There was once in olden time a King of might, Kundamir highs, who had been a brave and doughty man of war, a Kahramán, [FN#313] in his day, but was grown passing old and decrepit. Now it pleased Allah to vouchsafe him, in his extreme senility, a son, whom he named Ajíb [FN#314]--the Wonderful-- because of his beauty and loveliness; so he committed the babe to the midwives and wet-nurses and handmaids and serving-women, and they reared him till he was full seven years old, when his father gave him in charge to a divine of his own folk and faith. The priest taught him the laws and tenets of their Misbelief and instructed him in philosophy and all manner of other knowledge, and it needed but three full told years ere he was proficient therein and his spirit waxed resolute and his judgment mature; and he became learned, eloquent and philosophic [FN#315]; consorting with the wise and disputing with the doctors of the law. When his father saw this of him, it pleased him and he taught him to back the steed and stab with spear and smite with sword, till he grew to be an accomplished cavalier, versed in all martial exercises; and, by the end of his twentieth year, he surpassed in all things all the folk of his day. But his skill in weapons made him grow up a stubborn tyrant and a devil arrogant, using to ride forth a-hunting and a-chasing amongst a thousand horsemen and to make raids and razzias upon the neighbouring knights, cutting off caravans and carrying away the daughters of Kings and nobles; wherefore many brought complaints against him to his father, who cried out to five of his slaves and when they came said, “Seize this dog!” So they seized Prince Ajib and, pinioning his hands behind him, beat him by his father’s command till he lost his senses; after which the King imprisoned him in a chamber so dark one might not know heaven from earth or length from breadth; and there he abode two days and a night. Then the Emirs went in to the King and, kissing the ground between his hands, interceded with him for the Prince, and he released him. So Ajib bore with his father for ten days, at the end of which he went in to him as he slept by night and smote his neck. When the day rose, he mounted the throne of his sire’s estate and bade his men arm themselves cap-à-pie in steel and stand with drawn swords in front of him and on his right hand and on his left. By and by, the Emirs and Captains entered and finding their King slain and his son Ajib seated on the throne were confounded in mind and knew not what to do. But Ajib said to them, “O folk, verily ye see what your King hath gained. Whoso obeyeth me, I will honour him, and whoso gainsayeth me I will do with him that which I did with my sire.” When they heard these words they feared lest he do them a mischief; so they replied, “Thou art our King and the son of our King;” and kissed ground before him; whereupon he thanked them and rejoiced in them. Then he bade bring forth money and apparel and clad them in sumptuous robes of honour and showered largesse upon them, wherefore they all loved him and obeyed him. In like manner he honoured the governors of the Provinces and the Shaykhs of the Badawin, both tributary and independent, so that the whole kingdom submitted to him and the folk obeyed him and he reigned and bade and forbade in peace and quiet for a time of five months. One Night, however, he dreamed a dream as he lay slumbering; whereupon he awoke trembling, nor did sleep visit him again till the morning. As soon as it was dawn he mounted his throne and his officers stood before him, right and left. Then he called the oneiromants and the astrologers and said to them “Expound to me my dream!” “What was the dream?” asked they; and he answered, “As I slept last Night, I saw my father standing before me, with his yard uncovered, and there came forth of it a thing the bigness of a bee, which grew till it became as a mighty lion, with claws like hangers. As I lay wondering at this lo! it ran upon me and smiting me with its claws, rent my belly in sunder; whereupon I awoke startled and trembling. So expound ye to me the meaning of this dream.” The interpreters looked one at other; and, after considering, said, “O mighty King, this dream pointeth to one born of thy sire, between whom and thee shall befal strife and enmity, wherein he shall get the better of thee: so be on thy guard against him, by reason of this thy vision.” When Ajib heard their words, he said, “I have no brother whom I should fear; so this your speech is mere lying.” They replied, “We tell thee naught save what we know;” but he was an angered with them and bastinadoed them. Then he rose and, going in to the paternal palace, examined his father’s concubines and found one of them seven months gone with child; whereupon he gave an order to two of his slaves, saying, “Take this damsel, ye twain, and carry her to the sea-shore and drown her.” So they took her forthright and, going to the sea-shore, designed to drown her, when they looked at her and seeing her to be of singular beauty and loveliness said to each other, “Why should we drown this damsel? Let us rather carry her to the forest and live with her there in rare love-liasse.” Then they took her and fared on with her days and nights till they had borne her afar off and had brought her to a bushy forest, abounding in fruit-trees and streams, where they both thought at the same time to win their will of her; but each said, “I will have her first.” So they fell out one with the other concerning this, and while so doing a company of blackamoors came down upon them, and they drew their swords and both sides fell to laying on load. The mellay waxed hot with cut and thrust; and the two slaves fought their best; but the blacks slew them both in less than the twinkling of an eye. So the damsel abode alone and wandered about the forest, eating of its fruits and drinking of its founts, till in due time she gave birth to a boy, brown but clean limbed and comely, whom she named Gharíb, the Stranger, by reason of her strangerhood. Then she cut his navel-string and wrapping him in some of her own clothes, gave him to suck, harrowed at heart, and with vitals sorrowing for the estate she had lost and its honour and solace. And Shahrazed perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say,

When it was the Six Hundred and Twenty-fifth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the damsel abode in the bush harrowed at heart and a-sorrowed; but she suckled her babe albeit she was full of grief and fear for her loneliness. Now behold, one day, there came horsemen and footmen into the forest with hawks and hounds and horses laden with partridges and cranes and wild geese and divers and other waterfowl; and young ostriches and hares and gazelles and wild oxen and lynxes and wolves and lions. [FN#316] Presently, these Arabs entered the thicket and came upon the damsel, sitting with her child on her breast a-suckling him: so they drew near and asked her, “Say art thou a mortal or a Jinniyah?” Answered she, “I am a mortal, O Chiefs of the Arabs.” Thereupon they told their Emir, whose name was Mardás, Prince of the Banú Kahtán, [FN#317] and who had come forth that day to hunt with five hundred of his cousins and the nobles of his tribe, and who in the course of the chase had happened upon her. He bade them bring her before him, which they did and she related to him her past from first to last, whereat he marvelled. Then he cried to his kinsmen and escort to continue the chase, after which they took her and returned to their encampment, where the Emir appointed her a separate dwelling-place and five damsels to serve her; and he loved her with exceeding love and went in to her and lay with her. She conceived by him straightway, and, when her months were accomplished, she bare a man child and named him Sahím al-Layl. [FN#318] He grew up with his brother Gharib among the nurses and throve and waxed upon the lap of the Emir Mardas who, in due time committed the two boys to a Fakih for instruction in the things of their faith; after which he gave them in charge to valiant knights of the Arabs, for training them to smite with sword and lunge with lance and shoot with shaft; so by the time they reached the age of fifteen, they knew all they needed and surpassed each and every brave of their tribe; for Gharib would undertake a thousand horse and Sahim al-Layl no fewer. Now Mardas had many enemies, and the men of his tribe were the bravest of all the Arabs, being doughty cavaliers, none might warm himself at their fire. [FN#319] In his neighbourhood was an Emir of the Arabs, Hassan bin Sábit hight, who was his intimate friend; and he took to wife a noble lady of his tribe and bade all his friends to the wedding, amongst them Mardas lord of the Banu Kahtan, who accepted his invitation and set forth with three hundred riders of his tribe, leaving other four hundred to guard the women. Hassan met him with honour and seated him in the highest stead. Then came all the cavaliers to the bridal and he made them bride-feasts and held high festival by reason of the marriage, after which the Arabs departed to their dwelling-places. When Mardas came in sight of his camp, he saw slain men lying about and birds hovering over them right and left; and his heart sank within him at the sight. Then he entered the camp and was met by Gharib, clad in complete suit of ring-mail, who gave him joy of his safe return. Quoth Mardas, “What meaneth this case, O Gharib?”; and quoth Gharib, “Al-Hamal bin Májid attacked us with five hundred horsemen of his tribe.” Now the reason of this was that the Emir Mardas had a daughter called Mahdíyah, seer never saw fairer than she, and Al-Hamal, lord of the Banu Nabhán, [FN#320] heard of her charms; whereupon he took horse with five hundred of his men and rode to Mardas to demand her hand; but he was not accepted and was sent away disappointed. [FN#321] So he awaited till Mardas was absent on his visit to Hassan, when he mounted with his champions and, falling upon the camp of the Banu Kahtan, slew a number of their knights and the rest fled to the mountains. Now Gharib and his brother had ridden forth a-hunting and chasing with an hundred horse and returned not till midday, when they found that Al-Hamal had seized the camp and all therein and had carried off the maidens, among whom was Mahdiyah, driving her away with the captives. When Gharib saw this, he lost his wits for rage and cried out to Sahim, saying, “O my brother, O son of an accursed dam, [FN#322] they have plundered our camp and carried off our women and children! Up and at the enemy, that we may deliver the captives!” So Gharib and Sahim and their hundred horse rushed upon the foe, and Gharib’s wrath redoubled, and he reaped a harvest of heads slain, giving the champions death-cup to drain, till he won to Al-Hamal and saw Mahdiyah among the captives. Then he drave at the lord of the Banu Nabhan braves; with his lance lunged him and from his destrier hurled him; nor was the time of mid-afternoon prayer come before he had slain the most part of the foe and put to rout the rest and rescued the captives; whereupon he returned to the camp in triumph, bearing the head of Al-Hamal on the point of his lance and improvising these couplets,

“I am he who is known on the day of fight, * And the Jinn of earth at my shade take fright:
And a sword have I when my right hand wields, * Death hastens from left on mankind to alight;
I have eke a lance and who look thereon * See a crescent head of the liveliest light. [FN#323]
And Gharib I’m highs of my tribe the brave * And if few my men I feel naught affright.”

Hardly had Gharib made an end of these verses when up came Mardas who, seeing the slain and the vultures, was sore troubled and with fluttering heart asked the cause. The youth, after due greetings, related all that had befallen the tribe in his step-sire’s absence. So Mardas thanked him and said, “Thou hast well requited our fosterage-pains in rearing thee, O Gharib!”; then he alighted and entered his pavilion, and the men stood about him, all the tribe praising Gharib and saying, “O our Emir, but for Gharib, not one of the tribe had been saved!” And Mardas again thanked him. --And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say,

When it was the Six Hundred and Twenty-sixth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Mardas, hearing the tribesmen’s praises of Gharib, again thanked him for his derring-do. But the youth, when he had delivered Mahdiyah from Al-Hamal whom he slew, was smitten by the shaft of her glances and fell into the nets of her allurements, wherefore his heart could not forget her and he became drowned in love and longing and the sweets of sleep forsook him and he had no joy of drink or meat. He would spur his horse up to the mountain tops, where he would spend the day in composing verses and return at nightfall; and indeed manifest upon him were the signs of affection and distraction. He discovered his secret to one of his companions and it became noised abroad in the camp, till it reached the ears of Mardas, who thundered and lightened and rose up and sat down and sparked and snorted and reviled the sun and the moon, saying, “This is the reward of him who reareth the sons of adultery! But except I kill Gharib, I shall be put to shame.’’ [FN#324] Then he consulted one of the wise men of his tribe and after telling his secret took counsel with him of killing the youth. Quoth the elder, “O Emir, ’twas but yesterday that he freed thy daughter from captivity. If there be no help for it but thou must slay him, let it be by the hand of another than thyself, so none of the folk may misdoubt of thee.” Quoth Mardas, “Advise me how I may do him die, for I look to none but to thee for his death.” “O Emir,” answered the other, “wait till he go forth to hunt and chase, when do thou take an hundred horse and lie in wait for him in some cave till he pass; then fall upon him unawares and cut him in pieces, so shalt thou be quit of his reproach.” Said Mardas, “This should serve me well;” and chose out an hundred and fifty of his furious knights and Amalekites [FN#325] whom he lessoned to his will. Then he watched Gharib till one day, he went forth to hunt and rode far away amongst the dells and hills; whereupon Mardas followed him with his men, ill-omened wights, and lay in wait for him by the way against he should return from the chase that they might sally forth and slay him. But as they lay in ambush among the trees behold, there fell upon them five hundred true Amalekites, who slew sixty of them and made fourscore and ten prisoners and trussed up Mardas with his arms behind his back. Now the reason of this was that when Gharib put Al-Hamal and his men to the sword, the rest fled and ceased not flying till they reached their lord’s brother and told him what had happened, whereat his Doom-day rose and he gathered together his Amalekites and choosing out five hundred cavaliers, each fifty ells high, [FN#326] set out with them in quest of blood-revengement for his brother. By the way he fell in with Mardas and his companions and there happened between them what happened; after which he bade his men alight and rest, saying, “O folk, the idols have given us an easy brood-wreak; so guard ye Mardas and his tribesmen, till I carry them away and do them die with the foulest of deaths.” When Mardas saw himself a prisoner, he repented of what he had done and said, “This is the reward of rebelling against the Lord!” Then the enemy passed the night rejoicing in their victory, whilst Mardas and his men despaired of life and made sure of doom. So far concerning them; but as regards Sahim al-Layl, who had been wounded in the fight with Al-Hamal, he went in to his sister Mahdiyah, and she rose to him and kissed his hands, saying, “May thy two hands ne’er wither nor shine enemies have occasion to be blither! But for thee and Gharib, we had not escaped captivity among our foes. Know, however, O my brother, that thy father hath ridden forth with an hundred and fifty horse, purposing to slaughter Gharib; and thou wottest it would be sore loss and foul wrong to slay him, for that it was he who saved your shame and rescued your good.” When Sahim heard this, the light in his sight became Night, he donned his battle-harness; and, mounting steed, rode for the place where Gharib was a-hunting. He presently came up with him and found that he had taken great plenty of game; so he accosted him and saluted him and said, “O my brother, why didst thou go forth without telling me?” Replied Gharib, “By Allah, naught hindered me but that I saw thee wounded and thought to give thee rest.” Then said Sahim, “O my brother, beware of my sire!” and told him how Mardas was abroad with an hundred and fifty men, seeking to slay him. Quoth Gharib, “Allah shall cause his treason to cut his own throat.” Then the brothers set out campwards, but night overtook them by the way and they rode on in the darkness, till they drew near the Wady wherein the enemy lay and heard the neighing of steeds in the gloom; whereupon said Sahim, “O my brother, my father and his men are ambushed in yonder valley; let us flee from it.” But Gharib dismounted and throwing his bridle to his brother, said to him, “Stay in this stead till I come back to thee.” Then he went on till he drew in sight of the folk, when he saw that they were not of his tribe and heard them naming Mardas and saying, “We will not slay him, save in his own land.” Wherefore he knew that nuncle Mardas was their prisoner, and said, “By the life of Mahdiyah, I will not depart hence till I have delivered her father, that she may not be troubled!” Then he sought and ceased not seeking till he hit upon Mardas and found him bound with cords; so he sat down by his side and said to him, “Heaven deliver thee, O uncle, from these bonds and this shame!” When Mardas saw Gharib his reason fled, and he said to him, “O my son, I am under thy protection: so deliver me in right of my fosterage of thee!” Quoth Gharib, “If I deliver thee, wilt thou give me Mahdiyah?” Quoth the Emir, “O my son, by whatso I hold sacred, she is thine to all time!” So he loosed him, saying, “Make for the horses, for thy son Sahim is there:” and Mardas crept along like a snake till he came to his son, who rejoiced in him and congratulated him on his escape. Meanwhile, Gharib unbound one after another of the prisoners, till he had freed the whole ninety and they were all far from the foe. Then he sent them their weapons and war horses, saying to them, “Mount ye and scatter yourselves round about the enemy and cry out, Ho, sons of Kahtan! And when they awake, do ye remove from them and encircle them in a thin ring.’’ [FN#327] So he waited till the last and third watch of the Night, when he cried out, “Ho, sons of Kahtan!” and his men answered in like guise, crying, “Ho, sons of Kahtan,” as with one voice; and the mountains echoed their slogan, so that it seemed to the raiders as though the whole tribe of Banu Kahtan were assailing them; wherefore they all snatched up their arms and fell upon one another, --And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say,

When it was the Six Hundred and Twenty-seventh Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the raiders [FN#328] awoke from sleep and heard Gharib and his men crying out, “Ho, sons of Kahtan!”; they imagined that the whole tribe was assailing them; wherefore they snatched up their arms and fell one upon other with mighty slaughter. Gharib and his men held aloof, and they fought one another till daybreak, when Gharib and Mardas and their ninety warriors came down upon them and killed some of them and put the rest to flight. Then the Banu Kahtan took the horses of the fugitives and the weapons of the slain and returned to their tribal camp, whilst Mardas could hardly credit his deliverance from the foe. When they reached the encampment, the stay-at-home folk all came forth to meet them and rejoiced in their safe return. Then they alighted and betook them to their tents; and all the youths of the tribe flocked to Gharib’s stead and great and small saluted him and did him honour. But when Mardas saw this and the youths encircling his stepson he waxed more jealous of Gharib than before and said to his kinsfolk, “Verily, hatred of Gharib groweth on my heart, and what irketh me most is that I see these flocking about him! And to-morrow he will demand Mahdiyah of me.” Quoth his confidant, “O Emir, ask of him somewhat he cannot avail to do.” This pleased Mardas who passed a pleasant night and on the morrow, as he sat on his stuffed carpet, with the Arabs about him, Gharib entered, followed by his men and surrounded by the youth of the tribe, and kissed the ground before Mardas who, making a show of joy, rose to do him honour and seated him beside himself. Then said Gharib, “O uncle, thou madest me a promise; do thou fulfil it.” Replied the Emir, “O my son, she is shine to all time; but thou lackest wealth.” Quoth Gharib, “O uncle, ask of me what thou wilt, and I will fall upon the Emirs of the Arabs in their houses and on the Kings in their towns and bring thee fee [FN#329] enough to fence the land from East to West.” “O my son,” quoth Mardas,” I have sworn by all the Idols that I would not give Mabdiyah save to him who should take my blood-wite of mine enemy and do away my reproach.” “O uncle,” said Gharib, “tell me with which of the Kings thou hast a feud, that I may go to him and break his throne upon his pate.” “O my son,” replied Mardas, “I once had a son, a champion of champions, and he went forth one day to chase and hunt with an hundred horse. They fared on from valley to valley, till they had wandered far away amongst the mountains and came to the Wady of Blossoms and the Castle of Hám bin Shays bin Shaddád bin Khalad. Now in this place, O my son, dwelleth a black giant, seventy cubits high, who fights with trees from their roots uptorn; and when my son reached his Wady, the tyrant sallied out upon him and his men and slew them all, save three braves, who escaped and brought me the news. So I assembled my champions and fared forth to fight the giant, but could not prevail against him; wherefore I was baulked of my revenge and swore that I would not give my daughter in marriage save to him who should avenge me of my son.” Said Gharib, “O uncle, I will go to this Amalekite and take the wreak of thy son on him with the help of Almighty Allah.” And Mardas answered, saying, “O Gharib, if thou get the victory over him, thou wilt gain of him such booty of wealth and treasures as fires may not devour.” Cried Gharib, “Swear to me before witnesses thou wilt give me her to wife, so that with heart at ease I may go forth to find my fortune.” Accordingly, Mardas swore this to him and took the elders of the tribe to witness; whereupon Gharib fared forth, rejoicing in the attainment of his hopes, and went in to his mother, to whom he related what had passed. “O my son,” said she, “know that Mardas hateth thee and doth but send thee to this mountain, to bereave me of thee; then take me with thee and let us depart the tents of this tyrant.” But he answered, “O my mother, I will not depart hence till I win my wish and foil my foe.” Thereupon he slept till morning arose with its sheen and shone, and hardly had he mounted his charger when his friends, the young men, came up to him; two hundred stalwart knights armed cap-à-pie and cried out to him, saying, “Take us with thee; we will help thee and company thee by the way.” And he rejoiced in them and cried, “Allah requite you for us with good!” adding, “Come, my friends, let us go.” So they set out and fared on the first day and the second day till evening, when they halted at the foot of a towering mount and baited their horses. As for Gharib, he left the rest and walked on into that mountain, till he came to a cave whence issued a light. He entered and found, at the higher facing end of the cave a Shaykh, three hundred and forty years old, whose eyebrows overhung his eyes and whose moustachios hid his mouth. Gharib at this sight was filled with awe and veneration, and the hermit said to him, “Methinks thou art of the idolaters, O my son, stone-worshipping [FN#330] in the stead of the All-powerful King, the Creator of Night and Day and of the sphere rolling on her way.” When Gharib heard his words, his side muscles quivered and he said, “O Shaykh, where is this Lord of whom thou speakest, that I may worship him and take my fill of his sight?” Replied the Shaykh, “O my son, this is the Supreme Lord, upon whom none may look in this world. He seeth and is not seen. He is the Most High of aspect and is present everywhere in His works. He it is who maketh all the made and ordereth time to vade and fade; He is the Creator of men and Jinn and sendeth the Prophets to guide His creatures into the way of right. Whoso obeyeth Him, He bringeth into Heaven, and whoso gainsayeth Him, He casteth into Hell.” Asked Gharib, “And how, O uncle, saith whoso worshippeth this puissant Lord who over all hath power?” “O my son,” answered the Shaykh, “I am of the tribe of Ad, which were transgressors in the land and believed not in Allah. So He sent unto them a Prophet named Húd, but they called him liar and he destroyed them by means of a deadly wind; but I believed together with some of my tribe, and we were saved from destruction. [FN#331] Moreover, I was present with the tribe of Thamúd and saw what befel them with their Prophet Sálih. After Salih, the Al-mighty sent a prophet, called Abraham the Friend, [FN#332] to Nimrod son of Canaan, and there befel what befel between them. Then my companions died in the Saving Faith and I continued in this cave to serve Allah the Most High, who provideth my daily bread without my taking thought.” Quoth Gharib, “O uncle, what shall I say, that I may become of the troop of this mighty Lord?” “Say,” replied the old man, ‘There is no god but the God and Abraham is the Friend of God.’ ” So Gharib embraced the Faith of Submission [FN#333] with heart and tongue and the Shaykh said to him, “May the sweetness of belief and devotion be stablished in thy heart!” Then he taught him somewhat of the biblical ordinances and scriptures of Al-Islam and said to him, “What is thy name?”; and he replied, “My name is Gharib.” Asked the old man, “Whither art thou bound, O Gharib?” So he told him all his history, till he came to the mention of the Ghúl of the Mountain whom he sought, --And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say,

When it was the Six Hundred and Twenty-eighth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Gharib became a Moslem and told the Shaykh his past, from first to last, till he came to the mention of the Mountain-Ghul whom he sought, the old man asked him, “O Gharib, art thou mad that thou goest forth against the Ghul of the Mountain single handed?”; and he answered, “O my lord, I have with me two hundred horse.” “O Gharib,” rejoined the hermit, “hadst thou ten thousand riders yet shouldest thou not prevail against him, for his name is The-Ghul-who-eateth-men-we-pray-Allah-for-safety, and he is of the children of Ham. His father’s name was Hindi who peopled Hind and named it, and he left this son after him, whom he called Sa’adan the Ghul. Now the same was, O my son, even in his sire’s lifetime, a cruel tyrant and a rebellious devil and had no other food than flesh of the sons of Adam. His father when about to die forbade him from this, but he would not be forbidden and he redoubled in his forwardness, till Hindi banished him and drove him forth the Land of Hind, after battles and sore travail. Then he came to this country and fortifying himself herein, established his home in this place, whence he is wont to sally forth and cut the road of all that come and go, presently returning to the valley he haunteth. Moreover, he hath begotten five sons, warlike warlocks, each one of whom will do battle with a thousand braves, and he hath flocked the valley with his booty of treasure and goods besides horses and camels and cattle and sheep. Wherefore I fear for thee from him; so do thou implore Almighty Allah to further thee against him by the Tahlíl, the formula of Unity, and when thou drivest at the Infidels, cry, ‘God is most Great!’ for, saying, ‘There is no god but the God’ confoundeth those who misbelieve.” Then the Shaykh gave him a steel mace, an hundred pounds in weight, with ten rings which clashed like thunder whenas the wielder brandished it, and a sword forged of a thunderbolt, [FN#334] three ells long and three spans broad, wherewith if one smote a rock, the stroke would cleave it in sunder. Moreover he gave him a hauberk and target and a book and said to him, “Return to thy tribe and expound unto them Al-Islam.” So Gharib left him, rejoicing in his new Faith, and fared till he found his companions, who met him with salams, saying, “What made thee tarry thus?” Whereupon he related to them that which had befallen him and expounded to them Al-Islam, and they all islamised. Early next morning, Gharib mounted and rode to the hermit to farewell him, after which he set out to return to his camp when behold, on his way, there met him a horseman cap-à-pie armed so that only his eyes appeared, who made at him, saying, “Doff what is on thee, O scum [FN#335] of the Arabs; or I will do thee die!” Therewith Gharib crave at him and there befel between them a battle such as would make a new-born child turn grey and melt the flinty rock with its sore affray; but presently the Badawi did off his face-veil, and lo! it was Gharib’s half-brother Sahim al-Layl. Now the cause of his coming thither was that when Gharib set out in quest of the Mountain-Ghul, Sahim was absent and on his return, not seeing his brother, he went in to his mother, whom he found weeping. He asked the reason of her tears and she told him what had happened of his brother’s journey, whereupon, without allowing himself aught of rest, he donned his war-gear and mounting rode after Gharib, till he overtook him and there befel between them what befel. When, therefore. Sahim discovered his face, Gharib knew him and saluted him, saying, “What moved thee to do this?” Quoth Sahim, “I had a mind to measure myself with thee in the field and make trial of my lustihood in cut and thrust.” Then they rode together and on the way Gharib expounded Al-Islam to Sahim, who embraced the Faith; nor did they cease riding till they were hard upon the valley. Meanwhile, the Mountain-Ghul espied the dust of their horses’ feet and said to his sons, “O my sons, mount and fetch me yonder loot.” So the five took horse and made for the party. When Gharib saw the five Amalekites approaching, he plied shovel-iron upon his steed’s flank and cried out, saying, “Who are ye, and what is your race and what do ye require?” Whereupon Falhún bin Sa’adan, the eldest of the five, came out and said, “Dismount ye and bind one another [FN#336] and we will drive you to our father, that he may roast various of you and boil various, for it is long since he has tasted the flesh of Adam-son.” When Gharib heard these words he drove at Falhun, shaking his mace, so that the rings rang like the roaring thunder and the giant was confounded. Then he smote him a light blow with the mace between the shoulders, and he fell to the ground like a tall-trunked palm-tree; whereupon Sahim and some of his men fell upon him and pinioned him; then, putting a rope about his neck, they haled him along like a cow. Now when his brothers saw him a prisoner they charged home upon Gharib, who took three [FN#337] of them captive and the fifth fled back to his sire, who said to him, “What is behind thee and where are the brothers of thee?” Quoth he “Verily, a beardless youth, forty cubits high, hath taken them prisoner.” Quoth Sa’adan, “May the sun pour no blessing on you!” and, going down from his hold, tore up a huge tree, with which he went in quest of Gharib and his folk; and he was on foot, for that no horse might carry him, because of the bigness of his body. His son followed him and the twain went on till they came up with Gharib and his company, when the Ghul fell upon them, without word said, and slew five men with his club. Then he made at Sahim and struck at him with his tree, but Sahim avoided the blow and it fell harmless; whereat Sa’adan was wroth and throwing down the weapon, sprang upon Sahim and caught him in his pounces as the sparrow hawk catcheth up the sparrow. Now when Gharib saw his brother in the Ghul’s clutches, he cried out, saying, “Allaho Akbar God is most Great! Oh the favour of Abraham the Friend, the Muhammad, [FN#338] the Blessed One (whom Allah keep and assain!)”--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say,

When it was the Six Hundred and Twenty-ninth Night,

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Gharib saw his brother in the clutches of the Ghul, he cried out, saying “Oh the favour of Ibrahim, the Friend, the Blessed One (whom Allah keep and assain!) “; and crave his charger at Sa’adan, shaking his mace, till the rings loud rang. Then he cried out again, “God is most Great!” and smote the Ghul on the flat of the ribs with his mace, whereupon he fell to the ground, insensible, and loosed his grip on Sahim; nor did he come to himself ere he was pinioned and shackled. When his son saw this, he turned and fled; but Gharib drove steed after him and smiting him with his mace between the shoulders, threw him from his horse. So they bound him with his father and brethren and haltering them with ropes, haled them all six along like baggage-camels, till they reached the Ghul’s castle, which they found full of goods and treasures and things of price; and there they also came upon twelve hundred Ajamis, men of Persia, bound and shackled. Gharib sat down on Sa’adan’s chair, which had aforetime belonged to Sásá [FN#339] bin Shays bin Shaddad bin Ad causing Sahim to stand on his right and his companions on his either hand, and sending for the Ghul of the Mountain, said to him, “How findest thou thyself, O accursed?” Replied Sa’adan, “O my lord, in the sorriest of plights for abasement and mortification; my sons and I, we are bound with ropes like camels.” Quoth Gharib, “It is my will that you enter my faith, the faith Al-Islam highs, and acknowledge the Unity of the All knowing King whose All-might created Light and Night and every thing, there is no God ‘but He, the Requiting King! and confess the mission and prophethood of Abraham the Friend (on whom be peace!).” So the Ghul and his sons made the required profession after the goodliest fashion, and Gharib bade loose their bonds; whereupon Sa’adan wept and would have kissed his feet, he and his sons: but Gharib forbade them and they stood with the rest who stood before him. Then said Gharib, “Harkye, Sa’adan!”; and he replied, “At thy service, O my lord!” Quoth Gharib, “What are these captives?” “O my lord,” quoth the Ghul, “these are my game from the land of the Persians and are not the only ones.” Asked Gharib, “And who is with them?”; and Sa’adan answered, “O my lord, there is with them the Princess Fakhr Táj, daughter of King Sabúr of Persia, [FN#340] and an hundred damsels like moons.” When Gharib heard this, he marvelled and said, “O Emir, how came ye by these?” Replied Sa’adan, “I went forth one night with my sons and five of my slaves in quest of booty, but finding no spoil in our way, we dispersed over wilds and words and fared on, hoping we might happen on somewhat of prey and not return emptyhanded, till we found ourselves in the land of the Persians. Presently, we espied a dust cloud and sent on to reconnoitre one of our slaves, who was absent a while and presently returned and said, ‘O my lord, this is the Princess Fakhr Taj, daughter of Sabur, King of the Persians, Turcomans and Medes; and she is on a journey, attended by two thousand horse.’ Quoth I, ‘Thou hast gladdened us with good news! We could have no finer loot than this.’ Then I and my sons fell upon the Persians and slew of them three hundred men and took the Princess and twelve hundred cavaliers prisoners, together with all that was with her of treasure and riches and brought them to this our castle.” Quoth Gharib, “Hast thou offered any violence to the Princess Fakhr Taj?” Quoth Sa’adan, “Not I, as thy head liveth and by the virtue of the Faith I have but now embraced!” Gharib replied “It was well done of thee, O Sa’adan, for her father is King of the world and doubtless he will despatch troops in quest of her and lay waste the dwellings of those who took her. And whoso looketh not to issue and end hath not Fate to friend. But where is the damsel?” Said Sa’adan, “I have set apart a pavilion for her and her damsels;” and said Gharib, “Show me her lodging,” whereto Sa’adan rejoined, “Hearkening and obedience!” So he carried him to the pavilion, and there he found the Princess mournful and cast down, weeping for her former condition of dignity and delight. When Gharib saw her, he thought the moon was near him and magnified Allah, the All-hearing, the All-seeing. The Princess also looked at him and saw him a princely cavalier, with velour shining from between his eyes and testifying for him and not against him; so she rose and kissed his hands, then fell at his feet, saying, “O hero of the age, I am under thy protection; guard me from this Ghul, for I fear lest he do away my maidenhead and after devour me. So take me to serve shine handmaidens.” Quoth Gharib, “Thou art safe and thou shalt be restored to thy father and the seat of thy worship.” Whereupon she prayed that he might live long and have advancement in rank and honour. Then he bade unbind the Persians and, turning to the Princess, said to her, “What brought thee forth of thy palace to the wilds and wastes, so that the highway-robbers made prize of thee?” She replied, “O my lord, my father and all the people of his realm, Turks and Daylamites, are Magians, worshipping fire, and not the All-powerful King. Now in our country is a monastery called the Monastery of the Fire, whither every year the daughters of the Magians and worshippers of the Fire resort at the time of their festival and abide there a month, after which they return to their houses. So I and my damsels set out, as of wont, attended by two thousand horse, whom my father sent with me to guard me; but by the way this Ghul came out against us and slew some of us and, taking the rest captive, imprisoned us in this hold. This, then, is what befel me, O valiant champion, whom Allah guard against the shifts of Time!” And Gharib said, “Fear not; for I will bring thee to thy palace and the seat of thy honours.” Wherefore she blessed him and kissed his hands and feet. Then he went out from her, after having commanded to treat her with respect, and slept till morning, when he made the Wuzu-ablution and prayed a two-bow prayer, after the rite of our father Abraham the Friend (on whom be peace!), whilst the Ghul and his sons and Gharib’s company all did the like after him. Then he turned to the Ghul and said to him, “O Sa’adan, wilt thou not show me the Wady of Blossoms?’’ [FN#341] “I will, O my lord,” answered he. So Gharib and his company and Princess Fakhr Taj and her maidens all rose and went forth, whilst Sa’adan commanded his slaves and slave-girls to slaughter and cook and make ready the morning-meal and bring it to them among the trees. For the Giant had an hundred and fifty handmaids and a thousand chattels to pasture his camels and oxen and sheep. When they came to the valley, they found it beautiful exceedingly and passing all degree; and birds on tree sang joyously and the mocking-nightingale trilled out her melody, and the cushat filled with her moan the mansions made by the Deity, --And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say,

When it was the Six Hundred and Thirtieth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Gharib and his merry men and the Giant and his tribe reached the Wady of Blossoms they found birds flying free; the cushat filling with her moan the mansions made by the Deity, the bulbul singing as if ’twere human harmony and the merle whom to describe tongue faileth utterly; the turtle, whose plaining maddens men for loveecstasy and the ringdove and the popinjay answering her with fluency. There also were trees laden with all manner of fruitery, of each two kinds, [FN#342] the pomegranate, sweet and sour upon branches growing luxuriantly, the almond-apricot, [FN#343] the camphor-apricot [FN#344] and the almond Khorasan highs; the plum, with whose branches the boughs of the myrobalan were entwined tight; the orange, as it were a cresses flaming light, the shaddock weighed down with heavy freight; the lemon, that cures lack of appetite, the citron against jaundice of sovereign might, and the date, red and yellow-bright, the especial handiwork of Allah the Most High. Of the like of this place saith the enamoured poet,

“When its birds in the lake make melody, * The lorn lover yearneth its sight to see:
’Tis as Eden breathing a fragrant breeze, * With its shade and fruits and rills flowing free.”

Gharib marvelled at the beauty of that Wady and bade them set up there the pavilion of Fakhr Taj the Chosroite; so they pitched it among the trees and spread it with rich tapestries. Then he sat down and the slaves brought food and they ate their sufficiency; after which quoth Gharib, “Harkye, Sa’adan!”: and quoth he, “At thy service, O my lord.” “Hast thou aught of wine?” asked Gharib, and Sa’adan answered, “Yes, I have a cistern full of old wine.” Said Gharib, “Bring us some of it.” So Sa’adan sent ten slaves, who returned with great plenty of wine, and they ate and drank and were mirthful and merry. And Gharib bethought him of Mahdiyah and improvised these couplets,

“I mind our union days when ye were nigh, * And flames my heart with love’s consuming lowe.
By Allah, Ne’er of will I quitted you: * But shifts of Time from you com pelled me go:
Peace and fair luck and greetings thousand-fold * To you, from exiled lover’s pining woe.”

They abode eating and drinking and taking their pleasure in the valley for three days, after which they returned to the castle. Then Gharib called Sahim and said to him, “Take an hundred horse and go to thy father and mother and thy tribe, the Banu Kahtan, and bring them all to this place, here to pass the rest of their days, whilst I carry the Princess of Persia back to her father. As for thee, O Sa’adan, tarry thou here with thy sons, till I return to thee.” Asked Sa’adan, “And why wilt thou not carry me with thee to the land of the Persians?”; and Gharib answered, “Because thou stolest away King Sabur’s daughter and if his eye fall on thee, he will eat thy flesh and drink thy blood.” When the Ghul heard this, he laughed a loud laugh, as it were the pealing thunder, and said, “O my lord, by the life of thy head, if the Persians and Medes united against me, I would make them quaff the cup of annihilation.” Quoth Gharib, “ ’Tis as thou sayest; [FN#345] but tarry thou here in fort till I return to thee;” and quoth the Ghul, “I hear and I obey.” Then Sahim departed with his comrades of the Banu Kahtan for the dwelling places of their tribe, and Gharib set out with Princess Fakhr Taj and her company, intending for the cities of Sabur, King of the Persians. Thus far concerning them; but as regards King Sabur, he abode awaiting his daughter’s return from the Monastery of the Fire, and when the appointed time passed by and she came not, flames raged in his heart. Now he had forty Wazirs, whereof the oldest, wisest and chiefest was highs Daydán: so he said to him, “O Minister, verily my daughter delayeth her return and I have no news of her though the appointed time is past; so do thou send a courier to the Monastery of the Fire to learn what is come of her.” “Hearkening and obedience,” replied Daydan; and, summoning the chief of the couriers, said to him, “Wend thou forthright to the Monastery.” So he lost no time and when he reached it, he asked the monks of the King’s daughter, but they said, “We have not seen her this year.” So the courier returned to the city of Isbánír [FN#346] and told the Wazir, who went in to the King and acquainted him with the message. Now when Sabur heard this, he cast his crown on the ground, tore his beard and fell down in a trance. They sprinkled water upon him, and presently he came to himself, tearful-eyed and heavy-hearted, and repeated the words of the poet,

“When I far-parted patience call and tears, * Tears came to call but Patience never hears:
What, then, if Fortune parted us so far? * Fortune and Perfidy are peers

Then he called ten of his captains and bade them mount with a thousand horse and ride in different directions, in quest of his daughter. So they mounted forthright and departed each with his thousand; whilst Fakhr Taj’s mother clad herself and her women in black and strewed ashes on her head and sat weeping and lamenting. Such was their case; --And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Six Hundred and Thirty-first Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that King Sabur sent his troops in quest of his daughter, whose mother clad herself and her women in black. Such was their case; but as regards the strange adventures of Gharib and the Princess, they journeyed on ten days, and on the eleventh day, appeared a dust cloud which rose to the confines of the sky; whereupon Gharib called the Emir of the Persians and said to him, “Go learn the cause thereof.” “I hear and obey,” replied he and crave his charger, till he came under the cloud of dust, where he saw folk and enquired of them. Quoth one of them, “We are of the Banu Hattál and are questing for plunder; our Emir is Samsam bin Al-Jiráh and we are five thousand horse.” The Persians returned in haste and told their saying to Gharib, who cried out to his men of the Banu Kahtan and to the Persians, saying, “Don your arms!” They did as he bade them and presently up came the Arabs who were shouting, “A plunder! a plunder!” Quoth Gharib, “Allah confound you, O dogs of Arabs!” Then he loosed his horse and drove at them with the career of a right valiant kNight, shouting, “Allaho Akbar! Ho for the faith of Abraham the Friend, on whom be peace!” And there befel between them great fight and sore fray and the sword went round in sway and there was much said and say; nor did they leave fighting till fled the day and gloom came, when they drew from one another away. Then Gharib numbered his tribesmen and found that five of the Banu Kahtan had fallen and three-and-seventy of the Persians; but of the Banu Hattal they had slain more than five hundred horse. As for Samsam, he alighted and sought nor meat nor sleep, but said, “In all my life I never saw such a fighter as this youth! Anon he fighteth with the sword and anon with the mace; but, to-morrow I will go forth on champion wise and defy him to combat of twain in battle plain where edge and point are fain and I will cut off these Arabs.” Now, when Gharib returned to his camp, the Princess Fakhr Taj met him, weeping and affrighted for the terror of that which had befallen, and kissed his foot in the stirrup, saying, “May thy hands never wither nor thy foes be blither, O champion of the age! Alhamdolillah--Praise to God--who hath saved thee alive this day! Verily, I am in fear for thee from yonder Arabs.” When Gharib heard this, he smiled in her face and heartened and comforted her, saying, “Fear not, O Princess! Did the enemy fill this wild and wold yet would I scatter them, by the might of Allah Almighty.” She thanked him and prayed that he might be given the victory over his foes; after which she returned to her women and Gharib went to his tent, where he cleansed himself of the blood of the Infidels, and they lay on guard through the night. Next morning, the two hosts mounted and sought the plain where cut and thrust ruled sovereign. The first to prick into the open was Gharib, who crave his charger till he was near the Infidels and cried out, “Who is for jousting with me? Let no sluggard or weakling come out to me!” Whereupon there rushed forth a giant Amalekite of the lineage of the tribe of Ad, armed with an iron flail twenty pounds in weight, and drove at Gharib, saying, “O scum of the Arabs, take what cometh to thee and learn the glad tidings that thy last hour is at hand!” So saying, he aimed a blow at Gharib, but he avoided it and the flail sank a cubit into the ground. Now the badawi was bent double with the blow, so Gharib smote him with his mace and clove his forehead in sunder and he fell down dead and Allah hurried his soul to Hell-fire. Then Gharib charged and wheeled and called for champions; so there came out to him a second and a third and a fourth and so on, till ten had come forth to him and he slew them all. When the Infidels saw his form of fight and his smashing blows they hung back and forebore to fare forth to him, whereupon Samsam looked at them and said, “Allah never bless you! I will go forth to him.” So he donned his battle-gear and driving his charger into mid-field where he fronted the foe and cried out to Gharib saying, “Fie on thee, O dog of the Arabs! hath thy strength waxed so great that thou shouldst defy me in the open field and slaughter my men?” And Gharib replied, “Up and take bloodrevenge for the slaughter of thy braves!” So Samsam ran at Gharib who awaited him with broadened breast and heart enheartened, and they smote each at other with maces, till the two hosts marvelled and every eye was fixed on them. Then they wheeled about in the field and struck at each other two strokes; but Gharib avoided Samsam’s stroke which wreak had wroke and dealt with a buffet that beat in his breastbone and cast him to the ground--stone dead. Thereupon all his host ran at Gharib as one man, and he ran at them, crying, “God is most Great! Help and Victory for us and shame and defeat for those who misbelieve the faith of Abraham the Friend, on whom be peace!” --And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say,

When it was the Six Hundred and Thirty-second Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Sam sam’s tribesmen rushed upon Gharib as one man, he ran at them crying, “God is most Great! Help and Victory for us and shame and defeat for the Miscreant!” Now when the Infidels heard the name of the All-powerful King, the One, the All-conquering, whom the sight comprehendeth not, but He comprehendeth the sight, [FN#347] they looked at one another and said, “What is this say that maketh our side-muscles tremble and weakeneth our resolution and causeth the life to fail in us? Never in our lives heard we aught goodlier than this saying!” adding, “Let us leave fighting, that we may ask its meaning.” So they held their hands from the battle and dismounted; and their elders assembled and held counsel together, seeking to go to Gharib and saying, “Let ten of us repair to him!” So they chose out ten of their best, who set out for Gharib’s tents. Now he and his people had alighted and returned to their camp, marvelling at the withdrawal of the Infidels from the fight. But, presently, lo and behold! the ten came up and seeking speech of Gharib, kissed the earth before him and wished him glory and lasting life. Quoth he to them, “What made you leave fighting?”; and quoth they, “O, my lord, thou didst affright us with the words thou shoutest out at us.” Then asked Gharib, “What calamity do ye worship?”; and they answered, “We worship Wadd and Suwá’a and Yaghús, [FN#348] lords of the tribe of Noah”; and Gharib, “We serve none but Allah Almighty, Maker of all things and Provider of all livings. He it is who created the heavens and the earth and stablished the mountains, who made water to well from the stones and the trees to grow and feedeth wild beasts in word; for He is Allah, the One, the All-powerful Lord.” When they heard this, their bosoms broadened to the words of Unity-faith, and they said, “Verily, this be a Lord high and great, compassionating and compassionate!”; adding, “And what shall we say, to become of the Moslems, of those which submit themselves to Him?” Quoth Gharib, “Say, ‘There is no god but the God and Abraham is the Friend of God.’” So the ten made veracious profession of the veritable religion and Gharib said to them, “An the sweet savour of Al-Islam be indeed stablished in your hearts, fare ye to your tribe and expound the faith to them; and if they profess, they shall be saved, but if they refuse we will burn them with fire.” So the ten elders returned and expounded Al-Islam to their people and set forth to them the path of truth and creed, and they embraced the Faith of Submission with heart and tongue. Then they repaired on foot to Gharib’s tent and kissing ground between his hands wished him honour and high rank, saying, “O our lord, we are become thy slaves; so command us what thou wilt, for we are to thee audient and obedient and we will never depart from thee, since Allah hath guided us into the right way at thy hands.” Replied he, “Allah abundantly requite you! Return to your dwellings and march forth with your good and your children and forego me to the Wady of Blossoms and the castle of Sásá bin Shays, [FN#349] whilst I carry the Princess Fakhr Taj, daughter of Sabur, King of the Persians, back to her father and return to you.” “Hearkening and obedience,” said they and straightway returned to their encampment, rejoicing in Al-Islam, and expounded the True Faith to their wives and children, who became Believers. Then they struck their tents and set forth, with their good and cattle, for the Wady of Blossoms. When they came in sight of the castle of Shays, Sa’adan and his sons sallied forth to them, but Gharib had charged them, saying, “If the Ghul of the Mountain come out to you and offer to attack you, do ye call upon the name of Allah the All-creator, and he will leave his hostile intent and receive you hospitably.” So when he would have fallen upon them they called aloud upon the name of Almighty Allah and straightway he received them kindly and asked them of their case. They told him all that had passed between Gharib and themselves, whereupon he rejoiced in them and lodged them with him and loaded them with favours. Such was their case; but as regards Gharib, he and his, escorting the Princess fared on five days’ journey towards the City of Isbanir, and on the sixth day they saw a dust-cloud. So Gharib sent one of the Persians to learn the meaning of this and he went and returned, swiftlier than bird in flight, saying, “O my lord, these be a thousand horse of our comrades, whom the King hath sent in quest of his daughter Fakhr Taj.” When Gharib heard this, he commanded his company to halt and pitch the tents. So they halted and waited till the new comers reached them, when they went to meet them and told Túmán, their captain, that the Princess was with them; whereupon he went in to Gharib and kissing the ground before him, enquired for her. Gharib sent him to her pavilion, and he entered and kissed her hands and feet and acquainted her with what had befallen her father and mother. She told him in return all that had betided her and how Gharib had delivered her from the Ghul of the Mountain, --And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say,

When it was the Six Hundred and Thirty-third Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the King’s daughter, Fakhr Taj, had told Tuman all that had befallen her from the Mountain-Ghul, and how he had imprisoned her and would have devoured her but for Gharib, adding, “And indeed, it behoveth my sire to give him the half of his reign,” Tuman arose and returned to Gharib and kissed his hands and feet and thanked him for his good dealing, saying, “With thy leave, O my lord, I will return to Isbanir City and deliver to our King the good news of his daughter’s approach.” “Go,” replied Gharib, “and take of him the gift of glad tidings.” So Tuman returned with all dillgence to Isbanir, the Cities, and entering the palace, kissed ground before the King, who said to him, “What is there of new, O bringer of good news?” Quoth Tuman, “I will not speak thee, till thou give me the gift of glad tidings.” Quoth the King, “Tell me thy glad tidings and I will content thee.” So Tuman said, “O King, I bring thee joyful intelligence of the return of Princess Fakhr Taj.” When Sabur heard his daughter’s name, he fell down fainting and they sprinkled rose-water on him, till he recovered and cried to Tuman, “Draw near to me and tell me all the good which hath befallen her.” So he came forward and acquainted him with all that had betided the Princess; and Sabur beat hand upon hand, saying, “Unhappy thou, O Fakhr Taj!’’ [FN#350] And he bade give Tuman ten thousand gold pieces and conferred on him the government of Isfáhán City and its dependencies. Then he cried out to his Emirs, saying, “Mount, all of you, and fare we forth to meet the Princess Fakhr Taj!”; and the Chief Eunuch went in to the Queen-mother and told her and all the Harim the good news, whereat she rejoiced and gave him a robe of honour and a thousand dinars. Moreover, the people of the city heard of this and decorated the market streets and houses. Then the King and Tuman took horse and rode till they had sight of Gharib, when Sabur footed it and made some steps towards Gharib, who also dismounted and advanced to meet him; and they embraced and saluted each other, and Sabur bent over Gharib’s hand and kissed it and thanked him for his favours. [FN#351] They pitched their pavilions in face of each other and Sabur went in to his daughter, who rose and embracing him told him, all that had befallen her and how Gharib had rescued her from the clutches of the Ghul of the Mountain. Quoth the King, “By thy life, O Princess of fair ones, I will overwhelm him with gifts!”; and quoth she, “O my papa, make him thy son-in-law, that he may be to thee a force against thy foes, for he is passing valiant.” Her father replied, “O my daughter, knowst thou not that King Khirad Sháh seeketh thee in marriage and that he hath cast the brocade [FN#352] and hath given an hundred thousand dinars in settlement, and he is King of Shiraz and its dependencies and is lord of empire and horsemen and footmen?” But when the Princess heard these words she said, “O my papa! I desire not that whereof thou speakest, and if thou constrain me to that I have no mind to, I will slay myself.” So Sabur left her and went in to Gharib, who rose to him; and they sat awhile together; but the King could not take his fill of looking upon him; and he said in his mind, “By Allah, my daughter is excusable if she love this Badawi!” Then he called for food and they ate and passed the night together. On the morrow, they took horse and rode till they arrived at the City of Isbanir and entered, stirrup to stirrup, and it was for them a great day. Fakhr Taj repaired to her palace and the abiding-place of her rank, where her mother and her women received her with cries of joy and loud lullilooings. As for King Sabur, he sat down on his throne and seated Gharib on his right hand, whilst the Princes and Chamberlains, the Emirs, Wazirs and Nabobs stood on either hand and gave him joy of the recovery of his daughter. Said Sabur, “Whoso loveth me let him bestow a robe of honour on Gharib,” and there fell dresses of honour on him like drops of rain. Then Gharib abode the King’s guest ten days, when he would have departed, but Sabur clad him in an honourable robe and swore him by his faith that he should not march for a whole month. Quoth Gharib, “O King, I am plighted to one of the girls of the Arabs and I desire to go in to her.” Quoth the King, “Whether is the fairer, thy betrothed or Fakhr Taj?” “O King of the age,” replied Gharib, “what is the slave beside the lord?” And Sabur said, “Fakhr Taj is become thy handmaid, for that thou didst rescue her from the pounces of the Ghul, and she shall have none other husband than thyself.” Thereupon Gharib rose and kissed ground, saying, “O King of the age, thou art a sovereign and I am but a poor man, and belike thou wilt ask a heavy dowry.” Replied the King, “O my son, know that Khirad Shah, lord of Shiraz and dependencies thereof, seeketh her in marriage and hath appointed an hundred thousand dinars to her dower; but I have chosen thee before all men, that I may make thee the sword of my kingship and my shield against vengeance.’’ [FN#353] Then he turned to his Chief Officers and said to them, “Bear witness [FN#354] against me, O Lords of mine Empire, that I marry my daughter Fakhr Taj to my son Gharib.” --And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say,

When it was the Six Hundred and Thirty-fourth Night,

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Sabur, King of Ajam-land said to his Chief Officers, “Bear ye witness against me that I marry my daughter Fakhr Taj, to my son Gharib!” With that he joined palms [FN#355] with him and she became his wife. Then said Gharib, “Appoint me a dower and I will bring it to thee, for I have in the Castle of Sasa wealth and treasures beyond count.” Replied Sabur, “O my son, I want of thee neither treasure nor wealth and I will take nothing for her dower save the head of Jamrkán King of Dasht and the city of Ahwáz. [FN#356]” Quoth Gharib, “O King of the age, I will fetch my folk forthright and go to thy foe and spoil his realm.” Quoth Sabur, “Allah requite thee with good!” and dismissed the lords and commons, thinking, “If Gharib go forth against Jamrkan, he will never more return.” When morning morrowed the King mounted with Gharib and bidding all his troops take horse rode forth to the plain, where he said to his men, “Do ye tilt with spears and gladden my heart.” So the champions of Persia land played one against other, and Gharib said, “O King of the age, I have a mind to tilt with the horsemen of Ajam-land, but on one condition.” Asked the King, “What is that?”; and answered Gharib, “It is that I shall don a light tunic and take a headless lance, with a pennon dipped in saffron, whilst the Persian champions sally forth and tilt against me with sharp spears. If any conquer me, I will render myself to him: but, if I conquer him I will mark him on the breast and he shall leave the plain.” Then the King cried to the commander of the troops to bring forward the champions of the Persians; so he chose out from amongst the Princes one thousand two hundred of his stoutest champions, and the King said to them, in the Persian tongue, “Whoso slayeth this Badawi may ask of me what he will.” So they strove with one another for precedence and charged down upon Gharib and truth was distinguished from falsehood and jest from earnest. Quoth Gharib, “I put my trust in Allah, the God of Abraham the Friend, the Deity who hath power over all and from whom naught is hidden, the One, the Almighty, whom the sight comprehendeth not!” Then an Amalekite-like giant of the Persian champions rushed out to him, but Gharib let him not stand long before him ere he marked him and covered his breast with saffron and as he turned away, he smote him on the nape with the shaft of his lance, and he fell to the ground and his pages bore him from the lists. [FN#357] Then a second champion came forth against him and he overcame him and marked him on the breast; and thus did he with a third and a fourth and a fifth; and there came out against him champion after champion till he had overcome them all and marked them on the breast; for Almighty Allah gave him the victory over them and they fared forth vanquish from the plain. Then the servants set food and strong wine before them! and they ate and drank, till Gharib’s wits were dazed by the drink. By and by, he went out to obey a call of Nature and would have returned, but lost his way and entered the palace of Fakhr Taj. When she saw him, her reason fled and she cried out to her women saying, “Go forth from me to your own places!” So they withdrew and she rose and kissed Gharib’s hand, saying “Welcome to my lord, who delivered me from the Ghul! Indeed I am shine handmaid for ever and ever.” Then she drew him to her bed and embraced him, whereupon desire was hot upon him and he broke her seal and lay with her till the morning. Meanwhile the King thought that he had departed; but on the morrow he went in to him and Sabur rose to him and made him sit by his side. Then entered the tributary kings and kissing the ground stood ranged in rows on the right and left and fell to talking of Gharib’s velour and saying, “Extolled be He who gave him such prowess albeit he is so young in years!” As they were thus engaged, behold all espied from the palace-windows the dust of horse approaching and the King cried out to his scouts, saying, “Woe to you! Go and bring me news of yonder dust!” So a cavalier took horse and riding off, returned after a while, and said “O King, we found under that dust an hundred horse belonging to an Emir highs Sahim al-Layl.” Gharib hearing these words, cried out, “O my lord, this is my brother, whom I had sent on an errand, and I will go forth to meet him.” So saying, he mounted, with his hundred men of the Banu Kahtan and a thousand Persians, and rode to meet his brother in great state, but greatness belongeth to God alone. [FN#358] When the two came up with each other, they dismounted and embraced, and Gharib said to Sahim, “O my brother, hast thou brought our tribe to the Castle of Sasa and the Wady of Blossoms?” “O my brother,” replied Sahim, “when the perfidious dog Mardas heard that thou hadst made thee master of the stronghold belonging to the Mountain-Ghul, he was sore chagrined and said, ‘Except I march hence, Gharib will come and carry off my daughter Mahdiyah without dower.’ So he took his daughter and his goods and set out with his tribe for the land of Irak, where he entered the city of Cufa and put himself under the protection of King Ajib, seeking to give him his daughter to wife.” When Gharib heard his brother’s story, he well-nigh gave up the ghost for rage and said, “By the virtue of the faith of Al-Islam, the faith of Abraham the Friend, and by the Supreme Lord, I will assuredly go to the land of Irak and fierce war upon it I will set on foot.” Then they returned to the city and going in to the King, kissed ground before him. He rose to Gharib and saluted Sahim; after which the elder brother told him what had happened and he put ten captains at his commandment, under each one’s hand ten thousand horse of the doughtiest of the Arabs and the Ajams, who equipped themselves and were ready to depart in three days. Then Gharib set out and journeyed till he reached the Castle of Sasa whence the Ghul and his sons came forth to meet him and dismounting, kissed his feet in the stirrups. He told them all that had passed and the giant said, “O my lord, do thou abide in this thy castle, whilst I with my sons and servants repair to Irak and lay waste the city Al-Rusták [FN#359] and bring to thy hand all its defenders bound in straitest bond.” But Gharib thanked him and said, “O Sa’adan, we will all go.” So he made him ready and the whole body set out for Irak, leaving a thousand horse to guard the Castle. Thus far concerning them; but as regards Mardas, he arrived with his tribe in the land of Irak bringing with him a handsome present and fared for Cufa-city which he entered. Then, he presented himself before Ajib and kissed ground between his hands and, after wishing him what is wished to kings, said, “O my lord, I come to place myself under thy protection.” --And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say,

When it was the Six Hundred and Thirty-fifth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King that Mardas coming into the presence of Ajib, said to him, “I come to place myself under thy protection!” Quoth Ajib, “Tell me who hath wronged thee, that I may protect thee against him, though it were Sabur, King of the Persians and Turcomans and Daylamites.” Quoth Mardas, “O King of the Age, he who hath wronged me is none other than a youth whom I reared in my bosom. I found him in his mother’s lap in a certain valley and took her to wife She brought me a son, whom I named Sahim al-Layl, and her own son, Gharib highs, grew up on my knees and became a blasting thunderbolt and a lasting calamity, [FN#360] for he smote Al-Hamal, [FN#361] Prince of the Banu Nabhan, and slew footmen and threw horsemen. Now I have a daughter, who befitteth thee alone, and he sought her of me; so I required of him the head of the Ghul of the Mountain, wherefore he went to him and, after engaging him in singular combat, made the master his man and took the Castle of Sasa bin Shays bin Shaddad bin Ad, wherein are the treasures of the ancients and the hoards of the moderns. Moreover, I hear that, become a Moslem, he goeth about, summoning the folk to his faith. He is now gone to bear the Princess of Persia, whom he delivered from the Ghul, back to her father, King Sabur, and will not return but with the treasures of the Persians.” When Ajib heard the story of Mardas he changed colour to yellow and was in ill case and made sure of his own destruction; then he said, O Mardas, is the youth’s mother with thee or with him?”; and Mardas replied, “She is with me in my tents.” Quoth Ajib, What is her name?”; quoth Mardas, “Her name is Nusrah.” “ ’Tis very she,” rejoined Ajib and sent for her to the presence. Now when she came before him, he looked on her and knew her and asked her, “O accursed, where are the two slaves I sent with thee?”; and she answered, “They slew each other on my account;” whereupon Ajib bared his blade and smote her and cut her in twain. Then they dragged her away and cast her out; but trouble and suspicion entered Ajib’s heart and he cried, “O Mardas, give me thy daughter to wife.” He rejoined, “She is one of shine handmaids: I give her to thee to wife, and I am thy slave.” Said Ajib, “I desire to look upon this son of an adulteress, Gharib, that I may destroy him and cause him taste all manner of torments.” Then he bade give Mardas, to his daughter’s dowry, thirty thousand dinars and an hundred pieces of silk-brocaded and fringed with gold and an hundred pieces of silk bordered stuffs and kerchiefs and golden collars. So he went forth with this mighty fine dowry and set himself to equip Mahdiyah in all diligence. Such was their case; but as regards Gharib, he fared on till he came to Al-Jazírah, which is the first town of Al-Irak [FN#362] and is a walled and fortified city and he hard by it called a halt. When the townsfolk saw his army encamped before it, they bolted the gates and manned the walls, then went to the King of the city, who was called Al-Dámigh, the Brainer, for that he used to brain the champions in the open field of fight, and told him what was come upon them. So he looked forth from the battlements of the palace and seeing a conquering host, all of them Persians, encamped before the city, said to the citizens, “O folk, what do yonder Ajams want?”; and they replied, “We know not.” Now Al-Damigh had among his officers a man called Saba’ al-Kifár, the Desert-lion, keen of wit and penetrating as he were a flame of fire; so he called him and said to him, “Go to this stranger host and find out who they be and what they want and return quickly.” Accordingly, he sped like the wind to the Persian tents, where a company of Arabs rose up and met him saying, “Who art thou and what dost thou require?” He replied, “I am a messenger and an envoy from the lord of the city to your chief.” So they took him and carried him through the lines of tents, pavilions and standards, till they came to Gharib’s Shahmiyánah and told him of the mission. He bade them bring him in and they did so, whereupon he kissed ground before Gharib and wished him honour and length of days. Quoth Gharib, “What is shine errand?” and quoth Saba’ al-Kifar, “I am an envoy from the lord of the city of Al-Jazirah, Al-Damigh, brother of King Kundamir, lord of the city of Cufa and the land of Irak.” When Gharib heard his father’s name, the tears railed from his eyes in rills and he looked at the messenger and said, “What is thy name?”; and he replied, “My name is Saba’ al-Kifar.” Said Gharib, “Return to thy lord and tell him that the commander of this host is called Gharib, son of Kundamir, King of Cufa, whom his son Ajib slew, and he is come to take blood-revenge for his sire on Ajib the perfidious hound.” So Saba’ al-Kifar returned to the city and in great joy kissed the ground, when Al-Damigh said, “What is going on there, O Saba’ al-Kifar?” He replied, “O my master, the leader of yon host is thy nephew, thy brother’s son,” and told him all. The King deemed himself in a dream and asked the messenger, “O Saba’ al-Kifar, is this thou tellest me true?” and the Desert-lion answered, “As thy head liveth, it is sooth!” Then Al-Damigh bade his chief officers take horse forthright and all rode out to the camp, whence Gharib came forth and met him and they embraced and saluted each other; after which Gharib carried him to his tents and they sat down on beds of estate. Al-Damigh rejoiced in Gharib, his brother’s son, and presently turning to him, said, “I also have yearned to take blood-revenge for thy father, but could not avail against the dog thy brother; for that his troops are many and my troops are few.” Replied Gharib, “O uncle, here am I come to avenge my sire and blot out our shame and rid the realm of Ajib.” Said Al-Damigh, “O son of my brother, thou hast two blood-wreaks to take, that of thy father and that of thy mother.” Asked Gharib, “And what aileth my mother?” and Al-Damigh answered, “Thy brother Ajib hath slain her.” --And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say,

When it was the Six Hundred and Thirty-sixth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Gharib heard these words of his uncle Al-Damigh, “Verily thy brother Ajib hath slain her!”, he asked what was the cause thereof and was told of all that had happened, especially how Mardas had married his daughter to Ajib who was about to go into her. Thereupon Gharib’s reason fled from his head and he swooned away and was nigh upon death. No sooner did he come to himself than he cried out to the troops, saying, “To horse!” But Al-Damigh said to him, “O son of my brother, wait till I make ready mine affairs and mount among my men and fare with thee at thy stirrup.” Replied Gharib “I have no patience to wait; do thou equip thy troops and join me at Cufa.” Thereupon Gharib mounted with his troops and rode, till he came to the town of Babel, [FN#363] whose folk took fright at him. Now there was in this town a King called Jamak, under whose hand were twenty thousand horsemen, and there gathered themselves together to him from the villages other fifty thousand horse, who pitched their tents facing the city. Then Gharib wrote a letter and sent it to King Jamak by a messenger, who came up to the city-gate and cried out, saying, “I am an envoy;” whereupon the Warder of the Gate went in and told Jamak, who said, “Bring him to me.” So he led in the messenger, who kissing the ground before the King, gave him the letter, and Jamak opened it and read its contents as follows: “Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Three Worlds, Lord of all things, who giveth to all creatures their daily bread and who over all things is Omnipotent! These from Gharib, son of King Kundamir, lord of Irak and Cufa, to Jamak. Immediately this letter reacheth thee, let not thy reply be other than to break shine idols and confess the unity of the All-knowing King, Creator of light and darkness, Creator of all things, the All-powerful; and except thou do as I bid thee, I will make this day the blackest of thy days. Peace be on those who follow in the way of Salvation, fearing the issues of fornication, and obey the hest of the Most High King, Lord of this world and the next, Him who saith to a thing, ‘Be’; and it becometh!” Now when Jamak read this letter, his eyes paled and his colour failed and he cried out to the messenger, “Go to thy lord and say to him, ‘To-morrow, at daybreak there shall be fight and conflict and it shall appear who is the conquering hero.’” So he returned and told Gharib, who bade his men make ready for battle, whilst Jamak commanded his tents to be pitched in face of Gharib’s camp; and his troops poured forth like the surging sea and passed the night with intention of slaughter. As soon as dawned the day, the two hosts mounted and drew up in battle array and beat their drums amain and drave their steeds of swiftest strain; and they filled the whole earthly plain; and the champions to come out were fain. Now the first who sallied forth a championing to the field was the Ghul of the Mountain, bearing on shoulder a terrible tree, and he cried out between the two hosts, saying, “I am Sa’adan the Ghul! Who is for fighting, who is for jousting? Let no sluggard come forth to me nor weakling.” And he called out to his sons, saying, “Woe to you! Bring me fuel and fire, for I am an-hungered.” So they cried upon their slaves who brought firewood and kindled a fire in the heart of the plain. Then there came out to him a man of the Kafirs, an Amalekite of the unbelieving Amalekites, bearing on his shoulder a mace like the mast of a ship, and drove at Sa’adan the Ghul, saying, “Woe to thee, O Sa’adan!” When the giant heard this, he waxed furious beyond measure and raising his tree club, aimed at the Infidel a blow, that hummed through the air. The Amalekite met the stroke with his mace, but the tree beat down his guard and descending with its own weight, together with the weight of the mace upon his head, beat in his brain pan, and he fell like a long-stemmed palm-tree. Thereupon Sa’adan cried to his slaves, saying, “Take this fatted calf and roast him quickly.” So they hastened to skin the Infidel and roasted him and brought him to the Ghul, who ate his flesh and crunched his bones. [FN#364] Now when the Kafirs saw how Sa’adan did with their fellow, their hair and pile stood on end; their skins quaked, their colour changed, their hearts died within them and they said to one another, “Whoso goeth out against this Ghul, he eateth him and cracketh his bones and causeth him to lack the zephyr-wind of the world.” Wherefore they held their hands, quailing for fear of the Ghul and his sons and turned to fly, making for the town; but Gharib cried out to his troops, saying, “Up and after the runaways!” So the Persians and the Arabs crave after the King of Babel and his host and caused sword to smite them, till they slew of them twenty thousand or more. Then the fugitives crowded together in the city gate and they killed of them much people; and they could not avail to shut the gate. So the Arabs and the Persians entered with them, fighting, and Sa’adan, snatching a mace from one of the slain, wielded it in the enemy’s face and gained the city race-course. Thence he fought his way through the foe and broke into the King’s palace, where he met with Jamak and so smote him with the mace, that he toppled senseless to the ground. Then he fell upon those who were in the palace and pounded them into pieces, till all that were left cried out, “Quarter! Quarter!” and Sa’adan said to them, “Pinion your King.” --And Shahrazad saw the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say,

End of Vol 6.