Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

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

Part 3 out of 5

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.6 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

together with his son, the dog, and the cages, to be brought in my
presence immediately. The messengers set off quickly [on the errand],
and in a short time brought them all. I summoned them before me. First
came the _khwaja_ and his son [the young merchant], both richly
dressed. All present were astonished and bewildered on beholding the
young merchant's extreme beauty; he brought in his hand a golden
tray, loaded with precious stones, (the brilliancy of every one
of which illuminated the room,) and laid it before my throne, made
his obeisance and stood [in respectful silence]. The _khwaja_ also
kissed the ground, and offered up his prayers [for my prosperity];
he spoke with such sweet modulation, as if he were the nightingale
of a thousand melodies. I greatly admired his elegant and decorous
speech; but, assuming a face of anger, I exclaimed, "O, you Satan
in human form! what net is this that thou hast spread, and in thine
own path what pit hast thou dug? What is thy religion, and what rite
is this I see? Of what prophet's sect are thou a follower? If thou
wast an infidel, even then what sense is there in thy conduct? what
is thy name, that thou actest thus?

The _khwaja_ calmly replied, "May your majesty's years and prosperity
ever increase; this slave's religious creed is this, that God is one:
he has no equal, and I repeat the confession of faith of _Muhammad_
the pure (the mercy of God be shown to him and his posterity; may he
be safe!) After him, I consider the twelve _Imams_ as my guides; and
my rite is this, that I say the five regulated prayers and I observe
fasts, and I have likewise performed the pilgrimage, and from my
wealth, I give the fifth in alms, and I am called a _Musalman_. But
there is a reason, which I cannot disclose, that I appear to possess
all those bad qualities which have raised your majesty's indignation,
and for which I am condemned by every one of God's creatures. Though I
am [ever so much] called a dog-worshipper, and pay double taxes, all
this I submit to; but the secrets of my heart I have not divulged to
any one." On hearing this excuse, my anger became greater, and I said,
thou art beguiling me with words; I will not believe them until thou
explainest clearly the reasons which have made thee deviate from the
right path, that my mind may be convinced of their truth; then thy life
will be saved; or else, as a retribution [for what thou hast done], I
will order thy belly to be ripped up, that the exemplary punishment may
deter others in future from transgressing the religion of _Muhammad_.

The _khwaja_ replied, "O king, do not spill the blood of this
unfortunate wretch, but confiscate all the wealth I have, which
is beyond counting or reckoning, and having made me and my son a
votive offering to your throne, release us, and spare us our lives." I
smiled, and said, O fool! dost thou exhibit to me the temptation of thy
wealth? Thou canst not be released, except thou speakest the truth. On
hearing these words, the tears streamed profusely from the _khwaja's_
eyes; he looked towards his son and heaved a deep sigh, and said
[to him] "I am criminal in the king's eyes; I shall be put to death;
what shall I do now? to whom shall I entrust thee?" I threatened
him, and said, O dissembler! cease; thou hast made too many excuses
[already]; what thou hast to say, say it [quickly].

Then, indeed, that man having advanced forward, came near the throne
and kissed the foot of it, and poured forth my praise and eulogy,
and said, "O king of kings, if the order for execution had not been
issued in my case, I would have borne every torture, and would not
have disclosed my story; but life is dear above every [consideration];
no one of his own accord jumps into a well; to preserve life, then, is
right; and the abandoning of what is right is contrary to the mandates
of God. Well, if such is the royal pleasure, then be pleased to hear
the past events of this feeble old man. First, order the two cages,
in which the two men are confined, to be brought and placed before
your majesty. I am going to relate my adventures; if I falsify any
circumstance, then ask them to convict me, and let justice be done." I
approved of his proposal and sent for the cages, took them both out,
and made them stand near the _khwaja_.

The _khwaja_ said, "O king! this man, who stands on the right hand of
your slave is my eldest brother, and he who stands on my left is my
second [285] brother. I am younger than they; my father was a merchant
in the kingdom of Persia, and when I was fourteen years of age, he
died. After the burial ceremony was over, and the flowers had been
removed [from the corpse on the _Siyum_], [286] my two brothers said
to me one day, 'Let us now divide our father's wealth, whatever there
is, and let each do [with his share] what he pleases.' On hearing
[this proposal], I said, O brothers! what words are these! I am
your slave, and do not claim the rights of a brother. Our father,
on the one hand, is dead, but you both are alive and in the place
of that father. I only want a dry loaf [daily] to pass through life,
and to remain alert in your service. What have I to do with shares or
divisions? I will fill my belly with your leavings, and remain near
you. I am a boy, and have not learnt even to read or write? what am
I able to do? At present do you confer instruction upon me.

"On hearing this, they replied, 'Thou wishest to ruin and beggar us
also along with thyself.' I was silent, and retired to a corner and
wept; then I reasoned with myself and said, my brothers, after all,
are my elders; they are reproving [me for my good, and] with a view to
my education, that I may learn some [profession]. In these reflections
I fell asleep. In the morning, a messenger from the _kazi_ came and
conducted me to the court of justice; I saw that both my brothers were
there in waiting. The _kazi_ asked me, 'Why dost not thou accept thy
share of thy father's property?' I repeated to him what I had at home
said [to my brothers]. The latter said, 'If he speaks this sentiment
from his heart, then let him give us a deed of release, saying he has
no claims on our father's wealth and property.' Even then I thought,
that as they both were my elders, they advised for my good; that if I
got my share of my father's property I might improperly spend it. So,
according to their desire, I gave them a deed of release, with the
_kazi's_ seal. They were satisfied, and I returned home.

"The second day after this, they said to me, 'O brother, we require
the apartment in which you live; do you hire another place for your
residence, and go and stay there.' 'Twas then I perceived that they
were not pleased that I should even remain in my father's house; I had
no remedy, and determined to leave it. O protector of the world! when
my father was alive, whenever he returned from his travels, he used to
bring the rarities of different countries, and give them to me by way
of presents; for this reason, that every one loves most the youngest
child. I from time to time sold these [presents], and raised a small
capital of my own; with this [sum] I carried on some traffic. Once,
my father brought for me a female slave from Tartary, and he once
brought thence some horses, from which he gave me also a promising
young colt; and I used to feed it from my own little property.

"At last, seeing the inhumanity of my brothers, I bought a house, and
went and resided there; this dog also went along with me. I purchased
the requisite articles for housekeeping, and bought two slaves for
attendance; with the remainder of my capital I opened a shop as a cloth
merchant, and placing my confidence in God, I sat down quietly [in
it], and felt contented with my fate. Though my brothers had behaved
unkindly to me, yet, since God was gracious, my shop in three years'
time increased so greatly, that I became a man of credit. Whatever
rarities [in the way of clothes or dresses] were required in every
great family, went from my shop only. I thereby earned large sums
of money, and began to live in affluent circumstances. Every hour
I offered up my prayers to the pure God, and lived at my ease; and
often used to repeat these verses on my [prosperous] circumstances:--

'Why should not the prince be displeased?
I have nothing to do with him.
Except thyself, O, mighty Prince, [287]
What other [sovereign] can I praise?
Why should not my brother be displeased?
Nothing can he do [to harm me];
Thou alone art my help;
Then to whom else should I go?
Why should not the friend or foe be displeas'd,
During the whole [eight] watches,
Let me fix my affections on thy feet only.
Let the world be wrathful [with me],
But thou dost far transcend [the world];
All others may kiss my thumb,
Only it is my wish that thou be not displeased.'

"It happened, that on a Friday I was sitting at home, when a slave
of mine had gone to the _bazar_ for necessaries; after a short time,
he returned in tears. I asked him the reason, and what happened to
him. He replied with anger, 'What business is it to you? do you enjoy
yourself; but what answer will you give on the day of judgment?' I
said, O, you Abyssinian, what demon has possessed thee? He answered,
'This is the calamity, that the arms of your two elder brothers have
been tied behind their backs in the _chauk_ by a Jew; he is beating
them with a whip, and laughs and says, 'If you do not pay my money,
I will beat you even unto the death [and if I lose my money by the
act], it will be at least a meritorious deed on my part.' Such is your
brother's treatment, and you are indifferent; is this right? and what
will the world say?' On hearing these circumstances from the slave,
my blood glowed [288] [with fraternal warmth]; I ran towards the
_chauk_ with naked feet, and told my slaves to hasten with money. The
instant I arrived there, I saw that all that the slave had said was
true; blows continued to fall on my brothers. I exclaimed to the
magistrate's guards, for God's sake forbear awhile; let me ask the
Jew what great fault [my brothers] have committed, in retaliation
for which, he so severely punishes them.

"On saying this, I went up to the Jew and said, to-day is the
sabbath day; [289] why dost thou continue to inflict stripes on
them? The Jew replied, 'If you wish to take their part, do it fully,
and pay me the money in their stead; or else take the road to your
house.' I said, 'what is the amount? produce the bond, and I will
count thee out the money.' He replied, 'that he had just given the
bond to the magistrate.' At this moment, my slaves brought two bags
of money. I gave a thousand pieces of silver to the Jew, and released
my brothers. Such was their condition, naked, hungry, and thirsty,
I brought them with me to my own house, and caused them instantly to
be bathed in the bath, and dressed in new clothes, and gave them a
hearty meal. I never asked them what they had done with our father's
great wealth, lest they might feel ashamed.

"O king, they are both present; ask them if I tell truth, or falsify
any of the circumstances. Well, after some space of time, when they had
recovered from the bruises of the beating [they had suffered], I said
to them one day, 'O brothers, you have now lost your credit in this
city, and it is better you should travel for some days.' On hearing
this, they were both silent; but I perceived they were satisfied
[with my proposal]. I began to make preparations for their journey,
and having procured tents and all necessary conveyance, I purchased
for them merchandise to the amount of 20,000 rupees. A _kafila_ [290]
of merchants was going to _Bukhara_; [291] I sent them along with it.

"After a year, that caravan returned, but I heard no tidings of my
brothers; at last, putting a friend on his oath, I asked him [what
had become of them]. He replied, 'When they went to _Bukhara_, one
of them lost all his property at the gambling house, and is now a
sweeper at the same house, and keeps clean and plastered the place
of gambling, and waits on the gamblers who assemble there; they,
by way of charity, give him something, and he remains there as a
scullion. The other brother became enamoured of a _boza-vendor's_
[292] daughter, and squandered all his property [on her], and now he
is one of the waiters at the _boze-khana_. [293] The people of the
_kafila_ do not mention these circumstances to you for this reason,
that you would become ashamed [at hearing them].

"On hearing these circumstances from that person, I was in a strange
state; hunger and sleep vanished through anxiety; taking some money for
[the expenses of] the road, I set out instantly for _Bukhara_. When
I arrived there, I searched for them both, and I brought them to the
house [I had taken]. I had them bathed and clothed in new dresses,
and, from fear of their being abashed with shame, I said not a word
to them [of what had happened]. I again purchased some goods for
merchandise for them, and returned with them home. When we arrived
near _Naishapur_, I left them in a village with all the goods and
chattels, and came [secretly] to my house, for this reason, that
no one might be informed of my return. After two days, I gave out
publicly that my brothers were returned from their journey, and that
I would go out tomorrow to meet them. In the morning, as I wished to
set out, a peasant of that village came to me, and began to make loud
complaints; on hearing his voice I came out, and seeing him crying,
I asked, why dost thou make a lamentation? He answered, 'Our houses
have been plundered, owing to your brothers; would to God that you
had not left them there!'

"I asked, what misfortune has occurred? He replied, 'A gang of robbers
came at night and plundered their property and goods, and they at
the same time robbed our houses.' I pitied him, and asked, where are
these two now? He answered, 'They are sitting without the city, stark
naked and utterly distressed.' I instantly took two suits of clothes
with me and went [to them], and having clothed them, brought them to
my house. The people [of the city], hearing [the circumstances of the
robbery], continued coming to see them, but they did not go out through
shame. Three months passed in this same manner; at last I reflected
within myself, 'how long will they thus remain squatted in a corner? If
it can be brought about, I will take them with me on some voyage.'

"I proposed it to my brothers, and added, 'if you please, I will go
with you.' They were silent. I again made the necessary preparations
for the voyage, purchased some goods for the trade, and set out and
took them with me. After I had distributed the customary alms [for a
prosperous voyage], and loaded the merchandise on the ship, we weighed
anchor, and the vessel set sail. This dog was sleeping on the banks
[of the river]; when he awoke, and saw the ship in the middle of the
stream, he was surprised, and having barked and jumped into the river,
he began to swim [after us]. I sent a skiff for him, at last having
seized [the faithful animal], they conveyed him into the ship. One
month passed in safety on the river; somehow, my second brother became
enamoured of my slave girl. One day, he thus spoke to our eldest
brother, that, 'to bear the load of our younger brother's favours is
very shameful; what remedy shall we apply to this [evil]?' The eldest
answered, 'I have formed a plan in my mind; if it can be executed, it
will be a great thing.' Both at last consulted together, and settled
it between them to destroy me, and seize all my property and goods.

"One day, I was asleep in the cabin, and the female slave was
_shampooing_ [294] me, when my second brother came in hastily and
awaked me. I started up in a hurry, and came forth [on deck]. This
dog also followed me. I saw my eldest brother leaning on his hands
against the vessel's side, and intensely looking at the wonders
of the river, and calling out to me. I went up to him and said,
'is all well?' He answered, 'Behold this strange sight; mermen are
dancing in the stream, with pearl, oysters, and branches of coral in
their hands.' If any other had related this circumstance so contrary
to reason, I should not, indeed, have believed it. I imagined what
my brother said to be true, and bent down my head to look at it. How
much soever I looked, I perceived nothing, and he kept saying, 'Do
you now see it?' Now, had there been anything, I should have seen
it. Perceiving me [by this trick] off my guard, my second brother came
behind me, unperceived, and gave me such a push that, without choice,
I tumbled into the water, and they began to scream and cry aloud,
'Run, run, our brother has fallen into the river.'

"In the meantime the ship went on, and the waves carried me away from
it; I was plunging in the water, and drifting amidst the waves. I
became at last quite exhausted; I invoked the aid of God, but nought
was of any avail. All of a sudden my hand touched something; I looked
at it, and saw this dog. Perhaps, when they pushed me into the river,
he also jumped after me, and kept swimming close by my side. I took
hold of his tail, and God made him the cause of my salvation. Seven
days and nights passed in this manner; the eighth day we reached
the shore. I had no strength whatever left, but throwing myself on
my back, I rolled along as well as I could, and threw myself on the
land. I remained senseless for one whole day; the second day the dog's
barking reached my ears; I came to myself, and I thanked God [for my
salvation], I began looking around me, and perceived at a distance the
environs of a city; but where had I strength, that I should attempt
to reach it? Having no other resource, I continued crawling along
about two paces, and then rested; in this way I had finished a _kos_
[295] of the road by the evening.

"Half way [to the city] I reached a mountain, and lay there all night;
the next morning I reached the city; when I came to the _bazar_ and saw
the shops of the bakers and confectioners, my heart began to palpitate,
for I had not money to buy, nor did I feel inclined to beg. In this
way, I went along, saying to myself, I will ask something in the next
shop. At last, strength had failed me, and my stomach [296] yearned
with extreme hunger; life was nearly quitting my body. By chance,
I saw two young men dressed like Persians, walking along hand in
hand. On seeing them, my spirits revived, as they seemed [by their
dress] to be my countrymen--perhaps some of my acquaintance--to whom,
therefore, I might relate my circumstances. When they drew near,
[I perceived] they were of a verity, my brothers; and on perceiving
this, I was extremely rejoiced, and praised God, saying, 'God has
preserved my reputation; and I have not stretched forth my hands to
strangers [for subsistence].' I went up to them and saluted them,
and kissed my eldest brother's hand. Immediately on seeing me, they
made a great noise, and my second brother struck me so forcibly that
I staggered and fell down. I seized my eldest brother's robe, thinking
that he would perhaps take my part; but he gave me a violent kick.

"In short, they both thoroughly pounded me, and behaved to me as
Joseph's brothers [did to him]. Though I besought them in God's name
[to desist] and implored mercy, yet they felt no pity. A crowd
assembled [round us]; and every one asked, 'What is this man's
crime?' Then my brothers replied, 'This rascal was our brother's
servant and pushed him over into the sea, and seized all his treasure
and property. We have been long in search of him, and to-day he has
appeared [to us] in this guise.' They then continued questioning me,
saying, 'O villain! what [infernal idea] entered thy mind, that thou
murderedst our brother? What injury had he done to thee? Had he
behaved ill to thee, that he had made thee superintendent [of his
affairs]?' They both then tore their own clothes, and wept loudly
with sham grief for their brother, and continued to beat and kick me.

"In the meantime, the soldiers of the governor arrived, and having
spoken to them threateningly, said, 'Why do you beat him?' And taking
hold of my hand, they carried me to the magistrate. These two [297]
also went with us, and repeated to the magistrate the same [tale which
they had told the crowd], and having given him something by way of
bribe, they demanded justice, and insisted on blood for blood. The
magistrate asked me [what I had to say for myself]. Such was my
condition from hunger and the blows [I had received], that I had
not strength to speak; hanging down my head, I remained standing
[in silence]; no answer issued from my mouth. The magistrate also
became convinced that I was assuredly a murderer; he ordered me to
be led to the plain, and placed on the stake. [298] O, protector of
the world, [299] I had paid money, and got these [two here] released
from the Jew's bondage; in return for which, they having given money,
endeavoured to take away my life. They are both present; ask them
if [in all I have related] I have varied a hair's breadth [from the
truth]. Well, they led me out [to the plain]; when I saw the stake,
I washed my hands of life.

"Except this dog, I had no one else to weep for me; his state was
such that he rolled on every one's feet and barked. Some beat him
with sticks, and others with stones, but he would not stir from
that place. I stood with my face towards the _kibla_, [300] and
addressing myself to God, I said, 'At this moment I have no one except
Thee to intervene and save the innocent! Now, if Thou savest, I am
saved.' After this address, I repeated the prayer of _shahadat_, [301]
staggered, and then fell. By the dispensation of God, it so happened,
that the king of that country was attacked with the cholic; the nobles
and physicians assembled; whatever remedies they applied, produced no
good. One holy man said, 'The best of all remedies is, that alms be
given to the destitute, and that all prisoners should be released;
for in prayer there is greater efficacy than in physic.' Instantly
the royal messengers went off running towards the prisons.

"By chance, some one came to that plain [where I was], and seeing
a crowd, he ascertained [from a bystander] that they were placing
some person on the stake. Immediately on hearing this, he galloped
up to the stake, and cut the ropes with his sword. He threatened
and chastised the magistrate's soldiers, and said, "At such a time,
when the king is in such a state, are you going to put a creature of
God to death?' and he got me released. Upon which, these two brothers
went again to the magistrate, and urged him to put me to death. As
this official had already taken a bribe from them, he [readily]
acquiesced to do whatever they dictated.

"The magistrate said to them, 'Rest satisfied; I will now confine him
in such a way, that he will of himself, from want of food and drink,
die of sheer exhaustion, and no one will know anything about it.' They
re-seized me, and kept me In a corner. About a _kos_ without the city
was a mountain, in which, in the time of Solomon, the _divs_ had dug
a deep and narrow well; it was called Solomon's prison. Whoever fell
greatly under the king's wrath, was confined in that well, where he
perished of himself [from hunger and thirst]. To shorten my story,
these two brothers and the magistrate's soldiers carried me at night,
in silence, to the mountain, and having cast me into that pit, and
thus set their own minds at ease, they returned. O king, this dog
went with me, and when they put me into the well, he remained lying
on its brink. I lay some time senseless in the inside, and then a
little consciousness returned to me; I conceived myself to be dead,
and that place my grave At this time I heard the sounds of two men's
voices, who were saying something to each other; I concluded that
these were _Nakir_ and _Munkir_, [302] who were come to question me;
and I likewise heard the rustling of a rope, as if some one had let it
down there. I was wondering, and began to feel about me on the ground,
when some bones came into my gripe.

"After a moment, a noise like that made by the mouth when some one
is masticating, struck my ears. I exclaimed, 'O creatures of God,
who are ye; tell me for God's sake?' They laughed, and said, 'This
is the great Solomon's prison, and we are prisoners.' I asked them,
'Am I really alive?' They again laughed heartily, and replied,
'You are as yet alive, but will soon die.' I said, 'You are eating;
what would it be if you were to give me some?' They then got angry,
and gave me a dry answer, but nothing else. After eating and drinking,
they fell asleep. I through faintness and weakness, fell into a swoon,
and wept and dreamed of God. Mighty sire, I had been seven days in
the sea, and so many days since without food, owing to my brothers'
false accusation; yea, instead of food, I had got a beating, and
was now ingulfed in such a prison, that not the least appearance of
release came even into my imagination.

"At last, life was leaving me; sometimes it came, and sometimes it
left me. From time to time some person used to come at midnight, and
let down by a rope some bread tied up in a handkerchief, and a jar
of water, and used to call out. Those two men who were confined near
me used to seize it and eat and drink. The dog constantly witnessing
this circumstance, exerted his intelligence, thus, 'In the way in which
this person lets down water and bread into the pit, do thou also make
some contrivance whereby some food may reach this destitute one, who
is thy master, then may his life be saved.' Thus having reflected,
he went to the city, [and saw that] round cakes of bread piled up
on the counter at a baker's shop; leaping up, he seized a cake in
his mouth, and ran off with it; the people pursued him, and pelted
him with clods, but he would not quit the cake; they became tired
[of pursuing him], and returned; the dogs of the city ran after him;
he fought arid struggled with them, and having saved the cake, he
came to the well, and threw in the bread. There was sufficient light
for me to see the cake lying near me, and I heard, moreover, the dog
bark. I took up the cake; and the dog, after throwing down the bread,
went to look for water.

"On the outskirts of a certain village, there was an old woman's hut;
jars and pots filled with water stood [at the door], and the old woman
was spinning. The dog went up to the pot, and attempted to seize it;
the old woman made a threatening noise, and the pot slipped from the
dog's mouth and fell upon an earthenware jar which was broken; the rest
of the vessels were upset and the water spilt. The old woman seized
a stick, and rose up to beat [the animal]; the dog seized the skirt
of her clothes, and began to rub his mouth on her feet, and wag his
tail; then he ran towards the mountain; again having returned to her,
he sometimes seized a rope, and sometimes having taken up a bucket
in his mouth, he shewed it [to her]; and he rubbed his face against
her feet, and seizing the hem of her garment, he continued pulling
her. The Almighty inspired the old woman's heart with compassion,
so that she took up the rope and bucket and went along with him. He
keeping hold of the end of her clothes, after coming out of the hut,
kept going on before her.

"At last, he guided her to the very mountain; the old woman imagined,
from the dog's conduct, that his master was confined in the well,
and that he, perhaps, wanted water for him. In short, conducting the
old woman, he came to the mouth of the well. The old woman filled the
bucket with water and let it down by a rope. I seized the vessel and
ate a morsel of the cake. I drank two or three gulps of the water,
and satisfied my hunger and thirst. [303] I thanked God [for this
timely supply], and retired to a corner, and waited with patience
for the interference of the Almighty, saying, "Now let us see what
is to come about." In this manner, this dumb animal used to bring
me bread, and by means of the old woman, he used to supply me with
water to drink. When the bakers perceived that the dog always carried
off bread [in this way], they took compassion on him, and made it a
rule to throw him a cake whenever they saw him; and if the old woman
neglected to carry the water, he used to break her pots; so that she,
being helpless, used to let down a bucket of water every day. This
faithful companion removed all my apprehensions for bread and water,
and he himself always lay at the mouth of the prison. Six months
passed in this manner; but what must be the condition of the man
who was confined so long in such a prison, where the air of heaven
could never reach him? Only my skin and bones remained; life became
a torment to me, and I used to say in my heart, 'O God, it would be
better if my life became extinct!'

"One night, the two prisoners were asleep; my heart overflowed
[with sorrow], and I began to weep bitterly, and supplicate [304]
the Almighty [to end my woes]. At the last quarter [of the night],
what do I see! that, by the dispensation of God, a rope was hanging
down in the well, and I heard [some one] in a low voice saying, 'O,
unfortunate wretch! tie the end of the rope tightly to thy hands,
and escape from this place.' On hearing these words, I in my heart
imagined that my brothers had at last felt compassion for me, and,
from the ties of blood, had come in person to take me out. With much
joy I tied the rope tightly to my waist; some one pulled me up. The
night was so dark, that I could not recognise the person who had
hauled me up. When I was out, he said, 'Come, be quick; this is no
place to tarry.' I had no strength whatever left; but from fear I
rolled down the hill as well as I could. Then I saw at the bottom two
horses standing, ready saddled; that person mounted me one of them,
and he mounted the other himself, and took the lead. Proceeding on,
we reached the banks of a river.

"The morning appeared, and we had gone forth ten or twelve _kos_ from
the city. I then saw the young man [very clearly]; he was completely
armed, having on a coat of mail, together with back, front, and
sidepieces [of burnished steel], [305] and with iron armour on his
horse; he was looking at me with great rage, and biting his lips,
he drew his sword from the scabbard, and springing his horse towards
mine, he made a cut at me. I threw myself off my horse [on the ground],
and called out for mercy, and said, 'I am faultless; why are you about
to kill me? O, kind sir, from such a prison you have taken me out,
and now wherefore this unkindness?' He replied, 'Tell me the truth,
who art thou.' I answered, I am a traveller, and have been involved
in unmerited calamity; by your humane assistance, I have at last come
out alive. And I addressed to him many other flattering expressions.

"God inspired his heart with pity. He sheathed his sword, and said,
'Well, what God wills, he does; go, I spare thee thy life; remount
quickly; this is no place to delay.' We put our horses to their speed,
and went forward; on the road he continued to sigh and show signs of
regret. By the time of mid-day, [306] we reached an island. There the
young man got off his horse, and made me also dismount; he took off
the saddles and pads from the horses' backs, and let them loose to
graze; he also took off his arms from his own person, and sat clown
and said to me, 'O you of evil destiny, relate now your story, that
I may know who you are,' I told him my name and place of residence,
and whatever various misfortunes had befallen me, I related to the end.

"When the young man had heard all my history, he wept, and addressing
himself to me, he said, 'O youth, hear now my story. I am the daughter
of the _raja_ of the land of _Zerbad_, [307] and that young man who is
confined in the prison of Solomon, his name is _Bahramand_; he is the
son of my father's prime minister. One day the _Maharaj_ [my father]
ordered that all the _rajas_ and _kunwars_ [308] should assemble on the
plain, which lay under the lattices [of the seraglio] to shoot arrows,
and play at _chaugan_, [309] so that the horsemanship and dexterity of
every individual might be displayed. I was seated near the _rani_ [310]
my mother, behind one of the lattices of the highest story, and the
female servants and slaves were in waiting around; there I was looking
at the sport. The minister's son was the handsomest [man] among them;
and having caracoled his horse, he performed his exercises with much
address. He appeared very agreeable [in my eyes], and my heart became
enamoured of him. I kept this circumstance concealed for a long while.

"'At last, when I became quite restless, I mentioned it to my
hand-maid, and gave her many presents [to gain her assistance]. She
contrived, by some means or other, to introduce the youth in secrecy
into my apartment; he then began to love me likewise. Many days passed
in these love interviews. In short, the sentinels saw him one midnight
going armed into my apartment, and seized him, and informed the _raja_
of the circumstance. The _raja_ ordered him to be put to death; through
the solicitations of all the officers of state, his life was pardoned,
but he was ordered to be thrown into the prison of Solomon; and the
other young man, who is a fellow-prisoner with him, is his brother, and
was with him the night [he was seized]. Both were put into the well,
and it is now three years since they were confined, but no one has yet
found out why the youth entered the _raja's_ palace. God has preserved
my character [from public exposure], and in return for his goodness,
I conceived it my duty to continue to supply the two prisoners with
bread and water. Since their confinement I go there every eight days,
and let them down eight days' provisions at once.

"'Last night, I saw in a dream that somebody advised me, saying, "arise
quickly and take a horse, a dress, a rope-ladder, and some money for
expenses, and go to that pit, and deliver from thence the unfortunate
prisoners." On hearing this, I started up [from my sleep], and being
greatly rejoiced, I dressed myself like a man, filled a casket with
jewels and gold pieces, and taking this horse and some clothes with
me, I went to the prison to draw them out with the rope-ladder. It was
in your fate to be delivered from such a confinement in this manner;
no one knows what I have done; perhaps he was some protecting angel
who sent me to enlarge you. Well, whatever was in my destiny, the same
has come to pass.' After finishing this relation, she took out some
cakes fried in butter, some wheaten bread, some pulse, and meat curry
from her handkerchief; but first, she dissolved some sugar in a cup of
water, and put some spirit of _bed-mushk_ in it, and gave it to me. I
took it from her hand and drank it, and then ate some breakfast. After
a short while, she made me wrap a piece of cloth round my waist, and
led me to the river, and with scissors she cut my hair and nails and
bathing me, dressed me in the clothes [she had brought], and made a
new man of me. I, having turned my face to the _kibla_ offered up a
prayer of thanksgiving; the beautiful girl regarded what I was doing.

"When I had finished from praying, she asked me, 'What hast thou been
thus doing?' I answered, 'I have been worshipping the Almighty God who
has created the whole world, and who has effected my relief through a
being lovely as thou art, and who has inclined thy heart to kindness
towards me, and caused me to be released from such a prison. His person
is without an equal, [311] to Him I have performed my devotions,
and obeisance, and rendered my thanks.' On hearing these words she
said, 'You are a _Musalman_.' I replied, 'Thanks be to God, I am,'
'My heart,' said she, 'is delighted with your pious expressions;
instruct me also, and teach me to recite your _kalima_.' I said
in my own heart, 'God be praised that she is inclined to embrace
our faith.' In short, I recited [our creed], viz., 'There is no God
but God, and _Muhammad_ is the apostle of God,' and made her repeat
it. Then mounting our horses, we two set out from thence. When we
halted at night, she talked of [nothing else but] our religion and
faith; and she listened and felt delighted [with my words]. In this
way we journeyed on incessantly day and night, for two months.

"At last, we arrived in a country which lay between the boundaries
of the kingdoms of _Zerbad_ and _Sarandip_; [312] a city appeared,
which was more populous than Constantinople, and the climate very
fine and agreeable. On finding that the king of that country was more
renowned for his justice than _Naushirwan_ [313], and also for being
the protector of his subjects; my heart was greatly rejoiced. Having
there bought a house, we took up our residence. After some days,
when we had got over the fatigues of the journey, I purchased some
necessary articles, and married the young lady according to the
law of _Muhammad_, and lived with her. In the space of three years,
I having freely associated with the great and small of that place,
established my credit, and entered into an extensive trade. At last,
I surpassed all the merchants of that place. One day, I went for the
purpose of paying my respects to the first _wazir_, and saw a great
crowd of people assembled on a plain. I asked some one, 'Why is there
such a crowd here?' I learnt that two persons had been caught in the
act of adultery and theft; and perhaps they had even committed murder;
they were brought here to be stoned [to death].

"On hearing this [circumstance], I recollected my own case; that once
upon a time I had likewise been led in the same manner to be empaled,
and that God preserved me. 'Who can these be,' [I said to myself],
'that they should have become involved in such calamity? I do not
even know if they are justly [punished], or, like me, the victims
of a false accusation.' Pressing through the crowd, I reached [the
spot where the culprits stood], and perceived they were my brothers,
who were led along with their hands tied behind their backs, and with
bare heads and feet. On seeing their sad state, my blood boiled, and
my liver was on fire. I gave the guards a handful of gold pieces, and
besought them to delay [the execution] for a moment; and from thence,
having put my horse to his utmost speed, I went to the governor's
house. I presented to him, as a _nazar_, a ruby of inestimable value,
and made intercession for them. He replied, 'A person has a plaint
against them, and their crimes have been fully proved; the king's
mandate has been issued, and I have no alternative.'

"At last, after much entreaty and supplication [on my part], the
governor sent for the complainant, and made him consent that for
five thousand pieces of silver he should withdraw his charge of
murder. I counted out the money, and got his written engagement
[not to prosecute them again], and had them released from their
dire calamity. O protector of the world! ask them if I tell truth
or falsehood." Here the two brothers stood in silence, and hung down
their heads like those who are ashamed. "Well, [to proceed], I got them
released, and brought them to my house, had them bathed and dressed,
and gave them apartments for their residence in the _diwan-khana_. I
did not at that time introduce my wife to them; I myself attended
to all their wants, and ate [and drank] with them, and at the hour
of sleep returned to my apartment. For the space of three years [the
time] thus passed in my kind treatment of them, and on their part, no
evil action took place, so as to be the cause of my displeasure. When
I used to go out riding any where, they remained at home.

"It happened, that my good wife went one day to the bath; when she
came to the _diwan-khana,_ seeing no male person there, she took off
her veil; perhaps my second brother was lying down there awake, and
immediately on seeing her, he became enamoured of her. He imparted [the
circumstance] to our eldest brother, and they formed a plan together
for murdering me. I had no knowledge whatever of this circumstance;
on the contrary, I used to say to myself, 'God be praised, that this
time, as yet, they have done nothing such [as they formerly did];
their conduct is now correct; perhaps they have felt the effects of
shame.' One day, after dinner, my eldest brother began to weep, and
to praise our native country, and to describe the delights of _Iran._
[314] On hearing this, the other brother began to sigh. I said, 'If
you wish to return to] our native land; then it is well; I am devoted
to your pleasure, and it is also my own wish. Now, if it please God,
I will go along with you.' I mentioned the circumstance of my brothers'
afflictions to my wife, and also my own intentions. That sensible woman
replied, 'You may think so; but they again design to perpetrate some
villany [towards you]; they are the enemies of your life; you have
fostered [a brace of] serpents in your sleeve, and you still place
reliance on their regard. Act as you please, but beware of those
who are noxious.' At all events, the preparations for the journey
were completed in a short time, and the tents pitched on the plain. A
great _kafila_ assembled, and they agreed to confer on me the rank of
leader and _kafila-bashi._ [315] A propitious hour being ascertained,
[the _kafila_] set out; but on my part, I was on my guard against
my brothers, though in every way I obeyed their commands, and made
everything agreeable to them.

"One day [when we arrived] at our stage, my second brother said that,
'one _farsakh_ [316] from this place is a running fountain like
_salsabil_ [317] and in the [circumjacent] plain, for miles around,
lilies, and tulips, and narcissuses, and roses, grow spontaneously. In
truth, it is a delightful spot to walk in; if we had our will, we
would go there to-morrow, and enliven our hearts [with the sight],
and recover from our fatigues.' I said, 'you are masters here; if
you command it, we will halt to-morrow, and having gone to that spot,
we will stroll about [and amuse ourselves].' They replied, 'what can
we do better?' I gave orders, saying, 'advertise the whole _kafila_
that to-morrow there will be a halt,' and I told my cook to prepare
breakfast, of every variety [of dishes] for next day, as we should
go on an excursion [of pleasure]. When the morning came, these two
brothers put on their clothes, and having armed themselves, they
reminded me to make haste, that we might arrive there in the cool
[of the morning] and enjoy our walk. I ordered my horse, but they
observed thus, 'The pleasure which results by viewing [the place]
on foot, can the same be felt in riding? [318] Give orders to the
grooms that they may lead the horses after us.'

Two slaves carried the _kaliyan_ [319] and coffee-pot, and went
along with us. On the road, as we proceeded, we amused ourselves
by shooting arrows, and when we had gone some distance from the
_kafila_, they sent one of the slaves on some errand. Advancing a
little farther, they sent the other slave also to call back [the
former]. My unfortunate fate would have it [that I remained silent]
as if some one had put a seal on my lips, and they did what they
wished, and having occupied my attention in talk, they continued to
lead me on; this dog, however, remained with me. When we had advanced
a considerable distance, I saw neither fountains nor gardens, but a
plain covered with thorns. There I had a call for making water, and sat
me down to perform it. I saw behind me a flash like that of a sword;
and, on looking back, my second brother struck me such a sword-cut,
that my skull was cleft in twain. [320] Before I could call out, O
savage! why dost thou murder me; my eldest brother gave me [a blow]
on the shoulder. Both wounds were severe, and I staggered and fell;
then these two pitiless ones mutilated me at their ease, and left me
weltering in my blood. This dog, on seeing my condition, flew at them,
and they wounded him likewise. After this, they gave themselves some
slight wounds, and ran back to the encampment with naked feet and
heads, and gave out, that 'some robbers have murdered our brother on
that plain, and we ourselves also in a close encounter with them,
have been wounded. Move off quickly, or else they will immediately
fall on the caravan, and utterly plunder us all.' When the people
of the _kafila_ heard the name of robbers, they immediately became
alarmed, and marched off and made their escape.

"My wife had [already] heard of the [former] conduct and precious
qualities of these [brothers of mine,] and of all the treachery they
had practised towards me; hearing now from these liars the events
[that had occurred], she instantly stabbed herself to death with
her dagger, and restored her soul to her Maker." O _darweshes!_
[321] when the dog-worshipping _khwaja_ had thus far told us of the
adventures and misfortunes, I wept involuntarily on hearing them. The
merchant having perceived [my grief,] said, "Lord of the world! if
it were not a want of respect, I would strip myself naked, and show
the whole of my body." Even on this, to [prove] the truth [of what he
had related,] he tore his dress off his shoulders, and showed to us
[his person]. In truth, there was not the space of four fingers on it
free from wounds; and he took off his turban before me from his head,
and there was such a great dint in his skull, that a whole pomegranate
might be put into it. All the officers of state who were present shut
their eyes, they had not the power of beholding [the shocking sight].

The _khwaja_ then continued his narrative, saying, "O blessed
majesty! when these brothers, as they thought, had finished their work
and went away; on the one side, I lay wounded, and on the other side,
this dog lay wounded near me. I lost so much blood from my body,
that I had not the least strength or sensation left, and I cannot
conceive how life remained. The spot where I lay was on the boundary
of the kingdom of _Sarandip_, and a very populous city was situated
near the place; in that city there was a great pagoda, and the king
of that country had a daughter extremely well-favoured and beautiful.

"Many kings and princes were desperately in love with her. There,
the custom of [wearing] the veil was unknown; for which reason the
princess used to roam about, hunting all day with her companions. Near
[the spot where I lay] was a royal garden; she had on that day got
leave from her father, and had come to that same garden. Walking
about by way of recreation, she chanced to pass over that plain; some
female attendants also accompanied her on horseback. They came to the
spot where I lay, hearing my groans, they stopped near me. Seeing me
in this condition, they rode off to the princess, and said, that 'a
miserable man and a dog are lying weltering in their blood.' On hearing
this from them, the princess herself came near me, and, afflicted
[at the sight,] she said, 'See if any life still remains.' Two or
three of the attendants dismounted and having examined me, replied,
'He still breathes.' The princess instantly ordered them to lay me
carefully on a carpet and carry me to the garden.

"When they brought me there, [the princess] having sent for the royal
surgeon, gave him many injunctions respecting the cure both of myself
and of my dog, and gave him hopes of a reward and a gratuity. The
surgeon having thoroughly wiped my whole body, cleaned it from dust and
blood, and having washed the wounds with spirits, he stitched them and
put on plasters; and he ordered the extract of the musk-willow [322]
to be dropped down my throat in lieu of water. The princess herself
used to sit at the head [of my bed], and see that I was attended to;
and two or four times during the day and night she made me swallow,
from her own hands, some broth or _sharbat_. At last, when I came to
myself, I heard the princess say with sorrow, 'What bloody tyrant hath
used thee so cruelly? did he not fear even the great idol?' [323]
After ten days, with the efficacy of the spirit of _bed-mushk_,
and _sharbats_, and electuaries, I opened my eyes; and saw as if the
whole court of _Indra_ were standing around me, and the princess at
the head of my bed. I heaved a sigh and wished to move myself, but had
not sufficient strength. The princess said with kindness, 'O Persian,
be of good cheer, and do not grieve; though some cruel oppressor hath
used thee thus; yet the great idol has made me favourable towards thee,
and thou wilt now recover.'

"I swear by that God who is one, and without a partner, that on
beholding her I again became senseless; the princess also perceived
it, and sprinkled me with rose water out of a phial held by her
own fair hand. In twenty days my wounds filled up and granulated;
the princess used to come [regularly] at night when all were asleep,
and she then supplied me with food and drink. In short, after forty
days, I performed the ablution [of perfect recovery]; [324] the
princess was extremely rejoiced, and rewarded the surgeon largely,
and clothed me richly. By the grace of God, and the care and attentions
of the princess, I became quite stout and healthy, and my constitution
became sound; the dog also grew fat. She made me drink wine every day,
listened to my conversation, and was pleased. I used also to amuse
her by relating some agreeable stories and brief narratives.

"One day she asked to me, 'pray relate thy adventures, and tell me
who you are, and how this accident has happened to you,' I related to
her my whole history from beginning to end. On hearing this, she wept
and said, 'I will now behave to thee in such a manner that thou wilt
forget all thy [past] misfortunes,' I replied, 'God preserve you; you
have bestowed on me a second existence, and I am now wholly yours; for
God's sake, be pleased ever to regard me in this favourable manner.' In
short, she used to sit all night with me alone; sometimes the nurse
likewise stayed with her and heard my stories, and related [others
herself.] When the princess used to go away and I remained alone,
I used to perform my ablutions, and concealing myself in a corner,
I used to say my prayers.

"Once it so happened, that the princess had gone to her father, and I
was repeating my prayers in perfect security, after having performed
my ablutions, when suddenly the princess, conversing with her nurse,
entered, saying, 'Let us see what the Persian is now doing; whether
he be asleep or awake!' But seeing that I was not in my place, she was
greatly surprised, and exclaimed, 'Hey day! where is he gone? I hope he
has not formed an attachment with some one else.' She began to examine
every hole and corner in search of me, and at last came to where I was
saying my prayers. She had never seen any one perform his prayers;
[325] she stood in silence, and looked on. When I had finished my
prayers, and lifted up my arms to bless God, and prostrated myself,
she laughed loudly, and said, 'What! is this man become mad? what
various postures does he assume?'

"On hearing the sound of her laughter, I became alarmed. The princess
advanced, and asked me, 'O Persian, what wast thou doing?' I could make
no reply, on which the nurse said, 'May I take [the responsibility of]
thy evils, and become thy sacrifice, it appears to me that this man is
a _Musalman_, and the enemy of _Lat_ and _Manat_; [326] he worships an
unseen God. The princess immediately on hearing this struck her hands
together, and said in great wrath, 'I did not know he was a Turk,
[327] and an unbeliever in our gods, for which reason he had fallen
under the wrath of our idol. I have erroneously saved him and kept
him in my house,' Saying this she went away. On hearing [her words]
I became disturbed, [and alarmed to know] how she would now behave
to me. Through fear, sleep was driven from me, and until morning I
continued to weep, and to bathe my face with tears.

"I passed three days and nights, weeping in this fear and hope. I never
shut an eye [during this time.] The third night, the princess came to
my apartment flushed with the intoxication of wine, and the nurse along
with her. She was full of anger; and with a bow and arrows in her hand,
she sat down outside of the room, on the border of the _chaman_;
[328] she asked the nurse for a cup of wine, and after drinking
it off, she said, 'O nurse! is that Persian who is involved in our
great idol's wrath, dead, or does he yet live?' The nurse answered,
'May I bear your evils! some life still remains,' The princess said,
'He has now fallen in my estimation; but tell him to come out.' The
nurse called me; I ran forth and perceived that the princess's face
glowed through anger, and had become quite red. My soul remained not in
my body; I saluted her, and having joined both my hands together, stood
before her [in silent respect.] Giving me a look of anger, she said to
the nurse, 'If I kill this enemy of our faith with an arrow, will the
great idol pardon my guilt or not? I have already committed a great
crime by having kept him in my house, and by supplying [his wants.]'

"The nurse answered, 'What is the princess's guilt? you did not in the
least know him to be an enemy when you kept him [in your house;] you
took compassion upon him, and you will receive good for the good you
have done; and this man will receive from the great idol the reward of
the evil which he has done.' On hearing these words, the princess said,
'Nurse, tell him to sit down.' The nurse made me a sign to sit down;
I accordingly sat down. The princess drank another cup of wine, and
said to the nurse, 'Give this wretch also a cup, then he will take
his killing with more ease.' The nurse presented me a cup of wine;
I drank it without hesitation, and made my _salam_ [to the princess;]
she never looked at me directly, but continued all along to give me
furtive side glances. When I became elevated [with the effects of
the wine,] I began to repeat some pieces of poetry; among others,
I recited the following couplet:

'I am in thy power, and if alive yet, what then?
Under the dagger, if one breathes awhile, what then?'

On hearing this verse, she smiled, and turning towards the nurse,
she said, 'What art thou sleepy?' The nurse, guessing her motive,
replied, 'Yes, sleep over-comes me.' She then took her leave, and
went away. [329] After a short pause, the princess asked me for a cup
of wine; I quickly filled it, and presented it to her; she took it
gracefully from my hand and drank it off; I then fell at her feet; she
passed her hand kindly over me, and said, 'O ignorant man! what hast
thou seen bad in our great idol that thou hast betaken thyself to the
worship of an unseen God?' I answered, 'Pray, be just, and reflect a
little, whether that God [and He only,] is worthy of adoration, who,
out of a drop of water, hath created a lovely creature like thee,
and hath given such beauty and perfection, that in one instant thou
canst drive into distraction the hearts of thousands of men. What a
[contemptible] thing is an idol that any one should worship it? The
stone-cutters have shaped a block of stone into a figure, and have
spread it as a net to entangle fools. Those whom the devil beguiles,
confound the Creator with the created; and they prostrate themselves
before that which their own hands have formed. We are _Musalmans_, and
we worship him who hath created us. For those [misguided idolaters], He
hath created hell; for us [true believers], He hath destined paradise;
if you will place your faith in God, you will experience the delights
[of heaven], and distinguish truth from error, and you will find that
your [present] devotion is false.'

"At length, on hearing these pious admonitions, the heart of that
stony-hearted one became softened, and through the favour and mercy of
God she began to weep, and said, 'Well, teach me thy faith,' I taught
her the _kalima_, which she repeated with sincerity of heart, and
having expressed penitence, and prayed for pardon, she became a [true]
_Musalman_. I then threw myself at her feet [and thanked her]. Until
the morning she continued reciting the _kalima_, and praying for
pardon. Again she said, 'Well, I have embraced your faith, but my
parents are idolators; what remedy is there for them?' I replied, 'what
is that to thee? as any one acts, so will he be treated.' She said,
'They have betrothed me to my uncle's son, and he is an idolator; if I
should be married to him tomorrow, which God forbid, he, an idolator,
would cohabit with me, and I should bear issue, which would be a
dreadful misfortune. We ought immediately to think of some remedy for
this, so that I may be freed from such a calamity,' I replied, 'what
you say is indeed reasonable; do whatever you think proper.' She said,
'I will remain here no longer, but go forth somewhere else.' I asked,
'by what means can you escape, and where will you go?' She answered,
'In the first place, do you leave me here, and go and abide with
the _Musalmans_ in the _sarai_, so that every one may hear of it,
and not suspect you. You will there continue on the look out for
[the departure of] vessels, and if any vessel sails for Persia, let
me know; for which reason I will send the nurse to you frequently,
and when you send me word [that all is ready,] I will come to you,
and having embarked in the vessel, I will effect my escape and obtain
my release from the hands of these ill-fated heathens,' I replied,
'I will devote myself as a sacrifice for your life and safety,
but what will you do with the nurse?' She answered, 'Her case can
be easily settled; I will give her a cup of strong poison. [330] The
plan was fixed upon, and when the day appeared, I went to the _sarai_,
and hired a private apartment and went and resided therein. During
this absence, I only lived in the hopes of meeting again. Two months
[331] [after this event,] when the merchants of _Rum_, of Syria, and of
_Isfahan_ were assembled together, they formed the project of returning
by water, and began to embark their merchandise on vessels. From
residing together I had formed acquaintances with most of them, and
they said to me, 'Well, sir, will you not also come [along with us];
how long will you stay in this country of infidels?' I answered,
'what have I wherewith I can return to my country? I have as my
property this only, a female slave, a chest, and a dog; if you could
give me a little room to stay in and fix its price, I shall then be
at ease in my mind, and embark likewise.'

"The merchants allotted me a cabin, and I paid the money for the hire
of it. Having set my heart at ease, I went to the nurse's house under
some pretext, and said, 'O mother, I am come to take leave of thee,
and am now returning to my country; if I could through your kindness
see the princess for a moment, it would be a great satisfaction to
me.' At last, the nurse complied [with my request]. I said, 'I will
return at night, and wait in such a place;' she replied, 'Very well,'
Having settled [this point], I returned to the _sarai_, and carried my
chest and bedding on board the vessel and delivered them in charge to
the master, and added, 'I will bring my female slave on board to-morrow
morning.' The master said, 'Come speedily, as we shall weigh anchor
to-morrow early,' I answered, 'Very well.' When the night came, I
went to the place I had fixed upon with the nurse, and waited. After
a watch of the night had passed, the gate of the seraglio opened,
and the princess came out dressed in soiled and dirty clothes, with
a casket of jewels in her hand; she delivered the casket to me, and
went along with me. As soon as it was morning, we reached the seaside,
and embarking on a skiff we went on board the vessel; this faithful
dog also went with me. When it was broad daylight, we weighed anchor
and set sail. We were sailing along in perfect security, when the
report of a cannon was heard from one of the ports. All [on board]
were surprised and alarmed; the ship was anchored, and a consultation
was held among us [to know] if the governor of the port intended some
foul play, and what could be the cause of the firing of cannon.

"It happened, that all the merchants had some handsome female slaves
[on board], and for fear lest the governor of the port might seize
them, they locked them up in chests. I did so likewise, and having
shut up my princess in my chest, I locked it. In the meanwhile,
the governor and his suite appeared on board a swift sailing vessel,
and constantly nearing us, he came and boarded our ship. Perhaps the
cause of his coming to us was this: that when the news of the nurse's
death and the princess's disappearance became known to the king, in
consequence of his being ashamed to mention the [princess's] name,
he sent orders to the governor of the port, saying, 'I have heard
that the Persian merchants have very handsome slaves with them, and
as I wish to buy some for the princess, you will stop them, and send
all the slaves that may be in the vessel to the royal presence. On
seeing them, I will pay the full value for such as may be approved of,
and the remainder shall be returned.'

"According to the king's orders, the governor of the port came himself
on board our vessel for this purpose. Near my cabin was [the berth of]
another person; he also had a handsome female slave locked up in his
chest. The governor sat down on that chest, and began to collect all
the female slaves [that could be found]; I praised God, and said,
'Well, no mention has been made of the princess.' In short, the
governor's people put into their own vessel all the female slaves that
were to be found; and the governor, laughing, asked the owner of the
chest on which he was sitting, 'Thou hadst also a female slave?' The
blockhead was frightened, and answered, 'I swear by your Honour's feet,
I alone have not acted in this manner; all of us from fear of you have
concealed our [handsome] female slaves in our chests.' The governor,
on hearing this confession, began to search all the chests. He opened
my chest also, and having taken out the princess, he carried her away
with the rest. I fell into a strange state of despair, and said to
myself, 'such a [dreadful] circumstance has occurred that thy life is
gone for nothing; and now we must see how he will treat the princess.'

"In my anxiety for her, I forgot all fear for my own life; the whole
day and night I spent in prayers to God [for her safety]. When the
next early morn arrived, they brought back all the female slaves in
their own vessel. The merchants were well pleased, and each took
back his own. All returned, but the princess alone was not among
them. I asked, 'What is the reason that my slave is not come back
[with the rest]?' They answered, 'We do not know; perhaps the king
may have chosen her.' All the merchants began to console and comfort
me, and said, 'Well, what has happened is past; do not afflict
yourself; we will all subscribe and make up her price, and give
it to you.' My senses were utterly confounded; I said, 'I will not
now go to Persia.' Then I addressed myself saying to the boatmen,
'O friends, take me with you, and land me on the shore.' They agreed,
and I left the vessel and stepped into the boat; this dog likewise
came along with me.

"When I reached the port, I kept to myself only the casket of jewels
which the princess had brought with her; all my other property I
gave to the governor's servants. I wandered everywhere in the way of
search, that perhaps I might get some intelligence of the princess;
but I could find no trace of her, nor could I get the smallest hint
respecting that affair. One night I entered the king's seraglio
by a trick, and searched for her, but got no intelligence. For
nearly the space of a month I sifted every lane and house in the
city; and through sorrow I reduced myself almost to death's door,
and began to wander about like a lunatic. At last, I fancied that
'my princess must, in all probability, be in the governor's house,
and nowhere else.' I went round and inspected the governor's house,
to the intent that should I discover any passage I might enter it.

"I perceived a sewer high enough to allow a man to go in and out,
but there was an iron grating at its mouth; I formed the resolution
to enter [the house] by the way of this sewer; I took off my clothes,
and descended into that filthy channel. After a thousand toils, I
broke the grating, and entered the _chor-mahall_ [332] through the
sewer. Then, having put on the dress of a woman, I began to search
and examine all around me. From one of the apartments a sound reached
my ear, as if some one was praying fervently. Advancing towards
the place, I saw it was the princess, who was weeping bitterly and
was prostrating herself before her Maker, and praying to him thus,
'For the sake of thy prophet and his pure offspring, [333] deliver me
from this country of infidels; and restore me once more in safety to
the person who taught me the faith of _Islam_.' On seeing her, I ran
and threw myself at her feet; the princess clasped me to her bosom,
and upon us both a state of insensibility fell. When our senses
were restored, I asked her what had happened to her; she answered,
'When the governor of the port carried all the female slaves on shore,
I was offering up this prayer to God that my secret might not any how
be known, and that I might not be recognised, and that your life might
not be endangered. He is so great a concealer [of our shame], that
no one knew I was the princess. The governor was examining every one
with a view to purchase [some for himself]; when it came to my turn,
he chose me, sent me secretly to his house; the rest he forwarded to
the king.

"'When my father did not see me among those [slaves], he sent them
all back. The whole of this artifice was had recourse to on my
account. He now gives out, that the princess is very ill, and if I
do not soon appear, then in a few days the news of my death will
fly through the whole country; then the king's shame will not be
[divulged]. But I am now greatly distressed, as the governor has
other designs upon me, and always urges me to cohabit with him;
I do not agree [to his desires]. Inasmuch as he [really] loves me,
he has as yet waited for my acquiescence, and therefore he remains
silent and quiet. But I dread [to think] how long matters can go on
in this way; for which reason I have determined within myself, that
when he attempts anything further, I will put myself to death. But
now that I have met thee, another thought has arisen in my mind;
if God is willing, except this mode, I see no other for escape.'

"I replied, 'Let me hear it; what sort of scheme is it?' She said,
'If you assist and exert yourself, it can be accomplished.' I said,
'I am ready to obey your commands; if you order me, I will leap
into the burning flames, and if I could find a ladder, I would for
your sake ascend to the sky; [in short], I will perform whatever you
command.' The princess said, 'Go, then, to the temple of the great
idol; and in the place where [the people take off [334] their shoes,
there lies a piece of black canvas. The custom of this country is,
that whoever becomes poor and destitute, he having wrapt himself up
in that piece of canvas, sits down in that spot. The people of this
country who go there to worship, give him something, each according
to his means.

"'In three or four days, when he collects some money, the head priests
give him a _khil'at_ on the part of the great idol, and dismiss him;
having thus become rich, he goes away, and no one knows who he was. Go
thou also, and sit under that canvas, and hide well thy hands and face,
and speak to no one. After three days, when the priests and idolaters
shall have given thee a _khil'at_, and [wish greatly to] dismiss thee;
do not thou on any account get up from thence. When they entreat thee
greatly, then tell them, "I do not want money nor am I avaricious
of riches. I am an injured person, and am come to complain; if the
mother of the _Brahmans_ does me justice, it is well; otherwise the
great idol will do me justice; and this same great idol will attend
to my complaint against my oppressor." As long as the mother of the
_Brahmans_ does not come herself to thee, let any one entreat thee
ever so much, consent thou not. At last, being compelled to it, she
will come to thee herself; she is very old, for she is two hundred and
forty years of age, and six and thirty sons, that have been born of
her, are the chief priests of the temple; and she is highly respected
by the great idol. For this reason she possesses such vast power that
all the little and great of this country deem her command [a matter
of] felicity; whatever she orders, that they perform with all their
heart and soul. Lay hold of the skirt of her garment, and say to her,
"O mother, if you do not exact justice from the oppressor to this
injured traveller, I will dash my head on the ground before the great
idol; he will at last pity me, and intercede for me with you."

"'When, after this, she asks thee all the particulars of thy complaint,
tell her, "I am an inhabitant of Persia; I am come here from a great
distance, both to perform a pilgrimage to the great idol, and in
consequence of having heard of your justice. For some days I lived
here in peace; my wife also came with me; she is young, her form and
figure are excellent, and her features perfect. I do not know how the
governor of the port saw her, but he forcibly took her away from me,
and shut her up in his house. With us _Musalmans_ it is a rule, that if
a stranger sees one of our wives, or takes her away, it is right that
the stranger be put to death by whatever means it may be accomplished,
and the wife be taken back; and otherwise, we must abandon food and
drink; for whilst the stranger lives, that wife is forbidden to the
husband. Now, having no other resource, I am come hither; let us see
what justice you do to me."' When the princess had fully instructed
me in all these circumstances, I took my leave, and came out by the
same sewer, and once more replaced the iron grating.

"As soon as the morning came, I went to the temple, and, having
covered myself with the black canvas, I sat down. In three days'
time so many pieces of gold, and silver, and articles of apparel were
heaped up near me, that it appeared a regular store. On the fourth
day, the priests, performing their devotion, and singing and playing,
came to me with a _khil'at_, and wished to dismiss me. I would not
agree to it, and called on the great idol for protection, and said,
'I am not come to beg, but to get justice from the great idol and the
mother of the _Brahmans_; and until I get justice I shall not stir from
hence.' On hearing this [determination], they went to the presence
of the old woman, and related what I had said; after which a _Brahman_
came to me and said, 'Come, the mother calls you.' I instantly wrapped
myself up in the black canvas from head to foot, and went to the
threshold [of her apartment]. I saw that the great idol was placed
on a jewelled throne in which were set rubies, diamonds, pearls and
coral; and a rich covering was spread on a golden chair, on which was
seated, with great pomp and dignity, an old woman dressed in black,
with cushions and pillows [around her], and near her stood two boys,
ten or twelve years old, one on her right and one on her left. She
called me before her; I advanced towards her with profound respect,
and kissed the foot of the throne, and then took hold of the skirt
[of her garments]. She asked me my story; I related it exactly as
the princess had instructed mo to do.

"On hearing it, she said, 'Do _Musalmans_ keep their wives
concealed?' I replied, 'Yes, may it fare well with your children; it
is an ancient custom of ours.' She said, 'Thine is a good religion;
I will instantly give orders that the governor of the port, together
with your wife, shall appear here, and I shall punish that ass in
such a manner that he will not act so another time, and all shall
prick up their ears and tremble.' She asked her attendants, 'Who is
the governor of the port? How dares he take away by force the wife of
another man?' They answered, 'He is such a one.' On hearing his name,
she told the two boys who were standing near her, 'Take this man along
with you instantly, and go to the king, and say, "That the mother
declares, that this is the command of the great idol, that whereas
the governor of the port commits excessive violence on the people;
for instance, he has carried off [by force] this poor man's wife,
and his guilt is proved to be great; therefore let an inventory be
quickly taken of the delinquent's effects and property, and let them be
delivered to this Turk, whom I esteem, otherwise you will be destroyed
to-night, and you will fall under our wrath.' The two boys rose up,
came out of the place, and mounted their horses; all the priests,
blowing their shells, and singing hymns, went in their retinue.

"In short, the great and little of that country having conceived the
dust of the spot where the feet of those boys trod as holy, used to
take it up and put it to their eyes. In this manner, they went to the
palace of the king. He heard of it, and came forth with naked feet for
the purpose of their reception, and having conducted them with great
respect, he placed them on the throne near himself, and asked them,
'What has given me the honour of your visit to-day?' The two young
_Brahmans_ repeated on the part what they had heard from the mother,
and threatened him with the great idol's anger.

"On hearing it the king said, 'Very well,' and issued an order to
his attendants, saying, 'Let some officers of justice go, and let
them immediately bring the governor of the port, along with that
woman into our presence, then shall I, having investigated his crime,
inflict upon him deserved punishment.' On hearing [this order], I was
greatly alarmed in my own heart, [and said to myself], 'This affair
indeed is not quite so well; for if they bring the princess with the
governor of the port, the matter will be discovered; what then will
be my situation?' Being extremely fear-stricken in my mind, I looked
up to God, but my countenance was overcast with anxiety, and my body
began to tremble. The boys seeing my colour change, perhaps observed
that this order was not agreeable to my wish; they instantly rose with
vexation and anger, and said harshly to the king, 'O wretch, art thou
become mad, that thou steppest aside from the great idol's obedience,
and conceivest what we said to be untrue, that thou wishest to send
for them both and verify [the circumstance]? Now, take care, thou hast
fallen under the great idol's wrath; we have delivered our orders,
now do thou look [to it], or the great idol will look [to thee].'

"On hearing these words, the king was so greatly alarmed, that,
joining both his hands together, he stood [before the boys] and
trembled from head to foot. Having made humble supplication, he
endeavoured to appease them; but they would not sit down, and they
remained standing. In the meantime, all the nobles who were present,
began with one voice to speak ill of the governor, saying, 'He is
indeed such a wicked man, and so tyrannical, and commits such offences,
that we cannot relate the same before the royal presence. Whatever
the mother of the _Brahmans_ has sent word of, is all true; inasmuch
as it is the great idol's decision; how can it be false?' When the
king heard the very same story from all, he was much ashamed and
regretful of what he had said. He instantly gave me a rich _khil'at_;
and having written an order with his own hand, and sealed [335] with
his sign manual, he consigned it to me; he also wrote a note to the
mother of the _Brahmans_, and having laid trays of gold and jewels
before the boys as presents, he dismissed them. I returned to the
temple highly pleased, and went to the old woman.

"The contents of the king's letter which had arrived were as
follows. After the usual compliments and tenders of service and
devotion, [the king] had written, 'That according to the orders of your
highness, the situation of governor of the fort has been conferred upon
this _Musalman_, and a _khil'at_ [336] has been bestowed on him. He
is now at liberty to put the former governor to death; and all his
effects and money now belong to this _Musalman_; he may do with him
what he pleases. I hope my fault will be forgiven.' The mother of the
_Brahmans_ was pleased with the letter, and said, 'Let the music strike
up in the _naubat-khana_ of the _pagoda_.' Then she sent with me five
hundred well-armed soldiers, who were good marksmen [337] with the
musket, to go with me, and gave them orders to go to the port, seize
its governor, and deliver him up to this _Musalman_, in order that he
may put him to death with what torture he pleases. Also let them take
care that, except this honoured [_Musalman_], no one be permitted to
enter the [governor's] seraglio, and let them deliver over his money
and effects [untouched to the new governor]. When he sends them back
with his own accord, let them get a letter of approbation from him,
and return to me.' She then gave me a complete dress from the wardrobe
of the great idol, and having caused me to mount, she dismissed me.

"When I reached the port, one of my men proceeded before me, and
informed the governor [of my arrival]. He was sitting like one in
great perplexity, when I arrived my heart was already filled with
rage; on seeing the harbour-master, I drew my sword, and struck
him such a blow on the neck, that his head flew off like a stalk
of Indian corn. Then having ordered the agents, the treasurers,
the superintendants and other officials to be seized, I took full
possession of the records; and then I entered the seraglio. There
I met the princess; we embraced each other most tenderly, and wept,
and praised the goodness of God; we wiped each other's tears; I then
came out and sat on the _masnad_, and gave _khil'ats_ to the officers
[of the port], and re-established them in their respective situations;
to the servants and slaves I gave promotion. To those people who had
come as an escort from the temple, I gave presents and gratuities,
and having bestowed dresses on their officers, I dismissed them. Then
having taken with me jewels of great value, and pieces of fine cloth,
and shawls, and brocaded stuffs and goods, and rarities of every
region, and a large sum of money as a _nazar_ [338] for the king,
and for the nobles, according to their respective ranks, and for the
priests and priestesses, to be divided among them, after one week I
went to the idol-temple and laid the presents before the old woman.

"She gave me another _khil'at_ of dignity, and a title. I then went to
the audience of the king, and presented my _pesh-kash_. I addressed his
majesty [on the best means] to remove the evil consequences of whatever
acts of tyranny and injustice the [former] governor of the port had
committed. For this reason, the king, the nobles, and the merchants
were all well pleased with me, and the king showered many favours on
me, and having given me a _khil'at_ and a horse, he bestowed on me a
title and a _ja-gir_, [339] with other dignities and honours. When I
came out from the royal presence, I gave the servants and attendants
so much, that they all began to pray [for my welfare]. In short,
I became very happy in my condition; and I passed my days in that
country in extreme ease and felicity, after marrying the princess;
and I offered up thanks to God [for the happiness I enjoyed]. The
inhabitants were quite happy through the equity of my administration;
and once a month I used to go to the temple and the king's levee;
his majesty, from time to time, conferred on me additional promotion.

"At last, he enrolled me as one of his privy counsellors, and did
nothing without my advice; my life began to pass in extreme delight;
but God only knows that I often thought on these two brothers [and was
anxious to know] where they were and how they were. After the space
of two years, a _kafila_ of merchants arrived at the port from the
country of _Zerbad_, and they were all bound for Persia; they wished
to return to their own country by sea. It was the rule at that port,
that whenever a _karavan_ arrived there, the chiefs of the _karavan_
used to present to me as a _nazar_ some rare presents and curiosities
of different countries. On the day following, I used to go to [the
chief's] place of residence, and to levy ten per cent. on the value
of his goods by way of duty; after which, I gave him permission to
depart. In the same manner, those merchants from _Zerbad_ likewise
came to wait on me, and brought with them presents beyond value; the
second day I went to their tents. There I perceived two men dressed in
tattered old clothes, who bore packages and bundles on their heads,
right into my presence. After I had examined [the packages], they
carried them back; they laboured hard, and attended constantly.

"I looked at them with great attention, and perceived they were,
indeed, my two brothers. At that time, shame and pride would not allow
me to see them in such servitude. When I returned home, I desired my
servants to bring those two men to me; when they brought them, I had
clothes made up for them, and kept them near me. But these incorrigible
villains again laid a plan to murder me. One day at midnight, [340]
finding all off their guard, they came like thieves to the head of
my bed. I had maintained a guard at my door from apprehensions for
my life, and this faithful dog was asleep at the side of my bed;
but the moment they drew their swords from the scabbard, the dog
first barked, then flew at them; the noise he made awaked all; I,
also alarmed, started up. The guards seized them, and I knew them to
be themselves all over. Every one began to execrate them, [and said]
'notwithstanding all this kindness, how infamously they have behaved!'

"O king, peace be upon you, I also became at last alarmed [for my
life]. There is a common saying, 'That the first and second fault
may be pardoned, but the third punished.' [341] I determined then,
in my own heart, to confine them; but if I had put them in the prison,
who would have taken care of them? They might have perished from want
of food and drink, or they might have contrived more mischief. For
this reason, I have confined them in a cage, that they may be always
under my own eye, then my mind will be at rest; lest being absent
from my sight, they may hatch further wickedness. The honour and
esteem which I evince towards this dog, are on account of his loyalty
and fidelity. O, great God, a man without gratitude is worse than a
faithful brute! These were the past events of my life, which I have
related to your majesty, now, either order me to be put to death,
or grant me my life; to the king command belongs."

On hearing this narrative, [342] I praised that man of honour,
and said, your kindness has been uninterrupted, and there has been
no limits to these fellows' shameless and villainous conduct; so
true is it, "That if you bury a dog's tail for twelve years, it
will still remain crooked as ever." [343] After this, I asked the
_khwaja_ the history of those twelve rubies which were in the dog's
collar? He replied, "May the age of your majesty be a hundred and
twenty years! After I had been three or four years governor of that
port, I was sitting one day on the top of my house, which was high,
for the purpose of viewing and enjoying the sea and plain beneath. I
was looking in all directions, when suddenly, I perceived two human
figures, who were coming along from one side of the wood, where there
was no high road. Having seized a telescope, I looked at them, and saw
they were of a strange appearance: I speedily sent some mace-bearers
to call them [to my presence.]

"When they came, I perceived they were a man and a woman. I sent the
woman into the seraglio to the princess, and called the man before
me; I saw he was a youth of twenty or twenty-two years of age, whose
beard and mustaches had commenced [growing;] but the colour of his
face had become black as that of the _tawa_. [344] The hair of his
head, and the nails of his fingers owing to the heat of the sun were
greatly grown, and he looked like a man of the woods. He held on his
shoulder a boy of about three or four years old, and two sleeves of a
garment, filled [with something], were suspended like a collar round
his neck; he cut a strange appearance, and was oddly dressed, I was
greatly surprised, and asked him, 'O, friend, who art thou, and of
what country art thou the inhabitant, and in what a strange condition
do I see thee?' The young man began to weep bitterly, and taking off
the two filled sleeves from around his neck, he laid them before me,
and cried out, 'Hunger, hunger! for God's sake give me something to
eat; I have subsisted for a long while on roots and herbs, and there
is not a particle of strength remaining in me.' I instantly ordered
him some bread, meat, and wine; he began to devour them.

"In the meantime, the eunuch brought from my haram several other bags
which he found on [the stranger's wife.] I ordered them all to be
opened, and saw that they contained precious jewels of every kind, each
of which was equal in value to the amount of the king's revenue; each
one was more valuable than another in weight, shape and brilliancy;
and the whole apartment was illuminated with variegated colours, from
the reflection of their different coloured rays. When the young man
had eaten something, and drank a cup of wine, his senses returned;
I then asked him, 'where did you get these stones?' He answered,
'My native country is _Azurbaijan_; [345] Having separated from my
home and parents in my infancy, I have undergone many hardships;
I was for a long while buried alive, and have often escaped from the
claws of the angel of death.' I said, 'pray, young man, give me the
details that I may fully comprehend [your story].' Then he began
to relate his adventures as follows:--'My father was a merchant,
and he used to travel constantly to _Hindustan_, China, _Khata,
Rum,_ and Europe. When I was ten years of age, my father set out for
_Hindustan_, and wished to take me with him. Although my mother and
various aunts remarked that I was yet a child, and not old enough to
travel; my father did not mind them, and said, "I am now old; if he
is not instructed under my own eye, I will carry the regret with me
to my grave; he is the son of a man, and if he does not learn now,
when will he learn?"

"'Saying this, he took me with him, in spite of their entreaties,
and we set out. The journey was performed in health and safety, and
when we arrived in _Hindustan_, we sold some of our goods there,
and taking some rarities with us from thence, we set out for the
country of _Zerbad_. This journey was likewise performed in safety;
there also we sold and bought goods, and embarked on board a ship,
to return the quicker to our country. One day, about a month after,
we were overtaken by a storm and hurricane, and the rain began to fall
in torrents; the whole earth and sky became dark as a mass of smoke,
and the rudder broke; the pilot and master began to beat their heads;
for ten days the winds and waves carried us where they pleased; the
eleventh day the ship having struck against a rock, went to pieces. I
did not know what became of my father, our servants and our goods.

"'I found myself on a plank, which floated for three days and nights
beyond any control [of mine]. On the fourth day it reached the shore. I
had just life enough remaining. I got off the plank, crawled along on
my knees. I some how or other reached the dry land. I saw some fields
at a distance, and many people were assembled there; but they were all
black, and as naked as the day they were born; they said something
to me; but I did not understand their language in the least. It was
a field of the _chana_ [346] pulse; the men, having lighted a large
fire were parching the ears [of _chana_] and eating them; and some
houses also appeared [near the spot]. Perhaps this was their usual
food, and that they lived in those houses; they made signs to me
also that I should eat. I plucked up some of the _graum_, roasted it,
and began to toss it into my mouth; and having drank a little water,
I laid down to sleep in a corner of the field.

"'After some time, when I awoke, a man, from among them came to me,
and began to show me [by signs] the road; I plucked up some more of the
_graum_, and followed the road [he pointed out]. A great level plain
appeared before me, vast as the plain of the day of judgment. [347] I
proceeded, eating the _graum_ as I went; after four days, I perceived
a fort; when I went near it, then I saw it was a very high fort,
all built of stone, and each side of which was two _kos_ in length,
and the door was cut out of a single stone, and had a large lock
attached; but I could see no trace of any human being. I proceeded on
from thence and saw a hillock, the earth of which was in colour black
as _surma_; [348] when I passed over the hillock, I saw a large city,
surrounded with a rampart with bastions at regular intervals; and a
river of great width flowed on one side of the city. Proceeding on, I
reached a gate, and invoking God, I entered it. I saw a person who was
dressed in the garment of the people of Europe, and seated on a chair;
the moment he saw I was a foreign traveller, and heard me invoke God,
he desired me to advance. I went up to him, and made him a _salam_;
he returned my salutation with great kindness, and laid on the table
instantly some bread and butter, and a roast fowl and wine, and said,
"Eat thy belly full." I ate a little, and drank [some of the wine],
and fell sound asleep. When the night came, I opened my eyes, and
washed my hands and face; he gave me again something to eat, and said,
"O son, relate thy story." I told him all that had happened to me. He
then said, "Why art thou come here?" I became vexed, and replied,
"Perhaps thou art mad; after hardships of long duration, I have at
last seen the appearance of [human] dwellings. God has conducted me
so far, and thou askest me why I am come here." He answered, "Go and
rest thyself now; I will tomorrow tell thee what I have to say."

"'When the morning came he said to me, "There are in this room a
spade, a sieve, and a leather bag; bring them out." I said to myself,
God knows what labour he will make me undergo because he has made me
eat of his bread; having no help for it, I took up those articles and
brought them to him. He then ordered me to go to the black hillock [I
had passed] and dig a hole a yard deep, and "whatever you find in it
pass it through this sieve; whatever cannot pass through, put it in the
leather bag, and bring it to me." I took all those implements and went
there, and having dug as much [as I was ordered], I passed it through
the sieve, and put what remained into the bag, [as directed]; I then
saw they were all precious stones of different colours, and my eyes
were dazzled with their brilliancy. In this manner I filled the bag up
to the mouth, and carried it to that person; on seeing it, he said,
"Whatever is in the bag take it for thyself, and go away from hence;
for thy stay in this city will not do thee good." I gave for answer,
"Your worship has, on your part, done me a great favour by giving
me these stones and pebbles; but of what use are they to me? When I
become hungry, I shall not be able to eat them nor to fill my belly;
and if you give me more of them, what use will they be to me?? That
person smiled, and said, "I pity thee, for thou, like me, art an
inhabitant of the kingdom of Persia; for this reason I advise thee
[against remaining here], otherwise it rests with thee. If thou
art determined, at all hazards, to enter this city, then take my
ring with thee; when thou reachest the centre of the market place,
thou wilt find sitting there a man with a white beard--his face and
general appearance are very like mine--he is my eldest brother--give
him this ring--he will then take care of thee; act conformably to what
he says, otherwise thou wilt lose thy life for nothing; my authority
only extends as far as this; I have no entrance into the city."

"'I took the ring from him, and, saluting him, took my leave. I
entered the city, and saw it was a very elegant place; the streets
and market-places were clean and the men and women without concealment
were buying and selling among themselves, and were all well dressed. I
continued advancing on, and viewing sights. When I reached the four
cross roads of the market place, such a crowd there was, that if you
threw a brass plate, it would have skimmed over the heads of the
people. The multitude were so close to each other, that one could
with difficulty make his way through. When the concourse became less,
I, pushing and jostling, advanced forward. I saw at last the person
[described], seated on a chair, and a _chummak_ [349] set with precious
stones lay before him. I approached him, made him my _salam_, and
gave him the ring; he looked at me with a look of anger, and said,
"Why hast thou come here, and plunged thyself in calamity? Did not
my foolish brother forbid thee?"

"'I replied, "he did forbid me, but I did not mind him." I then
related to him all my adventures from beginning to end. That person
got up, and taking me with him, he went towards his own house; his
residence appeared like the abode of a king, and he had many servants
and attendants. When he had retired to his private apartment and sat
down, he said with mildness, "O son! what folly hast thou committed,
that on thine own feet thou hast walked to thy grave? What unfortunate
blockhead ever comes to this enchanted city?" I answered, I have
already fully related to you my history; now indeed fate has brought
me here; but do me the kindness to enlighten me on the customs and
ways of this place, then shall I know for what reasons you and your
brother have dissuaded me from staying here." The good man answered,
"The king and all the nobles of this city have been excommunicated;
strange are their manners and religion! In an idol temple here there is
an idol, from whose belly the devil tells the name, sect, and faith of
every individual; so, whatever poor traveller arrives here, the king
has information of it; and he conveys the stranger to the pagoda,
and makes him prostrate himself before the idol. If he prostrates
himself, it is well; otherwise, they cause the poor wretch to be
immersed in the river; and if he attempts to escape from the river,
his private parts [350] become elongated to such a degree that he has
to drag them along the ground. Such enchantment [has God] ordained in
this city. I feel pity for thee on account of thy youth; but for thy
sake I am going to execute a scheme I have formed that thou mayest
be able to live at least a few days, and be saved from this calamity."

"'I asked, "What is the nature of the project [you have formed]? impart
it to me." He replied, "I mean to have thee married; and to get thee
the _wazir's_ daughter for thy wife." I gave for answer, "How can
the _wazir_ give his daughter to a wretch so poor and destitute as
myself? Will it be when I embrace his faith? This is what I never can
do." He replied, "The custom of this city is, that whoever prostrates
himself before the idol, if he be a beggar and demand the king's
daughter, the king must deliver her up to him in order to gratify
his wish, and that they may not grieve him. Now I am in the king's
confidence, and he esteems me, for which reason all the nobles and
officers of state of this place respect me. In the course of every
week, they go twice to the pagoda on a pilgrimage, and there they
perform their worship; so they will all assemble there to-morrow,
and I will carry thee with me." Saying this, he gave me something
to eat and drink, and sent me away to sleep. When the morning came,
he took me with him to the pagoda; when we arrived there, I saw that
people were going to and fro, and performing their devotions.

"'The king and nobles in front of the idol, near the priests, with
heads uncovered, were respectfully seated; also unmarried girls
and handsome boys, like _Hur_ and _Ghilman_ [351] were drawn up
in lines on the four sides. The good old man spoke to me and said,
"Now do whatever I say." I agreed, and said, "Whatever you command,
that I will perform." He said, "First, kiss the king's hands and feet,
then, lay hold of the _wazir's_ dress." I did so. The king asked, "Who
is this, and what has he to say?" The man replied, "This young man is
my relation, and he is come from far to have the honour to kiss your
majesty's feet, and with this expectation, that the _wazir_ will exalt
him by [admitting him] into his service, if the order of the great
idol and your majesty's approbation be [to that effect]." The king
said, "If he will embrace our faith and sect, and adopt our customs,
then it will be auspicious [for him]." Immediately, [the drums of]
the _nakkar-khana_ [352] of the pagoda struck up; and I was invested
with a rich _khil'at_; they then put a black rope round my neck, and
dragged me before the seat of the idol, and having made me prostrate
myself before it, they lifted me up.

"'A voice issued from the idol, saying, "O respected youth, thou hast
done well to enter into my service; rely on my mercy and favour." On
hearing these words, all the people prostrated themselves, and began to
roll on the ground, and exclaimed, "Long may you prosper! why should
it not be!" When the evening came, the king and the _wazir_ mounted,
and went to the _wazir's_ house, and they made over to me the _wazir's_
daughter according to their rites and ceremonies; they gave a great
dowry and presents with her, and expressed themselves highly obliged,
saying, that according to the commands of the great idol, they had
given her to me. They settled us both in one house; when I saw that
beauty, then [I perceived that] in truth her beauty was equal to
that of a fairy, perfect from top to toe. All the beauties we have
heard of, as peculiar to _Padmini_ [353] females, were centred in
her. I cohabited with her without ceremony, and experienced great
delight. In the morning, after having bathed, I waited on the king;
he bestowed on me the _khil'at_ of marriage, and ordered that I should
always attend his levee; at last, after some days, I became one of
his majesty's counsellors.

"'The king used to be much pleased with my society, and often gave
me presents and rich _khil'ats_, although I was rich in worldly
treasures, for my wife possessed so much gold property and precious
stones, that they exceeded all bounds and limits. Two years passed in
extreme delight and ease. It happened that [my wife] the _wazir's_
daughter, became pregnant; when the seventh and eighth months had
passed, and she entered her full time, the pains came on; the nurse
and midwife came, and a dead child was brought forth; its poison
infected the mother, and she also died. I became frantic with grief,
and exclaimed, what a dreadful calamity has burst upon me! I was
seated at the head of the bed, and weeping; all at once the noise
of lamentations spread through the whole house, and women began to
pour in [upon me] from all sides. Each as she entered, struck one
or two blows with her hands on my head, and stood before my face,
and began to weep. So many women were assembled [round me], that I
was perfectly hidden among them, and nearly expiring.

"'In the mean time, some one from behind seized me by the collar,
and dragged me along; I looked up, and saw it was the same man of
Persia who had married me [to the _wazir's_ daughter]. He exclaimed,
"O blockhead! for what art thou weeping?" I replied, "O cruel! what
a question thou askest! I have lost my empire, and the repose of my
house is utterly gone, and thou demandest why I weep!" He said, with
a smile, "Now weep on account of thy own death; I told thee at first,
that perhaps thine evil fate had led thee here [to perish]; so it
has turned out; now, except death, thou hast no release." At last,
the people seized me, and led me to the pagoda; I saw that the king,
the nobles, and thirty-six tribes of his subjects were assembled
there; the wealth and property of my wife were all collected there;
whatever article any one's heart desired, he took; and put down its
price in cash.

"'In short, all her property was converted into specie; with this
specie precious stones were purchased, and locked up in a small
box; they then filled a chest with bread, sweetmeats, roast meat,
dried and green fruits, and other eatables; and they put the corpse
of my wife into another chest, and slung both the chests across a
camel; they mounted me on it, and put the box of precious stones in
my lap. All the _Brahmans_ went before me singing hymns and blowing
their shells, and a crowd for the purpose of wishing me joy came on
behind. In this manner I was conducted out of the city, through the
same gate by which I entered the first day. The moment when the same
keeper of the gate saw me, he began to weep, and said, "O unfortunate,
death-seized [wretch]! thou wouldst not listen to me, but by entering
this city thou hast lost thy life for nothing! It is not my fault;
I did dissuade thee." He said this to me; but I was so confounded,
that I could not use my tongue to reply to him; nor were my senses
in their right place, to foresee what would become of me at last.

"'They conducted me at last to the same fort, the door of which I
had seen shut the first day [I entered this country]. The lock was
opened with the assistance of many people united, and they carried in
the corpse and the chest of food. A priest came up to me, and began
to console me, saying, "Man is born one day, and one day dies; such
is the [mode of] transmigration in this world; now these, thy wife,
thy son, thy wealth, and forty days' food are placed here; take them,
and remain here until the great idol is favourable to thee." In my
wrath I wished to curse the idol, the inhabitants of that place,
and their manners and customs, and to inflict blows and buffets on
that priest. That same man of Persia in his own tongue, forbade me,
and said, "Take care, do not on any account utter a word; if you
should say anything whatever, they will burn you immediately. Well,
whatever was in your destiny, that has taken place: rely now on the
mercy of God; perhaps He will deliver you alive from this place."

"'In short, all of them, having left me by myself, went out of that
fortress, and shut the door. At that moment I wept bitterly at my
solitary and helpless state, and began to kick the corpse of that
woman, saying, "O cursed corpse, if thou wast to perish in child-birth,
why didst thou marry and become pregnant?" After thoroughly beating
her, I again sat silent. In the meantime, the day advanced, and the
sun became very hot; my brains began to boil, and I was dying by reason
of the stench. On whatever side I looked, I saw the bones of the dead,
and boxes of precious stones in heaps. I then, having gathered some old
chests together, placed them over each other, so that there might be a
shed against the heat of the day, and the dews of the night. I began
to search for water, and on one side I saw something like a cascade,
which was cut out of stone in the wall of the inclosure, and had a
mouth like a pot. In short, my life was [sustained] for some time on
the food [they had left with me], and the water [I had found.]

"'At last, the victuals were exhausted, and I became alarmed and
complained to God. He is so beneficent that the door of the inclosure
opened and another corpse was brought in; an old man accompanied
it. When, having left him also, they went away, it came into my head to
kill the old man, and take possession of his chest of provisions. So,
having taken up the leg of an old chest, I went up to him; he was,
poor wretch, sorely perplexed, seated with his head resting on his
knees. I came behind him, and struck him such a blow, that his skull
was fractured and his brains came out, and he instantly resigned his
soul to God. I seized his stock of provisions, I began to live on
it. For a long while this was my way, that whatever living beings
came in with the dead, I used to kill the former, and having taken
their provisions, I fared plentifully.

"'After some time, a young girl once came with a corpse; she was very
handsome, and I had not the hard heart to kill her [as had hitherto
been my practice]. She espied me, and swooned away through fear. I
took up her stock of provisions, and carried it to where I lived; but
I did not eat it alone; when I was hungry, I used to carry her some
victuals, and we ate together. When the young girl perceived that
I did not molest her, her timidity lessened daily and she became
more familiar, and used to come to my shed. One day I asked her
her story, and who she was; she replied, "I am the daughter of the
king's _wakili mutlak_, [354] and had been betrothed to my uncle's
son. On the day of the marriage night he was attacked with a colic,
and was in such agonies from the pain, that he expired in an instant;
[355] they brought me here with his corpse and have left me." She then
asked to hear my story; I also related the whole to her, and said,
"God hath sent thee here for my sake." She smiled and remained silent.

"'In this way mutual affection increased between us in a short time;
I taught her the principles of the _Musalman_ faith, and made her
repeat our _kalima_. I then performed the marriage ceremony, and
cohabited with her; she also became pregnant and brought forth a
son. Nearly three years passed in this manner. When she weaned the
child, I said to my wife, "How long shall we remain here, and how
shall we get out from hence?" She replied, "If God takes us out,
then we shall get out; otherwise we shall some day die here." I wept
bitterly at what she said, and at our confinement, and continuing
to weep, I fell asleep. I saw a person in my dream, who said to me,
"There is an outlet through the drain; go thou forth." I started up
with joy, and said to my wife, "Collect and bring with you all the
old nails and bolts which belonged to the rotten chests, that I may
[with their help] widen [the mouth of the drain]." In short, I having
applied a large nail to the mouth of that drain, used to strike it with
a stone until I became quite tired; however, after a year's labour,
I widened the opening so much that a man could get through it.

"'I then put the very finest of the precious stones into the sleeves
of the habits of the dead, and taking them with us, we three got out
through the opening [I had made]. I offered up thanks to God [for
our deliverance], and placed the boy on my shoulders. It is a month
since we quitted the high road from fear, and have travelled through
bye-paths of the woods and mountains; when hunger attacked us, we fed
on grass and leaves. I have not strength left to say a word more;
these are my adventures which you have just heard,' O mighty king,
[356] I took pity on his condition, and having sent him to the bath,
I had him well dressed, and made him my deputy. In my own house I
had had several children by the princess, but they died one after
another, when young; one son lived to five years of age, and then
died; from grief for him my wife died also. I was greatly afflicted,
and that country became disagreeable to me after her loss; my heart
became quite sad, and I determined to return to Persia. I solicited
the king's leave to depart, and got the situation of the governor
of the port transferred to the young man [whose story I have just
related]. In the meantime the king died also; I took this faithful
dog and all my jewels and money with me, and came to _Naishapur_, in
order that no one should know the story of my brothers. I have become
well-known as the dog-worshipper; and owing to this evil fame, I to
this day pay double taxes into the exchequer of the king of Persia.

"It so happened that this young merchant went to _Naishapur_, and
owing to him I have had the honour to kiss your majesty's feet." I
asked [357] the _khwaja_ Is not this [young merchant] your son? He
answered, "Mighty sire, he is not my son; he is one of your majesty's
own subjects; but he is now my master or heir, or whatever you
choose to call him." On hearing this, I asked the young merchant,
"what merchant's son art thou, and where do thy parents reside?" The
youth kissed the ground, and beseeching pardon for his life, replied,
"This slave is the daughter of your majesty's _wazir_; my father came
under the royal anger on account of this very _khwaja's_ rubies, and
your majesty's orders were, that if in one year my father's words
should not be verified, he should be put to death. On hearing [the
royal mandate], I assumed this disguise and went to _Naishapur_;
God has conducted the _khwaja_, together with the dog and rubies,
before your majesty, and you have heard all the circumstances; I now
am hopeful that my aged father may be released."

On hearing these circumstances from the _wazirzadi_, the _khwaja_ gave
a groan, and helplessly fell down. When rose water was sprinkled over
his face, he recovered his senses, and exclaimed, "O, dire mishap! that
I should have come from such a distance, with such toil and sorrows, in
the hope that, having adopted the young merchant for my son, I should
make over to him by a deed of gift, all my wealth and property, that
my name might not perish, and every one should call him _khwaja-zada_;
[358] but now my imaginations have proved vain, and the affair has
turned out quite the contrary. He, by becoming a woman, has ruined the
old man. I fell into female snares, and now the saying may be applied
to me, 'Thou remainedst at home, and didst not go to pilgrimage;
yet thy head was shaved, and thou art scoffed by all.'" [359]

To shorten my story, I took pity on agitation, and groans and
lamentations, and called him near me, and whispered in his ear some
glad tidings, and added, "do not grieve; I will marry thee to her, and,
if God pleaseth, thou shalt have children from her, and she shall [now]
be thy master." On hearing these welcome words, he became altogether
comforted. I then ordered them to conduct the _wazirzadi_ to the
seraglio, and to take the _wazir_ out of prison, bathe him in the bath,
dress him in the _khil'at_ of restoration to favour, [360] and bring
him quickly before me. When the _wazir_ arrived, I went to the end
of the _farsh_ [361] to receive him, and conceiving him my superior,
I embraced him, and bestowed on him anew the writing case of the
_wazirship_. [362] I conferred also titles _jagirs_ on the _khwaja_,
and fixing on a happy hour, I married him to the _wazir's_ daughter.

In a few years, he had two sons and a daughter born to him. In short,
the eldest son is now _Malikut-Tujjar_, and the youngest, the chief
manager of my household. O _Darweshes_, I have related these adventures
to you for this reason, that last night, I heard the adventures of two
of your number; now you two who remain, fancy to yourselves that I am
still where I was last night, and think me your servant, and my house
your _takiya_; [363] relate your adventures without fear and stay
some days with me. When the _Darweshes_ perceived that the king was
very kind to them, they said, "Well, as your majesty condescends to
form amity with _Darweshes_, we both will also relate our adventures:
be pleased to hear them."


The third _Darwesh_, having sat down at his ease, [364] began thus
to relate the events of his travels.

"O friends, the story of this pilgrim hear;
That's to say, hear the tale of what has happened to me;
How the king of love hath behaved to me,
I am going to relate it in full detail, O, hear."

This humble being is the prince of Persia; my father was king of that
country, and had no children except myself. In the season of my youth,
I used to play with my companions at _chaupar_ [365] cards, chess,
and backgammon; or mounting my horse, I used to enjoy the pleasures of
the chase. It happened one day, that I ordered my hunting party, and
taking all my friends and companions with me, we sallied forth over
the plains. Letting loose the hawks [of various sorts] on ducks and
partridges, we followed [them] to a great distance. A very beautiful
piece of land appeared in sight; as far as the view extended, for
miles around, what with the verdure and the red flowers, the plain
seemed like a ruby. Beholding this delightful scene, we dropped the
bridles of our horses and moved on at a slow pace [admiring the
charming prospect]. Suddenly, we saw a black deer on the plain,
covered with brocade, and a collar set with precious stones, and
a bell inlaid with gold attached to its neck; fearless it grazed,
and moved about the plain, where man never entered, and where bird
had never flapped a wing. Hearing the sound of our horses' hoofs, it
started, and lifting up its head, looked at us, and moved slowly away.

On perceiving it, such became my eagerness that I said to my
companions, remain where you are, I will catch it alive, take care
you do not advance a step, and do not follow me. I was mounted on
such a swift horse, that I had often gallopped him after deer,
and confounding their bounds, had seized them one after another
with my hand. I pushed after it; on seeing me, it began to bound,
and swiftly fled away; my horse also kept pace with the wind, but
could not overtake the very dust it raised. The horse streamed with
sweat, and my tongue also began to crack from thirst; but there was
no alternative. The evening was approaching, and I did not know how
far I had come, or where I was. Having no other chance [of getting
the animal], I employed stratagem towards it, and having taken out
an arrow from the quiver, I adjusted my bow, drew the arrow to its
full length, aimed it at its thigh, and pronouncing the name of God,
I let it fly. The very first arrow entered its leg, and, limping away,
it went towards the foot of the mountain. I dismounted from my horse,
and followed it on foot; it took to the mountain, and I at the same
time gave it chase. After many ascents and descents, a dome appeared;
when I got near it, I perceived a garden and a fountain; but the deer
disappeared from my sight. I was greatly fatigued, and began to wash
my hands and feet [in the fountain].

All at once the noise of weeping struck my ears, as issuing from the
dome, and as if some one was exclaiming, "O, child, may the arrow of
my grief stick in the heart of him who hath struck thee; may he derive
no fruit from his youth, and may God make him a mourner like me." On
hearing these words, I went to the dome, and saw a respectable old
man, with a white beard, and well dressed, seated on a _masnad_, and
the deer lying before him; he was drawing the arrow from its thigh,
and uttering imprecations [on the shooter]. I made him my _salam_, and
joining my hands together, I said, "Respectable sir, I have unknowingly
committed this fault; I did not know it [was your deer]; for God's
sake pardon me." He answered, "You have hurt a dumb animal; if you
have committed this cruel act through ignorance, God will forgive
you." I sat down near him, and assisted him in extracting the arrow;
we pulled it out with great difficulty; and having put some balsam to
the wound, we let [the deer] go. We then washed our hands, and the old
man gave me some food to eat, which was then ready; after satisfying
my hunger and thirst, I stretched myself out on a four-footed bedstead.

After having fed well, I slept soundly through fatigue. In that sleep,
the noise of weeping and lamentation struck my ears; rubbing my eyes,
when I looked round, then neither the old man nor any one else was
in that apartment. I lay alone on the bed, and the room was quite
empty. I began to look with alarm in all directions, and perceived a
_parda_ in a corner which was down; going to it, I lifted it up, and
saw that a throne was placed there, on which was seated an angelic
woman of about fourteen years of age; her face was like the moon,
and her ringlets on both sides [of her head] hung loose; she had a
smiling countenance; and she was dressed like a European, and with
a most charming air; she was seated [on the throne] and looking
forward. The venerable old man lay prostrate before her, with his
head on her feet, and he was weeping bitterly, and he seemed to have
lost his senses. On seeing the old man's condition, and the woman's
beauty and perfection, I was quite lost, and having become lifeless,
I fell down like a corpse; the old man seeing my senseless state,
brought a bottle of rose water, and began to sprinkle it over my
face; when I recovered, I got up, and went up to the angelic woman
and saluted her; she did not in the least return my salute, nor did
she open her lips. I said, "O lovely angel, in what religion is it
right to be so proud, and not to return a salute.

"'Although to speak little is becoming, yet not so much so;
If the lover is dying, even then she would not open her lips.'

For the sake of Him who hath created thee, pray give me an answer;
I am come here by chance, and the pleasing of a guest is a requisite
duty." I talked much to her, but it was of no use; she heard me, and
sat silent like a statue. I then advanced, and laid my hand on her
feet; when I touched them, they felt quite hard; at last, I perceived
that this beautiful object was formed of stone, and that _Azur_ [366]
had formed this statue. I then said to the idol-worshipping old man,
"I struck an arrow in thy deer's leg, but thou hast with the dart of
love pierced my heart through and through; your curse has taken place;
now tell me the full particulars of these [strange circumstances]; why
hast thou made this talisman, and why, having left [human] habitations,
dost thou dwell in woods and mountains? Tell me all that has happened
to thee."

When I pressed him greatly, he said, "This affair has indeed ruined
me; dost thou also wish to perish by hearing it?" I exclaimed, "Hold,
thou hast already made too many evasions; answer to the purpose,
or else I will kill thee." Seeing me very urgent, he said, "O youth,
may God the Almighty keep every person safe from the scorching flame
of love; see what calamities this love hath produced; for love, the
woman burns herself with her husband, and sacrifices her life; [367]
and all know the story of _Farhad_ and _Majnun_; what wilt thou gain
by hearing my story? Wilt thou leave thy home, fortune and country,
and wander for nothing?" I gave for answer, "Cease, keep thy friendship
to thyself; conceive me now thy enemy, and if life is dear to thee,
tell me plainly [thy story]." Perceiving there was no alternative,
his eyes filled with tears, and he began to say, "The following
is this miserable wretch's story:--This humble servant's name is
_Ni'man Saiyah_. I was a great merchant; arrived to these years,
I have traversed all parts of the world for the purpose of trade,
and have been admitted to the presence of all kings.

"Once the fancy came into my mind that I had wandered over the
regions of the four corners [of the world], but never went to the
Island of the Franks, [368] and never saw its king, citizens and
soldiers--I knew nothing of its manners and customs--so that I ought
to go there also for once. I took the advice of my acquaintances and
friends, and resolved [on the voyage]; I took with me some rarities
and presents from various places, such as were fit for that country,
and collecting a _kafila_ of merchants, we embarked on board a ship
and set sail. Having favourable winds, we reached the island in
a few months and put up in the city. I saw a magnificent city, to
which no city could be compared for beauty. In all the _bazars_ and
streets the roads were paved and watered; such was the cleanliness
that a bit of straw could not be seen; why then make mention of
dirt? The buildings were of every variety, and at night the streets
were lighted, at intervals, by two rows of lamps; without the city
were delightful gardens, in which rare flowers and shrubs and fruits
were seen [in rich profusion], such as no where else could be [seen]
except in Paradise. In short, whatever I may say in praise of this
[magnificent city] would not exceed [the truth].

"The arrival of our merchants was much talked of. A confidential eunuch
[369] mounted on horseback, and attended by many servants, came to
our _kafila_, and asked the merchants, "Who is your chief?" They all
pointed to me; the eunuch came to my place; I rose up to receive
him with respect, and we saluted each other; I seated him on the
_masnad_, and offered him the pillow; after which I asked him to tell
me what was the occasion which afforded me the honour of his visit;
he replied, 'The princess has heard that some merchants are arrived,
and have brought much merchandise, for which reason she has desired
me to bring them to her presence; so come, and take along with you
whatever merchandise may be fit for the courts of kings, and gain
the happiness of kissing her threshold.'

"I gave for answer, 'To-day, indeed, I am greatly fatigued; to-morrow
I will attend her with my life and property; whatever I have by me,
I will present as a _nazar_ [to the princess], and whatever pleases
her, the same is her majesty's property.' Having made this promise,
I gave him rosewater and _betel_, and dismissed him. I called all
the merchants near me, and whatever rarities each had, we collected
together, and those of my own I took also, and went in the morning
to the door of the royal seraglio. The door-keeper sent word of my
arrival, and orders came to bring me to the presence; the same eunuch
came out, and taking my hand in his, he led me along, whilst we talked
in friendly converse. Having passed the apartments of the female
attendants of the princess, he conducted me into a noble apartment. O
friend, you will not believe it, but so beautiful was the scene, that
you might say the fairies had been let loose there with their wings
shorn. On whatever side I looked, there my sight became transfixed,
and my limbs were torn away [from under me]; I supported myself
with difficulty, and reached the royal presence. The moment I cast
my eyes upon the princess, I was ready to faint, and my hands and
feet trembled.

"I contrived, with some difficulty, to make my salutation. Beautiful
women were standing in rows to the right and left, with their arms
folded. I laid before the princess the various kinds of jewels,
fine clothes, and other rich rarities that I had brought with me;
from these she selected some, (inasmuch as they were all worthy
of choice). She was greatly pleased, and delivered them to her
head-servant, and he said to me, that their prices should be paid
the next day, according to the invoice. I made my obeisance, and
was pleased within myself that under this pretext I should have to
come again the next day. When I took my leave and came out, I was
speaking and uttering words like those of a maniac. In this state
I came to the _serai_, but my senses were not right; all my friends
began to ask what was the matter with me; I replied, that from going
and returning so far, the heat had affected my brain.

"In short, I passed that night in tossing and tumbling [about in my
bed]. In the morning, I went again and presented myself [to wait on
the princess], and entered the seraglio along with the confidential
servant, and saw the same scene I had seen the day before. The princess
received me kindly, and sent every one [present] away, each to his own
occupation. When there became a dispersion of them, she retired to a
private apartment, and called me to her. When I entered, she desired
me to sit down; I made her my obeisance, and sat down. She said,
'As you have come here, and have brought these goods with you, how
much profit do you expect on them?' I replied, 'I had an ardent desire
to see your highness, which God hath granted, and now I have got all
I wished; I have acquired the prosperity of both worlds. Whatever
prices are marked in the invoice, half is the prime cost, and half
profit.' She replied, 'No, whatever price you have marked down shall
be paid; moreover, you shall receive presents besides, on condition
that you will do one thing, which I am about to order you.'

"I replied, 'This slave's life and property are at your service,
and I shall think as the happiness of my destinies if they can
be of any use to your highness; I will perform [what you desire]
with my life and soul.' On hearing these words, she called for a
_kalam-dan_, wrote a note, put it into a small purse made of pearls,
wrapped the purse in a fine muslin handkerchief, and gave it to me;
she gave me likewise a ring which she took from off her finger, as
a mark [by which I might make myself known]; she then said to me,

Book of the day: