The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night
Volume 2

Richard Francis Burton

First published in 1885.

This online edition was created and published by Global Grey on the 14th February 2023.

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Table of Contents

Nur Al-Din Ali and the Damsel Anis Al-Jalis

Tale of Ghanim bin Ayyub, the Distraught, the Thrall o’ Love

Tale of the First Eunuch, Bukhayt

Tale of the Second Eunuch, Kafur

Tale Of King Omar Bin Al-Nu’uman And His Sons Sharrkan and Zau Al-Makan, and What Befel Them of Things Seld-Seen and Peregrine

Tale of Taj al-Muluk and the Princess Dunya (The Lover and the Loved)

Tale of Aziz and Azizah

Nur Al-Din Ali and the Damsel Anis Al-Jalis

Quoth Shahrazad[1]:—It hath reached me, O auspicious King of intelligence penetrating, that there was, amongst the Kings of Bassorah[2], a King who loved the poor and needy and cherished his lieges, and gave of his wealth to all who believed in Mohammed (whom Allah bless and assain!), and he was even as one of the poets described him,

“A King who when hosts of the foe invade,
Receives them with lance-lunge and sabre-sway;
Writes his name on bosoms in thin red lines,
And scatters the horsemen in wild dismay.”[3]

His name was King Mohammed bin Sulayman al-Zayni, and he had two Wazirs, one called Al-Mu’ín, son of Sáwí and the other Al-Fazl son of Khákán. Now Al-Fazl was the most generous of the people of his age, upright of life, so that all hearts united in loving him and the wise flocked to him for counsel; whilst the subjects used to pray for his long life, because he was a compendium of the best qualities, encouraging the good and lief, and preventing evil and mischief. But the Wazir Mu’ín bin Sáwí on the contrary hated folk[4] and loved not the good and was a mere compound of ill; even as was said of him,

“Hold to nobles, sons of nobles! ‘tis ever Nature’s test
That nobles born of nobles shall excel in noble deed:
And shun the mean of soul, meanly bred, for ‘tis the law,
Mean deeds come of men who are mean of blood and breed.”

And as much as the people loved and fondly loved Al-Fazl bin Khákán, so they hated and thoroughly hated the mean and miserly Mu’ín bin Sáwí. It befel one day by the decree of the Decreer, that King Mohammed bin Sulayman al-Zayni, being seated on his throne with his officers of state about him, summoned his Wazir Al-Fazl and said to him, “I wish to have a slave-girl of passing beauty, perfect in loveliness, exquisite in symmetry and endowed with all praiseworthy gifts.” Said the courtiers, “Such a girl is not to be bought for less than ten thousand gold pieces:” whereupon the Sultan called out to his treasurer and said, “Carry ten thousand dinars to the house of Al-Fazl bin Khákán.” The treasurer did the King’s bidding; and the Minister went away, after receiving the royal charge to repair to the slave-bazar every day, and entrust to brokers the matter aforesaid. Moreover the King issued orders that girls worth above a thousand gold pieces should not be bought or sold without being first displayed to the Wazir. Accordingly no broker purchased a slave-girl ere she had been paraded before the minister; but none pleased him, till one day a dealer came to the house and found him taking horse and intending for the palace. So he caught hold of his stirrup saying,

“O thou, who givest to royal state sweet savour,
Thou’rt a Wazir shalt never fail of favour!
Dead Bounty thou hast raised to life for men;
Ne’er fail of Allah’s grace such high endeavour!”

Then quoth he, “O my lord, that surpassing object for whom the gracious mandate was issued is at last found;[5]” and quoth the Wazir, “Here with her to me!” So he went away and returned after a little, bringing a damsel in richest raiment robed, a maid spear-straight of stature and five feet tall; budding of bosom with eyes large and black as by Kohl traced, and dewy lips sweeter than syrup or the sherbet one sips, a virginette smooth cheeked and shapely faced, whose slender waist with massive hips was engraced; a form more pleasing than branchlet waving upon the top-most trees; and a voice softer and gentler than the morning breeze, even as saith one of those who have described her,

“Strange is the charm which dights her brows like Luna’s disk that shine;
O sweeter taste than sweetest Robb[6] or raisins of the vine.
A throne th’Empyrean keeps for her in high and glorious state,
For wit and wisdom, wandlike form and graceful bending line:
She in the Heaven of her face[7] the seven-fold stars displays,
That guard her cheeks as satellites against the spy’s design:
If man should cast a furtive glance or steal far look at her,
His heart is burnt by devil-bolts shot by those piercing eyne.”

When the Wazir saw her she made him marvel with excess of admiration, so he turned, perfectly pleased, to the broker and asked, “What is the price of this girl?”; whereto he answered, “Her market-value stands at ten thousand dinars, but her owner swears that this sum will not cover the cost of the chickens she hath eaten, the wine she hath drunken and the dresses of honour bestowed upon her instructor: for she hath learned calligraphy and syntax and etymology; the commentaries of the Koran; the principles of law and religion; the canons of medicine, and the calendar and the art of playing on musical instruments.”[8] Said the Wazir, “Bring me her master.” So the broker brought him at once and, behold, he was a Persian of whom there was left only what the days had left; for he was as a vulture bald and scald and a wall trembling to its fall. Time had buffetted him with sore smart, yet was he not willing this world to depart; even as said the poet,

“Time hath shattered all my frame,
Oh! how time hath shattered me.
Time with lordly might can tame
Manly strength and vigour free.
Time was in my youth, that none
Sped their way more fleet and fast:
Time is and my strength is gone,
Youth is sped, and speed is past.[9]

The Wazir asked him, “Art thou content to sell this slave-girl to the Sultan for ten thousand dinars?”; and the Persian answered, “By Allah, if I offer her to the King for naught, it were but my devoir.”[10] So the Minister bade bring the monies and saw them weighed out to the Persian, who stood up before him and said, “By the leave of our lord the Wazir, I have somewhat to say;” and the Wazir replied, “Out with all thou hast!” “It is my opinion,” continued the slave-dealer, “that thou shouldst not carry the maid to the King this day; for she is newly off a journey; the change of air[11] hath affected her and the toils of trouble have fretted her. But keep her quiet in thy palace some ten days, that she may recover her looks and become again as she was. Then send her to the Hammam and clothe her in the richest of clothes and go up with her to the Sultan: this will be more to thy profit.” The Wazir pondered the Persian’s words and approved of their wisdom; so he carried her to his palace, where he appointed her private rooms, and allowed her every day whatever she wanted of meat and drink and so forth. And on this wise she abode a while. Now the Wazir Al-Fazl had a son like the full moon when sheeniest dight, with face radiant in light, cheeks ruddy-bright, and a mole like a dot of ambergris on a downy site; as said of him the poet and said full right,

“A moon which blights you[12] if you dare behold;
A branch which folds you in its waving fold:
Locks of the Zanj[13] and golden glint of hair;
Sweet gait and form a spear to have and hold:
Ah! hard of heart with softest slenderest waist,
That evil to this weal why not remould?[14]
Were thy form’s softness placed in thy heart,
Ne’er would thy lover find thee harsh and cold:
Oh thou accuser! be my love’s excuser,
Nor chide if love-pangs deal me woes untold!
I bear no blame: ‘tis all my hear and eyne;
So leave thy blaming, let me yearn and pine.”

Now the handsome youth knew not the affair of the damsel; and his father had enjoined her closely, saying, “Know, O my daughter, that I have bought thee as a bedfellow for our King, Mohammed bin Sulayman al-Zayni; and I have a son who is a Satan for girls and leaves no maid in the neighbourhood without taking her maidenhead; so be on thy guard against him and beware of letting him see thy face or hear thy voice.” “Hearkening and obedience,” said the girl; and he left her and fared forth. Some days after this it happened by decree of Destiny, that the damsel repaired to the baths in the house, where some of the slave women bathed her; after which she arrayed herself in sumptuous raiment; and her beauty and loveliness were thereby redoubled. Then she went in to the Wazir’s wife and kissed her hand; and the dame said to her, “Naiman! May it benefit thee,[15] O Anis al- Jalis![16] Are not our baths handsome?” “O my mistress,” she replied, “I lacked naught there save thy gracious presence.” Thereupon the lady said to her slave-women, “Come with us to the Hammam, for it is some days since we went there:” they answered, “To hear is to obey!” and rose and all accompanied her. Now she had set two little slave-girls to keep the door of the private chamber wherein was Anis al-Jalis and had said to them, “Suffer none go in to the damsel.” Presently, as the beautiful maiden sat resting in her rooms, suddenly came in the Wazir’s son whose name was Nur al-Din Ali,[17] and asked after his mother and her women, to which the two little slave-girls replied, “They are in the Hammam.” But the damsel, Anis al-Jalis, had heard from within Nur al-Din Ali’s voice and had said to herself, “O would Heaven I saw what like is this youth against whom the Wazir warned me, saying that he hath not left a virgin in the neighbourhood without taking her virginity: by Allah, I do long to have sight of him!” So she sprang to her feet with the freshness of the bath on her and, stepping to the door, looked at Nur al-Din Ali and saw a youth like the moon in its full and the sight bequeathed her a thousand sighs. The young man also glanced at her and the look make him heir to a thousand thoughts of care; and each fell into Love’s ready snare. Then he stepped up to the two little slave-girls and cried aloud at them; whereupon both fled before him and stood afar off to see what he would do. And behold, he walked to the door of the damsel’s chamber and, opening it, went in and asked her “Art thou she my father bought for me?” and she answered “Yes.” Thereupon the youth, who was warm with wine, came up to her and embraced her; then he took her legs and passed them round his waist and she wound her arms about his neck, and met him with kisses and murmurs of pleasure and amorous toyings. Next he sucked her tongue and she sucked his, and lastly, he loosed the strings of her petticoat-trousers and abated her maidenhead. When the two little slave-girls saw their young master get in unto the damsel, Anis al-Jalis, they cried out and shrieked; so as soon as the youth had had his wicked will of her, he rose and fled forth fearing the consequences of his ill-doing. When the Wazir’s wife heard the slave-girls’ cries, she sprang up and came out of the baths with the perspiration pouring from her face, saying, “What is this unseemly clamour in the house[18]?” Then she came up to the two little slave- girls and asked them saying, “Fie upon you! what is the matter?”; and both answered, “Verily our lord Nur al-Din came in and beat us, so we fled; then he went up to Anis al-Jalis and threw his arms round her and we know not what he did after that; but when we cried out to thee he ran away.” Upon this the lady went to Anis al-Jalis and said to her, “What tidings?” “O my lady,” she answered, “as I was sitting here lo! a handsome young man came in and said to me:—Art thou she my father bought for me?; and I answered Yes; for, by Allah, O mistress mine, I believed that his words were true; and he instantly came in and embraced me.” “Did he nought else with thee but this?” quoth the lady, and quoth she, “Indeed he did! But he did it only three times.” “He did not leave thee without dishonouring thee!” cried the Wazir’s wife and fell to weeping and buffetting her face, she and the girl and all the handmaidens, fearing lest Nur al-Din’s father should kill him.[19] Whilst they were thus, in came the Wazir and asked what was the matter, and his wife said to him, “Swear that whatso I tell thee thou wilt attend to it.” “I will,” answered he. So she related to him what his son had done, whereat he was much concerned and rent his raiment and smote his face till his nose bled, and plucked out his beard by the handful. “Do not kill thyself,” said his wife, “I will give thee ten thousand dinars, her price, of my own money.” But he raised his head and cried, “Out upon thee! I have no need of her purchase-money: my fear is lest life as well as money go.” “O my lord, and how is that?” “Wottest thou not that yonder standeth our enemy Al Mu’ín bin Sáwí who, as soon as he shall hear of this matter, will go up to the Sultan”—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Thirty-fifth Night,

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Wazir said to his wife, “Wottest thou not that yonder standeth our enemy Al-Mu’ín bin Sáwí who, as soon as he hears of this matter will go up to the Sultan and say to him, ‘Thy Wazir who, thou wilt have it loveth thee, took from thee ten thousand ducats and bought therewith a slave-girl whose like none ever beheld; but when he saw her, she pleased him and he said to his son, ‘Take her: thou art worthier of her than the Sultan.’ So he took her and did away with her virginity and she is now in his house.’ The King will say, ‘Thou liest!’ to which he will reply, ‘With thy leave I will fall upon him unawares and bring her to thee.’ The King will give him warranty for this and he will come down upon the house and will take the girl and present her to the Sultan, who will question her and she will not be able to deny the past. Then mine enemy will say, ‘O my lord, thou wottest that I give thee the best of counsel; but I have not found favour in thine eyes.’ Thereupon the Sultan will make an example of me, and I shall be a gazing-stock to all the people and my life will be lost.” Quoth his wife, “Let none know of this thing which hath happened privily, and commit thy case to Allah and trust in Him to save thee from such strait; for He who knoweth the future shall provide for the future.” With this she brought the Wazir a cup of wine and his heart was quieted, and he ceased to feel wrath and fear. Thus far concerning him; but as regards his son Nur al-Din Ali, fearing the consequence of his misdeed he abode his day long in the flower garden and came back only at night to his mother’s apartment where he slept; and, rising before dawn, returned to the gardens. He ceased not to do thus for two whole months without showing his face to his parent, till at last his mother said to his father, “O my lord, shall we lose our boy as well as the girl? If matters continue long in this way he will flee from us.” “And what to do?” asked he; and she answered, “Do thou watch this night; and, when he cometh, seize on him and frighten him: I will rescue him from thee and do thou make peace with him and give him the damsel to wife, for she loveth him as he loveth her. And I will pay thee her price.” So the Minister say up that night and, when his son came, he seized him and throwing him down knelt on his breast and showed as thou he would cut his throat; but his mother ran to the youth’s succour and asked her husband, “What wouldest thou do with him?” He answered her, “I will split his weasand.” Said the son to the father, “Is my death, then, so light a matter to thee?”; and his father’s eyes welled with tears, for natural affection moved him, and he rejoined, “O my son, how light was to thee the loss of my good and my life!” Quoth Nur al-Din, “Hear, O my father, what the poet hath said,

‘Forgive me! thee-ward sinned I, but the wise
Ne’er to the sinner shall deny his grace:
Thy foe may pardon sue when lieth he
In lowest, and thou holdest highest place!’”

Thereupon the Wazir rose from off his son’s breast saying, “I forgive thee!”; for his heart yearned to him; and the youth kissed the hand of his sire who said, “O my son, were I sure that thou wouldest deal justly by Anis al-Jalis, I would give her to thee.” “O my father, what justice am I to do to her?” “I enjoin thee, O my son, not to take another wife or concubine to share with her, nor sell her.” “O my father! I swear to thee that verily I will not do her injustice in either way.” Having sworn to that effect Nur al-Din went in to the damsel and abode with her a whole year, whilst Allah Almighty caused the King to forget the matter of the maiden; and Al-Mu’ín, though the affair came to his ears, dared not divulge it by reason of the high favour in which his rival stood with the Sultan. At the end of the year Al-Fazl went one day to the public baths; and, as he came out whilst he was still sweating, the air struck him[20] and he caught a cold which turned to a fever; then he took to his bed. His malady gained ground and restlessness was longsome upon him and weakness bound him like a chain; so he called out, “Hither with my son;” and when Nur al-Din Ali came he said to him, “O my son, know that man’s lot and means are distributed and decreed; and the end of days by all must be dree’d; and that every soul drain the cup of death is nature’s need.” The he repeated these lines,

“I die my death, but He alone is great who dieth not!
And well I wot, soon shall I die, for death was made my lot:
A King there’s not that dies and holds his kingdom in his hand,
For Sovranty the Kingdom is of Him who dieth not.”

Then he continued, “O my son, I have no charge to leave thee save that thou fear Allah and look to the issues of thine acts and bear in mind my injunctions anent Anis al-Jalis.” “O my father!” said Nur al-Din, “who is like unto thee? Indeed thou art famed for well doing and preachers offer prayers for thee in their pulpits!” Quoth Al-Fazl, “O my son, I hope that Allah Almighty may grant me acceptance!” Then he pronounced the Two Testimonies,[21] or Professions of the Faith, and was recorded among the blessed. The palace was filled with crying and lamentation and the news of his death reached the King, and the city-people wept, even those at their prayers and women at household cares and the school-children shed tears for Bin- Khákán. Then his son Nur al-Din Ali arose and made ready his funeral, and the Emirs and Wazirs and high Officers of State and city-notables were present, amongst them the Wazir al-Mu’ín bin Sáwí. And as the bier went forth from the house some one in the crowd of mourners began to chant these lines,

“On the fifth day I quitted al my friends for evermore,
And they laid me out and washed me on a slab without my door:[22]
They stripped me of the clothes I was ever wont to wear,
And they clothed me in the clothes which till then I never wore.
On four men’s necks they bore me and carried me from home
To chapel; and some prayed for him on neck they bore:
They prayed for me a prayer that no prostration knows;[23]
They prayed for me who praisèd me and were my friends of yore;
And they laid me in a house with a ceiling vaulted o’er,
And Time shall be no more ere it ope to me its door.”

When they had shovelled in the dust over him and the crowd had dispersed, Nur al-Din returned home and he lamented with sobs and tears; and the tongue of the case repeated these couplets,

“On the fifth day at even-tide they went away from me:
I farewelled them as faring they made farewell my lot:
But my spirit as they went, with them went and so I cried,
‘Ah return ye!’ but replied she, ‘Alas! return is not
To a framework lere and lorn that lacketh blood and life,
A frame whereof remaineth naught but bones that rattle and rot:
Mine eyes are blind and cannot see quencht by the flowing tear!
Mine ears are dull and lost to sense: they have no power to hear!’”

He abode a long time sorrowing for his father till, one day, as he was sitting at home, there came a knocking at the door; so he rose in haste and opening let in a man, one of his father’s intimates and who had been the Wazir’s boon-companion. The visitor kissed Nur al-Din’s hand and said to him, “O my lord, he who hath left the like of thee is not dead; and this way went also the Chief of the Ancients and the Moderns.[24] O my lord Ali, be comforted and leave sorrowing.” Thereupon Nur al-Din rose and going to the guest-saloon transported thither all he needed. Then he assembled his companions and took his handmaid again; and, collecting round him ten of the sons of the merchants, began to eat meat and drink wine, giving entertainment after entertainment and lavishing his presents and his favours. One day his Steward came to him and said, “O my lord Nur al-Din, hast thou not heard the saying, Whoso spendeth and reckoneth not, to poverty wendeth and recketh not?” And he repeated what the poet wrote,

“I look to my money and keep it with care,
For right well I wot ‘tis my buckler and brand:
Did I lavish my dirhams on hostilest foes,[25]
I should truck my good luck by mine ill luck trepanned:
So I’ll eat it and drink it and joy in my wealth;
And no spending my pennies on others I’ll stand:
I will keep my purse close ‘gainst whoever he be;
And a niggard in grain a true friend ne’er I fand:
Far better deny him than come to say:—Lend,
And five-fold the loan shall return to thy hand!
And he turns face aside and he sidles away,
While I stand like a dog disappointed, unmanned.
Oh, the sorry lot his who hath yellow-boys none,
Though his genius and virtues shine bright as the sun!

“O my master,” continued the Steward, “this lavish outlay and these magnificent gifts waste away wealth.” When Nur al-Din Ali heard these words he looked at his servant and cried, “Of all thou hast spoken I will not heed one single word, for I have heard the saying of the poet who saith,

‘An my palm be full of wealth and my wealth I ne’er bestow,
A palsy take my hand and my foot ne’er rise again!
Show me niggard who by niggardise e’er rose to high degree,
Or the generous in gifts generosity hath slain.’”

And he pursued, “Know, O Steward, it is my desire that so long as thou hast money enough for my breakfast, thou trouble me not with taking thought about my supper.” Thereupon the Steward asked, “Must it be so?”; and he answered, “It must.” So the honest man went his way and Nur al-Din Ali devoted himself to extravagance; and, if any of his cup-companions chanced to say, “This is a pretty thing;” he would reply, “‘Tis a gift to thee!”; or if another said, “O my lord, such a house is handsome;” he would answer, “Take it: it is thine!” After this reckless fashion he continued to live for a whole year, giving his friends a banquet in the morning and a banquet in the evening and a banquet at midnight, till one day, as the company was sitting together, the damsel Anis al-Jalis repeated these lines,

“Thou deemedst well of Time when days went well,
And feardest not what ills might deal thee Fate:
Thy nights so fair and restful cozened thee,
For peaceful nights bring woes of heavy weight.”

When she had ended her verse behold, somebody knocked at the door. So Nur al-Din rose to open it and one of his boon- companions followed him without being perceived. At the door he found his Steward and asked him, “What is the matter?”; and he answered, “O my lord, what I dreaded for thee hath come to pass!” “How so?” “Know that there remains not a dirham’s worth, less or more in my hands. Here are my Daftars and account books showing both income and outlay and the registers of thine original property.” When Nur al-Din heard these words he bowed his head and said, “There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah!” When the man who had followed him privily to spy on him heard the Steward’s words, he returned to his friends and warned them saying, “Look ye well to what ye do: Nur al-Din is penniless;” and, as the young host came back to his guests, vexation showed itself in his face. Thereupon one of the intimates rose; and, looking at the entertainer, said to him, “O my lord, may be thou wilt give me leave to retire?” “And why so early retirement this day?”; asked he and the other answered him, “My wife is in childbirth and I may not be absent from her: indeed I must return and see how she does.” So he gave him leave, whereupon another rose and said, “O my lord Nur al-Din, I wish now to go to my brother’s for he circumciseth his son to- day.”[26] In short each and every asked permission to retire on some pretence or other, till all the ten were gone leaving Nur al-Din alone. Then he called his slave-girl and said to her, “O Anis al-Jalis, hast thou seen what case is mine?” And he related to her what the Steward had told him. Then quoth she, “O my lord, for many nights I had it in my mind to speak with thee of this matter, but I heard thee repeating,

‘When the World heaps favours on thee, pass on
Thy favours to friends ere her hand she stay:
Largesse never let her when fain she comes,
Nor niggardise kept her from turning away!’

When I heard these verses I held my peace and cared not to exchange a word with thee.” “O Anis al-Jalis,” said Nur al-Din, “thou knowest that I have not wasted my wealth save on my friends, especially these ten who have now left me a pauper, and I think they will not abandon and desert me without relief.” “By Allah,” replied she, “they will not profit thee with aught of aid.” Said he, “I will rise at once and go to them and knock at their doors; it may be I shall get from them somewhat wherewith I may trade and leave pastime and pleasuring.” So he rose without stay or delay, and repaired to a street wherein all his ten friends lived. He went up to the nearest door and knocked; whereupon a handmaid came out and asked him, “Who art thou?”; and he answered, “Tell thy master that Nur al-Din Ali standeth at the door and saith to him, ‘Thy slave kisseth thy hand and awaiteth thy bounty.’” The girl went in and told her master, who cried at her, “Go back and say, ‘My master is not at home.’” So she returned to Nur al-Din, and said to him, “O my lord, my master is out.” Thereupon he turned away and said to himself, “If this one be a whoreson knave and deny himself, another may not prove himself such knave and whoreson.” Then he went up to the next door and sent in a like message to the house-master, who denied himself as the first had done, whereupon he began repeating,

“He is gone who when to his gate thou go’st,
Fed thy famisht maw with his boiled and roast.”

When he had ended his verse he said, “By Allah, there is no help but that I make trial of them all: perchance there be one amongst them who will stand me in the stead of all the rest.” So he went the round of the ten, but not one of them would open his door to him or show himself or even break a bit of bread before him; whereupon he recited,

“Like a tree is he who in wealth doth wone,
And while fruits he the folk to his fruit shall run:
But when bared the tree of what fruit it bare,
They leave it to suffer from dust and sun.
Perdition to all of this age! I find
Ten rogues for every righteous one.”

Then he returned to his slave-girl and his grief had grown more grievous and she said to him, “O my lord, did I not tell thee, none would profit thee with aught of aid?” And he replied, “By Allah, not one of them would show me his face or know me!” “O my lord,” quoth she, “sell some of the moveables and household stuff, such as pots and pans, little by little; and expend the proceeds until Allah Almighty shall provide.” So he sold all of that was in the house till nothing remained when he turned to Anis al-Jalis and asked her “What shall we do now?”; and she answered, “O my lord, it is my advice that thou rise forthwith and take me down to the bazar and sell me. Thou knowest that they father bought me for ten thousand dinars: haply Allah may open thee a way to get the same price, and if it be His will to bring us once more together, we shall meet again.” “O Anis al- Jalis,” cried he, “by Allah it is no light matter for me to be parted from thee for a single hour!” “By Allah, O my lord,” she replied, “nor is it easy to me either, but Need hath its own law, as the poet said,

‘Need drives a man into devious roads,
And pathways doubtful of trend and scope:
No man to a rope[27] will entrust his weight,
Save for cause that calleth for case of rope.’”

Thereupon he rose to his feet and took her,[28] whilst the tears rolled down his cheek like rain; and he recited with the tongue of the case these lines,

“Stay! grant one parting look before we part,
Nerving my heart this severance to sustain:
But, an this parting deal thee pain and bane,
Leave me to die of love and spare thee pain!”

Then he went down with her to the bazar and delivered her to the broker and said to him, “O Hájj Hasan,[29] I pray thee note the value of her thou hast to cry for sale.” “O my lord Nur al- Din,” quoth the broker, “the fundamentals are remembered;”[30] adding, “Is not this the Anis al-Jalis whom thy father bought of me for ten thousand dinars?” “Yes,” said Nur al-Din. Thereupon the broker went round to the merchants, but found that all had not yet assembled. So he waited till the rest had arrived and the market was crowded with slave-girls of all nations, Turks, Franks and Circassians; Abyssinians, Nubians and Takrúrís;[31] Tartars, Georgians and others; when he came forward and standing cried aloud, “O merchants! O men of money! every round thing is not a walnut and every long thing a banana is not; all reds are not meat nor all whites fat, nor is every brown thing a date![32] O merchants, I have here this union-pearl that hath no price: at what sum shall I cry her?” “Cry her at four thousand five hundred dinars,” quoth one of the traders. The broker opened the door of sale at the sum named and, as he was yet calling, lo! the Wazir Al-Mu’ín bin Sáwí passed through the bazar and, seeing Nur al-Din Ali waiting at one side, said to himself, “Why is Khákán’s son[33] standing about here? Hath this gallows-bird aught remaining wherewith to buy slave-girls?” Then he looked round and, seeing the broker calling out in the market with all the merchants around him, said to himself, “I am sure that he is penniless and hath brought hither the damsel Anis al-Jalis for sale;” adding, “O how cooling and grateful is this to my heart!” Then he called the crier, who came up and kissed the ground before him; and he said to him, “I want this slave-girl whom thou art calling for sale.” The broker dared not cross him, so he answered, “O my lord, Bismillah! in Allah’s name so be it;” and led forward the damsel and showed her to him. She pleased him much whereat he asked, “O Hasan, what is bidden for this girl?” and he answered, “Four thousand five hundred dinars to open the door of sale.” Quoth Al-Mu’ín, “Four thousand five hundred is MY bid.” When the merchants heard this, they held back and dared not bid another dirham, wotting what they did of the Wazir’s tyranny, violence and treachery. So Al-Mu’ín looked at the broker and said to him, “Why stand still? Go and offer four thousand dinars for me and the five hundred shall be for thyself.” Thereupon the broker went to Nur al-Din and said, “O my lord, thy slave is going for nothing!” “And how so?” asked he. The broker answered, “We had opened the biddings for her at four thousand five hundred dinars; when that tyrant, Al-Mu’ín bin Sáwí, passed through the bazar and, as he saw the damsel she pleased him, so he cried to me, ‘Call me the buyer at four thousand dinars and thou shalt have five hundred for thyself.’ I doubt not but that he knoweth that the damsel is thine, and if he would pay thee down her price at once it were well; but I know his injustice and violence; he will give thee a written order upon some of his agents and will send after thee to say to them, ‘Pay him nothing.’ So as often as though shalt go in quest of the coin they will say, ‘We’ll pay thee presently!’ and they will put thee off day after day, and thou art proud of spirit; till at last, when they are wearied with thine importunity, they will say, ‘Show us the cheque.’ Then, as soon as they have got hold of it they will tear it up and so thou wilt lose the girl’s price.” When Nur al-Din heard this he looked at the broker and asked him, “How shall this matter be managed?”; and he answered, “I will give thee a counsel which, if thou follow, it shall bring thee complete satisfaction.” “And what is that?” quoth Nur al-Din. Quoth the broker, “Come thou to me anon when I am standing in the middle of the market and, taking the girl from my hand, give her a sound cuffing and say to her, ‘Thou baggage, I have kept my vow and brought thee down to the slave-market, because I swore an oath that I would carry thee from home to the bazar, and make brokers cry thee for sale.’ If thou do this, perhaps the device will impose upon the Wazir and the people, and they will believe that thou broughtest her not to the bazar but for the quittance of thine oath.” He replied, “Such were the best way.” Then the broker left him and, returning into the midst of the market, took the damsel by the hand, and signed to the Wazir and said, “O my lord, here is her owner.” With this up came Nur al-Din Ali and, snatching the girl from the broker’s hand, cuffed her soundly and said to her, “Shame on thee, O thou baggage! I have brought thee to the bazar for quittance of mine oath; now get thee home and thwart me no more as is thy wont. Woe to thee! do I need thy price, that I should sell thee? The furniture of my house would fetch thy value many times over!” When Al-Mu’ín saw this he said to Nur al-Din, “Out on thee! Hast thou anything left for selling or buying?” And he would have laid violent hands upon him, but the merchants interposed (for they all loved Nur al-Din), and the young man said to them, “Here am I in your hands and ye all know his tyranny.” “By Allah,” cried the Wazir, “but for you I had slain him!” Then all signed with significant eyes to Nur al-Din as much as to say, “Take thy wreak of him; not one of us will come between thee and him.” Thereupon Nur al-Din, who was stout of heart as he was stalwart of limb, went up to the Wazir and, dragging him over the pommel of his saddle, threw him to the ground. Now there was in that place a puddling- pit for brick- clay,[34] into the midst of which he fell, and Nur al-Din kept pummelling and fisti-cuffing him, and one of the blows fell full on his teeth, and his beard was dyed with his blood. Also there were with the minister ten armed slaves who, seeing their master entreated after this fashion, laid hand on sword-hilt and would have bared blades and fallen on Nur al-Din to cut him down; but the merchants and bystanders said to them, “This is a Wazir and that is the son of a Wazir; haply they will make friends some time or other, in which case you will forfeit the favour of both. Or perchance a blow may befal your lord, and you will all die the vilest of deaths; so it were better for you not to interfere.” Accordingly they held aloof and, when Nur al-Din had made an end of thrashing the Wazir, he took his handmaid and fared homewards. Al-Mu’ín also went his ways at once, with his raiment dyed of three colours, black with mud, red with blood and ash coloured with brick-clay. When he saw himself in this state, he bound a bit of matting[35] round his neck and, taking in hand two bundles of coarse Halfah-grass,[36] went up to the palace and standing under the Sultan’s windows cried aloud, “O King of the age, I am a wronged man! I am foully wronged!” So they brought him before the King who looked at him; and behold, it was the chief Minister; whereupon he said, “O Wazir who did this deed by thee?” Al-Mu’ín wept and sobbed and repeated these lines,

“Shall the World oppress me when thou art in’t?
In the lion’s presence shall wolves devour?
Shall the dry all drink of thy tanks and I
Under rain-cloud thirst for the cooling shower?”

“O my lord,” cried he, “the like will befal every one who loveth and serveth thee well.” “Be quick with thee,” quoth the Sultan, “and tell me how this came to pass and who did this deed by one whose honour is part of my honour.” Quoth the Wazir, “Know, O my lord, that I went out this day to the slave-market to buy me a cookmaid, when I saw there a damsel, never in my life long saw I a fairer; and I designed to buy her for our lord the Sultan; so I asked the broker of her and of her owner, and he answered, “She belongeth to Ali son of Al-Fazl bin Khákán. Some time ago our lord the Sultan gave his father ten thousand dinars wherewith to buy him a handsome slave-girl, and he bought this maiden who pleased him; so he grudged her to our lord the Sultan and gave her to his own son. When the father died, the son sold all he had of houses and gardens and household gear, and squandered the price till he was penniless. Then he brought the girl to the market that he might sell her, and he handed her over to the broker to cry and the merchants bid higher and higher on her, until the price reached four thousand dinars; whereupon quoth I to myself, ‘I will buy this damsel for our lord the Sultan, whose money was paid for her.’ So I said to Nur al-Din, ‘O my son, sell her to me for four thousand dinars.’ When he heard my words he looked at me and cried, ‘O ill-omened oldster, I will sell her to a Jew or to a Nazarene, but I will not sell her to thee!’ ‘I do not buy her for myself,’ said I, ‘I buy her for our lord and benefactor the Sultan.’ Hearing my words he was filled with rage; and, dragging me off my horse (and I a very old man), beat me unmercifully with his fists and buffeted me with his palms till he left me as thou seest, and all this hath befallen me only because I thought to buy this damsel for thee!” Then the Wazir threw himself on the ground and lay there weeping and shivering. When the Sultan saw his condition and heard his story, the vein of rage started out between his eyes[37] and he turned to his body-guard who stood before him, forty white slaves, smiters with the sword, and said to them, “Go down forthright to the house built by the son of Khákán and sack it and raze it and bring to me his son Nur al-Din with the damsel; and drag them both on their faces with their arms pinioned behind them.” They replied, “To hear is to obey;” and, arming themselves, they set out for the house of Nur al-Din Ali. Now about the Sultan was a Chamberlain, Alam[38] al-Din Sanjar hight, who had aforetime been Mameluke to Al-Fazl; but he had risen in the world and the Sultan had advanced him to be one of his Chamberlains. When he heard the King’s command and saw the enemies make them ready to slay his old master’s son, it was grievous to him: so he went out from before the Sultan and, mounting his beast, rode to Nur al- Din’s house and knocked at the door. Nur al-Din came out and knowing him would have saluted him: but he said, “O my master this is no time for greeting or treating. Listen to what the poet said,

‘Fly, fly with thy life if by ill overtaken!
Let thy house speak thy death by its builder forsaken!
For a land else than this land thou may’st reach, my brother,
But thy life tho’lt ne’er find in this world another.’”[39]

“O Alam al-Din what cheer?” asked Nur al-Din, and he answered, “Rise quickly and fly for thy life, thou and the damsel; for Al- Mu’ín hath set a snare for you both; and, if you fall into his hands, he will slay you. The Sultan hath despatched forty sworders against you and I counsel you to flee ere harm can hurt you.” Then Sanjar put his hand to his purse and finding there forty gold pieces took them and gave them to Nur al-Din, saying, “O my lord receive these and journey with them. Had I more I would give them to thee, but this is not the time to take exception.” Thereupon Nur al-Din went in to the damsel and told her what had happened, at which she wrung her hands. Then they fared forth at once from the city, and Allah spread over them His veil of protection, so that they reached the river-bank where they found a vessel ready for sea. Her skipper was standing amidships and crying, “Whoso hath aught to do, whether in the way of provisioning or taking leave of his people; or whoso hath forgotten any needful thing, let him do it at once and return, for we are about to sail”; and all of them saying, “There is naught left to be done by us, O captain!”, he cried to his crew, “Hallo there! cast off the cable and pull up the mooring- pole!”[40] Quoth Nur al-Din, “Whither bound, O captain?” and quoth he, “To the House of Peace, Baghdad,”—-And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Thirty-sixth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the skipper answered, “To the House of Peace, Baghdad,” Nur al-Din Ali and the damsel went on board, and they launched the craft and shook out the sails, and the ship sped forth as though she were a bird on wing; even as said one of them and said right well,

“Watch some tall ship, she’ll joy the sight of thee,
The breeze outstripping in her haste to flee;
As when a bird, with widely-spreading wings,
Leaveth the sky to settle on the sea.”

So the vessel sailed on her fastest and the wind to her was fairest. Thus far concerning them; but as regards the Mamelukes, they went to Nur al-Din’s mansion and, breaking open the doors, entered and searched the whole place, but could find no trace of him and the damsel; so they demolished the house and, returning to the Sultan, reported their proceedings; whereupon quoth he, “Make search for them both, wherever they may be;” and they answered, “Hearing is obeying.” The Wazir Al-Mu’ín had also gone home after the Sultan had bestowed upon him a robe of honour, and had set his heart at rest by saying, “None shall take blood-wreak for thee save I;” and he had blessed the King and prayed for his long life and prosperity. Then the Sultan bade proclaim about the city, “Oyez, O ye lieges one and all! It is the will of our lord the Sultan that whoso happeneth on Nur al-Din Ali son of Al- Fazl bin Khákán, and bringeth him to the Sultan, shall receive a robe of honour and one thousand gold pieces; and he who hideth him or knoweth his abiding place and informeth not, deserveth whatsoever pains and penalties shall befal him.” So all began to search for Nur al-Din Ali, but they could find neither trace nor tidings of him. Meanwhile he and his handmaid sailed on with the wind right aft, till they arrived in safety at Baghdad, and the captain said to them, “This is Baghdad and ‘tis the city where security is to be had: Winter with his frosts hath turned away and Prime hath come his roses to display; and the flowers are a- glowing and the trees are blowing and the streams are flowing.” So Nur al-Din landed, he and his handmaid and, giving the captain five dinars, walked on a little way till the decrees of Destiny brought them among the gardens, and they came to a place swept and sprinkled, with benches along the walls and hanging jars filled with water.[41] Overhead was a trellis of reed-work and canes shading the whole length of the avenue, and at the upper end was a garden gate, but this was locked. “By Allah,” quoth Nur al-Din to the damsel, “right pleasant is this place!”; and she replied, “O my lord sit with me a while on this bench and let us take our ease.” So they mounted and sat them down on the bench, after which they washed their faces and hands; and the breeze blew cool on them and they fell asleep and glory be to Him who never sleepeth! Now this garden was named the Garden of Gladness[42] and therein stood a belvedere hight the Palace of Pleasure and the Pavilion of Pictures, the whole belonging to the Caliph Harun al-Rashid who was wont, when his breast was straitened with care, to frequent garden and palace and there to sit. The palace had eighty latticed windows and fourscore lamps hanging round a great candelabrum of gold furnished with wax- candles; and, when the Caliph used to enter, he would order the handmaids to throw open the lattices and light up the rooms; and he would bid Ishak bin Ibrahim the cup-companion and the slave- girls to sing till his breast was broadened and his ailments were allayed. Now the keeper of the garden, Shaykh Ibrahim, was a very old man, and he had found from time to time, when he went out on any business, people pleasuring about the garden gate with their bona robas; at which he was angered with exceeding anger.[43] But he took patience till one day when the Caliph came to his garden; and he complained of this to Harun al-Rashid who said, “Whomsoever thou surprisest about the door of the garden, deal with him as thou wilt.” Now on this day the Gardener chanced to be abroad on some occasion and returning found these two sleeping at the gate covered with a single mantilla; whereupon said he, “By Allah, good! These twain know not that the Caliph hath given me leave to slay anyone I may catch at the door; but I will give this couple a shrewd whipping, that none may come near the gate in future.” So he cut a green palm-frond[44] and went up to them and, raising his arm till the white of his arm-pit appeared, was about to strike them, when he bethought himself and said, “O Ibrahim, wilt thou beat them unknowing their case? Haply they are strangers or of the Sons of the Road,[45] and the decrees of Destiny have thrown them here. I will uncover their faces and look at them.” So he lifted up the mantilla from their heads and said, “They are a handsome couple; it were not fitting that I should beat them.” Then he covered their faces again and, going to Nur al-Din’s feet, began to rub and shampoo them,[46] whereupon the youth opened his eyes and, seeing an old man of grave and reverend aspect rubbing his feet, he was ashamed and drawing them in, sat up. Then he took Shaykh Ibrahim’s hand and kissed it. Quoth the old man, “O my son, whence art thou?”; and quoth he, “O my lord, we two are strangers,” and the tears started from his eyes. “O my son,” said Shaykh Ibrahim, “know that the Prophet (whom Allah bless and preserve!) hath enjoined honour to the stranger;” and added, “Wilt not thou arise, O my son, and pass into the garden and solace thyself by looking at it and gladden thy heart?” “O my lord,” said Nur al-Din, “to whom doth this garden belong?;” and the other replied, “O my son, I have inherited it from my folk.” Now his object in saying this was to set them at their ease and induce them to enter the garden. So Nur al-Din thanked him and rose, he and the damsel, and followed him into the garden; and lo! it was a garden, and what a garden! The gate was arched like a great hall and over walls and roof ramped vines with grapes of many colours; the red like rubies and the black like ebonies; and beyond it lay a bower of trelliced boughs growing fruits single and composite, and small birds on branches sang with melodious recite, and the thousand-noted nightingale shrilled with her varied shright; the turtle with her cooing filled the site; the blackbird whistled like human wight[47] and the ring-dove moaned like a drinker in grievous plight. The trees grew in perfection all edible growths and fruited all manner fruits which in pairs were bipartite; with the camphor- apricot, the almond-apricot and the apricot “Khorasani” hight; the plum, like the face of beauty, smooth and bright; the cherry that makes teeth shine clear by her sleight, and the fig of three colours, green, purple and white. There also blossomed the violet as it were sulphur on fire by night; the orange with buds like pink coral and marguerite; the rose whose redness gars the loveliest cheeks blush with despight; and myrtle and gilliflower and lavender with the blood-red anemone from Nu’uman hight. The leaves were all gemmed with tears the clouds had dight; the chamomile smiled showing teeth that bite, and Narcissus with his negro[48] eyes fixed on Rose his sight; the citrons shone with fruits embowled and the lemons like balls of gold; earth was carpeted with flowers tinctured infinite; for Spring was come brightening the place with joy and delight; and the streams ran ringing, to the birds’ gay singing, while the rustling breeze upspringing attempered the air to temperance exquisite. Shaykh Ibrahim carried them up into the pavilion, and they gazed on its beauty, and on the lamps aforementioned in the latticed windows; and Nur al-Din, remembering his entertainments of time past, cried, “By Allah, this is a pleasant place; it hath quenched in me anguish which burned as a fire of Ghaza-wood.[49]” Then they sat down and Shaykh Ibrahim set food before them; and they ate till they were satisfied and washed their hands: after which Nur al-Din went up to one of the latticed windows, and, calling to his handmaid fell to gazing on the trees laden with all manner fruits. Presently he turned to the Gardener and said to him, “O Shaykh Ibrahim hast thou no drink here, for folk are wont to drink after eating?” The Shaykh brought him sweet water, cool and pleasant, but he said, “This is not the kind of drink I wanted.” “Perchance thou wishest for wine?” “Indeed I do, O Shaykh!” “I seek refuge from it with Allah: it is thirteen years since I did this thing, for the Prophet (Abhak[50]) cursed its drinker, presser, seller and carrier!” “Hear two words of me.” “Say on.” “If yon cursed ass[51] which standeth there be cursed, will aught of his curse alight upon thee?” “By no means!” “Then take this dinar and these two dirhams and mount yonder ass and, halting afar from the wine-shop, call the first man thou seest buying liquor and say to him, ‘Take these two dirhams for thyself, and with this dinar buy me some wine and set it on the ass.’ So shalt thou be neither the presser, nor the buyer, nor the carrier; and no part of the curse will fall upon thee.” At this Shaykh Ibrahim laughed and said, “By Allah, O my son, I never saw one wilier of wit than thou art, nor heard aught sweeter than thy speech.” So he did as he was bidden by Nur al- Din who thanked him and said, “We two are now dependent on thee, and it is only meet that thou comply with our wishes; so bring us here what we require.” “O my son,” replied he, “this is my buttery before thee” (and it was the store-room provided for the Commander of the Faithful); “so go in, and take whatso thou wilt, for there is over and above what thou wantest.” Nur al-Din then entered the pantry and found therein vessels of gold and silver and crystal set with all kinds of gems, and was amazed and delighted with what he saw. Then he took out what he needed and set it on and poured the wine into flagons and glass ewers, whilst Shaykh Ibrahim brought them fruit and flowers and aromatic herbs. Then the old man withdrew and sat down at a distance from them, whilst they drank and made merry, till the wine got the better of them, so that their cheeks reddened and their eyes wantoned like the gazelle’s; and their locks became dishevelled and their brightness became yet more beautiful. Then said Shaykh Ibrahim to himself, “What aileth me to sit apart from them? Why should I not sit with them? When shall I ever find myself in company with the like of these two that favour two moons?” So he stepped forward and sat down on the edge of the daïs, and Nur al- Din said to him, “O my lord, my life on thee, come nearer to us!” He came and sat by them, when Nur al-Din filled a cup and looked towards the Shaykh and said to him, “Drink, that thou mayest try the taste of it!” “I take refuge from it with Allah!” replied he; “for thirteen years I have not done a thing of the kind.” Nur al-Din feigned to forget he was there and, drinking off the cup, threw himself on the ground as if the drink had overcome him; whereupon Anis al-Jalis glanced at him and said, “O Shaykh Ibrahim see how this husband of mine treateth me;” and he answered, “O my lady, what aileth him?” “This is how he always serveth me,” cried she, “he drinketh awhile, then falleth asleep and leaveth me alone with none to bear me company over my cup nor any to whom I may sing when the bowl goeth round.” Quoth the Shaykh (and his mien unstiffened for that his soul inclined towards her), “By Allah, this is not well!” Then she crowned a cup and looking towards him said, “By my life thou must take and drink it, and not refuse to heal my sick heart!” So he put forth his hand and took it and drank it off and she filled a second and set it on the chandelier and said, “O master mine, there is still this one left for thee.” “By Allah, I cannot drink it;” cried he, “what I have already drunk is enough for me;” but she rejoined, “By Allah, there is no help for it.” So he took the cup and drank; and she filled him a third which he took and was about to drink when behold, Nur al-Din rolled round and sat upright,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Thirty-seventh Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Nur al-Din sat upright and said, “Ho, Shaykh Ibrahim, what is this? Did I not adjure thee a while ago and thou refusedst, saying, ‘What, I! ‘tis thirteen years ago since I have done such a thing!’” “By Allah,” quoth the Shaykh (and indeed he was abashed), “no sin of mine this, she forced me to do it.” Nur al-Din laughed and they sat down again to wine and wassail, but the damsel turned to her master and said in a whisper, “O my lord, drink and do not press him, that I may show thee some sport with him.” Then she began to fill her master’s cup and he hers and so they did time after time, till at last Shaykh Ibrahim looked at them and said, “What fashion of good fellowship is this? Allah curse the glutton who keepeth the cup to himself! Why dost thou not give me to drink, O my brother? What manners are these, O blessed one?” At this the two laughed until they fell on their backs; then they drank and gave him to drink and ceased not their carousal till a third part of the night was past. Then said the damsel, “O Shaykh Ibrahim, with thy leave I will get up and light one of these candles.” “Do so,” he replied, “but light no more than one.” So she sprang to her feet and, beginning with one candle, lighted all the eighty and sat down again. Presently Nur al-Din said, “O Shaykh Ibrahim, in what favour am I with thee? May I not light one of these lamps?” “Light one,” replied he, “and bother me no more in thy turn!” So he rose and lighted one lamp after another, till he had lighted the whole eight and the palace seemed to dance with brilliancy. Quoth the Shaykh (and indeed intoxication had overcome him), “Ye two are bolder than I am.” Then he rose to his feet and opened all the lattices and sat down again; and they fell to carousing and reciting verses till the place rang with their noisy mirth. Now Allah, the Decreer who decreeth all things and who for every effect appointeth a cause, had so disposed that the Caliph was at that moment sitting in the light of the moon at one of the windows of his palace overlooking the Tigris. He saw the blaze of the lamps and wax candles reflected in the river and, lifting his eyes, perceived that it came from the Garden Palace which was all ablaze with brilliancy. So he cried, “Here to me with Ja’afar the Barmaki!”; and the last word was hardly spoken ere the Wazir was present before the Commander of the Faithful, who cried at him, “O dog of a Minister, hast thou taken from me this city of Baghdad without saying aught to me?” “What words are these words?” asked Ja’afar; and the Caliph answered, “If Baghdad city were not taken from me, the Palace of Pictures would not be illuminated with lamps and candles, nor would its windows be thrown open. Woe to thee! who durst do a deed like this except the Caliphate had been taken from me?” Quoth Ja’afar (and indeed his side-muscles trembled as he spoke), “Who told thee that the Palace of Pictures was illuminated and the windows thrown open?” “Come hither and see,” replied the Caliph. Then Ja’afar came close to the Caliph and, looking towards the garden, saw the palace blazing with illumination that rayed through the gloom of the night; and, thinking that this might have been permitted by the keeper for some reason of his own, he wished to make an excuse for him; so quoth he, “O Commander of the Faithful, Shaykh Ibrahim said to me last week, ‘O my lord Ja’afar, I much wish to circumcise my sons during the life of the Commander of the Faithful and thy life.’ I asked, ‘What dost thou want?’; and he answered, ‘Get me leave from the Caliph to hold the festival in the Garden Palace.’ So said I to him, ‘Go circumcise them and I will see the Caliph and tell him.’ Thereupon he went away and I forgot to let thee know.” “O Ja’afar,” said the Caliph, “thou hast committed two offences against me; first in that thou didst no report to me, secondly, thou didst not give him what he sought; for he came and told thee this only as excuse to ask for some small matter of money, to help him with the outlay; and thou gavest him nothing nor toldest me.” “O Commander of the Faithful,” said Ja’afar, “I forgot.” “Now by the rights of my forefathers and the tombs of my forbears,” quoth the Caliph, “I will not pass the rest of this night save in company with him; for truly he is a pious man who frequenteth the Elders of the Faith and the Fakirs and other religious mendicants and entertaineth them; doubtless they are not assembled together and it may be that the prayer of one of them will work us weal both in this world and in the next. Besides, my presence may profit and at any rate be pleasing to Shaykh Ibrahim.” “O Commander of the Faithful,” quoth Ja’afar, “the greater part of the night is passed, and at this time they will be breaking up.” Quoth the Caliph, “It matters not: I needs must go to them.” So Ja’afar held his peace, being bewildered and knowing not what to do. Then the Caliph rose to his feet and, taking with him Ja’afar and Masrur the eunuch sworder, the three disguised themselves in merchants’ gear and leaving the City-palace, kept threading the streets till they reached the garden. The Caliph went up to the gate and finding it wide open, was surprised and said, “See, O Ja’afar, how Shaykh Ibrahim hath left the gate open at this hour contrary to his custom!” They went in and walked on till they came under the pavilion, when the Caliph said, “O Ja’afar, I wish to look in upon them unawares before I show myself, that I may see what they are about and get sight of the elders; for hitherto I have heard no sound from them, nor even a Fakir calling upon the name of Allah.[52]” Then he looked about and, seeing a tall walnut-tree, said to Ja’afar, “I will climb this tree, for its branches are near the lattices and so look in upon them.” Thereupon he mounted the tree and ceased not climbing from branch to branch, till he reached a bough which was right opposite one of the windows, and here he took seat and looked inside the palace. He saw a damsel and a youth as they were two moons (glory be to Him who created them and fashioned them!), and by them Shaykh Ibrahim seated cup in hand and saying, “O Princess of fair ones, drinking without music is nothing worth; indeed I have heard a poet say,

‘Round with big and little, the bowl and cup,
Take either that moon[53] in his sheen hath crowned:
Nor drink without music, for oft I’ve seen,
The horse drink best to the whistle’s sound!’”

When the Caliph saw this, the vein of wrath started up between his eyes and he came down and said to the Wazir, “O Ja’afar, never beheld I yet men of piety in such case; so do thou mount this tree and look upon them, lest the blessings of the blest be lost to thee.” Ja’afar, hearing the words of the Commander of the Faithful and being confounded by them, climbed to the tree- top and looking in, saw Nur al-Din and the damsel, and Shaykh Ibrahim holding in his hand a brimming bowl. At this sight he made sure of death and, descending, stood before the Commander of the Faithful, who said to him, “O Ja’afar, praise be to Allah who hath made us of those that observe external ordinances of Holy Law and hath averted from us the sin of disguising ourselves after the manner of hypocrites!”[54] But Ja’afar could not speak a word for excess of confusion; so the Caliph looked at him and said, “I wonder how they came hither, and who admitted them into my pavilion! But aught like the beauty of this youth and this damsel my eyes never yet saw!” “Thou sayest sooth, O our Lord the Sultan!” replied Ja’afar (and he hoped to propitiate the Caliph Harun al-Rashid). Then quoth the Caliph, “O Ja’afar, let us both mount the branch opposite the window, that we may amuse ourselves with looking at them.” So the two climbed the tree and, peering in, heard Shaykh Ibrahim say, “O my lady, I have cast away all gravity mine by the drinking of wine, but ‘tis not sweet save with the soft sounds of the lute-strings it combine.” “By Allah,” replied Anis al-Jalis, “O Shaykh Ibrahim, an we had but some instrument of music our joyance were complete.” Hearing this he rose to his feet and the Caliph said to Ja’afar, “I wonder what he is about to do!” and Ja’afar answered, “I know not.” The Shaykh disappeared and presently reappeared bringing a lute; and the Caliph took note of it and knew it for that of Abu Ishak the Cup-companion.[55] “By Allah,” said the Caliph, “if this damsel sing ill I will crucify all of you; but if she sing well I will forgive them and only gibbet thee.” “O Allah cause her to sing vilely!” quoth Ja’afar. Asked the Caliph, “Why so?”; and he answered, “If thou crucify us all together, we shall keep one another company.” The Caliph laughed at his speech. Presently the damsel took the lute and, after looking at it and tuning it, she played a measure which made all hearts yearn to her; then she sang these lines,

“O ye that can aid me, a wretched lover,
Whom longing burns nor can rest restore me!
Though all you have done I have well deserved,
I take refuge with you, so exult not o’er me:
True, I am weak and low and vile,
But I’ll bear your will and whatso you bore me:
My death at your hands what brings it of glory?
I fear but your sin which of life forlore me!”

Quoth the Caliph, “By Allah, good! O Ja’afar, never in my life have I heard a voice so enchanting as this.” “Then haply the Caliph’s wrath hath passed away,” said Ja’afar, and he replied, “Yes, ‘tis gone.” Thereupon they descended from the tree, and the Caliph said to Ja’afar, “I wish to go in and sit with them and hear the damsel sing before me.” “O Commander of the Faithful,” replied Ja’afar, “if thou go in to them they will be terribly troubled, and Shaykh Ibrahim will assuredly die of fright.” But the Caliph answered, “O Ja’afar, thou must teach me some device wherewith to delude them and whereby I can foregather with them without their knowing me.” So they walked towards the Tigris pondering the matter, and presently came upon a fisherman who stood fishing under the pavilion windows. Now some time before this, the Caliph (being in the pavilion) had called to Shaykh Ibrahim and asked him, “What noise is this I hear under the windows?” and he had answered, “It is voices of fisher folk catching fish:” so quoth the Caliph, “Go down and forbid them this place;” and he forbade them accordingly. However that night a fisherman named Karim, happening to pass by and seeing the garden gate open, said to himself, “This is a time of negligence; and I will take advantage of it to do a bit of fishing.” So he took his net and cast it, but he had hardly done so when behold, the Caliph come up single-handed and, standing hard by, knew him and called aloud to him, “Ho, Karim!” The fisherman, hearing himself named, turned round, and seeing the Caliph, trembled and his side-muscles quivered, as he cried, “By Allah, O Commander of the Faithful, I did it not in mockery of the mandate; but poverty and a large family drove me to what thou seest!” Quoth the Caliph, “Make a cast in my name.” At this the fisherman was glad and going to the bank threw his net, then waiting till it had spread out at full stretch and settled down, hauled it up and found in it various kinds of fish. The Caliph was pleased and said, “O Karim, doff thy habit.” So he put off a gaberdine of coarse woollen stuff patched in an hundred places whereon the lice were rampant, and a turband which had never been untwisted for three years but to which he had sewn every rag he came upon. The Caliph also pulled off his person two vests of Alexandrian and Ba’lbak silk, a loose inner robe and a long-sleeved outer coat, and said to the fisherman, “Take them and put them on,” while he assumed the foul gaberdine and filthy turband and drew a corner of the head-cloth as a mouth-veil[56] before his face. Then said he to the fisherman, “Get thee about thy business!”; and the man kissed the Caliph’s feet and thanked him and improvised the following couplets,

“Thou hast granted more favours than ever I craved;
Thou hast satisfied needs which my heart enslaved:
I will thank thee and thank whileas life shall last,
And my bones will praise thee in grave engraved!”

Hardly had the fisherman ended his verse, when the lice began to crawl over the Caliph’s skin, and he fell to catching them on his neck with his right and left and throwing them from him, while he cried, “O fisherman, woe to thee! what be this abundance of lice on thy gaberdine.” “O my lord,” replied he, “they may annoy thee just at first, but before a week is past thou wilt not feel them nor think of them.” The Caliph laughed and said to him, “Out on thee! Shall I leave this gaberdine of thine so long on my body?” Quoth the fisherman, “I would say a word to thee but I am ashamed in presence of the Caliph!”; and quoth he, “Say what thou hast to say.” “It passed through my thought, O Commander of the Faithful,” said the fisherman, “that, since thou wishest to learn fishing so thou mayest have in hand an honest trade whereby to gain thy livelihood, this my gaberdine besitteth thee right well.”[57] The Commander of the Faithful laughed at this speech, and the fisherman went his way. Then the Caliph took up the basket of fish and, strewing a little green grass over it, carried it to Ja’afar and stood before him. Ja’afar thinking him to be Karim the fisherman feared for him and said, “O Karim, what brought thee hither? Flee for thy life, for the Caliph is in the garden to-night and, if he see thee, thy neck is gone.” At this the Caliph laughed and Ja’afar recognized him and asked, “Can it be thou, our lord the Sultan?”; and he answered, “Yes, O Ja’afar, and thou art my Wazir and I and thou came hither together; yet thou knowest me not; so how should Shaykh Ibrahim know me, and he drunk? Stay here, till I came back to thee.” “To hear is to obey,” said Ja’afar. Then the Caliph went up to the door of the pavilion and knocked a gentle knock, whereupon said Nur al-Din,” O Shaykh Ibrahim, some one taps at the door.” “Who goes there?” cried the Shaykh and the Caliph replied, “It is I, O Shaykh Ibrahim!” “Who art thou,” quoth he, and quoth the other, “I am Karim the fisherman: I hear thou hast a feast, so I have brought thee some fish, and of a truth ‘tis good fish.” When Nur al-Din heard the mention of fish, he was glad, he and the damsel, and they both said to the Shaykh, “O our lord, open the door and let him bring us his fish.” So Shaykh Ibrahim opened and the Caliph came in (and he in fisherman guise), and began by saluting them. Said Shaykh Ibrahim, “Welcome to the blackguard, the robber, the dicer! Let us see thy fish.” So the Caliph showed them his catch and behold, the fishes were still alive and jumping, whereupon the damsel exclaimed, “By Allah! O my lord, these are indeed fine fish: would they were fried!” and Shaykh Ibrahim rejoined, “By Allah, O my lady, thou art right.” Then said he to the Caliph, “O fisherman, why didst thou not bring us the fish ready fried? Up now and cook them and bring them back to us.” “On my head be thy commands!” said the Caliph, “I will fry thee a dish and bring it.” Said they, “Look sharp.” Thereupon he went and ran till he came up to Ja’afar when he called to him, “Hallo, Ja’afar!”; and he replied, “Here am I, O Commander of the Faithful, is all well?” “They want the fish fried,” said the Caliph, and Ja’afar answered, “O Commander of the Faithful, give it to me and I’ll fry it for them.” “By the tombs of my forbears,” quoth the Caliph, “none shall fry it but I, with mine own hand!” So he went to the gardener’s hut, where he searched and found all that he required, even to salt and saffron and wild marjoram and else besides. Then he turned to the brasier and, setting on the frying-pan, fried a right good fry. When it was done, he laid it on a banana-leaf, and gathering from the garden wind-fallen fruits, limes and lemons, carried the fish to the pavilion and set the dish before them. So the youth and the damsel and Shaykh Ibrahim came forward and ate; after which they washed their hands and Nur al-Din said to the Caliph, “By Allah, O fisherman, thou hast done us a right good deed this night.” Then he put hand in pouch and, taking out three of the dinars which Sanjar had given him, said, “O fisherman, excuse me. By Allah had I known thee before that which hath lately befallen me, I had done away the bitterness of poverty from thy heart; but take thou this as the best I can do for thee.” Then he threw the gold pieces to the Caliph, who took them and kissed them and put them in pouch. Now his sole object in doing all this was to hear the damsel sing; so he said to Nur al-Din, “Thou hast rewarded me most liberally, but I beg of thy boundless bounty that thou let this damsel sing an air, that I may hear her.”[58] So Nur al- Din said, “O Anis al-Jalis!” and she answered “Yes!” and he continued, “By my life, sing us something for the sake of this fisherman who wisheth so much to hear thee.” Thereupon she took the lute and struck the strings, after she had screwed them tight and tuned them, and sang these improvised verses,

“The fawn of a maid hent her lute in hand
And her music made us right mettlesome:
For her song gave hearing to ears stone-deaf,
While Brava! Brava! exclaimed the dumb.”

Then she played again and played so ravishingly, that she charmed their wits and burst out improvising and singing these couplets,

“You have honoured us visiting this our land,
And your splendour illumined the glooms that blent:
So ‘tis due that for you I perfume my place
With rose-water, musk and the camphor-scent!”

Hereupon the Caliph was agitated, and emotion so overpowered him that he could not command himself for excess of pleasure, and he exclaimed, “By Allah, good! by Allah, good! by Allah, good!”[59] Asked Nur al-Din, “O fisherman, doth this damsel please thee?” and the Caliph answered, “Ay, by Allah!” Whereupon said Nur al-Din, “She is a gift to thee, a gift of the generous who repenteth him not of his givings and who will never revoke his gift!” Then he sprang to his feet and, taking a loose robe, threw it over the fisherman and bade him receive the damsel and be gone. But she looked at him and said, “O my lord, art thou faring forth without farewell? If it must be so, at least stay till I bid thee good-bye and make known my case.” And she began versifying in these verses,

“When love and longing and regret are mine,
Must not this body show of ills a sign?
My love! say not, ‘Thou soon shalt be consoled’;
When state speaks state none shall allay my pine.
If living man could swim upon his tears,
I first should float on waters of these eyne:
O thou, who in my heart infusedst thy love,
As water mingles in the cup with wine,
This was the fear I feared, this parting blow.
O thou whose love my heart-core ne’er shall tyne!
O Bin Khákán! my sought, my hope, my will,
O thou whose love this breast made wholly thine!
Against thy lord the King thou sinn’dst for me,
And winnedst exile in lands peregrine:
Allah ne’er make my lord repent my loss
To cream[60] o’ men thou gavest me, one right digne.”

When she had ended her verses, Nur al-Din answered her with these lines,

“She bade me farewell on our parting day,
And she wept in the fire of our bane and pains:
‘What wilt thou do when fro’ thee I’m gone?’
Quoth I, ‘say this to whom life remains!’”

When the Caliph heard her saying in her verse,

“To Karim, the cream of men thou gavest me;”

his inclination for her redoubled and it seemed a hard matter and a grievous to part them; so quoth he to the youth, “O my lord, truly the damsel said in her verses that thou didst transgress against her master and him who owned her; so tell me, against whom didst thou transgress and who is it hath a claim on thee?” “By Allah, O fisherman,” replied Nur al-Din, “there befel me and this damsel a wondrous tale and a marvellous matter: an ‘t were graven with needle-gravers on the eye-corners it would be a warner to whoso would be warned.” Cried the Caliph, “Wilt thou not tell me thy story and acquaint me with thy case? Haply it may bring thee relief, for Allah’s aid is ever nearhand.” “O fisherman,” said Nur al-Din, “Wilt thou hear our history in verse or in prose?” “Prose is a wordy thing, but verses,” rejoined the Caliph, “are pearls on string.” Then Nur al-Din bowed his head, and made these couplets,

“O my friend! reft of rest no repose I command,
And my grief is edoubled in this far land:
Erst I had a father, a kinder ne’er was;
But he died and to Death paid the deodand:
When he went from me, every matter went wrong
Till my heart was nigh-broken, my nature unmanned:
He bought me a handmaid, a sweeting who shamed
A wand of the willow by Zephyr befanned:
I lavisht upon her mine heritage,
And spent like a nobleman puissant and grand:
Then to sell her compelled, my sorrow increased;
The parting was sore but I mote not gainstand:
Now as soon as the crier had called her, there bid
A wicked old fellow, a fiery brand:
So I raged with a rage that I could not restrain,
And snatched her from out of his hireling’s hand;
When the angry curmudgeon made ready for blows,
And the fire of a fight kindled he and his band,
I smote him in fury with right and with left,
And his hide, till well satisfied, curried and tanned:
Then in fear I fled forth and lay hid in my house,
To escape from the snares which my foeman had spanned:
So the King of the country proclaimed my arrest;
When access to me a good Chamberlain fand:
And warned me to flee from the city afar,
Disappear, disappoint what my enemies planned:
Then we fled from our home ‘neath the wing of the night,
And sought us a refuge by Baghdad strand:
Of my riches I’ve nothing on thee to bestow,
O Fisher, except the fair gift thou hast scanned:
The loved of my soul, and when I from her part,
Know for sure that I give thee the blood of my heart.”[61]

When he had ended his verse, the Caliph said to him, “O my lord Nur al-Din, explain to me thy case more fully,” So he told him the whole story from beginning to end, and the Caliph said to him, “Whither dost thou now intend?” “Allah’s world is wide,” replied he. Quoth the Caliph, “I will write thee a letter to carry to the Sultan Mohammed bin Sulayman al-Zayni, which when he readeth, he will not hurt nor harm thee in aught.”—-And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Thirty-eighth Night,

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the Caliph said to Nur al-Din Ali, “I will write thee a letter to carry to the Sultan Mohammed bin Sulayman al-Zayni, which when he readeth, he will not hurt nor harm thee in aught,” Nur al-Din asked “What! is there in the world a fisherman who writeth to Kings? Such a thing can never be!”; and the Caliph answered, “Thou sayest sooth, but I will tell thee the reason. Know that I and he learnt in the same school under one schoolmaster, and that I was his monitor. Since that time Fortune befriended him and he is become a Sultan, while Allah hath abased me and made me a fisherman; yet I never send to him to ask aught but he doeth my desire; nay, though I should ask of him a thousand favours every day, he would comply.” When Nur al-Din heard this he said, “Good! write that I may see.” So the Caliph took ink-case and reed-pen and wrote as follows,—”In the name of Allah, the Compassionating, the Compassionate! But after.[62] This letter is written by Harun al-Rashid, son of Al-Mahdi, to his highness Mohammed bin Sulayman al-Zayni, whom I have encompassed about with my favour and made my viceroy in certain of my dominions. The bearer of these presents is Nur al-Din Ali, son of Fazl bin Khákán the Wazir. As soon as they come to thy hand divest thyself forthright of the kingly dignity and invest him therewith; so oppose not my commandment and peace be with thee.” He gave the letter to Nur al-Din, who took it and kissed it, then put it in his turband and set out at once on his journey. So far concerning him; but as regards the Caliph, Shaykh Ibrahim stared at him (and he still in fisher garb) and said, “O vilest of fishermen, thou hast brought us a couple of fish worth a score of half-dirhams,[63] and hast gotten three dinars for them; and thinkest thou to take the damsel to boot?” When the Caliph heard this, he cried out at him, and signed to Masrur who discovered himself and rushed in upon him. Now Ja’afar had sent one of the gardener-lads to the doorkeeper of the palace to fetch a suit of royal raiment for the Prince of the Faithful; so the man went and, returning with the suit, kissed the ground before the Caliph and gave it him. Then he threw off the clothes he had on[64] and donned kingly apparel. Shaykh Ibrahim was still sitting upon his chair and the Caliph tarried to behold what would come next. But seeing the Fisherman become the Caliph, Shaykh Ibrahim was utterly confounded and he could do nothing but bite his finger- ends[65] and say, “Would I knew whether am I asleep or am I awake!” At last the Caliph looked at him and cried, “O Shaykh Ibrahim, what state is this in which I see thee?” Thereupon he recovered from his drunkenness and, throwing himself upon the ground, repeated these verses,

“Pardon the sinful ways I did pursue;
Ruth from his lord to every slave is due:
Confession pays the fine that sin demands;
Where, then, is that which grace and mercy sue?”[66]

The Caliph forgave him and bade carry the damsel to the city- palace, where he set apart for her an apartment and appointed slaves to serve her, saying to her, “Know that we have sent thy lord to be Sultan in Bassorah and, Almighty Allah willing, we will dispatch him the dress of investiture and thee with it.” Meanwhile, Nur al-Din Ali ceased not travelling till he reached Bassorah, where he repaired to the Sultan’s palace and he shouted a loud shout.[67] The Sultan heard him and sent for him; and when he came into his presence, he kissed the ground between his hands and, producing the letter, presented it to him. Seeing the superscription in the writing of the Commander of the Faithful, the Sultan rose to his feet and kissed it three times; and after reading it said, “I hear and I obey Allah Almighty and the Commander of the Faithful!” Then he summoned the four Kazis[68] and the Emirs and was about to divest himself of the rule royal, when behold, in came Al Mu’ín bin Sáwí. The Sultan gave him the Caliph’s letter and he read it, then tore it to pieces and putting it into his mouth, chewed it[69] and spat it out. “Woe to thee,” quoth the Sultan (and indeed he was sore angered); “what induced thee to do this deed?” “Now by thy life! O our lord the Sultan,” replied Mu’ín, “this man hath never foregathered with the Caliph nor with his Wazir; but he is a gallows-bird, a limb of Satan, a knave who, having come upon a written paper in the Caliph’s hand, some idle scroll, hath made it serve his own end. The Caliph would surely not send him to take the Sultanate from thee without the imperial autograph[70] and the diploma of investiture, and he certainly would have despatched with him a Chamberlain or a Minister. But he hath come alone and he never came from the Caliph, no, never! never! never!” “What is to be done?” asked the Sultan, and the Minister answered, “Leave him to me and I will take him and keep him away from thee, and send him in charge of a Chamberlain to Baghdad-city. Then, if what he says be sooth, they will bring us back autograph and investiture; and if not, I will take my due out of this debtor.” When the Sultan heard the Minister’s words he said, “Hence with thee and him too.” Al Mu’ín took trust of him from the King and, carrying him to his own house, cried out to his pages who laid him flat and beat him till he fainted. Then he let put upon his feet heavy shackles and carried him to the jail, where he called the jailor, one Kutayt,[71] who came and kissed the ground before him. Quoth the Wazir, “O Kutayt, I wish thee to take this fellow and throw him into one of the underground cells[72] in the prison and torture him night and day.” “To hear is to obey,” replied the jailor and, taking Nur al-Din into the prison, locked the door upon him. Then he gave orders to sweep a bench behind the door and, spreading on it a sitting-rug and a leather-cloth, seated Nur al-Din thereon and loosed his shackles and entreated him kindly. The Wazir sent every day enjoining the jailor to beat him, but he abstained from this, and so continued to do for forty days. On the forty-first day there came a present from the Caliph; which when the Sultan saw, it pleased him and he consulted his Ministers on the matter, when one of them said, “Perchance this present was for the new Sultan.” Cried Al-Mu’ín, “We should have done well had we put him to death at his first coming;” and the Sultan cried “By Allah, thou hast reminded me of him! Go down to the prison and fetch him, and I will strike off his head.” “To hear is to obey,” replied Al-Mu’ín: then he stood up and said, “I will make proclamation in the city:—Whoso would solace himself with seeing the beheading of Nur al-Din bin al-Fazl bin Khákán, let him repair to the palace! So follower and followed, great and small will flock to the spectacle, and I shall heal my heart and harm my foe.” “Do as thou wilt,” said the Sultan. The Wazir went off (and he was glad and gay), and ordered the Chief of Police to make the afore-mentioned proclamation. When the people heard the crier, they all sorrowed and wept, even the little ones at school and the traders in their shops; and some strove to get places for seeing the sight, whilst others went to the prison with the object of escorting him thence. Presently, the Wazir came with ten Mamelukes to the jail and Kutayt the jailor asked him, “Whom seekest thou, O our lord the Wazir?”; whereto he answered, “Bring me out that gallows- bird.” But the jailor said, “He is in the sorriest of plights for the much beating I have given him.” Then he went into the prison and found Nur al-Din repeating these verses,

“Who shall support me in calamities,
When fail all cures and greater cares arise?
Exile hath worn my heart, my vitals torn; The World to foes hath turned my firm allies.
O folk, will not one friend amidst you all
Wail o’er my woes, and cry to hear my cries?
Death and it agonies seem light to me,
Since life has lost all joys and jollities:
O Lord of Mustafá,[73] that Science-sea,
Sole Intercessor, Guide all-ware, all-wise!
I pray thee free me and my fault forego,
And from me drive mine evil and my woe.”

The jailor stripped off his clean clothes and, dressing him in two filthy vests, carried him to the Wazir. Nur al-Din looked at him and saw it was his foe that sought to compass his death; so he wept and said, “Art thou, then, so secure against the World? Hast thou not heard the saying of the poet,

‘Kisras and Caesars in a bygone day
Stored wealth; where is it, and ah! where are they?’

“O Wazir,” he continued, “know that Allah (be He extolled and exalted!) will do whatso He will!” “O Ali,” replied he, “thinkest thou to frighten me with such talk? I mean this very day to smite thy neck despite the noses of the Bassorah folk and I care not; let the days do as they please; nor will I turn me to thy counsel but rather to what the poet saith,

‘Leave thou the days to breed their ban and bate,
And make thee strong t’ upbear the weight of Fate.’

And also how excellently saith another,

‘Whoso shall see the death-day of his foe,
One day surviving, wins his bestest wish.’”

Then he ordered his attendants to mount Nur al-Din upon the bare back of a mule; and they said to the youth (for truly it was irksome to them), “Let us stone him and cut him down though our lives go for it.” But Nur al-Din said to them, “Do not so: have ye not heard the saying of the poet,

‘Needs must I bear the term by Fate decreed,
And when that day be dead needs must I die:
If lions dragged me to their forest-lair,
Safe should I live till draw my death-day nigh.’”

Then they proceeded to proclaim before Nur al-Din, “This is the least of the retribution for him who imposeth upon Kings with forgeries.” And they ceased not parading him round about Bassorah, till they made him stand beneath the palace-windows and set him upon the leather of blood,[74] and the sworder came up to him and said, “O my lord, I am but a slave commanded in this matter: an thou have any desire, tell it me that I may fulfil it, for now there remaineth of they life only so much as may be till the Sultan shall put his face out of the lattice.” Thereupon Nur al-Din looked to the right and to the left, and before him and behind him and began improvising,

“The sword, the sworder and the blood-skin waiting me I sight,
And cry, Alack, mine evil fate! ah, my calamity!
How is’t I see no loving friend with eye of sense or soul?
What! no one here? I cry to all: will none reply to me?
The time is past that formed my life, my death term draweth nigh,
Will no man win the grace of God showing me clemency;
And look with pity on my state, and clear my dark despair,
E’en with a draught of water dealt to cool death’s agony?”

The people fell to weeping over him; and the headsman rose and brought him a draught of water; but the Wazir sprang up from his place and smote the gugglet with his hand and broke it: then he cried out at the executioner and bade him strike off Nur al-Din’s head. So he bound the eyes of the doomed man and folk clamoured at the Wazir and loud wailings were heard and much questioning of man and man. At this moment behold, rose a dense dust-cloud filling sky and wold; and when the Sultan, who was sitting in the palace, descried this, he said to his suite, “Go and see what yon cloud bringeth:” Replied Al Mu’ín, “Not till we have smitten this fellow’s neck;” but the Sultan said, “Wait ye till we see what this meaneth.” Now the dust-cloud was the dust of J’afar the Barmecide, Wazir to the Caliph, and his host; and the cause of his coming was as follows. The Caliph passed thirty days without calling to mind the matter of Nur al-Din Ali,[75] and none reminded him of it, till one night, as he passed by the chamber of Anis al-Jalis, he heard her weeping and singing with a soft sweet voice these lines of the poet,

“In thought I see thy form when farthest far or nearest near;
And on my tongue there dwells a name which man shall ne’er unhear.”

Then her weeping redoubled; when lo! the Caliph opened the door and, entering the chamber, found Anis al-Jalis in tears. When she saw him she fell to the ground and kissing his feet three times repeated these lines,

“O fertile root and noble growth of trunk;
Ripe-fruitful branch of never sullied race;
I mind thee of what pact thy bounty made;
Far be ‘t from thee thou should’st forget my case!”

Quoth the Caliph, “Who art thou?” and she replied, “I am she whom Ali bin Khákán gave thee in gift, and I wish the fulfilment of thy promise to send me to him with the robe of honour; for I have now been thirty days without tasting the food of sleep.” Thereupon the Caliph sent for Ja’afar and said to him, “O Ja’afar, ‘tis thirty days since we have had news of Nur al-Din bin Khákán, and I cannot but suppose that the Sultan hath slain him; but, by the life of my head and by the sepulchres of my forefathers, if aught of foul play hath befallen him, I will surely make an end of him who was the cause of it, though he be the dearest of all men to myself! So I desire that thou set out for Bassorah within this hour and bring me tidings of my cousin, King Mohammed bin Sulayman al-Zayni, and how he had dealt with Nur al-Din Ali bin Khákán;” adding, “If thou tarry longer on the road than shall suffice for the journey, I will strike off thy head. Furthermore, do thou tell the son of my uncle the whole story of Nur al-Din, and how I sent him with my written orders; and if thou find, O my cousin,[76] that the King hath done otherwise than as I commanded, bring him and the Wazir Al-Mu’ín bin Sáwí to us in whatsoever guise thou shalt find them.”[77] “Hearing and obedience,” replied Ja’afar and, making ready on the instant, he set out for Bassorah where the news of his coming had foregone him and had reached to the ears of King Mohammed. When Ja’afar arrived and saw the crushing and crowding of the lieges, he asked, “What means all this gathering?” so they told him what was doing in the matter of Nur al-Din; whereupon he hastened to go to the Sultan and saluting him, acquainted him with the cause why he came and the Caliph’s resolve, in case of any foul play having befallen the youth, to put to death whoso should have brought it about. Then he took into custody the King and the Wazir and laid them in ward and, giving order for the release of Nur al-Din Ali, enthroned him as Sultan in the stead of Mohammed bin Sulayman. After this Ja’afar abode three days in Bassorah, the usual guest-time, and on the morning of the fourth day, Nur al-Din Ali turned to him and said, “I long for the sight of the Commander of the Faithful.” Then said Ja’afar to Mohammed bin Sulayman, “Make ready to travel, for we will say the dawn-prayer and mount Baghdad-wards;” and he replied, “To hear is to obey.” Then they prayed and they took horse and set out, all of them, carrying with them the Wazir, Al-Mu’ín bin Sáwí, who began to repent him of what he had done. Nur al-Din rode by Ja’afar’s side and they stinted not faring on till they arrived at Baghdad, the House of Peace, and going in to the Caliph told him how they had found Nur al-Din nigh upon death. Thereupon the Caliph said to the youth, “Take this sword and smite with it the neck of thine enemy.” So he took the sword from his hand and stepped up to Al-Mu’ín who looked at him and said, “I did according to my mother’s milk, do thou according to thine.”[78] Upon this Nur al-Din cast the sword from his hand and said to the Caliph, “O Commander of the Faithful, he hath beguiled me with his words;” and he repeated this couplet,

“By craft and sleight I snared him when he came;
A few fair words aye trap the noble-game!”

“Leave him then,” cried the Caliph and, turning to Masrur said, “Rise thou and smite his neck.” So Masrur drew his sword and struck off his head. Then quoth the Caliph to Nur al-Din Ali, “Ask a boon of me.” “O my lord,” answered he, “I have no need of the Kingship of Bassorah; my sole desire is to be honoured by serving thee and by seeing thy countenance.” “With love and gladness,” said the Caliph. Then he sent for the damsel, Anis al-Jalis, and bestowed plentiful favours upon them both and gave them one of his palaces in Baghdad, and assigned stipends and allowances, and made Nur al-Din Ali bin Fazl bin Khákán, one of his cup-companions; and he abode with the Commander of the Faithful enjoying the pleasantest of lives till death overtook him. “Yet (continued Shahrazad) is not his story in any wise more wondrous than the history of the merchant and his children.” The King asked “And what was that?” and Shahrazad began to relate the

Tale of Ghanim bin Ayyub, the Distraught, the Thrall o’ Love

Our "Job." The English translators of the Bible, who borrowed Luther's system of transliteration (of A.D. 1522), transferred into English the German "j" which has the sound of "i" or "y"; intending us to pronounce Yacob (or Yakob), Yericho, Yimnites, Yob (or Hiob) and Yudah. Tyndall, who copied Luther (A.D. 1525-26), preserved the true sound by writing lacob, Ben Iamin and Iudas. But his successors unfortunately returned to the German; the initial I, having from the xiii century been ornamentally lengthened and bent leftwards, became a consonant. The public adopted the vernacular sound of "j" (da) and hence our language and our literature are disgraced by such barbarisms as "Jehovah" and "Jesus"; Dgehovah and Dgeesus for Yehovah and Yesus. Future generations of school-teachers may remedy the evil; meanwhile we are doomed for the rest of our days to hear

Gee-rusalem! Gee-rusalem! etc.

Nor is there one word to be said in favour of the corruption except that, like the Protestant mispronunciation of Latin and the Erasmian ill-articulation of Greek, it has become English, and has lent its little aid in dividing the Britons from the rest of the civilised world.

It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that in times of yore and in years and ages long gone before, there lived in Damascus a merchant among the merchants, a wealthy man who had a son like the moon on the night of his fulness[79] and withal sweet of speech, who was named Ghánim bin ‘Ayyúb surnamed the Distraught, the Thrall o’ Love. He had also a daughter, own sister to Ghanim, who was called Fitnah, a damsel unique in beauty and loveliness. Their father died and left them abundant wealth.—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Thirty-ninth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the merchant left his two children abundant wealth and amongst other things an hundred loads[80] of silks and brocades, musk-pods and mother o’ pearl; and there was written on every bale, “This is of the packages intended for Baghdad,” it having been his purpose to make the journey thither, when Almighty Allah took him to Himself, which was in the time of the Caliph Harun al-Rashid. After a while his son took the loads and, bidding farewell to his mother and kindred and townsfolk, went forth with a company of merchants, putting his trust in Allah Almighty, who decreed him safety, so that he arrived without let or stay at Baghdad. There he hired for himself a fair dwelling house which he furnished with carpets and cushions, curtains and hangings; and therein stored his bales and stabled his mules and camels, after which he abode a while resting. Presently the merchants and notables of Baghdad came and saluted him, after which he took a bundle containing ten pieces of costly stuffs, with the prices written on them, and carried it to the merchants’ bazar, where they welcomed and saluted him and showed him all honour; and, making him dismount from his beast, seated him in the shop of the Syndic of the market, to whom he delivered the package. He opened it and drawing out the pieces of stuff, sold them for him at a profit of two dinars on every dinar of prime cost. At this Ghanim rejoiced and kept selling his silks and stuffs one after another, and ceased not to do on this wise for a full year. On the first day of the following year he went, as was his wont, to the Exchange which was in the bazar, but found the gate shut; and enquiring the reason was told, “One of the merchants is dead and all the others have gone to follow his bier,[81] and why shouldst thou not win the meed of good deeds by walking with them?”[82] He replied “Yes,” and asked for the quarter where the funeral was taking place, and one directed him thereto. So he purified himself by the Wuzu-ablution[83] and repaired with the other merchants to the oratory, where they prayed over the dead, then walked before the bier to the burial-place, and Ghanim, who was a bashful man, followed them being ashamed to leave them. They presently issued from the city, and passed through the tombs until they reached the grave where they found that the deceased’s kith and kin had pitched a tent over the tomb and had brought thither lamps and wax-candles. So they buried the body and sat down while the readers read out and recited the Koran over the grave; and Ghanim sat with them, being overcome with bashfulness and saying to himself “I cannot well go away till they do.” They tarried listening to the Koranic perlection till nightfall, when the servants set supper and sweetmeats[84] before them and they ate till they were satisfied; then they washed their hands and again took their places. But Ghanim’s mind was preoccupied with his house and goods, being in fear of robbers, and he said to himself, “I am a stranger here and supposed to have money; if I pass the night abroad the thieves will steal my money-bags and my bales to boot.” So when he could no longer control his fear he arose and left the assembly, having first asked leave to go about some urgent business; and following the signs of the road he soon came to the city-gate. But it was midnight and he found the doors locked and saw none going or coming nor heard aught but the hounds baying and the wolves howling. At this he exclaimed, “There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah! I was in fear for my property and came back on its account, but now I find the gate shut and I am in mortal fear for my life!” Then he turned back and, looking out for a place where he could sleep till morning, presently found a Santon’s tomb, a square of four walls with a date-tree in the central court and a granite gateway. The door was wide open; so he entered and would fain have slept, but sleep came not to him; and terror and a sense of desolation oppressed him, for that he was alone amidst the tombs. So he rose to his feet and, opening the door, looked out and lo! he was ware of a light afar off in the direction of the city-gate; then walking a little way towards it, he saw that it was on the road whereby he had reached the tomb. This made him fear for his life, so he hastily shut the door and climbed to the top of the date-tree where he hid himself in the heart of the fronds. The light came nearer and nearer till it was close to the tomb; then it stopped and he saw three slaves, two bearing a chest and one with a lanthorn, an adze and a basket containing some mortar. When they reached the tomb, one of those who were carrying the case said, “What aileth thee O Sawáb?”; and said the other, “What is the matter O Káfúr?”[85] Quoth he, “Were we not here at supper-tide and did we not leave the door open?” “Yes,” replied the other, “that is true.’’ “See,” said Kafur, “now it is shut and barred.” “How weak are your wits!” cried the third who bore the adze and his name was Bukhayt,[86] “know ye not that the owners of the gardens use to come out from Baghdad and tend them and, when evening closes upon them, they enter this place and shut the door, for fear lest the wicked blackmen, like ourselves, should catch them and roast ‘em and eat ‘em.”[87] “Thou sayest sooth,” said the two others, “but by Allah, however that may be, none amongst us is weaker of wits than thou.” “If ye do not believe me,” said Bukhayt, “let us enter the tomb and I will rouse the rat for you; for I doubt not but that, when he saw the light and us making for the place, he ran up the date-tree and hid there for fear of us.” When Ghanim heard this, he said in himself, “O curstest of slaves! May Allah not have thee in His holy keeping for this thy craft and keenness of wit! There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great! How shall I win free of these blackamoors?” Then said the two who bore the box to him of the adze, “Swarm up the wall and open the gate for us, O Bukhayt, for we are tired of carrying the chest on our necks; and when thou hast opened the gate thou shalt have one of those we catch inside, a fine fat rat which we will fry for thee after such excellent fashion that not a speck of his fat shall be lost.” But Bukhayt answered, “I am afraid of somewhat which my weak wits have suggested to me: we should do better to throw the chest over the gateway; for it is our treasure.” “If we throw it ‘twill break,” replied they; and he said, “I fear lest there be robbers within who murder folk and plunder their goods, for evening is their time of entering such places and dividing their spoil.” “O thou weak o’ wits,” said both the bearers of the box, “how could they ever get in here!”[88] Then they set down the chest and climbing over the wall dropped inside and opened the gate, whilst the third slave (he that was called Bukhayt) stood by them holding the adze, the lanthorn and the hand-basket containing the mortar. After this they locked the gate and sat down; and presently one of them said, “O my brethren, we are wearied with walking and with lifting up and setting down the chest, and with unlocking and locking the gate; and now ‘tis midnight, and we have no breath left to open a tomb and bury the box: so let us rest here two or three hours, then rise and do the job. Meanwhile each of us shall tell how he came to be castrated and all that befel him from first to last, the better to pass away our time while we take our rest.” Thereupon the first, he of the lanthorn and whose name was Bukhayt, said, “I’ll tell you my tale.” “Say on,” replied they; so he began as follows the

Tale of the First Eunuch, Bukhayt

Know, O my brothers, that when I was a little one, some five years old, I was taken home from my native country by a slave-driver who sold me to a certain Apparitor.[89] My purchaser had a daughter three years old, with whom I was brought up, and they used to make mock of me, letting me play with her and dance for her[90] and sing to her, till I reached the age of twelve and she that of ten; and even then they did not forbid me seeing her. One day I went in to her and found her sitting in an inner room, and she looked as if she had just come out of the bath which was in the house; for she was scented with essences and reek of aromatic woods, and her face shone like a circle of the moon on the fourteenth night. She began to sport with me, and I with her. Now I had just reached the age of puberty; so my prickle stood at point, as it were a huge key. Then she threw me on my back and, mounting astraddle on my breast, fell a-wriggling and a-bucking upon me till she had uncovered my yard. When she saw it standing with head erect, she hent it in hand and began rubbing it upon the lips of her little slit[91] outside her petticoat-trousers. Thereat hot lust stirred in me and I threw my arms round her, while she wound hers about my neck and hugged me to her with all her might, till, before I knew what I did, my pizzle split up her trousers and entered her slit and did away her maidenhead. When I saw this, I ran off and took refuge with one of my comrades. Presently her mother came in to her; and, seeing her in this case, fainted clean away. However she managed the matter advisedly and hid it from the girl’s father out of good will to me; nor did they cease to call to me and coax me, till they took me from where I was. After two months had passed by, her mother married her to a young man, a barber who used to shave her papa, and portioned and fitted her out of her own monies; whilst the father knew nothing of what had passed. On the night of consummation they cut the throat of a pigeon-poult and sprinkled the blood on her shift.[92] After a while they seized me unawares and gelded me; and, when they brought her to her bridegroom, they made me her Agha,[93] her eunuch, to walk before her wheresoever she went, whether to the bath or to her father’s house. I abode with her a long time enjoying her beauty and loveliness by way of kissing and clipping and coupling with her,[94] till she died, and her husband and mother and father died also; when they seized me for the Royal Treasury as being the property of an intestate, and I found my way hither, where I became your comrade. This, then, O my brethren, is the cause of my cullions being cut off; and peace be with you! He ceased and his fellow began in these words the

Tale of the Second Eunuch, Kafur

Know, O my brothers that, when beginning service as a boy of eight, I used to tell the slave-dealers regularly and exactly one lie every year, so that they fell out with one another, till at last my master lost patience with me and, carrying me down to the market, ordered the brokers to cry, “Who will buy this slave, knowing his blemish and making allowance for it?” He did so and they asked him, “Pray, what may be his blemish?” and he answered, “He telleth me one single lie every year.” Now a man that was a merchant came up and said to the broker, “How much do they allow for him with his blemish?” “They allow six hundred dirhams,” he replied; and said the other, “Thou shalt have twenty dirhams for thyself.” So he arranged between him and the slave-dealer who took the coin from him and the broker carried me to the merchant’s house and departed, after receiving his brokerage. The trader clothed me with suitable dress, and I stayed in his service the rest of my twelvemonth, until the new year began happily. It was a blessed season, plenteous in the produce of the earth, and the merchants used to feast every day at the house of some one among them, till it was my master’s turn to entertain them in a flower-garden without the city. So he and the other merchants went to the garden, taking with them all that they required of provaunt and else beside, and sat eating and carousing and drinking till mid-day, when my master, having need of some matter from his home, said to me, “O slave, mount the she-mule and hie thee to the house and bring from thy mistress such and such a thing and return quickly.” I obeyed his bidding and started for the house but, as I drew near it, I began to cry out and shed tears, whereupon all the people of the quarter collected, great and small; and my master’s wife and daughters, hearing the noise I was making, opened the door and asked me what was the matter. Said I, “My master was sitting with his friends beneath an old wall, and it fell on one and all of them; and when I saw what had happened to them, I mounted the mule and came hither in haste to tell you.” When my master’s daughters and wife heard this, they screamed and rent their raiment and beat their faces, whilst the neighbours came around them. Then the wife overturned the furniture of the house, one thing upon another, and tore down the shelves and broke the windows and the lattices and smeared the walls with mud and indigo, saying to me, “Woe to thee, O Kafur! come help me to tear down these cupboards and break up these vessels and this china ware,[95] and the rest of it.” So I went to her and aided her to smash all the shelves in the house with whatever stood upon them, after which I went round about the terrace-roofs and every part of the place, spoiling all I could and leaving no china in the house unbroken till I had laid waste the whole, crying out the while “Well away! my master!” Then my mistress fared forth bare-faced wearing a head-kerchief and naught else, and her daughters and the children sallied out with her, and said to me, “O Kafur, go thou before us and show us the place where thy master lieth dead, that we may take him from under the fallen wall and lay him on a bier and bear him to the house and give him a fine funeral.” So I went forth before them crying out, “Alack, my master!”; and they after me with faces and heads bare and all shrieking, “Alas! Alas for the man!” Now there remained none in the quarter, neither man nor woman, nor epicene, nor youth nor maid, nor child nor old trot, but went with us smiting their faces and weeping bitterly, and I led them leisurely through the whole city. The folk asked them what was the matter, whereupon they told them what they had heard from me, and all exclaimed, “There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah!” Then said one of them, “He was a personage of consequence; so let us go to the Governor and tell him what hath befallen him.” When they told the Governor,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Fortieth Night,[96]

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when they told the Governor, he rose and mounted and, taking with him labourers, with spades and baskets, went on my track, with many people behind him; and I ran on before them, howling and casting dust on my head and beating my face, followed by my mistress and her children keening for the dead. But I got ahead of them and entered the garden before them, and when my master saw me in this state, I smiting my face and saying, “Well away! my mistress! Alas! Alas! Alas! who is left to take pity on me, now that my mistress is gone? Would I had been a sacrifice for her!”, he stood aghast and his colour waxed yellow and he said to me, “What aileth thee O Kafur! What is the matter?” “O my lord,” I replied, “when thou sentest me to the house, I found that the saloon-wall had given way and had fallen like a layer upon my mistress and her children!” “And did not thy mistress escape?” “No, by Allah, O my master; not one of them was saved; the first to die was my mistress, thine elder daughter!” “And did not my younger daughter escape?”; “No, she did not!” “And what became of the mare-mule I use to ride, is she safe?” “No, by Allah, O my master, the house-walls and the stable-walls buried every living thing that was within doors, even to the sheep and geese and poultry, so that they all became a heap of flesh and the dogs and cats are eating them and not one of them is left alive.” “And hath not thy master, my elder son, escaped?” “No, by Allah! not one of them was saved, and now there is naught left of house or household, nor even a sign of them: and, as for the sheep and geese and hens, the cats and dogs have devoured them.” When my master heard this the light became night before his sight; his wits were dazed and he so lost command of his senses that he could not stand firm on his feet: he was as one struck with a sudden palsy and his back was like to break. Then he rent his raiment and plucked out his beard and, casting his turband from off his head, buffeted his face till the blood ran down and he cried aloud, “Alas, my children! Alas, my wife! Alas, my calamity! To whom ever befel that which hath befallen me?” The merchants, his friends, also cried aloud at his crying and wept for his weeping and tore their clothes, being moved to pity of his case; and so my master went out of the garden, smiting his face with such violence that from excess of pain he staggered like one drunken with wine. As he and the merchants came forth from the garden gate, behold, they saw a great cloud of dust and heard a loud noise of crying and lamentation; so they looked and lo! it was the Governor with his attendants and the townsfolk, a world of people, who had come out to look on, and my master’s family following them, all screaming and crying aloud and weeping exceeding sore weeping. The first to address my owner were his wife and children; and when he saw them he was confounded and laughed[97] and said to them, “How is it with all of you and what befel you in the house and what hath come to pass to you?” When they saw him they exclaimed, “Praise be to Allah for thy preservation!” and threw themselves upon him and his children hung about him crying, “Alack, our father! Thanks to Allah for thy safety, O our father!” And his wife said to him, “Art thou indeed well? Laud to Allah who hath shown us thy face in safety!” And indeed she was confounded and her reason fled when she saw him, and she asked, “O, my lord, how didst thou escape, thou and thy friends the merchants?”; and he answered her, “And how fared it with thee in the house?” Quoth they, “We were all well, whole and healthy, nor hath aught of evil befallen us in the house, save that thy slave Kafur came to us, bareheaded with torn garments and howling, ‘Alas, the master! Alas the master!’ So we asked him, ‘What tidings, O Kafur?’ and he answered ‘A wall of the garden hath fallen on my master and his friends the merchants, and they are all crushed and dead!’’’ “By Allah,” said my master, “he came to me but now howling, ‘Alas, my mistress! Alas, the children of the mistress!’, and said, ‘My mistress and her children are all dead, every one of them!’” Then he looked round and seeing me with my turband rent in rags round my neck, howling and weeping with exceeding weeping and throwing dust upon my head, he cried out at me. So I came to him and he said, “Woe to thee, O ill-omened slave! O whoreson knave! O thou damned breed! What mischief thou hast wrought? By Allah! I will flog thy skin from thy flesh and cut thy flesh from thy bones!” I rejoined, “By Allah, thou canst do nothing of the kind with me, O my lord, for thou boughtest me with my blemish; and there are honest men to bear witness against thee that thou didst so accepting the condition, and that thou knewest of my fault which is to tell one lie every year. Now this is only a half-lie, but by the end of the year I will tell the other half, then will the lie stand whole and complete.” “O dog, son of a dog!”, cried my master, “O most accursed of slaves, is this all of it but a half-lie? Verily if it be a half-lie ‘tis a whole calamity! Get thee from me, thou art free in the face of Allah!” “By Allah,” rejoined I, if thou free me, I will not free thee till my year is completed and I have told thee the half-lie which is left. When this is done, go down with me to the slave-market and sell me as thou boughtest me to whoso will buy me with my blemish; but thou shalt not manumit me, for I have no handicraft whereby to gain my living;[98] and this my demand is a matter of law which the doctors have laid down in the Chapter of Emancipation.”[99] While we were at these words, up came the crowd of people, and the neighbours of the quarter, men, women and children, together with the Governor and his suite offering condolence. So my master and the other merchants went up to him and informed him of the adventure, and how this was but a half-lie, at which all wondered, deeming it a whole lie and a big one. And they cursed me and reviled me, while I stood laughing and grinning at them, till at last I asked, “How shall my master slay me when he bought me with this my blemish?” Then my master returned home and found his house in ruins, and it was I who had laid waste the greater part of it,[100] having broken things which were worth much money, as also had done his wife, who said to him, “‘Twas Kafur who broke the vessels and chinaware.” Thereupon his rage redoubled and he struck hand upon hand exclaiming, “By Allah! in my life never saw I a whoreson like this slave; and he saith this is but a half-lie! How, then, if he had told me a whole lie? He would ruin a city, aye or even two.” Then in his fury he went to the Governor, and they gave me a neat thing in the bastinado-line and made me eat stick till I was lost to the world and a fainting-fit came on me; and, whilst I was yet senseless, they brought the barber who docked me and gelded me[101] and cauterised the wound. When I revived I found myself a clean eunuch with nothing left, and my master said to me, “Even as thou hast burned my heart for the things I held dearest, so have I burnt thy heart for that of thy members whereby thou settest most store!” Then he took me and sold me at a profit, for that I was become an eunuch. And I ceased not bringing trouble upon all, wherever I was sold, and was shifted from lord to lord and from notable to notable, being sold and being bought, till I entered the palace of the Commander of the Faithful. But now my spirit is broken and my tricks are gone from me, so--alas!--are my ballocks. When the two slaves heard his history, they laughed at him and chaffed him and said, “Truly thou art skite[102] and skite-son! Thou liedest an odious lie.” Then quoth they to the third slave, “Tell us thy tale.” “O sons of my uncle,” quoth he, “all that ye have said is idle: I will tell you the cause of my losing my testicles, and indeed I deserved to lose even more, for I futtered both my mistress and my master’s eldest son and heir: but my story is a long one and this is not the time to tell it; for the dawn, O my cousins, draweth near and if morning come upon us with this chest still unburied, we shall get into sore disgrace and our lives will pay for it. So up with you and open the door and, when we get back to the palace, I will tell you my story and the cause of my losing my precious stones.” Then he swarmed up and dropped down from the wall inside and opened the door, so they entered and, setting down the lantern, dug between four tombs a hole as long as the chest and of the same breadth. Kafur plied the spade and Sawab removed the earth by baskets-full till they reached the depth of the stature of a man;[103] when they laid the chest in the hole and threw back the earth over it: then they went forth and shutting the door disappeared from Ghanim’s eyes. When all was quiet and he felt sure that he was left alone in the place, his thought was busied about what the chest contained and he said to himself, “Would that I knew the contents of that box!” However, he waited till day broke, when morning shone and showed her sheen: whereupon he came down from the date-tree and scooped away the earth with his hands, till the box was laid bare and disengaged from the ground. Then he took a large stone and hammered at the lock till he broke it and, opening the lid, beheld a young lady, a model of beauty and loveliness, clad in the richest of garments and jewels of gold and such necklaces of precious stones that, were the Sultan’s country evened with them, it would not pay their price. She had been drugged with Bhang, but her bosom, rising and falling, showed that her breath had not departed. When Ghanim saw her, he knew that some one had played her false and hocussed her; so he pulled her out of the chest and laid her on the ground with her face upwards. As soon as she smelt the breeze and the air entered her nostrils, mouth and lungs, she sneezed and choked and coughed; when there fell from out her throat a pill of Cretan Bhang, had an elephant smelt it he would have slept from night to night. Then she opened her eyes and glancing around said, in sweet voice and gracious words, “Woe to thee O wind! there is naught in thee to satisfy the thirsty, nor aught to gratify one whose thirst is satisfied! Where is Zhar al-Bostan?” But no one answered her, so she turned her and cried out, “Ho Sabíhah! Shajarat al-Durr! Núr al-Hudá! Najmat al-Subh! be ye awake? Shahwah, Nuzhah, Halwá, Zarífah, out on you, speak![104]’’ But no one answered; so she looked all around and said, “Woe’s me! have they entombed me in the tombs? O Thou who knowest what man’s thought enwombs and who givest compensation on the Day of Doom, who can have brought me from amid hanging screens and curtains veiling the Harím-rooms and set me down between four tombs?” All this while Ghanim was standing by: then he said to her, “O my lady, here are neither screened rooms nor palace-Haríms nor yet tombs; only the slave henceforth devoted to thy love, Ghanim bin Ayyub, sent to thee by the Omniscient One above, that all thy troubles He may remove and win for thee every wish that doth behove!” Then he held his peace. She was reassured by his words and cried, “I testify that there is no god but the God and I testify that Mohammed is the Apostle of God!”; then she turned to Ghanim and, placing her hands before her face, said to him in the sweetest speech, “O blessed youth, who brought me hither? See, I am now come to myself.” “O my lady,” he replied, “three slave-eunuchs came here bearing this chest;” and related to her the whole of what had befallen him, and how evening having closed upon him had proved the cause of her preservation, otherwise she had died smothered.[105] Then he asked her who she was and what was her story, and she answered, “O youth, thanks be to Allah who hath cast me into the hands of the like of thee! But now rise and put me back into the box; then fare forth upon the road and hire the first camel-driver or muleteer thou findest to carry it to thy house. When I am there, all will be well and I will tell thee my tale and acquaint thee with my adventures, and great shall be thy gain by means of me.” At this he rejoiced and went outside the tomb. The day was now dazzling bright and the firmament shone with light and the folk had begun to circulate; so he hired a man with a mule and, bringing him to the tomb, lifted the chest wherein he had put the damsel and set it on the mule. Her love now engrossed his heart and he fared homeward with her rejoicing, for that she was a girl worth ten thousand gold pieces and her raiment and ornaments would fetch a mint of money. As soon as he arrived at his house he carried in the chest and opening it,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Forty-first night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Ghanim son of Ayyub arrived with the chest at his house, he opened it and took out the young lady, who looked about her and, seeing that the place was handsome, spread with carpets and dight with cheerful colours and other deckings; and noting the stuffs up-piled and packed bales and other else than that, knew that he was a substantial merchant and a man of much money. Thereupon she uncovered her face and looked at him, and lo! he was a fair youth; so when she saw him she loved him and said, “O my lord, bring us something to eat.” “On my head and mine eyes!” replied he; and, going down to the bazar, bought a roasted lamb and a dish of sweetmeats and with these dry fruits and wax candles, besides wine and whatsoever was required of drinking materials, not forgetting perfumes. With all this gear he returned to the house; and when the damsel saw him she laughed and kissed him and clasped his neck. Then she began caressing him, which made his love wax hotter till it got the mastery of his heart. They ate and drank and each had conceived the fondest affection; for indeed the two were one in age and one in loveliness; and when night came on Ghanim bin Ayyub, the Distraught, the Thrall o’ Love, rose and lit the wax candles and lamps till the place blazed with light;[106] after which he produced the wine-service and spread the table. Then both sat down again, he and she, and he kept filling and giving her to drink, and she kept filling and giving him to drink, and they played and toyed and laughed and recited verses; whilst their joy increased and they clove in closer love each to each (glory be to the Uniter of Hearts!). They ceased not to carouse after this fashion till near upon dawn when drowsiness overcame them and they slept where they were, apart each from other, till the morning.[107] Then Ghanim arose and going to the market, bought all they required of meat and vegetables and wine and what not, and brought them to the house; whereupon both sat down to eat and ate their sufficiency, when he set on wine. They drank and each played with each, till their cheeks flushed red and their eyes took a darker hue and Ghanim’s soul longed to kiss the girl and to lie with her and he said, “O my lady, grant me one kiss of that dear mouth: per chance ‘t will quench the fire of my heart.” “O Ghanim,” replied she, “wait till I am drunk and dead to the world; then steal a kiss of me, secretly and on such wise that I may not know thou hast kissed me.” Then she rose and taking off her upper dress sat in a thin shift of fine linen and a silken head kerchief.[108] At this passion inflamed Ghanim and he said to her, “O my lady, wilt thou not vouchsafe me what I asked of thee?” “By Allah,” she replied, “that may not be thine, for there is written upon my trouser string[109] a hard word!” Thereupon Ghanim’s heart sank and desire grew on him as its object offered difficulties; and he improvised these verses,

“I asked the author of mine ills
To heal the wound with one sweet kiss:
No! No! she cried,[110] for ever no!
But I, soft whispering, urged yes:
Quoth she, Then take it by my leave,
When smiles shall pardon thine amiss:
By force, cried I? Nay, she replied
With love and gladness eke I wis.
Now ask me not what next occurred
Seek grace of God and whist of this!
Deem what thou wilt of us, for love
By calumnies the sweeter is:
Nor after this care I one jot
Whether my foe be known or not.”

Then his affection increased and love fires rose hotter in his heart, while she refused herself to him saying, “Thou canst not possess me.” They ceased not to make love and enjoy their wine and wassail, whilst Ghanim was drowned in the sea of love and longing; but she redoubled in coyness and cruelty till the night brought on the darkness and let fall on them the skirts of sleep. Thereupon Ghanim rose and lit the lamps and wax candles and refreshed the room and removed the table; then he took her feet and kissed them and, finding them like fresh cream, pressed his face[111] on them and said to her, “O my lady, take pity on one thy love hath ta’en and thine eyes hath slain; for indeed I were heart-whole but for thy bane!” And he wept somewhat. “O my lord, and light of my eyes,” quoth she, “by Allah, I love thee in very sooth and I trust to thy truth, but I know that I may not be thine.” “And what is the obstacle?” asked he; when she answered, “To-night I will tell thee my tale, that thou mayst accept my excuse.” Then she threw herself upon him and winding her arms like a necklace about his neck, kissed him and caressed him and promised him her favours; and they ceased not playing and laughing till love get the firmest hold upon both their hearts. And so it continued a whole month, both passing the night on a single carpet-bed, but whenever he would enjoy her, she put him off; whilst mutual love increased upon them and each could hardly abstain from other. One night, as he lay by her side, and both were warm with wine, Ghanim passed his hand over her breasts and stroked them; then he slipped it down to her waist as far as her navel. She awoke and, sitting up, put her hand to her trousers and finding them fast tied, once more fell asleep. Presently, he again felt her and sliding his hand down to her trouser-string, began pulling at it, whereupon she awoke and sat upright. Ghanim also sat up by her side and she asked him, “What dost thou want?” “I want to lie with thee,” he answered, “and that we may deal openly and frankly with each other.” Quoth she, “I must now declare to thee my case, that thou mayst know my quality; then will my secret be disclosed to thee and my excuse become manifest to thee.” Quoth he, “So be it!” Thereat she opened the skirt of her shift and taking up her trouser string, said to him, “O my lord, read what is worked on the flat of this string:” so he took it in hand, and saw these words broidered on it in gold, “I AM THINE, AND THOU ART MINE, O COUSIN OF THE APOSTLE!’’[112] When he read this, he withdrew his hand and said to her, “Tell me who thou art!” “So be it,” answered she; “know that I am one of the concubines of the Commander of the Faithful, and my name is Kút al-Kulúb--the Food of Hearts. I was brought up in his palace and, when I grew to woman’s estate, he looked on me and, noting what share of beauty and loveliness the Creator had given me, loved me with exceeding love, and assigned me a separate apartment, and gave me ten slave girls to wait on me and all these ornaments thou seest me wearing. On a certain day he set out for one of his provinces, and the Lady Zubaydah came to one of the slave-girls in my service and said to her, ‘I have something to require of thee.’ ‘What is it, O my lady?’ asked she and the Caliph’s wife answered, ‘When thy mistress Kut al-Kulub is asleep, put this piece of Bhang into her nostrils or drop it into her drink, and thou shalt have of me as much money as will satisfy thee.’ ‘With love and gladness;’ replied the girl and took the Bhang from her, being a glad woman because of the money and because aforetime she had been one of Zubaydah’s slaves. So she put the Bhang in my drink, and when it was night I drank, and the drug had no sooner settled in my stomach than I fell to the ground, my head touching my feet, and knew naught of my life but that I was in another world. When her device succeeded, she bade put me in this chest, and secretly brought in the slaves and the doorkeepers and bribed them; and, on the night when thou wast perched upon the date-tree, she sent the blacks to do with me as thou sawest. So my delivery was at thy hands, and thou broughtest me to this house and hast entreated me honourably and with thy kindest. This is my story, and I wot not what is become of the Caliph during my absence. Know then my condition and divulge not my case.” When Ghanim heard her words and knew that she was a concubine of the Caliph, he drew back, for awe of the Caliphate beset him, and sat apart from her in one of the corners of the place, blaming himself and brooding over his affair and patiencing his heart bewildered for love of one he could not possess. Then he wept for excess of longing, and plained him of Fortune and her injuries, and the world and its enmities (and praise be to Him who causeth generous hearts to be troubled with love and the beloved, and who endoweth not the minds of the mean and miserly with so much of it as eveneth a grain-weight!). So he began repeating,

“The lover’s heart for his beloved must meet
Sad pain, and from her charms bear sore defeat:
What is Love’s taste? They asked and answered I,
Sweet is the taste but ah! ‘tis bitter sweet.”

Thereupon Kut al-Kulub arose and took him to her bosom and kissed him; for the love of him was firm fixed in her heart, so that she disclosed to him her secret and all the affection she felt; and, throwing her arms round Ghanim’s neck like a collar of pearls, kissed him again and yet again. But he held off from her in awe of the Caliph. Then they talked together a long while (and indeed both were drowned in the sea of their mutual love); and, as the day broke, Ghanim rose and donned his clothes and going to the bazar, as was his wont, took what the occasion required and returned home. He found her weeping; but when she saw him she checked herself and, smiling through her tears, said, “Thou hast desolated me, O beloved of my heart. By Allah, this hour of absence hath been to me like a year![113] I have explained to thee my condition in the excess of my eager love for thee; so come now near me, and forget the past and have thy will of me.” But he interrupted her crying, “I seek refuge with Allah! This thing may never be. How shall the dog sit in the lion’s stead? What is the lord’s is unlawful to the slave!” So he with-drew from her, and sat down on a corner of the mat. Her passion for him increased with his forbearance; so she seated herself by his side and caroused and played with him, till the two were flushed with wine, and she was mad for her own dishonour. Then she sang these verses,

“The lover’s heart is like to break in twain:
Till when these coy denials ah! till when?
O thou who fliest me sans fault of mine,
Gazelles are wont at times prove tame to men:
Absence, aversion, distance and disdain,
How shall young lover all these ills sustain?”

Thereupon Ghanim wept and she wept at his weeping, and they ceased not drinking till nightfall, when he rose and spread two beds, each in its place. “For whom is this second bed?” asked she, and he answered her, “One is for me and the other is for thee: from this night forth we must not sleep save thus, for that which is the lord’s is unlawful to the thrall.” “O my master!” cried she, “let us have done with this, for all things come to pass by Fate and Fortune.” But he refused, and the fire was lighted in her heart and, as her longing waxed fiercer, she clung to him and cried, “By Allah, we will not sleep save side by side!” “Allah forefend!” he replied and prevailed against her and lay apart till the morning, when love and longing redoubled on her and distraction and eager thirst of passion. They abode after this fashion three full-told months, which were long and longsome indeed, and every time she made advances to him, he would refuse himself and say, “Whatever belongeth to the master is unlawful to the man.” Now when time waxed tiresome and tedious to her and anguish and distress grew on her, she burst out from her oppressed heart with these verses,

“How long, rare beauty! wilt do wrong to me?
Who was it bade thee not belong to me?
With outer charms thou weddest inner grace
Comprising every point of piquancy:
Passion thou hast infused in every heart,
From eyelids driven sleep by deputy:
Erst was (I wot) the spray made thin of leaf.
O Cassia-spray! Unlief thy sin I see:[114]
The hart erst hunted I: how is ‘t I spy
The hunter hunted (fair my hart!) by thee?
Wondrouser still I tell thee aye that I
Am trapped while never up to trap thou be!
Ne’er grant my prayer! For if I grudge thyself
To thee, I grudge my me more jealously;
And cry so long as life belong to me,
Rare beauty how, how long this wrong to me?”

They abode in this state a long time, and fear kept Ghanim aloof from her. So far concerning these two; but as regards the Lady Zubaydah, when, in the Caliph’s absence she had done this deed by Kut al-Kulub she became perplexed, saying to herself, “What shall I tell my cousin when he comes back and asks for her? What possible answer can I make to him?” Then she called an old woman, who was about her and discovered her secret to her saying, “How shall I act seeing that Kut al-Kulub died by such untimely death?” “O my lady,” quoth the old crone, “the time of the Caliph’s return is near; so do thou send for a carpenter and bid him make thee a figure of wood in the form of a corpse. We will dig a grave for it midmost the palace and there bury it: then do thou build an oratory over it and set therein lighted candles and lamps, and order each and every in the palace to be clad in black.[115] Furthermore command thy handmaids and eunuchs as soon as they know of the Caliph’s returning from his journey, to spread straw over the vestibule-floors and, when the Commander of the Faithful enters and asks what is the matter, let them say:— Kut al-Kulub is dead, and may Allah abundantly compensate thee for the loss of her![116]; and, for the high esteem in which she was held of our mistress, she hath buried her in her own palace. When he hears this he will weep and it shall be grievous to him; then will he cause perlections of the Koran to be made for her and he will watch by night at her tomb. Should he say to himself, ‘Verily Zubaydah, the daughter of my uncle, hath compassed in her jealousy the death of Kut al-Kulub’; or, if love-longing overcome him and he bid her be taken out of her tomb, fear thou not; for when they dig down and come to the image in human shape he will see it shrouded in costly grave-clothes; and, if he wish to take off the winding-sheet that he may look upon her, do thou forbid him or let some other forbid him, saying, ‘The sight of her nakedness is unlawful.’ The fear of the world to come will restrain him and he will believe that she is dead and will restore the figure to its place and thank thee for thy doings; and thus thou shalt escape, please Almighty Allah, from this slough of despond.” When the Lady Zubaydah heard her words, she commended the counsel and gave her a dress of honour and a large sum of money, ordering her to do all she had said. So the old woman set about the business forthright and bade the carpenter make her the aforesaid image; and, as soon as it was finished, she brought it to the Lady Zubaydah, who shrouded it and buried it and built a sepulchre over it, wherein they lighted candles and lamps, and laid down carpets about the tomb. Moreover she put on black and she spread abroad in the Harim that Kut al-Kulub was dead. After a time the Caliph returned from his journey and went up to the palace, thinking only of Kut al-Kulub. He saw all the pages and eunuchs and handmaids habited in black, at which his heart fluttered with extreme fear; and, when he went in to the Lady Zubaydah, he found her also garbed in black. So he asked the cause of this and they gave him tidings of the death of Kut al-Kulub, whereon he fell a-swooning. As soon as he came to himself, he asked for her tomb, and the Lady Zubaydah said to him, “Know, O Prince of the Faithful, that for especial honour I have buried her in my own palace.” Then he repaired in his travelling-garb[117] to the tomb that he might wail over her, and found the carpets spread and the candles and lamps lighted. When he saw this, he thanked Zubaydah for her good deed and abode perplexed, halting between belief and unbelief till at last suspicion overcame him and he gave order to open the grave and take out the body. When he saw the shroud and would have removed it to look upon her, the fear of Allah Almighty restrained him, and the old woman (taking advantage of the delay) said, “Restore her to her place.” Then he sent at once for Fakirs and Koran-readers, and caused perlections to be made over her tomb and sat by the side of the grave, weeping till he fainted; and he continued to frequent the tomb and sit there for a whole month,— And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Forty-second Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Caliph ceased not to frequent the tomb for the period of a whole month, at the end of which time it so happened one day that he entered the Serraglio, after dismissing the Emirs and Wazirs, and lay down and slept awhile; and there sat at his head a slave girl fanning him, and at his feet a second rubbing and shampooing them. Presently he awoke and, opening his eyes, shut them again and heard the handmaid at his head saying to her who was at his feet, “A nice business this, O Khayzarán!” and the other answered her “Well, O Kazíb al-Bán?”[118] “Verily” said the first, “our lord knoweth naught of what hath happened and sitteth waking and watching by a tomb wherein is only a log of wood carved by the carpenter’s art.” “And Kut al-Kulub,” quoth the other, “what hath befallen her?” She replied, “Know that the Lady Zubaydah sent a pellet of Bhang by one of the slave women who was bribed to drug her; and when sleep overpowered her she let put her in a chest, and ordered Sawab and Kafur and Bukhayt to throw her amongst the tombs.” “What dost thou say, O Kazib al-Ban;” asked Khayzaran, “is not the lady Kut al-Kulub dead?” “Nay, by Allah!” she answered “and long may her youth be saved from death! but I have heard the Lady Zubaydah say that she is in the house of a young merchant named Ghanim bin Ayyub of Damascus, hight the Distraught, the Thrall o’ Love; and she hath been with him these four months, whilst our lord is weeping and watching by night at a tomb wherein is no corpse.” They kept on talking this sort of talk, and the Caliph gave ear to their words; and, by the time they had ceased speaking, he knew right well that the tomb was a feint and a fraud, and that Kut al-Kulub had been in Ghanim’s house for four months. Whereupon he was angered with exceeding anger and rising up, he summoned the Emirs of his state; and his Wazir Ja’afar the Barmaki came also and kissed the ground between his hands. The Caliph said to him in fury, “Go down, O Ja’afar, with a party of armed men and ask for the house of Ghanim son of Ayyub: fall upon it and spoil it and bring him to me with my slave girl, Kut al-Kulub, for there is no help but that I punish him!” “To hear is to obey,” said Ja’afar; and setting out with the Governor and the guards and a world of people, repaired to Ghanim’s house. Now about that time the youth happened to have brought back a pot of dressed meat and was about to put forth his hand to eat of it, he and Kut al-Kulub, when the lady, happening to look out saw calamity surrounding the house on every side; for the Wazir and the Governor, the night-guard and the Mamelukes with swords drawn had girt it as the white of the eye girdeth the black. At this she knew that tidings of her had reached the Caliph, her lord; and she made sure of ruin, and her colour paled and her fair features changed and her favour faded. Then she turned to Ghanim and said to him, “O my love? fly for thy life!” “What shall I do,” asked he, “and whither shall I go, seeing that my money and means of maintenance are all in this house?”; and she answered, “Delay not lest thou be slain and lose life as well as wealth.” “O my loved one and light of mine eyes!” he cried, “how shall I do to get away when they have surrounded the house?” Quoth she, “Fear not;” and, stripping off his fine clothes, dressed him in ragged old garments, after which she took the pot and, putting in it bits of broken bread and a saucer of meat,[119] placed the whole in a basket and setting it upon his head said, “Go out in this guise and fear not for me who wotteth right well what thing is in my hand for the Caliph.”[120] So he went out amongst them, bearing the basket with its contents, and the Protector vouchsafed him His protection and he escaped the snares and perils that beset him, by the blessing of his good conscience and pure conduct. Meanwhile Ja’afar dismounted and entering the house, saw Kut al-Kulub who had dressed and decked herself in splendid raiments and ornaments and filled a chest with gold and jewellery and precious stones and rarities and what else was light to bear and of value rare. When she saw Ja’afar come in, she rose and, kissing the ground before him, said, “O my lord, the Reed hath written of old the rede which Allah decreed!’’[121] “By Allah, O my lady,” answered Ja’afar, “he gave me an order to seize Ghanim son of Ayyub;” and she rejoined, “O my lord, he made ready his goods and set out therewith for Damascus and I know nothing more of him; but I desire thee take charge of this chest and deliver it to me in the Harim of the Prince of the Faithful.” “Hearing and obedience,” said Ja’afar, and bade his men bear it away to the head-quarters of the Caliphate together with Kut al-Kulub, commanding them to entreat her with honour as one in high esteem. They did his bidding after they had wrecked and plundered Ghanim’s house. Then Ja’afar went in to the Caliph and told him all that had happened, and he ordered Kut al-Kulub to be lodged in a dark chamber and appointed an old women to serve her, feeling convinced that Ghanim had debauched her and slept with her. Then he wrote a mandate to the Emir Mohammed bin Sulayman al-Zayni, his viceroy in Damascus, to this effect: “The instant thou shalt receive this our letter, seize upon Ghanim bin Ayyub and send him to us.” When the missive came to the viceroy, he kissed it and laid it on his head; then he let proclaim in the bazars, “Whoso is desirous to plunder, away with him to the house of Ghanim son of Ayyub.”[122] So they flocked thither, when they found that Ghanim’s mother and sister had built him a tomb[123] in the midst of the house and sat by it weeping for him; whereupon they seized the two without telling them the cause and, after spoiling the house, carried them before the viceroy. He questioned them concerning Ghanim and both replied, “For a year or more we have had no news of him.” So they restored them to their place. Thus far concerning them; but as regards Ghanim, when he saw his wealth spoiled and his ruin utterest he wept over himself till his heart well-nigh brake. Then he fared on at random till the last of the day, and hunger grew hard on him and walking wearied him. So coming to a village he entered a mosque[124] where he sat down upon a mat and propped his back against the wall; but presently he sank to the ground in his extremity of famine and fatigue. There he lay till dawn, his heart fluttering for want of food; and, owing to his sweating, the lice[125] coursed over his skin; his breath waxed fetid and his whole condition was changed. When the villagers came to pray the dawn-prayer, they found him prostrate, ailing, hunger-lean, yet showing evident signs of former affluence. As soon as prayers were over, they drew near him; and, understanding that he was starved with hunger and cold, they gave him an old robe with ragged sleeves and said to him, “O stranger, whence art thou and what sickness is upon thee?” He opened his eyes and wept but returned no answer; whereupon one of them, who saw that he was starving, brought him a saucer of honey and two barley scones. He ate a little and they sat with him till sun-rise, when they went to their work. He abode with them in this state for a month, whilst sickness and weakliness grew upon him; and they wept for him and, pitying his condition, took counsel with one another upon his case and agreed to forward him to the hospital in Baghdad.[126] Meanwhile behold, two beggar-women, who were none other than Ghanim’s mother and sister,[127] came into the mosque and, when he saw them, he gave them the bread that was at his head; and they slept by his side that night but he knew them not. Next day the villagers brought a camel and said to the cameleer, “Set this sick man on thy beast and carry him to Baghdad and put him down at the Spital-door; so haply he may be medicined and be healed and thou shalt have thy hire.”[128] “To hear is to comply,” said the man. So they brought Ghanim, who was asleep, out of the mosque and set him, mat and all, on the camel; and his mother and sister came out among the crowd to gaze upon him, but they knew him not. However, after looking at him and considering him carefully they said, “Of a truth he favours our Ghanim, poor boy!; can this sick man be he?” Presently, he woke and finding himself bound with ropes on a camel’s back, he began to weep and complain,[129] and the village-people saw his mother and sister weeping over him, albeit they knew him not. Then they fared forth for Baghdad, but the camel-man forewent them and, setting Ghanim down at the Spital-gate, went away with his beast. The sick man lay there till dawn and, when the folk began to go about the streets, they saw him and stood gazing on him, for he had become as thin as a toothpick, till the Syndic of the bazar came up and drove them away from him, saying, “I will gain Paradise through this poor creature; for if they take him into the Hospital, they will kill him in a single day.”[130] Then he made his young men carry him to his house, where they spread him a new bed with a new pillow,[131] and he said to his wife, “Tend him carefully;” and she replied, “Good! on my head be it!” Thereupon she tucked up her sleeves and warming some water, washed his hands, feet and body; after which she clothed him in a robe belonging to one of her slave-girls and made him drink a cup of wine and sprinkled rose-water over him. So he revived and complained, and the thought of his beloved Kut al-Kulub made his grief redouble. Thus far concerning him; but as regards Kut al-Kulub, when the Caliph was angered against her,— And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Forty-third Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the Caliph was angered against Kut al-Kulub, he ordered her to a dark chamber where she abode eighty days, at the end of which the Caliph, happening to pass on a certain day the place where she was, heard her repeating poetry, and after she ceased reciting her verse, saying, “O my darling, O my Ghanim! how great is thy goodness and how chaste is thy nature! thou didst well by one who did ill by thee and thou guardedst his honour who garred thine become dishonour, and his Harim thou didst protect who to enslave thee and thine did elect! But thou shalt surely stand, thou and the Commander of the Faithful, before the Just Judge, and thou shalt be justified of him on the Day when the Lord (to whom be honour and glory!) shall be Kazi and the Angels of Heaven shall be witnesses!” When the Caliph heard her complaint, he knew that she had been wronged and, returning to the palace, sent Masrur the Eunuch for her. She came before him with bowed head and eyes tearful and heart sorrowful; and he said to her, “O Kut al-Kulub, I find thou accuses me of tyranny and oppression, and thou avouchest that I have done ill by one who did well by me. Who is this who hath guarded my honour while I garred his become dishonour? Who protected my Harim and whose Harim I wrecked?” “He is Ghanim son of Ayyub,” replied she, “for he never approached me in wantonness or with lewd intent, I swear by thy munificence, O Commander of the Faithful!” Then said the Caliph, “There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah! Ask what thou wilt of me, O Kut al-Kulub.” “O Prince of the Faithful!”, answered she, “I require of thee only my beloved Ghanim son of Ayyub.” He did as she desired, whereupon she said, “O Lord of the Moslems, if I bring him to thy presence, wilt thou bestow me on him?”; and he replied, “If he come into my presence, I will give thee to him as the gift of the generous who revoketh not his largesse.” “O Prince of True Believers,” quoth she, “suffer me to go and seek him; haply Allah may unite me with him:” and quoth he, “Do even as thou wilt.” So she rejoiced and, taking with her a thousand dinars in gold, went out and visited the elders of the various faiths and gave alms in Ghanim’s name.[132] Next day she walked to the merchants’ bazar and disclosed her object to the Syndic and gave him money, saying, “Bestow this in charity to the stranger!” On the following Friday she fared to the bazar (with other thousand dinars) and, entering the goldsmiths’ and jewellers’ market-street, called the Chief and presented to him a thousand dinars with these words, “Bestow this in charity to the stranger!” The Chief looked at her (and he was the Syndic who had taken in Ghanim) and said, “O my lady, wilt thou come to my house and look upon a youth, a stranger I have there and see how goodly and graceful he is?” Now the stranger was Ghanim, son of Ayyub, but the Chief had no knowledge of him and thought him to be some wandering pauper, some debtor whose wealth had been taken from him, or some lover parted from his beloved. When she heard his words her heart fluttered[133] and her vitals yearned, and she said to him, “Send with me one who shall guide me to thy house.” So he sent a little lad who brought her to the house wherein was the head man’s stranger-guest and she thanked him for this. When she reached the house, she went in and saluted the Syndic’s wife, who rose and kissed the ground between her hands, for she knew her. Then quoth Kut al-Kulub, “Where is the sick man who is with thee?” She wept and replied, “Here is he, O my lady; by Allah, he is come of good folk and he beareth the signs of gentle breeding: you see him lying on yonder bed.” So she turned and looked at him: and she saw something like him, but he was worn and wasted till he had become lean as a toothpick, so his identity was doubtful to her and she could not be certain that it was he. Yet pity for him possessed her and she wept saying, “Verily the stranger is unhappy, even though he be a prince in his own land!”; and his case was grievous to her and her heart ached for him, yet she knew him not to be Ghanim. Then she furnished him with wine and medicines and she sat awhile by his head, after which she mounted and returned to her palace and continued to visit every bazar in quest of her lover. Meanwhile Ghanim’s mother and sister Fitnah arrived at Baghdad and met the Syndic, who carried them to Kut al-Kulub and said to her, “O Princess of beneficent ladies, there came to our city this day a woman and her daughter, who are fair of favour and signs of good breeding and dignity are apparent in them, though they be dressed in hair-cloth and have each one a wallet hanging to her neck; and their eyes are tearful and their hearts are sorrowful. So I have brought them to thee that thou mayst give them refuge, and rescue them from beggary, for they are not of asker-folk and, if it please Allah, we shall enter Paradise through them.” “By Allah, O my master,” cried she, “thou makest me long to see them! Where are they?”, adding, “Here with them to me!” So he bade the eunuch bring them in; and, when she looked on them and saw that they were both of distinguished beauty, she wept for them and said, “By Allah, these are people of condition and show plain signs of former opulence.” “O my lady,” said the Syndic’s wife, “we love the poor and the destitute, more especially as reward in Heaven will recompense our love; and, as for these persons, haply the oppressor hath dealt hardly with them and hath plundered their property and harried their houses.” Then Ghanim’s mother and sister wept with sore weeping, remembering their former prosperity and contrasting it with their present poverty and miserable condition; and their thoughts dwelt upon son and brother, whilst Kut al-Kulub wept for their weeping; and they said, “We beseech Allah to reunite us with him whom we desire, and he is none other but my son named Ghanim bin Ayyub!” When Kut al-Kulub heard this, she knew them to be the mother and sister of her lover and wept till a swoon came over her. When she revived she turned to them and said, “Have no fear and sorrow not, for this day is the first of your prosperity and the last of your adversity!”—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Forty-fourth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Kut al-Kulub had consoled them she bade the Syndic lead them to his house and let his wife carry them to the Hammam and dress them in handsome clothes and take care of them and honour them with all honour; and she gave him a sufficient sum of money. Next day, she mounted and, riding to his house, went in to his wife who rose up and kissed her hands and thanked her for her kindness. There she saw Ghanim’s mother and sister whom the Syndic’s wife had taken to the Hammam and clothed afresh, so that the traces of their former condition became manifest upon them. She sat talking with them awhile, after which she asked the wife about the sick youth who was in her house and she replied, “He is in the same state.” Then said Kut al-Kulub, “Come, let us go and visit him.” So she arose, she and the Chief’s wife and Ghanim’s mother and sister, and went in to the room where he lay and sat down near him. Presently Ghanim bin Ayyub, the Distraught, the Thrall o’ Love, heard them mention the name of Kut al-Kulub; whereupon life returned to him, emaciated and withered as he was, and he raised his head from the pillow and cried aloud, “O Kut al-Kulub!” She looked at him and made certain it was he and shrieked rather than said, “Yes, O my beloved!” “Draw near to me;” said he, and she replied, “Surely thou art Ghanim bin Ayyub?”; and he rejoined “I am indeed!” Hereupon a swoon came upon her; and, as soon as Ghanim’s mother and his sister Fitnah heard these words, both cried out “O our joy’” and fainted clean away. When they all recovered, Kut al-Kulub exclaimed, “Praise be to Allah who hath brought us together again and who hath reunited thee with thy mother and thy sister!” And she related to him all that had befallen her with the Caliph and said, “I have made known the truth to the Commander of the Faithful, who believed my words and was pleased with thee; and now he desireth to see thee,” adding, “He hath given me to thee.” Thereat he rejoiced with extreme joy, when she said, “Quit not this place till I come back” and, rising forthwith, betook herself to her palace. There she opened the chest which she had brought from Ghanim’s house and, taking out some of the dinars, gave them to the Syndic saying, “Buy with this money for each of them four complete suits of the finest stuffs and twenty kerchiefs, and else beside of whatsoever they require;” after which she carried all three to the baths and had them washed and bathed and made ready for them consommés, and galangale-water and cider against their coming out. When they left the Hammam, they put on the new clothes, and she abode with them three days feeding them with chicken meats and bouillis, and making them drink sherbert of sugar candy. After three days their spirits returned; and she carried them again to the baths, and when they came out and had changed their raiment, she led them back to the Syndic’s house and left them there, whilst she returned to the palace and craved permission to see the Caliph. When he ordered her to come in, she entered and, kissing the ground between his hands, told him the whole story and how her lord, Ghanim bin Ayyub, yclept the Distraught, the Thrall o’ Love, and his mother and sister were now in Baghdad. When the Caliph heard this, he turned to the eunuchs and said, “Here with Ghanim to me.” So Ja’afar went to fetch him; but Kut al-Kulub forewent him and told Ghanim, “The Caliph hath sent to fetch thee before him,” and charged him to show readiness of tongue and firmness of heart and sweetness of speech. Then she robed him in a sumptuous dress and gave him dinars in plenty, saying, “Be lavish of largesse to the Caliph’s household as thou goest in to him.” Presently Ja’afar, mounted on his Nubian mule, came to fetch him; and Ghanim advanced to welcome the Wazir and, wishing him long life, kissed the ground before him. Now the star of his good fortune had risen and shone brightly; and Ja’afar took him; and they ceased not faring together, he and the Minister, till they went in to the Commander of the Faithful. When he stood in the presence, he looked at the Wazirs and Emirs and Chamberlains, and Viceroys and Grandees and Captains, and then at the Caliph. Hereupon he sweetened his speech and his eloquence and, bowing his head to the ground, broke out in these extempore couplets,

“May that Monarch’s life span a mighty span,
Whose lavish of largesse all lieges scan:
None other but he shall be Kaysar hight,
Lord of lordly hall and of haught Divan:
Kings lay their gems on his threshold-dust
As they bow and salam to the mighty man;
And his glances foil them and all recoil,
Bowing beards aground and with faces wan:
Yet they gain the profit of royal grace,
The rank and station of high soldan.
Earth’s plain is scant for thy world of men,
Camp there in Kay wan’s[134] Empyrean!
May the King of Kings ever hold thee dear;
Be counsel thine and right steadfast plan,
Till thy justice spread o’er the wide-spread earth
And the near and the far be of equal worth.”

When he ended his improvisation the Caliph was pleased by it and marvelled at the eloquence of his tongue and the sweetness of his speech,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Forty-fifth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Caliph, after marvelling at his eloquence of tongue and sweetness of speech, said to him, “Draw near to me.” So he drew near and quoth the King, “Tell me thy tale and declare to me thy case.” So Ghanim sat down and related to him what had befallen him in Baghdad, of his sleeping in the tomb and of his opening the chest after the three slaves had departed, and informed him, in short, of everything that had happened to him from commencement to conclusion--none of which we will repeat for interest fails in twice told tales. The Caliph was convinced that he was a true man; so he invested him with a dress of honour, and placed him near himself in token of favour, and said to him, “Acquit me of the responsibility I have incurred.’’[135] And Ghanim so did, saying, “O our lord the Sultan, of a truth thy slave and all things his two hands own are his master’s.” The Caliph was pleased at this and gave orders to set apart a palace for him and assigned to him pay and allowances, rations and donations, which amounted to something immense. So he removed thither with sister and mother; after which the Caliph, hearing that his sister Fitnah was in beauty a very “fitnah,”[136] a mere seduction, demanded her in marriage of Ghanim who replied, “She is thy handmaid as I am thy slave.” The Caliph thanked him and gave him an hundred thousand dinars, then summoned the witnesses and the Kazi, and on one and the same day they wrote out the two contracts of marriage between the Caliph and Fitnah and between Ghanim bin Ayyub and Kut al-Kulub; and the two marriages were consummated on one and the same night. When it was morning, the Caliph gave orders to record the history of what had befallen Ghanim from first to last and to deposit it in the royal muniment-rooms, that those who came after him might read it and marvel at the dealings of Destiny and put their trust in Him who created the night and the day. Yet, O auspicious King, this story to which thou hast deigned give ear is on no wise more wondrous than the

Tale Of King Omar Bin Al-Nu’uman And His Sons Sharrkan and Zau Al-Makan, and What Befel Them of Things Seld-Seen and Peregrine

This knightly tale, the longest in the Nights (xliv.— cxlv.), about one-eighth of the whole, does not appear in the Bres. Edit. Lane, who finds it "objectionable," reduces it to two of its episodes, Azíz-cum-Azízah and Táj al-Mulúk. On the other hand it has been converted into a volume (8vo, pp. 240) "Scharkan, Conte Arabe," etc. Traduit par M. Asselan Riche, etc. Paris: Dondey-Dupré. 1829. It has its longueurs and at times is longsome enough; but it is interesting as a comparison between the chivalry of Al-Islam and European knight-errantry. Although all the characters are fictitious the period is evidently in the early crusading days. Cæsarea, the second capital of Palestine, taken during the Caliphate of Omar (A.H. 19) and afterwards recovered, was fortified in A.H. 353 = 963 as a base against the Arabs by the Emperor Phocas, the Arab. "Nakfúr" i.e. Nicephorus. In A.H. 498=1104, crusading craft did much injury by plundering merchantmen between Egypt and Syria, to which allusion is found in the romance. But the story-teller has not quite made up his mind about which Cæsarea he is talking, and M. Riche tells us that Césarée is a "ville de la Mauritanie, en Afrique" (p. 20).

The King asked her, “And what was their story?” and she answered: It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that there was in the City of Safety, Baghdad, before the Caliphate of Abd al-Malik bin Marwán,[137] a King, Omar bin al-Nu’umán hight, who was of the mighty giants and had subjected the Chosroës of Persia and the Kaysars of Eastern Rome; for none could warm himself at his fire;[138] nor could any avail to meet him in the field of foray and fray; and, when he was angered, there came forth from his nostrils sparks of flame. He had made himself King over all quarters, and Allah had subjected to him all His creatures; his word went forth to all great cities and his hosts had harried the farthest lands. East and West had come under his command with whatsoever regions lay interspersed between them, Hind and Sind and Sin,[139] the Holy Land, Al-Hijaz, the rich mountains of Al-Yaman and the archipelagos of India and China. Moreover, he reigned supreme over the north country and Diyár Bakr, or Mesopotamia, and over Sudán, the Eastern Negro-land and the Islands of the Ocean, and all the far famed rivers of the earth, Sayhún and Jayhún,[140] Nile and Euphrates. He sent envoys and ambassadors to capitals the most remote, to provide him with true report; and they would bring back tidings of justice and peace, with assurance of loyalty and obedience and of prayers in the pulpits for King Omar bin al-Nu’uman; for he was, O Ruler of the Age, a right noble King; and there came to him presents of rarities and toll and tribute from all lands of his governing. This mighty monarch had a son yclept Sharrkan,[141] who was likest of all men to his father and who proved himself one of the prodigies of his time for subduing the brave and bringing his contemporaries to bane and ban. For this his father loved him with love so great none could be greater, and made him heir to the kingdom after himself. This Prince grew up till he reached man’s estate and was twenty years old, and Allah subjected His servants to him, by reason of his great might and prowess in battle. Now his father, King Omar, had four wives legally married, but Allah had vouchsafed him no son by them, save Sharrkan, whom he had begotten upon one of them, and the rest were barren. Moreover he had three hundred and sixty concubines, after the number of days in the Coptic year, who were of all nations; and he had furnished for each and every a private chamber within his own palace. For he had built twelve pavilions, after the number of the months, each containing thirty private chambers, which thus numbered three hundred and three score, wherein he lodged his handmaids: and he appointed according to law for each one her night, when he lay with her and came not again to her for a full year;[142] and on this wise he abode for a length of time. Meanwhile his son Sharrkan was making himself renowned in all quarters of the world and his father was proud of him and his might waxed and grew mightier; so that he passed all bounds and bore himself masterfully and took by storm castles and cities. Presently, by decree of the Decreer, a handmaid among the handmaids of Omar bin Nu’uman became pregnant; and, her pregnancy being announced to the Harim, the King was informed thereof; whereupon he rejoiced with exceeding joy and said, “Haply ‘t will be a son, and so all my offspring will be males!” Then he documented the date of her conception and entreated her with all manner of kindness. But when the tidings came to Sharrkan, he was troubled and the matter seemed to him a sore one and a grievous; and he said, “Verily one cometh who shall dispute with me the sovereignty:” so quoth he to himself, “If this concubine bear a male child I will kill it:” but he kept that intention hidden in his heart. Such was the case with Sharrkan; but what happened in the matter of the damsel was as follows. She was a Roumiyah, a Greek girl, by name Sofiyah or Sophia,[143] whom the King of Roum and Lord of Cæsarea had sent to King Omar as a present, together with great store of gifts and of rarities: she was the fairest of favour and loveliest of all his handmaids and the most regardful of her honour; and she was gifted with a wit as penetrating as her presence was fascinating. Now she had served the King on the night of his sleeping with her, saying to him, “O King! I desire of the God of the Heavens that he bless thee this night with a male child by me, so I may bring him up with the best of rearing, and enable him to reach man’s estate perfect in intelligence, good manners and prudent bearing”[144]—a speech which much pleased the King. During her pregnancy she was instant in prayer, fervently supplicating the Lord to bless her with a goodly male child and make his birth easy to her; and Allah heard her petition so that after her months were accomplished she sat safely upon the birth-stool.[145] Now the King had deputed a eunuch to let him know if the child she should bring forth were male or female; and in like way his son Sharrkan had sent one to bring him tidings of the same. In due time Sophia was delivered of a child, which the midwives examined and found to be a girl with a face sheenier than the moon. So they announced this to all present in the room, whereupon the King’s messenger carried the news to him; and Sharrkan’s eunuch did the like with his master, who rejoiced with exceeding joy. But, after the two had departed, quoth Sophia to the midwives, “Wait with me awhile, for I feel as if there were still somewhat in my womb.” Then she cried out and the pains of child-bed again took her; and Allah made it easy to her and she gave birth to a second child. The wise women looked at it and found it a boy like the full moon, with forehead flower-white, and cheek ruddy-bright with rosy light; whereupon the mother rejoiced, as did the eunuchs and attendants and all the company; and Sophia was delivered of the after-birth whilst all in the palace sent forth the trill of joy.[146] The rest of the concubines heard it and envied her lot; and the tidings reached Omar son of Al- Nu’uman, who was glad and rejoiced at the excellent news. Then he rose and went to her and kissed her head, after which he looked at the boy; and, bending over him, kissed him, whilst the damsels struck the tabors and played on instruments of music; and the King gave order that the boy should be named Zau al-Makán and his sister Nuzhat al-Zamán.[147] They answered “Hearing and obedience,” and did his bidding; so he appointed wet nurses and dry nurses and eunuchs and attendants to serve them; and assigned them rations of sugar and diet-drinks and unguents and else beside, beyond the power of tongue to rehearse. Moreover the people of Baghdad, hearing that Allah had blessed their King with issue, decorated the city and made proclamation of the glad tidings with drum and tom-tom; and the Emirs and Wazirs and high dignitaries came to the palace and wished King Omar bin al-Nu’uman joy of his son, Zau al-Makan, and of his daughter Nuzhat al-Zaman, wherefore he thanked them and bestowed on them dresses of honour and further favoured them with gifts, and dealt largesse to all, gentle and simple, who were present. After this fashion he did for four days full told, and he lavished upon Sophia raiment and ornaments and great store of wealth; and, every few days he would send a messenger to ask after her and the new-borns. And when four years had gone by, he provided her with the wherewithal to rear the two children carefully and educate them with the best of instructions. All this while his son Sharrkan knew not that a male child had been born to his father, Omar son of Al-Nu’uman, having news only that he had been blessed with the birth of Nuzhat al-Zaman; and they hid the intelligence from him, until days and years had sped by, whilst he was busied in battling with the brave and fighting single-handed against the knights. One day, as King Omar was sitting in his palace, his Chamberlains came in to him and, kissing the ground before him, said, “O King there be come Ambassadors from the King of Roum, Lord of Constantinople the Great, and they desire admission to thee and submission to thy decree: if the King command us to introduce them we will so do; and, if not, there is no disputing his behest.” He bade them enter and, when they came in, he turned to them and, courteously receiving them, asked them of their case, and what was the cause of their coming. They kissed the ground before him and said, “O King glorious and strong! O lord of the arm that is long! know that he who despatched us to thee is King Afrídún,[148] Lord of Ionia-land[149] and of the Nazarene armies, the sovereign who is firmly established in the empery of Constantinople, to acquaint thee that he is now waging fierce war and fell with a tyrant and a rebel, the Prince of Cæsarea; and the cause of this war is as follows. One of the Kings of the Arabs in past time, during certain of his conquests, chanced upon a hoard of the time of Alexander,[150] whence he removed wealth past compute; and, amongst other things, three round jewels, big as ostrich eggs, from a mine of pure white gems whose like was never seen by man. Upon each were graven characts in Ionian characters, and they have many virtues and properties, amongst the rest that if one of these jewels be hung round the neck of a new-born child, no evil shall befal him and he shall neither wail, nor shall fever ail him as long as the jewel remain without fail.[151] When the Arab King laid hands upon them and learned their secrets, he sent to King Afridun presents of certain rarities and amongst them the three jewels afore mentioned; and he equipped for the mission two ships, one bearing the treasure and the other men of might to guard it from any who might offer hindrance on the high seas, albeit well assured that none would dare waylay his vessels, for that he was King of the Arabs, and more by token that their course lay over waters subject to the King of Constantinople and they were bound to his port; nor were there on the shores of that sea any save the subjects of the Great King, Afridun. The two ships set out and voyaged till they drew near our city, when there sallied out on them certain corsairs from that country and amongst them troops from the Prince of Cæsarea, who took all the treasures and rarities in the ships, together with the three jewels, and slew the crews. When our King heard of this, he sent an army against them, but they routed it; then he marched a second and a stronger but they put this also to flight,—whereupon the King waxed wroth and swore that he would not go forth[152] against them save in his own person at the head of his whole army; nor would he turn back from them till he had left Cæsarea, of Armenia[153] in ruins and had laid waste all the lands and cities over which her Prince held sway. So he sent us to the Lord of the age and the time, Sultan Omar bin al-Nu’uman, King of Baghdad and of Khorasan, desiring that he aid us with an army, so may honour and glory accrue to him; and he hath also forwarded by us somewhat of various kinds of presents, and of the King’s grace he beggeth their acceptance and the friendly boon of furtherance.” Then the Ambassadors kissed the ground before him,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Forty-sixth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that, after the Ambassadors and retinue from the Constantinopolitan King had kissed the ground before Omar and had delivered their embassage, they brought out the presents, which were fifty damsels of the choicest from Græcia-land, and fifty Mamelukes in tunics of brocade, belted with girdles of gold and silver, each wearing in his ears hoops of gold with pendants of fine pearls costing a thousand ducats every one. The girls were adorned in like fashion and were clad in stuffs worth a treasury of money. When the King saw them, he rejoiced in them and accepted them; then he bade the Ambassadors be honourably entreated and, summoning his Wazirs, took counsel with them of what he should do. Herewith rose up among them a Wazir, an ancient man, Dandán[154] hight, who kissed the ground before Omar and said, “O King, there is nothing better to do in this matter than equip an army valiant and victorious, and set over it thy son Sharrkan with us as his lieutenants; and this rede commendeth itself to me on two counts; first, because the King of Roum hath invoked thine assistance and hath sent thee gifts which thou hast accepted; and, secondly, because while no enemy dareth attack our country, thine army may go forth safely and, should it succour the King of Græcia-land and defeat his foe, the glory will be thine. Moreover, the news of it will be noised abroad in all cities and countries and especially, when the tidings shall reach the Islands of the Ocean and the Kings of Mauritania shall hear it, they will send thee offerings of rarities and pay thee tribute of money.” The King, pleased by the Wazir’s words and approving his rede, gave him a dress of honour and said to him, “Of the like of thee should Kings ask counsel, and it seemeth fit that thou shouldst conduct the van of our army and our son Sharrkan command the main battle.” Then he sent for his son who came and kissed ground before him and sat down; and he expounded to him the matter, telling him what the Ambassadors and the Wazir Dandan had said, and he charged him to take arms and equip himself for the campaign, enjoining him not to gainsay Dandan in aught he should do. Moreover, he ordered him to pick out of his army ten thousand horsemen, armed cap-à-pie and inured to onset and stress of war. Accordingly, Sharrkan arose on the instant, and chose out a myriad of horsemen, after which he entered his palace and mustered his host and distributed largesse to them, saying, “Ye have delay of three days.” They kissed the earth before him in obedience to his commands and began at once to lay in munitions, and provide provisions for the occasion; whilst Sharrkan repaired to the armouries and took therefrom whatsoever he required of arms and armour, and thence to the stable where he chose horses of choice blood and others. When the appointed three days were ended, the army drew out to the suburbs of Baghdad city;[155] and King Omar came forth to take leave of his son who kissed the ground before him and received from the King seven parcels of money.[156] Then he turned to Dandan and commended to his care the army of his son; and the Wazir kissed the ground before him and answered, “I hear and I obey;” and lastly he charged Sharrkan that he should consult the Wazir on all occasions, which he promised to do. After this, the King returned to his city and Sharrkan ordered the officers to muster their troops in battle-array. So they mustered them and their number was ten thousand horsemen, besides footmen and camp-followers. Then they loaded their baggage on their beasts and the war-drums beat and the trumpets blared and the bannerols and standards were unfurled, whilst Sharrkan mounted horse, with the Wazir Dandan by his side, and the colours fluttering over their heads. So the host fared forth and stinted not faring, with the ambassadors preceding them, till day departed and night drew nigh, when they alighted and encamped for the night. And as soon as Allah caused the morn To-morrow, they mounted and hied on, guided by the Ambassadors, for a space of twenty days; and by the night of the twenty-first they came to a fine and spacious Wady well grown with trees and shrubbery. Here Sharrkan ordered them to alight and commanded a three days’ halt, so they dismounted and pitched their tents, spreading their camp over the right and the left slopes of the extensive valley, whilst the Wazir Dandan and the Ambassadors of King Afridun pitched in the sole of the Wady.[157] As for Sharrkan, he tarried behind them for awhile till all had dismounted and had dispersed themselves over the valley-sides; he then slacked the reins of his steed, being minded to explore the Wady and to mount guard in his own person, because of his father’s charge and owing to the fact that they were on the frontier of Græcia land and in the enemy’s country. So he rode out alone after ordering his armed slaves and his body-guard to camp near the Wazir Dandan, and he fared on along the side of the valley till a fourth part of the night was passed, when he felt tired and drowsiness overcame him, so that he could no longer urge horse with heel. Now he was accustomed to take rest on horseback; so when slumber overpowered him, he slept and the steed ceased not going on with him till half the night was spent and entered one of the thickets[158] which was dense with growth; but Sharrkan awoke not until his horse stumbled over wooded ground. Then he started from sleep and found himself among the trees; and the moon arose and shone brightly over the two horizons, Eastern and Western. He was startled when he found himself alone in this place and said the say which ne’er yet shamed its sayer, “There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great!” But as he rode on, in fear of wild beasts, behold, the moon spread her glad light over a meadow as if ‘twere of the meads of Paradise; and he heard pleasant voices and a loud noise of talk and laughter captivating the senses of men. So King Sharrkan alighted and, tying his steed to one of the trees, went over a little way till he came upon a stream and heard a woman talking in Arabic and saying, “Now by the truth of the Messiah, this is not well of you! but whoso utters a word, I will throw her and truss her up with her own girdle[159]!” He kept walking in the direction of the sound and when he reached the further side he looked and behold, a stream was gushing and flowing, and antelopes at large were frisking and roving, and wild cattle amid the pasture moving, and birds expressed joy and gladness in their divers tongues, and that place was purfled with all manner flowers and green herbs, even as a poet described it in these couplets,

“Most beautiful is earth in budding bloom,
When lucid waters course through plain and wood:
No work but His th’ All great, th’ All glorious,
Giver of all gifts, Giver of all good!”

And as Sharrkan considered the place, he saw in it a Christian Monastery within whose enceinte a castle towered high in air catching the light of the moon.[160] Through the midst of the convent passed a stream, the water flowing amongst its gardens; and upon the bank sat the woman whose voice he had heard, while before her stood ten handmaids like moons and wearing various sorts of raiment and ornaments that dazed and dazzled the beholder, high-bosomed virgins, as saith of them the poet in these couplets,

“The mead is bright with what is on’t
Of merry maidens debonnair:
Double its beauty and its grace
Those trooping damsels slender-fair:
Virgins of graceful swimming gait
Ready with eye and lip to ensnare;
And like the tendril’d vine they loose
The rich profusion of their hair:
Shooting their shafts and arrows from
Beautiful eyes beyond compare;
Overpowering and transpiercing
Every froward adversaire.”

Sharrkan gazed upon the ten girls and saw in their midst a lady like the moon at fullest, with ringleted hair and forehead sheeny-white, and eyes wondrous wide and black and bright, and temple-locks like the scorpion’s tail; and she was perfect in essence and attributes, as the poet said of her in these couplets,

“She beamed on my sight with a wondrous glance,
And her straight slender stature enshamed the lance:
She burst on my sight with cheeks rosy-red,
Where all manner of beauties have habitance:
And the locks on her forehead were lowering as night
Whence issues a dawn-tide of happiest chance.”

Then Sharrkan heard her say to the handmaids, “Come ye on, that I may wrestle with you and gravel you, ere the moon set and the dawn break!” So each came up to her in turn and she grounded them forthright, and pinioned them with their girdles, and ceased not wrestling and pitching them until she had overthrown one and all. Then there turned to her an old woman who was before her, and the beldam said as in wrath, “O strumpet, dost thou glory in grounding these girls? Behold I am an old woman, yet have I thrown them forty times! So what hast thou to boast of? But if thou have the strength to wrestle with me, stand up that I may grip thee and set thy head between thy heels!” The young lady smiled at her words, but she was filled with inward wrath, and she jumped up and asked, “O my lady Zat al-Dawahi,[161] by the truth of the Messiah, wilt thou wrestle with me in very deed, or dost thou jest with me?”; and she answered, “Yea,”—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Forty-seventh Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the young lady asked Zat al-Dawahi, “By the truth of the Messiah, wilt wrestle with me or dost jest?”, and she answered, “Yea, I will wrestle with thee in very deed” (Sharrkan looking on the while), the damsel cried, “Rise up for the fall an thou have spunk so to do.” When the old woman heard this, she raged with exceeding rage, and her body-hair stood on end like the bristles of a fretful hedgehog.[162] Then she sprang to her feet, whilst the damsel stood up to her, and said, “Now by the truth of the Messiah, I will not wrestle with thee unless I be naked, Mistress whore!”[163] So she loosed her petticoat trousers and, putting her hand under her clothes, tore them off her body; then twisted up a silken kerchief into cord-shape, girt it round her middle and became as she were a scald-head Ifritah or a spotted snake. With this she inclined towards the damsel and said, “Do thou as I have done.” All this time, Sharrkan was gazing at the twain, and laughing at the beldam’s loathly semblance. So the damsel leisurely rose and, taking a sash of Yamani stuff, passed it twice round her waist, then she tucked up her trousers and displayed two calves of alabaster carrying a mound of crystal, smooth and rounded, and a stomach which exhaled musk from its dimples, as it were a bed of Nu’uman’s anemones; and breasts like double pomegranates. Then the old woman leant towards her, and the two laid hold either of each, while Sharrkan raised his head Heavenwards and prayed Allah that the belle might beat the beldam. Presently the young woman gat beneath the old woman; and, gripping her waist cloth with the left and circling her neck with the right hand, hoisted her off the ground with both; whereupon the old woman strove to free herself and, in so doing fell on her back arsiversy, with her legs high in air and her hairy bush between them showed manifest in the moonshine; furthermore she let fly two great farts[164] one of which blew up the dust from the earth’s face and the other steamed up to the gate of Heaven. Sharrkan laughed till he fell back upon the ground. Then he arose and, baring his brand looked right and left, but he saw no one save the old woman sprawling on her back, and said to himself, “He lied not who named thee Lady of Calamities! Verily thou knewest her prowess by her performance upon the others.” So he drew near them to hear what should pass between them. Then the young lady went up to the old one and, throwing a wrapper of thin silk upon her nakedness, helped her to don her clothes and made excuses saying, “O my lady Zat al- Dawahi, I intended only to throw thee and not all this, but thou triedst to twist out of my hands; so laud to Allah for safety!” She returned her no answer, but rose in her shame and walked away till out of sight, leaving the handmaids prostrate and pinioned, with the fair damsel standing amongst them. Quoth Sharrkan to himself, “Every luck hath its cause. Sleep did not fall upon me nor the war-horse bear me hither save for my good fortune; for doubtless this maid and what is with her shall become booty to me.” So he made towards his steed and mounted and heeled[165] him on, when he sped as the shaft speeds from the bow and in his hand he still hent his brand bare of sheath, which he brandished shouting the while his war cry, “Allah is All-mighty[166]!” When the damsel saw him she sprang to her feet and, taking firm stand on the bank of the stream, whose breadth was six ells, the normal cubits, made one bound and landed clear on the farther side,[167] where she turned and cried out with a loud voice, “Who art thou, O thou fellow, that breakest in upon our privacy and pastime, and that too hanger in hand as if charging a host? Whence camest thou and whither art thou going? Speak sooth, for truth will stand thee in good stead, and lie not, for lies come of villein-breed Doubtless thou hast wandered this night from thy way, that thou chancedst upon this place whence escape were the greatest of mercies; for thou art now in an open plain and, did we shout but a single shout, would come to our rescue four thousand knights.[168] So tell me what thou wantest; and if thou wouldst only have us set thee on the right road, we will do so.” When Sharrkan heard her words he replied, “I am a stranger of the Moslems, who fared forth this night single-handed, seeking for spoil; nor could this moonlight show me a fairer booty than these ten maidens; so I shall seize them and rejoin my comrades with them.” Quoth she, “I would have thee know that as for the booty thou hast not come at it; and, as for the handmaids, by Allah, they shall never be thy spoil. Have I not told thee that to lie is villein-vile?” Quoth he, “The wise man is he who taketh warning by others.” Thereupon quoth she, “By the truth of the Messiah, did I not fear that thy death would be on my hands, I would shout a shout should fill the mead for thee with war steeds and with men of might, but I take pity upon the stranger. So, if thou seek booty, I require of thee that thou alight from thy steed and swear to me, by thy faith, that thou wilt not advance against me aught like arms in hand, and we will wrestle, I and thou. If thou throw me, set me on thy steed and take all of us to thy booty; but if I throw thee, thou shalt become under my command. Swear this to me, for I fear thy treachery: indeed it hath become a common saw, ‘Where Perfidy is innate there Trust is a weakly mate.’ Now an thou wilt swear I will return and draw near to thee and tackle thee.” Answered Sharrkan (and indeed he lusted to seize her and said in his soul, “Truly she knoweth not that I am a champion of champions”); “Swear me by what oath thou wilt and by what thou deemest most binding, and I will not approach thee with aught till thou hast made thy preparation and sayest, ‘Draw near that I wrestle with thee.’ If thou throw me, I have money wherewithal to ransom myself; and if I throw thee, ‘twill be booty and booty enough for me!” Rejoined the damsel, “I am content herewith!” and Sharrkan was astounded at her words and said, “And by the truth of the Apostle (whom Allah bless and keep!) I too am content on the other part!” Then said she, “Swear to me by Him who sprite in body dight and dealt laws to rule mankind aright, that thou wilt not offer me aught of violence save by way of wrestling; else mayst thou die without the pale of Al- Islam.” Sharrkan replied, “By Allah! were a Kazi to swear me, even though he were a Kazi of the Kazis,[169] he would not impose upon me such an oath as this!” Then he sware to her by all she named and tied his steed to a tree; but he was drowned in the sea of thought, saying in himself, “Praise be to Him who fashioned her from dirty water!”[170] Then he girt himself and made ready for wrestling, and said to her, “Cross the stream to me;” but she replied, “It is not for me to come over to thee: if thou wilt, pass thou over here to me.” “I cannot do that,” quoth he, and quoth she, “O boy, I will come across to thee.” So she tucked up her skirts and, leaping, landed on the other side of the stream by his side; whereupon he drew near to her and bent him forwards and clapped palms.[171] But he was confounded by her beauty and loveliness; for he saw a shape which the Hand of Power had tanned with the dye-leaves of the Jánn, which had been fostered by the Hand of Beneficence and fanned by the Zephyrs of fair fortune and whose birth a propitious ascendant had greeted. Then she called out to him, “O Moslem, come on and let us wrestle ere the break of morning,” and tucked up her sleeves from a forearm like fresh curd, which illumined the whole place with its whiteness; and Sharrkan was dazzled by it. Then he bent forwards and clapped his palms by way of challenge, she doing the like, and caught hold of her, and the two grappled and gripped and interlocked hands and arms. Presently he shifted his hands to her slender waist, when his finger tips sank into the soft folds of her middle, breeding languishment, and he fell a trembling like the Persian reed in the roaring gale. So she lifted him up and, throwing him to the ground, sat upon his breast with hips and hinder cheeks like mounds of sand, for his soul had lost mastery over his senses. Then she asked him, “O Moslem! the slaying of Nazarenes is lawful to you folk; what then hast thou to say about being slain thyself?”; and he answered, “O my lady, thy speech as regards slaying me is not other than unlawful; for our prophet Mohammed (whom Allah bless and preserve!) prohibited the slaying of women and children, old men and monks!” “As it was thus revealed to your Prophet,” she replied, “it behoveth us to render the equivalent of his mercy; so rise. I give thee thy life, for generosity is never lost upon the generous.” Then she got off his breast and he rose and stood shaking the dust from his head against the owners of the curved rib, even women; and she said to him, “Be not ashamed; but verily one who entereth the land of Roum in quest of booty, and cometh to assist Kings against Kings, how happeneth it that he hath not strength enough to defend himself from one made out of the curved rib?” “‘Twas not for lack of strength in me,” he answered; “nor didst thou throw me by thy force; it was thy loveliness overthrew me; so if thou wilt grant me another bout, it will be of thy courtesy.” She laughed and said, “I grant thee thy request: but these handmaids have long been pinioned and their arms and sides are weary, and it were only right I should loose them, for haply this next wrestling bout will be long.” Then she went to the slave-girls and, unbinding them, said to them in the tongue of Greece, “Get ye to some safe place, till I foil this Moslem’s lust and longing for you.” So they went away, whilst Sharrkan kept gazing at them and they kept turning to look at the two. Then each approached the adversary and he set his breast against hers, but when he felt waist touch waist, his strength failed him; and she, waxing ware of this, lifted him with her hands swiftlier than the blinding leven-flash, and threw him to the ground. He fell on his back,[172] and then she said to him, “Rise: I give thee thy life a second time. I spared thee in the first count because of thy Prophet, for that he made unlawful the slaying of women; and I do so on the second count because of thy weakliness and the greenness of thine years and thy strangerhood; but I charge thee, if there be in the Moslem army sent by Omar bin al-Nu’uman to succour the King of Constantinople, a stronger than thou, send him hither and tell him of me: for in wrestling there are shifts and trips, catches and holds, such as the feint or falsing and the snap or first grip, the hug, the feet-catch, the thigh-bite,[173] the jostle and the leg-lock.” “By Allah, O my lady,” quoth Sharrkan (and indeed he was highly incensed against her), “had I been Master al-Safdí, Master Mohammed Kimál or Ibn al-Saddí,[174] as they were in their prime, I had kept no note of these shifts thou mentionest; for O my mistress, by Allah, thou hast not grassed me by thy strength, but by the blandishments of thy back parts; for we men of Mesopotamia so love a full-formed thigh that nor sense was left me nor foresight. But now, an thou wish, thou shalt try a third fall with me while my wits are about me, and this last match is allowed me by the laws of the game which sayeth the best of three: moreover I have regained my presence of mind.” When she heard his words she said to him, “Hast thou not had a belly-full of this wrestling, O vanquished one? However come on, an thou wilt; but know that this must be the last round.” Then she bent forward and challenged him and Sharrkan did likewise, setting to it in real earnest and being right cautious about the throw: so the two strove awhile and the damsel found in him a strength such as she had not observed before and said to him, “O Moslem, thou art now on thy mettle.” “Yes,” he replied, “thou knowest that there remaineth to me but this one round, after which each of us will wend a different way.” She laughed and he laughed too;[175] then she overreached at his thigh and caught firm hold of it unawares, which made him greet the ground and fall full on his back. She laughed at him and said, “Art thou an eater of bran? Thou are like a Badawi’s bonnet which falleth off with every touch or else the Father of Winds[176] that droppeth before a puff of air. Fie upon thee, O thou poor thing!” adding, “Get thee back to the Moslem army and send us other than thyself, for thou failest of thews; and proclaim for us, among the Arabs and Persians, the Turks and Daylamites,[177] whoso hath might in him, let him come to us.” Then she made a spring and landed on the other side of the stream and said to Sharrkan, laughing, “Parting with thee is right grievous to me, O my lord; but get thee to thy mates before dawn, lest the Knights come upon thee and pick thee up on their lance-points. Thou hast no strength to defend thee against a woman, so how couldst thou hold thine own amongst men of might and Knights?” Sharrkan was confounded and called to her (as she turned from him making towards the convent), “O my lady, wilt thou go away and leave the miserable stranger, the broken hearted slave of love?” So she turned to him laughing and said, “What is thy want? I will grant thee thy prayer.” “Have I set foot in thy country and tasted the sweetness of thy courtesy,” replied he, “and shall I return without eating of thy victual and tasting thy hospitality; I who have become one of thy servitors!” “None baulk kindliness save the base,” she rejoined, “honour us in Allah’s name, on my head and eyes be it! Mount thy steed and ride along the brink of the stream over against me, for now thou art my guest.” At this Sharrkan was glad and, hastening back to his horse, mounted and walked him abreast of her, and she kept faring on till they came to a drawbridge[178] built of beams of the white poplar, hung by pullies and steel-chains and made fast with hooks and padlocks. When Sharrkan looked, he saw awaiting her upon the bridge the same ten handmaids whom she had thrown in the wrestling-bouts; and, as she came up to them, she said to one in the Greek tongue, “Arise and take the reins of his horse and conduct him across into the convent.” So she went up to Sharrkan and led him over, much puzzled and perturbed with what he saw, and saying to himself, “O would that the Wazir Dandan were here with me that his eyes might look upon these fairest of favours.” Then he turned to the young lady and said to her, “O marvel of loveliness, now I have two claims upon thee; first the claim of good fellowship, and secondly for that thou hast carried me to thy home and offered me thy hospitality. I am now under thy commandance and thy guidance; so do me one last favour by accompanying me to the lands of Al-Islam; where thou shalt look upon many a lion-hearted warrior and thou shalt learn who I am.” When she heard this she was angered and said to him, “By the truth of the Messiah, thou hast proved thyself with me a man of keen wit; but now I see what mischief there is in thy heart, and how thou canst permit thyself a speech which proveth thy traitorous intent. How should I do as thou sayest, when I wot that if I came to that King of yours, Omar bin al- Nu’uman, I should never get free from him? For truly he hath not the like of me or behind his city walls or within his palace-halls, Lord of Baghdad and of Khorasan though he be, who hath built for himself twelve pavilions, in number as the months of the year, and in each a concubine after the number of the days; and if I come to him he would not prove shy of me, for your folk believe I am lawful to have and to hold as is said in your writ, ‘Or those women whom your right hand shall possess as slaves.’[179] So how canst thou speak thus to me? As for thy saying, ‘Thou shalt look upon the braves of the Moslems,’ by the truth of the Messiah, thou sayest that which is not true, for I saw your army when it reached our land, these two days ago; and I did not see that your ordinance was the ordinance of Kings, but I beheld only a rabble of tribesmen gathered together. And as to thy words, ‘Thou shalt know who I am,’ I did not do thee kindness because of thy dignity but out of pride in myself; and the like of thee should not talk thus to the like of me, even wert thou Sharrkan, Omar bin al- Nu’uman’s son, the prowest name in these days!” “Knowest thou Sharrkan?” asked he; and she answered “Yes! and I know of his coming with an army numbering ten thousand horsemen; also that he was sent by his sire with this force to gain prevalence for the King of Constantinople.” “O my lady,” said Sharrkan, “I adjure thee by thy religion, tell me the cause of all this, that sooth may appear to me clear of untruth, and with whom the fault lies.” “Now by the virtue of thy faith,” she replied, “did I not fear lest the news of me be bruited abroad that I am of the daughters of Roum, I would adventure myself and sally forth single-handed against the ten thousand horsemen and slay their leader, the Wazir Dandan and vanquish their champion Sharrkan.[180] Nor would aught of shame accrue to me thereby, for I have read books and studied the rules of good breeding in the language of the Arabs. But I have no need to vaunt my own prowess to thee, more by token as thou hast proved in thy proper person my skill and strength in wrestling; and thou hast learnt my superiority over other women. Nor, indeed, had Sharrkan himself been here this night and it were said to him, ‘Clear this stream,’ could he have done it; and I only long and lust that the Messiah would throw him into my hands in this very convent, that I might go forth to him in the habit of a man and drag him from his saddle-seat and make him my captive and lay him in bilboes.”—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Forty-eighth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the Nazarene damsel said to Sharrkan (and he listening impatiently enow), “Verily if Sharrkan fell into my hands, I would go forth to him in the habit of a man and drag him from his saddle-seat and make him my captive and lay him in bilboes,” pride and passion and knightly jealousy took possession of him and he desired to discover and declare himself and to lay on load; but her loveliness restrained him and he began repeating,

“An faulty of one fault the Beauty prove,
Her charms a thousand advocates shall move.”

So she went up and Sharrkan after her; and, when he saw the maiden’s back and hinder cheeks that clashed against each other, like rollers in the rolling sea, he extemporised these couplets:—

“For her sins is a pleader that brow,
And all hearts its fair pleading must trow:
When I saw it I cried, “To-night
The moon at its fullest doth show;
Tho’ Balkis’ own Ifrit[181] try a bout,
Spite his force she would deal him a throw.”

The two fared on till they reached a gate over which rose a marble archway. This she opened and ushered Sharrkan into a long vestibule, vaulted with ten connected arches, from each of which hung a crystal lamp glistening like a spark of fire. The handmaids met her at the further end bearing wax candles of goodly perfume, and wearing on their heads golden fillets crusted with all manner bezel-gems,[182] and went on before her (Sharrkan still following), till they reached the inner convent. There the Moslem saw couches and sofas ranged all around, one opposite the other and all overhung with curtains flowered in gold. The monastery floor was paved with every kind of vari-coloured marbles and mosaic-work, and in the midst stood a basin that held four-and-twenty jetting fountains of gold, whence the water ran like molten silver; whilst at the upper end stood a throne spread with silks fit only for Kings. Then said the damsel, “Ascend, O my lord, this throne.” So he went up to it and sat down and she withdrew to remain absent for some time. Sharrkan asked of her from one of the servants who answered him, “She hath gone to her dormitory; but we will serve thee even as she ordered.” So they set before him viands of rare varieties, and he ate his sufficiency, when they brought him a basin of gold and an ewer of silver, and he washed his hands. Then his thoughts reverted to his army, knowing not what had befallen it in his absence and calling to mind also how he had forgotten his father’s injunctions: so he was troubled about his case, repenting of what he had done till the dawn broke and the day appeared; when he lamented and sighed and became drowned in sea of sadness and repeated,

“I am not lost to prudence, but indeed
Here I’m bewildered, what shall be my rede?
Would any aid me in mine ails of love,
By my own might and sleight would I be free’d:
But ah! my heart is lost and passion-shent:
To none save Allah can I trust my need!”

When he ended his verse behold, there came up to him a rare show and a fair, more than twenty maidens like crescents encompassing the young lady, who shone in their midst as the full moon among the constellations guarding and girding her. She was clad in brocades befitting Kings; her breasts were like twin pomegranates, a woven zone set with all kinds of jewels tightly clasped her waist which expanded below into jutting hips; and her hinder cheeks stood out as a mound of crystal[183] supporting a silvern shaft. When Sharrkan looked at her his wits went nigh to fly away from him with delight; and he forgot army and Wazir as he gazed on her fair head decked and dight with a net-work of pearls set off by divers sorts of gems. Handmaids on her right and handmaids on her left bore her train, as she paced with dainty graceful gait in all the pride of seemlihead. He sprang to his feet seeing such beauty and loveliness, and cried aloud, “Beware and beware of that zone rarely fair!” and broke out into these couplets,

“With heavy back parts, high breasts delicate,
And lissome form that sways with swimming gait
She deftly hides love-longing in her breast;
But I may never hide its ban and bate:
While hosts of followers her steps precede,[184]
Like pearls now necklaced and now separate.”

She gazed upon him for a long time and considered him till she was assured of him, when she came up to him and said, “In very sooth the place is honoured and illumined by thee, O Sharrkan! How sped thy night, O hero, after we went away and left thee?”; adding, “Verily lying is a vile thing and a shameful, especially in great Kings! and thou art Crown-Prince Sharrkan, son and heir of King Omar bin al-Nu’uman; so henceforth make no secret of thy rank and condition, nor let me hear aught from thee but the truth; for leasing bequeatheth hate and despite. And as thou art pierced by the shaft of Fate, be resignation thine and abide content to wait.” When he heard her words he saw that artifice availed him naught and he acknowledged the truth, saying, “I am Sharrkan, bin Omar bin al-Nu’uman, whom fortune hath afflicted and cast into this place; so whatso thou willest, do it in my case!” She hung her head groundwards a long while, then turned to him and said, “Be of good cheer and let thine eyes be cool and clear;[185] for thou art the guest of my hospitality, and bread-and-salt hath made a tie between me and thee; wherefore thou art in my ward and under my safeguard. Have no fear for, by the truth of the Messiah, if all on earth sought to do thee hurt they should not come at thee, till life had left my body for thy sake: indeed thou art now under the charge of the Messiah and of me.” Hereat she sat her down by his side and fell to playing with him, till his alarm subsided and he knew that had she desired to slay him, she would have done so during the past night. Presently she bespoke in the Grecian tongue, one of her slave-girls, who went away and soon came back bringing a beaker and a tray of food; but Sharrkan abstained from eating and said to himself, “Haply she hath put somewhat in this meat.” She knew what was in his thought; so she turned to him and said, “By the truth of the Messiah, the case is not on such wise, nor is there aught in this meat of what thou suspectest! Had my mind been set on slaying thee, I had slain thee ere now.” Then she walked up to the tray and ate of every dish a mouthful; whereupon Sharrkan came forward and ate too. She was pleased at this and both ate till they were satisfied. They washed their hands and after that she rose and ordered a handmaid to bring perfumes and herbs of sweet savour, wines of all colours and kinds and a wine-service with vessels of gold, silver and crystal. She filled a first goblet and drank it off before offering it to him, even as she had done with the food: then she crowned a second and handed it to him. He drank and she said to him, “O Moslem, see how thou art here in all solace and delight of life!” And she ceased not to drink and ply him with drink, till he took leave of his wits,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day, and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Forty-ninth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the damsel ceased not to drink and ply Sharrkan with drink till he took leave of his wits, for the wine and the intoxication of love he bore her. Presently she said to the slave girl, “O Marjanah[186]! bring us some instruments of music!” “To hear is to obey,” said the handmaid and going out, returned in the twinkling of an eye with a Damascus lute,[187] a Persian harp, a Tartar pipe, and an Egyptian dulcimer. The young lady took the lute and, after tuning each several string, began in gentle undersong to sing, softer than zephyr’s wing and sweeter than Tasmin[188]-spring, with heart safe and secure from everything the couplets following,

“Allah assain those eyne! What streams of blood they shed!
How many an arrowy glance those lids of thine have sped.
I love all lovers who to lovers show them dure;
‘Twere wrong to rue the love in wrong-head born and bred:
Haply fall hapless eye for thee no sleeping kens!
Heaven help the hapless heart by force of thee misled!
Thou doomest me to death who art my king, and I
Ransom with life the deemster who would doom me dead.”

Thereupon each and every of the maidens rose up and taking an instrument, played and recited couplets in the Roumi tongue; then their mistress sang also and seeing Sharrkan in ecstasies asked him, “O Moslem, dost thou understand what I say?”; and he answered, “Nay, my ecstasy cometh from the beauty of thy finger-tips.” She laughed and continued, “If I sing to thee in Arabic what wouldst thou do?” “I should no longer,” quoth he, “be master of my senses.” Then she took an instrument and, changing the measure, began singing these verses,

“The smack of parting’s myrrh to me,
How, then, bear patience’ aloë?
I’m girt by ills in trinity
Severance, distance, cruelty!
My freedom stole that fairest she,
And parting irks me bitterly.”

When she ended her verse, she looked at Sharrkan and found him lost to existence, and he lay for a while stretched at full length and prone among the maidens.[189] Then he revived and, remembering the songs, again inclined to mirth and merriment; and the twain returned to their wine and wassail, and continued their playing and toying, their pastime and pleasure till day ceased illuminating and night drooped her wing. Then the damsel went off to her dormitory and when Sharrkan asked after her they answered, “She is gone to her sleeping-chamber,” whereto he rejoined, “Under Allah’s ward and His good guard!” As soon as it was morning, a handmaid came to him and said to him, “My mistress biddeth thee to her.” So he rose and followed her and, as he drew near her lodging, the damsels welcomed him with smitten tabrets and songs of greeting, and led him through a great door of ivory studded with pearls and jewels. Thence they passed with him into a tall and spacious hall, at the upper end of which was a wide daïs carpeted with all kinds of silks, and round it open lattices commanding a view of trees and streams. About the saloon were figures carved in human form, and fashioned on such wise that the air passed through them and set in motion musical instruments within, so that the beholder would fancy they spoke.[190] Here sat the young lady, looking at the figures; but when she saw Sharrkan, she sprang to her feet and, taking him by the hand, made him sit down by her side, and asked him how he had passed the night. He blessed her and the two sat talking awhile till she asked him, “Knowest thou aught touching lovers and slaves of love?”; and he answered “Yes! I wot somewhat in verse on that matter.” “Let me hear it,” quoth she, so he began quoting,

“Pleasure and health, good cheer, good appetite
To Azzah, freest with our name and fame!
By Allah! would I near her off she flies
At tangent, granting less the more I claim:
I dote on Azzah, but when clear I off
My rivals, clears me too that dearest dame;
Like wandering wight that chose for shade a cloud
Which, ere siesta done, thin air became.”

When she heard this she said, “Verily Al-Kuthayyir[191] was conspicuous for sweet speech and chaste, and he was superlative in his praise of Azzah when he sang” (and she began to recite),

“Did Azzah deal behest to Sun o’ noon,
The judge had ‘judged her beauty’s bestest boon;
And girls who come to me and carp at her,
God make their rosy cheeks her sandal-shoon!

“And indeed,” quoth she, “‘twas said that Azzah boasted exceeding beauty and loveliness.” Then she asked Sharrkan saying, “O Prince, dost thou know aught of Jamíl’s[192] verses to Buthaynah? if so repeat to us somewhat of them;” and he answered, “Yes, I know them better than any;” whereupon he began repeating these couplets,

“Jamil, in Holy war go fight!” to me they say:
What war save fight for fair ones would I e’er essay?
To me their every word and work are mere delight,
And martyrs clepe I all they slay in fight and fray:
An ask I, ‘O Buthaynah! what’s this love, I pray,
Which eats my heart?’ quoth she ‘ ‘Twill stay for ever and aye!’
And when I cry, ‘Of wits return some small display
For daily use,’ quoth she, ‘Far, far ‘tis fled away!”
Thou seekst my death; naught else thy will can satisfy
While I no goal espy save thee and thee alway.

“Thou hast spoken right well,” said she, “O King’s son, and Jamil also spoke excellently well. But what would Buthaynah have done with him that he saith in his hemistich,

‘Thou seekst my death; naught else thy will can satisfy?’”

“O my lady,” quoth Sharrkan, “she willed to do him what thou willest to do with me, and even that will not satisfy thee.” She laughed at his opportune reply and they ceased not carousing till Day put out her light and Night came in darkness dight. Then she rose and went to her dormitory and slept, while Sharrkan slept in his place till morning dawned. As soon as he awoke, the hand-maids came to him with tabrets and other instruments of mirth and merriment, as wont; and, kissing the ground between his hands, said to him, “Bismillah!--in Allah’s name--be so kind as to come[193]: our mistress biddeth thee to her presence!” So he rose and accompanied the slave-girls who surrounded him, playing on tabrets and other instruments of music, till they passed from that saloon into another and a yet more spacious hall, decorated with pictured likenesses and figures of birds and beasts, passing all description. Sharrkan marvelled at the art and artifice of the place and began reciting,

“He pluckt fruits of her necklace in rivalry,
And her breast-pearls that bedded in gold-mine lie.
Pure water on silvern bars is her brow,
And her cheeks show roses with rubies vie:
Meseems in her eyne that the violet’s hue
Lies purpling set in the Ithmid’s[194] dye.”

When the lady saw Sharrkan, she stood up to him in honour and,
taking his hand, seated him by her side and asked, “O son of King
Omar bin al-Nu’uman, hast thou any cunning in the game of chess?”
“Yes,” he answered, “but do not thou with me as said the poet,

‘I speak and longing love upties me and unties me;
Till with her honey-dew of inner lip she plies me:
I brought the chess-board and my liefest lover plays me
With white and black,[195] but black-cum-white ne’er satisfies me:
‘Twas as if King for Castle I were fain to place me
Till wilful loss of game atwixt two queens surprise me:
And if I seek to read intent in eyes that eye me
Oh man! that glance askance with hint of wish defies me.’”

Then she brought the chess-board and played with him; but Sharrkan, instead of looking at her moves, kept gazing at her fair mouth, and putting knight in place of elephant and elephant[196] in stead of knight. She laughed and said to him, “If thy play be after this fashion, thou knowest naught of the game.” “This is only our first,” replied he, “judge not by this bout.” When she beat him he replaced the pieces in position and played again with her; but she beat him a second time, a third, a fourth and a fifth. So she turned to him and said, “Thou art beaten in everything;” and he replied, “O my lady, how should one playing with the like of thee avoid being beaten?” Then she bade bring food, and they ate and washed their hands; after which the wine was set before them and they drank. Presently, she took the dulcimer, for her hand was cunning in smiting it, and she began repeating to an accompaniment these couplets,

“Twixt the close-tied and open-wide no medium Fortune knoweth,
Now ebb and flow then flow and ebb this wise her likeness showeth.
Then drink her wine the syne she’s thine and smiling thou dost find her
Anon she’ll fall and fare away when all thy good forth goeth.”

They ceased not to carouse till nightfall and this day was pleasanter even than the first. When darkness set in, the lady betook her to her dormitory, leaving him alone with the handmaids; so he threw himself on the ground and slept till dawn, when the damsels came to him with tambourines and other instruments according to custom. Seeing them he roused him hastily and sat up; and they carried him to their mistress, who came to meet him and, taking him by the hand, seated him by her side. Then she asked him how he had passed his night, whereat he prayed that her life be prolonged; and she took the lute and sang to it these verses which she improvised,

“Ne’er incline thee to part
Which embitters the heart;
E’en the sun when he sets
Shall in pallor depart.”

While they were solacing themselves after this fashion, behold, there arose a great and sudden clamour, and a confused crowd of knights and men rushed in, holding drawn swords that glittered and gleamed in their hands, and cried aloud in the Grecian tongue, “Thou hast fallen into our hands, O Sharrkan, so make thee sure of death!” When he heard this, he said to himself, “By Allah, she hath entrapped me and held me in play, till her men should come. These are the Knights with whom she threatened me; but ‘tis I who have thrown myself into this strait.” Then he turned towards the young lady to reproach her, but saw that she had changed colour and her face was pale; and she sprang to her feet and asked the crowd, “Who are ye?” “O most gracious Princess and peerless union-pearl,” answered the leading Knight, “dost thou weet who is yon man by thy side?” “Not I,” she replied, “who may he be?” Quoth the Patrician, “This is of towns the highwayman! This is he who rideth in the horseman’s van! This is Sharrkan, son of King Omar bin al-Nu’uman! This is he that forceth fortalice and penetrateth every impregnable place! The news of him reached King Hardub, thy father, by report of the ancient dame Zat al- Dawahi; and thy sire, our sovereign, hath made sure that thou hast rendered good service to the army of the Greeks by taking captive this ominous lion.” When she heard this, she looked at the Knight and asked him, “What be thy name?” and he answered, “I am Másúrah, son of thy slave Mausúrah bin Káshardah, Knight of Knights.” “And how?” quoth she, “durst thou enter my presence without leave?” Quoth he, “O my lady, when I came to the gate, none forbade me, neither chamberlain nor porter, but all the door-keepers rose and forewent us as of wont; although, when others come, they leave them standing at the gate while they ask permission to admit them. But this is not a time for long talking, when the King is expecting our return with this Prince, the scorpion-sting[197] of the Islamitic host, that he may kill him and drive back his men whither they came, without the bane of battling with them.” “These words be ill words,” rejoined the Princess, “and Dame Zat al-Dawahi lied, avouching an idle thing and a vain, whereof she weeteth not the truth; for by the virtue of the Messiah, this man who is with me is not Sharrkan, nor is he a captive, but a stranger who came to us seeking our hospitality, and I made him my guest. So even were we assured that this be Sharrkan and were it proved to us that it is he beyond a doubt, I say it would ill befit mine honour that I should deliver into your hands one who hath entered under my protection. So make me not a traitor to my guest and a disgrace among men; but return to the King, my father, and kiss the ground before him, and inform him that the case is contrariwise to the report of the Lady Zat al-Dawahi.” “O Abrízah,” replied Masurah, the Knight, “I cannot return to the King’s majesty without his debtor and enemy.” Quoth she (and indeed she had waxed very wroth), “Out on thee! Return to him with my answer, and no blame shall befal thee!” Quoth Masurah, “I will not return without him.” Thereupon her colour changed and she exclaimed, “Exceed not in talk and vain words; for verily this man had not come in to us, were he not assured that he could of himself and single-handed make head against an hundred riders; and if I said to him, ‘Thou art Sharrkan, son of King Omar bin al-Nu’uman,’ he would answer, ‘Yes.’ But ‘tis not of your competence to let or hinder him; for if you do so, he will not turn back from you till he hath slain all that are in this place. Behold, here he is by my side, and I will bring him before you sword and targe in hand.” “Albeit I were safe from thy wrath,” answered Masurah the Knight, “I am not safe from that of thy father, and when I see him, I shall sign to the Knights to take him captive, and we will carry him to the King bound and in abject sort.” When she heard this, she said, “The matter shall not pass thus, for ‘twould be blazoning mere folly. This man is but one and ye are an hundred Knights: so if you would attack him come out against him, one after one, that it may appear to the King which is the valiant amongst you.”—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Fiftieth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Princess Abrizah said to the Knight, “This man is but one, and ye are an hundred: so if ye would attack him, come out against him, one after one, that it may appear to the King which is the valiant.” Quoth Masurah, the Knight, “By the truth of the Messiah, thou sayest sooth, and none but I shall sally out against him first.” Quoth she, “Wait till I go to him and acquaint him with the case and hear what answer he will make. If he consent, ‘tis well; but if he refuse, ye shall on no wise come to him, for I and my handmaids and whosoever is in the convent will be his ransom.” So she went to Sharrkan and told him the news, whereat he smiled and knew that she had not informed any of the Emirs; but that tidings of him had been bruited and blazed abroad, till the report reached the King, against her wish and intent. So he again began reproaching himself and said, “How came I to adventure and play with my life by coming to the country of the Greeks?” But hearing the young lady’s proposal he said to her, “Indeed their onset, one after one, would be overburdensome to them. Will they not come out against me, ten by ten?” “That would be villeiny,” said she; “Let one have at one.” When he heard this, he sprang to his feet and made for them with his sword and battle-gear; and Masurah, the Knight, also sprang up and bore down upon him. Sharrkan met him like a lion and delivered a shoulder-cut[198] which clove him to the middle, and the blade came out gleaming and glittering from his back and bowels. When the lady beheld that swashing-blow, Sharrkan’s might was magnified in her sight and she knew that when she overthrew him in the wrestle it was not by her strength but by her beauty and loveliness. So she turned to the Knights and said, “Take wreak for your chief!” Thereupon out came the slain man’s brother, a fierce and furious Knight, and rushed upon Sharrkan, who delayed not, but smote him also with the shoulder-cut and the sword came out glittering from his vitals. Then cried the Princess, “O ye servants of the Messiah, avenge your comrade!” So they ceased not charging down upon him, one after one; and Sharrkan also ceased not playing upon them with the blade, till he had slain fifty Knights, the lady looking on the while. And Allah cast a panic into the hearts of the survivors, so that they held back and dared not meet him in the duello, but fell upon him in a body; and he laid on load with heart firmer than a rock, and smote them and trod them down like straw under the threshing-sled,[199] till he had driven sense and soul out of them. Then the Princess called aloud to her damsels, saying, “Who is left in the convent?”; and they replied, “None but the gate-keepers;” whereupon she went up to Sharrkan and took him to her bosom, he doing the same, and they returned to the palace, after he had made an end of the melée. Now there remained a few of the Knights hiding from him in the cells of the monastery, and when the Princess saw this she rose from Sharrkan’s side and left him for a while, but presently came back clad in closely-meshed coat of ring-mail and holding in her hand a fine Indian scymitar. And she said, “Now by the truth of the Messiah, I will not be a niggard of myself for my guest; nor will I abandon him though for this I abide a reproach and a by-word in the land of the Greeks.” Then she took reckoning of the dead and found that he had slain fourscore of the Knights, and other twenty had taken to flight.[200] When she saw what work he had made with them she said to him, “Allah bless thee, O Sharrkan! The Cavaliers may well glory in the like of thee.” Then he rose and wiping his blade clean of the blood of the slain began reciting these couplets,

“How oft in the mellay I’ve cleft the array,
And given their bravest to lions a prey:
Ask of me and of them when I proved me prow
O’er creation, on days of the foray and fray:
When I left in the onslaught their lions to lie
On the sands of the low-lands[201] in fieriest day.”

When he ended his verse, the Princess came up to him with smiles and kissed his hand; then she doffed her hauberk and he said to her, “O lady mine, wherefore didst thou don that coat of mail and bare thy brand?” “To guard thee against these caitiffs,”[202] she replied. Then she summoned the gate-keepers and asked them, “How came ye to admit the King’s Knights into my dwelling without leave of me?”; and they answered, “O Princess, it is not our custom to ask leave of thee for the King’s messengers, and especially for the chief of his Knights.” Quoth she, “I think ye were minded only to disgrace me and murder my guest;” and bade Sharrkan smite their necks. He did so and she cried to the rest of her servants, “Of a truth, they deserved even more than that!” Then turning to Sharrkan, she said to him, “Now that there hath become manifest to thee what was concealed, thou shalt be made acquainted with my history. Know, then, that I am the daughter of King Hardub of Roum; my name is Abrizah and the ancient dame, yclept Zat al-Dawahi, is my grandmother by the sword side. She it certainly is who told my father of thee, and as surely she will compass a sleight to slay me, more by token as thou hast slain my father’s chivalry and it is noised abroad that I have separated myself from the Nazarenes and have become no better than I should be with the Moslems. Wherefore it were wiser that I leave this dwelling while Zat al-Dawahi is on my track; but I require of thee the like kindness and courtesy I have shown thee, for enmity will presently befal between me and my father on thine account. So do not thou neglect to do aught that I shall say to thee, remembering all this betided me not save by reason of thee.” Hearing her words, Sharrkan joyed greatly; his breast broadened and his wits flew from him for delight, and he said, “By Allah, none shall come at thee, while life is in my bosom! But hast thou patience to bear parting from thy parents and thy people?” “Even so,” she answered; and Sharrkan swore to her and the two plighted their troth. Then said she, “Now is my heart at ease; but there remaineth one other condition for thee.” “What is it?” asked he and she answered, “It is that thou return with thy host to thine own country.” Quoth he, “O lady mine, my father, King Omar bin al- Nu’uman, sent me to wage war upon thy sire, on account of the treasure he plundered from the King of Constantinople, and amongst the rest three great jewels, noted givers of good fortune.” Quoth she, “Cheer thy heart and clear thine eyes: I will tell thee the whole of the tale and the cause of our feud with the King of Constantinople. Know that we have a yearly festival, hight the Convent-Feast, whereat Kings from all quarters and the noblest women are wont to congregate; thither also come merchants and traders with their wives and families, and the visitors abide there seven days. I was wont to be one of them; but, when there befel enmity between us, my father forbade me to be present at the festival for the space of seven years. One year, it chanced that amongst the daughters of the great who resorted to the patron, as was their custom, came a daughter of the King of Constantinople, a beautiful girl called Sophia. They tarried at the monastery six days and on the seventh the folk went their ways;[203] but Sophia said, ‘I will not return to Constantinople save by water.’ So they equipped for her a ship in which she embarked with her suite; and making sail they put out to sea; but as they were voyaging behold, a contrary wind caught them and drove the vessel from her course till, as Fate and Fortune would have it, she fell in with a Nazarene craft from the Camphor Island[204] carrying a crew of five hundred armed Franks, who had been cruising about a long time. When they sighted the sails of the ship, wherein Sophia and her women were, they gave chase in all haste and in less than an hour they came up with her, then they laid the grappling-irons aboard her and captured her. Then taking her in tow they made all sail for their own island and were but a little distant from it when the wind veered round and, splitting their sails, drove them on to a shoal which lies off our coast. Thereupon we sallied forth and, looking on them as spoil driven to us by Fate,[205] boarded and took them; and, slaying the men, made prize of the wreck, wherein we found the treasures and rarities in question and forty maidens, amongst whom was the King’s daughter, Sophia. After the capture we carried the Princess and her women to my father, not knowing her to be a daughter of King Afridun of Constantinople; and he chose out for himself ten including her; and divided the rest among his dependants. Presently he set apart five damsels, amongst whom was the King s daughter, and sent them to thy father, King Omar bin al-Nu’uman, together with other gifts, such as broadcloth[206] and woollen stuffs and Grecian silks. Thy father accepted them and chose out from amongst the five girls Sophia, daughter of King Afridun; nor did we hear more of her till the beginning of this year, when her father wrote to my father in words unfitting for me to repeat, rebuking him with menaces and saying to him: Two years ago, you plundered a ship of ours which had been seized by a band of Frankish pirates in which was my daughter, Sophia, attended by her maidens numbering some threescore. Yet ye informed me not thereof by messenger or otherwise; nor could I make the matter public, lest reproach befal me amongst the Kings, by reason of my daughter’s honour. So I concealed my case till this year, when I wrote to certain Frankish corsairs and sought news of my daughter from the Kings of the Isles. They replied, ‘By Allah we carried her not forth of thy realm; but we have heard that King Hardub rescued her from certain pirates. And they told me the whole tale.’ Then he added in the writing which he writ to my father: ‘Except you wish to be at feud with me and design to disgrace me and dishonour my daughter, you will, the instant my letter reacheth you, send my daughter back to me. But if you slight my letter and disobey my commandment, I will assuredly make you full return for your foul dealing and the baseness of your practices.’[207] When my father read this letter and understood the contents,[208] it vexed him and he regretted not having known that Sophia, King Afridun’s daughter, was among the captured damsels, that he might have sent her back to her sire; and he was perplexed about the case because, after so long a time, he could not send to King Omar bin al-Nu’uman and demand her back from him, especially as he had lately heard that Heaven had granted him boon of babe by this Sophia. So when we pondered that truth, we knew that this letter was none other than a grievous calamity; and my father found nothing for it but to write an answer to King Afridun, making his excuses and swearing to him by strong oaths that he knew not his daughter to be among the bevy of damsels in the ship and setting forth how he had sent her to King Omar bin al Nu’uman, who had gotten the blessing of issue by her. When my father’s reply reached King Afridun he rose up and sat down,[209] and roared and foamed at the mouth crying:—’What! shall he take captive my daughter and even her with slave-girls and pass her on from hand to hand sending her for a gift to Kings, and they lie with her without marriage-contract? By the Messiah and the true Faith,’ said he, ‘I will not desist till I have taken my blood-vengeance for this and have wiped out my shame; and indeed I will do a deed which the chroniclers shall chronicle after me!’ So he bided his time till he devised a device and laid notable toils and snares, when he sent an embassy to thy father, King Omar, to tell him that which thou hast heard: accordingly thy father equipped thee and an army with thee and sent thee to King Afridun, whose object is to seize thee and thine army to boot. As for the three jewels whereof he told thy father when asking his aid, there was not one soothfast word in that matter, for they were with Sophia, his daughter; and my father took them from her, when he got possession of her and of her maidens, and gave them to me in free gift, and they are now with me. So go thou to thy host and turn them back ere they be led deep into, and shut in by, the land of the Franks and the country of the Greeks; for as soon as you have come far enough into their interior, they will stop the roads upon you and there will be no escape for you till the Day of retribution and retaliation. I know that thy troops are still halting where thou leftest them, because thou didst order a three days’ rest; withal they have missed thee all this time and they wot not what to do.” When Sharrkan heard her words, he was absent awhile in thought; then he kissed Princess Abrizah’s hand and said, “Praise be to Allah who hath bestowed thee on me and appointed thee to be the cause of my salvation and the salvation of whoso is with me! But ‘tis grievous to me to part from thee and I know not what will become of thee after my departure.” “Go now to thine army,” she replied, “and turn them back, while ye are yet near your own country. If the envoys be still with them, lay hands on them and keep them, that the case may be made manifest to you; and, after three days, I will be with you all and we will enter Baghdad together.” As he turned to depart she said, “Forget not the compact which is between me and thee;” then she rose to bid[210] him farewell and embrace him and quench the fire of desire, so she took leave of him and, throwing her arms round his neck, wept with exceeding weeping, and repeated these verses,

“I bade adieu, my right hand wiped my tears away,
The while my left hand held her in a close embrace:
‘Fearest thou naught,’ quoth she, ‘of shame?’ I answered ‘Nay,
The lover’s parting day is lover’s worst disgrace.’”

Then Sharrkan left her and walked down from the convent. They brought his steed, so he mounted and rode down-stream to the drawbridge which he crossed and presently threaded the woodland paths and passed into the open meadow. As soon as he was clear of the trees he was aware of horsemen which made him stand on the alert, and he bared his brand and rode cautiously; but as they drew near and exchanged curious looks he recognized them and behold, it was the Wazir Dandan and two of his Emirs. When they saw him and knew him, they dismounted and saluting him, asked the reason of his absence; whereupon he told them all that had passed between him and Princess Abrizah from first to last. The Wazir returned thanks to Almighty Allah for his safety and said,[211] “Let us at once leave these lands; for the envoys who came with us are gone to inform the King of our approach, and haply he will hasten to fall on us and take us prisoners.” So Sharrkan cried to his men to saddle and mount, which they did and, setting out at once, they stinted not faring till they reached the sole of the valley wherein the host lay. The Ambassadors meanwhile had reported Sharrkan’s approach to their King, who forthright equipped a host to lay hold of him and those with him. But Sharrkan, escorted by the Wazir Dandan and the two Emirs, had no sooner sighted the army, than he raised the cry “March! March!” They took horse on the instant and fared through the first day and second and third day, nor did they cease faring for five days; at the end of which time they alighted in a well-wooded valley, where they rested awhile. Then they again set out and stayed not riding for five and twenty days which placed them on the frontiers of their own country. Here, deeming themselves safe, they halted to rest; and the country people came out to them with guest-gifts for the men and provender and forage for the beasts. They tarried there two days after which, as all would be making for their homes, Sharrkan put the Wazir Dandan in command, bidding him lead the host back to Baghdad. But he himself remained behind with an hundred riders, till the rest of the army had made one day’s march: then he called “To horse!” and mounted with his hundred men. They rode on two parasangs’[212] space till they arrived at a gorge between two mountains and lo! there arose before them a dark cloud of sand and dust. So they checked their steeds awhile till the dust opened and lifted, discovering beneath it an hundred cavaliers, lion-faced and in mail-coats cased. As soon as they drew within earshot of Sharrkan and his meiny they cried out to them, saying, “By the virtue of John and Mary, we have won to our wish! We have been following you by forced marches, night and day, till we forewent you to this place. So dismount and lay down your arms and yield yourselves, that we may grant you your lives.” When Sharrkan heard this, his eyes stood out from his head and his cheeks flushed red and he said ‘How is it, O Nazarene dogs, ye dare enter our country and overmarch our land? And doth not this suffice you, but ye must adventure yourselves and address us in such unseemly speech? Do you think to escape out of our hands and return to your country?” Then he shouted to his hundred horsemen, “Up and at these hounds, for they even you in number!” So saying, he bared his sabre and bore down on them, he and his, but the Franks met them with hearts firmer than rocks, and wight dashed against wight, and knight dashed upon knight, and hot waxed the fight, and sore was the affright, and nor parley nor cries of quarter helped their plight; and they stinted not to charge and to smite, right hand meeting right, nor to hack and hew with blades bright-white, till day turned to night and gloom oppressed the sight. Then they drew apart and Sharrkan mustered his men and found none wounded save four only, who showed hurts but not death-hurts. Said he to them, “By Allah, my life long have I waded in the clashing sea of fight and I have met many a gallant sprite, but none so unfrightened of the sword that smites and the shock of men that affrights like these valiant Knights!” “Know, O King,” said they, that there is among them a Frankish cavalier who is their leader and, indeed, he is a man of valour and fatal is his spear-thrust: but, by Allah, he spares us great and small; for whoso falls into his hands he lets him go and forbears to slay him. By Allah, had he willed he had killed us all.” Sharrkan was astounded when he heard what the Knight had done and such high report of him, so he said, “When the morn shall morrow, we will draw out and defy them, for we are an hundred to their hundred; and we will seek aid against them from the Lord of the Heavens.” So they rested that night in such intent; whilst the Franks gathered round their Captain and said, “Verily this day we did not win our will of these;” and he replied, “At early dawn when the morrow shall morn, we will draw out and challenge them, one after one.” They also rested in that mind, and both camps kept guard until Almighty Allah sent the light of day-dawn. Thereupon King Sharrkan and his hundred riders took horse and rode forth to the plain, where they found the Franks ranged in line of battle; and Sharrkan said to his followers, “Our foes have determined like ourselves to do their devoir; so up and at them and lay on load.” Then came forth an Herald of the Franks and cried out, saying, “Let there be no general engagement betwixt us this day, save by the duello, a champion of yours against a champion of ours.” Whereupon one of Sharrkan’s riders dashed out from the ranks and drave between the two lines crying, “Ho! who is for smiting? Let no dastard engage me this day nor nidering!” Hardly had he made an end of his vaunt, when there sallied forth to him a Frankish cavalier, armed cap-à-pie and clad in a surcoat of gold stuff, riding on a grey-white steed,[213] and he had no hair on his cheeks. He urged his charger on to the midst of the battle-plain and the two fell to derring-do of cut and thrust, but it was not long before the Frank foined the Moslem with the lance-point; and, toppling him from his steed, took him prisoner and led him off crestfallen. His folk rejoiced in their comrade and, forbidding him to go out again to the field, sent forth another, to whom sallied out another Moslem, brother to the captive, and offered him battle. The two fell to, either against other, and fought for a little while, till the Frank bore down upon the Moslem and, falsing him with a feint, tumbled him by a thrust of the lance-heel from his destrier and took him prisoner. After this fashion the Moslems ceased not dashing forwards, one after one, and the Franks to unhorse them and take them captive, till day departed and the night with darkness upstarted. Now they had captured of the Moslems twenty cavaliers, and when Sharrkan saw this, it was grievous to him and he mustered his men and said to them, “What is this thing that hath befallen us? To- morrow, I myself will go forth to the field and offer singular combat to their chief and learn what is the cause of his entering our land and warn him against doing battle with our band. If he persist, we will punish him with death, and if he prove peaceable we will make peace with him.” They righted on this wise till Allah Almighty caused the morn to dawn, when mounted the twain and drew up for battle fain; and Sharrkan was going forth to the plain, but behold, more than one half of the Franks dismounted and remained on foot before one of them who was mounted, till they reached the midst of the battle-plain. Sharrkan looked at that horseman and lo! he was their chief. He was clad in a surcoat of blue satin and a close-ringed mail shirt; his face was as the moon when it rises and no hair was upon his cheeks. He hent in hand an Indian scymitar and he rode a sable steed with a white blaze on brow, like a dirham; and he smote the horse with heel till he stood almost in the midst of the field when, signing to the Moslems, he cried out in fluent Arab speech, “Ho, Sharrkan! Ho, son of Omar bin al- Nu’uman! Ho, thou who forcest fortalice and overthrowest cities and countries! up and out to battle-bout, and blade single-handed wield with one who halves with thee the field! Thou art Prince of thy people and I am Prince of mine; and whoso overcometh his adversary, him let the other’s men obey and come under his sway.” Hardly had he ended his speech, when out came Sharrkan with a heart full of fury, and urging his steed into the midst of the field, closed like a raging lion with the Frank who encountered him with wariness and steadfastness and met him with the meeting of warriors. Then they fell to foining and hewing, and they stinted not of onset and offset, and give and take, as they were two mountains clashing together or two seas together dashing; nor did they cease fighting until day darkened and night starkened. Then they drew apart and each returned to his own party; but as soon as Sharrkan foregathered with his comrades, he said, “Never looked I on the like of this cavalier: he hath one quality I have not yet seen in any and this it is that, when his foemen uncovereth a place for the death-blow, he reverseth his weapon and smiteth with the lance-heel! In very deed I know not what will be the issue ‘twixt him and me; but ‘tis my wish that we had in our host his like and the like of his men.” Then he went to his rest for the night and, when morning dawned, the Frank came forth and rode down to the mid-field, where Sharrkan met him; and they fell to fighting and to wheeling, left and right; and necks were stretched out to see the sight, nor did they stint from strife and sword-play and lunge of lance with main and might, till the day turned to night and darkness overwhelmed the light. Then the twain drew asunder and returned each to his own camp, where both related to their comrades what had befallen them in the duello; and at last the Frank said to his men, “To-morrow shall decide the matter!” So they both passed that night restfully till dawn; and, as soon as it was day, they mounted and each bore down on other and ceased not to fight till half the day was done. Then the Frank bethought him of a ruse; first urging his steed with heel and then checking him with the rein, so that he stumbled and fell with his rider; thereupon Sharrkan threw himself on the foe, and would have smitten him with the sword fearing lest the strife be prolonged, when the Frank cried out to him, “O Sharrkan, champions are not wont to do thus! This is the act of a man accustomed to be beaten by a woman.”[214] When Sharrkan heard this, he raised his eyes to the Frank’s face and gazing steadfastly at him, recognized in him Princess Abrizah with whom that pleasant adventure had befallen him in the convent; whereupon he cast brand from hand and, kissing the earth before her, asked her, “What moved thee to a deed like this?”; and she answered, “I desired to prove thy prowess afield and test thy doughtiness in tilting and jousting. These that are with me are my handmaids, and they are all clean maids; yet they have vanquished thy horsemen in fair press and stress of plain; and had not my steed stumbled with me, thou shouldst have seen my might and prowess in combat.” Sharrkan smiled at her speech and said, “Praise be to Allah for safety and for my reunion with thee, O Queen of the age!” Then she cried out to her damsels to loose the twenty captives of Sharrkan’s troop and dismount. They did as she bade and came and kissed the earth before her and Sharrkan who said to them, “It is the like of you that Kings keep in store for the need-hour.” Then he signed to his comrades to salute the Princess; so all alighted and kissed the earth before her, for they knew the story. After this, the whole two hundred took horse, and fared on night and day for six days’ space, till they drew near to Baghdad, when they halted and Sharrkan bade Abrizah and her handmaids doff the Frankish garb that was on them,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Fifty-first Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Sharrkan bade Princess Abrizah and her damsels doff the garb that was on them and don the garments of daughters of Greece; and thus did they. Then he despatched a company of his companions to Baghdad to acquaint his father Omar bin al-Nu’uman, with his arrival and report that he was accompanied by Princess Abrizah, daughter of King Hardub, Lord of Græcia-land. They halted forthright in the place they had reached, and Sharrkan also halted and all nighted there; and when Almighty Allah made morning dawn, Sharrkan and his company and Abrizah and her company took horse and fared on towards the city; when lo! on the way they met the Wazir Dandan, who had come out amongst a thousand horse to honour Abrizah and Sharrkan, by especial commandment of King Omar Son of Al- Nu’uman. When the two drew near, they turned towards them and kissed ground before them; then they mounted again and escorted them into the city and went up with them to the palace. Sharrkan walked in to his father, who rose and embraced him and questioned him of his case. So he told him all that Abrizah had told him, and what had passed between them and said, “She hath parted from her sire and departed from her reign and hath chosen to take part with us and make her abode with us; “And indeed,” he said to his father, “the King of Constantinople hath plotted to do us a mischief, because of his daughter Sophia, for that the King of Greece had made known to him her story and the cause of her being given to thee; and he (the Grecian King) not knowing her to be daughter of King Afridun, Lord of Constantinople; and, had he known that, he would not have bestowed her upon thee, but he would have restored her to her parent. And of a verity,” he continued, “we were saved from these perils only by the Lady Abrizah, and never saw we a more valiant than she.” And he went on to tell his father all that had passed from first to last of the wrestling and the single-fighting. When King Omar heard the story of Sharrkan, Abrizah was exalted in his eyes, and he longed to see her and question her. Thereupon Sharrkan went out to her and said, “The King calleth for thee;” she replied, “I hear and I obey;” and he took her and brought her in to his father, who was seated on his throne and who, having dismissed his high officers, was attended only by his eunuchs. The Princess entered and kissing the ground between his hands, saluted him in choice terms. He was amazed at her eloquent speech and thanked her for her dealing with his son Sharrkan and bade her be seated. So she sat down and unveiled her face;[215] and, when the King saw her beauty, his reason fled his head and he made her draw near and showed her favour, appointing her an especial palace for herself and her damsels, and assigning them solde and allowances. Then began he to ask her of the three jewels aforesaid, and she answered, “Here be they with me, O King of the age!” So saying, she rose and going to her lodging, unpacked her baggage and from it brought out a box and from the box a casket of gold. She opened the casket and taking out those three jewels, kissed them and gave them to the King. Then she went away bearing his heart with her. After her going the King sent for his son Sharrkan and gave him one jewel of the three, and when he enquired of the other two replied, “O my son! I mean to give one to thy brother Zau al-Makan, and the other to thy sister Nuzhat al- Zaman.” But when Sharrkan heard that he had a brother (for to that time he knew only of his sister) he turned to his sire and said to him, “O King, hast thou a son other than myself?” He answered, “Yes, and he is now six years old;” adding that his name was Zau al- Makan and that he and Nuzhat al-Zaman were twins, born at a birth. This news was grievous to Sharrkan, but he kept his secret and said, “The blessing of Allah Most High be upon them!”, and he cast the jewel from his hand and shook the dust off his clothes. Quoth the King, “How do I see thee change thy manner when hearing of this, considering that after me thou becomest heir of the kingdom. Of a truth the troops have sworn to thee and the Emirs and Grandees have taken the oath of succession to thee; and this one of the three jewels is thine.” Sharrkan bowed his head to the ground and was ashamed to bandy words with his parent so he accepted the jewel and went away, knowing not what to do for exceeding wrath, and stayed not walking till he had entered Abrizah’s palace. As he approached she stood up to meet him and thanked him for what he had done and prayed for blessings on him and his sire. Then she sat down and seated him by her side; but when he had taken his place she saw rage in his face and questioned him, whereupon he told her that Allah had blessed his father with two children by Sophia, a boy and a girl, and that he had named the boy Zau al-Makan and the girl Nuzhat al-Zaman; adding, “He hath kept the other two jewels for them and hath given me one of thine, so I left it behind; I knew naught of Zau al-Makan’s birth till this day, and the twain are now six years old. So when I learnt this, wrath possessed me; and I tell thee the reason of my rage and hide nothing from thee. But now I fear lest my father take thee to wife, for he loveth thee and I saw in him signs of desire for thee: so what wilt thou say, if he wish this?” Quoth she, “Know, O Sharrkan, that thy father hath no dominion over me, nor can he have me without my consent; and if he prevail over me by force, I will take my own life. As for the three jewels, it was not my intent that he should give any of them to either of his children and I had no thought but that he would lay them up in his treasury with his things of price; but now I desire of thy favour that thou make me a present of the jewel which he gave thee, if thou have accepted it.” “Hearkening and obedience,” replied Sharrkan, and gave it to her. Then said she, “Fear nothing,” and talked with him awhile and continued, “I fear lest my father hear that I am with you and sit not patiently under my loss, but do his endeavours to find me; and to that end he may ally himself with King Afridun, on account of his daughter Sophia, and both come on thee with armies and so there befal great turmoil.” When Sharrkan heard these words, he said to her, “O my lady, if it please thee to sojourn with us, take no thought of them; though there gather together against us all that be on land and on sea.” “ ‘Tis well,” rejoined she; “if ye entreat me fair, I will tarry with you, and if ye deal evilly by me, I will depart from you.” Then she bade her slave-maidens bring food; so they set the tables, and Sharrkan ate a little and went away to his own house, disturbed and perturbed. Such was his case; but regarding the affairs of his father, Omar bin al-Nu’uman, after dismissing his son Sharrkan he arose and, taking the other two jewels, betook himself to the Lady Sophia, who stood up when she saw him and remained standing till he was seated. Presently, his two children, Zau al-Makan and Nuzhat al-Zaman, came to him and he kissed them and hung a jewel round each one’s neck, at which they rejoiced and kissed his hands. Then went they to their mother, who joyed in their joy and wished the King long life; so he asked her, “Why hast thou not informed me all this time that thou art the daughter of King Afridun, Lord of Constantinople, that I might have honoured thee still more and enlarged thee in dignity and raised thy rank?” “O King,” answered Sophia, “and what could I desire greater or higher than this my standing with thee, overwhelmed as I am with thy favours and thy benefits? And, furthermore, Allah hath blessed me with two children by thee, a son and a daughter.” Her reply pleased the King and after leaving her, he set apart for her and her children a wondrous fine palace. Moreover, he appointed for them eunuchs and attendants and doctors of law and doctors of philosophy and astrologers and physicians and surgeons to do them service; and in every way he redoubled his favour and entreated them with the best of treatment. And presently he returned to the palace of his dominion and to his Court where he distributed justice among the lieges. So far concerning him and Sophia and her children; but in the matter of Abrizah the King was greatly occupied with love of her and burnt with desire of her night and day; and every night, he would go in to her and converse with her and pay his court to her, but she gave him no answer, only saying, “O King of the age! I have no desire for men at this present.” When he saw her withdraw from him, his passion waxed hotter and his longing and pining increased until, when weary of this, he summoned his Wazir Dandan and, opening his very heart to him, told him of his love for Princess Abrizah, daughter of Hardub, and informed him how she refused to yield to his wishes and how desire for her was doing him to die, for that he could get no grace of her. The Wazir, hearing these words, said to the King, “As soon as it is dark night, take thou a piece of Bhang the measure of a miskal, about an ounce, and go in to her and drink somewhat of wine with her. When the hour of ending the carousel shall draw near, fill her a last cup and dropping therein the Bhang, give it to her to drink, and she will not reach her sleeping-chamber ere the drug take effect on her. Then do thou go in to her and take thy will of her; and such is my advice.”[216] “Thy rede is aright,” quoth the King, and seeking his treasury, he took thence a piece of concentrated Bhang, if an elephant smelt it he would sleep from year to year. This he put in his bosom-pocket and waited till some little of the night went by, when he betook himself to the palace of Princess Abrizah, who seeing him stood up to receive him; but he bade her sit down. So she sat down, and he sat by her, and he began to talk with her of wine and wassail, whereupon she furnished the carousing-table[217] and placed it before him. Then she set on the drinking vessels and lighted the candles and ordered to bring dried fruits and sweetmeats and all that pertaineth to drinking. So they fell to tippling and the King ceased not to pledge her till drunkenness crept into her head; and seeing this he took out the bit of Bhang from his pocket and, holding it between his fingers, filled a cup with his own hand and drank it off. Then filling a second he said, “To thy companionship!”; and dropped the drug into her cup, she knowing naught of it. She took it and drank it off; then she rose and went to her sleeping-chamber. He waited for less than an hour till he was assured that the dose had taken effect on her and had robbed her of her senses, when he went in to her and found her thrown on her back: and she had doffed her petticoat trousers and the air raised the skirt of her shift and discovered what was between her thighs. When the King saw the state of things and found a lighted candle at her head and another at her feet, shining upon what her thighs enshrined he took leave of his five senses for lust and Satan seduced him and he could not master himself, but put off his trousers and fell upon her and abated her maidenhead. Then he rose off her and went to one of her women, by name Marjánah, and said, “Go in to thy lady and speak with her.” So she went in to her mistress and found her lying on her back insensible, with the blood running down to the calves of her legs, whereupon she took a kerchief and wiped away the blood and lay by her that night. As soon as Almighty Allah brought the dawn, the handmaid Marjanah washed her mistress’s hands and feet and brought rose-water and bathed her face and mouth with it, whereupon she sneezed and yawned and cast up from her inside that bit of Bhang like a bolus.[218] Then she revived and washed her hands and mouth and said to Marjanah, “Tell me what hath befallen me.” So she told her what had passed and how she had found her, lying on her back, with the blood running down, wherefore she knew that King Omar bin al-Nu’uman had lain with her and had undone her and taken his will of her. At this she grieved with exceeding grief and retired into privacy, saying to her damsels, “Deny me to whoso would come in to me and say to him that I am ill, till I see what Allah will do with me.” Presently the news of her sickness came to the King; so he sent her sherbets and sugar electuaries. Some months she thus passed in solitude, during which time the King’s flame cooled and his desire for her was quenched, so that he abstained from her. Now she had conceived by him, and when the months of child-breeding had gone by, her pregnancy appeared and her belly swelled, and the world was straitened upon her, so she said to her handmaid Marjanah, “Know that it is not the folk who have wronged me, but I who sinned against my own self[219] in that I left my father and mother and country. Indeed, I abhor life, for my spirit is broken and neither courage nor strength is left me. I used, when I mounted my steed, to have the mastery of him, but now I am unable to ride. If I be brought to bed among them I shall be dishonoured before my hand-women and every one in the palace will know that he hath taken my maidenhead in the way of shame; and if I return to my father, with what face shall I meet him or with what face shall I have recourse to him? How well quoth the poet,

‘Say, what shall solace one who hath nor home nor stable stead
Nor cup-companion, nor a cup, nor place to house his head?’”

Marjanah answered her, “It is thine to command; I will obey;” and Abrizah said, “I desire at once to leave this place secretly, so that none shall know of me but thou; and return to my father and my mother, for when flesh stinketh, there is naught for it but its own folk and Allah shall do with me e’en as He will.” “O Princess,” Marjanah replied, “what thou wouldest do is well.” Then she made matters ready and kept her secret and waited for some days till the King went out to chase and hunt, and his son Sharrkan betook himself to certain of the fortresses to sojourn there awhile. Then said she to Marjanah, “I wish to set out this night, but how shall I do against my destiny? For already I feel the pangs of labour and child-birth, and if I abide other four or five days, I shall be brought to bed here, and I shall be unable to travel to my country. But this is what was written on my forehead.” Then she considered awhile, and said to Marjanah, “Look us out a man who will go with us and serve us by the way, for I have no strength to bear arms.” “By Allah, O my lady,” replied Marjanah, “I know none but a black slave called Al- Ghazbán,[220] who is one of the slaves of King Omar bin al- Nu’uman; he is a valiant wight, and he keepeth guard at our palace-gate. The King appointed him to attend us, and indeed we have overwhelmed him with our favours; so, lookye, I will go out and speak with him of this matter, and promise him some monies and tell him that, if he have a mind to tarry with us, I will marry him to whom he will. He told me before to-day that he had been a highwayman; so if he consent to us we shall win our wish and reach to our own land.” She rejoined, “Call him, that I may talk with him;” whereupon Marjanah fared forth and said to the slave, ‘O Ghazban, Allah prosper thee, so thou fall in with what my lady saith to thee!” Then she took him by the hand and brought him to the Princess, whose hands he kissed, but as she beheld him, her heart took fright at him. “However,” she said to herself, “of a truth, Need giveth the law;” and she approached to speak with him, yet her heart started away from him. Presently she said, “O Ghazban, say me, wilt thou help me against the perfidies of Fortune and conceal my secret if I discover it to thee?” When the slave saw her, his heart was taken by storm and he fell in love with her forthright and could not but reply; “O my mistress, whatsoever thou biddest me do, I will not depart therefrom.” Quoth she, “I would have thee take me at this hour and take this my handmaid and saddle us two camels and two of the King’s horses and set on each horse a saddle-bag of goods and somewhat of provaunt, and go with us to our own country; where, if thou desire to abide with us, I will marry thee to her thou shalt choose of my handmaidens; or, if thou prefer return to thine own land, we will marry thee and give thee whatso thou desirest after thou hast taken of money what shall satisfy thee.” When Al-Ghazban, heard this, he rejoiced with great joy and replied, “O my lady, I will serve both of you with mine eyes and will go at once and saddle the horses.” Then he went away gladsome and saying to himself, “I shall get my will of them and if they will not yield to me, I will kill them both and take their riches.” But he kept this his intent to himself, and presently returned with two camels and three head of horses, one of which he rode, and Princess Abrizah made Marjanah mount the second, she mounting the third, albeit she was in labour-pains and possessed not her soul for anguish. And the slave ceased not travelling with them night and day through the passes of the mountains, till there remained but a single march between them and their own country; when the travail pangs came upon Abrizah and she could no longer resist; so she said to Al-Ghazban, “Set me down, for the pains of labour are upon me;” and cried to Marjanah, “Do thou alight and sit by me and deliver me.” Then Marjanah dismounted from her horse, and Al-Ghazban did in like sort, and they made fast the bridles and helped the Princess to dismount, for she was aswoon from excess of anguish. When Al-Ghazban saw her on the ground, Satan entered into him and he drew his falchion and brandishing it in her face, said “O my lady, vouchsafe me thy favours.” Hearing these words she turned to him and said, “It remaineth for me only that I yield me to negro slaves, after having refused Kings and Braves!”—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Fifty-second Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Princess Abrizah said to the black slave Al-Ghazban, “It remaineth for me only that I yield me to negro slaves, after having refused Kings and Braves!” And she was wroth with him and cried, “Woe to thee! what words are these thou sayest? Out on thee, and talk not thus in my presence and know that I will never consent to what thou sayest, though I drink the cup of death. Wait till I have cast my burden and am delivered of the after-birth, and then, if thou be able thereto, do with me as thou wilt; but, an thou leave not lewd talk at this time, assuredly I will slay myself with my own hand and quit the world and be at peace from all this.” And she began reciting extempore,[221]

“O spare me, thou Ghazban, indeed enow for me
Are heavy strokes of time, mischance and misery!
Whoredom my Lord forfends to all humanity;
Quoth He, ‘Who breaks my bidding Hell for home shall see!’
And if thou leave not suing me to whoredom’s way
Against th’ Almighty’s choicest gift, my chastity,
Upon my tribesmen I with might and main will call
And gather all, however far or near they be;
And with Yamáni blade were I in pieces hewn,
Ne’er shall he sight my face who makes for villeiny,
The face of free-born come of noble folk and brave;
What then can be to me the seed of whoreson slave?”

When Ghazban heard these lines he was wroth exceedingly; his eyes reddened with blood and his face became a dusty-grey[222]; his nostrils swelled, his lips protruded and the repulsiveness of his aspect redoubled. And he repeated these couplets,

“Ho thou, Abrizah, mercy! leave me not for I
Of thy love and Yamáni[223] glance the victim lie
My heart is cut to pieces by thy cruelty,
My body wasted and my patience done to die:
From glances ravishing all hearts with witchery
Reason far flies, the while desire to thee draws nigh;
Though at thy call should armies fill the face of earth
E’en now I’d win my wish and worlds in arms defy!”

When Abrizah heard these words, she wept with sore weeping and said to him, “Woe to thee, O Ghazban! How dareth the like of thee to address me such demand, O base-born and obscene-bred? Dost thou deem all folk are alike?” When the vile slave heard this from her, he waxt more enraged and his eyes grew redder: and he came up to her and smiting her with the sword on her neck wounded her to the death. Then he drove her horse before him with the treasure and made off with himself to the mountains. Such was the case with Al-Ghazban; but as regards Abrizah, she gave birth to a son, like the moon, and Marjanah took the babe and did him the necessary offices and laid him by his mother’s side; and lo and behold! the child fastened to its mother’s breast and she dying.[224] When Marjanah saw this, she cried out with a grievous cry and rent her raiment and cast dust on her head and buffeted her cheeks till blood flowed, saying, “Alas, my mistress! Alas, the pity of it! Thou art dead by the hand of a worthless black slave, after all thy knightly prowess!” And she ceased not weeping when suddenly a great cloud of dust arose and walled the horizon;[225] but, after awhile, it lifted and discovered a numerous conquering host. Now this was the army of King Hardub, Princess Abrizah’s father, and the cause of his coming was that when he heard of his daughter and her handmaids having fled to Baghdad, and that they were with King Omar bin al- Nu’uman, he had come forth, leading those with him, to seek tidings of her from travellers who might have seen her with the King. When he had gone a single day’s march from his capital, he espied three horse men afar off and made towards them, intending to ask whence they came and seek news of his daughter. Now these three whom he saw at a distance were his daughter and Marjanah and the slave Al- Ghazban; and he made for them to push enquiry. Seeing this the villain blackamoor feared for himself; so he killed Abrizah and fled for his life. When they came up, King Hardub saw his daughter lying dead and Marjanah weeping over her, and he threw himself from his steed and fell fainting to the ground. All the riders of his company, the Emirs and Wazirs, took foot and forthright pitched their tents on the mountain and set up for the King a great pavilion, domed and circular, without which stood the grandees of the realm. When Marjanah saw her master, she at once recognized him and her tears redoubled; and, when he came to himself, he questioned her and she told him all that had passed and said, “Of a truth he that hath slain thy daughter is a black slave belonging to King Omar bin al-Nu’uman, and she informed him how Sharrkan’s father had dealt with the Princess. When King Hardub heard this, the world grew black in his sight and he wept with sore weeping. Then he called for a litter and, therein laying his dead daughter, returned to Cæsarea and carried her into the palace, where he went in to his mother, Zat al-Dawahi, and said to that Lady of Calamities, “Shall the Moslems deal thus with my girl? Verily King Omar bin al-Nu’uman despoiled her of her honour by force, and after this, one of his black slaves slew her. By the truth of the Messiah, I will assuredly take blood-revenge for my daughter and clear away from mine honour the stain of shame; else will I kill myself with mine own hand!” And he wept passing sore. Quoth his mother, “None other than Marjanah killed thy daughter, for she hated her in secret;” and she continued to her son, “Fret not for taking the blood-wit of thy daughter, for, by the truth of the Messiah, I will not turn back from King Omar bin al-Nu’uman till I have slain him and his sons; and of a very truth I will do with him a deed, passing the power of Sage and Knight, whereof the chroniclers shall tell chronicles in all countries and in every place: but needs must thou do my bidding in all I shall direct, for whoso be firmly set on the object of his desire shall surely compass his desire.” “By the virtue of the Messiah,” replied he, “I will not cross thee in aught thou shalt say.” Then quoth she, “Bring me a number of handmaids, high-bosomed virgins, and summon the wise men of the age and let them teach them philosophy and the rules of behaviour before Kings, and the art of conversation and making verses; and let them talk with them of all manner science and edifying knowledge. And the sages must be Moslems, that they may teach them the language and traditions of the Arabs, together with the history of the Caliphs and the ancient annals of the Kings of Al-Islam; and if we persevere in this for four years’ space, we shall gain our case. So possess thy soul in patience and wait; for one of the Arabs saith, ‘If we take man-bote after years forty the time were short to ye.’ When we have taught the girls these things, we shall be able to work our will with our foe, for he doteth on women and he hath three hundred and sixty concubines, whereto are now added an hundred of the flowers of thy handmaidens who were with thy daughter, she that hath found mercy.[226] As soon as I have made an end of their education, as described to thee, I will take them and set out with them in person.” When King Hardub heard his mother’s words, he rejoiced and arose and kissed her head; and at once despatched messengers and couriers to lands sundry and manifold to fetch him Moslem sages. They obeyed his commands and fared to far countries and thence brought him the sages and the doctors he sought. When these came into presence, he honoured them with notable honours and bestowed dresses on them and appointed to them stipends and allowances and promised them much money whenas they should have taught the damsels. Then he committed the handmaidens to their hands—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Fifty-third Night.

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the sages and the doctors stood in presence of King Hardub, he honoured them with notable honours and committed the handmaidens to their hands, enjoining that these be instructed in all manner of knowledge, philosophy and polite accomplishments; and they set themselves to do his bidding. Such was the case with King Hardub; but as for King Omar bin al Nu’uman, when he returned from coursing and hunting and entered his palace, he sought Princess Abrizah but found her not, nor any one knew of her nor could any give him news of her. This was grievous to him and he said, “How could the lady leave the palace unknown of any? Had my kingdom been at stake in this case, it were in perilous condition there being none to govern it! I will never again go to sport and hunt till I have stationed at the gates those who shall keep good guard over them!” And he was sore vexed and his breast was straitened for the loss of Princess Abrizah. Hereupon behold, his son Sharrkan returned from his journey; and the father told him what had happened, and informed him how the lady had fled, whilst he was chasing and hunting, whereat he grieved with exceeding grief. Then King Omar took to visiting his children every day and making much of them and brought them learned men and doctors to teach them, appointing for them stipends. When Sharrkan saw this, he raged with exceeding rage and envied thereupon his brother and sister till the signs of chagrin appeared in his face and he ceased not to languish by reason of this matter: so one day his father said to him, “Why do I see thee grown weak in body and yellow of face?” “O my father,” replied Sharrkan, “every time I see thee fondle my brother and sister and make much of them, jealousy seizeth on me, and I fear lest it grow on me till I slay them and thou slay me in return. And this is the reason of my weakness of body and change of complexion. But now I crave of thy favour that thou give me one of thy castles outlying the rest, that I may abide there the remnant of my life, for as the sayer of bywords saith, ‘Absence from my friend is better and fitter for me’; and, ‘Whatso eye doth not perceive, that garreth not heart to grieve.’” And he bowed his head towards the ground. When King Omar bin al-Nu’uman heard his words and knew the cause of his ailment and of his being broken down, he soothed his heart and said to him, “O my son, I grant thee this and I have not in my reign a greater than the Castle of Damascus, and the government of it is thine from this time.” Thereupon he forthright summoned his secretaries of state and bade them write Sharrkan’s patent of investiture to the viceroyalty of Damascus of Syria. And when they had written it, he equipped him and sent with him the Wazir Dandan, and invested him with the rule and government and gave him instructions as to policy and regulations; and took leave of him, and the grandees and officers of state did likewise, and he set out with his host. When he arrived at Damascus, the townspeople beat the drums and blew the trumpets and decorated the city and came out to meet him in great state; whilst all the notables and grandees paced in procession, and those who stood to the right of the throne walked on his right flank, and the others to the left. Thus far concerning Sharrkan; but as regards his father, Omar bin al- Nu’uman, soon after the departure of his son, the children’s tutors and governors presented themselves before him and said to him, “O our lord, thy children have now learnt knowledge and they are completely versed in the rules of manners and the etiquette of ceremony.” The King rejoiced thereat with exceeding joy and conferred bountiful largesse upon the learned men, seeing Zau al- Makan grown up and flourishing and skilled in horsemanship. This Prince had reached the age of fourteen and he occupied himself with piety and prayers, loving the poor, the Olema and the Koran-students, so that all the people of Baghdad loved him, men and women. One day, the procession of the Mahmil[227] of Irák passed round Baghdad before its departure for the pilgrimage to Meccah and visitation of the tomb of the Prophet (whom Allah bless and preserve!). When Zau al-Makan saw the Mahmil procession he was seized with longing desire to become a pilgrim,[228] so he went in to his sire and said, “I come to ask thy leave to make the pilgrimage.” But his father forbade him saying, “Wait till next year and I will go and thou too.” When the Prince saw that the matter was postponed, he betook himself to his sister Nuzhat al-Zaman, whom he found standing at prayer. As soon as she had ended her devotions he said to her, “I am dying with desire of pilgrimage to the Holy House of Allah at Meccah and to visit the tomb of the Prophet, upon whom be peace! I asked my father’s leave, but he forbade me that, so I mean to take privily somewhat of money and set out on the pilgrimage without his knowledge.” “Allah upon thee,” exclaimed she, “take me with thee and deprive me not of visitation to the tomb of the Prophet, whom Allah bless and keep!” And he answered, “As soon as it is dark night, do thou come forth from this place, without telling any.” Accordingly, when it was the middle of the night she arose and took somewhat of money and donned a man’s habit; and she ceased not walking to the palace-gate, where she found Zau al-Makan with camels ready for marching. So he mounted and mounted her; and the two fared on till they were in the midst of the Iraki[229] pilgrim-party, and they ceased not marching and Allah wrote safety for them, till they entered Meccah the Holy and stood upon Arafát and performed the pilgrimage-rites. Then they made a visitation to the tomb of the Prophet (whom Allah bless and assain!) and thought to return with the pilgrims to their native land. But Zau al-Makan said to his sister, “O my sister, it is in my mind to visit the Holy House,[230] Jerusalem, and Abraham the Friend of Allah[231] (on whom be peace!).” “I also desire so to do,” replied she. So they agreed upon this and he fared forth and took passage for himself and her and they made ready and set out in the ship with a company of Jerusalem palmers. That very night the sister fell sick of an aguish chill, and was grievously ill but presently recovered, after which the brother also sickened. She tended him during his malady and they ceased not wayfaring till they arrived at Jerusalem, but the fever increased on him and he grew weaker and weaker. They alighted at a Khan and there hired a lodging; but Zau al- Makan’s sickness ceased not to increase on him, till he was wasted with leanness and became delirious. At this, his sister was greatly afflicted and exclaimed, “There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great! This is the decree of Allah!” They sojourned in that place awhile, his weakness ever increasing and she attending him and buying necessaries for him and for herself, till all the money she had was expended and she became so poor that she had not so much as a dirham left. Then she sent a servant of the Khan to the bazar with some of her clothes, and he sold them and she spent the price upon her brother; then sold she something more and she ceased not selling all she had, piece by piece, till nothing was left but an old rug. Whereupon she wept and exclaimed, “Verily is Allah the Orderer of the past and the future!” Presently her brother said to her, “O my sister, I feel recovery drawing near and my heart longeth for a little roast meat.” “By Allah! O my brother,” replied she, “I have no face to beg; but To-morrow I will enter some rich man’s house and serve him and earn somewhat for our living.” Then she bethought herself awhile and said, “Of a truth ‘tis hard for me to leave thee and thou in this state, but I must despite myself!” He rejoined, “Allah forbid! Thou wilt be put to shame; but there is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah!” And he wept and she wept too. Then she said, “O my brother, we are strangers who have dwelt here a full year, but none hath yet knocked at our door. Shall we then die of hunger? I know no resource but that I go out and do service and earn somewhat to keep us alive, till thou recover from thy sickness, when we will travel back to our native land.” She sat weeping awhile and he wept too, propped upon his elbow. Then Nuzhat al-Zaman arose and, veiling her head with a bit of camlet,[232] which had been of the cameleer’s clothes and which the owner had forgotten and left with them; she kissed the head of her brother and embraced him and went forth from him, weeping and knowing not whither she should wend. And she stinted not going and her brother Zau al-Makan awaiting her return till the supper-time; but she came not, and he watched for her till the morning morrowed but still she returned not; and this endured till two days went by. He was greatly troubled thereat and his heart fluttered for her, and hunger was sore upon him. At last he left the chamber and, calling the servant of the caravanserai, said, “I wish thee to bear me to the bazar.” So he carried him to the market-street and laid him down there; and the people of Jerusalem gathered round him and were moved to tears seeing his condition. He signed to them begging for somewhat to eat; so they brought him some money from certain of the merchants who were in the bazar, and bought food and fed him therewith; after which they carried him to a shop, where they spread him a mat of palm-leaves and set an ewer of water at his head. When night fell, all the folk went away, sore concerned for him and, in the middle of the night, he called to mind his sister and his sickness redoubled on him, so that he abstained from eating and drinking and became insensible to the world around him. Then the bazar-people arose and took for him from the merchants thirty-seven dirhams, and hiring a camel, said to the driver, “Carry this sick man to Damascus and leave him in the hospital; haply he may be cured and recover health.” “On my head be it!” replied the camel-man; but he said to himself, “How shall I take this sick man to Damascus, and he nigh upon death?” So he carried him away to a place and hid with him till the night, when he threw him down on the ash-heap near the fire-hole of a Hammam and went his way. When morning dawned the Stoker[233] of the bath came to his work and, finding Zau al-Makan cast on his back, exclaimed, “Why did they not throw their dead body any where but here?” So saying, he gave him a kick and he moved; whereupon quoth the Fireman, “Some one of you who hath eaten a bit of Hashish and hath thrown himself down in whatso place it be!” Then he looked at his face and saw his hairless cheeks and his grace and comeliness; so he took pity on him and knew that he was sick and a stranger in the land. And he cried, “There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah! verily, I have sinned against this youth, for indeed the Prophet (whom Allah bless and keep!) enjoineth honour to the stranger, more especially when the stranger is sick.” Then he carried him home and went in with him to his wife and bade her tend him. So she spread him a sleeping-rug and set a cushion under his head, then warmed water for him and washed therewith his hands and feet and face. Meanwhile, the Stoker went to the market and bought some rose-water and sugar, and sprinkled Zau al-Makan’s face with the water and gave him to drink of the sherbet. Then he fetched a clean shirt and put it on him. With this, Zau al-Makan sniffed the zephyr of health and recovery returned to him; and he sat up and leant against the pillow. Hereat the Fireman rejoiced and exclaimed, “Praise be to Allah for the welfare of this youth! O Allah, I beseech Thee by Thy knowledge of hidden things, that Thou make the salvation of this youth to be at my hands!”—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Fifty-fourth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Fireman exclaimed, “O Allah, I beseech Thee of Thy knowledge of hidden things, that Thou make this young man’s life the work of my hands!” And he ceased not to nurse him for three days, giving him to drink of sherbet of sugar and willow-flower water and rose-water; and doing him all manner of service and kindness, till health began to return to his body and Zau al-Makan opened his eyes. Presently came in the Fireman and, seeing him sitting up and showing signs of amendment, said to him, “What is now thy state, O my son?” “Praise be to Allah,” replied Zau al-Makan, “I am well and like to recover, if such be the will of Allah Almighty at this time.” The Stoker praised the Lord of All for this and, wending fast to the market, bought ten chickens, which he carried to his wife and said, “Kill two of these for him every day, one at dawn of day and the other at fall of day.” So she rose up and killed a fowl and brought it to him boiled, and fed him with the flesh and made him drink its broth. When he had done eating, she fetched hot water and he washed his hands and lay back upon the pillow, whereupon she covered him up with the coverlet, and he slept till the time of the mid-afternoon prayer. Then she arose and killed another fowl and boiled it; after which she cut it up and, bringing it to Zau al-Makan, said, “Eat, O my son!” While he was eating; behold, her husband entered and seeing her feeding him, sat down at his head and said to him, “How is it with thee now, O my son?” “Thanks be to Allah for recovery!” he replied: “may the Almighty requite thee thy kindness to me.” At this the Fireman rejoiced and going out, bought sherbet of violets and rose-water and made him drink it. Now the Stoker used to work at the Hammam all day for a wage of five dirhams, whereof he spent every day, for Zau al-Makan, one dirham upon sugar and sherbet of rose-water and willow-flower water,[234] and another dirham for fowls; and he ceased not to entreat him thus kindly during a whole month, till the traces of illness ceased from him and he was once more sound and whole. Thereupon the Fireman and his wife rejoiced and asked him, “O my son, wilt thou go with me to the bath?”; whereto he answered, “Yes!” So the Stoker went to the bazar and fetched a donkey-boy, and he mounted Zau al-Makan on the ass and supported him in the saddle till they came to the bath. Then he made him sit down and seated the donkey-boy in the furnace-room and went forth to the market and bought lote-leaves and lupin-flour,[235] with which he returned to the bath and said to Zau al-Makan, “O my master, in Allah’s name, walk in and I will wash thy body.” So they entered the inner room of the bath, and the Fireman took to rubbing Zau al-Makan’s legs and began to wash his body with the leaves and meal, when there came to them a bathman, whom the bath-keeper had sent to Zau al-Makan; and he, seeing the Stoker washing and rubbing him, said, “This is doing injury to the keeper’s rights.” Replied the Fireman, “The master overwhelmeth us with his favours!” Then the bathman proceeded to shave Zau al-Makan’s head, after which he and the Stoker washed themselves and returned to the house, where he clad Zau al-Makan in a shirt of fine stuff and a robe of his own; and gave him a handsome turband and girdle and a light kerchief which he wound about his neck. Meanwhile the Fireman’s wife had killed and cooked two chickens; so, as soon as Zau al-Makan entered and seated himself on the carpet, the husband arose and, dissolving sugar in willow-flower water, made him drink of it. Then he brought the food-tray and, cutting up the chickens, fed him with the flesh and gave him the broth to drink till he was satisfied; when he washed his hands and praised Allah for recovery, and said to the Fireman, “Thou art he whom the Almighty vouchsafed to me and made the cause of my cure!” “Leave this talk,” replied the other, “and tell us the cause of thy coming to this city and whence thou art. Thy face showeth signs of gentle breeding.” “Tell me first how thou camest to fall in with me,” said Zau al-Makan; “and after I will tell thee my story.” Rejoined the Fireman, “As for that, I found thee lying on the rubbish-heap by the door of the fire-house, as I went to my work near the morning, and knew not who had thrown thee there. So I carried thee home with me; and this is all my tale.” Quoth Zau al-Makan, “Glory to Him who quickeneth the bones, though they be rotten! Indeed, O my brother, thou hast not done good save to one worthy of it, and thou shalt presently gather its fruitage.” And he added, “But where am I now?” “Thou art in the city of Jerusalem,” replied the Stoker; whereupon Zau al-Makan called to mind his strangerhood and remembered his separation from his sister and wept. Then he discovered his secret to the Fireman and told him his story and began repeating,

“In love they bore me further than my force would go,
And for them made me suffer resurrection-throe:
Oh, have compassion, cruel! on this soul of mine
Which, since ye fared, is pitied by each envious foe;
Nor grudge the tender mercy of one passing glance
My case to lighten, easing this excess of woe:
Quoth I ‘Heart, bear this loss in patience!’ Patience cried
‘Take heed! no patience in such plight I’m wont to show.’ “

Then he redoubled his weeping, and the Fireman said to him, “Weep not, but rather praise Allah for safety and recovery.” Asked Zau al-Makan, “How far is it hence to Damascus?” Answered the other, “Six days’ journey.” Then quoth Zau al-Makan, “Wilt thou send me thither?” “O my lord,” quoth the Stoker, “how can I allow thee to go alone, and thou a youth and a stranger to boot? If thou would journey to Damascus, I am one who will go with thee; and if my wife will listen to and obey me and accompany me, I will take up my abode there; for it is no light matter to part with thee.” Then said he to his wife, “Wilt thou travel with me to Damascus of Syria or wilt thou abide here, whilst I lead this my lord thither and return to thee? For he is bent upon going to Damascus of Syria and, by Allah, it is hard to me to part with him, and I fear for him from highway men.” Replied she, “I will go with you both;” and he rejoined, “Praised be Allah for accord, and we have said the last word!” Then he rose and selling all his own goods and his wife’s gear,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say,

When it was the Fifty-fifth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Fire man and his wife agreed with Zau al-Makan to travel with him Damascus wards. Then the Stoker sold his goods and his wife’s gear and bought a camel and hired an ass for Zau al-Makan; and they set out, and ceased not wayfaring for six days till they reached Damascus. And they arrived there towards eventide; when the Fireman went forth and, as was his wont, bought some meat and drink. They had dwelt but five days in Damascus, when his wife sickened and, after a short illness, was translated to the mercy of Almighty Allah. Her death was a heavy matter to Zau al-Makan, for he was grown used to her as she had tended him assiduously; and the Fireman grieved for her with excessive grief. Presently the Prince turned to the Stoker and finding him mourning, said to him, “Grieve not, for at this gate we must all go in.” Replied he, “Allah make weal thy lot, O my son! Surely He will compensate us with His favours and cause our mourning to cease. What sayst thou, O my son, about our walking abroad to view Damascus and cheer thy spirits?” Replied Zau al-Makan, “Thy will is mine.” So the Fireman arose and placed his hand in that of Zau al- Makan and the two walked on till they came to the stables of the Viceroy of Damascus, where they found camels laden with chests and carpets and brocaded stuffs, and horses ready saddled and Bactrian dromedaries, while Mamelukes and negro slaves and folk in a hubbub were running to and fro. Quoth Zau al-Makan, “I wonder to whom belong all these chattels and camels and stuffs!” So he asked one of the eunuchs, “Whither this dispatching?’’ and he answered, “These are presents sent by the Emir of Damascus to King Omar bin al-Nu’uman, with the tribute of Syria.” Now when Zau al-Makan heard his father’s name his eyes brimmed over with tears, and he began repeating,

“Oh ye gone from the gaze of these ridded eyne,
Ye whose sight in my spirit shall ever dwell!
Your charms are gone, but this heart of me
Hath no sweet, and no pleasures its sour dispel;
If Allah’s grace make us meet again,
In long drawn love-tale my love I’ll tell.”

And when he had ended his verse, he wept and the Fireman said to him, “O my son, we hardly believed that thy health had returned;[236] so take heart and do not weep, for I fear a relapse for thee.” And he ceased not comforting and cheering him, whilst Zau al-Makan sighed and moaned over his strangerhood and separation from his sister and his family; and tears streamed from his eyes and he recited these couplets,

“Get thee provaunt in this world ere thou wend upon thy way,
And know how surely Death descends thy life lot to waylay:
All thy worldly goods are pride and the painfullest repine;
All thy worldly life is vexing, of thy soul in vain display:
Say is not worldly wone like a wanderer’s place of rest,
Where at night he ‘nakhs’[237] his camels and moves off at dawn of day?”

And he continued to weep and wail over his separation; whilst the Fireman also bewept the loss of his wife, yet ceased not to comfort Zau al-Makan till morning dawned. When the sun rose, he said to him, “Meseemeth thou yearnest for thy native land?” “Yes,” replied Zau al-Makan, “and I can no longer tarry here; so I will commend thee to Allah’s care and set out with these folk and journey with them, little by little, till I come to my mother land.” Said the Stoker, “And I with thee; for of a truth I cannot bear to part with thee. I have done thee kindly service and I mean to complete it by tending thee on thy travel.” At this, Zau al-Makan rejoiced and said, “Allah abundantly requite thee for me!” and was pleased with the idea of their travelling together. The Fireman at once went forth and bought another ass, selling the camel; and laid in his provaunt and said to Zau al-Makan, “This is for thee to ride by the way; and, when thou art weary of riding, thou canst dismount and walk.” Said Zau al-Makan, “May Allah bless thee and aid me to requite thee! for verily thou hast dealt with me more lovingly than one with his brother.” Then he waited till it was dark night, when he laid the provisions and baggage on that ass and set forth upon their journey. This much befel Zau al-Makan and the Fireman; but as regards what happened to his sister Nuzhat al-Zaman, when she left her brother in the Khan where they abode and, wrapped in the old camlet, went out to seek service with some one, that she might earn wherewithal to buy him the roast meat he longed for, she fared on, weeping and knowing not whither to go, whilst her mind was occupied with thoughts of her brother and of her family and her native land. So she implored Allah Almighty to do away with these calamities from them and began versifying,

“Dark falls the night and Passion comes sore pains to gar me dree,
And pine upstirs those ceaseless pangs which work my tormentry,
And cease not separation flames my vitals to consume,
And drives me on destruction way this sorrow’s ecstacy
And longing breeds me restlessness; desire for ever fires,
And tears to all proclaim what I would keep in secrecy
No cunning shift is known to me a meeting to secure,
That I may quit this sickly state, may cure my malady:
The love which blazeth in my heart is fed with fancy fuel,
The lover from its hell of fire must bear Hell’s agony![238]
O thou who blamest me for all befel me, ‘tis enough,
Patient I bear what ever wrote the Reed of Doom for me:
By Love I swear I’ll never be consoled, no, never more;
I swear the oath of Love’s own slaves who know no perjury:
O Night, to chroniclers of Love the news of me declare;
That sleep hath fed mine eyelids of thy knowledge witness bear!”

Then she walked on, weeping and turning right and left as she went, when behold, there espied her an old Badawi[239] who had come into the town from the desert with wild Arabs other five. The old man took note of her and saw that she was lovely, but she had nothing on her head save a piece of camlet, and, marvelling at her beauty, he said to himself, “This charmer dazzleth men’s wits but she is in squalid condition, and whether she be of the people of this city or she be a stranger, I needs must have her.” So he followed her, little by little, till he met her face to face and stopped the way before her in a narrow lane, and called out to her, asking her case, and said, “Tell me, O my little daughter! art thou a free woman or a slave?” When she heard this, she said to him, “By thy life, do not add to my sorrows!” Quoth he, “Allah hath blessed me with six daughters, of whom five died and only one is left me, the youngest of all; and I came to ask thee if thou be of the folk of this city or a stranger; that I might take thee and carry thee to her, to bear her company so as to divert her from pining for her sisters. If thou have no kith and kin, I will make thee as one of them and thou and she shall be as my two children.” Nuzhat al-Zaman bowed her head in bashfulness when she heard what he said and communed with herself, “Haply I may trust myself to this old man.” Then she said to him, “O nuncle, I am a maiden of the Arabs and a stranger and I have a sick brother; but I will go with thee to thy daughter on one condition, which is, that I may spend only the day with her and at night may return to my brother. If thou strike this bargain I will fare with thee, for I am a stranger and I was high in honour among my tribe, and I awoke one morning to find myself vile and abject. I came with my brother from the land of Al-Hijaz and I fearless he know not where I am.” When the Badawi heard this, he said to himself, “By Allah, I have got my desire!” Then he turned to her and replied, “There shall none be dearer to me than thou; I wish thee only to bear my daughter company by day and thou shalt go to thy brother at earliest nightfall. Or, if thou wilt, bring him over to dwell with us.” And the Badawi ceased not to console her heart and coax her, till she trusted in him and agreed to serve him. Then he walked on before her and, when she followed him, he winked to his men to go in advance and harness the dromedaries and load them with their packs and place upon them water and provisions, ready for setting out as soon as he should come up with the camels. Now this Badawi was a base born churl, a highway thief and a traitor to the friend he held most fief, a rogue in grain, past master of plots and chicane. He had no daughter and no son and was only passing through the town when, by the decree of the Decreer, he fell in with this unhappy one. And he ceased not to hold her in converse on the highway till they came without the city of Jerusalem and, when outside, he joined his companions and found they had made ready the dromedaries. So the Badawi mounted a camel, having seated Nuzhat al-Zaman behind him and they rode on all night. Then she knew that the Badawi’s proposal was a snare and that he had tricked her; and she continued weeping and crying out the whole night long, while they journeyed on making for the mountains, in fear any should see them. Now when it was near dawn, they dismounted from their dromedaries and the Badawi came up to Nuzhat al-Zaman and said to her, “O city strumpet, what is this weeping? By Allah, an thou hold not thy peace, I will beat thee to death, O thou town filth!” When she heard this she loathed life and longed for death; so she turned to him and said, “O accursed old man, O gray beard of hell, how have I trusted thee and thou hast played me false, and now thou wouldst torture me?” When he heard her reply he cried out, “O lazy baggage, dost thou dare to bandy words with me?” And he stood up to her and beat her with a whip, saying, “An thou hold not thy peace, I will kill thee!” So she was silent awhile, then she called to mind her brother and the happy estate she had been in and she shed tears secretly. Next day, she turned to the Badawi and said to him, “How couldst thou play me this trick and lure me into these bald and stony mountains, and what is thy design with me?” When he heard her words he hardened his heart and said to her, “O lazy baggage of ill omen and insolent! wilt thou bandy words with me?” and he took the whip and came down with it on her back till she felt faint. Then she bowed down over his feet and kissed[240] them; and he left beating her and began reviling her and said, “By the rights of my bonnet,[241] if I see or hear thee weeping, I will cut out thy tongue and stuff it up thy coynte, O thou city filth!” So she was silent and made him no reply, for the beating pained her; but sat down with her arms round her knees and, bowing her head upon her collar, began to look into her case and her abasement after her lot of high honour; and the beating she had endured; and she called to mind her brother and his sickness and forlorn condition, and how they were both strangers in a far country, which drave her tears down her cheeks and she wept silently and began repeating,

“Time hath for his wont to upraise and debase,
Nor is lasting condition for human race:
In this world each thing hath appointed turn;
Nor may man transgress his determined place:
How long these perils and woes? Ah woe
For a life, all woeful in parlous case!
Allah bless not the days which have laid me low
I’ the world, with disgrace after so much grace!
My wish is baffled, my hopes cast down,
And distance forbids me to greet his face:
O thou who passeth that dear one’s door,
Say for me, these tears shall flow evermore!”

When she had finished her verses, the Badawi came up to her and, taking compassion on her, bespoke her kindly and wiped away her tears. Then he gave her a barley scone and said, “I love not one who answereth at times when I am in wrath: so henceforth give me no more of these impertinent words and I will sell thee to a good man like myself, who will do well with thee, even as I have done.” “Yes; whatso thou doest is right,” answered she; and when the night was longsome upon her and hunger burnt her, she ate very little of that barley bread. In the middle of the night the Badawi gave orders for departure,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Fifty-sixth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the Badawi gave the barley scone to Nuzhat al-Zaman and promised he would sell her to a good man like himself, she replied, “Whatso thou doest is right!” and, about midnight when hunger burned her,[242] she ate a very little of that barley bread and the Badawi ordered his party to set out; so they loaded their loads and he mounted a camel setting Nuzhat al-Zaman behind him. Then they journeyed and ceased not journeying for three days, till they entered the city of Damascus and alighted at the Sultan’s Khan, hard by the Viceroy’s Gate. Now she had lost her colour by grief and the fatigue of such travelling, and she ceased not to weep over her misfortunes. So the Badawi came up to her and said, “O thou city filth, by the right of my bonnet, if thou leave not this weeping, I will sell thee to none but a Jew!” Then he arose and took her by the hand and carried her to a chamber, and walked off to the bazar, and he went round to, the merchants who dealt in slave-girls, and began to parley with them, saying, “I have brought a slave girl whose brother fell ill, and I sent him to my people about Jerusalem, that they might tend him till he is cured. As for her I want to sell her, but after the dog her brother fell sick, the separation from him was grievous to her, and since then she doth nothing but weep, and now I wish that whoso is minded to buy her of me speak softly to her and say, ‘Thy brother is with me in Jerusalem ill’; and I will be easy with him about her price.” Then one of the merchants came up to him and asked, “How old is she?” He answered “She is a virgin, just come to marriageable age, and she is endowed with sense and breeding and wit and beauty and loveliness. But from the day I sent her brother to Jerusalem, her heart hath been yearning for him, so that her beauty is fallen away and her value lessened.” Now when the merchant heard this, he set forth with the Badawi and said, “O Shaykh[243] of the Arabs, I will go with thee and buy of thee this girl whom thou praisest so highly for wit and manners and beauty and loveliness; and I will pay thee her price but it must be upon conditions which if thou accept, I will give thee ready money, and if thou accept not I will return her to thee.” Quoth the Badawi, “An thou wilt, take her up to the Sultan Sharrkan, son of Omar bin al-Nu’uman lord of Baghdad and of the land of Khorasan, and condition me any conditions thou likest, for when thou hast brought her before King Sharrkan, haply she will please him, and he will pay thee her price and a good profit for thyself to boot.” Rejoined the merchant, “It happens that I have just now something to ask from him, and it is this that he write me an order upon the office, exempting me from custom dues and also that he write me a letter of recommendation to his father, King Omar bin al-Nu’uman. So if he take the girl, I will weigh[244] thee out her price at once.” “I agree with thee to this condition,” answered the Badawi. So they returned together to the place where Nuzhat al-Zaman was and the wild Arab stood at the chamber door and called out, saying, “O Nájiyah[245]!” which was the name wherewith he had named her. When she heard him, she wept and made no answer. Then he turned to the merchant and said to him, “There she sitteth; go to her and look at her and speak to her kindly as I enjoined thee.” So the trader went up to her in courteous wise and saw that she was wondrous beautiful and loveable, especially as she knew the Arabic tongue; and he said to the Badawi, “If she be even as thou saddest, I shall get of the Sultan what I will for her.” Then he bespake her, “Peace be on thee, my little maid! How art thou?” She turned to him and replied, “This also was registered in the Book of Destiny.” Then she looked at him and, seeing him to be a man of respectable semblance with a handsome face, she said to herself, “I believe this one cometh to buy me;” and she continued, “If I hold aloof from him, I shall abide with my tyrant and he will do me to death with beating. In any case, this person is handsome of face and maketh me hope for better treatment from him than from my brute of a Badawi. May be he cometh only to hear me talk; so I will give him a fair answer.” All this while her eyes were fixed on the ground; then she raised them to him and said in a sweet voice, “And upon thee be peace, O my lord, and Allah’s mercy and His benediction![246] This is what is commanded of the Prophet, whom Allah bless and preserve! As for thine enquiry how I am, if thou wouldst know my case, it is such as thou wouldst not wish but to thy foe.” And she held her peace. When the merchant heard what she said, his fancy took wings for delight in her and, turning to the Badawi, he asked him, “What is her price, for indeed she is noble?” Thereupon the Badawi waxed angry and answered, “Thou wilt turn me the girl’s head with this talk! Why dost thou say that she is noble,[247] while she is of the scum of slave-girls and of the refuse of folk? I will not sell her to thee!” When the merchant heard this, he knew the man to be weak of wits and said to him, “Calm thyself, for I will buy her of thee with these blemishes thou mentionest.” “And how much wilt thou give me for her?” enquired the Badawi. Replied the merchant, “Name thy price for her: none should name the son save his sire.” Rejoined the Badawi, “None shall name it but thou thyself.” Quoth the merchant to himself, “This wildling is a rudesby and a maggotty head. By Allah, I cannot tell her price, for she hath won my heart with her fair speech and good looks; and, if she can read and write, it will be complete fair luck to her and to her purchaser. But this Badawi does not know her worth.” Then he turned and said to him, “O Shaykh of the Arabs, I will give thee in ready money, clear of the tax and the Sultan’s dues, two hundred gold pieces.” Now when the Badawi heard this, he flew into a violent rage and cried at the merchant, saying, “Get up and go thy ways! By Allah, wert thou to offer me two hundred dinars for the bit of camlet she weareth, I would not sell it to thee. And now I will not sell her, but will keep her by me, to pasture the camels and grind my grist.” And he cried out to her, saying, “Come here, thou stinkard! I will not sell thee.” Then he turned to the merchant and said to him, “I used to think thee a man of judgment; but, by the right of my bonnet, if thou begone not from me, I will let thee hear what shall not please thee!” Quoth the merchant to himself, “Of a truth this Badawi is mad and knoweth not her value, and I will say no more to him about her price at the present time; for by Allah, were he a man of sense, he would not say, ‘By the rights of my bonnet!’ By the Almighty, she is worth the kingdom of the Chosroës and I have not her price by me, but if he ask even more, I will give him what he will, though it be all my goods.” Then he turned and said to him, “O Shaykh of the Arabs, take patience and calm thyself and tell me what clothes she hath with thee?” Cried the Badawi, “And what hath the baggage to do with clothes? By Allah, this camlet in which she is wrapped is ample for her.” “With thy leave,” said the merchant, “I will unveil her face and examine her even as folk examine slave-girls whom they think of buying.”[248] Replied the other, “Up and do what thou wilt and Allah keep thy youth! Examine her outside and inside and, if thou wilt, strip off her clothes and look at her when she is naked.” Quoth the trader, “Allah forfend! I will look at naught save her face.”[249] Then he went up to her and was put to shame by her beauty and loveliness,—And Shahrazed perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Fifty-seventh Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the merchant went up to Nuzhat al-Zaman and was put to shame by her beauty and loveliness, so he sat by her side and asked her, “O my mistress, what is thy name?” She answered, “Doss thou ask what is my name this day or what it was before this day?” Thereupon the merchant enquired, “Hast thou then two names: to-day’s and yesterday’s?” “Yes,” replied she, “my name in the past was Nuzhat al-Zaman, the Delight of the Age; but my name at this present is Ghussat[250] al-Zaman, the Despight of the Age.” When the merchant heard this his eyes brimmed over with tears and quoth he to her, “Hast thou not a sick brother?” “Ay by Allah, O my lord, I have,” quoth she, “but fortune hath parted me and him and he lieth sick in Jerusalem.” The merchant’s head was confounded at the sweetness of her speech and he said to himself, “Verily, the Badawi spake the truth of her.” Then she called to mind her brother and his sickness and his strangerhood and her separation from him in his hour of weakness and her not knowing what had befallen him; and she thought of all that had happened to her with the Badawi and of her severance from her mother and father and native land; and the tears coursed down her cheeks and fast as they started they dropped; and she began reciting,

“Allah, where’er thou be, His aid impart
To thee, who distant dwellest in my heart!
Allah be near thee how so far thou fare;
Ward off all shifts of Time, all dangers thwart!
Mine eyes are desolate for thy vanisht sight,
And start my tears-ah me, how fast they start!
Would Heaven I kenned what quarter or what land
Homes thee, and in what house and tribe thou art
An fount of life thou drain in greenth of rose,
While drink I tear drops for my sole desert?
An thou ‘joy slumber in those hours, when I
Peel ‘twixt my side and couch coals’ burning smart?
All things were easy save to part from thee,
For my sad heart this grief is hard to dree.”

When the merchant heard her verses, he wept and put out his hand to wipe away the tears from her cheeks; but she let down her veil over her face, saying, “Heaven forbid, O my lord!’’[251] Then the Badawi, who was sitting at a little distance watching them, saw her cover her face from the merchant while about to wipe the tears from her cheeks; and he concluded that she would have hindered him from handling her: so he rose and running to her, dealt her, with a camel’s halter he had in his hand, such a blow on the shoulders that she fell to the ground on her face. Her eyebrow struck a stone which cut it open, and the blood streamed down her cheeks; whereupon she screamed a loud scream and felt faint and wept bitterly. The merchant was moved to tears for her and said in himself, “There is no help for it but that I buy this damsel, though at her weight in gold, and free her from this tyrant.” And he began to revile the Badawi whilst Nazhat al- Zaman lay in sensible. When she came to herself, she wiped away the tears and blood from her face; and she bound up her head: then, raising her glance to heaven, she besought her Lord with a sorrowful heart and began repeating,

“And pity one who erst in honour throve,
And now is fallen into sore disgrace.
She weeps and bathes her cheeks with railing tears,
And asks ‘What cure can meet this fatal case?’”

When she had ended her verse, she turned to the merchant and said in an undertone, “By the Almighty, do not leave me with a tyrant who knoweth not Allah the Most High! If I pass this night in his place, I shall kill myself with my own hand: save me from him, so Allah save thee from Gehenna-fire.” Then quoth the merchant to the Badawi, “O Shaykh of the Arabs, this slave is none of thine affair; so do thou sell her to me for what thou wilt.” “Take her,” quoth the Badawi, “and pay me down her price, or I will carry her back to the camp and there set her to feed the camels and gather their dung.”[252] Said the merchant, “I will give thee fifty thousand dinars for her.” “Allah will open!”[253] replied the Badawi. “Seventy thousand,” said the merchant. “Allah will open!” repeated the Badawi: “this is not the capital spent upon her, for she hath eaten with me barley bread to the value of ninety thousand gold pieces.” The merchant rejoined, “Thou and thine and all thy tribe in the length of your lives have not eaten a thousand ducats’ worth of barley; but I will say thee one word, wherewith if thou be not satisfied, I will set the Viceroy of Damascus on thee and he will take her from thee by force.” The Badawi continued, “Say on!” “An hundred thousand,” quoth the merchant. “I have sold her to thee at that price,” answered the Badawi; “I shall be able to buy salt with her.” The merchant laughed and, going to his lodgings, brought the money and put it into the hand of the Badawi, who took it and made off, saying to himself, “Needs must I go to Jerusalem where, haply, I shall happen on her brother, and I will bring him here and sell him also.” So he mounted and journeyed till he arrived at Jerusalem, where he went to the Khan and asked for Zau al-Makan, but could not find him. Such was the case with him; but for what regards the merchant and Nazhat al-Zaman, when he took her he threw some of his clothes over her and carried her to his lodgings,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Fifty-eighth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the trader saved Nuzhat al-Zaman from the Badawi and bore her to his lodgings and robed her in the richest raiment, he went down with her to the bazar, where he bought her what ornaments she chose and put them in a satin bag, which he set before her, saying, “All is for thee and I ask nothing of thee in return but that, when I lead thee to the Sultan, Viceroy of Damascus, thou acquaint him with the price I paid for thee, albeit it was little compared with thy value: and, if seeing thee he buy thee of me, thou tell him how I have dealt with thee and ask of him for me a royal patent, and a written recommendation wherewith I can repair to his father, King Omar bin al-Nu’uman, Lord of Baghdad, to the intent that he may forbid the tax on my stuffs or any other goods in which I traffic.” When she heard his words, she wept and sobbed, and the merchant said to her, “O my lady, I observe that, every time I mention Baghdad, thine eyes are tearful: is there any one there whom thou lovest? If it be a trader or the like, tell me; for I know all the merchants and so forth there and, if thou wouldst send him a message, I will bear it for thee.” Replied she, “By Allah, I have no acquaintance among merchant folk and the like! I know none there but King Omar bin Nu’uman, Lord of Baghdad.” When the merchant heard her words, he laughed and rejoiced with exceeding joy and said in himself, “By Allah, I have won my wish!” Then he said to her, “Hast thou been shown to him in time past?” She answered, “No, but I was brought up with his daughter and he holdeth me dear and I have high honour with him; so if thou wouldst have the King grant thee thy desire, give me ink case and paper and I will write thee a letter; and when thou reachest the city of Baghdad, do thou deliver it into the hand of King Omar bin al-Nu’uman and say to him, ‘Thy handmaid, Nuzhat al-Zaman, would have thee to know that the chances and changes of the nights and days have struck her as with a hammer, and have smitten her so that she hath been sold from place to place, and she sendeth thee her salams.’ And, if he ask further of her, say that I am now with the Viceroy at Damascus.” The merchant wondered at her eloquence, and his affection for her increased and he said to her I cannot but think that men have played upon thine understanding and sold thee for money. Tell me, dost thou know the Koran by heart?” “Yes,” answered she; “and I am also acquainted with philosophy and medicine and the prolegomena of science and the commentaries of Galen, the physician, on the canons of Hippocrates; and I have commented him and I have read the Tazkirah and have commented the Burhán; and I have studied the Simples of Ibn Baytár, and I have something to say of the canon of Meccah, by Avicenna. I can ree riddles and can solve ambiguities, and discourse upon geometry and am skilled in anatomy I have read the books of the Sháfi’í[254] school and the Traditions of the Prophet and syntax; and I can argue with the Olema and discourse of all manner learning. Moreover I am skilled in logic and rhetoric and arithmetic and the making of talismans and almanacs, and I know thoroughly the Spiritual Sciences[255] and the times appointed for religious duties and I understand all these branches of knowledge.” Then quoth she to the merchant, “Bring me ink case and paper, that I write thee a letter which shall aid thee on thy journey to Baghdad and enable thee to do without passports.” Now when the merchant heard this, he cried out “Brava! Brava![256] Then O happy he in whose palace thou shalt! Thereupon he brought her paper and ink case and a pen of brass and bussed the earth before her face to do her honour. She took a sheet and handled the reed and wrote therewith these verses,

“I see all power of sleep from eyes of me hath flown;
Say, did thy parting teach these eyne on wake to wone?
What makes thy memory light such burnings in my heart?
Hath every lover strength such memories to own?
How sweet the big dropped cloud which rained on summer day;
‘Tis gone and ere I taste its sweets afar ‘tis flown:
I pray the wind with windy breath to bring some news
From thee, to lover wightwi’ love so woe begone
Complains to thee a lover of all hope forlorn,
For parting pangs can break not only heart but stone.”

And when she had ended writing the verses she continued, “These words are from her who saith that melancholy destroyeth her and that watching wasteth her; in the murk of whose night is found no light and darkness and day are the same in her sight. She tosseth on the couch of separation and her eyes are blackened with the pencils of sleeplessness; she watcheth the stars arise and into the gloom she strains her eyes: verily, sadness and leanness have consumed her strength and the setting forth of her case would run to length. No helper hath she but tears and she reciteth these verses,

‘No ring dove moans from home on branch in morning light,
But shakes my very frame with sorrow’s killing might:
No lover sigheth for his love or gladdeth heart
To meet his mate, but breeds in me redoubled blight
I bear my plaint to one who has no ruth for me,
Ah me, how Love can part man’s mortal frame and sprite!’ “

Then her eyes welled over with tears, and she wrote also these two couplets,

“Love smote my frame so sore on parting day,
That severance severed sleep and eyes for aye.
I waxt so lean that I am still a man,
But for my speaking, thou wouldst never say.”

Then she shed tears and wrote at the foot of the sheet, “This cometh from her who is far from her folk and her native land, the sorrowful hearted woman Nuzhat al-Zaman.” In fine, she folded the sheet and gave it to the merchant, who took it and kissed it and understood its contents and exclaimed, “Glory to Him who fashioned thee!”—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Fifty-ninth Night,

She said, It reached me, O auspicious King, that Nuzhat al-Zaman wrote the letter and gave it to the merchant; and he took it and read it and understood the contents and exclaimed, “Glory to Him who fashioned thee!” Then he redoubled his kindness and made himself pleasant to her all that day, and when night came he sallied out to the bazar and bought some food, wherewith he fed her; after which he carried her to the Hammam and said to the bath woman, “As soon as thou hast made an end of washing her head, dress her and send and let me know of it.” And she replied “Hearing is obeying.” Meanwhile he fetched food and fruit and wax candles and set them on the bench in the outer room of the bath; and when the tire woman had done washing her, she dressed her and led her out of the bath and seated her on the bench. Then she sent to tell the merchant, and Nuzhat al-Zaman went forth to the outer room, where she found the tray spread with food and fruit. So she ate and the tire woman with her, and gave the rest to the people and keeper of the bath. Then she slept till the morning, and the merchant lay the night in a place apart from her. When he aroused himself from sleep he came to her and waking her, presented her with a shift of fine stuff and a head-kerchief worth a thousand dinars, a suit of Turkish embroidery and walking boots purfled with red gold and set with pearls and gems. Moreover, he hung in each of her ears a circlet of gold with a fine pearl therein, worth a thousand dinars, and threw round her neck a collar of gold with bosses of garnet and a chain of amber beads that hung down between her breasts over her navel. Now to this chain were attached ten balls and nine crescents, and each crescent had in its midst a bezel of ruby, and each ball a bezel of balass: the value of the chain was three thousand dinars and each of the balls was priced at twenty thousand dirhams, so that the dress she wore was worth in all a great sum of money. When she had put these on, the merchant bade her adorn herself, and she adorned herself to the utmost beauty; then she let fall her fillet over her eyes and she fared forth with the merchant preceding her. But when folk saw her, all wondered at her beauty and exclaimed, “Blessed be Allah, the most excellent Creator! O lucky the man in whose house the hall be!” And the trader ceased not walking (and she behind him) till they entered the palace of Sultan Sharrkan; when he sought an audience and, kissing the earth between his hands, said, “O auspicious King, I have brought thee a rare gift, unmatched in this time and richly gifted with beauty and with good qualities.” Quoth the King, “Let me see it.” So the merchant went out and brought her, she following him till he made her stand before King Sharrkan. When he beheld her, blood yearned to blood, though she had been parted from him in childhood and though he had never seen her, having only heard a long time after her birth that he had a sister called Nuzhat al- Zaman and a brother Zau al-Makan, he having been jealous of them, because of the succession. And such was the cause of his knowing little about them. Then, having placed her before the presence, the merchant said, “O King of the age, besides being peerless in her time and beauty and loveliness, she is also versed in all learning, sacred and profane, including the art of government and the abstract sciences.” Quoth the King to the trader, “Take her price, according as thou boughtest her, and go thy ways.” “I hear and I obey,” replied the merchant; “but first write me a patent, exempting me for ever from paying tithe on my merchandise.” Said the King, “I will do this, but first tell me what price thou paidest for her.” Said the merchant, “I bought her for an hundred thousand dinars, and her clothes cost me another hundred thousand.” When the Sultan heard these words, he declared, “I will give thee a higher price than this for her;” and, calling his treasurer, said to him, “Pay this merchant three hundred and twenty thousand ducats; so will he have an hundred and twenty thousand dinars profit.” Thereupon the Sultan summoned the four Kazis and paid him the money in their presence and then he said, “I call you to witness that I free this my slave girl and purpose to marry her.” So the Kazis wrote out the deed of emancipation and the contract of marriage, when the Sultan scattered much gold on the heads of those present; and the pages and the eunuchs picked up this largesse. Then, after paying him his monies, Sharrkan bade them write for the merchant a perpetual patent, exempting him from toll, tax or tithe upon his merchandise and forbidding each and every in all his government to molest him, and lastly bestowed on him a splendid dress of honour.—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Sixtieth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that King Sharrkan bade them write for the merchant a mandate, after paying him his monies; and they wrote a perpetual patent, exempting him from the tithe upon his merchandise and forbidding any in his government to molest him; and lastly bestowed upon him a splendid dress of honour. Then all about him retired, and none remained save the Kazis and the merchant, whereupon said he to the judges, “I wish you to hear such discourse from this damsel as may prove her knowledge and accomplishments in all aimed for her by this trader, that we ascertain the truth of his assertions.” They answered, “There is no evil in that!”; and he commanded the curtain to be let down between him and those with him and the maiden and those with her; and the women about the damsel behind the curtains began to wish her joy and kiss her hands and feet, when they learned that she was become the King’s wife. Then they came round her and took off her dresses easing her of the weight of her clothes and began to look upon her beauty and loveliness. Presently the wives of the Emirs and Wazirs heard that King Sharrkan had bought a handmaiden unmatched for her beauty and learning and philosophy and account keeping, and versed in all branches of knowledge, that he had paid for her three hundred and twenty thousand dinars, and that he had set her free and had written a marriage-contract with her and had summoned the four Kazis to make trial of her, how she would answer all their questions and hold disputetion with them. So they asked leave of their husbands and repaired to the palace wherein was Nuzhat al- Zaman. When they came in to her, they found the eunuchs standing before her; and, as soon as she saw the wives of the Emirs and Wazirs and Grandees of the realm coming to call upon her, she arose to them on her feet and met them with courtesy, her handmaidens standing behind her, and she received them saying, “Ye be welcome!” The while she smiled in their faces so as to win their hearts; and she promised them all manner of good and seated them in their proper stations, as if she had been brought up with them; so all wondered at her beauty and loveliness and said to one another, “This damsel is none other than a Queen, the daughter of a King.” Then they sat down, magnifying her worth and said to her, “O our lady, this our city is illumined by thee, and our country and abode and birth place and reign are honoured by thy presence. The kingdom indeed is thy kingdom and the palace is thy palace, and we all are thy handmaids; so, by Allah, do not shut us out from thy favours and the sight of thy beauty.” And she thanked them for this. All this while the curtains were let down between Nuzhat al-Zaman and the women with her, on the one side, and King Sharrkan and the four Kazis and the merchant seated by him on the other. Presently King Sharrkan called to her and said, “O Queen, the glory of thine age, this merchant hath described thee as being learned and accomplished; and he claimeth that thou art skilled in all branches of knowledge, even to astrology: so let us hear something of all this he hath mentioned, and favour us with a short discourse on such subjects.” She replied, saying: “O King, to hear is to obey.[257] The first subjects whereof I will treat are the art of government and the duties of Kings and what behoveth governors of command meets according to religious law, and what is incumbent on them in respect of satisfactory speech and manners. Know then, O King, that all men’s works tend either to religious or to laical life, for none attaineth to religion save through this world, because it is the best road to futurity. Now the works of this world are not ordered save by the doings of its people, and men’s doings are divided into four divisions, government, commerce, husbandry and craftsmanship. Now government requireth perfect administration with just and true judgment; for government is the pivot of the edifice of the world, which world is the road to futurity; since Allah Almighty hath made the world for His servants as viaticum to the traveller for the attainment of his goal; and it befitteth each man that he receive of it such measure as shall bring him to Allah, and that he follow not herein his own mind and his individual lust. If folk would take of worldly goods with justice and equity, all cause of contention would be cut off; but they take thereof with violence ant after their own desires, and their persistence therein giveth rise to contentions; so they have need of the Sultan, that he do justice between them and order their affairs; and, if the King restrain not his folk from one another, the strong will drive the weak to the wall. Hence Ardeshir[258] saith, ‘Religion and Kingship be twins’; religion is a hidden treasure and the King is its keeper; and the Divine Ordinances and men’s intelligence point out that it behoveth the people to adopt a Sultan who shall withhold oppressor from oppressed and do the weak justice against the strong and restrain the violence of the proud and the rebels against rule. For know, O King, that according to the measure of the Sultan’s good morals, even so will be the time; as saith the Apostle of Allah (on whom be peace and salvation!), ‘There be two classes who, if they be good, the people will be good; and if they be bad, the people will be bad, even the Olema and the Emirs.’ And it is said by a certain sage, ‘There be three kinds of Kings, the King of the Faith, the King who protecteth things to which reverence is due, and the King of his own lusts.’ The King of the Faith obligeth his subjects to follow their faith, and it behoveth he be the most faithful,[259] for it is by him that they take pattern in the things of the Faith; and it becometh the folk to obey him in whatso he commandeth according to Divine Ordinance; but he shall hold the discontented in the same esteem as the contented, because of submission to the decrees of Destiny. As for the King who protecteth things to be reverenced, he upholdeth the things of the Faith and of the World and compelleth his folk to follow the Divine Law and to preserve the rights of humanity; and it fitteth him to unite Pen and Sword; for whoso declineth from what Pen hath written his feet slip and the King shall rectify his error with the sharp Sword and dispread his justice over all mankind. As for the King of his own lusts, he hath no religion but the following his desire and, as he feareth not the wrath of his Lord who set him on the throne, so his Kingdom inclineth to deposition and the end of his pride is in the house of perdition. And sages say, ‘The King hath need of many people, but the people have need of but one King’ wherefore it beseemeth that he be well acquainted with their natures, that he reduce their discord to concord, that with his justice be encompass them all and with his bounties overwhelm them all. And know, O King, that Ardeshir, styled Jamr Shadíd, or the Live Coal, third of the Kings of Persia, conquered the whole world and divided it into four divisions and, for this purpose, get for himself four seal rings, one for each division. The first seal was that of the sea and the police of prohibition and on it was written, Alterna lives. The second was the seal of tribute and of the receipt of monies, and on it was written, Building up. The third was the seal of the provisioning department and on it was written, Plenty. The fourth was the seal of the oppressed, and on it was written, Justice. And these usages remained valid in Persia until the revelation of Al-Islam. Chosroës also wrote his son, who was with the army, ‘Be not thou too open handed with thy troops, or they will be too rich to need thee.’—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Sixty-first night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Chosroës wrote his son, ‘Be not thou too open handed with thy troops, or they will be too rich to need thee; nor be thou niggardly with them, or they will murmur against thee. Give thy giving deliberately and confer thy favours advisedly; open thy hand to them in time of success and stint them not in time of distress.’ There is a legend that a desert Arab came once to the Caliph Al- Mansúr[260] and said, ‘Starve thy dog and he shall follow thee.’ When the Caliph heard his words, he was enraged with the Arab, but Abu ‘l-Abbás of Tús said to him, ‘I fear that if some other than thou should show him a scone, the dog would follow him and leave thee alone.’ Thereupon the Caliph Al-Mansur’s wrath subsided and he knew that the wild Arab had intended no offence and ordered him a present. And know, O King, that Abd al-Malik bin Marwán wrote to his brother Abd al-Azíz, when he despatched him to Egypt, as follows, ‘Pay heed to thy Secretaries and thy Chamberlains, for the Secretaries will acquaint thee with estate fished matters and the Chamberlains with matters of official ceremony, whilst thine expenditure will make thy troops known to thee.’ Omar bin Al-Khattáb[261] (whom Allah accept!) when engaging a servant was in the habit of conditioning him with four conditions; the first that he should not ride the baggage beasts, the second that he should not wear fine clothes, the third that he should not eat of the spoil and the fourth that he should not put off praying till after the proper period. It is said that there is no wealth more profitable than understanding, and there is no understanding like common sense and prudence, and there is no prudence like piety; that there is no means of drawing near to God like good morals, no measure like good breeding, no traffic like good works and no profit like earning the Divine favour; that there is no temperance like standing within the limits of the law, no science like that of meditation, no worship like obeying the Divine commends, no faith like modesty, no calculation like self abasement and no honour like knowledge. So guard the head and what it containeth and the belly and what it compriseth; and think of death and doom ere it ariseth. Saith Ali (whose face Allah honour!), ‘Beware of the wickedness of women and be on thy guard against them: consult them not in aught;[262] but grudge not complaisance to them, lest they greed for intrigue.’ And eke quoth he, ‘Whoso leaveth the path of moderation his wits become perplexed’; and there be rules for this which we will mention, if it be Allah’s will. And Omar (whom Allah accept!) saith, ‘There are three kinds of women, firstly the true believing, Heaven fearing, love full and fruit full, who helpeth her mate against fate, not helping fate against her mate; secondly, she who loveth her children but no more and, lastly, she who is a shackle Allah setteth on the neck of whom He will.’ Men be also three: the wise when he exerciseth his own judgement; the wiser who, when befalleth somewhat whereof he knoweth not the issue, seeketh folk of good counsel and acteth by their advice; and the unwise irresolute ignoring the right way nor heeding those who would guide him straight. Justice is indispensable in all things; even slave-girls have need of justice; and men quote as an instance highway robbers who live by violenting mankind, for did they not deal equitably among themselves and observe justice in dividing their booty, their order would fall to pieces.[263] In short, for the rest, the Prince of noble qualities is Beneficence cum Benevolence; and how excellent is the saying of the poet,

By open hand and ruth the youth rose to his tribe’s command;
Go and do likewise for the same were easy task to thee.’

And quoth another,

‘In ruth and mildness surety lies and mercy wins respect,
And Truth is best asylum for the man of soothfast soul:
Whoso for wealth of gold would win and wear the world’s good word,
On glory’s course must ever be the first to gain the goal.’”

And Nazhat al-Zaman discoursed upon the policy of Kings till the bystanders said, “Never have we seen one reason of rule and government like this damsel! Haply she will let us hear some discourse upon subject other than this.” When she heard their words and understood them she said, “As for the chapter of good breeding, it is wide of comprehension, being a compend of things perfect. Now it so happened that one day there came to the Caliph Mu’áwiyah[264] one of his companions, who mentioned the people of Irak and the goodness of their wit; and the Caliph’s wife Maysún, mother of Yezíd, heard his words. So, when he was gone, she said to the Caliph, ‘O Prince of the Faithful, I would thou let some of the people of Irak come in and talk to thee, that I may hear their discourse.’ Therewith Mu’awiyah said to his attendants, ‘See who is at the door?’ And they answered, ‘The Banu Tamim.’ ‘Let them come in,’ said he. So they came in and with them Al-Ahnáf son of Kays.[265] Then quoth Mu’awiyah, ‘Enter, O Abu Bahr,’ and drew a curtain between himself and Maysun, that she might hear what they said without being seen herself; then he said to Al-Ahnaf, ‘O Son of the Sea, draw near and tell me what counsel thou hast for me.’ Quoth Al-Ahnaf, ‘Part thy hair and trim thy moustachio and pare thy nails and pluck thine armpits and shave thy pubes[266] and ever use the toothstick because therein be two and seventy virtues, and make the Ghusl or complete ablution on Friday, as an expiation for all between the Fridays.’—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Sixty-second Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Ahnaf bin Kays replied to Al-Mu’awiyah’s[267] question, ‘And ever use the toothstick, because therein be two end seventy virtues and make the complete Friday ablution as an expiation for all between the two Fridays.’ Quoth Mu’awiyah, ‘What is thy counsel to thyself?’ ‘To set my feet firmly on the ground, to move them deliberately and watch over them with mine eyes!’ ‘How dost thou order thyself when thou goest in to one not of the nobles of thy tribe?’ ‘I lower mine eyes modestly and I salute first; I avoid what concerneth me not and I spare my words!’ ‘And how when thou goest in to thine equals?’ ‘I give ear to them when they speak and I do not assail them when they err!’ ‘When thou goest in to thy chiefs?’ ‘I salute without making any sign and await the reply: if they bid me draw near, I draw near, and if they draw off from me I withdraw!’ ‘How dost thou with thy wife?’ Quoth Ahnaf, ‘Excuse me from answering this, O Commander of the Faithful!’; but Mu’awiyah cried, ‘I conjure thee inform me.’ He said, ‘I entreat her kindly and show her familiarity and am large in expenditure, for woman was created of a crooked rib.’[268] ‘And how dost thou when thou hast a mind to lie with her?’ ‘I bid her perfume herself and kiss her till she is moved to desire; then, should it be as thou knowest,[269] I throw her on her back. If the seed abide in her womb I say, ‘O Allah make it blessed and let it not be a wastrel, but fashion it into the best of fashions!’[270] Then I rise from her to ablution and first I pour water over my hands and then over my body and lastly, I praise Allah for the joy He hath given me.’ Said Mu’awiyah, ‘Thou hast answered right well and now tell me what be thy requirements?’ Said Ahnaf, ‘I would have thee rule thy subjects in the fear of Allah and do even handed justice between them.’ Thereupon Ahnaf rose to his feet and left the Caliph’s presence, and when he had gone Maysun said, ‘Were there but this man in Irak, he would suffice to it.’ Then continued Nuzhat al-Zaman, “And all this is a section of the chapter of good breeding, and know O King, that Muaykib was intendant of the public treasury during the Caliphate of Omar bin al-Khattáb,”—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Sixty-third Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Nuzhat al- Zaman continued, “Know, O King, that Mu’aykib was intendant of the public treasury during the Caliphate of Omar bin al-Khattab; and it so befel him that he saw Omar’s son and gave him a dirham out of the treasury. Thereupon, quoth Mu’aykib, ‘I returned to my own house, and while I was sitting there behold, a messenger came to me from Omar and I was afraid and went to him, and when I came into his presence, in his hand was the dirham I had given his son. He said to me, ‘Woe to thee Mu’aykib! I have found somewhat concerning thy soul.’ I asked ‘And what is that?’; and he answered, ‘It is that thou hast shown thyself a foe to the followers of Mohammed (on whom be peace and salvation!) in the matter of this dirham, and thou wilt have to account for it on Resurrection Day.’[271] And Omar also wrote a letter to Abú Músá al-Ashári[272] as follows, ‘When these presents reach thee, give the people what is theirs and remit to me the rest.’ And he did so. Now when Othman succeeded to the Caliphate, he wrote a like letter to Abu Musa, who did his bidding and sent him the tribute accordingly, and with it came Ziyád.[273] And when Ziyad laid the tribute before Othman, the Caliph’s son came in and took a dirham, whereupon Ziyad shed tears. Othman asked ‘Why weepest thou?’; and Ziyad answered, ‘I once brought Omar bin al-Khattab the like of this and his son took a dirham, whereupon Omar bade snatch it from his hand. Now thy son hath taken of the tribute, yet I have seen none say aught to him or snatch the money from him.’ Then Othman[274] cried, ‘And where wilt thou find the like of Omar?’ Again Zayd bin Aslam relates of his father that he said, ‘I went out one night with Omar till we approached a blazing fire. Quoth Omar, ‘O Aslam, I think these must be travellers who are suffering from the cold. Come, let us join them.’ So we walked on till we came to them and behold! we found a woman who had lighted a fire under a cauldron and by her side were two children, both a wailing. Said Omar, ‘Peace be with you, O folk of light (for it was repugnant to him to say ‘folk of fire’),[275] what aileth you?’ Said she, ‘The cold and the night trouble us.’ He asked, ‘What aileth these little people that they weep?’; and she answered, ‘They are hungry.’ He enquired, ‘And what is in this cauldron?’; and she replied, ‘It is what I quiet them withal, and Allah will question Omar bin al- Khattab of them, on the Day of Doom.’ He said, ‘And what should Omar know of their case?’ ‘Why then,’ rejoined she, ‘should he manage people’s affairs and yet be unmindful of them?’ Thereupon Omar turned to me (continned Aslam) and cried, ‘Come with us!’ So we set off running till we reached the pay department of his treasury, where he took out a sack containing flour and a pot holding fat and said to me, ‘Load these on my back!’ Quoth I, ‘O Commander of the Faithful, I will carry them for thee.’ He rejoined, ‘Wilt thou bear my load for me on the Day of Resurrection?’ So I put the things on his back, and we set off, running, till we threw down the sack hard by her. Then he took out some of the flour and put it in the cauldron; and, saying to the woman, ‘Leave it to me,’ he began blowing the fire under the cauldron. Now he was a long bearded man[276] and I saw the smoke issuing from between the hairs of his beard till the flour was cooked, when he took some of the fat and threw it in and said to the woman, ‘Bed them while I cool it for them.’ So they fell to eating till they had eaten their fill, and he left the rest with her. Then he turned to me and said, ‘O Aslam, I see it was indeed hunger made them weep; and I am glad I did not go away ere I found out the cause of the light I saw.’—And Shahrazad per ceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Sixty-fourth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Nuzhat al- Zaman continued, “It is related that Omar passed by a flock of sheep, kept by a Mameluke, and asked him to sell him a sheep. He answered, ‘They are not mine.’ ‘Thou art the man I sought,’ said Omar, and bought him and freed him; whereupon the slave exclaimed, ‘O Allah, as thou hast bestowed on me the lesser emancipation; so vouchsafe me the greater!’[277] It is also said that Omar bin al- Khattab was wont to give his servants sweet milk and himself eat coarse fare, and to clothe them softly and himself wear rough garments. He rendered unto all men their due, and exceeded in his giving to them. He once gave a man four thousand dirhams and added thereto a thousand, wherefore it was said to him, ‘Why dost thou not increase to thy son as thou increasest to this man?’ He answered, ‘This man’s father stood firm at the battle day of Ohod.’[278] Al-Hasan relates that Omar once came back from foray with much money, and that Hafsah[279] approached him and said, ‘O Commander of the Faithful, the due of kinship!’ ‘O Hafsah!’ replied he, ‘verily Allah hath enjoined us to satisfy the dues of kinship, but not with the monies of the True Believers. Indeed, thou pleasest” thy family, but thou angerest thy father.’ And she went away trailing her skirts.[280] The son of Omar said, ‘I implored the Lord to show me my father one year after his death, till at last I saw him wiping the sweat from his brow and asked him, ‘How is it with thee, O my father?’ He answered, ‘But for my Lord’s mercy thy father surely had perished.’ Then said Nuzhat al-Zaman, “Hear, O auspicious King, the second division of the first chapter of the instances of the followers of the Apostle and other holy men. Saith Al Hasan al-Basrí,[281] Not a soul of the sons of Adam goeth forth of the world without regretting three things,- failure to enjoy what he hath amassed, failure to compass what he hoped, failure to provide himself with sufficient viaticum for that hereto he goeth.[282] It was said of Sufyan,[283] ‘Can a man be a religious and yet possess wealth?’ He replied, ‘Yes, so he be patient when grieved and be thankful when he hath received.’ Abdullah bin Shaddád, being about to die, sent for his son Mohammed and admonished him, saying, ‘O my son, I see the Summoner of Death summoning me, and so I charge thee to fear Allah both in public and private, to praise Allah and to be soothfastin thy speech, for such praise bringeth increase of prosperity, and piety in itself is the best of provision for the next world; even as saith one of the poets,

‘I see not happiness lies in gathering gold;
The man most pious is man happiest:
In truth the fear of God is best of stores,
And God shall make the pious choicely blest.’

Then quoth Nuzhat al-Zaman, “Let the King also give ear to these notes from the second section of the first chapter.” He asked her ‘What be they?’; and she answered, “When Omar bin Abd al-Azíz[284] succeeded to the Caliphate, he went to his household and laying hands on all that was in their hold, put it into the public treasury. So the Banu Umayyah flew for aid to his father’s sister, Fátimah, daughter of Marwan, and she sent to him saying, ‘I must needs speak to thee.’ So she came to him by night and, when he had made her alight from her beast and sit down, he said to her, ‘O aunt, it is for thee to speak first, since thou hast some thing to ask: tell me then what thou wouldst with me.’ Replied she, ‘O Commander of the Faithful, it is thine to speak first, for thy judgment perceiveth that which is hidden from the intelligence of others.’ Then said Omar, ‘Of a verity Allah Almighty sent Mohammed as a blessing to some and a bane to others; and He elected for him those with him, and commissioned him as His Apostle and took him to Himself,’—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Sixty-fifth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Nuzhat al- Zaman continued thus, “Said Omar, ‘Verily Allah commissioned as His Apostle Mohammed (upon whom be the benediction of Allah and His salvation!), for a blessing to some and a bane to others; and He elected for him those with him and took him to Himself, leaving the people a stream whereof they might drink. After him Abu Bakr[285] the Truth teller became Caliph and he left the river as it was, doing what was pleasing to Allah. Then arose Omar and worked a work and strove in holy war and strife where of none might do the like. But when Othman arose to power he diverted a streamlet from the stream, and Mu’awiyah in his turn diverted from it several streamlets; and without ceasing in like manner, Yezid and the Banu Marwán such as Abd al-Malik and Walíd and Sulaymán[286] drew away water from the stream, and the main course dried up, till rule devolved upon me, and now I am minded to restore the stream to its normal condition.’ When Fatimah heard this, she said, ‘I came wishing only to speak and confer with thee, but if this be thy word, I have nothing to say to thee.’ Then she returned to the Ommiades and said to them, ‘Now take ye the consequences of your act when ye allied yourselves by marriage with Omar bin al-Khattab.’[287] And it is also said that when Omar was about to die, he gathered his children round him, and Maslamah[288] bin Abd al-Malik said to him, ‘O Prince of the Faithful, how wilt thou leave thy children paupers and thou their protector? None can hinder thee in thy lifetime from giving them what will suffice them out of the treasury; and this indeed were better than leaving the good work to him who shall rule after thee.’ Omar looked at him with a look of wrath and wonder and presently replied, ‘O Maslamah, I have defended them from this sin all the days of my life, and shall I make them miserable after my death? Of a truth my sons are like other men, either obedient to Almighty Allah who will prosper them, or disobedient and I will not help them in their disobedience. Know, O Maslamah, that I was present, even as thou, when such an one of the sons of Marwanwas buried, and I fell asleep by him and saw him in a dream given over to one of the punishments of Allah, to whom belong Honour and Glory! This terrified me and made me tremble, and I vowed to Allah, that if ever I came to power, I would not do such deeds as the dead man had done. I have striven to fulfil this vow all the length of my life and I hope to die in the mercy of my Lord.’ Quoth Maslamah, ‘A certain man died and I was present at his burial, and when all was over I fell asleep and I saw him as a sleeper seeth a dream, walking in a garden of flowing waters clad in white clothes. He came up to me and said: ‘O Maslamah, it is for the like of this that rulers should rule.’ Many are the instances of this kind, and quoth one of the men of authority, ‘I used to milk the ewes in the Caliphate of Omar bin Abd al-Aziz, and one day I met a shepherd, among whose sheep I saw a wolf or wolves. I thought them to be dogs, for I had never before seen wolves; so I asked, ‘What dost thou with these dogs?’ ‘They are not dogs, but wolves,’ answered the shepherd. Quoth I, ‘Can wolves be with sheep and not hurt them?’ Quoth he, ‘When the head is whole, the body is whole.’[289] Omar bin Abd al-Aziz once preached from a pulpit of clay and, after praising and glorifying Allah Almighty, said three words as follows, ‘O folk, make clean your inmost hearts, that your outward lives may be dean to your brethren, and abstain ye from the things of the world. Know that between us and Adam there is no one man alive among the dead. Dead are Abd al- Malik and those who forewent him, and Omar also shall die and those who forewent him.’ Asked Maslamah, ‘O Commander of the Faithful, an we set a pillow behind thee, wilt thou lean on it a little while?’ But Omar answered, ‘I fear lest it be a fault about my neck on Resurrection Day.’ Then he gasped with the death rattle and fell back in a faint; whereupon Fatimah cried out, saying, ‘Ho, Maryam! Ho, Muzahim![290] Ho, such an one! Look to this man!’ And she began to pour water on him weeping, till he revived from his swoon; and, seeing her in tears said to her, ‘What causeth thee to weep, O Fatimah?’ She replied, ‘O Commander of the Faithful, I saw thee lying prostrate before us and thought of thy prostration in death before Almighty Allah, of thy departure from the world and of thy separation from us. This is what made me weep.’ Answered he, ‘Enough, O Fatimah, for indeed thou exceedest.’ Then he would have risen, but fell down and Fatimah strained him to her and said, ‘Thou art to me as my father and my mother, O Commander of the Faithful! We cannot speak to thee, all of us.’ Then quoth Nuzhat al-Zaman to her brother Sharrkan and the four Kazis, “Here endeth the second section of the first chapter.”—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Sixty-sixth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Nuzhat al- Zaman said to her brother Sharrkan and the four Kazis, “Here endeth the second section of the first chapter. And it so happened that Omar bin Abd al-Aziz wrote to the people of the festival at Meccah as follows, ‘I call Allah to witness, in the Holy Month, in the Holy City and on the day of the Greater Pilgrimage,[291] that I am innocent of your oppression and of his wrongs that doth wrong you, in that I have neither commanded this nor purposed it, neither hath any report of aught thereof hitherto reached me, nor have I compassed any knowledge thereof; and I trust that a cause for pardon will be found in that none hath authority from me to oppress any man, for I shall assuredly be questioned concerning every one oppress. And if any of my officers swerve from the right and act otherwise than the Holy Book and the Traditions of the Apostle do authorise, obey him not so that he may return to the way of righteousness.’ He said also (Allah accept of him!), ‘I do not wish to be relieved from death, because it is the supreme thing for which the True Believer is rewarded.’ Quoth one of authority, ‘I went to the Prince of the Faithful, Omarbin Abd al-Aziz, who was then Caliph, and saw before him twelve dirhams, which he ordered for deposit in the public treasury. So I said to him, ‘O Commander of the Faithful, thou impoverishest thy children and reducest them to beggary having nothing whereon to live. An thou wouldst appoint somewhat by will to them and to those who are poor of the people of thy house, it were well.’ ‘Draw near to me,’ answered he: so I drew near to him and he said, ‘Now as for thy saying, ‘Thou beggarest thy children; provide for them and for the poor of thy household,’ it is without reason; for Allah of a truth will replace me to my children and to the poor of my house, and He will be their guardian. Verily, they are like other men; he who feareth Allah, right soon will Allah provide for him a happy issue, and he that is addicted to sins, I will not up hold him in his sin against Allah.’ Then he summoned his sons who numbered twelve, and when he beheld them his eyes dropped tears and presently he said to them, ‘Your Father is between two things; either ye will be well to do, and your parent will enter the fire, or ye will be poor and your parent will enter Paradise; and your father’s entry into Paradise is liefer to him than that ye should be well to do.[292] So arise and go, Allah be your helper, for to Him I commit your affairs!’ Khálid bin Safwán[293] said, ‘Yúsuf bin Omar[294] accompanied me to Hishám bin Abd al-Malik,[295] and as I met him he was coming forth with his kinsmen and attendants. He alighted and a tent was pitched for him. When the people had taken their seats, I came up to the side of the carpet whereon he sat reclining and looked at him; and, waiting till my eyes met his eyes, bespoke him thus, ‘May Allah fulfil His bounty to thee, O Commander of the Faithful, I have an admonition for thee, which hath come down to us from the history of the Kings preceding thee!’ At this, he sat up whenas he had been reclining and said to me, ‘Bring what thou hast, O son of Safwan!’ Quoth I, ‘O Commander of the Faithful, one of the Kings before thee went forth in a time before this thy time, to this very country and said to his companions, ‘Saw ye ever any state like mine and say me, hath such case been given to any man even as it hath been given unto me?’ Now there was with him a man of those who survive to bear testimony to Truth; upholders of the Right and wayfarers in its highway, and he said to him, ‘O King, thou askest of a grave matter. Wilt thou give me leave to answer?’ ‘Yes,’ replied the King, and the other said, ‘Dost thou judge thy present state to be short lasting or ever lasting?’ ‘It is temporary,’ replied the King. ‘How then,’ rejoined the man, ‘do I see thee exulting in that which thou wilt enjoy but a little while and whereof thou wilt be questioned for a long while and for the rendering an account whereof thou shalt be as a pledge which is pawned?’ Quoth the King, ‘Whither shall I flee and what must I seek for me?’ ‘That thou abide in thy kingship,’ replied the other, ‘or else robe thee in rags[296] and apply thyself to obey Almighty Allah thy Lord until thine appointed hour. I will come to thee again at daybreak.’ Khalid bin Safwan further relates that the man knocked at the door at dawn and behold, the King had put off his crown and resolved to become an anchorite, for the stress of his exhortation. When Hishám bin Abd al-Malik heard this, he wept till his beard was wet, and, bidding his rich apparel be put off, shut himself up in his palace. Then the grandees and dependants came to Khalid and said, ‘What is this thou hast done with the Commander of the Faithful? Thou hast troubled his pleasure and disturbed his life!’ Then quoth Nuzhat al-Zaman, addressing herself to Sharrkan, “How many instances of admonition are there not in this chapter! Of a truth I cannot report all appertaining to this head in a single sitting,”—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Sixty-seventh Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Nuzhat al- Zaman continued, speaking to Sharrkan, “Know, O King, that in this chapter be so many instances of admonition that of a truth I cannot report all appertaining to this head in a single sitting but, with length of days, O King of the age, all will be well.” There said the Kazis, “O King, of a truth this damsel is the wonder of the world, and of our age the unique pearl! Never heard we her like in the length of time or in the length of our lives.” And they called down blessings on the King and went away. Then Sharrkan turned to his attendants and said, “Begin ye to prepare the marriage festival and make ready food of all kinds.” So they forthright did his bidding as regards the viands, and he commanded the wives of the Emirs and Wazirs and Grandees depart not until the time of the wedding banquet and of the unveiling of the bride. Hardly came the period of afternoon prayer when the tables were spread with whatso heart can desire or eye can delight in of roast meats and geese and fowls; and the subjects ate till they were satisfied. Moreover, Sharrkan had sent for all the singing women of Damascus and they were present, together with every slave girl of the King and of the notables who knew how to sing. And they went up to the palace in one body. When the evening came and darkness starkened they lighted candles, right and left, from the gate of the citadel to that of the palace; and the Emirs and Wazirs and Grandees marched past before King Sharrkan, whilst the singers and the tire women took the damsel to dress and adorn her, but found she needed no adornment. Meantime King Sharrkan went to the Hammam and coming out, sat down on his seat of estate, whilst they paraded the bride before him in seven different dresses: after which they eased her of the weight of her raiment and ornaments and gave such injunctions as are enjoined upon virgins on their wedding nights. Then Sharrkan went in unto her and took her maidenhead;[297] and she at once conceived by him and, when she announced it, he rejoiced with exceeding joy and commanded the savants to record the date of her conception. On the morrow he went forth and seated himself on his throne, and the high officers came in to him and gave him joy. Then he called his private secretary and bade him write a letter to his father, King Omar bin al-Nu’uman, saying that he had bought him a damsel, who excels in learning and good breeding and who is mistress of all kinds of knowledge. Moreover he wrote, “There is no help but that I send her to Baghdad to visit my brother Zau al-Makan and my sister Nuzhat al-Zaman. I have set her free and married her and she hath conceived by me.” And he went on to praise her wit and salute his brother and sister together with the Wazir Dandan and all the Emirs. Then he sealed the letter and despatched it to his father by a post courier who was absent a whole month, after which time he returned with the answer and presented it in the presence. Sharrkan took it and read as follows, “After the usual Bismillah, this is from the afflicted distracted man, from him who hath lost his children and home by bane and ban, King Omar bin al- Nu’uman, to his son Sharrkan. Know that, since thy departure from me, the place is become contracted upon me, so that no longer I have power of patience nor can I keep my secret: and the cause thereof is as follows. It chanced that when I went forth to hunt and course Zau al-Makan sought my leave to fare Hijaz wards, but I, fearing for him the shifts of fortune, forbade him therefrom until the next year or the year after. My absence while sporting and hunting endured for a whole month”—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Sixty-eighth night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that King Omar bin al-Nu’uman wrote in his letter, “My absence while sporting and hunting endured for a whole month, and when I returned I found that thy brother and sister had taken somewhat of money and had set out with the pilgrim caravan for pilgrimage by stealth. When I knew this, the wide world narrowed on me, O my son! but I awaited the return of the caravan, hoping that haply they would come back with it. Accordingly, when the palmers appeared I asked concerning the twain, but they could give me no news of them; so I donned mourning for them, being heavy at heart, and in sleep I have no part and I am drowned in the tears of my eyes.” Then he wrote in verse,

“That pair in image quits me not one single hour,
Whom in my heart’s most honourable place I keep:
Sans hope of their return I would not live one hour,
Without my dreams of them I ne’er would stretch me in sleep.”

The letter went on, “And after the usual salutations to thee and thine, I command thee neglect no manner of seeking news of them for indeed this is a shame to us.” When Sharrkan read the letter he felt grief for his father and joy for the loss of his brother and sister. Then he took the missive and went in with it to Nuzhat al-Zaman who knew not that he was her brother, nor he that she was his sister, albeit he often visited her both by night and by day till the months were accomplished and she sat down on the stool of delivery. Allah made the child-birth easy to her and she bare a daughter, whereupon she sent for Sharrkan and seeing him she said to him, “This is thy daughter: name her as thou wilt.” Quoth he, “It is usual to name children on the seventh day after birth.[298]” Then he bent over the child to kiss it and he saw, hung about its neck, a jewel, which he knew at once for one of those which Princess Abrizah had brought from the land of the Greeks. Now when he saw the jewel hanging from his babe’s neck he recognised it right well, his senses fled and wrath seized on him; his eyes rolled in rage and he looked at Nuzhat al- Zaman and said to her, “Whence hadst thou this jewel, O slave girl?” When she heard this from Sharrkan she replied, “I am thy lady, and the lady of all in thy palace! Art thou not ashamed to say to me Slave girl? I am a Queen, daughter of King Omar bin al-Nu’uman.” Hearing this, he was seized with trembling and hung his head earthwards,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Sixty-ninth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Sharrkan heard these words, his heart fluttered and his colour waxed yellow and he was seized with trembling and he hung his head earthwards, for he knew that she was his sister by the same father. Then he lost his senses; and, when he revived, he abode in amazement, but did not discover his identity to her and asked, O my lady, say, art thou in sooth the daughter of King Omar bin al- Nu’uman?” “Yes,” answered she; and he continued, “Tell me the cause of thy leaving thy sire and of thy being sold for a slave.” So she related to him all that had befallen her from beginning to end, how she had left her brother sick in the Sanctified City, Jerusalem, and how the Badawi had kidnapped her and had sold her to the trader. When Sharrkan heard this, he was certified of her being his sister on the sword side and said to himself, “How can I have my sister to wife? By Allah, needs must I marry her to one of my chamberlains; and, if the thing get wind, I will declare that I divorced her before consummation and married her to my Chief Chamberlain.” Then he raised his head and sighing said, “O Nuzhat al-Zaman, thou art my very sister and I cry: ‘I take refuge with Allah from this sin whereinto we have fallen,’ for I am Sharrkan, son of Omar bin al-Nu’uman.” She looked at him and knew he spoke the truth; and, becoming as one demented, she wept and buffeted her face, exclaiming, “There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah! Verily have we fallen into mortal sin![299] What shall I do and what shall I say to my father and my mother when they ask me, Whence hadst thou thy daughter?” Quoth Sharrkan, “It were meetest that I marry thee to my Chamberlain and let thee bring up my daughter in his house, that none may know thou be my sister. This hath befallen us from Almighty Allah for a purpose of his own, and nothing shall cover us but thy marriage with this Chamberlain, ere any know.” Then he fell to comforting her and kissing her head and she asked him, “What wilt thou call the girl?” “Call her Kuzia Fakán,”[300] answered he. Then he gave the mother in marriage to the Chief Chamberlain, and transferred her to his house with the child, which they reared on the laps of the slave-girls, and fed with milk and dosed with powders. Now all this occurred whilst the brother, Zau al-Makan, still tarried with the Fireman at Damascus. One day there came to King Sharrkan a courier from his father, with a letter which he took and read and found therein, “After the Bismillah know, O beloved King, that I am afflicted with sore affliction for the loss of my children: sleep ever faileth me and wakefulness ever assaileth me. I send thee this letter that, as soon as thou receivest it, thou make ready the monies and the tribute, and send them to us, together with the damsel whom thou hast bought and taken to wife; for I long to see her and hear her discourse; more especially because there hath come to us from Roumland an old woman of saintly bearing and with her be five damsels high-bosomed virgins, endowed with knowledge and good breeding and all arts and sciences befitting mortals to know; and indeed tongue faileth me to describe this old woman and these who with her wend; for of a truth they are compendiums of perfections in learning and accomplishments. As soon as I saw them I loved them, and I wished to have them in my palace and in the compass of my hand; for none of the Kings owneth the like of them; so I asked the old woman their price and she answered, ‘I will not sell them but for the tribute of Damascus.’ And I, by Allah, did not hold this price exorbitant, indeed it is but little, for each one of them is worth the whole valuation. So I agreed to that and took them into my palace, and they remain in my possession. Wherefore do thou forward the tribute to us that the woman may return to her own country; and send to us the damsel to the end that she may dispute with them before the doctors; and, if she prevail over them, I will return her to thee accompanied by the tribute of Baghdad.”—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Seventieth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that King Omar son of Al-Nu’uman said in his letter, “And send to us the damsel to the end that she may dispute with them before the doctors and, if she prevail over them, I will return her to thee accompanied with the tribute of Baghdad.” As soon as Sharrkan knew the contents, he went in to his brother in law and said to him, “Bring the damsel to whom I married thee;” and when she came he showed her the letter and said, “O my sister! what answer wouldst thou advise me make to this letter?” Replied she, “Seek advice from thyself!” and presently added (for she yearned after her people and her native land), “Send me together with my husband the Chamberlain, to Baghdad, that I may tell my father my tale and let him know whatso befel me with the Badawi who sold me to the merchant, and that I also inform him how thou boughtest me of the trader and gavest me in marriage to the Chamberlain, after setting me free.” “Be it so,” replied Sharrkan. Then Sharrkan took his daughter, Kuzia Fakan, and committed her to the charge of the wet nurses and the eunuchs, and he made ready the tribute in haste, bidding the Chamberlain travel with the Princess and the treasure to Baghdad. He also furnished him two travelling litters one for himself and the other for his wife. And the Chamberlain replied, “To hear is to obey.” Moreover Sharrkan collected camels and mules and wrote a letter to his father and committed it to the Chamberlain; then he bade farewell to his sister, after he had taken the jewel from her and hung it round his daughter’s neck by a chain of pure gold; and she and her husband set out for Baghdad the same night. Now it so happened that Zau al-Makan and his friend the Fireman had come forth from the hut in which they were, to see the spectacle, and they beheld camels and Bukhti[301] dromedaries and bât-mules and torches and lanterns alight; and Zau al-Makan enquired about the loads and their owner and was told that it was the tribute of Damascus going to King Omar bin al-Nu’uman, Lord of the City of Baghdad. He then asked, “Who be the leader of the caravan?” and they answered, “The Head Chamberlain who hath married the damsel so famous for learning and science.” Thereupon Zau al-Makan wept with bitter weeping and was minded of his mother and his father and his sister and his native land, and he said to the Stoker, “I will join this caravan and, little by little, will journey homewards.” Quoth the Fireman, “I would not suffer thee to travel single-handed from the Holy City to Damascus, then how shall I be sure of thy safety when thou farest for Baghdad? But I will go with thee and care for thee till thou effectest thine object.” “With joy and good will,” answered Zau al-Makan. Then the Fireman get him ready for the journey and hired an ass and threw saddle bags over it and put therein something of provaunt; and, when all was prepared, he awaited the passage of the caravan. And presently the Chamberlain came by on a dromedary and his footmen about him. Then Zau al-Ma ken mounted the ass and said to his companion, “Do thou mount with me.” But he replied, “Not so: I will be thy servant.” Quoth Zau al-Makan, “There is no help for it but thou ride awhile.” “‘Tis well,” quoth the Stoker; “I will ride when I grow tired.” Then said Zau al-Makan, “O my brother, soon shalt thou see how I will deal with thee, when I come to my own folk.” So they fared on till the sun rose and,When it was the hour of the noonday sleep[302] the Chamberlain called a halt and they alighted and reposed and watered their camels. Then he gave the signal for departure and, after five days, they came to the city of Hamáh,[303] where they set down and made a three days’ halt;—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Seventy-first Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that they halted in the city of Hamah three days; they then fared forwards and ceased not travelling till they reached another city. Here also they halted three days and thence they travelled till they entered the province Diyár Bakr. Here blew on them the breezes of Baghdad, and Zau al-Makan bethought him of his father and mother and native land, and how he was returning to his sire without his sister: so he wept and sighed and complained, and his regrets grew on him, and he began improvising these couplets,

“Sweetheart! How long must I await by so long suffering teed?
Nor cometh messenger to tell me where thou dost abide:
Ah me! in very sooth our meeting time was short enow:
Would Heaven shorter prove to me the present parting-tide!
Now trend my hand and open my robe and thou within shall sight
How wasted are the limbs of me and yet the waste I hide:
When say they ‘Comfort take for loss of love’ I but reply
‘By Allah, till the Day of Doom no comfort shall betide!’ “

Thereupon said to him the Fireman, “Leave this weeping and wailing, for we are near the Chamberlain’s tent.” Quoth Zau al- Makan, “Needs must I recite somewhat of verse; haply it may quench the fire of my heart.” “Allah upon thee,” cried the other, “cease this lamentation till thou come to shine own country; then do what thou wilt, and I will be with thee wherever thou art.” Replied Zau al-Makan, “By Allah! I cannot forbear from this!” Then he turned his face towards Baghdad and the moon was shining brightly and shedding her light on the place, and Nuzhat al-Zaman could not sleep that night, but was restless and called to mind her brother and wept. And while she was in tears, he heard Zau al-Makan weeping and improvising the following distichs,

‘Al-Yaman’s[304] leven-gleam I see,
And sore despair despaireth me
For friend who erst abode wi’ me
Crowning my cup with gladdest gree:
It minds me o’ one who jilted me
To mourn my bitter liberty.
Say sooth, thou fair sheet lightning! shall
We meet once more in joy and glee?
O blamer! spare to me thy blame
My Lord hath sent this dule to dree,
Of friend who left me, fain to flee;
Of Time that breeds calamity:
All bliss hath fled the heart of me
Since Fortune proved mine enemy.
He[305] brimmed a bowl of merest pine,
And made me drain the dregs, did he:
I see me, sweetheart, dead and gone
Ere I again shall gaze on thee.
Time! prithee bring our childhood back,
Restore our happy infancy,
When joy and safety ‘joyed we
From shafts that now they shoot at me!
Who aids the hapless stranger wight,
That nights in fright and misery,
That wastes his days in lonely grief,
For ‘Time’s Delight’[306] no more must be?
Doomed us despite our will to bear
The hands of base bores cark and care.”

When he ended his verse he cried out and fell down in a fainting-fit. This is how it fared with him; but as regards Nuzhat al- Zaman, when she heard that voice in the night, her heart was at rest and she rose and in her joy she called the Chief Eunuch, who said to her, “What is thy will?” Quoth she, “Arise and bring me him who recited verses but now.” Replied he, “Of a truth I did not hear him”—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Seventy-second Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Nuzhat Al-Zaman heard her brother reciting, she called the Chief Eunuch and said to him, “Go, fetch me the man who is repeating this poetry!” Replied he, “Of a truth I heard him not and I wot him not and folks are all sleeping.” But she said, “Whomsoever thou seest awake, he is the reciter.” So he went, yet found none on wake save the Stoker; for Zau al-Makan was still insensible, and when his companion saw the Eunuch standing by his head he was afraid of him. Then said the Eunuch, “Art thou he who repeated poetry but now and my lady heard him?” The Stoker fancied that the dame was wroth with the reciter; and, being afraid, he replied, “By Allah, ‘twas not I!” Rejoined the Eunuch, “Who then was the reciter?: point him out to me. Thou must know who it was, seeing that thou art awake.” The Fireman feared for Zau al- Makan and said in himself, “Haply the Eunuch will do him some hurt”; so he answered, “By Allah, I know not who it was.” Said the Eunuch, “By Allah, thou liest, for there is none on wake here but thou! So needs must thou know him.” “By Allah,” replied the Fireman, “I tell thee the truth!: some passer by, some wayfarer must have recited the verses and disturbed me and kept me awake; Allah requite him!” Quoth the Eunuch, “If thou happen upon him, point him out to me and I will lay hands on him and bring him to the door of our lady’s litter[307] or do thou take him with thine own hand.” Said the Fireman, “Go thou back and I will bring him to thee.” So the Eunuch left him and went his ways; and, going in to his mistress, told her all this and said to her, “None knoweth who it was; it must have been some passer by, some wayfarer.” And she was silent. Meanwhile, Zau al-Makan came to himself and saw that the moon had reached the middle Heavens; the breath of the dawn breeze[308] breathed upon him and his heart was moved to longing and sadness; so he cleared his throat and was about to recite verses, when the Fire man asked him, “What wilt thou do?” Answered Zau al-Makan, “I have a mind to repeat somewhat of poetry, that I may quench therewith the fire of my heart.” Quoth the other, “Thou knowest not what befel me whilst thou wast a faint, and how I escaped death only by beguiling the Eunuch.” “Tell me what happened,” quoth Zau al-Makan. Replied the Stoker, “Whilst thou wast aswoon there came up to me but now an Eunuch, with a long staff of almond tree wood in his hand, who took to looking in all the people’s faces, as they lay asleep, and asked me who it was recited the verses, finding none awake but myself. I told him in reply it was some passerby, some wayfarer; so he went away and Allah delivered me from him; else had he killed me. But first he said to me, ‘If thou hear him again, bring him to us.’” When Zau al-Makan heard this he wept and said, “Who is it would forbid me to recite? I will surely recite, befal me what may; for I am near mine own land and care for none.” Rejoined the Fireman, “Thy design is naught save to lose thy life;” and Zau al-Makan retorted, “Needs must I recite verses.” “Verily,” said the Stoker, “needs must there be a parting between me and thee in this place, albeit;I had intended not to leave thee, till I had brought thee to thy native city and reunited thee with thy mother and father. Thou hast now tarried with me a year and a half and I have never harmed thee in aught. What ails thee, then, that thou must needs recite verses, seeing that we are tired out with walking and watching and all the folk are asleep, for they require sleep to rest them of their fatigue?” But Zau al-Makan answered, “I will not be turned away from my purpose.”[309] Then grief moved him and he threw off concealment and began repeating these couplets,

“Stand thou by the homes and hail the lords of the ruined stead;
Cry thou for an answer, belike reply to thee shall be sped:
If the night and absence irk thy spirit kindle a torch
Wi’ repine; and illuminate the gloom with a gleaming greed:
If the snake of the sand dunes hiss, I shall marvel not at all!
Let him bite so I bite those beauteous lips of the luscious red:
O Eden, my soul hath fled in despite of the maid I love:
Had I lost hope of Heaven my heart in despair were dead.”

And he also improvised the two following distichs,

“We were and were the days enthralled to all our wills,
Dwelling in union sweet and homed in fairest site:
Who shall restore the home of the beloved, where showed
Light of the Place for aye conjoined with Time’s Delight?’’[310]

And as he ceased his verses, he shrieked three shrieks and fell senseless to the ground and the Fireman rose and covered him. When Nuzhat al-Zaman heard the first improvisation, she called to mind her father and her mother and her brother and their whilome home; then she wept and cried at the Eunuch and said to him, “Woe to thee! He who recited the first time hath recited a second time and I heard him hard by. By Allah, an thou fetch him not to me, I will assuredly rouse the Chamberlain on thee, and he shall beat thee and cast thee out. But take these hundred dinars and give them to the singer and bring him to me gently, and do him no hurt. If he refuse, hand to him this purse of a thousand dinars, then leave him and return to me and tell me, after thou hast informed thyself of his place and his calling and what countryman he is. Return quickly and linger not.”—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Seventy-third Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Nuzhat al- Zaman sent the Eunuch to make enquiries concerning the singer and said, “Beware how thou come back to me and report, I could not find him.” So the Eunuch went out and laid about the people and trod in their tents, but found none awake, all being asleep for weariness, till he came to the Stoker and saw him sitting up, with his head uncovered. So he drew near and seizing him by the hand, said to him, “It was thou didst recite the verses!” The Fireman was afeard for his life and replied, “No, by Allah, O chief of the people, it was not I!” But the Eunuch said, “I will not leave thee till thou show me who it was that recited the verses, for I dread returning to my lady without him.” Now when the Fireman heard these words he feared for Zau al-Makan and wept with exceeding weeping and said to the Eunuch, “By Allah, it was not I, and I know him not. I only heard some passer by, some wayfarer, recite verses: so do not thou commit sin on me, for I am a stranger and come from the Holy City of Jerusalem; and Abraham, the friend of Allah, be with you all.” “Rise up and fare with me,” rejoined the Eunuch, “and tell my lady this with thine own mouth, for I have seen none awake save thyself.” Quoth the Stoker, “Hast thou not come and seen me sitting in the place where I now am, and dost thou not know my station? Thou wottest none can stir from his place, except the watchman seize him. So go thou to thy station and if thou again meet any one after this hour reciting aught of poetry, whether he be near or far, it will be I or some one I know, and thou shalt not learn of him but by me.” Then he kissed the Eunuch’s head and spake him fair till he went away; but the Castrato fetched a round and, returning secretly, came and stood behind the Fireman, fearing to go back to his mistress without tidings. As soon as he was gone, the Stoker arose and aroused Zau al-Makan and said to him, “Come, sit up, that I may tell thee what hath happened.” So Zau al-Makan sat up, and his companion told him what had passed, and he answered, “Let me alone; I will take no heed of this and I care for none, for I am mine own country.”[311] Quoth the Stoker, “Why wilt thou obey thy flesh and the devil? If thou fear no one, I fear for thee and for my life, so Allah upon thee! recite nothing more of verses till thou come to thine own land. Indeed, I had not deemed thee so ill conditioned. Dost thou not know that this lady is the wife; of the Chamberlain and is minded to chastise thee for disturbing her? Belike, she is ill or restless for fatigue of the journey and the distance of the place from her home, and this is the second time she hath sent the Eunuch to look for thee.” However Zau al-Makan paid no heed to the Fireman’s words but cried out a third time and began versifying with these couplets,

“I fly the carper’s injury,
Whose carping sorely vexeth me:
He chides and taunts me, wotting not
He burns me but more grievously.
The blamer cries ‘He is consoled!’
I say, ‘My own dear land[312] to see:’
They ask, ‘Why be that land so dear?’
I say, ‘It taught me in love to be:’
They ask, ‘What raised its dignity?’
I say, ‘What made my ignomy:’
Whate’er the bitter cup I drain,
Far be fro’ me that land to flee:
Nor will I bow to those who blame,
And for such love would deal me shame.

Hardly had he made an end of his verses and come to a conclusion, when the Eunuch (who had heard him from his hiding place at his head) came up to him; whereupon the Fireman flea end stood afar off to see what passed between them. Then said the Eunuch to Zau al-Makan, “Peace be with thee, O my lord!” “And on thee be peace,” replied Zau al-Makan, “and the mercy of Allah and His blessings!” “O my lord,” continued the Eunuch—-And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say,

When it was the Seventy-fourth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Eunuch said to Zau al-Makan, “O my lord, I have sought thee these several times this night, for my mistress biddeth thee to her.” Quoth Zau al- Makan, “And who be this bitch that seeketh for me? Allah curse her and curse her husband with her!”[313] And he began to revile the Eunuch, who could make him no answer, because his mistress had charged him to do Zau al-Makan no hurt, nor bring him save of his own especial free will; and, if he would not accompany him, to give him the thousand dinars. So the Castrato began to speak him fair and say to him, “O my lord, take this purse and go with me. We will do thee no upright, O my son, nor wrong thee in aught; but our object is that thou bend thy gracious steps with me to my mistress, to receive her answer and return in weal and safety: and thou shalt have a handsome present as one who bringeth good news.” When Zau al- Makan heard this, he arose and went with the Eunuch and walked among the sleeping folk, stepping over them; whilst the Fireman followed after them from afar, and kept his eye upon him and said to himself, “Alas the pity of his youth! To-morrow they will hang him.” And he ceased not following them till he approached their station,[314] without any observing him. Then he stood still and said, “How base it will be of him, if he say it was I who bade him recite the verses!” This was the case of the Stoker; but as regards what befel Zau al-Makan, he ceased not walking with the Eunuch till he reached his station and the Castrato went in to Nuzhat al-Zaman and said, “O my lady, I have brought thee him whom thou soughtest, and he is a youth, fair of face and bearing the marks of wealth and gentle breeding.” When she heard this, her heart fluttered and she cried, “Let him recite some verses, that I may hear him near hand, and after ask him his name and his condition and his native land.” Then the Eunuch went out to Zau al-Makan and said to him, “Recite what verses thou knowest, for my lady is here hard by, listening to thee, and after I will ask thee of thy name and thy native country and thy condition.” Replied he, “With love and gladness but, an thou ask my name, it is erased and my trace is unplaced and my body a waste. I have a story, the beginning of which is not known nor can the end of it be shown, and behold, I am even as one who hath exceeded in wine drinking and who hath not spared himself; one who is afflicted with distempers and who wandereth from his right mind, being perplexed about his case and drowned in the sea of thought.” When Nuzhat al-Zaman heard this, she broke out into excessive weeping and sobbing, and said to the Eunuch, “Ask him if he have parted from one he loveth even as his mother or father.” The Castrato asked as she bade him, and Zau al-Makan replied, “Yes, I have parted from every one I loved: but the dearest of all to me was my sister, from whom Fate hath separated me.” When Nuzhat al- Zaman heard this, she exclaimed, “Allah Almighty reunite him with what he loveth!”—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Seventy-fifth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Nuzhat al-Zaman heard his words she said, “Allah reunite him with what he loveth!” Then quoth she to the Eunuch, “Tell him to let me hear somewhat anent his separation from his countrymen and his country.” The Eunuch did so, and Zau al-Makan sighed heavily and began repeating these couplets,[315]

“Is not her love a pledge by all mankind confest?
The house that hometh Hinda be forever blest’
Her love all levels; man can reck of naught beside;
Naught or before or after can for man have zest
‘Tis though the vale is paved with musk and ambergris
That day when Hinda’s footstep on its face is prest:
Hail to the beauty of our camp, the pride of folk,
The dearling who en’ Slaves all hearts by her behest:
Allah on ‘Time’s Delight’ send large dropped clouds that teem
With genial rain but bear no thunder in their breast.”

And also these,

“I vow to Allah if at home I sight
My sister Nuzhat al-Zamani hight
I’ll pass the days in joyance and delight
Mid bashful minions, maidens soft and white:
To sound of harps in various modes they smite
Draining the bowl, while eyes rain lively light
‘Neath half closed lids, a sipping lips red bright
By stream bank flowing through my garden site.”

When he had finished his verse, Nuzhat al-Zaman lifted up a skirt of the litter curtain and looked at him. As soon as her eyes fell on his face, she knew him for certain and cried out, “O my brother! O Zau al-Makan!” He also looked at her and knew her and cried out, “O my sister! O Nuzhat al-Zaman!” Then she threw herself upon him and he gathered her to his bosom and the twain fell down in a fainting-fit. When the Eunuch saw this case, he wondered at them and throwing over them somewhat to cover them, waited till they should recover. After a while they came to themselves, and Nuzhat al-Zaman rejoiced with exceeding joy: oppression and depression left her and gladness took the mastery of her, and she repeated these verses,

“Time sware my life should fare in woeful waste;
Forsworn art Time, expiate thy sin in haste![316]
Comes weal and comes a welcome friend to aid;
To him who brings good news, rise, gird thy waist
I spurned old world tales of Eden bliss;
Till came I Kausar[317] on those lips

When Zau al-Makan heard this, he pressed his sister to his breast; tears streamed from his eyes for excess of joy and he repeated these couplets,[318]

“Long I lamented that we fell apart,
While tears repentant railed from these eyne;
And sware, if Time unite us twain once more,
‘Severance’ shall never sound from tongue of mine:
Joy hath so overwhelmed me that excess
Of pleasure from mine eyes draws gouts of brine:
Tears, O mine eyes, have now become your wont
Ye weep for pleasure and you weep for pine!”

They sat awhile at the litter door till she said to him, “Come with me into the litter and tell me all that hath befallen thee, and I will tell thee what happened to me.” So they entered and Zau al-Maken said, “Do thou begin thy tale.” Accordingly she told him all that had come to her since their separation at the Khan and what had happened to her with the Badawi; how the merchant had bought her of him and had taken her to her brother Sharrkan and had sold her to him; how he had freed her at the time of buying; how he had made a marriage contract with her and had gone in to her and how the King, their sire, had sent and asked for her from Sharrkan. Then quoth she, “Praised be Allah who hath vouchsafed thee to me and ordained that, even as we left our father together, so together shall we return to him!” And she added, “Of a truth my brother Sharrkan gave me in marriage to this Chamberlain that he might carry me to my father. And this is what befel me from first to last; so now tell me how it hath fared with thee since I left thee.” Thereupon he told her all that had happened to him from beginning to end; and how Allah vouchsafed to send the Fireman to him, and how he had journeyed with him and spent his money on him and had served him night and day. She praised the Stoker for this and Zau al-Makan added, “Of a truth, O my sister, this Fireman hath dealt with me in such benevolent wise as would not lover with lass nor sire with son, for that he fasted and gave me to eat, and he walked whilst he made me ride; and I owe my life to him.” Said she, “Allah willing, we will requite him for all this, according to our power.” Then she called the Eunuch, who came and kissed Zau al- Makan’s hand, and she said, “Take thy reward for glad tidings, O face of good omen! It was thy hand reunited me with my brother; so the purse I gave thee and all in it are thine. But now go to thy master and bring him quickly to me.” The Castrato rejoiced and, going in to the Chamberlain, him to his mistress. Accordingly, he came in to his wife and finding Zau al-Makan with her, asked who he was. So she told him all that had befallen them both, first and last, and added, “Know, O Chamberlain, that thou hast married no slave girl; far from it, thou hast taken to wife the daughter of King Omar bin al-Nu’uman for I am Nuzhat al- Zaman, and this is my brother, Zau al-Makan.” When the Chamberlain heard the story he knew it to be sooth, and its manifest truth appeared to him and he was certified that he was become King Omar bin al-Nu’uman’s son in law, so he said to himself, “ ‘Twill be my fate to be made viceroy of some province.”[319] Then he went up to Zau al-Makan and gave him joy of his safety and reunion with his sister, and bade his servants forthwith make him ready a tent and one of the best of his own horses to ride. Thereupon said Nuzhat al-Zaman, “We are now near our country and I would be left alone with my brother, that we may enjoy each other’s company and take our fill of it ere we reach Baghdad; for we have been parted a long, long time.” “Be it as thou biddest,” replied the Chamberlain, and, going forth from them, sent them wax candles and various kinds of sweetmeats, together with three suits of the costliest for Zau al-Makan. Then he returned to the litter and related the good he had done and Nuzhat al-Zaman said to him, “Bid the Eunuch bring me the Fireman and give him a horse to ride and ration him with a tray of food morning and evening, and let him be forbidden to leave us.” The Chamberlain called the Castrato and charged him to do accordingly; so he replied, “I hear and I obey;” and he took his pages with him and went out in search of the Stoker till he found him in the rear of the caravan, girthing his ass and preparing for flight. The tears were running adown his cheeks, out of fear for his life and grief for his separation from Zau al-Makan; and he was saying to himself, “Indeed, I warned him for the love of Allah, but he would not listen to me; Oh would I knew what is become of him!” Ere he had done speaking the Eunuch was standing by his head whilst the pages surrounded him The Fireman turned and seeing the Eunuch and the pages gathered around him became yellow with fear,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Seventy-sixth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the Stoker girthed his ass for flight and bespake himself, saying, “Oh would I knew what is become of him!”; ere he had done speaking the Castrato was standing by his head and his side muscles quivered for fear and he lifted up his voice and cried, “Verily he knoweth not the value of the good offices I have done him! I believe he hath denounced me to the Eunuch (hence these pages et about me) and he hath made me an accomplice in his crime.” Then the effeminated one cried at him, saying, “Who was it recited the verses? O liar! why didst thou say, ‘I never repeated these couplets, nor do I know who repeated them;’ when it was thy companion? But now I will not leave thee between this place and Baghdad, and what betideth thy comrade shall betide thee.” Quoth the Fireman, “What I feared hath befallen me.” And he repeated this couplet,

“‘Twas as I feared the coming ills discerning:
But unto Allah we are all returning.”

Then the Eunuch cried upon the pages, saying, “Take him off the ass.” So they carried him along with the caravan, surrounded by the pages, as the white contains the black of the eye; and the Castrato said to them, “If a hair of him be lost, you will be lost with it.” And he bade them privily treat him with honour and not humiliate him. But when the Stoker saw himself beset by the pages, he despaired of his life and turning to the Eunuch, said to him, “O Chief, I am neither this youth’s brother nor am I akin to him, nor is he sib to me; but I was a Fireman in a Hammam and found him cast out, in his sickness, on the dung heap.” Then the caravan fared on and the Stoker wept and imagined in himself a thousand things, whilst the Eunuch walked by his side and told him nothing, but said to him, “Thou disturbedst our mistress by reciting verses, thou and this youth: but fear nothing for thy self;” and kept laughing at him the while to himself. Whenever the caravan halted, they served him with food, and he and the Castrato ate from one dish.[320] Then the Eunuch bade his lads bring a gugglet of sugared sherbet and, after drinking himself, gave it to the Fireman, who drank; but all the while his tears never dried, out of fear for his life and grief for his separation from Zau al-Makan and for what had befallen them in their strangerhood. So they both travelled on with the caravan, whilst the Chamberlain now rode by the door of his wife’s litter, in attendance on Zau al-Makan and his sister, and now gave an eye to the Fireman; and Nuzhat al-Zaman and her brother occupied themselves with converse and mutual condolence; and they ceased not after this fashion till they came within three days’ journey from Baghdad. Here they alighted at eventide and rested till the morning morrowed; and as they awoke and they were about to load the beasts, behold, there appeared afar off a great cloud of dust that darkened the firmament till it became black as gloomiest night.[321] Thereupon the Chamberlain cried out to them, “Stay, and your loading delay!”; then, mounting with his Mamelukes, rode forward in the direction of the dust cloud. When they drew near, suddenly appeared under it a numerous conquering host like the full tide sea, with flags and standards, drums and kettledrums, horsemen and footmen. The Chamberlain marvelled at this; and when the troops saw him, there detached itself from amongst them a plump of five hundred cavaliers, who fell upon him and his suite and surrounded them, five for one; whereupon said he to them, “What is the matter and what are these troops, that ye do this with us?” Asked they, “Who art thou; and whence comest thou, and whither art thou bound?” and he answered, “I am the Chamberlain of the Emir of Damascus, King Sharrkan, son of Omar bin al-Nu’uman, Lord of Baghdad and of the land of Khorasan, and I bring tribute and presents from him to his father in Baghdad.” When the horsemen heard his words they let their head-kerchiefs fall over their faces and wept, saying, “In very sooth King Omar is dead and he died not but of poison. So fare ye forwards; no harm shall befal you till you join his Grand Wazir, Dandan.” Now when the Chamberlain heard this, he wept sore and exclaimed, “Oh for our disappointment in this our journey!” Then he and all his suite wept till they had come up with the host and sought access to the Wazir Dandan, who granted an interview and called a halt and, causing his pavilion to be pitched, sat down on a couch therein and commanded to admit the Chamberlain. Then he bade him be seated and questioned him; and he replied that he was Chamberlain to the Emir of Damascus and was bound to King Omar with presents and the tribute of Syria. The Wazir, hearing the mention of King Omar’s name, wept and said, “King Omar is dead by poison, and upon his dying the folk fell out amongst themselves as to who should succeed him, until they were like to slay one another on this account; but the notables and grandees and the four Kazis interposed and all the people agreed to refer the matter to the decision of the four judges and that none should gainsay them. So it was agreed that we go to Damascus and fetch thence the King’s son, Sharrkan, and make him Sultan over his father’s realm. And amongst them were some who would have chosen the cadet, Zau Al-Makan, for, quoth they, his name be Light of the Place, and he hath a sister Nuzhat al-Zaman hight, the Delight of the Time; but they set out five years ago for Al-Hijaz and none wotteth what is become of them.” When the Chamberlain heard this, he knew; that his wife had told him the truth of her adventures; and he grieved with sore grief for the death of King Omar, albeit he joyed with exceeding joy, especially at the arrival of Zau al-Makan, for that he would now become Sultan of Baghdad in his father’s stead—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Seventy-seventh Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Sharrkan’s Chamberlain heard of the death of King Omar bin al- Nu’uman he mourned, but he rejoiced because of his wife and her brother Zau al-Makan who would become Sultan of Baghdad in his father’s stead. So he turned to the Wazir Dandan and said to him, “Verily your tale is a wonder of wonders! Know, O Chief Wazir, that here, where you have encountered me, Allah hath given you rest from fatigue and bringeth you your desire after the easiest of fashions, for that His Almighty Will restoreth to you Zau al-Makan and his sister Nuzhat al-Zaman; whereby we will settle the matter as we easily can.” When the Minister heard these words he rejoiced with great joy and said, “O Chamberlain, tell me the tale of the twain and what befel them and the cause of their long absence.” So he repeated to him the whole story and told him that Nuzhat al-Zaman was his wife and related to him the adventures of Zau al-Makan from first to last. As soon as he had ended his tale, the Wazir sent for the Emirs and Wazirs and Chief Officers and acquainted them with the matter; whereat they rejoiced with great joy and wondered at the happy chance. Then they gathered in a body and went in to the Chamberlain and did their service to him, kissing the ground between his hands; and the Wazir Dandan also rose and went out to meet him and stood before him in honour. After this, the Chamberlain held on that day a Divan council; and he and the Wazir sat upon a throne, whilst all the Emirs and Grandees and Officers of State took their places before them, according to their several ranks.[322] Then they melted sugar in rose-water and drank, after which the Emirs sat down to hold council and permitted the rest of the host to mount and ride forward leisurely, till they should make an end of their debate and overtake them. So the officers kissed the ground between their hands and mounting, rode onwards, preceded by the standards of war. When the grandees had finished their conference, they took horse and rejoined the host; and the Chamberlain approached the Wazir Dandan and said, “I deem it well to ride on before you, and precede you, that I may get ready a place for the Sultan and notify him of your coming and of your choosing him as Sultan over the head of his brother Sharrkan.” “Aright thou reckest,” answered the Wazir Then the Chamberlain rose up in haste and Dandan also stood up to do him honour and brought him presents, which he conjured him to accept. In similar guise did all the Emirs and Grandees and Officers of State, bringing him gifts and calling down blessings on him and saying to him, “Haply thou wilt mention our case to Sultan Zau al-Makan and speak to him to continue us in our dignities.”[323] The Chamberlain promised all they required and bade his pages be ready to march, whereupon the Wazir Dandan sent with him tents and bade the tent pitchers set them up at a day’s journey from the city. And they did his bidding. Then the Chamberlain mounted and rode forward, full of joy and saying to himself, “How blessed is this gurney!”, and indeed his wife was exalted in his eyes, she and her brother Zau al-Makan. They made all haste over their wayfare, till they reached a place distant a day’s journey from Baghdad, where the Chamberlain called a halt for rest, and bade his men alight and make ready a sitting place for the Sultan Zau al-Makan, son of King Omar bin al-Nu’uman, while he rode forward with his Mamelukes and, alighting at a distance from Nuzhat al-Zaman’s litter, commanded the eunuchs to ask leave of admission to the presence. They did so and she gave permission; whereupon he went in to her and conversed with her and her brother; and told them of the death of their father; and of Zau al-Makan, how the heads of the people had made him King over them in the stead of his sire; and he gave them joy of the kingdom. They both wept for their father and asked the manner of his being killed; but the Chamberlain answered, “The news rests with the Wazir Dandan who will be here To-morrow leading all the host; and it only remaineth for thee, O King, to do what they counsel, since they have unanimously chosen thee Sultan; for if thou do not this, they will choose some one else and thou canst not be sure of thy life with another Sultan. Haply he will kill thee, or discord may befal between you twain and the kingdom pass out of the hands of both.” Zau al-Makan bowed his head awhile and then said, “I accept this position;” for indeed there was no refusing; and he was certified that the Chamberlain had counselled him well and wisely and set him on the right way. Then he added, “O my uncle, how shall I do with my brother Sharrkan?” “O my son,” replied the Chamberlain, “thy brother will be Sultan of Damascus and thou Sultan of Baghdad; so take heart of grace and get ready thy case.” Zau al-Makan accepted this and the Chamberlain presented him with a suit of royal raiment and a dagger[324] of state, which the Wazir Dandan had brought with him; then leaving him he bade the tent pitchers choose a spot of rising ground and set up thereon a spacious pavilion, wherein the Sultan might sit to receive the Emirs and Grandees. Moreover he ordered the kitcheners to cook rich viands and serve them and he commanded the water carriers to dispose the water troughs. They did as he bade them and presently arose a cloud of dust from the ground and spread till it walled the horizon round. After awhile, the dust dispersed and there appeared under it the army of Baghdad and Khorasan, a conquering host like the full tide sea.—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Seventy-eighth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the Chamberlain bade the tent pitchers set up a pavilion spacious enough to receive the subjects flocking to their Sultan, they planted a splendid Sháhmiyánah[325] befitting Kings. And as they ended their labours behold, a dust cloud spired aloft and the breeze made it lift and beneath it showed a conquering host; and presently it appeared that this was the army of Baghdad and Khorasan preceded by the Wazir Dandan. And in it all rejoiced at the accession of the “Light of the Place.” Now Zau al-Makan had donned robes of royal estate and girt himself with the sword of state: so the Chamberlain brought him a steed and he mounted surrounded by the Mamelukes and all the company from the tents on foot, to do him service, and he rode on until he came to the great pavilion, where he sat down and he laid the royal dagger across his thighs, whilst the Chamberlain stood in attendance on him and his armed slaves stationed themselves under the entrance awning of the Shahmiyanah, with drawn swords in their hands. Presently, up came the troops and the host and craved admission so the Chamberlain went in to Zau al-Makan and asked his leave whereupon he bade admit them, ten by ten. The Chamberlain acquainted them with the King’s commands, to which they replied, “We hear and we obey;” and all drew up before the pavilion entrance. Then he took ten of them and carried them through the vestibule into the presence of Sultan Zau al-Makan, whom when they saw, they were awed; but he received them with most gracious kindness and promised them all good. So they gave him joy of his safe return and invoked Allah’s blessings upon him after which they took the oath of fealty never to gainsay him in aught and they kissed ground before him and withdrew. Then other ten entered and he entreated them as he had entreated the ethers; and they ceased not to enter, ten by ten, till none was left but the Wazir Dandan. Lastly the Minister went in and kissed the ground before Zau al-Makan, who rose to meet him, saying, “Welcome, O Wazir and sire sans peer! Verily, thine acts are those of a counsellor right dear, and judgement and foreseeing clear are in the hands of the Subtle of Lere.” Then bade he the Chamberlain forthwith go out and cause the tables to be spread and order all the troops thereto. So they came and ate and drank. Moreover the Sultan commanded his Wazir Dandan call a ten days’ halt of the army, that he might be private with him and learn from him how and wherefore his father had been slain. The Wazir obeyed the commands of the Sultan with submission and wished him eternity of glory and said, “This needs must be!” He then repaired to the heart of the encampment and ordered the host to halt ten days. They did as he bade them and, moreover, he gave them leave to divert themselves and ordered that none of the lords in waiting should attend upon the King for service during the space of three days. Then the Wazir went to the Sultan and reported all to him, and Zau al-Makan waited until nightfall, when he went in to his sister Nuzhat al-Zaman and asked her, “Dost thou know the cause of my father’s murder or not?” “I have no knowledge of the cause,” she answered, and drew a silken curtain before herself, whilst Zau al-Makan seated himself without the curtain and commanded the Wazir to the presence and, when he came, said to him, “I desire thou relate to me in detail the cause of the killing of my sire, King Omar bin al-Nu’uman!” “Know then, O King,” replied Dandan, “that King Omar bin al- Nu’uman, when he returned to Baghdad from his chasing and hunting and entered the city, enquired for thee and thy sister, but could not find you and knew that you twain had gone on the Pilgrimage; whereat he was greatly grieved and much angered, and his breast was straitened and he abode thus half a year, seeking news of you from all who came and went but none could give him any tidings. Now while we were in attendance upon him one day, after a whole year had sped since ye were lost to his sight, lo! there came to us an ancient dame with signs of being a devotee, accompanied by five damsels, high-bosomed virgins like moons, endowed with such beauty and loveliness as tongue faileth to describe; and, to crown their perfections of comeliness, they could read the Koran and were versed in various kinds of learning and in the histories of bygone peoples. Then that old woman sought audience of the King, and he bade admit her; whereupon she entered the presence and kissed the ground between his hands. I was then sitting by his side and he, seeing in her the signs of asceticism and devoutness, made her draw near and take seat hard by him. And when she had sat down she addressed him and said, ‘Know, O King, that with me are five damsels, whose like no King among the Kings possesseth; for they are endowed with wit and beauty and loveliness and perfection. They read the Koran—and the Traditions and are skilled in all manner of learning and in the history of bygone races. They stand here between thy hands to do thee service, O King of the Age, and it is by trial that folk are prized or despised. ‘Thy father, who hath found mercy;[326] looked at the damsels and their favour pleased him; so he said to them, Let each and every of you make me hear something of what she knoweth anent the history of the folk of yore and of peoples long gone before!’—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Seventy-ninth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Wazir Dandan said unto King Zau al-Makan, “Thy father, who hath found mercy, glanced at the damsels and their favour pleased him and he said to them, ‘Let each and every of you make me hear something of what she knoweth anent the history of the folk of yore and of peoples long gone before!’ Thereupon one of them came forward and, kissing the ground before him, spake as follows[327] ‘Know, O King, that it behoveth one of good breeding to eschew impertinence and adorn himself with excellencies, and observe the Divine injunctions and avoid mortal sins; and to this he should apply himself with the assiduity of one who, if he stray therefrom, falleth into perdition; for the foundation of good breeding is virtuous behaviour. And know that the chief cause and reason of man’s existence is the endeavour after life everlasting, and the right way thereto is the service of Allah. Wherefore it behoveth thee to deal beneficently with the people: and swerve not from this canon, for the mightier men are in dignity, the more their need of prudence and foresight; and indeed Monarchs need this more than the many, for the general cast themselves into affairs, without taking thought to the issue thereof. Be thou prodigal of thy life and thy good in the way of Allah, and know that, if an enemy dispute with thee, thou mayst dispute with him and refute him with proofs and be proof against him; but as for thy friend, there is none can judge between thee and him save righteousness and fair dealing. Choose, therefore, thy friend for thyself, after thou hast proved him. If he be of the brotherhood of futurity,[328] let him be zealous in observing the externals of the Holy Law and versed in its inner meaning, as far as may be; and if he be of the brotherhood of the world, let him be free-born, sincere, neither a fool nor a perverse, for the fool man is such that even his parents might well flee from him, and a liar cannot be a true friend. Indeed the word, Siddík[329] (‘friend’) deriveth from Sidk (‘truth’) that welleth up from the bottom of the heart; and how can this be the case, when falsehood is manifest upon the tongue? And know, that the observance of the Law profiteth him who practiseth it: so love thy brother, if he be of this quality and do not cast him off, even if thou see in him that which irketh thee, for a friend is not I like a wife, whom one can divorce and re-marry: nay, his heart is like glass: once broken, it may not be mended. And Allah bless him who saith,

‘Ware how thou hurtest man with hurt of heart;
‘Tis hard to win thee back the heart offended:
For hearts indeed, whence love is alien made,
Like broken glass may nevermore be mended.’

The maiden continued and concluded with pointing out to us what sages say, ‘The best of brethren is he who is the most constant in good counsel; the best of action is that which is fairest in its consequence, and the best of praise is not that which is in the mouths of men. It is also said, ‘It behoveth not the servant to neglect thanking Allah especially for two favours, health and reason.’ Again it is said, ‘Whoso honoureth himself, his lust is a light matter to him, and he who maketh much of his small troubles, Allah afflicteth him with the greater; he who obeyeth his own inclination neglecteth his duties and he who listeneth to the slanderer loseth the true friend. He who thinketh well of thee, do thou fulfill his thought of thee. He who exceedeth in contention sinneth, and he who against upright standeth not on ward, is not safe from the sword. Now will I tell thee somewhat of the duties of Kazis and judges. Know, O King, that no judgement serveth the cause of justice save it be given after proof positive, and it behoveth the judge to treat all people on the same level, to the intent that the great may not hunger for oppression nor the small despair of justice. Furthermore he should extract proof from the complainant and impose an oath upon the defendant; and mediation is admissible between Moslems, except it be a compromise sanctioning the unlawful or forbidding the lawful.[330] If thou shalt have done aught during the day, of which thy reason is doubtful but thy good intention is proved, thou (O Kazi) shouldst revert to the right, for to do justice is a religious obligation and to return to that which is right is better than persistence in wrong. Then (O judge) thou shouldest study precedents and the law of the case and do equal justice between the suitors, withal fixing thine eyes upon the truth and committing thine affair to Allah (be He extolled and exalted!). And require thou proof of the complainant, and if he adduce evidence let him have due benefit of it; and if not, put the defendant to his oath; for this is the ordinance of Allah. Receive thou the testimony of competent Moslem witnesses, one against other, for Almighty Allah hath commanded judges to judge by externals, He Himself taking charge of the inner and secret things. It behoveth the judge also to avoid giving judge meet, whilst suffering from stress of pain or hunger,[331] and that in his decisions between folk he seek the face of Allah Almighty for he whose intent is pure and who is at peace with himself, Allah shall guarantee him against what is between him and the people.’ Quoth al-Zuhri,[332] ‘There are three things for which, if they be found in a Kazi, he should be deposed; namely, if he honour the base, if he love praise and if he fear dismissal. And Omar bin Abd al-Aziz once deposed a Kazi, who asked him, ‘Why hast thou dismissed me? It hath reached me,’ answered Omar, ‘that thy converse is greater than thy condition.’ It is said also that Iskandar[333] said to his Kazi, ‘I have invested thee with this function and committed to thee in it my soul and mine honour and my manliness; so do thou guard it with thy sense and thine understanding.’ To his Cook he said, ‘Thou art the Sultan of my body; so look thou tender it as thine own self.’ To his Secretary he said, ‘Thou art the controller of my wit: so do thou watch over me in what thou writest for me and from me.’” Thereupon the first damsel backed out from the presence and a second damsel came forward.—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Eightieth Night,

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Wazir Dandan said to Zau al-Makan, “Thereupon the first damsel backed out from the presence and a second damsel came forward and, kissing the ground seven times before the King thy father, spake as follows, ‘The sage Lukmán[334] said to his son, ‘There be three who are known only in three several cases; the merciful man is unknown save in time of wrath, the brave only in battle, and thy friend in time of need.’ It is said that the oppressor shall be depress though by people praised, and that the oppress is at rest though by people blamed. Quoth Allah Almighty,[335] ‘Assuredly deem not that those who rejoice in what they have done, and who love to be praised for what they have not done, shall escape reckoning of punishment: indeed there is reserved for them a grievous penalty.’ And he said[336] (on whom be salvation and salutation!), ‘Works are according to intention and to each man is attributed that which he intendeth.’ He said also, ‘In the body is a part which being sound the rest is sound, and which being unsound the whole is unsound.’ And this is the heart. Now this heart is the most marvellous of what is in man, since it is that which ordereth his whole affair: If covetise stir in it, desire destroyeth him, and if affliction master it, anguish slayeth him; if anger rage in it, danger is hard upon him; if it be blest with contentment, he is safe from discontent; if fear surprise it, he is full of mourning; and if calamity overtake it, affliction betideth him. If a man gain the use of wealth, peradventure he is diverted thereby from the remembrance of his Lord; if poverty choke him his heart is distracted by woe, or if disquietude waste his heart, weakness causeth him to fall. Thus, in any case, nothing profiteth him but that he be mindful of Allah and occupy himself with gaining his livelihood in this world and securing his place in the next. It was asked of a certain sage, ‘Who is the most ill conditioned of men?’; and he answered, ‘The man whose lusts master his manhood and whose mind soareth over high, so that his knowledge dispreadeth and his excuse diminisheth; and how excellently saith the poet,

Freest am I of all mankind fro’ meddling wight
Who, seeing others err, self error ne’er can sight:
Riches and talents are but loans to creature lent,
Each wears the cloak of that he bears in breast and sprite:
If by mistaken door attempt on aught thou make,
Thou shalt go wrong and if the door be right, go right!’

Continued the maiden, ‘As for anecdotes of devotees, quoth Hisham bin Bashar, ‘I asked Omar bin Ubayd, What is true piety?’; and he answered, ‘The Apostle of Allah (to whom be salutation and salvation!) hath explained it when he sayeth, The pious is he who forgetteth not the grave nor calamity and who preferreth that which endureth to that which passeth away; who counteth not the morrow as of his days but reckoneth himself among the dead.’ And it is related that Abu Zarr[337] used to say, Want is dearer to me than wealth, and unheal is dearer to me than health.’ Quoth one of the listeners, ‘May Allah have mercy on Abu Zarr!’. For my part, I say, ‘Whoso putteth his trust in the goodness of the election of Almighty Allah should be content with that condition which Allah hath chosen for him.’ Quoth one of the Companions of the Prophet, ‘Ibn Abi Aufa[338] once prayed with us the dawn-prayer. When he had done, he recited, ‘O Thou Enwrapped!’[339] till he came to where Allah saith, ‘When there shall be a trumping on the trumpet,’ and fell down dead. It is said that Sabit al-Banani wept till he well-nigh lost his eyes. They brought him a man to medicine him who said to him, ‘I will cure thee, provided thou obey my bidding’ Asked Sabit, ‘In what matter?’ Quoth the leach, ‘In that thou leave weeping!’ ‘What is the worth of mine eyes?’, rejoined Sabit, ‘if they do not weep?’ Quoth a man to Mohammed bin Abdillah, ‘Exhort thou me!’”—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Eighty-first Night,

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Wazir Dandan said to Zau al-Makan, “Thus spake the second handmaid to the King who hath found mercy, Omar bin al-Nu’uman. ‘Quoth a man to Mohammed bin Abdillah, Exhort thou me!’ ‘I exhort thee,’ replied he, ‘to be a self ruler, an abstainer in this world, and in the next a greedy slave.’ ‘How so?’ asked the other and Mohammed answered, ‘The abstinent man in this world conquereth both the world that is and the world to come.’ And quoth Ghaus bin Abdillah, ‘There were two brothers among the sons of Israel, one of whom said to the other, ‘What be the most perilous[340] thing thou hast done?’ Replied the brother, ‘I once came upon a nest of young birds; so I took out one and threw it back into the nest; but among the chickens were some which drew apart from it. This is the most perilous thing I ever did; now what be the most perilous thing thou hast ever done?’ He rejoined, ‘When I arise for prayer I am fearful that it is only for the sake of the reward.’ Now their father heard these words and exclaimed, ‘O Allah, an say they sooth take them to Thyself!’ It was declared by one of the wise men, ‘Verily, these were of the most virtuous of children.’ Quoth Sa’íd bin Jubayr,[341] ‘I was once in company with Fuzalah bin ‘Ubaydand said to him, ‘Exhort thou me!, Replied he, ‘Bear in mind these two necessaries, Shun syntheism[342] and harm not any of Allah’s creatures.’ And he repeated these two couplets,

‘Be as thou wilt, for Allah still is bounteous Lord,
And care dispeller dread not therefore bane and ban
To two things only never draw thee nigh, nor give
Partner to Allah trouble to thy brother man.’

And how well saith the poet,

‘An thou of pious works a store neglect
And after death meet one who did collect,
Thou shalt repent thou diddest not as he,
Nor madest ready as he did elect.’

Then the third damsel came forward, after the second had with drawn, and said, ‘Of a truth, the chapter of piety is exceeding wide; but I will mention what occurreth to me thereof, concerning the pious of old. Quoth a certain holy man, ‘I congratulate myself in death, though I am not assured of rest therein, save that I know death interveneth between a man and his works; so I hope for the doubling of good works and the docking off of ill works.’ And Ita’a al Salami, when he had made an end of an exhortation, was wont to tremble and grieve and weep sore; and as they asked him why he did this he answered, ‘I desire to enter upon a grave matter, and it is the standing up before Almighty Allah to do in accordance with my exhortation.’ In similar guise Zayn al-Abidín,[343] son of Al-Husayn, was wont to tremble when he rose to pray. Being asked the cause of this, he replied, ‘Know ye not before whom I stand and whom I address?’ It is said that there lived near Sufyán al-Thauri[344] a blind man who, when the month of Ramazan came, went out with the folk to pray,[345] but remained silent and hung back. Said Sufyan, ‘On the Day of Resurrection he shall come with the people of the Koran and they will be distinguished by increase of honour from their fellows.’ Quoth Sufyan, ‘Were the soul established in the heart as befitteth, it would fly away for joy and pining for Paradise, and for grief and fear of hell-fire.’ It is related also of Sufyan Al-Thauri that he said, ‘To look upon the face of a tyrant is a sin.’ Then the third damsel retired and came for ward the fourth, who said, ‘Here am I to treat of sundry traditions of pious men which suggest themselves to me. It is related that Bishr Barefoot[346] said, ‘I once heard Khálid say, ‘Beware of secret polytheism.’ I asked, ‘What may secret polytheism be?’; and he answered, ‘When one of you in praying prolong his inclinations and prostrations till a cause of impurity[347] come upon him.’ And one of the sages said, ‘Doing works of weal expiateth what is ill.’ Quoth Ibrahim,[348] ‘I supplicated Bishr Barefoot to acquaint me with some theological mysteries; but he said, ‘O my son, this knowledge it behoveth us not to teach to every one; of every hundred five, even as the legal alms upon money.’ Said Ibrahim, ‘I thought his reply excellent and approved of it and while I was praying behold, Bishr was also praying: so I stood behind him[349] making the prayer bow till the Mu’ezzin called his call. Then rose a man of tattered appearance and said, O folk, beware of a truth which bringeth unweal, for there is no harm in a lie bringing weal,[350] and in time of need no choice we heed: speech booteth not in the absence of good qualities even as silence hurteth not in the presence of good. Presently I saw Bishr drop a danik,[351] so I picked it up and exchanged it for a dirham which I gave him. Quoth he, ‘I will not take it.’ Quoth I, ‘It is perfectly lawful change’; but he rejoined ‘I cannot take in exchange the riches of the present world for those of the future world.’ It is related also that Bishr Barefoot’s sister once went to Ahmad bin Hanbal”[352]—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Eighty-second Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Wazir Dandan continued to bespeak Zau al-Makan on this wise, “And quoth the maiden to thy father, ‘Bishr Barefoot’s sister once went to Ahmad bin Hanbal and said to him, ‘O Imam of the Faith, we are a family that spin thread by night and work for our living by day; and oftentimes the cressets of the watch of Baghdad pass by and we on the roof spinning by their light. Is this forbidden to us?’ Asked Ahmad:’Who are thou?’ ‘I am the sister of Bishr Barefoot,’ answered she. Rejoined the Iman, ‘O household of Bishr, I shall never cease to drink full draughts of piety from your hearts.’ Quoth one of the sages, ‘When Allah willeth well to His servant He openeth upon him the gate of action.’ Málik bin Dinár,[353] when he passed through the bazar and saw aught he desired, was wont to say, ‘O soul, take patience, for I will not accord to thee what thou desirest.’ He said also (Allah accept him!), ‘The salvation of the soul lies in resistance to it and its damnation in submission to it.’ Quoth Mansúr bin Ammár,[354] ‘I made a pilgrimage and was faring Meccahwards by way of Cufa, and the night was overcast, when I heard a voice crying out from the deeps of the darkness saying, ‘O Allah, I swear by Thy Greatness and Thy Glory, I meant not through my disobedience to transgress against Thee; for indeed I am not ignorant of Thee; but my fault is one Thou didst foreordain to me from eternity without beginning;[355] so do Thou pardon my transgression, for indeed I disobeyed Thee of my ignorance!’ When he had made an end of his prayer he recited aloud the verse, ‘O true believers, save your souls and those of your families from the fire whose fuel is men and stones.’[356] Then I heard a fall, but not knowing what it was I passed on. When the morning morrowed, as we went our way, behold, we fell in with a funeral train, followed by an old woman whose strength had left her. I asked her of the dead, and she answered, ‘This is the funeral of a man who passed by us yesterday whilst my son was standing at prayer and after his prayers he recited a verse from the Book of Allah Almighty when the man’s gall bladder burst and he fell dead.’ Therewith the fourth damsel retired and the fifth came forward and said, ‘I here will also repeat what occurreth to me regarding the acts of devotees in olden time. Maslamah bin Dinár used to say, ‘By making sound the secret thoughts, sins great and small are covered’; and, ‘when the servant of Allah is resolved to leave sinning, victory cometh to him.’ Also quoth he, ‘Every worldly good which doth not draw one nearer to Allah is a calamity, for a little of this world distracteth from a mickle of the world to come and a mickle of the present maketh thee forget the whole of the future.’ It was asked of Abú Házim,[357] ‘Who is the most prosperous of men?’; and he answered, ‘Whoso spendeth his life in submission to Allah.’ The other enquired, ‘And who is the most foolish of mankind?’ ‘Whoso selleth his future for the worldly goods of others,’ replied Abu Hazim. It is reported of Moses[358] (on whom be peace!) that when he came to the waters of Midian he exclaimed, ‘O Lord, verily I stand in need of the good which thou shalt send down to me.’[359] And he asked of his Lord and not of his folk. There came two damsels and he drew water for them both and allowed not the shepherds to draw first. When the twain returned, they informed their father Shu’ayb (on whom be peace!) who said, ‘Haply, he is hungry,’ adding to one of them, ‘Go back to him and bid him hither.’ Now when she came to Moses, she veiled her face and said, ‘My father biddeth thee to him that he may pay thee thy wage for having drawn water for us.’ Moses was averse to this and was not willing to follow her. Now she was a woman large in the back parts, and the wind blowing upon her garment[360] covered the hinder cheeks to Moses; which when Moses saw, he lowered his eyes and said to her, ‘Get thee behind while I walk in front.’ So she followed him till he entered the house of Shu’ayb where supper was ready.”—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Eighty-third Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Wazir Dandan continued to Zau al-Makan, “Now, quoth the fifth damsel to thy sire, ‘When Moses (on whom be peace!) entered the home of Shu’ayb where supper was ready, Shu’ayb said to him, ‘O Moses, I desire to pay thee thy wage for having drawn water for these two.’ But Moses answered, ‘I am of a household which selleth nothing of the fashion of the next world[361] for what is on earth of gold and silver.’ Then quoth Shu’ayb, ‘O youth! nevertheless thou art my guest, and it is my wont and that of my forbears to honour the guest by setting food before him.’ So Moses sat down and ate. Then Shu’ayb hired Moses for eight pilgrimages, that is to say, eight years, and made his wage marriage with one of his two daughters, and Moses’ service to him was to stand for her dowry. As saith the Holy Writ of him, ‘Verily I will give thee one of these my two daughters in marriage, on condition that thou serve me for hire eight pilgrimages: and if thou fulfil ten years, it is in thine own breast; for I seek not to impose a hardship on thee.’[362] A certain man once said to one of his friends whom he had not met for many days, ‘Thou hast made me desolate, for that I have not seen thee this long while.’ Quoth the other, ‘I have been distracted from thee by Ibn Shiháb: dost thou know him?’ Quoth his friend, ‘Yes, he hath been my neighbour these thirty years, but I have never spoken to him.’ He replied, ‘Verily thou forgettest Allah in forgetting—thy neighbour! If thou lovedst Allah thou wouldst love thy neighbour. Knowest thou not that a neighbour hath a claim upon his neighbour,[363] even as the right of kith and kin?’ Said Huzayfah, ‘We entered Meccah with Ibráhím bin Adham, and Shakík al-Balkhí was also making a pilgrimage that year. Now we met whilst circumambulating the Ka’abah and Ibrahim said to Shakik, ‘What is your fashion in your country?’ Replied Shakik, ‘When we are blest with our daily bread we eat, and when we hunger we take patience.’ ‘This wise,’ said Ibrahim, ‘do the dogs of Balkh; but we, when blest with plenty, do honour to Allah and when an hungered we thank Him.’ And Shakik seated himself before Ibrahim and said to him, ‘Thou art my master.’ Also said Mohammed bin Imrán, ‘A man once asked of Hátim the Deaf[364] ‘What maketh thee to trust in Allah?’ ‘Two things,’ answered he, ‘I know that none save myself shall eat my daily bread, so my heart is at rest as to that; and I know that I was not created without the knowledge of Allah, and am abashed before Him.’ Then the fifth damsel retired and the ancient dame came forward and, kissing the ground before thy father nine times, said, ‘Thou hast heard, O King, what these all have spoken on the subject of piety; and I will follow their example in relating what hath reached me of the famous men of past times. It is said that the Imam al-Sháfi’í departed the night into three portions, the first for study, the second for sleep and the third for prayer. The Imam Abú Hanífah[365] was wont also to pass half the night in prayer. One day a man pointed him out to another, as he walked by and remarked, ‘Yonder man watcheth the whole night.’ When he heard this Abu Hanifah said, ‘I was abashed before Allah to hear myself praised for what was not in me’; so after this he used to watch the whole night. And one of the Sages hath said,

‘Who seeketh for pearl in the Deep dives deep;
Who on high would hie robs his night of sleep.’

Al-Rabí a relates that Al-Shafi’i used to recite the whole Koran seventy times during the month of Ramazan, and that in his daily prayers. Quoth Al-Shafi’i (Allah accept him!), ‘During ten years I never ate my fill of barley bread, for fullness hardeneth the heart and deadeneth the wit and induceth sleep and enfeebleth one from standing up to pray.’[366] It is reported of Abdullah bin Mohammed al-Sakrá that he said, ‘I was once talking with Omar and he observed to me, ‘Never saw I a more God fearing or eloquent man than Mohammed bin Idris al-Shafi’i.’ It so happened I went out one day with Al-Háris bin Labíb al-Saffár, who was a disciple of Al-Muzani[367] and had a fine voice and he read the saying of the Almighty, ‘This shall be a day whereon they shall not speak to any purpose, nor shall they be permitted to excuse themselves.’[368] I saw Al-Shafi’i’s colour change; his skin shuddered with horripilation, he was violently moved and he fell down in a fainting-fit When he revived he said, ‘I take refuge with Allah from the stead of the liars and the lot of the negligent! O Allah, before whom the hearts of the wise abase themselves, O Allah, of Thy bene ficence accord to me the remission of my sins, adorn me with the curtain of Thy protection and pardon me my shortcomings, by the magnanimity of Thy Being!’ Then I rose and went away. Quoth one of the pious, ‘When I entered Baghdad, Al-Shafi’i was there. So I sat down on the river bank to make the ablution before prayer; and behold, there passed me one who said, ‘O youth, make thy Wuzu-ablution well and Allah will make it well for thee in this world and in the next.’ I turned and lo! there was a man behind whom came a company of people. So I hastened to finish my ablution and followed him. Presently, he turned and asked me, ‘Say, dost thou want aught?’ ‘Yes,’ answered I, ‘I desire that thou teach me somewhat of that which Allah Almighty hath taught thee.’ He said, ‘Know then that whoso believeth in Allah shall be saved, and whoso jealously loveth his faith shall be delivered from destruction, and whoso practiseth abstinence in this world, his eyes shall be solaced on the morrow of death. Shall I tell thee any more?’ I replied, ‘Assuredly;’ and he continued, ‘Be thou of the world that is, heedless; and of the world to come, greediest. Be truthful in all thy dealings, and thou shalt be saved with the Salvationists.’ Then he went on and I asked about him and was told that he was the Imam Al-Shafi’i. Al-Shafi’i was wont to remark, ‘I love to see folk profit by this learning of mine, on condition that nothing of it be attributed to me.”—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Eighty-fourth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Wazir Dandan continued to Zau al-Makan, “The old woman bespake thy sire, saying, ‘The Imam Al-Shafi’i was wont to remark, I love to see folk profit by this learning of mine on condition that nothing of it be attributed to me.’ He also said, ‘I never disputed with any one, but I would that Almighty Allah should give him the knowledge of the Truth and aid him to dispread it: nor did I ever dispute with anyone at all but for the showing forth of the Truth, and I reck not whether Allah manifest it by my tongue or by His.’ He said also (whom Allah accept!), ‘If thou fear to grow conceited of thy lore, then bethink thee Whose grace thou seekest and for what good thou yearnest and what punishment thou dreadest.’ It was told to Abu Hanífah that the Commander of the Faithful, Abú Ja’afar al-Mansúr, had appointed him Kazi and ordered him a salary of ten thousand dirhams; but he would not accept of this; and, when the day came on which the money was to be paid him, he prayed the dawn-prayer, then covered his head with his robe—and spoke not. When the Caliph’s messenger came with the money, he went in to the Imam and accosted him, but he would not speak to him. So the messenger said, ‘Verily this money is lawfully thine.’ ‘I know that it is lawfully mine,’ replied he: ‘but I abhor that the love of tyrants get a hold upon my heart.’[369] Asked the other, ‘If thou go in to them canst thou not guard thyself from loving them?’ Answered Abu Hanifah, ‘Can I look to enter the sea without my clothes being wet?’ Another of Al-Shafi’i’s sayings (Allah accept him!) is,

‘Oh soul of me, an thou accept my rede,
Thou shalt be wealthy and of grace entire:
Cast off ambitious hopes and vain desires,
How many a death was done by vain desire!’

Among the sayings of Sufyán al-Thaurí, with which he admonished Ali bin al-Hasan al-Salami was, ‘Be thou a man of truth and ‘ware lies and treachery and hypocrisy and pride. Be not indebted save to Him who is merciful to His debtors; and let thine associate be one who shall dissociate thee from the world. Be ever mindful of death and be constant in craving pardon of Allah and in beseeching of Allah peace for what remaineth of thy life. Counsel every True Believer, when he asketh thee concerning the things of his faith; and beware of betraying a Believer, for whoso betrayeth a Believer, betrayeth Allah and His Apostle. Avoid dissensions and litigation; and leave that which causeth doubt in thee for things which breed no doubt:[370] so shalt thou be at peace. Enjoin beneficence and forbid malevolence: so shalt thou be loved of Allah. Adorn thine inner man and Allah shall adorn thine outer man. Accept the excuse of him who excuseth self to thee and hate not any one of the Moslems. Draw near unto those who withdraw from thee and excuse those that misuse thee: so shalt thou be the friend of the Prophets. Let thine affairs, both public and private, be in Allah’s charge, and fear Him with the fear of one who knoweth he is dead and who fareth towards Resurrection and Judgement stead between the hands of the Lord of Dread; and remember that to one of two houses thou art sped, either for Heavens eterne or to the Hell fires that burn.’ Thereupon the old woman sat down beside the damsels. Now when thy father, who hath found mercy, heard their discourse, he knew that they were the most accomplished of the people of their time; and, seeing their beauty and loveliness and the extent of their wisdom and lore, he showed them all favour. Moreover, he turned to the ancient dame and treated her with honour, and set apart for her and her damsels the palace which had lodged Princess Abrizah, daughter of the King of Greece, to which he bade carry all the luxuries they needed. They abode with him ten days and the old woman abode with them; and, whenever the King visited them, he found her absorbed in prayer, watching by night and fasting by day; whereby love of her took hold upon his heart and he said to me, ‘O Wazir, verily this old woman is of the pious, and awe of her is strong in my heart.’ Now on the eleventh day, the King visited her, that he might pay her the price of the damsels; but she said to him, ‘O King, know that the price of these maidens surpasseth the competence of men; indeed I seek not for them either gold or silver or jewels, be it little or much.’ Now when thy father heard these words he wondered and asked her, ‘O my lady and what is their price?’; whereto she answered, ‘I will not sill them to thee save on condition that thou fast, watching by night a whole month, and abstaining by day, all for the love of Allah Almighty; and, if thou do this, they are thy property to use in thy palace as thou please.’ So the King wondered at the perfection of her rectitude and piety and abnegation; she was magnified in his eyes and he said, ‘Allah make this pious woman to profit us!’ Then he agreed with her to fast for a month as she had stipulated, and she said to him, ‘I will help thee with the prayers I pray for thee and now bring me a gugglet of water.’ They brought one and she took it and recited over it and muttered spells, and sat for an hour speaking in speech no one understood or knew aught thereof. Lastly she covered it with a cloth and, sealing it with her signet ring, gave it to thy sire, saying, ‘When thou hast fasted the first ten days, break thy fast on the eleventh night with what is in this gugglet, for it will root out the love of the world from thy heart and fill it with light and faith. As for me, To-morrow I will go forth to my brethren, the Invisible[371] Controuls, for I yearn after them, and I will return to thee when the first ten days are past. Thy father took the gugglet and arose and set it apart in a closet of his palace, then locked the door and put the key in his pocket. Next day the King fasted and the old woman went her ways.”—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Eighty-fifth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Wazir Dandan thus continued to Zau al-Makan, “Now when came the day for the Sultan’s fast, the old woman went her ways. And after he had accomplished the ten days thereof, on the eleventh he opened the gugglet and drank what was therein and found it cordial to his stomach. Within the second ten days of the month the old woman returned, bringing sweetmeats wrapped in a green leaf, like no leaf of known tree. She went in to thy sire and saluted him; and, when he saw her, he rose to her saying, ‘Welcome, O pious lady!’ ‘O King,’ quoth she, ‘the Invisible Controuls salute thee, for I told them of thee, and they rejoiced in thee and have sent thee their Halwá,[372] which is of the sweetmeats of the other world. Do thou break thy fast on it at the end of the day.’ The King rejoiced at this with great joy, and exclaimed, ‘Praised be Allah, who hath given me brethren of the Invisible World!’ Thereupon he thanked the ancient dame and kissed her hands; and he honoured her and the damsels with exceeding honour. She went forth for the twenty days of thy father’s fast at the end of which time she came to him and said, ‘Know, O King, that I told the Invisible Controuls of the love which is between me and thee, and informed them how I had left the maidens with thee, and they were glad that the damsels should belong to a King like thee; for they were wont, when they saw them, to be strenuous in offering on their behalf prayers and petitions ever granted. So I would fain carry them to the Invisible Controuls that they may benefit by the breath of their favour, and peradventure, they shall not return to thee without some treasure of the treasures of the earth, that thou, after completing thy fast, mayst occupy thyself with their raiment and help thyself by the money they shall bring thee, to the extent of thy desires.’ When thy sire heard her words, he thanked her for them and said, ‘Except that I fear to cross thee, I would not accept the treasure or aught else; but when wilt thou set out with them?’ Replied she, ‘On the seven and twentieth night; and I will bring them back to thee at the head of the month, by which time thou wilt have accomplished thy fast and they will have had their courses and be free from impurity; and they shall become thine and be at thy disposal. By Allah, each damsel of them is worth many times thy kingdom!’ He said, ‘I know it, O pious lady!’ Then quoth the old woman, ‘There is no help but that thou send with them someone in thy palace who is dear to thee, that she may find solace and seek a blessing of the Invisible Controuls.’ Quoth he, ‘I have a Greek slave called Sophia, by whom I have been blessed with two children, a girl and a boy; but they were lost; years ago. Take her with thee that she may get the blessing’”—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Eighty-sixth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Wazir Dandan continued to Zau al-Makan, “Quoth thy sire to the ancient woman when she demanded the handmaids of him, ‘I have a Greek slave called Sophia, by whom I have been blest with two children, a girl and a boy, but they were lost years ago; so take her with thee, haply she may get the benediction and, belike, the Invisible Controuls will sue Allah for her that her two children may be restored to her.’ ‘Thou hast said well,’ replied she; ‘for that indeed was her grievousest want.’ Thy sire gave not over finishing his fast till the old woman said to him, ‘O my son, I am going to the Invisible Controuls; so bring me Sophia.’ Accordingly, he summoned her and she came forthright, and he delivered her to the old woman who mixed her up with the other damsels. Then she went in to her chamber and bringing out a sealed cup, presented it to the Sultan saying, ‘On the thirtieth day, do thou repair to the Hammam and when thou comest out, enter one of the closets in thy palace and drink what is in this cup. Then sleep, and thou shalt attain what thou seekest, and peace be with thee’! Thereat the King was glad and thanked her and kissed her hands. Quoth she, ‘I commend thee to Allah’s care;’ whereat quoth he, ‘And when shall I see thee again, O pious lady? In very sooth I love not to part with thee.’ Then she called down blessings on him and departed with the five damsels and the Queen; whilst the King fasted after her departure other three days, till the month ended, when he arose and went to the Hammam and coming out shut himself up in a closet of his palace, commanding that none should go in to him. There, after making fast the door, he drank what was in the cup and lay down to sleep; and we sat awaiting him till the end of the day, but he did not come out and we said, ‘Perchance he is tired with the bath and with watching by night and fasting by day; wherefore he sleepeth.’ So we waited till next day; but still he did not come forth. Then we stood at the closet door and cried aloud so haply he might awake and ask what was the matter. But nothing came of that; so at last we lifted up the door;[373] and, going in, found him dead, with his flesh torn into strips and bits and his bones broken.[374] When we saw him in this condition it was grievous to us, and we took up the cup and found within its cover a piece of paper whereon was inscribed, ‘Whoso doeth evil leaveth no regrets, and this be the reward of him who playeth traitor with the daughters of Kings and who debaucheth them; and we make known to all who fall upon this scroll that Sharrkan, when he came to our country, seduced our Queen Abrizah; nor did that suffice him but he must needs take her from us and bring her to you. Then he[375] sent her away in company of a black slave who slew her, and we found her lying dead on the desert sward and thrown out to wild beasts. This be no kingly deed, and he who did this is requited with naught but what he merited. So do ye suspect none of having killed him, for no one slew him but the cunning witch, whose name is Zat al-Dawahi. And behold, I have taken the King’s wife, Sophia, and have carried her to her father, Afridun King of Constantinople. Moreover, there is no help for it but that we wage war upon you and kill you and take your country from you, and ye shall be cut off even to the last man, nor shall a living soul be spared by Death nor one who bloweth fire with his breath, save he who Cross and Belt[376] worshippeth.’ When we read this paper, we knew that the ancient woman had beguiled us and carried out her plot against us: whereupon we cried aloud and buffeted our faces and wept sore when weeping availed us naught. And the troops fell out as to whom they should make Sultan; some would have thee, and others would have thy brother Sharrkan; and we ceased not to dispute about this for the space of a month, at the end of which certain of us drew together and agreed to repair to thy brother Sharrkan: so we set out and journeyed on till we fell in with thee. And such is the manner of the death of Sultan Omar bin al-Nu’uman!” Now when the Wazir Dandan had made an end of his story, Zau al- Makan and his sister, Nuzhat al-Zaman wept; and the Chamberlain, who wept also, said to Zau al-Makan, “O King, weeping will avail thee naught; nor shall aught profit thee but that thou harden thy heart and strengthen thy stress and establish thy sovranty; for verily whoso leaveth the like of thee is not dead.” Thereupon Zau al-Makan gave over his weeping and caused his throne to be set up without the pavilion, and then commanded the army to pass in review order before him. And the Chamberlain sat by his side and all the armour-bearers[377] behind him, whilst the Wazir Dandan and the rest of the Emirs and Grandees stood each in his individual stead. Then quoth King Zau al-Makan to the Minister Dandan, “Inform me concerning my sire’s treasures;” and he replied, “I hear and I obey;” and gave him to know of the late King’s hoards and monies, and what was in the treasury of amassed wealth and jewels, and acquainted him with other precious things. So Zau al-Makan opened his hand to the army, and gave a sumptuous robe of honour to the Wazir Dandan, saying, “Thou continues” in office. Whereupon Dandan kissed the ground before him and wished him long life. Then he bestowed dresses on the Emirs, after which he said to the Chamberlain, “Bring out before me the tribute of Damascus that is with thee.” So he was shown the chests of money and rarities and jewels, when he took them and parted them all amongst the troops,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Eighty-seventh Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Zau al- Makan ordered the Chamberlain to bring out before him what he had brought of the tribute of Damascus; and, when he was shown the chests of money and rarities and jewels, he took them and parted them all amongst the troops, till nothing was left. And the Emirs kissed the ground before him and wished him long life, saying, “Never saw we a King, who gave the like of these gifts.” Then all went away to their tents and when it was morning he gave orders for marching. So they marched for three days, till, on the fourth day, they drew near to Baghdad. When they entered the city, they found it decorated, and Zau al-Makan, the Sultan, went up to his father’s palace and sat down on the throne, whilst the Emirs of the army and the Wazir Dandan and the Chamberlain of Damascus stood between his hands. Then he bade his private secretary write a writ to his brother Sharrkan, acquainting him with all that had passed, from first to last, and he concluded, “As soon as thou hast read this letter, make ready thine affair and join us with thine army, that we may turn to Holy War upon the Infidels and take man-bote for our father and wipe out the stain upon our honour.” Then he folded the letter and sealed it with his seal ring and said to the Minister Dandan, “None shall carry this letter but thou; and it behoveth thee speak my brother fair and say to him, ‘If thou have a mind to thy father’s kingdom, it is thine, and thy brother shall be Viceroy for thee in Damascus; for to this effect am I instructed by him.’” So the Wazir went down from before him and made ready for his march. Then Zau al-Makan bade set apart a magnificent house for the Fireman and furnished it with the best of furniture and long is the tale of that Fireman.[378] Presently Zau al-Makan went out chasing and hunting and, as he was returning to Baghdad, one of the Emirs presented him with blood horses and with beauteous handmaids whose description the tongue evades. One of the damsels pleased him: so he went in unto her and knew her that night, and she conceived by him forthright. After a while, the Wazir Dandan returned from his journey, bringing him news of his brother Sharrkan and that he was then on his way to him, and said, “It were fitting thou go forth to meet him.” Zau al- Makan replied, “I hear and I consent;” and riding forth with his Grandees a day’s journey from Baghdad, he pitched his pavilions there awaiting his brother. Next morning appeared King Sharrkan amid the army of Syria, a horseman of might, a lion fierce in fight, a prow and doughty knight. As the squadrons drew nigh and the dust clouds came hard by and the troops rode up with banners on high, Zau al-Makan and those with him pushed forward to meet Sharrkan and his men; and when Zau al-Makan saw his brother, he desired to dismount, but Sharrkan conjured him not to do on this wise, and himself footed it, and walked a few paces towards him.[379] As soon as he reached Zau al-Makan, the new Sultan threw himself upon him, and Sharrkan embraced him and wept with great weeping and the twain condoled with each other. Then they mounted and rode onward, they and their troops, till they reached Baghdad, where they alighted and went up to the royal palace and there they passed that night, and when next morning came, Zau al- Makan went forth and bade summon the troops from all parts, and proclaimed a Holy War and a Razzia.[380] They then awaited the coming of the levies from each quarter of the kingdom, and every one who came they entreated with honour and promised him all manner of good; till in so doing a full month had sped, and the fighting men flocked to them in a continuous body. Then Sharrkan said to Zau al-Makan, “O my brother, tell me thy history.” So he told him all that had befallen him from first to last, including the benevolent dealing of the Fireman with him. Asked Sharrkan, ‘Hast thou requited his kindness?”; and he answered, “O my brother! I have not rewarded him as yet, but Inshallah! I will recompense him whenas I return from this raid”—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Eighty-eighth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Sharrkan asked his brother Zau al-Makan, “Hast thou requited the Fireman for his kindness?”; and he answered, “O my brother, I have not rewarded him as yet, but Inshallah! I will recompense him whenas I return from this raid and find time so to do.” Therewith Sharrkan was certified that his sister, Nuzhat al-Zaman, had told him the whole truth; but he concealed what had passed between them and offered his salutation to her by her husband the Chamberlain. She sent him back her greeting, calling down blessings on him and enquiring after her daughter Kuzia-Fakan, to which he replied that the maiden was well and in the best of health and safety. whereupon she praised Almighty Allah and gave him thanks. Then Sharrkan went to his brother to take counsel with him for departure; and Zau al-Makan said, “O my brother, as soon as the army is complete and the Arabs have come in from all parts, we will march forth.” So he bade make ready the commissariat and prepare munitions of war and went in to his wife, who was now five months gone with child; and he put under her astrologers and mathematicians, to whom he appointed stipends and allowances. Then he set out three months after the arrival of the army of Syria, and as soon as the Arabs were come in and the troops were assembled from all directions; and, as he fared forth, he was followed by the warriors and the united host. Now the name of the General of the Daylam army was Rustam and that of the General of the army of the Turks[381] Bahram. And Zau al- Makan marched in mid host and on his right was his brother Sharrkan, and on his left the Chamberlain his brother-in-law. So the squadrons broke up and pushed forward and the battalions and companies filed past in battle-array, till the whole army was in motion. They ceased not to fare on for the space of a month, and each body dismounted at its own ground and there rested every week three days (for the host was great); and they advanced in this order till they came to the country of the Greeks. Then the people of the villages and hamlets and the poorer sort took fright at them and fled to Constantinople. But when King Afridun heard the tidings he arose and betook himself to Zat al-Dawahi, the same who had contrived the stratagem, and had travelled to Baghdad and had slain King Omar bin Al-Nu’uman; and who after carrying off her slaves and Queen Sophia, had returned with them all to her native land. Now when she had been restored to her son, the King of Greece, and felt herself safe, she said to King Hardub, “Cool thine eyes; for I have avenged by blood the shame of thy daughter Abrizah, and have killed Omar bin al-Nu’uman and have brought back Sophia. So now let us go to the King of Constantinople and carry to him his daughter and acquaint him with what hath happened, that all of us be on guard and prepare our forces; and I will fare with thee to King Afridun, Lord of Constantinople, for I opine that the Moslems will not await our attack.” Said Hardub, “Tarry thou till they draw near our country, that we may make us ready meantime and assemble our power.” Accordingly they took to levying their forces and preparing for war, and, when the news of the Moslems’ advance reached them, they were prepared for defence; and Zat al Dawahi had preceded them. Now when she and her son arrived at Constantinople, the King of Kings, Afridun, hearing of the approach of Hardub, King of the Greeks, came forth to meet him and asked how it was with him and the cause of his visit. So Hardub acquainted him with the cunning doings of his mother, Zat al-Dawahi, how she had slain the Moslem King and recovered from him Queen Sophia, and had said, “The Moslems have assembled their forces and are on their way to attack us, wherefore it behoveth that we two join hands in single band and meet them.” Now King Afridun rejoiced in the return of his daughter and the killing of King Omar bin al-Nu’uman; and he sent to all countries seeking succour and acquainting the folk with the cause of slaying the Moslem King. So the Nazarene troops flocked to him and three months were not past ere the army of the Greeks was complete, besides which there joined themselves to him Franks from all their lands, French, Germans[382] and Ragusans,[383] with men of Zara,[384] Venetians, Genoese, and all the hosts of the Yellow Faces[385]; and, when the gathering was at its full, earth was straitened on them by reason of their multitude. Then Afridun, the Great King, ordered a march; so they set out and ceased not to defile through the city for ten days. They fared on till they reached the Wady hight Al-Nu’uman, a broad sided vale hard by the Salt Sea, where they halted three days; and on the fourth they were about to set out again, when news came that the army of Al-Islam on them press, and the defenders of the faith of Mohammed, of Men the Best. So they halted in it other three days, and on the eighth they espied a dust cloud which towered till it walled the whole land; nor was an hour of the day past ere that dust began to drift and was torn to shreds in the lift, and pierced through its shades the starry radiance of lance and the white leven of blades. Presently there appeared beneath it the banners Islamitan and the ensigns Mahometan; the horsemen urged forward, like the letting loose of seas that surged, clad in mail, as they were mackerel-back clouds which the moon enveil; whereupon the two hosts clashed, like two torrents on each other dashed. Eyes fell upon eyes; and the first to seek combat singular was the Wazir Dandan, he and the army of Syria, numbering thirty thousand bridles, and with him were the General of the Turks, and the General of Daylam, Rustam and Bahram, amid twenty thousand horse, behind whom came the men from the shores of the Salt Sea, clad in iron mail, as they were full moons that past through a night o’ercast. Then the Nazarene host called out on Jesus and Mary, and the defiled[386] Cross and they heaped themselves upon the Wazir Dandan and those with him of the Syrian host. Now all this was in pursuance of a stratagem devised by that ancient woman Zat al-Dawahi; for, before his departure, King Afridun had gone in to her and asked her, “How shall I do and what plan shall I pursue?; it is thou hast caused this great distress to us;” and she had answered, “O great King and mighty Cohen![387] I will teach thee a trick would baffle Iblis himself, though he summon to his assistance all his grisly hosts.”—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Eighty-ninth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, all this was a stratagem of the ancient woman, for that the King before his departure had gone to her and asked, “How shall I do and what plan shall I pursue? it is thou hast caused this great distress to us!” And she had answered, “O great King and mighty Cohen, I will teach thee a trick would baffle the Devil himself though he summon to his assistance all his grisly hosts. It is that thou send fifty thousand men going down in ships, and sailing over the sea to the Mountain of Smoke; and there let them land and stir not till the standards of Al-Islam come upon thee, when do thou up and at them. Then bid the troops from the seaward sally out upon the Moslems and take them in rear, whilst we confront them from the landward. So not one of them shall escape, and our sorrows shall tease and peace abide with us.” Now the counsel of this ancient woman commended itself to King Afridun, and he replied, “Right is the recking thou reckest, O Princess of wits and recourse of Kings and Cohens warring for their blood-wit!” So when the army of Al-Islam came upon them in chat valley, before they knew of it the flames began to burn up the tents and the swords in men’s bodies to make rents. Then hurried up the army of Baghdad and Khorasan who numbered one hundred and twenty thousand horse, with Zau al-Makan in the front of war. When the host of the Infidels that lay by the sea saw them, they sallied out against them and followed in their tracks; and when Zau al- Makan espied this he cried out to his men, “Turn back to the Infidels, O People of the Chosen Apostle, and slay those who deny and hate the authority of the Compassionating, the Compassionate!” So they turned and fought with the Christians. Then Sharrkan marched up with another corps of the Moslem host, some hundred thousand men, whilst the Infidels numbered nigh upon a thousand and six hundred thousand men. When the Moslems were united, their hearts were strengthened and they cried out, saying, “Verily Allah hath promised us victory, and to the Infidels hath assigned defeat.” And they clashed together with sword and spear. Now Sharrkan tare through rank and row and raged among the masses of the foe, fighting so fierce a fight as to make children grey grow; nor did he cease tourneying among the infidel horde and working havoc among them with the keen edged sword, shouting “Allaho Akbar!” (Allah is Most Great) till he drove back the host to the coast. Then failed the force of the foe and Allah gave victory to the faith of Al-Islam, and folk fought folk, drunken without strong drink till they slew of the Infidels in this affair forty and five thousand, while of the Moslems but three thousand and five hundred fell. Moreover, the Lion of the Faith, King Sharrkan, and his brother, Zau al-Makan, slept not that night, but occupied themselves with congratulating their braves and with looking to the wounded and with assuring the army of victory and salvation and promise of reward in the world to come. Thus far concerning the Moslem; but as regards King Afridun, Lord of Constantinople and Sovran of Roum, and Zat Al-Dawahi, they assembled the Emirs of the host and said to them, “Verily, we had worked our will and solaced our hearts, but our over confidence in our numbers, and that only, defeated us.” Then quoth to them the ancient one, the Lady of Calamities, “In very sooth nought shall profit you, except ye draw you nigh unto the Messiah and put your trust in the True Belief, for, by the virtue of the Messiah, the whole strength of the Moslem host lieth in that Satan, King Sharrkan.” “To-morrow,” said King Afridun, “I have resolved to draw up in battle array and to send out against them that redoubtable cavalier, Lúká bin Shamlút; for if King Sharrkan come forth as a champion to fight single-handed, our man will slay him and will slay the other Moslem Knights, till not one is left. And I purpose this night to sacre you all with the Holy Incense.” When the Emirs heard these words they kissed the ground before him. Now the incense which he designated was the excrement of the Chief Patriarch, the denier, the defiler of the Truth, and they sought for it with such instance, and they so highly valued it that the high priests of the Greeks used to send it to all the countries of the Christians in silken wraps after mixing it with musk and ambergris. Hearing of it Kings would pay a thousand gold pieces for every dram and they sent for and sought it to fumigate brides withal; and the Chief Priests and the great Kings were wont to use a little of it as collyrium for the eyes and as a remedy in sickness and colic; and the Patriarchs used to mix their own skite[388] with it, for that the skite of the Chief Patriarch could not suffice for ten countries.[389] So, as soon as dawn was seen and the morning shone with its shine and sheen, the horsemen ran to their spears full keen, and King Afridun,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Ninetieth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, as soon as dawn was seen and the morning shone with its shine and sheen, the horsemen ran to their spears full keen and King Afridun summoned his chief Knights and Nobles and invested them with dresses of honour; and, drawing the sign of the cross on their brows, incensed them with the incense which as aforesaid was the skite of the Chief Patriarch, the Cohen, the Heresiarch. This incensing done, he called for Luka bin Shamlut, surnamed the Sword of the Messiah; and, after fumigating him and rubbing his palate with the Holy Merde, caused him to snuff it and smeared his cheeks and anointed his moustaches with the rest. Now there was no stouter champion in the land of Roum than this accursed Luka, nor any better at bending of bow or sway of sword or lunge with lance on the day of devoir; but he was foul of favour, for his face was as the face of an ass, his shape that of an ape and his look as the look of a malignant snake: his presence was grievouser than parting from the beloved make; and blacker than night was his blackness and more fetid than the lion was his breath for foulness; more crooked than a bow was his crookedness and grimmer than the leopard was his ugliness, and he was branded with the mark of the Infidels on face.[390] After this he came up to King Afridun and kissed his feet and stood before him; and the King said to him, “I desire thou go out against Sharrkan, King of Damascus, son of Omar bin al-Nu’uman, and deliver us from this affliction.” Quoth Luka, “Hearkening and obedience;” and the King made the sign of the cross on his forehead and felt assured of help from Heaven being near hand. Then Luka went out from the presence and the accursed one mounted a sorrel horse; he was clad in a red robe and a hauberk of gold set with jewels, and he bore a trident spear, as he were Iblis the damned on the day of drewing out his hosts war to darraign. Then he rode forward, he and his horde of Infidels, even as though they were driving to the Fire, preceded by a herald, crying aloud in the Arabic tongue and saying, “Ho, sect of Mohammed (upon whom be salutation and salvation!), let none of you come out but your champion Sharrkan, the Sword of Al-Islam, Lord of Damascus in Shám[391]!” Nor had he made an end of speaking, when arose a tumult in the plain; all the people heard the strain and the whole moving bodies of the armies twain called to mind the Day of Complain. Then the cowards trembled and all necks turned towards the sound, and lo! it was King Sharrkan, son of King Omar bin al-Nu’uman. For when his brother, Zau al-Makan, saw that accursed one push out on the plain, and heard the pursuivant, he turned to Sharrkan and said to him, “Of a surety they seek for thee.” Said he, “Should it so be, ‘twere most pleasing to me.” So when they made sure of the matter and heard the herald crying in the plain, “Let none of you come out against me save Sharrkan,” they knew this cursed Luka to be champion of the land of Roum who had sworn to sweep the earth clean of Moslems. Now he was one of the greatest of villains, a wretch who caused hearts to pain; and the DayIamites, Turks and Kurds dreaded his might and main. Presently Sharrkan drave at him like a lion angry grim, mounted on a courser like a wild gazelle flying snell and slim; and coming nigh to him made the spear he hent to shake as it were a darting snake, and recited these couplets,

“I have a sorrel steed, whose pride is fain to bear the rein,
Shall give thee what thou likest not and make thee feel his main:
I have a handy limber spear full bright and keen of point,
Upon whose shaft the dam of Death her throny seat hath ta’en:
I have a trenchant glaive of Hind; and, when I bare its face
Of scabbard” veil, from out its brow the rays of leven rain.”

Luka understood not the sense of his speech nor did he apprehend the vehemence of the verse; but he smote his forehead with his hand, in honour of the Cross drawn thereon and kissed it; then he couched his throw spear and ran at Sharrkan. But first he tossed the javelin with one hand in air to such height that it was lost to the spectators’ sight; and, catching it with the other hand as do the jugglers, hurled it at Sharrkan. It flew from his grasp like a shooting star and folk clamoured and feared for Sharrkan; but, as the spear flew near him, he put out his hand and caught it in full flight to the amazement of all who saw the sight. Then he shook it with the hand that took it till it was well-nigh broken, and hurled it so high into the welkin that it disappeared from view. As it descended, he caught it again with the other hand, in less than the twinkling of an eye, and cried out from his heart core, saying, “By the truth of Him who created the sevenfold skies, I will assuredly make this cursed wight a byword for mankind to despise!” Then threw he the throw spear at Luka, who thought to do as Sharrkan had done and put forth his hand to trend it in mid flight; but Sharrkan prevented him, and sped at him a second throw spear which smote him and the point fell on his forehead, in the very centre of the sign of the Cross, and Allah hurried his soul to the Fire and Dwelling place dire.[392] But when the Infidels saw Luka bin Shamlut fall slain, they buffeted their faces and they cried, “Alas!” and “Woe worth the day!” and called for aid upon the Abbots of the monasteries,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Ninety-first Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the Infidels saw Luka bin Shamlut fall slain, they buffeted their faces and cried, “Alas!” and “Woe worth the day!” and called upon the Abbots of the monasteries and cried, “Where be the crosses?” So the Religious offered up prayers and the Christians all drew together against Sharrkan; and, brandishing their scymitars and lances, rushed forward to the attack. Then army met army and breasts fell under hoof, whilst spear and sword ruled the day and forearms and wrists grew weak and the coursers seemed created without legs;[393] nor did the herald of-war cease calling to fight, till arms were aweary and day took flight and night came on with darkness dight. So the two hosts drew apart, whilst every brave staggered like a drunken knave, for that with so much cut and thrust they strave; and the place was choked with the slain; fell were the wounds and the hurt knew not by whom they fell. Then Sharrkan joined his brother, Zau al-Makan, and the Chamberlain and the Wazir Dandan, and said to them, “Verily Allah hath opened a door for the Infidels to fall, praised be the Lord of the Worlds one and all!” Replied Zau al-Makan, “Let us never cease to praise Allah, for that He hath dispelled trouble from the Arab and the Ajam. Indeed the folk, generation after generation, shall tell of thy derring-do against the accursed Luka, the falsifier of the Evangel;[394] of thy catching the throng spear in mid-flight, and how the enemy of Allah among men thou didst smite; and thy fame shall endure until the end of time.” Then said Sharrkan, “Harkye, O grand Chamberlain and doughty Capitayne!” and he answered, “Adsum!”[395] Quoth Sharrkan, “Take with thee the Wazir Dandan and twenty thousand horse, and lead them seven parasangs towards the sea, and force the march till ye shall have come near the shore, and there remain only two parasangs between thee and the foe. Then ambush ye in the hollows of the ground till ye hear the tumult of the Infidels disembarking from their ships; and the war cry from every side strike your ear and ye know that the sabres have begun labour between us and them; and, whenso ye see our troops falling back, as if defeated, and all the Infidels following them, as well those in front as those from the seaward and the tents, do ye still lie in wait for them: but as soon as ye see the standard with the words, There is no god but the God, and Mohammed is God’s Apostle (on whom be salutation and salvation!), then up with the green banner, and do your endeavour and fall on their rear and shout, ‘Alla ho Akbar! Allah is most Great!’ and circle round that they may not interpose between the retreating army and the sea.” He replied, “To hear is to obey!”; and forthright they agreed upon this matter and they went forth. Now the Chamberlain took with himself the Wazir Dandan and twenty thousand men even as Sharrkan had commanded. As soon as dawned the morn, the troops sprung to horse when they had donned their armour gear and drawn the scymitar and slung the spear. Then the Christians dispread themselves over hill and dale and the Ecclesiasts[396] cried out and all heads were bared, and those in the ships hoisted the Cross at their mast heads and began making for shore from every side, and landed their horses and get them ready for fight and fray, whilst the sword blades glittered bright and the javelins glanced like leven-light on mail shirt white; and all joined fight and the grind mill of Death whirled round and ground those who fought from horse and aground: heads from bodies flew end tongues mute grew and eyes no vision knew. Scymitars strave with utmost strain and heads flew over the battle-plain; gall bladders clave and wrists were shorn in twain; steeds plashed in pools of gore and beards were gripped right sore; the host of Al-Islam called out, saying, “On the Prince of Mankind be blessings and peace, and to the Compassionate glory and praise, which ne’er shall cease, for His boons which aye increase;” and the host of the Infidels shouted, “Glory to the Cross and the Belt and the vine press juice, and the wine presser and the Priests and the Monks and the Festival of Palms and the Metropolitan!” Now Zau al-Makan and Sharrkan held back and their troops gave way and feigned flight from before the enemy, while the Infidel array pressed hard upon them deeming them in rout, and made ready to foin and hew. Then the meiny of the Moslems raised their voices, reciting the first verses of the Chapter of the Cow,[397] whilst the dead were trampled under hoofs of steeds, and the heralds of the Greeks cried out, “Ho, servants of the Messiah! Ho, people of the True Faith! Ho, followers of the Primate![398] Verily Divine grace upon you opes; for see, the hosts of Al Islam like birds with broken wings incline to elope! So turn ye not to them your backs, but let your swords cleave deep in their necks and hold not your hands from them, else are ye outcasts from the Messiah, Mary’s son, who spoke even when a cradled one!”[399] Now Afridun, King of Constantinople, deemed that the Infidels were victorious, knowing not that this was but a clever stratagem of the Moslems, and sent to King Hardub of Roum congratulations on success, adding, “Availed us naught but the Holy Merde of the Arch Patriarch, whose fragrance exhaled from the beards and mustachios of the slaves of the Cross near and far; and I swear, by the Miracles of the Messiah; and by thy daughter Abrizah, the Nazarene, the Mariolater; and by the Waters of Baptism, that I will not leave upon the earth a single defender of Al- Islam! And to the bitter end will I carry out this plan.” So the messenger betook himself with the address to King Hardub, whilst the Infidels called to one another saying, “Take we vengeance wreak for Luka!”—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Ninety-second Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Infidels called to one another, saying, “Take we vengeance wreak for Luka!” while Hardub King of Greece cried aloud, “Ho, to our revenge for Abrizah!” Thereupon King Zau al-Makan shouted “Ho, servants of the Requiting King!: smite the children of denial and disobedience with the blanch of sword and the brown of spear!” So the Moslems returned to the Infidels and plied them with the keen edged scymitar, whilst their herald cried aloud, “Up, and at the foes of the Faith, all ye who love the Prophet Elect, with hope of salvation on the Day of Fear, to win favour of the Bountiful, the Forgiving One; for verily the Garden of Paradise is under the shadow of swords!” And behold, Sharrkan and his men charged down upon the Infidels and cut off their retreat and wheeled and tourneyed among the ranks; when lo! a knight of goodly presence opened a passage through the army of Unbelievers and circled hither and thither amongst the Deniers, cutting and thrusting and covering the ground with heads and trunks, so that the Faithless feared him and their necks bent under his lunge and hew. He was girt with two swords, his glances and his brand, and he was armed with two lances, one of bamboo cane and the other his straight wand like shape; and his flowing hair stood him in stead of many warriors, even as saith the poet,

“Laud not long hair,[400] except it be dispread
In two fold locks, on day of fight and fray,
O’er youth who bears his lance ‘twixt flank and thigh,
From many a whis kered knight to win the day.”

And as singeth another,

“I say to him, what while he slings his sword,
‘For sword shall serve those looks that sword like show!’
Says he, ‘My sabre looks for those I love,
My sword for those who sweets of love unknow!’”

When Sharrkan saw him, he said to him, “I conjure thee by the Koran and the attributes of the Compassionate One, O Champion of the Champions! tell me who thou art: for verily by thy deeds this day thou hast pleased the Requiting King, whom one thing distracteth not from other thing; in that thou hast been discomforting the children of impiety and in rebellion revelling.” Then cried the Cavalier to him saying, “Thou art he who madest brother covenant with me but yesterday: how quickly thou hast forgotten me!” Thereupon he withdrew his mouth veil,[401] so that what was hidden of his beauty was disclosed, and lo! it was none other than Zau al-Makan. Then Sharrkan rejoiced in his brother, save that he feared for him the rush of fighting and the crush of braves a smiting; and this for two reasons, the first, his tender age and exposure to the evil eye, and the second, that his safety was to the kingdom the greater of the two overshadowing wings. So he said to him, “O King! thou riskest thy life, so join thy steed to mine; in very sooth I fear for thee from the foe; and better thou stint hazarding thyself forth of these squadrons, that we may shoot at the enemy thine unerring shaft.” Quoth Zau al-Makan, “I desire to even thee in fray and I will not be niggard of myself before thee in the melay.” Then the host of Al-Islam, heaping itself upon the Infidels, girt them on all sides, warred on them a right Holy War, and brake the power of the children of impiety and pride and stowre. But King Afridun sighed when he saw the evil wreak that had fallen on the Greek, and they turned their backs from fight and addressed themselves to flight, making for the ships, when lo! there came out upon them from the seacoast another host, led by the Minister Dandan, the champion who was wont to make champions bite the dust, and to lay load on them with cut and thrust. Nor less came forth the Emir Bahram, Lord of the Provinces of Sham, amid twenty thousand horse doughty of arm; and the host of Al-Islam pressed them in front and on flank and wrought them grievous harm. Then a body of the Moslems turned against those who in the ships remained, and perdition on them rained, till they threw themselves into the main, and they slew of them many slain, more than a hundred thousand noblemen, nor was one of their champions, great or small, saved from bale and bane. Moreover, they took their ships, with all the money and treasure and cargo, save a score of keel, and the Moslems got that loot whose like was never gotten in by gone years; nor was such cut and thrust ever heard of by men’s ears.[402] Now amongst the booty were fifty thousand horses, besides treasure and spoil past reckoning and arithmetic, whereat the Moslems rejoiced with an exceeding joy for that Allah had given them victory and protection. Such was the case with them; but as regards the fugitive Infidels they soon reached Constantinople, whither the tidings preceded them that King Afridun had prevailed over the Moslems; so quoth the ancient dame, Zat al-Dawahi, “I know that my son Hardub, King of Roum, is no runagate and that he feareth not the Islamitic hosts, but will restore the whole world to the Nazarene faith.” Then she bade the Great King, Afridun, give command that the city be decorated, and the people held festival high and drank their wines drunkenly and knew not the decrees of Destiny. Now whilst they were in the midst of their rejoicings, behold, the raven of dule and downfall croaked over them, and up came the twenty fugitive ships wherein was the King of Cæsarea. So King Afridun, Lord of Constantinople, met them on the sea shore, and they told him all that had befallen them from the Moslem, and they wept sore and groaned and moaned; and rejoicing at weal was turned into dismay for unheal; and they informed him concerning Luka son of Shamlut, how calamity had betided him and how Death had shot him with his shaft. Thereat the horrors of Doomday rose upon King Afridun,[403] and he knew that there was no making straight their crook. Then came up from them the sound of weeping and wailing; the city was full of men mourning and the keepers were keening, and sighs and cries were heard from all sides. And when King Hardub of Greece met King Afridun he told him the truth of the case and how the flight of the Moslems was by way of stratagem and deceit, and said to him, “Look not to see any of the army, save those who have already reached thee.” When King Afridun heard these words he fell down in a fainting-fit, with his nose under his feet; and, as soon as he revived, he exclaimed, “Surely the Messiah was wroth with them that he caused the Moslems to prevail over them!” Then came the Arch Patriarch sadly to the King who said to him, “O our father, annihilation hath overtaken our army and the Messiah hath punished us!” Replied the Patriarch, “Grieve not nor feel concerned, for it cannot be but that one of you have sinned against the Messiah, and all have been punished for his offence; but now we will read prayers for you in the churches, that the Mohammeden hosts may be repelled from you.” After which the old woman, Zat al-Dawahi, came to Afridun and said to him, “O King, verily the Moslem hosts are many, and we shall never overcome them save by wile: wherefore I purpose to work upon them by guile and repair to this army of Al-Islam, haply I may win my wish of their leader and slay their champion, even as I slew his father. If my stratagem succeed in his case, not one of the host he leads shall return to his native land, for all are strong only because of him; but I desire to have some Christian dwellers of Syria, such as go out every month and year to sell their goods, that they may help me (for this they can do) in carrying out my plan.” Replied the King, “Be it so whenever thou wilt.” So she bade fetch an hundred men, natives of Najrán,[404] in Sham, and the King asked them, “Have ye not heard what hath befallen the Christians with the Moslems?” “Yes,” answered they; and he rejoined, “Know ye that this woman hath devoted her life to the Messiah and purposeth to go forth with you, disguised as Monotheists and Mohammedans, to work out a device which shall profit us and hinder the Moslem from us: say, then, are ye also willing to devote yourselves to the Anointed and I will give you a quintal of gold?[405] He of you who escapeth shall have the money, and him of you who dieth will the Messiah reward.” “O King,” replied they, “we will devote our lives to the Messiah, and we will be thy sacrifice.” Thereupon the old woman took all she required of aromatic roots and placed them in water which she boiled over the fire till the black essence of them was extracted. She waited till the decoction was cold, then dipped the corner of a long kerchief therein and stained her face therewith. Moreover, she donned over her clothes a long gaberdine with an embroidered border and took in her hand a rosary, and afterwards went in to King Afridun, who knew her not, nor did any of his companions know her, till she discovered herself to them: and there was none in the assembly but who thanked and praised her for her cunning; and her son rejoiced and said, “May the Messiah never fail thee!” Thereupon she took with her the Syrian Christians, and set out for the army of Baghdad.— And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Ninety-third Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when King Afridun heard these words, he fell into a fainting-fit with his nose under his feet; and, as soon as he revived, fear fluttered the scrotum[406] below his belly and he complained to the ancient dame, Zat al-Dawahi. Now this accursed old woman was a witch of the witches, past mistress in sorcery and deception; wanton and wily, deboshed and deceptious; with foul breath, red eyelids, yellow cheeks, dull brown face, eyes bleared, mangy body, hair grizzled, back humped, skin withered and wan and nostrils which ever ran. But she had studied the scriptures of Al-Islam and had made the Pilgrimage to the Holy House of Meccah and all this that she might come to the knowledge of the Mohammedan ordinances and the miraculous versets of the Koran; and she had professed Judaïsm in the Holy City of Jerusalem[407] for two years’ space, that she might master the magic of men and demons; so that she was a plague of plagues and a pest of pests, wrong-headed as to belief and to no religion fief. Now the chief reason of her sojourn with her son, King Hardub of Greece, was on account of the slave virgins at his court: for she was given to tribadism[408] and could not exist without sapphism or she went mad: so if any damsel pleased her, she was wont to teach her the art of rubbing clitoris against clitoris and would anoint her with saffron[409] till she fainted away for excess of volupty. Whoso obeyed her she was wont to favour and make her son incline towards her; but whoso repelled her she would contrive to destroy; and so she abode for a length of time. This was known to Marjanah and Rayhánah and Utrijah, the handmaids of Abrizah, and their Princess loathed the old woman and abhorred to lie with her, because of the rank smell from her armpits, the stench of her fizzles more fetid than carrion, and the roughness of her hide coarser than palm fibre. She was wont to bribe those who rubbed parts with her by means of jewels and instructions; but Abrizah held aloof from her and sought refuge with the Omnipotent, the Omniscient; for, by Allah, right well quoth the poet,

“Ho thou who grovellest low before the great
Nor over fording lesser men dost blench
Who gildest dross by dirham gathering,
No otter scent disguises carrion stench!

And now to return to the story of her stratagem and the woes of her working. Presently she departed, taking the chief Nazarenes with their hosts, and turned towards the army of the Moslems. Whereupon King Hardub went in to King Afridun and said to him, “O King, we have no need of the Chief Patriarch nor of his prayers, but will consult my mother’s counsel and observe what she will do with her craft unending against the Moslem hosts; for these are marching with all their power, they will soon be upon us and they will encircle us on all sides.” When King Afridun heard this, terror took hold upon his heart and he wrote letters, without stay or delay, to all the nations of the Nazarenes, saying, “It behoveth none of the Messiahites or Cross knights to hold back, especially the folk of the strongholds and forts: but let them all come to us, foot and horse, women and children, for the Moslem hosts already tread our soil. So haste! haste ye! ere what we fear to us here appear.” Thus much concerning them; but regarding the work of the old woman, Zat al-Dawahi; when she went forth from the city with her suite, she clad them in the clothing of Moslem merchants, having provided herself with an hundred mules carrying stuffs of Antioch, such as goldwoven satins and royal brocades and so forth. And she had taken a letter from King Afridun to the following effect: “These be merchantmen from the land of Sham who have been with us: so it besitteth none to do them harm or hindrance, nor take tax and tithe of them, till they reach their homes and safe places, for by merchants a country flourisheth, and these are no men of war nor of ill faith.” Then quoth the accursed Zat al-Dawahi to those with her, “Verily I wish to work out a plot for the destruction of the Moslem.” Replied they, “O Queen, command us whatso thou wilt; we are at thy disposal and may the Messiah never disappoint thy dealings!” Then she donned a gown of fine white wool and rubbed her forehead, till she made a great mark as of a scar and anointed it with an ointment of her own fashion, so that it shone with prodigious sheen. Now the old hag was lean bodied and hollow eyed, and she bound her legs tightly round with cords[410] just above her feet, till she drew near the Moslem camp, when she unwound them, leaving their marks deeply embedded in her ankles. Then she anointed the wheels with dragon’s blood and bade her companions beat her with a severe beating, and set her in a chest and, quoth she, “Cry abroad the Refrain of Unity,[411] nor fear from it aught of damage!” Replied they, “How can we beat thee, who be our sovereign lady, Zat al-Dawahi, mother of the King we glory in?” Then said she, “We blame not nor deal reproach to him who goeth to the jakes, and in need evil becometh good deed. When ye have set me in the chest, take it and make it one of the bales and place it on mule back and fare forth with it and the other goods through the Moslem camp, and fear ye no blame. And if any of the Moslems hinder you, give up the mules and their lading and be take yourselves to their King, Zau al-Makan, and implore his protection saying, ‘We were in the land of the Infidels and they took nothing from us, but wrote us a passport, that none shall do us hindrance or work our mischance.’ If he ask you, ‘What profit had ye of your property in the land of Roum?’ answer him, ‘We profited in the deliverance of a pious man, who had been bound down in an underground cell nigh fifteen years, crying out for help yet none helped him. Nay, the Infidels tortured him night and day. We knew not this; but, after we had tarried in Constantinople for some time, having sold our goods and bought others in their stead, we determined on and made ready for a return to our native land. We spent that night conversing about our journey and when day broke, we saw figured upon the wall a human form and as we drew nigh it, behold, it moved and said, ‘O Moslems, is there amongst you one who is minded to woo the favour of the Lord of the three Worlds?’[412] ‘How so?’ asked we; and the figure answered, ‘Know that Allah hath made me speak to you, to the intent that your faith be fortified, and that your belief embolden you and that you may go forth of the country of the Infidels and repair to the Moslem host; for with them wones the Sword of the Com passionate One, of our Age the Champion, King Sharrkan, by whom He shall conquer Constantinople town and destroy the sect of the Nazarene. And when ye shall have journeyed three days, you will find an hermitage known as the Hermitage of the ascetic Matruhina[413] and containing a cell; visit it with pure intent and contrive to arrive there by force of will, for therein is a Religious from the Holy City, Jerusalem, by name Abdullah, and he is one of the devoutest of mankind, endowed with the power of working saintly miracles[414] such as dispel doubts and obscurity. Certain of the monks seized him by fraud and shut him up in a souterrain where he hath lain a long time. By his deliverance you will please the Lord of Faithful Men, for such release is better than fighting for the Faith.’” Now when the ancient dame and those with her had agreed upon such words, she said, “As soon as that which I impart shall reach the ears of King Sharrkan, say him further, ‘Hearing this from that image we knew that the holy man’”—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Ninety-fourth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the old woman, Zat al-Dawahi, and those with her had agreed upon such words, she said, “Now as soon as that which I impart shall reach the ears of King Sharrkan say him further, ‘Hearing these words from that image we knew that the holy man was indeed of the chiefest devotees and Allah’s servants of purest qualities; so we made three days’ march till we came in sight of that hermitage, and then we went up to it and passed the day in buying and selling, as is the wont of merchants. As soon as day had departed our sight and night was come to darken light, we repaired to the cell wherein was the dungeon, and we heard the holy man, after chanting some verses of the Koran, repeat the following couplets,

‘My heart disheartened is, my breast is strait,
And sinks my soul in sea of bale and bate
Unless escape be near I soon shall die;
And Death were better than this doleful strait:
O Lightning an thou light my home and folk,
An their still brighter charms thy shine abate,
Say, what my path to meet them, being barred
By wars, and barricado’d succour’s gate?’

“When once ye have brought me into the Moslem camp, and I mix with them you shall see,” the old woman continued, “how I will make shift to beguile them and slay them all, even to the last man.” The Nazarenes hearing whet she said, kissed her hands and set her in the chest, after they had beaten her with a grievous beating in obedience to her commands, for they saw it was incumbent on them to do her bidding in this; then they all made for the Moslem host as hath erst been said. Such was the case with the damned hag, Zat al-Dawahi and her companions; but as regards the Mohammeden army, they indeed, after Allah had given them victory over their enemies and they had plundered everything in the ships of money and hoards, all sat down to converse with one another and Zau al-Makan said to his brother Sharrkan, “Verily, Allah hath granted us to prevail because of our just dealing and discipline and concord amongst ourselves; wherefore continue, O Sharrkan, to obey my commandment, in submission to Allah (be He exalted and extolled!), for I mean to slay ten Kings in blood-revenge for my sire, to cut the throat of fifty thousand Greeks and to enter Constantinople.” Replied Sharrkan, “My life be thy ransom against death! Needs must I follow out the Holy War, though I wone many a year in their country. But I have, O my brother, in Damascus a daughter, named Kuzia Fakan, whom I love heartily for she is one of the marvels of the time and she will soon be of age.’ Said Zau al-Makan, “And I also have left my wife with child and near her time, nor do I know what Allah will vouchsafe me by her. But promise me, O my brother, that if Allah bless me with a son, thou wilt grant me thy daughter for wife to him, and make covenant with me and pledge me thy faith thereon.” “With love and good will, replied Sharrkan; and, stretching out his hand to his brother, he said, If she bring thee a son, I will give him my daughter Kuzia Fakan, to wife.” At this Zau al-Makan rejoiced, and they fell to congratulating each other on the victory over the enemy. And the Wazir Dandan also congratulated the two brothers and said to them, “Know, O ye Kings, that Allah hath given us the victory, for that we have devoted our lives to Him (be He exalted and ex tolled!); and we have left our homes and households; and it is my counsel that we follow up the foe and press upon him and harass him, so haply Allah shall enable us to win our wishes, and we shall destroy our enemies, branch and root. If it please you, do ye go down in these ships and sail over the sea, whilst we fare forward by land and bear the brunt of battle and the thrust of fight.” And the Minister Dandan ceased not to urge them to combat and repeated his words who said,

“To slay my foes is chiefest bliss I wist,
And on the courser’s back be borne a list;
Comes promising tryst a messenger from friend
Full oft, when comes the friend withouten tryst.”

And these words of another,

“War for my mother (an I live) I’ll take;
Spear for my brother; scymitar for sire
With every shag haired brave who meets his death
Smiling, till won from Doom his dear desire!”

And when the Wazir ended his verses, he said, “Praise be to Him who aided us dear victory to uphold and who hath given us spoil of silver and fine gold!” Then Zau al-Makan commanded the army to depart; and they fared on forcing their marches for Constantinople, till they came to a wide and spacious champaign, full of all things fair and fain, with wild cattle frisking and gazelles pacing to and fro across the plain. Now they had traversed great deserts and drink had been six days cut off from them, when they drew near this meadow and saw therein waters founting and ripe fruits daunting and that land as it were Paradise; for it had donned its adornments and decked itself.[415] Gently waved the branches of its trees drunken with the new wine of the dew, and combined with the nectar of Tasnim the soft breathings of the morning breeze. Mind and gazer were confounded by its beauty, even as saith the poet,

“Behold this lovely garden! ‘tis as though
Spring o’er its frame her greeny cloak had spread.
Looking with fleshly eyne, thou shalt but sight
A lake whose waters balance in their bed,
But look with spirit eyes and lo! shalt see
Glory in every leaf o’erwaves thy head.”

And as another saith,

“The stream’s a cheek by sunlight rosy dyed,
Whose down[416] is creeping shade of tamarisk stems
Round legs of tree trunks waveless roll in rings
Silvern, and blossoms are the diadems.”

When Zau al-Makan saw this champaign, with its trees bowing and its flowers blooming and its birds warbling, he called to his brother Sharrkan and said, “O my brother, verily in Damascus is naught the like of this place. We will not march from it save after three days, that we may take rest ourselves and that the army of Al-Islam may regain strength and their souls be fortified to encounter the blamed Infidels.” So they halted therein and while camping behold, they heard a noise of voices from afar, and Zau al-Makan asked the cause thereof, and was answered that a caravan of merchants from the Land of Syria had halted there to rest and that the Moslem troops had come on them and had haply seized something of the goods which they had brought from the country of the Infidels. After a while up came the merchants, crying out and appealing to the King for aidance. When Zau al- Makan saw this, he bade them be brought before him and, when in presence they said to him, “O King, we have been in the country of the Infidels and they plundered us of nothing: why then do our brothers the Moslems despoil our goods, and we in their own land? Of a truth when we saw your troops, we went up to them and they robbed us of what we had with us and we have now reported to thee all that hath befallen us.” Thereupon they brought out to him the letter of the King of Constantinople, and Sharrkan read it and said, “We will presently restore to you what hath been taken from you; but yet it behoveth you not to carry merchandise to the country of the Infidels.” Replied they, “O our Lord, in very sooth Allah despatched us thither that we might win what Gházi[417] never won the like of, not even thou in all thy razzias.” Asked Sharrkan, “What was it ye won?” “O King,” answered they, “we will not tell thee save in private; for if this matter be noised among the folk, haply it may come to the ears of some,[418] and this will be the cause of our ruin and of the ruin of all Moslems who resort to the land of the Greeks.” Now they had hidden the chest wherein was the damned Zat al- Dawahi. So Zau al-Makan and his brother brought them to a private place, where they laid bare to both of them the story of the devotee, and wept till they made the two Kings weep.—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Ninety-fifth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Nazarenes who wore merchants’ weed, when brought to a private place by Zau al-Makan and his brother Sharrkan, laid bare to both of them the story of the devotee and wept till they made the two Kings weep and repeated to them all which had been taught by the old witch Zat al-Dawahi. Thereupon Sharrkan’s heart yearned to the devotee and he was moved to ruth for him and was fired with zeal for the service of Almighty Allah. So quoth he to them, “Did ye rescue this holy man or is he still in the hermitage?” Quoth they, “We delivered him and slew the hermit, fearing for our lives; after which we made haste to fly for dread of death; but a trusty man told us that in this hermitage are quintals of gold and silver and stones of price.” Then they fetched the chest and brought out the accursed old woman, as she were a cassia pod[419] for excess of blackness and leanness, and she was laden with the same fetters and shackles. When Zau al-Makan and the bystanders saw her, they took her for a man of the best of Allah’s devotees and surpassing in pious qualities, more especially because of the shining of her forehead for the ointment wherewith she had anointed her face. So Zau al-Makan and Sharrkan wept sore; then they rose up in honour and kissed her hands and feet, sobbing aloud: but she signed to them and said, “Cease this weeping and hear my words. Hereat they dried their tears in obedience to her bidding, and she said, “Know ye both that I was content to accept what my Lord did unto me, for I kenned that the affliction which befel me was a trial from Him (be He exalted and extolled!); and whoso hath not patience under calamity and tribulation, for him there is no coming to the delights of Paradise. I had indeed supplicated Him that I might return to my native land, not as a compensation for the sufferings decreed to me, but that I might die under the horse hoofs of warriors fighting for the Faith who, being slain in fray, live again without suffering death.”[420] Then she repeated the following couplets,

“Our Fort is Tor,[421] and flames the fire of fight:
Moses art thou and this is time for aid:
Cast down thy rod, ‘twill swallow all they wrought,
Nor dread for men their ropes be vipers made.[422]
For Chapters read on fight day lines of foes,
And on their necks ‘grave versets[423] wi’ thy blade!”

When the old woman had ended her verse, her eyes overflowed with tears and her forehead under the unguent shone like gleaming light, and Sharrkan rose and kissed her hand and caused food be brought before her: but she refused it, saying, “I have not broken my fast by day for fifteen years; and how should I break it at such a time when my Lord hath been bountiful to me in delivering me from the captivity of the Infidels and removing from me that which was more grievous to me than torment of fire? I will wait till sun down.” So when it was nightfall, Sharrkan and Zau al-Makan came and served her with food and said, “Eat, O ascetic!” But she said, “This is no time for eating; it is the time for worshipping the Requiting King.” Then she stood up in the prayer niche and remained praying till the night was spent; and she ceased not to do after this fashion for three days and nights, sitting not but at the time of the Salám or salutation[424] ending with several prayers. When Zau al- Makan saw her on this wise, firm belief in her get hold of his heart and he said to Sharrkan, “Cause a tent of perfumed leather to be pitched for this Religious, and appoint a body servant to wait upon him.” On the fourth day she called for food; so they brought her all kinds of meats that could seduce the sense or delight the sight; but of all this she would eat only a scone with salt. Then she again turned to her fast and, as the night came, she rose anew to pray; when Sharrkan said to Zau al-Makan, “Verily, this man carrieth renunciation of the world to the extreme of renouncing, and, were it not for this Holy War, I would join myself to him and worship Allah in his service, till I came before His presence. And now I desire to enter his tent and talk with him for an hour.” Quoth Zau al-Makan, “And I also: To-morrow we sally forth to fight against Constantinople, and we shall find no time like the present.” Said the Wazir Dandan, “And I no less desire to see this ascetic; haply he will pray for me that I find death in this Holy War and come to the presence of my Lord, for I am aweary of the world.” So as soon as night had darkened, they repaired to the tent of that witch, Zat al-Dawahi; and, seeing her standing to pray, they drew near her and fell a weeping for pity of her; but she paid no heed to them till midnight was past, when she ended her orisons by pronouncing the salutation. Then she turned to them and after wishing them long life, asked them “Wherefore come ye?”, whereto they answered, “O thou holy man! diddest thou not hear us weep around thee?” She rejoined, “To him who standeth in the presence of Allah, remaineth no existence in time, either for hearing any or for seeing aught about him.” Quoth they, “We would have thee recount to us the cause of thy captivity and pray for us this night, for that will profit us more than the possession of Constantinople.” Now when she heard their words she said, “By Allah, were ye not the Emirs of the Moslems, I would not relate to you aught of this at any time; for I complain not but to Allah alone. However, to you I will relate the circumstances of my captivity. Know, then, that I was in the saintly City of Jerusalem with certain ecstatics and inspired men, and did not magnify myself among them, for that Allah (be He exalted and extolled!) had endowed me with humility and abnegation, till I chanced to go down to the sea one night and walked upon the water. Then entered into me pride; whence I know not, and I said to myself, ‘Who like me can walk the water?’ And my heart from that time hardened and Allah afflicted me with the love of travel. So I journeyed to Roum land and visited every part for a whole year, and left no place but therein I worshiped Allah. When I came to this spot,[425] I clomb the mountain and saw there an hermitage, inhabited by a monk called Matrubina, who, when he sighted me, came out and kissed my hands and feet and said, ‘Verily, I have seen thee since thou enteredst the land of the Greeks, and thou hast filled me with longing for the land of Al-Islam.’ Then he took my hand and carried me into that hermitage, and brought me to a dark room; and, when I entered it unawares, he locked the door on me and left me there forty days, without meat or drink; for it was his intent to kill me by delay. It chanced one day, that a Knight called Dakianús[426] came to the hermitage, accompanied by ten squires and his daughter Tamásil, a girl whose beauty was incomparable. When they entered that hermitage, the monk Matruhina told them of me, and the Knight said, ‘Bring him out, for surely there is not on him a bird’s meal of meat.’ So they opened the door of the dark room and found me standing in the niche, praying and reciting the Koran and glorifying Allah and humbling myself before the Almighty. When they saw me in this state Matrohina exclaimed, ‘This man is indeed a sorcerer of the sorcerers!’; and hearing his words, they all came in on me, Dakianus and his company withal, and they beat me with a grievous beating, till I desired death and reproached myself, saying, ‘This is his reward who exalteth himself and who prideth himself on that which Allah hath vouchsafed to him, beyond his own competence! And thou, O my soul, verily self esteem and arrogance have crept into thee. Dost thou not know that pride angereth the Lord and hardeneth the heart and bringeth men to the Fire?’ Then they laid me in fetters and returned me to my place which was the dungeon under ground. Every three days, they threw me down a scone of barley bread and a draught of water; and every month or two the Knight came to the hermitage. Now his daughter Tamasil had grown up, for she was nine years old when I first saw her, and fifteen years passed over me in captivity, so that she had reached her four and twentieth year. There is not in our land nor in the land of the Greeks a fairer than she, and her father feared lest the King take her from him; for she had vowed herself to the Messiah and rode with Dakianus in the habit of a cavalier, so that albeit none might compare with her in loveliness, no one who saw her knew her for a woman. And her father had laid up his monies in this hermitage, every one who had aught of price or treasured hoard being wont to deposit it therein; and I saw there all manner of gold and silver and jewels and precious vessels and rarities, none may keep count of them save Almighty Allah. Now ye are worthier of these riches than those Infidels; so lay hands on that which is in the hermitage and divide it among the Moslems and especially on fighters in the Holy War. When these merchants came to Constantinople and sold their merchandise, that image which is on the wall spoke to them, by grace of a marvel which Allah granted to me; so they made for that hermitage and slew Matruhina, after torturing him with most grievous torments, and dragging him by the beard, till he showed them the place where I was; when they took me and found no path but flight for dread of death. Now To-morrow night Tamasil will visit that hermitage as is her habit, and her father and his squires will come after her, as he feareth for her; so, if ye would witness these things, take me with you and I will deliver to you the monies and the riches of the Knight Dakianus which be in that mountain; for I saw them bring out vessels of gold and silver to drink therefrom, and I heard a damsel of their company sing to them in Arabic and well-away! that so sweet a voice should not be busied in chaunting the Koran. If, then, ye will; enter into that hermitage and hide there against the coming of Dakianus and his daughter; and take her, for she is fit only for the King of the Age, Sharrkan, or King Zau al-Makan.” Thereat they all rejoiced with the exception of the Wazir Dandan, who put scant faith in her story, for her words took no hold on his reason, and signs of doubt in her and disbelief showed in his face.[427] Yet he was confounded at her discourse, but he feared to speak with her for awe of the King. Then quoth the ancient dame, Zat al-Dawahi, “Verily, I fear lest the Knight come and, seeing these troops encamped in the meadow, be afraid to enter the hermitage.” So Zau al-Makan ordered the army to march upon Constantinople and said, “I have resolved to take with me an hundred horse and many mules and make for that mountain, where we will load the beasts with the monies which be in the hermitage.” Then he sent at once for the Chief Chamberlain whom they brought into the presence; and he summoned likewise the leaders of the Turks and Daylamites and said, “As soon as it is dawn, do ye set forth for Constantinople; and thou, O Chamberlain, shalt take my place in council and contrivance, while thou, O Rustam, shalt be my brother’s deputy in battle. But let none know that we are not with you and after three days we will rejoin you.” Then he chose out an hundred of the doughtiest riders, and he and Sharrkan and the Minister Dandan set out for the hermitage, and the hundred horsemen led the mules with chests for transporting the treasure.—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Ninety-sixth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Sharrkan and his brother, Zau al-Makan and the Wazir Dandan set off with an hundred horse for the hermitage described to them by that accursed Zat al-Dawahi, and they took with them mules and chests for transporting the treasure. Now as soon as dawned the morn, the Chamberlain signalled to the host an order for departure, and they set out thinking that the two Kings and the Wazir were with them; knowing not that the three had made for the monastery. Such was the case with the host, but as regards the two Kings and the Minister, they tarried in their place till the end of that day. Now the Infidels who were with Zat al-Dawahi took their departure privily, after they had gone in to her and kissed her hands and feet and obtained her leave to march. So she not only gave them permission but also taught them all she minded of wile and guile. And when it was dark night, she arose and went in to Zau al-Makan and his companions and said to them, “Come, let us set out for the mountain, and take with you a few men at arms.” They obeyed her and left five horsemen at the foot of the mountain, whilst the rest rode on before Zat al-Dawahi, who gained new strength for excess of joy, so that Zau al-Makan said, “Glory be to Him who sustaineth this holy man, whose like we never saw!” Now the witch had written a letter to the King of Constantinople and despatched it on the wings of a bird,[428] acquainting him with what had passed and ending, “I wish thee to send me ten thousand horsemen of the bravest of the Greeks and let them steal along the foot of the mountains with caution, lest the host of Al-Islam get sight of them; and, when they reach the hermitage, let them ambush themselves there, till I come to them with the Moslem King and his brother, for I shall inveigle them and will bring them thither, together with the Wazir and an hundred horse and no more, that I may presently deliver to them the crosses which be in the hermitage. I am resolved to slay the Monk Matruhina, since my scheme cannot be carried out but by taking his life. If my plot work well, not one of the Moslems shall return to his own country; no, not a living wight nor one who blows the fire alight; and Matruhina shall be a sacrifice for the followers of the Nazarene faith and the servants of the Cross, and praise be to the Messiah, first and last.” When this letter reached Constantinople, the keeper of the carrier pigeons carried it to King Afridun, who read it and forthwith inspected his host and equipped ten thousand cavaliers with horses and dromedaries and mules and provaunt and bade them repair to that hermitage and, after reaching the tower, to hide therein. Thus far concerning them; but as regards King Zau al-Makan and his brother Sharrkan and the Wazir Dandan and the escort, when they reached the hermitage they entered and met the Monk Matruhina, who came out to see who and what they were; whereupon quoth that pious man Zat al-Dawahi, “Slay this damned fellow.”[429] So they smote him with their swords and made him drink the cup of death. Then the accursed old woman carried them to the place of offerings and ex votos, and brought out to them treasures and precious things more than she had described to them; and after gathering the whole together, they set the booty in chests and loaded the mules therewith. As for Tamasil, she came not, she or her father, for fear of the Moslems; so Zau al-Makan tarried there, awaiting her all that day and the next and a third, till Sharrkan said to him, “By Allah, I am troubled anent the army of Al-Islam, for I know not what is become of them.” His brother replied, “And I also am concerned for them: we have come by this great treasure and I do not believe that Tamasil or any one else will approach the hermitage, after that befel which hath befallen the host of the Christians. It behoveth us, then, to content ourselves with what Allah hath given us and depart; so haply He will help us conquer Constantinople.” Accordingly they came down from the mountain, while Zat al-Dawahi was impotent to oppose their march for fear of betraying her deceit; and they fared forwards till they reached the head of a defile, where the old woman had laid an ambush for them with the ten thousand horse. As soon as these saw the Moslems they encircled them from all sides, couching lance and baring the white sabre blade; and the Infidels shouted the watch word of their faithless Faith and set the shafts of their mischief astring. When Zau al-Makan and his brother Sharrkan and the Minister Dandan looked upon this host, they saw that it was a numerous army and said, “Who can have given these troops information of us?” Replied Sharrkan, “O my brother, this be no time for talk; this is the time for smiting with swords and shooting with shafts) so gird up your courage and hearten your hearts, for this strait is like a street with two gates; though, by the virtue of the Lord of Arabs and Ajams, were not the place so narrow I would bring them to naught, even though they were an hundred thousand men!” Said Zau al-Makan, “Had we wotted this we would have brought with us five thousand horse;” and the Wazir Dandan continued, “If we had ten thousand horse they had availed us naught in these narrows; but Allah will succour us against them. I know this defile and its straitness, and I know there be many places of refuge in it; for I have been here on razzia with King Omar bin al-Nu’uman, what while we besieged Constantinople. We abode in this place, and here is water colder than snow. So come, let us push out of this defile ere the Infidel host increase on us and get the start of us to the mountain top, whence they will hurl down rocks upon us, and we powerless to come at them.” So they began hurrying on to get out of those narrows; but the pious man, Zat al-Dawahi, looked at them and said, “What is it ye fear, ye who have vowed yourselves to the Lord, and to working His will? By Allah, I abode imprisoned underground for fifteen years, yet never gainsaid the Almighty in aught he did with me! Fight ye in Allah’s way; so whoever of you is slain Paradise shall be his abode, and whoso slayeth, his striving shall be to his honour.” When they heard from the ascetic these words, their care and anxiety ceased from them and they stood firm till the Infidels charged down from all sides, whilst the swords played upon their necks and the cup of death went round amongst them. The Moslems fought for the service of Allah a right good fight, and wrought upon His foes with sway of sword and lunge of lance; whilst Zau al-Makan smote upon the men and garred the knights bite the dust and their heads from their bodies take flight, five by five and ten by ten, till he had done to death a number of them past numbering and an accompt beyond counting. Now while so doing, he looked at the accursed old woman who was waving her sword and heartening them, and all who feared fled to her for shelter; but she was also signing the Infidels to slay Sharrkan. So troop after troop rushed on him with design to do him die; but each troop that charged, he charged and drove back; and when another troop attacked him he repelled the assault with the sword in their backs; for he thought it was the devotee’s blessing that gave him the vic tory, and he said in himself, “Verily on this holy men Allah looketh with eyes of His favour and strengtheneth my prowess against the Infidels with the purity of his pious intent: for I see that they fear me and cannot prevail against me, but every one who assaileth me turneth tail and taketh flight.” So they battled the rest of the day and, when night fell, the Moslems took refuge in a cave of that defile being weary with stress of war and cast of stone: and that day were slain of them five and forty. And when they were gathered together, they sought the devotee, but could find no trace of him; and this was grievous to them and they said, “Belike, he hath died a martyr.” Quoth Sharrkan, “I saw him heartening the horsemen with divine instances and using as talisman verses of Holy Writ.” Now while they were talking, behold, the accursed old woman, Zat al-Dawahi, stood before them, hending in hand the head of the Chief Captain of the ten thousand horse, a noble knight, a champion fierce in fight and a Satan for blight. One of the Turks had slain him with an arrow, and Allah hurried his soul to the fire; and when the Infidels saw what that Moslem had done with their leader, they all fell on him and wrought his bane and hewed him in pieces with their swords, and Allah hurried his soul to Heaven. Then the accursed old woman cut off that Knight’s head and brought it and threw it at the feet of Sharrkan and Zau al-Makan and the Wazir Dandan. Now when Sharrkan sew her, he sprang up hastily before her and exclaimed, “Praised be Allah for thy safety and for our sighting thee, O holy man and devout champion of the Religion!” Replied she, O my son, I have sought martyrdom this day, and have thrown my life away amid the Infidel array, but they feared me with dismay. When ye dispersed, I waxed jealous for your honour; so I rushed on the Chief Knight their leader, albeit he was a match for a thousand horse, and I smote him till I severed head from trunk. Not one of the Infidels could near me; so I brought his head to you,”—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Ninety-seventh Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the damned witch, Zat al-Dawahi, took the head of the Knight, the leader of the twenty thousand Infidels, she brought it and threw it down before Zau al-Makan and his brother Sharrkan and the Wazir Dandan, saying, “When I saw your condition, I waxed jealous for your honour; so I rushed on the Chief Knight and smote him with the sword till I severed head from trunk. And none could near me, so I brought his head to you, that you may be strengthened in Holy War and work out with your swords the will of the Lord of the Faithful. And now I purpose leaving you to strive against the Infidels, whilst I go to your army, though they be at the gates of Constantinople, and return with twenty thousand horse to destroy these Unfaithfuls.” Quoth Sharrkan, “How wilt thou pass to them, O thou holy man, seeing that the valley is blocked up on all sides by the Miscreants?” Quoth the accursed hag, “Allah will veil me from their eyes and they shall not sight me;[430] nor, if any saw me, would he dare to attack me at that time, for I shall be as one non existing, absorbed in Allah, and He will fend off from me His foes.” “Thou sayest sooth, O holy man,” rejoined Sharrkan, “for indeed I have been witness of that; so, if thou can pass out at the first of the night, ‘twill be best for us.” Replied she, “I will set out at this very hour and, if thou desire, thou shalt go with me and none shall see thee. Furthermore if thy brother also have a mind to go with us we will take him, but none else; for the shadow of a saint can cover only twain.” Sharrkan said, “As for me I will not leave my comrades; but, if my brother will, there is no harm in his going with thee and setting us free of this strait; for he is the stronghold of the Moslems and the sword of the Lord of the three Worlds; and if it be his pleasure, let him take with him the Wazir Dandan, or whom else he may elect and send us ten thousand horse to succour us against these caitiffs.” So after debate they agreed on this and the old woman said, “Give me leisure to go before you and consider the condition of the Infidels, if they be asleep or awake.” Quoth they, “We will not go forth save with thee and trust our affair to Allah.” “If I do your bidding,” replied she, “blame me not but blame yourselves; for it is my rede that you await me till I bring you tidings of the case.” Then said Sharrkan, “Go to them and delay not from us, for we shall be awaiting thee.” Thereupon she fared forth and Sharrkan turned to his brother addressing him and said, “Were not this holy man a miracle worker, he had never slain yonder furious knight. This is proof sufficient of the ascetic’s power; and of a truth the pride of the Infidels is laid low by the slaying of this cavalier, for he was violent, an evil devil and a stubborn.” Now whilst they were thus devising of the mighty works of the devotee, behold, the accursed Zat al-Dawahi came upon them and promised them victory over the Unbelievers; wherefor they thanked her (not knowing that all this was wile and guile) and the damned hag asked, “Where be the King of the Age, Zau al-Makan, and the Minister Dandan?” Answered he, “Here am I!” Take with thee thy Wazir,” said she, “and follow after me, that we may fare forth to Constantinople.” Now she had acquainted the Infidels with the cheat she had put upon the Moslems, and they rejoiced with exceeding great joy, and said, Our hearts will not be contented till we shall have slain their King in return for the Knight’s death; because we had no stouter rider than he;” and they added (bespeaking the ill omened hag as she told them her plan of faring to the land of the Moslems), “When thou bringest him to us, we will bear him to King Afridun.” Then she went out and went out with her Zau al-Makan and the Minister Dandan, and she walked on before the two saying, “Fare forth with the blessing of Almighty Allah!” So they did her bidding, for the shaft of Pate and Fortune of man’s lot had shot them, and she ceased not leading them both through the midst of the Grecian camp, till they came to the defile, the narrow pass aforesaid, whilst the Infidel enemy watched them, but did them no hindrance; for the infernal old woman had enjoined this. Now when Zau al-Makan and the Wazir Dandan saw that the Infidel host offered them no let and stay and yet had them in sight, the Wazir exclaimed, “By Allah, this is one of the holy man’s saintly miracles! and doubtless he be of the elect.” Rejoined Zau al-Makan, “By Allah, I think the Infidels be naught but blind, for we see them and they see us not.” And while they were thus praising the holy man and recounting his mighty works and his piety and his prayers, behold, the Infidels charged down on them from all sides and surrounded them and seized them, saying, “Is there anyone else with you twain, that we may seize upon him too?” And the Wazir Dandan replied, “See you not yon other man that is before us? ‘ Replied the Unbelievers, “By the truth of the Messiah and the Monks, and the Primate and the Metropolitan, we see none save you two!” Then Zau Al-Makan said, “By Allah, this is a chastisement decreed to us by Almighty Allah!”—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Ninety-eighth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the Unfaithful had seized upon King Zau al-Makan and the Wazir Dandan, they said to the two, “Is there anyone else with you twain, that we may seize upon him also?” And the Wazir Dandan replied, “See you not yon other man who be with us?” They rejoined, “By the truth of the Messiah and the Monks and the Primate and the Metropolitan, we see none save you two!” Then the Infidels laid shackles on their feet and set men to guard them during the night, whilst Zat al-Dawahi fared on and disappeared from their sight. So they fell to lamenting and saying to each other, “Verily, the opposing of pious men leadeth to greater distress than this, and we are punished by the strait which hath befallen us.” So far concerning Zau al-Makan and the Wazir Dandan; but as regards King Sharrkan, he passed that night in the cavern with his comrades, and when dawned the day and he had prayed the morn prayer, he and his men made ready to do battle with the Infidel and he heartened them and promised them all good. Then they sallied out till they were hard upon the Unbelievers and, when these saw them from afar, they cried out to them, saying, “O Moslems, we have taken captives your Sultan and your Wazir who hath the ordering of your affairs; and except ye leave off fighting us, we will slay you to the last man; but an you yield yourselves we will take you to our King, who will make peace with you on condition that you quit our country and return home and harm us in naught, and we will do you no harm in aught. If ye accept, it will be well for you; but if ye refuse there remaineth nothing for you but death. So we have told you sooth, and this is our last word to you.” Now when Sharrkan heard this and was certified of the captivity of his brother and the Wazir Dandan, he was weighed down with woe and wept; his force failed him and, making sure of death, he said to himself, “Would I knew the cause of their capture! Did they fail of respect to the holy man or disobey him, or what was the matter?” Then they sprang up to battle with the Unbelievers and slew great numbers of them. The brave was known that day from craven men, and sword and spear were dyed with bloody stain; for the Infidels flocked up on them, as flies flock to drink, from hill and from plain; but Sharrkan and his men ceased not to wage the fight of those who fear not to die, nor let death hinder them from the pursuit of victory, till the valley ran gore and earth was full of the slain she bore. And when night fell the armies separated each making for his own place; and the Moslems returned to the cavern where gain and loss were manifest to them: few remained of them and there was no dependence for them but on Allah and the scymitar. Now there had been slain of them that day five and thirty men of the chiefest Emirs, and they had killed thousands of the Infidels, footmen and fighters on horse. When Sharrkan saw this, the case was grievous to him and he asked his comrades “What shall we do?”; whereto all answered, “That which Almighty Allah willeth shall befal us.” On the morning of the second day, Sharrkan said to the remnant of his troop, “If ye go forth to fight, not one of you will remain alive and we have but little left of food and water; so I deem ye would do better to bare your brands and go forth and stand at the mouth of this cavern, to hinder any from entering. Haply the holy man may have reached the Moslem host, and may return with ten thousand horses to succour us in fight with the Infidels, for belike the Unfaithful may have failed to see him and those with him.” They said, This were the better course to take, and of its expediency no doubt we make.” So the troop went out and held the cavern mouth standing by its walls; and every one of the Infidels who sought to enter in, they slew. Thus did they fend off the foe from the gape of the cave and they patiently supported all such assaults, till day was done and night came on dusky and dun;—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Ninety-ninth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the army of the Moslems held the cavern mouth and stood by its walls and they fended off the foe, and every one of the Infidels attempted to charge them, him they slew; and they patiently supported all such assaults till day was done and night came on dusky and dun, by which time King Sharrkan had only five and twenty men and no more left. Then quoth the Infidels to one another, “When shall these battle days have an end? We are weary of warring the Moslems.” And quoth one of them, “Up and at them, for there remain of them but five and twenty men! If we cannot prevail on them to fight, let us light a fire upon them;[431] and if they submit themselves and yield to us, we will take them prisoners; but if they refuse we will leave them for fuel to the fire, so shall they become to men of foreseeing mind a warning dire. May the Messiah on their fathers have no grace, and may the sojourn of the Nazarenes be for them no abiding place!” So they carried fuel to the jaws of the cavern and set fire to it. Thereupon Sharrkan and his companions made sure of perdition and yielded themselves prisoners. And while they were in this condition, lo! the knight their captain said to those who counselled their slaughter, “It is not for any save for King Afridun to kill them, that he may gratify his wrath; therefore it behoveth us to keep them in durance by us till the morrow, when we will journey with them to Constantinople and deliver them to our King, who shall deal with them as he please.” Said they, “This is the right course;” and he commanded to pinion them and set guards over them. Then, as soon as it was black night, the Infidels busied themselves with feasting and making festival; and they called for wine and drank it till all fell upon their backs. Now Sharrkan and his brother, Zau al-Makan, were in confinement and so also were his companion knights; whereupon the elder turned to the younger brother and said to him, “O my brother, how win free?” “By Allah,” replied Zau al Makan, “I know not; for here we be like birds in cage.” Then Sharrkan waxed wroth and sighed for excess of rage and stretched himself, till his pinion bonds brass asunder; whereupon being free he arose and went up to the Captain of the guard, and taking from his pocket the keys of the fetters, freed Zau al-Makan and the Wazir Dandan and the rest of his men. Then he turned to the two and said, “I desire to slay three of these Infidels and take and don their dress, we three; so that we shall be guised as Greeks and we will pass through them, with out their knowing us, and fare forth to our own force.” Replied Zau al-Makan, “This is no safe counsel for if we kill them, I fear some of their comrades may hear their shrieks and the foe be aroused upon us and kill us. ‘Twere the surer way to pass out of the defile.” So they agreed upon this and set out; and, when they had left the head of the strait a little distance behind, they saw horses picketed and the riders sleeping: and Sharrkan said to his brother, “Better we take each one of us a steed.” There were five and twenty horsemen, so they took five and twenty horses, whilst Allah sent sleep upon the Infidels for a purpose He knew and the Faithful mounted and fared on till they were out of reach. Meanwhile Sharrkan set to gathering from the Infidels as many weapons, swords, and spears, as were wanted. And while they took saddle and struck forwards none of the Infidels supposed that anyone could release Zau al-Makan and his brother and their men; or that their prisoners had power to escape. Now when all the captives were safe from the Unfaithful, Sharrkan came up with his comrades, and found them awaiting his arrival, on coals of flame, expecting him in anxious grame, so he turned to them and said, “Feel no fear since Allah protecteth us. I have that to propose which haply shall effect our purpose.” “What is it?” asked they and he answered, “I desire that ye all climb to the mountain top and cry out with one voice, ‘Allaho Akbar!’ and ye add, ‘The army of Al Islam is upon you! Allaho Akbar!’ This wise their company will surely be dissolved nor will they find out the trick for they are drunk, but they will think that the Moslem troops have encompassed them about on all sides and have mingled with them; so they will fall on one another brand in hand during the confusion of drunkenness and sleep, and we will cleave them asunder with their own swords and the scymitar will go round amongst them till dawn.” Replied Zau al-Makan, “This plan is not good; we should do better to make our way to our army and speak not a word; for if we cry out ‘Allaho Akbar,’ they will wake and fall on us and not one of us will escape.” Rejoined Sharrkan, “By Allah, though they should awake tis no matter, and I long that ye fall in with my plan, for naught save good can come of it!” So they agreed thereon and clomb the mountain and shouted, “Allaho Akbar!” And hills and trees and rocks reworded their Allaho Akbar for fear of the Almighty. But when the Kafirs heard this slogan they cried out to one another,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the One Hundredth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Sharrkan spake thus, “I long that ye fall in with this my plan, for naught save good can come of it.” So they agreed thereon and clomb the mountain head and shouted, “Allaho Akbar!”; and hills and trees and rocks re worded their Allaho Akbar for fear of the Almighty. The Infidels heard it and cried out one to other and donned their armour and said, “The foe is upon us, by the truth of the Messiah!” Then they fell on one another and slew of their own men more than any knoweth save Almighty Allah. As soon as it was dawn, they sought for the captives, but found no trace of them, and their captains said, “They who did this were the prisoners in our possession; up, then, and after them in all haste till ye overtake them, when we will make them quaff the cup of requital; and let not fright nor the panic of sudden awaking possess you.” So they took horse and rode after the fugitives and it wanted but an eye twinkling before they overtook them and surrounded them. Now when Zau al-Makan saw this, he was seized with increase of terror and said to his brother, “What I feared would come, is come upon us, and now it remaineth only for us to fight for the Faith.” But Sharrkan preferred to hold his peace. Then Zau al- Makan and his companions rushed down from the hill crest, shouting, “Allaho Akbar!” and his men repeated the war cry and addressed themselves to fight and to sell their lives in the service of the Lord of Faithful Men; and while they were in this case, behold, they heard many voices voicing, “There is no god but the God! God is most great! Salutation and salvation upon the Apostle, the Bringer of glad Tidings, the Bearer of bad Tidings!’’[432] So they turned towards the direction of the sound and saw a company of Moslems who believed in one God, pushing towards them, whereat their hearts were heartened and Sharrkan charged upon the Infidels crying out, “There is no god but the God! God is most great! he and those with him, so that earth quaked as with an earthquake and the Unbeliever host brake asunder and fled into the mountains and the Moslems followed them with lunge and blow; and Zau al-Makan and his comrades of the Moslems ceased not to smite the hosts of the Infidel foe, and parted heads from bodies till day darkened and night coming on starkened sight. Thereupon the Moslems drew together and passed the night in congratulations, and, when morning dawned and daybreak shone with its shine and sheen, they saw Bahram, the captain of the Daylamites, and Rustam, the captain of the Turks, advancing to join them, with twenty thousand cavaliers like lions grim. As soon as they saw Zau al-Makan, the riders dismounted and saluted him, and kissed ground between his hands when he said to them, “Rejoice ye in the glad tidings of the victory of the Moslem and the discomfiture of the tribe of Unbelievers!” Then they gave one another joy of their deliverance and of the greatness of their reward after Resurrection Day. Now the cause of the coming of the succours to that place was this. When the Emir Bahram and the Emir Rustam and the Chief Chamberlain, with the Moslem host and flags flaunting high ahead, came in sight of Constantinople they saw that the Nazarenes had mounted the walls and manned the towers and the forts, and had set all their defenders in order of defence, as soon as they learned of the approach of the host of Al-Islam and the banners Mohammedan, and they heard the clash of arms and the noise of war voices and tramp of horse hoofs and from their look outs they beheld the Moslems, with their standards and ensigns of the Faith of Unity under the dust clouds and lo! they were like a flight of locusts or rain clouds raining rain, and the voices of the Moslems chanting the Koran and glorifying the Compassionate One, struck their ears. Now the Infidels knew of the approach of this host through Zat al-Dawahi with her craft and whoredom,[433] calumny and contrivance. And the armies of Al-Islam drew near, as it were the swollen sea, for the multitude of footmen and horsemen and women and children. Then quoth the General of the Turks to the General of the Daylamites, “O Emir, of a truth, we are in jeopardy from the multitude of the foe who is on the walls. Look at yonder bulwarks and at this world of folk like the seas that clash with dashing billows. Indeed yon Infidel outnumbereth us an hundredfold and we cannot be safe from spies who may inform them that we are without a Sultan. In very sooth, we run danger from these enemies, whose numbers may not be told and whose resources none can withhold, especially in the absence of King Zau al-Makan and his brother Sharrkan and the illustrious Wazir Dandan. If they know of this, they will be emboldened to attack us in their absence and with the sword they will annihilate us to the last man; not one of us safety shall see. So it is my counsel that thou take ten thousand riders of the allies and the Turks, and march them to the hermitage of Matruhina and the meadow of Malúkhiná in quest of our brothers and comrades. If thou act by my advice, it may be we shall approve ourselves the cause of their deliverance, in case they be hard pressed by the Infidels; and if thou act not, blame will not attach to me. But, an ye go, it behoveth that ye return quickly, for ill suspicion is part of prudence.” The Emir aforesaid fell in with his counsel; so they chose twenty thousand horse and they set out covering the roads and making for the monastery above mentioned. So much for the cause of their coming; but as regards the ancient dame, Zat al-Dawahi, as soon as she had delivered Sultan Zau al-Makan and his brother Sharrkan and the Wazir Dandan into the hands of the Infidels, the foul whore mounted a swift steed, saying to the Faithless, “I design to rejoin the Moslem army which is at Constantinople and contrive for their destruction; for I will inform them that their chiefs are dead, and when they hear that from me, their joining will be disjointed and the cord of their confederation cut and their host scattered. Then will I go to King Afridun, Lord of Constantinople, and to my son Hardub, King of Roum, and relate to them their tidings and they will sally forth on the Moslems with their troops and will destroy them and will not leave one of them alive.” So she mounted and struck across country on her good steed all the livelong night; and, when day-dawned, appeared the armies of Bahram and Rustam advancing towards her. So she turned into a wayside brake and hid her horse among the trees and she walked a while saying to herself, “Haply the Moslem hosts be returning, routed, from the assault of Constantinople.” However, as she drew near them she looked narrowly and made sure that their standards were not reversed,[434] and she knew that they were coming not as conquered men, but fearing for their King and comrades. When she was assured of this, she hastened towards them, running at speed, like a devil of ill rede, till reaching them she cried out, “Haste ye! haste ye! O soldiers of the Compassionate One, hasten to the Holy War against the hosts of Satan!” When Bahram saw her he dismounted and kissed the ground before her and asked her, “O friend of Allah what is behind thee?” Answered she, “Question not of sad case and sore condition; for when our comrades had taken the treasure from the hermitage of Matruhina, and designed to win their way Constantinople wards, thereupon came out on them a driving host and a dreadful of the Infidels.” And the damned witch repeated to them the story to fill them with trouble and terror, adding, “The most of them are dead, and there are but five and twenty men left.” Said Bahram, “O holy man! when didst thou leave them?” “But this night,”[435] replied she. He cried, “Glory be to Allah! to Him who hath rolled up the far distance for thee like a rug, so that thou hast sped thus walking upon thy feet and props upon a mid-rib of palm-tree! But thou art one of the saints which fly like birds when inspired and possessed by His directions.”[436] Then he mounted his horse, and he was perplexed and confounded by what he had heard from the beldam so strong in lies and ill calumnies, and he said, “There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great! Verily our labour is lost and our hearts are heavy within us, for our Sultan is a prisoner and those who are with him.” Then they cut across the country, wide and side, night and day, and when morning dawned they reached the head of the defile and saw Zau al-Makan and Sharrkan shouting. “There is no god but the God! Allaho Akbar! and Salutation and Salvation upon the Congratulator, the Comminator.”[437] Whereupon he and his drove at the Unbelievers and whelmed them, as the rain torrent whelms the waste; and cried out their war cries, till fear get hold of the prowess Knights and the mountains were cloven in affright. And when shone the day and showed its shine and sheen, the breeze of morning blew upon them sweet and fragrant, and each recognised other as hath been said before. Then they kissed the ground before the King and before his brother Sharrkan, who told them all that had befallen the party in the cave. Now thereat they marvelled and said to one another, “Hasten we back to Constantinople, for we left our companions there, and our hearts are with them.” So they hurried departure, commending themselves to the Subtle, the All-wise, and Zau al-Makan exhorted the Moslems to steadfast- ness and versified in the following couplets,[438]

“Be praises mine to all praiseworthy Thee,
O Lord, who stinted not mine aid to be!
Though was I lost abroad, Thou west to me
Strongest support which vouchsafed victory:
Thou gav’st me wealth and reign and goodly gifts,
And slungest con quering sword of valiancy:
Thou mad’st me blest beneath Thy kingly shade,
Engraced with generous boons dealt fain and free:
Thou savedst
from every fear I feared, by aid
Of my Wazir, the Age’s noblest he!
Garred us Thy grace in fight to throw the Greek,
Who yet came back dight in War’s cramoisie:
Then made I feint to fly from out the fight;
But like grim lion turning made them flee,
And left on valley sole my foemen, drunk
Not with old wine[439] but Death-cup’s revelry:
Then came the Saintly Hermit, and he showed
His marvels wrought for town and wold to see;
When slew they hero-wights who woke to dwell
In Eden bowers wherein sweet rill-lets well.”

But, when Zau al-Makan had made an end of versifying, his brother Sharrkan congratulated him on his safety and thanked him for the deeds he had done; after which both set out forcing their marches to rejoin their army.—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and First Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Sharrkan congratulated his brother, Zau al-Makan, on his safety and thanked him for the deeds he had done; after which both set out forcing their marches to rejoin their army. Such was their case; but as regards the old woman, Zat al-Dawahi, after she had foregathered with the hosts of Rustam and Bahram, she returned to the coppice, where she took her steed and mounted and sped on at speed, till she drew near the Moslem army that beleaguered Constantinople, when she lighted down from her destrier and led it to the pavilion tent of the Chief Chamberlain. And when he saw her, he stood up to her in honour and signed to her with his right hand and said, “Welcome O pious recluse!” Then he questioned her of what had befallen, and she repeated to him her disquieting lies and deluding calumnies, saying, “In sooth I fear for the Emir Rustam, and the Emir Bahram, for that I met them and theirs on the way and sent them and their following to relieve the King and his companions. Now there are but twenty thousand horse and the Unbelievers outnumber them; so I would have thee at this moment send off the rest of thy troops at full speed to their suc cour, lest they be slain to the last man.” And she cried to them, “Haste! Haste!” When the Chamberlain and the Moslems heard these words, their spirits fell and they wept; but Zat al-Dawahi said to them, “Ask aidance of Allah and bear patiently this triburation; for ye have the example of those who have been before you of the people of Mohammed; and Paradise with its palaces is laid out by Allah for those who die martyrs; and needs must all die, but most praiseworthy is dying while fighting for the Faith.” The Chamberlain, hearing this speech of the accursed old woman, called for the Emir Bahram’s brother, a knight by name Tarkash; and, choosing out for him ten thousand horse, riders famed for force, bade him set out at once. So he fared forth and marched all that day and the whole of the next night, till he neared the Moslems. When daylight dawned, Sharrkan saw the dust cloud about them and feared for the men of Al-Islam and said, “If these troops which are coming upon us be Moslem men our victory is assured by them; but, if these be Nazarenes, there is no gainsaying Destiny’s decrees.” Then he turned to his brother, Zau al- Makan, and said, Never fear, for with my life I will ransom thee from death. If these be Mohammedan troops, then were it an increase of heavenly favours; but, if they be our foes, there is no help save that we fight them. Yet do I long to meet the Holy Man ere I die, so I may beg him to pray that I die not save by death of martyrdom.” Whilst the twain were thus speaking, behold, there appeared the banners inscribed with the words, “There is no god but the God and Mohammed is the Apostle of God;” and Sharrkan cried out, “How is it with the Moslems?” “All are sound and safe,” replied they, “and we came not but out of concern for you.” Then the Chief of the army dismounted and, kissing ground before Sharrkan, asked, “O my lord, how be the Sultan and the Wazir Dandan and Rustam and my brother Bahram; are they all in safety?” He answered, “All well; but who brought thee tidings of us?” Quoth Tarkash; “It was the Holy Man who told us that he had met my brother Bahram and Rustam and had sent them both to you and he also assured us that the Infidels had encompassed you and out numbered you; but I see not the case save the contrary thereof and that you are victorious.” They questioned him, “And how did the Holy Man reach you?”; and he replied, “Walking on his feet and he had compassed in a day and a night, ten days’ journey for a well girt horseman.” “There is no doubt but that he is a Saint of Allah,” said Sharrkan, “but where is he now?” They rejoined, “We left him with our troops, the folk of the Faith, moving them to do battle with the rebels and the Faithless.” Thereat Sharrkan rejoiced and all thanked Allah for their own deliverance and the safety of the Holy Man; and commended the dead to His mercy saying, “This was writ in the Book.” Then they set out making for Constantinople by forced marches, and whilst they were on this enterprise, behold, a dust cloud arose to such height that it walled the two horizons, the eastern and the western, from man’s sight and the day was darkened by it to night. But Sharrkan looked at it and said, “Verily, I fear lest this be the Infidels who have routed the army of Al-Islam for that this dust walleth the world, east and west, and hideth the two horizons, north and south.” Presently appeared under the dust a pillar of darkness, blacker than the blackness of dismal days; nor ceased to come upon them that column more dreadful than the dread of the Day of Doom. Horse and foot hastened up to look at it and know the terrors of the case, when behold, they saw it to be the recluse aforesaid; so they thronged round him to kiss his hands and he cried out, “O people of the Best of Mankind,[440] the lamp which shineth in darkness blind, verily the Infidels have outwitted the Moslems by guile, for they fell upon the host of the One God whilst they deemed themselves safe from the Faithless, and attacked them in their tents and made a sore slaughter of them what while they looked for no wile; so hasten to the aid of the Believers in the unity of God, and deliver them from those who deny Him!” Now when Sharrkan heard these words, his heart flew from his breast with sore trouble; and, alighting from his steed in amazement, he kissed the Recluse’s hands and feet. On like wise did his brother, Zau al-Makan, and the rest of the foot and horse troops; except the Wazir Dandan, who dismounted not but said, “By Allah, my heart flieth from this devotee, for I never knew show of devotion to religion that bred not bane. So leave him and rejoin your comrades the Moslems, for this man is of the outcasts from the gate of the mercy of the Lord of the Three Worlds! How often have I here made razzias with King Omar bin al-Nu’uman and trodden the earth of these lands!” Said Sharrkan, “Put away from thee such evil thought, hast thou not seen this Holy Man exciting the Faithful to fight, and holding spears and swords light? So slander him not, for backbiting is blameable and poisoned is the flesh of the pious.[441] Look how he inciteth us to fight the foe; and, did not Almighty Allah love him, He had cast him aforetime into fearful torment.” Then Sharrkan bade bring a Nubian mule for the ascetic to ride and said, “Mount, O pious man, devout and virtuous!” But the devotee refused to ride and feigned self denial, that he might attain his end; and they knew not that this holy personage was like him of whom the poet saith,

“He prayeth and he fasteth for an end he doth espy;
When once his end is safely won then fast and prayer good bye.”[442]

So the devotee ceased not to walk among the horsemen and the footmen, like a wily fox meditating guile, and began to uplift her voice, chanting the Koran and praising the Compassionate One. And they continued pressing forward till they approached the camp of Al-Islam, where Sharrkan found the Moslem in conquered plight and the Chamberlain upon the brink of falling back in flight, whilst the sword of Greece havoc dight among the Faithful, the righteous and those who work upright,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Second Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Sharrkan saw the Moslems in conquered plight and the Chamberlain upon the brink of retreat and flight and the sword havoc dight among the righteous and the workers of upright, the cause of this weakness among the Moslems was that the accursed old woman, Zat al- Dawahi, the foe of the Faith, after seeing that Bahram and Rustam had set forward with their troops to join Sharrkan and his brother Zau al-Makan, repaired to the camp of the Mahometans before Constantinople and caused the mission of the Emir Tarkash, as hath been before said. In this her purpose was to divide the Moslem forces the better to weaken them. Then she left them and entered Constantinople, and called with a loud voice on the knights of the Greeks, saying, “Let me down a cord that I may tie thereto this letter, and do ye bear it to your King Afridun, that he may read it and to my son King Hardub that they both do what is written therein of bidding and forbidding.” So they let down for her a string and she tied thereto a letter whose purport was the following: “From the terriblest of tribulations[443] and the chiefest of all calamities, Zat al-Dawahi, to King Afridun greeting. But afterwards, of a truth I have contrived a device for destroying the Moslems; so bide ye quiet and content. I have cozened and captured their Sultan and the Wazir Dandan; and then I returned to their camp and acquainted them therewith, whereby their pride had a fall and their withers were wrung. And I have so wrought upon the host ‘leaguering Constantinople that they have sent ten thousand men under the Emir Tarkash to succour the capitves, of whom there be now left but few; it is therefore my object that ye sally forth against them with all your power while this day endureth; and that ye fall on them in their tents and that ye leave them not till ye shall have slain them to the last man; for, verily the Messiah looketh down upon you and the Blessed Virgin favoureth you; and I hope of the Messiah that he forget not what deed I have done.” When her letter came to King Afridun, he rejoiced with great joyance; and, sending at once for King Hardub of Greece, son of Zat al-Dawahi, read the letter to him as soon as he came,whereathe was exceeding glad and said, “See my mother’s craft; verily it dispenseth with swords, and her aspect standeth in stead of the terrors of the Day of Dread.” Rejoined Afridun, “May the Messiah not bereave us of thy venerable parent nor deprive her of her wile and guile!” Then he bade the Knights give orders for sallying outside the city, and the news was noised abroad in Constantinople. So the Nazarenes and the cohorts of the Cross burst forth and unsheathed their keen sabres in their numbers, shouting out their professions of impiety and heresies, and blaspheming the Lord of all Creatures. When the Chamberlain saw the sally, he said, “Behold, the Greek is upon us and they surely have learned that our Sultan is far away; and haply they have attacked us, for that the most part of our troops have marched to the succour of King Zau al-Makan!” Therewith he waxed wroth and cried out, “Ho, soldiers of Al-Islam and favourers of the True Faith, an you flee you are lost, but if ye stand fast, ye win! Know ye that valiancy lieth in endurance of outrance and that no case is so strait but that the Almighty is able to make it straight; Allah assain you and look upon you with eyes of compassion fain!” Thereupon the Moslems cried out, “Allaho Akbar!” and the believer in the One God shouted his slogan, and whirled the mill wheels of fight with cutting and thrusting in main and might; scymitars and spears played sore and the plains and valleys were swamped with gore. The priests and monks priested it, tight girding their girdles and uplifting the Crucifixes, while the Moslem shouted out the professions of the Requiting King and verses of the Koran began to sing. The hosts of the Compassion are One fought against the legions of Satan; and head flew from body of man, while the good Angels hovered above the people of the Chosen Prophet, nor did the sword cease to smite till the day darkened and night came on and starkened. Now the miscreants had encompassed the Moslems and made sure of escaping the pains that awaited them; and the Faithless greeded for victory over the Faithful until day-dawned and dazzled. Thereupon the Chamberlain mounted, he and his men, trusting thee Allah would help them to victory; and host was mingled with host and battle rose a foot and took post. And heads flew from trunks whilst the brave stood fast in stead; the craven turned tail and fled; and the Judge of death judged and sentence sped, so that the champions fell from their saddles slain and corpses cumbered meadow and plain. Then the Moslem began to give ground and rearwards bent; and the Greek took possession of some of their tents; whereupon the Moslems were about to break and retreat and take flight, when meanwhile behold, up came Sharrkan with the rest of the host of Al-Islam and the standards of the Believers in Unity. And having come up with them, he charged the Infidels; and followed him Zau al-Makan and the Wazir Dandan and the Emirs Bahram and Rustam with his brother Tarkash. When the foe saw this, they lost head and their reason fled, and the dust clouds towered till they covered the country whilst the righteous Believers joined their pious comrades. Then Sharrkan accosted the Chamberlain and praised him for his steadfastness; and he in turn gave the Prince joy of his timely succour and his gaining the day. Thereat the Moslems were glad and their hearts were heartened; so they rushed upon their enemies and devoted themselves to Allah in their Fight for the Faith. But when the Idolaters beheld the standards Mohammedan and there on the profession of Faith Islamitan, proclaiming the Unity, they shrieked “Woe!” and “Ruin!” and besought succour of the Patriarchs of the Monasteries. Then fell they to calling upon John and Mary and the Cross abhorrent and stayed their hands from slaughter, whilst King Afridun went up to consult King Hardub of Greece, for the two Kings stood one at the head of each wing, right and left. Now there was with them also a famous cavalier, Láwiyá hight, who commanded the centre; and they drew out in battle-array, but indeed they were full of alarm and affray. Meanwhile, the Moslems aligned their forces and thereupon Sharrkan came to his brother, Zau al-Makan, and said, “O King of the Age, doubtless they mean to champion it, and that is also the object of our desire; but it is my wish to push forward the stoutest hearted of our fighters, for by forethought is one half of life wrought.” Replied the Sultan, “As thou wilt, O companion of good counsel!” “It is my wish,” added Sharrkan, “to stand in mid line opposite the Infidel, with the Wazir Dandan on my left and thee on my right, whilst the Emir Bahram leads the dexter wing and the Emir Rustam leads the wing sinistral; and thou, O mighty King, shalt be under the standards and the ensigns, for that thou art the pillar of our defence; upon thee, after Allah, is our dependence and we will all be thy ransom from aught that can harm thee.” Zau al-Makan thanked him therefor, and the slogan arose and the sabre was drawn; but, as things stood thus, behold, there came forth a cavalier from the ranks of Roum; and, as he drew near, they saw that he was mounted on a slow paced she-mule, fleeing with her master from the shock of swords. Her housings were of white silk covered by a prayer-carpet of Cash mere stuff, and on her back sat a Shaykh, an old man of comely presence and reverend aspect, garbed in a gown of white wool. He stinted not pushing her and hurrying her on till he came near the Moslem and said, “I am an ambassador to you all, and an ambassador hath naught to do save to deliver; so give me safe conduct and permit of speech, that I communicate to you my message.” Replied Sharrkan, “Thou art in safety: fear neither sway of sword nor lunge of lance.” Thereupon the old man dismounted and, taking the Cross from his neck, placed it before the Sultan and humbled himself with much humility. Then quoth to him the Moslems, “What is with thee of news?”; and quoth he, “I am an ambassador from King Afridun, for I counselled him to avert the destruction of all these frames of men and temples of the Compassionate One; and to him it seemed righteous to stay the shedding of blood and limit it to the encounter of two knights in shock of fight singular; so he agreed to that and he saith to you, ‘Verily, I will ransom my army with my life; so let the Moslem King do as I do and with his life ransom his host. And if he kill me, there will be no stay left in the army of Roum, and if I kill him, there will be no stability with the Moslems.” When Sharrkan heard this he said, “O monk, I agree to that, for it is just nor may it be gainsaid; and behold, I will meet him in duello and do with him derring-do, for I am Champion of the Faithful even as he is Champion of the Faithless; and if he slay me, he will have won the day and naught will remain for the Moslems forces save flight. So return to him, O thou monk, and say that the single combat shall take place to morrow, for this day we have come off our journey and are aweary; but after rest neither reproach nor blame fear ye.” So the monk returned (and he rejoicing) to King Afridun and King Hardub, and told them both what Sharrkan had said, whereat King Afridun was glad with exceeding gladness and fell from him anxiety and sadness, and he said to himself, “No doubt but this Sharrkan is their doughtiest swayer of the sword and the dourest at lunge of lance; and when I shall have slain him, their hearts will be disheartened and their strength will be shattered.” Now Zat al-Dawahi had written to King Afridun of that and had told him how Sharrkan was a Knight of the Braves and the bravest of knights and had warned him against him; but Afridun was a stalwart cavalier who fought in many a fashion; he could hurl rocks and throw spears and smite with the iron mace and he feared not the prowess of the prow. So when he heard the report of the monk that Sharrkan agreed to the duello, he was like to fly for exceeding joy because he had self confidence and he knew that none could with stand him. The Infidels passed that night in joy and jubilee and wine bibbing; and, as soon as it was dawn, the two armies drew out with the swart of spear and the blanch of blade. And behold a cavalier rode single-handed into the plain, mounted on a steed of purest strain, and for foray and fray full ready and fain. And that Knight had limbs of might and he was clad in an iron cuirass made for stress of fight. On his breast he wore a jewelled mirror and in his hand he bore a keen scymitar and his lance of Khalanj wood,[444] the curious work of the Frank, weighing a quintal. Then the rider uncovered his face and cried out, saying, “Whoso knoweth me verily hath enough of me, and whoso knoweth me not right soon[445] shall ken who I be. I am Afridun the overwhelmed by the well omened Shawáhi,[446] Zat al-Dawahi.” But he had not ended speaking ere Sharrkan, the Champion of the Moslems, fared forth to meet him, mounted on a sorrel horse worth a thousand pieces of red gold with accoutrements purfled in pearls and precious stone; and he bore in baldrick a blade of watered Indian steel that through necks shore and made easy the hard and sore. He drave his charger between the two hosts in line whilst the horsemen all fixed on him their eyne, and he cried out to Afridun, “Woe to thee, O accursed! dost thou deem me one of the horsemen thou hast overta’en who cannot stand against thee on battle-plain?” Then each rushed upon other and they bashed together like two mountains crashing or two billows dash ing and clashing: they advanced and retreated; and drew together and withdrew; and stinted not of fray and fight and weapon play, and strife and stay, with stroke of sword and lunge of lance. Of the two armies looking on, some said, “Sharrkan is victor!” and others, “Afridun will conquer!”; and the two riders stayed not their hands from the hustle until ceased the clamour and the bustle; and the dust columns rose and the day waned and the sun waxed yellow and wan. Then cried out King Afridun to Sharrkan, saying, “By the truth of the Messiah and the Faith which is no liar, thou art nought save a doughty rider and a stalwart fighter; but thou art fraudful and thy nature is not that of the noble. I ken thy work is other than praiseworthy nor is thy prowess that of a Prince; for thy people behave to thee as though thou wert a slave;[447] and see! they bring thee out a charger which is not thine, that thou mayst mount and return to the fight. But by the truth of my Faith, thy fighting irketh and fatigueth me and I am weary of cutting and thrusting with thee; and if thou purpose to lay on load with me to night, thou wouldst not change aught of thy harness nor thy horse, till thou approve to the cavaliers, thy generous blood and skill in brunt.” When Sharrkan heard him say these words concerning his own folk behaving to him though he were a slave, he waxt wroth and turned towards his men, meaning to sign to them and bid them not prepare him change of harness or horse, when lo! Afridun shook his throw spear high in air and cast it at Sharrkan. Now when the Moslem turned his back, he found none of the men near him, and he knew this to be a trick of the accursed Infidel; so he wheeled round in haste and behold, the javelin came at him, so he swerved from it, till his head was bent low as his saddle bow. The weapon grazed his breast, and pierced the skin of his chest, for Sharrkan was high-bosomed: whereupon he gave one cry and swooned away. Thereat the accursed Afridun was joyful, thinking he had slain him; and shouted to the Infidels bidding them rejoice, whereat the Faithless were encouraged and the Faithful wept. When Zau al-Makan saw his brother reeling in selle so that he well-nigh fell, he despatched cavaliers towards him and the braves hurried to his aid and came up with him. Thereupon the Infidels drove at the Moslems; the two hosts joined battle and the two lines were mingled, whilst the keen scymitar of Al-Yaman did good work. Now the first to reach Sharrkan was the Wazir Dandan,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Third Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when King Zau al-Makan saw that the accursed Infidel had struck with javelin his brother Sharrkan, he deemed him dead, and despatched cavaliers towards him; and the first to reach him were the Wazir Dandan and the Emir of the Turks, Bahram, and the Emir of the Daylamites, Rustam. They found him falling from his horse; so they stayed him in his saddle and returned with him to his brother, Zau al-Makan; then they gave him in charge to his pages, and went again to do the work of cut and thrust. So the strife redoubled and the weapons together clashed and ceased not bate and debate and naught was to be seen but blood flowing and necks bowing; nor did the swords cease on the napes of men to make play nor the strife to rage with more and more affray, till the most part of the night was past away and the two hosts were aweary of the mellay. So they called a truce and each army returned to its tents, whilst all the Infidels repaired to King Afridun and kissed the ground before him, and the priests and monks wished him joy of his victory over Sharrkan. Then the King fared for Constantinople and sat upon the throne of his realm, when King Hardub came to him and said, “May the Messiah strengthen thy fore arm and never cease to be thy helper and hearken to what prayers my pious mother, Zat al-Dawahi, shall pray for thee! Know that the Moslems can make no stay without Sharrkan.” Replied Afridun, “To morrow shall end the affair when to fight I fare: I will seek Zau al-Makan and slay him, and their army shall turn tail and of flight shall avail.” Such was the case with the Kafirs; but as regards the host of Al-Islam, when Zau al-Makan returned to his tent, he thought of naught but his brother and, going into the pavilion, found him in evil case and sore condition; whereupon he summoned for counsel the Wazir Dandan and Rustam and Bahram. When they entered, they opined to assemble the physicians that they might medicine Sharrkan, and they wept and said, “The world will not readily afford his like!” and they watched by him all that night, and about the later hours came to them the Recluse in tears. When Zau al-Makan saw him, he rose in honour; and the Religious stroked Sharrkan’s wound with his hand, chanting somewhat of the Koran and repeating by way of talisman some of the verses of the Compassionate One. And the pretender ceased not to watch over him till dawn, when he came to himself and, opening his eyes, moved his tongue in his mouth and spake. At this Zau al-Makan rejoiced, saying, “Of a truth the blessing of the Holy Man hath taken effect on him!” And Sharrkan said, “Praised be Allah for recovery; indeed, I am well at this hour. That accursed one played me false; and, but that I swerved aside lighter than lightening, the throw spear had pierced through my breast. So praised be Allah for saving me! And how is it with the Moslems?” Answered Zau al-Makan, “All are weeping for thee.” Quoth Sharrkan, “I am well and in good case; but where is the Holy Man?” Now he was sitting by him and said, “At thy head.” So the Prince turned to him and kissed his hand when he said, “O my son! Be of good patience and Allah shall increase thy reward; for the wage is measured by the work.” Sharrkan rejoined, “Pray for me,” and he prayed for him. As soon as morning dawned and day brake in shine and sheen, the Moslems sallied out to the plain and the Kafirs made ready to thrust and cut. Then the Islamite host advanced and offered fight with weapons ready dight, and King Zau al-Makan and Afridun made to charge one at other. But when Zau al-Makan fared forth into the field, there came with him the Wazir Dandan and the Chamberlain and Bahram, saying, “We will be thy sacrifice.” He replied, “By the Holy House and Zemzem and the Place![448] I will not be stayed from going forth against these wild asses.” And when he rode out into the field he played with sword and spear till riders marvelled and both armies wondered; then he rushed upon the foe’s right wing and of it slew two knights and in like manner he dealt with the left wing. Presently he stayed his steed in the midst of the field and cried out, “Where is Afridun, that I may make him taste the cup of disgrace?” But when King Hardub saw the case he conjured Afridun not to attack him, saying, “O King, yesterday it was thy turn to fight: it is mine to day. I care naught for his prowess.” So he rushed out towards Zau al-Makan brand in hand and under him a stallion like Abjar, which was Antar’s charger and its coat was jet black even as saith the poet,

“On the glancing racer outracing glance
He speeds, as though he would collar Doom:
His steed’s black coat is of darkest jet,
And likest Night in her nightliest gloom:
Whose neigh sounds glad to the hearer’s ears
Like thunders rolling in thun d’rous boom:
If he race the wind he will lead the way,
And the lightning flash will behind him loom.’’[449]

Then each rushed upon the opponent, parrying blows and proving the marvellous qualities were stored in him; and they fell to drawing on and withdrawing till the breasts of the bystanders were straitened and they were weary of waiting for the event. At last Zau al-Makan cried out his war cry and rushed upon Hardub, King of Cæsarea,[450] and struck him a stroke that shore head from trunk and slew him on the spot. When the Infidels saw this, they charged in a body, compact and united, upon Zau al-Makan, who met them amidfield, and they engaged in hewing and foining, till blood ran in rills. Then the Moslems cried out, “Allaho Akbar!” (God is most Great) and “There is no god but the God!”, and invoked salvation for the Prophet, the Bringer of Glad Tidings, the Bearer of Bad Tidings. And there befel a great fight, but Allah assigned victory to the Faithful and defeat to the Faithless. The Wazir Dandan shouted, “Take your blood-revenge for King Omar bin al Nu’uman and his son Sharrkan!”; and bared his head and cried out to the Turks. Now there were by his side more than twenty thousand horse, and all charged with him as men, when the Faithless found naught to save their lives but flight. So they turned tail to fly while the biting sabre wrought its havoc and the Moslems slew of them that day some fifty thousand horse and took more than that number: much folk also were slain while going in at the gates, for the flock was great. Then the Greeks hove to the doors and swarmed up the walls to await the assault; and in fine the Moslem hosts returned to their tents aided to glory and victory, and King Zau al-Makan went in to his brother whom he found in most joyous case. So he made a prostration of thanks to the Bountiful and the Exalted; and then he came forward and gave Sharrkan joy of his recovery. Answered he, “Verily we are all under the benediction of this Religious, holy and righteous, nor would you have been victorious, but for his accepted orisons; indeed all day he remained at prayer to invoke victory on the Moslems.”—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Fourth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Zau al- Makan went in to his brother Sharrkan, he found him sitting with the Holy Man by his side; so he rejoiced and drew near him and gave him joy of his recovery. Answered he, “Verily we are all under the benediction of this Recluse nor would you have been victorious but for his prayers, indeed he felt no fear this day and he ceased not supplication for the Moslems. I found strength return to me, when I heard your ‘Allaho Akbar,’ for then I knew you to be victorious over your enemies. But now recount to me, O my brother, what befel thee.” So he told him all that had passed between him and the accursed Hardub and related how he had slain him and sent him to the malediction of Allah; and Sharrkan praised him and thanked him for his prowess. When Zat al-Dawahi heard tell of her son’s death (and she still drest as a devotee), her face waxed yellow and her eyes ran over with railing tears: she kept her counsel, however, and feigned to the Moslems that she was glad and wept for excess of joy. But she said to herself, “By the truth of the Messiah, there remaineth no profit of my life, if I burn not his heart for his brother, Sharrkan, even as he hath burned my heart for King Hardub, the mainstay of Christendom and the hosts of Crossdom!” Still she kept her secret. And the Wazir Dandan and King Zau al-Makan and the Chamberlain remained sitting with Sharrkan till they had dressed and salved his wound; after which they gave him medicines and he began to recover strength; whereat they joyed with exceeding joy and told the troops who congratulated themselves, saying, “To morrow he will ride with us and do manly devoir in the siege.” Then said Sharrkan to them, “Ye have fought through all this day and are aweary of fight; so it behoveth that you return to your places and sleep and not sit up.” They accepted his counsel and then each went away to his own pavilion, and none remained with Sharrkan but a few servants and the old woman Zat al-Dawahi. He talked with her through part of the night, then he stretched himself to rest: and his servants did likewise and presently sleep overcame them all and they lay like the dead. Such was the case with Sharrkan and his men; but as regards the old woman she alone abode awake while they slumbered in the tent and, looking at Sharrkan she presently saw that he was drowned in sleep. Thereupon she sprang to her feet, as she were a scald she bear or a speckled snake, and drew from her waist-cloth a dagger so poisoned that if laid thereon it would have melted a rock. Then she unsheathed the poniard and went up to Sharrkan’s head and she drew the knife across his throat and severed his weasand and hewed off his head from his body. And once more she sprang to her feet; and, going the round of the sleeping servants, she cut off their heads also, lest they should awake. Then she left the tent and made for the Sultan’s pavilion, but finding the guards on the alert, turned to that of the Wazir Dandan. Now she found him reading the Koran and when his sight fell upon her he said, “Welcome to the Holy Man!” Hearing this from the Wazir, her heart trembled and she said, “The reason of my coming hither at this time is that I heard the voice of a saint amongst Allah’s Saints and am going to him.” Then she turned her back, but the Wazir said to himself, “By Allah, I will follow our Devotee this night!” So he rose and walked after her; but when the accursed old woman sensed his footsteps, she knew that he was following her: wherefore she feared the disgrace of discovery and said in herself, “Unless I serve some trick upon him he will disgrace me.” So she turned and said to him from afar, “Ho, thou Wazir, I am going in search of this Saint that I may learn who he is; and, after learning this much, I will ask his leave for thee to visit him. Then I will come back and tell thee: for I fear thine accompanying me, without having his permission, lest he take umbrage at me seeing thee in my society.” Now when the Wazir heard these words, he was ashamed to answer her; so he left her and returned to his tent, and would have slept; but sleep was not favourable to him and the world seemed heaped upon him. Presently he rose and went forth from the tent saying in himself, “I will go to Sharrkan and chat with him till morning.” But when he entered into Sharrkan’s pavilion, he found the blood running like an aqueduct and saw the servants lying with their throats cut like beasts for food. At this he cried a cry which aroused all who were asleep; the folk hastened to him and, seeing the blood streaming, set up a clamour of weeping and wailing. Then the noise awoke the Sultan, who enquired what was the matter, and it was said to him, “Sharrkan thy brother and his servants are murthered.” So he rose in haste and entered the tent, and found the Wazir Dandan shrieking aloud and he saw his brother’s body without a head. Thereat he swooned away and all the troops crowded around him, weeping and crying out, and so remained for a while, till he came to himself, when he looked at Sharrkan and wept with sore weeping, while the Wazir and Rustam and Bahram did the like. But the Chamberlain cried and lamented more than the rest and asked leave to absent himself, such was his alarm. Then said Zau al-Makan, “Know ye who did this deed and how is it I see not the Devotee, him who the things of this world hath put away?” Quoth the Wazir, “And who should have been the cause of this affliction, save that Devotee, that Satan? By Allah, my heart abhorred him from the first, because I know that all who pretend to be absorbed in practices religious are vile and treacherous!” And he repeated to the King the tale of how he would have followed the Religious, but he forbade him, whereupon the folk broke out into a tumult of weeping and lamentation and humbled themselves before Him who is ever near, Him who ever answereth prayer, supplicating that He would cause the false Devotee who denied Allah’s testimony to fall into their hands. Then they laid Sharrkan out and buried him in the mountain aforesaid and mourned over his far-famed virtues.—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Fifth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that they laid Sharrkan out and buried him in the mountain aforesaid and mourned over his far-famed virtues. Then they looked for the opening of the city-gate; but it opened not and no sign of men appeared to them on the walls; whereat they wondered with exceeding wonder. But King Zau al-Makan said, “By Allah, I will not turn back from them, though I sit here for years and years, till I take blood-revenge for my brother Sharrkan and waste Constantinople and kill the King of the Nazarenes, even if death overcome me and I be at rest from this woeful world!” Then he bade be brought out the treasure taken from the Monastery of Matruhina; and mustered the troops and divided the monies among them, and he left not one of them but he gave him gifts which contented him. Moreover, he assembled in the presence three hundred horse of every division and said to them, “Do ye send supplies to your households, for I am resolved to abide by this city, year after year, till I have taken man-bote for my brother Sharrkan, even if I die in this stead.” And when the army heard these words and had received his gifts of money they replied, “To hear is to obey!” Thereupon he summoned couriers and gave them letters and charged them to deliver the same, together with the monies, to the soldiers’ families and inform them that all were safe and satisfied, and acquaint them saying, “We are encamped before Constantinople and we will either destroy it or die; and, albeit we be obliged to abide here months and years, we will not depart hence till we take it.” Moreover, he bade the Wazir Dandan write to his sister, Nuzhat al-Zaman, and said to him, “Acquaint her with what hath befallen us, and what be our situation and commend my child to her care since that, when I went out to war, my wife was near her delivery and by this time she must needs have been brought to bed; and if she hath given birth to a boy, as I have heard say, hasten your return and bring me the acceptable news.” Then he gave them somewhat of money, which they pouched and set out at once; and all the people flocked forth to take leave of them and entrust them with the monies and the messages. After they had departed, Zau al-Makan turned to the Wazir Dandan and commanded him to advance with the army against the city walls. So the troops pushed forward, but found none on the ramparts, whereat they marvelled, while Zau al-Makan was troubled at the case, for he deeply mourned the severance from his brother Sharrkan and he was sore perturbed about that traitor the Ascetic. In this condition they abode three days without seeing anyone. So far concerning the Moslems; but as regards the Greeks and the cause of their refusing to fight during these three days the case was this. As soon as Zat al-Dawahi had slain Sharrkan, she hastened her march and reached the walls of Constantinople, where she called out in the Greek tongue to the guards to throw her down a rope. Quoth they, “Who art thou?”; and quoth she, “I am Zat al- Dawahi.” They knew her and let down a cord to which she tied herself and they drew her up; and, when inside the city, she went in to the King Afridun and said to him, “What is this I hear from the Moslems? They say that my son King Hardub is slain.” He answered, “Yes;” and she shrieked out and wept right grievously and ceased not weeping thus till she made Afridun and all who were present weep with her. Then she told the King how she had slain Sharrkan and thirty of his servants, whereat he rejoiced and thanked her; and, kissing her hands, exhorted her to resignation for the loss of her son. Said she, “By the truth of the Messiah, I will not rest content with killing that dog of the Moslem dogs in blood-revenge for my son, a King of the Kings of the age! Now there is no help for it but that I work some guile and I contrive a wile whereby to slay the Sultan Zau al-Makan and the Wazir Dandan and the Chamberlain and Rustam and Bahram and ten thousand cavaliers of the army of Al-Islam; for it shall never be said that my son’s head be paid with the bloodwit of Sharrkan’s head; no, never!” Then said she to King Afridun, “Know, O King of the Age, that it is my wish to set forth mourning for my son and to cut my Girdle and to break the Crosses.” Replied Afridun, “Do what thou desire; I will not gainsay thee in aught. And if thou prolong thy mourning for many days it were a little thing; for though the Moslems resolve to beleaguer us years and years, they will never win their will of us nor gain aught of us save trouble and weariness.” Then the Accursed One (when she had ended with the calamity she had wrought and the ignominies which in herself she had thought) took ink case and paper and wrote thereon: “From Shawahi, Zat al- Dawahi, to the host of the Moslems. Know ye that I entered your country and duped by my cunning your nobles and at first hand I slew your King Omar bin al-Nu’uman in the midst of his palace. Moreover, I slew, in the affair of the mountain pass and of the cave, many of your men; and the last I killed were Sharrkan and his servants. And if fortune do not stay me and Satan obey me, I needs must slay me your Sultan and the Wazir Dandan, for I am she who came to you in disguise of a Recluse and who heaped upon you my devices and deceits. Wherefore, an you would be in safety after this, fare ye forth at once; and if you seek your own destruction cease not abiding for the nonce; and though ye tarry here years and years, ye shall not do your desire on us. And so peace be yours!” After writing her writ she devoted three days to mourning for King Hardub; arid, on the fourth, she called a Knight and bade him take the letter and make it fast to a shaft and shoot it into the Moslem camp. When this was done, she entered the church and gave herself up to weeping and wailing for the loss of her son, saying to him who took the kingship after him, “Nothing will serve me but I must kill Zau al-Makan and all the nobles of Al-Islam.” Such was the case with her; but as regards what occurred to the Moslems, all passed three days in trouble and anxiety, and on the fourth when gazing at the walls behold, they saw a knight holding a bow and about to shoot an arrow along whose side a letter was bound. So they waited till he had shot it among them and the Sultan bade the Wazir Dandan take the missive and read it. He perused it accordingly; and, when Zau al-Makan heard it to end and understood its purport, his eyes filled with tears and he shrieked for agony at her perfidy; and the Minister Dandan said, “By Allah, my heart shrank from her!” Quoth the Sultan, “How could this whore play her tricks upon us twice? But by the Almighty I will not depart hence till I fill her cleft with molten lead and jail her with the jailing of a bird encaged, then bind her with her own hair and crucify her over the gate of Constantinople.” And he called to mind his brother and wept with excessive weeping. But when Zat al-Dawahi arrived amongst the Infidels and related to them her adventures at length, they rejoiced at her safety and at the slaying of Sharrkan. Thereupon the Moslems addressed themselves again to the siege of the city and the Sultan promised his men that, if it should be taken, he would divide its treasures among them in equal parts. But he dried not his tears grieving for his brother till his body was wasted and sick, growing thin as a tooth pick. Presently the Wazir Dandan came in to him and said, “Be of good cheer and keep thine eyes cool and clear; in very sooth thy brother died not but because his hour was come, and there is no profit in this mourning. How well saith the poet,

“Whatso is not to be no sleight shall bring to pass;
What is to be without a failure shall become;
Soon the becoming fortune shall be found to be,
And Folly’s brother[451] shall abide forlorn and glum.”

Wherefore do thou leave this weeping and wailing and hearten thy heart to bear arms.” He replied, “O Wazir, my heart is heavy for the death of my father and my brother and for our absence from hearth and home; and my mind is concerned for my subjects.” Thereupon the Wazir and the bystanders wept; but they ceased not from pushing forward the siege of Constantinople for a length of days. And they being thus, behold, news arrived from Baghdad, by one of the Emirs to the effect that the King’s wife had been blessed with a boy, and that his sister, Nuzhat al-Zaman, had named him Kánmákán.[452] Moreover, that the boy bid fair to be famous, already showing wondrous signs and marvellous tokens; and that she had commanded the Olema and the preachers to pray for mother and child from the pulpits and bless them in all wise; furthermore that the twain were well, that the land had enjoyed abundant rains, and that his comrade the Fireman was established in all prosperity, with eunuchs and slaves to wait upon him; but that he was still ignorant of what had befallen him. And she ended with the greeting of peace. Then quoth Zau al- Makan to the Wazir Dandan, “Now is my back strengthened for that I have been blest with a son whose name is Kanmakan.”—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Sixth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when they brought him the news of his wife having borne him a boy child, Zau al- Makan rejoiced with great joy and cried, “Now is my back strengthened, for that I have been blessed with a son[453] whose name is Kanmakan.” And he spake to the Wazir Dandan, saying, “I am minded to leave this mourning and order perlections of the Koran for my brother and command almsdeeds on his account.” Quoth the Wazir, “Thy design is good.” Thereupon he caused tents to be pitched over his brother’s tomb; so they raised them and gathered together such of the men at arms as could repeat the Koran; and some began reciting the Holy volume; whilst others chanted litanies containing the names of Allah, and thus they did till the morning. Then Zau al-Makan went up to the grave of his brother Sharrkan and poured forth copious tears, and improvised these couplets,

“They bore him bier’d, and all who followed wept
With Moses’ shrieks what day o’erhead shook Tor;[454]
Till reached the grave which Pate had made his home,
Dug in men’s souls who one sole God adore:
Ne’er had I thought before to see my joy
Borne on the bier which heads of bearers bore:
Ah no! nor ere they homed thee in the dust
That stars of heaven earth ever covered o’er.
Is the tomb dweller hostage of a stead,
Where light and splendour o’er thy face shall pour?
Praise to restore his life her word hath pledged:
Cribbed and confined he shall dispread the more!”

When Zau al-Makan had made an end of his versifying he wept and wept with him all the troops; then he came to the grave and threw himself upon it wild with woe, and the Wazir repeated the words of the poet,

“Pain leaving life that fleets thou hast th’ eternal won;
Thou didst as whilom many a doer like thee hath done
Leftest this worldly house without reproach or blame;
Ah, may th’ ex change secure thee every benison!
Thou west from hostile onset shield and firm defence,
For us to baffle shafts and whistling spears to shun.
I see this world is only cheat and vanity,
Where man naught else must seek but please the Truthful One:
Th’ Empyrean’s Lord allow thee bower of heavenly bliss,
And wi’ thy faithful friends The Guide show goodly wone:
I bid thee last good e’en with sigh of bitter grief,
Seeing the West in woe for lack of Easting Sun.”

When the Wazir Dandan had finished his reciting, he wept with sore weeping and the tears rained from his eyes like cushioned pearls. Then came forward one who had been of Sharrkan’s boon companions in his cups and he wept till ran in rills the drops, and he enumerated the dead man’s generous qualities, reciting the following pentastichs,

“Where gone is Bounty since thy hand is turned to clay?
And I in misery lie since thou west ta’en away.
See’st not, O litter guide[455] (Heaven keep thee glad and gay!),
How tears adorn my cheeks, these furrowed wrinkles fray?
A sight to joy shine eyes and fill thee with dismay.[456]
By Allah ne’er this heart within I spoke of thee;
Ah no! nor dared my sight to see thy brilliancy:
Save that my tear drops sorest wound have garred me dree
Yea! and if e’er on other rest these eyne of me,
May yearning draw their reins nor suffer sleep to see.”

And when the man stinted reciting, Zau al-Makan and the Minister Dandan wept and the whole army was moved to tears; after which all retired to their tents, and the King turning to the Wazir took counsel with him concerning the conduct of the campaign. On this wise the two passed days and nights, while Zau al-Makan was weighed down with grief and mourning till at last he said, “I long to hear stories and adventures of Kings and tales of lover folk enslaved by love; haply Allah may make this to solace that which is on my heart of heavy anxiety, and stint and stay my weeping and wailing.” Quoth the Wazir, “If naught can dispel thy trouble but hearing curious tales of Kings and people long gone before and stories of folk enslaved by love of yore, and so forth, this thing were easy, for I had no other business, in the lifetime of thy father (who hath found mercy) than to relate stories and to repeat verses to him. This very night I will tell thee a tale of a lover and his beloved, so shall thy breast be broadened.” When Zau al-Makan heard these words from the Minister, his heart was set upon that which had been promised to him and he did nothing but watch for the coming of the night, that he might hear what the Wazir Dandan had to tell of the Kings of yore and distracted lovers long gone before. And hardly would he believe that night had fallen ere he bade light the wax candles and the lamps and bring all that was needful of meat and drink and perfume gear, and what not; and when all was in presence, he summoned the Wazir Dandan, and the Emirs Rustam and Bahram and Tarkash and the Grand Chamberlain; then waited till the whole party was seated before him; whereupon he turned to the Minister and said, “Know, O Wazir, that night is come and hath let down over us its veil of gloom, and we desire that thou tell us those tales which thou promisedst us.” Replied the Wazir, “With joy and good will.”—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Seventh Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when King Zau Al-Makan summoned the Wazir and the Chamberlain and Rustam and Bahram, he turned towards the Minister Dandan and said, “Know, O Wazir, that night is come and hath let down over us its veil of gloom, and we desire that thou tell us those tales which thou promisedst us.” Replied the Wazir, “With love and gladness! Know, O auspicious King, that there reached my ears a relation of a lover and a loved one and of the discourse between them and what befel them of things rare and fair, a story such as repelleth care from the heart and dispelleth sorrow like unto that of the patriarch Jacob[457]; and it is as follows”:

Tale of Taj al-Muluk and the Princess Dunya (The Lover and the Loved)

There stood in times long gone by behind the Mountains of Ispahán, a city hight the Green City, wherein dwelt a King named Suláyman Sháh. Now he was a man of liberality and beneficence, of justice and integrity, of generosity and sincerity, to whom travellers repaired from every country, and his name was noised abroad in all regions and cities and he reigned many a year in high worship and prosperity, save that he owned neither wives nor children. He had a Minister who rivalled him in goodness and generosity and it so happened that one day, he sent for him and when he came into the presence said to him, “O my Wazir, my heart is heavy and my patience is past and my force faileth me, for that I have neither wife nor child. This is not the way of Kings who rule over all men, princes. and paupers; for they rejoice in leaving behind them children and successors whereby are doubled their number and their strength. Quoth the Prophet (whom Allah bless and keep!); ‘Marry ye, increase ye, and multiply ye, that I may boast me of your superiority over the nations on the Day of Resurrection.’ So what is thy rede, O Wazir? Advise me of what course and contrivance be advisable!” When the Minister heard these words, the tears sprang from his eyes in streams, and he replied, “Far be it from me, O King of the Age, that I debate on that which appertaineth to the Compassionate One! Wilt thou have me cast into the fire by the All powerful King’s wrath and ire? Buy thee a concubine.” Rejoined the King, “Know, O Wazir, that when a sovereign buyeth a female slave, he knoweth neither her rank nor her lineage and thus he cannot tell if she be of simple origin that he may abstain from her, or of gentle strain that he may be intimate in her companionship. So, if he have commerce with her, haply she will conceive by him and her son be a hypocrite, a man of wrath and a shedder of blood. Indeed the like of such woman may be instanced by a salt and marshy soil, which if one till for ever it yieldeth only worthless growth and no endurance show eth; for it may be that her son will be obnoxious to his Lord’s anger, doing not what He biddeth him or abstaining from what He for biddeth him. Wherefore will I never become the cause of this through the purchase of a concubine; and it is my desire that thou demand for me in marriage the daughter of some one of the Kings, whose lineage is known and whose loveliness hath renown. If thou can direct me to some maiden of birth and piety of the daughters of Moslem Sovranty, I will ask her in marriage and wed her in presence of witnesses, so may accrue to me the favour of the Lord of all Creatures.” Said the Wazir, “O King, verily Allah hath fulfilled thy wish and hath brought thee to thy desire;” presently adding, “Know, O King, it hath come to my knowledge that King Zahr Shah,[458] Lord of the White Land, hath a daughter of surpassing loveliness whose charms talk and tale fail to express: she hath not her equal in this age, for she is perfect in proportion and symmetry, black eyed as if Kohl dyed and long locked, wee of waist and heavy of hip. When she draweth nigh she seduceth and when she turneth her back[459] she slayeth; she ravisheth heart and view and she looketh even as saith of her the poet,

‘A thin waist maid who shames the Willow-wand;
Nor sun nor moon can like her rising shine:
‘Tis as her honey-dew of lips were blent
With wine, and pearls of teeth were bathed in wine:
Her form, like heavenly Houri’s, graceful slim;
Fair face; and ruin dealt by glancing eyne:
How many a dead done man her eyes have slain
Upon her way of love in ruin li’en:
An live I she’s my death! I’ll say no more
But dying without her vain were life of mine.’ “

Now when the Wazir had made an end of describing that maiden, he said to Sulayman Shah, “It is my counsel, O King, that thou despatch to her father an ambassador, sagacious, experienced and trained in the ways of the world, who shall courteously demand her in marriage for thee of her sire; for in good sooth she hath not her equal in the far parts of the world nor in the near. So shalt thou enjoy her lovely face in the way of grace, and the Lord of Glory be content with thy case; for it is reported of the Prophet (whom Allah bless and preserve!) that he said, ‘There be no monkery in Al-Islam.”‘ At this the King was transported to perfect joy; his breast was broadened and lightened; care and cark ceased from him and he turned to the Wazir and said, “Know thou, O Minister, that none shall fare about this affair save thou, by reason of thy consummate intelligence and good breeding; wherefore hie thee home and do all thou hast to do and get thee ready by the morrow and depart and demand me in marriage this maiden, with whom thou hast occupied my heart and thought; and return not to me but with her.” Replied the Wazir, “I hear and I obey.” Then he tried to his own house and bade make ready presents befitting Kings, of precious stones and things of price and other matters light of load but weighty of worth, besides Rabite steeds and coats of mail, such as David made[460] and chests of treasure for which speech hath no measure. And the Wazir loaded the whole on camels and mules, and set out attended by an hundred slave-girls with flags and banners flaunting over his head. The King charged him to return to him after a few days; and, when he was gone, Sulayman Shah lay on coals of fire, engrossed night and day with desire; while the envoy fared on without ceasing through gloom and light, spanning fertile field and desert site, till but a day’s march remained between him and the city whereto he was bound. Here he sat him down on the banks of a river and, summoning one of his confidants, bade him wend his way to King Zahr Shah and announce his approach without delay. Quoth the messenger, “I hear and I obey!” And he rode on in haste to that city and, as he was about to enter therein, it so chanced that the King, who was sitting in one of his pleasaunces before the city-gate, espied him as he was passing the doors, and knowing him for a stranger, bade bring him before the presence. So the messenger coming forward informed him of the approach of the Wazir of the mighty King Sulayman Shah, Lord of the Green Land and of the Mountains of Ispahan: whereat King Zahr Shah rejoiced and welcomed him. Then he carried him to his palace and asked him, “Where leavedst thou the Wazir?”; and he answered, “I left him in early day on the banks of such a river and To-morrow he will reach thee, Allah continue his favours to thee and have mercy upon thy parents!” Thereupon King Zahr Shah commanded one of his Wazirs to take the better part of his Grandees and Chamberlains and Lieutenants and Lords of the land, and go out to meet the ambassador in honour of King Sulayman Shah; for that his dominion extended over the country. Such was the case with Zahr Shah; but as regards the Wazir he abode in his stead till night was half spent[461] and then set out for the city; but when morning shone and the sun rose upon hill and down, of a sudden he saw King Zahr Shah’s Wazir approaching him, with his Chamberlains and high Lords and Chief Officers of the kingdom; and the two parties joined company at some parasangs’ distance from the city.[462] Thereat the Wazir made sure of the success of his errand and saluted the escort, which ceased not preceding him till they reached the King’s palace and passed in before him through the gate to the seventh vestibule, a place where none might enter on horseback, for it was near to where the King sat. So the Minister alighted and fared on a foot till he came to a lofty saloon, at whose upper end stood a marble couch, set with pearls and stones of price, and having for legs four elephant’s tusks. Upon it was a coverlet of green satin purfled with red gold, and above it hung a canopy adorned with pearls and gems, whereon sat King Zahr Shah, whilst his officers of state stood in attendance before him. When the Wazir went in to him, he composed his mind and, unbinding his tongue, displayed the oratory of Wazirs and saluted the King in the language of eloquence.—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say,

When it was the One Hundred and Eighth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the Wazir of King Sulayman Shah entered the presence of King Zahr Shah he composed his mind and, unbinding his tongue, displayed the oratory of Wazirs and saluted the King in the language of eloquence and improvised these couplets,

“He cometh robed and bending gracefully:
O’er crop and cropper dews of grace sheds he:
He charms; nor characts, spells nor gramarye
May fend the glances of those eyne from thee:
Say to the blamer, “Blame me not, for I
From love of him will never turn to flee”:
My heart hath played me false while true to him,
And Sleep, in love with him, abhorreth me:
O heart! th’art not the sole who loveth him,
So bide with him while I desertion dree:
There’s nought to joy mine ears with joyous sound
Save praise of King Zahr Shah in jubilee:
A King albeit thou leave thy life to win
One look, that look were all sufficiency:
And if a pious prayer thou breathe for him,
Shall join all Faithfuls in such pious gree:
Folk of his realm! If any shirk his right
For other hoping, gross Unfaith I see.”

When the Wazir had ended his poetry, King Zahr Shah bade him draw near and honoured him with the highmost honours; then, seating him by his own side, smiled in his face and favoured him with a gracious reply. They ceased not on this wise till the time of the under meal when the attendants brought forward the tables of food in that saloon and all ate till they were sated; after which the tables were removed and those who were in the assembly withdrew, leaving only the chief officers. Now when the Minister saw this, he rose to his feet and, after complimenting the King a second time and kissing the ground before him, spake as follows, “O mighty King and dread Lord! I have travelled hither and have visited thee upon a matter which shall bring thee peace, profit and prosperity: and it is this, that I come as ambassador to thee, seeking in marriage thy daughter, the noble and illustrious maid, from Sulayman Shah, a Prince famed for justice and integrity, sincerity and generosity, Lord of the Green Land and of the Mountains of Ispahan, who sendeth thee of presents a store, and gifts of price galore, ardently desiring to become thy son in law. But art thou inclined to him as he to thee?” He then kept silence, awaiting a reply. When King Zahr Shah heard these words, he sprang to his feet and kissed the ground respectfully before the Wazir, while the bystanders were confounded at his condescension to the ambassador and their minds were amazed. Then he praised Him who is the Lord of Honour and Glory and replied (and he still standing), “O mighty Wazir and illustrious Chief; hear thou what I say! Of a truth we are to King Sulayman Shah of the number of his subjects, and we shall be ennobled by his alliance and we covet it ardently; for my daughter is a handmaid of his handmaidens, and it is my dearest desire that he may become my stay and my reliable support.” Then he summoned the Kazis and the witnesses, who should bear testimony that King Sulayman Shah had despatched his Wazir as proxy to conclude the marriage, and that King Zahr Shah joyfully acted and officiated for his daughter. So the Kazis concluded the wedding contract and offered up prayers for the happiness and prosperity of the wedded feres; after which the Wazir arose and, fetching the gifts and rarities and precious things, laid them all before the King. Then Zahr Shah occupied himself anent the fitting out of his daughter and honourably entertained the Wazir and feasted his subjects all, great and small; and for two months they held high festival, omitting naught that could rejoice heart and eye. Now when all things needful for the bride were ready, the King caused the tents to be carried out and they pitched the camp within sight of the city, where they packed the bride’s stuffs in chests and get ready the Greek handmaids and Turkish slave-girls, and provided the Princess with great store of precious treasures and costly jewels. Then he had made for her a litter of red gold, inlaid with pearls and stones of price, and set apart two mules to carry it; a litter which was like one of the chambers of a palace, and within which she seemed as she were of the loveliest Houris and it became as one of the pavilions of Paradise. And after they had made bales of the treasures and monies, and had loaded them upon the mules and camels, King Zahr Shah went forth with her for a distance of three parasangs; after which he bade farewell to her and the Wazir and those with him, and returned to his home in gladness and safety. Thereupon the Wazir, faring with the King’s daughter, pushed on and ceased not his stages over desert ways,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Ninth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Wazir fared on with the King’s daughter and ceased not forcing his stages over desert ways and hastened his best through nights and days, till there remained between him and his city but three marches. Thereupon he sent forward to King Sulayman Shah one who should announce the coming of the bride. The King rejoiced thereat and bestowed on the messenger a dress of honour; and bade his troops march forth in grand procession to meet the Princess and her company for due worship and honour, and don their richest apparel with banners flying over their heads. And his orders were obeyed. He also commanded to cry throughout the city that neither curtained damsel nor honoured lady nor time-ruptured crone should fail to fare forth and meet the bride. So they all went out to greet her and the grandest of them vied in doing her service and they agreed to bring her to the King’s palace by night. More over, the chief officers decided to decorate the road and to stand in espalier of double line, whilst the bride should pass by preceded by her eunuchs and serving women and clad in the gear her father had given her. So when she made her appearance, the troops surrounded her, these of the right wing and those of the left, and the litter ceased not advancing with her till she approached the palace; nor remained any but came forth to gaze upon the Princess. Drums were beaten and spears were brandished and horns blared and flags fluttered and steeds pranced for precedence and scents shed fragrance till they reached the palace-gate and the pages entered with the litter through the Harim wicket. The place shone with its splendours and the walls glittered for the glamour of its gear. Now when night came, the eunuchs threw open the doors of the bridal chamber and stood surrounding the chief entrance whereupon the bride came forward and amid her damsels she was like the moon among stars or an union shining on a string of lesser pearls, and she passed into the bridal closet where they had set for her a couch of alabaster inlaid with unions and jewels. As soon as she had taken seat there, the King came in to her and Allah filled his heart with her love so he abated her maidenhead and ceased from him his trouble and disquiet. He abode with her well-nigh a month but she had conceived by him the first night; and, when the month was ended, he went forth and sat on his sofa of state, and dispensed justice to his subjects, till the months of her pregnancy were accomplished. On the last day of the ninth month, towards day break, the Queen was seized with the pangs of labour; so she sat down on the stool of delivery and Allah made the travail easy to her and she gave birth to a boy child, on whom appeared auspicious signs. When the King heard of this, he joyed with exceeding joy and rewarded the bearer of the good tidings with much treasure; and of his gladness he went in to the child and kissed him between the eyes and wondered at his brilliant loveliness; for in him was approved the saying of the poet,

“In the towering forts Allah throned him King,
A lion, a star in the skies of reign:
At his rising the spear and the throne rejoiced,
The gazelle, the ostrich, The men of main:[463]
Mount him not on the paps, for right soon he’ll show
That to throne on the war steed’s loins he’s fain:
And wean him from sucking of milk, for soon
A sweeter drink, the foe’s blood, he’ll drain.”

Then the midwives took the newborn child and cut the navel cord and darkened his eyelids with Kohl powder[464] and named him Táj al-Mulúk Khárán.[465] He was suckled at the breast of fond indulgence and was reared in the lap of happy fortune; and thus his days ceased not running and the years passing by till he reached the age of seven. Thereupon Sulayman Shah summoned the doctors and learned men and bade them teach his son writing and science and belle-lettres. This they continued to do for some years, till he had learnt what was needful; and, when the King saw that he was well grounded in whatso he desired, he took him out of the teachers’ and professors’ hands and engaged for him a skilful master, who taught him cavalarice and knightly exercises till the boy attained the age of fourteen; and when he fared abroad on any occasion, all who saw him were ravished by his beauty and made him the subject of verse; and even pious men were seduced by his brilliant loveliness.—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Tenth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, That when Taj al-Muluk Kharan, son of Sulayman Shah, became perfect in riding craft and excelled all those of his time, his excessive beauty, when he fared abroad on any occasion, caused all who saw him to be ravished and to make him the subject of verse; and even pious men were seduced by his brilliant loveliness. Quoth the poet of him,

“I clipt his form and wax’d drunk with his scent,
Fair branch to whom Zephyr gave nutriment:
Nor drunken as one who drinks wine, but drunk
With night draught his lips of the honey-dew lent:
All beauty is shown in the all of him,
Hence all human hearts he in hand hath hens:
My mind, by Allah! shall ne’er unmind
His love, while I wear life’s chains till spent:
If I live, in his love I’ll live; if I die
For pine and longing, ‘O blest!’ I’ll cry

When he reached the eighteenth year of his age, tender down[466] sprouted, on his side face fresh with youth, from a mole upon one rosy cheek and a second beauty spot, like a grain of ambergris adorned the other; and he won the wits and eyes of every wight who looked on him, even as saith the poet,

“He is Caliph of Beauty in Yúsufs lieu,
And all lovers fear when they sight his grace:
Pause and gaze with me; on his cheek thou’lt sight
The Caliphate’s banner of sable hue.”[467]

And as saith another,

“Thy sight hath never seen a fairer sight,
Of all things men can in the world espy,
Than yon brown mole, that studs his bonny cheek
Of rosy-red beneath that jet black eye.”

And as saith another,

“I marvel seeing yon mole that serves his cheeks’ bright flame
Yet burneth not in fire albeit Infidel[468]
I wonder eke to see that apostolic glance,
Miracle working, though it work by magic spell:
How fresh and bright the down that decks his cheek, and yet
Bursten gall bladders feed which e’en as waters well.”

And as saith another,

“I marvel hearing people questioning of
The Fount of Life and in what land ‘tis found:
I see it sprung from lips of dainty fawn,
Sweet rosy mouth with green mustachio down’d:
And wondrous wonder ‘tis when Moses viewed
That Fount, he rested not from weary round.”[469]

Now having developed such beauty, when he came to man’s estate his loveliness increased, and it won for him many comrades and intimates; while every one who drew near to him wished that Taj al-Muluk Kharan might become Sultan after his father’s death, and that he himself might be one of his Emirs. Then took he passionately to chasing and hunting which he would hardly leave for a single hour. His father, King Sulayman Shah, would have forbidden him the pursuit fearing for him the perils of the waste and the wild beasts; but he paid no heed to his warning voice. And it so chanced that once upon a time he said to his attendants “Take ye ten days food and forage;” and, when they obeyed his bidding, he set out with his suite for sport and disport. They rode on into the desert and ceased not riding four days, till they came to a place where the ground was green, and they saw in it wild beasts grazing and trees with ripe fruit growing and springs flowing. Quoth Taj al-Muluk to his followers, “Set up the nets here and peg them in a wide ring and let our trysting place be at the mouth of the fence, in such a spot.” So they obeyed his words and staked out a wide circle with toils; and there gathered together a mighty matter of all kinds of wild beasts and gazelles, which cried out for fear of the men and threw themselves for fright in the face of the horses. Then they loosed on to them the hounds and lynxes[470] and hawks;[471] and they shot the quarry down with shafts which pierced their vitals; and, by the time they came to the further end of the net ring, they had taken a great number of the wild beasts, and the rest fled. Then Taj al-Muluk dismounted by the water side and bade the game be brought before himself, and divided it, after he had set apart the best of the beasts for his father, King Sulayman Shah, and despatched the game to him; and some he distributed among the officers of his court. He passed the night in that place, and when morning dawned there came up a caravan of merchants conveying negro slaves and white servants, and halted by the water and the green ground. When Taj al-Muluk saw them, he said to one of his companions, “Bring me news of yonder men and question them why they have halted in this place.”[472] So the messenger went up to them and addressed them, “Tell me who ye be, and answer me an answer without delay.” Replied they, “We are merchants and have halted to rest, for that the next station is distant and we abide here because we have confidence in King Sulayman Shah and his son, Taj al-Muluk, and we know that all who alight in his dominions are in peace and safety; more over we have with us precious stuffs which we have brought for the Prince.” So the messenger returned and told these news to the King’s son who, hearing the state of the case and what the merchants had replied, said, “If they have brought stuff on my account I will not enter the city nor depart hence till I see it shown to me.” Then he mounted horse and rode to the caravan and his Mamelukes followed him till he reached it. Thereupon the merchants rose to receive him and invoked on him Divine aid and favour with continuance of glory and virtues; after which they pitched him a pavilion of red satin, embroidered with pearls and jewels, wherein they spread him a kingly divan upon a silken carpet worked at the upper end with emeralds set in gold. There Taj al-Muluk seated himself whilst his white servants stood in attendance upon him, and sent to bid the merchants bring out all that they had with them. Accordingly, they produced their merchandise, and displayed the whole and he viewed it and took of it what liked him, paying them the price. Then he looked about him at the caravan, and remounted and was about to ride onwards, when his glance fell on a handsome youth in fair attire, and a comely and shapely make, with flower-white brow and moon like face, save that his beauty was wasted and that yellow hues had overspread his cheeks by reason of parting from those he loved;—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Eleventh Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Taj Al- Muluk, when he looked about him at the caravan, saw a handsome youth in neat attire and of shapely make, with flower like forehead and moon like face, save that his beauty was wasted and yellow hues had overspread his cheeks by reason of parting from those he loved; and great was his groaning and moaning, and the tears streamed from his eyelids as he repeated these couplets,

“Longsome is Absence; Care and Fear are sore,
And ceaseless tears, O friend, mine eyes outpour:
Yea, I farewelled my heart on parting day
And heartless, hopeless, now I bide forlore:
Pause, O my friend, with me farewelling one
Whose words my cure can work, my health restore!”

Now when the youth ended his poetry he wept awhile and fell down in a fainting fit, whilst Taj al-Muluk looked at him and wondered at his case. Then, coming to himself, he stared with distracted air, and versified in these couplets,

“Beware her glance I rede thee, ‘tis like wizard wight,
None can escape unscathed those eye shafts’ glancing flight:
In very sooth black eyes, with languorous sleepy look,
Pierce deeper than white swords however these may bite.
Be not thy senses by her sweets of speech beguiled,
Whose brooding fever shall ferment in thought and sprite:
Soft sided Fair[473] did silk but press upon her skin,
‘Twould draw red blood from it, as thou thyself canst sight.
Chary is she of charms twixt neck and anklets dwell,
And ah! what other scent shall cause me such delight?[474]

Then he sobbed a loud sob and swooned away. But when Taj al- Muluk saw him in this case, he was perplexed about his state and went up to him; and, as the youth came to his senses and saw the King’s son standing at his head, he sprang to his feet and kissed the ground between his hands. Taj al-Muluk asked him, ‘Why didst thou not show us thy merchandise?” end he answered, O my lord, there is naught among my stock worthy of thine august highness.” Quoth the Prince, “Needs must thou show me what thou hast and acquaint me with thy circumstance; for I see thee weeping eyed and heavyhearted. If thou have been oppressed, we will end thine oppression, and if thou be in debt, we will pay thy debt; for of a truth my heart burneth to see thee, since I first set eyes on thee.”[475] Then Taj al-Muluk bade the seats be set, and they brought him a chair of ivory and ebony with a net-work of gold and silk, and spread him a silken rug for his feet. So he sat down on the chair and bidding the youth seat himself on the rug said to him, “Show me thy stock in trade!” The young merchant replied, “O my Lord, do not name this to me, for my goods be unworthy of thee.” Rejoined Taj al-Muluk “It needs must be thus!”; and bade some of the pages fetch the goods. So they brought them in despite of him; and, when he saw them, the tears streamed from his eyes and he wept and sighed and lamented: sobs rose in his throat and he repeated these couplets,

“By what thine eyelids show of Kohl and coquetry!
By what thy shape displays of lissome symmetry!
By what thy liplets store of honey-dew and wine!
By what thy mind adorns of gracious kindly gree!
To me thy sight dream-visioned, O my hope! exceeds
The happiest escape from horriblest injury.”

Then the youth opened his bales and displayed his merchandise to Taj Al-Muluk in detail, piece by piece, and amongst them he brought out a gown of satin brocaded with gold, worth two thousand dinars. When he opened the gown there fell a piece of linen from its folds. As soon as the young merchant saw this he caught up the piece of linen in haste and hid it under his thigh; and his reason wandered, and he began versifying,

“When shall be healed of thee this heart that ever bides in woe?
Than thee the Pleiad-stars more chance of happy meeting show
Parting and banishment and longing pain and lowe of love,
Procrastinating[476] and delay these ills my life lay low:
Nor union bids me live in joy, nor parting kills by grief,
Nor travel draws me nearer thee nor nearer comest thou:
Of thee no justice may be had, in thee dwells naught of rush,
Nor gain of grace by side of thee, nor flight from thee I know:
For love of thee all goings forth and comings back are strait
On me, and I am puzzled sore to know where I shall go.”

Taj al-Muluk wondered with great wonder at his verse, and could not comprehend the cause. But when the youth snatched up the bit of linen and placed it under thigh, he asked him, “What is that piece of linen?” “O my Lord,” answered the merchant, “thou hast no concern with this piece.” Quoth the King’s son, “Show it me;” and quoth the merchant, “O my lord, I refused to show thee my goods on account of this piece of linen; for I cannot let thee look upon it.”—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say,

When it was the One Hundred and Twelfth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the young merchant said to Taj al-Muluk, “I did not refuse to show thee my goods save on this account, for I cannot let thee look upon it.” Whereupon Taj al Muluk retorted, “Perforce I must and will see it;” and insisted and became angry. So the youth drew it out from under his thigh, and wept and moaned and redoubled his sighs and groans, and repeated these verses,

“Now blame him not; for blame brings only irk and pain!
Indeed, I spake him sooth but ne’er his ear could gain:
May Allah guard my moon which riseth in the vale
Beside our camp, from loosed robe like skyey plain:[477]
I left him but had Love vouchsafed to leave for me
Some peace in life such leave of him I ne’er had ta’en:
How long he pleaded for my sake on parting morn,
While down his cheeks and mine tears ran in railing rain:
Allah belie me not: the garb of mine excuse
This parting rent, but I will Mend that garb again!
No couch is easy to my side, nor on such wise
Aught easeth him, when all alone without me lain:
Time with ill-omened hand hath wrought between us two,
And made my waxing joys to wane and his to wane,
And poured mere grief and woe, what time Time fain had crowned
The bowl he made me drink and gave for him to drain.”

When he ended his recitation, quoth Taj al-Muluk, “I see thy conduct without consequence; tell me then why weepest thou at the sight of this rag!” When the young merchant heard speak of the piece of linen, he sighed and answered, “O my lord, my story is a strange and my case out of range, with regard to this piece of linen and to her from whom I brought it and to her who wrought on it these figures and emblems.” Hereupon, he spread out the piece of linen, and behold, thereon was the figure of a gazelle wrought in silk and worked with red gold, and facing it was another gazelle traced in silver with a neck ring of red gold and three bugles[478] of chrysolite upon the ring. When Taj al-Muluk saw the beauty of these figures, he exclaimed, “Glory be to Allah who teacheth man that which he knoweth not!”[479] And his heart yearned to hear the youth’s story; so he said to him, “Tell me thy story with her who owned these gazelles.” Replied the young man: “Hear, O my Lord, the

Tale of Aziz and Azizah

Both words (masc. and fem.) mean "dear, excellent, highly- prized." The tale is the Arab form of the European "Patient Griselda" and shows a higher conception of womanly devotion, because Azizah, despite her wearisome weeping, is a girl of high intelligence and Aziz is a vicious zany, weak as water and wilful as wind. The phenomenon (not rare in life) is explained by the couplet:—

I love my love with an S—
Because he is stupid and not intellectual.

This fond affection of clever women for fools can be explained only by the law of unlikeness which mostly governs sexual unions in physical matters; and its appearance in the story gives novelty and point. Aziz can plead only the violence of his passion which distinguished him as a lover among the mob of men who cannot love anything beyond themselves. And none can pity him for losing a member which he so much abused.

My father was a wealthy merchant and Allah had vouchsafed him no other child than myself; but I had a cousin, Azízah hight, daughter of my paternal uncle and we twain were brought up in one house; for her father was dead and before his death, he had agreed with my father that I should marry her. So when I reached man’s estate and she reached womanhood, they did not separate her from me or me from her, till at last my father spoke to my mother and said, “This very year we will draw up the contract of marriage between Aziz and Azizah.” So having agreed upon this he betook himself to preparing provision for the wedding feast. Still we ceased not to sleep on the same carpet knowing naught of the case, albeit she was more thoughtful, more intelligent and quicker witted than I. Now when my father had made an end of his preparations, and naught remained for him but to write out the contract and for me but to consummate the marriage with my cousin, he appointed the wedding for a certain Friday, after public prayers; and, going round to his intimates among the mer chants and others, he acquainted them with that, whilst my mother went forth and invited her women friends and summoned her kith and kin. When the Friday came, they cleaned the saloon and prepared for the guests and washed the marble floor; then they spread tapestry about our house and set out thereon what was needful, after they had hung its walls with cloth of gold. Now the folk had agreed to come to us after the Friday prayers; so my father went out and bade them make sweetmeats and sugared dishes, and there remained nothing to do but to draw up the contract. Then my mother sent me to the bath and sent after me a suit of new clothes of the richest; and, when I came out of the Hammam, I donned those habits which were so perfumed that as I went along, there exhaled from them a delicious fragrance scenting the wayside. I had designed to repair to the Cathedral mosque when I bethought me of one of my friends and returned in quest of him that he might be present at the writing of the contract; and quoth I to myself, “This matter will occupy me till near the time of congregational prayer.” So I went on and entered a by street which I had never before entered, perspiring profusely from the effects of the bath and the new clothes on my body; and the sweat streamed down whilst the scents of my dress were wafted abroad: I therefore sat me at the upper end of the street resting on a stone bench, after spreading under me an embroidered kerchief I had with me. The heat oppressed me more and more, making my forehead perspire and the drops trickled along my cheeks; but I could not wipe my face with my kerchief because it was dispread under me. I was about to take the skirt of my robe and wipe my cheeks with it, when unexpectedly there fell on me from above a white kerchief, softer to the touch than the morning breeze and pleasanter to the sight than healing to the diseased. I hent it in hand and raised my head to see whence it had fallen, when my eyes met the eyes of the lady who owned these gazelles.—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say

When it was the One Hundred and Thirteenth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the youth continued to Taj al-Muluk: “So I raised my head to see whence this kerchief had fallen, when my eyes met those of the lady who owned these gazelles. And lo! she was looking out of a wicket in a lattice of brass and never saw my eyes a fairer than she, and in fine my tongue faileth to describe her beauty. When she caught sight of me looking at her, she put her forefinger into her mouth, then joined her middle finger and her witness finger[480] and laid them on her bosom, between her breasts; after which she drew in her head and closed the wicket shutter and went her ways. Thereupon fire broke out in and was heaped upon my heart, and greater grew my smart; the one sight cost me a thousand sighs and I abode perplexed, for that I heard no word by her spoken, nor understood the meaning of her token. I looked at the window a second time, but found it shut and waited patiently till sundown, but sensed no sound and saw no one in view. So when I despaired of seeing her again, I rose from my place and taking up the handkerchief, opened it, when there breathed from it a scent of musk which caused me so great delight I became as one in Paradise.[481] Then I spread it before me and out dropped from it a delicate little scroll; whereupon I opened the paper which was perfumed with a delicious perfume, and therein were writ these couplets,

“I sent to him a scroll that bore my plaint of love,
Writ in fine delicate hand; for writing proves man’s skill:
Then quoth to me my friend, ‘Why is thy writing thus;
So fine, so thin drawn ‘tis to read unsuitable?’
Quoth I, ‘for that I’m fine-drawn wasted, waxed thin,
Thus lovers’ writ Should be, for so Love wills his will.

And after casting my eyes on the beauty of the kerchief,[482] I saw upon one of its two borders the following couplets worked in with the needle,

“His cheek down writeth (O fair fall the goodly scribe!)
Two lines on table of his face in Rayhán-hand:[483]
O the wild marvel of the Moon when comes he forth!
And when he bends, O shame to every Willow-wand!”

And on the opposite border these two couplets were traced,

“His cheek down writeth on his cheek with ambergris on pearl
Two lines, like jet on apple li’en, the goodliest design:
Slaughter is in those languid eyne whene’er a glance they deal,
And drunkenness in either cheek and not in any wine.”

When I read the poetry on the handkerchief the flames of love darted into my heart, and yearning and pining redoubled their smart. So I took the kerchief and the scroll and went home, knowing no means to win my wish, for that I was incapable of conducting love affairs and inexperienced in interpreting hints and tokens. Nor did I reach my home ere the night was far spent and I found the daughter of my uncle sitting in tears. But as soon as she saw me she wiped away the drops and came up to me, and took off my walking dress and asked me the reason of my absence, saying, “All the folk, Emirs and notables and merchants and others, assembled in our house; and the Kazi and the witnesses were also present at the appointed time. They ate and tarried awhile sitting to await thine appearance for the writing of the contract; and, when they despaired of thy presence, they dispersed and went their ways. “And indeed,” she added, “thy father raged with exceeding wrath by reason of this, and swore that he would not celebrate our marriage save during the coming year, for that he hath spent on these festivities great store of money.” And she ended by asking, “What hath befallen thee this day to make thee delay till now?; and why hast thou allowed that to happen which happened because of thine absence?” Answered I, “O daughter of mine uncle, question me not concerning what hath befallen me.”[484] Then I told her all that had passed from beginning to end, and showed her the handkerchief. She took the scroll and read what was written therein; and tears ran down her cheeks and she repeated these cinquains,

“Who saith that Love at first of free will came,
Say him: Thou liest! Love be grief and grame:
Yet shall such grame and grief entail no shame;
All annals teach us one thing and the same
Good current coin clips coin we may not crepe!

An please thou, say there’s pleasure in thy pain,
Find Fortune’s playful gambols glad and fain:
Or happy blessings in th’ unhappy’s bane,
That joy or grieve, with equal might and main:
Twixt phrase and antiphrase I’m all a heap!

But he, withal, whose days are summer bright,
Whom maids e’er greet with smiling lips’ delight;
Whom spicey breezes fan in every site
And wins whate’er he wills, that happy wight
White blooded coward heart should never keep!”

Then she asked me, “What said she, and what signs made she to thee?” I answered, “She uttered not a word, but put her fore finger in her mouth, then joining it to her middle finger, laid both fingers on her bosom and pointed to the ground. Thereupon she withdrew her head and shut the wicket; and after that I saw her no more. However, she took my heart with her, so I sat till sun down, expecting her again to look out of the window; but she did it not; and, when I despaired of her, I rose from my seat and came home. This is my history and I beg thee to help me in this my sore calamity.” Upon this she raised her face to me and said, “O son of mine uncle, if thou soughtest my eye, I would tear it for thee from its eyelids, and perforce I cannot but aid thee to thy desire and aid her also to her desire; for she is whelmed in passion for thee even as thou for her.” Asked I, “And what is the interpretation of her signs?”; and Azizah answered, “As for the putting her finger in her mouth,[485] it showed that thou art to her as her soul to her body and that she would bite into union with thee with her wisdom teeth. As for the kerchief, it betokeneth that her breath of life is bound up in thee. As for the placing her two fingers on her bosom between her breasts, its explanation is that she saith; ‘The sight of thee may dispel my grief.’ For know, O my cousin, that she loveth thee and she trusteth in thee. This is my interpretation of her signs and, could I come and go at Will, I would bring thee and her together in shortest time, and curtain you both with my skirt.” Hearing these words I thanked her (continued the young merchant) for speaking thus, and said to myself, “I will wait two days.” So I abode two days in the house, neither going out nor coming in; neither eating nor drinking but I laid my head on my cousin’s lap, whilst she comforted me and said to me, “Be resolute and of good heart and hope for the best!”—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say,

When it was the One Hundred and Fourteenth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the youth pursued to Taj al-Muluk:—”And when the two days were past she said to me, “Be of good cheer and clear thine eyes of tears and take courage to dress thyself and go to her, according to thy tryst.” Then she rose and changed my clothes and perfumed me with incense smoke. So I braced myself up and heartened my heart and went out and walked on till I came to the by-street, where I sat down on the bench awhile. And behold, the wicket suddenly opened and I looked up and seeing her, fell down in a swoon. When I revived, I called up resolution and took courage and gazed again at her and again became insensible to the world around me. Then I came to myself and looking at her, saw that she held in hand a mirror and a red kerchief. Now when she caught my glance, she bared her forearms and opened her five fingers and smote her breast with palm and digits; and after this she raised her hands and, holding the mirror outside the wicket, she took the red kerchief and retired into the room with it, but presently returned and putting out her hand with the kerchief, let it down towards the lane three several times, dipping it and raising it as often. Then she wrung it out and folded it in her hands, bending down her head the while; after which she drew it in from the lattice and, shutting the wicket shutter, went away without a single word; nay, she left me confounded and knowing not what signified her signs.[486]. I tarried sitting there till supper-time and did not return home till near midnight; and there I found the daughter of my uncle with her cheek props in her hand and her eyelids pouring forth tears; and she was repeating these couplets,

“Woe’s me! why should the blamer gar thee blaming bow?
How be consoled for thee that art so tender bough?
Bright being! on my vitals dost thou prey, and drive
My heart before platonic passion’s[487] force to bow.
Thy Turk like[488] glances havoc deal in core of me,
As furbished sword thin ground at curve could never show:
Thou weigh’s” me down with weight of care, while I have not
Strength e’en to bear my shift, so weakness lays me low:
Indeed I weep blood tears to hear the blamer say;
‘The lashes of thy lover’s eyne shall pierce thee through!’
Thou hast, my prince of loveliness! an Overseer,[489]
Who wrongs me, and a Groom[490] who beats me down with brow.
He foully lies who says all loveliness belonged
To Joseph, in thy loveliness is many a Joe:
I force myself to turn from thee, in deadly fright
Of spies; and what the force that turns away my sight!”

When I heard her verse, cark increased and care redoubled on me and I fell down in a corner of our house; whereupon she arose in haste and, coming to me lifted me up and took off my outer clothes and wiped my face with her sleeve. Then she asked me what had befallen me, and I described all that had happened from her. Quoth she, “O my cousin, as for her sign to thee with her palm and five fingers its interpretation is, Return after five days; and the putting forth of her head out of the window, and her gestures with the mirror and the letting down and raising up and wringing out of the red kerchief,[491] signify, Sit in the dyer’s shop till my messenger come to thee.” When I heard her words fire flamed up in my heart and I exclaimed, “O daughter of my uncle, thou sayest sooth in this thine interpretation; for I saw in the street the shop of a Jew dyer.” Then I wept, and she said, “Be of good cheer and strong heart: of a truth others are occupied with love for years and endure with constancy the ardour of passion, whilst thou hast but a week to wait; why then this impatience?” Thereupon she went on cheering me with comfortable talk and brought me food: so I took a mouthful and tried to eat but could not; and I abstained from meat and drink and estranged myself from the solace of sleep, till my colour waxed yellow and I lost my good looks; for I had never been in love before nor had I ever savoured the ardour of passion save this time. So I fell sick and my cousin also sickened on my account; but she would relate to me, by way of consolation, stories of love and lovers every night till I fell asleep; and when ever I awoke, I found her wakeful for my sake with tears running down her cheeks. This ceased not till the five days were past, when my cousin rose and warmed some water and bathed me with it. Then she dressed me in my best and said to me, “Repair to her and Allah fulfil thy wish and bring thee to thy desire of thy beloved!” So I went out and ceased not walking on till I came to the upper end of the by street. As it was the Sabbath[492] I found the dyer’s shop locked and sat before it, till I heard the call to mid-afternoon prayer. Then the sun yellowed and the Mu’ezzins[493] chanted the call to sundown prayer and the night came; but I saw no sign nor heard one word, nor knew any news of her. So I feared for my life sitting there alone; and at last I arose and walked home reeling like a drunken man. When I reached the house, I found my cousin Azizah standing, with one hand grasping a peg driven into the wall and the other on her breast; and she was sighing and groaning and repeating these couplets,

“The longing of an Arab lass forlorn of kith and kin
(Who to Hijazian Willow-wand and myrtle[494] doth incline,
And who, when meeting caravan, shall with love-lowe set light
To bivouac fire, and bang for conk her tears of pain and pine)
Exceeds not mine for him nor more devotion shows, but he
Seeing my heart is wholly his spurns love as sin indign.”

Now when she had finished her verse she turned to me and, seeing me, wiped away her tears and my tears with her sleeve. Then she smiled in my face and said, “O my cousin, Allah grant thee enjoyment of that which He hath given thee! Why didst thou not pass the night by the side of thy beloved and why hast thou not fulfilled thy desire of her?” When I heard her words, I gave her a kick in the breast and she fell down in the saloon and her brow struck upon the edge of the raised pavement and hit against a wooden peg therein. I looked at her and saw that her forehead was cut open and the blood running,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Fifteenth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the young merchant continued to Taj al-Muluk: “Now when I kicked the daughter of my uncle in the breast she fell on the edge of the raised pavement in the saloon and her brow struck upon a wooden peg. Thereby her forehead was cut open and the blood ran down, but she was silent and did not utter a single sound.[495] Presently she rose up, and made some tinder of rags, then staunching with it the bleeding wound, bound her forehead with a bandage; after which she wiped up the blood that had fallen on the carpet, and it was as if nothing had been. Presently she came up to me and smiling in my face, said with gentle voice, “By Allah, O son of my uncle, I spake not these words to mock at thee or at her! But I was troubled with an ache in my head and was minded to be blooded, but now thou hast eased my head and lightened my brow; so tell me what hath befallen thee to day.” Thereupon I told her all that had passed between me and her that day; and she wept as she heard my words and said, “O son of my uncle, rejoice at the good tidings of thy desire being fulfilled and thine aim being attained. Of a truth this is a sign of acceptance; for that she stayed away only because she wisheth to try thee and know if thou be patient or not, and sincere in thy love for her or otherwise. To-morrow, repair to her at the old place and see what sign she maketh to thee; for indeed thy gladness is near and the end of thy sadness is at hand.” And she went on to comfort me; but my cark and care ceased not to increase on me. Presently she brought me food which I kicked away with my foot so that the contents of every saucer were scattered in all directions, and I said, “Every lover is a madman; he inclineth not to food neither enjoyeth he sleep.” And my cousin Azizah rejoined, “By Allah, O son of my uncle, these be in very deed the signs of love!” And the tears streamed down her cheeks whenas she gathered the fragments of the saucers and wiped up the food; then she took seat and talked to me, whilst I prayed Allah to hasten the dawn. At last, when morning arose with its sheen and shine, I went out to seek her and hastening to her by street sat down on that bench, when lo! the wicket opened and she put out her head laughing. Then she disappeared within and returned with a mirror, a bag; and a pot full of green plants and she held in hand a lamp. The first thing she did was to take the mirror and, putting it into the bag, tie it up and throw it back into the room; then she let down her hair over her face and set the lamp on the pot of flowers during the twinkling of an eye; then she took up all the things and went away shutting the window without saying a word. My heart was riven by this state of the case, and by her secret signals, her mysterious secrets and her utter silence; and thereby my longing waxed more violent and my passion and distraction redoubled on me. So I retraced my steps, tearful-eyed and heavy hearted, and returned home, where I found the daughter of my uncle sitting with her face to the wall; for her heart was burning with grief and galling jealousy; albeit her affection forbade her to acquaint me with what she suffered of passion and pining when she saw the excess of my longing and distraction. Then I looked at her and saw on her head two bandages, one on account of the accident to her forehead and the other over her eye in consequence of the pain she endured for stress of weeping; and she was in miserable plight shedding tears and repeating these couplets,

“I number nights; indeed I count night after night;
Yet lived I long ere learnt so sore accompt to see, ah!
Dear friend, I compass not what Allah pleased to doom
For Laylá, nor what Allah destined for me, ah!
To other giving her and unto me her love,
What loss but Layla’s loss would He I ever dree, ah!”

And when she had finished her reciting, she looked towards me and seeing me through her tears, wiped them away and came up to me hastily, but could not speak for excess of love. So she remained silent for some while and then said, “O my cousin, tell me what befel thee with her this time.” I told her all that had passed and she said, “Be patient, for the time of thy union is come and thou hast attained the object of thy hopes. As for her signal to thee with the mirror which she put in the bag, it said to thee, When the sun is set; and the letting down of her hair over her face signified, When night is near and letteth fall the blackness of the dark and hath starkened the daylight, come hither. As for her gesture with the pot of green plants it meant, When thou comest, enter the flower-garden which is behind the street; and as for her sign with the lamp it denoted, When thou enterest the flower-garden walk down it and make for the place where thou seest the lamp shining; and seat thyself beneath it and await me; for the love of thee is killing me.” When I heard these words from my cousin, I cried out from excess of passion and said, “How long wilt thou promise me and I go to her, but get not my will nor find any true sense in thine interpreting.” Upon this she laughed and replied, “It remaineth for thee but to have patience during the rest of this day till the light darken and the night starker and thou shalt enjoy union and accomplish thy hopes; and indeed all my words be without leasing.” Then she repeated these two couplets,

“Let days their folds and plies deploy,
And shun the house that deals annoy!
Full oft when joy seems farthest far
Thou nighmost art to hour of joy.”‘

Then she drew near to me and began to comfort me with soothing speech, but dared not bring me aught of food, fearing lest I be angry with her and hoping I might incline to her; so when coming to me she only took off my upper garment and said to me, “Sit O my cousin, that I may divert thee with talk till the end of the day and, Almighty Allah willing, as soon as it is night thou shalt be with thy beloved.” But I paid no heed to her and ceased not looking for the approach of darkness, saying, “O Lord, hasten the coming of the night!” And when night set in, the daughter of my uncle wept with sore weeping and gave me a crumb of pure musk, and said to me, “O my cousin, put this crumb in thy mouth, and when thou hast won union with thy beloved and hast taken thy will of her and she hath granted thee thy desire, repeat to her this couplet,

‘Ho, lovers all! by Allah say me sooth
What shall he do when love sore vexeth youth?’”[496]

And she kissed me and swore me not to repeat this couplet till I should be about to leave my lover and I said, “Hearing is obeying!” And when it was supper-tide I went out and ceased not walking on till I came to the flower garden whose door I found open. So I entered and, seeing a light in the distance, made towards it and reaching it, came to a great pavilion vaulted over with a dome of ivory and ebony, and the lamp hung from the midst of the dome. The floor was spread with silken carpets embroidered in gold and silver, and under the lamp stood a great candle, burning in a candelabrum of gold. In mid pavilion was a fountain adorned with all manner of figures;[497] and by its side stood a table covered with a silken napkin, and on its edge a great porcelain bottle full of wine, with a cup of crystal inlaid with gold. Near all these was a large tray of silver covered over, and when I uncovered it I found therein fruits of every kind, figs and pomegranates, grapes and oranges, citrons and shaddocks[498] disposed amongst an infinite variety of sweet scented flowers, such as rose, jasmine, myrtle, eglantine, narcissus and all sorts of sweet smelling herbs. I was charmed with the place and I joyed with exceeding joy, albeit I found not there a living soul and my grief and anxiety ceased from me.—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day, and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Sixteenth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the young merchant continued to Taj al-Muluk: “I was charmed with the place and joyed with great joy albeit there I found not a living soul of Almighty Allah’s creatures, and saw nor slave nor handmaid to oversee these things or to watch and ward these properties. So I sat down in the pavilion to await the coming of the beloved of my heart; but the first hour of the night passed by, and the second hour, and the third hour, and still she came not. Then hunger grew sore upon me, for that it was long since I had tasted food by reason of the violence of my love: but when I found the place even as my cousin had told me, and saw the truth of her in terpretation of my beloved’s signs, my mind was set at rest and I felt the pangs of hunger; moreover, the odour of the viands on the table excited me to eat. So making sure of attaining my desire, and being famished for food I went up to the table and raised the cover and found in the middle a china dish containing four chickens reddened with roasting and seasoned with spices, round the which were four saucers, one containing sweetmeats, another conserve of pomegranate seeds, a third almond pastry[499] and a fourth honey fritters; and the contents of these saucers were part sweet and part sour. So I ate of the fritters and a piece of meat, then went on to the almond cakes and ate what I could; after which I fell upon the sweetmeats, whereof I swallowed a spoonful or two or three or four, ending with part of a chicken and a mouthful of something beside. Upon this my stomach became full and my joints loose and I waxed too drowsy to keep awake; so I laid my head on a cushion, after having washed my hands, and sleep over came me; I knew not what happened to me after this, and I awoke not till the sun’s heat scorched me, for that I had never once tasted sleep for days past. When I awoke I found on my stomach a piece of salt and a bit of charcoal; so I stood up and shook my clothes and turned to look right and left, but could see no one; and discovered that I had been sleeping on the marble pavement without bedding beneath me. I was perplexed thereat and afflicted with great affliction; the tears ran down my cheeks and I mourned for myself. Then I returned home, and when I entered, I found my cousin beating her hand on her bosom and weeping tears like rain shedding clouds; and she versified with these couplets,

“Blows from my lover’s land a Zephyr cooly sweet,
And with its every breath makes olden love new glow:
O Zephyr of the morning hour, come show to us
Each lover hath his lot, his share of joy and woe:
Could I but win one dearest wish, we had embraced
With what embrace and clip of breast fond lovers know.
Allah forbids, while bides unseen my cousin’s face,
All joys the World can give or hand of Time bestow.
Would Heaven I knew his heart were like this heart of me,
Melted by passion-flame and charged with longing owe.”

When she saw me, she rose in haste and wiped away her tears and addressed me with her soft speech, saying, “O son of my uncle, verily Allah hath been gracious to thee in thy love, for that she whom thou lovest loveth thee, whilst I pass my time in weeping and bewailing my severance from thee who blamest me and chidest me; but may Allah not punish thee for my sake!” Thereupon she smiled in my face a smile of reproach and caressed me; then taking off my walking clothes, she spread them out and said, “By Allah, this is not the scent of one who hath enjoyed his lover! So tell me what hath befallen thee, O my cousin.” I told her all that had passed, and she smiled again a smile of reproach and said, “Verily, my heart is full of pain; but may he not live who would hurt thy heart! Indeed, this woman maketh herself inordinately dear and difficult to thee, and by Allah, O son of my uncle, I fear for thee from her.[500] Know, O my cousin, that the meaning of the salt is thou west drowned in sleep like insipid food, disgustful to the taste; and it is as though she said to thee; ‘It behoveth thou be salted lest the stomach eject thee; for thou professes to be of the lovers noble and true; but sleep is unlawful and to a lover undue; therefore is thy love but a lie.’ However, it is her love for thee that lieth; for she saw thee asleep yet aroused thee not and were her love for thee true, she had indeed awoken thee. As for the charcoal, it means ‘Allah blacken thy face’[501] for thou makest a lying presence of love, whereas thou art naught but a child and hast no object in life other than eating and drinking and sleeping! such is the interpretation of her signs, and may Allah Almighty deliver thee from her!” When I heard my cousin’s words, I beat my hand upon my breast and cried out, “By Allah, this is the very truth, for I slept and lovers sleep not! Indeed I have sinned against myself, for what could have wrought me more hurt than eating and sleeping? Now what shall I do?” Then I wept sore and said to the daughter of my uncle, “Tell me how to act and have pity on me, so may Allah have pity on thee: else I shall die.” As my cousin loved me with very great love,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Seventeenth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the young merchant continued his tale to Taj al-Muluk: “Thereupon quoth I to the daughter of my uncle, “Tell me what to do and have pity on me, so may Allah have pity on thee!” As the daughter of my uncle loved me with great love, she replied, “On my head and eyes! But, O my cousin, I repeat what I have told thee oftentimes, if I could go in and out at will, I would at once bring you two together and cover you both with my skirt: nor would I do this but hoping to win thy favour. Inshallah, I will do my utmost endeavour to unite you; but hear my words and do my bidding. Go thou to the very same place and sit down where thou sattest before and at supper-tide look thou eat not, for eating induceth sleep; and have a care-thou slumber not, for she will not come to thee till a fourth part of the night be passed. And the Almighty avert her mischief from thee!” Now when I heard these words I rejoiced and besought Allah to hasten the night; and, as soon as it was dark, I was minded to go, and my cousin said to me, “When thou shalt have met her, repeat to her the couplet I taught thee before, at the time of thy leave taking.” Replied I, “On my head and eyes!” and went out and repaired to the garden, where I found all made ready in the same state as on the previous night, with every requisite of meat and drink, dried fruits, sweet scented flowers and so forth. I went up into the pavilion and smelt the odour of the viands and my spirit lusted after them; but I possessed my soul in patience for a while, till at last I could no longer withstand temptation. So I arose from my seat and went up to the table and, raising its cover, found a dish of fowls, surrounded by four saucers containing four several meats. I ate a mouthful of each kind and as much as I would of the sweetmeats and a piece of meat: then I drank from the saucer a sauce yellowed with saffron[502] and as it pleased me, I supped it up by the spoonful till I was satisfied and my stomach was full. Upon this, my eyelids drooped; so I took a cushion and set it under my head, saying, “Haply I can recline upon it without going to sleep.” Then I closed my eyes and slept, nor did I wake till the sun had risen, when I found on my stomach a cube of bone,[503] a single tip-cat stick,[504] the stone of a green date[505] and a carob pod. There was no furniture nor aught else in the place, and it was as if there had been nothing there yesterday. So I rose and shaking all these things off me, fared forth in fury; and, going home, found my cousin groaning and versifying with these couplets,

“A wasted body, heart enpierced to core,
And tears that down my poor cheeks pour and pour:
And lover cure of access; but, but still
Naught save what’s fair can come from fairest flow’r:
O cousin mine thou fill’st my soul with pate,
And from these tears mine eyelids ache full sore!”

I chid the daughter of my uncle and abused her, whereat she wept; then, wiping away her tears, she came up to me and kissed me and began pressing me to her bosom, whilst I held back from her blaming myself. Then said she to me, “O my cousin, it seemeth thou sleptest again this night?” Replied I, “Yes; and when I awoke, I found on my stomach a cube of bone, a single tip-cat stick, a stone of a green date and a carob pod, and I know not why she did this.” Then I wept and went up to her and said, “Expound to me her meaning in so doing and tell me how shall I act and aid me in my sore strait.” She answered, “On my head and eyes! By the single tip cat stick and the cube of bone which she placed upon thy stomach she saith to thee ‘Thy body is present but thy heart is absent’; and she meaneth, ‘Love is not thus: so do not reckon thyself among lovers.’ As for the date stone, it is as if she said to thee, ‘An thou wert in love thy heart would be burning with passion and thou wouldst not taste the delight of sleep; for the sweet of love is like a green date[506] which kindleth a coal of fire in the vitals.’ As for the carob pod[507] it signifieth to thee, ‘The lover’s heart is wearied’; and thereby she saith, ‘Be patient under our separation with the patience of Job.’ “ When I heard this interpretation, fires darted into my vitals like a dart and grief redoubled upon my heart and I cried out, saying, “Allah decreed sleep to me for my ill fortune.” Then I said to her, “O my cousin, by my life, devise me some device whereby I may win my will of her!” She wept and answered, “O Aziz, O son of my uncle, verily my heart is full of sad thought which I cannot speak: but go thou again to night to the same place and beware thou sleep not, and thou shalt surely attain thy desire. This is my counsel and peace be with thee!” Quoth I, “If Allah please I will not sleep, but will do as thou biddest me.” Then my cousin rose, and brought me food, saying, “Eat now what may suffice thee, that nothing may divert thy heart.” So I ate my fill and, when night came, my cousin rose and bringing me a sumptuous suit of clothes clad me therein. Then she made me swear I would repeat to my lover the verse aforesaid and bade me beware of sleeping. So I left her and repaired to the garden and went up into that same pavilion where I occupied myself in holding my eyelids open with my fingers and nodding my head as the night darkened on me.”—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Eighteenth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the young merchant continued to Taj al Muluk: “So I repaired to the garden and went up into that same pavilion and occupied myself in gazing upon the flower beds and in holding my eyelids open with my fingers and nodding my head as the night darkened on me. And presently I grew hungry with watching and the smell of the meats being wafted towards me, my appetite increased: so I went up to the table and took off the cover and ate a mouthful of every dish and a bit of meat; after which I turned to the flagon of wine, saying to myself, I will drink one cup. I drank it, and then I drank a second and a third, till I had drunk full ten, when the cool air smote me and I fell to the earth like a felled man. I ceased not to lie thus till day arose, when I awoke and found myself out side the garden, and on my stomach were a butcher’s knife and a dram-weight of iron.[508] Thereat I trembled and, taking them with me, went home, where I found my cousin saying, “Verily, I am in this house wretched and sorrowful, having no helper but weeping.” Now when I entered, I fell down at full length and throwing the knife and the dram weight from my hand, I fainted clean away. As soon as I came to myself, I told her what had befallen me and said, Indeed, I shall never enjoy my desire.” But when she saw my tears and my passion, they redoubled her distress on my account, and she cried, “Verily, I am helpless! I warned thee against sleeping; but thou wouldst not hearken to my warning, nor did my words profit thee aught.” I rejoined, “By Allah, I conjure thee to explain to me the meaning of the knife and the iron dram-weight.” “By the dram weight,” replied my cousin, “she alludeth to her right eye,[509] and she sweareth by it and saith, ‘By the Lord of all creatures and by my right eye! if thou come here again and sleep, I will cut thy throat with this very knife.’ And indeed I fear for thee, O my cousin, from her malice; my heart is full of anguish for thee and I cannot speak. Nevertheless, if thou can be sure of thyself not to sleep when thou returnest to her, return to her and beware of sleeping and thou shalt attain thy desire; but if when returning to her thou wilt sleep, as is thy wont, she will surely slaughter thee.” Asked I, “What shall I do, O daughter of my uncle: I beg thee, by Allah, to help me in this my calamity.” Answered she, “On my head and eyes! if thou wilt hearken to my words and do my bidding, thou shalt have thy will.” Quoth I, “I will indeed hearken to thy words and do thy bidding;” and quoth she, “When it is time for thee to go, I will tell thee.” Then she pressed me to her bosom and laying me on the bed, shampoo’d my feet, till drowsiness overcame me and I was drowned in sleep, then she took a fan and seated herself at my head with the fan in her hand and she was weeping till her clothes were wet with tears. Now when she saw that I was awake, she wiped away the drops and fetched me some food and set it before me. I refused it, but she said to me, “Did I not tell thee that thou must do my bidding? Eat!” So I ate and thwarted her not and she proceeded to put the food into my mouth and I to masticate it, till I was full. Then she made me drink jujube sherbet[510] and sugar and washed my hands and dried them with a kerchief; after which she sprinkled me with rose-water, and I sat with her awhile in the best of spirits. When the darkness had closed in, she dressed me and said to me, “O son of my uncle, watch through the whole night and sleep not; for she will not come to thee this tide till the last of the dark hours and, Allah willing, thou shalt be at one with her this night; but forget not my charge.” Then, she wept, and my heart was pained for her by reason of her over much weeping, and I asked, “What is the charge thou gayest me?” She answered, “When thou takest leave of her repeat to her the verse before mentioned.” So, full of joy I left her and repairing to the garden, went up into the pavilion where, being satiated with food, I sat down and watched till a fourth part of the dark hours was past. That night seemed longsome to me as it were a year: but I remained awake till it was three quarters spent and the cocks crew and I was famished for long watching. Accordingly I went up to the table and ate my fill, whereupon my head grew heavy and I wanted to sleep, when behold, a light appeared making towards me from afar. I sprang up and washed my hands and mouth and roused myself; and before long she came with ten damsels, in whose midst she was like the full moon among the stars. She was clad in a dress of green satin purfled with red gold, and she was as saith the poet,

“She lords it o’er our hearts in grass green gown,
With buttons[511] loose and locks long flowing down.
Quoth I, ‘What is thy name?’ Quoth she, ‘I’m she,
Who burns the lover-heart live coals upon:’
I made my plaint to her of loving lowe;
Laughed she, ‘To stone thou moanest useless moan!’
Quoth I, ‘An be of hardest stone thy heart,
Allah drew sweetest spring from hardest stone.’ “

When she saw me she laughed and said, “How is it that thou art awake and that sleep overcame thee not? Forasmuch as thou hast watched through the night, I know that thou art a lover; for night watching is the mark of lovers displaying brave endurance of their desires.” Then she turned to her women and signed to them and they went away from her, whereupon she came up to me and strained me to her breast and kissed me, whilst I kissed her, and she sucked my upper lip whilst I sucked her lower lip. I put my hand to her waist and pressed it and we came not to the ground save at the same moment. Then she undid her petticoat-trousers which slipped down to her anklets, and we fell to clasping and embracing and toying and speaking softly and biting and inter twining of legs and going round about the Holy House and the corners thereof,[512] till her joints became relaxed for love delight and she swooned away. I entered the sanctuary, and indeed that night was a joy to the sprite and a solace to the sight even as saith the poet,

“Sweetest of nights the world can show to me, that night
When cups went round and round as fed by ceaseless spring:
There utter severance made I ‘twixt mine eyes and sleep,
And joined, re joined mine ear drop with the anklet ring.”[513]

We lay together in close embrace till the morning when I would have gone away, but she stopped me and said, “Stay till I tell thee something”—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Nineteenth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the young merchant continued his recital to Taj al Muluk: “When I would have gone away, she stopped me and said, “Stay, till I tell thee something and charge thee with a charge.” So I stayed whilst she unfolded a kerchief and drew out this piece of linen and spread it open before me. I found worked on it these two figures of gazelles and admired it with great admiration. Then I took the piece of linen and went away, joyful, after we had agreed that I should visit her every night in the garden; but in my joy I forgot to repeat to her the verse my cousin had taught me. For when giving me the piece of linen with the gazelles she had said to me, “Keep this carefully, as it is my sister’s handiwork.” I asked her, “What is thy sister’s name?”; and she answered, “Her name is Núr al-Hudá.” When I went to my cousin, I found her lying down; but as soon as she saw me, she rose, with the tears running from her eyes, and came up to me, and kissed me on the breast and said, “Didst thou do as I enjoined thee? and repeat the verse to her?” “I forgot it,” replied I; “and nothing drove it out of my mind but these two figured gazelles.” And I threw the piece of linen on the floor before her. She rose and sat down again, but was unable to contain herself for impatience, and her eyes ran over with tears, whilst she repeated these two couplets,

“O thou who seekest parting, softly fare!
Let not the Pair delude with cunning art:
Pare softly, Fortune’s nature is to ‘guile,
And end of every meeting is to part.”

And when she ended her recitation she said, “O my cousin, give me this piece of linen.” So I gave it to her and she took it and unfolding it, saw what was therein. When the tryst time came for my going to my lover, the daughter of my uncle said to me, “Go, and peace attend thee; and when thou art about to leave her, recite to her the verse I taught thee long ago and which thou didst forget.” Quoth I, “Tell it me again”; and she repeated it. Then I went to the garden and entered the pavilion, where I found the young lad, awaiting me. When she saw me, she rose and kissed me and made me sit in her lap; and we ate and drank and did our desire as before. In the morning, I repeated to her my cousin’s verse which was this,

“Ho, lovers all! by Allah say me sooth
What shall he do when Love sor’ vexeth youth?”

When she heard this, her eyes filled with tears and she answered and said,

“Strive he to cure his case, to hide the truth,
Patiently humble self and sue for rush!”

I committed it to memory and returned home rejoicing at having done my cousin’s bidding. When I entered the house I found her lying down and my mother at her head weeping over her case; but as soon as I went in to her my mother said to me, “A foul plague on such a cousin! How couldst thou leave the daughter of thy uncle ailing and not ask what ailed her?” But when my cousin saw me she raised her head and sat up and asked me, “O Aziz, didst thou repeat to her the couplet I taught thee?” I answered, “Yes, and when she heard it she wept and recited in answer another couplet which I committed to memory.” Quoth my cousin, “Tell it me.” I did so; and when she heard it she wept with much weeping and repeated the following verses,

‘How shall youth cure the care his life undo’th,
And every day his heart in pieces hew’th?
In sooth he would be patient, but he findeth
Naught save a heart which love with pains imbu’th.”

Then added my cousin, “When thou goest to her as of wont, repeat to her also these two couplets which thou hast heard.” I replied, “Hearkening and obedience!” and I went at the wonted time, to the garden, where there passed between my mistress and myself what tongue faileth to describe. When I was about to leave her, I repeated to her those two couplets of my cousin’s; whereupon the tears streamed from her eyes and she replied,

“If he of patience fail the truth to hide
For him no cure save Death my vision view’th!”

I committed them to memory and returned home, and when I went in to my cousin I found her fallen into a fit and my mother sitting at her head. When she heard my voice, she opened her eyes and asked, “O Aziz! didst thou repeat the two couplets to her?” whereto I answered, “Yes; but she wept on hearing them and she replied with this couplet beginning, If he of patience fail, to the end.” And I repeated it; whereupon my cousin swooned again, and when she came to herself, she recited these two couplets,

“Hearkening, obeying, with my dying mouth
I greet who joy of union ne’er allow’th:
Pair fall all happy loves, and fair befal
The hapless lover dying in his drowth!”

Again when it was night, I repaired to the garden as usual where I found the young lady awaiting me. We sat down and ate and drank, after which we did all we wanted and slept till the morning; and, as I was going away, I repeated to her the saying of my cousin. When she heard the couplet she cried out with a loud cry and was greatly moved and exclaimed, “Awáh! Awáh![514] By Allah, she who spake these lines is dead!” Then she wept and said to me, “Woe to thee! How is she who spoke thus related to thee?” Replied I, “She is the daughter of my father’s brother.” “Thou liest,” rejoined she; “by Allah, were she thy cousin, thou hadst borne her the same love as she bore thee! It is thou who hast slain her and may the Almighty kill thee as thou killedst her! By Allah, hadst thou told me thou hadst a cousin, I would not have admitted thee to my favours!” Quoth I, “Verily it was she who interpreted to me the signs thou madest and it was she who taught me how to come to thee and how I should deal with thee; and, but for her, I should never have been united to thee.” She then asked me, “Did thy cousin then know of us?”; and I answered, “Yes;” whereupon she exclaimed, “Allah give thee sorrow of thy youth, even as thou hast sorrowed her youth!” Then she cried to me, “Go now and see after her.” So I went away troubled at heart, and ceased not walking till I reached our street, when I heard sounds of wailing, and asking about it, was answered, “Azizah, we found her dead behind the door.” I entered the house, and when my mother saw me, she said, “Her death lieth heavy on thy neck and may Allah not acquit thee of her blood!”—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Twentieth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the young merchant continued to Taj al-Muluk: “So I entered the house and when my mother saw me she said, “Her death lieth heavy on thy neck and may Allah not acquit thee of her blood! A plague on such a cousin!” Then came my father, and we laid her out and get ready her bier and buried her; and we had recitations of the whole Koran over her tomb and we abode by her grave three days, after which we returned to our home, and I grieving for her grievously. Then my mother came to me and said, “I would fain know what thou didst to her, to break her heart[515] for, O my son, I questioned her at all times of the cause of her complaint, but she would tell me nothing nor let me know aught of it. So Allah upon thee, tell me what thou hast been doing to her that she died.” Quoth I, “I did nothing.” Quoth my mother, “Allah avenge her on thee! Verily she told me naught, but kept her secret till she died of her love-longings for thee; but when she died I was with her and she opened her eyes and said to me; ‘O wife of my uncle may Allah hold thy son guiltless of my blood and punish him not for what he hath done by me! And now Allah transporteth me from the house of the world which is perishable to the house of the other world which is eternal.’ Said I, ‘O my daughter, Allah preserve thee and preserve thy youth!’ And as I questioned her of the cause of her illness, she made me no answer; but she smiled and said, ‘O wife of my uncle, bid thy son, whenever he would go whither he goeth every day, repeat these two saws at his going away; ‘Faith is fair! Unfaith is foul!’ For this is of my tender affection to him, that I am solicitous concerning him during my lifetime and after my death.’ Then she gave me somewhat for thee and sware me that I would not give it until I see thee weeping for her and lamenting her death. The thing is with me; and, when I have seen thy case as I have said, I will make it over to thee.” “Show it me,” cried I: but she would not. Then I gave myself up to love delights and thought no more of my cousin’s death: for my mind was unsettled and fain would I have been with my lover the livelong day and night.[516] So hardly had I perceived the darkness fall when I betook myself to the garden, where I found the young lady sitting on coals of fire for much impatience. As soon as she was sure that she saw me, she ran to me and throwing her arms about my neck, enquired of the daughter of my uncle. I replied, “Sooth to say she is dead, and we have caused Zikr- litanies and recitations of the Koran to be performed for her; and it is now four nights and this be the fifth since she is gone.” When she heard that, she shrieked aloud and wept and said, “Did I not tell thee that thou hast slain her? Hadst thou let me know of her before her death, I would have requited her the kindness she did me, in that she served me and united thee to me; for without her, we had never foregathered, we twain, and I fear lest some calamity befal thee because of thy sin against her.” Quoth I, “She acquitted me of offence ere she died;” and I repeated to her what my mother had told me. Quoth she, “Allah upon thee! when thou returnest to thy mother, learn what thing she keepeth for thee.” I rejoined, “My mother also said to me; ‘Before the daughter of thy uncle died, she laid a charge upon me, saying, Whenever thy son would go whither he is wont to go, teach him these two saws, ‘Faith is fair; Unfaith is foul!’ “ When my lady heard this she exclaimed, “The mercy of Almighty Allah be upon her! Indeed, she hath delivered thee from me, for I minded to do thee a mischief, but now I will not harm thee nor trouble thee.” I wondered at this and asked her, “What then west thou minded to do with me in time past and we two being in bond of love?” Answered she, “Thou art infatuated with me; for thou art young in life and a raw laddie; thy heart is void of guile and thou weetest not our malice and deceit. Were she yet alive, she would protect thee; for she is the cause of thy preservation and she hath delivered thee from destruction. And now I charge thee speak not with any woman, neither accost one of our sex, be she young or be she old; and again I say Beware! for thou art simple and raw and knowest not the wiles of women and their malice, and she who interpreted the signs to thee is dead. And indeed I fear for thee, lest thou fall into some disgrace and find none to deliver thee from it, now that the daughter of thy uncle is no more.”—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Twenty-first Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the young merchant continued to Taj al-Muluk: “Then the young lady said to me, “I fear for thee lest thou fall into some disgrace and find none to deliver thee from it. Alas for thy cousin and ah, the pity of her! Would I had known her before her death, that I might have requited by waiting upon her the fair service she did me. The mercy of Allah Almighty be upon her, for she kept her secret and revealed not what she suffered, and but for her thou hadst never foregathered with me; no, never! But there is one thing I desire of thee.” I asked, “What is it?”; and she answered, “It is that thou bring me to her grave, that I may visit her in the tomb wherein she is and write some couplets thereon.” I rejoined, “To morrow, if Allah please!”[517] I slept with her that night, and she ceased not saying after every hour, “Would thou hadst told me of thy cousin before her death!” And I asked her, “What is the meaning of the two saws she taught me? ‘Faith is fair! Unfaith is foul!’” But she made no answer. As soon as it was day she rose and, taking a purse of gold pieces, said to me, “Come, show me her tomb, that I may visit it and grave some verses thereon and build a dome over it and commend her to Allah’s mercy and bestow these dinars in alms for her soul.” I replied, “To hear is to obey!”; and walked on before her, whilst she followed me, giving alms as she went and saying to all upon whom she lavisht bounty, “This is an alms for the soul of Azizah, who kept her counsel till she drank the cup of death and never told the secret of her love.” And she stinted not thus to give alms and say, “for Azizah’s soul,” till the purse was empty and we came to the grave. And when she looked at the tomb, she wept and threw herself on it; then, pulling out a chisel of steel and a light hammer, she graved therewith upon the head stone in fine small characters these couplets,

“I past by a broken tomb amid a garth right sheen,
Whereon seven blooms of Nu’uman[518] glowed with cramoisie;
Quoth I, ‘Who sleepeth in this tomb?’ Quoth answering Earth
‘Before a lover Hades-tombed[519] bend reverently!’
Quoth I, ‘May Allah help thee, O thou slain of Love,
And grant thee home in Heaven and Paradise height to see!’
Hapless are lovers all e’en tombed in their tombs,
Where amid living folk the dust weighs heavily!
Pain would I plant a garden blooming round thy grave,
And water every flower with tear drops flowing free!”

Then she turned away in tears and I with her and returned to the garden where she said to me, “By Allah! I conjure thee never leave me!” “To hear is to obey,” replied I. Then I gave myself wholly up to her and paid her frequent visits: she was good and generous to me; and as often as I passed the night with her, she would make much of me and would ask me of the two saws my cousin Azizah told my mother and I would repeat them to her. And matters ceased not to be on this wise and I continued for a whole year eating and drinking and enjoying dalliance and wearing change of rich raiment until I waxed gross and fat, so that I lost all thought of sorrowing and mourning, and I clean forgot my cousin Azizah. And on New Year’s day I went to the bath, where I refreshed myself and put on a suit of sumptuous clothes; then coming out I drank a cup of wine and smelt the scent of my new gear which was perfumed with various essences; and my breast was broadened thereby, for I knew not the tricks of Pate nor the changing ways of Time. When the hour of night prayer came, I was minded to repair to my lover; but, being the worse for wine, I knew not when going to her whither I went, so my drunkenness turned me into a by street called Syndic Street;[520] and the while I walked up that street behold, I caught sight of an old woman faring with a lighted taper in one hand, and in the other a folded letter.—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Twenty-second Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the young merchant, whose name was Aziz, continued to Taj al-Muluk:—And when I entered the street called Syndic Street behold, I caught sight of an old woman walking with a lighted taper in one hand and in the other a folded letter and I drew near her and lo! she was weeping and repeating these couplets,

“O glad news bearer well come! Welcome! Hail!
How sweet thy speech to me, what treat thy tale:
O messenger from him whose weal I love,
God bless thee long as breathes soft morning-gale!”

Now when she saw me she asked, “O my son! canst thou read?”; and I answered, of my officiousness, “Yes, old naunty!” Rejoined she, “Then take this letter and read it to me.” And when she handed it to me, I took it and unfolding it read it to her and behold it was from an absent man to his friends and lovers whom he greeted; and, when she heard its purport, she rejoiced at the good tidings and blessed me, saying, “Allah dispel thine anxiety, even as thou hast dispelled mine!” Then she took the letter and walked on. Meanwhile, I was urged by a call of nature and sat down on my heels to make water.[521] When I had ended I stood up and wiped the orifice with a pebble and then, letting down my clothes, I was about to wend my way, when suddenly the old woman came up to me again and, bending down over my hand, kissed it and said, “O my master! the Lord give thee joy of thy youth! I entreat thee to walk with me a few steps as far as yonder door, for I told them what thou didst read to me of the letter, and they believe me not, so come with me two steps and read them the letter from behind the door and accept the prayers of a righteous woman.” I enquired, “What is the history of this letter?”, and she replied, “O my son, this letter is from my son, who hath been absent for a term of ten years. He set out with a stock of merchandise and tarried long in foreign parts, till we lost hope of him and supposed him to be dead. Now after all that delay cometh this letter from him, and he hath a sister who weepeth for him night and day; so I said to her, ‘He is well and all right.’ But she will not believe me and declares, ‘There is no help but thou bring me one who will read this letter in my presence, that my heart may be at rest and my mind at ease.’ Thou knowest, O my son, that all who love are wont to think evil: so be good enough to go with me and read to her this letter, standing behind the curtain, whilst I call his sister to listen within the door, so shalt thou dispel our heed and fulfil our need. Verily quoth the Apostle of Allah (whom Allah bless and preserve!), ‘Whoso easeth the troubled of one of the troubles of this troublous world, Allah will ease him of an hundred troubles’; and according to another tradition, ‘Whoso easeth his brother of one of the troubles of this troublous world, Allah shall relieve him of seventy and two troubles on the Day of Resurrection.’ And I have betaken myself to thee; so disappoint me not.” Replied I, “To hear is to obey: do thou go before me!” So she walked on devancing me and I followed her a little way, till she came to the gate of a large and handsome mansion whose door was plated with copper.[522] I stood behind the door, whilst the old woman cried out in Persian, and ere I knew it a damsel ran up with light and nimble step. She had tucked up her trousers to her knees, so that I saw a pair of calves that confounded thinker and lighter, and the maid herself was as saith the poet describing her,

“O thou who barest leg calf, better to suggest
For passion madded amourist better things above!
Towards its lover doth the bowl go round and run;
Cup[523] and cup bearer only drive us daft with love.”[524]

Now these legs were like two pillars of alabaster adorned with anklets of gold, wherein were set stones of price. And the damsel had tucked up the end of her gown under her arm pit and had rolled up her sleeves to the elbow, so that I could see her white wrists whereon were two pairs of bracelets with clasps of great pearls; and round her neck was a collar of costly gems. Her ears were adorned with pendants of pearls and on her head she wore a kerchief[525] of brocade, brand new and broidered with jewels of price. And she had thrust the skirt of her shift into her trousers string being busy with some household business. So when I saw her in this undress, I was confounded at her beauty, for she was like a shining sun. Then she said, with soft, choice speech, never heard I sweeter, “O my mother! is this he who cometh to read the letter?” “It is,” replied the old woman; and she put out her hand to me with the letter. Now between her and the door was a distance of about half a rod[526]; so I stretched forth my hand to take the letter from her and thrust head and shoulders within the door, thinking to draw near her and read the letter when, before I knew what her design was, the old woman butted her head against my back and pushed me forwards with the letter in my hand, so that ere I could take thought I found myself in the middle of the hall far beyond the vestibule. Then she entered, faster than a flash of blinding leven, and had naught to do but to shut the door. And Shahrazed perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Twenty-third Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the youth Aziz pursued to Taj al Muluk: “When the old woman pushed me forwards I found myself, ere I could think, inside the vestibule; and the old woman entered faster than a flash of blinding leven and had naught to do but to shut the door. When the girl saw me in the vestibule, she came up to me and strained me to her bosom, and threw me to the floor; then she sat astraddle upon my breast and kneaded my belly with her fingers, till I well-nigh lost my senses. Thereupon she took me by the hand and led me, unable to resist for the violence of her pressure, through seven vestibules, whilst the old woman forewent us with the lighted candle, till we came to a great saloon with four estrades whereon a horseman might play Polo.[527] Here she released me, saying, “Open thine eyes.” So I opened them still giddy for the excess of her embracing and pressing, and saw that the whole saloon was built of the finest marbles and alabasters, and all its furniture was of silk and brocade even to the cushions and mattresses. Therein also were two benches of yellow brass and a couch of red gold, set with pearls and precious stones, befitting none save Kings like thyself. And off the saloon were smaller sitting rooms; and the whole place was redolent of wealth. Then she asked, “O Aziz, which is liefer to thee life or death?” “Life,” answered I; and she said, “If life be liefer to thee, marry me.” Quoth I, “Indeed I should hate to marry the like of thee.” Quoth she, “If thou marry me thou wilt at least be safe from the daughter of Dalílah the Wily One.”[528] I asked, “And who be that daughter of the Wily One?” Whereupon she laughed and replied, “ ‘Tis she who hath companied with thee this day for a year and four months (may the Almighty destroy and afflict her with one worse than herself!) By Allah, there liveth not a more perfidious than she. How many men hath she not slain before thee and what deeds hath she not done. Nor can I understand how thou hast been all the time in her company, yet she hath not killed thee nor done thee a mischief.” When I heard her words, I marvelled with exceeding marvel and said, “O my lady, who made thee to know her?” Said she, “I know her as the age knoweth its calamities; but now I would fain have thee tell me all that hath passed between you two, that I may ken the cause of thy deliverance from her.” So I told her all that had happened between us, including the story of my cousin Azizah. She expressed her pity when she heard of the death, and her eyes ran over with tears and she claps hand on hand and cried out, Her youth was lost on Allah’s way,[529] and may the Lord bless thee for her good works! By Allah, O Aziz, she who died for thee was the cause of thy preservation from the daughter of Dalia the Wily; and, but for her, thou hadst been lost. And now she is dead I fear for thee from the Crafty One’s perfidy and mischief; but my throat is choking and I cannot speak.” Quoth I Ay, by Allah: all this happened even as thou sayest.” And she shook her head and cried, “There liveth not this day the like of Azizah. I continued, “And on her death bed she bade me repeat to my lover these two saws, ‘Faith is fair! Unfaith is foul’” When she heard me say this, she exclaimed, “O Aziz, by Allah those same words saved thee from dying by her hand; and now my heart is at ease for thee from her, for she will never kill thee and the daughter of thy uncle preserved thee during her lifetime and after her death. By Allah, I have desired thee day after day but could not get at thee till this time when I tricked thee and outwitted thee; for thou art a raw youth[530] and knowest not the wiles of young women nor the deadly guile of old women.” Rejoined I, No, by Allah!” Then said she to me, “Be of good cheer and eyes clear; the dead hath found Allah’s grace, and the live shall be in good case. Thou art a handsome youth and I do not desire thee but according to the ordinance of Allah and His Apostle (on whom be salutation and salvation!). Whatever thou requirest of money and stuff, thou shalt have forthright without stint, and I will not impose any toil on thee, no, never!, for there is with me always bread baked hot and water in pot. All I need of thee is that thou do with me even as the cock doth.” I asked “And what doth the cock?” Upon this she laughed and clapped her hands and fell over on her back for excess of merriment then she sat up and smiled and said, “O light of my eyes, really dost thou not know what cock’s duty is?” “No, by Allah!” replied I, and she, “The cock’s duty is to eat and drink and tread.’ I was abashed at her words and asked, “Is that the cock’s duty? Yes, answered she; “and all I ask of thee now is to gird thy loins and strengthen thy will and futter thy best.” Then she clapped her hands and cried out, saying, “O my mother, bring forward those who are with thee.” And behold, in came the old woman accompanied by four lawful witnesses, and carrying a veil of silk. Then she lighted four candles, whilst the witnesses saluted me and sat down; and the girl veiled herself with the veil and deputed one of them to execute the contract on her behalf. So they wrote out the marriage bond and she testified to have received the whole sum settled upon her, both the half in advance and the half in arrears; and that she was indebted to me in the sum of ten thousand dirhams.—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the One Hundred and Twenty-fourth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the young merchant continued to Taj al-Muluk: When they wrote out the marriage-contract, she testified to having received the whole sum settled upon her, the half in advance and the half in arrears and that she was indebted to me in the sum of ten thousand dirhams. She paid the witnesses their wage and they withdrew whence they came. Thereupon she arose and cast off her clothes and stood in a chemise of fine silk edged with gold lace, after which she took off her trousers and seized my hand and led me up to the couch, saying, “There is no sin in a lawful put in.” She lay down on the couch outspread upon her back; and, drawing me on to her breast, heaved a sigh and followed it up with a wriggle by way of being coy. Then she pulled up the shift above her breasts, and when I saw her in this pose, I could not withhold myself from thrusting it into her, after I had sucked her lips, whilst she whimpered and shammed shame and wept when no tears came, and then said she, “O my beloved, do it, and do thy best!” Indeed the case reminded me of his saying, who said,

“When I drew up her shift from the roof of her coynte,
I found it as strait
as my mind and my money:
So I drove it half-way, and she sighed a loud sigh
Quoth I, ‘Why this sigh?’: ‘For the rest of it, honey!’”

And she repeated, “O my beloved, let the finish be made for I am thine handmaid. My life on thee, up with it! give it me, all of it! that I may take it in my hand and thrust it into my very vitals!” And she ceased not to excite me with sobs and sighs and amorous cries in the intervals of kissing and clasping until amid our murmurs of pleasure we attained the supreme delight and the term we had in sight. We slept together till the morning, when I would have gone out; but lo! she came up to me, laughing, and said, “So! So! thinkest thou that going into the Hammam is the same as going out?[531] Dost thou deem me to be the like of the daughter of Dalilah the Wily One? Beware of such a thought, for thou art my husband by contract and according to law. If thou be drunken return to thy right mind, and know that the house wherein thou art openeth but one day in every year. Go down and look at the great door.” So I arose and went down and found the door locked and nailed up and returned and told her of the locking and nailing. “O Aziz,” said she, “We have in this house flour, grain, fruits and pomegranates; sugar, meat, sheep, poultry and so forth enough for many years; and the door will not be opened till after the lapse of a whole twelvemonth and well I weet thou shalt not find thyself without this house till then.” Quoth I “There is no Majesty, and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great!” “And how can this harm thee,” rejoined she; “seeing thou knowest cock’s duty, whereof I told thee?” Then she laughed and I laughed too, and I conformed to what she said and abode with her, doing cock’s duty and eating and drinking and futtering for a year of full twelve months, during which time she conceived by me, and I was blessed with a babe by her. On the New Year’s day I heard the door opened and behold, men came in with cakes and flour and sugar. Upon this, I would have gone out but my wife said, “Wait till supper-tide and go out even as thou camest in.” So I waited till the hour of night prayer and was about to go forth in fear and trembling, when she stopped me, saying, “By Allah, I will not let thee go until thou swear to come back this night before the closing of the door.” I agreed to this, and she swore me a solemn oath on Blade and Book,[532] and the oath of divorce to boot, that I would return to her. Then I left her and going straight to the garden, found the door open as usual; where at I was angry and said to myself, “I have been absent this whole year and come here unawares and find the place open as of wont! I wonder is the damsel still here as before? I needs must enter and see before I go to my mother, more by reason that it is now nightfall.” So I entered the flower-garden,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.