KHUDADAD [FN#232] AND HIS BROTHERS.
Said she, O auspicious King, this my tale relateth to the Kingdom of Diyár Bakr [FN#233] in whose capital-city of Harrán [FN#234] dwelt a Sultan of illustrious lineage, a protector of the people, a lover of his lieges, a friend of mankind and renowned for being gifted with every good quality. Now Allah Almighty had bestowed upon him all that his heart could desire, save boon of child, for though he had lovely wives within his Harem-door and fair concubines galore, he had been not blessed with a son; wherefor he offered up incessant worship to the Creator. One night there appeared to him in a dream a man of comely visage and holy of semblance like unto a prophet, who addressed him, saying, "O puissant King, thy vows are at length heard. Arise to-morrow at day-dawn, pray a two-bow prayer and offer up thy petitions; then haste thee to the Chief Gardener of thy palace and require of him a pomegranate whereof do thou eat as many seeds as seemeth best to thee; after which perform another two-bow prayer, and Allah will shower favours and graces upon thy head." The King, awaking at peep of day, called to mind the vision of the night, and returning thanks to the Almighty, made his orisons and kneeling invoked a benedicite. Then he rose and repaired to the garth, and receiving a pomegranate from the Head-Gardener, counted out and ate fifty grains thereof; to wit, one for each of his wives. After this he lay the night in turn with them all and by the omnipotence of the Creator all gave in due time signs of pregnancy, save one Firúzah [FN#235] hight. So the King conceived a grudge against her, saying in his soul, "Allah holdeth this woman vile and accursed and He willeth not that she become the mother of a Prince, and on this wise hath the curse of barrenness become her lot." He would have had her done to death but the Grand Wazir made intercession for her and suggested to the Sultan that perchance Firuzah might prove with child and withal not show outward signal thereof, as is the manner of certain women; wherefore to slay her might be to destroy a Prince with the mother. Quoth the King, "So be it! slay her not, but take heed that she abide no longer or at court or in the city, for I cannot support the sight of her." Replied the Minister, "It shall be done even as thy Highness biddeth: let her be conveyed to the care of thy brother's son, Prince Samír." The King did according to the counsel of his Wazir and despatched his loathed Queen to Samaria [FN#236] accompanied by a writ with the following purport, to his nephew, "We forward this lady to thy care: entreat her honourably and, shouldest thou remark tokens of pregnancy in her, see that thou acquaint us therewith without stay or delay." So Firuzah journeyed to Samaria, and when her time was fulfilled she gave birth to a boy babe, and became the mother of a Prince who in favour was resplendent as the sheeny day. Hereat the lord of Samaria sent message by letter to the Sultan of Harran saying, "A Prince hath been borne by the womb of Firuzah: Allah Almighty give thee permanence of prosperity!" By these tidings the King was filled with joy; and presently he replied to his cousin, Prince Samir, "Each one of my forty-and-nine spouses hath been blessed with issue and it delighteth me beyond bounds that Firuzah hath also given me a son. Let him be named Khudadad--God's gift--do thou have due care of him and whatsoever thou mayest need for his birth-ceremonies shall be counted out to thee without regard to cost." Accordingly Prince Samir took in hand with all pleasure and delight the charge of Prince Khudadad; and, as soon as the child reached the age for receiving instruction, he caused him to be taught cavalarice and archery and all such arts and sciences which it behoveth the sons of the Kings to learn, so that he became perfect in all manner knowledge. At eighteen years of age he waxed seemly of semblance and such were his strength and valiance that none in the whole world could compare with him. Presently, feeling himself gifted with unusual vigour and virile character he addressed one day of the days Firuzah his parent, saying, "O mother mine, grant me thy leave to quit Samaria and fare in quest of fortune, especially of some battle-field where I may prove the force and prowess of me. My sire, the Sultan of Harran, hath many foes, some of whom are lusting to wage war with him; and I marvel that at such time he doth not summon me and make me his aid in this mightiest of matters. But seeing that I possess such courage and Allah-given strength it behoveth me not to remain thus idly at home. My father knoweth not of my lustihood, nor forsooth doth he think of me at all; nevertheless 'tis suitable that at such a time I present myself before him, and tender my services until my brothers be fit to fight and to front his foes." Hereto his mother made answer, "O my dear son, thine absence pleaseth me not, but in truth it becometh thee to help thy father against the enemies who are attacking him on all sides, provided that he send for thine aidance."--And as the morn began to dawn Shahrazad held her peace till
The end of the Five Hundred and Ninety-third Night.
Then said she:--I have heard, O auspicious King, that Khudadad replied to his mother Firuzah, "Indeed I am unable to brook delay; moreover such longing have I in heart to look upon the Sultan, my sire, that an I go not and visit him and kiss his feet I shall assuredly die. I will enter his employ as a stranger and all unknown to him, nor will I inform him that I am his son; but I shall be to him as a foreigner or as one of his hired knaves, and with such devotion will I do him suit and service that, when he learneth that I am indeed his child, he may grant me his favour and affection." Prince Samir also would not suffer him to depart and forbade him therefrom; but one day of the days the Prince suddenly set out from Samaria under pretext that he was about to hunt and chase. He mounted a milk-white steed, whose reins and stirrups were of gold and the saddle and housings were of azure satin dubbed with jewels and fringed with pendants of fresh pearls. His scymitar was hilted with a single diamond, the scabbard of chaunders-wood was crested with rubies and emeralds and it depended from a gemmed waist-belt; while his bow and richly wrought quiver hung by his side. Thus equipped and escorted by his friends and familiars he presently arrived at Harran-city after the fairest fashion; and, when occasion offered itself, he made act of presence before the King and did his obeisance at Darbar. The Sultan, remarking his beauty and comeliness, or haply by reason of an outburst of natural affection, was pleased to return his salam; and, graciously calling him to his side, asked of him his name and pedigree, whereto Khudadad answered, "O my liege, I am the son of an Emir of Cairo. A longing for travel hath made me quit my native place and wander from clime to clime till at length I have come hither; and, hearing that thou hast matters of importance in hand, I am desirous of approving to thee my valiancy." The King joyed with exceeding joy to hear this stout and doughty speech, and forthwith gave him a post of command in his army; and Khudadad by careful supervision of the troops soon won the esteem of his officers by his desire to satisfy them and the hearts of his soldiers by reason of his strength and courage, his goodly nature and his kindly disposition. He also brought the host and all its equipments and munitions of warfare into such excellent order and method that the King on inspecting them was delighted and created the stranger Chief Commandant of the forces and made him an especial favourite; while the Wazirs and Emirs, also the Nabobs and the Notables, perceiving that he was highly reputed and regarded, showed him abundant good will and affection. Presently, the other Princes, who became of no account in the eyes of the King and the lieges, waxed envious of his high degree and dignity. But Khudadad ceased not to please the Sultan his sire, at all times when they conversed together, by his prudence and discretion, his wit and wisdom, and gained his regard ever more and more; and when the invaders, who had planned a raid on the realm, heard of the discipline of the army and of Khudadad's provisions for materials of war, they abstained from all hostile intent. After a while the King committed to Khudadad the custody and education of the forty-nine Princes, wholly relying on his sagesse and skill; and thus, albeit Khudadad was of age like his brothers, he became their master by reason of his sapience and good sense. Whereupon they hated him but the more; and, when taking counsel one day, quoth one to the other, "What be this thing our sire hath done that he should make a stranger-wight his cup-companion and set him to lord it over us? We can do naught save by leave of this our governor, and our condition is past bearing; so contrive we to rid ourselves of this foreigner and at least render him vile and contemptible in the eyes of our sire the Sultan." Said one, "Let us gather together and slay him in some lonely spot;" and said another, "Not so! to kill him would benefit us naught, for how could we keep the matter hidden from the King? He would become our enemy and Allah only wotteth what evil might befal us. Nay, rather let us crave permission of him and fare a-hunting and then tarry we in some far-off town; and after a while the King will marvel at our absence, then grief will be sore upon him and at length, waxing displeased and suspicious, he will have this fellow expelled the palace or haply done to death. This is the only sure and safe way of bringing about his destruction."--And as the morn began to dawn Shahrazad held her peace till
The end of the Five Hundred and Ninety-fourth Night.
Then said she:--I have heard, O auspicious King, that the forty-and-nine brothers agreed to hold this plan wisest and, presently going together to Khudadad, asked leave of him to ride about the country awhile or fare to the chase, promising they would return by set of sun. He fell into the snare and allowed them to go; whereupon they sallied forth a-hunting but did not come back that day or the next. On the third morning the King who missed them asked Khudadad wherefore it was that none of his sons were to be seen; and he answered that three days before they had gotten leave from him to go a-hunting and had not returned. Hereat the father was perplexed with sore perplexity; and, when sundry days more had passed by and still the Princes appeared not, the old Sultan was much troubled in mind and hardly restraining his rage summoned Khudadad and in hot wrath exclaimed, "O thou neglectful stranger, what courage and over-daring is this of thine that thou didst suffer my sons fare to the chase and didst not ride with them! And now 'tis but right that thou set out and search for them and bring them back; otherwise thou shalt surely die." Khudadad, hearing these harsh words, was startled and alarmed; however he got him ready and mounted his horse forthwith and left the city in quest of the Princes his brethren, wandering about from country to country, like unto a herd seeking a straying flock of goats. Presently, not finding any trace of them in homestead or on desert-ground, he became sad and sorrowful exceedingly, saying in his soul, "O my brothers, what hath befallen you and where can ye be dwelling? Perchance some mighty foeman hath made you prisoners so that ye cannot escape; and I may never return unto Harran till I find you; for this will be a matter of bitter regret and repine to the King." So he repented more and more having suffered them to go without his escort and guidance. At length whilst searching for them from plain to plain and forest to forest he chanced come upon a large and spacious prairie in the middlemost whereof rose a castle of black marble; so he rode on at a foot pace and when close under the walls he espied a lady of passing beauty and loveliness who was seated at a window in melancholy plight and with no other ornament than her own charms. Her lovely hair hung down in dishevelled locks; her raiment was tattered and her favour was pale and showed sadness and sorrow. Withal she was speaking under her breath and Khudadad, giving attentive ear, heard her say these words, "O youth, fly this fatal site, else thou wilt fall into the hands of the monster who dwelleth here: a man-devouring Ethiopian [FN#237] is lord of this palace; and he seizeth all whom Fate sendeth to this prairie and locketh them up in darksome and narrow cells that he may preserve them for food." Khudadad exclaimed, "O my lady, tell me I pray thee who thou art and whereabouts was thy home;" and she answered, "I am a daughter of Cairo and of the noblest thereof. But lately, as I wended my way to Baghdad, I alighted upon this plain and met that Habashi, who slew all my servants and carrying me off by force placed me in this palace. I no longer cared to live, and a thousand times better were it for me to die; for that this Abyssinian lusteth to enjoy me and albeit to the present time I have escaped the caresses of the impure wretch, to-morrow an I still refuse to gratify his desire he will surely ravish me and do me dead. So I have given up all hope of safety; but thou, why hast thou come hither to perish? Escape without stay or delay, for he hath gone forth in quest of wayfarers and right soon will he return. Moreover he can see far and wide and can descry all who traverse this wold." Now hardly had the lady spoken these words when the Abyssinian drew in sight; and he was as a Ghúl of the Wild, big of bulk, and fearsome of favour and figure, and he mounted a sturdy Tartar steed, brandishing, as he rode, a weighty blade which none save he could wield. Prince Khudadad seeing this monstrous semblance was sore amazed and prayed Heaven that he might be victorious over that devil: then unsheathing his sword he stood awaiting the Abyssinian's approach with courage and steadfastness; but the blackamoor when he drew near deemed the Prince too slight and puny to fight and was minded to seize him alive. Khudadad, seeing how his foe had no intent to combat, struck him with his sword on the knee a stroke so dour that the negro foamed with rage and yelled a yell so loud that the whole prairie resounded with the plaint. Thereupon the brigand, fiery with fury, rose straight in his shovel-stirrups and struck fiercely at Khudadad with his huge sword and, but for the Prince's cunning of fence and the cleverness of his courser, he would have been sliced in twain like unto a cucumber. Though the scymitar whistled through the air, the blow was harmless, and in an eye-twinkling Khudadad dealt him a second cut and struck off his right hand which fell to the ground with the sword hilt it gripped, when the blackamoor losing his balance rolled from the saddle and made earth resound with the fall. Thereupon the Prince sprang from his steed and deftly severing the enemy's head from his body threw it aside. Now the lady had been looking down at the lattice rigid in prayer for the gallant youth; and, seeing the Abyssinian slain and the Prince victorious, she was overcome with exceeding joy and cried out to her deliverer, "Praise be to Almighty Allah, O my lord, who by thy hand hath defeated and destroyed this fiend. Come now to me within the castle, whose keys are with the Abyssinian; so take them and open the door and deliver me." Khudadad found a large bunch of keys under the dead man's girdle wherewith he opened the portals of the fort and entered a large saloon in which was the lady; and, no sooner did she behold him than running to meet him she was about to cast herself at his feet and kiss them when Khudadad prevented her. She praised him with highest praise and extolled him for valiancy above all the champions of the world, and he returned the salam to her who, when seen near hand seemed endued with more grace and charms than had appeared from afar. So the Prince joyed with extreme joy and the twain sat down in pleasant converse. Presently, Khudadad heard shrieks and cries and weeping and wailing with groans and moans and ever loudening lamentations; so he asked the lady, saying, "whence are these clamours and from whom come these pitiful complaints?" And, she pointing to a wicket in a hidden corner of the court below, answered, saying, "O my lord, these sounds come therefrom. Many wretches driven by Destiny have fallen into the clutches of the Abyssinian Ghul and are securely locked up in cells, and each day he was wont to roast and eat one of the captives." "'Twill please me vastly," quoth Khudadad, "to be the means of their deliverance: come, O my lady, and show me where they are imprisoned." Thereupon the twain drew near to the place and the Prince forthright tried a key upon the lock of the dungeon but it did not fit; then he made essay of another wherewith they opened the wicket. As they were so doing the report of the captives' moaning and groaning increased yet more and more until Khudadad, touched and troubled at their impatience, asked the cause of it. The lady replied, "O my lord, hearing our footsteps and the rattling of the key in the lock they deem that the cannibal, according to his custom, hath come to supply them with food and to secure one of them for his evening meal. Each feareth lest his turn for roasting be come, so all are affrighted with sore affright and redouble their shouts and cries."--And as the morn began to dawn Shahrazad held her peace till
The end of the Five Hundred and Ninety-fifth Night.
Then said she:--I have heard, O auspicious King, that the sounds from that secret place seemed to issue from under ground or from the depths of a draw-well. But when the Prince opened the dungeon door, he espied a steep staircase and descending thereby found himself in a deep pit, narrow and darksome, wherein were penned more than an hundred persons with elbows pinioned and members chained; nor saw he aught of light save through one bull's-eye. So he cried to them, "O ye unfortunates, fear ye no more! I have slain the Abyssinian; and render ye praise to Allah Almighty who hath rid you of your wrong-doer: also I come to strike off your fetters and return you to freedom." Hearing these glad tidings the prisoners were in raptures of delight and raised a general cry of joy and jubilee. Hereupon Khudadad and the lady began to loose their hands and feet; and each, as he was released from his durance, helped to unchain his fellows: brief, after a moment of time all were delivered from their bonds and bondage. Then each and every kissed Khudadad's feet and gave thanks and prayed for his welfare; and when those whilom prisoners entered the court-yard whereupon the sun was shining sheen, Khudadad recognised amongst them his brothers, in quest of whom he had so long wandered. He was amazed with exceeding amazement and exclaimed, "Laud be to the Lord, that I have found you one and all safe and sound: your father is sorely sad and sorrowful at your absence; and Heaven forfend that this devil hath devoured any from amongst you." He then counted their number, forty-and-nine, and set them apart from the rest; and all in excess of joy fell upon one another's necks and ceased not to embrace their saviour. After this the Prince spread a feast for the captives, each and every, whom he had delivered; and, when they had eaten and drunken their full, he restored to them the gold and silver, the Turkey carpets and pieces of Chinese silk and brocade and other valuables innumerable which the Abyssinian had plundered from the caravans, as also their own personal goods and chattels, directing each man to claim his own; and what remained he divided equally amongst them. "But," quoth he, "by what means can ye convey these bales to your own countries, and where can ye find beasts of burden in this wild wold?" Quoth they, "O our Lord, the Abyssinian robbed us of our camels with their loads and doubtless they are in the stables of the castle." Hereupon Khudadad fared forth with them to the stables and there found tethered and tied not only the camels but also the forty-nine horses of his brothers the princes, and accordingly he gave to each one his own animal. There were moreover in the stables hundreds of Abyssinian slave-boys who, seeing the prisoners released, were certified that their lord the cannibal was slain and fled in dismay to the forest and none thought of giving chase to them. So the merchants loaded their merchandise upon the camels' backs and farewelling the Prince set out for their own countries. Then quoth Khudadad to the lady, "O thou rare in beauty and chastity, whence camest thou when the Abyssinian seized thee and whither now wouldst thou wend? Inform me thereof that I may restore thee to thy home; haply these Princes, my brethren, sons of the Sultan of Harran, know thine abode; and doubtless they will escort thee thither." The lady turning to Khudadad presently made answer, "I live far from here and my country, the land of Egypt, is over distant for travel. But thou, O valorous Prince, hast delivered mine honour and my life from the hands of the Abyssinian and hast shown me such favour that 'twould ill become me to conceal from thee my history. I am the daughter of a mighty king; reigning over the Sa'íd or upper Nile-land; and when a tyrant foeman seized him and, reaving him of life as well as of his realm, usurped his throne and seized his kingdom, I fled away to preserve my existence and mine honour." Thereupon Khudadad and his brothers prayed the lady to recount all that had befallen her and reassured her, saying, "Henceforth thou shalt live in solace and luxury: neither toil nor trouble shall betide thee." When she saw that there was no help for her but to tell all her tale, she began in the following words to recount the
History of the Princess of Daryabar. [FN#238]
In an island of the islands standeth a great city called Daryábár, wherein dwelt a king of exalted degree. But despite his virtue and his valour he was ever sad and sorrowful having naught of offspring, and he offered up without surcease prayers on that behalf. After long years and longsome supplications a half boon was granted to him; to wit, a daughter (myself) was born. My father who grieved sore at first presently rejoiced with joy exceeding at the unfortunate ill-fated birth of me; and, when I came of age to learn, he bade me be taught to read and write; and caused me to be instructed in court-ceremonial and royal duties and the chronicles of the past, to the intent that I might succeed him as heiress to his throne and his kingship. Now it happened one day that my sire rode out a-hunting and gave chase to a wild ass [FN#239] with such hot pursuit that he found himself at eventide separated from his suite; so, wearied with the chase, he dismounted from his steed and seating himself by the side of a forest-path, he said to himself "The onager will doubtless seek cover in this copse." Suddenly he espied a light shining bright amidst the trees and, thinking that a hamlet might be hard by, he was minded to night there and at day-dawn to determine his further course. Hereupon he arose and walking towards the light he found that it issued from a lonely hut in the forest; then peering into the inside he espied an Abyssinian burly of bulk and in semblance like unto a Satan, seated upon a divan. Before him were ranged many capacious jars full of wine and over a fire of charcoal he was roasting a bullock whole and eating the flesh and ever and anon drinking deep draughts from one of the pitchers. Furthermore the King sighted in that hut a lady of exquisite beauty and comeliness sitting in a corner direly distressed: her hands were fast bound with cords, and at her feet a child of two or three years of age lay beweeping his mother's sorry plight.--And as the morn began to dawn Shahrazad held her peace till
The end of the Five Hundred and Ninety-sixth Night.
Then said she:--I have heard, O auspicious King, that seeing the doleful state of these twain, my sire was filled with ruth and longed to fall upon the ogre sword in hand; however, not being able to cope with him he restrained his wrath and remained on stealthy watch. The giant having drained all the pitchers of wine and devoured half of the barbacued bullock presently addressed himself to the lady and said, "O loveliest of Princesses, how long wilt thou prove thee coy and keep aloof from me? Dost thou not see how desirous I am of winning thy heart and how I am dying for the love of thee? 'Tis therefore only right that thou also shouldst return my affection and know me as thine own, when I will become to thee the kindest of mankind." "O thou Ghul of the waste," cried the lady, "what be this whereof thou pratest? Never; no, never shalt thou win thy wish of me, however much thou mayest lust therefor. Torment me or, an thou wilt, destroy me downright, but for my part I will on no wise yield me to thy lusts." At these words the infuriated savage roared aloud, "'Tis enough and more than enough: thy hate breedeth hatred in me and now I desire less to have and hold thee than to do thee die." Then he seized her with one hand, and drawing his sabre with the other, would have struck off her head from her body when my father shot at him a shaft so deftly that it pierced his heart and came out gleaming at his back and he fell to the ground and found instant admission into Jahannam. Hereupon my sire entered the hut and unbinding the lady's bonds enquired of her who she was and by what means that ogre had brought her thither. Answered she, "Not far from this site there liveth on the sea-shore a race of Saracens, like unto the demons of the desert. Sorely against my will I was wedded to their Prince and the fulsome villain thou hast now slain was one of my husband's chief officers. He fell madly in love to me and he longed with excessive longing to get me into his power and to carry me off from my home. Accordingly, one day of the days when my husband was out of the way and I was in privacy, he carried me off with this my babe from the palace to this wild wood wherein is none save He [FN#240] and where well he wot that all search and labour would be baffled; then, hour after hour he designed guilty designs against me, but by the mercy of Almighty Allah I have ever escaped all carnal soil of that foul monster. This evening, in despair of my safety, I was rejecting his brutal advances when he attempted to take my life and in the attempt he was slain by thy valorous hand. This is then my story which I have told thee." My father reassured the Princess, saying, "O my lady, let thy heart be at ease; at day-break I will take thee away from this wilderness and escort thee to Daryabar, of which city I am the Sultan; and, shouldst thou become fain of that place, then dwell therein until thy husband shall come in quest of thee." Quoth the lady, "O my lord, this plan doth not displease me." So with the earliest light next morning my father took mother and child away from that forest and set forth homewards when suddenly he fell in with his Sirdars and officers who had been wandering hither and thither during the livelong night in search of him. They rejoiced with great joy on seeing the King and marvelled with exceeding marvel at the sight of a veiled one with him, admiring much that so love-some a lady should be found dwelling in a wold so wild. Thereupon the King related to them the tale of the ogre and of the Princess and how he had slain the blackamoor. Presently they set forth on their homeward way; one of the Emirs seating the dame behind him on his horse's crupper while another took charge of the child. They reached the royal city, where the King ordered a large and splendid mansion to be built for his guest, the babe also received a suitable education; and thus the mother passed her days in perfect comfort and happiness. After the lapse of some months, when no tidings, however fondly expected, came of her husband, she resigned herself to marrying my father whom she had captivated by her beauty and loveliness and amorous liveliness, [FN#241] whereupon he wedded her, and when the marriage-contract was drawn up (as was customary in those days), they sojourned together in one stead. As time went on the lad grew up to be a lusty youth of handsome mien; moreover he became perfect in courtly ceremonial and in every art and science that befit Princes. The King and all the Ministers and Emirs highly approved of him, and determined that I should be married to him, and that he should succeed the sovereign as heir to throne and kingship. The youth also was well pleased with such tokens of favour from my father, but chiefly he rejoiced with exceeding joy to hear talk of his union with his protector's only daughter. One day my sire desired to place my hand in his to the intent that the marriage ceremony should at once take place, but first he would impose upon my suitor certain conditions, whereof one was that he should wed none other but his wife's daughter, that is, myself. This pledge displeased the haughty youth, who forthwith refused his consent thereto, deeming himself by the demand of such condition a despised and contemptible suitor of villain birth.--And as the morn began to dawn Shahrazad held her peace till
The end of the Five Hundred and Ninety-seventh Night.
Then said she:--I have heard, O auspicious King, that, the lady continued:--On this wise the wedding was deferred, and this delay became a matter of sore displeasure to the young man, who thought in his heart that my father was his foe. Therefore he ever strove to lure him into his power till one day in a frenzy of rage he slew him and proclaimed himself King of Daryabar. Moreover the murtherer would have entered my chamber to kill me also had not the Wazir, a true and faithful servant of the crown, at the tidings of his liege lord's death speedily taken me away, and hidden me in the house of a friend where he bade me remain concealed. Two days afterwards, having fitted out a ship, he embarked me therein with a Kahramánah--an old duenna--and set sail for a country whose King was of my father's friends, to the intent that he might consign me to his charge, and obtain from him the aid of an army wherewith he might avenge himself upon the ungrateful and ungracious youth who had proved himself a traitor to the salt. [FN#242] But a few days after our weighing anchor a furious storm began to blow making the captain and crew sore confounded and presently the waves beat upon the vessel with such exceeding violence that she brake up, and the Wazir and the duenna and all who were therein (save myself) were drowned in the billows. But I, albeit well nigh a-swoon, clung to a plank and was shortly after washed ashore by the send of the sea, for Allah of His mighty power had preserved me safe and sound from death-doom by the raging of the ocean, to the end that further troubles might befal me. When I returned to sense and consciousness, I found myself alive on the strand and offered up grateful thanks to Almighty Allah; but not seeing the Wazir or any one of the company I knew that they had perished in the waters.--And as the morn began to dawn Shahrazad held her peace till
The end of the Five Hundred and Ninety-eighth Night.
Then said she:--I have heard, O auspicious King, that the Princess of Daryabar continued:--Presently, calling to remembrance the murther of my father I cried aloud with an exceeding bitter cry and was sore afraid at my lonesome plight, insomuch that I would fain have cast myself again into the sea, when suddenly the voice of man and tramp of horse-hooves fell upon my ears. Then looking about I descried a band of cavaliers in the midst of whom was a handsome prince: he was mounted upon a steed of purest Rabite [FN#243] blood and was habited in a gold-embroidered surcoat; a girdle studded with diamonds girt his loins and on his head was a crown of gold; in fine it was evident from his garb as from his aspect that he was a born ruler of mankind. Thereupon, seeing me all alone on the sea-shore, the knights marvelled with exceeding marvel; then the Prince detached one of his captains to ascertain my history and acquaint him there-with; but albeit the officer plied me with questions I answered him not a word and shed a flood of tears in the deepest silence. So noting the waifage on the sand they thought to themselves, "Perchance some vessel hath been wrecked upon this shore and its planks and timber have been cast upon the land, and doubtless this lady was in that ship and hath been floated ashore on some plank." Whereupon the cavaliers crowded around me and implored me to relate unto them what had befallen me; nevertheless I still answered them not a word. Presently the Prince himself drew near to me and, much amazed, sent away his suite from about me and addressed me in these words, "O my lady, fear naught of ill from me nor distress thyself by needless affright. I would convey thee to my home and under my mother's care; wherefore I am curious to know of thee who thou art. The Queen will assuredly befriend thee and keep thee in comfort and happiness." And now understanding that his heart was drawn towards me, I told him all that had betided me, and he on hearing the story of my sad destiny became moved with the deepest emotion and his eyes brimmed with tears. Then he comforted me and carried me with him and committed me to the Queen his mother, who also lent kindly ear to my tale of the past, first and last, and hearing it she also was greatly grieved, and wearied not day or night in tending me and (as far as in her lay) striving to make me happy. Seeing, moreover, that her son was deeply enamoured of me and love-distraught she agreed to my becoming his wife, while I also consented when I looked upon his handsome and noble face and figure and to his proved affection for me and his goodness of heart. Accordingly, in due time the marriage was celebrated with royal pomp and circumstance. But what escape is there from Fate? On that very night, the night of the wedding, a King of Zanzibar who dwelt hard by that island, and had erewhile practised against the kingdom, seizing his opportunity, attacked us with a mighty army, and having put many to death, bethought him to take me and my husband alive. But we escaped from his hands and fleeing under the murks of night to the sea-shore found there a fisherman's boat, which we entered thanking our stars and launched it and floated far away on the current, unknowing whither Destiny was directing us. On the third day we espied a vessel making us, whereat we rejoiced with joy excessive, deeming her to be some merchantman coming to our aidance. No sooner had it lain alongside, however, than up there sprang five or six pirates, [FN#244] each brandishing a naked brand in hand, and boarding us tied our arms behind us and carried us to their craft. They then tare the veil from my face and forthwith desired to possess me, each saying to other, "I will enjoy this wench." On this wise wrangling and jangling ensued till right soon it turned to battle and bloodshed, when moment by moment and one by one the ravishers fell dead until all were slain save a single pirate, the bravest of the band. Quoth he to me, "Thou shalt fare with me to Cairo where dwelleth a friend of mine and to him will I give thee, for erewhile I promised him that on this voyage I would secure for him a fair woman for handmaid." Then seeing my husband, whom the pirates had left in bonds he exclaimed, "Who may be this hound? Is he to thee a lover or a friend?" and I made answer, "He is my wedded husband." "'Tis well," cried he: "in very sooth it behoveth me to release him from the bitter pangs of jealousy and the sight of thee enfolded in another's fond embrace." Whereat the ruffian raised aloft the ill-fated Prince, bound foot and hand, and cast him into the sea, while I shrieked aloud and implored his mercy, but all in vain. Seeing the Prince struggling and drowning in the waves I cried out and screamed and buffetted my face and tare my hair and would fain have cast myself into the waters but I could not, for he held me fast and lashed me to the mainmast. Then, pursuing our course with favouring winds we soon arrived at a small port-village where he bought camels and boy-slaves and journeyed on towards Cairo; but when several stages of the road were left behind us, the Abyssinian who dwelt in this castle suddenly overtook us. From afar we deemed him to be a lofty tower, and when near us could hardly believe him to be a human being.-- And as the morn began to dawn Shahrazad held her peace till
The end of the Five Hundred and Ninety-ninth Night.
Then said she:--I have heard, O auspicious King, that the Princess of Daryabar continued:--At once unsheathing his huge sword the Habashi made for the pirate and ordered him to surrender himself prisoner, with me and all his slaves, and with pinioned elbows to accompany him. Hereat the robber with hot courage and heading his followers rushed fiercely on the Abyssinian, and for a long time the fight raged thick and fast, till he and his lay dead upon the field; whereupon the Abyssinian led off the camels and carried me and the pirate's corpse to this castle, and devoured the flesh of his foe at his evening meal. Then turning to me as I wept with bitter weeping he said, "Banish from thy breast this woe and this angry mood; and abide in this castle at perfect ease and in comfort, and solace thyself with my embraces. However, since thou appearest at this present to be in dire distress, I will excuse thee for to-night, but without fail I shall require thee of thyself on the morrow." He then led me into a separate chamber and locking fast the gates and doors, fell asleep alone in another place. Arising early on the next morning he searched the castle round about, unlocked the wicket which he closed again and sallied forth, according to his custom, in quest of wayfarers. But the caravan escaped him and anon he returned empty-handed when thou didst set upon him and slay him." On this wise the Princess of Daryabar related her history to Prince Khudadad who was moved with ruth for her: then comforting her he said, "Henceforth fear naught nor be on any wise dismayed. These princes are the sons of the King of Harran; and if it please thee, let them lead thee to his court and stablish thee in comfort and luxury: the King also will guard thee from all evil. Or, shouldest thou be loath to fare with them, wilt thou not consent to take for spouse him who hath rescued thee from so great calamity?" The Princess of Daryabar consented to wed with him and forthwith the marriage was celebrated with grand display in the castle and here they found meats and drinks of sundry sorts, and delicious fruits and fine wines wherewith the cannibal would regale himself when a-weary of man's flesh. So Khudadad made ready dishes of every colour and feasted his brothers. Next day taking with them such provaunt as was at hand, all set forth for Harran, and at the close of each stage they chose a suitable stead for nighting; and, when but one day's journey lay before them, the Princes supped that night off what was left to them of their viaticum and drained all the wine that remained. But when the drink had mastered their wits, Khudadad thus addressed his brothers, saying, "Hitherto have I withheld from you the secret of my birth, which now I must disclose. Know ye then that I am your brother, for I also am a son of the King of Harran, whom the Lord of Samaria-land brought up and bade educate; and lastly, my mother is the Princess Firuzah." Then to the Princess of Daryabar, "Thou didst not recognize my rank and pedigree and, had I discovered myself erewhile, haply thou hadst been spared the mortification of being wood by a man of vulgar blood. But now ease thy mind for that thy husband is a Prince." Quoth she, "Albeit thou discoveredst to me naught until this time, still my heart felt assured that thou wast of noble birth and the son of some potent sovereign." The Princes one and all appeared outwardly well pleased and offered each and every warm congratulations whilst the wedding was celebrating; but inwardly they were filled with envy and sore annoy at such unwelcome issue of events, so much so that when Khudadad retired with the Princess of Daryabar to his tent and slept, those ingrates, forgetful of the service rendered to them by their brother in that he had rescued them when prisoners in the hands of the man-devouring Abyssinian, remained deep in thought and seeking a safe place took counsel one with other to kill him. Quoth the foremost of them, "O my brethren, our father showed him the liveliest affection when he was to us naught save a vagrant and unknown, and indeed made him our ruler and our governor; and now, hearing of his victory won from the ogre and learning that the stranger is his son, will not our sire forthwith appoint this bastard his only heir and give him dominion over us so that we must all be forced to fall at his feet and bear his yoke? My rede is this that we make an end of him in this very spot." Accordingly they stole softly into his tent and dealt him from every side strokes with their swords, so that they slashed him in every limb and fondly thought that they had left him dead on the bed without their awaking the Princess. Next morning they entered the city of Harran and made their salams to the King, who despaired of sighting them again, so he rejoiced with exceeding joy on seeing them restored to him safe and sound and sane, and asked why they had tarried from him so long. In reply they carefully concealed from him their being thrown into the dungeon by the Ghul of Abyssinia and how Khudadad had rescued them: on the contrary all declared that they had been delayed whilst a-hunting and a-visiting the adjacent cities and countries. So the Sultan gave full credence to their account and held his peace. Such was their case; but as regards Khudadad, when the Princess of Daryabar awoke in the morning she found her bridegroom lying drowned in blood gashed and pierced with a score of wounds.--And as the morn began to dawn Shahrazad held her peace till
The end of the full Six Hundredth Night.
Then said she:--I have heard, O auspicious King, that, the Princess, deeming her bridegroom dead, wept at this sight right sore; and, calling to mind his youth and beauty, his valour and his many virtues, she washed his face with her tears and exclaimed, "Well-away and woe is me, O my lover, O Khudadad, do these eyes look upon thee in sudden and violent death? Are these thy brothers (the devils!) whom thy courage hath saved, the destroyers of thee? Nay 'tis I am thy murtheress; I who suffered thee to ally thy Fate with my hapless destiny, a lot that doometh to destruction all who befriend me." Then considering the body attentively she perceived that breath was slowly coming and going through his nostrils, and that his limbs were yet warm. So she made fast the tent-door and ran city-wards to seek a surgeon, and anon having found a skilful leech, she returned with him, but lo and behold! Khudadad was missing. She wist not what had become of him, but thought in her mind that some wild beast had carried him off; then she wept bitterly and bemoaned her mishap, so that the surgeon was moved to ruth and with words of comfort and consolation offered her house and service; and lastly he bore her to the town and assigned to her a separate dwelling. He also appointed two slave-girls to wait upon her, and albeit he knew naught of her condition he was ever in attendance on her with the honour and homage due to the kings. One day, she being somewhat less sad of heart, the surgeon, who had now informed himself of her condition, asked her, saying, "O my lady, be pleased to acquaint me with thine estate and thy misfortunes, and as far as in me lieth I will strive to aid and succour thee." And she, observing the leech to be shrewd and trustworthy withal, made known to him her story. Quoth the surgeon, "An it be thy wish, I would gladly escort thee to thy father-in-law the King of Harran, who is indeed a wise sovereign and a just; and he will rejoice to see thee and will take vengeance on the unnatural Princes, his sons, for the blood of thy husband unjustly shed." These words pleased well the Princess; so the surgeon hired two dromedaries which they mounted and the twain set forth for the city of Harran. Alighting that same evening at a caravanserai the leech asked what news had come from town; and the Keeper answered, "The King of Harran had a son passing valiant and accomplished who abode with him for some years as a stranger; but lately he was lost, nor doth any know of him whether he be dead or alive. The Princess Firuzah his mother hath sent allwheres in search of him, yet hath she found nor trace nor tidings of him. His parents and indeed all the folk, rich and poor, weep and wail for him and albeit the Sultan hath other forty and nine sons, none of them can compare with him for doughty deeds and skilful craft, nor from any one of them deriveth he aught of comfort or consolation. Full quest and search have been made but hitherto all hath been in vain." The surgeon thereupon made known these words to the Princess of Daryabar, who was minded to go straightway and acquaint the mother of Khudadad with everything that had befallen her husband; but the surgeon, after full reflection, said, "O Princess, shouldst thou fare with this intent, haply ere thou arrive thither the forty-nine Princes may hear of thy coming; and they, by some means or other, will assuredly do thee die, and thy life will be spent to no purpose. Nay, rather let me go first to Prince Khudadad's mother: I will tell her all thy tale and she doubtless will send for thee. Until such time do thou remain secret in this Serai." Accordingly the leech rode on leisurely for the city and on the road he met a lady mounted upon a she-mule [FN#245] whose housings were of the richest and finest, while behind her walked confidential servants, followed by a band of horsemen and foot- soldiers and Habashi slaves; and, as she rode along, the people formed espalier, standing on either side to salute her while she passed. The leech also joined the throng and made his obeisance, after which quoth he to a bystander, which was a Darwaysh, "Methinks this lady must be a queen?" "'Tis even so," quoth the other, "she is the consort of our Sultan and all the folk honour and esteem her above her sister-wives for that in truth she is the mother of Prince Khudadad and of him thou surely hast heard." Hereupon the surgeon accompanied the cavalcade; and, when the lady dismounted at a cathedral-mosque and gave alms of Ashrafis [FN#246] and gold coins to all around (for the King had enjoined her that until Khudadad's return she should deal charity to the poor with her own hand, and pray for the youth's being restored to his home in peace and safety), the mediciner also mingled with the throng which joined in supplications for their favourite and whispered to a slave saying, "O my brother, it behoveth me that I make known without stay or delay to Queen Firuzah a secret which is with me." Replied he, "An it be aught concerning Prince Khudadad 'tis well: the King's wife will surely give ear to thee; but an it be other, thou wilt hardly win a hearing, for that she is distraught by the absence of her son and careth not for aught beside." The surgeon, still speaking low, made reply, "My secret concerneth that which is on her mind." "If this be so," returned the slave, "do thou follow her train privily till it arrive at the palace gate." Accordingly, when the Lady Firuzah reached her royal apartments, the man made petition to her, saying, "A stranger would fain tell somewhat to thee in private;" and she deigned give permission and command, exclaiming, "'Tis well, let him be brought hither." Hereupon the slave presented to her the surgeon whom the Queen with gracious mien bade approach; and he, kissing ground between her hands, made his petition in these words: "I have a long tale to tell thy Highness whereat thou shalt greatly marvel." Then he described to her Khudadad's condition, the villainy of his brothers and his death at their hands and of his corpse having been carried off by wild beasts. Queen Firuzah hearing of her son's murther fell straight- way a-swooning to the ground, and the attendants ran up and, raising her, besprinkled her face with rose-water until she recovered sense and consciousness. Then she gave orders to the surgeon saying, "Hie thee straightway to the Princess of Daryabar and convey to her greetings and expressions of sympathy both from myself and from his sire;" and as the leech departed she called to mind her son and wept with sore weeping. By chance the Sultan, who was passing by that way, seeing Firuzah in tears and sobs and breaking out into sore and bitter lamentation, asked of her the reason thereof.--And as the morn began to dawn Shahrazad held her peace till
The end of the Six Hundred and First Night.
Then said she:--I have heard, O auspicious King, that when her husband enquired of Queen Firuzah why and wherefore she wept and wailed, and moaned and groaned, she told him all she had heard from the leech, and her husband was filled with hot wrath against his sons. So he rose up and went straightway to the audience-chamber, where the townsfolk had gathered together to petition him and to pray for justice and redress; and they, seeing his features working with rage, were all sore afraid. Presently the Sultan seated himself on the throne of his kingship and gave an order to his Grand Wazir, saying, "O Wazir Hasan, take with thee a thousand men of the guard which keepeth watch and ward over the palace and do thou bring hither the forty-and- nine Princes, my unworthy sons, and cast them into the prison appointed unto man-slayers and murtherers; and have a heed that none of them escape." The Wazir did as he was bidden, and seizing the Princes one and all cast them into gaol with the murtherers and other criminals, then reported his action to his liege lord. Hereat the Sultan dismissed sundry claimants and suppliants, saying, "For the space of one full-told month henceforth it besitteth me not to sit in the justice-hall. Depart hence, and, when the thirty days shall have passed away, do ye return hither again." After this rising from the throne he took with him the Wazir Hasan, and entering the apartment of Queen Firuzah, gave command to the Minister that he bring in all haste and with royal state and dignity from the caravanserai, the Princess of Daryabar and the mediciner. The Wazir straightway took horse accompanied by the Emirs and soldiers; and, leading a fine white she-mule richly adorned with jewelled trappings from out of the royal stables, he rode to the caravanserai wherein abode the Princess of Daryabar. Having told her all that the King had done, he seated her upon the animal and, mounting the surgeon upon a steed of Turcoman [FN#247] blood, all three proceeded with pomp and grandeur to the palace. The shop-keepers and townsfolk ran out to greet the lady as the cavalcade wound its way through the streets; and, when they heard say that she was the wife of Prince Khudadad, they rejoiced with exceeding joy for that they should now receive tidings of his whereabouts. As soon as the procession reached the palace gates the Princess of Daryabar saw the Sultan, who had come forth to greet her, and she alighted from the mule and kissed his feet. The King then raised her by the hand and conducted her to the chamber wherein sat Queen Firuzah awaiting her visit, and all three fell on one another's necks and wept sore and could on no wise control their grief. But whenas their sorrow was somewhat assuaged, the Princess of Daryabar said to the King, "O my lord the Sultan, I would proffer humble petition that full vengeance may fall upon those, one and all, by whom my husband hath been so foully and cruelly murthered." Replied the King, "O my lady, rest assured that I will assuredly put to death all those villains in requital for the blood of Khudadad;" presently adding, "'Tis true that the dead body of my brave son hath not been found, still it seemeth but right to me that a tomb be built, a cenotaph whereby his greatness and goodness may be held in everlasting remembrance." Thereupon he summoned the Grand Wazir and bade that a great Mausoleum of white marble be edified amiddlemost the city and the Minister straightway appointed workmen and made choice of a suitable spot in the very centre of the capital. So there they built a gorgeous cenotaph crowned with a noble dome under which was sculptured a figure of Khudadad; and, when the news of its completion reached the King, he appointed a day for ceremonious mourning and perlections of the Koran. At the appointed time and term the townsfolk gathered together to see the funeral procession and the obsequies for the departed; and the Sultan went in state to the Mausoleum together with all the Wazirs, the Emirs and Lords of the land, and took seat upon carpets of black satin purfled with flowers of gold which were dispread over the marble floor. After a while a bevy of Knights rode up, with downcast heads and half-closed eyes; and twice circuiting the dome [FN#248] they halted the third time in front of the door, and cried out aloud, "O Prince, O son of our Sultan, could we by the sway of our good swords and the strength of our gallant arms restore thee to life, nor heart nor force would fail us in the endeavour; but before the fiat of Almighty Allah all must bow the neck." Then the horsemen rode away to the place whence they came, followed by one hundred hermits hoar of head and dwellers of the caves who had passed their lives in solitude and abstinence nor ever held converse with man or womankind, neither did they appear in Harran at any time save for the obsequies of the reigning race. In front came one of these greybeards steadying with one hand a huge and ponderous tome which he bore upon his head. Presently all the holy men thrice compassed the Mausoleum, then standing on the highway the eldest cried with a loud voice, "O Prince, could we by dint of orisons and devotions bring thee back to life, these hearts and souls of ours would be devoted to quickening thee, and on seeing thee arise once again we would wipe thy feet with our own age-white beards." And when they also retired came one hundred maidens of wondrous beauty and loveliness, mounted on white barbs whose saddles were richly embroidered and set with jewels: their faces were bare and on their heads they bore golden canisters filled with precious stones, rubies and diamonds. They also rode in circuit round the cenotaph and, halting at the door, the youngest and fairest of them, speaking in the name of her sisterhood, exclaimed, "O Prince, could our youth and our charms avail thee aught, we would present ourselves to thee and become thy handmaids; but alas! thou knowest full well that our beauties are here all in vain nor can our love now warm thy clay." Then they also departed in the deepest grief. As soon as they had disappeared the Sultan and all with him rose up and walked thrice round the figure that had been set up under the dome; then standing at its feet the father said, "O my beloved son, enlighten these eyes which tears for the stress of separation have thus bedimmed." He then wept bitterly and all his Ministers and Courtiers and Grandees joined in his mourning and lamentations; and, when they had made an end of the obsequies, the Sultan and his suite returned palace-wards and the door of the dome was locked.--And as the morn began to dawn Shahrazad held her peace till
The end of the Six Hundred and Second Night.
Then said she:--I have heard, O auspicious King, that the Sultan commanded congregational prayers in all the mosques for a full told week and he ceased not to mourn and weep and wail before the cenotaph of his son for eight days. And as soon as this term was passed he commanded the Grand Wazir that vengeance be meted out for the murther of Prince Khudadad, and that the Princes be brought out from their dungeons and be done to death. The tidings were bruited about the city, and preparations were made for executing the assassins and crowds of folk collected to gaze upon the scaffold, when suddenly came a report that an enemy whom the King had routed in bygone times was marching upon the city with a conquering army. Hereat the Sultan was sore troubled and perplexed and the ministers of state said one to other, "Alas! had Prince Khudadad been on life he would forthwith have put to flight the forces of the foe however fierce and fell." Natheless the Sovran set out from the city with his suite and host, and eke he made ready for flight to some other land by way of the river should the enemy's force prove victorious. Then the two powers met in deadly combat; and the invader, surrounding the King of Harran's many on every side, would have cut him to pieces with all his warriors, when behold, an armed force hitherto unseen rode athwart the plain at a pace so swift and so sure that the two hostile Kings gazed upon them in uttermost amazement, nor wist any one whence that host came. But when it drew near, the horsemen charged home on the enemies and in the twinkling of an eye put them to flight; then hotly pursuing felled them with the biting sword and the piercing spear. Seeing this onslaught the King of Harran marvelled greatly and rendering thanks to heaven said to those around him, "Learn ye the name of the Captain of yonder host, who he may be and whence came he." But when all the foemen had fallen upon the field save only a few who escaped hither and thither and the hostile sultan who had been taken prisoner, the Captain of the friendly forces returned from pursuit well pleased to greet the King. And, lo and behold! as the twain drew near one to other the Sultan was certified that the Captain was none other than his beloved child, Khudadad, whilome lost and now found. Accordingly, he rejoiced with joy unspeakable that his enemy had thus been vanquished and that he had again looked upon his son, Khudadad, who stood before him alive and safe and sound. "O my sire," presently exclaimed the Prince, "I am he whom thou deemest to have been slain; but Allah Almighty hath kept me on life that I might this day stand thee in good stead and destroy these thine enemies." "O my beloved son," replied the King, "surely I had despaired and never hoped again to see thee with these mine eyes." So father and son dismounted and fell upon each other's necks and quoth the Sultan, clasping the youth's hand, "Long since have I known of thy valiant deeds, and how thou didst save thine ill-omened brothers from the hands of the man-devouring Abyssinian, and of the evil wherewith they requited thee. Go now to thy mother, of whom naught remaineth, through bitter tears for thee, save skin and bone: be thou the first to gladden her heart and give her the good tidings of this thy victory." As they rode along, the Prince enquired of the Sultan, his sire, how he had heard tell of the Habashi and of the rescue of the Princes from the cannibal's clutches. "Hath one of my brothers," added he, "informed thee of this adventure?" "Not so, O my son," replied the King, "not they, but the Princess of Daryabar told me the miserable tale thereof: she hath dwelt for many days with me and 'twas she who first and foremost demanded vengeance for thy blood." when Khudadad heard that the Princess his spouse was his father's guest, he rejoiced with exceeding joy and cried, "Suffer me first to see my mother; [FN#249] then will I go to the Princess of Daryabar." The King of Harran hereat struck off the head of his chief enemy and exposed it publicly throughout the streets of his capital, and all the people exulted mightily not only at the victory but also for the return of Khudadad safe and sound; and dancing and feasting were in every household. Presently Queen Firuzah and the Princess of Daryabar presented themselves before the Sultan and offered their congratulations to him, then they went to see Khudadad both hand in hand and the three falling on one another's necks wept for very joy.--And as the morn began to dawn Shahrazad held her peace till
The end of the Six Hundred and Third Night.
Then said she:--I have heard, O auspicious King, that after this the King and his Queen and daughter-in-law sat long conversing, and they marvelled much how Khudadad, albeit he was sorely gashed and pierced with the sword, had escaped alive from that wildest of wolds, whereupon the Prince at the bidding of his sire told his tale in these words: "A peasant mounted on a camel chanced to pass by my pavilion and seeing me sore wounded and weltering in my blood, set me upon his beast and conveyed me to his house; then, choosing some roots of desert-herbs he placed them on the hurts so that they kindly healed, and I speedily recovered strength. After returning thanks to my benefactor and giving him liberal largesse, I set out for the city of Harran and on the road I saw the forces of the foe in countless numbers marching upon thy city. Wherefore I made the matter known to the folk of the townships and villages round about and besought their aid; then collecting a large force I placed myself at the head thereof, and arriving in the nick of time destroyed the invading hosts." Hereupon the Sultan gave thanks to Allah Almighty and said, "Let all the Princes who conspired against thy life be put to death;" and sent forthright for the Sworder of his vengeance; but Khudadad made request to his sire and said, "In good sooth, O my lord the King, they all deserve the doom thou hast ordained, yet be not these my brethren and eke thine own flesh and blood? I have freely forgiven them their offence against me and I humbly pray thy pardon also, that thou grant them their lives, for that blood ever calleth unto blood." The Sultan at length consented and forgave their offence. Then, summoning all the Ministers, he declared Khudadad his heir and successor, in presence of the Princes whom he bade bring from the prison house. Khudadad caused their chains and fetters to be stricken off and embraced them one by one, showing them the same fondness and affection as he had shown to them in the castle of the cannibal Habashi. All the folk on hearing of this noble conduct of Prince Khudadad raised shouts of applause and loved him yet more than before. The surgeon who had done such good service to the Princess of Daryabar received a robe of honour and much wealth; and on this wise that which began with mishap had issue in all happiness. When Queen Shahrazad ended this story she said to Shahryar, "O my lord, thou art doubtless astonished to find that the Caliph Harún al-Rashid changed his wrath against Ghánim [FN#250] and his mother and sister to feelings of favour and affection, but I am assured that thou wilt be the more surprised on hearing the story of the curious adventures of that same Caliph with the blind man, Bábá Abdullah." Quoth Dunyazad, as was her way, to her sister Shahrazad, "O sister mine, what a rare and delectable tale hast thou told and now prithee favour us with another." She replied, "It is well nigh dawn but, if my life be spared, I will tell thee as the morrow morrows a strange and wonderful history of the Caliph Harun al-Rashid." [FN#251]--And as the morn began to dawn Shahrazad held her peace till
The end of the Six Hundred and Fourth Night,
When she began to relate the History of