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Supplemental Nights, Volume 2 by Richard F. Burton

Part 2 out of 8

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still by his couch he[FN#149] stood:
And garred him drink of his lip-dews and wine[FN#150] * Ere he
died and this food was his latest good."

Ishak stared at her and seizing her hand, said to her, "Know that
I am bound by an oath that, when the singing of a damsel pleaseth
me, she shall not end her song but before the Prince of True
Believers. But now tell me, how came it that thou tarriedst with
the slave-dealer five months and wast not sold to any one, and
thou of this skill, especially when the price set on thee was no
great matter?" Hereat she laughed and answered, "O my lord, my
story is a wondrous and my case a marvellous Know that I belonged
aforetime to a Maghribi merchant,who bought me when I was three
years old, and there were in his house many slave-girls and
eunuchs; but I was the dearest to him of them all So he kept me
with him and used not to address me otherwise than, 'O
daughterling,' and indeed to this moment I am a clean maid. Now
there was with him a damsel, a lutanist, and she reared me and
taught me the art, even as thou seest. Then was my master removed
to the mercy of Allah Almighty[FN#151] and his sons divided his
monies. I fell to the lot of one of them; but 'twas only a little
while ere he had wasted all his wealth and there was left him
naught of coin. So I gave up the lute, fearing lest I should fall
into the hand of a man who knew not my worth, for well I wot that
needs must my master sell me; and indeed but a few days passed
ere he carried me forth to the quarters of the slave merchant who
buyeth damsels and displayeth them to the Commander of the
Faithful. Now I desired to learn the art and mystery; so I
refused to be sold to other than thou, until Allah (extolled and
exalted be He!) vouchsafed me my desire of thy presence;
whereupon I came out to thee, as soon as I heard of thy coming,
and besought thee to buy me. Thou heartenedst my heart and
broughtest me; and since I entered thy house, O my lord, I have
not taken up the lute till now; but to-day, when I was left
private by the slave-girls, I took it; and my purpose in this was
that I might see if my hand were changed[FN#152] or not. As I was
singing, I heard a footfall in the vestibule; so springing up, I
laid the lute from my hand and going forth to see what was to do,
found thee, O my lord, after this fashion." Quoth Ishak, "Indeed,
this was of thy fair fortune. By Allah, I know not that which
thou knowest in this art!" Then he arose and opening a chest,
brought out therefrom striped clothes,[FN#153] netted with jewels
and great pearls and other costly gems and said to her, "In the
name of Allah, don these, O my lady Tohfah." So she arose and
donned that dress and veiled herself and went up with Ishak to
the palace of the Caliphate, where he made her stand without,
whilst he himself went in to the Prince of True Believers (with
whom was Ja'afar the Barmaki) and kissing the ground before him,
said to him, "O Commander of the Faithful, I have brought thee a
damsel, never saw eyes of seer her like for excellence in singing
and touching the lute; and her name is Tohfah." Al-Rashid asked,
"And where be this Tohfah[FN#154] who hath not her like in the
world?" Answered Ishak, "Yonder she standeth, O Commander of the
Faithful ;" and he acquainted the Caliph with her case from first
to last. Then said Al-Rashid, " 'Tis a marvel to hear thee praise
a slave-girl after this fashion. Admit her that we may look upon
her, for verily the morning may not be hidden." Accordingly,
Ishak bade admit her; so she entered, and when her eyes fell upon
the Prince of True Believers, she kissed ground before him and
said, "The Peace be upon thee, O Commander of the faithful Fold
and Asylum of all who the true Creed hold and Quickener of
justice in the Worlds threefold! Allah make thy feet tread on
safest wise and give thee joy of what He gave thee in generous
guise and make thy harbourage Paradise and Hell-fire that of
thine enemies!" Quoth Al-Rashid, "And on thee be the Peace, O
damsel! Sit." So she sat down and he bade her sing; whereupon she
took the lute and tightening its strings, played thereon in many
modes, so that the Prince of True Believers and Ja'afar were
confounded in sprite and like to fly for delight. Then she
returned to the first mode and improvised these couplets:--

"O mine eyes! I swear by him I adore, * Whom pilgrims seek
thronging Arafat;
An thou call my name on the grave of me, * I'll reply to thy call
tho' my bones go rot:
I crave none for friend of my heart save thee; * So believe me,
for true are the well-begot."

Al-Rashid considered her comeliness and the goodliness of her
singing and her eloquence and what other qualities she comprised
and rejoiced with joy exceeding; and for the stress of that which
overcame him of delight, he descended from the couch and sitting
down with her upon the floor, said to her, "Thou hast done well,
O Tohfah. By Allah, thou art indeed a choice gift!"[FN#155] Then
he turned to Ishak and said to him, "Thou dealtest not justly, O
Ishak, in the description of this damsel, nor didst thou fairly
set forth all that she comprised of charms and art; for that, by
Allah, she is inconceivably more skilful than thou; and I know of
this craft that which none knowest save I!" Exclaimed the Wazir
Ja'afar, "By Allah, thou sayst sooth, O my lord, O Commander of
the Faithful. Indeed, she hath done away my wit, hath this
damsel." Quoth Ishak, "By Allah, O Prince of True Believers, I
had said that there was not on the face of the earth one who knew
the art of the lute like myself; but when I heard her, my skill
became nothing worth in mine eyes." Then said the Caliph to her,
"Repeat thy playing, O Tohfah." So she repeated it and he cried
to her, "Well done!" Moreover, he said to Ishak, "Thou hast
indeed brought me a marvellous thing, one which is worth in mine
eyes the empire of the world." Then he turned to Masrur the
eunuch and said to him, "Carry Tohfah to the chamber of honour."
Accordingly, she went away with the Castrato and the Caliph
looked at her raiment and ornaments and seeing her clad in
clothing of choice, asked Ishak, "O Ishak, whence hath she these
robes?" Answered he, "O my lord, these are somewhat of thy
bounties and thy largesse, and they are a gift to her from me. By
Allah, O Commander of the Faithful, the world, all of it, were
little in comparison with her!" Then the Caliph turned to the
Wazir Ja'afar and said to him, "Give Ishak fifty thousand dirhams
and a robe of honour of the choicest apparel." "Hearing and
obeying," replied Ja'afar and gifted him with that which the
Caliph ordered him. As for Al-Rashid, he was private with Tohfah
that night and found her a pure virgin and rejoiced in her; and
she took high rank in his heart, so that he could not suffer her
absence a single hour and committed to her the keys of the
affairs of the realm, for that which he saw in her of good
breeding and fine wit and leal will. He also gave her fifty
slave-girls and two hundred thousand diners and a quantity of
raiment and ornaments, gems and jewels worth the kingdom of
Egypt; and of the excess of his love for her, he would not
entrust her to any of the hand-maids or eunuchs; but, whenever he
went out from her, he locked the door upon her and took the key
with him, against he should return to her, forbidding the damsels
to go in to her, of his fear lest they should slay her or poison
her or practice on her with the knife; and in this way he abode
awhile. One day, as she sang before the Commander of the
Faithful, he was delighted with exceeding delight, so that he
offered to kiss her hand;[FN#156] but she drew it away from him
and smote upon her lute and broke it and wept. Al-Rashid wiped
away her tears and said, "O desire of the heart, what is it
maketh thee weep? May Allah not cause an eye of shine to shed
tears!" Said she, "O my lord, what am I that thou shouldst kiss
my hand? Wilt thou have Allah punish me for this and my term come
to an end and my felicity pass away? For this is what none ever
attained unto." He rejoined, "Well said, O Tohfah. Know that thy
rank in my esteem is high and for that which delighted me of what
I saw in thee, I offered to do this, but I will not return unto
the like thereof; so be of good cheer, with eyes cool and clear,
for I have no desire to other than thyself and will not die but
in the love of thee, and thou to me art queen this day, to the
exclusion of al! humankind." Therewith she fell to kissing his
feet; and this her fashion pleased him, so that his love for her
redoubled and he became unable to brook severance from her a
single hour. Now Al-Rashid one day went forth to the chase and
left Tohfah in her pavilion. As she sat perusing a book, with a
candle-branch of gold before her, wherein was a perfumed candle,
behold, a musk-apple fell down before her from the top of the
saloon.[FN#157] So she looked up and beheld the Lady Zubaydah
bint al-Kasim,[FN#158] who saluted her with a salam and
acquainted her with herself, whereupon Tohfah sprang to her feet
and said, "O my lady, were I not of the number of the
new,[FN#159] I had daily sought thy service; so do not thou
bereave me of those noble steps."[FN#160] The Lady Zubaydah
called down blessings upon her and replied, "I knew this of thee;
and, by the life of the Commander of the Faithful, but that it is
not of my wont to go forth of my place, I had come out to do my
service to thee." Then quoth she to her, "Know, O Tohfah, that
the Commander of the Faithful hath deserted all his concubines
and favourites on shine account, even myself hath he abandoned on
this wise, and I am not content to be as one of the mistresses;
yet hath he made me of them and forsaken me, and I have sought
thee, so thou mayst beseech him to come to me, though it be but
once a month, in order that I may not be the like of the hand-
maids and concubines nor take rank with the slave-girls; and this
is my need of thee." Answered Tohfah, "Hearkening and obedience!
By Allah, O my lady, I would that he might be with thee a whole
month and with me but one night, so thy heart might be heartened,
for that I am one of thy hand-maids and thou in every case art my
lady." The Princess Zubaydah thanked her for this and taking
leave of her, returned to her palace. When the Caliph came back
from the chase and course, he betook himself to Tohfah's pavilion
and bringing out the key, opened the lock and went in to her. She
rose to receive him and kissed his hand, and he gathered her to
his breast and seated her on his knee.[FN#161] Then food was
brought to them and they ate and washed their hands; after which
she took the lute and sang, till Al-Rashid was moved to sleep.
When aware of this, she ceased singing and told him her adventure
with the Lady Zubaydah, saying, "O Prince of True Believers, I
would have thee favour me with a favour and hearten my heart and
accept my intercession and reject not my supplication, but fare
thee forthright to the Lady Zubaydah." Now this talk befel after
he had stripped himself naked and she also had doffed her dress;
and he said, "Thou shouldst have named this ere we stripped
ourselves naked, I and thou!" But she answered, say ing, "O
Commander of the Faithful, I did this not except in accordance
with the saying of the poet in these couplets,

"Of all intercessions can none succeed, * Save whatso Tohfah bint
Marjan sue'd:
No intercessor who comes enveiled;[FN#162] * She sues the best
who sues mother-nude."

When Al-Rashid heard this, her speech pleased him and he strained
her to his bosom. Then he went forth from her and locked the door
upon her, as before; whereupon she took the book and sat perusing
it awhile. Presently, she set it aside and taking the lute,
tightened its strings; and smote thereon, after a wondrous
fashion, such as would have moved inanimate things to dance, and
fell to singing marvellous melodies and chanting these couplets:-

"Cease for change to wail,* The world blames who rail
Bear patient its shafts * That for aye prevail.
How often a joy * Grief garbed thou shalt hail
How oft gladding bliss * Shall appear amid bale!"

Then she turned and saw within the chamber an old man, handsome
in his hoariness and stately of semblance, who was dancing in
goodly and winning wise, a dance whose like none might dance. So
she sought refuge with Allah Almighty from Satan the Stoned and
said, "I will not give over what I am about, for whatso the Lord
willeth, He fulfilleth." Accordingly, she went on singing till
the Shaykh came up to her and kissed ground before her, saying,
"Well done, O Highmost of the East and the West! May the world be
not bereaved of thee! By Allah, indeed thou art perfect of
manners and morals, O Tohfat al-Sudur![FN#163] Dost thou know
me?" Cried she, "Nay, by Allah, but methinks thou art of the
Jann." Quoth he, "Thou sayst sooth; I am Abu al-Tawaif[FN#164]
Iblis, and I come to thee every night, and with me thy sister
Kamariyah, for that she loveth thee and sweareth not but by thy
life; and her pastime is not pleasant to her, except she come to
thee and see thee whilst thou seest her not. As for me, I
approach thee upon an affair, whereby thou shalt gain and rise to
high rank with the kings of the Jann and rule them, even as thou
rulest mankind; and to that end I would have thee come with me
and be present at the festival of my daughter's wedding and the
circumcision of my son;[FN#165] for that the Jann are agreed upon
the manifestation of thy command. And she answered, "Bismillah;
in the name of the Lord."[FN#166] So she gave him the lute and he
forewent her, till he came to the Chapel of Ease,[FN#167] and
behold, therein was a door and a stairway. When Tohfah saw this,
her reason fled; but Iblis cheered her with chat. Then he
descended the steps and she followed him to the bottom of the
stair, where she found a passage and they fared on therein, till
they came to a horse standing, ready saddled and bridled and
accoutred. Quoth Iblis, "Bismillah, O my lady Tohfah;" and he
held the stirrup for her. So she mounted and the horse heaved
like a wave under her and putting forth wings soared upwards with
her, while the Shaykh flew by her side; whereat she was
affrighted and clung to the pommel of the saddle;[FN#168] nor was
it but an hour ere they came to a fair green meadow, fresh-
flowered as if the soil thereof were a fine robe, purfled with
all manner bright hues. Amiddlemost that mead was a palace
towering high in air, with crenelles of red gold, set with pearls
and gems, and a two-leaved door; and about the gateway were much
people of the chiefs of the Jann, clad in costliest clothing.
When they saw the Shaykh, they all cried out, saying, "The Lady
Tohfah is come!" And as soon as she reached the palace-gate they
pressed forward in a body, and dismounting her from the horse's
back, carried her into the palace and fell to kissing her hands.
When she entered, she beheld a palace whereof seers ne'er saw the
like; for therein were four halls, one facing other, and its
walls were of gold and its ceilings of silver. It was high-
builded of base, wide of space, and those who descried it would
be posed to describe it. At the upper end of the hall stood a
throne of red gold set with pearls and jewels, up to which led
five steps of silver, and on its right and on its left were many
chairs of gold and silver. Quoth Tohfah, "The Shaykh led me to
the estrade and seated me on a chair of gold beside the throne,
and over the dais was a curtain let down, gold and silver wrought
and broidered with pearls and jewels." And she was amazed at that
which she beheld in that place and magnified her Lord (extolled
and exalted be He!) and hallowed Him. Then the kings of the Jann
came up to that throne and seated themselves thereon; and they
were in the semblance of Adam's sons, excepting two of them, who
appeared in the form and aspect of the Jann, each with one eye
slit endlong and jutting horns and projecting tusks.[FN#169]
After this there came up a young lady, fair of favour and seemly
of stature, the light of whose face outshone that of the waxen
fiambeaux; and about her were other three women, than whom none
fairer abode on face of earth. They saluted Tohfah with the salam
and she rose to them and kissed ground before them whereupon they
embraced her after returning her greeting[FN#170] and sat down on
the chairs aforesaid. Now the four women who thus accosted Tohfah
were the Princess Kamariyah, daughter of King Al-Shisban, and her
sisters; and Kamariyah loved Tohfah with exceeding love. So, when
she came up to her, she fell to kissing and embracing her, and
Shaykh Iblis cried, "Fair befal the accolade! Take me between
you." At this Tohfah laughed and Kamariyah said, "O my sister, I
love thee, and doubtless hearts have their witnesses,[FN#171]
for, since I saw thee, I have loved thee." Replied Tohfah, By
Allah, hearts have sea-like deeps, and thou, by Allah, art dear
to me and I am thy hand-maid." Kamariyah thanked her for this and
kissing her once more said, "These be the wives of the kings of
the Jann: greet them with the salam! This is Queen
Jamrah,[FN#172] that is Queen Wakhimah and this other is Queen
Shararah, and they come not but for thee." So Tohfah rose to her
feet and bussed their hands, and the three queens kissed her and
welcomed her and honoured her with the utmost honour. Then they
brought trays and tables and amongst the rest a platter of red
gold, inlaid with pearls and gems; its raised rims were of or and
emerald, and thereon were graven[FN#173] these couplets:--

To bear provaunt assigned, * By hands noble designed,
For the gen'rous I'm made * Not for niggardly hind!
So eat safe all I hold * And praise God of mankind.

After reading the verses they ate and Tohfah looked at the two
kings who had not changed shape and said to Kamariyah, "O my
lady, what be this feral and that other like unto him? By Allah,
mine eye may not suffer the sight of them." Kamariyah laughed and
answered, "O my sister, that is my sire Al-Shisban and the other
is highs Maymun the Sworder; and of the arrogance of their souls
and their insolence, they consented not to change their created
shapes. Indeed, all whom thou seest here are nature-fashioned
like them; but on shine account they have changed favour, for
fear lest thou be disquieted and for the comforting of thy mind,
so thou mightest become familiar with them and be at thine ease."
Quoth Tohfah, "O my lady, verily I cannot look at them. How
frightful is this Maymun, with his monocular face! Mine eye
cannot brook the sight of him, and indeed I am in affright of
him." Kamariyah laughed at her speech, and Tohfah continued, "By
Allah, O my lady, I cannot fill my eye with the twain!"[FN#174]
Then cried her father Al-Shisban to her, What be this laughing?"
So she bespoke him in a tongue none understood but they two and
acquainted him with that which Tohfah had said; whereat he
laughed a prodigious loud laugh, as it were the roaring thunder.
Presently they ate and the tables were removed and they washed
their hands; after which Iblis the Accursed came up to Tohfah and
said to her, "O my lady, thou gladdenest the place and
enlightenest and embellishes" it with thy presence; but now fain
would these kings hear somewhat of thy singing, for Night hath
dispread her pinions for departure and there abideth of it but a
little." Quoth she, "Hearing and obeying." So she took the lute
and touching its strings with rare touch, played thereon after
wondrous wise, so that it seemed to those who were present as if
the palace surged like a wave with them for the music. Then she
began singing and chanting these couplets,

"Folk of my faith and oath, Peace with you be! * Quoth ye not I
shall meet you you meet me?
I'll chide you softerwise than breeze o' morn, * Sweeter than
spring of coolest clarity.
I' faith mine eyelids are with tears chafed sore: * My vitals
plain to you some cure to see.
My friends! Our union to disunion changed * Was aye my fear for
'twas my certainty.
I'll plain to Allah of all ills I bore; * For pine and yearning
misery still I dree."

The kings of the Jann were moved to delight by that sweet singing
and seemly speech and thanked Tohfah therefore; and Queen
Kamariyah rose to her and threw her arms round her neck and
kissed her between the eyes, saying, "By Allah, 'tis good, O my
sister and coolth of mine eyes and core of my heart!" Then said
she, "I conjure thee by Allah, give us more of this lovely
singing;' and Tohfah answered with "To hear is to obey." So she
took the lute and playing thereon in a mode different from the
former fashion, sang these couplets:--

"I, oft as ever grows the pine of me, * Console my soul with hope
thy sight to see.
Haply shall Allah join our parted lives, * E'en as my fortunes
far from thee cast He!
Then oh! who thrallest me by force of love--* Seized by fond
affection's mastery
All hardships easy wax when thou art nigh; * And all the far
draws near when near thou be.
Ah! be the Ruthful light to lover fond, * Love-lore, frame
wasted, ready Death to dree!
Were hope of seeing thee cut off, my loved; * After shine absence
sleep mine eyes would flee!
I mourn no worldly joyance, my delight * Is but to sight thee
while thou seest my sight."

At this the accursed Iblis was hugely pleased and thrust his
finger up his fundament,[FN#175] whilst Maymun danced and said,
"O Tohfat al-Sudur, soften the sound;[FN#176] for, as pleasure
entereth into my heart, it arresteth my breath and blood." So she
took the lute and altering the tune, played a third air; then she
returned to the first and sang these couplets:--

"The waves of your[FN#177] love o'er my life have rolled; * I
sink while I see you all aid withhold:
You have drowned my vitals in deeps of your love, * Nor can heart
and sprite for your loss be consoled:
Deem not I forget my troth after you: * How forget what Allah
decreed of old?[FN#178]
Love clings to the lover who nights in grief, * And 'plains of
unrest and of woes ensouled.

The kings and all those who were present rejoiced in this with
joy exceeding and the accursed Iblis came up to Tohfah and
kissing her hand, said to her, "Verily there abideth but little
of the night; so tarry with us till the morrow, when we will
apply ourselves to the wedding[FN#179] and the
circumcision."[FN#180] Then all the Jann went away, whereupon
Tohfah rose to her feet and Iblis said, "Go ye up with Tohfah to
the garden for the rest of the night." So Kamariyah took her and
went with her into the garden, which contained all manner birds,
nightingale and mocking-bird and ringdove and curlew[FN#181] and
other than these of all the kinds. Therein were all manner of
fruits: its channels[FN#182] were of gold and silver and the
water thereof, as it broke forth of its conduits, was like the
bellies of fleeing serpents, and indeed it was as it were the
Garden of Eden.[FN#183] When Tohfah beheld this, she called to
mind her lord and wept sore and said, "I beseech Allah the Most
High to vouchsafe me speedy deliverance and return to my palace
and to my high estate and queendom and glory, and reunion with my
lord and master Al-Rashid." Then she walked about that garden and
saw in its midst a dome of white marble, raised on columns of
black teak whereto hung curtains purfled with pearls and gems.
Amiddlemost this pavilion was a founfain, inlaid with all kinds
of jacinths, and thereon a golden statue of a man and beside it a
little door. She opened the door and found herself in a long
corridor: so she followed it and entered a Hammam-bath walled
with all kinds of costly marbles and floored with a mosaic of
pearls and jewels. Therein were four cisterns of alabaster, one
facing other, and the ceiling of the bath was of glass coloured
with all varieties of colours, such as confounded the
understanding of those who have insight and amazed the wit of
every wight. Tohfah entered the bath, after she had doffed her
dress, and behold the Hammam basin was overlaid with gold set
with pearls and red balasses and green emeralds and other jewels:
so she extolled Allah Almighty and hallowed Him for the
magnificence of that which she saw of the appointments of that
bath. Then she made her Wuzu-ablution in that basin and
pronouncing the Prohibition,[FN#184] prayed the dawn-prayer and
what else had escaped her of orisons;[FN#185] after which she
went out and walked in that garden among jessamine and lavender
and roses and chamomile and gillyflowers and thyme and violets
and basil royal, till she came to the door of the pavilion
aforesaid. There she sat down, pondering that which would betide
Al-Rashid after her, when he should come to her apartment and
find her not; and she plunged into the sea of her solicitude,
till slumber overtook her and soon she slept. Presently she felt
a breath upon her face; whereupon she awoke and found Queen
Kamariyah kissing her, and with her her three sisters, Queen
Jamrah, Queen Wakhimah and Queen Shararah. So she arose and
kissed their hands and rejoiced in them with the utmost joy and
they ceased not, she and they, to talk and converse, what while
she related to them her history, from the time of her purchase by
the Maghrabi to that of her coming to the quarters of the slave-
dealer, where she besought Ishak al-Nadim to buy her,[FN#186] and
how she won union with Al-Rashid, till the moment when Iblis came
to her and brought her to them. They gave not over talking till
the sun declined and yellowed and the hour of its setting drew
near and the day departed, whereupon Tohfah was urgent in
supplication[FN#187] to Allah Almighty, on the occasion of the
sundown prayer, that he would reunite her with her lord
Al-Rashid. After this, she abode with the four queens, till they
arose and entered the palace, where she found the waxen tapers
lit and ranged in candlesticks of gold and silver, and censing
vessels of silver and gold filled with lign-aloes and ambergris,
and there were the kings of the Jann sitting. So she saluted them
with the salam, kissing the earth before them and doing them
service; and they rejoiced in her and in her sight. Then she
ascended the estrade and sat down upon her chair, whilst King Al-
Shisban and King Al Muzfir[FN#188] and Queen Luluah and other
kings of the Jann sat on chairs, and they brought choice tables,
spread with all manner meats befitting royalties. They ate their
fill; after which the tables were removed and they washed their
hands and wiped them with napkins. Then they brought the wine-
service and set on sasses and cups and flagons and beakers of
gold and silver and bowls of crystal and gold, and they poured
out the wines and they filled the flagons. Then Iblis took the
bowl and signed to Tohfah to sing: and she said, "To hear is to
obey!" So she hent the lute in hand and tuning it, sang these

"Drink wine, O ye lovers, I rede you alway, * And praise his
worth who loves night and day;
'Mid the myrtle, narcissus and lavender, * And the scented herbs
that bedeck the tray."

So Iblis the Damned drank and said, "Brave, O desire of hearts!
But thou owest me still another aria." Then he filled the cup and
signed to her to sing. Quoth she, "Hearkening and obedience, and
chanted these couplets,

"Ye wot, I am whelmed in despair and despight, * Ye dight me
blight that delights your sight:
Your wone is between my unrest and my eyes; * Nor tears to melt
you, nor sighs have might.
How oft shall I sue you for justice, and you * With a pining
death my dear love requite?
But your harshness is duty, your farness near; * Your hate is
Union, your wrath is delight:
Take your fill of reproach as you will: you claim * All my heart,
and I reck not of safety or blame."

All present were delighted and the sitting-chamber was moved like
a wave with mirth, and Iblis said, "Brave, O Tohfat al-Sudur!"
Then they left not liquor-bibbing and rejoicing and making merry
and tambourining and piping till the night waned and the dawn
waxed near; and indeed exceeding delight entered into them. The
most of them in mirth was the Shaykh Iblis, and for the stress of
that which befel him of joyance, he doffed all that was on him of
coloured clothes and cast them over Tohfah, and among the rest a
robe broidered with jewels and jacinths, worth ten thousand
diners. Then he kissed the earth and danced and he thrust his
finger up his fundament and hending his beard in hand, said to
her, "Sing about this beard and endeavour after mirth and
pleasance, and no blame shall betide thee for this." So she
improvised and sang these couplets:--

"Barbe of the olden, the one eyed goat! * What words shall thy
foulness o' deed denote?
Be not of our praises so pompous-proud: * Thy worth for a dock-
tail dog's I wot.
By Allah, to-morrow shall see me drub * Thy nape with a
cow-hide[FN#189] and dust thy coat!"

All those present laughed at her mockery of Iblis and wondered at
the wittiness of her visnomy[FN#190] and her readiness in
versifying, whilst the Shaykh himself rejoiced and said to her,
"O Tohfat al-Sudur, verily, the night be gone; so arise and rest
thyself ere the day; and to-orrow there shall be naught save
weal." Then all the kings of the Jinn departed, together with
those who were present of guards; and Tohfah abode alone,
pondering the case of Al-Rashid and bethinking her of how it went
with him after her going, and of what had betided him for her
loss, till the dawn lightened, when she arose and walked about
the palace. Suddenly she saw a handsome door; so she opened it
and found herself in a flower-garden finer than the first--ne'er
saw eyes of seer a fairer than it. When she beheld this garth,
she was moved to delight and she called to mind her lord Al-
Rashid and wept with sore weeping and cried, "I crave of the
bounty of Allah Almighty that my return to him and to my palace
and to my home may be nearhand!" Then she walked about the
parterres till she came to a pavilion, high builded of base and
wide of space, never espied mortal nor heard of a grander than
it. So she entered and found herself in a long corridor, which
led to a Hammam goodlier than that aforetime described, and its
cisterns were full of rose water mingled with musk. Quoth Tohfah,
"Extolled be Allah! Indeed, this[FN#191] is none other than a
mighty great king." Then she pulled off her clothes and washed
her body and made her Ghusl ablution of the whole person[FN#192]
and prayed that which was due from her of prayer from the evening
of the previous day.[FN#193] When the sun rose upon the gate of
the garden and she saw the wonders thereof, with that which was
therein of all manner blooms and streams, and heard the voices of
its birds, she marvelled at what she beheld of the rareness of
its ordinance and the beauty of its disposition and sat musing
over the case of Al-Rashid and pondering what was come of him
after her. Her tears coursed down her cheeks and the Zephyr blew
on her; so she slept and knew no more till she suddenly felt a
breath on her side-face, whereat she awoke in affright and found
Queen Kamariyah kissing her, and she was accompanied by her
sisters, who said, "Rise, for the sun hath set." So Tohfah arose
and making the Wuzu-ablution, prayed her due of prayers[FN#194]
and accompanied the four queens to the palace, where she saw the
wax candles lighted and the kings sitting. She saluted them with
the salam and seated herself upon her couch; and behold, King Al-
Shisban had shifted his semblance, for all the pride of his soul.
Then came up Iblis (whom Allah damn!) and Tohfah rose to him and
kissed his hands. He also kissed her hand and blessed her and
asked, "How deemest thou? Is not this place pleasant, for all its
desertedness and desolation?" Answered she, "None may be desolate
in this place;" and he cried, "Know that this is a site whose
soil no mortal dare tread;" but she rejoined, "I have dared and
trodden it, and this is one of thy many favours." Then they
brought tables and dishes and viands and fruits and sweetmeats
and other matters, whose description passeth powers of mortal
man, and they ate their sufficiency; after which the tables were
removed and the dessert-trays and platters set on, and they
ranged the bottles and flagons and vessels and phials, together
with all manner fruits and sweet-scented flowers. The first to
raise the bowl was Iblis the Accursed, who said, "O Tohfat al-
Sudur, sing over my cup." So she took the lute and touching it,
carolled these couplets,

"Wake ye, Ho sleepers all! and take your joy * Of Time, and boons
he deigned to bestow;
Then hail the Wine-bride, drain the wine-ptisane * Which, poured
from flagon, flows with flaming glow:
O Cup-boy, serve the wine, bring round the red[FN#195] * Whose
draught gives all we hope for here below:
What's worldly pleasure save my lady's face, * Draughts of pure
wine and song of musico?"

So Iblis drained his bowl and, when he had made an end of his
draught, waved his hand to Tohfah; then, throwing off that which
was upon him of clothes, delivered them to her. The suit would
have brought ten thousand diners and with it was a tray full of
jewels worth a mint of money. Presently he filled again and gave
the cup to his son Al-Shisban, who took it from his hand and
kissing it, stood up and sat down again. Now there was before him
a tray of roses; so he said to her, "O Tohfah, sing thou somewhat
upon these roses." She replied, "Hearkening and obedience," and
chanted these two couplets,

"It proves my price o' er all the flowers that I * Seek you each
year, yet stay but little stound:
And high my vaunt I m dyed by my lord * Whom Allah made the best
e'er trod on ground.[FN#196]"

So Al-Shisban drank off the cup in his turn and said, "Brave, O
desire of hearts!" and he bestowed on her that was upon him, to
wit, a dress of cloth-of-pearl, fringed with great unions and
rubies and purfled with precious gems, and a tray wherein were
fifty thousand diners. Then Maymun the Sworder took the cup and
began gazing intently upon Tohfah. Now there was in his hand a
pomegranate-flower and he said to her, "Sing thou somewhat, O
queen of mankind and Jinn kind upon this pomegranate-flower; for
indeed thou hast dominion over all hearts." Quoth she, "To hear
is to obey;" and she improvised and sang these couplets,

"Breathes sweet the zephyr on fair parterre; * Robing lute in the
flamings that fell from air:
And moaned from the boughs with its cooing rhyme * Voice of
ring-doves plaining their love and care:
The branch dresses in suit of fine sendal green* And in wine-hues
borrowed from bloom Gulnare."[FN#197]

Maymun the Sworder drained his bowl and said to her, "Brave, O
perfection of qualities!" Then he signed to her and was absent
awhile, after which he returned and with him a tray of jewels
worth an hundred thousand ducats, which he gave to Tohfah.
Thereupon Kamariyah arose and bade her slave-girl open the closet
behind the Songstress, wherein she laid all that wealth; and
committed the key to her, saying, "Whatso of riches cometh to
thee, lay thou in this closet that is by thy side, and after the
festivities, it shall be borne to thy palace on the heads of the
Jinn." Tohfah kissed her hand and another king, by name
Munir,[FN#198] took the bowl and filling it, said to her, "O
ferry Fair, sing to me over my bowl somewhat upon-the jasmine."
She replied with, "Hearkening and obedience," and improvised
these couplets,

"'Twere as though the Jasmine (when self she enrobes * On her
boughs) cloth display to my wondering eyne;
In sky of green beryl, which Beauty enclothes, * Star-groups like
studs of the silvern mine."

Munir drank off his cup and ordered her eight hundred thousand
diners, whereat Kamariyah rejoiced and rising to her feet, kissed
Tohfah on her face and said to her, "Be the world never bereaved
of thee, O thou who lordest it over the hearts of Jinn-kind and
mankind!" Then she returned to her place and the Shaykh Iblis
arose and danced, till all present were confounded; after which
the Songstress said, "Verily, thou embellishes" my festivities, O
thou who commandest men and Jinn and rejoices" their hearts with
thy loveliness and the beauty[FN#199] of thy faithfulness to thy
lord. All that thy hands possess shall be borne to thee in thy
palace and placed at thy service; but now the dawn is nearhand;
so do thou rise and rest thee according to thy custom." Tohfah
turned and found with her none of the Jinn; so she laid her head
on the floor and slept till she had gotten her repose; after
which she arose and betaking herself to the lakelet, made the
Wuzu-ablution and prayed. Then she sat beside the water awhile
and meditated the matter of her lord Al-Rashid and that which had
betided him after her loss and wept with sore weeping. Presently,
she heard a blowing behind her;[FN#200] so she turned and behold,
a Head without a body and with eyes slit endlong: it was of the
bigness of an elephant's skull and bigger and ha] a mouth as it
were an oven and projecting canines as they were grapnels, and
hair which trailed upon the ground. So Tohfah cried, "I take
refuge with Allah from Satan the Stoned!" and recited the Two
Preventives;[FN#201] what while the Head drew near her and said,
"Peace be with thee, O Princess of Jinn and men and union-pearl
of her age and her time! Allah continue thee on life, for all the
lapsing of the days, and reunite thee with thy lord the
Imam!"[FN#202] She replied, "And upon thee be Peace; O thou whose
like I have not seen among the Jann!" Quoth the Head, "We are a
folk who may not change their favours and we are highs Ghuls:
mortals summon us to their presence, but we cannot present
ourselves before them without leave. As for me, I have gotten
leave of the Shaykh Abu al-Tawaif to appear before thee and I
desire of thy favour that thou sing me a song, so I may go to thy
palace and question its Haunters[FN#203] concerning the plight of
thy lord after thee and return to thee; and know, O Tohfat al-
Sudur, that between thee and thy lord be a distance of fifty
years' journey for the bona fide traveller." She rejoined,
"Indeed, thou grieves" me anent him between whom and me is fifty
years' journey;" but the Head[FN#204] cried to her, "Be of good
cheer and of eyes cool and clear, for the sovrans of the Jann
will restore thee to him in less than the twinkling of an eye."
Quoth she, "I will sing thee an hundred songs, so thou wilt bring
me news of my lord and that which betided him after me." And
quoth the Head, "Do thou favour me and sing me a song, so I may
go to thy lord and fetch thee tidings of him, for that I desire,
before I go, to hear thy voice, so haply my thirst[FN#205] may be
quenched." So she took the lute and tuning it, sang these

"They have marched, yet no empty stead left they: * They are
gone, nor heart grieves me that fled be they:
My heart forebode the bereaval of friends; * Allah ne'er bereave
steads wherefrom sped be they!
Though they hid the stations where led were they, * I'll follow
till stars fall in disarray!
Ye slumber, but wake shall ne'er fly these lids; * 'Tis I bear
what ye never bore--well-away!
It had irked them not to farewell who fares * With the parting-
fires that my heart waylay.
My friends,[FN#206] your meeting to me is much * But more is the
parting befel us tway:
You're my heart's delight, or you present be * Or absent, with
you is my soul for aye!"

Thereupon the Head wept exceeding sore and cried, "O my lady,
indeed thou hast solaced my heart, and I have naught but my life;
so take it." She replied, "Nay, an I but knew that thou wouldst
bring me news of my lord Al-Rashid, 'twere fainer to me than the
reign of the world;" and the Head answered her, "It shall be done
as thou desirest." Then it disappeared and returning to her at
the last of the night, said, "O my lady, know that I have been to
thy palace and have questioned one of its Haunters of the case of
the Commander of the Faithful and that which befel him after
thee; and he said, 'When the Prince of True Believers came to
Tohfah's apartment and found her not and saw no sign of her, he
buffeted his face and head and rent his raiment.' Now there was
in thy chamber the Castrato, the chief of thy household, and the
Caliph cried out at him, saying, 'Bring me Ja'afar the Barmaki
and his father and brother at this very moment!' The Eunuch went
out, bewildered in his wit for fear of the King, and when he
stood in the presence of Ja'afar, he said to him, 'Come to the
Commander of the Faithful, thou and thy father and thy brother.'
So they arose in haste and betaking themselves to the presence,
said, 'O Prince of True Believers what may be the matter?' Quoth
he, 'There is a matter which passeth description. Know that I
locked the door and taking the key with me, betook myself to my
uncle's daughter, with whom I lay the night; but, when I arose in
the morning and came and opened the door, I found no sign of
Tohfah.' Quoth Ja'afar, 'O Commander of the Faithful have
patience, for that the damsel hath been snatched away, and needs
must she return, seeing that she took the lute with her, and 'tis
her own lute. The Jinns have assuredly carried her off, and we
trust in Allah Almighty that she will return.' Cried the Caliph,
'This[FN#207] is a thing which may nowise be!' And he abode in
her apartment, nor eating nor drinking, while the Barmecides
besought him to fare forth to the folk; and he weepeth and
tarrieth on such fashion till she shall return. This, then, is
that which hath betided him after thee." When Tohfah heard his
words, they were grievous to her and she wept with sore weeping;
whereupon quoth the Head to her, "The relief of Allah the Most
High is nearhand; but now let me hear somewhat of thy speech." So
she took the lute and sang three songs, weeping the while. The
Head exclaimed, "By Allah, thou hast been bountiful to me, the
Lord be with thee!" Then it disappeared and the season of sundown
came: so she rose and betook herself to her place in the hall;
whereupon behold, the candles sprang up from under the earth and
kindled themselves. Then the kings of the Jann appeared and
saluted her and kissed her hands and she greeted them with the
salam. Presently appeared Kamariyah and her three sisters and
saluted Tohfah and sat down; whereupon the tables were brought
and they ate; and when the tables were removed there came the
wine-tray and the drinking-service. So Tohfah took the lute and
one of the three queens filled the cup and signed to the
Songstress. Now she had in her hand a violet, so Tohfah
improvised these couplets:--

"I'm clad in a leaf-cloak of green; * In an honour-robe
I'm a wee thing of loveliest mien * But all flowers as my vassals
are seen:
An Rose title her 'Morn-pride,' I ween * Nor before me nor after
she's Queen."

The queen drank off her cup and bestowed on Tohfah a dress of
cloth-of-pearl, fringed with red rubies, worth twenty thousand
ducats, and a tray whereon were ten thousand sequins. All this
while Maymun's eye was upon her and presently he said to her,
"Harkye, Tohfah! Sing to me." But Queen Zalzalah cried out at
him, and said "Desist,[FN#208] O Maymun. Thou sufferest not
Tohfah to pay heed to us." Quoth he, "I will have her sing to
me:" and many words passed between them and Queen Zalzalah cried
aloud at him. Then she shook and became like unto the Jinns and
taking in her hand a mace of stone, said to him, "Fie upon thee!
What art thou that thou shouldst bespeak us thus? By Allah, but
for the respect due to kings and my fear of troubling the session
and the festival and the mind of the Shaykh Iblis, I would
assuredly beat the folly out of thy head!" When Maymun heard
these her words, he rose, with the fire shooting from his eyes,
and said, "O daughter of Imlak, what art thou that thou shouldst
outrage me with the like of this talk?" Replied she, "Woe to
thee, O dog of the Jinn, knowest thou not thy place?" So saying,
she ran at him, and offered to strike him with the mace, but the
Shaykh Iblis arose and casting his turband on the ground cried,
"Out on thee, O Maymun! Thou dost always with us on this wise.
Wheresoever thou art present, thou troublest our pleasure! Canst
thou not hold thy peace until thou go forth of the festival and
this bride-feast be accomplished? When the circumcision is at an
end and ye all return to your dwellings, then do as thou willest.
Fie upon thee, O Maymun! Wottest thou not that Imlak is of the
chiefs of the Jinn? But for my goodname, thou shouldst have seen
what would have betided thee of humiliation and chastisement; yet
on account of the festival none may speak. Indeed thou exceedest;
dost thou not ken that her sister Wakhimah is doughtier[FN#209]
than any of the Jann? Learn to know thyself: hast thou no regard
for thy life?" So Maymun was silent and Iblis turned to Tohfah
and said to her, "Sing to the kings of the Jinns this day and to-
night until the morrow, when the boy will be circumcised and each
shall return to his own place." Accordingly she took the lute and
Kamariyah said to her (now she had a citron in hand), "O my
sister, sing to me somewhat on this citron." Tohfah replied, "To
hear is to obey," and improvising, sang these couplets,

"I'm a dome of fine gold and right cunningly dight; * And my
sweetness of youth gladdeth every sight:
My wine is ever the drink of kings * And I'm fittest gift to the
friendliest sprite.

At this Queen Kamariyah rejoiced with joy exceeding and drained
her cup, crying, "Brava! O thou choice Gift of hearts!"
Furthermore, she took off a sleeved robe of blue brocade, fringed
with red rubies, and a necklace of white jewels worth an hundred
thousand ducats, and gave them to Tohfah. Then she passed the cup
to her sister Zalzalah, who hent in her hand herb basil, and she
said to Tohfah, "Sing to me somewhat on this basil." She replied,
"Hearing and obeying," and improvised and sang these couplets,

"I'm the Queen of herbs in the seance of wine * And in Heaven
Na'im are my name and sign:
And the best are promised, in garth of Khuld, * Repose, sweet
scents and the peace divine:[FN#210]
What prizes then with my price shall vie? * What rank even mine,
in all mortals' eyne?"

Thereat Queen Zalzalah rejoiced with joy exceeding and bidding
her treasuress bring a basket, wherein were fifty pairs of
bracelets and the same number of earrings, all of gold, crusted
with jewels of price, whose like nor mankind nor Jinn-kind
possessed, and an hundred robes of vari-coloured brocades and an
hundred thousand ducats, gave the whole to Tohfah. Then she
passed the cup to her sister Shararah, who had in her hand a
stalk of narcissus; so she took it from her and turning to the
Songstress, said to her, "O Tohfah, sing to me somewhat on this."
She replied, "Hearkening and obedience," and improvised these

"With the smaragd wand doth my form compare; * 'Mid the finest
flowers my worth's rarest rare:
My eyes are likened to Beauty's eyne, * And my gaze is still on
the bright parterre."

When she had made an end of her song, Shararah was moved to
delight exceeding, and drinking off her cup, said to her, "Brava,
O thou choice Gift of hearts!" Then she ordered her an hundred
dresses of brocade and an hundred thousand ducats and passed the
cup to Queen Wakhimah. Now she had in her hand somewhat of
Nu'uman's bloom, the anemone; so she took the cup from her sister
and turning to the Songstress, said to her, "O Tohfah, sing to me
on this." Quoth she, "I hear and I obey," and improvised these

"I'm a dye was dyed by the Ruthful's might; * And all confess me
the goodliest sight:
I began in the dust and the clay, but now * On the cheeks of fair
women I rank by right."

Therewith Wakhimah rejoiced with joy exceeding and drinking off
the cup, ordered her twenty dresses of Roumi brocade and a tray,
wherein were thirty thousand ducats. Then she gave the cup to
Queen Shu'a'ah,[FN#211] Regent of the Fourth Sea, who took it and
said, "O my lady Tohfah, sing to me on the gillyflower." She
replied, "Hearing and obeying," and improvised these couplets,

"The time of my presence ne'er draws to a close, * Amid all whose
joyance with mirth o'erflows;
When topers gather to sit at wine * Or in nightly shade or when
morning shows,
I filch from the flagon to fill the bowls * And the crystal cup
where the wine-beam glows."

Queen Shu'a'ah rejoiced with joy exceeding and emptying her cup,
gave Tohfah an hundred thousand ducats. Then up sprang Iblis
(whom Allah curse!) and cried, "Verily, the dawn lighteneth;"
whereupon the folk arose and disappeared, all of them, and there
abode not one of them save the Songstress, who went forth to the
garden and entering the Hamman made her Wuzu-ablutions and prayed
whatso lacked her of prayers. Then she sat down and when the sun
rose, behold, there came up to her near an hundred thousand green
birds, which filled the branches of the trees with their
multitudes and they warbled in various voices, whilst Tohfah
marvelled at their fashion. Suddenly, appeared eunuchs, bearing a
throne of gold, studded with pearls and gems and jacinths, both
white and red, and having four steps of gold, together with many
carpets of sendal and brocade and Coptic cloth of silk sprigged
with gold; and all these they spread in the centre of the garden
and setting up the throne thereon, perfumed the place with virgin
musk, Nadd[FN#212] and ambergris. After that, there came a queen;
never saw eyes a fairer than she nor than her qualities; she was
robed in rich raiment, broidered with pearls and gems, and on her
head was a crown set with various kinds of unions and jewels.
About her were five hundred slave-girls high-bosomed maids, as
they were moons, screening her, right and left, and she among
them like the moon on the night of its full, for that she was the
most worthy of them in majesty and dignity. She ceased not
walking till she came to Tohfah, whom she found gazing on her in
amazement; and when the Songstress saw her turn to her, she rose
to her, standing on her feet, and saluted her and kissed ground
between her hands. The queen rejoiced in her and putting out her
hand to her, drew her to herself and seated her by her side on
the couch; whereupon the Songstress kissed her hands and the
queen said to her, "Know, O Tohfah, that all which thou treadest
of these carpets belongeth not to any of the Jinn, who may never
tread them without thy leave,[FN#213] for that I am the queen of
them all and the Shaykh Abu al-Tawaif Iblis sought my permission
to hold festival[FN#214] and prayed me urgently to be present at
the circumcision of his son. So I despatched to him, in my stead,
a slave-girl of my slave-girls, namely, Shu'a'ah Queen of the
Fourth Sea, who is vice-reine of my reign. When she was present
at the wedding and saw thee and heard thy singing, she sent to
me, informing me of thee and setting forth to me thy grace and
amiability and the beauty of thy breeding and thy
courtesy.[FN#215] So I am come to thee, for that which I have
heard of thy charms, and hereby I do thee a mighty great favour
in the eyes of all the Jann."[FN#216] Thereupon Tohfah arose and
kissed the earth and the queen thanked her for this and bade her
sit. So she sat down and the queen called for foods when they
brought a table of gold, inlaid with pearls and jacinth; and
jewels and bearing kinds manifold of birds and viands of various
hues, and the queen said, "O Tohfah, in the name of Allah! Let us
eat bread and salt together, I and thou." Accordingly the
Songstress came forward and ate of those meats and found therein
somewhat the like whereof she had never eaten; no, nor aught more
delicious than it, while the slave-girls stood around the table,
as the white compasseth the black of the eye, and she sat
conversing and laughing with the queen. Then said the lady, "O my
sister, a slave-girl told me of thee that thou saidst, 'How
loathly is what yonder Jinni Maymun eateth!"[FN#217] Tohfah
replied, "By Allah, O my lady, I have not any eye that can look
at him,[FN#218] and indeed I am fearful of him." When the queen
heard this, she laughed till she fell backwards and said "O my
sister, by the might of the graving upon the seal-ring of
Solomon, prophet of Allah, I am queen over all the Jann, and none
dare so much as cast on thee a glance of the eye;" whereat Tohfah
kissed her hand. Then the tables were removed and the twain sat
talking. Presently up came the kings of the Jinn from every side
and kissed ground before the queen and stood in her service; and
she thanked them for this, but moved not for one of them.[FN#219]
Then appeared the Shaykh Abu al-Tawaif Iblis (Allah curse him!)
and kissed the earth before her, saying, "O my lady, may I not be
bereft of these steps!"[FN#220] She replied, "O Shaykh Abu
al-Tawaif, it behoveth thee to thank the bounty of the Lady
Tohfah, who was the cause of my coming." Rejoined he, "Thou
sayest sooth," and kissed ground. Then the queen fared on towards
the palace and there arose and alighted upon the trees an hundred
thousand birds of manifold hues. The Songstress asked, "How many
are these birds?" and Queen Wakhimah answered her, "Know, O my
sister, that this queen is hight Queen al-Shahba[FN#221] and that
she is queen over all the Jann from East to West. These birds
thou seest are of her host, and unless they appeared in this
shape, earth would not be wide enough for them. Indeed, they came
forth with her and are present with her presence at this
circumcision. She will give thee after the measure of that which
hath been given to thee from the first of the festival to the
last thereof;[FN#222] and indeed she honoureth us all with her
presence." Then the queen entered the palace and sat down on the
couch of the circumcision[FN#223] at the upper end of the hall,
where-upon Tohfah took the lute and pressing it to her breast,
touched its strings suchwise that the wits of all present were
bewildered and Shaykh Iblis cried to her, "O my lady Tohfah, I
conjure thee, by the life of this noble queen, sing for me and
praise thyself, and cross me not." Quoth she, "To hear is to
obey; still, but for thine adjuration, I had not done this. Say
me, doth any praise himself? What manner thing is this?" Then she
improvised these couplets:

"In all fetes I'm Choice Gift[FN#224] to the minstrel-race;
Folk attest my worth, rank and my pride of place,
While Fame, merit and praises with honour engrace."

Her verses pleased the kings of the Jann and they cried, "By
Allah, thou sayst sooth!" Then she rose to her feet, hending lute
in hand, and played and sang, whilst the Jinns and the Shaykh Abu
al-Tawaif danced. Presently the Father of the Tribes came up to
her bussing her bosom, and gave her a Brahmani[FN#225] carbuncle
he had taken from the hidden hoard of Yafis bin Nuh[FN#226] (on
whom be the Peace), and which was worth the reign of the world;
its light was as the sheen of the sun and he said to her, "Take
this and be equitable therewith to the people of the world."
[FN#227] She kissed his hand and rejoiced in the jewel and said,
"By Allah, this befitteth none save the Commander of the
Faithful." Now Queen Al-Shahba laughed with delight at the
dancing of Iblis and she said to him, "By Allah, this is a goodly
pavane!" He thanked her for this and said to the Songstress, "O
Tohfah, there is not on earth's face a skilfuller than Ishak
al-Nadim;[FN#228] but thou art more skilful than he. Indeed, I
have been present with him many a time and have shown him
positions[FN#229] on the lute, and there has betided me with him
that which betided. Indeed, the story of my dealings with him is
a long one but this is no time to repeat it; for now I would show
thee a shift on the lute, whereby thou shalt be exalted over all
folk." Quoth she, "Do what seemeth good to thee." So he took the
lute and played thereon a wondrous playing, with rare divisions
and marvellous modulations, and showed her a passage she knew
not; and this was goodlier to her than all that she had gotten.
Then she took the lute from him and playing thereon, sang and
presently returned to the passage which he had shown her; and he
said, "By Allah, thou singest better than I!" As for Tohfah, it
became manifest to her that her former practice was all of it
wrong and that what she had learnt from the Shaykh Abu al-Tawaif
Iblis was the root and foundation of all perfection in the art
and its modes. So she rejoiced in that which she had won of skill
in touching the lute far more than in all that had fallen to her
lot of wealth and honour-robes and kissed the Master's hand. Then
said Queen Al-Shahba, "By Allah, O Shaykh, my sister Tohfah is
indeed singular among the folk of her time, and I hear that she
singeth upon all sweetsmelling blooms." Iblis replied, "Yes, O my
lady, and I am in extremest wonderment thereat. But there
remaineth somewhat of sweet-scented flowers, which she hath not
besung, such as myrtle and tuberose and jessamine and the
moss-rose and the like." Then the Shaykh signed to her to sing
somewhat upon the rest of the flowers, that Queen Al-Shahba might
hear, and she said, "Hearing and obeying." So she took the lute
and played thereon in many modes, then returned to the first and
sang these couplets,

"I'm one of the lover-retinue * Whom long pine and patience have
doomed rue:
And sufferance of parting from kin and friends * Hath clothed me,
O folk, in this yellow hue:
Then, after the joyance had passed away, * Heart-break, abasement
and cark I knew,
Through the long, long day when the lift is light, * Nor, when
night is murk, my pangs cease pursue:
So, 'twixt fairest hope and unfailing fear, * My bitter tears
ever flow anew."

Thereat Queen Al-Shahba rejoiced with joy exceeding and cried,
"Brava, O queen of delight! No one is able to describe thee. Sing
to us on the Apple." Quoth Tohfah, "Hearkening and obedience."
Then she recited these couplets,

"I surpass all forms in my coquetry* For mine inner worth and
mine outer blee;
Tend me noble hands in the sight of all * And slake with pure
waters the thirst of me;
My robe is of sendal, and eke my veil * Is of sunlight the
Ruthful hath bidden be:
When my fair companions are marched afar, * In sorrow fro' home
they are forced to flee:
But noble hands deign hearten my heart * With beds where I sit in
my high degree; [FN#230]
And where, like full moon at its rise, my light * 'mid the
garden-fruits thou shalt ever see."

Queen Al-Shahba rejoiced in this with exceeding joy and cried
"Brava! By Allah, there is none excelleth thee." Tohfah kissed
the ground, then returned to her place and versified on the
Tuberose, saying,

"I'm a marvel-bloom to be worn on head! * Though a stranger among
you fro' home I fled:
Make use of wine in my company * And flout at Time who in
languish sped.
E'en so cloth camphor my hue attest, * O my lords, as I stand in
my present stead.
So gar me your gladness when dawneth day, * And to highmost seat
in your homes be I led:
And quaff your cups in all jollity, * And cheer and ease shall
ne'er cease to be."

At this Queen Al-Shahba rejoiced with exceeding joy and cried,
"Brava, O queen of delight! By Allah, I know not how I shall do
to give thee thy due! May the Most High grant us the grace of thy
long continuance!" Then she strained her to her breast and bussed
her on the cheek; whereupon quoth Iblis (on whom be a curse!),
"This is a mighty great honour!" Quoth the queen, "Know that this
lady Tohfah is my sister and that her biddance is my biddance and
her forbiddance my forbiddance. So all of you hearken to her word
and render her worshipful obedience." Therewith the kings rose in
a body and kissed ground before Tohfah, who rejoiced in this.
Moreover, Queen Al-Shahba doffed dress and habited her in a suit
adorned with pearls, jewels and jacinths, worth an hundred
thousand ducats, and wrote for her on a slip of paper[FN#231] a
patent appointing her to be her deputy. So the Songstress rose
and kissed ground before the Queen, who said to her, "Of thy
favour, sing to us somewhat concerning the rest of the
sweet-scented flowers and herbs, so I may hear thy chant and
solace myself with witnessing thy skill." She replied, "To hear
is to obey, O lady mine," and, taking the lute, improvised these

"My hue excelleth all hues in light, * And I would all eyes
should enjoy my sight:
My site is the site of fillets and pearls * Where the fairest
brows are with jasmine dight:
My light's uprist (and what light it shows!) * Is a silvern zone
on the waist of Night."

Then she changed the measure and improvised these couplets,

"I'm the gem of herbs, and in seasons twain * My tryst I keep
with my lovers-train:
I stint not union for length of time * Nor visits, though some be
of severance fain;
The true one am I and my troth I keep, * And, easy of plucking,
no hand disdain."

Then, changing measure and the mode, she played so that she
bewildered the wits of those who were present, and Queen
Al-Shahba, moved to mirth and merriment, cried, "Brava, O queen
of delight!" Presently she returned to the first mode and
improved these couplets on Nenuphar,

"I fear me lest freke espy me, * In air when I fain deny me;
So I root me beneath the wave, * And my stalks to bow down apply

Hereat Queen Al-Shahba rejoiced with exceeding joy, and cried,
"Brava, O Tohfah! Let me hear more of thy chant." Accordingly,
she smote the lute and changing the mode, recited on the Moss-
rose these couplets,

"Look on Nasrin[FN#232] those branchy shoots surround; * With
greenest leafery 'tis deckt and crowned:
Its graceful bending stem draws every gaze * While beauteous
bearing makes their love abound."

Then she changed measure and mode and sang these couplets on the

"O thou who askest Susan[FN#233] of her scent, * Hear thou my
words and beauty of my lay.
'Emir am I whom all mankind desire' * (Quoth she) 'or present or
whenta'en away.'"

When Tohfah had made an end of her song, Queen Al-Shahba rose and
said, "I never heard from any the like of this;" and she drew the
Songstress to her and fell to kissing her. Then she took leave of
her and flew away; and on like wise all the birds took flight
with her, so that they walled the horizon; whilst the rest of the
kings tarried behind. Now as soon as it was the fourth night,
there came the boy who was to be circumcised, adorned with jewels
such as never saw eye nor heard ear of, and amongst the rest a
crown of gold crusted with pearls and gems, the worth whereof was
an hundred thousand sequins. He sat down upon the couch and
Tohfah sang to him, till the chirurgeon[FN#234] came and they
snipped his foreskin in the presence of all the kings, who
showered on him a mighty great store of jewels and jacinths and
gold. Queen Kamariyah bade her Eunuchs gather up all this and lay
it in Tohfah's closet and it was as much in value as all that had
fallen to her, from the first of the festivities to the last
thereof. Moreover, the Shaykh Iblis (whom Allah curse!) bestowed
upon the Songstress the crown worn by the boy and gave the
circumcisee another, whereat Tohfah's reason took flight. Then
the Jinn departed, in order of rank, whilst Iblis farewelled
them, band after band. Seeing the Shaykh thus occupied with
taking leave of the kings, Maymun seized his opportunity, the
place being empty, and taking up Tohfah on his shoulders, soared
aloft with her to the confines of the lift, and flew away with
her. Presently, Iblis came to look for the Songstress and see
what she purposed, but found her not and sighted the slave-girls
slapping their faces: so he said to them, "Fie on you! What may
be the matter?" They replied, "O our lord, Maymun hath snatched
up Tohfah and flown away with her." When Iblis heard this, he
gave a cry whereto earth trembled and said, "What is to be done?"
Then he buffetted his face and head, exclaiming, "Woe to you!
This be none other than exceeding insolence. Shall he carry off
Tohfah from my very palace and attaint mine honour? Doubtless,
this Maymun hath lost his wits." Then he cried out a second time,
so that the earth quaked, and rose on his wings high in air. The
news came to the rest of the kings; so they flew after him and
overtaking him, found him full of anxiety and affright, with fire
issuing from his nostrils, and said to him, "O Shaykh
al-Tawaif,[FN#235] what is to do?" He replied, "Know ye that
Maymun hath carried oh from my palace and attainted mine honour."
When they heard this, they cried, "There is no Majesty and there
is no Might save in Allah the Glorious, the Great. By God he hath
ventured upon a grave matter and verily he destroyeth self and
folk!" Then Shaykh Iblis ceased not flying till he fell in with
the tribes of the Jann, and they gathered together a world of
people, none may tell the tale of them save the Lord of
All-might. So they came to the Fortress of Copper and the Citadel
of Lead,[FN#236] and the people of the sconces saw the tribes of
the Jann issuing from every deep mountain-pass[FN#237] and said,
"What be the news?" Then Iblis went in to King Al-Shisban and
acquainted him with that which had befallen; whereupon quoth he,
"Verily, Allah hath destroyed Maymun and his many! He pretendeth
to possess Tohfah, and she is become queen of the Jann! But have
patience till we devise that which befitteth in the matter of
Tohfah." Iblis asked, "And what befitteth it to do?" And
Al-Shisban answered, "We will fall upon him and kill him and his
host with cut of brand." Then quoth Shaykh Iblis, "'Twere better
to acquaint Queen Kamariyah and Queen Zal-zalah and Queen
Shararah and Queen Wakhimah; and when they are assembled, Allah
shall ordain whatso He deemeth good in the matter of her
release." Quoth Al-Shisban, "Right is thy rede" and thy
despatched to Queen Kamariyah an Ifrit hight Salhab who came to
her palace and found her sleeping, so he roused her and she said,
"What is to do, O Salhab?" Cried he, "O my lady, come to the
succour of thy sister the Songstress, for Maymun hath carried her
off and attainted thine honour and that of Shaykh Iblis." Quoth
she, "What sayst thou?" and she sat up straight and cried out
with a great cry. And indeed she feared for Tohfah and said, "By
Allah, in very sooth she used to say that he gazed at her and
prolonged the gaze; but ill is that whereto his soul hath
prompted him." Then she rose in haste and mounting a Sataness of
her Satans, said to her, "Fly." So she flew off with her and
alighted in the palace of her sister Shararah, whereupon she sent
for her sisters Zalzalah and Wakhimah and acquainted them with
the tidings, saying, "Know that Maymun hath snatched up Tohfah
and flown off with her swiftlier than the blinding leven." Then
they all flew off in haste and lighting down in the place where
were their father Al-Shisban and their grandfather the Shaykh Abu
al-Tawaif, found the folk on the sorriest of situations. When
their grandfather Iblis saw them, he rose to them and wept, and
they all wept for the Songstress. Then said Iblis to them,
"Yonder hound hath attainted mine honour and taken Tohfah, and I
think not other wise[FN#238] but that she is like to die of
distress for herself and her lord Al-Rashid and saying, 'The
whole that they said and did was false.'"[FN#239] Quoth
Kamariyah, "O grandfather mine, nothing is left for it but
stratagem and device for her deliverance, for that she is dearer
to me than everything; and know that yonder accursed when he
waxeth ware of your coming upon him, will ken that he hath no
power to cope with you, he who is the least and meanest of the
Jann; but we dread that he, when assured of defeat, will slay
Tohfah; wherefore nothing will serve but that we contrive a
sleight for saving her; else will she perish." He asked, "And
what hast thou in mind of device?" and she answered, "Let us take
him with fair means, and if he obey, all will be well;[FN#240]
else will we practice stratagem against him; and expect not her
deliverance from other than myself." Quoth Iblis, "The affair is
thine; contrive what thou wilt, for that Tohfah is thy sister and
thy solicitude for her is more effectual than that of any other."
So Kamariyah cried out to an Ifrit of the Ifrits and a calamity
of the calamities,[FN#241] by name Al-Asad al-Tayyar, the Flying
Lion and said to him, "Hie with my message to the Crescent
Mountain,[FN#242] the wone of Maymun the Sworder, and enter and
say to him, My lady saluteth thee with the salam and asketh thee,
'How canst thou be assured for thyself of safety, after what thou
hast done, O Maymun? Couldst thou find none to maltreat in thy
drunken humour save Tohfah, she too being a queen? But thou art
excused, because thou didst not this deed, but 'twas thy drink,
and the Shaykh Abu al-Tawaif pardoneth thee, because thou wast
drunken. Indeed, thou hast attainted his honour; but now restore
her to her palace, for that she hath done well and favoured us
and rendered us service, and thou wottest that she is this day
our queen. Belike she may bespeak Queen Al-Shahba, whereupon the
matter will become grievous and that wherein there is no good
shall betide thee; and thou wilt get no title of gain. Verily, I
give thee good counsel, and so the Peace!'" Al-Asad answered
"Hearing and obeying," and flew till he came to the Crescent
Mountain, when he sought audience of Maymun, who bade admit him.
So he entered and kissing ground before him, gave him Queen
Kamariyah's message, which when he heard, he cried to the Ifrit,
"Return whence thou comest and say to thy mistress, 'Be silent
and thou wilt show thy good sense.' Else will I come and seize
upon her and make her serve Tohfah; and if the kings of the Jinn
assemble together against me and I be overcome by them, I will
not leave her to scent the wind of this world and she shall be
neither mine nor theirs, for that she is presently my sprite
[FN#243] from between my ribs; and how shall any part with his
sprite?" When the Ifrit heard Maymun's words, he said to him, "By
Allah, O Maymun, art thou a changeling in thy wits, that thou
speakest these words of my lady, and thou one of her page-boys?"
Whereupon Maymun cried out and said to him, "Woe to thee, O dog
of the Jinns! Wilt thou bespeak the like of me with these words?"
Then he bade those who were about him bastinado Al-Asad, but he
took flight and soaring high in air, betook himself to his
mistress and told her the tidings: when she said, "Thou hast done
well, O good knight!" Then she turned to her sire and said to
him, "Hear that which I shall say to thee." Quoth he, "Say on;"
and quoth she, "I rede thee take thy troops and go to him, for
when he heareth this, he will in turn levy his many and come
forth to thee; whereupon do thou offer him battle and prolong the
fight with him and make a show to him of weakness and giving way.
Meantime, I will devise me a device for getting at Tohfah and
delivering her, what while he is busied with you in battle; and
when my messenger cometh to thee and informeth thee that I have
gotten possession of Tohfah and that she is with me, return thou
upon Maymun forthwith and overthrow him and his hosts, and take
him prisoner. But, an my device succeed not with him and we fail
to deliver Tohfah, he will assuredly practice to slay her,
without recourse, and regret for her will remain in our hearts."
Quoth Iblis, "This is the right rede" and bade call a march among
the troops, whereupon an hundred thousand knights, doughty wights
of war, joined themselves to him and set out for the country of
Maymun. As for Queen Kamariyah, she flew off to the palace of her
sister Wakhimah, and told her what deed Maymun had done and how
he declared that, whenas he saw defeat nearhand, he would slay
Tohfah; adding, "And indeed, he is resolved upon this; otherwise
had he not dared to work such sleight. So do thou contrive the
affair as thou see fit, for in rede thou hast no superior." Then
they sent for Queen Zalzalah and Queen Shararah and sat down to
take counsel, one with other, concerning what they had best do in
the matter. Presently said Wakhimah, " 'Twere advisable we fit
out a ship in this our island home and embark therein, disguised
as Adam's sons, and fare on till we come to anchor under a little
island that lieth over against Maymun's palace. There will we sit
drinking and smiting the lute and singing; for Tohfah will
assuredly be seated there overlooking the sea, and needs must she
see us and come down to us, whereupon we will take her by force
and she will be under our hands, so that none shall be able to
molest her any more. Or, an Maymun be gone forth to do battle
with the Jinns, we will storm his stronghold and take Tohfah and
raze his palace and slay all therein. When he hears of this, his
heart will be broken and we will send to let our father know,
whereat he will return upon him with his troops and he will be
destroyed and we shall have rest of him." They answered her,
saying, "This is a good counsel." Then they bade fit out a ship
from behind the mountain,[FN#244] and it was fitted out in less
than the twinkling of an eye; so they launched it on the sea and
embarking therein, together with four thousand Ifrits, set out,
intending for Maymun's palace. They also bade other five thousand
Ifrits betake themselves to the island under the Crescent
Mountain and there lie in wait for them ambushed well. Thus fared
it with the kings of the Jann; but as regards Shaykh Abu
al-Tawaif Iblis and his son Al-Shisban the twain set out, as we
have said, with their troops, who were of the doughtiest of the
Jinn and the prowest of them in wing-flying and horse-manship,
and fared on till they drew near the Crescent Mountain. When the
news of their approach reached Maymun, he cried out with a mighty
great cry to the troops, who were twenty thousand riders, and
bade them make ready for departure. Then he went in to Tohfah and
kissing her, said, "Know that thou art this day my life of the
world, and indeed the Jinns are gathered together to wage war on
me for thy sake. An I win the day from them and am preserved
alive, I will set all the kings of the Jann under thy feet and
thou shalt become queen of the world." But she shook her head and
shed tears; and he said, "Weep not, for I swear by the virtue of
the mighty inscription borne on the seal-ring of Solomon, thou
shalt never again see the land of men; no, never! Say me, can any
one part with his life? Give ear, then, to my words; else will I
slay thee." So she was silent. And forthright he sent for his
daughter, whose name was Jamrah,[FN#245] and when she came, he
said to her, "Harkye, Jamrah! Know that I am going to fight the
clans of Al-Shisban and Queen Kamariyah and the Kings of the
Jann. An I be vouch-safed the victory over them, to Allah be the
laud and thou shalt have of me largesse;[FN#246] but, an thou see
or hear that I am worsted and any come to thee with ill news of
me, hasten to kill Tohfah, so she may fall neither to me nor to
them." Then he farewelled her and mounted, saying, "When this
cometh about, pass over to the Crescent Mountain and take up
thine abode there, and await what shall befal me and what I shall
say to thee." And Jamrah answered "Hearkening and obedience." Now
when the Songstress heard these words, she fell to weeping and
wailing and said, "By Allah, naught irketh me but severance from
my lord Al-Rashid; however, when I am dead, let the world be
ruined after me!"[FN#247] And she was certified in herself that
she was assuredly lost. Then Maymun set forth with his army and
departed in quest of the hosts of the Jinn, leaving none in the
palace save his daughter Jamrah and Tohfah and an Ifrit which was
dear to him. They fared on till they met with the army of
Al-Shisban; and when the two hosts came face to face, they fell
each upon other and fought a fight, a passing sore than which
naught could be more. After a while, Al-Shisban's troops began to
give way, and when Maymun saw them do thus, he despised them and
made sure of victory over them. On this wise it befel them; but
as regards Queen Kamariyah and her company they sailed on without
ceasing, till they came under the palace wherein was Tohfah, to
wit, that of Maymun the Sworder; and by the decree of the Lord of
destiny, the Songstress herself was at that very time sitting on
the belvedere of the palace, pondering the affair of Harun
al-Rashid and her own and that which had befallen her and weeping
for that she was doomed to death. She saw the vessel and what was
therein of those we have named, and they in mortal guise, and
said, "Alas, my sorrow for this ship and for the men that be
therein!" As for Kamariyah and her many, when they drew near the
palace, they strained their eyes and seeing the Songstress
sitting, cried, "Yonder sitteth Tohfah. May Allah not bereave us
of her!" Then they moored their craft and, making for the island
which lay over against the palace, spread carpets and sat eating
and drinking; whereupon quoth Tohfah, "Well come and welcome to
yonder faces! These be my kinswomen and I conjure thee by Allah,
O Jamrah, that thou let me down to them, so I may sit with them
awhile and enjoy kindly converse with them and return." Quoth
Jamrah, "I may on no wise do that;" and Tohfah wept. Then the
folk brought out wine and drank, while Kamariyah took the lute
and sang these couplets,

"By Allah, had I never hoped to greet you * Your guide had failed
on camel to seat you!
Far bore you parting from friend would greet you * Till meseems
mine eyes for your wone entreat you."

When Tohfah heard this, she cried out so great a cry, that the
folk heard her and Kamariyah said, "Relief is nearhand." Then the
Songstress looked out to them and called to them, saying, "O
daughters of mine uncle, I am a lonely maid, an exile from kin
and country: so for the love of Allah Almighty, repeat that
song!" Accordingly Kamariyah repeated it and Tohfah swooned away.
When she came to herself, she said to Jamrah, "By the rights of
the Apostle of Allah (whom may He save and assain!) unless thou
suffer me go down to them and look on them and sit with them for
a full hour, I will hurl myself headlong from this palace, for
that I am aweary of my life and know that I am slain to all
certainty; wherefore will I kill myself, ere you pass sentence
upon me." And she was instant with her in asking. When Jamrah
heard her words, she knew that, an she let her not down, she
would assuredly destroy herself. So she said to her, "O Tohfah,
between thee and them are a thousand cubits, but I will bring the
women up to thee." The Songstress replied, "Nay, there is no help
but that I go down to them and solace me in the island and look
upon the sea anear; then will we return, I and thou; for that, an
thou bring them up to us, they will be affrighted and there will
betide them neither joy nor gladness. As for me, I wish but to be
with them, that they may cheer me with their company neither give
over their merrymaking, so peradventure I may broaden my breast
with them, and indeed I swear that needs must I go down to them;
else I will cast myself upon them." And she cajoled Jamrah and
kissed her hands, till she said, "Arise and I will set thee down
beside them." Then she took Tohfah under her armpit and flying up
swiftlier than the blinding leven, set her down with Kamariyah
and her company; whereupon she went up to them and accosted them,
saying, "Fear ye not: no harm shall befal you; for I am a mortal,
like unto you, and I would fain look on you and talk with you and
hear your singing." So they welcomed her and kept their places
whilst Jamrah sat down beside them and fell a-snuffing their
odours and saying, "I smell the scent of the Jinn![FN#248] Would
I wot whence it cometh!" Then said Wakhimah to her sister
Kamariyah, "Yonder foul slut smelleth us and presently she will
take to flight; so what be this inaction concerning her?"[FN#249]
Thereupon Kamariyah put out an arm long as a camel's neck, and
dealt Jamrah a buffet on the head, that made it fly from her body
and cast it into the sea. Then cried she, "Allah is
All-great!"[FN#250] And they uncovered their faces, whereupon
Tohfah knew them and said to them, "Protection!" Queen Kamariyah
embraced her, as also did Queen Zalzalah and Queen Wakhimah and
Queen Shararah, and the first-named said to her, "Receive the
good tidings of assured safety, for there abideth no harm for
thee; but this is no time for talk." Then they cried out,
whereupon up came the Ifrits ambushed in that island, hending
swords and maces in hand, and taking up Tohfah, flew her to the
palace and made themselves masters of it, whilst the Ifrit
aforesaid, who was dear to Maymun and whose name was
Dukhan,[FN#251] fled like an arrow and stinted not flying till he
came to Maymun and found him fighting a sore fight with the Jinn.
When his lord saw him, he cried out at him, saying, "Fie upon
thee! Whom hast thou left in the palace?" Dukhan answered,
saying, "And who abideth in the palace? Thy beloved Tohfah they
have captured and Jamrah is slain and they have taken the palace,
all of it." At these ill tidings Maymun buffeted his face and
head and said, "Oh! Out on it for a calamity!" Then he cried
aloud. Now Kamariyah had sent to her sire and reported to him the
news, whereat the raven of the wold[FN#252] croaked for the foe.
So, when Maymun saw that which had betided him (and indeed the
Jinn smote upon him and the wings of eternal severance overspread
his host), he planted the heel of his lance in the earth and
turning its head to his heart, urged his charger thereat and
pressed upon it with his breast, till the point came forth
gleaming from his back. Meanwhile the messenger had made the
friendly host with the news of Tohfah's deliverance, whereat the
Shaykh Abu al-Tawaif rejoiced and bestowed on the bringer of lief
tidings a sumptuous robe of honour and made him commander over a
company of the Jann. Then they charged home upon Maymun's host
and wiped them out to the last man; and when they came to Maymun,
they found that he had slain himself and was even as we have
said. Presently Kamariyah and her sister Wakhimah came up to
their grandfather and told him what they had done; whereupon he
came to Tohfah and saluted her with the salam and congratulated
her on deliverance. Then he made over Maymun's palace to Salhab;
and, taking all the rebel's wealth gave it to the Songstress,
while the troops encamped upon the Crescent Mountain.
Furthermore, the Shaykh Abu al-Tawaif said to Tohfah, "Blame me
not," and she kissed his hands, when behold, there appeared to
them the tribes of the Jinn, as they were clouds, and Queen
Al-Shahba flying in their van, drawn sword in grip. As she came
in sight of the folk, they kissed ground between her hands and
she said to them, "Tell me what hath betided Queen Tohfah from
yonder dog Maymun and why did ye not send to me and report to
me?" Quoth they, "And who was this dog that we should send to
thee on his account? Indeed he was the least and lowest of the
Jinn." Then they told her what Kamariyah and her sisters had done
and how they had practiced upon Maymun and delivered the
Songstress from his hand, fearing lest he should slay her when he
found himself defeated; and she said, "By Allah, the accursed was
wont to lengthen his looking upon her!" And Tohfah fell to
kissing Al-Shahba's hand, whilst the queen strained her to her
bosom and kissed her, saying, "Trouble is past; so rejoice in
assurance of deliverance." Then they rose and went up to the
palace whereupon the trays of food were brought and they ate and
drank; after which quoth Queen Al-Shahba, "O Tohfah, sing to us,
by way of sweetmeat[FN#253] for thine escape, and favour us with
that which shall solace our minds, for that indeed my thoughts
have been occupied with thee." And quoth Tohfah, "Hearkening and
obedience, O my lady." So she improvised and sang these couplets,

"Breeze of East[FN#254] an thou breathe o'er the dear ones' land
* Speed, I pray thee, my special salute and salam:
And say them I'm pledged to love them and * In pine that passeth
all pine I am."

Thereat Queen Al-Shahba rejoiced and with her all who were
present; and they admired her speech and fell to kissing her; and
when she had made an end of her song, Queen Kamariyah said to
her, "O my sister, ere thou go to thy palace, I would fain bring
thee to look upon Al-'Anka,[FN#255] daughter of Bahram Jur, whom
Al-'Anka, daughter of the wind, carried off, and her beauty; for
that there is not her fellow on earth's face." And Queen
Al-Shahba said, "O Kamariyah, I also think it were well an I
beheld her." Quoth Kamirayah, "I saw her three years ago; but my
sister Wakhimah seeth her at all times, for she is near to her
people, and she saith that there is not in the world fairer than
she. Indeed, this Queen Al-Anka is become a byword for beauty and
comeliness." And Wakhimah said, "By the mighty inscription on the
seal-ring of Solomon, there is not her like for loveliness here
below." Then said Queen Al-Shahba, "An it needs must be and the
affair is as ye say, I will take Tohfah and go with her to
Al-Anka, so she may look upon her!" So they all arose and
repaired to Al-Anka, who abode in the Mountain Kaf. When she saw
them, she drew near to them and saluted them, saying, "O my
ladies, may I not be bereaved of you!" Quoth Wakhimah to her,
"Who is like unto thee, O Anka? Behold, Queen Al-Shahba is come
to thee." So Al-Anka kissed the Queen's feet and lodged them in
her palace; whereupon Tohfah came up to her and fell to kissing
her and saying, "Never saw I seemlier than this semblance." Then
she set before them somewhat of food and they ate and washed
their hands; after which the Songstress took the lute and smote
it well; and Al-Anka also played, and they fell to improvising
verses in turns, whilst Tohfah embraced Al-Anka every moment.
Al-Shahba cried, "O my sister, each kiss is worth a thousand
dinars;" and Tohfah replied, "And a thousand dinars were little
therefor;" whereat Al-Anka laughed and after nighting in her
pavilion on the morrow they took leave of her and went away to
Maymun's palace. Here Queen Al-Shahba farewelled them and taking
her troops, returned to her capital, whilst the kings also went
away to their abodes and the Shaykh Abu al-Tawaif applied himself
to diverting Tohfah till nightfall, when he mounted her on the
back of one of the Ifrits and bade other thirty gather together
all that she had gotten of treasure and raiment, jewels and robes
of honour. Then they flew off, whilst Iblis went with her, and in
less than the twinkling of an eye he set her down in her sleeping
room, where he and those who were with him bade adieu to her and
went away. When Tohfah found herself in her own chamber[FN#256]
and on her couch, her reason fled for joy and it seemed to her as
if she had never stirred thence: then she took the lute and tuned
it and touched it in wondrous fashion and improvised verses and
sang. The Eunuch heard the smiting of the lute within the chamber
and cried, "By Allah, that is the touch of my lady Tohfah!" So he
arose and went, as he were a madman, falling down and rising up,
till he came to the Castrato on guard at the gate of the
Commander of the Faithful and found him sitting. When his fellow
neutral saw him, and he like a madman, slipping down and
stumbling up, he asked him, "What aileth thee and what bringeth
thee hither at this hour?" The other answered, "Wilt thou not
make haste and awaken the Prince of True Believers?" And he fell
to crying out at him; whereupon the Caliph awoke and heard them
bandying words together and Tohfah's slave crying to the other,
"Woe to thee! Awaken the Commander of the Faithful in haste." So
quoth he, "O Sawab, what hast thou to say?" and quoth the Chief
Eunuch, "O our lord, the Eunuch of Tohfah's lodging hath lost his
wits and crieth, 'Awaken the Commander of the Faithful in haste!'
" Then said Al-Rashid to one of his slave-girls, "See what may be
the matter." Accordingly she hastened to admit the Castrato, who
entered at her order; and when he saw the Commander of the
Faithful, he salamed not neither kissed ground, but cried in his
hurry, "Quick: up with thee! My lady Tohfah sitteth in her
chamber, singing a goodly ditty. Come to her in haste and see all
that I say to thee! Hasten! She sitteth awaiting thee." The
Caliph was amazed at his speech and asked him, "What sayst thou?"
He answered, "Didst thou not hear the first of the speech? Tohfah
sitteth in the sleeping-chamber, singing and lute-playing. Come
thy quickest! Hasten!" Accordingly Al-Rashid sprang up and donned
his dress; but he believed not the Eunuch's words and said to
him, "Fie upon thee! What is this thou sayst? Hast thou not seen
this in a dream?" Quoth the Eunuch, "By Allah, I wot not what
thou sayest, and I was not asleep;" and quoth Al-Rashid, "An thy
speech be soothfast, it shall be for thy good luck, for I will
free thee and give thee a thousand gold pieces; but, an it be
untrue and thou have seen this in dream-land, I will crucify
thee." The Eunuch said within himself, "O Protector, let me not
have seen this in vision!" then he left the Caliph and running to
the chamber-door, heard the sound of singing and lute-playing;
whereupon he returned to Al-Rashid and said to him, "Go and
hearken and see who is asleep." When the Prince of True Believers
drew near the door of the sleeping-chamber, he heard the sound of
the lute and Tohfah's voice singing; whereat he could not
restrain his reason and was like to faint for excess of delight.
Then he pulled out the key but his hand refused to draw the bolt:
however, after a while, he took heart and applying himself,
opened the door and entered, saying, "Methinks this is none other
than a vision or an imbroglio of dreams." When Tohfah saw him,
she rose and coming to meet him, pressed him to her breast; and
he cried out a cry wherein his sprite was like to depart and fell
down in a fit. She again strained him to her bosom and sprinkled
on him rose-water mingled with musk, and washed his face, till he
came to himself, as he were a drunken man, and shed tears for the
stress of his joy in Tohfah's return to him, after he had
despaired of her returning. Then she took the lute and smote
thereon, after the fashion she had learnt from Shaykh Iblis, so
that Al-Rashid's wit was bewildered for excess of joy and his
understanding was confounded for exultation; after which she
improvised and sang these couplets,

"That I left thee my heart to believe is unlief; * For the life
that's in it ne'er leaveth; brief,
An thou say 'I went,' saith my heart 'What a fib!' * And I bide
'twixt believing and unbelief."

When she had made an end of her verses, Al-Rashid said to her, "O
Tohfah, shine absence was wondrous, yet is thy presence still
more marvellous." She replied, "By Allah, O my lord, thou sayst
sooth;" then, taking his hand, she said to him, "O Commander of
the Faithful, see what I have brought with me." So he looked and
spied treasures such as neither words could describe nor
registers could document, pearls and jewels and jacinths and
precious stones and unions and gorgeous robes of honour, adorned
with margarites and jewels and purfled with red gold. There he
beheld what he never had beheld all his life long, not even in
idea; and she showed him that which Queen Al-Shahba had bestowed
on her of those carpets, which she had brought with her, and that
throne, the like whereof neither Kisra possessed nor Caesar, and
those tables inlaid with pearls and jewels and those vessels
which amazed all who looked on them, and that crown which was on
the head of the circumcised boy, and those robes of honour, which
Queen Al-Shahba and Shaykh Abu al-Tawaif had doffed and donned
upon her, and the trays wherein were those treasures; brief, she
showed him wealth whose like he had never in his life espied and
which the tongue availeth not to describe and whereat all who
looked thereon were bewildered, Al-Rashid was like to lose his
wits for amazement at this spectacle and was confounded at that
he sighted and witnessed. Then said he to Tohfah, "Come, tell me
thy tale from beginning to end, and let me know all that hath
betided thee, as if I had been present." She answered,
"Hearkening and obedience," and acquainting him with all that had
betided her first and last, from the time when she first saw the
Shaykh Abu al-Tawaif, how he took her and descended with her
through the side of the Chapel of Ease; and she told him of the
horse she had ridden, till she came to the meadow aforesaid and
described it to him, together with the palace and that was
therein of furniture, and related to him how the Jinn rejoiced in
her, and whatso she had seen of their kings, masculine and
feminine, and of Queen Kamariyah and her sisters and Queen
Shu'a'ah, Regent of the Fourth Sea, and Queen Al-Shahba, Queen of
Queens, and King Al-Shisban, and that which each one of them had
bestowed upon her. Moreover, she recited to him the story of
Maymun the Sworder and described to him his fulsome favour, which
he had not deigned to change, and related to him that which befel
her from the kings of the Jinn, male and female, and the coming
of the Queen of Queens, Al-Shahba, and how she had loved her and
appointed her her vice-reine and how she was thus become ruler
over all the kings of the Jann; and she showed him the writ of
investiture which Queen Al-Shahba had written her and told him
what had betided her with the Ghulish Head, when it appeared to
her in the garden, and how she had despatched it to her palace,
beseeching it to bring her news of the Commander of the Faithful
and of what had betided him after her. Then she described to him
the flower-gardens, wherein she had taken her pleasure, and the
Hammam-baths inlaid with pearls and jewels and told him that
which had befallen Maymun the Sworder, when he bore her off, and
how he had slain himself; in fine, she related to him everything
she had seen of wonders and marvels and that which she had beheld
of all kinds and colours among the Jinn. Then she told him the
story of Al-Anka, daughter of Bahram Jur, with Al-Anka, daughter
of the wind, and described to him her dwelling-place and her
island, whereupon quoth Al-Rashid, "O Tohfat al-Sadr,[FN#257]
tell me of Al-Anka, daughter of Bahram Jur; is she of the
Jinn-kind or of mankind or of the bird-kind? For this long time
have I desired to find one who should tell me of her." Tohfah
replied, "'Tis well, O Commander of the Faithful. I asked the
queen of this and she acquainted me with her case and told me who
built her the palace." Quoth Al-Rashid, "Allah upon thee, tell it
me;" and quoth Tohfah, "I will well," and proceeded to tell him.
And he was amazed at that which he heard from her and what she
reported to him and at that which she had brought back of jewels
and jacinths of various hues and precious stones of many sorts,
such as amazed the beholder and confounded thought and mind. As
for this, Tohfah was the means of the enrichment of the
Barmecides and the Abbasides, and they had endurance in their
delight. Then the Caliph went forth and bade decorate the city:
so they decorated it and the drums of glad tidings were beaten;
and they made banquets to the people for whom the tables were
spread seven days. And Tohfah and the Commander of the Faithful
ceased not to enjoy the most delightsome of life and the most
prosperous till there came to them the Destroyer of delights and
the Severer of societies; and this is all that hath come down to
us of their story.


On the following night Dunyazad said to her sister Shahrazad, "O
sister mine, an thou incline not unto sleep, prithee tell us a
tale which shall beguile our watching through the dark hours."
She replied:--With love and gladness.[FN#259] It hath reached me,
O magnificent King, that whilome there was in the city of
Baghdad, a comely youth and a well bred, fair of favour, tall of
stature, and slender of shape. His name was Ala al-Din and he was
of the chiefs of the sons of the merchants and had a shop wherein
he sold and bought. One day, as he sat in his shop, there passed
by him a merry girl[FN#260] who raised her head and casting a
glance at the young merchant, saw written in a flowing hand on
the forehead[FN#261] of his shop door these words, "THERE BE NO
CRAFT." When she beheld this, she was wroth and took counsel with
herself, saying, As my head liveth, there is no help but I show
him a marvel trick of the wiles of women and put to naught this
his inscription!" Thereupon she hied her home; and on the morrow
she made her ready and donning the finest of dress, adorned
herself with the costliest of ornaments and the highest of price
and stained her hands with henna. Then she let down her tresses
upon her shoulders and went forth, walking with coquettish gait
and amorous grace, followed by her slave-girl carrying a parcel,
till she came to the young merchant's shop and sitting down under
pretext of seeking stuffs, saluted him with the salam and
demanded of him somewhat of cloths. So he brought out to her
various kinds and she took them and turned them over, talking
with him the while. Then said she to him, "Look at the
shapeliness of my shape and my semblance! Seest thou in me aught
of default?" He replied, "No, O my lady;" and she continued, "Is
it lawful in any one that he should slander me and say that I am
humpbacked?" Then she discovered to him a part of her bosom, and
when he saw her breasts his reason took flight from his head and
his heart crave to her and he cried, "Cover it up,[FN#262] so may
Allah veil thee!" Quoth she, "Is it fair of any one to decry my
charms?" and quoth he, "How shall any decry thy charms, and thou
the sun of loveliness?" Then said she, "Hath any the right to say
of me that I am lophanded?" and tucking up her sleeves, she
showed him forearms as they were crystal; after which she
unveiled to him a face, as it were a full moon breaking forth on
its fourteenth night, and said to him, "Is it lawful for any to
decry me and declare that my face is pitted with smallpox or that
I am one eyed or crop eared?" and said he, "O my lady, what is it
moveth thee to discover unto me that lovely face and those fair
limbs, wont to be so jealously veiled and guarded? Tell me the
truth of the matter, may I be thy ransom!" And he began to

"White Fair now drawn from sheath of parted hair, * Then in the
blackest tresses hid from sight,
Flasheth like day irradiating Earth * While round her glooms the
murk of nightliest night."

--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her
permitted say. Whereupon cried Dunyazad her sister, "O sister
mine, how delectable is this tale and how desirable!" She
replied, saying, "And where is this compared with that which I
will recount to thee next night, Inshallah?"

The Hundred and Ninety-seventh Night.

Now when came the night, quoth Dunyazad to her sister Shahrazad,
"O sister mine, an thou incline not unto sleep, prithee finish
thy tale which shall beguile our watching through the dark
hours." She replied:--With love and gladness! It hath reached me,
O auspicious King, that the girl said to the young merchant,
"Know, O my lord, that I am a maid oppressed of my sire, who
speaketh at me and saith to me, Thou art loathly of looks and
semblance and it besitteth not that thou wear rich raiment; for
thou and the slave-girls are like in rank, there is no
distinguishing thee from them. Now he is a richard, having a
mighty great store of money and saith not thus save because he is
a pinchpenny, and grudgeth the spending of a farthing; wherefore
he is loath to marry me, lest he be put to somewhat of expense in
my marriage, albeit Almighty Allah hath been bounteous to him and
he is a man puissant in his time and lacking naught of worldly
weal." The youth asked, "Who is thy father and what is his
condition?" and she answered, "He is the Chief Kazi of the well-
known Supreme Court, under whose hands are all the Kazis who
administer justice in this city." The merchant believed her and
she farewelled him and fared away, leaving in his heart a
thousand regrets, for that the love of her had prevailed over him
and he knew not how he should win to her; wherefore he woned
enamoured, love-distracted, unknowing if he were alive or dead.
As soon as she was gone, he shut up shop and walked straightway
to the Court, where he went in to the Chief Kazi and saluted him.
The magistrate returned his salam and treated him with
distinction and seated him by his side. Then said Ala al-Din to
him, "I come to thee seeking thine alliance and desiring the hand
of thy noble daughter." Quoth the Kazi, "O my lord merchant,
welcome to thee and fair welcome; but indeed my daughter
befitteth not the like of thee, neither beseemeth she the
goodliness of thy youth and the pleasantness of thy compostition
and the sweetness of thy speech;" but Ala al-Din replied, "This
talk becometh thee not, neither is it seemly in thee; if I be
content with her, how should this vex thee?" So the Kazi was
satisfied and they came to an accord and concluded the marriage
contract at a dower precedent of five purses[FN#264] ready money
and a dower contingent of fifteen purses, so it might be hard for
him to put her away, her father having given him fair warning,
but he would not be warned. Then they wrote out the contract
document and the merchant said, "I desire to go in to her this
night." Accordingly they carried her to him in procession that
very evening, and he prayed the night prayer and entered the
private chamber prepared for him; but, when he lifted the head
gear from the bride's head and the veil from her face and looked,
he saw a foul face and a favour right fulsome; indeed he beheld
somewhat whereof may Allah never show thee the like! loathly,
dispensing from description, inasmuch as there were reckoned in
her all legal defects.[FN#265] So he repented, when repentance
availed him naught, and knew that the girl had cheated him.--And
Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her
permitted say. Whereupon cried Dunyazad, her sister, "O sister
mine, how delectable is thy story and how sweet!" She replied,
saying, "And where is this compared with that which I will
recount to thee next night an I be spared and suffered to live by
the King, whom Almighty Allah preserve?"

The Hundred and Ninety-eight Night.

Now whenas came the night, quoth Dunyazad to her sister
Shahrazad, "O sister mine, an thou incline not unto sleep,
prithee finish thy story which shall beguile our watching through
the dark hours, for indeed 'tis a fine tale and a wondrous." She
replied:--With love and gladness! It hath reached me, O generous
King, that the unhappy merchant carnally knew the loathly bride,
sore against the grain, and abode that night troubled in mind, as
he were in the prison of Al-Daylam.[FN#266] Hardly had the day
dawned when he arose from her side and betaking himself to one of
the Hammams, dozed there awhile, after which he made the
Ghusl-ablution of ceremonial impurity[FN#267] and donned his
every day dress. Then he went out to the coffee house and drank a
cup of coffee; after which he returned to his shop and opening
the door, sat down, with concern and chagrin manifest on his
countenance. After an hour or so, his friends and intimates among
the merchants and people of the market began to come up to him,
by ones and twos; to give him joy, and said to him, laughing, "A
blessing! a blessing! Where be the sweetmeats? Where be the
coffee?[FN#268] 'Twould seem thou hast forgotten us; and nothing
made thee oblivious save that the charms of the bride have
disordered thy wit and taken thy reason, Allah help thee! We give
thee joy, we give thee joy." And they mocked at him whilst he
kept silence before them, being like to rend his raiment and shed
tears for rage. Then they went away from him, and when it was the
hour of noon, up came his mistress, the crafty girl, trailing her
skirts and swaying to and fro in her gait, as she were a branch
of Ban in a garden of bloom. She was yet more richly dressed and
adorned and more striking and cutting[FN#269] in her symmetry and
grace than on the previous day, so that she made the passers stop
and stand in espalier to gaze upon her. When she came to Ala
al-Din's shop, she sat down thereon and said to him, "Blessed be
the day to thee, O my lord Ala al-Din! Allah prosper thee and be
good to thee and perfect thy gladness and make it a wedding of
weal and welfare!" He knitted his brows and frowned in answer to
her; then asked her, "Wherein have I failed of thy due, or what
have I done to harm thee, that thou shouldst requite me after
this fashion?" She answered, "Thou hast been no wise in default;
but 'tis yonder inscription written on the door of thy shop that
irketh me and vexeth my heart. An thou have the courage to change
it and write up the contrary thereof, I will deliver thee from
thine evil plight." And he answered, "Thy requirement is right
easy: on my head and eyes!" So saying, he brought out a
sequin[FN#270] and summoning one of his Mamelukes said to him,
"Get thee to Such-an-one the Scribe and bid him write us an
epigraph, adorned with gold and lapis lazuli, in these words,
MEN." And she said to the white slave "Fare thee forthright." So
he repaired to the Scribe, who wrote him the scroll, and he
brought it to his master, who set it on the door and asked the
damsel, "Is thy heart satisfied?" She answered, "Yes! Arise
forthwith and get thee to the place before the citadel, where do
thou foregather with all the mountebanks and ape-dancers and
bear-leaders and drummers and pipers and bid them come to thee
to-morrow early, with their kettle drums and flageolets, whilst
thou art drinking coffee with thy father in law the Kazi, and
congratulate thee and wish thee joy, saying, 'A blessing, O son
of our uncle! Indeed, thou art the vein[FN#272] of our eye! We
rejoice for thee, and if thou be ashamed of us, verily we pride
ourselves upon thee; so, although thou banish us from thee, know
that we will not forsake thee, albeit thou forsake us.' And do
thou fall to throwing diners and dirhams amongst them; whereupon
the Kazi will question thee, and do thou answer him, saying, My
father was an ape-dancer and this is our original condition; but
our Lord opened on us the gate of fortune and we have gotten us a
name amongst the merchants and with their provost.' Upon this he
will say to thee, 'Then thou art an ape-leader of the tribe of
the mountebanks?' and do thou rejoin, 'I may in nowise deny my
origin, for the sake of thy daughter and in her honour.' The Kazi
will say, 'It may not be that thou shalt be given the daughter of
a Shaykh who sitteth upon the carpet of the Law and whose descent
is traceable by genealogy to the loins of the Apostle of
Allah,[FN#273] nor is it meet that his daughter be in the power
of a man who is an ape-dancer, a minstrel.' Then do thou reply,
'Nay, O Efendi, she is my lawful wife, and every hair of her is
worth a thousand lives, and I will not put her away though I be
given the kingship of the world.' At last be thou persuaded to
speak the word of divorce and so shall the marriage be voided and
ye be saved each from other." Quoth Ala al-Din, "Right is thy
rede," and locking up his shop, betook himself to the place --And
Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her
permitted say. Whereupon cried Dunyazad, her sister, "O sister
mine, how goodly is thy story and how sweet!" She replied,
saying, "And where is this compared with that which I will
recount to thee next night, Inshallah!"

The Hundred and Ninety-ninth Night.

And whenas came the night, quoth Dunyazad to her sister, "O
sister mine, an thou incline not unto sleep, pray finish thy tale
which shall beguile our watching through the dark hours." She
replied:--With love and gladness! It hath reached me, O generous
King, that the young merchant betook himself to the place before
the citadel, where he foregathered with the dancers, the drummers
and pipers and instructed them how they should do, promising them
a mighty fine reward. They received his word with "Hearing and
obeying;" and he betook himself on the morrow, after the morning
prayer, to the presence of the Judge, who received him with
humble courtesy and seated him by his side. Then he addressed him
and began questioning him of matters of selling and buying and of
the price current of the various commodities which were carried
to Baghdad from all quarters, whilst his son-in-law replied to
all whereof he was questioned. As they were thus conversing,
behold, up came the dancers and drummers with their drums and
pipers with their pipes, whilst one of their number preceded
them, with a long pennon-like banner in his hand, and played all
manner antics with voice and limbs. When they came to the Court
house, the Kazi cried, "I seek refuge with Allah from yonder
Satans!" and the young merchant laughed but said naught. Then
they entered and saluting his worship the Kazi, kissed Ala
al-Din's hands and said, "A blessing on thee, O son of our uncle!
Indeed, thou coolest our eyes in whatso thou doest, and we
beseech Allah for the enduring greatness of our lord the Kazi,
who hath honoured us by admitting thee to his connection and hath
allotted to us a portion in his high rank and degree." When the
Judge heard this talk, it bewildered his wit and he was dazed and
his face flushed with rage, and quoth he to his son-in-law, "What
words are these?" Quoth the merchant, "Knowest thou not, O my
lord, that I am of this tribe? Indeed this man is the son of my
maternal uncle and that other the son of my paternal uncle, and
if I be reckoned of the merchants, 'tis but by courtesy!" When
the Kazi heard these words his colour changed--And Shahrazad
perceived the dawn of day, whereupon cried Dunyazad her sister,
"O sister mine, how delectable is thy story and how desirable!"
She replied, saying, "And where is its first compared with its
last? But I will forthwith relate it to you an I be spared and
suffered to live by the King, whom may Allah the Most High keep!"
Quoth the King within himself, "By the Almighty, I will not slay
her until I hear the end of her tale!"

The Two Hundredth Night.

Now whenas came the night, quoth Dunyazad to her sister, "O
sister mine, an thou incline not unto sleep, prithee finish thy
tale which shall beguile our watching through the dark hours."
She replied:--With love and gladness! It hath reached me, O
auspicious king, that the Kazi's colour changed and he was
troubled and waxed wroth with exceeding wrath and was like to
burst for stress of rage. Then said he to the young merchant,
"Allah forfend that this should last! How shall it be permitted
that the daughter of the Kazi of the Moslems cohabit with a man
of the dancers and vile of origin? By Allah, unless thou
repudiate her forthright, I will bid beat thee and cast thee into
prison and there confine thee till thou die. Had I foreknown that
thou wast of them, I had not suffered thee near me, but had spat
in thy face, for that thou art more ill-omened than a dog or a
hog."[FN#274] Then he kicked him down from his place and
commanded him to divorce; but he said, "Be ruthful to me, O
Efendi, for that Allah is ruthful, and hasten not: I will not
divorce my wife, though thou give me the kingdom of Al-Irak." The
judge was perplexed and knew that compulsion was not permitted of
Holy Law;[FN#275] so he bespake the young merchant fair and said
to him, "Veil me,[FN#276] so may Allah veil thee. An thou divorce
her not, this dishonour shall cleave to me till the end of time."
Then his fury gat the better of his wit and he cried, "An thou
divorce her not of thine own will, I will forthright bid strike
off thy head and slay myself; Hell-flame but not shame."[FN#277]
The merchant bethought himself awhile, then divorced her with a
manifest divorce and a public[FN#278] and on this wise he won
free from that unwelcome worry. Then he returned to his shop and
presently sought in marriage of her father her who had done with
him what she did[FN#279] and who was the daughter of the Shaykh
of the guild of the blacksmiths. So he took her to wife and they
abode each with other and lived the pleasantest of lives and the
most delightsome, till the day of death: and praise be to Allah
the Lord of the Three Worlds.


There was one, in days of yore and in ages and times long gone
before, a merchant of the merchants of Damascus, by name Abu
al-Hasan, who had money and means, slave-blacks and slave-girls,
lands and gardens, houses and Hammams in that city; but he was
not blessed with boon of child and indeed his age waxed great. So
he addressed himself to supplicate[FN#281] Allah Almighty in
private and in public and in his bows and his prostrations and at
the season of prayer-call, beseeching Him to vouchsafe him,
before his decease, a son who should inherit his wealth and
possessions. The Lord answered his prayer; his wife conceived and
the days of her pregnancy were accomplished and her months and
her nights; and the travail-pangs came upon her and she gave
birth to a boy, as he were a slice of Luna. He had not his match
for beauty and he put to shame the sun and the resplendent moon;
for he had a beaming face and black eyes of Babili
witchery[FN#282] and aquiline nose and carnelian lips; in fine,
he was perfect of attributes, the loveliest of folk of his time,
sans dubitation or gainsaying. His father joyed in him with
exceeding joy and his heart was solaced and he was at last happy:
he made banquets to the folk and he clad the poor and the widows.
Presently he named the boy Sidi Nur al-Din Ali and reared him in
fondness and delight among the hand-maids and thralls. When he
had passed his seventh year, his father put him to school, where
he learned the sublime Koran and the arts of writing and
reckoning ; and when he reached his tenth year, he was taught
horsemanship and archery and to occupy himself with arts and
sciences of all kinds, part and parts.[FN#283] He grew up
pleasant and polite, winsome and lovesome; a ravishment to all
who saw him, and he inclined to companying with brethren and
comrades and mixing with merchants and travelled men. From these
he heard tell of that which they had witnessed of the wonders of
the cities in their wayfare and heard them say, "Whoso journeyeth
not enjoyeth naught;[FN#284] especially of the city of Baghdad."
So he was concerned with exceeding concern for his lack of travel
and disclosed this to his sire, who said to him, "O my son, why
do I see thee chagrined?" Quoth he, "I would fain travel;" and
quoth Abu al-Hasan, "O my son, none travelleth save those whose
need is urgent and those who are compelled thereto by want. As
for thee, O my son, thou enjoyest ample means; so do thou content
thyself with that which Allah hath given thee and be bounteous to
others, even as He hath been bountiful to thee; and afflict not
thyself with the toil and tribulation of travel, for indeed it is
said that travel is a piece of Hell-torment."[FN#285] But the
youth said, "Needs must I journey to Baghdad, the House of
Peace." When his father saw the strength of his resolve to travel

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