it is not
unlikely that the sequel was similar to that of the Turkish story cited

       *       *       *       *       *

The battle between the two snakes, which is found so often reproduced
in Arabian and Persian story-books—though I cannot recollect having met
with it in any Indian collection—seems reflected in two incidents in the
Voyage of Saint Brandan. One day the saint and his companions discover a
monstrous sea-serpent on the surface of the water, exhaling fire from its
nostrils, as it were the roaring flame of a furnace; and while the pious
voyagers could not measure its length they were more successful with its
breadth, which was “full fifteen feet, I trow”; presently a monster of
the same species appears, and a terrific combat takes place between the
two, until one is torn by his antagonist into _three_ pieces, when the
victor sinks down into the sea. After this they see a deadly conflict in
the air between a griffin and a dragon.—It is well known to students of
the history of popular fictions that many Eastern tales and incidents
had found their way into Western literature long before the collection
commonly but incorrectly called the _Arabian Nights_, in its existing
form, was compiled.

Among the countless absurdities abounding in the _Toldoth Jeshu_, a
scurrilous “life” of Jesus Christ of Jewish invention—the text of which,
with a Latin translation, is given at the end of the second volume of
Wagenseil’s _Tela Ignea Satanæ_, 1681—is an aërial conflict between
Jeshu and Rabbi Judas before Queen Helena: “And when Jeshu had spoken
the incommunicable Name,[270] there came a wind and raised him between
heaven and earth. Thereupon Judas spake the same Name, and the wind
raised him also between heaven and earth. And they flew, both of them,
around in the regions of the air, and all who saw it marvelled. Judas
then spake again the Name, and seized Jeshu and sought to cast him to
the earth. But Jeshu also spake the Name, and sought to cast Judas
down, and they strove one with the other.” Ultimately Judas prevails
and casts Jeshu to the ground, and the elders seize him; his power
leaves him; and he is subjected to the tauntings of his captors. Being
rescued by his disciples, he hastened to the Jordan; and when he had
washed therein his power returned, and with the Name he again wrought
his former miracles.[271] This “story”—to employ the term in its nursery
sense—strongly resembles the equally apocryphal legend of the aërial
contest at Rome between St. Peter and Simon Magus, in which the apostle
overthrew the magician.

_The Washerman’s Story (p. 58)_

calls for but slight remark. The fairies who alighted in succession
on the tree in the form of doves, and putting off their feather-dress
appeared as the most beautiful damsels, belong, of course, to the
Bird-Maiden class, and the Washerman, by his own showing, did not deserve
to possess any one of them. Could he have decided—but perhaps the trial
was too much for him—he might have secured even the last and most
bewitching of the three, by taking possession of her feather-robe, when
she would have no alternative but to follow him wheresoever he might go:
but evidently he did not know this. (See the chapter on “Bird-Maidens” in
my _Popular Tales and Fictions_, vol. i. p. 182 ff.)

_The Blind Man’s Story (p. 60)_

differs considerably from its representative in the Romance, the story
of the blind man Hamír in the cage (_ante_ p. 464ff.); and it is also
observable that in our story Hatim does nothing to mitigate the poor
man’s wretchedness. Both versions agree in treasure being found in a
dwelling house; but in our story it is the geomancer who is the blind
man, and his eyes are blinded in mistake by a vindictive neighbour of
the friend whom he thought to entrap;—while in the other story it is
the man in whose house the treasure was discovered who is blinded by
the geomancer, in revenge of the ill-treatment he had received at his
hands; and it is by the application of _surma_ to his eyes, by means of
which he expected to behold all the hidden treasure of the world, that
he is deprived of sight. The analogous tale in our common version of the
_Arabian Nights_, of the Blind Man Baba Abdullah (it has not yet been
found in any Arabic text of the collection), is wholly different in all
its details until it reaches the catastrophe, when the greedy cameleer,
after getting back from the darvesh all his share of the treasure,
returns to request the box of salve, which, after having had applied to
his left eye and thereby been enabled to see all concealed treasure, he
insists—in spite of the repeated warning of the darvesh—on being also
applied to his right eye, whereupon he instantly becomes stone-blind.
Widely as the three stories differ one from the other, in details,
however, it is very evident, I think, that they have been independently
adapted from a common source.

       *       *       *       *       *

The very climax of absurdity is surely reached by the author of our
version of the story of Hatim when he represents the _benevolent_ Lady as
saying (p. 50) that she is so jealous of the wide-spread fame of Hatim
for liberality that she wishes him to be killed; and when, on his return,
she reproaches him for not having brought her Hatim’s head, he replies
that he is himself Hatim and that his head is at her disposal, whereupon
the lady, struck with such magnanimity, at once consents to marry him.

According to tradition, an enemy of Hatim despatched one of his officers
to slay him and bring his head. When he reached the encampments of the
tribe of Ta’í, he was courteously greeted by an Arab, and invited into
his tent, where he was treated most hospitably; and in the morning he
told his host that he had been sent thither by his master to slay Hatim
and bring back his head. The host smilingly replied: “I am Hatim; and
if my head will gratify your master, smite it off without delay.” The
man hastened away in confusion; and returning to his master told him of
his adventure, and the enemy of Hatim ever afterwards loved and esteemed
him.—This seems to be the tradition adapted so incongruously by our

       *       *       *       *       *

The idea of our tale of Hatim and the Benevolent Lady may have been
partly taken from the Story of the Third Darvesh in the Persian work,
_Kissa-i Chehár Darvesh_ (Romance of the Four Darveshes), an anonymous
book, of uncertain date,[272] where the narrator, a Persian prince, tells
how he tried to imitate the generosity of Hatim, by causing a great
palace to be erected with four gates, at each of which he distributed
gold and silver to all comers. One day a wandering darvesh receives money
at each of the gates in succession, and then begins to beg again at
the first gate, upon which the prince upbraids him for his greediness,
and the darvesh retorts, as in our story, that there is a lady to
whose liberality there is absolutely no bound. The prince learns that
this generous lady is the princess of Basra, and donning the robe of a
darvesh he sets out for that city, where he is sumptuously entertained
for several days by the servants of the princess, after which he writes
her a letter, declaring his rank and offering her marriage. He is told
that the princess has resolved to marry only him who should bring her
the explanation of the singular conduct of a youth in the city of Namrúz
who appeared once a month riding on a bull, carrying a vase of gold
and jewels in his hand, which he smashed in the market-place, and then
smote off the head of one of his slaves, immediately afterwards riding
away again, foaming at the mouth. The royal mendicant undertakes to
ascertain the cause of the youth’s madness (he proves to be in love
with a fairy, like the Painter in our tale), and before setting out
for Namrúz is admitted into the private chamber of the princess, who
is concealed behind a curtain, where a slave-girl relates the history
of her mistress: how she was one of seven daughters of a king, and was
driven out of the palace because she would not acknowledge that she
derived her good fortune from her father, but maintained that it was from
God. In the wilderness she meets a darvesh, and discovers underground
immense treasures, and so forth.—This story of the princess of Basra is
one of the numerous parallels or analogous tales cited by my friend Mr.
E. Sidney Hartland in a very able and interesting paper on the “Outcast
Child” cycle, in the _Folk-Lore Journal_, 1886, vol. iv, p. 308 ff.


The latter part of this tale—where the merchant Sadullah befriends the
imprudent prince, bestows his own wife on him, afterwards becomes ruined
in fortune, and visits the now prosperous sovereign, on whom he had
lavished such favours (pp. 89-97)—has long been current in Europe as well
as in the East, in various forms. It occurs in the collection of Persian
Tales translated into French by Petis de la Croix, under the title of
_Les Mille et un Jours_ (first published in 1710-12, 5 vols.), where it
is entitled: “Histoire de Nasiraddole, roi de Mousel; d’Abderrahmane,
marchand de Baghdad; et de la belle Zeineb,” and it is to the following

A rich young merchant named Abd er-Rahman, meets with a stranger in a
confectioner’s shop in Baghdád, and the two soon become very intimate
friends. After some time the stranger informs the merchant that he must
now return to Mosúl. The merchant says that he himself may soon have to
visit that town, and begs to know his friend’s name, so that he may be
able to inquire for him there. The stranger bids him to come and see him
at the palace. Abd er-Rahman goes to Mosúl on business and discovers
that the stranger is no less a personage than King Nasír ad-Dole, who
is delighted to see him and entertains him in the palace for a whole
year, after which he returns to Baghdád, the king parting with him very
reluctantly. Arrived in Baghdád, the merchant regales his friends and
acquaintances in the most sumptuous manner, and purchases a number of
slave-girls, with one of whom, a Circassian beauty called Zaynib, he
becomes greatly enamoured. The king of Mosúl comes again to Baghdád,
without attendants, and is the honoured and cherished guest of his friend
the merchant Abd er-Rahman. One day the king boasts of some beautiful
slave-girls in his haram in Mosúl, when the merchant, inflamed with wine,
leads the king into an inner apartment, magnificently furnished, where
are seated thirty lovely damsels, adorned profusely with the rarest
diamonds. The king is perfectly amazed on beholding the peerless beauty
of Zaynib, and on the following day, in a melancholy tone, informs his
friend that he intends returning at once to Mosúl. “Has your majesty
aught to complain of, that you have formed this sudden resolution?” the
merchant inquired anxiously. “All my complaint,” replied the king, “is
of my destiny”; but when he is about to depart his friend learns from
him that he is desperately in love with the fair Zaynib, and then the
king takes his leave and sets out for Mosúl. Abd er-Rahman then reflects
that he should not have shown Zaynib to the king, who must now lead a
sorrowful life. At length he resolves to send the damsel to his royal
friend, and, having ordered her litter to be prepared, sends for Zaynib
and tells her that she does not now belong to him, but to the king of
Mosúl, whom she saw yesterday;—“he is in love with you, and is himself
lovely.” Zaynib bursts into tears and exclaims: “Ah, you no longer love
me—some other damsel has taken your heart from me!” “Not so,” says he.
“I swear that I have never loved you so much as I do at this moment.”
“Why, then, do you part with me?” “Because I cannot bear the thought of
my friend’s sorrow.” So a number of attendants are sent with Zaynib to
Mosúl, but the king had arrived there before them. When she is ushered
into the palace, the king perceives that she is sorrowful, and that his
presence is distasteful to her—evidently she cannot forget the merchant.

Meanwhile Abd er-Rahman falls into a languishing condition, and one day
the grand vazír sends officers to apprehend him on a trumped-up charge
of having spoken disrespectfully of the Khalíf in his cups, made by
two envious courtiers, his enemies. The merchant’s house is razed, his
wealth is confiscated, and he is to be put to death the next day. But
the gaoler, whom the merchant had formerly befriended, takes pity on him
and secretly sets him at liberty. When the vazír learns of this he sends
for the gaoler and tells him that if the merchant is not re-captured in
the course of twenty-four hours he will certainly suffer in his place.
The gaoler answers that he believes the merchant to be innocent of the
crime charged against him. In the meantime Abd er-Rahman is concealed
in a friend’s house and the police are scouring the country in search
of him, and during their absence from the city he escapes and takes the
road to Mosúl. When he enters the palace there, the king simply orders
his treasurer to give him two hundred gold sequins. The poor merchant is
surprised that the king should bestow such a paltry sum on him, after
the sacrifice he had made by presenting the fair Zaynib to his majesty.
He takes the money, however, and tries all means of increasing it by
trade. At the end of six months he returns to the king and informs him
that he has lost fifty of the two hundred sequins by his unfortunate
speculations. The king bids his treasurer give him fifty more sequins,
again to the surprise of the merchant, who departs once more on a trading
expedition, but this time he gains a hundred sequins and returning to
Mosúl he acquaints the king of his success. “Misfortunes are contagious,”
said the king. “I had heard of your disgrace and dared not receive you
into my palace again, fearing that your ill luck should affect me and
put it out of my power to assist you when your star should look more
favourably on you. But now you shall live with me.” Next day the king
tells the merchant that he purposes giving him a good wife. “Alas,” says
he, “I cannot think of any woman after my beloved Zaynib.” But the king
insists, and that same night the merchant is agreeably surprised to find
that the wife given him by his royal friend is none other than Zaynib,
whom the king has all along regarded as a sister. Not long after this Abd
er-Rahman learns that one of his accusers has confessed, and he goes to
Baghdád and recovers part of his wealth, and passes the rest of his life
at the court of Mosúl.[273]

       *       *       *       *       *

In another form the tale of the Two Friends is found in the _Disciplina
Clericalis_ of Peter Alphonsus, a Spanish Jew, of the twelfth century,
whence it was probably taken into the _Gesta Romanorum_, the celebrated
mediæval monkish collection of “spiritualised” stories for the use
of preachers (page 196 of Herrtage’s edition, published by the Early
English Text Society). It is also found in Boccaccio’s _Decameron_ (Day
x, novelle 8); and Lydgate, the monk of Bury, of the fifteenth century,
turned it into verse under the title of “Fabula duorum mercatorum,”

    “In Egipt whilom as I rede and fynde”

(Harleian MS. 2251, lf. 56, preserved in the British Museum); and it
forms one of the _Fabliaux_ in Le Grand’s collection, of which this is a

Two merchants had been for a long time connected in business. They had
never seen each other, one residing at Baldak [Baghdád?] and the other in
Egypt; notwithstanding which, from their long correspondence and mutual
services, they entertained a reciprocal esteem and friendship as if they
had passed their lives together. The Syrian merchant at last became
very desirous to have an interview with his correspondent, and set out
on his journey with that intention, after having apprised his friend
of it. The Egyptian rejoiced heartily at the news, and on his friend’s
approach went out several leagues to meet him. On his arrival he lodged
the Syrian in his own house, and, making a display of his riches and
all that he possessed, told him that everything was at his disposal. In
order to amuse his guest, he invited several persons successively to his
table. For a week together there was nothing but feasting and pleasure;
but in the midst of their enjoyment the traveller was so struck with the
beauty of a lady who had one day been present that he fell dangerously
ill. Immediately all the best physicians of the country were sent for. At
first, neither by his pulse nor by any other symptom could they discover
the nature of the merchant’s disorder; but at length by his profound
melancholy they conjectured that love was the cause. The Egyptian on
hearing this conjured him to disclose his secret, that the remedy might
if possible be found. His guest, thus called upon and pressed to declare
it, acknowledged that he was in love and that without possession of the
object of his affection he could not endure life. “But where to find her
I know not. I am wholly unacquainted with her name and abode. My eyes
beheld her once, to my great misfortune, but day and night her image is
present and without her I shall certainly die.” He then fainted away.
For several hours he continued in this trance, and was even thought
dead. Awaking at length, he cast his eyes about the room to discover
the object of his passion, but in vain. She was not among the persons
present. His friend at last, in order to obtain for him, if possible, a
sight of his beloved, thought of bringing successively to his bedside
all the ladies who had been invited to the feasts, or whom he could have
seen since his arrival in the country. But she was not of the number.
Ultimately the people of the house recollected that there was in an inner
chamber a young lady whom the Egyptian merchant loved to distraction,
and had brought up with the greatest care, intending her soon to be his
wife. She was by his desire introduced. Instantly on seeing her the
Syrian exclaimed: “That is she to whom I am to owe either my life or my
death!” The Egyptian merchant demurred for some time; but, with a heroic
resolution sacrificing his passion to his friendship, he presented the
lady to his guest. He not only consented to their union but even insisted
on giving her a marriage portion. He made her presents of rich stuffs and
money, and himself took charge of the nuptials, to which he did not fail
to invite minstrels, who sang pantomimic songs and enlivened the feast
with all manner of gaiety.

When all these carousals were ended the merchant proceeded to take leave
of his generous host and to return into his own country. His friends
on his arrival pressed forward to congratulate him. There was a fresh
celebration of the nuptials with rejoicings which lasted for a fortnight,
after which the merchant and his spouse lived happily together. But
in the meantime sad misfortunes occurred to the Egyptian merchant: he
met with such losses that he was entirely ruined. In this deplorable
situation he thought of having recourse to his friend at Baldak, and
determined to visit him there, reckoning on his gratitude for the eminent
services which he had rendered him. He was obliged to make this long
journey on foot and to suffer both hunger and thirst, to endure both heat
and cold, extremes of misery to which he had hitherto been unaccustomed.
At length after much fatigue he arrived about nightfall at Baldak. But at
the moment when he was about to enter the city the state of wretchedness
in which he was excited in him a feeling of shame at proceeding farther.
He thought that if he presented himself in the dark to his friend in
that miserable state he would not recollect him, and therefore he judged
it better to wait till morning. With this intention he entered a temple
which was hard by. No sooner did he find himself in this dismal, lonely
place than a multitude of melancholy ideas assailed him. “Good God!”
cried he, “to what a wretched condition has thy will reduced me! Alas, my
former affluence renders it still more miserable. I had all that I could
desire, and now I find myself an outcast, without property and without
friends! Surely in such circumstances death is preferable to existence.”
While he was speaking thus to himself he suddenly heard a great noise in
the temple. A murderer had taken flight thither and some of the citizens
were following to seize him. They asked the Egyptian whether he had seen
the assassin. He, who wished to die and thus terminate at once his shame
and his sufferings, declared himself the guilty person. He was instantly
seized, bound, and thrown into prison. The next day he was brought before
the judge and being convicted was condemned to the gallows. When the time
for the execution arrived a great number of people flocked to the place,
and amongst them the friend whose life he had saved and in quest of whom
he had left his native country. He had not forgotten the obligation, and
luckily he recognised his friend. But what could he do at this juncture
to save his life? He could think only of one method, and that was to
devote himself for his friend. Having taken this sudden resolution, he
exclaimed: “Good people, take care what you are about, and do not be
guilty of the sin of punishing an innocent man. It was I who committed
the murder.” This declaration astonished the assembly. The execution
was suspended, the merchant was arrested, and they began to unloose the
stranger. But the real assassin happened to be there, and when he saw
them binding the merchant he was seized with remorse. “What!” cried he
to himself, “shall this honest man die for my crimes whilst I escape? I
cannot escape the vengeance of God! No! I will not charge my conscience
with a second offence, but will rather expiate my crime by suffering here
than subject myself to the indignation of the Deity, who can punish for
ever.” He then made a full confession and was brought before the judges,
who, being puzzled at this extraordinary case, referred it to the king,
who, no less perplexed than they, sent for the three prisoners, and
promising them pardon if they would declare the truth, interrogated them
himself. Each then recounted with fidelity what had happened, and the
consequence was that they were all three pardoned and discharged. The
Syrian went home with his friend, whom he in his turn had had the good
fortune to save. He ordered some refreshments to be served up to him, and
said: “If you choose to reside here, my friend, I call God to witness
that you shall never be in want of anything, but shall be as much master
as myself of all I possess. If you prefer returning to your own country,
I offer you the half of my wealth, or whatever part you may please to
take of it.” The Egyptian declared his desire was rather to return home,
and he departed, charged with presents.

       *       *       *       *       *

Under the title of the “Mirror of Friends,” the Spanish novelist Matias
de los Reyes (1634) relates this favourite story, varying the incidents
of the _fabliau_ version as above, and with a tragical catastrophe. This
is an abstract of Reyes’ tale, following Roscoe’s translation, in his
_Spanish Novelists_, ed. 1832, pp. 17-39:

A young man[274] is placed at the university of Bologna, under the
guardianship of a friend of his father, named Federico, whose son
Lisardo and he at once become most intimate friends. There was so close
a resemblance between the two youths in person and features that one was
often mistaken for the other. Four years after entering the university,
he falls in love with a pretty girl whom he saw seated at a balcony—it
is not said how he got introduced to her—and she returns his affection,
but insists on their engagement being kept a profound secret. Shortly
after this, the father of Laura—such was the sweet name of our youth’s
secret _fiancée_—proposes that she should marry Lisardo, to which his
father Federico most willingly consents, as the young lady’s family are
of high station and very wealthy. This comes like a thunder-clap upon our
poor love-sick youth, but he cannot get himself to confess to Lisardo his
devoted attachment to Laura. As the time draws near for the marriage he
falls dangerously ill—“sick of love”; and if his friend tried to “stay
him with flagons and comfort him with apples,” he did so in vain—albeit
we have high authority for the efficacy of such remedies. At length
Lisardo comes to him one day, and insists upon knowing the secret cause
of his illness and melancholy, otherwise their friendship must be at an
end. He then confesses his love for Laura and their private betrothal.
Lisardo reproaches him for not having told him of this before, since he
would willingly sacrifice his life for his friend; but even now he will
contrive means whereby his friend should be united to the young lady
instead of himself.

On the morning of the marriage-day Lisardo makes his friend dress himself
in his wedding-garments, and, as they were so like each other, none
present at the ceremony suspected but that it was Lisardo who led the
bride to the altar. Next day, at an early hour, the bridegroom goes into
Lisardo’s room and receives his hearty congratulations; but now comes the
question of how to disclose the affair to Lisardo’s father. After some
discussion they go to Federico and confess the deception that had been
practised. At first he is very angry but at length consents to explain
everything to Laura’s father, which he does accordingly, at the same time
stating that the match is quite as good as was intended, and this is
ere long confirmed by the receipt of documents from our youth’s father
conveying property and money to him. Soon afterwards the loving couple
set out for the husband’s home.

Two years pass away, during which Lisardo has not once communicated with
his friend, who now goes to Bologna to ascertain how he fares. He finds
that Lisardo’s father is dead and himself gone no one knows where. Then
he visits all the chief towns and ports of Italy in quest of him, but
without success. Entering Naples for the second time, he perceives a
large concourse of people in the great square, where there is a scaffold
erected, on which he sees a youth with his arms pinioned, and the
executioner, sword in hand, by his side. He recognises in the unhappy
young man his friend Lisardo, and, breaking through the crowd, rushes on
to the scaffold, exclaiming: “This man is innocent—I am the guilty one!”
When the tumult caused by this singular scene is somewhat allayed, the
chief magistrate orders both to be taken to prison in the meantime, and,
as a favour, they are both placed in the same cell. Lisardo reproaches
his friend for casting away his life, and he innocent of any crime,
but his friend replies that he is convinced that Lisardo is equally
innocent, for which Lisardo expresses his gratitude and then proceeds
to tell his story. His father died worth little money, although he had
a reputation of being very rich, and with a few jewels Lisardo departed
from Bologna. As he journeyed he was attacked by a band of robbers, who
plundered him and even stripped off his clothes. A humane cottager gave
him a ragged coat, and he wandered on, not knowing or caring whither he
went. He thought of his friend, but was ashamed to be seen by him in
such a plight. After being sick for six months in a public hospital, he
resumed his wanderings, and one night took shelter in a cavern. In the
morning he was rudely awakened by some peasants, who pointed to the dead
body of a man that lay in the cavern, and accused him of the murder.
Presently the police came and led him off to prison. At his trial he
said nothing in his own defence—for he was weary of life—and he was duly
condemned to death. Having heard this sad story, his friend is now more
than ever determined to save him by the sacrifice of his own life. But
while they are still conversing the cell door is thrown open, and the
prison officials inform them that the real murderers of the man have
just been captured in a gang of desperadoes, who were discovered to be
the same that had robbed Lisardo, his jewels having been found in their
possession. The reaction produced by this sudden intelligence proves too
much for Lisardo’s shattered frame; and, confessing to his friend that
he had from the first loved and had never ceased to love the beauteous
Laura, his devoted spirit took its flight from this earth, leaving his
friend for ever disconsolate: “I shall go to him, but he shall not return
to me!”


Was there ever, I wonder, another Shoayb besides the hapless fellow
of this story? Not only did good fortune actually run after him and
he all the while flee from it, as if the pestilence were behind him,
but his very presence anywhere was the cause of manifold disasters! If
there be not, however, amidst the multitude of the world’s folk-tales
an exact parallel to the Story of Shoayb, there is one near akin to it,
from Western India, related by M. Putlibai D. H. Wadia, in the _Indian
Antiquary_, 1886, p. 221, as follows:

Once upon a time there lived in a certain country a merchant, who was
formerly very prosperous, but having suffered great losses in trade, he
came to be in such poor circumstances that starvation stared him in the
face. As the king of the country knew him well, his wife advised him to
go to court, feeling sure that the king would do something for him. The
merchant, however, felt reluctant to go to the king as a suitor, but
after suffering great privations for a long time, when he saw that there
was nothing left for his family but starvation, he made up his mind to
follow his wife’s advice, and one morning presented himself at the court,
which he found crowded with many persons, who had come there on the same
errand as himself. This sight rather unnerved him, and he devoutly hoped
the king would not recognise him. When his turn came, however, to be
ushered into the royal presence, the king recognised him at once, and
asked him what he could do for him. The merchant with great hesitation
related his case, and the king, being a very thoughtful man, feared that
he would hurt the dignity of one so respectable as the merchant if he
gave him pecuniary assistance before so many people. So he requested him
to wait till all had left the court, and then going into his private
apartments he ordered a water-melon to be brought to him, in which he
made a hole, and pouring out its contents, he filled it with gold coins.
Then summoning the merchant before him, he gave him the melon and said:
“Take this to your family, it is a refreshing fruit, and you will all
enjoy it this hot day.” The merchant thanked the king and returned
homeward very much grieved at receiving only a water-melon when he
expected something more substantial. As he was walking along on his way
home, he met two travellers, who were very thirsty and looked wistfully
at the melon he was carrying, and, being of a very generous disposition
and thinking that they needed the melon more than he did, he gave it to
them and walked quickly home empty-handed.

After passing many months of privation and misery, he was persuaded by
his wife to go to the king a second time, in the hope of better luck. The
king was, however, much surprised at the merchant’s paying him a second
visit so soon after the first; but when he heard that he was as poor as
before, he thought he had invested in trade the money he had given him
and lost it. He therefore filled a water-melon once more with gold coins
and presented it to him. The merchant was again disappointed at being
sent away with such a trifle, but he nevertheless made his obeisance to
the king and returned homewards. This time, however, he resolved not to
part with the fruit, knowing that it would be welcome to his starving
children. He had not gone very far, however, when he met a beggar who
asked alms of him, saying that he was very hungry. The merchant could not
resist this appeal, and, having no money, gave the melon to the beggar.

When he reached home his wife was sorely vexed at his bad luck, and
wondered very much why the king, who was reputed to be very charitable,
should treat her husband so shabbily as to send him away with a melon
every time he went into his presence. Being, however, of a persevering
nature, she once more persuaded him to go to court and ask the king for
help. He accordingly went there and stood in presence of the king as
before. But this time the king first asked him to explain what use he
had made of the two water-melons he had given him. The merchant related
how he had given the first to two travellers who were very thirsty, and
the second to a hungry beggar who asked him for alms. The king laughed
at the merchant for what he considered his folly, and told him what the
two melons contained. He then filled another water-melon with jewels in
the merchant’s presence, and gave it to him, admonishing him to be very
careful of it. The merchant went away rejoicing, full of hope that the
contents of the fruit would enable him to start in life anew. Now it
happened that as his house was situated on the other side of the river
which passed through the town he had to cross it, and in doing so his
foot slipped and the fruit fell into the water and was carried away by
the flood. The poor merchant wept over this misfortune, and returned
home, cursing his evil star.

He was now fully persuaded that it was the will of Iswara[275] that he
should remain poor; and, thinking it useless, therefore, to struggle
against Destiny, he resolved never to ask anybody for help again, but to
live as best he could till it should please Iswara that he should see
better days.

       *       *       *       *       *

To the same class, also, belongs No. 104 of the selection of monkish
Latin Stories edited by Thomas Wright for the Percy Society, of which
this is a translation:

There were two blind men in the Roman state. One of them daily cried
through the town: “He is well helped whom the Lord wills to help.” The
other exclaimed: “He is well helped whom the emperor wills to help.” When
they had said this very often, daily, and the emperor had frequently
heard it, he caused a cake to be made and many talents to be put into
it, and ordered this cake filled with talents to be given to the blind
man [who said that he was well helped whom the emperor helped]. Having
received it, and feeling the cake heavy, and meeting the other blind man,
he sold him the cake for his children. He who bought the cake, coming
home and breaking it, finding it full of money, gave thanks to God, and
for the rest of his life ceased to beg. But the other continued to be as
formerly, and the emperor called him, and said to him: “Where is the cake
which I ordered to be given you yesterday?” He replied: “I sold it for
a trifle to my companion, because I thought it was raw.” “Truly,” said
the emperor, “he is well helped whom God helps!” And he turned away and
refused to aid the blind beggar.

A similar story is told by Gower in his _Confessio Amantis_, Book v, only
here the emperor causes two pasties to be made, into one of which he
puts some florins and into the other a capon, and the beggars exchange
pasties. Another analogue is found in _Past Days in India_ (London:
1874), pp. 169-171, where two _fakírs_ (Hindú religious mendicants) are
among the crowd at a grand royal festival, one of whom, to flatter the
king, bawls out: “Kings have all sublunary power, and they give to whom
they please; what, then, can the Ruler of Destiny do?” The other, an
honest fellow, rebuked him, saying: “When the Ruler of Destiny gives,
what can the greatest king do?” With limes in place of pasties, the
result is the same as in Gower’s story.[276]


This most entertaining little romance, which all readers would wish
longer, may be considered as exemplifying—if we can allow ourselves to
suppose such strange occurrences to be possible—the adage that “it is
better to be born lucky than rich.” Unlike most heroes of romance, the
troubles of Farrukhrúz are comparatively few and of very brief duration;
and even while he is in tribulation we feel confident that he will
presently emerge from it, being so evidently a favourite of Fortune.
Several of the incidents in the tale are peculiarly interesting to
comparative “storiologists.”

_The Ungrateful Brothers_—pp. 149-152.

The diabolical treatment of Farrukhrúz by his two brothers was probably
adapted from the tale of “The Witch Shamsah and Táhir of Basra,” which
occurs in the Turkish story-book, _Al-Faraj ba’d al-Shiddah_, and of
which the following is the outline:

One day three jewels were brought to Harún er-Rashíd, who greatly admired
them, but his vazír, Fazl bin Rabí’, told him that a merchant of Basra,
called Táhir the dog-worshipper, possessed much finer ones. Táhir is
sent for, exhibits his thirty unequalled jewels, protests that he is
a good Mussulman, but admits that he has two dogs well cared for, and
then proceeds to relate his history: His father ’Asim had left a wealthy
estate to him and his two brothers, who soon squander their shares and
become destitute. He has pity for them and takes them with him on a
trading voyage. While he slept on deck, they threw him overboard. He
escapes on a plank and is cast ashore on the island of Gang, where he
finds his two brothers. They trump up a charge against him before the
king, to whom they had made a present of his favourite slave-girl, and he
is thrown into a dark pit, where he meets with a youth who is also the
victim of a treacherous brother, and whose sweetheart rescues them both.
Wandering forth, they fall in with a caravan, and here again Táhir meets
his brothers, who leave him wounded and almost dead on the road, where
he is found by a princess, who has his wounds dressed, and takes him to
her father’s palace. She is Kamar al-Bahr, the daughter of the king of
Gang, and falls in love with him. They are betrayed to the king, who is
about to slay them, but makes them over to his vazír, who puts them in a
boat. They fall in with pirates, who take the princess and leave Táhir in
the boat, which they send adrift. The pirates fight over their prize and
kill each other, all but one, whom the princess contrives to get rid of
by poison. Táhir, drifting in his boat is picked up by a passing ship,
where once more he finds his rascally brothers. They wish to put him to
death, but are persuaded to hand him over to the king of Iram, an island
on which they land.[277] There the two brothers find the princess of
Gang and present her to the king, who immediately becomes madly enamoured
of her, but she will not yield to his desires. Then he tries to terrify
her into submission by slaying a prisoner before her eyes, who happens
to be none other than Táhir. The king was raising his sword to cut off
his head but gave way to her entreaties and released him. By the advice
and with the help of a kind officer, Táhir crosses the sea to Jazíra-i
Firdaus,[278] the realm of the mighty sorceress Shamsah, where he finds
a paradise indeed, and enters a magnificent but untenanted palace.
Suddenly he hears an awful sound, and a dragon appears and ascends the
throne. It then changes into an old woman—Shamsah herself. She hears his
story, takes pity on him, and sends with him an innumerable host of wild
beasts to the conquest of Iram. He returns victorious to pay homage to
Shamsah, who gives him his beloved princess in marriage and along with
her a string of thirty jewels, and two magic vials of green and red oil,
one having the virtue of changing men into beasts, the other that of
restoring them to their natural shape. After a while Táhir returns with
his wife to Basra, whither he is soon followed by his two brothers, whom
he changes to dogs.—At the intercession of the Khalíf Harún er-Rashíd,
Táhir consents to forgive his brothers and restores them to their human

       *       *       *       *       *

If the idea of the ungrateful conduct of the two brothers towards
Farrukhrúz was derived from the foregoing tale of Táhir, the latter
in its turn, seems to have been adapted from the story of the
dog-worshipping merchant of Nishapúr, in the Persian _Kissa-i Chehár
Darvesh_, of which the _Bagh o Bahár_ is a modern Urdú version, and
in the latter we find the story told at very considerable length and
with more details and incidents than in the Turkish version, while
all that relates to the sorcerer Shamsah is peculiar to the latter.
It would occupy too much space, in view of what remains to be said
regarding other tales in our collection, to give even the outline of
the Persian original, but it may be mentioned that in place of the two
wicked brothers being changed to dogs they are confined in cages; while
the merchant’s dog, who had often saved his life when attempted by his
brothers, and continued faithful to him through all his vicissitudes,
is adorned with a collar set with priceless rubies and attended by two
slaves—the merchant thereby indicating, so to say, his approval of the
aphorism of the ancient Hindú sage, that “a grateful dog is better than
an ungrateful man.”—In our tale, it will be observed, the two wicked
brothers do not reappear after they cut Farrukhrúz adrift.

_The Three Expeditions_—p. 154 ff.

It is a very usual occurrence in folk-tales, as well as in tales of
more elaborate construction, for the hero, after becoming the king’s
chief favourite, to be the mark for the shafts of envy and malice.
Plots are laid in order to bring about his destruction, and, commonly
through the suggestions of his enviers, the king is induced to despatch
him on most perilous adventures—almost invariably three in succession,
as in our little romance. Sometimes it is the hero’s brothers who are
envious of his good fortune and thus seek to cause his death; sometimes
a courtier whom he has supplanted in the king’s favour and patronage.
We have examples of both kinds of enviers in Geldart’s _Folk-Lore of
Modern Greece_, an entertaining collection, as well as useful to such as
are interested in the study of popular fictions. Thus, in the tale of
“Constantes and the Dragon,” the hero’s elder brother is jealous of his
favour with the king, and it is at his suggestion that Constantes is sent
to procure for the king (1) the Dragon’s diamond ring; (2) the Dragon’s
horse and bell; (3) the very Dragon himself. And in the tale of “Little
John, the Widow’s Son,” the hero, thus styled, becomes the king’s
hunter, and one day kills (1) a wild beast, whose skin was all covered
with precious gems. The king shows this treasure to his courtiers,
who declare they have seen nothing like it under heaven. The vazír,
however, says the skin is all very well, but if the king had the bones of
elephants to build a church with, all the kings of the earth would come
to admire it, and the skin as well. So the young hero is despatched to
procure (2) a sufficient quantity of elephants’ bones to build a church
with, and returns successful. He is then sent, at the suggestion of the
vazír, to bring the Dragon’s daughter to the king, in which, of course,
he also succeeds, and thus the vazír’s malice comes all to naught.

We have three examples from Sweden in _Thorpe’s Yule-Tide Stories_. In
No. I of “The Boy that stole the Giant’s Treasures” a peasant dies and
leaves his small property to his three sons. The two elder (as in the
story of the merchant of Nishapúr in the _Chehár Darvesh_, referred
to, page 495) take all that was valuable, leaving the youngest an old
split kneading-trough for his share. The lads all enter the service of a
king—the youngest helps in the royal kitchen and is liked by everybody.
His two elder brothers are envious of him and induce the king to send
him (1) for the Troll’s seven silver ducks; (2) his gold and silver
bed-quilt; and (3) his golden harp.[279]—In No. II three brothers set out
in quest of their fortune, and the two elder obtain employment as helpers
in the royal stables, while the youngest is taken as page to the king’s
young son. His brothers are sorely nettled at his preferment, and consult
how they might compass his disgrace. They tell the king of a wonderful
golden lantern that shed light over both land and water, and add that
it ill beseemed a king to lack so precious a treasure. The king asks,
excitedly, where this lamp is to be found and who could procure it for
him. The brothers reply: “No one can do that, unless it be our brother
Pinkel. He knows best where the lantern is to be found.” So the king
despatches Pinkel to get him the golden lantern, promising to make him
the chief person at court should he bring it. Pinkel goes off and returns
in safety with the (1) lantern; and the king made him the chief person at
court, as he had promised. The brothers, hearing of his success, become
more envious than before, and at their suggestion the king sends him to
procure (2) the beautiful goat that had horns of the purest gold, from
which little gold bells were suspended, which gave forth a pleasing sound
whenever the animal moved; and next (3) the Troll-crone’s fur cloak,
that shone like the brightest gold, and was worked with golden threads
in every seam; after which the king gave him his daughter in marriage,
and he thus became heir to the kingdom, but his brothers continued to be
helpers in the royal stable as long as they lived.—In No. III two poor
lads roam about the country in search of a livelihood. At length the
younger is received by the king among his pages, but the elder goes about
begging as before: through the influence of his brother, however, he is
shortly taken into the king’s service as a stable-boy. The elder brother
is continually thinking of how he might get the younger disgraced. One
day when the king visits his stables he praises a favourite horse, upon
which the stable-lad tells him that he knows of a golden horse that
excels all horses in the world, but only his brother could procure it. In
brief, the hero procures for the king (1) the golden horse; (2) the moon
lantern; and (3) a princess who had been enchanted.

In No. 8 of M. Legrand’s _Contes Populaires Grecs_ (Paris, 1881) the
hero, at the suggestion of the Beardless Man, is sent by the king (1)
for the ivory chamber; (2) for the nightingale and wall swallow; and (3)
for the belle of the world.—And in M. Renè Basset’s _Contes Populaires
Berbères_ (Paris, 1887), No. 27, the hero is despatched by the king, at
the instigation of his enemies, to procure (1) the coral tree; (2) the
palm tree of the wild beasts; (3) the woman with silver attire; and, of
course, returns successful from each perilous expedition. M. Renè Basset
in his Notes, pp. 163-166, refers to several parallels or analogues from
Brittany, Lorraine, the West Highlands of Scotland, etc.

A story from Salsette, entitled “Karne da Pequeno João,” by Geo. Fr.
D’Penha, in the _Indian Antiquary_, 1888, p. 327 ff., is full of interest
to folk-lorists, apart from its connection with the “envious brothers”
cycle: Three brothers, of whom Little John, the youngest, is as usual
the only clever one, set out to seek their fortunes. They rest for the
night in the abode of an ogre, who resolves to kill them while they are
asleep and eat all three for breakfast. The ogre has three daughters,
and he puts white caps on them and red caps on the youths. The two
elder brothers are soon fast asleep, not so Little John. He suspects
mischief is brewing, and changes caps with the ogre’s daughters, who are
consequently killed by their father in mistake for the three lads. Little
John rouses his two brothers and they cross the river, which the ogre
cannot do, being unable to swim. In the morning the ogre sees them, and
cries out that he will make John pay for it yet! They take service with a
king: John is made a shepherd, the others are given places of trust. John
puts on one of the caps (he had taken all of them with him) on his head
and begins to play on his pipe, whereupon all the sheep begin to caper
and dance. The princess sees this, and gets the cap from him, and so on
till she has got the sixth, on the promise of her love. The king, at the
instigation of the princess, pays John better wages, and his brothers are
envious of his good fortune. Soon after this the king falls ill, and the
two elder brothers suggest to him that John should be sent to fetch (1)
the ogre’s parrot. John manages to carry off the bird, and the ogre cries
after him that he’ll make him pay for it yet! But John says he’ll come
again. In short, John afterwards procures (2) the ogre’s mare; (3) his
diamond ring; (4) his sword; (5) his blanket; and (6) the ogre himself.
After each expedition John is promoted to a still higher station till he
is made vazír and finally marries the princess. He does not punish his
brothers, the good young man, but raises them to high offices of state.

In many instances, as in the case of Farrukhrúz, the hero is assisted
by fairies or other superhuman beings, but with the means by which the
seemingly impossible tasks are accomplished we have no present concern
and so I have passed them over. The third and last expedition of
Farrukhrúz, suggested by the envious vazírs of the king of Yaman—who was,
like the monarchs of Eastern fictions generally, a credulous blockhead—by
which they made sure to cause the death of the favourite, but which
ended so disastrously for themselves—thus illustrating the saying that
“he who digs a pit for another,” and so forth: the proverb is somewhat

_The Expedition to Paradise (p. 183 ff.)_

has its close parallel in the Kalmuk _Relations of Siddhí Kúr_,[280]
which form the first part of Miss Busk’s _Sagas from the Far East_, a
work chiefly derived from Jülg’s German translation. In Miss Busk’s
book, the story is No. VIII and entitled “How Ananda the Woodcarver and
Ananda the Painter strove together,” and, pruned of some redundancies of
language, this is how it goes:

Long ago there lived two men, a wood-carver and a painter, both named
Ananda. While they appeared to be on very friendly terms, in reality
jealousy reigned in their hearts. One day the painter presented himself
before the Khán, and told him that his father of blessed memory had
been re-born in the kingdom of the gods, in proof of which he handed
the Khán a letter, forged by himself, which stated such to be the fact,
and directed the Khán to send forthwith Ananda the Woodcarver to the
kingdom of the gods, to adorn with his cunning a temple which he was
building—“the way and means of his coming shall be explained by Ananda
the Painter.” The Khán, believing all this to be true, at once sent for
the Woodcarver, informed him of his father the late Khán’s message, and
commanded him to prepare forthwith to depart for the kingdom of the gods.
The Woodcarver knew that this was the device of the Painter, and resolved
to meet craft with craft, but, dissembling his feelings, asked by what
means he was to win thither. Hereupon the Khán sent for the Painter, and
ordered him to declare the way and manner of the journey to the kingdom
of the gods. The Painter replied, addressing the Woodcarver: “When thou
hast collected all the materials and instruments appertaining to thy
calling, and hast gathered them at thy feet, thou shalt order a pile of
beams of wood well steeped in spirit distilled from sesame grain to be
heaped around thee. Then, to the accompaniment of every solemn-sounding
instrument, kindle the pile, and rise to the gods’ kingdom, borne on the
obedient clouds of smoke as on a swift charger.”

The Woodcarver durst not refuse the Khán’s behest, but obtained an
interval of seven days in order to collect the materials and implements
of his calling, and also to devise some plan of avenging himself upon
the Painter. Returning home he consulted with his wife, who proposed a
means of evading while seeming to obey the Khán’s command. In a field
belonging to her husband, not far from the house, she caused a large flat
stone to be laid, on which the sacrifice was to be consummated, and, at
night, beneath it she had an underground passage made communicating with
the house. And when the eighth day came, the Khán and all the people
were assembled round the pile of wood steeped in spirit distilled from
sesame grain in the Woodcarver’s field, and in the midst of it stood the
Woodcarver, calm and impassable, while all kinds of musical instruments
sent forth their solemn-sounding tones. And when the smoke began to rise
in concealing density, the Woodcarver pushed aside the stone with his
feet and returned to his house by the underground passage. The Painter,
never doubting but that he must have fallen a prey to the flames, rubbed
his hands, and, pointing to the curling smoke, cried to the people:
“Behold the spirit of Ananda the Woodcarver ascending to the kingdom of
the gods!” And all the people, believing him, echoed his words.

For the space of a whole month the Woodcarver remained secluded in his
house, daily washing his face with milk and keeping out of the sunshine.
Then his wife brought him a garment of white gauze, with which he covered
himself, and, taking with him a letter which he had forged, he went into
the presence of the Khán, who when he saw him said: “Thou art returned
from the kingdom of the gods—how didst thou leave my father?” Then he
gave the forged letter to the Khán, who caused it to be read aloud to the
people. The letter stated that the Woodcarver had executed the sculptures
well, but it was necessary that they should send thither Ananda the
Painter, in order that they should be suitably decorated. When the Khán
heard this letter read he was overjoyed, and he loaded the Woodcarver
with rich presents. And then he sent for Ananda the Painter, and told
him how his father in the kingdom of the gods required his services. On
hearing this the Painter was seized with great fear, but when he looked
at the Woodcarver, all white and radiant from the milk-washing, and clad
in celestial raiment, as if the light of the gods’ kingdom yet clove to
him, and that the fire had not burnt him, neither should it burn himself;
moreover, if he refused to go, death must be his portion, while if he
went he should, like the Woodcarver, also receive great wealth on his
return. So he consented to have his gear in readiness in seven days. And
when the prescribed day arrived, the Khán, in his robes of state, and
attended by his ministers and officers, and all the people assembled in
the Painter’s field, where was a great pile of wood steeped as before in
spirit, and in the midst of it they placed the Painter; and, amidst the
sound of all sorts of musical instruments, they set fire to the pile. At
first the Painter bore the torture, expecting to rise on the clouds of
smoke, but soon the extreme pain caused him to shout to the people to
come and release him. But the sound of the music—his own device to drown
the cries of the Woodcarver—prevailed against him: no one could hear his
cries, and he perished miserably in the flames.

       *       *       *       *       *

This story is doubtless of Buddhist extraction; but it is not very
probable that our author was indebted to any Mongolian version such as
the foregoing for the materials of the tale he has told so well, in which
he represents the vile complotters against the life of Farrukhrúz as
crying out for mercy when they saw the awful doom they had brought upon
themselves, and the silly King of Yaman as still firm in the belief that
they should really go to Paradise and return in safety with his beatified
ancestors’ grand presents.

       *       *       *       *       *

As a pendant, I may reproduce, from Professor Basil Hall Chamberlain’s
interesting collection of _Aino Folk-Tales_, privately printed for the
Folk-Lore Society, 1888, the story of “The Wicked Wizard Punished” (No.

One day a wizard told a man whom he knew that if any one were to climb
a certain mountain-peak and jump off on to the belt of clouds below,
he would be able to ride about on them as on a horse and see the whole
world. Trusting in this, the man did as the wizard had told him, and in
very truth was enabled to ride about on the clouds. He visited the whole
world in this manner, and brought back a map which he had drawn of the
whole world, both of men and gods. On arriving back at the mountain-peak
in Aino-land, he stepped off the cloud on to the mountain, and,
descending to the valley, told the wizard how successful and delightful
the journey had been, and thanked him for the opportunity kindly granted
him of seeing sights so numerous and so strange. The wizard was overcome
with astonishment. For what he had told the other man was a lie—a wicked
lie, invented with the sole intention of causing his death, for he hated
him. Nevertheless, seeing that what he had simply meant for an idle tale
was apparently an actual fact, he decided to see the world himself in
this easy fashion. So, ascending the mountain-peak, and seeing a belt
of clouds a short way below, he jumped off on to it, but was instantly
dashed to pieces in the valley below. That night the god of the mountain
appeared to the good man in a dream, and said: “The wizard has met with
the death which his fraud and folly deserved. You I kept from hurt,
because you are a good man. So when, obedient to the wizard’s advice,
you leapt off on to the cloud I bore you up, and showed you the world to
make you a wiser man. Let all men learn from this how wickedness leads to
condign punishment!”

       *       *       *       *       *

Such a tale as this is not at all likely to have been invented by a race
so low in the scale of humanity as the Ainos; and we must, I think,
consider it as one of the tales and legends which they derived from the
Japanese. As it is, the story presents a remarkable general resemblance
to the Mongolian tale of the Woodcarver and the Painter, of which one
might almost say it is a reflection or an adaptation.


Under the title of “Strike, but Hear,” a considerably abridged and
modified version of this Tale is given in the Rev. Lal Behári Day’s
_Folk-Tales of Bengal_ (London: Macmillan & Co., 1883), of which this is
the substance:

A king appoints his three sons to patrol in turn the streets of his
capital during the night. It happens that the youngest prince in going
his rounds one night sees a very beautiful woman issuing from the palace,
and he asks to know what business she is bent upon at such an hour.
She replies: “I am the guardian deity of this palace. The king will be
killed this night, and therefore I am going away.” The prince persuades
the goddess to return into the palace and await the event. He enters his
father’s bed-chamber and discovers a huge cobra near the royal couch,
and at once cuts the deadly snake into many pieces, which he puts into
a brass vessel that was in the room. Then seeing that some drops of the
serpent’s blood had fallen on his step-mother’s bosom, he wraps a piece
of cloth round his tongue to protect it from the poison, and licks off
the blood. The lady awakes, and recognises him as he is leaving the room.
She accuses him to the king of having used an unpardonable freedom with
her. In the morning the king sends for his eldest son and asks him: “If
a trusted servant should prove faithless, how should he be punished?”
The prince replies: “Surely his head should be parted from his body.
But before doing so, you should ascertain whether the man is actually
guilty.” And then he proceeds to relate the

_Story of the Woman who knew the Language of Animals_.

There was in former times a goldsmith who had a grown-up son, whose wife
was acquainted with the language of animals, but she kept secret from her
husband and all others the fact of her being endowed with such a rare
gift. It happened one night that she heard a jackal exclaim: “There is a
dead body floating on the river; would that some one might give me that
body to eat, and for his pains take the diamond ring from the finger of
that dead man.” The woman arose from her bed and went to the bank of the
river, and her husband, who had not been asleep, got up and followed her
unobserved. She went into the water, drew the corpse on to the land, and,
being unable to loose the ring from the dead man’s finger, which had
swelled, she bit off the finger, and, leaving the corpse on the bank of
the river, returned home, whither she had been preceded by her husband.
Almost petrified by fear, the young goldsmith concluded from what he had
seen that his wife was not a human being but a _rákshasí_; and early in
the morning he hastened to his father and related the whole affair to
him—how the woman had got up during the night and gone to the river, out
of which she dragged a dead body on to the land, and was busy devouring
it when he ran home in horror at the loathsome sight. The old man was
greatly shocked, and advised his son to take his wife on some pretext
into the forest, and leave her there to be destroyed by wild beasts. So
the husband caused the woman to get herself ready to go on a visit to
her parents, and after a hasty breakfast they set out. In going through
a dense _jangal_, where the goldsmith purposed abandoning his wife, she
heard a serpent cry: “O passenger, I pray thee to seize and give me that
croaking frog, and take for thy reward the gold and precious stones
concealed in yonder hole.” The woman at once seized the frog and threw it
towards the serpent, and then began digging into the ground with a stick.
Her husband quaked with fear, thinking that his ghúl-wife was about to
kill him; but she called to him, saying: “My dear husband, gather up all
the gold and precious gems.” Approaching the spot with hesitation, he was
surprised to perceive an immense treasure laid bare by his wife, who then
explained to him how she had learned of it from the snake that lay coiled
up near them, whose language she understood. Then said he to his wife:
“It is now so late that we cannot reach your father’s house before dark,
and we might be slain by wild beasts. Let us therefore return home.” So
they retraced their steps, and approaching the house, the goldsmith said
to his wife: “Do you, my dear, go in by the back door, while I enter by
the front and show my father all this treasure.” The woman accordingly
went in by the back door and was met by her father-in-law, who, on seeing
her, concluded that she had killed and devoured his son, and striking
her on the head with a hammer which he happened to have in his hand she
instantly fell down dead. Just then the son came into the room, but it
was too late.

“I have told your majesty this story,” adds the eldest prince, “in order
that, before putting the man to death, you should make sure that he is

The king then calls his second son, and asks him the same question as he
had asked his brother, to which he replies by relating the

_Story of the King and his Faithful Horse_.

Once a king while engaged in the chase was separated from his attendants,
and seeing what he conceived to be rain-water dropping from the branch of
a tree, being very thirsty, he held his drinking-cup under it until it
was nearly filled, and as he was about to put it to his lips his horse
purposely moved so as to cause the contents to be spilled on the ground,
upon which the king in a rage drew his sword and killed the faithful
animal. But afterwards discovering that what he had taken for rain-water
was poison that dropped from a cobra in the tree, his grief knew no

Calling his third son, the king asks him what should be done to the man
who proved false to his trust, and the prince tells the

_Story of the Wonderful Fruit_

which bestowed perennial youth on him who ate of it, with some
unimportant variations from the same story in our Romance.

Then the youngest prince explained the occasion of his presence in the
royal bed-chamber, and how he had saved the king and his consort from the
cobra’s deadly bite. And his majesty, overjoyed and full of gratitude,
strained his faithful son to his heart, and ever afterwards cherished and
loved him with all a father’s love.

       *       *       *       *       *

Another version is orally current in Kashmír, and, under the title of
“The Four Princes,” a translation of it is given by the Rev. J. Hinton
Knowles in his excellent collection, _Folk-Tales of Kashmír_, from which
are extracted the following details:

Four clever and handsome young princes are hated by their step-mother,
who persuades her husband the king to cease his personal and secret
inspection of the city and adjacent towns and villages—which had long
been his custom, going about at night in disguise—and appoint his four
grown-up, idle sons to the duties. But still the queen is jealous
of them, and poisons the king’s mind against them, so that he speaks
harshly to his worthy sons, without any apparent cause. One night the
four princes met together and discussed the altered conduct of the king
towards them, and the three younger proposed that they should privily
quit the country, but this was strenuously opposed by the eldest brother,
who suggested that they should rather take turn and patrol the city,
one of them each night, to which they agreed. It happened that the
eldest prince, in the course of his perambulation one night, came past
the hut of a Bráhman, whom he saw gazing out of the open window towards
the heavens, and presently heard him say to his wife that he had just
observed the king’s star obscured by another star, which indicated that
his majesty would die in seven days. His wife asked him how he should
die then, and he replied that a black snake would descend from the sky
on the seventh day, enter the royal bed-chamber by the door that opened
into the courtyard, and bite the king’s toe, thus causing his death.
Then the Bráhman made a sacrifice, and, after prayers and incantations,
he told his wife farther, that the king’s life would be saved if one of
his relations dug pits in the courtyard on the east side of the palace,
filled some with water and the others with milk, and scattered flowers
on the ground between the ponds and the door of the king’s room. He must
be ready, sword in hand, outside the door at the appointed time, when
the snake will come and swim across the ponds and pass over the flowers,
after which it will become comparatively harmless. Then he must strike
and slay the snake with his sword, and taking some of its warm blood
smear it over the king’s toes—thus will he be preserved from evil. The
prince, having treasured these directions in his memory, on the seventh
day follows them exactly, and having taken some of the snake’s blood,
gently opens the door of the king’s chamber and enters, having first tied
a bandage over his eyes, that he should not see the queen. But being thus
blindfolded he smears the blood on the queen’s toes instead of those
of the king, which causes her to awake, and to shriek on seeing a man
glide out of the room, which awakes the king, who recognises his eldest
son as the intruder. The queen, on discovering the blood on her feet
concludes that it was a rákshasa, and becomes frantic with fright, but
her husband sets her mind at rest by telling her that he is now assured
of the wickedness of his sons, who had employed a demon to destroy them
both, and he would have them all executed on the morrow, at which the
queen was highly delighted. Then the king causes the four princes to be
stripped of their royal robes and thrown into a dungeon. In the morning
they are brought into the presence of the king, who gives order for their
immediate execution, and they are being led away when one of them made
signs and prostrated himself before the throne, as if he wished to say
something. “Let him speak,” said the king. “Perhaps he wants to relieve
his heart of some foul secret—let him speak.” The prince then began to
relate the

_Story of the Merchant and his Faithful Dog_,

which differs materially from our story of the Hunter and his Dog (p.
206), but agrees with some versions current in various parts of India: A
young merchant meets four men who are quarrelling over the possession of
a poor dog, which they are dragging about most unmercifully. They tell
him it is not an ordinary dog, for their late father charged them not to
sell it for less than 20,000 rupís. He gives them the money and takes
the dog with him. By-and-by he loses all his wealth through a series of
unfortunate transactions, and borrows 15,000 rupís of another merchant
on the security of his dog. One night a gang of robbers break into the
merchant’s house and carry off all his valuables. They are followed
unobserved by the dog, who watches them dig a pit and bury the treasure
in it, intending to return and share their booty when they might do so
with safety. Next day the dog, by means of signs, leads the merchant to
the spot where his wealth was hidden, and when it is discovered, full
of gratitude to the faithful animal, he writes out an acquittance of the
young merchant’s loan, and having related the great service the dog had
done him expressed a wish to purchase the dog, for which he enclosed a
draft for 30,000 rupís, and putting the letter in the dog’s mouth, sends
him back to his master. As the dog is trotting along he meets his master,
who, concluding that he had run away, and that the merchant would quickly
follow, determined to kill the animal, and if the merchant should come,
he would say: “Give me back my dog, and I will return the money.” But
when he had killed his dog and was about to take the carcase up, in order
to conceal it, the letter dropped from his mouth, and the young merchant,
stricken with remorse, fell down insensible.

Another of the princes then steps forward and relates the

_Story of the Woman who knew the Language of Animals_,

which does not differ very much from the same tale in the Bengalí
collection, cited on p. 505, above, excepting that in place of a
goldsmith the husband is a _shikárí_, or hunter; it is a bracelet set
with five precious stones, not a diamond ring that the woman takes off
the corpse in the river, and a crow, not a serpent, that tells of the
treasure underground; and it is her father-in-law, not her husband, who
accompanies her, and it is her husband who kills her when she comes home,
thinking that she had devoured his father.

The youngest prince next makes his obeisance to his majesty and obtains
leave to relate the

_Story of the King and his Falcon_,

which is similar to that of the King and his Faithful Horse in the
Bengalí version: The king is about to drink of some water he had drawn
from a spring, when his falcon dashed the cup out of his hand, whereupon
the thirsty and enraged king drew his sword and killed his favourite
bird. Afterwards a huge and deadly snake was found coiled up at the head
of the spring, and too late the king saw that the falcon had saved his

His majesty having heard these stories, now began to suspect that his
wife had deceived him regarding his four sons, and when the eldest prince
had explained the whole affair, and shown the king the pits of water and
milk and the body of the serpent, he was fully reconciled to them, and
abdicating the throne in favour of his eldest son, and appointing the
others to be governors of provinces, he retired to the wilderness and
became a hermit.

_The Lost Camel_—p. 194.

Few stories are more widely spread than that of the Lost Camel, which
occurs in the opening of our romance. It was formerly, and perhaps is
still, reproduced in school-books as a reading exercise. Voltaire, in
chapter iii of _Zadig, ou la Destinée_, (the substance of which he is
said to have derived from Geuelette’s _Soirées Bretonnes_), gives a
version in which a lost palfrey and a she-dog are accurately described
by the “sage” from the traces they had left on the path over which they

The oldest known written form of the story of the Lost Camel is in the
great work of Mas’udí, the celebrated Arabian historian, ‘Meadows of Gold
and Mines of Gems,’ which has not yet been completely translated into
English.—In an Arabic MS. text of the _Alf Layla wa Layla_ (Thousand
and one Nights), brought from the East by Wortley Montague, and now in
the Bodleian Library, Oxford, it forms an incident in the tale of the
Sultan of Yaman’s Three Sons: After their father’s death the three royal
youths quarrel over the succession to the throne, and at length agree
to submit their respective claims to one of their father’s tributary
princes. On the road one of them remarks: “A camel has lately passed this
way, loaded with grain on one side and with sweetmeats on the other.”
The second observes: “And the camel is blind of one eye.” The third
adds: “And it has lost its tail.” The owner comes up to them, and on
hearing their description of his beast forces them to go with him before
the king of the country, to whom they explain how they discovered the
defects of the camel and its lading. In this form it also occurs in
the Turkish collection translated under the title of _Turkish_ Evening
Entertainments—see _ante_, p. 472—with the addition of a woman riding on
the back of the camel, she having got off the animal during a temporary
halt, and left her small footprints in the sand.

In a Siberian version three youths are met by a man, who asks them if
they have seen his camel, to which they reply by describing the colour
and peculiarities of the animal so exactly that he accuses them to the
prince of the country of having stolen it. “I have lost a camel, my
lord,” says he; “and when I met these three young men we saluted, and I
told them of my loss. One of these youths asked me: ‘Was thy camel of
a light colour?’ The second: ‘Was thy camel lame?’ And the third: ‘Was
thy camel not blind of an eye?’ I answered ‘Yes’ to their questions.
Now decide, my lord. It is evident that these young men have stolen my
camel.” Then the prince asked the eldest: “How did you know that the
camel was of a light colour?” He answered: “By some hairs which had
fallen on the ground when it rubbed itself against the trees.” The two
others gave answers similar to those in our version. Then said the prince
to the man: “Thy camel is lost; go and look for it.” So the stranger
mounted his horse and departed.[281]

       *       *       *       *       *

Captain (now Sir) Richard F. Burton, in his _Scinde, or the Unhappy
Valley_, vol. i, p. 142, thus describes how a _paggi_, or tracker,
sets about discovering a strayed camel: “He ties on his slippers with
packthread, winds his sheet tight round his waist, and squatting upon
the ground scrutinises the footprint before he starts, with all the air
of a connoisseur, making meanwhile his remarks aloud: ‘He is a little,
little camel—his feet are scarcely three parts grown—he treads lightly
with the off foreleg, and turns this toe in—his sole is scarred—he is
not laden—there he goes—there—there, he is off to the jungles of Shaykh

_The Hunter and his Dog_—p. 206.

A variant of this story is cited from a Cawnpore newspaper in the
_Asiatic Journal_, vol. xv (new series), Part II, October, 1834, p. 78,
which is to the following effect: A man named Dabí had a dog called
Bhyro, the faithful companion of his travels, who guarded his goods
from robbers while he slept. He wished to go to a distant part of the
country on a speculation in grain, but had not sufficient funds for this
purpose. After much cogitation he at length resolved to pledge his dog
for 1000 rupís, and when he applied to several persons was laughed at
for his folly; but a wealthy merchant named Dyarám gave the money, on
condition that it should be paid back within twelve months, taking the
dog Bhyro in pledge. When eleven months had passed the merchant began
to bewail the stupidity which had induced him to lend so large a sum on
so precarious a security. His relentings were, however, premature. One
dark and dreary night he was aroused from his slumbers by a great noise,
occasioned by the clashing of swords and the barking of Bhyro. A band
of armed men had entered the house with intent to plunder, but before
they could effect their purpose they had been observed by the faithful
Bhyro, who commenced an attack upon them. Before Dyarám could render
any assistance Bhyro had laid two of the robbers dead at his feet; a
third, on the approach of Dyarám, aimed a blow at his head, which was
prevented from taking effect by Bhyro seizing the ruffian by the throat
and laying him prostrate on the ground. After peace was restored Dyarám
congratulated himself on having received Bhyro in pledge for Dabí, by
which act he not only escaped being plundered, but in all probability
murdered. Next morning Dyarám called Bhyro, and, after caressing him,
said: “The service you rendered me last night is more than an equivalent
for the 1000 rupís I lent your master; go, faithful creature, I give you
a free discharge from your obligation as security for him.” Bhyro shook
his head in token that it was impossible for him to go until his master
returned; but Dyarám, comprehending his meaning, soon arranged matters,
by writing a statement of the circumstances, and giving a voucher for the
1000 rupís. This document he tied round Bhyro’s neck, which done, Bhyro
expressed his delight by leaping about in every direction, and, after
licking the hands of Dyarám, darted out of the house and set off in quest
of his master. While these scenes were transpiring in Dyarám’s house,
Dabí was not unmindful of the pledge he had left behind him, and, having
succeeded in his speculation, was returning with all haste to redeem it.
At his last stage homewards he was surprised to see Bhyro approaching
him with every demonstration of joy, but at sight of him Dabí’s rage was
kindled, and repulsing Bhyro as he fawned upon him he thus addressed
him: “O ungrateful wretch! is this the return you have made for my
kindness to you? and is this the manner in which you have established my
character for veracity? You remained faithful to your trust during eleven
months—could you not have held out for thirty short days? You have, by
your desertion from your post, entailed dishonour upon me, and for this
you shall die.” And, so saying, he drew his sword and slew him. After
having committed this deed, he observed a paper tied round Bhyro’s neck,
and having read it, his grief was indescribable. To atone in some measure
for his rash act, he caused poor Bhyro to be buried on the spot where he
fell, and a superb monument to be erected over his remains. To the grave
of Bhyro, even at the present day, resort natives who have been bitten by
dogs, they believing that the dust collected there, when applied to the
wounds, is an antidote for hydrophobia.

It will be observed, on comparison, that the chief difference between
this version and the Kashmírí story, cited in p. 509, is that in the
latter the dog does not venture to attack the robbers, but follows
them to the place where they conceal their plunder and next day leads
his temporary master to the spot, while in the foregoing the dog Bhyro
boldly flies at the rascals, and slays or disables three of them, thus
preserving the house from being robbed. The Tamil version has the dog’s
killing the paramour of the merchant’s wife in place of the robbery, and
the tragical catastrophe of the suicides of all the characters.

A version given from Oudh, by Mr. G. H. Roberts, of Sítápúr, in _Indian
Notes and Queries_, 1887, p. 150, agrees exactly with the Kashmírí story.

_The Bráhman’s Wife and the Mungús_—p. 211.

This story is of world-wide popularity, and the preceding tale of the
Hunter and his Faithful Dog must be considered as an off-shoot from it.
In this country the form in which it is generally known is the legend of
Llewellyn and his hound Gellert, which has been so finely versified by
Spencer. I have adduced many variants of the story in the Appendix to my
_Book of Sindibád_, and have treated it still more fully in my _Popular
Tales and Fictions_, vol. ii. pp. 166-186, where, besides versions found
in the _Sindibád_ cycle (including, of course, the European _Seven
Wise Masters_),[282] are given several Indian forms of the story, and
lastly the oldest known version, from the _Vinaya Pitaka_ of the Chinese
collection of Buddhist books, which, according to Dr. S. Beal—one of
the greatest living authorities on Chinese Buddhist literature—probably
dates from the time of Asoka’s Council, B.C. 230. But indeed the story
may be many thousands of years old, for there is no reason to suppose it
to be of Buddhist invention; and we need not be surprised should it be
discovered some day in an Egyptian papyrus.

This Tamil version is one of three known to me in which it is the mother,
not the father, who kills the faithful animal, the others being one
current in Ceylon, and one from the North-West Provinces, cited in a
very entertaining work entitled _Past Days in India_, and also in the
small collection of Indian tales appended by Vermieux to his _Hermit of
Mottee Jhurna_, second edition, p. 101; it is, moreover, singular in
representing the woman as destroying herself and her husband then killing
his little son and afterwards himself—tragic incidents added by the
author probably to enable the supposed narrator to more forcibly impress
on the king’s mind the terrible consequences of acting in affairs of
moment with inconsiderateness and precipitation.

Among the Malays the story is told in this manner: A man left a tame bear
in charge of his house and of his sleeping child while he was absent from
home. On his return he missed the child and found the house in great
disorder, as if some desperate struggle had taken place, and the floor
was smeared with blood. Hastily concluding that the bear had killed his
child, the enraged father slew the animal with his spear, but almost
immediately afterwards found the carcase of a tiger, which the faithful
bear had defeated and killed, and the child emerged unharmed from the
jangal, where it had taken refuge.

_The Faithless Wife and the Ungrateful Blind Man_—p. 215.

Two very bad characters, and the less my readers have to do with such,
the better for their own peace of mind, I trow!—There is a tale in the
_Kathá Sarit Ságara_ of a woman who cruelly abandoned her helpless
husband in the _jangal_, and went off with a lusty young fellow, but I
am unable to say in which chapter of that most valuable and entertaining
collection it occurs, though I made a special search for it.

As a set-off to the faithless wife of the blind man—who afterwards
proves to be himself an arrant scoundrel—read the touching address of
Damayanti to her husband the ruined Rájá Nala, when he proposes in the
_jangal_ that she should return to her parents and leave him to his fate:
“O king, thinking of thy purpose, my heart trembleth, and all my limbs
become faint. How can I go, leaving thee in the lone woods, despoiled of
thy kingdom and deprived of thy wealth, thyself without a garment on,
and worn with hunger and toil? When, in the deep woods, fatigued and
afflicted with hunger, thou thinkest of thy former bliss, I will, O great
monarch, soothe thy weariness. In every sorrow, there is no medicine
equal unto the wife, say the physicians. It is the truth, O Nala, that I
speak unto thee!”[283]

       *       *       *       *       *

A story somewhat resembling the incident of the blind man and the honest
Setti will be found in the notes on the ROSE OF BAKÁWALÍ, under the
heading of ‘The Bráhman and the Lion.’

_The Wonderful Mango Fruit_—p. 220.

Analogues of this story are found in a Canarese collection entitled
_Kathá Manjarí_, with a magpie in place of a parrot as the bearer of
the youth-renewing fruit, and in the _Tútí Náma_ (or Parrot-Book) of
Nakhshabí, a work written A.D. 1329, which has not yet been completely
translated into English, and is now generally known from Káderi’s

Fruits having the property of restoring the youth and vigour of those who
ate of them figure in many Asiatic stories—there is a notable instance in
the opening of the Indian collection entitled _Sinhasana Dwatrinsati_,
or Thirty-two (Tales) of a Throne. And from the East the notion was
introduced into the European mediæval romances; for example, in the
_Boke of Duke Huon of Burdeux_, “at the bidding of an angel,” I quote
from Mr. Sydney L. Lee’s notes to his edition of the work printed for
the Early English Text Society, “Huon gathers three of the Apples of
Youth, each of which when eaten by a man of eighty or a hundred years old
transforms him to a young man of thirty. Huon bestows one of the apples
on the admiral of Tauris and his white hair and beard grow yellow as he
eats it, and he suddenly becomes a youth of strength and beauty. The
second is eaten by the abbot of Cluny, who is 114 years old, with similar
results. The third rejuvenates Thierry, emperor of Germany.”

_The Poisoned Food_—p. 226.

This is the third instance in the romance of food being poisoned by
serpents, and it is of very common occurrence in Eastern fictions. The
oldest known form of the story is found in a Sanskrit collection entitled
_Vetálapanchavinsati_, or Twenty-five (Tales) of a Vetála, or Vampyre,
which is given fully in the Appendix to my _Book of Sindibád_, and the
story occurs in all the Eastern texts of the Sindibád cycle. This Tamil
version is peculiar in representing an old man as falling a victim to
the poison dropped from a snake’s mouth into food given him by a young
pilgrim, and the imprisoning of the latter in the village temple of Kálí
and so forth. In all other versions known to me, the poison is dropped
into an open dish of milk carried by a slave-girl on her head, and her
master’s guests, partaking of the milk, all perish.

_The Rescued Snake_—p. 231.

With an important difference, this tale resembles that of the Bráhman
and the Lion, p. 254, which is a variant of the world-wide fable of the
Hunter and the Serpent—the difference being that in this case the snake
ultimately rewards its rescuer. In the story of Nala and Damayanti, the
rájá rescues a snake from a _jangal_ fire and carries it some distance
and is about to set it down when the snake says: “Carry me ten steps
farther, and count them as you go.” So Nala proceeds, counting the
steps—one, two, three; and when he says “ten” (Sansk. _dasa_, which means
“bite” as well as “ten”) the snake takes him at his word and bites the
rájá on the forehead, upon which he becomes black. But this the snake
does for Nala’s own benefit, that he should not be recognised in his


In the Introduction to the present collection will be found the few
particulars which are known regarding this romance and its original
Persian author. There is, I think, strong evidence of its being of Hindú
extraction. In the absence of any similar work in Sanskrit or one of
the vernacular languages of India, we can only suppose that the author
of the _Gul-i Bakáwalí_ drew his materials from various and more or
less distinct, or separate, fictions; and this supposition seems fully
borne out by the somewhat loose arrangement of the later incidents.
The narrative down to the end of the sixth chapter (p. 315), as I have
divided it, is complete in itself: the Prince wins at backgammon the
immense wealth of Dilbar, and her own person besides; he is married to
the beauteous damsel Mahmúda; he procures the magical Rose; he has a
splendid palace erected for him by the fairies, becomes reconciled to
his father, and puts his false brothers to shame; and after a number of
wondrous adventures is united to the fairy Bakáwalí, and “passed his time
with these rosy-lipped beauties, immersed in a sea of bliss.” Surely
this is the usual conclusion of a romance, and all that follows was an
afterthought. It is, of course, quite in keeping with “the fitness of
things” romantic that the hero should have to undergo some tribulation
before becoming possessed of Bakáwalí; but that fairy’s subsequent
punishment by the deity Indra; the hero’s marriage with the princess
Chitrawat; the re-birth of Bakáwalí—which, as I have already remarked,
is quite out of place in a Muslim work, though very proper in a Hindú
story; and the love-affair of Bahrám are evidently incidents which have
been taken out of different tales, albeit we should be sorry to have them
omitted, for they are all very entertaining.


The quest of a wonderful flower, or other object, having the virtue
of restoring sight to the blind, or of bestowing perennial youth, or
of bringing back the dying to life and health, is the theme of many
folk-tales. Besides the magical Rose from the garden of the fairy
Bakáwalí, which cured the king’s blindness (p. 271), we have another
instance in the romantic adventures of Hatim Taï (_ante_, p. 467), in
the case of the blind man confined in a cage; and in the same work—but
not mentioned in my epitome of it—we are told that in the course of
Hatim’s Second Adventure he came to the capital of Mahparí, the king of
the fairies, and learned that his son had become blind. Hatim tries the
effect of his talisman on the eyes of the young prince, and it removes
the pain, but not the blindness. He is then informed that there is a tree
that grows amidst the shades of Zulmát [or region of darkness, where
is also the Water of Life], which is named Nandar; and from this tree
distils a liquid of such rare virtue that if even a drop of it could be
procured it would be the means of restoring the prince’s sight. A fairy
in love with Hatim gives him a guard of seven thousand troops, and he
at once sets out on his dangerous journey. Having arrived in the region
of darkness, Hatim takes some of the wondrous liquid, and returning
in safety applies a few drops to the prince’s eyes, when his sight is
immediately restored.

The myth of the Water of Life is of ancient date, and it was probably
introduced into Europe from the East during the Crusades. In Rabbinical
lore it is said that Solomon sent one of his officers for the Water of
Immortality, but when he returned successful the sage monarch would
have none of it, because he did not wish to survive all his female
favourites! According to the Muslim legend, Alexander despatched the
mythical prophet Al-Khizar on a similar errand, but no sooner had he
drank of the water than it disappeared, and this is how Al-Khizar
possesses everlasting youth.

A Fountain of Youth figures prominently in the _fabliau_ which chants the
delights of the Land of Cockaigne; and in Conrad of Wartzburg’s _Trojan
War_ (of the 13th century) Medea obtains water from Paradise to renew
the youth of Jason’s father. In the romance of _Huon of Bordeaux_, the
doughty hero finds the Fount of Youth on Alexander’s Rock, and bathing in
it is at once restored to vigorous health.

The quest of the Rose in the garden of Bakáwalí, to cure the king’s
blindness, finds an analogue in the German tale of the Water of Life,
in the collection of the Brothers Grimm—indeed, they are very closely
allied: A king is sick unto death. The first and the second of his sons
set out in succession to procure for him the Water of Life, but they
behave rudely to a dwarf on the road and he enchants them. The third
son next undertakes the adventure, and meeting the dwarf is civil and
courteous towards him, and in reward the dwarf directs the youth on
his way. Following all the instructions of the dwarf, he comes to a
castle, which he enters, unhurt by the two lions at the gate. In one
room he finds a number of knights in a trance, and taking the rings off
their fingers he puts them on his own. Going into another room he sees
on a table a sword and a loaf, which he also takes. In a third room he
discovers a beautiful damsel on a couch, who welcomes him joyfully, and
says that he should have the kingdom if he would free her from the spell
by which she is bound, and come back in a year and marry her. Returning
homeward, the dwarf tells him that the sword would at a single blow slay
a whole army, and the bread would never fail him. But the brave youth
will not go home without his brothers, and so the dwarf sets them free.
While the three brothers are sailing in a ship, the two elder substitute
for the Water of Life a bottle of sea water, which makes the king worse
when he drinks some of it. Then the two elder brothers give him the real
water and he is cured. But in the end, as in our Tale, the hero turns the
tables on his brethren and marries the princess.

Readers of the _Arabian Nights_ will recollect that Prince Ahmed is
required by his father, at the suggestion of an envious vazír, to get him
some water from the Lion’s Spring, and his bride, the Parí Bánú, directs
him how to win past the lions, and so forth. There can be little doubt
that both the German and the Arabian stories have a common origin. Again,
in the tale of the Envious Sisters, with which our ordinary English
version of the _Arabian Nights_ concludes, the Fountain of Golden Water
has the property of disenchanting all the princes and nobles who had been
turned to stone.—But it were tedious to farther multiply examples.


From the most remote times of which any records have been preserved,
wine, music, dancing, and _dice_ seem to have gone together in the
East. The ancient Arabs were passionately addicted to gaming, till
Muhammed strictly forbade all games of chance; a prohibition which—like
that against wine-bibbing—has not been so strictly observed by all his
followers, though Muslims are not, perhaps, so much given to gambling as
most other Asiatic peoples. They are excessively fond of chess, which,
however, cannot be included amongst games of pure chance. Of all races,
the Chinese are probably the most inveterate gamblers: they will play at
hazard till they have lost all their possessions, wives, and children,
and finally their own freedom. In our own country the mania for dice-play
was fatally common among the upper and middle classes until within
comparatively recent years, and if all stories be true, gaming with cards
or dice, though forbidden by law, is still only too prevalent, to the
speedy ruin of the deluded votaries of the Goddess of Chance. For it
would appear that, though some gamesters may win and others of course
lose, yet nobody is ever a gainer in the end, and hence we must conclude
that _all_ the winnings go to—the Devil!

The Hindús have always been infatuated gamesters, and of this we have
ample evidence in the noble Indian epic, the _Mahábhárata_, out of which
one or two notable examples may suffice. In the Second Book (_Sabha
Parva_—Effort Chapter), sections lix-lxvi, Yudhisthira, the eldest of
the Pandavas, plays at dice with Shakuni, who by foul means[284] wins
all his wealth, then his kingdom, then his brothers one by one, then
Yudhisthira himself, and finally his spouse Draupadi. In the Third Book
(_Vana Parva_—Forest Chapter), sections lix-lxi, Rájá Nala, infatuated
by Kálí, who had possessed him, plays at dice with his brother Pushkara
and loses his wealth and his kingdom, but refusing to stake his sweet
queen Damayanti he goes accompanied by her into exile. Ultimately, having
exchanged with Vahuka his skill in dice-play for his own wonderful
knowledge of horses, Nala plays again with his brother and wins back his

European fiction furnishes analogous incidents to those above cited. For
example, in the mediæval romance of _Guerni de Monglave_, the hero loses
his kingdom at a game of chess. In W. Harrison Ainsworth’s novel (or
“romance”) of _Old Saint Paul’s_, in the chapter entitled “The Bully and
the Gamester” the latter, after losing all his money, is induced to stake
his wife on a “cast of the ivories”—and his opponent wins. In Prior’s
_Danish Ballads_, ‘Sir Thor and the Maiden Silvermor,’ vol. iii, p.
151 ff., a damsel stakes her own person on a single throw of dice, and
loses.—Other instances occur in the early European romances.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the latter portion of “All for a Pansa,” in the Rev. J. Hinton
Knowles’ _Folk-Tales of Kashmír_, we have a pretty close parallel to the
incident of the Prince and Dilbar at the game of nard, or backgammon, but
a very ancient version is found in the following Panjábí legend,[286]
which recounts

How Rájá Rasálú Played at Chess With Rájá Sirikap For Their Heads.

News was once brought to King Rasálú that at Kot Bhitaur on the Indus
lived a certain Rájá, Sirikap by name, who was notorious for his
ferocity, and renowned for his skill in chess-playing. King Sirikap
only played with those who would accept his conditions, which were: In
the first game the stakes were to be horse, clothes, and lands. In the
second game the stake was to be the loser’s head. King Rasálú, who could
not bear the thought of a rival in anything, resolved to visit him. So
he called his captains together and said: “I am going to try my luck
against King Sirikap. But if I lose the game and forfeit my head, say,
what will you, my followers, do?” One of the officers answered: “You may
lose the game, and you may lose your head, O king, but one thing is very
certain—if you lose your head, the head of Rájá Sirikap will be forfeited
too. Of this he shall be certified.”

Then the king mounted his horse and rode to Kot Bhitaur, the castle of
the “handsome” Sirikap the Beheader. King Sirikap welcomed his brother
king with every demonstration of affection, and conducted him into his
palace. “O youth,” said he, “you must have come from a long distance.
What is the purpose of your visit?” “My kingdom is Siálkot,” answered
Rasálú. “Your fame as a chess-player kindled my ambition, and I have
come to play with you; only, as I am now fatigued, let us play, if it
please you, to night.” To this Sirikap agreed, and King Rasálú, having
refreshed himself, descended from the mountain rock on which the castle
stood, and walked to the bank of the river. There he saw struggling in
the water some small clusters of ants which were being washed away, and
stooping down he saved them. Then he saw a drowning hedgehog, and, being
a humane man, he saved it also, and one of the attendants begged for it
to amuse the servants in the castle above. Going a few steps farther, he
came to a breakwater, which was close to the castle-rock, and there he
heard a voice proceeding from the cliff: “O sir, you have come to Kot
Bhitaur to play at chess with Rájá Sirikap. But I warn you that he is a
magician.” The astonished attendants looked about them and cried: “What
voice is this?” but they perceived no one. Then they saw on the sand a
representation of the game, well figured, and they said to the king: “O
king—see, here is the game. It is an omen of good fortune. This is your
conquering day.” At this moment the mysterious voice again issued from
the rock: “O prince—for such I perceive you to be—I have been witness of
your humanity. To you I may confide my life, being satisfied that you
will not betray me. Rájá Sirikap is a man of blood—deep, sudden, and
treacherous; but observe what I say, and your life will be saved.” “Speak
on, O hidden one,” answered King Rasálú. “First of all,” continued the
voice, “do you walk along the bank until you see a rat with a black head.
Catch him and bring him here.” The king obeyed, and returning to the
crag he said: “The rat, O friend, I have found, as you said, but now I
would find you.” Climbing up the ledges of the steep rocks, he came to a
roughly-fashioned cell in the face of the cliff, in which he discovered
a lady of noble birth, chained by her feet to the floor. “Who are you?”
said he; “and whence came you here?” She answered him: “I am one of the
five daughters of King Sirikap. My fault was one which I will not reveal
to you now, but my punishment is imprisonment in this rocky cell. Yet I
knew, by my power of divination, that a prince would come from a distant
kingdom, strong and young, and that, having cut off my father’s head, he
would release me. In you I behold the prince of my prophetic dreams.”
“And I will release you,” cried the king; “but first inform me how I am
to be conqueror at the chess-board.”

The princess then gave him full instructions how he should proceed in the
trial of skill which awaited him. “First of all,” said she, “play with
the king only on a Tuesday, as to-day; and, secondly, play only once,
and let the stake be the head of him who loses. You will proceed thus:
Tie the rat with a string, and keep him near you, as you both sit on the
floor, but keep him so that he may be visible. That King Sirikap may not
suspect your design, lean your cheek upon your hand, and call out now
and then: ‘O Rájá Núl! O Rájá Núl!’ for he was the inventor of the game
of Chaupúr,[287] in which you will be engaged. There are two sets of men
of eight pieces each, and they are of two different colours. Now at the
critical point of the game Rájá Sirikap will give a certain signal, and
straightway from his capacious sleeve will issue his magic cat. On her
head she bears a light which renders her invisible, and which is also
invisible to all but the king himself. The effect of the mysterious light
is to throw a glamour over the king’s adversary and to dazzle his eyes,
so that he is unable to see, and during this interval the cat dexterously
disposes the pieces in such a way that at the next move King Sirikap wins
the game, and his adversary forfeits his wager. But do you, O Prince, in
order to guard against surprise, keep the rat secure, and now and then
put your disengaged hand upon it, and now and then take it off, patting
it playfully. The moment the cat comes forth she will make a dash at the
rat, and, coming in contact with your hand, the light will fall to the
ground. Then keep her at bay, and the game will be yours for the cowardly
heart of King Sirikap will begin to quake, and his disordered mind will
ensure his discomfiture.”

Having received his instructions, King Rasálú returned to the palace, and
that night, being the eve of Tuesday, the two kings sat down to play. The
issue of the game for some time was doubtful; but at last it was evident
that a few more moves would decide the result in favour of Rájá Rasálú;
when his rival made a secret signal, and the magic cat, unseen by any
but himself, stole from his sleeve. The moment she did so she caught
sight of the black-headed rat, and, forgetting her duty to her master,
she instantly sprang towards it, but the hand of Rájá Rasálú, chanced to
smite the light from her head and to keep her occupied until he had won
the game.

Then sprang the mighty king to his feet and cried to his trembling rival:
“The game is won and your head is my prize”; and drawing his long sword
he was about to strike off his head, when Sirikap, lifting up his hands,
implored a short respite, that he might enter his inner apartments and
bid farewell to his family. That moment a messenger brought news to him
that his queen had been delivered of a daughter. But he heeded it not.
His perturbed soul was full of schemes as to how he might escape his
impending fate. As he walked sadly from room to room, he said to himself:
“If I hide in my own chambers I shall be discovered.” So this idea he
dismissed from his mind. But in an unfrequented corner his anxious eye
caught sight of a large disused drum, and, disregarding his kingly
dignity, he crept under that, and began to feel himself a little secure.

Rájá Rasálú was meanwhile pacing the hall with impatient strides, waiting
for the return of his adversary. At last he could tarry no longer, so,
calling his captains, he summoned King Sirikap to appear. But no answer
was made to his call. He then began a careful search of the whole of the
castle, feeling satisfied that the king could not have passed his guards
who were on the watch at every post. When he came to the drum, the quick
eye of Rasálú detected that it had been recently moved. “Aha!” cried he,
“the caitiff must be skulking here,” and in another moment he dragged
the dishonoured monarch forth by the heels. Then he handed him over to
his officers. “As he was a king,” said he, “lodge him in his own palace,
but guard him well, for at sunset he must die.” Then turning to Sirikap,
he spurned him, saying: “O villain! hundreds of heads you have smitten
off in your time with your own hand, and all for pastime, yet you never
grieved or shed a tear. And now, when the same fate is to be your own,
you sneak away and hide yourself in a drum.”

Some time after this there entered the royal soothsayers, and they,
addressing their fallen master, said: “Sir, we have sought for the
interpretation of this mystery, why ruin should have visited your house,
and we conclude that all this calamity is on account of your daughter,
whose baneful star has crossed your own. She has come in an evil hour.
Let her now be slain, and let her head be thrown into the Indus, and your
life will be saved.” Sirikap answered: “If my life depends on her, bring
me her head, and mine may yet be saved.” So a slave-girl was despatched
to bring the infant to its father. And as she carried it along from the
apartments of the queen she said: “O what a pretty child! I should like
to save it.” Rájá Rasálú, overhearing her, said: “Whither are you taking
that child?” The slave-girl answered: “This is Rájá Sirikap’s child, born
only this very night. The Bráhman soothsayers have told my master that
his child is the cause of all his misfortunes, and that her head is to be
taken off to save his own.” When Rájá Rasálú looked at the child he loved
it, and became very sorrowful, knowing the power of divination. So he
returned and said: “O Rájá Sirikap, your head shall be spared on certain
conditions: First, you must surrender this infant princess in betrothal
to me. Secondly, you must become my vassal and pay me an annual tribute.
Thirdly, you must consent to have your forehead branded with a red hot
iron, in token of your vassalage. And fourthly, you must discontinue your
bloody games at chess.” To all these conditions King Sirikap was only too
glad to agree. So a treaty was drawn up between the two kings, and it was
confirmed and ratified in the presence of their principal officers.

After this Rájá Rasálú mounted his horse and was riding away when he
thought of the princess in her lonely cell. Turning his horse’s head, he
sought the foot of the cliff and ascended to the cavern. “Of course,”
cried she, when she saw him, “you have won the game? But tell me, have
you cut off my father’s head?” “No,” said he, “I have not.” “What!”
replied she, “have you beaten your antagonist in the game of death, yet
not exacted the penalty of his failure? What luckless man are you?”
Then King Rasálú explained to the princess all the circumstances of
his adventure. “But,” concluded he, “one thing I omitted, namely, to
stipulate for your deliverance from captivity.”

The princess, who expected no less than to be espoused to this handsome
stranger, was overcome with distress. Seeing this, the king, who pitied
her misfortunes, took up a piece of rock and broke her chain, and then,
lifting her over his shoulder, he descended with her from the cavern, and
carried her up to the palace of Rájá Sirikap, her father, who, seeing
company returning and fearing some new calamity, once more endeavoured
to conceal himself. But King Rasálú reassured him, and brought him
forth, and said to him: “Behold, here is your daughter;—now say for what
crime was she imprisoned?” “A certain prince,” answered Sirikap, “came
to play with me, and my rebellious daughter gave him, to sit upon, my
fortunate carpet of state. ‘Aha,’ said I to myself, ‘so, my lady, there’s
treason afloat?’ upon which I ordered her to be perpetually chained and
imprisoned.” “One more condition,” said Rájá Rasálú, with a stern air,
“must be added to the others; it is, that you forgive her, and that you
let me know within three months that you have made a suitable match for
her.” Nor could Rájá Sirikap dare to dispute his new lord’s will, but he
received his daughter and provided suitably for her in accordance with
his pledged word.

Once more King Rasálú mounted his charger, and at the head of his brave
companions, whose lance-heads glittered in the sunlight, and whose
accoutrements clashed merrily, he rode proudly away to his own capital.
With him, in a magnificent litter, travelled the infant daughter of
Sirikap, whose name was Kokilan.[288] She it was, who, in after years,
when she grew to woman’s estate, became his beautiful but ill-fated

       *       *       *       *       *

It is not likely that our author adapted his story of the Prince and
Dilbar the courtesan from the foregoing legend of Rájá Rasálú: the fact
that a similar tale is current in Kashmír, as already mentioned, would
seem to indicate that, in more or less different forms, it is known in
various countries of Hindústán. But the Prince’s game with Dilbar, mainly
to rescue his brothers who had fallen into her toils, finds a curious
analogue in the mediæval European romance which recounts the adventures
of four brothers, Agravain, Gueret, Galheret, and Gauvain, all of whom
set out, in different directions, in quest of Lancelot du Lac, according
to the analysis given by Dunlop, in his _History of Fiction_: Agravain,
as a _coup d’essai_, kills Druas, a formidable giant, but is in turn
vanquished by Sorneham, the brother of Druas. His life is spared at the
request of the conqueror's niece, and he is confined in a dungeon, where
his preserver secretly brings him refreshments. Gueret also concludes a
variety of adventures by engaging Sorneham, and being overcome is shut
up in the same dungeon with his brother. Galheret, the third of the
fraternity, comes to a castle where he is invited to play with the lady
at chess, on the condition that if he wins he is to possess her person
and castle, but losing, should become her slave. The chessmen are ranged
in compartments on the floor of a fine hall, are as large as life, and
glitter with gold and diamonds. Each of them is a fairy and moves on
being touched with a talisman. Galheret loses the game, and is confined
with a number of other checkmated wights. Gauvain, however, soon after
arrives, and vanquishes the lady at her own arms; but only asks the
freedom of the prisoners, among whom he finds his brother. Having learned
from an elfish attendant of the lady the fate of his two other brothers,
he equips himself in the array of the chess-king. In this garb he engages
Sorneham, who, being dazzled with the brightness of his attire, is
easily conquered, by which means Agravain and Gueret are delivered from

_The Bráhman and the Lion_—p. 254.

There are few fables more widely spread than this, certainly in various
forms, but always with the same result. In another work I have adduced a
number of versions European and Asiatic,[290] and shall content myself
with citing in this place a rather unique version from Mrs. Meer Hasan
Ali’s _Observations on the Mussulmans of India_, vol. ii, p. 330ff.:

A certain man is travelling on horseback through an immense forest, and
observes fire consuming some bushes, in the centre of which is a great
snake, who implores the traveller to save him. The traveller throws down
his horse-bag and the snake creeps into it, and when the horseman takes
it up and releases the snake the latter is about to bite him, and so
forth. Having appealed to the _pípal_-tree and received the same answer
as that of the banyan in our version, the two meet a camel-driver, who
says the snake is right—it is “the way of the world” to return evil for
good, and tells his own story: “I was,” says he, “sole proprietor of a
very fine strong camel, by whose labour I earned a handsome livelihood,
in conveying goods, and sometimes travellers, from place to place, as
fortune served me. One day, returning home through an intricate wood, I
approached a poor blind man, who was seated on the ground lamenting his
hard fate. Hearing my camel’s feet advance he redoubled his cries of
distress, calling loud for help. He told me that he had been attacked by
robbers, and that his boy-guide had been forced from him and taken as a
slave. I seated him on my beast and proceeded with him to the city where
he said he resided. Arriving there, I offered to assist the poor man
to alight, but to my astonishment he began abusing me for my barefaced
wickedness, collected a crowd about us by his cries for help from his
persecutor, declared himself the master of the camel, and accused me of
attempting to rob him now, as I had done his brother before. Hearing this
plausible speech, the people dragged me before the judge, who sentenced
me to be thrust out of the city with threat of greater punishment should
I ever return. Therefore I say, the reward of good is evil.” The fox is
then appealed to with the usual result of leaving the ungrateful snake in
the flames, there “to fry in his own fat.”—This story of the camel-driver
is somewhat analogous to that of the Setti and the Blind Man—_ante_, p.

_The Princess and the Dív who exchanged Sexes_—p. 279.

This droll story is of Hindú extraction, and in much the same form is
still current in Southern India. In the “Exposition” prefixed to the Abbé
Dubois’ French translation of the Tamil version of the _Panchatantra_, p.
15, it is given with a few unimportant variations: The name of the king
is Nihla-Kéton,[291] his country is called Anga-Dessa, and his capital,
Barty-Poura. His wife was long sterile, and after many vows and prayers
she at length gave birth to daughters only. Enraged at this, the king
tells his prime minister, Vahaca, that he purposes divorcing his wife
and taking another, and Vahaca tries to dissuade him from such a course.
When the queen is again pregnant the minister offers to take her to his
own house and treat her with every care, to which the king consents. The
queen once more gives birth to a girl, and the prime minister announces
it as a boy, greatly to the king’s delight. He fixes the twelfth day
for the _nama-carna_ (name-giving) and intimates his intention of being
present at the ceremony. But the minister bribes the _púhorita_, or royal
astrologer, to tell the king that in consequence of the unfavourable
aspect of his horoscope he must not see this child or allow it to be
produced in public until it is grown up and married, otherwise dire
calamities threaten both king and country. During 16 years the king
must have his child educated at a distance from the palace, and this is
undertaken by the prime minister. When the child is 15 the minister tells
the king that a wife must be sought out for “him,” and, taking the girl
with him, he leads an army against the city of Pattaly-Poura, and there
demands the king’s daughter as wife to the “son” of King Nihla-Kéton, the
marriage to take place in five days. These terms are accepted.—Meanwhile
a giant-Bráhman (_un géant Brahme_), whose abode is in a large tree in
the vicinity of the invading army, falls in love with the young princess,
and demands her of the prime minister, but Vahaca explains that she is
already betrothed, and therefore cannot be given to him. He then tells
the giant the whole story of the girl’s birth, the concealment of her
sex, and so forth, imploring his aid, and suggesting that he should
give the girl his sex and take hers for five or six nights, till the
wedding and its festivities be over. The good-natured giant consents and
exchanges sexes with the princess. The marriage is duly celebrated, soon
after which the minister, the metamorphosed prince, and the real princess
set out to return home. On the way they visit the giant, and the minister
asks him to resume his proper sex. But he replies that “a neighbouring
genie” had fallen in love with him, as a woman—and so on, as in our

Here, it will be seen on comparing the two versions, the chief
differences are: the minister takes the place of the mother in deceiving
the king as to the sex of the child; the foreign king is compelled to
give his daughter in fear of an invading army; the minister prevails with
the “giant” to exchange sexes with the princess, who does not, as in
our story, go into the forest with the intention of destroying herself
from shame. But in respect of this last incident, we shall find that
our tale adheres more closely to the original than the Tamil version.
The story occurs in the “Udyoga Parva” (Effort Book—the fifth) of the
_Mahábhárata_, sections cxc-cxciii:


The first and best beloved wife of King Drupada had never borne him a
child, and the king paid his adorations to Siva for years, in order to
obtain the boon of a son. He practised the most austere penances, saying:
“Let a son, and not a daughter, be born unto me, O Mahádeva! I desire a
son, that I may revenge myself on Bhishma.” At length the great deity
said to him: “Thou shalt have a child who shall be female and male.
Desist, O king! It will not be otherwise.” Returning to his wife, he
informed her of this decision of the great Siva—that his child should be
first female and afterwards become male. In due time the wife of Drupada
gave birth to a daughter, in accordance with the decree of Destiny, and
she gave out that the child was a son. Then Drupada caused all the rites
for a male child to be performed in respect of that concealed daughter as
if she were really a son, and the child was named Sikhandin. And no man
in all Kámpilya, save Drupada himself, knew the real sex of the child.
Drupada bestowed great pains on the education of his child, teaching her
writing, and painting, and the like arts. And in arrows and weapons the
child became a disciple of Drona.

Then that royal couple fixed upon the daughter of Hiranyavarman, the
king of the Dasárnas for wife to Sikhandin. And he gave his daughter to
Sikhandin, who, after the marriage, returned to Kámpilya. The daughter
of Hiranyavarman soon came to know that Sikhandin was a woman like
herself, and bashfully informed her nurses and companions of the fact.
Then the nurses sent to the king and represented to him everything about
the imposture, upon which the king was filled with wrath. He was a
powerful monarch, with a great army, not easily to be overcome. And he
despatched a messenger to Drupada, who, taking the king aside, said to
him: “The king of the Dasárnas, O monarch, deceived by thee and wroth at
the insult that thou hast offered him, hath said these words unto thee:
‘Thou hast humiliated me! Without doubt, it was not wisely done by thee.
Thou didst, from folly, solicit my daughter for thy daughter! O wicked
one, reap now the consequence of that act of deception! I will now slay
thee, with all thy relatives and advisers!’” Thus addressed, Drupada,
like a thief caught in a net, could not at first speak. At length he sent
a sweet speech, saying: “This is not so,” in order to pacify the king of
the Dasárnas. But he was not thus to be pacified; and, after consulting
with his ministers, he again sent an envoy to Drupada, saying: “I will
slay thee!” Now King Drupada was not naturally courageous, and the
consciousness of his offence filled him with fear. He took counsel with
his wife as to how they might best escape the wrath of the king of the
Dasárnas, for he was already on the march against him with a large army.

Meanwhile Sikhandin, filled with grief, and saying to herself that it
was solely on her account that her parents were now in such tribulation,
resolved on putting an end to her own life. Having formed this
determination, she left home, full of heavy sorrow, and went into a dense
and solitary forest which was the haunt of a very powerful Yaksha, called
Sthunákarna. From fear of that Yaksha,[292] man never went into that
forest. And within it stood a mansion with high walls and a gateway,
plastered over with powdered earth, and rich with smoke bearing the
fragrance of fried paddy.[293] Entering that mansion, Sikhandin, the
daughter of Drupada, began to reduce herself by foregoing all food for
many days. Thereupon the Yaksha, who was endued with kindness, showed
himself unto her. And he enquired of her, saying: “For what object is
this endeavour of thine? I will accomplish it—tell me without delay.”
Thus asked, the maiden answered him, repeatedly saying: “Thou art unable
to accomplish it.” The Yaksha, however, rejoined: “I am a follower of
the Lord of Treasures [i.e. Kuvera]. I can grant boons, O princess! I
will grant thee even that which cannot be given! Tell me what thou hast
to say.” Thus assured, Sikhandin represented, in detail, everything that
had happened, unto that chief of Yakshas called Sthunákarna. And she
answered: “My father, O Yaksha, will soon meet with destruction. The
ruler of the Dasárnas marcheth against him in rage. That king cased in
golden mail is endued with great might and great courage. Therefore, O
Yaksha, save me, my mother, and my father! Indeed, thou hast already
pledged thyself to relieve my distress. Through thy grace, O Yaksha, I
would become a perfect man! As long as that king may not depart from my
city, so long, O great Yaksha, show me grace!” Hearing these words of
Sikhandin, that Yaksha, afflicted by Destiny, said, after reflection:
“Blessed lady, I will certainly do what thou wishest. Listen, however, to
the condition I make: For a certain period I will give thee my manhood.
Thou must, however, come back to me in due time. Pledge thyself to do
so. Possessed of immense power, I am a ranger of the skies, wandering
at pleasure, and capable of accomplishing whatever I wish. Through my
grace, save thy city and thy kinsmen wholly! I will bear thy womanhood,
O princess! Pledge thy troth to me, and I will do what is agreeable to
thee.” Sikhandin answered: “O holy one of excellent vows! I will give
thee back thy manhood. O wanderer of the night! bear thou my womanhood
for a short time. After the ruler of the Dasárnas has departed from my
city, I will once more become a maiden and thou wilt become a man.” Then
they both made a covenant, and imparted into each other’s body their
sexes. And the Yaksha became a female, while Sikhandin obtained the
blazing form of the Yaksha.

Then Sikhandin, having obtained manhood, entered his city in great joy
and approached his father, to whom he represented everything that had
happened; and Drupada became exceedingly glad, and, along with his
wife, recollected the words of the great Siva. And he forthwith sent a
messenger to the ruler of the Dasárnas, saying: “This my child _is_ a
male. Let it be believed by thee.” Meanwhile the ruler of the Dasárnas
had arrived at Kámpilya, and Drupada sent a messenger who was well versed
in the Vedas. But Hiranyavarman addressed the envoy in these words:
“Say unto that worst of kings: ‘O thou wicked of understanding! having
selected my daughter for the wife of thy daughter, thou shall to-day,
without doubt, behold the fruit of that deception.’” When the envoy
returned and delivered this message to Drupada, he despatched another
Bráhman learned in the Vedas to the ruler of the Dasárnas, who said to
him: “Hear, O king, the words of the ruler of the Pánchálas: ‘This my
child is really a male. Let it be made clear by means of witnesses.’”
Then the king of the Dasárnas sent a number of young ladies of great
beauty to ascertain whether Sikhandin was really a male or a female. And
those ladies, having ascertained the truth, joyfully told the king of
the Dasárnas that Sikhandin was a powerful person of the masculine sex.
Hearing this testimony, Hiranyavarman was filled with joy, and going to
his brother Drupada passed a few days with him in gladness. And the king,
rejoiced as he was, gave Sikhandin much wealth, many elephants, steeds,
and kine. And, worshipped by Drupada as long as he stayed, the Dasárna
king then departed, having rebuked his daughter. And after Hiranyavarman
had departed in joy and with his anger quelled, Sikhandin began to
rejoice exceedingly.

Meanwhile [some time after the exchange of sexes had taken place] Kuvera,
the protector of all the treasures, in the course of a journey came to
the house of Sthuna, the Yaksha, and admiring the garlands of flowers
with which it was bedecked, he asked his followers why it was that Sthuna
did not come out to greet him. And they told him how Sthuna had given his
own manhood to the daughter of Drupada, taking her womanhood in exchange,
and therefore he was ashamed to approach him. Hearing this, Kuvera caused
Sthuna to be brought before him; and Sthuna, wearing a feminine form,
came thither, and stood before him in shame. And Kuvera said: “Since,
humiliating all the Yakshas, thou hast, O thou of sinful deeds, given
away thy own sex to Sikhandin and taken from her, O thou wicked of
understanding, her womanhood—since, O wicked wretch, thou hast done what
hath never been done before by anybody;—therefore, from this day, thou
shalt remain a woman and she shall remain a man!” At these words all
the Yakshas attempted to mollify Kuvera for the sake of Sthuna, saying:
“Set a limit to thy curse!” Then the lord of the Yakshas said: “After
Sikhandin’s death, Sthuna will regain his own form. Therefore let this
high-souled Yaksha be freed from his anxiety.” Having said this, Kuvera
departed with his followers.

And Sthuna, with that curse denounced on him, continued to live there;
and when the time arrived, Sikhandin, without losing a moment, came to
that wanderer of the night. And approaching his presence he said: “I have
come to thee, O holy one!” Sthuna then repeatedly said unto him: “I am
pleased with thee!” Indeed, beholding that prince return to him without
guile, Sthuna told Sikhandin everything that had happened, adding: “O
son of a king, for thee have I been cursed by Kuvera. Go now, and live
happily amongst men, as thou choosest. Thy coming hither and the arrival
of Pulastya’s son [_i.e._ Kuvera] were, I think, both ordained from
beforehand. And this was incapable of being prevented.” Sikhandin then
returned to his city filled with joy.[294]

       *       *       *       *       *

It is evident that the Persian and the Tamil versions were not derived
directly from the story in the _Mahábhárata_, but from some modern
adaptation, since in both the good-natured dív has a very different
reason from that of the Yaksha Sthuna for retaining his adopted sex.
The chief features of the Sanskrit original are, however, reproduced
in the two variants, if we except the actual marriage of the princess,
the discovery of her sex, and her father’s cognisance of the whole
affair from the first, which do not appear in them.—The story is so
singular that I think it must be orally current in different countries
of India, as well as exist in collections in many of the vernacular
languages; and it would be interesting to see what farther modifications
it has undergone, especially in passing by word of mouth to successive
generations and from place to place.

       *       *       *       *       *

In M. Dozon’s _Contes Albanais_ No. 14 presents some analogy to the story
of the Exchange of Sexes. Here a man with three daughters and no sons
is called to the wars; he is old, and has no one to take his place. The
first and second daughters express their wish to be married—probably,
though it is not expressly stated, in order that one of their husbands
should go as the substitute for their aged father. But the youngest
assumes a man’s dress and goes to the wars in place of him, and slays
a lamia that had long made a feast on the people once every year, for
which she receives in reward a wonderful talking horse, through whose
cleverness she accomplishes a feat by which she wins a king’s daughter in
marriage. The princess, as in the Sanskrit story and in the well-known
Arabian tale, complains to her parents of the coldness of her “husband,”
and the king lays various snares in hopes of causing the destruction of
the disguised heroine, but her horse saves her from all of them. At
last the king sends her to “the church (_sic_) full of serpents,” to
demand payment of their arrears of tribute, hoping they would kill the
objectionable spouse of his daughter. The money is paid, however, but
the serpents, enraged at having to part with so much treasure, cry out:
“If thou art a girl, become a boy; if thou art a boy, become a girl,”
and there and then the heroine found herself actually changed into a
man; so the serpents thus did her a good turn, instead of the evil one
they intended.—M. Dozon, in his _rapprochements_, cites No. 58 of Hahn’s
collection of Greek popular tales, in which a man is first changed to a
girl, and afterwards, by a giant, back to a man again.


Precisely the same incident occurs in the Comte de Caylus’ interesting
collection of _Contes Orientaux_, with, strange to say, instead of a
snake, a black bull (“un taureau noir”), and the hero, “having been
brought up in the midst of jewels,” knew that the stone was a real
carbuncle, and it was of a size he had never before seen.[295]

I have already offered some remarks on the common belief in the East from
the most ancient times that serpents have precious stones in their heads
and are the guardians of treasures concealed in the earth (pp. 232 and
297), but the subject is so interesting as being a survival, or rather
relic, of serpent-worship, that I think the following observations by Mr.
M. J. Walhouse, the veteran scholar, in the _Indian Antiquary_ for 1875,
pp. 45, 46, may be reproduced here:

“In the Life of Apollonius Tyanæus [B.C. 3-A.D. 98] are some marvellous
stories of large Indian serpents, which the Indians are said to destroy
as follows: ‘They spread a silken robe, inwoven with golden letters,
before the entrance of the serpent’s cave, and those letters, being
magical, bring on sleep, so that the eyes of the serpent are overcome.
Then with powerful incantations they so allure it as to be able to cast
over it the magical robe, which induces sound sleep. Rushing in, the
Indians cut off its head with an iron axe and take out certain stones
found therein; for the heads of most serpents are said to contain
small stones, very beautiful and endowed with a peculiar lustre and
wonderful virtues. Such a stone was in the ring that Gyges is said to
have possessed.’ This is probably an exaggerated version of the Indian
snake-charming, and one of the earliest notices of it.… The American
Indian tribes believe that in the mountains is a secret valley, inhabited
by chiefs of the rattlesnake species, which grow to the size of large
trees and bear in their foreheads brilliant gems. In Peru is an animal
called carbunculo, which appears only at night. When pursued a valve
opens in its forehead, and a brilliant object becomes visible, dispelling
the darkness and dazzling the pursuers.”


This singular mode of concealing jewels—into which Asiatics still very
commonly convert their wealth—is said to have been formerly, and perhaps
is yet occasionally, adopted by travellers. We have another instance in
the story of the Young Man who fell in love with a Picture, which occurs
only in the Breslau printed Arabic text of the “Thousand and One Nights,”
where the hero has luckily some jewels in the flesh of his forearm.—And
in the _Toldoth Jeshu_ (already cited in connection with the conflict
between the white and black serpents—p. 475) is the following most
veracious narrative:

“Now at this time the unutterable Name[296] of God was engraved in the
temple on the corner-stone. For when King David dug the foundations he
found there a stone on which the Name of God was engraved, and he took
it and placed it in the Holy of Holies. But as the wise men feared lest
some ignorant youth should learn the Name and be able to destroy the
world—which God avert!—they made by magic two brazen lions, which they
set before the entrance of the Holy of Holies, one on the right, the
other on the left. Now if any one were to go within and learn the holy
Name, then the lions would begin to roar as he came out, so that from
alarm and bewilderment he would lose his presence of mind and forget the

“And Jeshu left Upper Galilee and came secretly to Jerusalem, and he
went into the Temple and learned there the holy writing; and after he
had written the incommunicable Name on parchment he uttered it, with
intent that he might feel no pain, and then he cut into his flesh and
hid the parchment with its inscription therein. Then he uttered the Name
once more, and made so that his flesh healed up again. And when he went
out at the door the lions roared and he forgot the Name. Therefore he
hasted outside the town, cut into his flesh, took the writing out, and
when he had sufficiently studied the signs he retained the Name in his

If there ever was a deliberately trumped-up story, this assuredly is
one—it is altogether absurd and inconsistent. When, I wonder, did King
David dig the foundation of the Temple? Moreover, the temple referred
to by this miserable, malignant scribbler was not that built by the
son of David, but the gorgeous pile erected by King Herod. But indeed
nothing more is needed to show that this idle tale was written for
one sole purpose than the words “lest some ignorant _youth_ should
learn the Name.” Why “some _youth_” only? Was there not any danger of
ignorant, or curious, or evil-minded grown men attempting to acquire
this knowledge?—Then we have the magic lions of brass that were placed
on either side of the entrance of the Holy of Holies! The only “graven
images” we read of as being in the Temple are the cherubim, whose wings
canopied the Ark. It is very evident that this most wretched tract—of
which it is said the Jews themselves are now ashamed—was written during
the later Middle Ages, when belief was so rife in magic images of metal
as guardians of treasure or of some other magical contrivance.

       *       *       *       *       *

The classical story is well known of Zeus, dreading the wrath of Hera
when Semele gave premature birth to Dionysus (Bacchus), sewing up
the infant in his thigh, where he came to maturity. And we have an
interesting example of the prevalence in India—_mutatis mutandis_—of
Greek and Roman legends, known to every schoolboy, in a folk-tale
contributed to the _Indian Antiquary_ for 1886, p. 367, by (Miss?)
Putlabi D. H. Wadia, in which seven brothers go on a trading voyage,
leaving their little sister, Sunábaí Jái, with their wives, who in their
absence ill-treat her shamefully and appoint her tasks very similar
to those which Venus gave Psyche to do, the last being to bring them
some sea-foam. The poor little maid goes to the shore, and observes her
brothers’ ship coming in, and runs to meet them. One of the brothers,
when she has told her story, cuts open his thigh and having placed
her inside the opening sews it up. When they reach home they ask for
their sister and the wives give an evasive reply, upon which they are
threatened with dire punishment should any accident have happened to the
little one, and the women having confessed their wickedness, the brother
draws Sunábaí Jái out of his thigh.

In the Tamil romance entitled _Madnakámarájankadai_, which has been
translated by my friend Pandit Natésa Sástrí, of Madras, under the title
of _Dravidian Nights Entertainments_, a prince one day sees the daughter
of Indra bathing in a tank, and having purloined her garment takes it
home, cuts open his thigh and puts the celestial robe inside, and then
sews the flesh together. The nymph, like others of the Bird-Maiden class,
had no resource but to follow the hero and become his wife.

From the East, doubtless, the idea was brought to Europe and utilised
in the romance of _Huon of Bordeaux_, where we read that the beard and
molars of the Saracen amír—the procuring of which was the condition of
the hero’s pardon by Charlemagne—were sewed up by Oberon, King of the
Fairies, in the side of Gerames, the uncle of Duke Huon.[298]


In the Kashmírí tale of Gullala Sháh (Mr. Knowles’ collection), a fair
princess, Panj Phúl, falls in love with the hero, and her father, when he
comes to know of this, transforms her to wood and causes her to be placed
in a public garden, as a warning to other fairy damsels not to bestow
their affections on human beings. Gullala Sháh, instructed by the vazír,
whose daughter he had already married, burns the wood, and pouring water
on the ashes, Panj Phúl, as in Bakáwalí’s case, is restored to life.


In No. 16 of the Burmese collection of tales entitled _Decisions of
the Princess Thoodhamma Tsari_—which has been translated into English
by Capt. T. P. Sparks (Maulmain, 1851), and again by Chr. J. Bandow
(Rangoon, 1881)—a youth is changed into a small parrot by a magic
thread being tied round his neck, and in that form is captured by some
bird-catchers in the king’s garden, and presented as a pet to the
princess, who discovers and removes the thread, when he becomes once
more a handsome young man. Early every morning the princess replaces the
thread and he is again changed to a parrot; at night she takes off the
thread; and thus she continues to amuse herself until the consequences
could not be any longer concealed, but in the sequel the youth is
publicly acknowledged as her husband.

       *       *       *       *       *

Sometimes the hero of a popular fiction has the power of transforming
himself into a bird or of quitting his own body and animating that of any
dead animal, as in Mr. Natésa Sástrí’s _Dravidian Nights Entertainments_,
pp. 8-18, and the idea is also known to European ballads and romances.
For instance, in Prior’s _Danish Ballads_, iii, 206, we are told how a
knight, to gain access to a lady’s bower, becomes a bird and flies in.
In his notes, Prior refers to the ballad of ‘The Earl of Mar’s Daughter’
(Buchan, i, 49):

    “I am a doo the live-lang day,
      A sprightly youth at night;
    This aye gars me appear mair fair
      In a fair maiden’s sight.”

He also refers to the Netherlandish ballad, ‘Vogelritter,’ where a knight
goes to Cyprus and wins the king’s daughter, whom he had previously
visited in the form of a bird, having in his possession a stone which
effects transformations; and to the ‘Lai d’Iwenec’, by Marie de France.


_Page 357_—The crafty mother of the bathman is said to have “practised
for years under the sorceress Shamsah”; probably the witch of the same
name who figures in the story of Táhir, an extract of which will be found
in pp. 494, 495.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Page 370_—The story of ‘The Sun and the Moon’ (_Mihr ú Máh_), which the
carpenter brags that he knows, is probably the Persian romance of Mihr,
the son of Káhvar Sháh, described in Dr. Rieu’s _Catalogue of Persian
Manuscripts in the British Museum_, vol. ii, p. 765 (Add. 15,099), which
also occurs in Hubbí’s collection, entitled _Hikáyát-i’Ajíb ú Gharíb_,
(already cited on p. 474), of which Dr. Rieu, in the same Catalogue (ii,
759, Or. 237), gives the titles of the first nineteen stories, No. 3
being _Mihr ú Máh_. Dr. Rieu has kindly furnished me with the first part
of this tale:

In the kingdom of the East was a mighty king named Khávar Sháh, who had
no son. He is told by his astrologers that he is predestined to have
a son, provided the mother be a parí (or fairy). On the advice of his
vazír, Rushan Ráï, he asks the help of a devotee called Faylasúf, who
tells him that he should obtain possession of the book of magic which
is kept by the witch Naskas in her castle. All three set out with this
intent, and by means of the Most Great Name (see _ante_, note on p. 163)
obtain entrance into the castle, and on their way release a dove from
its cage. Deceived by the wiles of the witch, they are transformed: the
king, into a lion, the vazír, into a lynx, and the devotee, into a fox;
but plunging into the waters of the Spring of Job, they are restored to
their natural shape, seek refuge in a hollow tree, and are taken out of
it by the bird Rukh (or roc) and carried to the top of a mountain. In the
meanwhile the released dove, who was no other than Rúz-afrúz, daughter
of Farrukhfál, king of the parís, returns to her parents and tells them
of her rescue. Then she goes in search of her deliverers; finds them
asleep, and has them conveyed to her father’s court. Farrukhfál waives
his objection to a marriage which he deemed a _mésalliance_, and the
result in due time is the birth of a prince, called Mihr. The astrologers
prophesy that at the age of eighteen grief will come to him through a
piece of paper. And, in fact, the young man, while out hunting, meets a
youth called Mukhtarí, a rich merchant from Maghrab, who has suffered
shipwreck and has saved nothing but the portrait of Máh, the fair
daughter of Hilál, king of the West. The remainder of the tale deals
with the adventures of the love-struck prince in search of the fair one,
ending, of course, with their happy union.[299]

       *       *       *       *       *

The tale of ‘Sayf ul-Mulúk and Bady’á ul-Jumál,’ which the carpenter
says he had also heard, occurs in the _Arabian Nights_; the Turkish
story-book _Al-Faraj ba’d al-Shiddah_, or Joy after Distress; the Persian
Tales translated into French by Petis de la Croix, under the title of
_Les Mille et un Jours_; and it also exists as a separate story in
MSS. preserved in the British Museum and the Bodleian Library, Oxford.
It recounts how a young prince discovers in his father’s treasury the
portrait of a very beautiful damsel and sets out in quest of her. After
many perilous adventures he finally learns from a jinni that the fair
original of the portrait was one of the concubines of King Solomon and
had, of course, been dead for many ages.

       *       *       *       *       *

Whether the ‘Road to the Mosque’, which the carpenter says he has
“seen,” be the title of a story, or (as is more likely) that of a
devotional work, I am unable to say, never having seen it alluded to

_The Trick of the Kází’s Wife_

is a variant of a story found in the Beslau printed Arabic text of the
‘Thousand and One Nights,’ of the Fuller, his Wife, and the Trooper.
It also occurs in the _Historia Septem Sapientum Romæ_, the European
adaptation of the Book of Sindibád, where a crafty Knight of Hungary
plays the part of the carpenter of our story, and a jealous old baron
that of the Kází. The plot of the _Miles Gloriosus_ of Plautus, which
is very similar to the tale of the crafty Knight, in all likelihood
suggested to Boiardo the amusing episode, in his _Orlando Innamorato_,
of Folderico and Ordauro, which, in its turn, was perhaps adapted in the
_Seven Wise Masters_. In my _Book of Sindibád_, p. 343 ff., and in my
_Popular Tales and Fictions_, vol. ii, pp. 214-228, are most of the other
known versions and variants of this story.

_The Trick of the Bazár-Master’s Wife_

has many parallels in Eastern story-books, and the tale seems to have
been, time out of mind, a favourite with Asiatics. In one version there
is no game of _yad est_ between husband and wife. The lady has her lover
concealed in an adjoining apartment, for her husband has come home quite
unexpectedly. But she tells him plainly of the fact, upon which he
demands the key and approaches to open the door of the room, when the
lady bursts into laughter. He pauses in astonishment, and asks the cause
of her merriment, to which she replies: “I cannot help laughing at your
simplicity, in believing that I should have a lover in the next room, and
tell you of it.” The husband returns the key and goes away well pleased.

_The Trick of the Kutwál’s Wife_

resembles the latter part of the Arabian tale of the Fuller, his Wife,
and the Trooper, where the poor husband is also drugged, his hair
is cropped, he is dressed as a soldier, and provided with a letter
recommending him to be enrolled by the governor of Isfahán. In this case,
however, the poor husband is not reclaimed by his artful wife.

       *       *       *       *       *

Whatever may be the source of this diverting story, it was known in
France as early at least as the 13th century, in the form of _fabliau_
by Haisiau the Trouvère, under the title “Des Trois Dames qui trouverent
un Anel” (Méon’s edition of Barbazan, 1808, tome iii, p. 220ff., and Le
Grand, 1781, tome iv, pp. 163-166), of which the following is the outline:

Three ladies found a ring, and “they swore by Jesu that she should have
it who should best beguile her husband to do a good turn to her lover.”

The _First Lady_, having made her husband drunk, when he is asleep,
causes his head to be shaved, dresses him in the habit of a monk, and
carries him, assisted by her lover, to the entrance of a convent. When
he awakes and finds himself thus transformed he imagines that God, by a
miraculous exercise of his grace, had called him to the monastic life. So
he presents himself before the abbot and requests to be received among
the brethren. The lady hastens to the convent in well-feigned despair,
and is exhorted to be resigned and to congratulate her husband on the
saintly vow he has taken. “Many a good man,” says the poet, “has been
betrayed by woman and her harlotry. This one became a monk in the abbey,
where he remained a very long time. Wherefore, I counsel all people who
hear this story told, that they ought not to trust in their wives, or in
their households, if they have not first proved that they are full of
virtues. Many a man has been deceived by women and their treachery. This
one became a monk against right, who would never have been such in his
life, if his wife had not deceived him.”

The _Second Lady_ had some salted and smoked eels which her husband bade
her cook for dinner on a Friday, but there was no fire in the house.
Under the pretext of going to have them cooked on a neighbour’s fire, she
goes out and finds her lover, at whose house she remains a whole week. On
the following Friday, about the hour of dinner, she enters a neighbour’s
house and asks leave to cook her eels, saying that her husband is angry
with her for having no fire, and that she could not dare to go back lest
he should cut off her head. As soon as the eels are cooked she carries
them home, “piping hot.” The husband asks her where she has been for
the last week, and commences to beat her. She cries for help and the
neighbours come in, and amongst them the one at whose fire the eels had
been cooked, who swears that the wife had only just left her house,
and ridicules the man for his assertion that she had been away a whole
week. The poor husband gets into a great rage and is locked up for a

The _Third Lady_ proposes to her lover to marry him, and he thinks that
she is merely jesting, seeing she is already married, but she assures
him that she is quite in earnest, and even undertakes that her husband
will give his consent. The lover is to come for her husband and take him
to the house of Dan Eustace, where he has a fair niece, whom the lover
is to pretend he wishes to espouse, if he will give her to him. The lady
will go thither, and she will have made her arrangements with Dan Eustace
before they arrive. Her husband cannot but believe that he has left her
at home, and she will be so apparelled that he cannot recognise her. This
plan is accordingly carried out. The lover asks the lady’s husband for
the hand of his niece in marriage, to which he very willingly consents,
and thus without knowing it makes him a present of his own wife. “All his
life long the lover possessed her, because the husband gave and did not
lend her; nor could he ever get her back.”[301]

“Now tell me true,” adds the poet, “without any lie, and if you would
judge rightly and truly, which one of these three best deserved to have
the ring?”

       *       *       *       *       *

Le Grand, at the end of his modern French prose abridgment of this
_fabliau_, says that it is told at great length in the tales of the
Sieur d’Ouville, tome iv, p. 255. In the _Facetiæ Bebelianæ_, p. 86,
three women make a wager as to which of them will play the best trick
on her husband. One causes her poor spouse to believe he is a monk, and
he goes and sings mass; the second husband believes that he is dead and
allows himself to be carried on a bier to that mass; and the third sings
in it stark naked, believing he is clothed. It is also found in the
_Convivales Sermones_, t. i, p. 200; in the _Délices de Verboquet_, p.
166; and in the Facetiæ of Lod. Doménichi, p. 172. In the _Contes pour
Rire_, p. 197, three women find a diamond, and the arbiter whom they
select promises it to her who concocts the best device for deceiving her
husband, but the _ruses_, according to Le Grand, are different from those
in the _fabliau_. Possibly from this last mentioned version (if not from
some old Morisco-Spanish tale, for the idea of the story is certainly
of Eastern origin) Isidro de Robles, a Spanish novelist, who wrote
about the year 1666, adapted his tale of ‘The Diamond Ring,’ of which
a translation is given by Roscoe in his _Spanish Novelists_, 1832, vol.
iii, pp. 163-214, and the outline of which is as follows:

In the fair city of Madrid there lived three ladies who were very
intimate friends. One was the wife of Luca Morena, cashier to a wealthy
Genoese merchant; the second was the wife of Diego de Morales, a painter,
employed in decorating one of the monasteries; the third was the wife
of Señor Geloso, an elderly ill-tempered curmudgeon. It happened one
day, when the three ladies were standing near a fountain to see a grand
public procession, that they simultaneously discovered a diamond ring
which glittered under the water, and when one of them took it up, all
three laid claim to it, on various grounds, and they squabbled for its
possession till one of them proposed they should submit the matter to
a count of their acquaintance whom they saw approaching, to which the
others agreed. The count takes charge of the ring and says that it should
be the prize of “whichever of you shall, within the space of the next
six weeks, succeed in playing off upon her husband the most clever and
ingenious trick—always having due regard to his honour.”

The _Cashier’s Wife_ employs an astrologer to waylay her husband on his
road home and tell him that he looks seriously ill; then to feel his
pulse and declare that he will be a dead man within 24 hours, so he had
better put his affairs in order. Somewhat alarmed, he reaches home, takes
little supper and goes to bed, but only to toss restlessly about all the
night. He is off to business earlier than usual next day, and coming home
in the evening meets the vicar of the parish and some friends, who are
also in the plot. They pretend not to see him, but talk to each other
aloud of Luca Moreno’s sudden death, and express very uncomplimentary
opinions as to his state in the other world. In great perplexity, he
continues his way and meets the astrologer and the painter (the latter
is the husband of the second lady, and, strange as it may seem, is also
a party in the plot), talking likewise of his death. He can endure this
no longer, and accosts them, saying that he is not dead, but they affect
to take him for his own ghost and run away. Now he thinks he must be
really dead, though when and how he died he cannot recollect. Arriving at
his house, he finds it shut up, and knocks long and loudly at the door
before the maidservant appears, who asks: “Who is it? You can’t come in,
for master is dead.” “Why,” exclaims the poor cashier, “it is I myself,
your master.” “Who calls at this hour? This is the house of mourning,
for we are all in grief for the loss of our master.” “Hold your tongue,
you jade, and let me in, for I am your master.” She replies that _he_,
poor man, is now engaged counting money in another and a worse world. In
his rage he bursts open the door and walks in. His wife on seeing him
pretends to swoon, but leaving her in the care of the maidservant he goes
down to the pantry to stay his ravenous appetite, and there indulges in a
hearty supper, washed down with copious draughts of wine, and then goes
to bed. In the morning his wife, in gala dress, awakes him, and he thinks
that she is dead also, and asks her when he himself died and was buried.
She says all that she knows is that he buried last night some of the
best wine and dainties provided for the carnival—he must be still drunk
to talk such nonsense. The astrologer and the painter come, and when
they hear his story declare they had not seen him or been from home last
night, and, the vicar and his friends making a similar statement, he is
persuaded the whole affair was a dream, and promises to defray the cost
of a feast on Shrove Tuesday.

It is now the turn of the _Second Lady_ to play a trick upon her husband,
the painter. “For this purpose she concerted a plan with a brother of
hers, who possessed a fine genius for amusing himself at other people’s
expense. In the first place they contrived to have a false door made
at the entrance of the house, on such a plan (then frequently adopted)
that it might be easily substituted for the real door at short notice.
It was brought thither secretly one night, and concealed in a cellar,
while the brother and two friends lay ready to carry on the intended
plot in an upper chamber of the house.” The painter returns home as
usual, and having supped retires to rest. About midnight he is roused
from a deep sleep by the cries of his wife, who pretends to be dying,
and implores him to go for her confessor, and her old nurse, who knew
her constitution. He very reluctantly rises and dresses himself, and
then sets out in quest of the nurse, who lived at the other end of the
town. Meanwhile the old door is removed and the false one substituted,
and above it a sign is placed bearing the words, “House of Public
Entertainment.” Then, according to arrangement, friends of the lady and
a party of musicians with their instruments arrive, in order to “make a
night of it.” The poor painter, after plodding his weary way in quest of
the old nurse, through wind and rain, and knocking at the wrong doors,
at last returns home, drenched to the skin. But what must have been his
amazement to find his house metamorphosed into a tavern and to hear
sounds from within of mirth and revelry! He knocks at the door, however,
and a head is thrust out of an upper window and a voice orders him to be
off, for the house is full. When he says that the house is his own, he
is told it has been a tavern for the last 15 years and is finally made
to beat a retreat by two dogs being let loose on him. Betaking himself
to his friend Señor Geloso (whose turn is yet to come), he relates
to him all his strange adventures. His friend thinks he is drunk and
accommodates him for the night in his house. Next morning they go to the
painter’s house, which has been restored to its former appearance, and
when he tells them of what had happened to him the previous night, his
wife and her friends assure him that the affair must have been the effect
of sorcery, at the same time his loving spouse reads him a severe lecture
on his debauched way of life, staying out o’ nights and so forth. It is
finally agreed to say no more about the matter.

The trick played on the jealous, ill-tempered husband of the _Third
Lady_ bears a striking resemblance to that of the Kutwál’s wife—_mutatis
mutandis_. Having plied him with wine till he is “dead drunk,” she sends
for her brother, prior of the convent of Capuchins, who comes (as
arranged) with the lay brethren, and, after his head has been shaved
and he has been dressed in the monastic garb, they carry him off to
the convent and place him in a cell. When he awakes he is perplexed at
the change that has taken place in his person and place of abode. In
brief, he is flogged next day for contumacy and sentenced to eight days’
imprisonment, with bread and water. This term expired, he is sent out
with one of the monks to beg alms, and in the course of their rounds
they come to his own house, where seeing his wife at a window he rushes
in and embraces her. The lady, of course, raises a great outcry, and the
servants and neighbours hasten to her assistance. The monk explains that
he is a crazy brother who fancies every pretty woman he sees is his wife,
and leads him back to the convent, where he is again soundly flogged
and put upon a new course of bread and water, so long that his hair and
beard were grown again. One night he is treated to a fine supper and a
bottle of wine containing an opiate, and, when he is asleep, is carried
back to his house, and on awaking next morning and telling his wife of
all that he had undergone as a monk, she persuades him that it was but
a distempered dream, and he, glad to find himself in his own house,
promises to treat her in future with all respect and full confidence in
her virtue.

The three ladies proceed next day to the dwelling of the count and
relate the tricks they had played their husbands. He says that he cannot
possibly give the preference to any one of them—they are all equally
clever—but as the ring is really one he had himself lost the very day
when they found it, he must ask them to accept and divide amongst
themselves a purse containing three hundred pistoles, and so the ladies
take their leave of the count, in every way satisfied.


The latter part of this story will at once remind the reader of the tale
of Alí Khoja and the Merchant of Baghdád in our common English version
of the _Arabian Nights_,[302] in which Alí Khoja, before setting out on
the pilgrimage to Makka, places a thousand gold pieces in a jar and fills
it up with olives, and gives it into the custody of a merchant with whom
he was intimate, as a jar of olives merely; and the merchant after the
Khoja had prolonged his absence far beyond the usual time opened the
jar to take out of it some olives for his wife, who had wished for that
fruit, and finding the gold underneath abstracted it, and substituted
fresh olives. The story is too well known to require the repetition of
the subsequent details—how judgment was at first given in favour of the
merchant, but was afterwards reversed, as in our story of the Kází, by
the acuteness of a boy.

It seems to have been a favourite pastime from ancient times for Asiatic
youngsters to play at “the King and his Ministers.” In the apocryphal
Arabic gospel of the Saviour’s Infancy we read: “In the month of Adar,
Jesus, after the manner of a king, assembled the boys together. They
spread their clothes on the ground and he sat down on them. Then they
put on his head a crown made of flowers, and like chamber-servants stood
in his presence, on the right and on the left, as if he was a king, and
whoever passed that way was forcibly dragged by the boys, saying: ‘Come
hither and adore the king; and then go away.’” This passage finds a
very remarkable parallel in the Mongolian tales of Ardshi Bordshi—the
second part of Miss Busk’s _Sagas from the Far East_, derived from
Jülg’s _Mongolische Märchen_, as follows: “In the neighbourhood of his
[_i.e._ Ardshi Bordshi’s] residence was a hill where the boys who were
tending the calves were wont to pass the time by running up and down.
But they had also another custom, and it was that whichever of them won
the race was king for the day—an ordinary game enough, only that when
it was played in this place the boy-king thus constituted was at once
endowed with such extraordinary importance and majesty that every one
was constrained to treat him as a real king. He had not only ministers
and dignitaries among his play-fellows, who prostrated themselves before
him, and fulfilled all his behests, but whoever passed that way could not
choose but pay him homage also.”

The Rev. J. Hinton Knowles, in a note to his _Folk-Tales of Kashmír_,
thus describes the game of “Vazír Pádisháh,” also called “Suhul,” as it
is played by the boys in Kashmír:

“It is generally played by four youngsters. Four little sticks are
provided, of which the bark on one side is peeled off. Any of the four
children throws first. If one should throw three sticks so that they all
fall on the bark side, then he is appointed _pádisháh_, or king; but if
not, they all try and throw till some one succeeds. The next thing is to
find out the _vazír_. He who throws the sticks so that one of them falls
with the bark side up, but the other three with the peeled sides up, is
appointed to this office. Then an _asúr_, or thief, has to be fixed upon.
He who throws so that two of his sticks fall with the bark side upwards
is proclaimed the thief. Lastly a _sayd_, or honest man, has to be found.
This part he has to play who throws the sticks so that three of them fall
with the bark side upwards. If it should happen that all four of them
fall with the bark sides up, that thrower has to try again.[303]

“Pádisháh, vazír, asúr, and sayd being known, the real play begins.
The asúr, or thief, is brought before the king by the vazír, who says:
‘O king, peace and health to you; here is a thief.’ The king replies:
‘Whence has he come?’ Then the vazír tells him the whole case, and
punishment has to be inflicted on the criminal. This is the most amusing
part of the whole play. ‘Give him Bangálí cannon,’ says the king, and
the vazír kicks the prisoner’s buttocks; or the king says: ‘Bring a dog
in his place from the Ladák,’ when the vazír takes the prisoner a short
distance, and then holding him by the ear pulls him back, while the
prisoner barks like a dog; or the king says: ‘Take out the spindle,’ when
the vazír draws a line with his thumb-nail on the inside of the arm from
the elbow-joint to the wrist, and then hits the arm over the line as hard
as he can with the first and second fingers of his right hand. There are
many other words of punishment too numerous to mention here.”

Not a few Eastern stories turn upon the wonderful acuteness of boys in
solving difficult questions which have perplexed the profound minds of
their “grave and reverend” seniors. The reader will find a number of
examples cited in my _Popular Tales and Fictions_, vol. ii, pp. 10,
12-14, one of which, a Mongolian tale, is analogous to that of the
Arabian story of Alí Khoja’s “pot of olives.”


The indirect source of this story is probably the following tale, from
the _Kathá Sarit Ságara_, vol. i, p. 298, of Prof. C. H. Tawney’s
translation, published at Calcutta a few years ago:

There is a city named Srávastí, and in it there lived in old time a
king of the name of Prasenajit, and one day a strange Bráhman arrived
in that city. A merchant, thinking he was virtuous because he lived on
rice in the husk, provided him a lodging there in the house of a Bráhman.
There he was loaded by him every day with presents of unhusked rice and
other gifts, and gradually by other great merchants also, who came to
hear his story. In this way the miserly fellow gradually accumulated a
thousand dínars, and going to the forest he dug a hole and buried it in
the ground, and he went every day and examined the spot. Now one day he
saw that the hole in which he had hidden his gold had been re-opened,
and that all the gold was gone. When he saw that hole empty, his soul
was smitten, and not only was there a void in his heart, but the whole
universe seemed to be a void also. And then he came crying to the Bráhman
in whose house he lived, and when questioned he told him his whole story;
and he made up his mind to go to a holy bathing-place and starve himself
to death. Then the merchant who supplied him with food, hearing of it,
came there with others, and said to him: “Bráhman, why do you long to die
for the loss of your wealth? Wealth, like an unseasonable cloud, suddenly
comes and goes.” Though plied by him with these and similar arguments, he
would not abandon his fixed determination to commit suicide, for wealth
is dearer to the miser than life itself. But when the Bráhman was going
to the holy place to commit suicide, the king Prasenajit himself, having
heard of it, came and asked him: “Bráhman, do you know of any mark by
which you can recognise the place where you buried your dínars?” When the
Bráhman heard that, he said: “There is a small tree in the wood there;
I buried that wealth at its foot.” When the king heard that he said: “I
will find the wealth and give it back to you, or I will give it you from
my own treasury; do not commit suicide, Bráhman.” After saying that,
and so diverting the Bráhman from his intention of committing suicide,
the king entrusted him to the care of the merchant, and retired to his
palace. There he pretended to have a headache, and sending out the
doorkeeper he summoned all the physicians in the city by proclamation
with beat of drum. And he took aside every single one of them and
questioned him privately in the following words: “What patients have you
here, and how many, and what medicines have you prescribed for each?” And
they thereupon, one by one, answered all the king’s questions. Then one
among the physicians, when his turn came to be questioned, said this:
“The merchant Mátridatta has been out of sorts, O king, and this is the
second day that I have prescribed for him _nágabalá_” [the plant _Uraria
Lagopodioides_]. When the king heard that he sent for the merchant and
said to him: “Tell me who fetched you the _nágabalá_?” The merchant said:
“My servant, your highness.” When the king got this answer from the
merchant he quickly summoned the servant and said to him: “Give up that
treasure belonging to a Bráhman, consisting of a store of dínars, which
you found when you were digging at the foot of a tree for _nágabalá_.”
When the king said this to him the servant was frightened, and confessed
immediately; and bringing those dínars, left them there. So the king for
his part summoned the Bráhman, and gave him, who had been fasting in the
meanwhile, his dínars, lost and found again, like a second soul external
to his body. Thus the king by his wisdom recovered to the Bráhman his
wealth, which had been taken away from the tree, knowing that that simple
grew in such spots.

       *       *       *       *       *

Many stories of hidden treasure being stolen and recovered by a clever
device are current in Europe as well as in the East. For example, in
No. 74 of the _Cento Novette Antiche_, the oldest Italian collection of
tales, a blind beggar conceals 100 florins under the floor of a church,
and is observed by a sharper who next day takes the money away. When the
blind man finds his treasure gone, he stands at the church-door at the
time of service and bids his boy watch all who enter the church and let
him know if any one should regard him (the beggar) as if with peculiar
interest. The sharp-witted boy observes a man looking at his father and
smiling, and when the beggar learns the name of the man, he scrapes
acquaintance with him, tells him that he has 100 florins concealed under
the floor of the church, and expects to receive 100 more in the course of
a day or two, which he had lent out; and begs his new friend to meet him
on such a day when they would lift the stone and deposit the additional
money. The sharper, thinking to get this other sum as well, went
privily and replaced the 100 florins he had stolen, and the blind man,
anticipating he would do so, returned at night and took away his money,
resolving to part with it no more.—The same story is found in the Breslau
printed Arabic text of the ‘Thousand and one Nights’, and is translated
by Mr. John Payne in his _Tales from the Arabic_, and also by Sir Richard
F. Burton in the first volume of his _Supplemental Nights_, under the
title of “The Melancholist and the Sharper.” A short version is given
in Gladwin’s _Persian Moonshee_; and another analogous story of buried
treasure will be found in Roscoe’s _Spanish Novelists_, ed. 1832, vol.
iii, p. 215-234, entitled “A Prodigious Adventure,” by Isidro de Robles.


Readers who are not familiar with the Kurán may like to see in English
the Muslim “Lord’s Prayer,” called _Al-Fátihá_, which the Deaf Man
recited in presence of his sick friend, so this is it, from Rodwell’s
translation, p. 11:

    Praise be to God, Lord of the worlds!
    The compassionate, the merciful!
    King on the day of reckoning!
    Thee [only] do we worship, and to thee do we cry for help.
    Guide thou us on the straight path!
    The path of those to whom thou hast been gracious; with whom thou
      art not angry, and who go not astray.”

This _sura_ is esteemed as the quintessence of the Kurán, and is recited
several times in the course of each of the five daily prayers, and on
many other occasions.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is well known that men afflicted with partial deafness are generally
unwilling to acknowledge their infirmity, and even resent being talked
to in a loud tone of voice; though they often betray themselves by the
answers they give to questions asked of them, much to the amusement of
their questioners.—A story is told of a deaf Persian who was taking home
a quantity of wheat, and, coming to a river which he must cross, he saw
a horseman approach; so he said to himself: “When that horseman comes up
he will first salute me, saying, ‘Peace be with thee!’ Next he will ask,
‘What is the depth of this river?’ and then he will ask, how many _máns_
of wheat I have with me.” But the deaf man’s surmises were sadly amiss,
for when the horseman came up he cried: “Ho! my man, what is the depth
of this river?” The deaf one replied: “Peace be with thee, and the mercy
of Allah and his blessing!” At this the horseman laughed and said: “May
they cut off thy beard!” to which the deaf one rejoined: “Up to my neck.”
The horseman then said: “Dust be on thy mouth!” The deaf one placidly
replied: “Eighty máns of it.”

Here we have a very close parallel to the story of the Deaf Man and his
Sick Friend, and there is a curious Norwegian variant in Sir George W.
Dasent’s _Tales from the Fjeld_, under the title of “Goodman Axeshaft,”
which is to this purpose:

The wife and daughter of an old ferryman, who was extremely deaf, by
their extravagance plunge him into an ocean of debt and run away from
home. The sheriff is to come and seize, and the old man wonders what
he’ll say to him. “Ah, I’ll begin to cut an axeshaft, and the sheriff
will ask me how long it is to be. I’ll answer, ‘Up as far as that twig
sticks out.’ Then he’ll ask, ‘What’s become of the ferry boat?’ and
I’ll say, ‘I’m going to tar her, and yonder she lies on the strand,
split at both ends.’ Then he’ll ask, ‘Where’s your gray mare?’ and I’ll
say, ‘She’s standing in the stable, big with foal.’ And then he’ll ask,
‘Whereabouts is your sheepcote?’ and I’ll answer, ‘Not far off; when you
get a bit up the hill you’ll soon see it.’” But when the sheriff comes up
he says “Good day” to the old man, who answers: “Axeshaft.” Then he asks:
“How far off to the river?” to which the ferryman replies: “Up to this
twig,” pointing a little way up the piece of timber. The sheriff stares
and shakes his head. “Where’s your wife?” “I’m just going to tar her,”
and so forth. “Where’s your daughter?” “In the stable,” and so on. “To
the deuce with you!” exclaims the sheriff, in a rage. “Very good,” says
the old man; “not far off—when you get a bit up the hill you’ll soon see
it.” Upon this the sheriff goes off, in sheer despair.


In mediæval times the ancient fable of the Fowler and the Little Bird
was appropriated by several monkish compilers of _exempla_, designed for
the use of preachers; but this version is unique, so far as my knowledge
of other forms of the fable extends. It has, exclusively, the scene
between the lapwing and the nightingale; the references to the Muslim
legend of Solomon’s receiving from a lapwing, or hoopoe, intelligence of
the city of Sabá (or Sheba) and Queen Bilkís; and the allegation of the
nightingale to the gardener that the fruit the bird had destroyed was
poisonous. The fable is found in the spiritual romance of Barlaam and
Joasaph (not Josaphat, as the name is commonly written), which is said to
have been composed in the first half of the 7th century, by a Greek monk
named John, of the convent of St. Sabá, at Jerusalem, and—according to
M. Hermann Zotenberg—redacted by Johannes Damascenus, a Greek Father, of
the 8th century, and included in his works. It is now certain that the
substance of this work was derived from Indian sources: the incidents in
the youth of Joasaph correspond with those in the early years of Gautama,
the founder of Buddhism; while some of the parables contained in the
romance are found in the _Játakas_, or Buddhist Birth-stories and others
in Hindú books. This is how the fable is told in _Barlaam and Joasaph_:

They who worship idols are like the bird-catcher who caught one of the
smallest birds, which they call the nightingale. As he was about to kill
and eat it, articulate speech was given to the bird, and it said: “What
will the killing of me profit thee, man? Thou canst not fill thy belly
with me. But if thou set me free, I will give thee three injunctions,
which, if thou observe, will benefit thee all thy life.” He was amazed to
hear the bird speak, and promised. Then said the nightingale: “Never try
to reach the unattainable. Rue not a thing that is past. Never believe
a thing that is beyond belief.” Away flies the bird; but, to test the
man’s common sense, it cries to him: “How thoughtless thou art! Inside of
my body is a pearl larger than the egg of an ostrich, and thou hast not
obtained it!” Then he repented having let the bird go free, and tried to
coax it back by fair offers. But the bird rebuked his folly in so soon
forgetting all the three injunctions it had given him.

       *       *       *       *       *

In this form the fable also occurs in the _Disciplina Clericalis_ of
Petrus Alphonsus, a Spanish Jew, who was converted to Christianity in
1106, and who avowedly derived the materials for his work from the
Arabian fabulists, and from this collection it was taken into the
_Gesta Romanorum_ (see Swan’s translation, ed. 1824, vol. ii, p. 87).
John Lydgate, the monk of Bury, of the 15th century, turned the fable
into English verse, under the title of “The Chorle and the Bird, from a
pamflete in Frenche,” which is conjectured to have been the _fabliau_
“Le Lai de l’Oiselet,” but this I think is rather doubtful. According to
Lydgate’s poem, a little bird takes up its abode in a laurel-tree in a
churl’s garden, and sings merrily all the livelong day. The churl sets a
trap (_pantere_) to catch the bird.

    It was a verray hevenly melodye,
    Evyne and morowe to here the bryddis songe,
    And the soote sugred armonye
    Of uncouthe varblys and tunys drawen on longe,
    That al the gardeyne of the noysè rong,
    Til on a morwe, whan Tytan shone ful clere,
    The birdd was trapped and kaute with a pantere.

The churl puts the little bird into a fine cage and orders it to sing,
but says the bird:

    “Song and prison have noon accordaunce,
    Trowest thou I wolle syng in prisoun?
    Song procedethe of joy and of plesaunce,
    And prison causethe dethe and destruccioun;
    Rynging of fetires makethe ne mery sounde,
    Or how shuld he be gladde or jocounde
    Agayne his wylle, that ligthe in chaynès bounde?”

“But let me out,” the bird goes on to say, “so that I may perch again on
the laurel-tree, and then I will sing to thee, and moreover,

    “I shal the yeve a notable gret gwerdoun,
    Thre grete wysdoms according to resoun,
    More of walewe, take hede what I do profre,
    Thane al the golde that is shet in thi cofre.”

The three “great wisdoms” are the same as those in other versions, and
then the little bird says that the churl by setting him free has missed
gaining a rare treasure, for in his inside is a stone, fully an ounce
in weight, which has many wonderful properties: making its possessor
victorious in battle; he should suffer no poverty or indigence but have
abundance of wealth; all should do him reverence; it would reconcile
foes, comfort the sorrowful, and make heavy hearts light.[304] The churl
is beside himself with vexation, and the bird calls him a fool for
believing such a rank impossibility.[305]

Husain Vá’iz has re-told the apologue in his _Anvár-i Suhaylí_, or Lights
of Canopus, a Persian rendering, in prose and verse, of the celebrated
Fables of Bidpaï with additions, of which this is one. Here, however, the
nightingale—having been entrapped by the gardener, because it destroyed
his roses—does not, when liberated, give the gardener three maxims, but
tells him that beneath such a tree is a vessel full of gold. The villager
digs and finds the treasure, and then asks the bird how it was that he
could see a vessel full of gold under the earth, yet not discover the
snare above ground; to which the nightingale replies, like a good Muslim:
“Hast thou not heard that ‘when Fate descends caution is in vain’?”[306]

       *       *       *       *       *

The _fabliau_ version, “Le Lai de l’Oiselet,” as found in Méon’s edition
of Barbazan’s collection, Paris, 1808, t. iii, 114, and (in modern
French prose) in Le Grand, ed. 1784, t. iii, 430, can hardly have been
the original of Lydgate’s poem, as may be seen from the following free
rendering of Le Grand’s abridgment (in which, however, he omits the
bird’s statement about the wonderful stone in its body), including a few
lines from Way’s agreeable English metrical translation:

Once on a time there was a noble castle surrounded by a wide domain of
field and forest, which was first owned by a worthy knight. His son and
successor wasted his patrimony in riotous living—“ye know well,” quoth
our poet, “that it needs but one spendthrift heir to bring great wealth
to nought”; and now the fair castle and domain had become the property of
a rich but sordid churl. This lofty and strong castle had been reared by
magic art. A pebble-paved stream flowed round a beauteous orchard, where
grew tall and shapely trees, flowers of every hue, and odorous plants;
and such was the fragrance of the air that it might have arrested a
man’s parting breath. In the midst of this fair scene a gushing fountain
sparkled in the sunlight, while near it a lofty pine tree’s deathless
verdure afforded grateful shade at noontide.

A marvellous bird had fixed his abode in this tufted pine, and ever he
sat and sang his lay of love in such sweet and moving strains that,
matched against his magic melody, the music of viol and full-toned harp
were as nought. Such was the power of this wondrous feathered minstrel
that his strains could create unutterable joy in the heart of the
despairing lover; and should they cease, and the songster take his flight
from this enchanted ground, then would all the goodly scene—castle,
trees, flowers, forest—fade away and forever disappear.

    “Listen, listen, to my lay
      (Thus the merry note did chime),
    All who mighty Love obey,
      Sadly wasting in your prime,
    Clerk and laic, grave and gay;
      Yet do ye, before the rest,
    Gentle maidens, mark me tell!
      Store my lesson in your breast,
    Trust me it shall profit well:
      Hear and heed me, and be blest!”[307]

The little warbler had no sooner ended his lay of love when he discovered
the churl, upon which the bird ordered the river to retire to its source,
the flowers to fade, the fruit to wither, and the castle to sink into
the earth; for a vile churl should not be suffered to dwell where the
beautiful and the brave had once held sweet communion. The churl, having
heard the melodious strains of the little bird, resolved to capture him
and sell him for a large sum. Accordingly he set his snare and caught the
feathered songster. “What injury have I done thee?” cried the little
bird. “And why dost thou doom me to death?” “Fear not,” said the churl;
“I only desire to hear thy song, and will get thee a fine cage and plenty
of seeds and kernels to eat. But sing thou must, else I’ll wring thy neck
and pick thy bones.” “Alas,” sighed the pretty captive, “who can sing
in prison? And even were I cooked, I could scarce furnish thee with one
mouthful.” Finding that all entreaties failed to move the hard-hearted
churl, the bird then promised that, if set free, he would tell him three
rare and precious secrets. This offer the churl could not resist, so he
freed the little bird, who straightway flew to the summit of the pine
tree, and then proceeded to disclose the three precious secrets. “First
then,” said the bird: “_Yield not a ready faith to every tale._” “Is
this all your secret?” quoth the fellow, in rising wrath. “I need it
not.” “Yet,” said the bird, “you seemed but lately to have forgot it—but
now you may hold it fast. My second secret is: _What is lost, ’tis wise
to bear with patience._” At this the churl chafed more and more. “My
third secret,” continued the bird, “is by far the best: _What good thou
hast, do not cast lightly away._” So saying, the little bird fluttered
his wings a moment, and then flew away; and immediately the castle sank
into the ground; and the fountain flowed back to its source; and the
fruits dropped withered from the trees; and the flowers faded—and all the
beauteous scene was melted into thin air.


_Page 206—Five hundred pons._—It is possible that _pon_, like hun, is
another name of a pagoda, a gold coin of the value of 3½ rupís, which
has not been coined in the mints of India since the early part of this

_Page 212—The Want of Children._—In the note on this subject I omitted
to include Hannah, mother of Samuel, the illustrious Hebrew seer (First
Book of Samuel, ch. i, v, 9-11, and 20).—Asiatics consider a son as the
“light,” or the “lamp,” of the household; and so it is said of a king, in
the opening of the Persian romance entitled _Bahár-i Dánish_, or Garden
and Spring, by ’Ináyatu-’lláh: “In the house of his prosperity the light
[_i.e._ a son], which is the hope of descending life, beamed not, as the
blossoms of his house [_i.e._ his women] produced not the fruit of his
wishes; for which he made grief his companion, and sat lonely, like a
point in the centre of the circle of sorrow”—poor fellow!

_Page 391—The Story of the Envious Vazír._—I cannot call to mind any
close parallel to this, but the incident upon which it turns, that of the
old hag’s artifice in procuring the lady’s dress, recalls the story of
“The Burnt Veil” in the Book of Sindibád, where a youth, desperately in
love with the virtuous wife of a merchant, employs a crone—who, like too
many of her sex in Muslim countries, went about evil-doing, in the guise
of a devotee—to cause the lady’s husband to put her away on suspicion of
her being unfaithful. But this slight resemblance is doubtless merely
fortuitous. The tale of the Envious Vazír exhibits more art than is
usually found in Eastern fictions, especially the _dénouement_, where the
Khoja’s wife cleverly causes the malignant Vazír to convict himself of
gross falsehood.

_Page 430_—The sentiment expressed to Sultan Mahmúd by the Independent
Man has its analogue in one of the countless traditions of Hatim Taï,
which goes thus: They asked Hatim: “Hast thou ever seen in the world any
one more noble-minded than thyself?” He replied: “One day I had offered
a sacrifice of 40 camels, and had gone out with some other chiefs to a
corner of the desert. I saw a thorn-cutter, who had gathered together
a bundle of thorns. I said to him: ‘Why goest thou not to share the
hospitality of Hatim Taï, when a crowd has assembled at his feast?’
He replied: ‘Whoever can eat of the bread of his own labour will not
put himself under an obligation to Hatim Taï.’ This man, in mind and
magnanimity, I consider greater than myself.”

_Page 483_—For the original of the story of the Two Merchants see Méon’s
edition of Barbazan’s collection of _Fabliaux_, Paris, 1808, tome i, 52,
“Des Deux Bons Amis Loiax,” and for the modern French prose version see
Le Grand’s _Fabliaux_, edition 1781, iii, 262.

_Page 499_—Mr. James Moir, Rector, Grammar School, Aberdeen, is the
authority (after his mother) for a story in the _Folk-Lore Journal_,
1884, vol. ii, pp. 68-71, which presents an interesting parallel to the
tale from Salsette, with a clever girl in place of Little John: Three
young girls are abandoned in a wood by their poverty-stricken parents,
because they have too many mouths to feed. The little maidens arrive at a
giant’s house and are granted shelter for the night. The giant resolves
to kill them and have them cooked for his breakfast in the morning.
In order to distinguish in the dark his own three daughters from the
stranger girls, he places “strae rapes” round the necks of the latter and
gold chains round his daughters’ necks, with the result that he puts his
own offspring to death. Mally Whuppie, the heroine, wakes her sisters
softly and they all escape. They next come to a king’s house, and Mally
and her sisters are to be married to the three sons of the king, provided
he should obtain possession of three wonderful things from the giant:
(1) his sword from the back of his bed; (2) his purse from beneath his
pillow; and (3) the ring from off the giant’s finger. Mally is successful
in her two first adventures, and though she is caught by the giant when
drawing off his ring, she ultimately escapes by a clever _ruse_.

_Page 510_—The story of the King and his Falcon occurs in many
collections, and perhaps one of the oldest versions of it is found in
Capt. R. C. Temple’s _Legends of the Panjáb_, vol. i, p. 467, in the
story of “Princess Niwal Dai,” where a snake is seen by the falcon to
drop poison into the cup.

_Page 519—The Rose of Bakáwalí._—I find my conjectures regarding the
construction of this romance are borne out by Garcin de Tassy (_Histoire
de la Littèrature Hindouie_, second edition, Paris, 1870, tome i, p.
606), in his account of a version in the Hindústání Selections by the
Sayyíd Husain, compiled by order of the Military Examiners’ Committee,
and published at Madras in the year 1849, in 2 vols. He says: “Le
second volume offre la reproduction, en 64 p., des deux tiers du
_Gul-i Bakâwalî_ d’après la rédaction de Nihâl Chand, dont j’ai donné
la traduction en français. Huçain s’arrête au mariage de Tâj ulmulûk
et de Bakâwalî, où devrait en effet finir de récit, le reste étant un
hors-d’œuvre tout à fait hindou.”

He describes a similar romance (tome ii, pp. 531, 532) by Rayhán
ed-Dín, of Bengal, written in rhymed couplets (_masnaví_) and entitled
_Khiyabán-i Rayhán_, or Parterres of the Divine Grace, A.H. 1212 (A.D.
1797-1798): “Cet ouvrage,” he says, “roule sur le même sujet que le
_Gul-i Bakâwalî_; mais, outre qu’il est tout en vers, il est beaucoup
plus long. Il se divise en quarante chapitres, intitulés chacun
_Gul-gaschnî_ (Abondance de roses).… Au surplus, il est bon de rappeler
ici ce que j’ai dit ailleurs, que le _Gul-i Bakâwalî_ est une légende
indienne qui est reproduite dans plusieurs rédactions différentes et même
dans le dialecte des Laskars du Bengale.”

Another tale, in Persian, entitled _Kissa-i Fírúz Sháh_, if not identical
with our romance, seems to be on the same plan, judging from the all-too
brief account given of it by Dr. H. H. Wilson in his _Descriptive
Catalogue of the Mackenzie Collection of Oriental MSS._, vol. ii, p. 137:
“The story of Firoz Shah, son of the king of Badakshán, who sought a
marvellous flower to cure his father.”

_Page 520_—In the so-called _Suite des Mille et Une Nuits_, by Chavis and
Cazotte (Story of Habíb, the Arabian Knight), the Amír Salamis weeps
himself blind on hearing a false report of his son Habíb’s death. The
hero, when he comes to know of this sore affliction, is told that the
only remedy is to be found among the treasures of Solomon, preserved in
a cavern, and going there he finds two flat opals fixed as eyes into a
visor, which he takes away, and with them restores his father’s sight.
And the Rabbins say that Jacob wept himself totally blind from grief at
the reported death of his son Joseph, and he recovered his sight many
years afterwards by applying to his eyes the garment of Joseph, which his
brethren brought from Egypt.

_Page 529_—There can be no doubt that the Panjábí legend of Rasálú’s
game with Sirikap and the story of the Prince and Dilbar are cousins,
so to say, not far removed. In the former Rasálú makes it one of the
conditions of sparing the life of the vanquished Sirikap that he must
consent to have his forehead branded with a red-hot iron, “in token of
his vassalage,” and another condition is that he forgive his daughter
whom he had imprisoned. In the latter the hero compels Dilbar to liberate
his four brethren, but she insists on first branding them on their backs,
“in token of the state of slavery to which they had been reduced.”—It
seems to me that in the earlier part of the Panjábí legend something must
have dropped out in connection with Rasálú’s rescuing the ants and the
hedgehog from the river (p. 525), since it is usual in folk-tales for
“thankful animals” to requite their benefactor by rendering him signal


[1] Story-telling has been quite an art in the East time out of
mind. Mrs. Meer Hasan Ali, in her _Observations on the Mussulmans of
India_, vol. ii, pp. 81, 82, says: “Many of the ladies entertain women
companions, whose chief business is to tell stories and fables to their
employer when she is composing herself to sleep. When the lady is fairly
asleep the story is stayed, and the companion resumes her employment
when the next nap is sought by her mistress. Among the higher classes
the males also indulge in the same practice of being talked to sleep by
their men slaves, and it is a certain introduction, with either sex, to
the favour of their employer when one of these dependants has acquired
the happy art of ‘telling the khánie’ (fable) with an agreeable voice
and manner. The more they embellish a tale by flights of their versatile
imaginations, so much the greater the merit of the rehearser in the
opinion of the listeners.”—In the Book of Esther, ch. vi, 1, we read that
on a certain night “could not the king sleep, and he commanded to bring
the book of the records of the chronicles, and they were read before
the king.” Well was it for the Hebrew bondsmen that Ahasuerus did not
call for a story-teller instead of the “state journal”!—The practice of
sleepless khalífs and sultans sending for story-tellers is referred to
in many Eastern tales. For an account of public reciters of tales and
romances see Lane’s _Modern Egyptians_.

[2] But are even the best novels of these days of grace marked by very
much “originality”? Do not prolific novelists _repeat themselves_? Have
they not, for the most part, a limited set of characters, which reappear
in each succeeding novel? In short, may it not be truly said of them,
as Burton (not he of _The Nights_, but he of _The Melancholy_) says of
authors in general: “They weave the same web, twist and untwist the same
rope, and make new books as apothecaries make new mixtures, by pouring
out of one vessel into another”?

[3] The following particulars regarding the author and his work are
derived from Dr. Charles Rieu’s _Catalogue of the Persian Manuscripts in
the British Museum_, vol. ii, pp. 767-8, Add. 7619, and Or. 1370; and
from Mr. F. F. Arbuthnot’s useful and interesting little work, _Persian
Portraits: a Sketch of Persian History, Literature, and Politics_
(London: Quaritch), p. 119. The title of _Shamsah ú Kahkahah_, under
which Mr. Arbuthnot describes this collection, is taken from the names of
a Witch and a Vazír who figure in the second _báb_.

[4] There is another, but wholly different, Tamil tale, with the same
title, which is described in Taylor’s _Catalogue Raisonné of Oriental
Manuscripts in the Government Library, Madras_, vol. iii, page 460: “A
king’s daughter forms an attachment at first sight to the stupid son of
another king, who cannot read the writing which she conveys to him, but
shows it to a diseased wretch, who tells him it warns him to flee for his
life. The king’s daughter is imposed upon by the leper, kills herself,
and becomes a disembodied evil spirit, haunting a choultry (or serai for
travellers), whom during the night, if they do not answer aright to her
cries, she strangles, and vampyre-like sucks their blood.” To be brief,
the famous Tamil poetess Avaiyar gets leave of the people to sleep in the
choultry in order to put an end to this calamity, and having three times
composed a recondite stanza from the strange cries, the evil spirit owns
herself conquered and departs. She is re-born as an exceedingly clever
princess, and tests the learning and poetical skill of her suitors, till
at last she is won by a poor student.—It will be readily supposed that
the chief merit of this story consists in the poetical contests.

[5] The stories related to the king by Prince Bakhtyár, though calculated
to caution him against rash judgments, have nothing in common with those
contained in the Book of Sindibád; while the tales told by Er-Rahwan
(which have been translated by Sir Richard F. Burton, and included in
the first volume of his _Supplemental Nights_) are of a miscellaneous
character—grave and gay, wise and witty—his sole object being to
prolong his life by thus amusing the king. The Vazír’s recitals are of
considerable importance to “storiologists”: we find among them analogues
of Chaucer’s Man of Law’s Tale, Pardoner’s Tale, and Merchant’s Tale, and
of the well-known legend of St. Eustache (or Placidus), which occurs in
the _Gesta Romanorum_, and from which the mediæval metrical romances of
_Sir Isumbras_, _Octavian_, _Sir Eglamour_, and _Sir Torrent of Portugal_
were derived.

[6] The Tamil text of THE KING AND HIS FOUR MINISTERS has been printed.
Through the kindness of the Pandit, I possess two copies, of different
dates, one of which, printed in 1887, has, by way of frontispiece, four
figures, in profile, like those in Egyptian paintings, all looking in the
same direction, with their hands raised and the palms joined, in respect
to the prayer to Ganesa, which is on the opposite page. The first is the
minister; the second is the king, with a crown not unlike the Pope’s
tiara, and a sword on his shoulder; the third and fourth are devotees,
whose clothing is rather scanty.

[7] “Abrégé du roman hindoustani intitulé la Rose de Bakâwalî, par M.
le professeur Garcin de Tassy”: in _Nouveau Journal Asiatique_, tome
xvi, p. 193ff. and p. 338ff. This has been reprinted along with other
translations by the learned Professor.

[8] A Khoja is a master of a household, also a teacher; in the
former acceptation it is somewhat equivalent to the old English
“goodman.”—Gibb’s _History of the Forty Vezírs_, p. 33.

[9] The humái is a fabulous bird, supposed to bestow prosperity on any
person who is overshadowed by its wings.

[10] Oriental writers frequently descant on the advantages of travel; not
only because it enlarges the mind (for “home-keeping youths have ever
homely wits”), but as a means of acquiring wealth. For some examples, see
my _Book of Sindibád_.

[11] The name generally given by the Arabs and Persians to the districts
of Northern Africa west of Egypt.

[12] Belief in judicial astrology—in the influence of the planets over
the fortunes of men—prevails throughout the East, as it did in Europe
until comparatively recent times; indeed the delusion appears to have its
adherents in our own country, even in these “double-distilled” days, if
it be true that _Zadkiel’s Almanack_ has a very large circulation. Truly
“error dies hard!”—An Asiatic, before setting out on a journey, being
married, or beginning any important affair, always consults an astrologer
to learn the precise lucky moment. In one of the _Játakas_, or Buddhist
Birth-Stories, a man having missed making a good match for his son,
because he had been told by a spiteful astrologer that the day proposed
for the nuptials was inauspicious, a wise old fellow shrewdly remarked:
“What is the use of luck in the stars? Surely getting the girl is the
luck!” and recited this stanza:

    While the star-gazing fool is waiting for luck, the luck goes by;
    The star of luck is luck, and not any star in the sky.

In the appendix to my edition of the Persian story-book entitled
_Bakhtyár Náma_, pp. 218-223, may be found some rather droll anecdotes of
the blunders of astrologers.

[13] This custom is observed by Muslims in compliance with the precept
of Muhammed: “Whoever,” said he, “believes in God and the day of
resurrection, must respect his guest; and the time of being kind to him
is one day and one night; and the period of entertaining him is _three
days_; and after that, if he does it longer, it benefits him more; but
it is not right for a guest to stay in the house of his host so long as
to incommode him.” In the introduction to the _Arabian Nights_, King
Shahriyár entertains his brother, Shah Zamán, three days, and on the
fourth he accompanies him a day’s journey and takes leave of him.

[14] Henna is a preparation made from the leaves of the Egyptian privet
(_Lawsonia inermis_), with which women in the East stain the tips of
their fingers, the palms of their hands, etc. It imparts a yellowish red
or deep orange colour, which disappears in a fortnight or three weeks,
when it has to be renewed.—See Lane’s _Modern Egyptians_, ch. i.

[15] See note on page 8.—We have in this passage the _motif_ of the
romance throughout.

[16] “Hell has no fury like a woman scorned!” Besides, the virtuous youth
might not keep the secret of her intended intrigue (for such is evidently
to be understood) to himself.

[17] Stories, such as this, of unfaithful wives outwitting their
husbands, with similar mischances, are common in Eastern collections; and
the present well-told tale would probably have been very eagerly adapted
by the early Italian novelists, had they known it, among whom, indeed, it
has more than one analogue.

[18] A tomán is a Persian gold coin which has varied much in value at
different periods; at present it is worth about 7s. 2d. of our money.

[19] The húrís (or, as the term is often written, houries) are the
black-eyed nymphs of the Muslim Paradise, of whom Muhammed has promised
seventy to each believer.

[20] One of the Egyptian magicians who “withstood Moses,” mentioned by
Arabian writers: their chief was called Simeon, and among the eminent
masters of the “art magic” were Sadhúr and Ghadúr, Jaath and Mossa, Waran
and Lamán, each of whom came attended with his disciples, amounting in
all to several thousands.—St. Paul, in his second epistle to Timothy,
iii, 8, gives the names of two of the magicians as Jannes and Jambres.

[21] The notion of the life or heart of an ogre, witch, etc., being
extraneous to the body and concealed in some object—usually very
difficult to reach by the heroes who are in their power—is often the
subject of the popular fictions of all countries. What is probably the
oldest extant instance of this occurs in an Egyptian romance, preserved
among the hieratic papyri in the British Museum, which bears to have been
written more than 3000 years ago, or about the period when Moses was,
in his youth, at the court of Pharaoh. The “curious” reader may find
numerous other examples cited in my _Popular Tales and Fictions_, vol. i,
pp. 347-351.

[22] Parrots often play important parts in Asiatic tales: here, however,
the “intelligent” bird, as will be seen presently, works only mischief.

[23] It does not appear from the preceding part of the narrative that the
hero received any ring from a “neighbour’s wife.” Perhaps something has
been omitted by a copyist of the Persian text.

[24] Many an honest fellow, besides the generous-hearted Obayd, having
been thus beggared by the rapacity of an Asiatic despot, has turned
robber in self-defence.

[25] _i.e._, Persia.

[26] An ashrafí is worth about ten shillings.

[27] It is a favourite plan for extricating an impecunious hero out of
his difficulties in Eastern fictions to represent him as finding a great
treasure in a ruin. And no doubt such an incident has often occurred
in Asiatic countries, where—in the absence of such institutions as
banks—money and jewels are usually concealed in the earth, old wells,
etc., lest the sovereign or one of his greedy ministers should come to
know of any person possessing much wealth, and forthwith confiscate it.

[28] By “Rúm” (or Roum) Asiatics generally mean Europe, at least Eastern
Europe, and “the land of the Franks” has the same meaning.

[29] This incident recalls popular tales current in our own country
of witches turning themselves into cats, and some bold fellow smiting
off a paw of one of the unholy sisterhood thus transformed, and next
day a woman suspected of witchcraft being found in her bed with one
of her hands apparently newly amputated.—Similar stories are told of
_werwolves_, or men having the power of transforming themselves for a
time into wolves.

[30] Hatim was chief of the Arab tribe of Taï, shortly before the advent
of Muhammed, and so highly celebrated for his boundless generosity that
at the present day in Muslim countries no greater compliment can be paid
to an open-handed man than to call him “another Hatim.”

[31] A gold dínar is worth about ten shillings.

[32] “_Darb er-Ramal_, or geomancy, by which, from certain marks made at
random on paper, or on sand (whence, according to some, its name), the
professors pretend to discover past, passing, and future events, is, I am
informed, mainly founded on astrology.”—Lane’s _Modern Egyptians_, ch.

[33] In the East, as in the West, religion is often assumed as a cloak
of villainy; and the half-naked darveshes who prowl through Muslim towns
and villages, blowing their horns and bellowing their eternal “hakk!
hakk!” are for the most part lewd rascals; and not a whit better are most
of those who affect to live as hermits. Muhammed said that “there is no
monkery in Islám,” which is true in one respect, viz., that while a monk
must remain a monk all his life, a darvesh may at any time toss away his
begging-bowl and return to his former station in society.

[34] Fars, or Farsistán, is a province of Persia, the capital of which
is Shíráz, so much celebrated by Háfiz and other Persian poets. As the
Neapolitans have their favourite saying, “See Naples, and die,” so the
Persians say that “If Muhammed had tasted the pleasures of Shíráz, he
would have begged Allah to make him immortal there.”

[35] This monarch is not to be confounded with that Farídún who was the
sixth of the first dynasty (Píshdádí) of ancient Persian kings.

[36] Signet-rings were commonly used throughout the East from the
earliest period of which any records have been preserved. When a king
gave his signet to any one he was thereby empowered to act in the king’s
name. Thus in the Book of Esther we read that King Ahasuerus took his
ring from off his finger and gave it first to Haman and afterwards to

[37] In other words, the king resigned his throne in favour of the
prince. It seems to have been a common practice for Oriental potentates,
at a certain period of life, to retire from the cares of state and
turn ascetics—which was very proper, if all the tales be true of their
sanguinary doings!

[38] Al-Mu’tasim Billah, was the fourth son of the Khalíf Harún
er-Rashíd, and succeeded his second brother, Al-Mámún, A.D. 833. He was
the first of the Khalífs who added to his name the title of _Billah_,
which is equivalent to the _Dei Gracia_ of Christian sovereigns.
Al-Mu’tasim was the 8th Khalíf of the house of Abbas; was born on the
8th month (Shaban) of the year; ascended the throne in the 218th year
of the Hijra; lived 48 years; and died on the 18th of the month Rabí
I; he fought 8 battles; built 8 palaces; begat 8 sons and 8 daughters;
had 8,000 slaves; and had 8,000,000 dínars and 80,000 dirhams [a dirham
is a silver coin of the value of sixpence] in his treasury at his
death;—whence Oriental historians gave him the name of Al-Musamman, or
the Octonary.

[39] When a Persian monarch desires to show his special regard for any
great man who has come to his court, he presents him with a _khil’at_, or
robe of honour, which is often very valuable.

[40] Compared with this what was the archery feat of Locksley (_alias_
Robin Hood), as described in _Ivanhoe_? It seems to have been a common
practice in Persia to suspend a finger-ring as the mark and prize in an
archery competition. A story is told of a Sháh who, while on a pleasure
excursion to Massala Shíráz, appointed an archery contest for the
amusement of himself and his courtiers. He caused a gold ring, set with
a valuable gem, to be fixed on the dome of ’Asád, and it was announced
that whosoever should send an arrow through the ring should obtain it as
the reward of his skill. The four hundred skilled archers forming the
royal body-guard each shot at the ring without success. It happened that
a boy on a neighbouring house-top was at the same time diverting himself
with a little bow, when one of his arrows, shot at random, went through
the ring. The boy, having thus obtained the prize, immediately burned his
bow, shrewdly observing that he had done so in order that the reputation
of this his first feat should never be impaired. (Sa’dí’s _Gulistân_, or
Rose-Garden, ch. iii). The famous Persian poet and robber-chief Kurroglú
had a band of 777 men under his command, and Demurchy-oglú (_i.e._ the
son of the blacksmith) offered himself for a vacancy. Kurroglú, in order
to test the nerve of the candidate, bade him sit down; then taking an
apple from his pocket and a ring from his finger, he stuck the ring in
the apple, and ordered one of his men to remove the cap from the head of
the new comer. Having placed the apple on the young man’s head, Kurroglú
rode to one side and bent his bow and continued to pass one arrow after
another through the ring. Out of sixty arrows that were shot not one went
astray. (Chodzko’s _Popular Poetry of Persia_, pp. 88, 89). Here we have
the feat of William Tell—with a difference.

[41] The duty of the muezzin is to chant the call to prayer (_adán_) from
the minaret of the mosque five times every day. Blind men are generally
employed as muezzins, in order that they should not overlook the
terraces, or flat roofs, of the houses, where the inmates generally sleep
during very hot weather.

[42] The Súfís are the mystics of Islám, and profess to have attained,
by meditation, so advanced a stage of spiritual perfection as to render
the teachings of the Kurán and the ordinary religious observances quite
unnecessary to them. They are generally considered by the “orthodox”
as arrant infidels. For an interesting account of some of their public
“religious” performances, see the chapter on the Dancing Darveshes in
Lane’s _Modern Egyptians_.

[43] Muhammed.

[44] In primitive times even kings were proud of their skill in the art
of cookery. Thus in the charming story of Nala and Damayanti (an episode
of the great Hindú epic, the _Mahábhárata_) the good Rájá is recognised
by his devoted wife, who had been long separated from him, by some meat
of his dressing. And in the other grand Indian epic, the _Rámáyana_, the
demi-god Rámá is represented as killing and cooking the dinner of his
spouse Sitá and himself:

    Their thirst allayed, the princes ply the chase,
    And a fat stag soon falls beneath their arrows.
    A fire they kindle next, and dress their prize;
    Then, offering to the gods and manes made,
    With Sitá they the social banquet share.

And readers of the _Arabian Nights_ will remember how young Bedr ed-Dín
Hasan was discovered by the delicious tarts for the making of which he
had been always famed.

[45] One of the signs of the Zodiac.

[46] Wrestling has been from the most ancient times a favourite sport
in Persia, as it has also been among the Japanese. Due allowance must,
of course, be made for the Oriental exaggeration here indulged in, of
representing our hero as throwing two hundred men in succession;—still,
the author is not inconsistent, for did not he, single-handed, lay about
him boldly and scatter the gang of robbers in the mosque and prove more
than a match for the townsfolk?

[47] I presume by the “Sun of Prophecy” is meant Muhammed. The “Court of
Unity” is Heaven.

[48] This little story is evidently intended as a satire on ascetics
whose notions of religious duties spring from their own foolish minds,
and who are often held up to ridicule by the most eminent Persian poets
and moralists.

[49] In spite of the vigilance with which women in the East are guarded
from communication with lovers, it is said that men frequently gain
access to harams disguised in female apparel, with or without the
connivance of the “neutral personages” who are appointed to keep watch
and ward over the private apartments.

[50] This recalls an incident in the Muslim legend of King Solomon’s
temporary degradation, in consequence of his having fallen into
the heinous sin of idolatry—a legend adapted from the Jewish
traditionists—when “the wisest man the world e’er saw” became an outcast
and a vagrant, and took service with a fisherman; his wages being two
fishes each day.

[51] The wise and witty author of _Hudibras_ partly expresses the same
sentiment in these lines:

    Man is supreme lord and master
    Of his own ruin and disaster,
    Controls his fate, but nothing less
    In ordering his own happiness:
    For all his care and providence
    Is too feeble a defence
    To render it secure and certain
    Against the injuries of fortune;
    And oft, in spite of all his wit,
    Is lost with one unlucky hit,
    And ruined with a circumstance
    And mere punctilio of a chance.

                                   Butler’s _Remains_.

But the Hindú sages give forth no uncertain sound on this subject, as
may be seen from these verses, which are cited in the _Hitopadesa_, a
Sanskrit version of the celebrated Fables of Bidpaï:

“As from a lump of clay a workman makes whatever he pleases, in like
manner a man obtains the destiny prepared by himself.”

“Fortune waits upon that lion of a man who exerts himself. Abject fellows
say: ‘It is to be given by destiny.’ Put forth manliness with all your
strength. If when effort has been made it succeed not, what blame is
there in such a case?”

[52] Muslims regard Lukman as the type of human wisdom. He is said to
have been an Ethiopian slave and served in the army of the Hebrew king
David. Many striking sayings and fables are ascribed to him, but it is
more than doubtful whether he composed any apologues.

[53] The loves of Laylá and Majnún—the Romeo and Juliet of the East—have
formed the theme of several very beautiful Persian and Turkish poems.
Majnún (which means “mad from love:” his proper name was Kays) was the
son of an Arab chief and deeply enamoured of a maiden of another tribe;
and on her being married to a foreign and wealthy suitor he became
distraught, and fled to the wilderness. When Laylá became a widow and met
her lover once more she found him a raving maniac and died soon after.
Majnún expired on her tomb.

[54] Muslim poets are never weary of harping on the fancied love of the
nightingale (_bulbul_) for the rose, to which he is supposed to pour out
his nightly plaint.

[55] “The philosopher,” says a Persian poet, “died of grief and distress,
while the blockhead found a treasure in a ruin.”

[56] It is rare indeed to find in Eastern tales such sensible
observations put in the mouths of sultans, who are for the most part mere
lay figures or credulous fools. Mr. R. L. Stevenson has happily described
the monarchs that figure in the _Arabian Nights_ as “wooden kings.” Here,
however, we have in this sultan a really sagacious man.

[57] The renowned Harún er-Rashíd was not the only Oriental monarch fond
of prowling through his capital after nightfall in disguise: Indian kings
of the olden time, long before the Muhammedan invasion and subjugation,
are said to have made it their regular practice. King James the Fifth of
Scotland was wont to adopt all sorts of disguises and go about in quest
of _amorous_ adventures.

[58] Blighted, as they firmly believed, by the mere sight of the
_unlucky_ man.

[59] Copies of the Kurán are always very beautifully written and often
illuminated with great taste and splendour, and are very costly. Poor
Shoayb may, however, have been induced to select a Kurán out of the
robbers’ booty rather from motives of _piety_ than from any desire of
gain.—I may mention that, although the art of printing is now practised
both in Persia and Turkey, copies of the Kurán are still multiplied (or
were so till very lately) by handwriting, from a superstitious notion
that the impure materials employed in printing would profane the sacred

[60] Friday is the Muslim Sunday—called _El-Jum’á_, or the Assembly; but
it is not observed as a day exclusively devoted to religious exercises,
like the “Lord’s Day” among our Protestant “evangelicals,” whose motto
seems to be, “Let us all be unhappy together,” on that day which they
ought rather to regard as a day of pious rejoicing, could they be
consistent; nor are the superstitious notions associated with the Sabbath
in Jewish minds entertained by Muslims regarding the day of _El-Jum’á_.

[61] The number _forty_ seems to have been always a favourite among
Eastern peoples, and it occurs in the Bible many times in connection
with important events. Thus the Flood continued _forty_ days (Gen. vii,
17); Joseph and his kinsmen mourned _forty_ days for their father Jacob
(Gen. l, 3); thrice Moses fasted _forty_ days (Exod. xxiv, 18, xxxiv,
28, and Deut. ix, 9-25); during _forty_ days the Hebrew spies searched
Canaan (Numb. xiii, 25); Goliath defied the Hebrew army for _forty_
days (1 Sam. xvii, 16); Elijah fasted _forty_ days (1 Kings xix, 8);
Nineveh was to be destroyed after _forty_ days (Jonah iii, 4); _forty_
days Ezekiel bore the iniquities of the house of Judah, a day for a year
(Ezek. iv, 6); Christ was tempted by Satan during _forty_ days (Matt.
iv, 2, and Mark i, 13), and he continued _forty_ days on earth after his
resurrection (Acts i, 3); the Israelites were condemned to wander in the
wilderness _forty_ years (Numb. xiv, 33).—Muslims mourn _forty_ days for
their dead; and they deem a woman ceremonially unclean during _forty_
days after childbirth: among the Israelites the period was forty days
when she had given birth to a male child and eighty days in the case of
a female child.—In the present romance, our unlucky hero, Nassar, is
directed by the hermit’s “last will,” as above, to spend _forty_ days in
prayer for the restoration of the fairies’ fountain; he shoots an arrow
through a finger-ring _forty_ times (p. 100); but his too expert archery
caused an accident to the king, from the effects of which his majesty
did not recover until he had been “_forty_ days under medical treatment”
(p. 102); poor Shah Manssur was in the power of the cruel sorceress for
nearly _forty_ days (p. 26); and the son of the king of Tytmyran was
tossed about on the sea in a boat for _forty_ days (p. 73). To conclude
this long note: _forty_ is the usual number of a gang of robbers in
Eastern tales—that of “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves” will at once occur
to the reader; and we have another example in the diverting story of
“Ahmed the Cobbler” (Malcolm’s _Sketches of Persia_), where the king’s
treasury is plundered by _forty_ robbers.

[62] Excepting, surely, “the shark and the sun-fish dark”!

[63] “Sometimes it happens,” says our author, “that a man is such a
favourite of fortune that if another try to injure him even that will
turn to his advantage. Good men refrain in thought and word and deed
from injuring their fellow men; but evil-minded men resemble scorpions
in their nature, stinging everybody without cause, and with no profit to
themselves, while the objects of their hatred nevertheless prosper;—as
will appear from the following story of the adventures of Farrukhrúz,
whose success was promoted by the enmity which the vazírs of the king of
Yaman entertained against him.”

[64] A sensible man! He was well aware that frequently “riches take unto
themselves wings and flee away.” The sons of “self-made” men seldom turn
out to be of much account—probably because fathers such as Khoja Marján
are not often found among those whose sole aim in life has been to “mak’

[65] Or Yemen: the ancient Arabia Felix.

[66] “Forty days” again!—see _ante_, note on pp. 140, 141.

[67] A kind of witch’s broomstick, apparently. It is to be regretted that
our author (or the holy hermit) did not specify the other properties
of this wonderful staff! Doubtless it also provided the possessor with
“meat, drink, and clothing,” in common with similar magical articles
which figure in the fairy tales of all peoples.

[68] Muslims have derived from the Jewish cabbalists the notion of the
marvellous efficacy of the “unutterable Name” of God—called by the Arabs
_El-Ism el-Aazam_, “the Most Great Name.” It was, they say, engraved
on Solomon’s signet-ring, by means of which he subdued all the genii
and demons, save one rebellious and powerful genie called Sakhr, who
concealed himself in an island in mid-ocean. But the Wise King “took up”
with strange women—with the daughters of idolatrous kings whom he had
conquered in battle; and to one of those he gave his ring one unlucky
day, to keep for him while he was at his bath. The demon Sakhr, who had
been prowling invisibly about the palace, in hopes of catching his royal
enemy at an unguarded moment, assumed Solomon’s form and readily obtained
possession of the wonder-working ring, and sat on the throne of Israel,
while Solomon—whose appearance was at once changed—was driven forth, to
wander up and down the land as a beggar. To be brief, the ring was, after
long years, found in the maw of a fish—Sakhr having thrown it away when
he fled, on being detected as an imposter by the reading of the Law in
his presence—and Solomon “came to his own again.” Solomon’s signet-ring
figures frequently in Muslim romances and stories: it was with this
magical ring that he sealed the copper vessels into which he conjured
certain rebellious genii, and then caused them to be thrown into the sea;
it also gave him power over all creatures on the earth and in the waters,
and over the eight winds, which, at his command, wafted through the air,
whithersoever he pleased, himself and his army on the marvellous carpet
woven for him by genii—to which the poet Bahá-ed-Dín Zuhayr, of Egypt,
thus alludes in an address to his lady-love:

    “And now I bid the very wind
      To speed my loving message on,
    As though I might its fury bind,
      Like Solomon.”

The wind is a common messenger of love in the amatory poetry of the
East;—thus a pre-Islamite Arabian poet exclaims in apostrophising his
beloved: “O may the western breeze tell thee of my ardent desire to
return home!”

[69] I reproduce the following notes on treasure-trees from my paper on
the Franklin’s Tale (entitled “The Damsel’s Rash Promise”) in _Originals
and Analogues of some of Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales”_ printed for the
Chaucer Society, p. 336:

In the _Kathá Sarit Ságara_—an ancient Sanskrit story-book—we read of
trees with golden trunks, branches of jewels, the clear white flowers of
which were clusters of pearls; golden lotuses, etc. Aladdin, it will be
remembered, found in the cave, where was deposited the magic lamp, trees
bearing “fruit” of emeralds and other gems of great price, with which he
took care to stuff his pockets.

In the mediæval romance of Alexander we are told how the world-conqueror
jousted with Porus for his kingdom, and having overthrown him, he
found in the palace of the vanquished monarch innumerable treasures,
and amongst others a vine of which the branches were gold, the leaves
emerald, and the fruit of other precious stones—a fiction, says Dunlop,
which seems to have been suggested by the golden vine which Pompey
carried away from Jerusalem.

The garden of Duke Isope, as described in the _Tale of Beryn_ (Supp.
Canterbury Tales: Ch. Soc., p. 84), had a similar tree:

    “In mydward of this garden stant a feire tre,
    Of alle maner levis that under sky [there] be,
    I-forgit and i-fourmyd, eche in his degre,
    Of sylvir, and of goldè fyne, that lusty ben to see.”

As the treasures coveted by the Arimaspians were guarded by griffins,
and the golden apples of the Hesperides by a dragon, so this garden of
Duke Isope was kept by eight “tregetours,” or magicians, who looked like
“abominabill wormys,” enough to frighten the bravest man on earth.

The Italian poet Boiardo, in the 12th canto of his _Orlando Innamorato_,
represents the virtuous Tisbina as promising her love to Iroldo, who is
madly enamoured of her, on condition that he perform a certain task for
her: “Beyond the forest of Barbary,” says she, “is a fair garden, which
has an iron wall. Herein entrance can be obtained by four gates: one
Life keeps, Death, another, Poverty, another, and Riches, another. Whoso
goes therein must depart by the opposite gate. In the midst is a tree of
vast height, far as an arrow may mount aloft; that tree is of marvellous
price, for whenever it blossoms it puts forth pearls, and it is called
the Treasure-Tree, for it has apples of emerald and boughs of gold. A
branch of this tree,” adds the fair Tisbina, “I must have, otherwise I am
in heavy case.”

[70] A species of inferior _jinni_, or genie.

[71] It is a general practice of Muslim men to shave their heads,
leaving in front a _kakull_, or tuft of hair, in order, according to
some writers, that an enemy, in the day of battle, after cutting off the
head of any of the faithful whom he had slain, should have wherewithal
to carry it, and not require to pollute it by thrusting his fingers into
the mouth. This bears some resemblance to the tuft which North American
Indians wear, as a defiance to their foes—to scalp them if they can! The
tuft on the Muslim’s head, however, serves another purpose, in being
allowed to grow for some time before he sets out on the pilgrimage to
Makka, so that, arrived there, he can twist it round his head like a
turban, as a guard against the fierce Arabian sun. The Bráhmans also
shave their heads, leaving a similar tuft, which, like the “pig-tail” of
a Chinaman, is a mark of respectability, and its removal is a very great

[72] Iskandar, or Sikandar: Alexander the Great, of whom Muslim writers
relate many wonderful stories—especially the Persian poet Nizamí, in his
famous _Sikandar-Náma_, or Alexander-Book.—Jamshíd was the fourth of the
first (or Píshdádí) dynasty of ancient Persian kings. He is said to have
founded Persepolis, and introduced the solar year, and ordered the first
day of it, when the sun entered Aries, to be celebrated by a magnificent
festival, which is still observed in Persia, and is called the _Nú Rúz_,
or the New Day. Of his goblet, above referred to, _Jam-i-Jamshíd_, or
the Cup of Jamshíd, marvellous things are related: it mirrored the whole
world, foreshadowed future events, and so forth. It is said that such was
its lustre that it dazzled all beholders, and hence poets have found it a
convenient simile for the brilliant eyes of a pretty girl.

[73] It does not appear that the astrologer’s prediction was
fulfilled—though a blind man once shot a crow, but, like the astrologer,
for one hit he missed a thousand times. A good story is told of an essay
in the capacity of astrologer on the part of Anvarí, the celebrated
Persian poet. It so happened that in 1186 A.D. (581 or 582 A.H.) there
was a conjunction of all the planets in the sign of Libra. Anvarí
predicted a storm which would eradicate trees and destroy all buildings.
When the fatal day arrived, it was perfectly calm, and there was the
whole year so little wind that the people were unable to winnow their
corn. The unlucky poet-astrologer was obliged to fly to Balkh, where he
died, in the reign of Sultan Alá-ed-Dín Takash, A.D. 1200 (A.H. 596).

Astrologers having predicted for the year 1523 incessant rains and
disastrous floods, the good abbot of St. Bartholomew, in Smithfield,
London, built a house at Harrow-on-the-Hill, and stored it with
provisions. Many people followed his example and repaired to high places,
in order to escape the expected deluge. But no extraordinary rains
occurring, the disappointed soothsayers pacified the people by confessing
themselves mistaken just one hundred years in their calculation!—Readers
of Chaucer will remember how the arch-rogue Clerk Nicolas, for his own
wicked ends, predicted, to his simple landlord, the carpenter, that a
flood was presently to come upon the earth, greater than that which Noah
and his family “rode-out” in the Ark.

Mrs. Meer Hasan Ali, in her interesting _Observations on the Mussulmans
of India_, says: “It is wonderful the influence which a _najúm_ [_i.e._
astrologer] acquires in the houses of many great men in India. Wherever
one of those idlers is entertained he is the oracle to be consulted on
all occasions. I know those who submit with a childlike docility to the
najúm’s opinion, when their better reason, if allowed sway, would decide
against the astrologer’s prediction. If the najúm says it is not proper
for Nawáb Sahib and his lady to eat, drink, or sleep, to take medicine,
to give away or accept any gift, the najúm has said it, and the najúm
must be right.” (Vol. i, pp. 69, 70.)

[74] Akhfash was a Muhammedan professor of grammar and literature who
was so unlucky as not to be able to attract any disciples; he therefore
trained a goat and lectured to it, the docile animal approving, doubting,
or denying his propositions as occasion required, and in course of time,
when it had attracted a very large number of scholars, its functions
ceased.—_E. Rehatsek, the translator._

[75] We have in this scene, between the simple dweller in the desert, the
infatuated Farrukhrúz, and the Amír, a capital example of Oriental humour.

[76] Thus the sultan received our hero on a footing of equality with
himself, and the scene recalls the meeting of the two brothers, King
Sháhriyár and Sháh Zamán in the opening of the _Arabian Nights_.

[77] Notwithstanding all that has been written by European orientalists
during the last half-century regarding the Muhammedan religion, the
notion is still widely prevalent that, according to the Kuránic
teachings, women have not souls. The idea is quite preposterous, and must
have been set afloat by bigoted Christian “champions” who wished to throw
discredit on the doctrines of Islám. In the Kurán future rewards are
promised and future punishments are threatened to men and women alike.
And in Muslim stories, which may be considered as faithfully reflecting
the general religious belief, women are often spoken of as having gone
to Paradise at their death, while it is not unusual for the transcriber
of a book to insert at the end a prayer for the souls of his father and
mother. Moreover, among the traditions preserved of Muhammed is the
following, which shows that the Founder of Islám could occasionally
indulge in a little harmless pleasantry: An old woman came to him one
day, and asked what should be the lot of such as she in Paradise. The
Prophet replied, that no old women would be there, upon which the poor
crone set up a loud wail, but Muhammed presently soothed her by smilingly
explaining that all the old women would become young when they entered

[78] Yet again “forty days”!

[79] The name of the king is derived from Alakápuri, the city of Kavéra,
the god of riches, and Alakésa is therefore an appellation signifying a
wealthy king.

[80] The Pandit remarks that this kind of statement often occurs in
stories in proof of the just reign of a monarch. The Hindú idea is, that
so long as justice and equity characterised a king’s rule, even beasts
naturally inimical were disposed to live in friendship. When timely
rain fails or famine stalks through the land, turning his eyes from the
natural causes, the orthodox Hindú will say that such a king is now
reigning over them unjustly, and hence the calamity.

[81] According to a Persian writer, “she is a perfect woman who considers
her husband as the most accomplished of men, and thinks all the sons of
Adam beside quite unworthy of a transient glance from the corner of her
half-shut eyes.” And in the _Mahábhárata_ we are told that “she is a good
wife whose husband is as her very life.”

[82] “Distinguishing the peculiarities of an animal by its footsteps,
etc.,” says the Pandit, “is often met with in Indian stories. Precisely
the reverse of this is the tale of the four blind men who disputed about
the form of an elephant. One of them had felt only the elephant’s ear,
and said it was like a winnow; another examined the breast and a foreleg,
and said it was like a thick stump of wood; the third felt the trunk and
said it was like a heavy crook; while the fourth, having touched only the
tail, declared it was like a sweeping rake.”

[83] A pagoda is now of the value of about 7s. 6d.

[84] Sambhavi and Mahámayi are among the numerous names of Kálí, the
goddess of destruction, called also Parvati and Durga: the daughter of
Himálaya, sovereign of the snowy mountains. She is described as terrible
in form and very irascible in temper. In her amiable form she is called
Bhaváni. To address a deity by a number of appellations, as above, is
considered as the readiest way to secure favour.—Mr. Natésa Sástrí, in
a note in _Indian Notes and Queries_ for Sept. 1887, p. 215, states
that “the goddess Kálí is much worshipped in the Madras Presidency, and
especially so during an epidemic. During an outbreak of cholera in Madras
in 1884, the Kálí image in the Minakshí temple, near the Dvaja Stambha,
was daily propitiated by a thousand pots each of ghí (clarified butter)
milk, oil, etc.”

[85] Vijanajara, now a village in Hospet _táluk_, Bellary district,
Madras Presidency. The proper name of this village is Hampi, but
Vijanajara was the name of the dynasty and the kingdom which had its
capital there, and was the last great Hindú power in the South. Founded
by two adventurers in the middle of the 14th century, it lasted for two
centuries, till its sun went down at Tálikot in 1565 A.D. The ruins of
Hampi cover nine square miles.—Sir W. W. Hunter’s _Imperial Gazetteer of

[86] A _ghatika_ is twenty-four minutes.

[87] Apparently the arrows were attached to some kind of mechanism which
should discharge them on the opening of the pot. “There is nothing new
under the sun”! Dynamite is perhaps a discovery of our own times, but
“infernal machines,” which served the purpose of king-killers, are of
ancient date.

[88] Hindús, at their meals, squat on the ground, with leaves in place of
earthenware dishes, on which their food is served. The leaves of the palm
are very large, and each may be cut into a number of “plates.”

[89] A long cloth, which is often the only covering worn by Hindús.

[90] The women’s apartments; called by Muslims generally “the haram.”

[91] A sum of money varying, says the Pandit, in different localities in
the south of India. In old Chola grants “two pons” occurs.

[92] _i.e._ “Lion among beasts.”

[93] Setti, or Sethi, is a term applied respectfully to many of the races
engaged in trade or financial transactions; to the Zoroastrian Parsí,
the Muhammedan Bora, and to Hindús in the north and south of the Madras
Presidency, occupied as bankers, merchants and shopkeepers.

[94] A species of weasel, commonly, but incorrectly, written “mungoose,”
as though the animal was of the _goose_ kind. The mungús is very expert
in killing snakes.

[95] Visvesvara: “Lord of all,” a name of Siva, the third deity of the
Hindú triad.

[96] The want of children is doubtless felt more or less keenly by all
the races of mankind, but the Hindú is taught to believe that he cannot
attain ultimate salvation without leaving a son behind him. The Chinese
who hold to their old religion have also a great horror of dying and
leaving no male offspring to sacrifice to their manes, and to avoid
such a calamity they adopt children when they have none of their own.
Among most Asiatic peoples, indeed, a childless wife is generally but
most unjustly despised, hence the thousand and one nostrums in which
Hindú women vainly put faith in expectation of having their sterility
removed. We have four notable instances in the Bible of women bearing
famous sons after having been long sterile: Sarah, mother of Isaac, the
Hebrew patriarch; Rachel, mother of Joseph, viceroy of Egypt; the wife
of Manoah, mother of Samson, the Hercules of the Hebrews; and Elizabeth,
mother of John the Baptist.—After all, sterile wives may console
themselves with the reflection that children are not always an unalloyed

[97] “The most useful, plentiful, and best fruit,” says Forbes, in his
_Oriental Memoirs_, vol. i, p. 30, “is the mango, which grows abundantly
all over Hindústán, even in the forests and hedge-rows, on trees equal
in size to a large English oak, but in appearance and foliage more
resembling the Spanish chestnut. This valuable fruit varies in shape,
colour, and flavour as much as apples do in Europe. The superior kinds
are extremely delicious, and in the interior resemble the large yellow
peach of Venice, heightened by the flavour of the orange and agana; and
so plentiful are mangoes in the hot season throughout most parts of India
that during my residence in Guzerat they were sold in the public markets
for one rupee the cusly, or 600 lbs. in English weight for half-a-crown.
They are a delicacy to the rich, a nutritious food for the poor, who in
the mango season require but little other sustenance.”—The skin of the
mango is described as being smooth and tough; its colour when ripe is
grass green, or yellow in many shades, with occasional tinges and streaks
of bright red; the pulp is as juicy as our wall-fruit. The kernel is of
a hot and rather offensive flavour, but the poor people collect it, and
when dried grind it into flour for bread, which is more wholesome than
agreeable. An orchard of mango-trees is a small fortune to the possessor,
and when they are in blossom it forms a luxurious resort to the lovers of
Nature.—_Mrs. Meer Hasan Ali._

[98] “Alas!” says Somadeva, “fickle is the mind of woman!” Again: “A
woman desires fresh men, as the humble bee wanders from flower to
flower.” And again: “A fickle dame is like a sunset—momentarily aglow for

[99] Compare with this the question asked of Jesus Christ by his
disciples (John ix, 2): “Master, who did sin, _this man_ or his parents,
that he was _born_ blind?” from which it would appear some of the Jews
in those days entertained notions akin to the Hindú (and Pythagorean)
doctrine of metempsychosis.

[100] The parrot, of course, was a human being re-born in that form, in
accordance with the doctrine of metempsychosis, which is a fundamental
article of the Hindú religion.

[101] It is curious to find goldsmiths and jewellers invariably
represented in Hindú stories as arrant rogues. In the fine old Indian
drama entitled _Mrichchakati_, or the Toy-Cart, it is said: “There is no
lotus that has not a stalk, no trader that is not a cheat, no goldsmith
that is not a thief.”

[102] Tope, or stupa, a sepulchral memorial monument; a mound-like
building erected for the preservation of relics. They are found in
Afghanistán, Tibet, Nepál, and Western Asia; also in various parts of
Southern India. On the demise of Gautama [the founder of Buddhism],
B.C. 543, his body was consumed, divided into eight portions, and
distributed amongst applicants, who erected topes over them. The word
_tope_ is the same as _st’hupo_ in Pali—a mound or tumulus; st’hupo, or
tope, is therefore a name common to each kind of tumulus, whether it be
the solid temple dedicated to the Supreme Being or the massive mound
erected over the relics of Buddha, or those of one of his more eminent
followers.—Balfour’s _Cyclopædia of India_.

[103] Vedas: “divine knowledge.” The Vedas are the holy books which are
the foundations of the Hindú religion. They consist of hymns written in
the old form of Sanskrit, and, according to the most generally received
opinion, were composed between 1500 and 1000 B.C. Some scholars have
thought the oldest of the hymns may be carried back a thousand years
farther. The four Vedas are: the Rig-Veda, the Yajur-Veda, the Sama-Veda,
and the Atharva-Veda, the last being of comparatively modern date.—See
Dowson’s _Classical Dictionary of Hindú Mythology_.

[104] The six Sastras comprise philosophical systems of the Hindús: the
term Sastra signifies a treatise or rule.

[105] “It is a very common practice,” remarks the Pandit, “to dupe
ordinary people in this manner in Hindú temples. Some impostor will
proclaim to the crowd that the god, or goddess, is then upon him, and
utter whatever comes uppermost in his mind. He occasionally contrives to
accomplish his private ends by such revelations. The ignorant are greatly
misled by those impostors, and learned Hindús condemn the practice as
gross superstition.”

[106] “Fiat experimentum in corpore vili.”

[107] Full grown and ripe bambú bears a kind of corn which when collected
and husked resembles wheat. Hunters cook a most delicious food of bambú
grain and honey.

[108] Not only are serpents popularly believed by Asiatics to be
guardians of hidden treasures, but they are also said to have most
valuable gems in their heads, which they sometimes present to persons who
have rendered them good service. This notion was once prevalent in Europe
regarding toads; and readers of Shakspeare will remember his comparison
of the uses of adversity to the “toad, ugly and venomous, which yet
wears a precious jewel in its head.” A curious serpent legend is current
in Kandahár regarding ’Alí Mardán Khán, when governor of that city: A
cowherd of Kandahár lost two or three of his cattle in a certain pasture
and came to the governor to complain about it. ’Alí Mardán Khán ordered
him to fill some cowhides with lime, leaving a hole in each, and to place
them in the meadow. It appeared that a serpent came daily and carried off
the cattle, and on this occasion took away one of the hides, but leaving
a track of lime behind him was traced to his lair. The lime in the hide
disagreed with him and so he died. Beside his carcase was found a great
heap of treasures and the _philosopher’s stone_, which immensely enriched
’Alí Mardán Khán.

[109] See note 2, p. 122.

[110] Ahmed: “Praiseworthy”; one of the appellations of Muhammed.

[111] “Had it not been for thee, verily the heavens had not been

[112] Burák was the name of the animal that carried Muhammed on his
famous (and fabulous) Night Journey through the Seven Heavens; for an
account of which see Muir’s _Life of Mahomet_, ii, 219-222; Lane’s
_Modern Egyptians_; and D’Herbelot’s _Bibliothèque Orientale_, art.
_Borak_.—According to the _Sikandar Náma_ (Alexander-Book) of Nizamí,
Burák was silken as to body, silvern as to hoof, and to such a degree
swift moving that nothing could equal him.—Canto iv, 12, p. 32 of
Clarke’s translation.

[113] Alí was the son-in-law of Muhammed, having married Fatima, the
beloved daughter of the Prophet. Of the two great sects of Muslims the
_shi’ahs_ consider Alí and his immediate descendants (eleven in number)
as “the true and only imáms” in succession of Muhammed, while the _súnís_
regard the khalífs—’Umar, Abú Bakr, etc.—as the lawful representatives of
the Prophet. The Persians and the Indian Muslims are (like our present
author) _shi’ahs_; the Turks and Arabs are _súnís_.

[114] “Ornament of kings.”

[115] The Hercules of the Persians, and the principal hero of the _Sháh
Náma_ (Book of Kings), Firdausí’s great epic.

[116] “Crown of kings.”

[117] It is still a common practice in Persia and India when a child
is born—especially a son—for an astrologer to be employed to “cast his
horoscope” and thereby foretell the child’s career in life. “In 1670 the
passion for horoscopes and expounding the stars prevailed in France among
persons of the first rank. The new-born child was usually presented naked
to the astrologer, who read the first lineaments in its forehead and the
transverse lines in its hands, and thence wrote down its future destiny.
Catherine de Medicis brought Henry IV, then a child, to old Nostradamus,
whom antiquaries esteem more for his Chronicle of Provence than for his
vaticinating powers. The sight of the reverend seer, with a beard which
‘streamed like a meteor in the air,’ terrified the future hero, who
dreaded a whipping from so grave a personage. Will it be credited that,
one of these magicians having assured Charles IX that he should live as
many days as he should turn about on his heel in an hour, standing on
one leg, his majesty every morning performed that solemn exercise for an
hour, the principal officers of the court, the judges, the chancellors,
and the generals likewise, in compliment standing on one leg and turning
round!”—_Demonologia_, by J. S. F.

[118] Abú-Síná, or Abú ’Alí Síná, or Ibn-Síná, called generally in Europe
Avicenna, was a famous physician and philosopher at the court of Baghdád.
Born, at Bukhárá, A.H. 373 (A.D. 983), died, at Hamadán, A.H. 427 (A.D.
1035). He wrote nearly one hundred books on medicine, most of which are
now lost. He was also a poet, and some of his verses are still extant.

[119] The patriarch’s grief for the loss of his favourite son Joseph
is proverbial among Muslims; but our author has done the “Man of Uz” a
great injustice when he likens him to the blind king, as “waiting with
impatient anxiety”!

[120] A comely youth is always said by Muslim writers to resemble Joseph,
the son of Jacob the Hebrew patriarch, who is considered as the type of
manly beauty.

[121] Firdaus: Paradise. Here it is probably used as the name of an
imaginary city; at all events I cannot find that there is any town of the
name in Persia or India.

[122] Dilbar: “heart-stealer”; and surnamed Lakhí (as will be seen
presently) because she required to be paid a _lakh_ (100,000) of rupís by
every man who sought her society. The rupí (rupee) is nominally valued at
two shillings, but at present it is at considerable discount, being only
worth from 1s. 6d. to 1s. 8d. of English currency.

[123] The fascination of the moth for the flame of the candle is a
favourite simile with Asiatic writers for the love-struck youth and the
beauty whose charms have ensnared him. Sa’dí, in his _Bustán_, has a fine
mystical poem on this subject.

[124] See note on pp. 187-8.

[125] Persian writers are extremely fond of far-fetched conceits. In
describing sunrise they almost invariably borrow metaphors from the
incidents last related. We have had several examples of this peculiarity
in the romance of Nassar, as (pp. 6, 7) in the case of the robbery of
the royal treasury by one of the eunuchs of the haram, where the author
begins his account of next day’s events thus: “When the _eunuch_ of
_night_ had retired and the _prince_ of _morn_ established himself in
the _palace_ of the horizon,” and so forth. And here we have the game of
backgammon between the hero and Dilbar utilised for a description of the
natural phenomenon of sunset.

[126] “Sháh-záda:” _lit._ “king-born,” or son of the king; the usual term
applied to royal princes in Persia.

[127] A crore is 100 lakhs, or ten millions, according to the Hindú
system of numeration; but in Persia it is only 5 lakhs, or 500,000. The
artful Dilbar must have had an enormous amount of wealth, if she lost to
our hero a hundred crores of rupís, which even according to the Persian
computation would be equal to five millions of pounds, English money,
estimating the rupí at two shillings. After this she’d be fully justified
in describing herself, as honest Dogberry does with some pride, as “one
who has had _losses_ too!”

[128] Dívs (or _deevs_) are similar to the Jinn (or Genii) of Arabian
mythology. Some are good demons, being faithful Muslims, but those who
are unbelievers are for the most part malignant and delight in working
evil on mankind.

[129] A quotation from the _Gulistán_, or Rose Garden, of the celebrated
Persian poet and philosopher Sa’dí, ch. iii.—Sa’dí was born, at Shíráz,
towards the close of the 12th century, and died, in his native city,
about 1291 A.D., having lived upwards of a hundred years.

[130] According to the Kurán, because Abraham would not worship idols,
Nimrod cast him into a blazing furnace, which was turned into a
rose-garden—evidently a distorted version of the story of Nebuchadnezzar
and the three devout Hebrew youths, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego.

[131] Standing on one leg in presence of a superior is a mark of profound
respect in India.

[132] This fable is omitted by Garcin de Tassy.

[133] It is the common belief in the East that pearls are formed in the
oyster out of drops of rain falling into it when the shells are open.
This notion is the subject of a mystical poem in Sa’dí’s _Bustán_, or
Garden of Odours, Book iv, which has been thus translated:

“A drop of rain trickled from a cloud into the ocean; when it beheld the
breadth of its waters it was utterly confounded.

‘What a place this sea is, and what am I? If it is existent, verily I am

Whilst it was thus regarding itself with the eye of contempt, an oyster
received it into its bosom.

Fortune preferred it to a place of honour; for it became a renowned royal

Because it was humble, it found exaltation;—it knocked at the door of
nonentity, that it might arise into being.”—Robinson’s _Persian Poetry
for English Readers_, p. 328.

[134] Here our author makes the courtesan Dilbar discourse most
eloquently and in a highly moral strain. It has always been much easier
to preach than to practise, I ween!

[135] Good Muslims never commence any undertaking of importance or danger
without first reciting the formula—which is also invariably placed at the
beginning of all their writings—“In the Name of God, the Merciful, the
Compassionate!” (_Bismillahi er-rahmani er-rahimi_).

[136] “That a salamander is able to live in flames,” says Sir Thomas
Browne, “to endure and put out fire, is an assertion not only of great
antiquity but confirmed by frequent and not contemptible authority.…
All which notwithstanding, there is on the negative authority and
experience.… The ground of this opinion might be some sensible resistance
of fire observed in the salamander; which being, as Galen determineth,
cold in the fourth and moist in the third degree, and having also a mucus
humidity above and under the skin, by virtue thereof it may a while
endure flame, which being consumed it can resist no more.”—_Enquiries
into Vulgar and Common Errors_, ch. xiv.

[137] See the note on pp. 108-9.

[138] To swear by Solomon, especially by Solomon’s signet-ring, is the
most binding oath which the jinn and the fairies can take, since its
breach would entail a dreadful punishment.

[139] “Hammála” may mean a woman who carries: Garcin de Tassy calls her

[140] “Praiseworthy”: “Belauded.”

[141] Badakshán is a mountainous tract of country in Afghán Túrkestán,
famous for mines yielding the finest rubies, lapis-lazuli, etc.

[142] The romance writers of mediæval Europe, after the first Crusade,
drew largely from Oriental fictions. Thus, for example, in _The Boke
of Duke Huon of Burdeux_, among the many wonders which the hero sees
in his journey to the court of the Soudan of Babylon is an underground
river, the bed of which was composed of the most precious stones, which
possessed a variety of curative properties.

[143] “The heavenly orbs, according to the principles of philosophy,
possess a reasonable mind.”—_Akhlák-i Jalálí._ “This,” remarks W.F.
Thomson, the translator, “is inferred from continuity of motion and
influence without perceptible external cause, and it seems men’s earliest
conclusion and the origin of star-worship. Admitting Plato’s notion
that souls were introduced, or perhaps kindled, by the heavenly bodies,
nothing could be more reasonable than to attempt, by observation and
induction, to ascertain the influence contributed by each. The premises
only are to be attacked; and for these the chiefs of classical as well as
Oriental literature are responsible.”

[144] The cypress, which is in Europe associated with sombre ideas, is by
Asiatics commonly employed as a comparison for the graceful stature of a
pretty girl.

[145] Muslims are perfectly familiar with the principal narratives in the
Bible, from which the Kurán is largely composed.

[146] Asiatic ladies tinge the inner edges of their eyelids with
lamp-black in order to increase the lustre of the eyes; it is believed,
moreover, to strengthen the sight.

[147] See note 1, p. 250.

[148] This incident is common to folk-tales almost everywhere: sometimes
it is a bird who gives the hero one of his feathers, which serves the
same purpose.

[149] This was a very unusual condescension on the part of the monarch,
even though in honour of his own sons. The common practice (in Persia)
is for the sháh to send a deputation the distance of two days’ journey
to meet and welcome any distinguished visitors. The deputation is called
_istikbál_, and those sent, _písh váz_, openers of the way. A day’s
journey is twenty miles.

[150] Kettle-drum.

[151] “Happy.”

[152] Similar question and answer occur in the story of “The Sultan
of Yaman and his Three Sons,” one of the tales translated by Jonathan
Scott from the Wortley-Montague MS. text of the _Alf Layla wa Layla_, or
Thousand and One Nights, which are comprised in the sixth vol. of his
edition of the _Arabian Nights Entertainments_, p. 81.

[153] According to Muslim ideas, the shooting stars are stones flung
at demons who approach the portals of heaven to listen to the divine
communications; and Satan is “stoned” every year by the pilgrims at
Makka—for which see Burton’s _Pilgrimage to Meccah and Medinah_.

[154] Chief of police.

[155] See note on p. 46.

[156] Núshírván, surnamed _’Adil_, or the Just (the Chosroes of the
Greeks), was of the Sassanian dynasty of ancient Persian kings, and died,
after a very prosperous reign of 48 years, A.D. 579. Muhammed was wont
to boast of his good fortune in having been born during the reign of so
wise and just a prince. His dying injunctions to his son and successor,
Hormuz, are thus recorded by Sa’dí (_Bustán_, B. i): “Be thou in heart
the guardian of the poor. Be not in bondage to thine own ease. No one
will live in comfort in thy kingdom if thou desirest only thine own
comfort and sayest, ‘It is enough.’ He will receive no praise from the
wise who passeth his nights in sleep whilst the wolf is amidst his flock.
Keep watch over the necessitous poor; for the peasant it is from which
the king deriveth his throne. The king is the tree, the peasant the root:
the tree, O my son, deriveth its strength from the root.”

[157] Garcin de Tassy omits this curious story, and another which
immediately follows in the original text, related by the vazír, of the
Darvesh and the Nightingale, which I also omit here, as a much better
version will be found among the PERSIAN STORIES which follow the present

[158] “Beautiful kingdom.”

[159] In other words: “Succeed in this affair without compromising my
dignity; according to the proverb, ‘Take care while shunning one evil of
falling into another.’”—See Roebuck’s _Persian and Hindústaní Proverbs_,
part ii, p. 118.

[160] The canopy of a howdah, or chair for riding on an elephant, called
_hauda-amári_—canopied howdah.

[161] See note on page 271.

[162] This recalls an incident in the Indian story of the virtuous
Devasmitá, who entraps four suitors, during her husband’s absence on
a trading journey, who visit her in succession, and, while they are
insensible from the effects of a narcotic mixed with their wine, causes
each to be branded on the forehead with a hot iron. The suitors return
to their own country, where the lady’s husband is residing for a time,
and Devasmitá soon after sets out thither, disguised as a man, where
she claims all four as her slaves in presence of the king, causing
them to remove their head-gear and expose the brands; and she “lets
them off” on payment of a large sum of money.—(Tawney’s translation of
the _Kathá Sarit Ságara_: Ocean of the Streams of Story, vol. i, pp.
85-92.)—Henceforward the four rascally brothers of Táj ul-Mulúk are, as
the Icelandic story-tellers say, “out of this tale.”

[163] “Jasmine-face.”

[164] Shírín was the beautiful wife of Khusrau Parvíz, king of Persia,
and Farhád, a famous sculptor, was madly enamoured of her. All the
sculptures on the mountain of Bistán are ascribed to Farhád’s chisel.
According to the popular tradition, King Parvíz promised that if he cut
through the rock and brought a stream that flowed on the other side of
the hill into the valley the lovely Shírín should be his reward. He was
on the point of completing his Herculean labour when Khusrau Parvíz,
fearing to lose Shírín, sent an old woman to inform him that she was
dead. Farhád was then at the highest parts of the rocks, and on hearing
this false report in despair threw himself down headlong, and was dashed
to pieces.—The story of Farhád and Shírín is the subject of several
beautiful (often, if not always, mystical) Persian and Turkish poems.

[165] G. de Tassy remarks that “a declaration of love on the part of
a woman, and especially one so passionate, is not according to our
manners, but it is so to those of the East; and the numerous Asiatic
stories which have been translated into European languages have rendered
it quite familiar to us.”—A very remarkable example is furnished in the
immortal tale of Nala and Damayanti (_Mahábhárata_, section lvi of the
“Vana Parva”), where the virtuous and beautiful daughter of Vidharba thus
addresses Nala: “O King, love me with proper regard, and command me what
I shall do for thee. Myself and what of wealth is mine are thine. Grant
me, O exalted one, thy love in full trust. O giver of the proper honour,
if thou forsake me who adore thee, for thy sake will I resort to poison,
or fire, or water, or the rope!” Bakáwalí “spared her maiden blushes” (if
she _could_ blush) by expressing her love for our hero in writing; but
Damayanti—all truth and innocence—made her avowal to the god-like king
of the Nishadhas in words from her own sweet mouth: and who would not be
enraptured to hear such a soft confession made to him by such a peerless
Queen of Beauty?

[166] Not the _images_ in Chinese temples, which are described by
travellers as very hideous, but the beautiful women of China. Persian
poets often term pretty girls _idols_, and themselves _idolators_, for
worshipping them.

[167] _Surma_ is the black ore of antimony, or ter-sulphide. The Muslim
men apply antimony to their eyelids, but their women use _kohl_, or
lamp-black, for this purpose. It is a popular belief among Indian
Muslims that the finest kind of _surma_ comes from Arabia—from the hills
of Sinai or Tur, etc. They have a legend that when Moses was on Mount
Sinai he asked that the glory of God should be shown to him. He was
answered that his mortal sight could not bear the glory; but through
a chink of the rock a ray of light was allowed to fall on him, and
the rock on which the ray fell was melted into antimony. (Balfour’s
_Cyclopædia of India_.)—There is a curious legend current in the Panjáb
regarding the origin of the antimony which is found on the summit of
Mount Karanglí, near Pind Dádan Khán, in the Jhelan district. A fakír
(religious mendicant) once came from Kashmír and asked the name of the
mountain, and was told that it was called Karanglí. He at once exclaimed:
“_Karanglí sone ranglí!_” that is, Karanglí the gold-coloured; whereupon
the mountain became all gold. This frightened the good people of the
neighbourhood, who dreaded that the place should become a general
battle-field for the sake of the gold. So the fakír said: “_Karanglí
surme ranglí!_” that is, Karanglí the antimony-coloured, upon which the
mountain became all antimony. This antimony is now to be found on the
top of it, but as it is surrounded by precipices the antimony cannot be
reached, and so the people have to wait until pieces of it are washed
down by the rains. When procured it is most valuable, and will, if used
for eight days, restore to sight all those who have become blind through
sickness or accident. It cannot, however, cure those who are born blind.

[168] “Beautiful Lady”—“Lady Beautiful.”

[169] “Happy King”—“King Prosperous.”

[170] See note 1, page 259.

[171] In a Buddhist work entitled _Wæsakára-sataka_ (a hundred stanzas)
is the following: “The evil man is to be avoided, though he be arrayed
in the robe of all the sciences, as we flee from the serpent, though
it be adorned with the _kantha_ jewel.” The natives of Ceylon, says
Spence Hardy, believe that this gem is to be found in the throat of the
_nayá_. “It emits a light more brilliant than the purest diamond; and
when the serpent wishes to discover anything in the dark it disgorges
the substance, swallowing it again when its work is done. It is thought
possible to obtain the jewel by throwing dust upon it when out of the
serpent’s mouth; but if the reptile should be killed to obtain it,
misfortune would certainly follow.”—_Eastern Monachism_, p. 316. (See
also note, _ante_, p. 232.)

[172] A kind of hill-starling.

[173] Our hero understood bird-language, and the author has probably
omitted to mention that he acquired that knowledge by possessing the
snake-stone. In the folk-tales of all countries we find that great
benefits accrue to a forlorn hero by his overhearing the conversation
of birds or beasts, and of demons in Indian stories. The reader will
find much to interest him on this subject in an able paper on the
Language of Animals by Mr. J. G. Frazer in the first vol. of the
_Archæological Review_, 1888; and I may be permitted to refer him also to
my Introduction to John Lane’s _Continuation of Chaucer’s Squire’s Tale_,
published for the Chaucer Society.

[174] The transformed prince having given birth to a child was
ceremonially unclean for the period of forty days.—See the note on pp.
140, 141.

[175] Here our author exhorts his readers.

[176] Káf is a range of mountains which, like a vast ring, enclose the
Circumambient Ocean (_Bahru-’l-Muhít_) that surrounds the whole earth,
which, according to the Muhammedan cosmography, is flat, not round.
These mountains are composed of green chrysolite, the reflection of
which causes the greenish (or blueish) tint of the sky. (See Mr. E. J.
W. Gibb’s _Ottoman Poems_, note 6.)—“From Káf to Káf”: from end to end
of the earth.—Bistán is the famous mountain on which Farhád chiselled

[177] “Soul-expander”—“Vivifier.”

[178] “Victorious King.”

[179] Here we have a fairy island called “Paradise,” as we have before
had a city of the same name, where the artful Dilbar resided—p. 244.

[180] A proud and wicked king of Yaman, called Shaddad, according to the
Muhammedan legend, declared blasphemously: “There is no necessity for
Paradise for me: I myself will make a Paradise of which no man can have
beheld the like.” He sent his officers to find out a suitable spot for a
garden, and they discovered such a place on the borders of Syria, where
Shaddad, at an immense cost, caused a palace to be erected of gold and
silver bricks in alternate courses, and adorned with the most precious
stones. In the garden were placed trees of gold and silver, the fruit of
which was amethysts, rubies, and other gems (see also _ante_, p. 166,
note on Treasure-trees); and the ground was strewed with musk, ambergris,
and saffron. They called this place the Rose Garden of Iram. When Shaddad
was about to enter it, accompanied by a vast multitude of troops and
attendants, he was met by the Angel of Death, who forthwith seized his
impure soul, and then the lightnings of heaven destroyed all living
creatures that were there, and the Rose Garden of Iram became hidden from
the sight of men.—In the present romance the abode of the parents of
Bakáwalí is called the Garden of Iram, to indicate its magnificence.

[181] One of the numerous legends told by Muslims regarding Solomon
reappears in the Turkish story-book entitled _Qirq vezír taríkhí_, where
we read that the sage Hebrew king despatched the símurgh—a fabulous bird,
similar to the _rukh_ (or _roc_) of Arabian fictions—to bring the sparrow
to his court. But the sparrow, being then with his mate, refused to obey
the prophet, or his messenger, and vaunted his prowess and strength,
declaring that he was able to pull down Solomon’s palace. When the
símurgh reported this to Solomon he replied: “There is no harm in one
thus bragging in his own house, and before his wife.”—See Gibb’s _Forty
Vezírs_, p. 97 ff.

[182] The _mán_ has varied at different periods and in different parts of
Persia and India; but our author means us to understand that the stone
wielded by the demon was very ponderous—three or four hundred pounds’
weight at the least, which would doubtless be to _him_ as a mere “pebble
out of the brook”!

[183] “Adorner of Beauty”; the wife of Muzaffar Sháh.

[184] Yet we are told that he is “a _little_ lower than the angels”; and
if he was “created perfect,” he has “sought out many inventions”! It is
amusing how Muslim writers exaggerate the “dignity” of man: generally he
is the most contemptible creature on the face of the earth.

[185] Cf. Shakspeare: “tongues in trees,” etc. And the Persian poet
Sa’dí: “The foliage of a newly-clothed tree, to the eye of a discerning
man, displays a volume of the wondrous works of the Creator.”

[186] Joseph, the son of Jacob the Hebrew patriarch.—A most dutiful
little speech this: O the hypocritical young creature!

[187] Although Muhammed strictly prohibited the drinking of wine,
even more potent liquors are indulged in by many Muslims, especially
those of the _shi’ah_ persuasion. The more strict _súnís_ create for
themselves a “paradise of fools” with narcotics, such as _bang_ and other
preparations of which opium is the principal ingredient, satisfying
their “consciences” with the quibble that the holy Prophet does not
forbid its use in express terms—an omission which is probably due to his
ignorance of such deleterious drugs. The old pagan Arabs were inordinate
wine-bibbers, as we learn from their poetry, and sanguinary fights were a
frequent result between rival factions when they assembled from different
districts at Makka. Muhammed at first attempted, by a “revelation” in the
Kurán, to restrain this propensity within reasonable bounds, and finding
this of no effect prohibited wine altogether. It seems to have been a
very ancient custom among Asiatics to drink wine in the early morning,
and in the _Mu’allaka_ poems, which were suspended in the Temple at
Makka before the advent of Muhammed, the “morning draught” is frequently
mentioned, with evident _gusto_. The prophet Isaiah exclaims: “Woe unto
those that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong
drink; that continue till night, till wine inflame them!”—ch. v, 11.

[188] See the note on p. 8.

[189] _Nau Ratn_: “the Nine Gems,” an ornament worn on the arm, which
indicates the only gems that are esteemed as precious. They are: the
diamond, ruby, emerald, sapphire, topaz, pearl, coral, hyacinth,
carbuncle. The inferior gems, such as agate, bloodstone, etc., are mostly
used for signet-rings.—There is a collection of tales, in the Urdú,
entitled _Nauratan_, compiled by Mahjúr, and published at Lucknow in the
year 1811. It consists of nine stories (hence the title, “Nine Jewels”),
which all turn on the deceits (_charítr_) and tricks of women and are
mostly taken from the Book of Sindibád.

[190] Frequent allusion is made in the _Arabian Nights_ and in Eastern
amatory poetry to this singular kind of caress.

[191] The _henna_ of the Persians—see note on page 11. Mehndí is the
_Lawsonia alba_ of botanists, and the water distilled from its flowers is
used as a perfume.

[192] Indra, in the Hindú mythology, is the god of thunder—a
personification of the sky. His paradise is Swerga, the capital of which
is Armaràvati, or Amarnagar in Urdú.

[193] He could not, therefore, have been one of the “immortals,” but of a
race like the jinn or the parís, who are subject to death, though their
existence is prolonged greatly beyond that of mere human beings.

[194] This is quite after the manner of Asiatic despots—and the deity
Indra is here nothing better—and at once recalls a similar incident,
which cost a good man his head: when the daughter of Herodias danced
before King Herod, he was so charmed with that young light-skirt’s
performance that he said to her: “Ask whatsoever thou wilt, and I will
give it thee” (Mark vi, 22).

[195] This transformation will remind readers of the tale of the young
King of the Ebony Isles in the _Arabian Nights_.—The deities of the Hindú
mythology are frequently represented as condemning inferior celestials
who have offended them to be re-born on the earth, in the form of a human
being, or as some beast, bird, or reptile, so to remain for a certain
period. But this punishment of Bakáwalí is more in accordance with Muslim

[196] “Mark of Beauty.”

[197] Like the one-eyed young men in the Arabian tale of the Second
Kalander, or Royal Mendicant—only _they_ suffered for their curiosity
while these (as we shall just see) were the victims of a hard-hearted

[198] “Picture-like.”

[199] This recalls Milton’s well-worn lines in his description of “our
common mother” Eve:

    “Grace was in every step, heaven in her eye,
    In every gesture dignity and love.”

The “witchery,” or “magic,” of a pretty girl’s eyes is quite as common
a subject of complaint, or admiration, in Western as in Eastern amatory
poetry: by Muslims it is called “Babylonian magic,” because the Chaldeans
were past masters in magical arts.

[200] According to the Hindús, there are ten stages of love: (1) Love of
the eyes; (2) attachment of the mind; (3) the production of desire; (4)
sleeplessness; (5) emaciation; (6) indifference to objects of sense; (7)
loss of shame; (8) distraction; (9) fainting; (10) death!

[201] Betel: the areca or Penang nut palm grown in many parts of the
East Indies. Its kernel is used as a masticatory in India and elsewhere.
The nut is carried in pouches and presented to guests in the houses of
the rich on silver trays wrapped in gold and silver leaf, and in this
form becomes an essential part in all ceremonial visits. Indeed, among
some of the inhabitants of the Eastern Archipelago, to refuse the betel
when offered would give unpardonable offence. It is believed to sweeten
the breath, strengthen the stomach, and preserve the teeth; and when
chewed with betel leaf (the Piper betel, _Linn._) it gives the saliva
a red colour, which it imparts also to the lips and gums (_Balfour_).
The presentation of betel to visitors is a signal that the audience or
interview is ended.

[202] “Blameless”: “spotless.”

[203] “Bright.”

[204] See page 299.

[205] The story of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife, Zulaykhá (which was her
name, according to Muslim legends), is a favourite subject of several
Persian poems. She is said to have visited the young Hebrew slave in
prison, but he would not gain his liberty at the cost of his chastity.
Potiphar is represented to have been a eunuch. In the end Zulaykhá is
united to her beloved Joseph.

[206] _’itr-i gul_—essence of roses. Our term “otto” is a corruption
of _’itr_ or _’attár_, this latter word also signifies a perfumer, or
druggist.—Most women, I suppose, are fond of perfumes, but Eastern ladies
are passionately so, and the description of Chitrawat as being so highly
“scented” that the finest odours were diffused around her, is fully
borne out by travellers and Europeans who have resided in Egypt, Turkey,
Persia, etc. The sole nourishment of parís, or fairies, it is said,
consists of perfumes—a pretty idea, if nothing more.

[207] Because these were signs that he was newly married.

[208] A manly, straightforward, even touching statement in defence of his
conduct in peculiar circumstances, and such as is rarely met with in an
Eastern tale. Our author is here at his best, and this is saying not a

[209] “The falling out of faithful friends renewing is of love!”

[210] The doctrine of metempsychosis has no place in the creed of
Islám and it is quite phenomenal to find such an incident as this
in a Muhammedan work. Many Persian and Arabian fictions, like the
present romance, are of Indian extraction, but the Hindú characters of
the originals are always—with only this exception, as well as I can
recollect—changed to good Muslims.

[211] In India early marriages of girls are the almost invariable rule;
indeed they are often married, or betrothed, in infancy. A Bráhman girl
who grows up without being married loses her caste. The duty of choosing
a husband belongs in the first place to her father, and if he be dead,
then to her paternal grandfather if he be alive, then to her brother,
cousin, and lastly to her mother. If she have reached the age of eight
years without having been provided with a husband, she may choose for

[212] Oriental hyperbole, of which we have a very striking example in the
last verse of the apostle John’s gospel.

[213] Bahrám is the Persian name of the planet Mars; and of all who have
ever borne the name, the Persian king Bahrám-i Ghúr (so called from his
passion for hunting the wild ass) is the most renowned in song or story.

[214] In the East no person ever visits his superior without carrying in
his hand a present of some kind, called the _nazar_ in Persian.—See the
First Book of Samuel, ix, 7.

[215] To wit, _Mulk-i Nighárín_, the country appropriated by Táj
ul-Mulúk, where he caused his grand palace to be erected by the
fairies.—See _ante_, p. 281.

[216] A much greater “crush” than even that in Ceylon!—see preceding page.

[217] See _ante_, notes on pp. 232 and 297.

[218] “Violet.”

[219] “To account for the allegorical passion entertained by the
nightingale for the rose, which is the subject of so much beautiful
imagery in Persian poetry, we must consider,” says Sir William Ouseley,
“that the plaintive voice of that sweet bird is first heard at the
same season of the year in which the rose begins to blow. By a natural
association of ideas they are therefore connected as the constant and
inseparable attendants of the spring. It is probable, too, that the
nightingale’s favourite retreat may be the rose-garden, and the leaves
of that flower occasionally its food; but it is certain that he is
delighted with its odour and sometimes indulges the fragrant luxury (if I
may be allowed the expression) to such excess as to fall from the branch
intoxicated and helpless to the ground.”—_Persian Miscellanies_, p. 91.

[220] The transformation of a man into a bird occurs very often in
Asiatic fictions: there are numerous instances in the _Kathá Sarit
Ságara_ and other Indian collections. This is commonly done by fastening
a string round the victim’s neck, or sticking a pin in his head, and
uttering certain magical words; and by removing the string or the pin the
man is at once restored to his natural form.

[221] Here, in the original, the pious author thus addresses his reader:
“My friend, you are as blind as they! You seek at Heaven’s footstool for
the Being who dwells, without your suspecting it, in the habitation of
your own heart. You seek far, far away, when he is quite near.” Cf. Acts,
xvii, 27.

[222] “Rose-cheek.”

[223] Oriental poetry abounds in conceits of this kind. Thus Wásif, the
celebrated Persian historian and poet, apostrophises his lady-love:
“The impression of the happy moments passed in thy loved presence will
never be obliterated from the tablet of my heart, whilst the world
revolves and the stars continue their course. The pen of intense love
has so vividly written Eternal Affection on the page of my soul, that if
my body languish, nay, even if my life expire, that soft impress will
remain.”—But our own poet Cowley is not a whit less extravagant when he

    “Let Nature, if she please, disperse
    My atoms over all the universe;
    At the last they easily shall
    Themselves know, and together call;
    For thy love, like a mark, is stampt on all—


[224] The _tika_ is a round piece of clay, paint, or tissue on the
forehead of a Hindú, indicating his caste. Amongst Hindús generally it
means the circular mark made with coloured earths, or unguents, on the
forehead. It is curious that this purely Hindú term should have been
retained by a Muslim writer; but it is another indication of the Indian
origin of the romance.

[225] Although Bakáwalí and Rúh-afzá are supposed to be fairies, yet they
act as real flesh-and-blood women. And how like is this charming little
scene between the two affectionate girls to what has doubtless occurred
thousands of times amongst ourselves! If there be, as that shrewd
observer Sam Slick assures us, “a deal of human natur’ in man,” there is,
as certainly, a deal of _woman_ nature in woman all the world over.

[226] For descriptions of the marriage ceremonies among the Muhammedans
of India see Herklots’ translation of the _Qanoon-i Islám_, p. 93 ff.;
_Observations on the Mussulmans of India_, by Mrs. Meer Hasan Ali, vol.
i, p. 352 ff.; and a paper on Hindú and Muhammedan marriage ceremonies,
by Col. C. Mackenzie, in the _Trans. of the Royal Asiatic Society_, vol.
iii, p. 170 ff.

[227] Truly a most promising beginning! Such is the inflated style which
alone is appreciated by the modern Persians and the Muslims of India.
For since the decline of literature in Persia—which began soon after the
death of the justly-celebrated poet Jamí, in A.D. 1492—the compositions
of Persian authors have been chiefly characterised by puerile conceits
and meaningless plays upon words and phrases, for which indeed the
language furnishes every facility. Nevertheless, the reader can hardly
fail to be highly diverted with the following tale, which the writer has
simply re-dressed in his own style, for assuredly he was not its inventor.

[228] Here the author is employing the various processes of the Eastern
bath in describing the chattering of three ladies who have “foregathered”
there.—“The Persian ladies,” says Sir R. Ker Porter, in his _Travels
in Georgia, Persia_, etc., vol. i, 233, “regard the bath as the place
of their greatest amusement; they make appointments to meet there, and
often pass seven or eight hours together in the carpeted saloon, telling
stories, relating anecdotes, eating sweetmeats, sharing their kalyouns
[pipes] and embellishing their beautiful forms with all the fancied
perfection of the East; dyeing their hair and eyebrows; and curiously
staining their fair bodies with a variety of fantastic devices, not
unfrequently with the figures of trees and birds, the sun, moon, and

[229] A purely imaginary personage, of course, invented and introduced by
the author, because he had just mentioned a ring set with a fine gem.—The
reader will find many similar absurdities in the course of the narrative,
and I need make no farther remark upon them.

[230] Eastern baths are used by men and women on different days of every

[231] Shamsah is the name of a sorceress who figures in several Asiatic

[232] Banafshá: Violet, the name of the girl.

[233] Sums of money mean nothing in an Eastern story: 1000 dínars would
be equivalent to about 500 pounds, English currency; but were the amount
even in dirhams the carpenter would be giving the girl 25 pounds—a
handsome “tip” indeed!

[234] Among Muslims when the moon is new or full is the preferable time
for marriage, but she must be clear of the sign of the Scorpion, which is
considered very unlucky.

[235] Bilkís, according to Muslim tradition, was the name of the
celebrated Queen of Sheba, who visited Solomon “in all his glory.” Many
curious legends, or stories, are related, both by the Rabbins and the
Muslims, regarding Solomon and Bilkís. It is said that Solomon had been
told by some slanderer that she had goats’ feet and legs. In order to
ascertain the fact, he caused the floor of the audience-chamber to be
laid with glass or crystal. When Bilkís entered the chamber and perceived
what looked like clear water on the floor, she gracefully raised the
skirt of her dress a few inches, to save it from being wetted, and
Solomon saw, to his great relief, that she had a pair of “natty” little
human feet. We are told in the Bible that the Queen of Sheba plied the
sage monarch with “hard questions,” but he answered them every one (1
Kings, x, 1-3). So much was Solomon charmed with her sagacity, virtue,
and modesty, that he ultimately married her.—Our friend the Kází, to
mollify his wife, calls her a second Bilkís.

[236] The usual exclamation of a Muslim when he believes the Devil is
playing him some mischievous trick.—See note on page 277.

[237] An abstract of this story will be found in the Appendix.

[238] The carpenter is a curious compound of shrewdness and simplicity:
not content to vaunt his acquaintance with popular tales, he must add
that his father daily passed by a famous school-house—implying that
the _knowledge_ supposed to be thus obtained by his parent had been
transmitted to himself! The Kází is no doubt “all there,” but for his
love of money and jealousy of his artful wife. We have the authority of
a certain noble poet that avarice is “a good old-gentlemanly vice”; but
nobody can say a word in favour of jealousy, the “green-eyed monster,”
who caused the death of sweet Desdemona.

[239] “Put a feather in his bonnet” is not quite the Eastern expression,
though its meaning is thus fairly enough rendered in English: the
carpenter may be said, in Biblical phrase, to have “exalted his horn”—as
the poet Burns has it in his verses on his first visit to Lord Dare, “up
higher yet my bannet!” We used also to say of a man who evidently thought
highly of himself that he “cocked his beaver.”

[240] We have also seen in the story of Sháh Manssur, p. 18, how the
unchaste woman made her husband believe that he was mad.—The Kází
ascribes his imaginary ailment to over-eating, but also, as I understand
it, to the fact that the food of which he partook too freely had been
baked in _hog’s blood_. Swine’s flesh is an abomination to the Muslim as
to the Jew, though the law allows the former to eat any kind of food if
he be pressed by hunger and nothing else can be procured. Possibly the
worthy Kází at the time he was in the house of the deceased Kávas the
Armenian—where hog’s flesh and hog’s blood might well be found—thought
that his condition, as to appetite, justified his eating of the “funeral
baked meats,” though partly composed of the unclean animal.

[241] The muezzin was proclaiming the hour of prayer.

[242] Iblís: Satan. Possibly Iblís is a corruption of Diabolus.—Artful,
intriguing women are often described as being able to pull out the
Devil’s claws, and Satan himself would confess there was no escaping from
their cunning!

[243] There is an omission in this tale which leaves it practically
pointless, since it is not apparent how the lady’s words, “I remember,”
should have sent her husband away without his having opened the chest.
Much the same tale occurs in Mr. Gibb’s translation of the Turkish
story-book, _Qirq vezír taríkhí_ (“History of the Forty Vazírs,” p.
401), in which a man and his wife are playing the game _yad est_, or
“I remember”—a game that may continue for days, and even weeks, the
conditions being that neither must accept of anything from the other
without saying, “I remember”; should one of them do so, the other on
repeating these words becomes entitled to a forfeit. In the Turkish
story, as, quite obviously, in the foregoing, the husband has taken a
_yad est_ with his wife, and is led by the latter to believe that she had
made these preparations as for a feast, and trumped up the story about
having concealed her lover in the chest, in order to take him by surprise
when she should give him the key, and by his omitting to say “I remember”
she should win the forfeit.

[244] Sumbul: Hyacinth, the name of the youth.

[245] An order of religious mendicants.

[246] Narkis: Narcissus, the name of one of his servants.

[247] See note on page 303, and note 1 on page 306.

[248] The Vazír forgot that he had previously told the king that the
Khoja was “notorious for his immorality”—p. 392.

[249] Among the slanderous sayings about women ascribed (falsely, many
of them, no doubt) to Muhammed is this: “They are deficient in sense
and religion, and hence are more disposed than men to practise what is
unlawful.”—In Eastern tales most magical things are done by women.

[250] In the “History of Farrukhrúz”—p. 179—we find that it is dangerous
to open shops before sunrise, because if shopkeepers do so they become
liable to be injured by genii and demons; and it will be seen from the
present story that the wretched narrator had too much cause to regret his
“early opening” practice.

[251] We see from this story that Oriental sharpers are not a whit
behind their European brethren in swindling tricks—such as, despite the
publicity given to them in the newspapers, continue to be perpetrated
every day in great cities.

[252] Mahmúd ruled in Ghazní from A.D. 997 till A.D. 1030. It was at his
request that the Persian poet Firdausí composed his grand epic, the _Sháh
Náma_, or Book of Kings.

[253] It is seldom such a sentiment occurs in Eastern books. Alms-giving
is enjoined by the Kurán on all who have anything to give, and the
rapacity of Asiatic despots has not been conducive to a spirit of
independence among their subjects.

[254] A parasang is a Persian measure of three or four miles, more or
less in different countries.

[255] That is to say, all who are outside the pale of Islám; like
Gentiles with the Jews, and Barbarians with the Greeks.

[256] A most absurd idea, and a foul slander on the “chosen people”—not
to say that _all_ are to be considered as “Israelites indeed,” and so
forth. During the middle ages in Europe it was generally believed that
the Jews, on certain of their religious festivals, stole and murdered
little Christian children!—See the Tale of the Prioress in Chaucer’s
_Canterbury Tales_, and in _Originals and Analogues_ (printed for the
Chaucer Society, pp. 251, 257), “The Boy killed by a Jew for singing
‘Gaude Maria!’” and “The Paris Beggar-boy murdered by a Jew for singing
‘Alma redemptoris mater!’” Such idle stories were invented and diligently
circulated by the monks, and sore persecution had the unfortunate and
innocent Jews to suffer in consequence!

[257] I have read an Indian story very similar to this, in which a
brother and sister, children of a king, are accidentally separated, and
the young prince falls into the hands of a rascal like the Jew in the
above; but I cannot recollect the particular story-book in which it

[258] The first chapter of the Kurán; employed by Muslims as the
Paternoster is among Christians.

[259] The Turks have the proverb: “Patience is of God; haste is of the

[260] According to the Kurán, it was a hoopoe, or lapwing, that brought
Solomon a description of Sabá (or Sheba) and of Bilkís, its celebrated

[261] Yet once more the number _forty_, which the Jews and their Arabian
cousins seem always to have regarded with peculiar veneration—see
pages 140, 155, 188, and to the instances there noted I may here add a
few others. In the Arabian tale of the Third Calender, his voyage is
prosperous for _forty_ days, and he is entertained by _forty_ fairy
damsels, who absented themselves for _forty_ days. In the tale of Aladdin
and his Lamp, when his magic palace has disappeared the sultan allows him
_forty_ days to find it and the princess.—Among other Biblical instances,
“Isaac was _forty_ years old when he took Rebekah to wife,” Gen. xxv, 20,
and Esau was of the same age when he wedded two Hittite damsels, Gen.
xxvi, 34. Eli judged Israel _forty_ years, 1 Samuel, iv, 18. David and
Solomon each reigned _forty_ years, 2 Samuel, v, 4; 1 Kings, ii, 11, xi,
42. The “curious” reader may farther refer to Exodus xxvi, 19; Joshua
xiv, 7; Judges iii, 11, viii, 28, xiii, 1; 2 Samuel, xv, 7; 1 Kings, vi,
17, vii, 38; 2 Kings, viii, 9; Ezekiel xxix, 11, 12; Acts xxiii, 21; 2
Corinthians, xi, 24.—In Wales _forty_ loaves of bread and _forty_ dishes
of butter are a common quantity in the records of rents paid to the
bishops of Llandaff. The fee of a bard for his vocal song at a festival
was _forty_ pence when he was a disciple, and _twice forty_ for a master.
The “unthrifty Heir of Linne,” according to the fine old ballad, tried to
borrow _forty_ pence of John o’ the Scales, who had become the owner of
his lands. And who is not familiar with Wamba’s song, in praise of “Forty
Years,” in Thackeray’s _Rebecca and Rowena_, where we are told that

    “Forty times over let Michaelmas pass,
      Grizzling hair the brain doth clear;
    Then you know a boy is an ass,
    Then you know the worth of a lass,
      Once you’ve come to Forty Year!”

And do we not speak of a buxom dame as “fat, fair, and _forty_”?

[262] Still in man’s attire, of course.

[263] The painter not being permitted to behold her face. This often
occurs in Persian stories; but I have seen many native pictures of
Persian women of all classes, which were evidently portraits and could
not all have been drawn in the manner above described. Judging from those
pictures, the in-door clothing of Persian ladies is extremely scanty; but
it should be recollected that they are not seen in the haram apartments
by any but women and children and very near male relatives. The “full”
dress of European ladies is much more reprehensible than the in-door
dress of their Persian sisters (if indeed that of the latter maybe
considered at all “improper”), since it exposes the greater part of the
bosom and the shoulders and the spine to _public view_!

[264] “Cast thy bread upon the waters,” saith the Preacher, “and thou
shalt find it after many days” (Eccl. xi, 1); but here the reformed
robber finds it—or rather, more than its equivalent—every day. This
notion of the loaves he threw daily into the river reappearing to him in
the form of two celestial youths is certainly of Buddhist origin, and
was, with many other essentially Buddhist ideas, adopted by the Bráhmans
after they got the upper hand of their rivals and drove them out of
India. In the _Hitopadesa_ (Friendly Counsel), a Sanskrit collection of
apologues and tales, Book iii, fab. 10, a pious soldier is directed in a
vision by Kuvera, the god of wealth, to stand in the morning behind his
door, club in hand, and the beggar who should come into the court knock
down with his club, when he will instantly become a pot full of gold.
A similar story is found in the Persian _Tútí Náma_ (Parrot Book) of
Nakhshabí, where a merchant is thus rewarded who had given away all his
wealth to the poor.

[265] In another part of the romance we read of a wondrous stone, called
the Shah-muhra, which, when fastened on the arm, enabled the wearer to
see all the treasures of gold and gems that are hid in the bowels of the

[266] An abridged and “improved” version of the romance of _Hatim Taï_
was printed at Calcutta about the year 1825, of which a translation—by
James Atkinson, I understand—reprinted from the Calcutta _Government
Gazette_, appeared in the _Asiatic Journal_, March-June 1829. Whoever may
have been the learned Múnshí that made this version, he has certainly
taken most unwarrantable liberties with his original. Thus: Husn Bánú’s
father dies, leaving her “an orphan, _poor_, and unprotected.” She
has the misfortune to “attract the admiration of a darvesh,” whom she
“indignantly spurned from her presence.” The darvesh goes to the king
and complains that “a certain woman has solicited me to marry her, and
not being able to accomplish her object, enraged at my refusal, she has
bitterly reproached and even beaten me”! The king orders her to be thrust
out of the city, and so on. The “man” who appears to her in a vision is
Khoja Khizar, which however is appropriate, that mystical personage being
the tutelary friend of good Muslims in distress. He tells her where she
may find the “treasure of the Seven Kings, buried in seven different
places; seven splendid peacock thrones, adorned with gems beyond all
price, and one precious pearl of unequalled beauty. All these are thine.”
The king on hearing of her “find” attempts to seize the contents of six
of the pits of treasure _by force_, but the gold and gems become serpents
and dragons. In this version it does not appear that the queries, or
rather tasks, were suggested by the nurse. Altogether it is much inferior
to the story as translated by Forbes.

[267] Published at New-York, 1850.

[268] I am greatly indebted to the courtesy of Prof. E. Fagnan, of
the École des Lettres, Algiers, for many interesting and important
particulars regarding this Turkish work, of which several MS. copies
are preserved in the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris—particulars of which
I have already made some use in _Originals and Analogues of some of
Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales_, printed for the Chaucer Society, and I hope
soon to make still farther use of them in another publication.

[269] Dr. Rieu, of the British Museum, kindly furnished me with the above
outline of the story, so far as it exists in the MS.

[270] See note, page 163.

[271] _The Lost and Hostile Gospels_, p. 83, by the Rev. S. Baring-Gould,
who has pointed out the gross anachronism of making the imaginary
conflict take place in the presence of Queen Helena.

[272] This romance is ascribed by mere popular tradition, and on no solid
authority, to the celebrated poet Mír Khusrau, who died in 1324, A.D.
Authentic accounts of the poet make no mention of any such work, and it
is probably to be assigned to a much later date. An incorrect copy of the
_Chehár Darvesh_ is described in Dr. Rieu’s _Catalogue of the Persian
MSS. in the British Museum_, vol. ii, p. 762, Add. 8917. In the _Bagh o
Bahár_ (Garden and Spring), which is a modern Urdú amplification, by Mír
Amman, not always in the best taste, the Story of the Second Darvesh is
that of the Third in the Persian original.

[273] In another Persian version, translated by Jonathan Scott, in his
_Tales, Anecdotes, and Letters from the Arabic and Persian_, p. 253,
the prince happens to see the merchant’s wife in her litter, returning
from the pilgrimage to Makka, and falls desperately in love with her. He
afterwards makes the acquaintance of the merchant, who on learning the
cause of his illness divorces his wife and makes her over to the prince.
The rest of the story is much the same as the above, excepting that the
prince does not put the merchant’s “luck” to trial but at once receives
him heartily and restores to him his wife, whom he had adopted as his

[274] The story is told in the first person, and the youth does not give
his name, which is rather awkward in making an epitome of it.

[275] Iswara signifies Lord, Master, but is a designation by the Hindús
for the particular deity, Bráhma, Vishnú, or Siva, whom they regard as
the Supreme Being. In Southern India it is generally applied to Siva,
also called Mahádeva.—_Balfour._

[276] It is significant that the “maxims” of the beggars are identical
in the Latin story, in Gower, and in the version from Western India. In
Gower one beggar cries:

    “Ha, Lord, wel may the man be riche
    Whom that a king list for to riche”;

the other exclaims:

    “But he is riche and wel bego
    Whom that God wold sende wele.”

[277] In this tale Iram is used as the name of an island of the “upper
world,” not that of a garden in fairyland—see p. 304.

[278] _Jazíra-i Firdaus_, that is, the Island of Paradise—see p. 244,
where the crafty courtesan Dilbar is represented as dwelling in a city
called Firdaus; and p. 304, note 3, where it is the name of an island in

[279] See also Dasent’s _Popular Tales from the Norse_: “Boots and the

[280] An adaptation, or imitation, of the Sanskrit series of stories
entitled _Vetálapanchavinsati_, Twenty-five (Tales) of a Vetála, or
Vampyre; called in Hindí, _Baital Pachísí_, and in Tamil, _Vedála Kadai_.

[281] Radloff’s _Proben der Volksliteratur der Türkischen Stamme des
Süd-Siberiens_; St. Petersburg: 1870; iii, 389.—The story is also
found in the Hebrew _Talmud_: Two slaves are overheard by their master
conversing about a camel that had preceded them on the road. It was blind
of an eye, and laden with two skin bottles, one of which contained wine,
the other oil. (Hershon’s _Talmudic Miscellany_.)—See also M. Zotenberg’s
_Chronique de Tabari_, t. ii, 357-361.

[282] In a curious catch-penny imitation of the _Seven Wise Masters_,
compiled by one Thomas Howard, about the end of the 17th century, or
early in the 18th, entitled the _Seven Wise Mistresses_ (of which I
possess a well-thumbed copy printed in black letter), the story is told
of a lady, and a lion who became attached to her in gratitude for her
having pulled a thorn out of his foot—Androcles in petticoats! The lion
kills a bear that would have slain the lady’s father, and the steward
coming up and finding the old gentleman lying prone on the earth,
apparently dead, but, as it turns out, only in a swoon from sheer fright,
forthwith kills the lion.

[283] _Mahábhárata_, Book iii (‘Vana Parva’), section lxi.—Dean Milman
has rendered the ever fresh story of Nala and Damayanti into the most
elegant English verse.

[284] Possibly Shakuni used loaded dice when it came to his turn to
throw. “Some of the virtues may be modern,” says Lord Lytton (I quote
from memory), “but it is certain that all the vices are ancient: cogged
dice were found at Pompeii!”

[285] The _Mahábhárata_ of Krishna-Dwapayana Vyasa. Translated into
English Prose by Protáp Chandra Roy. Now in course of serial issue at
Calcutta. _Sabha Parva_, fasic. xi, pp. 155-172; _Vana Parva_, fasic.
xiv, pp. 174-177; 230.

[286] Translated by the Rev. Chas. Swynnerton, in the _Folk-Lore
Journal_, vol. i, 1883, pp. 134-139.—The same story will be found, at
much greater length, in Captain R. C. Temple’s most valuable collection,
_Legends of the Panjáb_, vol. i, p. 48 ff.

[287] Chaupúr is the game of chess, played with 16 pieces, and throwing
dice for each move. For a full description of this game see Captain R. C.
Temple’s _Legends of the Panjáb_ vol. i, p. 243.

[288] Kokilan: “Cooing-dove.”

[289] The tragical story of Kokilan, with variants, will be found, under
the title of “The Lover’s Heart,” in my _Popular Tales_, &c., vol. ii, p.
187 ff.

[290] _Popular Tales and Fictions_, vol. i, p. 262 ff.

[291] I follow M. Dubois’ transliteration of the proper names.

[292] Yakshas, in the Hindú mythology, are a species of jinn, who are
ruled over by Kuvera, the god of wealth.

[293] Paddy (or pádí) is unhusked rice.

[294] Abridged from Protáp Chandra Roy’s translation of the
_Mahábhárata_, fasciculus xxxiv, pp. 543-553.

[295] “Whether a carbuncle (which is esteemed the best and biggest of
rubies) doth flame in the dark,” says Sir Thos. Browne, in his _Enquiries
into Vulgar and Common Errors_, B. ii, ch. v, “or shine like a coal in
the night, though generally agreed on by common believers, is very much
questioned by many.” On this Wilkin, the editor of Browne’s works, 1835,
vol. ii, p. 354, remarks: “That which Sir Thomas much doubted has since
been subjected to the test of repeated observations and many curious
experiments, by which the phosphorescence of the diamond, sapphire, ruby,
and topaz, as well as of many minerals and metals, and various other
bodies, is fully established. Mr. Wedgewood has treated the subject fully
in the 82nd vol. of the _Philosophical Transactions_. This luminous
property, which seems to be strictly phosphoric, is made apparent by
subjecting the body in question to heat in various ways. Several fluids
(oils, spermaceti, butter, etc.) are luminous at or below the boiling
point: minerals and other bodies become so by being sprinkled on a thick
plate of iron, heated just below visible redness. The gems and several of
the harder minerals emit their light upon attrition.”

[296] The _Sham ha-maphrash_, or _Nomen tetragrammaton_—see the note on
page 163.

[297] Rev. S. Baring-Gould’s _Lost and Hostile Gospels_, pp. 77, 78.

[298] See the old English translation, from the French, by Lord Berners,
_The Boke of Duke Huon of Burdeux_, ably edited by Mr. Sidney L. Lee for
the Early English Text Society, 1887, p. 153.

[299] In the _Catalogue des Manuscrits et Xylographes Orientaux de la
Bibliothèque Imperiale Publique de St. Petersburg_, 1852, p. 410, this
tale is described as a separate romance: ‘Histoire de Khavershah et de
Mihr et Máh, ou de Roi de l’Orient, et du Soleil et de la Lune’; the only
variations being that in place of the devotee is a philosopher called
Abid; and Mukhtarí is the name of the minister of the King of Maghrab,
the father of the original of the picture.—There are several mystical and
erotic poems in Hindí also entitled _Mihr ú Máh_: see Garcin de Tassy’s
_Histoire de la Littérature Hindouie_, second edition, tome i, 179, 187,
and iii, 47.

[300] The self-same story also occurs in the Calcutta printed Arabic text
of the ‘Thousand and One Nights,’ with no variation save that instead of
smoked eels the husband gives his wanton wife a fresh fish to cook for
his dinner on a Friday (the Muslim Sabbath), and then goes out. When the
woman returns on the next Friday her husband begins to scold her, but she
makes an outcry which brings in the neighbours, and showing them the fish
still _alive_—she had, I suppose, either kept it in water or procured
another one; though, how her husband came to give her a live fish does
not appear—he is considered mad and loaded with fetters. (See Sir R. F.
Burton’s translation, vol v, p. 96.)

[301] This seems to be an imperfect version of the story to which the
Trick of the Kází’s Wife belongs, with the underground passage somehow

[302] It has not hitherto been found in any Arabic text of the ‘Book of
the Thousand Nights and One Night,’ but there can be no doubt of its
Asiatic origin.

[303] If there are but four players, and three have already been
appointed as king, minister, and culprit, it surely follows that there
is no necessity for the fourth to throw the sticks at all; else, if the
others play along with him at throwing for the “honest man,” their former
positions might, and probably would, be changed. Evidently Mr. Knowles
has here described the game as it is played by any number of boys, so
that when it came to throw for the “honest man,” the three already
appointed would stand out and all the others play.

[304] In the _fabliau_ (Méon’s edition of Barbazan, 1808, iii, 126) the
little bird says:

    “Il a en mon cors une piere,
    Qui tant est précieuse et chiere,
    Bien est de trois onces pesans;
    La vertus est en il si grans,
    Qui en sa baillie l’aroit,
    Jà riens demander ne saroit,
    Que maintenant ne l’éust preste.”

[305] _Lydgate’s Minor Poems_, in vol. ii of the Percy Society’s
publications, p. 179 ff.—Ritson, the censorious, styles honest Dan
Lydgate “a voluminous, prosaic, drivelling monk.” This is hard measure.
That the drivels is just as true as it would be to say that Ritson had no
gall in his composition. That he is sometimes prosaic can’t be denied;
but he has many fine passages of true poetry. If to be voluminous be a
sin—then may Heaven pity our popular novel-spinners!

[306] _Anvár-i Suhaylí_, by Husain Vá’iz al-Káshifí. Translated by Edward
B. Eastwick, 1854. Ch. i, story 19.

[307] Le Grand omits the bird’s lay, of which these verses are merely the


    Abraham and Nimrod, 253.

    Abú Síná (Avicenna), 242.

    Afríts, 168.

    Ahmed, 238.

    Aino Folk-Tales, 503.

    Ainsworth’s Old Saint Paul’s, 523.

    Akhfash and his Goat, 177.

    Akhlák-i Jalálí, 264.

    Alakésa Kathá, xxix;
      a different Tamil story, xxx.

    Alakésa, King, 193.

    Albanian Tales, 539.

    Alexander, Romance of, 167.

    Al-Faraj ba’d al-Shiddah, 474, 493, 547.

    Alf Layla wa Layla—_see_ Thousand and One Nights.

    Alfonsus, Peter, 482, 564.

    Alí, Muhammed’s son-in-law, 238.

    Ali, Mrs. Meer Hasan, xxi, 175, 216, 351, 531.

    Almsgiving enjoined by the Kurán, 430.

    Amári, 284.

    Antimony, Legends about, 292.

    Anvár-i Suhaylí, 566.

    Anvarí, The Persian poet, 175.

    Apocryphal Gospel of the Saviour’s Infancy, 556.

    Apollonius Tyanæus, 541.

    Arabian Nights—_see_ Thousand and One Nights.

    Arbuthnot, F. F., xxiii.

    Archæological Review, 299.

    Archery feats, 100.

    Ashrafí, a gold coin, 43.

    Asiatic Journal, 470, 513.

    Astrologers’ Predictions, xxxviii, 175.

    Astrology, 8, 12, 175, 240, 313, 362.

    Atkinson, James, 470.

    Avaiyar, The Tamil poetess, xxx.

    Babylonian magic, 324.

    Backgammon, 250, 522.

    Badakshán, 263.

    Bagh o Bahár, 478, 495.

    Bahá-ed-Dín Zuhayr, 164.

    Bahár-i Dánish, 569.

    Bahrám, 339.

    Bakáwalí, Romance of: Persian and Urdú versions and translations, xxxv;
      its construction, 519, 571.

    Bakhtyár Náma, xxxi, 8.

    Balfour’s Cyclopædia of India, 226, 292, 325, 492.

    Bambú-rice, 231.

    Banafshá, 343, 359.

    Bandow, C. J., 545.

    Barbary Tales, 498.

    Barbazan’s Fabliaux, 549, 565, 566, 570.

    Baring-Gould’s Lost and Hostile Gospels, 476, 542.

    Barlaam and Joasaph, 563.

    Basset’s Contes Populaires Berbères, 498.

    Bath, Eastern Ladies at the, 356.

    Bazár-Master’s Wife, 376, 548.

    Beal, Dr. Samuel, 516.

    Beggar, The Blind, 402.

    Bebelianæ Facetiæ, 551.

    Beggars, The Two, 492.

    Benfey school of folk-lorists, xx.

    Bengal, Folk-Tales of, 504.

    Beryn, Tale of, 167.

    Betel, 325.

    Bhaváni, 197.

    Bible, xxi, 27, 70, 140, 212, 218, 253, 310, 313, 320, 339, 340, 347,
      368, 456, 464, 568.

    Bilkís, Queen of Sheba, 367, 450, 473.

    Billah, Al-Mu’tasim, 93.

    Bird, The Gardener and the, 448, 563.

    Bird-language, 299.

    Bird-Maidens, 58, 476.

    Birds, Transformation into, 298, 299, 346, 545.

    Bismillah, etc., 259.

    Bistán, 289, 303.

    Biting the cheek, 314.

    Blind Beggar, 402.

    Blind Man’s Story, 60, 464, 477.

    Blind Man, The Ungrateful, 215, 516, 532.

    Blind Men and Elephant, 195.

    Boccaccio’s Decameron, 483.

    Boiardo’s Orlando Innamorato, 167, 548.

    Bráhman and Lion, 254, 518, 531.

    Bráhman and Rescued Snake, 231, 518.

    Bráhman’s Wife and the Mungús, 211, 515.

    Brandan, Voyage of St., 475.

    Brown, John P., 472.

    Brothers, Romance of Four, 530.

    Brothers, The Ungrateful, 149, 152, 493.

    Browne’s (Sir Thomas) Vulgar Errors, 259, 540.

    Buchan’s Scottish Ballads, 545.

    Buddhist works, 8, 297, 515, 563.

    Búlbúl and Rose, 122, 345.

    Burák, Muhammed’s celestial steed, 238.

    Burmese Tales, 545.

    Burton, Sir R. F., xxxii, 277, 512, 550, 561.

    Busk’s (Miss) Sagas from the Far East, 500, 556.

    Bustán of Sa’dí, 245, 257, 278.

    Butler, Samuel, 121.

    Calenders, 385.

    Camel, The Lost, 194, 511.

    Camel-driver’s Story, 531.

    Caylus’ (Comte de) Contes Orientaux, 540.

    Cazotte’s Arabian Tales, 571.

    Cento Novelle Antiche, 560.

    Chamberlain, Basil Hall, 503.

    Chapalá, 325.

    Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Analogues of, xxxii, 166, 299, 439, 474.

    Chaupúr, 526.

    Chehár Darvesh, 478, 495.

    Children, Want of, 212, 568.

    Chitrasan, 322.

    Chitrawat, 324.

    Chodzko’s Popular Poetry of Persia, 101.

    Chosroes, 278.

    Clarke’s Sikandar Náma, 238.

    Confessio Amantis, 492.

    Conrad of Wartzburg, 521.

    Contes pour Rire, 551.

    Convivales Sermones, 551.

    Cookery, Kings formerly skilled in, 108, 261.

    Cowley’s amatory poetry, 348.

    Crore (or karor), in Indian and Persian numeration, 251.

    Cypress, 265.

    Damascenus, Johannes, 563.

    Danae, Story of, xxxix.

    Danish Ballads, 523, 545.

    Darveshes, Dancing, 105.

    Darveshes, often rogues, 67.

    Darveshes, History of the Four, 478, 495.

    Dasent’s Popular Tales from the Norse, xxxix, 497, 562.

    Day’s Journey, 271.

    Day’s (Lal Behári) Folk Tales of Bengal, 504.

    Deaf Man and his Sick Friend, 446, 561.

    Decameron, 483.

    Defoe on Fate, xxvi.

    D’Herbelot’s Bibliothèque Orientale, 238.

    Délices de Verboquet, 551.

    Demonologia, 241.

    Dice-playing, 522.

    Dilbar Lakhí, 244.

    Dínar, a gold coin, 47.

    Dirham, a silver coin, 360.

    Disciplina Clericalis, 482, 564.

    Dívs, 253.

    Dog, The Faithful, 206, 509, 513.

    Dog-worshipping Merchant, Story of the, 494.

    Doménichi’s (Lod.) Facetiæ, 551.

    D’Ouville’s (Sieur) Tales, 551.

    Dowson’s Hindú Mythology, 228.

    Dozon’s Contes Albanais, 539.

    Dravidian Nights Entertainments, 544, 545.

    Dubois’ Tamil Panchatantra, 532.

    Dunlop’s History of Fiction, 167, 530.

    Durga, 197.

    Eastern Story-Tellers, xxi.

    Eastwick, Edward B., 566.

    Elephant, Four Blind Men and the, 195.

    Errors, Browne’s Vulgar, 259, 540.

    European Romances—_see_ Romances.

    Eve, Milton’s, 324.

    Expeditions, The Three, 496.

    Fabliaux, 483, 521, 549, 566.

      Bebelianæ, 551;
      Doménichi, 551.

    Fagnan, Prof. E., 474.

    Fairies, not immortal, 318.

    Faithless Wife and Ungrateful Blind Man, 215, 516, 532.

    Falcon, The Faithful, 510, 570.

    Farhád and Shirín, 289.

    Farídún, 69.

    Farrukh, 274.

    Farrukhrúz, History of, 147, 493.

    Fars, or Farsistán, 69.

    Fate, or Destiny, xxv, 121.

    Fátihá, 447, 561.

    Firdaus, 244, 304, 495.

    Firdausí, 240, 414.

    Fírúz Sháh, 295.

    Fírúz Sháh, Story of, 571.

    Flowers, etc., Magical, 242, 467, 520, 572.

    Folk-Lore Journal, 479, 570.

    Forbes, Dr. Duncan, 455.

    Forbes’ Oriental Memoirs, 215.

    Fortune and Misfortune, xxv.

    Forty, The number, 140, 155, 188, 300, 456.

    Forty Vazírs, History of the, xxxi, xxxix, 3, 158, 306, 383.

    Frazer, James G., 299.

    Friends, The Two, 89, 480.

    Friday, the Muslim Sabbath, 139.

    Fruit, Magical, 220, 298, 507, 517.

    Gambling maniacs, 522.

    Game of Vazír Pádisháh, 557.

    Ganas, xxxiv.

    Ganesa, xxxiii.

    Garcin de Tassy, xxxv, 256, 281, 290, 547, 569, 570.

    Gardener and Little Bird, 448, 563.

    Geldart’s Folk-Lore of Modern Greece, 496.

    Gems from Snakes, 232, 297, 341, 540.

    Gems, Secreting, 299, 541.

    Gems, The Nine, 313.

    Genie and Solomon’s Ring, 163.

    Geomancy, 60.

    German Popular Tales, 521.

    Gesta Romanorum, xxxii, 482, 564.

    Ghatika, 200.

    Gibb, E. J. W., xxxi, 3, 303, 306, 383.

    Gladwin’s Persian Moonshee, 561.

    God, the Merciful, etc., xxxiii, 259, 296.

    Goldsmiths, rogues in stories, 224.

    Gospels, Lost and Hostile, 476, 542.

    Gower’s Confessio Amantis, 492.

    Greek Popular Tales, 496, 498, 540.

    Grimm, The Brothers, 521.

    Guerin de Monglave, 523.

    Gueulette’s Soirées Bretonnes, 511.

    Gulistán of Sa’dí, xxiv, 101, 253, 311.

    Gul-rukh, 347.

    Gunadhya, xxii.

    Hair of demon as a charm, 269.

    Hahn’s Greek Tales, 540.

    Hammalá, 262.

    Hardy’s Eastern Monachism, 297.

    Hartland, E. Sidney, 479.

    Haste and Patience, 449.

    Hatim and his enemy, 478;
      and the thorn-cutter, 569;
      his mother and brother, 455.

    Hatim Taï, Story of, 46, 455, 520.

    Hauda-amári, 284.

    Hazár ú Yek Rúz, 474.

    Head, Shaving the, 172.

    Heavenly orbs, 264.

    Henna, 11, 314.

    Herklot’s Qanoon-i Islám, 351.

    Hermit, The Foolish, 112.

    Herodias’ Daughter, 319.

    Herrtage’s Gesta Rom., 483.

    Hershon’s Talmudic Miscellany, 512.

    Hikáyát-i ’Ajíb ú Gharíb, 474, 546.

    Hindústán—_see_ India.

    Historia Sept. Sap. Rom., 548.

    Hitopadesa, 121, 464.

    Hoopoe (or lapwing) and Solomon, 450.

    Horoscope, 240.

    Horse, The faithful, 507.

    Hospitality, Three Days’, 9.

    Howdah, 284.

    Hubbí’s Persian Tales, 474, 546.

    Humaï, 5.

    Hunter and Dog, 206, 509, 513.

    Hunter’s Imperial Gazetteer of India, 199.

    Húrís, 23.

    Huon of Bordeaux, 264, 518, 521, 544.

    Husain Vá’iz, 566.

    Husn-árá, 308.

    Hyperbole, Oriental, 339, 340, 348.

    Iblís, 376.

    Idols, Lovely women called, 291.

    ’Ifríts (Afríts), 168.

    Imáms, 238.

    Independent Man, Story of 425, 569.

    India, Balfour’s Cyclopædia of, 226, 292, 325, 492.

    India: Dowson’s Hindú Mythology, 228.

    India, Hunter’s Imperial Gazetteer of, 199.

    India, Marriages in, 337, 351.

    India, Observations on the Mussulmans of, xxi, 175, 216, 351, 531.

    India, Past Days in, 493, 516.

    Indian Antiquary, 489, 499, 541, 543.

    Indian drama, 224.

    Indian Notes and Queries, 197, 515.

    Indian story-books: Alakésa Kathá, xxix, xxxii;
      Bengalí Folk Tales, 504;
      Dravidian Nights Entertainments (Madanakámarájankadai), 544, 545;
      Hitopadesa, 121, 464;
      Kashmírí Folk-Tales, 507, 524, 544, 557;
      Kathá Manjarí, 517;
      Kathá Sarit Ságara, xxi, 166, 287, 346, 516, 558;
      Panchatantra, 532;
      Panjábí Legends, 524, 526, 570;
      Sinhasana Dwatrinsati, 517;
      Vetálapanchavinsati, 500, 518;
      Vrihat Kathá, xxii.

    Irán, 43.

    Indra’s Paradise, 316, 544.

    Infernal Machines, 201.

    Infancy, Apocryphal Gospel of the, 556.

    Infidels, all who are not Muslims, 439.

    Iram, Rose-Garden of, 304, 494.

    Iskandar, 173.

    Istikbál, 271.

    Iswara, 492.

    Italian story-books: Decameron, 483;
      Cento Novelle Antiche, 560.

    ’Itr-igul, 330.

    Ivanhoe, 100.

    Jacob’s sorrow, 242.

    Jamí, the Persian poet, 356.

    Jamíla Khatún, 294.

    Jamshíd, Cup of, 173.

    Játakas, 8, 563.

    Jeshu, Toldoth, 475, 542.

    Jewellers, rogues in stories, 224.

    Jews, Absurd charges against, 439.

    Joseph, the son of Jacob, 244, 312;
      and Potiphar’s Wife, 330.

    Jülg’s Mongolian Tales, 500, 556.

    Káf, Mountains of, 303, 387.

    Kalandars, 385.

    Kálí, the Hindú goddess, 197.

    Kasharkasha, Story of Prince, 69, 479.

    Kashmír, Folk-Tales of, 507, 524, 544, 557.

    Kathá Manjarí, 517.

    Kází and Merchant’s Wife, 414, 555.

    Kází’s Wife, 358, 548.

    Kalmuk Tales, 500, 556.

    Kashank, the Afrít, 173.

    Kathá Sarit Ságara, xxi, 166, 287, 346, 516, 558.

    Khil’at 99.

    Khiyabán-i Rayhán, 571.

    Khizar, 470, 521.

    Khoja, 3.

    King and his faithful Horse, 507;
      and his Falcon, 510, 570.

    King and his Four Ministers: plan of the frame-story, xxix;
      Bengalí oral version, 504;
      Kashmírí variant, 507;
      analogues of the tales, 511.

    King who learned a trade, 434.

    Kings abdicating the throne, 80.

    Kings in Eastern stories, 123.

    Kings going about in disguise, 128, 427.

    Kings, Good Indian, 193.

    Kings, Rapacious, 40.

    Knowles, Rev. J. H., 507, 524, 544, 557.

    Kokilan, 530.

    Kurán, 187, 238, 253, 265, 312, 447, 450, 561.

    Kurán, MS. copies of the, 134.

    Kurroglú, the bandit-poet, 101.

    Kutwál, 278.

    Kutwál’s Wife, 384, 549.

    Kuvera, 464, 535.

    Lady and her Suitors, 287.

    Lady’s Story, 64.

    Lakh, 244.

    Lamp-black as a collyrium, 266.

    Lane’s Modern Egyptians, xxi, 11, 60, 105, 238.

    Language of Birds, etc., 299, 505, 510.

    Laylá and Majnún, 122, 237.

    Leaves of the palm used as dishes, 202.

    Lee, Sidney L., 518, 544.

    Leg, Standing on one, 254.

    Le Grand’s Fabliaux, 483, 521, 549, 565, 566, 570.

    Legrand’s Contes Populaires Grecs, 498.

    Life, or heart, extraneous from the body, 30.

    Life, Water of, 520, 521.

    Lion and Bráhman, 254, 518, 531.

    Llewellyn and his Dog, 515.

    Longfellow, xxvi.

    Love declarations in the East, 290.

    Love, Ten Stages of, 324.

    Love, Victims of, 323.

    Lukman the Wise, 122.

    Luminous Jewels, 540.

    Lydgate, John, 483, 564.

    Lytton, Lord, 523.

    Mackenzie, Colonel Colin, 351.

    Madanakámarájankadai, 544.

    Maghrabí country, 6.

    Magic, Babylonian, 324.

    Magic Staff, 156.

    Magicians, Egyptian, 27.

    Magical Fruits, 220, 298, 507, 517.

    Magical Flowers etc., 242, 467, 520, 572.

    Magical Transformations, 158, 171, 299, 300, 301, 320, 346, 544, 545.

    Mahábhárata, 108, 194, 290, 517, 518, 523, 534.

    Mahámayi, 197.

    Mahbúb ul-Kalúb, xxii, xl.

    Mahfil-árá, xxiii.

    Mahmúd of Ghazní, 414.

    Mahmúda, 262.

    Maina, 298.

    Majnún and Laylá, 122, 237.

    Malay version of the Mungús story, 516.

    Malcolm’s Sketches of Persia, 141.

    Mally Whuppie, 570.

    Mán, a Persian weight, 306.

    Mango Fruit, The wonderful, 220, 507, 517.

    Mangoes, 215.

    Man’s dignity, 310.

    Marie de France, 545.

    Marriages in India, 337, 351.

    Mas’údí, 511.

    Mehndí, 314.

    Men smuggled into harams, 117.

    Metempsychosis, 218, 223, 336.

    Mihr-ú Máh, Story of, 370, 546.

    Miles Gloriosus, 548.

    Mille et Un Jours, 474, 480, 547.

    Milman, Dean, 517.

    Milton’s Eve, 324.

    Moir, James, 570.

    Money in Eastern Tales, 360.

    Moon of Canaan, 312.

    Moth and Candle, 245, 257.

    Mu’allaka Poems, 313.

    Muezzin, 104.

    Muhammad, 9, 23, 67, 69, 106, 112, 187, 238, 312, 401.

    Muir’s (Sir Wm.) Life of Mahomet, 238.

    Mukhlis, of Isfahán, 474.

    Mulk-i Nighárín, 281, 340.

    Mungús, The Faithful, 211, 515.

    Muslim Sabbath, 139.

    Mu’tasim Billah, the Octonary, 93.

    Muzaffar Sháh, 304.

    Nakhshabí, xxii. 464, 517.

    Nala and Damayanti, 108, 290, 517, 518, 523.

    Name, The Ineffable, 163, 476, 542.

    Narkis, 386.

    Nassar, History of, its _motif_, xxv.

    Naubut, 273.

    Nau Ratn, 313.

    Netherlandish Ballad, 545.

    Nightingale and Rose, 122, 345.

    Nimrod and Abraham, 253.

    Nirmalá, 325.

    Nizamí, 173, 238.

    Norse Tales, xxxix, 497, 562.

    Nostradamus, 241.

    Novel writers, xxii.

    Nú Rúz, 173.

    Nushírván, 278.

    Octonary, The, 93.

    Oriental hyperbole, 339, 340, 348.

    Oriental sharpers, 411.

    Orientaux, Contes, 540.

    Orlando Innamorato, 167, 548.

    Ouseley, Sir Wm., 345.

    Oyster and Pearl, 257.

    Paddy, or pádí, 536.

    Pagoda, a gold coin, 196.

    Painter and Woodcarver, Story of, 500.

    Painter’s Story, 53, 471.

    Panchatantra, 532.

    Panjáb, Legends of the, 524, 526, 570, 572.

    Paradise, Expedition to, 183, 500.

    Parasang, 430.

    Parrot-Book, xvii, 464, 517.

    Parvati, xxxiii, 197.

    Patience and haste, 449.

    Payne’s (John) Tales from the Arabic, 561.

    Pearls from rain-drops, 257.

    Penha, G. F. D., 499.

    Perfumes, 330.

    Persian amatory poetry, 348.

    Persian and Hindústání Proverbs, 283.

    Persian Portraits (Arbuthnot’s), xxiii.

    Persian pictures of women, 460.

    Persian story-books: Anvár-i Suhaylí, 566;
      Bahár-i Dánish, 569;
      Bakhtyár láma, xxxi, xxxii, 8;
      Bustán, 245, 257, 278;
      Chehár Darvesh, 478, 495;
      Fírúz Sháh, 570;
      Gul-i Bakáwalí, xxxv;
      Gulistán, xxiv, 101, 253, 311;
      Hatim Taï, 455, 456;
      Hazár ú Yak Rúz (Thousand and One Days), 474, 479, 547;
      Hikáyát-i ’Ajíbú Gharíb, 474, 546.

    Persian writers’ style, 250, 267, 348, 350.

    Petis de la Croix, 474, 479, 547.

    Plautus, 548.

    Poisoned Food, 226, 518.

    Pon, an Indian coin, 206, 568.

    Popular Tales and Fictions (Clouston’s), 30, 474, 476, 515, 530, 531,
     548, 558.

    Porter’s Travels in Georgia, 357.

    Potiphar’s Wife, 330.

    Predictions, of Astrologers, xxxviii, 175.

    Presents to superiors, 340.

    Princess and Dív, 279, 532.

    Prior’s Danish Ballads, 523, 545.

    Proverbs: Roebuck’s Pers. and Hind., 283;
      Sinhalese, about luck, xxvii, xxviii.

    Qanoon-i Islám, 351.

    Radloff’s Siberian Tales, 512.

    Ralston’s Tibetan Tales, xxxi.

    Rámáyana, 108.

    Rasálú, Legend of Rájá, 524, 572.

    Rayhán ed-Dín, 571.

    Rehatsek, E., xxv, xl, 177.

    Religious trickery, 229.

    Reyes, M. de los, 486.

    Rieu, Dr. Chas., xxiii, 474, 475, 478, 546.

    Ring, The, 355, 546.

    Rings, Signet, 70.

    Road to the Mosque, 547.

    Robe of honour, 99.

    Robinson’s Persian Poetry, 257.

    Robles, Isidro de, 551, 561.

    Roebuck’s Persian and Hindústání Proverbs, 283.

    Romance writers, European, 264.

    Romances, European: Alexander, 167;
      Agravain, etc., 530;
      Eglamour (Sir), xxxii;
      Guerin de Monglave, 523;
      Huon of Bordeaux, 264, 518, 521, 544;
      Isumbras (Sir), Octavian, Torrent of Portugal, xxxii.

    Roscoe’s Spanish Novelists, 486, 552, 561.

    Rose and Nightingale, 122, 345.

    Roses, Otto of, 330.

    Roy, Protáp Chandra, 523, 539.

    Rúh-afzá, 304.

    Rukh (or roc), 306.

    Rúm, Country of, 44.

    Rupí, Value of, 244.

    Rustam, 240.

    Sa’dí, the Persian poet, 101, 245, 253, 257, 278, 311.

    Sagas from the Far East, 500, 556.

    Sakhr, the demon, and Solomon, 163.

    Salamander, 259.

    Saman-rú, 288.

    Sambhavi, 197.

    Sastras, The six, 228.

    Sástrí, Pandit S. M. Natésa, xxix, 193, 195, 197, 229, 544, 545.

    Satan, Artful women compared to, 376.

    Satan, the stoned one, 277, 369.

    Satanæ, Tela Ignea, 475.

    Sayf ul-Mulúk, Story of, 370, 547.

    Scottish Ballad, 545.

    Scott’s edition of the Arabian Nights, 275;
      his Tales from the Arabic and Persian, 455, 482.

    Self-made men, 148.

    Serpents, Fight between Two, 53, 471, 475.

    Serpents, Gems in the heads of, 232, 297, 341, 540.

    Setti caste, 207.

    Seven Wise Masters, xxx, 515, 548.

    Seven Wise Mistresses, 515.

    Sexes, The Exchanged, 279, 532.

    Shaddad’s Paradise, 304.

    Sháhábád, 459.

    Shah Bakht and his Vazír, xxxii.

    Shah Manssur, Story of, 12.

    Shah-muhra, 466.

    Sháh-Náma, 240, 414.

    Sháh-záda, 250.

    Shamsah the Witch, 357, 493, 546.

    Shamsah ú Kahkahah, xxiii.

    Shaving the head, 172.

    Shi’ahs and Súnís, 238.

    Shíráz, 69.

    Shírín and Farhád, 289.

    Shoayb, Story of, 118, 489.

    Siberian Tales, 512.

    Siddhí Kúr, Relations of, 500.

    Signet Rings, 70.

    Sikandar-Náma, 173, 238.

    Simon Magus, 476.

    Simurgh, 306, 387.

    Sindibád, Book of (Clouston’s), 5, 515, 518, 548, 569.

    Sinhalese proverbs about luck, xxvii, xxviii.

    Sinhasana Dwatrinsati, 517.

    Sirikop and Rasálú, 524.

    Siva, xxxiii, 212.

    Snake and Bráhman, 231, 518.

    Snake-gems—_see_ Serpents.

    Solomon: as a fisherman, 119;
      his magic carpet, 164;
      his signet ring, 163, 261;
      and the símurgh, 306;
      and the Queen of Sheba, 367, 450;
      and the Water of Life, 520.

    Somadeva, xxi, 216.

    Spanish Novelists, 486, 552, 561.

    Sparks, Capt. T. P., 545.

    Spheres, Music of the, 264.

    Stephenson, R. L., 123.

    Story-Tellers, Eastern, xxi.

    Súfís, 105.

    Sumbul, 384.

    Sun and Moon, Story of the, 370, 546.

    Sunrise, Superstition regarding, 179, 404.

    Surma, 292.

    Swedish Tales, 497.

    Swine’s flesh, 373.

    Swynnerton, Rev. Chas., 524.

    Tabari, Chronique de, 512.

    Táhir and the Witch Shamsah, 493.

    Táj ul-Mulúk, 240.

    Talmudic Miscellany, 512.

    Tawney, Prof. C. H., 287, 558.

    Taylor’s Catalogue of Oriental MSS., xxx.

    Tela Ignea Satanæ, 475.

    Tell’s feat eclipsed, 101.

    Temple, Capt. R. C., 524, 526, 570.

    Thackeray, W. M., 457.

    Thigh, Jewels etc. concealed in, 299, 541.

    Thirty-two Tales of a Throne, 517.

    Thompson’s Akhlák-i Jalálí, 264.

    Thorpe’s Yule-Tide Stories, 497.

    Thousand and One Days, 474, 480, 547.

    Thousand and One Nights, xxxii, 9, 109, 141, 166, 182, 275, 314, 320,
      323, 456, 475, 477, 511, 522, 542, 547, 549, 550, 556, 561.

    Tibetan Tales, xxxix.

    Tika, 349.

    Toldoth Jeshu, 475, 542.

    Tomán, a gold coin, 23.

    Tongues in Trees, etc., 311.

    Topes, or stupas, 226.

    Transformations, Magical, 158, 171, 299, 300, 301, 320, 346, 544, 545.

    Travel, Advantages of, 5.

    Treasure guarded by dragons and serpents, 167, 232.

    Treasure, The Hidden, 442, 558.

    Treasure-trees, 166, 304.

    Treasure-trove, 43, 123.

    Turkish story-books: the Forty Vazírs, xxxi, xxxix, 3, 158, 306, 383;
      Turkish Evening Entertainments, 472, 512;
      Al-Faraj ba’d al-Shiddah, 474, 547.

    Tútí Náma, xxii, 464, 517.

    Unity, Court of, 112.

    Vazír, The Envious, 390, 569.

    Vazír, The Treacherous, 114.

    Vazírs, The Forty, xxxi, xxxix, 3, 306, 383.

    Vedas, The Four, 228.

    Verboquet, Délices de, 551.

    Vermieux’ Indian Tales, 516.

    Vetálapanchavinsati, 500, 518.

    Vijanajara, 199.

    Virtuous Devasmitá and her Suitors, 287.

    Visitors, Meeting, 271, 285.

    Visvesvara, 212.

    Vogelritter, Ballad of the, 545.

    Voltaire’s Zadig, 511.

    Wadia, P. D. H., 489, 543.

    Wagenseil’s Tela Ignea Satanæ, 475.

    Walhouse, M. J., 541.

    Washerman’s Story, 58, 476.

    Wasíf’s amatory poetry, 348.

    Water of Life, 520, 521.

    Way’s Fabliaux, 567.

    Wilson, Dr. H. H., xxix, 571.

    Wind as messenger of love, 164.

    Wine forbidden to Muslims, 312.

    Witch Shamsah, 357, 493, 546.

    Witches and werwolves, 45.

    Wives, Unfaithful, 19, 216.

    Woman-nature, 350.

    Woman, The perfect, 194.

    Woman who knew the language of animals, 505, 510.

    Woman’s love scorned, 13.

    Women, The Three Deceitful, 355, 546.

    Women, addicted to Magic, 401.

    Women’s condition in the Muslim Paradise, 187, 248.

    Woodcarver and Painter, Story of the, 500.

    Wordsworth, xxvi.

    Wrestling in Persia, 110.

    Wright’s Latin Stories, 492.

    Yad-est, Game of, 383.

    Yakshas, 535.

    Yaman, 152.

    Youth, Fountain of, 521.

    Yule-Tide Stories, 497.

    Zadig, 511.

    Zanána, 206.

    Zayn ul-Mulúk, 240.

    Zeus and the new-born Dionysus concealed in his thigh, 543.

    Zotenberg’s Chronique de Tabari, 512;
      his Barlaam and Joasaph, 563.

    Zulaykhá, Potiphar’s Wife, 330.

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