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Title: The Arabian Nights Entertainments Complete

Author: Anon.

Release Date: May, 2004 [EBook #5668]
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The "Aldine" Edition of

The Arabian Nights Entertainments

Illustrated by S. L. Wood

FROM THE TEXT OF DR. JONATHAN SCOTT

In Four Volumes

Volume 1

Only 500 copies of the Small Paper Edition are printed
for America, of which this is No. 217


London

Pickering and Chatto

1890

The Arabian Nights Entertainments - Complete

by Anonymous

Translated by Jonathan Scott (1754-1829)



Table of Contents

Volume I


Publisher's Preface

The Arabian Nights Entertainments

The Ass, the Ox, and the Labourer

The Merchant and the Genie

The Story of the First Old Man and the Hind

The Story of the Second old Man and the Two Black Dogs

The Story of the Fisherman

The Story of the Grecian King and the Physician Douban

The Story of the Husband and the Parrot

The Story of the Vizier that was Punished

The History of the Young King of the Black Isles

Story of the Three Calenders, Sons of Sultans; and of the Five Ladies of Bagdad

The History of the First Calender

The Story of the Second Calender

The Story of the Envious Man, and of him that he Envied

The History of the Third Calender

The Story of Zobeide

The Story of Amene

The Story of Sinbad the Voyager

The First Voyage

The Second Voyage

The Third Voyage

The Fourth Voyage

The Fifth Voyage

The Sixth Voyage

The Seventh and Final Voyage

The Three Apples

The Story of the Lady who was Murdered, and of the Young Man her Husband

The Story of Noor ad Deen Ali and Buddir ad Deen Houssun

The History of Ganem, Son of Abou Ayoub, and Known by the Surname of Love's Slave






The Publishers' Preface


This, the "Aldine Edition" of "The Arabian Nights Entertainments," forms the first four volumes of a proposed series of reprints of the Standard works of fiction which have appeared in the English language.

It is our intention to publish the series in an artistic way, well illustrating a text typographically as perfect as possible. The texts in all cases will be carefully chosen from approved editions.

The series is intended for those who appreciate well printed and illustrated books, or who are in want of a handy and handsome edition of such works to place upon their bookshelves.

The exact origin of the Tales, which appear in the Arabic as "The Thousand and One Nights," is unknown. The Caliph Haroon al Rusheed, who, figures in so lifelike a manner in many of the stories, was a contemporary of the Emperor Charlemagne, and there is internal evidence that the collection was made in the Arabic language about the end of the tenth century.

They undoubtedly convey a picturesque impression of the manners, sentiments, and customs of Eastern Mediaeval Life.

The stories were translated from the Arabic by M. Galland and first found their way into English in 1704, when they were retranslated from M. Galland's French text and at once became exceedingly popular.

This process of double translation had great disadvantages; it induced Dr. Jonathan Scott, Oriental Professor, to publish in 1811, a new edition, revised and corrected from the Arabic.

It is upon this text that the present edition is formed.

It will be found free from that grossness which is unavoidable in a strictly literal translation of the original into English; and which has rendered the splendid translations of Sir R. Burton and Mr. J. Payne quite unsuitable as the basis of a popular edition, though at the same time stamping the works as the two most perfect editions for the student.

The scholarly translation of Lane, by the too strict an adherence to Oriental forms of expression, and somewhat pedantic rendering of the spelling of proper names, is found to be tedious to a very large number of readers attracted by the rich imagination, romance, and humour of these tales.






The Arabian Nights Entertainments


The chronicles of the Sassanians, ancient kings of Persia, who extended their empire into the Indies, over all the adjacent islands, and a great way beyond the Ganges, as far as China, acquaint us, that there was formerly a king of that potent family, who was regarded as the most excellent prince of his time. He was as much beloved by his subjects for his wisdom and prudence, as he was dreaded by his neighbours, on account of his velour, and well-disciplined troops. He had two sons; the elder Shier-ear, the worthy heir of his father, and endowed with all his virtues; the younger Shaw-zummaun, a prince of equal merit.

After a long and glorious reign, this king died; and Shier-ear mounted his throne. Shaw-zummaun, being excluded from all share in the government by the laws of the empire, and obliged to live a private life, was so far from envying the happiness of his brother, that he made it his whole business to please him, and in this succeeded without much difficulty. Shier-ear, who had naturally a great affection the prince his brother, gave him the kingdom of Great Tartary. Shaw-zummaun went immediately and took possession of it, and fixed the seat of his government at Samarcand, the metropolis of the country.

After they had been separated ten years, Shier-ear, being very desirous of seeing his brother, resolved to send an ambassador to invite him to his court. He made choice of his prime vizier for the embassy, and sent him to Tartary, with a retinue answerable to his dignity. The vizier proceeded with all possible expedition to Samarcand. When he came near the city, Shaw-zummaun was informed of his approach, and went to meet him attended by the principal lords of his court, who, to shew the greater honour to the sultan's minister, appeared in magnificent apparel. The king of Tartary received the ambassador with the greatest demonstrations of joy; and immediately asked him concerning the welfare of the sultan his brother. The vizier having acquainted him that he was in health, informed him of the purpose of his embassy. Shaw-zummaun was much affected, and answered: "Sage vizier, the sultan my brother does me too much honour; nothing could be more agreeable to me, for I as ardently long to see him as he does to see me. Time has not diminished my friendship more than his. My kingdom is in peace, and I want no more than ten days to get myself ready to return with you. There is therefore no necessity for your entering the city for so short a period. I pray you to pitch your tents here, and I will order everything necessary to be provided for yourself and your attendants." The vizier readily complied; and as soon as the king returned to the city, he sent him a prodigious quantity of provisions of all sorts, with presents of great value.

In the meanwhile, Shaw-zummaun prepared for his journey, gave orders about his most important affairs, appointed a council to govern in his absence, and named a minister, of whose wisdom he had sufficient experience, and in whom he had entire confidence, to be their president. At the end of ten days, his equipage being ready, he took leave of the queen his wife, and went out of town in the evening with his retinue. He pitched his royal pavilion near the vizier's tent, and conversed with him till midnight. Wishing once more to see the queen, whom he ardently loved, he returned alone to his palace, and went directly to her majesty's apartments. But she, not expecting his return, had taken one of the meanest officers of her household to her bed.

The king entered without noise, and pleased himself to think how he should surprise his wife who he thought loved him with reciprocal tenderness. But how great was his astonishment, when, by the light of the flambeau, he beheld a man in her arms! He stood immovable for some time, not knowing how to believe his own eyes. But finding there was no room for doubt, "How!" said he to himself, "I am scarcely out of my palace, and but just under the walls of Samarcand, and dare they put such an outrage upon me? Perfidious wretches! your crime shall not go unpunished. As a king, I am bound to punish wickedness committed in my dominions; and as an enraged husband, I must sacrifice you to my just resentment." The unfortunate prince, giving way to his rage, then drew his cimeter, and approaching the bed killed them both with one blow, their sleep into death; and afterwards taking them up, he threw them out of a window into the ditch that surrounded the palace.

Having thus avenged himself, he returned to his pavilion without saying one word of what had happened, gave orders that the tents should be struck, and everything made ready for his journey. All was speedily prepared, and before day he began his march, with kettle-drums and other instruments of music, that filled everyone with joy, excepting the king; he was so much afflicted by the disloyalty of his wife, that he was seized with extreme melancholy, which preyed upon his spirits during the whole of his journey.

When he drew near the capital of the Indies, the sultan Shier-ear and all his court came out to meet him. The princes were overjoyed to see one another, and having alighted, after mutual embraces and other marks of affection and respect, remounted, and entered the city, amidst the acclamations of the people. The sultan conducted his brother to the palace provided for him, which had a communication with his own by a garden. It was so much the more magnificent as it was set apart as a banqueting-house for public entertainments, and other diversions of the court, and its splendour had been lately augmented by new furniture.

Shier-ear immediately left the king of Tartary, that he might give him time to bathe, and to change his apparel. As soon as he had done, he returned to him again, and they sat down together on a sofa or alcove. The courtiers out of respect kept at a distance, and the two princes entertained one another suitably to their friendship, their consanguinity, and their long separation. The time of supper being come, they ate together, after which they renewed their conversation, which continued till Shier-ear, perceiving that it was very late, left his brother to repose.

The unfortunate Shaw-zummaun retired to bed. Though the conversation of his brother had suspended his grief for some time, it returned again with increased violence; so that, instead of taking his necessary rest, he tormented himself with the bitterest reflections. All the circumstances of his wife's disloyalty presented themselves afresh to his imagination, in so lively a manner, that he was like one distracted being able to sleep, he arose, and abandoned himself to the most afflicting thoughts, which made such an impression upon his countenance, as it was impossible for the sultan not to observe. "What," said he, "can be the matter with the king of Tartary that he is so melancholy? Has he any cause to complain of his reception? No, surely; I have received him as a brother whom I love, so that I can charge myself with no omission in that respect. Perhaps it grieves him to be at such a distance from his dominions, or from the queen his wife? If that be the case, I must forthwith give him the presents I designed for him, that he may return to Samarcand." Accordingly the next day Shier-ear sent him part of those presents, being the greatest rarities and the richest things that the Indies could afford. At the same time he endeavoured to divert his brother every day by new objects of pleasure, and the most splendid entertainments. But these, instead of affording him ease, only increased his sorrow.

One day, Shier-ear having appointed a great hunting-match, about two days journey from his capital, in a place that abounded with deer, Shaw-zummaun besought him to excuse his attendance, for his health would not allow him to bear him company. The sultan, unwilling to put any constraint upon him, left him at his liberty, and went a-hunting with his nobles. The king of Tartary being thus left alone, shut himself up in his apartment, and sat down at a window that looked into the garden. That delicious place, and the sweet harmony of an infinite number of birds, which chose it for their retreat, must certainly have diverted him, had he been capable of taking pleasure in anything; but being perpetually tormented with the fatal remembrance of his queen's infamous conduct, his eyes were not so much fixed upon the garden, as lifted up to heaven to bewail his misfortune.

While he was thus absorbed in grief, a circumstance occurred which attracted the whole of his attention. A secret gate of the sultan's palace suddenly opened, and there came out of it twenty women, in the midst of whom walked the sultaness, who was easily distinguished from the rest by her majestic air. This princess thinking that the king of Tartary was gone a-hunting with his brother the sultan, came with her retinue near the windows of his apartment. For the prince had so placed himself that he could see all that passed in the garden without being perceived himself. He observed, that the persons who accompanied the sultaness threw off their veils and long robes, that they might be more at their ease, but he was greatly surprised to find that ten of them were black men, and that each of these took his mistress. The sultaness, on her part, was not long without her gallant. She clapped her hands, and called "Masoud, Masoud," and immediately a black descended from a tree, and ran towards her with great speed.

Modesty will not allow, nor is it necessary, to relate what passed between the blacks and the ladies. It is sufficient to say, that Shaw-zummaun saw enough to convince him, that his brother was as much to be pitied as himself. This amorous company continued together till midnight, and having bathed together in a great piece of water, which was one of the chief ornaments of the garden, they dressed themselves, and re-entered the palace by the secret door, all except Masoud, who climbed up his tree, and got over the garden wall as he had come in.

These things having passed in the king of Tartary's sight, filled him with a multitude of reflections. "How little reason had I," said he, "to think that none was so unfortunate as myself? It is surely the unavoidable fate of all husbands, since even the sultan my brother, who is sovereign of so-many dominions, and the greatest prince of the earth, could not escape. Such being the case, what a fool am I to kill myself with grief? I am resolved that the remembrance of a misfortune so common shall never more disturb my peace."

From that moment he forbore afflicting himself. He called for his supper, ate with a better appetite than he had done since his leaving Samarcand, and listened with some degree of pleasure to the agreeable concert of vocal and instrumental music that was appointed to entertain him while at table.

He continued after this very cheerful; and when he was informed that the sultan was returning, went to meet him, and paid him his compliments with great gaiety. Shier-ear at first took no notice of this alteration. He politely expostulated with him for not bearing him company, and without giving him time to reply, entertained him with an account of the great number of deer and other game they had killed, and the pleasure he had received in the chase. Shaw-zummaun heard him with attention; and being now relieved from the melancholy which had before depressed his spirits, and clouded his talents, took up the conversation in his turn, and spoke a thousand agreeable and pleasant things to the sultan.

Shier-ear, who expected to have found him in the same state as he had left him, was overjoyed to see him so cheerful: "Dear brother," said he, "I return thanks to heaven for the happy change it has wrought in you during my absence. I am indeed extremely rejoiced. But I have a request to make to you, and conjure you not to deny me." "I can refuse you nothing," replied the king of Tartary; "you may command Shaw-zummaun as you please: speak, I am impatient to know what you desire of me." "Ever since you came to my court," resumed Shier-ear, "I have found you immersed in a deep melancholy, and I have in vain attempted to remove it by different diversions. I imagined it might be occasioned by your distance from your dominions, or that love might have a great share in it; and that the queen of Samarcand, who, no doubt, is an accomplished beauty, might be the cause. I do not know whether I am mistaken in my conjecture; but I must own, that it was for this very reason I would not importune you upon the subject, for fear of making you uneasy. But without myself contributing anything towards effecting the change, I find on my return that your mind is entirely delivered from the black vapour which disturbed it. Pray do me the favour to tell me why you were so melancholy, and wherefore you are no longer so."

The king of Tartary continued for some time as if he had been meditating and contriving what he should answer; but at last replied, "You are my sultan and master; but excuse me, I beseech you, from answering your question." "No, dear brother," said the sultan, "you must answer me, I will take no denial." Shaw-zummaun, not being able to withstand these pressing entreaties, replied, "Well then, brother, I will satisfy you, since you command me;" and having told him the story of the queen of Samarcand's treachery "This," said he, "was the cause of my grief; judge whether I had not sufficient reason for my depression."

"O! my brother," said the sultan, (in a tone which shewed what interest he took in the king of Tartary's affliction), "what a horrible event do you tell me! I commend you for punishing the traitors who offered you such an outrage. None can blame you for what you have done. It was just; and for my part, had the case been mine, I should scarcely have been so moderate. I could not have satisfied myself with the life of one woman; I should have sacrificed a thousand to my fury. I now cease to wonder at your melancholy. The cause was too afflicting and too mortifying not to overwhelm you. O heaven! what a strange adventure! Nor do I believe the like ever befell any man but yourself. But I must bless God, who has comforted you; and since I doubt not but your consolation is well-grounded, be so good as to inform me what it is, and conceal nothing from me." Shaw-zummaun was not so easily prevailed upon in this point as he had been in the other, on his brother's account. But being obliged to yield to his pressing instances, answered, "I must obey you then, since your command is absolute, yet I am afraid that my obedience will occasion your trouble to be greater than my own. But you must blame yourself, since you force me to reveal what I should otherwise have buried in eternal Oblivion." "What you say," answered Shier-ear, "serves only to increase my curiosity. Discover the secret, whatever it be." The king of Tartary being no longer able to refuse, related to him the particulars of the blacks in disguise, of the ungoverned passion of the sultaness, and her ladies; nor did he forget Masoud. After having been witness to these infamous actions, he continued, "I believed all women to be naturally lewd; and that they could not resist their inclination. Being of this opinion, it seemed to me to be in men an unaccountable weakness to place any confidence in their fidelity. This reflection brought on many others; and in short, I thought the best thing I could do was to make myself easy. It cost me some pains indeed, but at last I grew reconciled; and if you will take my advice, you will follow my example."

Though the advice was good, the sultan could not approve of it, but fell into a rage. "What!" said he, "is the sultaness of the Indies capable of prostituting herself in so base a manner! No, brother, I cannot believe what you state unless I beheld it with my own eyes. Yours must needs have deceived you; the matter is so important that I must be satisfied of it myself." "Dear brother," answered Shaw-zummaun, "that you may without much difficulty. Appoint another hunting-match, and when we are out of town with your court and mine, we will rest under our tents, and at night let you and I return unattended to my apartments. I am certain the next day you will see a repetition of the scene." The sultan approving the stratagem, immediately appointed another hunting-match. And that same day the tents were pitched at the place appointed.

The next day the two princes set out with all their retinue; they arrived at the place of encampment, and stayed there till night. Shier-ear then called his grand vizier, and, without acquainting him with his design, commanded him during his absence to suffer no person to quit the camp on any presence whatever. As soon as he had given this order, the king of Grand Tartary and he took horse, passed through the camp incognito, returned to the city, and went to Shaw-zummaun's apartment. They had scarcely placed themselves in the window whence the king of Tartary had beheld the scene of the disguised blacks, when the secret gate opened, the sultaness and her ladies entered the garden with the blacks, and she having called to Masoud, the sultan saw more than enough fully to convince him of his dishonour and misfortune.

"Oh heavens!" he exclaimed, "what indignity! What horror! Can the wife of a sovereign be capable of such infamous conduct? After this, let no prince boast of being perfectly happy. Alas! my brother," continued he, embracing the king of Tartery, "let us both renounce the world, honour is banished out of it; if it flatter us one day, it betrays us the next. Let us abandon our dominions, and go into foreign countries, where we may lead an obscure life, and conceal our misfortunes." Shaw-zummaun did not at all approve of this plan, but did not think fit to contradict Shierear in the heat of his passion. "Dear brother," he replied, "your will shall be mine. I am ready to follow you whithersoever you please: but promise me that you will return, if we meet with any one more unhappy than ourselves." "To this I agree," said the sultan, "but doubt much whether we shall." "I am not of your opinion in this," replied the king of Tartary; "I fancy our journey will be but short." Having thus resolved, they went secretly out of the palace. They travelled as long as day-light continued; and lay the first night under trees. They arose about break of day, went on till they came to a fine meadow on the seashore, that was be-sprinkled with large trees They sat down under one of them to rest and refresh themselves, and the chief subject of their conversation was the infidelity or their wives.

They had not rested long, before they heard a frightful noise from the sea, and a terrible cry, which filled them with fear. The sea then opened, and there arose something like a great black column, which reached almost to the clouds. This redoubled their terror, made them rise with haste, and climb up into a tree to bide themselves. They had scarcely got up, when looking to the place from whence the noise proceeded, and where the sea had opened, they observed that the black column advanced, winding about towards the shore, cleaving the water before it. They could not at first think what this could mean, but in a little time they found that it was one of those malignant genies that are mortal enemies to mankind, and are always doing them mischief. He was black and frightful, had the shape of a giant, of a prodigious stature, and carried on his head a large glass box, fastened with four locks of fine steel. He entered the meadow with his burden, which he laid down just at the foot of the tree where the two princes were concealed, who gave themselves over as lost. The genie sat down by his box, and opening it with four keys that he had at his girdle, there came out a lady magnificently appareled, of a majestic stature, and perfect beauty. The monster made her sit down by him, and eyeing her with an amorous look, said, "Lady, nay, most accomplished of all ladies who are admired for their beauty, my charming mistress, whom I carried off on your wedding-day, and have loved so constantly ever since, let me sleep a few moments by you; for I found myself so very drowsy that I came to this place to take a little rest." Having spoken thus, he laid down his huge head upon the lady's knees, and stretching out his legs, which reached as far as the sea, he fell asleep presently, and snored so loud that he made the shores echo.

The lady happening at this time to look up, saw the two princes in the tree, and made a sign to them with her hand to come down without making any noise. Their fear was extreme when they found themselves discovered, and they prayed the lady, by other signs, to excuse them. But she, after having laid the monster's head softly on the ground, rose up and spoke to them, with a low but eager voice, to come down to her; she would take no denial. They informed her by signs that they were afraid of the genie, and would fain have been excused. Upon which she ordered them to come down, and threatened if they did not make haste, to awaken the genie, and cause him to put them to death.

These words so much intimidated the princes, that they began to descend with all possible precaution lest they should awake the genie. When they had come down, the lady took them by the hand, and going a little farther with them under the trees, made them a very urgent proposal. At first they rejected it, but she obliged them to comply by her threats. Having obtained what she desired, she perceived that each of them had a ring on his finger, which she demanded. As soon as she had received them, she pulled out a string of other rings, which she shewed the princes, and asked them if they knew what those jewels meant? "No," said they, "we hope you will be pleased to inform us." "These are," she replied, "the rings of all the men to whom I have granted my favours. There are fourscore and eighteen, which I keep as memorials of them; and I asked for yours to make up the hundred. So that I have had a hundred gallants already, notwithstanding the vigilance of this wicked genie, who never leaves me. He may lock me up in this glass box and hide me in the bottom of the sea; but I find methods to elude his vigilance. You may see by this, that when a woman has formed a project, there is no husband or lover that can prevent her from putting it in execution. Men had better not put their wives under such restraint, as it only serves to teach them cunning." Having spoken thus to them, she put their rings on the same string with the rest, and sitting down by the monster, as before, laid his head again upon her lap, end made a sign to the princes to depart.

They returned immediately the way they had come, and when they were out of sight of the lady and the genie Shier-ear said to Shaw-zummaun "Well, brother, what do you think of this adventure? Has not the genie a very faithful mistress? And do you not agree that there is no wickedness equal to that of women?" "Yes, brother," answered the king of Great Tartary; "and you must also agree that the monster is more unfortunate, and more to be pitied than ourselves. Therefore, since we have found what we sought for, let us return to our dominions, and let not this hinder us from marrying. For my part, I know a method by which to preserve the fidelity of my wife inviolable. I will say no more at present, but you will hear of it in a little time, and I am sure you will follow my example." The sultan agreed with his brother; and continuing their journey, they arrived in the camp the third night after their departure.

The news of the sultan's return being spread, the courtiers came betimes in the morning before his pavilion to wait his pleasure. He ordered them to enter, received them with a more pleasant air than he had formerly done, and gave each of them a present. After which, he told them he would go no farther, ordered them to take horse, and returned with expedition to his palace.

As soon as he arrived, he proceeded to the sultaness's apartment, commanded her to be bound before him, and delivered her to his grand vizier, with an order to strangle her, which was accordingly executed by that minister, without inquiring into her crime. The enraged prince did not stop here, but cut off the heads of all the sultaness's ladies with his own hand. After this rigorous punishment, being persuaded that no woman was chaste, he resolved, in order to prevent the disloyalty of such as he should afterwards marry, to wed one every night, and have her strangled next morning. Having imposed this cruel law upon himself, he swore that he would put it in force immediately after the departure of the king of Tartary, who shortly took leave of him, and being laden with magnificent presents, set forward on his journey.

Shaw-zummaun having departed, Shier-ear ordered his grand vizier to bring him the daughter of one of his generals. The vizier obeyed. The sultan lay with her, and putting her next morning into his hands again in order to have her strangled, commanded him to provide him another the next night. Whatever reluctance the vizier might feel to put such orders in execution, as he owed blind obedience to the sultan his master, he was forced to submit. He brought him then the daughter of a subaltern, whom he also put to death the next day. After her he brought a citizen's daughter; and, in a word, there was every day a maid married, and a wife murdered.

The rumour of this unparalleled barbarity occasioned a general consternation in the city, where there was nothing but crying and lamentation. Here, a father in tears, and inconsolable for the loss of his daughter; and there, tender mothers dreating lest their daughters should share the same fate, filling the air with cries of distress and apprehension. So that, instead of the commendation and blessings which the sultan had hitherto received from his subjects, their mouths were now filled with imprecations.

The grand vizier who, as has been already observed, was the unwilling executioner of this horrid course of injustice, had two daughters, the elder called Scheherazade, and the younger Dinarzade. The latter was highly accomplished; but the former possessed courage, wit, and penetration, infinitely above her sex. She had read much, and had so admirable a memory, that she never forgot any thing she had read. She had successfully applied herself to philosophy, medicine, history, and the liberal arts; and her poetry excelled the compositions of the best writers of her time. Besides this, she was a perfect beauty, and all her accomplishments were crowned by solid virtue.

The vizier loved this daughter, so worthy of his affection. One day, as they were conversing together, she said to him, "Father, I have one favour to beg of you, and most humbly pray you to grant it." "I will not refuse," answered he, "provided it be just and reasonable." "For the justice of it," resumed she, "there can be no question, and you may judge of this by the motive which obliges me to make the request. I wish to stop that barbarity which the sultan exercises upon the families of this city. I would dispel those painful apprehensions which so many mothers feel of losing their daughters in such a fatal manner." "Your design, daughter," replied the vizier "is very commendable; but the evil you would remedy seems to me incurable. How do you propose to effect your purpose?" "Father," said Scheherazade, "since by your means the sultan makes every day a new marriage, I conjure you, by the tender affection you bear me, to procure me the honour of his bed." The vizier could not hear this without horror. "O heaven!" he replied in a passion, "have you lost your senses, daughter, that you make such a dangerous request? You know the sultan has sworn, that he will never lie above one night with the same woman, and to command her to be killed the next morning; would you then have me propose you to him? Consider well to what your indiscreet zeal will expose you." "Yes, dear father," replied the virtuous daughter, "I know the risk I run; but that does not alarm me. If I perish, my death will be glorious; and if I succeed, I shall do my country an important service." "No, no," said the vizier "whatever you may offer to induce me to let you throw yourself into such imminent danger, do not imagine that I will ever consent. When the sultan shall command me to strike my poniard into your heart, alas! I must obey; and what an employment will that be for a father! Ah! if you do not dread death, at least cherish some fears of afflicting me with the mortal grief of imbuing my hands in your blood." "Once more father," replied Scheherazade, "grant me the favour I solicit." "Your stubbornness," resumed the vizier "will rouse my anger; why will you run headlong to your ruin? They who do not foresee the end of a dangerous enterprise can never conduct it to a happy issue. I am afraid the same thing will happen to you as befell the ass, which was well off, but could not remain so." "What misfortune befell the ass?" demanded Scheherazade. "I will tell you," replied the vizier, "if you will hear me."






The Ass, the Ox and the Labourer


A very wealthy merchant possessed several country-houses, where he kept a large number of cattle of every kind. He retired with his wife and family to one of these estates, in order to improve it under his own direction. He had the gift of understanding the language of beasts, but with this condition, that he should not, on pain of death, interpret it to any one else. And this hindered him from communicating to others what he learned by means of this faculty.

He kept in the same stall an ox and an ass. One day as he sat near them, and was amusing himself in looking at his children who were playing about him, he heard the ox say to the ass, "Sprightly, O! how happy do I think you, when I consider the ease you enjoy, and the little labour that is required of you. You are carefully rubbed down and washed, you have well-dressed corn, and fresh clean water. Your greatest business is to carry the merchant, our master, when he has any little journey to make, and were it not for that you would be perfectly idle. I am treated in a very different manner, and my condition is as deplorable as yours is fortunate. Daylight no sooner appears than I am fastened to a plough, and made to work till night, which so fatigues me, that sometimes my strength entirely fails. Besides, the labourer, who is always behind me, beats me continually. By drawing the plough, my tail is all flayed; and in short, after having laboured from morning to night, when I am brought in they give me nothing to eat but sorry dry beans, not so much as cleansed from dirt, or other food equally bad; and to heighten my misery, when I have filled my belly with such ordinary stuff, I am forced to lie all night in my own dung: so that you see I have reason to envy your lot."

The ass did not interrupt the ox; but when he had concluded, answered, "They that called you a foolish beast did not lie. You are too simple; you suffer them to conduct you whither they please, and shew no manner of resolution. In the mean time, what advantage do you reap from all the indignities you suffer. You kill yourself for the ease, pleasure, and profit of those who give you no thanks for your service. But they would not treat you so, if you had as much courage as strength. When they come to fasten you to the stall, why do you not resist? why do you not gore them with your horns, and shew that you are angry, by striking your foot against the ground? And, in short, why do not you frighten them by bellowing aloud? Nature has furnished you with means to command respect; but you do not use them. They bring you sorry beans and bad straw; eat none of them, only smell and then leave them. If you follow my advice, you will soon experience a change, for which you will thank me."

The ox took the ass's advice in very good part, and owned he was much obliged to him. "Dear Sprightly," added he, "I will not fail to do as you direct, and you shall see how I will acquit myself." Here ended their conversation, of which the merchant lost not a word.

Early the next morning the labourer went for the ox. He fastened him to the plough and conducted him to his usual work. The ox, who had not forgotten the ass's counsel, was very troublesome and untowardly all that day, and in the evening, when the labourer brought him back to the stall, and began to fasten him, the malicious beast instead of presenting his head willingly as he used to do, was restive, and drew back bellowing; and then made at the labourer, as if he would have gored him with his horns. In a word, he did all that the ass had advised him. The day following, the labourer came as usual, to take the ox to his labour; but finding the stall full of beans, the straw that he had put in the night before not touched, and the ox lying on the ground with his legs stretched out, and panting in a strange manner, he believed him to be unwell, pitied him, and thinking that it was not proper to take him to work, went immediately and acquainted his master with his condition. The merchant perceiving that the ox had followed all the mischievous advice of the ass, determined to punish the latter, and accordingly ordered the labourer to go and put him in the ox's place, and to be sure to work him hard. The labourer did as he was desired. The ass was forced to draw the plough all that day, which fatigued him so much the more, as he was not accustomed to that kind of labour; besides he had been so soundly beaten, that he could scarcely stand when he came back.

Meanwhile, the ox was mightily pleased; he ate up all that was in his stall, and rested himself the whole day. He rejoiced that he had followed the ass's advice, blessed him a thousand times for the kindness he had done him, and did not fail to express his obligations when the ass had returned. The ass made no reply, so vexed was he at the ill treatment he had received; but he said within himself, "It is by my own imprudence I have brought this misfortune upon myself. I lived happily, every thing smiled upon me; I had all that I could wish; it is my own fault that I am brought to this miserable condition; and if I cannot contrive some way to get out of it, I am certainly undone." As he spoke, his strength was so much exhausted that he fell down in his stall, as if he had been half dead.

Here the grand vizier, himself to Scheherazade, and said, "Daughter, you act just like this ass; you will expose yourself to destruction by your erroneous policy. Take my advice, remain quiet, and do not seek to hasten your death." "Father," replied Scheherazade, "the example you have set before me will not induce me to change my resolution. I will never cease importuning you until you present me to the sultan as his bride." The vizier, perceiving that she persisted in her demand, replied, "Alas! then, since you will continue obstinate, I shall be obliged to treat you in the same manner as the merchant whom I before referred to treated his wife a short time after."

The merchant understanding that the ass was in a lamentable condition, was desirous of knowing what passed between him and the ox, therefore after supper he went out by moonlight, and sat down by them, his wife bearing him company. After his arrival, he heard the ass say to the ox "Comrade, tell me, I pray you, what you intend to do to-morrow, when the labourer brings you meat?" "What will I do?" replied the ox, "I will continue to act as you taught me. I will draw back from him and threaten him with my horns, as I did yesterday: I will feign myself ill, and at the point of death." "Beware of that," replied the ass, "it will ruin you; for as I came home this evening, I heard the merchant, our master, say something that makes me tremble for you." "Alas! what did you hear?" demanded the ox; "as you love me, withhold nothing from me, my dear Sprightly." "Our master," replied the ass, "addressed himself thus to the labourer: Since the ox does not eat, and is not able to work, I would have him killed to-morrow, and we will give his flesh as an alms to the poor for God's sake, as for the skin, that will be of use to us, and I would have you give it the currier to dress; therefore be sure to send for the butcher.' This is what I had to tell you," said the ass. "The interest I feel in your preservation, and my friendship for you, obliged me to make it known to you, and to give you new advice. As soon as they bring you your bran and straw, rise up and eat heartily. Our master will by this think that you are recovered, and no doubt will recall his orders for killing you; but, if you act otherwise, you will certainly be slaughtered."

This discourse had the effect which the ass designed. The ox was greatly alarmed, and bellowed for fear. The merchant, who heard the conversation very attentively, fell into a loud fit of laughter. His wife was greatly surprised, and asked, "Pray, husband, tell me what you laugh at so heartily, that I may laugh with you." "Wife," replied he, "you must content yourself with hearing me laugh." "No," returned she, "I will know the reason." "I cannot afford you that satisfaction," he, "and can only inform you that I laugh at what our ass just now said to the ox. The rest is a secret, which I am not allowed to reveal." "What," demanded she "hinders you from revealing the secret?" "If I tell it you," replied he, "I shall forfeit my life." "You only jeer me," cried his wife, "what you would have me believe cannot be true. If you do not directly satisfy me as to what you laugh at, and tell me what the ox and the ass said to one another, I swear by heaven that you and I shall never bed together again."

Having spoken thus, she went into the house, and seating herself in a corner, cried there all night. Her husband lay alone, and finding next morning that she continued in the same humour, told her, she was very foolish to afflict herself in that manner; that the thing was not worth so much; that it concerned her very little to know while it was of the utmost consequence to him to keep the secret: "therefore," continued he, "I conjure you to think no more of it." "I shall still think so much of it," replied she, "as never to forbear weeping till you have satisfied my curiosity." "But I tell you very seriously," answered he, "that it will cost me my life if I yield to your indiscreet solicitations." "Let what will happen," said she, "I do insist upon it." "I perceive," resumed the merchant, "that it is impossible to bring you to reason, and since I foresee that you will occasion your own death by your obstinacy, I will call in your children, that they may see you before you die." Accordingly he called for them, and sent for her father and mother, and other relations. When they were come and had heard the reason of their being summoned, they did all they could to convince her that she was in the wrong, but to no purpose: she told them she would rather die than yield that point to her husband. Her father and mother spoke to her by herself, and told her that what she desired to know was of no importance to her; but they could produce no effect upon her, either by their authority or intreaties. When her children saw that nothing would prevail to draw her out of that sullen temper, they wept bitterly. The merchant himself was half frantic, and almost ready to risk his own life to save that of his wife, whom he sincerely loved.

The merchant had fifty hens and one cock, with a dog that gave good heed to all that passed. While the merchant was considering what he had best do, he saw his dog run towards the cock as he was treading a hen, and heard him say to him: "Cock, I am sure heaven will not let you live long; are you not ashamed to ad thus to-day?" The cock standing up on tiptoe, answered fiercely: "And why not to-day as well as other days?" "If you do not know," replied the dog, "then I will tell you, that this day our master is in great perplexity. His wife would have him reveal a secret which is of such a nature, that the disclosure would cost him his life. Things are come to that pass, that it is to be feared he will scarcely have resolution enough to resist his wife's obstinacy; for he loves her, and is affected by the tears she continually sheds. We are all alarmed at his situation, while you only insult our melancholy, and have the impudence to divert yourself with your hens."

The cock answered the dog's reproof thus: "What, has our master so little sense? he has but one wife, and cannot govern her, and though I have fifty, I make them all do what I please. Let him use his reason, he will soon find a way to rid himself of his trouble." "How?" demanded the dog; "what would you have him do?" "Let him go into the room where his wife is," resumed the cock, "lock the door, and take a stick and thrash her well; and I will answer for it, that will bring her to her senses, and make her forbear to importune him to discover what he ought not to reveal." The merchant had no sooner heard what the cock said, than he took up a stick, went to his wife, whom he found still crying, and shutting the door, belaboured her so soundly, that she cried out, "Enough, husband, enough, forbear, and I will never ask the question more." Upon this, perceiving that she repented of her impertinent curiosity, he desisted; and opening the door, her friends came in, were glad to find her cured of her obstinacy, and complimented her husband upon this happy expedient to bring his wife to reason.

"Daughter," added the grand vizier, "you deserve to be treated as the merchant treated his wife."

"Father," replied Scheherazade, "I beg you would not take it ill that I persist in my opinion. I am nothing moved by the story of this woman. I could relate many, to persuade you that you ought not to oppose my design. Besides, pardon me for declaring, that your opposition is vain; for if your paternal affection should hinder you from granting my request, I will go and offer myself to the sultan." In short, the father, being overcome by the resolution of his daughter, yielded to her importunity, and though he was much grieved that he could not divert her from so fatal a resolution, he went instantly to acquaint the sultan, that next night he would bring him Scheherazade.

The sultan was much surprized at the sacrifice which the grand vizier proposed to make. "How could you", said he, "resolve to bring me your own daughter?" "Sir," answered the vizier, "it is her own offer. The sad destiny that awaits her could not intimidate her; she prefers the honour of being your majesty's wile for one night, to her life." "But do not act under a mistake, vizier," said the sultan; "to-morrow when I place Scheherazade in your hands, I expect you will put her to death; and if you fail, I swear that your own life shall answer." "Sir," rejoined the vizier "my heart without doubt will be full of grief to execute your commands; but it is to no purpose for nature to murmur. Though I am her father, I will answer for the fidelity of my hand to obey your order." Shier-ear accepted his minister's offer, and told him he might bring his daughter when he pleased.

The grand vizier went with the intelligence to Schcherazade, who received it with as much joy as if it had been the most agreeable information she could have received. She thanked her father for having so greatly obliged her; and perceiving that he was overwhelmed with grief, told him for his consolation, that she hoped he would never repent of having married her to the sultan; and that, on the contrary, he should have reason to rejoice at his compliance all his days.

Her business now was to adorn herself to appear before the sultan; but before she went, she took her sister Dinarzade apart, and said to her, "My dear sister, I have need of your assistance in a matter of great importance, and must pray you not to deny it me. My father is going to conduct me to the sultan; do not let this alarm you, but hear me with patience. As soon as I am in his presence, I will pray him to allow you to lie in the bride-chamber, that I may enjoy your company this one night more. If I obtain that favour, as I hope to do, remember to awake me to-morrow an hour before day, and to address me in these or some such words: 'My sister, if you be not asleep, I pray you that till day-break, which will be very shortly, you will relate to me one of the entertaining stories of which you have read so many.' I will immediately tell you one; and I hope by this means to deliver the city from the consternation it is under at present." Dinarzade answered that she would with pleasure act as she required her.

The grand vizier conducted Schcherazade to the palace, and retired, after having introduced her into the sultan's apartment. As soon as the sultan was left alone with her, he ordered her to uncover her face: he found her so beautiful that he was perfectly charmed; but perceiving her to be in tears, demanded the reason. "Sir," answered Scheherazade, "I have a sister who loves me tenderly, and I could wish that she might be allowed to pass the night in this chamber, that I might see her, and once more bid her adieu. Will you be pleased to allow me the consolation of giving her this last testimony of my affection?" Shier-ear having consented, Dinarzade was sent for, who came with all possible expedition.

An hour before day, Dinarzade failed not to do as her sister had ordered. "My dear sister," cried she, "if you be not asleep, I pray that until daybreak, which will be very shortly, you will tell me one of those pleasant stories you have read. Alas! this may perhaps be the last time that I shall enjoy that pleasure."

Scheherazade, instead of answering her sister, addressed herself to the sultan: "Sir, will your majesty be pleased to allow me to afford my sister this satisfaction?" "With all my heart," replied the sultan. Scheherazade then bade her sister attend, and afterwards, addressing herself to Shier-ear, proceeded as follows.






The Merchant and the Genie


There was formerly a merchant who possessed much property in lands, goods, and money, and had a great number of clerks, factors, and slaves. He was obliged from time to time to visit his correspondents on business; and one day being under the necessity of going a long journey on an affair of importance, he took horse, and carried with him a wallet containing biscuits and dates, because he had a great desert to pass over, where he could procure no sort of provisions. He arrived without any accident at the end of his journey; and having dispatched his affairs, took horse again, in order to return home.

The fourth day of his journey, he was so much incommoded by the heat of the sun, and the reflection of that heat from the earth, that he turned out of the road, to refresh himself under some trees. He found at the root of a large tree a fountain of very clear running water. Having alighted, he tied his horse to a branch, and sitting down by the fountain, took some biscuits and dates out of his wallet. As he ate his dates, he threw the shells carelessly in different directions. When he had finished his repast, being a good Moosulmaun, he washed his hands, face, and feet, and said his prayers. Before he had finished, and while he was yet on his knees, he saw a genie, white with age, and of a monstrous bulk, advancing towards him with a cimeter in his hand. The genie spoke to him in a terrible voice: "Rise, that I may kill thee with this cimeter, as thou hast killed my son;" and accompanied these words with a frightful cry. The merchant being as much alarmed at the hideous shape of the monster as at his threatening language, answered him, trembling, "Alas! my good lord, of what crime can I be guilty towards you, that you should take away my life?" "I will," replied the genie, "kill thee, as thou hast killed my son." "Heavens," exclaimed the merchant, "how could I kill your son? I never knew, never saw him." "Did not you sit down when you came hither?" demanded the genie: "did you not take dates out of your wallet, and as you ate them, did not you throw the shells about in different directions?" "I did all that you say," answered the merchant, "I cannot deny it." "If it be so," resumed the genie, "I tell thee that thou hast killed my son; and in this manner: When thou wert throwing the shells about, my son was passing by, and thou didst throw one into his eye, which killed him; therefore I must kill thee." "Ah! my lord! pardon me!" cried the merchant. "No pardon," exclaimed the genie, "no mercy. Is it not just to kill him that has killed another?" "I agree it is," replied the merchant, "but certainly I never killed your son; and if I have, it was unknown to me, and I did it innocently; I beg you therefore to pardon me, and suffer me to live." "No, no," returned the genie, persisting in his resolution, "I must kill thee, since thou hast killed my son." Then taking the merchant by the arm, he threw him with his face on the ground, and lifted up his cimeter to cut off his head.

The merchant, with tears, protested he was innocent, bewailed his wife and children, and supplicated the genie, in the most moving expressions. The genie, with his cimeter still lifted up, had the patience to hear his unfortunate victims to the end of his lamentations, but would not relent. "All this whining," said the monster, "is to no purpose; though you should shed tears of blood, they should not hinder me from killing thee, as thou hast killed my son." "What!" exclaimed the merchant, "can nothing prevail with you? Will you absolutely take away the life of a poor innocent?" "Yes," replied the genie, "I am resolved."

As soon as she had spoken these words, perceiving it was day, and knowing that the sultan rose early in the morning to say his prayers, and hold his council, Scheherazade discontinued her story. "Dear sister," said Dinarzade, "what a wonderful story is this!" "The remainder of it," replied Scheherazade "is more surprising, and you will be of this opinion, if the sultan will but permit me to live over this day, and allow me to proceed with the relation the ensuing night." Shier-ear, who had listened to Scheherazade with much interest, said to himself, "I will wait till to-morrow, for I can at any time put her to death when she has concluded her story." Having thus resolved not to put Scheherazade to death that day, he rose and went to his prayers, and to attend his council.

During this time the grand vizier was in the utmost distress. Instead of sleeping, he spent the night in sighs and groans, bewailing the lot of his daughter, of whom he believed he should himself shortly be the executioner. As, with this melancholy prospect before him, he dreaded to meet the sultan, he was agreeably surprised when he found the prince entered the council chamber without giving him the fatal orders he expected.

The sultan, according to his custom, spent the day in regulating his affairs; and when the night had closed in, retired with Scheherazade. The next morning before day, Dinarzade failed not to call to her sister: "My dear sister, if you be not asleep, I pray you till day-break, which is very near, to go on with the story you began last night." The sultan, without waiting for Scheherazade to ask his permission, bade her proceed with the story of the genie and the merchant; upon which Scheherazade continued her relation as follows. [FN: In the original work Scheherazade continually breaks off to ask the sultan to spare her life for another day, that she may finish the story she is relating. As these interruptions considerably interfere with the continued interest of the stories, it has been deemed advisable to omit them.]

When the merchant saw that the genie was going to cut off his head, he cried out aloud to him, "For heaven's sake hold your hand! Allow me one word. Have the goodness to grant me some respite, to bid my wife and children adieu, and to divide my estate among them by will, that they may not go to law after my death. When I have done this, I will come back and submit to whatever you shall please to command." "But," said the genie, "if I grant you the time you ask, I doubt you will never return?" "If you will believe my oath," answered the merchant, "I swear by all that is sacred, that I will come and meet you here without fail." "What time do you require then?" demanded the genie. "I ask a year," said the merchant; "I cannot in less settle my affairs, and prepare myself to die without regret. But I promise you, that this day twelve months I will return under these trees, to put myself into your hands." "Do you take heaven to be witness to this promise?" said the genie. "I do," answered the merchant, "and you may rely on my oath." Upon this the genie left him near the fountain, and disappeared.

The merchant being recovered from his terror, mounted his horse, and proceeded on his journey, glad on the one hand that he had escaped so great a danger, but grieved on the other, when he reflected on his fatal oath. When he reached home, his wife and children received him with all the demonstrations of perfect joy. But he, instead of returning their caresses, wept so bitterly, that his family apprehended something calamitous had befallen him. His wife enquire reason of his excessive grief and tears; "We are all overjoyed," said she, "at your return; but you alarm us by your lamentations; pray tell us the cause of your sorrow." "Alas!" replied the husband, "I have but a year to live." He then related what had passed betwixt him and the genie, and informed her that he had given him his oath to return at the end of the year, to receive death from his hands.

When they heard this afflicting intelligence, they all began to lament in the most distressing manner. His wife uttered the most piteous cries, beat her face, and tore her hair. The children, all in tears, made the house resound with their groans; and the father, not being able to resist the impulse of nature, mingled his tears with theirs: so that, in a word, they exhibited the most affecting spectacle possible.

On the following morning the merchant applied himself to put his affairs in order; and first of all to pay his debts. He made presents to his friends, gave liberal alms to the poor, set his slaves of both sexes at liberty, divided his property among his children, appointed guardians for such of them as were not of age; and after restoring to his wife all that was due to her by their marriage contract, he gave her in addition as much as the law would allow him.

At last the year expired, and he was obliged to depart. He put his burial clothes in his wallet; but when he came to bid his wife and children adieu, their grief surpassed description. They could not reconcile their minds to the separation, but resolved to go and die with him. When, however, it became necessary for him to tear himself from these dear objects, he addressed them in the following terms: "My dear wife and children, I obey the will of heaven in quitting you. Follow my example, submit with fortitude to this necessity, and consider that it is the destiny of man to die." Having thus spoken, he went out of the hearing of the cries of his family; and pursuing his journey, arrived on the day appointed at the place where he had promised to meet the genie. He alighted, and seating himself down by the fountain, waited the coming of the genie, with all the sorrow imaginable. Whilst he languished under this painful expectation, an old man leading a hind appeared and drew near him. After they had saluted one another, the old man said to him, "Brother, may I ask why you are come into this desert place, which is possessed solely by evil spirits, and where consequently you cannot be safe? From the beautiful trees which are seen here, one might indeed suppose the place inhabited; but it is in reality a wilderness, where it is dangerous to remain long."

The merchant satisfied his curiosity, and related to him the adventure which obliged him to be there. The old man listened with astonishment, and when he had done, exclaimed, "This is the most surprising thing in the world! and you are bound by the most inviolable oath. However, I will be witness of your interview with the genie." He then seated himself by the merchant, and they entered into conversation.

"But I see day," said Scheherazade, "and must leave off; yet the best of the story is to come." The sultan resolving to hear the end of it, suffered her to live that day also.

The next morning Dinarzade made the same request to her sister as before: "My dear sister," said she, "if you be not asleep, tell me one of those pleasant stories that you have read." But the sultan, wishing to learn what followed betwixt the merchant and the genie, bade her proceed with that, which she did as follows.

Sir, while the merchant and the old man who led the hind were conversing, they saw another old man coming towards them, followed by two black dogs; after they had saluted one another, he asked them what they did in that place? The old man with the hind told him the adventure of the merchant and genie, with all that had passed between them, particularly the merchant's oath. He added, that it was the day agreed on, and that he was resolved to stay and see the issue.

The second old man thinking it also worth his curiosity, resolved to do the same, and took his seat by them. They had scarcely begun to converse together, when there arrived a third old man leading a mule. He addressed himself to the two former, and asked why the merchant who sat with them looked so melancholy? They told him the reason, which appeared to him so extraordinary, that he also resolved to witness the result; and for that purpose sat down with them.

In a short time they perceived a thick vapour, like a cloud of dust raised by a whirlwind, advancing towards them. When it had come up to them it suddenly vanished, and the genie appeared; who, without saluting them, went to the merchant with a drawn cimeter, and taking him by the arm, said, "Get thee up, that I may kill thee, as thou didst my son." The merchant and the three old men began to lament and fill the air with their cries.

When the old man who led the hind saw the genie lay hold of the merchant, and about to kill him, he threw himself at the feet of the monster, and kissing them, said to him, "Prince of genies, I most humbly request you to suspend your anger, and do me the favour to hear me. I will tell you the history of my life, and of the hind you see; and if you think it more wonderful and surprising than the adventure of the merchant, I hope you will pardon the unfortunate man a third of his offence." The genie took some time to deliberate on this proposal, but answered at last, "Well then, I agree."






The Story of the First Old Man
and the Hind


I shall begin my story then; listen to me, I pray you, with attention. This hind you see is my cousin; nay, what is more, my wife. She was only twelve years of age when I married her, so that I may justly say, she ought to regard me equally as her father, her kinsman, and her husband.

We lived together twenty years, without any children. Her barrenness did not effect any change in my love; I still treated her with much kindness and affection. My desire of having children only induced me to purchase a slave, by whom I had a son, who was extremely promising. My wife being jealous, cherished a hatred for both mother and child, but concealed her aversion so well, that I knew nothing of it till it was too late.

Mean time my son grew up, and was ten years old, when I was obliged to undertake a long journey. Before I went, I recommended to my wife, of whom I had no mistrust, the slave and her son, and prayed her to take care of them during my absence, which was to be for a whole year. She however employed that time to satisfy her hatred. She applied herself to magic, and when she had learnt enough of that diabolical art to execute her horrible design, the wretch carried my son to a desolate place, where, by her enchantments, she changed him into a calf, and gave him to my farmer to fatten, pretending she had bought him. Her enmity did not stop at this abominable action, but she likewise changed the slave into a cow, and gave her also to my farmer.

At my return, I enquired for the mother and child. "Your slave," said she, "is dead; and as for your son, I know not what is become of him, I have not seen him this two months." I was afflicted at the death of the slave, but as she informed me my son had only disappeared, I was in hopes he would shortly return. However, eight months passed, and I heard nothing of him. When the festival of the great Bairam was to be celebrated, I sent to my farmer for one of the fattest cows to sacrifice. He accordingly sent me one, and the cow which was brought me proved to be my slave, the unfortunate mother of my son. I bound her, but as I was going to sacrifice her, she bellowed piteously, and I could perceive tears streaming from her eyes. This seemed to me very extraordinary, and finding myself moved with compassion, I could not find in my heart to give her a blow, but ordered my farmer to get me another.

My wife, who was present, was enraged at my tenderness, and resisting an order which disappointed her malice, she cried out, "What are you doing, husband? Sacrifice that cow; your farmer has not a finer, nor one fitter for the festival." Out of deference to my wife, I came again to the cow, and combating my compassion, which suspended the sacrifice, was going to give her the fatal blow, when the victim redoubling her tears, and bellowing, disarmed me a second time. I then put the mallet into the farmer's hands, and desired him to take it and sacrifice her himself, for her tears and bellowing pierced my heart.

The farmer, less compassionate than myself; sacrificed her; but when he flayed her, found her to be nothing except bones, though to she seemed very fat. "Take her yourself," said I to him, "dispose of her in alms, or any way you please: and if you have a very fat calf, bring it me in her stead." I did not enquire what he did with the cow, but soon after he had taken her away, he returned with a fat calf. Though I knew not the calf was my son, yet I could not forbear being moved at the sight of him. On his part, as soon as he beheld me, he made so great an effort to come near me, that he broke his cord, threw himself at my feet, with his head against the ground, as if he meant to excite my compassion, conjuring me not to be so cruel as to take his life; and did as much as was possible for him, to signify that he was my son.

I was more surprised and affected with this action, than with the tears of the cow. I felt a tender pity, which interested me on his behalf, or rather, nature did its duty. "Go," said I to the farmer, "carry home that calf, take great care of him, and bring me another in his stead immediately."

As soon as my wife heard me give this order, she exclaimed, "What are you about, husband? Take my advice, sacrifice no other calf but that." "Wife," I replied, "I will not sacrifice him, I will spare him, and pray do not you oppose me." The wicked woman had no regard to my wishes; she hated my son too much to consent that I should save him. I tied the poor creature, and taking up the fatal knife, was going to plunge it into my son's throat, when turning his eyes bathed with tears, in a languishing manner, towards me, he affected me so much that I had not strength to kill him. I let the knife fall, and told my wife positively that I would have another calf to sacrifice, and not that. She used all her endeavours to persuade me to change my resolution; but I continued firm, and pacified her a little, by promising that I would sacrifice him against the Bairam of the following year.

The next morning my farmer desired to speak with me alone. "I come," said he, "to communicate to you a piece of intelligence, for which I hope you will return me thanks. I have a daughter that has some skill in magic. Yesterday, as I carried back the calf which you would not sacrifice, I perceived she laughed when she saw him, and in a moment after fell a weeping. I asked her why she acted two such opposite parts at one and the same time. 'rather,' replied she, 'the calf you bring back is our landlord's son; I laughed for joy to see him still alive, and wept at the remembrance of the sacrifice that was made the other day of his mother, who was changed into a cow. These two metamorphoses were made by the enchantments of our master's wife, who hated both the mother and son.' This is what my daughter told me," said the farmer, "and I come to acquaint you with it."

I leave you to judge how much I was surprised. I went immediately to my farmer, to speak to his daughter myself. As soon as I arrived, I went forthwith to the stall where my son was kept; he could not return my embraces, but received them in such a manner, as fully satisfied me he was my son.

The farmer's daughter then came to us: "My good maid," said I, "can you restore my son to his former shape?" "Yes," she replied, "I can." "Ah!" said I, "if you do, I will make you mistress of all my fortune." She answered me, smiling, "You are our master, and I well know what I owe to you; but I cannot restore your son to his former shape, except on two conditions: the first is, that you give him to me for my husband; and the second, that you allow me to punish the person who changed him into a calf." "As to the first," I replied, "I agree with all my heart: nay, I promise you more, a considerable fortune for yourself, independently of what I design for my son: in a word, you shall see how I will reward the great service I expect from you. As to what relates to my wife, I also agree; a person who has been capable of committing such a criminal action, justly deserves to be punished. I leave her to your disposal, only I must pray you not to take her life." "I am going then," answered she, "to treat her as she treated your son." "To this I consent," said I, "provided you first of all restore to me my son."

The damsel then took a vessel full of water, pronounced over it words that I did not understand, and addressing herself to the calf, "O calf, if thou west created by the almighty and sovereign master of the world such as thou appearest at this time, continue in that form; but if thou be a man, and art changed into a calf by enchantment, return to thy natural shape, by the permission of the sovereign Creator." As she spoke, she threw water upon him, and in an instant he recovered his natural form.

"My son, my dear son," cried I, immediately embracing him with such a transport of joy that I knew not what I was doing, "it is heaven that hath sent us this young maid, to remove the horrible charm by which you were enchanted, and to avenge the injury done to you and your mother. I doubt not but in acknowledgment you will make your deliverer your wife, as I have promised." He joyfully consented; but before they married, she changed my wife into a hind; and this is she whom you see here. I desired she might have this shape, rather than another less agreeable, that we might see her in the family without horror.

Since that time, my son is become a widower, and gone to travel. It being now several years since I heard of him, I am come abroad to inquire after him; and not being willing to trust anybody with my wife, till I should return home, I thought fit to take her everywhere with me.

"This is the history of myself and this hind: is it not one of the most wonderful and surprising?" "I admit it is," said the genie, "and on that account forgive the merchant one third of his crime."

When the first old man had finished his story, the second, who led the two black dogs, addressed the genie, and said: "I am going to tell you what happened to me, and these two black dogs you see by me; and I am certain you will say, that my story is yet more surprising than that which you have just heard. But when I have done this, I hope you will be pleased to pardon the merchant another third of his offence." "I will," replied the genie, "provided your story surpass that of the hind." Then the second old man began in this manner--






The Story fo the Second Old Man
and the Two Black Dogs


Great prince of genies, you must know that we are three brothers, the two black dogs and myself. Our father, when he died, left each of us one thousand sequins. With that sum, we all became merchants. A little time after we had opened shop, my eldest brother, one of these two dogs, resolved to travel and trade in foreign countries. With this view, he sold his estate, and bought goods suited to the trade intended to follow.

He went away, and was absent a whole year. At the expiration of this time, a poor man, who I thought had come to ask alms, presented himself before me in my shop. I said to him, "God help you." He returned my salutation, and continued, "Is it possible you do not know me?" Upon this I looked at him narrowly, and recognised him: "Ah, brother," cried I, embracing him, "how could I know you in this condition?" I made him come into my house, and asked him concerning his health and the success of his travels. "Do not ask me that question," said he; "when you see me, you see all: it would only renew my grief, to relate to you the particulars of the misfortunes I have experienced since I left you, which have reduced me to my present condition."

I immediately shut up my shop, and taking him to a bath, gave him the best clothes I had. Finding on examining my books, that I had doubled my stock, that is to say, that I was worth two thousand sequins, I gave him one half; "With that," said I, "brother, you may make up your loss." He joyfully accepted the present, and having repaired his fortunes, we lived together, as before.

Some time after, my second brother, who is the other of these two dogs, would also sell his estate. His elder brother and myself did all we could to divert him from his purpose, but without effect. He disposed of it, and with the money bought such goods as were suitable to the trade which he designed to follow. He joined a caravan, and departed. At the end of the year he returned in the same condition as my other brother. Having myself by this time gained another thousand sequins, I made him a present of them. With this sum he furnished his shop, and continued his trade.

Some time after, one of my brothers came to me to propose that I should join them in a trading voyage; I immediately declined. "You have travelled," said I, "and what have you gained by it? Who can assure me, that I shall be more successful than you have been?" It was in vain that they urged open me all the considerations they thought likely to gain me over to their design, for I constantly refused; but after having resisted their solicitations five whole years, they importuned me so much, that at last they overcame my resolution. When, however, the time arrived that we were to make preparations for our voyage, to buy the goods necessary to the undertaking, I found they had spent all, and had not one dirhem left of the thousand sequins I had given to each of them. I did not, on this account, upbraid them. On the contrary, my stock being still six thousand sequins, I shared the half of it with them, telling them, "My brothers, we must venture these three thousand sequins, and hide the rest in some secure place: that in case our voyage be not more successful than yours was formerly, we may have wherewith to assist us, and to enable us to follow our ancient way of living." I gave each of them a thousand sequins, and keeping as much for myself, I buried the other three thousand in a corner of my house. We purchased goods, and having embarked them on board a vessel, which we freighted betwixt us, we put to sea with a favourable wind.

After two months sail, we arrived happily at port, where we landed, and had a very good market for our goods. I, especially, sold mine so well, that I gained ten to one. With the produce we bought commodities of that country, to carry back with us for sale.

When we were ready to embark on our return, I met on the sea-shore a lady, handsome enough, but poorly clad. She walked up to me gracefully, kissed my hand, besought me with the greatest earnestness imaginable to marry her, and take her along with me. I made some difficulty to agree to this proposal; but she urged so many things to persuade me that I ought not to object to her on account of her poverty, and that I should have all the reason in the world to be satisfied with her conduct, that at last I yielded. I ordered proper apparel to be made for her; and after having married her, according to form, I took her on board, and we set sail. I found my wife possessed so many good qualities, that my love to her every day increased. In the mean time my two brothers, who had not managed their affairs as successfully as I had mine, envied my prosperity; and suffered their feelings to carry them so far, that they conspired against my life; and one night, when my wife and I were asleep, threw us both into the sea.

My wife proved to be a fairy, and, by consequence, a genie, so that she could not be drowned; but for me, it is certain I must have perished, without her help. I had scarcely fallen into the water, when she took me up, and carried me to an island. When day appeared, she said to me, "You see, husband, that by saving your life, I have not rewarded you ill for your kindness to me. You must know, that I am a fairy, and being upon the sea-shore, when you were going to embark, I felt a strong desire to have you for my husband; I had a mind to try your goodness, and presented myself before you in disguise. You have dealt generously by me, and I am glad of an opportunity of returning my acknowledgment. But I am incensed against your brothers, and nothing will satisfy me but their lives."

I listened to this discourse with admiration; I thanked the fairy the best way I could, for the great kindness she had done me; "But, Madam," said I, "as for my brothers, I beg you to pardon them; whatever cause of resentment they have given me, I am not cruel enough to desire their death." I then informed her what I had done for them, but this increased her indignation; and she exclaimed, "I must immediately pursue those ungrateful traitors, and take speedy vengeance on them. I will destroy their vessel, and sink them into the bottom of the sea." "My good lady," replied I, "for heaven's sake forbear; moderate your anger, consider that they are my brothers, and that we ought to return good for evil."

I pacified her by these words; and as soon as I had concluded, she transported me in a moment from the island to the roof of my own house, which was terraced, and instantly disappeared. I descended, opened the doors, and dug up the three thousand sequins I had formerly secreted. I went afterwards to my shop, which I also opened; and was complimented by the merchants, my neighbours, upon my return. When I went back to my house, I perceived there two black dogs, which came up to me in a very submissive manner: I could not divine the meaning of this circumstance, which greatly astonished me. But the fairy, who immediately appeared, said, "Husband, be not surprised to see these dogs, they are your brothers." I was troubled at this declaration, and asked her by what power they were so transformed. "I did it," said she, "or at least authorised one of my sisters to do it, who at the same time sunk their ship. You have lost the goods you had on board, but I will compensate you another way. As to your two brothers, I have condemned them to remain five years in that shape. Their perfidiousness too well deserves such a penance." Having thus spoken and told me where I might hear of her, she disappeared.

The five years being now nearly expired, I am travelling in quest of her; and as I passed this way, I met this merchant, and the good old man who led the hind, and sat down by them. This is my history, O prince of genies! do not you think it very extraordinary?"

"I own it is," replied the genie, "and on that account I remit the merchant the second third of the crime which he has committed against me."

As soon as the second old man had finished, the third began his story, after repeating the request of the two former, that the genie would pardon the merchant the other third of his crime, provided what he should relate surpassed in singularity of incidents the narratives he had already heard. The genie made him the same promise as he had given the others.

The third old man related his story to the genie; and it exceeded the two former stories so much, in the variety of wonderful adventures, that the genie was astonished; and no sooner heard the conclusion, than he said to the old man, "I remit the other third of the merchant's crime on account of your story. He is greatly obliged to all of you, for having delivered him out of his danger by what you have related, for to this he owes his life." Having spoken thus he disappeared, to the great contentment of the company.

The merchant failed not to make due acknowledgment to his deliverers. They rejoiced to see him out of danger; and bidding him adieu, each of them proceeded on his way. The merchant returned to his wife and children, and passed the rest of his days with them in peace.






The Story of the Fisherman


There was an aged fisherman, who was so poor, that he could scarcely as much as would maintain himself, his wife, and three children. He went every day to fish betimes in the morning; and imposed it as a law upon himself, not to cast his nets above four times a-day. He went one morning by moon-light, and coming to the seaside, undressed himself, and cast in his nets. As he drew them towards the shore, he found them very heavy, and thought he had a good draught of fish, at which he rejoiced; but in a moment after, perceiving that instead of fish his nets contained nothing but the carcass of an ass, he was much vexed.

When the fisherman had mended his nets, which the carcass of the ass had broken in several places, he threw them in a second time; and when he drew them, found a great deal of resistance, which made him think he had taken abundance of fish; but he found nothing except a basket full of gravel and slime, which grieved him extremely. "O fortune!" cried he, with a lamentable tone, "be not angry with me, nor persecute a wretch who prays thee to spare him. I came hither from my house to seek for my livelihood, and thou pronouncest against me a sentence of death. I have no other trade but this to subsist by: and notwithstanding all my care, I can scarcely provide what is absolutely necessary for my family. But I am to blame to complain of thee; thou takest pleasure to persecute honest people, and to leave great men in obscurity, while thou shewest favour to the wicked, and advancest those who have no virtue to recommend them."

Having finished this complaint, he fretfully threw away the basket, and washing his nets from the slime, cast them the third time; but brought up nothing, except stones, shells, and mud. No language can express his disappointment; he was almost distracted. However, when day began to appear, he did not forget to say his prayers, like a good Moosulmaun, and he added to them this petition: "Lord, thou knowest that I cast my nets only four times a day; I have already drawn them three times, without the least reward for my labour: I am only to cast them once more; I pray thee to render the sea favourable to me, as thou didst to Moses."

The fisherman having finished this prayer, cast his nets the fourth time; and when he thought it was proper, drew them as formerly, with great difficulty; but instead of fish, found nothing in them but a vessel of yellow copper, which from its weight seemed not to be empty; and he observed that it was shut up and sealed with lead, having the impression of a seal upon it. This turn of fortune rejoiced him; "I will sell it," said he, "to the founder, and with the money buy a measure of corn." He examined the vessel on all sides, and shook it, to try if its contents made any noise, but heard nothing. This circumstance, with the impression of the seal upon the leaden cover, made him think it inclosed something precious. To try this, he took a knife, and opened it with very little labour. He turned the mouth downward, but nothing came out; which surprised him extremely. He placed it before him, but while he viewed it attentively, there came out a very thick smoke, which obliged him to retire two or three paces back.

The smoke ascended to the clouds, and extending itself along the sea and upon the shore formed a great mist, which we may well imagine filled the fisherman with astonishment. When the smoke was all out of the vessel, it re-united and became a solid body, of which was formed a genie twice as high as the greatest of giants. At the sight of a monster of such an unwieldy bulk, the fisherman would fain have fled, but was so frightened, that he could not move.

"Solomon," cried the genie immediately, "Solomon, the great prophet, pardon, pardon; I will never more oppose your will, I will obey all your commands."

When the fisherman heard these words of the genie, he recovered his courage, and said to him, "Thou proud spirit, what is it you say? It is above eighteen hundred years since the prophet Solomon died, and we are now at the end of time. Tell me your history, and how you came to be shut up in this vessel."

The genie turning to the fisherman, with a fierce look, said. "Thou must speak to me with more respect; thou art a presumptuous fellow to call me a proud spirit." "Very well," replied the fisherman, "shall I speak to you more civilly, and call you the owl of good luck?" "I say," answered the genie, "speak to me more respectfully, or I will kill thee." "Ah!" replied the fisherman, "why would you kill me? Did I not just now set you at liberty, and have you already forgotten my services?" "Yes, I remember it," said the genie, "but that shall not save thy life: I have only one favour to grant thee." "And what is that?" asked the fisherman. "It is," answered the genie, "to give thee thy choice, in what manner thou wouldst have me put thee to death." "But wherein have I offended you?" demanded the fisherman. "Is that your reward for the service I have rendered you?" "I cannot treat thee otherwise," said the genie; "and that thou mayest know the reason, hearken to my story."

"I am one of those rebellious spirits that opposed the will of heaven; nearly all the other genies owned Solomon, the great prophet, and yielded to his authority. Sabhir and I were the only two that would never be guilty of a mean submission: and to avenge himself, that great monarch sent Asaph, the son of Barakhia, his chief minister, to apprehend me. That was accordingly done. Asaph seized my person, and brought me by force before his master's throne.

"Solomon, the son of David, commanded me to acknowledge his power, and to submit to his commands: I bravely refused, and told him, I would rather expose myself to his resentment, than swear fealty as he required. To punish me, he shut me up in this copper vessel; and that I might not break my prison, he himself stamps upon this leaden cover, his seal with the great name of God engraver upon it. He then gave the vessel to one of the genies who had submitted, with orders to throw me into the sea, which to my sorrow were executed.

"During the first hundred years of my imprisonment, I swore that if any one should deliver me before the expiration of that period, I would make him rich, even after his death: but that century ran out, and nobody did me that good office. During the second, I made an oath, that I would open all the treasures of the earth to any one that might set me at liberty; but with no better success. In the third, I promised to make my deliverer a potent monarch, to be always near him in spirit, and to grant him every day three requests, of what nature soever they might be: but this century passed as well as the two former, and I continued in prison. At last being angry, or rather mad, to find myself a prisoner so long, I swore, that if afterwards any one should deliver me, I would kill him without mercy, and grant him no other favour but to choose the manner of his death; and therefore, since thou hast delivered me to-day, I give thee that choice."

This discourse afflicted the fisherman extremely: "I am very unfortunate," cried he, "to come hither to do such a kindness to one that is so ungrateful. I beg you to consider your injustice, and revoke such an unreasonable oath; pardon me, and heaven will pardon you; if you grant me my life, heaven will protest you from all attempts against your own." "No, thy death is resolved on," said the genie, "only choose in what manner you will die." The fisherman perceiving the genie to be resolute, was extremely grieved, not so much for himself, as on account of his three children; and bewailed the misery they must be reduced to by his death. He endeavoured still to appease the genie, and said, "Alas! be pleased to take pity on me, in consideration of the service I have done you." "I have told thee already," replied the genie, "it is for that very reason I must kill thee." "That is strange," said the fisherman, "are you resolved to reward good with evil? The proverb says, 'That he who does good to one who deserves it not is always ill rewarded.' I must confess, I thought it was false; for certainly there can be nothing more contrary to reason, or the laws of society. Nevertheless, I find now by cruel experience that it is but too true." "Do not lose time," interrupted the genie; "all thy reasonings shall not divert me from my purpose: make haste, and tell me what kind of death thou preferest?"

Necessity is the mother of invention. The fisherman bethought himself of a stratagem. "Since I must die then," said he to the genie, "I submit to the will of heaven; but before I choose the manner of my death, I conjure you by the great name which was engraver upon the seal of the prophet Solomon, the son of David, to answer me truly the question I am going to ask you."

The genie finding himself obliged to a positive answer by this adjuration, trembled; and replied to the fisherman, "Ask what thou wilt, but make haste."

The fisherman then said to him, "I wish to know if you were actually in this vessel: Dare you swear it by the name of the great God?" "Yes," replied the genie, "I do swear by that great name, that I was." "In good faith," answered the fisherman, "I cannot believe you; the vessel is not capable of holding one of your size, and how should it be possible that your whole body should lie in it?" "I swear to thee, notwithstanding," replied the genie, "that I was there just as you see me here: Is it possible, that thou cost not believe me after the solemn oath I have taken?" "Truly not I," said the fisherman; "nor will I believe you, unless you go into the vessel again."

Upon which the body of the genie dissolved and changed itself into smoke, extending as before upon the sea shore; and at last, being collected, it began to re-enter the vessel, which it continued to do by a slow and equal motion, till no part remained out; when immediately a voice came forth, which said to the fisherman, "Well now, incredulous fellow, I am in the vessel, do not you believe me now?"

The fisherman, instead of answering the genie, took the cover of lead, and having speedily replaced it on the vessel, "Genie," cried he, "now it is your turn to beg my favour, and to choose which way I shall put you to death; but not so, it is better that I should throw you into the sea, whence I took you: and then I will build a house upon the shore, where I will reside and give notice to all fishermen who come to throw in their nets, to beware of such a wicked genie as thou art, who hast made an oath to kill him that shall set thee at liberty."

The genie, enraged at these expressions, struggled to set himself at liberty; but it was impossible, for the impression of Solomon's seal prevented him. Perceiving that the fisherman had got the advantage of him, for he thought fit to dissemble his anger; "Fishermen," said he, "take heed you do not what you threaten; for what I spoke to you was only by way of jest." "O genie!" replied the fisherman, "thou who wast but a moment ago the greatest of all genies, and now art the least of them, thy crafty discourse will signify nothing, to the sea thou shalt return. If thou hast been there already so long as thou hast told me, thou may'st very well stay there till the day of judgment. I begged of thee in God's name not to take away my life, and thou didst reject my prayers; I am obliged to treat thee in the same manner."

The genie omitted nothing that he thought likely to prevail with the fisherman: "Open the vessel," said he, "give me my liberty, and I promise to satisfy thee to thy own content." "Thou art a traitor," replied the fisherman, "I should deserve to lose my life, if I were such a fool as to trust thee: thou wilt not fail to treat me in the same manner as a certain Grecian king treated the physician Douban. It is a story I have a mind to tell thee, therefore listen to it."






The Story of the Grecian King
and the Physician Douban


There was in the country of Yunaun or Greece, a king who was leprous, and his physicians had in vain endeavoured his cure; when a very able physician, named Douban, arrived at his court.

This physician had learnt the theory of his profession in Greek, Persian, Turkish, Arabic, Latin, Syriac, and Hebrew books; he was an experienced natural philosopher, and fully understood the good and bad qualities of plants and drugs. As soon as he was informed of the king's distemper, and understood that his physicians had given him over, he found means to present himself before him. "I know," said he, after the usual ceremonials, "that your majesty's physicians have not been able to heal you of the leprosy; but if you will accept my service, I will engage to cure you without potions, or external applications."

The king listened to what he said, and answered, "If you be able to perform what you promise, I will enrich you and your posterity. Do you assure me that you will cure my leprosy without potion, or applying any external medicine?" "Yes, Sire," replied the physician, "I promise myself success, through God's assistance, and to-morrow, with your majesty's permission, I will make the trial."

The physician returned to his quarters, made a hollow mace, and at the handle he put in his drugs; he made also a ball in such a manner as suited his purpose, with which next morning he presented himself before the king, and falling down at his feet, kissed the ground.

The physician Douban rose up, and after a profound reverence, said to the king, he judged it meet that his majesty should take horse, and go to the place where he used to play at mall. The king did so, and when he arrived there, the physician came to him with the mace, and said, "Exercise yourself with this mace, and strike the ball until you find your hands and body perspire. When the medicine I have put up in the handle of the mace is heated with your hand, it will penetrate your whole body; and as soon as you perspire, you may leave off the exercise, for then the medicine will have had its effect. Immediately on your return to your palace, go into the bath, and cause yourself to be well washed and rubbed; then retire to bed, and when you rise to-morrow you will find yourself cured."

The king took the mace, and struck the ball, which was returned by his officers who played with him; he played so long, that his hands and his whole body were in a sweat, and then the medicine shut up in the handle of the mace had its operation, as the physician had said. Upon this the king left off play, returned to his palace, entered the bath, and observed very exactly his physician had prescribed to him.

The next morning when he arose, he perceived with equal wonder and joy, that his leprosy was cured, and his body as clean as if it had never been affected. As soon as he was dressed, he came into the hall of audience, where he ascended his throne, and shewed himself to his courtiers: who, eager to know the success of the new medicine, came thither betimes, and when they saw the king perfectly cured, expressed great joy. The physician Douban entering the hall, bowed himself before the throne, with his face to the ground. The king perceiving him, made him sit down by his side, presented him to the assembly, and gave him all the commendation he deserved. His majesty did not stop here: but as he treated all his court that day, made him eat at his table alone with him.

The Grecian king was not satisfied with having admitted the physician Douban to his table, but caused him to be clad in a rich robe, ordered him two thousand pieces of gold, and thinking that he could never sufficiently acknowledge his obligations to him, continued every day to load him with new favours. But this king had a vizier, who was avaricious, envious, and naturally capable of every kind of mischief. He could not behold without envy the presents that were given to the physician, whose other merits had already begun to make him jealous, and he therefore resolved to lessen him in the king's esteem. To effect this, he went to the king, and told him in private, that he had some information of the greatest consequence to communicate. The king having asked what it was? "Sire," said he, "it is highly dangerous for a monarch to confide in a man whose fidelity he has never tried. Though you heap favours upon the physician Douban, your majesty does not know that he is a traitor, sent by your enemies to take away your life." "From whom," demanded the king, "have you the suggestion which you dare pronounce? Consider to whom you are speaking, and that you are advancing what I shall not easily believe." "Sire," replied the vizier, "I am well informed of what I have had the honour to reveal to your majesty; therefore do not rest in dangerous security: if your majesty be asleep, be pleased to awake; for I once more repeat, that the physician Douban left his native country, and came to settle himself at your court, for the sole purpose of executing the horrible design which I have intimated."

"No, no, vizier," interrupted the king; "I am certain, that this physician, whom you suspect to be a villain and a traitor, is one of the best and most virtuous of men. You know by what medicine, or rather by what miracle, he cured me of my leprosy: If he had had a design upon my life, why did he save me then? He needed only to have left me to my disease; I could not have escaped it, as life was fast decaying. Forbear then to fill me with unjust suspicions: instead of listening to you, I tell you, that from this day forward I will give that great man a pension of a thousand pieces of gold per month for his life; nay, though I were to share with him all my riches and dominions, I should never pay him sufficiently for what he has done. I perceive it to be his virtue that raises your envy; but do not think I will be unjustly prejudiced against him. I remember too well what a vizier said to king Sinbad, his master, to prevent his putting to death the prince his son."

What the Grecian king said about king Sinbad raised the vizier's curiosity, who said, "I pray your majesty to pardon me, if I have the boldness to ask what the vizier of king Sinbad said to his master to divert him from putting the prince his son to death." The Grecian king had the condescension to satisfy him: "That vizier," said he, "after having represented to king Sinbad, that he ought to beware, lest on the accusation of a mother-in-law he should commit an action of which he might afterwards repent, told him this story."






The Story of the Husband
and the Parrot


A certain man had a beautiful wife, whom he loved so dearly, that he could scarcely allow her to be out of his sight. One day, some urgent affairs obliging him to go from home, he went to a place where all sorts of birds were sold, and bought a parrot, which not only spoke well, but could also give an account of every thing that was done in its presence. He brought it in a cage to his house, desired his wife to put it in his chamber, and take care of it during his absence, and then departed.

On his return, he questioned the parrot concerning what had passed while he was from home, and the bird told him such things as gave him occasion to upbraid his wife. She concluded some of her slaves had betrayed her, but all of them swore they had been faithful, and agreed that the parrot must have been the tell-tale.

Upon this, the wife began to devise how she might remove her husband's jealousy, and at the same time revenge herself on the parrot. Her husband being gone another journey, she commanded a slave in the night-time to turn a hand-mill under the parrot's cage; she ordered another to sprinkle water, in resemblance of rain, over the cage; and a third to move a looking-glass, backward and forward against a candle, before the parrot. The slaves spent a great part of the night in doing what their mistress desired them, and acquitted themselves with much skill.

Next night the husband returned, and examined the parrot again about what had passed during his absence. The bird answered, "Good master, the lightning, thunder, and rain so much disturbed me all night, that I cannot tell how much I suffered." The husband, who knew that there had been neither thunder, lightning, nor rain in the night, fancied that the parrot, not having spoken truth in this, might also have lied in the other relation; upon which he took it out of the cage, and threw it with so much force to the ground that he killed it. Yet afterwards he understood from his neigbours, that the poor parrot had not deceived him in what it had stated of his wife's base conduct, made him repent that he had killed it.

When the Grecian king had finished the story of the parrot, he added, "And you, vizier, because of the hatred you bear to the physician Douban, who never did you any injury, you would have me cut him off; but I will beware lest I should repent as the husband did after killing his parrot."

The mischievous vizier was too desirous of effecting the ruin of the physician Douban to stop here. "Sir," said he, "the death of the parrot was but a trifle, and I believe his master did not mourn for him long: but why should your fear of wronging an innocent man, hinder your putting this physician to death? Is it not sufficient justification that he is accused of a design against your life? When the business in question is to secure the life of a king, bare suspicion ought to pass for certainty; and it is better to sacrifice the innocent than to spare the guilty. But, Sir, this is not a doubtful case; the physician Douban has certainly a mind to assassinate you. It is not envy which makes me his enemy; it is only my zeal, with the concern I have for preserving your majesty's life, that makes me give you my advice in a matter of this importance. If the accusation be false, I deserve to be punished in the same manner as a vizier formerly was." "What had the vizier done," demands the Grecian king, "to deserve punishment?" "I will inform your majesty," said the vizier, "if you will be pleased to hear me."






The Story of the Vizier
that was Punished


There was a king who had a son that loved hunting. He allowed him to pursue that diversion often; but gave orders to his grand vizier always to attend him.

One hunting day, the huntsman having roused a deer, the prince, who thought the vizier followed him, pursued the game so far, and with so much earnestness, that he separated himself from the company. Perceiving he had lost his way he stopped, and endeavoured to return to the vizier; but not knowing the country he wandered farther.

Whilst he was thus riding about, he met on his way a handsome lady, who wept bitterly. He stopped his horse, and enquired who she was, how she came to be alone in that place, and what she wanted. "I am," replied she, "the daughter of an Indian king. As I was taking the air on horseback, in the country, I grew sleepy, and fell from my horse, who is run away, and I know not what is become of him." The young prince taking compassion on her, requested her to get up behind him, which she willingly did.

As they were passing by the ruins of a house, the lady expressed a desire to alight. The prince stopped, and having put her down, dismounted himself, and went near the building, leading his horse after him. But you may judge how much he was surprised, when he heard the pretended lady utter these words: "Be glad, my children, I bring you a young man for your repast;" and other voices, which answered immediately, "Where is he, for we are very hungry?"

The prince heard enough to convince him of his danger. He perceived that the lady, who called herself the daughter of an Indian king, was one of those savage demons, called Gholes, who live in desolated places, and employ a thousand wiles to surprise passengers, whom they afterwards devour. The prince instantly remounted his horse, and luckily escaped.

The pretended princess appeared that very moment, and perceiving she had missed her prey, exclaimed, "Fear nothing, prince: Who are you? Whom do you seek?" "I have lost my way," replied he, "and am endeavouring to find it." "If you have lost your way," said she, "recommend yourself to God, he will deliver you out of your perplexity."

After the counterfeit Indian princess had bidden the young prince recommend himself to God, he could not believe she spoke sincerely, but thought herself sure of him; and therefore lifting up his hands to heaven, said, "Almighty Lord, cast shine eyes upon me, and deliver me from this enemy." After this prayer, the ghole entered the ruins again, and the prince rode off with all possible haste. He happily found his way, and arrived safe at the court of his father, to whom he gave a particular account of the danger he had been in through the vizier's neglect: upon which the king, being incensed against that minister, ordered him to be immediately strangled.

"Sir," continued the Grecian king's vizier, "to return to the physician Douban, if you do not take care, the confidence you put in him will be fatal to you; I am very well assured that he is a spy sent by your enemies to attempt your majesty's life. He has cured you, you will say: but alas! who can assure you of that? He has perhaps cured you only in appearance, and not radically; who knows but the medicine he has given you, may in time have pernicious effects?"

The Grecian king was not able to discover the wicked design of his vizier, nor had he firmness enough to persist in his first opinion. This discourse staggered him: "Vizier," said he, "thou art in the right; he may be come on purpose to take away my life, which he may easily do by the smell of his drugs."

When the vizier found the king in such a temper as he wished, "Sir," said he, "the surest and speediest method you can take to secure your life, is to send immediately for the physician Douban, and order his head to be struck off." "In truth," said the king, "I believe that is the way we must take to frustrate his design." When he had spoken thus, he called for one of his officers, and ordered him to go for the physician; who, knowing nothing of the king's purpose, came to the palace in haste.

"Knowest thou," said the king, when he saw him, "why I sent for thee?" "No, Sir," answered he; "I wait till your majesty be pleased to inform me." "I sent for thee," replied the king, "to rid myself of thee, by taking away thy life."

No man can express the surprise of the physician, when he heard the sentence of death pronounced against him. "Sir," said he, "why would your majesty take my life? What crime have I committed?" "I am informed," replied the king, "that you came to my court only to attempt my life; but to prevent you, I will be sure of yours. Give the blow," said he to the executioner, who was present, "and deliver me from a perfidious wretch, who came hither on purpose to assassinate me."

When the physician heard this cruel order, he readily judged that the honours and presents he had received from the king had procured him enemies, and that the weak prince was imposed on. He repented that he had cured him of his leprosy; but it was now too late. "Is it thus," asked the physician, "that you reward me for curing you?" The king would not hearken to him, but a second time ordered the executioner to strike the fatal blow. The physician then had recourse to his prayers; "Alas, Sir," cried he, "prolong my days, and God will prolong yours; do not put me to death, lest God treat you in the same manner."

The fisherman broke off his discourse here, to apply it to the genie. "Well, genie," said he, "you see that what passed betwixt the Grecian king and his physician Douban is acted just now by us."

The Grecian king, continued he, instead of having regard to the prayers of the physician, who begged him to spare his life, cruelly replied, "No, no; I must of necessity cut you off, otherwise you may assassinate with as much art as you cured me." The physician, without bewailing himself for being so ill rewarded by the king, prepared for death. The executioner tied his hands, and was going to draw his cimeter.

The courtiers who were present, being moved with compassion, begged the king to pardon him, assuring his majesty that he was not guilty of the crime laid to his charge, and that they would answer for his innocence: but the king was inflexible.

The physician being on his knees, his eyes tied up, and ready to receive the fatal blow, addressed himself once more to the king: "Sir," said he, "since your majesty will not revoke the sentence of death, I beg, at least, that you would give me leave to return to my house, to give orders about my burial, to bid farewell to my family, to give alms, and to bequeath my books to those who are capable of making good use of them. I have one particularly I would present to your majesty; it is a very precious book, and worthy of being laid up carefully in your treasury." "What is it," demanded the king, "that makes it so valuable?" "Sir," replied the physician, "it possesses many singular and curious properties; of which the chief is, that if your majesty will give yourself the trouble to open it at the sixth leaf, and read the third line of the left page, my head, after being cut off, will answer all the questions you ask it." The king being curious, deferred his death till next day, and sent him home under a strong guard.

The physician, during that time, put his affairs in order; and the report being spread, that an unheard of prodigy was to happen after his death, the viziers, emirs, officers of the guard, and, in a word, the whole court, repaired next day to the hall of audience, that they might be witnesses of it.

The physician Douban was brought in, and advancing to the foot of the throne, with a book in his hand, he called for a basin, and laid upon it the cover in which the book was wrapped; then presenting the book to the king, "Take this," said he, "and after my head is cut off, order that it be put into the basin upon that cover; as soon as it is placed there, the blood will stop; then open the book, and my head will answer your questions. But permit me once more to implore your majesty's clemency; for God's sake grant my request, I protest to you that I am innocent." "Your prayers," answered the king, "are in vain; and were it for nothing but to hear your head speak after your death, it is my will you should die." As he said this, he took the book out of the physician's hand, and ordered the executioner to do his duty.

The head was so dexterously cut off that it fell into the basin, and was no sooner laid upon the cover of the book than the blood stopped; then to the great surprise of the king, and all the spectators, its eyes, and said, "Sir, will your majesty be pleased to open the book?" The king proceeded to do so; but finding that the leaves adhered to each other, that he might turn them with more ease, he put his finger to his mouth, and wetted it with spittle. He did thus till he came to the sixth leaf, and finding no writing on the place where he was desired to look for it, "Physician," said he, "there is nothing written." "Turn over some more leaves," replied the head. The king went on, putting always his finger to his mouth, until the poison with which each leaf was imbued, coming to have its effect, the prince found himself suddenly taken with an extraordinary fit, his eye-sight failed, and he fell down at the foot of the throne in violent convulsions.

When the physician Douban, or rather his head, saw that the poison had taken effect, and that the king had but a few moments to live; "Tyrant," it cried, "now you see how princes are treated, who, abusing their authority, cut off innocent men: God punishes soon or late their injustice and cruelty." Scarcely had the head spoken these words, when the king fell down dead, and the head itself lost what life it had.

As soon as the fisherman had concluded the history of the Greek king and his physician Douban, he made the application to the genie, whom he still kept shut up in the vessel. "If the Grecian king," said he, "had suffered the physician to live, God would have continued his life also; but he rejected his most humble prayers, and the case is the same with thee, O genie! Could I have prevailed with thee to grant me the favour I supplicated, I should now take pity on thee; but since, notwithstanding the extreme obligation thou west under to me, for having set thee at liberty, thou didst persist in thy design to kill me, I am obliged, in my turn, to be equally hard-hearted to thee."

"My good friend fisherman," replied the genie, "I conjure thee once more, not to be guilty of such cruelty; consider, that it is not good to avenge one's self, and that on the other hand, it is commendable to do good for evil; do not treat me as Imama formerly treated Ateca." "And what did Imama to Ateca?" enquired the fisherman. "Ho!" says the genie, "if you have a mind to be informed, open the vessel: do you think that I can be in an humour to relate stories in so strait a prison? I will tell you as many as you please, when you have let me out." "No," said the fisherman, "I will not let thee out; it is in vain to talk of it; I am just going to throw thee into the bottom of the sea." "Hear me one word more," cried the genie; "I promise to do thee no hurt; nay, far from that, I will shew thee a way to become exceedingly rich."

The hope of delivering himself from poverty, prevailed with the fisherman. "I could listen to thee," said he, "were there any credit to be given to thy word; swear to me by the great name of God, that you will faithfully perform what you promise, and I will open the vessel; I do not believe you will dare to break such an oath."

The genie swore to him, upon which the fisherman immediately took off the covering of the vessel. At that instant the smoke ascended, and the genie having resumed his form, the first thing he did was to kick the vessel into the sea. This action alarmed the fisherman. "Genie," said he, "will not you keep the oath you just now made? And must I say to you, as the physician Douban said to the Grecian king, suffer me to live, and God will prolong your days."

The genie laughed at the fisherman's fear, and answered, "No, fisherman, be not afraid, I only did it to divert myself, and to see if thou wouldst be alarmed at it: but to convince thee that I am in earnest, take thy nets and follow me." As he spoke these words, he walked before the fisherman, who having taken up his nets, followed him, but with some distrust. They passed by the town, and came to the top of a mountain, from whence they descended into a vast plain, which brought them to a lake, that lay betwixt four hills.

When they reached the side of the lake, the genie said to the fisherman, "Cast in thy nets, and catch fish;" the fisherman did not doubt of taking some, because he saw a great number in the water; but he was extremely surprised, when he found they were of four colours, that is to say, white, red, blue, and yellow. He threw in his nets, and brought out one of each colour. Having never seen the like before, he could not but admire them, and judging that he might get a considerable sum for them, he was very joyful. "Carry those fish," said the genie to him, "and present them to thy sultan; he will give thee more money for them. Thou mayest come every day to fish in this lake; but I give thee warning not to throw in thy nets above once a day, otherwise thou wilt repent." Having spoken thus, he struck his foot upon the ground, which opened, and after it had swallowed him up closed again.

The fisherman being resolved to follow the genie's advice, forbore casting in his nets a second time; and returned to the town very well satisfied; and making a thousand reflections upon his adventure. He went immediately to the sultan's palace, to offer his fish.

The sultan was much surprised, when he saw the four fish which the fisherman presented. He took them up one after another, and viewed them with attention; and after having admired them a long time, "Take those fish," said he to his vizier, "and carry them to the cook, whom the emperor of the Greeks has sent me. I cannot imagine but that they must be as good as they are beautiful."

The vizier, carried them as he was directed, and delivering them to the cook, said, "Here are four fish just brought to the sultan; he orders you to dress them:" he then returned to the sultan his master, who ordered him to give the fisherman four hundred pieces of gold of the coin of that country, which he did accordingly.

The fisherman, who had never seen so much money, could scarcely believe his good fortune, but thought the whole must be a dream, until he found it otherwise, by being able to provide necessaries for his family with the produce of his fish.

As soon as the sultan's cook had gutted the fish, she put them upon the fire in a frying-pan, with oil, and when she thought them fried enough on one side, she turned them upon the other; but, O monstrous prodigy! scarcely were they turned, when the wall of the kitchen divided, and a young lady of wonderful beauty entered from the opening. She was clad in flowered satin, after the Egyptian manner, with pendants in her ears, a necklace of large pearls, and bracelets of gold set with rubies, with a rod in her hand. She moved towards the frying-pan, to the great amazement of the cook, who continued fixed by the sight, and striking one of the fish with the end of the rod, said, "Fish, fish, are you in duty?" The fish having answered nothing, she repeated these words, and then the four fish lifted up their heads, and replied, "Yes, yes: if you reckon, we reckon; if you pay your debts, we pay ours; if you fly, we overcome, and are content." As soon as they had finished these words, the lady overturned the frying-pan, and returned into the open part of the wall, which closed immediately, and became as it was before.

The cook was greatly frightened at what had happened, and coming a little to herself, went to take up the fish that had fallen on the hearth, but found them blacker than coal, and not fit to be carried to the sultan. This grievously troubled her, and she fell to weeping most bitterly. "Alas!" said she, "what will become of me? If I tell the sultan what I have seen, I am sure he will not believe me, but will be enraged against me."

While she was thus bewailing herself, the grand vizier entered, and asked her if the fish were ready? She told him all that had occurred, which we may easily imagine astonished him; but without speaking a word of it to the sultan, he invented an excuse that satisfied him, and sending immediately for the fisherman, bid him bring four more such fish, for a misfortune had befallen the others, so that they were not fit to be carried to the sultan. The fisherman, without saying any thing of what the genie had told him, in order to excuse himself from bringing them that day, told the vizier, he had a great way to go for them, but would certainly bring them on the morrow.

Accordingly the fisherman went away by night, and coming to the lake, threw in his nets betimes next morning, took four fish like the former, and brought them to the vizier, at the hour appointed. The minister took them himself, carried them to the kitchen, and shutting himself up with the cook, she gutted them, and put them on the fire, as she had done the four others the day before. When they were fried on one side, and she had turned them upon the other, the kitchen wall again opened, and the same lady came in with the rod in her hand, struck one of the fish, spoke to it as before, and all four gave her the same answer.

After the four fish had answered the young lady, she overturned the frying-pan with her rod, and retired into the wall. The grand vizier, being witness to what had passed: "This is too wonderful and extraordinary," said he, "to be concealed from the sultan; I will inform him of this prodigy."

The sultan, being much surprised, sent immediately for the fisherman, and said to him, "Friend, cannot you bring me four more such fish?" The fisherman replied, "If your majesty will be pleased to allow me three days, I will do it." Having obtained his time, he went to the lake immediately, and at the first throwing in of his net, he caught four fish, and brought them directly to the sultan; who was so much the more rejoiced, as he did not expect them so soon, and ordered him four hundred pieces of gold. As soon as the sultan had the fish, he ordered them to be carried into his closet, with all that was necessary for frying them; and having shut himself up with the vizier, the minister gutted them, put them into the pan, and when they were fried on one side, turned them upon the other; then the wall of the closet opened, but instead of the young lady, there came out a black, in the habit of a slave, and of a gigantic stature, with a great green staff in his hand. He advanced towards the pan, and touching one of the fish with his staff, said with a terrible voice, "Fish, are you in your duty?" At these words, the fish raised up their heads, and answered, "Yes, yes; we are: if you reckon, we reckon; if you pay your debts, we pay ours; if you fly, we overcome, and are content."

The fish had no sooner finished these words, than the black threw the pan into the middle of the closet, and reduced the fish to a coal. Having done this, he retired fiercely, and entering again into the aperture, it closed, and the wall appeared just as it did before.

"After what I have seen," said the sultan to the vizier, "it will not be possible for me to be easy: these fish, without doubt, signify something extraordinary." He sent for the fisherman, and when he came, said to him, "Fisherman, the fish you have brought us, make me very uneasy; where did you catch them?" "Sir," answered he, "I fished for them in a lake situated betwixt four hills, beyond the mountain that we see from hence." "Knowst thou not that lake?" said the sultan to the vizier. "No," replied the vizier. "I never so much as heard of it, although I have for sixty years hunted beyond that mountain." The sultan asked the fisherman, how far the lake might be from the palace? The fisherman answered, it was not above three hours journey; upon this assurance, the sultan commanded all his court to take horse, and the fisherman served them for a guide. They all ascended the mountain, and at the foot of it they saw, to their great surprise, a vast plain, that nobody had observed till then, and at last they came to the lake, which they found to be situated betwixt four hills as the fisherman had described. The water was so transparent, that they observed all the fish to be like those which the fisherman had brought to the palace.

The sultan stood upon the bank of the lake, and after beholding the fish with admiration, demanded of his courtiers, if it were possible they had never seen this lake, which was within so short a distance of the town. They all answered, that they had never so much as heard of it.

"Since you all agree that you never heard of it, and as I am no less astonished than you are, at this novelty, I am resolved not to return to my palace till I learn how this lake came here, and why all the fish in it are of four colours." Having spoken thus, he ordered his court to encamp; and immediately his pavilion and the tents of his household were planted upon the banks of the lake.

When night came, the sultan retired under his pavilion, and spoke to the grand vizier thus: "Vizier, my mind is uneasy: this lake transported hither; the black that appeared to us in my closet, and the fish that we heard speak; all these things so much excite my curiosity, that I cannot resist my impatient desire to have it satisfied. To this end, I am resolved to withdraw alone from the camp, and I order you to keep my absence secret: stay in my pavilion, and to-morrow morning, when the emirs and courtiers come to attend my levee, send them away, and tell them, that I am somewhat indisposed, and wish to be alone; and the following days tell them the same thing, till I return."

The grand vizier endeavoured to divert the sultan from this design; he represented to him the danger to which he might be exposed, and that all his labour might perhaps be in vain: but it was to no purpose; the sultan was resolved. He put on a suit fit for walking, and took his cimeter; and as soon as he found that all was quiet in the camp, went out alone, and passed over one of the hills without much difficulty; he found the descent still more easy, and when he came to the plain, walked on till the sun arose, and then he saw before him, at a considerable distance, a vast building. He rejoiced at the sight, in hopes of receiving there the information he sought. When he drew near, he found it was a magnificent palace, or rather a strong castle, of black polished marble, and covered with fine steel, as smooth as glass. Being highly pleased that he had so speedily met with something worthy his curiosity, he stopped before the front of the castle, and considered it with attention.

He then advanced towards the gate, which had two leaves, one of them open; though he might immediately have entered, yet he thought it best to knock. This he did at first softly, and waited for some time; but seeing no one, and supposing he had not been heard, he knocked harder the second time, and after that he knocked again and again, but no one yet appearing, he was exceedingly surprised; for he could not think that a castle in such repair was without inhabitants. "If there be no one in it," said he to himself, "I have nothing to fear; and if it be inhabited, I have wherewith to defend myself."

At last he entered, and when he came within the porch, he cried, "Is there no one here to receive a stranger, who comes in for some refreshment as he passes by?" He repeated the same words two or three times; but though he spoke very loud, he was not answered. The silence increased his astonishment: he came into a spacious court, and looked on every side for inhabitants, but discovered none.

The sultan entered the grand halls, which were hung with silk tapestry, the alcoves and sofas were covered with stuffs of Mecca, and the porches with the richest stuffs of India, mixed with gold and silver. He came afterwards into a superb saloon, in the middle of which was a fountain, with a lion of massy gold at each angle: water issued from the mouths of the four lions; and as it fell, formed diamonds and pearls, resembling a jet d'eau, which springing from the middle of the fountain, rose nearly to the top of a cupola painted in Arabesque.

The castle, on three sides, was encompassed by a garden, with parterres of flowers, shrubbery, and whatever could concur to embellish it; and to complete the beauty of the place, an infinite number of birds filled the air with their harmonious notes, and always remained there, nets being spread over the garden, and fastened to the palace to confine them. The sultan walked from apartment to apartment, where he found every thing rich and magnificent. Being tired with walking, he sat down in a verandah or arcade closet, which had a view over the garden, reflecting what he had already seen, and then beheld: when suddenly he heard the voice of one complaining, in lamentable tones. He listened with attention, and heard distinctly these words: "O fortune! thou who wouldst not suffer me longer to enjoy a happy lot, forbear to persecute me, and by a speedy death put an end to my sorrows. Alas! is it possible that I am still alive, after so many torments as I have suffered!"

The sultan rose up, advanced toward the place whence he heard the voice; and coming to the door of a great hall, opened it, and saw a handsome young man, richly habited, seated upon a throne raised a little above the ground. Melancholy was painted on his countenance. The sultan drew near, and saluted him; the young man returned his salutation by an inclination of his head, not being able to rise, at the same time saying, "My lord, I should rise to receive you; but am hindered by sad necessity, and therefore hope you will not be offended." "My lord," replied the sultan, "I am much obliged to you for having so good an opinion of me: as to the reason of your not rising, whatever your apology be, I heartily accept it. Being drawn hither by your complaints, and afflicted by your grief, I come to offer you my help; would to God that it lay in my power to ease you of your trouble! I would do my utmost to effect it. I flatter myself that you will relate to me the history of your misfortunes; but inform me first of the meaning of the lake near the palace, where the fish are of four colours? whose this castle is? how you came to be here? and why you are alone?"

Instead of answering these questions, the young man began to weep bitterly. "How inconstant is fortune!" cried he; "she takes pleasure to pull down those she had raised. Where are they who enjoy quietly the happiness which they hold of her, and whose day is always clear and serene?"

The sultan, moved with compassion to see him in such a condition, prayed him to relate the cause of his excessive grief. "Alas! my lord," replied the young man, "how is it possible but I should grieve, and my eyes be inexhaustible fountains of tears?" At these words, lifting up his robe, he shewed the sultan that he was a man only from the head to the girdle, and that the other half of his body was black marble.

The sultan was much surprised, when he saw the deplorable condition of the young man. "That which you shew me," said he, "while it fills me with horror, excites my curiosity, so that I am impatient to hear your history, which, no doubt, must be extraordinary, and I am persuaded that the lake and the fish make some part of it; therefore I conjure you to relate it. You will find some comfort in so doing, since it is certain, that the unfortunate find relief in making known their distress." "I will not refuse your request," replied the young man, "though I cannot comply without renewing my grief. But I give you notice before hand, to prepare your ears, your mind, and even your eyes, for things which surpass all that the imagination can conceive."






The History of the Young King
of the Black Isles


You must know that my father, named Mahmoud, was king of this country. This is the kingdom of the Black Isles, which takes its name from the four small neighbouring mountains; for these mountains were formerly isles: the capital where the king my father resided was situated on the spot now occupied by the lake you have seen. The sequel of my history will inform you of those changes.

The king my father died when he was seventy years of age; I had no sooner succeeded him, than I married, and the lady I chose to share the royal dignity with me, was my cousin. I had so much reason to be satisfied with her affection, and, on my part, loved her with so much tenderness, that nothing could surpass the harmony and pleasure of our union. This lasted five years, at the end of which time, I perceived the queen, my cousin, ceased to delight in my attentions.

One day, after dinner, while she was at the bath, I found myself inclined to repose and lay down upon a sofa. Two of her ladies, who were then in my chamber, came and sat down, one at my head, and the other at my feet, with fans in their hands to moderate the heat, and to prevent the flies from disturbing me. They thought I was asleep, and spoke in whispers; but as I only closed my eyes, I heard all their conversation.

One of them said to the other, "Is not the queen wrong, not to love so amiable a prince?" "Certainly," replied the other; "I do not understand the reason, neither can I conceive why she goes out every night, and leaves him alone!" "Is it possible that he does not perceive it?" "Alas!" said the first, "how should he? she mixes every evening in his liquor, the juice of a certain herb, which makes him sleep so sound all night, that she has time to go where she pleases, and as day begins to appear, she comes and lies down by him again, and wakes him by the smell of something she puts under his nostrils."

You may guess, my lord, how much I was surprised at this conversation, and with what sentiments it inspired me; yet, whatever emotion it excited, I had sufficient self-command to dissemble, and feigned to awake without having heard a word.

The queen returned from the bath, we supped together and she presented me with a cup full of such water as I was accustomed to drink; but instead of putting it to my mouth, I went to a window that was open, and threw out the water so quickly, that she did not perceive it, and returned.

We went to bed together, and soon after, believing that I was asleep, she got up with so little precaution, that she said loud enough for me to hear her distinctly, "Sleep on, and may you never wake again!" She dressed herself, and went out of the chamber.

As soon as the queen my wife was gone, I dressed myself in haste, took my cimeter, and followed her so quickly, that I soon heard the sound of her feet before me, and then walked softly after her, for fear of being heard. She passed through several gates, which opened upon her pronouncing some magical words, and the last she opened was that of the garden, which she entered. I stopt at this gate, that she might not perceive me, as she passed along a parterre; then looking after her as far as the darkness of the night permitted, I saw her enter a little wood, whose walks were guarded by thick palisadoes. I went thither by another way, and concealing myself behind the palisadoes of a long walk, I saw her walking there with a man.

I did not fail to lend the most attentive ear to their discourse, and heard her address herself thus to her gallant: "I do not deserve to be reproached by you for want of diligence. You well know the reason; but if all the proofs of affection I have already given you be not sufficient to convince you of my sincerity, I am ready to give you others more decisive: you need but command me, you know my power; I will, if you desire it, before sun-rise convert this great city, and this superb palace, into frightful ruins, inhabited only by wolves, owls, and ravens. If you would have me transport all the stones of those walls so solidly built, beyond mount Caucasus, or the bounds of the habitable world, speak but the word, and all shall be changed."

As the queen finished these words she and her lover came to the end of the walk, turned to enter another, and passed before me. I had already drawn my cimeter, and her lover being next me, I struck him on the neck, and brought him to the ground. I concluded I had killed him, and therefore retired speedily without making myself known to the queen, whom I chose to spare, because she was my kinswoman.

The wound I had given her lover was mortal; but by her enchantments she preserved him in an existence in which he could not be said to be either dead or alive. As I crossed the garden to return to the palace, I heard the queen loudly lamenting, and judging by her cries how much she was grieved, I was pleased that I had spared her life.

As soon as I had reached my apartment, I went to bed, and being satisfied with having punished the villain who had injured me, fell asleep; and when I awoke next morning, found the queen lying. I cannot tell you whether she slept or not; but I arose, went to my closet, and dressed myself. I afterwards held my council. At my return, the queen, clad in mourning, her hair dishevelled, and part of it torn off, presented herself before me, and said; "I come to beg your majesty not to be surprised to see me in this condition. My heavy affliction is occasioned by intelligence of three distressing events which I have just received." "Alas! what are they, madam?" said I. "The death of the queen my dear mother," she replied, "that of the king my father killed in battle, and of one of my brothers, who has fallen down a precipice."

I was not displeased that she used this pretext to conceal the true cause of her grief, and I concluded she had not suspected me of being the author of her lover's death. "Madam," said I, "so far from blaming, I assure you I heartily commiserate your sorrow. I should feel surprise if you were insensible to such heavy calamities: weep on; your tears are so many proofs of your tenderness; but I hope that time and reflection will moderate your grief."

She retired into her apartment, where, giving herself wholly up to sorrow, she spent a whole year in mourning and lamentation. At the end of that period, she begged permission to erect a burying place for herself, within the bounds of the palace, where she would continue, she told me, to the end of her days: I consented, and she built a stately edifice, crowned by a cupola, which may be seen from hence, and called it the Palace of Tears. When it was finished, she caused her lover to be conveyed thither, from the place to which she had caused him to be carried the night I wounded him: she had hitherto prevented his dying, by potions which she had administered to him; and she continued to convey them to him herself every day after he came to the Palace of Tears.

Yet, with all her enchantments, she could not cure him; he was not only unable to walk or support himself, but had also lost the use of his speech, and exhibited no sign of life except in his looks. Though the queen had no other consolation but to see him, and to say to him all that her senseless passion could inspire, yet every day she made him two long visits. I was well apprised of this, but pretended ignorance.

One day my curiosity induced me to go to the Palace of Tears, to observe how the princess employed herself, and from a place where she could not see me, I heard her thus address her lover: "I am afflicted to the highest degree to behold you in this condition; I am as sensible as yourself of the tormenting pain you endure; but, dear soul, I am continually speaking to you, and you do not answer me: how long will you remain silent? Speak only one word: alas! the sweetest moments of my life are these I spend here in partaking of your grief. I cannot live at a distance from you, and would prefer the pleasure of having you always before me, to the empire of the universe."

At these words, which were several times interrupted by her sighs and sobs, I lost all patience: and discovering myself, came up to her, and said, "Madam, you have wept enough, it is time to give over this sorrow, which dishonours both; you have too much forgotten what you owe to me and to yourself." "Sire," said she, "if you have any kindness or compassion for me left, I beseech you to put no restraint upon me; allow me to indulge my grief, which it is impossible for time to assuage."

When I perceived that my remonstrance, instead of restoring her to a sense of duty, served only to increase her anguish, I gave over and retired. She continued every day to visit her lover, and for two whole years abandoned herself to grief and despair.

I went a second time to the Palace of Tears, while she was there. I concealed myself again, and heard her thus address her lover: "It is now three years since you spoke one word to me; you answer not the proofs I give you of my love by my sighs and lamentations. Is it from insensibility, or contempt? O tomb! hast thou destroyed that excess of affection which he bare me? Hast thou closed those eyes that evinced so much love, and were all my delight? No, no, this I cannot think. Tell me rather, by what miracle thou becamest the depositary of the rarest treasure the world ever contained."

I must confess, my lord, I was enraged at these expressions; for, in truth, this beloved, this adored mortal, was by no means what you would imagine him to have been. He was a black Indian, one of the original natives of this country. I was so enraged at the language addressed to him, that I discovered myself, and apostrophising the tomb in my turn; I cried, "O tomb! why dost not thou swallow up that monster so revolting to human nature, or rather why dost not thou swallow up both the lover and his mistress?"

I had scarcely uttered these words, when the queen, who sat by the black, rose up like a fury. "Miscreant!" said she "thou art the cause of my grief; do not think I am ignorant of this, I have dissembled too long. It was thy barbarous hand that brought the objets of my fondness into this lamentable condition; and thou hast the cruelty to come and insult a despairing lover." "Yes," said I, in a rage, "it was I that chastised that monster, according to his desert; I ought to have treated thee in the same manner; I now repent that I did not; thou hast too long abused my goodness." As I spoke these words, I drew out my cimeter, and lifted up my hand to punish her; but regarding me stedfastly, she said with a jeering smile, "Moderate thy anger." At the same time, she pronounced words I did not understand; and afterwards added, "By virtue of my enchantments, I command thee to become half marble and half man." Immediately, my lord, I became what you see, a dead man among the living, and a living man among the dead.

After the cruel sorceress, unworthy of the name of queen, had metamorphosed me thus, and brought me into this hall, by another enchantment she destroyed my capital, which was very flourishing and populous; she annihilated the houses, the public places and markets, and reduced the site of the whole to the lake and desert plain you have seen; the fishes of four colours in the lake are the four kinds of inhabitants of different religions, which the city contained. The white are the Moosulmauns; the red, the Persians, who worship fire; the blue, the Christians and the yellow, the Jews. The four little hills were the four islands that gave name to this kingdom. I learned all this from the enchantress, who, to add to my affliction, related to me these effects of her rage. But this is not all; her revenge not being satisfied with the destruction of my dominions, and the metamorphosis of my person, she comes every day, and gives me over my naked shoulders a hundred lashes with a whip until I am covered with blood. When she has finished this part of my punishment, she throws over me a coarse stuff of goat's hair, and over that this robe of brocade, not to honour, but to mock me.

When he came to this part of the narrative, the young king could not restrain his tears; and the sultan was himself so affected by the relation, that he could not find utterance for any words of consolation. Shortly after, the young king, lifting up his eyes to heaven, exclaimed, "Mighty creator of all things, I submit myself to thy judgments, and to the decrees of thy providence: I endure my calamities with patience, since it is thy will things should be as they are; but I hope thy infinite goodness will ultimately reward me."

The sultan, greatly moved by the recital of this affecting story, and anxious to avenge the sufferings of the unfortunate prince, said to him, "Inform me whither this perfidious sorceress retires, and where may be found her vile paramour, who is entombed before his death." "My lord," replied the prince, "her lover, as I have already told you, is lodged in the Palace of Tears, in a superb tomb constructed in the form of a dome: this palace joins the castle on the side in which the gate is placed. As to the queen, I cannot tell you precisely whither she retires, but every day at sun-rise she goes to visit her paramour, after having executed her bloody vengeance upon me; and you see I am not in a condition to defend myself. She carries to him the potion with which she had hitherto prevented his dying, and always complains of his never having spoken to her since he was wounded."

"Prince," said the sultan, "your condition can never be sufficiently deplored: no one can be more sensibly affected by your misfortunes than I am. Never did any thing so extraordinary befall any man, and those who write your history will have the advantage of relating what surpasses all that has hitherto been recorded. One thing only is wanting; the revenge to which you are entitled, and I will omit nothing in my power to effect it."

In his subsequent conversation with the young prince, the sultan told him who he was, and for what purpose he had entered the castle; and afterwards informed him of a mode of revenge which he had devised. They agreed upon the measures they were to take for accomplishing their design, but deferred the execution of it till the following day. In the mean time, the night being far spent, the sultan took some rest; but the young prince passed the night as usual, without sleep, having never slept since he was enchanted, still indulging some hopes of being speedily delivered from his misery.

Next morning the sultan arose with the dawn, and prepared to execute his design, hiding his upper garment, which might encumber him; he then proceeded to the Palace of Tears. He found it lighted up with an infinite number of flambeaux of white wax, and perfumed by a delicious scent issuing from several censers of fine gold of admirable workmanship. As soon as he perceived the bed where the black lay, he drew his cimeter, and without resistance deprived him of his wretched life, dragged his corpse into the court of the castle, and threw it into a well. After this, he went and lay down in the black's bed, placed his cimeter under the covering, and waited to complete his design.

The queen arrived shortly after. She first went into the chamber of her husband, the king of the Black Islands, stripped him, and with unexampled barbarity gave him a hundred stripes. The unfortunate prince filled the palace with his lamentations, and conjured her in the most affecting tone to take pity on him; but the cruel wretch ceased not till she had given the usual number of blows. "You had no compassion on my lover," said she, "and you are to expect none from me."

After the enchantress had given the king, her husband, a hundred blows with the whip, she put on again his covering of goat's hair, and his brocade gown over all; she went afterwards to the Palace of Tears, and as she entered renewed her tears and lamentations: then approaching the bed, where she thought her paramour lay, "What cruelty," cried she, "was it to disturb the satisfaction so tender and passionate a lover as I am? O cruel prince, who reproachest me that I am inhuman, when I make thee feel the effects of my resentment! Does not thy barbarity surpass my vengeance? Traitor! in attempting the life of the object which I adore, hast thou not robbed me of mine? Alas!" said she, addressing herself to the sultan, conceiving him to be the black "My sun, my life, will you always be silent! Are you resolved to let me die, without affording me the comfort of hearing again from your own lips that you love me? My soul, speak one word to me at least, I conjure you."

The sultan, as if he had awaked out of a deep sleep, and counterfeiting the pronunciation of the blacks, answered the queen with a grave tone, "There is no strength or power but in God alone, who is almighty." At these words the enchantress, who did not expect them, uttered a loud exclamation of joy. "My dear lord," cried she, "do not I deceive myself; is it certain that I hear you, and that you speak to me?" "Unhappy woman," said the sultan, "art thou worthy that I should answer thee?" "Alas!" replied the queen, "why do you reproach me thus?" "The cries," returned the sultan, "the groans and tears of thy husband, whom thou treatest every day with so much indignity and barbarity, prevent my sleeping night or day. Hadst thou disenchanted him, I should long since have been cured, and have recovered the use of my speech. This is the cause of my silence, of which you complain." "Well," said the enchantress, "to pacify you, I am ready to execute your commands; would you have me restore him?" "Yes," replied the sultan; "make haste to set him at liberty, that I be no longer disturbed by his lamentations."

The enchantress went immediately out of the Palace of Tears; she took a cup of water, and pronounced some words over it, which caused it to boil, as if it had been on the fire. She afterwards proceeded to the young king her husband, and threw the water upon him, saying, "If the creator of all things did form thee as thou art at present; or if he be angry with thee, do not change; but if thou art in that condition merely by virtue of my enchantments, resume thy natural shape, and become what thou west before." She had scarcely spoken these words, when the prince, finding himself restored to his former condition, rose up and returned thanks to God. The enchantress then said to him, "Get thee from this castle, and never return on pain of death." The young king, yielding to necessity, went away from the enchantress, without replying a word; and retired to a remote place, where he patiently awaited the event of the design which the sultan had so happily begun. Meanwhile, the enchantress returned to the Palace of Tears, and supposing that she still spoke to the black, said, "Dear love, I have done what you required; nothing now prevents your rising and giving me the satisfaction of which I have so long been deprived."

The sultan, still counterfeiting the pronunciation of the blacks, said, "What you have now done is by no means sufficient for my cure; you have only removed a part of the evil; you must cut it up by the root." "My lovely black," resumed the queen, "what do you mean by the root?" "Wretched woman," replied the sultan, "understand you not that I allude to the town, and its inhabitants, and the four islands, destroyed by thy enchantments? The fish every night at midnight raise their heads out of the lake, and cry for vengeance against thee and me. This is the true cause of the delay of my cure. Go speedily, restore things to their former state, and at thy return I will give thee my hand, and thou shalt help me to arise."

The enchantress, inspired with hope from these words, cried out in a transport of joy, "My heart, my soul, you shall soon be restored to your health, for I will immediately do as you command me." Accordingly she went that instant, and when she came to the brink of the lake, she took a little water in her hand, and sprinkling it, had no sooner pronounced some words over the fish and the lake, than the city was immediately restored. The fish became men, women, and children; Mahummedans, Christians, Persians, or Jews; freemen or slaves, as they were before: every one having recovered his natural form. The houses and shops were immediately filled with their inhabitants, who found all things as they were before the enchantment. The sultan's numerous retinue, who found themselves encamped in the largest square, were astonished to see themselves in an instant in the middle of a large, handsome, well-peopled city.

To return to the enchantress: As soon as she had effected this wonderful change, she returned with all expedition to the Palace of Tears, that she might receive her reward. "My dear lord," cried she, as she entered, "I come to rejoice with you in the return of your health: I have done all that you required of me, then pray rise, and give me your hand." "Come near," said the sultan, still counterfeiting the pronunciation of the blacks. She did so. "You are not near enough," he continued, "approach nearer." She obeyed. He then rose up, and seizing her by the arm so suddenly, that she had not time to discover him, he with a blow of his cimeter cut her in two, so that one half fell one way and the other another. This done he left the body on the spot, and going out of the Palace of Tears, went to seek the young king of the Black Isles, who waited for him with great impatience. When he found him, "Prince," said he, embracing him, "rejoice; you have now nothing to fear; your cruel enemy is dead."

The young prince returned thanks to the sultan in a manner that sufficiently the sincerity of his gratitude, and in return wished him long life and happiness. "You may henceforward," said the sultan, "dwell peaceably in your capital, unless you will accompany me to mine, which is near: you shall there be welcome, and have as much honour and respect shown you as if you were in your own kingdom." "Potent monarch, to whom I am so much indebted," replied the king, "you think then that you are near your capital?" "Yes," said the sultan, "I know it is not above four or five hours' journey." "It will take you a whole year to return," said the prince "I do indeed believe that you came hither from your capital in the time you mention, because mine was enchanted; but since the enchantment is taken off, things are changed: however, this shall not prevent my following you, were it to the utmost corners of the earth. You are my deliverer, and that I may give you proofs of my acknowledging this during my whole life, I am willing to accompany you, and to leave my kingdom without regret."

The sultan was extremely surprised to understand that he was so far from his dominions, and could not imagine how it could be. But the young king of the Black Islands convinced him beyond a possibility of doubt. Then the sultan replied, "It is no matter; the trouble of returning to my own country is sufficiently recompensed by the satisfaction of having obliged you, and by acquiring you for a son; for since you will do me the honour to accompany me, as I have no child, I look upon you as such, and from this moment appoint you my heir and successor."

The conversation between the sultan and the king of the Black Islands concluded with most affectionate embraces, after which the young prince employed himself in making preparations for his journey, which were finished in three weeks, to the great regret of his court and subjects, who agreed to receive at his hands one of his nearest kindred for their monarch.

At length, the sultan and the young prince began their journey, with a hundred camels laden with inestimable riches from the treasury of the young king, followed by fifty handsome gentlemen on horseback, perfectly well mounted and dressed They had a pleasant journey; and when the sultan, who had sent couriers to give advice of his delay, and of the adventure which had occasioned it, approached his capital, the principal officers came to receive him, and to assure him that his long absence had occasioned no alteration in his empire. The inhabitants also came out in great crowds, received him with acclamations, and made public rejoicings for several days.

The day after his arrival the sultan gave all his courtiers a very ample account of the circumstances, which, contrary to his expectation, had detained him so long. He acquainted them with his having adopted the king of the Four Black Islands, who was willing to leave a great kingdom, to accompany and live with him; and, in reward for their loyalty, he made each of them presents according to their rank.

As for the fisherman, as he was the first cause of the deliverance of the young prince, the sultan gave him a plentiful fortune, which made him and his family happy the rest of their days.






Story of the Three Calenders, Sons of
Sultans; and of the Five Ladies of Bagdad


In the reign of Caliph Haroon al Rusheed, there was at Bagdad, a porter, who, notwithstanding his mean and laborious business, was a fellow of wit and good humour. One morning as he was at the place where he usually plyed, with a great basket, waiting for employment, a handsome young lady, covered with a great muslin veil, accosted him, and said with a pleasant air, "Hark you, porter, take your basket and follow me." The porter, charmed with these words, pronounced in so agreeable a manner, took his basket immediately, set it on his head, and followed the lady, exclaiming, "O happy day, O day of good luck!"

In a short time the lady stopped before a gate that was shut, and knocked: a Christian, with a venerable long white beard, opened it; and she put money into his hand, without speaking; but the Christian, who knew what she wanted, went in, and in a little time, brought a large jug of excellent wine. "Take this jug," said the lady to the porter, "and put it in your basket." This being done, she commanded him to follow her; and as she proceeded, the porter continued his exclamation, "O happy day! This is a day of agreeable surprise and joy."

The lady stopped at a fruit-shop, where she bought several sorts of apples, apricots, peaches, quinces, lemons, citrons, oranges; myrtles, sweet basil, lilies, jessamin, and some other flowers and fragrant plants; she bid the porter put all into his basket, and follow her. As she went by a butcher's stall, she made him weigh her twenty five pounds of his best meat, which she ordered the porter to put also into his basket. At another shop, she took capers, tarragon, cucumbers, sassafras, and other herbs, preserved in vinegar: at another, she bought pistachios, walnuts, filberts, almonds, kernels of pine-apples, and such other fruits; and at another, all sorts of confectionery. When the porter had put all these things into his basket, and perceived that it grew full, "My good lady," said he, "you ought to have given me notice that you had so much provision to carry, and then I would have brought a horse, or rather a camel, for the purpose; for if you buy ever so little more, I shall not be able to bear it." The lady laughed at the fellow's pleasant humour, and ordered him still to follow her.

She then went to a druggist, where she furnished herself with all manner of sweet-scented waters, cloves, musk, pepper, ginger, and a great piece of ambergris, and several other Indian spices; this quite filled the porter's basket, and she ordered him to follow her. They walked till they came to a magnificent house, whose front was adorned with fine columns, and had a gate of ivory. There they stopped, and the lady knocked softly.

While the young lady and the porter waited for the opening of the gate, the porter made a thousand reflections. He wondered that such a fine lady should come abroad to buy provisions; he concluded she could not be a slave, her air was too noble, and therefore he thought she must needs be a woman of quality. Just as he was about to ask her some questions upon this head, another lady came to open the gate, and appeared to him so beautiful, that he was perfectly surprised, or rather so much struck with her charms, that he had nearly suffered his basket to fall, for he had never seen any beauty that equalled her.

The lady who brought the porter with her, perceiving his disorder, and knowing the cause, was greatly diverted, and took so much pleasure in watching his looks, that she forgot the gate was opened. "Pray, Sister," said the beautiful portress, "come in, what do you stay for? Do not you see this poor man so heavy laden, that he is scarcely able to stand."

When she entered with the porter, the lady who had opened the gate shut it, and all three, after having passed through a splendid vestibule, entered a spacious court, encompassed with an open gallery, which had a communication with several apartments of extraordinary magnificence. At the farther end of the court there was a platform, richly furnished, with a throne of amber in the middle, supported by four columns of ebony, enriched with diamonds and pearls of an extraordinary size, and covered with red satin embroidered with Indian gold of admirable workmanship. In the middle of the court there was a fountain, faced with white marble, and full of clear water, which was copiously supplied out of the mouth of a lion of brass.

The porter, though heavy laden, could not but admire the magnificence of this house, and the excellent order in which every thing was placed; but what particularly captivated his attention, was a third lady, who seemed to be more beautiful than the second, and was seated upon the throne just mentioned; she descended as soon as she saw the two others, and advanced towards them: he judged by the respect which the other ladies showed her, that she was the chief, in which he was not mistaken. This lady was called Zobeide, she who opened the gate Safie, and she who went to buy the provisions was named Amene.

Zobeide said to the two ladies, when she came to them, "Sisters, do not you see that this honest man is ready to sink under his burden, why do not you ease him of it?" Then Amene and Safie took the basket, the one before and the other behind; Zobeide also assisted, and all three together set it on the ground; then emptied it; and when they had done, the beautiful Amene took out money, and paid the porter liberally.

The porter was well satisfied with the money he had received; but when he ought to have departed, he could not summon sufficient resolution for the purpose. He was chained to the spot by the pleasure of beholding three such beauties, who appeared to him equally charming; for Amene having now laid aside her veil, proved to be as handsome as either of the others. What surprised him most was, that he saw no man about the house, yet most of the provisions he had brought in, as the dry fruits, and the several sorts of cakes and confections, were adapted chiefly for those who could drink and make merry.

Zobeide thought at first, that the porter staid only to take breath, but perceiving that he remained too long, "What do you wait for," said she, "are you not sufficiently paid?" And turning to Amene, she continued, "Sister, give him something more, that he may depart satisfied." "Madam," replied the porter, "it is not that which detains me, I am already more than paid for my services; I am sensible that I act rudely in staying longer than I ought, but I hope you will the goodness to pardon me, when I tell you, that I am astonished not to see a man with three ladies of such extraordinary beauty: and you know that a company of women without men is as melancholy as a company of men without women." To this he added several other pleasant things, to prove what he said, and did not forget the Bagdad proverb, "That the table is not completely furnished, except there be four in company:" and so concluded, that since they were but three, they wanted another.

The ladies fell a laughing at the porter's reasoning; after which Zobeide gravely addressed him, "Friend, you presume rather too much; and though you do not deserve that I should enter into any explanation with you, I have no objection to inform you that we are three sisters, who transact our affairs with so much secrecy that no one knows any thing of them. We have but too much reason to be cautious of acquainting indiscreet persons with our counsel; and a good author that we have read, says, 'Keep thy own secret, and do not reveal it to any one. He that makes his secret known it no longer its master. If thy own breast cannot keep thy counsel, how canst thou expect the breast of another to be more faithful?'"

"My ladies," replied the porter, "by your very air, I judged at first that you were persons of extraordinary merit, and I conceive that I am not mistaken. Though fortune has not given me wealth enough to raise me above my mean profession, yet I have not omitted to cultivate my mind as much as I could, by reading books of science and history; and allow me, I beseech you, to say, that I have also read in another author a maxim which I have always happily followed: 'We conceal our secret from such persons only as are known to all the world to want discretion, and would abuse our confidence; but we hesitate not to discover it to the prudent, because we know that with them it is safe.' A secret in my keeping is as secure as if it were locked up in a cabinet, the key of which is lost, and the door sealed up."

Zobeide perceiving that the porter was not deficient in wit, but thinking he wished to share in their festivity, answered him, smiling, "You know that we have been making preparations to regale ourselves, and that, as you have seen, at a considerable expense; it is not just that you should now partake of the entertainment without contributing to the cost." The beautiful Safie seconded her sister, and said to the porter, "Friend, have you never heard the common saying, 'If you bring something with you, you shall carry something away, but if you bring nothing, you shall depart empty?'"

The porter, notwithstanding his rhetoric, must, in all probability, have retired in confusion, if Amene had not taken his part, and said to Zobeide and Safie, "My dear sisters, I conjure you to let him remain; I need not tell you that he will afford us some diversion, of this you perceive he is capable: I assure you, had it not been for his readiness, his alacrity, and courage to follow me, I could not have done so much business, in so short a time; besides, where I to repeat to you all the obliging expressions he addressed to me by the way, you would not feel surprised at my taking his part."

At these words of Amene, the porter was so transported with joy, that he fell on his knees, kissed the ground at her feet, and raising himself up, said, "Most beautiful lady, you began my good fortune to-day, and now you complete it by this generous conduct; I cannot adequately express my acknowledgments. As to the rest, ladies," said he, addressing himself to all the three sisters, "since you do me so great an honour, do not think that I will abuse it, or look upon myself as deserving of the distinction. No, I shall always look upon myself as one of your most humble slaves." When he had spoken these words he would have returned the money he had received, but Zobeide ordered him to keep it. "What we have once given," said she, "to reward those who have served us, we never take back. My friend, in consenting to your staying with us, I must forewarn you, that it is not the only condition we impose upon you that you keep inviolable the secret we may entrust to you, but we also require you to attend to the strictest rules of good manners." During this address, the charming Amene put off the apparel she went abroad with, and fastened her robe to her girdle that she might act with the greater freedom; she then brought in several sorts of meat, wine, and cups of gold. Soon after, the ladies took their places, and made the porter sit down by them, who was overjoyed to see himself seated with three such admirable beauties. After they had eaten a little, Amene took a cup, poured some wine into it, and drank first herself; she then filled the cup to her sisters, who drank in course as they sat; and at last she filled it the fourth time for the porter, who, as he received it, kissed Amene's hand; and before he drank, sung a song to this purpose. That as the wind bears with it the sweet scents of the perfumed places over which it passes, so the wine he was going to drink, coming from her fair hands, received a more exquisite flavour than it naturally possessed. The song pleased the ladies much, and each of them afterwards sung one in her turn. In short, they were all very pleasant during the repast, which lasted a considerable time, and nothing was wanting that could serve to render it agreeable. The day drawing to a close, Safie spoke in the name of the three ladies, and said to the porter, "Arise, it is time for you to depart." But the porter, not willing to leave good company, cried, "Alas! ladies, whither do you command me to go in my present condition? What with drinking and your society, I am quite beside myself. I shall never find the way home; allow me this night to recover myself, in any place you please, but go when I will, I shall leave the best part of myself behind."

Amene pleaded the second time for the porter, saying, "Sisters, he is right, I am pleased with the request, he having already diverted us so well; and, if you will take my advice, or if you love me as much as I think you do, let us keep him for the remainder of the night." "Sister," answered Zobeide, "we can refuse you nothing;" and then turning to the porter, said, "We are willing once more to grant your request, but upon this new condition, that, whatever we do in your presence relating either to ourselves or any thing else, you do not so much as open your mouth to ask the reason; for if you put any questions respecting what does not concern you, you may chance to hear what you will not like; beware therefore, and be not too inquisitive to pry into the motives of our actions.

"Madam," replied the porter, "I promise to abide by this condition, that you shall have no cause to complain, and far less to punish my indiscretion; my tongue shall be immovable on this occasion, and my eye like a looking-glass, which retains nothing of the objets that is set before it." "To shew you," said Zobeide with a serious countenance, "that what we demand of you is not a new thing among us, read what is written over our gate on the inside."

The porter went and read these words, written in large characters of gold: "He who speaks of things that do not concern him, shall hear things that will not please him." Returning again to the three sisters, "Ladies," said he, "I swear to you that you shall never hear me utter a word respecting what does not relate to me, or wherein you may have any concern."

These preliminaries being settled, Amene brought in supper, and after she had lighted up the room with tapers, made of aloe-wood and ambergris, which yield a most agreeable perfume, as well as a delicate light, she sat down with her sisters and the porter. They began again to eat and drink, to sing, and repeat verses. The ladies diverted themselves in intoxicating the porter, under pretext of making him drink their healths, and the repast was enlivened by reciprocal flashes of wit. When they were all in the best humour possible, they heard a knocking at the gate.

When the ladies heard the knocking, they all three got up to open the gate; but Safie was the nimblest; which her sisters perceiving, they resumed their seats. Safie returning, said, "Sisters, we have a very fine opportunity of passing a good part of the night pleasantly, and if you agree with me, you will not suffer it to go by. There are three calenders at our gate, at least they appear to be such by their habit; but what will surprise you is, they are all three blind of the right eye, and have their heads, beards, and eye-brows shaved. They say, they are but just come to Bagdad, where they never were before; it being night, and not knowing where to find a lodging, they happened by chance to knock at this gate, and pray us, for the love of heaven, to have compassion on them, and receive them into the house. They care not what place we put them in, provided they may be under shelter; they would be satisfied with a stable. They are young and handsome, and seem not to want spirit. But I cannot without laughing think of their amusing and uniform figure." Here Safie laughed so heartily, that the two sisters and the porter could not refrain from laughing also. "My dear sisters," said she, "you will permit them to come in; it is impossible but that with such persons as I have described them to be, we shall finish the day better than we began it; they will afford us diversion enough, and put us to no charge, because they desire shelter only for this night, and resolve to leave us as soon as day appears."

Zobeide and Amene made some difficulty to grant Safie's request, for reasons which she herself well knew. But being very desirous to obtain this favour, they could not refuse her; "Go then," said Zobeide, "and bring them in, but do not forget to acquaint them that they must not speak of any thing which does not concern them, and cause them to read what is written over the gate." Safie ran out with joy, and in a little time after returned with the three calenders.

At their entrance they made a profound obeisance to the ladies, who rose up to receive them, and told them courteously that they were welcome, that they were glad of the opportunity to oblige them, and to contribute towards relieving the fatigues of their journey, and at last invited them to sit down with them.

The magnificence of the place, and the civility they received, inspired the calenders with high respect for the ladies: but, before they sat down, having by chance cast their eyes upon the porter, whom they saw clad almost like those devotees with whom they have continual disputes respecting several points of discipline, because they never shave their beards nor eye-brows; one of them said, "I believe we have got here one of our revolted Arabian brethren."

The porter having his head warm with wine, took offence and with a fierce look, without stirring from his place, answered, "Sit you down, and do not meddle with what does not concern you: have you not read the inscription over the gate? Do not pretend to make people live after your fashion, but follow ours."

"Honest man," said the calender, "do not put yourself in a passion; we should be sorry to give you the least occasion; on the contrary, we are ready to receive your commands." Upon which, to put an end to the dispute, the ladies interposed, and pacified them. When the calenders were seated, the ladies served them with meat; and Safie, being highly pleased with them, did not let them want for wine.

After the calenders had eaten and drunk liberally, they signified to the ladies, that they wished to entertain them with a concert of music, if they had any instruments in the house, and would cause them to be brought: they willingly accepted the proposal, and fair Safie going to fetch them, returned again in a moment, and presented them with a flute of her own country fashion, another of the Persian, and a tabor. Each man took the instrument he liked, and all three together began to play a tune The ladies, who knew the words of a merry song that suited the air, joined the concert with their voices; but the words of the song made them now and then stop, and fall into excessive laughter.

In the height of this diversion, when the company were in the midst of their jollity, a knocking was heard at the gate; Safie left off singing, and went to see who it was. The caliph Haroon al Rusheed was frequently in the habit of walking abroad in disguise by night, that he might discover if every thing was quiet in the city, and see that no disorders were committed.

This night the caliph went out on his rambles, accompanied by Jaaffier his grand vizier, and Mesrour the chief of the eunuchs of his palace, all disguised in merchants' habits; and passing through the street where the three ladies dwelt, he heard the sound of music and fits of loud laughter; upon which he commanded the vizier, to knock, as he wished to enter to ascertain the reason. The vizier, in vain represented to him that the noise proceeded from some women who were merry-making, that without question their heads were warm with wine, and that it would not be proper he should expose himself to be affronted by them: besides, it was not yet an unlawful hour, and therefore he ought not to disturb them in their mirth. "No matter," said the caliph, "I command you to knock." Jaaffier complied; Safie opened the gate, and the vizier, perceiving by the light in her hand, that she was an incomparable beauty, with a very low salutation said, "We are three merchants of Mossoul, who arrived here about ten days ago with rich merchandise, which we have in a warehouse at a caravan-serai, where we have also our lodging. We happened this evening to be with a merchant of this city, who invited us to his house, where we had a splendid entertainment: and the wine having put us in good humour, he sent for a company of dancers. Night being come on, and the music and dancers making a great noise, the watch, passing by, caused the gate to be opened and some of the company to be taken up; but we had the good fortune to escape by getting over the wall. Being strangers, and somewhat overcome with wine, we are afraid of meeting that or some other watch, before we get home to our khan. Besides, before we can arrive there the gates will be shut, and will not be opened till morning: wherefore, hearing, as we passed by this way, the sound of music, we supposed you were not yet going to rest, and made bold to knock at your gate, to beg the favour of lodging ourselves in the house till morning; and if you think us worthy of your good company, we will endeavour to contribute to your diversion to the best of our power, to make some amends for the interruption we have given you; if not, we only beg the favour of staying this night in your vestibule."

Whilst Jaaffier was speaking, Safie had time to observe the vizier, and his two companions, who were said to be merchants like himself, and told them that she was not mistress of the house; but if they would have a minute's patience, she would return with an answer.

Safie made the business known to her sisters, who considered for some time what to do: but being naturally of a good disposition, and having granted the same favour to the three calenders, they at last consented to let them in.

The caliph, his grand vizier, and the chief of the eunuchs, being introduced by the fair Safie, very courteously saluted the ladies and the calenders. The ladies returned their salutations, supposing them to be merchants. Zobeide, as the chief, addressed them with a grave and serious countenance, which was natural to her, and said, "You are welcome. But before I proceed farther, I hope you will not take it ill if we desire one favour of you." "Alas!" said the vizier, "what favour? We can refuse nothing to such fair ladies." Zobeide continued, "It is that, while here, you would have eyes, but no tongues; that you question us not for the reason of any thing you may see, and speak not of any thing that does not concern you, lest you hear what will by no means please you."

"Madam," replied the vizier, "you shall be obeyed. We are not censorious, nor impertinently curious; it is enough for us to notice affairs that concern us, without meddling with what does not belong to us." Upon this they all sat down, and the company being united, they drank to the health of the new-comers.

While the vizier, entertained the ladies in conversation, the caliph could not forbear admiring their extraordinary beauty, graceful behaviour, pleasant humour, and ready wit; on the other hand, nothing struck him with more surprise than the calenders being all three blind of the right eye. He would gladly have learnt the cause of this singularity; but the conditions so lately imposed upon himself and his companions would not allow him to speak. These circumstances, with the richness of the furniture, the exact order of every thing, and the neatness of the house, made him think they were in some enchanted place.

Their conversation happening to turn upon diversions, and the different ways of making merry; the calenders arose, and danced after their fashion, which augmented the good opinion the ladies had conceived of them, and procured them the esteem of the caliph and his companions.

When the three calenders had finished their dance, Zobeide arose, and taking Amene by the hand, said, "Pray, sister, arise, for the company will not be offended if we use our freedom, and their presence need not hinder the performance of our customary exercise." Amene understanding her sister's meaning, rose from her seat, carried away the dishes, the flasks and cups, together with the instruments which the calenders had played upon.

Safie was not idle, but swept the room, put every thing again in its place, trimmed the lamps, and put fresh aloes and ambergris to them; this being done, she requested the three calenders to sit down upon the sofa at one side, and the caliph with his companions on the other: then addressing herself to the porter, she said, "Get up, and prepare yourself to assist us in what we are going to do; a man like you, who is one of the family, ought not to be idle." The porter, being somewhat recovered from his wine, arose immediately, and having tied the sleeve of his gown to his belt, answered, "Here am I, ready to obey your commands." "Very well," replied Safie, "stay till you are spoken to; and you shall not be idle long." A little time after, Amene came in with a chair, which she placed in the middle of the room; and then went towards a closet. Having opened the door, she beckoned to the porter, and said, "Come hither and assist me." He obeyed, and entered the closet, and returned immediately, leading two black bitches, each of them secured by a collar and chain; they appeared as if they had been severely whipped with rods, and he brought them into the middle of the apartment.

Zobeide, rising from her seat between the calenders and the caliph, moved very gravely towards the porter; "Come," said she, heaving a deep sigh, "let us perform our duty:" she then tucked up her sleeves above her elbows, and receiving a rod from Safie, "Porter," said she, "deliver one of the bitches to my sister Amene, and bring the other to me."

The porter did as he was commanded. Upon this the bitch that he held in his hand began to howl, and turning towards Zobeide, held her head up in a supplicating posture; but Zobeide, having no regard to the sad countenance of the animal, which would have moved pity, nor to her cries that resounded through the house, whipped her with the rod till she was out of breath; and having spent her strength, threw down the rod, and taking the chain from the porter, lifted up the bitch by her paws, and looking upon her with a sad and pitiful countenance, they both wept: after which, Zobeide, with her handkerchief, wiped the tears from the bitch's eye, kissed her, returned the chain to the porter, desired him to carry her to the place whence he took her, and bring her the other. The porter led back the whipped bitch to the closet, and receiving the other from Amene, presented her to Zobeide, who requested him to hold her as he had done the first, took up the rod, and treated her after the same manner; and when she had wept over her, she dried her eyes, kissed her, and returned her to the porter: but Amene spared him the trouble of leading her back into the closet, and did it herself. The three calenders, with the caliph and his companions, were extremely surprised at this exhibition, and could not comprehend why Zobeide, after having so furiously beaten those two bitches, that by the moosulman religion are reckoned unclean animals, should weep with them, wipe off their tears, and kiss them. They muttered among themselves, and the caliph, who, being more impatient than the rest, longed exceedingly to be informed of the cause of so strange a proceeding, could not forbear making signs to the vizier to ask the question: the vizier turned his head another way; but being pressed by repeated signs, he answered by others, that it was not yet time for the caliph to satisfy his curiosity.

Zobeide sat still some time in the middle of the room, where she had whipped the two bitches, to recover herself of her fatigue; and Safie called to her, "Dear sister, will you not be pleased to return to your place, that I may also aft my part?" "Yes, sister," replied Zobeide; and then went, and sat down upon the sofa, having the caliph, Jaaffier, and Mesrour, on her right hand, and the three calenders, with the porter, on her left.

After Zobeide had taken her seat, the whole company remained silent for some time; at last, Safie, sitting on a chair in the middle of the room, spoke to her sister Amene, "Dear sister, I conjure you to rise; you know what I would say." Amene rose, and went into another closet, near to that where the bitches were, and brought out a case covered with yellow satin, richly embroidered with gold and green silk. She went towards Safie and opened the case, from whence she took a lute, and presented it to her: and after some time spent in tuning it, Safie began to play, and accompanying the instrument with her voice, sung a song about the torments that absence creates to lovers, with so much sweetness, that it charmed the caliph and all the company. Having sung with much passion and action, she said to Amene, "Pray take it, sister, for my voice fails me; oblige the company with a tune, and a song in my stead." "Very willingly," replied Amene, who, taking the lute from her sister Safie, sat down in her place.

Amene played and sung almost as long upon the same subject, but with so much vehemence, and was so much affected, or rather transported, by the words of the song, that her strength failed her as she finished.

Zobeide, desirous of testifying her satisfaction, said, "Sister, you have done wonders, and we may easily see that you feel the grief you have expressed in so lively a manner." Amene was prevented from answering this civility, her heart being so sensibly touched at the moment, that she was obliged, for air, to uncover her neck and bosom, which did not appear so fair as might have been expected; but, on the contrary, were black and full of scars, which surprised and affected all the spectators. However, this gave her no ease, for she fell into a fit.

When Zobeide and Safie had run to help their sister, one of the calenders could not forbear saying, "We had better have slept in the streets than have come hither to behold such spectacles." The caliph, who heard this, came to him and the other calenders, and asked them what might be the meaning of all this? They answered, "We know no more than you do." "What," said the caliph, "are you not of the family? Can you not resolve us concerning the two black bitches and the lady that fainted away, who appears to have been so basely abused?" "Sir," said the calenders, "this is the first time of our being in the house; we came in but a few minutes before you."

This increased the caliph's astonishment: "Probably," said he, "this man who is with you may know something of the matter." One of the calenders beckoned the porter to come near; and asked him, whether he knew why those two black bitches had been whipped, and why Amene's bosom was so scarred. "Sir," said the porter, "I can swear by heaven, that if you know nothing of all this, I know as little as you do. It is true, I live in this city, but I never was in the house until now, and if you are surprised to see me I am as much so to find myself in your company; and that which increases my wonder is, that I have not seen one man with these ladies."

The caliph and his company, as well as the calenders, had supposed the porter to be one of the family, and hoped he would have been able to give them the information they sought; but finding he could not, and resolving to satisfy his curiosity, the caliph said to the rest, "We are seven men, and have but three women to deal with; let us try if we can oblige them to explain what we have seen, and if they refuse by fair means, we are in a condition to compel them by force."

The grand vizier Jaaffier objected to this, and shewed the caliph what might be the consequence. Without discovering the prince to the calenders, he addressed him as if he had been a merchant, and said, "Consider, I pray you, that our reputation is at stake. You know the conditions on which these ladies consented to receive us, and which we agreed to observe; what will they say of us if we break them? We shall be still more to blame, if any mischief befall us; for it is not likely that they would have extorted such a promise from us, without knowing themselves to be in a condition to punish us for its violation."

Here the vizier took the caliph aside, and whispered to him, "The night will soon be at an end, and if your majesty will only be pleased to have so much patience, I will to-morrow morning bring these ladies before your throne, where you may be informed of all that you desire to know." Though this advice was very judicious, the caliph rejected it, desired the vizier to hold his tongue, and said, he would not wait so long, but would immediately have his curiosity satisfied.

The next business was to settle who should carry the message. The caliph endeavoured to prevail with the calenders to speak first; but they excused themselves, and at last they agreed that the porter should be the man: as they were consulting how to word this fatal question, Zobeide returned from her sister Amene, who was recovered of her fit. She drew near them, and having overheard them speaking pretty loud, said, "Gentlemen, what is the subject of your conversation? What are you disputing about?"

The porter answered immediately, "Madam, these gentlemen beseech you to inform them why you wept over your two bitches after you had whipped them so severely, and how the bosom of that lady who lately fainted away came to be so full of scars? These are the questions I am ordered to ask in their name."

At these words, Zobeide put on a stern countenance, and turning towards the caliph and the rest of the company, "Is it true, gentlemen," said she, "that you desired him to ask me these questions?" All of them, except the vizier Jaaffier, who spoke not a word, answered, "Yes." On which she exclaimed, in a tone that sufficiently expressed her resentment, "Before we granted you the favour of receiving you into our house, and to prevent all occasion of trouble from you, because we are alone, we imposed the condition that you should not speak of any thing that did not concern you, lest you might hear that which would not please you; and yet after having received and entertained you, you make no scruple to break your promise. It is true that our easy temper has occasioned this, but that shall not excuse your rudeness." As she spoke these words, she gave three stamps with her foot, and clapping her hands as often together, cried, "Come quickly:" upon this, a door flew open, and seven black slaves rushed in; every one seized a man, threw him on the ground, and dragged him into the middle of the room, brandishing a cimeter over his head.

We may easily conceive the caliph then repented, but too late, that he had not taken the advice of his vizier, who, with Mesrour, the calenders and porter, was from his ill-timed curiosity on the point of forfeiting his life. Before they would strike the fatal blow, one of the slaves said to Zobeide, and her sisters: "High, mighty, and adorable mistresses, do you command us to strike off their heads?" "Stay," said Zobeide, "I must examine them first." The frightened porter interrupted her thus: "In the name of heaven, do not put me to death for another man's crime. I am innocent; they are to blame." "Alas!" said he, weeping, "how pleasantly did we pass our time! those blind calenders are the cause of this misfortune; there is no town in the world but suffers wherever these inauspicious fellows come. Madam, I beg you not to destroy the innocent with the guilty, and consider, that it is more glorious to pardon such a wretch as I am, who have no way to help myself, than to sacrifice me to your resentment."

Zobeide, notwithstanding her anger, could not but laugh within herself at the porter's lamentation: but without replying to him, she spoke a second time to the rest; "Answer me, and say who you are, otherwise you shall not live one moment longer: I cannot believe you to be honest men, or persons of authority or distinction in your own countries; for if you were, you would have been more modest and more respectful to us."

The caliph, naturally warm, was infinitely more indignant than the rest, to find his life depending upon the command of a woman: but he began to conceive some hopes, when he found she wished to know who they all were; for he imagined she would not put him to death, when informed of his quality; therefore he spoke with a low voice to the vizier, who was near him, to declare it speedily: but the vizier, more prudent, resolved to save his master's honour, and not let the world know the affront he had brought upon himself by his own imprudence; and therefore answered, "We have what we deserve." But if he had intended to speak as the caliph commanded him, Zobeide would not have allowed him time: for having turned to the calenders, and seeing them all blind with one eye, she asked if they were brothers. One of them answered, "No, madam, no otherwise than as we are calenders; that is to say, as we observe the same rules." "Were you born blind of the right eye," continued she? "No, madam," answered he; "I lost my eye in such a surprising adventure, that it would be instructive to every body were it in writing: after that misfortune I shaved my beard and eyebrows, and took the habit of a calender which I now wear."

Zobeide asked the other two calenders the same question, and had the same answers; but the last who spoke added, "Madam, to shew you that we are no common fellows, and that you may have some consideration for us, be pleased to know, that we are all three sons of sultans; and though we never met together till this evening, yet we have had time enough to make that known to one another; and I assure you that the sultans from whom we derive our being were famous in the world."

At this discourse Zobeide suppressed her anger, and said to the slaves, "Give them their liberty a while, but remain where you are. Those who tell us their history, and the occasion of their coming, do them no hurt, let them go where they please; but do not spare those who refuse to give us that satisfaction."

The three calendars, the caliph, the grand vizier, Jaaffier, the eunuch Mesrour, and the porter, were all in the middle of the hall, seated upon a carpet in the presence of the three ladies, who reclined upon a sofa, and the slaves stood ready to do whatever their mistresses should command.

The porter, understanding that he might extricate himself from danger by telling his history, spoke first, and said, "Madam, you know my history already, and the occasion of my coming hither; so that what I have to say will be very short. My lady, your sister, called me this morning at the place where I plyed as porter to see if any body would employ me, that I might get my bread; I followed her to a vintner's, then to a herb-shop, then to one where oranges, lemons, and citrons were sold, then to a grocer's, next to a confectioner's, and a druggist's, with my basket upon my head as full as I was able to carry it; then I came hither, where you had the goodness to suffer me to continue till now, a favour that I shall never forget. This, madam, is my history."

When the porter had done, Zobeide said to him, "Depart, let us see you here no more." "Madam," replied the porter, "I beg you to let me stay; it would not be just, after the rest have had the pleasure to hear my history, that I should not also have the satisfaction of hearing theirs." And having spoken thus, he sat down at the end of the sofa, glad at heart to have escaped the danger that had frightened him so much. After him, one of the three calenders directing his speech to Zobeide, as the principal of the three ladies, began thus:






The History of the First Calender


Madam, in order to inform you how I lost my right eye, and why I was obliged to put myself into a calender's habit, I must tell you, that I am a sultan's son born: my father had a brother who reigned over a neighbouring kingdom; and the prince his son and I were nearly of the same age.

After I had learned my exercises, the sultan my father granted me such liberty as suited my dignity. I went regularly every year to see my uncle, at whose court I amused myself for a month or two, and then returned again to my father's. These journeys cemented a firm and intimate friendship between the prince my cousin and myself. The last time I saw him, he received me with greater demonstrations of tenderness than he had done at any time before; and resolving one day to give me a treat, he made great preparations for that purpose. We continued a long time at table, and after we had both supped; "Cousin," said he, "you will hardly be able to guess how I have been employed since your last departure from hence, about a year past. I have had a great many men at work to perfect a design I have formed; I have caused an edifice to be built, which is now finished so as to be habitable: you will not be displeased if I shew it you. But first you are to promise me upon oath, that you will keep my secret, according to the confidence I repose in you."

The affection and familiarity that subsisted between us would not allow me to refuse him any thing. I very readily took the oath required of me: upon which he said to me, "Stay here till I return, I will be with you in a moment;" and accordingly he came with a lady in his hand, of singular beauty, and magnificently apparelled: he did not intimate who she was, neither did I think it would be polite to enquire. We sat down again with this lady at table, where we continued some time, conversing upon indifferent subjects; and now and then filling a glass to each other's health. After which the prince said, "Cousin, we must lose no time; therefore pray oblige me by taking this lady along with you, and conducting her to such a place, where you will see a tomb newly built in form of a dome: you will easily know it; the gate is open; enter it together, and tarry till I come, which will be very speedily."

Being true to my oath, I made no farther enquiry, but took the lady by the hand, and by the directions which the prince my cousin had given me, I brought her to the place. We were scarcely got thither, when we saw the prince following us, carrying a pitcher of water, a hatchet, and a little bag of mortar.

The hatchet served him to break down the empty sepulchre in the middle of the tomb; he took away the stones one after another, and laid them in a corner; he then dug up the ground, where I saw a trap-door under the sepulchre, which he lifted up, and underneath perceived the head of a staircase leading into a vault. Then my cousin, speaking to the lady, said, "Madam, it is by this way that we are to go to the place I told you of:" upon which the lady advanced, and went down, and the prince began to follow; but first turning to me, said, "My dear cousin, I am infinitely obliged to you for the trouble you have taken; I thank you. Adieu." "Dear cousin," I cried, "what is the meaning of this?" "Be content," replied he; "you may return the way you came."

I could get nothing farther from him, but was obliged to take my leave. As I returned to my uncle's palace, the vapours of the wine got up into my head; however, I reached my apartment, and went to bed. Next morning, when I awoke, I began to reflect upon what had happened, and after recollecting all the circumstances of such a singular adventure, I fancied it was nothing but a dream. Full of these thoughts, I sent to enquire if the prince my cousin was ready to receive a visit from me; but when they brought word back that he did not lie in his own lodgings that night, that they knew not what was become of him, and were in much trouble in consequence, I conceived that the strange event of the tomb was too true. I was sensibly afflicted, and went to the public burying-place, where there were several tombs like that which I had seen: I spent the day in viewing them one after another, but could not find that I sought for, and thus I spent four days successively in vain.

You must know, that all this while the sultan my uncle was absent, and had been hunting for several days; I grew weary of waiting for him, and having prayed his ministers to make my apology at his return, left his palace, and set out towards my father's court. I left the ministers of the sultan my uncle in great trouble, surmising what was become of the prince: but because of my oath to keep his secret, I durst not tell them what I had seen.

I arrived at my father's capital, where, contrary to custom, I found a numerous guard at the gate of the palace, who surrounded me as I entered. I asked the reason, and the commanding officer replied, "Prince, the army has proclaimed the grand vizier, instead of your father, who is dead, and I take you prisoner in the name of the new sultan." At these words the guards laid hold of me, and carried me before the tyrant: I leave you to judge, madam, how much I was surprised and grieved.

This rebel vizier, had long entertained a mortal hatred against me; for this reason. When I was a stripling, I loved to shoot with a cross-bow; and being one day upon the terrace of the palace with my bow, a bird happening to come by, I shot but missed him, and the ball by misfortune hit the vizier, who was taking the air upon the terrace of his own house, and put out one of his eyes. As soon as I understood this, I not only sent to make my excuse to him, but did it in person: yet he never forgave me, and, as opportunity offered, made me sensible of his resentment. But now that he had me in his power, he expressed his feelings; for he came to me like a madman, as soon as he saw me, and thrusting his finger into my right eye, pulled it out, and thus I became blind of one eye.

But the usurper's cruelty did not stop here; he ordered me to be shut up in a machine, and commanded the executioner to carry me into the country, to cut off my head, and leave me to be devoured by birds of prey. The executioner conveyed me thus shut up into the country, in order to execute the barbarous sentence; but by my prayers and tears, I moved the man's compassion: "Go," said he to me, "get you speedily out of the kingdom, and take heed of returning, or you will certainly meet your own ruin, and be the cause of mine." I thanked him for the favour he did me; and as soon as I was left alone, comforted myself for the loss of my eye, by considering that I had very narrowly escaped a much greater evil.

Being in such a condition, I could not travel far at a time; I retired to remote places during the day, and travelled as far by night as my strength would allow me. At last I arrived in the dominions of the sultan my uncle, and came to his capital.

I gave him a long detail of the tragical cause of my return, and of the sad condition he saw me in. "Alas!" cried he, "was it not enough for me to have lost my son, but must I have also news of the death of a brother I loved so dearly, and see you reduced to this deplorable condition?" He told me how uneasy he was that he could hear nothing of his son, notwithstanding all the enquiry he could make. At these words, the unfortunate father burst into tears, and was so much afflicted, that pitying his grief, it was impossible for me to keep the secret any longer; so that, notwithstanding my oath to the prince my cousin, I told the sultan all that I knew.

His majesty listened to me with some sort of comfort, and when I had done, "Nephew," said he, "what you tell me gives me some hope. I knew that my son ordered that tomb to be built, and I can guess pretty nearly the place; and with the idea you still have of it, I fancy we shall find it: but since he ordered it to be built privately, and you took your oath to keep his secret, I am of opinion, that we ought to go in quest of it without other attendants." But he had another reason for keeping the matter secret, which he did not then tell me, and an important one it was, as you will perceive by the sequel of my story.

We disguised ourselves and went out by a door of the garden which opened into the fields, and soon found what we sought for. I knew the tomb, and was the more rejoiced, because I had formerly sought it a long time in vain. We entered, and found the iron trap pulled down at the head of the staircase; we had great difficulty in raising it, because the prince had fastened it inside with the water and mortar formerly mentioned, but at last we succeeded.

The sultan my uncle descended first, I followed, and we went down about fifty steps. When we came to the foot of the stairs, we found a sort of antechamber, full of thick smoke of an ill scent, which obscured the lamp, that gave a very faint light.

From this antechamber we came into another, very large, supported by columns, and lighted by several branched candlesticks. There was a cistern in the middle, and provisions of several sorts stood on one side of it; but we were much surprised not to see any person. Before us there appeared a high estrade, which we mounted by several steps, and upon this there was a large bed, with curtains drawn. The sultan went up, and opening the curtains, perceived the prince his son and the lady in bed together, but burnt and changed to cinder, as if they had been thrown into a fire, and taken out before they were consumed.

But what surprised me most was, that though this spectacle filled me with horror, the sultan my uncle, instead of testifying his sorrow to see the prince his son in such a condition, spat on his face, and exclaimed, with a disdainful air, "This is the punishment of this world, but that of the other will last to eternity;" and not content with this, he pulled off his sandal, and gave the corpse of his son a blow on the cheek.

I cannot adequately express how much I was astonished when I saw the sultan my uncle abuse his son thus after he was dead. "Sir," said I, "whatever grief this dismal sight has impressed upon me, I am forced to suspend it, to enquire of your majesty what crime the prince my cousin may have committed, that his corpse should deserve such indignant treatment?" "Nephew," replied the sultan, "I must tell you, that my son (who is unworthy of that name) loved his sister from his infancy, as she did him: I did not check their growing fondness, because I did not foresee its pernicious consequence. This tenderness increased as they grew in years, and to such a height, that I dreaded the end of it. At last, I applied such remedies as were in my power: I not only gave my son a severe reprimand in private, laying before him the horrible nature of the passion he entertained, and the eternal disgrace he would bring upon my family, if he persisted; but I also represented the same to my daughter, and shut her up so close that she could have no conversation with her brother. But that unfortunate creature had swallowed so much of the poison, that all the obstacles which by my prudence I could lay in the way served only to inflame her love.

"My son being persuaded of his sister's constancy, on presence of building a tomb, caused this subterraneous habitation to be made, in hopes of finding one day or other an opportunity to possess himself of that objets which was the cause of his flame, and to bring her hither. He took advantage of my absence, to enter by force into the place of his sister's confinement; but this was a circumstance which my honour would not suffer me to make public. And after so damnable an action, he came and shut himself up with her in this place, which he has supplied, as you see, with all sorts of provisions, that he might enjoy detestable pleasures, which ought to be a subject of horror to all the world; but God, who would not suffer such an abomination, has justly punished them both." At these words, he melted into tears, and I joined mine with his.

After a while, casting his eyes upon me, "Dear nephew," cried he, embracing me, "if I have lost that unworthy son, I shall happily find in you what will better supply his place." The reflections he made on the doleful end of the prince and princess his daughter made us both weep afresh.

We ascended the stairs again, and departed at last from that dismal place. We let down the trap door, and covered it with earth, and such other materials as the tomb was built of, on purpose to hide, as much as lay in our power, so terrible an effect of the wrath of God.

We had not been long returned to the palace, unperceived by any one, but we heard a confused noise of trumpets, drums, and other instruments of war. We soon understood by the thick cloud of dust, which almost darkened the air, that it was the arrival of a formidable army: and it proved to be the same vizier that had dethroned my father, and usurped his place, who with a vast number of troops was come to possess himself of that also of the sultan my uncle.

My uncle, who then had only his usual guards about him, could not resist so numerous an enemy; they invested the city, and the gates being opened to them without any resistance, soon became masters of it, and broke into the palace where my uncle defended himself, and sold his life at a dear rate. I fought as valiantly for a while; but seeing we were forced to submit to a superior power, I thought on my retreat, which I had the good fortune to effect by some back ways, and got to one of the sultan's servants on whose fidelity I could depend.

Being thus surrounded with sorrows and persecuted by fortune, I had recourse to a stratagem, which was the only means left me to save my life: I caused my beard and eye-brows to be shaved, and putting on a calender's habit, I passed, unknown by any, out of the city; after that, by degrees, I found it easy to quit my uncle's kingdom, by taking the bye-roads.

I avoided passing through towns, until I had reached the empire of the mighty governor of the Moosulmauns, the glorious and renowned caliph Haroon al Rusheed, when I thought myself out of danger; and considering what I was to do, I resolved to come to Bagdad, intending to throw myself at the feet of that monarch, whose generosity is renowned throughout the world. "I shall move him to compassion," said I to myself, "by the relation of my uncommon misfortunes, and without doubt he will take pity on a persecuted prince, and not suffer me to implore his assistance in vain."

In short, after a journey of several months, I arrived yesterday at the gate of this city, into which I entered about the dusk of evening; and stopping a little while to consider which way I was to turn, another calender came up; he saluted me, and I him: "You appear," said I, "to be a stranger, as I am." "You are not mistaken," replied he. He had no sooner returned this answer, than a third calender overtook us. He saluted us, and told us he was a stranger newly come to Bagdad; so that as brethren we joined together, resolving not to separate from one another.

It was now late, and we knew not where to seek a lodging in the city, where we had never been before. But good fortune having brought us to your gate, we made bold to knock, when you received us with so much kindness, that we are incapable of rendering suitable thanks. "This, madam," said he, "is, in obedience to your commands, the account I was to give how I lost my right eye, wherefore my beard and eye-brows are shaved, and how I came to be with you at this time."

"It is enough," said Zobeide; "you may retire to what place you think fit." The calender begged the ladies' permission to stay till he had heard the relations of his two comrades, "Whom I cannot," said he, "leave with honour;" and that he might also hear those of the three other persons in company.

The story of the first calender seemed wonderful to the whole company, but especially to the caliph, who, notwithstanding the slaves stood by with their cimeters drawn, could not forbear whispering to the vizier "Many stories have I heard, but never any that equalled in surprising incident that of the calender." Whilst he was saying this, the second calender began, addressing himself to Zobeide.






The Story of the Second Calender


Madam, to obey your commands, and to shew you by what strange accident I became blind of the right eye, I must of necessity give you the account of my life.

I was scarcely past my infancy, when the sultan my father (for you must know I am a prince by birth) perceived that I was endowed with good natural ability, and spared nothing proper for improving it.

No sooner was I able to read and write, but I learned the Koraun from beginning to end by heart, that admirable book, which contains the foundation, the precepts, and the rules of our religion; and that I might be thoroughly instructed in it, I read the works of the most approved divines, by whose commentaries it had been explained. I added to this study, that of all the traditions collected from the mouth of our prophet, by the great men that were contemporary with him. I was not satisfied with the knowledge of all that had any relation to our religion, but made also a particular search into our histories. I made myself perfect in polite learning, in the works of poets, and versification. I applied myself to geography, chronology, and to speak the Arabian language in its purity; not forgetting in the meantime all such exercises as were proper for a prince to understand. But one thing which I was fond of, and succeeded in, was penmanship; wherein I surpassed all the celebrated scribes of our kingdom.

Fame did me more honour than I deserved, for she not only spread the renown of my talents through all the dominions of the sultan my father, but carried it as far as the empire of Hindoostan, whose potent monarch, desirous to see me, sent an ambassador with rich presents: my father, who rejoiced at this embassy for several reasons, was persuaded, that nothing could be more improving to a prince of my age than to travel and visit foreign courts; and he wished to gain the friendship of the Indian monarch. I departed with the ambassador, but with no great retinue.

When we had travelled about a month, we discovered at a distance a cloud of dust, and under that we saw very soon fifty horsemen well armed, who were robbers, advancing towards us at full speed.

As we had ten horses laden with baggage, and presents to the sultan of Hindoostan, from my father, and my retinue was but small, you may easily judge that these robbers came boldly up to us; and not being in a posture to make any opposition, we told them, that we were ambassadors, and hoped they would attempt nothing contrary to the respect due to such sacred characters, thinking by this means to save our equipage and our lives: but the robbers most insolently replied, "For what reason would you have us shew any respect to the sultan your master? We are none of his subjects, nor are we upon his territories:" having spoken thus, they surrounded and fell upon us: I defended myself as long as I could; but finding myself wounded, and seeing the ambassador with his attendants and mine lying on the ground, I made use of what strength was yet remaining in my horse, who was also very much wounded, and rode away as fast as he could carry me; but he shortly after, from weariness and the loss of blood, fell down dead. I cleared myself from him unhurt, and finding that I was not pursued, judged the robbers were not willing to quit the booty they had obtained.

Here you see me, alone, wounded, destitute of help, and in a strange country. I durst not take the high road, fearing I might fall again into the hands of these robbers. When I had bound up my wound, which was not dangerous, I walked on the rest of the day, and arrived at the foot of the mountain, where I perceived a passage into a cave; I went in, and staid there that night with little satisfaction, after I had eaten some fruits that I had gathered by the way.

I continued my journey for several days following, without finding any place of abode: but after a month's time, I came to a large town well inhabited, and situated so much the more advantageously, as it was surrounded by several streams, so that it enjoyed perpetual spring.

The pleasant objects which then presented themselves to my view afforded me some joy, and suspended for a time the sorrow with which I was overwhelmed. My face, hands, and feet were black and sun-burnt; and, by my long journey, my boots were quite worn out, so that I was forced to walk bare-footed; and besides, my clothes were all in rags I entered the town to inform myself where I was, and addressed myself to a tailor that was at work in his shop; who, perceiving by my air that I was a person of more note than my outward appearance bespoke, made me sit down by him, and asked me who I was, from whence I came, and what had brought me thither? I did not conceal anything that had befallen me, nor made I any scruple to discover my quality.

The tailor listened to me with attention; but after had done speaking, instead of giving me any consolation, he augmented my sorrow: "Take heed," said he, "how you discover to any person what you have related to me; for the prince of this country is the greatest enemy your father has, and he will certainly do you some mischief, should he hear of your being in this city." I made no doubt of the tailor's sincerity, when he named the prince: but since that enmity which is between my father and him has no relation to my adventures, I pass it over in silence.

I returned the tailor thanks for his advice, expressed himself disposed to follow his counsel, and assured him that his favours should never be forgotten. He ordered something to be brought for me to eat, and offered me at the same time a lodging in his house, which I accepted. Some days after, finding me tolerably well recovered of the fatigue I had endured by a long and tedious journey, and reflecting that most princes of our religion applied themselves to some art or calling that might be serviceable to them upon occasion, he asked me, if I had learned any whereby I might get a livelihood, and not be burdensome to others? I told him that I understood the laws, both divine and human; that I was a grammarian and poet; and above all, that I could write with great perfection. "By all this," said he, "you will not be able, in this country, to purchase yourself one morsel of bread; nothing is of less use here than those sciences; but if you will be advised by me, dress yourself in a labourer's habit; and since you appear to be strong, and of a good constitution, you shall go into the next forest and cut fire-wood, which you may bring to the market to be sold; and I can assure you this employment will turn to so good an account that you may live by it, without dependence upon any man; and by this means you will be in a condition to wait for the favourable minute, when heaven shall think fit to dispel those clouds of misfortune that thwart your happiness, and oblige you to conceal your birth; I will take care to supply you with a rope and a hatchet."

The fear of being known, and the necessity I was under of getting a livelihood, made me agree to this proposal, notwithstanding the meanness and hardships that attended it. The day following the tailor brought me a rope, a hatchet, and a short coat, and recommended me to some poor people who gained their bread after the same manner, that they might take me into their company. They conducted me to the wood, and the first day I brought in as much upon my head as procured me half a piece of gold, of the money of that country; for though the wood was not far distant from the town, yet it was very scarce, by reason that few would be at the trouble of fetching it for themselves. I gained a good sum of money in a short time, and repaid my tailor what he had advanced to me.

I continued this way of living for a whole year. One day, having by chance penetrated farther into the wood than usual, I happened to light on a pleasant spot, where I began to cut; and in pulling up the root of a tree, I espied an iron ring, fastened to a trap door of the same metal. I took away the earth that covered it, and having lifted it up, discovered a flight of stairs, which I descended with my axe in my hand.

When I had reached the bottom, I found myself in a palace, and felt great consternation, on account of a great light which appeared as clear in it as if it had been above ground in the open air. I went forward along a gallery, supported by pillars of jasper, the base and capitals of messy gold: but seeing a lady of a noble and graceful air, extremely beautiful, coming towards me, my eyes were taken off from every other objets.

Being desirous to spare the lady the trouble of coming to me, I hastened to meet her; and as I was saluting her with a low obeisance, she asked me, "What are you, a man or a genie?" "A man, madam," said I; "I have no correspondence with genies." "By what adventure," said she, fetching a deep sigh, "are you come hither? I have lived here twenty-five years, and you are the first man I have beheld in that time."

Her great beauty, which had already smitten me, and the sweetness and civility wherewith she received me, emboldened me to say, "Madam, before I have the honour to satisfy your curiosity, give me leave to tell you, that I am infinitely gratified with this unexpected meeting, which offers me an occasion of consolation in the midst of my affliction; and perhaps it may give me an opportunity of making you also more happy than you are." I related to her by what strange accident she beheld me, the son of a sultan, in such a condition as I appeared in her presence; and how fortune had directed that I should discover the entrance into that magnificent prison where I had found her, according to appearance, in an unpleasant situation.

"Alas! prince," said she, sighing once more, "you have just cause to believe this rich and pompous prison cannot be otherwise than a most wearisome abode: the most charming place in the world being no way delightful when we are detained there contrary to our will. It is not possible but you have heard of the sultan of the isle of Ebene, so called from that precious wood which it produces in abundance; I am the princess his daughter.

"The sultan, my father, had chosen for me a husband, a prince who was my cousin; but on my wedding-night, in the midst of the rejoicings of the court and capital, before I was conducted to my husband, a genie took me away. I fainted with alarm, and when I recovered, found myself in this place. I was long inconsolable, but time and necessity have accustomed me to see and receive the genie. Twenty-five years I have continued in this place, where, I must confess, I have all that I can wish for necessary to life, and also every thing that can satisfy a princess fond of dress and splendour.

"Every ten days," continued the princess, "the genie comes hither, and remains with me one night, which he never exceeds; and the excuse he makes for it is, that he is married to another wife, who would grow jealous if she should know his infidelity. Meanwhile, if I have occasion for him by day or night, as soon as I touch a talisman, which is at the entrance into my chamber, the genie appears. It is now the fourth day since he was here, and I do not expect him before the end of six more; so, if you please, you may stay five days, and I will endeavour to entertain you according to your quality and merit." I thought myself too fortunate, to have obtained so great a favour without asking, to refuse so obliging an offer. The princess made me go into a bath, the most commodious, and the most sumptuous imaginable; and when I came forth, instead of my own clothes I found another very costly suit, which I did not esteem so much for its richness, as because it made me appear worthy to be in her company. We sat down on a sofa covered with rich tapestry, with cushions of the rarest Indian brocade; and some time after she covered a table with several dishes of delicate meats. We ate, and passed the remaining part of the day with much satisfaction, as also the evening, together.

The next day, as she contrived every means to please me, she brought in, at dinner, a bottle of old wine, the most excellent that ever was tasted, and out of complaisance drank some part of it with me. When my head grew warm with the agreeable liquor, "Fair princess," said I, "you have been too long thus buried alive; follow me, enjoy the real day, of which you have been deprived so many years, and abandon this artificial though brilliant glare." "Prince," replied she, with a smile, "leave this discourse; if you out of ten days will grant me nine, and resign the last to the genie, the fairest day would be nothing in my esteem." "Princess," said I, "it is the fear of the genie that makes you speak thus; for my part, I value him so little, that I will break in pieces his talisman, with the conjuration that is written about it. Let him come, I will expect him; and how brave or redoubtable soever he be, I will make him feel the weight of my arm: I swear solemnly that I will extirpate all the genies in the world, and him first." The princess, who knew the consequence, conjured me not to touch the talisman. "For that would be the means," said she, "of ruining both you and me; I know what belongs to genies better than you." The fumes of the wine did not suffer me to hearken to her reasons; but I gave the talisman a kick with my foot, and broke it in several pieces.

The talisman was no sooner broken than the palace began to shake, and seemed ready to fall, with a hideous noise like thunder, accompanied with flashes of lightning, and alternate darkness. This terrible noise in a moment dispelled the fumes of my wine, and made me sensible, but too late, of the folly I had committed. "Princess," cried I, "what means all this?" She answered, without any concern for her own misfortune, "Alas! you are undone, if you do not fly immediately."

I followed her advice, but my fears were so great, that I forgot my hatchet and cords. I had scarcely reached the stairs by which I had descended, when the enchanted palace opened at once, and made a passage for the genie: he asked the princess in great anger, "What has happened to you, and why did you call me?" "A violent spasm," said the princess, "made me fetch this bottle which you see here, out of which I drank twice or thrice, and by mischance made a false step, and fell upon the talisman, which is broken, and that is all."

At this answer, the furious genie told her, "You are a false woman, and speak not the truth; how came that axe and those cords there?" "I never saw them till this moment," said the princess. "Your coming in such an impetuous manner has, it may be, forced them up in some place as you came along, and so brought them hither without your knowing it."

The genie made no other answer but what was accompanied with reproaches and blows, of which I heard the noise. I could not endure to hear the pitiful cries of the princess so cruelly abused. I had already taken off the suit she had presented to me, and put on my own, which I had laid on the stairs the day before, when I came out of the bagnio: I made haste upstairs, the more distracted with sorrow and compassion, as I had been the cause of so great a misfortune; and by sacrificing the fairest princess on earth to the barbarity of a merciless genie, I was becoming the most criminal and ungrateful of mankind. "It is true," said I, "she has been a prisoner these twenty-five years; but, liberty excepted she wanted nothing that could make her happy. My folly has put an end to her happiness, and brought upon her the cruelty of an unmerciful devil." I let down the trap-door, covered it again with earth, and returned to the city with a burden of wood, which I bound up without knowing what I did, so great was my trouble and sorrow.

My landlord, the tailor, was very much rejoiced to see me: "Your absence," said he, "has disquieted me much, as you had entrusted me with the secret of your birth, and I knew not what to think; I was afraid somebody had discovered you; God be praised for your return." I thanked him for his zeal and affection, but not a word durst I say of what had passed, nor of the reason why I came back without my hatchet and cords.

I retired to my chamber, where I reproached myself a thousand times for my excessive imprudence: "Nothing," said I, "could have paralleled the princess's good fortune and mine, had I forborne to break the talisman."

While I was thus giving myself over to melancholy thoughts, the tailor came in and said, "An old man, whom I do not know, brings your hatchet and cords, which he found in his way as he tells me, and says he understood from your comrades that you lodge here; come out and speak to him, for he will deliver them to none but yourself."

At these words I changed colour, and fell a trembling. While the tailor was asking me the reason, my chamber-door opened, and the old man, having no patience to stay, appeared to us with my hatchet and cords. This was the genie, the ravisher of the fair princess of the isle of Ebene, who had thus disguised himself, after he had treated her with the utmost barbarity. "I am a genie," said he, speaking to me, "son of the daughter of Eblis, prince of genies: is not this your hatchet, and are not these your cords?"

After the genie had put the question to me, he gave me no time to answer, nor was it in my power, so much had his terrible aspect disordered me. He grasped me by the middle, dragged me out of the chamber, and mounting into the air, carried me up to the skies with such swiftness, that I was not able to take notice of the way he conveyed me. He descended again in like manner to the earth, which on a sudden he caused to open with a stroke of his foot, and sunk down at once, when I found myself in the enchanted palace, before the fair princess of the isle of Ebene. But, alas! what a spectacle was there! I saw what pierced me to the heart; this poor princess was quite naked, weltering in her blood, and laid upon the ground, more like one dead than alive, with her cheeks bathed in tears.

"Perfidious wretch!" said the genie to her, pointing at me, "is not this your gallant?" She cast her languishing eyes upon me, and answered mournfully, "I do not know him, I never saw him till this moment." "What!" said the genie, "he is the cause of thy being in the condition thou art justly in; and yet darest thou say thou cost not know him?" "If I do not know him," said the princess, "would you have me lie on purpose to ruin him?" "Oh then," said the genie, pulling out a cimeter and presenting it to the princess, "if you never saw him before, take this, and cut off his head." "Alas," replied the princess, "how is it possible that I should execute such an act? My strength is so far spent that I cannot lift up my arm; and if I could, how should I have the heart to take away the life of an innocent man, and one whom I do not know?" "This refusal," said the genie to the princess, "sufficiently informs me of your crime." Upon which, turning to me, "And thou," said he, "dost thou not know her?"

I should have been the most ungrateful wretch, and the most perfidious of all mankind, if I had not strewn myself as faithful to the princess as she had been to me, who had been the cause of her misfortunes. I therefore answered the genie, "How should I know her, when I never saw her till now?" "If it be so," said he, "take the cimeter and cut off her head: on this condition I will set thee at liberty, for then I shall be convinced that thou hast never seen her till this moment, as thou gayest." "With all my heart," replied I, and took the cimeter in my hand.

Do not think, madam, that I drew near to the fair princess of the isle of Ebene to be the executioner of the genie's barbarity. I did it only to demonstrate by my behaviour, as much as possible, that as she had strewn her resolution to sacrifice her life for my sake, I would not refuse to sacrifice mine for hers. The princess, notwithstanding her pain and suffering, understood my meaning; which she signified by an obliging look, and made me understand her willingness to die for me; and that she was satisfied to see how ready I was also to die for her. Upon this I stepped back, and threw the cimeter on the ground. "I should for ever," said I to the genie, "be hateful to all mankind were I to be so base as to murder, not only a person whom I do not know, but a lady like this, who is already on the point of expiring: do with me what you please, since I am in your power; I cannot obey your barbarous commands."

"I see," said the genie, "that you both out-brave me, and insult my jealousy; but both of you shall know by my treatment of you of what I am capable." At these words the monster took up the cimeter and cut off one of her hands, which left her only so much life as to give me a token with the other that she bade me for ever adieu. For the blood she had lost before, and that which gushed out then, did not permit her to live above one or two moments after this barbarous cruelty; the sight of which threw me into a fit. When I was come to myself again, I expostulated with the genie, why he made me languish in expectation of death: "Strike," cried I, "for I am ready to receive the mortal blow, and expect it as the greatest favour you can show me." But instead of agreeing to that, "Behold," said he, "how genies treat their wives whom they suspect of unfaithfulness; she has received thee here, and were I certain that she had put any further affront upon me, I would put thee to death this minute: but I will content myself with transforming thee into a dog, ape, lion, or bird; take thy choice of any of these, I will leave it to thyself."

These words gave me some hopes of being able to appease him: "O genie," said I, "moderate your passion, and since you will not take away my life, give it me generously. I shall always remember your clemency, if you pardon me, as one of the best men in the world pardoned one of his neighbours that bore him a mortal hatred." The genie asked me what had passed between those two neighbours, and said, he would have patience till he heard the story, which I related to him; and I believe, madam, you will not be displeased if I now repeat it.






The Story of the Envious Man,
and of him he Envied


In a considerable town two persons dwelt in adjoining houses. One of them conceived such a violent hatred against the other, that the hated party resolved to remove to a distance, being persuaded that their being neighbours was the only cause of this animosity; for though he had done him several pieces of service, he found that his hatred was not diminished; he therefore sold his house, with what goods he had left, and retired to the capital city of a kingdom which was not far distant. Here he bought a little spot of ground, which lay about half a league from the city; where he had a convenient house, with a garden, and a pretty spacious court, wherein there was a deep well, which was not in use.

The honest man having made this purchase put on a dervise's habit, intending to lead a retired life, and caused several cells to be made in the house, where in a short time he established a numerous society of dervises. He soon came to be publicly known by his virtue, through which he acquired the esteem of many people, as well of the commonalty as of the chief of the city. In short, he was much honoured and courted by all ranks. People came from afar to recommend themselves to his prayers; and all who visited him, published what blessings they received through his means.

The great reputation of this honest man having spread to the town from whence he had come, it touched the envious man so much to the quick, that he left his house and affairs with a resolution to ruin him. With this intent he went to the new convent of dervises, of which his former neighbour was the head, who received him with all imaginable tokens of friendship. The envious man told him that he was come on purpose to communicate a business of importance, which he could not do but in private; and "that nobody may hear us, let us," said he, "take a walk in your court; and seeing night begins to draw on, command your dervises to retire to their cells." The chief of the dervises did as he was required.

When the envious man saw that he was alone with this good man, he began to tell him his errand, walking side by side in the court, till he saw his opportunity; and getting the good man near the brink of the well, he gave him a thrust, and pushed him into it, without being seen by any one. Having done thus, he returned, got out at the gate of the convent without being known, and reached his own house well satisfied with his journey, being fully persuaded that the object of his hatred was no more; but he found himself mistaken.

This old well was inhabited by fairies and genies, which happened luckily for the relief of the head of the convent; for they received and supported him, and carried him to the bottom, so that he got no hurt. He perceived that there was something extraordinary in his fall, which must otherwise have cost him his life; but he neither saw nor felt anything. He soon heard a voice, however, which said, "Do you know what honest man this is, to whom we have done this piece of service?" Another voice answered, "No." To which the first replied, "Then I will tell you. This man out of charity, the purest ever known, left the town he lived in, and has established himself in this place, in hopes to cure one of his neighbours of the envy he had conceived against him; he had acquired such a general esteem, that the envious man, not able to endure it, came hither on purpose to ruin him; and he would have accomplished his design, had it not been for the assistance we have given this honest man, whose reputation is so great, that the sultan, who keeps his residence in the neighbouring city, was to pay him a visit to-morrow, to recommend the princess his daughter to his prayers."

Another voice asked, "What need had the princess of the dervise's prayers?" To which the first answered, "You do not know, it seems, that she is possessed by genie Maimoun, the son of Dimdim, who is fallen in love with her. But I well know how this good head of the dervises may cure her; the thing is very easy, and I will explain it to you. He has a black cat in his convent, with a white spot at the end of her tail, about the bigness of a small piece of Arabian money; let him only pull seven hairs out of the white spot, burn them, and smoke the princess's head with the fume, she will not only be immediately cured, but be so safely delivered from Maimoun, the son of Dimdim, that he will never dare to approach her again."

The head of the dervises remembered every word of the conversation between the fairies and the genies, who remained silent the remainder of the night. The next morning, as soon as daylight appeared, and he could discern the nature of his situation, the well being broken down in several places, he saw a hole, by which he crept out with ease.

The other dervises, who had been seeking for him, were rejoiced to see him; he gave them a brief account of the wickedness of the man to whom he had given so kind a reception the day before, and retired into his cell. Shortly after the black cat, which the fairies and the genies had mentioned the night before, came to fawn upon her master, as she was accustomed to do; he took her up, and pulled seven hairs from the white spot that was upon her tail, and laid them aside for his use when occasion should serve.

Soon after sunrise the sultan, who would leave no means untried that he thought likely to restore the princess to perfect health, arrived at the gate of the convent. He commanded his guards to halt, whilst he with his principal officers went in. The dervises received him with profound respect.

The sultan called their chief aside, and said, "Good Sheik, you may probably be already acquainted with the cause of my visit." "Yes, Sir," replied he gravely, "if I do not mistake, it is the disease of the princess which procures me this unmerited honour." "That is the real case," replied the sultan. "You will give me new life if your prayers, as I hope they may, restore my daughter's health." "Sir," said the good man, "if your majesty will be pleased to let her come hither, I am in hopes, through God's assistance and favour, that she will be effectually cured."

The prince, transported with joy, sent immediately for his daughter, who soon appeared with a numerous train of ladies and eunuchs, but veiled, so that her face was not seen. The chief of the dervises caused a pall to be held over her head, and he had no sooner thrown the seven hairs upon the burning coals, than the genie Maimoun, the son of Dimdim, uttered a great cry, and without being seen, left the princess at liberty; upon which, she took the veil from her face, and rose up to see where she was, saying, "Where am I, and who brought me hither?" At these words the sultan, overcome with excess of joy, embraced his daughter, and kissed her eyes; he also kissed the chief of the dervises' hands, and said to his officers, "What reward does he deserve that has thus cured my daughter?" They all cried, "He deserves her in marriage." "That is what I had in my thoughts," said the sultan; "and I make him my son-in-law from this moment." Some time after the prime vizier died, and the sultan conferred the place on the dervise. The sultan himself also died without heirs male; upon which the religious orders and the militia consulted together, and the good man was declared and acknowledged sultan by general consent.

The honest dervise, having ascended the throne of his father-in-law, as he was one day in the midst of his courtiers on a march, espied the envious man among the crowd that stood as he passed along, and calling one of the viziers that attended him, whispered him in his ear, "Go, bring me that man you see there; but take care you do not frighten him." The vizier obeyed, and when the envious man was brought into his presence, the sultan said, "Friend, I am extremely glad to see you." Upon which he called an officer, "Go immediately," said he, "and cause to be paid to this man out of my treasury, one hundred pieces of gold: let him have also twenty loads of the richest merchandize in my storehouses, and a sufficient guard to conduit him to his house." After he had given this charge to the officer, he bade the envious man farewell, and proceeded on his march.

When I had finished the recital of this story to the genie, the murderer of the princess of the isle of Ebene, I made an application of it to himself: "O genie!" said I, "this bountiful sultan was not satisfied with merely overlooking the design of the envious man to take away his life, but also treated him kindly, and sent him back loaded with the favours I have enumerated." In short, I employed all my eloquence to persuade him to imitate so good an example, and to grant me pardon; but it was impossible to move his compassion.

"All that I can do for thee," said he, "is, to grant thee thy life; but do not flatter thyself that I will allow thee to return safe and well; I must let thee feel what I am able to do by my enchantments." So saying, he seized me violently, and carried me through the arched roof of the subterraneous palace, which opened to give him passage; he ascended with me into the air to such a height, that the earth appeared like a little white cloud; he then descended again like lightning, and alighted upon the summit of a mountain.

Here he took up a handful of earth, and pronouncing, or rather muttering, some words which I did not understand, threw it upon me. "Quit," said he, "the form of a man, and take that of an ape." He instantly disappeared, and left me alone, transformed into an ape, and overwhelmed with sorrow in a strange country, not knowing whether I was near or far from my father's dominions.

I descended the mountain, and entered a plain level country, which took me a month to travel over, and then I came to the sea-side. It happened at the time to be perfectly calm, and I espied a vessel about half a league from the shore: unwilling to lose so good an opportunity, I broke off a large branch from a tree, carried it into the sea, and placed myself astride upon it, with a stick in each hand to serve me for oars.

I launched out in this posture, and rowed towards the ship. When I had approached sufficiently near to be seen, I exhibited to the seamen and passengers on the deck an extraordinary spectacle, and all of them regarded me with astonishment. In the meantime I got on board, and laying hold of a rope, jumped upon the deck, but having lost my speech I found myself in great perplexity: and indeed the risk I ran was not less than when I was at the mercy of the genie.

The merchants, being both superstitious and scrupulous, thought if they received me on board I should be the occasion of some misfortune to them during their voyage. On this account one of them said, "I will destroy him with a blow of this handspike;" another, "I will shoot an arrow through his body;" and a third, "Let us throw him into the sea." Some one of them would not have failed to carry his threat into execution had I not gone to the captain, thrown myself at his feet, and taken hold of his skirt in a supplicating posture. This action, together with the tears which he saw gush from my eyes, moved his compassion. He took me under his protection, threatened to be revenged on any one that would do me the least hurt, and loaded me with a thousand caresses. On my part, though I had not power to speak, I showed by my gestures every mark of gratitude in my power.

The wind that succeeded the calm was not strong, but favourable; it continued to blow in the same direction for fifty days, and brought us safe to the port of a city, well peopled, and of great trade, the capital of a powerful state, where we came to anchor.

Our vessel was instantly surrounded with an infinite number of boats full of people, who came to congratulate their friends on their safe arrival, or to inquire for those they had left behind them in the country from whence they had come, or out of curiosity to see a ship that had performed so long a voyage.

Amongst the rest, some officers came on board, desiring in the name of the sultan to speak with the merchants. The merchants appearing, one of the officers told them, "The sultan our master hath commanded us to acquaint you, that he rejoices in your safe arrival, and beseeches each of you to take the trouble to write a few lines upon this roll. That you may understand the design of this request, you must know that we had a prime vizier, who besides possessing great abilities for the management of public affairs could write in the highest perfection. This minister a few days since died. The event has greatly affected the sultan; and since he can never behold his writing without admiration, he has made a solemn vow, not to give the place to any one who cannot write equally well. Many have presented specimens of their skill; but to this day, no one in the empire has been judged worthy to supply the vizier's place."

Those of the merchants who thought they could write well enough to aspire to this high dignity, wrote one after another what they thought fit. After they had done, I advanced, and took the roll out of the gentleman's hand; but all the people, especially the merchants, cried out, that I would tear it, or throw it into the sea, till they saw how properly I held the roll, and made a sign that I would write in my turn: their apprehensions then changed into wonder. However, as they had never seen an ape that could write, and could not be persuaded that I was more ingenious than others of my kind, they wished to take the roll out of my hand; but the captain took my part once more. "Let him alone," said he, "allow him to write. If he only scribbles the paper, I promise you that I will immediately punish him. If, on the contrary, he writes well, as I hope he will, because I never saw an ape so clever and ingenious, and so quick of apprehension, I declare that I will adopt him as my son." Perceiving that no one opposed my design, I took the pen, and wrote six sorts of hands used among the Arabians, and each specimen contained an extemporary distich or quatrain in praise of the sultan. My writing not only excelled that of the merchants, but was such as they had not before seen in that country. When I had done, the officers took the roll, and carried it to the sultan.

The sultan took little notice of any of the writings, except mine, which pleased him so much that he said to the officers, "Take the finest horse in my stable, with the richest trappings, and a robe of the most sumptuous brocade to put on the person who wrote the six hands, and bring him thither." At this command the officers could not forbear laughing. The sultan was incensed at their rudeness, and would have punished them had they not explained: "Sir," said they, "we humbly beg your majesty's pardon: these hands were not written by a man, but by an ape." "What do you say?" exclaimed the sultan. "Those admirable characters, are they not written by the hands of a man?" "No, Sir," replied the officers; "we assure your majesty that it was an ape, who wrote them in our presence." The sultan was too much surprised at this account not to desire a sight of me, and therefore said, "Do what I command you, and bring me speedily that wonderful ape."

The officers returned to the vessel and shewed the captain their order, who answered, "The sultan's command must be obeyed." Whereupon they clothed me with the rich brocade robe, and carried me ashore, where they set me on horseback, whilst the sultan waited for me at his palace with a great number of courtiers, whom he gathered together to do me the more honour.

The procession commenced; the harbour, the streets, the public places, windows, terraces, palaces, and houses, were filled with an infinite number of people of all ranks, who flocked from every part of the city to see me; for the rumour was spread in a moment, that the sultan had chosen an ape to be his grand vizier, and after having served for a spectacle to the people, who could not forbear to express their surprise by redoubling their shouts and cries, I arrived at the sultan's palace.

I found the prince on his throne in the midst of the grandees; I made my obeisance three times very low, and at last kneeled and kissed the ground before him, and afterwards took my seat in the posture of an ape. The whole assembly viewed me with admiration, and could not comprehend how it was possible that an ape should so well understand how to pay the sultan his due respect; and he himself was more astonished than any. In short, the usual ceremony of the audience would have been complete, could I have added speech to my behaviour; but apes never speak, and the advantage I had of having been a man did not now yield me that privilege.

The sultan dismissed his courtiers, and none remained by him but the chief of the eunuchs, a little young slave, and myself. He went from his chamber of audience into his own apartment, where he ordered dinner to be brought. As he sat at table he made me a sign to approach and eat with them: to shew my obedience I kissed the ground, arose, and placed myself at the table, and ate with discretion and moderation.

Before the table was cleared, I espied a standish, which I made a sign to have brought me; having got it, I wrote upon a large peach some verses expressive of my acknowledgment to the sultan; who having read them after I had presented the peach to him, was still more astonished. When the things were removed, they brought him a particular liquor, of which he caused them to give me a glass. I drank, and wrote upon the glass some new verses, which explained the state I was reduced to, after many sufferings. The sultan read these likewise, and said, "A man that was capable of doing so much would be above the greatest of his species."

The sultan caused to be brought to him a chessboard, and asked me by a sign if I understood that game, and would play with him? I kissed the ground, and laying my hand upon my head, signified that I was ready to receive that honour. He won the first game, but I won the second and third; and perceiving he was somewhat displeased at my success, I made a quatrain to satisfy him; in which I told him that two potent armies had been fighting furiously all day, but that they concluded a peace towards the evening, and passed the remaining part of the night very amicably together upon the field of battle.

So many circumstances appearing to the sultan beyond whatever had either been seen or known of the cleverness or sense of apes, he determined not to be the only witness of these prodigies himself, but having a daughter, called the Lady of Beauty, on whom the chief of the eunuchs, then present, waited; "Go," said the sultan to him, "and bid your lady come hither: I am desirous she should share my pleasure."

The eunuch went, and immediately brought the princess, who had her face uncovered; but she had no sooner come into the room, than she put on her veil, and said to the sultan, "Sir, your majesty must needs have forgotten yourself; I am surprised that your majesty has sent for me to appear among men." "How, daughter!" said the sultan, "you do not know what you say: there is no one here, but the little slave, the eunuch your governor, and myself, who have the liberty to see your face; and yet you lower your veil, and blame me for having sent for you." "Sir," said the princess, "your majesty shall soon understand that I am not in the wrong. That seeming ape is a young prince, son of a powerful sultan, and has been metamorphosed into an ape by enchantment. A genie, son of the daughter of Eblis, has maliciously done him this wrong, after having cruelly taken away the life of the princess of the isle of Ebene."

The sultan, astonished at this declaration, turned towards me, and speaking no more by signs, but in plain words, asked me, if what his daughter said was true? Finding I could not speak, I put my hand to my head' to signify that what the princess spoke was correct. Upon this the sultan said again to his daughter, "How do you know that this prince has been transformed by enchantments into an ape?" "Sir," replied the Lady of Beauty, "your majesty may remember that when I was past my infancy I had an old lady who waited on me; she was a most expert magician, and taught me seventy rules of magic, by virtue of which I can, in the twinkling of an eye, transport your capital into the midst of the sea, or beyond mount Caucasus. By this science I know all enchanted persons at first sight: I know who they are, and by whom they have been enchanted; therefore do not be surprised if I should forthwith relieve this prince, in spite of the enchantments, from that which prevents his appearing in your sight in his natural form." "Daughter," said the sultan, "I did not believe you to have understood so much." "Sir," replied the princess, "these things are curious and worth knowing; but I think I ought not to boast of them." "Since it is so," said the sultan, "you can dispel the prince's enchantment." "Yes, sir," said the princess, "I can restore him to his original shape." "Do it then," said the sultan, "you cannot do me a greater pleasure; for I will have him to be my vizier, and he shall marry you." "Sir," said the princess, "I am ready to obey you in all that you should be pleased to command me."

The princess, the Lady of Beauty, went into her apartment, and brought thence a knife, which had some Hebrew words engraven on the blade: she made the sultan, the master of the eunuchs, the little slave, and myself, descend into a private court of the palace, and there left us under a gallery that went round it. She placed herself in the middle of the court, where she made a great circle, and within it she wrote several words in Arabian characters, some of them ancient.

When she had finished and prepared the circle as she thought fit, she placed herself in the centre of it, where she began incantations, and repeated verses of the Koraun. The air grew insensibly dark, as if it had been night, and the whole world were about to be dissolved: we found ourselves struck with consternation, and our fear increased when we saw the genie, the son of the daughter of Eblis, appear suddenly in the shape of a lion of a gigantic size.

As soon as the princess perceived this monster, "Dog," said she, "instead of creeping before me, dare you present yourself in this shape, thinking to frighten me?" "And thou," replied the lion, "art thou not afraid to break the treaty which was solemnly made and confirmed between us by oath, not to wrong or do one another any injury?" "Wretch," replied the princess, "I justly may reproach thee with having done so." The lion answered fiercely, "Thou shalt quickly have thy reward for the trouble thou hast given me:" with that he opened his monstrous jaws, and sprang forward to devour her; but she, being on her guard, stepped back, got time to pull out one of her hairs, and by pronouncing three or four words, changed it into a sharp sword, with which she cut the lion in two through the middle.

The two parts of the lion disappeared, while the head changed into a large scorpion. Immediately the princess turned herself into a serpent, and fought the scorpion, who, finding himself worsted, took the shape of an eagle, and flew away: but the serpent at the same time took also the shape of an eagle, that was black and much stronger, and pursued him, so that we lost sight of them both.

Some time after they had disappeared, the ground opened before us, and out of it came forth a black and white cat, with her hair standing on end, and mewing in a frightful manner; a black wolf followed close after her, and gave her no time to rest. The cat, being thus hard pressed, changed into a worm, and being near a pomegranate accidentally fallen from a tree on the side of a canal which was deep, but not broad, pierced the pomegranate in an instant, and hid itself, but the pomegranate swelled immediately, and became as big as a gourd, which, mounting up to the roof of the gallery, rolled there for some time backward and forward; it then fell down again into the court, and broke into several pieces.

The wolf had in the meanwhile transformed itself into a cock, and now fell to picking up the seeds of the pomegranate one after another; but finding no more, he came towards us with his wings spread, making a great noise, as if he would ask us whether there were any more seed. There was one lying on the brink of the canal, which the cock perceiving as he went back, ran speedily thither; but just as he was going to pick it up, the seed rolled into the river, and turned into a little fish.

The cock leaped into the river, turned into a pike, and pursued the small fish; they continued both under water above two hours, and we knew not what was become of them, but suddenly we heard terrible cries, which made us tremble, and a little while after we saw the genie and princess all in flames. They threw flashes of fire out of their mouths at each other, till they came to close combat; then the two fires increased, with a thick burning smoke which mounted so high that we had reason to apprehend it would set the palace on fire. But we very soon had a more pressing occasion of fear, for the genie having got loose from the princess, came to the gallery where we stood, and blew flames of fire upon us. We must all have perished had not the princess, running to our assistance, forced him to retire, and defend himself against her; yet, notwithstanding all her exertions, she could not hinder the sultan's beard from being burnt, and his face scorched, the chief of the eunuchs from being stifled, and a spark from entering my right eye, and making it blind. The sultan and I expected but death, when we heard a cry of "Victory! Victory!" and instantly the princess appeared in her natural shape, but the genie was reduced to a heap of ashes.

The princess approached us, and hastily called for a cup-full of water, which the young slave, who had received no hurt, brought her. She took it, and after pronouncing some words over it, threw it upon me, saying, "If thou art become an ape by enchantment, change thy shape, and take that of a man which thou hadst before." These words were hardly uttered, when I again became a man, in every respect as I was before my transformation, excepting the loss of my eye.

I was prepared to return the princess my thanks, but she prevented me by addressing herself to her father: "Sir, I have gained the victory over the genie, as your majesty may see; but it is a victory that costs me dear; I have but a few minutes to live, and you will not have the satisfaction to make the match you intended; the fire has pierced me during the terrible combat, and I find it is gradually consuming me. This would not have happened, had I perceived the last of the pomegranate seeds, and swallowed it, as I did the others when I was changed into a cock: the genie had fled thither as to his last intrenchment, and upon that the success of the combat depended, which would have been successful, and without danger to me. This oversight obliged me to have recourse to fire, and to fight with those mighty arms as I did, between heaven and earth, in your presence; for, in spite of all his redoubtable art and experience, I made the genie know that I understood more than he; I have conquered and reduced him to ashes, but I cannot escape death, which is approaching."

The sultan suffered the princess, the Lady of Beauty, to go on with the recital of her combat, and when she had done, addressed her in a tone that sufficiently testified his grief; "My daughter," said he, "you see in what condition your father is; alas! I wonder that I am yet alive! Your governor, the eunuch, is dead, and the prince whom you have delivered from his enchantment has lost one of his eyes." He could say no more, for his tears, sighs, and sobs, deprived him of the power of utterance.

Suddenly the princess exclaimed, "I burn! I burn!" She found that the fire had at last seized upon her vital parts, which made her still cry "I burn!" until death had put an end to her intolerable pains. The effect of that fire was so extraordinary, that in a few moments she was wholly reduced to ashes, as the genie had been.

I cannot tell you, madam, how much I was grieved at so dismal a spectacle; I had rather all my life have continued an ape or a dog, than to have seen my benefactress thus miserably perish. The sultan being afflicted all that can be imagined, cried piteously, and beat himself on his head and breast, until being quite overcome with grief, he fainted away, which made me fear for his life. In the mean time, the eunuchs and officers came running at the sultan's lamentations, and with much difficulty brought him to himself. It was not necessary that the prince or myself should relate the circumstances of the adventure, to convince them of the affliction it had occasioned us. The two heaps of ashes, to which the princess and the genie had been reduced, were a sufficient demonstration. The sultan was hardly able to stand, but was under the necessity of being supported to his apartment.

When the knowledge of this tragical event had spread through the palace and the city, all the people bewailed the misfortune of the princess, the Lady of Beauty, and commiserated the sultan's affliction. Public mourning was observed for seven days, and many ceremonies were performed. The ashes of the genie were thrown into the air, but those of the princess were collected into a precious urn, to be preserved, and the urn was deposited in a superb mausoleum, constructed for that purpose on the spot where the princess had been consumed.

The grief of the sultan for the loss of his daughter confined him to his chamber for a whole month. Before he had fully recovered his strength he sent for me: "Prince," said he, "attend to the commands I now give you; your life must answer if you do not carry them into execution." I assured him of exalt obedience; upon which he went on thus: "I have constantly lived in perfect felicity, but by your arrival all the happiness I possessed has vanished; my daughter is dead, her governor is no more, and it is only through a miracle that I am myself yet alive You are the cause of all these misfortunes, under which it is impossible that I should be comforted; depart hence therefore in peace, without farther delay, for I must myself perish if you remain any longer. I am persuaded that your presence brings misfortune with it. Depart, and take care never to appear again in my dominions. No consideration whatever shall hinder me from making you repent your temerity should you violate my injunction." I was going to speak, but he prevented me by words full of anger; and I was obliged to quit the palace, rejected, banished, an outcast from the world. Before I left the city I went into a bagnio, here I caused my beard and eyebrows to be shaved, and put on a calender's habit. I began my journey, not so much deploring my own miseries, as the death of the two fair princesses, of which I have been the occasion. I passed through many countries without making myself known; at last I resolved to come to Bagdad, in hopes of getting myself introduced to the commander of the faithful, to move his compassion by relating to him my unfortunate adventures. I arrived this evening, and the first man I met was this calender, our brother, who spoke before me. You know the remaining part, madam, and the cause of my having the honour to be here.

When the second calender had concluded his story, Zobeide, to whom he had addressed his speech, said, "It is well, you are at liberty." But instead of departing, he also petitioned the lady to shew him the same favour vouchsafed to the first calender, and went and sat down by him.






The History of the Third Calender


My story, most honourable lady, very much differs from what you have already heard. The two princes who have spoken before me have each lost an eye by the pure effects of their destiny, but mine I lost through my own fault, and by hastening to seek my own misfortune, as you shall hear by the sequel of the story.

My name is Agib, and I am the son of a sultan who was called Cassib. After his death I took possession of his dominions, and continued in the city where he had resided. It is situated on the sea-coast, has one of the finest and safest harbours in the world, an arsenal capable of fitting out for sea one hundred and fifty men of war, besides merchantmen and light vessels. My kingdom is composed of several fine provinces upon the main land, besides a number of valuable islands, which lie almost in sight of my capital.

My first object was to visit the provinces: I afterwards caused my whole fleet to be fitted out, and went to my islands to gain the hearts of my subjects by my presence, and to confirm them in their loyalty. These voyages gave me some taste for navigation, in which I took so much pleasure, that I resolved to make some discoveries beyond my own territories; to which end I caused ten ships to be fitted out, embarked, and set sail.

Our voyage was very pleasant for forty days successively, but on the forty-first night the wind became contrary, and withal so boisterous that we were near being lost: about break of day the storm abated, the clouds dispersed, and the weather became fair. We reached an island, where we remained two days to take in fresh provisions; and then put off again to sea. After ten days' sail we were in hopes of seeing land, for the tempests we had experienced had so much abated my curiosity, that I gave orders to steer back to my own coast; but I perceived at the same time that my pilot knew not where we were. Upon the tenth day, a seaman being sent to look out for land from the mast head, gave notice that on starboard and larboard he could see nothing but sky and sea, but that right a-head he perceived a great blackness.

The pilot changed colour at this account, and throwing his turban on the deck with one hand, and beating his breast with the other, cried, "Oh, Sir, we are all lost; not one of us can escape; and with all my skill it is not in my power to effect our deliverance." Having spoken thus, he lamented like a man who foresaw unavoidable ruin; his despondence threw the whole ship's crew into consternation. I asked him what reason he had thus to despair? He exclaimed, "The tempest has brought us so far out of our course, that to-morrow about noon we shall be near the black mountain, or mine of adamant, which at this very minute draws all your fleet towards it, by virtue of the iron in your ships; and when we approach within a certain distance, the attraction of the adamant will have such force, that all the nails will be drawn out of the sides and bottoms of the ships, and fasten to the mountain, so that your vessels will fall to pieces and sink.

"This mountain," continued the pilot, "is inaccessible. On the summit there is a dome of fine brass, supported by pillars of the same metal, and on the top of that dome stands a horse, likewise of brass, with a rider on his back, who has a plate or lead fixed to his breast, upon which some talismanic characters are engraver. Sir, the tradition is, that this statue is the chief cause why so many ships and men have been lost and sunk in this place, and that it will ever continue to be fatal to all those who have the misfortune to approach, until it shall be thrown down."

The pilot having finished his discourse, began to weep afresh, and all the rest of the ship's company did the same. I had no other thought but that my days were there to terminate. In the mean time every one began to provide for his own safety, and to that end took all imaginable precaution; and being uncertain of the event, they all made one another their heirs, by virtue of a will, for the benefit of those that should happen to be saved.

The next morning we distinctly perceived the black mountain. About noon we were so near, that we found what the pilot had foretold to be true; for all the nails and iron in the ships flew towards the mountain, where they fixed, by the violence of the attraction, with a horrible noise; the ships split asunder, and their cargoes sunk into the sea. All my people were drowned, but God had mercy on me, and permitted me to save myself by means of a plank, which the wind drove ashore just at the foot of the mountain. I did not receive the least hurt, and my good fortune brought me to a landing place, where there were steps that led up to the summit of the mountain.

At the sight of these steps, for there was not a space of ground either on the right or left whereon a man could set his foot, I gave thanks to God; and recommended myself to his holy protection, as I began to ascend the steps, which were so narrow, that had the wind raged it would have thrown me into the sea. But, at last, I reached the top, without accident. I went into the dome, and kneeling on the ground, gave God thanks for his mercies.

I passed the night under the dome. In my sleep an old grave man appeared to me, and said, "Hearken, Agib; as soon as thou art awake dig up the ground under thy feet: thou wilt find a bow of brass, and three arrows of lead, that are made under certain constellations, to deliver mankind from the many calamities that threaten them. Shoot the three arrows at the statue, and the rider will fall into the sea, but the horse will fall by thy side; thou must bury it in the place where thou findest the bow and arrows: this being done, the sea will swell and rise to the foot of the dome. When it has come so high, thou wilt perceive a boat with one man holding an oar in each hand; this man is also of metal, but different from that thou hast thrown down; step on board, but without mentioning the name of God, and let him conduct thee. He will in ten days' time bring thee into another sea, where thou shalt find an opportunity to return to thy country, provided, as I have told thee, thou dost not mention the name of God during the whole voyage."

This was the substance of the old man's discourse. When I awoke I felt much comforted by the vision, and did not fail to observe everything that he had commanded me. I took the bow and arrows out of the ground, shot at the horseman, and with the third arrow I overthrew him; he fell into the sea, and the horse fell by my side; I buried it in the place whence I took the bow and arrows. In the mean time, the sea swelled and rose up by degrees. When it came as high as the foot of the dome upon the top of the mountain, I saw, afar off, a boat rowing towards me, and I returned God thanks that everything succeeded according to my dream.

At last the boat made land, and I perceived the man was made of metal, as I had dreamt. I stept aboard, and took great heed not to pronounce the name of God, neither spoke I one word. I sat down, and the man of metal began to row off from the mountain. He rowed without ceasing till the ninth day, when I saw some islands, which gave me hopes that I should escape all the danger that I feared. The excess of my joy made me forget what I was forbidden: "Blessed be God," said I; "God be praised."

I had no sooner spoken these words, than the boat sunk with the man of metal, leaving me upon the surface. I swam the remaining part of the day towards that land which appeared nearest. A very dark night succeeded, and not knowing where I was, I swam at random. My strength at last began to fail, and I despaired of being able to save myself, but the wind began to blow hard, and a wave vast as a mountain threw me on a flat, where it left me, and retreated. I made haste ashore, fearing another wave might wash me back. The first thing I did was to strip, wring the water out of my clothes, and lay them on the dry sand, which was still warm from the heat of the day.

Next morning the sun dried my clothes; I put them on, and went forward to discover what sort of country I was in. I had not walked far before I found I was upon a desert, though a very pleasant, island, as it displayed several sorts of trees and wild shrubs bearing fruit; but I perceived it was far from the continent, which much diminished the joy I felt at having escaped the danger of the seas. Nevertheless, I recommended myself to God and prayed him to dispose of me according to his will. Immediately after, I saw a vessel coming from the main land, before the wind, directly towards the island. I doubted not but they were coming to anchor there; and being uncertain what sort of people they might be, whether friends or foes, I thought it not safe to be seen. I got up into a very thick tree, from whence I might safely view them. The vessel came into a little creek, where ten slaves landed, carrying a spade and other instruments for digging up the ground. They went towards the middle of the island, where I saw them stop, and dig for a considerable time, after which I thought I perceived them lift up a trap door. They returned again to the vessel, and unloaded several sorts of provisions and furniture, which they carried to the place where they had been digging: they then descended, which made me suppose it led to a subterraneous dwelling.

I saw them once more go to the ship, and return soon after with an old man, who led in his hand a handsome lad of about fourteen or fifteen years of age. They all descended when the trap door had been opened. After they had again come up, they let down the trap door, covered it over with earth, and returned to the creek where the ship lay, but I saw not the young man in their company. This made me believe that he had staid behind in the subterraneous place, a circumstance which exceedingly surprised me.

The old man and the slaves went on board, and getting the vessel under weigh, steered their course towards the main land. When I perceived they had proceeded to such a distance that I could not be seen by them, I came down from the tree, and went directly to the place where I had seen the ground broken. I removed the earth by degrees, till I came to a stone that was two or three feet square. I lifted it up, and found that it covered the head of a flight of stairs, which were also of stone. I descended, and at the bottom found myself in a large room, furnished with a carpet, a couch covered with tapestry, and cushions of rich stuff, upon which the young man sat, with a fan in his hand. These things, together with fruits and flower-pot standing about him, I saw by the light of two wax tapers. The young man, when he perceived me was considerably alarmed; but to quiet his apprehensions, I said to him as I entered, "Whoever you are, Sir, do not fear; a sultan, and the son of a sultan, as I am, is not capable of doing you any injury: on the contrary, it is probable that your good destiny may have brought me hither to deliver you out of this tomb, where it seems you have been buried alive, for reasons to me unknown. But what surprises me (for you must know that I have been witness to all that hath passed since your coming into this island), is, that you suffered yourself to be entombed in this place without any resistance."

The young man felt assured at these words, and with a smiling countenance requested me to take a seat by him. When I had complied, he said "Prince, I am to acquaint you with what will surprise you by its singularity.

"My father is a merchant jeweller, who, by his industry and professional skill, has acquired considerable property. He has many slaves, and also agents, whom he employs as supercargoes in his own ships, to maintain his correspondence at the several courts, which he furnishes with precious stones.

"He had been long married without having issue, when it was intimated to him in a dream that he should have a son, though his life would be but short; at which he was much concerned when he awoke. Some days after, my mother acquainted him that she was with child, and what she supposed to be the time of her conception agreed exactly with the day of his dream. At the end of nine months she was brought to bed of me; which occasioned great joy in the family.

"My father, who had observed the very moment of my birth, consulted astrologers about my nativity; and was answered, 'Your son shall live happily till the age of fifteen, when his life will be exposed to a danger which he will hardly be able to escape. But if his good destiny preserve him beyond that time, he will live to a great age. It will be' (said they) 'when the statue of brass, that stands upon the summit of the mountain of adamant, shall be thrown into the sea by prince Agib, son of king Cassib; and, as the stars prognosticate, your son will be killed fifty days afterwards by that prince.'

"My father took all imaginable care of my education until this year, which is the fifteenth of my age. He had notice given him yesterday, that the statue of brass had been thrown into the sea about ten days ago. This news alarmed him much.

"Upon the prediction the astrologers, he sought by all means possible to falsify my horoscope, and to preserve my life. He took the precaution to form this subterranean habitation to hide me in, till the expiration of the fifty days after the throwing down of the statue; and therefore, as it is ten days since this happened, he came hastily hither to conceal me, and promised at the end of forty days to return and fetch me away. For my own part I am sanguine in my hopes, and cannot believe that prince Agib will seek for me in a place under ground, in the midst of a desert island."

While the jeweller's son was relating this story, I laughed at the astrologers who had foretold that I should take away his life; for I thought myself so far from being likely to verify their prediction, that he had scarcely done speaking, when I told him with great joy, "Dear Sir, trust in the goodness of God, and fear nothing; consider it as a debt you had to pay; but that you are acquitted of it from this hour. I rejoice that after my shipwreck I came so fortunately hither to defend you against all who would attempt your life. I will not leave you till the forty days have expired, of which the foolish astrologers have made you apprehensive; and in the mean while I will do you all the service in my power: after which, with leave of your father and yourself, I shall have the benefit of getting to the main land in your vessel; and when I am returned into my kingdom, I will remember the obligations I owe you, and endeavour to demonstrate my gratitude by suitable acknowledgments."

This discourse encouraged the jeweller's son, and inspired him with confidence. I took care not to inform him I was the very Agib whom he dreaded, lest I should alarm his fears, and used every precaution not to give him any cause to suspect who I was. We passed the time in various conversation till night came on. I found the young man of ready wit, and partook with him of his provisions, of which he had enough to have lasted beyond the forty days, though he had had more guests than myself. After supper we conversed for some time; and at last retired to bed.

The next morning, when he arose, I held the basin of water to him; I also provided dinner, and at the proper time placed it on the table: after we had dined I invented a play for our amusement, not only for that day, but for those that followed. I prepared supper after the same manner as I had done the dinner; and having supped, we retired to bed as before. We had sufficient time to contrast mutual friendship and esteem for each other. I found he loved me; and I on my part regarded him with so much affection, that I often said to myself, "Those astrologers who predicted to his father that his son should die by my hand were impostors; for it is not possible that I could commit so base a crime." In short, madam, we spent thirty-nine days in the pleasantest manner possible in this subterraneous abode.

The fortieth day appeared: and in the morning, when the young man awoke, he said to me with a transport of joy that he could not restrain, "Prince, this is the fortieth day, and I am not dead, thanks to God and your good company. My father will not fail to make you, very shortly, every acknowledgment of his gratitude for your attentions, and will furnish you with every necessary accommodation for your return to your kingdom: but," continued he, "while we are waiting his arrival, I beg you will provide me some warm water in that portable bath, that I may wash my body and change my dress, to receive my father with the more respect."

I set the water on the fire, and when it was hot poured it into the moveable bath; the youth went in, and I both washed and rubbed him. At last he came out, and laid himself down in his bed that I had prepared. After he had slept a while, he awoke, and said, "Dear prince, pray do me the favour to fetch me a melon and some sugar, that I may eat some to refresh me."

Out of several melons that remained I took the best, and laid it on a plate; and as I could not find a knife to cut it with, I asked the young man if he knew where there was one. "There is one," said he, "upon this cornice over my head:" I accordingly saw it there, and made so much haste to reach it, that, while I had it in my hand, my foot being entangled in the carpet, I fell most unhappily upon the young man, and the knife pierced his heart.

At this spectacle I cried out with agony. I beat my head, my face, and breast; I tore my clothes; I threw myself on the ground with unspeakable sorrow and grief! "Alas!" I exclaimed, "there were only some hours wanting to have put him out of that danger from which he sought sanctuary here; and when I thought the danger past, then I became his murderer, and verified the prediction. But, O Lord!" said I, lifting up my face and my hands to heaven, "I intreat thy pardon, and if I be guilty of his death, let me not live any longer."

After this misfortune I would have embraced death without any reluctance, had it presented itself to me. But what we wish, whether it be good or evil, will not always happen according to our desire. Nevertheless, considering that all my tears and sorrows would not restore the young man to life, and, the forty days being expired, I might be surprised by his father, I quitted the subterranean dwelling, laid down the great stone upon the entrance, and covered it with earth.

I had scarcely done, when, casting my eyes upon the sea towards the main land, I perceived the vessel coming to fetch away the young man. I began then to consider what I had best do. I said to myself, "If I am seen by the old man, he will certainly seize me, and perhaps cause me to be massacred by his slaves, when he has discovered that his son is killed: all that I can allege to justify myself will not convince him of my innocence. It is better then to withdraw while it is in my power, than to expose myself to his resentment."

There happened to be near a large tree thick with leaves, which I ascended in hopes of concealment, and was no sooner fixed in a place where I could not be perceived, than I saw the vessel come to the creek where she lay the first time.

The old man with his slaves landed immediately, and advanced towards the subterranean dwelling, with a countenance that shewed some hope; but when they saw the earth had been newly removed, they changed colour, particularly the old man. They lifted up the stone, and went down; they called the young man by his name, but he not answering, their fears increased. They proceeded to seek him; and at length found him lying upon the bed with the knife in his heart, for I had not power to take it out. At this sight they cried out lamentably, which increased my sorrow: the old man fell down in a swoon. The slaves, to give him air, brought him up in their arms, and laid him at the foot of the tree where I was concealed; but notwithstanding all the pains they took to recover him, the unfortunate father continued a long while insensible, and made them more than once despair of his life; but at last he came to himself. The slaves then brought up his son's corpse, dressed in his best apparel, and when they had made a grave they buried it. The old man, supported by two slaves, and his face covered with tears, threw the first earth upon the body, after which the slaves filled up the grave.

This being done, all the furniture was brought up, and, with the remaining provisions, put on board the vessel. The old man, overcome with sorrow, and not being able to stand, was laid upon a litter, and carried to the ship, which stood out to sea, and in a short time was out of sight.

After the old man and his slaves were gone, I was left alone upon the island. I lay that night in the subterranean dwelling, which they had shut up, and when the day came, I walked round the island, and stopped in such places as I thought most proper for repose.

I led this wearisome life for a whole month. At the expiration of this time I perceived that the sea had receded; that the island had increased in dimensions; the main land too seemed to be drawing nearer. In fact, the water sunk so low, that there remained between me and the continent but a small stream, which I crossed, and the water did not reach above the middle of my leg. I walked so long a way upon the slime and sand that I was very weary: at last I got upon more firm ground, and when I had proceeded some distance from the sea, I saw a good way before me something that resembled a great fire, which afforded me some comfort; for I said to myself, I shall find here some persons, it not being possible that this fire should kindle of itself. As I drew nearer, however, I found my error, and discovered that what I had taken for a fire was a castle of red copper, which the beams of the sun made to appear at a distance like flames.

I stopped in the neighbourhood of the castle, and sat down to admire its noble structure, and to rest myself. Before I had taken such a view of this magnificent building as it deserved, I saw ten handsome young men coming along, as if they had been taking a walk; but what surprised me was, that they were all blind of the right eye. They were accompanied by an old man, who was very tall, and of a venerable aspect.

I could not suppress my astonishment at the sight of so many half blind men in company, and every one deprived of the same eye. As I was conjecturing by what adventure these men could come together, they approached, and seemed glad to see me. After the first salutations, they inquired what had brought me thither. I told them my story would be somewhat tedious, but if they would take the trouble to sit down, I would satisfy their curiosity. They did so, and I related to them all that had happened to me since I had left my kingdom, which filled them with astonishment.

After I had concluded my account, the young gentlemen prayed me to accompany them into the castle. I accepted their offer, and we passed through a great many halls, ante-chambers, bed-chambers, and closets, very well furnished, and came at last into a spacious hall, where there were ten small blue sofas set round, separate from one another, on which they sat by day and slept at night. In the middle of this circle stood an eleventh sofa, not so high as the rest, but of the same colour, upon which the old man before-mentioned sat down, and the young gentlemen occupied the other ten. But as each sofa could only contain one man, one of the young men said to me, "Comrade, sit down upon that carpet in the middle of the room, and do not inquire into anything that concerns us, nor the reason why we are all blind of the right eye; be content with what you see, and let not your curiosity extend any farther."

The old man having sat a short time, arose, and went out; but he returned in a minute or two, brought in supper, distributed to each man separately his proportion, and likewise brought me mine, which I ate apart, as the rest did; and when supper was almost ended, he presented to each of us a cup of wine.

They thought my story so extraordinary, that they made me repeat it after supper, and it furnished conversation for a good part of the night. One of the gentlemen observing that it was late, said to the old man, "You do not bring us that with which we may acquit ourselves of our duty." At these words the old man arose, and went into a closet, and brought out thence upon his head ten basins, one after another, all covered with blue stuff; he placed one before every gentleman, together with a light.

They uncovered their basins, which contained ashes, coal-dust, and lamp-black; they mixed all together, and rubbed and bedaubed their faces with it in such a manner as to make themselves look very frightful. After having thus blackened themselves, they wept and lamented, beating their heads and breasts, and crying continually, "This is the fruit of our idleness and debauches."

They continued this strange employment nearly the whole of the night, and when they left off, the old man brought them water, with which they washed their faces and hands; they changed all their clothes, which were spoiled, and put on others; so that they exhibited no appearance of what they had been doing.

You may judge how uneasy I felt all this time. I wished a thousand times to break the silence which had been imposed upon me, and ask questions; nor was it possible for me to sleep that night.

The next day, soon after we had arisen, we went out to walk, and then I said to them, "Gentlemen, I declare to you, that I must renounce the law which you prescribed to me last night, for I cannot observe it. You are men of sense, you have convinced me that you do not want understanding; yet, I have seen you do such actions as none but madmen could be capable of. Whatever misfortune befalls me, I cannot forbear asking, why you bedaubed your faces with black? How it has happened that each of you has but one eye? Some singular circumstance must certainly be the cause; therefore I conjure you to satisfy my curiosity." To these pressing instances they answered only, that it was no business of mine to make such inquiries, and that I should do well to hold my peace.

We passed that day in conversation upon indifferent subjects; and when night was come and every man had supped, the old man brought in the blue basins, and the young gentlemen as before bedaubed their faces, wept and beat themselves, crying, "This is the fruit of our idleness and debauches," and continued the same actions the following night. At last, not being able to resist my curiosity, I earnestly prayed them to satisfy me, or to shew me how to return to my own kingdom; for it was impossible for me to keep them company any longer, and to see every night such an odd exhibition, without being permitted to know the reason.

One of the gentlemen answered on behalf of the rest, "Do not wonder at our conduit in regard to yourself, and that hitherto we have not granted your request: it is out of kindness, to save you the pain of being reduced to the same condition with ourselves. If you have a mind to try our unfortunate destiny, you need but speak, and we will give you the satisfaction you desire." I told them I was resolved on it, let what would be the consequence. "Once more," said the same gentleman, "we advise you to restrain your curiosity: it will cost you the loss of your right eye." "No matter," I replied; "be assured that if such a misfortune befall me, I will not impute it to you, but to myself."

He farther represented to me, that when I had lost an eye I must not hope to remain with them, if I were so disposed, because their number was complete, and no addition could be made to it. I told them, that it would be a great satisfaction to me never to part from such agreeable gentlemen, but if there were a necessity for it, I was ready to submit; and let it cost me what it would, I begged them to grant my request.

The ten gentlemen perceiving that I was so fixed in my resolution, took a sheep, killed it, and after they had taken off the skin, presented me with a knife, telling me it would be useful to me on an occasion which they would soon explain. "We must sew you in this skin," said they, "and then leave you; upon which a bird of a monstrous size, called a roc, will appear in the air, and taking you for a sheep, will pounce upon you, and soar with you to the sky: but let not that alarm you; he will descend with you again, and lay you on the top of a mountain. When you find yourself on the ground, cut the skin with your knife, and throw it off. As soon as the roc sees you, he will fly away for fear, and leave you at liberty. Do not stay, but walk on till you come to a spacious castle, covered with plates of gold, large emeralds, and other precious stones: go up to the gate, which always stands open, and walk in. We have each of us been in that castle; but will tell you nothing of what we saw, or what befell us there; you will learn by your own experience. All that we can inform you is, that it has cost each of us our right eye, and the penance which you have been witness to, is what we are obliged to observe in consequence of having been there. The history of each of us is so full of extraordinary adventures, that a large volume would not contain them. But we cannot explain ourselves farther."

When the gentleman had thus spoken, I wrapt myself in the sheep's skin, held fast the knife which was given me; and after the young gentlemen had been at the trouble to sew the skin about me, they retired into the hall, and left me alone. The roc they spoke of soon arrived; he pounced upon me, took me in his talons like a sheep, and carried me up the summit of the mountain.

When I found myself on the ground, I cut the skin with the knife, and throwing it off, the roc at the sight of me flew sway. This roc is a white bird, of a monstrous size; his strength is such, that he can lift up elephants from the plains, and carry them to the tops of mountains, where he feeds upon them.

Being impatient to reach the castle, I lost no time; but made so much haste, that I got thither in half a day's journey, and I must say that I found it surpassed the description they had given me of its magnificence.

The gate being open, I entered a square court, so large that there were round it ninety-nine gates of wood of sanders and aloes, and one of gold, without reckoning those of several superb staircases, that led to apartments above, besides many more which I could not see. The hundred doors I spoke of opened into gardens or store-houses full of riches, or into apartments which contained many things wonderful to be seen.

I saw a door standing open just before me, through which I entered into a large hall. Here I found forty young ladies of such perfect beauty as imagination could not surpass: they were all most sumptuously appareled. As soon as they saw me they arose, and without waiting my salutations, said to me, with demonstrations of joy, "Noble Sir, you are welcome." And one thus addressed me in the name of the rest, "We have long been in expectation of such a gentleman as you; your mien assures us, that you are master of all the good qualities we can desire; and we hope you will not find our company disagreeable or unworthy of yours."

They obliged me, notwithstanding all the opposition I could make, to sit down on a seat that was higher than their own; and when I expressed my uneasiness, "That is your place," said they, "you are at present our lord, master, and judge, and we are your slaves, ready to obey your commands."

Nothing, madam, so much astonished me, as the solicitude and eagerness of those fair ladies to do me all possible service. One brought hot water to wash my feet, a second poured sweet scented water on my hands; others brought me all kinds of necessaries, and change of apparel; others again brought in a magnificent collation; and the rest came with glasses in their hands to fill me delicious wines, all in good order, and in the most charming manner possible. I ate and drank; after which the ladies placed themselves about me, and desired an account of my travels. I gave them a full relation of my adventures, which lasted till night came on.

When I had finished my narrative to the forty ladies, some of them who sat nearest me staid to keep me company, whilst the rest, seeing it was dark, rose to fetch tapers. They brought a prodigious number, which by the wonderful light they emitted exhibited the resemblance of day, and they disposed them with so much taste as to produce the most beautiful effect possible.

Other ladies covered a table with dry fruits, sweetmeats, and everything proper to relish the liquor; a side-board was set out with several sorts of wine and other liquors. Some of the ladies brought in musical instruments, and when everything was ready, they invited me to sit down to supper. The ladies sat down with me, and we continued a long while at our repast. They that were to play upon the instruments and sing arose, and formed a most charming concert. The others began a kind of ball, and danced two and two, couple after couple, with admirable grace.

It was past midnight ere these amusements ended. At length one of the ladies said to me, "You are doubtless wearied by the journey you have taken to-day; it is time for you to retire to rest; your lodging is prepared: but before you depart choose which of us you like best to be your bedfellow." I answered, "That I knew not how to make my own choice, as they were all equally beautiful, witty, and worthy of my respects and service, and that I would not be guilty of so much incivility as to prefer one before another."

The lady who had spoken to me before answered, "We are very well satisfied of your civility, and find it is your fear to create jealousy among us that occasions your diffidence; but let not this hinder you. We assure you, that the good fortune of her whom you choose shall cause no feeling of the kind; for we are agreed among ourselves, that every one of us shall in her turn have the same honour; and when forty days are past, to begin again; therefore make your selection, and lose no time to take the repose you need." I was obliged to yield to their entreaties, and offered my hand to the lady who spoke, and who, in return, gave me hers. We were conducted to a sumptuous apartment, where they left us; and then every one retired to her own chamber.

I was scarcely dressed next morning, when the other thirty-nine ladies came into my chamber, all in different dresses from those they had worn the day before: they bade me good-morrow, and inquired after my health. After which they conveyed me to a bath, where they washed me themselves, and whether I would or no, served me with everything I needed; and when I came out of the bath, they made me put on another suit much richer than the former.

We passed the whole day almost constantly at table; and when it was bed-time, they prayed me again to make choice of one of them for my companion In short, madam, not to weary you with repetitions, I must tell you that I continued a whole year among those forty ladies, and received them into my bed one after another: and during all the time of this voluptuous life, we met not with the least kind of trouble. When the year was expired, I was greatly surprised that these forty ladies, instead of appearing with their usual cheerfulness to ask me how I did, entered my chamber one morning all in tears. They embraced me with great tenderness one after another, saying, "Adieu, dear prince, adieu! for we must leave you." Their tears affected. I prayed them to tell me the reason of their grief, and of the separation they spoke of. "Fair ladies, let me know," said I, "if it be in my power to comfort you, or if my assistance can be any way useful to you." Instead of returning a direct answer, "Would," said they, "we had never seen or known you! Several gentlemen have honoured us with their company before you; but never one of them had that comeliness, that sweetness, that pleasantness of humour, and that merit which you possess; we know not how to live without you." After they had spoken these words, they began to weep bitterly. "My dear ladies," said I, "have the kindness not to keep me any longer in suspense: tell me the cause of your sorrow." "Alas!" said they, "what but the necessity of parting from you could thus afflict us? Perhaps we shall never see you more; but if it be your wish we should, and if you possess sufficient self-command for the purpose, it is not impossible but that we may again enjoy the pleasure of your company." "Ladies," I replied, "I understand not what you mean; pray explain yourselves more clearly."

"Well," said one of them, "to satisfy you, we must acquaint you that we are all princesses, daughters of kings. We live here together in the manner you have seen; but at the end of every year we are obliged to be absent forty days upon indispensable duties, which we are not permitted to reveal: and afterwards we return again to this castle. Yesterday was the last of the year; to day we must leave you, and this circumstance is the cause of our grief. Before we depart we will leave you the keys of everything, especially those of the hundred doors, where you will find enough to satisfy your curiosity, and to relieve your solitude during our absence. But for your benefit, and our own personal interests, we recommend you to forbear opening the golden door; for if you do we shall never see you again; and the apprehension of this augments our grief. We hope, nevertheless, that you will attend to our advice; your own peace, and the happiness of your life, depends upon your compliance; therefore take heed. If you suffer yourself to be swayed by a foolish curiosity, you will do yourself a considerable injury. We conjure you to avoid the indiscretion, and to give us the satisfaction finding you here again at the end of forty days. We would willingly take the key of the golden door with us; but that it would be an affront to a prince like you to question your discretion and firmness."

This speech of the fair princesses grieved me extremely. I omitted not to declare how much their absence would afflict me. I thanked then for their good advice, assuring them that I would follow it, and expressed my willingness to perform what was much more difficult, to secure the happiness of passing the rest of my days with ladies of such beauty and accomplishments. We separated with much tenderness, and after I had embraced them all, they departed, and I remained alone in the castle.

The agreeableness of their company, their hospitality, their musical entertainments, and other amusements, had so much absorbed my attention during the whole year, that I neither had time nor desire to see the wonders contained in this enchanted palace. I did not even notice a thousand curious objects that every day offered themselves to my view, so much was I charmed by the beauty of those ladies, and the pleasure they seemed to take in promoting my gratification. Their departure sensibly afflicted me; and though their absence was to be only forty days, it seemed to me an age to live without them.

I determined not to forget the important advice they had given me, not to open the golden door; but as I was permitted to satisfy my curiosity in everything else, I took the first of the keys of the other doors, which were hung in regular order.

I opened the first door, and entered an orchard, which I believe the universe could not equal. I could not imagine any thing to surpass it, except that which our religion promises us after death. The symmetry, the neatness, the admirable order of the trees, the abundance and diversity of unknown fruits, their freshness and beauty, delighted my senses.

Nor must I omit to inform you, that this delicious orchard was watered in a very particular manner. There were channels so artificially and proportionately dug, that they carried water in considerable quantities to the roots of such trees as required much moisture. Others conveyed it in smaller quantities to those whose fruits were already formed: some carried still less to those whose fruits were swelling, and others carried only so much as was just requisite to water those which had their fruits come to perfection, and only wanted to be ripened. They far exceeded in size the ordinary fruits of our gardens. Lastly, those channels that watered the trees whose fruit was ripe had no more moisture than just what would preserve them from withering.

I should never have tired in examining and admiring so delightful a place; nor have left it, had I not conceived a still higher idea of the other things which I had not seen. I went out at last with my mind filled with the wonders I had viewed: I shut the door, and opened the next.

Instead of an orchard, I found here a flower garden, which was no less extraordinary in its kind. It contained a spacious plot, not watered so profusely as the former, but with greater niceness, furnishing no more water than just what each flower required. The roses, jessamines, violets, daffodils, hyacinths, anemonies, tulips, pinks, lilies, and an infinite number of flowers, which do not grow in other places but at certain times, were there flourishing all at once, and nothing could be more delicious than the fragrant smell which they emitted.

I opened the third door, and found a large aviary, paved with marble of several fine and uncommon colours. The trellis work was made of sandal wood and wood of aloes. It contained a vast number of nightingales, gold-finches, canary birds, larks, and other rare singing-birds, which I had never heard of; and the vessels that held their seed and water were of the most precious jasper or agate.

Besides, this aviary was so exceedingly neat, that, considering its extent, I judged there must be not less than a hundred persons to keep it clean; but all this while not one appeared, either here or in the gardens I had before examined; and yet I could not perceive a weed, or any thing superfluous or offensive to sight. The sun went down, and I retired, charmed with the chirping notes of the multitude of birds, who then began to perch upon such places as suited them for repose during the night. I went to my chamber, resolving on the following days to open all the rest of the doors, excepting that of gold.

The next day I opened the fourth door. If what I had seen before was capable of exciting my surprise, what I now beheld transported me into perfect ecstacy. I entered a large court surrounded with buildings of an admirable structure, the description of which I will omit, to avoid prolixity.

This building had forty doors, all open, and through each of them was an entrance into a treasury: several of these treasuries contained as much wealth as the largest kingdoms. The first was stored with heaps of pearls: and, what is almost incredible, the number of those stones which are most precious, and as large as pigeons' eggs, exceeded the number of those of the ordinary size. In the second treasury, there were diamonds, carbuncles, and rubies; in the third, emeralds; in the fourth, ingots of gold; in the fifth, money; in the sixth, ingots of silver; and in the two following, money. The rest contained amethysts, chrysolites, topazes, opals, turquoises, and hyacinths, with all the other stones known to us, without mentioning agate, jasper, cornelian, and coral, of which there was a store house filled, not only with branches, but whole trees.

Filled with astonishment and admiration at the view of all these riches, I exclaimed, "If all the treasures of the kings of the universe were gathered together in one place, they could not equal the value of these. How fortunate am I to possess all this wealth with so many admirable princesses!"

I will not tire you, madam, with a detail of all the other objects of curiosity and value which I discovered on the following day. I shall only say, that thirty-nine days afforded me but just as much time as was necessary to open ninety-nine doors, and to admire all that presented itself to my view, so that there was only the hundredth door left, which I was forbidden to open.

The fortieth day after the departure of those charming princesses arrived, and had I but retained so much self-command as I ought to have had, I should have been this day the happiest of all mankind, whereas now I am the most unfortunate. They were to return the next day, and the pleasure of seeing them again ought to have restrained my curiosity: but through my weakness, which I shall ever repent, I yielded to the temptations of the evil spirit, who allowed me no rest till I had involved myself in the misfortunes I have since suffered.

I opened that fatal door! But before I had moved my foot to enter, a smell pleasant enough, but too powerful for my senses, made me faint away. However, I soon recovered: but instead of taking warning from this incident to close the door, and restrain my curiosity, after waiting some time for the external air to correct the effluvia of the place, I entered, and felt myself no longer incommoded. I found myself in a spacious vaulted apartment, the pavement of which was strewed with saffron. It was illuminated by several large tapers which emitted the perfume of aloes and ambergris, and were placed in candlesticks of solid gold. This light was augmented by gold and silver lamps, burning perfumed oils of various kinds.

Among the many objects that attracted my attention was a black horse, of the most perfect symmetry and beauty that ever was beheld. I approached in order the better to observe him, and found he had on a saddle and bridle of massive gold, curiously wrought. One part of his manger was filled with clean barley and sesame, and the other with rose-water. I laid hold of his bridle, and led him out to view him by daylight. I mounted, and endeavoured to make him move: but finding he did not stir, I struck him with a switch I had taken up in his magnificent stable. He had no sooner felt the blow, than he began to neigh in a most horrible manner, and extending his wings, which I had not before perceived, flew up with me into the air. My thoughts were fully in keeping my seat; and considering the fear that had seized me, I sat well. At length he directed his course towards the earth, and lighted upon the terrace of a castle, and, without giving me time to dismount, shook me out of the saddle with such force, as to throw me behind him, and with the end of his tail he struck out my eye.

Thus it was I became blind of one eye. I then recollected the predictions of the ten young gentlemen. The horse again took wing, and soon disappeared. I got up much vexed at the misfortune I had brought upon myself. I walked upon the terrace, covering my eye with one of my hands, for it pained me exceedingly, and then descended, and entered into a hall. I soon discovered by the ten sofas in a circle, and the eleventh in the middle, lower than the rest, that I was in the castle whence I had been carried by the roc.

The ten young gentlemen were not in the hall when I entered; but came in soon after, attended by the old man. They seemed not at all surprised to see me, nor at the loss of my eye; but said, "We are sorry that we cannot congratulate you on your return, as we could wish; but we are not the cause of your misfortune." "I should do you wrong," I replied, "to lay it to your charge; I have only myself to accuse." "If," said they, "it be a subject of consolation to the afflicted to know that others share their sufferings, you have in us this alleviation of your misfortune. All that has happened to you we have also endured; we each of us tasted the same pleasures during a year; and we had still continued to enjoy them, had we not opened the golden door, when the princesses were absent. You have been no wiser than we, and have incurred the same punishment. We would gladly receive you into our company, to join with us in the penance to which we are bound, and the duration of which we know not. But we have already stated to you the reasons that render this impossible: depart, therefore, and proceed to the court of Bagdad, where you will meet with the person who is to decide your destiny." After they had explained to me the road I was to travel, I departed.

On the road I caused my beard and eye-brows to be shaven, and assumed a calender's habit. I have had a long journey, but at last I arrived this evening, and met these my brother calenders at the gate, being strangers as well as myself. We were mutually surprised at one another, to see that we were all blind of the same eye; but we had not leisure to converse long on the subject of our misfortunes. We have only had time enough to bring us hither, to implore those favours which you have been generously pleased to grant us.

The third calender having finished this relation of his adventures, Zobeide addressed him and his fellow calenders thus: "Go wherever you think proper, you are at liberty." But one of them answered, "Madam, we beg you to pardon our curiosity, and permit us to hear the stories of those gentlemen who have not yet spoken." Then the lady turned to the caliph, the vizier Jaaffier, and Mesrour, and said to them, "It is now your turn to relate your adventures, therefore speak."

The grand vizier who had all along been the spokesman, answered Zobeide: "Madam, in order to obey you, we need only repeat what we have already said. We are merchants of Moussol come to Bagdad to sell our merchandize, which lies in the khan where we lodge. We dined today with several other persons of our condition, at a merchant's house of this city; who, after he had treated us with choice dainties and excellent wines, sent for men and women dancers, and musicians. The great noise we made brought in the watch, who arrested some of the company, and we had the good fortune to escape: but it being already late, and the door of our khan shut up, we knew not whither to retire. We chanced as we passed along this street to hear mirth at your house, which made us determine to knock at your gate. This is all the account that we can give you, in obedience to your commands."

Zobeide having heard this statement, seemed to hesitate what to say, which the calenders perceiving, prayed her to grant the same favour to the three Moussol merchants as she had done to them. "Well then," said she, "you shall all be equally obliged to me; I pardon you all, provided you immediately depart."

Zobeide having given this command in a tone that signified she would be obeyed, the caliph, the vizier Mesrour, the three calenders, and the porter departed, without saying one word: for the presence of the seven slaves with their weapons awed them into silence. As soon as they had quitted the house, and the gate was closed after them, the caliph said to the calenders, without making himself known, "You gentlemen, who are newly come to town, which way do you design to go, since it is not yet day?" "It is this," they replied, "that perplexes us." "Follow us," resumed the caliph, "and we will convey you out of danger." He then whispered to the vizier, "Take them along with you, and tomorrow morning bring them to me; I will cause their history to be put in writing, for it deserves a place in the annals of my reign."

The vizier Jaaffier took the three calenders along with him; the porter went to his quarters, and the caliph and Mesrour returned to the palace. The caliph went to bed, but could not sleep, being perplexed by the extraordinary things he had seen and heard. But above all, he was most concerned to know the history of Zobeide; what reason she could have to be so severe to the two black bitches, and why Amene had her bosom so scarred. Day began to appear whilst he was thinking upon these things; he arose and went to his council chamber, and sat upon his throne.

The grand vizier entered soon after, and paid his respects as usual. "Vizier," said the caliph, "the affairs that we have to consider at present are not very pressing; that of the three ladies and the two black bitches is the most urgent: my mind cannot rest till I am thoroughly satisfied, in all those matters that have so much surprised me. Go, bring those ladies and the calenders at the same time; make haste, and remember that I impatiently expect your return."

The vizier who knew his master's quick and fiery temper, hastened to obey, and went to the ladies, to whom he communicated, in a civil way, the orders with which he was charged, to bring them before the caliph, without taking any notice of what had passed the night before at their house.

The ladies put on their veils, and went with the vizier As he passed his own house, he took along with him the three calenders, who in the interval had learnt that they had seen and spoken with the caliph, without knowing him. The vizier conducted them to the palace with so much expedition, that the caliph was much pleased. This prince, that he might observe proper decorum before the officers of his court who were then present, ordered that the ladies should be placed behind the hangings of the door which led to his own chamber, and placed the three calenders near his person, who, by their respectful behaviour, sufficiently evinced that they were not ignorant before whom they had the honour to appear.

When the ladies were thus disposed of, the caliph turned towards them, and said, "When I acquaint you that I was last night in your house, disguised in a merchant's habit, you may probably be alarmed, lest you may have given me offence; you may perhaps believe that I have sent for you for no other purpose than to shew some marks of my resentment; but be not afraid; you may rest assured that I have forgotten all that has past, and am well satisfied with your conduct. I wish that all the ladies of Bagdad had as much discretion as you evinced before me. I shall always remember the moderation with which you acted, after the rudeness of which we were guilty. I was then a merchant of Moussol, but am at present Haroon al Rusheed, the fifth caliph of the glorious house of Abbas, and hold the place of our great prophet. I have only sent for you to know who you are, and to ask for what reason one of you, after severely whipping the two black bitches, wept with them? And I am no less curious to know, why another of you has her bosom so full of scars."

Though the caliph pronounced these words very distinctly, the three ladies heard him well enough, yet the vizier out of ceremony, repeated them.

Zobeide, after the caliph by his address had encouraged her, began thus:






The Story of Zobeide


Commander of the faithful, the relation which I am about to give your majesty is singularly extraordinary. The two black bitches and myself are sisters by the same father and mother; and I shall acquaint you by what strange accident they came to be metamorphosed. The two ladies who live with me, and are now here, are also my sisters by the father's side, but by another mother: she that has the scars upon her breast is named Amene; the name of the other is Safie, and my own Zobeide.

After our father's death, the property that he left was equally divided among us, and as soon as these two sisters received their portions, they left me to live with their mother. My other two sisters and myself stayed with our mother, who was then alive, and who when she afterwards died left each of us a thousand sequins. As soon as we had received our portions, the two eldest (for I am the youngest) married, and left me alone. Some time after, my eldest sister's husband sold all that he had, and with that money and my sister's portion they went both into Africa, where her husband, by riotous living and debauchery' spent all; and finding himself reduced to poverty, found a pretext for divorcing my sister, and put her away.

She returned to this city, and having suffered incredible hardships by the way, came to me in so lamentable a condition that it would have moved the hardest heart to compassion to behold her. I received her with every possible tenderness, and inquiring into the cause of her distress, she told me with tears how inhumanly her husband had behaved towards her. Her misfortunes affected me: and I mingled my tears with hers. I took her to a bath, clothed her with my own apparel, and thus addressed her: "Sister, you are the elder, and I esteem you as my mother: during your absence, God has blest the portion that fell to my share, and the employment I follow of breeding silk-worms. Assure yourself there is nothing I have but is at your service, and as much at your disposal as my own."

We lived very comfortably together for some months. As we were one day conversing about our third sister, and wondering we received no intelligence of her, she came in as bad a condition as the eldest: her husband had treated her after the same manner; and I received her likewise with the same affection as I had done the former.

Some time after, my two sisters, on presence that they would not be chargeable to me, told me they intended to marry again. I observed, that if putting me to expense was the only reason, they might lay those thoughts aside, and be welcome to remain: for what I had would be sufficient to maintain us all three, in a manner answerable to our condition. "But," I added, "I rather believe you wish to marry again; I shall feel much surprised if such be the case. After the experience you have had of the little satisfaction there is in wedlock, is it possible you dare venture a second time? You know how rare it is to meet with a husband perfectly virtuous and deserving. Believe what I say, and let us live together as comfortably as we can." All my persuasion was in vain; they were resolved to marry, and soon accomplished their wishes. But after some months were past, they returned again, and begged my pardon a thousand times for not following my advice. "You are our youngest sister," said they, "but abundantly more wise than we; if you will vouchsafe to receive us once more into your house, and account us your slaves, we shall never commit a similar fault again." My answer was, "Dear sisters, I have not altered my mind with respect to you since we last parted: come again, and take part of what I have." Upon this I embraced them, and we lived together as before.

We continued thus a whole year in perfect love and harmony. Seeing that God had increased my small stock, I projected a voyage, to embark some of it in a commercial speculation. To this end, I went with my two sisters to Bussorah, where I bought a ship ready fitted for sea, and laded her with such merchandise as I had carried with me from Bagdad. We set sail with a fair wind, and soon cleared the Persian gulf; when we had reached the open sea, we steered our course to the Indies; and the twentieth day saw land. It was a very high mountain, at the bottom of which we perceived a great town: having a fresh gale, we soon reached the harbour, and cast anchor.

I had not patience to wait till my sisters were dressed to go along with me, but went ashore alone in the boat. Making directly to the gate of the town, I saw there a great number of men upon guard, some sitting, and others standing with sticks in their hands; and they had all such dreadful countenances that I was greatly alarmed; but perceiving they remained stationary, and did not so much as move their eyes, I took courage, and went nearer, when I found they were all turned into stones. I entered the town and passed through several streets, where at different intervals stood men in various attitudes, but all motionless and petrified. In the quarter inhabited by the merchants I found most of the shops shut, and in such as were open I likewise found the people petrified.

Having reached a vast square, in the heart of the city, I perceived a large folding gate, covered with plates of gold, which stood open; a curtain of silk stuff seemed to be drawn before it: a lamp hung over the entrance. After I had surveyed the building, I made no doubt but it was the palace of the prince who reigned over that country: and being much astonished that I had not met with one living creature, I approached in hopes to find some. I lifted up the curtain, and was surprised at beholding no one but the guards in the vestibule all petrified; some standing, some sitting, and some lying.

I came to a large court, where I saw before me a stately building, the windows of which were inclosed with gates of messy gold: I concluded it to be the queen's apartments. I entered; and in a large hall I found several black eunuchs turned into stone. I went from thence into a room richly furnished, where I perceived a lady in the same situation. I knew it to be the queen, by the crown of gold on her head, and a necklace of pearls about her neck, each of them as large as a nut; I approached her to have a nearer view of it, and never beheld a finer objets.

I stood some time admiring the riches and magnificence of the room; but above all, the carpet, the cushions, and the sofas, which were all ornamented with Indian stuff of gold, and representations of men and beasts in silver, admirably executed.

I quitted the chamber where the petrified queen was, and passed through several other apartments and closets richly furnished, and at last came into a large room, where there was a throne of massive gold, raised several steps above the floor, and enriched with large enchased emeralds, and upon the throne there was a bed of rich stuff embroidered with pearls. What surprised me most was a sparkling light which came from above the bed. Being curious to know whence it proceeded, I ascended the steps, and lifting up my head, saw a diamond as large as the egg of an ostrich, lying upon a low stool; it was so pure, that I could not find the least blemish in it, and it sparkled with so much brilliancy, that when I saw it by day-light I could not endure its lustre.

At the head of the bed there stood on each side a lighted flambeau, but for what use I could not comprehend; however, it made me imagine that there was some living creature in this place; for I could not believe that the torches continued thus burning of themselves. Several other rarities detained my curiosity in this room, which was inestimable in value, were it only for the diamond I mentioned.

The doors being all open, or but half shut, I surveyed some other apartments, that were as beautiful as those I had already seen. I looked into the offices and store-rooms, which were full of riches. In short, the wonders that everywhere appeared so wholly engrossed my attention, that I forgot my ship and my sisters, and thought of nothing but gratifying my curiosity. In the mean time night came on, which reminded me that it was time to retire. I proposed to return the way I had entered, but I could not find it; I lost myself among the apartments; and perceiving I was come back again to the large room, where the throne, the couch, the large diamond, and the torches stood, I resolved to take my night's lodging there, and to depart the next morning early, to get aboard my ship. I laid myself down upon a couch, not without some dread to be alone in a desolate place; and this fear hindered my sleep.

About midnight I heard a voice like that of a man reading the Koraun, after the same manner, and in the same tone as it is read in our mosques. Being extremely glad to hear it, I immediately arose, and taking a torch in my hand, passed from one chamber to another on that side from whence the sound proceeded. I came to the closet-door, and stood still, not doubting that it came from thence. I set down my torch upon the ground, and looking through a window, found it to be an oratory. It had, as we have in our mosques, a niche, to direct us whither we are to turn to say our prayers: there were also lamps hung up, and two candlesticks with large tapers of white wax burning.

I saw a little carpet laid down like those we have to kneel upon when we say our prayers, and a comely young man sat on this carpet reading with great devotion the Koraun, which lay before him on a desk. At this sight I was transported with admiration. I wondered how it came to pass that he should be the only living creature in a town where all the people were turned into stones, and I did not doubt but there was something in the circumstance very extraordinary.

The door being only half shut, I opened it, went in, and standing upright before the niche, I repeated this prayer aloud: "Praise be to God, who has favoured us with a happy voyage, and may he be graciously pleased to protect us in the same manner, until we arrive again in our own country. Hear me, O Lord, and grant my request."

The young man turned his eyes towards me, and said, "My good lady, pray let me know who you are, and what has brought you to this desolate city? And, in return, I will you who I am, what has happened to me, why the inhabitants of this city are reduced to the state you see them in, and why I alone am safe in the midst of such a terrible disaster."

I told him in a few words whence I had come, what had made me undertake the voyage, and how I safely arrived at the port after twenty days' sailing; when I had done, I prayed him to perform his promise, and told him how much I was struck by the frightful desolation which I had seen in the city.

"Lady," said the young man, "have patience for a moment." At these words he shut the Koraun, put it into a rich case, and laid it in the niche. I took that opportunity to observe him, and perceiving in him so much good nature and beauty, I felt emotions I had never known before. He made me sit down by him, and before he began his discourse, I could not forbear saying, with an air that discovered the sentiments I felt, "Amiable sir, dear object of my soul, I can scarcely have patience to wait for an account of all these wonderful objects that I have seen since I came into your city; and my curiosity cannot be satisfied too soon: therefore pray, sir, let me know by what miracle you alone are left alive among so many persons that have died in so strange a manner."

"Madam," said the young man, "by the prayer you just now addressed to him, you have given me to understand that you have a knowledge of the true God. I will acquaint you with the most remarkable effect of his greatness and power. You must know, that this city was the metropolis of a mighty kingdom, over which the sultan my father reigned. That prince, his whole court, the inhabitants of the city, and all his other subjects, were magi, worshippers of fire, and of Nardoun, the ancient king of the giants, who rebelled against God.

"But though I was born of an idolatrous father and mother, I had the good fortune in my youth to have a governess who was a good Moosulmaun. 'Dear prince,' would she oftentimes say, 'there is but one true God; take heed that you do not acknowledge and adore any other.' She taught me to read Arabic, and the book she gave me to study was the Koraun. As soon as I was capable of understanding it, she explained to me all the passages of this excellent book, and infused piety into my mind, unknown to my father or any other person. She happened to die, but not before she had perfectly instructed me in all that was necessary to convince me of the truth of the Moosulmaun religion. After her death I persisted with constancy in the belief of its divinity: and I abhor the false god Nardoun, and the adoration of fire.

"About three years and some months ago, a thundering voice was suddenly sounded so distinctly, through the whole city, that nobody could miss hearing it. The words were these: 'Inhabitants, abandon the worship of Nardoun, and of fire, and worship the only God who shews mercy.'

"This voice was heard three years successively, but no one was converted. On the last day of that year, at four o'clock in the morning, all the inhabitants were changed in an instant into stone, every one in the condition and posture they happened to be in. The sultan, my father, shared the same fate, for he was metamorphosed into a black stone, as he is to be seen in this palace, and the queen, my mother, had the like destiny.

"I am the only person who did not suffer under that heavy judgment, and ever since I have continued to serve God with more fervency than before. I am persuaded, dear lady, that he has sent you hither for my comfort, for which I render him infinite thanks; for I must own that this solitary life is extremely irksome."

All these expressions, and particularly the last, greatly increased my love for him. "Prince," said I, "there is no doubt but Providence has brought me into your port, to afford you an opportunity of withdrawing from this dismal place. The ship I came in may serve in some measure to convince you that I am in some esteem at Bagdad, where I have left considerable property; and I dare engage to promise you sanctuary there, until the mighty commander of the faithful, vicegerent to our prophet whom you acknowledge, shew you the honour that is due to your merit. This renowned prince lives at Bagdad, and as soon as he is informed of your arrival in his capital, you will find that it is not in vain to implore his assistance. It is impossible you can stay any longer in a city where all the objects you behold must renew your grief: my vessel is at your service, where you may absolutely command as you shall think fit." He accepted the offer, and we conversed the remainder of the night concerning our embarkation.

As soon as it was day we left the palace, and went aboard my ship, where we found my sisters, the captain, and the slaves, all much troubled at my absence. After I had presented my sisters to the prince, I told them what had hindered my return the day before, how I had met with the young prince, his story, and the cause of the desolation of so fine a city.

The seamen were taken up several days in unlading the merchandize I brought with me, and embarking in its stead all the precious things in the palace, such as jewels, gold, and money. We left the furniture and goods, which consisted of an infinite quantity of plate, etc., because our vessel could not carry it, for it would have required several vessels more to convey to Bagdad all the riches that we might have chosen to take with us.

After we had laden the vessel with what we thought most desirable, we took such provisions and water aboard as were necessary for our voyage (for we had still a great deal of those provisions left that we had taken in at Bussorah); at last we set sail with a wind as favourable as we could wish.

The young prince, my sisters and myself, enjoyed ourselves for some time very agreeably. But alas! this good understanding did not last long, for my sisters grew jealous of the friendship between the prince and myself, and maliciously asked me one day, what we should do with him when we came to Bagdad? I perceived immediately that they put this question on purpose to discover my inclinations; therefore, resolving to put it off with a jest, I answered, "I will take him for my husband;" and upon that, turning myself to the prince, said, "Sir, I humbly beg of you to give your consent, for as soon as we come to Bagdad I desire to offer you my person to be your slave, to do you all the service that is in my power, and to resign myself wholly to your commands."

The prince replied, "I know not, madam, whether you be in jest or no; but for my part, I seriously declare before these ladies, your sisters, that from this moment I heartily accept your offer, not with any intention to have you as a slave, but as my lady and mistress: nor will I pretend to have any power over your actions." At these words my sisters changed colour, and I could perceive afterwards that they did not love me as before.

We entered the Persian gulf, and had come within a short distance of Bussorah (where I hoped, considering the fair wind, we might have arrived the day following), when in the night, while I was asleep, my sisters watched their opportunity, and threw me overboard. They did the same to the prince, who was drowned. I floated some minutes on the water, and by good fortune, or rather miracle, I felt ground. I went towards a dark spot, that, by what I could discern, seemed to be land, and proved to be a flat on the coast, which, when day appeared, I found to be a desert island, lying about twenty miles from Bussorah. I soon dried my clothes in the sun, and as I walked along I found several kinds of fruit, and likewise fresh water, which gave me some hopes of preserving my life.

I had just laid myself down to rest in a shade, when I perceived a very large winged serpent coming towards me, with an irregular waving movement, and hanging out its tongue, which induced me to conclude it had received some injury. I instantly arose, and perceived that it was pursued by a larger serpent which had hold of its tail, and was endeavouring to devour it. This perilous situation of the first serpent excited my pity, and instead of retreating I assumed courage to take up a stone that lay near me, and to throw it with all my strength at the other, which I hit upon the head and killed. The other, finding itself at liberty, took wing and flew away. I looked after it for some time till it disappeared. I then sought another shady spot for repose, and fell asleep.

Judge what was my surprise when I awoke, to see standing by me a black woman of lively and agreeable features, who held in her hand two bitches of the same colour, fastened together. I sat up, and asked her who she was? "I am," said she, "the serpent whom you lately delivered from my mortal enemy. I did not know in what way I could better requite the important services you have rendered me than by what I have just done. The treachery of your sisters was well known to me, and to avenge your wrongs, as soon as I was liberated by your generous assistance, I called together several of my companions, fairies like myself, conveyed into your storehouses at Bagdad all the lading of your vessel, and afterwards sunk it.

"These two black bitches are your sisters, whom I have transformed into this shape. But this punishment will not suffice; and my will is that you treat them hereafter in the way I shall direst."

As soon as she had thus spoken the fairy took me under one of her arms, and the two bitches under the other, and conveyed us to my house in Bagdad; where I found in my storehouses all the riches with which my vessel had been laden. Before she left me, she delivered to me the two bitches, and said, "If you would not be changed into a similar form, I command you, in the name of him that governs the sea, to give each of your sisters every night one hundred lashes with a rod, as the punishment of the crime they have committed against yourself, and the young prince, whom they have drowned." I was forced to promise obedience. Since that time I have whipped them every night, though with regret, whereof your majesty has been a witness. My tears testify with how much sorrow and reluctance I perform this painful duty; and in this your majesty may see I am more to be pitied than blamed. If there be any thing else relating to myself that you desire to know, my sister Amene will give you full information in the relation of her story.

After the caliph had heard Zobeide with much astonishment, he desired his grand vizier to request Amene to acquaint him wherefore her breast was disfigured with so many scars.

Amene addressed herself to the caliph, and began her story after this manner:






The Story of Amene


Commander of the faithful, to avoid repeating what your majesty has already heard in my sister's story, I shall only add, that after my mother had taken a house for herself to live in, during her widowhood, she gave me in marriage, with the portion my father left me, to a gentleman who had one of the best estates in the city.

I had scarcely been a year married when I became a widow, and was left in possession of all my husband's property, which amounted to 90,000 sequins. The interest of this money was sufficient to maintain me very honourably. When the first six months of my mourning was over, I caused to be made for me ten different dresses, of such magnificence that each came to a thousand sequins; and at the end of the year I began to wear them.

One day, while I was alone engaged in my domestic affairs, I was told that a lady desired to speak to me. I gave orders that she should be admitted. She was a person advanced in years; she saluted me by kissing the ground, and said to me kneeling, "Dear lady, excuse the freedom I take to trouble you, the confidence I have in your charity makes me thus bold. I must acquaint your ladyship that I have an orphan daughter, who is to be married this day. She and I are both strangers, and have no acquaintance in this town; which much perplexes me, for we wish the numerous family with whom we are going to ally ourselves to think we are not altogether unknown and without credit: therefore, most beautiful lady, if you would vouchsafe to honour the wedding with your presence, we shall be infinitely obliged, because the ladies of our country, when informed that a lady of your rank has strewn us this respect, will then know that we are not regarded here as unworthy and despised persons. But, alas! madam, if you refuse this request, how great will be our mortification! we know not where else to apply."

This poor woman's address, which she spoke with tears, moved my compassion. "Good woman," said I, "do not afflict yourself, I will grant you the favour you desire; tell me whither I must go, and I will meet you as soon as I am dressed." The old woman was so transported with joy at my answer, that she kissed my feet before I had time to prevent her. "My compassionate lady," said she, rising, "God will reward the kindness you have shewed to your servants, and make your heart as joyful as you have made theirs. You need not at present trouble yourself; it will be time enough for you to go when I call for you in the evening. So farewell, madam, till I have the honour to see you again."

As soon as she was gone, I took the suit I liked best, with a necklace of large pearls, bracelets, pendents for my ears, and rings set with the finest and most sparkling diamonds; for my mind presaged what would befall me.

When the night closed in, the old woman called upon me, with a countenance full of joy. She kissed my hands, and said, "My dear lady, the relations of my son-in-law, who are the principal ladies of the city, are now met together; you may come when you please; I am ready to conduct you." We immediately set out; she walked before me, and I was followed by a number of my women and slaves properly dressed for the occasion. We stopt in a wide street, newly swept and watered, at a spacious gate with a lamp, by the light of which I read this inscription in golden letters over the entrance: "This is the everlasting abode of pleasure and joy." The old woman knocked, and the gate was opened immediately.

I was conducted towards the lower end of the court, into a large hall, where I was received by a young lady of admirable beauty. She drew near, and after having embraced me, made me sit down by her upon a sofa, on which was raised a throne of precious wood set with diamonds. "Madam," said she, "you are brought hither to assist at a wedding; but I hope it will be a different wedding from what you expected. I have a brother, one of the handsomest men in the world: he is fallen so much in love with the fame of your beauty, that his fate depends wholly upon you, and he will be the unhappiest of men if you do not take pity on him. He knows your quality, and I can assure you he is in no respect unworthy of your alliance. If my prayers, madam, can prevail, I shall join them with his, and humbly beg you will not refuse the proposal of being his wife."

After the death of my husband I had not thought of marrying again. But I had no power to refuse the solicitation of so charming a lady. As soon as I had given consent by my silence, accompanied with a blush, the young lady claps her hands, and immediately a closet-door opened, out of which came a young man of a majestic air, and so graceful a behaviour, that I thought myself happy to have made so great a conquest. He sat down by me, and I found from his conversation that his merits far exceeded the eulogium of his sister.

When she perceived that we were satisfied with one another, she claps her hands a second time, and out came a Cauzee, who wrote our contract of marriage, signed it himself, and caused it to be attested by four witnesses he brought along with him. The only condition that my new husband imposed upon me was, that I should not be seen by nor speak to any other man but himself, and he vowed to me that, if I complied in this respect, I should have no reason to complain of him. Our marriage was concluded and finished after this manner; so I became the principal actress in a wedding to which I had only been invited as a guest.

About a month after our marriage, having occasion for some stuffs, I asked my husband's permission to go out to buy them, which he granted; and I took with me the old woman of whom I spoke before, she being one of the family, and two of my own female slaves.

When we came to the street where the merchants reside, the old woman said, "Dear mistress, since you want silk stuffs, I must take you to a young merchant of my acquaintance, who has a great variety; and that you may not fatigue yourself by running from shop to shop, I can assure you that you will find in his what no other can furnish." I was easily persuaded, and we entered a shop belonging to a young merchant who was tolerably handsome. I sat down, and bade the old woman desire him to shew me the finest silk stuffs he had. The woman desired me to speak myself; but I told her it was one of the articles of my marriage contract not to speak to any man but my husband, which I ought to keep.

The merchant shewed me several stuffs, of which one pleased me better than the rest; but I bade her ask the price. He answered the old woman, "I will not sell it for gold or money, but I will make her a present of it, if she will give me leave to kiss her cheek." I ordered the old woman to tell him, that he was very rude to propose such a freedom. But instead of obeying me, she said, "What the merchant desires of you is no such great matter; you need not speak, but only present him your cheek." The stuff pleased me so much, that I was foolish enough to take her advice. The old woman and my slaves stood up, that nobody might see, and I put up my veil; but instead of kissing me, the merchant bit me so violently as to draw blood.

The pain and my surprise were so great, that I fell down in a swoon, and continued insensible so long, that the merchant had time to escape. When I came to myself, I found my cheek covered with blood: the old woman and my slaves took care to cover it with my veil, that the people who came about us could not perceive it, but supposed I had only had a fainting fit.

The old woman who accompanied me being extremely troubled at this accident, endeavoured to comfort me. "My dear mistress," said she, "I beg your pardon, for I am the cause of this misfortune, having brought you to this merchant, because he is my countryman: but I never thought he would be guilty of such a villainous action. But do not grieve; let us hasten home, I will apply a remedy that shall in three days so perfectly cure you, that not the least mark shall be visible." The fit had made me so weak, that I was scarcely able to walk. But at last I got home, where I again fainted, as I went into my chamber. Meanwhile, the old woman applied her remedy; I came to myself, and went to bed.

My husband came to me at night, and seeing my head bound up, asked me the reason. I told him I had the head-ache, which I hoped would have satisfied him, but he took a candle, and saw my cheek was hurt: "How comes this wound?" said he. Though I did not consider myself as guilty of any great offence, yet I could not think of owning the truth. Besides, to make such an avowal to a husband, I considered as somewhat indecorous; I therefore said, "That as I was going, under his permission, to purchase some silk stuff, a porter, carrying a load of wood, came so near to me, in a narrow street, that one of the sticks grazed my cheek; but had not done me much hurt." This account put my husband into a violent passion. "This act," said he, "shall not go unpunished. I will to-morrow order the lieutenant of the police to seize all those brutes of porters, and cause them to be hanged." Fearful of occasioning the death of so many innocent persons, I said, "Sir, I should be sorry so great a piece of injustice should be committed. Pray refrain; for I should deem myself unpardonable, were I to be the cause of so much mischief." "Then tell me sincerely," said he, "how came you by this wound." I answered, "That it was occasioned by the inadvertency of a broom-seller upon an ass, who coming behind me, while he was looking another way, his ass came against me with so much violence, that I fell down, and hurt my cheek upon some glass." "If that is the case," said my husband, "to-morrow morning, before sun-rise, the grand vizier Jaaffier shall be informed of this insolence, and cause all the broom-sellers to be put to death." "For the love of God, Sir," said I, "let me beg of you to pardon them, for they are not guilty." "How, madam," he demanded, "what then am I to believe? Speak, for I am resolved to know the truth from your own mouth." "Sir," I replied, "I was taken with a giddiness, and fell down, and that is the whole matter."

At these words my husband lost all patience. "I have," said he, "too long listened to your falsehoods." As he spoke he clapped his hands, and in came three slaves: "Pull her out of bed," said he, "and lay her in the middle of the floor." The slaves obeyed, one holding me by the head, another by the feet; he commanded the third to fetch a cimeter, and when he had brought it, "Strike," said he, "cut her in two, and then throw her into the Tygris. This is the punishment I inflict on those to whom I have given my heart, when they falsify their promise." When he saw that the slave hesitated to obey him, "Why do you not strike?" said he. "What do you wait for?"

"Madam," said the slave then, "you are near the last moment of your life, consider if you have any thing to dispose of before you die." I begged permission to speak one word, which was granted me. I lifted up my head, and casting an affectionate look on my husband, said, "Alas! to what a condition am I reduced! must I then die in the prime of my youth!" I could say no more, for my tears and sighs choked my utterance. My husband was not at all moved, but, on the contrary, went on to reproach me; and it would have been in vain to attempt a reply. I had recourse to intreaties and prayers; but he had no regard to them, and commanded the slaves to proceed to execution. The old woman, who had been his nurse, came in just at that moment, fell down upon her knees, and endeavoured to appease his wrath. "My son," said she, "since I have been your nurse and brought you up, let me beg the favour of you to grant me her life. Consider, that he who kills shall be killed, and that you will stain your reputation, and forfeit the esteem of mankind. What will the world say of such sanguinary violence?" She spoke these words in such an affecting manner, accompanied with tears, that she prevailed upon him at last to abandon his purpose.

"Well then," said he to his nurse, "for your sake I will spare her life; but she shall bear about her person some marks to make her remember her offence." When he had thus spoken, one of the slaves, by his order, gave me upon my sides and breast so many blows, with a little cane, that he tore away both skin and flesh, which threw me into a swoon. In this state he caused the same slaves, the executioners of his fury, to carry me into a house, where the old woman took care of me. I kept my bed four months; at last I recovered: the scars which, contrary to my wish, you saw yesterday, have remained ever since.

As soon as I was able to walk, and go abroad, I resolved to retire to the house which was left me by my first husband, but I could not find the site whereon it had stood. My second husband, in the heat of his resentment, was not satisfied with the demolition of that, but caused every other house in the same street to be razed to the ground. I believe such an act of violence was never heard of before; but against whom could I complain? The perpetrator had taken good care to conceal himself. But suppose I had discovered him, is it not easily seen that his conduct must have proceeded from absolute power? How then could I dare to complain?

Being left thus destitute and helpless, I had recourse to my dear sister Zobeide, whose adventures your majesty has just heard. To her I made known my misfortune; she received me with her accustomed goodness, and advised me to bear my ambition patience. "This is the way of the world," said she, "which either robs us of our property, our friends, or our lovers; and some times of all together." In confirmation of her remark, she at the same time gave me an account of the loss of the young prince, occasioned by the jealousy of her two sisters. She told me also by what accident they were transformed into bitches: and in the last place, after a thousand testimonials of her love towards me, she introduced me to my youngest sister, who had likewise taken sanctuary with her after the death of her mother.

Having returned our grateful acknowledgments to God for having thus brought us together, we resolved to preserve our freedom, and never again to separate. We have now long enjoyed this tranquil life. As it was my business to manage the affairs of the house, I always took pleasure in going myself to purchase what we wanted. I happened to go abroad yesterday for this purpose, and the things I bought I caused to be carried home by a porter, who proving to be a sensible and jocose fellow, we kept with us for a little diversion. Three calenders happened to come to our door as it began to grow dark, and prayed us to give them shelter till the next morning We admitted them upon certain conditions which they agreed to observe; and after we had made them sit at table with us, they in their own way entertained us with a concert of music. At this time we heard knocking at our gate. This proceeded from three merchants of Moussol, men of good appearance, who begged the same favour which the calenders had obtained before. We consented upon the same conditions, but neither of them kept their promise. Though we had power, as well as justice on our side, to punish them, yet we contented ourselves with demanding from them the history of their lives; and afterwards confined our revenge to dismissing them, after they had done, and denying them the asylum they requested.

The caliph was well pleased to be thus informed of what he desired to know; and publicly expressed his admiration of what he had heard.

The caliph having satisfied his curiosity, thought himself obliged to shew his generosity to the calender princes, and also to give the three ladies some proof of his bounty. He himself, without making use of his minister, the grand vizier, spoke to Zobeide. "Madam, did not this fairy, that shewed herself to you in the shape of a serpent, and imposed such a rigorous command upon you, tell you where her place of abode was? Or rather, did she not promise to see you, and restore those bitches to their natural shape?"

"Commander of the faithful," answered Zobeide, "I forgot to tell your majesty that the fairy left with me a bundle of hair, saying, that her presence would one day be of use to me; and then, if I only burnt two tufts of this hair, she would be with me in a moment, though she were beyond mount Caucasus." "Madam," demanded the caliph, "where is the bundle of hair?" She answered, "Ever since that time I have been so careful of it, that I always carry it about me." Upon which she pulled it out, opened the case which contained it, and shewed it to him. "Well then," said the caliph, "let us bring the fairy hither; you could not call her in a better time, for I long to see her."

Zobeide having consented, fire was brought in, and she threw the whole bundle of hair into it. The palace at that instant began to shake, and the fairy appeared before the caliph in the form of a lady very richly dressed.

"Commander of the faithful," said she to the prince, "you see I am ready to receive your commands. The lady who gave me this call by your order did me essential service. To evince my gratitude, I revenged her of her sisters' inhumanity, by changing them to bitches; but if your majesty commands me, I will restore them to their former shape."

"Generous fairy," replied the caliph, "you cannot do me a greater pleasure; vouchsafe them that favour, and I will find some means to comfort them for their hard penance. But besides, I have another boon to ask in favour of that lady, who has had such cruel usage from an unknown husband. As you undoubtedly know all things, oblige me with the name of this barbarous wretch, who could not be contented to exercise his outrageous and unmanly cruelty upon her person, but has also most unjustly taken from her all her substance. I only wonder how such an unjust and inhuman action could be performed under my authority, and even in my residence, without having come to my knowledge."

"To oblige your majesty," answered the fairy, "I will restore the two bitches to their former state, and I will so cure the lady of her scars, that it shall never appear she was so beaten; and I will also tell you who it was that abused her."

The caliph sent for the two bitches from Zobeide's house, and when they came, a glass of water was brought to the fairy by her desire. She pronounced over it some words which nobody understood; then throwing some part of it upon Amene, and the rest upon the bitches, the latter became two ladies of surprising beauty, and the scars that were upon Amene disappeared. After which the fairy said to the caliph, "Commander of the faithful, I must now discover to you the unknown husband you enquire after. He is very nearly related to yourself, for it is prince Amin, your eldest son, who falling passionately in love with this lady from the fame of her beauty, by stratagem had her brought to his house, where he married her. As to the blows he caused to be given her, he is in some measure excusable; for the lady his spouse had been a little too easy, and the excuses she had made were calculated to lead him to believe she was more faulty than she really was. This is all I can say to satisfy your curiosity." At these words she saluted the caliph, and vanished.

The prince being filled with admiration, and having much satisfaction in the changes that had happened through his means, acted in such a manner as will perpetuate his memory to all ages. First, he sent for his son Amin, told him that he was informed of his secret marriage, and how he had ill-treated Amene upon a very slight cause. Upon this the prince did not wait for his father's commands, but received her again immediately.

After which the caliph declared that he would give his own heart and hand to Zobeide, and offered the other three sisters to the calenders, sons of sultans, who accepted them for their brides with much joy. The caliph assigned each of them a magnificent palace in the city of Bagdad, promoted them to the highest dignities of his empire, and admitted them to his councils.

The chief Cauzee of Bagdad being called, with witnesses, wrote the contracts of marriage; and the caliph in promoting by his patronage the happiness of many persons who had suffered such incredible calamities, drew a thousand blessings upon himself.






The Story of Sinbad the Voyager


In the reign of the same caliph Haroun al Rusheed, whom I have already mentioned, there lived at Bagdad a poor porter called Hindbad. One day, when the weather was excessively hot, he was employed to carry a heavy burden from one end of the town to the other. Being much fatigued, and having still a great way to go, he came into a street where a refreshing breeze blew on his face, and the pavement was sprinkled with rose-water. As he could not desire a better place to rest and recruit himself, he took off his load and sat upon it, near a large mansion.

He was much pleased that he stopped in this place; for the agreeable smell of wood of aloes, and of pastils that came from the house, mixing with the scent of the rose-water, completely perfumed and embalmed the air. Besides, he heard from within a concert of instrumental music, accompanied with the harmonious notes of nightingales, and other birds, peculiar to the climate. This charming melody, and the smell of several sorts of savoury dishes, made the porter conclude there was a feast, with great rejoicings within. His business seldom leading him that way, he knew not to whom the mansion belonged; but to satisfy his curiosity, he went to some of the servants, whom he saw standing at the gate in magnificent apparel, and asked the name of the proprietor. "How," replied one of them, "do you live in Bagdad, and know not that this is the house of Sinbad, the sailor, that famous voyager, who has sailed round the world?" The porter, who had heard of this Sinbad's riches, could not but envy a man whose condition he thought to be as happy as his own was deplorable: and his mind being fretted with these reflections, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said loud enough to be heard, "Almighty creator of all things, consider the difference between Sinbad and me! I am every day exposed to fatigues and calamities, and can scarcely get coarse barley-bread for myself and my family, whilst happy Sinbad profusely expends immense riches, and leads a life of continual pleasure. What has he done to obtain from thee a lot so agreeable? And what have I done to deserve one so wretched?" Having finished his expostulation, he struck his foot against the ground, like a man absorbed in grief and despair.

Whilst the porter was thus indulging his melancholy, a servant came out of the house, and taking him by the arm, bade him follow him, for Sinbad, his master, wanted to speak to him.

Sir, your majesty may easily imagine, that the repining Hindbad was not a little surprised at this compliment. For, considering what he had said, he was afraid Sinbad had sent for him to punish him: therefore he would have excused himself, alleging, that he could not leave his burden in the middle of the street. But Sinbad's servants assured him they would look to it, and were so urgent with him, that he was obliged to yield.

The servants brought him into a great hall, where a number of people sat round a table, covered with all sorts of savoury dishes. At the upper end sat a comely venerable gentleman, with a long white beard, and behind him stood a number of officers and domestics, all ready to attend his pleasure. This personage was Sinbad. The porter, whose fear was increased at the sight of so many people, and of a banquet so sumptuous, saluted the company trembling. Sinbad bade him draw near, and seating him at his right hand, served him himself, and gave him excellent wine, of which there was abundance upon the sideboard.

When the repast was over, Sinbad addressed his conversation to Hindbad; and calling him brother, according to the manner of the Arabians, when they are familiar one with another, enquired his name and employment.

"My lord," answered he, "my name is Hindbad." "I am very glad to see you," replied Sinbad; "and I daresay the same on behalf of all the company: but I wish to hear from your own mouth what it was you lately said in the street." Sinbad had himself heard the porter complain through the window, and this it was that induced him to have him brought in.

At this request, Hindbad hung down his head in confusion, and replied, "My lord, I confess that my fatigue put me out of humour, and occasioned me to utter some indiscreet words, which I beg you to pardon." "Do not think I am so unjust," resumed Sinbad, "as to resent such a complaint. I consider your condition, and instead of upbraiding, commiserate you. But I must rectify your error concerning myself. You think, no doubt, that I have acquired, without labour and trouble, the ease and indulgence which I now enjoy. But do not mistake; I did not attain to this happy condition, without enduring for several years more trouble of body and mind than can well be imagined. Yes, gentlemen," he added, speaking to the whole company, "I can assure you, my troubles were so extraordinary, that they were calculated to discourage the most covetous from undertaking such voyages as I did, to acquire riches. Perhaps you have never heard a distinct account of my wonderful adventures, and the dangers I encountered, in my seven voyages; and since I have this opportunity, I will give you a faithful account of them, not doubting but it will be acceptable."

As Sinbad wished to relate his adventures chiefly on the porter's account, he ordered his burden to be carried to the place of its destination, and then proceeded.






The First Voyage


I inherited from my father considerable property, the greater part of which I squandered in my youth in dissipation; but I perceived my error, and reflected that riches were perishable, and quickly consumed by such ill managers as myself. I farther considered, that by my irregular way of living I wretchedly misspent my time; which is, of all things, the most valuable. I remembered the saying of the great Solomon, which I had frequently heard from my father; That death is more tolerable than poverty. Struck with these reflections, I collected the remains of my fortune, and sold all my effects by public auction. I then entered into a contract with some merchants, who traded by sea. I took the advice of such as I thought most capable of assisting me: and resolving to improve what money I had, I went to Bussorah, and embarked with several merchants on board a ship which we had jointly fitted out.

We set sail, and steered our course towards the Indies, through the Persian gulf, which is formed by the coasts of Arabia Felix on the right, and by those of Persia on the left, and, according to common opinion is seventy leagues wide at the broadest place. The eastern sea, as well as that of the Indies, is very spacious. It is bounded on one side by the coasts of Abyssinia, and is 4,500 leagues in length to the isles of Vakvak. At first I was troubled with the sea-sickness, but speedily recovered my health, and was not afterwards subject to that complaint.

In our voyage we touched at several islands, where we sold or exchanged our goods. One day, whilst under sail, we were becalmed near a small island, but little elevated above the level of the water, and resembling a green meadow. The captain ordered his sails to be furled, and permitted such persons as were so inclined to land; of this number I was one.

But while we were enjoying ourselves in eating and drinking, and recovering ourselves from the fatigue of the sea, the island on a sudden trembled, and shook us terribly.

The trembling of the island was perceived on board the ship, and we were called upon to re-embark speedily, or we should all be lost; for what we took for an island proved to be the back of a sea monster. The nimblest got into the sloop, others betook themselves to swimming; but for myself I was still upon the back of the creature, when he dived into the sea, and I had time only to catch hold of a piece of wood that we had brought out of the ship to make a fire. Meanwhile, the captain, having received those on board who were in the sloop, and taken up some of those that swam, resolved to improve the favourable gale that had just risen, and hoisting his sails pursued his voyage, so that it was impossible for me to recover the ship.

Thus was I exposed to the mercy of the waves. I struggled for my life all the rest of the day and the following night. By this time I found my strength gone, and despaired of saving my life, when happily a wave threw me against an island, The bank was high and rugged; so that I could scarcely have got up, had it not been for some roots of trees, which fortune seemed to have preserved in this place for my safety. Having reached the land, I lay down upon the ground half dead, until the sun appeared. Then, though I was very feeble, both from hard labour and want of food, I crept along to find some herbs fit to eat, and had the good luck not only to procure some, but likewise to discover a spring of excellent water, which contributed much to recover me. After this I advanced farther into the island, and at last reached a fine plain, where at a great distance I perceived a horse feeding. I went towards it, fluctuating between hope and fear, for I knew not whether in advancing I was more likely to endanger or to preserve my life. As I approached, I perceived it to be a very fine mare, tied to a stake. Whilst I was admiring its beauty, I heard from beneath the voice of a man, who immediately appeared, and asked me who I was? I related to him my adventure, after which, taking me by the hand, he led me into a cave, where there were several other people, no less amazed to see me than I was to see them.

I partook of some provisions which they offered me. I then asked them what they did in such a desert place? to which they answered, that they were grooms belonging to Maha-raja, sovereign of the island; that every year, at the same season, they brought thither the king's mares, and fastened them as I had seen, until they were covered by a sea-horse, who afterwards endeavoured to destroy the mares; but was prevented by their noise, and obliged to return to the sea. The mares when in foal were taken back, and the horses thus produced were kept for the king's use, and called seahorses. They added, that they were to return home on the morrow, and had I been one day later, I must have perished, because the inhabited part of the island was at a great distance, and it would have been impossible for me to have got thither without a guide.

While they entertained me thus, the horse came out of the sea, as they had told me, covered the mare, and afterwards would have devoured her; but upon a great noise made by the grooms, he left her, and plunged into the sea.

Next morning they returned with their mares to the capital of the island, took me with them, and presented me to the Maha-raja. He asked me who I was, and by what adventure I had come into his dominions? After I had satisfied him, he told me he was much concerned for my misfortune, and at the same time ordered that I should want nothing; which commands his officers were so generous and careful as to see exactly fulfilled.

Being a merchant, I frequented men of my own profession, and particularly enquired for those who were strangers, that perchance I might hear news from Bagdad, or find an opportunity to return. For the Maha-raja's capital is situated on the sea-coast, and has a fine harbour, where ships arrive daily from the different quarters of the world. I frequented also the society of the learned Indians, and took delight to hear them converse; but withal, I took care to make my court regularly to the Maha-raja, and conversed with the governors and petty kings, his tributaries, that were about him. They put a thousand questions respecting my country; and I being willing to inform myself as to their laws and customs, asked them concerning every thing which I thought worth knowing.

There belongs to this king an island named Cassel. They assured me that every night a noise of drums was heard there, whence the mariners fancied that it was the residence of Degial. I determined to visit this wonderful place, and in my way thither saw fishes of 100 and 200 cubits long, that occasion more fear than hurt; for they are so timorous, that they will fly upon the rattling of two sticks or boards. I saw likewise other fish about a cubit in length, that had heads like owls.

As I was one day at the port after my return, a ship arrived, and as soon as she cast anchor, they began to unload her, and the merchants on board ordered their goods to be carried into the customhouse. As I cast my eye upon some bales, and looked to the name, I found my own, and perceived the bales to be the same that I had embarked at Bussorah. I also knew the captain; but being persuaded that he believed me to be drowned, I went, and asked him whose bales these were? He replied, that they belonged to a merchant at Bagdad, called Sinbad, who came to sea with him; but one day, being near an island, as was supposed, he went ashore, with several other passengers, upon this island, which was only a monstrous fish, that lay asleep upon the the sur-face of the water: but as soon as he felt the heat of the fire they had kindled upon his back, to dress some victuals, began to move, and dived under water. Most of the persons who were upon him perished, and among them the unfortunate Sinbad. Those bales belonged to him, and I am resolved to trade with them until I meet with some of his family, to whom I may return the profit. "I am that Sinbad," said I, "whom you thought to be dead, and those bales are mine."

When the captain heard me speak thus, "Heavens!" he exclaimed, "whom can we trust in these times? There is no faith left among men. I saw Sinbad perish with my own eyes, as did also the passengers on board, and yet you tell me you are that Sinbad. What impudence is this? To look on you, one would take you to be a man of probity, and yet you tell a horrible falsehood, in order to possess yourself of what does not belong to you." "Have patience," replied I; "do me the favour to hear what I have to say." "Very well," said he, "speak, I am ready to hear you." Then I told him how I had escaped, and by what adventure I met with the grooms of Maha-raja, who had brought me to his court.

His confidence began to abate upon this declaration, and he was at length persuaded that I was no cheat: for there came people from his ship who knew me, paid me great compliments, and expressed much joy at seeing me alive. At last he recollected me himself, and embracing me, "Heaven be praised," said he, "for your happy escape. I cannot express the joy it affords, me; there are your goods, take and do with them as you please." I thanked him, acknowledged his probity, and in requital, offered him part of my goods as a present, which he generously refused.

I took out what was most valuable in my bales, and presented them to the Maha-raja, who, knowing my misfortune, asked me how I came by such rarities. I acquainted him with the circumstance of their recovery. He was pleased at my good luck, accepted my present, and in return gave me one much more considerable. Upon this, I took leave of him, and went aboard the same ship, after I had exchanged my goods for the commodities of that country. I carried with me wood of aloes, sandal, camphire, nutmegs, cloves, pepper, and ginger. We passed by several islands, and at last arrived at Bussorah, from whence I came to this city, with the value of 100,000 sequins. My family and I received one another with all the transports of sincere affection. I bought slaves of both sexes, and a landed estate, and built a magnificent house. Thus I settled myself, resolving to forget the miseries I had suffered, and to enjoy the pleasures of life.

Sinbad stopped here, and ordered the musicians to proceed with their concert, which the story had interrupted. The company continued enjoying themselves till the evening, and it was time to retire, when Sinbad sent for a purse of 100 sequins and giving it to the porter, said, "Take this, Hindbad, return to your home, and come back to-morrow to hear more of my adventures." The porter went away, astonished at the honour done, and the present made him. The account of this adventure proved very agreeable to his wife and children, who did not fail to return thanks to God for what providence had sent him by the hand of Sinbad.

Hindbad put on his best apparel next day, and returned to the bountiful traveller, who received him with a pleasant air, and welcomed him heartily. When all the guests had arrived, dinner was served, and continued a long time. When it was ended, Sinbad, addressing himself to the company, said, "Gentlemen, be pleased to listen to the adventures of my second voyage; they deserve your attention even more than those of the first." Upon which every one held his peace, and Sinbad proceeded.






The Second Voyage


I designed, after my first voyage, to spend the rest of my days at Bagdad, as I had the honour to tell you yesterday; but it was not long ere I grew weary of an indolent life. My inclination to trade revived. I bought goods proper for the commerce I intended, and put to sea a second time with merchants of known probity. We embarked on board a good ship, and after recommending ourselves to God, set sail. We traded from island to island, and exchanged commodities with great profit. One day we landed in an island covered with several sorts of fruit-trees, but we could see neither man nor animal. We went to take a little fresh air in the meadows, along the streams that watered them. Whilst some diverted themselves with gathering flowers, and other fruits, I took my wine and provisions, and sat down near a stream betwixt two high trees, which formed a thick shade. I made a good meal, and afterwards fell asleep. I cannot tell how long I slept, but when I awoke the ship was gone.

I was much alarmed at finding the ship gone. I got up and looked around me, but could not see one of the merchants who landed with me. I perceived the ship under sail, but at such a distance, that I lost sight of her in a short time.

I leave you to guess at my melancholy reflections in this sad condition: I was ready to die with grief. I cried out in agony; beat my head and breast, and threw myself upon the ground, where I lay some time in despair, one afflicting thought being succeeded by another still more afflicting. I upbraided myself a hundred times for not being content with the produce of my first voyage, that might have sufficed me all my life. But all this was in vain, and my repentance too late.

At last I resigned myself to the will of God. Not knowing what to do, I climbed up to the top of a lofty tree, from whence I looked about on all sides, to see if I could discover any thing that could give me hopes. When I gazed towards the sea I could see nothing but sky and water; but looking over the land I beheld something white; and coming down, I took what provision I had left, and went towards it, the distance being so great, that I could not distinguish what it was.

As I approached, I thought it to be a white dome, of a prodigious height and extent; and when I came up to it, I touched it, and found it to be very smooth. I went round to see if it was open on any side, but saw it was not, and that there was no climbing up to the top as it was so smooth. It was at least fifty paces round.

By this time the sun was about to set, and all of a sudden the sky became as dark as if it had been covered with a thick cloud. I was much astonished at this sudden darkness, but much more when I found it occasioned by a bird of a monstrous size, that came flying toward me. I remembered that I had often heard mariners speak of a miraculous bird called Roc, and conceived that the great dome which I so much admired must be its egg. In short, the bird alighted, and sat over the egg. As I perceived her coming, I crept to the egg, so that I had before me one of the legs of the bird, which was as big as the trunk of a tree. I tied myself strongly to it with my turban, in hopes that the roc next morning would carry me with her out of this desert island. After having passed the night in this condition, the bird flew away as soon as it was daylight, and carried me so high, that I could not discern the earth; she afterwards descended with so much rapidity that I lost my senses. But when I found myself on the ground, I speedily untied the knot, and had scarcely done so, when the roc, having taken up a serpent of a monstrous length in her bill, flew away.

The spot where it left me was encompassed on all sides by mountains, that seemed to reach above the clouds, and so steep that there was no possibility of getting out of the valley. This was a new perplexity: so that when I compared this place with the desert island from which the roc had brought me, I found that I had gained nothing by the change.

As I walked through this valley, I perceived it was strewed with diamonds, some of which were of a surprising bigness. I took pleasure in looking upon them; but shortly saw at a distance such objects as greatly diminished my satisfaction, and which I could not view without terror, namely, a great number of serpents, so monstrous, that the least of them was capable of swallowing an elephant. They retired in the day-time to their dens, where they hid themselves from the roc their enemy, and came out only in the night.

I spent the day in walking about in the valley, resting myself at times in such places as I thought most convenient. When night came on, I went into a cave, where I thought I might repose in safety. I secured the entrance, which was low and narrow, with a great stone to preserve me from the serpents; but not so far as to exclude the light. I supped on part of my provisions, but the serpents, which began hissing round me, put me into such extreme fear, that you may easily imagine I did not sleep. When day appeared, the serpents retired, and I came out of the cave trembling. I can justly say, that I walked upon diamonds, without feeling any inclination to touch them. At last I sat down, and notwithstanding my apprehensions, not having closed my eyes during the night, fell asleep, after having eaten a little more of my provision. But I had scarcely shut my eyes, when something that fell by me with a great noise awaked me. This was a large piece of raw meat; and at the same time I saw several others fall down from the rocks in different places.

I had always regarded as fabulous what I had heard sailors and others relate of the valley of diamonds, and of the stratagems employed by merchants to obtain jewels from thence; but now I found that they had stated nothing but truth. For the fact is, that the merchants come to the neighbourhood of this valley, when the eagles have young ones, and throwing great joints of meat into the valley, the diamonds, upon whose points they fall, stick to them; the eagles, which are stronger in this country than any where else, pounce with great force upon those pieces of meat, and carry them to their nests on the precipices of the rocks to feed their young: the merchants at this time run to their nests, disturb and drive off the eagles by their shouts, and take away the diamonds that stick to the meat.

Until I perceived the device I had concluded it to be impossible for me to get from this abyss, which I regarded as my grave; but now I changed my opinion, and began to think upon the means of my deliverance.

I began to collect together the largest diamonds I could find, and put them into the leather bag in which I used to carry my provisions. I afterwards took the largest of the pieces of meat, tied it close round me with the cloth of my turban, and then laid myself upon the ground with my face downward, the bag of diamonds being made fast to my girdle.

I had scarcely placed myself in this posture when the eagles came. Each of them seized a piece of meat, and one of the strongest having taken me up, with the piece of meat to which I was fastened, carried me to his nest on the top of the mountain. The merchants immediately began their shouting to frighten the eagles; and when they had obliged them to quit their prey, one of them came to the nest where I was. He was much alarmed when he saw me; but recovering himself, instead of enquiring how I came thither began to quarrel with me, and asked, why I stole his goods? "You will treat me," replied I, "with more civility, when you know me better. Do not be uneasy, I have diamonds enough for you and myself, more than all the other merchants together. Whatever they have they owe to chance, but I selected for myself in the bottom of the valley those which you see in this bag." I had scarcely done speaking, when the other merchants came crowding about us, much astonished to see me; but they were much more surprised when I told them my story. Yet they did not so much admire my stratagem to effect my deliverance, as my courage in putting it into execution.

They conducted me to their encampment, and there having opened my bag, they were surprised at the largeness of my diamonds, and confessed that in all the courts which they had visited they had never seen any of such size and perfection. I prayed the merchant, who owned the nest to which I had been carried (for every merchant had his own), to take as many for his share as he pleased. He contented himself with one, and that too the least of them; and when I pressed him to take more, without fear of doing me any injury, "No," said he, "I am very well satisfied with this, which is valuable enough to save me the trouble of making any more voyages, and will raise as great a fortune as I desire."

I spent the night with the merchants, to whom I related my story a second time, for the satisfaction of those who had not heard it. I could not moderate my joy when I found myself delivered from the danger I have mentioned. I thought myself in a dream, and could scarcely believe myself out of danger.

The merchants had thrown their pieces of meat into the valley for several days. And each of them being satisfied with the diamonds that had fallen to his lot, we left the place the next morning, and travelled near high mountains, where there were serpents of a prodigious length, which we had the good fortune to escape. We took shipping at the first port we reached, and touched at the isle of Roha, where the trees grow that yield camphire. This tree is so large, and its branches so thick, that one hundred men may easily sit under its shade. The juice, of which the camphire is made, exudes from a hole bored in the upper part of the tree, is received in a vessel, where it thickens to a consistency, and becomes what we call camphire; after the juice is thus drawn out, the tree withers and dies.

In this island is also found the rhinoceros, an animal less than the elephant, but larger than the buffalo. It has a horn upon its nose, about a cubit in length; this horn is solid, and cleft through the middle, upon this may be seen white lines, representing the figure of a man. The rhinoceros fights with the elephant, runs his horn into his belly, and carries him off upon his head but the blood and the fat of the elephant running into his eyes, and making him blind, he falls to the ground; and then, strange to relate! the roc comes and carries them both away in her claws, for food for her young ones.

I pass over many other things peculiar to this island, lest I should be troublesome to you. Here I exchanged some of my diamonds for merchandize. From hence we went to other islands, and at last, having touched at several trading towns of the continent, we landed at Bussorah, from whence I proceeded to Bagdad. There I immediately gave large presents to the poor, and lived honourably upon the vast riches I had brought, and gained with so much fatigue.

Thus Sinbad ended the relation of the second voyage, gave Hindbad another hundred sequins, and invited him to come the next day to hear the account of the third. The rest of the guests returned to their homes, and came again the following day at the same hour, and one may be sure the porter did not fail, having by this time almost forgotten his former poverty. When dinner was over, Sinbad demanded attention, and gave them an account of his third voyage, as follows.






The Third Voyage


I soon lost in the pleasures of life the remembrance of the perils I had encountered in my two former voyages; and being in the flower of my age, I grew weary of living without business, and hardening myself against the thought of any danger I might incur, went from Bagdad to Bussorah with the richest commodities of the country. There I embarked again with some merchants. We made a long voyage, and touched at several ports, where we carried on a considerable trade. One day, being out in the main ocean, we were overtaken by a dreadful tempest, which drove us from our course. The tempest continued several days, and brought us before the port of an island, which the captain was very unwilling to enter; but we were obliged to cast anchor. When we had furled our sails, the captain told us, that this, and some other neighbouring islands, were inhabited by hairy savages, who would speedily attack us; and though they were but dwarfs, yet our misfortune was such, that we must make no resistance, for they were more in number than the locusts; and if we happened to kill one of them, they would all fall upon us and destroy us.

This account of the captain, continued Sinbad put the whole company into great consternation and we soon found that what he had told us was but too true; an innumerable multitude of frightful savages, about two feet high, covered all over with red hair, came swimming towards us, and encompassed our ship. They spoke to us as they came near, but we understood not their language; they climbed up the sides of the ship with such agility as surprised us. We beheld all this with dread, but without daring to defend ourselves, or to divert them from their mischievous design. In short, they took down our sails, cut the cable, and hauling to the shore, made us all get out, and afterwards carried the ship into another island from whence they had come. All voyagers carefully avoided the island where they left us, it being very dangerous to stay there, for a reason you shall presently hear; but we were forced to bear our affliction with patience.

We went forward into the island, where we gathered some fruits and herbs to prolong our lives as long as we could; but we expected nothing but death. As we advanced, we perceived at a distance a vast pile of building, and made towards it. We found it to be a palace, elegantly built, and very lofty, with a gate of ebony of two leaves, which we forced open. We entered the court, where we saw before us a large apartment, with a porch, having on one side a heap of human bones, and on the other a vast number of roasting spits. We trembled at this spectacle, and being fatigued with travelling, fell to the ground, seized with deadly apprehension, and lay a long time motionless.

The sun set, and whilst we were in the lamentable condition I have described, the gate of the apartment opened with a loud crash, and there came out the horrible figure of a black man, as tall as a lofty palm-tree. He had but one eye, and that in the middle of his forehead, where it looked as red as a burning coal. His fore-teeth were very long and sharp, and stood out of his mouth, which was as deep as that of a horse. His upper lip hung down upon his breast. His ears resembled those of an elephant, and covered his shoulders; and his nails were as long and crooked as the talons of the greatest birds. At the sight of so frightful a giant, we became insensible, and lay like dead men.

At last we came to ourselves, and saw him sitting in the porch looking at us. When he had considered us well, he advanced towards us, and laying his hand upon me, took me up by the nape of my neck, and turned round as a butcher would do a sheep's head. After having examined me, and perceiving me to be so lean that I had nothing but skin and bone, he let me go. He took up all the rest one by one, and viewed them in the same manner. The captain being the fattest, he held him with one hand, as I would do a sparrow, and thrust a spit through him; he then kindled a great fire, roasted, and ate him in his apartment for his supper. Having finished his repast, he returned to his porch, where he lay and fell asleep, snoring louder than thunder. He slept thus till morning. As to ourselves, it was not possible for us to enjoy any rest, so that we passed the night in the most painful apprehension that can be imagined. When day appeared the giant awoke, got up, went out, and left us in the palace.

When we thought him at a distance, we broke the melancholy silence we had preserved the whole of the night, and filled the palace with our lamentations and groans. Though we were several in number, and had but one enemy, it never occurred to us to effect our deliverance by putting him to death. This enterprize however, though difficult of execution, was the only design we ought naturally to have formed.

We thought of several other expedients, but determined upon none; and submitting ourselves to what it should please God to order concerning us, we spent the day in traversing the island, supporting ourselves with fruits and herbs as we had done the day before. In the evening we sought for some place of shelter, but found none; so that we were forced, whether we would or not, to return to the palace.

The giant failed not to return, and supped once more upon one of our companions, after which he slept, and snored till day, and then went out and left us as before. Our situation appeared to us so dreadful, that several of my comrades designed to throw themselves into the sea, rather than die so painful a death; and endeavoured to persuade the others to follow their example. Upon which one of the company answered, "That we were forbidden to destroy ourselves: but even if that were not the case, it was much more reasonable to devise some method to rid ourselves of the monster who had destined us to so horrible a fate."

Having thought of a project for this purpose, I communicated it to my comrades, who approved it. "Brethren," said I, "you know there is much timber floating upon the coast; if you will be advised by me, let us make several rafts capable of bearing us, and when they are done, leave them there till we find it convenient to use them. In the mean time, we will carry into execution the design I proposed to you for our deliverance from the giant, and if it succeed, we may remain here patiently awaiting the arrival of some ship to carry us out of this fatal island; but if it happen to miscarry, we will take to our rafts, and put to sea. I admit that by exposing ourselves to the fury of the waves, we run a risk of losing our lives; but is it not better to be buried in the sea than in the entrails of this monster, who has already devoured two of our number?" My advice was approved, and we made rafts capable of carrying three persons on each.

We returned to the palace towards the evening, and the giant arrived shortly after. We were forced to submit to seeing another of our comrades roasted. But at last we revenged ourselves on the brutish giant in the following manner. After he had finished his cursed supper, he lay down on his back, and fell asleep. As soon as we heard him snore, according to his custom, nine of the boldest among us, and myself, took each of us a spit, and putting the points of them into the fire till they were burning hot, we thrust them into his eye all at once, and blinded him. The pain made him break out into a frightful yell: he started up, and stretched out his hands, in order to sacrifice some of us to his rage: but we ran to such places as he could not reach; and after having sought for us in vain, he groped for the gate, and went out, howling in agony.

We quitted the palace after the giant, and came to the shore, where we had left our rafts, and put them immediately to sea. We waited till day, in order to get upon them, in case the giant should come towards us with any guide of his own species, but we hoped if he did not appear by sun-rising, and gave over his howling, which we still heard, that he would prove to be dead; and if that happened to be the case, we resolved to stay in that island, and not to risk our lives upon the rafts: but day had scarcely appeared, when we perceived our cruel enemy, accompanied with two others almost of the same size, leading him; and a great number more coming before him at a quick pace.

We did not hesitate to take to our rafts, and put to sea with all the speed we could. The giants, who perceived this, took up great stones, and running to the shore, entered the water up to the middle, and threw so exactly, that they sunk all the rafts but that I was upon; and all my companions, except the two with me, were drowned. We rowed with all our might, and got out of the reach of the giants. But when we got out to sea, we were exposed to the mercy of the waves and winds, and tossed about, sometimes on one side, and sometimes on another, and spent that night and the following day under the most painful uncertainty as to our fate; but next morning we had the good fortune to be thrown upon an island, where we landed with much joy. We found excellent fruit, which afforded us great relief, and recruited our strength.

At night we went to sleep on the sea-shore but were awakened by the noise of a serpent of surprising length and thickness, whose scales made a rustling noise as he wound himself along. It swallowed up one of my comrades, notwithstanding his loud cries, and the efforts he made to extricate himself from it; dashing him several times against the ground, it crushed him, and we could hear it gnaw and tear the poor wretch's bones, though we had fled to a considerable distance. The following day, to our great terror, we saw the serpent again, when I exclaimed, "O heaven, to what dangers are we exposed! We rejoiced yesterday at having escaped from the cruelty of a giant and the rage of the waves, now are we fallen into another danger equally dreadful."

As we walked about, we saw a large tall tree upon which we designed to pass the following night, for our security; and having satisfied our hunger with fruit, we mounted it according. Shortly after, the serpent came hissing to the foot of the tree; raised himself up against the trunk of it, and meeting with my comrade, who sat lower than I, swallowed him at once, and went off.

I remained upon the tree till it was day, and then came down, more like a dead man than one alive, expecting the same fate with my two companions. This filled me with horror, and I advanced some steps to throw myself into the sea; but the natural love of life prompting us to prolong it as long as we can, I withstood this dictate of despair, and submitted myself to the will of God, who disposes of our lives at his pleasure.

In the mean time I collected together a great quantity of small wood, brambles, and dry thorns, and making them up into faggots, made a wide circle with them round the tree, and also tied some of them to the branches over my head. Having done this, when the evening came, I shut myself up within this circle, with the melancholy satisfaction, that I had neglected nothing which could preserve me from the cruel destiny with which I was threatened. The serpent failed not to come at the usual hour, and went round the tree, seeking for an opportunity to devour me, but was prevented by the rampart I had made; so that he lay till day, like a cat watching in vain for a mouse that has fortunately reached a place of safety. When day appeared, he retired, but I dared not to leave my fort until the sun arose.

I felt so much fatigued by the labour to which it had put me, and suffered so much from his poisonous breath, that death seemed more eligible to me than the horrors of such a state. I came down from the tree, and, not thinking of the resignation I had the preceding day resolved to exercise, I ran towards the sea, with a design to throw myself into it.

God took compassion on my hopeless state; for just as I was going to throw myself into the sea, I perceived a ship at a considerable distance. I called as loud as I could, and taking the linen from my turban, displayed it, that they might observe me. This had the desired effect; the crew perceived me, and the captain sent his boat for me. As soon as I came on board, the merchants and seamen flocked about me, to know how I came into that desert island; and after I had related to them all that had befallen me, the oldest among them said to me, they had several times heard of the giants that dwelt in that island, that they were cannibals, and ate men raw as well as roasted; and as to the serpents, they added, that there were abundance in the island that hid themselves by day, and came abroad by night. After having testified their joy at my escaping so many dangers, they brought me the best of their provisions; and the captain, seeing that I was in rags, was so generous as to give me one of his own suits. We continued at sea for some time, touched at several islands, and at last landed at that of Salabat, where sandal wood is obtained, which is of great use in medicine. We entered the port, and came to anchor. The merchants began to unload their goods, in order to sell or exchange them. In the mean time, the captain came to me, and said, "Brother, I have here some goods that belonged to a merchant, who sailed some time on board this ship, and he being dead, I design to dispose of them for the benefit of his heirs, when I find who they are." The bales he spoke of lay on the deck, and shewing them to me, he said, "There are the goods; I hope you will take care to sell them, and you shall have factorage." I thanked him for thus affording me an opportunity of employing myself, because I hated to be idle.

The clerk of the ship took an account of all the bales, with the names of the merchants to whom they belonged. And when he asked the captain in whose name he should enter those he had given me the charge of; "Enter them," said the captain, "in the name of Sinbad." I could not hear myself named without some emotion; and looking stedfastly on the captain, I knew him to be the person who, in my second voyage, had left me in the island where I fell asleep, and sailed without me, or sending to see for me. But I could not recollect him at first, he was so much altered since I had seen him.

I was not surprised that he, believing me to be dead, did not recognize me. "Captain," said I, "was the merchant's name, to whom those bales belonged, Sinbad?" "Yes," replied he, "that was his name; he came from Bagdad, and embarked on board my ship at Bussorah. One day, when we landed at an island to take in water and other refreshments, I knew not by what mistake, I sailed without observing that he did not re-embark with us; neither I nor the merchants perceived it till four hours after. We had the wind in our stern, and so fresh a gale, that it was not then possible for us to tack about for him." "You believe him then to be dead?" said I. "Certainly," answered he. "No, captain," I resumed; "look at me, and you may know that I am Sinbad, whom you left in that desert island."

The captain, continued Sinbad, having considered me attentively, recognized me. "God be praised," said he, embracing me; "I rejoice that fortune has rectified my fault. There are your goods, which I always took care to preserve." I took them from him, and made him the acknowledgments to which he was entitled.

From the isle of Salabat, we went to another, where I furnished myself with cloves, cinnamon, and other spices. As we sailed from this island, we saw a tortoise twenty cubits in length and breadth. We observed also an amphibious animal like a cow, which gave milk; its skin is so hard, that they usually make bucklers of it. I saw another, which had the shape and colour of a camel.

In short, after a long voyage, I arrived at Bussorah, and from thence returned to Bagdad, with so much wealth that I knew not its extent. I gave a great deal to the poor, and bought another considerable estate in addition to what I had already.

Thus Sinbad finished the history of his third voyage; gave another hundred sequins to Hindbad, invited him to dinner again the next day, to hear the story of his fourth voyage. Hindbad and the company retired; and on the following day, when they returned, Sinbad after dinner continued the relation of his adventures.






The Fourth Voyage


The pleasures and amusements which I enjoyed after my third voyage had not charms sufficient to divert me from another. My passion for trade, and my love of novelty, again prevailed. I therefore settled my affairs, and having provided a stock of goods fit for the traffic I designed to engage in, I set out on my journey. I took the route of Persia, travelled over several provinces, and then arrived at a port, where I embarked. We hoisted our sails, and touched at several ports of the continent, and some of the eastern islands, and put out to sea: we were overtaken by such a sudden gust of wind, as obliged the captain to lower his yards, and take all other necessary precautions to prevent the danger that threatened us. But all was in vain our endeavours had no effect; the sails were split in a thousand pieces, and the ship was stranded; several of the merchants and seamen were drowned and the cargo was lost.

I had the good fortune, with several of the merchants and mariners, to get upon some planks, and we were carried by the current to an island which lay before us. There we found fruit and spring water, which preserved our lives. We staid all night near the place where we had been cast ashore, without consulting what we should do; our misfortune had so much dispirited us that we could not deliberate.

Next morning, as soon as the sun was up, we walked from the shore, and advancing into the island, saw some houses, which we approached. As soon as we drew near, we were encompassed by a great number of negroes, who seized us, shared us among them, and carried us to their respective habitations.

I, and five of my comrades, were carried to one place; here they made us sit down, and gave us a certain herb, which they made signs to us to eat. My comrades not taking notice that the blacks ate none of it themselves, thought only of satisfying their hunger, and ate with greediness. But I, suspecting some trick, would not so much as taste it, which happened well for me; for in little time after, I perceived my companions had lost their senses, and that when they spoke to me, they knew not what they said.

The negroes fed us afterwards with rice, prepared with oil of cocoa-nuts; and my comrades, who had lost their reason, ate of it greedily. I also partook of it, but very sparingly. They gave us that herb at first on purpose to deprive us of our senses, that we might not be aware of the sad destiny prepared for us; and they supplied us with rice to fatten us; for, being cannibals, their design was to eat us as soon as we grew fat. This accordingly happened, for they devoured my comrades, who were not sensible of their condition; but my senses being entire, you may easily guess that instead of growing fat, as the rest did, I grew leaner every day. The fear of death under which I laboured, turned all my food into poison. I fell into a languishing distemper, which proved my safety; for the negroes, having killed and eaten my companions, seeing me to be withered, lean, and sick, deferred my death.

Meanwhile I had much liberty, so that scarcely any notice was taken of what I did, and this gave me an opportunity one day to get at a distance from the houses, and to make my escape. An old man, who saw me, and suspected my design, called to me as loud as he could to return; but instead of obeying him, I redoubled my speed, and quickly got out of sight. At that time there was none but the old man about the houses, the rest being abroad, and not to return till night, which was usual with them. Therefore, being sure that they could not arrive time enough to pursue me, I went on till night, when I stopped to rest a little, and to eat some of the provisions I had secured; but I speedily set forward again, and travelled seven days, avoiding those places which seemed to be inhabited, and lived for the most part upon cocoa-nuts, which served me both for meat and drink. On the eighth day I came near the sea, and saw some white people like myself, gathering pepper, of which there was great plenty in that place. This I took to be a good omen, and went to them without any scruple.

The people who gathered pepper came to meet me as soon as they saw me, and asked me in Arabic who I was, and whence I came? I was overjoyed to hear them speak in my own language, and satisfied their curiosity, by giving them an account of my shipwreck, and how I fell into the hands of the negroes. "Those negroes," replied they, "eat men, and by what miracle did you escape their cruelty?" I related to them the circumstances I have just mentioned, at which they were wonderfully surprised.

I staid with them till they had gathered their quantity of pepper, and then sailed with them to the island from whence they had come. They presented me to their king, who was a good prince. He had the patience to hear the relation of my adventures, which surprised him; and he afterwards gave me clothes, and commanded care to be taken of me.

The island was very well peopled, plentiful in everything, and the capital a place of great trade. This agreeable retreat was very comfortable to me after my misfortunes, and the kindness of this generous prince completed my satisfaction. In a word, there was not a person more in favour with him than myself; and, consequently, every man in court and city sought to oblige me; so that in a very little time I was looked upon rather as a native than a stranger.

I observed one thing, which to me appeared very extraordinary. All the people, the king himself not excepted, rode their horses without saddle, bridle, or stirrups. This made me one day take the liberty to ask the king how it came to pass? His majesty answered, that I talked to him of things which nobody knew the use of in his dominions.

I went immediately to a workman, and gave him a model for making the stock of a saddle. When that was done, I covered it myself with velvet and leather, and embroidered it with gold. I afterwards went to a smith, who made me a bit, according to the pattern I shewed him, and also some stirrups. When I had all things completed, I presented them to the king, and put them upon one of his horses. His majesty mounted immediately, and was so pleased with them, that he testified his satisfaction by large presents. I could not avoid making several others for the ministers and principal officers of his household, who all of them made me presents that enriched me in a little time. I also made some for the people of best quality in the city, which gained me great reputation and regard.

As I paid my court very constantly to the king, he said to me one day, "Sinbad, I love thee; and all my subjects who know thee, treat thee according to my example. I have one thing to demand of thee, which thou must grant." "Sir," answered I, "there is nothing but I will do, as a mark of my obedience to your majesty, whose power over me is absolute." "I have a mind thou shouldst marry," replied he, "that so thou mayst stay in my dominions, and think no more of thy own country." I durst not resist the prince's will, and he gave me one of the ladies of his court, noble, beautiful, and rich. The ceremonies of marriage being over, I went and dwelt with my wife, and for some time we lived together in perfect harmony. I was not, however, satisfied with my banishment, therefore designed to make my escape the first opportunity, and to return to Bagdad; which my present settlement, how advantageous soever, could not make me forget.

At this time the wife of one of my neighbours, with whom I had contrasted a very strict friendship, fell sick, and died. I went to see and comfort him in his affliction, and finding him absorbed in sorrow, I said to him as soon as I saw him, "God preserve you and grant you a long life." "Alas!" replied he, "how do you think I should obtain the favour you wish me? I have not above an hour to live." "Pray," said I, "do not entertain such a melancholy thought; I hope I shall enjoy your company many years." "I wish you," he replied, "a long life; but my days are at an end, for I must be buried this day with my wife. This is a law which our ancestors established in this island, and it is always observed inviolably. The living husband is interred with the dead wife, and the living wife with the dead husband. Nothing can save me; every one must submit to this law."

While he was giving me an account of this barbarous custom, the very relation of which chilled my blood, his kindred, friends, and neighbours, came in a body to assist at the funeral. They dressed the corpse of the woman in her richest apparel, and all her jewels, as if it had been her wedding-day; then they placed her on an open coffin, and began their march to the place of burial. The husband walked at the head of the company, and followed the corpse. They proceeded to a high mountain, and when they had reached the place of their destination, they took up a large stone, which covered the mouth of a deep pit, and let down the corpse with all its apparel and jewels. Then the husband, embracing his kindred and friends, suffered himself to be put into another open coffin without resistance, with a pot of water, and seven small loaves, and was let down in the same manner. The mountain was of considerable length, and extended along the sea-shore, and the pit was very deep. The ceremony being over, the aperture was again covered with the stone, and the company returned.

It is needless for me to tell you that I was a most melancholy spectator this funeral, while the rest were scarcely moved, the custom was to them so familiar. I could not forbear communicating to the king my sentiment respecting the practice: "Sir," I said, "I cannot but feel astonished at the strange usage observed in this country, of burying the living with the dead. I have been a great traveller, and seen many countries, but never heard of so cruel a law." "What do you mean, Sinbad?" replied the king: "it is a common law. I shall be interred with the queen, my wife, if she die first." "But, Sir," said I, "may I presume to ask your majesty, if strangers be obliged to observe this law?" "Without doubt," returned the king (smiling at the occasion of my question), "they are not exempted, if they be married in this island."

I returned home much depressed by this answer; for the fear of my wife's dying first, and that I should be interred alive with her, occasioned me very uneasy reflections. But there was no remedy; I must have patience, and submit to the will of God. I trembled however at every little indisposition of my wife. Alas! in a little time my fears were realized, for she fell sick, and died.

Judge of my sorrow; to be interred alive, seemed to me as deplorable a termination of life as to be devoured by cannibals. It was necessary, however, to submit. The king and all his court expressed their wish to honour the funeral with their presence, and the most considerable people of the city did the same. When all was ready for the ceremony, the corpse was put into a coffin, with all her jewels and her most magnificent apparel. The procession began, and as second actor in this doleful tragedy, I went next the corpse, with my eyes full of tears, bewailing my deplorable fate. Before we reached the mountain, I made an attempt to affect the minds of the spectators: I addressed myself to the king first, and then to all those that were round me; bowing before them to the earth, and kissing the border of their garments, I prayed them to have compassion upon me. "Consider," said I, "that I am a stranger, and ought not to be subject to this rigorous law, and that I have another wife and children in my own country." Although I spoke in the most pathetic manner, no one was moved by my address; on the contrary, they ridiculed my dread of death as cowardly, made haste to let my wife's corpse into the pit, and lowered me down the next moment in an open coffin, with full of water and seven loaves. In short, the fatal ceremony being performed, they covered over the mouth of the pit, notwithstanding my grief and piteous lamentations.

As I approached the bottom, I discovered by the aid of the little light that came from above the nature of this subterranean place, it seemed an endless cavern, and might be about fifty fathom deep. I was annoyed by an insufferable stench proceeding from the multitude of bodies which I saw on the right and left; nay, I fancied that I heard some of them sigh out their last. However, when I got down, I immediately left my coffin, and getting at a distance from the bodies, held my nose, and lay down upon the ground, where I stayed a considerable time, bathed in tears. At last, reflecting on my melancholy case, "It is true," said I, "that God disposes all things according to the degrees of his providence; but, unhappy Sinbad, hast thou any but thyself to blame that thou art brought to die so strange a death? Would to God thou hadst perished in some of those tempests which thou hast escaped! then thy death had not been so lingering, and so terrible in all its circumstances. But thou hast drawn all this upon thyself by thy inordinate avarice. Ah, unfortunate wretch! shouldst thou not rather have remained at home, and quietly enjoyed the fruits of thy labour?"

Such were the vain complaints with which I filled the cave, beating my head and breast out of rage and despair, and abandoning myself to the most afflicting thoughts. Nevertheless, I must tell you, that instead of calling death to my assistance in that miserable condition, I felt still an inclination to live, and to do all I could to prolong my days. I went groping about, with my nose stopped, for the bread and water that was in my coffin, and took some of it. Though the darkness of the cave was so great that I could not distinguish day and night, yet I always found my coffin again, and the cave seemed to be more spacious and fuller of bodies than it had appeared to be at first. I lived for some days upon my bread and water, which being all spent, I at last prepared for death.

As I was thinking of death, I heard the stone lifted up from the mouth of the cave, and immediately the corpse of a man was let down When reduced to necessity, it is natural to come to extreme resolutions. While they let down the woman I approached the place where her coffin was to be put, and as soon as I perceived they were again covering the mouth of the cave, gave the unfortunate wretch two or three violent blows over the head, with a large bone; which stunned, or, to say the truth, killed her. I committed this inhuman action merely for the sake of the bread and water that was in her coffin, and thus I had provision for some days more. When that was spent, they letdown another dead woman, and a living man; I killed the man in the same manner, and, as there was then a sort of mortality in the town, by continuing this practice I did not want for provisions.

One day after I had dispatched another woman, I heard something tread, and breathing or panting as it walked. I advanced towards that side from whence I heard the noise, and on my approach the creature puffed and blew harder, as if running away from me. I followed the noise, and the thing seemed to stop sometimes, but always fled and blew as I approached. I pursued it for a considerable time, till at last I perceived a light, resembling a star; I went on, sometimes lost sight of it, but always found it again, and at last discovered that it came through a hole in the rock, large enough to admit a man.

Upon this, I stopped some time to rest, being much fatigued with the rapidity of my progress: afterwards coming up to the hole, I got through, and found myself upon the sea shore. I leave you to guess the excess of my joy: it was such, that I could scarcely persuade myself that the whole was not a dream.

But when I was recovered from my surprise, and convinced of the reality of my escape, I perceived what I had followed to be a creature which came out of the sea, and was accustomed to enter the cavern and feed upon the bodies of the dead.

I examined the mountain, and found it to be situated betwixt the sea and the town, but without any passage to or communication with the latter; the rocks on the sea side being high and perpendicularly steep. I prostrated myself on the shore to thank God for this mercy, and afterwards entered the cave again to fetch bread and water, which I ate by daylight with a better appetite than I had done since my interment in the dark cavern.

I returned thither a second time, and groped among the coffins for all the diamonds, rubies, pearls, gold bracelets, and rich stuffs I could find; these I brought to the shore, and tying them up neatly into bales, with the cords that let down the coffins, I laid them together upon the beach, waiting till some ship might appear, without fear of rain, for it was then the dry season.

After two or three days, I perceived a ship just come out of the harbour, making for the place where I was. I made a sign with the linen of my turban, and called to the crew as loud as I could. They heard me, and sent a boat to bring me on board, when they asked by what misfortune I came thither; I told them that I had suffered shipwreck two days before, and made shift to get ashore with the goods they saw. It was fortunate for me that these people did not consider the place where I was, nor enquire into the probability of what I told them; but without hesitation took me on board with my goods. When I came to the ship, the captain was so well pleased to have saved me, and so much taken up with his own affairs, that he also took the story of my pretended shipwreck upon trust, and generously refused some jewels which I offered him.

We passed by several islands, and among others that called the isle of Bells, about ten days' sail from Serendib, with a regular wind, and six from that of Kela, where we landed. This island produces lead mines, Indian canes, and excellent camphire.

The king of the isle of Kela is very rich and powerful, and the isle of Bells, which is about two days journey in extent, is also subject to him. The inhabitants are so barbarous that they still eat human flesh. After we had finished our traffic in that island, we put to sea again, and touched at several other ports; at last I arrived happily at Bagdad with infinite riches, of which it is needless to trouble you with the detail. Out of gratitude to God for his mercies, I contributed liberally towards the support of several mosques, and the subsistence of the poor, gave myself up to the society of my kindred and friends, enjoying myself with them in festivities and amusements.

Here Sinbad finished the relation of his fourth voyage, which appeared more surprising to the company than the three former. He made a new present of one hundred sequins to Hindbad, whom he requested to return with the rest next day at the same hour to dine with him, and hear the story of his fifth voyage. Hindbad and the other guests took their leave and retired. Next morning when they all met, they sat down at table, and when dinner was over, Sinbad began the relation of his fifth voyage as follows.






The Fifth Voyage


The pleasures I enjoyed had again charms enough to make me forget all the troubles and calamities I had undergone, but could not cure me of my inclination to make new voyages. I therefore bought goods, departed with them for the best sea-port; and there, that I might not be obliged to depend upon a captain, but have a ship at my own command, I remained till one was built on purpose, at my own charge. When the ship was ready, I went on board with my goods; but not having enough to load her, I agreed to take with me several merchants of different nations with their merchandize.

We sailed with the first fair wind, and after a long navigation the first place we touched at was a desert island, where we found an egg of a roe, equal in size to that I formerly mentioned. There was a young roc it just ready to be hatched, and its bill had begun to appear.

The merchants whom I had taken on board, and who landed with me, broke the egg with hatchets, and made a hole in it, pulled out the young roc piecemeal, and roasted it. I had earnestly intreated them not to meddle with the egg, but they would not listen to me.

Scarcely had they finished their repast, when there appeared in the air at a considerable distance from us two great clouds. The captain whom I had hired to navigate my ship, knowing by experience what they meant, said they were the male and female roc that belonged to the young one, and pressed us to re-embark with all speed, to prevent the misfortune which he saw would otherwise befall us. We hastened on board, and set sail with all possible expedition.

In the mean time, the two roes approached with a frightful noise, which they redoubled when they saw the egg broken, and their young one gone. They flew back in the direction they had come, and disappeared for some time, while we made all the sail we could to endeavour to prevent that which unhappily befell us.

They soon returned, and we observed that each of them carried between its talons stones, or rather rocks, of a monstrous size. When they came directly over my ship, they hovered, and one of them let fall a stone, but by the dexterity of the steersman it missed us, and falling into the sea, divided the water so that we could almost see the bottom. The other roe, to our misfortune, threw his messy burden so exactly upon the middle of the ship, as to split it into a thousand pieces. The mariners and passengers were all crushed to death, or sunk. I myself was of the number of the latter; but as I came up again, I fortunately caught hold of a piece of the wreck, and swimming sometimes with one hand, and sometimes with the other, but always holding fast my board, the wind and the tide favouring me, I came to an island, whose shore was very steep. I overcame that difficulty, however, and got ashore.

I sat down upon the grass, to recover myself from my fatigue, after which I went into the island to explore it. It seemed to be a delicious garden. I found trees everywhere, some of them bearing green, and others ripe fruits, and streams of fresh pure water running in pleasant meanders. I ate of the fruits, which I found excellent; and drank of the water, which was very light and good.

When night closed in, I lay down upon the grass in a convenient spot, but could not sleep an hour at a time, my mind being apprehensive of danger. I spent best part of the night in alarm, and reproached myself for my imprudence in not remaining at home, rather than undertaking this last voyage. These reflections carried me so far, that I began to form a design against my life; but daylight dispersed these melancholy thoughts. I got up, and walked among the trees, but not without some fears.

When I was a little advanced into the island, I saw an old man, who appeared very weak and infirm. He was sitting on the bank of a stream, and at first I took him to be one who had been shipwrecked like myself. I went towards him and saluted him, but he only slightly bowed his head. I asked him why he sat so still, but instead of answering me, he made a sign for me to take him upon my back, and carry him over the brook, signifying that it was to gather fruit.

I believed him really to stand in need of my assistance, took him upon my back, and having carried him over, bade him get down, and for that end stooped, that he might get off with ease; but instead of doing so (which I laugh at every time I think of it) the old man, who to me appeared quite decrepit, clasped his legs nimbly about my neck, when I perceived his skin to resemble that of a cow. He sat astride upon my shoulders, and held my throat so tight, that I thought he would have strangled me, the apprehension of which make me swoon and fall down.

Notwithstanding my fainting, the ill-natured old fellow kept fast about my neck, but opened his legs a little to give me time to recover my breath. When I had done so, he thrust one of his feet against my stomach, and struck me so rudely on the side with the other, that he forced me to rise up against my will. Having arisen, he made me walk under the trees, and forced me now and then to stop, to gather and eat fruit such as we found. He never left me all day, and when I lay down to rest at night, laid himself down with me, holding always fast about my neck. Every morning he pushed me to make me awake, and afterwards obliged me to get up and walk, and pressed me with his feet. You may judge then, gentlemen, what trouble I was in, to be loaded with such a burden of which I could not get rid.

One day I found in my way several dry calebashes that had fallen from a tree. I took a large one, and after cleaning it, pressed into it some juice of grapes, which abounded in the island; having filled the calebash, I put it by in a convenient place, and going thither again some days after, I tasted it, and found the wine so good, that it soon made me forget my sorrow, gave me new vigour, and so exhilarated my spirits, that I began to sing and dance as I walked along.

The old man, perceiving the effect which this liquor had upon me, and that I carried him with more ease than before, made me a sign to give him some of it. I handed him the calebash, and the liquor pleasing his palate, he drank it all off. There being a considerable quantity of it, he became drunk immediately, and the fumes getting up into his head, he began to sing after his manner, and to dance with his breech upon my shoulders. His jolting made him vomit, and he loosened his legs from about me by degrees. Finding that he did not press me as before, I threw him upon the ground, where he lay without motion; I then took up a great stone, and crushed his head to pieces.

I was extremely glad to be thus freed for ever from this troublesome fellow. I now walked towards the beach, where I met the crew of a ship that had cast anchor, to take in water. They were surprised to see me, but more so at hearing the particulars of my adventures. "You fell," said they, "into the hands of the old man of the sea, and are the first who ever escaped strangling by his malicious tricks. He never quitted those he had once made himself master of, till he had destroyed them, and he has made this island notorious by the number of men he has slain; so that the merchants and mariners who landed upon it, durst not advance into the island but in numbers at a time."

After having informed me of these things, they carried me with them to the ship; the captain received me with great kindness, when they told him what had befallen me. He put out again to sea, and after some days' sail, we arrived at the harbour of a great city, the houses of which were built with hewn stone.

One of the merchants who had taken me into his friendship invited me to go along with him, and carried me to a place appointed for the accommodation of foreign merchants. He gave me a large bag, and having recommended me to some people of the town, who used to gather cocoa-nuts, desired them to take me with them. "Go," said he, "follow them, and act as you see them do, but do not separate from them, otherwise you may endanger your life." Having thus spoken, he gave me provisions for the journey, and I went with them.

We came to a thick forest of cocoa-trees, very lofty, with trunks so smooth that it was not possible to climb to the branches that bore the fruit. When we entered the forest we saw a great number of apes of several sizes, who fled as soon as they perceived us, and climbed up to the top of the trees with surprising swiftness.

The merchants with whom I was, gathered stones and threw them at the apes on the trees. I did the same, and the apes out of revenge threw cocoa-nuts at us so fast, and with such gestures, as sufficiently testified their anger and resentment. We gathered up the cocoa-nuts, and from time to time threw stones to provoke the apes; so that by this stratagem we filled our bags with cocoa-nuts, which it had been impossible otherwise to have done.

When we had gathered our number, we returned to the city, where the merchant, who had sent me to the forest, gave me the value of the cocoas I brought: "Go on," said he, "and do the like every day, until you have got money enough to carry you home." I thanked him for his advice, and gradually collected as many cocoa-nuts as produced me a considerable sum.

The vessel in which I had come sailed with some merchants, who loaded her with cocoa-nuts. I expected the arrival of another, which anchored soon after for the like loading. I embarked in her all the cocoa-nuts I had, and when she was ready to sail, took leave of the merchant who had been so kind to me; but he could not embark with me, because he had not finished his business at the port.

We sailed towards the islands, where pepper grows in great plenty. From thence we went to the isle of Comari, where the best species of wood of aloes grows, and whose inhabitants have made it an inviolable law to themselves to drink no wine, and suffer no place of debauch. I exchanged my cocoa in those two islands for pepper and wood of aloes, and went with other merchants a pearl-fishing. I hired divers, who brought me up some that were very large and pure. I embarked in a vessel that happily arrived at Bussorah; from thence I returned to Bagdad, where I made vast sums of my pepper, wood of aloes, and pearls. I gave the tenth of my gains in alms, as I had done upon my return from my other voyages, and endeavoured to dissipate my fatigues by amusements of different kinds.

When Sinbad had finished his story, he ordered one hundred sequins to be given to Hindbad, who retired with the other guests; but next morning the same company returned to dine with rich Sinbad; who, after having treated them as formerly, requested their attention, and gave the following account of his sixth voyage.






The Sixth Voyage


Gentlemen, you long without doubt to know, how, after having been shipwrecked five times, and escaped so many dangers, I could resolve again to tempt fortune, and expose myself to new hardships? I am, myself, astonished at my conduct when I reflect upon it, and must certainly have been actuated by my destiny. But be that as it may, after a year's rest I prepared for a sixth voyage, notwithstanding the intreaties of my kindred and friends, who did all in their power to dissuade me.

Instead of taking my way by the Persian gulf, I travelled once more through several provinces of Persia and the Indies, and arrived at a sea-port, where I embarked in a ship, the captain of which was bound on a long voyage. It was long indeed, and at the same time so unfortunate, that the captain and pilot lost their course. They however at last discovered where they were, but we had no reason to rejoice at the circumstance. Suddenly we saw the captain quit his post, uttering loud lamentations. He threw off his turban, pulled his beard, and beat his head like a madman. We asked him the reason, and he answered, that he was in the most dangerous place in all the ocean. "A rapid current carries the ship along with it, and we shall all perish in less than a quarter of an hour. Pray to God to deliver us from this peril; we cannot escape, if he do not take pity on us." At these words he ordered the sails to be lowered; but all the ropes broke, and the ship was carried by the current to the foot of an inaccessible mountain, where she struck and went to pieces, yet in such a manner that we saved our lives, our provisions, and the best of our goods.

This being over, the captain said to us, "God has done what pleased him. Each of us may dig his grave, and bid the world adieu; for we are all in so fatal a place, that none shipwrecked here ever returned to their homes." His discourse afflicted us sensibly, and we embraced each other, bewailing our deplorable lot.

The mountain at the foot of which we were wrecked formed part of the coast of a very large island. It was covered with wrecks, and from the vast number of human bones we saw everywhere, and which filled us with horror, we concluded that multitudes of people had perished there. It is also incredible what a quantity of goods and riches we found cast ashore. All these objects served only to augment our despair. In all other places, rivers run from their channels into the sea, but here a river of fresh water runs out of the sea into a dark cavern, whose entrance is very high and spacious. What is most remarkable in this place is, that the stones of the mountain are of crystal, rubies, or other precious stones. Here is also a sort of fountain of pitch or bitumen, that runs into the sea, which the fish swallow, and evacuate soon afterwards, turned into ambergris: and this the waves throw up on the beach in great quantities. Trees also grow here, most of which are wood of aloes, equal in goodness to those of Comari.

To finish the description of this place, which may well be called a gulf, since nothing ever returns from it, it is not possible for ships to get off when once they approach within a certain distance. If they be driven thither by a wind from the sea, the wind and the current impel them; and if they come into it when a land-wind blows, which might seem to favour their getting out again, the height of the mountain stops the wind, and occasions a calm, so that the force of the current carries them ashore: and what completes the misfortune is, that there is no possibility of ascending the mountain, or of escaping by sea.

We continued upon the shore in a state of despair, and expected death every day. At first we divided our provisions as equally as we could, and thus every one lived a longer or shorter time, according to his temperance, and the use he made of his provisions.

Those who died first were interred by the survivors, and I paid the last duty to all my companions: nor are you to wonder at this; for besides that I husbanded the provision that fell to my share better than they, I had some of my own which I did not share with my comrades; yet when I buried the last, I had so little remaining, that I thought I could not long survive: I dug a grave, resolving to lie down in it, because there was no one left to inter me. I must confess to you at the same time, that while I was thus employed, I could not but reproach myself as the cause of my own ruin, and repented that I had ever undertaken this last voyage. Nor did I stop at reflections only, but had well nigh hastened my own death, and began to tear my hands with my teeth.

But it pleased God once more to take compassion on me, and put it in my mind to go to the bank of the river which ran into the great cavern. Considering its probable course with great attention, I said to myself, "This river, which runs thus under ground, must somewhere have an issue. If I make a raft, and leave myself to the current, it will convey me to some inhabited country, or I shall perish. If I be drowned, I lose nothing, but only change one kind of death for another; and if I get out of this fatal place, I shall not only avoid the sad fate of my comrades, but perhaps find some new occasion of enriching myself. Who knows but fortune waits, upon my getting off this dangerous shelf, to compensate my shipwreck with usury."

I immediately went to work upon large pieces of timber and cables, for I had choice of them, and tied them together so strongly, that I soon made a very solid raft. When I had finished, I loaded it with some bulses of rubies, emeralds, ambergris, rock-crystal, and bales of rich stuffs. Having balanced my cargo exactly, and fastened it well to the raft, I went on board with two oars that I had made, and leaving it to the course of the river, resigned myself to the will of God.

As soon as I entered the cavern, I lost all light, and the stream carried me I knew not whither. Thus I floated some days in perfect darkness, and once found the arch so low, that it very nearly touched my head, which made me cautious afterwards to avoid the like danger. All this while I ate nothing but what was just necessary to support nature; yet, notwithstanding my frugality, all my provisions were spent. Then a pleasing stupor seized upon me. I cannot tell how long it continued; but when I revived, I was surprised to find myself in an extensive plain on the brink of a river, where my raft was tied, amidst a great number of negroes. I got up as soon as I saw them, and saluted them. They spoke to me, but I did not understand their language. I was so transported with joy, that I knew not whether I was asleep or awake; but being persuaded that I was not asleep, I recited the following words in Arabic aloud: "Call upon the Almighty, he will help thee; thou needest not perplex thyself about any thing else: shut thy eyes, and while thou art asleep, God will change thy bad fortune into good."

One of the blacks, who understood Arabic, hearing me speak thus, came towards me, and said, "Brother, be not surprised to see us, we are inhabitants of this country, and came hither to-day to water our fields, by digging little canals from this river, which comes out of the neighbouring mountain. We observed something floating upon the water, went to see what it was, and, perceiving your raft, one of us swam into the river, and brought it thither, where we fastened it, as you see, until you should awake. Pray tell us your history, for it must be extraordinary; how did you venture yourself into this river, and whence did you come?" "I begged of them first to give me something to eat, and then I would satisfy their curiosity. They gave me several sorts of food, and when I had satisfied my hunger, I related all that had befallen me, which they listened to with attentive surprise. As soon as I had finished, they told me, by the person who spoke Arabic and interpreted to them what I said, that it was one of the most wonderful stories they had ever heard, and that I must go along with them, and tell it their king myself; it being too extraordinary to be related by any other than the person to whom the events had happened. I assured them that I was ready to do whatever they pleased."

They immediately sent for a horse, which was brought in a little time; and having helped me to mount, some of them walked before to shew the way, while the rest took my raft and cargo and followed.

We marched till we came to the capital of Serendib, for it was in that island I had landed. The blacks presented me to their king; I approached his throne, and saluted him as I used to do the kings of the Indies; that is to say, I prostrated myself at his feet. The prince ordered me to rise, received me with an obliging air, and made me sit down near him. He first asked me my name, and I answered, "People call me Sinbad the voyager, because of the many voyages I have undertaken, and I am a citizen of Bagdad." "But," resumed he, "how came you into my dominions, and from whence came you last?"

I concealed nothing from the king; I related to him all that I have told you, and his majesty was so surprised and pleased, that he commanded my adventures to be written in letters of gold, and laid up in the archives of his kingdom. At last my raft was brought in, and the bales opened in his presence; he admired the quantity of wood of aloes and ambergris, but, above all, the rubies and emeralds, for he had none in his treasury that equalled them.

Observing that he looked on my jewels with pleasure, and viewed the most remarkable among them one after another, I fell prostrate at his feet, and took the liberty to say to him, "Sir, not only my person is at your majesty's service, but the cargo of the raft, and I would beg of you to dispose of it as your own." He answered me with a smile, "Sinbad, I will take care not to covet any thing of yours, or to take any thing from you that God has given you; far from lessening your wealth, I design to augment it, and will not let you quit my dominions without marks of my liberality." All the answer I returned were prayers for the prosperity of that nobly minded prince, and commendations of his generosity and bounty. He charged one of his officers to take care of me, and ordered people to serve me at his own expence. The officer was very faithful in the execution of his commission, and caused all the goods to be carried to the lodgings provided for me.

I went every day at a set hour to make my court to the king, and spent the rest of my time in viewing the city, and what was most worthy of notice.

The isle of Serendib is situated just under the equinoctial line; so that the days and nights there are always of twelve hours each, and the island is eighty parasangs in length, and as many in breadth.

The capital stands at the end of a fine valley, in the middle of the island, encompassed by mountains the highest in the world. They are seen three days' sail off at sea. Rubies and several sorts of minerals abound, and the rocks are for the most part composed of a metalline stone made use of to cut and polish other precious stones. All kinds of rare plants and trees grow there, especially cedars and cocoa-nut. There is also a pearl-fishing in the mouth of its principal river; and in some of its valleys are found diamonds. I made, by way of devotion, a pilgrimage to the place where Adam was confined after his banishment from Paradise, and had the curiosity to go to the top of the mountain.

When I returned to the city, I prayed the king to allow me to return to my own country, and he granted me permission in the most obliging and most honourable manner. He would needs force a rich present upon me; and when I went to take my leave of him, he gave me one much more considerable, and at the same time charged me with a letter for the commander of the faithful, our sovereign, saying to me, "I pray you give this present from me, and this letter to the caliph, and assure him of my friendship." I took the present and letter in a very respectful manner, and promised his majesty punctually to execute the commission with which he was pleased to honour me. Before I embarked, this prince sent for the captain and the merchants who were to go with me, and ordered them to treat me with all possible respect.

The letter from the king of Serendib was written on the skin of a certain animal of great value, because of its being so scarce, and of a yellowish colour. The characters of this letter were of azure, and the contents as follows:

"The king of the Indies, before whom march one hundred elephants, who lives in a palace that shines with one hundred thousand rubies, and who has in his treasury twenty thousand crowns enriched with diamonds, to caliph Haroon al Rusheed.

"Though the present we send you be inconsiderable, receive it however as a brother and a friend, in consideration of the hearty friendship which we bear for you, and of which we are willing to give you proof. We desire the same part in your friendship, considering that we believe it to be our merit, being of the same dignity with yourself. We conjure you this in quality of a brother. Adieu."

The present consisted first, of one single ruby made into a cup, about half a foot high, an inch thick, and filled with round pearls of half a drachm each. 2. The skin of a serpent, whose scales were as large as an ordinary piece of gold, and had the virtue to preserve from sickness those who lay upon it. 3. Fifty thousand drachms of the best wood of aloes, with thirty grains of camphire as big as pistachios. 4. A female slave of ravishing beauty, whose apparel was all covered over with jewels.

The ship set sail, and after a very successful navigation we landed at Bussorah, and from thence I went to Bagdad, where the first thing I did was to acquit myself of my commission.

Scheherazade stopped, because day appeared, and next night proceeded thus.

I took the king of Serendib's letter, and went to present myself at the gate of the commander of the faithful, followed by the beautiful slave, and such of my own family as carried the presents. I stated the reason of my coming, and was immediately conducted to the throne of the caliph. I made my reverence, and, after a short speech, gave him the letter and present. When he had read what the king of Serendib wrote to him, he asked me, if that prince were really so rich and potent as he represented himself in his letter? I prostrated myself a second time, and rising again, said, "Commander of the faithful, I can assure your majesty he doth not exceed the truth. I bear him witness. Nothing is more worthy of admiration than the magnificence of his palace. When the prince appears in public, he has a throne fixed on the back of an elephant, and marches betwixt two ranks of his ministers, favourites, and other people of his court; before him, upon the same elephant, an officer carries a golden lance in his hand; and behind the throne there is another, who stands upright, with a column of gold, on the top of which is an emerald half a foot long, and an inch thick; before him march a guard of one thousand men, clad in cloth of gold and silk, and mounted on elephants richly caparisoned.

"While the king is on his march, the officer, who is before him on the same elephant, cries from time to time, with a loud voice, 'Behold the great monarch, the potent and redoubtable sultan of the Indies, whose palace is covered with one hundred thousand rubies, and who possesses twenty thousand crowns of diamonds. Behold the monarch greater than Solomon, and the powerful Maha-raja.' After he has pronounced those words, the officer behind the throne cries in his turn, 'This monarch, so great and so powerful, must die, must die, must die.' And the officer before replies, 'Praise be to him who lives for ever.'

"Farther, the king of Serendib is so just, that there are no judges in his dominions. His people have no need of them. They understand and observe justice rigidly of themselves."

The caliph was much pleased with my account. "The wisdom of that king," said he, "appears in his letter, and after what you tell me, I must confess, that his wisdom is worthy of his people, and his people deserve so wise a prince." Having spoken thus, he dismissed me, and sent me home with a rich present.

Sinbad left off, and his company retired, Hindbad having first received one hundred sequins; and next day they returned to hear the relation of his seventh and last voyage.






The Seventh and Last Voyage


Being returned from my sixth voyage, said Sinbad, I absolutely laid aside all thoughts of travelling; for, besides that my age now required rest, I was resolved no more to expose myself to such risks as I had encountered; so that I thought of nothing but to pass the rest of my days in tranquillity. One day as I was treating my friends, one of my servants came and told me that an officer of the caliph's enquired for me. I rose from table, and went to him. "The caliph," he said, "has sent me to tell you, that he must speak with you." I followed the officer to the palace, where being presented to the caliph, I saluted him by prostrating myself at his feet. "Sinbad," said he to me, "I stand in need of your service; you must carry my answer and present to the king of Serendib. It is but just I should return his civility."

This command of the caliph was to me like a clap of thunder. "Commander of the faithful," I replied, "I am ready to do whatever your majesty shall think fit to command; but I beseech you most humbly to consider what I have undergone. I have also made a vow never to go out of Bagdad." Hence I took occasion to give him a full and particular account of all my adventures, which he had the patience to hear out.

As soon as I had finished, "I confess," said he, "that the things you tell me are very extraordinary, yet you must for my sake undertake this voyage which I propose to you. You will only have to go to the isle of Serendib, and deliver the commission which I give you. After that you are at liberty to return. But you must go; for you know it would not comport with my dignity, to be indebted to the king of that island." Perceiving that the caliph insisted upon my compliance, I submitted, and told him that I was willing to obey. He was very well pleased, and ordered me one thousand sequins for the expences of my journey.

I prepared for my departure in a few days, and as soon as the caliph's letter and present were delivered to me, I went to Bussorah, where I embarked, and had a very happy voyage. Having arrived at the isle of Serendib, I acquainted the king's ministers with my commission, and prayed them to get me speedy audience. They did so, and I was conducted to the palace in an honourable manner, where I saluted the king by prostration, according to custom. That prince knew me immediately, and testified very great joy at seeing me. "Sinbad," said he, "you are welcome; I have many times thought of you since you departed; I bless the day on which we see one another once more." I made my compliment to him, and after having thanked him for his kindness, delivered the caliph's letter and present, which he received with all imaginable satisfaction.

The caliph's present was a complete suit of cloth of gold, valued at one thousand sequins; fifty robes of rich stuff, a hundred of white cloth, the finest of Cairo, Suez, and Alexandria; a vessel of agate broader than deep, an inch thick, and half a foot wide, the bottom of which represented in bass relief a man with one knee on the ground, who held bow and an arrow, ready to discharge at a lion. He sent him also a rich tablet, which, according to tradition, belonged to the great Solomon. The caliph's letter was as follows:

"Greeting, in the name of the sovereign guide of the right way, from the dependent on God, Haroon al Rusheed, whom God hath set in the place of vicegerent to his prophet, after his ancestors of happy memory, to the potent and esteemed Raja of Serendib.

"We received your letter with joy, and send you this from our imperial residence, the garden of superior wits. We hope when you look upon it, you will perceive our good intention and be pleased with it. Adieu."

The king of Serendib was highly gratified that the caliph answered his friendship. A little time after this audience, I solicited leave to depart, and had much difficulty to obtain it. I procured it however at last, and the king, when he dismissed me, made me a very considerable present. I embarked immediately to return to Bagdad, but had not the good fortune to arrive there so speedily as I had hoped. God ordered it otherwise.

Three or four days after my departure, we were attacked by corsairs, who easily seized upon our ship, because it was no vessel of force. Some of the crew offered resistance, which cost them their lives. But for myself and the rest, who were not so imprudent, the corsairs saved us on purpose to make slaves of us.

We were all stripped, and instead of our own clothes, they gave us sorry rags, and carried us into a remote island, where they sold us.

I fell into the hands of a rich merchant, who, as soon as he bought me, carried me to his house, treated me well, and clad me handsomely for a slave. Some days after, not knowing who I was, he asked me if I understood any trade? I answered, that I was no mechanic, but a merchant, and that the corsairs, who sold me, had robbed me of all I possessed. "But tell me," replied he, "can you shoot with a bow?" I answered, that the bow was one of my exercises in my youth. He gave me a bow and arrows, and, taking me behind him upon an elephant, carried me to a thick forest some leagues from the town. We penetrated a great way into the wood, and when he thought fit to stop, he bade me alight; then shewing me a great tree, "Climb up that," said he, "and shoot at the elephants as you see them pass by, for there is a prodigious number of them in this forest, and if any of them fall, come and give me notice." Having spoken thus, he left me victuals, and returned to the town, and I continued upon the tree all night.

I saw no elephant during that time, but next morning, as soon as the sun was up, I perceived a great number. I shot several arrows among them, and at last one of the elephants fell, when the rest retired immediately, and left me at liberty to go and acquaint my patron with my booty. When I had informed him, he gave me a good meal, commended my dexterity, and caressed me highly. We went afterwards together to the forest, where we dug a hole for the elephant; my patron designing to return when it was rotten, and take his teeth to trade with.

I continued this employment for two months, and killed an elephant every day, getting sometimes upon one tree, and sometimes upon another. One morning, as I looked for the elephants, I perceived with extreme amazement, that, instead of passing by me across the forest as usual, they stopped, and came to me with a horrible noise, in such number that the plain was covered, and shook under them. They encompassed the tree in which I was concealed, with their trunks extended, and all fixed their eyes upon. At this alarming spectacle I continued immoveable, and was so much terrified, that my bow and arrows fell out of my hand.

My fears were not without cause; for after the elephants had stared upon me some time, one of the largest of them put his trunk round the foot of the tree, plucked it up, and threw it on the ground; I fell with the tree, and the elephant taking me up with his trunk, laid me on his back, where I sat more like one dead than alive, with my quiver on my shoulder. He put himself afterwards at the head of the rest, who followed him in troops, carried me a considerable way, then laid me down on the ground, and retired with all his companions. Conceive, if you can, the condition I was in: I thought myself in a dream. After having lain some time, and seeing the elephants gone, I got up, and found I was upon a long and broad hill, almost covered with the bones and teeth of elephants. I confess to you, that this object furnished me with abundance of reflections. I admired the instinct of those animals; I doubted not but that was their burying place, and that they carried me thither on purpose to tell me that I should forbear to persecute them, since I did it only for their teeth. I did not stay on the hill, but turned towards the city, and, after having travelled a day and a night, I came to my patron. I met no elephant in my way, which made me think they had retired farther into the forest, to leave me at liberty to come back to the hill without any obstacle.

As soon as my patron saw me; "Ah, poor Sinbad," exclaimed he, "I was in great trouble to know what was become of you. I have been at the forest, where I found a tree newly pulled up, and a bow and arrows on the ground, and after having sought for you in vain, I despaired of ever, seeing you more. Pray tell me what befell you, and by what good chance thou art still alive." I satisfied his curiosity, and going both of us next morning to the hill, he found to his great joy that what I had told him was true. We loaded the elephant which had carried us with as many teeth as he could bear; and when we were returned, "Brother," said my patron, "for I will treat you no more as my slave, after having made such a discovery as will enrich me, God bless you with all happiness and prosperity. I declare before him, that I give you your liberty. I concealed from you what I am now going to tell you.

"The elephants of our forest have every year killed us a great many slaves, whom we sent to seek ivory. For all the cautions we could give them, those crafty animals destroyed them one time or other. God has delivered you from their fury, and has bestowed that favour upon you only. It is a sign that he loves you, and has some use for your service in the world. You have procured me incredible wealth. Formerly we could not procure ivory but by exposing the lives of our slaves, and now our whole city is enriched by your means. Do not think I pretend to have rewarded you by giving you your liberty, I will also give you considerable riches. I could engage all our city to contribute towards making your fortune, but I will have the glory of doing it myself."

To this obliging declaration I replied, "Patron, God preserve you. Your giving me my liberty is enough to discharge what you owe me, and I desire no other reward for the service I had the good fortune to do to you and your city, but leave to return to my own country." "Very well," said he, "the monsoon will in a little time bring ships for ivory. I will then send you home, and give you wherewith to bear your charges." I thanked him again for my liberty and his good intentions towards me. I staid with him expecting the monsoon; and during that time, we made so many journeys to the hill, that we filled all our warehouses with ivory. The other merchants, who traded in it, did the same, for it could not be long concealed from them.

The ships arrived at last, and my patron, himself having made choice of the ship wherein I was to embark, loaded half of it with ivory on my account, laid in provisions in abundance for my passage, and besides obliged me to accept a present of some curiosities of the country of great value. After I had returned him a thousand thanks for all his favours, I went aboard. We set sail, and as the adventure which procured me this liberty was very extraordinary, I had it continually in my thoughts.

We stopped at some islands to take in fresh provisions. Our vessel being come to a port on the main land in the Indies, we touched there, and not being willing to venture by sea to Bussorah, I landed my proportion of the ivory, resolving to proceed on my journey by land. I made vast sums of my ivory, bought several rarities, which I intended for presents, and when my equipage was ready, set out in company with a large caravan of merchants. I was a long time on the way, and suffered much, but endured all with patience, when I considered that I had nothing to fear from the seas, from pirates, from serpents, or from the other perils to which I had been exposed.

All these fatigues ended at last, and I arrived safe at Bagdad. I went immediately to wait upon the caliph, and gave him an account of my embassy. That prince said he had been uneasy, as I was so long in returning, but that he always hoped God would preserve me. When I told him the adventure of the elephants, he seemed much surprised, and would never have given any credit to it had he not known my veracity. He deemed this story, and the other relations I had given him, to be so curious, that he ordered one of his secretaries to write them in characters of gold, and lay them up in his treasury. I retired well satisfied with the honours I received, and the presents which he gave me; and ever since I have devoted myself wholly to my family, kindred, and friends.

Sinbad here finished the relation of his seventh and last voyage, and then addressing himself to Hindbad, "Well, friend," said he, "did you ever hear of any person that suffered so much as I have done, or of any mortal that has gone through so many vicissitudes? Is it not reasonable that, after all this I should enjoy a quiet and pleasant life?" As he said this, Hindbad drew near to him, and kissing his hand, said, "I must acknowledge, sir, that you have gone through many imminent dangers; my troubles are not comparable to yours: if they afflict me for a time, I comfort myself with the thoughts of the profit I get by them. You not only deserve a quiet life, but are worthy of all the riches you enjoy, because you make of them such a good and generous use. May you therefore continue to live in happiness and joy till the day of your death!" Sinbad gave him one hundred sequins more, received him into the number of his friends, desired him to quit his porter's employment, and come and dine every day with him, that he might have reason to remember Sinbad the voyager.






The Three Apples


The Caliph Haroon al Rusheed one day commanded the grand vizier Jaffier to come to his palace the night following. "Vizier," said he, "I will take a walk round the town, to inform myself what people say, and particularly how they are pleased with my officers of justice. If there be any against whom they have cause of just complaint, we will turn them out, and put others in their stead, who shall officiate better. If, on the contrary, there be any that have gained their applause, we will have that esteem for them which they deserve." The grand vizier being come to the palace at the hour appointed, the caliph, he, and Mesrour the chief of the eunuchs, disguised themselves so that they could not be known, and went out all three together.

They passed through several places, and by several markets. As they entered a small street, they perceived by the light of the moon, a tall man, with a white beard, who carried nets on his head, and a staff in his hand. "To judge from his appearance," said the caliph, "that old man is not rich; let us go to him and inquire into his circumstances." "Honest man," said the vizier, "who art thou?" The old man replied, "Sir, I am a fisher, but one of the poorest and most miserable of the trade. I went from my house about noon a fishing, and from that time to this I have not been able to catch one fish; at the same time I have a wife and small children, and nothing to maintain them."

The caliph, moved with compassion, said to the fisherman, "Hast thou the courage to go back and cast thy net once more? We will give thee a hundred sequins for what thou shalt bring up." At this proposal, the fisherman, forgetting all his day's toil, took the caliph at his word, and returned to the Tigris, accompanied by the caliph, Jaaffier, and Mesrour; saying to himself as he went, "These gentlemen seem too honest and reasonable not to reward my pains; and if they give me the hundredth part of what they promise, it will be an ample recompence."

They came to the bank of the river, and the fisherman, having thrown in his net, when he drew it again, brought up a trunk close shut, and very heavy. The caliph made the grand vizier pay him one hundred sequins immediately, and sent him away. Mesrour, by his master's order, carried the trunk on his shoulder, and the caliph was so very eager to know what it contained, that he returned to the palace with all speed. When the trunk was opened, they found in it a large basket made of palm-leaves, shut up, and the covering of it sewed with red thread. To satisfy the caliph's impatience, they would not take time to undo it, but cut the thread with a knife, and took out of the basket a package wrapt up in a sorry piece of hanging, and bound about with a rope; which being untied, they found, to their great amazement, the corpse of a young lady, whiter than snow, all cut in pieces.

The astonishment of the caliph was great at this dreadful spectacle. His surprise was instantly changed into passion, and darting an angry look at the vizier, "Thou wretch," said he, "is this your inspection into the actions of my people? Do they commit such impious murders under thy ministry in my capital, and throw my subjects into the Tigris, that they may cry for vengeance against me at the day of judgment? If thou dost not speedily avenge the murder of this woman, by the death of her murderer, I swear by heaven, that I will cause thee and forty more of thy kindred to be impaled." "Commander of the faithful," replied the grand vizier, "I beg your majesty to grant me time to make enquiry." "I will allow thee no more," said the caliph, "than three days."

The vizier Jaaffier went home in great perplexity. "Alas!" said he "how is it possible that in such a vast and populous city as Bagdad, I should be able to detect a murderer, who undoubtedly committed the crime without witness, and perhaps may be already gone from hence? Any other vizier than I would take some wretched person out of prison, and cause him to be put to death to satisfy the caliph; but I will not burden my conscience with such a barbarous action; I will rather die than preserve my life by the sacrifice of another innocent person."

He ordered the officers of the police and justice to make strict search for the criminal. They sent their servants about, and they were not idle themselves, for they were no less concerned in this matter than the vizier. But all their endeavours were to no purpose; what pains soever they took they could not discover the murderer; so that the vizier concluded his life to be lost.

The third day being arrived, an officer came to the unfortunate minister, with a summons to follow him, which the vizier obeyed. The caliph asked him for the murderer. He answered, "Commander of the faithful, I have not found any person that could give me the least account of him." The caliph, full of fury and rage, gave him many reproachful words, and ordered that he and forty Bermukkees should be impaled at the gate of the palace.

In the mean while the stakes were preparing, and orders were sent to seize forty Bermukkees in their houses; a public crier was sent about the city by the caliph's order, to cry thus: "Those who have a desire to see the grand vizier Jaaffier impaled, with forty of his kindred, let them come to the square before the palace."

When all things were ready, the criminal judge, and many officers belonging to the palace, having brought out the grand vizier with the forty Bermukkees, set each by the stake designed for him. The multitude of people that filled the square could not without grief and tears behold this tragical sight; for the grand vizier and the Bermukkees were loved and honoured on account of their probity, bounty, and impartiality, not only in Bagdad, but through all the dominions of the caliph.

Nothing could prevent the execution of this prince's severe and irrevocable sentence, and the lives of the most deserving people in the city were just going to be sacrificed, when a young man of handsome mien pressed through the crowd till he came up to the grand vizier, and after he had kissed his hand, said, "Most excellent vizier, chief of the emirs of this court, and comforter of the poor, you are not guilty of the crime for which you stand here. Withdraw, and let me expiate the death of the lady that was thrown into the Tigris. It is I who murdered her, and I deserve to be punished for my offence."

Though these words occasioned great joy to the vizier, yet he could not but pity the young man, in whose look he saw something that instead of evincing guilt was engaging: but as he was about to answer him, a tall man advanced in years, who had likewise forced his way through the crowd, came up to him, saying, "Do not believe what this young man tells you, I killed that lady who was found in the trunk, and this punishment ought only to fall upon me. I conjure you in the name of God not to punish the innocent for the guilty." "Sir," said the young man to the vizier, "I do protest that I am he who committed this vile act, and nobody else had any concern in it." "My son," said the old man, "it is despair that brought you hither, and you would anticipate your destiny. I have lived a long while in the world, and it is time for me to be gone; let me therefore sacrifice my life for yours." "Sir," said he again to the vizier, "I tell you once more I am the murderer; let me die without delay."

The controversy between the old and the young man induced the grand vizier to carry them both before the caliph, to which the judge criminal consented, being glad to serve the vizier. When he came before the prince, he kissed the ground seven times, and spake after this manner: "Commander of the faithful, I have brought here before your majesty this old and this young man, each of whom declares himself to be the sole murderer of the lady." The caliph asked the criminals which of them it was that so cruelly murdered the lady, and threw her into the Tigris? The young man assured him it was he, but the old man maintained the contrary. "Go," said the caliph to the grand vizier, "and cause them both to be impaled." "But, Sir," said the vizier, "if only one of them be guilty, it would be unjust to take the lives of both." At these words the young man spoke again, "I swear by the great God, who has raised the heavens so high, that I am the man who killed the lady, cut her in pieces, and about four days ago threw her into the Tigris. I renounce my part of happiness amongst the just at the day of judgment, if what I say be not truth; therefore I am he that ought to suffer." The caliph being surprised at this oath, believed him; especially since the old man made no answer. Whereupon, turning to the young man, "Wretch," said he, "what made thee commit that detestable crime, and what is it that moves thee to offer thyself voluntarily to die?" "Commander of the faithful," said he, "if all that has past between that lady and me were set down in writing, it would be a history that might be useful to other men." "I command thee then to relate it," said the caliph. The young man obeyed, and began his history.






The Story of the Lady who was Murdered, and of
the Young Man her Husband


Commander of the faithful, this murdered lady was my wife, daughter of this old man, who is my uncle by the father's side. She was not above twelve years old, when eleven years ago he gave her to me. I have three children by her, all boys, yet alive, and I must do her the justice to say, that she never gave me the least occasion for offence; she was chaste, of good behaviour, and made it her whole business to please me. And on my part I ardently loved her, and in every thing rather anticipated than opposed her wishes.

About two months ago she fell sick; I took all imaginable care of her, and spared nothing that could promote her speedy recovery. After a month thus passed she began to grow better, and expressed a wish to go to the bath. Before she went, "Cousin," said she (for so she used to call me out of familiarity), "I long for some apples; if you would get me any, you would greatly please me. I have longed for them a great while, and I must own it is come to that height, that if I be not satisfied very soon, I fear some misfortune will befall me." "I will cheerfully try," said I, "and do all in my power to make you easy."

I went immediately round all the markets and shops in the town to seek for apples, but I could not get one, though I offered to pay a sequin a piece. I returned home much dissatisfied at my failure; and for my wife, when she returned from the bagnio, and saw no apples, she became so very uneasy, that she could not sleep all night. I got up by times in the morning, and went through all the gardens, but had no better success than the day before; only I happened to meet an old gardener, who told me, that all my pains would signify nothing, for I could not expect to find apples any where but in your majesty's garden at Bussorah. As I loved my wife passionately, and would not neglect to satisfy her, I dressed myself in a traveller's habit, and after I had told her my design, went to Bussorah, and made my journey with such speed, that I returned at the end of fifteen days with three apples, which cost me a sequin apiece, for as there were no more left, the gardener would not let me have them for less. As soon as I came home, I presented them to my wife, but her longing had ceased, she satisfied herself with receiving them, and laid them down by her. In the mean time she continued sickly, and I knew not what remedy to procure for her relief.

Some few days after I returned from my journey, sitting in my shop in the public place where all sorts of fine stuffs are sold, I saw an ugly, tall, black slave come in, with an apple in his hand, which I knew to be one of those I had brought from Bussorah. I had no reason to doubt it, because I was certain there was not one to be had in Bagdad, nor in any of the gardens in the vicinity. I called to him, and said, "Good slave, pr'ythee tell me where thou hadst this apple?" "It is a present" (said he, smiling) "from my mistress. I went to see her to-day, and found her out of order. I saw three apples lying by her, and asked her where she had them. She told me the good man, her husband, had made a fortnight's journey on purpose, and brought them to her. We had a collation together; and, when I took my leave of her, I brought away this apple."

This account rendered me distracted. I rose, shut up my shop, ran home with all speed, and going to my wife's chamber, looked immediately for the apples, and seeing only two, asked what was become of the third. My wife, turning her head to the place where the apples lay, and perceiving there were but two, answered me coldly, "Cousin, I know not what is become of it." At this reply I was convinced what the slave had told me was true; and giving myself up to madness and jealousy, drew my knife from my girdle, and thrust it into the unfortunate creature's throat. I afterwards cut off her head, and divided her body into four quarters, which I packed up in a bundle, sewed it up with a thread of red yarn, put all together in a trunk, and when night came, carried it on my shoulder down to the Tigris, where I sunk it.

The two youngest of my children were asleep, the third was out; but at my return, I found him sitting by my gate, weeping. I asked him the reason; "Father," said he, "I took this morning from my mother, without her knowledge, one of those three apples you brought her, and kept it a long while; but, as I was playing some time ago with my little brother in the street, a tall slave passing by snatched it out of my hands, and carried it away. I ran after him, demanding it back, and besides told him, that it belonged to my mother, who was sick; and that you had made a fortnight's journey to procure it; but all to no purpose, he would not restore it. And as I still followed him, crying out, he turned and beat me, and then ran away as fast as he could from one lane to another, till at length I lost sight of him. I have since been walking without the town expecting your return, to pray you, dear father, not to tell my mother of it, lest it should make her worse!" When he had thus spoken he fell a weeping again more bitterly than before.

My son's account afflicted me beyond measure. I then found myself guilty of an enormous crime, and repented too late of having so easily believed the calumnies of a wretched slave, who, from what he had learnt of my son, had invented that fatal falsehood.

My uncle here present came just at that time to see his daughter, but instead of finding her alive, understood from me that she was dead, for I concealed nothing from him; and without staying for his censure, declared myself the greatest criminal in the world.

Upon this, instead of reproaching me, he joined his tears with mine, and we together wept three days without intermission, he for the loss of a daughter whom he had loved tenderly; and I for the loss of a beloved wife, of whom I had deprived myself in so cruel a manner by giving too easy credit to the report of a lying slave.

This, commander of the faithful, is the sincere confession your majesty required from me. You have now heard all the circumstances of my crime, and I must humbly beg of you to order the punishment due for it; how severe soever it may be, I shall not in the least complain, but esteem it too easy and light.

The caliph was much astonished at the young man's relation. But this just prince, finding he was rather to be pitied than condemned, began to speak in his favour: "This young man's crime," said he, "is pardonable before God, and excusable with men. The wicked slave is the sole cause of this murder; it is he alone that must be punished: wherefore," continued he, looking upon the grand vizier, "I give you three days' time to find him out; if you do not bring him within that space, you shall die in his stead." The unfortunate Jaaffier, had thought himself out of danger, was perplexed at this order of the caliph; but as he durst not return any answer to the prince, whose hasty temper he knew too well, he departed from his presence, and retired melancholy to his house, convinced that he had but three days to live; for he was so fully persuaded that he should not find the slave, that he made not the least enquiry after him. "Is it possible," said he, "that in such a city as Bagdad, where there is an infinite number of negro slaves, I should be able to find him out that is guilty? Unless God be pleased to interpose as he hath already to detest the murderer, nothing can save my life."

He spent the first two days in mourning with his family, who sat round him weeping and complaining of the caliph's cruelty. The third day being arrived, he prepared himself to die with courage, as an honest minister, and one who had nothing to trouble his conscience; he sent for notaries and witnesses' who signed his will. After which he took leave of his wife and children, and bade them farewell. All his family were drowned in tears, so that there never was a more sorrowful spectacle. At last a messenger came from the caliph to tell him that he was out of all patience, having heard nothing from him concerning the negro slave whom he had commanded him to search for; "I am therefore ordered," said the messenger, "to bring you before his throne." The afflicted vizier, obeyed the mandate, but as he was going out, they brought him his youngest daughter, about five or six years of age, to receive his last blessing.

As he had a particular affection for that child, he prayed the messenger to give him leave to stop a moment, and taking his daughter in his arms, kissed her several times: as he kissed her, he perceived she had something in her bosom that looked bulky, and had a sweet scent. "My dear little one," said he, "what hast thou in thy bosom?" "My dear father," she replied, "it is an apple which our slave Rihan sold me for two sequins."

At these words apple and slave, the grand vizier, uttered an exclamation of surprise, intermixed with joy, and putting his hand into the child's bosom, pulled out the apple. He caused the slave, who was not far off, to be brought immediately, and when he came, "Rascal," said he, "where hadst thou this apple?" "My lord," replied the slave, "I swear to you that I neither stole it in your house, nor out of the commander of the faithful's garden; but the other day, as I was passing through a street where three or four children were at play, one of them having it in his hand, I snatched it from him, and carried it away. The child ran after me, telling me it was not his own, but belonged mother, who was sick; and that his father, to satisfy her longing, had made a long journey, and brought home three apples, whereof this was one, which he had taken from his mother without her knowledge. He said all he could to prevail upon me to give it him back, but I refused, and so brought it home, and sold it for two sequins to the little lady your daughter."

Jaaffier could not reflect without astonishment that the mischievousness of a slave had been the cause of an innocent woman's death, and nearly of his own. He carried the slave along with him, and when he came before the caliph, gave the prince an exact account of what the slave had told him, and the chance which led him to the discovery of his crime.

Never was any surprise so great as that of the caliph, yet he could not refrain from falling into excessive fits of laughter. At last he recovered himself, and with a serious air told the vizier, that since his slave had been the occasion of murder, he deserved an exemplary punishment. "I must own it," said the vizier, "but his guilt is not unpardonable: I remember the wonderful history of a vizier, of Cairo, and am ready to relate it, upon condition that if your majesty finds it more astonishing than that which gives me occasion to tell it, you will be pleased to pardon my slave." "I consent," said the caliph; "but you undertake a hard task, for I do not believe you can save your slave, the story of the apples being so very singular." Upon this, Jaaffier began his story thus:






The Story of Noor ad Deen Ali and
Buddir ad Deen Houssun


Commander of the faithful, there was formerly a sultan of Egypt, a strict observer of justice, gracious, merciful, and liberal, and his valour made him terrible to his neighbours. He loved the poor, and protected the learned, whom he advanced to the highest dignities. This sultan had a vizier, who was prudent, wise, sagacious, and well versed in all sciences. This minister had two sons, who in every thing followed his footsteps. The eldest was called Shumse ad Deen Mahummud, and the younger Noor ad Deen Ali. The latter was endowed with all the good qualities that man could possess.

The vizier their father being dead, the sultan caused them both to put on the robes of a vizier, "I am as sorry," said he, "as you are for the loss of your father; and because I know you live together, and love one another cordially, I will bestow his dignity upon you conjointly; go, and imitate your father's conduct."

The two new viziers humbly thanked the sultan, and retired to make due preparation for their father's interment. They did not go abroad for a month, after which they repaired to court, and attended their duties. When the sultan hunted, one of the brothers accompanied him, and this honour they had by turns. One evening as they were conversing together after a cheerful meal, the next day being the elder brother's turn to hunt with the sultan, he said to his younger brother, "Since neither of us is yet married, and we live so affectionately together, let us both wed the same day sisters out of some family that may suit our quality. What do you think of this plan?" "Brother," answered the other vizier, "there cannot be a better thought; for my part, I will agree to any thing you approve." "But this is not all," said the elder; "my fancy carries me farther: Suppose both our wives should conceive the first night of our marriage, and should happen to be brought to bed on one day, yours of a son, and mine of a daughter, we will give them to each other in marriage." "Nay," said Noor ad Deen aloud, "I must acknowledge that this prospect is admirable; such a marriage will perfect our union, and I willingly consent to it. But then, brother," said he farther, "if this marriage should happen, would you expect that my son should settle a jointure on your daughter?" "There is no difficulty in that," replied the other; "for I am persuaded, that besides the usual articles of the marriage contract, you will not fail to promise in his name at least three thousand sequins, three landed estates, and three slaves." "No," said the younger "I will not consent to that; are we not brethren, and equal in title and dignity? Do not you and I know what is just? The male being nobler than the female, it is your part to give a large dowry with your daughter. By what I perceive, you are a man that would have your business done at another's charge."

Although Noor ad Deen spoke these words in jest, his brother being of a hasty temper, was offended, and falling into a passion said, "A mischief upon your son, since you prefer him before my daughter. I wonder you had so much confidence as to believe him worthy of her; you must needs have lost your judgment to think you are my equal, and say we are colleagues. I would have you to know, that since you are so vain, I would not marry my daughter to your son though you would give him more than you are worth." This pleasant quarrel between two brothers about the marriage of their children before they were born went so far, that Shumse ad Deen concluded by threatening: "Were I not to-morrow," said he, "to attend the sultan, I would treat you as you deserve; but at my return, I will make you sensible that it does not become a younger brother to speak so insolently to his elder as you have done to me." Upon this he retired to his apartment in anger.

Shumse ad Deen rising early next morning, attended the sultan, who went to hunt near the pyramids. As for Noor ad Deen, he was very uneasy all night, and supposing it would not be possible to live longer with a brother who had treated him with so much haughtiness, he provided a stout mule, furnished himself with money and jewels, and having told his people that he was going on a private journey for two or three days, departed.

When out of Cairo, he rode by way of the desert towards Arabia; but his mule happening to tire, was forced to continue his journey on foot. A courier who was going to Bussorah, by good fortune overtaking him, took him up behind him. As soon as the courier reached that city, Noor ad Deen alighted, and returned him thanks for his kindness. As he went about to seek for a lodging, he saw a person of quality with a numerous retinue, to whom all the people shewed the greatest respect, and stood still till he had passed. This personage was grand vizier, to the sultan of Bussorah, who was passing through the city to see that the inhabitants kept good order and discipline.

This minister casting his eyes by chance on Noor ad Deen Ali, perceiving something extraordinary in his aspect, looked very attentively upon him, and as he saw him in a traveller's habit, stopped his train, asked him who he was, and from whence he came? "Sir," said Noor ad Deen, "I am an Egyptian, born at Cairo, and have left my country, because of the unkindness of a near relation, resolved to travel through the world, and rather to die than return home." The grand vizier, who was a good-natured man, after hearing these words, said to him, "Son, beware; do not pursue your design; you are not sensible of the hardships you must endure. Follow me; I may perhaps make you forget the misfortunes which have forced you to leave your own country."

Noor ad Deen followed the grand vizier, who soon discovered his good qualities, and conceived for him so great an affection, that one day he said to him in private, "My son, I am, as you see, so far gone in years, that it is not probable I shall live much longer. Heaven has bestowed on me only one daughter, who is as beautiful as you are handsome, and now fit for marriage. Several nobles of the highest rank at this court have sought her for their sons, but I would not grant their request. I have an affection for you, and think you so worthy to be received into my family, that, preferring you before all those who have demanded her, I am ready to accept you for my son-in-law. If you like the proposal, I will acquaint the sultan my master that I have adopted you by this marriage, and intreat him to grant you the reversion of my dignity of grand vizier in the kingdom of Bussorah. In the mean time, nothing being more requisite for me than ease in my old age, I will not only put you in possession of great part of my estate, but leave the administration of public affairs to your management."

When the grand vizier had concluded this kind and generous proposal, Noor ad Deen fell at his feet, and expressing himself in terms that demonstrated his joy and gratitude, assured him, that he was at his command in every way. Upon this the vizier sent for his chief domestics, ordered them to adorn the great hall of his palace, and prepare a splendid feast. He afterwards sent to invite the nobility of the court and city, to honour him with their company; and when they were all met (Noor ad Deen having made known his quality), he said to the noblemen present, for he thought it proper to speak thus on purpose to satisfy those to whom he had refused his alliance, "I am now, my lords, to discover a circumstance which hitherto I have keep a secret. I have a brother, who is grand vizier to the sultan of Egypt. This brother has but one son, whom he would not marry in the court of Egypt, but sent him hither to wed my daughter in order that both branches of our family may be united. His son, whom I knew to be my nephew as soon as I saw him, is the young man I now present to you as my son-in-law. I hope you will do me the honour to be present at his wedding, which I am resolved to celebrate this day." The noblemen, who could not be offended at his preferring his nephew to the great matches that had been proposed, allowed that he had very good reason for his choice, were willing to be witnesses to the ceremony, and wished that God might prolong his days to enjoy the satisfaction of the happy match.

The lords met at the vizier of Bussorah's palace, having testified their satisfaction at the marriage of his daughter with Noor ad Deen Ali, sat down to a magnificent repast, after which, notaries came in with the marriage contrast, and the chief lords signed it; and when the company had departed, the grand vizier ordered his servants to have every thing in readiness for Noor ad Deen Ali, to bathe. He had fine new linen, and rich vestments provided for him in the greatest profusion. Having bathed and dressed, he was perfumed with the most odoriferous essences, and went to compliment the vizier, his father-in-law, who was exceedingly pleased with his noble demeanour. Having made him sit down, "My son," said he, "you have declared to me who you are, and the office you held at the court of Egypt. You have also told me of a difference betwixt you and your brother, which occasioned you to leave your country. I desire you to make me your entire confidant, and to acquaint me with the cause of your quarrel; for now you have no reason either to doubt my affection, or to conceal any thing from me."

Noor ad Deen informed him of every circumstance of the quarrel; at which the vizier, burst out into a fit of laughter, and said, "This is one of the strangest occurrences I ever heard. Is it possible, my son, that your quarrel should rise so high about an imaginary marriage? I am sorry you fell out with your elder brother upon such a frivolous matter; but he was also wrong in being angry at what you only spoke in jest, and I ought to thank heaven for that difference which has procured me such a son-in-law. But," continued the vizier, "it is late, and time for you to retire; go to your bride, my son, she expects you: to-morrow, I will present you to the sultan, and hope he will receive you in such a manner as shall satisfy us both." Noor ad Deen Ali took leave of his father-in-law, and retired to his bridal apartment.

It is remarkable that Shumse ad Deen Mahummud happened also to marry at Cairo the very same day that this marriage was solemnized at Bussorah, the particulars of which are as follow:

After Noor ad Deen Ali left Cairo, with an intention never to return, his elder brother, who was hunting with the sultan of Egypt, was absent for a month; for the sultan being fond of the chase, continued it often for so long a period. At his return, Shumse ad Deen was much surprised when he understood, that under presence of taking a short journey his brother departed from Cairo on a mule the same day as the sultan, and had never appeared since. It vexed him so much the more, because he did not doubt but the harsh words he had used had occasioned his flight. He sent a messenger in search of him, who went to Damascus, and as far as Aleppo, but Noor ad Deen was then at Bussorah. When the courier returned and brought no news of him, Shumse ad Deen intended to make further inquiry after him in other parts; but in the meantime matched with the daughter of one of the greatest lords in Cairo, upon the same day in which his brother married the daughter of the grand vizier, of Bussorah.

At the end of nine months the wife of Shumse ad Deen was brought to bed of a daughter at Cairo, and on the same day the lady of Noor ad Deen was delivered of a son at Bussorah, who was called Buddir ad Deen Houssun.

The grand vizier, of Bussorah testified his joy for the birth of his grandson by gifts and public entertainments. And to shew his son-in-law the great esteem he had for him, he went to the palace, and most humbly besought the sultan to grant Noor ad Deen Ali his office, that he might have the comfort before his death to see his son in-law made grand vizier, in his stead.

The sultan, who had conceived a distinguished regard for Noor ad Deen when the vizier, had presensed him upon his marriage, and had ever since heard every body speak well of him, readily granted his father-in-law's request, and caused Noor ad Deen immediately to be invested with the robe and insignia of the vizarut, such as state drums, standards, and writing apparatus of gold richly enamelled and set with jewels.

The next day, when the father saw his son-in-law preside in council, as he himself had done, and perform all the offices of grand vizier, his joy was complete. Noor ad Deen Ali conducted himself with that dignity and propriety which shewed him to have been used to state affairs, and engaged the approbation of the sultan, and reverence and affection of the people.

The old vizier of Bussorah died about four years afterwards with great satisfaction, seeing a branch of his family that promised so fair to support its future consequence and respectability.

Noor ad Deen Ali, performed his last duty to him with all possible love and gratitude. And as soon as his son Buddir ad Deen Houssun had attained the age of seven years, provided him an excellent tutor, who taught him such things as became his birth. The child had a ready wit, and a genius capable of receiving all the good instructions that could be given.

After Buddir ad Deen had been two years under the tuition of his master, who taught him perfectly to read, he learnt the Koran by heart. His father put him afterwards to other tutors, by whom his mind was cultivated to such a degree, that when he was twelve years of age he had no more occasion for them. And then, as his physiognomy promised wonders, he was admired by all who saw him.

Hitherto his father had kept him to study, but now he introduced him to the sultan, who received him graciously. The people who saw him in the streets were charmed with his demeanour, and gave him a thousand blessings.

His father proposing to render him capable of supplying his place, accustomed him to business of the greatest moment, on purpose to qualify him betimes. In short, he omitted nothing to advance a son he loved so well. But as he began to enjoy the fruits of his labour, he was suddenly seized by a violent fit of sickness; and finding himself past recovery, disposed himself to die a good Mussulmaun.

In that last and precious moment he forgot not his son, but called for him, and said, "My son, you see this world is transitory; there is nothing durable but in that to which I shall speedily go. You must therefore from henceforth begin to fit yourself for this change, as I have done; you must prepare for it without murmuring, so as to have no trouble of conscience for not having acted the part of a really honest man. As for your religion, you are sufficiently instructed in it, by what you have learnt from your tutors, and your own study; and as to what belongs to an upright man, I shall give you some instructions, of which I hope you will make good use. As it is a necessary thing to know one's self, and you cannot come to that knowledge without you first understand who I am, I shall now inform you.

"I am a native of Egypt; my father, your grandfather, was first minister to the sultan of that kingdom. I had myself the honour to be vizier, to that sultan, and so has my brother, your uncle, who I suppose is yet alive; his name is Shumse ad Deen Mahummud. I was obliged to leave him, and come into this country, where I have raised myself to the high dignity I now enjoy. But you will understand all these matters more fully by a manuscript that I shall give you."

At the same time, Noor ad Deen Ali gave to his son a memorandum book, saying, "Take and read it at your leisure; you will find, among other things, the day of my marriage, and that of your birth. These are circumstances which perhaps you may hereafter have occasion to know, therefore you must keep it very carefully."

Buddir ad Deen Houssun being sincerely afflicted to see his father in this condition, and sensibly touched with his discourse, could not but weep when he received the memorandum book, and promised at the same time never to part with it.

That very moment Noor ad Deen fainted, so that it was thought he would have expired; but he came to himself again, and spoke as follows:

"My son, the first instruction I give you, is, Not to make yourself familiar with all sorts of people. The way to live happy is to keep your mind to yourself, and not to tell your thoughts too easily.

"Secondly, Not to do violence to any body whatever, for in that case you will draw every body's hatred upon you. You ought to consider the world as a creditor, to whom you owe moderation, compassion, and forbearance.

"Thirdly, Not to say a word when you are reproached; for, as the proverb says, 'He that keeps silence is out of danger.' And in this case particularly you ought to practice it. You also know what one of our poets says upon this subject, 'That silence is the ornament and safe-guard of life'; That our speech ought not to be like a storm of hail that spoils all. Never did any man yet repent of having spoken too little, whereas many have been sorry that they spoke so much.

"Fourthly, To drink no wine, for that is the source of all vices.

"Fifthly, To be frugal in your way of living; if you do not squander your estate, it will maintain you in time of necessity. I do not mean you should be either profuse or niggardly; for though you have little, if you husband it well, and lay it out on proper occasions, you will have many friends; but if on the contrary you have great riches, and make but a bad use of them, all the world will forsake you, and leave you to yourself."

In short, the virtuous Noor ad Deen continued till the last aspiration of his breath to give good advice to his son; and when he was dead he was magnificently interred.

Noor ad Deen was buried with all the honours due to his rank. Buddir ad Deen Houssun of Bussorah, for so he was called, because born in that city, was with grief for the death of his father, that instead of a month's time to mourn, according to custom, he kept himself shut up in tears and solitude about two months, without seeing any body, or so much as going abroad to pay his duty to his sovereign. The sultan being displeased at his neglect, and looking upon it as a alight, suffered his passion to prevail, and in his anger, called for the new grand vizier, (for he had created another on the death of Noor ad Deen), commanded him to go to the house of the deceased, and seize upon it, with all his other houses, lands, and effects, without leaving any thing for Buddir ad Deen Houssun, and to confine his person.

The new grand vizier, accompanied by his officers, went immediately to execute his commission. But one of Buddir ad Deen Houssun's slaves happening accidentally to come into the crowd, no sooner understood the vizier's errand, than he ran before to give his master warning. He found him sitting in the vestibule of his house, as melancholy as if his father had been but newly dead. He fell down at his feet out of breath, and alter he had kissed the hem of his garment, cried out, "My lord, save yourself immediately." The unfortunate youth lifting up his head, exclaimed, "What news dost thou bring?" "My lord," said he, "there is no time to be lost; the sultan is incensed against you, has sent to confiscate your estates, and to seize your person."

The words of this faithful and affectionate slave occasioned Buddir ad Deen Houssun great alarm. "May not I have so much time," said he, "as to take some money and jewels along with me?" "No, Sir," replied the slave, "the grand vizier, will be here this moment; be gone immediately, save yourself." The unhappy youth rose hastily from his sofa, put his feet in his sandals, and after he had covered his head with the skirt of his vest, that his face might not be known, fled, without knowing what way to go, to avoid the impending danger.

He ran without stopping till he came to the public burying-ground, and as it was growing dark, resolved to pass that night in his father's tomb. It was a large edifice, covered by a dome, which Noor ad Deen Ali, as is common with the Mussulmauns, had erected for his sepulture. On the way Buddir ad Deen met a Jew, who was a banker and merchant, and was returning from a place where his affairs had called him, to the city.

The Jew, knowing Buddir ad Deen, stopped, and saluted him very courteously.

Isaac the Jew, after he had paid his respects to Buddir ad Deen Houssun, by kissing his hand, said, "My lord, dare I be so bold as to ask whither you are going at this time of night alone, and so much troubled? Has any thing disquieted you?" "Yes," said Buddir ad Deen, "a while ago I was asleep, and my father appeared to me in a dream, looking very fiercely upon me, as if much displeased. I started out of my sleep in alarm, and came out immediately to go and pray upon his tomb."

"My lord," said the Jew (who did not know the true reason why Buddir ad Deen had left the town), "your father of happy memory, and my good lord, had store of merchandize in several vessels, which are yet at sea, and belong to you; I beg the favour of you to grant me the refusal of them before any other merchant. I am able to pay down ready money for all the goods that are in your ships: and to begin, if you will give me those that happen to come in the first that arrives in safety, I will pay you down in part of payment a thousand sequins," and drawing out a bag from under his vest, he shewed it him sealed up with one seal.

Buddir ad Deen Houssun being banished from home, and dispossessed of all that he had in the world, looked on this proposal of the Jew as a favour from heaven, and therefore accepted it with joy. "My lord," said the Jew, "then you sell me for a thousand sequins the lading of the first of your ships that shall arrive in port?" "Yes," answered Buddir ad Deen, "I sell it to you for a thousand sequins; it is done." Upon this the Jew delivered him the bag of a thousand sequins, and offered to count them, but Buddir ad Deen said he would trust his word. "Since it is so, my lord," said he, "be pleased to favour me with a small note of the bargain we have made." As he spoke, he pulled the inkhorn from his girdle, and taking a small reed out of it neatly cut for writing, presented it to him with a piece of paper. Buddir ad Deen Houssun wrote these words:

"This writing is to testify, that Buddir ad Deen Houssun of Bussorah, has sold to Isaac the Jew, for the sum of one thousand sequins, received in hand, the lading of the first of his ships that shall arrive in this port."

This note he delivered to the Jew, after having stamped it with his seal, and then took his leave of him.

While Isaac pursued his journey to the city, Buddir ad Deen made the best of his way to his father's tomb. When he came to it, he prostrated himself to the ground, and, with his eyes full of tears, deplored his miserable condition. "Alas!" said he, "unfortunate Buddir ad Deen, what will become of thee? Whither canst thou fly for refuge against the unjust prince who persecutes thee? Was it not enough to be afflicted by the death of so dear a father? Must fortune needs add new misfortunes to just complaints?" He continued a long time in this posture, but at last rose up, and leaning his head upon his father's tombstone, his sorrows returned more violently than before; so that he sighed and mourned, till, overcome with heaviness, he sunk upon the floor, and drops asleep.

He had not slept long, when a genie, who had retired to the cemetery during the day, and was intending, according to his custom, to range about the world at night, entered the sepulchre, and finding Buddir ad Deen lying on his back, was surprised at his beauty.

When the genie had attentively considered Buddir ad Deen Houssun, he said to himself, "To judge of this creature by his beauty, he would seem to be an angel of the terrestrial paradise, whom God has sent to put the world in a flame by his charms." At last, after he had satisfied himself with looking at him, he tool; a flight into the air, where meeting by chance with a perie, they saluted one another; after which he said to her, "Pray descend with me into the cemetery, where I dwell, and I will shew you a beauty worthy your admiration." The perie consented, and both descended in an instant; they came into the tomb. "Look," said the genie, shewing her Buddir ad Deen Houssun, "did you ever see a youth more beautiful?"

The perie having attentively observed Buddir ad Deen, replied, "I must confess that he is a very handsome man, but I am just come from seeing an objets at Cairo, more admirable than this; and if you will hear me, I will relate her unhappy fate." "You will very much oblige me," answered the genie. "You must know then," said the perie, "that the sultan of Egypt has a vizier, Shumse ad Deen Mahummud, who has a daughter most beautiful and accomplished. The sultan having heard of this young lady's beauty, sent the other day for her father, and said, 'I understand you have a daughter to marry; I would have her for my bride: will not you consent?' The vizier, who did not expect this proposal, was troubled, and instead of accepting it joyfully, which another in his place would certainly have done, he answered the sultan: 'May it please your majesty, I am not worthy of the honour you would confer upon me, and I most humbly beseech you to pardon me, if I do not accede to your request. You know I had a brother, who had the honour, as well as myself, to be one of your viziers: we had some difference together, which was the cause of his leaving me suddenly. Since that time I have had no account of him till within these four days, that I heard he died at Bussorah, being grand vizier to the sultan of that kingdom.

"'He has left a son, and there having been an agreement between us to match our children together, I am persuaded he intended that match when he died; and being desirous to fulfil the promise on my part, I conjure your majesty to grant me permission.'

"The sultan of Egypt, provoked at this denial of his vizier said to him in anger which he could not restrain: 'Is this the way in which you requite my condescension in stooping so low as to desire your alliance? I know how to revenge your presumption in daring to prefer another to me, and I swear that your daughter shall be married to the most contemptible and ugly of my slaves.' Having thus spoken, he angrily commanded the vizier to quit his presence. The vizier retired to his palace full of confusion, and overwhelmed in despair.

"This very day the sultan sent for one of his grooms, who is hump-backed, big-bellied, crook legged, and as ugly as a hobgoblin; and after having commanded the vizier to marry his daughter to this ghastly slave, he caused the contract to be made and signed by witnesses in his own presence. The preparations for this fantastical wedding are all ready, and this very moment all the slaves belonging to the lords of the court of Egypt are waiting at the door of a bath, each with a flambeau in his hand, for the crook-back groom, who is bathing, to go along with them to his bride, who is already dressed to receive him; and when I departed from Cairo, the ladies met for that purpose were going to conduct her in her nuptial attire to the hall, where she is to receive her hump-backed bridegroom, and is this minute expecting him. I have seen her, and do assure you, that no person can behold her without admiration."

When the perie left off speaking, the genie said to her, "Whatever you think or say, I cannot be persuaded that the girl's beauty exceeds that of this young man." "I will not dispute it with you," answered the perie; "for I must confess he deserves to be married to that charming creature, whom they design for hump-back; and I think it were a deed worthy of us to obstruct the sultan of Egypt's injustice, and put this young gentleman in the room of the slave." "You are in the right," answered the genie; "I am extremely obliged to you for so good a thought; let us deceive him. I consent to your revenge upon the sultan of Egypt; let us comfort a distressed father, and make his daughter as happy as she thinks herself miserable. I will do my utmost endeavours to make this project succeed, and I am persuaded you will not be backward. I will be at the pains to carry him to Cairo before he awakes, and afterwards leave it to your care to carry him elsewhere, when we have accomplished our design."

The perie and the genie having thus concerted what they had to do, the genie lifted up Buddir ad Deen Houssun gently, and with an inconceivable swiftness conveyed him through the air and set him down at the door of a building next to the bath, whence hump-back was to come with a train of slaves that waited for him. Buddir ad Deen awoke, and was naturally alarmed at finding himself in the middle of a city he knew not; he was going to cry out, but the genie touched him gently on the shoulder, and forbad him to speak. He then put a torch in his hand, saying, "Go, and mix with the crowd at the door of the bath; follow them till you come into a hall, where they are going to celebrate a marriage. The bridegroom is a hump-backed fellow, and by that you will easily know him. Put yourself at the right hand as you go in, open the purse of sequins you have in your bosom, distribute them among the musicians and dancers as they go along; and when you are got into the hall, give money also to the female slaves you see about the bride; but every time you put your hand in your purse, be sure to take out a whole handful, and do not spare them. Observe to do everything exactly as I have desired you; be not afraid of any person, and leave the rest to a superior power, who will order matters as he thinks fit."

Buddir ad Deen, being well instructed in all that he was to do, advanced towards the door of the bath. The first thing he did was to light his torch at that of a slave; and then mixing among them as if he belonged to some noblemen of Cairo, he marched along as they did, and followed humpback, who came out of the bath, and mounted a horse from the sultan's own stable.

Buddir ad Deen coming near to the musicians, and men and women dancers, who went just before the bridegroom, pulled out time after time whole handfuls of sequins, which he distributed among them: and as he thus gave his money with an unparalleled grace and engaging mien, all who received it fixed their eyes upon him; and after they had a full view of his face, they found him so handsome that they could not withdraw their attention.

At last they came to the gates of the vizier who little thought his nephew was so near. The doorkeepers, to prevent any disorder, kept back all the slaves that carried torches, and would not admit them. Buddir ad Deen was likewise refused; but the musicians, who had free entrance, stood still, and protested they would not go in, if they hindered him from accompanying them. "He is not one of the slaves'" said they; "look upon him, and you will soon be satisfied. He is certainly a young stranger, who is curious to see the ceremonies observed at marriages in this city;" and saying thus, they put him in the midst of them, and carried him with them in spite of the porters. They took his torch out of his hand, gave it to the first they met, and having brought him into the hall, placed him at the right hand of the hump-backed bridegroom, who sat near the vizier's daughter on a throne most richly adorned.

She appeared very lovely, but in her face there was nothing to be seen but vexation and grief. The cause of this was easily to be guessed, when she had by her side a bridegroom so very deformed, and so unworthy of her love. The nuptial seat was in the midst of an estrade. The ladies of the emirs, viziers, those of the sultan's bed-chamber, and several other ladies of the court and city, were placed on each side, a little lower, every one according to her rank, and richly dressed, holding a large wax taper in her hands.

When they saw Buddir ad Deen Houssun, all fixed their eyes upon him, and admiring his shape, his behaviour, and the beauty of his face, they could not forbear looking upon him. When he was seated every one deft their seats, came near him to have a full view of his face, and all found themselves moved with love and admiration.

The disparity between Buddir ad Deen Houssun and the hump-backed groom, who made such a contemptible figure, occasioned great murmuring among the company; insomuch that the ladies cried out, "We must give our bride to this handsome young gentleman, and not to this ugly humpback." Nor did they rest here, but uttered imprecations against the sultan, who, abusing his absolute power, would unite ugliness and beauty together. They also mocked the bridegroom, so as to put him out of countenance, to the great satisfaction of the spectators, whose shouts for some time put a stop to the concert of music in the hall. At last the musicians began again, and the women who had dressed the bride surrounded her.

Each time that the bride retired to change her dress, she on her return passed by hump-back without giving him one look, and went towards Buddir ad Deen, before whom she presented herself in her new attire. On this occasion, Buddir ad Deen, according to the instructions given him by the genie, failed not to put his hands in his purse, and pulled out handfuls of sequins, which he distributed among the women that followed the bride. Nor did he forget the players and dancers, but also threw money to them. It was pleasant to see how they pushed one another to gather it up. They shewed themselves thankful for his liberality.

When the ceremony of changing habits was passed, the music ceased and the company retired. The bride repaired to the nuptial chamber, whither her attendants followed to undress her, and none remained in the hall but the hump-back groom, Buddir ad Deen, and some of the domestics.

Hump-back, who was enraged at Buddir ad Deen, suspecting him to be his rival, gave him a cross look, and said, "And thou, what dost thou wait for? Why art thou not gone as well as the rest? Depart!" Buddir ad Deen having no pretence to stay, withdrew, not knowing what to do with himself. But before he got out of the vestibule, the genie and the perie met and stopped him. "Whither are you going?" said the perie; "stay, hump-back is not in the hall, return, and introduce yourself into the bride's chamber. As soon as you are alone with her, tell her boldly that you are her husband, that the sultan's intention was only to make sport with the groom. In the mean time we will take care that the hump-back shall not return, and let nothing hinder your passing the night with your bride, for she is yours and not his."

While the perie thus encouraged Buddir ad Deen, and instructed him how he should behave himself, hump-back had really gone out of the room for a moment. The genie went to him in the shape of a monstrous cat, mewing at a most fearful rate. Hump-back called to the cat, he clapped his hands to drive her away, but instead of retreating, she stood upon her hinder feet, staring with her eyes like fire, looking fiercely at him, mewing louder than she did at first, and increasing in size till she was as large as an ass. At this sight, hump-back would have cried out for help, but his fear was so great, that he stood gaping and could not utter one word. That he might have no time to recover, the genie changed himself immediately into a large buffalo, and in this stripe called to him, with a voice that redoubled his fear, "Thou hump-backed villain!" At these words the affrighted groom cast himself upon the ground, and covering his face with his vest, that he might not see this dreadful beast, "Sovereign prince of buffaloes," said he, "what is it you want of me?" "Woe be to thee," replied the genie, "hast thou the presumption to venture to marry my mistress?" "O my lord," said hump-back, "I pray you to pardon me, if I am guilty, it is through ignorance. I did not know that this lady had a buffalo to her sweetheart: command me in anything you please, I give you my oath that I am ready to obey you." "By death," replied the genie; "if thou goest out from hence, or speakest a word till the sun rises, I will crush thy head to pieces. I warn thee to obey, for if thou hast the impudence to return, it shall cost thee thy life." When the genie had done speaking, he transformed himself into the shape of a man, took hump-back by the legs, and after having set him against the wall with his head downwards, "If thou stir," said he, "before the sun rise, as I have told thee already, I will take thee by the heels again, and dash thy head in a thousand pieces against the wall."

To return to Buddir ad Deen. Prompted by the genie and the presence of the perie, he returned to the hall, from whence he slips into the bride-chamber, where he sat down, expecting the success of his adventure. After a while the bride arrived, conducted by an old matron, who came no farther than the door, without looking in to see whether it were hump-back or another that was there, and then retired.

The beautiful bride was agreeably surprised to find instead of hump-back a handsome youth, who gracefully addressed her. "What! my dear friend," said she, "by your being here at this time of night you must be my husband's comrade?" "No, madam," said Buddir ad Deen, "I am of another quality than that ugly hump-back." "But," said she, "you do not consider that you speak degradingly of my husband." "He your husband," replied he: "can you retain those thoughts so long? Be convinced of your mistake, for so much beauty must never be sacrificed to the most contemptible of mankind. It is I that am the happy mortal for whom it is reserved. The sultan had a mind to make himself merry, by putting this trick upon the vizier your father, but he chose me to be your real husband. You might have observed how the ladies, the musicians, the dancers, your women, and all the servants of your family, were pleased with this comedy. We have sent hump-back to his stable again."

At this discourse the vizier's daughter (who was more like one dead than alive when she came into the bride-chamber) put on a gay air, which made her so handsome, that Buddir ad Deen was charmed with her graces.

"I did not expect," said she, "to meet with so pleasing a surprise; and I had condemned myself to live unhappy all my days. But my good fortune is so much the greater, that I possess in you a man worthy of my tenderest affection."

Buddir ad Deen, overjoyed to see himself possessor of so many charms, retired with his bride, and laid his vesture aside, with the bag that he had from the Jew; which, notwithstanding all the money he had dispersed, was still full.

Towards morning, while the two lovers were asleep, the genie, who had met again with the perie, said, "It is time to finish what we have so successfully carried on; let us not be overtaken by day-light, which will soon appear; go you and bring off the young man again without awaking him."

The perie went into the bed-chamber where the two lovers were fast asleep, took up Buddir ad Deen in his under vest and drawers; and in company with the genie with wonderful swiftness fled away with him to the gates of Damascus in Syria, where they arrived just at the time when the officers of the mosques, appointed for that end, were calling the people to prayers at break of day. The perie laid Buddir ad Deen softly on the ground, close by the gate, and departed with the genie.

The gate of the city being opened, and many people assembled, they were surprised to see a youth lying in his shirt and drawers upon the ground. One said, "He has been hard put to it to get away from his mistress, that he could not get time to put on his clothes." "Look," said another, "how people expose themselves; sure enough he has spent most part of the night in drinking with his friends, till he has got drunk, and then, perhaps, having occasion to go out, instead of returning, is come this length, and not having his senses about him, was overtaken with sleep." Others were of another opinion; but nobody could guess what had been the real occasion of his coming thither.

A small puff of wind happening to blow at this time, uncovered his breast, which was whiter than snow. Every one being struck with admiration at the fineness of his complexion, they spoke so loud that they awaked him.

His surprise was as great as theirs, when he found himself at the gate of a city where he had never been before, and encompassed by a crowd of people gazing at him. "Inform me," said he, "for God's sake, where I am, and what you would have?" One of the crowd spoke to him saying, "Young man, the gates of the city were just now opened, and as we came out we found you lying here in this condition: have you lain here all night? and do not you know that you are at one of the gates of Damascus?" "At one of the gates of Damascus!" answered Buddir ad Deen, "surely you mock me. When I lay down to sleep last night I was at Cairo." When he had said this, some of the people, moved with compassion for him, exclaimed, "It is a pity that such a handsome young man should have lost his senses;" and so went away.

"My son," said an old man to him, "you know not what you say. How is it possible that you, being this morning at Damascus, could be last night at Cairo?" "It is true," said Buddir ad Deen, "and I swear to you, that I was all day yesterday at Bussorah." He had no sooner said this than all the people fell into a fit of laughter, and cried out, "He's a fool, he's a madman." There were some, however, that pitied him because of his youth; and one among the company said to him, "My son, you must certainly be crazed, you do not consider what you say. Is it possible that a man could yesterday be at Bussorah, the same night at Cairo, and this morning at Damascus? Surely you are asleep still, come rouse up your spirits." "What I say," answered Buddir ad Deen Houssun, "is so true that last night I was married in the city of Cairo." All those who laughed before, could not forbear again at this declaration. "Recollect yourself," said the same person who spoke before; "you must have dreamt all this, and the fancy still possesses your brain." "I am sensible of what I say," answered the young man. "Pray can you tell me how it was possible for me to go in a dream to Cairo, where I am very certain I was in person, and where my bride was seven times brought before me, each time dressed in a different habit, and where I saw an ugly hump backed fellow, to whom they intended to give her? Besides, I want to know what is become of my vest, my turban, and the bag of sequins I had at Cairo?"

Though he assured them that all these things were matters of fact, yet they could not forbear to laugh at him: which put him into such confusion, that he knew not what to think of all those adventures.

After Buddir ad Deen Houssun had confidently affirmed all that he said to be true, he rose up to go into the town, and every one who followed him called out, "A madman, a fool." Upon this some looked out at their windows, some came to their doors, and others joined with those that were about him, calling out as they did, "A madman;" but not knowing for what. In this perplexity the affrighted young man happened to come before a pastry-cook's shop, and went into it to avoid the rabble.

This pastry-cook had formerly been captain to a troop of Arabian robbers, who plundered the caravans; and though he was become a citizen of Damascus, where he behaved himself to every one's satisfaction, yet he was dreaded by all who knew him; wherefore, as soon as he came out to the rabble who followed Buddir ad Deen, they dispersed.

The pastry-cook asked him who he was, and what brought him thither. Buddir ad Deen told him all, not concealing his birth, nor the death of his father the grand vizier. He afterwards gave him an account why he had left Bussorah; how, after he had fallen asleep the night following upon his father's tomb, he found himself when he awoke at Cairo, where he had married a lady; and at last, in what amazement he was, when he found himself at Damascus, without being able to penetrate into all those wonderful adventures.

"Your history is one of the most surprising," said the pastry-cook; "but if you will follow my advice, you will let no man know those matters you have revealed to me, but patiently wait till heaven thinks fit to put an end to your misfortunes. You shall be welcome to stay with me till then; and as I have no children, I will own you for my son, if you consent; after you are so adopted, you may freely walk the city, without being exposed any more to the insults of the rabble."

Though this adoption was below the son of a grand vizier, Buddir ad Deen was glad to accept of the pastry-cook's proposal, judging it the best thing he could do, considering his circumstances. The cook clothed him, called for witnesses, and went before a notary, where he acknowledged him for his son. After this, Buddir ad Deen lived with him under the name of Houssun, and learned the pastry-trade.

While this passed at Damascus, the daughter of Shumse ad Deen awoke, and finding Buddir ad Deen gone, supposed he had risen softly for fear of disturbing her, but would soon return. As she was in expectation of him, her father the vizier, (who was vexed at the affront put upon him by the sultan) came and knocked at her chamber-door, to bewail her sad destiny. He called her by her name, and she knowing him by his voice, immediately got up, and opened the door. She kissed his hand, and received him with so much pleasure in her countenance, that she surprised the vizier who expected to find her drowned in tears, and as much grieved as himself. "Unhappy wretch!" said he in a passion, "do you appear before me thus? after the hideous sacrifice you have just consummated, can you see me with so much satisfaction?"

The new bride seeing her father angry at her pleasant countenance, said to him, "For God's sake, sir, do not reproach me wrongfully; it is not the hump-back fellow, whom I abhor more than death, it is not that monster I have married. Every body laughed him to scorn, and put him so out of countenance, that he was forced to run away and hide himself, to make room for a noble youth, who is my real husband." "What fable do you tell me?" said Shumse ad Deen, roughly. "What! Did not crook-back lie with you tonight?" "No, sir," said she, "it was the youth I mentioned, who has large eyes and black eyebrows." At these words the vizier, lost all patience, and exclaimed in anger, "Ah, wicked woman! you will make me distracted!" "It is you, father," said she, "that put me out of my senses by your incredulity." "So, it is not true," replied the vizier, "that hump-back----" "Let us talk no more of hump-back," said she, "a curse upon hump-back. Father, I assure you once more, that I did not bed with him, but with my dear spouse, who, I believe, is not far off."

Shumse ad Deen went out to seek him, but, instead of seeing Buddir ad Deen, was surprised to find hump-back with his head on the ground, and his heels uppermost, as the genie had set him against the wall. "What is the meaning of this?" said he; "who placed you thus?" Crookback, knowing it to be the vizier answered, "Alas! alas! it is you then that would marry me to the mistress of a genie in the form of a buffalo."

Shumse ad Deen Mahummud, when he heard hump-back speak thus, thought he was raving, bade him move, and stand upon his legs. "I will take care how I stir," said hump-back, "unless the sun be risen. Know, sir, that when I came last night to your palace, suddenly a black cat appeared to me, and in an instant grew as big as a buffalo. I have not forgotten what he enjoined me, therefore you may depart, and leave me here." The vizier instead of going away, took him by the heels, and made him stand up, when hump-back ran off, without looking behind him; and coming to the palace presented himself to the sultan, who laughed heartily when informed how the genie had served him.

Shumse ad Deen returned to his daughter's chamber, more astonished than before. "My abused daughter," said he, "can you give me no farther light in this miraculous affair?" "Sir," replied she, "I can give you no other account than I have done already. Here are my husband's clothes, which he put off last night; perhaps you may find something among them that may solve your doubt." She then shewed him Buddir ad Deen's turban, which he examined narrowly on all sides, saying, "I should take this to be a vizier's turban, if it were not made after the Bussorah fashion." But perceiving something to be sewed between the stuff and the lining, he called for scissors, and having unripped it, found the paper which Noor ad Deen Ali had given to his son upon his deathbed, and which Buddir ad Deen Houssun had sewn in his turban for security.

Shumse ad Deen having opened the paper, knew his brother's hand, and found this superscription, "For my son Buddir ad Deen Houssun." Before he could make any reflections upon it, his daughter delivered him the bag, that lay under the garments, which he likewise opened, and found it full of sequins: for, notwithstanding all the liberality of Buddir ad Deen, it was still kept full by the genie and perie. He read the following words upon a note in the bag: "A thousand sequins belonging to Isaac the Jew." And these lines underneath, which the Jew had written, "Delivered to my lord Buddir ad Deen Houssun, for the cargo of the first of those ships that formerly belonged to the noble vizier, his father, of blessed memory, sold to me upon its arrival in this place." He had scarcely read these words, when he groaned heavily, and fainted away.

The vizier Shumse ad Deen being recovered from his fit by the aid of his daughter, and the women she called to her assistance; "Daughter," said he, "do not alarm yourself at this accident, occasioned by what is scarcely credible. Your bridegroom is your cousin, the son of my beloved and deceased brother. The thousand sequins in the bag reminds me of a quarrel I had with him, and is without the dowry he gives you. God be praised for all things, and particularly for this miraculous adventure, which demonstrates his almighty power." Then looking again upon his brother's writing, he kissed it several times, shedding abundance of tears.

He looked over the book from beginning to end. In it he found the date of his brother's arrival at Bussorah, of his marriage, and of the birth of his son; and when he compared them with the day of his own marriage, and the birth of his daughter at Cairo, he wondered at the exact coincidence which appeared in every circumstance.

The happy discovery put him into such a transport of joy, that he took the book, with the ticket of the bag, and shewed them to the sultan, who pardoned what was past, and was so much pleased with the relation of this adventure, that he caused it with all its circumstances to be put in writing for the information of posterity.

Meanwhile, the vizier. Shumse ad Deen could not comprehend the reason why his nephew did not appear; he expected him every moment, and was impatient to receive him to his arms. After he had waited seven days in vain, he searched through all Cairo, but could procure no intelligence of him, which threw him into great perplexity. "This is the strangest occurrence," said he, "that ever happened." In order to certify it, he thought fit to draw up in writing with his own hand an account of the manner in which the wedding had been solemnized; how the hall and his daughter's bed-chamber were furnished, with the other circumstances. He likewise made the turban, the bag, and the rest of Buddir ad Deen's raiment into a bundle, and locked them up.

After some days were past, the vizier's daughter perceived herself pregnant, and after nine months was brought to bed of a son. A nurse was provided for the child, besides other women and slaves to wait upon him; and his grandfather called him Agib.

When young Agib had attained the age of seven, the vizier, instead of teaching him to read at home, put him to school with a master who was in great esteem; and two slaves were ordered to wait upon him. Agib used to play with his schoolfellows, and as they were all inferior to him in rank, they shewed him great respect, according to the example of their master, who many times would pass by faults in him that he would correct in his other pupils. This indulgence spoiled Agib; he became proud and insolent, would have his play-fellows bear all from him, and would submit to nothing from them, but be master every where; and if any took the liberty to thwart him, he would call them a thousand names, and many times beat them.

In short, all the scholars grew weary of his insolence, and complained of him to their master. He answered, "That they must have patience." But when he saw that Agib grew still more and more overbearing, and occasioned him much trouble, "Children," said he to his scholars, "I find Agib is a little insolent gentleman; I will shew you how to mortify him, so that he shall never torment you any more. Nay, I believe it will make him leave the school. When he comes again to-morrow, place yourselves round him, and let one of you call out, 'Come, let us play, but upon condition, that every one who desires to play shall tell his own name, and the names of his father and mother; they who refuse shall be esteemed bastards, and not be suffered to play in our company.'"

Next day when they were gathered together, they failed not to follow their master's instructions. They placed themselves round Agib, and one of them called out, "Let us begin a play, but on condition that he who cannot tell his own name, and that of his father and mother, shall not play at all." They all cried out, and so did Agib, "We consent." Then he that spoke first asked every one the question, and all fulfilled the condition except Agib, who answered, "My name is Agib, my mother is called the lady of beauty, and my father Shumse ad Deen Mahummud, vizier to the sultan."

At these words all the children cried out, "Agib, what do you say? That is not the name of your father, but your grandfather." "A curse on you," said he in a passion. "What! dare you say that the vizier is not my father?" "No, no," cried they with great laughter, "he is your grandfather, and you shall not play with us. Nay we will take care how we come into your company." Having spoken thus, they all left him, scoffing him, and laughing among themselves, which mortified Agib so much that he wept.

The schoolmaster who was near, and heard all that passed, came up, and speaking to Agib, said, "Agib, do not you know that the vizier is not your father, but your grandfather, and the father of your mother the lady of beauty? We know not the name of your father any more than you do. We only know that the sultan was going to marry your mother to one of his grooms, a humpback fellow; but a genie lay with her. This is hard upon you, but ought to teach you to treat your schoolfellows with less haughtiness."

Agib being nettled at this, ran hastily out of the school. He went directly sobbing to his mother's chamber, who being alarmed to see him thus grieved, asked the reason. He could not answer for tears, so great was his mortification, and it was long ere he could speak plain enough to repeat what had been said to him, and had occasioned his sorrow.

When he came to himself. "Mother," said he "for the love of God be pleased to tell me who is my father?" "My son," she replied, "Shumse ad Deen Mahummud, who every day caresses you so kindly, is your father." "You do not tell me truth," returned Agib; "he is your father, and none of mine. But whose son am I?" At this question, the lady of beauty calling to mind her wedding night, which had been succeeded by a long widowhood, began to shed tears, repining bitterly at the loss of so handsome a husband as Buddir ad Deen.

Whilst the lady of beauty and Agib were both weeping, the vizier entered, who demanded the reason of their sorrow. The lady told him the shame Agib had undergone at school, which so much affected the vizier that he joined his tears with theirs, and judging from this that the misfortune which had happened to his daughter was the common discourse of the town, he was mortified to the quick.

Being thus afflicted, he went to the sultan's palace, and falling prostrate at his feet, most humbly intreated permission to make a journey in search of his nephew Buddir ad Deen Houssun. For he could not bear any longer that the people of the city should believe a genie had disgraced his daughter.

The sultan was much concerned at the vizier's affliction, approved his resolution, and gave him leave to travel. He caused a passport also to be written for him, requesting in the strongest terms all kings and princes in whose dominions Buddir ad Deen might sojourn, to grant that the vizier might conduct him to Cairo.

Shumse ad Deen, not knowing how to express his gratitude to the sultan, fell down before him a second time, while the floods of tears he shed bore sufficient testimony to his feelings. At last, having wished the sultan all manner of prosperity, he took his leave and returned to his house, where he disposed every thing for his journey; and the preparations were carried on with so much diligence, that in four days after he left the city, accompanied with his daughter the lady of beauty, and his grandson Agib.

They travelled nineteen days without intermission; but on the twentieth, arriving at a pleasant mead, a small distance from the gate of Damascus, they halted, and pitched their tents upon the banks of a river which fertilizes the vicinity, and runs through the town, one of the pleasantest in Syria, once the capital of the caliphs; and celebrated for its elegant buildings, the politeness of its inhabitants, and the abundance of its conveniences.

The vizier declared he would stay in that pleasant place two days, and pursue his journey on the third. In the mean time he gave his retinue leave to go to Damascus; and almost all of them made use of it: some influenced by curiosity to see a city they had heard so much of, and others by the opportunity of vending the Egyptian goods they had brought with them, or buying stuffs, and the rarities of the country. The beautiful lady desiring her son Agib might share in the satisfaction of viewing that celebrated city, ordered the black eunuch, who acted in quality of his governor, to conduct him thither.

Agib, in magnificent apparel, went with the eunuch, who had a large cane in his hand. They had no sooner entered the city, than Agib, fair and glorious as the day, attracted the eyes of the people. Some got out of their houses to gain a nearer and narrower view of him; others put their heads out of the windows, and those who passed along the street were not satisfied in stopping to look upon him, but kept pace with him, to prolong the pleasure of the agreeable sight: in fine, there was not a person that did not admire him, and bestow a thousand benedictions on the father and mother that had given being to so fine a child. By chance the eunuch and he passed by the shop of Buddir ad Deen Houssun, and there the crowd was so great, that they were forced to halt.

The pastry-cook who had adopted Buddir ad Deen Houssun had died some years before, and left him his shop and all his property, and he conducted the pastry trade so dexterously, that he had gained great reputation in Damascus. Buddir ad Deen seeing so great a crowd before his door, who were gazing so attentively upon Agib and the black eunuch, stepped out to see them himself.

Having cast his eyes upon Agib, Buddir ad Deen found himself moved, he knew not how, nor for what reason. He was not struck like the people with the brilliant beauty of the boy; another cause unknown to him gave rise to the uneasiness and emotion he felt. It was the force of blood that wrought in this tender father; who, laying aside his business, made up to Agib, and with an engaging air, said to him: "My little lord, who hast won my soul, be so kind as to come into my shop, and eat a bit of such fare as I have; that I may have the pleasure of admiring you at my ease." These words he pronounced with such tenderness, that tears trickled from his eyes. Little Agib was moved when he saw his emotion; and turning to the eunuch, said, "This honest man speaks in such an affectionate manner, that I cannot avoid complying with his request; let us step into his house, and taste his pastry." "It would be a fine thing truly," replied the slave, "to see the son of a vizier go into a pastry-cook's shop to eat; do not imagine that I will suffer any such thing." "Alas! my lord," cried Buddir ad Deen, "it is cruelty to trust the conduct of you in the hands of a person who treats you so harshly." Then applying himself to the eunuch, "My good friend," continued he, "pray do not hinder this young lord from granting me the favour I ask; do not put such mortification upon me: rather do me the honour to walk in along with him, and by so doing, you will let the world know, that, though your outside is brown like a chestnut, your inside is as white. Do you know," continued he, "that I am master of the secret to make you white, instead of being black as you are?" This set the eunuch a laughing, and then he asked what that secret was. "I will tell you," replied Buddir ad Deen, who repeated some verses in praise of black eunuchs, implying, that it was by their ministry that the honour of princes and of all great men was secured. The eunuch was so charmed with these verses, that, without further hesitation, he suffered Agib to go into the shop, and went in with him himself.

Buddir ad Deen Houssun was overjoyed at having obtained what he had so passionately desired, and, falling again to the work he had discontinued "I was making," said he, "cream-tarts; and you must, with submission, eat of them. I am persuaded you will find them good; for my own mother, who made them incomparably well, taught me, and the people send to buy them of me from all quarters of the town." This said, he took a cream-tart out of the oven, and after strewing upon it some pomegranate kernels and sugar, set it before Agib, who found it very delicious.

Another was served up to the eunuch, and he gave the same judgment.

While they were both eating, Buddir ad Deen viewed Agib very attentively; and after looking upon him again and again, it came into his mind that possibly he might have such a son by his charming wife, from whom he had been so soon and so cruelly separated; and the very thought drew tears from his eyes. He intended to have put some questions to little Agib about his journey to Damascus; but the child had no time to gratify his curiosity, for the eunuch pressing him to return to his grandfather's tent, took him away as soon as he had done eating. Buddir ad Deen Houssun, not contented with looking after him, shut up his shop immediately, and followed him.

Buddir ad Deen Houssun ran after Agib and the eunuch, and overtook them before they had reached the gate of the city. The eunuch perceiving he followed them, was extremely surprised: "You impertinent fellow," said he, with an angry tone, "what do you want?" "My dear friend," replied Buddir ad Deen, "do not trouble yourself; I have a little business out of town, and I must needs go and look after it." This answer, however, did not at all satisfy the eunuch, who turning to Agib, said, "This is all owing to you; I foresaw I should repent of my complaisance; you would needs go into the man's shop; it was not wisely done in me to give you leave." "Perhaps," replied Agib, "he has real business out of town, and the road is free to every body." While this passed they kept walking together, without looking behind them, till they came near the vizier's tents, upon which they turned about to see if Buddir ad Deen followed them. Agib, perceiving he was within two paces of him, reddened and whitened alternately, according to the different emotions that affected him. He was afraid the grand vizier his grandfather should come to know he had been in the pastry shop, and had eaten there. In this dread, he took up a large stone that lay at his foot and throwing it at Buddir ad Deen, hit him in the forehead, and wounded him so that his face was covered with blood. The eunuch gave Buddir ad Deen to understand, he had no reason to complain of a mischance that he had merited and brought upon himself.

Buddir ad Deen turned towards the city staunching the blood of the wound with his apron, which he had not put off. "I was a fool," said he within himself, "for leaving my house, to take so much pains about this brat; for doubtless he would never have used me after this manner, if he had not thought I had some ill design against him." When he got home, he had his wound dressed, and softened the sense of his mischance by the reflection that there was an infinite number of people upon the earth, who were yet more unfortunate than he.

Buddir ad Deen kept on the pastry-trade at Damascus, and his uncle Shumse ad Deen Mahummud went from thence three days after his arrival. He went by way of Emaus, Hanah, and Halep; then crossed the Euphrates, and after passing through Mardin, Moussoul, Singier, Diarbeker, and several other towns, arrived at last at Bussorah. Immediately after his arrival he desired audience of the sultan, who was no sooner informed of his quality than he admitted him to his presence, received him very favourably, and inquired the occasion of his journey to Bussorah. "Sire," replied the vizier "I come to know what is become of the son of my brother, who has had the honour to serve your majesty." "Noor ad Deen Ali," said the sultan, "has been long dead; as for his son, all I can tell you of him is, that he disappeared suddenly, about two months after his father's death, and nobody has seen him since, notwithstanding all the inquiry I ordered to be made. But his mother, who is the daughter of one of my viziers, is still alive." Shumse ad Deen Mahummud desired leave of the sultan to take her to Egypt; and having obtained permission, without waiting till the next day, inquired after her place of abode, and that very hour went to her house, accompanied with his daughter and his grandson.

The widow of Noor ad Deen Ali resided still in the same place where her husband had lived. It was a stately fabric, adorned with marble pillars: but Shumse ad Deen did not stop to view it. At his entry he kissed the gate, and the piece of marble upon which his brother's name was written in letters of gold. He asked to speak with his sister-in-law, and was told by her servants, that she was in a small building covered by a dome, to which they directed in the middle of a very spacious court. This tender mother used to spend the greatest part of the day and night in that room which she had built as a representation of the tomb of her son Buddir ad Deen Houssun, whom she supposed to be dead after so long an absence. She was pouring tears over his memorial when Shumse ad Deen entering, found her buried in the deepest affliction.

He made his compliment, and after beseeching her to suspend her tears and sighs, informed her he had the honour to be her brother-in-law, and acquainted her with the reason of his journey from Cairo to Bussorah.

Shumse ad Deen Mahummud, after acquainting his sister-in-law with all that had passed at Cairo on his daughter's wedding-night, and informing her of the surprise occasioned by the discovery of the paper sewed up in Buddir ad Deen's turban, presented to her Agib and the beautiful lady.

The widow of Noor ad Deen, who had still continued sitting like a woman dejected, and weaned from the affairs of this world, no sooner understood by his discourse that her dear son, whom she lamented so bitterly, might still be alive, than she arose, and repeatedly embraced the beautiful lady and her grandchild Agib; and perceiving in the youth the features of Buddir ad Deen, drops tears different from what she had been so long accustomed to shed. She could not forbear kissing the youth, who, for his part, received her embraces with all the demonstrations of joy he was capable of shewing. "Sister," said Shumse ad Deen, "it is time to dry your tears, and suppress your sighs; you must think of going with us to Egypt. The sultan of Bussorah gives me leave to carry you thither, and I doubt not you will consent. I am in hopes we shall at last find out your son my nephew; and if we do, the history of him, of you, of my own daughter, and of my own adventures, will deserve to be committed to writing, and transmitted to posterity."

The widow of Noor ad Deen heard this proposal with pleasure, and ordered preparations to be made for her departure. While they were making, Shumse ad Deen desired a second audience, and after taking leave of the sultan, who dismissed him with ample marks of respect, and gave him a considerable present for himself, and another of great value for the sultan of Egypt, he set out from Bussorah once more for the city of Damascus.

When he arrived in the neighbourhood of Damascus, he ordered his tents to be pitched without the gate, at which he designed to enter the city; and gave out he would tarry there three days, to give his suit rest, and buy up curiosities to present to the sultan of Egypt.

While he was employed in selecting the finest stuffs which the principal merchants had brought to his tents, Agib begged the black eunuch his governor to carry him through the city, in order to see what he had not had leisure to view before; and to inquire what was become of the pastry cook whom he had wounded. The eunuch complying with his request, went along with him towards the city, after leave obtained of the beautiful lady his mother.

They entered Damascus by the Paradise-gate, which lay next to the tents of the vizier They walked through the great squares and the public places where the richest goods were sold, and took a view of the superb mosque at the hour of prayer, between noon and sun-set. When they passed by the shop of Buddir ad Deen Houssun, whom they still found employed in making cream tarts, "I salute you sir," said Agib; "do you know me? Do you remember you ever saw me before?" Buddir ad Deen hearing these words, fixed his eyes upon him, and recognizing him (such was the surprising effect of paternal love!), felt the same emotion as when he saw him first; he was confused, and instead of making any answer, continued a long time without uttering a word. At length, recovering himself, "My lord," said he, "be so kind as to come once more with your governor into my house, and taste a cream-tart. I beg your lordship's pardon, for the trouble I gave you in following you out of town; I was at that time not myself, I did not know what I did. You drew me after you, and the violence of the attraction was so soft, that I could not withstand it."

Agib, astonished at what Buddir ad Deen said, replied: "There is an excess in the kindness you express, and unless you engage under oath not to follow me when I go from hence, I will not enter your house. If you give me your promise, and prove a man of your word, I will visit you again to-morrow, since the vizier my grandfather, is still employed in buying up rarities for a present to the sultan of Egypt." "My lord," replied Buddir ad Deen, "I will do whatever you would have me." This said, Agib and the eunuch went into the shop.

Presently after, Buddir ad Deen set before them a cream-tart, that was full as good as what they had eaten before; "Come," said Agib, "sit down by me, and eat with us." Buddir ad Deen sat down, and attempted to embrace Agib, as a testimony of the joy he conceived upon sitting by him. But Agib pushed him away, desiring him not to be too familiar. Buddir ad Deen obeyed, and repeated some extempore verses in praise of Agib: he did not eat, but made it his business to serve his guests. When they had done, he brought them water to wash, and a very white napkin to wipe their hands. Then he filled a large china cup with sherbet, and put snow into it; and offering it to Agib, "This," said he, "is sherbet of roses; and I am sure you never tasted better." Agib having drunk of it with pleasure, Buddir ad Deen took the cup from him, and presented it to the eunuch, who drank it all off at once.

In fine, Agib and his governor having fared well, returned thanks to the pastry-cook for their good entertainment, and moved homewards, it being then late. When they arrived at the tents of Shumse ad Deen Mahummud, Agib's grandmother received him with transports of joy: her son ran always in her mind, and in embracing Agib, the remembrance of him drew tears from her eyes. "Ah, my child!" said she, "my joy would be perfect, if I had the pleasure of embracing your father as I now embrace you." She made Agib sit by her, and put several questions to him, relating to the walk he had been taking with the eunuch; and when he complained of being hungry, she gave him a piece of cream-tart, which she had made for herself, and was indeed very good: she likewise gave some to the eunuch.

Agib no sooner touched the piece of cream-tart that had been set before him, than he pretended he did not like it, and left it uncut; and Shubbaunee (which was the eunuch's name) did the same. The widow of Noor ad Deen Ali observed with regret that her grandson did not like the tart. "What!" said she, "does my child thus despise the work of my hands? Be it known to you, no one in the world can make such besides myself and your father, whom I taught." "My good mother," replied Agib, "give me leave to tell you, if you do not know how to make better, there is a pastry-cook in this town that outdoes you. We were at his shop, and ate of one much better than yours."

On hearing this, the grandmother, frowning upon the eunuch, said, "How now, Shubbaunee, was the care of my grandchild committed to you, to carry him to eat at pastry-shops like a beggar?" "Madam," replied the eunuch, "it is true, we did stop a little while and talked with the pastry-cook, but we did not eat with him." "Pardon me," said Agib, "we went into his shop, and there ate a cream-tart." Upon this, the lady, more incensed against the eunuch than before, rose in a passion from the table, and running to the tent of Shumse ad Deen, informed him of the eunuch's crime; and that in such terms, as tended more to inflame the vizier than to dispose him to excuse it.

The vizier who was naturally passionate, did not fail on this occasion to display his anger. He went forthwith to his sister-in-law's tent, and said to the eunuch, "Wretch, have you the impudence to abuse the trust I repose in you?" Shubbaunee, though sufficiently convicted by Agib's testimony, denied the fact still. But the child persisting in what he had affirmed, "Grandfather," said he, "I can assure you we not only ate, but that so very heartily, that we have no occasion for supper: besides, the pastry-cook treated us also with a great bowl of sherbet." "Well," cried Shumse ad Deen, "after all this, will you continue to deny that you entered the pastry-cook's house, and ate there?" Shubbaunee had still the impudence to swear it was not true. "Then you are a liar," said the vizier "I believe my grandchild; but after all, if you can eat up this cream-tart I shall be persuaded you have truth on your side."

Though Shubbaunee had crammed himself up to the throat before, he agreed to stand that test, and accordingly took a piece of tart; but his stomach rising against it, he was obliged to spit it out of his mouth. Yet he still pursued the lie, and pretended he had over-eaten himself the day before, and had not recovered his appetite. The vizier irritated with all the eunuch's frivolous presences, and convinced of his guilt, ordered him to be soundly bastinadoed. In undergoing this punishment, the poor wretch shrieked out aloud, and at last confessed the truth; "I own," cried he, "that we did eat a cream-tart at the pastry cook's, and that it was much better than that upon the table."

The widow of Noor ad Deen thought it was out of spite to her, and with a desire to mortify her, that Shubbaunee commended the pastry-cook's tart; and accordingly said, "I cannot believe the cook's tarts are better than mine; I am resolved to satisfy myself upon that head. Where does he live? Go immediately and buy me one of his tarts." The eunuch repaired to Buddir ad Deen's shop, and said, "Let me have one of your cream-tarts; one of our ladies wants to taste them." Buddir ad Deen chose one of the best, and gave it to the eunuch.

Shubbaunee returned speedily to the tents, gave the tart to Noor ad Deen's widow, who, snatching it greedily, broke a piece off; but no sooner put it to her mouth, than she cried out and swooned away. The vizier was extremely surprised at the accident; he threw water upon her face, and was very active in recovering her. As soon as she came to herself, "My God!" cried she, "it must needs be my son, my dear Buddir ad Deen who made this tart."

When the vizier Shumse ad Deen heard his sister-in-law say, that the maker of the tart, brought by the eunuch, must needs be her son, he was overjoyed; but reflecting that his joy might prove groundless, and the conjecture of Noor ad Deen's widow be false, "Madam," said he, "do you think there may not be a pastry-cook in the world, who knows how to make cream-tarts as well as your son?" "I own," replied she, "there may be pastry-cooks that can make as good tarts as he; but as I make them in a peculiar manner, and only my son was let into the secret, it must absolutely be he that made this. Come, my brother," added she in a transport, "let us call up mirth and joy; we have at last found what we have been so long looking for." "Madam," said the vizier answer, "I entreat you to moderate your impatience, for we shall quickly know the truth. All we have to do, is to bring the pastry-cook hither; and then you and my daughter will readily distinguish whether he be your son or not. But you must both be concealed so as to have a view of Buddir ad Deen while he cannot see you; for I would not have our interview and mutual discovery happen at Damascus. My design is to delay the discovery till we return to Cairo."

This said, he left the ladies in their tent, and retired to his own; where he called for fifty of his men, and said to them: "Take each of you a stick in your hands, and follow Shubbaunee, who will conduct you to a pastry-cook in this city. When you arrive there, break and dash in pieces all you find in the shop: if he demand the reason of your outrage, only ask him in return if it was not he that made the cream-tart that was brought from his house. If he answer in the affirmative, seize his person, fetter him, and bring him along with you; but take care you do not beat him, nor do him the least harm. Go, and lose no time."

The vizier's orders were immediately executed. The detachment, conducted by the black eunuch, went with expedition to Buddir ad Deen's house, broke in pieces the plates, kettles, copper pans, and all the other moveables and utensils they met with, and inundated the sherbet-shop with cream and comfits. Buddir ad Deen, astonished at the sight, said with a pitiful tone, "Pray, good people, why do you serve me so? What is the matter? What have I done?" "Was it not you," said they, "that sold this eunuch the cream-tart?" "Yes," replied he, "I am the man; and who says any thing against it? I defy any one to make a better." Instead of giving him an answer, they continued to break all round them, and the oven itself was not spared.

In the mean time the neighbours took the alarm, and surprised to see fifty armed men committing such a disorder, asked the reason of such violence; and Buddir ad Deen said once more to the rioters, "Pray tell me what crime I have committed to deserve this usage?" "Was it not you," replied they, "that made the cream-tart you sold to the eunuch?" "Yes, yes, it was I," replied he; "I maintain it is a good one. I do not deserve this treatment." However, without listening to him, they seized his person, and, snatching the cloth off his turban, tied his hands with it behind his back, and, after dragging him by force out of his shop, marched off.

The mob gathering, from compassion to Buddir ad Deen, took his part; but officers from the governor of the city dispersed the people, and favoured the carrying off of Buddir ad Deen, for Shumse ad Deen Mahummud had in the mean time gone to the governor's house to acquaint him with the order he had given, and to demand the interposition of force to favour the execution; and the governor, who commanded all Syria in the name of the sultan of Egypt, was unwilling to refuse any thing to his master's vizier.

It was in vain for Buddir ad Deen to ask those who carried him off, what fault had been found with his cream-tart: they gave him no answer. In short, they conducted him to the tents, and made him wait there till Shumse ad Deen returned from the governor of Damascus.

Upon the vizier's return, the pretended culprit was brought before him. "My lord," said Buddir ad Deen, with tears in his eyes, "pray do me the favour to let me know wherein I have displeased you." "Why, you wretch," exclaimed the vizier "was it not you that made the cream-tart you sent me?" "I own I am the man," replied Buddir ad Deen, "but pray what crime is that?" "I will punish you according to your deserts," said Shumse ad Deen, "it shall cost you your life, for sending me such a sorry tart." "Ah!" exclaimed Buddir ad Deen, "is it a capital crime to make a bad cream-tart?" "Yes," said the vizier "and you are to expect no other usage from me."

While this interview lasted, the ladies, who were concealed behind curtains, saw Buddir ad Deen, and recognized him, notwithstanding he had been so long absent. They were so transported with joy, that they swooned away; and when they recovered, would fain have run up and fallen upon his neck, but the promise they had made to the vizier of not discovering themselves, restrained the tender emotions of love and of nature.

Shumse ad Deen having resolved to set out that night, ordered the tents to be struck, and the necessary preparations to be made for his journey. He ordered Buddir ad Deen to be secured in a sort of cage, and laid on a camel. The vizier and his retinue began their march, and travelled the rest of that night, and all the next day, without stopping In the evening they halted, and Buddir ad Deen was taken out of his cage, in order to be served with the necessary refreshments, but still carefully kept at a distance from his mother and his wife; and during the whole expedition, which lasted twenty days, was served in the same manner.

When they arrived at Cairo, they encamped in the neighbourhood of the city; Shumse ad Deen called for Buddir ad Deen, and gave orders, in his presence, to prepare a stake. "Alas!" said Buddir ad Deen, "what do you mean to do with a stake?" "Why, to impale you," replied Shumse ad Deen, "and then to have you carried through all the quarters of the town, that the people may have the spectacle of a worthless pastry-cook, who makes cream-tarts without pepper." This said, Buddir ad Deen cried out so ludicrously, that Shumse ad Deen could hardly keep his countenance: "Alas!" said he, "must I suffer a death as cruel as it is ignominious, for not putting pepper in a cream-tart?"

"How," said Buddir ad Deen, "must I be rifled; must I be imprisoned in a chest, and at last impaled, and all for not putting pepper in a cream-tart? Are these the actions of Moosulmauns, of persons who make a profession of probity, justice, and good works?" With these words he shed tears, and then renewing his complaint; "No," continued he, "never was a man used so unjustly, nor so severely. Is it possible they should be capable of taking a man's life for not putting pepper in a cream-tart? Cursed be all cream-tarts, as well as the hour in which I was born! Would to God I had died that minute!"

The disconsolate Buddir ad Deen did not cease his lamentations; and when the stake was brought, cried out bitterly at the horrid sight. "Heaven!" said he, "can you suffer me to die an ignominious and painful death? And all this, for what crime? not for robbery or murder, or renouncing my religion, but for not putting pepper in a cream tart."

Night being then pretty far advanced, the vizier ordered Buddir ad Deen to be conveyed again to his cage, saying to him, "Stay there till to-morrow; the day shall not elapse before I give orders for your death." The chest or cage then was carried away and laid upon the camel that had brought it from Damascus: at the same time all the other camels were loaded again; and the vizier mounting his horse, ordered the camel that carried his nephew to march before him, and entered the city with all his suit. After passing through several streets, where no one appeared, he arrived at his palace, where he ordered the chest to be taken down, but not opened till farther orders.

While his retinue were unlading the other camels, he took Buddir ad Deen's mother and his daughter aside; and addressed himself to the latter: "God be praised," said he, "my child, for this happy occasion of meeting your cousin and your husband! You remember, of course, what order your chamber was in on your wedding night: go and put all things as they were then placed; and if your memory do not serve you, I can aid it by a written account, which I caused to be taken upon that occasion."

The beautiful lady went joyfully to execute her father's orders; and he at the same time commanded the hall to be adorned as when Buddir ad Deen Houssun was there with the sultan of Egypt's hunch-backed groom. As he went over his manuscript, his domestics placed every moveable in the described order. The throne was not forgotten, nor the lighted wax candles. When every thing was arranged in the hall, the vizier went into his daughter's chamber and put in their due place Buddir ad Deen's apparel, with the purse of sequins. This done, he said to the beautiful lady, "Undress yourself, my child, and go to bed. As soon as Buddir ad Deen enters your room, complain of his being from you so long, and tell him, that when you awoke, you were astonished you did not find him by you. Press him to come to bed again; and to-morrow morning you will divert your mother-in-law and me, by giving us an account of your interview." This said, he went from his daughter's apartment, and left her to undress herself and go to bed.

Shumse ad Deen Mahummud ordered all his domestics to depart the hall, excepting two or three, whom he desired to remain. These he commanded to go and take Buddir ad Deen out of the cage, to strip him to his under vest and drawers, to conduct him in that condition to the hall, to leave him there alone, and shut the door upon him.

Buddir ad Deen, though overwhelmed with grief, was asleep so soundly, that the vizier's domestics had taken him out of the chest and stripped him before he awoke; and they carried him so suddenly into the hall, that they did not give him time to see where he was. When he found himself alone in the hall, he looked round him, and the objects he beheld recalling to his memory the circumstances of his marriage, he perceived, with astonishment, that it was the place where he had seen the sultan's groom of the stables. His surprise was still the greater, when approaching softly the door of a chamber which he found open, he spied his own raiments where he remembered to have left them on his wedding night. "My God!" said he, rubbing his eyes, "am I asleep or awake?"

The beautiful lady, who in the mean time was diverting herself with his astonishment, opened the curtains of her bed suddenly, and bending her head forward, "My dear lord," said she, with a soft, tender air, "what do you do at the door? You have been out of bed a long time. I was strangely surprised when I awoke in not finding you by me." Buddir ad Deen was enraptured; he entered the room, but reverting to all that had passed during a ten years' interval, and not being able to persuade himself that it could all have happened in the compass of one night, he went to the place where his vestments lay with the purse of sequins; and after examining them very carefully, exclaimed, "By Allah these are mysteries which I can by no means comprehend!" The lady, who was pleased to see his confusion, said, once more, "My lord, what do you wait for?" He stepped towards the bed, and said to her, "Is it long since I left you?" "The question," answered she, "surprises me. Did not you rise from me but now? Surely your mind is deranged." "Madam," replied Buddir ad Deen, "I do assure you my thoughts are not very composed. I remember indeed to have been with you, but I remember at the same time, that I have since lived ten years at Damascus. Now, if I was actually in bed with you this night, I cannot have been from you so long. These two points are inconsistent. Pray tell me what I am to think; whether my marriage with you is an illusion, or whether my absence from you is only a dream?" "Yes, my lord," cried she, "doubtless you were light-headed when you thought you were at Damascus." Upon this Buddir ad Deen laughed heartily, and said, "What a comical fancy is this! I assure you, madam, this dream of mine will be very pleasant to you. Do but imagine, if you please, that I was at the gate of Damascus in my shirt and drawers, as I am here now; that I entered the town with the halloo of a mob who followed and insulted me; that I fled to a pastry cook who adopted me, taught me his trade, and left me all he had when he died; that after his death I kept a shop. In fine, I had an infinity of other adventures, too tedious to recount: and all I can say is, that it was well that I awoke, for they were going to impale me!" "And for what," cried the lady, feigning astonishment, "would they have used you so cruelly? Surely you must have committed some enormous crime." "Not the least," replied Buddir ad Deen; "it was for nothing but a mere trifle, the most ridiculous thing you can imagine. All the crime I was charged with, was selling a cream-tart that had no pepper in it." "As for that matter," said the beautiful lady laughing heartily, "I must say they did you great injustice." "Ah!" replied he, "that was not all. For this cursed cream-tart was every thing in my shop broken to pieces, myself bound and fettered, and flung into a chest, where I lay so close, that methinks I am there still, but thanks be to God all was a dream."

Buddir ad Deen was not easy all night. He awoke from time to time, and put the question to himself, whether he dreamed or was awake. He distrusted his felicity; and, to be sure whether it was true or not, looked round the room. "I am not mistaken," said he; "this is the same chamber where I entered instead of the hunch-backed groom of the stables; and I am now in bed with the fair lady designed for him." Day-light, which then appeared, had not yet dispelled his uneasiness, when the vizier Shumse ad Deen, his uncle, knocked at the door, and at the same time went in to bid him good morrow.

Buddir ad Deen was extremely surprised to see a man he knew so well, and who now appeared with a different air from that with which he pronounced the terrible sentence of death against him. "Ah!" cried Buddir ad Deen, "it was you who condemned me so unjustly to a kind of death, the thoughts of which make me shudder, and all for a cream-tart without pepper." The vizier fell a laughing, and to put him out of suspense, told him how, by the ministry of a genie (for hunch-back's relation made him suspect the adventure), he had been at his palace, and had married his daughter instead of the sultan's groom of the stables; then he acquainted him that he had discovered him to be his nephew by the memorandum of his father, and pursuant to that discovery had gone from Cairo to Bussorah in quest of him. "My dear nephew," added he, embracing him with every expression of tenderness, "I ask your pardon for all I have made you undergo since I discovered you. I resolved to bring you to my palace before I told you your happiness; which ought now to be so much the dearer to you, as it has cost you so much perplexity and distress. To atone for all your afflictions, comfort yourself with the joy of being in the company of those who ought to be dearest to you. While you are dressing yourself I will go and acquaint your mother, who is beyond measure impatient to see you; and will likewise bring to you your son, whom you saw at Damascus, and for whom, without knowing him, you shewed so much affection."

No words can adequately express the joy of Buddir ad Deen, when he saw his mother and his son. They embraced, and shewed all the transports that love and tenderness could inspire. The mother spoke to Buddir ad Deen in the most moving terms; she mentioned the grief she had felt for his long absence, and the tears she had shed. Little Ajib, instead of flying his father's embraces, as at Damascus, received them with all the marks of pleasure. And Buddir ad Deen Houssun, divided between two objects so worthy of his love, thought he could not give sufficient testimonies of his affection.

While this passed, the vizier was gone to the palace, to give the sultan an account of the happy success of his travels; and the sultan was so moved with the recital of the story, that he ordered it to be taken down in writing, and carefully preserved among the archives of the kingdom. After Shumse ad Deen's return to his palace, he sat down with his family, and all the household passed the day in festivity and mirth.

The vizier Jaaffier having thus concluded the story of Buddir ad Deen, told the caliph that this was what he had to relate to his majesty. The caliph found the story so surprising, that without farther hesitation he granted his slave Rihan's pardon; and to console the young man for the grief of having unhappily deprived himself of a woman whom he had loved so tenderly, married him to one of his slaves, bestowed liberal gifts upon him, and maintained him till he died.






The History of Ganem, Son of Abou Ayoub,
and Known by the Surname of Love's Slave


There was formerly at Damascus a merchant, who had by care and industry acquired great wealth, on which he lived in a very honourable manner. His name was Abou Ayoub, and he had one son and a daughter. The son was called Ganem, but afterwards surnamed Love's slave. His person was graceful, and the excellent qualities of his mind had been improved by able masters. The daughter's name was Alcolom, signifying Ravisher of hearts, because her beauty was so perfect that whoever saw her could not avoid loving her.

Abou Ayoub died, and left immense riches: a hundred loads of brocades and other silks that lay in his warehouse were the least part. The loads were ready made up, and on every bale was written in large characters, "For Bagdad."

Mahummud, the son of Soliman, surnamed Zinebi, reigned at that time at Damascus, the capital of Syria. His kinsman, Haroon al Rusheed, had bestowed that kingdom on him as his tributary.

Soon after the death of Abou Ayoub, Ganem conversed with his mother about their domestic affairs, and concerning the loads of merchandize in the warehouse, asked her the meaning of what was written upon each bale. "My son," answered his mother, "your father used to travel sometimes into one province, and sometimes into another; and it was customary with him, before he set out, to write the name of the city he designed to repair to on every bade. He had provided all things to take a journey to Bagdad, and was on the point of setting out, when death"----She had not power to finish; the lively remembrance of the loss of her husband would not permit her to say more, and drew from her a shower of tears.

Ganem could not see his mother so sensibly affected, without being equally so himself. They continued some time silent; but at length he recovered himself, and as soon as he found his mother calm enough to listen to him, said, "Since my father designed these goods for Bagdad, I will prepare myself to perform that journey; and I think it will be proper for me to hasten my departure, for fear those commodities should perish, or that we should lose the opportunity of selling them to the best advantage."

Abou Ayoub's widow, who tenderly loved her son, was much concerned at this resolution, and replied, "My dear child, I cannot but commend you for designing to follow your father's example; but consider, that you are too young, inexperienced, and unaccustomed to the fatigue of travelling. Besides, can you think of leaving me, and adding to that sorrow with which I am already oppressed? Is it not better to sell those goods to the merchants of Damascus, and take up with a moderate profit, than expose yourself to the danger of perishing?"

It was in vain for her to oppose Ganem's resolution by the strongest arguments; they had no weight with him. An inclination to travel, and to accomplish himself by a thorough knowledge of the world, urged him to set out, and prevailed over all his mother's remonstrances, her entreaties, and even her tears. He went to the market where slaves were sold, and bought such as were able-bodied, hired a hundred camels, and having provided all other necessaries, entered upon his journey, with five or six merchants of Damascus, who were going to trade at Bagdad.

Those merchants, attended by their slaves, and accompanied by several other travellers, made up such a considerable caravan, that they had nothing to fear from the Bedouin Arabs, who make it their only profession to range the country; and attack and plunder the caravans when they are not strong enough to repulse them. They had no other difficulty to encounter, than the usual fatigues of a long journey, which were easily forgotten when they came in sight of the city of Bagdad, where they arrived in safety.

They alighted at the most magnificent and most frequented khan in the city; but Ganem chose to be lodged conveniently, and by himself. He only left his goods there in a warehouse for their greater security, and hired a spacious house in the neighbourhood, richly furnished, having a garden which was very delightful, on account of its many waterworks and shady groves.

Some days after this young merchant had been settled in his house, and perfectly recovered of the fatigue of his journey, he dressed himself richly, and repaired to the public place, where the merchants met to transact business. A slave followed him, carrying a parcel of fine stuffs and silks.

The merchants received Ganem very courteously, and their syndic, or chief, to whom he first made application, bought all his parcel, at the price set down in the ticket annexed to every piece of stuff. Ganem continued his trade so successfully, that he every day sold all the goods he exposed.

He had but one bale left, which he had caused to be carried from the warehouse to his own house; he then went to the public rendezvous, where he found all the shops shut. This seemed somewhat extraordinary to him and having asked the cause, he was told, that one of the first merchants, whom he knew, was dead, and that all his brother traders were gone to his funeral.

Ganem inquired for the mosque, where prayer was to be said, and whence the body was to be conducted to the grave; and having been informed, sent back his slave with the goods, and walked towards the mosque. He got thither before the prayers were ended, which were said in a hall hung with black satin. The corpse was taken up, and followed by the kindred, the merchants, and Ganem, to the place of burial, which was at some distance without the city. It was a stone structure, in form of a dome, purposely built to receive the bodies of all the family of the deceased, and being very small, they had pitched tents around, that all the company might be sheltered during the ceremony. The monument was opened, and the corpse laid in it, after which it was shut up. Then the imam, and other ministers of the mosque, sat down in a ring on carpets, in the largest tent, and recited the rest of the prayers. They also read the Fateah, or introductory chapter of the Koraun, appointed for the burial of the dead. The kindred and merchants sat round, in the same manner, behind the ministers.

It was near night before all was ended: Ganem who had not expected such a long ceremony, began to be uneasy, and the more so, when he saw meat served up, in memory of the deceased, according to the custom of the Mahummedans. He was also told that the tents had been set up not only against the heat of the sun, but also against the evening dew, because they should not return to the city before the next morning. These words perplexed Ganem. "I am a stranger," said he to himself, "and have the reputation of being a rich merchant; thieves may take the opportunity of my absence, and rob my house. My slaves may be tempted by so favourable an opportunity; they may run away with all the gold I have received for my goods, and whither shall I go to look for them?" Full of these thoughts, he ate a few mouthfuls hastily, and slipped away from the company.

He made all possible haste; but, as it often happens that the more a man hurries the less he advances, he went astray in the dark, so that it was near midnight when he came to the city gate; which, to add to his misfortune, was shut. This was a fresh affliction to him, and he was obliged to look for some convenient place in which to pass the rest of the night till the gate was opened. He went into a burial-place, so spacious, that it reached from the city to the very place he had left. He advanced to some high walls, which enclosed a small field, being the mausoleum of a family, and in which there was a palm-tree. Ganem, finding that the burial-place where the palm-tree grew was open, went into it, and shut the door after him. He lay down on the grass and tried to sleep; but his uneasiness at being absent from home would not permit him. He got up, and after having passed before the door several times, opened it, without knowing why, and immediately perceived at a distance a light, which seemed to come towards him. He was startled at the sight, closed the door, which had nothing to secure it but a latch, and got up as fast as he could to the top of the palm-tree; looking upon that as the safest retreat under his present apprehensions.

No sooner was he up, than by the help of the light which had alarmed him, he plainly perceived three men, whom, by their habit, he knew to be slaves, enter into the burial-place. One of them advanced with a lantern, and the two others followed him, loaded with a chest, between five and six feet long, which they carried on their shoulders. They set it down, and then one of the three slaves said to his comrades, "Brethren, if you will be advised by me, we will leave the chest here, and return to the city." "No, no," replied another, "that would not be executing our mistress's orders; we may have cause to repent not doing as we were commanded. Let us bury the chest, since we are enjoined so to do." The two other slaves complied. They began to break ground with the tools they had brought for that purpose. When they had made a deep trench, they put the chest into it, and covered it with the earth they had taken out, and then departed.

Ganem, who from the top of the palm-tree had heard every word the slaves had spoken, could not tell what to think of the adventure. He concluded that the chest must contain something of value, and that the person to whom it belonged had some particular reasons for causing it to be buried in the cemetery. He resolved immediately to satisfy his curiosity, came down from the palm-tree, the departure of the slaves having dissipated his fear, and fell to work upon the pit, plying his hands and feet so well, that in a short time he uncovered the chest, but found it secured by a padlock. This new obstacle to the satisfying of his curiosity was no small mortification to him, yet he was not discouraged, but the day beginning then to appear, he saw several great stones about the burial-place. He picked out one, with which he easily knocked off the padlock, and then with much impatience opened the chest. Ganem was strangely surprised, when, instead of money, he discovered a young lady of incomparable beauty. Her fresh and rosy complexion, and her gentle regular breathing, satisfied him she was alive, but he could not conceive why, if she were only asleep, she had not awaked at the noise he made in forcing off the padlock. Her habit was so costly, with bracelets and pendants of diamonds, and a necklace of pearls, so large, that he made not the least doubt of her being one of the principal ladies of the court. At the sight of so beautiful an object, not only compassion and natural inclination to relieve persons in danger, but something more powerful, which Ganem could not then account for, prevailed on him to afford the unfortunate beauty all the assistance in his power.

He first shut the gate of the burial-place, which the slaves had left open; then, returning, took the lady in his arms, and laid her on the soft earth which he had thrown off the chest. As soon as she was exposed to the air, she sneezed, and, by the motion in turning her head, there came from her mouth a liquor, with which her stomach seemed to have been loaded; then opening and rubbing her eyes, she with such a voice as charmed Ganem, whom she did not see, cried out, "Zohorob Bostan, Shijher al Mirjaun, Casabos Souccar, Nouron Nihar, Nagmatos Sohi, Nonzbetos Zaman, why do you not answer? where are you?" These were the names of six female slaves that used to wait on her. She called them, and wondered that nobody answered; but at length looking about, and perceiving she was in a burial-place, was seized with fear. "What," cried she, much louder than before, "are the dead raised? Is the day of judgment come? What a wonderful change is this from evening to morning?"

Ganem did not think fit to leave the lady any longer in her perplexity, but presented himself before her with all possible respect, and in the most courteous manner. "Madam," said he, "I am not able to express my joy at having happened to be here to do you the service I have, and to offer you all the assistance you may need under your present circumstances."

In order to persuade the lady to repose confidence in him, he, in the first place, told her who he was, and what accident had brought him to that place. Next he acquainted her with the coming of the three slaves, and how they had buried the chest. The lady, who had covered her face with her veil as soon as Ganem appeared, was extremely sensible of the obligations she owed him. "I return thanks to God," said she "for having sent so worthy a person as you are to deliver me from death; but since you have begun so charitable a work, I conjure you not to leave it imperfect. Let me beg of you to go into the city, and provide a muleteer, to come with his mule, and carry me to your house in this chest; for, should I go with you on foot, my dress being different from that of the city ladies, some one might take notice of it, and follow me, which it highly concerns me to prevent. When I shall be in your house, I will give you an account of myself; and in the mean time be assured that you have not obliged an ungrateful person."

Before the young merchant left the lady, he drew the chest out of the pit, which he filled up with earth, laid her again in the chest, and shut it in such a manner, that it did not look as if the padlock had been forced off; but for fear of stifling her, he did not put it quite close, leaving room for the admittance of air. Going out of the burial-place, he drew the door after him; and the city gate being then open, soon found what he sought. He returned with speed to the burial place, and helped the muleteer to lay the chest across his mule, telling him, to remove all cause of suspicion, that he came to that place the night before, with another muleteer, who, being in haste to return home, had laid down the chest where he saw it.

Ganem, who, since his arrival at Bagdad, had minded nothing but his business, was still unacquainted with the power of love, and now felt its first attacks. It had not been in his power to look upon the young lady without being dazzled; and the uneasiness he felt at following the muleteer at a distance, and the fear lest any accident might happen by the way that should deprive him of his conquest, taught him to unravel his thoughts. He was more than usually delighted, when, being arrived safe at home, he saw the chest unloaded. He dismissed the muleteer, and having caused a slave to shut the door of his house, opened the chest, helped the lady out, gave her his hand, and conducted her to his apartment, lamenting how much she must have endured in such close confinement. "If I have suffered," said she, "I have satisfaction sufficient in what you have done for me, and in the pleasure of seeing myself out of danger."

Though Ganem's apartment was very richly furnished, the lady did not so much regard its appearance, as she did the handsome presence and engaging mien of her deliverer, whose politeness and obliging behaviour heightened her gratitude. She sat down on a sofa, and to give the merchant to understand how sensible she was of the service done her, took off her veil. Ganem on his part was sensible of the favour so lovely a lady did in uncovering her face to him, or rather felt he had already a most violent passion for her. Whatever obligations she owed him, he thought himself more than requited by so singular a favour.

The lady dived into Ganem's thoughts, yet was not at all alarmed, because he appeared very respectful. He, judging she might have occasion to eat, and not willing to trust any but himself with the care of entertaining so charming a guest, went out with a slave to an eating-house, to give directions for an entertainment. From thence he went to a fruiterer, where he chose the finest and best fruit; buying also the choicest wine, and the same bread that was eaten at the caliph's table.

As soon as he returned home, he with his own hands made a pyramid of the fruit he had bought, and serving it up himself to the lady in a large dish, of the finest china-ware, "Madam," said he, "be pleased to make choice of some of this fruit, while a more solid entertainment, and more worthy yourself, is preparing." He would have continued standing before her, but she declared she would not touch any thing, unless he sat down and ate with her. He obeyed; and when they had eaten a little, Ganem observing that the lady's veil, which she laid down by her on a sofa, was embroidered along the edge with golden letters, begged her permission to look on the embroidery. The lady immediately took up the veil, and delivered it to him, asking him whether he could read? "Madam," replied he, with a modest air, "a merchant would be ill-qualified to manage his business if he could not at least read and write." "Well, then," said she, "read the words which are embroidered on that veil, which gives me an opportunity of telling you my story."

Ganem took the veil, and read these words, "I am yours, and you are mine, thou descendant from the prophet's uncle." That descendant from the prophet's uncle was the caliph Haroon al Rusheed, who then reigned, and was descended from Abbas, Mahummud's uncle.

When Ganem perceived these words, "Alas! madam," said he, in a melancholy tone, "I have just saved your life, and this writing is my death! I do not comprehend all the mystery; but it convinces me I am the most unfortunate of men. Pardon, madam, the liberty I take, but it was impossible for me to see you without giving you my heart. You are not ignorant yourself, that it was not in my power to refuse it you, and that makes my presumption excusable. I proposed to myself to touch your heart by my respectful behaviour, my care, my assiduity, my submission, my constancy; and no sooner have I formed the flattering design, than I am robbed of all my hopes. I cannot long survive so great a misfortune. But, be that as it will, I shall have the satisfaction of dying entirely yours. Proceed, madam, I conjure you, and give me full information of my unhappy fate."

He could not utter those words without letting fall some tears. The lady was moved; but was so far from being displeased at the declaration he made, that she felt secret joy; for her heart began to yield. However, she concealed her feelings, and as if she had not regarded what Ganem had said. "I should have been very cautious," answered she, "of strewing you my veil, had I thought it would have given you so much uneasiness; but I do not perceive that what I have to say to you can make your condition so deplorable as you imagine."

"You must understand," proceeded she, "in order to acquaint you with my story, that my name is Fetnah (which signifies disturbance), which was given me at my birth, because it was judged that the sight of me would one day occasion many calamities. Of this you cannot be ignorant, since there is nobody in Bagdad but knows that the caliph, my sovereign lord and yours, has a favourite so called.

"I was carried into his palace in my tenderest years, and I have been brought up with all the care that is usually taken with such persons of my sex as are destined to reside there. I made no little progress in all they took the pains to teach me; and that, with some share of beauty, gained me the affection of the caliph, who allotted me a particular apartment adjoining to his own. That prince was not satisfied with such a mark of distinction; he appointed twenty women to wait on me, and as many eunuchs; and ever since he has made me such considerable presents, that I saw myself richer than any queen in the world. You may judge by what I have said, that Zobeide, the caliph's wife and kinswoman, could not but be jealous of my happiness. Though Haroon has all the regard imaginable for her, she has taken every possible opportunity to ruin me.

"Hitherto I had secured myself against all her snares, but at length I fell under the last effort of her jealousy; and, had it not been for you, must now have been exposed to inevitable death. I question not but she had corrupted one of my slaves, who last night, in some lemonade, gave me a drug, which causes such a dead sleep, that it is easy to dispose of those who have taken it; for that sleep is so profound, that nothing can dispel it for the space of seven or eight hours. I have the more reason to judge so, because naturally I am a very bad sleeper, and apt to wake at the least noise.

"Zobeide, the better to put her design in execution, has availed herself of the absence of the caliph, who went lately to put himself at the head of his troops, to chastise some neighbouring kings, who have formed a league of rebellion. Were it not for this opportunity, my rival, outrageous as she is, durst not have presumed to attempt any thing against my life. I know not what she will do to conceal this action from the caliph, but you see it highly concerns me that you should keep my secret. My life depends on it. I shall be safe in your house as long as the caliph is from Bagdad. It concerns you to keep my adventure private; for should Zobeide know the obligation I owe you, she would punish you for having saved me.

"When the caliph returns, I shall not need to be so much upon my guard. I shall find means to acquaint him with all that has happened, and I am fully persuaded he will be more earnest than myself to requite a service which restores me to his love."

As soon as Haroon al Rusheed's beautiful favourite had done speaking, Ganem said, "Madam, I return you a thousand thanks for having given me the information I took the liberty to desire of you; and I beg of you to believe, that you are here in safety; the sentiments you have inspired are a pledge of my secrecy.

"As for my slaves, they may perhaps fail of the fidelity they owe me, should they know by what accident and in what place I had the happiness to find you. I dare assure you, however, that they will not have the curiosity to inquire. It is so natural for young men to purchase beautiful slaves, that it will be no way surprising to them to see you here, believing you to be one, and that I have bought you. They will also conclude that I have some particular reasons for bringing you home as they saw I did. Set your heart, therefore, at rest, as to that point, and remain satisfied that you shall be served with all the respect that is due to the favourite of so great a monarch as our sovereign the caliph. But great as he is, give me leave, madam, to declare, that nothing can make me recall the present I have made you of my heart. I know, and shall never forget, 'that what belongs to the master is forbidden to the slave;' but I loved you before you told me that you were engaged to the caliph; it is not in my power to overcome a passion which, though now in its infancy, has all the force of a love strengthened by a perfect of situation. I wish your august and most fortunate lover may avenge you of the malice of Zobeide, by calling you back to him; and when you shall be restored to his wishes, that you may remember the unfortunate Ganem, who is no less your conquest than the caliph. Powerful as that prince is, I flatter myself he will not be able to blot me out of your remembrance. He cannot love you more passionately than I do; and I shall never cease to love you into whatever part of the world I may go to expire, after having lost you."

Fetnah perceived that Ganem was under the greatest of afflictions, and his situation affected her; but considering the uneasiness she was likely to bring upon herself, by prosecuting the conversation on that subject, which might insensibly lead her to discover the inclination she felt for him; "I perceive," said she, "that this conversation gives you too much uneasiness; let us change the subject, and talk of the infinite obligation I owe you. I can never sufficiently express my gratitude, when I reflect that, without your assistance, I should never again have beheld the light of the sun."

It was happy for them both, that somebody just then knocked at the door; Ganem went to see who it was, and found it to be one of his slaves come to acquaint him that the entertainment was ready. Ganem, who, by way of precaution, would have none of his slaves come into the room where Fetnah was, took what was brought, and served it up himself to his beautiful guest, whose soul was ravished to behold what attention he paid her.

When they had eaten, Ganem took away, as he had covered the table; and having delivered all things at the door of the apartment to his slaves, "Madam," said he to Fetnah, "you may now perhaps desire to take some rest; I will leave you, and when you have reposed yourself, you shall find me ready to receive your commands."

Having thus spoken, he left her, and went to purchase two women-slaves. He also bought two parcels, one of fine linen, and the other of all such things as were proper to make up a toilet fit for the caliph's favourite. Having conducted home the two women-slaves, he presented them to Fetnah, saying, "Madam, a person of your quality cannot be without two waiting-maids, at least, to serve you; be pleased to accept of these."

Fetnah, admiring Ganem's attention, said, "My lord, I perceive you are not one that will do things by halves: you add by your courtesy to the obligations I owe you already; but I hope I shall not die ungrateful, and that heaven will soon place me in a condition to requite all your acts of generosity."

When the women-slaves were withdrawn into a chamber adjoining, he sat down on the sofa, but at some distance from Fetnah, in token of respect. He then began to discourse of his passion. "I dare not so much as hope," said he, "to excite the least sensibility in a heart like yours, destined for the greatest prince in the world. Alas! it would be a comfort to me in my misfortune, if I could but flatter myself, that you have not looked upon the excess of my love with indifference." "My lord," answered Fetnah "Alas! madam," said Ganem, interrupting her at the word lord, "this is the second time you have done me the honour to call me lord; the presence of the women-slaves hindered me the first time from taking notice of it to you: in the name of God, madam, do not give me this title of honour; it does not belong to me; treat me, I beseech you, as your slave: I am, and shall never cease to be so."

"No, no," replied Fetnah, interrupting him in her turn, "I shall be cautious how I treat with such disrespect a man to whom I owe my life. I should be ungrateful, could I say or do any thing that did not become you. Leave me, therefore, to follow the dictates of my gratitude, and do not require of me, that I should misbehave myself towards you, in return for the benefits I have received. I shall never be guilty of such conduct; I am too sensible of your respectful behaviour to abuse it; and I will not hesitate to own, that I do not regard your care with indifference. You know the reasons that condemn me to silence."

Ganem was enraptured at this declaration; he wept for joy, and not being able to find expressions significant enough, in his own opinion, to return Fetnah thanks, was satisfied with telling her, that as she knew what she owed to the caliph, he, on his part, was not ignorant "that what belongs to the master is forbidden to the slave."

Night drawing on, he rose up to fetch a light, which he brought in himself, as also a collation.

They both sat down at table, and at first complimented each other on the fruit as they presented it reciprocally. The excellence of the wine insensibly drew them both to drink; and having drunk two or three glasses, they agreed that neither should take another glass without first singing some air. Ganem sung verses ex tempore, expressive of the vehemence of his passion; and Fetnah, encouraged by his example, composed and sung verses relating to her adventure, and always containing something which Ganem might take in a sense favourable to himself; except in this, she most exactly observed the fidelity due to the caliph. The collation continued till very late, and the night was far advanced before they thought of parting. Ganem then withdrew to another apartment, leaving Fetnah where she was, the women slaves he had bought coming in to wait upon her.

They lived together in this manner for several days. The young merchant went not abroad, unless upon of the utmost consequence, and even for that took the time when the lady was reposing; for he could not prevail upon himself to lose a moment that might be spent in her company. All his thoughts were taken up with his dear Fetnah, who, on her side, gave way to her inclination, confessed she had no less affection for him than he had for her. However, fond as they were of each other, their respect for the caliph kept them within due bounds, which still heightened their passion.

Whilst Fetnah, thus snatched from the jaws of death, passed her time so agreeably with Ganem, Zobeide was not without some apprehensions in the palace of Haroon al Rusheed.

No sooner had the three slaves, entrusted with the execution of her revenge, carried away the chest, without knowing what it contained, or so much as the least curiosity to inquire (being used to pay a blind obedience to her commands), than she was seized with a tormenting uneasiness; a thousand perplexing thoughts disturbed her rest; sleep fled from her eyes, and she spent the night in contriving how to conceal her crime. "My consort," said she, "loves Fetnah more than ever he did any of his favourites. What shall I say to him at his return, when he inquires of me after her?" Many contrivances occurred to her, but none were satisfactory. Still she met with difficulties, and knew not where to fix. There lived with her a lady advanced in years, who had bred her up from her infancy. As soon as it was day, she sent for her, and having entrusted her with the secret, said, "My good mother, you have always assisted me with your advice; if ever I stood in need of it, it is now, when the business before you is to still my thoughts, distracted by a mortal anxiety, and to show me some way to satisfy the caliph."

"My dear mistress," replied the old lady, "it had been much better not to have run yourself into the difficulties you labour under; but since the thing is done, the best consolation is to think no more of it. All that must now be thought of, is how to deceive the commander of the believers; and I am of opinion, that you should immediately cause a wooden image resembling a dead body to be carved. We will shroud it up in linen, and when shut up in a coffin, it shall be buried in some part of the palace; you shall then immediately cause a marble mausoleum to be built, in the form of a dome, over the burial place, and erect a tomb, which shall be covered with embroidered cloth, and set about with great candlesticks and large wax tapers. There is another thing," added the old lady, "which ought not to be forgotten; you must put on mourning, and cause the same to be done by your own and Fetnah's women, your eunuchs, and all the officers of the palace. When the caliph returns, and sees you all and the palace in mourning, he will not fail to ask the occasion of it. You will then have an opportunity of insinuating yourself into his favour, by saying, it was out of respect to him that you paid the last honours to Fetnah, snatched away by sudden death. You may tell him, you have caused a mausoleum to be built, and, in short, that you have paid all the last honours to his favourite, as he would have done himself had he been present. His passion for her being extraordinary, he will certainly go to shed tears upon her grave; and perhaps," added the old woman, "he will not believe she is really dead. He may, possibly, suspect you have turned her out of the palace through jealousy, and look upon all the mourning as an artifice to deceive him, and prevent his making inquiries after her. It is likely he will cause the coffin to be taken up and opened, and it is certain he will be convinced of her death, as soon as he shall see the figure of a dead body buried. He will be pleased with all you shall have done, and express his gratitude. As for the wooden image, I will myself undertake to have it cut by a carver in the city, who shall not know the purpose for which it is designed. As for your part, madam, order Fetnah's woman, who yesterday gave her the lemonade, to give out, among her companions, that she has just found her mistress dead in her bed; and in order that they may only think of lamenting, without offering to go into her chamber, let her add, she has already acquainted you with the circumstance, and that you have ordered Mesrour to cause her to be buried."

As soon as the old lady had spoken, Zobeide took a rich diamond ring out of her casket, and putting it on her finger, and embracing her in a transport of joy, said, "How infinitely am I beholden to you, my good mother! I should never have thought of so ingenious a contrivance. It cannot fail of success, and I begin to recover my peace. I leave the care of the wooden figure to you, and will go myself to order the rest."

The wooden image was got ready with as much expedition as Zobeide could have wished, and then conveyed by the old lady herself into Fetnah's bed-chamber, where she dressed it like a dead body, and put it into a coffin. Then Mesrour, who was himself deceived by it, caused the coffin and the representation of Fetnah to be carried away, and buried with the usual ceremonies in the place appointed by Zobeide, the favourite's women weeping and lamenting, she who had given her the lemonade setting them an example by her cries and lamentations.

That very day Zobeide sent for the architect of the palace, and, according to orders, the mausoleum was finished in a short time. Such potent princesses as the consort of a monarch, whose power extended from east to west, are always punctually obeyed in whatsoever they command. She soon put on mourning with all the court; so that the news of Fetnah's death was quickly spread over the city.

Ganem was one of the last who heard of it; for, as I have before observed, he hardly ever went abroad. Being, however, at length informed of it, "Madam," said he to the caliph's fair favourite, "you are supposed in Bagdad to be dead, and I do not question but that Zobeide herself believes it. I bless heaven that I am the cause, and the happy witness of your being alive; would to God, that, taking advantage of this false report, you would share my fortune, and go far from hence to reign in my heart! But whither does this pleasing transport carry me? I do not consider that you are born to make the greatest prince in the world happy; and that only Haroon al Rusheed is worthy of you. Supposing you could resolve to give him up for me, and that you would follow me, ought I to consent? No, it is my part always to remember, 'that what belongs to the master is forbidden to the slave.'"

The lovely Fetnah, though moved by the tenderness of the passion he expressed, yet prevailed with herself not to encourage it. "My lord," said she to him, "we cannot obstruct the momentary triumph of Zobeide. I am not surprised at the artifice she uses to conceal her guilt: but let her go on; I flatter myself that sorrow will soon follow her triumph. The caliph will return, and we shall find the means privately to inform him of all that has happened. In the mean time let us be more cautious than ever, that she may not know I am alive. I have already told you the consequences to be apprehended from such a discovery."

At the end of three months the caliph returned to Bagdad with glory, having vanquished all his enemies. He entered the palace with impatience to embrace Fetnah; but was amazed to see all the officers in mourning; and his concern was redoubled when, approaching the apartment of Zobeide, he beheld that princess coming to meet him in mourning with all her women. He immediately asked her the cause, with much agitation. "Commander of the believers," answered Zobeide, "I am in mourning for your slave Fetnah; who died so suddenly that it was impossible to apply any remedy to her disorder." She would have proceeded, but the caliph did not give her time, being so agitated at the news, that he uttered a feeble exclamation, and fainted. On recovering himself, he, with a feeble voice, which sufficiently expressed his extreme grief, asked where his dear Fetnah had been buried. "Sir," said Zobeide, "I myself took care of her funeral, and spared no cost to make it magnificent. I have caused a marble mausoleum to be built over her grave, and will attend you thither if you desire."

The caliph would not permit Zobeide to take that trouble, but contented himself to have Mesrour to conduct him. He went thither just as he was, in his camp dress. When he saw the tomb, the wax-lights round it, and the magnificence of the mausoleum, he was amazed that Zobeide should have performed the obsequies of her rival with so much pomp; and being naturally of a jealous temper, suspected his wife's generosity and fancied his mistress might perhaps be yet alive; that Zobeide, taking advantage of his long absence, might have turned her out of the palace, ordering those she had entrusted to conduct her, to convey her so far off that she might never more be heard of. This was all he suspected; for he did not think Zobeide wicked enough to have attempted the life of his favourite.

The better to discover the truth himself, he ordered the tomb to be removed, and caused the grave and the coffin to be opened in his presence; but when he saw the linen wrapped round the wooden image, he durst not proceed any farther. This devout caliph thought it would be a sacrilegious act to suffer the body of the dead lady to be touched; and this scrupulous fear prevailed over his love and curiosity. He doubted not of Fetnah's death. He caused the coffin to be shut up again, the grave to be filled, and the tomb to be made as it was before.

The caliph thinking himself obliged to pay some respect to the grave of his favourite, sent for the ministers of religion, the officers of the palace, and the readers of the Koraun; and, whilst they were collecting together, he remained in the mausoleum, moistening with his tears the marble that covered the phantom of his mistress. When all the persons he had sent for were come, he stood before the tomb, and recited long prayers; after which the readers of the Koraun read several, chapters.

The same ceremony was performed every day for a whole month, morning and evening, the caliph being always present, with the grand vizier, and the principal officers of the court, all of them in mourning, as well as the caliph himself, who all the time ceased not to honour the memory of Fetnah with his tears, and would not hear of any business.

The last day of the month, the prayers and reading of the Koraun lasted from morning till break of day the next morning. The caliph, being tired with sitting up so long, went to take some rest in his apartment, and fell asleep upon a sofa, between two of the court ladies, one of them sitting at the bed's-head, and the other at the feet, who, whilst he slept, were working some embroidery, and observed a profound silence.

She who sat at the bed's-head, and whose name was Nouron-Nihar, perceiving the caliph was asleep, whispered to the other, called Nagmatos Sohi, "There is great news! The commander of the believers our master will be overjoyed when he awakes, and hears what I have to tell him; Fetnah is not dead, she is in perfect health." "O heavens!" cried Nagmatos Sohi, in a transport of joy, "is it possible, that the beautiful, the charming, the incomparable Fetnah should be still among the living?" She uttered these words with so much vivacity, and so loud, that the caliph awoke. He asked why they had disturbed his rest? "Alas! my sovereign lord," answered the slave, "pardon me this indiscretion; I could not without transport hear that Fetnah is still alive; it caused such emotion in me, as I could not suppress." "What then is become of her," demanded the caliph, "if she is not dead?" "Chief of the believers," replied the other, "I this evening received a note from a person unknown, written with Fetnah's own hand; she gives me an account of her melancholy adventure, and orders me to acquaint you with it. I thought fit, before I fulfilled my commission, to let you take some few moments' rest, believing you must stand in need of it, after your fatigue; and----"

"Give me that note," said the caliph, interrupting her eagerly, "you were wrong to defer delivering it to me."

The slave immediately presented to him the note, which he opened with much impatience, and in it Fetnah gave a particular account of all that had befallen her, but enlarged a little too much on the attentions of Ganem. The caliph, who was naturally jealous, instead of being provoked at the inhumanity of Zobeide, was more concerned at the infidelity he fancied Fetnah had been guilty of towards him. "Is it so?" said he, after reading the note; "the perfidious wretch has been four months with a young merchant, and has the effrontery to boast of his attention to her. Thirty days are past since my return to Bagdad, and she now thinks of sending me news of herself. Ungrateful creature! whilst I spend the days in bewailing her, she passes them in betraying me. Go to, let us take vengeance of a bold woman, and that bold youth who affronts me." Having spoken these words, the caliph rose, and went into a hall where he used to appear in public, and give audience to his court. The first gate was opened, and immediately all the courtiers, who were waiting without, entered. The grand vizier, came in, and prostrated himself before the throne. Then rising, he stood before his master, who, in a tone which denoted he would be instantly obeyed, said to him, "Jaaffier, your presence is requisite, for putting in execution an important affair I am about to commit to you. Take four hundred men of my guards with you, and first inquire where a merchant of Damascus lives whose name is Ganem, the son of Abou Ayoub. When you have learnt this, repair to his house, and cause it to be razed to the foundations; but first secure Ganem, and bring him hither, with my slave Fetnah, who has lived with him these four months. I will punish her, and make an example of that insolent man, who has presumed to fail in respell to me."

The grand vizier, having received this positive command, made a low prostration to the caliph, having his hand on his head, in token that he would rather lose it than disobey him, and departed. The first thing he did, was to send to the syndic of the dealers in foreign stuffs and silks, with strict orders to find out the house of the unfortunate merchant. The officer he sent with these orders brought him back word, that he had scarcely been seen for some months, and no man knew what could keep him at home, if he was there. The same officer likewise told Jaaffier where Ganem lived.

Upon this information, that minister, without losing time, went to the judge of the police, whom he caused to bear him company, and attended by a great number of carpenters and masons, with the necessary tools for razing a house, came to Ganem's residence; and finding it stood detached from any other, he posted his soldiers round it, to prevent the young merchant's making his escape.

Fetnah and Ganem had just dined: the lady was sitting at a window next the street; hearing a noise, she looked out through the lattice, and seeing the grand vizier, approach with his attendants, concluded she was their object as well as Ganem. She perceived her note had been received, but had not expected such a consequence, having hoped that the caliph would have taken the matter in a different light. She knew not how long the prince had been returned from his campaign, and though she was acquainted with his jealous temper, yet apprehended nothing on that account. However, the sight of the grand vizier, and the soldiers made her tremble, not indeed for herself, but for Ganem: she did not question clearing herself, provided the caliph would but hear her. As for Ganem, whom she loved less out of gratitude than inclination, she plainly foresaw that his incensed rival might be apt to condemn him, on account of his youth and person. Full of this thought, she turned to the young merchant and said, "Alas! Ganem, we are undone." Ganem looked through the lattice, and was seized with dread, when he beheld the caliph's guards with their naked cimeters, and the grand vizier, with the civil magistrate at the head of them. At this sight he stood motionless, and had not power to utter one word. "Ganem," said the favourite, "there is no time to be lost; if you love me, put on the habit of one of your slaves immediately, and disfigure your face and arms with soot. Then put some of these dishes on your head; you may be taken for a servant belonging to the eating house, and they will let you pass. If they happen to ask you where the master of the house is, answer, without any hesitation, that he is within." "Alas! madam," answered Harem, concerned for himself than for Fetnah, "you only take care of me, what will become of you?" "Let not that trouble you," replied Fetnah, "it is my part to look to that. As for what you leave in this house, I will take care of it, and I hope it will be one day faithfully restored to you, when the caliph's anger shall be over; but at present avoid his fury. The orders he gives in the heat of passion are always fatal." The young merchant's affliction was so great, that he knew not what course to pursue, and would certainly have suffered himself to be seized by the caliph's soldiers, had not Fetnah pressed him to disguise himself. He submitted to her persuasions, put on the habit of a slave, daubed himself with soot, and as they were knocking at the door, all they could do was to embrace each other tenderly. They were both so overwhelmed with sorrow, that they could not utter a word. Thus they parted. Ganem went out with some dishes on his head: he was taken for the servant of an eating-house, and no one offered to stop him. On the contrary, the grand vizier, who was the first that met him, gave way and let him pass, little thinking that he was the man he looked for. Those who were behind the grand vizier, made way as he had done, and thus favoured his escape He soon reached one of the gates, and got clear of the city.

Whilst he was making the best of his way from the grand vizier, that minister came into the room where Fetnah was sitting on a sofa, and where there were many chests full of Ganem's clothes, and of the money he had made of his goods.

As soon as Fetnah saw the grand vizier, come into the room, she fell upon her face, and continuing in that posture, as it were to receive her death; "My lord," said she, "I am ready to undergo the sentence passed against me by the commander of the believers; you need only make it known to me." "Madam," answered Jaaffier, falling also down till she had raised herself, "God forbid any man should presume to lay profane hands on you. I do not intend to offer you the least harm. I have no farther orders, than to intreat you will be pleased to go with me to the palace, and to conduct you thither, with the merchant that lives in this house." "My lord," replied the favourite, "let us go; I am ready to follow you. As for the young merchant, to whom I am indebted for my life, he is not here, he has been gone about a month since to Damascus, whither his business called him, and has left these chests you see under my care, till he returns. I conjure you to cause them to be carried to the palace, and order them to be secured, that I may perform the promise I made him to take all possible care of them."

"You shall be obeyed," said Jaaffier, and immediately sent for porters, whom he commanded to take up the chests, and carry them to Mesrour.

As soon as the porters were gone, he whispered the civil magistrate, committing to him the care of seeing the house razed, but first to cause diligent search to be made for Ganem, who, he suspected, might be hidden, notwithstanding what Fetnah had told him. He then went out, taking her with him, attended by the two slaves who waited on her. As for Ganem's slaves, they were not regarded; they ran in among the crowd, and it was not known what became of them.

No sooner was Jaaffier out of the house, than the masons and carpenters began to demolish it, and did their business so effectually, that in a few hours none of it remained. But the civil magistrate, not finding Ganem, after the strictest search, sent to acquaint the grand vizier, before that minister reached the palace. "Well," said Haroon al Rusheed, seeing him come into his closet, "have you executed my orders?" "Yes," answered Jaaffier "the house Ganem lived in is levelled with the ground, and I have brought you your favourite Fetnah; she is at your closet door, and I will call her in, if you command me. As for the young merchant, we could not find him, though every place has been searched, and Fetnah affirms that he has been gone a month to Damascus."

Never was passion equal to that of the caliph, when he heard that Ganem had made his escape. As for his favourite, believing that she had been false to him, he would neither see nor speak to her. "Mesrour," said he to the chief of the eunuchs, who was then present, "take the ungrateful and perfidious Fetnah, and shut her up in the dark tower." That tower was within the precinct of the palace, and commonly served as a prison for the favourites who any way offended the caliph.

Mesrour being used to execute his sovereign's orders, however unjust, without making any answer, obeyed this with some reluctance. He signified his concern to Fetnah, who was the more grieved because she had assured herself, that the caliph would not refuse to speak to her. She was obliged to submit to her hard fate, and to follow Mesrour, who conducted her to the dark tower, and there left her.

In the mean time, the enraged caliph dismissed his grand vizier, and only hearkening to his passion, wrote the following letter with his own hand to the king of Syria, his cousin and tributary, who resided at Damascus.

"This letter is to inform you, that a merchant of Damascus, whose name is Ganem, the son of Abou Ayoub, has seduced the most amiable of my women slaves, called Fetnah, and is fled. It is my will, that when you have read my letter, you cause search to be made for Ganem, and secure him. When he is in your power, you shall cause him to be loaded with irons, and for three days successively let him receive fifty strokes of the bastinado. Then let him be led through all parts of the city by a crier, proclaiming, 'This is the smallest punishment the commander of the believers inflicts on him that offends his lord, and debauches one of his slaves.' After that you shall send him to me under a strong guard. It is my will that you cause his house to be plundered; and after it has been razed, order the materials to be carried out of the city into the middle of the plain. Besides this, if he has father, mother, sister, wives, daughters, or other kindred, cause them to be stripped; and when they are naked, expose them three days to the whole city, forbidding any person on pain of death to afford them shelter. I expect you will without delay execute my command."

The caliph having written this letter, dispatched it by an express, ordering him to make all possible speed, and to take pigeons along with him, that he might the sooner hear what had been done by Mahummud Zinebi.

The pigeons of Bagdad have this peculiar quality, that from wherever they may be carried to, they return to Bagdad as soon as they are set at liberty, especially when they have young ones. A letter rolled up is made fast under their wing, and by that means advice is speedily received from such places as it is desired.

The caliph's courier travelled night and day, as his master's impatience required; and being come to Damascus, went directly to king Zinebi's palace, who sat upon his throne to receive the caliph's letter. The courier having delivered it, Mahummud looking at it, and knowing the hand, stood up to shew his respect, kissed the letter, and laid it on his head, to denote he was ready submissively to obey the orders it contained. He opened it, and having read it, immediately descended from his throne, and without losing time, mounted on horseback with the principal officers of his household. He sent for the civil magistrate; and went directly to Ganem's house, attended by all his guards.

Ganem's mother had never received any letter from him since he had left Damascus; but the other merchants with whom he went to Bagdad were returned, and all of them told her they had left her son in perfect however, seeing he did not return, she could not but be persuaded that he was dead, and was so fully convinced of this in her imagination, that she went into mourning. She bewailed Ganem as if she had seen him die, and had herself closed his eyes: never mother expressed greater sorrow; and so far was she from seeking any comfort, that she delighted in indulging her grief. She had caused a dome to be built in the middle of the court belonging to her house, in which she placed a tomb. She spent the greatest part of the days and nights in weeping under that dome, as if her son had been buried there: her daughter bore her company, and mixed her tears with hers.

It was now some time since they had thus devoted themselves to sorrow, and the neighbourhood, hearing their cries and lamentations, pitied such tender relations, when king Mahummud Zinebi knocked at the door, which being opened by a slave belonging to the family, he hastily entered the house, inquiring for Ganem, the son of Abou Ayoub.

Though the slave had never seen king Zinebi, she guessed by his retinue that he must be one of the principal officers of Damascus. "My lord," said she, "that Ganem you inquire for is dead; my mistress, his mother, is in that monument, lamenting him." The king, not regarding what was said by the slave, caused all the house to be diligently searched by his guards for Ganem. He then advanced towards the monument, where he saw the mother and daughter sitting on a mat, and their faces appeared to him bathed in tears. These poor women immediately veiled themselves, as soon as they beheld a man at the door of the dome; but the mother, knowing the king of Damascus, got up, and ran to cast herself at his feet. "My good lady," said he, "I was looking for your son, Ganem, is he here?" "Alas! sir," cried the mother, "it is a long time since he has ceased to be: would to God I had at least put him into his coffin with my own hands, and had had the comfort of having his bones in this monument! O my son, my dear son!" She would have said more, but was oppressed with such violent sorrow that she was unable to proceed.

Zinebi was moved; for he was a prince of a mild nature, and had much compassion for the sufferings of the unfortunate. "If Ganem alone be guilty," thought he to himself, "why should the mother and the daughter, who are innocent, be punished? Ah! cruel Haroon al Rusheed! what a mortification do you put upon me, in making me the executioner of your vengeance, obliging me to persecute persons who have not offended you."

The guards whom the king had ordered to search for Ganem, came and told him their search had been vain. He was fully convinced of this; the tears of those two women would not leave him any room to doubt. It distracted him to be obliged to execute the caliph's order. "My good lady," said he to Ganem's mother, "quit this monument with your daughter, it is no place of safety for you." They went out, and he, to secure them against any insult, took off his own robe, and covered them both with it, bidding them keep close to him. He then ordered the populace to be let in to plunder, which was performed with the utmost rapaciousness, and with shouts which terrified Ganem's mother and sister the more, because they knew not the reason. The rabble carried off the richest goods, chests full of wealth, fine Persian and Indian carpets, cushions covered with cloth of gold and silver, fine China ware; in short, all was taken away, till nothing remained but the bare walls of the house: and it was a dismal spectacle for the unhappy ladies, to see all their goods plundered, without knowing why they were so cruelly treated.

When the house was plundered, Mahummud ordered the civil magistrate to raze the house and monument; and while that was doing, he carried away the mother and daughter to his palace. There it was he redoubled their affliction, by acquainting them with the caliph's will. "He commands me," said he to them, "to cause you to be stripped, and exposed naked for three days to the view of the people. It is with the utmost reluctance that I execute such a cruel and ignominious sentence." The king delivered these words with such an air, as plainly made it appear his heart was really pierced with grief and compassion. Though the fear of being dethroned prevented his following the dictates of his pity, yet he in some measure moderated the rigour of the caliph's orders, by causing large shifts, without sleeves, to be made of coarse horse-hair for Ganem's mother, and his sister.

The next day, these two victims of the caliph's rage were stripped of their clothes, and their horse-hair shifts put upon them; their head-dress was also taken away, so that their dishevelled hair hung floating on their backs. The daughter had the finest hair, and it hung down to the ground. In this condition they were exposed to the people. The civil magistrate, attended by his officers, were along with them, and they were conducted through the city. A crier went before them, who every now and then cried, "This is the punishment due to those who have drawn on themselves the indignation of the commander of the believers."

Whilst they walked in this manner along the streets of Damascus, with their arms and feet naked, clad in such a strange garment, and endeavouring to hide their confusion under their hair, with which they covered their faces, all the people were dissolved in tears; more especially the ladies, considering them as innocent persons, as they beheld them through their lattice windows, and being particularly moved by the daughter's youth and beauty, they made the air ring with their shrieks, as they passed before their houses. The very children, frightened at those shrieks, and at the spectacle that occasioned them, mixed their cries with the general lamentation. In short, had an enemy been in Damascus, putting all to fire and sword, the consternation could not have been greater.

It was near night when this dismal scene concluded. The mother and daughter were both conducted back to king Mahummud's palace. Not being used to walk bare-foot, they were so spent, that they lay a long time in a swoon. The queen of Damascus, highly afflicted at their misfortunes, notwithstanding the caliph's prohibition to relieve them, sent some of her women to comfort them, with all sorts of refreshments and wine, to recover their spirits.

The queen's women found them still in a swoon, and almost past receiving any benefit by what they offered them. However, with much difficulty they were brought to themselves. Ganem's mother immediately returned them thanks for their courtesy. "My good madam," said one of the queen's ladies to her, "we are highly concerned at your affliction, and the queen of Syria, our mistress, has done us a favour in employing us to assist you. We can assure you, that princess is much afflicted at your misfortunes, as well as the king her consort." Ganem's mother entreated the queen's women to return her majesty a thousand thanks from her and her daughter, and then directing her discourse to the lady who spoke to her, "Madam," said she, "the king has not told me why the chief of the believers inflicts so many outrages on us: pray be pleased to tell us what crimes we have been guilty of." "My good lady," answered the other, "the origin of your misfortunes proceeds from your son Ganem. He is not dead, as you imagine. He is accused of having seduced the beautiful Fetnah, the best beloved of the caliph's favourites; but having, by flight, withdrawn himself from that prince's indignation, the punishment is fallen on you. All condemn the caliph's resentment, but all fear him; and you see king Zinebi himself dares not resist his orders, for fear of incurring his displeasure. All we can do is to pity you, and exhort you to have patience."

"I know my son," answered Ganem's mother; "I have educated him carefully, and in that respect which is due to the commander of the believers. He cannot have committed the crime he is accused of; I dare answer for his innocence. But I will cease to murmur and complain, since it is for him that I suffer, and he is not dead. O Ganem!" added she, in a transport of affection and joy, "my dear son Ganem! is possible that you are still alive? I am no longer concerned for the loss of my fortune; and how harsh and unjust soever the caliph's orders may be, I forgive him, provided heaven has preserved my son. I am only concerned for my daughter; her sufferings alone afflict me; yet I believe her to be so good a sister as to follow my example."

On hearing these words, the young lady, who till then had appeared insensible, turned to her mother, and clasping her arms about her neck, "Yes, dear mother," said she, "I will always follow your example, whatever extremity your love for my brother may reduce us to."

The mother and daughter thus interchanging their sighs and tears, continued a considerable time in such moving embraces. In the mean time the queen's women, who were much affected at the spectacle, omitted no persuasions to prevail with Ganem's mother to take some sustenance. She ate a morsel out of complaisance, and her daughter did the like.

The caliph having ordered that Ganem's kindred should be exposed three days successively to the sight of the people, in the condition already mentioned, the unhappy ladies afforded the same spectacle the second time next day, from morning till night. But that day and the following, the streets, which at first had been full of people, were now quite empty. All the merchants, incensed at the ill usage of Abou Ayoub's widow and daughter, shut up their shops, and kept themselves close within their houses. The ladies, instead of looking through their lattice windows, withdrew into the back parts of their houses. There was not a person to be seen in the public places through which those unfortunate women were carried. It seemed as if all the inhabitants of Damascus had abandoned their city.

On the fourth day, the king resolving punctually to obey the caliph's orders, though he did not approve of them, sent criers into all quarters of the city to make proclamation, strictly commanding all the inhabitants of Damascus, and strangers, of what condition soever, upon pain of death, and having their bodies cast to the dogs to be devoured, not to receive Ganem's mother and sister into their houses, or give them a morsel of bread or a drop of water, and, in a word, not to afford them the least support, or hold the least correspondence with them.

When the criers had performed what the king had enjoined them, that prince ordered the mother and the daughter to be turned out of the palace, and left to their choice to go where they thought fit. As soon as they appeared, all persons fled from them, so great an impression had the late prohibition made upon all. They easily perceived that every body shunned them; but not knowing the reason, were much surprised; and their amazement was the greater, when coming into any street, or among any persons, they recollected some of their best friends, who immediately retreated with as much haste as the rest. "What is the meaning of this," said Ganem's mother; "do we carry the plague about us? Must the unjust and barbarous usage we have received render us odious to our fellow-citizens? Come, my child," added she, "let us depart from Damascus with all speed; let us not stay any longer in a city where we are become frightful to our very friends."

The two wretched ladies, discoursing in this manner, came to one of the extremities of the city, and retired to a ruined house to pass the night. Thither some Mussulmauns, out of charity and compassion, resorted to them after the day was shut in. They carried them provisions, but durst not stay to comfort them, for fear of being discovered, and punished for disobeying the caliph's orders.

In the mean time king Zinebi had let fly a pigeon to give the caliph an account of his exact obedience. He informed him of all that had been executed, and conjured him to direct what he would have done with Ganem's mother and sister. He soon received the caliph's answer in the same way, which was, that he should banish them from Damascus for ever. Immediately the king of Syria sent men to the old house, with orders to take the mother and daughter, and to conduct them three days' journey from Damascus, and there to leave them, forbidding them ever to return to the city.

Zinebi's men executed their commission, but being less exact their master, in the strict performance of the caliph's orders, they in pity gave the wretched ladies some small pieces of money, and each of them a scrip, which they hung about their necks, to carry their provisions.

In this miserable state they came to the first village. The peasants' wives flocked about them, and, as it appeared through their disguise that they were people of some condition, asked them what was the occasion of their travelling in a habit that did not seem to belong to them. Instead of answering the question, they fell to weeping, which only served to heighten the curiosity of the peasants, and to move their compassion. Ganem's mother told them what she and her daughter had endured; at which the good countrywomen were sensibly afflicted, and endeavoured to comfort them. They treated them as well as their poverty would permit, took off their horse-hair shifts, which were very uneasy to them, and put on them others which they gave them, with shoes, and something to cover their heads, and save their hair.

Having expressed their gratitude to those charitable women, Jalib al Koolloob and her mother departed from that village, taking short journeys towards Aleppo. They used at dusk to retire near or into the mosques, where they passed the night on the mat, if there was any, or else on the bare pavement; and sometimes rested in the public places appointed for the use of travellers. As for sustenance, they did not want, for they often came to places where bread, boiled rice, and other provisions are distributed to all travellers who desire it.

At length they came to Aleppo, but would not stay there, and continuing their journey towards the Euphrates, crossed the river, and entered Mesopotamia, which they traversed as far as Moussoul. Thence, notwithstanding all they had endured, they proceeded to Bagdad. That was the place they had fixed their thoughts upon, hoping to find Ganem, though they ought not to have fancied that he was in a city where the caliph resided; but they hoped, because they wished it; their affection for him increasing instead of diminishing, with their misfortunes. Their conversation was generally about him, and they inquired for him of all they met. But let us leave Jalib al Koolloob and her mother, and return to Fetnah.

She was still confined closely in the dark tower, since the day that had been so fatal to Ganem and herself. However, disagreeable as her prison was to her, it was much less grievous than the thoughts of Ganem's misfortune, the uncertainty of whose fate was a killing affliction. There was scarcely a moment in which she did not lament him.

The caliph was accustomed to walk frequently at night within the enclosure of his palace, for he was the most inquisitive prince in the world, and sometimes, by those night-walks, came to the knowledge of things that happened in his court, which would otherwise never have reached his ear. One of those nights, in his walk, he happened to pass by the dark tower, and fancying he heard somebody talk, stops, and drawing near the door to listen, distinctly heard these words, which Fetnah, whose thoughts were always on Ganem, uttered with a loud voice: "O Ganem, too unfortunate Ganem! where are you at this time, whither has thy cruel fate led thee? Alas! it is I that have made you wretched! why did you not let me perish miserably, rather than afford me your generous relief? What melancholy return have you received for your care and respect? The commander of the faithful, who ought to have rewarded, persecutes you; and in requital for having always regarded me as a person reserved for his bed, you lose your fortune, and are obliged to seek for safety in flight. O caliph, barbarous caliph, how can you exculpate yourself, when you shall appear with Ganem before the tribunal of the Supreme Judge, and the angels shall testify the truth before your face? All the power you are now invested with, and which makes almost the whole world tremble, will not prevent your being condemned and punished for your violent and unjust proceedings." Here Fetnah ceased her complaints, her sighs and tears putting a stop to her utterance.

This was enough to make the caliph reflect. He plainly perceived, that if what he had heard was true, his favourite must be innocent, and that he had been too hasty in giving such orders against Ganem and his family. Being resolved to be rightly informed in an affair which so nearly concerned him in point of equity, on which he valued himself, he immediately returned to his apartment, and that moment ordered Mesrour to repair to the dark tower, and bring Fetnah before him.

By this command, and much more by the caliph's manner of speaking, the chief of the eunuchs guessed that his master designed to pardon his favourite, and take her to him again. He was overjoyed at the thought, for he respected Fetnah, and had been much concerned at her disgrace; therefore flying instantly to the tower, "Madam," said he to the favourite, with such an air as expressed his satisfaction, "be pleased to follow me; I hope you will never more return to this melancholy abode: the commander of the faithful wishes to speak with you, and I draw from this a happy omen."

Fetnah followed Mesrour, who conducted her into the caliph's closet. She prostrated herself before him, and so continued, her face bathed in tears. "Fetnah," said the caliph, without bidding her rise, "I think you charge me with violence and injustice. Who is he, that, notwithstanding the regard and respell he had for me, is in a miserable condition? Speak freely, you know the natural goodness of my disposition, and that I love to do justice."

By these words the favourite was convinced that the caliph had heard what she had said, and availed herself of so favourable an opportunity to clear Ganem. "Commander of the true believers," said she, "if I have let fall any word that is not agreeable to your majesty, I most humbly beseech you to forgive me; but he whose innocence and wretched state you desire to be informed of is Ganem, the unhappy son of Abou Ayoub, late a rich merchant of Damascus. He saved my life from a grave, and afforded me a sanctuary in his house. I must own, that, from the first moment he saw me, he perhaps designed to devote himself to me, and conceived hopes of engaging me to admit his love. I guessed at this, by the eagerness which he shewed in entertaining me, and doing me all the good offices I so much wanted under the circumstances I was then in; but as soon as he heard that I had the honour to belong to you, 'Ah, madam,' said he, 'that which belongs to the master is forbidden to the slave.' From that moment, I owe this justice to his virtue to declare, his behaviour was always suitable to his words. You, commander of the true believers, well know with what rigour you have treated him, and you will answer for it before the tribunal of God."

The caliph was not displeased with Fetnah for the freedom of these words; "But may I," said he, "rely on the assurance you give me of Ganem's virtue?" "Yes," replied Fetnah, "you may. I would not for the world conceal the truth from you; and to prove to you that I am sincere, I must make a confession, which perhaps may displease you, but I beg pardon of your majesty beforehand." "Speak, daughter," said Haroon al Rusheed, "I forgive you all, provided you conceal nothing from me." "Well, then," replied Fetnah, "let me inform you, that Ganem's respectful behaviour, joined to all the good offices he did me, gained him my esteem. I went further yet: you know the tyranny of love: I felt some tender inclination rising in my breast. He perceived it; but far from availing himself of my frailty, and notwithstanding the flame which consumed him, he still remained steady in his duty, and all that his passion could force from him were the words I have already repeated to your majesty, 'That which belongs to the master is forbidden to the slave.'"

This ingenuous confession might have provoked any other man than the caliph; but it completely appeased that prince. He commanded her to rise, and making her sit by him, "Tell me your story," said he, "from the beginning to the end." She did so, with artless simplicity, passing slightly over what regarded Zobeide, and enlarging on the obligations she owed to Ganem; but above all, she highly extolled his discretion, endeavouring by that means to make the caliph sensible that she had been under the necessity of remaining concealed in Ganem's house, to deceive Zobeide. She concluded with the young merchant's escape, which she plainly told the caliph she had compelled him to, that he might avoid his indignation.

When she had done speaking, the caliph said to her, "I believe all you have told me; but why was it so long before you let me hear from you? Was there any need of staying a whole month after my return, before you sent me word where you were?" "Commander of the true believers," answered Fetnah, "Ganem went abroad so very seldom, that you need not wonder we were not the first that heard of your return. Besides, Ganem, who took upon him to deliver the letter I wrote to Nouron Nihar, was a long time before he could find an opportunity of putting it into her own hands."

"It is enough, Fetnah," replied the caliph; "I acknowledge my fault, and would willingly make amends for it, by heaping favours on the young merchant of Damascus. Consider, therefore, what I can do for him. Ask what you think fit, and I will grant it." Hereupon the favourite fell down at the caliph's feet, with her face to the ground; and rising again, said, "Commander of the true believers, after returning your majesty thanks for Ganem, I most humbly entreat you to cause it to be published throughout your do minions, that you pardon the son of Abou Ayoub, and that he may safely come to you." "I must do more," rejoined the prince, "in requital for having saved your life, and the respect he has strewn for me, to make amends for the loss of his fortune. In short, to repair the wrong I have done to himself and his family, I give him to you for a husband." Fetnah had no words expressive enough to thank the caliph for his generosity: she then withdrew into the apartment she had occupied before her melancholy adventure. The same furniture was still in it, nothing had been removed; but that which pleased her most was, to find Ganem's chests and bales, which Mesrour had received the caliph's orders to convey thither.

The next day Haroon al Rusheed ordered the grand vizier, to cause proclamation to be made throughout all his dominions, that he pardoned Ganem the son of Abou Ayoub; but this proved of no effect, for a long time elapsed without any news of the young merchant. Fetnah concluded, that he had not been able to survive the pain of losing her. A dreadful uneasiness seized her mind; but as hope is the last thing which forsakes lovers, she entreated the caliph to give her leave to seek for Ganem herself; which being granted, she took a purse containing a thousand pieces of gold, and went one morning out of the palace, mounted on a mule from the caliph's stables, very richly caparisoned. Black eunuchs attended her, with a hand placed on each side of the mule's back.

Thus she went from mosque to mosque, bestowing her alms among the devotees of the Mahummedan religion, desiring their prayers for the accomplishment of an affair, on which the happiness of two persons, she told them, depended. She spend the whole day and the thousand pieces of gold in giving alms at the mosques, and returned to the palace in the evening.

The next day she took another purse of the same value, and in the like equipage as the day before, went to the square of the jewellers' shops, and stopping at the gateway without alighting, sent one of her black eunuchs for the syndic or chief of them. The syndic, who was a most charitable man, and spent above two-thirds of his income in relieving poor strangers, sick or in distress, did not make Fetnah wait, knowing by her dress that she was a lady belonging to the palace. "I apply myself to you," said she, putting the purse into his hands, "as a person whose piety is celebrated throughout the city. I desire you to distribute that gold among the poor strangers you relieve, for I know you make it your business to assist those who apply to your charity. I am also satisfied that you prevent their wants, and that nothing is more grateful to you, than to have an opportunity of relieving their misery." "Madam," answered the syndic, "I shall obey your commands with pleasure; but if you desire to exercise your charity in person, and will be pleased to step to my house, you will there see two women worthy of your compassion; I met them yesterday as they were coming into the city; they were in a deplorable condition, and it moved me the more, because I thought they were persons of rank. Through all the rags that covered them, notwithstanding the impression the sun has made on their faces, I discovered a noble air, not to be commonly found in those people I relieve. I carried them both to my house, and delivered them to my wife, who was of the same opinion with me. She caused her slaves to provide them good beds, whilst she herself led them to our warm bath, and gave them clean linen. We know not as yet who they are, because we wish to let them take some rest before we trouble them with our questions."

Fetnah, without knowing why, felt a curiosity to see them. The syndic would have conducted her to his house, but she would not give him the trouble, and was satisfied that a slave should shew her the way. She alighted at the door, and followed the syndic's slave, who was gone before to give notice to his mistress, she being then in the chamber with Jalib al Koolloob and her mother, for they were the persons the syndic had been speaking of to Fetnah.

The syndic's wife being informed by the slave, that a lady from the palace was in her house, was hastening to meet her; but Fetnah, who had followed the slave, did not give her time: on her coming into the chamber, the syndic's wife prostrated herself before her, to express the respect she had for all who belonged to the caliph. Fetnah raised her up, and said, "My good lady, I desire you will let me speak with those two strangers that arrived at Bagdad last night." "Madam," answered the syndic's wife, "they lie in those beds you see by each other." The favourite immediately drew near the mother's, and viewing her carefully, "Good woman," said she, "I come to offer you my assistance: I have considerable interest in this city, and may be of service to you and your companion." "Madam," answered Ganem's mother, "I perceive by your obliging offers, that Heaven has not quite forsaken us, though we had cause to believe it had, after so many misfortunes as have befallen us." Having uttered these words, she wept so bitterly that Fetnah and the syndic's wife could not forbear letting fall some tears.

The caliph's favourite having dried up hers, said to Ganem's mother, "Be so kind as to tell us your misfortunes, and recount your story. You cannot make the relation to any persons better disposed to use all possible means to comfort you." "Madam," replied Abou Ayoub's disconsolate widow, "a favourite of the commander of the true believers, a lady whose name is Fetnah, is the occasion of all our misfortunes." These words were like a thunderbolt to the favourite; but suppressing her agitation and concern, she suffered Ganem's mother to proceed in the following manner: "I am the widow of Abou Ayoub, a merchant of Damascus; I had a son called Ganem, who, coming to trade at Bagdad, has been accused of carrying off Fetnah. The caliph caused search to be made for him every where, to put him to death; but not finding him, he wrote to the king of Damascus, to cause our house to be plundered and razed, and to expose my daughter and myself three days successively, naked, to the populace, and then to banish us out of Syria for ever. But how unworthy soever our usage has been, I should be still comforted were my son alive, and I could meet with him. What a pleasure would it be for his sister and me to see him again! Embracing him we should forget the loss of our property, and all the evils we have suffered on his account. Alas! I am fully persuaded he is only the innocent cause of them; and that he is no more guilty towards the caliph than his sister and myself."

"No doubt of it," said Fetnah, interrupting her there, "he is no more guilty than you are; I can assure you of his innocence; for I am that very Fetnah, you so much complain of; who, through some fatality in my stars, have occasioned you so many misfortunes. To me you must impute the loss of your son, if he is no more; but if I have occasioned your misfortune, I can in some measure relieve it. I have already justified Ganem to the caliph; who has caused it to be proclaimed throughout his dominions, that he pardons the son of Abou Ayoub; and doubt not he will do you as much good as he has done you injury. You are no longer his enemies. He waits for Ganem, to requite the service he has done me, by uniting our fortunes; he gives me to him for his consort, therefore look on me as your daughter, and permit me to vow eternal duty and affection." Having so said, she bowed down on Ganem's mother, who was so astonished that she could return no answer. Fetnah held her long in her arms, and only left her to embrace the daughter, who, sitting up, held out her arms to receive her.

When the caliph's favourite had strewn the mother and daughter all tokens of affection, as Ganem's wife, she said to them, "The wealth Ganem had in this city is not lost, it is in my apartment in the palace; but I know all the treasure of the world cannot comfort you without Ganem, if I may judge of you by myself. Blood is no less powerful than love in great minds; but why should we despair of seeing him again? We shall find him; the happiness of meeting with you makes me conceive fresh hopes. Perhaps this is the last day of your sufferings, and the beginning of a greater felicity than you enjoyed in Damascus, when Ganem was with you."

Fetnah would have proceeded, but the syndic of the jewellers coming in interrupted her: "Madam," said he to her, "I come from seeing a very moving object, it is a young man, whom a camel-driver had just carried to an hospital: he was bound with cords on a camel, because he had not strength enough to sit. They had already unbound him, and were carrying him into the hospital, when I happened to pass by. I went up to the young man, viewed him attentively, and fancied his countenance was not altogether unknown to me. I asked him some questions concerning his family and his country; but all the answers I could get were sighs and tears. I took pity on him, and being so much used to sick people, perceived that he had need to have particular care taken of him. I would not permit him to be put into the hospital; for I am too well acquainted with their way of managing the sick, and am sensible of the incapacity of the physicians. I have caused him to be brought to my own house, by my slaves; and they are now in a private room where I placed him, putting on some of my own linen, and treating him as they would do myself."

Fetnah's heart beat at these words of the jeweller, and she felt a sudden emotion, for which she could not account: "Shew me," said she to the syndic, "into the sick man's room; I should be glad to see him." The syndic conducted her, and whilst she was going thither, Ganem's mother said to Jalib al Koolloob, "Alas! daughter, wretched as that sick stranger is, your brother, if he be living, is not perhaps in a more happy condition."

The caliph's favourite coming into the chamber of the sick stranger, drew near the bed, in which the syndic's slaves had already laid him. She saw a young man, whose eyes were closed, his countenance pale, disfigured, and bathed in tears. She gazed earnestly on him, her heart beat, and she fancied she beheld Ganem; but yet she would not believe her eyes. Though she found something of Ganem in the objets she beheld, yet in other respects he appeared so different, that she durst not imagine it was he that lay before her. Unable, however, to withstand the earnest desire of being satisfied, "Ganem," said she, with a trembling voice, "is it you I behold?" Having spoken these words, she stopped to give the young man time to answer, but observing that he seemed insensible; "Alas! Ganem," added she, "it is not you that I address! My imagination being overcharged with your image, has given to a stranger a deceitful resemblance. The son of Abou Ayoub, however indisposed, would know the voice of Fetnah." At the name of Fetnah, Ganem (for it was really he) opened his eyes, sprang up, and knowing the caliph's favourite; "Ah! madam," said he, "by what miracle" He could say no more; such a sudden transport of joy seized him that he fainted away. Fetnah and the syndic did all they could to bring him to himself; but as soon as they perceived he began to revive, the syndic desired the lady to withdraw, lest the sight of her should heighten his disorder.

The young man having recovered, looked all around, and not seeing what he sought, exclaimed, "What is become of you, charming Fetnah? Did you really appear before my eyes, or was it only an illusion?" "No, sir," said the syndic, "it was no illusion. It was I that caused the lady to withdraw, but you shall see her again, as soon as you are in a condition to bear the interview. You now stand in need of rest, and nothing ought to obstruct your taking it. The situation of your affairs is altered, since you are, as I suppose, that Ganem, in favour of whom the commander of the true believers has caused a proclamation to be made in Bagdad, declaring, that he forgives him what is passed. Be satisfied, for the present, with knowing so much; the lady, who just now spoke to you, will acquaint you with the rest, therefore think of nothing but recovering your health; I will contribute all in my power towards it." Having spoke these words, he left Ganem to take his rest, and went himself to provide for him such medicines as were proper to recover his strength, exhausted by hard living and toil.

During this time Fetnah was in the room with Jalib al Koolloob and her mother, where almost the same scene was acted over again; for when Ganem's mother understood that the sick stranger whom the syndic had brought into his house was Ganem himself, she was so overjoyed, that she also swooned away, and when, with the assistance of Fetnah and the syndic's wife, she was again come to herself, she would have arisen to go and see her son; but the syndic coming in, hindered her, representing that Ganem was so weak and emaciated, that it would endanger his life to excite in him those emotions, which must be the consequence of the unexpected sight of a beloved mother and sister. There was no occasion for the syndic's saying any more to Ganem's mother; as soon as she was told that she could not converse with her son, without hazarding his life, she ceased insisting to go and see him. Fetnah then said, "Let us bless Heaven for having brought us all together. I will return to the palace to give the caliph an account of these adventures, and tomorrow morning I will return to you." This said, she embraced the mother and the daughter, and went away. As soon as she came to the palace, she sent Mesrour to request a private audience of the caliph, which was immediately granted; and being brought into the prince's closet, where he was alone, she prostrated herself at his feet, with her face on the ground, according to custom. He commanded her to rise, and having made her sit down, asked whether she had heard any news of Ganem? "Commander of the true believers," said she, "I have been so successful, that I have found him, and also his mother and sister." The caliph was curious to know how she had discovered them in so short a time, and she satisfied his inquiries, saying so many things in commendation of Ganem's mother and sister, he desired to see them as well as the young merchant.

Though Haroon al Rusheed was passionate, and in his heat sometimes guilty of cruel actions; yet he was just, and the most generous prince in the world, when the storm of anger was over, and he was made sensible of the wrong he had done. Having therefore no longer cause to doubt but that he had unjustly persecuted Ganem and his family, and had publicly wronged them, he resolved to make them public satisfaction. "I am overjoyed," said he to Fetnah, "that your search has proved so successful; it is a real satisfaction to me, not so much for your sake as for my own. I will keep the promise I have made you. You shall marry Ganem, and I here declare you are no longer my slave; you are free. Go back to that young merchant, and as soon as he has recovered his health, you shall bring him to me with his mother and sister."

The next morning early Fetnah repaired to the syndic of the jewellers, being impatient to hear of Ganem's health, and tell the mother and daughter the good news she had for them. The first person she met was the syndic, who told her that Ganem had rested well that night; and that his disorder proceeding altogether from melancholy, the cause being removed, he would soon recover his health.

Accordingly the son of Abou Ayoub was speedily much amended. Rest, and the good medicines he had taken, but above all the different situation of his mind, had wrought so good an effect, that the syndic thought he might without danger see his mother, his sister, and his mistress, provided he was prepared to receive them; because there was ground to fear, that, not knowing his mother and sister were at Bagdad, the sight of them might occasion too great surprise and joy. It was therefore resolved, that Fetnah should first go alone into Ganem's chamber, and then make a sign to the two other ladies to appear, when she thought it was proper.

Matters being so ordered, the syndic announced Fetnah's coming to the sick man, who was so transported to see her, that he was again near fainting away, "Well, Ganem," said she, drawing near to his bed, "you have again found your Fetnah, whom you thought you had lost for ever." "Ah! madam," exclaimed he, eagerly interrupting her, "what miracle has restored you to my sight? I thought you were in the caliph's palace; he has doubtless listened to you. You have dispelled his jealousy, and he has restored you to his favour."

"Yes, my dear Ganem," answered Fetnah, "I have cleared myself before the commander of the true believers, who, to make amends for the wrong he has done you, bestows me on you for a wife." These last words occasioned such an excess of joy in Ganem, that he knew not for a while how to express himself, otherwise than by that passionate silence so well known to lovers. At length he broke out in these words: "Beautiful Fetnah, may I give credit to what you tell me? May I believe that the caliph really resigns you to Abou Ayoub's son?" "Nothing is more certain," answered the lady. "The caliph, who before caused search to be made for you, to take away your life, and who in his fury caused your mother and your sister to suffer a thousand indignities, desires now to see you, that he may reward the respect you had for him; and there is no question but that he will load your family with favours."

Ganem asked, what the caliph had done to his mother and sister, which Fetnah told him; and he could not forbear letting fall some tears at the relation, notwithstanding the thoughts which arose in his mind at the prospect of being married to his mistress. But when Fetnah informed him, that they were actually in Bagdad, and in the same house with him, he appeared so impatient to see them, that the favourite could no longer defer giving him the satisfaction; and accordingly called them in. They were at the door waiting for that moment. They entered, went up to Ganem, and embracing him in their turns, kissed him a thousand times. What tears were shed amidst those embraces! Ganem's face was bathed with them, as well as his mother's and sisters; and Fetnah let fall abundance. The syndic himself and his wife were so moved at the spectacle, that they could not forbear weeping, nor sufficiently admire the secret workings of Providence which had brought together into their house four persons, whom fortune had so cruelly persecuted.

When they had dried up their tears, Ganem drew them afresh, by the recital of what he had suffered from the day he left Fetnah, till the moment the syndic brought him to his house. He told them, that having taken refuge in a small village, he there fell sick; that some charitable peasants had taken care of him, but finding he did not recover, a camel-driver had undertaken to carry him to the hospital at Bagdad. Fetnah also told them all the uneasiness of her imprisonment, how the caliph, having heard her talk in the tower, had sent for her into his closet, and how she had cleared herself. In conclusion, when they had related what accidents had befallen them, Fetnah said, "Let us bless Heaven, which has brought us all together again, and let us think of nothing but the happiness that awaits us. As soon as Ganem has recovered his health, he must appear before the caliph, with his mother and sister; but I will go and make some provision for them."

This said, she went to the palace, and soon returned with a purse containing a thousand pieces of gold, which she delivered to the syndic, desiring him to buy apparel for the mother and daughter. The syndic, who was a man of a good taste, chose such as were very handsome, and had them made up with all expedition. They were finished in three days, and Ganem finding himself strong enough, prepared to go abroad; but on the day he had appointed to pay his respects to the caliph, while he was making ready, with his mother and sister, the grand vizier, Jaaffier came to the syndic's house.

He had come on horseback, attended by a great number of officers. "Sir," said he to Ganem, as soon as he entered, "I am come from the commander of the true believers, my master and yours; the orders I have differ much from those which I do not wish to revive in your memory; I am to bear you company, and to present you to the caliph, who is desirous to see you." Ganem returned no other answer to the vizier's compliment, than by profoundly bowing his head, and then mounted a horse brought from the caliph's stables, which he managed very gracefully. The mother and daughter were mounted on mules belonging to the palace, and whilst Fetnah on another mule led them by a bye-way to the prince's court, Jaaffier conducted Ganem, and brought him into the hall of audience. The caliph was sitting on his throne, encompassed with emirs, viziers, and other attendants and courtiers, Arabs, Persians, Egyptians, Africans, and Syrians, of his own dominions, not to mention strangers.

When the vizier had conducted Ganem to the foot of the throne, the young merchant paid his obeisance, prostrating himself with his face to the ground, and then rising, made a handsome compliment in verse, which, though the effusion of the moment, met with the approbation of the whole court. After his compliment, the caliph caused him to approach, and said, "I am glad to see you, and desire to hear from your own mouth where you found my favourite, and all that you have done for her." Ganem obeyed, and appeared so sincere, that the caliph was convinced of his veracity. He ordered a very rich vest to be given him, according to the custom observed towards those who are admitted to audience. After which he said to him, "Ganem, I will have you live in my court." "Commander of the true believers," answered the young merchant, "a slave has no will but his master's, on whom his life and fortune depend." The caliph was highly pleased with Ganem's reply, and assigned him a considerable pension. He then descended from his throne, and causing only Ganem and the grand vizier, follow him, retired into his own apartment.

Not questioning but that Fetnah was in waiting, with Abou Ayoub's widow and daughter, he caused them to be called in. They prostrated themselves before him: he made them rise; and was so charmed by Jalib al Koolloob's beauty, that, after viewing her very attentively, he said, "I am so sorry for having treated your charms so unworthily, that I owe them such a satisfaction as may surpass the injury I have done. I take you to wife; and by that means shall punish Zobeide, who shall become the first cause of your good fortune, as she was of your past sufferings. This is not all," added he, turning towards Ganem's mother; "you are still young, I believe you will not disdain to be allied to my grand vizier, I give you to Jaaffier, and you, Fetnah, to Ganem. Let a cauzee and witnesses be called, and the three contracts be drawn up and signed immediately." Ganem would have represented to the caliph, that it would be honour enough for his sister to be one of his favourites; but he was resolved to marry her.

Haroon thought this such an extraordinary story, that he ordered his historiographer to commit it to writing with all its circumstances. It was afterwards laid up in his library, and many copies being transcribed, it became public.



End of Volume 1.


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