KING MOHAMMED BIN SABAIK AND THE MERCHANT HASAN.
There was once, in days of yore and in ages and times long gone before, a King of the Kings of the Persians, by name Mohammed bin Sabáik, who ruled over Khorásán-land and used every year to go on razzia into the countries of the Miscreants in Hind and Sind and China and the lands of Máwarannahr beyond the Oxus and other regions of the barbarians and what not else. He was a just King, a valiant and a generous, and loved table-talk [FN#349] and tales and verses and anecdotes and histories and entertaining stories and legends of the ancients. Whoso knew a rare recital and related it to him in such fashion as to please him he would bestow on him a sumptuous robe of honour and clothe him from head to foot and give him a thousand dinars, and mount him on a horse saddled and bridled besides other great gifts; and the man would take all this and wend his way. Now it chanced that one day there came an old man before him and related to him a rare story, which pleased the King and made him marvel, so he ordered him a magnificent present, amongst other things a thousand dinars of Khorasan and a horse with its housings and trappings. After this, the bruit of the King's munificence was blazed abroad in all countries and there heard of him a man, Hasan the Merchant hight, who was a generous, open-handed and learned, a scholar and an accomplished poet. Now the King had an envious Wazir, a multum-in-parvo of ill, loving no man, rich nor poor, and whoso came before the King and he gave him aught he envied him and said, "Verily, this fashion annihilateth wealth and ruineth the land; and such is the custom of the King." But this was naught save envy and despite in that Minister. Presently the King heard talk of Hasan the Merchant and sending for him, said to him as soon as he came into the presence, "O Merchant Hasan, this Wazir of mine vexeth and thwarteth me concerning the money I give to poets and boon-companions and story-tellers and glee-men, and I would have thee tell me a goodly history and a rare story, such as I have never before heard. An it please me, I will give thee lands galore, with their forts, in free tenure, in addition to thy fiefs and untaxed lands; besides which I will put my whole kingdom in thy hands and make thee my Chief Wazir; so shalt thy sit on my right hand and rule my subjects. But an thou bring me not that which I bid thee, I will take all that is thy hand and banish thee my realm." Replied Hasan, "Hearkening and obedience to our lord the King! But thy slave beseecheth thee to have patience with him a year; then will he tell thee a tale, such as thou hast never in thy life heard, neither hath other than thou heard its like, not to say a better than it." Quoth the King, "I grant thee a whole year's delay." And he called for a costly robe of honour wherein he robed Hasan, saying, "Keep thy house and mount not horse, neither go nor come for a year's time, till thou bring me that I seek of thee. An thou bring it, especial favour awaiteth thee and thou mayst count upon that which I have promised thee; but an thou bring it not, thou art not of us nor are we of thee."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Seven Hundred and Fifty-seventh Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when King Mohammed son of Sabaik said to Hasan the Merchant, "An thou bring me that I seek of thee, especial favour awaiteth thee and thou mayest now rejoice in that which I have promised thee; but, an thou bring it not, thou art not of us nor are we of thee." Hasan kissed ground before the King and went out from the presence. Then he chose five of the best of his Mamelukes, who could all write and read and were learned, intelligent, accomplished; and he gave each of them five thousand dinars, saying, "I reared you not save for the like of this day; so do ye help me to further the King's desire and deliver me from his hand." Quoth they, "What wilt thou have us do? Our lives be thy ransom!" Quoth he, "I wish you to go each to a different country and seek out diligently the learned and erudite and literate and the tellers of wondrous stories and marvellous histories and do your endeavour to procure me the story of Sayf al-Mulúk. If ye find it with any one, pay him what price soever he asketh for it although he demand a thousand dinars; give him what ye may and promise him the rest and bring me the story; for whoso happeneth on it and bringeth it to me, I will bestow on him a costly robe of honour and largesse galore, and there shall be to me none more worshipped than he." Then said he to one of them, "Hie thou to Al-Hind and Al-Sind and all their provinces and dependencies." To another, "Hie thou to the home of the Persians and to China and her climates." To the third, "Hie thou to the land of Khorasan with its districts." To the fourth, "Hie thou to Mauritania and all its regions, districts, provinces and quarters." And to the fifth, "Hie thou to Syria and Egypt and their outliers." Moreover, he chose them out an auspicious day and said to them, "Fare ye forth this day and be diligent in the accomplishment of my need and be not slothful, though the case cost you your lives." So they farewelled him and departed, each taking the direction perscribed to him. Now, four of them were absent four months, and searched but found nothing; so they returned and told their master, whose breast was straitened, that they had ransacked towns and cities and countries for the thing he sought, but had happened upon naught thereof. Meanwhile, the fifth servant journeyed till he came to the land of Syria and entered Damascus, which he found a pleasant city and a secure, abounding in trees and rills, leas and fruiteries and birds chanting the praises of Allah the One, the All-powerful of sway, Creator of Night and Day. Here he tarried some time, asking for his master's desire, but non answered him, wherefore he was on the point of departing thence to another place, when he met a young man running and stumbling over his skirts. So he asked of him, "Wherefore runnest thou in such eagerness and whither dost thou press?" And he answered, "There is an elder here, a man of learning, who every day at this time taketh his seat on a stool [FN#350] and relateth tales and stories and delectable anecdotes, whereof never heard any the like; and I am running to get me a place near him and fear I shall find no room, because of the much folk." Quoth the Mameluke, "Take me with thee;" and quoth the youth, "Make haste in thy walking." So he shut his door and hastened with him to the place of recitation, where he saw an old man of bright favour seated on a stool holding forth to the folk. He sat down near him and addressed himself to hear his story, till the going down of the sun, when the old man made an end of his tale and the people, having heard it all, dispersed from about him; whereupon the Mameluke accosted him and saluted him, and he returned his salam and greeted him with the utmost worship and courtesy. Then said the messenger to him, "O my lord Shaykh, thou art a comely and reverend man, and thy discourse is goodly; but I would fain ask thee of somewhat." Replied the old man, "Ask of what thou wilt!" Then said the Mameluke, "Hast thou the story of Sayf al-Muluk and Badí'a al-Jamál?" Rejoined the elder, "And who told thee of this story and informed thee thereof?" Answered the messenger, "None told me of it, but I am come from a far country, in quest of this tale, and I will pay thee whatever thou askest for its price if thou have it and wilt, of thy bounty and charity, impart it to me and make it an alms to me, of the generosity of thy nature for, had I my life in my hand and lavished it upon thee for this thing, yet were it pleasing to my heart." Replied the old man, "Be of good cheer and keep thine eye cool and clear: thou shalt have it; but this is no story that one telleth in the beaten highway, nor do I give it to every one." Cried the other, "By Allah, O my lord, do not grudge it me, but ask of me what price thou wilt." And the old man, "If thou wish for the history give me an hundred dinars and thou shalt have it; but upon five conditions." Now when the Mameluke knew that the old man had the story and was willing to sell it to him, he joyed with exceeding joy and said, "I will give thee the hundred dinars by way of price and ten to boot as a gratuity and take it on the conditions of which thou speakest." Said the old man, "Then go and fetch the gold pieces, and take that thou seekest." So the messenger kissed his hands and joyful and happy returned to his lodging, where he laid an hundred and ten dinars [FN#351] in a purse he had by him. As soon as morning morrowed, he donned his clothes and taking the dinars, repaired to the story-teller, whom he found seated at the door of his house. So he saluted him and the other returned his salam. Then he gave him the gold and the old man took it and carrying the messenger into his house made him sit down in a convenient place, when he set before him ink-case and reed-pen and paper and giving him a book, said to him, "Write out what thou seekest of the night-story [FN#352] of Sayf al-Muluk from this book." Accordingly the Mameluke fell to work and wrote till he had made an end of his copy, when he read it to the old man, and he corrected it and presently said to him, "Know, O my son, that my five conditions are as follows; firstly, that thou tell not this story in the beaten high road nor before women and slave-girls nor to black slaves nor feather-heads; nor again to boys; but read it only before Kings and Emirs and Wazirs and men of learning, such as expounders of the Koran and others." Thereupon the messenger accepted the conditions and kissing the old man'shand, took leave of him, and fared forth.--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Seven Hundred and Fifty-eighth Night,
She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the Mameluke of Hasan the Merchant had copied the tale out of the book belonging to the old man of Damascus, and had accepted his conditions and farewelled him, he fared forth on the same day, glad and joyful, and journeyed on diligently, of the excess of his contentment, for that he had gotten the story of Sayf al-Muluk, till he came to his own country, when he despatched his servant to bear the good news to his master and say to him, "Thy Mameluke is come back in safety and hath won his will and his aim." (Now of the term appointed between Hasan and the King there wanted but ten days.) Then, after taking rest in his own quarters he himself went in to the Merchant and told him all that had befallen him and gave him the book containing the story of Sayf al-Muluk and Badi'a al-Jamal, when Hasan joyed with exceeding joy at the sight and bestowed on him all the clothes he had on and gave him ten thoroughbred horses and the like number of camels and mules and three negro chattels and two white slaves. Then Hasan took the book and copied out the story plainly in his own hand; after which he presented himself before the King and said to him, "O thou auspicious King, I have brought thee a night-story and a rarely pleasant relation, whose like none ever heard at all." When these words reached the King's ear, he sent forthright for all the Emirs, who were men of understanding, and all the learned doctors and folk of erudition and culture and poets and wits; and Hasan sat down and read the history before the King, who marvelled thereat and approved it, as did all who were present, and they showered gold and silver and jewels upon the Merchant. Moreover, the King bestowed on him a costly robe of honour of the richest of his raiment and gave him a great city with its castles and outliers; and he appointed him one of his Chief Wazirs and seated him on his right hand. Then he caused the scribes write the story in letters of gold and lay it up in his privy treasures: and whenever his breast was straitened, he would summon Hasan and he would read him the story, [FN#353] which was as follows:--
Story of Prince Sayf al-Muluk and the Princess Badi'a al-Jamal.
There was once, in days of old and in ages and times long told, a King in Egypt called Asim bin Safwán, [FN#354] who was a liberal and beneficent sovran, venerable and majestic. He owned many cities and sconces and fortresses and troops and warriors and had a Wazir named Fáris bin Sálih, [FN#355] and he and all his subjects worshipped the sun and the fire, instead of the All-powerful Sire, the Glorious, the Victorious. Now this King was become a very old man, weakened and wasted with age and sickness and decrepitude; for he had lived an hundred and fourscore years and had no child, male or female, by reason whereof he was ever in cark and care from morning to night and from night to morn. It so happened that one day of the days, he was sitting on the throne of his Kingship, with his Emirs and Wazirs and Captains and Grandees in attendance on him, according to their custom, in their several stations, and whenever there came in an Emir, who had with him a son or two sons, or haply three who stood at the sides of their sires the King envied him and said in himself, "Every one of these is happy and rejoiceth in his children, whilst I, I have no child, and to-morrow I die and leave my reign and throne and lands and hoards, and strangers will take them and none will bear me in memory nor will there remain any mention of me in the world." Then he became drowned in the sea of thought and for the much thronging of griefs and anxieties upon his hear, like travellers faring for the well, he shed tears and descending from his throne, sat down upon the floor, [FN#356] weeping and humbling himself before the Lord. Now when the Wazir and notables of the realm and others who were present in the assembly saw him do thus with his royal person, they feared for their lives and let the poursuivants cry aloud to the lieges, saying, "Hie ye to your homes and rest till the King recover from what aileth him." So they went away, leaving none in the presence save the Minister who, as soon as the King came to himself, kissed ground between his hands and said, "O King of the Age and the Time, wherefore this weeping and wailing? Tell me who hath transgressed against thee of the Kings or Castellans or Emirs or Grandees, and inform me who hath thwarted thee, O my liege lord, that we may all fall on him and tear his soul from his two sides." But he spake not neither raised his head; whereupon the Minister kissed ground before him a second time and said to him, "O Master, [FN#357] I am even as thy son and thy slave, nay, I have reared thee; yet know I not the cause of thy cark and chagrin and of this thy case; and who should know but I who should stand in my stead between thy hands? Tell me therefore why this weeping and wherefore thine affliction." Nevertheless, the King neither opened his mouth nor raised his head, but ceased not to weep and cry with a loud crying and lament with exceeding lamentation and ejaculate, "Alas!" The Wazir took patience with him awhile, after which he said to him, "Except thou tell me the cause of this thine affliction, I will set this sword to my heart and will slay myself before thine eyes, rather than see thee thus distressed." Then King Asim raised his head and, wiping away his tears, said, "O Minister of good counself and experience, leave me to my care and my chagrin, for that which is in my heart of sorrow sufficeth me." But Faris said, "Tell me, O King, the cause of this thy weeping, haply Allah will appoint thee relief at my hands."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Seven Hundred and Fifty-ninth Night,
She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Wazir said to King Asim, "Tell me the cause of this thy weeping: haply Allah shall appoint thee relief at my hands." Replied the King, "O Wazir, I weep not for monies nor horses nor kingdoms nor aught else, but that I am become an old man, yea, very old, nigh upon an hundred and fourscore years of age, and I have not been blessed with a child, male or female; so, when I die, they will bury me and my trace will be effaced and my name cut off; the stranger will take my throne and reign and none will ever make mention of my being." Rejoined the Minister Faris, "O King of the Age, I am older than thou by an hundred years yet have I never been blest with boon of child and cease not day and night from cark and care and concern; so how shall we do, I and thou?" Quoth Asim, "O Wazir, hast thou no device or shift in this matter?" and quoth the Minister, "Know, O King that I have heard of a Sovran in the land of Sabá [FN#358] by name Solomon David-son (upon the twain be the Peace!), [FN#359] who pretendeth to prophetship and avoucheth that he hath a mighty Lord who can do all things and whose kingdom is in the Heavens and who hath dominion over all mankind and birds and beasts and over the wind and the Jinn. Moreover, he kenneth the speech of birds and the language of every other created thing; and withal, he calleth all creatures to the worship of his Lord and discourseth to them of their service. So let us send him a messenger in the King's name and seek of him our need, beseeching him to put up prayer to his Lord, that He vouchsafe each of us boon of issue. If his Faith be soothfast and his Lord Omnipotent, He will assuredly bless each of us with a child male or female, and if the thing thus fall out, we will enter his faith and worship his Lord; else will we take patience and devise us another device." The King cried, "This is well seen, and my breast is braodened by this thy speech; but where shall we find a messenger befitting this grave matter, for that this Solomon is no Kinglet and the approaching him is no light affair? Indeed, I will send him none, on the like of this matter, save thyself; for thou art ancient and versed in all manner affairs and the like of thee is the like of myself; wherefore I desire that thou weary thyself and journey to him and occupy thyself sedulously with accomplishing this matter, so haply solace may be at thy hand." The Minister said, "I hear and I obey; but rise thou forthwith and seat thee upon the throne, so the Emirs and Lords of the realm and officers and the lieges may enter applying themselves to thy service, according to their custom; for they all went away from thee, troubled at heart on thine account. Then will I go out and set forth on the Sovran's errand." So the King arose forthright and sat down on the throne of his kingship, whilst the Wazir went out and said to the Chamberlain, "Bid the folk proceed to their service, as of their wont." Accordingly the troops and Captains and Lords of the land entered, after they had spread the tables and ate and drank and withdrew as was their wont, after which the Wazir Faris went forth from King Asim and, repairing to his own house, equipped himself for travel and returned to the King, who opened to him the treasuries and provided him with rarities and things of price and rich stuffs and gear without compare, such as nor Emir nor Wazir hath power to possess. Moreover, King Asim charged him to accost Solomon with reverence, foregoing him with the salam, but not exceeding in speech; "and (continued he) then do thou ask of him thy need, and if he say 'tis granted, return to us in haste, for I shall be awaiting thee." Accordingly, the Minister kissed hands and took the presents and setting out, fared on night and day, till he came within fifteen days' journey of Saba. Meanwhile Allah (extolled and exalted be He!) inspired Solomon the son of David (the Peace be upon both!) and said to him, "O Solomon, the King of Egypt sendeth unto thee his Chief Wazir, with a present of rarities and such and such things of price; so do thou also despatch thy Counsellor Asaf bin Barkhiyá to meet him with honour and with victual at the halting-places; and when he cometh to thy presence, say unto him, 'Verily, thy King hath sent thee in quest of this and that and thy business is thus and thus.' Then do thou propound to him The Saving Faith." [FN#360] Whereupon Solomon bade his Wazir make ready a company of his retainers and go forth to meet the Minister of Egypt with honour and sumptuous provision at the halting-places. So Asaf made ready all that was needed for their entertainment and setting out, fared on till he fell in with Faris and accosted him with the salam, honouring him and his company with exceeding honour. Moreover, he brought them provaunt and provender at the halting-places and said to them, "Well come and welcome and fair welcome to the coming guests! Rejoice in the certain winning of your wish! Be your souls of good cheer and your eyes cool and clear and your breasts be broadened!" Quoth Faris in himself, "Who acquainted him with this?"; and he said to Asaf, [FN#361] "O my lord, and who gave thee to know of us and our need?" "It was Solomon son of David (on whom be the Peace!), told us of this!" "And who told our lord Solomon?" "The Lord of the heaven and the earth told him, the God of all creatures!" "This is none other than a mighty God!" "And do ye not worship him?" "We worship the Sun, and prostrate ourselves thereto." "O Wazir Faris, the sun is but a star of the stars created by Allah (extolled and exalted be He!), and Allah forbid that it should be a Lord! Because whiles it riseth and whiles it setteth, but our Lord is ever present and never absent and He over all things is Omnipotent!" Then they journeyed on a little while till they came to the land Saba and drew near the throne of Solomon David-son, (upon the twain be peace!), who commanded his hosts of men and Jinn and others [FN#362] to form line on their road. So the beasts of the sea and the elephants and leopards and lynxes and all beasts of the land ranged themselves in espalier on either side of the way, after their several kinds, and similarly the Jinn drew out in two ranks, appearing all to mortal eyes without concealment, in divers forms grisly and gruesome. So they lined the road on either hand, and the birds bespread their wings over the host of creatures to shade them, warbling one to other in all manner of voices and tongues. Now when the people of Egypt came to this terrible array, they dreaded it and durst not proceed; but Asaf said to them, "Pass on amidst them and walk forward and fear them not: for they are slaves of Solomon son of David, and none of them will harm you." So saying, he entered between the ranks, followed by all the folk and amongst them the Wazir of Egypt and his company, fearful: and they ceased not faring forwards till they reached the city, where they lodged the embassy in the guest-house and for the space of three days entertained them sumptuously, entreating them with the utmost honour. Then they carried them before Solomon, prophet of Allah (on whom be the Peace!), and when entering they would have kissed the earth before him; but he forbade them, saying, "It befitteth not a man prostrate himself to earth save before Allah (to whom belong Might and Majesty!), Creator of Earth and Heaven and all other things; wherefore, whosoever of you hath a mint to sit let him be seated in my service, or to stand, let him stand, but let none stand to do me worship." So they obeyed him and the Wazir Faris and some of his intimates sat down, whilst certain of the lesser sort remained afoot to wait on him. When they had sat awhile, the servants spread the tables and they all, men and beasts, ate their sufficiency. [FN#363] Then Solomon bade Faris expound his errand, that it might be accomplished, saying, "Speak and hide naught of that wherefor thou art come; for I know why ye come and what is your errand, which is thus and thus. The King of Egypt who despatched thee, Asim hight, hath become a very old man, infirm, decrepit; and Allah (whose name be exalted!) hath not blessed him with offspring, male or female. So he abode in cark and care and chagrin from morn to night and from night to morn. It so happened that one day of the days as he sat upon the throne of his kingship with his Emirs and Wazirs, and Captains and Grandees in attendance on him, he saw some of them with two sons, others with one, and others even three, who came with their sires to do him service. So he said in himself, of the excess of his sorrow, 'Who shall get my kingdom after my death? Will any save a stranger take it? And thus shall I pass out of being as though I had never been!' On this account he became drowned in the sea of thought, until his eyes were flooded with tears and he covered his face with his kerchief and wept with sore weeping. Then he rose from off his throne and sat down upon the floor wailing and lamenting and none knew what was in heart as he grovelled in the ground save Allah Almighty."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Seven Hundred and Sixtieth Night,
She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Solomon David-son (upon both of whom be peace!) after disclosing to the Wazir Faris that which had passed between himself and his master, King Asim, said to him, "Is this that I have told thee the truth, O Wazir?" Replied Faris, "O prophet of Allah, this thou hast said is indeed sooth and verity; but when we discoursed of this matter, none was with the King and myself, nor was any ware of our case; who, then told thee of all these things?" Answered Solomon, "They were told to me by my Lord who knoweth whatso is concealed [FN#364] from the eye and what is hidden in the breasts." Quoth Faris, "O Prophet of Allah, verily this is none other than a mighty Lord and an omnipotent God!" And he Islamized with all his many. Then said Solomon to him, "Thou hast with thee such and such presents and rarities;" and Faris replied "Yes." The prophet continued, "I accept them all and give them in free gift unto thee. So do ye rest, thou and thy company, in the place where you have been lodging, till the fatigue of the journey shall cease from you; and to-morrow, Inshallah! thine errand shall be accomplished to the uttermost, if it be the will of Allah the Most High, Lord of heaven and earth and the light which followeth the gloom; Creator of all creatures." So Faris returned to his quarters and passed the night in deep thought. But when morning morrowed he presented himself before the Lord Solomon, who said to him, "When thou returnest to King Asim bin Safwan and you twain are re-united, do ye both go forth some day armed with bow, bolts and brand, and fare to such a place, where ye shall find a certain tree. Mount upon it and sit silent until the midhour between noon-prayer and that of mid-afternoon, when the noontide heat hath cooled; then descend and look at the foot of the tree, whence ye will see two serpents come forth, one with a head like an ape's and the other with a head like an Ifrit's. Shoot them ye twain with bolts and kill them both; then cut off a span's length from their heads and the like from their tails and throw it away. The rest of the flesh cook and cook well and give it to your wives to eat: then lie with them that night and, by Allah's leave, they shall conceive and bear male children." Moreover, he gave him a seal-ring, a sword, and a wrapper containing two tunics [FN#365] embroidered with gold and jewels, saying, "O Wazir Faris, when your sons grow up to man's estate, give to each of them one of these tunics." Then said he, "In the name of Allah! May the Almighty accomplish your desire! And now nothing remaineth for thee but to depart, relying on the blessing of the Lord the Most High, for the King looketh for thy return night and day and his eye is ever gazing on the road." So the Wazir advanced to the prophet Solomon son of David (upon both of whom be the Peace!) and farewelled him and fared forth from him after kissing his hands. Rejoicing in the accomplishment of his errand he travelled on with all diligence night and day, and ceased not wayfaring till he drew near to Cairo, when he despatched one of his servants to acquaint King Asim with his approach and the successful issue of his journey; which when the King heard he joyed with exceeding joy, he and his Grandees and Officers and troops especially in the Wazir's safe return. When they met, the Minister dismounted and, kissing ground before the King, gave him the glad news anent the winning of his wish in fullest fashion; after which he expounded the True Faith to him, and the King and all his people embraced Al-Islam with much joy and gladness. Then said Asim to his Wazir, "Go home and rest this night and a week to boot; then go to the Hammambath and come to me, that I may inform thee of what we shall have to consider." So Faris kissed ground and withdrew, with his suite, pages and eunuchs, to his house, where he rested eight days; after which he repaired to the King and related to him all that had passed between Solomon and himself, adding, "Do thou rise and go forth with me alone." Then the King and the Minister took two bows and two bolts and repairing to the tree indicated by Solomon, clomb up into it and there sat in silence till the mid-day heat had passed away and it was near upon the hour of mid-afternoon prayer, when they descended and looking about them saw a serpent-couple [FN#366] issue from the roots of the tree. The King gazed at them, marvelling to see them ringed with collars of gold about their necks, and said to Faris, "O Wazir, verily these snakes have golden torques! By Allah, this is forsooth a rare thing! Let us catch them and set them in a cage and keep them to look upon." But the Minister said, "These hath Allah created for profitable use; [FN#367] so do thou shoot one and I will shoot the other with these our shafts." Accordingly they shot at them with arrows and slew them; after which they cut off a span's length of their heads and tails and threw it away. Then they carried the rest to the King's palace, where they called the kitchener and giving him the flesh said, "Dress this meat daintily, with onion-sauce [FN#368] and spices, and ladle it out into two saucers and bring them hither at such an hour, without delay!"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Seven Hundred and Sixty-first Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the King and the Wazir gave the serpents' flesh to the kitchener, saying, "Cook it and ladle it out into two saucers and bring them hither without delay!"; the cook took the meat and went with it to the kitchen, where he cooked it and dressed it in skilful fashion with a mighty fine onion-sauce and hot spices; after which he ladled it out into two saucers and set them before the King and the Wazir, who took each a dish and gave their wives to eat of the meat. Then they went in that night unto them and knew them carnally, and by the good pleasure of Allah (extolled and exalted be He!) and His all-might and furtherance, they both conceived on one and the same night. The King abode three months, troubled in mind and saying in himself, "I wonder whether this thing will prove true or untrue"; till one day, as the lady his Queen was sitting, the child stirred in her womb and she felt a pain and her colour changed. So she knew that she was with child and calling the chief of her eunuchs, gave him this command, "Go to the King, wherever he may be and congratulate him saying, 'O King of the Age, I bring thee the glad tidings that our lady's pregnancy is become manifest, for the child stirreth in her womb'." So the eunuch went out in haste, rejoicing, and finding the King alone, with cheek on palm, pondering this thing, kissed ground between his hands and acquainted him with his wife's pregnancy. When the King heard his words, he sprang to his feet and in the excess of his joy, he kissed [FN#369] the eunuch's hands and head and doffing the clothes he had on, gave them to him. Moreover, he said to those who were present in his assembly, "Whoso loveth me, let him bestow largesse upon this man." [FN#370] And they gave him of coin and jewels and jacinths and horses and mules and estates and gardens what was beyond count or calculation. At that moment in came the Wazir Faris and said to Asim, "O my master, but now I was sitting alone at home and absorbed in thought, pondering the matter of the pregnancy and saying to myself, 'Would I wot an this thing be true and whether my wife Khátún [FN#371] have conceived or not!' when, behold, an eunuch came in to me and brought me the glad tidings that his lady was indeed pregnant, for that her colour was changed and the child stirred in her womb; whereupon, in my joy, I doffed all the clothes I had on and gave them to him, together with a thousand dinars, and made him Chief of the Eunuchs." Rejoined the King, "O Minister, Allah (extolled and exalted be He!) hath, of His grace and bounty and goodness, and beneficence, made gift to us of the True Faith and brought us out of night into light, and hath been bountiful to us, of His favour and benevolence; wherefore I am minded to solace the folk and cause them to rejoice." Quoth Faris, "Do what thou wilt, [FN#372]" and quoth the King, "O Wazir, go down without stay or delay and set free all who are in the prisons, both criminals and debtors, and whoso transgresseth after this, we will requite as he deserveth even to the striking off of his head. Moreover, we forgive the people three years' taxes, and do thou set up kitchens all around about the city walls [FN#373] and bid the kitcheners hang over the fire all kinds of cooking pots and cook all manner of meats, continuing their cooking night and day, and let all comers, both of our citizens and of the neighbouring countries, far and near, eat and drink and carry to their houses. And do thou command the people to make holiday and decorate the city seven days and shut not the taverns night nor day [FN#374]; and if thou delay I will behead thee [FN#375]!" So he did as the King bade him and the folk decorated the city and citadel and bulwarks after the goodliest fashion and, donning their richest attire, passed their time in feasting and sporting and making merry, till the days of the Queen's pregnancy were accomplished and she was taken, one night, with labour pains hard before dawn. Then the King bade summon all the Olema and astronomers, mathematicians and men of learning, astrologers, scientists and scribes in the city, and they assembled and sat awaiting the throwing of a bead into the cup [FN#376] which was to be the signal to the Astrophils, as well as to the nurses and attendants, that the child was born. Presently, as they sat in expectation, the Queen gave birth to a boy like a slice of the moon when fullest and the astrologers fell to calculating and noted his star and nativity and drew his horoscope. Then, on being summoned they rose and, kissing the earth before the King, gave him the glad tidings, saying, "In very sooth the new-born child is of happy augury and born under an auspicious aspect, but" they added, "in the first of his life there will befall him a thing which we fear to name before the King." Quoth Asim, "Speak and fear not;" so quoth they, "O King, this boy will fare forth from this land and journey in strangerhood and suffer shipwreck and hardship and prisonment and distress, and indeed he hath before him the sorest of sufferings; but he shall free him of them in the end, and win to his wish and live the happiest of lives the rest of his days, ruling over subjects with a strong hand and having dominion in the land, despite enemies and enviers." Now when the King heard the astrologers' words, he said, "The matter is a mystery; but all that Allah Almighty hath written for the creature of good and bad cometh to pass and needs must betide him from this day to that a thousand solaces." So he paid no heed to their words or attention to their speeches but bestowed on them robes of honour, as well upon all who were present, and dismissed them; when, behold, in came Faris the Wazir and kissed the earth before the King in huge joy, saying, "Good tidings, O King! My wife hath but now given birth to a son, as he were a slice of the moon." Replied Asim, "O Wazir, go, bring thy wife and child hither, that she may abide with my wife in my palace, and they shall bring up the two boys together." So Faris fetched his wife and son and they committed the two children to the nurses wet and dry. And after seven days had passed over them, they brought them before the King and said to him, "What wilt thou name the twain?" Quoth he, "Do ye name them;" but quoth they, "None nameth the son save his sire." So he said, "Name my son Sayf al-Muluk, after my grandfather, and the Minister's son Sa'id [FN#377] Then he bestowed robes of honour on the nurses wet and dry and said to them, "Be ye ruthful over them and rear them after the goodliest fashion." So they brought up the two boys diligently till they reached the age of five, when the King committed them to a doctor of Sciences [FN#378] who taught them to read the Koran and write. When they were ten years old, King Asim gave them in charge to masters, who instructed them in cavalarice and shooting with shafts and lunging with lance and play of Polo and the like till, by the time they were fifteen years old, they were clever in all manner of martial exercises, nor was there one to view with them in horsemanship, for each of them would do battle with a thousand men and make head against them single handed. So when they came to years of discretion, whenever King Asim looked on them he joyed in them with exceeding joy; and when they attained their twenty-fifth year, he took Faris his Minister apart one day and said to him, "O Wazir, I am minded to consult with thee concerning a thing I desire to do." Replied he, "Whatever thou hast a mind to do, do it; for thy judgment is blessed." Quoth the King, "O Wazir, I am become a very old and decrepit man, sore stricken in years, and I desire to take up my abode in an oratory, that I may worship Allah Almighty and give my kingdom and Sultanate to my son Sayf al-Muluk for that he is grown a goodly youth, perfect in knightly exercises and intellectual attainments, polite letters and gravity, dignity and the art of government. What sayst thou, O Minister, of this project?" And quoth the counsellor, "Right indeed is thy rede: the idea is a blessed and a fortunate, and if thou do this, I will do the like and my son Sa'id shall be the Prince's Wazir, for he is a comely young man and complete in knowledge and judgment. Thus will the two youths be together, and we will order their affair and neglect not their case, but guide them to goodness and in the way that is straight." Quoth the King, "Write letters and send them by couriers to all the countries and cities and sconces and fortresses that be under our hands, bidding their chiefs be present on such a day at the Horse-course of the Elephant." [FN#379] So the Wazir went out without stay or delay and despatched letters of this purport to all the deputies and governors of fortresses and others under King Asim; and he commanded also that all in the city should be present, far and near, high and low. When the appointed time drew nigh, King Asim bade the tent-pitchers plant pavilions in the midst of the Champ-de-Mars and decorate them after the most sumptuous fashion and set up the great throne whereon he sat not but on festivals. And they at once did his bidding. Then he and all his Nabobs and Chamberlains and Emirs sallied forth, and he commanded proclamation be made to the people, saying, "In the name of Allah, come forth to the Maydán!" So all the Emirs and Wazirs and Governors of provinces and Feudatories [FN#380] came forth to the place of assembly and, entering the royal pavilion, addressed themselves to the service of the King as was their wont, and abode in their several stations, some sitting and others standing, till all the people were gathered together, when the King bade spread the tables and they ate and drank and prayed for him. Then he commanded the Chamberlains [FN#381] to proclaim to the people that they should not depart: so they made proclamation to them, saying, "Let none of you fare hence till he have heard the King's words!" So they withdrew the curtains of the royal pavilion and the King said, "Whoso loveth me, let him remain till he have heard my speech!" Whereupon all the folk sat down in mind tranquil after they had been fearful, saying, "Wherefore have we been summoned by the King?" Then the Sovran rose to his feet, and making them swear that none would stir from his stead, said to them, "O ye Emirs and Wazirs and Lords of the land; the great and the small of you, and all ye who are present of the people; say me, wot ye not that this kingdom was an inheritance to me from my fathers and forefathers?" Answered they, "Yes, O King we all know that." And he continued, "I and you, we all worshipped the sun and moon, till Allah (extolled and exalted be He!) vouchsafed us the knowledge of the True Faith and brought us out of darkness unto light, and directed us to the religion of Al-Islam. Know that I am become a very old man, feeble and decrepit, and I desire to take up my abode in a hermitage [FN#382] there to worship Allah Almighty and crave His pardon for past offenses and make this my son Sayf al-Muluk ruler. Ye know full well that he is a comely youth, eloquent, liberal, learned, versed in affairs, intelligent, equitable; wherefore I am minded presently to resign to him my realm and to make him ruler over you and seat him as Sultan in my stead, whilst I give myself to solitude and to the worship of Allah in an oratory, and my son and heir shall judge between you. What say ye then, all of you?" Thereupon they all rose and kissing ground before him, made answer with "Hearing and obedience," saying, "O our King and our defender an thou should set over us one of thy blackamoor slaves we would obey him and hearken to thy word and accept thy command: how much more then with thy son Sayf al-Muluk? Indeed, we accept of him and approve him on our eyes and heads!" So King Asim bin Safwan arose and came down from his seat and seating his son on the great throne, [FN#383] took the crown from his own head and set it on the head of Sayf al-Muluk and girt his middle with the royal girdle. [FN#384] Then he sat down beside his son on the throne of his kingship, whilst the Emirs and Wazirs and Lords of the land and all the rest of the folk rose and kissed ground before him, saying, "Indeed, he is worthy of the kingship and hath better right to it than any other." Then the Chamberlains made proclamation crying, "Amán! Amán! Safety! Safety!" and offered up prayers for his victory and prosperity. And Sayf al-Muluk scattered gold and silver on the heads of the lieges one and all.--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Seven Hundred and Sixty-second Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when King Asim seated his son, Sayf al-Muluk, upon the throne and all the people prayed for his victory and prosperity, the youth scattered gold and silver on the heads of the lieges, one and all, and conferred robes of honour and gave gifts and largesse. Then, after a moment, the Wazir Faris arose and kissing ground said, "O Emirs, O Grandees, ye ken that I am Wazir and that my Wazirate dateth from old, before the accession of King Asim bin Safwan, who hath now divested himself of the Kingship and made his son King in his stead?" Answered they, "Yes, we know that thy Wazirate is from sire after grandsire." He continued, "And now in my turn I divest myself of office and invest this my son Sa'id, for he is intelligent, quick-witted, sagacious. What say ye all?" And they replied, "None is worthy to be Wazir to King Sayf al-Muluk but thy son, Sa'id, and they befit each other." With this Faris arose and taking off his Wazirial turband, set it on his son's head and eke laid his ink-case of office before him, whilst the Chamberlains and the Emirs said, "Indeed, he is deserving of the Wazirship" and the Heralds cried aloud, "Mubárak! Mubarak!--Felix sit et faustus!" After this, King Asim and Faris the Minister arose and, opening the royal treasuries, conferred magnificent robes of honour on all the Viceroys and Emirs and Wazirs and Lords of the land and other folk and gave salaries and benefactions and wrote them new mandates and diplomas with the signatures of King Sayf al-Muluk and his Wazir Sa'id. Moreover, he made distribution of money to the men-at-arms and gave guerdons, and the provincials abode in the city a full week ere they departed each to his own country and place. Then King Asim carried his son and his Wazir Sa'id back to the palace which was in the city and bade the treasurer bring the seal-ring and signet, [FN#385] sword and wrapper; which being done, he said to the two young men, "O my sons, come hither and let each of you choose two of these things and take them." The first to make choice was Sayf al-Muluk, who put out his hand and took the ring and the wrapper, whilst Sa'id took the sword and the signet; after which they both kissed the King's hands and went away to their lodging. Now Sayf al-Muluk opened not the wrapper to see what was therein, but threw it on the couch where he and Sa'id slept by night, for it was their habit to lie together. Presently they spread them the bed and the two lay down with a pair of wax candles burning over them and slept till midnight, when Sayf al-Muluk awoke and, seeing the bundle at his head, said in his mind, "I wonder what thing of price is in this wrapper my father gave me!" So he took it together with a candle and descended from the couch leaving Sa'id sleeping and carried the bundle into a closet, where he opened it and found within a tunic of the fabric of the Jann. He spread it out and saw on the lining [FN#386] of the back, the portraiture wroughten in gold of a girl and marvellous was her loveliness; and no sooner had he set eyes on the figure than his reason fled his head and he became Jinn-mad for love thereof, so that he fell down in a swoon and presently recovering, began to weep and lament, beating his face and breast and kissing her. And he recited these verses,
"Love, at the first, is a spurt of spray [FN#387] * Which Doom disposes and Fates display;
Till, when deep diveth youth in passion-sea * Unbearable sorrows his soul waylay."
And also these two couplets,
"Had I known of Love in what fashion he * Robbeth heart and soul I had guarded me:
But of malice prepense I threw self away * Unwitting of Love what his nature be."
And Sayf al-Muluk ceased not to weep and wail and beat face and breast, till Sa'id awoke and missing him from the bed and seeing but a single candle, said to himself, "Whither is Sayf al-Muluk gone?" Then he took the other candle and went round about the palace, till he came upon the closet where he saw the Prince lying at full length, weeping with sore weeping and lamenting aloud. So he said to him, "O my brother, for what cause are these tears and what hath befallen thee? Speak to me and tell me the reason thereof." But Sayf al-Muluk spoke not neither raised his head and continued to weep and wail and beat hand on breast. Seeing him in this case quoth Sa'id, "I am thy Wazir and thy brother, and we were reared together, I and thou; so an thou do not unburden thy breast and discover thy secret to me, to whom shalt thou reveal it and disclose its cause?" And he went on to humble himself and kiss the ground before him a full hour, whilst Sayf al-Muluk paid no heed to him nor answered him a word, but gave not over to weeping. At last, being affrighted at his case and weary of striving with him, he went out and fetched a sword, with which he returned to the closet, and setting the point to his own breast, said to the Prince, "Rouse thee, O my brother! An thou tell me not what aileth thee, I will slay myself and see thee no longer in this case." Whereupon Sayf al-Muluk raised his head towards the Wazir and answered him, "O my brother, I am ashamed to tell thee what hath betided me;" but Sa'id said, "I conjure thee by Allah, Lord of Lords, Liberator of Necks, [FN#388] Causer of causes, the One, the Ruthful, the Gift-full, the Bountiful, that thou tell me what aileth thee and be not abashed at me, for I am thy slave and thy Minister and counsellor in all thine affairs!" Quoth Sayf al-Muluk, "Come and look at this likeness." So Sa'id looked at it awhile and considering it straitly, behold, he saw written, as a crown over its head, in letters of pearl, these words, "This is the counterfeit presentment of Badi'a al-Jamal, daughter of Shahyál bin Shárukh, a King of the Kings of the true-believing Jann who have taken up their abode in the city of Babel and sojourn in the garden of Iram, Son of 'Ad the Greater.'" [FN#389]--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Seven Hundred and Sixty-third Night,
She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Sa'id, son of the Wazir Faris, had read to Sayf al-Muluk, son of King Asim, the writ on the tunic, which showed the portraiture of Badi'a al-Jamal, daughter of Shahyal bin Sharukh, a King of the Kings of the Moslem Jinns dwelling in Babel-city and in the Garden of Iram, son of 'Ad the Greater, he cried, "O my brother, knowest thou of what woman this is the presentment, that we may seek for her?" Sayf al-Muluk replied, "No, by Allah, O my brother, I know her not!" and Sa'id rejoined, "Come, read this writing on the crown." So Sayf al-Muluk read it and cried out from his heart's core and very vitals, saying, "Alas! Alas! Alas!" Quoth Sa'id, "O my brother, an the original of the portrait exist and her name be Badi'a al-Jamal, and she abide in the world, I will hasten to seek her, that thou mayst win thy will without delay. But, Allah upon thee, O my brother, leave this weeping and ascend thy throne, that the Officers of the State may come in to do their service to thee, and in the undurn, do thou summon the merchants and fakirs and travellers and pilgrims and paupers and ask of them concerning this city and the garden of Iram; haply by the help and blessing of Allah (extolled and exalted be He!), some one of them shall direct us thither." So, when it was day, Sayf al-Muluk went forth and mounted the throne, clasping the tunic in his arms, for he could neither stand nor sit without it, nor would sleep visit him save it were with him; and the Emirs and Wazirs and Lords and Officers came in to him. When the Divan was complete all being assembled in their places he said to his Minister, "Go forth to them and tell them that the King hath been suddenly struck by sickness and he, by Allah, hath passed the night in ill case." So Sa'id fared forth and told the folk what he said; which when old King Asim heard, he was concerned for his son and, summoning the physicians and astrologers, carried them in to Sayf al-Muluk. They looked at him and prescribed him ptisanes and diet-drinks, simples and medicinal waters and wrote him characts and incensed him with Nadd and aloes-wood and ambergris three days' space; but his malady persisted three months, till King Asim was wroth with the leaches and said to them, "Woe to you, O dogs! What? Are all of you impotent to cure my son? Except ye heal him forthright, I will put the whole of you to death." The Archiater replied, "O King of the Age, in very sooth we know that this is thy son and thou wottest that we fail not of diligence in tending a stranger; so how much more with medicining thy son? But thy son is afflicted with a malady hard to heal, which, if thou desire to know, we will discover it to thee." Quoth Asim, "What then find ye to be the malady of my son?"; and quoth the leach, "O King of the Age, thy son is in love and he loveth one to whose enjoyment he hath no way of access." At this the King was wroth and asked, "How know ye that my son is in love and how came love to him?"; they answered, "Enquire of his Wazir and brother Sa'id for he knoweth his case." The King rose and repaired to his private closet and summoning Sa'id said to him, "Tell me the truth of thy brother's malady." But Sa'id replied, "I know it not." So King Asim said to the Sworder, "Take Sa'id and bind his eyes and strike his neck." Whereupon Sa'id feared for himself and cried, "O King of the Age, grant me immunity." Replied the King, "Speak and thou shalt have it." "Thy son is in love." "With whom is he in love?" "With a King's daughter of the Jann." "And where could he have espied a daughter of the Jinns?" "Her portrait is wroughten on the tunic that was in the bundle given thee by Solomon, prophet of Allah!" When the King heard this, he rose, and going in to Sayf al-Muluk, said to him, "O my son, what hath afflicted thee? What is this portrait whereof thou art enamoured? And why didst thou not tell me." He replied, "O my sire, I was ashamed to name this to thee and could not bring myself to discover aught thereof to any one at all; but now thou knowest my case, look how thou mayest do to cure me." Rejoined his father, "What is to be done? Were this one of the daughters of men we might devise a device for coming at her; but she is a King's daughter of the Jinns and who can woo and win her, save it be Solomon David-son, and hardly he? [FN#390] However, O my son, do thou arise forthright and hearten thy heart and take horse and ride out a-hunting or to weapon-play in the Maydan. Divert thyself with eating and drinking and put away cark and care from thy heart, and I will bring thee an hundred maids of the daughters of Kings; for thou hast no need to the daughters of the Jann, over whom we lack controul and of kind other than ours." But he said, "I cannot renounce her nor will I seek other than her." Asked King Asim, "How then shall we do, O my son?"; and Sayf al-Muluk answered, "Bring us all the merchants and travellers and wanderers in the city, that we may question them thereof. Peradventure, Allah will lead us to the city of Babel and the garden of Iram." So King Asim bade summon all the merchants in the city and strangers and seacaptains and, as each came, enquired of him anent the city of Babel and its peninsula [FN#391] and the garden of Iram; but none of them knew these places nor could any give him tidings thereof. However, when the séance broke up, one of them said, "O King of the Age, an thou be minded to ken this thing, up and hie thee to the land of China; for it hath a vast city [FN#392] and a safe, wherein are store of rarities and things of price and folk of all kinds; and thou shalt not come to the knowledge of this city and garden but from its folk; it may be one of them will direct thee to that thou seekest." Whereupon quoth Sayf al-Muluk, "O my sire, equip me a ship, that I may fare to the China-land; and do thou rule the reign in my stead." Replied the old King, "O my son, abide thou on the throne of thy kingship and govern thy commons, and I myself will make the voyage to China and ask for thee of the city of Babel and the garden of Iram." But Sayf al-Muluk rejoined, "O my sire, in very sooth this affair concerneth me and none can search after it like myself: so, come what will, an thou give me leave to make the voyage, I will depart and wander awhile. If I find trace or tidings of her, my wish will be won, and if not, belike the voyage will broaden my breast and recruit my courage; and haply by foreign travel my case will be made easy to me, and if I live, I shall return to thee safe and sound."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Seven Hundred and Sixty-fourth Night,
She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Sayf al-Muluk said to his sire King Asim, "Equip me a ship that I may fare therein to the China-land and search for the object of my desire. If I live I shall return to thee safe and sound." The old King looked at his son and saw nothing for it but to do what he desired; so he gave him the leave he wanted and fitted him forty ships, manned with twenty thousand armed Mamelukes, besides servants, and presented him with great plenty of money and necessaries and warlike gear, as much as he required. When the ships were laden with water and victual, weapons and troops, Sayf al-Muluk's father and mother farewelled him and King Asim said, "Depart, O my son, and travel in weal and health and safety. I commend thee to Him with Whom deposits are not lost." [FN#393] So the Prince bade adieu to his parents and embarked, with his brother Sa'id and they weighed anchor and sailed till they came to the City of China. When the Chinamen heard of the coming of forty ships, full of armed men and stores, weapons and hoards, they made sure that these were enemies come to battle with them and seige them; so they bolted the gates of the town and made ready the mangonels. [FN#394] But Sayf al-Muluk, hearing of this, sent two of his Chief Mamelukes to the King of China, bidding them say to him, "This is Sayf al-Muluk, son of King Asim of Egypt, who is come to thy city as a guest, to divert himself by viewing thy country awhile, and not for conquest or contention; wherefore, an thou wilt receive him, he will come ashore to thee; and if not he will return and will not disquiet thee nor the people of thy capital." They presented themselves at the city gates and said, "We are messengers from King Sayf al-Muluk." Whereupon the townsfolk opened the gates and carried them to their King, whose name was Faghfúr [FN#395] Shah and between whom and King Asim there had erst been acquaintance. So, when he heard that the new-comer Prince was the son of King Asim, he bestowed robes of honour on the messengers and, bidding open the gates, made ready guest-gifts and went forth in person with the chief officers of his realm, to meet Sayf al-Muluk, and the two Kings embraced. Then Faghfur said to his guest, "Well come and welcome and fair cheer to him who cometh to us! I am thy slave and the slave of thy sire: my city is between thy hands to command and whatso thou seekest shall be brought before thee." Then he presented him with the guest-gifts and victual for the folk at their stations; and they took horse, with the Wazir Sa'id and the chiefs of their officers and the rest of their troops, and rode from the sea-shore to the city, which they entered with cymbals clashing and drums beating in token of rejoicing. There they abode in the enjoyment of fair entertainment for forty days, at the end of which quoth the King of China to Sayf al-Muluk, "O son of my brother, how is thy case [FN#396]? Doth my country please thee?"; and quoth Sayf al-Muluk, "May Allah Almighty long honour it with thee, O King!" Said Faghfur, "Naught hath brought thee hither save some need which hath occurred to thee; and whatso thou desirest of my country I will accomplish it to the." Replied Sayf al-Muluk, "O King, my case is a wondrous, "and told him how he had fallen in love with the portrait of Badi'a al-Jamal, and wept bitter tears. When the King of China heard his story, he wept for pity and solicitude for him and cried, "And what wouldst thou have now, O Sayf al-Muluk?"; and he rejoined, "I would have thee bring me all the wanderers and travellers, the seafarers and sea-captains, that I may question them of the original of this portrait; perhaps one of them may give me tidings of her." So Faghfur Shah sent out his Nabobs and Chamberlains and body-guards to fetch all the wanderers and travellers in the land, and they brought them before the two Kings, and they were a numerous company. Then Sayf al-Muluk questioned them of the City of Babel and the Garden of Iram, but none of them returned him a reply, whereupon he was bewildered and wist not what to do; but one of the sea-captains said to him, "O auspicious King, an thou wouldst know of this city and that garden, up and hie thee to the Islands of the Indian realm." [FN#397] Thereupon Sayf al-Muluk bade bring the ships; which being done, they freighted them with vivers and water and all that they needed, and the Prince and his Wazir re-embarked, with all their men, after they had farewelled King Faghfur Shah. They sailed the seas four months with a fair wind, in safety and satisfaction till it chanced tha tone day of the days there came out upon them a wind and the billows buffeted them from all quarters. The rain and hail [FN#398] descended on them and during twenty days the sea was troubled for the violence of the wind; wherefor the ships drave one against other and brake up, as did the carracks [FN#399] and all on board were drowned, except Sayf al-Muluk and some of his servants, who saved themselves in a little cock-boat. Then the wind fell by the decree of Allah Almighty and the sun shone out; whereupon Sayf al-Muluk opened his eyes and seeing no sign of the ships nor aught, but sky and sea, said to the Mamelukes who were with him, "Where are the carracks and cock-boats and where is my brother Sa'id?" They replied, "O King of the Age, there remain nor ships nor boats nor those who were therein; for they are all drowned and become food for fishes." Now when he heard this, he cried aloud and repeated the saying which whoso saith shall not be confounded, and it is, "There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great!" Then he fell to buffeting his face and would have cast himself into the sea, but his Mamelukes withheld him, saying "O King, what will this profit thee? Thou hast brought all this on thyself; for, hadst thou hearkened to thy father's words, naught thereof had betided thee. But this was written from all eternity by the will of the Creator of Souls."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Seven Hundred and Sixty-fifth Night,
She resume, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Sayf al-Muluk would have cast himself into the main, his Mamelukes withheld him saying, "What will this profit thee? Thou hast done this deed by thyself, yet was it written from all eternity by the will of the Creator of Souls, that the creature might accomplish that which Allah hath decreed unto him. And indeed, at the time of thy birth, the astrologers assured thy sire that all manner troubles should befal thee. So there is naught for it but patience till Allah deliver us from this our strait." Replied the Prince, "There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great! Neither is there refuge nor fleeing from that which He decreeth!" And he sighed and recited these couplets,
"By the Compassionate, I'm dazed about my case for lo! * Troubles and griefs beset me sore; I know not whence they grow.
I will be patient, so the folk, that I against a thing * Bitt'rer than very aloes' self, [FN#400] endurèd have, may know.
Less bitter than my patience is the taste of aloes-juice; * Ive borne with patience whats more hot than coals with fire aglow.
In this my trouble what resource have I, save to commit * My case to Him who orders all that is, for weal or woe?
Then he became drowned in the depth of thoughts and his tears ran down upon his cheeks like torrent-rain; and he slept a while of the day, after which he awoke and sought of food somewhat. So they set meat before him and he ate his sufficiency, till they removed the food from before him, whilst the boat drove on with them they knew not whither it was wandering. It drifted with them at the will of the winds and the waves, night and day a great while, till their victual was spent and they saw themselves shent and were reduced to extreme hunger and thirst and exhaustion, when behold, suddenly they sighted an island from afar and the breezes wafted them on, till they came thither. Then, making the cock-boat fast to the coast and leaving one therein to guard it, they fared on into the island, where they found abundance of fruits of all colours and ate of them till they were satisfied. Presently, they saw a person sitting among those trees and he was long-faced, of strange favour and white of beard and body. He called to one of the Mamelukes by his name, saying, "Eat not of these fruits, for they are unripe; but come hither to me, that I may give thee to eat of the best and the ripest." The slave looked at him and thought that he was one of the shipwrecked, who had made his way to that island; so he joyed with exceeding joy at sight of him and went close up to him, knowing not what was decreed to him in the Secret Purpose nor what was writ upon his brow. But, when he drew near, the stranger in human shape leapt upon him, for he was a Marid, [FN#401] and riding upon his shoulderblades and twisting one of his legs about his neck, let the other hang down upon his back, saying, "Walk on, fellow; for there is no escape for thee from me and thou art become mine ass." Thereupon the Mameluke fell a-weeping and cried out to his comrades, "Alas, my lord! Flee ye forth of this wood and save yourselves, for one of the dwellers therein hath mounted on my shoulders, and the rest seek you, desiring to ride you like me."When they heard these words, all fled down to the boat and pushed off to sea; whilst the islanders followed them into the water, saying, "Whither wend ye? Come, tarry with us and we will mount on your backs and give you meat and drink, and you shall be our donkeys." Hearing this they hastened the more seawards till they left them in the distance and fared on, trusting in Allah Almighty; nor did they leave faring for a month, till another island rose before them and thereon they landed. Here they found fruits of various kinds and busied themselves with eating of them, when behold, they saw from afar, somewhat lying in the road, a hideous creature as it were a column of silver. So they went up to it and one of the men gave it a kick, when lo! it was a thing of human semblance, long of eyes and cloven of head and hidden under one of his ears, for he was wont, whenas he lay down to sleep, to spread on ear under his head, and cover his face with the other ear. [FN#402] He snatched up the Mameluke who had kicked him and carried him off into the middle of the island, and behold, it was all full of Ghuls who eat the sons of Adam. The man cried out to his fellows, "Save yourselves, for this is the island of the man-eating Ghuls, and they mean to tear me to bits and devour me." When they heard these words they fled back to the boat, without gathering any store of the fruits and putting out to sea, fared on some days till it so happened that they came to another island, where they found a high mountain. So they climbed to the top and there saw a thick copse. Now they were sore anhungered; so they took to eating of the fruits; but, before they were aware, there came upon them from among the trees black men of terrible aspect, each fifty cubits high with eye-teeth [FN#403] protruding from their mouths like elephants' tusks; and, laying hands on Sayf al-Muluk and his company, carried them to their King, whom they found seated on a piece of black felt laid on a rock, and about him a great company of Zanzibar-blacks, standing in his service. The blackamoors who had captured the Prince and his Mamelukes set them before the King and said to him, "We found these birds amoung the trees"; and the King was sharp-set; so he took two of the servants and cut their throats and ate them;--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Seven Hundred and Sixty-sixth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Zanzibar-blacks took Sayf al-Muluk and his Mamelukes and set them before the King, saying, "O King, we came upon these birds among the trees." Thereupon the King seized two of the Mamelukes and cut their throats and ate them; which, when Sayf al-Muluk saw, he feared for himself and wept and repeated these verses,
"Familiar with my heart are woes and with them I * Who shunned them; for familiar are great hearts and high.
The woes I suffer are not all of single kind. * I have, thank Allah, varied thousands to aby!"
Then he signed and repeated these also,
"The World hath shot me with its sorrows till * My heart is covered with shafts galore;
And now, when strike me other shafts, must break * Against th' old points the points that latest pour."
When the King heard his weeping and wailing, he said, "Verily these birds have sweet voices and their song pleaseth me: put them in cages." So they set them each in his own cage and hung them up at the King's head that he might listen to their warbling. On this wise Sayf al-Muluk and his Mamelukes abode and the blackamoors gave them to eat and drink: and now they wept and now laughed, now spake and now were hushed, whilst the King of the blacks delighted in the sound of their voices. And so they continued for a long time. Now this King had a daughter married in another island who, hearing that her father had birds with sweet voices, sent a messenger to him seeking of him some of them. So he sent her, by her Cossid, [FN#404] Sayf al-Muluk and three of his men in four cages; and, when she saw them, they pleased her and she bade hang them up in a place over her head. The Prince fell to marvelling at that which had befallen him and calling to mind his former high and honourable estate and weeping for himself; and the three servants wept for themselves; and the King's daughter deemed that they sang. Now it was her wont, whenever any one from the land of Egypt or elsewhere fell into her hands and he pleased her, to advance him to great favour with her; and by the decree of Allah Almighty it befel that, when she saw Sayf al-Muluk she was charmed by his beauty and loveliness and symmetry and perfect grace, and she commanded to entreat him and his companions with honour and to loose them from their cages. Now one day she took the Prince apart and would have him enjoy her; but he refused, saying, "O my lady, I am a banisht wight and with passion for a beloved one in piteous plight, nor with other will I consent to love-delight." Then she coaxed him and importuned him, but he held aloof from her, and she could not approach him nor get her desire of him by any ways and means. At last, when she was weary of courting him in vain, she waxed wroth with him and his Mamelukes, and commanded that they should serve her and fetch her wood and water. In such condition they abode four years till Sayf al-Muluk became weary of his life and sent to intercede with the Princess, so haply she might release them and let them wend their ways and be at rest from that their hard labour. So she sent for him and said to him, "If thou wilt do my desire, I will free thee from this thy durance vile and thou shalt go to thy country, safe and sound." And she wept and ceased not to humble herself to him and wheedle him, but he would not hearken to her words; whereupon she turned from him, in anger, and he and his companions abode on the island in the same plight. The islanders knew them for "The Princess's birds" and durst not work them any wrong; and her heart was at ease concerning them, being assured that they could not escape from the island. So they used to absent themselves from her two and three days at a time and go round about the desert parts in al directions, gathering firewood, which they brought to the Princess's kitchen; and thus they abode five [FN#405] years. Now one day it so chanced that the Prince and his men were sitting on the sea-shore, devising of what had befallen, and Sayf al-Muluk, seeing himself and his men in such case, bethought him of his mother and father and his brother Sa'id and, calling to mind what high degree he had been in, fell a-weeping and lamenting passing sore, whilst his slaves wept likewise. Then said they to him, "O King of the Age, how long shall we weep? Weeping availeth not; for this thing was written on our brows by the ordinance of Allah, to whom belong Might and Majesty. Indeed, the Pen runneth with that He decreeth and nought will serve us but patience: haply Allah (extolled and exalted be He!) who hath saddened us shall gladden us!" Quoth he, "O my brothers, how shall we win free from this accursed woman? I see no way of escape for us, save Allah of his grace deliver us from her; but methinks we may flee and be at rest from this hard labour." And quoth they, "O King of the Age, whither shall we flee? For the whole island is full of Ghuls which devour the Sons of Adam, and whithersoever we go, they will find us there and either eat us or capture and carry us back to that accursed, the King's daughter, who will be wroth with us." Sayf al-Muluk rejoined, "I will contrive you somewhat, whereby peradventure Allah Almighty shall deliver us and help us to escape from this island." They asked, "And how wilt thou do?"; and he answered, "Let us cut some of these long pieces of wood, and twist ropes of their bark and bind them one with another, and make of them a raft [FN#406] which we will launch and load with these fruits: then we will fashion us paddles and embark on the raft after breaking our bonds with the axe. It may be that Almighty Allah will make it the means of our deliverance from this accursed woman and vouchsafe us a fair wind to bring us to the land of Hind, for He over all things is Almighty!" Said they, "Right is thy rede," and rejoiced thereat with exceeding joy. So they arose without stay or delay and cut with their axes wood for the raft and twisted ropes to bind the logs and at this they worked a whole month. Every day about evening they gathered somewhat of fuel and bore it to the Princess's kitchen, and employed the rest of the twenty-four hours working at the raft.--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Seven Hundred and Sixty-seventh Night,
She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Sayf al-Muluk and his Mamelukes, having cut the wood and twisted the ropes for their raft, made an end of it and launched it upon the sea; then, after breaking their bonds with the axe, and loading the craft with fruits plucked from the island-trees, they embarked at close of day; nor did any wot of their intent. They put out to sea in their raft and paddled on four months, knowing not whither the craft carried them, till their provaunt failed them and they were suffering the severest extreme of hunger and thirst, when behold, the sea waxed troubled and foamed and rose in high waves, and there came forth upon them a frightful crocodile, [FN#407] which put out its claw and catching up one of the Mamelukes swallowed him. At the sight of this horror Sayf al-Muluk wept bitterly and he and the two men [FN#408] that remained to him pushed off from the place where they had seen the crocodile, sore affrighted. After this they continued drifting on till one day they espied a mountain terrible tall and spiring high in air, whereat they rejoiced, when presently an island appeared. They made towards it with all their might congratulating one another on the prospect of making land; but hardly had they sighted the island on which was the mountain, when the sea changed face and boiled and rose in big waves and a second crocodile raised its head and putting out its claw caught up the two remaining Mamelukes and swallowed them. So Sayf al-Muluk abode alone, and making his way to the island, toiled till he reached the mountain-top, where he looked about and found a copse, and walking among the trees feel to eating of the fruits. Presently, he saw among the branches more than twenty great apes, each bigger than a he-mule, whereat he was seized with exceeding fear. The apes came down and surrounded him; [FN#409] then forewent him, signing to him to follow them, and walked on, and he too, till he came to a castle, tall of base and strong of build whose ordinance was one brick of gold and one of silver. The apes entered and he after them, and he saw in the castle all manner of rarities, jewels and precious metals such as tongue faileth to describe. Here also he found a young man, passing tall of stature with no hair on his cheeks, and Sayf al-Muluk was cheered by the sight for there was no human being but he in the castle. The stranger marvelled exceedingly at sight of the Prince and asked him, "What is thy name and of what land art thou and how camest thou hither? Tell me thy tale and hide from me naught thereof." Answered the Prince, "By Allah, I came not hither of my own consent nor is this place of my intent; yet I cannot but go from place to place till I win my wish." Quoth the youth, "And what is thy object?"; and quoth the other, "I am of the land of Egypt and my name is Sayf al-Muluk son of King Asim bin Safwan"; and told him all that had passed with him, from first to last. Whereupon the youth arose and stood in his service, saying, "O King of the Age, I was erst in Egypt and heard that thou hadst gone to the land of China; but where is this land and where lies China-land? [FN#410] Verily, this is a wondrous thing and marvellous matter!" Answered the Prince, "Sooth thou speakest but, when I left China-land, I set out, intending for the land of Hind and a stormy wind arose and the sea boiled and broke all my ships"; brief, he told him all that had befallen him till he came thither; whereupon quoth the other, "O King's son, thou hast had enough of strangerhood and its sufferings; Alhamdolillah,--praised be Allah who hath brought thee hither! So now do thou abide with me, that I may enjoy thy company till I die, when thou shalt become King over this island, to which no bound is known, and these apes thou seest are indeed skilled in all manner of crafts; and whatso thou seekest here shalt thou find." Replied Sayf al-Muluk, "O my brother I may not tarry in any place till my wish be won, albeit I compass the whole world in pursuit thereof and make quest of every one so peradventure Allah may bring me to my desire or my course lead me to the place wherein is the appointed term of my days, and I shall die my death." Then the youth turned with a sign to one of the apes, and he went out and was absent awhile, after which he returned with other apes girt with silken zones. [FN#411] They brought the trays and set on near [FN#412] an hundred chargers of gold and saucers of silver, containing all manner of meats. Then they stood, after the manner of servants between the hands of Kings, till the youth signalled to the Chamberlains, who sat down, and he whose wont it was to serve stood, whilst the two Princes ate their sufficiency. Then the apes cleared the table and brought basins and ewers of gold, and they washed their hands in rose water; after which they set on fine sugar and nigh forty flagons, in each a different kind of wine, and they drank and took their pleasure and made merry and had a fine time. And all the apes danced and gambolled before them, what while the eaters sat at meat; which when Sayf al-Muluk saw, he marvelled at them and forgot that which had befallen him of sufferings.--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Seven Hundred and Sixty-eighth Night,
She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Sayf al-Muluk saw the gestures and gambols of the apes, he marvelled thereat and forgot that which had betided him of strangerhood and its sufferings. At nightfall they lighted waxen candles in candlesticks of gold studded with gems and set on dishes of confections and fruits of sugar-candy. So they ate; and when the hour of rest was come, the apes spread them bedding and they slept. And when morning morrowed, the young man arose, as was his wont, before sunrise and waking Sayf al-Muluk said to him, "Put thy head forth of this lattice and see what standeth beneath it." So he put out his head and saw the wide waste and all the wold filled with apes, whose number none knew save Allah Almighty. Quoth he, "Here be great plenty of apes, for they cover the whole country: but why are they assembled at this hour?" Quoth the youth, "This is their custom. Every Sabbath, [FN#413] all the apes in the island come hither, some from two and three days' distance, and stand here till I awake from sleep and put forth my head from this lattice, when they kiss ground before me and go about their business." So saying, he put his head out of the window; and when the apes saw him, they kissed the earth before him and went their way. Sayf al-Muluk abode with the young man a whole month when he farewelled him and departed, escorted by a party of nigh a hundred apes, which the young man bade escort him. They journeyed with him seven days, till they came to the limits of their islands, [FN#414] when they took leave of him and returned to their places, while Sayf al-Muluk fared on alone over mount and hill, desert and plain, four months' journey, one day anhungered and the next satiated, now eating of the herbs of the earth and then of the fruits of the trees, till he repented him of the harm he had done himself by leaving the young man; and he was about to retrace his steps to him, when he saw something black afar off and said to himself, "Is this a city or trees? But I will not turn back till I see what it is." So he made towards it and when he drew near, he saw that it was a palace tall of base. Now he who built it was Japhet son of Noah (on whom be peace!) and it is of this palace that God the Most High speaketh in His precious Book, whenas He saith, "And an abandoned well and a high-builded palace." [FN#415] Sayf al-Muluk sat down at the gate and said in his mind, "Would I knew what is within yonder palace and what King dwelleth there and who shall acquaint me whether its folk are men or Jinn? Who will tell me the truth of the case?" He sat considering awhile, but, seeing none go in or come out, he rose and committing himself to Allah Almighty entered the palace and walked on, till he had counted seven vestibules; yet saw no one. Presently looking to his right he beheld three doors, while before him was a fourth, over which hung a curtain. So he went up to this and raising the curtain, found himself in a great hall [FN#416] spread with silken carpets. At the upper end rose a throne of gold whereon sat a damsel, whose face was like the moon, arrayed in royal raiment and beautified as she were a bride on the night of her displaying; and at the foot of the throne was a table of forty trays spread with golden and silvern dishes full of dainty viands. The Prince went up and saluted her, and she returned his salam, saying, "Art thou of mankind or of the Jinn?" Replied he, "I am a man of the best of mankind; [FN#417] for I am a King, son of a King." She rejoined, "What seekest thou? Up with thee and eat of yonder food, and after tell me thy past from first to last and how thou camest hither." So he sat down at the table and removing the cover from a tray of meats (he being hungry), ate till he was full; then washed his right hand and going up to the throne, sat down by the damsel who asked him, "Who art thou and what is thy name and whence comest thou and who brought thee hither?" He answered, "Indeed my story is a long but do thou first tell me who and what and whence thou art and why thou dwellest in this place alone." She rejoined, "My name is Daulat Khátun [FN#418] and I am the daughter of the King of Hind. My father dwelleth in the Capital-city of Sarandíb and hath a great and goodly garden, there is no goodlier in all the land of Hind or its dependencies; and in this garden is a great tank. One day, I went out into the garden with my slave-women and I stripped me naked and they likewise and, entering the tank, fell to sporting and solacing ourselves therein. Presently, before I could be ware, a something as it were a cloud swooped down on me and snatching me up from amongst my handmaids, soared aloft with me betwixt heaven and earth, saying, 'Fear not, O Daulat Khatun, but be of good heart.' Then he flew on with me a little while, after which he set me down in this palace and straightway without stay or delay became a handsome young man daintily apparelled, who said to me, 'Now dost thou know me?' Replied I, 'No, O my lord'; and he said, 'I am the Blue King, Sovran of the Jann; my father dwelleth in the Castle Al-Kulzum [FN#419] hight, and hath under his hand six hundred thousand Jinn, flyers and divers. It chanced that while passing on my way I saw thee and fell in love with thee for thy lovely form: so I swooped down on thee and snatched thee up from among the slave-girls and brought thee to this the High-builded Castle, which is my dwelling-place. None may fare hither be he man or be he Jinni, and from Hind hither is a journey of an hundred and twenty years: wherefore do thou hold that thou wilt never again behold the land of thy father and thy mother; so abide with me here, in contentment of heart and peace, and I will bring to thy hands whatso thou seekest.' Then he embraced me and kissed me,"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Seven Hundred and Sixty-ninth Night,
She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the damsel said to Sayf al-Muluk, "Then the King of the Jann, after he had acquainted me with his case, embraced me and kissed me, saying, 'Abide here and fear nothing'; whereupon he went away from me for an hour and presently returned with these tables and carpets and furniture. He comes to me every Third [FN#420] and abideth with me three days and on Friday, at the time of mid-afternoon prayer, he departeth and is absent till the following Third. When he is here, he eateth and drinketh and kisseth and huggeth me, but doth naught else with me, and I am a pure virgin, even as Allah Almighty created me. My father's name is Táj al-Mulúk, and he wotteth not what is come of me nor hath he hit upon any trace of me. This is my story: now tell me thy tale." Answered the Prince, "My story is a long and I fear lest while I am telling it to thee the Ifrit come." Quoth she "He went out from me but an hour before thy entering and will not return till Third: so sit thee down and take thine ease and hearten thy heart and tell me what hath betided thee, from beginning to end." And quoth he, "I hear and I obey." So he fell to telling her all that had befallen him from commencement to conclusion but, when she heard speak of Badi'a al-Jamal, her eyes ran over with railing tears and she cried, "O Badi'a al-Jamal, I had not thought this of thee! Alack for our luck! O Badi'a al-Jamal, dost thou not remember me nor say, 'My sister Daulat Khatun whither is she gone?'" And her weeping redoubled, lamenting for that Badi'a al-Jamal had forgotten her. [FN#421] Then said Sayf al-Muluk, "O Daulat Khatun, thou art a mortal and she is a Jinniyah: how then can she be thy sister?" Replied the Princess, "She is my sister by fosterage and this is how it came about. My mother went out to solace herself in the garden, when labour-pangs seized her and she bare me. Now the mother of Badi'a al-Jamal chanced to be passing with her guards, when she also was taken with travail-pains; so she alighted in a side of the garden and there brought forth Badi'a al-Jamal. She despatched one of her women to seek food and childbirth-gear of my mother, who sent her what she sought and invited her to visit her. So she came to her with Badi'a al-Jamal and my mother suckled the child, who with her mother tarried with us in the garden two months. And before wending her ways the mother of Badi'a al-Jamal gave my mother somewhat, [FN#422] saying, 'When thou hast need of me, I will come to thee a middlemost the garden,' and departed to her own land; but she and her daughter used to visit us every year and abide with us awhile before returning home. Wherefore an I were with my mother, O Sayf al-Muluk, and if thou wert with me in my own country and Badi'a al-Jamal and I were together as of wont, I would devise some device with her to bring thee to thy desire of her: but I am here and they know naught of me; for that an they kenned what is become of me, they have power to deliver me from this place; however, the matter is in Allah's hands (extolled and exalteth be He!) and what can I do?" Quoth Sayf al-Muluk, "Rise and let us flee and go whither the Almighty willeth;" but, quoth she, "We cannot do that: for, by Allah, though we fled hence a year's journey that accursed would overtake us in an hour and slaughter us." Then said the Prince, "I will hide myself in his way, and when he passeth by I will smite him with the sword and slay him." Daulat Khatun replied, "Thou canst not succeed in slaying him save thou his soul." Asked he, "And where is his soul?"; and she answered, "Many a time have I questioned him thereof but he would not tell me, till one day I pressed him and he waxed wroth with me and said to me, 'How often wilt thou ask me of my soul? What hast thou to do with my soul?' I rejoined, 'O Hátim, [FN#423] there remaineth none to me but thou, except Allah; and my life dependeth on thy life and whilst thou livest, all is well for me; so, except I care for thy soul and set it in the apple of this mine eye, how shall I live in thine absence? An I knew where thy soul abideth, I would never cease whilst I live, to hold it in mine embrace and would keep it as my right eye.' Whereupon said he to me, 'What time I was born, the astrologers predicted that I should lose my soul at the hands of the son of a king of mankind. So I took it and set it in the crop of a sparrow, and shut up the bird in a box. The box I set in a casket, and enclosing this in seven other caskets and seven chests, laid the whole in a alabastrine coffer, [FN#424] which I buried within the marge of yon earth-circling sea; for that these parts are far from the world of men and none of them can win hither. So now see I have told thee what thou wouldst know, and do thou tell none thereof, for it is a secret between me and thee.'"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Seven Hundred and Seventieth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Daulat Khatun acquainted Sayf al-Muluk with the whereabouts of the soul of the Jinni who had carried her off and repeated to him his speech ending with, "And this is a secret between me and thee!" "I rejoined," quoth she, "'To whom should I tell it, seeing that none but thou cometh hither with whom I may talk thereof?' adding, 'By Allah, thou hast indeed set thy soul in the strongest of strongholds to which none may gain access! How should a man win to it, unless the impossible be fore-ordained and Allah decree like as the astrologers predicted?' Thereupon the Jinni, 'Peradventure one may come, having on his finger the seal-ring of Solomon son of David (on the twain be peace!) and lay his hand with the ring on the face of the water, saying, 'By the virtue of the names engraven upon this ring, let the soul of such an one come forth!' Whereupon the coffer will rise to the surface and he will break it open and do the like with the chests and caskets, till he come to the little box, when he will take out the sparrow and strangle it, and I shall die.'" Then said Sayf al-Muluk, "I am the King's son of whom he spake, and this is the ring of Solomon David-son on my finger: so rise, let us go down to the sea-shore and see if his words be leal or leasing!" Thereupon the two walked down to the sea-shore and the Princess stood on the beach, whilst the Prince waded into the water to his waist and laying his hand with the ring on the surface of the sea, said, "By the virtue of the names and talismans engraven on this ring, and by the might of Sulayman bid Dáúd (on whom be the Peace!), let the soul of Hatim the Jinni, son of the Blue King, come forth!" Whereat the sea boiled in billows and the coffer of alabaster rose to the surface. Sayf al-Muluk took it and shattered it against the rock and broke open the chests and caskets, till he came to the little box and drew thereout the sparrow. Then the twain returned to the castle and sat down on the throne; but hardly had they done this, when lo and behold! there arose a dust-cloud terrifying and some huge thing came flying and crying, "Spare me, O King's son, and slay me not; but make me thy freedman, and I will bring thee to thy desire!" Quoth Daulat Khatun, "The Jinni cometh; slay the sparrow, lest this accursed enter the palace and take it from thee and slaughter me and slaughter thee after me." So the Prince wrung the sparrow's neck and it died, whereupon the Jinni fell down at the palace-door and became a heap of black ashes. Then said Daulat Khatun, "We are delivered from the hand of yonder accursed; what shall we do now?"; and Sayf al-Muluk replied, "It behoveth us to ask aid of Allah Almighty who hath afflicted us; belike He will direct us and help us to escape from this our strait." So saying, he arose and pulling up [FN#425] half a score of the doors of the palace, which were of sandal-wood and lign-aloes with nails of gold and silver, bound them together with ropes of silk and floss [FN#426]-silk and fine linen and wrought of them a raft, which he and the Princess aided each other to hale down to the sea-shore. They launched it upon the water till it floated and, making it fast to the beach, returned to the palace, whence they removed all the chargers of gold and saucers of silver and jewels and precious stones and metals and what else was light of load and weighty of worth and freighted the raft therewith. Then they embarked after fashioning two pieces of wood into the likeness of paddles and casting off the rope-moorings, let the raft drift out to sea with them, committing themselves to Allah the Most High, who contenteth those that put their trust in Him and disappointeth not them who rely upon Him. They ceased not faring on thus four months until their victual was exhausted and their sufferings waxed severe and their souls were straitened; so they prayed Allah to vouchsafe them deliverance from that danger. But all this time when they lay down to sleep, Sayf al-Muluk set Daulat Khatun behind him and laid a naked brand at his back, so that, when he turned in sleep the sword was between them. [FN#427] At last it chanced one night, when Sayf al-Muluk was asleep and Daulat Khatun awake, that behold, the raft drifted landwards and entered a port wherein were ships. The Princess saw the ships and heard a man, he being the chief and head of the captains, talking with the sailors; whereby she knew that this was the port of some city and that they were come to an inhabited country. So she joyed with exceeding joy and waking the Prince said to him, "Ask the captain the name of the city and harbour." Thereupon Sayf al-Muluk arose and said to the captain, "O my brother, how is this harbour hight and what be the names of yonder city and its King?" Replied the Captain, "O false face! [FN#428] O frosty beard! an thou knew not the name of this port and city, how camest thou hither?" Quoth Sayf al-Muluk, "I am a stranger and had taken passage in a merchant ship which was wrecked and sank with all on board; but I saved myself on a plank and made my way hither; wherefore I asked thee the name of the place, and in asking is no offence." Then said the captain, "This is the city of 'Amáriyah and this harbour is called Kamín al-Bahrayn." [FN#429] When the Princess heard this she rejoiced with exceeding joy and said, "Praised be Allah!" He asked, "What is to do?"; and she answered, "O Sayf al-Muluk, rejoice in succour near hand; for the King of this city is my uncle, my father's brother."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Seven Hundred and Seventy-first Night,
She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Daulat Khatun said to Sayf al-Muluk, "Rejoice in safety near hand; for the King of this city is my uncle, my father's brother and his name is 'Ali al-Mulúk," [FN#430] adding, "Say thou then to the captain, 'Is the Sultan of the city, Ali al-Muluk, well?'" He asked but the captain was wroth with him and cried, "Thou sayest, 'I am a stranger and never in my life came hither.' Who then told thee the name of the lord of the city?" When Daulat Khatun heard this, she rejoiced and knew him for Mu'ín al-Dín, [FN#431] one of her father's captains. Now he had fared forth in search of her, after she was lost and finding her not, he never ceased cruising till he came to her uncle's city. Then she bade Sayf al-Muluk say to him, "O Captain Mu'in al-Din, come and speak with thy mistress!" So he called out to him as she bade, whereat he was wroth with exceeding wrath and answered, "O dog, O thief, O spy, who art thou and how knowest thou me?" Then he said to one of the sailors, "Give me an ash [FN#432]-stave, that I may go to yonder plaguing Arab and break his head." So he tookt he stick and made for Sayf al-Muluk, but, when he came to the raft, he saw a something, wondrous, beauteous, which confounded his wits and considering it straitly he made sure that it was Daulat Khatun sitting there, as she were a slice of the moon; whereat he said to the Prince, "Who is that with thee?" Replied he, "A damsel by name Daulat Khatun." When the captain heard the Princess's name and knew that she was his mistress and the daughter of his King, he fell down in a fainting-fit, and when he came to himself, he left the raft and whatso was thereon and riding up to the palace, craved an audience of the King; whereupon the chamberlain went in to the presence and said, "Captain Mu'in al-Din is come to bring thee good news; so bid he be brought in." The King bade admit him; accordingly he entered and kissing ground [FN#433] said to him, "O King, thou owest me a gift for glad tidings; for thy brother's daughter Daulat Khatun hath reached our city safe and sound, and is now on a raft in the harbour, in company with a young man like the moon on the night of its full." When the King heard this, he rejoiced and conferred a costly robe of honour on the captain. Then he straightway bade decorate the city in honour of the safe return of his brother's daughter, and sending for her and Sayf al-Muluk, saluted the twain and gave them joy of their safety; after which he despatched a messenger to his brother, to let him know that his daughter was found and was with him. As soon as the news reached Taj al-Muluk he gat him ready and assembling his troops set out for his brother's capital, where he found his daughter and they rejoiced with exceeding joy. He sojourned with his brother a week, after which he took his daughter and Sayf al-Muluk and returned to Sarandib, where the Princess foregathered with her mother and they rejoiced at her safe return; and held high festival and that day was a great day, never was seen its like. As for Sayf al-Muluk, the King entreated him with honour and said to him, "O Sayf al-Muluk, thou hast done me and my daughter all this good for which I cannot requite thee nor can any requite thee, save the Lord of the three Worlds; but I wish thee to sit upon the throne in my stead and rule the land of Hind, for I offer thee of my throne and kingdom and treasures and servants, all this in free gift to thee." Whereupon Sayf al-Muluk rose and kissing the ground before the King, thanked him and answered, "O King of the Age, I accept all thou givest me and return it to thee in freest gift; for I, O King of the Age, covet not sovranty nor sultanate nor desire aught but that Allah the Most High bring me to my desire." Rejoined the King, "O Sayf al-Muluk these my treasures are at thy disposal: take of them what thou wilt, without consulting me, and Allah requite thee for me with all weal!" Quoth the Prince, "Allah advance the King! There is no delight for me in money or in dominion till I win my wish: but now I have a mind to solace myself in the city and view its thoroughfares and market-streets." So the King bade bring him a mare of the thoroughbreds, saddled and bridled; and Sayf al-Muluk mounted her and rode through the streets and markets of the city. As he looked about him right and left, lo! his eyes fell on a young man, who was carrying a tunic and crying it for sale at fifteen dinars: so he considered him and saw him to be like his brother Sa'id; and indeed it was his very self, but he was wan of blee and changed for long strangerhood and the travails of travel, so that he knew him not. However, he said to his attendants, "Take yonder youth and carry him to the palace where I lodge, and keep him with you till my return from the ride when I will question him." But they understood him to say, "Carry him to the prison," and said in themselves "Haply this is some runaway Mameluke of his." So they took him and bore him to the bridewell, where they laid him in irons and left him seated in solitude, unremembered by any. Presently Sayf al-Muluk returned to the palace, but he forgot his brother Sa'id, and none made mention of him. So he abode in prison, and when they brought out the prisoners, to cut ashlar from the quarries they took Sa'id with them, and he wrought with the rest. He abode a month's space, in this squalor and sore sorrow, pondering his case and saying in himself, "What is the cause of my imprisonment?"; while Sayf al-Muluk's mind was diverted from him by rejoicing and other things; but one day, as he sat, he bethought him of Sa'id and said to his Mamelukes, "Where is the white slave I gave into your charge on such a day?" Quoth they, "Didst thou not bid us bear him to the bridewell?"; and quoth he, "Nay, I said not so; I bade you carry him to my palace after the ride." Then he sent his Chamberlains and Emirs for Sa'id and they fetched him in fetters, and loosing him from his irons set him before the Prince, who asked him, "O young man, what countryman art thou?"; and he answered, "I am from Egypt and my name is Sa'id, son of Faris the Wazir." Now hearing these words Sayf al-Muluk sprang to his feet and throwing himself off the throne and upon his friend, hung on his neck, weeping aloud for very joy and saying, "O my brother, O Sa'id, praise be Allah for King Asim." Then they embraced and shed tears together and all who were present marvelled at them. After this Sayf al-Muluk bade his people bear Sa'id to the Hammam-bath: and they did so. When he came out, they clad him in costly clothing and carried him back to Sayf al-Muluk who seated him on the throne beside himself. When King Taj al-Muluk heard of the reunion of Sayf al-Muluk and his brother Sa'id, he joyed with you exceeding and came to them, and the three sat devising of all that had befallen them in the past from first to last. Then said Sa'id, "O my brother, O Sayf al-Muluk, when the ship sank with all on board I saved myself on a plank with a company of Mamelukes and it drifted with us a whole month, when the wind cast us, by the ordinance of Allah Almighty, upon an island. So we landed and entering among the trees took to eating of the fruits, for we were anhungred. Whilst we were busy eating, there fell on us unawares, folk like Ifrits [FN#434] and springing on our shoulders rode us [FN#435] and said to us, 'Go on with us; for ye are become our asses.' So I said to him who had mounted me, 'What art thou and why mountest thou me?' At this he twisted one of his legs about my neck, till I was all but dead, and beat upon my back the while with the other leg, till I thought he had broken my backbone. So I fell to the ground on my face, having no strength left in me for famine and thirst. From my fall he knew that I was hungry and taking me by the hand, led me to a tree laden with fruit which was a pear-tree [FN#436] and said to me, 'Eat thy fill of this tree.' So I ate till I had enough and rose to walk against my will; but, ere I had fared afar the creature turned and leaping on my shoulders again drove me on, now walking, now running and now trotting, and he the while mounted on me, laughing and saying, 'Never in my life saw I a donkey like unto thee!' We abode thus for years till, one day of the days, it chanced that we saw there great plenty of vines, covered with ripe fruit; so we gathered a quantity of grape-bunches and throwing them into a pit, trod them with our feet, till the pit became a great water-pool. Then we waited awhile and presently returning thither, found that the sun had wroughten on the grape-juice and it was become wine. So we used to drink it till we were drunken and our faces flushed and we fell to singing and dancing and running about in the merriment of drunkenness; [FN#437] whereupon our masters said to us, 'What is it that reddeneth your faces and maketh you dance and sing?' We replied, 'Ask us not, what is your quest in questioning us hereof?' But they insisted, saying, 'You must tell us so that we may know the truth of the case,' till we told them how we had pressed grapes and made wine. Quoth they, 'Give us to drink thereof'; but quoth we, 'The grapes are spent.' So they brought us to a Wady, whose length we knew not from its breadth nor its beginning from its end wherein were vines each bunch of grapes on them weighing twenty pounds [FN#438] by the scale and all within easy reach, and they said, 'Gather of these.' So we gathered a mighty great store of grapes and finding there a big trench bigger than the great tank in the King's garden we filled it full of fruit. This we trod with our feet and did with the juice as before till it became strong wine, which it did after a month; whereupon we said to them, ''Tis come to perfection; but in what will ye drink it?' And they replied, 'We had asses like unto you; but we ate them and kept their heads: so give us to drink in their skulls.' We went to their caves which we found full of heads and bones of the Sons of Adam, and we gave them to drink, when they became drunken and lay down, nigh two hundred of them. Then we said to one another, 'Is it not enough that they should ride us, but they must eat us also? There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great! But we will ply them with wine, till they are overcome by drunkenness, when we will slay them and be at rest from them.' Accordingly, we awoke them and fell to filling the skulls and gave them to drink, but they said, 'This is bitter.' We replied, 'Why say ye 'tis bitter? Whoso saith thus, except he drink of it ten times, he dieth the same day.' When they heard this, they feared death and cried to us, 'Give us to drink the whole ten times.' So we gave them to drink, and when they swallowed the rest of the ten draughts they waxed drunken exceedingly and their strength failed them and they availed not to mount us. Thereupon we dragged them together by their hands and laying them one upon another, collected great plenty of dry vine-stalks and branches and heaped it about and upon them: then we set fire to the pile and stood afar off, to see what became of them."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Seven Hundred and Seventy-second Night,
She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Sa'id continued, "When we set fire to the pile wherein were the Ghuls, I with the Mamelukes stood afar off to see what became of them; and, as soon the fire was burnt out, we came back and found them a heap of ashes, wherefore we praised Allah Almighty who had delivered us from them. Then we went forth about the island and sought the sea-shore, where we parted and I and two of the Mamelukes fared on till we came to a thick copse full of fruit and there busied ourselves with eating, and behold, presently up came a man tall of stature, long of beard and lengthy of ear, with eyes like cressets, driving before him and feeding a great flock of sheep. [FN#439] When he saw us he rejoiced and said to us, 'Well come, and fair welcome to you! Draw near me that I may slaughter you an ewe of these sheep and roast it and give you to eat.' Quoth we, 'Where is thine abode?' And quoth he, 'Hard by yonder mountain; go on towards it till ye come to a cave and enter therein, for you will see many guests like yourselves; and do ye sit with them, whilst we make ready for you the guest-meal.' We believed him so fared on, as he bade us, till we came to the cavern, where we found many guests, Sons of Adam like ourselves, but they were all blinded; [FN#440] and when we entered, one said, 'I'm sick'; and another, 'I'm weak.' So we cried to them, 'What is this you say and what is the cauase of your sickness and weakness?' They asked, 'Who are ye?'; and we answered, 'We are guests.' Then said they, 'What hath made you fall into the hands of yonder accursed? But there is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great! This is a Ghul who devoureth the Sons of Adam and he hath blinded us and meaneth to eat us.' Said we, 'And how did he blind you?' and they replied, 'Even as he will blind yourselves anon.' Quoth we, 'And how so?' And quoth they, 'He will bring you bowls of soured milk [FN#441] and will say to you, 'Ye are weary with wayfare: take this milk and drink it.' And when ye have drunken thereof, ye will become blind like us.' Said I to myself, 'There is no escape for us but by contrivance.' So I dug a hole in the ground and sat over it. After an hour or so in came the accursed Ghul with bowls of milk, whereof he gave to each of us, saying, 'Ye come from the desert and are athirst: so take this milk and drink it, whilst I roast you the flesh.' I took the cup and carried it to my mouth but emptied it into the hole; then I cried out, 'Alas! my sight is gone and I am blind!' and clapping my hand to my eyes, fell a-weeping and a-wailing, whilst the accursed laughed and said, 'Fear not, thou art now become like mine other guests.' But, as for my two comrades, they drank the milk and became blind. Thereupon the Ghul arose and stopping up the mouth of the cavern came to me and felt my ribs, but found me lean and with no flesh on my bones: so he tried another and finding him fat, rejoiced. Then he slaughtered three sheep and skinned them and fetching iron spits, spitted the flesh thereon and set them over the fire to roast. When the meat was done, he placed it before my comrades who ate and he with them; after which he brought a leather-bag full of wine and drank thereof and lay down prone and snored. Said I to myself, 'He's drowned in sleep: how shall I slay him?' Then I bethought me of the spits and thrusting two of them into the fire, waited till they were as red-hot coals: whereupon I arose and girded myself and taking a spit in each hand went up to the accursed Ghul and thrust them into his eyes, pressing upon them with all my might. He sprang to his feet for sweet life and would have laid hold of me; but he was blind. So I fled from him into the inner cavern, whilst he ran after me; but I found no place of refuge from him nor whence I might escape into the open country, for the cave was stopped up with stones; wherefore I was bewildered and said to the blind men, 'How shall I do with this accursed?' Replied one of them, 'O Sa'id, with a run and a spring mount up to yonder niche [FN#442] and thou wilt find there a sharpened scymitar of copper: bring it to me and I will tell thee what to do.' So I clombed to the niche and taking the blade, returned to the blind man, who said to me, 'Smite him with the sword in his middle, and he will die forthright.' So I rushed after the Ghul, who was weary with running after me and felt for the blind men that he might kill them and, coming up to him smote him with the sword a single stroke across his waist and he fell in twain. then he screamed and cried out to me, 'O man, an thou desire to slay me, strike me a second stroke.' Accordingly, I was about to smite him another cut; but he who had directed me to the niche and the scymitar said, 'Smite him not a second time, for then he will not die, but will live and destroy us.'"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Seven Hundred and Seventy-third Night,
She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Sa'id continued, "Now when I struck the Ghul with the sword he cried out to me, 'O man, an thou desire to slay me, strike me a second stroke!" I was about so to do when he who had directed me to the scymitar said, 'Smite him not a second time, for then he will not die but will live and destroy us!' So I held my hand as he bade me, and the Ghul died. Then said the blind man to me, 'Open the mouth of the cave and let us fare forth; so haply Allah may help us and bring us to rest from this place.' And I said, 'No harm can come to us now; let us rather abide here and repose and eat of these sheep and drink of this wine, for long is the land.' Accordingly we tarried there two months, eating of the sheep and of the fruits of the island and drinking the generous grape-juice till it so chanced one day, as we sat upon the beach, we caught sight of a ship looming large in the distance; so we made signs for the crew and holla'd to them. They feared to draw near, knowing that the island was inhabited by a Ghul [FN#443] who ate Adamites, and would have sheered off; but we ran down to the marge of the sea and made signs to them, with our turband-ends and shouted to them, whereupon one of the sailors, who was sharp of sight, said to the rest, "Harkye, comrades, I see these men formed lke ourselves, for they have not the fashion of Ghuls.' So they made for us, little by little, till they drew near us in the dinghy [FN#444] and were certified that we were indeed human beings, when they saluted us and we returned their salam and gave them the glad tidings of the slaying of the accursed, wherefore they thanked us. Then we carried to the ship all that was in the cave of stuffs and sheep and treasure, together with a viaticum of the island-fruits, such as should serve us days and months, and embarking, sailed on with a fair breeze three days; at the end of which the wind veered round against us and the air became exceeding dark; nor had an hour passed before the wind drave the craft on to a rock, where it broke up and its planks were torn asunder. [FN#445] However, the Great God decreed that I should lay hold of one of the planks, which I bestrode, and it bore me along two days, for the wind had fallen fair again, and I paddled with my feet awhile, till Allah the Most High brought me safe ashore and I landed and came to this city, where I found myself a stranger, solitary, friendless, not knowing what to do; for hunger was sore upon me and I was in great tribulation. Thereupon I, O my brother, hid myself and pulling off this my tunic, carried it to the market, saying in my mind, 'I will sell it and live on its price, till Allah accomplish to me whatso he will accomplish.' Then I took the tunic in my hand and cried it for sale, and the folk were looking at it and bidding for it, when, O my brother, thou camest by and seeing me commandedst me to the palace; but thy pages arrested and thrust me into the prison and there I abode till thou bethoughtest thee of me and badst bring me before thee. So now I have told thee what befel me, and Alhamdolillah--Glorified be God--for reunion!" Much marvelled the two Kings at Sa'id's tale and Taj al-Muluk having made ready a goodly dwelling for Sayf al-Muluk and his Wazir, Daulat Khatun used to visit the Prince there and thank him for his favours and talk with him. One day, he met her and said to her, "O my lady, where is the promise thou madest me, in the palace of Japhet son of Noah, saying, 'Were I with my people, I would make shift to bring thee to thy desire?'" And Sa'id said to her, "O Princess, I crave thine aid to enable him to win his will." Answered she, "Yea, verily; I will do my endeavour for him, that he may attain his aim, if it please Allah Almighty." And she turned to Sayf al-Muluk and said to him, "Be of good cheer and keep thine eyes cool and clear." Then she rose and going in to her mother, said to her, "Come with me forthright and let us purify ourselves and make fumigations [FN#446] that Badi'a al-Jamal and her mother may come and see me and rejoice in me." Answered the Queen, "With love and goodly gree;" and rising, betook herself to the garden and burnt off these perfumes which she always had by her; nor was it long before Badi'a al-Jamal and her mother made their appearance. The Queen of Hind foregathered with the other Queen and acquainted her with her daughter's safe return, whereat she rejoiced; and rejoiced in each other. Then they pitched the pavilions [FN#447] and dressed dainty viands and made ready the place of entertainment; whilst the two Princesses withdrew to a tent apart and ate together and drank and made merry; after which they sat down to converse, and Badi'a al-Jamal said, "What hath befallen thee in thy strangerhood?" Replied Daulat Khatun, "O my sister how sad is severance and how gladsome is reunion; ask me not what hath befallen me! Oh, what hardships mortals suffer!" cried she, "How so?" and the other said to her, "O my sister, I was inmured in the High-builded Castle of Japhet son of Noah, whither the son of the Blue King carried me off, till Sayf al-Muluk slew the Jinni and brought me back to my sire;" and she told her to boot all that the Prince had undergone of hardships and horrors before he came to the Castle. [FN#448] Badi'a al-Jamal marvelled at her tale and said, "By Allah, O my sister, this is the most wondrous of wonders! This Sayf al-Muluk is indeed a man! But why did he leave his father and mother and betake himself to travel and expose himself to these perils?" Quoth Daulat Khatun, "I have a mind to tell thee the first part of his history; but shame of thee hindereth me therefrom." Quoth Badi'a al-Jamal, "Why shouldst thou have shame of me, seeing that thou art my sister and my bosom-friend and there is muchel a matter between thee and me and I know thou willest me naught but well? Tell me then what thou hast to say and be not abashed at me and hide nothing from me and have no fear of consequences." Answered Daulat Khatun, "By Allah, all the calamities that have betided this unfortunate have been on thine account and because of thee!" Asked Badi'a al-Jamal, "How so, O my sister?"; and the other answered, "Know that he saw thy portrait wrought on a tunic which thy father sent to Solomon son of David (on the twain be peace!) and he opened it not neither looked at it, but despatched it, with other presents and rarities to Asim bin Safwan, King of Egypt, who gave it, still unopened, to his son Sayf al-Muluk. The Prince unfolded the tunic, thinking to put it on, and seeing thy portrait, became enamoured of it; wherefore he came forth in quest of thee, and left his folk and reign and suffered all these terrors and hardships on thine account."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Seven Hundred and Seventy-fourth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Daulat Khatun related to Badi'a al-Jamal the first part of Sayf al-Muluk's history; how his love for her was caused by the tunic whereon her presentment was wrought; how he went forth, passion-distraught, in quest of her; how he forsook his people and his kingdom for her sake and how he had suffered all these terrors and hardships on her account. When Badi'a al-Jamal hear this, she blushed rosy red and was confounded at Daulat Khatun and said, "Verily this may never, never be; for man accordeth not with the Jann." Then Daulat Khatun went on to praise Sayf al-Muluk and extol his comeliness and courage and cavalarice, and ceased not repeating her memories of his prowess and his excellent qualities till she ended with saying, "For the sake of Almighty Allah and of me, O sister mine, come and speak with him, though but one word!" But Badi'a al-Jamal cried, "By Allah, O sister mine, this that thou sayest I will not hear, neither will I assent to thee therein;" and it was as if she heard naught of what the other said and as if no love of Sayf al-Muluk and his beauty and bearing and bravery had gotten hold upon her heart. Then Daulat Khatun humbled herself and said, "O Badi'a al-Jamal, by the milk we have sucked, I and thou, and by that which is graven on the seal-ring of Solomon (on whom be peace!) hearken to these my words for I pledged myself in the High-builded Castle of Japhet, to show him thy face. So Allah upon thee, show it to him once, for the love of me, and look thyself on him!" And she ceased not to weep and implore her and kiss her hands and feet, till she consented and said, "For thy sake I will show him my face once and he shall have a single glance." With that Daulat Khatun's heart was gladdened and she kissed her hands and feet. Then she went forth and fared to the great pavilion in the garden and bade her slave-women spread it with carpets and set up a couch of gold and place the wine-vessels in order; after which she went into Sayf al-Muluk and to his Wazir Sa'id, whom she found seated in their lodging, and gave the Prince the glad tidings of the winning of his wish, saying, "Go to the pavilion in the garden, thou and thy brother, and hide yourselves there from the eyes of men so none in the palace may espy you, till I come to you with Badi'a al-Jamal." So they rose and repaired to the appointed pavilion, where they found the couch of gold set and furnished with cushions, and meat and wine ready served. So they sat awhile, whilst Sayf al-Muluk bethought him of his beloved and his breast was straitened and love and longing assailed him: wherefore he rose and walked forth from the vestibule of the pavilion. Sa'id would have followed him, but he said to him, "O my brother, follow me not, but sit in thy stead till I return to thee." So Sa'id abode seated, whilst Sayf al-Muluk went down into the garden, drunken with the wine of desire and distracted for excess of love-longing and passion-fire: yearning agitated him and transport overcame him and he recited these couplets,
"O passing Fair [FN#449] I have none else but thee; * Pity this slave in thy love's slavery!
Thou art my search, my joy and my desire! * None save thyself shall love this heart of me:
Would Heaven I knew thou knewest of my wails * Night-long and eyelids oped by memory.
Bid sleep to soourn on these eyen-lids * Haply in vision I thy sight shall see.
Show favour then to one thus love-distraught: * Save him from ruin by thy cruelty!
Allah increase thy beauty and thy weal; * And be thy ransom every enemy!
So shall on Doomsday lovers range beneath * Thy flag, and beauties 'neath thy banner be."
Then he wept and recited these also,
"That rarest beauty ever bides my foe * Who holds my heart and lurks in secresy:
Speaking, I speak of nothing save her charms * And when I'm dumb in heart-core woneth she."
Then he wept sore and recited the following,
"And in my liver higher flames the fire; * You are my wish and longsome still I yearn:
To you (none other!) bend I and I hope * (Lovers long-suffering are!) your grace to earn;
And that you pity me whose frame by Love * Is waste and weak his heart with sore concern:
Relent, be gen'rous, tender-hearted, kind: * From you I'll ne'er remove, from you ne'er turn!"
Then he wept and recited these also,
"Came to me care when came the love of thee, * Cruel sleep fled me like thy cruelty:
Tells me the messenger that thou are wroth: * Allah forfend what evils told me he!"
Presently Sa'id waxed weary of awaiting him and going forth in quest of him, found him walking in the garden, distraught and reciting these two couplets,
"By Allah, by th' Almighty, by his right [FN#450] * Who read the Koran-Chapter 'Fátír [FN#451] hight;
Ne'er roam my glances o'er the charms I see; * Thy grace, rare beauty, is my talk by night."
So he joined him and the twain walked about the garden together solacing themselves and ate of its fruits. Such was their case; [FN#452] but as regards the two Princesses, they came to the pavilion and entering therein after the eunuchs had richly furnished it, according to command, sat down on the couch of gold, beside which was a window that gave upon the garden. The castratos then set before them all manner rich meats and they ate, Daulat Khatun feeding her foster-sister by mouthfuls, [FN#453] till she was satisfied; when she called for divers kinds of sweetmeats, and when the neutrals brought them, they ate what they would of them and washed their hands. After this Daulat Khatun made ready wine and its service, setting on the ewers and bowls and she proceeded to crown the cups and give Badi'a al-amal to drink, filling for herself after and drinking in turn. The Badi'a al-Jamal looked from the window into the garden and gazed upon the fruits and branches that were therein, till her glance fell on Sayf al-Muluk, and she saw him wandering about the parterres, followed by Sa'id, and she heard him recite verses, raining the while railing tears. And that glance of eyes cost her a thousand signs,--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Seven Hundred and Seventy-fifth Night,
She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Badi'a al-Jamal caught sight of Sayf al-Muluk as he wandered about the garden, that glance of eyes cost her a thousand sighs, and she turned to Daulat Khatun and said to her (and indeed the wine sported with her senses), "O my sister, who is that young man I see in the garden, distraught, love-abying, disappointed, sighing?" Quoth the other, "Dost thou give me leave to bring him hither, that we may look on him?"; and quoth the other, "An thou can avail to bring him, bring him." So Daulat Khatun called to him, saying "O King's son, come up to us and bring us thy beauty and thy loveliness!" Sayf al-Muluk recognised her voice and came up to into the pavilion; but no sooner had he set eyes on Badi'a al-Jamal, than he fell down in a swoon; whereupon Daulat Khatun sprinkled on him a little rose-water and he revived. Then he rose and kissed ground before Badi'a al-Jamal who was amazed at his beauty and loveliness; and Daulat Khatun said to her, "Know, O Princess, that this is Sayf al-Muluk, whose hand saved me by the ordinance of Allah Almighty and he it is who hath borne all manner burthens on thine account: wherefore I would have thee look upon him with favour." Hearing this Badi'a al-Jamal laughed and said, "And who keepeth faith, that this youth should do so? For there is no true love in men." Cried Sayf al-Muluk, "O Princess, never shall lack of faith be in me, and all men are not created alike." And he wept before her and recited these verses,
"O thou, Badi'a 'l-Jamál, show thou some clemency * To one those lovely eyes opprest with witchery!
By rights of beauteous hues and tints thy cheeks combine * Of snowy white and glowing red anemone,
Punish not with disdain one who is sorely sick * By long, long parting waste hath waxed this frame of me:
This is my wish, my will, the end of my desire, * And Union is my hope an haply this may be!"
Then he wept with violent weeping; and love and longing got the mastery over him and he greeted her with these couplets,
"Peace be to you from lover's wasted love, * All noble hearts to noble favour show:
Peace be to you! Ne'er fail your form my dreams; * Nor hall nor chamber the fair sight forego!
Of you I'm jealous: none may name your name: * Lovers to lovers aye should bend thee low:
So cut not off your grace from him who loves * While sickness wastes and sorrows overthrow.
I watch the flowery stars which frighten me; * While cark and care mine every night foreslow.
Nor Patience bides with me nor plan appears: * What shall I say when questioned of my foe?
God's peace be with you in the hour of need, * Peace sent by lover patient bearing woe!"
Then for the excess of his desire and ecstasy he repeated these coupletes also,
"If I to aught save you, O lords of me, incline; * Ne'er may I win of you my wish, my sole design!
Who doth comprise all loveliness save only you? * Who makes the Doomsday dawn e'en now before these eyne?
Far be it Love find any rest, for I am one * Who lost for love of you this heart, these vitals mine."
When he had made an end of his verses, he wept with sore weeping and she said to him, "O Prince, I fear to grant myself wholly to thee lest I find in thee nor fondness nor affection; for oftentimes man's fidelity is small and his perfidy is great and thou knowest how the lord Solomon, son of David (on whom be the Peace!), took Bilkis to his love but, whenas he saw another fairer than she, turned from her thereto." Sayf al-Muluk replied, "O my eye and O my soul, Allah hath not made all men alike, and I, Inshallah, will keep my troth and die beneath thy feet. Soon shalt thou see what I will do in accordance with my words, and for whatso I say Allah is my warrant." Quoth Badi'a al-Jamal, "Sit and be of good heart and swear to me by the right of thy Faith and let us covenant together that each will not be false to other; and whichever of us breaketh faith may Almighty Allah punish!" At these words he sat down and set his hand in her hand and they sware each to other that neither of them would ever prefer to the other any one, either of man or of the Jann. Then they embraced for a whole hour and wept for excess of their joy, whilst passion overcame Sayf al-Muluk and he recited these couplets,
"I weep for longing love's own ardency * To her who claims the heart and soul of me.
And sore's my sorrow parted long from you, * And short's my arm to reach the prize I see;
And mourning grief for what my patience marred * To blamer's eye unveiled my secresy;
And waxed strait that whilome was so wide * Patience nor force remains nor power to dree.
Would Heaven I knew if God will ever deign to join * Our lives, and from our cark and care and grief set free!"
After this mutual troth-plighting, Sayf al-Muluk arose and walked in the garden and Badi'a al-Jamal arose also and went forth also afoot followed by a slave-girl bearing somewhat of food and a flask [FN#454] of wine. The Princess sat down and the damsel set the meat and wine before her: nor remained they long ere they were joined by Sayf al-Muluk, who was received with greeting and the two embraced and sat them down.--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the Seven Hundred and Seventy-sixth Night,
She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that having provided food and wine, Badi'a al-Jamal met Sayf al-Muluk with greetings, and the twain having embraced and kissed sat them down awhile to eat and drink. Then said she to him, "O King's son, thou must now go to the garden of Iram, where dwelleth my grandmother, and seek her consent to our marriage. My slave-girl Marjánah will convey thee thither and as thou farest therein thou wilt see a great pavilion of red satin, lined with green silk. Enter the pavilion heartening thyself and thou wilt see inside it an ancient dame sitting on a couch of red gold set with pearls and jewels. Salute her with respect and courtesy: then look at the foot of the couch, where thou wilt descry a pair of sandals [FN#455] of cloth interwoven with bars of gold, embroidered with jewels. Take them and kiss them and lay them on thy head [FN#456]; then put them under thy right armpit and stand before the old woman, in silence and with thy head bowed down. If she ask thee, 'Who art thou and how camest thou hither and who led thee to this land? And why hast thou taken up the sandals?' make her no answer, but abide silent till Marjanah enter, when she will speak with her and seek to win her aproof for thee and cause her look on thee with consent; so haply Allah Almight may incline her heart to thee and she may grant thee thy wish." Then she called the handmaid Marjanah hight and said to her, "As thou lovest me, do my errand this day and be not neglectful therein! An thou acccomplish it, thou shalt be a free woman for the sake of Allah Almighty, and I will deal honourably by thee with gifts and there shall be none dearer to me than thou, nor will I discover my secrets to any save thee. So, by my love for thee, fulfil this my need and be not slothful therein." Replied Marjanah, "O my lady and light of mine eyes, tell me what is it thou requirest of me, that I may accomplish it with both mine eyes." Badi'a rejoined, "Take this mortal on thy shoulders and bear him to the bloom-garden of Iram and the pavilion of my grandmother, my father's mother, and be careful of his safety. When thou hast brought him into her presence and seest him take the slippers and do them homage, and hearest her ask him, saying, 'Whence art thou and by what road art come and who led thee to this land, and why hast thou taken up the sandals and what is thy need that I give heed to it?' do thou come forward in haste and salute her with the salam and say to her, 'O my lady, I am she who brought him hither and he is the King's son of Egypt. [FN#457] 'Tis he who went to the High-builded Castle and slew the son of the Blue King and delivered the Princess Daulat Khatun from the Castle of Japhet son of Noah and brought her back safe to her father: and I have brought him to thee, that he may give thee the glad tidings of her safety: so deign thou be gracious to him.' Then do thou say to her, 'Allah upon thee! is not this young man handsome, O my lady?' She will reply, 'Yes'; and do thou rejoin, 'O my lady, indeed he is complete in honour and manhood and valour and he is lord and King of Egypt and compriseth all praiseworthy qualities.' An she ask thee, 'What is his need?' do thou make answer, 'My lady saluteth thee and saith to thee, how long shall she sit at home, a maid and unmarried? Indeed, the time is longsome upon her for she is as a magazine wherein wheat is heaped up. [FN#458] What then is thine intent in leaving her without a mate and why dost thou not marry her in thy lifetide and that of her mother, like other girls?' If she say, 'How shall we do to marry her? An she have any one in mind, let her tell us of him, and we will do her will as far as may be!" do thou make answer, 'O my lady, thy daughter saith to thee, 'Ye were minded aforetime to marry me to Solomon (on whom be peace!) and portrayed him my portrait on a tunic. But he had no lot in me; so he sent the tunic to the King of Egypt and he gave it to his son, who saw my portrait figured thereon and fell in love with me; wherefore he left his father and mother's realm and turning away from the world and whatso is therein, went forth at a venture, a wanderer, love-distraught, and hath borne the utmost hardships and honours for my sake of me.' Now thou seest his beauty and loveliness, and thy daughter's heart is enamoured of him; so if ye have a mind to marry her, marry her to this young man and forbid her not from him for he is young and passing comely and King of Egypt, nor wilt thou find a goodlier than he; and if ye will not give her to him, she will slay herself and marry none neither man nor Jinn.'" "And," continued Badi'a al-Jamal, "Look thou, O Marjanah, ma mie, [FN#459] how thou mayst do with my grandmother, to win her consent, and beguile her with soft words, so haply she may do my desire." Quoth the damsel, "O my lady, upon my head and eyes will I serve thee and do what shall content thee." Then she took Sayf al-Muluk on her shoulders and said to him, "O King's son, shut thine eyes." He did so and she flew up with him into the welkin; and after awhile she said to him, "O King's son, open thine eyes." He opened them and found himself in a garden, which was none other than the garden of Iram; and she showed him the pavilion and said, "O Sayf al-Muluk, enter therein!" Thereupon he pronounced the name of Allah Almighty and entering cast a look upon the garden, when he saw the old Queen sitting on the couch, attended by her waiting women. So he drew near her with courtesy and reverence and taking the sandals bussed them and did as Badi'a al-Jamal had enjoined him. Quoth the ancient dame, "Who art thou and what is thy country; whence comest thou and who brought thee hither and what may be thy wish? Wherefore dost thou take the sandals and kiss them and when didst thou ask of me a favour which I did not grant?" With this in came Marjanah [FN#460] and saluting her reverently and worshipfully, repeated to her what Badi'a al-Jamal had told her; which when the old Queen heard, she cried out at her and was wroth with her and said, "How shall there be accord between man and Jinn?"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
End of Vol. 7