There was once, in days of yore and in ages and times long gone before, a Grecian sage called Daniel, who had disciples and scholars and the wise men of Greece were obedient to his bidding and relied upon his learning. Withal had Allah denied him a man child. One night, as he lay musing and weeping over the lack of a son who might inherit his lore, he bethought him that Allah (extolled and exalted be He!) heareth the prayer of those who resort to Him and that there is no doorkeeper at the door of His bounties and that He favoureth whom He will without compt and sendeth no supplicant empty away; nay He filleth their hands with favours and benefits. So he besought the Almighty, the Bountiful, to vouchsafe him a son to succeed him, and to endow him abundantly with His beneficence. Then he returned home and carnally knew his wife who conceived by him the same night.--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Eighty-third Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Grecian sage returned home and knew his wife who conceived by him the same night. A few days after this he took ship for a certain place, but the ship was wrecked and he saved himself on one of her planks, while only five leaves remained to him of all the books he had. When he returned home, he laid the five leaves in a box and locking it, gave the key to his wife (who then showed big with child), and said to her, "Know that my decease is at hand and that the time draweth nigh for my translation from this abode temporal to the home which is eternal. Now thou art with child and after my death wilt haply bear a son: if this be so, name him Hásib Karím al-Dín [FN#508] and rear him with the best of rearing. When the boy shall grow up and shall say to thee, 'What inheritance did my father leave me?'' give him these five leaves, which when he shall have read and understood, he will be the most learned man of his time." Then he farewelled her and heaving one sigh, departed the world and all that is therein--the mercy of Allah the Most Highest be upon Him! His family and friends wept over him and washed him and bore him forth in great state and buried him; after which they wended their ways home. But few days passed ere his widow bare a handsome boy and named him Hasib Karim al-Din, as her husband charged her; and immediately after his birth she summoned the astrologers, who calculated his ascendants and drawing his horoscope, said to her, "Know, O woman! that this birth will live many a year; but that will be after a great peril in the early part of his life, wherefrom can he escape, he will be given the knowledge of all the exact sciences." So saying they went their ways. She suckled him two years, [FN#509] then weaned him, and when he was five years old, she placed him in a school to learn his book, but he would read nothing. So she took him from school and set him to learn a trade; but he would not master any craft and there came no work from his hands. The mother wept over this and the folk said to her, "Marry him: haply he will take heart for his wife and learn him a trade." So she sought out a girl and married him to her; but, despite marriage and the lapse of time, he remained idle as before, and would do nothing. One day, some neighbours of hers, who were woodcutters, came to her and said, "Buy thy son an ass and cords and an axe and let him go with us to the mountain and we will all of us cut wood for fuel. The price of the wood shall be his and ours, and he shall provide thee and his wife with his share." When she heard this, she joyed with exceeding joy and bought her son an ass and cords and hatchet; then, carrying him to the woodcutters, delivered him into their hands and solemnly committed him to their care. Said they, "Have no concern for the boy, our Lord will provide for him: he is the son of our Shaykh." So they carried him to the mountain, where they cut firewood and loaded their asses therewith; then returned to the city and, selling what they had cut, spent the monies on their families. This they did on the next day and the third and ceased not for some time, till it chanced one day, a violent storm of rain broke over them, and they took refuge in a great cave till the downfall should pass away. Now Hasib Karim al-Din went apart from the rest into a corner of the cavern and sitting down, fell to smiting the floor with his axe. Presently he noted that the ground sounded hollow under the hatchet; so he dug there awhile and came to a round flagstone with a ring in it. When he saw this, he was glad and called his comrades the woodcutters,--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Eighty-fourth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Hasib Karim al-Din saw the flagstone with the ring, he was glad and called his comrades the woodcutters, who came to him and, finding it was fact, soon pulled up the stone and discovered under it a trap-door, which, being opened, showed a cistern full of bees' honey. [FN#510] Then said they to one another, "This is a large store and we have nothing for it but to return to the city and fetch vessels wherein to carry away the honey, and sell it and divide the price, whilst one of us stands by the cistern, to guard it from outsiders." Quoth Hasib, "I will stay and keep watch over it till you bring your pots and pans." So they left him on guard there and, repairing to the city, fetched vessels, which they filled with honey and loading their asses therewith, carried them to the streets and sold the contents. They returned on the morrow and thus they did several days in succession, sleeping in the town by night and drawing off the stuff by day, whilst Hasib abode on guard by it till but little remained, when they said one to other, "It was Hasib Karim al-Din found the honey, and tomorrow he will come down to the city and complain against us and claim the price of it, saying, Twas I found it;' nor is there escape for us but that we let him down into the cistern, to bale out the rest of the honey, and leave him there; so will he die of hunger, and none shall know of him." They all fell in with this plot as they were making for the place; and, when they reached it, one said to him, "O Hasib, go down into the pit and bale out for us the rest of the honey." So he went down and passed up to them what remained of the honey, after which he said to them, "Draw me up, for there is nothing left." They made him no answer; but, loading their asses, went off to the city and left him alone in the cistern. Thereupon he fell to weeping and crying, "There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great!" Such was his case; but as regards his comrades, when they reached the city and sold the honey, they repaired to Hasib's mother, weeping, and said to her, "May thy head outlive thy son Hasib!" She asked, "What brought about his death?" and they answered, "We were cutting wood on the mountain-top, when there fell on us a heavy downfall of rain and we took shelter from it in a cavern; and suddenly thy son's ass broke loose and fled into the valley, and he ran after it, to turn it back, when there came out upon them a great wolf, who tore thy son in pieces and ravined the ass." When the mother heard this, she beat her face and strewed dust on her head and fell to mourning for her son; and she kept life and soul together only by the meat and drink which they brought her every day. As for the woodcutters they opened them shops and became merchants and spent their lives in eating and drinking and laughing and frolicking. Meanwhile Hasib Karim al-Din, who ceased not to weep and call for help, sat down upon the cistern edge when behold, a great scorpion fell down on him; so he rose and killed it. Then he took thought and said, "The cistern was full of honey; how came this scorpion here?" Accordingly he got up and examined the well right and left, till he found a crevice from which the scorpion had fallen and saw the light of day shining through it. So he took out his woodman's knife and enlarged the hole, till it was big as a window, then he crept through it and, after walking for some time, came to a vast gallery, which led him to a huge door of black iron bearing a padlock of silver wherein was a key of gold. He stole up to the door and, looking through the chink, saw a great light shining within; so he took the key and, opening the door, went on for some time, till he came to a large artificial lake, wherein he caught sight of something that shimmered like silver. He walked up to it and at last he saw, hard by a hillock of green jasper and on the hill top, a golden throne studded with all manner gems,--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Eighty-fifth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Hasib reached the hillock he found it of green jasper surmounted by a golden throne studded with all manner gems, round which were set many stools, some of gold, some of silver and others of leek green emerald. He clomb the hillock and, counting the stools, found them twelve thousand in number; then he mounted the throne which was set on the centre and, seating himself thereon, fell to wondering at the lake and the stools, and he marvelled till drowsiness overcame him and he drops asleep. Presently, he was aroused by a loud snorting and hissing and rustling, so he opened his eyes; and, sitting up, saw each stool occupied by a huge serpent, an hundred cubits in length. At this sight, great fear get hold of him; his spittle dried up for the excess of his dread and he despaired of life, as all their eyes were blazing like live coals. Then he turned towards the lake and saw that what he had taken for shimmering water was a multitude of small snakes, none knoweth their compt save Allah the Most High. After awhile, there came up to him a serpent as big as a mule, bearing on its back a tray of gold, wherein lay another serpent which shone like crystal and whose face was as that of a woman [FN#511] and who spake with human speech. And as soon as she was brought up to Hasib, she saluted him and he returned the salutation. There upon, one of the serpents seated on the stools came up and, lifting her off the tray, set her on one of the seats and she cried out to the other serpents in their language, whereupon they all fell down from their stools and did her homage. But she signed to them to sit and they did so. Then she addressed Hasib, saying, "Have no fear of us, O youth; for I am the Queen of the Serpents and their Sultánah." When he heard her speak on this wise, he took heart and she bade the serpents bring him somewhat of food. [FN#512] So they brought apples and grapes and pomegranates and pistachio-nuts and filberts and walnuts and almonds and bananas and set them before him, and the Queen-serpent said, "Welcome, O youth! What is thy name?" Answered he, "Hasib Karim al-Din;" and she rejoined, "O Hasib, eat of these fruits, for we have no other meat and fear thou have nothing from us at all." Hearing this, he ate his fill and praised Allah Almighty; and presently they took away the trays from before him, and the Queen said, "Tell me, O Hasib, whence thou art and how camest thou hither and what hath befallen thee." So he told her his story from first to last, the death of his father; his birth; his being sent to school where he learnt nothing; his becoming a wood cutter; his finding the honey-cistern; his being abandoned therein; his killing the scorpion; his widening the crevice; his finding the iron door and his coming upon the Queen, and he ended his long tale with saying, "These be my adventures from beginning to end and only Allah wotteth what will betide me after all this!" Quoth the Queen, after listening to his words, "Nothing save good shall betide thee:"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Eighty-sixth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the Serpent-queen had heard his story she said, "Nothing save good shall betide thee: but I would have thee, O Hasib, abide with me some time, that I may tell thee my history and acquaint thee with the wondrous adventures which have happened to me." "I hear and obey thy hest," answered he; and she began to tell in these words,
The Adventures of Bulukiya.
"Know thou, O Hasib, there was once in the city of Cairo a King of the Banu Isra'íl, a wise and a pious, who was bent double by poring over books of learning, and he had a son named Bulúkiyá. When he grew old and weak and was nigh upon death, his Grandees and Officers of state came up to salute him, and he said to them, 'O folk, know that at hand is the hour of my march from this world to the next, and I have no charge to lay on you, save to commend to your care my son Bulukiya.' Then said he, 'I testify that there is no god save the God;' and, heaving one sigh, departed the world the mercy of Allah be upon him! They laid him out and washed him and buried him with a procession of great state. Then they made his son Bulukiya Sultan in his stead; and he ruled the kingdom justly and the people had peace in his time. Now it befell one day that he entered his father's treasuries, to look about him, and coming upon an inner compartment and finding the semblance of a door, opened it and passed in. And lo! he found himself in a little closet, wherein stood a column of white marble, on the top of which was a casket of ebony; he opened this also and saw therein another casket of gold, containing a book. He read the book and found in it an account of our lord Mohammed (whom Allah bless and preserve!) and how he should be sent in the latter days [FN#513] and be the lord of the first Prophets and the last. On seeing the personal description Bulukiya's heart was taken with love of him, so he at once assembled all the notables of the Children of Israel, the Cohens or diviners, the scribes and the priests, and acquainted them with the book, reading portions of it to them and, adding, 'O folk, needs must I bring my father out of his grave and burn him.' The lieges asked, 'Why wilt thou burn him?'; and he answered, 'Because he hid this book from me and imparted it not to me.' Now the old King had excerpted it from the Torah or Pentateuch and the Books of Abraham; and had set it in one of his treasuries and concealed it from all living. Rejoined they, 'O King, thy father is dead; his body is in the dust and his affair is in the hands of his Lord; thou shalt not take him forth of his tomb.' So he knew that they would not suffer him to do this thing by his sire and leaving them he repaired to his mother, to whom said he, 'O my mother, I have found, in one of my father's treasuries, a book containing a description of Mohammed (whom Allah bless and keep!), a prophet who shall be sent in the latter days; and my heart is captivated with love of him. Wherefore am I resolved to wander over the earth, till I foregather with him; else I shall die of longing for his love.' Then he doffed his clothes and donned an Aba gown of goat's hair and coarse sandals, saying, 'O my mother, forget me not in thy prayers.' She wept over him and said, 'What will become of us after thee?'; but Bulukiya answered, 'I can endure no longer, and I commit my affair and thine to Allah who is Almighty.' Then he set out on foot Syria wards without the knowledge of any of his folk, and coming to the sea board found a vessel whereon he shipped as one of the crew. They sailed till he made an island, where Bulukiya landed with the crew, but straying away from the rest he sat down under a tree and sleep got the better of him. When he awoke, he sought the ship but found that she had set sail without him, and in that island he saw serpents as big as camels and palm trees, which repeated the names of Allah (be He extolled and exalted!) and blessed Mohammed (whom the Lord assain and save!), proclaiming the Unity and glorifying the Glorious; whereat he wondered."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Eighty-seventh Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "when Bulukiya saw the serpents glorifying God and proclaiming the Unity, he wondered with extreme wonder. When they saw him, they flocked to him and one of them said to him, 'Who and whence art thou and whither goest thou. and what is thy name?' Quoth he, 'My name is Bulukiya; I am of the Children of Israel and, being distracted for love of Mohammed (whom Allah bless and keep!), I come in quest of him. But who are ye, O noble creatures?' Answered they, 'We are of the dwellers in the Jahannam-hell; and Almighty Allah created us for the punishment of Kafirs.' 'And how came ye hither?' asked he, and the Serpents answered, 'Know, O Bulukiya, that Hell [FN#514] of the greatness of her boiling, breatheth twice a year, expiring in the summer and inspiring in the winter, and hence the summer heat and winter cold. When she exhaleth, she casteth us forth of her maw, and we are drawn in again with her inhaled breath.' Quoth Bulukiya, 'Say me, are there greater serpents than you in Hell?'; and they said, 'Of a truth we are cast out with the expired breath but by reason of our smallness; for in Hell every serpent is so great, that were the biggest of us to pass over its nose it would not feel us. [FN#515]' Asked Bulukiya, 'Ye sing the praises of Allah and invoke blessings on Mohammed, whom the Almighty assain and save! Whence wot ye of Mohammed?'; and they answered, 'O Bulukiya, verily his name is written on the gates of Paradise; and, but for him, Allah had not created the worlds [FN#516] nor Paradise, nor heaven nor hell nor earth, for He made all things that be, solely on his account, and hath conjoined his name with His own in every place; wherefore we love Mohammed, whom Allah bless and preserve!' Now hearing the serpents' converse did but inflame Bulukiya's love for Mohammed and yearning for his sight; so he took leave of them; and, making his way to the sea-shore, found there a ship made fast to the beach; he embarked therein as a seaman and sailed nor ceased sailing till he came to another island. Here he landed and walking about awhile found serpents great and small, none knoweth their number save Almighty Allah, and amongst them a white Serpent, clearer than crystal, seated in a golden tray borne on the back of another serpent as big as an elephant. Now this, O Hasib, was the Serpent-queen, none other than myself." Quoth Hasib, "And what answer didst thou make him?" Quoth she, "Know, O Hasib, that when I saw Bulukiya, I saluted him with the salam, and he returned my salutation, and I said to him, 'Who and what art thou and what is thine errand and whence comest thou and whither goest thou?' Answered he, 'I am of the Children of Israel; my name is Bulukiya, and I am a wanderer for the love of Mohammed, whose description I have read in the revealed scriptures, and of whom I go in search. But what art thou and what are these serpents about thee?' Quoth I, 'O Bulukiya, I am the Queen of the Serpents; and when thou shalt foregather with Mohammed (whom Allah assain and save!) bear him my salutation.' Then Bulukiya took leave of me and journeyed till he came to the Holy City which is Jerusalem. Now there was in that stead a man who was deeply versed in all sciences, more especially in geometry and astronomy and mathematics, as well as in white magic [FN#517] and Spiritualism; and he had studied the Pentateuch and the Evangel and the Psalms and the Books of Abraham. His name was Affan; and he had found in certain of his books, that whoso should wear the seal ring of our lord Solomon, men and Jinn and birds and beasts and all created things would be bound to obey him. Moreover, he had discovered that our lord Solomon had been buried in a coffin which was miraculously transported beyond the Seven Seas to the place of burial;"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Eighty-eighth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "Affan had found in certain books that none, mortal or spirit, could pluck the seal ring from the lord Solomon's finger; and that no navigator could sail his ship upon the Seven Seas over which the coffin had been carried. Moreover, he had found out by reading that there was a herb of herbs and that if one express its juice and anoint therewith his feet, he should walk upon the surface of any sea that Allah Almighty had created without wetting his soles, but none could obtain this herb, without he had with him the Serpent-queen. When Bulukiya arrived at the Holy City, he at once sat down to do his devotions and worship the Lord; and, whilst he was so doing, Affan came up and saluted him as a True Believer. Then seeing him reading the Pentateuch and adoring the Almighty, he accosted him saying, 'What is thy name, O man; and whence comest thou and whither goest thou?' He answered, 'My name is Bulukiya; I am from the city of Cairo and am come forth wandering in quest of Mohammed, whom Allah bless and preserve!' Quoth Affan, 'Come with me to my lodging that I may entertain thee.' 'To hear is to obey,' replied Bulukiya So the devotee took him by the hand and carried him to his house where he entreated him with the utmost honour and presentry said to him, 'Tell me thy history, O my brother, and how thou camest by the knowledge of Mohammed (whom Allah assain and save!) that thy heart hath been taken with love of him and compelled thee to fare forth and seek him; and lastly tell me who it was directed thee in this road.' So he related to him his tale in its entirety; whereupon Affan, who well nigh lost his wits for wonder, said to him, 'Make tryst for me with the Queen of the Serpents and I will bring thee in company with Mohammed, albeit the date of his mission is yet far distant. We have only to prevail upon the Queen and carry her in a cage to a certain mountain where the herbs grow; and, as long as she is with us, the plants as we pass them will parley with human speech and discover their virtues by the ordinance of Allah the Most High. For I have found in my books that there is a certain herb and all who express its juice and anoint therewith their feet shall walk upon whatsoever sea Almighty Allah hath made, without wetting sole. When we have found the magical herb, we will let her go her way; and then will we anoint our feet with the juice and cross the Seven Seas, till we come to the burial place of our lord Solomon. Then we will take the ring off his finger and rule even as he ruled and win all our wishes; we will enter the Main of Murks [FN#518] and drink of the Water of Life, and so the Almighty will let us tarry till the End of Time and we shall foregather with Mohammed, whom Allah bless and preserve!' Hearing these words Bulukiya replied, 'O Affan, I will make tryst for thee with the Serpent-queen and at once show thee her abiding place.' So Affan made him a cage of iron; and, providing himself with two bowls, one full of wine and the other of milk, took ship with Bulukiya and sailed till they came to the island, where they landed and walked upon it. Then Affan set up the cage, in which he laid a noose and withdrew after placing in it the two bowls; when he and Bulukiya concealed themselves afar off. Presently, up came the Queen of the Serpents (that is, myself) and examined the cage. When she (that is I) smelt the savour of the milk, she came down from the back of the snake which bore her tray and, entering the cage, drank up the milk. Then she went to the bowl of wine and drank of it, whereupon her head became giddy and she slept. When Affan saw this, he ran up and locking the cage upon her, set it on his head and made for the ship, he and Bulukiya. After awhile she awoke and finding herself in a cage of iron on a man's head and seeing Bulukiya walking beside the bearer, said to him, 'This is the reward of those who do no hurt to the sons of Adam.' Answered he, 'O Queen, have no fear of us, for we will do thee no hurt at all. We wish thee only to show us the herb which, when pounded and squeezed yieldeth a juice, and this rubbed upon the feet conferreth the power of walking dryshod upon what sea soever Almighty Allah hath created; and when we have found that, we will return thee to thy place and let thee wend thy way.' Then Affan and Bulukiya fared on for the hills where grew the herbs; and, as they went about with the Queen, each plant they passed began to speak and avouch its virtues by permission of Allah the Most High. As they were thus doing and the herbs speaking right and left, behold, a plant spoke out and said, 'I am the herb ye seek, and all who gather and crush me and anoint their feet with my juice, shall fare over what sea soever Allah Almighty hath created and yet ne'er wet sole.' When Affan heard this, he set down the cage from his head and, gathering what might suffice them of the herb, crushed it and filling two vials with the juice kept them for future use; and with what was left they anointed their feet. Then they took up the Serpent-queen's cage and journeyed days and nights, till they reached the island, where they opened the cage and let out her that is me. When I found myself at liberty, I asked them what use they would make of the juice; and they answered, 'We design to anoint our feet and to cross the Seven Seas to the burial place of our lord Solomon [FN#519] and take the seal ring from his finger.' Quoth I, 'Far, far is it from your power to possess yourselves of the ring!' They enquired, 'Wherefore?' and I replied, 'Because Almighty Allah vouchsafed unto our lord Solomon the gift of this ring and distinguished him thereby, for that he said to him, 'O Lord, give me a kingdom which may not be obtained after me; for Thou verily art the Giver of kingdoms. [FN#520]' 'So that ring is not for you.' And I added, 'Had ye twain taken the herb, whereof all who eat shall not die until the First Blast, [FN#521] it had better availed you than this ye have gotten; for ye shall nowise come at your desire thereby.' Now when they heard this, they repented them with exceeding penitence and went their ways."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Eighty-ninth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "when Bulukiya and Affan heard these words, they repented them with exceeding penitence and went their ways. Such was their case; but as regards myself" (continued the Serpent-queen) "I went in quest of my host and found it fallen in piteous case, the stronger of them having grown weak in my absence and the weaker having died. When they saw me, they rejoiced and flocking about me, asked, 'What hath befallen thee, and where hast thou been?' So I told them what had passed, after which I gathered my forces to "ether and repaired with them to the mountain Kaf, where I was wont to winter, summer-freshing in the place where thou now seest me, O Hasib Karim al-Din. This, then, is my story and what befell me." Thereupon Hasib marvelled at her words and said to her, "I beseech thee, of thy favour, bid one of thy guards bear me forth to the surface of the earth, that I may go to my people." She replied, "O Hasib, thou shalt not have leave to depart from us till winter come, and needs must thou go with us to the Mountain Kaf and solace thyself with the sight of the hills and sands and trees and birds magnifying the One God, the Victorious; and look upon Marids and Ifrits and Jinn, whose number none knoweth save Almighty Allah." When Hasib heard this, he was sore chafed and chagrined: then he said to her, "Tell me of Affan and Bulukiya; when they departed from thee and went their way, did they cross the Seven Seas and reach the burial-place of our lord Solomon or not; and if they did had they power to take the ring or not?" Answered she, "Know, that when they left me, they anointed their feet with the juice; and, walking over the water, fared on from sea to sea, diverting themselves with the wonders of the deep, nor ceased they faring till they had traversed the Seven Seas and came in sight of a mountain, soaring high in air, whose stones were emeralds and whose dust was musk; and in it was a stream of running water. When they made it they rejoiced, saying each to the other, 'Verily we have won our wish'; and they entered the passes of the mountain and walked on, till they saw from afar a cavern surmounted by a great dome, shining with light. So they made for the cavern, and entering it beheld therein a throne of gold studded with all manner jewels, and about it stools whose number none knoweth save Allah Almighty. And they saw lying at full length upon the throne our lord Solomon, clad in robes of green silk inwoven with gold and broidered with jewels and precious minerals: his right hand was passed over his breast and on the middle finger was the seal ring whose lustre outshone that of all other gems in the place. Then Affan taught Bulukiya adjurations and conjurations galore and said to him, 'Repeat these conjurations and cease not repeating until I take the ring.' Then he went up to the throne; but, as he drew near unto it lo' c mighty serpent came forth from beneath it and cried out at him with so terrible a cry that the whole place trembled and sparks flew from its mouth, saying, 'Begone, or thou art a dead man' But Affan busied himself with his incantations and suffered himself not to be startled thereby. Then the serpent blew such a fiery blast at him, that the place was like to be set on fire, and said to him, Woe to thee! Except thou turn back, I will consume thee' Hearing these words Bulukiya left the cave, but Affan, who suffered himself not to be troubled, went up to the Prophet: then he put out his hand to the ring and touched it and strove to draw it off the lord Solomon's finger; and behold, the serpent blew on him once more and he became a heap of ashes. Such was his case; but as regards Bulukiya he fell down in a swoon."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Ninetieth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Queen continued: "When Bulukiya saw Affan burnt up by the fire and become a heap of ashes, he fell down in a swoon. Thereupon the Lord (magnified be His Majesty!) bade Gabriel descend earthwards and save him ere the serpent should blow on him. So Gabriel descended without delay and, finding Affan reduced to ashes and Bulukiya in a fit, aroused him from his trance and saluting him asked, 'How camest thou hither?' Bulukiya related to him his history from first to last, adding, 'Know that I came not hither but for the love of Mohammed (whom Allah assain and save!), of whom Affan informed me that his mission would take place at the End of Time; moreover that none should foregather with him but those who endured to the latter days by drinking of the Water of Life through means of Solomon's seal. So I companied him hither and there befell him what befell; but I escaped the fire and now it is my desire that thou inform me where Mohammed is to be found.' Quoth Gabriel, 'O Bulukiya, go thy ways, for the time of Mohammed's coming is yet far distant.' Then he ascended up to heaven forthright, and Bulukiya wept with sore weeping and repented of that which he had done, calling to mind my words, whenas I said to them, 'Far is it from man's power to possess himself of the ring.' Then he descended from the mountain and returned in exceeding confusion to the sea shore and passed the night there, marvelling at the mountains and seas and islands around him. When morning dawned, he anointed his feet with the herb-juice and descending to the water, set out and fared on over the surface of the seas days and nights, astonied at the terrors of the main and the marvels and wonders of the deep, till he came to an island as it were the Garden of Eden. So he landed and, finding himself in a great and pleasant island, paced about it and saw with admiration that its dust was saffron and its gravel carnelian and precious minerals; its hedges were of jessamine, its vegetation was of the goodliest of trees and of the brightest of odoriferous shrubs; its brushwood was of Comorin and Sumatran aloes-wood and its reeds were sugar-canes. Round about it were roses and narcissus and amaranths and gilly-flowers and chamomiles and white lilies and violets, and other flowers of all kinds and colours. Of a truth the island was the goodliest place, abounding in space, rich in grace, a compendium of beauty material and spiritual. The birds warbled on the boughs with tones far sweeter than chaunt of Koran and their notes would console a lover whom longings unman. And therein the gazelle frisked free and fain and wild cattle roamed about the plain. Its trees were of tallest height; its streams flowed bright; its springs welled with waters sweet and light; and all therein was a delight to sight and sprite. Bulukiya marvelled at the charms of the island but knew that he had strayed from the way he had first taken in company with Affan. He wandered about the place and solaced him with various spectacles until nightfall, when he climbed into a tree to sleep; but as he sat there, musing over the beauty of the site, behold, the sea became troubled and there rose up to the surface a great beast, which cried out with a cry so terrible that every living thing upon the isle trembled. As Bulukiya gazed upon him from the tree and marvelled at the bigness of his bulk, he was presently followed unexpectedly by a multitude of other sea beasts in kind manifolds, each holding in his fore-paw a jewel which shone like a lamp, so that the whole island became as light as day for the lustre of the gems. After awhile, there appeared, from the heart of the island, wild beasts of the land, none knoweth their number save Allah the Most High; amongst which Bulukiya noted lions and panthers and lynxes and other ferals; and these land beasts flocked down to the shore; and, foregathering with the sea beasts, conversed with them till daybreak, when they separated and each went his own way. Thereupon Bulukiya, terrified by what he had seen, came down from the tree and, making the sea shore, anointed his feet with the magical juice, and set out once more upon the surface of the water. He fared on days and nights over the Second Sea, till he came to a great mountain skirting which ran a Wady without end, the stones whereof were magnetic iron and its beasts, lions and hares and panthers. He landed on the mountain foot and wandered from place to place till nightfall, when he sat down sheltered by one of the base hills on the sea side, to eat of the dried fish thrown up by the sea. Presently, he turned from his meal and behold, a huge panther was creeping up to rend and ravin him; so he anointed his feet in haste with the juice and, descending to the surface of the water, fled walking over the Third Sea, in the darkness, for the night was black and the wind blew stark. Nor did he stay his course till he reached another island, whereon he landed and found there trees bearing fruits both fresh and dry. [FN#522] So he took of these fruits and ate and praised Allah Almighty; after which he walked for solace; about the island till eventide."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Ninety-first Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "Bulukiya (continued the Queen) walked for solace about the island till eventide, when he lay down to sleep. As soon as day brake, he began to explore the place and ceased not for ten days, after which he again made the shore and anointed his feet and, setting out over the Fourth Sea, walked upon it many nights and days, till he came to a third island of fine white sand without sign of trees or grass. He walked about it awhile but, finding its only inhabitants sakers which nested in the sand, he again anointed his feet and trudged over the Fifth Sea, walking night and day till he came to a little island, whose soil and hills were like crystal. Therein were the veins wherefrom gold is worked; and therein also were marvellous trees whose like he had never seen in his wanderings, for their blossoms were in hue as gold. He landed and walked about for diversion till it was nightfall, when the flowers began to shine through the gloom like stars. Seeing this sight, he marvelled and said, 'Assuredly, the flowers of this island are of those which wither under the sun and fall to the earth, where the winds smite them and they gather under the rocks and become the Elixir [FN#523] which the folk collect and thereof make gold.' He slept there all that night and at sunrise he again anointed his feet and, descending to the shore, fared on over the Sixth Sea nights and days, till he came to a fifth island. Here he landed and found, after walking an hour or so, two mountains covered with a multitude of trees, whose fruits were as men's heads hanging by the hair, and others whose fruits were green birds hanging by the feet; also a third kind, whose fruits were like aloes, if a drop of the juice fell on a man it burnt like fire; and others, whose fruits wept and laughed, besides many other marvels which he saw there. Then he returned to the sea shore and, finding there a tall tree, sat down beneath it till supper time when he climbed up into the branches to sleep. As he sat considering the wonderful works of Allah behold, the waters became troubled, and there rose therefrom the daughters of the sea, each mermaid holding in her hand a jewel which shone like the morning. They came ashore and, foregathering under the trees, sat down and danced and sported and made merry whilst Bulukiya amused himself with watching and wondering at their gambols, which were prolonged till the morning, when they returned to the sea and disappeared. Then he came down and, anointing his feet, set out on the surface of the Seventh Sea, over which he journeyed two whole months, without getting sight of highland or island or broadland or lowland or shoreland, till he came to the end thereof. And so doing he suffered exceeding hunger, so that he was forced to snatch up fishes from the surface of the sea and devour them raw, for stress of famine. In such case he pushed on till in early forenoon he came to the sixth island, with trees a-growing and rills a flowing, where he landed and walked about, looking right and left, till he came to an apple tree and put forth his hand to pluck of the fruit, when lo! one cried out to him from the tree, saying, 'An thou draw near to this tree and cut of it aught, I will cut thee in twain.' So he looked and saw a giant forty cubits high, being the cubit of the people of that day; whereat he feared with sore fear and refrained from that tree. Then said he to the giant, 'Why cost thou forbid me to eat of this tree?' Replied the other, 'Because thou art a son of Adam and thy father Adam forgot the covenant of Allah and sinned against Him and ate of the tree.' Quoth Bulukiya, 'What thing art thou and to whom belongeth this island, with its trees, and how art thou named?' Quoth the tall one, 'My name is Sharáhiyá and trees and island belong to King Sakhr; [FN#524] I am one of his guards and in charge of his dominion,' presently adding, 'But who art thou and whence comest thou hither?' Bulukiya told him his story from beginning to end and Sharahiya said, 'Be of good cheer,' and brought him to eat. So he ate his fill and, taking leave of the giant, set out again and ceased not faring on over the mountains and sandy deserts for ten days; at the end of which time he saw, in the distance, a dust cloud hanging like a canopy in air; and, making towards it, he heard a mighty clamour, cries and blows and sounds of mellay. Presently he reached a great Wady, two months' journey long; and, looking whence the shouts came, he saw a multitude of horse men engaged in fierce fight and the blood running from them till it railed like a river. Their voices were thunderous and they were armed with lance and sword and iron mace and bow and arrow, and all fought with the utmost fury. At this sight he felt sore affright"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Ninety-second Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Queen continued: "When Bulukiya saw the host in fight, he felt sore affright and was perplexed about his case; but whilst he hesitated, behold, they caught sight of him and held their hands one from other and left fighting. Then a troop of them came up to him, wondering at his make, and one of the horsemen said to him, 'What art thou and whence camest thou hither and whither art wending; and who showed thee the way that thou hast come to our country?' Quoth he, 'I am of the sons of Adam and am come out, distracted for the love of Mohammed (whom Allah bless and preserve!); but I have wandered from my way.' Quoth the horseman, 'Never saw we a son of Adam till now, nor did any ever come to this land.' And all marvelled at him and at his speech. 'But what are ye, O creatures?' asked Bulukiya; and the rider replied, 'We are of the Jánn.' So he said, 'O Knight, what is the cause of the fighting amongst you and where is your abiding place and what is the name of this valley and this land?' He replied, 'Our abiding-place is the White Country; and, every year, Allah Almighty commandeth us to come hither and wage war upon the unbelieving Jann.' Asked Bulukiya, 'And where is the White Country?' and the horseman answered, 'It is behind the mountain Kaf, and distant seventy-five years journey from this place which is termed the Land of Shaddád son of 'Ád: we are here for Holy War; and we have no other business, when we are not doing battle, than to glorify God and hallow him. More over, we have a ruler, King Sakhr highs, and needs must thou go with us to him, that he may look upon thee for his especial delight.' Then they fared on (and he with them) till they came to their abiding place; where he saw a multitude of magnificent tents of green silk, none knoweth their number save Allah the Most High, and in their midst a pavilion of red satin, some thousand cubits in compass, with cords of blue silk and pegs of gold and silver. Bulukiya marvelled at the sight and accompanied them as they fared on and behold, this was the royal pavilion. So they carried him into the presence of King Sakhr, whom he found seated upon a splendid throne of red gold, set with pearls and studded with gems; the Kings and Princes of the Jann being on his right hand, and on his left his Councillors and Emirs and Officers of state, and a multitude of others. The King seeing him bade introduce him, which they did; and Bulukiya went up to him and saluted him after kissing the ground before him. The King returned his salute and said, 'Draw near me, O mortal!' and Bulukiya went close up to him. Hereupon the King, commanding a chair to be set for him by his royal side, bade him sit down and asked him 'Who art thou?'; and Bulukiya answered, 'I am a man, and one of the Children of Israel.' 'Tell me thy story,' cried King Sakhr, 'and acquaint me with all that hath befallen thee and how thou camest to this my land.' So Bulukiya related to him all that had occurred in his wanderings from beginning to end."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Ninety-third Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Queen continued: "When Bulukiya related to Sakhr what befell him in his wanderings, he marvelled thereat. Then he bade the servants bring food and they spread the tables and set on one thousand and five hundred platters of red gold and silver and copper, some containing twenty and some fifty boiled camels, and others some fifty head of sheep; at which Bulukiya marvelled with exceeding marvel. Then they ate and he ate with them, till he was satisfied and returned thanks to Allah Almighty; after which they cleared the tables and set on fruits, and they ate thereof, glorifying the name of God and invoking blessings on His prophet Mohammed (whom Allah bless and preserve!) When Bulukiya heard them make mention of Mohammed, he wondered and said to King Sakhr, 'I am minded to ask thee some questions.' Rejoined the King, 'Ask what thou wilt,' and Bulukiya said, 'O King, what are ye and what is your origin and how came ye to know of Mohammed (whom Allah assain and save!) that ye draw near to him and love him?' King Sakhr answered, 'O Bulukiya, of very sooth Allah created the fire in seven stages, one above the other, and each distant a thousand years journey from its neighbour. The first stage he named Jahannam [FN#525] and appointed the same for the punishment of the transgressors of the True-believers, who die unrepentant; the second he named Lazá and appointed for Unbelievers: the name of the third is Jahím and is appointed for Gog and Magog. [FN#526] The fourth is called Sa'ír and is appointed for the host of Iblis. The fifth is called Sakar and is prepared for those who neglect prayer. The sixth is called Hatamah and is appointed for Jews and Christians. The seventh is named Háwiyah and is prepared for hypocrites. Such be the seven stages.' Quoth Bulukiya, 'Haply Jahannam hath least of torture for that it is the uppermost.' 'Yes,' quoth King Sakhr, 'the most endurable of them all is Jahannam; natheless in it are a thousand mountains of fire, in each mountain seventy thousand cities of fire, in each city seventy thousand castles of fire, in each castle seventy thousand houses of fire, in each house seventy thousand couches of fire and in each couch seventy thousand manners of torment. As for the other hells, O Bulukiya, none knoweth the number of kinds of torment that be therein save Allah Most Highest.' When Bulukiya heard this, he fell down in a fainting-fit, and when he came to himself, he wept and said, 'O King what will be my case?' Quoth Sakhr, 'Fear not, and know thou that whoso loveth Mohammed (whom Allah bless and keep!) the fire shall not burn him, for he is made free therefrom for his sake; and whoso belongeth to his Faith the fire shall fly him. As for us, the Almighty Maker created us of the fire for the first that he made in Jahannam were two of His host whom he called Khalít and Malít. Now Khalít was fashioned in the likeness of a lion, with a tail like a tortoise twenty years' journey in length and ending in a member masculine; while Malít was like a pied wolf whose tail was furnished with a member feminine. Then Almighty Allah commanded the tails to couple and copulate and do the deed of kind, and of them were born serpents and scorpions, whose dwelling is in the fire, that Allah may there with torment those whom He casteth therein; and these increased and multiplied. Then Allah commanded the tails of Khalit and Malit to couple and copulate a second time, and the tail of Malit conceived by the tail of Khalit and bore fourteen children, seven male and seven female, who grew up and intermarried one with the other. All were obedient to their sire, save one who disobeyed him and was changed into a worm which is Iblis (the curse of Allah be upon him!). Now Iblis was one of the Cherubim, for he had served Allah till he was raised to the heavens and cherished [FN#527] by the especial favour of the Merciful One, who made him chief of the Cherubim.'"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Ninety-fourth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Queen continued: "'Iblis served God and became chief of Cherubim. When, however, the Lord created Adam (with whom be peace!), He commanded Iblis to prostrate himself to him, but he drew back; so Allah Almighty expelled him from heaven and cursed him. [FN#528] This Iblis had issue and of his lineage are the devils; and as for the other six males, who were his elders, they are the ancestors of the true believing Jann, and we are their descendants. Such, O Bulukiya is our provenance. [FN#529]' Bulukiya marvelled at the King's words and said, 'O King, I pray thee bid one of thy guards bear me back to my native land.' 'Naught of this may we do,' answered Sakhr, 'save by commandment of Allah Almighty; however, an thou desire to leave us and return home, I will mount thee on one of my mares and cause her carry thee to the farthest frontiers of my dominions, where thou wilt meet with the troops of another King, Barákhiyá highs, who will recognize the mare at sight and take thee off her and send her back to us; and this is all we can do for thee, and no more.' When Bulukiya heard these words he wept and said, 'Do whatso thou wilt.' So King Sakhr caused bring the mare and, setting Bulukiya on her back, said to him, 'Beware lest thou alight from her or strike her or cry out in her face; for if thou do so she will slay thee; but abide quietly riding on her back till she stop with thee; then dismount and wend thy ways.' Quoth Bulukiya, 'I hear and I obey;' he then mounted and setting out, rode on a long while between the rows of tents; and stinted not riding till he came to the royal kitchens where he saw the great cauldrons, each holding fifty camels, hung up over the fires which blazed fiercely under them. So he stopped there and gazed with a marvel ever increasing till King Sakhr thinking him to be anhungered, bade bring him two roasted camels; and they carried them to him and bound them behind him on the mare's crupper. Then he took leave of them and fared on, till he came to the end of King Sakhr's dominions, where the mare stood still and Bulukiya dismounted and began to shake the dust of the journey from his raiment. And behold, there accosted him a party of men who, recognising the mare, carried her and Bulukiya before their King Barakhiya. So he saluted him, and the King returned his greeting and seated him beside himself in a splendid pavilion, in the midst of his troops and champions and vassal Princes of the Jann ranged to right and left; after which he called for food and they ate their fill and pronounced the Alhamdolillah. Then they set on fruits, and when they had eaten thereof, King Barakhiya, whose estate was like that of King Sakhr, asked his guest, 'When didst thou leave King Sakhr?' And Bulukiya answered, 'Two days ago.' Quoth Barakhiya, 'Dost thou know, how many days' journey thou hast come in these two days?' Quoth he, 'No,' and the King rejoined, 'Thou hast come a journey of threescore and ten months.'"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Ninety-fifth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Queen continued: "Barakhiya said to Bulukiya, 'In two days thou hast come a journey of threescore and ten months; moreover when thou mountedst the mare, she was affrighted at thee, knowing thee for a son of Adam, and would have thrown thee; so they bound on her back these two camels by way of weight to steady her.' When Bulukiya heard this, he marvelled and thanked Allah Almighty for safety. Then said the King, 'Tell me thy adventures and what brought thee to this our land.' So he told him his story from first to last, and the King marvelled at his words, and kept Bulukiya with him two months." Upon this Hasib Karim al-Din after he had marvelled at her story, again besought the Serpent-queen saying, "I pray thee of thy goodness and graciousness command one of thy subjects conduct me to the surface of the earth, that I may return to my family;" but she answered, "O Hasib, I know that the first thing thou wilt do, after seeing the face of the earth will be to greet thy family and then repair to the Hammam bath and bathe; and the moment thou endest thine ablutions will see the last of me, for it will be the cause of my death." Quoth Hasib, "I swear that I will never again enter the Hammam bath so long as I live, but when washing is incumbent on me, I will wash at home." Rejoined the Queen, "I would not trust thee though thou shouldst swear to me an hundred oaths; for such abstaining is not possible, and I know thee to be a son of Adam for whom no oath is sacred. Thy father Adam made a covenant with Allah the most High, who kneaded the clay whereof He fashioned him forty mornings and made His angels prostrate themselves to him; yet after all his promise did he forget and his oath violate, disobeying the commandment of his Lord." When Hasib heard this, he held his peace and burst into tears; nor did he leave weeping for the space of ten days, at the end of which time he said to the Queen, "Prithee acquaint me with the rest of Bulukiya's adventures." Accordingly, she began again as follows: "Know, O Hasib, that Bulukiya, after abiding two months with King Barakhiya, farewelled him and fared on over wastes and deserts nights and days' till he came to a high mountain which he ascended. On the summit he beheld seated a great Angel glorifying the names of God and invoking blessings on Mohammed. Before him lay a tablet covered with characters, these white and those black, [FN#530] whereon his eyes were fixed, and his two wings were outspread to the full, one to the western and the other to the eastern horizon. Bulukiya approached and saluted the Angel, who returned his salam adding, 'Who art thou and whence comest thou and whither wendest thou and what is thy story?' Accordingly, he repeated to him his history, from first to last, and the Angel marvelled mightily thereat, whereupon Bulukiya said to him, 'I pray thee in return acquaint me with the meaning of this tablet and what is writ thereon; and what may be thine occupation and thy name.' Replied the Angel, 'My name is Michael, and I am charged with the shifts of night and day; and this is my occupation till the Day of Doom.' Bulukiya wondered at his words and at his aspect and the vastness of his stature and, taking leave of him, fared onwards, night and day, till he came to a vast meadow over which he walked observing that it was traversed by seven streams and abounded in trees. He was struck by its beauty and in one corner thereof he saw a great tree and under it four Angels. So he drew near to them and found the first in the likeness of a man, the second in the likeness of a wild beast, the third in the likeness of a bird and the fourth in the likeness of a bull, engaged in glorifying Almighty Allah, and saying, 'O my God and my Master and my Lord, I conjure Thee, by Thy truth and by the decree of Thy Prophet Mohammed (on whom be blessings and peace!) to vouchsafe Thy mercy and grant Thy forgiveness to all things created in my likeness; for Thou over all things art Almighty!' Bulukiya marvelled at what he heard but continued his journey till he came to another mountain and ascending it, found there a great Angel seated on the summit, glorifying God and hallowing Him and invoking blessings on Mohammed (whom Allah assain and save!), and he saw that Angel continually opening and shutting his hands and bending and extending his fingers. He accosted him and saluted him; whereupon the Angel returned his salam and enquired who he was and how he came thither. So Bulukiya acquainted him with his adventures including his having lost the way; and besought him to tell him, in turn, who he was and what was his function and what mountain was that. Quoth the Angel, 'Know, O Bulukiya, that this is the mountain Kaf, which encompasseth the world; and all the countries the Creator hath made are in my grasp. When the Almighty is minded to visit any land with earthquake or famine or plenty or slaughter or prosperity, He biddeth me carry out His commands and I carry them out without stirring from my place; for know thou that my hands lay hold upon the roots of the earth,' "--And Shahrazed perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Ninety-sixth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Queen continued: "When the angel said, 'And know thou that my hands lay hold upon the roots of the earth,' he asked, 'And hath Allah created other worlds than this within the mountain Kaf?' The Angel answered, 'Yes, He hath made a world white as silver, whose vastness none knoweth save Himself, and hath peopled it with Angels, whose meat and drink are His praise and hallowing and continual blessings upon His Prophet Mohammed (whom Allah bless and keep!). Every Thursday night [FN#531] they repair to this mountain and worship in congregation Allah until the morning, and they assign the future recompense of their lauds and litanies to the sinners of the Faith of Mohammed (whom Allah assain and save!) and to all who make the Ghusl ablution of Friday; and this is their function until the Day of Resurrection.' Asked Bulukiya, 'And hath Allah created other mountains behind the mountain Kaf?'; whereto he answered, 'Yes, behind this mountain is a range of mountains five hundred years' journey long, of snow and ice, and this it is that wardeth off the heat of Jahannam from the world, which verily would else be consumed thereby. Moreover, behind the mountain Kaf are forty worlds, each one the bigness of this world forty times told, some of gold and some of silver and others of carnelian. Each of these worlds hath its own colour, and Allah hath peopled them with angels, that know not Eve nor Adam nor night nor day, and have no other business than to celebrate His praises and hallow Him and make profession of His Unity and proclaim His Omnipotence and supplicate Him on behalf of the followers of Mohammed (whom Allah bless and keep!). And know, also, O Bulukiya, that the earths were made in seven stages, one upon another, and that Allah hath created one of His Angels, whose stature and attributes none knoweth but Himself and who beareth the seven stages upon his shoulders. Under this Angel Almighty Allah hath created a great rock, and under the rock a bull, and under the bull a huge fish, and under the fish a mighty ocean. [FN#532] God once told Isa (with whom be peace! ) of this fish, and he said, 'O Lord show me the fish, that I may look upon it.' So the Almighty commanded an angel to take Isa and show him the fish. Accordingly, he took him up and carried him (with whom be peace!) to the sea, wherein the fish dwelt, and said, 'Look, O Isa, upon the fish.' He looked but at first saw nothing, when, suddenly, the fish darted past like lightning. At this sight Isa fell down aswoon, and when he came to himself, Allah spake to him by inspiration, saying, 'O Isa, hast thou seen the fish and comprehended its length and its breadth?' He replied, 'By Thy honour and glory, O Lord, I saw no fish; but there passed me by a great bull, whose length was three days' journey, and I know not what manner of thing this bull is.' Quoth Allah, 'O Isa, this that thou sawest and which was three days in passing by thee, was but the head of the fish; [FN#533] and know that every day I create forty fishes like unto this.' And Isa hearing this marvelled at the power of Allah the Almighty. Asked Bulukiya, 'What hath Allah made beneath this sea which containeth the fish?'; and the Angel answered, 'Under the sea the Lord created a vast abyss of air, under the air fire, and under the fire a mighty serpent, by name Falak; and were it not for fear of the Most Highest, this serpent would assuredly swallow up all that is above it, air and fire and the Angel and his burden, without sensing it.'"--And Shahrazed perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Ninety-seventh Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the angel said to Bulukiya when describing the serpent, "'And were it not for fear of the Most Highest, this serpent would assuredly swallow up all that is above it, air and fire, and the Angel and his burden, without sensing it. When Allah created this serpent He said to it by inspiration, 'I will give thee somewhat to keep for me, so open thy mouth.' The serpent replied, 'Do whatso Thou wilt;' and opened his mouth and God placed Hell into his maw, saying, 'Keep it until the Day of Resurrection. When that time comes, the Almighty will send His angels with chains to bring Hell and bind it until the Day when all men shall meet; and the Lord will order Hell to go open its gates and there will issue therefrom sparks bigger than the mountains.' When Bulukiya heard these things he wept with sore weeping and, taking leave of the Angel, fared on westwards, till he came in sight of two creatures sitting before a great shut gate. As he drew near, he saw that one of the gatekeepers had the semblance of a lion and the other that of a bull; so he saluted them and they returned his salam and enquired who and whence he was and whither he was bound. Quoth he, 'I am of the sons of Adam, a wanderer for the love of Mohammed (whom Allah assain and save!) and I have strayed from my way.' Then he asked them what they were and what was the gate before which they sat, and they answered, 'We are the guardians of this gate thou seest and we have no other business than the praise and hallowing of Allah and the invocation of blessings on Mohammed (whom may He bless and keep!).' Bulukiya wondered and asked them, 'What is within the gate?'; and they answered, 'We wot not.' Then quoth he, 'I conjure you, by the truth of your glorious Lord, open to me the gate, that I may see that which is therein.' Quoth they, 'We cannot, and none may open this gate, of all created beings save Gabriel, the Faithful One, with whom be peace!' Then Bulukiya lifted up his voice in supplication to Allah, saying, 'O Lord, send me thy messenger Gabriel, the Faithful One, to open for me this gate that I may see what be therein;' and the Almighty gave ear unto his prayer and commanded the Archangel to descend to earth and open to him the gate of the Meeting-place of the Two Seas. So Gabriel descended and, saluting Bulukiya, opened the gate to him, saying, 'Enter this door, for Allah commandeth me to open to thee.' So he entered and Gabriel locked the gate behind him and flew back to heaven. When Bulukiya found himself within the gate, he looked and beheld a vast ocean, half salt and half fresh, bounded on every side by mountain ranges of red ruby whereon he saw angels singing the praises of the Lord and hallowing Him. So he went up to them and saluted them and having received a return of his salam, questioned them of the sea and the mountains. Replied they, 'This place is situate under the Arsh or empyreal heaven; and this Ocean causeth the flux and flow of all the seas of the world; and we are appointed to distribute them and drive them to the various parts of the earth, the salt to the salt and the fresh to the fresh, [FN#534] and this is our employ until the Day of Doom. As for the mountain ranges they serve to limit and to contain the waters. But thou, whence comest thou and whither art thou bound?' So he told them his story and asked them of the road. They bade him traverse the surface of the ocean which lay before him: so he anointed his feet with the juice of the herb he had with him, and taking leave of the angels, set out upon the face of the sea and sped on over the water nights and days; and as he was faring, behold, he met a handsome youth journeying along like himself, whereupon he greeted him and he returned his greeting. After they parted he espied four great Angels wayfaring over the face of the sea, and their going was like the blinding lightning; so he stationed himself in their road, and when they came up to him, he saluted them and said to them, 'I ask you by the Almighty, the Glorious, to tell me your names and whither are ye bound?' Replied the first Angel, 'My name is Gabriel and these my companions are called Isráfíl and Míká'íl and Azrá'íl. There hath appeared in the East a mighty dragon, which hath laid waste a thousand cities and devoured their inhabitants; wherefore Allah Almighty hath commanded us to go to him and seize him and cast him into Jahannam.' Bulukiya marvelled at the vastness of their stature and fared on, as before, days and nights, till he came to an island where he landed and walked about for a while,"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Ninety-eighth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "Bulukiya landed on the island and walked about for a while, till he saw a comely young man with light shining from his visage, sitting weeping and lamenting between two built tombs. So he saluted him and he returned his salutation, and Bulukiya said to him, 'Who art thou and what are these two built tombs between which thou sittest, and wherefore this wailing?' He looked at him and wept with sore weeping, till he drenched his clothes with his tears; then said, 'Know thou, O my brother, mine is a marvellous story and a wondrous; but I would have thee sit by me and first tell me thy name and thine adventures and who thou art and what brought thee hither; after which I will, in turn, relate to thee my history.' So Bulukiya sat down by him and related to him all that had befallen him from his father's death, [FN#535] adding, 'Such is my history, the whole of it, and Allah alone knoweth what will happen to me after this.' When the youth heard his story, he sighed and said, 'O thou unhappy! How few things thou hast seen in thy life compared with mine. Know, O Bulukiya, that unlike thyself I have looked upon our lord Solomon, in his life, and have seen things past count or reckoning. Indeed, my story is strange and my case out of range, and I would have thee abide with me, till I tell thee my history and acquaint thee how I come to be sitting here.'" Hearing this much Hasib again interrupted the Queen of the Serpents and said to her, "Allah upon thee, O Queen, release me and command one of thy servants carry me forth to the surface of the earth, and I will swear an oath to thee that I will never enter the Hammam-bath as long as I live." But she said, "This is a thing which may not be nor will I believe thee upon thine oath." When he heard this, he wept and all the serpents wept on his account and took to interceding for him with their Queen, saying, "We beseech thee, bid one of us carry him forth to the surface of the earth, and he will swear thee an oath never to enter the bath his life long." Now when Yamlaykhá (for such was the Queen's name) heard their appeal, she turned to Hasib and made him swear to her an oath; after which she bade a serpent carry him forth to the surface of the earth. The serpent made ready, but as she was about to go away with him, he turned to Queen Yamlaykha and said, "I would fain have thee tell me the history of the youth whom Bulukiya saw sitting between two tombs." So she said: "Know, O Hasib, that when Bulukiya sat down by the youth and told him his tale, from first to last, in order that the other might also recount his adventures and explain the cause of his sitting between the two tombs."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Ninety-ninth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Queen continued: "When Bulukiya ended his recount, the youth said, 'How few things of marvel hast thou seen in thy life, O unhappy! Now I have looked upon our lord Solomon while he was yet living and I have witnessed wonders beyond compt and conception.' And he began to relate
The Story of Janshah. [FN#536]
'Know, O my brother, that my sire was a King called Teghmús, who reigned over the land of Kabul and the Banu Shahlán, ten thousand warlike chiefs, each ruling over an hundred walled cities and a hundred citadels; and he was suzerain also over seven vassal princes, and tribute was brought to him from the broad lands between East and West. He was just and equitable in his rule and Allah Almighty had given him all this and had bestowed on him such mighty empire, yet had He not vouchsafed him a son (though this was his dearest wish) to inherit the kingdom after his decease. So one day it befell that he summoned the Olema and astrologers, the mathematicians and almanac-makers, and said, 'Draw me my horoscope and look if Allah will grant me a son to succeed me.' Accordingly, they consulted their books and calculated his dominant star and the aspects thereof; after which they said to him, 'Know, O King, that thou shalt be blessed with a son, but by none other than the daughter of the King of Khorásán.' Hearing this Teghmus joyed with exceeding joy and, bestowing on the astrologers and wizards treasure beyond numbering or reckoning, dismissed them. His chief Wazir was a renowned warrior, by name Ayn Zár, who was equal to a thousand cavaliers in battle; so him he summoned and, repeating to him what the astrologers had predicted, he said, 'O Wazir, it is my will that thou equip thee for a march to Khorasan and demand for me the hand of its King Bahrwan's daughter.' Receiving these orders the Wazir at once proceeded to get ready for the journey and encamped without the town with his troops and braves and retinue, whilst King Teghmus made ready as presents for the King of Khorasan fifteen hundred loads of silks and precious stones, pearls and rubies and other gems, besides gold and silver; and he also prepared a prodigious quantity of all that goeth to the equipment of a bride; then, loading them upon camels and mules, delivered them to Ayn Zar, with a letter to the following purport. 'After invoking the blessing of Heaven, King Teghmus to King Bahrwan, greeting. Know that we have taken counsel with the astrologers and sages and mathematicians, and they tell us that we shall have boon of a boy child, and that by none other than thy daughter. Wherefore I have despatched unto thee my Wazir Ayn Zar, with great store of bridal gear, and I have appointed him to stand in my stead and to enter into the marriage-contract in my name. Furthermore I desire that of thy favour thou wilt grant him his request without stay or delay; for it is my own, and all graciousness thou showest him, I take for myself; but beware of crossing me in this, for know, O King Bahrwan, that Allah hath bestowed upon me the Kingdom of Kabul, and hath given me dominion over the Banu Shahlan and vouchsafed me a mighty empire; and if I marry thy daughter, we will be, I and thou, as one thing in kingship; and I will send thee every year as much treasure as will suffice thee. And this is my desire of thee.' Then King Teghmus sealed the letter with his own ring and gave it to the Wazir, who departed with a great company and journeyed till he drew near the capital of Khorasan. When King Bahrwan heard of his approach, he despatched his principal Emirs to meet him, [FN#537] with a convoy of food and drink and other requisites, including forage for the steeds. So they fared forth with the train till they met the Wazir; then, alighting without the city, they exchanged salutations and abode there, eating and drinking, ten days; at the end of which time they mounted and rode on into the town, where they were met by King Bahrwan, who came out to greet the Wazir of King Teghmus and alighting, embraced him and carried him to his citadel. Then Ayn Zar brought out the presents and laid them before King Bahrwan, together with the letter of King Teghmus, which when the King read and understood, he joyed with joy exceeding and welcomed the Wazir, saying, 'Rejoice in winning thy wish; and know that if King Teghmus sought of me my life, verily I would give it to him.' Then he went in forthright to his daughter and her mother and his kinsfolk, and acquainting them with the King of Kabul's demand sought counsel of them, and they said, 'Do what seemeth good to thee.'--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Five Hundredth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "King Bahrwan consulted his daughter and her mother and his kinsfolk and they said, 'Do what seemeth good to thee.' So he returned straightway to the Minister Ayn Zar and notified to him that his desire had been fulfilled; and the Wazir, abode with him two months, at the end of which time he said to him, 'We beseech thee to bestow upon us that wherefore we came, so we may depart to our own land.' 'I hear and obey,' answered the King. Then he prepared all the gear wanted for the wedding; and when this was done he assembled his Wazirs and all his Emirs and the Grandees of his realm and the monks and priests who tied the knot of marriage between his daughter and King Teghmus by proxy. And King Bahrwan bade decorate the city after the goodliest fashion and spread the streets with carpets. Then he equipped his daughter for the journey and gave her all manner of presents and rarities and precious metals, such as none may describe; and Ayn Zar departed with the Princess to his own country. When the news of their approach reached King Teghmus, he bade celebrate the wedding festivities and adorn the city; after which he went in unto the Princess and abated her maidenhead; nor was it long before she conceived by him and, accomplishing her months, bare a man-child like the moon on the night of its full. When King Teghmus knew that his wife had given birth to a goodly son, he rejoiced with exceeding joy and, summoning the sages and astrologers and mathematicians, said to them, 'I would that ye draw the horoscope of the newborn child with his ascendant and its aspects and acquaint me what shall befall him in his lifetime.' So they made their calculations and found them favourable; but, that he would, in his fifteenth year, be exposed to perils and hardships, and that if he survived, he would be happy and fortunate and become a greater king than his father and a more powerful. The King rejoiced greatly in this prediction and named the boy Janshah. Then he delivered him to the nurses, wet and dry, who reared him excellently well till he reached his fifth year, when his father taught him to read the Evangel and instructed him in the art of arms and lunge of lance and sway of sword, so that in less than seven years he was wont to ride a-hunting, and a-chasing; he became a doughty champion, perfect in all the science of the cavalarice and his father was delighted to hear of his knightly prowess. It chanced one day that King Teghmus and his son accompanied by the troops rode out for sport into the woods and wilds and hunted till mid afternoon of the third day, when the Prince started a gazelle of a rare colour, which fled before him. So he gave chase to it, followed by seven of King Teghmus's white slaves all mounted on swift steeds, and rode at speed after the gazelle, which fled before them till she brought them to the sea shore. They all ran at her to take her as their quarry, but she escaped from them and, throwing herself into the waves,"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Five Hundred and First Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "when Janshah and the Mamelukes ran at the gazelle, to take her as their quarry, she escaped from them and, throwing herself into the waves, swam out to a fishing bark, that was moored near the shore, and sprang on board. Janshah and his followers dismounted and, boarding the boat, made prize of the gazelle and were minded to return to shore with her, when the Prince espied a great island in the offing and said to his merry men, 'I have a longing to visit yonder island.' They answered, 'We hear and obey,' and sailed on till they came to the island, where they landed and amused themselves with exploring the place. Then they again embarked and taking with them the gazelle, set out to return homeward, but the murk of evening overtook them and they missed their way on the main. Moreover a strong wind arose and crave the boat into mid-ocean, so that when they awoke in the morning, they found themselves lost at sea. Such was their case; but as regards King Teghmus, when he missed his son, he commanded his troops to make search for him in separate bodies; so they dispersed on all sides and a company of them, coming to the sea shore, found there the Prince's white slave whom he had left in charge of the horses. They asked him what was become of his master and the other six, and he told them what had passed whereupon they took him with them and returned to the King and acquainted him with what they had learnt. When Teghmus heard their report, he wept with sore weeping and cast the crown from his head, biting his hands for vexation. Then he rose forthright and wrote letters and despatched them to all the islands of the sea. Moreover he got together an hundred ships and filling them with troops, sent them to sail about in quest of Janshah, while he himself withdrew with his troops to his capital, where he abode in sore concern. As for Janshah's mother, when she heard of his loss she buffeted her face and began the mourning ceremonies for her son making sure that he was dead. Meanwhile, Janshah and his men ceased not driving before the wind and those in search of them cruised about for ten days till, finding no trace they returned and reported failure to the King. But a stiff gale caught the Prince's craft which went spooning till they made a second island, where they landed and walked about. Presently they came upon a spring of running water in the midst of the island and saw from afar a man sitting hard by it. So they went up to him and saluted him, and he returned their salam, speaking in a voice like the whistle [FN#538] of birds. Whilst Janshah stood marvelling at the man's speech he looked right and left and suddenly split himself in twain, and each half went a different way. [FN#539] Then there came down from the hills a multitude of men of all kinds, beyond count and reckoning; and they no sooner reached the spring, than each one divided into two halves and rushed on Janshah and his Mamelukes to eat them. When the voyagers saw this, they turned and fled seawards; but the cannibals pursued them and caught and ate three of the slaves, leaving only three slaves who with Janshah reached the boat in safety; then launching her made for the water and sailed nights and days without knowing whither their ship went. They killed the gazelle, and lived on her flesh, till the winds drove them to a third island which was full of trees and waters and flower-gardens and orchards laden with all fashion of fruits: and streams strayed under the tree shade: brief, the place was a Garden of Eden. The island pleased the Prince and he said to his companions, 'Which of you will land and explore?' Then said one of the slaves, 'That will I do'; but he replied, 'This thing may not be; you must all land and explore the place while I abide in the boat.' So he set them ashore,"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Five Hundred and Second Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "the Prince set them ashore, and they searched the island, East and West, but found no one; then they fared on inland to the heart thereof, till they came to a Castle compassed about with ramparts of white marble, within which was a palace of the clearest crystal and, set in its centre a garden containing all manner fruits beyond description, both fresh and dry, and flowers of grateful odour and trees and birds singing upon the boughs. Amiddlemost the garden was a vast basin of water, and beside it a great open hall with a raised dais whereon stood a number of stools surrounding a throne of red gold, studded with all kinds of jewels and especially rubies and seeing the beauty of the Castle and of the Garden they entered and explored in all directions, but found no one there, so after rummaging the Castle they returned to Janshah and told him what they had seen. When he heard their report, he cried, 'Needs must I solace myself with a sight of it;' so he landed and accompanied them to the palace, which he entered marvelling at the goodliness of the place. They then visited every part of the gardens and ate of the fruits and continued walking till it waxed dark, when they returned to the estrade and sat down, Janshah on the throne in the centre and the three others on the stools ranged to the right and left. Then the Prince, there seated, called to mind his separation from his father's throne-city [FN#540] and country and friends and kinsfolk; and fell a-weeping and lamenting over their loss whilst his men wept around him. And as they were thus sorrowing behold, they heard a mighty clamour, that came from seaward and looking in the direction of the clamour saw a multitude of apes, as they were swarming locusts. Now the castle and the island belonged to these apes, who, finding the strangers' boat moored to the strand, had scuttled it and after repaired to the palace, where they came upon Janshah and his men seated." Here the Serpent-queen again broke off her recital saying, "All this, O Hasib, was told to Bulukiya by the young man sitting between the two tombs." Quoth Hasib, "And what did Janshah do with the apes?"; so the Queen resumed her tale: "He and his men were sore affrighted at the appearance of the apes, but a company of them came up to the throne whereon he sat and, kissing the earth before him, stood awhile in his presence with their paws upon their breasts in posture of respect. Then another troop brought to the castle gazelles which they slaughtered and skinned; and roasting pieces of the flesh till fit for food they laid them on platters of gold and silver and spreading the table, made signs to Janshah and his men to eat. The Prince and his followers came down from their seats and ate, and the apes ate with them, till they were satisfied, when the apes took away the meat and set on fruits of which they partook and praised Allah the most Highest. Then Janshah asked the apes by signs what they were and to whom the palace belonged, and they answered him by signals, 'Know ye that this island belonged of yore to our lord Solomon, son of David (on both of whom be peace!), and he used to come hither once every year for his solace,'"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Five Hundred and Third Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Janshah asked the apes by signs to whom the palace belonged, they answered him by signals, "'Of a truth this place belonged of yore to our lord Solomon, son of David (on both of whom be peace!), who used to come hither once every year for his solace, and then wend his ways.' Presently the apes continued, 'And know, O King, that thou art become our Sultan and we are thy servants; so eat and drink, and whatso thou ever bid us, that will we do.' So saying, they severally kissed the earth between the hands of Janshah and all took their departure. The Prince slept that night on the throne and his men on the stools about him, and on the morrow, at daybreak, the four Wazirs or Captains of the apes presented themselves before him, attended by their troops, who ranged themselves about him, rank after rank, until the place was crowded. Then the Wazirs approached and exhorted him by signs to do justice amongst them and rule them righteously; after which the apes cried out to one another and went away, all save a small party which remained in presence to serve him. After awhile, there came up a company of apes with huge dogs in the semblance of horses, each wearing about his head a massive chain; and signed to Janshah and his three followers to mount and go with them. So they mounted, marvelling at the greatness of the dogs, and rode forth, attended by the four Wazirs and a host of apes like swarming locusts, some riding on dogs and others afoot till they came to the sea-shore. Janshah looked for the boat which brought him and finding it scuttled turned to the Wazirs and asked how this had happened to it; whereto they answered, 'Know, O King, that, when thou camest to our island, we kenned that thou wouldst be Sultan over us and we feared lest ye all flee from us, in our absence; and embark in the boat, so we sank it.' When Janshah heard this, he turned to his Mamelukes and said to them, 'We have no means of escaping from these apes, and we must patiently await the ordinance of the Almighty.' Then they fared on inland and ceased not faring till they came to the banks of a river, on whose other side rose a high mountain, whereon Janshah saw a multitude of Ghuls. So he turned to the apes and asked them, 'What are these Ghuls?' and they answered, 'Know, O King, that these Ghuls are our mortal foes and we come hither to do battle with them.' Janshah marvelled to see them riding horses, and was startled at the vastness of their bulk and the strangeness of their semblance; for some of them had heads like bulls and others like camels. As soon as the Ghuls espied the army of the apes, they charged down to the river bank and standing there, fell to pelting them with stones as big as maces; and between them there befell a sore fight. Presently, Janshah, seeing that the Ghuls were getting the better of the apes, cried out to his men, saying, 'Unease your bows and arrows and shoot at them your best shafts and keep them off from us.' They did so and slew of the Ghuls much people, when there fell upon them sore dismay and they turned to flee; but the apes, seeing Janshah's prowess, forded the river and headed by their Sultan chased the Ghuls, killing many of them in the pursuit, till they reached the high mountain where they disappeared. And while exploring the said mountain Janshah found a tablet of alabaster, whereon was written, 'O thou who enterest this land, know that thou wilt become Sultan over these apes and that from them there is no escape for thee, except by the passes that run east and west through the mountains. If thou take the eastern pass, thou wilt fare through a country swarming with Ghuls and wild beasts, Marids and Ifrits, and thou wilt come, after three months' journeying, to the ocean which encompasseth the earth; but, if thou travel by the western pass, it will bring thee, after four months' journeying, to the head of the Wady of Emmets. [FN#541] When thou hast followed the road, that leads through this mountain, ten days,' "--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Five Hundred and Fourth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Janshah read this much upon the tablet and found, at the end of the inscription, "'Then thou wilt come to a great river, whose current is so swift that it blindeth the eyes. Now this river drieth up every Sabbath, [FN#542] and on the opposite bank lies a city wholly inhabited by Jews, who the faith of Mohammed refuse; there is not a Moslem among the band nor is there other than this city in the land. Better therefore lord it over the apes, for so long as thou shalt tarry amongst them they will be victorious over the Ghuls. And know also that he who wrote this tablet was the lord Solomon, son of David (on both be peace!).' When Janshah read these words, he wept sore and repeated them to his men. Then they mounted again and, surrounded by the army of the apes who were rejoicing in their victory, returned to the castle. Here Janshah abode, Sultaning over them, for a year and a half. And at the end of this time, he one day commanded the ape-army to mount and go forth a hunting with him, and they rode out into the woods and wilds, and fared on from place to place, till they approached the Wady of Emmets, which Janshah knew by the description of it upon the alabaster tablet. Here he bade them dismount and they all abode there, eating and drinking a space of ten days, after which Janshah took his men apart one night and said, 'I purpose we flee through the Valley of Emmets and make for the town of the Jews; it may be Allah will deliver us from these apes and we will go God's ways.' They replied, 'We hear and we obey:' so he waited till some little of the night was spent then, donning his armour and girding his sword and dagger and such like weapons, and his men doing likewise, they set out and fared on westwards till morning. When the apes awoke and missed Janshah and his men, they knew that they had fled. So they mounted and pursued them, some taking the eastern pass and others that which led to the Wady of Emmets, nor was it long before the apes came in sight of the fugitives, as they were about to enter the valley, and hastened after them. When Janshah and his men saw them, they fled into the Emmet-valley; but the apes soon overtook them and would have slain them, when behold, there rose out of the earth a multitude of ants like swarming locusts, as big as dogs, and charged home upon the apes. They devoured many of their foes, and these also slew many of the ants; but help came to the emmets: now an ant would go up to an ape and smite him and cut him in twain, whilst ten apes could hardly master one ant and bear him away and tear him in sunder. The sore battle lasted till the evening but the emmets were victorious. In the gloaming Janshah and his men took to flight and fled along the sole of the Wady."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Five Hundred and Fifth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "in the gloaming Janshah and his men took to flight and fled along the sole of the Wady till the morning. With the break of day, the apes were up and at them, which when the Prince saw, he shouted to his men, 'Smite with your swords.' So they bared their blades and laid on load right and left, till there ran at them an ape, with tusks like an elephant, and smote one of the Mamelukes and cut him in sunder. Then the apes redoubled upon Janshah and he fled with his followers into the lower levels of the valley, where he saw a vast river and by its side a mighty army of ants. When the emmets espied Janshah they pushed on and surrounded him, and one of the slaves fell to smiting them with his sword and cutting them in twain; whereupon the whole host set upon him and slew him. At this pass, behold, up came the apes from over the mountain and fell in numbers upon Janshah; but he tore off his clothes and, plunging into the river, with his remaining servant, struck out for the middle of the stream. Presently, he caught sight of a tree on the other bank; so he swam up to it and laying hold of one of its branches, hung to it and swung himself ashore, but as for the last Mameluke the current carried him away and dashed him to pieces against the mountain. Thereupon Janshah fell to wringing his clothes and spreading them in the sun to dry, what while there befell a fierce fight between the apes and the ants, until the apes gave up the pursuit and returned to their own land. Meanwhile, Janshah, who abode alone on the river-bank, could do naught but shed tears till nightfall, when he took refuge in a cavern and there passed the dark hours, in great fear and feeling desolate for the loss of his slaves. At daybreak awaking from his sleep he set out again and fared on nights and days, eating of the herbs of the earth, till he came to the mountain which burnt like fire, and thence he made the river which dried up every Sabbath. Now it was a mighty stream and on the opposite bank stood a great city, which was the capital of the Jews mentioned in the tablet. Here he abode till the next Sabbath, when the river dried up and he walked over to the other side and entered the Jew city, but saw none in the streets. So he wandered about till he came to the door of a homestead, which he opened and entering, espied within the people of the house sitting in silence and speaking not a syllable. Quoth he, 'I am a stranger and anhungered;' and they signed to him, as to say, 'Eat and drink, but speak not.' [FN#543] So he ate and drank and slept that night and, when morning dawned, the master of the house greeted him and bade him welcome and asked him, 'Whence comest thou and whither art thou bound?' At these words Janshah wept sore and told him all that had befallen him and how his father was King of Kabul; whereat the Jew marvelled and said, 'Never heard we of that city, but we have heard from the merchants of the caravans that in that direction lieth a land called Al-Yaman.' 'How far is that land from this place?' asked Janshah, and the Jew answered, 'The Cafilah merchants pretend that it is a two years and three months' march from their land hither.' Quoth Janshah, 'And when doth the caravan come?' Quoth the Jew, 'Next year 'twill come.' "--And Shahrazed perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Five Hundred and Sixth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the Jew was questioned anent the coming of the caravan, he replied, "'Next year 'twill come.' At these words the Prince wept sore and fell a-sorrowing for himself and his Mamelukes; and lamenting his separation from his mother and father and all which had befallen him in his wanderings. Then said the Jew, 'O young man, do not weep, but sojourn with us till the caravan shall come, when we will send thee with it to thine own country.' So he tarried with the Jew two whole months and every day he went out walking in the streets for his solace and diversion. Now it chanced one day, whilst he paced about the main thoroughfares, as of wont, and was bending his steps right and left, he heard a crier crying aloud and saying, 'Who will earn a thousand gold pieces and a slave-girl of surpassing beauty and loveliness by working for me between morning and noontide?' But no one answered him and Janshah said in his mind, 'Were not this work dangerous and difficult, he would not offer a thousand diners and a fair girl for half a day's labour.' Then he accosted the crier and said, 'I will do the work;' so the man carried him to a lofty mansion where they found one who was a Jew and a merchant, seated on an ebony chair, to whom quoth the crier, standing respectfully before him, 'O merchant, I have cried every day these three months, and none hath answered, save this young man.' Hearing his speech the Jew welcomed Janshah, led him into a magnificent sitting-room and signalled to bring food. So the servants spread the table and set thereon all manner meats, of which the merchant and Janshah ate, and washed their hands. Then wine was served up and they drank; after which the Jew rose and bringing Janshah a purse of a thousand diners and a slave-girl of rare beauty, said to him, 'Take maid and money to thy hire.' Janshah took them and seated the girl by his side when the trader resumed, 'To-morrow to the work!'; and so saying he withdrew and Janshah slept with the damsel that night. As soon as it was morning, the merchant bade his slaves clothe him in a costly suit of silk whenas he came out of the Hammam-Bath. So they did as he bade them and brought him back to the house, whereupon the merchant called for harp and lute and wine and they drank and played and made merry till the half of the night was past, when the Jew retired to his Harim and Janshah lay with his slave-girl till the dawn. Then he went to the bath and on his return, the merchant came to him and said, 'Now I wish thee to do the work for me.' 'I hear and obey,' replied Janshah. So the merchant bade his slaves bring two she-mules and set Janshah on one, mounting the other himself. Then they rode forth from the city and fared on from morn till noon, when they made a lofty mountain, to whose height was no limit. Here the Jew dismounted, ordering Janshah to do the same; and when he obeyed the merchant gave him a knife and a cord, saying, 'I desire that thou slaughter this mule.' So Janshah tucked up his sleeves and skirts and going up to the mule, bound her legs with the cord, then threw her and cut her throat; after which he skinned her and lopped off her head and legs and she became a mere heap of flesh. Then said the Jew, 'Slit open the mule's belly and enter it and I will sew it up on thee. There must thou abide awhile and whatsoever thou seest in her belly, acquaint me therewith.' So Janshah slit the mule's belly and crept into it, whereupon the merchant sewed it up on him and withdrew to a distance,"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Five Hundred and Seventh Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "the merchant sewed up the mule's belly on Janshah and, withdrawing to a distance, hid himself in the skirts of the mountain. After a while a huge bird swooped down on the dead mule and snatching it up, flew up with it to the top of the mountain, where it set down the quarry and would have eaten it; but Janshah, feeling the bird begin to feed, slit the mule's belly and came forth. When the bird saw him, it took fright at him and flew right away; whereupon he stood up and looking right and left, saw nothing but the carcasses of dead men, mummied by the sun, and exclaimed, 'There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great!' Then he looked down the precipice and espied the merchant standing at the mountain-foot, looking for him. As soon as the Jew caught sight of him, he called out to him, 'Throw me down of the stones which are about thee, that I may direct thee to a way whereby thou mayst descend.' So Janshah threw him down some two hundred of the stones, which were all rubies, [FN#544] chrysolites and other gems of price; after which he called out to him, saying, 'Show me the way down and I will throw thee as many more.' But the Jew gathered up the stones and, binding them on the back of the mule, went his way without answering a word and left Janshah alone on the mountain-top. When the Prince found himself deserted, he began to weep and implore help of Heaven, and thus he abode three days; after which he rose and fared on over the mountainous ground two month's space, feeding upon hill-herbs; and he ceased not faring till he came to its skirts and espied afar off a Wady full of fruitful trees and birds harmonious, singing the praises of Allah, the One, the Victorious. At this sight he joyed with great joy and stayed not his steps till, after an hour or so, he came to a ravine in the rocks, through which the rain torrents fell into the valley. He made his way down the cleft till he reached the Wady which he had seen from the mountain-top and walked on therein, gazing right and left, nor ceased so doing until he came in sight of a great castle, towering high in air. As he drew near the gates he saw an old man of comely aspect and face shining with light standing thereat with a staff of carnelian in his hand, and going up to him, saluted him. The Shaykh returned his salam and bade him welcome, saying, 'Sit down, O my son.' So he sat down at the door of the castle and the old man said to him, 'How camest thou to this land, untrodden by son of Adam before thee, and whither art thou bound?' When Janshah heard his words he wept bitterly at the thought of all the hardships he had suffered and his tears choked his speech. Quoth the Shaykh, 'O my son, leave weeping; for indeed thou makest my heart ache.' So saying, he rose and set somewhat of food before him and said to him, 'Eat.' He ate and praised Allah Almighty; after which the old man besought him saying, 'O my son, I would have thee tell me thy tale and acquaint me with thine adventures.' So Janshah related to him all that had befallen him, from first to last, whereat the Shaykh marvelled with exceeding marvel. Then said the Prince, 'Prithee inform me who is the lord of this valley and to whom doth this great castle belong?' Answered the old man, 'Know, O my son, this valley and all that is therein and this castle with all it containeth belong to the lord Solomon, son of David (on both be peace!). As for me, my name is Shaykh Nasr, [FN#545] King of the Birds; for thou must know that the lord Solomon committed this castle to my charge,'"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Five Hundred and Eighth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "Shaykh Nasr pursued, 'Thou must know that the lord Solomon com misted this castle to my charge and taught me the language of birds and made me ruler over all the fowls which be in the world; wherefore each and every come hither once in the twelvemonth, and I pass them in review: then they depart; and this is why I dwell here.' When Janshah heard this, he wept sore and said to the Shaykh, 'O my father, how shall I do to get back to my native land?' Replied the old man, 'Know, O my son, that thou art near to the mountain Kaf, and there is no departing for thee from this place till the birds come, when I will give thee in charge to one of them, and he will bear thee to thy native country. Meanwhile tarry with me here and eat and drink and divert thyself with viewing the apartments of this castle.' So Janshah abode with Shaykh Nasr, taking his pleasure in the Wady and eating of its fruits and laughing and making merry with the old man, and leading a right joyous life till the day appointed for the birds to pay their annual visit to the Governor. Thereupon the Shaykh said to him, 'O Janshah, take the keys of the castle and solace thyself with exploring all its apartments and viewing whatever be therein, but as regards such a room, beware and again beware of opening its door; and if thou gainsay me and open it and enter there, through nevermore shalt thou know fair fortune.' He repeated this charge again and again with much instance; then he went forth to meet the birds, which came up, kind by kind, and kissed his hands. Such was his case; but as regards Janshah, he went round about the castle, opening the various doors and viewing the apartments into which they led, till he came to the room which Shaykh Nasr had warned him not to open or enter. He looked at the door and its fashion pleased him, for it had on it a padlock of gold, and he said to himself, 'This room must be goodlier than all the others; would Heaven I wist what is within it, that Shaykh Nasr should forbid me to open its door! There is no help but that I enter and see what is in this apartment; for whatso is decreed unto the creature perforce he must fulfil.' So he put out his hand and unlocked the door and entering, found himself before a great basin; and hard by it stood a little pavilion, builded all of gold and silver and crystal, with lattice-windows of jacinth. The floor was paved with green beryl and balas rubies and emeralds and other jewels, set in the ground-work mosaic-fashion, and in the midmost of the pavilion was a jetting fountain in a golden basin, full of water and girt about with figures of beasts and birds, cunningly wrought of gold and silver and casting water from their mouths. When the zephyr blew on them, it entered their ears and therewith the figures sang out with birdlike song, each in its own tongue. Beside the fountain was a great open saloon with a high dais whereon stood a vast throne of carnelian, inlaid with pearls and jewels, over which was spread a tent of green silk fifty cubits in width and embroidered with gems fit for seal rings and purfled with precious metals. Within this tent was a closet containing the carpet of the lord Solomon (on whom be peace!); and the pavilion was compassed about with a vast garden full of fruit trees and streams; while near the palace were beds of roses and basil and eglantine and all manner sweet-smelling herbs and flowers. And the trees bore on the same boughs fruits fresh and dry and the branches swayed gracefully to the wooing of the wind. All this was in that one apartment and Janshah wondered thereat till he was weary of wonderment; and he set out to solace himself in the palace and the garden and to divert himself with the quaint and curious things they contained. And first looking at the basin he saw that the gravels of its bed were gems and jewels and noble metals; and many other strange things were in that apartment."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Five Hundred and Ninth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "Janshah saw many strange things and admirable in that apartment. Then he entered the pavilion and mounting the throne, fell asleep under the tent set up thereover. He slept for a time and, presently awaking, walked forth and sat down on a stool before the door. As he sat, marvelling at the goodliness of that place, there flew up from mid sky three birds, in dove-form but big as eagles, and lighted on the brink of the basin, where they sported awhile. Then they put off their feathers and became three maidens, [FN#546] as they were moons, that had not their like in the whole world. They plunged into the basin and swam about and disported themselves and laughed, while Janshah marvelled at their beauty and loveliness and the grace and symmetry of their shapes. Presently, they came up out of the water and began walking about and taking their solace in the garden; and Janshah seeing them land was like to lose his wits. He rose and followed them, and when he overtook them, he saluted them and they returned his salam; after which quoth he, 'Who are ye, O illustrious Princesses, and whence come ye?' Replied the youngest damsel, 'We are from the invisible world of Almighty Allah and we come hither to divert ourselves.' He marvelled at their beauty and said to the youngest, 'Have ruth on me and deign kindness to me and take pity on my case and on all that hath befallen me in my life.' Rejoined she, 'Leave this talk and wend thy ways'; whereat the tears streamed from his eyes, and he sighed heavily and repeated these couplets,
'She shone out in the garden in garments all of green, * With open vest and collars and flowing hair beseen:
'What is thy name?' I asked her, and she replied, 'I'm she * Who roasts the hearts of lovers on coals of love and teen.'
Of passion and its anguish to her made my moan; * 'Upon a rock,' she answered, 'thy plaints are wasted clean.'
'Even if thy heart,' I told her, 'be rock in very deed, * Yet hath God made fair water well from the rock, I ween.' [FN#547]
When the maidens heard his verses, they laughed and played and sang and made merry. Then he brought them somewhat of fruit, and they ate and drank and slept with him till the morning, when they donned their feather-suits, and resuming dove shape flew off and went their way. But as he saw them disappearing from sight, his reason well nigh fled with them, and he gave a great cry and fell down in a fainting fit and lay a-swooning all that day. While he was in this case Shaykh Nasr returned from the Parliament of the Fowls and sought for Janshah, that he might send him with them to his native land, but found him not and knew that he had entered the forbidden room. Now he had already said to the birds, 'With me is a young man, a mere youth, whom destiny brought hither from a distant land; and I desire of you that ye take him up and carry him to his own country.' And all answered, 'We hear and we obey.' So he ceased not searching for Janshah till he came to the forbidden door and seeing it open he entered and found the Prince lying a-swoon under a tree. He fetched scented waters and sprinkled them on his face, whereupon he revived and turned."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Five Hundred and Tenth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "when Shaykh Nasr saw Janshah lying a-swoon under the tree he fetched him somewhat of scented waters and sprinkled them on his face. Thereupon he revived and turned right and left, but seeing none by him save the Shaykh, sighed heavily and repeated these couplets,
'Like fullest moon she shines on happiest night, * Soft sided fair, with slender shape bedight.
Her eye-babes charm the world with gramarye; * Her lips remind of rose and ruby light.
Her jetty locks make night upon her hips; * Ware, lovers, ware ye of that curl's despight!
Yea, soft her sides are, but in love her heart * Outhardens flint, surpasses syenite:
And bows of eyebrows shower glancey shafts * Despite the distance never fail to smite.
Then, ah, her beauty! all the fair it passes; * Nor any rival her who see the light.'
When Shaykh Nasr heard these verses, he said, 'O my son, did I not warn thee not to open that door and enter that room? But now, O my son, tell me what thou sawest therein and acquaint me with all that betided thee.' So Janshah related to him all that had passed between him and the three maidens, and Shaykh Nasr, who sat listening in silence said, 'Know, O my son, that these three maidens are of the daughters of the Jann and come hither every year for a day, to divert themselves and make merry until mid afternoon, when they return to their own country.' Janshah asked, 'And where is their country?'; and the old man answered, 'By Allah, O my son, I wot not:' presently adding, 'but now take heart and put away this love from thee and come with me, that I may send thee to thine own land with the birds.' When Janshah heard this, he gave a great cry and fell down in a trance; and presently he came to himself, and said, 'O my father indeed I care not to return to my native land: all I want is to foregather with these maidens and know, O my father, that I will never again name my people, though I die before thee.' Then he wept and cried, 'Enough for me that I look upon the face of her I love, although it be only once in the year!' And he sighed deeply and repeated these couplets,
'Would Heaven the Phantom [FN#548] spared the friend at night * And would this love for man were ever dight!
Were not my heart afire for love of you, * Tears ne'er had stained my cheeks nor dimmed my sight.
By night and day, I bid my heart to bear * Its griefs, while fires of love my body blight.'
Then he fell at Shaykh Nasr's feet and kissed them and wept sore, crying, 'Have pity on me, so Allah take pity on thee and aid me in my strait so Allah aid thee!' Replied the old man, 'By Allah O my son, I know nothing of these maidens nor where may be their country; but, O my son, if thy heart be indeed set on one of them, tarry with me till this time next year for they will assuredly reappear; and, when the day of their coming draweth near, hide thyself under a tree in the garden. As soon as they have alighted and doffed their feather-robes and plunged into the lake and are swimming about at a distance from their clothes, seize the vest of her whom thy soul desireth. When they see thee, they will come a bank and she, whose coat thou hast taken, will accost thee and say to thee with the sweetest of speech and the most witching of smiles, 'Give me my dress, O my brother, that I may don it and veil my nakedness withal.' But if thou yield to her prayer and give her back the vest thou wilt never win thy wish: nay, she will don it and fly away to her folk and thou wilt nevermore see her again Now when thou hast gained the vest, clap it under thine armpit and hold it fast, till I return from the Parliament of the Fowls, when I will make accord between thee and her and send thee back to thy native land, and the maiden with thee. And this, O my son, is all I can do for thee, nothing more.' "--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Five Hundred and Eleventh Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "quoth Shaykh Nasr to Janshah, 'Hold fast the feather-robe of her thy soul desireth and give it not back to her till I return from the Parliament of the Fowls. And this, O my son, is all I can do for thee, nothing more.' When Janshah heard this, his heart was solaced and he abode with Shaykh Nasr yet another year, counting the days as they passed until the day of the coming of the birds. And when at last the appointed time arrived the old man said to him, 'Do as I enjoined thee and charged thee with the maidens in the matter of the feather-dress, for I go to meet the birds;' and Janshah replied, 'I hear and I obey, O my father.' Then the Shaykh departed whilst the Prince walked into the garden and hid himself under a tree, where none could see him. Here he abode a first day and a second and a third, but the maidens came not; whereat he was sore troubled and wept and sighed from a heart hard tried; and he ceased not weeping and wailing till he fainted away. When he came to himself, he fell to looking now at the basin and now at the welkin, and anon at the earth and anon at the open country, whilst his heart grieved for stress of love-longing. As he was in this case, behold, the three doves appeared in the firmament, eagle-sized as before, and flew till they reached the garden and lighted down beside the basin. They turned right and left; but saw no one, man or Jann; so they doffed their feather-suits and became three maidens. Then they plunged into the basin and swam about, laughing and frolicking; and all were mother-naked and fair as bars of virgin silver. Quoth the eldest, 'O my sister, I fear lest there be some one lying ambushed for us in the pavilion. Answered the second, 'O sister, since the days of King Solomon none hath entered the pavilion, be he man or Jann;' and the youngest added, laughing, 'By Allah, O my sisters, if there be any hidden there, he will assuredly take none but me.' Then they continued sporting and laughing and Janshah's heart kept fluttering for stress of passion: but he hid behind the tree so that he saw without being seen. Presently they swam out to the middle of the basin leaving their clothes on the bank. Hereupon he sprang to his feet, and running like the darting levee to the basin's brink, snatched up the feather-vest of the youngest damsel, her on whom his heart was set and whose name was Shamsah the Sun-maiden. At this the girls turned and seeing him, were affrighted and veiled their shame from him in the water. Then they swam near the shore and looking on his favour saw that he was bright faced as the moon on the night of fullness and asked him, 'Who art thou and how camest thou hither and why hast thou taken the clothes of the lady Shamsah?'; and he answered, 'Come hither to me and I will tell you my tale.' Quoth Shamsah, 'What deed is this, and why hast thou taken my clothes, rather than those of my sisters?' Quoth he, 'O light of mine eyes, come forth of the water, and I will recount thee my case and acquaint thee why I chose thee out.' Quoth she, 'O my lord and coolth of my eyes and fruit of my heart, give me my clothes, that I may put them on and cover my nakedness withal; then will I come forth to thee.' But he replied, 'O Princess of beautiful ones, how can I give thee back thy clothes and slay myself for love longing? Verily, I will not give them to thee, till Shaykh Nasr, the king of the birds, shall return.' Quoth she, 'If thou wilt not give me my clothes withdraw a little apart from us, that my sisters may land and dress themselves and lend me somewhat wherewithal to cover my shame.' 'I hear and obey,' answered he, and walked away from them into the pavilion, whereupon the three Princesses came out and the two elder, donning their dress, gave Shamsah somewhat thereof, not enough to fly withal, and she put it on and came forth of the water, and stood before him, as she were the rising full moon or a browsing gazelle. Then Shamsah entered the pavilion, where Janshah was still sitting on the throne; so she saluted him and taking seat near him, said, 'O fair of face, thou hast undone thyself and me; but tell us thy adventures that we may ken how it is with thee.' At these words he wept till he drenched his dress with his tears; and when she saw that he was distracted for love of her, she rose and taking him by the hand, made him sit by her side and wiped away the drops with her sleeve; and said she, 'O fair of face, leave this weeping and tell us thy tale.' So he related to her all that had befallen him and described to her all he had seen,"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Five Hundred and Twelfth Night,
She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "the lady Shamsah said to Janshah, 'Tell us thy tale;' so he related to her all that had befallen him; and, after she had lent attentive ear she sighed and said, 'O my lord, since thou art so fondly in love with me, give me my dress, that I may fly to my folk, I and my sisters, and tell them what affection thou hast conceived for me, and after I will come back to thee and carry thee to thine own country.' When he heard this, he wept sore and replied, 'Is it lawful to thee before Allah to slay me wrongfully?' She asked, 'O my lord, why should I do such wrongous deed?'; and he answered, 'If I give thee thy gear thou wilt fly away from me, and I shall die forthright.' Princess Shamsah laughed at this and so did her sisters; then said she to him, 'Be of good cheer and keep thine eyes cool and clear, for I must needs marry thee.' So saying, she bent down to him and embraced him and pressing him to her breast kissed him between the eyes and on his cheeks. They clipped and clasped each other awhile, after which they drew apart and sat down on the throne. Then the eldest Princess went out into the garden and, plucking somewhat of fruits and flowers, brought them into the pavilion; and they ate and drank and laughed and sported and made merry. Now Janshah was singular in beauty and loveliness and slender shape and symmetry and grace, and the Princess Shamsah said to him, 'O my beloved, by Allah, I love thee with exceeding love and will never leave thee!' When he heard her words, his breast broadened and he laughed for joy till he showed his teeth; and they abode thus awhile in mirth and gladness and frolic. And when they were at the height of their pleasure and joyance, behold, Shaykh Nasr returned from the Parliament of the Fowls and came in to them; whereupon they all rose to him and saluted him and kissed his hands. He gave them welcome and bade them be seated. So they sat down and he said to Princess Shamsah, 'Verily this youth loveth thee with exceeding love; Allah upon thee, deal kindly with him, for he is of the great ones of mankind and of the sons of the kings, and his father ruleth over the land of Kabul and his reign compasseth a mighty empire.' Quoth she, 'I hear and I obey thy behest'; and, kissing the Shaykh's hands stood before him in respect. Quoth he, 'If thou say sooth, swear to me by Allah that thou wilt never betray him, what while thou abidest in the bonds of life.' So she swore a great oath that she would never betray Janshah, but would assuredly marry him, and added, 'Know, O Shaykh Nasr, that I never will forsake him.' The Shaykh believed in her oath and said to Janshah, 'Thanks be to Allah, who hath made you arrive at this understanding!' Hereupon the Prince rejoiced with exceeding joy, and he and Shamsah abode three months with Shaykh Nasr, feasting and toying and making merry."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Five Hundred and Thirteenth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that, "Janshah and the lady Shamsah abode three months with Shaykh Nasr, feasting and toying and making merry. And at the end of that time she said to Janshah, 'I wish to go with thee to thy mother land, where thou shalt marry me and we will abide there.' 'To hear is to obey,' answered he and took counsel with Shaykh Nasr who said to him, 'Go thou home, I commend her to thy care.' Then said she, 'O Shaykh Nasr, bid him render me my feather-suit.' So the Shaykh bade Janshah give it to her, and he went straightways into the pavilion and brought it out for her. There upon she donned it and said to him, 'Mount my back and shut thine eyes and stop thine ears, so thou mayst not hear the roar of the revolving sphere; and keep fast hold of my feathers, lest thou fall off.' He did as she bade him and, as she stretched her wings to fly, Shaykh Nasr said, 'Wait a while till I describe to thee the land Kabul, lest you twain miss your way.' So she delayed till he had said his say and had bidden them farewell, commending the Prince to her care. She took leave of her sisters and bade them return to her folk and tell them what had befallen her with Janshah; then, rising into the air without stay or delay she flew off, like the wafts of the wind or the ramping leven. Her sisters also took flight and returning home delivered her message to their people. And she stayed not her course from the forenoon till the hour of mid-afternoon prayer (Janshah being still on her back), when she espied afar off a Wady abounding in trees and streams and she said to Janshah, 'I am thinking to alight in this valley, that we may solace ourselves amongst its trees and herbage and here rest for the night.' Quoth he, "Do what seemeth meet to thee!' So she swooped down from the lift and alighted in the Wady, when Janshah dismounted and kissing her between the eyes, [FN#549] sat with her awhile on the bank of a river there; then they rose and wandered about the valley, taking their pleasure therein and eating of the fruits of the trees, until nightfall, when they lay down under a tree and slept till the morning dawned. As soon as it was day, the Princess arose and, bidding Janshah mount, flew on with him till noon, when she perceived by the appearance of the buildings which Shaykh Nasr had described to her, that they were nearing the city Kabul. So she swooped down from the welkin and alighted in a wide plain, a blooming champaign, wherein were gazelles straying and springs playing and rivers flowing and ripe fruits growing. So Janshah dismounted and kissed her between the eyes; and she asked him, 'O my beloved and coolth of mine eyes, knowest thou how many days' journey we have come since yesterday?'; and he answered, 'No,' when she said, 'We have come thirty months' journey.' Quoth he, 'Praised be Allah for safety!' Then they sat down side by side and ate and drank and toyed and laughed. And whilst they were thus pleasantly engaged, behold, there came up to them two of the King's Mamelukes of those who had been of the Prince's company, one of them was he whom he had left with the horses, when he embarked in the fishing-boat and the other had been of his escort in the chase. As soon as they saw Janshah, both knew him and saluted him; then said they, 'With thy leave, we will go to thy sire and bear him the glad tidings of thy coming.' Replied the Prince, 'Go ye to my father and acquaint him with my case, and fetch us tents, for we will tarry here seven days to rest ourselves till he make ready his retinue to meet us, that we may enter in stateliest state.'"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Five Hundred and Fourteenth Night,
She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "Janshah said to the two Mamelukes, 'Go ye to my sire and acquaint him with my case and fetch us tents, for we will abide here seven days to rest ourselves, till he make ready his retinue to meet us that we may enter in the stateliest state.' So the officers hastened back to King Teghmus and said to him, 'Good news, O King of the age!' Asked he, 'What good tidings bring ye: is my son Janshah come back?'; and they answered, 'Yes, thy son Janshah hath returned from his strangerhood and is now near at hand in the Kirání mead.' Now when the King heard this, he joyed with great joy and fell down in a swoon for excess of gladness; then, coming to himself, he bade his Wazir give each of the Mamelukes a splendid suit of honour and a sum of money. The minister replied, 'I hear and obey,' and forthright did his bidding and said to them, 'Take this in turn for the good tidings ye bring, whether ye lie or say sooth.' They replied, 'Indeed we lie not, for but now we sat with him and saluted him and kissed his hands and he bade us fetch him tents, for that he would sojourn in the meadow seven days, till such time as the Wazirs and Emirs and Grandees should come out to meet him.' Quoth the King, 'How is it with my son?' and quoth they, 'He hath with him a Houri, as he had brought her out of Paradise.' At this, King Teghmus bade beat the kettledrums and sound the trumpets for gladness, and despatched messengers to announce the good news to Janshah's mother and to the wives of the Emirs and Wazirs and Lords of the realm: so the criers spread themselves about the city and acquainted the people with the coming of Prince Janshah. Then the King made ready, and, setting out for the Kirani meadow with his horsemen and footmen, came upon Janshah who was sitting at rest with the lady Shamsah beside him and, behold, all suddenly drew in sight. The Prince rose to his feet and walked forward to meet them; and the troops knew him and dismounted, to salute him and kiss his hands: after which he set out preceded by the men in single file till he came to his sire, who, at sight of his son threw himself from his horse's back and clasped him to his bosom and wept flooding tears of joy. Then they took horse again with the retinue riding to the right and left and fared forward till they came to the river banks; when the troops alighted and pitched their tents and pavilions and standards to the blare of trump and the piping of fife and the dub-a-dub of drum and tom-tom. Moreover the King bade the tent pitchers set up a pavilion of red silk for the Princess Shamsah, who put off her scanty raiment of feathers for fine robes and, entering the pavilion, there took seat. And as she sat in her beauty, behold, the King and his son Janshah came in to her, and when she saw Teghmus, she rose and kissed the ground before him. The King sat down and seating Janshah on his right hand and Princess Shamsah on his left, bade her welcome and said to his son, 'Tell me all that hath befallen thee in this thy long strangerhood.' So Janshah related to him the whole of his adventures from first to last, whereat he marvelled with exceeding marvel and turning to the Princess, said, 'Laud to Allah for that He hath caused thee to reunite me with my son! Verily this is of His exceeding bounty!'" [FN#550]--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Five Hundred and Fifteenth Night,
She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "King Teghmus said to the lady Shamsah, 'Laud to Allah for that He hath caused thee to reunite me with my son! Verily this is of His exceeding bounty.' And now I would have thee ask of me what thou wilt, that I may do it in thine honour.' Quoth she, 'I ask of thee that thou build me a palace in the midst of a flower garden, with water running under it.' And the King answered, 'I hear and obey.' And behold, up came Janshah's mother, attended by all the wives of the Wazirs and Emirs and nobles and city notables. When her son had sight of her, he rose and leaving the tent, went forth to meet her and they embraced a long while, whilst the Queen wept for excess of joy and with tears trickling from her eyes repeated the following verses,
'Joy so o'ercometh me, for stress of joy * In that which gladdeneth me I fain shed tears:
Tears are become your nature, O my eyes, * Who weep for joyance as for griefs and fears.'
And they complained to each other of all their hearts had suffered from the long separation. Then the King departed to his pavilion and Janshah carried his mother to his own tent, where they sat talking till there came up some of the lady Shamsah's attendants who said, The Princess is now walking hither in order to salute thee. When the Queen heard this, she rose and going to meet Shamsah, saluted her and seated her awhile by her side. Presently the Queen and her retinue of noble women, the spouses of the Emirs and Grandees, returned with Princess Shamsah to the tent occupied by her daughter-in-law and sat there. Meanwhile, King Teghmus gave great largesse to his levies and liege and rejoiced in his son with exceeding joy, and they tarried there ten days, feasting and merry making and living a most joyous life. At the end of this time, the King commanded a march and they all returned to the capital, so he took horse surrounded by all the troops with the Wazirs and Chamberlains to his right and left nor ceased they faring till they entered the city, which was decorated after the goodliest fashion; for the folk had adorned the houses with precious stuffs and jewellery and spread costly bro cedes under the hoofs of the horses. The drums beat for glad tidings and the Grandees of the kingdom rejoiced and brought rich gifts and the lookers-on were filled with amazement. Furthermore, they fed the mendicants and Fakirs and held high festival for the space of ten days, and the lady Shamsah joyed with exceeding joy whenas she saw this. Then King Teghmus summoned architects and builders and men of art and bade them build a palace in that garden. So they straightway proceeded to do his bidding; and, when Janshah knew of his sire's command he caused the artificers to fetch a block of white marble and carve it and hollow it in the semblance of a chest; which being done he took the feather-vest of Princess Shamsah wherewith she had flown with him through the air: then, sealing the cover with melted lead, he ordered them to bury the box in the foundations and build over it the arches whereon the palace was to rest. They did as he bade them, nor was it long before the palace was finished: then they furnished it and it was a magnificent edifice, standing in the midst of the garden, with streams flowing under its walls. [FN#551] Upon this the King caused Janshah's wedding to be celebrated with the greatest splendour and they brought the bride to the castle in state procession and went their ways. When the lady Shamsah entered, she smelt the scent of her feather-gear."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Five Hundred and Sixteenth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "when the lady Shamsah entered the new palace, she smelt the scent of her flying feather-gear and knew where it was and determined to take it. So she waited till midnight, when Janshah was drowned in sleep; then she rose and going straight to the place where the marble coffer was buried under the arches she hollowed the ground alongside till she came upon it; when she removed the lead where with it was soldered and, taking out the feather-suit, put it on. Then she flew high in air and perching on the pinnacle of the palace, cried out to those who were therein, saying, 'I pray you fetch me Janshah, that I may bid him farewell.' So they told him and he came out and, seeing her on the terrace roof of the palace, clad in her feather-raiment, asked her, 'Why hast thou done this deed?'; and she answered 'O my beloved and coolth of mine eyes and fruit of my heart, by Allah, I love thee passing dear and I rejoice with exceeding joy in that I have restored thee to thy friends and country and thou hast seen thy mother and father. And now, if thou love me as I love thee, come to me at Takni, the Castle of Jewels.' So saying, she flew away forthright to find her family and friends, and Janshah fell down fainting, being well-nigh dead for despair. They carried the news to King Teghmus, who mounted at once and riding to the palace, found his son lying senseless on the ground; whereat he wept knowing that the swoon was caused by the loss of his love, and sprinkled rose-water on his face. [FN#552] When the Prince came to himself and saw his sire sitting at his head, he wept at the thought of losing his wife and the King asked what had befallen him. So he replied, 'Know, O my father, that the lady Shamsah is of the daughters of the Jann and she hath done such and such (telling him all that had happened); and the King said, 'O my son, be not troubled and thus concerned, for I will assemble all the merchants and wayfarers in the land and enquire of them anent that castle. If we can find out where it is, we will journey thither and demand the Princess Shamsah of her people, and we hope in Allah the Almighty that He will give her back to thee and thou shalt consummate thy marriage.' Then he went out and, calling his four Wazirs without stay or delay, bade them assemble all the merchants and voyagers in the city and question them of Takni, the Castle of Jewels, adding, 'Whoso knoweth it and can guide us thither, I will surely give him fifty thousand gold pieces.' The Wazirs accordingly went forth at once and did as the King bade them, but neither trader nor traveller could give them news of Takni, the Castle of Jewels; so they returned and told the King. Thereupon he bade bring beautiful slave-girls and concubines and singers and players upon instruments of music, whose like are not found but with the Kings: and sent them to Janshah, so haply they might divert him from the love of the lady Shamsah. Moreover, he despatched couriers and spies to all the lands and islands and climes, to enquire for Takni, the Castle of Jewels, and they made quest for it two months long, but none could give them news thereof. So they returned and told the King, whereupon he wept bitter tears and going in to his son found Janshah sitting amidst the concubines and singers and players on harp and zither and so forth, not one of whom could console him for the lady Shamsah. Quoth Teghmus, O my son, I can find none who knoweth this Castle of Jewels; but I will bring thee a fairer one than she.' When Janshah heard this his eyes ran over with tears and he recited these two couplets,
'Patience hath fled, but passion fareth not; * And all my frame with pine is fever-hot:
When will the days my lot with Shamsah join? * Lo, all my bones with passion-lowe go rot!'
Now there was a deadly feud between King Teghmus and a certain King of Hind, by name Kafíd, who had great plenty of troops and warriors and champions; and under his hand were a thousand puissant chieftains, each ruling over a thousand tribes whereof every one could muster four thousand cavaliers. He reigned over a thousand cities each guarded by a thousand forts and he had four Wazirs and under him ruled Emirs, Princes and Sovereigns; and indeed he was a King of great might and prowess whose armies filled the whole earth. Now King Teghmus had made war upon him and ravaged his reign and slain his men and of his treasures had made gain. But when it came to King Kafid's knowledge that King Teghmus was occupied with the love of his son, so that he neglected the affairs of the state and his troops were grown few and weak by reason of his care and concern for his son's state, he summoned his Wazirs and Emirs and said to them, 'Ye all know that whilom King Teghmus invaded our dominions and plundered our possessions and slew my father and brethren, nor indeed is there one of you, but he hath harried his lands and carried off his goods and made prize of his wives and slain some kinsmen of his. Now I have heard this day that he is absorbed in the love of his son Janshah, and that his troops are grown few and weak; and this is the time to take our blood revenge on him. So make ready for the march and don ye your harness of battle; and let nothing stay or delay you, and we will go to him and fall upon him and slay him and his son, and possess ourselves of his reign.'"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Five Hundred and Seventeenth Night,
She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "Kafid, King of Hind, commanded his troops and armies to mount and make for the dominions of King Teghmus, saying, 'Get ye ready for the march and don ye your harness of war; and let nothing stay or delay you; so we will go to him and fall upon him and slay him and his son and possess ourselves of his reign.' They all answered with one voice, saying, 'We hear and obey,' and fell at once to equipping themselves and levying troops; and they ceased not their preparations for three months and, when all was in readiness, they beat the drums and sounded the trumps and flew the flags and banners: then King Kafid set out at the head of his host and they fared on till they reached the frontiers of the land of Kabul, the dominions of King Teghmus, where they began to harry the land and do havoc among the folk, slaughtering the old and taking the young prisoners. When the news reached King Teghmus, he was wroth with exceeding wrath and assembling his Grandees and officers of state, said to them 'Know that Kafid hath come to our land and hath entered the realm we command and is resolved to fight us hand to hand, and he leadeth troops and champions and warriors, whose number none knoweth save Allah Almighty; what deme deem ye?' Replied they, 'O King of the age, let us go out to him and give him battle and drive him forth of our country; and thus deem we.' So he bade them prepare for battle and brought forth to them hauberks and cuirasses and helmets and swords and all manner of warlike gear, such as lay low warriors and do to death the champions of mankind. So the troops and braves and champions flocked together and they set up the standards and beat the drums and sounded the trumpets and clashed the cymbals and piped on the pipes; and King Teghmus marched out at the head of his army, to meet the hosts of Hind. And when he drew near the foe, he called a halt, and encamping with his host in the Zahrán Valley, [FN#553] hard by the frontier of Kabul despatched to King Kafid by messenger the following letter: 'Know that what thou hast done is of the doings of the villain rabble and wert thou indeed a King, the son of a King, thou hadst not done thus, nor hadst thou invaded my kingdom and slain my subjects and plundered their property and wrought upright upon them. Knowest thou not that all this is the fashion of a tyrant! Verily, had I known that thou durst harry my dominions, I had come to thee before thy coming and had prevented thee this long while since. Yet, even now, if thou wilt retire and leave mischief between us and thee, well and good; but if thou return not, meet me in the listed field and measure thyself with me in cut and thrust.' Lastly he sealed his letter and committed to an officer of his army and sent with him spies to spy him out news. The messenger fared forth with the missive and, drawing near the enemy's camp, he descried a multitude of tents of silk and satin, with pennons of blue sendal, and amongst them a great pavilion of red satin, surrounded by a host of guards. He ceased not to advance till he made this tent and found on asking that it was that of King Kafid, whom he saw seated on a chair set with jewels, in the midst of his Wazirs and Emirs and Grandees. So he brought out the letter and straightway there came up to him a company of guards, who took it from him and carried it to the King; and Kafid read it and wrote a reply to this purport: 'After the usual invocations, We let King Teghmus know that we mean to take our blood-revenge on thee and wash out our stain and waste thy reign and rend the curtain in twain and slay the old men and enslave the young men. But to-morrow, come thou forth to combat in the open plain, and to show thee thrust and fight will I deign.' Then he sealed the letter and delivered it to the messenger, who carried it to King Teghmus."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Five Hundred and Eighteenth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "King Kafid delivered the answering letter to the messenger who carried it to King Teghmus and delivered it, after kissing the ground between his hands. Then he reported all that he had seen, saying, 'O King of the age, I espied warriors and horsemen and footmen beyond count nor can I assist thee to the amount.' When Teghmus read the reply and comprehended its contents, he was with furious rage enraged and bade his Wazir Ayn Zar take horse and fall upon the army of Kafid with a thousand cavaliers, in the middle watch of the night when they would easily ride home and slay all before them. Ayn Zar replied, 'I hear and I obey,' and at once went forth to do his bidding. Now King Kafid had a Wazir, Ghatrafán [FN#554] by name, whom he bade take five thousand horse and attack the host of King Teghmus in like manner. So Ghatrafan did his bidding and set out on his enterprise marching till midnight. Thus the two parties met halfway and the Wazir Ghatrafan fell upon the Wazir, Ayn Zar. Then man cried out against man and there befell sore battle between them till break of day, when Kafid's men were routed and fled back to their King in confusion. As Kafid saw this, he was wroth beyond measure and said to the fugitives, 'Woe to you! What hath befallen you, that ye have lost your captains?' and they replied, 'O King of the age, as the Wazir Ghatrafan rode forth to fall upon King Teghmus, there appeared to us halfway and when night was half over, the Wazir, Ayn Zar, with cavaliers and champions, and we met on the slopes of Wady Zahran; but ere we were where we found ourselves in the enemy's midst, eye meeting eye; and we fought a fierce fight with them from midnight till morning, many on either side being slain. Then the Wazir and his men fell to shouting and smiting the elephants on the face till they took fright at their furious blows, and turning tail to flee, trampled down the horsemen, whilst none could see other for the clouds of dust. The blood ran like a rain torrent and had we not fled, we had all been cut off to the last man.' When King Kafid heard this, he exclaimed, 'May the sun not bless you and may he be wroth with you and sore be his wrath!' Meanwhile Ayn Zar, the Wazir, returned to King Teghmus and told him what had happened. The King gave him joy of his safety and rejoiced greatly and bade beat the drums and sound the trumpets, in honour of the victory; after which he called the roll of his troops and behold, two hundred of his stoutest champions had fallen. Then King Kafid marched his army into the field and drew them out ordered for battle in fifteen lines of ten thousand horses each, under the command of three hundred captains, mounted on elephants and chosen from amongst the doughtiest of his warriors and his champions. So he set up his standards and banners and beat the drums and blew the trumpets whilst the braves sallied forth, offering battle. As for King Teghmus, he drew out his troops line after line and lo! there were ten of ten thousand horses each, and with him were an hundred champions, riding on his right hand and on his left. Then fared forward to the fight each renowned knight, and the hosts clashed together in their might, whilst the earth for all its wideness was straitened because of the multitude of the cavaliers and ears were deafened by drums and cymbals beating and pipes and hautboys sounding and trumpets blaring and by the thunder of horse-tramp and the shouting of men. The dust arched in canopy over their heads and they fought a sore fight from the first of the day till the fall of darkness, when they separated and each army drew off to its own camp."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Five Hundred and Nineteenth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "each army drew off to its own camp. Then King Kafid called the roll of his troops and, finding that he had lost five thousand men, raged with great rage; and King Teghmus mustered his men and seeing that of them were slain three thousand riders, the bravest of his braves, was wroth with exceeding wrath. On the morrow King Kafid again pushed into the plain and did duty as before, while each man strove his best to snatch victory for himself; and Kafid cried out to his men, saying, 'Is there any of you will sally forth into the field and open us the chapter of fray and fight?' And behold came out from the ranks a warrior named Barkayk, a mighty man of war who, when he reached the King, alighted from his elephant and kissing the earth before him, sought of him leave to challenge the foe to combat singular. Then he mounted his elephant and driving into mid-field, cried out, 'Who is for duello, who is for derring do, who is for knightly devoir?' When King Teghmus heard this, he said to his troops, 'Which of you will do single battle with this sworder?' And behold, a cavalier came out from the ranks, mounted on a charger, mighty of make, and driving up to the King kissed the earth before him and craved his permission to engage Barkayk. Then he mounted again and charged at Barkayk, who said to him, 'Who art thou and what art thou called, that thou makest mock of me by coming out against me and challenging me, alone?' 'My name is Ghazanfar [FN#555] son of Kamkhíl,' replied the Kabul champion; and the other, 'I have heard tell of thee in my own country; so up and do battle between the ranks of the braves!' Hearing these words Ghazanfar drew a mace of iron from under his thigh and Barkayk took his good sword in hand, and they laid on load till Barkayk smote Ghazanfar on the head with his blade, but the morion turned the blow and no hurt befell him therefrom; whereupon Ghazanfar, in his turn, dealt Barkayk so terrible a stroke on the head with his mace, that he levelled him down to his elephant's back and slew him. With this out sallied another and crying to Ghazanfar, 'Who be thou that thou shouldst slay my brother?'; hurled a javelin at him with such force that it pierced his thigh and nailed his coat of mail to his flesh. Then Ghazanfar, feeling his hurt, hent his sword in hand and smote at Barkayk's brother and cut him in sunder, and he fell to the earth, wallowing in his life blood, whilst the challenger of Kabul galloped back to King Teghmus. Now when Kafid saw the death of his champions, he cried out to his troops, saying, 'Down with you to the plain and strike with might and main!' as also did King Teghmus, and the two armies fought the fiercest of fights. Horse neighed against horse and man cried out upon man and brands were bared, whilst the drums beat and the trumpets blared; and horseman charged upon horseman and every brave of renown pushed forward, whilst the faint of heart fled from the lunge of lance and men heard nought but slogan-cry and the clash and clang of armoury. Slain were the warriors that were slain [FN#556] and they stayed not from the mellay till the decline of the sun in the heavenly dome, when the Kings drew off their armies and returned each to its own camp. [FN#557] Then King Teghmus took tally of his men and found that he had lost five thousand, and four standards had been broken to bits, whereat he was sore an-angered; whilst King Kafid in like manner counted his troops and found that he had lost six hundred, the bravest of his braves, and nine standards were wanting to the full tale. The two armies ceased joining battle and rested on their arms three days' space, after which Kafid wrote a letter and sent it by messenger to a King called Fakun al-Kalb (with whom he claimed kinship by the spindle side): and this kinsman forthwith mustered his men and marched to meet the King of Hind."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Five Hundred and Twentieth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "King Fakun mustered his men and marched to meet the King of Hind: and whileas King Teghmus was sitting at his pleasance, there came one in to him and said, 'I see from afar a cloud of dust spireing high in air and overspreading the lift.' So he commanded a company to fare forth and learn the meaning of this; and, crying, 'To hear is to obey,' they sallied out and presently returned and said to him, 'O King, when we drew near the cloud of dust, the wind rent it and it lifted and showed seven standards and under each standard three thousand horse, making for King Kafid's camp.' Then King Fakun joined himself to the King of Hind and saluting him, asked, 'How is it with thee, and what be this war in which thou arrest?'; and Kafid answered, 'Knowest thou not that King Teghmus is my enemy and the murtherer of my father and brothers? Wherefore I am come forth to do battle with him and take my brood wreak on him.' Quoth Fakun, 'The blessing of the sun be upon thee!'; and the King of Hind carried King Fakun al-Kalb to his tent and rejoiced in him with exceeding joy. Such was the case of the two hostile Kings; but as regards King Janshah, he abode two months shut up in his palace, without seeing his father or allowing one of the damsels in his service to come in to him; at the end of which time he grew troubled and restless and said to his attendants, 'What aileth my father that he cometh not to visit me?' They told him that he had gone forth to do battle with King Kafid, whereupon quoth Janshah, 'Bring me my steed, that I may go to my sire.' They replied, 'We hear and obey,' and brought his horse; but he said in himself, 'I am taken up with the thought of myself and my love and I deem well to mount and ride for the city of the Jews, where haply Allah shall grant me the boon to meet the merchant who hired me for the ruby business and may be he will deal with me as he dealt before, for none knoweth whence good cometh.' So he took with him a thousand horse and set out, the folk saying, 'At last Janshah hath fared forth to join his father in the field, and to fight by his side;' and they stinted not pushing on till dusk, when they halted for the night in a vast meadow. As soon as he knew that all his men were asleep, the Prince rose privily and girding his waist, mounted his horse and rode away intending to make Baghdad, because he had heard from the Jews that a caravan came thence to their city once in every two years and he made up his mind to journey thither with the next cafilah. When his men awoke and missed the Prince and his horse, they mounted and sought him right and left but, finding no trace of him, rejoined his father and told him what his son had done; whereat he was wroth beyond measure and cast the crown from his head, whilst the sparks were like to fly from his mouth, and he said 'There is no Majesty and there is no Might but in Allah! Verily I have lost my son, and the enemy is still before me.' But his Wazirs and vassals said to him, 'Patience, O King of the age! Patience bringeth weal in wake.' Meanwhile Janshah, parted from his lover and pained for his father, was in sore sorrow and dismay, with heart seared and eyes tear-bleared and unable to sleep night or day. But when his father heard the loss his host had endured, he declined battle, and fled before King Kafid, and retiring to his city, closed the gates and strengthened the walls. Thereupon King Kafid followed him and sat down before the town; offering battle seven nights and eight days, after which he withdrew to his tents, to tend his wounded while the citizens defended themselves as they best could, fortifying the place and setting up mangonels and other engines on the walls. Such was the condition of the two Kings, and war raged between them for a space of seven years."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Five Hundred and Twenty-first Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "Kings Teghmus and Kafid continued in this condition for seven years; but, as regards Janshah, he rode through wild and wold and when ever he came to a town he asked anent Takni, the Castle of Jewels, but none knew of it and all answered, 'Of a truth we never heard of such place, not even by name.' At last he happened to enquire concerning the city of the Jews from a merchant who told him that it was situated in the extreme Orient, adding, 'A caravan will start this very month for the city of Mizrakán in Hind; whither do thou accompany us and we will fare on to Khorasan and thence to the city of Shima'ún and Khwárazm, from which latter place the City of the Jews is distant a year and three months' journey.' So Janshah waited till the departure of the caravan, when he joined himself thereto and journeyed, till he reached the city of Mizrakan whence, after vainly asking for Takni, the Castle of Jewels, he set out and enduring on the way great hardships and perils galore and the extreme of hunger and thirst, he arrived at the town of Shima'un. Here he made enquiry for the City of the Jews, and they directed him to the road thither. So he fared forth and journeyed days and nights till he came to the place where he had given the apes the slip, and continued his journey thence to the river, on the opposite bank of which stood the City of the Jews. He sat down on the shore and waited till the Sabbath came round and the river dried up by decree of Allah Almighty, when he crossed over to the opposite bank and, entering the city, betook himself to the house wherein he had lodged on his former journey. The Jew and his family saluted him and rejoiced in his return and, setting meat and drink before him, asked, 'Where hast thou been during thine absence?'; and he answered, 'In the kingdom of Almighty Allah!' [FN#558] He lay with them that night and on the morrow he went out to solace himself with a walk about the city and presently heard a crier crying aloud and saying, 'O folk, who will earn a thousand gold pieces and a fair slave-girl and do half a day's work for us?' So Janshah went up to him and said, 'I will do this work.' [FN#559] Quoth the crier, 'Follow me,' and carrying him to the house of the Jew merchant, where he had been afore time, said, 'This young man will do thy need.' The merchant not recognising him gave him welcome and carried him into the Harim, where he set meat and drink before him, and he ate and drank. Then he brought him the money and formally made over to him the handsome slave-girl with whom he lay that night. As soon as morning dawned, he took the diners and the damsel and, committing them to his Jew host with whom he had lodged afore time, returned to the merchant, who mounted and rode out with him, till they came to the foot of the tall and towering mountain, where the merchant, bringing out a knife and cords, said to Janshah, 'Throw the mare.' So he threw her and bound her four legs with the cords and slaughtered her and cut off her head and four limbs and slit her belly, as ordered by the Jew; whereupon quoth he, 'Enter her belly, till I sew it up on thee; and whatsoever thou seest therein, tell me of it, for this is the work whose wage thou hast taken.' So Janshah entered the mare's belly and the merchant sewed it up on him; then, withdrawing to a fair distance, hid himself. And after an hour a great bird swooped down from the lift and, snatching up the carcass in his pounces soared high toward the sky. Then he perched upon the mountain peak and would have eaten the prey, but Janshah sensing his intent took out his knife and slit the mare's belly and came forth. The bird was scared at his sight and flew away, and Janshah went up to a place whence he could see below, and looking down, espied the merchant standing at the foot of the mountain, as he were a sparrow. So he cried out to him, 'What is thy will, O merchant?' Replied the Jew, 'Throw me down of the stones that lie about thee, that I may direct thee in the way down.' Quoth Janshah, 'Thou art he who didst with me thus and thus five years ago, and through thee I suffered hunger and thirst and sore toil and much trouble; and now thou hast brought me hither once more and thinkest to destroy me. By Allah, I will not throw thee aught!' So saying, he turned from him and set out for where lived Shaykh Nasr, the King of the Birds."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Five Hundred and Twenty-second Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "Janshah took the way for where lived Shaykh Nasr, the King of the Birds. And he ceased not faring on many days and nights, tearful-eyed and heavy-hearted; eating, when he was anhungered, of the growth of the ground and drinking, when he thirsted, of its streams, till he came in sight of the Castle of the lord Solomon and saw Shaykh Nasr sitting at the gate. So he hastened up to him and kissed his hands; and the Shaykh saluted him and bade him welcome and said to him, 'O my son, what aileth thee that thou returnest to this place, after I sent thee home with the Princess Shamsah, cool of eyes and broad of breast?' Janshah wept and told him all that had befallen him and how she had flown away from him, saying, 'An thou love me, come to me in Takni, the Castle of Jewels;' at which the old man marvelled and said, 'By Allah, O my son, I know it not, nor, by the virtue of our lord Solomon, have I ever in my life heard its name!' Quoth Janshah, 'What shall I do? I am dying of love and longing.' Quoth Shaykh Nasr, 'Take patience until the coming of the birds, when we will enquire at them of Takni, the Castle of Jewels; haply one of them shall wot thereof.' So Janshah's heart was comforted and, entering the Palace, he went straight to the chamber which gave upon the Lake in which he had seen the three maidens. After this he abode with Shaykh Nasr for a while and, one day as he was sitting with him, the Shaykh said, 'O my son, rejoice for the time of the birds' coming draweth nigh.' Janshah gladdened to hear the news; and after a few days the birds began to come and Shaykh Nasr said to him, 'O my son, learn these names [FN#560] and address thyself with me to meet the birds.' Presently, the fowls came flying up and saluted Shaykh Nasr, kind after kind, and he asked them of Takni, the Castle of Jewels, but they all made answer, 'Never heard we of such a place.' At these words Janshah wept and lamented till he swooned away; whereupon Shaykh Nasr called a huge volatile and said to him, 'Carry this youth to the land of Kabul,' and described to him the country and the way thither. Then he set Janshah on the bird's back, saying, 'Be careful to sit straight and beware of leaning to either side, else thou wilt be torn to pieces in the air; and stop thine ears from the wind, lest thou be dazed by the noise of the revolving sphere and the roaring of the seas.' Janshah resolved to do his bidding and the bird took flight high in sky and flew with him a day and a night, till he set him down by the King of the Beasts, whose name was Sháh Badrí, and said to his rider, 'We have gone astray from the way directed by Shaykh Nasr.' And he would have taken him up again and flown on with him; but Janshah said, 'Go thy ways and leave me here; till I die on this spot or I find Takni, the Castle of Jewels, I will not return to my country.' So the fowl left him with Shah Badri, King of the Beasts and flew away. The King thereupon said to him, 'O my son, who art thou and whence comest thou with yonder great bird?' So Janshah told him his story from beginning to end, whereat Shah Badri marvelled and said, 'By the virtue of the lord Solomon, I know not of this castle; but if any one of the beasts my subjects know it, we will reward him bountifully and send thee by him thither.' Hereat Janshah wept bitterly but presently he took patience and abode with Shah Badri, and after a short time the King of the Beasts said to him, 'O my son, take these tablets and commit to memory that which is therein; and when the beasts come, we will question them of the Castle of Jewels.' "--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Five Hundred and Twenty-third Night,
She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "the King of the Beasts said to Janshah, 'Commit to memory what is in these tablets; and whenas the beasts come, we will ask them anent that castle.' He did as the King bade him, and before long, up came the beasts, kind after kind, and saluted Shah Badri who questioned them of Takni, the Castle of Jewels, but they all replied, 'We know not this castle, nor ever heard we of it.' At this Janshah wept and lamented for that he had not gone with the bird that brought him from Shaykh Nasr's castle; but Shah Badri said to him, 'Grieve not, O my son, for I have a brother, King Shimákh highs, who is older than I; he was once a prisoner to King Solomon, for that he rebelled against him; nor is there among the Jinn one elder than he and Shaykh Nasr. Belike he knoweth of this castle; at any rate he ruleth over all the Jinn in this country side.' So saying he set Janshah on the back of a beast and gave him a letter to his brother, commending him to his care. The beast set off with the Prince forthwith and fared on days and nights, till it came to King Shimakh's abiding place. And when it caught sight of the King it stood still afar off, whereupon Janshah alighted and walked on, till he found himself in the presence. Then he kissed hands and presented his brother's letter. The King read the missive and, having mastered the meaning, welcomed the Prince, saying, 'By Allah, O my son, in all my born days I never saw nor heard of this castle!' adding (as Janshah burst into tears), 'but tell me thy story and who and whence thou art and whither thou art bound.' So Janshah related to him his history from beginning to end, at which Shimakh marvelled and said, 'O my son, I do not believe that even the lord Solomon ever saw this castle or heard thereof; but O my son, [FN#561] I know a monk in the mountains, who is exceeding old and whom all birds and beasts and Jann obey; for he ceased not his conjurations against the Kings of the Jann, till they submitted themselves to him in their own despite, by reason of the might of his oaths and his magic; and now all the birds and the beasts are his servants. I myself once rebelled against King Solomon and he sent against me this monk, the only being who could overcome me with his craft and his conjurations and his gramarye; then he imprisoned me, and since that time I have been his vassal. He hath travelled in all countries and quarters and knoweth all ways and regions and places and castles and cities; nor do I think there is any place hidden from his ken. So needs must I send thee to him; haply he may direct thee to the Castle of Jewels; and, if he cannot do this, none can; for all things obey him, birds and beasts and the very mountains and come at his beck and call, by reason of his skill in magic. Moreover, by the might of his egromancy he hath made a staff, in three pieces, and this he planteth in the earth and conjureth over it; whereupon flesh and blood issue from the first piece, sweet milk from the second and wheat and barley from the third; then he withdraweth the staff and returneth to his place which is highs the Hermitage of Diamonds. And this magical monk is a cunning inventor and artificer of all manner strange works; and he is a crafty warlock full of guiles and wiles, an arch deceiver of wondrous wickedness, who hath mastered every kind of magic and witchcraft. His name is Yaghmús and to him I must needs send thee on the back of a big bird with four wings,'"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Five Hundred and Twenty-fourth Night,
She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "Shimakh said to Janshah, 'I must needs send thee to the monk Yaghmus on the back of a big bird with four wings, each measuring thirty Háshimi [FN#562] cubits in length; and it hath feet like those of an elephant, but it flieth only twice a year.' And there was with King Shimakh an officer, by name Timshun, who used every day to carry off two Bactrian [FN#563] camels from the land of Irak and cut them up for the bird that it might eat them. So King Shimakh bade the fowl take up Janshah and bear him to the cell of the hermit Yaghmus; and it rose into the air and flew on days and nights, till it came to the Mountain of the Citadels and the Hermitage of Diamonds where Janshah alighted and going up to the hermitage, found Yaghmus the Monk at his devotions. So he entered the chapel and, kissing the ground stood respectfully before the hermit. When Yaghmus saw him, he said, 'Welcome, O my son, O parted from thy home and garred ferforth to roam! Tell me the cause of thy coming hither.' So Janshah wept and acquainted him with all that had befallen him from beginning to end and that he was in quest of the Castle of Jewels. The Monk marvelled greatly at his story and said, 'By Allah, O my son, never in my life heard I of this castle, nor ever saw I one who had heard of it or had seen it, for all I was alive in the days of Noah, Allah's Prophet (on whom be peace!), [FN#564] and I have ruled the birds and beasts and Jinn ever since his time; nor do I believe that Solomon David son himself knew of it. But wait till the birds and beasts and chiefs of the Jann come to do their homage to me and I will question them of it; peradventure, some one of them may be able to give us news of it and Allah Almighty shall make all things easy to thee.' So Janshah homed with the hermit, until the day of the assembly, when all the birds and beasts and Jann came to swear fealty; and Yaghmus and his guest questioned them anent Takni, the Castle of Jewels; but they all replied, 'We never saw or heard of such a place.' At this, Janshah fell a weeping and lamenting and humbled himself before the Most High; but, as he was thus engaged, behold, there flew down from the heights of air another bird, big of bulk and black of blee, which had tarried behind the rest, and kissed the hermit's hands. Yaghmus asked it of Takni, the Castle of Jewels, and it answered, saying 'O Monk, when I and my brothers were small chicks we abode behind the Mountain Kaf on a hill of crystal, in the midst of a great desert; and our father and mother used to set out for it every morning and in the evening come back with our food. They went out early one day, and were absent from us a sennight and hunger was sore upon us; but on the eighth day they returned, both weeping, and we asked them the reason of their absence. Quoth they: 'A Marid swooped down on us and carried us off in his claws to Takni, the Castle of Jewels, and brought us before King Shahlan, who would have slain us; but we told him that we had left behind us a brood of fledgelings; so he spared our lives and let us go. And were my parents yet in the bonds of life they would give thee news of the castle.' When Janshah heard this, he wept bitter tears and said to the hermit, 'Prithee bid the bird carry me to his father and mother's nest on the crystal hill, behind the Mountain Kaf.' So the hermit said, 'O bird, I desire thee to obey this youth in whatsoever he may command thee.' 'I hear and obey thy bidding,' replied the fowl; and, taking Janshah on its back, flew with him days and nights without ceasing till it set him down on the Hill of Crystal and there alighted. And having delayed there a resting while, it again set him on its back and flew off and ceased not flying for two whole days till it reached the spot where the nest was."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Five Hundred and Twenty-fifth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "the fowl ceased not flying with Janshah two full days; till it reached the spot where the nest was, and set him down there and said, 'O Janshah, this is where our nest was.' He wept sore and replied, 'I pray thee bear me farther on to where thy parents used to forage for food.' The bird consented; so it took him up again and flew on with him seven nights and eight days, till it set him down on the top of a high hill Karmus highs and left him there saying, 'I know of no land behind this hill.' Then it flew away and Janshah sat down on the hill-top and fell asleep. When he awoke, he saw a something gleaming afar off as it were lightning and filling the firmament with its flashings; and he wondered what this sheen could be without wotting that it was the Castle he sought. So he descended the mountain and made towards the light, which came from Takni, the Castle of Jewels, distant two months' journey from Karmús, the hill whereon he had alit, and its foundations were fashioned of red rubies and its buildings of yellow gold. Moreover, it had a thousand turrets builded of precious metals, and stones of price studded and set in the minerals brought from the Main of Murks, and on this account it was named the Castle of Jewels, Takni. It was a vast great castle and the name of its king was King Shahlan, the father of the lady Shamsah and her sisters. Such was the case with Janshah; but as regards Princess Shamsah, when she fled from Janshah, she made straight for the Castle of Jewels and told her father and mother all that had passed between the Prince and herself; how he had wandered the world and seen its marvels and wonders and how fondly he loved her and how dearly she loved him. Quoth they, 'Thou hast not dealt righteously with him, as Allah would have thee deal.' Moreover King Shahlan repeated the story to his guards and officers of the Marids of the Jinn and bade them bring him every mortal they should see. For the lady Shamsah had said to her parents, 'Janshah loveth me with passionate love and forsure he will follow me; for when flying from his father's roof I cried to him, 'An thou love me, seek me at Takni, the Castle of Jewels!' Now when Janshah beheld that sheen and shine, he made straight for it wishing to find out what it might be. And as chance would have it, Shamsah had that very day despatched a Marid on an occasion in the direction of the hill Karmus, and on his way thither he caught sight of a man, a mortal; so he hastened up to him and saluted him. Janshah was terrified at his sight, but returned his salam, and the Marid asked, 'What is thy name?' and he answered, 'My name is Janshah, and I have fallen madly in love with a Jinniyah known as Princess Shamsah, who captivated me by her beauty and loveliness; but despite my dear love she fled from the palace wherein I placed her and behold, I am here in quest of her.' Herewith he wept with bitter weeping. The Marid looked at him and his heart burned with pity on hearing the sad tale, and he said, 'Weep not, for surely thou art come to thy desire. Know that she loveth thee fondly and hath told her parents of thy love for her, and all in yonder castle love thee for her sake; so be of good cheer and keep thine eyes cool of tear.' Then he took him on his shoulders and made off with him to the Castle of Jewels, Takni. Thereupon the bearers of fair tidings hastened to report his coming and when the news reached Shamsah and her father and mother, they all rejoiced with exceeding joy, and King Shahlan took horse and rode out, commanding all his guards and Ifrits and Marids honourably to meet the Prince."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Five Hundred and Twenty-sixth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "King Shahlan commanded all his guards and Ifrits and Marids to meet the Prince; and, as soon as he came up with him, he dismounted and embraced him, and Janshah kissed his hand. Then Shahlan bade put on him a robe of honour of many coloured silk, laced with gold and set with jewels, and a coronet such as man never saw, and, mounting him on a splendid mare of the steeds of the Kings of the Jinn, took horse himself and, with an immense retinue riding on the right hand and the left, brought him in great state to the Castle. Janshah marvelled at the splendour of this edifice, with its walls builded of rubies and other jewels and its pavement of crystal and jasper and emerald, and fell a weeping at the memory of his past miseries; but the King and Queen, Shamsah's mother, wiped away his tears and said, 'Now no more weeping and be of good cheer, for thou hast won to thy will.' Then Shahlan carried him into the inner court of the Castle, where he was received by a multitude of beautiful damsels and pages and black Jinn-slaves, who seated him in the place of honour and stood to do him service, whilst he was lost in amazement at the goodliness of the place, and its walls all edified of precious metals and jewels of price. Presently King Shahlan repaired to his hall of audience, where he sat down on his throne and, bidding the slave-girls and the pages introduce the Prince, rose to receive him and seated him by his side on the throne. Then he ordered the tables to be spread and they ate and drank and washed their hands; after which in came the Queen Shamsah's mother, and saluting Janshah, bade him welcome in these words, 'Thou hast come to thy desire after weariness and thine eyes shall now sleep after watching; so praised be Allah for thy safety!' Thus saying, she went away and forthwith returned with the Princess Shamsah, who saluted Janshah and kissed his hands, hanging her head in shame and confusion before him and her parents, after which as many of her sisters as were in the palace came up to him and greeted him in like manner. Then quoth the Queen to him, 'Welcome, O my son, our daughter Shamsah hath indeed sinned against thee, but do thou pardon her misdeed for our sakes.' When Janshah heard this, he cried out and fell down fainting, whereat the King marvelled and they sprinkled on his face rose water mingled with musk and civet, till he came to himself and, looking at Princess Shamsah, said, 'Praised be Allah who hath brought me to my desire and hath quenched the fire of my heart!' Replied she, 'May He preserve thee from the Fire!, but now tell me, O Janshah, what hath befallen thee since our parting and how thou madest thy way to this place; seeing that few even of the Jann ever heard of Takni, the Castle of Jewels; and we are independent of all the Kings nor any wotteth the road hither.' Thereupon he related to her every adventure and peril and hardship he had suffered and how he had left his father at war with King Kafid, ending with these words, 'And all for thy sake, my lady Shamsah!' Quoth the Queen, 'Now hast thou thy heart's desire, for the Princess is thy handmaid, and we give her in free gift to thee.' Janshah joyed exceedingly at these words and the Queen added, 'Next month, if it be the will of Almighty Allah, we will have a brave wedding and celebrate the marriage festival and after the knot is tied we will send you both back to thy native land, with an escort of a thousand Marids of our body-guard, the least of whom, an thou bid him slay King Kafid and his folk, would surely destroy them to the last man in the twinkling of an eye. Furthermore if it please thee we will send thee, year after year, a company of which each and every can so do with all thy foes.'"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Five Hundred and Twenty-seventh Night,
She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "the lady Shamsah's mother ended with saying, 'And if it so please thee we will send thee, year after year, a company of which each and every can destroy thy foes to the last man.' Then King Shahlan sat down on his throne and, summoning his Grandees and Officers of state, bade them make ready for the marriage-festivities and decorate the city seven days and nights. 'We hear and we obey,' answered they and busied themselves two months in the preparations, after which they celebrated the marriage of the Prince and Princess and held a mighty festival, never was there its like. Then they brought Janshah in to his bride and he abode with her in all solace of life and delight for two years, at the end of which time he said to her, 'Thy father promised to send us to my native land, that we might pass one year there and the next here.' Answered she, I hear and obey,' and going in to King Shahlan at nightfall told him what the Prince had said. Quoth he, 'I consent; but have patience with me till the first of the month, that I may make ready for your departure.' She repeated these words to her husband and they waited till the appointed time, when the King bade his Marids bring out to them a great litter of red gold, set with pearls and jewels and covered with a canopy of green silk, purfled in a profusion of colours and embroidered with precious stones, dazzling with its goodliness the eyes of every beholder. He chose out four of his Marids to carry the litter in whichever of the four quarters the riders might choose. Moreover, he gave his daughter three hundred beautiful damsels to wait upon her and bestowed on Janshah the like number of white slaves of the sons of the Jinn. Then the lady Shamsah took formal leave of her mother and sisters and all her kith and kin; and her father fared forth with them. So the four Marids took up the litter, each by one corner, and rising under it like birds in air, flew onward with it between earth and heaven till mid-day, when the King bade them set it down and all alighted. Then they took leave of one another and King Shahlan commended Shamsah to the Prince's care, and giving them in charge to the Marids, returned to the Castle of Jewels, whilst the Prince and Princess remounted the litter, and the Marids taking it up, flew on for ten whole days, in each of which they accomplished thirty months' journey, till they sighted the capital of King Teghmus. Now one of them knew the land of Kabul; so when he saw the city, he bade the others let down the litter at that populous place which was the capital."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Five Hundred and Twenty-eighth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "the Marid guards let down the litter at the capital of King Teghmus who had been routed and had fled from his foes into the city, where he was in sore straits, King Kafid having laid close siege to him. He sought to save himself by making peace with the King of Hind, but his enemy would give him no quarter; so seeing himself without resource or means of relief, he determined to strangle himself and to die and be at rest from this trouble and misery. Accordingly he bade his Wazirs and Emirs farewell and entered his house to take leave of his Harim; and the whole realm was full of weeping and wailing and lamentation and woe. And whilst this rout and hurly-burly was enacting, behold, the Marids descended with the litter upon the palace that was in the citadel, and Janshah bade them set it down in the midst of the Divan. They did his bidding and he alighted with his company of handmaids and Mamelukes; and, seeing all the folk of the city in straits and desolation and sore distress, said to the Princess, 'O love of my heart and coolth of mine eyes, look in what a piteous plight is my sire!' There upon she bade the Marid guard fall upon the beleaguering host and slay them, saying, 'Kill ye all, even to the last man;' and Janshah commanded one of them, by name Karátash, [FN#565] who was exceeding strong and valiant, to bring King Kafid to him in chains. So they set down the litter and covered it with the canopy; then, having waited till midnight, they attacked the enemy's camp one of them being a match for ten; or at least for eight. And while these smote the foes with iron maces, those mounted their magical elephants and soared high in the lift, and then swooping down and snatching up their opponents, tare them to pieces in mid air. But Karatash made straight for Kafid's tent where he found him lying in a couch; so he took him up, shrieking for fear, and flew with him to Janshah, who bade the four Marids bind him on the litter and hang him high in the air over his camp, that he might witness the slaughter of his men. They did as the Prince commanded them and left Kafid, who had swooned for fear, hanging between earth and air and buffeting his face for grief. As for King Teghmus, when he saw his son, he well-nigh died for excess of joy and, crying with a loud cry, fell down in a swoon. They sprinkled rose-water on his face, till he came to himself, when he and his son embraced and wept with sore weeping; for he knew not that the Jinn guard were battling with King Kafid's men. Then Princess Shamsah accosted the King and kissing his hand, said to him, 'Sire, be pleased to go up with me to the palace-roof and witness the slaughter of thy foes by my father's Marids.' So he went up to the terrace-roof and sitting down there with his daughter-in-law, enjoyed watching the Marids do havoc among the besiegers and break a way through the length and breadth of them. For one of them smote with his iron mace upon the elephants and their riders and pounded them till man was not to be distinguished from beast; whilst another shouted in the faces of those who fled, so that they fell down dead; and the third caught up a score of horsemen, beasts and all; and, towering with them high in air, cast them down on earth, so that they were torn in pieces. And this was high enjoyment for Janshah and his father and the lady Shamsah."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Five Hundred and Twenty-ninth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "King Teghmus and his son and daughter-in-law went up to the terrace roof and enjoyed a prospect of the Jinn-guards battling with the beleaguering host. And King Kafid (still hanging between heaven and earth) also saw the slaughter of his troops and wept sore and buffeted his face; nor did the carnage cease among the army of Hind for two whole days, till they were cut off even to the last man. Then Janshah commanded a Marid, by name Shimwál, chain up King Kafid with manacles and fetters, and imprison him in a tower called the Black Bulwark. And when his bidding was done, King Teghmus bade beat the drums and despatched messengers to announce the glad news to Janshah's mother, informing her of his approach; whereupon she mounted in great joy and she no sooner espied her son than she clasped him in her arms and swooned away for stress of gladness. They sprinkled rose-water on her face, till she came to herself, when she embraced him again and again wept for excess of joy. And when the lady Shamsah knew of her coming, she came to her and saluted her; and they embraced each other and after remaining embraced for an hour sat down to converse. Then King Teghmus threw open the city gates and despatched couriers to all parts of the kingdom, to spread the tidings of his happy deliverance; whereupon all his princely Vassals and Emirs and the Grandees of the realm flocked to salute him and give him joy of his victory and of the safe return of his son; and they brought him great store of rich offerings and curious presents. The visits and oblations continued for some time, after which the King made a second and a more splendid bride-feast for the Princess Shamsah and bade decorate the city and held high festival. Lastly they unveiled and paraded the bride before Janshah, with apparel and ornaments of the utmost magnificence, and when her bridegroom went in to her he presented her with an hundred beautiful slave-girls to wait upon her. Some days after this, the Princess repaired to the King and interceded with him for Kafid, saying, 'Suffer him return to his own land, and if henceforward he be minded to do thee a hurt, I will bid one of the Jinn-guard snatch him up and bring him to thee.' Replied Teghmus, 'I hear and I obey,' and bade Shimwal bring him the prisoner, who came manacled and fettered and kissed earth between his hands. Then he commanded to strike off his chains and, mounting him on a lame mare, said to him, 'Verily Princess Shamsah hath interceded for thee: so begone to thy kingdom, but if thou fall again to thine old tricks, she will send one of the Marids to seize thee and bring thee hither.' Thereupon King Kafid set off home wards, in the sorriest of plights,"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Five Hundred and Thirtieth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "King Kafid set off homewards in the sorriest of plights, whilst Janshah and his wife abode in all solace and delight of life, making the most of its joyance and happiness. All this recounted the youth sitting between the tombs unto Bulukiya, ending with, 'And behold, I am Janshah who witnessed all these things, O my brother, O Bulukiya!' Then Bulukiya who was wandering the world in his love for Mohammed (whom Allah bless and keep!) asked Janshah, 'O my brother, what be these two sepulchres and why sittest thou between them and what causeth thy weeping?' He answered, 'Know, O Bulukiya, that we abode in all solace and delight of life, passing one year at home and the next at Takni, the Castle of Jewels, whither we betook not ourselves but in the litter borne by the Marids and flying between heaven and earth.' Quoth Bulukiya, 'O my brother, O Janshah, what was the distance between the Castle and thy home?' Quoth he, 'Every day we accomplished a journey of thirty months and the time we took was ten days. We abode on this wise a many of years till, one year we set out for the Castle of Jewels, as was our wont, and on the way thither alighted from the litter in this island to rest and take our pleasure therein. We sat down on the riverbank and ate and drank; after which the Lady Shamsah, having a mind to bathe, put off her clothes and plunged into the water. Her women did likewise and they swam about awhile, whilst I walked on along the bank of the stream leaving them to swim about and play with one another. And behold, a huge shark of the monsters of the deep seized the Princess by the leg, without touching any of the girls; and she cried out and died forthright, whilst the damsels fled out of the river to the pavilion, to escape from the shark. But after awhile they returned and taking up her corpse carried her to the litter. Now when I saw her dead, I fell down fainting and they sprinkled water on my face, till I recovered and wept over her. Then I despatched the Jinn-guards to her parents and family, announcing what had befallen her; and in the shortest time they came to the spot and washed her and shrouded her, after which they buried her by the river-side and made mourning for her. They would have carried me with them to their own country; but I said to King Shahlan, 'I beseech thee to dig me a grave beside her tomb, that, when I die, I may be buried by her side in that grave.' Accordingly, the King commanded one of his Marids to do as I wished, after which they departed and left me here to weep and mourn for her till I die. And this is my story and the cause of my sojourn between these two tombs.' And he repeated these two couplets, [FN#566]
'The house, sweet heart, is now no home to me * Since thou art gone, nor neighbour neighbourly,
The friend whilom I took to heart, no more * Is friend, and brightest lights lose brilliancy.'
But when Bulukiya heard out Janshah's tale he marvelled,"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Five Hundred and Thirty-first Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "when Bulukiya heard out Janshah's tale he wondered and exclaimed, 'By Allah, methought I had indeed wandered over the world and compassed it about; but now I forget all I have seen after listening to these adventures of thine!' He was silent a while and then resumed, 'I beg thee, of thy favour and courtesy, to direct me in the way of safety.' So Janshah directed him into the right road, and Bulukiya farewelled him and went his ways." All this the Serpent-queen related to Hasib Karim al-Din, and he asked her, "But how knowest thou of these things?"; and she answered, "O Hasib, thou must ken that I had occasion, some five-and-twenty years ago, to send one of my largest serpents to Egypt and gave her a letter for Bulukiya, saluting him. So she went there willingly for she had a daughter in the land called Bint Shumukh [FN#567]; and after asking anent Bulukiya she found him and gave him my missive. He read it and replied to the messenger snake, 'Thou comest from the Queen of the Serpents whom I am minded to visit for I have an occasion to her.' She replied, 'I hear and obey.' Then she bore him to her daughter of whom she took leave and said to her companion, 'Close thine eyes.' So he closed them and opening them again, behold, he found himself on the mountain where I now am. Then his guide carried him to a great serpent, whom he saluted; whereupon quoth she, 'Didst thou deliver the missive to Bulukiya?'; and she replied, 'Even so; and he hath accompanied me and here he standeth.' Presently Bulukiya asked after me, the Serpent-queen, and the great serpent answered, 'She hath gone to the mountain Kaf with all her host, as is her wont in winter; but next summer she will come hither again. As often as she goeth thither, she appointeth me to reign in her room, during her absence; and if thou have any occasion to her, I will accomplish it for thee.' Said he, 'I beg thee to bring me the herb, which whoso crusheth and drinketh the juice thereof, sickeneth not neither groweth grey nor dieth.' 'I will not bring it,' said the serpent, 'till thou tell me what befell thee since thou leftest the Queen of the Serpents, to go with Affan in quest of King Solomon's tomb.' So he related to her all his travels and adventures, together with the history of Janshah, and said at last, 'Grant me my request, that I may return to mine own country.' Replied the serpent, 'By the virtue of the lord Solomon, I know not where is to be found the herb whereof thou speakest.' Then she bade the serpent which had brought him thither, carry him back to Egypt: so the messenger obeyed her and said to him, 'Shut thine eyes!' He did so and, opening them again, found himself on the mountain Mukattam. [FN#568] When I returned from the mountain Kaf (added the Queen) the serpent, my deputy, informed me of Bulukiya's visit and gave me his salutations and repeated to me his story and his meeting with Janshah. And this, O Hasib, is how I came to know the adventures of Bulukiya and the history of Janshah." Thereupon Hasib said to her, "O Queen, deign recount to me what befell Bulukiya as regards his return to Egypt." She replied, "Know, O Hasib, that when he parted from Janshah he fared on nights and days till he came to a great sea; so he anointed his feet with the juice of the magical herb and, walking over the face of the waters, sped onwards till he came to an island abounding in trees and springs and fruits, as it were the Garden of Eden. He landed and walked about, till he saw an immense tree, with leaves as big as the sails of a ship. So he went up to the tree and found under it a table spread with all manner meats, whilst on a branch of the branches sat a great bird, whose body was of pearls and leek-green emeralds, its feet of silver, its beak of red carnelian and its plumery of precious metals; and it was engaged in singing the praises of Allah the Most High and blessing Mohammed (on whom be benediction and peace!)"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Five Hundred and Thirty-second Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "when Bulukiya landed and walked about the island he found therein many marvels, especially a bird whose body was of pearls and leek green emeralds and its plumery of precious metals; and it was engaged in singing the praises of Allah the Most High and blessing Mohammed (upon whom be benediction and peace!). Seeing this he said, 'Who and what art thou?' Quoth the bird, 'I am one of the birds of Eden and followed Adam when Allah Almighty cast him out thence. And know, O my brother, that Allah also cast out with him four leaves of the trees of the garden to cover his nakedness withal, and they fell to the ground after awhile. One of them was eaten by a worm, and of it came silk: the gazelles ate the second and thence proceeded musk, the third was eaten by bees and gave rise to honey, whilst the fourth fell in the land of Hind and from it sprang all manner of spices. As for me, I wandered over the face of earth till Allah deigned give me this island for a dwelling-place, and I took up my abode here. And every Friday from night till morning the Saints and Princes [FN#569] of the Faith flock to this place and make pious visitation and eat from this table spread by Allah Almighty; and after they have eaten, the table is taken up again to Heaven: nor doth the food ever waste or corrupt.' So Bulukiya ate his fill of the meats and praised the Great Creator. And presently, behold, there came up Al-Khizr [FN#570] (with whom be peace!), at sight of whom Bulukiya rose and saluting him, was about to withdraw, when the bird said to him, 'Sit, O Bulukiya, in the presence of Al-Khizr, on whom be peace!' So he sat down again, and Al-Khizr said to him, 'Let me know who thou art and tell me thy tale.' Thereupon Bulukiya related to him all his adventures from beginning to end and asked, 'O my lord, how far is it hence to Cairo?' 'Five and ninety years' journey,' replied the Prophet; whereupon Bulukiya burst into tears; then, falling at Al-Khizr's feet, kissed them and said to him, 'I beseech thee deliver me from this strangerhood and thy reward be with Allah, for that I am nigh upon death and know not what to do.' Quoth Al-Khizr, 'Pray to Allah Almighty that He permit me to carry thee to Cairo, ere thou perish.' So Bulukiya wept and humbled himself before Allah who granted his prayer, and by inspiration bade Al-Khizr bear him to his people. Then said the Prophet, 'Lift thy head, for Allah hath heard thy prayer and hath inspired me to do what thou desires; so take fast hold of me with both thy hands and shut thine eyes.' The Prince did as he was bidden and Al-Khizr stepped a single step forwards, then said to him, 'Open thine eyes!' So Bulukiya opened his eyes and found himself at the door of his palace at Cairo. He turned, to take leave of Al-Khizr, but found no trace of him."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Five Hundred and Thirty-third Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "when Bulukiya, standing at the gate of his palace, turned to take leave of Al-Khizr, he found no trace of him and entered the palace. When his mother saw him, she cried with a loud cry and swooned away for excess of joy, and they sprinkled water upon her face. After awhile she came to herself and embraced her son and wept with sore weeping, whilst Bulukiya wept and laughed by turns. Then all his friends and kindred came and gave him joy of his safe return, and the news was noised abroad in the land and there came to him presents from all parts. Moreover, they beat the drums and blew the flutes and rejoiced mightily. Then Bulukiya related to them his adventures ending with recounting how Al-Khizr had set him down at his palace door, whereat they marvelled exceedingly and wept, till all were a-weary of weeping." Hasib wondered at the Queen's tale and shed many tears over it; then he again besought her to let him return to his family; but she said, "I fear me, O Hasib, that when thou gettest back to thy country thou wilt fail of thy promise and prove traitor to thine oath and enter the Hammam." But he swore to her another solemn oath that he would never again enter the baths as long as he lived; whereupon she called a serpent and bade her carry him up to the surface of the earth. So the serpent took him and led him from place to place, till she brought him out on the platform-edge of an abandoned cistern and there left him. Upon this he walked to the city and, coming to his house by the last of the day, at the yellowing of the sun, knocked at the door. His mother opened it and seeing her son screamed out and threw herself upon him and wept for excess of joy. His wife heard her mother-in-law weeping; so she came out to her and seeing her husband, saluted him and kissed his hands; and each rejoiced in other with exceeding joy of all three. Then they entered the house and sat down to converse and presently Hasib asked his mother of the woodcutters, who had left him to perish in the cistern. Quoth she, "They came and told me that a wolf had eaten thee in the Wady. As for them, they are become merchants and own houses and shops, and the world is grown wide for them. But every day they bring me meat and drink, and thus have they done until the present time." Quoth Hasib, "To-morrow do thou go to them and say, "My son Hasib Karim al-Din hath returned from his travels; so come ye to meet him and salute him." Accordingly, when morning dawned, she repaired to the woodcutters' houses and delivered to them her son's message, which when they heard, they changed colour, and saying, "We hear and obey," gave her each a suit of silk, embroidered with gold, adding, "Present this to thy good son [FN#571] and tell him that we will be with him to-morrow." She assented and returning to Hasib gave him their presents and message. Meanwhile, the woodcutters called together a number of merchants and, acquainting them with all that had passed between themselves and Hasib, took counsel with them what they should do. Quoth the merchants, "It behoveth each one of you to give him half his monies and Mamelukes." And they all agreed to do this; so on the next day, each of them took half his wealth and, going in to Hasib, saluted him and kissed his hands. Then they laid before him what they had brought, saying, "This is of thy bounties, and we are in thy hands." He accepted their peace-offering and said, "What is past is past: that which befell us was decreed of Allah, and destiny doeth away with dexterity." Quoth they, "Come, let us walk about and take our solace in the city and visit the Hammam." Quoth he, "Not so: I have taken an oath never again to enter the baths, so long as I live." Rejoined they, at least come to our homes that we may entertain thee." He agreed to this, and went to their houses and each of them entertained him for a night and a day; nor did they cease to do thus for a whole sennight, being seven in number. And now Hasib was master of monies and houses and shops, and the merchants of the city foregathered with him and he told them all that had befallen him. He became one of the chiefs of the guild and abode on this wise awhile, till it happened one day, as he was walking about the streets, that he passed the door of a Hammam, whose keeper was one of his companions. When the bathman, who was standing without, caught his eye he ran up to him and saluted him and embraced him, saying, "Favour me by entering the bath and there wash and be rubbed that I may show thee hospitality." Hasib refused, alleging that he had taken a solemn oath never again to enter the Hammam; but the bathman was instant with him, saying, "Be my three wives triply divorced, can thou enter not and be washed!" When Hasib heard him thus conjure him, he was confounded and replied, "O my brother, hast thou a mind to ruin my house and make my children orphans and lay a load of sin upon my neck?" But his friend threw himself at his feet and kissed them, saying, "My happiness dependeth upon thy entering, and be the sin on the neck of me!" Then all the servants of the bath set upon Hasib and dragging him in pulled off his clothes. But hardly had he sat down against the wall and begun to pour water on his head when a score of men accosted him, saying, "Rise, O man, and come with us to the Sultan, for thou art his debtor." Then they despatched one of them as messenger to the Sultan's Minister, who straightway took horse and rode, attended by threescore Mamelukes, to the baths, where he alighted and going in to Hasib, saluted him and said, "Welcome to thee!" Then he gave the bathman an hundred diners and, mounting Hasib on a horse he had brought with him, returned with him and all his men to the Sultan's palace. Here he bade them aid Hasib to dismount and, after seating him comfortably, set food before him; and when they had eaten and drunken and washed their hands, the Wazir clad him in two dresses of honour each worth five thousand diners and said to him, "Know that Allah hath been merciful to us in sending thee; for the Sultan is nigh upon death by leprosy, and the books tell us that his life is in thy hands. Then, accompanied by a host of Grandees, he took him wondering withal and carried him through the seven doorways of the palace, till they came to the King's chamber. Now the name of this King was Karazdán, King of Persia and of the Seven Countries, and under his sway were an hundred sovereign princes sitting on chairs of red gold, and ten thousand valiant captains, under each one's hand an hundred deputies and as many headsmen armed with sword and axe. They found the King lying on his bed with his face swathed in a napkin, and groaning for excess of pain. When Hasib saw this ordinance, his wit was dazed for awe of the King; so he kissed the ground before him, and prayed a blessing on him. Then the Grand Wazir, whose name was Shamhúr, rose and welcoming Hasib, seated him on a high chair at the King's right hand."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Five Hundred and Thirty-fourth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Wazir Shamhur rose to Hasib and seated him on a chair at the right hand of King Karazdan; after which he called for food and the tables were laid. And when they had eaten and drunken and washed their hands, Shamhur stood up (while all present also stood to do him honour) and, approaching Hasib said to him, "We are all thy servants and will give thee whatsoever thou askest, even were it one half the kingdom, so thou wilt but cure the King." Saying this, he led him by the hand to the royal couch, and Hasib, uncovering the King's face, saw that he was at last fatal stage of the disease; so he wondered at their hoping for a cure. But the Wazir kissed his hand and repeated his offers and ended with saying, "All we want of thee is to heal our King:" so he said to the Wazir, "True that I am the son of Allah's prophet, Daniel, but I know nothing of his art: for they put me thirty days in the school of medicine and I learnt nothing of the craft. I would well I knew somewhat thereof and might heal the King." Hearing this, the Grand Wazir said, "Do not multiply words upon us; for though we should gather together to us physicians from the East and from the West, none could cure the King save thou." Answered Hasib, "How can I make him whole, seeing I know neither his case nor its cure?" Quoth the Minister, "His healing is in thy hands," and quoth Hasib, "If I knew the remedy of his sickness, I would heal him." Thereupon the Wazir rejoined, "Thou keenest a cure right well; the remedy of his sickness is the Queen of the Serpents, and thou knowest her abiding-place and hast been with her." When Hasib heard this, he knew that all this came of his entering the Baths, and repented whenas repentance availed him naught; then said he, "What is the Queen of the Serpents? I know her not nor ever in all my life heard I of this name." Retorted the Wazir, "Deny not the knowledge of her, for I have proof that thou knowest her and hast passed two years with her." Repeated Hasib, "Verily, I never saw her nor even heard of her till this moment;" upon which Shamhur opened a book and, after making sundry calculations, raised his head and spake as follows. "The Queen of the Serpents shall foregather with a man who shall abide with her two years; then shall he return from her and come forth to the surface of the earth, and when he entereth the Hammam bath his belly will become black." Then said he, "Look at thy belly." So Hasib looked at his own belly and behold, it was black: but he persisted in his denial and said, "My belly was black from the day my mother bare me." Said the Wazir, "I had stationed three Mamelukes at the door of every Hammam, bidding them note all who entered and let me know when they found one whose belly was black: so, when thou enteredst, they looked at thy belly and, finding it black, sent and told me, after we had well-nigh lost hope of coming upon thee. All we want of thee is to show us the place whence thou camest out and after go thy ways; for we have those with us who will take the Queen of the Serpents and fetch her to us." Then all the other Wazirs and Emirs and Grandees flocked about Hasib who sorely repented of his misdeed; and they conjured him, till they were weary, to show them the abode of the Queen; but he ceased not saying, "I never saw nor heard of the matter." Then the Grand Wazir called the hangman and bade him strip Hasib and beat him a sore beating; and so they did till he saw death face to face, for excess of pain, and the Wazir said, "We have proof that thou knowest the abiding-place of the Queen of the Serpents: why wilt thou persist in denial? Show us the place whence thou camest out and go from us; we have with us one who will take her, and no harm shall befall thee." Then he raised him and bade give him a dress of honour of cloth of red gold, embroidered with jewels, and spoke him fair till Hasib yielded and said, "I will show you the place." At this the Wazir rejoiced with great joy and took horse with all his many and rode, guided by Hasib, and never drew rein till they came to the mountain containing the cavern wherein he had found the cistern full of honey. There all dismounted and followed him as he entered, sighing and weeping, and showed them the well whence he had issued; whereupon the Wazir sat down thereby and, sprinkling perfumes upon a chafing-dish, began to mutter charms and conjurations; for he was a crafty magician and diviner and skilled in spiritual arts. He repeated three several formulas of conjuration and between each threw fresh incense upon the fire, crying out and saying, "Come forth, O Queen of the Serpents!;" when behold, the water of the well sank down and a great door opened in the side, from which came a mighty noise of crying like unto thunder, so terrible that they thought the well had caved in and all present fell down fainting; nay, some even died for fright. Presently, there issued from the well a serpent as big as an elephant, casting out sparks, like red hot coals, from its eyes and mouth and bearing on its back a charger of red gold, set with pearls and jewels, in the midst whereof lay a serpent from whose body issued such splendour that the place was illumined thereby; and her face was fair and young and she spoke with most eloquent tongue. The Serpent-queen turned right and left, till her eyes fell upon Hasib, to whom said she "Where is the covenant thou madest with me, and the oath thou swearest to me, that thou wouldst never again enter the Hammam-bath? But there is no fighting against Fate nor hath any ever fled from that which is written on his forehead. Allah hath appointed the end of my life for thy hand to hend, and it is His will that slain I be and King Karazdan be healed of his malady." So saying, she wept with sore weeping and Hasib wept to see her weep. As for the abominable Wazir Shamhur; he put out his hand to lay hold of her; but she said to him, "Hold thy hand, O accursed, or I will blow upon thee and reduce thee to a heap of black ashes." Then she cried out to Hasib, saying, "Draw near me and take me in thine hand and lay me in the dish that is with you: then set it on thy head, for my death was fore-ordained, from Eternity without beginning, [FN#572] to be at thy hand, and thou hast no power to avert it." So he took her and laid her in the dish, and put it on his head, when the well returned to its former state. Then they set out on their return to the city, Hasib carrying the dish on his head, and when they were half-way behold, the Queen of the Serpents said to him privily, "Hearken, O Hasib, to my friendly counsel, for all thou hast broken faith with me and been false to thine oath, and hast done this misdeed, but it was fore-ordained from all eternity." He replied "To hear is to obey," and she continued, "It is this: when thou comest to the Wazir's house, he will bid thee behead me and cut me in three; but do thou refuse saying, 'I know not how to slaughter [FN#473]' and leave him to do it with his own hand and to work his wicked will. When he hath cut my throat and divided my body into three pieces there will come a messenger, to bid him to the King, so he will lay my flesh in a cauldron of brass and set it upon a brasier before going to the presence and he will say to thee, 'Keep up the fire under the cauldron till the scum rise; then skim it off and pour it into a phial to cool. Wait till it cool and then drink it, so shall naught of malady or pain be left in all thy body. When the second scum riseth, skim it off and pour it into a phial against my return from the King, that I may drink it for an ailment I have in my loins.' Then will he give thee the phials and go to the King, and when he is gone, do thou light the fire and wait till the first scum rise and set it in a phial; keep it by thee but beware of drinking it, or no good will befall thee. When the second scum riseth, skim it off and put it in a second phial and drink it down as soon as it cools. When the Wazir returneth and asketh thee for the second phial, give him the first and note what shall befall him;"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Five Hundred and Thirty-fifth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Serpent-queen charged Hasib not to drink of the first scum and carefully to keep the second, saying, "When the Wazir returneth from the King and asketh for the second phial, give him the first and note what shall befall him; then drink the contents of the second phial and thy heart will become the home of wisdom. After this take up the flesh and, laying it in a brazen platter, carry it to the King and give him to eat thereof. When he hath eaten it and it hath settled in his stomach, veil his face with a kerchief and wait by him till noontide, when he will have digested the meat. Then give him somewhat of wine to drink and, by the decree of Allah Almighty, he will be healed of his unhealth and be made whole as he was. And give thou ear to the charge wherewith I charge thee; and keep it in thy memory with carefullest keeping." They ceased not faring till they came to the Wazir's house, and he said to Hasib, "Come in with me!" So he went in and the troops dispersed and fared each his own way; whereupon Hasib set down the platter and the Wazir bade him slay the Queen of the Serpents; but he said, "I know not how to slaughter and never in my born days killed I aught. An thou wilt have her throat cut, do it with thine own hand." So the Minister Shamhur took the Queen from the platter and slew her, seeing which Hasib wept bitter tears and the Wazir laughed at him, saying, "O weak of wits, how canst thou weep for the killing of a worm?" Then he cut her in three and, laying the pieces in a brass cauldron, set it on the fire and sat down to await the cooking of the flesh. And whilst he was sitting, lo! there came a slave from the King, who said to him, "The King calls for thee without stay or delay," and he answered saying, "I hear and I obey." So he gave Hasib two phials and bade him drink the first scum and keep the second against his return, [FN#574] even as the Queen of the Serpents had foretold; after which he went away with repeated charges and injunctions; and Hasib tended the fire under the cauldron till the first scum rose, when he skimmed it off and, setting it in one of the phials, kept it by him. He then fed the fire till the second scum rose; then he skimmed it off and, putting it in the other phial kept it for himself. And when the meat was done, he took the cauldron off the fire and sat awaiting the Wazir who asked him on return, "What hast thou done?" and answered Hasib, "I did thy bidding to the last word." Quoth the Wazir, "What hast thou done with the first phial?" "I drank its contents but now," replied Hasib, and Shamhur asked, "Thy body feeleth it no change?"; whereto Hasib answered, "Verily, I feel as I were on fire from front to foot." The villain Wazir made no reply hiding the truth but said, "Hand me the second phial, that I may drink what is therein, so haply I may be made whole of this ailing in my loins." So Hasib brought him the first phial and he drank it off, thinking it contained the second scum; but hardly had he done drinking when the phial fell from his hand and he swelled up and dropped down dead; and thus was exemplified in him the saying; "Whoso for his brother diggeth a pit, he shall be the first to fall into it." Now when Hasib saw this, he wondered and feared to drink of the second phial; but he remembered the Serpent-queen's injunction and bethought him that the Wazir would not have reserved the second scum for himself, had there been aught of hurt therein. So he said, "I put my trust in Allah,' [FN#575] and drank off the contents of the phial. No sooner had he done so, than the Most Highest made the waters of wisdom to well up in his heart and opened to him the fountains of knowledge, and joy and gladness overcame him. Then he took the serpent's flesh from the cauldron and, laying it on a platter of brass, went forth from the Wazir's house. On his way to the palace he raised his eyes and saw the seven Heavens and all that therein is, even to the Lote-tree, beyond which there is no passing, [FN#576] and the manner of the revolution of the spheres. Moreover, Allah discovered to him the ordinance of the planets and the scheme of their movements and the fixed stars; and he saw the contour of the land and sea, whereby he became informed with geometry, astrology and astronomy and mathematics and all that hangeth thereby; and he understood the causes and consequences of eclipses of the sun and moon. Then he looked at the earth and saw all minerals and vegetables that are therein and thereon; and he learned their properties, and their virtues, so that he became in an instant versed in medicine and chemistry and natural magic and the art of making gold and silver. And he ceased not carrying the flesh till he came to the palace, when he went in to King Karazdan, and kissing the ground before him, said, "May thy head survive thy Wazir Shamhur!" The King was mightily angered at the news of the Grand Wazir's death and wept for him, whilst his Emirs and his Grandees and officers also wept. Then said Karazdan, "He was with me but now, in all health, and went away to fetch me the flesh of the Queen of the Serpents, if it should be cooked; what befell him that he is now dead, and what accident hath betided him?" So Hasib told him the whole truth how the Minister had drunk the contents of the phial and had forthwith swelled out and died. The King mourned for his loss with mourning sore and said to Hasib, "What shall I do without Shamhur?" and Hasib answered "Grieve not, O King of the age; for I will cure thee within three days and leave no whit of disease in thy body." At this the King's breast waxed broad and he said, "I wish to be made whole of this affliction, though after a long term of years." So Hasib set the platter before the King and made him eat a slice of the flesh of the Serpent-queen. Then he covered him up and, spreading a kerchief over his face, bade him sleep and sat down by his side. He slept from noonday till sundown, while his stomach digested the piece of flesh, and presently he awoke. Hasib gave him somewhat of wine to drink and bade him sleep again; so he slept till the morning and when dawn appeared, Hasib repeated the treatment making him eat another piece of the flesh; and thus he did with him three days following, till he had eaten the whole, when his skin began to shrink and scale off and he perspired, so that the sweat ran down from his head to his heels. Therewith he became whole and there abode in him no trace of the disease, which when Hasib saw, he said, "There is no help for it but thou go to the Hammam." So he carried him to the bath and washed his body; and when he came forth, it was like a wand of silver and he was restored to health, nay, sounder than he was before he fell ill. Thereupon he donned his richest robes and, seating himself on his throne, deigned make Hasib sit beside him. Then he bade the tables be spread and they ate and washed their hands; after which he called for the service of wine and both drank their fill. Upon this all his Wazirs and Emirs and Captains and the Grandees of his realm and the notables of the lieges came in to him and gave him joy of his recovery; and they beat the drums and adorned the city in token of rejoicing. Then said the King to the assembly, "O Wazirs and Emirs and Grandees, this is Hasim Karim al-Din, who hath healed me of my sickness, and know all here present that I make him my Chief Wazir in the stead of the Wazir Shamhur."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Five Hundred and Thirty-sixth Night,
She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that quoth King Karazdan to his Ministers and high lords, "He who healed me of my sickness is none other than Hasib Karim al-Din here present. Therefore I make him my Chief Wazir in the stead of the Wazir Shamhur; and whoso loveth him loveth me, and whoso honoureth him honoureth me, and he who obeyeth him obeyeth me." "Hearkening and obedience," answered they and all rising flocked to kiss Hasib's hand and salute him and give him joy of the Wazirate. Then the King bestowed on him a splendid dress of gold brocade, set with pearls and gems, the least of which was worth five thousand gold pieces. Moreover, he presented to him three hundred male white slaves and the like number of concubines, in loveliness like moons, and three hundred Abyssinian [FN#577] slave-girls, beside five hundred mules laden with treasure and sheep and oxen and buffaloes and bulls and other cattle beyond count; and he commanded all his Wazirs and Emirs and Grandees and Notables and Mamelukes and his subjects in general to bring him gifts. Presently Hasib took horse and rode, followed by the Wazirs and Emirs and lords and all the troops, to the house which the King had set apart for him, where he sat down on a chair; and the Wazirs and Emirs came up to him and kissed hands and gave him joy of his Ministership, vying with one another in suit and service. When his mother and his household knew what had happened, they rejoiced with exceeding joy and congratulated him on his good fortune; and his quondam comrades the woodcutters also came and gave him joy. Then he mounted again and, riding to the house of the late Wazir Shamhur, laid hands on all that was therein and transported it to his own abode. On this wise did Hasib, from a dunsical know-nothing, unskilled to read writing, become, by the decree of Allah Almighty, an adept in every science and versed in all manner of knowledge, so that the fame of his learning was blazed abroad over the land and he became renowned as an ocean of lore and skill in medicine and astronomy and geometry and astrology and alchemy and natural magic and the Cabbala and Spiritualism and all other arts and sciences. One day, he said to his mother, "My father Daniel was exceeding wise and learned; tell me what he left by way of books or what not!" So his mother brought him the chest and, taking out the five leaves which had been saved when the library was lost, gave them to him saying, "These five scrolls are all thy father left thee." So he read them and said to her, "O my mother, these leaves are part of a book: where is the rest?" Quoth she, "Thy father made a voyage taking with him all his library and, when he was shipwrecked, every book was lost save only these five leaves. And when he was returned to me by Almighty Allah he found me with child and said to me: 'Haply thou wilt bear a boy; so take these scrolls and keep them by thee and whenas thy son shall grow up and ask what his father left him, give these leaves to him and say, 'Thy father left these as thine only heritance. And lo! here they are.' " And Hasib, now the most learned of his age, abode in all pleasure and solace, and delight of life, till there came to him the Destroyer of delights and the Severer of societies. [FN#578] And yet, O King, is not this tale of Bulukiya and Janshah more wondrous than the adventures of