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Bagh O Bahar, Or Tales of the Four Darweshes by Mir Amman of Dihli

Part 2 out of 5

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precipitating myself [from the mountain], and had even lifted up my
foot, when some one laid hold of my arm. In the meanwhile, I regained
my senses, and looking round, I saw a horseman clothed in green,
with a veil thrown over his face, who said to me, "Why dost thou
attempt to destroy thy life; it is impious to despair of God's mercy;
whilst there is breath, so long there is hope. Three _Darweshes_
will meet thee a few days hence, in the empire of _Rum_, who are
equally afflicted with thyself, entangled in the same difficulties,
and who have met with adventures similar to thine; the name of the
king of that country is _Azad Bakht_; he is also in great trouble;
when he meets you and the other three _Darweshes_, then the wishes
and desires of the heart of each of you will be completely fulfilled."

I instantly laid hold of the stirrup [of this guardian angel,]
and kissed it, and exclaimed, "O messenger of God, the few words
you have pronounced have consoled my afflicted heart; but tell me,
for God's sake, who you are, and what is your name." He replied,
"My name is _Murtaza 'Ali_, [193] and my office is this, that to
whomsoever there occurs a danger or difficulty, I am at hand to afford
relief." Having said this much, he vanished from my sight. In short,
having set my heart at ease from the happy tidings I received from
my spiritual guide _[Murtaza 'Ali_], "the remover of difficulties,"
I formed the design of [proceeding to] Constantinople. On the road I
suffered all those misfortunes which were decreed me by fate; with
the hopes of meeting the princess. Through the assistance of God,
I am come here, and by good fortune I have become honoured by your
presence. The promised meeting has taken place between us, and we have
enjoyed each other's society and conversation; now it only remains
for us to be known to, and acquainted with, the king _Azad Bakht_.

Assuredly after this, we five shall attain the desires of our
hearts. Do you also beseech the blessings of God, and say amen. O
ye holy guides! such have been the adventures which have befallen
this bewildered wanderer, which have been faithfully related in your
presence; now let us look forward [to the time] when my trouble and
sorrows will be changed into joy and gladness by the recovery of the
princess. _Azad Bakht_, concealed in silence in his corner, having
heard with attention the story of the first _Darwesh_, was greatly
pleased; then he betook himself to listen to the adventures of the
next _Darwesh_.


When it came to the turn of the second _Darwesh_ to speak, he placed
himself at his ease, [194] and said--

"O friends, to this _fakir's_ story listen a little;--
I will tell it to you,--from first to the last, listen;
Whose cure no physician can perform;
My pain is far beyond remedy,--listen."

O ye clothed in the _dalk!_ [195] this wretch is the prince of the
kingdom of Persia; men skilled in every science are born there, for
which reason the [Persian] proverb "_Isfahan nisfi Jahan_," [196] or
"_Ispahan_ is half the world," has become well known. In the seven
climes, there is no kingdom equal to that ancient kingdom; the star
of that country is the sun, and of all the seven constellations it
is the greatest. [197] The climate of that region is delightful,
and the inhabitants are of enlightened minds, and refined in their
manners. My father (who was the king of that country), in order to
teach me the rules and lessons of government, made choice of very
wise tutors in every art and science, and placed them over me for my
instruction from my infancy. So, having received complete instruction
in every kind [of knowledge], I am now learned. With the favour of God,
in my fourteenth year I had learned every science, polite conversation,
and polished manners; and I had acquired all that is fit and requisite
for kings to know; moreover, my inclinations night and day, led me to
associate with the learned, and hear the histories of every country,
and of ambitious princes and men of renown.

One day, a learned companion, who was well versed in history, and
had seen [a great deal of] the world, said to me, "That though there
is no reliance on the life of man, yet such excellent qualities are
often found in him, that owing to them, the name of some men will be
handed down with praise on people's tongues to the day of judgment." I
begged of him to relate circumstantially a few instances on that score,
that I might hear them, and endeavour to act accordingly. Then that
person began to relate as follows, some of the adventures of _Hatim
Ta'i_. "That there lived in the time of _Hatim_, a king of Arabia,
named _Naufal_, who bore great enmity towards _Hatim_, on account of
his renown, and having assembled many troops, he went up to give him
battle. _Hatim_ was a God-fearing and good man; he thus conceived,
that, "If I likewise prepare for battle, then the creatures of God
will be slaughtered, and there will be much bloodshed; the punishment
of heaven for which will be recorded against my name." Reflecting on
this, he quite alone, taking merely his life with him, fled and hid
himself in a cave in the mountains. When the news of _Hatim's_ flight
reached _Naufal_, he confiscated all the property and dwellings of
_Hatim_, and proclaimed publicly, that whoever would look out for him
and seize him, should receive from the king's treasury five hundred
pieces of gold. On hearing this [proclamation], all became eager,
and began to make diligent search for _Hatim_.

"One day, an old man and his wife, taking two or three of their young
children with them, for the purpose of picking up wood, strayed near
the cave where _Hatim_ was concealed; and began to gather fuel in
that same forest. The old woman remarked, 'If our days had been at all
fortunate, we should have seen and found _Hatim_ somewhere or other,
and seizing him, we should have carried him to _Naufal_; then he would
give us five hundred pieces of gold, and we should live comfortably,
and be released from this toil and care,' The old woodman said,
'What art thou prating about? it was decreed in our fate, that we
should pick up wood every day, place it on our heads, and sell it in
the _bazar_, and [with its produce] procure bread and salt; or one
day the tiger of the woods will carry us off: peace, mind thy work;
why should _Hatim_ fall into our hands, and the king give us so much
money?' The old woman heaved a cold sigh, and remained silent.

"_Hatim_ had heard the words of the two [old people], and conceived it
unmanly and ungenerous to conceal himself to save his life, and not
to conduct those helpless ones to the object of their desire. True
it is, that a man without pity is not a human being, and he in whose
heart there is no feeling is a butcher.

'Man was created to exercise compassion,
Otherwise, angels were not wanting for devotion.'

In short, _Hatim's_ manly mind would not allow him to remain concealed,
after what he had with his own ears heard [from the woodman]; he
instantly came out, and said to the old man, 'O friend, I myself
am _Hatim_, lead me to _Naufal_; on seeing me, he will give thee
whatever amount of money he has promised.' [198] The old woodman
replied, 'It is true that my welfare and advantage certainly consist
in doing so, but who knows how he will treat thee; if he should put
thee to death, then what shall I do? This, on my part, can never
be done--that I should deliver over thee to thine enemy for the
sake of my own avarice. In a few days I shall spend the [promised]
wealth, and how long shall I live? I must die at last; then what
answer shall I give to God?' _Hatim_ implored him greatly, and said,
'Take me along with thee--I say so of my own pleasure; I have ever
desired that, should my wealth and life be of use to some one or other
[of my fellow creatures], then so much the better.' But the old man
could not in any way be persuaded to carry _Hatim_ along with him, and
receive the [proclaimed reward. At last, becoming hopeless, _Hatim_
said, 'If you do not carry me in the way I wish, then I will go of
myself to the king, and say, this old man concealed me in a cave
in the mountains,' The old man smiled and said, 'If I am to receive
evil for good, then hard will be my fate.' During this conversation,
other men arrived, and a crowd assembled [around them]; perceiving the
person they saw to be _Hatim_, they instantly seized him and carried
him along; the old man also, a little in the rear, followed them in
silent grief. When they brought _Hatim_ before _Naufal_, he asked,
'Who has seized and brought him here?' A worthless, hard-hearted
[boaster] answered, 'Who could have performed such a deed except
myself? This achievement belongs to my name, and I have planted the
standard [of glory] in the sky.' Another vaunting fellow clamoured,
'I searched for him many days in the woods, and caught him at last,
and have brought him here; have some consideration for my labour,
and give me what has been promised.' In this manner, from avidity
for the [promised] pieces of gold, every one said he had done the
deed. The old man, in silence, sat apart in a corner, and heard all
their boastings, and wept for _Hatim_. When each had recounted his
act of bravery and enterprise, then _Hatim_ said to the king, 'If you
ask for the truth, then it is this; that old man, who stands aloof
from all, has brought me here; if you can judge from appearances,
then ascertain the fact, and give him for my seizure what you have
promised; for in the whole body the tongue [199] is a most sacred
[member]. It is incumbent upon a man to perform what he has promised;
for in other respects God has given tongues to brutes likewise; then
what would have been the difference between a man and other animals?'

"_Naufal_ called the old wood-cutter near him, and said, 'Tell the
truth; what is the real state of the matter; who has seized and
brought _Hatim_ here?' The honest fellow related truly all that had
occurred from beginning to end, and added, '_Hatim_ is come here of
his own accord for my sake.' _Naufal_, on hearing this manly act of
_Hatim's_, was greatly astonished, and exclaimed, 'How surprising
is thy liberality! even thy life thou hast not feared to risk [for
the good of others]!' With regard to all those who laid false claims
to having seized _Hatim_, the king ordered them to have their hands
tied behind their backs, and instead of five hundred pieces of gold,
to receive each five hundred strokes of a slipper on their heads,
so that their lives might perish [under the punishment]. Instantly,
the strokes of the slippers began to be laid on in such a style, that
in a short time their heads became quite bald. True it is, that to tell
an untruth is such a guilt, that no other guilt equals it; may God keep
every one free from this calamity, and not give him a propensity for
telling lies; many people persevere in uttering falsehoods, but at
the moment of detection they meet with their dessert.

"In short, _Naufal_ having rewarded all of them according to their
desserts, thought it contrary to gentlemanly conduct and manliness
of character to harbour enmity and strife towards a man like _Hatim_,
from whom multitudes received happiness, and who, for the sake of the
necessitous, did not even spare his own life, and was entirely devoted
to the ways of God. He instantly seized _Hatim's_ hand with great
cordiality and friendship, and said to him, 'Why should it not be the
case? [200] such a man as you are can perform such an action.' Then
the king, with great respect and attention, made _Hatim_ sit down
near him, and he instantly restored to him the lands and property,
and the wealth and moveables, he had confiscated; and bestowed on him
anew the chieftainship of the tribe of _Ta,i_, and ordered the five
hundred pieces of gold to be given to the old man from the treasury,
who, blessing [the king], went away."

When I had heard the whole of this adventure of _Hatim's_, a spirit
of rivalry came into my mind; and this idea occurred to me, viz.,
"_Hatim_ was the only chief of his own tribe [of Arabs]. He, by
one act of liberality has gained such renown, that to this day it
is celebrated; whilst I am, by the decree of God, the king of all
_Iran_; and it would be a pity if I were to remain excluded from this
good fortune. It is certain that in this world no quality is greater
than generosity and liberality; for whatever a man bestows in this
world, he receives its return in the next. If any one sows a single
seed, then how much does he reap from its produce! With these ideas
impressed upon my mind, I called for the lord of the buildings, and
ordered him to erect, as speedily as possible, a grand palace without
the city, with forty high and wide gates. [201] In a short time, even
such a grand palace as my heart wished for, was built and got ready,
and in that place every day at all times, from morning till night,
I used to bestow pieces of silver and gold on the poor and helpless;
whoever asked for anything in charity, I granted it to the utmost of
his desire.

In short, the necessitous entered [daily] through the forty gates,
and received whatever they wanted. It happened one day that a _fakir_
came in from the front gate and begged some alms. I gave him a gold
piece; then the same person entered through the next gate, and asked
two pieces of gold; though I recollected him [to be the same _fakir_],
I passed over [the circumstance] and gave them. In this manner he came
in through each gate, and increased a piece of gold in his demand
each time; and I knowingly appeared ignorant [of the circumstance],
and continued supplying him according to his demand. At last he
entered by the fortieth gate, and asked forty pieces of gold--this
sum I likewise ordered to be given him. After receiving so much,
the _fakir_ re-entered from the first gate and again begged alms:
his conduct appeared to me highly impudent, and I said, hear, O
avaricious man, what kind of a _fakir_ art thou, that dost not even
know the meaning of the three letters which compose the word [Arabic:
faqr] _fakr_ (poverty); a _fakir_ ought to act up to them. He replied,
"Well, generous soul, explain them yourself." I answered, "[Arabic:
f] _fe_ means _faka_ (fasting); [Arabic: q] _kaf_ signifies _kina'at_
(contentment); and [Arabic: r] _re_ means _riyazat_ (devotion); [202]
whoever has not these three qualities, is not a _fakir_. All this
which you have received, eat and drink with it, and when it is done,
return to me, and receive whatever thou requirest. This charity is
bestowed on thee to relieve immediate wants and not for the purpose
of accumulation. O avidious! from the forty gates thou hast received
from one piece of gold up to forty; add up the amount, and see by the
rule of arithmetical progression how many pieces of gold it comes to;
and even after all this, thy avarice hath brought thee back again
through the first gate. What wilt thou do after having accumulated so
much money? A [real] _fakir_ ought only to think [of the wants] of the
passing day; the following day the great Provider [of necessaries]
will afford thee a new pittance. Now evince some shame and modesty;
have patience, and be content; what sort of mendicity is this that
thy spiritual guide hath taught thee?"

On hearing these reproaches of mine, he became displeased and angry,
and threw down on the ground all [the money] he had received from me,
and said, "Enough, sir, do not be so warm; take back your gifts and
keep them, and do not again pronounce the word generosity. It is very
difficult to be generous; you are not able to support the weight of
generosity, when will you attain to that station? [203] you are as
yet very far from it. The word [Arabic: sakhy] _Sakhi_ (generous),
is also composed of three letters; first act up to the meaning of
those three letters, then you will be called generous." On hearing
this I became uneasy, and said to the _fakir_, well, holy pilgrim,
explain to me the meaning of those three letters. He replied, "from
[Arabic: s] _sin_ is derived _sama,i_ (endurance); from [Arabic: kh]
_khe_ comes _khaufi Ilahi_ (fear of God); and from [Arabic: y]_ye_
proceeds _yad_ (remembrance of one's birth and death). Until one
is possessed of these three qualities, he should not mention the
name of generosity; and the generous man has also this happiness,
that although he acts amiss [in other points], yet he is dear to
his Maker [on account of his generosity]. I have travelled through
many countries, but except the princess of _Basra_, I have not seen a
[person really] generous. The robe of generosity God hath shaped out on
[the person] of that woman; all others desire the name, but do not act
up to it." On hearing this, I made much entreaty, and conjured him
[by all that was sacred] to forgive my rebuke, and take whatever he
required. He would not, on any account, accept my proffered gifts,
but went away repeating these words, "Now if thou wert to give all
thy kingdom, I would not spit upon it, nor would I even **." [204]
The pilgrim went away, but having heard such praises of the princess
of _Basra_, my heart became quite restless, and no way could I be
easy. Now this desire arose within me, that by some means or other
I must go to _Basra_ and take a look at her.

In the meantime, the king, my father, died, and I ascended the
throne. I got the empire, but the idea [I had formed of going to
_Basra]_] did not leave me. I held a consultation with the _wazir_
and nobles, who were the support of the throne, and the pillars of
the empire, saying, I wish to make a journey to _Basra_. Do ye remain
steady in your respective stations; if I live, then the duration of
the journey will be short; I will soon be back. No one seemed pleased
at the idea of my going; in my helplessness, my heart continued to
become more and more sorrowful. One day, without consulting any one,
I privately sent for the resourceful _wazir_, and made him regent
and plenipotentiary [during my absence], and placed him at the head
of the affairs of the empire. I then put on the ochre-coloured habit
[of a pilgrim], and, assuming the appearance of a _fakir_, I took the
road to _Basra_ alone. In a few days, I reached its boundaries, and
[constantly] began to witness this scene; wherever I halted for the
night, the servants of the princess advanced to receive me, and made me
halt at some elegant house, and they used to provide me in perfection
with all the requisites of a banquet, and to remain in attendance on
me all night with the utmost respect. The following day, at the next
stage, I experienced the same reception. In this comfort I journeyed
onwards for months; at last I entered [the city of] _Basra_. I had
no sooner entered it, than a good-looking young man, well dressed,
and well-behaved, who carried wisdom in his looks, came up to me, and
said with extreme sweetness of address, "I am the servant of pilgrims;
I am always on the look out to conduct to my house all travellers,
whether pilgrims or men of the world, who come to this city; except
my house alone, there is no other place here for a stranger to put
up at; pray, holy sir, come with me, bestow honour on my abode,
and render me exalted.

I asked him, "what is the noble name of your honour?" He replied,
"they call the name of this nameless one _Bedar Bakht_." Seeing his
good qualities and affable manners, I went along with him and came to
his house. I saw a grand mansion fitted up in a princely style--he
led me to a grand apartment, and made me sit down; and sending for
warm water, he caused [the attendants] to wash my hands and feet;
and having caused the _dastar-khwan_ [205] to be spread, the steward
placed before me alone a great variety of trays and dishes, and large
quantities of fruit and confectionery. [206] On seeing such a grand
treat, my very soul was satiated, and taking a mouthful from each dish,
my stomach was filled; I then drew back my hand from eating. [207]

The young man became very pressing, and said, "Sir, what have you
eaten? all the dinner remains as it were for a deposit; [208] eat
some more without ceremony." I replied, there is no shame in eating;
God prosper your house, I have eaten as much as my stomach can
contain, and I cannot sufficiently praise the relish of your feast,
and even now my tongue smacks with their flavour, and every belch
[209] I make is absolutely perfumed, now pray take them away. "When
the _dastar-khwan_ was removed, they spread a carpet of _kashani_
velvet, and brought to me ewers and basins of gold, with scented soap
and warm water, wherewithal I might wash my hands; then _betel_ was
introduced, in a box set with precious stones, and spices of various
kinds; whenever I called for water to drink, the servants brought
it cooled in ice. When the evening came, camphorated candles were
lighted up in the glass shades; and that friendly young man sat down
near me and entertained me with his conversation. When one watch of
the night had elapsed, he said to me, "be pleased to sleep in this
bed, in front of which are curtains and screens." I said, O, Sir,
for us pilgrims a mat or a deer-skin is sufficient; this [luxury]
God has ordained for you men of the world.

He replied, "All these things are for pilgrims; they do not in the
least belong to me." On his pressing me so urgently, I went and lay
down on the bed which was softer than even a bed of flowers. Pots
of roses and baskets of flowers were placed on both sides of the
bedstead, and aloes and other perfumes were burning; to whichever
side I turned, my senses were intoxicated with fragrance; in this
state I slept. When the morning came, [the attendants] placed before
me for breakfast, almonds, pistachio nuts, grapes, figs, pears,
pomegranates, currants, dates, and _sharbat_ made of fruit. In this
festive manner I passed three days and nights. On the fourth day I
requested leave to depart. The young man said, with joined hands,
"Perhaps I have been deficient in my attentions to you, for which
reason you are displeased." I replied with astonishment, for God's
sake, what a speech is this? the rules of hospitality [require one
to stay] three days--these have I fulfilled; to remain longer would
be improper; and besides this, I have set out to travel, and if I
remain merely at one place, then it will not suit; for which reason
I beg leave to depart; in other respects, your kindness is such that
my heart does not wish to be separated from you.

He then said, "Do as you please; but wait a moment, that I may go to
the princess and in her presence mention [the circumstance]; and as you
wish to depart [be it known to you], that all the wearing apparel and
bedding, also the vessels of silver and gold, and the jewelled vessels
in this guest's apartment, are your property; whatever directions
you may give for the purpose of taking them away, an arrangement [to
that effect] shall be made." I answered, "cease [210] to talk in this
manner; I am a pilgrim, and not a strolling bard; if such avarice had
a place in my heart, then why should I have turned pilgrim; and where
would be the evil of [my leading] a worldly life?" That kind young
man replied, "If the princess should hear of this circumstance [of
your refusal], she will discharge me from my employment, and God knows
what other punishment I shall receive; if you are so indifferent [to
possess them], then lock up all these articles in a room, and put your
seal on the door, and you may hereafter dispose of them as you please."

I would not accept [his offer], and he would not submit [to me]. At
last, this plan was adopted, I locked them all up in a room, and
put my seal on the door, and waited [with impatience] for leave
of departing. In the meantime a confidential eunuch, having on his
head an aigrette, and a short robe round his loins, and a golden mace
studded with gems in his hand, accompanied by several other respectable
attendants, filling [various] offices, came near me with this splendour
and pomp. He addressed me with such kindness and complaisance that
I cannot express it, and added, "O, sir, if shewing kindness and
benevolence, you do me the favour to dignify my humble dwelling with
your presence, then it will not be far from courtesy and condescension.

Perhaps the princess will hear that a traveller had been here, and no
one had received him with courtesy and politeness; and that he had
gone away as he came; for this reason God knows what punishment she
will inflict on me, or how far her displeasure will be raised; yea
more, it is a matter affecting my life," I refused to listen to his
request, but through dint of solicitations he overcame my resistance,
and conducted me to another house, which was better than the first
Like the former host, he entertained me twice a day for three days and
nights, with the same kind of meals, and in the morning and afternoon
sherbet, and fruits for passing away the time, and he told me that I
was the master of all the rich gold and silver dishes, carpets, &c,
and that I might do with them whatever I pleased.

On hearing these strange proposals, I was quite confounded, and
wished that I might by some means take my leave and escape from this
place. On perceiving my [embarassed] countenance, the eunuch said,
"O creature of God, whatever your wants or wishes may be, impart them
to me, that I may lay them before the princess." I replied, "in the
garb of a pilgrim, how can I desire the riches of this world, which
you offer me unasked, and which I refuse?" He then said, "The desire
of worldly goods forsakes the heart of no one, for which reason some
poet has composed these verses:--

"I have seen [ascetics] with nails unpared;
I have seen [others] with hair thickly matted;
I have seen _jogis_ [211] with their ears split,
Having their bodies covered with ashes;
I have seen the _maunis_ [212] who never speak;
I have seen the _sevras_ [213] with heads shaved;
I have seen [the people] sporting,
In the forest of _Ban-khandi_;
I have seen the brave, I have seen heroes;
I have seen the wise and the foolish, all;
I have seen those filled with delusion,
Continuing in forgetfulness amidst their wealth;
I have seen those [who were] happy from first to last.
I have seen those [who were] afflicted from their birth;
But never have I seen those [men]
In whose minds avarice did not exist."

On hearing these [lines], I replied, what you say is true, but I
want nothing; if you will permit, I will write out a note and send it
which will express my wish, and which you will convey to the presence
of the princess, it will be [doing me] a great favour, as if I had
received all the riches in the world. The eunuch said, "I will do it
with pleasure, there is no difficulty in it." I immediately wrote a
note to the following purport:--first, I began with the praise of
God; I then related my circumstances and situation, saying, "that
this creature of God had, some days since, arrived in the city,
and from the munificence of her government, had been taken care
of in every way; that I had heard such accounts of her highness's
generosity and munificence, as had raised in me an ardent desire
to see her, and that I had found those qualities four-fold greater
than they had been represented. Your nobles now tell me to set forth
before you whatever wants or wishes I may have; for this reason I
beg to represent to you without ceremony the wishes of my heart. I
am not in want of the riches of this world. I am also the king of
my own country; my sole reason for coming so far and undergoing such
fatigues, was the ardent desire I had to see you, which motive only
has conducted me here in this manner quite alone. I now hope through
your benevolence to attain the wishes of my heart; I shall then be
satisfied. Any further favours will rest with your pleasure; but if the
request of this wretch is not granted, then he will wander about in
this same manner, encountering hardships, and sacrifice his restless
life to the passion he feels for you. Like _Majnun_ and _Farhad_,
[214] he will end his life in some forest or mountain."

Having written my wishes, I gave the note to the eunuch; he carried
it to the princess. After a short while, he returned and called me,
and conducted me to the door of the seraglio. On arriving there,
I saw an elderly and respectable woman dressed in jewels, sitting on
a golden stool, and many eunuchs and other servants richly clothed,
were standing before her with arms across. I imagining her to be the
superintendent of affairs, and regarding her as a venerable [person],
made her my obeisance; the old lady returned my salute with much
civility, and said, "Come and sit down, you are welcome; it is you
who wrote an affectionate note to the princess." I feeling ashamed,
hung down my head and remained sitting silent.

After a short pause, she said, "O, young man, the princess has sent
you her _salam_, [215] and said thus, 'There is nothing wrong in my
taking a husband; you have solicited me [in marriage]; but to speak
of your kingdom, and to conceive yourself a king in this mendicant
state, and to be proud of it, is quite out of place; for this reason,
that all men among each other are certainly equal; although superior
consideration ought to be due to those who are of the religion of
_Muhammad_. I also have wished for a long while to marry, and as you
are indifferent to worldly riches, to me likewise God has given such
wealth as cannot be counted. But there is one condition, that first
of all you procure my marriage portion.' [216] The marriage-gift of
the princess," added the old lady, "is a certain task to perform,
if yon can fulfil it." I replied, "I am ready in every way, and I
shall not be sparing of my wealth or life; tell me what the task is,
that I may hear it. The old woman then said, "Remain here to-day,
and tomorrow I will tell it to you." I accepted [her proposal] with
pleasure, and taking my leave, I came out.

The day had in the meantime passed away, and when the evening came, a
eunuch called upon me, and conducted me to the seraglio. On entering,
I saw that the nobles, the learned, the virtuous, and the sages of
the divine law were present. I likewise joined the assembly and sat
down. In the meantime the cloth for the repast was spread, and eatables
of every variety, both sweet and salt, were laid out. They all began
to eat, and with courtesy solicited me to join them. When dinner was
over, a female servant came out from the interior [of the seraglio]
and asked, "Where is _Bahrawar_? call him." The servants in waiting
brought him immediately; his appearance was very respectable, and many
keys of silver and gold were suspended from his waist. After saluting
me, he sat down by me. The same female servant said, "O, _Bahrawar_,
whatever thou hast seen, relate it fully [to this stranger]."

_Bahrawar_, addressing himself to me, began the following
narration:--"O, friend! our princess possesses thousands of slaves,
who are established in trade; among them I am one of the humblest of
her hereditary servants. She sends them to different countries with
goods and merchandise, worth _lakhs_ of rupees, of which they have
the charge; when these return [from the respective countries to which
they were sent to trade], then the princess, in her own presence,
inquires of them the state and manners of such country, and hears
[their different accounts]. Once it so happened that this meanest
[of her slaves] went to the country and city of _Nimroz_ [217] to
trade, and perceiving that all the inhabitants were dressed in black,
and that they sighed and wept every moment, and it appeared to me
that some sad calamity had befallen them. From whomsoever I asked
the reason [of these strange circumstances], no one would answer my
inquiry. One day, the moment the morning appeared, all the inhabitants
of the city, little and great, young and old, poor and rich, issued
forth. They went out and assembled on a plain; the king of the country
went there also mounted on horseback, and surrounded by his nobles;
then they all formed a regular line, and stood still.

"I also stood among them to see the strange sight, for it clearly
appeared that they were waiting for [the arrival of] some one. In an
hour's time a beautiful young man, of an angelic form, about fifteen or
sixteen years of age, uttering a loud noise, and foaming at the mouth,
and mounted on a dun bull, holding something in one hand, approached
from a distance, and came up in front of the people; he descended from
the bull, and sat down [oriental fashion] on the ground, holding the
halter of the animal in one hand, and a naked sword in the other;
a rosy-coloured, beautiful [attendant] was with him; the young man
gave him that which he held in his hand; the slave took it, and went
along showing it to all of them from one end of the line to the other;
but such was the nature [of the object], that whoever saw it, the same
involuntarily wept aloud and bitterly [at the strange sight]. In this
way he continued to show it to every one, and made every one weep; then
passing along the front of the line, he returned to his master again.

"The moment he came near him, the young man rose up, and with the
sword severed the attendant's head [from his body], and having again
mounted his bull, galloped off towards the quarter from whence he had
come. All [present] stood looking on. When he disappeared from their
sight, the inhabitants returned to the city. I was anxiously asking
every one I met the real meaning of this strange occurrence; yea, I
even held out the inducement of money and beseeched and flattered them
to get an explanation, who the young man was, and why he committed
the deed [I had seen], and from whence he came, and where he went,
but no one would give me the slightest information on the subject,
nor could I comprehend it. When I returned here, I related to the
princess the astonishing circumstance I had seen. Since then, the
princess herself has been amazed [at the strange event], and anxious
to ascertain its real cause. For which reason she has been fixed
on this very point as her marriage portion, that whatever man will
bring her a true and particular account of that strange circumstance,
she will accept him [in marriage]; and he shall be the master of all
her wealth, her country, and herself."

[_Bahrawar_ concluded by saying], "You have now heard every
circumstance; reflect within yourself if you can bring the intelligence
[which is required] respecting the young man, then undertake the
journey towards the country of _Nimroz_, and depart soon, or else
refuse [the conditions and the attempt], and return to your home." I
answered, "If God please, I will soon ascertain all the circumstances
[relating to the strange event], and return to the princess with
success; or if my fate be unlucky, then there is no remedy; but the
princess must give me her solemn promise she will not swerve from what
she engages [to perform]. And now an uneasy apprehension arises in
my heart; if the princess will have the benevolence to call me before
her, and allow me to sit down outside the _parda_, and hear with her
own ears the request I have made, and favour me with an answer from
her own lips; then my heart will be at ease, and every thing will be
possible for me." These my requests the female servant related to the
fairy-formed princess. At last, by way of condescension, she ordered
me to be called before her.

The same female returned, and conducted me to the apartment where the
princess was; what [a display of beauty] I saw! Handsome female slaves
and servants, and armed damsels, from _Kilmak, Turkistan, Abyssinia,
Uzbak Tartary and Kashmir_, were drawn up in two lines, dressed in
rich jewels, with their arms folded across, and each standing in her
appropriate station. Shall I call this the court of Indra? or is it
a descent on the part of the fairies? an involuntary sigh of rapture
escaped [from my breast], and my heart began to palpitate; but I
forcibly restrained myself. Regarding them all around, I advanced on;
but my feet became each as heavy as a hundred _mans_. [218] Whenever I
gazed on one of those lovely women, my heart was unwilling to proceed
farther. On one side [of the saloon] a screen was suspended, and a
stool set with precious stones was placed near it, as well as a chair
of sandal-wood; the female servant made me a sign to sit down on the
[jewelled] stool; I sat down upon it, and she seated herself on the
[sandal-wood chair]; she said, "Now, whatever you have to say, speak
it fully and from the heart."

I first extolled the princess's excellent qualities, also her justice
and liberality; I then added, that "ever since I have entered the
limits of this country, I saw at every stage accommodations for
travellers and lofty buildings; and found everywhere servants of all
grades appointed to attend upon travellers and necessitous persons. I
have likewise spent three days at every halting place, and the fourth
day, when I wished to take my leave, no one said with good will, "You
may depart;" and whatever articles and furniture had been [applied to
my use] at those places, such as chequered carpets, [219] &c., &c.,
I was told that they were all mine, and that I might either take
them away or lock them up in a room, and put my seal on it; that,
should it be my pleasure, whenever I came back I might take them
away. I have done so; but the wonder is, that if a lonely pilgrim
like me has met with such a [princely] reception, then there must
be thousands of such pilgrims who will resort to your dominions; and
if every one is hospitably received in the same manner [as myself],
sums incalculable must be spent. Now, whence comes the great wealth
of which there is such an expenditure, and of what nature is it? The
treasures of _Karun_ would not be equal to it; and if we look at the
princess's territories, it would appear that their revenues would
hardly suffice to defray the kitchen charges, setting the other
expenses aside. If the princess would condescend to explain this
[seeming wonder] with her own lips, then, my mind being set at ease,
I shall set out for the country of _Nimroz_; and reaching it by some
means or other, after having learned all the particulars [of the
strange circumstance], I will return, if God should spare my life,
to the presence of the princess, and attain the desires of my heart."

On hearing these words, the princess herself said, "O youth, if you
have a strong desire to know the exact nature of these circumstances,
then stay here to-day also. I will send for you in the evening,
and the account of my vast riches shall be unfolded to you without
any reservation." After this assurance, I retired to my place of
residence, and waited anxiously, (saying,) "when will the evening
arrive, that my curiosity may be gratified?" In the meantime a eunuch
brought some covered trays on the heads of porters, and laid them
before me, and said, "The princess has sent you a dinner [220] from
her own table; partake of it." When he uncovered the trays before
me, the rich fragrance [of the meats] intoxicated my brains, and my
soul became satiated. I ate as much as I could, and sent away the
rest, and returned my grateful thanks [to the princess.] At last,
when the sun, the traveller of the whole day, wearied and fatigued,
reached his home, and the moon advanced from her palace, attended by
her companions, then the female servant came to me and said, "Come,
the princess has sent for you."

I went along with her; she led me to the private apartment; the
effect of the lights was such that the _shabi kadr_ [221] was nothing
to it. A _masnad_, covered with gold, was placed on rich carpets,
with a pillow studded with jewels; over it an awning of brocade was
stretched, with a fringe of pearls on [silver] poles studded with
precious stones; and in front of the _masnad_ artificial trees formed
of various jewels, with flowers and leaves attached, (one would say
they were nature's own production,) were erected in beds of gold; and
on the right and left, beautiful slaves and servants were in waiting
with folded arms and down-cast eyes, in respectful attitude. Dancing
women and female singers, with ready-tuned instruments, attended to
begin their performances. On seeing such a scene and such splendid
preparations, my senses were bewildered. I asked the female servant
[who came with me] "there is here such gay splendour in the scene
of the day, and such magnificence in that of the night, that the
day may very justly be called _'Id_, and the night _shabi barat_;
moreover, a king who possessed the whole world could not exhibit
greater splendour and magnificence. Is it always so at the princess's
court? The servant replied, "The princess's court ever displays the
same magnificence you see now; there is no abatement [or difference],
except that it is sometimes greater: sit you here; the princess is
in another apartment,--I will go and inform her of your arrival."

Saying this, the nurse went away and quickly returned; he desired
me to come to the princess. The moment I entered her apartment I was
struck with amazement. I could not tell where the door was, or where
the walls, for they were covered with Aleppo mirrors, of the height
of a man, all around, the frames of which were studded with diamonds
and pearls. The reflection of one fell on the other, and it appeared
as if the whole room was inlaid with jewels. At one end a _parda_
was hung, behind which the princess sat. The female servant seated
herself close to the _parda_, and desired me to sit down also;
then she began the following narrative, according to the princess's
commands--"Hear, O intelligent youth! The sultan of this country was
a potent king; he had seven daughters born in his house. One day, the
king held a festival, and these seven daughters were standing before
him [superbly dressed], with each sixteen jewels, twelve ornaments,
and in every hair an elephant pearl. Something came into the king's
mind, and he looked towards his daughters and said, 'If your father
had not been a king, and you had been born in the house of some poor
man, then who would have called you princesses? Praise God that you
are called princesses; all your good fortune depends on my life.'

"Six of his daughters being of one mind, replied, 'Whatever your
majesty says, is true, and our happiness depends on your welfare
alone.' But the princess now present, though she was younger [than
all her sisters], yet even in sense and judgment, even at that age,
she was superior to them, all. She stood silent, and did not join her
sisters in the reply they made; for this reason, that to say so was
impious. The king looked towards her with anger, and said, 'Well, my
lady, you say nothing; what is the cause of this?' Then the princess,
tying both her hands with a handkerchief, humbly replied, 'If your
majesty will grant me safety [of my life], and pardon my presumption,
then this humble slave will unfold the dictates of her heart.' The
king said, 'Speak what thou hast to say.' Then the princess said,
'Mighty king, you must have heard, that the voice of truth is bitter;
for which reason, disregarding life at this moment, I presume to
address your majesty; whatever the great Writer has written in
[the book of] my destiny, no one can efface, and in no way can it
be evaded. "Whether you bruise your feet [by depending on your own
exertions], or lay your head on the carpet [in prayer], your fate
[written] on the forehead, whatever it be, shall come to pass."

"'That Almighty Ruler, who has made you a king, He indeed also has
made me a princess. In the arsenal of his omnipotence, no one has
power. You are my sovereign and benefactor, and if I should apply the
dust which lies under your auspicious feet, as a colyrium [for my
eyes], then it would become me; but the destinies of every one are
with every one.' The king, on hearing this [speech], became angry;
the reply displeased him highly, and he said with wrath, 'What great
words issue from a little mouth! Now let this be her punishment, that
you strip off whatever jewels she has on her hands and feet, and let
her be placed in a sedan-chair, and set down in such a wilderness,
where no human traces can be found; then we shall see what is written
in her destinies.'

"According to the king's commands, at that midnight hour, when it
was the very essence of darkness, the princess (who had been reared
with such delicacy and tenderness), and had seen no other place
except her own apartments, was carried by the porters in a litter,
and set down in a place where not even a bird ever flapped its wing,
much less did human creatures there exist; they left her there and
returned. The princess's heart was all at once in such a state [as
cannot be conceived]; reduced to what she was, from what she had
been! Then in the threshold of God, she offered up her prayers, and
said, "Thou art so mighty [O Lord], that what thou hast wished, Thou
hast done; and whatever Thou willest, Thou dost; and whatever Thou
mayest wish, that Thou wilt do: whilst life remains in my nostrils,
I shall not be hopeless of [thy protection']. Impressed with these
thoughts, she fell asleep. When the morn appeared, the eyes of the
princess opened; she called for water to perform her ablutions. Then,
all at once, the occurrences of last night came to her recollection;
she said to herself, 'Where art thou, and where this speech?' [222]
Saying this to herself, she got up, and performed the _tayammum_,
[223] said her prayers, and poured forth the praises of her Maker! O
youth, the heart is torn with anguish to reflect on the princess's
sad condition at that time. Ask that innocent and inexperienced heart
what it felt.

"In short, she sat in the litter, and putting her trust in God,
she repeated to herself at that moment these verses:--

"When I had no teeth, then thou gavest milk;
When thou hast given teeth, wilt thou not grant food!
He who takes care of the fowls of the air,
And of all the animals of the earth,
He will also take care of thee.
Why art thou sad, simple-minded one!
By being sorrowful thou'lt get nothing;
He who provides for the fool, for the wise, and for the whole world,
Will likewise provide for thee.'

"It is true, that when no resource remains, then God is remembered,
or else every one in his own plans, thinks himself a _Lukman_, and a
_Bu' Ali Sina_. [224] Now listen to the surprising ways of God. In
this manner three days clear passed away, during which a grain of
food did not enter the princess's mouth; her flower-like frame became
quite withered as a [dry] thorn; and her colour, which hitherto
shone like gold, became yellow as turmeric; her mouth became rigid,
and her eyes were petrified, but still a faint respiration remained
passing and re-passing. Whilst there is life, there is hope. In the
morning of the fourth day, a hermit appeared of bright countenance,
in appearance like _Khizr_, [225] and of an enlightened heart. Seeing
the princess in that state, he said, 'O daughter, though your father
is a king, yet these [sorrows] were decreed in thy destiny. Now,
conceive this old hermit your servant, and think day and night of
your Maker. God will do what is right.' And whatever morsels the
hermit had in his wallet, he laid them before the princess; then
he went in search of water; he saw a well, but where were the wheel
and bucket by means of which he might draw the water? He pulled off
some leaves from a tree, and made a cup, and taking off his sash,
he fastened the cup to it, and drew up some water, and gave it to the
princess. At last she regained her senses. The holy man, seeing her
helpless and solitary state, gave her every consolation, and cheered
her heart; and he himself began to weep. When the princess saw his
sympathetic grief, and [heard] his kind assurances, she became easy in
her mind. From that day, the old man made this an established rule,
that in the morning he went to the city to beg, and brought to the
princess whatever scraps or morsels he received.

"In this way a few days passed. One day the princess designed to put
some oil in her hair, and comb it; just as she opened the plaits of her
hair a pearl round and brilliant dropped out. The princess gave it to
the hermit, and desired him to sell it in the city, and bring her the
amount. He sold that pearl, and brought back the money received for
it to the princess. Then the princess desired that a habitation fit
for her residence might be erected on that spot. The hermit replied,
'O daughter, do you dig the foundation for the walls, and collect some
earth; I will, some of these days, bring some water, knead the clay
[for the bricks], and erect a room for you.' The princess, on his
advice, began to dig the ground; when she had dug a yard in depth,
behold, under the soil a door appeared. The princess cleared away the
earth [which lay before it]; a large room filled with jewels and gold
pieces appeared: she took four or five handfuls of gold and closed
the door, and having filled up the place with earth, made level its
surface. In the meantime the hermit returned. The princess said to him,
"bring good masons and builders, and workmen of every kind, expert
and masters in their craft, so that a grand palace may be erected on
this spot equal to the palace of _Kasra_, [226] and superior to the
palace of _Ni'man_; [227] and that the fortifications of the city,
a fort, a garden, a well, and an unrivalled caravanserai [be built
as soon as possible]; but first of all, draw out the plans on paper
and bring them to me for approval."

"The hermit brought clever, skilful, intelligent workmen, and had
them ready. The erection of the different buildings was soon begun
according to the princess's directions, and clever and trusty servants
for every office were chosen and entertained. The news of the erection
of such princely buildings by degrees reached the king, the shadow of
Omnipotence, who was the princess's father. On hearing it, he became
greatly surprised, and asked every one, 'Who is this person who has
begun to erect such edifices?' No one knew anything of the matter to
be able to give a reply. All put their hands on their ears and said,
'No one of your slaves knows who is the builder of them.' Then the king
sent one of his nobles with this message, 'I wish to come and see those
buildings, and to know also of what country you are the princess, and
of what family; for I wish much to ascertain all these circumstances.'

"When the princess received this agreeable intelligence, she was
greatly pleased in her mind, and wrote the [following letter]: 'To
the protector of the world, prosperity! On hearing the intelligence of
your majesty's visit, to my humble mansion, I am infinitely rejoiced;
and it has been the cause of respect and dignity to me, the meanest
[of your slaves]. How happy is the fate of that place where your
majesty's footsteps are impressed, and on the inhabitants of which
the shadow of the skirt of your prosperity is cast; may they both be
dignified with the look of favour! This slave hopes that to-morrow,
being Thursday, is a propitious day, and to me, it is more welcome than
the day of _Nau Roz_, [228] your majesty's person resembles the sun;
by condescending to come here, be pleased to bestow, with your light,
value and dignity on this worthless atom, and partake of whatever
his humble slave can provide; this will be the essence of benevolence
and courtesy, on the part of your majesty: to say more would exceed
the bounds of respect.' To the nobleman who brought the message she
made some presents, and dismissed him [with the above reply.]

"The king read the letter, and sent word, saying, 'We have accepted
your invitation, and will certainly come.' The princess ordered the
servants and all the attendants to get ready the necessary preparations
for an entertainment, with such propriety and elegance, that the king,
on seeing [the banquet] and eating thereof, might be highly pleased;
and that all who came with the king, great and little, should be well
entertained and return content. From the princess's strict directions,
the dishes, of every kind, both salt and sweet, were so deliciously
prepared, that if the daughter of a _Brahman_ [229] had tasted them,
she would have become a _Musalman_. [230] When the evening came, the
king went to the princess's palace, seated on an uncovered throne; the
princess, with her ladies in waiting, advanced to receive him; when
she cast her eyes on the king's throne, she made the royal obeisance
with such proper respect, that on seeing it, the king was still more
surprised; with the same profound respect she accompanied the king
to the throne, set with jewels, which she had erected for him. The
princess had prepared a platform of 125,000 pieces of silver; [231] a
hundred and one trays of jewels and of gold pieces, and woollen shiffs,
shawls, muslins, silk and brocades; two elephants and ten horses, of
_'Irak_ and _Yaman_, with caparisons set with precious stones, were
likewise prepared [for the royal acceptance]. She presented these to
his majesty, and stood before him herself with folded arms. The king
asked with great complacency, 'Of what country are you a princess,
and for what reasons are you come here?'

"The princess, after making her obeisance, replied, 'This slave is
that offender who in consequence of the royal anger was sent to this
wilderness, and all these things which your majesty sees are the
wonderful works of God.' On hearing these words, the king's blood
glowed (with paternal warmth), and rising up, he pressed the princess
fondly to his bosom, and seizing her hand, he ordered her to be seated
on a chair that he had placed near the throne; but still the king was
astonished and surprised [at all he saw], and ordered that the queen,
along with the princesses, should come thither with all speed. When
they arrived, the mother and sisters recognised [the princess], and,
embracing her with fondness, wept over her, and praised God. The
princess presented her mother and sisters with such heaps of gold
and jewels, that the treasures of the world could not equal them in
the balance. Then the king, having made them all sit in his company,
partook of the feast [which had been prepared].

"As long as the king lived, the time passed in this manner; sometimes
the king came [to visit the princess], and sometimes carried the
princess with him to his own palaces. When the king died, the
government of the kingdom descended to this princess; for, except
herself, no other person [of her family] was fit for this office. O,
youth, the history [of the princess] is what you have heard. Finally,
heaven-bestowed wealth never fails, but the intentions of the possessor
must [at the same time] be just; moreover, how much soever is spent
[out of this providential wealth] so much also is the increase: to be
astonished at the power of God, is not right in any religion." The
female servant, after finishing this narrative, said, "Now if you
still intend to proceed to the country of _Nimroz_, and if you are
determined in your mind to bring the requisite intelligence, then
depart soon." I replied, I am going this moment, and if God pleases
I shall be back very soon. At last, taking leave [of the princess]
and relying on the protection of God, I set out for that quarter.

In about a year's time, after encountering many difficulties, I
arrived at the city of _Nimroz_. All the inhabitants of that place
that I saw, noble or common, were dressed in black, and whatever
I had heard, that I fully perceived. After some days the evening
[232] of the new moon occurred. On the first day of the month, all
the inhabitants of the city, little and great, children, nobles,
prince, women and men, assembled on a large plain. I also, bewildered
and distracted in my condition, went along with the vast concourse;
separated from my country and possessions, in the garb of a pilgrim,
I was standing to behold the strange sight, and to see what might
result from the mysterious scene. In the meantime, a young man
advanced from the woods, mounted on a bull, foaming at the mouth,
and roaring and shouting [in a frightful manner]. I, miserable, who
had undergone such labour, and overcome so many dangers, and had come
there to ascertain the circumstances, yet on seeing the young man I was
quite confounded and stood silent with astonishment. The young man,
according to his usual custom, did what he used to do, and returned
[to the woods]; and the concourse of people from the city likewise
returned thither. When I had collected my senses, I then repented
[saying to myself], "What is this you have done? Now it is your lot to
wait anxiously for another whole month." Having no remedy, I returned
with the rest; and I passed that month like the month of _Ramazan_,
[233] counting one day after another. At last the new moon appeared,
and was hailed by me as _'Id_. [234] On the first of the month, the
king and the inhabitants again assembled on that same plain; then I
determined, that this time, let what will happen, I would be resolute,
and propound this mysterious circumstance.

Suddenly the young man appeared, mounted, according to custom, on a
yellow bull, and, dismounting, sat down [on the ground]; in one hand
he held a naked sword, and in the other the bull's halter; he gave
the vase to his attendant, who, as usual, showed it to every one,
and carried it back [to his master]. The crowd, on seeing the vase,
began to weep; the young man broke the vase, and struck such a blow on
the slave's neck as to sever his head from his body, and, he himself
remounting the bull, returned [towards the woods]. I began to run
after him, with all speed, but the inhabitants laid hold of my hand,
and exclaimed, "What is this you are going to do? why, knowingly, art
thou about to perish? If thou art so tired of life, there are a great
many ways of dying, by which thou mayest end thy existence." How much
soever I beseeched them [to let me go], and even had recourse to main
force, in order that by some means I might escape from their hands,
yet I could not release myself. Three or four men clung fast to me,
and having seized me, led me towards the city. I again suffered for
another whole month in a strange state of disquietude.

When that month passed also, and the last day of it had elapsed, all
the inhabitants assembled on the plain on the following morning in
the same manner. I, apart from all, arose at the hour of [morning]
prayer. I went before all the others [were astir] into the woods,
and there lay concealed, exactly on the road by which the young man
was to pass; for no one could there restrain me [from executing my
project]. The young man came in the usual manner, performed the same
acts [already described], re-mounted, and was returning. I followed
him, and eagerly running up, I joined him. The young man, from the
noise of my steps, perceived that some body was coming after him. All
at once, turning round the halter of his bull, he gave a loud shout,
and threatened me; then drawing his sword, he advanced towards me,
and was about to strike. I bent down with the utmost respect, and
made him my _salam_, and joining both my hands together, I stood in
silence. That person being a judge of respectful behaviour [restraining
his blow], said to me. "O pilgrim, thou wouldest have been killed for
nothing, but thou hast escaped--thy life is prolonged; get away. Where
art thou going?" He then drew a jewelled dagger, having a tassel set
with pearls, from his waist, and threw it towards me, and added, "At
this moment I have no money about me to give thee; carry this [dagger]
to the king, and thou wilt get whatever thou askest." To such a degree
did my fear and dread of him prevail, that I had not power to speak
or ability to move; my voice was choked, and my feet became heavy.

After saying this, the brave young man, roaring aloud, went on. I said
to myself, "let what will happen, to remain behind now is, in thy case,
folly thou wilt never again get such an opportunity [to execute thy
project]. Regardless, therefore, of my life, [235] I also went on. He
again turned round and forbade me in great wrath [to follow him],
and seemed determined to put me to death. I stretched forth my neck,
and conjuring him [by all that was sacred], I said, "_O Rustam_ [236]
of these days, strike such a blow that I may be cut clean in two;
let not a fibre remain together, and let me be released from this
wandering and wretched state; I pardon you my blood." He replied,
"O demon-faced! why dost thou for nothing bring thy blood on my head,
and makest me criminal; go thy own way; what! is thy life become a
burden to thee?" I did not mind what he said, but advanced; then he
knowingly appeared not to regard me, and I followed him. Proceeding
on about two _kos_, we passed the wood, and came to a square building;
the young man went up to the door and gave a frightful scream; the door
opened of itself; he entered, and I remained altogether outside. O God,
[said I] what shall I now do? I was perplexed; at last, after a short
delay, a slave came out and brought a message, saying, "Come in, he
has called you to his presence; perhaps the angel of death hovers
over your head; what evil fortune has befallen you?" I replied,
"Verily it is good fortune;" and without fear, I entered along with
him into the garden.

At last, he led me to a place where [the young man was sitting]; on
seeing him, I made him a very low [237] _salam_; he beckoned me to sit
down; I sat down with respect. What do I see but the young man sitting
alone on a _masnad_, with the tools of a goldsmith lying before him;
and he had just finished a branch of emeralds. When the time came for
him to rise up, all the slaves that were around the place concealed
themselves in [different] rooms; I also from fear hid myself in a
small closet. The young man rose up, and having fastened the chains
of all the apartments, he went towards the corner of the garden, and
began to beat the bull he usually rode. The noise of the animal's
roaring reached my ear, and my heart quaked [with fear]; but as I
had ran all these risks to develop this mystery, I forced the door,
though trembling with fear, and under the screen of the trunk [238]
of a tree, I stood and saw [what was going on]. The young man threw
down the club with which he was beating [the bull], and unlocked
a room and entered it. Then, instantly coming out, he stroked the
bull's back with his hand, and kissed its mouth; and having given
it some grain and grass, he came towards me. On perceiving this,
I ran off quickly, and hid myself in the room.

The young man unfastened the chains of all the rooms, and the whole
of the slaves came out, bringing with them a small carpet, a wash-hand
basin, and a water pot. After washing his hands and face, he stood up
to pray; when he had finished his prayers, he called out, "Where is the
pilgrim?" On hearing myself called, I ran out and stood before him;
he desired me to sit down; after making him a _salam_, I sat down;
the dinner was served; he partook of it, and gave me some, which I
also ate. When the dishes were removed, and we had washed our hands,
he dismissed his slaves and told them to go to rest. When no one
[except ourselves] remained in the apartment, he then spoke to me,
and asked, "O friend, what great misfortune has befallen thee that
thou goest about seeking thy death?" I related in full detail all the
adventures of my life, from beginning to end, and added, that, "from
your goodness, I have hopes of obtaining my wishes." On hearing this,
he heaving a deep sigh, went raving mad, and began to say, "O God! who
except thee is acquainted with the tortures of love! He whose chilblain
has not yet broken out, how can he know the pains of others? he only
knows the degree of this pain who has felt the pangs of love!

'The anguish of love, you must ask of the lover,
Not of him who feigns, but of the true lover.'"

A moment after, coming to himself, he heaved a heart-burning sigh;
the room resounded with it; then I perceived that he was likewise
tortured with the pangs of love, and was suffering from the same
malady [as myself]. On this discovery, I plucked up courage and said,
"I have related to you all my own adventures; now do me the favour to
impart to me the past events [of your life]; I will then first of all
assist you as far as I can, and by exerting myself obtain for you the
desires of your heart." In short, that true lover, conceiving me his
companion and fellow-sufferer, began the relation of his adventures
in the following manner. "Hear, O friend! I whose heart is tortured
with anguish, am the prince of this country of _Nimroz_; the king,
that is to say, my father, at my birth, collected together all the
fortune tellers, astrologers and learned men, and ordered them to cast
and examine my horoscope, to fix my nativity, and to state in full
to his majesty whatever was to befall me every individual moment, and
hour, and _pahar_, and day, and month, and year, [of my life]. They all
assembled according to the king's order, and consulting together, they,
from their mystical science, ascertained my future fate, and said,
'By the blessing of God, the prince has been begotten and born under
such a propitious planet, and in such a lucky moment, that he ought
to be equal to Alexander in extent of dominion, and in justice equal
to _Naushirwan_. He will be, moreover, proficient in every science,
and every [branch of] learning, and towards whatever subject his
heart is inclined, he will accomplish it with perfection. He will
in generosity and bravery acquire such renown, that mankind will no
longer remember _Hatim_ and _Rustam_; but until [he attains] the age
of fourteen, he is exposed to great danger if he sees the sun or moon;
yea, it is to be feared he may become a mad demoniac, and shed the
blood of many; and restless [of living in society], he will fly to
the woods, and associate with beasts and birds; great and strict
pains must be taken that he should never behold the sun by day or
the moon by night, or cast a look even towards the heavens. If this
period [of fourteen years] pass away without danger and in safety,
then for the rest of his life he will reign in peace and prosperity.'

"On hearing this [prognostication], the king ordered this garden to
be laid out, and caused to be built in it many apartments of various
kinds. He gave an order for me to be brought up in a vault, lined
[on the inside] with felt, so that not a single ray of light from the
sun or moon might penetrate [into my apartment]. I had a wet nurse and
all other kinds of female servants and attendants attached to me, and
was brought up in this grand palace with this [imagined] security. A
learned tutor, who was skilled in public affairs, was appointed to
[superintend] my education; so that I might acquire every science
and art, and the practice of the seven varieties of penmanship; and
my father always looked after me; the occurrences of every day and
every moment were told to the king. I considered that same place as
the whole world, and amused myself with toys and flowers; and I had
procured for me every delicacy the world [could produce] for my food;
whatever I desired I had. By the age of ten years, I had acquired
every species of learning, and every useful accomplishment.

"One day, beneath that dome, an astonishing flower appeared from
the sky-light, which increased in size as I gazed upon it; I wished
to seize it with my hands, but as I stretched them towards it, it
ascended [and eluded my grasp]. I, having become astonished, was
looking steadfastly at it, when the sound of a loud laugh reached my
ear; I raised my head to look [towards the dome from which the noise
proceeded]. Then I saw that a face, resplendent as the full moon,
having rent the felt, continued issuing forth. On beholding it, my
reason and senses vanished. On coming to myself, I looked up, and
saw a throne of jewels raised on the shoulders of fairies; a person
was seated on it, with a crown of precious stones on her head, and
clothed in a superb dress; she held in her hand a cup made of ruby,
and seated, was drinking wine. The throne descended by slow degrees
from its height, and rested on [the floor of] the dome. Then the
fairy called me, and placed me beside her [on the throne]; she began
to make use of expressions of endearment, and having pressed her
lips to mine, she made me drink a cup of rosy wine, and said, 'The
human race is faithless, but my heart loves thee.' The expressions
she uttered were so endearing and so fascinating, that in a moment
my heart was enraptured, and I felt such pleasure as if I had tasted
the supreme joys of life, and thus I conceived that I had only on
that day entered the world [of enjoyment].

"The result is my present state! but no one [on earth] hath ever seen,
or heard such ecstatic pleasure! In that zest, with our hearts at
ease, we both were seated, when all at once our joys were dashed to
pieces! Now listen to the unlooked-for circumstance [which produced
this sudden change]. At the moment, four fairies descended from
the heavens, and whispered something in that beloved one's ear. On
hearing it, her colour changed, and she said to me, 'O my beloved,
I fondly wished to pass some moments with you, and regale my heart,
and to repeat my visits in the same manner, or to take thee with
me. But fate will not permit two persons [like us] to remain in one
place in peace and felicity; farewell, my beloved! may God protect
you!' On hearing these [dreadful words], my senses vanished, and my
bliss fled from my grasp. [239] I cried, 'O my charmer, when shall
we meet again? what dreadful words of wrath are these which you have
made me hear? If you will return quickly, then you will find me alive,
otherwise you will regret the delay; or else tell me your name and
place of residence, that I may from those directions, by diligent
search, conduct myself to you.' On hearing this she said, 'God forbid
[you should do so]; may the ears of Satan be deaf; may your age amount
to a hundred and twenty years; [240] if we live we shall meet again;
I am the daughter of the king of the _Jinns_, and I dwell in the
mountain of _Kaf_. [241] On saying this, she caused the throne to
ascend, [242] and it ascended in the same manner as it had descended.

"Whilst the throne was in sight, our eyes were fixed on each other;
when it disappeared from my eyes, my state became such as if the
shadow of a fairy had fallen on me; a strange sort of gloom was
spread over my heart, and my understanding and consciousness left
me; the world appeared dark under my eyes; distracted and confused,
I wept bitterly, and scattered dust over my head, and tore my clothes;
I became regardless of food and drink, nor cared for good or evil.

'What various evils result from this same love!
In the heart are produced sadness and impatience.' [243]

"My misfortune was soon known to my nurse and preceptor; with fear
and trembling they went before the king, and said, 'Such is the
state of the prince of the people of the world; we do not know how
this disaster has suddenly and of itself fallen upon him, so that
rest, food, and drink have all [on his part] been abandoned.' [On
hearing these sad tidings] the king immediately came to the garden
[where I resided], accompanied by the _wazir_, intelligent nobles,
wise physicians, true astrologers, learned _mullas_, holy devotees,
and men abstracted from worldly affairs. On seeing my distracted,
sighing, weeping condition, his mind became also distracted; he wept,
and with fond affection clasped me to his breast, and gave orders for
my proper treatment. The physicians wrote out their prescriptions, in
order to strengthen my heart and cure my brain, and the holy priests
wrote out charms [244] and amulets, some to be swallowed, and others to
be worn on my person, and having each repeated prayers [of exorcism],
they began to blow upon me; the astrologers said this misfortune had
happened owing to the revolution of the stars [for the averting] of
it, give pious donations. In short, every one advised according to his
science; but what was passing within me, my heart alone experienced;
no one's assistance or remedy was of avail to my evil destiny; day
after day my lunacy increased, and my body became emaciated from the
want of nourishment. There remained for me only to shriek and moan,
day and night. Three years passed away in this state. In the fourth
year, a merchant, who was on his travels, arrived, and brought with
him into the royal presence rare and valuable articles of different
countries; he met with a gracious reception.

"The king favoured him greatly, and after inquiries respecting
his health, he said to him, 'You have seen many countries; have you
anywhere seen a truly learned physician, or have heard of such from any
one?' The merchant replied, 'Mighty sire, this slave has travelled a
great deal; in the middle of the [Ganges] river in _Hindustan_ there
is a small mountain; there a _Jata-dhari Gusa,in_ [245] has built a
large temple to _Mahadev_, [246] together with a place of worship,
and a garden of great beauty, and in that [mountain-island] he lives;
and his custom is this, that once a year on the day of _Shevrat_,
[247] he comes out of his dwelling, swims in the river, and enjoys
himself. After washing himself, when he is returning to his abode, then
the sick and afflicted of various countries and regions, who come there
from afar, assemble near his door. Of these a numerous crowd is formed.

"'The holy _Gusa,in_ (who ought to be called the Plato [248] of these
days), moves along examining the urine, and feeling the pulse of each,
and giving each a recipe. God has given him such healing power,
that, on taking his medicines, their effects are instantaneous,
and the disease utterly vanishes. These circumstances I have seen
with my own eyes, and adored the power of God which has created such
beings! If your majesty orders it, I will conduct the prince of the
people of the world to that [wonderful man], and show the prince
to him; I firmly hope he will soon be completely cured; moreover,
this scheme is externally beneficial, for from inhaling the air of
various places, and from the diet and drink of different countries
[through which we shall pass], the prince's mind will be restored
to cheerfulness.' The merchant's advice seemed very proper to the
king, and being pleased, he said, 'Very well; perhaps the holy man's
treatment may prove efficacious, and this melancholy may be removed
from my son's mind.' The king appointed a confidential nobleman,
who had seen the world, and had been tried on [various] occasions,
together with the merchant, to attend me, and he furnished us with the
requisite equipment. Having seen us embark on boats of every variety,
together with our baggage, he dismissed us. Proceeding onwards,
stage after stage, we arrived at the place [where the holy _Gusa,in_
lived]. From change of air, and from living on a different diet,
my mind became somewhat composed; but there still remained the same
state of silence; and I wept incessantly. The recollection of the
lovely fairy was not for a moment effaced from my mind; if I spoke
sometimes, it was only to repeat these lines:--

'I know not what fairy-faced one has glanced over me,
But my heart was sound and tranquil not long ago.'

At last, when two or three months had passed away, nearly four
thousand sick had assembled on the rock, and all said, 'If God please,
the _Gusa,in_ will shortly come out of his abode, and bestow on us
his advice, and we shall be perfectly cured.' In short, when that
day arrived, the _Gusa,in_ appeared in the morning, like the sun,
and bathed and swam in the river; he crossed over it and returned,
and rubbed ashes of cow-dung over his body, and hid his fair form
like a live coal under the ashes. He made a mark with sandal wood on
his forehead, girded on his _langoti_, [249] threw a towel over his
shoulders, tied his long hair up in a knot, twisted his mustachios,
and put on his shoes. It appeared, from his looks, that the whole
world possessed no value to him. Having put a small writing desk set
with gems under his arm, and looking at each [patient] in turn, he
gave them his recipes, and came to me. When our looks met, he stood
still, paused for a moment, and then said to me, 'Come with me.' I
went along with him.

"When he had done with all the rest, he led me into the garden, and
into a neat and richly-ornamented private apartment, and he said
to me, 'Do you make your residence here,' and went himself to his
abode. When forty days had elapsed, he came to me, and found me better
comparatively with [what I had been] before. He then, smiling, said,
'Amuse yourself by walking about in this garden, and eat whatever
fruits you like.' He gave me a china pot filled with _ma'jun_, [250]
and added, 'Take without fail six _mashas_ [251] from this pot every
morning, fasting.' Saying this, he went away, and I followed strictly
his prescription. My body perceptibly gained strength daily, and my
mind composure, but mighty love was still triumphant; that fairy's
form ever wandered before my eyes.

"One day I perceived a book [252] in a recess in the wall; I took it
down, and saw that all the sciences relating to the future and the
present world were comprised in it, as if the ocean had been compressed
into a vase. I used to read it at all times; I acquired great skill
in the science of physic, and the mystical art of philters. A year
passed away in the meantime, and again that same day of joy returned;
the _Gusa,in_, having arisen from his devotional posture, came out
[of his abode]; I made him my _salam_; he gave me the writing case, and
said, 'Accompany me.' I [accordingly] went along with him. When he came
out of the gate a vast crowd showered blessings on him. The nobleman
and the merchant, seeing me with the _Gusa,in_, fell at his feet, and
began to pour forth their blessings on him, saying, "by the favour of
your holiness, this much at least has been effected." The _Gusa,in_
went to the _ghat_ of the river, according to custom, and performed
his ablutions and devotions, as he was wont to do every year; returning
[from thence], he was proceeding along the line and examining the sick.

"It happened, that in the group of lunatics, a handsome young man,
who had scarce strength to stand up, attracted the _Gusa,in's_
attention. He said to me, 'Bring him with you.' After delivering his
prescriptions of cure to all, he went into his private apartment and
opened a little of the young lunatic's skull; he attempted to seize
with his forceps the centipede which was curled on his brain. An idea
struck me, and I spoke out, saying, 'If you will heat the forceps
in the fire, and then apply it to the centipede's back, it will be
better, as it will then come out of its own accord; but if you thus
attempt to pull it off, it will not quit its grasp on the brain, and
[the patient's] life will be endangered.' [253] On hearing this, the
_Gusa,in_ looked towards me; silently he rose up, and, without saying
a word, he went to the corner of the garden, and seizing a tree in his
grasp, he formed his long hair into a noose, and hanged himself. I went
to the spot, and saw, alas! alas! that he was dead. I became quite
afflicted at the strange and astonishing sight; but being helpless,
I thought it best to bury him. The moment I began to take him down
from the tree, two keys dropt from his locks; I took them up, and
interred that treasure of excellence in the earth. Having taken with
me the two keys, I began to apply them to all the locks. By chance
I opened the locks of two rooms with these keys, and perceived that
they were filled from the floor to the roof with precious stones;
in one place I saw a chest covered with velvet, with clasps of gold,
and locked. When I opened it, then I saw in it a book, in which was
written the "Most awful of Names," [254] and the mode of invoking the
genii, and the fairies, and the holding of intercourse with spirits,
and how to subdue them, also the mode of charming the sun.

"I became quite delighted at the idea of having acquired such a
treasure, and began to put those [charms] in practice. I opened the
garden door, and said to the nobleman, and to those who had come
with me, 'Send for the vessels [which had brought us, and embark in
them all these jewels, specie, merchandise, and books,' and having
embarked myself in a small vessel, I proceeded from thence to the
main ocean. When sailing along, I approached my own country. The
intelligence reached my father. He mounted his horse, and advanced to
meet us; with anxious affection he clasped me to his bosom; I kissed
his feet, and said, 'May this humble being be allowed to live in the
former garden?'

"The king replied, 'O my son, that garden appears to me calamitous,
and I have therefore forbidden its being kept up; that spot is not
at present fit for the abode of man; reside in any other abode which
your heart may desire. You had best choose some place in the fort, and
live under my eyes; and having there formed such a garden as you wish,
continue to walk about and to amuse yourself.' I strenuously resisted
and caused the former garden to be repaired once more, and having
embellished it like a perfect paradise, I went to reside in it. There,
at my ease, I fasted forty days for the purpose of subduing the _jinns_
to my will; and having abandoned living creatures, I began to practise
[my spells] on the world of spirits.

"When the forty days were completed, such a terrible storm arose at
midnight, that the very strongest buildings fell down, and trees
were uprooted and scattered in all directions; an army of fairies
appeared. A throne descended from the air, on which a person of
dignified appearance was seated, richly dressed, with a crown of
pearls on his head. On seeing him, I saluted him with great respect;
he returned my salutation, and said, 'O friend, why hast thou raised
this commotion for nothing? what dost thou want with me?' I replied,
'This wretch has been long in love with your daughter, and for her
I have every where wandered about wretched, distracted, and am dead,
though alive; I am now sick of existence, and have staked my life on
this deed which I have done. All my hopes now rest on your benevolence,
that you will exalt this unfortunate wanderer with your favour, and
that you will bestow on me life and happiness, by allowing me to behold
[your fair daughter]; it will be an act of great merit.' [255]

"On hearing my wishes he said, 'Man is made of earth, and we are formed
of fire; connection between two such [classes] is very difficult.' I
swore an oath, saying, 'I only desire to see her, and have no other
purpose.' Again the king [of the fairies] replied, 'Man does not
adhere to his promises; in time of need he promises everything, but
he does not keep it in recollection. I say this for thy good; for if
ever thou formest other wishes, then she and thou wilt be ruined and
undone; moreover, it will endanger your lives.' I repeated my oaths,
and added, that whatever could injure both of us, I would never do, and
that all I desired was to see her sometimes. These words were passing
[between us], when suddenly, the fairy (of whom we were talking)
appeared before us, with much splendour, and completely adorned;
and the throne of the king [of the fairies] remounted thence. I then
embraced the fairy with fond eagerness, and repeated this verse:--

'Why should not she of the arched eyebrows come [to my house],
She for whose sake I have fasted for forty days.'

In that state of felicity we resided together in the garden. I
dreaded through fear to think of other joys; I only tasted the
superficial pleasure [of her roseate lips], and constantly gazed
upon her charms. The lovely fairy, seeing me so true to my oath, was
surprised within herself, and used sometimes to say, 'O my beloved,
you are indeed strictly faithful to your promise; but I will give you,
by the way of friendship, a piece of advice; take care of your mystical
book; for the _jinns_, seeing you off your guard, will purloin it
some day or other.' I replied, 'I guard this book as I would my life.'

"It so happened, that one night Satan led me astray; in a fit of
overpowering passion, I said to myself, 'Let happen what will, how long
can I restrain myself?' I clasped the [lovely fairy] to my bosom, and
attempted to revel in ecstatic joys. Instantly, a voice came forth,
saying, 'Give me the book, for the great name of God is written in
it; do not profane it.' In that fervour of passion, I was insensible
[to every other consideration]; I took the book from my bosom and
delivered it, without knowing to whom I gave it, and plunged myself
into the fervid joys of love. The beautiful fairy, seeing my foolish
conduct, said, 'Alas! selfish man, thou hast at last transgressed,
and forgotten my admonition.'

"On saying this, she became senseless, and I perceived a _jinn_
standing at the head of the bed, who held the magical book in his
hand; I attempted to seize him, and beat him severely, and snatch
away the book, when in the meantime another appeared, took the book
from his hand, and ran off. I began to repeat the incantations I had
learnt. The _jinn_, who was still standing near me, became a bull; but,
alas! the lovely fairy had not in the least recovered her senses, and
that same state of stupor continued. Then my mind became distracted,
and all my joys were turned into bitterness. From that day, man became
my aversion. I live in a corner of this garden; and for the sake of
agreeably occupying my mind, I made this emerald vase, ornamented
with flowers, and every month I go to the plain, mounted on that same
bull, break the vase, and kill a slave, with the hope that every one
may see my sad state and pity me; perhaps some creature of God may
so far favour me and pray for me, that I even may regain the desire
[of my heart]. O faithful friend, such as I have related to thee is
the sad tale of my madness and lunacy."

I wept at hearing it, and said, "O prince, you have truly suffered
greatly from love; but I swear here by God, that I will abandon my own
wishes, and will now roam among woods and mountains for your good,
and do all I can [to find out your beloved fairy]. Having made this
promise, I took leave of the prince, and for five years wandered
through the desert, sifting the dust, like a mad man, but found no
trace [of the fairy]. At last, desponding of success, I ascended a
mountain, and wished to throw myself down [from its summit], so that
neither bone nor rib [in my frame] might remain entire. The same veiled
horseman, [who saved you from destruction], came up to me and said,
"Do not throw away thy life; in a few days thou wilt be in possession
of the desires of thy heart." O holy _Darweshes_! I have at last seen
you. I have now hopes that joy and happiness will be our lot, and
all of us, now affected as we are, may attain our wished-for objects.


When the second _Darwesh_ had likewise finished telling the relation
of his adventures, the night ended, and the time of morning was just
beginning. The king, _Azad Bakht_, silently proceeded towards his own
kingly abode. On arriving at his palace, he said his prayers. Then,
having gone to the bathing-house, and dressed himself superbly,
he proceeded to the _Diwani 'Amm_ and mounted his throne; and he
issued an order, saying, "Let a messenger go and bring along with him,
with respect, to our presence, four _Darweshes_ who have [recently]
arrived at such a place." The messenger went there according to orders,
and perceived that the four _Darweshes_, after performing the necessary
calls, and washed their hands and faces, were on the point of setting
out on [their peregrinations], and take their different roads. The
messenger said to them, "Reverend sirs, the king has called you
four personages; come along with me." The four _Darweshes_ began
to stare at each other, and said to the messenger, "Son, we are the
monarchs of our own hearts; what have we to do with a king of this
world?" The messenger answered, "Holy sirs, there is no harm in it,
and it is better you should go."

The four _Darweshes_ then recollected that what _Maula Murtaza_
[256] had said to them, that same had now come to pass; they were
pleased at the recollection], and went along with the messenger. When
they reached the fort and went before the king, the four _Kalandars_
gave a benediction, saying, "Son, may it be well with thee." The king
then retired to the _Diwani khass_, and having called two or three
of his confidential nobles near him, he ordered the four _Darweshes_
to be brought in. When they went there [before his majesty], he
commanded them to sit down, and asked them their adventures, saying,
"From whence come you, where do you intend to go, and where is the
residence of your worships?"

"They replied, "May the king's age and wealth be always on the
increase! we are _Darweshes_, and have in this very manner for
a long while wandered and roamed about; we bear our homes on our
shoulders. There is a saying, that 'a pilgrim's home is where the
evening overtakes him;' and all we have seen in this versatile world
is too long a tale to relate."

_Azad Bakht_ gave them every confidence and encouragement, and
having sent for refreshment, he made them breakfast before him. When
they finished [their meal] the king said to them, "Relate all your
adventures to me, without the least reserve; whatever services I can
render you, I will not fail to do." The _Darweshes_ replied that,
"whatever has happened to us, we have not the strength to relate,
nor will any pleasure result to the king from hearing it; therefore
pardon us." The king then smiled, and said, "Where you were sitting
on your couches last night and relating each his own adventures,
there I was likewise present; moreover, I have heard the adventures
of two of you; I now wish that the two who remain would also relate
theirs; and stay with me a few days in perfect confidence, for 'the
footsteps of the _Darwesh_ scare away evil.'" [257] On hearing these
words from the king, they began to tremble in consequence of their
fear; and having hung down their heads, they remained silent--they
had not the power to speak.

When _Azad Bakht_ perceived that now through fear their senses no
longer remained with them, so as to enable them to tell anything,
he said [to revive their spirits] "There is no person in this world
to whom rare and strange incidents have not occurred; although I am
a king, yet I have even seen strange scenes, which I will first of
all relate to you [to inspire you with confidence and remove your
fears]; do you listen to it with your minds at ease," The _Darweshes_
replied, "O king, peace be on thee! such are your kindnesses towards
us darweshes, condescend to relate them."

_Azad Bakht_ began his adventures, and said,

"Hear, O pilgrims, the adventures of the king.
Whatever I have heard or seen, O hear!
I will relate to ye every thing, from end to end.
My story with heartfelt attention hear."

When my father died, and I ascended the throne, it was in the
very season of youth, and all this kingdom of _Rum_ was under my
dominion. It happened one year, that some merchant from the country
of _Badakhshan_ [258] came [to my capital] and brought a good deal
of merchandise. The reporters of intelligence [259] sent notice to
me to this effect, that so considerable a merchant had never visited
our city before: I sent for him.

"He came, and brought with him the rarities of every country, which
were worthy of being offered to me, as presents. Indeed, every article
appeared to be of inestimable value; above all, there was a ruby
in a box, of an exceedingly fine colour, very brilliant, perfect in
shape and size, and in weight [amounting to] five _miskals_. [260]
Though I was a king, I had never seen such a precious stone, nor had
I heard of such from any other person. I accepted it, and bestowed
upon the merchant many presents and honours; I gave him passports
for the roads, that throughout my empire no one should ask him any
duties; that they should treat him with kindness wherever he went;
that he should be waited on, and have guards for his protection,
and that they should consider any loss he might experience as their
own. The merchant attended at the time of audience, and was well
versed in the forms of respect due to royalty; his conversation and
eloquence were worth hearing. I used to send for the ruby daily from
the jewel office, and look at it at the time of public audience.

One day I was seated in the _diwani 'amm,_ and the nobles and
officers of state were in waiting in their respective places, and the
ambassadors of different sovereigns, who had come to congratulate me
[on my accession to the throne], were likewise present. I then sent for
the ruby, according to custom; the officer of the jewel office brought
it; I took it in my hand and began to praise it, and gave it to the
ambassador of the Franks [to look at it]. On seeing it, he smiled,
and praised it by way of flattery; in the same manner it passed from
hand to hand, and every one looked at it, and all said together,
"The preponderance of your majesty's good fortune has procured you
this; for otherwise, even unto this day, no monarch has ever acquired
so inestimable a jewel." At that moment my father's _wazir_, who
was wise, and held the same station under me, and was standing in
his place, made his obeisance and said, "I wish to impart something
[to the royal ear], if my life be granted."

I ordered him to speak; he said, "Mighty sire, you are king, and it
is very unbecoming in kings to laud so highly a stone; though it is
unique in colour, in quality, and in weight, yet it is but a stone;
and at this moment the ambassadors of all countries are present in
the court; when they return to their respective countries, they will
assuredly relate this anecdote, saying, 'What a strange king he is,
who has got a ruby from somewhere, and makes such a rarity of it,
that he sends for it every day, and praising it himself the first,
shows it to every one present.' Then whatever king or _raja_ [261]
hears this anecdote, the same will certainly laugh at it in his own
court. Great sire, there is an insignificant merchant in _Naishapur_,
[262] who has twelve rubies, each weighing seven _miskals_, [263]
which he has sewed on a collar, and put it round his dog's neck." On
hearing this, I became greatly displeased, and said with anger,
put this _wazir_ to death.

The executioners immediately seized hold of his hands, and were
going to lead him out [to execution]. The ambassador of the king
of the Franks, joining his hands [in humble supplication] stood
before me. I asked him what he wanted; he replied, "I hope I may
become informed of the _wazir's_ fault," I answered, what can be
a greater fault than to lie, especially before kings. He replied,
"His falsehood has not yet been confirmed; perhaps what he has said
may be true; now, to put an innocent person to death is not right." I
said to him in reply, "It is not at all consistent with reason, that
a merchant, who, for the sake of gain, wanders disconsolate from city
to city and from country to country, and hoards up every farthing
[he can save], should sew twelve rubies, which weigh seven _miskals_
each, on the collar of a dog." The ambassador in answer said,
"Nothing is surprising before the power of God; perhaps it may be
the case; such rarities often fall into the hands of merchants and
pilgrims. For these two [classes of people] go into every country,
and they bring away with them whatever they find rare in [their
travels]. It is most advisable for your majesty to order the _wazir_
to be imprisoned, if he is as guilty [as you suppose]; for _wazirs_
are the intelligencers of kings, and such conduct as this appears
unhandsome in the latter, that in a case, the truth and falsehood
of which is as yet unascertained, to order them to be put to death,
and that the services and fidelity of a whole life should be forgotten.

"Mighty sire, former kings have erected prisons for this very reason,
that when the kings or chiefs may be in wrath towards any one, then
they might confine him. In a few days their anger will have entirely
subsided, and [the suspected one's] innocence will become manifest,
and the king will be exempt from the stain of shedding innocent blood,
and not have to answer for it on the day of judgment." Though I wished
ever so much to refute him, yet the ambassador of the Franks [264]
gave such just replies, that he reduced me to silence. Then I said,
well, I agree to what you say, and I pardon him his life. But he shall
remain imprisoned; if in the space of a year his words are proved to
be true, that such rubies are round the neck of a dog, then he shall
be released; otherwise, he shall be put to death with many torments. I
accordingly ordered the _wazir_ to be carried to prison. On hearing
this order, the ambassador made me his humble obeisance, [265] and
performed his parting salute.

When this news reached the _wazir's_ family, weeping and lamentations
took place, and it became a house of mourning. The _wazir_ had a
daughter of the age of fourteen or fifteen years, very handsome
and accomplished, perfect in writing and reading. The _wazir_ loved
her greatly, and was extremely fond of her; so much so, that he had
erected an elegant apartment for her behind his own _diwan khana;_
and had procured for her the daughters of noblemen as her companions,
and handsome female servants waited on her; with these she passed
her time in laughter and joy, and playing and romping about.

It happened that on the day the _wazir_ was sent to prison, the girl
was sitting with her young companions, and was celebrating with
[infantile] pleasure the marriage of her doll; and with a small
drum and timbrel she was making preparation for the night vigils;
and having put on the frying pan, she was busy making up sweetmeats,
when her mother suddenly ran into her apartment, lamenting and beating
[her breasts], with dishevelled tresses and naked feet. She struck
a blow on her daughter's head, and said, "Would that God had given
me a blind son instead of thee; then my heart would have been at
ease, and he would have been the friend of his father." The _wazir's_
daughter asked, "What use would a blind son have been to you? whatever
he could do, I can do likewise." The mother replied, "Dust be on thy
head! such a calamity hath fallen on thy father, that he is confined
in the prison for having used some improper expressions before the
king." The daughter asked, "What were the expressions? let me hear
them." Then her mother answered, "Your father said that there is
a merchant in _Nishapur_, who has fixed twelve inestimable rubies
on his dog's collar: the king would not believe him, but conceived
him a liar, and has imprisoned him. If he had had to-day a son, he
would have exerted himself by every means to ascertain the truth of
the circumstance; he would have assisted his father, besought the
king's forgiveness, and have got my husband released from prison."

The _wazir's_ daughter said [in reply], "O mother, we cannot combat
against fate; man under sudden calamity ought to be patient, and place
his hopes in the bounty of God. He is merciful, and does not hold any
one's difficulties to be irremovables; weeping and lamentations are
improper. God forbid that our enemies should misrepresent [the motive
of our tears] to the king, and the teller of tales calumniate us, for
that would be the cause of farther displeasure. On the contrary, let
us offer up our prayers for the king's welfare; we are his born slaves,
and he is our master; even as he is wroth, so will he be gracious." The
girl, from her good sense, thus made her mother comprehend these
things, so that she became somewhat patient and tranquil, and returned
in silence to her palace. When the night arrived, the _wazir-zadi_
[266] sent for her foster father, [or nurse's husband], and fell at
his feet and beseeched him greatly, and weeping, said, "I have formed
a resolution to wipe off the reproach my mother has cast on me, so
that my father may regain his freedom. If you will be my companion,
then I will set out for _Niashapur_, and having seen the merchant
[who has such rubies round his dog's neck], I will do all in my power
[to the end that] I may release my father."

The man indeed made some excuses at first; at length after much
discussion, he agreed [to her request]. Then the _wazir-zadi_ said,
"Make the preparations for the Journey in secrecy and silence, and buy
some articles of trade fit to be presented as offerings to kings, and
procure as many slaves and servants as may be required; but do not let
this circumstance be revealed to any one." The foster father agreed
[to the project], and set about [the necessary] preparations. When
all the materials were got ready, he loaded the camels and mules,
and set out; the _wazir's_ daughter also put on the dress of a man,
and joined him. No one in the house knew anything whatever [of the
departure]. When the morning came, it was mentioned in the _wazir's_
family, that the _wazir-zadi_, had disappeared, and that it was
uncertain where she was gone.

At last, the mother, from fear of scandal, concealed the circumstance
of her daughter's disappearance; and there [on the journey] the
_wazir-zadi_ gave herself out as a "young merchant." Travelling onwards
stage by stage, they arrived at _Naishapur_; and with great pleasure
they went and put up at the _caravan-serai_ and unloaded all their
merchandise. The _wazir-zadi_ I remained there that night; in the
morning she went to the bath; and put on a rich dress, according to the
costume of the inhabitants of _Rum_, and went out to ramble through the
city. Proceeding along, she reached the _chauk,_ and stood where the
four great streets crossed each other; and a jeweller's shop appeared
on one side, where a great deal of jewels were exposed [for sale],
and slaves wearing rich dresses were in waiting, with crossed arms;
and a man, who was their chief, of about fifty years [267] of age,
dressed like rich persons in a short-sleeved jacket, was seated there,
with many elegant companions near him, seated likewise on stools,
and conversing among themselves.

The _wazir-zadi_ (who had represented herself as a merchant's
son, [268]) was greatly surprised at seeing the jeweller; and,
on reflection, she became pleased in her own heart, saying,
"God grant this be no delusion! it is most probable that this
is the very merchant, the anecdote of whom my father mentioned to
the king. O, great God, enlighten me as to his circumstances." It
happened, that on looking around her, she saw a shop, in which two
iron cages were suspended, and two men were confined in them. They
looked like _majnun_ in appearance, only skin and bones remained;
the hair of their heads and their nails were quite overgrown,
and they sat with their heads reclined on their breasts; two
ugly negroes, completely armed, were standing on each side [of the
cages]. The young merchant was struck with amazement, and exclaimed,
"God bless us." When she looked round the other way, she saw another
shop, where carpets were spread, on which an ivory stool was placed,
with a velvet cushion, and a dog sat thereon, with a collar set with
precious stones around his neck, and chained by a chain of gold;
and two young handsome servants waited on the dog. One was shaking
[over him] a _morchhal_ [269] with a golden handle, set with precious
stones, and the other held an embroidered handkerchief in his hand,
with which he [from time to time] wiped the dog's mouth and feet.
The young merchant, having looked at the animal with great attention,
perceived on its collar the twelve large rubies, as she had heard
[them described]. She praised God, and began to consider thus: "By
what means can I carry those rubies to the king, and show them to
him, and get my father released?" She was plunged in these perplexing
reflections; meanwhile, all the people in the square and on the road,
seeing her beauty and comeliness, were struck with astonishment,
and remained utterly confounded. All the people said one to another,
"Even unto this day, we have never seen a human being of this form
and beauty." The _khwaja_ [270] also perceived her, and sent a slave,
saying, "Go thou and entreat that young merchant to come to me."

The slave went up to her and delivered his master's message, and
said, "If you will have the kindness, then my master is desirous of
[seeing] your honour; pray come and have an interview with him." The
young merchant indeed wished this very thing, and said in reply,
"Very well." [271] The moment she came near the _khwaja_, and he had
a full view of her, the dart of attachment pierced his breast; he rose
up to receive her respectfully, but his senses were utterly bewildered.
The young merchant perceived that "now he is entangled in the net" [of
my charms]. They mutually embraced one another; the _khwaja_ kissed the
young merchant's forehead, and made him sit down near him; and asked
with much kindness, "inform me of your name and lineage? whence have
you come, and where do you intend to go?" The young merchant replied,
"This humble servant's country is _Rum_, and Constantinople has been
for ages the birth-place [of my ancestors.] My father is a merchant;
and as he is now from old age unable to travel [from country to country
on his mercantile concerns] on this account he has sent me abroad to
learn the affairs of commerce. Until now I had not put my foot out of
our door; this is the very first journey that has occurred to me. I had
not courage [272] to come here by sea, I therefore travelled by land;
but your excellence and good name is so renowned in this country of
_'Ajam_ [273] that to have the pleasure only of meeting you I have
come so far. At last, by the favour of God, I have had the honour of
[sitting in] your noble presence, and have found your good qualities
exceed your renown; the wish of my heart is accomplished; God preserve
you in safety, I will now set out from hence."

On hearing these [last words], the _khwaja's_ mind and senses were
quite discomposed, and he exclaimed, "O, my son, do not speak to me of
such a thing;" stay some days with me in my humble abode; pray tell me
where are your goods, and your servants?" The young merchant replied,
"The traveller's abode is the _sara,e_; [274] leaving them there, I
came to see you." The _khwaja_ said, "It is unbecoming [a person of
your consideration] to dwell in the _sara,e_ I have some reputation
in this city, and much celebrity; send quickly for your baggage, &c.;
I will prepare a house for your goods; let me see whatever commodities
you have brought; I will so manage it, that you will get here great
profit on them. At the same time, you will be at your ease, and saved
the danger and fatigue [of travelling any farther for a market], and
by staying with me a few days you will greatly oblige me." The young
merchant pretended [275] to make some excuses, but the _khwaja_ would
not accept them, and ordered one of his agents, saying, "Send quickly
some burden-bearers, and bring the goods, &c., from the _caravanserai_
and lodge them in such a place."

The young merchant likewise sent a slave of his own with [the agent]
to bring the property and merchandise; and he himself remained with
the _khwaja_ until the evening. When the time of [the afternoon]
market had elapsed, and the shop was shut, the _khwaja_ went towards
his house. Then one of the two slaves took the dog up under his arm,
and the other took up the stool and carpet; and the two negro slaves
placed the two cages on the heads of porters, and they themselves,
accoutred with the five weapons, [276] went alongside of them. The
_khwaja_ took hold of the young merchant's hand, and conversing with
him, reached his house.

The young merchant saw that the house was grand, and fit for kings or
nobles [to reside in]. Carpets were spread on the border of a rivulet,
and before the _masnad_ the different articles for the entertainment
were laid out. The dog's stool was placed there also, and the _khwaja_
and young merchant took their seats; he presented to him some wine
without ceremony; they both began to drink. When they got merry, the
_khwaja_ called for dinner; the _dastar-khwan_ [277] was spread, and
the good things of the world were laid out. First they put some meat
in a dish, and having covered it with a cover of gold, they carried
it to the dog, and having spread an embroidered _dastar-khwan_, they
laid the dish before him. The dog descended from his stool, ate as
much as he liked, and drank some water out of a golden bowl, then
returned and sat on his stool. The slaves wiped his mouth and feet
with a napkin, and then carried the dish and bowl to the two cages,
and having asked for the keys from the _khwaja_, they opened the locks.

They took out the two men [who were confined in the cages], gave
them many blows with a great stick, and made them eat the leavings
of the dog and drink the same water; they again fastened the doors
[of the cages] and returned the keys to their master. When all this
was over, the _khwaja_ began to eat himself. The young merchant was
not pleased at these circumstances, and did not touch the victuals
from disgust. How much soever the _khwaja_ pressed him, yet he flatly
refused. Then the _khwaja_ asked the reason of this, saying, "Why
do you not eat?" The young merchant replied, "This conduct of yours
appears disgusting to me, for this reason that man is the noblest
of God's creatures, and the dog is decidedly impure. So to make two
of God's own creatures eat the leavings of a dog, in what religion
or creed is it lawful? Do not you think it sufficient that they are
your prisoners? otherwise they and you are equal. Now, I doubt if you
are a _Musulman_; who knows what you are? Perhaps you worship the dog;
it is disgusting to me to eat your dinner, until this doubt is removed
from my mind."

The _khwaja_ answered, "O, son, I comprehend perfectly all that you
say, and am generally censured for these reasons; for the inhabitants
of this city have fixed upon me the name of dog-worshipper, and call
me so, and have published it [everywhere]; but may the curse of God
alight on the impious and the infidel!" The _khwaja_ then repeated the
_kalima_, [278] and set the young merchant's mind at ease. Then the
young merchant asked, thus, "If you are really a _Musalman_ in your
heart, then what is the reason of this? By so acting, get yourself
generally censured?" The _khwaja_ said in reply, "O, son, my name is
reprobated, and I pay double taxes in the city, that no one may know
this secret [motive of my conduct]. It is a strange circumstance,
which, whoever hears, will get nothing by the recital but grief and
indignation. You must likewise pardon me [from relating it]; for I
shall not have strength of mind to recount it, nor will you have the
composure of mind to listen to it." The young merchant thought within
himself, "I have only to mind my own business; why should I to no
purpose press him further on the subject?" She accordingly replied
to the _khwaja_, "Very well; if it is not proper to be related, do
not mention it." He then began to partake of the dinner, and having
lifted a morsel, began to eat. The space of about two months [279]
the young merchant passed with the _khwaja_, with such prudence and
circumspection, that no one found out by any chance that he was a
woman [in disguise]. All thought that this [individual] was a male,
and the _khwaja's_ affection for him increased daily, so that he
could not allow him to be a moment absent from his sight.

One day, in the midst of a drinking feat, the young merchant began
to weep. On seeing it, the _khwaja_ comforted her, and began to
wipe away his tears with his handkerchief, and asked him the cause
of his weeping. He answered, "O, father, what shall I say? would to
God that I had never attained access to your presence, and that your
worship had never shown me that kindness which you are shewing. I
am now distressed between two difficulties; I have no heart to be
separated from your presence, nor is there a possibility of my staying
here. Now, it is necessary for me to go; but in separating from you,
I do not perceive hopes of life."

On hearing these words, the _khwaja_ involuntarily wept so loudly,
that he was nearly choked, and exclaimed, "O, light of my eyes! are
you so soon tired of your old friend, that you think of going away
and leaving him in such affliction? banish from your heart the idea
of departing; as long as I have to live, remain here; I shall not
live a day in your absence, and must [in such case] die before my
appointed hour. The climate of this kingdom of Persia is very fine
and congenial [to your health], you had best despatch a confidential
servant, and send for your parents and property here; I will furnish
whatever equipages and conveyances you require; when your parents and
all their household come here, you can pursue your commercial concerns
at your ease. I also have in my life gone through many hardships, and
have wandered many countries. I am now old and have no issue; I love
you dearer than a son, and make you my heir and head manager. Be you,
on the other hand, careful and attentive to my concerns. Give me a
bit of bread to eat whilst I live; when I die, be pleased to bury me,
and then take [possession of] all my wealth and effects."

To this the young merchant replied, "It is true, you have, more than a
father, shewn to me kindness and affection, so that I have forgotten my
parents; but this humble culprit's father only allowed a year's leave;
if I exceed it, then he in his extreme old age will weep himself to
death; finally, a father's approbation is meritorious before God, and
if mine should be displeased with me, then I fear he may curse me, and
I shall be an outcast from God's grace in this world and the next. Now
such is your worship's kindness, that you will give me leave to obey my
father's commands, and fulfil the duties [of a son] towards a parent;
I shall, while life lasts, bear on my neck the gratitude I owe for your
kindness. If I am ever [so fortunate as] to reach my native country,
I will still ever think of your goodness with my heart and soul. God is
the Causer of causes; perhaps some such cause may again occur, that I
may have occasion to pay you my respects. In short, the young merchant
urged such persuasive and feeling arguments to the _khwaja_, that he,
poor man, being helpless, yielded to their force. [280] Inasmuch as
he was now completely fascinated, he began to say in reply, "Well,
if you will not stay here, I will myself go with you. I consider you
equivalent to my own life: hence, if my life goes with you, of what
use is a lifeless body? If you are determined to go, then proceed,
and take me with you." Saying this to the young merchant, he began
his preparations likewise for the journey, and gave orders to his
agents to get ready quickly the necessary conveyances.

When the news of the _khwaja's_ departure became public, the merchants
of that city on hearing it, began likewise their preparations to
set out with him. The dog-worshipping _khwaja_ took with him specie
and jewels to a great amount, servants and slaves without number,
and rich rarities and property worthy of a king, and having pitched
his tents of various sorts outside of the city, he went to them. All
the other merchants took articles of merchandise with them according
to their means, and joined the _khwaja_; they became for themselves a
[regular] army.

One day, having fixed on a lucky moment for departure, they set
out thence on their journey. Having laden thousands of camels with
canvas sacks filled with goods, and the jewels and specie on mules,
five hundred slaves from the steppes of _Kapchak_, from _Zang_, and
from _Rum_, [281] completely armed, men used to the sword, mounted
on horses of Arabia, of Tartary, and of _Irak_, accompanied [the
caravan]. In the rear of all came the _khwaja_ and the young merchant,
richly dressed, and mounted on sedans; a rich litter was lashed on the
back of a camel, in which the dog reposed on a cushion, and the cages
of the two prisoners were slung one on each side of another, across
a camel, and thus they marched onwards. At every stage they came to,
all the merchants waited on the _khwaja_ and on his _dastar-khwan_
they ate of his food and drank of his wine. The _khwaja_ offered up
his grateful thanks to the Almighty for the happiness of having the
young merchant with him, and proceeded on, stage by stage. At last,
they reached the environs of Constantinople in perfect safety, and
encamped without the city. The young merchant said [to the _khwaja_],
"O, father, if you grant me permission, I will go and see my parents,
and prepare a house for you, and when it is agreeable to you, you
will be pleased to enter the city."

The _khwaja_ replied, "I am come so far for your sake, well, go
quickly and see [your parents], and return to me, and give me a place
to live in near your own." The young merchant having taken leave [of
the _khwaja_], came to his own house. All the people of the household
of the _wazir_ were surprised, and exclaimed, "What man has entered
[the house]!" The young merchant, that is, the _wazir's_ daughter, ran
and threw herself at her mother's feet, and wept and said, "I am your
child." On hearing this, the _wazir's_ wife began to reproach her,
by saying, "O, wanton girl, thou hast greatly dishonoured thyself;
thou hast blackened thine own face, and brought shame on thy family;
we had imagined thee lost, and, after weeping for thee, had with
resignation given thee up; be gone hence."

Then the _wazir-zadi_ threw the turban off her head and said, "O, dear
mother, I did not go to an improper place, and have done nothing wrong;
I have contrived the whole of this scheme according to your wishes to
release my father from prison. God be praised, that through the good
effect of your prayers, and through His grace, I, having accomplished
the entire object, am now returned; I have brought that merchant with
me from _Naishapur_, along with the dog (around whose neck are those
rubies), and have returned with the innocence you bestowed [282] on
me. I assumed the appearance of a man for the journey; now one day's
work remains; having done that, I will get my father released from
prison, and return to my home; if you give me leave, I will go back
again, and remain abroad another day, and then return to you." When the
mother thoroughly comprehended that her daughter had acted the part of
a man, and had preserved herself in all respects pure and virtuous,
she offered up her grateful acknowledgments to God, and, rejoicing
[at the event], clasped her daughter to her bosom and kissed her lips;
she prayed for her and blessed her, and gave her leave to go, saying,
"Do what thou thinkest best, I have full confidence in thee."

The _wazir-zadi_ having again assumed the appearance of a man,
returned to the dog-worshipping _khwaja_. He had been in the meantime
so much distressed at her absence, that through impatience he had
left his encampment. It so happened, that as the young merchant was
going out in the vicinity of the city, the _khwaja_ was coming from
the opposite direction; they met each other in the middle of the
road. On seeing him, the _khwaja_ exclaimed, "O, my child! leaving
this old man by himself, where wast thou gone?" The young merchant
answered, "I went to my house with your permission, but the desire
I had to see you again would not allow me to remain [at home], and I
am returned to you." They perceived a shady garden close to the gate
of the city on the sea shore; they pitched their tents and alighted
there. The _khwaja_ and the young merchant sat down together, and
began to eat their _kababs_, and drink their wine. When the time of
evening arrived, they left their tents, and sat out on high seats to
view the country. It happened that a royal chasseur passed that way;
he was astonished at seeing their manners and their encampment, and
said to himself, "Perhaps the ambassador of some king is arrived;"
he stood [and amused himself by] looking on.

One of the _khwaja's_ messengers called him forward, and asked him who
he was. He replied, "I am the king's head chasseur." The messenger
mentioned him to the _khwaja_, who ordered a negro slave, saying,
"Go and tell the chasseur that we are travellers, and if he feels
inclined to come and sit down, the coffee and pipe are ready." [283]
When the chasseur heard the name of merchant, he was still more
astonished, and came with the slave to the _khwaja's_ presence;
he saw [on all sides] the air of propriety and magnificence, and
soldiers and slaves. To the _khwaja_ and the young merchant he made
his salutations, and on seeing the dog's state and treatment, his
senses were confounded, and he stood like one amazed. The _khwaja_
asked him to sit down, and presented him coffee; the chasseur asked the
_khwaja's_ name and designation. When he requested leave to depart, the
_khwaja_ having presented him with some pieces [of cloth] and sundry
rarities, dismissed him. In the morning, when the chasseur attended
the king's audience, he related to those present the circumstances
of the _khwaja_; by degrees it came to my knowledge; I called the
chasseur before me, and asked about the merchant.

He related whatever he had seen. On hearing of the dog's exalted state,
and the two men's confinement in the cage, I was quite indignant, and
exclaimed, that reprobate of a merchant deserves death! I ordered some
of my executioners, saying, "Go immediately, and cut off and bring me
the heretic's head." By chance, the same ambassador of the Franks was
present at the audience; he smiled, and I became still more angry,
and said, "O, disrespectful; to display one's teeth [284] without
cause in the presence of kings, is remote from good manners; it is
better to weep than laugh out of season." The ambassador replied,
"Mighty sire, several ideas came across my mind, for which reason I
smiled; the first was, that the _wazir_ had spoken truth, and would
now be released from prison; secondly, that your majesty will be
unstained with the innocent blood of the _wazir_; and the third was,
that the asylum of the universe, without cause or crime, ordered
the merchant to be put to death. At all these circumstances I was
surprised, that without any inquiry your majesty should, on the tale
of an idle fellow, order people to be put to death. God in reality
knows what is the merchant's real case; call him before the royal
presence and inquire into his antecedents; if he should be found
guilty, then your majesty is master; whatever treatment you please,
that you can administer to him.

When the ambassador thus explained [the matter to me], I also
recollected what the _wazir_ had said, and ordered the merchant,

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