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To The Book Of The Thousand
And One Nights With Notes
Anthropological And

Richard F. Burton

Privately Printed By The Burton Club

General Studholme J. Hodgson

My Dear General,

To whom with more pleasure or propriety can I inscribe this
volume than to my preceptor of past times; my dear old friend,
whose deep study and vast experience of such light literature as
The Nights made me so often resort to him for good counsel and
right direction? Accept this little token of gratitude, and
believe me, with the best of wishes and the kindest of memories,

Ever your sincere and attached
Richard F. Burton.

London, July 15, 1886.

"To the pure all things are pure"
(Puris omnia pura)
–Arab Proverb.

"Niuna corrotta mente intese mai sanamente parole."
–"Decameron" –conclusion.

"Erubuit, posuitque meum Lucretia librum
sed coram Bruto. Brute! recede, leget."

"Mieulx est de ris que de larmes escripre,
Pour ce que rire est le propre des hommes."

"The pleasure we derive from perusing the Thousand-and-One
Stories makes us regret that we possess only a comparatively
small part of these truly enchanting fictions."
–Crichton's "History of Arabia."

Contents of the Eleventh Volume.

1. The Sleeper and the Waker
Story of the Larrikin and the Cook
2. The Caliph Omar Bin Abd Al-Aziz and the Poets
3. Al-Hajjaj and the Three Young Men
4. Harun Al-Rashid and the Woman of the Barmecides
5. The Ten Wazirs; or the History of King Azadbakht and His Son
a. Of the Uselessness of Endeavour Against Persistent Ill
aa. Story of the Merchant Who Lost His Luck
b. Of Looking To the Ends of Affairs
bb. Tale of the Merchant and His Sons
c. Of the Advantages of Patience
cc. Story of Abu Sabir
d. Of the Ill Effects of Impatience
dd. Story of Prince Bihzad
e. Of the Issues of Good and Evil Actions
ee. Story of King Dadbin and His Wazirs
f. Of Trust in Allah
ff. Story of King Bakhtzaman
g. Of Clemency
gg. Story of King Bihkard
h. Of Envy and Malice
hh. Story of Aylan Shah and Abu Tammam
i. Of Destiny or That Which Is Written On the Forehead
ii. Story of King Ibrahim and His Son
j. Of the Appointed Term, Which, if it be Advanced, May
Not Be Deferred, and if it be Deferred, May Not Be
jj. Story of King Sulayman Shah and His Niece
k. Of the Speedy Relief of Allah
kk. Story of the Prisoner and How Allah Gave Him
6. Ja'afar Bin Yahya and Abd Al-Malik Bin Salih the Abbaside
7. Al-Rashid and the Barmecides
8. Ibn Al-Sammak and Al-Rashid
9. Al-Maamum and Zubaydah
10. Al-Nu'uman and the Arab of the Banu Tay
11. Firuz and His Wife
12. King Shah Bakht and his Wazir Al-Rahwan
a. Tale of the Man of Khorasan, His Son and His Tutor
b. Tale of the Singer and the Druggist
c. Tale of the King Who Kenned the Quintessence of Things
d. Tale of the Richard Who Married His Beautiful Daughter
to the Poor Old Man
e. Tale of the Sage and His Three Sons
f. Tale of the Prince who Fell in Love With the Picture
g. Tale of the Fuller and His Wife and the Trooper
h. Tale of the Merchant, The Crone, and the King
i. Tale of the Simpleton Husband
j. Tale of the Unjust King and the Tither
ja. Story of David and Solomon
k. Tale of the Robber and the Woman
l. Tale of the Three Men and Our Lord Isa
la. The Disciple's Story
m. Tale of the Dethroned Ruler Whose Reign and Wealth Were
Restored to Him
n. Talk of the Man Whose Caution Slew Him
o. Tale of the Man Who Was Lavish of His House and His
Provision to One Whom He Knew Not
p. Tale of the Melancholist and the Sharper
q. Tale of Khalbas and his Wife and the Learned Man
r. Tale of the Devotee Accused of Lewdness
s. Tale of the Hireling and the Girl
t. Tale of the Weaver Who Became a Leach by Order of His
u. Tale of the Two Sharpers Who Each Cozened His Compeer
v. Tale of the Sharpers With the Shroff and the Ass
w. Tale of the Chear and the Merchants
wa. Story of the Falcon and the Locust
x. Tale of the King and His Chamberlain's Wife
xa. Story of the Crone and the Draper's Wife
y. Tale of the Ugly Man and His Beautifule Wife
z. Tale of the King Who Lost Kingdom and Wife and Wealth
and Allah Restored Them to Him
aa. Tale of Salim the Youth of Khorasan and Salma, His
bb. Tale of the King of Hind and His Wazir
Shahrazad and Shahryar

The Translator's Foreword.

After offering my cordial thanks to friends and subscribers who
have honoured "The Thousand Nights and a Night" (Kama Shastra
Society) with their patronage and approbation, I would inform
them that my "Anthropological Notes" are by no means exhausted,
and that I can produce a complete work only by means of a
somewhat extensive Supplement. I therefore propose to print (not
publish), for private circulation only, five volumes, bearing the

Supplemental Nights
to the book of
The Thousand Nights and a Night

This volume and its successor (Nos. i. and ii.) contain Mr. John
Payne's Tales from the Arabic; his three tomes being included in
my two. The stories are taken from the Breslau Edition where
they are distributed among the volumes between Nos. iv and xii.,
and from the Calcutta fragment of 1814. I can say little for the
style of the story-stuff contained in this Breslau text, which
has been edited with phenomenal incuriousness. Many parts are
hopelessly corrupted, whilst at present we have no means of
amending the commissions and of supplying the omissions by
comparison with other manuscripts. The Arabic is not only
faulty, but dry and jejune, comparing badly with that of the
"Thousand Nights and a Night," as it appears in the Macnaghten
and the abridged Bulak Texts. Sundry of the tales are futile;
the majority has little to recommend it, and not a few require a
diviner rather than a translator. Yet they are valuable to
students as showing the different sources and the heterogeneous
materials from and of which the great Saga-book has been
compounded. Some are, moreover, striking and novel, especially
parts of the series entitled King Shah Bakht and his Wazir Al-
Rahwan (pp. 191-355). Interesting also is the Tale of the "Ten
Wazirs" (pp. 55-155), marking the transition of the Persian
Bakhtiyár-Námeh into Arabic. In this text also and in this only
is found Galland's popular tale "Abou-Hassan; or, the Sleeper
Awakened," which I have entitled "The Sleeper and the Waker."

In the ten volumes of "The Nights" proper, I mostly avoided
parallels of folk-lore and fabliaux which, however interesting
and valuable to scholars, would have over-swollen the bulk of a
work especially devoted to Anthropology. In the "Supplementals,"
however, it is otherwise; and, as Mr. W.A. Clouston, the
"Storiologist," has obligingly agreed to collaborate with me, I
shall pay marked attention to this subject, which will thus form
another raison d'ête for the additional volumes.

Richard F. Burton

Junior Travellers' Club,
December 1, 1886

Supplemental Nights

To The Book Of The

Thousand Nights And A Night

The Sleeper and the Waker.[FN#1]

It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that there was once at
Baghdad, in the Caliphate of Harun al-Rashid, a man and a
merchant, who had a son Abú al-Hasan-al-Khalí'a by name.[FN#2]
The merchant died leaving great store of wealth to his heir who
divided it into two equal parts, whereof he laid up one and spent
of the other half; and he fell to companying with Persians[FN#3]
and with the sons of the merchants and he gave himself up to good
drinking and good eating, till all the wealth[FN#4] he had with
him was wasted and wantoned; whereupon he betook himself to his
friends and comrades and cup-companions and expounded to them his
case, discovering to them the failure of that which was in his
hand of wealth. But not one of them took heed of him or even
deigned answer him. So he returned to his mother (and indeed his
spirit was broken) and related to her that which had happened to
him and what had befallen him from his friends, how they had
neither shared with him nor required him with speech. Quoth she,
"O Abu al-Hasan, on this wise are the sons[FN#5] of this time: an
thou have aught, they draw thee near to them,[FN#6] and if thou
have naught, they put thee away from them." And she went on to
condole with him, what while he bewailed himself and his tears
flowed and he repeated these lines:--

"An wane my wealth, no mane will succour me, * When my wealth
waxeth all men friendly show:
How many a friend, for wealth showed friendliness * Who, when my
wealth departed, turned to foe!"

Then he sprang up and going to the place wherein was the other
half of his good, took it and lived with it well; and he sware
that he would never again consort with a single one of those he
had known, but would company only with the stranger nor entertain
even him but one night and that, when it morrowed, he would never
know him more. Accordingly he fell to sitting every eventide on
the bridge over Tigris and looking at each one who passed by him;
and if he saw him to be a stranger, he made friends with him and
caroused with him all night till morning. Then he dismissed him
and would never more salute him with the Salam nor ever more drew
near unto him neither invited him again. Thus he continued to do
for the space of a full year, till, one day, while he sat on the
bridge, as was his wont, expecting who should come to him so he
might take him and pass the night with him, behold, up came the
Caliph and Masrur, the Sworder of his vengeance[FN#7] disguised
in merchants dress, according to their custom. So Abu al-Hasan
looked at them and rising, because he knew them not, asked them,
"What say ye? Will ye go with me to my dwelling-place, so ye may
eat what is ready and drink what is at hand, to wit, platter-
bread[FN#8] and meat cooked and wine strained?" The Caliph
refused this, but he conjured him and said to him, "Allah upon
thee, O my lord, go with me, for thou art my guest this night,
and baulk not my hopes of thee!" And he ceased not to press him
till he consented; whereat Abu al-Hasan rejoiced and walking on
before him, gave not over talking with him till they came to his
house and he carried the Caliph into the saloon. Al-Rashid
entered a hall such as an thou sawest it and gazedst upon its
walls, thou hadst beheld marvels; and hadst thou looked narrowly
at its water-conduits thou would have seen a fountain cased with
gold. The Caliph made his man abide at the door; and, as soon as
he was seated, the host brought him that eating might be grateful
to him. Then he removed the tray and they washed their hands and
the Commander of the Faithful sat down again; whereupon Abu al-
Hasan set on the drinking vessels and seating himself by his
side, fell to filling and giving him to drink[FN#9] and
entertaining him with discourse. And when they had drunk their
sufficiency the host called for a slave-girl like a branch of Ban
who took a lute and sang to it these two couplets:--

"O thou aye dwelling in my heart, * Whileas thy form is far from
Thou art my sprite my me unseen, * Yet nearest near art thou, my

His hospitality pleased the Caliph and the goodliness of his
manners, and he said to him, O youth, who art thou? Make me
acquainted with thyself, so I may requite thee thy kindness."
But Abu al-Hasan smiled and said, "O my lord, far be it, alas!
that what is past should again come to pass and that I company
with thee at other time than this time!" The Prince of True
Believers asked, "Why so? and why wilt thou not acquaint me with
thy case?" and Abu al-Hasan answered, "Know, O my lord, that my
story is strange and that there is a cause for this affair."
Quoth Al-Rashid, "And what is the cause?" and quoth he, "The
cause hath a tail." The Caliph[FN#10] laughed at his words and
Abu al-Hasan said, "I will explain to thee this saying by the
tale of the Larrikin and the Cook. So hear thou, O my lord."

Story of the Larrikin[FN#11] and the Cook

One of the ne'er-do-wells found himself one fine morning without
aught and the world was straightened upon him and patience failed
him; so he lay down to sleep and ceased not slumbering till the
sun stang him and the foam came out upon his mouth, whereupon he
arose, and he was penniless and had not even so much as a single
dirham. Presently he arrived at the shop of a Cook, who had set
his pots and pans over the fire and washed his saucers and wiped
his scales and swept his shop and sprinkled it; and indeed his
fats and oils were clear and clarified and his spices fragrant
and he himself stood behind his cooking pots ready to serve
customers. So the Larrikin, whose wits had been sharpened by
hunger, went in to him and saluting him, said to him, "Weigh me
half a dirham's worth of meat and a quarter of a dirham's worth
of boiled grain[FN#12] and the like of bread." So the Kitchener
weighed it out to him and the good-for-naught entered the shop,
whereupon the man set the food before him and he ate till he had
gobbled up the whole and licked the saucers and sat perplexed,
knowing not how he should do with the Cook concerning the price
of that he had eaten, and turning his eyes about upon everything
in the shop; and as he looked, behold, he caught sight of an
earthen pan lying arsy-versy upon its mouth; so he raised it from
the ground and found under it a horse's tail, freshly cut off and
the blood oozing from it; whereby he knew that the Cook
adulterated his meat with horseflesh. When he discovered this
default, he rejoiced therein and washing his hands, bowed his
head and went out; and when the Kitchener saw that he went and
gave him naught, he cried out, saying, "Stay, O pest, O burglar!"
So the Larrikin stopped and said to him, "Dost thou cry out upon
me and call to me with these words, O cornute?" Whereat the Cook
was angry and coming down from the shop, cried, "What meanest
thou by thy speech, O low fellow, thou that devourest meat and
millet and bread and kitchen and goest forth with ‘the
Peace[FN#13] be on thee!' as it were the thing had not been, and
payest down naught for it?" Quoth the Lackpenny, "Thou liest, O
accursed son of a cuckold!" Whereupon the Cook cried out and
laying hold of his debtor's collar, said, "O Moslems, this fellow
is my first customer[FN#14] this day and he hath eaten my food
and given me naught." So the folk gathered about them and blamed
the Ne'er-do-well and said to him, "Give him the price of that
which thou hast eaten." Quoth he, "I gave him a dirham before I
entered the shop;" and quoth the Cook, "Be everything I sell this
day forbidden to me, if he gave me so much as the name of a coin!
By Allah, he gave me naught but ate my food and went out and
would have made off, without aught said." Answered the Larrikin,
"I gave thee a dirham," and he reviled the Kitchener, who
returned his abuse; whereupon he dealt him a buffet and they
gripped and grappled and throttled each other. When the folk saw
them fighting, they came up to them and asked them, "What is this
strife between you and no cause for it?" and the Lackpenny
answered, "Ay, by Allah, but there is a cause for it, and the
cause hath a tail!" Whereupon, cried the Cook, "Yea, by Allah,
now thou mindest me of thyself and thy dirham! Yes, he gave me a
dirham and but a quarter of the coin is spent. Come back and
take the rest of the price of thy dirham." For he understood
what was to do, at the mention of the tail; "and I, O my brother"
(added Abu al-Hasan), "my story hath a cause, which I will tell
thee." The Caliph laughed at his speech and said, "By Allah,
this is none other than a pleasant tale! Tell me thy story and
the cause." Replied the host, "With love and goodly gree! Know,
O my lord, that my name is Abu al-Hasan al-Khali'a and that my
father died and left me abundant wealth of which I made two
parts. One I laid up and with the other I betook myself to
enjoying the pleasures of friendship and conviviality and
consorting with intimates and boon-companions and with the sons
of the merchants, nor did I leave one but I caroused with him and
he with me, and I lavished all my money on comrades and good
cheer, till there remained with me naught;[FN#15] whereupon I
betook myself to the friends and fellow-topers upon whom I had
wasted my wealth, so perhaps they might provide for my case; but,
when I visited them and went round about to them all, I found no
vantage in one of them, nor would any so much as break a bittock
of bread in my face. So I wept for myself and repairing to my
mother, complained to her of my case. Quoth she:--‘Such are
friends; an thou have aught, they frequent thee and devour thee,
but, an thou have naught, they cast thee off and chase thee
away.' then I brought out the other half of my money and bound
myself to an oath that I would never entertain any save one
single night, after which I would never again salute him nor
notice him; hence my saying to thee:--‘Far be it, alas! that what
is past should again come to pass, for I will never again company
with thee after this night.'" when the Commander of the Faithful
heard this, he laughed a loud laugh and said, "By Allah, O my
brother, thou art indeed excused in this matter, now that I know
the cause and that the cause hath a tail. Nevertheless,
Inshallah, I will not sever myself from thee." replied Abu al-
Hasan, "O my guest, did I not say to thee, ‘Far be it, alas! that
what is past should again come to pass? For indeed I will never
again foregather with any!'" then the Caliph rose and the host
set before him a dish of roast goose and a bannock of first-
bread[FN#16] and sitting down, fell to cutting off morsels and
morselling the Caliph therewith. They gave not over eating till
they were filled, when Abu al-Hasan brought basin and ewer and
potash[FN#17] and they washed their hands. Then he lighted three
wax-candles and three lamps, and spreading the drinking-cloth,
brought strained wine, clear, old and fragrant, whose scent was
as that of virgin musk. He filled the first cup and saying, "O
my boon-companion, be ceremony laid aside between us by thy
leave! Thy slave is by thee; may I not be afflicted with thy
loss!" drank it off and filled a second cup, which he handed to
the Caliph with due reverence. His fashion pleased the Commander
of the Faithful, and the goodliness of his speech and he said to
himself, "By Allah, I will assuredly requite him for this!" Then
Abu al-Hasan filled the cup again and handed it to the Caliph,
reciting these two couplets:[FN#18]--

"Had we thy coming known, we would for sacrifice * Have poured
thee out heart's blood or blackness of the eyes;
Ay, and we would have spread our bosoms in thy way, * That so thy
feet might fare on eyelids, carpet-wise."

When the Caliph heard his verses, he took the cup from his hand
and kissed it and drank it off and returned it to Abu al-Hasan,
who make him an obeisance and filled it and drank. Then he
filled again and kissing the cup thrice, recited these lines:--

"Your presence honoureth the base, * And we confess the deed of
An you absent yourself from us, * No freke we find to fill your

Then he gave the cup to the Caliph, saying, "Drink it in health
and soundness! It doeth away malady and bringeth remedy and
setteth the runnels of health to flow free." So they ceased not
carousing and conversing till middle-night, when the Caliph said
to his host, "O my brother, hast thou in they heart a
concupiscence thou wouldst have accomplished or a contingency
thou wouldst avert?" said he, "By Allah, there is no regret in
my heart save that I am not empowered with bidding and
forbidding, so I might manage what is in my mind!" Quoth the
Commander of the Faithful, "By Allah, and again by Allah,[FN#19]
O my brother, tell me what is in thy mind!" and quoth Abu al-
Hasan, "Would Heaven I might be Caliph for one day and avenge
myself on my neighbors, for that in my vicinity is a mosque and
therein four shaykhs, who hold it a grievance when there cometh a
guest to my, and they trouble me with talk and worry me in words
and menace me that they will complain of me to the Prince of True
Believers, and indeed they oppress me exceedingly, and I crave of
Allah the Most High power for one day, that I may beat each and
every of them with four hundred lashes, as well as the Imam of
the mosque, and parade them round about the city of Baghdad and
bid cry before them: ‘This is the reward and the lest of the
reward for whoso exceedeth in talk and vexeth the folk and
turneth their joy to annoy.' This is what I wish, and no more."
Said the Caliph, "Allah grant thee that thou seekest! Let us
crack one last cup and rise ere the dawn draw near, and to-morrow
night I will be with thee again." Said Abu al-Hasan, "Far be
it!" Then the Caliph crowned a cup, and putting therein a piece
of Cretan Bhang,[FN#20] gave it to his host and said to him, "My
life on thee, O my brother, drink this cup from my hand!" and Abu
al-Hasan answered, "Ay, by thy life, I will drink it from thy
hand." So he took it and drank it off; but hardly had it settled
in his stomach, when his head forewent his heels and he fell to
the ground like one slain; whereupon the Caliph went out and said
to his slave Masrur, "Go in to yonder young man, the house
master, and take him up and bring him to me at the palace; and
when thou goest, shut the door." So saying, he went away, whilst
Masrur entered, and taking up Abu al-Hasan, shut the door behind
him, and made after his master, till he reached with him the
palace what while the night drew to an end and the cocks began
crowing,[FN#21] and set him down before the Commander of the
Faithful, who laughed at him.[FN#22] then he sent for Ja'afar
the Barmecide and when he came before him, said to him, "Note
thou yonder young man" (pointing to Abu al-Hasan), "and when thou
shalt see him to-morrow seated in my place of estate and on the
throne[FN#23] of my Caliphate and clad in my royal clothing,
stand thou in attendance upon him and enjoin the Emirs and
Grandees and the folk of my household and the officers of my
realm to be upon their feet, as in his service and obey him in
whatso he shall bid them do; and thou, if he speak to thee of
aught, do it and hearken unto his say and gainsay him not in
anything during this coming day." Ja'afar acknowledged the order
with "Hearkening and obedience" and withdrew, whilst the Prince
of True Believers went in to the palace women, who came up to
him, and he said to them, "When this sleeper shall awake to-
morrow, kiss ye the ground between his hands, and do ye wait upon
him and gather round about him and clothe him in the royal
clothing and serve him with the service of the Caliphate and deny
not aught of his estate, but say to him, ‘Thou art the Caliph.'"
Then he taught them what they should say to him and how they
should do with him and withdrawing to a retired room,[FN#24] let
down a curtain before himself and slept. Thus fared it with the
Caliph; but as regards Abu al-Hasan, he gave not over snoring in
his sleep till the day brake clear, and the rising of the sun
drew near, when a woman in waiting came up to him and said to
him, "O our lord, the morning prayer!" hearing these words he
laughed and opening his eyes, turned them about the palace and
found himself in an apartment whose walls were painted with gold
and lapis lazuli and its ceiling dotted and starred with red
gold. Around it were sleeping chambers, with curtains of gold-
embroidered silk let down over their doors, and all about vessels
of gold and porcelain and crystal and furniture and carpets
dispread and lamps burning before the niche wherein men prayed,
and slave-girls and eunuchs and Mamelukes and black slaves and
boys and pages and attendants. When he saw this he was
bewildered in his wit and said, "By Allah, either I am dreaming a
dream, or this is Paradise and the Abode of Peace!"[FN#25] And
he shut his eyes and would have slept again. Quoth one of the
eunuchs, "O my lord, this is not of thy wont, O Commander of the
Faithful!" then the rest of the handmaids of the palace came up
to him and lifted him into a sitting posture, when he found
himself upon a mattrass raised a cubit's height from the ground
and all stuffed with floss silk. So they seated him upon it and
propped his elbow with a pillow, and he looked at the apartment
and its vastness and saw those eunuchs and slave-girls in
attendance upon him and standing about his head, whereupon he
laughed at himself and said, "By Allah, 'tis not as I were on
wake, yet I am not asleep! And in his perplexity he bowed his
chin upon his bosom and then opened his eyes, little by little,
smiling and saying, "What is this state wherein I find myself?"
then he arose and sat up, whilst the damsels laughed at him
privily; and he was bewildered in his wit, and bit his finger;
and as the bite pained him, he cried, "Oh!" and was vexed; and
the Caliph watched him, whence he saw him not, and laughed.
Presently Abu al-Hasan turned to a damsel and called to her;
whereupon she answered, "At thy service, O Prince of True
Believers!" Quoth he, "what is thy name?" and quoth she,
"Shajarat al-Durr."[FN#26] then he said to her, "By the
protection of Allah, O damsel, am I Commander of the Faithful?"
She replied, "Yes, indeed, by the protection of Allah thou in
this time art Commander of the Faithful." quoth he, "By Allah,
thou liest, O thousandfold whore!"[FN#27] Then he glanced at the
Chief Eunuch and called to him, whereupon he came to him and
kissing the ground before him, said, "Yes, O Commander of the
Faithful." Asked Abu al-Hasan, "Who is Commander of the
Faithful?" and the Eunuch answered "Thou." And Abu al-Hasan
said, "Thou liest, thousandfold he-whore that thou art!" then he
turned to another eunuch and said to him, "O my chief,[FN#28] by
the protection of Allah, am I Prince of the True Believers?"
Said he, "Ay, by Allah, O my lord, thou art in this time
Commander of the Faithful and Viceregent of the Lord of the three
Worlds." Abu al-Hasan laughed at himself and doubted of his
reason and was bewildered at what he beheld, and said, "In one
night do I become Caliph? Yesterday I was Abu al-Hasan the Wag,
and to-day I am Commander of the Faithful." then the Chief
Eunuch came up to him and said, "O Prince of True Believers (the
name of Allah encompass thee!), thou art indeed Commander of the
Faithful and Viceregent of the Lord of the three Worlds!" and
the slave-girls and eunuchs flocked round about him, till he
arose and abode wondering at his case. Hereupon the Eunuch
brought him a pair of sandals wrought with raw silk and green
silk and purfled with red gold, and he took them and after
examining them set them in his sleeve; whereat the Castrato cried
out and said, "Allah! Allah! O my lord, these are sandals for the
treading of thy feet, so thou mayst wend to the wardrobe." Abu
al-Hasan was confounded, and shaking the sandals from his sleeve,
put them on his feet, whilst the Caliph died[FN#29] of laughter
at him. The slave forewent him to the chapel of ease, where he
entered and doing his job,[FN#30] came out into the chamber,
whereupon the slave-girls brought him a basin of gold and a ewer
of silver and poured water on his hands[FN#31] and he made the
Wuzú-ablution. Then they spread him a prayer-carpet and he
prayed. Now he knew not how to pray[FN#32] and gave not over
bowing and prostrating for twenty inclinations,[FN#33] pondering
in himself the while and saying, "By Allah, I am none other than
the Commander of the Faithful in very truth! This is assuredly
no dream, for all these things happen not in a dream." And he
was convinced and determined in himself that he was Prince of
True Believers, so he pronounced the Salám[FN#34] and finished
his prayers; whereupon te Mamelukes and slave-girls came round
about him with bundled suits of silken and linen stuffs and clad
him in the costume of the Caliphate and gave the royal dagger in
his hand. Then the Chief Eunuch came in and said, "O Prince of
True Believers, the Chamberlain is at the door craving permission
to enter." Said he, "Let him enter!" whereupon he came in and
after kissing ground offered the salutation, "Peace be upon thee,
O Commander of the Faithful!" at this Abu al-Hasan rose and
descended from the couch to the floor; whereupon the official
exclaimed, "Allah! Allah! O Prince of True Believers, wottest
thou not that all men are thy lieges and under thy rule and that
it is not meet for the Caliph to rise to any man?" Presently the
Eunuch went out before him and the little white slaves behind
him, and they ceased not going till they raised the curtain and
brought him into the hall of judgment and the throne-room of the
Caliphate. There he saw the curtains and the forty doors and Al-
'Ijlí and Al-Rakáshí the poet, and 'Ibdán and Jadím and Abu
Ishák[FN#35] the cup-companion and beheld swords drawn and the
lions[FN#36] compassing the throne as the white of the eye
encircleth the black, and gilded glaives and death-dealing bows
and Ajams and Arabs and Turks and Daylamites and folk and peoples
and Emirs and Wazirs and Captains and Grandees and Lords of the
land and men of war in band, and in very sooth there appeared the
might of the house of Abbas[FN#37] and the majesty of the
Prophet's family. So he sat down upon the throne of the
Caliphate and set the dagger[FN#38] on his lap, whereupon all
present came up to kiss ground between his hands and called down
on him length of life and continuance of weal. Then came forward
Ja'afar the Barmecide and kissing the ground, said, "Be the wide
world of Allah the treading of thy feet and may Paradise be thy
dwelling-place and the Fire the home of thy foes! Never may
neighbor defy thee nor the lights of fire die out for
thee,[FN#39] O Caliph of all cities and ruler of all countries!"
Therewith Abu al-Hasan cried out at him and said, "O dog of the
sons of Barmak, go down forthright, thou and the chief of the
city police, to such a place in such a street and deliver an
hundred dinars of gold to the mother of Abu al-Hasan the Wag and
bear her my salutations. Then, go to such a mosque and take the
four Shaykhs and the Imam and scourge each of them with a
thousand[FN#40] lashes and mount them on beasts, face to tail,
and parade them round all the city and banish them to a place
other than this city; and bid the crier make cry before them,
saying: ‘This is the reward and the least of the reward of whoso
multiplieth words and molesteth his neighbors and damageth their
delights and stinteth their eating and drinking!'" Ja'afar
received the command and answered, "With obedience"; after which
he went down from before Abu al-Hasan to the city and did all he
had ordered him to do. Meanwhile, Abu al-Hasan abode in the
Caliphate, taking and giving, bidding and forbidding, and
carrying out his command till the end of the day, when he gave
leave and permission to withdraw, and the Emirs and Officers of
state departed to their several occupations and he looked towards
the Chamberlain and the rest of the attendants and said,
"Begone!" Then the Eunuchs came to him and calling down on him
length of life and continuance of weal, walked in attendance upon
him and raised the curtain, and he entered the pavilion of the
Harem, where he found candles lighted and lamps burning and
singing-women smiting on instruments, and ten slave-girls, high-
bosomed maids. When he saw this, he was confounded in his wit
and said to himself, "By Allah, I am in truth Commander of the
Faithful!" presently adding, "or haply these are of the Jann and
he who was my guest yesternight was one of their kings who saw no
way to requite my favours save by commanding his Ifrits to
address me as Prince of True Believers. But an these be of the
Jann may Allah deliver me in safety from their mischief!" As
soon as he appeared, the slave-girls rose to him and carrying him
up on to the daïs,[FN#41] brought him a great tray, bespread with
the richest viands. So he ate thereof with all his might and
main, till he had gotten his fill, when he called one of the
handmaids and said to her, "What is thy name?" Replied she, "My
name is Miskah,"[FN#42] and he said to another, "What is thy
name?" Quoth she, "My name is Tarkah."[FN#43] Then he asked a
third, "What is thy name?" who answered, "My name is
Tohfah;"[FN#44] and he went on to question the damsels of their
names, one after other, till he had learned the ten, when he rose
from that place and removed to the wine-chamber. He found it
every way complete and saw therein ten great trays, covered with
all fruits and cakes and every sort of sweetmeats. So he sat
down and ate thereof after the measure of his competency, and
finding there three troops of singing-girls, was amazed and made
the girls eat. Then he sat and the singers also seated
themselves, whilst the black slaves and the white slaves and the
eunuchs and pages and boys stood, and of the slave-girls some sat
and some stood. The damsels sang and warbled all varieties of
melodies and the place rang with the sweetness of the songs,
whilst the pipes cried out and the lutes with them wailed, till
it seemed to Abu al-Hasan that he was in Paradise and his heart
was heartened and his breast broadened. So he sported and
joyance grew on him and he bestowed robes of honour on the
damsels and gave and bestowed, challenging this girl and kissing
that and toying with a third, plying one with wine and morselling
another with meat, till nightfall. All this while the Commander
of the Faithful was diverting himself with watching him and
laughing, and when night fell he bade one of the slave-girls drop
a piece of Bhang in the cup and give it to Abu al-Hasan to drink.
So she did his bidding and gave him the cup, which no sooner had
he drunk than his head forewent his feet.[FN#45] Therewith the
Caliph came forth from behind the curtain, laughing, and calling
to the attendant who had brought Abu al-Hasan to the palace, said
to him, "Carry[FN#46] this man to his own place." So Masrur took
him up and carrying him to his own house, set him down in the
saloon. Then he went forth from him, and shutting the saloon-
door upon him, returned to the Caliph, who slept till the morrow.
As for Abu al-Hasan, he gave not over slumbering till Almighty
Allah brought on the morning, when he recovered from the drug and
awoke, crying out and saying, "Ho, Tuffáhah! Ho, Ráhat al-Kulúb!
Ho, Miskah! Ho, Tohfah!"[FN#47] and he ceased not calling upon
the palace handmaids till his mother heard him summoning strange
damsels, and rising, came to him and said, "Allah's name
encompass thee! Up with thee, O my son, O Abu al-Hasan! Thou
dreamest." So he opened his eyes and finding an old woman at his
head, raised his eyes and said to her, "Who art thou?" Quoth
she, "I am thy mother;" and quoth he, "Thou liest! I am the
Commander of the Faithful, the Viceregent of Allah." Whereupon
his mother shrieked aloud and said to him, "Heaven preserve thy
reason! Be silent, O my son, and cause not the loss of our lives
and the wasting of thy wealth, which will assuredly befal us if
any hear this talk and carry it to the Caliph." So he rose from
his sleep, and finding himself in his own saloon and his mother
by him, had doubts of his wit, and said to her, "By Allah, O my
mother, I saw myself in a dream in a palace, with slave-girls and
Mamelukes about me and in attendance upon me, and I sat upon the
throne of the Caliphate and ruled. By Allah, O my mother, this
is what I saw, and in very sooth it was no dream!" then he
bethought himself awhile and said, "Assuredly,[FN#48] I am Abu
al-Hasan al-Khali'a, and this that I saw was only a dream when I
was made Caliph and bade and forbade." Then he bethought himself
again and said, "Nay, but 'twas not a dream, and I am none other
than the Caliph, and indeed I gave gifts and bestowed honour-
robes." Quoth his mother to him, "O my son, thou sportest with
thy reason: thou wilt go to the mad-house[FN#49] and become a
gazing-stock. Indeed, that which thou hast seen is only from the
foul Fiend, and it was an imbroglio of dreams, for at times Satan
sporteth with men's wits in all manner of ways."[FN#50] Then
said she to him, "O my son, was there any one with thee
yesternight?" And he reflected and said, "Yes; one lay the night
with me and I acquainted him with my case and told him my tale.
Doubtless, he was of the Devils and I, O my mother, even as thou
sayst truly, am Abu al-Hasan al-Khali'a." She rejoined, "O my
son, rejoice in tidings of all good, for yesterday's record is
that there came the Wazir Ja'afar the Barmecide and his many, and
beat the Shaykhs of the mosque and the Imam, each a thousand
lashes; after which they paraded them round about the city,
making proclamation before them and saying: ‘This is the reward
and the least of the reward of whoso faileth in goodwill to his
neighbours and troubleth on them their lives!' And he banished
them from Baghdad. Moreover, the Caliph sent me an hundred
dinars and sent to salute me." Whereupon Abu al-Hasan cried out
and said to her, "O ill-omened crone, wilt thou contradict me and
tell me that I am not the Prince of True Believers? 'Twas I who
commanded Ja'afar the Barmecide to beat the Shaykhs and parade
them about the city and make proclamations before them, and 'twas
I, very I, who sent thee the hundred dinars and sent to salute
thee, and I, O beldam of ill-luck, am in very deed the Commander
of the Faithful, and thou art a liar, who would make me out an
idiot." So saying, he rose up and fell upon her, and beat her
with a staff of almond-wood, till she cried out, "Help, O
Moslems!" and he increased the beating upon her, till the folk
heard her cries and coming to her, found Abu al-Hasan bashing his
mother and saying to her, "O old woman of ill-omen, am I not the
Commander of the Faithful? Thou hast ensorcelled me!" When the
folk heard his words, they said, "This man raveth," and doubted
not of his madness. So they came in upon him, and seizing him,
pinioned his elbows, and bore him to the Bedlam. Quoth the
Superintendent, "What aileth this youth?" and quoth they, "This
is a madman, afflicted of the Jinn." "By Allah, cried Abu al-
Hasan, "they lie against me! I am no madman, but the Commander
of the Faithful." And the Superintendent answered him, saying,
"None lieth but thou, O foulest of the Jinn-maddened!" Then he
stripped him of his clothes, and clapping on his neck a heavy
chain,[FN#51] bound him to a high lattice and fell to beating him
two bouts a day and two anights; and he ceased not abiding on
this wise the space of ten days. Then his mother came to him and
said, "O my son, O Abu al-Hasan, return to thy right reason, for
this is the Devil's doing." Quoth he, "Thou sayest sooth, O my
mother, and bear witness of me that I repent me of that talk and
turn me from my madness. So do thou deliver me, for I am nigh
upon death." Accordingly his mother went out to the
Superintendent[FN#52] and procured his release and he returned to
his own house. Now this was at the beginning of the month, and
when it ended, Abu al-Hasan longed to drink liquor and, returning
to his former habit, furnished his saloon and made ready food and
bade bring wine; then, going forth to the bridge, he sat there,
expecting one whom he should converse and carouse with, according
to his custom. As he sat thus, behold, up came the Caliph and
Masrur to him; but Abu al-Hasan saluted them not and said to Al-
Rashid, "No friendly welcome to thee, O King of the Jánn!" Quoth
Al-Rashid, "What have I done to thee?" and quoth Abu al-Hasan,
"What more couldst thou do than what thou hast done to me, O
foulest of the Jann? I have been beaten and thrown into Bedlam,
where all said I was Jinn-mad and this was caused by none save
thyself. I brought thee to my house and fed thee with my best;
after which thou didst empower thy Satans and Marids to disport
themselves with my wits from morning to evening. So avaunt and
aroynt thee and wend thy ways!" The Caliph smiled and, seating
himself by his side said to him, "O my brother, did I not tell
thee that I would return to thee?" Quoth Abu al-Hasan, "I have
no need of thee; and as the byword sayeth in verse:—

‘Fro' my friend, 'twere meeter and wiser to part, * For what eye
sees not born shall ne'er sorrow heart.'

And indeed, O my brother, the night thou camest to me and we
conversed and caroused together, I and thou, 'twas as if the
Devil came to me and troubled me that night." Asked the Caliph,
"And who is he, the Devil?" and answered Abu al-Hasan, "He is
none other than thou;" whereat the Caliph laughed and coaxed him
and spake him fair, saying, "O my brother, when I went out from
thee, I forgot the door and left it open and perhaps Satan came
in to thee."[FN#53] Quoth Abu al-Hasan, "Ask me not of that
which hath betided me. What possessed thee to leave the door
open, so that the Devil came in to me and there befel me with him
this and that?" And he related to him all that had betided him,
first and last (and in repetition is not fruition); what while
the Caliph laughed and hid his laughter. Then said he to Abu al-
Hasan, "Praised be Allah who hath done away form thee whatso
irked thee and that I see thee once more in weal!" And Abu al-
Hasan said, "Never again will I take thee to cup-companion or
sitting-comrade; for the proverb saith, ‘Whoso stumbleth on a
stone and thereto returneth, upon him be blame and reproach.' And
thou, O my brother, nevermore will I entertain thee nor company
with thee, for that I have not found they heel propitious to
me."[FN#54] But the Caliph coaxed him and said, "I have been the
means of thy winning to thy wish anent the Imam and the Shaykhs."
Abu al-Hasan replied, "Thou hast;" and Al-Rashid continued, "And
haply somewhat may betide thee which shall gladden thy heart yet
more." Abu al-Hasan asked, "What dost thou require of me?" and
the Commander of the Faithful answered, "Verily, I am thy guest;
reject not the guest." Quoth Abu al-Hasan, "On condition that
thou swear to me by the characts on the seal of Solomon, David's
son (on the twain be the Peace!), that thou wilt not suffer thine
Ifrits to make fun of me." He replied, "To hear is to obey!"
Whereupon the Wag took him and brought him into the saloon and
set food before him and entreated him with friendly speech. Then
he told him all that had befallen him, whilst the Caliph was like
to die of stifled laughter; after which Abu al-Hasan removed the
tray of food and bringing the wine-service, filled a cup and
cracked it three times, then gave it to the Caliph, saying, "O
boon-companion mine, I am thy slave and let not that which I am
about to say offend thee, and be thou not vexed, neither do thou
vex me." And he recited these verses:—

"Hear one that wills thee well! Lips none shall bless * Save
those who drink for drunk and all transgress.
Ne'er will I cease to swill while night falls dark * Till lout my
forehead low upon my tasse:
In wine like liquid sun is my delight * Which clears all care and
gladdens allegresse."

When the Caliph heard these his verses and saw how apt he was at
couplets, he was delighted with exceeding delight and taking the
cup, drank it off, and the twain ceased not to converse and
carouse till the wine rose to their heads. Then quoth Abu al-
Hasan to the Caliph, "O boon-companion mine, of a truth I am
perplexed concerning my affair, for meseemed I was Commander of
the Faithful and ruled and gave gifts and largesse, and in very
deed, O my brother, it was not a dream." Quoth the Caliph,
"These were the imbroglios of sleep," and crumbling a bit of
Bhang into the cup, said to him, "By my life, do thou drink this
cup;" and said Abu al-Hasan, "Surely I will drink it from thy
hand." Then he took the cup and drank it off, and no sooner had
it settled in his stomach than his head fell to the ground before
his feet. Now his manners and fashions pleased the Caliph and
the excellence of his composition and his frankness, and he said
in himself, "I will assuredly make him my cup-companion and
sitting-comrade." So he rose forthright and saying to Masrur,
"Take him up," returned to the palace. Accordingly, the Eunuch
took up Abu al-Hasan and carrying him to the palace of the
Caliphate, set him down before Al-Rashid, who bade the slaves and
slave-girls compass him about, whilst he himself hid in a place
where Abu al-Hasan could not see him. Then he commanded one of
the hand-maidens to take the lute and strike it over the Wag's
head, whilst the rest smote upon their instruments. So they
played and sang, till Abu al-Hasan awoke at the last of the night
and heard the symphony of lutes and tambourines and the sound of
the flutes and the singing of the slave-girls, whereupon he
opened his eyes and finding himself in the palace, with the hand-
maids and eunuchs about him, exclaimed, "There is no Majesty and
there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great! Come
to my help this night which meseems more unlucky than the former!
Verily, I am fearful of the Madhouse and of that which I suffered
therein the first time, and I doubt not but the Devil is come to
me again, as before. O Allah, my Lord, put thou Satan to shame!"
Then he shut his eyes and laid his head in his sleeve, and fell
to laughing softly and raising his head bytimes, but still found
the apartment lighted and the girls singing. Presently, one of
the eunuchs sat down at his head and said to him, "Sit up, O
Prince of True Believers, and look on thy palace and thy slave-
girls." Said Abu al-Hasan, "Under the veil of Allah, am I in
truth Commander of the Faithful, and dost thou not lie?
Yesterday I rode not forth neither ruled, but drank and slept,
and this eunuch cometh to make me rise." Then he sat up and
recalled to thought that which had betided him with his mother
and how he had beaten her and entered the Bedlam, and he saw the
marks of the beating, wherewith the Superintendent had beaten
him, and was perplexed concerning his affair and pondered in
himself, saying, "By Allah, I know not how my case is nor what is
this that betideth me!" Then, gazing at the scene around him, he
said privily, "All these are of the Jann in human shape, and I
commit my case to Allah." Presently he turned to one of the
damsels and said to her, "Who am I?" Quoth she, "Thou art the
Commander of the Faithful;" and quoth he, "Thou liest, O
calamity![FN#55] If I be indeed the Commander of the Faithful,
bite my finger." So she came to him and bit it with all her
might, and he said to her, "It doth suffice." Then he asked the
Chief Eunuch, "Who am I?" and he answered, "Thou art the
Commander of the Faithful." So he left him and returned to his
wonderment: then, turning to a little white slave, said to him,
"Bite my ear;" and he bent his head low down to him and put his
ear to his mouth. Now the Mameluke was young and lacked sense;
so he closed his teeth upon Abu al-Hasan's ear with all his
might, till he came near to sever it; and he knew not Arabic, so,
as often as the Wag said to him, "It doth suffice," he concluded
that he said, "Bite like a vice," and redoubled his bite and made
his teeth meet in the ear, whilst the damsels were diverted from
him with hearkening to the singing-girls, and Abu al-Hasan cried
out for succour from the boy and the Caliph lost his sense for
laughter. Then he dealt the boy a cuff, and he let go his ear,
whereupon all present fell down with laughter and said to the
little Mameluke, "Art mad that thou bitest the Caliph's ear on
this wise?" And Abu al-Hasan cried to them, "Sufficeth ye not, O
ye wretched Jinns, that which hath befallen me? But the fault is
not yours: the fault is of your Chief who transmewed you from
Jinn shape to mortal shape. I seek refuge against you this night
by the Throne-verse and the Chapter of Sincerity[FN#56] and the
Two Preventives!"[FN#57] So saying the Wag put off all his
clothes till he was naked, with prickle and breech exposed and
danced among the slave-girls. They bound his hands and he
wantoned among them, while they died of laughing at him and the
Caliph swooned away for excess of laughter. Then he came to
himself and going forth the curtain to Abu al-Hasan, said to him,
"Out on thee, O Abu al-Hasan! Thou slayest me with laughter."
So he turned to him and knowing him, said to him, "By Allah, 'tis
thou slayest me and slayest my mother and slewest the Shaykhs and
the Imam of the Mosque!" After which he kissed ground before him
and prayed for the permanence of his prosperity and the endurance
of his days. The Caliph at once robed him in a rich robe and
gave him a thousand dinars; and presently he took the Wag into
especial favour and married him and bestowed largesse on him and
lodged him with himself in the palace and made him of the chief
of his cup-companions, and indeed he was preferred with him above
them and the Caliph advanced him over them all. Now they were
ten in number, to wit, Al-'Ijlí and Al-Rakáshi and 'Ibdán and
Hasan al-Farazdak and Al-Lauz and Al-Sakar and Omar al-Tartís and
Abu Nowas and Abu Ishak al-Nadím and Abu al-Hasan al-Khali'a, and
by each of them hangeth a story which is told in other than this
book.[FN#58] And indeed Abu al-Hasan became high in honour with
the Caliph and favoured above all, so that he sat with him and
the Lady Zubaydah bint al-Kasim, whose treasuress Nuzhat al-
Fuád[FN#59] hight, was given to him in marriage. After this Abu
al-Hasan the Wag abode with his wife in eating and drinking and
all delight of life, till whatso was with them went the way of
money, when he said to her, "Harkye, O Nuzhat al-Fuad!" Said
she, "At they service;" and he continued, "I have it in mind to
play a trick on the Caliph[FN#60] and thou shalt do the same with
the Lady Zubaydah, and we will take of them at once, to begin
with, two hundred dinars and two pieces of silk. She rejoined,
"As thou willest, but what thinkest thou to do?" And he said,
"We will feign ourselves dead and this is the trick. I will die
before thee and lay myself out, and do thou spread over me a
silken napkin and loose my turban over me and tie my toes and lay
on my stomach a knife and a little salt.[FN#61] Then let down
thy hair and betake thyself to thy mistress Zubaydah, tearing thy
dress and slapping thy face and crying out. She will ask thee,
‘What aileth thee?' and do thou answer her, ‘May thy head outlive
Abu al-Hasan the Wag; for he is dead.' She will mourn for me and
weep and bid her new treasuress give thee an hundred dinars and a
piece of silk[FN#62] and will say to thee, ‘Go, lay him out and
carry him forth.' So do thou take of her the hundred dinars and
the piece of silk and come back, and when thou returnest to me, I
will rise up and thou shalt lie down in my place, and I will go
to the Caliph and say to him, ‘May thy head outlive Nuzhat al
Fuad,' and rend my raiment and pluck out my beard. He will mourn
for thee and say to his treasurer, ‘Give Abu al-Hasan an hundred
dinars and a piece of silk.' Then he will say to me, ‘Go; lay
her out and carry her forth;' and I will come back to thee."
Therewith Nuzhat al-Fuad rejoiced and said, "Indeed, this is an
excellent device." Then Abu al-Hasan stretched himself out
forthright and she shut hie eyes and tied his feet and covered
with the napkin and did whatso her lord had bidden her; after
which she tare her gear and bared her head and letting down her
hair, went in to the Lady Zubaydah, crying out and weeping. When
the Princess saw her in this state, she cried, "What plight is
this? What is thy story and what maketh thee weep?" And Nuzhat
al-Fuad answered, weeping and loud-wailing the while, "O my lady,
may thy head live and mayst thou survive Abu al-Hasan al-Khali'a;
for he is dead!" The Lady Zubaydah mourned for him and said,
"Alas, poor Abu al-Hasan the Wag!" and she shed tears for him
awhile. Then she bade her treasuress give Nuzhat al-Fuad an
hundred dinars and a piece of silk and said to her, "O Nuzhat al-
Fuad, go, lay him out and carry him forth." So she took the
hundred dinars and the piece of silk and returned to her
dwelling, rejoicing, and went in to her spouse and acquainted him
what had befallen, whereupon he arose and rejoiced and girdled
his middle and danced and took the hundred dinars and the piece
of silk and laid them up. Then he laid out Nuzhat al-Fuad and
did with her as she had done with him; after which he rent his
raiment and plucked out his beard and disordered his turban and
ran out nor ceased running till he came in to the Caliph, who was
sitting in the judgment-hall, and he in this plight, beating his
breast. The Caliph asked him, "What aileth thee, O Abu al-
Hasan?" and he wept and answered, "Would heaven thy cup-companion
had never been and would his hour had never come!"[FN#63] Quoth
the Caliph, "Tell me thy case:" and quoth Abu al-Hasan, "O my
lord, may thy head outlive Nuzhat al-Fuad!" The Caliph
exclaimed, "There is no god but God;" and smote hand upon hand.
Then he comforted Abu al-Hasan and said to him, "Grieve not, for
we will bestow upon thee a bed-fellow other than she." And he
ordered the treasurer to give him an hundred dinars and a piece
of silk. Accordingly the treasurer did what the Caliph bade him,
and Al-Rashid said to him, "Go, lay her out and carry her forth
and make her a handsome funeral." So Abu al-Hasan took that
which he had given him and returning to his house, rejoicing,
went in to Nuzhat al-Fuad and said to her, "Arise, for our wish
is won." Hereat she arose and he laid before her the hundred
ducats and the piece of silk, whereat she rejoiced, and they
added the gold to the gold and the silk to the silk and sat
talking and laughing each to other. Meanwhile, when Abu al-Hasan
fared forth the presence of the Caliph and went to lay out Nuzhat
al-Fuad, the Commander of the Faithful mourned for her and
dismissing the divan, arose and betook himself, leaning upon
Masrur, the Sworder of his vengeance, to the Lady Zubaydah, that
he might condole with her for her hand-maid. He found her
sitting weeping and awaiting his coming, so she might condole
with him for his boon-companion Abu al-Hasan the Wag. So he said
to her, "May thy head outlive thy slave-girl Nuzhat al-Fuad!" and
said she, "O my lord, Allah preserve my slave-girl! Mayst thou
live and long survive thy boon-companion Abu al-Hasan al-Khali'a;
for he is dead." The Caliph smiled and said to his eunuch, "O
Masrur, verily women are little of wit. Allah upon thee, say,
was not Abu al-Hasan with me but now?"[FN#64] Quoth the Lady
Zubaydah, laughing from a heart full of wrath, "Wilt thou not
leave thy jesting? Sufficeth thee not that Abu al-Hasan is dead,
but thou must put to death my slave-girl also and bereave us of
the twain, and style me little of wit?" The Caliph answered,
"Indeed, 'tis Nuzhat al-Fuad who is dead." And the Lady Zubaydah
said, "Indeed he hath not been with thee, nor hast thou seen him,
and none was with me but now save Nuzhat al-Fuad, and she
sorrowful, weeping with her clothes torn to tatters. I exhorted
her to patience and gave her an hundred dinars and a piece of
silk; and indeed I was awaiting thy coming, so I might console
thee for thy cup-companion Abu al-Hasan al-Khali'a, and was about
to send for thee."[FN#65] The Caliph laughed and said, "None is
dead save Nuzhat al-Fuad;" and she, "No, no, good my lord; none
is dead but Abu al-Hasan the Wag." With this the Caliph waxed
wroth, the Háshimí vein[FN#66] started out from between his eyes
and throbbed: and he cried out to Masrur and said to him, "Fare
thee forth to the house of Abu al-Hasan the Wag and see which of
them is dead." So Masrur went out, running, and the Caliph said
to the Lady Zubaydah, "Wilt thou lay me a wager?" And said she,
"Yes, I will wager, and I say that Abu al-Hasan is dead."
Rejoined the Caliph, "And I wager and say that none is dead save
Nuzhat al-Fuad; and the stake between me and thee shall be the
Garden of Pleasance[FN#67] against thy palace and the Pavilion of
Pictures."[FN#68] So they agreed upon this and sat awaiting
Masrur's return with the news. As for the Eunuch, he ceased not
running till he came to the by-street, wherein was the stead of
Abu al-Hasan al-Khali'a. Now the Wag was comfortably seated and
leaning back against the lattice,[FN#69] and chancing to look
round, saw Masrur running along the street and said to Nuzhat al-
Fuad, "Meseemeth the Caliph, when I went forth from him dismissed
the Divan and went in to the Lady Zubaydah, to condole with her;
whereupon she arose and condoled with him, saying, ‘Allah
increase thy recompense for the loss of Abu al-Hasan al-Khali'a!'
And he said to her, ‘None is dead save Nuzhat al-Fuad, may thy
head outlive her!' Quoth she, ‘'Tis not she who is dead, but Abu
al-Hasan al-Khali'a, thy boon-companion.' And quoth he, ‘None is
dead save Nuzhat al-Fuad.' And they waxed so obstinate that the
Caliph became wroth and they laid a wager, and he hath sent
Masrur the Sworder to see who is dead. Now, therefore, 'twere
best that thou lie down, so he may sight thee and go and acquaint
the Caliph and confirm my saying."[FN#70] So Nuzhat al-Fuad
stretched herself out and Abu al-Hasan covered her with her
mantilla and sat weeping at her head. Presently, Masrur the
eunuch suddenly came in to him and saluted him, and seeing Nuzhat
al-Fuad stretched out, uncovered her face and said, "There is no
god but God! Our sister Nuzhat al-Fuad is dead indeed. How
sudden was the stroke of Destiny! Allah have ruth on thee and
acquit thee of all charge!" Then he returned and related what
had passed before the Caliph and the Lady Zubaydah, and he
laughing as he spoke. "O accursed one," cried the Caliph, "this
is no time for laughter! Tell us which is dead of them." Masrur
replied, "By Allah, O my lord, Abu al-Hasan is well, and none is
dead but Nuzhat al-Fuad." Quoth the Caliph to Zubaydah, "Thou
hast lost thy pavilion in thy play," and he jeered at her and
said, "O Masrur, tell her what thou sawest." Quoth the Eunuch,
"Verily, O my lady, I ran without ceasing till I came in to Abu
al-Hasan in his house and found Nuzhat al-Fuad lying dead and Abu
al-Hasan sitting tearful at her head. I saluted him and condoled
with him and sat down by his side and uncovered the face of
Nuzhat al-Fuad and saw her dead and her face swollen.[FN#71] So
I said to him, ‘Carry her out forthwith, so we may pray over
her.' He replied, ‘'Tis well'; and I left him to lay her out and
came hither, that I might tell you the news." The Prince of True
Believers laughed and said, "Tell it again and again to thy lady
Little-wits." When the Lady Zubaydah heard Masrur's words and
those of the Caliph she was wroth and said, "None is little of
wit save he who believeth a black slave." And she abused Masrur,
whilst the Commander of the Faithful laughed: and the Eunuch,
vexed at this, said to the Caliph, "He spake sooth who said,
"Women are little of wits and lack religion."[FN#72] Then said
the Lady Zubaydah to the Caliph, "O Commander of the Faithful,
thou sportest and jestest with me, and this slave hoodwinketh me,
the better to please thee; but I will send and see which of them
be dead." And he answered, saying, "Send one who shall see which
of them is dead." So the Lady Zubaydah cried out to an old
duenna, and said to her, "Hie thee to the house of Nuzhat al-Fuad
in haste and see who is dead and loiter not." And she used hard
words to her."[FN#73] So the old woman went out running, whilst
the Prince of True Believers and Masrur laughed, and she ceased
not running till she came into the street. Abu al-Hasan saw her,
and knowing her, said to his wife, "O Nuzhat al-Fuad, meseemeth
the Lady Zubaydah hath sent to us to see who is dead and hath not
given credit to Masrur's report of thy death: accordingly, she
hath despatched the old crone, her duenna, to discover the truth.
So it behoveth me to be dead in my turn for the sake of thy
credit with the Lady Zubaydah." Hereat he lay down and stretched
himself out, and she covered him and bound his eyes and feet and
sat in tears at his head. Presently the old woman came in to her
and saw her sitting at Abu al-Hasan's head, weeping and
recounting his fine qualities; and when she saw the old trot, she
cried out and said to her, "See what hath befallen me! Indeed
Abu al-Hasan is dead and hath left me lone and lorn!" Then she
shrieked out and rent her raiment and said to the crone, "O my
mother, how very good he was to me!"[FN#74] Quoth the other,
"Indeed thou art excused, for thou wast used to him and he to
thee." Then she considered what Masrur had reported to the
Caliph and the Lady Zubaydah and said to her, "Indeed, Masrur
goeth about to cast discord between the Caliph and the Lady
Zubaydah." Asked Nuzhat al-Fuad, "And what is the cause of
discord, O my mother?" and the other replied, "O my daughter,
Masrur came to the Caliph and the Lady Zubaydah and gave them
news of thee that thou wast dead and that Abu al-Hasan was well."
Nuzhat al-Fuad said to her, "O naunty mine,[FN#75] I was with my
lady just now and she gave me an hundred dinars and a piece of
silk; and now see my case and that which hath befallen me!
Indeed, I am bewildered, and how shall I do, and I lone, and
lorn? Would heaven I had died and he had lived!" Then she wept
and with her wept the old woman, who, going up to Abu al-Hasan
and uncovering his face, saw his eyes bound and swollen for the
swathing. So she covered him up again and said, "Indeed, O
Nuzhat al-Fuad, thou art afflicted in Abu al-Hasan!" Then she
condoled with her and going out from her, ran along the street
until she came in to the Lady Zubaydah and related to her the
story; and the Princess said to her, laughing, "Tell it over
again to the Caliph, who maketh me out little of wit, and lacking
of religion, and who made this ill-omened liar of a slave presume
to contradict me." Quoth Masrur, "This old woman lieth; for I
saw Abu al-Hasan well and Nuzhat al-Fuad it was who lay dead."
Quoth the duenna, "'Tis thou that liest, and wouldst fain cast
discord between the Caliph and the Lady Zubaydah." And Masrur
cried,' "None lieth but thou, O old woman of ill-omen and thy
lady believeth thee and she must be in her dotage." Whereupon
Lady Zubaydah cried out at him and in very sooth she was enraged
with him and with his speech and shed tears. Then said the
Caliph to her, "I lie and my eunuch lieth, and thou liest and thy
waiting-woman lieth; so 'tis my rede we go, all four of us
together, that we may see which of us telleth the truth." Masrur
said, "Come, let us go, that I may do to this ill-omened old
woman evil deeds[FN#76] and deal her a sound drubbing for her
lying." And the duenna answered him, "O dotard, is thy wit like
unto my wit? Indeed, thy wit is as the hen's wit." Masrur was
incensed at her words and would have laid violent hands on her,
but the Lady Zubaydah pushed him away from her and said to him,
"Her truth-speaking will presently be distinguished from thy
truth-speaking and her leasing from thy leasing." Then they all
four arose, laying wagers one with other, and went forth a-foot
from the palace-gate and hied on till they came in at the gate of
the street where Abu al-Hasan al-Khali'a dwelt. He saw them and
said to his wife Nuzhat al-Fuad, "Verily, all that is sticky is
not a pancake[FN#77] they cook nor every time shall the crock
escape the shock. It seemeth the old woman hath gone and told
her lady and acquainted her with our case and she has disputed
with Masrur the Eunuch and they have laid wagers each with other
about our death and are come to us, all four, the Caliph and the
Eunuch and the Lady Zubaydah and the old trot." When Nuzhat al-
Fuad heard this, she started up from her outstretched, posture
and asked, "How shall we do?" whereto he answered, "We will both
feign ourselves dead together and stretch ourselves out and hold
our breath." So she hearkened to him and they both lay down on
the place where they usually slept the siesta[FN#78] and bound
their feet and shut their eyes and covered themselves with the
veil and held their breath. Presently, up came the Caliph,
Zubaydah, Masrur and the old woman and entering, found Abu al-
Hasan the Wag and wife both stretched out as dead; which when the
Lady saw, she wept and said, "They ceased not to bring ill-news
of my slave-girl till she died,[FN#79] methinketh Abu al-Hasan's
death was grievous to her and that she died after him."[FN#80]
Quoth the Caliph, "Thou shalt not prevent me with thy prattle and
prate. She certainly died before Abu al-Hasan, for he came to me
with his raiment rent and his beard plucked out, beating his
breast with two bits of unbaked brick,[FN#81] and I gave him an
hundred dinars and a piece of silk and said to him, "Go, bear her
forth and I will give thee a bed-fellow other than she and
handsomer, and she shall be in stead of her. But it would appear
that her death was no light matter to him and he died after
her;[FN#82] so it is who have beaten thee and gotten thy stake."
The Lady Zubaydah answered him in words galore and the dispute
between them waxed sore. At last the Caliph sat down at the head
of the pair and said, "By the tomb of the Apostle of Allah (whom
may He save and assain!) and the sepulchres of my fathers and
forefathers, whoso will tell me which of them died before the
other, I will willingly give him a thousand dinars!" when Abu
al-Hasan heard the Calipih's words, he sprang up in haste and
said, "I died first, O Commander of the Faithful! Here with the
thousand dinars and acquit thee of thine oath and the swear thou
sworest." Nuzhat al-Fuad rose also and stood up before the
Caliph and the Lady Zubaydah, who both rejoiced in this and in
their safety, and the Pricess chid her slave-girl. Then the
Caliph and Zubaydah gave them joy of their well-being and knew
that this death was a trick to get the gold; and the Lady said to
Nuzhat al-Fuad, "Thou shouldst have sought of me that which thou
needest, without this fashion, and not have burned[FN#83] my
heart for thee." And she, "Verily, I was ashamed, O my lady."
As for the Caliph, he swooned away for laughing and said, "O Abu
al-Hasan, thou wilt never cease to be a wag and do peregrine
things and prodigious!" Quoth he, "O Commander of the Faithful,
this trick I played off for that money which thou gavest me was
exhausted, and I was ashamed to ask of thee again. When I was
single, I could never keep money in hand; but since thou
marriedst me to this damsel, if I possessed even thy wealth, I
should lay it waste. Wherefore when all that was in my hand was
spent, I wrought this sleight, so I might get of thee the hundred
dinars and the piece of silk; and all this is an alms from our
lord. But now make haste to give me the thousand dinars and
acquit thee of thine oath." The Caliph and the Lady Zubaydah
laughed and returned to the palace; and he gave Abu al-Hasan the
thousand dinars saying, "Take them as a douceur[FN#84] for thy
preservation from death," whilst her mistress did the like with
Nuzhat al-Fuad, honouring her with the same words. Moreover, the
Caliph increased the Wag in his solde and supplies, and he and
his wife ceased not to live in joy and contentment, till there
came to them the Destroyer of delights and Severer of societies,
the Plunderer of palaces, and the Garnerer of Graves.


It is said that, when the Caliphate devolved on Omar bin Abd al-
Aziz[FN#86] (of whom Allah accept), the poets resorted to him, as
they had been used to resort to the Caliphs before him, and abode
at his door days and day, but he suffered them not to enter, till
there came to him 'Abí bin Artah,[FN#87] who stood high in esteem
with him. Jarír[FN#88] accosted him and begged him to crave
admission for them to the presence; so Adi answered, "'Tis well;"
and, going in to Omar, said to him, "The poets are at thy door
and have been there days and days; yet hast thou not given them
leave to enter, albeit their sayings abide[FN#89] and their
arrows from mark never fly wide." Quoth Omar, "What have I to do
with the poets?" and quoth Adi, "O Commander of the Faithful, the
Prophet (Abhak!)[FN#90] was praised by a poet[FN#91] and gave him
largesse, and in him[FN#92] is an exemplar to every Moslem."
Quoth Omar, "And who praised him?" and quoth Adi, "'Abbás bin
Mirdás[FN#93] praised him, and he clad him with a suit and said,
O Generosity,[FN#94] cut off from me his tongue!" Asked the
Caliph, "Dost thou remember what he said?" and Adi answered,
"Yes." Rejoined Omar, "Then repeat it;" so Adi repeated,[FN#95]

"I saw thee, O thou best of human race, * Bring out a Book which
brought to graceless Grace.
Thou showedst righteous road to men astray * From Right, when
darkest Wrong had ta'en its place;--
Thou with Islám didst light the gloomiest way, *Quenching with
proof live coals of frowardness;
I own for Prophet Mohammed's self; * And man's award upon his
word we base;
Thou madest straight the path that crooked ran, * Where in old
days foul growth o'ergrew its face.
Exalt be thou in Joy's empyrean * And Allah's glory ever grow

"And indeed" (continued Adi), "this Elegy on the Prophet (Abhak!)
is well known and to comment it would be tedious." Quoth Omar
"Who is at the door?" and quoth Adi, "Among them is Omar ibn Abi
Rabí'ah, the Korashí;[FN#96] whereupon the Caliph cried, "May
Allah show him no favour neither quicken him! Was it not he who
said these verses,

‘Would Heaven what day Death shall visit me * I smell as thy
droppings and drippings[FN#97] smell!
Could I in my clay-bed on Salmá lie * There to me were better
than Heaven or Hell!'

"Had he not been" (continued the Caliph) "the enemy of Allah, he
had wished for her in this world, so he might after repent and
return to righteous dealing. By Allah, he shall not come in to
me! who is at the door other than he?" Quoth Adi, "Jamíl bin
ma'mar al-Uzri[FN#98] is at the door;" and quoth Omar, "'Tis he
who saith in one of his elegies,

‘Would Heaven conjoint we lived, and if I die * Death only grant
me a grave within her grave:
For I'd no longer deign to live my life * If told upon her head
is laid the pave.'"[FN#99]

Quoth Omar, "Away with him from me! Who is at the door?" and
quoth Adi, "Kuthayyir 'Assah"[FN#100]; whereupon Omar cried,
"'Tis he who saith in one of his odes,

‘Some talk of faith and creed and nothing else * And wait for
pains of Hell in prayer-seat;[FN#101]
But did they hear what I from Azzah heard, * They'd make
prostration, fearfull at her feet.'

"Leave the mention of him. Who is at the door?" Quoth Adi, "Al-
Ahwas al-'Ansárí."[FN#102] Cried Omar, "Allah Almighty put him
away and estrange him from His mercy! Is it not he who said,
berhyming on a Medinite's slave-girl, so she might outlive her

‘Allah be judge betwixt me and her lord! * Who ever flies with
her and I pursue.'

"He shall not come in to me. who is at the door, other than he?"
Adi replied, "Hammám bin Ghálib al-Farazdak;"[FN#103] and Omar
said, "'Tis he who saith, glorying in whoring,

‘Two girls let me down eighty fathoms deep, * As low sweeps a
falcon wi' pinions spread;
And cried; as my toes touched the ground, ‘Dost live * To return,
or the fall hath it done thee dead?

"He shall not come in to me. who is at the door, other than he?"
Adi replied, "Al-Akhtal al-Taghlibí"[FN#104] and Omar said, "He
is the Miscreant who saith in his singing,

‘Ramazan I ne'er fasted in life-time; nay * I ate flesh in public
at undurn day;[FN#105]
Nor chide I the fair, save in way of love, * Nor seek Meccah's
plain[FN#106] in salvation-way:
Nor stand I praying like rest who cry * ‘Hie
salvationwards'[FN#107] at the dawn's first ray.
But I drink her cooled[FN#108] by fresh Northern breeze * And my
head at dawn to her prone I lay.'[FN#109]

"By Allah, he treadeth no carpet of mine! who is at the door,
other than he?" Said Adi, "Jarír ibn al-Khatafah"; and Omar
cried, "'Tis he who saith,

‘But for ill-spying glances had our eyes espied * Eyne of the
antelope and ringlets of the Reems.[FN#110]
A huntress of the eyes[FN#111] by night-tide came and I * Cried,
‘Turn in peace, no time for visit this, meseems!'

"An it must be and no help, admit Jarir." So Adi went forth and
admitted Jarir, who entered, saying.

"Yea, he who sent Mohammed unto man, * A just successor for
Imám[FN#112] assigned.
His ruth and justice all mankind embrace, * To daunt the bad and
stablish well-designed.
Verily now I look to present good, * For man hath ever-transient
weal in mind."

Quoth Omar, "O Jarir, keep the fear of Allah before thine eyes
and say naught save the sooth." And Jarir recited these

"How many widows loose the hair in far Yamámah-land[FN#113] * How
many an orphan there abides feeble of voice and eye,
Since faredst thou who wast to them instead of father lost * When
they like nested fledglings were sans power to creep or fly!
And now we hope, since brake the clouds their word and troth with
us, * Hope from the Caliph's grace to gain a rain[FN#114]
that ne'er shall dry."

When the Caliph heard this, he said, "By Allah, O Jarir, Omar
possesseth but an hundred dirhams.[FN#115] Ho, boy! do thou give
them to him." Moreover he gifted him with the ornaments of his
sword; and Jarir went forth to the other poets, who asked him,
"What is behind thee?"[FN#116] and he answered, "A man who giveth
to the poor and denieth the poets, and with him I am well-


They tell that Al-Hajjáj[FN#118] once bade the Chief of Police go
his rounds about Bassorah city by night, and whomsoever he found
abroad after supper-tide that he should smite his neck. So he
went round one night of the nights and came upon three youths
swaying and staggering from side to side, and on them signs of
wine-bibbing. So the watch laid hold of them and the captain
said to them, "Who be you that ye durst transgress the
commandment of the Commander of the Faithful[FN#119] and come
abroad at this hour?" quoth one of the youths, "I am the son of
him to whom all necks[FN#120] abase themselves, alike the nose-
pierced of them and the breaker; they come to him in their own
despite, abject and submissive, and he taketh of their wealth and
of their blood." The Master of Police held his hand from him,,
saying, "Belike he is of the kinsman of the Prince of True
Believers," and said to the second, "Who art thou?" Quoth he, "I
am the son of him whose rank[FN#121] Time abaseth not, and if it
be lowered one day, 'twill assuredly return to its former height;
thou seest the folk crowd in troops to the light of his fire,
some standing around it and some sitting." So the Chief of
Police refrained from slaying him and asked the third, "Who art
thou?" He answered, I am the son of him who plungeth through the
ranks[FN#122] with his might and levelleth them with the sword,
so that they stand straight; his feet are not loosed from the
stirrup, whenas the horsemen on the day of the battle are a-
weary." So the Master of the Police held his hand from him also,
saying, "Belike, he is the son of a Brave of the Arabs. Then he
kept them under guard, and when the morning morrowed, he referred
their case to Al-Hajjaj, who caused bring them before him and
enquiring into their affair, when behold, the first was the son
of a barber-surgeon, the second of a bean-seller, and the third
of a weaver. So he marvelled at their eloquent readiness of
speech and said to the men of his assembly, "Teach your sons the
rhetorical use of Arabic:[FN#123] for, by Allah, but for their
ready wit, I had smitten off their heads!"


They tell[FN#125] that Harun Al-Rashid was sitting one day to
abate grievances, when there came up to him a woman and said, "O
Commander of the Faithful, may Allah perfect thy purpose and
gladden thee in whatso He hath given thee and increase thee in
elevation! Indeed, thou hast done justice and wrought
equitably." [FN#126] Quoth the Caliph to those who were present
with him, "Know ye what this one means by her saying?" and quoth
they, "Of a surety, she meaneth not otherwise than well, O Prince
of True Believers." Al-Rashid rejoined: "Nay, in this she
purposeth only to curse me. As for her saying, ‘Allah perfect
thy purpose,' she hath taken it from the saying of the poet,

‘When thy purpose is effected beginneth its decay; * when they
say ‘Thy wish is won' feel thou sure 'twill pass away.'

As for her saying ‘Allah gladden thee in whatso He hath given
thee,' she took it from the saying of Almighty Allah,[FN#127]
‘Till, whenas they were gladdened in that they were given, We
suddenly laid hold of them and lo, they were in despair!' As for
her saying, ‘Allah increase thee in elevation!' she took it from
the saying of the poet:--

‘No flier flieth however tall * but as he flieth shall come to

And as for her saying, ‘Indeed, thou hast done justice and
wrought equitably, 'tis from the saying of the Almighty, ‘If ye
swerve[FN#128] or lag behind or turn aside, verily, Allah of that
which ye do is well aware;' and ‘As for the swervers[FN#129] they
are fuel for Hell.'" Then he turned to the woman and asked her,
"Is it not thus?" answered she, "Yes, O Commander of the
Faithful," and quoth he, "What prompted thee to this?" Quoth
she, "Thou slewest my parents and my kinsfolk and despoiledst
their good." Enquired the Caliph, "Whom meanest thou?" and she
replied, "I am of the House of Barmak." Then said he to her, "As
for the dead, they are of those who are past away, and it booteth
not to speak of them; but, as for that which I took of wealth, it
shall forthright be restored to thee, yea, and more than it."
And he was bountiful to her to the uttermost of his bounties.


There was once, of old days, a king of the kings, whose name was
Azádbakht; his capital was hight Kunaym Madúd[FN#131] and his
kingdom extended to the confines of Sístán[FN#132] and from the
confines of Hindostan to the Indian Ocean. He had ten Wazirs, who
ordered his kingship and his dominion, and he was possessed of
judgment and exceeding wisdom. One day he went forth with certain
of his guards to the chase and fell in with an Eunuch riding a
mare and hending in hand the halter of a she-mule, which he led
along. On the mule's back was a domed litter of brocade purfled
with gold and girded with an embroidered band set with pearls and
gems, and about it was a company of Knights. When King Azadbakht
saw this, he separated himself from his suite and, making for the
horsemen and that mule, questioned them, saying, "To whom
belongeth this litter and what is therein?" The Eunuch answered
(for he knew not that the speaker was King Azadbakht), saying,
"This litter belongeth to Isfahand, Wazir to King Azadbakht, and
therein is his daughter, whom he is minded to marry to the King
hight Zád Sháh."

As the Eunuch was speaking with the king, behold, the maiden
raised a corner of the curtain that shut in the litter, so she
might look upon the speaker, and saw the king. When Azadbakht
beheld her and noted her fashion and her loveliness (and indeed
never did seer[FN#133] espy her like), his soul inclined to her
and she took hold upon his heart and he was ravished by her
sight. So he said to the Eunuch, "Turn the mule's head and
return, for I am King Azadbakht and in very sooth I will marry
her myself, inasmuch as Isfahand her sire is my Wazir and he will
accept of this affair and it will not be hard to him." Answered
the Eunuch, "O king, Allah prolong thy continuance, have patience
till I acquaint my lord her parent, and thou shalt wed her in the
way of consent, for it befitteth thee not, neither is it seemly
for thee, to seize her on this wise, seeing that it will be an
affront to her father an if thou take her without his knowledge."
Quoth Azadbakht, ‘I have not patience to wait till thou repair to
her sire and return, and no shame will betide him, if I marry
her." And quoth the eunuch, "O my lord, naught that in haste is
done long endureth nor doth the heart rejoice therein; and indeed
it behoveth thee not to take her on this unseemly wise.
Whatsoever betideth thee, destroy not thyself with haste, for I
know that her sire's breast will be straitened by this affair and
this that thou dost will not win thy wish." But the king said,
"Verily, Isfahand is my Mameluke and a slave of my slaves, and I
reck not of her father, an he be fain or unfain." So saying, he
drew the reins of the mule and carrying the damsel, whose name
was Bahrjaur,[FN#134] to his house, married her. Meanwhile, the
Eunuch betook himself, he and the knights, to her sire and said
to him, "O my lord, thou hast served the king a-many years'
service and thou hast not failed him a single day; and now he
hath taken thy daughter without thy consent and permission." And
he related to him what had passed and how the king had seized her
by force. When Isfahand heard the eunuch's words, he was wroth
with exceeding wrath and assembling many troops, said to them,
"Whenas the king was occupied with his women[FN#135] we took no
reck of him; but now he putteth out his hand to our Harim;
wherefore ‘tis my rede that we look us out a place wherein we may
have sanctuary." Then he wrote a letter to King Azadbakht, saying
to him, "I am a Mameluke of thy Mamelukes and a slave of thy
slaves and my daughter at thy service is a hand-maid, and
Almighty Allah prolong thy days and appoint thy times to be in
joy and gladness! Indeed, I went ever waist-girded in thy service
and in caring to conserve thy dominion and warding off from thee
all thy foes; but now I abound yet more than erewhile in zeal and
watchfulness, because I have taken this charge upon myself, since
my daughter is become thy wife." And he despatched a courier to
the king with the letter and a present. When the messenger came
to King Azadbakht and he read the letter and the present was laid
before him, he rejoiced with joy exceeding and occupied himself
with eating and drinking, hour after hour. But the chief Wazir of
his Wazirs came to him and said, "O king, know that Isfahand the
Wazir is thine enemy, for that his soul liketh not that which
thou hast done with him, and this message he hath sent thee is a
trick; so rejoice thou not therein, neither be thou misled by the
sweets of his say and the softness of his speech." The king
hearkened to his Wazir's speech, but presently made light of the
matter and busied himself with that which he was about of eating
and drinking, pleasuring and merrymaking. Meanwhile, lsfahand the
Wazir wrote a letter and sent it to all the Emirs, acquainting
them with that which had betided him from King Azadbakht and how
he had forced his daughter, adding, "And indeed he will do with
you more than he hath done with me." When the letter reached the
chiefs,[FN#136] they all assembled together to Isfahand and said
to him, "What was his affair?"[FN#137] Accordingly he discovered
to them the matter of his daughter and they all agreed, of one
accord, to strive for the slaughter of the king; and, taking
horse with their troops, they set out to seek him. Azadbakht knew
naught till the noise of the revolt beset his capital city, when
he said to his wife Bahrjaur, "How shall we do?" She answered,
"Thou knowest best and I am at thy commandment;" so he bade fetch
two swift horses and bestrode one himself, whilst his wife
mounted the other. Then they took what they could of gold and
went forth, flying through the night to the desert of
Karmán;[FN#138] while Isfahand entered the city and made himself
king. Now King Azadbakht's wife was big with child and the labour
pains took her in the mountain; so they alighted at the foot, by
a spring of water, and she bare a boy as he were the moon.
Bahrjaur his mother pulled off a coat of gold-woven brocade and
wrapped the child therein, and they passed the night in that
place, she giving him the breast till morning. Then said the king
to her, "We are hampered by this child and cannot abide here nor
can we carry him with us; so methinks we had better leave him in
this stead and wend our ways, for Allah is able to send him one
who shall take him and rear him." So they wept over him with
exceeding sore weeping and left him beside the fountain, wrapped
in that coat of brocade: then they laid at his head a thousand
gold pieces in a bag and mounting their horses, fared forth and
fled. Now, by the ordinance of the Most High Lord, a company of
highway robbers fell upon a caravan hard by that mountain and
despoiled them of what was with them of merchandise. Then they
betook themselves to the highlands, so they might share their
loot, and looking at the foot thereof, espied the coat of
brocade: so they descended to see what it was, and behold, it was
a boy wrapped therein and the gold laid at his head. They
marvelled and said, "Praised be Allah! By what misdeed cometh
this child here?" Thereupon they divided the money between them
and the captain[FN#139] of the highwaymen took the boy and made
him his son and fed him with sweet milk and dates,[FN#140] till
he came to his house, when he appointed a nurse for rearing him.
Meanwhile, King Azadbakht and his wife stayed not in their flight
till they came to the court of the King of Fars, whose name was
Kisra[FN#141]. When they presented themselves to him, he honoured
them with all honour and entertained them with handsomest
entertainment, and Azadbakht told him his tale from incept to
conclusion. So he gave him a mighty power and wealth galore and
he abode with him some days till he was rested, when he made
ready with his host and setting out for his own dominions, waged
war with Isfahand and falling in upon the capital, defeated the
whilome Minister and slew him. Then he entered the city and sat
down on the throne of his kingship; and whenas he was rested and
his kingdom waxed peaceful for him, he despatched messengers to
the mountain aforesaid in search of the child; but they returned
and informed the king that they had not found him. As time ran
on, the boy, the son of the king, grew up and fell to cutting the
way[FN#142] with the highwaymen, and they used to carry him with
them, whenever they went banditing. They sallied forth one day
upon a caravan in the land of Sistan, and there were in that
caravan strong men and valiant, and with them a mighty store of
merchandise. Now they had heard that in that land banditti
abounded: so they gathered themselves together and gat ready
their weapons and sent out spies, who returned and gave them news
of the plunderers. Accordingly, they prepared for battle, and
when the robbers drew near the caravan, they fell upon them and
the twain fought a sore fight. At last the caravan-folk
overmastered the highwaymen by dint of numbers, and slew some of
them, whilst the others fled. They also took the boy, the son of
King Azadbakht, and seeing him as he were the moon, a model of
beauty and loveliness, bright of face and engraced with grace,
asked him, "Who is thy father, and how camest thou with these
banditti?" And he answered, saying, "I am the son of the Captain
of the highwaymen." So they seized him and carried him to the
capital of his sire, King Azadbakht. When they reached the city,
the king heard of their coming and commanded that they should
attend him with what befitted of their goods. Accordingly they
presented themselves before him, and the boy with them, whom when
the king saw, he asked them, "To whom belongeth this boy?" and
they answered, "O King, we were going on such a road, when there
came out upon us a sort of robbers; so we fought them and beat
them off and took this boy prisoner. Then we questioned him,
saying, Who is thy sire? and he replied, I am the son of the
robber-captain." Quoth the king, "I would fain have this boy;"
and quoth the captain of the caravan, "Allah maketh thee gift of
him, O king of the age, and we all are thy slaves." Then the king
(who was not aware that the boy was his son) dismissed the
caravan and bade carry the lad into his palace, and he became as
one of the pages, while his sire the king still knew not that he
was his child. As the days rolled on, the king observed in him
good breeding and understanding and handiness galore and he
pleased him; so he committed his treasuries to his charge and
shortened the Wazir's hand therefrom, commanding that naught
should be taken forth save by leave of the youth. On this wise he
abode a number of years and the king saw in him only good conduct
and the habit of righteousness. Now the treasuries had been
aforetime in the hands of the Wazirs to do with them whatso they
would, and when they came under the youth's hand, that of the
Ministers was shortened from them, and he became dearer than a
son to the king, who could not support being separated from him.
When the Wazirs saw this, they were jealous of him and envied him
and sought a device against him whereby they might oust him from
the King's eye,[FN#143] but found no means. At last, when Fate
descended,[FN#144] it chanced that the youth one day of the days
drank wine and became drunken and wandered from his right wits;
so he fell to going round about within the king's palace and
Destiny led him to the lodging of the women, in which there was a
little sleeping chamber, where the king lay with his wife.
Thither came the youth and entering the dormitory, found there a
spread couch, to wit, a sleeping-place: so he cast himself on the
bed, marvelling at the paintings that were in the chamber, which
was lighted by one waxen taper. Presently he fell asleep and
slumbered heavily till eventide, when there came a hand-maid,
bringing with her as of wont all the dessert, eatables and
drinkables, usually made ready for the king and his wife, and
seeing the youth lying on his back (and none knowing of his case
and he in his drunkenness unknowing where he was), thought that
he was the king asleep on his couch; so she set the
censing-vessel and laid the perfumes by the bedding, then shut
the door and went her ways. Soon after this, the king arose from
the wine-chamber and taking his wife by the hand, repaired with
her to the chamber in which he slept. He opened the door and
entered when, lo and behold! he saw the youth lying on the bed,
whereupon he turned to his wife and said to her, "What doth this
youth here? This fellow cometh not hither save on thine account."
Said she. "I have no knowledge of him." Hereupon the youth awoke
and seeing the king, sprang up and prostrated himself before him,
and Azadbakht said to him, "O vile of birth,[FN#145] O traitor of
unworth, what hath driven thee to my dwelling?" And he bade
imprison him in one place and the Queen in another.

The First Day

Of the Uselessness of Endeavour Against Persistent Ill

When the morning morrowed and the king sat on the throne of his
kingship, he summoned his Grand Wazir, the Premier of all his
Ministers, and said to him, "How seest thou the deed this
robber-youth hath done?[FN#146] He hath entered my Harim and lain
down on my couch and I fear lest there be an object between him
and the woman. What deemest thou of the affair?" Said the Wazir,
"Allah prolong the king's continuance! What sawest thou in this
youth?[FN#147] Is he not ignoble of birth, the son of thieves?
Needs must a thief revert to his vile origin, and whoso reareth
the serpent's brood shall get of them naught but biting. As for
the woman, she is not at fault; since from time ago until now,
nothing appeared from her except good breeding and modest
bearing; and at this present, an the king give me leave, I will
go to her and question her, so I may discover to thee the
affair." The king gave him leave for this and the Wazir went to
the Queen and said to her, "I am come to thee, on account of a
grave shame, and I would fain have thee soothfast with me in
speech and tell me how came the youth into the sleeping-chamber."
Quoth she, "I have no knowledge whatsoever of it, no, none at
all," and sware to him a binding oath to that intent, whereby he
knew that the woman had no inkling of the affair, nor was in
fault and said to her, "I will show thee a sleight, wherewith
thou mayst acquit thyself and thy face be whitened before the
king." Asked she, "What is it?" and he answered, "When the king
calleth for thee and questioneth thee of this, say thou to him,
‘Yonder youth saw me in the boudoir-chamber and sent me a
message, saying, ‘I will give thee an hundred grains of gem for
whose price money may not suffice, so thou wilt suffer me to
enjoy thee.' I laughed at him who bespake me with such proposal
and rebuffed him; but he sent again to me, saying, ‘An thou
consent not thereto, I will come one of the nights, drunken, and
enter and lie down in the sleeping-chamber, and the king will see
me and slay me; so wilt thou be put to shame and thy face shall
be blackened with him and thine honour dishonoured.' Be this thy
saying to the king, and I will fare to him forthright and repeat
this to him." Quoth the Queen, "And I also will say thus."
Accordingly, the Minister returned to the king and said to him,
"Verily, this youth hath merited grievous pains and penalties
after the abundance of thy bounty, and no kernel which is bitter
can ever wax sweet;[FN#148] but, as for the woman, I am certified
that there is no default in her." Thereupon he repeated to the
king the story which he had taught the Queen, which when
Azadbakht heard, he rent his raiment and bade the youth be
brought. So they fetched him and set him before the king, who
bade summon the Sworder, and the folk all fixed their eyes upon
the youth, to the end that they might see what the Sovran should
do with him. Then said Azadbakht to him (and his words were words
of anger and the speech of the youth was reverent and well-bred),
"I bought thee with my money and looked for fidelity from thee,
wherefore I chose thee over all my Grandees and Pages and made
thee Keeper of my treasuries. Why, then, hast thou outraged mine
honour and entered my house and played traitor with me and
tookest thou no thought of all I have done thee of benefits?"
Replied the youth, "O king, I did this not of my choice and
freewill and I had no business in being there; but, of the lack
of my luck, I was driven thither, for that Fate was contrary and
fair Fortune failed me. Indeed, I had endeavoured with all
endeavour that naught of foulness should come forth me and I kept
watch and ward over myself, lest default foreshow in me; and none
may withstand an ill chance, nor doth striving profit against
adverse Destiny, as appeareth by the example of the merchant who
was stricken with ill luck and his endeavour availed him naught
and he fell by the badness of his fortune." The king asked, "What
is the story of the merchant and how was his luck changed upon
him by the sorriness of his doom?" Answered the youth, "May Allah
prolong the king's continuance!" and began

The Story of the Merchant Who Lost his Luck.[FN#149]

There was once a merchant man, who prospered in trade, and at one
time his every dirham won him fifty. Presently, his luck turned
against him and he knew it not; so he said to himself, "I have
wealth galore, yet do I toil and travel from country to country;
so better had I abide in my own land and rest myself in my own
house from this travail and trouble and sell and buy at home."
Then he made two parts of his money, and with one bought wheat in
summer, saying, "Whenas winter cometh, I shall sell it at a great
profit." But, when the cold set in wheat fell to half the price
for which he had purchased it, whereat he was concerned with sore
chagrin and left it till the next year. However, the price then
fell yet lower and one of his intimates said to him, "Thou hast
no luck in this wheat; so do thou sell it at whatsoever price."
Said the merchant, "Ah, long have I profited! so 'tis allowable
that I lose this time. Allah is all-knowing! An it abide with me
ten full years, I will not sell it save for a gaining
bargain."[FN#150] Then he walled up in his anger the granary-door
with clay, and by the ordinance of Allah Almighty, there came a
great rain and descended from the terrace-roofs of the house
wherein was the wheat so that the grain rotted; and the merchant
had to pay the porters from his purse five hundred dirhams for
them to carry it forth and cast it without the city, the smell of
it having become fulsome. So his friend said to him, "How often
did I tell thee thou hadst no luck in wheat? But thou wouldst not
give ear to my speech, and now it behoveth thee to go to the
astrologer[FN#151] and question him of thine ascendant."
Accordingly the trader betook himself to the astrologer and
questioned him of his star, and astrophil said to him, "Thine
ascendant is adverse. Put not forth thy hand to any business, for
thou wilt not prosper thereby." However, he paid no heed to the
astrologer's words and said in himself, "If I do my business, I
am not afraid of aught." Then he took the other half of his
money, after he had spent the first in three years, and builded
him a ship, which he loaded with a cargaison of whatso seemed
good to him and all that was with him and embarked on the sea, so
he might voyage questing gain. The ship remained in port some
days, till he should be certified whither he would wend, and he
said, "I will ask the traders what this merchandise profiteth and
in what land 'tis wanted and how much can it gain." They directed
him to a far country, where his dirham should produce an
hundredfold. So he set sail and made for the land in question;
but, as he went, there blew on him a furious gale, and the ship
foundered. The merchant saved himself on a plank and the wind
cast him up, naked as he was, on the sea-shore, where stood a
town hard by. He praised Allah and gave Him thanks for his
preservation; then, seeing a great village nigh hand, he betook
himself thither and saw, seated therein, a very old man, whom he
acquainted with his case and that which had betided him. The
Shaykh grieved for him with sore grieving, when he heard his tale
and set food before him. He ate of it and the old man said to
him, "Tarry here with me, so I may make thee my overseer[FN#152]
and factor over a farm I have here, and thou shalt have of me
five dirhams a day." Answered the merchant, "Allah make fair thy
reward, and requite thee with His boons and bounties." So he
abode in this employ, till he had sowed and reaped and threshed
and winnowed, and all was clean in his hand and the Shaykh
appointed neither agent nor inspector, but relied utterly upon
him. Then the merchant bethought himself and said, "I doubt me
the owner of this grain will never give me my due; so the better
rede were to take of it after the measure of my wage; and if he
give me my right, I will return to him that I have taken." So he
laid hands upon the grain, after the measure of that which fell
to him, and hid it in a hiding place. Then he carried the rest
and meted it out to the old man, who said to him "Come, take thy
wage, for which I conditioned with thee, and sell the grain and
buy with the price clothes and what not else; and though thou
abide with me ten years, yet shalt thou still have this hire and
I will acquit it to thee on this wise." Quoth the merchant in
himself, "Indeed, I have done a foul deed by taking it without
his permission." Then he went to fetch that which he had hidden
of the grain, but found it not and returned, perplexed,
sorrowful, to the Shaykh, who asked him, "What aileth thee to be
mournful?" and he answered, "Methought thou wouldst not pay me my
due; so I took of the grain, after the measure of my hire; and
now thou hast paid me all my right and I went to bring back to
thee that which I had hidden from thee, but found it gone, for
those who had come upon it have stolen it." The Shaykh was wroth,
when he heard these words, and said to the merchant, "There is no
device against ill luck! I had given thee this but, of the
sorriness of thy doom and thy fortune, thou hast done this deed,
O oppressor of thine own self! Thou deemedst I would not fulfil
to thee thy wage; but, by Allah, nevermore will I give thee
aught." Then he drove him away from him. So the merchant went
forth, woeful, grieving, weeping-eyed, and wandered along the
sea-shore, till he came to a sort of duckers[FN#153] diving in
the sea for pearls. They saw him weeping and wailing and said to
him, "What is thy case and what garreth thee shed tears?" So he
acquainted them with his history, from incept to conclusion,
whereby the duckers knew him and asked him "Art thou Such-an-one,
son of Such-an-one?" He answered "Yes;" whereupon they condoled
with him and wept sore for him and said to him, "Abide here till
we dive upon thy luck this next time and whatso betideth us shall
be between us and thee."[FN#154] Accordingly, they ducked and
brought up ten oyster-shells, in each two great unions: whereat
they marvelled and said to him,"By Allah, thy luck hath
re-appeared and thy good star is in the ascendant!" Then the
pearl-fishers gave him the ten pearls and said to him, "Sell two
of them and make them thy stock-in-trade: and hide the rest
against the time of thy straitness." So he took them, joyful and
contented, and applied himself to sewing eight of them in his
gown, keeping the two others in his mouth; but a thief saw him
and went and advertised his fellows of him; whereupon they
gathered together upon him, and took his gown and departed from
him. When they were gone away, he arose, saying, "The two unions
I have will suffice me," and made for the nearest city, where he
brought out the pearls for sale. Now as Destiny would have it, a
certain jeweller of the town had been robbed of ten unions, like
those which were with the merchant; so, when he saw the two
pearls in the broker's hand, he asked him, "To whom do these
belong?" and the broker answered, "To yonder man." The jeweller,
seeing the merchant in pauper case and clad in tattered clothes,
suspected him and said to him, "Where be the other eight pearls?"
The merchant thought he asked him of those which were in the
gown, whenas the man had purposed only to surprise him into
confession, and replied, "The thieves stole them from me." When
the jeweller heard his reply, he was certified that it was the
wight who had taken his good; so he laid hold of him and haling
him before the Chief of Police, said to him, "This is the man who
stole my unions: I have found two of them upon him and he
confesseth to the other eight." Now the Wali knew of the theft of
the pearls; so he bade throw the merchant into jail. Accordingly
they imprisoned him and whipped him, and he lay in trunk a whole
year, till, by the ordinance of Allah Almighty, the Chief of
Police arrested one of the divers aforesaid, and imprisoned him
in the prison where the merchant was jailed. The ducker saw him
and knowing him, questioned him of his case; whereupon he told
them his tale, and that which had befallen him; and the diver
marvelled at the lack of his luck. So, when he came forth of the
prison, he acquainted the Sultan with the merchant's case and
told him that it was he who had given him the pearls. The Sultan
bade bring him forth of the jail, and asked him of his story,
whereupon he told him all that had befallen him, and the Sovran
pitied him and assigned him a lodging in his own palace, together
with pay and allowances for his support. Now the lodging in
question adjoined the king's house, and whilst the merchant was
rejoicing in this and saying, "Verily, my luck hath returned, and
I shall live in the shadow of this king the rest of my life," he
espied an opening walled up with clay and stones. So he cleared
the opening the better to see what was behind it, and behold, it
was a window giving upon the lodging of the king's women. When he
saw this, he was startled and affrighted and rising in haste,
fetched clay and stopped it up again. But one of the
eunuchs[FN#155] saw him, and suspecting him, repaired to the
Sultan, and told him of this. So he came and seeing the stones
pulled out, was wroth with the merchant and said to him, "Be this
my reward from thee, that thou seekest to unveil my Harim?"
Thereupon he bade pluck out his eyes; and they did as he
commanded. The merchant took his eyes in his hand and said, "How
long, O star of ill-omen, wilt thou afflict me? First my wealth
and now my life!" And he bewailed himself, saying, "Striving
profiteth me naught against evil fortune. The Compassionate aided
me not, and effort was worse than useless."[FN#156] "On like
wise, O king," continued the youth, "whilst fortune was
favourable to me, all that I did came to good; but now that it
hath turned against me, everything turneth to mine ill." When the
youth had made an end of his tale, the king's anger subsided a
little, and he said, "Return him to the prison, for the day
draweth to an end, and to-morrow we will look into his affair,
and punish him for his ill-deeds."

The Second Day.

Of Looking to the Ends of Affairs.

Whenit was the next day, the second of the king's Wazirs, whose
name was Baharún, came in to him and said, "Allah advance the
king! This deed which yonder youth hath done is a grave matter,
and a foul misdeed and a heinous against the household of the
king." So Azadbakht bade fetch the youth, because of the
Minister's speech; and when he came into the presence, said to
him, "Woe to thee, O youth! There is no help but that I do thee
die by the dreadest of deaths, for indeed thou hast committed a
grave crime, and I will make thee a warning to the folk." The
youth replied, "O king, hasten not, for the looking to the ends
of affairs is a column of the kingdom, and a cause of continuance
and assurance for the kingship. Whoso looketh not to the issues
of actions, there befalleth him that which befel the merchant,
and whoso looketh to the consequences of actions, there betideth
him of joyance that which betideth the merchant's son." The king
asked, "And what is the story of the merchant and his sons?" and
the youth answered, "Hear, O king,

The Tale of the Merchant and his Sons.[FN#157]

There was once a merchant, who had abundant wealth, and a wife to
boot. He set out one day on a business journey, leaving his wife
big with child, and said to her, "Albeit, I now leave thee, yet I
will return before the birth of the babe, Inshallah!" Then he
farewelled her and setting out, ceased not faring from country to
country till he came to the court of one of the kings and
foregathered with him. Now this king needed one who should order
his affairs and those of his kingdom and seeing the merchant
wellbred and intelligent, he required him to abide at court and
entreated him honourably. After some years, he sought his
Sovran's leave to go to his own house, but the king would not
consent to this; whereupon he said to him, "O king, suffer me go
and see my children and come again." So he granted him permission
for this and, taking surety of him for his return, gave him a
purse, wherein were a thousand gold dinars. Accordingly, the
merchant embarked in a ship and set sail, intending for his
mother-land. On such wise fared it with the trader; but as
regards his wife, news had reached her that her husband had
accepted service with King Such-an-one; so she arose and taking
her two sons (for she had borne twins in his absence), set out
seeking those parts. As Fate would have it, they happened upon an
island, and her husband came thither that very night in the ship.
So the woman said to her children, "The ship cometh from the
country where your father is: hie ye to the sea-shore, that ye
may enquire of him." Accordingly, they repaired to the sea-shore
and going up into the ship, fell to playing about it and busied
themselves with their play till evening evened. Now the merchant
their sire lay asleep in the ship, and the noisy disport of the
boys troubled him; whereupon he rose to call out to them
"Silence" and let the purse with the thousand dinars fall among
the bales of merchandise. He sought for it and finding it not,
buffeted his head and seized upon the boys, saying, "None took
the purse but you: ye were playing all about the bales, so ye
might steal somewhat, and there was none here but you twain."
Then he took his staff, and laying hold of the children, fell to
beating them and flogging them, whilst they wept, and the crew
came round about them saying, "The boys of this island are all
rogues and robbers." Then, of the greatness of the merchant's
anger, he swore an oath that, except they brought out the purse,
he would drown them in the sea; so when by reason of their denial
his oath demanded the deed, he took the two boys and binding them
each to a bundle of reeds, cast them into the water. Presently,
finding that they tarried from her, the mother of the two boys
went searching for them, till she came to the ship and fell to
saying,"Who hath seen two boys of mine? Their fashion is so and
so and their age thus and thus." When the crew heard her words,
they said, "This is the description of the two boys who were
drowned in the sea but now." Their mother hearing this began
calling on them and crying, "Alas, my anguish for your loss, O my
sons! Where was the eye of your father this day, that it might

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