Tale Of King Omar Bin Al-Nu'uman And His Sons Sharrkan And Zau Al-Makan,
The Tale of Aziz and Azizah (continued)
When it was the One Hundred and Twenty-Fifth Night
Shahrazad continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Aziz pursued to Taj al-Muluk: Then I entered the flower garden and made for the pavilion, where I found the daughter of Dalilah the Wily One, sitting with head on knee and hand to cheek. Her colour was changed and her eyes were sunken; but, when she saw me, she exclaimed, "Praised be Allah for thy safety!" And she was minded to rise but fell down for joy. I was abashed before her and hung my head; presently, however, I went up to her and kissed her and asked, "How knewest thou that I should come to thee this very night?" She answered, "I knew it not! By Allah, this whole year past I have not tasted the taste of sleep, but have watched through every night, expecting thee; and such hath been my case since the day thou wentest out from me and I gave thee the new suit of clothes, and thou promisedst me to go to the Hammam and to come back! So I sat awaiting thee that night and a second night and a third night; but thou camest not till after so great delay, and I ever expecting thy coming; for this is lovers' way. And now I would have thee tell me what hath been the cause of thine absence from me the past year long?" So I told her. And when she knew that I was married, her colour waxed yellow, and I added, "I have come to thee this night but I must leave thee before day." Quoth she, "Doth it not suffice her that she tricked thee into marrying her and kept thee prisoner with her a whole year, but she must also make thee swear by the oath of divorce, that thou wilt return to her on the same night before morning, and not allow thee to divert thyself with thy mother or me, nor suffer thee to pass one night with either of us, away from her? How then must it be with one from whom thou hast been absent a full year, and I knew thee before she did? But Allah have mercy on thy cousin Azizah, for there befel her what never befel any and she bore what none other ever bore and she died by thy ill usage; yet 'twas she who protected thee against me. Indeed, I thought thou didst love me, so I let thee take thine own way; else had I not suffered thee to go safe in a sound skin, when I had it in my power to clap thee in jail and even to slay thee." Then she wept with sore weeping and waxed wroth and shuddered in my face with skin bristling [FN#1] and looked at me with furious eyes. When I saw her in this case I was terrified at her and my side muscles trembled and quivered, for she was like a dreadful she Ghul, an ogress in ire, and I like a bean over the fire. Then said she, "Thou art of no use to me, now thou art married and hast a child; nor art thou any longer fit for my company; I care only for bachelors and not for married men: [FN#2] these profit us nothing Thou hast sold me for yonder stinking armful; but, by Allah, I will make the whore's heart ache for thee, and thou shalt not live either for me or for her!" Then she cried a loud cry and, ere I could think, up came the slave girls and threw me on the ground; and when I was helpless under their hands she rose and, taking a knife, said, "I will cut thy throat as they slaughter he goats; and that will be less than thy desert, for thy doings to me and the daughter of thy uncle before me." When I looked to my life and found myself at the mercy of her slave women, with my cheeks dust soiled, and saw her sharpen the knife, I made sure of death.--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the One Hundred and Twenty-sixth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Wazir Dandan thus continued his tale to Zau al-Makan: Then quoth the youth Aziz to Taj al-Muluk, Now when I found my life at the mercy of her slave women with my cheeks dust soiled, and I saw her sharpen the knife, I made sure of death and cried out to her for mercy. But she only redoubled in ferocity and ordered the slave girls to pinion my hands behind me, which they did; and, throwing me on my back, she seated herself on my middle and held down my head. Then two of them came up and squatted on my shin bones, whilst other two grasped my hands and arms; and she summoned a third pair and bade them beat me. So they beat me till I fainted and my voice failed. When I revived, I said to myself, " 'Twere easier and better for me to have my gullet slit than to be beaten on this wise!" And I remembered the words of my cousin, and how she used to say to me, "Allah, keep thee from her mischief!"; and I shrieked and wept till my voice failed and I remained without power to breathe or to move. Then she again whetted the knife and said to the slave girls, "Uncover him." Upon this the Lord inspired me to repeat to her the two phrases my cousin had taught me, and had bequeathed to me, and I said, "O my lady, dost thou not know that Faith is fair, Unfaith is foul?" When she heard this, she cried out and said, "Allah pity thee, Azizah, and give thee Paradise in exchange for thy wasted youth! By Allah, of a truth she served thee in her life time and after her death, and now she hath saved thee alive out of my hands with these two saws. Nevertheless, I cannot by any means leave thee thus, but needs must I set my mark on thee, to spite yonder brazen faced piece, who hath kept thee from me." There upon she called out to the slave women and bade them bind my feet with cords and then said to them, "Take seat on him!" They did her bidding, upon which she arose and fetched a pan of copper and hung it over the brazier and poured into it oil of sesame, in which she fried cheese. [FN#3] Then she came up to me (and I still insensible) and, unfastening my bag trousers, tied a cord round my testicles and, giving it to two of her women, bade them trawl at it. They did so, and I swooned away and was for excess of pain in a world other than this. Then she came with a razor of steel and cut off my member masculine, [FN#4] so that I remained like a woman: after which she seared the wound with the boiling and rubbed it with a powder, and I the while unconscious. Now when I came to myself, the blood had stopped; so she bade the slave girls unbind me and made me drink a cup of wine. Then said she to me, "Go now to her whom thou hast married and who grudged me a single night, and the mercy of Allah be on thy cousin Azizah, who saved thy life and never told her secret love! Indeed, haddest thou not repeated those words to me, I had surely slit thy weasand. Go forth this instant to whom thou wilt, for I needed naught of thee save what I have just cut off; and now I have no part in thee, nor have I any further want of thee or care for thee. So begone about thy business and rub thy head [FN#5] and implore mercy for the daughter of thine uncle!" Thereupon she kicked me with her foot and I rose, hardly able to walk; and I went, little by little, till I came to the door of our house. I saw it was open, so I threw myself within it and fell down in a fainting fit; whereupon my wife came out and lifting me up, carried me into the saloon and assured herself that I had become like a woman. Then I fell into a sleep and a deep sleep; and when I awoke, I found myself thrown down at the garden gate,--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the One Hundred and Twenty-seventh Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Wazir Dandan pursued to King Zau al-Makan, The youth Aziz thus continued his story to Taj al-Muluk: When I awoke and found myself thrown down at the garden gate, I rose, groaning for pain and misery, and made my way to our home and entering, I came upon my mother weeping for me, and saying, "Would I knew, O my son, in what land art thou?" So I drew near and threw myself upon her, and when she looked at me and felt me, she knew that I was ill; for my face was coloured black and tan. Then I thought of my cousin and all the kind offices she had been wont to do me, and I learned when too late that she had truly loved me; so I wept for her and my mother wept also Presently she said to me, "O my son, thy sire is dead." At this my fury against Fate redoubled, and I cried till I fell into a fit. When I came to myself, I looked at the place where my cousin Azizah had been used to sit and shed tears anew, till I all but fainted once more for excess of weeping; and I ceased not to cry and sob and wail till midnight, when my mother said to me, "Thy father hath been dead these ten days." "I shall never think of any one but my cousin Azizah," replied I; "and indeed I deserve all that hath befallen me, for that I neglected her who loved me with love so dear." Asked she, "What hath befallen thee?" So I told her all that had happened and she wept awhile, then she rose and set some matter of meat and drink before me. I ate a little and drank, after which I repeated my story to her, and told her the whole occurrence; whereupon she exclaimed, "Praised be Allah, that she did but this to thee and forbore to slaughter thee!" Then she nursed me and medicined me till I regained my health; and, when my recovery was complete, she said to me, "O my son, I will now bring out to thee that which thy cousin committed to me in trust for thee; for it is thine. She swore me not to give it thee, till I should see thee recalling her to mind and weeping over her and thy connection severed from other than herself; and now I know that these conditions are fulfilled in thee." So she arose, and opening a chest, took out this piece of linen, with the figures of gazelles worked thereon, which I had given to Azizah in time past; and taking it I found written therein these couplets,
"Lady of beauty, say, who taught thee hard and harsh design, * To slay with longing Love's excess this hapless lover thine?
An thou fain disremember me beyond our parting day, * Allah will know, that thee and thee my memory never shall tyne.
Thou blamest me with bitter speech yet sweetest 'tis to me; * Wilt generous be and deign one day to show of love a sign?
I had not reckoned Love contained so much of pine and pain; * And soul distress until I came for thee to pain and pine
Never my heart knew weariness, until that eve I fell * In love wi' thee, and prostrate fell before those glancing eyne!
My very foes have mercy on my case and moan therefor; * But thou, O heart of Indian steel, all mercy dost decline.
No, never will I be consoled, by Allah, an I die, * Nor yet forget the love of thee though life in ruins lie!"
When I read these couplets, I wept with sore weeping and buffeted my face; then I unfolded the scroll, and there fell from it an other paper. I opened it and behold, I found written therein, 'Know, O son of my uncle, that I acquit thee of my blood and I beseech Allah to make accord between thee and her whom thou lovest; but if aught befal thee through the daughter of Dalilah the Wily, return thou not to her neither resort to any other woman and patiently bear thine affliction, for were not thy fated life tide a long life, thou hadst perished long ago; but praised be Allah who hath appointed my death day before thine! My peace be upon thee; preserve this cloth with the gazelles herein figured and let it not leave thee, for it was my companion when thou was absent from me;"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the One Hundred and Twenty-eighth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Wazir Dandan pursued to King Zau al-Makan, And the youth Aziz continued to Taj al-Muluk: So I read what my cousin had written and the charge to me which was, "Preserve this cloth with the gazelles and let it not leave thee, for it was my companion when thou west absent from me and, Allah upon thee! if thou chance to fall in with her who worked these gazelles, hold aloof from her and do not let her approach thee nor marry her; and if thou happen not on her and find no way to her, look thou consort not with any of her sex. Know that she who wrought these gazelles worketh every year a gazelle cloth and despatcheth it to far countries, that her report and the beauty of her broidery, which none in the world can match, may be bruited abroad. As for thy beloved, the daughter of Dalilah the Wily, this cloth came to her hand, and she used to ensnare folk with it, showing it to them and saying, 'I have a sister who wrought this.' But she lied in so saying, Allah rend her veil! This is my parting counsel; and I have not charged thee with this charge, but because I know [FN#6] that after my death the world will be straitened on thee and, haply, by reason of this, thou wilt leave thy native land and wander in foreign parts, and hearing of her who wrought these figures, thou mayest be minded to fore gather with her. Then wilt thou remember me, when the memory shall not avail thee; nor wilt thou know my worth till after my death. And, lastly, learn that she who wrought the gazelles is the daughter of the King of the Camphor Islands and a lady of the noblest." Now when I had read that scroll and understood what was written therein, I fell again to weeping, and my mother wept because I wept, and I ceased not to gaze upon it and to shed tears till night fall. I abode in this condition a whole year, at the end of which the merchants, with whom I am in this cafilah, prepared to set out from my native town; and my mother counseled me to equip myself and journey with them, so haply I might be consoled and my sorrow be dispelled, saying, "Take comfort and put away from thee this mourning and travel for a year or two or three, till the caravan return, when perhaps thy breast may be broadened and thy heart heartened." And she ceased not to persuade me with endearing words, till I provided myself with merchandise and set out with the caravan. But all the time of my wayfaring, my tears have never dried; no, never! and at every halting place where we halt, I open this piece of linen and look on these gazelles and call to mind my cousin Azizah and weep for her as thou hast seen; for indeed she loved me with dearest love and died, oppressed by my unlove. I did her nought but ill and she did me nought but good. When these merchants return from their journey, I shall return with them, by which time I shall have been absent a whole year: yet hath my sorrow waxed greater and my grief and affliction were but increased by my visit to the Islands of Camphor and the Castle of Crystal. Now these islands are seven in number and are ruled by a King, by name Shahriman, [FN#7] who hath a daughter called Dunyá; [FN#8] and I was told that it was she who wrought these gazelles and that this piece in my possession was of her embroidery. When I knew this, my yearning redoubled and I burnt with the slow fire of pining and was drowned in the sea of sad thought; and I wept over myself for that I was become even as a woman, without manly tool like other men, and there was no help for it. From the day of my quitting the Camphor Islands, I have been tearful eyed and heavy hearted, and such hath been my case for a long while and I know not whether it will be given me to return to my native land and die beside my mother or not; for I am sick from eating too much of the world. Thereupon the young merchant wept and groaned and complained and gazed upon the gazelles; whilst the tears rolled down his cheeks in streams and he repeated these two couplets,
Joy needs shall come," a prattler 'gan to prattle: * "Needs cease thy blame!" I was commoved to rattle:
'In time,' quoth he: quoth I ' 'Tis marvellous! * Who shall ensure my life, O cold of tattle!'" [FN#9]
And he repeated also these,
"Well Allah weets that since our severance day * I've wept till forced to ask of tears a loan:
'Patience! (the blamer cries): thou'lt have her yet!' * Quoth I, 'O blamer where may patience wone?'"
Then said he, "This, O King! is my tale: hast thou ever heard one stranger?" So Taj al-Muluk marvelled with great marvel at the young merchant's story, and fire darted into his entrails on hearing the name of the Lady Dunya and her loveliness.--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the One Hundred and Twenty-ninth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Wazir Dandan continued to Zau al-Makan: Now when Taj al-Muluk heard the story of the young merchant, he marvelled with great marvel and fire darted into his entrails on hearing the name of the Lady Dunya who, as he knew, had embroidered the gazelles; and his love and longing hourly grew, so he said to the youth, "By Allah, that hath befallen thee whose like never befel any save thyself, but thou hast a life term appointed, which thou must fulfil; and now I would fain ask of thee a question." Quoth Aziz, "And what is it?" Quoth he, "Wilt thou tell me how thou sawest the young lady who wrought these gazelles?" Then he, "O my lord, I got me access to her by a sleight and it was this. When I entered her city with the caravan, I went forth and wandered about the garths till I came to a flower garden abounding in trees, whose keeper was a venerable old man, a Shaykh stricken in years. I addressed him, saying, 'O ancient sir, whose may be this garden?' and he replied, 'It belongs to the King's daughter, the Lady Dunya. We are now beneath her palace and, when she is minded to amuse herself, she openeth the private wicket and walketh in the garden and smelleth the fragrance of the flowers.' So I said to him, 'Favour me by allowing me to sit in this garden till she come; haply I may enjoy a sight of her as she passeth.' The Shaykh answered, 'There can be no harm in that.' Thereupon I gave him a dirham or so and said to him, Buy us something to eat.' He took the money gladly and opened door and, entering himself, admitted me into the garden, where we strolled and ceased not strolling till we reached a pleasant spot in which he bade me sit down and await his going and his returning. Then he brought me somewhat of fruit and, leaving me, disappeared for an hour; but after a while he returned to me bringing a roasted lamb, of which we ate till we had eaten enough, my heart yearning the while for a sight of the lady. Presently, as we sat, the postern opened and the keeper said to me, 'Rise and hide thee.' I did so; and behold, a black eunuch put his head out through the garden wicket and asked, 'O Shaykh, there any one with thee?' 'No,' answered he; and the eunuch said, 'Shut the garden gate.' So the keeper shut the gate, and lo! the Lady Dunya came in by the private door. When I saw her, methought the moon had risen above the horizon and was shining; I looked at her a full hour and longed for her as one athirst longeth for water. After a while she withdrew and shut the door; whereupon I left the garden and sought my lodging, knowing that I could not get at her and that I was no man for her, more especially as I was become like a woman, having no manly tool: moreover she was a King's daughter and I but a merchant man; so; how could I have access to the like of her or--to any other woman? Accordingly, when these my companions made ready for the road, I also made preparation and set out with them, and we journeyed towards this city till we arrived at the place ere we met with thee. Thou askedst me and I have answered; and these are my adventures and peace be with thee!" Now when Taj al-Muluk heard that account, fires raged in his bosom and his heart and thought were occupied love for the Lady Dunya; and passion and longing were sore upon him. Then he arose and mounted horse and, taking Aziz with him, returned to his father's capital, where he settled him in a separate house and supplied him with all he needed in the way of meat and drink and dress. Then he left him and returned to his palace, with the tears trickling down his cheeks, for hearing oftentimes standeth instead of seeing and knowing. [FN#10] And he ceased not to be in this state till his father came in to him and finding him wan faced, lean of limb and tearful eyed, knew that something had occurred to chagrin him and said, "O my son, acquaint me with thy case and tell me what hath befallen thee, that thy colour is changed and thy body is wasted. So he told him all that had passed and what tale he had heard of Aziz and the account of the Princess Dunya; and how he had fallen in love of her on hearsay, without having set eyes on her. Quoth his sire, "O my son, she is the daughter of a King whose land is far from ours: so put away this thought and go in to thy mother's palace."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the One Hundred and Thirtieth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Wazir Dandan continued to Zau al-Makan: And the father of Taj al-Muluk spake to him on this wise, "O my son, her father is a King whose land is far from ours: so put away this thought and go into thy mother's palace where are five hundred maidens like moons, and whichsoever of them pleaseth thee, take her; or else we will seek for thee in marriage some one of the King's daughters, fairer than the Lady Dunya." Answered Taj al-Muluk, "O my father, I desire none other, for she it is who wrought the gazelles which I saw, and there is no help but that I have her; else I will flee into the world and the waste and I will slay myself for her sake." Then said his father, "Have patience with me, till I send to her sire and demand her in marriage, and win thee thy wish as I did for myself with thy mother. Haply Allah will bring thee to thy desire; and, if her parent will not consent, I will make his kingdom quake under him with an army, whose rear shall be with me whilst its van shall be upon him." Then he sent for the youth Aziz and asked him, "O my son, tell me dost thou know the way to the Camphor Islands?" He answered "Yes"; and the King said, "I desire of thee that thou fare with my Wazir thither." Replied Aziz, "I hear and I obey, O King of the Age!"; where upon the King summoned his Minister and said to him, "Devise me some device, whereby my son's affair may be rightly managed and fare thou forth to the Camphor Islands and demand of their King his daughter in marriage for my son, Taj al-Muluk." The Wazir replied, "Hearkening and obedience." Then Taj al-Muluk returned to his dwelling place and his love and longing redoubled and the delay seemed endless to him; and when the night darkened around him, he wept and sighed and complained and repeated this poetry,
"Dark falls the night: my tears unaided rail * And fiercest flames of love my heart assail:
Ask thou the nights of me, and they shall tell * An I find aught to do but weep and wail:
Night long awake, I watch the stars what while * Pour down my cheeks the tears like dropping hail:
And lone and lorn I'm grown with none to aid; * For kith and kin the love lost lover fail."
And when he had ended his reciting he swooned away and did not recover his senses till the morning, at which time there came to him one of his father's eunuchs and, standing at his head, summoned him to the King's presence. So he went with him and his father, seeing that his pallor had increased, exhorted him to patience and promised him union with her he loved. Then he equipped Aziz and the Wazir and supplied them with presents; and they set out and fared on day and night till they drew near the Isles of Camphor, where they halted on the banks of a stream, and the Minister despatched a messenger to acquaint the King of his arrival. The messenger hurried forwards and had not been gone more than an hour, before they saw the King's Chamberlains and Emirs advancing towards them, to meet them at a parasang's distance from the city and escort them into the royal presence. They laid their gifts before the King and became his guests for three days. And on the fourth day the Wazir rose and going in to the King, stood between his hands and acquainted him with the object which induced his visit; whereat he was perplexed for an answer inasmuch as his daughter misliked men and disliked marriage. So he bowed his head groundwards awhile, then raised it and calling one of his eunuchs, said to him, "Go to thy mistress, the Lady Dunya, and repeat to her what thou hast heard and the purport of this Wazir's coming." So the eunuch went forth and returning after a time, said to the King, "O King of the Age, when I went in to the Lady Dunya and told her what I had heard, she was wroth with exceeding wrath and rose at me with a staff designing to break my head; so I fled from her, and she said to me 'If my Father force me to wed him, whomsoever I wed I will slay.' Then said her sire to the Wazir and Aziz, "Ye have heard, and now ye know all! So let your King wot of it and give him my salutations and say that my daughter misliketh men and disliketh marriage."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the One Hundred and Thirty-first Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that King Shahriman thus addressed the Wazir and Aziz, "Salute your King from me and inform him of what ye have heard, namely that my daughter misliketh marriage." So they turned away unsuccessful and ceased not faring on till they rejoined the King and told him what had passed; whereupon he commanded the chief officers to summon the troops and get them ready for marching and campaigning. But the Wazir said to him, "O my liege Lord, do not thus: the King is not at fault because, when his daughter learnt our business, she sent a message saying, 'If my father force me to wed, whomsoever I wed I will slay and myself after him.' So the refusal cometh from her." When the King heard his Minister's words he feared for Taj al-Muluk and said, "Verily if I make war on the King of the Camphor Islands and carry off his daughter, she will kill herself and it will avail me naught." Then he told his son how the case stood, who hearing it said, "O my father, I cannot live without her; so I will go to her and contrive to get at her, even though I die in the attempt, and this only will I do and nothing else." Asked his father, "How wilt thou go to her?" and he answered, "I will go in the guise of a merchant." [FN#11] Then said the King, "If thou need must go and there is no help for it, take with thee the Wazir and Aziz." Then he brought out money from his treasuries and made ready for his son merchandise to the value of an hundred thousand dinars. The two had settled upon this action; and when the dark hours came Taj al-Muluk and Aziz went to Aziz's lodgings and there passed that night, and the Prince was heart smitten, taking no pleasure in food or in sleep; for melancholy was heavy upon him and he was agitated with longing for his beloved. So he besought the Creator that he would vouch safe to unite him with her and he wept and groaned and wailed and began versifying,
"Union, this severance ended, shall I see some day? * Then shall my tears this love lorn lot of me portray.
While night all care forgets I only minded thee, * And thou didst gar me wake while all forgetful lay."
And when his improvising came to an end, he wept with sore weeping and Aziz wept with him, for that he remembered his cousin; and they both ceased not to shed tears till morning dawned, whereupon Taj al-Muluk rose and went to farewell his mother, in travelling dress. She asked him of his case and he repeated the story to her; so she gave him fifty thousand gold pieces and bade him adieu; and, as he fared forth, she put up prayers for his safety and for his union with his lover and his friends. Then he betook himself to his father and asked his leave to depart. The King granted him permission and, presenting him with other fifty thousand dinars, bade set up a tent for him without the city and they pitched a pavilion wherein the travellers abode two days. Then all set out on their journey. Now Taj al-Muluk delighted in the company of Aziz and said to him, "O my brother, henceforth I can never part from thee." Replied Aziz, "And I am of like mind and fain would I die under thy feet: but, O my brother, my heart is concerned for my mother." "When we shall have won our wish," said the Prince, "there will be naught save what is well!" Now the Wazir continued charging Taj al-Muluk to be patient, whilst Aziz entertained him every evening with talk and recited poetry to him and diverted him with histories and anecdotes. And so they fared on diligently night and day for two whole months, till the way became tedious to Taj al-Muluk and the fire of desire redoubled on him; and he broke out,
"The road is lonesome; grow my grief and need, * While on my breast love fires for ever feed:
Goal of my hopes, sole object of my wish! * By him who moulded man from drop o' seed,
I bear such loads of longing for thy love, * Dearest, as weight of al Shumm Mounts exceed:
O 'Lady of my World' [FN#12] Love does me die; * No breath of life is left for life to plead;
But for the union hope that lends me strength, * My weary limbs were weak this way to speed."
When he had finished his verses, he wept (and Aziz wept with him) from a wounded heart, till the Minister was moved to pity by their tears and said, "O my lord, be of good cheer and keep thine eyes clear of tears; there will be naught save what is well!" Quoth Taj al-Muluk, "O Wazir, indeed I am weary of the length of the way. Tell me how far we are yet distant from the city." Quoth Aziz, "But a little way remaineth to us." Then they continued their journey, cutting across river vales and plains, words and stony wastes, till one night, as Taj al-Muluk was sleeping, he dreamt that his beloved was with him and that he embraced her and pressed her to his bosom; and he awoke quivering, shivering with pain, delirious with emotion, and improvised these verses,
"Dear friend, my tears aye flow these cheeks adown, * With longsome pain and pine, my sorrow's crown:
I plain like keening woman child bereft, * And as night falls like widow dove I groan:
An blow the breeze from land where thou cost wone, * I find o'er sunburnt earth sweet coolness blown.
Peace be wi' thee, my love, while zephyr breathes, * And cushat flies and turtle makes her moan."
And when he had ended his versifying, the Wazir came to him and said, "Rejoice; this is a good sign: so be of good cheer and keep thine eyes cool and clear, for thou shalt surely compass thy desire." And Aziz also came to him and exhorted him to patience and applied himself to divert him, talking with him and telling him tales. So they pressed on, marching day and night, other two months, till there appeared to them one day at sunrise some white thing in the distance and Taj al-Muluk said to Aziz, "What is yonder whiteness?" He replied, "O my lord! yonder is the Castle of Crystal and that is the city thou seekest." At this the Prince rejoiced, and they ceased not faring forwards till they drew near the city and, as they approached it, Taj al-Muluk joyed with exceeding joy, and his care ceased from him. They entered in trader guise, the King's son being habited as a merchant of importance; and repaired to a great Khan, known as the Merchants' Lodging. Quoth Taj al-Muluk to Aziz, "Is this the resort of the merchants?"; and quoth he, "Yes; 'tis the Khan wherein I lodged before." So they alighted there and making their baggage camels kneel, unloaded them and stored their goods in the warehouses. [FN#13] They abode four days for rest; when the Wazir advised that they should hire a large house. To this they assented and they found them a spacious house, fitted up for festivities, where they took up their abode, and the Wazir and Aziz studied to devise some device for Taj al-Muluk, who remained in a state of perplexity, knowing not what to do. Now the Minister could think of nothing but that he should set up as a merchant on 'Change and in the market of fine stuffs; so he turned to the Prince and his companion and said to them, "Know ye that if we tarry here on this wise, assuredly we shall not win our wish nor attain our aim; but a something occurred to me whereby (if Allah please!) we shall find our advantage." Replied Taj al-Muluk and Aziz, "Do what seemeth good to thee, indeed there is a blessing on the grey beard; more specially on those who, like thyself, are conversant with the conduct of affairs: so tell us what occurreth to thy mind." Rejoined the Wazir "It is my counsel that we hire thee a shop in the stuff bazar, where thou mayst sit to sell and buy. Every one, great and small, hath need of silken stuffs and other cloths; so if thou patiently abide in thy shop, thine affairs will prosper, Inshallah! more by token as thou art comely of aspect. Make, however, Aziz thy factor and set him within the shop, to hand thee the pieces of cloth and stuffs." When Taj al-Muluk heard these words, he said, 'This rede is right and a right pleasant recking." So he took out a handsome suit of merchant's weed, and, putting it on, set out for the bazar, followed by his servants, to one of whom he had given a thousand dinars, wherewith to fit up the shop. They ceased not walking till they came to the stuff market, and when the merchants saw Taj al-Muluk's beauty and grace, they were confounded and went about saying, "Of a truth Rizwán [FN#14] hath opened the gates of Paradise and left them unguarded, so that this youth of passing comeliness hath come forth." And others, "Peradventure this is one of the angels." Now when they went in among the traders they asked for the shop of the Overseer of the market and the merchants directed them thereto. So they delayed not to repair thither and to salute him, and he and those who were with him rose to them and seated them and made much of them, because of the Wazir, whom they saw to be a man in years and of reverend aspect; and viewing the youths Aziz and Taj al-Muluk in his company, they said to one another, "Doubtless our Shaykh is the father of these two youths." Then quoth the Wazir, "Who among you is the Overseer of the market?" "This is he," replied they; and behold, he came forward and the Wazir observed him narrowly and saw him to be an old man of grave and dignified carriage, with eunuchs and servants and black slaves. The Syndic greeted them with the greeting of friends and was lavish in his attentions to them: then he seated them by his side and asked them, "Have ye any business which we [FN#15] may have the happiness of transacting?" The Minister answered, "Yes; I am an old man, stricken in years, and have with me these two youths, with whom I have travelled through every town and country, entering no great city without tarrying there a full year, that they might take their pleasure in viewing it and come to know its citizens. Now I have visited your town intending to sojourn here for a while; so I want of thee a handsome shop in the best situation, wherein I may establish them, that they may traffic and learn to buy and sell and give and take, whilst they divert themselves with the sight of the place, and be come familiar with the usages of its people." Quoth the Overseer, "There is no harm in that;" and, looking at the two youths, he was delighted with them and affected them with a warm affection. Now he was a great connoisseur of bewitching glances, preferring the love of boys to that of girls and inclining to the sour rather than the sweet of love. So he said to himself, "This, indeed, is fine game. Glory be to Him who created and fashioned them out of vile water!" [FN#16] and rising stood before them like a servant to do them honour. Then he went out and made ready for them a shop which was in the very midst of the Exchange; nor was there any larger or better in the bazar, for it was spacious and handsomely decorated and fitted with shelves of ivory and ebony wood. After this he delivered the keys to the Wazir, who was dressed as an old merchant, saying, "Take them, O my lord, and Allah make it a blessed abiding place to thy two sons!" The Minister took the keys and the three returning to the Khan where they had alighted, bade the servants transport to the shop all their goods and stuffs.--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the One Hundred and Thirty-second Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the Wazir took the shop keys, he went accompanied by Taj al-Muluk and Aziz to the Khan, and they bade the servants transport to the shop all their goods and stuffs and valuables of which they had great store worth treasures of money. And when all this was duly done, they went to the shop and ordered their stock in trade and slept there that night. As soon as morning morrowed the Wazir took the two young men to the Hammam bath where they washed them clean; and they donned rich dresses and scented themselves with essences and enjoyed themselves to the utmost. Now each of the youths was passing fair to look upon, and in the bath they were even as saith the poet,
"Luck to the Rubber, whose deft hand o'erdies * A frame begotten twixt the lymph and light: [FN#17]
He shows the thaumaturgy of his craft, * And gathers musk in form of camphor dight." [FN#18]
After bathing they left; and, when the Overseer heard that they had gone to the Hammam, he sat down to await the twain, and presently they came up to him like two gazelles; their cheeks were reddened by the bath and their eyes were darker than ever; their faces shone and they were as two lustrous moons or two branches fruit laden. Now when he saw them he rose forthright and said to them, "O my sons, may your bath profit you always!" [FN#19] Where upon Taj al-Muluk replied, with the sweetest of speech, "Allah be bountiful to thee, O my father; why didst thou not come with us and bathe in our company?" Then they both bent over his right hand and kissed it and walked before him to the shop, to entreat him honourably and show their respect for him, for that he was Chief of the Merchants and the market, and he had done them kindness in giving them the shop. When he saw their hips quivering as they moved, desire and longing redoubled on him; and he puffed and snorted and he devoured them with his eyes, for he could not contain himself, repeating the while these two couplets,
"Here the heart reads a chapter of devotion pure; * Nor reads dispute if Heaven in worship partner take:
No wonder 'tis he trembles walking 'neath such weight! * How much of movement that revolving sphere must make. [FN#20]"
Furthermore he said,
"I saw two charmers treading humble earth. * Two I must love an tread they on mine eyes."
When they heard this, they conjured him to enter the bath with them a second time. He could hardly believe his ears and hastening thither, went in with them. The Wazir had not yet left the bath; so when he heard of the Overseers coming, he came out and meeting him in the middle of the bath hall invited him to enter. He refused, whereupon Taj al-Muluk taking him by the hand walked on one side and Aziz by the other, and carried him into a cabinet; and that impure old man submitted to them, whilst his emotion increased on him. He would have refused, albeit this was what he desired; but the Minister said to him, "They are thy sons; let them wash thee and cleanse thee." "Allah preserve them to thee!" exclaimed the Overseer, "By Allah your coming and the coming of those with you bring down blessing and good luck upon our city!" And he repeated these two couplets,
"Thou camest and green grew the hills anew; * And sweetest bloom to the bridegroom threw,
While aloud cried Earth and her earth-borns too * 'Hail and welcome who comest with grace to endue.'"
They thanked him for this, and Taj al-Muluk ceased not to wash him and to pour water over him and he thought his soul in Paradise. When they had made an end of his service, he blessed them and sat by the side of the Wazir, talking but gazing the while on the youths. Presently, the servants brought them towels, and they dried themselves and donned their dress. Then they went out, and the Minister turned to the Syndic and said to him, "O my lord! verily the bath is the Paradise [FN#21] of this world." Replied the Overseer, "Allah vouchsafe to thee such Paradise, and health to thy sons and guard them from the evil eye! Do ye remember aught that the eloquent have said in praise of the bath.?" Quoth Taj al-Muluk, "I will repeat for thee a pair of couplets;" and he recited,
The life of the bath is the joy of man's life, [FN#22] * Save that time is short for us there to bide:
A Heaven where irksome it were to stay; * A Hell, delightful at entering-tide.
When he ended his recital, quoth Aziz, "And I also remember two couplets in praise of the bath." The Overseer said, "Let me hear them," so he repeated the following,
"A house where flowers from stones of granite grow, * Seen at its best when hot with living lows:
Thou deem'st it Hell but here, forsooth, is Heaven, * And some like suns and moons within it show."
And when he had ended his recital, his verses pleased the Overseer and he wondered at his words and savoured their grace and fecundity and said to them, "By Allah, ye possess both beauty and eloquence. But now listen to me, you twain!" And he began chanting, and recited in song the following verses,
"O joy of Hell and Heaven! whose tormentry * Enquickens frame and soul with lively gree:
I marvel so delightsome house to view, * And most when 'neath it kindled fires I see:
Sojourn of bliss to visitors, withal * Pools on them pour down tears unceasingly."
Then his eye-sight roamed and browsed on the gardens of their beauty and he repeated these two couplets,
"I went to the house of the keeper-man; * He was out, but others to smile began:
I entered his Heaven [FN#23] and then his Hell; [FN#24] * And I said 'Bless Málik [FN#25] and bless Rizwán.'  [FN#26]
When they heard these verses they were charmed, and the Over seer invited them to his house; but they declined and returned to their own place, to rest from the great heat of the bath. So they took their ease there and ate and drank and passed that night in perfect solace and satisfaction, till morning dawned, when they arose from sleep and making their lesser ablution, prayed the dawn- prayer and drank the morning draught. [FN#27] As soon as the sun had risen and the shops and markets opened, they arose and going forth from their place to the bazar opened their shop, which their servants had already furnished, after the handsomest fashion, and had spread with prayer rugs and silken carpets and had placed on the divans a pair of mattresses, each worth an hundred dinars. On every mattress they had disposed a rug of skin fit for a King and edged with a fringe of gold; and a-middlemost the shop stood a third seat still richer, even as the place required. Then Taj al-Muluk sat down on one divan, and Aziz on another, whilst the Wazir seated himself on that in the centre, and the servants stood before them. The city people soon heard of them and crowded about them, so that they sold some of their goods and not a few of their stuffs; for Taj al-Muluk's beauty and loveliness had become the talk of the town. Thus they passed a trifle of time, and every day the people flocked to them and pressed upon them more and more, till the Wazir, after exhorting Taj al-Muluk to keep his secret, commended him to the care of Aziz and went home, that he might commune with himself alone and cast about for some contrivance which might profit them. Meanwhile, the two young men sat talking and Taj al-Muluk said to Aziz, "Haply some one will come from the Lady Dunya." So he ceased not expecting this chance days and nights, but his heart was troubled and he knew neither sleep nor rest; for desire had got the mastery of him, and love and longing were sore upon him, so that he renounced the solace of sleep and abstained from meat and drink; yet ceased he not to be like the moon on the night of fullness. Now one day as he sat in the shop, behold, there came up an ancient woman. --And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the One Hundred and Thirty-third Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Wazir Dandan continued to Zau al-Makan: Now one day as Taj al-Muluk sat in his shop, behold, there appeared an ancient woman, who came up to him followed by two slave girls. She ceased not advancing till she stood before the shop of Taj al-Muluk and, observing his symmetry and beauty and loveliness, marvelled at his charms and sweated in her petticoat trousers, exclaiming, "Glory to Him who created thee out of vile water, and made thee a temptation to all beholders!" And she fixed her eyes on him and said, "This is not a mortal, he is none other than an angel deserving the highest respect." [FN#28] Then she drew near and saluted him, whereupon he returned her salute and rose to his feet to receive her and smiled in her face (all this by a hint from Aziz); after which he made her sit down by his side and fanned her with a fan, till she was rested and refreshed. Then she turned to Taj al-Muluk and said, "O my son! O thou who art perfect in bodily gifts and spiritual graces; say me, art thou of this country?" He replied, in voice the sweetest and in tone the pleasantest, "By Allah, O my mistress, I was never in this land during my life till this time, nor do I abide here save by way of diversion." Rejoined she, "May the Granter grant thee all honour and prosperity! And what stuffs hast thou brought with thee? Show me something passing fine; for the beauteous should bring nothing but what is beautiful." When he heard her words, his heart fluttered and he knew not their inner meaning; but Aziz made a sign to him and he replied, "I have everything thou canst desire and especially I have goods that besit none but Kings and King's daughters; so tell me what stuff thou wantest and for whom, that I may show thee what will be fitting for him." This he said, that he might learn the meaning of her words; and she rejoined, "I want a stuff fit for the Princess Dunya, daughter of King Shahriman." Now when the Prince heard the name of his beloved, he joyed with great joy and said to Aziz, "Give me such a parcel." So Aziz brought it and opened it before Taj al-Muluk who said to the old woman, "Select what will suit her; for these goods are to be found only with me." She chose stuffs worth a thousand dinars and asked, "How much is this?"; and she ceased not the while to talk with him and rub what was inside her thighs with the palm of her hand. Answered Taj al-Muluk, "Shall I haggle with the like of thee about this paltry price? Praised be Allah who hath acquainted me with thee!" The old woman rejoined, "Allah's name be upon thee! I commend thy beautiful face to the protection of the Lord of the Daybreak. [FN#29] Beautiful face and eloquent speech! Happy she who lieth in thy bosom and claspeth thy waist in her arms and enjoyeth thy youth, especially if she be beautiful and lovely like thyself!" At this, Taj al-Muluk laughed till he fell on his back and said to himself, "O Thou who fulfillest desires human by means of pimping old women! They are the true fulfillers of desires!" Then she asked, "O my son, what is thy name?" and he answered, "My name is Taj al-Muluk, the Crown of Kings." Quoth she, "This is indeed a name of Kings and King's sons and thou art clad in merchant's clothes." Quoth Aziz, "for the love his parents and family bore him and for the value they set on him, they named him thus." Replied the old woman, "Thou sayest sooth, Allah guard you both from the evil eye and the envious, though hearts be broken by your charms!" Then she took the stuffs and went her way; but she was amazed at his beauty and stature and symmetry, and she ceased not going till she found the Lady Dunya and said to her, "O my mistress! I have brought thee some handsome stuffs." Quoth the Princess, "Show me that same"; and the old woman, "O apple of my eye, here it is, turn it over and examine it." Now when the Princess looked at it she was amazed and said, "O my nurse, this is indeed handsome stuff: I have never seen its like in our city." "O my lady," replied the old nurse, "he who sold it me is handsomer still. It would seem as if Rizwan had left the gates of Paradise open in his carelessness, and as if the youth who sold me this stuff had come bodily out of Heaven. I would he might sleep this night with thee and might lie between thy breasts. [FN#30] He hath come to thy city with these precious stuffs for amusement's sake, and he is a temptation to all who set eyes on him." The Princess laughed at her words and said, "Allah afflict thee, O pernicious old hag! Thou dotest and there is no sense left in thee." Presently, she resumed, "Give me the stuff that I may look at it anew." So she gave it her and she took it again and saw that its size was small and its value great. It pleased her, for she had never in her life seen its like, and she exclaimed, "By Allah, this is a handsome stuff!" Answered the old woman, "O my lady, by Allah! if thou sawest its owner thou wouldst know him for the handsomest man on the face of the earth." Quoth the Lady Dunya, "Didst thou ask him if he had any need, that he might tell us and we might satisfy it?" But the nurse shook her head and said, "The Lord keep thy sagacity! By Allah, he hath a want, may thy skill not fail thee. What! is any man free from wants?" Rejoined the Princess, "Go back to him and salute him and say to him, 'Our land and town are honoured by thy visit and, if thou have any need, we will fulfil it to thee, on our head and eyes.' " So the old woman at once returned to Taj al-Muluk, and when he saw her his heart jumped for joy and gladness and he rose to his feet before her and, taking her hand, seated her by his side. As soon as she was rested, she told him what Princess Dunya had said; and he on hearing it joyed with exceeding joy; his breast dilated to the full; gladness entered his heart and he said to himself, "Verily, I have my need." Then he asked the old woman, "Haply thou wilt take her a message from me and bring me her answer?"; and she answered, "I hear and I obey." So he said to Aziz, "Bring me ink-case and paper and a brazen pen." And when Aziz brought him what he sought, he hent the pen in hand and wrote these lines of poetry,
"I write to thee, O fondest hope! a writ * Of grief that severance on my soul cloth lay:
Saith its first line, 'Within my heart is [owe!' * Its second, 'Love and Longing on me prey!'
Its third, 'My patience waste is, fades my life!' * Its fourth, 'Naught shall my pain and pine allay!'
Its fifth, 'When shall mine eyes enjoy thy sight?' * Its sixth, 'Say, when shall dawn our meeting-day?' "
And, lastly, by way of subscription he wrote these words. "This letter is from the captive of captivation * prisoned in the hold of longing expectation * wherefrom is no emancipation * but in anticipation and intercourse and in unification * after absence and separation. * For from the severance of friends he loveth so fain * he suffereth love pangs and pining pain. *" Then his tears rushed out, and he indited these two couplets,
"I write thee, love, the while my tears pour down; * Nor cease they ever pouring thick and fleet:
Yet I despair not of my God, whose grace * Haply some day will grant us twain to meet."
Then he folded the letter [FN#31] and sealed it with his signet ring and gave it to the old woman, saying, "Carry it to the Lady Dunya." Quoth she, "To hear is to obey;" whereupon he gave her a thousand dinars and said to her, "O my mother! accept this gift from me as a token of my affection." She took both from him and blessed him and went her way and never stinted walking till she went in to the Lady Dunya. Now when the Princess saw her she said to her, "O my nurse, what is it he asketh of need that we may fulfil his wish to him?" Replied the old woman, "O my lady, he sendeth thee this letter by me, and I know not what is in it;" and handed it to her. Then the Princess took the letter and read it; and when she understood it, she exclaimed, "Whence cometh and whither goeth this merchant man that he durst address such a letter to me?" And she slapt her face saying, "'Whence are we that we should come to shopkeeping? Awah! Awah! By the lord, but that I fear Almighty Allah I had slain him;" and she added, "Yea, I had crucified [FN#32] him over his shop door!" Asked the old woman, "What is in this letter to vex thy heart and move thy wrath on this wise? Doth it contain a complaint of oppression or demand for the price of the stuff?" Answered the Princess, "Woe to thee! There is none of this in it, naught but words of love and endearment. This is all through thee: otherwise whence should this Satan [FN#33] know me?" Rejoined the old woman, "o my lady, thou sittest in thy high palace and none may have access to thee; no, not even the birds of the air. Allah keep thee, and keep thy youth from blame and reproach! Thou needest not care for the barking of dogs, for thou art a Princess, the daughter of a King. Be not wroth with me that I brought thee this letter, knowing not what was in it; but I opine that thou send him an answer and threaten him with death and forbid him this foolish talk; surely he will abstain and not do the like again." Quoth the Lady Dunya, "I fear that, if I write to him, he will desire me the more." The old woman returned "When he heareth thy threats and promise of punishment, he will desist from his persistence." She cried, "Here with the ink case and paper and brazen pen;" and when they brought them she wrote these couplets,
"O thou who for thy wakeful nights wouldst claim my love to boon, * For what of pining thou must feel and tribulation!
Dost thou, fond fool and proud of sprite, seek meeting with the Moon? * Say, did man ever win his wish to take in arms the Moon?
I counsel thee, from soul cast out the wish that dwells therein, * And cut that short which threatens thee with sore risk oversoon:
An to such talk thou dare return, I bid thee to expect * Fro' me such awful penalty as suiteth froward loon:
I swear by Him who moulded man from gout of clotted blood, [FN#34] * Who lit the Sun to shine by day and lit for night the moon,
An thou return to mention that thou spakest in thy pride, * Upon a cross of tree for boon I'll have thee crucified!"
Then she folded the letter and handing it to the old woman said, "Give him this and say him, 'Cease from this talk!' " "Hearkening and obedience," replied she, and taking the letter with joy, returned to her own house, where she passed the night; and when morning dawned she betook herself to the shop of Taj al-Muluk whom she found expecting her. When he saw her, he was ready to fly [FN#35] for delight, and when she came up to him, he stood to her on his feet and seated her by his side. Then she brought out the letter and gave it to him, saying, "Read what is in this;" adding "When Princess Dunya read thy letter she was angry; but I coaxed her and jested with her till I made her laugh, and she had pity on thee and she hath returned thee an answer." He thanked her for her kindness and bade Aziz give her a thousand gold pieces: then he perused the letter and understanding it fell to weeping a weeping so sore that the old woman's heart was moved to ruth for him, and his tears and complaints were grievous to her. Presently she asked him, "O my son, what is there in this letter to make thee weep?" Answered he, "She hath threatened me with death and crucifixion and she forbiddeth me to write to her, but if I write not my death were better than my life. So take thou my answer to the letter and let her work her will." Rejoined the old woman, "By the life of thy youth, needs must I risk my existence for thee, that I may bring thee to thy desire and help thee to win what thou hast at heart!" And Taj al-Muluk said, "Whatever thou dost, I will requite thee for it and do thou weigh it in the scales of thy judgement, for thou art experienced in managing matters, and skilled in reading the chapters of the book of intrigue: all hard matters to thee are easy doings; and Allah can bring about everything." Then he took a sheet of paper and wrote thereon these improvised couplets,
"Yestre'en my love with slaughter menaced me, * But sweet were slaughter and Death's foreordainèd:
Yes, Death is sweet for lover doomed to bear * Long life, rejected, injured and constrainèd:
By Allah! deign to visit friendless friend! * Thy thrall am I and like a thrall I'm chainèd:
Mercy, O lady mine, for loving thee! * Who loveth noble soul should be assainèd."
Then he sighed heavy sighs and wept till the old woman wept also and presently taking the letter she said to him, "Be of good cheer and cool eyes and clear; for needs must I bring thee to thy wish."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the One Hundred and Thirty-fourth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Taj al-Muluk wept the old woman said to him, "Be of good cheer and cool eyes and clear; for needs must I bring thee to thy wish." Then she rose and left him on coals of fire; and returned to Princess Dunya, whom she found still showing on her changed face rage at Taj al-Muluk's letter. So she gave her his second letter, whereat her wrath redoubled and she said, "Did I not say he would desire us the more?" Replied the old woman, "What thing is this dog that he should aspire to thee?" Quoth the Princess, "Go back to him and tell him that, if he write me after this, I will cut off his head." Quoth the nurse, "Write these words in a letter and I will take it to him that his fear may be the greater." So she took a sheet of paper and wrote thereon these couplets,
"Ho thou, who past and bygone risks regardest with uncare! * Thou who to win thy meeting prize dost overslowly fare!
In pride of spirit thinkest thou to win the star Soha [FN#36]? * Albe thou may not reach the Moon which shines through upper air?
How darest thou expect to win my favours, hope to clip * Upon a lover's burning breast my lance like shape and rare?
Leave this thy purpose lest my wrath come down on thee some day, * A day of wrath shall hoary turn the partings of thy hair!"
Then she folded the letter and gave it to the old woman, who took it and repaired to Taj al-Muluk. And when he saw her, he rose to his feet and exclaimed, "May Allah never bereave me of the blessing of thy coming!" Quoth she, "Take the answer to thy letter." He took it and reading it, wept with sore weeping and said, "I long for some one to slay me at this moment and send me to my rest, for indeed death were easier to me than this my state!" Then he took ink case and pen and paper and wrote a letter containing these two couplets,
"O hope of me! pursue me not with rigour and disdain: * Deign thou to visit lover wight in love of thee is drowned;
Deem not a life so deeply wronged I longer will endure; * My soul for severance from my friend divorced this frame unsound."
Lastly he folded the letter and handed it to the old woman, saying, "Be not angry with me, though I have wearied thee to no purpose." And he bade Aziz give her other thousand ducats, saying, "O my mother, needs must this letter result in perfect union or utter severance." Replied she, "O my son, by Allah, I desire nought but thy weal; and it is my object that she be thine, for indeed thou art the shining moon, and she the rising sun. [FN#37] If I do not bring you together, there is no profit in my existence; and I have lived my life till I have reached the age of ninety years in the practice of wile and intrigue; so how should I fail to unite two lovers, though in defiance of right and law?" Then she took leave of him having comforted his heart, and ceased not walking till she went in to the Lady Dunya. Now she had hidden the letter in her hair: so when she sat down by the Princess she rubbed her head and said, "O my lady, maybe thou wilt untwist my hair knot, for it is a time since I went to the Hammam." The King's daughter bared her arms to the elbows and, letting down the old woman's locks, began to loose the knot of back hair; when out dropped the letter and the Lady Dunya seeing it, asked, "What is this paper?" Quoth the nurse, "As I sat in the merchant's shop, this paper must have stuck to me: give it to me that I may return it to him; possibly it containeth some account whereof he hath need." But the Princess opened it and read it and, when she understood it, she cried out, "This is one of thy manifold tricks, and hadst thou not reared me, I would lay violent hands on thee this moment! Verily Allah hath afflicted me with this merchant: but all that hath befallen me with him is on thy head. I know not from what country this one can have come: no man but he would venture to affront me thus, and I fear lest this my case get abroad, more by token as it concerneth one who is neither of my kin nor of my peers." Rejoined the old woman "None would dare speak of this for fear of thy wrath and for awe of thy sire; so there can be no harm in sending him an answer." Quoth the Princess, "O my nurse, verily this one is a perfect Satan! How durst he use such language to me and not dread the Sultan's rage. Indeed, I am perplexed about his case: if I order him to be put to death, it were unjust; and if I leave him alive his boldness will increase." Quoth the old woman, "Come, write him a letter; it may be he will desist in dread." So she called for paper and ink case and pen and wrote these couplets,
"Thy folly drives thee on though long I chid, * Writing in verse: how long shall I forbid?
For all forbiddal thou persistest more, * And my sole grace it is to keep it hid;
Then hide thy love nor ever dare reveal, * For an thou speak, of thee I'll soon be rid
If to thy silly speech thou turn anew, * Ravens shall croak for thee the wold amid:
And Death shall come and beat thee down ere long, * Put out of sight and bury 'neath an earthen lid:
Thy folk, fond fool! thou'lt leave for thee to mourn, * And through their lives to sorrow all forlorn."
Then she folded the letter and committed it to the old woman, who took it and returning to Taj al-Muluk, gave it to him. When he read it, he knew that the Princess was hard hearted and that he should not win access to her; so he complained of his case to the Wazir and besought his counsel. Quoth the Minister, "Know thou that naught will profit thee save that thou write to her and invoke the retribution of Heaven upon her." And quoth the Prince, "O my brother, O Aziz, do thou write to her as if my tongue spake, according to thy knowledge." So Aziz took a paper and wrote these couplets,
"By the Five Shaykhs, [FN#38] O Lord, I pray deliver me; * Let her for whom I suffer bear like misery:
Thou knowest how I fry in flaming lowe of love, * While she I love hath naught of ruth or clemency:
How long shall I, despite my pain, her feelings spare? * How long shall she wreak tyranny o'er weakling me?
In pains of never ceasing death I ever grieve: * O Lord, deign aid; none other helping hand I see.
How fain would I forget her and forget her love! * But how forget when Love garred Patience death to dree?
O thou who hinderest Love to 'joy fair meeting tide * Say! art thou safe from Time and Fortune's jealousy?
Art thou not glad and blest with happy life, while I * From folk and country for thy love am doomed flee?"
Then Aziz folded the letter and gave it to Taj al-Muluk, who read it and was pleased with it. So he handed it to the old woman, who took it and went in with it to Princess Dunya. But when she read it and mastered the meaning thereof, she was enraged with great rage and said, "All that hath befallen me cometh by means of this ill omened old woman!" Then she cried out to the damsels and eunuchs, saying, "Seize this old hag, this accursed trickstress and beat her with your slippers!" So they came down upon her till she swooned away; and, when she came to herself, the Princess said to her, "By the Lord! O wicked old woman, did I not fear Almighty Allah, I would slay thee." Then quoth she to them, "Beat her again" and they did so till she fainted a second time, whereupon she bade them drag her forth and throw her outside the palace door. So they dragged her along on her face and threw her down before the gate; but as soon as she revived she got up from the ground and, walking and sitting by turns, made her way home. There she passed the night till morning, when she arose and went to Taj al-Muluk and told them all that had occurred. He was distressed at this grievous news and said, "O my mother, hard indeed to us is that which hath befallen thee, but all things are according to fate and man's lot." Replied she, "Be of good cheer and keep thine eyes cool and clear, for I will not give over striving till I have brought thee and her together, and made thee enjoy this wanton who hath burnt my skin with beating." Asked the Prince "Tell me what caused her to hate men;" and the old woman answered, "It arose from what she saw in a dream." "And what was this dream?" "'Twas this: one night, as she lay asleep, she saw a fowler spread his net upon the ground and scatter wheat grain round it. Then he sat down hard by, and not a bird in the neighbourhood but flocked to his toils. Amongst the rest she beheld a pair of pigeons, male and female; and, whilst she was watching the net, behold, the male bird's foot caught in the meshes and he began to struggle; whereupon all the other birds took fright and flew away. But presently his mate came back and hovered over him, then alighted on the toils unobserved by the fowler, and fell to pecking with her beak and pulling at the mesh in which the male bird's foot was tangled, till she released the toes and they flew away together. Then the fowler came up, mended his net and seated himself afar off. After an hour or so the birds flew back and the female pigeon was caught in the net; whereupon all the other birds took fright and scurried away; and the male pigeon fled with the rest and did not return to his mate, but the fowler came up and took the female pigeon and cut her throat. The Princess awoke, troubled by her dream, and said, 'All males are like this pigeon, worthless creatures: and men in general lack grace and goodness to women.'" When the old woman had ended her story, the Prince said to her, "O my mother, I desire to have one look at her, though it be my death; so do thou contrive me some contrivance for seeing her." She replied, "Know then that she hath under her palace windows a garden wherein she taketh her pleasure; and thither she resorteth once in every month by the private door. After ten days, the time of her thus going forth to divert herself will arrive; so when she is about to visit the garden, I will come and tell thee, that thou mayst go thither and meet her. And look thou leave not the garden, for haply, an she see thy beauty and Loveliness, her heart will be taken with love of thee, and love is the most potent means of union." He said, "I hear and obey;" whereupon he and Aziz arose and left the shop and, taking the old woman with them, showed her the place where they lodged. Then said Taj al-Muluk to Aziz, "O my brother, I have no need of the shop now, having fulfilled my purpose of it; so I give it to thee with all that is in it; for that thou hast come abroad with me and hast left thy native land for my sake." Aziz accepted his gift and then they sat conversing, while the Prince questioned him of the strange adventures which had befallen him, and his companion acquainted him with the particulars thereof. Presently, they went to the Wazir and, reporting to him Taj al-Muluk's purpose, asked him, "What is to be done?" "Let us go to the garden," answered he. So each and every donned richest clothes and went forth, followed by three white slaves to the garden, which they found thick with thickets and railing its rills. When they saw the keeper sitting at the gate, they saluted him with the Salam and he returned their salute. Then the Wazir gave him an hundred gold pieces, saying, "Prithee, take this small sum and fetch us somewhat to eat; for we are strangers and I have with me these two lads whom I wish to divert." [FN#39] The Gardener took the sequins and said to them, "Enter and amuse yourselves in the garden, for it is all yours; and sit down till I bring you what food you require." So he went to the market while the Wazir and Taj al-Muluk and Aziz entered the garden. And shortly after leaving for the bazar the Gardener returned with a roasted lamb and cotton white bread, which he placed before them, and they ate and drank; thereupon he served up sweetmeats, and they ate of them, and washed their hands and sat talking. Presently the Wazir said to the garth keeper, "Tell me about this garden: is it thine or dost thou rent it?" The Shaykh replied, "It doth not belong to me, but to our King's daughter, the Princess Dunya." "What be thy monthly wages?" asked the Wazir and he answered, "One diner and no more." Then the Minister looked round about the garden and, seeing in its midst a pavilion tall and grand but old and disused, said to the keeper, "O elder, I am minded to do here a good work, by which thou shalt remember me. Replied the other, "O my lord, what is the good work thou wouldest do?" "Take these three hundred diners," rejoined the Wazir When the Keeper heard speak of the gold, he said, "O my lord, whatso thou wilt, do!" So the Wazir gave him the monies, saying, "Inshallah, we will make a good work in this place!" Then they left him and returned to their lodging, where they passed the night; and when it was the next day, the Minister sent for a plasterer and a painter and a skilful goldsmith and, furnishing them with all the tools they wanted, carried them to the garden, where he bade them whitewash the walls of the pavilion and decorate it with various kinds of paintings. Moreover he sent for gold and lapis lazuli [FN#40] and said to the painter, "Figure me on the wall, at the upper end of this hall, a man fowler with his nets spread and birds falling into them and a female pigeon entangled in the meshes by her bill." And when the painter had finished his picture on one side, the Wazir said, "Figure me on the other side a similar figure and represent the she pigeon alone in the snare and the fowler seizing her and setting the knife to her neck; and draw on the third side wall, a great raptor clutching the male pigeon, her mate, and digging talons into him." The artist did his bidding, and when he and the others had finished the designs, they received their hire and went away. Then the Wazir and his companions took leave of the Gardener and returned to their place, where they sat down to converse. And Taj al-Muluk said to Aziz, "O my brother, recite me some verses: perchance it may broaden my breast and dispel my dolours and quench the fire flaming in my heart." So Aziz chanted with sweet modulation these couplets,
"Whate'er they say of grief to lovers came, * I, weakling I, can single handed claim:
An seek thou watering spot, [FN#41] my streaming eyes * Pour floods that thirst would quench howe'er it flame
Or wouldest view what ruin Love has wrought * With ruthless hands, then see this wasted frame."
And his eyes ran over with tears and he repeated these couplets also,
"Who loves not swan-neck and gazelle-like eyes, * Yet claims to know Life's joys, I say he lies:
In Love is mystery, none avail to learn * Save he who loveth in pure loving wise.
Allah my heart ne'er lighten of this love, * Nor rob the wakefulness these eyelids prize."
Then he changed the mode of song and sang these couplets:
"Ibn Síná [FN#42] in his Canon cloth opine * Lovers' best cure is found in merry song:
In meeting lover of a like degree, * Dessert in garden, wine draughts long and strong:
I chose another who of thee might cure * While Force and Fortune aided well and long
But ah! I learnt Love's mortal ill, wherein * Ibn Sina's recipe is fond and wrong."
After hearing them to the end, Taj al-Muluk was pleased with his verses and wondered at his eloquence and the excellence of his recitation, saying, "Indeed, thou hast done away with somewhat of my sorrow." Then quoth the Wazir "Of a truth, there occurred to those of old what astoundeth those who hear it told." Quoth the Prince, "If thou canst recall aught of this kind, prithee let us hear thy subtle lines and keep up the talk." So the Minister chanted in modulated song these couplets,
"Indeed I deemed thy favours might be bought * By gifts of gold and things that joy the sprite
And ignorantly thought thee light-o'-love, * When can thy love lay low the highmost might;
Until I saw thee choosing one, that one * Loved with all favour, crowned with all delight:
Then wot I thou by sleight canst ne'er be won * And under wing my head I hid from sight
And in this nest of passion made my wone, * Wherein I nestle morning, noon and night."
So far concerning them; but as regards the old woman she remained shut up from the world in her house, till it befel that the King's daughter was taken with a desire to divert herself in the garden. Now she had never been wont so to do save in company with her nurse; accordingly she sent for her and made friends with her and soothed her sorrow, saying, "I wish to go forth to the garden, that I may divert myself with the sight of its trees and Fruits, and broaden my breast with the scent of its flowers." Replied the old woman, "I hear and obey; but first I would go to my house, and soon I will be with thee." The Princess rejoined, "Go home, but be not long absent from me." So the old woman left her and, repairing to Taj al-Muluk, said to him, "Get thee ready and don thy richest dress and go to the garden and find out the Gardener and salute him and then hide thyself therein." "To hear is to obey" answered he; and she agreed with him upon a signal, after which she returned to the Lady Dunya. As soon as she was gone, the Wazir and Aziz rose and robed Taj al-Muluk in a splendid suit of royal raiment worth five thousand diners, and girt his middle with a girdle of gold set with gems and precious metals. Then they repaired to the garden and found seated at the gate the Keeper who, as soon as he saw the Prince, sprang to his feet and received him with all respect and reverence, and opening the gate, said, "Enter and take thy pleasure in looking at the garden." Now the Gardener knew not that the King's daughter was to visit the place that day; but when Taj al-Muluk had been a little while there, he heard a hubbub and ere he could think, out issued the eunuchs and damsels by the private wicket. The Gardener seeing this came up to the Prince, informed him of her approach and said to him, "O my lord, what is to be done? The Princess Dunya, the King's daughter, is here." Replied the Prince, "Fear not, no harm shall befal thee; for I will hide me somewhere about the garden." So the Keeper exhorted him to the utmost prudence and went away. Presently the Princess entered the garden with her damsels and with the old woman, who said to herself, "If these eunuchs stay with us, we shall not attain our end." So quoth she to the King's daughter, "O my lady, I have somewhat to tell thee which shall ease thy heart." Quoth the Princess, "Say what thou hast to say." "O my lady, rejoined the old woman, "thou hast no need of these eunuchs at a time like the present; nor wilt thou be able to divert thyself at thine ease, whilst they are with us; so send them away;" and the Lady Dunya replied, "Thou speakest sooth" Accordingly she dismissed them and presently began to walk about, whilst Taj al-Muluk looked upon her and fed his eyes on her beauty and loveliness (but she knew it not); and every time he gazed at her he fainted by reason of her passing charms. [FN#43] The old woman drew her on by converse till they reached the pavilion which the Wazir had bidden be decorated, when the Princess entered and cast a glance round and perceived the picture of the birds the fowler and the pigeon; whereupon she cried, "Exalted be Allah! This is the very counterfeit presentment of what I saw in my dream." She continued to gaze at the figures of the birds and the fowler with his net, admiring the work, and presently she said, "O my nurse, I have been wont to blame and hate men, but look now at the fowler how he hath slaughtered the she bird who set free her mate; who was minded to return to her and aid her to escape when the bird of prey met him and tore him to pieces." Now the old woman feigned ignorance to her and ceased not to occupy her in converse, till they drew near the place where Taj al-Muluk lay hidden. Thereupon she signed to him to come out and walk under the windows of the pavilion, and, as the Lady Dunya stood looking from the casement, behold, her glance fell that way and she saw him and noting his beauty of face and form, said to the old woman, "O my nurse, whence cometh yonder handsome youth?" Replied the old woman, "I know nothing of him save that I think he must be some great King's son, for he attaineth comeliness in excess and extreme loveliness." And the Lady Dunya fell in love with him to distraction; the spells which bound her were loosed and her reason was overcome by his beauty and grace; and his fine stature and proportions strongly excited her desires sexual. So she said, "O my nurse! this is indeed a handsome youth;" and the old woman replied, "Thou sayest sooth, O my lady," and signed to Taj al-Muluk to go home. And though desire and longing flamed in him and he was distraught for love, yet he went away and took leave of the Gardener and returned to his place, obeying the old woman and not daring to cross her. When he told the Wazir and Aziz that she had signed him to depart, they exhorted him to patience, saying, "Did not the ancient dame know that there was an object to be gained by thy departure, she had not signalled thee to return home." Such was the case with Taj al-Muluk, the Wazir and Aziz but as regards the King's daughter, the Lady Dunya, desire and passion redoubled upon her; she was overcome with love and longing and she said to her nurse, "I know not how I shall manage a meeting with this youth, but through thee." Exclaimed the old woman, "I take refuge with Allah from Satan the stoned! Thou who art averse from men! How cometh it then that thou art thus afflicted with hope and fear of this young man? Yet, by Allah, none is worthy of thy youth but he." Quoth the Lady Dunya, "O my nurse, further my cause and help me to foregather with him, and thou shalt have of me a thousand diners and a dress of honour worth as much more: but if thou aid me not to come at him, I am a dead woman in very sooth." Replied the ancient dame, "Go to thy palace and leave me to devise means for bringing you twain together. I will throw away my life to content you both!" So the Lady Dunya returned to her palace, and the old woman betook herself to Taj al-Muluk who, when he saw her, rose to receive her and entreated her with respect and reverence making her sit by his side. Then she said, "The trick hath succeeded," and told him all that had passed between herself and the Princess. He asked her, "When is our meeting to be?"; and she answered, "Tomorrow." So he gave her a thousand diners and a dress of like value, and she took them and stinted not walking till she returned to her mistress, who said to her, "O my nurse! what news of the be loved?" Replied she, "I have learnt where he liveth and will bring him to thee tomorrow." At this the Princess was glad and gave her a thousand diners and a dress worth as much more, and she took them and returned to her own place, where she passed the night till morning. Then she went to Taj al-Muluk and dressing him in woman's clothes, said to him, "Follow me and sway from side to side [FN#44] as thou steppest, and hasten not thy pace nor take heed of any who speaketh to thee." And after thus charging him she went out, and the Prince followed her in woman's attire and she continued to charge and encourage him by the way, that he might not be afraid; nor ceased they walking till they came to the Palace-gate. She entered and the Prince after her, and she led him on, passing through doors and vestibules, till they had passed seven doors. [FN#45] As they approached the seventh, she said to him, "Hearten thy heart and when I call out to thee and say, 'O damsel pass on!' do not slacken thy pace, but advance as if about to run. When thou art in the vestibule, look to thy left and thou wilt see a saloon with doors: count five doors and enter the sixth, for therein is thy desire." Asked Taj al-Muluk, "And whither wilt thou go?"; and she answered, "Nowhere shall I go except that perhaps I may drop behind thee, and the Chief Eunuch may detain me to chat with him." She walked on (and he behind her) till she reached the door where the Chief Eunuch was stationed and he, seeing Taj al-Muluk with her dressed as a slave girl, said to the old woman, "What business hath this girl with thee?" Replied she, "This is a slave girl of whom the Lady Dunya hath heard that she is skilled in different kinds of work and she hath a mind to buy her." Rejoined the Eunuch, "I know neither slave girls nor anyone else; and none shall enter here without my searching according to the King's commands."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the One Hundred and Thirty-fifth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Chamberlain Eunuch cried to the old woman, "I know neither slave girl nor anyone else; and none shall enter here without my searching him according to the King's commands." Then quoth she, feigning to be angry, "I thought thee a man of sense and good breeding; but, if thou be changed, I will let the Princess know of it and tell her how thou hinderest her slave girl;" and she cried out to Taj al-Muluk, saying, "Pass on, O damsel!" So he passed on into the vestibule as she bade him, whilst the Eunuch was silent and said no more. The Prince counted five doors and entered the sixth where he found the Princess Dunya standing and awaiting him. As soon as she saw him, she knew him and clasped him to her breast, and he clasped her to his bosom. Presently the old woman came in to them, having made a pretext to dismiss the Princess's slave girls for fear of disgrace; and the Lady Dunya said to her, "Be thou our door keeper!" So she and Taj al-Muluk abode alone together and ceased not kissing and embracing and twining leg with leg till dawn. [FN#46] When day drew near, she left him and, shutting the door upon him, passed into another chamber, where she sat down as was her wont, whilst her slave women came in to her, and she attended to their affairs and conversed with them. Then she said to them, "Go forth from me now, for I wish to amuse myself in privacy." So they withdrew and she betook herself to Taj al-Muluk, and the old woman brought them food, of which they ate and returned to amorous dalliance till dawn. Then the door was locked upon him as on the day before; and they ceased not to do thus for a whole month. This is how it fared with Taj al-Muluk and the Lady Dunya; but as regards the Wazir and Aziz when they found that the Prince had gone to the Palace of the King's daughter and there delayed all the while, they concluded that he would never return from it and that he was lost for ever; and Aziz said to the Wazir, "O my father, what shall we do?" He replied, "O my son, this is a difficult matter, and except we return to his sire and tell him, he will blame us therefor." So they made ready at once and forthright set out for the Green Land and the Country of the Two Columns, and sought Sulayman Shah's capital. And they traversed the valleys night and day till they went in to the King, and acquainted him with what had befallen his son and how from the time he entered the Princess's Palace they had heard no news of him. At this the King was as though the Day of Doom had dawned for him and regret was sore upon him, and he proclaimed a Holy War [FN#47] throughout his realm. After which he sent forth his host without the town and pitched tents for them and took up his abode in his pavilion, whilst the levies came from all parts of the kingdom; for his subjects loved him by reason of his great justice and beneficence. Then he marched with an army walling the horizon, and departed in quest of his son. Thus far concerning them; but as regards Taj al-Muluk and the Lady Dunya the two remained as they were half a year's time, whilst every day they redoubled in mutual affection; and love and longing and passion and desire so pressed upon Taj al Muluk, that at last he opened his mind and said to her, "Know, O beloved of my heart and vitals, that the longer I abide with thee, the more love and longing and passion and desire increase on me, for that I have not yet fulfilled the whole of my wish." Asked she, "What then wouldst thou have, O light of my eyes and fruit of my vitals? If thou desire aught beside kissing and embracing and entwining of legs with legs, do what pleaseth thee; for, by Allah, no partner hath any part in us." [FN#48] But he answered "It is not that I wish: I would fain acquaint thee with my true story. Know, then, that I am no merchant, nay, I am a King the son of a King, and my father's name is the supreme King Sulayman Shah, who sent his Wazir ambassador to thy father, to demand thee in marriage for me, but when the news came to thee thou wouldst not consent." Then he told her his past from first to last, nor is there any avail in a twice told tale, and he added, "And now I wish to return to my father, that he may send an ambassador to thy sire, to demand thee in wedlock for me, so we may be at ease." When she heard these words, she joyed with great joy because it suited with her own wishes, and they passed the night on this understanding. But it so befel by the decree of Destiny that sleep overcame them that night above all nights and they remained till the sun had risen. Now at this hour, King Shahriman was sitting on his cushion of estate, with his Emirs and Grandees before him, when the Syndic of the goldsmiths presented himself between his hands, carrying a large box. And he advanced and opening it in presence of the King, brought out therefrom a casket of fine work worth an hundred thousand diners, for that which was therein of precious stones, rubies and emeralds beyond the competence of any sovereign on earth to procure. When the King saw this, he marvelled at its beauty; and, turning to the Chief Eunuch (him with whom the old woman had had to do), said to him, "O Kafur, [FN#49] take this casket and wend with it to the Princess Dunya." The Castrato took the casket and repairing to the apartment of the King's daughter found the door shut and the old woman lying asleep on the threshold; whereupon said he, "What! sleeping at this hour?" When the old woman heard the Eunuch's voice she started from sleep and was terrified and said to him, "Wait till I fetch the key." Then she went forth and fled for her life. Such was her case; but as regards the Epicene he, seeing her alarm, lifted the door off its hinge pins, [FN#50] and entering found the Lady Dunya with her arms round the neck of Taj al-Muluk and both fast asleep. At this sight he was confounded and was preparing to return to the King, when the Princess awoke, and seeing him, was terrified and changed colour and waxed pale, and said to him, "O Kafur, veil thou what Allah hath veiled!" [FN#51] But he replied, "I cannot conceal aught from the King"; and, locking the door on them, returned to Shahriman, who asked him, "Hast thou given the casket to the Princess?" Answered the Eunuch, "Take the casket, here it is for I cannot conceal aught from thee. Know that I found a handsome young man by the side of the Princess and they two asleep in one bed and in mutual embrace." The King commanded them to be brought into the presence and said to them, "What manner of thing is this?" and, being violently enraged, seized a dagger and was about to strike Taj al-Muluk with it, when the Lady Dunya threw herself upon him and said to her father, "Slay me before thou slayest him." The King reviled her and commended her to be taken back to her chamber: then he turned to Taj al-Muluk and said to him, "Woe to thee! whence art thou? Who is thy father and what hath emboldened thee to debauch my daughter?" Replied the Prince, "Know, O King, that if thou put me to death, thou art a lost man, and thou and all in thy dominions will repent the deed." Quoth the King, "How so?"; and quoth Taj al-Muluk "Know that I am the son of King Sulayman Shah, and ere thou knowest it, he will be upon thee with his horse and foot." When King Shahriman heard these words he would have deferred killing Taj al-Muluk and would rather have put him in prison, till he should look into the truth of his words; but his Wazir said to him, "O King of the Age, it is my opinion that thou make haste to slay this gallows bird who dares debauch the daughters of Kings." So the King cried to the headsman, "Strike off his head; for he is a traitor." Accordingly, the herdsman took him and bound him fast and raised his hand to the Emirs, signing to consult them, a first and a second signal, thinking thereby to gain time in this matter; [FN#52] but the King cried in anger to him, "How long wilt thou consult others? If thou consult them again I will strike off thine own head.;' So the headsman raised his hand till the hair of his armpit showed' and was about to smite his neck,--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the One Hundred and Thirty-sixth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the headsman raised his hand to smite off his head when behold, loud cries arose and the folk closed their shops; whereupon the King said to the headsman, "Wait awhile," and despatched one to learn the news. The messenger fared forth and presently returned and reported, "I saw an army like the dashing sea with its clashing surge: and their horses curvetting till earth trembleth with the tramp; and I know no more of them." When the King heard this, he was confounded and feared for his realm lest it should be torn from him; so he turned to his Minister and said, "Have not any of our army gone forth to meet this army?" But ere he had done speaking, his Chamberlains entered with messengers from the King who was approaching, and amongst them the Wazir who had accompanied Taj al-Muluk. They began by saluting the King, who rose to receive them and bade them draw near, and asked the cause of their coming; whereupon the Minister came forward from amongst them and stood before him and said "Know that he who hath come down upon thy realm is no King like unto the Kings of yore and the Sultans that went before." "And who is he?" asked Shahriman, and the Wazir answered, "He is the Lord of justice and loyalty, the bruit of whose magnanimity the caravans have blazed abroad, the Sultan Sulayman Shah, Lord of the Green Land and the Two Columns and the Mountains of Ispahan; he who loveth justice and equity, and hateth oppression and iniquity. And he saith to thee that his son is with thee and in thy city; his son, his heart's very core and the fruit of his loins, and if he find him in safety, his aim is won and thou shalt have thanks and praise; but if he have been lost from thy realm or if aught of evil have befallen him, look thou for ruin and the wasting of thy reign! for this thy city shall become a wold wherein the raven shall croak. Thus have I done my errand to thee and peace be with thee!" Now when King Shahriman heard from the messenger these words, his heart was troubled and he feared for his kingdom: so he cried out for his Grandees and Ministers, Chamberlains and Lieutenants; and, when they appeared, he said to them, "Woe to you! Go down and search for the youth." Now the Prince was still under the headsman's hands, but he was changed by the fright he had undergone. Presently, the Wazir, chancing to glance around, saw the Prince on the rug of blood and recognised him; so he arose and threw himself upon him, and so did the other envoys. Then they proceeded to loose his bonds and they kissed his hands and feet, whereupon Taj al-Muluk opened his eyes and, recognising his father's Wazir and his friend Aziz, fell down a fainting for excess of delight in them. When King Shahriman made sure that the coming of this army was indeed because of this youth, he was confounded and feared with great fear; so he went up to Taj al-Muluk and, kissing his head, said to him, "O my son, be not wroth with me, neither blame the sinner for his sin; but have compassion on my grey hairs, and waste not my realm." Whereupon Taj al-Muluk drew near unto him and kissing his hand, replied, "No harm shall come to thee, for indeed thou art to me as my father; but look that nought befal my beloved, the Lady Dunya!" Rejoined the King, "O my lord! fear not for her; naught but joy shall betide her;" and he went on to excuse himself and made his peace with Sulayman Shah's Wazir to whom he promised much money, if he would conceal from the King what he had seen. Then he bade his Chief Officers take the Prince with them and repair to the Hammam and clothe him in one of the best of his own suits and bring him back speedily. So they obeyed his bidding and bore him to the bath and clad him in the clothes which King Shahriman had set apart for him; and brought him back to the presence chamber. When he entered the King rose to receive him and made all his Grandees stand in attendance on him. Then Taj al-Muluk sat down to converse with his father's Wazir and with Aziz, and he acquainted them with what had befallen him; after which they said to him, "During that delay we returned to thy father and gave him to know that thou didst enter the palace of the Princess and didst not return therefrom, and thy case seemed doubtful to us. But when thy sire heard of this he mustered his forces; then we came to this land and indeed our coming hath brought to thee relief in extreme case and to us great joy." Quoth he, "Good fortune hath attended your every action, first and last." While this was doing King Shahriman went in to his daughter Princess Dunya, and found her wailing and weeping for Taj al-Muluk. Moreover, she had taken a sword and fixed the hilt in the ground and had set the point to the middle of her heart between her breasts; and she bent over the blade saying, "Needs must I slay myself and not survive my beloved." When her father entered and saw her in this case, he cried out to her, saying, "O Princess of kings' daughters, hold thy hand and have ruth on thy sire and the folk of thy realm!" Then he came up to her and continued, "Let it not be that an ill thing befal thy father for thy sake!" And he told her the whole tale that her lover was the son of King Sulayman Shah and sought her to wife and he added, "The marriage waiteth only for thy consent." Thereat she smiled and said, "Did I not tell thee that he was the son of a Sultan? By Allah, there is no help for it but that I let him crucify thee on a bit of wood worth two pieces of silver!" Replied the King, "O my daughter, have mercy on me, so Allah have mercy on thee!" Rejoined she, "Up with you and make haste and go bring him to me without delay." Quoth the King, "On my head and eyes be it!"; and he left her and, going in hastily to Taj al-Muluk, repeated her words in his ear. [FN#53] So he arose and accompanied the King to the Princess, and when she caught sight of her lover, she took hold of him and embraced him in her father's presence and hung upon him and kissed him, saying, "Thou hast desolated me by thine absence!" Then she turned to her father and said, "Sawest thou ever any that could do hurt to the like of this beautiful being, who is moreover a King, the son of a King and of the free born, [FN#54] guarded against ignoble deeds?" There upon King Shahriman went out shutting the door on them with his own hand; and he returned to the Wazir and to the other envoys of Sulayman Shah and bade them inform their King that his son was in health and gladness and enjoying all delight of life with his beloved. So they returned to King Sulayman and acquainted him with this; whereupon King Shahriman ordered largesse of money and vivers to the troops of King Sulayman Shah; and, when they had conveyed all he had commanded, he bade be brought out an hundred coursers and an hundred dromedaries and an hundred white slaves and an hundred concubines and an hundred black slaves and an hundred female slaves; all of which he forwarded to the King as a present. Then he took horse, with his Grandees and Chief Officers, and rode out of the city in the direction of the King's camp. As soon as Sultan Sulayman Shah knew of his approach, he rose and advanced many paces to meet him. Now the Wazir and Aziz had told him all the tidings, whereat he rejoiced and cried, "Praise be to Allah who hath granted the dearest wish of my son!" Then King Sulayman took King Shahriman in his arms and seated him beside himself on the royal couch, where they conversed awhile and had pleasure in each other's conversation. Presently food was set before them, and they ate till they were satisfied; and sweetmeats and dried fruits were brought, and they enjoyed their dessert. And after a while came to them Taj al-Muluk, richly dressed and adorned, and when his father saw him, he stood up and embraced him and kissed him. Then all who were sitting rose to do him honour; and the two Kings seated him between them and they sat conversing a while, after which quoth King Sulayman Shah to King Shahriman, "I desire to have the marriage contract between my son and thy daughter drawn up in the presence of witnesses, that the wedding may be made public, even as is the custom of Kings." "I hear and I obey," quoth King Shahriman and thereon summoned the Kazi and the witnesses, who came and wrote out the marriage contract between Taj al-Muluk and the Lady Dunya. Then they gave bakhshish [FN#55] of money and sweetmeats; and lavished incense and essences; and indeed it was a day of joy and gladness and all the grandees and soldiers rejoiced therein. Then King Shahriman proceeded to dower and equip his daughter; and Taj al-Muluk said to his sire, "Of a truth, this young man Aziz is of the generous and hath done me a notable service, having borne weariness with me; and he hath travelled with me and hath brought me to my desire. He ceased never to show sufferance with me and exhort me to patience till I accomplished my intent; and now he hath abided with us two whole years, and he cut off from his native land. So now I purpose to equip him with merchandise, that he may depart hence with a light heart; for his country is nearhand." Replied his father, "Right is thy rede;" so they made ready an hundred loads of the richest stuffs and the most costly, and Taj al-Muluk presented them with great store of money to Aziz, and farewelled him, saying, "O my brother and my true friend! take these loads and accept them from me by way of gift and token of affection, and go in peace to thine own country." Aziz accepted the presents and kissing the ground between the hands of the Prince and his father bade them adieu. Moreover, Taj al-Muluk mounted and accompanied him three miles on his homeward way as a proof of amity, after which Aziz conjured him to turn back, saying, "By Allah, O my master, were it not for my mother, I never would part from thee! But, good my lord! leave me not without news of thee." Replied Taj al-Muluk, "So be it!" Then the Prince returned to the city and Aziz journeyed on till he came to his native town; and he entered it and ceased not faring till he went in to his mother and found that she had built him a monument in the midst of the house and used to visit it continually. When he entered, he saw her with hair dishevelled and dispread over the tomb, weeping and repeating these lines,
"Indeed I'm strong to bear whate'er befal; * But weak to bear such parting's dire mischance:
What heart estrangement of the friend can bear? * What strength withstand assault of severance?"
Then sobs burst from her breast, and she recited also these couplets,
"What's this? I pass by tombs, and fondly greet * My friends' last homes, but send they no reply:
For saith each friend, 'Reply how can I make * When pledged to clay and pawned to stones I lie?
Earth has consumed my charms and I forget * Thy love, from kith and kin poor banisht I.' "
While she was thus, behold, Aziz came in to her and when she saw him, she fell down, fainting for very joy. He sprinkled water on her face till she revived and rising, took him in her arms and strained him to her breast, whilst he in like manner embraced her. Then he greeted her and she greeted him, and she asked the reason of his long absence, whereupon he told her all that had befallen him from first to last and informed her how Taj al-Muluk had given him an hundred loads of monies and stuffs. At this she rejoiced, and Aziz abode with his mother in his native town, weeping for what mishaps had happened to him with the daughter of Dalilah the Wily One, even her who had castrated [FN#56] him. Such was the case with Aziz; but as regards Taj al-Muluk he went in unto his beloved, the Princess Dunya, and abated her maidenhead. Then King Shahriman proceeded to equip his daughter for her journey with her husband and father in law, and bade bring them provaunt and presents and rarities. So they loaded their beasts and set forth, whilst King Shahriman escorted them, by way of farewell, three days' journey on their way, till King Shah Sulayman conjured him to return. So he took leave of them and turned back, and Taj al-Muluk and his wife and father fared for wards night and day, with their troops, till they drew near their capital. As soon as the news of their coming spread abroad, the folk decorated for them the city,--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the One Hundred and Thirty-seventh Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Shah Sulayman drew near his capital, the folk decorated the city for him and for his son. So they entered in state and the King, sitting on his throne with his son by his side, gave alms and largesse and loosed all who were in his jails. Then he held a second bridal for his son, and the sound of the singing women and players upon instruments was never silent for a whole month, and the tire women stinted not to adorn the Lady Dunya and display her in various dresses; and she tired not of the displaying nor did the women weary of gazing on her. Then Taj al-Muluk, after having foregathered awhile with his father and mother, took up his sojourn with his wife, and they abode in all joyance of life and in fairest fortune, till there came to them the Destroyer of all delights. [FN#57] Now when the Wazir Dandan had ended the tale of Taj al-Muluk and the Lady Dunya, Zau al-Makan said to him, "Of a truth, it is the like of thee who lighten the mourner's heart and who deserve to be the boon companions of Kings and to guide their policy in the right way." All this befel and they were still besieging Constantinople, where they lay four whole years, till they yearned after their native land; and the troops murmured, being weary of vigil and besieging and the endurance of fray and foray by night and by day. Then King Zau al-Makan summoned Rustam and Bahram and Tarkash, and when they were in presence bespoke them thus, "Know that we have lain here all these years and we have not won to our wish; nay, we have but gained increase of care and concern; for indeed we came, thinking to take our man bote for King Omar bin al-Nu'uman and in so doing my brother Sharrkan was slain; so is our sorrow grown to sorrows twain and our affliction to afflictions twain. All this came of the old woman Zat al-Dawahi, for it was she who slew the Sultan in his kingdom and carried off his wife, the Queen Sophia; nor did this suffice her, but she must put another cheat on us and cut the throat of my brother Sharrkan and indeed I have bound myself and sworn by the solemnest oaths that there is no help but I take blood wit from her. What say ye? Ponder my address and answer me." Then they bowed their heads and answered, "It is for the Wazir Dandan to opine." So the Minister came forward and said, "Know O King of the Age! it booteth us nought to tarry here; and 'tis my counsel that we strike camp and return to our own country, there to abide for a certain time and after that we should return for a razzia upon the worshippers of idols." Replied the King, "This rede is right, for indeed the folk weary for a sight of their families, and I am an other who is also troubled with yearning after my son Kanmakan and my brother 's daughter Kuzia Fakan, for she is in Damascus and I know not how is her case." When the troops heard this report, they rejoiced and blessed the Wazir Dandan. Then the King bade the crier call the retreat after three days. They fell to preparing for the march, and, on the fourth day, they beat the big drums and unfurled the banners and the army set forth, the Wazir Danden in the van and the King riding in the mid battle, with the Grand Chamberlain by his side; and all journeyed without ceasing, night and day, till they reached Baghdad city. The folk rejoiced in their return, and care and fear ceased from them whilst the stay at homes met the absentees and each Emir betook him to his own house. As for Zau al-Makan he marched up to the Palace and went in to his son Kanmakan, who had now reached the age of seven; and who used to go down to the weapon plain and ride. As soon as the King was rested of his journey, he entered the Hammam with his son, and returning, seated himself on his sofa of state, whilst the Wazir Dandan took up his station before him and the Emirs and Lords of the realm presented themselves and stood in attendance upon him. Then Zau al-Makan called for his comrade, the Fireman, who had befriended him in his wanderings; and, when he came into presence, the King rose to do him honour and seated him by his side. Now he had acquainted the Wazir with all the kindness and good turns which the Stoker had done him; and he found that the wight had waxed fat and burly with rest and good fare, so that his neck was like an elephant's throat and his face like a dolphin's belly. Moreover, he was grown dull of wit, for that he had never stirred from his place; so at first he knew not the King by his aspect. But Zau al-Makan came up to him smiling in his face, and greeted him after the friendliest fashion, saying, "How soon hast thou forgotten me?" With this the Fireman roused himself and, looking steadfastly at Zau al-Makan, made sure that he knew him; whereupon he sprang hastily to his feet and exclaimed, "O my friend, who hath made thee Sultan?" Then Zau al-Makan laughed at him and the Wazir, coming up to him expounded the whole story to him and said, "In good sooth he was thy brother and thy friend; and now he is King of the land and needs must thou get great good of him. So I charge thee, if he say, 'Ask a boon of me,' ask not but for some great thing; for thou art very dear to him." Quoth the Fireman, "I fear lest, if I ask of him aught, he may not choose to give it or may not be able to grant it." Quoth the Wazir, "Have no care; whatsoever thou askest he will give thee." Rejoined the Stoker, "By Allah, I must at once ask of him a thing that is in my thought: every night I dream of it and implore Almighty Allah to vouchsafe it to me." Said the Wazir, "Take heart; by Allah, if thou ask of him the government of Damascus, in place of his brother, he would surely give it thee and make thee Governor." With this the Stoker rose to is feet and Zau al-Makan signed to him to sit; but he refused, saying, "Allah forfend! The days are gone by of my sitting in thy presence.' Answered the Sultan, "Not so, they endure even now. Thou west in very deed the cause that I am at present alive and, by Allah, whatever thing most desired thou requirest of me, I will give that same to thee. But ask thou first of Allah, and then of me!" He said, "O my lord, I fear" "Fear not," quoth the Sultan He continued, "I fear to ask aught and that thou shouldst refuse it to me and it is only" At this the King laughed and replied, "If thou require of me the half of my kingdom I would share it with thee: so ask what thou wilt and leave talking." Repeated the Fireman "I fear" "Don't fear," quoth the King. He went on, "I fear lest I ask a thing and thou be not able to grant it." Upon this the Sultan waxed wroth and cried, "Ask what thou wilt." Then said he, "I ask, first of Allah and then of thee, that thou write me a patent of Syndicate over all the Firemen of the baths in the Holy City, Jerusalem." The Sultan and all present laughed and Zau al-Makan said, "Ask something more than this." He replied, "O my lord, said I not I feared that thou wouldst not choose to give me what I should ask or that thou be not able to grant it?" Therewith the Wazir signed him with his foot once and twice and thrice, and every time he began, "I ask of thee" Quoth the Sultan, "Ask and be speedy." So he said, "I ask thee to make me Chief of the Scavengers in the Holy City of Jerusalem, or in. Damascus town." Then all those who were present fell on their backs with laughter and the Wazir beat him; whereupon he turned to the Minister and said to him, "What art thou that thou shouldest beat me? 'Tis no fault of mine: didst thou not thyself bid me ask some important thing?" And he added, "Let me go to my own land." With this, the Sultan knew that he was jesting and took patience with him awhile; then turned to him and said, "O my brother, ask of me some important thing, befitting our dignity." So the Stoker said, "O King of the Age, I ask first of Allah and then of thee, that thou make me Viceroy of Damascus in the place of thy brother;" and the King replied, "Allah granteth thee this." Thereupon the Fireman kissed ground before him and he bade set him a chair in his rank and vested him with a viceroy's habit. Then he wrote him a patent and sealed it with his own seal, and said to the Wazir Dandan, "None shall go with him but thou; and when thou makest the return journey, do thou bring with thee my brother's daughter, Kuzia Fakan." "Hearken ing and obedience," answered the Minister; and, taking the Fire man, went down with him and made ready for the march. Then the King appointed for the Stoker servants and suite, and gave him a new litter and a princely equipage and said to the Emirs, "Whoso loveth me, let him honour this man and offer him a handsome present." So each and every of the Emirs brought him his gift according to his competence; and the King named him Zibl Khán, [FN#58] and conferred on him the honourable surname of al-Mujáhid. [FN#59] As soon as the gear was ready, he went up with the Wazir Dandan to the King, that he might take leave of him and ask his permission to depart. The King rose to him and embraced him, and charged him to do justice between his subjects and bade him make ready for fight against the Infidels after two years. Then they took leave of each other and the King, [FN#60] the Fighter for the Faith highs Zibl Khan, having been again exhorted by Zau al-Makan to deal fairly with his subjects, set out on his journey, after the Emirs had brought him Mamelukes and eunuchs, even to five thousand in number, who rode after him. The Grand Chamberlain also took horse, as did Bahram, captain of the Daylamites, and Rustam, captain of the Persians, and Tarkash, captain of the Arabs, who attended to do him service; and they ceased not riding with him three days' journey by way of honour. Then, taking their leave of him, they returned to Baghdad and the Sultan Zibl Khan and the Wazir Dandan fared on, with their suite and troops, till they drew near Damascus. Now news was come, upon the wings of birds, to the notables of Damascus, that King Zau al-Makan had made Sultan over Damascus a King named Zibl Khan and surnamed Al-Mujahid; so when he reached the city he found it dressed in his honour and everyone in the place came out to gaze on him. The new Sultan entered Damascus in a splendid progress and went up to the citadel, where he sat down upon his chair of state, whilst the Wazir Dandan stood in attendance on him, to acquaint him with the ranks of the Emirs and their stations. Then the Grandees came in to him and kissed hands and called down blessings on him. The new King, Zibl Khan, received them graciously and bestowed on them dresses of honour and various presents and bounties; after which he opened the treasuries and gave largesse to the troops, great and small. Then he governed and did justice and proceeded to equip the Lady Kuzia Fakan, daughter of King Sharrkan, appointing her a litter of silken stuff. Moreover he furnished the Wazir Dandan equally well for the return journey and offered him a gift of coin but he refused, saying, "Thou art near the time appointed by the King, and haply thou wilt have need of money, or after this we may send to seek of thee funds for the Holy War or what not." Now when the Wazir was ready to march, Sultan al-Mujahid mounted to bid the Minister farewell and brought Kuzia Fakan to him, and made her enter the litter and sent with her ten damsels to do her service. Thereupon they set forward, whilst King "Fighter for the Faith" returned to his government that he might order affairs and get ready his munitions of war, awaiting such time as King Zau al-Makan should send a requisition to him. Such was the case with Sultan Zibl Khan, but as regards the Wazir Dandan, he ceased not faring forward and finishing off the stages, in company with Kuzia Fakan till they came to Ruhbah [FN#61] after a month's travel and thence pushed on, till he drew near Baghdad. Then he sent to announce his arrival to King Zau al-Makan who, when he heard this, took horse and rode out to meet him. The Wazir Dandan would have dismounted, but the King conjured him not to do so and urged his steed till he came up to his side. Then he questioned him of Zibl Khan highs Al-Mujahid, whereto the Wazir replied that he was well and that he had brought with him Kuzia Fakan the daughter of his brother. At this the King rejoiced and said to Dandan, "Down with thee and rest thee from the fatigue of the journey for three days, after which come to me again." Replied the Wazir "With joy and gratitude," and betook himself to his own house, whilst the King rode up to his Palace and went in to his brother's daughter, Kuzia Fakan, a girl of eight years old. When he saw her, he rejoiced in her and sorrowed for her sire; then he bade make for her clothes and gave her splendid jewelry and ornaments, and ordered she be lodged with his son Kanmakan in one place. So they both grew up the brightest of the people of their time and the bravest; but Kuzia Fakan became a maiden of good sense and understanding and knowledge of the issues of events, whilst Kanmakan approved him a generous youth and freehanded, taking no care in the issue of aught. And so they continued till each of them attained the age of twelve. Now Kuzia Fakan used to ride a horseback and fare forth with her cousin into the open plain and push forward and range at large with him in the word; and they both learnt to smite with swords and spike with spears. But when they had reached the age of twelve, King Zau al-Makan, having completed his preparations and provisions and munitions for Holy War, summoned the Wazir Dandan and said to him, "Know that I have set mind on a thing, which I will discover to thee, and I want shine opinion thereon; so do thou with speed return me a reply." Asked the Wazir, "What is that, O King of the Age?"; and the other answered, "I am resolved to make my son Kanmakan Sultan and rejoice in him in my lifetime and do battle before him till death overtake me. What reckest thou of this?" The Wazir kissed the ground before the King and replied, "Know, O King and Sultan mine, Lord of the Age and the time! that which is in thy mind is indeed good, save that it is now no tide to carry it out, for two reasons; the first, that thy son Kanmakan is yet of tender years; and the second, that it often befalleth him who maketh his son King in his life time, to live but a little while thereafterward. [FN#62] And this is my reply." Rejoined the King, "Know, O Wazir that we will make the Grand Chamberlain guardian over him, for he is now one of the family and he married my sister, so that he is to me as a brother." Quoth the Wazir, "Do what seemeth good to thee: we have only to obey thine orders." Then the King sent for the Grand Chamberlain whom they brought into the presence together with the Lords of the realm and he said to them, "Ye know that this my son Kanmakan is the first cavalier of the age, and that he hath no peer in striking with the sword and lunging with the lance; and now I appoint him to be Sultan over you and I make the Grand Chamberlain, his uncle, guardian over him." Replied the Chamberlain, "I am but a tree which thy bounty hath planted"; and Zau al-Makan said, "O Chamberlain, verily this my son Kanmakan and my niece Kuzia Fakan are brothers' children; so I hereby marry her to him and I call those present to witness thereof." Then he made over to his son such treasures as no tongue can describe, and going in to his sister, Nuzhat al-Zaman, told her what he had done, whereat she was a glad woman and said, "Verily the twain are my children: Allah preserve thee to them and keep thy life for them many a year!" Replied he, "O my sister, I have accomplished in this world all my heart desired and I have no fear for my son! yet it were well thou have an eye on him, and an eye on his mother." And he charged the Chamberlain and Nuzhat al-Zaman with the care of his son and niece and wife, and this he continued to do nights and days till he fell sick and deemed surely that he was about to drink the cup of death; so he took to his bed, whilst the Chamberlain busied himself with ordering the folk and realm. At the end of the year, the King summoned his son Kanmakan and the Wazir Dandan and said, "O my son, after my death this Wazir is thy sire; for know that I am about to leave this house of life transitory for the house of eternity. And indeed I have fulfilled my will of this world; yet there remaineth in my heart one regret which may Allah dispel through and by thy hands." Asked his son, "What regret is that, O my father?" Answered Zau al-Makan, "O my son, the sole regret of me is that I die without having avenged thy grandfather, Omar bin al-Nu'uman, and thine uncle, Sharrkan, on an old woman whom they call Zat al-Dawahi; but, if Allah grant thee aid, sleep not till thou take thy wreak on her, and so wipe out the shame we have suffered at the Infidel's hands; and beware of the old hag's wile and do what the Wazir Dandan shall advise thee; because he from old time hath been the pillar of our realm." And his son assented to what he said. Then the King's eyes ran over with tears and his sickness redoubled on him; whereupon his brother in law, the Chamberlain took charge over the country and, being a capable man, he judged and bade and forbade for the whole of that year, while Zau al-Makan was occupied with his malady. And his sickness was sore upon him for four years, during which the Chief Chamberlain sat in his stead and gave full satisfaction to the commons and the nobles; and all the country blessed his rule. Such was the case with Zau al-Makan and the Chamberlain, but as regards the King's son, he busied himself only with riding and lunging with lance and shooting with shaft, and thus also did the daughter of his uncle, Kuzia Fakan; for he and she were wont to fare forth at the first of the day and return at nightfall, when she would go in to her mother, and he would go in to his mother whom he ever found sitting in tears by the head of his father's couch. Then he would tend his father all night long till daybreak, when he would go forth again with his cousin according to their wont. Now Zau al-Makan's pains and sufferings were lonesome upon him and he wept and began versifying with these couplets,
"Gone is my strength, told is my tale of days * And, lookye! I am left as thou dost see:
In honour's day most honoured wont to be, * And win the race from all my company
Would Heaven before my death I might behold * My son in seat of empire sit for me
And rush upon his foes, to take his wreak * With sway of sword and lance lunged gallantly:
In this world and the next I am undone, * Except the Lord vouchsafe me clemency."
When he had ended repeating these verses, he laid his head on his pillow and closed his eyes and slept. Then saw he in his sleep one who said to him, "Rejoice, for thy son shall fill the lands with justest sway; and he shall rule them and him shall the lieges obey."; Then he awoke from his dream gladdened by the good tidings he had seen, and after a few days, Death smote him, and because of his dying great grief fell on the people of Baghdad, and simple and gentle mourned for him. But Time passed over him, as though he had never been [FN#63] and Kanmakan's estate was changed; for the people of Baghdad set him aside and put him and his family in a place apart. Now when his mother saw this, she fell into the sorriest of plights and said, "There is no help but that I go to the Grand Chamberlain, and I must hope for the aidance of the Subtle, the All-Wise!" Then she rose from her place and betook herself to the house of the Chamberlain who was now become Sultan, and she found him sitting upon his carpet. So she went in to his wife, Nuzhat al-Zaman, and wept with sore weeping and said unto her, "Verily the dead hath no friend! May Allah never bring you to want as long as your age and the years endure, and may you cease not to rule justly over rich and poor. Thine ears have heard and thine eyes have seen all that was ours of kingship and honour and dignity and wealth and fair fortune of life and condition; and now Time hath turned upon us, and fate and the world have betrayed us and wrought in hostile way with us, wherefore I come to thee craving thy favours, I from whom favours were craved: for when a man dieth, women and maidens are brought to despisal." And she repeated these couplets,
"Suffice thee Death such marvels can enhance, * And severed lives make lasting severance:
Man's days are marvels, and their stations are * But water-pits [FN#64] of misery and mischance.
Naught wrings my heart save loss of noble friends, * Girt round by rings of hard, harsh circumstance."
When Nuzhat al-Zaman heard these words, she remembered her brother, Zau al-Makan, and his son Kanmakan, and, making her draw near to her and showing her honour, she said, "Verily at this moment, by Allah, I am grown rich and thou art poor; now by the Lord! we did not cease to seek thee out, but we feared to wound thy heart lest thou shouldest fancy our gifts to thee an alms gift. Withal, whatso weal we now enjoy is from thee and thy husband; so our house is thy house and our place thy place, and thine is all our wealth and what goods we have belong to thee." Then she robed her in sumptuous robes and set apart for her a place in the Palace adjoining her own; and they abode therein, she and her son, in all delight of life. And Nuzhat al-Zaman clothed him also in Kings' raiment and gave to them both especial handmaids for their service. After a little, she related to her husband the sad case of the widow of her brother, Zau al-Makan, whereat his eyes filled with tears and he said, "Wouldest thou see the world after thee, look thou upon the world after other than thyself. Then entreat her honourably and enrich her poverty."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When It was the One Hundred and Thirty-eighth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Nuzhat Al-Zaman related to her husband the sad case of the widow of her brother, Zau al-Makan, the Chamberlain said, "Entreat her honourably and enrich her poverty." Thus far concerning Nuzhat al-Zaman and her consort and the relict of Zau al-Makan; but as regards Kanmakan and his cousin Kuzia Fakan, they grew up and flourished till they waxed like unto two fruit-laden boughs or two shining moons; and they reached the age of fifteen. And she was indeed the fairest of maids who are modestly veiled, lovely faced with smooth cheeks graced, and slender waist on heavy hips based; and her shape was the shaft's thin line and her lips were sweeter than old wine and the nectar of her mouth as it were the fountain Salsabíl [FN#65]; even as saith the poet in these two couplets describing one like her,
"As though ptisane of wine on her lips honey dew * Dropt from the ripened grapes her mouth in clusters grew
And, when her frame thou doublest, and low bends her vine, * Praise her Creator's might no creature ever knew."
Of a truth Allah had united in her every charm: her shape would shame the branch of waving tree and the rose before her cheeks craved lenity; and the honey dew of her lips of wine made jeer, however old and clear, and she gladdened heart and beholder with joyous cheer, even as saith of her the poet,
"Goodly of gifts is she, and charm those perfect eyes, * With lashes shaming Kohl and all the fair ones Kohl'd [FN#66]
And from those eyne the glances pierce the lover's heart, * Like sword in Mír al-Muminína Ali's hold."
And (the relator continueth) as for Kanmakan, he became unique in loveliness and excelling in perfection no less; none could even him in qualities as in seemliness and the sheen of velour between his eyes was espied, testifying for him while against him it never testified. The hardest hearts inclined to his side; his eyelids bore lashes black as by Kohl; and he was of surpassing worth in body and soul. And when the down of lips and cheeks began to sprout bards and poets sang for him far and near,
"Appeared not my excuse till hair had clothed his cheek, * And gloom o'ercrept that side-face (sight to stagger!)
A fawn, when eyes would batten on his charms, * Each glance deals thrust like point of Khanjar-dagger."
And saith another,
"His lovers' souls have drawn upon his cheek * An ant that perfected its rosy light:
I marvel at such martyrs Lazá-pent * Who yet with greeny robes of Heaven are dight.'' [FN#67]
Now it chanced one holiday, that Kuzia Fakan fared forth to make festival with certain kindred of the court, and she went surrounded by her handmaids. And indeed beauty encompassed her, the roses of her cheeks dealt envy to their mole; from out her smiling lips levee flashed white, gleaming like the chamomile [FN#68]; and Kanmakan began to turn about her and devour her with his sight, for she was the moon of resplendent light. Then he took heart and giving his tongue a start began to improvise,
"When shall the disappointed heart be healed of severance, * And lips of Union smile at ceasing of our hard mischance?
Would Heaven I knew shall come some night, and with it surely bring * Meeting with friend who like myself endureth sufferance." [FN#69]
When Kuzia Fakan heard these couplets, she showed vexation and disapproval and, putting on a haughty and angry air, said to him, "Dost thou name me in thy verse, to shame me amongst folk? By Allah, if thou turn not from this talk, I will assuredly complain of thee to the Grand Chamberlain, Sultan of Khorasan and Baghdad and lord of justice and equity; that disgrace and punishment may befal thee!" Kanmakan made no reply for anger but he returned to Baghdad; and Kuzia Fakan also returned to her palace and complained of her cousin to her mother, who said to her, "O my daughter, haply he meant thee no harm, and is he aught but an orphan? Withal, he said nought of reproach to thee; so beware thou tell none of this, lest perchance it come to e Sultan's ears and he cut short his life and blot out his name and make it even as yesterday, whose memory hath passed away." However, Kanmakan's love for Kuzia Fakan spread abroad in Baghdad, so that the women talked of it. Moreover, his breast became straitened and his patience waned and he knew not what to do, yet he could not hide his condition from the world. Then longed he to give vent to the pangs he endured, by reason of the lowe of separation; but he feared her rebuke and her wrath; so he began improvising,
"Now is my dread to incur reproaches, which * Disturb her temper and her mind obscure,
Patient I'll bear them; e'en as generous youth his case to cure.'' * Beareth the burn of brand his case to cure. [FN#70]
And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the One Hundred and Thirty-ninth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the Grand Chamberlain became Sultan they named him King Sásán; and after he had assumed the throne he governed the people in righteous way. Now as he was giving audience one day, Kanmakan's verses came to his knowledge. Thereupon he repented him of the past and going in to his wife Nuzhat al-Zaman, said to her, "Verily, to join Halfah grass and fire, [FN#71] is the greatest of risks, and man may not be trusted with woman, so long as eye glanceth and eyelid quivereth. Now thy brother's son, Kanmakan, is come to man's estate and it behoveth us to forbid him access to the rooms where anklets trinkle, and it is yet more needful to forbid thy daughter the company of men, for the like of her should be kept in the Harim." Replied she, "Thou sayest sooth, O wise King!" Next day came Kanmakan according to his wont; and, going in to his aunt saluted her. She returned his salutation and said to him, "O my son! I have some what to say to thee which I would fain leave unsaid; yet I must tell it thee despite my inclination." Quoth he, "Speak;" and quoth she, Know then that thy sire the Chamberlain, the father of Kuzia Fakan, hath heard of the verses thou madest anent her, and hath ordered that she be kept in the Harim and out of thy reach; if therefore, O my son, thou want anything from us, I will send it to thee from behind the door; and thou shalt not look upon Kuzia Fakan nor shalt thou return hither from this day forth." When he heard this he arose and withdrew with out speaking a single word; and, betaking himself to his mother related what his aunt had said. She observed, "This all cometh of thine overtalking. Thou knowest that the news of thy passion for Kuzia Fakan is noised abroad and the tattle hath spread everywhere how thou eatest their food and thereafter thou courtest their daughter." Rejoined he, "And who should have her but I? She is the daughter of my father's brother and I have the best of rights to her." Retorted his mother, "These are idle words. Be silent, lest haply thy talk come to King Sasan's ears and it prove the cause of thy losing her and the reason of thy ruin and increase of thine affliction. They have not sent us any supper to-night and we shall die an hungered; and were we in any land but this, we were already dead of famine or of shame for begging our bread." When Kanmakan heard these words from his mother, his regrets redoubled; his eyes ran over with tears and he complained and began improvising,
"Minish this blame I ever bear from you: * My heart loves her to whom all love is due:
Ask not from me of patience jot or little, * Divorce of Patience by God's House! I rue:
What blamers preach of patience I unheed; * Here am I, love path firmly to pursue!
Indeed they bar me access to my love, * Here am I by God's ruth no ill I sue!
Good sooth my bones, whenas they hear thy name, * Quail as birds quailed when Nisus o'er them flew: [FN#72]
Ah! say to them who blame my love that I * Will love that face fair cousin till I die."
And when he had ended his verses he said to his mother, "I have no longer a place in my aunt's house nor among these people, but I will go forth from the palace and abide in the corners of the city." So he and his mother left the court; and, having sought an abode in the neighbourhood of the poorer sort, there settled; but she used to go from time to time to King Sasan's palace and thence take daily bread for herself and her son. As this went on Kuzia Fakan took her aside one day and said to her, "Alas, O my naunty, how is it with thy son?" Replied she, "O my daughter, sooth to say, he is tearful-eyed and heavy hearted, being fallen into the net of thy love." And she repeated to her the couplets he had made; whereupon Kuzia Fakan wept and said, "By Allah! I rebuked him not for his words, nor for ill-will to him, but because I feared for him the malice of foes. Indeed my passion for him is double that he feeleth for me; my tongue may not describe my yearning for him; and were it not for the extravagant wilfulness of his words and the wanderings of his wit, my father had not cut off from him favours that besit, nor had decreed unto him exclusion and prohibition as fit. However, man's days bring nought but change, and patience in all case is most becoming: peradventure He who ordained our severance will vouchsafe us reunion!" And she began versifying in these two couplets,
"O son of mine uncle! same sorrow I bear, * And suffer the like of thy cark and thy care
Yet hide I from man what I suffer for pine; * Hide it too, and such secret to man never bare!"
When his mother heard this from her, she thanked her and blessed her: then she left her and acquainted her son with what she had said; whereupon his desire for her increased and he took heart, being eased of his despair and the turmoil of his love and care. And he said, "By Allah, I desire none but her!"; and he began improvising,
"Leave this blame, I will list to no flout of my foe! * I divulged a secret was told me to keep:
He is lost to my sight for whose union I yearn, * And I watch all the while he can slumber and sleep."
So the days and nights went by whilst Kanmakan lay tossing upon coals of fire, [FN#73] till he reached the age of seventeen; and his beauty had waxt perfect and his wits were at their brightest. One night, as he lay awake, he communed with himself and said, "Why should I keep silence till I waste away and see not my lover? Fault have I none save poverty; so, by Allah, I am resolved to remove me from this region and wander over the wild and the word; for my position in this city is a torture and I have no friend nor lover therein to comfort me; wherefore I am determined to distract myself by absence from my native land till I die and take my rest after this shame and tribulation." And he began to improvise and recited these couplets,
"Albeit my vitals quiver 'neath this ban; * Before the foe myself I'll ne'er unman!
So pardon me, my vitals are a writ * Whose superscription are my tears that ran:
Heigh ho! my cousin seemeth Houri may * Come down to earth by reason of Rizwan:
'Scapes not the dreadful sword lunge of her look * Who dares the glancing of those eyne to scan:
O'er Allah's wide spread world I'll roam and roam, * And from such exile win what bread I can
Yes, o'er broad earth I'll roam and save my soul, * All but her absence bear ing like a man
With gladsome heart I'll haunt the field of fight, * And meet the bravest Brave in battle van!"
So Kanmakan fared forth from the palace barefoot and he walked in a short sleeved gown, wearing on his head a skull cap of felt [FN#74] seven years old and carrying a scone three days stale, and in the deep glooms of night betook himself to the portal of al-Arij of Baghdad. Here he waited for the gate being opened and when it was opened, he was the first to pass through it; and he went out at random and wandered about the wastes night and day. When the dark hours came, his mother sought him but found him not; whereupon the world waxt strait upon her for all that it was great and wide, and she took no delight in aught of weal it supplied. She looked for him a first day and a second day and a third day till ten days were past, but no news of him reached her. Then her breast became contracted and she shrieked and shrilled, saying, "O my son! O my darling! thou hast revived my regrets. Sufficed not what I endured, but thou must depart from my home? After thee I care not for food nor joy in sleep, and naught but tears and mourning are left me. O my son, from what land shall I call thee? And what town hath given thee refuge?" Then her sobs burst out, and she began repeating these couplets,
"Well learnt we, since you left, our grief and sorrow to sustain, * While bows of severance shot their shafts in many a railing rain:
They left me, after girthing on their selles of corduwayne * To fight the very pangs of death while spanned they sandy plain:
Mysterious through the nightly gloom there came the moan of dove; * A ring dove, and replied I, 'Cease thy plaint, how durst complain?'
If, by my life, her heart, like mine, were full of pain and pine * She had not decks her neck with ring nor sole with ruddy stain. [FN#75]
Fled is mine own familiar friend, bequeathing me a store * Of parting pang and absence ache to suffer evermore."
Then she abstained from food and drink and gave herself up to excessive tear shedding and lamentation. Her grief became public property far and wide and all the people of the town and country side wept with her and cried, "Where is thine eye, O Zau al-Makan?" And they bewailed the rigours of Time, saying, "Would Heaven we knew what hath befallen Kanmakan that he fled his native town, and chased himself from the place where his father used to fill all in hungry case and do justice and grace?" And his mother redoubled her weeping and wailing till the news of Kanmakan's departure came to King Sasan.--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the One Hundred and Fortieth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that came to King Sasan the tidings of the departure of Kanmakan, through the Chief Emirs who said to him, "Verily he is the son of our Sovran and the seed of King Omar bin al-Nu'uman and it hath reached us that he hath exiled himself from the land." When King Sasan heard these words, he was wroth with them and ordered one of them to be hanged by way of silencing him, whereat the fear of him fell upon the hearts of all the other Grandees and they dared not speak one word. Then he called to mind all the kindness that Zau al-Makan had done him, and how he had charged him with the care of his son; wherefore he grieved for Kanmakan and said, "Needs must I have search made for him in all countries." So he summoned Tarkash and bade him choose an hundred horse and wend with them in quest of the Prince. Accordingly he went out and was absent ten days, after which he returned and said, "I can learn no tidings of him and have hit on no trace of him, nor can any tell me aught of him." Upon this King Sasan repented him of that which he had done by the Prince; whilst his mother abode in unrest continual nor would patience come at her call: and thus passed over her twenty days in heaviness all. This is how it fared with these; but as regards Kanmakan, when he left Baghdad, he went forth perplexed about his case and knowing not whither he should go: so he fared on alone through the desert for three days and saw neither footman nor horseman; withal, his sleep fled and his wakefulness redoubled, for he pined after his people and his homestead. He ate of the herbs of the earth and drank of its flowing waters and siesta'd under its trees at hours of noontide heats, till he turned from that road to another way and, following it other three days, came on the fourth to a land of green leas, dyed with the hues of plants and trees and with sloping valley sides made to please, abounding with the fruits of the earth. It had drunken of the cups of the cloud, to the sound of thunders rolling loud and the song of the turtle-dove gently sough'd, till its hill slopes were brightly verdant and its fields were sweetly fragrant. Then Kanmakan recalled his father's city Baghdad, and for excess of emotion he broke out into verse,
"I roam, and roaming hope I to return; * Yet of returning see not how or when:
I went for love of one I could not win, * Nor way of 'scaping ills that pressed could ken."
When he ended his recital he wept, but presently he wiped away his tears and ate of the fruits of the earth enough for his present need. Then he made the Wuzu-ablution and prayed the ordained prayers which he had neglected all this time; and he sat resting in that place through the livelong day. When night came he slept and ceased not sleeping till midnight, when he awoke and heard a human voice declaiming these couplets,
"What's life to me, unless I see the pearly sheen * Of teeth I love, and sight that glorious mien?
Pray for her Bishops who in convents reign, * Vying to bow before that heavenly queen.
And Death is lighter than the loved one's wrath, * Whose phantom haunts me seen in every scene:
O joy of cup companions, when they meet, * And loved and lover o'er each other lean!
E'en more in time of spring, the lord of flowers, * When fragrant is the world with bloom and green:
Drainer of vine-juice! up wi' thee, for now * Earth is a Heaven where sweet waters flow. [FN#76]"
When Kanmakan heard these distichs his sorrows surged up; his tears ran down his cheeks like freshets and flames of fire darted into his heart. So he rose to see who it was that spake these words, but saw none for the thickness of the gloom; whereupon passion increased on him and he was frightened and restlessness possessed him. He descended from his place to the sole of the valley and walked along the banks of the stream, till he heard the same voice sighing heavy sighs and reciting these couplets,
"Tho' 'tis thy wont to hide thy love perforce, * Yet weep on day of parting and divorce!
Twixt me and my dear love were plighted vows; * Pledge of reunion, fonder intercourse:
With joy inspires my heart and deals it rest * Zephyr, whose coolness doth desire enforce.
O Sa'adá, [FN#77] thinks of me that anklet wearer? * Or parting broke she troth without remorse?
And say! shall nights foregather us, and we * Of suffered hardships tell in soft discourse?
Quoth she, 'Thou'rt daft for us and fey'; quoth I, * ' 'Sain thee! how many a friend hast turned to corse!'
If taste mine eyes sweet sleep while she's away, * Allah with loss of her these eyne accurse.
O wounds in vitals mine! for cure they lack * Union and dewy lips' sweet theriack." [FN#78]
When Kanmakan heard this verse again spoken by the same voice yet saw no one, he knew that the speaker was a lover like unto himself, debarred from union with her who loved him; and he said to himself, "'Twere fitting that this man should lay his head to my head and become my comrade in this my strangerhood." [FN#79] Then he hailed the speaker and cried out to him, saying, "O thou who farest in sombrest night, draw near to me and tell me thy tale haply thou shalt find me one who will succour thee in thy sufferings." And when the owner of the voice heard these words, he cried out, "O thou that respondest to my complaint and wouldest hear my history, who art thou amongst the knights? Art thou human or Jinni? Answer me speedily ere thy death draw near for I have wandered in this desert some twenty days and have seen no one nor heard any voice but thy voice." At these words Kanmakan said to himself, "This one's case is like my case, for I, even I, have wandered twenty days, nor during my wayfare have I seen man or heard voice:" and he added, "I will make him no answer till day arise." So he was silent, and the voice again called out to him, saying, "O thou that callest, if thou be of the Jinn fare in peace and, if thou be man, stay awhile till the day break stark and the night flee with the dark." The speaker abode in his place and Kanmakan did likewise and the twain in reciting verses never failed, and wept tears that railed till the light of day began loom and the night departed with its gloom. Then Kanmakan looked at the other and found him to be of the Badawi Arabs, a youth in the flower of his age; clad in worn clothes and bearing in baldrick a rusty sword which he kept sheathed, and the signs of love longing were apparent on him. He went up to him and accosted him and saluted him, and the Badawi returned the salute and greeted him with courteous wishes for his long life, but somewhat despised him, seeing his tender years and his condition, which was that of a pauper. So he said to him, "O youth, of what tribe art thou and to whom art thou kin among the Arabs; and what is thy history that thou goest by night, after the fashion of knights? Indeed thou spakest to me in the dark words such as are spoken of none but doughty cavaliers and lion-like warriors; and now I hold thy life in hand. But I have compassion on thee by reason of thy green years; so I will make thee my companion and thou shalt go with me, to do me service." When Kanmakan heard him speak these unseemly words, after showing him such skill in verse, he knew that he despised him and would presume with him; therefore he answered him with soft and well-chosen speech, saying, "O Chief of the Arabs, leave my tenderness of age and tell me why thou wanderest by night in the desert reciting verses. Thou talkest, I see, of my serving thee; who then art thou and what moved thee to talk this wise?" Answered he, "Hark ye, boy! I am Sabbáh, son of Rammáh bin Humám. [FN#80] My people are of the Arabs of Syria and I have a cousin, Najmah highs, who to all that look on her brings delight. And when my father died I was brought up in the house of his brother, the father of Najmah; but as soon I grew up and my uncle's daughter became a woman, they secluded her from me and me from her, seeing that I was poor and without money in pouch. Then the Chiefs of the Arabs and the heads of the tribes rebuked her sire, and he was abashed before them and consented to give me my cousin, but upon condition that I should bring him as her dower fifty head of horses and fifty dromedaries which travel ten days [FN#81] without a halt and fifty camels laden with wheat and a like number laden with barley, together with ten black slaves and ten handmaids. Thus the weight he set upon me was beyond my power to bear; for he exacted more than the marriage settlement as by law established. So here am I, travelling from Syria to Irak, and I have passed twenty days with out seeing other than thyself; yet I mean to go to Baghdad that I may ascertain what merchant men of wealth and importance start thence. Then will I fare forth in their track and loot their goods, and I will slay their escort and drive off their camels with their loads. But what manner of man art thou?" Replied Kanmakan, "Thy case is like unto my case, save that my evil is more grievous than thine ill; for my cousin is a King's daughter and the dowry of which thou hast spoken would not content her people, nor would they be satisfied with the like of that from me." Quoth Sabbah, "Surely thou art a fool or thy wits for excess of passion are gathering wool! How can thy cousin be a King's daughter? Thou hast no sign of royal rank on thee, for thou art but a mendicant." Re joined Kanmakan, "O Chief of the Arabs, let not this my case seem strange to thee; for what happened, happened; [FN#82] and if thou desire proof of me, I am Kanmakan, son of King Zau al-Makan, son of King Omar bin al-Nu'uman Lord of Baghdad and the realm Khorasan; and Fortune banned me with her tyrant ban, for my father died and my Sultanate was taken by King Sasan. So I fled forth from Baghdad secretly, lest I be seen of any man, and have wandered twenty days without any but thyself to scan. So now I have discovered to thee my case, and my story is as thy story and my need as thy need." When Sabbab heard this, he cried out, "O my joy, I have attained my desire! I will have no loot this day but thy self; for since thou art of the seed of Kings and hast come out in beggar's garb, there is no help but thy people will seek thee; and, if they find thee in any one's power, they will ransom thee with monies galore. So show me thy back, O my lad, and walk before me." Answered Kanmakan, "O brother of the Arabs, act not on this wise, for my people will not buy me with silver nor with gold, not even with a copper dirham; and I am a poor man, having with me neither much nor little, so cease then to be upon this track and take me to thy comrade. Fare we forth for the land of Irak and wander over the world, so haply we may win dower and marriage portion, and we may seek and enjoy our cousins' kisses and embraces when we come back." Hearing this, Sabbah waxed angry; his arrogance and fury redoubled and he said, "Woe to thee! Dost thou bandy words with me, O vilest of dogs that be? Turn thee thy back, or I will come down on thee with clack!" Kanmakan smiled and answered, "Why should I turn my back for thee? Is there no justice in thee? Dost thou not fear to bring blame upon the Arab men by driving a man like myself captive, in shame and disdain, before thou hast proved him on the plain, to know if he be a warrior or of cowardly strain?" Upon this Sabbah laughed and replied, "By Allah, a wonder! Thou art a boy in years told, but in talk thou art old. These words should come from none but a champion doughty and bold: what wantest thou of justice?" Quoth Kanmakan, "If thou wilt have me thy captive, to wend with thee and serve thee, throw down thine arms and put off thine outer gear and come on and wrestle with me; and whichever of us throw his opponent shall have his will of him and make him his boy." Then Sabbah laughed and said, "I think this waste of breath de noteth the nearness of thy death." Then he arose and threw down his weapon and, tucking up his skirt, drew near unto Kanmakan who also drew near and they gripped each other. But the Badawi found that the other had the better of him and weighed him down as the quintal downweighs the diner; and he looked at his legs firmly planted on the ground, and saw that they were as two minarets [FN#83] strongly based, or two tent-poles in earth encased, or two mountains which may not he displaced. So he acknowledged himself to be a failure and repented of having come to wrestle with him, saying in himself, "Would I had slain him with my weapon!" Then Kanmakan took hold of him and mastering him, shook him till the Badawi thought his bowels would burst in his belly, and he broke out, "Hold thy hand, O boy!" He heeded not his words, but shook him again and, lifting him from the ground, made with him towards the stream, that he might throw him therein: where upon the Badawi roared out, saying, "O thou valiant man, what wilt thou do with me?" [FN#84] Quoth he, "I mean to throw thee into this stream: it will bear thee to the Tigris. The Tigris will bring thee to the river Isa and the Isa will carry thee to the Euphrates, and the Euphrates will land thee in shine own country; so thy tribe shall see thee and know thy manly cheer and how thy passion be sincere." Then Sabbah cried aloud and said, "O Champion of the desert lair, do not with me what deed the wicked dare but let me go, by the life of thy cousin, the jewel of the fair!" Hearing this, Kanmakan set him on the ground, but when he found him self at liberty, he ran to his sword and targe and taking them up stood plotting in himself treachery and sudden assault on his adversary. [FN#85] The Prince kenned his intent in his eye and said to him, "I con what is in thy heart, now thou hast hold of thy sword and thy targe. Thou hast neither length of hand nor trick of wrestling, but thou thinkest that, wert thou on thy mare and couldst wheel about the plain, and ply me with thy skene, I had long ago been slain. But I will give thee thy requite, so there may be left in thy heart no despite; now give me the targe and fall on me with thy whinger; either thou shalt kill me or I shall kill thee." "Here it is," answered Sabbah and, throwing him the targe, bared his brand and rushed at him sword in hand; Kanmakan hent the buckler in his right and began to fend himself with it, whilst Sabbah struck at him, saying at each stroke, "This is the finishing blow!" But it fell harmless enow, for Kanmakan took all on his buckler and it was waste work, though he did not reply lacking the wherewithal to strike and Sabbah ceased not to smite at him with his sabre, till his arm was weary. When his opponent saw this, he rushed upon him and, hugging him in his arms, shook him and threw him to the ground. Then he turned him over on his face and pinioned his elbows behind him with the baldrick of his sword, and began to drag him by the feet and to make for the river. Thereupon cried Sabbah, "What wilt thou do with me, O youth, and cavalier of the age and brave of the plain where battles rage?" Answered he, "Did I not tell thee that it was my intent to send thee by the river to thy kin and to thy tribe, that thy heart be not troubled for them nor their hearts be troubled for thee, and lest thou miss thy cousin's bride-feast!" At this Sabbah shrieked aloud and wept and screaming said, "Do not thus, O champion of the time's braves! Let me go and make me one of thy slaves!" And he wept and wailed and began reciting these verses,
"I'm estranged fro' my folk and estrangement's long: * Shall I die amid strangers? Ah, would that I kenned!
I die, nor my kinsman shall know where I'm slain, * Die in exile nor see the dear face of my friend!"
Thereupon Kanmakan had compassion on him and said, "Make with me a covenant true and swear me an oath to be a comrade as due and to bear me company wheresoever I may go." "'Tis well," replied Sabbah and swore accordingly. Then Kanmakan loosed him and he rose and would have kissed the Prince's hand; but he forbade him that. Then the Badawi opened his scrip and, taking out three barley scones, laid them before Kanmakan and they both sat down on the bank of the stream to eat. [FN#86] When they had done eating together, they made the lesser ablution and prayed; after which they sat talking of what had befallen each of them from his people and from the shifts of Time. Presently said Kanmakan, "Whither dost thou now intend?" Replied Sabbah, "I purpose to repair to Baghdad, thy native town, and abide there, until Allah vouchsafe me the marriage portion." Rejoined the other, "Up then and to the road! I tarry here." So the Badawi farewelled him and took the way for Baghdad, whilst Kanmakan remained behind, saying to himself, "O my soul, with what face shall I return pauper-poor? Now by Allah, I will not go back empty handed and, if the Almighty please, I will assuredly work my deliverance." Then he went to the stream and made the Wuzu-washing and when prostrating he laid his brow in the dust and prayed to the Lord, saying, "O Allah! Thou who sendest down the dew, and feedest the worm that homes in the stone, I beseech Thee vouchsafe me my livelihood of Thine Omnipotence and the Grace of Thy benevolence!" Then he pronounced the salutation which closes prayer; yet every road appeared closed to him. And while he sat turning right and left, behold, he espied a horseman making towards him with bent back and reins slack. He sat up right and after a time reached the Prince; and the stranger was at the last gasp and made sure of death, for he was grievously wounded when he came up; the tears streamed down his cheeks like water from the mouths of skins, and he said to Kanmakan, "O Chief of the Arabs, take me to thy friendship as long as I live, for thou wilt not find my like; and give me a little water though the drinking of water be harmful to one wounded, especially whilst the blood is flowing and the life with it. And if I live, I will give thee what shall heal thy penury and thy poverty: and if I die, mayst thou be blessed for thy good intent." Now under that horseman was a stallion, so noble a Rabite [FN#87] the tongue fails to describe him; and as Kanmakan looked at his legs like marble shafts, he was seized with a longing and said to himself, "Verily the like of this stallion [FN#88] is not to be found in our time." Then he helped the rider to alight and entreated him in friendly guise and gave him a little water to swallow; after which he waited till he had taken rest and addressed him, saying, "Who hath dealt thus with thee?" Quoth the rider, "I will tell thee the truth of the case. I am a horse thief and I have busied myself with lifting and snatching horses all my life, night and day, and my name is Ghassan, the plague of every stable and stallion. I heard tell of this horse, that he was in the land of Roum, with King Afridun, where they had named him Al-Katúl and surnamed him Al Majnún. [FN#89] So I journeyed to Constantinople for his sake and watched my opportunity and whilst I was thus waiting, there came out an old woman, one highly honoured among the Greeks, and whose word with them is law, by name Zat al-Dawahi, a past mistress in all manner of trickery. She had with her this steed and ten slaves, no more, to attend on her and the horse; and she was bound for Baghdad and Khorasan, there to seek King Sasan and to sue for peace and pardon from ban. So I went out in their track, longing to get at the horse, [FN#90] and ceased not to follow them, but was unable to come by the stallion, because of the strict guard kept by the slaves, till they reached this country and I feared lest they enter the city of Baghdad. As I was casting about to steal the stallion lo! a great cloud of dust arose on them and walled the horizon. Presently it opened and disclosed fifty horsemen, gathered together to waylay merchants on the highway, and their captain, by name Kahrdash, was a lion in daring and dash; a furious lion who layeth knights flat as carpets in battle-crash."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the One Hundred and Forty-first Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the wounded rider spake thus to Kanmakan, "Then came out the same Kahrdash, and fell on the old woman and her men and bore down upon them bashing them, nor was it long before they bound her and the ten slaves and bore off their captives and the horse, rejoicing. When I saw this, I said to myself, 'My pains were in vain nor did I attain my gain.' However, I waited to see how the affair would fare, and when the old woman found herself in bonds, she wept and said to the captain, Kahrdash, 'O thou doughty Champion and furious Knight, what wilt thou do with an old woman and slaves, now that thou hast thy will of the horse?' And she beguiled him with soft words and she sware that she would send him horses and cattle, till he released her and her slaves. Then he went his way, he and his comrades, and I followed them till they reached this country; and I watched them, till at last I found an opportunity of stealing the horse, whereupon I mounted him and, drawing a whip from my wallet, struck him with it. When the robbers heard this, they came out on me and surrounded me on all sides and shot arrows and cast spears at me, whilst I stuck fast on his back and he fended me with hoofs and forehand, [FN#91] till at last he bolted out with me from amongst them like unerring shaft or shooting star. But in the stress and stowre I got sundry grievous wounds and sore; and, since that time, I have passed on his back three days without tasting food or sleeping aught, so that my strength is down brought and the world is become to me as naught. But thou hast dealt kindly with me and hast shown ruth on me; and I see thee naked stark and sorrow hath set on thee its mark, yet are signs of wealth and gentle breeding manifest on thee. So tell me, what and whence art thou and whither art thou bound?" Answered the Prince, "My name is Kanmakan, son of Zau al-Makan, son of King Omar bin al-Nu'uman. When my father died and an orphan lot was my fate, a base man seized the throne and became King over small and great." Then he told him all his past from first to last; and the horse thief said to him for he pitied him, "By Allah, thou art one of high degree and exceeding nobility, and thou shalt surely attain estate sublime and become the first cavalier of thy time. If thou can lift me on horseback and mount thee behind me and bring me to my own land, thou shalt have honour in this world and a reward on the day of band calling to band, [FN#92] for I have no strength left to steady myself; and if this be my last day, the steed is thine alway, for thou art worthier of him than any other." Quoth Kanmakan, By Allah, if I could carry thee on my shoulders or share my days with thee, I would do this deed without the steed! For I am of a breed that loveth to do good and to succour those in need; and one kindly action in Almighty Allah's honour averteth seventy calamities from its doer. So make ready to set out and put thy trust in the Subtle, the All-Wise." And he would have lifted him on to the horse and fared forward trusting in Allah Aider of those who seek aid, but the horse thief said, "Wait for me awhile. Then he closed his eyes and opening his hands, said I testify that there is no god but the God, and I testify that Mohammed is the Apostle of God!" And he added, "O glorious One, pardon me my mortal sin, for none can pardon mortal sins save the Immortal!" And he made ready for death and recited these couplets,
"I have wronged mankind, and have ranged like wind * O'er the world, and in wine-cups my life has past:
I've swum torrent course to bear off the horse; * And my guiles high places on plain have cast.
Much I've tried to win and o'er much my sin, * And Katul of my winnings is most and last:
I had hoped of this steed to gain wish and need, * But vain was the end of this journey vast.
I have stolen through life, and my death in strife * Was doomed by the Lord who doth all forecast
And I've toiled these toils to their fatal end * For an orphan, a pauper sans kith or friend!
And when he had finished his verses he closed his eyes and opened his mouth; then with a single death-rattling he left this world. Thereupon Kanmakan rose and dug a grave and laid him in the dust; after which he went up to the steed and kissed him and wiped his face and joyed with exceeding joy, saying, "None hath the fellow of this stallion; no, not even King Sasan." Such was the case with Kanmakan; but as regards King Sasan, presently news came to him that the Wazir Dandan had thrown off his allegiance, and with him half the army who swore that they would have no King but Kanmakan: and the Minister had bound the troops by a solemn covenant and had gone with them to the Islands of India and to Berber-land and to Black-land; [FN#92] where he had levied armies from far and near, like unto the swollen sea for fear and none could tell the host's van from its rear. And the Minister was resolved to make for Baghdad and take the kingdom in ward and slay every soul who dare retard, having sworn not to return the sword of war to its sheath, till he had made Kanmakan King. When this news came to Sasan, he was drowned in the sea of appal, knowing that the whole state had turned against him, great and small; and his trouble redoubled and his care became despair. So he opened his treasuries and distributed his monies among his officers; and he prayed for Kanmakan's return, that he might draw his heart to him with fair usage and bounty; and make him commander of those troops which ceased not being faithful to him, so might he quench the sparks ere they became a flame. Now when the news of this reached Kanmakan by the merchants, he returned in haste to Baghdad on the back of the aforesaid stallion, and as King Sasan sat perplexed upon his throne he heard of the coming of Kanmakan; whereupon he despatched all the troops and head-men of the city to meet him. So all who were in Baghdad fared forth and met the Prince and escorted him to the palace and kissed the thresholds, whilst the damsels and the eunuchs went in to his mother and gave her the fair tidings of his return. She came to him and kissed him between the eyes, but he said to her, "O mother mine, let me go to my uncle King Sasan who hath overwhelmed me with weal and boon." And while he so did, all the palace-people and head-men marvelled at the beauty of the stallion and said, "No King is like unto this man." So Kanmakan went in to King Sasan and saluted him as he rose to receive him; and, kissing his hands and feet, offered him the horse as a present. The King greeted him, saying, "Well come and welcome to my son Kanmakan! By Allah, the world hath been straitened on me by reason of thine absence, but praised be Allah for thy safety!" And Kanmakan called down blessings on him. Then the King looked at the stallion, Al-Katul highs, and knew him for the very horse he had seen in such and such a year whilst beleaguering the Cross-worshippers of Constantinople with Kanmakan's sire, Zau al-Makan, that time they slew his uncle Sharrkan. So he said to the Prince, "If thy father could have come by this courser, he would have bought it with a thousand blood horses: but now let the honour return to the honourable. We accept the steed and we give him back to thee as a gift, for to him thou hast more right than any wight, being knightliest of knights." Then King Sasan bade bring forth for him dresses of honour and led horses and appointed to him the chief lodging in the palace, and showed him the utmost affection and honour, because he feared the issue of the Wazir Dandan's doings. At this Kanmakan rejoiced and shame and humiliation ceased from him. Then he went to his house and, going to his mother, asked, "O my mother, how is it with the daughter of my uncle?" Answered she, "By Allah, O my son, my concern for thine absence hath distracted me from any other, even from thy beloved; especially as she was the cause of thy strangerhood and thy separation from me." Then he complained to her of his case, saying, "O my mother, go to her and speak with her; haply she will vouchsafe me her sight to see and dispel from me this despondency." Replied his mother, Idle desires abase men's necks; so put away from thee this thought that can only vex; for I will not wend to her nor go in to her with such message.' Now when he heard his mother's words he told her what said the horse-thief concerning Zat al-Dawahi, how the old woman was then in their land purposing to make Baghdad, and added, "It was she who slew my uncle and my grandfather, and needs must I avenge them with man-bote, that our reproach be wiped out." Then he left her and repaired to an old woman, a wicked, whorish, pernicious beldam by name Sa'adánah and complained to her of his case and of what he suffered for love of his cousin Kuzia Fakan and begged her to go to her and win her favour for him. "I hear and I obey," answered the old hag and leaving him betook herself to Kuzia Fakan's palace, that she might intercede with her in his behalf. Then she returned to him and said, "Of a truth Kuzia Fakan saluteth thee and promiseth to visit thee this night about midnight."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the One Hundred and Forty-second Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the old woman came to Kanmakan and said, "Of a truth the daughter of thine uncle saluteth thee and she will visit thee this night about midnight;" he rejoiced and sat down to await the fulfilment of his cousin's promise. But before the hour of night she came to him, wrapped in a veil of black silk, and she went in to him and aroused him from sleep, saying, "How canst thou pretend to love me, when thou art sleeping heart-free and in complete content?" So he awoke and said, "By Allah, O desire of my heart, I slept not but in the hope that thine image might visit my dreams!" Then she chid him with soft words and began versifying in these couplets,
"Hadst thou been leaf in love's loyalty, * Ne'er haddest suffered sleep to seal those eyne:
O thou who claimest lover-loyalty, * Treading the lover's path of pain and pine!
By Allah, O my cousin, never yet * Did eyes of lover sleep such sleep indign."
Now when he heard his cousin's words, he was abashed before her and rose and excused himself. Then they embraced and complained to each other of the anguish of separation; and they ceased not thus till dawn broke and day dispersed itself over the horizon; when she rose preparing to depart. Upon this Kanmakan wept and sighed and began improvising these couplets,
"O thou who deignest come at sorest sync, * Whose lips those teeth like necklaced pearls enshrine'
I kissed him [FN#94] thousand times and clips his waist, * And spent the night with cheek to cheek close li'en
Till to depart us twain came dawning day, * Like sword edge drawn from sheath in radiant line."
And when he ended his poetry, Kuzia Fakan took leave of him and returned to her palace. Now certain of her damsels became aware of her secret, and one of these slave girls disclosed it to King Sasan, who went into Kuzia Fakan and, drawing his sabre upon her, would have slain her: but her mother Nuzhat al-Zaman entered and said to him, "By Allah, do her no harm, for if thou hurt her, the report will be noised among the folk and thou shalt become a reproach amongst the Kings of the age! Know thou that Kanmakan is no son of adultery, but a man of honour and nobility, who would not do aught that could shame him, and she was reared with him. So be not hasty; for verily the report is spread abroad, among all the palace-people and all the folk of Baghdad, how the Wazir Dandan hath levied armies from all countries and is on his way hither to make Kanmakan King." Quoth Sasan, "By Allah, needs must I cast him into such calamity that neither earth shall support him nor sky shall shadow him! I did but speak him fair and show him favour because of my lieges and my lords, lest they incline to him; but right soon shalt thou see what shall betide." Then he left her and went out to order the affairs of the realm. Such, then, was the case with King Sasan; but as regards Kanmakan, on the next day he came in to his mother and said, "O my mother! I am resolved to ride forth a raiding and a looting: and I will cut the road of caravans and lift horses and flocks, negroes and white slaves and, as soon as I have collected great store and my case is bettered galore, I will demand my cousin Kuzia Fakan in marriage of my uncle Sasan." Replied she, "O my son, of a truth the goods of men are not ready to hand like a scape-camel; [FN#95] for on this side of them are sword-strokes and lance-lungings and men that eat the wild beast and lay countries waste and chase lynxes and hunt lions." Quoth he, Heaven forefend that I turn back from my resolve, till I have won to my will! Then he despatched the old woman to Kuzia Fakan, to tell her that he was about to set out in quest of a marriage settle ment befitting her, saying to the beldam, "Thou needs must pray her to send me an answer." "I hear and I obey," replied the old woman and going forth, presently returned with Kuzia Fakan's reply, which was, "She will come to thee at midnight." So he abode awake till one half of the night was passed, when restlessness get hold on him, and before he was aware she came in to him, saying, "My life be thy ransom from wakefulness!" and he sprang up to receive her, exclaiming, "O desire of my heart, my life be thy redemption from all ills and evils!" Then he acquainted her, with his intent, and she wept: but he said, "Weep not, O daughter of my uncle; for I beseech Him who decreed our separation to vouchsafe us reunion and fair understanding." Then Kanmakan, having fixed a day for departure, went in to his mother and took leave of her, after which came he down from his palace and threw the baldrick of his sword over his shoulder and donned turband and face-veil; and mounting his horse, Al-Katul, and looking like the moon at its full, he threaded the streets of Baghdad, till he reached the city gate. And behold, here he found Sabbah bin Rammah coming out of town; and his comrade seeing him, ran to his stirrup and saluted him. He returned his salutation, and Sabbah asked him, "O my brother, how camest thou by this good steed and this sword and clothes, whilst I up to present time have gotten nothing but my sword and target?" Answered Kanmakan, "The hunter returneth not but with quarry after the measure of his intention. A little after thy departure, fortune came to me: so now say, wilt thou go with me and work thine intent in my company and journey with me in this desert?" Replied Sabbah, "By the Lord of the Ka'abah, from this time forth I will call thee naught but 'my lord'!" Then he ran on before the horse, with his sword hanging from his neck and his budget between his shoulder blades, and Kanmakan rode a little behind him; and they plunged into the desert, for a space of four days, eating of the gazelles and drinking water of the springs. On the fifth day they drew near a high hill, at whose foot was a spring-encampment [FN#96] and a deep running stream; and the knolls and hollows were filled with camels and cattle and sheep and horses, and little children played about the pens and folds. When Kanmakan saw this, he rejoiced at the sight and his breast was filled with delight; so he addressed himself to fight, that he might take the camels and the cattle, and said to Sabbah, "Come, fall with us upon this loot, whose owners have left it unguarded here, and do we battle for it with near and far, so haply may fall to our lot of goods some share." Replied Sabbah, "O my lord, verily they to whom these herds belong be many in number; and among them are doughty horsemen and fighting footmen; and if we venture lives in this derring do we shall fall into danger great and neither of us will return safe from this bate; but we shall both be cut off by fate and leave our cousins desolate." Then Kanmakan laughed and knew that he was a coward; so he left him and rode down the rise, intent on rapine, with loud cries and chanting these couplets,
"Oh a valiant race are the sons of Nu'umán, * Braves whose blades shred heads of the foeman-clan! [FN#97]
A tribe who, when tried in the tussle of war, * Taketh prowess stand in the battle-van:
In their tents safe close gaberlunzie's eyne, * Nor his poverty's ugly features scan:
And I for their aidance sue of Him * Who is King of Kings and made soul of man."
Then he rushed upon the she-camels like a he-camel in rut and drove all before him, sheep and cattle, horses and dromedaries. Therewith the slaves ran at him with their blades so bright and their lances so long; and at their head rode a Turkish horseman who was indeed a stout champion, doughty in fray and in battle chance and skilled to wield the nut-brown lance and the blade with bright glance. He drove at Kanmakan, saying, "Woe to thee! Knewest thou to whom these herds belong thou hadst not done this deed. Know that they are the goods of the band Grecian, the champions of the ocean and the troop Circassian; and this troop containeth none but valiant wights numbering an hundred knights, who have cast off the allegiance of every Sultan. But there hath been stolen from them a noble stallion, and they have vowed not to return hence without him." Now when Kanmakan heard these words, he cried out, saying, "O villain, this I bestride is the steed whereof ye speak and after which ye seek, and ye would do battle with me for his sake' So come out against me, all of you at once, and do you dourest for the nonce!" Then he shouted between the ears of Al-Katul who ran at them like a Ghul; whereupon Kanmakan let drive at the Turk [FN#98] and ran him through the body and threw him from his horse and let out his life; after which he turned upon a second and a third and a fourth, and also of life bereft them. When the slaves saw this, they were afraid of him, and he cried out and said to them, "Ho, sons of whores, drive out the cattle and the stud or I will dye my spear in your blood." So they untethered the beasts and began to drive them out; and Sabbah came down to Kanmakan with loud voicing and hugely rejoicing; when lo! there arose a cloud of dust and grew till it walled the view, and there appeared under of it riders an hundred, like lions an-hungered. Upon this Sabbah took flight, and fled to the hill's topmost height, leaving the assailable site, and enjoyed sight of the fight, saying, "I am no warrior; but in sport and jest I delight." [FN#99] Then the hundred cavaliers made towards Kanmakan and surrounded him on all sides, and one of them accosted him, saying, "Whither goest thou with this loot?" Quoth he, "I have made it my prize and am carrying it away;
and I forbid you from it, or come on to the combat, for know ye that he who is before you is a terrible lion and an honourable champion, and a sword that cutteth wherever it turneth!" When the horseman heard these words, he looked at Kanmakan and saw that he was a knight like a mane-clad lion in might, whilst his face was as the full moon rising on its fourteenth night, and velour shone from between his eyes. Now that horseman was the captain of the hundred horse, and his name was Kahrdash; and when he saw in Kanmakan the perfection of cavalarice with surpassing gifts of comeliness, his beauty reminded him of a beautiful mistress of his whose name was Fátin. [FN#100] Now she was one of the fairest of women in face, for Allah had given her charms and grace and noble qualities of all kinds, such as tongue faileth to explain and which ravish the hearts of men. Moreover, the cavaliers of the tribe feared her prowess and all the champions of that land stood in awe of her high spirit; and she had sworn that she would not marry nor let any possess her, except he should conquer her in combat (Kahrdash being one of her suitors); and she said to her father, "None shall approach me, save he be able to deal me over throw in the field and stead of war thrust and blow. Now when this news reached Kahrdash, he scorned to fight with a girl, fearing reproach; and one of his intimates said to him, "Thou art complete in all conditions of beauty and goodliness; so if thou contend with her, even though she be stronger than thou, thou must needs overcome her; for when she seeth thy beauty and grace, she will be discomfited before thee and yield thee the victory; for verily women have a need of men e'en as thou heedest full plain." Nevertheless Kahrdash refused and would not contend with her, and he ceased not to abstain from her thus, till he met from Kanmakan that which hath been set down. Now he took the Prince for his beloved Fatin and was afraid; albeit indeed she loved him for what she had heard of his beauty and velour; so he went up to him and said, "Woe to thee, [FN#101] O Fatin! Thou comest here to show me thy prowess; but now alight from thy steed, that I may talk with thee, for I have lifted these cattle and have foiled my friends and waylaid many a brave and man of knightly race, all for the sake of thy beauty of form and face, which are without peer. So marry me now, that Kings' daughters may serve thee and thou shalt become Queen of these countries." When Kanmakan heard these words, the fires of wrath flamed up in him and he cried out, "Woe to thee, O Persian dog! Leave Fatin and thy trust and mistrust, and come to cut and thrust, for eftsoon thou shalt lie in the dust;" and so saying, he began to wheel about him and assail him and feel the way to prevail. But when Kahrdash observed him closely he knew him for a doughty knight and a stalwart in fight; and the error of his thought became manifest to him, whenas he saw the green down on his cheeks dispread like myrtles springing from the heart of a rose bright-red. And he feared his onslaught and quoth he to those with him, "Woe to you! Let one of you charge down upon him and show him the keen sword and the quivering spear; for know that when many do battle with one man it is foul shame, even though he be a kemperly wight and an invincible knight." Upon this, there ran at Kanmakan a horseman like a lion in fight, mounted on a black horse with hoofs snow-white and a star on his forehead, the bigness of a dirham, astounding wit and sight, as he were Abjar, which was Antar's destrier, even as saith of him the poet,
"The courser chargeth on battling foe, * Mixing heaven on high with the earth down low: [FN#102]
As though the Morning had blazed his brow, * And he rends her vitals as quid pro quo."
He rushed upon Kanmakan, and they wheeled about awhile, giving blows and taking blows such as confound the sprite and dim the sight; but Kanmakan was the first to smite the foe a swashing blow, that rove through turband and iron skull cap and reached his head, and he fell from his steed with the fall of a camel when he rolleth over. Then a second came out to him and offered battle, and in like guise a third, a fourth and a fifth, and he did with them all as he had done with the first. Thereupon the rest at once rushed upon him, for indeed they were roused by rage and wild with wrath; but it was not long before he had pierced them all with the point of his spear. When Kahrdash saw these feats of arms, he feared death; for he knew that the youth was stoutest of heart and concluded that he was unique among knights and braves; and he said to Kanmakan, "I waive my claim to thy blood and I pardon thee the blood of my comrades: so take what thou wilt of the cattle and wend thy ways, for thy firmness in fight moveth my ruth and life is better for thee than death." Replied Kanmakan, "Thou lackest not of the generosity of the noble! but leave this talk and run for thy life and reck not of blame nor think to get back the booty; but take the straight path for thine own safety." Thereupon Kahrdash waxed exceeding wroth, and rage moved him to the cause of his death; so he said to Kanmakan, "Woe to thee, an thou knew who I be, thou wouldst not wield these words in the open field. I am the lion to bash known as Kahrdash, he who spoileth great Kings and waylayeth all travellings and seizeth the merchants' preciousest things. And the steed under thee is that I am seeking; and I call upon thee to tell me how thou camest by him and hast him in thy keeping." Replied Kan makan, "Know thou that this steed was being carried to my uncle King Sasan, under the escort of an ancient dame high in rank attended by ten slaves, when thou fellest upon her and tookest the horse from her; and I have a debt of blood against this old woman for the sake of my grandfather King Omar bin al Nu'uman and my uncle King Sharrkan.' "Woe to thee!" quoth Kahrdash, "who is thy father, O thou that hast no lawful mother?" Quoth he, "Know that I am Kanmakan, bin Zau al-Makan, son of Omar bin al-Nu'uman." But when Kahrdash heard this address he said, "Thy perfection cannot be denied, nor yet the union in thee of knightly virtue and seemlihead," and he added, "Fare in peace, for thy father showed us favour." Rejoined Kanmakan, "By Allah, I will not deign to honour thee, O wretch I disdain, so far as to overcome thee in battle plain!" Upon this the Badawi waxed wroth and they drove at each other, shouting aloud, whilst their horses pricked their ears and raised their tails. [FN#103] And they ceased not clashing together with such a crash that it seemed to each as if the firmament were split in sunder, and they continued to strive like two rams which butt, smiting and exchanging with their spears thrust and cut. Presently Kahrdash foined at Kanmakan; but he evaded it and rejoined upon him and so pierced him through the breast that the spearhead issued from his back. Then he collected the horses and the plunder, and he cried out to the slaves, saying, "Up and be driving as hard as ye may!" Hearing this, down came Sabbah and, accosting Kanmakan, said to him, "Right well hast thou dight, O Knight of the age! Verily I prayed Allah for thee and the Lord heard my prayer." Then he cut off Kahrdash's head and Kanmakan laughed and said, "Woe to thee, O Sabbah! I thought thee a rider fain of fight." Quoth the Badawi, "Forget not thy slave in the division of the spoil, so haply therewith I may marry my cousin Najmah." Answered Kanmakan, "Thou shalt assuredly share in it, but now keep watch over the booty and the slaves." Then he set out for his home and he ceased not journeying night and day till he drew near Baghdad city, and all the troops heard of Kanmakan, and saw what was his of loot and cattle and the horse-thief's head on the point of Sabbah's spear. Also (for he was a noted highwayman) the merchants knew Kahrdash's head and rejoiced, saying, "Allah hath rid mankind of him!"; and they marvelled at his being slain and blessed his slayer. Thereupon all the people of Baghdad came to Kanmakan, seeking to know what adventures had befallen him, and he told them what had passed, whereupon all men were taken with awe of him and the Knights and champions feared him. Then he drove his spoil under the palace walls; and, planting the spear heel, on whose point was Kahrdash's head, over against the royal gate, gave largesse to the people of Baghdad, distributing horses and camels, so that all loved him and their hearts inclined to him. Presently he took Sabbah and lodged him in a spacious dwelling and gave him a share of the loot; after which he went in to his mother and told her all that had befallen him in his last journey. Meanwhile the news of him reached the King, who rose from his levee and, shutting himself up with his chief officers, said to them, "Know ye that I desire to reveal to you my secret and acquaint you with the hidden facts of my case. And further know that Kanmakan will be the cause of our being uprooted from this kingdom, our birth place; for he hath slain Kahrdash, albeit he had with him the tribes of the Kurds and the Turks, and our affair with him will end in our destruction, seeing that the most part of our troops are his kinsmen and ye weet what the Wazir Dandan hath done; how he disowneth me, after all I have shown him of favours; and after being faithful he hath turned traitor. Indeed it hath reached me that he hath levied an army in the provinces and hath planned to make Kanmakan Sultan, for that the Sultanate was his father's and his grandfather's; and assuredly he will slay me without mercy." Now when the Lords of the Realm heard from him these words, they replied, "O King, verily this man. [FN#104] is unequal to this, and did we not know him to have been reared by thee, not one of us would approve of him. And know thou that we are at thy commandment; if thou desire his death, we will do him die; and if thou wilt remove him, we will remove him." Now when King Sasan heard this, he said, "Verily, to slay him were wise; but needs must ye swear an oath to it." So all sware to slay Kanmakan without giving him a chance; to the end that, when the Wazir Dandan should come and hear of his death, his force might be weakened and he fail of his design. When they had made this compact and covenant with trim, the king honoured them with the highest honours and presently retired to his own apartments. But the officers deserted him and the troops refused their service and would neither mount nor dismount until they should espy what might befal, for they saw that most of the army was with the Wazir Dandan. Presently, the news of these things came to Kuzia Fakan and caused her much concern; so that she sent for the old woman who was wont to carry messages between her and her cousin, and when she came, bade her go to him and warn him of the plot. Whereto he replied, "Bear my salutation to the daughter of my uncle and say to her, 'Verily the earth is of Allah (to whom belong Might and Majesty!), and He giveth it as heritage to whomsoever of His servants He willeth.' How excellent is the saying of the sayer,
'Allah holds Kingship! Whoso seeks without Him victory * Shall be cast out, with soul condemned to Hell of low degree:
Had I or any other man a finger breadth of land, * The rule were changed and men a twain of partner gods would see.' "
Then the old woman returned to Kuzia Fakan and told her his reply and acquainted her that he abode in the city. Meanwhile, King Sasan awaited his faring forth from Baghdad, that he might send after him some who would slay him; till it befel one morning that Kanmakan went out to course and chase, accompanied by Sabbah, who would not leave him night or day. He caught ten gazelles and among them one that had tender black eyes and turned right and left: so he let her go and Sabbah said to him, "Why didst thou free this gazelle?" Kanmakan laughed and set the others free also, saying, "It is only humane to release gazelles that have young, and this one turned not from side to side, save to look for her fawns: so I let her go and released the others in her honour." Quoth Sabbah, "Do thou release me, that I may go to my people." At this Kanmakan laughed and smote him with the spear butt on the breast, and he fell to the ground squirming like a snake. Whilst they were thus doing, behold, they saw a dust cloud spireing high and heard the tramp of horses; and presently there appeared under it a plump of knights and braves. Now the cause of their coming was this. Some of his followers had acquainted King Sasan with Kanmakan's going out to the chase; so he sent for an Emir of the Daylamites, called Jámi' and twenty of his horsemen; and gave them money and bade them slay Kanmaken. So when they drew near the Prince, they charged down upon him and he met them in mid-charge and killed them all, to the last man. And behold, King Sasan took horse and riding out to meet his people, found them all slain, whereat he wondered and turned back; when lo! the people of the city laid hands on him and bound him straitly. As for Kanmakan after that adventure, he left the place behind him and rode onward with Sabbah the Badawi. And the while he went, lo! he saw a youth sitting at the door of a house on his road and saluted him. The youth returned his greeting and, going into the house, brought out two platters, one full of soured milk and the other of brewis swimming in clarified butter; and he set the platter before Kanmakan, saying "Favour us by eating of our victual." But he refused and quoth the young man to him, "What aileth thee, O man, that thou wilt not eat?" Quoth Kanmakan, "I have a vow upon me." The youth asked, "What is the cause of thy vow?", and Kanmakan answered, "Know that King Sasan seized upon my kingdom like a tyrant and an enemy, although it was my father's and my grand father's before me; yet he became master of it by force after my father's death and took no count of me, by reason of my tender years. So I have bound myself by a vow to eat no man's victual till I have eased my heart of my foe." Rejoined the youth, "Rejoice, for Allah hath fulfilled thy vow. Know that he hath been prisoned in a certain place and methinks he will soon die." Asked Kanmakan, "In what house is he confined?" "Under yon high dome," answered the other. The Prince looked and saw the folk entering and buffeting Sasan, who was suffering the agonies of the dying. So he arose and went up to the pavilion and noted what was therein; after which he returned to his place and, sitting down to the proferred victual, ate what sufficed him and put the rest in his wallet. Then he took seat in his own place and ceased not sitting till it was dark night and the youth, whose guest he was slept; when he rose and repaired to the pavilion wherein Sasan was confined. Now about it were dogs guarding it, and one of them sprang at him; so he took out of his budget a bit of meat and threw it to him. He ceased not casting flesh to the dogs till he came to the pavilion and, making his way to where King Sasan was, laid his hand upon his head; whereupon he said in a loud voice, "Who art thou?" He replied, "I am Kanmakan whom thou stravest to kill; but Allah made thee fall into thine evil device. Did it not suffice thee to take my kingdom and the kingdom of my father, but thou must purpose to slay me?" [FN#105] And Sasan swore a false oath that he had not plotted his death and that the bruit was untrue. So Kanmakan forgave him and said to him, "Follow me." Quoth he, "I cannot walk a single step for weakness." Quoth Kanmakan, "If the case be thus we will get us two horses and ride forth, I and thou, and seek the open." So he did as he said, and he took horse with Sasan and rode till day break, when they prayed the dawn prayer and fared on, and ceased not faring till they came to a garden, where they sat down and talked. Then Kanmakan rose to Sasan and said, "Is aught left to set thy heart against me?" "No, by Allah!" replied Sasan. So they agreed to return to Baghdad and Sabbah the Badawi said, "I will go before you, to give folk the fair tidings of your coming." Then he rode on in advance, acquainting women and men with the good news; so all the people came out to meet Kanmakan with tabrets and pipes; and Kuzia Fakan also came out, like the full moon shining in all her splendour of light through the thick darkness of the night. So Kanmakan met her, and soul yearned to soul and body longed for body. There was no talk among the people of the time but of Kanmakan; for the Knights bore witness of him that he was the most valiant of the folk of the age and said, "It is not right that other than Kanmakan should be our Sultan, but the throne of his grandfather shall revert to him as it began." Meanwhile Sasan went in to his wife, Nuzhat al-Zaman, who said to him, "I hear that the folk talk of nothing but Kanmakan and attribute to him such qualities as tongue never can." He replied, "Hearing of a man is not like seeing a man. I have seen him, but have noted in him none of the attributes of perfection. Not all that is heard is said; but folk ape one another in extolling and cherishing him, and Allah maketh his praises to run on the lips of men, so that there incline to him the hearts of the people of Baghdad and of the Wazir Dandan, that perfidious and treacherous man; who hath levied troops from all lands and taketh to himself the right of naming a King of the country; and who chooseth that it shall be under the hand of an orphan ruler whose worth is naught." Asked Nuzhat al-Zaman, "What then is it that thou purposest to do?"; and the King answered, "I mean to kill him, that the Wazir may be baulked of his intent and return to his allegiance, seeing nothing for it but my service." Quoth she, "In good sooth perfidy with strangers is a foul thing and how much more with kith and kin! The righteous deed to do would be to marry him to thy daughter Kuzia Fakan and give heed to what was said of old time,
'An Fate some person 'stablish o'er thy head, * And thou being worthier her choice upbraid,
Yet do him honour due to his estate; * He'll bring thee weal though far or near thou vade:
Nor speak thy thought of him, else shalt thou be * Of those who self degrade from honour's grade:
Many Haríms are lovelier than the Bride, * But Time and Fortune lent the Bride their aid.'"
When Sasan heard these her words and comprehended what her verse intended, he rose from her in anger and said, "Were it not that thy death would bring on me dishonour and disgrace, I would take off thy head with my blade and make an end of thy breath." Quoth she, "Why art thou wroth with me? I did but jest with thee." Then she rose to him and bussed his head and hands, saying, "Right is thy foresight, and I and thou will cast about for some means to kill him forthright." When he heard this, he was glad and said, "Make haste and contrive some deceit to relieve me of my grieving: for in my sooth the door of device is straitened upon me!" Replied she, "At once I will devise for thee to do away his life." "How so?" asked he; and she answered, "By means of our female slave the so-called Bákún." Now this Bakun was past mistress in all kinds of knavery and was one of the most pestilent of old women, in whose religion to abstain from wickedness was not lawful; she had brought up Kuzia Fakan and Kanmakan who had her in so great affection that he used to sleep at her feet. So when King Sasan heard his wife name her, he said, "Right is this recking"; and, sending for the old woman, told her what had passed and bade her cast about to kill Kanmaken, promising her all good. Replied she, "Thy bidding shall be obeyed; but I would have thee, O my lord, give me a dagger [FN#106] which hath been tempered in water of death, that I may despatch him the speedilier for thee." Quoth Sasan, "And welcome to thee!"; and gave her a hanger that would devance man's destiny. Now this slave women had heard stories and verses and had learned by rote great store of strange sayings and anecdotes: so she took the dagger and went out of the room, considering how she could compass his doom. Then she repaired to Kanmakan, who was sitting and awaiting news of tryst with the daughter of his uncle, Kuzia Fakan; so that night his thought was taken up with her and the fires of love for her raged in his heart. And while he was thus, behold, the slave woman, Bakun, went in to him and said, "Union time is at hand and the days of disunion are over and gone." Now when he heard this he asked, "How is it with Kuzia Fakan?"; and Bakun answered, "Know that her time is wholly taken up with love of thee." At this he rose and doffing his outer clothes put them on her and promised her all good. Then said she, "Know that I mean to pass this night with thee, that I may tell thee what talk I have heard and console thee with stories of many passion distraughts whom love hath made sick." "Nay," quoth he, "rather tell me a tale that will gladden my heart and gar my cares depart." "With joy and good will," answered she; then she took seat by his side (and that poniard under her dress) and began to say: "Know thou that the pleasantest thing my ears ever heard was
The Tale of the Hashish Eater.
A certain man loved fair women, and spent his substance on them, till he became so poor that nothing remained to him; the world was straitened upon him and he used to go about the market-streets begging his daily bread. Once upon a time as he went along, behold, a bit of iron nail pierced his finger and drew blood; so he sat down and wiping away the blood, bound up his finger. Then he arose crying out, and fared forwards till he came to a Hammam and entering took off his clothes, and when he looked about him he found it clean and empty. So he sat him down by the fountain-basin, and ceased not pouring water on his head, till he was tired.--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the One Hundred and Forty-third Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the man sat down by the fountain basin and ceased not pouring water on his head till he was tired. Then he went out to the room in which was the cistern of cold water; and seeing no one there, he found a quiet corner and taking out a piece of Hashísh, [FN#107] swallowed it. Presently the fumes mounted to his brain and he rolled over on to the marble floor. Then the Hashish made him fancy that a great lord was shampooing him and that two slaves stood at his head, one bearing a bowl and the other washing gear and all the requisites of the Hammam. When he saw this, he said in himself, "Meseemeth these here be mistaken in me; or else they are of the company of us Hashish-eaters." [FN#108] Then he stretched out his legs and he imagined that the bathman said to him, "O my master, the time of thy going up to the Palace draweth near and it is to-day thy turn of service." At this he laughed and said to himself, "As Allah willeth, [FN#109] O Hashish!" Then he sat and said nothing, whilst the bathman arose and took him by the hand and girt his middle with a waist-cloth of black silk, after which the two slaves followed him with the bowls and gear, and they ceased not escorting him till they brought him into a cabinet, wherein they set incense and perfumes a-burning. He found the place full of various kinds of fruits and sweet-scented flowers, and they sliced him a watermelon and seated him on a stool of ebony, whilst the bathman stood to wash him and the slaves poured water on him; after which they rubbed him down well and said, "O our lord, Sir Wazir, health to thee forever!" Then they went out and shut the door on him; and in the vanity of phantasy he arose and removed the waist-cloth from his middle, and laughed till he well nigh fainted. He gave not over laughing for some time and at last quoth he to himself, "What aileth them to address me as if I were a Minister and style me Master, and Sir? Haply they are now blundering; but after an hour they will know me and say, This fellow is a beggar; and take their fill of cuffing me on the neck." Presently, feeling hot he opened the door, whereupon it seemed to him that a little white slave and an eunuch came in to him carrying a parcel. Then the slave opened it and brought out three kerchiefs of silk, one of which he threw over his head, a second over his shoulders and a third he tied round his waist. Moreover, the eunuch gave him a pair of bath-clogs, [FN#110] and he put them on; after which in came white slaves and eunuchs and sup ported him (and he laughing the while) to the outer hall, which he found hung and spread with magnificent furniture, such as be seemeth none but kings; and the pages hastened up to him and seated him on the divan. Then they fell to kneading him till sleep overcame him; and he dreamt that he had a girl in his arms. So he kissed her and set her between his thighs; then, sitting to her as a man sitteth to a woman, [FN#111] he took yard in hand and drew her towards him and weighed down upon her, when lo! he heard one saying to him, "Awake, thou ne'er-do-well! The noon hour is come and thou art still asleep." He opened his eyes and found him self lying on the merge of the cold-water tank, amongst a crowd of people all laughing at him; for his prickle was at point and the napkin had slipped from his middle. So he knew that all this was but a confusion of dreams and an illusion of Hashish and he was vexed and said to him who had aroused him, "Would thou hadst waited till I had put it in!" Then said the folk, "Art thou not ashamed, O Hashish-eater, to be sleeping stark naked with stiff standing tool?" And they cuffed him till his neck was red. Now he was starving, yet forsooth had he savoured the flavour of pleasure in his dream. When Kanmakan heard the bondwoman's tale, he laughed till he fell backward and said to Bakun, "O my nurse, this is indeed a rare story and a delectable; I never heard the like of this anecdote. Say me! hast more?" "Yes," replied she, and she ceased not to tell him merry adventures and laughable absurdities, till sleep overcame him. Then she sat by his head till the most part of the night was past, when she said to herself, "It is time to profit by the occasion." So she sprang to her feet and unsheathed the hanger and rushing up to Kanmakan, was about to cut his throat when behold, his mother came in upon the twain. As soon as Bakun saw her, she rose in respect and advanced to meet her, and fear get hold of her and she fell a-trembling, as if he had the ague. When his mother looked at her she marvelled to see her thus and aroused her son, who awoke and found her sitting at his head. Now the cause of her coming was that Kuzia Fakan overheard the conversation and the concert to kill Kanmakan, and she said to his mother, "O wife of my uncle, go to thy son, ere that wicked whore Bakun murther him;" and she told her what had passed from first to last. So she fared forth at once, and she thought of naught and stayed not for aught till she went in to her son at the very moment when Bakun was about to slay him in his sleep. When he awoke, he said to his mother, "O my mother, indeed thou comest at a good time, for nurse Bakun hath been with me this night." Then he turned to Bakun and asked her, "By my life! knowest thou any story better than those thou hast told me?" She answered, "And where is what I have told thee compared with what I will tell thee?; but however better it be, it must be told at another time." Then she rose to depart, hardly believing, in her escape albeit he said, "Go in peace!" for she perceived by her cunning that his mother knew what had occurred. So she went her way; whereupon his mother said to him, "O my son, blessed be this night, for that Almighty Allah hath delivered thee from this accursed woman." "And how so?" enquired he, and she told him the story from beginning to end. Quoth he, "O my mother, of a truth the live man findeth no slayer, and though slain he shall not die; but now it were wiser that we depart from amongst these enemies and let Allah work what He will." So, when day dawned he left the city and joined the Wazir Dandan, and after his departure, certain things befel between King Sasan and Nuzhat al-Zaman, which compelled her also to quit the city and join herself to them; and presently they were met by all the high officers of King Sasan who inclined to their party. Then they sat in counsel together devising what they should do, and at last all agreed upon a razzia into the land of Roum there to take their revenge for the death of King Omar bin al-Nu'uman and his son Sharrkan. So they set out with this in tent and, after sundry adventures (which it were tedious to tell as will appear from what follows), they fell into the hands of Rúmzán, King of the Greeks. Next morning, King Rumzan caused Kanmakan and the Wazir Dandan and their company to be brought before him and, when they came, he seated them at his side, and bade spread the tables of food. So they ate and drank and took heart of grace, after having made sure of death, when they were summoned to the King's presence; and they had said to one another, "He hath not sent for us but to slay us." And when they were comforted the King said, "In truth I have had a dream, which I related to the monks, and they said, "None can expound it to thee save the Wazir Dandan." Quoth the Minister, "Weal it was thou didst see in thy dream, O King of the age!" Quoth the King, "O Wazir, I dreamt that I was in a pit which seemed a black well where multitudes were tormenting me; and I would have risen, but when springing up I fell on my feet and could not get out of that same pit. Then I turned and saw therein a girdle of gold and I stretched out my hand to take it; but when I raised it from the ground, I saw it was two girdles. So I girt my middle with them both and behold, the girdles became one girdle; and this, O Wazir, is my dream and what I saw when my sleep was deepest." Said Dandan, "O our Lord the Sultan! know that this thy dream denoteth thou hast a brother or a brother's son or an uncle's son or other near kinsman of thy flesh and blood whom thou knowest not; withal he is of the noblest of you all." Now when the King heard these words he looked at Kanmakan and Nuzhat al-Zaman and Kuzia Fakan and the Wazir Dandan and the rest of the captives and said to himself, "If I smite these people's necks, their troops will lose heart for the destruction of their chiefs and I shall be able to return speedily to my realm, lest the Kingship pass out of my hands." So having determined upon this he called the Sworder and bade him strike off Kanmakan's head upon the spot and forthright, when lo! up came Rumzan's nurse and said to him, "O auspicious King, what purposest thou?" Quoth he, "I purpose slaughtering these prisoners who are in my power; and after that I will throw their heads among their men: then will I fall upon them, I and all my army in one body, and kill all we can kill and rout the rest: so will this be the decisive action of the war and I shall return speedily to my kingdom ere aught of accident befal among my subjects." When the nurse heard these words, she came up to him and said in the Frankish tongue, "How canst thou prevail upon thyself to slay thine own brother's son, and thy sister, and thy sister's daughter?" When he heard this language, he was wroth with exceeding wrath and said to her, "O accursed woman, didst thou not tell me that my mother was murthered and that my father died by poison? Didst thou not give me a jewel and say to me, 'Of a truth this jewel was thy father's?' Why didst thou not tell me the truth?" Replied she, "All that I told thee is true, but my case and thy case are wonderful and my history and thy his tory are marvellous. My name is Marjanah and thy mother's name was Abrizah: and she was gifted with such beauty and loveliness and velour that proverbs were made of her, and her prowess was renowned among men of war. And thy father was King Omar bin al-Nu'uman, Lord of Baghdad and Khorasan, without doubt or double dealing or denial. He sent his son Sharrkan on a razzia in company with this very Wazir Dandan; and they did all that men can. But Sharrkan, thy brother, who had preceded the force, separated himself from the troops and fell in with thy mother Queen Abrizah in her palace; and we happened to have sought a place apart in order to wrestle, she and I and her other damsels. He came upon us by chance while we were in such case, and wrestled with thy mother, who overcame him by the power of her splendid beauty and by her prowess. Then she entertained him five days in her palace, till the news of this came to her father, by the old woman Shawahi, surnamed Zat al-Dawahi, whereupon she embraced Al-Islam at the hands of Sharrkan, and he took her and carried her by stealth to Baghdad, and with her myself and Rayhánab and twenty other damsels, all of us having, like her, followed the True Faith. When we came into the presence of thy Father, the King Omar bin al-Nu'uman, and he saw thy mother, Queen Abrizah, he fell in love with her and going in unto her one night, had connection with her, and she conceived by him and became with child of thee. Now thy mother had three jewels which she presented to thy father; and he gave one of them to his daughter, Nuzhat al-Zaman, another to thy brother, Zau al-Makan, and the third to thy brother Sharrkan. This last thy mother took from Sharrkan and kept it for thee. But as the time of her delivery drew near she yearned after her own people and disclosed to me her secret; so I went to a black slave called Al-Ghazban; and, privily telling him our case, bribed him to go with us. Accordingly the negro took us and fled the city with us, thy mother being near her time. But as we approached a desert place on the borders of our own country, the pangs of labour came upon thy mother. Then the slave proved himself a lustful villain and approaching her sought of her a shameful thing; whereupon she cried out at him with a loud cry, and was sore affrighted at him. In the excess of her fright she gave birth to thee at once, and at that moment there arose, in the direction of our country, a dust-cloud which towered and flew till it walled the view. Thereupon the slave feared for his life; so he smote Queen Abrizah with his sword and slew her in his fury; then mounting his horse he went his way. Soon after his going, the dust lifted and discovered thy grandfather, King Hardub, Lord of Græcia-land, who, seeing thy mother (and his daughter) lying slain on the plain, was sorely troubled with a distress that redoubled, and questioned me of the manner of her death and the cause of her secretly quitting her father's realm. So I told him all that had passed, first and last; and this is the cause of the feud between the people of the land of the Greeks and the people of the city of Baghdad. Then we bore off thy murthered mother and buried her; and I took thee and reared thee, and hung about thy neck the jewel which was with Queen Abrizah. But, when being grown up thou camest to man's estate, I dared not acquaint thee with the truth of the matter, lest such information stir up a war of blood revenge between you. More over, thy grandfather had enjoined me to secrecy, and I could not gainsay the commandment of thy mother's father, Hardub, King of the Greeks. This, then, is the cause of my concealment and the reason why I forbore to inform thee that thy father was King Omar bin al-Nu'uman; but when thou camest to the throne, I told thee what thou knowest; and I durst not reveal to thee the rest till this moment, O King of the Age! So now I have discovered to thee my secret and my proof, and I have acquainted thee with all I know; and thou reckest best what is in thy mind." Now all the captives had heard the slave woman Marjanah, nurse to King Rumzan, speaking as she spake; when Nuzhat al-Zaman, without stay or delay, cried out, saying, "This King Rumzan is my brother by my father, King Omar bin al-Nu'uman, and his mother was Queen Abrizah, daughter of King Hardub, Lord of the Greeks; and I know this slave-woman Marjanah right well." With this, trouble and perplexity got hold upon Rumzan and he caused Nuzhat al-Zaman to be brought up to him forthright. When he looked upon her, blood yearned to blood and he questioned her of his history. She told him the tale and her story tallied with that of Marjanah, his nurse; whereupon the King was assured that he was, indeed and without a doubt, of the people of Irak; and that King Omar bin al-Nu'uman was his father. So without losing time he caused his sister to be unpinioned, and Nuzhat al-Zaman came up to him and kissed his hands, whilst her eves ran over with tears. The King west also to see her weeping, and brotherly love possessed him and his heart yearned to his brother's son Sultan Kanmakan. So he sprang to his feet and, taking the sword from the Sworder's hands (whereat the captives made sure of death), he caused them to be set close to him and he cut their bonds with the blade and said to his nurse Marjanah, "Explain the matter to this company, even as thou hast explained it to me." Replied she, "O King, know that this Shayth is the Wazir Dandan and he is the best of witnesses to my story, seeing that he knoweth the facts of the case." Then she turned to the captives and repeated the whole story to them on the spot and forthright, and in presence of the Kings of the Greeks and the Kings of the Franks; whereupon Queen Nuzhat al-Zaman and the Wazir Dandan and all who were prisoners with them confirmed her words. When Marjanah, the bond-woman, had finished, chancing to look at Sultan Kanmakan she saw on his neck the third jewel, fellow to the two which were with Queen Abrizah; and, recognising it, she cried so loud a cry, that the palace re-echoed it and said to the King, "O my son, know that now my certainty is still more assured, for this jewel that is about the neck of yonder captive is the fellow to that I hung to thy neck; and, these being the two, this captive is indeed thy brother's son, Kanmakan." Then the slave women Marjanah turned to Kanmakan and said to him, "Let me see that jewel, O King of the Age!"; so he took it from his neck and handed it to her. Then she asked Nuzhat al-Zaman of the third jewel and she gave it to her; and when the two were in her hand she delivered them to King Rumzan, and the truth and proof were made manifest to him; and he was assured that he was indeed Sultan Kanmakan's uncle and that his father was King Omar bin al-Nu'uman. So he rose at once and on the spot and, going up to the Wazir Dandan, threw his arms round his neck; then he embraced King Kanmakan and the twain cried a loud cry for excess of joy. The glad news was blazed abroad without delay; and they beat the tabrets and cymbals, whilst the shawms sounded and the people held high festival. The armies of Irak and Syria heard the clamour of rejoicing among the Greeks; so they mounted to the last man, and King Zibl Khan also took horse saying to himself, "Would I knew what can be the cause of this clamour and rejoicing in the army of the Franks and the Greeks!" Then the army of Irak dight itself for fight and advanced into the plain and place of cut and foin. Presently, King Rumzan turned him round and saw the army deployed and in preparing for battle employed, so he asked the cause thereof and was told the state of the case. Thereupon he bade his niece and brother's daughter, Kuzia Fakan, return at once and forthright to the troops of Syria and Irak and acquaint them with the plight that had betided and how it was come to light that King Rumzan was uncle to Sultan Kanmakan. She set out, putting away from her sorrows and troubles and, coming to King Zibl Khan, [FN#112] saluted him and told him all that had passed of the good accord, and how King Rumzan had proved to be her uncle and uncle of Kanmakan. And when she went in to him she found him tearful eyed, in fear for the captive Emirs and Princes; but when he heard what had passed, from first to last, the Moslem's sadness was abated and they joyed with the more gladness. Then King Zibl Khan and all his officers and his retinue took horse and followed Princess Kuzia Fakan till they reached the pavilion of King Rumzan; and when entering they found him sitting with his nephew, Sultan Kanmakan. Now he had taken counsel with the Wazir Dandan concerning King Zibl Khan and had agreed to commit to his charge the city of Damascus of Sham and leave him King over it as he before had been while they themselves entered Irak. Accordingly, they confirmed him in the vice royalty of Damascus of Syria, and bade him set out at once for his government; so he fared forth with his troops and they rode with him a part of the way to bid him farewell. Then they returned to their own places whereupon, the two armies foregathered and gave orders for the march upon Irak; but the Kings said one to other, "Our hearts will never be at rest nor our wrath cease to rage till we have taken our wreak of the old woman Shawahi, surnamed Zat al-Dawahi, and wiped away our shame and blot upon our honour." Thereupon King Rumzan and his nephew set out, surrounded by their Nobles and Grandees; and indeed Kanmakan rejoiced in his uncle, King Rumzan, and called down blessings on nurse Marjanah who had made them known to each other. They fared on and ceased not faring till they drew near their home Baghdad, and when the Chief Chamberlain, Sasan, heard of their approach, he came out to meet them and kissed the hand of King Rumzan who bestowed on him a dress of honour. Then the King of Roum sat down on the throne and seated by his side his nephew Sultan Kanmakan, who said to him, "O my uncle, this Kingdom befitteth none but thee." Replied Rumzan, "Allah be my refuge and the Lord forbid that I should supplant thee in thy Kingdom!" Upon this the Wazir Dandan counselled them to share the throne between the two, ruling each one day in turn; and with this they were well satisfied.--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the One Hundred and Forty-fourth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the two Kings agreed each to rule one day in turn: then made they feasts and offered sacrifices of clean beasts and held high festival; and they abode thus awhile, whilst Sultan Kanmakan spent his nights with his cousin Kuzia Fakan. And after that period, as the two Kings sat rejoicing in their condition and in the happy ending of their troubles, behold, they saw a cloud of dust arise and tower till it walled the world from their eyes. And out of it came a merchant shrieking and crying aloud for succour and saying, "O Kings of the Age! how cometh it that I woned safely in the land of the Infidels and I am plundered in your realm, though it be the biding place of justice [FN#113] and peace?" Then King Rumzan went up to him and questioned him of his case and he replied, "I am a merchant and, like other merchants, I have been long absent from my native land, travelling in far countries for some twenty years; and I have a patent of exemption from the city of Damascus which the Viceroy, King Sharrkan (who hath found mercy) wrote me, for the cause that I had made him gift of a slave-girl. Now as I was drawing near my home, having with me an hundred loads of rarities of Hind, when I brought them near Baghdad, which be the seat of your sovereignty and the place of your peace and your justice, out there came upon me wild Arabs and Kurds [FN#114] in band gathered together from every land; and they slew my many and they robbed my money and this is what they have done me." Then the trader wept in presence of King Rumzan, saying that he was an old man and infirm; and he bemoaned himself till the King felt for him and had compassion on him; and likewise did King Kanmakan and they swore that they would sally forth upon the thieves. So they set out amid an hundred horse, each reckoned worth thou sands of men, and the merchant went before them to guide them in the right way; and they ceased not faring on all that day and the livelong night till dawnbreak, when they came to a valley abounding in rills and shady with trees. Here they found the foray dispersed about the valley, having divided that merchant's bales among them; but there was yet some of the goods left. So the hundred horsemen fell upon them and surrounded them on all sides, and King Rumzan shouted his war cry, and thus also did his nephew Kanmakan, and ere long they made prize of them all, to the number of near three hundred horsemen, banded together of the refuse of rascality. [FN#115] They took what they could find of the merchant's goods and, binding them tightly, brought them to Baghdad, where King Rumzan and his nephew, King Kanmakan, sat down together on one throne and, passing the prisoners in review before them, questioned them of their case and their chiefs. They said, "We have no chiefs but these three men and it was they who gathered us together from all corners and countries." The Kings said to them, "Point out to us your headmen!"; and, when this was done, they bade lay hands on the leaders and set their comrades free, after taking from them all the goods in their possession and restoring them to the merchant, who examined his stuffs and monies and found that a fourth of his stock was missing. The Kings engaged to make good the whole of his loss, where upon the trader pulled out two letters, one in the handwriting of Sharrkan, and the other in that of Nuzhat al-Zaman; for this was the very merchant who had bought Nuzhat al-Zaman of the Badawi, when she was a virgin, and had forwarded her to her brother Sharrkan; and that happened between them which happened. [FN#116] Hereupon King Kanmakan examined the letters and recognised the handwriting of his uncle Sharrkan, and, having heard the history of his aunt, Nuzhat al-Zaman, he went in to her with the second letter written by her to the merchant who had lost through her his monies; Kanmakan also told her what had befallen the trader from first to last. She knew her own handwriting and, recognising the merchant, despatched to him guest gifts and commended him to her brother and nephew, who ordered him largesse of money and black slaves and pages to wait on him; besides which Nuzhat al-Zaman sent him an hundred thousand dirhams in cash and fifty loads of merchandise and presented to him other rich presents. Then she sent for him and when he came, she went up to him and saluted him and told him that she was the daughter of King Omar bin al-Nu'uman and that her brother was King Rumzan and that King Kanmakan was her nephew. Thereupon the merchant rejoiced with great joy, and congratulated her on her safety and on her re-union with her brother, and kissed her hands thanking her for her bounty, and said to her, "By Allah! a good deed is not lost upon thee!" Then she withdrew to her own apartment and the trader sojourned with them three days, after which he took leave of them and set out on his return march to the land of Syria. Thereupon the two Kings sent for the three robber chiefs who were of the highway men, and questioned them of their case, when one of them came forward and said, "Know ye that I am a Badawi who am wont to lie in wait, by the way, to snatch small children [FN#117] and virgin girls and sell them to merchants; and this I did for many a year until these latter days, when Satan incited me to join yon two gallows birds in gathering together all the riff-raff of the Arabs and other peoples, that we might plunder merchandise and waylay merchants." Said the Kings, "Tell us the rarest of the adventures that have befallen thee in kidnapping children and maidens." Replied he, "O Kings of the Age, the strangest thing that happened to me was that one day, two-and-twenty years ago, I snatched a girl who belonged to the Holy City; she was gifted with beauty and comeliness, despite that she was but a servant and was clad in threadbare clothes, with a piece of camlet-cloth on her head. So I entrapped her by guile as she came out of the caravanserai; and at that very hour mounting her on a camel, made off with her, thinking to carry her to my own people in the Desert and there set her to pasture the camels and gather their droppings in the valley. But she wept with so sore a weeping that after coming down upon her with blows, I took her and carried her to Damascus city where a merchant saw her with me and, being astounded at her beauty and marvelling at her accomplishments, wished to buy her of me and kept on bidding me more and more for her, till at last I sold her to him for an hundred thousand dirhams. After selling her I heard her display prodigious eloquence; and it reached me that the merchant clothed her in handsome gear and presented her to the Viceroy of Damascus, who gave him three times the price which he had paid to me, and this price, by my life! was but little for such a damsel. This, O Kings of the Age, is the strangest thing that ever befel me." When the two Kings heard her story they wondered thereat, but when Nuzhat al-Zaman heard what the Badawi related, the light became darkness before her face and she cried out and said to her brother Rumzan, "Sure and sans doubt this is the very Badawi who kidnapped me in the Holy City Jerusalem!" Then she told them all that she had endured from him in her stranger hood of hardship, blows, hunger, humiliation, contempt, adding, "And now it is lawful for me to slay him." So saying she seized a sword and made at him to smite him; and behold, he cried out and said, "O Kings of the Age, suffer her not to slay me, till I shall have told you the rare adventures that have betided me." And her nephew Kanmakan said to her, "O my aunt, let him tell us his tale, and after that do with him as thou wilt." So she held her hand and the Kings said to him, "Now let us hear thy history." Quoth he, "O Kings of the Age, if I tell you a rare tale will ye pardon me?" "Yes," answered they. Then the Badawi robber-chief began,
The Tale of Hammad the Badawi.
And he said:--Know ye that a short while ago, I was sore wakeful one night and thought the morn would never dawn; so, as soon as it was break of day I rose, without stay or delay; and, slinging over my shoulder my sword, mounted horse and set my lance in rest. Then I rode out to sport and hunt and, as I went along, a company of men accosted me and asked me whither I was bound I told them and they said, "We will keep thee company." So we all fared on together, and, whilst we were faring, lo and behold! up started an ostrich and we gave her chase, but she escaped our pursuit and spreading wings ceased not to fly before us (and we following by sight) till she lost us in a desert wherein there was neither grass nor water, nor heard we aught therein save hiss of snake and wail of Jinn and howl of Ghul; and when we reached that place the ostrich disappeared nor could we tell whether she had flown up into the sky or into the ground had gone down. Then we turned our horses' heads and thought to return; but found that to retrace our steps at that time of burning heat would be toilsome and dangerous; for the sultry air was grievous to us, so that we thirsted with sore thirst and our steeds stood still. We made sure of death; but while we were in this case we suddenly espied from afar a spacious mead where gazelles were frisking Therein was a tent pitched and by the tent side a horse tethered and a spear was planted with head glittering in the sun. [FN#118] Upon this our hearts revived after we had despaired, and we turned our horses' heads towards that tent making for the meadow and the water which irrigated it; and all my comrades fared for it and I at their head, and we ceased not faring till we reached the mead. Then we alighted at the spring and watered our beasts. But I was seized with a fever of foolish curiosity and went up to the door of that tent, wherein I saw a young man, without hair on his cheeks, who fellowed the new moon; and on his right hand was a slender-waisted maid, as she were a willow-wand. No sooner did I set eyes on her than love get hold upon my heart and I saluted the youth, who returned my greeting. Then said I, "O my brother, tell me who thou art and what to thee is this damsel sitting by thy side?" [FN#119] Thereupon the youth bent his head groundwards awhile, then raised it and replied, "Tell me first who thou art and what are these horsemen with thee?" Answered I, "I am Hammad son of al-Fazari, the renowned knight, who is reckoned among the Arabs as five hundred horse. We went forth from our place this morning to sport and chase and were overcome by thirst; so I came to the door of this tent, thinking haply to get of thee a draught of water." When he heard these my words, he turned to the fair maiden and said, "Bring this man water and what food there is ready." So she arose trailing her skirts, whilst the golden bangles tinkled on her ankles and her feet stumbled in her long locks, and she disappeared for a little while. Presently she returned bearing in her right hand a silver vessel full of cold water and in her left hand a bowl brimming with milk and dates, together with some flesh of wild cattle. But I could take of her nor meat nor drink for the excess of my passion, and I applied to her these two couplets, saying,
"It was as though the sable dye [FN#120] upon her palms, * Were raven perching on a swathe of freshest snow;
Thou seest Sun and Moon conjoined in her face, * While Sun fear-dimmed and Moon fright-pallid show."
After I had eaten and drunk I said to the youth, "Know thou, O Chief of the Arabs, that I have told thee in all truth who and what I am, and now I would fain have thee do the like by me and tell me the truth of thy case." Replied the young man, "As for this damsel she is my sister." Quoth I, "It is my desire that thou give me her to wife of thy free will: else will I slay thee and take her by force." Upon this, he bowed his head groundwards awhile, then he raised his eyes to me and answered, "Thou sayest sooth in avouching thyself a renowned knight and famed in fight and verily thou art the lion of the desert; but if ye all attack me treacherously and slay me in your wrath and take my sister by force, it will be a stain upon your honour. An you be, as ye aver, cavaliers who are counted among the Champions and reck not the shock of foray and fray, give me a little time to don my armour and sling on my sword and set lance in rest and mount war steed. Then will we go forth into the field of fight, I and you; and, if I conquer you, I will kill you to the last man; but if you overcome me and slay me, this damsel, my sister, is yours." Hearing such words I replied, "This is only just, and we oppose it not." Then I turned back my horse's head (for my love for the damsel waxed hotter and hotter) and returned to my companions, to whom I set forth her beauty and loveliness as also the comeliness of the young man who was with her, together with his velour and strength of soul and how he had avouched himself a match for a thousand horse. Moreover, I described to my company the tent and all the riches and rarities therein and said to them, "Know ye that this youth would not have cut himself off from society and have taken up his abode alone in this place, were he not a man of great prowess: so I propose that whoso slayeth the younker shall take his sister." And they said, "This contenteth us." Then my company armed themselves and mounting, rode to the tent, where we found that the young man had donned his gear and backed his steed; but his sister ran up to him (her veil being drenched with tears), and took hold of his stirrup and cried out, saying, "Alas!" and, "Woe worth the day!" in her fear for her brother, and recited these couplets,
"To Allah will I make my moan of travail and of woe, * Maybe Iláh of Arsh [FN#121] will smite their faces with affright:
Fain would they slay thee, brother mine, with purpose felon-fell; * Albe no cause of vengeance was, nor fault forewent the fight.
Yet for a rider art thou known to those who back the steed, * And twixt the East and West of knights thou art the prowess knight:
Thy sister's honour thou shalt guard though little might be hers, * For thou'rt her brother and for thee she sueth Allah's might:
Then let not enemy possess my soul nor 'thrall my frame, * And work on me their will and treat thy sister with despight.
I'll ne'er abide, by Allah's truth, in any land or home * Where thou art not, though dight it be with joyance and delight
For love and yearning after thee myself I fain will slay, * And in the gloomy darksome tomb spread bed upon the clay."
But when her brother heard her verse he wept with sore weeping and turned his horse's head towards his sister and made this answer to her poetry,
"Stand by and see the derring-do which I to-day will show, * When meet we and I deal them blows that rend and cleave and split;
E'en though rush out to seek a bout the lion of the war, * The stoutest hearted brave of all and eke the best in wit;
To him I'll deal without delay a Sa'alabiyan blow, [FN#122] * And dye my cane-spear's joint in blood by wound of foe bespit:
If all I beat not off from thee, O sister, may this frame * Be slain, and cast my corpse to birds, for so it would befit:
Yes, for thy dearest sake I'll strike my blows with might and main, * And when we're gone shall this event in many a book be writ."
And when he had ended his verse, he said, "O my sister, give ear to what I shall enjoin on thee"; whereto she replied, "Hearkening and obedience." Quoth he, "If I fall, let none possess thy person;" and thereupon she buffeted her face and said, "Allah forbid, O my brother, that I should see thee laid low and yield myself to thy foe!" With this the youth put out his hand to her and withdrew her veil from her face, whereupon it shone forth as the sun shineth out from the white clouds. Then he kissed her between the eyes and bade her farewell; after which he turned to us and said, "Holla, Knights! Come ye as guests or crave ye cuts and thrusts? If ye come to us as your hosts, rejoice ye in the guest rite; and, if ye covet the shining moon, come ye out against me, knight by knight, into this plain and place of fight." There upon rushed out to him a doughty rider and the young man said to him, "Tell me thy name and thy father's name, for I am under an oath not to slay any whose name tallies with mine and whose father's name is that of my father; and if this be the case with thee, I will give thee up the maid." Quoth the horseman, "My name is Bilál;" [FN#123] and the young man answered him, saying,
"Thou liest when speaking of 'benefits,' while * Thou comest to front with shine evillest will
An of prowess thou'rt prow, to my words give ear, * I'm he who make' champions in battle-field reel
With keen blade, like the horn of the cusped moon, * So 'ware thrust the, shall drill through the duress hill!"
Then they charged down, each at each, and the youth thrust his adversary in the breast so that the lance head issued from his back. With tints, another came out, and the youth cried,
"Ho thou hound, who art rotten with foulness in grain, [FN#124] * What high meed is there easy for warrior to gain?
'Tis none save the lion of strain purest pure * Who uncareth for life in the battle plain!"
Nor was it long before the youth left him drowned in his blood and cried out, "Who will come forth to me?" So a third horse man rushed out upon the youth and began saying,
"To thee come I forth with my heart a-flame, * And summon my friends and my comrades by name:
When thou slewest the chief of the Arabs this day, * This day thou remainest the pledge of my claim."
Now when the youth heard this he answered him in these words,
"Thou liest, O foulest of Satans that are, * And with easings calumnious thou comest to war
This day thou shalt fall by a death dealing point * Where the lances lunge and the scymitars jar!"
Then he so foined him in the breast that the spear-point issued from his back and he cried out, saying, "Ho! will none come out? So a fourth fared forwards and the youth asked him his name and he answered, "My name is Hilál, the New Moon." And the youth began repeating,
"Thou hast failed who would sink me in ruin sea, * Thou who camest in malice with perfidy:
I, whose verses hast heard from the mouth of me, * Will ravish thy soul though unknown to thee."
Then they drave at each other and delivered two cuts, but the youth's stroke devanced that of the rider his adversary and slew him: and thus he went on to kill all who sallied out against him. Now when I saw my comrades slain, I said to myself, "If I go down to fight with him, I shall not be able to prevail against him; and, if I flee, I shall become a byword of shame among the Arabs." But the youth gave me no time to think, for he ran at me and dragged me from my saddle and hurled me to the ground. I fainted at the fall and he raised his sword designing to cut off my head; but I clung to his skirts, and he lifted me in his hand as though I were a sparrow. When the maiden saw this, she rejoiced in her brother's prowess and coming up to him, kissed him between the eyes. Then he delivered me to her, saying, "Take him and look to him and entreat him hospitably, for he is come under our rule." So she took hold of the collar of my hauberk [FN#125] and led me away by it as one would lead a dog. Then she did off her brother's coat of mail and clad him in a robe, and set for him a stool of ivory, on which he sat down; and she said to him, "Allah whiten thy honour and prevent from thee the shifts of fortune!" And he answered her with these couplets,
"My sister said, as saw she how I stood * In fight, when sun-rays lit my knightlihood
'Allah assain thee for a Brave of braves * To whom in vale bow lions howso wood!'
Quoth I, 'Go ask the champions of my case, * When feared the Lords of war my warrior mood!
My name is famed for fortune and for force, * And soared my spirit to such altitude,'
Ho thou, Hammád, a lion hast upstirred, * Shall show thee speedy death like viper brood."
Now when I heard his verse, I was perplexed as to my case and considering my condition and how I was become a captive, I was lowered in my own esteem. Then I looked at the damsel, his sister, and seeing her beauty I said to myself, "'Tis she who caused all this trouble"; and I fell a-marvelling at her loveliness till the tears streamed from my eyes and I recited these couplets,
"Dear friend! ah leave thy loud reproach and blame; * Such blame but irks me yet may not alarm:
I'm clean distraught for one whom saw I not * Without her winning me by winsome charm
Yestreen her brother crossed me in her love, * A Brave stout-hearted and right long of arm."
Then the maiden set food before her brother and he bade me eat with him, whereat I rejoiced and felt assured that I should not be slain. And when he had ended eating, she brought him a flagon of pure wine and he applied him to it till the fumes of the drink mounted to his head and his face flushed red. Then he turned to me and said, "Woe to thee, O Hammad! dost thou know me or not?" Replied I, "By thy life, I am rich in naught save ignorance!' Quoth he, "O Hammad, I am 'Abbád bin Tamím bin Sa'labah and indeed Allah giveth thee thy liberty and leadeth thee to a happy bride and spareth thee confusion." Then he drank to my long life and gave me a cup of wine and I drank it off; and presently he filled me a second and a third and a fourth, and I drained them all; while he made merry with me and swore me never to betray him. So I sware to him one thousand five hundred oaths that I would never deal perfidiously with him at any time, but that I would be a friend and a helper to him. Thereupon he bade his sister bring me ten suits of silk, so she brought them and laid them on my person, and this dress I have on my body is one of them. Moreover, he made bring one of the best of his she-dromedaries [FN#126] carrying stuffs and provaunt, he bade her also bring a sorrel horse, and when they were brought he gave the whole of them to me. I abode with them three days, eating and drinking, and what he gave me of gifts is with me to this present. At the end of the three days he said to me, "O Hammad, O my brother, I would sleep awhile and take my rest and verily I trust my life to thee; but, if thou see horsemen making hither, fear not, for know that they are of the Banu Sa'labah, seeking to wage war on me." Then he laid his sword under his head-pillow and slept; and when he was drowned in slumber Iblis tempted me to slay him; so I arose in haste, and drawing the sword from under his head, dealt him a blow that made his head fall from his body. But his sister knew what I had done, and rushing out from within the tent, threw herself on his corpse, rending her raiment and repeating these couplets,
"To kith and kin bear thou sad tidings of our plight; * From doom th' All-wise decreed shall none of men take flight:
Low art thou laid, O brother! strewn upon the stones, * With face that mirrors moon when shining brightest bright!
Good sooth, it is a day accurst, thy slaughter-day * Shivering thy spear that won the day in many a fight!
Now thou be slain no rider shall delight in steed, * Nor man child shall the breeding woman bring to light.
This morn Hammád uprose and foully murthered thee, * Falsing his oath and troth with foulest perjury."
When she had ended her verse she said to me, "O thou of accursed forefathers, wherefore didst thou play my brother false and slay him when he purposed returning thee to thy native land with provisions; and it was his intent also to marry thee to me at the first of the month?" Then she drew a sword she had with her, and planting the hilt in the earth, with the point set to her breast, she bent over it and threw herself thereon till the blade issued from her back and she fell to the ground, dead. I mourned for her and wept and repented when repentance availed me naught. Then I arose in haste and went to the tent and, taking whatever was light of load and weighty of worth, went my way; but in my haste and horror I took no heed of my dead comrades, nor did I bury the maiden and the youth. And this my tale is still more wondrous than the story of the serving-girl I kidnapped from the Holy City, Jerusalem. But when Nuzhat al-Zaman heard these words from the Badawi, the light was changed in her eyes to night.--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the One Hundred and Forty-fifth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Nuzhat al-Zaman heard these words from the Badawi, the light was changed in her eyes to night, and she rose and drawing the sword, smote Hammad the Arab between the shoulder-blades so that the point issued from the apple of his throat. [FN#127] And when all present asked her, 'Why hast thou made haste to slay him;" she answered, "Praised be Allah who hath granted me in my life tide to avenge myself with mine own hand!" And she bade the slaves drag the body out by the feet and cast it to the dogs. Thereupon they turned to the two prisoners who remained of the three; and one of them was a black slave, so they said to him, What is thy name, fellow? Tell us the truth of thy case." He replied, "As for me my name is Al-Ghazbán," and acquainted them what had passed between himself and Queen Abrizah, daughter of King Hardub, Lord of Greece, and how he had slain her and fled. Hardly had the negro made an end of his story, when King Rumzan struck off his head with his scymitar, saying, Praise to Allah who gave me life! I have avenged my mother with my own hand." Then he repeated to them what his nurse Marjanah had told him of this same slave whose name was Al-Ghazban; after which they turned to the third prisoner. Now this was the very camel-driver [FN#128] whom the people of the Holy City, Jerusalem, hired to carry Zau al-Makan and lodge him in the hospital at Damascus of Syria; but he threw him down on the ashes midden and went his way. And they said to him, "Acquaint us with thy case and tell the truth." So he related to them all that had happened to him with Sultan Zau al-Makan; how he had been carried from the Holy City, at the time when he was sick, till they made Damascus and he had been thrown into the hospital; how also the Jerusalem folk had paid the cameleer money to transport the stranger to Damascus, and he had taken it and fled after casting his charge upon the midden by the side of the ash-heap of the Hammam. But when he ended his words, Sultan Kanmakan took his sword forthright and cut off his head, saying, "Praised be Allah who hath given me life, that I might requite this traitor what he did with my father, for I have heard this very story from King Zau al-Makan himself." Then the Kings said each to other, "It remaineth only for us to wreak our revenge upon the old woman Shawahi, yclept Zat al-Dawahi, because she is the prime cause of all these calamities and cast us into adversity on this wise. Who will deliver her into our hands that we may avenge ourselves upon her and wipe out our dishonour?" And King Rumzan said, "Needs must we bring her hither." So without stay or delay he wrote a letter to his grandmother, the aforesaid ancient woman, giving her to know therein that he had subdued the kingdoms of Damascus and Mosul and Irak, and had broken up the host of the Moslems and captured their princes, adding, "I desire thee of all urgency to come to me, bringing with thee Queen Sophia, daughter of King Afridun, and whom thou wilt of the Nazarene chiefs, but no armies; for the country is quiet and wholly under our hand." And when she read the letter and recognised the handwriting of King Rumzan, she rejoiced with great joy and forthright equipping herself and Queen Sophia, set out with their attendants and journeyed, without stopping, till they drew near Baghdad. Then she foresent a messenger to acquaint the King of her arrival, whereupon quoth Rumzan, "We should do well to don the habit of the Franks and fare forth to meet the old woman, to the intent that we may be assured against her craft and perfidy." Whereto Kanmakan replied, "Hearing is consenting." So they clad themselves in Frankish clothes and, when Kuzia Fakan saw them, she exclaimed, "By the truth of the Lord of Worship, did I not know you, I should take you to be indeed Franks!" Then they sallied forth with a thousand horse, King Rumzan riding on before them, to meet the old woman. As soon as his eyes fell on hers, he dismounted and walked towards her and she, recognizing him, dismounted also and embraced him, but he pressed her ribs with his hands, till he well nigh broke them. Quoth she, "What is this, O my son?" But before she had done speaking, up came Kanmakan and Dandan; and the horsemen with them cried out at the women and slaves and took them all prisoners. Then the two Kings returned to Baghdad, with their captives, and Rumzan bade them decorate the city which they did for three days, at the end of which they brought out the old woman Shawahi, highs Zat al-Dawahi, with a peaked red turband of palm-leaves on her head, diademed with asses' dung and preceded by a herald proclaiming aloud, "This is the reward of those who presume to lay hands on Kings and the sons of Kings!" Then they crucified her on one of the gates of Baghdad; and, when her companions saw what befel her, all embraced in a body the faith of Al-Islam. As for Kanmakan and his uncle Rumzan and his aunt Nuzhat al-Zaman and the Wazir Dandan, they marvelled at the wonderful events that had betided them and bade the scribes chronicle them in books that those who came after might read. Then they all abode for the remainder of their days in the enjoyment of every solace and comfort of life, till there overtook them the Destroyer of all delights and the Sunderer of all societies. And this is the whole that hath come down to us of the dealings of fortune with King Omar bin al-Nu'uman and his sons Sharrkan and Zau al-Makan and his son's son Kanmakan and his daughter Nuzhat al-Zaman and her daughter Kuzia Fakan. Thereupon quoth Shahryar to Shahrazad, "I desire that thou tell me somewhat about birds;" and hearing this Dunyazad said to her sister, "I have never seen the Sultan light at heart all this while till the present night, and his pleasure garreth me hope that the issue for thee with him may be a happy issue." Then drowsiness overcame the Sultan, so he slept; [FN#129]--And Shahrazad perceived the approach of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the One Hundred and Forty-sixth Night,
Shahrazad began to relate, in these words, the tale of