Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Books, poems, drama…

Supplemental Nights, Volume 3 by Richard F. Burton

Part 7 out of 11

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 1.2 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

though he were thine own." So the Intendant's wife took charge of
the child with great gladness and reared him with her whole
heart, diligently as though born of her own womb; nor did the
Intendant say aught to any, or seek to find out whose might be
the child lest haply some one claim and take it from him. He was
certified in his mind that the boy came from the Queen's quarter
of the palace, but deemed inexpedient to make too strict enquiry
concerning the matter; and he and his spouse kept the secret with
all secrecy. A year after this the Queen gave birth to a second
son, when her sisters, the Satanesses full of spite, did with
this babe, even as they had done by the first: they wrapped it in
a cloth and set it in a basket which they threw into the stream,
then gave out that the Queen had brought forth a kitten. But once
more, by the mercy of Allah Almighty, this boy came to the hands
of that same Intendant of the gardens who carried him to his wife
and placed him under her charge with strict injunctions to take
care of the second foundling sedulously as she had done with the
first. The Shah, enraged to hear the evil tidings, again rose up
to slay the Queen; but as before the Grand Wazir prevented him
and calmed his wrath with words of wholesome rede and a second
time saved the unhappy mother's life. And after another year had
gone by the Banu was brought to bed and this time bore a daughter
by whom the sisters did as they had done by her brothers: they
set the innocent inside a basket and threw her into the stream;
and the Intendant found her also and took her to his wife and
bade her rear the infant together with the other two castaways.
Hereupon the Envious Sisters, wild with malice, reported that the
Queen had given birth to a musk-ratling;[FN#354] whereat King
Khusrau could no longer stay his wrath and indignation. So he
cried in furious rage to the Grand Wazir, "What, shall the Shah
suffer this woman, who beareth naught but vermin and abortions,
to share the joys of his bed? Nay more, the King can no longer
allow her to live, else she will fill the palace with monstrous
births: in very sooth, she is herself a monster, and it behoveth
us to rid this place of such unclean creature and accursed." So
saying the Shah commanded them do her to death; but the ministers
and high officers of estate who stood before the presence fell at
the royal feet and besought pardon and mercy for the Queen. The
Grand Wazir also said with folded hands, "O Shhihshh[FN#355]--O
King of the kings--thy slave would fain represent that tis not
in accordance with the course of justice or the laws of the land
to take the life of a woman for no fault of her own. She cannot
interfere with Destiny, nor can she prevent unnatural births such
as have thrice betided her; and such mishaps have oftentimes
befallen other women, whose cases call for compassion and not
punishment. An the King be displeased with her then let him cease
to live with her, and the loss of his gracious favour will be a
penalty dire enough; and, if the Shah cannot suffer the sight of
her, then let her be confined in some room apart, and let her
expiate her offence by alms deed and charity until Izrl, the
Angel of Death, separate her soul from her flesh." Hearing these
words of counsel from his aged Councillor, Khusrau Shah
recognised that it had been wrong to slay the Queen, for that she
could on no wise do away with aught that was determined by Fate
and Destiny; and presently he said to the Grand Wazir, "Her life
is spared at thine intercession, O wise man and ware; yet will
the King doom her to a weird which, haply, is hardly less hard to
bear than death. And now do thou forthright make ready, by the
side of the Cathedral-mosque, a wooden cage with iron bars and
lock the Queen therein as one would confine a ferocious wild
beast.[FN#356] Then every Mussulman who wendeth his way to public
prayers Shall spit in her face ere he set foot within the fane,
and if any fail to carry out this command he shall be punished in
like manner. So place guards and inspectors to enforce obedience
and let me hear if there be aught of gainsaying." The Wazir durst
not make reply but carried out the Shah's commandments; and this
punishment inflicted upon the blameless Queen had far better
befitted her Envious Sisters.--And as the morn began to dawn
Shahrazad held her peace till

The End of the Six Hundred and Seventy-first Night.

Then said she--I have heard, O auspicious King, that the cage was
made ready with all speed; and, when the forty days after
purification of child-bed[FN#357] had come to an end, the Banu
was locked therein; and, according to the King's commandment, all
who came to prayer in the Great Mosque would first spit in her
face. The hapless woman, well knowing that she as not worthy of
this ignominy, bore her sufferings with all patience and
fortitude; nor were they few who deemed her blameless and
undeserving to endure these torments and tortures inflicted upon
her by the Shah; and they pitied her and offered prayers and made
vows for her release. Meanwhile the Intendant of the gardens and
his wife brought up the two Princes and the Princess with all
love and tenderness; and, as the children grew in years, their
love for these adopted ones increased in like proportion. They
gave the eldest Prince the name Bahman,[FN#358], and to his
brother Parwez,[FN#359], and as the maiden was of rare of beauty
and passing of loveliness and graciousness, they called her
Perzdah.[FN#360] When the Princes became of years to receive
instruction, the Intendant of the gardens appointed tutors and
masters to teach them reading and writing and all the arts and
sciences: the Princess also, showing like eagerness to acquire
knowledge, was taught letters by the same instructors, and soon
could read and write with as perfect fluency and fluency as could
her brothers. Then they were placed under the most learned of the
Philosophers and the Olema, who taught them the interpretation of
the Koran and the sayings of the Apostle; the science of geometry
as well as poetry and history, and even the abstruse sciences and
the mystic doctrines of the Enlightened; and their teachers were
astonished to find how soon and how far all three made progress
in their studies and bid fair to outstrip even the sages however
learned. Moreover, they all three were reared to horsemanship and
skill in the chase, to shooting with shafts and lunging with
lance and sway with sabre and jerking the Jerd, with other manly
and warlike sports. Besides all this the Princess Perizadah was
taught to sing and play on various instruments of mirth and
merriment, wherein she became the peerless pearl of her age and
time. The Intendant was exceeding glad of heart to find his
adopted children prove themselves such proficients in every
branch of knowledge; and presently, forasmuch as his lodging was
small and unfit for the growing family, he bought at a little
distance from the city a piece of land sufficiently large to
contain fields and meadows and copses. Here he fell to building a
mansion of great magnificence; and busied himself day and night
with supervising the architects and masons and other artificers.
He adorned the walls inside and out with sculptural work of the
finest and paintings of the choicest, and he fitted every
apartment with richest furniture. In the front of his mansion he
bade lay out a garden and stocked it with scented flowers and
fragrant shrubs and fruit trees whose produce was as that of
Paradise. There was moreover a large park girt on all sides by a
high wall wherein he reared game, both fur and feather, as sport
for the two Princes and their sister. And when the mansion was
finished and fit for habitation, the Intendant, who had
faithfully served the Shah for many generations of men, craved
leave of his lord that he might bid adieu to the city and take up
his abode in his new country seat; and the King, who had always
looked upon him with the eye of favour, granted to him the
required boon right heartily; furthermore, to prove his high
opinion of his old servant and his services, he inquired of him
if he had aught to request that it might granted to him. Replied
the other, "O my liege lord, thy slave desireth naught save that
he may spend the remnant of his days under the shadow of the
Shah's protection, with body and soul devoted to his service,
even as I served the side before the son," The Shah dismissed him
with words of thanks and comfort, when he left the city and
taking with him the two Princes and their sister, he carried them
to his newly-built mansion. Some years before this time his wife
had departed to the mercy of Allah, and he had passed only five
or six months in his second home when he too suddenly felt sick
and was admitted into the number of those who have found ruth.
Withal he had neglected every occasion of telling his three
foundlings the strange tale of their birth and how he had carried
them to his home as castaways and had reared them as rearlings
and had cherished them as his own children. But he had time to
charge them, ere he died, that they three should never cease to
live together in love and honour and affection and respect one
towards other. The loss of their protector caused them to grieve
with bitter grief for they all thought he was their real father;
so they bewailed them and buried him as befitted; after which the
two brothers and their sister dwelt together in peace and plenty.
But one day of the days the Princes, who were full of daring and
of the highest mettle, rode forth a-hunting and Princess
Perizadah was left alone at home when an ancient woman--And as
the morn began to dawn Shahrazad held her peace till

The end of the Six Hundred and Seventy-second Night.

Then said she--I have heard, O auspicious King, that perchance an
ancient woman of the Moslems, a recluse and a devotee, came to
the door and begged leave to enter within and repeat her prayers,
as it was then the canonical hour and she had but time to make
the Wuz-ablution. Perizadah bade being her and saluted her with
the salam and kindly welcomed her; then, when the holy woman had
made an end of her orisons, the handmaids of the Princess, at her
command, conducted her all through the house and grounds, and
displayed to her the rooms with their furniture and fittings, and
lastly the garden and orchard and game-park. She was well pleased
with all she saw and said within herself, "The man who built this
mansion and laid out these parterres and vergiers was verily an
accomplished artist and a wight of marvellous skill." At last the
slaves led her back to the Princess who, awaiting her return, was
sitting in the belvedere; and quoth she to the devotee, "Come, O
good my mother, do thou sit beside me and make me happy by the
company of a pious recluse whom I am fortunate enough to have
entertained unawares, and suffer I listen to thy words of grace
and thereby gain no small advantage in this world and the next.
Thou hast chosen the right path and straight whereon to walk, and
that which all men strive for and pine for." The holy woman would
fain have seated herself at the feet of the Princess, but she
courteously arose and took her by the hand and constrained her to
sit beside her. Quoth she, "O my lady, mine eyes never yet beheld
one so well-mannered as thou art: indeed, I am unworthy to sit
with thee, natheless, as thou biddest, I will e'en do thy
bidding." As they sat conversing each with other the slave-girls
set before them a table whereon were placed some platters of
bread and cakes with saucers full of fruits both fresh and dried,
and various kinds of cates and sweetmeats. The Princess took one
of the cakes and giving it to the good woman said, "O my mother,
refresh thyself herewith and eat of the fruits such as thou
likest. Tis now long since thou didst leave thy home and I trow
thou hast not tasted aught of food upon the road." Replied the
holy woman, "O lady of gentle birth, I am not wont to taste of
dainty dishes such as these, but I can ill refuse thy provision,
since Allah the Almighty deigneth send me food and support by so
liberal and generous a hand as thine." And when they twain had
eaten somewhat and cheered their hearts, the Princess asked the
devotee concerning the manner of her worship and of her austere
life; whereto she made due answer and explained according to her
knowledge. The Princess then exclaimed, "Tell me, I pray thee,
what thou thinkest of this mansion and the fashion of its
building and the furniture and the appurtenances; and say me is
all perfect and appropriate, or is aught still lacking in mansion
or garden?" And she replied, "Since thou deignest ask my opinion,
I confess to thee that both the buildings and the parterres are
finished and furnished to perfection; and the belongings are in
the best of taste and in the highest of ordinance. Still to my
thinking there be three things here wanting, which if thou hadst
the place would be most complete." The Princess Perizadah adjured
her saying, "O my aunt, I beseech thee tell me what three
articles yet are lacking, that I may lose no pains nor toil to
obtain them;" and as the maiden pressed her with much intreaty,
the devotee was constrained to tell her. Quoth she, "O gentle
lady, the first thing is the Speaking-Bird, called Bulbul-i-
hazr-dstn;[FN#361] he is very rare and hard to find but,
whenever he poureth out his melodious notes, thousands of birds
fly to him from every side and join him in his harmony. The next
thing is the Singing-Tree, whose smooth and glossy leaves when
shaken by the wind and rubbed against one another send forth
tuneful tones which strike the ear like the notes of sweet-voices
minstrels ravishing the heart of all who listen. The third thing
is the Golden-Water of transparent purity, whereon should but one
drop be dripped into a basin and this be placed inside the garden
it presently will fill the vessel brimful and will spout upwards
in gerbes playing like a fountain that jets: moreover it never
ceaseth playing, and all the water as it shooteth up falleth back
again inside the basin, not one gout thereof being lost." Replied
the Princess, "I doubt not but thou knowest for a certainty the
very spot where these wondrous things are to be found; and I pray
thee tell me now the place and means whereby I may take action to
obtain them."--And as the morn began to dawn Shahrazad held her
peace till

The end of the Six Hundred and Seventy-third Night.

Then said she--I have heard, O auspicious King, that the holy
woman thus answered the Princess, "These three rarities are not
to be found, save on the boundary-line that lieth between the
land of Hind and the confining countries, a score of marches
along the road that leadeth Eastwards from this mansion. Let him
who goeth forth in quest of them ask the first man he meeteth on
the twentieth stage concerning the spot where he may find the
Speaking-Bird, the Singing-Tree and the Golden-Water; and he will
direct the seeker where to come upon all three." When she had
made an end of speaking the Devotee, with many blessings and
prayers and vows for her well-being, farewelled the lady
Perizadah and fared forth homewards. The Princess, however,
ceased not to ponder her words and ever to dwell in memory upon
the relation of the holy woman who, never thinking that her
hostess had asked for information save by way of curiosity, nor
really purposed in mind to set forth with intent of finding the
rarities, ahd heedlessly told all she knew and had given a clue
to the discovery. But Perizadah kept these matters deeply graven
on the tablets of her heart with firm resolution to follow the
directions and, by all means in her power, to gain possession of
these three wonders. Withal, the more she reflected the harder
appeared the enterprise, and her fear of failing only added to
her unease. Now whilst she sat perplexed with anxious thought and
anon terrified with sore affright, her brothers rode back from
the hunting-ground; and they marvelled much to see her sad of
semblance and low-spirited, wondering the while what it was that
troubles her. Presently quoth Prince Bahman, "O sister mine, why
art thou so heavy of heart this day? Almighty Allah forbid thou
ill in health or that aught have betided thee to cause thy
displeasure or to make thee melancholy. Tell us I beseech thee
what it is, that we may be sharers in thy sorrow and be alert to
aid thee." The Princess answered not a word, but after long
silence raised her head and looked up at her brothers; then
casting down her eyes she said in curt phrase that naught was
amiss with her. Quoth Prince Bahman, "Full well I wot that there
is a somewhat on my mind which thou hesitateth to tell us; and
now hear me swear a strong oath that I will never leave thy side
till thou shalt have told us what cause it is that troubleth
thee. Haply thou art aweary of our affection and thou wouldest
undo the fraternal tie which hath united us from our infancy."
When she saw her brothers so distressed and distraught, she was
compelled to speak and said, "Albeit, O my dearlings, to tell you
wherefore I am sad and sorrowful may cause you grief, still there
is no help but I explain the matter to you twain. This mansion,
which our dear father (who hath found ruth) builded for us, is
perfect in every attribute nor lacketh it any condition of
comfort or completion. Howbeit I have found out by chance this
day that there are yet three things which, were they set within
these walls, of the house and grounds, would make our place
beyond compare, and in the wide world there would be naught with
it to pair. These three things are the Speaking-Bird an the
Singing-Tree and the Golden- Water; and ever since I heard of
them my heart is filled with extreme desire to place them within
our domain and excessive longing to obtain them by any means
within my power. It now behoveth you to help me with your best
endeavour and to consider what person will aid me in getting
possession of these rarities." Replied Prince Bahman, "My life
and that of my brother are at thy service to carry out thy
purpose with heart and soul; and, couldst thou give me but a clue
to the place where these strange things are found, I would sally
forth in quest of them at day-break as soon as the morning shall
morrow." When Prince Parwez understood that his brother was about
to make this journey, he spake saying, "O my brother, thou art
eldest of us, so do thou stay at home while I go forth to seek
for these three things and bring them to our sister. And indeed
it were more fitting for me to undertake a task which may occupy
me for years." Replied Prince Bahman, "I have full confidence in
thy strength and prowess, and whatso I am able to perform thou
canst do as well as I can. Still it is my firm resolve to fare
forth upon this adventure alone and unaided, and thou must stay
and take care of our sister and our house." So next day Prince
Bahman learned from the Princess the road whereon he was to
travel and the marks and signs whereby to find the place.
Presently, he donned armour and arms and bidding the twain adieu,
he took horse and was about to ride forth with the stoutest of
hearts, whereat Princess Perizadah's eyes brimmed with tears and
in faltering accents she addressed him saying, "O dear my
brother, this bitter separation is heart-breaking; and sore
sorrowful am I to see thee part from us. This disunion and thine
absence in a distant land cause me grief and woe far exceeding
that wherewith I mourned and pined for the rarities wherefor thou
quittest us. If only we might have some news of thee from day to
day then would I fell somewhat comforted and consoled; but not
tis clear otherwise and regret is of none avail."--And as the
morn began to dawn Shahrazad held her peace till

The end of the Six Hundred and Seventy-fourth Night.

Then she said--I have heard, O auspicious King, that Prince
Bahman made answer in these words: "O sister mine, I am fully
determined in mind to attempt this derring-do; be thou not
however anxious or alarmed, for Inshallah--God willing--I shall
return successful and triumphant. After my departure shouldst
thou at any time feel in fear for my safety, then by this token
which I leave thee thou shalt know of my fate and lot, good or
evil." Then, drawing from his waist-shawl a little hunting-knife
like a whittle, he gave it to Princess Perizadah, saying, "Take
now this blade and keep it ever by thee; and shouldst thou at any
day or hour be solicitous concerning my condition, draw it from
its sheath; and if the steel be clean and bright as tis now then
know that I am alive and safe and sound; but an thou find stains
of blood thereon then shalt thou know that I am slain, and naught
remaineth for thee to do save to pray for me as for one dead."
With these words of solace the Prince departed on his journey,
and travelled straight along the road to India, turning nor to
right hand nor to left but ever keeping the same object in view.
Thus a score of days was spent in journeying from the land of
Iran, and upon the twentieth he reached the end of his travel.
Here he suddenly sighted an ancient man of frightful aspect
sitting beneath a tree hard by his thatched hut wherein he was
wont to shelter himself from the rains of spring and the heats of
summer and the autumnal miasmas and the wintry frosts. So shotten
in years was this Shaykh that hair and beard, mustachios and
whiskers were white as snow, and the growth of his upper lip was
so long and so thick that it covered and concealed his mouth,
while his beard swept the ground and the nails of his hands and
feet had grown to resemble the claws of a wild beast. Upon his
head he wore a broad-brimmed hat of woven palm-leaves like that
of a Malbr fisherman, and all his remaining habit was a strip
of matting girded around his waist. Now this Shaykh was a
Darwaysh who for many years had fled the world and all worldly
pleasures; who lived a holy life of poverty and chastity and
other-worldliness whereby his semblance had become such as I, O
auspicious King, have described to thee. From early dawn that day
Prince Bahman had been watchful and vigilant, ever looking on all
sides to descry some one who could supply him with information
touching the whereabouts of the rarities he sought; and this was
the first human being he had sighted on that stage, the twentieth
and last of his journey. So he rode up to him, being assured that
the Shaykh must be the wight of whom the holy woman had spoken.
Then Prince Bahman dismounting and making low obeisance to the
Darwaysh, said, "I my father, Allah Almighty prolong thy years
and grant thee all thy wishes!" Whereto the Fakir made answer but
in accents so indistinct that the Prince could not distinguish a
single word he said; and presently Bahman understood that his
moustache was on such wise closed and concealed his mouth that
his utterance became indistinct and he only muttered when he
would have spoken. He therefore haltered his horse to a tree and
pulling out a pair of scissors said, "O holy man, thy lips are
wholly hidden by this overlong hair; suffer me, I pray thee, clip
the bristling growth which overspreadeth thy face and which is so
long and thick that thou art fearsome to behold; nay, more like
to a bear than to a human being." The Darwaysh with a nod
consented, and when the Prince had clipped it and trimmed the
growth, his face once more looked young and fresh as that of a
man in the prime of youth. Presently quoth Bahman to him, "Would
Heaven that I had a mirror wherein to show thee thy face, so
wouldst thou see how youthful thou seemest, and how thy favour
hath become far more like that of folk than whilom it was." These
flattering words pleased the Darwaysh who smiling said, "I thank
thee much for this thy goodly service and kindly offices; and, if
in return, I can do aught of favour for thee, I pray thee let me
know, and I will attempt to satisfy thee in all things with my
very heart and soul." Then said the Prince, "O holy man, I have
come hither from far distant lands along a toilsome road in quest
of three things; to wit, a certain Speaking-Bird, a Singing-Tree
and a Golden-Water; and this know I for certain that they are all
to be found hard by this site."--And as the morn began to dawn
Shahrazad held her peace till

The end of the Six Hundred and Seventy-Fifth Night.

Then said she:--I have heard, O auspicious King, that the Prince,
turning to the Darwaysh, continued, "O Devotee, albeit well I wot
that the three things I seek are in this land and nearhand, yet I
know not the exact spot wherein to find them. An thou have true
information concerning the place and will inform me thereof, I on
my part will never forget thy kindness, and I shall have the
satisfaction of feeling that this long and toilsome wayfare hath
not been wholly vain." Hearing these words of the Prince, the
Darwaysh changed countenance and his face waxed troubled and his
colour wan; then he bent his glance downwards and sat in deepest
silence. Whereat the other said, "O holy father, dost thou not
understand the words wherewith I have bespoken thee? An thou art
ignorant of the matter prithee let me know straightway that I may
again fare onwards until such time as I find a man who can inform
me thereof." After a long pause the Darwaysh made reply, "O
stranger, tis true I ken full well the site whereof thou are in
search; but I hold thee dear in that thou hast been of service to
me; and I am loath for thine own sake to tell thee where to find
that stead." And the Prince rejoined, "Say me, O Fakir, why dost
thou withhold this knowledge from me, and wherefore art thou not
lief to let me learn it?" Replied the other, "'Tis a hard road to
travel and full of perils and dangers. Besides thyself many have
come hither and have asked the path of me, and I refused to tell
them, but they heeded not my warning and pressed me sore and
compelled me to disclose the secret which I would have buried in
my breast. Know, O my son, that all those braves have perished in
their pride and not one of them hath returned to me safe and
sound. Now, an thy life be dear to thee, follow my counsel and
fare no further, but rather turn thee back without stay or delay
and make for house and home and family." Hereto Prince Bahman,
stern in resolution, made reply, "Thou hast after kindly guise
and friendly fashion advised me with the best of advice; and I,
having heard all thou hast to day, do thank thee gratefully. But
I reck not one jot or tittle of what dangers affront me, nor
shall thy threats however fatal deter me from my purpose:
moreover, if thieves or foemen haply fall upon me, I am armed at
point and can and will protect myself, for I am certified that
none can outvie me in strength and stowre." To this the Fakir
made reply, "The beings who will cut thy path and bar thy
progress to that place are unseen of man, nor will they appear to
thee on any wise: how then canst thou defend thyself against
them?" And he replied, "So be it, still I fear not and I pray
thee only show me the road thither." When the Darwaysh was
assured that the Prince had fully determined in mind to attempt
the exploit and would by no means turn or be turned back from
carrying out his purpose, he thrust his hand into a bag which lay
hard by and took therefrom a ball, and said, "Alas, O my son,
thou wilt not accept my counsel and I needs must let thee follow
thy wilful way. Take this ball and, mounting thy horse, throw it
in front of thee, and as long as it shall roll onwards do thou
ride after it, but when it shall stop at the hill-foot dismount
from thy horse and throw the reins upon his neck and leave him
alone, for he will stay there without moving until such time as
thou return. Then manfully breast the ascent, and on either side
of the path, right and left, thou shalt see a scatter of huge
black boulders. Here the sound of many voices in confused clamour
and frightful will suddenly strike thine ears, to raise thy wrath
and to fill thee with fear and hinder thy higher course uphill.
Have a heed that thou be not dismayed, also beware, and again say
I beware, lest thou turn they head at any time, and cast a look
backwards. An thy courage fail thee, or thou allow thyself one
glance behind thee, thou shalt be transformed that very moment
into a black rock; for know thou, O Prince, that all those stones
which thou shalt see strewn upon thy way were men whilome and
braves like thyself, who went forth with intent to gain the three
things thou seekest, but frightened at those sounds lost human
shape and became black boulders. However, shouldst thou reach the
hill-top sae and sound, thou shalt find on the very summit a cage
and perched therein the Speaking-Bird ready to answer all thy
queries. So ask of him where thou mayest find the Singing-Tree
and the Golden-Water, and he will tell thee all thou requirest.
When thou shalt safely have seized all three thou wilt be free
from further danger; yet, inasmuch as thou hast not yet set out
upon this journey give ear to my counsel. I beg of thee to desist
from this thy purpose and return home in peace whilst thou hast
yet the power."--And as the morn began to dawn Shahrazad held her
peace till

The end of the Six Hundred and Seventy-sixth Night.

Then said she:--I have heard, O auspicious King, that the Prince
made answer to the Darwaysh, "Until, O thou holy man, such time
as I win to my purpose I will not go back; no, never; therefore
adieu." So he mounted his horse and threw the ball in front of
him; and it rolled forward at racing-speed and he, with gaze
intent thereupon, rode after it and did not suffer it to gain
upon him. When it had reached the hill whereof the Darwaysh
spake, it ceased to make further way, whereupon the Prince
dismounted and throwing the reins on his horse's neck left him
and fared on afoot to the slope. As far as he could see, the line
of his path from the hill-foot to the head was strown with a
scatter of huge black boulders; withal his heart felt naught of
fear. He had not taken more than some four or five paces before a
hideous din and a terrible hubbub of many voices arose, even as
the Darwaysh had forewarned him. Prince Bahman, however, walked
on valiantly with front erect and fearless tread, but he saw no
living thing and heard only the Voices[FN#362] sounding all
around him. Some said, "Who is yon fool man and whence hath he
come?" Stop him, let him not pass!" Others shouted out, "Fall on
him, seize this zany and slay him!" Then the report waxed louder
and louder still, likest to the roar of thunder, and many Voices
yelled out, "Thief! Assassin! Murderer!" Another muttered in
taunting undertones, "Let him be, fine fellow that he is! Suffer
him to pass on, for he and he only shall get the cage and the
Speaking-Bird." The Prince feared naught but advanced hot foot
with his wonted verve and spirit; presently, however, when the
Voices kept approaching nearer and nearer to him and increased in
number on every side, he was sore perplexed. His legs began to
tremble, he staggered and in fine overcome by fear he clean
forgot the warning of the Darwaysh and looked back, whereat he
was incontinently turned to stone like the scores of knights and
adventurers who had foregone him. Meantime the Princess Perizadah
ever carried the hunting-knife, which Bahman her brother had
given her, sheathed as it was in her maiden zone. She had kept it
there ever since he set out upon his perilous expedition, and
whenever she felt disposed she would bare the blade and judge by
its sheen how fared her brother. Now until that day when he was
transmewed to stone she found it, as often as she looked at it,
clean and bright; but on the very evening when that evil fate
betided him perchance Prince Parwez said to Perizadah, "O sister
mine, give me I pray thee the hunting-knife that I may see how
goeth it with our brother." She took it from her waist-belt and
handed it to him; and as soon as he unsheathed the knife lo and
behold! he saw gouts of gore begin to drop from it. Noting this
he dashed the hunting-knife down and burst out into loud
lamentations, whilst the Princess who divined what had happened
shed a flood of bitter tears and cried with sighs and sobs,
"Alas, O my brother, thou hast given thy life for me. Ah, woe is
me and well-away! why did I tell thee of the Speaking-Bird and
the Singing-Tree and the Golden- Water? Wherefore did I ask that
holy woman how she liked our home, and hear of those three things
in answer to my question? Would to Heaven she had never crossed
our threshold and darkened our doors! Ungrateful hypocrite, dost
thou requite me on such wise for the favour and the honour I was
fain to show thee; and what made me ask of thee the means whereby
to win these things? If now I obtain possession of them what will
they advantage me, seeing that my brother Bahman is no more? What
should I ever do with them?" Thus did Perizadah indulge her grief
bewailing her sad fate; while Parwez in like manner moaned for
his brother Bahman with exceeding bitter mourning. At last the
Prince, who despite his sorrow was assured that his sister still
ardently desired to possess the three marvels, turned to
Perizadah and said, "It behoveth me, O my sister, to set out
forthright and to discover whether Bahman our brother met his
death by doom of Destiny, or whether some enemy have slain him;
and if he hath been killed then must I take full vengeance on his
murtherer." Perizadah besought him with much weeping and wailing
not to leave her, and said, "O joy of my heart, Allah upon thee,
follow not in the footsteps of our dear departed brother or quit
me in order to attempt a journey so rife in risks. I care naught
for those things in my fear lest I lose thee also while
attempting such enterprise." But Prince Parwez would in no wise
listen to her lament and next day took leave of her, but ere he
fared she said to him, "The hunting-knife which Bahman left with
me was the means of informing us concerning the mishap which
happened to him; but, say me how I shall know what happeneth to
thee?" Then he produced a string of pearls which numbered one
hundred and said, "As long as thou shalt see these pearls all
parted one from other and each running loose upon the string,
then do thou know that I am alive; but an thou shouldst find them
fixed and adhering together then be thou ware that I am dead."
The Princess taking the string of pearls hung it around her neck,
determined to observe it hour after hour and find out how it
fared with her second brother. After this Prince Parwez set out
upon his travels and at the twentieth stage came to the same spot
where Bahman had found the Darwaysh and saw him there in like
condition. Then, after saluting him with the salam, the Prince
asked, "Canst thou tell me where to find the Speaking-Bird and
the Singing-Tree and the Golden-Water; and by what manner of
means I may get possession of them? An thou can I pray thee
inform me of this matter."--And as the morn began to dawn
Shahrazad held her peace till

The end of the Six Hundred and Seventy-seventh Night.

Then said she:--I have heard, O auspicious King, that the
Darwaysh strave to stay Prince Parwez from his design and shewed
him all the dangers on the way. Quoth he, "Not many days ago one
like unto thee in years and in features came hither and enquired
of me concerning the matter you now seekest. I warned him of the
perils of the place and would have weaned him from his wilful
ways, but he paid no wise heed to my warnings and refused to
accept my counsel. He went off with full instructions from me on
how to find those things he sought; but as yet he hath not
returned, and doubtless he also hath perished like the many who
preceded him upon that perilous enterprise." Then said Prince
Parwez, "O holy father, I know the man of whom thou speakest, for
that he was my brother; and I learned that he was dead, but have
no inkling of the cause whereby he died." Replied the Darwaysh,
"O my lord, I can inform thee on this matter; he hath been
transmewed into a black stone, like the others of whom I just now
spake to thee. If thou wilt not accept my advice and act
accordingly to my counsel thou also shalt perish by the same
means as did thy brother; and I solemnly forewarn thee to desist
from this endeavour." Prince Parwez having pondered these words,
presently made reply, "O Darwaysh, I thank thee again and again
and am much beholden to thee that thou art fain of my welfare and
thou hast given me the kindest of counsel and the friendliest of
advice; nor am I worthy of such favours bestowed upon a stranger.
But now remaineth naught for me to beseech that thou wilt point
out the path, for I am fully purposed to fare forwards and in no
wise to desist from my endeavour. I pray thee favour me with full
instructions for the road even as thou favouredst my brother."
Then said the Darwaysh, "An thou wilt not lend ear to my warnings
and do as I desire thee, it mattereth to me neither mickle nor
little. Choose for thyself and I by doom of Destiny must perforce
forward thy attempt and albeit, by reason of my great age and
infirmities, I may not conduct thee to the place I will not
grudge thee a guide." Then Prince Parwez mounted his horse and
the Darwaysh taking one of many balls from out his scrip placed
it in the youth's hands, directing him the while what to do, as
he had counselled his brother Bahman; and, after giving him much
advice and many warnings he ended with saying, "O my lord, have a
heed not to be perplexed and terrified by the threatening
Voices[FN#363], and sounds from unseen beings, which shall strike
thine ear; but advance dauntless to the hill-top where thou shalt
find the cage with the Speaking-Bird and the Singing-Tree and the
Golden-Water." The Fakir then bid him adieu with words of good
omen and the Prince set forth. He threw the ball upon the ground
before him and, as it rolled up the path, he urged his horse to
keep pace with it. But when he reached the hill-foot and saw that
the ball had stopped and lay still, he dismounted forthright and
paused awhile ere he should begin to climb and conned well in his
mind the directions, one and all, given to him by the Darwaysh.
Then, with firm courage and fast resolve, he set out afoot to
reach the hill-top. But hardly had he begun to climb before he
heard a voice beside him threatening him in churlish tongue and
crying, "O youth of ill-omen, stand still that I may trounce thee
for this thine insolence." Hearing these insulting words of the
Invisible Speaker, Prince Parwez felt his blood boil over; he
could not refrain his rage and in his passion he clean forgot the
words of wisdom wherewith the Fakir was warned him. He seized his
sword and drawing it from the scabbard, turned about to slay the
man who durst insult him in such wise; but he saw no one and, in
the act of looking back both he and his horse became black
stones. Meanwhile the Princess ceased not at all hours of the day
and watches of the night to consult the string of pearls which
Parwez had left her; she counted them overnight when she retired
to rest, she slept with them around her neck during the hours of
darkness, and when she awoke at the dawn of day she first of all
consulted them and noted their condition. Now at the very hour
when her second brother was turned to stone she found the pearls
sticking one to other so close together that she might not move a
single bead apart from its fellows and she knew thereby that
Prince Parwez also was lost to her for ever.--And as the morn
began to dawn Shahrazad held her peace till

The end of the Six Hundred and Seventy-eight Night.

Then said she:I have heard, O auspicious King, that the Princess
Perizadah was sore grieved at so sudden a blow and said to
herself, "Ah! Woe is me and well-away! How bitter will be living
without the love of such brothers whose youthtide was sacrificed
for me! Tis but right that I share their fate whate'er be my
lot; else what shall I have to say on the Day of Doom and the
Resurrection of the Dead and the Judgment of Mankind?" Wherefore
next morning, without further let or stay, she donned disguise of
man's attire; and, warning her women and slaves that she would be
absent on an errand for a term of days during which they would be
in charge of the house and goods, she mounted her hackney and set
out alone and unattended. Now, inasmuch as she was skilled in
horsemanship and had been wont to accompany her brothers when
hunting and hawking, she was better fitted than other women to
bear the toils and travails of travel. So on the twentieth day
she arrived safe and sound at the hermitage-hut where, seeing the
same Shaykh, she took seat beside him and after salaaming to him
and greeting him she asked him, "O holy father, suffer me to rest
and refresh myself awhile in this site of good omen; then deign
point out to me, I pray thee, the direction of the place, at no
far distance herefrom, wherein are found a certain Speaking-Bird
and a Singing-Tree and a Golden-Water. An thou wilt tell me I
shall deem this the greatest of favour." Replied the Darwaysh,
"Thy voice revealeth to me that thou art a woman and no man,
albeit attired in male's apparel. Well I wot the stead whereof
thou speakest and which containeth the marvellous things thou
hast named. But say me, what is thy purpose in asking me?" The
Princess made reply, "I have been told many a tale anent these
rare and wondrous things, and I would fain get possession of them
and bear them to my home and make them its choicest adornments."
And said the Fakir, "O my daughter, in very truth these matters
are exceeding rare and admirable: right fit are they for fair
ones like thyself to win and take back with thee, but thou hast
little inkling of the dangers manifold and dire that encompass
them. Better far were it for thee to cast away this vain thought
and go back by the road thou camest." Replied the Princess, "O
holy father and far-famed anchorite, I come from a distant land
whereto I will nevermore return, except after winning my wish;
no, never! I pray thee tell me the nature of those dangers and
what they be, that hearing thereof my heart may judge if I have
or have not the strength and the spirit to meet them." Then the
Shaykh described to the Princess all the risks of the road as
erst he had informed Princes Bahman and Parwez; and he ended with
saying, "The dangers will display themselves as soon as thou
shalt begin to climb the hill-head where is the home of the
Speaking-Bird. Then, if thou be fortunate enough to seize him, he
will direct thee where to find the Singing-Tree and the Golden-
Water. All the time thou climbest the hill, Voices from throats
unseen and accents fierce and fell shall resound in thine ears.
Furthermore, thou shalt see black rocks and boulders strewn upon
thy path; and these, thou must know, are the transformed bodies
of men who with exceeding courage attempted the same enterprise,
but filled with sudden fear and tempted to turn and to look
backwards were changed into stones. Now do thou steadily bear in
mind what was their case. At the first the listened to those
fearful sounds and cursings with firm souls, but anon their
hearts and minds misgave them, or, haply, they fumed with fury to
hear the villain words addressed to them and they turned about
and gazed behind them, whereat both men and horses became black
boulders." But when the Darwaysh had told her every whit, the
Princess made reply, "From what thou sayest it seemeth clear to
me that these Voices can do nothing but threaten and frighten by
their terrible din; furthermore that there is naught to prevent a
man climbing up the hill, nor is there any fear of any one
attacking him; all he hath to do is on no account to look behind
him." And after a short pause she presently added, "O Fakir,
albeit a woman yet I have both nerve and thews to carry me
through this adventure. I shall not heed the Voices not be
enraged thereat, neither will they have any power to dismay me:
moreover, I have devised a device whereby my success on this
point is assured." "And what wilt thou do?" asked he, and she
answered, "I will stop mine ears with cotton so may not my mind
be disturbed and reason perturbed by hearing those awesome
sounds." The Fakir marvelled with great marvel and presently
exclaimed, "O my lady, methinks thou art destined to get
possession of the things thou seekest. This plan hath not
occurred to any hitherto[FN#364] and hence it is haply that one
and all have failed miserably and have perished in the attempt.
Take good heed to thyself, however, not run any risk other than
the enterprise requireth." She replied, "I have no cause for fear
since this one and only danger is before me to prevent happy
issue. My heart doth bear me witness that I shall surely gain the
guerdon wherefor I have undertaken such toil and trouble, But now
do thou tell me what I must do, and whither to win my wish I must
wend." The Darwaysh once more besought her to return home, but
Perizadah refused to listen and remained as firm and resolute as
before; so when he saw that she was fully bent upon carrying out
her purpose he exclaimed, "Depart, O my daughter, in the peace of
Almighty Allah and His blessing; and may He defend thy youth and
beauty from all danger." Then taking from his bag a ball he gave
it her and said, "When thou art seated in saddle throw this
before thee and follow it whitherso it lead thee; and when it
shall stop at the hill-foot then dismount and climb the slope.
What will happen after I have already told thee."--And as the
morn began to dawn Shahrazad held her peace till

The end of the Six Hundred and Seventy-ninth Night.

Then said she:--I have heard, O auspicious King, that the
Princess after farewelling the Fakir straightway bestrode her
steed and threw the ball in front of his hooves as she had been
bidden do. It rolled along before her in the direction of the
hill and she urged her hackney to keep up with it, until reaching
the hill it suddenly stopped. Hereat the Princess dismounted
forthwith and having carefully plugged both her ears with cotton,
began to breast the slope with fearless heart and dauntless soul;
and as soon as she had advanced a few steps a hubbub of voices
broke out all around her, but she heard not a sound, by reason of
her hearing being blunted by the cotton-wool. Then hideous cries
arose with horrid din, still she heard them not; and at last they
grew to a storm of shouts and shrieks and groans and moans
flavoured with foul language such as shameless women use when
railing one at other. She caught now and then an echo of the
sounds but recked naught thereof and only laughed and said to
herself, "What care I for their scoffs and jeers and fulsome
taunts? Let them hoot on and bark and bay as they may: this at
least shall not turn me from my purpose." As she approached the
goal the path became perilous in the extreme and the air was so
filled with an infernal din and such awful sounds that even
Rustam would have quailed thereat and the bold spirit of
Asfandiyar[FN#365] have quaked with terror. The Princess,
however, pressed on with uttermost speed and dauntless heart till
she neared the hill-top and espied above her the cage in which
the Speaking-Bird was singing with melodious tones; but, seeing
the Princess draw nigh, he broke out despite his puny form in
thundering tones and cried, "Return, O fool: hie thee back not
dare come nearer." Princess Perizadah heeded not his clamour a
whit but bravely reached the hill-top, and running over the level
piece of ground made for the cage and seized it saying, "At last
I have thee and thou shalt not escape me." She then pulled out
the cotton-wool wherewith she had stopped her ears, and heard the
Speaking-Bird reply in gentle accents, "O lady valiant and noble,
be of good cheer for no harm or evil shall betide thee, as hath
happened to those who essayed to make me their prize. Albeit I am
encaged I have much secret knowledge of what happeneth in the
world of men and I an content to become thy slave, and for thee
to be my liege lady. Moreover I am more familiar with all that
concerneth thee even than thou art thyself; and one day of the
days I will do thee a service which shall deserve thy gratitude.
What is now thy command? Speak that I may fulfil thy wish."
Princess Perizadah was gladdened by these words, but in the midst
of her joy she grieved at the thought of how she had lost her
brothers whom she loved with a love so dear, and anon she said to
the Speaking-Bird, "Full many a thing I want, but first tell me
of the Golden-Water, of which I have heard so much, be nigh unto
this place and if so do thou show me where to find it." The Bird
directed her accordingly and the Princess took a silver flagon
she had brought with her and filled it brimful from the magical
fount. Then quoth she to the Bird, "The third and last prize I
have come to seek is the Singing- Tree; discover to me where that
also can be found." The Bird replied, "O Princess of fair ones,
behind thy back in yonder clump that lieth close at hand groweth
the Tree;" so she went forthright to the copse and found the Tree
she sought singing with sweetest toned voice. But inasmuch as it
was huge in girth she returned to her slave the Bird and said,
"The Tree indeed I found but tis lofty and bulky; how then shall
I pull it up?" and he made answer, "Pluck but a branchlet of the
Tree and plant it in thy garden; twill at once take root and in
shortest time be as gross and fair a growth as that in yonder
copse." So the Princess broke off a twig, and now that she had
secured the three things, whereof the holy woman spake to her,
she was exceeding joyful and turning to the Bird said, "I have in
very deed won my wish, but one thing is yet wanting to my full
satisfaction. My brothers who ventured forth with this same
purpose are lying hereabouts turned into black stones; and I fain
would have them brought to life again and the twain return with
me in all satisfaction and assurance of success. Tell me now some
plan whereby mine every desire may be fulfilled."--And as the
morn began to dawn Shahrazad held her peace till

The end of the Six Hundred and Eightieth Night.

Then said she:--I have heard, O auspicious King, that the
Speaking-Bird replied, "O Princess, trouble not thyself, the
thing is easy. Sprinkle some of the Golden-Water from the flagon
upon the black stones lying round about, and by virtue thereof
each and every shall come to life again, thy two brothers as well
as the others." So Princess Perizadah's heart was set at rest and
taking the three prizes with her she fared forth and scattered a
few drops from the silver flagon upon each black stone as she
passed it when, lo and behold! they came to life as men and
horses. Amongst them were her brothers who she at once knew and
falling on their necks she embraced them, and asked in tones of
surprise, "O my brothers, what do ye here?" To this they
answered, "We lay fast asleep." Quoth she, "Strange indeed that
ye take delight in slumber away from me and ye forget the purpose
wherefor ye left me; to wit, the winning of the Speaking-Bird and
the Singing-Tree and the Golden-Water. Did ye not see this place
all bestrown with dark hued rocks? Look now and say if there be
aught left of them. These men and horses now standing around us
were all black stones as ye yourselves also were; but, by the
boon of Almighty Allah, all have come to life again and await the
signal to depart. And if now ye wish to learn by what strange
miracle both ye and they have recovered human shape, know ye that
it hath been wrought by virtue of a water contained in this
flagon which I sprinkled in the rocks with leave of the Lord of
all Living. When I had gained possession of this cage and its
Speaking-Bird, and also of the Singing-Tree, a wand whereof ye
see in my hand, and lastly of the Golden-Water, I would not take
them home with me unless ye twain could also bear me company; so
I asked of this Bird the means whereby ye could be brought to
life again. He made me drop some drops of the Golden-Water on the
boulders and when I had done this ye two like all the others
returned to life and to your proper forms." Hearing these her
words the Princes Bahman and Parwez thanked and praised their
sister Perizadah; and all the other she had saved showered thanks
and blessings on her hear saying with one accord, "O our lady, we
are now thy slaves; nor can a lifelong service repay the debt of
gratitude we owe thee for this favour thou hast shown us. Command
and we are ready to obey thee with our hearts and our souls."
Quoth Perizadah, "The bringing back to life of these my brothers
were my aim and purpose, and in so doing ye too have profited
thereby; and I accept your acknowledgements as another pleasure.
But now do ye mount each and every man his horse and ride back by
the way ye came to your homes in Allah's peace." On this wise the
Princess dismissed them and made herself ready to depart; but, as
she was about to bestride her steed, Prince Bahman asked
permission of her that he might hold in hand the cage and ride in
front of her. She answered, "Not so, O brother mine; this Bird is
now my slave and I will carry him myself. An thou wilt, take thou
this twig with thee, but hold the cage only till I am seated in
saddle." She then mounted her hackney and, placing the cage
before her on the pommel, bade her brother Parwez take charge of
the Golden-Water in the silver flagon and carry it with all ease
and the Prince did her bidding without gainsaying. And when they
were all ready to ride forth, including the knights and the
squires whom Perizadah had brought to life by sprinkling the
Water the Princess turned to them and said, "Why delay we our
departure and how is it that none offereth to lead us?" Bur as
all hesitated she gave command, "Now let him amongst you number
whose noblesse and high degree entitle him to such distinction
fare before us and show us the way." Then all with one accord
replied, "O Princes of fair ones, there be none amongst us worthy
of such honour, nor may any wight dare to ride before thee." So
when she saw that none amongst them claimed preeminence or right
of guidance, and none desired to take precedence of the rest, she
made excuse and said, "O my lords, tis not for me by right to
lead the way, but since ye order I must needs obey." Accordingly
she pushed on to the front, and after came her brothers and
behind them the rest. And as they journeyed on all desired to see
the holy man, and thank him for his favours and friendly rede,
but when they reached the spot where he dwelt they found him
dead, and they knew not if old age had taken him away, or if he
perished in his prise because the Princess Perizadah had found
and carried off the three things whereof he had been appointed by
Destiny guard and guide.--And as the morn began to dawn Shahrazad
held her peace till

The end of the Six Hundred and Eighty-first Night.

Then said she:--I have heard, O auspicious King, that all the
company rode on, and as each one arrived at the road which led
him to his natal land he took leave of the Lady Perizadah and
went his way, until all were gone and the Princess and her
brothers were the only left. At last they reached their journey's
end safe and sound, and on entering their mansion Perizadah hung
the cage inside the garden hard by the belvedere and no sooner
did the Speaking-Bird begin to sing than flights of ring-doves
and bulbuls and nightingales and skylarks and parrots and other
songsters came flocking around him from afar and anear. Likewise
she set the twig, which she had taken from the Singing-Tree, in a
choice parterre also hard by the belvedere, and forthright it
took root and put forth boughs and buds and grew goodly in
growth, till it became a trunk as large as that from which she
had plucked the twig, whilst from its leafage went forth
bewitching sounds rivalling the music of the parent tree. She
lastly bid them carve her a basin of pure white marble and set it
in the centre of the pleasure grounds; then she poured therein
the Golden-Water and forthright it filled the bowl and sot
upwards like a spouting fountain some twenty feet in height;
moreover the gerbes and jets fell back whence they came and not
one drop was lost: whereby the working of the waters was unbroken
and ever similar. Now but few days passed ere the report of these
three wonders was bruited abroad and flocked the folk daily from
the city to solace themselves with the sight, and the gates stood
always open wide and all who came had entrance to the house and
gardens and free leave to walk about at will and see these
rarities which affected them with admiration and delight. Then
also, as soon as both the Princes had recovered from the toils of
travel, they began to go a-hunting as heretofore; and it chanced
one day they rode forth several miles from home and were both
busies in the chase, when the Shah of Iran-land came by decree of
Destiny to the same place for the same purpose. The Princes,
seeing a band of knights and huntsmen drawing near, were fain to
ride home and to avoid such meeting; so they left the hunting-
grounds and turned them homewards. But as Fate and lot would have
it they hit upon the very road whereby King Khusrau Shah was
coming, and so narrow was the path that they could not avoid the
horsemen by wheeling round and wending another way. So they drew
rein perforce and dismounting the salaamed and did obeisance to
the Shah and stood between his hands with heads held low. The
Sovran, seeing the horses' fine trappings and the Princes' costly
garments, thought that the two youths were in the suite of his
Wazirs and his Ministers of state and much wished to look upon
their faces; he therefore bade them raise their heads and stand
upright in the presence and they obeyed his bidding with modest
mien and downcast eyes. He was charmed to behold their comeliness
of favour and their graceful forms and their noble air and their
courtly mien; and, after gazing at them for some time in not a
little wonder and admiration, he asked them who they were and
when might be their names and where they abode. Hereto Prince
Bahman made reply, "O Asylum of the Universe, we are the sons of
one whose life was spent in serving the Shah, the Intendant of
the royal gardens and pleasaunces. As his days grew to a close he
builded him a home without the town for us to dwell in till we
should grow to man's estate and become fit to do thy Highness
suit and service and carry out thy royal commands." The Shah
furthermore asked them, "How is it that ye go a-hunting? This is
a special sport of Kings and is not meant for the general of his
subjects and dependants." Prince Bahman rejoined, "O Refuge of
the World, we are yet young in years and being brought up at home
we know little of courtly customs; but, as we look to bear arms
in the armies of the Shah we fain would train our bodies to toil
and moil." This answer was honoured by the royal approof and the
King rejoined, "The Shah would see how ye deal with noble game;
so choose ye whatever quarry ye will and bring it down in the
presence." The Princes hereat remounted their horses and joined
the Sovran; and when they reached the thickmost of the forest,
Prince Bahman started a tiger and Prince Parwez rode after a
bear; and the twain used their spears with such skill and good
will that each killed his quarry and laid it at the Shah's feet.
Then entering the wood again Prince Bahman slew a bear, and
Prince Parwez, a tiger[FN#366] and did as before; but when they
would have ridden off the third time the King forbade them
saying, "What! would ye strip the royal preserve of all the game?
This be enough and more than enough, that Shah wished only to put
your valour to the proof and having seen it with his own eyes he
is fully satisfied. Come now with us and stand before us as we
sit at meat." Prince Bahman made reply, "We are not worthy of the
high honour and dignity wherewith thou favourest us thy humble
servants. We dutifully and humbly petition thy Highness to hold
us excused for this day; but if the Asylum of the Universe deign
appoint some other time thy slaves will right gladly execute thy
auspicious orders."--And as the morn began to dawn Shahrazad held
her peace till

The end of the Six Hundred and Eighty-Second Night.

Then said she:--I have heard, O auspicious King, that Khusrau
Shah, astonished at their refusal, asked the cause thereof when
Prince Bahman answered, "May I be thy sacrifice,[FN#367] O King
of kings, we have at home an only sister; and all three are bound
together with bonds of the fondest affection; so we brothers go
not anywhere without consulting her nor doth she aught save
according to our counsel." The King was pleased to see such
fraternal love and union and presently quoth he, "By the head of
the Shah,[FN#368] he freely giveth you leave to go to-day:
consult your sister and meet the Shadow of Allah[FN#369] to-
morrow at this hunting-ground, and tell him what she saith and if
she content to let to twain and wait upon the Shah at meat." So
the Princes farewelled and prayed for him; then rode back home;
but they both forgot to tell their sister how they had fallen in
with the King; and of all that passed between them they
remembered not one word.[FN#370] Next day again they went
ahunting and on returning from the chase the Shah enquired of
them, "Have ye consulted with your sister if ye may serve the
King, and what saith she thereto? Have ye obtained permission
from her?" On hearing these words the Princes waxed aghast with
fear; the colour of their faces changed, and each began to look
into the other's eyes. Then Bahman said, "Pardon, O Refuge of the
World, this our transgression. We both forgot the command and
remembered not to tell her sister." Replied the King, "It
mattereth not! ask her to-day and bring me word tomorrow." But it
so happened that on that day also they forgot the message yet the
King was not annoyed at their shortness of memory, but taking
from his pocket three little balls of gold, and tying them in a
kerchief of sillk he handed them to Prince Bahman saying, "Put
these balls in thy waist shawl, so shalt thou not forget to ask
thy sister; and if perchance the matter escape thy memory, when
thou shalt go to bed and take off thy girdle, haply the sound of
them falling to the ground will remind thee of thy promise."
Despite this strict injunction of the Shadow of Allah the Princes
on that day also clean forgot the order and the promise they had
made to the King. When, however, night came on, and Prince Bahman
went to his bed-chamber for sleep, he loosed his girdle and down
fell the golden balls and at the sound the message of the Shah
flashed across his thought. So he and his brother Parwez at once
hastened to Perizadah's bower, where she was about retiring to
rest; and, with many excuses for troubling her at so unseasonable
an hour, reported to her all that happened. She lamented their
thoughtlessness which for three successive days had caused them
to forget the royal behest and ended with saying, "Fortune hath
favoured you, O my brothers, and brought you suddenly to the
notice of the Asylum of the Universe, a chance which often hath
led to the height of good. It grieveth me sore that on your over
regard for our fraternal love and union ye did not take service
with the King when he deigned command you. Moreover ye have far
greater cause for regret and repentance than I in that ye failed
to plead a sufficient excuse and that which ye offered must have
sounded rude and churlish. A right dangerous thing it is to
thwart Kingly wishes. In his extreme condescension the Shah
commandeth you to take service with him and ye, in rebelling
against his exalted orders have done foolishly and ye have caused
me much trouble of mind. Howbeit I will sue counsel from my slave
the Speaking-Bird and see what he may say; for when I have ever
any hard and weighty question to decide I fail not to ask his
advice." Hereupon the Princess set the cage by her side and after
telling her slave all that her brothers have made known to her,
asked admonition of him regarding what they should do. The
Speaking-Bird made answer, "It behoveth the Princes to gratify
the Shah in all things he requireth of them; moreover, let them
make ready a feast for the King and humbly pray them to visit
this house, and thereby testify to him loyalty and devotion to
his royal person." Then said the Princess, "O Bird, my brothers
are most dear to me nor would I suffer them leave my sight for
one moment if it were possible; and Allah forfend that this
daring on their part do injury to our love and affection." Said
the Speaking-Bird, "I have counselled thee for the best and have
offered thee the right rede; nor do thou fear aught in following
it, for naught save good shall come therefrom." "But," quoth the
Princess, "an the Shadow of Allah honour us by crossing the
threshold of this house needs must I present myself before him
with face unveiled?"[FN#371] "By all means," quoth the Speaking-
Bird, "this will not harm thee, nay rather twill be to thine
advantage."--And as the morn began to dawn Shahrazad held her
peace till

The end of the Six Hundred and Eighty-third Night.

Then said she:--I have heard, O auspicious King, that early next
day the two Princes Bahman and Parwez rode as aforetime to the
hunting-ground and met Khusrau Shah, who asked them, saying,
"What answer bring ye from your sister?" Hereupon the elder
brother advancing said, "O shadow of Allah, verily we are thy
slaves and whatever thou deign bid that we are ready to obey.
These less than the least have referred the matter to their
sister and have obtained their consent; nay more, she blamed and
chided them for that they did not hurry to carry out the commands
of the Refuge of the World the moment they were delivered.
Therefore being sore displeased at us, she desireth us on her
behalf to plead forgiveness with the Shhinshah[FN#372] for this
offence by us offered." Replied the King, "No crime have ye
committed to call forth the royal displeasure: nay more, it
delighteth the Shadow of Allah exceedingly to see the love ye
twain bear towards your sister." Hearing such words of
condescension and kindliness from the Shah, the Princes held
their peace and hung their heads for shame groundwards; and the
King who that day was not keen, according to his custom, after
the chase, whenever he saw the brothers hold aloof, called them
to his presence and heartened their hearts with words of favour;
and presently, when a-weary of sport, he turned the head of his
steed palace-ward and deigned order the Princes to ride by his
side. The Wazirs and Councillors and Courtiers one and all fumed
with envy and jealousy to see two unknowns entreated with such
especial favour; and as they rode at the head of the suite adown
the market-street all eyes were turned upon the youths and men
asked one of other, "Who be the two who ride beside the Shah?
Belong they to this city, or come they from some foreign land?"
And the folk praised and blessed them saying, "Allah send our
King of kings two Princes as godly and gallant as are these twain
who ride beside him. If our hapless Queen who languisheth in
durance had brought forth sons, by Allah's favour they would now
be of the same age as these young lords." But as soon as the
cavalcade reached the palace the King alighted from his horse and
led the Princes to his private chamber, a splendid retreat
magnificently furnished, wherein a table had been spread with
sumptuous meats and rarest cates; and having seated himself
thereat he motioned them to do likewise. Hereupon the brothers
making low obeisance also took their seats and ate in well-bred
silence with respectful mien. Then the Shah, desiring to warm
then into talk[FN#373] and thereby to test their wit and wisdom,
addressed them on themes galore and asked of them many questions;
and, inasmuch as they had been taught well and trained in every
art and science, they answered with propriety and perfect ease.
The Shah struck with admiration bitterly regretted that Almighty
Allah had not vouchsafed to him sons so handsome in semblance and
so apt and so learned as these twain; and, for the pleasure of
listening to them, he lingered at meat longer than he was wont to
do. And when he rose from table and retired with them to his
private apartment he still sat longwhile talking with them and at
last in his admiration he exclaimed, "Never until this day have I
set eyes on youths so well brought up and so comely and so
capable as are these, and methinks twere hard to find their
equals anywhere." In fine quoth he, "The time waxeth late, so now
let us cheer our hearts with music." And forthright the royal
band of minstrels and musicians began to sing and perform upon
instruments of mirth and merriment, whilst dancing-girls and boys
displayed their skill, and mimes and mummers played their parts.
The Princes enjoyed the spectacle with extreme joy and the last
hours of the afternoon passed in royal revelry and regale. But
when the sun had set and evening came on, the youths craved
dismissal from the Shah with many expressions of gratitude for
the exalted favours he had deigned bestow on them; and ere they
fared forth the King of kings bespake them, saying, "Come ye
again on the morrow to our hunting-ground as heretofore, and
thence return to the palace. By the beard of the Shah, he fain
would have you always with him, and solace him with your
companionship and converse." Prince Bahman, prostrating himself
before the presence, answered, "'Tis the very end and aim of all
our wishes, O Shadow of Allah upon Earth, that on the morrow when
thou shalt come from the chase and pass by our poor house, thou
graciously deign enter and rest in it awhile, thereby conferring
the highmost of honours upon ourselves and upon our sister.
Albeit the place is not worthy of the Shahinshah's exalted
presence, yet at times do mighty Kings condescend to visit the
huts of their slaves." The King, ever more and more enchanted
with their comeliness and pleasant speech, vouchsafed a most
gracious answer, saying, "The dwelling place of youths in your
estate and degree will certainly be goodly and right worthy of
you; and the Shah willingly consenteth for the morrow to become
the guest of you twain and of your sister whom, albeit he have
not yet seen, he is assured to find perfect in all gifts of body
and mind. Do ye twain therefore about early dawn-tide expect the
Shah at the usual trysting-place." The Princes then craved leave
to wend their ways; and going home said to their sister, "O
Perizadah, the Shah hath decreed that to-morrow he will come to
our house and rest here awhile after the hunt." Said she, "An so
it be, needs must we see to it that all be made ready for a royal
banquet and we may not be put to shame when the Shadow of Allah
shall deign shade us. There is no help but that in this matter I
ask of my slave, the Speaking-Bird, what counsel he would give;
and that I prepare according thereto such meats as are meet for
him and are pleasing to the royal palate."--And as the morn began
to dawn Shahrazad held her peace till

The end of the Six Hundred and Eighty-fourth Night.

Then said she:--I have heard, O auspicious King, that the Princes
both approved of her plan and went to seek repose; whereupon
Perizadah sent for the cage and setting it before her said, "O
Bird, the Shah hath made a promise and hath decreed that he will
deign honour this our house on the morrow, wherefore we must
needs make ready for our liege lord the best of banquets and I
bid thee say me what dishes should the kitcheners cook for him?"
The Speaking-Bird replied, "O my lady, thou hast the most skilful
of cooks and confectioners. Do thou bid them dress for thee the
choicest dainties, but above all others see thou with thine own
eyes that they set before the Shah a dish of new green cucumbers
stuffed with pearls." Quoth the Princess in utter wonderment,
"Never until this time heard I of such a dainty! How? Cucumbers
with a filling of pearls! And what will the King, who cometh to
eat bread and not to gaze on stones, say to such meat?
Furthermore, I have not in my possession pearls enough to serve
for even a single cucumber." Replied the Speaking-Bird, "This
were an easy matter: do thou dread naught but only act as I shall
advise thee. I seek not aught save thy welfare and would on no
wise counsel thee to thy disadvantage. As for the pearls thou
shalt collect them on this wise: go thou to-morrow betimes to the
pleasure-gardens and bid a hole be dug at the foot of the first
tree in the avenue by thy right hand, and there shalt thou find
of pearls as large a store as thou shalt require." So after dawn
on the next day Princess Perizadah bade a gardener-lad accompany
her and fared to the sire within the pleasure-gardens whereof the
Speaking-Bird had told her. Here the boy dug a hole both deep and
wide when suddenly his spade struck upon somewhat hard, and he
removed with his hands the earth and discovered to view a golden
casket well nigh one foot square. Hereupon the young gardener
showed it to the Princess who explained, "I brought thee with me
for this very reason. Take heed and see that no harm come to it,
but dig it out and bring it to me with all care." When the lad
did her bidding she opened it forthright and found it filled with
pearls and unions fresh from the sea, round as rings and all of
one and the same size perfectly fitted for the purpose which the
Speaking-Bird had proposed. Perizadah rejoiced with extreme joy
at the sight and taking up the box walked back with it to the
house; and the Princes who had seen their sister faring forth
betimes with the gardener-lad and had wondered why she went to
the park thus early unaccording to her wonted custom, catching
sight of her from the casement quickly donned their walking
dresses and came to meet her. And as the two brothers walked
forwardes they saw the Princess approaching them with somewhat
unusual under her arm, which when they met, proved to be a golden
casket whereof they knew naught. Quoth they, "O our sister at
early light we espied thee going to the pleasure- grounds with a
gardener-lad empty handed, but now thou bringest back this golden
casket; so disclose to us where and how thou hast found it; and
haply there may be some hoard close hidden in the parterre?"
Perizadah replied, "Sooth ye say, O my brothers: I took this lad
with me and made him dig under a certain tree where we came upon
this box of pearls, at the sight whereof methinks your hearts
will be delighted." The Princess straightway opened the box and
her brothers sighting the pearls and unions were amazed with
extreme amazement and rejoiced greatly to see them. Quoth the
Princess, "Come now ye twain with me, for that I have in hand a
weighty matter;" and quoth Prince Bahman, "What is there to do? I
pray thee tell us without delay for never yet hast thou kept
aught of thy life from us." She made reply, "O my brothers, I
have naught to hide from you, nor think ye any ill of me, for I
am now about to tell you all the tale." Then she made known to
them what advice the Speaking-Bird had given to her; and they,
conning the matter over in this minds, marvelled much why her
slave had bidden them set a dish of green cucumbers stuffed with
pearls before the Shah, nor could they devise any reason for it.
Presently the Princess resumed, "The Speaking-Bird indeed is wise
and ware; so methinks this counsel must be for our advantage; and
at any rate it cannot be without some object and purpose. It
therefore behoveth us to do even as he hath commanded." Hereupon
the Princess went to her own chamber and summoning the head cook
said to him, "This day the Shah, the Shadow of Allah upon Earth,
will condescend here to eat the noon-meal. So do thou take heed
that the meats be of choiest flavour and fittest to set before
the Asylum of the World, but of all the dishes there is one thou
alone must make and let not another have a hand therein. This
shall be of the freshest green cucumbers with a stuffing of
unions and pearls."--And as the morn began to dawn Shahrazad held
her peace till

The end of the Six Hundred and Eighty-fifth Night.

Then said she:--I have heard, O auspicious King, that the head
Cook listened to this order of the Princess with wonderment and
said in himself, "Who ever heard of such a dish or dreamed of
ordering such a one." The Lady seeing his astonishment betrayed
in his semblance without the science of thought-reading,[FN#374]
said to him, "It seemeth from thy countenance that thou deemest
me daft of wit to give thee such order. I know that no one ever
tasted a dish of the kind, but what is that to thee? Do thou e'en
as thou art bidden. Thou seest this box brimful on pearls; so
take of them as many as thou needest for the dish, and what
remaineth over leave in the box." The Kitchener who could answer
nothing in his confusion and amazement, chose as many precious
stones as he required, and presently fared away to superintend
the meats being cooked and made ready for the feast. Meanwhile
the Princess when over the house and grounds and gave directions
to the slaves about the ordinance thereof, leading especial
attention to the carpets and divans, the lamps and all other
furniture. Next day at break of dawn Princes Bahman and Parwez
rode forth in rich attire to the appointed place where they first
met the Shah, who was also punctual to his promise and vouchsafed
to join them in the hunt. Now when the sun had risen high and its
rays waxed hot, the King gave up the chase, and set forth with
the Princes to their house; and as they drew nigh thereto the
cadet pushed forwards and sent word to the Princess that the
Asylum of the World was coming in all good omen. Accordingly, he
hastened to receive him and stood waiting his arrival at the
inner entrance; and after, when the King rode up to the gate and
dismounting within the court stepped over the threshold of the
house-door, she fell down at his feet and did worship. Hereat her
brothers said, "O Asylum of the World, this is our sister of whom
we spake;" and the Shah with gracious kindness and condescension
raised her by the hand, and when he saw her face he marvelled
much at its wondrous comeliness and loveliness. He thought in
himself, "How like she is to her brothers in favour and form, and
I trow there be none of all my lieges in city or country who can
compare with them for beauty and noble bearing. This country-
house also exceedeth all that I have ever seen in splendour and
grandeur." The Princess then led the Shah through the house and
showed him all the magnificence thereof, while he rejoiced with
extreme joy at everything that met his sight. So when King
Khusrau had considered whatso was in the mansion he said to the
Princess, "This home of thine is far grander than any palace
owned by the Shah, who would now stroll about the pleasure-
garden, never doubting but that it will be delightsome at the
house." Hereat the Princess threw wide open the door whence the
grounds could be seen; and at once the King beheld before and
above all other things, the fountain which cast up incessantly,
in gerbes and jets, water clear as crystal withal golden of hue.
Seeing such prodigy he cried, "This is indeed a glorious gusher:
never before saw I one so admirable. But say me where is its
source, and by what means doth it shoot up in spurts so high?
Whence cometh this constant supply and in what fashion was it
formed? The Shah would fain see it near hand." "O King of kings,
and Lord of the lands," quoth the Princess, "be pleased to do
whatso thou desirest." Thereupon they went up to the fountain and
the Shah stood gazing upon it with delight when behold, he heard
a concert of sugar-sweet voices choiring with the harmony and
melody of wit-ravishing music. So he turned him around and gazed
about him to discover the singers, but no one was in sight; and
albeit he looketh both hard and near all was in vain, he heard
the voices but he could descry no songster. At length completely
baffled he exclaimed, "Whence come these most musical of sounds;
and rise they from the bowels of earth or are they floating in
the depths of air? They fill the heart with rapture, but
strangely surprise the senses to see that no one singer is in
sight." Replied the Princess with a smile "O Lord of lords, there
are no minstrels here and the strains which strike the Shah's ear
come from yonder tree. Deign walk on, I pray thee, and examine it
well." So be advanced thereto, ever more and more enchanted with
the music, and he gazed now at the Golden-Water and now at the
Singing-Tree till lost in wonderment and amazement; then, "O
Allah," said he to himself, "is all this Nature-made or magical,
for in very deed the place is full of mystery?" Presently,
turning to the Princess quoth he, "O my lady, prithee whence came
ye by this wondrous tree which hath been planted in the
middlemost of this garden: did anyone bring it from some far
distant land as a rare gift, and by what name is it known?" Quoth
Perizadah in reply, "O King of kings, this marvel hight Singing-
Tree groweth not in our country. Twere long to recount whence
and by what means I obtained it; and suffice it for the present
to say that the Tree, together with the Golden-Water and the
Speaking-Bird, were all found by me at one and the same time.
Deign now accompany thy slave and look upon this third rarity;
and when the Shah shall have rested and recovered from the toils
and travails of hunting, the tale of these three strange things
shall be told to the Asylum of the World in fullest detail."
Hereto the King replied, "All the Shah's fatigue hath gone for
gazing upon these wonders; and now to visit the Speaking-Bird."--
And as the morning began to dawn Shahrazad held her peace till

The end of the Six Hundred and Eighty-sixth Night.

Then said she:--I have heard, O auspicious King, that the
Princess took the King and when she had shown to him the
Speaking-Bird, they returned to the garden where he never ceased
considering the fountain with extreme surprise and presently
exclaimes, "How is this? No spring whence cometh all this water
meeteth the Shah's eye, and no channel; nor is there any
reservoir large enough to contain it." She replied, "Thou
speakest sooth, O King of kings! This jetting font hath no
source; and it springeth from a small marble basin which I filled
from a single flagon of the Golden-Water; and by the might of
Allah Almighty it increased and waxed copious until it shot up in
this huge gerbe which the Shah seeth. Furthermore it ever playeth
day and night; and, marvellous to relate, the water falling back
from that height into the basin minisheth not in quantity nor is
aught of it spilt or wasted." Hereat the King, filled with wonder
and astonishment, bade go back to the Speaking-Bird; whereupon
the Princess led him to the belvedere whence he looked out upon
thousands of all manner fowls carolling in the trees and filling
air with their hymns and prises of the Creator; so he asked his
guide, "O my lady, whence come these countless songsters which
haunt yonder tree and make the welkin resound with their
melodious notes; yet they affect none other of the trees?" Quoth
Perizadah, "O King of kings, they are all attracted by the
Speaking-Bird and flock hither to accompany his song; and for
that his cage hangeth to the window of this belvedere they prefer
only the nearest of the trees; and here he may be heard singing
sweeter notes than any of the others, nay in a plaint more
musical than that of any nightingale." And as the Shah drew nigh
the cage and gave ear to the Bird's singing, the Princess called
to her captive saying, "Ho, my slave the Bird, dost thou not
perceive the Asylum of the Universe is here that thou payest him
not due homage and worship?" Hearing these words the Speaking-
Bird forthright ceased his shrilling and at the same moment all
the other songsters sat in deepest silence; for they were loyal
to their liege lord nor durst any one utter a note when he held
his peace. The Speaking-Bird then spake in human voice saying, "O
great King, may Almighty Allah by His Might and Majesty accord
thee health and happiness;" so the Shah returned the salutation
and the Slave of Princess Perizadah ceased not to shower
blessings upon his head. Meanwhile the tables were spread after
sumptuous fashion and the choicest meats were set before the
company which was seated in due order and degree, the Shah
placing himself hard by the Speaking-Bird and close to the
casement where the cage was hung. Then the dish of green
cucumbers having been set before him, he put forth his hand to
help himself, but drew it back in wonderment when he saw that the
cucumbers, ranged in order upon the plate, were stuffed with
pearls which appeared at either end. He asked the Princess and
her brothers, "What is this dish? It cannot be meant for food;
then wherefore is it placed before the Shah? Explain to me, I
command you, what this thing meaneth." They could not give an
answer unknowing what reply to make, and as all held their peace
the Speaking-Bird answered for them saying, "O King of the Age
and the Time, dost thou deem it strange to see a dish of
cucumbers stuffed with pearls? How much stranger then it is that
thou wast not astonished to hear that the Queen thy Consort had,
contrary to the laws of Allah's ordinance, given birth to such
animals as dog and cat and musk-rat. This should have caused thee
far more of wonder, for who hath ever heard of woman bearing such
as these?" Hereat the Shah made answer to the Speaking-Bird, "All
that thou sayest is right indeed and I know that such things are
not after the law of Almighty Allah; but I believed the reports
of the midwives, the wise women who were with the Queen such time
she was brought to bed, for they were not strangers but her own
sisters, born of the same parents as herself. How then could I do
otherwise than trust their words?" Quoth the Speaking-Bird, "O
King of kings, indeed the truth of the matter is not hidden from
me. Albeit they be the sisters of thy Queen, yet seeing the royal
favours and affection towards their cadette they were consumed
with anger and hatred and despite by reason of their envy and
jealousy. So they devised evil devices against her and their
deceits at last succeeded in diverting thy thoughts from her, and
in hiding her virtues from thy sight. Now are their malice and
treason made manifest to thee; and, if thou require further
proof, do thou summon them and question them of the case. They
cannot hide it from thee and will be reduced to confess and crave
thy pardon."--And as the morn began to dawn Shahrazad held her
peace till

The end of the Six Hundred and Eighty-seventh Night.

Then said she:--I have heard, O auspicious King, that the
Speaking-Bird also said to Khusrau Shah, "These two royal
brothers so comely and stalwart and this lovely Princess, their
sister, are thine own lawful children to whom the Queen thy
Consort gave birth. The midwives, thy sisters-in-law, by reason
of the blackness of their hearts and faces bore them away as soon
as they were born: indeed every time a child was given to thee
they wrapped it in a bit of blanket and putting it in a basket
committed it to the stream which floweth by the palace to the
intent that it might die an obscure death. But it so fortuned
that the Intendant of thy royal gardens espied these baskets one
and all as they floated past his grounds, and took charge of the
infants he found therein. He then caused them to be nursed and
reared with all care and, whilst they were growing up to man's
estate, he looked to their being taught every art and science;
and whilst his life endured he dealt with them and brought them
up in love and tenderness as though they had been his very own.
And now, O Khusrau Shah, wake from thy sleep of ignorance and
heedlessness, and know that these two Princes Bahman and Parwez
and the Princess Perizadah their sister are thine own issue and
thy rightful heirs." When the King heard these words and was
assured of the purport being true and understood the evil doing
of those Satans, his sisters-in-law, he said, "O Bird, I am
indeed persuaded of thy soothfastness, for when I first saw these
youths at the hunting-ground my bowels yearned with affection
towards them and my heart felt constrained to love them as though
they had been my own seed. Both they and their sister have drawn
my affections to them as a magnet draweth iron: and the voice of
blood crieth to me and compelleth me to confess the tie and to
acknowledge that they are my true children, borne in the womb of
my Queen, whose direful Destiny I have been the means of carrying
out." Then turning to the Princes and their sister he said with
tearful eyes and broken voice, "Ye are my children and henceforth
do ye regard me as your father." At this they ran to him with
rare delight and falling on his neck embraced him. Then they all
sat down to meat and when they had finished eating, Khusrau Shah
said to them, "O my children, I must now leave you, but
Inshallah--Allah willing--I will come again to-morrow and bring
with me the Queen your mother." So saying he farewelled them
fondly and mounting his horse departed to his palace; and no
sooner had he seated himself upon his throne than he summoned the
Grand Wazir and commanded him saying, "Do thou send this instant
and bind in heaviest bonds those vile women, the sisters of my
Queen; for their ill deeds have at last come to light and they
deserve to die the death of murtherers. Let the Sworder
forthright make sharp his sword; for the ground thirsteth for
their blood. Go see thyself that they are beheaded without stay
or delay: await not other order, but instantly obey my
commandment." The Grand Wazir went forth at one and in his
presence the Envious Sisters were decapitated and this underwent
fit punishment for their malice and their evil doing. After this,
Khusrau Shah with his retinue walked afoot to the Cathedral-
mosque whereby the Queen had been imprisoned for so many years in
bitter grief and tenderly embraced her. Then seeing her sad
plight and her careworn countenance and wretched attire he wept
and cried, "Allah Almighty forgive me this mine unjust and
wrongful dealing towards thee. I have put to death thy sisters
who deceitfully and despitefully raised my wrath and anger
against thee, the innocent, the guiltless; and they have received
due retribution for their misdeeds."--And as the morn began to
dawn Shahrazad held her peace till

The end of the Six Hundred and Eighty-eighth Night.

Then said she:--I have heard, O auspicious King that the King
spake kindly and fondly to his Consort, and told her all that had
betided him, and what the Speaking-Bird had made known to him,
ending with these words, "Come now with me to the palace where
thou shalt thee thy two sons and daughter grown up to become the
loveliest of things. Hie with me and embrace them and take them
to thy bosom, for they are our children, the light of our etes.
But first do thou repair to the Hammam and don thy royal robes
and jewels." Meanwhile tidings of these events were noised about
the city how the King had at length shown due favour to the
Queen, and had released her from bondage with his own hands and
prayed forgiveness for the wrongs he had done to her; and how the
Princes and the Princess had been proved to be her true-born
children, and also how Khusrau Shah had punished her sisters who
conspired against her; so joy and gladness prevailed both in city
and kingdom, and all the folk blessed the Shah's Bn and cursed
the Satanesses her sisters. And next day when the Queen had
bathed in the Hammam and had donned royal dress and regal jewels,
she went to meet her children together with the King who led up
to her the Princes Bahman and Parwez and the Princess Perizadah
and said, "See, here are thy children, fruit of thy womb and core
of thy heart, thine own very sons and thy daughter: embrace them
with all a mother's love and extend thy favour and affection to
them even as I have done. When thou didst give them birth, thine
illomened sisters bore them away from thee and cast them into
yonder stream and said that thou hadst been delivered first of a
puppy, then of a kitten and lastly of a musk-ratling. I cannot
console myself for having credited their calumnies and the only
recompense I can make is to place in thine embrace these three
thou broughtest forth, and whom Allah Almighty hath restored to
us and hath made right worthy to be called our children." Then
the Princes and Princess fell upon their mother's neck and fondly
embraced her weeping tear-floods of joy. After this the Shah and
the Banu sai down to meat together with their children; and when
they had made an end of eating, King Khusrau Shah repaired to the
garden with his Consort that he might show her the Singing-Tree
and the fountain of Golden-Water, whereat the Queen was filled
with wonder and delight. Next they turned to the belvedere and
visited the Speaking-Bird of whom, as they sat at meat, the King
had spoken to her in highest praise, and the Queen rejoiced in
his sweet voice and melodious singing. And when they had seen all
these things, the King mounted horse, Prince Bahman riding on his
right hand and on his left Prince Parwez, while the Queen took
Princess Perizadah with her inside her litter, and thus they set
forth for the palace. As the royal cavalcade passed the city
walls and entered the capital with royal pomp and circumstance,
the subjects who had heard the glad tidings thronged in
multitudes to see their progress and volleyed shouts of
acclamation; and as the lieges had grieved aforetime to see the
Queen-consort imprisoned, so now the rejoiced with exceeding joy
to find her free once more. But chiefly they marvelled to look
upon the Speaking-Bird, for the Princess carried the cage with
her, and as they rode along thousands of sweet-toned songsters
came swarming round them from every quarter, and flew as an
escort to the cage, filling the air with marvellous music; while
flocks of others, perching upon the trees and the housetops,
carolled and warbled as it were to greet their lord's cage
accompanying the royal cavalcade. And when the palace was
reached, the Shah and his Queen and his children sat down to a
sumptuous banquet; and the city was illuminated, and everywhere
dancings and merry-makings testified to the joy of the lieges;
and for many days these revels and rejoicings prevailed
throughout the capital and the kingdom where every man was blithe
and happy and had feastings and festivities in his house, After
these festivals King Khusrau Shah made his elder son Bahman heir
to his throne and kingdom and committed to his hands the affairs
of state in their entirety, and the Prince administered affairs
with such wisdom and success that the greatness and glory of the
realm were increased twofold. The Shah also entrusted to his
youngest son Parwez the charge of his army, both of horsemen and
foot-soldiers; and Princess Perizadah was given by her sire in
marriage to a puissant King who reigned over a mighty country;
and lastly the Queen-mother forgot in perfect joy and happiness
the pangs of her captivity. Destiny ever afterwards endowed them,
one and all, with days the most delectable and they led the
liefest of lives until at last there came to them the Destroyer
of delights and the Sunderer of societies and the Depopulator of
palaces and the Garnerer of graveyards and the Reaper for
Resurrection-day, and they became as though they had never been.
So laud be to the Lord who dieth not and who knoweth no shadow of
change.

End of Volume 9.

Appendix.

VARIANTS AND ANALOGUES OF THE TALES In VOLUME XIII.

By W. A. Clouston.

The Tale of Zayn Al-Asnam--p. 1.

This story is a compound of two distinct tales, namely, the Dream of Riches
and the Quest of the Ninth Image. It has always been one of the most popular
of the tales in our common version of the "Arabian Nights," with this
advantage, that it is perhaps the only one of the whole collection in which
something like a moral purpose may be discovered--"a virtuous woman is more
precious than fine gold." Baron de Sacy has remarked of The Nights, that in
the course of a few years after Galland's version appeared "it filled Europe
with its fame, though offering no object of moral or philosophical interest,
and detailing stories merely for the pleasure of relating them." But this last
statement is not quite accurate: Shahrazad relates her stories merely to
prolong her own life.

It is a curious fact--and one perhaps not very generally known--that the Tale
of Zayn al-Asnm is one of two (the other being that of Khuddd) which
Galland repudiated, as having been foisted into his 8th volume without his
knowledge, as he expressly asserts in the "Avertissement" to the 9th vol.,
promising to remove them in a second edition, which, however, he did not live
to see. I understand that M. Herrmann Zotenberg purposes showing, in his
forthcoming edition of "Aladdin," that these two histoires (including that of
the Princess of Darybr, which is interwoven with the tale of Khuddd and
his Brothers) were Turkish tales translated by M. Petis de la Croix and were
intended to appear in his "Mille et un Jours," which was published, after his
death, in 1710; and that, like most of the tales in that work, they were
derived from the Turkish collection entitled "Al-Farj ba'd al-Shiddah," or
Joy after Affliction. But that Turkish story-book is said to be a translation
of the Persian collection entitled "Hazr Yek Rz" (the Thousand and One
Days), which M. Petis rendered into French.

In the preface to Petis' work it is stated that during his residence in
Persia, in 1675, he made a transcript of the "Hazr Yek Rz," by permission
of the author, a dervish named Mukhlis, of Isfahn. That transcript has not, I
understand, been found; but Sir William Ouseley brought a manuscript from
Persia which contained a portion of the "Hazr Yek Rz," and which he says
("Travels" vol. ii. p. 21, note) agreed so far with the French version. And it
does seem strange that Petis should go to the Turkish book for tales to
include in his "Mille et un Jours" when he had before him a complete copy of
the Persian original, and even if he did so, how came his French rendering of
the tales in question into the hands of Galland's publisher? The tales are not
found in Petis' version, which is regularly divided into 1001 Days, and the
Turkish work, judging from the titles of the eleven first tales, of which I
have seen a transcript by M. Zotenberg, has a number of stories which do not
occur in the Persian.[FN#375] But I think it very unlikely that the tales of
Khuddd and the Princess foisted into Galland's 8th volume, were translated
from the Turkish collection. In Galland the story of the Princess Darybr is
inserted in that of Khuddd; while in the Turkish story-book they are
separate tales, the 6th recital being under the title, "Of the Vazr with the
Daughter of the Prince of Darybn," and the 9th story is "Of the Sons of the
Sovereign of Harrn with Khuddd." This does not seem to support the
assertion that these tales in Galland were derived from the Turkish versions:
and it is not to be supposed, surely, that the translator of the versions in
Galland conceived the idea of fusing the two stories together?

The first part of the tale of Zaun al-Asnam--the Dream of Riches--is an
interesting variant of the tale in The Nights, vol. iv. p. 289, where (briefly
to recapitulate, for purposes of comparison by-and-by) a man of Baghdad,
having lost all his wealth and become destitute, dreams one night that a
figure appeared before him and told him that his fortune was in Cairo. To that
city he went accordingly, and as it was night when he arrived, he took shelter
in a mosque. A party of thieves just then had got into an adjacent house from
that same mosque, and the inmates, discovering them, raised such an outcry as
to bring the police at once on the spot. The thieves contrive to get away, and
the wal, finding only the man of Baghdad in the mosque, causes him to be
seized and severely beaten after which he sends him to prison, where the poor
fellow remains thirty days, when the wal sends for him and begins to question
him. The man tells his story, at which the wal laughs, calls him an ass for
coming so far because of a dream, and adds that he himself had had a similar
dream of a great treasure buried in the garden of such a house in Baghdad, but
he was not so silly as to go there. The poor man recognises his own house and
garden from the wal's description, and being set at liberty returns to
Baghdad, and finds the treasure on the very spot indicated.

Lane, who puts this story (as indeed he has done with much better ones) among
his notes, states that it is also related by El-Ishk, who flourished during
the reign of the Khalf El-Ma'mn (9th century), and his editor Edward Stanley
Poole adds that he found it also in a MS. of Lane's entitled "Murshid ez-Zwar
il el-Abrar," with the difference that it is there related of an Egyptian
saint who travelled to Baghdad, and was in the same manner directed to his own
house in El-Fustt.

The same story is told in the 6th book of the "Masnav," an enormously long
suf poem, written in Persian, by Jeld ed-Din, the founder of the sect of
Muslim devotees generally known in Europe as the Dancing Dervishes, who died
in 1272. This version differs from the Arabian in but a few and unimportant
details: Arriving at Cairo, destitute and hungry, he resolves to beg when it
is dark, and is wandering about, "one foot forward, one foot backwards," for a
third of the night, when suddenly a watchman pounces on him and beats him with
fist and stick--for the people having been plagued with robbers, the Khalf
had given orders to cut off the head of any one found abroad at night. The
wretched man begs for mercy till he has told his story, and when he has
finished the watchman acquaints him of a similar dream he had had of treasure
at Baghdad.[FN#376]

A Turkish variant occurs in the "History of the Forty Vazrs," where a poor
water-carrier of Cairo, named Nu'mn, presents his son's teacher with his only
camel, which he used daily for carrying his skins of water, as a reward for
instructing the lad in the Kurn, and his wife rails at him for his folly in
no measured terms. In his sleep a white haired old man appears to him in a
dream and tells him to go to Damascus, where he would find his portion. After
this has occurred three times in succession, poor Nu'mn, spite of his wife's
remonstrances, sets out for Damascus, enters a mosque there, and receives a
loaf of bread from a man who had been baking, and having eaten it falls
asleep. Returning home, his wife reviles him for giving away a camel and doing
other mad things. But again the venerable old man appears to him thrice in a
dream, and bids him dig close by himself, and there he would find his
provision. When he takes shovel and pick-axe to dig, his wife's tongue is more
bitter than before, and after he had laboured a while and begins to feel
somewhat fatigued, when he asks her to take a short spell at the work, she
mocks him and calls him anything but a wise man. But on his laying bare a
stone slab, she thinks there must be something beneath it, and offers to
relieve him. "Nu'mn," quoth she "thou'rt weary now." "No, I'm rested, says
he. In the end he discovers a well, goes down into it, and finds a jar full of
sequins, upon seeing which his wife clasps him lovingly round the neck,
exclaiming, "O my noble little hubby! Blessed be God for thy luck and thy
fortune!" Her tune changes, however, when the honest water-carrier tells her
that he means to carry the treasure to the King, which he does, and the King
having caused the money to be examined, the treasure is found to have the
following legend written on it: "This is an alms from God to Nu'mn, by reason
of his respect for the Kurn."[FN#377]

This curious story, which dates, as we have seen, at least as far back as the
9th century appears to be spread over Europe. Mr. E. Sidney Hartland, in an
able paper treating of several of its forms in "The Antiquary" for February,
1887, pp. 45-48, gives a Sicilian version from Dr. Pitre's collection, which
is to this effect:

A poor fellow at Palermo, who got his living by salting tunny and selling it
afterwards dreamt one night that a person came to him and said that if he
wished to find his fortune he would find it under the bridge of the Teste.
Thither he goes and sees a man in rags and is beginning to retire when the man
calls him back, informs him that he is his fortune and bids him go at midnight
of that same night to the place where he had deposited his casks of tunny, dig
there, and whatever he found was his own. The tunny-seller gets a pick-axe and
at midnight begins to dig. He comes upon a large flat stone, which he raises
and discovers a staircase; he descends, and at the bottom finds an immense
treasure of gold. In brief, he becomes so rich that he lends the King of Spain
"a million," to enable him to carry on his wars; the King makes him Viceroy of
Sicily, and by-and by, being unable to repay the loan, raises him to the
highest royal dignities.

Johannes Fungerus, in his "Etymologicon Latino-Gr cum," published at Leyden in
1607, in art. Somnus, gravely relates the story, with a young Dutchman for the
hero and as having happened "within the memory of our fathers, both as it has
been handed down in truthful and honourable fashion as well as frequently told
to me."[FN#378] His "true story" may thus be rendered:

A certain young man of Dort, in Holland, had squandered his wealth and all his
estate and having contracted a debt, was unable to pay it. A certain one
appeared to him in a dream, and advised him to betake himself to Kempen, and
there on the bridge he would receive information from some one as to the way
in which he should be extricated from his difficulties. He went there, and
when he was in a sorrowful mood and thinking upon what had been told him and
promenaded almost the whole day, a common beggar, who was asking alms, pitying
his condition, sat down and asked him, "Why so sad?" Thereupon the dreamer
explained to him his sad and mournful fate, and why he had come there
forsooth, under the impulse of a dream, he had set out thither, and was
expecting God as if by a wonder, to unravel this more than Gordian knot. The
mendicant answered "Good Heaven! are you so mad and foolish as to rely on a
dream, which is emptier than nothing, and journey hither? I should betake
myself to Dort, to dig up a treasure buried under such a tree in such a man's
garden (now this garden had belonged to the dreamer's father), likewise
revealed to me in a dream." The other remained silent and pondering all that
had been said to him, then hastened with all speed to Dort, and under the
aforesaid tree found a great heap of money, which freed him from his
obligations, and having paid off all his debts, he set up in a more sumptuous
style than before.

The second part of the tale, or novelette, of "The Spectre Barber," by Musaeus
(1735-1788), is probably an elaboration of some German popular legend closely
resembling the last-cited version, only in this instance the hero does not
dream, but is told by a ghost, in reward for a service he had done it (or
him), to tarry on the great bridge over the Weser, at the time when day and
night are equal, for a friend who would instruct him what he must do to
retrieve his fortune. He goes there at dawn, and walks on the bridge till
evening comes, when there remained no one but himself and a wooden legged
soldier to whom he had given a small coin in the early morning, and who
ventured at length to ask him why he had promenaded the bridge all day. The
youth at first said he was waiting for a friend, but on the old soldier
remarking that he could be no friend who would keep him waiting so long, he
said that he had only dreamt he was to meet some friend (for he did not care
to say anything about his interview with the ghost), the old fellow observed
that he had had many dreams, but put not the least faith in them. "But my
dream," quoth the youth, "was a most remarkable one." "It couldn't have been
so remarkable as one I had many years ago," and so on, as usual, with this
addition, that the young man placed the old soldier in a snug little cottage
and gave him a comfortable annuity for life--taking care, we may be sure, not
to tell him a word as to the result of acting upon his dream.

To what extent Musaeus has enlarged his original material it is impossible to
say; but it is well known that, like Hans Andersen in later times, he did
"improve and add to such popular tales and traditions as he dealt with--a
circumstance which renders him by no means trustworthy for folk-lore purposes.

In Denmark our well-travelled little tale does duty in accounting for the
building of a parish church, as we learn from Thorpe, in his "Northern
Mythology," vol. ii. p. 253:

Many years ago there lived in Errits, near Frederica, a very poor man who one
day said, "If I had a large sum of money, I would build a church for the
parish." The following night he dreamed that if he went to the south bridge at
Veile he would make his fortune. He followed the intimation and strolled
backwards and forwards on the bridge until it grew late, but without seeing
any sign of good fortune. When just on the point of returning, he was accosted
by an officer, who asked him why he had spent a whole day so on the bridge. He
told him his dream, on hearing which the officer related to him in return that
he also on the preceding night had dreamed that in a barn in Errits,
belonging to a man whose name he mentioned, a treasure lay buried. Now the
name he mentioned was the man's own, who prudently kept his own counsel,
hastened home, and found the treasure in a barn. The man was faithful to his
word, and built the church.[FN#379]

Equally at home, as we have seen, in Sicily, Holland, Germany, and Denmark,
the identical legend is also domiciled in Scotland and England. Thus Robert
Chambers, in his "Popular Rhymes of Scotland," ed. 1826, p. 56, speaking of
Dundonald Castle, in Ayrshire, the ancient seat of King Robert II., relates
the following local tradition:

Donald, the builder, was originally a poor man, but had the faculty of
dreaming lucky dreams. Upon one occasion he dreamed thrice in one night that
if he were to go to London Bridge he would make a fortune. He went
accordingly, and saw a man looking over the parapet of the bridge, whom he
accosted courteously, and after a little conversation, intrusted him with the
secret of the occasion of his visiting London Bridge. The stranger told him
that he had made a very foolish errand, for he had himself once had a similar
vision, which directed him to go to a certain spot in Ayrshire, in Scotland,
where he would find a vast treasure, and for his part he had never once
thought of obeying the injunction. From his description of the spot, however,
the sly Scot at once perceived that the treasure in question must be concealed
nowhere but in his own humble kail-yard at home, to which he immediately
repaired, in full expectation of finding it. Nor was he disappointed; for
after destroying many good and promising cabbages, and completely cracking
credit with his wife, who considered him as mad, he found a large potful of
gold coin, with which he built a stout castle for himself, and became the
founder of a flourishing family.

"This absurd story," adds Chambers, "is localised in almost every district of
Scotland always referring to London Bridge, and Hogg (the Ettrick Shepherd)
has worked up the fiction in a very amusing manner in one of his 'Winter
Evening Tales,' substituting the Bridge at Kelso for that of London."

But the legend of the Chapman, or Pedlar, of Swaffam, in Norfolk, handed down,
as it has been, from one credulous generation to another, with the most minute
details and perfect local colour, throws quite into the shade all other
versions or variants of the ancient tale of the poor man of Baghdad.
Blomfield, in his "History of Norfolk," 8vo ea., vol. vi. 211-213, reproduces
it as follows, from Sir Roger Twysden's "Reminiscences":

"The story of the Pedlar of Swaffam Market is in substance this: That dreaming
one night, if he went to London, he should certainly meet with man upon London
Bridge which should tell him good news; he was so perplexed in his mind that
till he set upon his journey he could have no rest. To London therefore he
hastes, and walked upon the Bridge for some hours, where being espied by a
shopkeeper and asked what he wanted, he answered, 'You may well ask me that
question, for truly (quoth he) I am come hither upon a very vain errand,' and
so told the story of his dream which occasioned his journey. Whereupon the
shopkeeper replied, 'Alas, good friend, should I have heeded dreams I might
have proved myself as very a fool as thou hast; for 'tis not long since that I
dreamt that at a place called Swaffam Market, in Norfolk, dwells one John
Chapman, a pedlar, who hath a tree in his back yard, under which is buried a
pot of money. Now, therefore if I should have made a journey thither to dig
for such hidden treasure, judge you whether I should not have been counted a
fool.' To whom the Pedlar cunningly said, 'Yes, truly: I will therefore return
home and follow my business, not heeding such dreams hence-forward.' But when
he came home (being satisfied that his dream was fulfilled), he took occasion
to dig in that place, and accordingly found a large pot full of money, which
he prudently concealed, putting the pot among the rest of his brass. After a
time, it happened that one who came to his house, and beholding the pot,
observed an inscription upon it, which being in Latin he interpreted it, that
under that there was another twice as good.[FN#380] Of this inscription the
Pedlar was before ignorant, or at least minded it not; but when he heard the
meaning of it, he said, ' 'Tis very true, in the shop where I bought this pot
stood another under it which was twice as big'; but considering that it might
tend to his further profit to dig deeper in the same place where he found
that, he fell again to work and discovered such a pot as was intimated by the
inscription, full of old coin; notwithstanding all which, he so concealed his
wealth that the neighbours took no notice of it. But not long after the
inhabitants of Swaffam resolving to re-edify their church, and having
consulted the workmen about the charge, they made a levy, wherein they taxed
the Pedlar according to no other rate but what they had formerly done. But he,
knowing his own ability, came to the church and desired the workmen to show
him their model and to tell him what they esteemed the charge of the north
aisle would amount to, which when they told him, he presently undertook to pay
them for building it, and not only that, but for a very tall and beautiful
tower steeple.

"This is the tradition of the inhabitants, as it was told me there. And in
testimony thereof, there was then his picture, with his wife and three
children, in every window of the aisle, with an inscription running through
the bottom of all those windows, viz., 'Orate pro bono statu Johannis
Chapman.... Uxoris ejus, et Liberorum quorum, qui quidem Johannes hanc alam
cum fenestris tecto et . . . fieri fecit.' It was in Henry the Seventh's time,
but the year I now remember not, my notes being left with Mr. William
Sedgwicke, who trickt the pictures, he being then with me. In that aisle is
his seat, of an antique form, and on each side the entrance, the statue of the
Pedlar of about a foot in length, with pack on his back, very artificially
[?artistically] cut. This was sent me from Mr. William Dugdale, of Blyth Hall,
in Warwickshire, in a letter dated Jan. 29th, 1652-3, which I have since
learned from others to have been most True.Roger Twysden."

Mr. William E. A. Axon, in "The Antiquary," vol. xi. p. 168, gives the same
version, with some slight variations, from a work entitled "New Help to
Discourse," which he says was often printed between 1619 and 1696: The dream
was "doubled and tripled," and the Pedlar stood on the bridge for two or three
days; but no mention is made of his finding a second pot of money: "he found
an infinite mass of money, with part of which he re-edified the church, having
his statue therein to this day, cut out in stone, with his pack on his back
and his dog at his heels, his memory being preserved by the same form or
picture in most of the glass windows in taverns and alehouses in that town to
this day." The story is also told of a cobbler in Somersetshire (in an article
on Dreams, "Saturday Review," Dec. 28, 1878), who dreamt three nights in
succession that if he went to London Bridge he would there meet with something
to his advantage. For three days he walked over the bridge, when at length a
stranger came up to him, and asked him why he had been walking from end to end
of the bridge for these three days, offering nothing for sale nor purchasing
aught. The man having told him of his strange dream, the stranger said that he
too had dreamt of a lot of gold buried in a certain orchard in such a place in
Somersetshire. Upon this the cobbler returned home and found the pot of gold
under an apple-tree. He now sent his son to school, where he learnt Latin, and
when the lad had come home for his holidays, he happened to look at the pot
that had contained the gold and seeing some writing on it he said, "Father, I
can show you what I have learnt at school is of some use." He then translated
the Latin inscription on the pot thus: "Look under and you will find better "
They did look under and a large quantity of gold was found. Mr. Axon gives a
version of the legend in the Yorkshire dialect in "The Antiquary," vol. xii.
pp. 121-2, and there is a similar story connected with the parish church of
Lambeth.[FN#381]

Regarding the Norfolk tradition of the lucky and generous Pedlar, Blomfield
says that the north side of the church of Swaffam (or Sopham) was certainly
built by one John Chapman, who was churchwarden in 1462; but he thinks that
the figures of the pedlar, etc., were only put "to set forth the name of the
founder: such rebuses are frequently met with on old works." The story is also
told in Abraham de la Prynne's Diary under date Nov. 10, 1699, as "a constant
tradition" concerning a pedlar in Soffham.

Such is the close resemblance between the Turkish version of the Dream and
that in the tale of Zayn al-Asnam that I am disposed to consider both as
having been derived from the same source, which, however, could hardly have
been the story told by El-Ishki. In Zayn al-Asnam a shaykh appears to the
prince in a dream and bids him hie to Egypt, where he will find heaps of
treasure; in the Turkish story the shaykh appears to the poor water-carrier
three times and bids him go to Damascus for the like purpose. The prince
arrives at Cairo and goes to sleep in a mosque, when the shayka again presents
himself before him in a dream and tells him that he has done well in obeying
him--he had only made a trial of his courage: "now return to thy capital and I
will make thee wealthy,"-- in the Turkish story the water-carrier also goes
into a mosque at Damascus and receives a loaf of bread there from a baker.
When the prince returns home the shaykh appears to him once more and bids him
take a pickaxe and go to such a palace of his sire and dig in such a place,
where he should find riches,--in the Turkish story the water-carrier having
returned to his own house, the shaykh comes to him three times more and bids
him search near to where he is and he should find wealth. The discovery by
Zayn al-Asnam of his father's hidden treasure, after he had recklessly
squandered all his means, bears some analogy to the well-known ballad of the
"Heir of Linne," who, when reduced to utter poverty, in obedience to his dying
father's injunction, should such be his hap, went to hang himself in the
"lonely lodge" and found there concealed a store of gold.

With regard to the second part of the tale of Zayn al-Asnam--the Quest of the
Ninth Image--and the Turkish version of which my friend Mr. Gibb has kindly
furnished us with a translation from the mystical work of 'Al 'Azz Efendi,
the Cretan, although no other version has hitherto been found,[FN#382] I have
little doubt that the story is of either Indian or Persian extraction, images
and pictures being abhorred by orthodox (or sunni) Muslims generally; and such
also, I think, should we consider all the Arabian tales of young men becoming
madly enamoured of beautiful girls from seeing their portraits--though we can
readily believe that an Arab as well as a Persian or Indian youth might fall
in love with a pretty maid from a mere description of her personal charms, as
we are told of the Bedouin coxcomb Amarah in the Romance of Antar. If the
Turkish version, which recounts the adventures of the Prince Abd es-Samed in
quest of the lacking image (the tenth, not the ninth, as in the Arabian) was
adapted from Zayn al-Asnam, the author has made considerable modifications in
re-telling the fascinating story, and, in my opinion, it is not inferior to
the Arabian version. In the Turkish, the Prince's father appears to him in a
vision of the night,[FN#383] and conducts him to the treasure-vault, where he
sees the vacant pedestal and on it the paper in which his father directs him
to go to Cairo and seek counsel of the Shaykh Mubarak, who would instruct him
how to obtain the lacking image; and the prince is commissioned by the shaykh
to bring him a spotless virgin who has never so much as longed for the
pleasures of love, when he should receive the image for his reward. The shaykh
gives him a mirror which should remain clear when held before such a virgin,
but become dimmed when reflecting the features of another sort of girl; also a
purse which should be always full of money.[FN#384] In the Arabian story the
Shaykh Mubarak accompanies Zayn al-Asnam in his quest of the image to the land
of Jinnistn, the King whereof it is who requires the prince to procure him a
pure virgin and then he would give him the lacking image. In the Turkish
version the prince Abd es-Samed proceeds on the adventure alone, and after
visiting many places without success he goes to Baghdad, where by means of the
Imam he at last finds the desiderated virgin, whom he conducts to Mubarak. In
the Arabian story the Imam, Abu Bakr (Haji Bakr in the Turkish), is at first
inimical towards the prince and the shaykh but after being propitiated by a
present of money he is all complaisance, and, as in the Turkish, introduces
the prince to the fallen vazr, the father of the spotless virgin. The sudden
conversion of the Imam from a bitter enemy to an obliging friend is related
with much humour: one day denouncing the strangers to the folk assembled in
the mosque as cutpurses and brigands, and the next day withdrawing his
statement, which he says had been made on the information of one of the
prince's enviers, and cautioning the people against entertaining aught but
reverence for the strangers. This amusing episode is omitted in the Turkish
version. In one point the tale of Zayn al-Asnam has the advantage of that of
Abd es-Samed: it is much more natural, or congruous, that the King of the
Genii should affect to require the chaste maiden and give the prince a magical
mirror which would test her purity, and that the freed slave Mubarak should
accompany the prince in his quest.

Aladdin; Or, the Wonderful Lamp--p. 31.

Book of the day: