JOUDER AND HIS BROTHERS.
There was once a merchant named Omar and he had three sons, the eldest of whom was called Salim, the second Selim and the third Jouder. He reared them all till they came to man's estate, but the youngest he loved more than his brothers, who, seeing this, waxed jealous of Jouder and hated him. Now their father was a man stricken in years, and when he saw that his two eldest sons hated their brother, he feared lest trouble should befall him from them after his death. So he assembled a company of his kinsfolk, together with divers men of learning and assessors of the Cadi's court, and letting bring all his money and stuff, said to them, 'O folk, divide ye this money and stuff into four parts, according to the law.' They did so, and he gave one part to each of his sons and kept the fourth himself, saying, "This was my good and I have divided it among them; and now they have no farther claim upon me nor upon each other; so, when I die, no difference shall arise between them, seeing that I have parted the inheritance among them in my lifetime; and this that I have kept shall be for my wife, their mother, wherewithal to provide for her subsistence [after my death].'
A little while after this he died, and neither of the two elder brothers was content with his share, but sought more of Jouder, saying, 'Our father's good is in thy hands.' So he appealed to the judges and those who had been present at the partition came and bore witness of that which they knew, wherefore the judge forbade them from each other; but Jouder and his brothers spent much money in bribes to him. After this, they left him awhile, but presently they began again to torment him and he again appealed to the magistrate, [who again gave judgment in his favour;] but all three once more lost much money in bribes. Nevertheless Salim and Selim forbore not to seek his hurt [and to carry the case] from court to court, losing, he and they, till they had given all their good for food to the oppressors (1) and they became poor, all three. Then the two elder brothers went to their mother and took her money and beat her and laughed at her and drove her away. So she betook herself to her son Jouder and told him how his brothers had dealt with her and fell to cursing them. 'O my mother,' said he, 'do not curse them, for God will requite each of them his deed. See, I am become poor, and so are my brethren, for contention begetteth loss of good, and we have contended amain, I and they, before the judges, and it hath profited us nothing: nay, we have wasted all our father left us and are disgraced among the folk by reason of our testimony, [one against the other]. Shall I then contend with them anew on thine account and shall we appeal to the judges? This may not be; rather do thou take up thine abode with me, and the cake of bread I eat I will share with thee. Do thou pray for me and God will give me the means of thy support. Leave them to receive of Him the recompense of their deed, and console thyself with the saying of the poet:If a lewd fellow should transgress against thee, let him be, And wait till God shall punish him who doth iniquity;
And he comforted her till she consented and took up her dwelling with him. Then he got him a net and went a-fishing every day in the river or the lakes or some other place in which there was water; and one day he would earn ten paras, another twenty and another thirty, which he spent upon his mother and himself, and they ate and drank well. But, as for his brothers, they plied no craft and sold not neither bought; misery and ruin and overwhelming calamity overtook them and they wasted that which they had taken from their mother and became wretched naked beggars. Bytimes they would come to their mother, humbling themselves to her exceedingly and complaining of hunger; and she, a mother's heart being pitiful, would give them some mouldy bread; or, if there were any cooked meat of the day before, she would say to them, 'Eat it quickly and go, before your brother comes; for it would be grievous to him and he would harden his heart against me, and ye would disgrace me with him.' So they would eat in haste and go.
One day they came in to their mother, and she set cooked meat and bread before them. As they were eating, in came their brother Jouder, at whose sight their mother hung her head in shame and confusion, fearing lest he should be wroth with her. But he smiled in their faces, saying, 'Welcome, O my brothers! This is indeed a blessed day. How comes it that ye visit me this blessed day?' Then he embraced them and entreated them lovingly, saying to them, 'I thought not that ye would have deserted me nor that ye would have forborne to visit me and your mother.' 'By Allah, O my brother,' said they, 'we longed sore for thee and nought withheld us but shamefastness because of what befell between us and thee; but indeed we have repented amain. It was Satan's doing, the curse of God the Most High be upon him! And now we have no blessing but thee and our mother.' 'And I,' rejoined Jouder, 'I have no blessing but you twain.' And his mother exclaimed, 'God whiten thy face, O my son, and increase thy prosperity, for thou art the best of us all!' Then he said to his brothers, 'Welcome to you both! Abide with me; for God is bountiful and good aboundeth with me.' So he made peace with them and they ate the evening meal and passed the night with him.
Next morning, after they had broken their fast, Jouder shouldered his net and went out, trusting in [God] the Opener [of the gates of sustenance,] whilst the two others also went forth and were absent till noon, when they returned and their mother set the midday meal before them. At nightfall, Jouder came home, bearing meat and vegetables, and they abode thus a month's space, Jouder catching fish and spending their price on his mother and his brothers, and the latter eating and amusing themselves, till, one day, he went down to the river-bank and casting his net, brought it up empty. He cast it a second time, but again it came up empty and he said to himself, 'There are no fish in this place.' So he removed to another place and cast the net there, but with no better success. And he ceased not to remove from place to place till nightfall, but caught not a single gudgeon and said to himself, 'Strange! Is the river drained of fish or what?' Then he shouldered the net and made for home, chagrined and concerned for his mother and brothers and knowing not how he should feed them that night.
Presently he came to a baker's oven and saw the folk crowding for bread, with money in their hands, whilst the baker took no note of them. So he stood there, sighing, and the baker said to him, 'Welcome, O Jouder! Dost thou want bread?' But he was silent and the baker continued, 'If thou hast no money, take thy sufficiency and thou shalt have credit.' So Jouder said, 'Give me ten paras' worth of bread and take this net in pledge.' 'Nay, good fellow,' rejoined the baker, 'the net is thy means of earning thy livelihood, and if I take it of thee, I shall close up against thee the door of thy subsistence. Take ten paras' worth of bread and take these other ten paras, and to-morrow bring me fish for the twenty.' 'On my head and eyes be it,' answered Jouder and took the bread and money, saying, 'To-morrow God will provide me the means of acquittance.' Then he bought meat and vegetables and carried them home to his mother, who cooked them, and they supped and went to bed.
Next morning he arose at daybreak and took the net, and his mother said to him, 'Sit down and break thy fast.' But he said, 'Do thou and my brothers breakfast,' and went down to the river, where he ceased not to cast and shift about all day, without aught falling to him, till the hour of afternoon-prayer, when he shouldered his net and went away, sore dejected. His way led him perforce by the shop of the baker, who, when he saw him, counted out to him the loaves and the money, saying, 'Come, take it and go; if it be not for to-day, it will be for to-morrow.' Jouder would have excused himself, but the baker said to him, 'There needs no excuse; if thou hadst caught aught, it would be with thee; so, when I saw thee empty-handed, I knew thou hadst gotten nought; and if to-morrow thou have no better luck, come and take bread and be not ashamed, for I will give thee credit.' So Jouder took the bread and money and went home. Next day he sallied forth and fished from lake to lake until the time of afternoon-prayer, but caught nothing; so he went to the baker and took the bread and silver as usual.
Thus he did seven days running, till he became disheartened and said in himself, 'To-day I will go to Lake Caroun.' So he went thither and was about to cast his net, when there came up to him unawares a Moor clad in a splendid habit and riding a mule with trappings embroidered with gold and on her back a pair of saddle-bags of the same stuff. The Moor alighted and said to him, 'Peace be upon thee, O Jouder, son of Omar!' 'And on thee, O my lord the pilgrim!' (2) replied the fisherman. Quoth the Moor, 'O Jouder, I have need of thee and if thou obey me, thou shalt get great good and shalt be my companion and do my occasions for me.' 'O my lord,' replied Jouder, 'Tell me what is in thy mind and I will obey thee, without demur.' Quoth the Moor, 'Repeat the First Chapter of the Koran.' (3) So he recited it with him and the Moor, bringing out a silken cord, said to Jouder, 'Bind my hands fast behind me with this cord and cast me into the lake; then wait awhile and if thou see my hands appear above the water, cast thy net over me and draw me out in haste; but if I come up, feet foremost, then know that I am dead; in which case do thou leave me and take the mule and saddle-bags and carry them to the merchants' bazaar, where thou wilt find a Jew, by name Shemaiah. Deliver him the mule and he will give thee a hundred dinars, which do thou take and go thy ways and keep the matter secret.' So Jouder bound his hands behind his back and he kept saying, 'Tighter.' Then said he, 'Push me into the lake.' So he pushed him in and he sank.
Jouder stood waiting some time, till, at last, the Moor's feet appeared above the water, whereupon he knew that he was dead. So he left him and drove the mule to the bazaar, where he found the Jew seated on a stool at the door of his storehouse. When the latter saw the mule, he said, 'The man hath perished and nought undid him but covetise.' Then he took the mule from Jouder and gave him a hundred dinars, charging him keep the matter secret. So Jouder went to the baker and giving him a dinar, took what bread he needed. The baker reckoned up what was due to him and said, 'I still owe thee two days' bread.' 'Good,' answered Jouder and went on to the butcher, to whom he gave a dinar and took meat, saying, 'Keep the rest of the dinar on account.' Then he bought vegetables and going home, found his brothers importuning their mother for food, whilst she said, 'Have patience till your brother comes home, for I have nothing.' So he went in to them and said, 'Take and eat;' and they fell on the victual like ghouls. Then he gave his mother the rest of the dinars, bidding her, if his brothers came to her, give them wherewithal to buy food and eat in his absence.
Next morning he took his net and going down to Lake Caroun, was about to cast his net, when there came up to him a second Moor, riding on a mule, more handsomely accoutred than he of the day before and having with him a pair of saddle-bags, in each pocket of which was a casket. 'Peace be on thee, O Jouder!' said the Moor. 'And on thee be peace, O my lord the pilgrim!' replied Jouder. Quoth the Moor, 'Did there come to thee yesterday a Moor riding on a mule like this of mine?' At this Jouder was alarmed and replied, 'I saw none,' fearing lest the other should say, 'Whither went he?' and if he answered, 'He was drowned in the lake,' that he should charge him with having drowned him; wherefore he could not but deny. 'Harkye, good fellow,' rejoined the Moor, 'this was my brother, who is gone before me.' Quoth Jouder, 'I know nothing of him.' Then said the Moor, 'Didst thou not bind his hands behind him and throw him into the lake, and did he not say to thee, "If my hands appear above the water first, cast thy net over me and pull me out in haste; but, if my feet appear first, know that I am dead and carry the mule to the Jew Shemaiah, who will give thee a hundred dinars?" And did not his feet appear first and didst thou not carry the mule to the Jew and take of him the hundred dinars?' 'Since thou knowest all this,' replied Jouder, 'why dost thou question me?' Quoth the Moor, 'I would have thee do with me as thou didst with my brother.' Then he gave him a silken cord, saying, 'Bind my hands behind me and throw me in, and if I fare as did my brother, take the mule to the Jew and he will give thee other hundred dinars.' Quoth Jouder, 'Come.' So he came and he bound him and pushed him into the lake, where he sank.
After awhile, his feet appeared above the water and Jouder said, 'He is dead and damned! So God will, may Moors come to me every day, and I will bind them and push them in and they shall die; and I will be content with a hundred dinars for each dead man.' Then he took the mule to the Jew, who exclaimed, on seeing him, 'The other is dead?' 'May thy head live!' answered Jouder, and the Jew said, 'This is the reward of the covetous.' Then he took the mule and gave Jouder a hundred dinars, with which he returned to his mother. 'O my son,' said she, 'whence hast thou this money?' So he told her and she said, 'Go not again to Lake Caroun, for I fear for thee from the Moors.' 'O my mother,' answered he, 'I do but cast them in by their own wish, and what am I to do? This craft brings me in a hundred dinars a day and I return speedily; wherefore, by Allah, I will not leave going to Lake Caroun, till the trace of the Moors is cut off and not one of them is left.'
So, on the morrow, he went down to the lake and stood there, till there came up a third Moor, riding on a mule and still more richly accoutred than the first two, who said to him, 'Peace be on thee, O Jouder, O son of Omar!' And the fisherman returned his salute, saying in himself, 'How comes it that they all know me?' Quoth the Moor, 'Have any Moors passed by here?' 'Two,' answered Jouder. 'Whither went they?' asked the Moor, and Jouder said, 'I bound their hands behind them and cast them into the lake, where they were drowned, and the same fate is in store for thee.' The Moor laughed and rejoined, saying, 'O good fellow, every living soul hath its appointed term.' Then he alighted and gave the fisherman the silken cord, saying, 'Do with me as thou didst with them.' 'Put thy hands behind thy back,' said Jouder, 'that I may pinion thee, for I am in haste, and time flies.' So he put his hands behind him and Jouder bound him and cast him in. Then he waited awhile, till presently the Moor thrust his hands forth of the water and called out to him, saying, 'Ho, good fellow! Cast out thy net!' So Jouder cast the net over him and drew him ashore, and behold, in each hand he held a fish as red as coral. Quoth the Moor, 'Bring me the two caskets [that are in the saddle-bags].' So Jouder brought them and opened them to him, and he laid in each casket a fish and shut them up.
Then he pressed Jouder to his bosom and kissed him on the right cheek and the left, saying, 'God save thee from all stress! By Allah, hadst thou not cast the net over me and pulled me out, I should have kept my grip of the two fish till I sank and was drowned, for I could not get ashore [of myself].' 'O my lord the pilgrim,' quoth Jouder, 'I conjure thee by Allah, tell me the true history of the two drowned men and the fishes and the Jew.' 'Know, O Jouder,' replied the Moor, 'that these that were drowned were my two brothers, by name Abdusselam and Abdulahed. My own name is Abdussemed, and the Jew also is our brother: his name is Abdurrehim and he is no Jew, but a true believer of the Maliki school. (4) Our father, whose name was Abdulwedoud, taught us magic and the art of solving mysteries and bringing to light hidden treasures, and we applied ourselves thereto, till we compelled the Afrits and Marids of the Jinn to do us service. By-and-by, our father died and left us much wealth, and we divided amongst us his treasures and talismans, till we came to the books, when we fell out over a book called "The Fables of the Ancients," whose like is not in the world, nor can its price be paid of any nor its value made good with gold and jewels; for in it are particulars of all the hidden treasures of the earth and the solution of all mysteries. Our father was wont to make use of this book, of which we had some small matter by heart, and each of us desired to possess it, that he might come at what was therein.
Now there was in our company an old man, by name the Diviner El Abten, who had reared our father and taught him divination and magic, and he said to us, "Bring me the book." So we gave it him and he said, "Ye are my son's sons, and it may not be that I should wrong any of you. So whoso is minded to have the book, let him address himself to achieve the treasure of Es Shemerdel and bring me the celestial planisphere and the kohl-pot and the seal-ring and the sword. For the ring hath a Marid that serves it called Er Raad el Casif. And whoso hath possession thereof, neither King nor Sultan may prevail against him; and if he will, he may therewith make himself master of the earth, in all its length and breadth. As for the sword, if its bearer draw it and brandish it against an army, the army will be put to the rout, and if he say the while, 'Slay yonder host,' there will come forth of the sword lightning and fire, that will slay the whole host. As for the planisphere, its possessor has only to turn its face toward any country with whose sight he hath a mind to divert himself, and therein he will see that country and its people, as they were before him, and he sitting in his place; and if he be wroth with a city and have a mind to burn it, he has but to turn the face of the planisphere towards the sun's disc, saying, 'Let such a city be burnt,' and that city will be consumed with fire. As for the kohl-pot, whoso anointeth his eyes therefrom, he shall see all the treasures of the earth. And I make this condition with you that none but he who achieves the treasure and brings me the four precious things that be therein shall have any claim to this book."
We all agreed to this, and he continued, saying, "O my sons, know that the treasure of Es Shemerdel is under the governance of the sons of the Red King, (5) and your father told me that he had himself essayed to open the treasure, but could not achieve it; for the sons of the Red King fled from him into the land of Egypt and took refuge in a lake there, called Lake Caroun, whither he pursued them, but could not prevail over them, by reason of their stealing into that lake, which was guarded by a spell. So he returned, empty-handed, and complained to me of his ill-success, whereupon I made him an astrological calculation and found that the treasure could only be achieved by means of a young fisherman of Cairo, by name Jouder ben Omar, the place of foregathering with whom was at Lake Caroun, for that he should be the means of the taking the sons of the Red King and that the charm should not be dissolved, save if he should bind the hands of the seeker of the treasure behind him and cast him into the lake, there to do battle with the sons of the Red King. An he were he to whom the adventure was reserved, he should lay hands upon them; but, if it were not destined to him, he should perish and his feet appear above the water. As for him who was successful, his hands would appear first above the water, whereupon it behoved that Jouder should cast the net over him and draw him ashore."
Quoth my brothers Abdusselam and Abdulahed, "We will essay the adventure, though we perish;" and I said, "And I also will go;" but my brother Abdurrehim (he whom thou hast seen in the habit of a Jew) said, "I have no mind [to this]." So we agreed with him that he should repair to Cairo in the disguise of a Jewish merchant, so that, if one of us perished in the lake, he might take his mule and saddle-bags and give the bearer a hundred dinars. The first that came to thee the sons of the Red King slew, and so did they with the second; but against me they could not prevail and I laid hands on them.' Quoth Jouder, 'And where are they?' 'Didst thou not see me shut them in the caskets?' asked the Moor. 'Those were fish,' said Jouder. 'Nay,' answered the Moor, 'they are Afrits in the guise of fish. But, O Jouder,' continued he, 'thou must know that the treasure can only be achieved by thy means: so wilt thou do my bidding and go with me to the towns of Fez and Mequinez and open the treasure? And after I will give thee what thou wilt and thou shalt ever be my brother in the bond of God and return to thy family with a joyful heart.' 'O my lord the pilgrim,' said Jouder, 'I have on my hands a mother and two brothers, whose provider I am; and if I go with thee, who shall give them bread to eat?' 'This is an idle excuse,' replied the Moor; 'if it be but a matter of spending-money, I will give thee a thousand dinars for thy mother, wherewith she may provide herself till thou come back; and indeed thou shalt return before four months.'
When Jouder heard mention of the thousand dinars, he consented and the Moor, pulling out the money, gave it to him, whereupon he carried it to his mother and told her what had passed, saying, 'Take these thousand dinars and provide thyself and my brothers withal, whilst I journey to Morocco with the Moor, for I shall be absent four months, and great good will betide me; so pray for me, O my mother!' 'O my son,' answered she, 'thou desolatest me and I fear for thee.' 'O my mother,' rejoined he, 'no harm can befall him who is in God's keeping, and the Moor is a man of worth.' And he went on to praise his fashion to her. 'May God incline his heart to thee!' said she. 'Go with him, O my son: peradventure, he will give thee somewhat.' So he took leave of her and rejoined the Moor Abdussemed, who said to him, 'Hast thou consulted thy mother?' 'Yes,' answered Jouder; 'and she blessed me.' 'Then mount behind me,' said the Moor.
So Jouder mounted behind him on the mule, and they rode on from noon till the time of afternoon-prayer, when the fisherman was anhungred, but seeing no victual with the Moor, said to him, 'O my lord the pilgrim, belike thou hast forgotten to bring aught to eat by the way?' 'Art thou hungry?' asked the Moor. 'Yes,' answered Jouder. So Abdussemed alighted and made Jouder alight and take down the saddle-bags; then he said to him, 'O my brother, what wilt thou have?' 'Anything,' replied Jouder. 'God on thee,' rejoined the Moor, 'tell me what thou hast a mind to.' 'Bread and cheese,' said Jouder; and the other, 'O good fellow, bread and cheese befit thee not; wish for something good.' 'Just now,' replied Jouder, 'everything is good to me.' Quoth the Moor, 'Dost thou like fricasseed fowl?' 'Yes,' answered Jouder. 'Dost thou like rice and honey?' asked he, and Jouder said, 'Yes.' And the Moor went on to ask him if he liked this dish and that, till he had named four-and-twenty kinds of meats; and Jouder thought to himself, 'He must be mad. Where are all these dishes to come from, seeing he hath neither cook nor kitchen?' And he said to him, 'Enough: thou makest me long for all these meats, and I see nothing.' Quoth the Moor, 'Thou art welcome, O Jouder!' and putting his hand into the saddle-bags, pulled out a dish of gold, containing two hot fricasseed fowls. Then he put in his hand a second time and pulled out a golden dish, full of kabobs; (6) nor did he give over taking out dishes from the saddle-bags, till he had brought forth the whole of the four-and-twenty he had named, whilst Jouder looked on in amazement.
Then said the Moor, 'Eat, good fellow.' And Jouder said to him, 'O my lord, meseems thou carriest in yonder saddle-bags a kitchen and cooking-folk!' The Moor laughed and replied, 'These are enchanted saddle-bags and have a servant, who would bring us a thousand dishes an hour, if we called for them.' Quoth Jouder, 'By Allah, this is indeed a fine pair of saddle-bags!' Then they ate their fill and threw away what was left; after which the Moor replaced the empty dishes in the saddle-bags and putting in his hand, drew out an ewer. They drank and making the ablutions, prayed the afternoon-prayer; after which Abdussemed replaced the ewer and the two caskets in the saddle-bags and throwing them over the mule's back, mounted and took Jouder up behind him. Then said he, 'O Jouder, knowest thou how far we have come, since we left Cairo?' 'Not I, by Allah,' replied he, and Abdussemed, 'We have come a whole month's journey.' 'And how is that?' asked Jouder. 'Know, O Jouder,' replied the Moor, 'that this mule under us is a Marid of the Jinn, that every day performs a year's journey; but, for thy sake, she hath gone at her leisure.'
Then they set out again and fared on westward till nightfall, when they halted and the Moor brought out the evening meal from the saddle-bags, and in like manner, in the morning, he took forth wherewithal to break their fast. So they rode on four days, alighting at midnight and sleeping till the morning, when they fared on again; and all that Jouder had a mind to, he sought of the Moor, who brought it out of the saddle-bags. On the fifth day, they arrived at Fez and Mequinez and entered the city, where all who met the Moor saluted him and kissed his hands; and he rode through the streets, till he came to a certain door, at which he knocked, whereupon it opened and out came a girl like the moon, to whom said he, 'O Rehmeh, O my daughter, open us the upper chamber.' 'On my head and eyes, O my father!' replied she and went in, swaying to and fro with a graceful and voluptuous gait, that ravished Jouder's reason, and he said, 'This is none other than a King's daughter.' So she opened the upper chamber and the Moor, taking the saddle-bags from the mule's back, said, 'Go, and God bless thee!' When behold, the earth opened and swallowing the mule, closed up again as before. And Jouder said, 'O Protector! praised be God who hath kept us in safety on her back!' 'Marvel not, O Jouder,' quoth the Moor; 'I told thee that the mule was an Afrit; but come with us into the upper chamber.'
So they went up into the upper chamber, and Jouder was amazed at the profusion of rich furniture and pendants of gold and silver and jewels and other rare and precious things that he saw there. As soon as they were seated, the Moor bade Rehmeh bring him a certain bale and opening it, took out a dress worth a thousand dinars, which he gave to Jouder, saying, 'Don this dress, O Jouder! and welcome to thee!' So Jouder put it on and became as he were one of the Kings of the West. Then the Moor laid the saddle-bags before him, and putting in his hand, pulled out dish after dish, till they had before them a tray of forty kinds of meat, when he said to Jouder, 'Come, O my lord, eat and excuse us, for that we know not what meats thou wouldest have; but tell us what thou hast a mind to, and we will set it before thee without delay.' 'By Allah, O my lord the pilgrim,' replied Jouder, 'I love all kinds of meat and mislike none; so ask me not of aught, but bring all that cometh to thy thought, for I have nought to do but to eat.'
He abode twenty days with the Moor, who clad him in a new dress every day, and all this time they ate from the saddle-bags; for the Moor bought neither meat nor bread nor aught else nor cooked, but brought everything out of the bags, even to various kinds of fruit. On the twenty- first day, he said to Jouder, 'Come, this is the day appointed for opening the treasure of Shemerdel.' So he rose and they went afoot without the city, where they found two slaves, each holding a mule. The Moor mounted one mule and Jouder the other, and they rode on till noon, when they came to a stream of running water, on whose banks they alighted and Abdussemed signed with his hand to the slaves and said, 'To it!' So they took the mules and going each his own way, were absent awhile, after which they returned, bearing, one a tent, which he pitched, and the other carpets, which he spread in the tent and laid cushions thereabout. Then they brought the saddle-bags and the caskets containing the two fish; whereupon the Moor arose and said, 'Come, O Jouder!' So Jouder followed him into the tent and sat down beside him; and he brought out dishes of meat from the saddle-bags and they ate the morning meal.
Then the Moor took the two caskets and conjured over them, whereupon there came from within voices that said, 'Here are we, at thy service, O diviner of the world! Have mercy on us!' But he ceased not to repeat conjurations and they to call for help, till the two caskets flew in sunder and there came forth two men, with their hands bound behind them, saying, 'Pardon, O diviner of the world! What wilt thou with us?' Quoth he, 'I will burn you with fire, except ye make a covenant with me, to open to me the treasure of Es Shemerdel.'* 'We promise this to thee,' answered they, 'and we will open the treasure to thee, so thou produce to us Jouder ben Omar, the fisherman, for it may not be opened but by his means, nor can any enter therein but he.' 'He of whom ye speak,' answered the Moor, 'I have brought, and he is here, listening to you and looking at you.' Thereupon they covenanted with him to open the treasure to him, and he released them.
Then he brought out a hollow wand and tablets of red cornelian and laid the latter on the former; after which he took a chafing-dish and laying charcoal thereon, blew one breath into it and it kindled forthwith. Then said he to Jouder, 'O Jouder, I am now about to begin the necessary conjurations and fumigations, and when I have once begun, I may not speak, or the conjuration will be naught; so I will tell thee first what thou must do.' 'Say on,' replied Jouder. 'Know then,' said the Moor, 'that, when I have recited the charm and thrown on the perfumes, the water will dry up from the river's bed and discover to thee a door of gold, the bigness of the city- gate, with two rings of metal thereon; whereupon do thou go down to the door and knock lightly and wait awhile; then knock a second time more loudly than the first and wait another while; after which give three knocks, one after another, and thou wilt hear a voice say, "Who knocks at the door of the treasure, unknowing how to solve the mysteries?" Do thou answer, "I am Jouder ben Omar, the fisherman;" and the door will open and there will come forth one with a sword in his hand and say to thee, "If thou be that man, stretch forth thy neck, that I may strike off thy head." Then do thou stretch forth thy neck and fear not; for, when he lifts his hand and smites thee, he will fall down before thee, and in a little thou wilt see him a body without a soul; and the blow shall not irk thee nor shall any harm befall thee; but, if thou gainsay him, he will slay thee. When thou hast undone his enchantment by obedience, enter and go on till thou seest another door, at which do thou knock, and there will come forth to thee a horseman with a lance on his shoulder and say to thee, "What brings thee hither, where neither man nor genie may enter?" And he will shake his spear at thee. Bare thy breast to him and he will smite thee and fall down forthright and thou shalt see him a body without a soul; but if thou cross him, he will slay thee.
Then go on to the third door, whence there will come forth to thee a man with a bow and arrows in his hand and take aim at thee. Bare thy breast to him and he will shoot at thee and fall down before thee, a body without a soul; but if thou cross him, he will kill thee. Then go on to the fourth door and knock, and there will come forth to thee a huge lion, which will rush upon thee, opening his mouth as if he had a mind to devour thee. Have no fear of him, neither flee from him; but, when he cometh to thee, give him thy hand and he will bite at it and fall down straightway, nor shall aught [of hurt] betide thee. Then enter the fifth door, where thou shalt find a black slave, who will say to thee, "Who art thou?" Say, "I am Jouder," and he will answer, "If thou be that man, open the sixth door." Then do thou go up to the door and say, "O Jesus, tell Moses to open the door;" whereupon the door will fly open and thou wilt see two dragons, one on the left hand and another on the right, which will open their mouths and fly at thee, both at once. Do thou put forth to them thy hands and they will bite each a hand [and fall down dead;] but if thou resist them, they will kill thee. Then go on to the seventh door and knock, whereupon there will come forth to thee thy mother and say, "Welcome, O my son! Come, that I may greet thee!" But do thou say to her, "Hold off from me and put off thy clothes." And she will make answer, "O my son, I am thy mother that suckled thee and brought thee up: how then wouldst thou strip me naked?" Then do thou say, "Except thou put off thy clothes, I will kill thee!" and look to thy right, where thou wilt see a sword hanging up. Take it and draw it upon her, saying, "Strip!" whereupon she will wheedle thee and humble herself to thee; but have thou no pity on her nor be beguiled, and as often as she puts off aught, say to her, "Off with the rest!" nor do thou cease to threaten her with death, till she put off all that is upon her and fall down, when the enchantment will be dissolved and the charms undone, and thou wilt be safe.
Then enter the hall of the treasure, where thou wilt see the gold lying in heaps; but pay no heed to aught thereof and go on to the upper end of the hall, where thou wilt find a niche, with a curtain drawn before it. Draw back the curtain and thou wilt see the enchanter Es Shemerdel lying upon a couch of gold, with something at his head, round and shining like the moon, which is the celestial planisphere. He is girt with the sword; on his finger is the ring and about his neck is a chain, to which hangs the kohl-pot. Bring me the four talismans, and look thou forget not aught of that which I have told thee, or thou wilt repent and be put to fear.' And he repeated his directions to Jouder a second and a third and a fourth time, till he said, 'I have them by heart: but who may face all these enchantments that thou namest and endure against these mighty terrors?' 'O Jouder,' replied the Moor, 'fear not, for they are semblances without life;' and he went on to hearten him, till he said, 'I put my trust in God.'
Then Abdussemed threw perfumes on the chafing-dish, and addressed himself to reciting conjurations. Presently the water disappeared and discovered the bed of the river and the door of the treasure, whereupon Jouder went down to the door and knocked. Therewith he heard a voice saying, 'Who knocks at the door of the treasure, unknowing how to solve the mysteries?' Quoth he, 'I am Jouder, son of Omar;' whereupon the door opened and there came forth one with a drawn sword, who said to him, 'Stretch forth thy neck.' So he stretched forth his neck and the figure smote him and fell down, lifeless. Then he went on to the second door and did the like, nor did he cease to do thus, till he had undone the enchantments of the first six doors and came to the seventh door, from which there issued forth to him his mother, saying, 'Greeting, O my son!' 'What art thou?' said he; and she answered saying, 'O my son, I am thy mother who bore thee nine months [in my womb] and gave thee suck and reared thee.' Quoth he, 'Put off thy clothes.' 'Thou art my son,' said she, 'how wouldst thou strip me naked?' But he said, 'Strip, or I will strike off thy head with this sword;' and he put out his hand to it and drew it upon her, saying, 'Except thou strip, I will slay thee.' Then the strife became long between them and as often as he redoubled on her his menaces, she put off somewhat of her clothes and he said to her, 'Put off the rest,' whilst she kept saying, 'O my son, thou hast disappointed my fosterage of thee,' till she had nothing left but her trousers. Then said she, 'O my son, is thy heart stone? Wilt thou dishonour me by discovering my nakedness. Indeed, this is unlawful, O my son!' And he answered, 'Thou sayst sooth; it behoves not that thou put off thy trousers.'
No sooner had he uttered these words, than she cried out and said, 'He hath made default: beat him!' Whereupon there fell upon him blows like rain and the servants of the treasure flocked to him and dealt him a beating that he forgot not in all his life; after which they thrust him forth and cast him down without the treasure and the doors shut of themselves as before, whilst the waters of the river returned to their bed. When the Moor saw this, he took Jouder up in haste and repeated conjurations over him, till he came to his senses, when he said to him, 'What hast thou done, O dolt?' 'O my brother,' answered Jouder, 'I undid all the enchantments, till I came to my mother and there befell between her and myself a long contention. But I made her put off her clothes, till but her trousers remained upon her and she said to me, "Do not dishonour me; for to discover one's nakedness is forbidden." So I left her her trousers out of pity, and behold, she cried out and said, "He hath made default: beat him!" Whereupon there came out upon me folk, whence I know not, and beating me till I was nigh upon death, thrust me out; nor do I know what befell me after this.' Quoth the Moor, 'Did I not warn thee not to swerve from my directions? Verily, thou hast done ill by me and by thyself: for if thou hadst made her take off her trousers, we had attained our desire; but now thou must abide with me till this day next year.'
Then he cried out to the two slaves, who struck the tent forthright and loaded it [on muleback;] then they were absent awhile and presently returned with the two mules; and they mounted and rode back to the city of Fez, where Jouder abode with the Moor, eating and drinking well and donning a rich dress every day, till the appointed day arrived, when the Moor said to him, 'Come with me, for this is the appointed day.' And Jouder said, 'It is well.' So the Moor carried him without the city, where they found the two slaves with the mules, and mounting, rode on till they came to the river. Here the slaves pitched the tent and furnished it and the Moor brought forth the tray of food and they ate the morning meal; after which Abdussemed brought out the wand and the tablets as before and kindling the fire in the chafing-dish, made ready the perfumes. Then said he to Jouder, 'O Jouder, I wish to renew my injunctions to thee.' 'O my lord the pilgrim,' answered he, 'if I have forgotten the beating, I have forgotten the injunctions.' 'Dost thou indeed remember them,' asked the Moor, and he said, 'Yes.' Quoth the Moor, 'Keep thy wits, and think not that the woman is thy very mother; nay, she is but an enchantment in her semblance, whose purpose is to catch thee tripping. Thou camest off alive the first time, but, if thou make default this time, they will kill thee.' 'If I slip this time,' replied Jouder, 'I deserve to be burnt of them.'
Then Abdussemed cast in the perfumes and recited the conjurations, till the river dried up; whereupon Jouder descended and knocked at the door. It opened and he entered and undid the several enchantments, till he came to the seventh door and the semblance of his mother appeared before him, saying, 'Welcome, O my son!' But he said to her, 'How am I thy son, O accursed one? Strip!' And she began to wheedle him and put off garment after garment, till but her trousers remained; and he said to her, 'Strip, O accursed one!' So she put off her trousers and became a body without a soul. Then he entered the hall of the treasure, where he saw gold lying in heaps, but paid no heed to it and passed on to the niche at the upper end, where he saw the enchanter Es Shemerdel lying on a couch of gold, girt with the sword, with the ring on his finger, the kohl-pot on his breast and the celestial planisphere over his head. So he unbuckled the sword and taking the ring, the kohl-pot and the planisphere, went forth, when, behold, music sounded for him and the servants of the treasure cried out, saying, 'Mayst thou enjoy that which thou hast gained, O Jouder!' Nor did the music leave sounding, till he came forth of the treasure to the Moor, who gave over his conjurations and rising, embraced him and saluted him. Then Jouder gave him the four talismans, and he took them and cried out to the slaves, who carried away the tent and brought the mules.
So they mounted and returned to the city of Fez, where the Moor fetched the saddle-bags and brought forth dish after dish of meat, till the tray was full, and said to Jouder, 'Eat, O Jouder, O my brother!' So he ate till he was satisfied, when the Moor emptied what remained of the meats into other dishes and returned the empty platters to the saddle-bags. Then he said to Jouder, 'O Jouder, thou hast left thy native land on our account and hast accomplished our need; wherefore thou hast a right to a reward of us. Seek, therefore, what thou wilt; it is God the Most High that giveth unto thee by our means. Ask thy will and be not ashamed, for thou art deserving.' 'O my lord,' answered Jouder, 'I ask first of God the Most High and then of thee, that thou give me yonder saddle-bags.' So the Moor called for them and gave them to him, saying, 'Take them, for they are thy due, and if thou hadst asked of me aught else, I had given it thee. Eat from them, thou and thy family, and know that the manner of their usance is on this wise; put thy hand therein and say, "O servant of these saddle-bags, I conjure thee by the virtue of the mighty names that have power over thee, bring me such a dish!" And he will bring thee whatsoever thou askest, though thou shouldst call for a thousand different dishes a day. But, O good fellow, these will not profit thee, save by way of victual, and thou hast wearied thyself with us and we promised thee to send thee home, rejoicing; so we will join to these other saddle-bags, full of gold and jewels, and bring thee back to thy native land, where thou shalt become a merchant and clothe thyself and thy family; nor shalt thou want for spending-money.'
So saying, he filled him a pair of saddle-bags, half with gold and half with jewels and precious stones, and sending for a slave and a mule, said to him, 'Mount this mule, and the slave shall go before thee and guide thee in the way, till thou come to the door of thy house, where do thou take the two pairs of saddle-bags and give him the mule, that he may bring it back. But let none into thy secret; and so we commend thee to God.' 'May God increase thy good!' replied Jouder and laying the two pairs of saddle-bags on the mule's back, mounted and set forth. The slave went on before him and the mule followed him all that day and night, and on the morrow he entered Cairo by the Gate of Victory, where he saw his mother seated, saying, 'Charity, for the love of God!' At this sight he well-nigh lost his wits and alighting, threw himself upon her: and when she saw him, she wept. Then he mounted her on the mule and walked by her stirrup, till they came to the house, where he set her down and taking the saddle-bags, left the mule to the slave, who took her and resumed with her to his master, for that both slave and mule were Afrits.
As for Jouder, it was grievous to him that his mother should beg; so, when they were in the house, he said to her, 'O my mother, are my brothers well?' And she replied, 'They are both well.' Quoth he, 'Why dost thou beg by the wayside?' 'Because I am hungry, O my son,' answered she; and he, 'Before I went away I gave thee a hundred dinars one day, the like the next and a thousand on the day of my departure.' 'O my son,' replied she, 'they cheated me and took the money from me, saying, "We will buy goods with it." Then they drove me away, and I fell to begging by the wayside, for stress of hunger.' 'O my mother,' said Jouder, 'no harm shall befall thee, now I am come; so have no concern, for these saddle-bags are full of gold and jewels and good aboundeth [with me].' Quoth she, 'Verily, thou art blessed, O my son! May God accept of thee and increase thee of His bounties! Go, O my son, fetch us some victual, for I slept not last night for stress of hunger, having gone to bed supperless.'
He laughed and said, 'Welcome to thee, O my mother! Call for what thou wilt to eat, and I will set it before thee forthright; for I have no occasion to buy from the market, nor need I any to cook.' 'O my son,' replied she, 'I see nought with thee.' And he said, 'I have with me in these saddle-bags all manner of meats.' 'O my son,' rejoined she, 'whatever is ready will serve to stay hunger.' 'True,' answered he, 'when there is no choice, men are content with the least thing; but where there is plenty, they like to eat what is good: and I have plenty; so call for what thou hast a mind to.' 'O my son,' said she, 'give me some hot bread and a piece of cheese:' but he answered, saying, 'O my mother, this befits not thy condition.' 'Then give me to eat of that which befits my condition,' quoth she; 'for thou knowest it.' 'O my mother,' rejoined he, 'what befits thy condition is rissoled meat and fricasseed fowls and savoury rice and sausages and stuffed cucumbers and stuffed lamb and stuffed ribs [of mutton] and vermicelli with pounded almonds and nuts and honey and sugar and fritters and almond patties.' But she thought he was laughing at her and making mock of her; so she said to him, 'Alas! Alas! what is come to thee? Dost thou dream or art thou mad?' 'Why deemest thou that I am mad?' asked he, and she replied, 'Because thou namest to me all manner rich meats; who can avail unto their price, and who knows how to dress them?' Quoth he, 'As I live, thou shalt eat of all that I have named to thee, and that forthright.' And she said, 'I see nothing.' Then said he, 'Bring me the saddle-bags.'
So she fetched them and feeling them, found them empty. However, she laid them before him and he thrust in his hand and pulled out dish after dish, till he had set before her all he had named. Whereupon, 'O my son,' said she, 'the saddle-bags are small and moreover they were empty; yet hast thou taken thereout all these dishes. Where then were they all?' 'O my mother,' answered he, 'know that these are enchanted saddle-bags, which the Moor gave me, and they have a servant, whom, if one desire aught, he has but to adjure by the names [which have power over him,] saying, "O servant of the saddle-bags, bring me such a dish!" and he will bring it.' Quoth his mother, 'And may I put out my hand and ask of him?' 'Do so,' replied he. So she put out her hand and said, 'O servant of the saddle-bags, [I conjure thee,] by the virtue of the names that have power over thee, bring me stuffed ribs [of mutton].' Then she thrust in her hand and found a dish containing delicate stuffed ribs of lamb. So she took it out, and called for bread and what else she had a mind to; after which Jouder said to her, 'O my mother, when thou hast made an end of eating, empty what is left of the food into platters other than these and restore the empty dishes to the saddle-bags, for the charm is upon this condition, and keep the saddle-bags carefully.' So she arose and laid them up in a safe place. 'And look that thou keep this secret,' added he; 'and whenever thou hast a mind to aught, take it forth of the saddle-bags and give alms and feed my brothers, whether I be absent or present.'
Then he fell to eating with her, and while they were thus engaged, in came his two brothers, whom a man of the quarter had apprised of his return, saying, 'Your brother is come back, riding on a mule, with a slave before him, and wearing a dress that hath not its like.' So they said to each other, 'Would we had not ill-treated our mother! She will surely tell him how we did by her, and then how sore will be our disgrace with him!' But one of them said, 'Our mother is tender-hearted, and if she tell him, our brother is yet tenderer over us than she; and if we excuse ourselves to him, he will accept our excuse.' So they went in to him and he rose to them and saluting them after the friendliest manner, bade them sit and eat. So they ate till they were satisfied, for they were weak with hunger; after which Jouder said to them, 'O my brothers, take what is left and distribute it to the poor.' 'O brother,' replied they, 'let us keep it to sup withal.' But he said, 'When supper-time comes, ye shall have more than this.' So they took the rest of the victual and going out, gave of it to every poor man who passed by them, saying, 'Take and eat,' till there was nothing left. Then they brought back the dishes and Jouder said to his mother, 'Put them in the saddle-bags.'
When it was night, he entered the saloon and took forth of the saddle-bags a table of forty dishes; after which he went up [to the upper chamber] and sitting down between his brothers, said to his mother, 'Bring the supper.' So she went down to the saloon and finding there the dishes ready, laid the tray and brought up the forty dishes, one after another. Then they ate the evening meal, and when they had done, Jouder said to his brothers, 'Take and feed the poor and needy.' So they took what was left and gave alms thereof, and presently he brought forth to them sweetmeats, whereof they ate, and what was left he bade them give to the neighbours. On the morrow, they broke their fast after the same fashion, and thus they fared ten days, at the end of which time quoth Salim to Selim, 'How comes it that our brother sets before us a banquet in the morning and another at noon and a third at sundown, besides sweetmeats at night, and all that is left he gives to the poor? Verily, this is the fashion of Sultans. Yet we never see him buy aught, and he hath neither cook nor kitchen, nor doth he light a fire. Whence hath he this great plenty? Hast thou not a mind to enquire the cause of all this?' 'By Allah, I know not,' replied Selim. 'But knowest thou any who will tell us the truth of the case?' And Salim said, 'None will tell us but our mother.'
So they laid a plot and going in to their mother one day, in Jouder's absence, said to her, 'O our mother, we are hungry.' 'Rejoice,' answered she; '[for ye shall presently be satisfied;]' and going into the saloon, sought of the servant of the saddle-bags hot meats, which she took out and set before her sons. 'O our mother,' said they, 'this meat is hot; yet hast thou not cooked, neither kindled a fire.' Quoth she, 'It comes from the saddle-bags;' and they, 'What manner of thing are these saddle-bags?' 'They are enchanted,' replied she and told them their virtue, enjoining them to secrecy. Quoth they, 'O our mother, the secret shall be kept; but teach us the manner of this.' So she taught them the fashion thereof and they fell to putting their hands into the saddle-bags and taking forth whatever they had a mind to.
Then quoth Salim [privily] to Selim, 'O my brother, how long shall we abide with Jouder servant-wise and eat of his charity? Shall we not cast about to get the saddle-bags from him and make off with them?' 'And how shall we make shift to do this?' asked Selim. 'We will sell him to the galleys,' replied Salim; and Selim said, 'How shall we do that?' Quoth Salim, 'We will go to the Captain [of the galleys] of the Sea of Suez and bid him to an entertainment, with two of his company. What I say to Jouder do thou confirm, and at the end of the night I will show thee what I will do.'
So they agreed upon this and going to the captain's lodging, said to him, 'O captain, we have come to thee on an errand that will content thee.' 'Good,' answered he; and they, 'We two are brethren, and we have a third brother, a lewd, good-for-nothing fellow. When our father died, he left us some money, which we shared amongst us, and he took his part and wasted it in lewdness and debauchery, till he was reduced to beggary, when he came upon us and cited us before the magistrates, avouching that we had taken his good and that of his father, and we disputed the matter before the judges and lost the money. Then he waited awhile and attacked us a second time, till he brought us to poverty; nor will he desist from us, and we have no peace for him; wherefore we would have thee buy him of us.' Quoth the captain, 'Can ye go about with him and make shift to bring him to me here? If so, I will pack him off to sea forthright.' 'We cannot avail to bring him here,' answered they; 'but be thou our guest [this night] and bring with thee two of thy men, no more; and when he is asleep, we will fall upon him, we five, and gag him. Then shalt thou carry him forth the house, under cover of the night, and do with him as thou wilt.' 'So be it,' rejoined the captain. 'Will ye sell him for forty dinars?' 'Yes,' said they. 'Come to such a street, by such a mosque, after nightfall, and thou shalt find one of us awaiting thee.'
Then they repaired to Jouder and waited awhile, after which Salim went up to him and kissed his hand. Quoth Jouder, 'What ails thee, O my brother?' And he made answer, saying, 'Know that I have a friend, who hath many a time bidden me to his house in thine absence and hath ever hospitably entreated me, and I owe him a thousand kindnesses, as my brother here knoweth. I met him to-day and he invited me to his house, but I said to him, "I cannot leave my brother [Jouder]." Quoth he, "Bring him with thee;" and I answered, saying, "He will not consent to that; but if ye will be my guests, thou and thy brothers . . . . . . ;" for his brothers were sitting with him, and I invited them, thinking that they would refuse. But he accepted my invitation, saying, "Look for me at the gate of the Mosque, and I will come to thee, I and my brothers." And now I fear they will come and am ashamed before thee. So wilt thou set my heart at rest and entertain them this night, for thy good is abundant, O my brother? Or if thou consent not, give me leave to take them into the neighbours' house.' 'Why shouldst thou carry them into the neighbours' house?' replied Jouder. 'Is our house then so strait or have we not wherewithal to give them to sup? Shame on thee to consult me! Thou hast but to call for what thou needest and have rich meats and sweetmeats and to spare. Whenever thou bringest home folk in my absence, ask thy mother, and she will set before thee victual more than enough. Go and fetch them; blessings have descended upon us.' (7)
So Salim kissed his hand and going forth, sat at the gate of the mosque till after sundown, when the Captain and his men came up to him, and he carried them to the house. When Jouder saw them, he bade them welcome and made them sit and entreated them friendly, knowing not what he was to suffer at their hands. Then he called to his mother for supper, and she fell to taking dishes out of the saddle-bags, whilst he said, 'Bring such and such meats,' till she had set forty different dishes before them. So they ate till they were satisfied and the tray was taken away, the sailors thinking the while that this liberal entertainment came from Salim. When a third part of the night was past, Jouder set sweetmeats before them and Salim served them; whilst his two brothers sat with the guests, till they sought to sleep. So Jouder laid down and the others with him, who waited till he was asleep, when they fell upon him and gagging and binding him, before he was awake, carried him forth of the house, under cover of the night. Then they packed him off to Suez, where they shackled him and set him to work as a [galley] slave; and he ceased not to serve thus in silence a whole year.
As for his brothers, they went in next morning to his mother and said to her, 'O mother, our brother Jouder is not awake.' Quoth she, 'Do ye wake him.' 'Where lieth he?' asked they, and she replied, 'With the guests.' 'Peradventure,' rejoined they, 'he went away with them whilst we slept. It would seem that he had tasted of foreign travel and yearned to find hidden treasures; for we heard him talk with the Moors, and they said to him, "We will take thee with us and open the treasure to thee."' 'Hath he then been in company with Moors?' asked she, and they answered, saying, 'Were they not our guests yesternight?' 'Most like he hath gone with them,' said she; 'but God will direct him aright; for there is a blessing upon him and he will surely come back with great good.' And she wept, for it was grievous to her to be parted from her son.
Then said they to her, 'O accursed woman, dost thou love Jouder with all this love, whilst as for us, whether we be absent or present, thou neither joyest in us nor sorrowest for us? Are we not thy sons, even as Jouder is thy son?' 'Ye are indeed my sons,' answered she; 'but ye are reprobates who deserve no favour of me, for I have never had any satisfaction of you since your father's death; whilst, as for Jouder, I have had abundant good of him and he has comforted my heart and entreated me with honour; wherefore it behoves me to weep for him, because of his goodness to me and to you.'
When they heard this, they reviled her and beat her; after which they sought for the saddle-bags, till they found the two pairs and took the enchanted one and all the gold and jewels from the other, saying, 'This was our father's good.' 'Not so, by Allah!' said their mother. 'It belongs to your brother Jouder, who brought it from the land of the Moors.' 'Thou liest,' answered they; 'it was our father's property; and we will dispose of it.'
Then they divided the gold and jewels between them; but a dispute arose between them concerning the enchanted saddle-bags, each saying, 'I will have them;' and they came to high words over this. Then said she, 'O my sons, ye have divided the gold and the jewels, but this may not be divided, nor can its value be made up in money; and if it be cut in twain, its virtue will be annulled; so leave it with me and I will give you to eat from it at all times and be content to take a morsel with you. If ye give me aught to clothe me, it will be of your favour, and each of you shall traffic with the folk for himself. Ye are my sons and I am your mother; wherefore let us abide as we are, lest your brother come back and we be disgraced.' But they hearkened not to her words and passed the night, wrangling with one another.
Now it chanced that a sergeant of the King's guards was a guest in the adjoining house and heard them through the open window. So he looked out and listening, heard all that passed between them. Next morning, he presented himself before the King of Egypt, whose name was Shems ed Dauleh, and told him all he had heard, whereupon he sent for Jouder's brothers and put them to the torture, till they confessed; and he took the two pairs of saddle-bags from them and clapped them in prison, appointing a sufficient daily allowance to their mother.
Meanwhile, Jouder abode a whole year in service at Suez, till, one day, being in a ship bound on a voyage over the sea, a wind arose against them and cast the vessel upon a rock, where she broke up and all on board were drowned, save Jouder. He got ashore in safety and fared on inland, till he reached an encampment of Bedouins, who questioned him of his case, and he told them what had befallen him. Now there was amongst them a merchant, a native of Jiddah, (8) who took pity on him and said to him, 'O Egyptian, wilt thou take service with me and I will clothe thee and carry thee with me to Jiddah?' So Jouder took service with him and followed him to Jiddah, where he showed him much favour. After awhile, the merchant set out on a pilgrimage to Mecca, taking Jouder with him, and when they reached the city, the latter repaired to the temple, to make the round of the Kaabeh. As he was making the prescribed circuits, he saw his friend Abdussemed the Moor doing the like; and when the latter caught sight of him, he saluted him and asked him how he did; whereupon Jouder wept and told him all that had befallen him.
The Moor carried him to his lodging and entreated him with honour, clothing him in a dress of unmatched richness and saying to him, 'Thou hast seen the end of thine ills, O Jouder.' Then he levelled a tablet of sand and drew a geomantic figure, by which he discovered what had befallen Salim and Selim and said to Jouder, 'Such and such things have befallen thy brothers and they are now in the King of Egypt's prison; but do thou abide with me and accomplish thy religious duties at thine ease, and all shall be well.' 'O my lord,' replied Jouder, 'let me go and take leave of the merchant with whom I am and after I will come back to thee.' 'Dost thou owe money?' asked the Moor, and he answered, 'No.' 'Go,' said Abdussemed, 'and take leave of him and come back forthright, for men of honour owe a duty to those whose bread they have eaten.'
So Jouder returned to the merchant and took leave of him, saying, 'I have fallen in with my brother.' 'Bring him here,' said the merchant, 'and we will make him an entertainment.' But Jouder answered, saying, 'He has no need of that; for he is a man of wealth and hath many servants.' Then the merchant gave Jouder twenty dinars, saying, 'Acquit me of responsibility;' and he bade him farewell and went forth from him. As he went along, he saw a poor man, so he gave him the twenty dinars and returned to the Moor, with whom he abode till they had accomplished the rites of the pilgrimage, when Abdussemed gave him the ring, that he had taken from the treasure of Es Shemerdel, saying, 'This ring will bring thee to thy desire, for it is enchanted and hath a servant, by name Er Raad el Casif; so whatever thou hast a mind to of the things of this world, rub this ring and its servant will appear and do all thou biddest him.'
Then he rubbed the ring before him, whereupon the genie appeared, saying, 'Here I am, O my lord! Ask what thou wilt and it shall be given thee. Hast thou a mind to people a ruined city or lay waste a flourishing one or slay a king or put an army to the rout?' 'O Raad,' said Abdussemed, 'this is become thy lord; do thou serve him faithfully.' Then he dismissed him and said to Jouder, 'Rub the ring and the genie will appear; and do thou command him to do whatever thou desirest, for he will not gainsay thee. Now go to thine own country and take care of the ring, for it will enable thee to baffle thine enemies.' 'O my lord,' answered Jouder, 'with thy leave, I will set out homeward.' Quoth the Moor, 'Summon the genie and mount upon his back; and if thou say to him, "Bring me to my native city this very day," he will not gainsay thy commandment.'
So he took leave of the Moor and rubbed the ring, whereupon Er Raad presented himself, saying, 'Here am I; ask and it shall be given to thee.' 'Carry me to Cairo this day,' said Jouder. 'Thy commandment shall be done,' answered the genie and taking him on his back, flew with him from noon till midnight, when he set him down in the courtyard of his mother's house and disappeared. Jouder went in to his mother, who rose at sight of him and greeted him, weeping. Then she told him how the king had beaten his brothers and cast them into prison and taken the two pairs of saddle-bags; which when he heard, it was grievous to him and he said to her, 'Grieve not for this; I will show thee what I can do and bring my brothers hither forthright.' So he rubbed the ring, whereupon the genie appeared, saying, 'At thy service! Ask and thou shalt have.' Quoth Jouder, 'Bring me my two brothers from the prison.'
So the genie sank into the earth and came not up but in the midst of the gaol where Salim and Selim lay in piteous plight and sore affliction, for the misery of prison, so that they wished for death and one of them said to the other, 'By Allah, O my brother, affliction is long upon us! How long shall we abide in this prison? Death would be relief.' As he spoke, the earth clove in sunder and out came Er Raad, who took them up and plunged with them into the earth. They swooned away for excess of fear, and when they recovered, they found themselves in their mother's house and saw her seated, with Jouder by her side. Quoth he, 'I salute you, O my brothers! I rejoice to see you.' And they bowed their heads and fell a-weeping. Then said he, 'Weep not, for it was the devil and covetise that led you to do thus. How could you sell me? But I comfort myself with the thought of Joseph, whose brothers did with him worse than ye with me, when they cast him into the pit. Repent unto God and crave pardon of Him, and He will forgive you, for He is the Most Forgiving, the Merciful. As for me, I pardon you and bid you welcome: no harm shall befall you.' Then he comforted them and set their hearts at ease and related to them all he had suffered, till he fell in with Abdussemed, and told them also of the ring that the latter had given him. 'O our brother,' said they, 'forgive us this time; and if we return to our old ways, do with us as thou wilt.' Quoth he, 'No harm shall befall you; but tell me what the king did with you.' 'He beat us and threatened us,' answered they, 'and took the two pairs of saddle-bags from us.' 'He shall answer for this,' said Jouder and rubbed the ring, whereupon Er Raad appeared.
When his brothers saw the genie, they were affrighted and thought Jouder would bid him slay them; so they fled to their mother, saying, 'O our mother, we throw ourselves on thy mercy: do thou intercede for us!' And she said to them, 'Fear nothing, O my sons!' Then said Jouder to the genie, 'I command thee to bring me all that is in the king's treasury, together with the two pairs of saddle-bags he took from my brothers, and look thou leave nothing.' 'I hear and obey,' replied Er Raad and disappearing, straightway returned with the two pairs of saddle-bags and all else that was in the treasury and laid them before Jouder, saying, 'O my lord, I have left nothing in the treasury.' Jouder gave the treasure to his mother to keep and laying the enchanted saddle-bags before him, said to the genie, 'I command thee to build me this night a lofty palace and overlay it with liquid gold and furnish it magnificently: and let not the day dawn, ere thou be quit of the whole work.' 'Thy commands shall be obeyed,' replied the genie and sank into the earth. Then Jouder brought forth food and they ate and took their ease and lay down to sleep.
Meanwhile, Er Raad summoned his attendant Jinn and commanded them to build the palace. So some of them fell to hewing stones and some to building, whilst others plastered and painted and furnished; nor did the day dawn before the ordinance of the palace was complete; whereupon Er Raad came to Jouder and said to him, 'O my lord, the palace is ready, if it please thee to come and look on it.' So Jouder went forth with his mother and brothers and saw a palace, whose like there was not in the whole world. It stood upon the merge of the highway and confounded all minds with the goodliness of its ordinance; and withal it had cost him nothing. Then he said to his mother, 'Wilt thou take up thine abode in this palace?' 'I will well, O my son,' answered she and called down blessings upon him.
Then he rubbed the ring and bade the genie fetch him forty handsome white slave-girls and forty male white slaves, besides the like number of black slaves, male and female. 'Thy will shall be done,' answered Er Raad and betaking himself, with forty of his attendant Jinn, to Hind and Sind and Persia, carried off every handsome girl and boy they saw, till they had made up the required number. Moreover, he sent other fourscore, who fetched handsome black slaves, male and female, forty of either sex, and carried them all to Jouder's house, which they filled. Then he showed them to Jouder, who was pleased with them and bade him bring a suit of the richest raiment for each of them and dresses to boot for himself and his mother and brothers. So the genie brought all that was needed and clad the female slaves, saying to them, 'This is your mistress: kiss her hands and cross her not, but serve her, white and black.' The male slaves also clad themselves and kissed Jouder's hands; and he and his brothers arrayed themselves in the robes the genie had brought them and became, Jouder as he were a king and his brothers as viziers. Now his house was spacious; so he lodged Salim and his slave-girls in one part thereof and Selim and his slave-girls in another, whilst he and his mother took up their abode in the new palace; and each in his own place was like the Sultan.
Meanwhile, the king's treasurer, thinking to take something from the treasury, went in and found it altogether empty, even as saith the poet:Once was it as a beehive stocked and full of bees galore; But when they left it, it became devoid of all its store. (9)
And he gave a great cry and fell down in a swoon. When he came to himself, he left the door open and going in to the king, said to him, 'O Commander of the Faithful, I have to tell thee that the treasury hath become empty during the night.' Quoth the king, 'What hast thou done with my treasures that were therein?' 'By Allah,' replied the treasurer, 'I have not done aught with them nor know I what is come of them! I visited the place yesterday and saw it full; but, when I went in to day, I found it altogether empty, albeit the doors were locked and [the walls] unpierced and the locks unbroken, nor hath a thief entered it.' 'Are the two pairs of saddle-bags gone?' asked the king. 'Yes,' replied the treasurer; whereupon the king's reason fled from his head and he rose to his feet, saying, 'Go thou before me.' So the treasurer forewent him to the treasury and he found nothing there, whereat he was sore enraged and said, 'Who hath dared to violate my treasury, fearing not my wrath?'
Then he went forth and held a Divan, to which he summoned all his chief officers, who came, thinking each that the king was wroth with him; and he said to them, 'Know that my treasury hath been plundered during the night, and I know not who has done this thing and dared thus to outrage me, without fear of my wrath.' 'How so?' asked they. Quoth he, 'Ask the treasurer.' So they asked him, and he replied, saying, 'I visited the treasury yesterday and it was full, but when I entered it this morning, I found it empty, though the doors were unpierced and the locks unbroken.' They all marvelled at this and could make the king no answer, when in came the sergeant, who had denounced Salim and Selim, and said to Shems ed Dauleh, 'O King of the age, all this night I have not slept for that which I saw.' And the king said, 'And what didst thou see?' 'Know, O King of the age,' answered the sergeant, 'that all night long I have been amusing myself with watching builders at work, and when it was day, I saw a palace ready built, whose like is not in the world. So I asked about it and was told that Jouder had come back with great wealth and slaves and servants and that he had freed his brothers from prison and built this palace, wherein he is as a Sultan. Quoth the king, 'Go, look in the prison.' So they went thither and finding Salim and Selim gone, returned and told the king, who said, 'It is plain now who is the robber; he who took Salim and Selim out of prison it is who hath stolen my treasures.' 'O my lord,' said the Vizier, 'and who is he?' 'Their brother Jouder,' replied the king, 'and he hath taken the two pairs of saddle-bags; but, O Vizier, do thou send him an Amir with fifty men to seal up his goods and lay hands on him and his brothers and bring them to me, that I may hang them.' And he was sore enraged and said, 'Quick, fetch them to me, that I may put them to death.'
But the Vizier said to him, 'Be thou clement, for God is clement and hasteth not to punish His servants, when they transgress against Him. Moreover, he who can build a palace in one night, as these say, none in the world can vie with him; and I fear lest the Amir catch a mischief of Jouder. Have patience, therefore, whilst I devise for thee some means of getting at the truth of the case, and so shalt thou come to thy desire, O King of the age.' Quoth the king, 'Counsel me how I shall do, O Vizier.' And the Vizier said, 'Send him an Amir, to bid him to an entertainment, and I will make much of him for thee and make a show of affection for him and ask him of his estate; after which we will see. If we find him stout of heart, we will use craft with him, and if weak, then do thou seize him and do with him thy will.' The King agreed to this and despatched one of his Amirs, by name Othman, to invite Jouder and say to him, 'The King bids thee to an entertainment;' and the King said to him, 'Return not but with him.'
Now this Othman was a proud conceited fool; so he went forth upon his errand, and when he came to Jouder's palace, he saw at the door an eunuch seated upon a chair of gold, who rose not at his approach, but sat as if none were near, though there were with the Amir fifty men. Now this eunuch was none other than Er Raad el Casif, the servant of the ring, whom Jouder had commanded to put on the guise of an eunuch and sit at the gate of the palace. So the Amir rode up to him and said to him, 'O slave, where is thy lord?' 'In the palace,' answered he, without stirring from his leaning posture; whereupon Othman waxed wroth and said to him, 'O pestilent slave, art thou not ashamed, when I speak to thee, to answer me, sprawling at thy length like a good-for-nought?' 'Begone,' answered the eunuch, 'and do not multiply words.' When Othman heard this, he was filled with rage and drawing his mace, would have smitten the eunuch, knowing not that he was a devil; but the latter leapt upon him and taking the mace from him, dealt him four blows with it. When the fifty men saw their lord beaten, it was grievous to them; so they drew their swords and ran at the slave, thinking to kill him; but he said, 'Do ye draw swords on us, O dogs?' And fell upon them with the mace, and every one whom he smote, he broke his bones and drowned him in his blood. So they gave back before him and fled in confusion, whilst he followed them, beating them, till he had driven them far from the palace; after which he returned and sat down on his chair at the gate, caring for no one.
Meanwhile the Amir and his company returned, beaten and discomfited, to Shems ed Dauleh, and Othman said, 'O King of the age, when I came to the palace gate, I saw an eunuch seated there in a chair of gold and he was passing arrogant; for, when he saw me coming, he lay back in his chair and entreated me contemptuously, neither offered to rise to me. So I began to speak to him and he answered me without stirring, at which passion got the better of me and I drew the mace upon him, thinking to smite him. But he snatched it from me and beat me and my men therewith and overthrew us. So we fled from him and could not prevail against him.' At this, the King was wroth and said, 'Let a hundred men go down to him.' So the hundred men went down to him, but he fell upon them with the mace and smote upon them till he put them to the rout; whereupon they returned to the King and told him what had passed, saying, 'O King of the age, he beat us and we fled for fear of him.' Then the King sent two hundred men against him, but these also he put to the rout, and Shems ed Dauleh said to his Vizier, 'O Vizier, I charge thee take five hundred men and bring this eunuch in haste, and with him his master Jouder and his brothers.' 'O King of the age,' replied the Vizier, 'I need no soldiers, but will go down to him alone and unarmed.' 'Go,' said the King, 'and do as thou seest fit.'
So the Vizier laid down his arms and donning a white habit, took a rosary in his hand and set out alone and afoot. When he came to the palace gate, he saw the eunuch sitting there; so he went up to him and seating himself courteously by his side, said to him, 'Peace be on thee!' 'And on thee be peace, O mortal!' answered the slave. 'What wilt thou?' When the Vizier heard him say 'O mortal,' he knew him to be of the Jinn and quaked for fear; then he said to him, 'O my lord, is thy master Jouder here?' 'Yes,' answered the eunuch, 'he is in the palace.' 'O my lord,' said the Vizier, 'go thou to him and say to him, "King Shems ed Dauleh salutes thee and bids thee honour his dwelling [with thy presence] and eat of a banquet he hath made for thee."' And the eunuch said, 'Abide here, whilst I consult him.'
So the Vizier stood in a respectful attitude, whilst the Marid went up into the palace and said to Jouder, 'Know, O my lord, that the King sent to thee an Amir and fifty men, and I beat them and drove them away. Then he sent a hundred men and I beat them also; then two hundred, and these also I put to the rout. And now he hath sent thee the Vizier, unarmed, bidding thee to visit him and eat of his banquet. What sayst thou?' 'Go,' answered Jouder; 'bring the Vizier hither.' So the Marid went down and said to him, 'O Vizier, come speak with my lord.' 'On my head be it,' replied he and going in to Jouder, found him seated, in greater state than the King, upon a carpet, the like of which the King could not spread, and was amazed at the goodliness of the palace and the magnificence of its furniture and decoration, which made him seem as he were but a beggar in comparison.
So he kissed the earth before Jouder and called down blessings on him; and Jouder said to him, 'What is thy business, O Vizier?' 'O my lord,' answered he, 'thy friend King Shems ed Dauleh salutes thee and longs to look upon thy face; wherefore he hath made thee an entertainment. So wilt thou heal his heart [and eat of his banquet]?' Quoth Jouder, 'If he be indeed my friend, salute him and bid him come to me.' 'On my head be it,' replied the Vizier. Then Jouder rubbed the ring and bade the genie bring him a dress of the best, which he gave to the Vizier, saying, 'Don this dress and go tell the King what I say,' So the Vizier donned the dress, the like of which he had never worn, and returning to the King, told him what had passed and praised the palace and that which was therein, saying, 'Jouder bids thee to him.' So the King called for his charger and mounting with all his guards, set out for Jouder's palace.
Meanwhile Jouder summoned the Marid and said to him, 'It is my will that thou bring me some of the Afrits at thy command in the guise of guards and station them before the palace, that the King may see them and be awed by them; so shall his heart tremble and he shall know that my power is greater than his.' So Er Raad brought him two hundred Afrits of great stature and strength, in the guise of guards, magnificently armed and equipped, and when the King came and saw these tall and stout troops, his heart feared them. Then he entered the palace, and found Jouder sitting in such state as neither King nor Sultan could match. So he saluted him and made his obeisance to him; yet Jouder rose not to him nor did him honour neither bade him be seated, but left him standing, so that fear entered into him and he could neither sit nor go away and said in himself, 'If he feared me, he would not leave me thus unheeded; belike he will do me a mischief, because of that which I did with his brothers.' Then said Jouder, 'O King of the age, it beseems not the like of thee to wrong the folk and take away their goods.' 'O my lord,' replied the King, 'be not wroth with me, for covetise impelled me to this and the fulfilment of fore-ordained fate; and were there no offence, there would be no forgiving.' And he went on to excuse himself and sue to him for pardon and indulgence, reciting amongst other things the following verses:O thou of noble sires and nature frank and free, Reproach me not for what I've done to anger thee.
And he ceased not to humble himself before him, till he said, 'God pardon thee!' and bade him sit. So he sat down and Jouder invested him with the garments of pardon and bade his brothers spread the table. When they had eaten, he clad the King's company in robes of honour and gave them largesse; after which he bade the King depart. So he went forth and thereafter came every day to visit Jouder and held not his Divan save in his house: wherefore friendship and usance waxed great between them, and they abode thus awhile, till one day the King, being alone with his Vizier, said to him, 'O Vizier, I fear lest Jouder kill me and take the kingdom from me.' 'O King of the age,' replied the Vizier, 'as for his taking the kingdom from thee, have no fear of that, for his present estate is greater than that of the King, and to take the kingdom would be a lowering of his rank; but, if thou fear that he kill thee, thou hast a daughter: give her to him to wife and thou and he will be of one condition.'
'O Vizier,' said the King, 'be thou intermediary between us and him.' And the Vizier said, 'Do thou bid him to an entertainment and pass the night with him in one of thy saloons. Then command thy daughter to don her richest clothes and ornaments and pass by the door of the saloon. When he sees her, he will fall in love with her, and when we know this, I will turn to him and tell him that she is thy daughter and engage him in converse and lead him on, so that thou shalt [seem to] know nothing of the matter, till he asks her of thee in marriage. When thou hast married him to the girl, thou and he will be as one thing and thou wilt be safe from him; and if he die, thou wilt inherit all he hath, both great and small.' 'Thou sayst sooth, O my Vizier,' replied the King and made a banquet and invited Jouder thereto. So he came to the King's palace and they sat in the saloon in great good cheer till the end of the day. Now the King had commanded his wife to array the girl in her richest clothes and ornaments and carry her by the door of the saloon. She did as he bade her, and when Jouder saw the princess, who had not her match for beauty and grace, he looked fixedly at her and said, 'Alas!' And his joints were loosened for love and passion and desire were sore upon him; transport and love-liking gat hold upon him and he turned pale. Quoth the Vizier, 'May no hurt betide thee, O my lord! Why do I see thee pale and undone?' 'O Vizier,' asked Jouder, 'whose daughter is yonder damsel? Verily, she hath captived me and ravished my reason.' 'She is the daughter of thy friend the King,' replied the Vizier; 'and since she pleases thee, I will speak to him that he marry thee to her.' 'Do so, O Vizier,' quoth Jouder, 'and as I live, I will bestow on thee what thou wilt and will give the King whatsoever he shall ask to her dowry; and we will become friends and kinsfolk.' And the Vizier said, 'It shall go hard but thy desire be accomplished.' Then he turned to the King and said to him, 'O King of the age, thy friend Jouder seeks alliance with thee and will have me ask of thee for him the hand of thy daughter, the princess Asiyeh; so disappoint me not, but accept my intercession, and what dowry soever thou askest he will give thee.' Quoth the King, 'The dowry I have already received, and as for the girl, she is his handmaid; I give her to him to wife and he doth me favour in accepting her.'
They spent the rest of the night together and on the morrow the King held a court, to which he summoned great and small, together with the Sheikh el Islam. Then Jouder demanded the princess in marriage and the King said, 'The dowry I have received.' So they drew up the contract of marriage and Jouder sent for the saddle-bags containing the jewels and gave them to the King as his daughter's dowry. Then the drums beat and the pipes sounded and they held high festival, whilst Jouder went in to the girl. Thenceforward he and the King were as one and they abode thus awhile, till Shems ed Dauleh died; whereupon the troops proclaimed Jouder Sultan, and he refused; but they importuned him, till he consented and became King in his father-in-law's stead. Then he bade build a congregational mosque over the latter's tomb in the Bundecaniyeh quarter and endowed it. Now the quarter in which he dwelt was called the Yemaniyeh quarter; but when he became Sultan, he built therein a congregational mosque and other buildings, wherefore the quarter was named after him and was called the Jouderiyeh quarter.
Moreover, he made his brother Salim his Vizier of the right and his brother Selim his Vizier of the left hand; and thus they abode a year and no more; for, at the end of that time, Salim said to Selim, 'O my brother, how long is this to last? Shall we pass our whole lives in service to our brother Jouder? We shall never enjoy lordship or fortune whilst he lives: so how shall we do to kill him and take the ring and the saddle-bags?' 'Thou art craftier than I,' answered Selim; 'do thou contrive us a device, whereby we may kill him.' 'If I do this,' said Salim, 'wilt thou agree that I be Sultan and have the ring and that thou be my right-hand Vizier and have the saddle-bags?' 'I consent to this,' replied Selim, and they agreed to kill their brother for love of the world and of dominion.
So they laid a snare for Jouder and said to him, 'O our brother, we have a mind to glory in thee and would fain have thee enter our houses and eat of our victual and solace our hearts.' 'So be it,' replied Jouder. 'In whose house shall the banquet be?' 'In mine,' said Salim, 'and after thou hast eaten of my victual, thou shalt be the guest of my brother.' 'It is well,' answered Jouder and went with him to his house, where he set before him poisoned food, of which when he had eaten, his flesh rotted from his bones [and he fell down dead]. Then Salim came up to him and would have drawn the ring from his finger, but it resisted him; so he cut off the finger with a knife. Then he rubbed the ring and the Marid presented himself, saying, 'At thy service. Ask what thou wilt.' Quoth Salim, 'Put my brother Selim to death and take the two bodies, the poisoned man and the slaughtered, and cast them down before the troops.' So the Marid took Selim and slew him; then, carrying the two bodies forth, he cast them down before the chief officers of the army, who were sitting at meat in the verandah of the house. When they saw Jouder and Selim slain, they held their hands from the food and fear gat hold of them and they said to the Marid, 'Who hath dealt thus with the Sultan and the Vizier?' 'Their brother Salim,' answered the Marid. And behold Salim came in to them and said, 'O soldiers, eat and make merry, for Jouder is dead and I have taken to me the seal-ring, of which the Marid before you is the servant; and I bade him kill my brother Selim, lest he dispute the kingdom with me, for he was a traitor and I feared lest he should deal traitorously with me. So now I am become Sultan over you; will ye accept of me? If not, I will rub the ring and bid the Marid slay you all, great and small.' Quoth they, 'We accept thee to King and Sultan.'
Then he summoned the Divan and bade bury his brothers; and some of the folk followed the funeral, whilst others went before him in state procession to the palace, where he sat down upon the throne and they proclaimed him king; after which he said, 'It is my will to marry my brother Jouder's wife.' Quoth they, 'Wait till the days of widowhood are accomplished.' But he answered, saying, 'I know not days of widowhood nor aught else. As my head liveth, I will go in to her this very night.' So they drew up the marriage contract and sent to tell the princess Asiyeh, who replied, 'Bid him enter.' Accordingly, he went in to her and she received him with a show of joy and welcome; but by and by she gave him poison in water and made an end of him. Then she took the ring and broke it, that none might possess it thenceforward, and rent the saddle-bags; after which she sent to the Sheikh el Islam and other the great officers of state, telling them what had passed and saying to them, 'Choose you out a king to rule over you.' And this is all that hath come down to us of the story of Jouder and his brothers.